Mar 11, 2013

DIY Family Tree Pillow

Hi All,

I'd like to share my DIY family tree pillow that I did 2 Christmases ago for my mother, mother in law, and grandmother.  I was reminded of this project recently by mother because she wanted me to "update" it.  Let me explain....



As you may already know, I like to do homemade gifts.  Not only are they from the heart but they also suit Dan and I's budget and frugal lifestyle better.  Don't get me wrong, we spend money on gifts too!  (I would hope that no one ever called us "cheap" when it comes to gift giving).  However, I just really enjoying crafting things with my hands.  I'm sure you other crafters would agree with me when I say there is just something immensely gratifying and happy about creating something beautiful yourself.  So I make my presents homemade when I can mostly for this reason and because I love seeing the reaction the gift receivers give when they open up my gift from the heart.

So enough of the back story, let me get back to the actual post.  Two Christmases ago I wanted to make something really special and unique for the aforementioned people.  I don't quite remember how I came up with the idea to do a family tree, but I did.  At the time I was just starting to experiment alot with my sewing machine and was making pillows.  Slowly the idea for a "family tree" pillow came together.  Now because this was a year and half ago, unfortunately I don't have the step by step pictures, but hopefully you'll get the gist of it.

I started off with a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to get me some material.  I bought a bunch of those cotton fabric squares in different patterns.  I also made sure I had some green fabric and brown fabric for the "tree."  For the pillow material, I went with a neutral linen color. 

The family members would each be represented with different size birds.  The template for these I did find somewhere online from google images.  The largest bird would be the first generation, the medium the second generation, and the smallest the third.  

To denote birds that were related to each other vs. married, I used the same color fabrics.  For instance, this is Dan, Noah, and I.  My yellow fabric matches that of my mothers.  Dan has an entirely different fabric from  my Dad's (see picture above, my dad's is black), but Noah's fabric matches Dan's.  
OK so first I started out with my tree shape, which I first free handed onto a piece of craft paper.  Once I had the shape I liked, I traced it onto my fabric and cut it out.  To attach the tree to the linen pillow material, I used hand stitching with silvery embroidery thread. I wasn't too concerned with fraying edges, because I knew this pillow was more decorative than useful.  I didn't think it would be seeing much wear and tear to agitate the fabric edges.  

I attached the birds in the same fashion, hand stitching a simple straight stitch around their borders.  Under each bird I also added two "leaves" cut from glittery green felt fabric.  These I hot glued onto the pillow along with the decorative white buttons.  

  For some extra decoration, I added these cute little felt flowers.  I also hot glued them to the material.


To finish, I sewed my other pillow piece of fabric to the decorative one and got a nice pillow case.

 Which I then stuffed with this pillow foam shape from JoAnn's for less than 5 dollars (with a coupon!)

Lastly, I added the name of the family at the bottom of the pillow.  I used iron on paper and printed out each family's name, cut it, and ironed it onto my fabric.
 
And there you have it!  A finished family tree pillow!  My Gram's looked really awesome since she's the mother of three, with 4 grandchildren (all married) and 5 great grandchildren.  The birds on her pillow are crazy!  All three women loved their gift, and I'm so glad it worked out so well.  


What homemade gifts have you made that you are really proud of?!





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