Saturday, 14 February 2015

Valentines Day love birds - for your pot plants!

Who can tell me where the year is going!? It is almost half past February and of course, before we can turn our thoughts to spring properly, we have to get Valentines Day out of the system.

It is starting to be a little lighter in the evenings now and our bulbs are defiantly poking their heads up...

It is starting to feel springy! I am very busily crocheting things (much to my son's dismay) like wreaths with flowers and bunting and little covers for my pot plants and all in the brightest colours.

Big photo: ripple effect crochet. Top right: inspired by an Attic24 wreath that I thought was just beautiful. Middle right: Potted plants obviously need jerseys! These are so easy made in dc and htr. Bottom right: part of some granny bunting with flowers; perfect for brightening up a winter room.

Now I love heart motifs but there are plenty of those around at this time of the year so I thought that I would make some pretty birdies to liven up the potted plants until they bloom. Here is one....

And another one....

They are just the bee's knees and we will use some sparkly beads which catch the sun too. Makes them great in the conservatory or on a sunny windowsill. Placed correctly, they can brighten a whole room! So what will we need to gather?

-cotton fabric in pretty patterns You will need one sort for the body and a contrast but coordinating bit for the wings.
-polyester stuffing
-sparkly beads like faceted crystals and crackle glass although miracles work well too in the right light. Stick with 6mm and 8mm ones for the crown.
- a couple of orange 4mm beads per bird for the eyes
-bamboo chopsticks for making the stands - or some normal sticks if that is what you have to hand. Sharpen the bottom with a pencil sharpener or sharp knife.
-beading thread and a beading needle
-hot glue gun
-water soluble marker

With reference to the stuffing, I get an awful lot of questions about the sort of stuffing to use. You do not have to use the 'proper' stuff in a tiny bag from the craft shop! Wash and pull apart an old pillow or cushion if you have one for the ultimate in recycling. If you need to buy new, buy cushions or pillows from a cheap shop (Ikea is good) and use the stuffing. Much cheaper and exactly the same.

First you will need to print off the pattern. The bird body when you print it out should be about 21cm long and the wing is 15cm long. It really doesn't matter but it will alter your results if they are too different.  And remember that the pattern pieces represented by a dashed line are behind another piece. Here is the pattern-

I would cut the shapes out and then draw around them onto the fabric with the water soluble marker for ease. Make sure that they are mirror image though!
This is what we have so far...

You will have two bodies and four wings. Cut them out and it is time to sew! I have made two love birds and swaped the wing and body fabrics.
Begin by sewing the wings. Pin the two wing pieces right sides together and sew all the way around, leaving a gap for turning out. Clip the curves and turn out the right way. This is what we have now...

Lightly stuff the wing with some polyester but no so much that it loses its flat shape. Move the stuffing around until it is well distributed in the wing. Slip stitch the opening closed. You will see on the pattern that there are some lines on the wing? These are stitching lines. Mark them with the water soluble marker if you need to and then either hand or machine stitch along them. The wing now looks like this....

Repeat for the other wing. Now on to the body! Again, pin the body pieces together and sew all around leaving a gap for turning out and then clip the curves, turn out and stuff the bird really well. 
NB: when you sew the body, leave the opening in the bottom of the bird and then when slip stitching, leave a small gap to insert the stick or chopstick.

Slip stitch the opening closed and now you have something starting to take shape! Next let's attach the eyes. Take your chosen beads and attach with beading thread and needle to either side of the head. Draw the thread in a bit too to give the head a nice shape.

The crown is made by first taking a longish piece of thread and stringing 7x 8mm beads onto it...

Close the circle, go back through all of the beads with the thread until you are back where you began and tie it off really well. This gives a double thread through the beads. Snip the short thread off leaving the one still in the needle...

Now attach this to the head with a few stitches around....

Take an 8mm bead and thread it on and weave the thread through the next bead. Keep going right around the crown. You will have seven of these and they will be a little floppy but not too much. finally, weave back again and this time pick up a 6mm bead (I have used an orange crystal) and go inbetween each 8mm bead.

Keep doing this until you have a second row on the crown. The more you weave, the tighter and more solid the crown becomes. The weaving will gently draw the crown together.

When you have a nice crown, finish the thread by weaving a little more and then cutting it. We can put everything together now.

Hot glue the wings to the sides of the body and insert the blunt end of the chopstick into the bottom of the bird (you may need to wriggle it between the stitches) and then hot glue it into place. 
It is okay to make the chopstick a little shorter too, they look better if you cannot see the chopstick, like the bird is nesting in the plant. It all depends on the size of the plant.

We have this now....

Now find a nice potted plant and insert the stake gently into the pot.

How pretty is that! I hope that you have enjoyed this free pattern and tutorial. thank you so much for stopping by and don't forget to sign up by email or like my FaceBook page so that you never miss a post!

Thanks for stopping by!
love and hugs
Debbie xxx