March 18, 2014

T-Shirt Pillows - Turn Memories Into Home Accessories

You know, the free ones from college that you just can't bear to part with? Or the ones from a trip you took when you were 12 years old that don't really fit anymore but remind you of a happier, more carefree time?  Or the one you got on vacation a few years ago that never really fit you well but it was such a good deal and you couldn't pass it up (I mean, c'mon, $5 for a souvenir T-shirt??! How can you pass that up?) Well, in my case these were all of hubs' old shirts, and he had 4 dresser drawers packed to the brim with them. I made a case for donating the ones that were in good shape to Goodwill, and he finally acquiesced one rainy day a couple of months ago. So the whole family spent a few hours going through them all (and modeling some other stuff from daddy's drawers). 

Helping daddy sort clothes | A Crafty Wife

In the end, about 20 made it into the donation pile, a bunch were relegated to the 'wear during yardwork/messy stuff' pile, and 9 of them were marked 'I have special memories about these, so I can't throw/give them away, but I'm never going to wear them again.'

Since this all happened about 1.2 weeks before Christmas and I still needed a handmade/crafty gift for the hubs (see more of our crafty Christmas gifts here and here and here), I went into rush panic mode and decided I would make his beloved T-shirts into pillows for the playroom couch (we don't have a basement/man cave room, which would be another good spot for these). I am NOT a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination. I have a sewing machine (a gift from my mom for one of my 20-something birthdays) but I have a pretty healthy fear of it. We get along okay in small doses. 

Turn old t-shirts into pillows for playroom/basement/man cave | A Crafty Wife

First came cutting the shirt decals out. I made sure I had plenty of extra space around the decal to trim down later. All of the shirts had front decals, and a couple had larger back decals that I cut out too. Once they were all cut, I played around with groupings that would make the most sense.

I read online that using fusible interfacing would help give the t-shirt material more strength and prevent stretching once sewn. I asked the nice ladies at Hancock Fabrics which they would recommend for my project, and they suggested this midweight option from Pellon. You basically iron it to the back of your fabric and then sew like you normally would. It's super easy to use, and it definitely helped the pieces keep their shape! Note: it helps if you iron the fabric you're attaching this too really well before you attach the fusible interfacing.

Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of tshirt for strength | A Crafty Wife

I cut and ironed on the interfacing, trying my best to get it centered behind the decals (I did this before I trimmed the shirt pieces to size).
Fusible interfacing ironed onto wrong sides of tshirts | A Crafty Wife

Then I used a straight edge and rotary cutter to trim the pieces, leaving enough room for about a 1/4"-1/2" seam on all sides (again, my sewing machine and I don't always get along. I'd rather give myself too much wiggle room than not enough).

Use rotary cutter to trim tshirts to size before sewing | A Crafty Wife

Once cut, I could pin the pieces together to make sure everything would line up how I wanted it.

Pin tshirt pieces together before sewing | A Crafty Wife

 I sewed the 3 small pieces for each pillow together first, then attached the bigger portion to get a clean line. I was actually impressed with myself after this--they were going together so nicely! 

Sew smaller tshirt pieces together before adding larger ones for pillow | A Crafty Wife

Once the backs were sewn on (wrong sides out, so the seams are hidden), I flipped them right-side out, stuffed them, and sewed the opening closed by hand (I'm not sure how, but they are closed. Just don't look too closely or you'll see how messy it looks). 

Pillows from old t-shirts preserve memories | A Crafty Wife

Make pillows out of old t-shirts | A Crafty Wife

Hubs loved them! He thought it was a great way to preserve all those memories and have them accessible (i.e. not stuck in a drawer). All in all, they were not that hard to make. My sewing machine and I may have even called a truce for now.

March 3, 2014

St. Patty's Day Shamrock

Can you believe before I finished this project I had NO St. Patrick's Day decor for my house? I'm like 63.7% Irish too, which makes it even more of a travesty. On a recent trip to Hobby Lobby for other project supplies, I saw this rustic-texturey shamrock and thought it would look nice on my front door.

Hobby Lobby St Patrick's Day shamrock wall hanging inspiration | A Crafty Wife

But then the little voice in the back of my head said, "Hey, you could make something similar to that without spending $12.99." And with that, the wheels started turning.

I started by printing a shamrock shape (just do a Google Image search and you'll find a ton to choose from) and tracing it out on cardboard. In this case, I used a diaper box (since we have plenty of those around!) and cut it out with scissors.

Print shamrock template from computer and trace onto cardboard | A Crafty Wife

Depending what your cardboard looks like, you may not need to do the next step. I painted the printed side of the box with black acrylic craft paint to cover up the words and pictures and then painted over that with green acrylic craft paint. The green by itself wasn't enough to cover the box design, so that's why I did black first. If your cardboard is in good shape and you don't want to paint it, move on to the next step. While the painted shamrock was drying, I painted 3 wooden hearts with green acrylic craft paint to attach later.

Paint shamrock to cover cardboard | A Crafty Wife

I happened to have 2.5" wired burlap ribbon on hand, so that's what I used to cover the shamrock to get the texture. I discovered after I finished the project (go figure) that craft stores also sell sheets of burlap, usually in the floral department. That would have made these next few steps a lot easier! Anyway, I cut strips of the burlap ribbon so I had enough to cover the shamrock. Since it was wired ribbon, I also cut off the wired edges so I could make it look as seamless as possible.

Use burlap ribbon to give texture to shamrock wall hanging | A Crafty Wife

I used Mod Podge to glue the burlap to the cardboard shamrock. When it dried, I used scissors to carefully cut the excess burlap off the edges, then applied a little more Mod Podge on the cut edges to prevent fraying. After that dried, I painted the edges of the shamrock with brown craft paint just to give it some detail. Then I hot glued the wooden hearts in place.

Hot glue painted wooden hearts onto cardboard shamrock | A Crafty Wife

Next, I made two small bows from green ribbon and paper raffia. A little hot glue under each is enough to hold them in place.

Raffia and ribbon for bows | A Crafty Wife

I scavenged my spare button container (doesn't everyone have one of those?!) hoping I had something green to use. I was in luck - a dusty sage green button from one of hubs' old shirts was calling out to be used for this project. Another dab of hot glue and on it went!

Cardboard and burlap shamrock for St. Patrick's Day | A Crafty Wife

As for the hanging device, I used a 6" piece of decorative wire (also from the floral department) bent in a loop and twisted at the end. It's buried in hot glue, so I don't think it's going anywhere. I don't expect this to be pulled on/played with at all, so the glue attached to the cardboard should be enough to hold it.

Use floral wire and hot glue to make a hanging hook | A Crafty Wife

Here it is, all finished and hanging on our front door! The grapevine wreath is always there - I change out the ribbon by season so it's always festive. 

Cardboard shamrock for front door | A Crafty Wife

Anybody else getting crafty for St. Patty's? I'm just glad I finally have something to hang up around the house.