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

March 31, 2010

Bulletin Board Strips

I've been wanting to bring some fabric into our desk area.  At first I thought of doing a fabric bulletin board (like HERE) but it wasn't quite what I wanted.  And with those big boards, papers hang down and cover a lot of the board, so why not have open spaces for the papers to cover.  I came up with this idea - bulletin board strips.  They were pretty simple and I just hung them up - and love them!  Here's a quick how-to:

First I had some scrap boards (leftover from the desk my hubby MADE - he's awesome!) so that's the size I chose.  It's totally up to you on dimensions.  You'll also need fabric, corkboard, a staple gun, and picture hangers.  First lay your board down on the cork to trace and then cut out a piece to cover the front of the board.  Do the same for the fabric, but be sure to cut it bigger than the board because it needs to wrap the edges.
Lay your fabric right side down; center the piece of cork on it; place your board on top of the cork and fabric.  Wrap the fabric around the board and staple the long sides.  I love the PowerShot staple gun - I'm a whimp and I can use it.  This process is just like recovering chairs if you've ever done that.
Now for the corners - staple the point down and then each side.  See the picture - this will help your corners lay nice.  Then staple down the short sides.
Now you can attach your picture hangers.  Or if yu have a fab helper, you can convince them to drill in keyhole pockets so the screws will slide in and help the boards hang flush.
Then hang them on your wall, stand back, and admire your craftiness.
This post will be linked-up to several Link Parties - check out all the fab stuff!!

March 30, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Car Seat Cover

All I can say is WOW!  I love seeing what you all are crafting out there.  Meg sent in a picture of the car seat cover she made.  I was impressed by the picture alone but when she told me she just made it up herself I was blown away.  I thought surely she used a pattern or detailed tutorial, but she just carefully cut apart the old cover, making notes as to which pieces when where, and then used the old pieces as a pattern to make the new cover - unbelievable!  Great job Meg, and thanks for sharing!  Here's another picture where you can see how she has soft pink fabric for around baby's head (and what a cutie!):

As always, just shoot me an email if you want to show something off on Take-A-Look Tuesday - keep those crafts coming!

March 29, 2010

Sand Decor

I worked on several projects this weekend, but only steps of them, so I don't want to show any of them just yet.  So I thought I'd quickly share something I did in our half-bath.  My sister-in-law gave me some old glass milk bottles - way cool!  I just made a quick tag and filled them with sand from places we've been.  I love having an empty one, as if I'm going to fly off to a beach at a moments notice and gather more sand.  I also love seeing how sand is different from different places.  So far the kids haven't dumped out the bottles and tried to make sandcastles - let's hope they don't read this and get any ideas!

I don't know what's happening with my pictures - that first one posted short and wide - wierd...

March 26, 2010

Leggings With Flare

The skirt my daughter is wearing is too big and so it's not reall doing justice to these super cute leggings!  I had a couple of followers email me because they found some really cute leggings and wondered if I could show how to make them.  So Sara and Marissa, this is for you!!         I whipped up the leggings and wanted to make a matching hairbow, but didn't have enough scrap ribbon, so I just gathered what scrap I had and hand-tacked it on a shirt instead.  My daughter loves it all and wore this outfit for two days straight.  You will not believe how easy this is - let's get started:
First, gather your supplies.  "The Look" is to have the leggings hit mid-calf.  I happened to have some footless tights in my giveaway pile because they were too small for my daughter - perfect.  Too small just meant too short - they'll still fit around the waist.  If you need to go buy footless tights, buy a size too small so they'll be short.  And then I had some leftover ribbon - that's where you can be creative - try some wild colors!
As I was considering how to make these, I figured you'd gather the ribbon, then sew it on to the tights - pretty simple.  But it's even easier than that!  I was thinking about my earlier use of my gathering foot and how it works, and thought of a new plan:
When you put the tights around the arm of the sewing machine, they are pulled taunt.  So when you sew the ribbon on top, they're feeding through at different rates - same concept behind the genius of the gathering foot, and you don't need any special foot.  So just sew on the ribbon, making sure that the tights are pulled tight.  When you take them off the arm of the machine, you'll see that it ruffles up all on it's own.
Since I wasn't sure how much ribbon it would take to go around the bottom of the tights, I waited to cut the length until it was sewed down, so it didn't have a finished edge.  I just overlapped a little, then folded the end over and sewed it down, as shown:
Seriously, that was it!!  Sew a ribbon on the bottom of footless tights, and voila, Leggins With Flare!  Some more pics of my daughter - she would not stand still!  And really these look so much cuter in person!
Are you digging through your discarded tights stash right now?....
Update: Here's the link where you can find similiar leggings for sale - check out BonBonCupcakes and all they have to offer (I'm sure theirs are much higher quality than mine) - their stuff is really cute!  I LOVE how they package the leggings -just like cupcakes!! 

