Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

While at Pacific Fabrics today I stumbled across this Paris-themed fabric. At $19 a yard, I didn’t want to get too much, so I settled on a 1/4 a yard just to make something small. I ended up combining two different free tutorials to make this cute wristlet purse:

This is the primary pattern I followed:

Triangular Bag

and I used the strap instructions and instructions to attach them from this Wristlet Tutorial

You can follow the instructions for the Triangular Bag, but I took some photos of the points where I struggled.

Step 1: cut fabrics (directions on the triangular bag tutorial)

Step 2: cut strap fabrics (found on the Wristlet Tutorial)

Step 3: cut 2 small bits of fabric 1 inch wide and about 2 inches long and sew them to each end of your zipper. Follow the directions on the Triangular Bag tutorial. Don’t cut 1 inch square pieces, make them 1 inch wide and 2 inches long! More is better – you can cut the excess later.

Step 4: attach 1 lining and 1 outer fabric to the zipper, the Triangular Bag tutorial has a photo of how to layer the fabrics and the zipper. The outer fabric should be facing DOWN, the lining fabric should be facing UP, so they are facing right sides together. The zipper should be sandwiched in between, with the zipper facing UP.

Step 5: attach the 2nd lining and the 2nd outer fabric to the zipper.

In this photo, I had sewn the zipper to the lining and outer fabric, and was working on attaching the 2nd piece of lining and outer fabrics. I struggled to figure out how to layer the fabrics. This photo shows how they should be layered.

Step 6: unzip the zipper so it’s open. DO THIS or you will have nothing to pull the whole bag through once you’re done!

Step 7:Β  put the bag aside and make the strap. Follow the measurements and directions on the Wristlet Tutorial website. You can get away with using 18-20 inches long by 3.5 inches wide, whatever your preference. Just remember you will cut off 2-3 inches of the strap to use for the zipper pull handle.

Fold the fabric in half “hot dog style”, iron, and then fold each side toward the center and iron again, so you end up with this:

Iron again, and then stitch a line down each side. All this fabric folded over and over again makes it quite sturdy.

Step 8: arrange your bag so the inside fabrics are facing right sides together and the outside fabrics are facing right sides together. Pin them in place this way.

Step 9: attach the straps to the bag. Remember, there are two straps: one to help you grab something when you pull the zipper, and the other for dangling the purse by your wrist. You cut them from the same strap of fabric you just created.

You have already pinned together the right sides of the outer fabric. The straps go in between the right sides, with the scrappy ends facing out with the scrappy ends of the outer fabric:

This is peeking inside through the bottom of the bag pinned together, showing the straps.

Step 10: sew around the edges of the outer fabric, sealing in the straps in the process except the corners. (pictures on the Triangle Bag tutorial)

Step 11: pinch each corner of the outer fabric together and sew across (pictures on the Triangle Bag tutorial)

Step 12: repeat steps 10 & 11 for the lining fabric, except leave a 3 inch gap along the bottom, to pull the purse through when you’re done (pictures on the Triangle Bag tutorial)

Step 13: pull the bag through the hole in the lining,

Step 14: sew the hole in the lining closed.

Step 15: push and pull fabric to all the corners are poking out and not bunched up.

Step 16: admire your adorable bag!


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oops. Life kind of got in the way of keeping my blog updated!

Currently I’m working on our Summer Bedroom still, with hopes of moving in within the next few weeks. I’ve accepted the wall color, and have forged ahead, busily working on a multitude of projects at once:

  • DIYing roman shades
  • DIYing a headboard
  • bleaching and stenciling (?!? maybe?!?) a white IKEA rug

I just can’t sit still. Plus, a relief to my frustration with one project is to start another.

However, I did successfully make some pretty cool necklaces the other day, my first finished project taken from something I pinned on Pintrest:

I also made one with royal blue beads, and used so few beads that I am now tempted to go back and buy the more expensive “precision cut” seed beads that come in WAY cooler colors, like turquoise from the tutorial:

After I made my necklaces and compared them to the inspiration picture, I went back and re-braided them more tightly so they sagged less and the definition of the braids were more apparent.

