Saturday, March 30, 2013

Emilie's Room - Peacock Paper Craft

I decided to do Emilie's room in a peacock theme, since I love the colors. I have a feeling she would have preferred an Elmo theme, but too bad. It's peacocks for now!

One of the first things I did was to search Pinterest for Peacock crafts. Here is my first, completed project: 

This was very easy, but fairly time consuming. Since I only have small chunks of time to work on it at once, it took several nights. The project basically consists of cutting out shapes and gluing them to the canvas. I did not create the peacock shapes myself. I found a graphic online and traced out the difficult areas (the body, the crest, the feet, and the wing) and free-handed the rest. I tried to freehand the whole thing (by looking at the peacock graphic), but it came out pretty terrible! I am certainly crafty, but definitely not an artist! Tracing the hard parts made it come out much better!

You can find the tutorial here:

Here is a pic of the papers I used. I didn't get a good pic of the paper I used for the background. I used a 18" x 24" canvas. I purchased the canvas and papers from JoAnn.

Here is a close-up of the peacock body:

And finally, I created a way to hang it on the wall using a thick string and the staple gun:

Have fun creating your peacocks!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Evan's Eric Carle-Themed Room

I am done with Evan's room, although I imagine I'll be adding little things here and there. Here is a composite sketch of how it comes together.

Here are some pictures of the individual walls:

I made the cribsheets, Brown Bear and Hungary Caterpillar pillow covers, and name letters. I also mounted the Caterpillar print onto canvas. Instructions for all these projects can be found on my blog. Links are included further in this post.

I mounted the penguin and panda bear prints onto canvas and purchased the Eric Carle ABC artwork from Target.

Again, the prints were mounted onto canvas in the aforementioned tutorial. I purchased the Eric Carle letter banner for $11 and change from Amazon, here.

I made the curtains. You can find the tutorial in my blog or follow the link provided further in this post. 

Here are close-ups of each project with links to the tutorials.

Brown Bear and Hungry Caterpillar pillowcases (with the butterfly on the back of the caterpillar pillow).

I had a couple other ideas that I did not implement to save time and money: 

1. Make a bedskirt out of a coordinating Hungry Caterpillar fabric, such as this one:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar White/Green
Hungry Caterpillar fabric licensed by Eric Carle for Andover fabrics. Available at Item#: DW-469

Or, this one:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Abstract Dots
Hungry Caterpillar Abstract Dots fabric licensed by Eric Carle for Andover fabrics. Available at Item#: BI-250

I'm sure I could find a tutorial on Pinterest for a bedskirt. 

2. Make a paper lantern caterpillar, as demonstrated on the Pottery Barn Kids website:

Image copyright of the Pottery Barn

The paper lanterns are available at Party City for $7 (3 pack). That seems a bit pricey to me. I might do this project later, but instead of paper lanterns, use DIY yarn balls, like this blogger makes:

That's it! Evan's room is done (for now)! Next up - Emilie's peacock-themed room and related projects. Hurray! Here's a sneak peak to hold you over:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Evan's Room - Window Valance

For this project, I used the fabric remaining from Evan's crib sheets to make a matching window valance. In total, I had ordered 3 yards of fabric, which left just enough for the valance. Here is the finished valance:

I more or less followed the following tutorial:

To make the fabric long enough, you will need to sew two long strips together (cutting from selvage to selvage). Just be careful when cutting the second piece that the caterpillar treats line up properly. Since the treats make a sort of invisible line in the pattern, it will be very obvious if they don't line up. However, as long as the treats make a somewhat straight line, you probably don't have to use the same pattern for the second half valance. For example, if you look up 2 rows from the bottom, you will see that there is a piece of chocolate cake in that row of the pattern for the first half of the valance and not the second half. I didn't have enough fabric to match the pattern up perfectly and it isn't terribly noticeable.

I veered off from the blogger's tutorial a little. For example, I double folded all sides before sewing so that all frayed ends would be hidden inside the hem. I think she didn't do this for the top part edge of the valance.

Also, I left out the ruffle at the top. I did this by not folding the top part down as far as she did and only sewing along the bottom of the folded down piece.

Overall, this was a very easy, beginner sewing project. You could probably fancy it up a bit by adding bias tape along the bottom and sides or even a different fabric trim. The caterpillar dots would make an excellent trim across the bottom:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Abstract Dots
Picture from Fabric was designed by Eric Carle for Andover fabrics.

For a tutorial on creating a valance with a trim, go here:

Here's one more picture to send you off:

Evan's Room - Eric Carle Art

Wow, I am really behind on this posting thing! I finished Evan's room over a month ago. It looks great. This post, however, will concentrate on the Eric Carle artwork that I mounted to canvas and posted around his room. Here are pictures of the finished artwork:

10 Little Rubber Ducks

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo

I'm not sure which book this one's from. Maybe 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo?

