Holiday PostCards

christmas

This year I wanted to make more personalized cards for everyone and save a bit of cash in postage.  The logical conclusion was designing my own postcards! At 33 cents each to mail out postcards are great for penny pinchers.

The first step was to design the postcard.

I wanted to incorporate a quote by American writer Adela Rogers St. Johns because it is Christmas-y and uses my last name – Joy.

Using Paint.NET  I layered snowflakes with an antique paper texture.  Used glitter text for the quote and tada finito!
It is important when designing to use the correct size in making the postcards.  Regular sized postcards cannot exceed 6 by 4.25 inches or else you will have to pay greater postage.

The reverse side included my return address and space to write out the recipient’s address.  The Post Office asks that you include the words POST CARD just in case no one at the office can figure that out. Continue reading

Mickey Mouse Ornaments

Handmade Christmas ornaments are one of my favorite traditions.  Sure the store made ones can be really pretty and you can color coordinate your tree every year. But there’s something special about unpacking years worth of ornaments and remembering all the stories.

This macaroni stocking was made by you when you were just 5 years old!
This weird glass guitar was your fathers from before we were married. 
This crocheted Santa that looks like Joseph Stalin is from your aunt.

So inspired by the many Disney DIY crafts like these Minnie and Mickey ornaments I wanted to give it my own spin.  These ornaments are going to my mom (we lost years worth of ornaments during Hurricane  Sandy) and to my SigOther’s family to celebrate our upcoming Disney World trip.

All you need is:

  • Red matte finish ornament bulbs (mine were 9 for $5)mickey ornament
  • Black permanent markers or paint
  • White paint
  • Black and white glitter
  • Glue or mod podge

First use a rubber band around the ornament to draw a horizontal straight line. Then fill in the top half with the black marker or paint (marker works best when you have a really thick sharpie or a matte finish bulb).

After that dries cover in black glitter. Cover the black top in glue / mod podge and then sprinkle on the black glitter. Don’t worry about getting a full coverage because you have the black background to fall back on.

Once that is totally dry, paint two white ovals for Mickey’s buttons.  You can then either cover those in white glitter before the paint dries or glue the glitter on later.

Expect to be covered in glitter for the rest of the day

And you’re done! We love a project that takes five minutes but looks fantastic.  It is easy to finish 9 of these ornaments in a half hour – keep a few and hand out the rest to friends and family. They’ll think of you and your impressive crafting abilities every year!mickey ornament

mickey mouse ornament 4

How to: Sew a Bow Tie

how to sew a bow tie

Bow ties are stylish, timeless, and cool. There are also extremely simple to DIY.

What You Need:

  • 1/4 yard of Awesome fabric
    – from crazy patterns to the classics. If you want to customize your bow tie stick with simple solids. Medium to heavy weight fabrics work best but a sheer interface can be used to make even the thinnest materials usable.
  •  Thread
    – matching or complementing colors
  • Sewing Machine or needles
  • (Optional) 1/4 yard of Stabilizing fabric/ Interface– If you prefer your bow tie to be extra stiff or are using a light- medium weight fabric you will need a thicker fabric (like denim) or iron-on interfacing (eg Pellon 950F ShirTailor)
  • (Optional) Fabric paint or permanent markers

Let’s Get Started:

Bow ties range in shape and size just as much regular ties. If you have access to a favorite bow tie, I suggest you create your own pattern – it will make sizing easier.

Create your own Pattern

1. Adjust bow tie to fit.
2. Trace bow tie onto parchment/wax paper.
Other paper would work but you will not be able to trace it all on one paper. If this is the case, it is important to measure how long the adjusted tie is so that you can replicate it on your fabric.
3. Label!
It’s always frustrating to spend time making a pattern only to render it useless by forgetting to label it. Obviously we are making a bow tie but marking the neck size (or going by name) keeps everything organized.

Now it is time for the fun part.

After tracing or pinning the pattern you will need to cut it out. If you were able to trace the entire bow tie then cut out two pieces of fabric. If you are planning to use interfacing or a stabilizing fabric cut out one piece using the same fullsize pattern.

If you were not able to trace the entire bow tie onto one pattern or if you are using a printed pattern from the internet you will need to find the neck size of the person receiving the bow tie. This will be the first number of their collared shirt size – eg [16 34/35]. In this example, the long skinny strip of the pattern will need to be 16 inches in order to fit.

  • If you are using interfacing iron it on now to one piece of your decorative fabric.
  • If you are going to decorate your bow tie with fabric paints or permanent marker do so now before it is sewn together. Some geeky examples are my Minecraft and Gallifreyan bow ties but there’s no limit to what you can do. I’ve seen everything from poetry to doodles on bow ties!

The Gallifreyan is based on the language developed by GreenCrook.  It’s a great way to personalize a gift with a secret Doctor Who message.  
bow ties minecraft

The final step

Is to sew together your bow tie. Place your pieces right-side together (with your optional stabilizing fabric on top) and pin. Sew around the edge with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. It is important to leave a 2 inch gap while sewing in the center or else you will not be able to invert your bow tie right side out.

Snip the corners and cut slits into the seam allowance along the curves of the bow tie to help it lay flat.

Using your trusty pencil, chopsticks, or butterknife invert the bow tie through that gap you left.

Iron the bow tie flat and sew up the 2 inch gap. It is hidden under the collar so don’t worry about using an invisible stitch.

Tada! You now have a fantastic bow tie.
Do you have any ideas for a fantastically geeky bow tie?

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