My comments about the project are these:

  • I used half a of a jar of size 5/0 beads (the jar says 40 grams). The salesperson at Ben Franklin told me the “precision cut” beads come in 7 gram bottles. These smaller bottles came in a much wider variety of sizes. (Since I didn’t know how many beads I would need, I bought the cheap-o ones at $1.99. After the project I realized I could have bought about 3 of theΒ  smaller bottles (priced at $1.75 each) and it would have been a worthy investment for the prettier colors available. Next time!)
  • The recommended 20-22 inches for the chain was too much in my opinion, and I ended up using about 12 inches total, and I still find it hangs a little low for my taste. Luckily I used a lobster clasp so I can adjust the necklace length as I want.
  • Braid the strands tighter than you think you should – they sag a little once they aren’t being pulled taut. I went back and re-braided both of my necklaces.

I think that’s about it! It’s a great tutorial and is very easy to do. I’ve always wanted to do something with beads and chain and make a necklace or something, and this was definitely easy for a beginner. In fact, I feel a little inspired to make a bracelet, strictly a braid. Cute, huh??

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I’m always on the lookout for things to spray paint when I’m at Goodwill. I originally went looking for an entryway table but left with this cute little guy:

Or…..not so cute, huh? He’s a little dated looking….but I saw the potential in those huge, adorable eyes.

Not to mention a quarter in grad school prepping squirrels for another graduate student’s research caused me to develop an affinity for the little creatures.

(yes, by prepping I mean taxidermy, and yes it was very cool and interesting and now you wish you went to grad school to study museums.)

Check out my little friend now:


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Flower Poof

For Valentine’s Day, Johnny bought me carnations and roses. I killed the roses pretty quickly, but the carnations look great still, so I decided to clip them really short and arrange them into a little post-Valentine’s Day poof:

I love carnations because they last forever and are so full. I have another bouquet of white carnations in another case that I’ve had since the Super Bowl (a little decoration for our party).

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On Black Friday a friend of mine and I stopped by Pier 1 Imports. There, I fell in love with a pillow that featured a huge felt flower covering the front. I wanted it except it was like $50 (or something higher than $12, which is like my limit for pillows, haha).

from Pier 1 Imports website

So I decided to make my own, one that will match our decor better and I can look back on and say, “I did that!” I did a search to see if others have had the same idea, and of course they had. I followed this tutorial: Petal Pillow Tutorial on Cluck Cluck Sew

Gather supplies:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the pillow
  • 1/2 yard of felt – get nice stuff on a bolt, not the crafting squares and not the stuff that is thin and looks like it may pull apart at a moment’s notice.
  • something to trace on – cardboard or cardstock works
  • something to make circles with – I used glasses, one with a diameter of 3 1/2 inches and one with a diameter of 2 1/2 inches
  • scissors, thread, sewing machine (although I suppose you could hot glue the petals down…)

This yellow felt is so dreamy and smooth! I got the felt and fabric from Pacific Fabrics. The fabric is Fandango by Kate Spain.

Draw your circles using glasses or something round!

Using your template, cut out felt. I cut out 4 circles at a time by folding the felt and pinning the template to them. My cat helped (she was laying on the felt and was very annoyed when I took it away to cut circles).

I cut out 30 large circles and 20 small circles. In the end, this was too many.

Cut the circles in half. I just folded two at a time and cut.

Ta-Da!!! Now I had 60 big petals and 40 small petals.

The next thing to do is cut your fabric that the flower will go on – I cut mine to 18 inches square.

(no photo!)

At this point, I decided to prepare the other pieces of fabric for the back side. This way I could just sew on the petals and then piece the entire pillow together. But when it came time to cut the fabric for the back of the pillow, the tutorial lost me. I have never made a pillow before and I couldn’t figure out why I had to cut a square for the front and two strangely-sized rectangles for the back. Then I realized that the two rectangles will overlap on the back and create an opening where you can stuff your pillow. AH-HA! πŸ™‚

The directions say to finish the short edges, but you should finish one of the 18 inch lengths on each of the two rectangles. I figured this out after finishing the short edges and pondering why the pillow wasn’t going to fit together.

Finally, with everything prepped, you can work on the flower! First, draw a circle on the top side of your fabric – I used the lid to a pot. Make sure to leave about 5 inches on all sides of your circle.

