Saturday, June 1, 2013

Made It: Graduation Decorations

Hello! Our daughter's high school graduation is next Friday and her open house is two weeks after that. So of course it's time to get some decorations going! I'll show off what I've done so far, but more will be made as time and inclination permits. 

The school colors are green and black, and the mascot name is the rat, so of course the decorations I've made follow these themes. 

The dining room's table top feather tree was my starting point:

Some time ago, I found a nice graduation-themed rubber stamp set at Tuesday Morning, so I stamped some of the images on card stock pieces and hung them up with green crochet cotton. 

Some little critters have taken up dwelling in the feather tree:

These were quick to make, being only 2" high (first photo) and 1 1/2" high (second photo). I think I'll make a few more. 

They were made from this pattern set:

You can see the 1980's country-style mice in the photo, done up in a rather blah brown calico. I did a post back in early March about sewing up a couple of cat patterns (also in a fabric I found more appealing than what's shown in the pattern's photo). The pattern, and the fabric I used for the mice (pretend they're rats!), both came from thrift stores. 

Also from a thrift store was a pattern booklet for making this:

Our scholarly rat, 6 1/2" high, has a felt body and cap, a tassel made from embroidery floss and a fabric gown. She is holding a parchment paper diploma and scaled-down copies of the two certificates our daughter was awarded on Honors Night: AP Scholar With Distinction and Salutatorian. (yes, we are very proud of her!)

One look at the photo of this rat in the pattern booklet and I knew I had to make it for our daughter's graduation. Alas, what I didn't realize was that although the pattern pieces were intact, the directions for making the outfit were missing. The body directions were present, so that wasn't a problem, but I had to figure out how to make the cap and gown with just the pattern pieces and the photo to go on. I came pretty close, and our daughter, who saw it earlier today for the first time, was pleased. 

I've made a few decorations to hang from doors and windows:

Rubber-stamped numbers from a vintage printing set one of my husband's older relatives had had. I've made several of these on various green art paper pieces. 

Last but not least, a thrift store find from last week:

At 16 1/2" tall, he was apparently noticeable enough in my shopping cart that another shopper looked askance at it. I explained I was buying it as a decoration for my daughter's open house, since her high school's mascot name is the rat. "Oh, you're very creative", the woman then commented. Not really - just looking for some interesting decor!

The rat was undoubtedly handcrafted, and is weighted at the bottom, so the clerk speculated that it had been made as a doorstop. There was no price tag, but at this particular store the clerks can set a price on the spot. I held my breath, wondering how much I would be willing to pay for a stuffed, 16 1/2" high rat. When she told me I could have it for a dollar, I was more than willing to part with that sum!

Once paid for, my next concern was what our daughter would think of this creature. I was worried she'd think it was hideous and that her mother had really lost it this time. But she loved it! I guess that proves she's used to my wacky thrift store finds by now. And as I pointed out to her, what graduation party decoration could you buy at Party City for a mere dollar?

Of course, the rat didn't come with the graduation cap, but I fashioned one  using the same method I had come up with to make the cap for the felt mouse seen a couple of photos previously. 

That's it thus far - there's still the open house menu to plan, more decorations to make, and, of course, the dreaded house cleaning. But, after all, you only graduate from high school once!





  1. Every time I see this large beige rat sitting somewhere in the house, I think that it is our cat Beauty which is about the same size and color!

  2. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I know, I think it's Beauty too. She'd probably be mortified if she knew we were comparing her to a giant stuffed rat!

  3. It was fun seeing these decorations in person. We had a large stuffed turtle when I was a kid. I think a babysitter made it for me. Animal doorstops were all the rage in the 70s I think. :)

  4. I'm glad you could see them! Interesting note about animal doorstops being the rage in the 70's; that sounds about right to me.

  5. Haha I love that rat. On the description for my graduation party on facebook it says "Expect to see a giant stuffed rat wearing a graduation cap."

  6. I'm so glad that you love it! I hope your friends like it too when they come to your Open House.