Chillin' wiht my Peeps

FREE file to make a super cute spring shirt

Mini Photo Frame Banner

A cute and simple way to display mini pictures - come find out how to make one for yourself!

Pony Bead Lizards

Learn step-by-step how to make pony bead lizards

Glitter Felt Hairbows

Add a little sparkle to any little girls wardrobe with these DIY hairbows!

Perfect Crisp Lines

Find out the trick to getting perfectly crisp lines on name signs

February 25, 2010

Frame, embellished with vinyl

I've seen vinyl lettering lots of places - on walls, nightlights, jugs, mirrors, boards, and so forth.  But I had never seen it added to a picture frame until we received this frame as a gift for Christmas.  I love it!  The upper left corner says "When families gather..." and the lower right corner says "hearts warm."  I want to put the perfect picture in it - I haven't taken that picture yet, but I though the one of my kids in snow would do for now.  I had to get a picture printed today because over at Walgreens you can get a free 8x10 (today only) - so for free I thought I'd pick something to fill the frame that's been waiting since Christmas.  And I had to do a quick post so you could grab a free picture too, for all your picture-frame-crafting needs.

February 24, 2010

Rag Rug Tutorial

~ How To Make a Rag Rug ~
I think I've already mentioned that I LOVE watching the Olympics - every sport is so fascinating.  I normally don't watch so much TV, so I feel like I need to do something while I'm watching.  It had to be something I could sit and hold, that required minimal thought.  This Rag Rug was perfect - I made it while watching last week.  In fact, last summer Olympics I did the same project, just different material - I made it for my girls' room and I actually like it better than the one I just made, but I wasn't in tutorial mode back then.  Here's a visual so you can see how the rug looks in different colors and shape (round versus the oval).

On to the tutorial.  First, gather some fabric - if you go buy it, this project is going to cost more than you want it to.  I suggest using old sheets - keep your eye out for them at thrift stores and yard sales.  The pink/purple is from sheets - the yellow/white is actually discarded curtains I had made years ago to divide a room.  So after finding your fabric you need to get it into strips - mine are about 1 1/2 inches wide but I didn't measure each one - just guesstimate.  You can cut them, but I found that ripping went much faster.  To do this, just cut  the starts to your rip lines, then rip the rest, as shown.  Then wind up the strips into balls - it's an extra step but you'll be glad you did it.
Now I don't want to scare anyone away, but this is a crocheted rug.  Don't panic if you don't crochet - it's really just making loops using a hook.  You can do it.  Go buy a big hook.  Here's a video on the basic loops you'll be making - watching it, you'll think, "that's it?! I can do that!"

Did you see where you poke the needle in to grab the loop?  Here's a picture - usually it's not so defined, but I stuck my finger in the holes so you could get a good view.  And if you can't find the exact hole, don't worry, something close will work.

If you've watched the video or noted the picture, you know that I started in the middle of the project.  That's because I wanted you to know how easy it is once you get started.  The downside to crochet is that the beginning is always the hardest - and who wants to start something they've never done at the hardest step? - no one, but trudge through it and it will get easier, I promise.  So here's the begining, via video:

Once you get a middle to your rug started, you just go along making loops like the first video showed. 

Now, if you glazed over the videos because you know the basics of crochet, then let's get back to the rug.  Think about running around a track - the person on the outside lanes has to take more steps than the person on the inside lanes to make it around - they can take the same amount of steps on the straightaway.  So you make crochet stitches along the straightaways, but when your making turns (a circle rug is just one big turn) you'll want to make a chain stitch every handful of stitches - that's like taking an extra step to make it around.  You make a chain stitch like I showed how to start - you don't poke into any holes, just make a loop on the strip.

Another thing unique to rag rugs versus normal crochet - your balls aren't one continuous strand.  You don't have to sew them together - there's an easy solution.  You cut a small slit in the end of a strip - then thread the beginning of the next strip through the slit, and fold it over - hopefully you can see how in the pictures on the left.          You'll have to let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them - obviously I'm no crochet expert (I can't even remember what this stitch is called - double crochet?) but I'll try to let you in on what little I know. 

