Happy Thanksgiving!

This week, most people are taking a short week at work, wrapping up on Wednesday for the holiday. So at SuzerSpace, I’m doing the same thing, posting my normal Friday post on Wednesday. That will give me more time to enjoy the holiday, and I wanted to squeeze these two crafts in that are Thanksgiving themed.

Script Thanksgiving Banner

Creating a banner of separate letters with holes for stringing isn’t too hard once you get a system down. I’ve done it for New Year’s, and for no reason at all, and then I’ve done some heart and bicycle shapes that used the same treatment.

So of course it was time to try something new. I wanted a “Happy Thanksgiving” banner that was in joined script letters. I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as just setting the type in script and welding it together and putting the circles at the top and stringing it. Unless your string is exactly level, doing it that way would make the two words dive down in the middle at awkward angles.

But I wasn’t sure how I was going to figure out how to gracefully space the letters so they’d hang evenly.  There’s science to how things hang on strings. It’s gravity, and -gulp- Calculus.

I’m very crafty. But not really mathy. But Adobe Illustrator is, in disguise. (Other software will do this too – I just have years of Illustrator experience so it’s always my go-to).

I measured off my window, and measured the low point of the garland that was hanging there at the time. I then created an Artboard in Illustrator the same dimensions as my window, and added a guideline at that low point. I then drew a oval that had the bottom part of the curve meet that low point dimension.

happy thanksgiving banner

Then I set my type use the Type on a Path tool, and used the Type on a Path options window to set the baseline to Center. I fiddled with the spacing and then converted the type to outlines and ungrouped it so I could move the letters higher or lower on that path so that I’d have good spots to put the holes for the string.

happy thanksgiving banner with holes

Because of that pesky gravity thing, you need to keep watch that more of the heavy part of the garland is below the line, otherwise it will flip over when it is hung. I learned this the hard way last Christmas, when I created a garland of reindeer that unfortunately hung upside down because of where I placed the loop holes.

Finally I used the Pathfinder tool to weld the letters together. I exported this file as a DXF since the basic version of Silhouette Studio won’t work with an AI or EPS file.

After merging in my DXF file, I moved the words around to get the best fit on my sheet (don’t always lock yourself into cutting things in reading order – diagonal often words best since it lets you cut more than the width or the length).

thanksgiving banner

“Thanksgiving” was too large for my paper any way I spun it, so I did it in two parts, and then glued the overlap of the “s” and the “g” together.

happy thanksgiving banner cut letters

I then threaded twine through my holes, and put the garland up, adjusting it to where the string reasonably looked like the curve I had set up in Illustrator. And it worked. Just like I planned it!

Thanksgiving Turkey Placeholder

My second Thanksgiving craft is based on this one. I didn’t do mine exactly the same way (I have a great stash of googly eyes), and because I used cover stock for my accordion fold it so it isn’t exactly level, but I love it anyway. If you make one, consider using lighter weight stock for that fan so it sits better. This could also be a great kids craft while they wait for dinner on Turkey Day.

happy thanksgiving placeholder

Since the original post has a great tutorial, I’ll just share my photo of my finished version, and then let you enjoy your holiday!

Turkey Door Decoration

It’s no secret I like to make door decorations. Flowers. OwlsWreaths.

So with Thanksgiving coming up, I bet you can guess what I made this weekend.

Yup, a turkey for my door 🙂 .

I started this one the way I always do, looking at clip art and craft ideas and noting what makes an image “work.” And then I drew up my own mashup, keeping in mind the sizing I have to work with (12 x 12 paper in particular).

I like to draw the finished image first, colored in vaguely like it’s going to be.

Turkey door decoration base design

That gives me a guide for my project as I get deeper into it, since sometimes I get completely off track and forget what the little yellow rectangles are for. (Oh yeah, buckles for the turkey shoes! Right!)

Then I break apart the image to separate the pieces by the color they need to be cut on.

Turkey door decoration cut files

I found a neat burlap digital print texture online, and the colors were perfect for this project so I printed off several sheets.

I exported my design files as DXF, because I like to work in Adobe Illustrator (I have more than 25 years invested in that), but the basic version of Silhouette Studio won’t accept an AI or EPS file. But DXF files are perfect.

Turkey door decoration cut out files

After I cut the various pieces, I traced the turkey body onto a cereal box and cut that with scissors to create a stable background. I don’t like to use my Silhouette to cut cereal boxes because it’s rough on the blades, and since this part won’t show, it isn’t worth wasting them. I also cut a few circles (I used a juice glass as a template) for gluing down the feathers. On the turkey body piece, I left an extra bit of cereal box at the top to hide under the pilgrim hat to reinforce the hanging hole.

