Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Flowers

I think these flowers are a great way to celebrate the beginning of spring. You can use them to decorate or glue a pinback on the back to create a bright accessory. Pick out your most colorful fun scraps and get sewing! 1) Cut five 5" squares and one 3” in diameter circle (or two if you want to make your flower double sided). Press. 2) Overlap the five triangles and run a strong thread along the bottom raw edges. Form a ring and end thread. 3) Fold over edges on circle and do a running stitch along folded edge. Pull gathering thread and stuff. This is the same technique as making a yo yo. 4) Stitch stuffed circle to flower, hiding the raw edges of both. Tie off to secure. 5) There are a few ways to finish the back of the flower. If you want a double sided flower, make another stuffed circle and stitch on to hide all raw edges. If not, finish the under side off by gluing or stitching a piece of felt on the back or use a piece of self and stitch down like I did. If you want to turn this into a pin or hairpiece, just glue your hardware to the back. Sorry the pictures aren't that great. But trust me, these are super cute and very versatile!

Granny Chic Pillows

There's nothing quite like finishing up a handmade project and having your manfriend say "that's awesome, it would look great on my grandmother's couch."

But after such a project, you'd kind of have to accept that. And understand that it's a typical reaction to the re-emergence of granny chic. I am a lover of the process of crochet, but less a lover of the look. I would never wear something I crocheted (I did make a sweater back in college- total fail) and I don't like the look of granny square vests/skirts/etc. But for the home, I think there is something so cozy about the look of crochet work, particularly granny squares (I'd be embarrassed to admit how many granny afghans I actually own)

I could crochet grannies all day and night, but I was looking for something a little different. And I was looking to use some circular pillow inserts I've had laying around.

Enter Sarah London. While she may not agree with me about granny fashion, we certainly see eye to eye in color and home dec. Her blog inspires me to pick up the hook every day, and that is where I found the delightful pattern for these crocheted pillows which now adorn the children's beds. Aptly named Mabel, this project makes quick work of the yarn scraps you have laying around. This is a perfect chance to go wild with the color combinations - in fact the wilder the better I think! And of course the kids love them! And really, what's not to love.

Friday, March 25, 2011

felt board for babies

Like Joel from Made by Joel (if you haven't seen this blog, definitely check it out--he's a crafty dad who makes lots of fun things for kids), I also had a felt board as a kid and unless this is all a figment of my imagination, it was big and green and had a whole farm scene--barn, animals, etc. made out of felt that you could move around the board. I definitely want to make one for e when she gets a little bit older.

For now, I found Made by Joel's Felt Board for Babies and knew I had to make one right away. I still have lots of felt scraps from the Alphabet Quilt I made in December and I happened to get a box with a book in it this week that folded into a perfect triangle shape for the felt board project. Super easy--I glued felt to the cardboard and let it dry overnight.

Then I cut up a shoebox and cut out some shapes and glued felt to them. I picked high contrast colors that babies seem to like. So far, e seems somewhat interested in it, but she's still a bit young to move the shapes by herself.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mug Rug Madness with Two More Seconds

There are a few people who I have never met in person but often daydream of hanging out with, sitting side by side, coffee (or wine) in our hands, doing crafts and watching our brood of children play in a sprawling backyard.

Erin of Two More Seconds is one of those women who makes it into my daydreams. A hip and crafty mom, with two awesomely adorable young children, Erin has been an inspiration to me as she somehow finds the time to make beautiful quilts and blog about what she's up to on a regular basis. I love following along with her crafty pursuits and draw inspiration from her brilliant selections of color and patterns that she adds to her quilts. Her home looks just as adorable as her children; it is clear she is a woman of style and taste.

In addition to all of that (where does she find the time?) Erin is now planning a Sewing Summit in October - a three day sewing event with classes, vendors, and lots of awe inspiring people. The Summit has also provided the backdrop for some of my daydreams lately...

But even if you can't make it to Utah, Erin is launching a 10 day blogging adventure full of quilting tutorials, tips, and giveaways called Mug Rug Madness. Don't know what a Mug Rug is? Click on the link to view her adorable mini quilts and learn more about the week long event. I will be following along and am hoping to dive right into to making my first Mug Rug - a great way of trying out new quilting techniques and using up bits of things you have around the house. Why not come along for the journey?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sweet Treats

I know it's a little late for this post but better late than never right? I made these delicious treats for my red velvet loving boyfriend on Valentine's Day. I followed the recipe and technique found on Annie's Eats. I made my heart templates on the parchment paper, piped out the shapes just like she said and ended up some some scary heart blobs. Luckily the blobs were big enough that my heart shaped cookie cutter fit perfectly.

