Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Super-Easy, Inexpensive, Five-Minute Guest Room Craft

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(1) Find a stand-up frame that matches your guest room.  (I got this one at a dollar store for . . . yes . . . $1!)

(2) Use the picture that comes with the frame as a template to cut a light-colored piece of scrapbook or wrapping paper.

(3) Put the pretty paper in the frame.

(4) Using a dry-erase marker, write a welcome message on the glass before your guests arrive.

(5) Watch them smile!

P.S. A big THANK YOU goes out to Bliss . . . a DIY and Home Design Site for this great idea!  If you’ve written a recent post about creating a hospitable guest space, I’d love for you to send me a link in a comment and I’ll add it to this post, too! ♥

Scenic Pillow . . . and a Tomato!

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My pile of giftable pillows was getting quite tall, so I was really happy to discover an opportunity to donate a dozen or so to a fundraiser craft show that’s coming up in August! I hope their new owners love them as much I as I loved making them! Then, silly me, I spotted a remnant in my stash that I knew would look pretty with our loveseat and the plant beside it and just had to take a few minutes to stitch up a new one. No a-la-mode needed this time . . . but it provides a nice splash of  scenery and is cushy enough for a nap. And about that tomato . . . well, it’s the first (and maybe only!) one this summer.  It’s tiny but mighty, having overcome a hail storm, high winds, and the ongoing Kansas drought to appear and redden on our plants. You’ve got to admire that kind of persistence!   P.S. I’ll bet it makes the best mini-BLT ever! ♥

More Vintage Treasures!

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Thank you for all the WONDERFUL ideas I’ve received so far for my vintage bow ties! With a super-busy week ahead (in a good way! :)) sewing isn’t on the agenda, but as soon as I get back to my machine I’ll be trying them out!  In the meantime, I thought I’d share the other goodies Dad gave me this weekend. My mom won these ribbons for her paintings at county and state fair competitions . . . she was so amazing! I have a bunch of these stashed away from my 4-H days, too. I also have a class reunion coming up during fair weekend in August, and I offered to make the decorations, and wouldn’t the ribbons make a festive bunting??? My other newest treasures include  (1) a “VOTE!” necktie from a 1972 election, (2) some hand-embroidered and crocheted linens, (3) a hand-sewn and crocheted baby dress, cap, sweater, and booties, and (4) a colorful nylon kite that no longer flies. I’m going to have so much fun with these! And if you have suggestions for projects for any of them, please feel free to share here, too. I never cease to be amazed at all the creativity out there! ♥

“Yes, Please!” . . . Again!

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Remember when my dad gave me a huge stash of vintage earrings to use for my fabric flowers awhile back? Well, he’s done it again, but this time it’s (drum roll!) . . . bow ties! How cool is that! I have all sorts of ideas popping into my head for ways to use them, but I’d LOVE to hear yours, too! In fact, if your suggestion is one of the first three I get a chance to try, I’ll mail you one of the black ties to use in a project of your own!  THANK YOU! ♥

Another Girl’s T-Shirt Dress

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When I found girls’ T-shirts on an amazing sale (like the one I used for this dress), I also bought a coral and a gray/white striped version to combine into another dress. The gather in the bodice is simply a skinny piece of elastic threaded between the seam attaching the top and bottom and the topstitching that keeps the seam edges facing down.  I love these colors together, and I found some pretty orange buttons in my stash to use on the fabric flower a-la-mode. (Click photo for a larger view.) Plus, since I used the top of one T and the bottom of the other, I have more lovely remnants to use for a future project. I can’t wait to give this to a special little girl! ♥

Crib Skirt

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Our brand-newest grandson is here for a visit! Today his mommy and I went to Jo-Ann to find fabric for a few items to round out his nursery decor, which is based on this adorable vegetable print from IKEA. We found a pretty green graphic print to use for the crib skirt, and it was a piece of cake to stitch it up! I got some helpful tips from Ashley at littlewillowtree and used her info to draw a diagram for future use. Oh, and we also got fabric for accent pillows . . . my next project!

P.S. Here’s a photo I added of the skirt on the crib when Joshua arrived back home . . . along with the pillows from the next post. ♥

Girl’s T-Shirt Dress with Necktie Skirt

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I found a hot pink girl’s T-shirt on sale at Target and thought it would be lovely with some of my necktie fabrics! To make the skirt, I cut off the wide ends of the neckties, unstitched them, took off all the linings and interfacing, evened them out at the bottom, stitch them together, then stitched them onto the bottom of the T-shirt. I also made a mini fabric/button flower for a little a-la-mode. Here it is! (Click photo for larger view.) Oh, and here are a few other necktie projects to try! ♥

Necktie Onesies

Necktie Ruffle Pillows

Necktie Wristlets

Necktie Flower Pillows

Reversible Lace Belt

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Although I found this intriguing lace belt tutorial by Toni of Make It Perfect quite awhile ago, I hadn’t tried it yet . . . until my gift of lace inspired me to hop to it! Along with the lace, I used a strip of the denim from the tote bag in the same post and a strip of the floral cloth ribbon from my spiral zipper wristlet. I made a few adjustments to the instructions based on the widths of the materials I had at hand, but it was just as fun and easy as Toni said. I can’t wait to make more! ♥

Laces . . . And Another Placemat Tote!

