Sunday, October 30, 2011

DIY Last Minute Elegant Halloween Pumpkin Decorations

Hello again!  I am usually not much of a procrastinator, but this year, I am only putting up my Halloween decorations today!  Sad, I know :-).  In my case, it is because I did not expect to be home this year for Halloween, and so I figured I would save the hassle of getting things out of their tubs.  Well, I wanted something special and unique, to celebrate our first Halloween in our new house, and so I decided to decorate pumpkins (though not the traditional way!).

I saw a picture of these about two months ago on Pinterest, and they have stuck with me in the back of my mind ever since!  Very simple, very elegant, decorations for the fall season!

Materials Needed:

Pumpkin.  I preferred the look of a classic white pumpkin, as opposed to the traditional orange.  Also, as I love reusing decorations, I purchased my pumpkins at Michael's (they are also at Joann's and Hobby Lobby), going with a plastic/styrofoam pumpkin that I can put out next year, instead of a live pumpkin.

Panty Hose.  I used a lacy embroidered print, that I purchased on clearance at Target.  My package was a size medium, which I found a little difficult to get over the larger pumpkin, but I think was just fine.  One package will work for quite a few pumpkins:  I only used one leg on the two pumpkins you see, and still had plenty left over for a smaller pumpkin, and then the whole other leg.

Ribbon, Scissors, Rubber-band and a twist tie.  I chose a simple black organza ribbon, about 3/4 inch wide.

Cut the leg off of the torso of the panty hose.  I would suggest, depending on the size of your pumpkin, that you cut as high as you can.  This will allow you the most usable material, so that you can make as many pumpkins as you want.

Stick your pumpkin in the panty hose leg.  You have a lot of freedom with this:  depending on the size of the pumpkin, you can choose where to place it!  I would suggest putting your biggest pumpkin in the thigh area, which has more threads and elasticity, than trying to squeeze it in the foot area of the hose.

Rubber-band the top, tightly.  This part can be a little tricky:  you want to rubber-band it tightly enough that the hose do not slip out, but not so tight that the tension causes it to slip upwards off of the pumpkin stem.  I wrapped mine rather tight, and smooshed a little of the hose upwards so as to relieve the tension trying to pull it loose on the pumpkin.  I hope that made sense...

Twist and knot the bottom.  Simply twist the hose at the base of the pumpkin, and either pull it through on itself and knot it (which I didn't do because I didn't want my pumpkin sitting lopsided, but, if you have room in the base, that would be easiest), or tie a twist tie around it.

Trim the remaining panty-hose.  Simply cut off the loose end, as close as you can while leaving enough that it won't slip off.

Tie your ribbon, and voila!  Pretty self explanatory :-)!

Now you have your own halloween decorations, with a personal flair!  The whole project, for two pumpkins (which I got on sale), was about $15.  Good luck, and let me see your success stories!  As always, if you have any corrections/better ways to do things, let me know!

Yours in Beauty and Love,

Saturday, October 1, 2011

DIY Rick Rack Fabric Rosettes

Hello Again!  I am currently running errands, and found a WiFi connection, so I figured this was a great time to post another fun weekend crafting tutorial!  This week, Rick Rack Rosettes!  My favorite thing about these is that, with a little patience and effort, you can make an adorable accessory for very little money and in very little time!  When finished, these rosettes call to mind the beautiful porcelain rosettes of the 1950's and 60's, with all of the class and charm, and for a fraction of the price.  So, let's get started!

What You'll Need:

A package of Rick Rack of your choosing.  This can be purchase at any store that sells sewing notions:  Hobby Lobby, Joann's, etc.  I found that Joann's had the best selection, though I have purchase my packages at both.  You will have the choose of either medium or jumbo rick rack:  the size you choose will dictate the finished size of your rosettes.  A good example would be the above picture:  the two side flowers are made of medium rick rack, while the middle rose is made of jumbo rick rack.  Rumor is that medium rick rack is easier to work with, though I have not found a marked difference, so it is purely your choice.

Decorative items for the middle (if you would like them, not necessary).  I personally use little pearls a lot.  There are two ways you can do this:  either buy cute little pearl brads, which make it easier to roll, or buy a package of sticky back pearls.  The brads will be much easier to work with, but they are far more expensive.  The picture above is the little sticky pearls:  at the bottom is a picture with a blue pearl that is on a brad.  I also occasionally use the sticky rhinestones.

