The thing about glitter is if you get it on you, be prepared to have it on you forever. Glitter is the herpes of craft supplies.
Demetri Martin

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

For Aster, Love Auntie :: Wall Hanging Tutorial

As I shared with you all a few posts back, I recently made a wall hanging for my new niece's bedroom as a shower gift.  Time is fast approaching - Sonia has started packing for their big trip and Aster will be coming home with her Mommy and Daddy the end of this month!!

Aster's arrival marks my entry into the roll of Auntie and I am elated, to put it mildly.  I wanted to make something that would serve as a timeless expression of the carefree nature of childhood. 

When I started this picture I was in the midst of a yo yo fascination and wanted to do something that incorporated these little delights.  Heather Bailey has a lovely yo yo tutorial on her blog that I found helpful. 

After hand stitching about twenty different sized fabric yo yos in a vast array of colours and patterns, I found the most luxurious turquiosy cotton batik print and started working on a layout.  I had initially planned to use the yo yos as flowers, but once I got to putting things together I decided they looked awfully cute floating in the sky like a cluster of balloons. 

I began by affixing my batik print to some fusible interfacing.  Then I started putting the picture together: a rather large yellow yo yo became a tree and a few smaller ones were overlapped and hand stitched together to form a bush. A makeshift model of the little girl was formed with the intended fabrics and a layout was achieved. 

The pink cotton print used for the dress is the same fabric Sonia chose for Aster's doll (presently in the severed limb phase) and was up cycled from a second hand skirt.  The smallest yo yo I could manage would be a flower for the little girl's hair.

I then chose an assortment of vintage buttons we had on hand to place in the centre of the yo yos - you know, just to make them even more darling.  I soaked the buttons in some vinegar thinking that this would render the buttons their shiniest.  I thought that since this works for pennies...  Anyway, the buttons looked fabulous - all except the small green one which was ultimately replaced by some fabric buttons that I made myself! with a few scraps I had on hand.  I then attached buttons to the centre of all yo yos destined to be balloons.

This picture is sort of jumping ahead (just pretend you don't see the strings I have yet to stitch ...)  Next I decided on the configuration for the balloon cluster and hand stitched all the yo yos to one another accordingly.

I then started to make the little girl.  I used some scrap flannel in cream for her face and a small piece of black felt for her hair cut pretty much randomly into the size and shapes that I wanted.  I cut a slit in the felt to form the hair line (big enough to pass the flannel through), placed the head into the hair ( styling enthusiast...).  I then stitched along the front to accent the bangs and bind the two pieces together.

Next I chose a piece of yellow leafy tone-on-tone and formed two overlapping hills.  I cut a two dimensional dress shape from the pink fabric and used a gathering stitch to form a pleated neckline for extra dimension.  I then positioned the dress onto the backing where I wanted the little girl to stand and machine stitched around the dress.  I placed the head in position and machine stitched around the face to secure the head and hair to the dress and the backing.   

Needle n' Thread, created by Mary Corbet, is an excellent hand embroidery resource on the web featuring excellent step-by-step instructions and videos for embroidery enthusiasts. 

The hand embroidered elements of this picture began with the little girl:  I started with her sweet little eyes and added some texture to her hair with some black back stitching.    Knowing that I would later add a backing fabric, I embroidered straight through all layers of fabric which saved time as I didn't have to worry about cleaning up all the stray ends of embroidery floss.  

Next I used a split stitch to form a heavy line for the tree trunk, partnered with a darker brown running stitch to add some bulk and shape.

Using a fast fade fabric marker I then marked on the picture where all the balloons were going to be positioned, drew a line to where the girl's hand would ultimately be positioned and formed the strings using  running stitches in different colours for all the different balloons.  As the strings came closer to the girls would-be hand I whipped the stitches to give the illusion of the strings twisting around each other.  I then hand stitched the yo yo bush to the backing fabric at the base of the tree.

Here I gave the little girl some arms to hold on to her balloons and hand stitched the arranged balloon cluster in place on the picture.

Finally I signed my picture using a back stitch and added a iridescent cream tone-on-tone 1 1/2 inch fabric frame.  With top sides facing inward I machine stitched the picture to a piece of cream flannel leaving a 3 inch gap for turning.  I then trimmed my seam to 1/4 inch, snipped off the excess fabric at the corners and flipped the entire piece right side out.  After carefully pressing with a hot iron I turned in the edges of the opening I had left for turning and applied a 1/4 inch straight machine stitch to the outside parameter of the frame, closing the gap and adding a nice finishing touch.  I then looped some ribbon to form two hangers and Aster's picture from Auntie was complete!!

Now I get to eagerly wait for my new niece to arrive home so I can show her this special picture Auntie made just for her.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!! 
I'd like to add a special thank you to Heather Bailey and Mary Corbet for their ever helpful online tutorials.

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Mandy said...

thanks for linking on Take-A-Look Tuesday - Mandy,

anne maskell said...

I love it! Your niece will love it for many years to come! Thanks for commenting an my blog,anne's antics.It is always nice to 'meet' another Canadian blogger.

Katie's Nesting Spot said...

How sweet! I love the use of yo-yos and the batik print gives it a lot of interest and depth. A beautiful keepsake that will look great on the wall and always remind your niece of how much her aunt loves her. Thanks for linking up to Show and Tell!

Andrea on Third Street said...

Thanks everyone!

Judy said...

That is adorable! I love the texture of the fabrics and yo yos and am sure your niece will treasure this!

Van said...

I absolutely LOVE everything about this. The simplicity of the shapes and the textures remind me of Japanese design. This gorgeous piece inspires me to do some wall hangings of my own.

New follower here, I love your style!

Melissa said...

When I saw the thumbnail for this at a party I was thrilled I love yo-yos. Years ago I did one where the yo-yos were flowers like you were thinking of doing.

I love this the little girl is so sweet.

Eve said...

Very cute this wall hanging. I would love to make one myself. YOu used really nice fabric, so pretty!

Sung-Hee (Regina) Hong said...

This is really beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing it ! Lovely Lovely !


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