Archive for the ‘tutorials’ Category

bunny at the door!

bunny at the door! a tutorial by elsie marley

 

We don’t have many easter decorations: a few eggs, some bunnies here and there, maybe some flowers, but that’s it really. We needed something easter-y…and fast, because easter is this weekend! I came up with this giant easter bunny peaking in your front door. It’s like Kilroy Was Here got together with Donnie Darko and made an adorable bunny.  You can make one too–in the next 10 minutes even!

BUNNY AT THE DOOR TUTORIAL

MATERIALS:

  • white poster board
  • crayons or markers
  • tape

DIRECTIONS:

1. Sketch out a bunny shape lightly, trying to use the whole sheet of poster board.

bunny at the door! a tutorial by elsie marley

2. Color in the nose, eyes, and the middle of the ears.

bunny at the door! a tutorial by elsie marley

3. Flip it over and color the other side (if you plan to put it in a window)

4. Cut out little paws from the poster board scraps and color them in.

bunny at the door! a tutorial by elsie marley

 

5. Tape it to the door and your done!

bunny at the door! a tutorial by elsie marley

My daughter said, “Look  Mama, the easter bunny has jazz hands!” Who doesn’t want a dancing bunny at their front door? Now, go on, make one!

lucky buttons tutorial

lucky buttons tutorial on elsie marley

One of the odd, unwritten blog rules is “thou shalt not blog on weekends,” but I’m crazy like that I guess. Besides tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. And one of the unwritten rules of having school age children is “you must participate in every holiday no matter what.” Pi day? Talk like a pirate day? 100th day of school? Grandparents day? Crazy sock day? I have celebrated them all.

lucky buttons tutorial on elsie marley

I have also prepared for all of them frantically the night before or the morning of said holiday. If you are nodding in agreement, this craft is for you. If you are throughly prepared with crocheted red beards and cardboard leprechaun hats or if you are genuinely Irish and have been corning your beef for weeks (or however it’s done) then you don’t need me and my slap dash craft.

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diy summer passport

diy summer passport

I mentioned last week that I was thinking about making a summer passport. And would you look at that: I did! It was super easy and I’m going to tell you how to do it.

small moleskine

diy summer passport

materials:

  • a small moleskine plain journal with a kraft paper cover. They are called Cahiers and are sold in sets of three (for 7 bucks).
  • crayons, markers, pencils, whatever
  • a list of activities (see below)
  • stickers, or a date stamper

summer passport diy

directions:

1. Make your cover. We went with the basic, Summer Passport 2013. You could get a little more exciting, like THIS IS GOING TO BE THE JONES’ BEST SUMMER EVAR!

summer passport diy

2. Write something fun to do on every right hand page. This ends up being about 30 activities, which I think is doable for summer. It also leaves the left page open for writing about when you did that activity (optional, obviously).

summer passport diy

3. Draw a box under the activity. This is where you will put the stickers (or stamp the date) when you do that activity. If you plan to do something often, make sure to draw a big box. My daughter seems to think we will be going to the pool a lot this summer. :)

summer passport diy

4. Go do something! Here’s a list of 40 things to get you started:

list of summer activities

  1. run through the sprinkler
  2. blow bubbles (last year, we made super big bubbles!)
  3. eat watermelon (in star form maybe?)
  4. make a giant fort
  5. make grape sculptures
  6. eat corn on the cob (and make your own awesome holders!)
  7. buy a treat from the ice cream truck
  8. go to the farmer’s market
  9. sign up for your library’s summer reading program
  10. play in the rain
  11. write a letter to Grandma
  12. make your own gummy treats
  13. wash the car
  14. find a new park in your town
  15. go swimming!
  16. make paper airplanes
  17. learn cats cradle
  18. paint with chalk paint
  19. build a fairy house
  20. feed the ducks
  21. get your face painted
  22. watch fireworks
  23. play sidewalk simon
  24. catch fireflies
  25. play badmiton
  26. sail boats down a tin foil river
  27. water balloon fight!
  28. be a super spy–make invisible ink
  29. make ice cream or popsicles
  30. make your own stickers
  31. exploding paint bombs!
  32. go to a local fair
  33. have a magic potion lab
  34. make saltwater taffy
  35. have a lemonade stand (or a tattoo stand!)
  36. camp in the backyard
  37. go fishing
  38. go bowling
  39. see a concert in the park
  40. pick strawberries

 

What are you doing this summer? Add your ideas in the comments!