I cut each blob into a real heart shape using my cookie cutters, spread the yummy cream cheese frosting and rolled in these cute little heart sprinkles. Unfortunately some of the pies got indents from my wire cooling racks. Fortunately men don't notice things like that when served their favorite desserts.

Next time I swear I'll try to make my red velvet with beet puree like Coconut and Lime did instead of artificial red food coloring. Next time.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


We have a thing for collecting wooden signs with sayings in my house. We just enjoy words in general. I had been coveting lots of such signs from around the web lately:

via http://www.myprimitiveboutique.com/

via http://oh-whatfun.blogspot.com/
via http://www.lushlee.com/
via http://nothingbutbonfires.com

Valentines Day seemed like the perfect time to try my hand at this. Using a giant frame I had found on the side of the road, a piece of board my dad had in his shed, and some paint I bought for $1/each at Micheals, I spent three evenings hand painting a sign to go above my bed. It was extremely satisfying to make, and extremely sweet to fall asleep beneath.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Bed of One's Own

To me, a bed has always been a sanctuary. A place to go and rest, to relax, to cuddle and read. A place to rest your head at the end of a long day, and to wake up full of promise early each morning.

After hunting far and wide for affordable toddler beds we came to one conclusion: we had to build them ourselves. And in a family of creative, constructive and artsy types, this wasn't a problem. Made for around $80 worth of wood and paint, these beds were built using simple instructions yielded in a quick Google Search for Free Toddler Bed Plans with slight modifications, because of course we can't do anything without modifications.

But what are beds without bedding?
So I quickly set to work, finishing two toddler quilts in time for Christmas, and then two matching afghans in time for Valentines Day.

I'm so jealous of the cuteness that I almost want to crawl in these beds at night. Maybe it's time to work on a sanctuary of my own!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Placemats for Play

The knitting triangle often uses Google Reader as a way to share craft ideas, recipes and fashion tips. A while back Kristen shared a link from Ohdeedoh with a note that her kids would love to have these placemats (made by me of course). So I promptly got to work.

I traced a plate, cup, fork and spoon on HeatNBond to make stencils. I ironed on the stencils to some bright kid friendly fabrics and cut out my shapes. I ironed them on to a piece of solid fabric. I don't remember the dimensions but let's say was 10" x 15". I used the blanket decorative stitch to go around each place setting (with the help of my amazingly crafty co-worker and her super sewing machine). But since HeatNBond keeps the fabrics from fraying you could leave this out if desired. I then placed the finished piece right side to right side with another piece of fabric of the same dimensions. Behind that a piece of batting of the same dimensions so the placemats were 3 layers total. I stitched around the edges leaving an opening for turning.

Turn the placemats right sides out and edgestitch around to close the opening. They ended up being the cutest things. Here they are in use at E and O's fabulous play kitchen.

**I found my original pattern and I did cut the pieces 10" x15" so the finished mats were 9 1/2" x 14 1/2" since I stitched with 1/4" seams.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rag Wreath

This wreath is a piece of cake to make and can most likely be made with stuff you have around the house. All you need are scraps of fabric and a wire hanger. We chose all greens because we needed a wreath at work for St. Patrick's Day (there's a lot of wreath making at my job it seems).

Start by ripping your scraps. We cut 6" long pieces and then snipped at 1" intervals. Rip at each snip for your pieces are approximately 1" x 6" long. We eyeballed it and did a few at 6 1/2" and 7" long.

Bend your hanger into a circle and just tie on your strips. You could group a bunch of the same fabric together for a striped effect or just randomly place them like we did. It's super easy and was completed during our lunch break.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentines Update!!

A basketful of valentines arrived home yesterday.
There were the usual suspects: Buzz & Woody, Dora, Lightning McQueen, Disney Princesses

The usual trinkets: pencils, playdoh, and lots and lots of tooth decaying lollipops

And some standouts: NASCAR, a card printed from tinyprints.com with a picture of the child

But amongst 17 Valentines, there stood only one lonely handmade one.
And now, my quest for a new friendship begins. :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing Says I Love You Like Handmade

Let's get one thing straight: I do not love love. Nor do I love Valentines Day, a materialistic sickeningly sweet concoction invented by Hallmark to chase away the winter doldrums. However since having kids I have tried to feign excitement and of course if crafting is involved, I'm glad to participate.

