Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I am absolutely in love with these beautiful pink and brown lavender sachets. Each time I look at them I think of the lovely evening that my mom and I spent outside in the rain, flashlights and a cookie sheet in hand, picking organic lavender and lemons and rosemary from her garden. It was a simple moment but one that I cherish and these little sachets are just the thing to keep me thinking about those joyful snapshots of life.
Let me know if you'd like a set of these in time for Valentine's Day and I will be happy to chat with you!
Happy Crafting :)
I am now officially the owner of a sewing machine! All of the ladies in my life (ok, my dad and husband, too!) have been telling me for months that I need to stop sewing by hand, buckle down, and buy a sewing machine. So, I did! Through Costco of all places.
I unwrapped the newest member of our family this evening, and after finishing a paper for school, (which was tough with a new toy in the other room!) I set out to conquer the straight stitch. I have been dreading this for quite some time, to be honest, as the two machines I have tried sewing on have outsmarted me...but I actually sewed a straight line right out the gate...no one could have been more surprised than me!!
Well, I'm off to find a fun project to work on. Check back in later for the first finished sewing machine project!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I keep losing my sewing pins. Well, actually I think that my cat is stealing them and hiding them where we will strategically step on them! Anyway, I suppose it's my fault that I keep losing my pins and sewing needles because I've never had a pincushion. But, to be honest, I just can't get behind the little tomato pincushions so I asked Chris to design me a modern pincushion that looked like a tree (I was inspired by some Softie Christmas Trees by LucyKate Crafts but I wanted mine to be different dimensions, hence, the new pattern).
Chris diligently, and ever so methodically, made me a paper pattern fit for an engineer and, after asking him to explain the various tabs, slots and angles, I was able to follow his technical instructions to a tree (sorry, I couldn't resist the bad pun) and I think that they turned out to be absolutely adorable! I love the purple and green tree with the fabric flower topper and the big brown button on the green and brown tree really makes me smile. Not only are they cute enough to leave on my desk even when I'm not crafting, they are incredibly sturdy and practical!
(Yes, mom, I know I promised you the brown one...I'll give it to you soon, I promise!)
I am now inspired to see what other fun designs I can come up with for pincushions. I'd love to hear about your ideas...send me a pic and I will post them here with a blurb from you :)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Picture from wordpress.com
I absolutely LOVE the smells of lavender, rosemary and pine - among others. Even in the heart of winter, when the trees have lost their leaves, they can be found in abundance here in California. I know that I'm lucky to live in a place that offers these gifts year-round and I figured that I should start taking advantage of their wonderful uses rather than letting them wilt on their stems.
Age old tradition, and my fabulous sister, state that lavender should always be planted on the new moon and cut on the full moon but my patience doesn't always allow for me to wait for the full moon so my concession is cutting it at night. I am beginning to learn that some fragrant plants and some fruits and vegetables are best cut at different times of day. Unfortunately for me, many of the edibles in our garden call for morning harvesting so I am reveling in this tradition of harvesting lavender at night! There is something so magical about a garden at night ~ ever since I was a child I have envisioned the Secret Garden by moonlight.
If you have a garden, and it's not too cold where you live, go out one evening and play!
I have two plans for the lavender, pine and rosemary (beautiful handmade fabric sachets and organic bath salts!) but, for now, all three are drying in bunches in the garage. Stay tuned for the end products and tutorials soon :)
I was also thinking of doing some sachets and organic bath salts with dried citrus peels which are also in season here...something about the luxurious scents of lemon, orange and lime just say "clean" to me. Which scents speak to you?
Monday, January 18, 2010
I don't know about you but I can't even fathom the number of plastic bags and Ziploc bags floating around out there! I figure it's time to start reducing my plastic output so I found this tutorial a while back and then started to put my own little twist on each bag in the form of buttons, flowers, ribbons, etc. to give them a little flair. They all have a fun contrasting inner fabric as well. Of course, I gave all of the embellished baggies away so the baggies I have to post here are a bit less fun but there are more fun colors and fun embellishments in the making!
I can't imagine that I will ever run out of uses for these little beauties. So far they have held food, crafting supplies, notecards, batteries, toiletries, electronics, pencils/pens, and corks! My mom and I made about 30 of them and they made the most brilliant stocking stuffers and gifts for Christmas. They've also made great gifts for birthdays. I wrapped up a set for my friend in a pretty ribbon and clipped a fabric flower on top for fun. She loved it!
I would love to see your version if you make any! Either email me a picture or send me a link in a comment and I will post it to this blog :)
If you would like to purchase any of the baggies in this blog, or if you would like me to make you some in special colors, email me! I can either post them up on Etsy or do individual transactions. I'd be just as happy if you want to make your own...anything is a step in the right plastic-reducing direction :)
When I first started crafting, these cork wreaths were my first major accomplishment! I have made about eight of them now and they live in my friend's and family's houses around the country...one even went all the way to Michigan from my home state of California!
Cork Wreath Tutorial:
Step 1: Purchase a Styrofoam wreath (I purchase mine at Michael's but I am sure they are available at all craft stores) 12 inches in diameter.
Step 2: Spray paint the wreath using a dark brown paint. I used whatever we had lying around since it was going to be mostly covered anyway.
Step 3: I layer the inside circle with champagne corks - alternating right side up and upside down as shown in the picture below. I use a hot glue gun to glue the corks in place. You could use just normal corks but I like the thickness of the champagne corks.
