2nd Year As A Blogger!

 

Wow – it’s amazing that 2 years have gone by already.  I’ve really enjoyed working on this blog.  Last year, in particular, flew by.  It was a great year of continuing to try new things and I think I really upped my sewing game!  It’s been a pleasure interacting with so many crafters out there through this blog and through Instagram.

If you’re following my blog – thanks so much for your support.

Find me on instagram: @afriendlikeben

Looking forward to a creative 2016.

-AFriendLikeBen-

I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Ben. – Michael Jackson

 

 

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Printing on Fabric for this “Toronto Blue Jays” Hat and Diaper Cover!

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Even though I currently live in the USA with my husband, we’re both Canadians and love our Toronto Blue Jays!  My amazing and dear friend is having a baby boy at the end of March and like us, her and her husband are big Jays fans!  For baby shower gifts lately, I’ve been trying to purchase something off the registry and also make a little something from the heart.  I really enjoyed making this project and my friend loved it!

Below is my tutorial on how I printed on fabric to create the logo.  If you’d like to try this technique you’ll need the following materials:

  • Printer (I have the Brother ink-jet printer)
  • Printer paper
  • White cotton fabric
  • Freezer paper
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Tape
  • Scissors

Unfortunately the interfacing, paper, fabric and freezer paper are all white so it’s difficult to see the different layers in my photos.  Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

***As with most crafty experiments, there’s a risk factor!  I tried this out and it worked well with my printer but I cannot guarantee it will work on all printers.*** 

Step 1: Choose the image you’d like to print.  Print it out to test that it’s the right size.  (I printed in black and white for the test.)

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Step 2: Cut out white fabric large enough to print on.  (You can see the white fabric behind the black and white test sheet shown above.  I was ensuring that it was the right size.)

Step 3: Cut and iron on the interfacing to the white fabric.  (This prevents the fabric from fraying once you cut out your logo.)  Always use a cheesecloth or scrap fabric overtop of the interfacing while ironing.

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Step 4:  Cut and iron on Freezer Paper on top of the interfacing you just applied.  (This adds stiffness to the fabric so it can move through the printer.)

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Step 5: Tape the fused fabric/interfacing/freezer paper sheet to your test sheet of printing paper. (Freezer paper side down, fabric facing up so you can print on it.)

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Step 6: Place it into the printer accordingly.

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Step 7:  Print in colour.

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Step 8: Peel off the Freezer paper and cut out your logo.

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Step 9:  Attach logo onto your project.  (I used a needle and thread.)

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I also made this adorable Boston Red Sox hat for another friend having a boy in April!

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To make the hat and diaper cover I followed a crochet pattern I purchased on Esty from AvaGirlDesigns.  I usually make Amigurumi items, not clothing, so the pattern was a bit tricky to follow at first.  After googling some new stitches and experimenting a little, I got the hang of it!  I used a larger hook than the pattern recommended (I used size 5.  the pattern recommended 4) and I still feel the hat is a little small.  Luckily the yarn stretches so I’m hopeful it will still fit for newborn photos.

For a link to the baseball buttons I used on the diaper cover click here.

To learn how to make the “Self Binding Baby Blanket” shown in the background, see a previous blog post here.

I really enjoyed making this project – let me know if you try it too or have any feedback!

-AFriendLikeBen-

Someone’s a little late to the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party!

photo 1 copy 2 I’ve been working on this squirrel for forever!!!!  He was started in Edmonton, Canada, then flew to Oklahoma City, OK, then to Toronto, Canada, then finally was driven to Utica, NY.  (My husband and I travel a lot for his career.)  This is the main reason why I LOVE crochet.  I can pick it up and take it with me anywhere! I got this pattern from a fellow blogger, “Son’s Popkes.”  Her patterns are easy to follow and she’s always available to answer any questions. (I also follow “Squirrel Picnic” and think she’d like this!) For those of you who are not familiar with “Amigurumi”, it often involves crocheting separate pieces and then hand stitching them in place to create little figures.  The picture below shows all the pieces of the squirrel ready to be stitched together.   I took the picture then realized I FORGOT THE TAIL!  Ugh…that happens all the time! photo 1 copy But once the tail was finished he looked complete…except for the final touch – An Ugly Christmas Sweater! Why does he need a Christmas Sweater?  Read this post. I got this little sweater from Michael’s.  I couldn’t find the link online but if you’re interested, the brand is “Celebrate It” and it’s supposed to be Christmas ornament.  It was way too big for the little squirrel so I had to do some alterations! photo 2 copy The little squirrel watched me sew, LOL!photo 5 After the fact, I wanted to look into some techniques for embroidering amigurumi faces.  Although this little squirrel’s face is probably fine, I think I could’ve stitched in the nose a little better.  I found these amazing videos by NattyPatCrochet and will definitely try some of her techniques next time. Overall, I am pleased with how he turned out. Happy Crocheting!  xo photo 2 copy 2

My First Year As A Blogger!