March 24, 2010

Photo Books

The craft of making photo books can be overwhelming, but it's worth doing.  My kids love flipping through the books and talking about the fun they had.  I found the best way to go about making a photo book is to focus on a certain event so it's not overwhelming - a family vacation, a child's birthday, pictures from a photo shoot, etc. 

Here's my thoughts on a few publishers:
Photoworks - I got my Photoworks book for free with a code a little before Christmas.  I was amazed that they offered a hardbound book for free!  Their quality is first-class.  The layout software was alright - easy to use, no downloading needed.
Blurb - I got my Blurb book for half-off,plus free shipping.  I used it to make my baby a book with pictures from his first year.  You have to downlad their software, but they were my favorite in layout because I didn't have to stick with the templates provided - I could arrange the page how I wanted, drag picture boxes to just the right size, etc.  I liked the freedom I had in design, but for a novice it might be a little harder to work with than other programs.
HotPrints - this comes more like a magazine than a book, but does it matter - it's FREE every month - free book, free shipping!  There is an advertisement in the middle, but it pulls right out.  It was fun to make a book of pictures of the kids in the snow - I normally wouldn't have made a book from these non-monumental photos, but for free, why not.  This month I plan on taking pictures of all the ships my son has built out of legos and making that into a book for him.
Picaboo - never tried them, but I will because if you use the code AFFLGB before March 31st you get a free book.
Blog2Print - I've never used them either, but have a friend who likes them.  The thing here is that you type in your blog address and it turns it into a book for you - seems easy.  But I must blog too much - I tried doing 2009 from my family blog, and it was $95.

Are there any PhotoBook Publishers that you love?   Feel free to share them with us in the comments section.  Now go make a book!
Opinions are my own -these sites don't even know I exist or that I'm talking about their products

March 23, 2010

Take-A-Look Tuesday: Matching Aprons

I guess it's an apron kind of week - Kate sent in this picture to show off a gift she made.  Yes, that's me and my daughter modeling for her, and no, the aprons weren't for us - Kate is lucky that I took it off because it was REALLY cute!!!  She used a pattern, I'm not sure which one (Kate, if you're out there, leave a comment on the pattern make and number so we can all go get our own) and the pattern came with an adult version and a kid version.  And do I ever love that fabric!  Thanks for sharing! (Have you done something crafty you want to show to the world?  Email me and you could be featured on our Take-A-Look Tuesday!)

March 22, 2010

Full Apron Tutorial

Everyone has a cute apron, right?  Well, not my mom, and it was her birthday.  I actually didn't even think to make her an apron until I saw this chicken fabric (you know, she has the craziness of chickens) and it screamed "make me into an apron!" - so I did.  I have only made half-aprons before (like HERE and HERE) but figured a full apron is just a half apron with a top, right?  So this is my first full apron, and I tackled it without a pattern.  I'm sure there are better ways to put it together, but here's how I did it.  With all the pieces already cut out, the assembly just took however long my son's naptime was.  Enjoy!

Update - - I made another apron using this same tutorial (for me this time!) and talk about it here: Full Apron Again

And I used a pattern and made one for my sister-in-law here: Inspired Apron

~ How to make a full apron ~
First pick out your material - fun material is what makes the apron super cute, so choose wisely.  I bought 1 yard of my main fabric and 1/2 yard for my trim.  I think I have enough leftover to make a matching potholder (add that to the project list.....)

  •  I cut my pieces as follows, but then adjusted them later - this is up to you - you can hold pieces up to yourself and see how you'd like them to fit.  Here's where I started, measured in inches:  Bottom 28 wide by 19.5 long; Top 14wide by 9.5 long; Waist (cut 2) 28 wide by 3 long; Ties (cut 2) 28 wide by 2 long; Top Trim (cut 2) 14 wide by 2 long; Pocket (cut 2) scrap fabric whatever size; Neckband, cut to taste (I think mine was 4 inches long and however wide to make it all the way around my neck and hold on to the apron).
First comes the boring part of sewing - all the prep work.  I love to see a project coming together and that doesn't happen at this stage.  But prepping makes everything ready to go.  First the pocket.