You just keep going around and around until it's as big as you want it.  After you're done, you tuck in any strips ends that are showing (there will be alot) - just push them to the underside of the rug.  I was aiming for a smallish rug.  Mine got a little wonky in the end, but that's what I get for not knowing how wanting to use a crochet pattern or anything.  I think I just added too many chain stitches around the corners be cause they don't lay completely flat - but I'm just claiming that it's the charm of handmade (and I stuck the wierder side under the changing table so it's less noticeable).  But even though it's wonky, I think it warms up the corner in my  little boy's room.
My goal was a cozy little corner where he might want to check out a book or two.  I guess it's working, maybe a smidge too well....

February 23, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Flower Accessories

Once again, I have something SUPER CUTE to share - flower accessories from Meg.  I love how the giant green flower landed on that hat - I would have never thought to use green, but it really works.  She saids they're really easy and fun to make - her instructions are:

To Make:

Pull apart flower

Remove plastic pieces

hot glue gun petal pieces back together

cover middle with rhinestone or button

Glue gun to headband or ribbon-covered clip
See - you can do it!  Go buy some big fake flowers right now - I know I want to.  I made some of these a while ago (see HERE), but Meg has me motivated to want to make more.  Below are some more cute pictures of her darling models and their flowers.  (And a secret on the hat - she just handsewed a couple of headbands together to make it - wow! great idea!  you're scrolling to the top picture to take a closer look, aren't you?!)

Thanks for sharing Meg! As for the rest of you, don't forget to take pictures of your crafting successes so I can share them with the world - just click the "email me" link on the left. 

February 21, 2010

Tin Cans - made pretty

We all know that gift giving is just as much about the presentation as it is the gift itself.    I love this idea of giving gifts in tin cans - super cute, and waaay thrifty.  I've seen this idea on several craft blogs and you can check them out, but here's my take on the how-to tutorial.
First - this is VERY important - use the right can opener.  This project requires a Safety-Edge Can Opener (like the one from Pampered Chef) - it cuts along the SIDE of the can, while a regular can opener cuts along the TOP - here's the difference in a visual so you can see what I'm talking about:
If you use a regular can opener, the lid falls right through, and for this project you need to put the lid back on (you'll see...).  So grab some paper and measure your can to see how wide of a strip to cut - then cut it:
Mine didn't quite make it all the way around so I had to cut a couple of strips.  Just make it work.  I used a glue stick to attach it - tape would work too.  Nothing fancy needed.
You also need to cut a paper for the bottom of your can - this will actually become the top - just trace around the lid you cut off, or the bottom of the can.  It's cute to do this in contrasting paper, but I didn't for the tutorial.
Then put the can over your treats.  Then hot glue the lid back on - I found it worked best to put the hot glue on the rim of the can, not the lid - it was very hard to photograph this step - by the time I snapped a pic, my hot glue had cooled to unusable - so I gave up.  I'm sure you can picture the step. 
Now, can you see why the bottom of your tin can became the top of your gift can?  Since you hot-glued the lid on, you want them to open the other side, so the hot glue bead doesn't interfere with the recipient using their can opener.  I made a few cans with cookies but gave them away so fast that I forgot to take a picture. 

The picture to start this post is of a #10 food storage can - it's huge, and it'll be so fun to fill it full of goodies and give it away.  No matter if it's cookies or hershey's kisses or a can of pennies, anything is fun to get if comes like this!  Oh, and another thought - I just noticed that I have some canned Pineapple that have a pull-tab top - wouldn't it be fun to open them with my SafetyEdge can opener from the bottom, fill them with treats, glue the bottom back on, and watch someone pull the tab to find their goodies - oh the possiblities.  So next time you open some cans, save them and get to crafting :)