Step 4: Use a hot glue gun to glue the on corks until you like the shape of your wreath! I asked my friends and family to save me corks and you'd be amazed at how many they found for me! Many wineries, restaurants and bars will also give you their corks if you ask nicely :)
Step 5: Attach either a hand-made or store bought bow using your glue gun or the twist tie that comes with many store bought bows. I love the Martha Stewart bows that they sell at KMart though this year the selection wasn't as good as in years past.
Step 6: Add embellishments like small ornaments, vines with grape bunches, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Step 7: Cut a circle with an outside diameter of 12 inches and and inside diameter of 8 inches out of a sturdy material (I used 1/4 inch Masonite and cut it with a Band saw - well, to give credit where credit's due my Dad cut it for me as the Band saw is at his house) then drill a nail hole into the top of the circle. Next, glue the Masonite ring to the back of the wreath - I find that wood glue works very well. *You may want to drill the nail hole after attaching the Masonite ring to the wreath to ensure that the wreath hangs exactly how you want it and you don't accidentally place the nail hole so that the ribbon hangs sideways...not that I have done that or anything! ;)
Step 8: Hang your wreath and enjoy!
I will be selling cork wreaths in addition to cork trivets and coasters on my Etsy shop once I get it up and running (I'm waiting for our new computer to arrive as our old one doesn't seem to want to run many programs any more!) but if you would like me to make you one of these beautiful wreaths please send me an email by clicking on the email tab on this blog. Vist again soon for tutorials on cork trivets and coasters!
Chris and I (with a little help from my parents!) made these cork coasters as favors for our wedding in 2007.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I always love making small Valentine's Day gifts for all of the women in my life and the one thing that they all have in common is an avid love of reading. So, after purchasing these adorable Valentine's Day fat quarters on sale at Joanne's today I thought I would take a shot at making hand-sewn bookmarks for all of the ladies on my list.
They were super simple to make - even for me who still does all of my sewing by hand!
Step 1: Cut two pieces of fabric 2 by 6 inches (on some I used brown felt as the backing and on some I used two corresponding fabrics). Then cut out a piece of thin cardboard 1 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches.
Step 2: Pin the fabrics (right side together) and trace a rectangle (using the piece of cardboard measuring 1 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches) onto the center of one of the pieces of fabric. Next, insert the cardboard cut out between the pieces of fabric and sew around three sides of the cardboard - following the pencil line traced onto the fabric.
**To add a seamless ribbon at the top, lay a piece of looped ribbon INSIDE the fabric layers (on the 1 1/2 inch side that will be the top of the bookmark when turned right-side out) with a small portion of the bottom of the loop sticking out and sew the three sides as mentioned above. (You would do this much like you would sew on a tag).**
Step 3: Once three sides are sewn shut, remove the cardboard cut out and turn the material right side out. Re-insert the cardboard cutout into the bookmark sleeve you have just created.
Step 4: Pin the last side shut (which will be the bottom of your bookmark) and top stitch.
Step 5: The possible embellishments are endless! I think I will make a few with applique initials and can't wait to see how they turn out. I really like the one with the button but after I did it, it occurred to me that it might be a bit too thick between the pages of a book.
P.S. I couldn't leave the guys out so I made them some bookmarks out of incredibly soft flannel my good friend gave me when she made pajama pants for her husband. I really wish you could reach through the screen and touch this material...it's amazingly soft.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
You wouldn't believe the things I find in the washing machine, being married to an ER Nurse...syringes, vials of narcotics (yes, those were returned to the hospital post haste), rubber gloves, alcohol wipes, pens, an old Burt's Bee's container of Vick's Vapor Rub, and, most recently, my Subaru keys.
I tried to unscrew the whole key fob device like I could on my Nissan keys after they took a little dip in the ocean but the Subaru fob has no screws! You literally can't get into the thing. So, on the advice from a brilliant little birdie from Washington I placed my keys, fob and all, into a container of uncooked rice and and when I wake up tomorrow rumor has it that all will be well. I sure hope it works!
Thanks, Washington Birdie ;)
Carrie knit this beautiful rainbow scarf and then embellished it with matching ribbons from Michael's. The ribbons make it so much fun! She also used a fabric flower that she made for an extra pop of color. And apparently, the scarf doubles as Max's new cat toy :)
I really wish that the written word would make a comeback in the form of hand written notes. There's nothing like rifling through the catalogues and impersonal mailings each day and finding a hand written note from friends and family. It is one of those small gestures that really warms my heart. I obviously love Facebook-ing (did I just verb a noun, again?) and email and google chat but they just don't hold a candle to note cards.
Here are a few of the most recent note cards that I have been making with the purpose of sending out "just because" cards.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I love flowers...real, fabric, painted...it doesn't matter! What girl doesn't?! I've discovered a fabulous use for the small fabric scraps left over from bigger projects and have been making colorful and whimsical flowers to adorn all sorts of things. I've used fabric, paper, tulle, beads, buttons, sewing thread and am going to try using the thick colored paper/cloth that came on the bouquet of flowers Chris bought me yesterday.
My favorite so far is a attaching a fabric flower to a plain colored beanie.
Carrie loves attaching them to scarves (pics to follow) and they are adorable clumped together on plain t-shirts and sweaters. The possibilities are endless!
To make these beautiful flowers cut three strips of desired fabric in varying lengths and widths. Hold the end of one strip between your thumb and forefinger and gather it together in a circular motion toward the middle to make petals. Once you have your desired shape, pin to hold in place. Once all three layers are made, sew them together with embroidery thread and embellish to your heart's content!