Happy October! Stitch the "Not Your Boo" work (complete with Snapchat-y little ghost) with this pattern, written for 14-count Aida [affiliate link]. I recommend using black cloth and working with white thread.
See more cross stitch patterns in my Etsy shop [affiliate link]. And! Learn how to make your own cross stitch pattern.
I love the different textures and 3D elements showcased by DIY yarn wall hangings. They're beautiful and strange-looking, and there are so many ways to make (or hack) them.
You will need:
My design counted 35 squares across at its wide beginning. I cut 43 long-ish pieces of yarn (8 pieces, of the larger chunkier yarns, would overlap the others), and laid them out in the order I wanted.
My stitching got a little messier as I worked. The embroidery thread gathered yarn fibers as it passed around the strands. I lifted up the navy blue and the light gray pieces (weight: super chunky, I believe) and flipped them over the top of the hoop to keep them out of the way (once they'd been stapled down by the first row of stitches), and continued according to the pattern sketch.
The scariest part came when the stitching was finished. I kept reminding myself I could always cut off more when trimming, but I couldn't add anything back. I hung the hoop on the wall and made cautious snips both above and below the stitches, combing out the yarn with my fingers, until it looked right.
After squinting over the tiny stitches during the evening hours I spent working on this project, it was a relief to back up and look at it as one piece, and I discovered it looked much better than I'd thought it would!
I love the wall hanging's tactileness (tactility?), and the organization lent to the piece by the white grid of the cross stitch fabric. These colors are perfect for our bedroom, so I think it will live there.
I've been feeling more motivated to make things lately thanks to watching "Making It" on Hulu, and a fun trip to JoAnn Fabrics with my friend Katy. I'd almost forgotten how good it feels! Just...satisfying. Productive. Busy hands. All good feelings.
So here's a DIY bulletin board/possibly the world's tiniest IKEA hack!
You will need:
I like it as a spot to showcase one of my favorite, most darling photobooth strips (oh, from a thousand years ago!), and my enamel pin collection. The pins look much happier up here than in a box tangled up with my other jewelry! If you're going to store pins like this too, I would just recommend keeping the pin backs together in a tiny bowl nearby.
Where I got my enamel pins, in case you're curious: Hillary (The Found via Cedar Chest); French poodle (Emily McDowell Studio via Essentials); Wild & Free tiger (Hello!Lucky via Essentials); Tough & Tender heart (Gimme Flair, a gift from Katy the day after I had Miles).
PS – DIY photobooth Christmas ornaments.
I like classic rock, and I like puns. It was only a matter of time when, while listening to Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero," it occurred to me that a play on that title would make the perfect kids' t-shirt! This was before I even started trying to get pregnant, so it's extra satisfying to see it come to life.
Miles doesn't actually drink juice boxes yet (my wife Kristie drained these!) – nor does he fit into a 2T shirt. But once he does, this tee will be ready. The template's down below if you want to make one too!
You will need:
Carefully cut out the letters using the X-acto knife. Position the stencil on the t-shirt, and iron into place.
(I wanted the block letter look, so I discarded the inside pieces of the U, B, O, and R, but you can hold onto them if you want to and carefully position them where they belong inside the letters, and iron them in place as well.)
Dab fabric paint evenly onto the stencil. Let dry, then peel away to reveal the design!
You might also like the stencil templates I made for a feminist t-shirt and a "Clueless"-inspired tote bag. Cheers!
I made three new cross stitches to hang in Miles's nursery – a black bear, a fox, and a raccoon to go along with the room's woodland creatures theme. The cute faces were fun to design and stitch (sort of a gentle taxidermy vibe, right?), but I'm glad to be finished with the set, and move on to a new project or two.
Two weeks after Miles was born, I tucked, wrapped, and buckled my new newborn into his carseat and drove 20 minutes back to the hospital where I'd delivered him. It was the first time we'd ever driven anywhere together, just the two of us. In my memory, it was snowing a little. We arrived early to the support group for new mothers. I was so tired, anxious, and distracted by the baby (who stayed sweetly asleep in his carseat the whole time) that I could barely pay attention during the meeting. I left not sure if I would go back for the next one.