With today being New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the last year of my blog.  After all, December 28th was the 1 year anniversary of “AFriendLikeBen”!  (YAY!)

If you’re following my blog, thank you so much!  It’s such an awesome feeling seeing those little notifications to let me know I have a new follower or that someone liked something I created.  I’ve been clicking around a lot this year and hope you’ve seen a notification or a “like” from me as well.

In 2015, not only am I hoping to add more posts to AFriendLikeBen but I’d like to continue learning and getting involved in the blogging community. I love connecting with new people who are sharing their passion for what they do.

As this year comes to a close, I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn how to use WordPress, for having access to the materials I need to create, and for being able to find some time to do it (among the many things I’m grateful for.)

Keep moving forward, everyone – Love and best wishes for a wonderful 2015,

AFriendLikeBen

“I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Ben.” – “Ben” by Michael Jackson

DIY Matching American Girl PJ’s

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For Christmas, I made my 7yr old niece these pyjama sets!  I consider this a DIY project however, I didn’t make all of it from scratch.  For starters, I bought the sequin skull shirt from Wal-mart, the little pink American Girl t-shirt from Michael’s, and those adorable bunny slippers from Hobby Lobby.  The real DIY parts of this project were the PJ pants and sewing the appliqué on the little t-shirt.

For the pants, I used Butterick pattern B6123.  photo 2I made “girl size 7” pants but ended up having to trim off 2 inches from the outside of each pant leg because they were huge!  I think the American Girl pants are a little wide too…so, I’m not too impressed with the pattern.

The fabric I used is called “Lacy Love” from Joanne Fabrics.

*Sewing tip* For the American Girl size PJ pants, sew the hem of the pants first then sew the outer seams.  The pant leg is too small otherwise to fit around your sewing machine.  I found this quick youtube video tutorial that demonstrates this.

Anyway, my niece loved it!

Happy Holidays!  xo

Felt n’ Fabric memory game

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As you know, Christmas is coming and this year I wanted to do a few DIY projects for gifts.  I saw this memory game on PurlBee.com and thought I’d try it for my 1.5 year old niece!

I got the pack of coordinating fabric on sale at Joanne Fabrics and purchased a 1/2 yard of purple felt to go with it.  I cut the felt into 3 inch squares and cut the fabric into 2.5 inch squares.

I found using “new sew” glue helped secure the fabric in place on the felt square before doing a zig-zag stitch around the edge of it.image_4

After I sewed on the backing, I used pinking shears to create the ravioli edge on each square.  (I found it easier to do this step after the squares were sewn together than before.)

Since I had a lot of leftover fabric, I made a simple lined bag to put the pieces in.  This bag ended up being a little too large for the pieces I created but it’s still cute!  (I didn’t follow a pattern but used the same technique that Christie used for her easy diaper bag tutorial on lemon squeezy home.)

I think my niece will like it!

Christmas Card Creations

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This year I thought I’d create our own Christmas Cards to send out and I love how they turned out.  I don’t call myself an visual artist but I gained a lot of confidence in my doodling skills after teaching grade 2.  It didn’t matter what I came up with, those kids loved everything I drew!  I’ve always liked using Pinterest to find inspiration and ideas.

The secret, I believe, is using the right tools.  When creating these little cards, I chose to use “Micron Pens” which are black markers with various sizes of tips on them.  I also used fine tip red and green sharpies for the little bit of colour. Sakura-Pigma-Micron-6-Nib-Sizes-and-Lines-1-2

Being able to use various thicknesses with the lines created interesting depth and artistry…ok I’ll stop pretending…I was just trying to speak like an artist.  Someone who knows what they’re talking about however is an artist named, Joanne Fink (www.zenspirations.com).  She has amazing tips and videos on how to use these Micron pens effectively.  I used her techniques when doing my cursive writing.

To jazz up the envelopes I picked up these neat stamps on sale at Michael’s.  With a Christmas themed postage stamp they looked really festive and cute! image-2

So go out, grab a pack of micron pens and surprise yourself!  Happy Holidays! xo