Friday, December 30, 2011

Handmade Christmas: My Gift Round-up

I hope everyone has been enjoying the holiday season!  Christmas was a success at our house, although I think I ended up unwrapping about the last 3 or 4 of the girls' presents.  They were pretty much over it.  Gift overload!  My husband and I hardly bought them anything, but Grandma is a different story :)  They are enjoying all their new toys and books, though.  They also got this ridiculously cute pink tutu skirt that I'm pretty sure my younger twin would wear every minute of every day if possible.  

Anyway, I said I would show you the gifts I made for the special people in my life, so here's a little round-up.  Some are from previous tutorials I posted and some were made from the wonderful patterns and tutorials that are posted on other blogs.  I have linked back where appropriate so you can make these treasures for yourself or your loved ones!

First we'll take a look at the girls new hair clips.  These were in their stockings!  I made a headband from Jess' great felt flower tutorial and gave each girl a poufy knit hair clip from my own tutorial.

     Rolled Felt Flowers

My mom had asked for a small purse she could take with her to choir practice and other places when she didn't need a big handbag.  I knew the sweet little Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae was perfect!  I picked a cute blue outer fabric and lined it with yellow (Mom's favorite color).  I also wanted her to have something zippered inside in case she had money to carry (Mom & Dad are the treasurers of their choir), so I made a coin purse using this wonderful tutorial I found at n'stitches designs.

           Buttercup Bag

            Coin Purse

Dad wanted a dust cover for his synthesizer.  I made one from a heavier weight, almost canvas-like fabric.  I didn't take a photo because really...when it's not on the keyboard, it looks pretty much like a big piece of fabric!  Ha!

I have two best friends and I made something for each of them that really reflects their personality!  For BFF #1, I made this shirt and I LOVE it!  I might have to make one for me!  It was an Anthro knockoff that I've seen pinned many times on Pinterest.  I'm so happy with how it turned out!  I just traced a shirt that fits her mostly for the armhole depth and measured for length and width and kind of winged it!

Again with my bathroom, LOL.  And apparently I suck at making decent faces for self-portraits.  Oh well.  For BFF #2, I made this adorable patchwork tote bag from these amazing fat quarters we found on Etsy.  Who doesn't love Etsy?  And she loves the tote!

I have 3 brothers and one came down for Christmas, which was awesome!  I hadn't seen him in almost 2 years, which is really sad :(  I was so happy to see him!  One of my gifts to him were the magnets from my glass bead magnet tutorial.

My final handmade gift has to be one of the funniest things I've ever made, but I love them!  Unless you live under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of Angry Birds.  Well, the adorable Care at Obsessively Stitching has tutorials for how to make plush versions of all of them!  How fun is that???  I made these right before Christmas, so I only had time for 5, but they were a huge hit!  The girls think it's hilarious to have them thrown at them, so we've had lots of real life Angry Bird games around here since then.  They were meant for the hubs, but the girls have pretty much taken them over.

Her tutorial spans several blog entries, but you can find the original red bird tute here and then link to the rest from there!

So there you go!  My handmade Christmas.  Did you all make gifts for the special people in your life?  I'd love to see!  Send me an email or link to your blog/photos in the comments so we can all share in the joy!  I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year!  See you all in 2012!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Just realized...

I won't be posting photos of my handmade gifts before Christmas because I already wrapped them and forgot to take pictures of at least 2 of them.  Whoops!  Oh well...I will show you all after Christmas!  

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings in the coming year!  See you after Christmas!!  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Glass Bead Magnet Tutorial

Here we go with the last tutorial of this year's Handmade Christmas series!  I hope you've enjoyed these simple gifts that you can make for your family and friends.  This last one is quick and easy and appropriate for a wide range of giftees, so let's get started!

We will be making these cute magnets from glass beads!

