Month: January 2015

How to Make a Stuffed Toy {from Your Child’s Drawing}

Every summer when my kids come home from staying at their grandparents’ house, they always show up with an armload of new stuffed animals {we call them stuffties}.  These aren’t your average mass-produced stuffties, though, these are custom-designed and custom-made based on their artwork!  My mom is the master of making stuffed animals from the kids’ drawings and while staying at their house over the long holiday weekend, my daughter asked for a new stufftie and so I thought I’d document the process so that you can make your own stuffed toys!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Caterpillar

 

Please meet Caroline, the carnival caterpillar.  According to my daughter, this well-loved stufftie was lonely and needed a friend.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Meet-Caroline

 

 

Step 1: Draw

Meet Casey, Caroline’s soon-to-be new friend.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-1-Draw

Have your child draw a picture or use an existing picture.  We only have standard 8.5″x12″ paper and unsupervised, my daughter drew a small caterpillar on white paper.  The drawing is great but it was too small to use as-is for a pattern because by the time we made seam allowances and stuffed it, it would have been a miniature stuffed animal.  And so we moved onto Step 2.

 

Step 2: Enlarge

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-2-Enlarge

If the drawing is large to begin with, you can skip this step.  If not, you’ll need to use a photocopier to enlarge the drawing.  We sectioned the caterpillar into two pieces and enlarged each one separately.  We enlarged my daughter’s original drawing by 200% and then enlarged the new image by 200% again to get the final size shown above.  The final stuffed animal will be a two-sided caterpillar.

 

Step 3: Choose Your Fabric

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-3-Fabric

Let the child pick the fabric so that the stuffed animal is truly a representation of their imagination.  You might want to narrow their selection to only durable fabrics, though, so that the stuffed animal can have a long life.  :)  Also, felt or ultrasuede are good options for small pieces, such as the antenna and feet on this caterpillar.

If your child has colored the picture and wants the stuffed toy to match, you’ll need to select the fabric colors accordingly.  For the caterpillar, since my daughter didn’t color it, she chose the fabrics at random.  She chose rainbow stripe for one side of the body, blue polka dot for the other, and pink polka dot for the head.  We’ll be using black ultrasuede for the feet and antennae.

 

Step 4: Cut Out Pattern

Pin pattern to fabric with fabric wrong sides of the fabric together and cut carefully along the outside edge of the drawing.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-4-Cut

 

Step 5: Baste Appendages

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-5-Baste

 

Once all of the pieces have been cut out, it’s time to attach any appendages that are separate from the main body.  For example, these could be the arms or legs of a person, in the case of our caterpillar, it’s the legs and antennae.  When basting them, you want to turn the appendages so that they are encased in the body.

Option A: If you are going to stuff the appendages, sew them, stuff them and then baste them to the main body.

Option B: In the case of our caterpillar, we are not stuffing the legs and so can simply baste them to the body without sewing and stuffing them first.

Here’s what the feet look like after they were basted into place.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-5

 

Step 6: Pin for Sewing

Once the appendages have been basted on, pin all parts together with the good sides facing in.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-6-Pin

 

 

Step 7: Sew

Sew the pieces together using a 14″ seam and leave about a 3″ opening in the body for stuffing.  Be sure to back stich each side of the opening so that you don’t rip the seam apart each time your hand goes in and out as you’re stuffing it.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-7-Sew

 

 

Step 8: Clip Inner Corners

If your stuffed toy has curves, be sure to clip all of the interior corners so that they will lay properly once you turn it rightside out.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-8-Clip

 

Step 9: Press Flat

Turn your creation rightside out and press it flat.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-9-Press

 

Step 10: Stuff & Close

This is usually the kids’ favorite part!  Stuff your creation to the desired fullness and then sew the opening closed.  We used polyester stuffing to achieve a plush toy look but you could also stuff it with polystyrene beads.  Use small pieces and work from the far end back toward the opening.  Use a knitting needle or pencil of you need to poke stuffing into small areas.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-10-Stuff

 

Step 11: Transfer the Face

Once stuffed, the area for the face was smaller than how it appeared in the original drawing, so in order to keep the proportions accurate, we reduced the size of the face on the photocopier so that it properly fit on the head.

Cut out the face and use straight pins to pins the lines of the drawing.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-11A-Pin
After all of the lines have been pinned, lift the paper a section at a time and using a chalk pencil, connect the dots to form the shape!  Once the face is transferred, you can paint it, use pens, stitch it or fuse fabric to it.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Step-11B-Draw

 

 

 

And here’s a look at Casey!  Straight out of the imagination of my 1st grader and into reality.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE---How-to-Make-a-Custom-Stuffed-Toy

 

 

 

There’s nothing better for a kid than to snuggle up with a stufftie created by their own imagination and made with love.  Thank you, Mom!!

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3 Easy Ways to Give Your Home Dimension

Creating dimension in a home is an important element in making sure the space “feels” right.  It helps us to feel comfortable in a space and like the space is enveloping us, as opposed to us just standing in a box.  Often times, people think that creating dimension in a room means just filling it with stuff, but that isn’t true!  It’s not about having things, it’s about what you have and where you put it.

Just imagine for a second, a living room full of furniture and decor but everything is lined up against the walls, outlining the perimeter of the space.  While the room would have lots of stuff in it, it wouldn’t necessarily have a lot of dimension, right?  In fact, dimension isn’t about the amount of things in a room at all!  Imagine the same space again but this time with only the furniture basics, but again, they are all lined up against the wall.  Less stuff, but still no dimension!

So what does dimension mean when it refers to decorating?

