16 November 2011

The Pigeon Books: A Lemon Squeezy Home

Please welcome Christie from A Lemon Squeezy Home!  Christie personifies her blog title, making lemonade out of any situation.  Don't you love those kind of people?  She's always concocting something creative, but one of my favorite series of hers was Sewing Through the Decades.  How fun!  She recently made her entire family's Halloween costumes and somehow convinced her husband to go along with her theme, you'll want to check it out if you haven't :)  So happy to have her here today!  


I’m so happy Katy asked me to return today for her Once Upon a Thread series!  I love her blog and have really enjoyed our interactions through email.  She’s absolutely amazing, both as a seamstress and mother.  I said this last year, but her style is so unique and creative and I am so inspired by her!
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One of our most favorite authors at my house is Mo Willems.  His books are a delight to read.  We first fell in love with the Pigeon books and now my kids love all of Mo Willems cute little characters.  My kids’ favorite book is actually “The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog”, but “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” was the first we read and what started our adventures with Pigeon.


This funny pigeon is pretty egocentric, and I’d say acts about like a 3 or 4 year old. 
Asking nicely at first, telling you all the reasons why he should get something he wants, and very focused on what he wants.  Heck, he acts like my 8 year old, even!  November 20115
The pigeon is also a bit manipulative.  And although that might not sound very appealing, he is just cute and funny.  You can’t help but love him.  And because of that, I can’t imagine Portrait Pigeon and Softie Pigeon liking each other all that much.November 20116

First, let’s start with the painting.
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The best part about the painting is that it was easy, took me less than an hour from start to finish, and cost me less than $5.00 to make.  So let’s get started!DSC_0176
You’ll need:
-sponge brushes, acrylic paint, a black crayon, THIS printout, and clear contact paper.  Also a canvas panel—mine is 11” x 14” and isn’t the kind with the side—I used a coupon and got a 3-pack for $6.00, so one canvas board for this project at only $2.00 was great.  And save the printout if you are making the softie as well!DSC_0152

The colors of paint I used are canary yellow, wicker white, skintone, light blue, and paradise.
First start by tracing the pigeon and details onto the contact paper.  You could use vinyl if you want, but I think whatever you use, clear is best so you can see what you are doing more.  You don’t need to trace the legs.DSC_0127

Cut out the pigeon, making sure to keep the outside negative space in good condition as well and keep it. 

Push the pigeon down, running your fingernail along the edges to make sure it’s down firmly and paint won’t seep through.

I used skintone for the background color.  I kind of wish I had added some white paint and a little brown.

Paint that all on, then peel off the contact paper.
Next place the saved outer negative space around the pigeon once the paint has dried.  You can see where I cut through to cut the pigeon out, at the tip of his tail.DSC_0137

Cover that with a little more contact paper so your paint stays where it should.

Cut out the beak, eye, and white neck ring out of the pigeon you cut out and place back over the white space.
For the pigeon’s color, I used a combination of these three.  Just play around a bit till you think you have it right.  Paint the pigeon, peel off the eye, beak and neck ring.  Let the paint dry.DSC_0143DSC_0144

These are the three paint colors I used for the beak.  Carefully paint the beak, making sure not to go into the blue part.
Once all your paint it dry, take a black crayon and trace around the outside.  Also start drawing in the lines like the picture you printed shows.  DSC_0149

Once you trace the outside, peel off the contact paper and go around again, making some lines thicker and darker…

…until you have this:
I hope you’ll give it a try, even though it’s not sewing of any sort.  I have never painted on canvas besides taping things off, and since you are basically taping things off with contact paper, it will turn out great!  My kids seriously think it’s awesome, and that therefore, I am awesome and super talented because the pigeon looks so alike, ha ha!  But it’s only because it’s so easy!
Next up is the Pigeon Softie. DSC_0217 hi 
You’ll need:
I used a mixture of felt and fleece because it’s what I had on hand.  So grab some light blue felt or fleece, white and black felt, some freezer paper, polyester fiber fill for stuffed animals, and some black leather cord.  Use the same printout that was used for the painting.
Using the freezer paper over the printout, trace the body and white neck band 1/4” larger than what you have on the paper.  Everything else trace normally, except add a bit on the beak portion that connects to the head so you can stick the beak in and sew it on. DSC_0191
Cut the leather cord the same as the legs, adding at least an inch onto each leg.  Use some glue to hold the talons on.  Also cut the leather cord for the neck band.DSC_0196DSC_0197

Iron on the freezer paper so your fabric doesn’t move a lot while cutting.  Just make sure your iron isn’t too hot!

So you’ll have two bodies, two wings, two eyes, one beak, two white bands, and the leather cords you cut out.
Then just start with one side of the bird and start assembling.  Make the eye, sew on the band, eye, and wing.  Sew the leather onto either side of the white band.  Repeat with other side of bird, but make sure that you are doing it the opposite way.DSC_0201DSC_0202

Baste the legs onto the wrong side of the body. 
Trace the bird’s body again onto freezer paper and cut out.  Iron it onto the right side of the bird.  Place the two bird WRONG sides together.DSC_0204DSC_0206

Now sew with black thread carefully next to the freezer paper, leaving a gap for the beak and a gap near the tail to stuff the bird.
Now trim the excess felt or fleece around the pigeon.  When you get to the legs, un-pick the basting stitch and get cut off the excess felt or fleece on either side of the legs.  DSC_0211

Stuff the head and stick the beak in.  Sew closed.  Stuff the rest of the bird and stitch the opening closed.  

Stitch the rest of the circle on the head, and if desired, stitch some black onto the wings.  You’re done!
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Thanks for having me over, Katy!  I love this series!  

So, cute, Christie!  Thank you for coming!


  1. this is so cute Christie! love it all!

  2. That really is adorable. I've never heard of that book, but I guess I need to get it now!

  3. I need to check out these books for sure! I love the painting and the softie. Very very cute.

  4. This is just too wonderful! It made me smile all over! Thanks for sharing and greetings from Germany

  5. ha ha...you captured pigeon perfectly! We love these books. Especially don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

    I love the softie. It would be so cute to give with the book as a gift.

  6. Delia's right! It would be a great coordinating gift! Do you know what else would be fun is to add a chalk bubble on the painting to write your kids notes--bossy ones ;)

  7. Your post was a little pigeon story in itself. Great work. A happy start to my morning.

  8. Those books are awesome! You make painting look easy. What a cute softie. :)

  9. I love once upon a thread, and this pigeon is cute!!!

    Not been able to view your actual site for a while, just been reading through my rss feed, I love that you've added Drummer's eyes!

  10. Mo Willems is awesome! My kids have loved the Pigeon books... Elephant and Piggie... Knuffle Bunny... pretty much anything written by him has been a huge hit in our house!!

  11. Oh, I know, I love Christie. Isn't she amazing? I love the things she makes too, they are just so adorable.

  12. Ooooh!! We love the Pigeon book!! Every time my kids say 'no' to me I tell them to save it for the Pigeon. Thanks for adding on extra gifts to make for Christmas :). <3

  13. I have found high quality Pigeon Baby Products from a2zbaby store with special discount offer on all kind of Baby Products that are very essential for your little one. Thousand of the parents every day visit that store and mostly parents buy product online and get free home delivery.


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