To make a long, challenging, and beautiful story shorter, I did go back, again and again. The other mothers I met there helped usher me into new parenthood with grace, humor, and friendship – and I grew to treasure our weekly visits in the hospital's conference room.
I had to forfeit my attendance once February began and my maternity leave ended. But my mom friends and I text each other, message, leave comments on Facebook. And when daycare is closed and I know I'll be home with Miles on a weekday, I reach out and see who's going to be around. We usually meet up at parks – we have our favorites – and everyone unfurls her own blanket onto grass or wood chips. The blankets overlap a little so our babies can crawl or lean into or be passed from lap to lap, and as more of our friends arrive (tardiness always understood and immediately forgiven) our space grows, a flotilla of connected blankets brimming with sunscreen and stuffed animals and snacks. I'm so grateful for the afternoon hours I can still spend with them and their children.
SO! Last time Miles and I visited with them, one of our stroller blankets (which has a sort of sherpa fleece-y side) was dragged home clogged with wood chips. It was a pain to clean and wash, and I decided to sew a picnic blanket to use for the next visit. It's already proven perfect for use in our dewy backyard because...one side is waterproof!
You will need:
A few notes before we begin: When you're cutting the shower curtain liner to match the size of the fabric and batting, I recommend discarding the edges that have holes for the curtain rod and/or weights to help the curtain hang. You won't need these.
Also, if you'd like your picnic blanket to be machine washable, choose a machine washable shower curtain liner, and wash and dry it, the fabric, and the batting before you start. (Our blanket has survived so far with just wiping to clean.)
Lay out the three big pieces like this: fabric right side up; shower curtain; then batting.
Can you tell in these pictures that the thread is turquoise? I thought about using neon green, but decided to choose from what I had on hand instead of driving back to the store.
Lately, after I get home most afternoons, we head outside. I spread out this blanket and deposit Miles with a few toys while I water the garden (which, by the way, is really floundering, I'm sorry to say). I can't wait to see my mom friends and their babies again, for so many reasons – least of which is to use this blanket, but at least next time we won't bring half the playground home with us!
Our son Miles is having a moment with tags, so I decided to sew a soft tag toy for him to play with. I used scrap fabric and leftover ribbon (plus a very crinkly piece of plastic that came with one package delivery or other), and sort of just winged it – didn't measure a thing!
Here're the basics, though, if you want to make one too.
You will need:
Layer it like this: fabric square #1 right side facing up; fabric square #2 right side facing down; batting.
Fold a ribbon piece in half and tuck it in between the two fabric squares. Pin in place. Repeat to add the rest of your ribbon. (You won't be able to see any of the ribbon yet.) Pin around the rest of the square, leaving a 2-3" opening.
Stitch around the square (except for the opening).
Use the opening to turn the square inside out. Tuck the crinkly plastic in, if you're using it.
Turn the raw edges of the opening in, and pin in place. Top-stitch around the whole square.
(There's a video tutorial on Facebook if you'd rather check that out, plus you get to see even more of Miles's chubby hands!)
I love finding projects I don't need to buy a thing for (we got lucky with that plastic!). All told this took about 45 minutes to make and was a fun little task to work on. The baby is already enjoying it! I think I'd like to try making one or two more, maybe with a tactilely interesting fabric like velvet.
PS – How to turn any object into a stuffed toy!
No matter how much I try to deny it, we're soon going to have a mobile kiddo. That was a good motivator to make some changes in our living room (everyone's favorite space), including getting rid of our big, heavy coffee table in favor of more open space to play. The coffee table was the perfect height for feet-resting, and we needed to somehow replace it! Preferably with soft corners.
So I made a footstool. And this is how, if you'd like to make one too.
You will need:
Attach the top plates to the wood – but not directly in the corners. We moved each top plate in about 1".
Cut your foam to a 15" by 15" square.
Apply glue or spray adhesive to the other side of the wood. Top with foam.
Lay your fabric right side down. Top with batting, then place seat foam side down on top. Cut around the seat, leaving a 4" allowance.
And that's it!
The footstool is perfect for resting tired feet while knitting, holding cups of coffee (or bowls of ice cream), and is even sturdy enough to provide a seat.
PS – Reupholstering a flea market footstool
All photos not otherwise credited are copyrighted Hannah Clay Wareham 2012-2018 and may not be used without permission.