February 19, 2010

Money Jugs

My mom received some old wheat from someone's food storage to feed her chickens (yes, my mom has chickens - she's gone crazy!).  The wheat came in these great glass jugs - my mom threw a couple out before she realized they could have crafting potential.  So she saved the rest for my kids.  I also had some vinyl stickers of their names from a neglected project, so I used those to label the jugs.  I love when putting a sticker on something counts as crafting!  Oh, and did you notice my helper - I got the camera out and she informed me "I'll stand here so you can take the picture" - she thinks I only take pictures if kids are in them (well, I guess she's mostly right).  Anyone else love vinyl?  If I didn't have an embroidery machine, it would be my splurge of choice....

February 17, 2010

Fleece Fringe-Tied Blankets

These are probably the easiest ever blankets to make - you've probably made them already.  But if you haven't here's a quick rundown.  Mine are 1 1/4 yards long, so the size is 60x45inches.  First you'll want to cut off the selvedge edge - that's the side of the fabric.  Sometime's it's white, but other times it blends in with your pattern - even if it blends in, cut it off - it curls and if you leave it on the blanket doesn't look as nice.

Next cut your fringe.  I cut mine along the 45in edge only, but you can do all the way around if you want.  You just cut strips about 1 1/2 inches wide, 4 inches into the fabric.  But I didn't measure each cut - you can eyeball it.  Then on each piece of fringe, tie a knot.  These are single-layer blankets so you don't tie strips to other strips, just make a knot on itself.  Even kids can join the fun.

It's pretty fun and super easy - a perfect project to do while you're watching the Olympics! (I have a whole list of projects to do during my obessive Olympic watching - stay tuned to see how much I get done...)

February 16, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Dimensional Stars

I had to do a shout-out today to Marge - it's her birthday! Hope it's a great one. She sent in these stars so I'm excited to share them with you (I think the picture isn't of the ones she made, but of ones similiar).   After making a couple the stars were attached, with backs together, to get the dimensional look. All those fun papers in the craft stores: the possiblities are endless. Go try some! Thanks for sharing Marge - and have a great birthday!!

February 13, 2010

Simple Valentine's Eats

Just a couple of quick, easy ideas to make Valentine's Day extra special:

When making pancakes in the morning, bust out a heart-shaped cookie cutter (be sure it's metal, not plastic). Just set it on your griddle and pour the batter into it. Let it set for a couple of minutes and then pull the cookie cutter up with some tongs (cause it's hot). Voila, heart shaped pancakes. Fun and easy. If you want to go all out, add some red food coloring to your batter - it doesn't get better than red heart pancakes.

For a special treat, make jello gigglers hearts. Just mix 4 packages Jello with 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Still til dissolved and pour into a 9x13 pan. Stick it in a pan for 3 hours. When you're ready, set the pan in a sink of hot water for a second to release the jello from the bottom of the pan. Then use heart cookie cutters to cut heart-shaped jello for a yummy treat. No pics of ours because they're still in the fridge, waiting out the 3 hours before we can cut them. It'll be the perfect snack for tomorrow.
Happy Valentine's Day!

February 12, 2010

Cake Pops go pink

Many of you have probably already made Cake Pops by Bakerella, but stay tuned to find out the yummy recipe we discovered. I've made them before but apparently didn't blog about it, because I can't find it in my archives. Anyways, we did this as an activity for our playgroup - fun times!

First you bake a cake. Then just take your baked cake, crumb it up with a fork, and add a can of frosting. (Ignore the giant cake pices in the picture - we forgot to crumb it up until after we added the frosting - oops). Stir it up until the frosting is all over the crumbs.