Felt or a jewelry finding to mount them on.  When you are done with your rosettes, you will want to "seal" the bottom by hot-gluing it to a circle of felt.  You can also just hot glue the rosette straight to a ring finding (found in the jewelry making section of craft stores like Hobby Lobby), or attach to a headband (also at a craft store in the jewelry making section), or a hair clip.  Both the headband and the hair clip options will require felt to help you attach it, though.

Hot glue gun, a ruler, scissors, and a sewing machine.  You will not actually need a sewing machine, as you could conceivably have hand stitched everything, but I found it much faster on the machine, and it turns out very nicely.  It is just a straight stitch, so nothing fancy is necessary.

Let's Get Started!  Cut your rick rack to desired lengths.  The length you cut your rick rack to will determine the size of your rosette.  Most of my rosettes are cut at 12 inch lengths, with a few at 18.  I like the look of both.  If you want a smaller rosette, I wouldn't go much smaller than 10 inches, which is the size I use for rosettes I am putting on a ring.  Keep your cuttings in pairs:  I have found one package of medium rick rack will give me three sets of 12 inch cuttings, and one set of about 10 inch cuttings.

Weave your rick rack together.  When I do this, it feels a lot like braiding.  I have found the most success when I clip the ends of the rick rack pair together, and then weave/braid from there.  You are simply trying to put the "highs" of one piece through the "lows" of the next, if you think of them like wave crests.  Be careful not to leave any spaces, or any wrinkles:  simply connect them at each junction, and you will be fine.

Sew a straight stitch to secure your braid.  Next, simply take a coordinating color thread (I chose matching colors, though in some cases I just matched closely, because you are not really going to see it), and sew a single straight stitch along the bottom.  I would stay just right above the lower ridges:  it will not hold quite right if the thread is jumping from bottom wave to bottom wave, and you don't want to be too high, or you will have to see it and the petals will not fold out quite as nicely.

Roll your braid.  This is where you need a little bit of patience and finesse.  You will take your braid by one end (after trimming off the excess thread, etc.), and begin to roll it in on itself.  You will quickly start to see a rose shape forming.  IMPORTANT:  Make sure that your stitch is at the bottom of the rose, not at the top or it will not open at all.  As you start your roll, place a small dot of hot glue right on the inside of the first roll to hold it together.  It is at this point that you can either add your pearl brad, your pearl, your rhinestone, or nothing.  The rosettes look beautiful any way.  You will notice with the sticky pearls and rhinestones that you will really need to play with them to get them to stay just right, facing upward.  I have found that rolling it a little first to get the shape, then placing a larger dot of hot glue, and then letting the hot glue stiffen just a little, makes it much easier to properly place your pearl/rhinestone in.  If you find something that works well, please comment and let me know!

Secure the back.  Once you have rolled your rosette, tucking the last little end underneath and hot gluing it securely in place, it should look something like the above picture.  You can see my end pulled down and tucked under.  Your last step is the fun step!  You can do a few different things, so I will break them down.  The easiest, if you are just using them by themselves as a table decoration or such, is to simply cut a circle of felt slightly smaller than the back of the rosette, and hot glue it in place.

Attaching to a ring finding.  If you are attaching to a ring finding, simply put a large dollop of hot glue on the bottom of your rosette, and push the pad of the ring finding into the hot glue!  Once it has started to cool a little, you can use your fingers to smooth the glue into a pleasing smooth bottom of the ring.

Attaching to a headband finding.  Cut a small circle of felt slightly smaller than the rosette bottom.  Simply hold your rosettes where you would like them, with the bottom against the headband, keep your fingers out of the way, and place a dollop of hot glue on both the headband and the rosette (just one dollop, that will smoosh over both).  Then, place your little circle of felt on the other side, creating a sandwich of rosette, headband in the middle, and felt circle.  This will harden and secure the rosette to the felt and headband.  You can move it a little while the glue dries, but I would suggest being very careful to have it positioned where you want before you glue.

Here are some of my creations!

Good Luck!  Let me know if you have any questions/improvements!  Also link to your successes!

Yours in Beauty and Love,