To make them, you will need:

-Assorted scrapbook paper
-Mod Podge (I made my own, so you get to see my awesome glass jar, haha)
-A brush to apply the mod podge (I use a kids paintbrush, but those cheap foam brushes from the craft store or Walmart work great too!)
-STRONG magnets...don't get the cheap ones.  You need ones marked "extra strong" or something like that
-Glass craft beads...the kind you fill the bottom of a vase with.  You can find them at any craft store.  Make sure they have a flat bottom side, you don't want the round marble kind!
-Strong glue to adhere the magnets (I used hot glue, but E-6000 would be great)

First you will want to cut your paper to fit your glass beads.  I find it easiest to position a bead directly over your paper.  That way you can see what design will show through.  Then simply trace around the perimeter.  It's best to put the tip of your pencil just under the lip of the bead to make sure your paper doesn't come out larger than your bead!

Cut out your paper!  You can use so many cute designs.  I'm making these for my brother.  He loves green and his name is Dave, so I used a green "D" and some other green papers.

Next you want to apply a GENEROUS layer of Mod Podge to the back of your glass bead (the flat side).  

Now take your cut out paper and apply it face down into the Mod Podge (you want your design to stick to the flat side so you can see it through the front!)

You can apply more Mod Podge over the back of your paper if you want.  Just allow it to fully dry before trying to glue on the magnet.  Once it has dried, take one of your magnets and glue it into the center of your paper.

That's it!  Now make a bunch and you have super cute handmade magnets to hang up your children's masterpieces, the local take-out menus, fun family much better than the 12 year old pizza delivery place magnet, right?

Ooh, next I want to take my cookie sheet and cover it in cute scrapbook paper to make a fun magnetic board like I saw on Pinterest!  One project at a time, though...Christmas is coming too fast!  I may be taking a short blog break to enjoy the holidays with my family, although I'd like to try and post some of my handmade gifts.  We'll see!  It's going to be a busy week!  I hope you get all your gifts done in time...and if you are already done, stop looking so smug!!  :) 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Dresses - Part 2

Simply because we don't have enough to do around Christmas, I decided to make another set of Christmas dresses for the girls!  Honestly, when I looked at all the things we have going on this month, it really made sense for them to have another holiday dress...maybe one that isn't quite as dressy as the first one.

I had ordered some of this gorgeous fabric for a dress I was making for a client - it's from the Kumari Garden Holiday line by Dena Fishbein for Free Spirit Fabrics.  Seriously, it's so pretty online and even better in person!  I'm pretty sure the day it came in the mail, I told my BFF that I was going to marry it.  She was like "soooo, the hubs is out and the fabric is in?"  Awkward.  But seriously, it's beautiful.  I knew when I got it that I would be making something for the girls too!  I went with a simple pillowcase style dress.  Easy for them to wear, but cute at the same time.

Why is it that when you ask a 21 month old child to stand still, they either promptly run away or lean up against the door like they're getting a mug shot taken?

Like I said...running away (and always in 2 different directions)...

Or looking for food...

And finding food...

Crazy girls!  In their defense, this was right after church and they were ready for lunch.

I had to make them matching hair clips, of course!

So now we have another pretty dress to get us through all the hustle and bustle of the holidays!  I made it pretty large, so hopefully they can get at least one more Christmas season of wear out of it.  I also love the fact that this fabric isn't so "Christmasy" that they couldn't wear this dress in the spring.  Yay for longer use!  

I hope everyone's holiday preparations are going well!  I should have another Handmade Christmas tutorial up for you this week and then next week I'll round up all the gifts I have made for my family and friends!  Until then, enjoy your holiday projects!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Dresses!

During one of my thrifting trips this summer, I found these amazing vintage pillowcases in a cranberry stripe with an off-white background.  Even though it was August, I knew immediately that they would somehow turn into the girls' Christmas dresses!  I was so excited, I actually made the dresses in late August!  I held of hemming until now, since these two seem to grow about an inch a week, but finally they are done and ready for Christmas!!

The girls are so cute, I am so tempted to break my self-imposed rule about not putting their faces on the blog, but I'm staying strong, LOL.  The blog is about sewing anyway, not how cute my kids are, right??  :)  Anyway, about the dresses...I'm pleased to say the dress is completely my design and I am very happy with how they turned out!  

The pillowcase was originally striped horizontally, so I cut it on the bias to get a diagonal stripe for the skirt.  The bias cut gives the skirt such a nice drape and swing when the girls walk.