Now it’s time to sew. Lay one of the big petals on your drawn-on circle, and sew it down. I stopped about 1/4 inch short of sewing the whole petal down, and then laid the next one down to overlap the first one. I continued this around the circle.

The next row I moved the petal down about 1/4 inch and again went around the circle. I am a perfectionist and paid a lot of attention to how the petals were laying in relation to one another, and getting each petal just right. At this point, the cat was really annoyed that there was no fabric to lay on.

On the 4th row, I started using the bunching technique to give the flower more volume. I bunched every single petal from here on out. All I did was make a little fold in the center of the flat edge that kind of looked like a ‘Z’, to increase the thickness of the petal and add some dimension.

When the remaining fabric exposed in the enter was just less than 4 inches in diameter, I switched to the small half circles. I bunched all of these, too. It became very difficult for the last 2-3 rows because I was sewing round and round in tight circles, but I was very patient and bunched the felt just so.

At this point I ended up stitching each petal down completely, and then backing up to give myself more room to scrunch up the next petal.

For the last row or two, I used a different bunching technique to make the petals smaller and increase the volume. (I have it upside down in this photo – you want that folded flat piece to be on the bottom)

Finally at the very end I cut a circle about the size of a quarter from my left over felt and stitched it in the center to cover the edges of the last row of petals. Ta-Da!!!!

Now it was time to put the whole thing together. I laid my flower facing up, and then laid down one of my rectangles facing down aligned with the left side of the pillow, so the two right sides were together, and some of the pillow was still exposed.

Next, I laid down the other rectangle in the same way, but aligned with the right side of the pillow to cover the exposed pillow.

See all the layers?

Then I pinned the whole thing together, and stitched around all the edges. I turned it inside out, and voila! A beautiful flower pillow. Of course by this time it was pretty dark out, so I had to use the flash.

Without the flash:

Detail shot:

Now, I am not a sewing expert, but the tutorial said this would take 30 minutes, and it took me the better part of 5 hours! I took lots of breaks to take pictures, eat lunch, read and re-read the directions, try to figure out why I’d sewn the wrong seams, make sure I had enough fabric, struggle with perfectionism with the petals, but still. It was way more than 30 minutes. Maybe there was 45 minutes of sewing petals. I’d say altogether the pillow itself likely took me 2.5-3 hours.

Finally, I was left with quite a bit of petals: 19 large and 14 small. I have a little bit of the orange fabric left, so I might make another flower to put on the remaining fabric and make something out of that. We’ll see.

We’ve been having some weird weather in the northwest over the past month – massive amounts of snow and ice, then days and days of pouring rain and warm weather, and lately thunderstorms and wind. So I haven’t gotten a chance to take photos of our exterior Christmas lights yet. And then today I discovered one of our huge ornaments outside fell off the side of the porch where it was hanging, but someone must have noticed it and brought it back, because it was at the bottom of our front porch stairs! It’s a little beat up but not too bad! Next year I plan on spray painting them anyways πŸ™‚

Also, I purchased a pattern for this quilt and I hope to embark on making my first quilt after the new year. Until them I plan on spending quite a bit of time contemplating fabric choices. Stay tuned.

image from Quilt Taffy

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This fall and winter has been a crafty period of time for me. Some friends of mine and I have been getting together weekly for craft night, and I’ve been doing a little bit of crafting on my own. I picked up the most recent Martha Stewart magazine because I was mesmerized by the sequin balls. Over the past week I’ve been making tons of them! Here’s a how-to:

Step 1: Gather Supplies

You will need:

  • wooden beads – $4 for a bag
  • strands of sequins – $1 a yard and a yard makes about 2 big beads
  • scissors
  • glue (I tried tacky glue, mighty mend-it, and super glue)
  • embroidery thread or some other method of attaching them

Sequins: I tried my hardest to find turquoise or light blue sequins but no such luck. Instead I purchased fuchsia circles on elastic and iridescent light purple squares from Pacific Fabrics, and light pink, gold, lime green, royal blue, purple, dark blue, iridescent purple, and teal circles at Joann’s. Pacific Fabrics sequins were of a better quality, and cost .50 more per yard. It really didn’t matter in the end, but I liked having a variety of colors to choose from.

