Friday, April 19, 2013

DIY | Tapestry Table

As soon as I saw this preschool Tapestry Table on Pinterest I knew I was going to make one for my kids as soon as possible. It was a quick afternoon project and the kids and I both love using it!


Supplies:
- 2 (8ft) 2 x 2's
- 8 screws (2 1/2 inch and 3 inch)
- Burlap

The total project cost for me was $6. 2 x 2's are around $1.99 each usually, I had the screws and I found a bag of burlap for wrapping trees for $2 at Walmart.

Cut list:
- (2) 3 foot lengths
- (2) 2 foot lengths
- (4) 8 inch lengths

After cutting the above pieces I just screwed the frame together.


The girl one loves power tools but she got the sanding job - just like I did as a kid working with my Dad :)





I used the four 8" lengths as legs and screwed them inside the from the edge a bit to avoid having screws run into each other. A 2x2 is not very large and if you center the screw it can be tough to get another screw in their. It'll either hit the screw or split the wood.


The burlap I found. Burlap is usually pretty cheap, even not on sale.


Using my trusty electric staple gun I stretched the burlap over the frame and stapled it down and taught.



I had bought a package of plastic needles last year and we use them for lacing and such so we had them on hand. I let the kids raid my yarn stash, choose their colours and I cut roughly 30 " lengths for them to "sew" with. 


To start their yarn I would have them put it through the burlap and I just tied it to itself around the burlap. Whenever it ran out I'd just tie the next piece of yarn onto the last one and let them keep going. It makes for simple transitions.


What I love so much is that this simple table is the perfect authentic way to teach toddlers and young children how to use a needle and thread and to sew. The holes in the burlap are large allowing them for them to move in and out of the fabric with ease. They can see through it to understand what is happening with their "thread". It's wonderful for fine motor skills and they learn quickly how to hold a needle and thread so that the yarn doesn't keep slipping out.


My kids love to just randomly sew on the table but the boy one of course wanted to make an Anakin. I talked him through how to stitch his stick figure and the light saber and he was so pleased with the results. It was great for following instructions too!


I helped the girl one create a flower.


What I also love is how my kids can use anything to tell a story. The blues are the waves of the ocean and then we had Anakin with his light saber. The next day when we went back to sewing he sewed a "cage" over Anakin and created a story about how General Greivous was putting him away, etc.
Such wonderful imaginations!


I can't wait to see how their tapestries develop. Ours is already getting pretty full. It would be easy to take the legs off and hang on the wall for a time stretched on the frame or you could even take it off and  hang it on it's own.






Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DIY | Random Quilting

Last summer I was lucky enough for my Grandma to pass on this amazing quilt that she had made from all of her scraps back in the day.


I love it. When I spied it in the closet of blankets I was instantly drawn to its randomness, carefree attitude and whimsy. It's such a happy piece and filled with so many happy memories in each of the fabrics and what the larger section of them was crafted into.


Costumes, outfits, doll clothes, curtains, etc. It's all there. I've been studying the quilt, trying to figure out how I could replicate it. The other night I had the sudden urge and motivation to dive into my scraps bin and just roll with it. Now I'm a little bit addicted.


This random, piece it together as you go, no measuring style of sewing has been one of the most liberating and fun sewing experiences I've had!

All I did was grab a handfull from my stash and ironed each piece out. Then I sat my pile next to my machine, grabbed two pieces and placed them good sides facing with edges together and sewed a seam.  Then I would grab another piece and do the same thing. Every few pieces I'd quickly run the iron over them to flatten it all out and then keep going. So fun!

Once I got to a piece about this size I'd stop and start again with a new section to keep it manageable on my table.


If I had a piece that wasn't lining up great and puckering a bit I would just iron the "pucker" down and sew a top stitch over it. Viola - easy fix!

Once I'd have a few pieces all ending at the same place roughly I'd lay a strip along them all and sew it.


Then you flip it over and it looks like this. (I didn't sew this, just folded for the picture.)



I learned as I continued that in order to not just have a bunch of strips I would at times need to lay a piece of fabric along a section diagonally and sew the seam and then just cut the excess of the underlaying fabric.


As you can see it's a big mess on the backside but who cares - it'll be covered!



I couldn't believe how fast the process was. After only a couple of hours I had 4 or 5 large sections done and when I put them all together it's a big chunk of what I hope will be a quilt.


It's such a gratifying project because it moves quickly and you get to use all the pretty fabrics that you love and piece them all together into something new and unique. The smash up of fabrics makes me super happy to look at and evokes a whole new set of memories and fondness.


Already there are bits of Elsie, the kids room, vintage sheets, my bedroom pillows, little boy aprons and little girl skirts. 

Happy, happy, happy.