Showing posts with label Crafts and Sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crafts and Sewing. Show all posts

Nov 30, 2012

Best Homemade Gift Ideas on the Net

Mail or paper organizer, courtesy of Noodlehead.
For Adults:
* Things I Like/Love About You. This can be as simple as a handwritten list on pretty paper or as elaborate as making a treasure chest and printing out cards with each "thing." Other variations: Make it into a book, printed on your computer; print heavy tags and hold them together with a key chain or jump ring.

* Earbud pouch.

* iPod or iPad case.

* Kindle case from old book.

* Fabric mail/papers organizer.

* Simple fleece scarves.

* Towel turned into a sunbathing necessity.

* Paperclip holder turned into a bobby pin holder.
Glass pendant necklace, courtesy Simply Modern Mom.

* Oranges and Apples Sugar Scrub.

* Hand- or kitchen towels. (These are the only kind to have when you have little children who tend to pull down ordinary towels!)

* Glass pendant necklace.

* Pottery Barn Inspired Map Candles.

* Shell candles.

* Cake stand from Dollar Tree Plate and Glasses.

* Simple scrap rug.

* Button bracelet.

* Candle holders with old photos on them.

 * Turn old sweaters into mittens. Or slippers.

Photo candle shades. (Copyright Martha Stewart Living.)
* Turn plastic bags into reusable grocery totes.

* All-in-one placemats and utensil holders.

* A chair that turns into a mattress.

* Eye mask.

* Easy to make lotion bars.

* Felt bookmarks.

Eye masks. (Courtesy of Amelie Atticus.)
* Photograph bookmarks.

* Photo candle shades.

* Linens decorated with tiny amounts of embroidery, plus buttons.

* Use a piece of felt, pebbles, and hot glue to make a hot pad.

* Family heirloom cookbook.

For Kids:

* Cowboy chaps from old pants.

* Pirate's eyepatch.
Monster hat. (Copyright Spoonful.)

* Monster tote bags.

* Finger puppets.

* Baby/Toddler wash towel puppets.

* Turn a store bought hat into a cute monster hat.

* Mermaid tails for dolls.

* Homemade dolls.

* Animal scraves.

* Bed in a bag.

* Child's needle kit for sewing or embroidery.

* Dinosaur tails.

* Headbands from cloth strips.

* On the go coloring kit.

* Magnetic me (magnetic paper dolls using photos of your child).

* Travel games from Altoid tin.

* Binder dollhouse.

Discover More Ideas for Homemade Gifts here:

15 Ideas for Handmade Gifts
Gifts in a Jar
Gifts in a Jar - Part II
Best FREE Apron Patterns on the Net
Homemade Art Supplies
What to Do with Empty Altoid Tins
Gifts Kids Can Make

Oct 10, 2012

How to Make a Quiet Book

Seasonal tree quiet book pages, via Serving Pink Lemonade.
One of the projects I'm considering making for my children this Christmas is a quiet book - you know, one of those fabric books with zippers to zip and buttons to button and Velcro to Velcro into neat pictures. At first, I thought my 7 year old daughter was probably too old to enjoy a quiet book, but a quick look around the internet proved otherwise. She will definitely enjoy dressing a little girl in different outfits or making her own fabric Mr. Potato Head.

And trust me, ladies, these books are wonderful for keeping kids occupied in the car, in church, at the doctor's office...The trick is to only let your children play with their quiet books during these special times. If you let them play with their quiet book whenever they want to, the book won't hold their attention for as long.

Happily, you don't need great sewing or drawing skills to make a quiet book. You can find free templates or patterns for quiet books online. If you want to do something more unique, you can also use cookie cutters or coloring book pages - or even paper dolls - as your patterns.

If you Google "quiet book ideas" or search for quiet books on Pinterest, you'll find a great wealth of ideas, from the simple and traditional to the highly creative and detailed. However, here are my favorite pattern templates, for those of us who don't want to invest the time to come up with our own:

* Monkey with colored balloons (a la Curious George), artist's palate (for teaching colors), seasonal tree (see the photo, above), barn, road for little cars, mailbox with letters, numbered flower petals, tennis racket and ball, dress up child, and a jig saw puzzle kite - all over at Serving Pink Lemonade.