 

painterly skirt tutorial

For my contribution to Skirt Week 2012, I made this little tutorial for turning an old, rather boring skirt into something a bit more interesting. Sometimes you don’t need to make a new skirt, but you need to liberate one from the back of your closet. I had planned on doing a tutorial for a button placket, but then I saw this picture and could not stop thinking about it:

These pants are from a shop in New York that specializes in super awesome Japanese children’s clothes. The idea is so simple and so effortlessly cool that I had to steal it.

painterly skirt tutorial

painterly skirt

materials:

  • 1 unloved skirt
  • a bit of cardboard or freezer paper
  • paint of your choice, fabric or acrylic or even house paint*
  • stamps
  • very small paint brush

painterly skirt materials

 

directions:

1. The first thing I did was carve some starts out of an old eraser. If you’ve never done this before it may sound hard, but I assure you it is not. I carved two stamps from a big eraser and two from the tiny erasers on a pair of new pencils. It took me all of 10 minutes. There are many good tutorials for carving stamps from erasers out there (this one and this one for example). The stamp you make should be quite small, so stick to a simple shape–stars work well!

starting the stars

2. Put a piece of cardboard under where you will be stamping, or you can iron a bit of freezer paper to the back. You need something under your design, so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the other side.

3. Start stamping! You can be as fussy or as messy as you want. The look we are going for is paint wiped on the side of your skirt, so there aren’t too many rules you have to follow. It looks nice if the stamps are concentrated a bit in one area and then fade out towards the edges.

stars painted

3. After you have stamped to your heart’s content, take a very small paintbrush and go over some of the stamps with more paint. This will make some of the stars stand out better and give the design a little more dimension.

4. Let the paint dry and go over it with an iron to set it.  Waalaa! a new skirt! One that will be loved and worn again!

before after painterly skirt

*a note on paint: I don’t paint on my clothes very often, but when I do (like here and here) I like to use a product called fabric meduim. You mix the meduim with any acrylic paint and it makes it into a fabric paint. A good friend of mine turned me on to it. Another good friend told me to get out of the not-so-great craft acrylic paint aisle and go to the actually-an-artist acrylic paint aisle: the colors and the quality are better.

painterly skirt after

 

color block pillow tutorial

color block pillow

Here is a little project to spring up your home.  I made this pillow in springy greens, but any colors would of course work. Ticking would look very nice, with the stripes going opposite ways. The pillow is based on a simple quilt square (does it have a name?) and comes together super fast.  Happy Spring!

color block pillow

color block pillow materials

materials:

  • two squares of fabric slightly larger than your pillow
  • square pillow form
  • zipper slightly smaller than your pillow

 

directions:

1.  Cut your fabric 2 inches larger than your pillow. For example: my pillow was 13in square, so I cut my fabric into 15in squares.

color block pillow step one and two

2. Put the squares together, right sides facing. Using a straight edge, draw a line diagonally across the fabric. No one will see the line, so you can use a regular pencil or pen.

3. Sew 1/4in from the line. First sew on one side of the line, and then on the other. You will have two seams, one on each side of the line. This is shown more clearly in the photo below.

color block pillow step three

4. Cut directly on the line you drew.

color block pillow step four

5. Ta Da! You now have two squares. Open them up and press the seam to one side–the side with the darker colored fabric.

color block pillow step five

6. Now you have a choice. You can line the squares up, right sides facing, with the seams also alined like I did in the photo above. Or you can arrange it so the triangles are oriented differently on each side–the seams will not line up, but will make an X. Play around with it and see what you like. But unless you have a clear fiberglass couch no one is going to see both sides at once.

7. I am not going to explain how to do the zipper, because there is a good tutorial that does it already–Sewing 101: Zippered Throw Pillows. This is the method I use for putting zippers in pillows and it is dead easy. There are other ways that look a bit nicer, but this one is super fast and hard to screw up. I encourage you to try it if you haven’t used zippers before–you will succeed, I know it!

color block pillow done!

8. Try the pillow on your pillow form. It might need some taking in. I had to take mine off and sew it a bit smaller to make it fit. Hey look, you’re done! And you made a super chic, color block, geometric, trendy as all get out pillow. Your couch will thank you.