Turkey door decoration cereal box parts

Quick drying tacky glue and staples were what I used to put the various pieces together. I created the feather rounds first, and then stapled them to the cereal box back. I glued up all the turkey details onto the turkey body, and then glued that on top of the cereal box, which hid the staples. Finally I added the hat and punched a hole in it for hanging.

Once it was on the door, Mr. SuzerSpace (who is an editor by trade) noticed the background feather colors were too close to the door color. So I freehanded a white background  cut a little bigger than the turkey and hung that on the same hook so it has something to stand out against.

Turkey door decoration | suzerspace.com

 

Felt Phone Holder

Mr. SuzerSpace and I recently upgraded our cell phones.

Previously, I was using the box the old phone came it as my super fancy 🙂 phone holder for my nightstand. The box the new phone came in isn’t made the same way, so it didn’t work as well. So I decided to craft up two custom trays.

I used a 9 x 12 sheet of felt from the craft store. I didn’t buy the super thin and flimsy felt, but I also didn’t buy the super stiff and expensive version either. Like a crafty Goldilocks, I chose the sheet in the middle that was just right.

I placed the phone on the felt sheet and then tested some folding and pinching to see what measurements I needed. Turns out I could use a half-sheet to make each tray, so I cut one into two 9 x 6 sheets.

Using a piece of junk mail as my template, I drew 1″ square lines directly on each corner on my felt with a Sharpie. Normal people would use a fabric marker that would disappear, but my fabric markers seem to dry out exactly at the moment I need them. Since the felt was dark colored, I figured I could get away with this technique.

Marking the corners of the felt phone holder

To begin shaping my tray, I folded the corners and made sure the lines aligned. I wanted the corners to stick out, not be boxed in, so I did this wrong sides together.

Align the corners in the felt phone holder prior to sewing
The black Sharpie line I drew for alignment and sewing is hard to see, so in this photo I’ve added a red circle to highlight where it is.

I then sewed straight down the sharpie lines, being sure to backstitch at the beginning and end. I used a sewing machine, but if you were patient, this could be done by hand as well.

sewn corner of the felt phone holder

Once those were done, I had a bowl with pointy corners, which would have worked, but it isn’t what I imagined, so kept going.

all the corners sewn in the felt phone holder

I folded down the sides, and pinned them so they wouldn’t slip away.

side setup for the felt phone holder

And then using a zipper presser foot on my sewing machine, and my needle as far to the right as possible, I stitched a line very, very, very close to the folded edge. I didn’t try to sew all around (the corner thicknesses would have been tricky) – I stopped and backstitched at each corner and then moved the needle to the next edge and started again.

side seam closeup of the felt phone holder

This created a neat little stitched seam all around that added structure to my tray.

Bottom seam detail of the felt phone holder

Mr. SuzerSpace requested a small cutout at one end to thread his charging cord through, which I did with an X-acto knife.

 

 

Monster Window Silhouettes

This craft is a little late for Halloween, but it took a little longer than I expected to get it all together. I’m still super happy with how it came out, and it’s never too early to plan for next time, right?

This started when I started to see posts and pins all over for window silhouettes. Some were really scary, but I veer towards cute and charming for my Halloween decorations.

After browsing all sorts of images and clip art ideas on the Internet, I came up with a couple of cheery monsters that would lend themselves to big silhouettes. I drew them in Adobe Illustrator, and then after taking measurements of my upstairs windows, I resized them printed them on the large format printer at work on plain paper.

If you don’t have access to a large format printer, Staples or Kinkos can do this for you, or you could tile them out on 8.5 x 11 paper and tape them together. This part doesn’t have to be anywhere near perfect, because it is just the pattern used to cut the final material.

Paper Pattern for Monster Window Silhouettes

I was lucky to find some unused rolled black paper in the back of the office. If you just don’t happen to work somewhere with these kind of treasures in the trash bin, black posterboard would work just fine.

Cut out monster window silhouettes

I taped down my paper pattern onto the black material and cut the outside shape with regular scissors. I slipped my self-healing mat underneath and then cut the eyes and mouth details with an X-acto knife.

Colored Tissue paper for monster window silhouette eyes

I used double stick tape to add a layer of colored tissue paper where the eye and mouth cutouts were so they’d “glow” a different color. And then I double stick taped each monster to a big piece of white tissue paper that was the size of each window. It would probably be easier to use spray adhesive for this part, but Mr. SuzerSpace hates the smell of that, so I didn’t.

Monster window silhouette taped to tissue paper ready to hang

I used push pins to mount the tissue paper at the top of my window frames, and then put a small light behind each one at night. It’s hard to see them during the day, which is fine. But at night, the lamps cause the silhouettes to really stand out.

I’m already working (in my mind – that counts, right?) on a Christmas-themed version of this craft.