First sew or embellish anything you want to put on the front of the pocket - ric rac, fabric flowers, hand embroidered name, iron-on transfers, or keep it plain.  Then sew your two pocket pieces right sides together - leave a hole for turning and clip your corners (see first pic).  Then turn it right side out and topstitch the top of the pocket to make it lay nice.  Fold under where the hole is so you don't see the raw edge - iron to hold it in place if you need to.

Place it where you want it on the bottom piece and sew around 3 sides (leave the top open).  And the pocket's done.  Some cute pocket ideas: centered, off-set, two circle pockets, mini-pockets, one giant pocket, etc - get creative! 
Now prep your ties.  Fold them right sides together, sew up the edge, and turn them right side out.  (During the turning I realized that next time I'll cut my ties wider so it would be easier to turn - later I discovered an AMAZING tool that will turn it in a matter of seconds)  Then iron them so that the seam is in the back, not on the side.  Then turn one end in and sew it to finish it off.  Set aside.  Do the same thing to the neck band.
Prep the bottom - I added a couple of pleats at the top of the bottom piece to give it a little body.  About 6 inches in from the edge I folded the top over on itself as pictured - you can sew this to tack it down, but I just pinned it.  Then you'll need to finish the bottom edge - you can hem it or add trim - I added a ruffle (I posted about it HERE).  After you finish the bottom edge, finish the side edges - just hem each side.  Fold over the edge just a little, iron, fold again, iron, and stitch it down for a permanent hold.  Do the same thing to the sides of your top piece. Almost time to start putting things together.  But first take your waist and top trim, and fold over and iron down the ends so they will look finished.
On to assembly - the fun part!  Lay down one of your waist pieces face up, then place the top of your bottom piece face up, then lay down your other waist piece face down, as shown.  Stitch the top edge.  Then iron it up to make it lay nice, so the place where you sewed becomes the bottom edge of your waistband. 
Next iron down the top edges of your waistband.  Place the top piece inside the waistband, put the two waistband pieces on top of each other, and sew the top edge of the waistband.  Notice how I ended up slanting in the sides of my top piece instead of using a straight rectangle - you can do it however you'd like.
Now put the trim on the top of the apron just like you did the waistband.
But before you sew the top edge together, sew a piece of velcro on the back side of the trim - you do this first so the stitching will hide inside the trim.  Then when you sew the top edge of the trim, stick the unfinished edge of the neck band into the trim so it gets sewn in.  Sew the sides of the trim shut as well.  On the other side of the neckback, sew velcro where you would like it to attach to the apron.
Finally add your ties in to the open edges of the waistband - just stick the unfinished edge in the waistband.  I folded the waistband a little at the end to reduce the size heading into the tie, as shown.  Sew several times since this spot will get a lot of pull.
Voila!  Cute chicken apron - here it is, with the chickens in the background.  That's not my mom, just my apron model.    So go make an apron!  They're really fun because they give you the opportunity to practice sewing techniques (like that ruffle) and use really fun and wild fabric that you wouldn't pick for anything else.  Think of adding fun trims or ric rac or practicing using bias tape - you can do it! (oh, and does anyone know what the words on this apron mean?  I assume it's something to do with chickens - hopefully it's nothing obscene....)

If you're wanting to print this tutorial out, try this link to eliminate the ads, etc:

March 20, 2010

Gathering Foot - wow!

Have you ever seen this before??  Me either!  The other day I was reading some craft blog (that's what everyone does when they get a spare minute, right?) - I wish I remembered which one so I could point you there - anyways, they were talking about a Ruffle Foot for your sewing machine that would Ruffle as it sewed - sounded fabulous!  So tonight I thought about adding a ruffle to the bottom of a project I'm working on (more on that in another post....) - I checked and had no Ruffle Foot.  But what did I come across - a gathering foot (shown above) - never opened - that came with my serger.  So I thought I'd give it a go.

First you place the material you want to be gathered on bottom, face up:
Then you slide the material you want to be flat face down (that will make "right sides together") in that groove thing:
Here's a side view with a very small scrap of fabric representing the piece I wanted flat - it gives a better view without all the extra fabric and fingers in the way:
So you just run it through, with settings on your serger like they said in the instructions that came with the gathering foot.  Hold the top, or flat, material taunt and you feed it through - I wouldn't say tight, but definite pressure.  The two materials will feed in at different rates - make sure you have a longer piece on the bottom (trust me on this one...)
So when I was done I checked my experiment - voila!  Where has this Gathering Foot thing been all my life??  And where was it when I gathered and sewed layer after layer on those Pink Fluff Skirts!? - that whole project could have been waaaay faster.  Super easy, great results (I had already ran a quick topstitch before I took the picture - that's the red thread):
Do you have a gathering foot?  Don't you want to run and check right now??