I somehow managed not to take any pictures of the back, but it buttons up the back of the bodice.  The front has a faux placket with matching buttons that are just the next size down from the closure buttons.

I love the little details like the rolled hem on the gathered placket, the ruffle around the bottom of the bodice, and the gathered sleeves.  The top of the sleeves are gathered, plus I sewed elastic just above the elbows.  I placed it in the sleeve, pulled it as tight as I could and stitched it down, just around the outside.  It makes the bottom of the sleeves bell out and I think it's so adorable with their tiny little wrists sticking out :)

Now I just need to get the Christmas cards printed!  And apparently iron the dresses, based on the pic above, haha.  I hope everyone's getting as excited as we are! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Scrappy Wreath Tutorial

I was planning on making my mom a cute little wreath for Christmas...and then I thought about how many wreaths and how much Christmas stuff she has and I started to change my mind!  Then I remembered that last year she was looking for something for the spring to hang on her door, so the wreath idea was reborn, just in different colors!  

Want to make a cute scrappy wreath of your own?  It's so easy!  Let's get started!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Ruffle & Ribbon Tote Bag Tutorial

Finally I'm getting back to the Handmade Christmas tutorials!  Today I'm going to show you how to make this adorable tote bag!  

This is a fantastic Christmas gift because seriously...who couldn't use a cute tote bag?  Now that the girls are 20 months old, we're past the point of needing a huge diaper bag, so this tote was perfect for our recent travels.  When we'd stop to eat, I'd just stick in a couple diapers, wipes, bibs, cups and a changing pad and we'd be all set!  It has a small interior pocket to hold loose items and the bag itself is not too big and not too small.  Want to make it?  Let's get started!  (Warning: this post is picture heavy but I always figure it's better to have too many than too few!  As always, if you aren't sure about how I did something, just shoot me an email!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Ironing Board Cover! (Sort of a tutorial :) )

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!  We had a great time visiting with family, but after over 14 hours in the car, we were all glad to get home.  We had two wild girls dancing and whooping around the house when we got 12:30 AM!  It was crazy.  They quickly realized how tired they were and hit the hay :)

Now that we're trying to get back into the swing of things, I'm working on Christmas gifts and simultaneously being more and more disgusted by my old ironing board cover.  It's the one that came on it and it's cute enough, but it's stained, cut (by my scissors...whoops) and has interfacing stuck to it in various places.  I decided it was time for a new one, and whipped one up!

It was pretty simple.  First I just laid out my fabric (an old tablecloth...yay for upcycling!) and then turned my ironing board upside-down on the wrong side of the fabric.

Then I took my fabric pen and traced around the outside edge, leaving about 3" between my line and the edge of the board.  This was no scientific measurement - I just took the amount of the original cover that was wrapped around the bottom (about 2" on my board) and then added about an inch to make a casing for my drawstring.  It's a little hard to see, but you can see my purple fabric pen line in this picture.

I cut the whole thing out, folded around the perimeter 1/2" and ironed down, then another 1/2" and ironed down, then stitched close to the edge.  When I got to the corners and the top curve, I had to pleat them a bit, but once you insert your drawstring or your elastic, no one will be able to tell, as you can see in the picture below!

My original cover had a drawstring so I just recycled that and pulled it through with a safety pin.  You could also insert elastic into your casing and use that...just measure the perimeter of your board and then cut that much elastic.  Insert the elastic and test fit it onto your board.  Figure out how tight to pull it, then pin the elastic at that point and stitch it together and close up your casing.  And you have a pretty new ironing board cover!  

Now that my family is healthy and we are back from our Thanksgiving trip, I will get back on track with the Handmade Christmas tutorials this week.  I have a cute tote bag to share with you, so stay tuned!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US.  I'm very thankful that except for a cold or flu once in awhile, my family is healthy!  I serve a risen Savior who loves me!  I have beautiful children and a husband I love dearly and who love me back!  We are blessed indeed!  I hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Back to health and a finished quilt

Just wanted to check in and let everyone know that our household is full of healthy people once again!  Wow, that was one terrible flu!  I'm so glad it came last week and not this week!  We have lots to do to get ready for Thanksgiving.  We'll be seeing my husband's side of the family, including a new nephew we haven't met yet!  Very excited about that!