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I got the most wonderful gift in the mail today . . . a collection of laces from  Cul de Sac! Thank you, Josée . . . and you’ll be seeing lots of them in future projects and posts! The first one that caught my eye was this bright purple crocheted lace. I remembered that one of the placemats in my stash included this beautiful color, so I paired the mat, lace, and some denim to make another tote bag. I followed the same procedure as the last one (click here for tutorial) except for stitching the lace at both ends of the fabric before attaching it to the placemat halves and handles. I love how it turned out and can’t wait to try another lace on something new! ♥

Clutch and Tote

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I am the SO lucky winner of Homespun Haley’s recent giveaway . . . a handmade clutch! It hasn’t arrived quite yet, but isn’t it lovely? Please check out Haley’s blog and her Etsy shop as well. Thank you, Haley! ♥

And then . . . I must have dreamed about the fabric, because this morning I woke up with an idea for a tote bag that includes pink flowers and teal. I patiently waited until after work and dinner to start on it, but here it is! I used a two-sided placemat and some sturdy duck cloth I had in my stash.  The easy-breezy directions are on the photos . . . click if you’d like a larger view.

 

 

 

Diaper Clutch

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Remember the placemat pouches I made earlier this year? Today I turned one of them into a gift for a new mom by:

(1) making a super thin, soft, washable changing pad from a $1.99 child’s paint apron from Michaels (with enough fabric left over for one more pad and some other projects, too!)
(2) adding a small package of wipes and a diaper, and
(3) composing this poem (click to enlarge) to pin to the clutch.

Super fun, super easy . . . and I think she’ll like it! ♥

Necktie Flower Pillows

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When I made the tablecloth + napkin curtains for the bedroom, they replaced two valences which are now pillows! To make the necktie flower a-la-mode:

  • Cut off the fat part of the tie.
  • Unstitch the rest of the tie and remove any interfacing and lining.
  • Fold and press the tie in half (the long way!) and baste the open sides together, pulling gently to gather it as you go.
  • Curl the gathered tie around until it forms a flower shape and tack it together underneath.
  • Stitch a pretty button or earring to the center, then stitch the flower where you want it and finish making your pillow.

I’d like to thank  . . . in training for the inspiration and for suggesting that I try using neckties for flowers! ♥

 

 

 

 

 

What can you make with a lace tank?

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A few years ago I found this beautiful lined stretch-lace tank for $5 on a sale rack at JJill! But . . . it turned out that the color made my already-pale skin looked even more washed out . . . and it got several snags from a clothes-eating teacher’s desk . . . so I decided to get out my trusty scissors to rescue it from its lonely existence at the back of the closet. Here’s what I made:

  • A headband
  • A flower pin and hair bow (each with a vintage earring in the center)
  • A mini origami lotus bag (paired with a bit of coral velvet from a robe my mom-in-law made and some thin gold cord)
  • A bracelet purse (paired with a cotton remnant in the same color family for lining)
  • A luggage tag (lace back paired with the same remnant and some burlap ribbon)
  • A contrast-corner pillow (lace back paired with the same remnant and the lace from the tank’s neckline across the corners)

Loved it . . . hated it . . . now love it again! ♥

What can you make with a flannel shirt?

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This was a perfectly nice flannel shirt . . . soft fabric, pretty colors. But it didn’t fit quite right, and I didn’t like the roll-tab sleeves, and even with the ribbon belt that came with it I felt more lumberjack than feminine when I wore it. So, rather than sticking it in the back of my closet, I took my scissors to it!

Vest: Remove the collar, button and buttonhole plackets, pockets, and sleeves. Roll under the raw edges (using lace seam binding for the armholes to help with the curve) and topstitch. Sew pretty buttons into the buttonholes on the pocket flaps. Cut the ribbon belt in half and stitch the pieces to the top fronts of the vest for a tie . . . great with a white T-shirt and button necklace!

Placket Pillow: Stitch the button placket to one piece of coordinating fabric and the buttonhole placket to another. Button the two pieces together to form the pillow front. Cut a piece from one of the shirt sleeves for the back. Sew right sides together, turn, and stuff.

Pocket Pillow: Sew the tabs from the sleeves to a piece of coordinating fabric, then stitch the pockets under them so that the buttonholes on the tabs fasten to the buttons on the pockets. Fold right sides together, sew, turn, and stuff.

Fabric Flower: Cut out seven circles from the sleeves and form them into a flower. Add a pretty button in the middle  and a pin on the back.

Fabric Gift Bag: Gather the bottom of the collar and wrap it into a flower shape. Add buttons in the middle for a-la-mode. Then stitch up a simple bag with a handle from the shirt sleeve fabric and sew the flower on the front.