I'm guessing this one is from Panda Bear, Panda Bear What Do You See?

Does a Kangaroo Have a Mother, Too?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

1, 2, 3 to the Zoo

So this project is REALLY easy! Yeah! I more or less followed the tutorial found on this blog:

I had to make a few adjustments because mine wasn't working out exactly like hers. I will explain more as I go through the process below.

First, I purchased the Eric Carle prints from Amazon here. If the link doesn't work, search for "Eric Carle Decorative Prints." It comes with twelve 12x16" prints on heavy paper for $16 and some change. What a deal!

The next step is to buy some canvas and paints. I decided to make 7 of them, so I purchased 7 12x16" canvases from JoAnn. These are typically on sale at JoAnn for 40% off, which makes them about $6. They sometimes will have a coupon that works on sale items too (sometimes for even 25% off). It's best to buy them then if you can. I know Michael's sells canvas too, but I am not aware of the sizes or the price.

I just purchased several cheap acrylic paints, also from JoAnn. I used a very inexpensive foam brush just like the above-mentioned blogger.

Once I had gathered all my materials, I decided what paint I wanted to use for my first print. Then, I painted the edges just like the aforementioned blogger shows in Step 1. Here is a pic of the finished painted edges for the Hungry Caterpillar print:

I tried to get a little creative with the edges. For the Hungry Caterpillar print, I only used 1 coat of paint to give it a streaked look similar to Eric Carle's drawing.

For the lion print, I first painting the edge red. Then I let it dry and painted yellow on top of it. I didn't get a work-in-progress picture of that, but here is a finished picture of the edges of the lion print:

For the penguins, I painted blue first, then did a coat of green on top before the blue dried:

For most of the others, I just did 2 coats of a solid color. If you want more color options, don't forget that you can always combine 2 paints to get a cool new color!

The next step was to cut down the prints. For the train print (which I did first) I wanted the print to be flush against the edges. So, I just shaved down a tiny bit since it was slightly going off the edge (they are both about 12x16" but it was still slightly too big). Here is a picture of the final product which shows the flush edge:

For the other prints, I wanted to see a little of the paint from the top of the print, so I cut off more. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal (rulers, cutting mat, etc.) to make the edges as straight as possible while retaining their 90 degree corners.

Now back to the canvas. After the paint on the canvas dried, I used my Mod Podge to glue the print to the canvas as evenly as possible. I simply smoothed a thin layer of Mod Podge on the back of the print and laid it on top. Due to the thickness of the print, the edges started to curl up (not a problem for the original blogger, perhaps her prints weren't as thick). So, after gluing the print to the canvas, I had to put the entire thing face down with books on top to get it to stay down. I laid wax paper down first.

After this dried, I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the print and canvas. The original blogger didn't mention this, but it is best to do large brush strokes in one direction only (either left to right or up and down). This will give it a more even look. For best results, do this quickly before the Mod Podge starts to dry. I also tried to glob the Mod Podge a little thicker where the edge of the print meets the canvas. This should make it look more like one cohesive piece. I applied Mod Podge down the sides of the canvas as well.

The original blogger mentioned laying the print and canvas combo upside down onto wax paper at this point. I tried this with my first one (the train) and was disappointed with the results. It's a little hard to see from the picture, but the finish wasn't smooth:

See the vertical, jagged edges?

For the remaining prints, I allowed it to dry face up and the finish came out smooth.

After the Mod Podge finish dried, I simply used a staple gun to attach a string to the back:

Well, that's it! I think I just managed to make something very simple seem really complicated once again. :/

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Evan's Room - Pillows

Well, it's been a few weeks now since I finished Evan's room and at least a month since I finished these pillows. I guess I'm just too busy to blog frequently!

Here are the completed pillows:
Front of Hungry Caterpillar pillow

Back of Hungry Caterpillar pillow (the Butterfly side)

One side of Brown Bear pillow

Other side of Brown Bear pillow

I more or less followed this tutorial at Aesthetic Nest to create them:

However, although the raw edges are clearly going to be inside the pillow, I still didn't want them to fray when washed, so I first sewed along 3 of the edges with the wrong sides together as shown:

Then I turned the pillowcase inside out and ironed the seam flat along these 3 edges:

Next, since the bottom edge has to be left open to install the zipper, I folded the raw edge over twice and ironed a thin hem, then sewed the hem to encase all raw edges.

 Then I followed all instructions on the aforementioned blog site. Having the 3 edges already attached made it slightly more difficult. It was a little harder not to capture the zipper when attaching it to the bottom, open end. However, it was still possible and worth it to have no raw edges.

