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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Bringing JOY to Misfit Socks... Fairfield World's 80th Birthday Celebration


Welcome to the Party! Fairfield World is celebrating it's 80th Birthday with a special online party... 80 Days of Poly-Fil®! I have been so excited to share my project! My new little friend is tooting his horn to keep this party going!

Fairfield World has gone all out for this event and generously provided two 32 oz bags of Poly-fil® to create with... that is a LOT of stuffing! It's been a while since I've made something fun and whimsical. The last thing I made was my very own "Elf on the Shelf" sitter. Since quarantine life, I have been tackling the honey-do list which includes clearing out the drawers and closets. 

I admit I'm a sock-baller. It's just practical. But I have found that I have an endless supply of socks. Mostly ankle socks and a bunch of cute fun patterned ones that never ever have been worn since being banished to the drawer (it's just way too hot for boots here in SoFL). 

In my sock menagerie is a pair of "Original Rockford Red Heel Socks" with a pattern to make the world famous "Sock Monkey" and a super cute elephant. I received these as a Christmas gift with a Sock Monkey t-shirt (which has been artfully altered) many moons ago. The universe has spoken! With this pattern and an abundance of Poly-Fil®, I have everything on hand to bring some JOY to my collection of misfit socks.

In today's project I have used: 1 pair of long socks; scissors, Fairfield World's Poly-fil®; the Original Poly-fil® Stuffing Tool; colored hair elastics; repurposed ribbon; quilters pins; sewing needle; embroidery floss, buttons, yarn & thread in coordinating colors; thimble; sewing machine; felt; parchment paper; permanent marker; and Red Heel instructions.

First thing you want to do is make sure you wash and dry the socks. They will most likely shrink a bit and the final project will be clean and ready for gifting when complete. Turn socks inside out to prepare for pattern cutting.

I am bringing out my sewing machine to help take care of some of the stitching. This project can be done entirely by hand and is a great project for kids. I'm having fun figuring out what critter a pair of socks wants to be.

Flatten out each sock following instructions 
and mark measurements with quilting pins.

First I mark out the legs on each sock.
These will be sewn on the sewing machine.

Each sock size may vary from pattern. I am prepared to alter things with a piece of parchment and a permanent marker. I trace the shape of the sock and sketch out the placement of ears, mouth and trunk.

The first sock will be head, body & legs in one piece. I sew 1/4" to one side of center down to bottom (elastic open edge) of sock. 

Here is the first stitched line. I learned to have patience in sewing an inside out sock. The fuzzies like to jam in the feeder.

I turn around and sew back up 1/4" 
from on the center pinned line. 

Next I stitch along bottom of open end of sock
to close it up forming bottoms of feet.

Legs are sewn, leaving approximately
a 1/2" gap in the center.

Now I can just cut up the center to divide the legs. I cut about an inch up past my stitching to allow for turning rightside out.

Head, body and legs are ready for stuffing with Poly-Fil®.

Now for the second sock! I pin my pattern to the sock and repeat the steps to sew the arms.

After stitching, I cut the arms away from the other patterned pieces.

Two arms ready for stuffing!

In modifying pattern to work with size and shape of my sock, I have also simplified my sewing. I use the same process to sew around and create a matching pair of ears.

I sew a straight line to form one edge, then turn 
and follow along to form a wide "U" shape.

I repeat from the other side resulting in 
two rounded rectangle shapes for ears.

I cut down the middle between the stitched lines to separate both ears. I gently cut unsewn edge to open ear for stuffing and around the edges removing bulk and excess when turned right side out. 

For the trunk, I sew this freeform rather than cutting and sewing a small piece. I mark shape with quilting pins for a line to follow on sewing machine.

After stitching, I cut trunk piece away. I have a section of sock left that I can use for accents at the end if needed.

With all the pieces sewn and ready. 
Turn everything right side out.

I gently turn head/body/leg shape right side out because I purposely left a smaller hole to be hand-sewn closed. I was not sure how much the sock knitting would fray also. The sock is pretty forgiving as it is stretchy and durable.

I start with just turning the legs and feet to prepare for stuffing.

I have all my pieces ready to stuff with Poly-Fil® using the handy Poly-Fil® Stuffing Tool that comes nestled inside the the middle of the package roll.

**A TIP** take out small amounts of Poly-Fil® at a time. It will get everywhere and you will never be able to get it all back into the bag – IT GROWS!

The simple pattern instructions call for circles of cardboard to be placed inside the ends of feet. I'm using felt rounds the same size as my spool of thread. The socks I'm using are thin and the felt will help keep the flat size at the end of feet.

I cut 2 circles for each leg. I will layer two for per leg and secure in place when I stitch on button accents at the bottom of each sole.

I stack two felt rounds and press flat into the bottom of each foot, making the stitched line fall at about the center, then stitch a button onto the outside. When stitching button, I thread up and through the felt circles to tack in place and this will also help secure the button.

Now it's time for the FUN part... STUFFING! First the trunk comes to life. I use the handy Poly-Fil® Stuffing Tool to coax the stuffing down into the tapered point. I found using a swirling motion helped prevent clumping and keeping a smooth surface.

Next the ears.

When stuffing the head/body, I used a light blue 
fabric wrapped hair elastic to mark the neck.

Everything is fully stuffed and ready to assemble. 

I start by sewing closed the base of body and legs with a whipstitch. I'm not the best at hand-stitching, so I did my best turning edges inward as I stitched to conceal the thread. The imperfect stitching adds to the quirkiness.

One ear on. I went around twice with stitching
to get things good and secure. 