After finally recovering from the flu, I managed to finish the t-shirt quilt I was making for my friend!  It turned out so cute!

Sorry for the terrible's amazingly hard to get a picture of a big blanket!  LOL.

Anyway, I'm happy with it and so was my friend, which is the most important thing.  She's moving to Michigan, so I backed it with some super snuggly fleece.  I also used the fleece to bind it, which was interesting.  I used this tutorial from Prudent Baby.  It was a fabulous tute and the easiest method for binding a quilt I've ever used.  The fleece made it a little tricky just because of the thickness.  If you use this method with fleece, I would recommend cutting the binding just a bit wider to help with the bulk.  It was hard to catch the back of the binding in the right spots.  It's a little wonky looking, but I'm probably the only one who will notice :) 

It was so cozy to work with, I might need one for soon as I recover from making this one!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Oh, flu season!

It is here with a vengeance.  Our family was hit hard this week, starting with one twin, then the other, then passing on to my husband and me.  I'll spare the gory details, but I was the last to get it and the last to get better.  I'm finally starting to feel a bit better now, but I'm afraid I haven't done any sewing at all this week!  Unfortunately that means the next Handmade Christmas tutorial will be delayed.  I have a super cute tote bag tute planned, and hopefully I can get it posted before Thanksgiving next week.

I hope everyone is staying healthy out there! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Poufy Flower Hair Clip Tutorial

Let's keep going with our handmade Christmas!  This sweet little clip is a great stocking stuffer for the little girls in your life...or for the not-so-little girls! 

It only takes a few things to make and is super easy!  See how to make them after the jump!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Busy, busy

It seems like that rush to the end of the year is really upon us.  I'm trying to keep things slow, but the weeks just fill up and fly by!

I worked on hemming a bunch of pants this weekend.  Not the most exciting work, but it helps pay the bills :)  My big project right now is a t-shirt quilt I'm making for a friend who is moving away.  She wants to remember her years at her job here so I'm taking t-shirts (she was a sports nurse at a local school) and turning them into a quilt.

I'm not going to do a tutorial per se on this project.  It's time consuming and labor intensive enough without adding photos and instructions for a tute!  I'll share some of my tips in another post, though.  For now, the top is done and it needs batting, backing, binding and quilting.  No big deal, right?  Hahahaha!  

I do take custom orders for the quilts if anyone is interested.  You send me your t-shirts and any special instructions and I'll get it done!  Pricing varies depending on size, but most run in the $175 - $200 range.  Contact me for more specifics!  

I should have another handmade Christmas tute for you sometime this week! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Handmade Christmas: Snowman Ornament Tutorial

I promised tutorials for a handmade Christmas and here is the first one!  Today we'll be making these adorable snowman ornaments!  

They are super easy and you can get the kids involved!  These make a great gift for grandparents, especially with the handmade touches brought by the littles in your family.  Or keep them and decorate your own tree! 

To make a snowman ornament, you will need:

Wood craft circles (available at any craft store)
Craft wire (Also available at the craft store.  You can get it on a spool or in a package.  Mine is 26 gauge)
Assorted buttons (at least 3 for each snowman)
Hot glue gun
White paint (I used the cheapy kids stuff)
Small paintbrush (Again, I used the cheapy kids one :))
Black permanent marker and/or other embellishments

You can ignore the hammer and nail in this photo.  Inspiration struck while I was working and I changed horses mid-stream.

Okay, let's get working.  First, lay out 3 circles on your work surface.  I like to use a big, medium and small circle for each snowman, but you can choose the sizes you like!  Find something to protect your work surface (oh look, a political ad!  Perfect!).  Put some paint in a little container (I chopped off the bottom of a foam cup) and paint the front surface of your circles.  You can choose to paint the front and back or just the front.  I did the front and the side edge of the circles, but left the back plain.  This is a great time to get the kids involved and let them do the painting!