* Another road template.

* Simple shapes, including a fish, duck, kite, leaves, squirrel, acorn, crescent moon, and snowman balls with carrot nose, all over at Martha Stewart Living.

* Bible-related, including: the Armor of God, Noah's ark, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, and more at Laura's Thoughts.

* Socks in the laundry.

* Mr. Potato Head.

* "Put your hand in my mitten," telephone, dress a girl, tuck a child into bed, lace a football, zip up a tepee, clock, and more at Modest Maven.

* Shoe tying (plus about a gazillion sample quiet book pages to inspire you).

* Rocket ship.

* Dump truck.

* LED Robot.

* Cooking breakfast.

* Astronaut.

* Forklift.

* Robot and rocket.

Not sure how to go about beginning a quiet book project? Have no fear! There are many tutorials online, including those at:

* Imagine our Life

* Serving Pink Lemonade

* Utah State University Cooperative Extension

* Elisa Loves

* And this YouTube video

Happy crafting!

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Jun 15, 2012

Repurposing Canning Lids

Wrist pincushion, via One Girl in Pink.
It's that time of year when many of us are busy trying to use up last year's canned goods in order to make room for this year's. And unless you have reusable canning lids, that means lots of lids to throw away or recycle...or repurpose. Here are some ideas:

* Hang on to a quantity of used canning lids to use for freezing goods, refrigerating leftovers, or storing dry goods. Just run them through the dishwasher first. If you want, paint the tops of the lids with chalkboard paint, like this.

* Use them for plant markers. Just paint and glue to a stick, or draw on them with a Sharpie, or use coat hangers to stick them in the soil, or stamp them instead of painting or drawing on them.

* Make Christmas ornaments from them by gluing photos on the front and punching a hole through the top for a ribbon. Check these out, too.

* Turn them into gift tags.

* Cover the lids with fabric and use them for gifts in a jar that don't require processing in a canner.

* Turn them into magnets by gluing photographs on them, then gluing a magnet to the back side. Or use polymer clay.

* Make one into a pin cushion, like the one pictured above.

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Jun 11, 2012

Upcycling and Remaking Clothes

Turn jeans into a skirt. (Photo courtesy MaryJanes & Galoshes)

Whether you need to remake clothes because your budget is slim or you want to upcycle clothes because it's less wasteful, the Internet is full of great ideas for doing so.

Personally, I find it easiest to remake women's and girl's clothes, but with some creativity it's possible to upcycle clothes for both genders. And just because a certain piece of clothing ends up on the fairer sex doesn't mean it had to originally start out as something for girls. Your husband's and son's clothes often make wonderful remakes for the ladies of the house. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

* Jeans or slacks too short? A no-sew fix is to roll up the ends, making cuffs for peddle pusher style pants. Or, cut the legs shorter and hem them (or let them fray, if you like) to make shorts.

Turn the holes in a little boy's pants into a monster face.
* Knees worn out of jeans or slacks? Turn them into a skirt. (Ideas and tutorials here, here, and here.) You can also turn jeans into a cute purse or shopping bag or hand bag or some shoes or slippers. Another idea is to turn the legs of old jeans into cute organizing totes. Or make a no-sew garden apron. For women or girls, learn to make pretty knee patches. If you have a little boy who loves cars and trucks, turn worn out jeans into a road for him to play with. My favorite idea for boys is to turn those torn knees into monster faces!

* Button up shirt has stains on the arms or along the hemline? Turn it into a girl's dress, or this toddler's dress, or a wide waisted girl's dress, or this cute dress.

* Sleeves stained on a long sleeved T? Turn it into this cute new shirt.

Patches can be cute! (Photo courtesy Make it Do.)
* T-shirt stained or torn? Turn it into a produce bag. Or make a cute girl's dress. Or just learn to cover up the strains creatively.