Glue: the instructions say to use tacky glue, but that takes forever to dry, and while you’re wrapping the beads with the sequins, the strand moves and pulls and not only gets wonky but gets glue everywhere. The only way I got this method to work was to do a small section (about half the circumference of the bead), let it dry, and go one. It took FOREVER. and I am an impatient crafter, so I moved on to the Super Glue. This worked like a dream, although you have to work fast to apply and then put the strand on the beads, and of course there’s definitely no adjusting the sequins. I completed beads in about 15 minutes each! Later over the weekend my mom and I made some more, and she had Might Mend-It on hand. I would say this is an in between glue between tacky glue and super glue. It went on like tacky glue, but it dried much faster, although not as quite as fast as super glue, giving you just enough time to make adjustments and perfectly lay the sequins.

Step 2:

Apply a thin strip of glue around one end of the bead.

Step 3:

Attach the loose string or the end sequin to the glue, and hold it in place as you wrap the rest of the sequin strand onto the glue and bead. I found this to be the hardest part – even with the super glue, the strand didn’t want to stick right away.

Step 4:

Continue adding glue, and then the sequin strand.

Step 5:

Now you are ready to work on the 2nd row. Gently angle the strand of sequins to start the next row so you won’t overlap the first row. I found the sequins laid best if you try to place the string portion of the strand (on the underside of the sequins) into the small groove between the previous line of sequins and the bead. Also, if you are using a quick-drying glue, you can gently pull the strand taunt as you go, and it will lay much nicer.

Step 6:

Continue Step 5 until you have wrapped the entire bead. Snip off the strand about 2 sequins past where you want it to end – in my experience a sequin or two always fell off, so it was best to overestimate where the end would be. Add a dab of glue where the last sequin will lay and press it down firmly.

My mom and I with our completed necklaces:

Hers are purple, royal blue, iridescent purple, teal, and purple. Mine are fuchsia, light pink, gold, iridescent light purple and fuchsia.

Here are all of the beads I made:

You’re done! I made 10 sequin beads, and made them into necklaces using embroidery thread that I doubled up. I would recommend using some sort of clasp so you can easily take the beads off and mix and match or use them for other purposes.

I may make more pink ones to make into ornaments for my pink Christmas tree!

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oooo, boy, I am neglecting the blog again! oops!

I’ve been soooo looking forward to the holidays this year! Last year we moved into the house a few days into December, and put up some lights on the porch, found a Christmas tree, and called it good. So this year is kind of like our first real Christmas in the house.

We Seattle-ites had a crazy snowstorm last week, and I managed to get two days off work because of it, giving me a very extended Thanksgiving holiday!

I decided that because of the snow, and the fact that I was stuck at home since Johnny took my AWD Subaru to work, I’d get out the Christmas decorations! This year, I decorated my white tree in gold and pink (last year was gold and green).

I also spray-painted a cute little tree I picked up at Target a fun turquoise, and decorated another mini tree in all green.

Now we just have one more tree to get…a real one for the living room! I think it will look fantastic in the bay window!

And you know what else I want? an old tinsel tree. I’d loooooove one of those!

I also made a wreath, but am afraid to put a hole in our pristine new drywall, so it’s leaning against the wall on a table for now. πŸ™‚

Once the single-digit weather subsided, it was easy enough to go out in the rain to hang lights on the exterior of the house. This year we splurged on brand new all-white LED lights so the look will be uniform and energy efficient. We also got little clips so that they will hopefully hang in a straight line on the edge of the porch roof. Next year we’d like to purchase a harness so we can hang lights on the very peak of the roof, so this year we’re limited to decorating just the porch and lower level. Which really suits us, anyways, since we’ve dedicated most of our time, money and energy to remodeling the downstairs. With a nonfunctioning bathroom and drafty rooms, we’ve treated the upstairs like it doesn’t exist (except for working on projects and as storage and my craft room!)

Anyways, in the spirit of decorating the front porch, we even bought outdoor light fixtures (ours are all capped off with metal plates) and red light blubs! Can’t wait to install them all!

Once we finish getting the lights up, I’ll take some photos.

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