Let the paint dry thoroughly.  Once Santa's little helpers are down for a nap or at school, get your hot glue gun heated up.  Place a small bead of hot glue on the top front of your largest circle.  

Place the bottom of the medium sized circle onto the hot glue, attaching the two circles together.

Repeat with the next circle, placing glue on the top front of the medium circle, then placing the bottom of the smallest circle onto the middle one.

Next, take your buttons and decide where you want them.  Place a small bead of hot glue onto the back of each button and glue into place.  You can see I really took the time to line mine up here, LOL.

And then make faces!  Here's another chance to get the kids involved!  You can be as creative as you want!  I just used a black Sharpie to make these.

Now we need a way to hang our snowmen!  Take your craft wire and cut a piece long enough to make it roughly to the middle of your snowman and still hang over a tree branch.  Also grab a with just two holes works best here, but whatever you have on hand will do.

Thread the wire front to back through the button holes and twist the end to secure.

Fold the wire up to keep any sharp ends trapped behind the button.

Place a bead of hot glue on the back of the button, right over the wire, and stick it to the back of your snowman, somewhere near the middle.

And there you have it!  A super adorable snowman ornament ready for the holidays!

Now go hang them up!'s November 2 and our Christmas tree will not be up for at least a month, so I had to improvise.  If it snows, this is not my fault :)

I hope you will make some of these fun and easy ornaments for you and your loved ones!  The possibilities are rather endless here!  Let the kids pick the button colors.  Add a scarf or a hat made from fabric scraps.  Make a whole snowman family that represents the members of your family!  Let the kids gather twigs and glue them on for arms.  Cut the end off one of those orange colored toothpicks and glue it on for a "carrot" nose.  Let the kids draw the faces on the snowmen.  There are tons of fun ways to make this ornament your very own.  Have fun creating!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 (spoiler alert!)

If you haven't watched the finale of Project Runway, you may want to stop reading now :)  

Okay...everyone ready to continue?  So, what did you think of the finale?  I have to say, I was a little surprised that they let all of the final four contestants show during fashion week, especially since Anya's 3 piece mini collection was a bit of a mess.

The judges liked the dress on the left, but that bathing suit and cover up?  Seriously amateur hour stuff.  I didn't think the gown was quite as bad as the judges did, but it definitely needed help.  I swear the girl doesn't even know how to hem.  Anyway, she made it fashion week along with Kimberly, Viktor and Joshua.  

The final fashion show was pretty fun to watch!  I can't imagine how I would feel watching an entire collection of my designs go down the runway at Fashion Week!  The designers must have been freaking out!  Here were a few of my favorite looks:

The first dress Anya sent down the runway was probably one of my favorites.  I don't know that it's super wearable by the everyday girl with that plunging neckline, but the fabric is gorgeous and it makes me want to be dancing on a beach somewhere!

The other dress I liked by Anya is this pretty black and white number.  This one had a different neckline that I really liked (that was actually one of the judges' "issues" with her collection...too many similar silhouettes), and this one was quite pretty.

Also?  Her model is gorgeous.

I can't say I've been a huge fan of Joshua M during the season.  He's just a little brash for me and I usually hate his color palette.  I did think this dress was pretty and simple, although pretty much a copy of the orange one he did a few weeks ago, minus the huge corsage.

Kimberly did some nice work this season, and while I wasn't super in love with her final collection, this pant and blouse combo knocked me out.  I would wear this any day!

And finally, Viktor.  Wow.  This entire collection of prints that he made from his own  So gorgeous.  And can you imagine how long that leather jacket on the far right took to make?  I definitely think Viktor was probably the strongest in the entire competition when it came to garment construction.

The judges complained that the other 5 pieces in his collection seemed a bit removed from these 5, so I think they had a problem with his cohesiveness.  The other pieces were a bit sheer for my taste, but these 5 were awesome.

In the end, Anya was declared the winner.  I think Josh M was pretty mad, but he was fairly graceful about it.  I felt Viktor had done the most during the season to be the winner, but the judges liked Anya's point of view and her sense of style.  

Overall, an enjoyable season to watch.  Can't wait until the next one!