Look at the personality with just ears and legs! So CUTE!

I sewed the top of the trunk closed a bit before attaching to head. I also stitch the top of the arms closed. I also added a fun detail by stitching the tip of trunk into a closed curl to give it a bit of whimsy. 

I stitch the trunk onto the head, followed with the mouth. I mark the placement for eyes with quilting pins. He's ALIVE!

I find that finishing touches are the best and my most favorite part. This is where you add all the personality... and you can go on and on adding fun, quirky details. I kept it simple to let the pops of color in the pattern shine. I sew on mismatched shape buttons where I marked the eye placement with pins.

I'm all about the little details. So after stitching to head to secure buttons, I then ran some additional thread between the two eyes to pinch the shape of the head, adding more character. Have fun and add the details as you like.

My handmade sock elephant is complete!

I don't know what to name him but he certainly is FLOPPY in front of the camera! I really enjoyed making this cutie and have a whole menagerie in the works. I hope you enjoy this project and are inspired to create your own sock critters. There are loads of patterns for all kinds in webland. 

What animal would you make with Poly-Fil®? 

Pop over to Fairfield World more more inspiration on their website HERE.
For project ideas visit:

Follow the #Fairfield80 on Instagram to see all the creative makes for Fairfield World's 80th Birthday Celebration.

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Thanks so much for visiting! Stay tuned... I have a few more sock critters in the works for holiday gifts. Sb :) 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

SUMMER is still here... Beach Day REDUX for Creative Fall Crafts


Hello creative friends! Here in South Florida SUMMER is pretty much year round but I still like to change things up a bit for the season. Today I am part of a fabulous gathering of Creative Fall Crafts that has new projects and inspiration each day this week! 

I only know when Fall arrives by the change of decor and advertisements in stores because where I live it's still SUMMER. So I have a quick and easy way to jazz up my door by repurposing every girls' summer go to... FLIP FLOPS! We all have 'em in all sorts of designs and colors to coordinate with every outfit... am I right?! Using a few paper-crafting techniques, I'm going to give my shoes a new season in the sun!

Let me gather a few things: 
Something old... something new... 
something borrowed and something BLUE!

This old (pair of flip flops barely if ever used from the closet); a new metal "welcome" word from dollar store; I'm borrowing some sparkly tulle and wreath decor from the Christmas stash; and some fabulous BLUE distressed raffia twine will be the base of my decor.

For this project you need: ribbons/trim/foiliage picks in chosen colors (for me I'm going with a weathered sea-spray feel); a 1" bristle paintbrush; white craft paint: scissors; a glue gun; embossing powder; clear embossing ink; paper plate; sand paper or sanding block; heat gun; scissors; thin floral wire; wire cutters; quilt pins; recycled pop tops; a peg clothespin (or small dowel rod); and some summertime tunes to help bring back those memories of toes in the sand.

The first thing I do is add some hangers to the back of the flip flops by sliding quilt pins into the foamy soles of the shoe.  Be careful not to poke through the front side. 

I use two pins criss-crossed down into sole to securely affix a recycled pop top. Easy Peasy!

Then I add a white wash quickly to age these a bit by dry brushing a small amount of white acrylic paint onto the wicker. No rhyme or reason - just all over. However it turns out is perfect. Just a small amount of paint transforms the look from glam to seaside shabby chic.

Next let's add a beachy, distressed finish to the metal "Welcome". 
This is quick and easy also - but is a bit messy.

First I rough up the surface with a small sanding block so the embossing adhesive will not bead up and will grab powder nicely.

I place word onto a piece of waxed paper to protect my surface then dab embossing adhesive onto all the letters. 

I gently pick up word and place onto a paper plate then sprinkle embossing powder onto the wet adhesive. Tap away excess into the plate and move across to next section until all letters are covered.

Optional: reapply adhesive to any areas that is missing embossing powder. 

Using heat gun, I activate the embossing powder. Please safety first – use heat safe finger cots or tweezers to hold letters while heat embossing. This powder is a weathered beach patina and has a variegated coloring that instantly transforms the metal. There are a few areas missing the powder, but that is OK. In this case I am leaving as is because it adds to the weathered, beachy feel.

One last thing will tie this together with the shoes. 
I quickly dry brush a bit of white overall and this is done!

It's really hard to capture new finish from far away. 
Here's a close-up of the yummy, distressed texture.

I tie some tulle bows on the straps of the shoes and I'm ready for some final assembly. 

I fashion a hanger by layering the two base raffias and 
wrapping some broom grass around a wooden clothespin.

I put up a hook and hung on the door then added the flip flops with a small pieces of wire and a couple supporting mini sticky back hanger hooks. 

This is my assortment of floral sprigs. This cute seasonal grass broom was taken apart to use at the top of my hanger. I'll have to use the scarecrow for something else. 

I continued to nestle the floral sprigs in and around the straps of the shoes. 

I added a fluffy tulle bow to the top to conceal the hanger.

The last thing was to affix the word welcome with a couple of strategically hidden spots of hot glue.

Honestly, I was not sure how this was going to turn out when I started. This is so beautiful I want to put this outside on my door step. The only reason I don't is because I don't have an overhang and we are in the middle of hurricane season – which brings daily severe thunderstorms. I hope you like it as much as I do.

How you are decorating for fall?

For more inspiration and Creative Fall Crafts ideas,
pop over HERE to see what my creative friends are making. 

This fun redux set me off on a fall decorating frenzy and I'll be back to share a few more projects that I have in the works! Thanks for visiting. Sb :)
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