Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Little Homemade Christmas

I am attempting to make every child I know something handmade. I would really like to make everyone handmade gifts every year for Christmas but I just don't have it in me to craft that much stuff. My brain hurts just thinking about it.

We welcomed three new babies to the family this year and I started out just buying them little toys but really wanted to do something special for them. I was at Joann Fabrics when I happened upon these adorable make-your-own picture books and doll sets. They were are clearance for $4.97 each!

(Note to self....take more pictures.)

I debated for awhile, thinking I didn't want to take on a project when I didn't know if I could get it done. At that time my Dean was 5 months and a if-you-take-me-off-the-boob-I-will-cry breast feeder. I really couldn't put him down without a fit. I decided to go ahead and just try. I'm glad I did because they turned out so cute!! I wish I had bought all of sets that were left!

You can make the kits exactly as they come or you can fancy them up a bit with piping/Bias tape and embroidery. I only had the time to do a little fancying up and I really love the result!

Here is what I used:

On the back of the package it states that you need to get batting. You could use anything as batting for this. An old t-shirt, old sheet etc. Its ok to be soft and pliable, it's for a baby to chew on and throw around. It also says to get Bias tape (as seen above). This is also optional. It does look nice though.

I actually did some research on how to make baby toys make that crinkly sound. What I found out was that toys use cellophane which is fine but it cant have any heat on it, it will disintegrate. For a baby toy that is going to need to get washed I cant figure out why they would use cellophane. So I found a couple of websites that said to use oven bags instead. They are heat resistance, able to have food touch them and, best of all, make a great crinkly sound! They actually worked out quite well. 

The first step really has to be ironing. I absolutely hate is ironing. It's so tedious and I don't have a good place to iron so I hate doing it but it is really necessary for an even, finished product. 

See how crinkly the fabric is? Iron it. It makes life easier in the long run.

I cut out and folded the instruction so that I could keep looking at them while I worked. I make tons of mistakes on almost every project I do so I now know not to get cocky. 

The instructions say to baste....I did none of that. Unless its a slippery fabric I usually don't baste. I'm's a long step....nope not gonna happen. I just pinned and sewed.

It clearly says in the instructions to mark the pages directly on the fabric and this is an important step because you cut off the little page indicator below the book. Then you get confused when you put the book together cause you didn't follow the instructions and have no idea what pages go with what. (This happened, yes it did.) So mark them and cut them all out.

Also cut your batting pieces at this time. Sadly, I had to take my son's batting fort down to get my pieces cut. 

The book has three parts, the cover and two inner pages. I only added the oven bag to the two inner pages and put piping on the outer page.

Here is how I layered the middle pages to be sewn:

Pin them all together. Sew the 1/4 inch seam all around but leave a 2 inch hole at the bottom to turn the pages inside out. I curved the corners of the pages when I sewed. You can leave it square if you like. 

Then trim all the excess batting and plastic. I used my pinking shears to trim. I just got them and love them. Makes things just that much easier!

Turn that sucker inside out! 


I sewed up the bottom hole and then ironed it. At this point you get a little extra steam because you FINALLY see what you are getting for all your hard work. It just gets better, really.

The second page went much easier. I didn't document it so you will have to just take my word for it.

The cover slowed me down quite a bit. On the inside cover it leaves a spot to write a To and From. I was originally just going to write it in with a Sharpie but got the ridiculous notion that I could hand embroider the names in. No biggie right? Yes. Biggie. 

These days, with Pinterest around and such, there is no excuse for not looking something up. I did a little bit of research but not enough because I struggled with it. Oh well, imperfections make something unique right? Right!?!

Well, I started by writing the name out. Then I grabbed some embroidery floss that I had and went to town. 

"Awwww that's cute" - say real embroiderers. 

In the words of my dear departed Momma....."Whatevs!"

After that debacle I got to sew piping on for the first time.  It wasn't that difficult really. Thinking about sewing it was much worse then actually sewing it.

Lined up my layers.

Then put the piping right up to the edge all the way around and pin.

Blurry pic sorry! Clip the piping around the edges to get it to curve.

All pinned and ready to sew. Same as the other pages. Leave extra piping to finish off at the end.

Sew it all around leaving the 2 inch hole again at the bottom.

Before you flip it inside out open up one side of the piping and cut the cord back. Make sure one side fits perfectly in the other. Fold the raw edge back and iron it.

Then flip!


Now tuck the Bias tape in.

And sew it closed!

Then you lay all three pages on top of each other and sew it straight down the middle and voila! A book is made!

You will notice, perhaps, that a different book is pictured above. Well, I again forgot to take pictures of the finished product. Still new at this documenting thing. Same end result though.

The set also came with an adorable stuffed animal to make!

Super easy. Cut out the animal. Face the right sides together and sew all around, again leaving room to flip inside out and to stuff it.

Love those pinking shears!

I stuffed it with a mixture of oven bag strips and batting so it would make a crinkly noise when you hug it. I also thought about adding little pieces of ribbon around the edges like a tag blankie but just didn't have the time to do it.

Sew up the hole and your done. A cute and unique gift for a little one.

I made three remember? How did they come out? Great! I love them! Best of all the babies seem to love them.

I am really happy with how they turned out. Warms my icy soul to see the babies play with them.

Handmade gifts seemed to be the thing this year and I really love it. Did you give or receive a handmade gift for the holidays? What was it? Share!

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