Jan 29, 2012

Crayon Decorated Pillowcases

I work with the young women of our church and we meet each week and do various activities.  Sometimes we meet for instruction and learning, sometimes we do service, sometimes we do crafts, but always we have fun.  Since it is the new year, the girls wanted to do something to reflect this year's theme "Arise and Shine Forth."  They decided on decorating pillowcases so that when they wake each day, they would be reminded to be examples of all that is good.  

Trying to be a good steward of the yearly budget for these activities, I was able to put together this activity for almost nothing.  Here's how to do it on the cheap:

•Make the pillowcases from sheets and trim them with fabric from your stash.  Did you know that hotels get rid of their sheets (usually for FREE!) on a regular basis?  Over the years I have used many of these sheets for other church activities.  I have turned several into table clothes.  I have dyed some and stenciled others to replicate stone walls (which were used to turn the gym into Bethlehem.)  Some have even been sewn together and had bricks and windows stenciled on them to create the building facades of Nauvoo, Illinois in the 1800's.   Yes, much to the dismay of my husband, I have a few boxes of sheets around the house!

•Instead of buying expensive fabric paints and markers, use regular crayons.  The girls colored their designs with crayons, then we heat set them.  Just put a layer of brown kraft paper under and over the design and use a hot iron.

•Once complete, give the design detail with a black permanent marker.  Try not to let the marker stay too long in one place, as it will bleed, but make your marks light and quick.

Jan 25, 2012

Keeping Warm With Angry Birds!

A few days before Christmas, my 10 year-old grandson requested an angry birds scarf.  So, a quick trip to the fabric store for a 1/3 of a yard of fleece, and a rummage through my scraps produced this scarf for under $2.00!  I used images from the internet for my pattern and attached all the pieces with heat 'n bond before appliqueing the edges.  It was a hit!  I also made him some stuffed angry birds and a pig using this blog as inspiration, but forgot to get a picture of them.  Those were a hit also!

Jan 17, 2012

Simple Sweater to Skirt

As far as upcycling goes, this is about as easy as it gets!  I just cut off the sleeves at the seams, then cut across the sweater about 4" down from the neckline.  (Of course, you will cut it off at a length that is right for you...allowing enough to turn down for the waistband.) I then placed the sweater inside out on my dress form (which I recently purchased...and LOVE!) and pinned the side seams to fit my hips and waist.  I stitched and serged the seams, added some wide elastic at the waist and that was it!  The matching leg warmers were cut from the sleeves and stitched to the right size.  I serged around the bottom edge.  Easy peasy and comfortable!  If the necklace in the AFTER picture looks familiar, you may have seen it close-up in this post!

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Jan 14, 2012

Its About "Time"

Yes, its about "time" I did something with my ever-growing jewelry stash!  

I have a thing for jewelry and so does my sister-in-law, Kathy, over at Katalina Jewelry.  We have spent quite a few hours lately going through tubs and tubs (and I mean BIG tubs) of costume jewelry that is a by-product of The Jewelry Lady's (that's what she calls herself) precious metal business.   We love sorting through the piles of mismatched earrings, broken necklaces, watches, brooches, etc. looking for what we regard as treasure!  After several hours, our hands are dirty and our eyes are tired (especially if we forget our reading glasses...although, not to worry, sometimes we even find a pair of reading glasses in the pile!), but we are thrilled to walk away with a shoebox full of bling.  Then we get home, we dump out our treasure and sort through it all over again admiring the silver, gold, and rhinestones.  All the while trying to ignore the "why on earth do you need more jewelry?" look that is on the faces of our understanding husbands.    (Okay, maybe my brother doesn't give Kathy that look, but I have seen it on the face of my husband...a lot!)  I have tried to organize it the best I can.  I have great plans for it...someday.  But Kathy has issued a challenge to herself and I want to take on the challenge, too.  She has vowed to make something new each month from her stash of jewelry.  You can check out her January design here, it's beautiful!  For a real treat check out her series of jewelry made from shoes, her salt shaker necklace, and a cool piece she calls "Road Trip." You can also visit  her Etsy shop...she is one talented lady!

There's no "time" like the present, so on to the challenge.  I picked through some of the pieces and decided to build a design around a pocket watch I had picked up at a garage sale.  I threw in a few more pieces to work with.

As you can see, the pocket watch has a locomotive on it.  As a rule, I like trains.  My dad worked all his life for the railroad and I loved going to the train yard and looking for "Herbies" that were scrawled onto the freight cars.  Those are fond memories.
But, for this project, a train was not what I was looking for.  So, I removed the cover of the pocket watch.  I actually had to take the whole thing apart to reposition the watch face in the upright position.  It was kind of a pain and the watch doesn't function anymore, but its better than looking at it side ways!  I used wire to work a couple of round watches into the design.  I imagine that if I would put new batteries in them, they would actually keep time.  The flower at the base of the watch is an earring.  Originally, it had a screw-type back.  I removed the screw, but left the loop. This created a nice place to dangle a charm.  I did add another small silver piece to cover the hole at the top of the pocket watch that was exposed when I removed the cover.  After it was finished, I had fun finding interesting ways to photograph it in my backyard!