Dimension is creating shapes, angles, and groupings that appear different than the shape of space in which they reside. 

 

For example, intimate furniture groupings in a room have a different shape than that of the room’s perimeter and help to add dimension.  On a smaller scale, think about mantel decor that instead of being lined up in a straight line across the mantel, has it’s own unique shape that is different than that of the mantel.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE---3-Easy-Ways-to-Add-Dimension-to-Your-Home

 

Here are 3 easy ways to create visual dimension in your home:

1.  Create Layers

I am a *huge* fan of layering.  Stacking items back to front creates unique shapes and angles that add interest to a space and help to change the overall.  Also, varying the height of items helps to create additional layers.

Below, I’ve layered items on my mantel from the chalkboard on the back wall, working forward with additional frames, boxwood, books, and candesticks.  This way, while the mantel itself is a straight line, the decor on top isn’t, thus adding dimension!

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Living-Room-Mantel-Update

You can think of a room in much the same way.  The walls are your outside layer and you can then add objects into the space on different layers working their way to the center of the room.  Even pulling the sofa off the wall by about 2″ creates another layer!  For more information about how to create layers, read {this} post.

 

2. Introduce Various Colors {or Shades of Color}

Color adds tons of variety and interest to a space and when used in accessories, is an easy thing to change once you grow tired of it.  In this sense, though, color doesn’t necessarily have to mean different colors.  It could be a monochromatic color palette but that uses varies shades of a color!

The nice thing about using a variety of colors is that color is an easy way to add a visual layer to the space, even if it’s physically on the same layer as another object.  Window treatments, for example, are on the same physical layer as the wall, but if they are a different color {or shade}, our eyes will read them differently.  The same is true for pillows on a sofa.  Here’s a look at Restoration Hardware’s Lorraine chair exactly the way that it’s sold in the store, where the lumbar pillow matches the upholstery.

RH Lorraine Chair
{via Restoration Hardware}

 

It’s a beautiful chair but it doesn’t have a lot of dimension!  The addition of a different lumbar pillow or even a throw adds some dimension to the chair, which gives it more interest.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Lorraine-Chair-2

 

3. Use Texture

Texture is such an important element in creating dimension in a space because it gives interest and variety to the different surfaces in a space.  So if, for example, you have a linen sofa, consider adding a velvet pillow just so that it has a different texture.  Or consider adding a sisal rug to your hardwood floor.  Maybe just a well-placed {and functional} basket in the corner so that you are layering and adding texture at the same time.  With texture, the options are limitless!  For more info about decorating with texture, read {this} post.

On my bedroom mantel, I’ve combined hard, shiny textures like reflective glass and mercury glass, with softer, matte textures like old books and baskets.  Even my dress form has multiple textures between the fabric, industrial metal stand, and delicate pearls.  All of these combinations of texture help to add dimension to the mantel.

TIDBITS & TWINE Master Bedroom 2014

 

 

In my own home, I am a *huge* fan of creating dimension in the space because I think it helps make a house feel like a home – makes it feel more lived in.  So the next time you hang a picture on the wall and place a furniture grouping in the center of the room, think about what other layers there are in the room and try to take advantage of them so that you can create more dimension.  And as you layer, give thought to what other colors {shades} and textures you can introduce to further enhance the room’s dimension and interest!

 

 

 

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10 Decorative Ideas for Non-Working Fireplaces

At a friend’s house over the holidays, I noticed that they had decorated the inside of their fireplace with beautiful logs wrapped in white Christmas lights.  In lieu of a fire, the string of lights provided a beautiful glow in the room!  I have fireplaces in both my family room and living room and truthfully, we’ve never built a fire in either in all the time we’ve lived here.  If I’m not going to build a fire in the fireplace, I think maybe it’s time to put the space to use in another way!

Whether you have a non-working fireplace or a working one that you’re not currently using, you can make use of the space with these creative and decorative ideas.

 

TIDBITS-&-TWINE---10-Decorative-Ideas-for-Non-Working-Fireplaces

 

Candles are an instant way to add the flicker or a flame.

{via Decor4All}
{via Decor4All}

 

Or you could fill the opening with decorative logs, either natural or painted.

{via House to Home}
{via House to Home}
{via The Art of Doing Stuff}
{via The Art of Doing Stuff}

 

The firebox can also be used as a giant shadow box to highlight your favorite items in a large-scale vignette.

{via One Kings Lane}
{via One Kings Lane}
{via Homedit}
{via Homedit}

 

If you add a few shelves, you can make it a unique bookcase.

TIDBITS & TWINE Fireplace Shelving
{via Better Homes & Gardens}

 

Close it up and paint it with chalkboard paint and you’ll have an instant canvas to showcase your creativity!

TIDBITS & TWINE Chalkboard Fire Image
{via Sophia’s}
TIDBITS & TWINE Childrens Chalkboard Fireplace
{via Nibs}

 

You can always rotate out the decor and dress it up seasonally!

{via One Kings Lane}
{via One Kings Lane}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}
{via Better Homes & Gardens}

 

You can also use it to showcase your collections.

TIDBITS & TWINE Bookcase
{via Design Sponge}
{via Picklee}
{via Picklee}

 

Looking for a cozy spot for your pet!  Try turning your fireplace into a pet bed.

TIDBITS & TWINE Fireplace Dog Bed
{via Dwell}

 

A plant {or even several} can add some color and organic texture to an otherwise sterile space.

{via Apartment Therapy}
{via Apartment Therapy}

 

And when all else fails, just add a few logs and no one will know the difference…

{via Picklee}
{via Picklee}

 

 

Which of these ideas would you be willing to try in your home?

 

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