Last weekend I made Valentines with the kids to bring to school. I did a little prep before hand by cutting out appropriately sized cardstock and stamping the names of each kid on the envelope. Then the kids used a new heart shaped punch which they enjoyed immensely, and I had them hand write their own names on the cards. Glitter and stickers were copiously applied. All in all it wasn't too bad pulling together 34 total valentines between two four year olds.

Last week we placed the cards along with homemade sugar cookies in each kids' basket at school. Tomorrow we get to pick up our baskets and see what we got. I have already decided that I will leaf through the Valentines and if any are handmade I will make it my priority to befriend that kids' mother(s). What do you think the chances are that any of those valentines will be anything other than an overpriced store-bought character plastered piece of garbage that the mother wrote the names on??? Come back tomorrow to find out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crafts With Kids: Contact Paper

In my crafting cabinet, one of my absolute favorite supplies that I return to is the roll of contact paper. A gift from a nanny several years back, this one role has taken two kids through several seasons of nature walk collections and stained glass artwork. Kids of virtually any age will enjoy placing things on the sticky paper. And as they get older the projects can evolve, like this one where we shared in the responsibility of cutting out shapes and then arranging them on the taped up contact paper, using our dining room windows as our easel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Best Gifts In Life Are Free

When people think about crafting gifts, they often assume it will be cheaper than actually buying something. This is typically not the case, at least for myself. When I come up with an idea, it always seems simple enough. But then after three trips to three different stores, I usually end up with a handful of expensive supplies and tools that I didn't realize I needed. And then factor in the time. If I actually "paid myself" for the time spent crafting, I'd be rich. (Of course, I wouldn't be able to afford myself).

In these days of tight budgets it's always wonderful to stumble upon a cheap handmade gift idea. To find one that is free, simple, and quick is like hitting the lotto. And for it to end up as something that people actually enjoy? Well, that right there is gift giving ectasy.

I've found the perfect free quick and easy gift. Fabric wrapped hangers. If you haven't received them yet, rest assured, you will by next Christmas!!

I was inspired by this tutorial at Corrieberry Pie. She created the hangers as a method of displaying the jewelery she is selling on Etsy (currently her shop is closed).

Simply put, you cut strips of scrap fabric (and don't be fussy, it's not going to matter if they are uniform!) Find some old plastic hangers, and using dabs of hot glue, wrap the strips around the hangers. Voila. It couldn't be easier. And they were a big hit with the ladies, I assure you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I laughed. I cried. I screamed. And then I sewed some binding.

The Single Girl Quilt. Remember it?

Well I finished. Months after the wedding, even months after the newlyweds flew back from their honeymood and hosted their first major holiday together. I finished it.

This quilt presented a few unique challenges. Of course there were the massive quantities of tiny shapes I had to first cut, and then sew together. I didn't find that part overly challenging, nor did I fuss too much about perfection (that's just not me, and to me, perfection just is not handmade). The real trial came when I had to quilt a queen sized quilt. I just had not anticipated the challenge I would encounter trying to lay such a large piece of quilted fabric flat on top of batting and backing. And then quilting it. Don't get me started. Shoving that giant roll into my tiny machine was not working. Even a larger, borrowed machine barely did the trick.

But in the end I was proud of pulling it together. This is by far the most ambitious quilting project I have ever taken on. I cried a few tears the day I had to give it away. But maybe someday, someday far from now, I will venture to make one again. But next time, I'm keeping it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How to Build a Birthday Party

There are few things I enjoy more than throwing my twins a birthday party. Picking a theme, handmaking decorations, and having family over to celebrate another passing year has grown to be one of the best coping mechanisms to get through these long New England winters.

Every party starts with a theme. This year was the first time the kids chose for themselves: The Lorax. Perfectly non-conventional for me! I used a board on Pinterest (have you used it? omg it's my most favorite internet invention ever! go there!) to compile inspiration shots from around the web. I was amazed by what I accomplished with a limited budget. Using supplies I already had combined with a few purchases from the dollar store we were able to create a fantastical day!

Handcut Birthday Banner from scrapbook paper, held together with crocheted cotton.

Paper streamers. I was inspired by Erin's Lemon & Lime Shower and will now make these for every event I host! So simple, cut 1 inch strips of 12x12 scrapbook paper, sew together in seconds! Tissue "Truffula Trees" tutorial by the great Martha Stewart.

I handcrafted a dozen unique headbands. Headbands are a staple at our birthday parties. These had butterflies, birds, and feathers. They were probably my favorite part in creation and execution!