Hanging from the grape arbor using a low f-stop to blur the background.

Hanging from the grapevine.

On the old wooden bench that made its debut in this post.

Frozen rainwater (with yard debris) in the wheelbarrow. 

Broken down rocker used as a planter.

An old rusted metal suitcase.

Another wheelbarrow...no frozen water, just rust-covered with fallen leaves.

I knew there was a good reason for not doing Fall yard clean-up.  It gives me great backgrounds for taking pictures!  Well, what are you waiting for?  "Time" is of the essence, so start creating today!

I link to these great parties!

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Knick of Time

Jan 9, 2012

A Pajama Party and Bokeh!

How much does it cost to make four pairs of pajamas and two nightgowns?
$30?  $40?  $50?
Well, let me tell you...

big chunk of flannel from the thrift store...3.99
flannel sheet from the thrift store....2.99
bias trim from the thrift store...50 cents
four clearance-priced t-shirts....4.00

TOTAL= $12.97
(That's about $2.16 per child!)

Not too bad!  I used an old pair of pajama pants to make the pattern for the boys.  The girls' nightgowns were made using this pattern from Sew, Mama, Sew!  I did add a ruffle to the sleeves and bottom of the nightgown for added detail.  The nightgowns seemed a little wide in the chest, so in the future I might cut them down a little.  All in all, it was a pretty easy pattern.

Christmas Break was like one long pajama party!

And what's a pajama party without making a few goofy faces?

I also thought I would try my hand at Bokeh before the Christmas lights came down....and not just regular bokeh, but shaped bokeh.  I learned the technique by following this tutorial at The Hobby Room.  It's a pretty fun technique with amazing results.




I'm excited about this technique and can't wait to experiment more with it!

Jan 5, 2012

Dollar Store Crafting-Activity Bags

I don't know about you, but I think The Dollar Store should be renamed The Twenty Dollar Store.  It seems that every time I enter that store, I can't leave until I have at least twenty dollars worth of stuff in my basket!  But, they do have some good stuff!  I figure a post every once in a while of something made from dollar store supplies might be kind of fun.  First up are activity bags, each made from two place mats and a pot holder.

Supplies needed for each bag:

2 placemats (one for the body, part of one for the handles)
1 pot holder, rectangular w/ pocket and loop (if it doesn't have a pocket, that's alright, you just won't be able to make small pockets to hold crayons)
8 zip lock sandwich bags
1 2/3 yd. double fold bias tape
1 yd. or less wide ribbon (enough to go around the circumference of the bag)
1 button
needle and thread
tape measure
chalk (or whatever your preference is in marking lines for sewing)
sewing machine

Pictures for this tutorial are unfortunately going to begin part way through the process (on account of some accidentally deleted photos!)  Therefore, I will try to explain the best I can.  Begin by cutting two strips about 1 1/4" wide by the width of your place mat.  These will be used for the handles.  The rest of this place mat won't be used, unless you want to fashion a pocket from it and stitch it to the bag.  You could also get by with just one place mat if you use ribbon or something else for the handles.  Next, finish the edges of the handles with double fold bias tape.  Position the handles on each end of the place mat (on the right side) and baste in place.  Apply the wide ribbon to the edge of the place mat, covering the ends of the handles.  For added strength, top stitch where the handles attach as seen in the photo below.

Next, fold the placemat (with the ribbons and handles already stitched on), right sides together.  Stitch the side seams.

At the bottom corner of each side seam, open the seam flat and stitch a boxed corner at each corner.

Turn the bag inside out.  This is the view from the inside.

This is the view from the outside.

Your bag is now complete.  How simple was that?!

Next on the agenda is the potholder organizer.  I wanted small pockets for twist-up crayons, so I measured off ten equal spaces and stitched them from the top of the pocket to the center of the potholder.

Once I completed that, I tested the pockets with the crayons.  Oops! They were too tight.  So I picked out every other seam which left me with five pockets.

The crayons fit much better with two crayons to a pocket.

I wanted zip lock bags in the middle to hold other supplies.  I had the hardest time finding the right bags! I really wanted the kind of bags that actually have the little plastic sliders to close them.  But....all the brands were too wide and the bags hung out over the edges of the potholder.  So I had to settle on regular zip lock bags that are made just a touch narrower.  Lay the bags on top of each other, alternating every other one.  I used eight bags, four each direction.  I held them in place with large paper clips.  Mark a line down the center.

Stitch the bags in place.

A view of the back.

Trim away the excess plastic.  Now I know that some of you might think it would be easier to use snack bags.  You could, but I think they might be harder to keep in place while you stitch them.

Stitch a button on the outside and fill it with fun stuff!

And there you go...a cute bag that can be filled with all sorts of fun stuff to keep little ones quietly entertained!

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