Mini Origami Lotus Bag: Add a square of coordinating fabric to a square of sleeve fabric plus a complementary color of  craft string for pull cords . . . just like the larger version, but a perfect size for a tiny gift or piece of jewelry. ♥

X’s and O’s . . . er . . . Lemons and Limes

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Do you have little ones in your family who LOVE to play tic-tac-toe? We do! Since I bought plenty of orange, yellow, green, and white felt for my citrus coaster project, I decided to use it to make a birthday gift for one of these sweet little girls with a giant orange slice gameboard and lemon and lime game pieces. And how serendipitous to find an orange slice notepad in the dollar bin at Michaels for keeping score! :) At first, I was going to make a bag out of my citrus fabric to hold everything, but then I figured out that the gameboard itself could be the bag with the addition of ties. It worked! Now I’m imagining all sorts of other themes . . . a basketball gameboard with different colors of “team” T-shirts for the game pieces . . . a Disney fabric gameboard with Mickey and Goofy game pieces . . . the sky is the limit! You could also make them different sizes and even add velcro to the gameboard and pieces to play it in the car. Other ideas are welcome! ♥

Spool Kabobs

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Sometimes the pillow stuffing I buy has wooden chopstick-like instruments packed inside to help poke the fluffy stuff into tight corners. I’ve been collecting them in my desk drawer knowing that someday a light bulb would go on and I’d think of a creative way to use them. It did! :) I wrapped embroidery floss around each grooved end to create a “stop,” slipped my thread over the sticks, and stood them up in a parfait bowl to display on a shelf. Now, instead of hiding away in a tote bag, the colorful spools are an easily-accessible part of my sewing room decor. I love it! ♥

Origami Lotus Bag

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I always have a line-up of a dozen or so projects I want to try, but once in awhile something bumps all the way to the front. That happened when I saw this intriguing bag on the Empty Nest Feathers blog, who linked to the tutorial at Exchanging Fire. I couldn’t wait to make one for my embroidery floss, and I decided to use a couple of the black and white fabrics I already have as different elements in my office/sewing room. (Click on any photo for a larger view.) All you need are two 18-inch squares of fabric, two yards of cording or ribbon, and an hour or less of time. I can foresee a larger version for a beach bag, a tiny version for a jewelry bag, and every size in between for all different types of gifts and storage. It was SO easy and fun . . . you’ll want to try it! ♥

Lemonade Pie

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Like all of you, I’m a big believer in healthy, natural foods. However, my recent addiction to making citrus coasters led to a craving for a piece of lemonade pie for dinner tonight. Yikes! But if you need something quick, easy, delicious, and perfect for summer, here you go!  ♥

  • 6-ounce can of frozen lemonade or limeade
  • 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 8-ounce tub of whipped topping
  • homemade or purchased graham cracker crust

Mix lemonade or limeade, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped topping until well blended and pour into prepared crust. Chill at least 30 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.

 

Thank you!

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Like many Americans, I decided to deck out in casual red, white, and blue before heading out with family and friends for the 4th of July.

  • Denim capris and white peasant top . . . check!
  • Red leather belt and red canvas shoes and tote . . . check!
  • Silver earrings and bracelet with red beads . . . check!
  • Headband (because I LOVE headbands!) . . . UNCHECK!

So, I headed for my remnants and found this pretty red/white stripe left over from a snowman pillow I made last winter and a little strip of elastic and had it ready to wear in about 10 minutes.  But this isn’t a “what I wore” or “headband tutorial” post  . . . it’s a thank you to all of YOU who constantly inspire me with your creativity and resourcefulness so that I didn’t even think twice about figuring out how to make what I needed out of something I already had. You’re the best! ♥

Happy Birthday, America!

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Here are the rest of the pillows I made from my Americana-stamped fabric. What a lovely gift that was!

Since the cloth is loosely woven, I backed the words with a light iron-on interfacing before zig-zagging them to the pillow fabric. Other than that, I simply cut, stitched, and stuffed for a nice pop of red, white, and blue for the holiday.

Have a safe, fun, and happy 4th of July! ♥

Stars and Stripes Pillow

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Several years ago a family member gave me a piece of linen-like fabric with all kinds of Americana printed on it—-stars, stripes, apples, “God Bless America,” “Home Sweet Home,” and that sort of thing. I’d never decided what to do with it until now . . . use different bits to make different pillows! Here’s the first one! And I also want to thank Oh Sew Rosy who gifted me with a Cushion Cover PDF Pattern that includes a tutorial on how to insert a zipper as she did with these lovely pillows. Easy and fun! ♥

Tablecloth + Napkins = Curtains

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I was in the mood for some new curtains for two skinny bedroom windows, and I had some fabric that would work perfectly . . . a tablecloth and napkins!

  • Cut the tablecloth in half to make two curtains.
  • Cut a strip off the bottom of each piece.
  • Cut two of the napkins into fourths and sew the strips together to make long, narrow borders.
  • Sew the napkin borders to the tablecloth fabrics.
  • Hem all the unfinished edges.
  • Turn the tops under and stitch to make casings for the curtain rods.
  • Hem all the way around the two extra strips and use them for tie-backs.
  • Make a matching pillow with the other two napkins.

I love the new look! ♥