Of course, paper crowns for the kids. Which they typically wear for around five minutes, but I can't let go of it!

Hand-drawn Lorax overlooking the gifts. Heard a tip that the Dollar Tree sells $1 foam board. Good deal!

And finally the favors - packets of "Truffula Seeds" with the kids picture. You know how I feel about weddings, but there are few better sites for DIY party flair goodness than Style Me Pretty. A quick search brought me right to this tutorial, with free template. Maybe weddings aren't so bad afterall!

And of course, we had a great time!! Happy 4, E&O.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Wreath

I was put in charge of making a Valentine's Day wreath for our office door. I
ended up with this yo-yo wreath that used all supplies I had at home.

For the base I used a sheet of bristol board. I cut a 10" circle. I made the base 1 1/4". I made a bunch of pink, red and heart printed yo-yos and glued them on with tacky glue. I then added buttons and trims that I had lying around. Easy, quick and a great way to use up some fabric scraps and odds and ends trims.

After finishing and hanging it up I wish I had made it heart shaped. But it was simple and easy and brightens up the door.
Side note: I treated myself to a few skeins of Debbie Stoller's Full O' Sheep yarn and it is lovely. It's great to knit with and is working up really soft. And the colors are fab.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Heart Ornaments

So, first off, I'm going to admit that my apartment has been fully decorated for Valentine's Day for at least a week (or two). I will also admit that half the crafts I did for the blog last year stayed up all year round. I am a full fledged lover of hearts and am always on the hunt for heart related crafts, no matter what time of year it is. I came across this picture in my scouring of the Internet for heart crafts. It was just a photo for inspiration and most of the other links don't work so I decided to just get to work.

I figured Heat and Bond would be the neatest and easiest way to make these. It keeps the fabric from fraying and if you want, there could be no sewing involved. I cut two squares of fabric and a square of Heat and Bond a little smaller (you don't want this stuff stuck to your iron!). I ironed the fusible to one piece of fabric, peeled off the paper, and ironed it to my other square. I then pinned my heart template down and cut it out.

I then stitched around my heart, glued on some ribbon and a button and hung with care. I made one without sewing around the heart and it worked fine but did curl a little at the round parts of the heart. So here are the finished products:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

christmas quilt

As soon as I saw the alphabet quilt in Stitch Magazine, I knew I had to make it for one of my favorite babies. The goal was to make it as her Christmas gift, which was slightly ambitious seeing as I was pregnant (read: tired) and had never actually made a quilt before. But it looked simple enough (usually the kiss of death for my craft projects) and used a lot of felt, which I feel relatively comfortable with.

The boxes and letters are cut out of wool felt--it's softer than regular felt that I have seen at craft stores. I was also able to buy it online in portions of yards so I was able to cut out some of the bigger letters and squares. First I sewed the letters onto the squares and then I used iron-on fusible web to stick the squares to the quilt top.

Here's the quilt all laid out and pinned up in front of the Christmas tree. I probably checked the order of the letters 25 times just to be sure.

I worked on the quilt slowly over the past couple of months and finished it on Christmas Eve--just in time! It's definitely not perfect, but for my first actual quilt, I feel like it came out pretty well. I can't wait to give it to h!

Here's the finished quilt with a peek at the comfy flannel backing...just don't look too closely at that mitered corner:

Wrapped and ready to go!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Me Plus You Designs

Kristen and I decided to try our hand at Etsy... and I think we did pretty well. Granted 3/5ths of our sales were to friends and family we still sold 5 of our 7 wreaths (the wreath pictured sold this week). Our shop is pretty bare now but stay tuned for new stuff to come... hopefully this weekend! Keep checking the shop for updates.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Every year I decide to make way too many of my Christmas gifts and this year was no different. After failing at a few sewing projects, I came across this awesome tutorial for potholders. These are the quickest cutest gifts that whip up super fast. It's a great stash buster craft too... But since I spend tons of time wandering the aisles of Joann Fabrics on my lunch break, I took advantage of the chance to buy all the great prints I've been coveting.

I followed this tutorial pretty faithfully. The batting is called Insul Brite and I found it at my local Joanns. I cut my squares 9" x 9" and used 1/2" seam allowance and then cut off the excess/squared them up with my rotary cutter. I also only quilted 4 or 5 rows as I found my fabric was shifting during topstitching and I was nervous about the fabric bunching up if I topstitched all the way. (Time to invest in a walking foot!). These sew up so quick... I think I made 3 pairs in an hour.