Next you roll the cake mixture into balls. We got creative and pressed some of the balls into heart shapes (heart ice trays picked up at the Dollar Section in Target) but it's easier to just to balls. Did you see my little helper's shoe in that last picture? Yes, he had climbed onto the table and was munching the remains of cake goo.
Anyways, on with the story. Stick the trays in the freezer. If you rolled balls, just put them on a cookie sheet and stick that in the freezer (or if it's still Bitter Cold in your corner of the world like ours, you can just stick everything outside like we did) - leave for about 30 minutes. Next melt some Candy Melts - you can buy these at Michaels with your 40% off coupon. Try 30 seconds in the microwave, stir, and another 30 seconds. Repeat until almost melted (with a few chunks left - then just stir and heat will melt the chunks). Don't over-cook the candy melts (don't ask how we know....). I have no pictures of melting or dipping - I guess we were concentrating too hard on the process. But you just drop the ball/heart into the melted melts, swirl around until coated, lift out with a fork and give a couple of "taps" to get off the extra coating, and set somewhere to dry. You can cover them with sprinkles if you want. Or shove a sucker stick in before you dip them. There's lots of possiblities - check Bakerella - it's unreal!! Here's ours:

Not quite as cute or perfect as Bakerella, but we thought they looked fun enough. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of how cake pops actually taste - the candy melt is bland and the cake is so rich. I felt that again with the chocolate ones we made. But we also made a batch with a FRENCH VANILLA CAKE and STRAWBERRY FROSTING combo - it was DE-LI-COUS!! I'd highly recommend that combination!!! And it made the insides pink - an added bonus. So go make some!!

February 10, 2010

Fabric Flower - a revelation!

As I posted a week or two ago, I was attempting fabric flowers. Well, I've been working with more and tried several different methods until I stumbled upon a revelation: GATHERING! With some gathering, previously lifeless flowers gain the "umph" factor they need. I put together a quick little tutorial for those who like the visuals. I know you're probably tired of the pink satin and tulle (me too!!) but I'm using up my scraps. Plus they'll match the skirts I made (that you could win!). Here we go (but first take a minute to admire my little model - what a cutie!):

Cut a strip of material - the wider it is, the taller your flower will be. The longer it is, the bigger your flower will be. Fold it in half and sew the raw edges together - I used a serger, but you could just zig-zag it instead.

Next, along your serge/zigzag, baste (that means sew with a wide stitch). If you'd like tulle wound into the flower, put it on top of your material and then baste. I found that if the tulle was gathered before adding it, it had a lot more body.

Be sure to leave tails of thread. Pull on one and gather your strip. Below half is gathered and half isn't - see the difference and the "umph" that gathering will give. At this point, if using tulle, it should look like a bad garter purchased at a discount store. On to the hand sewing.Wind your strip around and around. Just hold the serged/zigzag edge - use pins if you need to. Sometime's this step is easier if you hold the flower upsidedown. Don't worry about poofing - the gather should give that effect for you.

Final step, get your needle and thread (it's very helpful to have it threaded and ready to go before you begin - instead I tried to thread mine with one hand while precariously holding a flower wrapped just so with the other hand). There's no right way - just hand sew the back a bunch to hold the flower together.

And that's it - here you go. You can attach it to a baby headband or hairclip or just stick a bobby pin through it and pin it in.

I started experimenting with different styles. I made one without tulle wrapped inside and added a tulle edge at the end instead (like my little model is sporting on her headband). Then I made some "shabby chic", leaving a raw edge. Here's a quick how-to on the raw edge with a tulle border - same basic idea as above, but don't fold your strip of material. Then stitch your baste (sew with a long stitch) without adding tulle.

Pull your tails and gather so it looks like this:

Then wrap around and sew the bottom as show above. After that is done, take some pre-gathered tulle and hand-stitch it around the underneath edge.

And that's it. Here's another look at the variety (3 shabby chic on the right-ish) - but don't try to replicate any of these - it's too hard. I tried to replicate the ones I really liked, but I could never make the same one twice. They all came out different. I guess that's the fun of it. Anyways, go try making one!! You can do it right now, while I head off to a manicure......(those up close pictures of my hands - yikes!)

And don't forget, I'm giving away a Pink Fluff skirt - scroll down a couple of posts to enter!! (ends Wednesday evening - hope to ship it in time for Valentine's Day)