When sewing around the pillow after installing the zipper, I had to be sure to sew far enough away from the edge to capture the edges within the seam. So, if in your first sewing step above, you sewed a 1/8" seam allowance, you will now want to do something of about 1/4" so that the raw edges will be hidden inside the seam. This sounds confusing written out, but hopefully it will make sense and be crystal clear when you're in the process of sewing it!

Notes about the Caterpillar pillow:

  1. The fabric is the Very Hungry Caterpillar panel from It comes attached as one long piece. However, it is NOT a perfect square by any means. The angles are all funky and the sides are different lengths. Also, the caterpillar panel has different angles than the butterfly panel. Since they come attached as one long piece, theoretically, you could fold the panel in half and have one side that's folded and doesn't need sewing. However, since the squares are so crooked, this wasn't possible. Also, one of the images would have been upside down, although I didn't consider this as much of a problem since you will only see one side at a time. I ended up cutting the panel in half and lining up the two panels back to back as best as I could. This was really difficult to do, so I ended up lining (and cutting the edges) based on the caterpillar panel since I wanted this to be the main focus (it's a boy's room). In the end, it turned out much better than I thought despite the severely crooked fabric. Hopefully you will get lucky and your fabric panel won't be wonky and crooked like mine!
  2. After completing the pillowcase, it's dimensions were roughly 20" x 20". I was debating whether to go with a 20" x 20" pillow or a 24" x 24" pillow from JoAnn. I ended up going with the 24" x 24" pillow since I think it looks better snug. I was able to stuff it in there, but I ended up ripping the seam a little by the zipper. You should be able to see this from the pictures. I can fix this, no problem, if I ever get around to it.

Side image of Hungry Caterpillar pillow showing uneven panels. On some edges, there is no green at all. I squared it up based on the caterpillar side, so the butterfly side is much more crooked. 

Invisible zipper on Hungry Caterpillar pillow. Would likely look better if I were a more experienced seamstress and/or had an invisible zipper foot. I don't really care that it's visible though and am overall pretty happy with it.

Notes on Brown Bear pillow:

  1. The fabric also came from I only ordered one yard and there was a small hole a few inches away from the edge, so I didn't have as much fabric to work with as I'd like. All the animals are facing the same direction except for the sheep, which I found odd.
  2. The pillowcase is definitely longer on one side than the other. I just stuffed it into a square pillow I already had on hand, so it is tight up and down, but very lose side to side. Maybe I'll make a rectangular pillow one day so it fits better, but probably not! :)
  3. I used a regular zipper for this one.

Well, that's it! Please don't vote me as having the most long-winded, confusing post ever!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Evan's Room - Letters

When I originally purchased these letters, my plan was to cover them in the fabric leftover from Evan's Hungry Caterpillar sheets. Then I had the idea to paint them green and red to vaguely look like the caterpillar:

So here's what I did...

Cardboard letters (JoAnn)
Paints (I used green, blue, yellow and red)
Tissue papers in red and green
Foam brush
Paint samples/swatches in yellow and green
Chenille stem/Pipe cleaner
Mod Podge

I got the paint samples from Lowe's (free) and most of the other supplies from JoAnn. Don't forget your JoAnn coupons! I wouldn't shop there without them. Tissue paper and Chenille stems are also available at the Dollar Tree.

The first step is to paint your first cardboard letter green. There will be some of the cardboard showing through, but that's OK since you will be applying tissue on top of it.

Then you'll want to mix up a few shades of green. In addition to the main green color, I mixed up a little yellow-green and blue-green. I only added a little bit of the yellow and blue so that I would have more subtle differences.

Then, rip up a small piece of green tissue and lay it down on a protective surface (I just used a flattened cardboard box). Paint the tissue paper (pictured below) and lay it on top of your first letter (no picture). Smooth it down flat with your brush and fingers pushing it around the shape of the letter (i.e., down the sides of the E, etc). Be sure to allow for (and encourage) small wrinkles in the tissue paper so that it has a nice textured look!

Repeat with various shades of green. Since you will see some of the cardboard through the thin tissue paper, you will need to have more than one layer of tissue paper in some areas. I don't have any more pictures of the process since my fingers got really messy, but it's really straightforward, so I doubt they're needed.

Repeat with all but the final letter. For my second letter, I painted the cardboard letter yellow-green before starting so that I would have a little bit more variation (like seen in Eric Carle's caterpillar).

Make the final letter red. I used red and a dark orange (mix of red and a touch of yellow) for mine.

Cut the eyes and mouth from your paint swatches. Glue to the red letter. Apply a layer of Mod Podge to all letters to give them a nice finish. Fold the Chenille stems over one time and glue to the top of the final letter (I used super glue for just this part).

So that's all! I probably made the whole thing more confusing with all my explanation. It's really easy and somewhat therapeutic! It would be a great activity for a child too if you use non-toxic, washable paint!

More Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle decor to come, including pillows, a valance and prints mod podged to canvas!