* Shirt too short? Turn it into a dress.

* Skirt too narrow? Cut it off at the hipline and add gathered, horizontal ruffles.

From The Encyclopedia of Modern Sewing, 1946.
*Dress too small? Add a vertical panel at center front.

* Man's shirt doesn't fit him anymore? Make it into a dress. (See this one, too.)

* Clothes hopelessly out of fashion? Try using them like fabric yardage to create an entirely new outfit. This works best if you're using adult clothing to make kid's clothing. (For this to be worthwhile the fabric must not be in good condition.)

* Waist too short on a dress? Rip the bodice away from the skirt and add a horizontal panel. This works for too-short skirts, too; add a horizontal panel at the hem or at the waistline.
Add length to bodices or skirts by adding horizontal panels. (From the Better Homes & Gardens Sewing Book, 1961.)

Apr 11, 2012

Best FREE Cloth Doll Patterns on the Net

Best free cloth doll patterns on the internetOne of the sewing projects I've most enjoyed with was making matching dolls for my niece and daughter. There was something about creating a from scratch toy for my child that spoke to me. And making that cute little face, pretty hair, and adorable clothes was just plain fun! Happily, there are a lot of free resources for making homemade dolls - including patterns. Here are some of the best.

Flip Doll - What a cute idea, especially for toddlers!

Ruby Doll - So sweet.

A collection of felt dolls - including a modern looking boy and girl (pictured at the right).

Prairie Flowers Doll - For all those Little House fans.

Rosie the Rag Doll - Sweet!

Realistic baby doll - Really impressive.

Belinda and Lucinda - Old fashioned dollies.
Wide Eyed Wendy
- A good, basic doll.

Mimi Kirchner's Felt Doll - Cute and designed to hand sew.

Flat girl doll - Simple and sweet.

Martha Stewart's Black Apple Doll
- Modern and cute.

Sleepy Time Baby - Uber simple.

Dutch Doll - or Irish, Scottish, Balkin, Russian, and Swiss dolls.
Tiny Girl
- an ity bitty doll.

Infant Doll
- an even tinier dollie.

Babyland Rag Doll - a classic.

Martha's Gingham Dolls
- Simple dolls made from gingham fabric.

Rag Hair Dolls - Fun!

Jan 23, 2012

How to Turn a Girl's T-Shirt into a Dress

Here's a quick and easy sewing project, perfect when you only have a half hour to sew. It's also a wardrobe-stretcher - a terrific way to use T-shirts that are too short for your daughter, or have stains along the hemline.

What You Need:

* A T-shirt that fits, although it may be too short

* Fabric for a skirt (instructions for calculating how much you need are found below)

* Sewing machine

* Thread

* Pins

* Iron

* Ironing board

How to Do It:

1. Begin by measuring the width and length of the shirt.
2. Multiply the width by 4; this is the width the skirt fabric should be. Divide the length by 2; this is the length of the skirt. (Naturally, you may make the skirt longer or shorter, as you see fit.) Cut the fabric into a rectangle following these measurements.

3. Fold the skirt fabric in half, right sides together. Sew the two short ends together. Finish the seam edges with a zig-zag stitch.

4. Run two rows of gathering stitches along the top edge of the skirt. (To do this, use a long stitch length and stitch one row about 1/4 from the edge of the cloth. Break the stitching at the seam. Run another row of long stitches a scant 1/2 from the edge of the cloth.)

5. If the T-shirt has a thick hem, cut it off.
6. Pin the center back of the skirt to the center back of the shirt. Pin the center front of the skirt to the center front of the T-shirt. (Hint: Lay the T-shirt on a flat surface. Turn the skirt wrong side out. Slide the skirt, waist side down, over the T-shirt and align the edges of the two pieces of cloth.)

7. Gather the skirt fabric evenly and pin it in place. Stitch the skirt in place. Finish the seam edges with a zig-zag stitch.
7. Lay the skirt on an ironing board and turn under the hem of the skirt a scant 1/4 inch. Press. Turn the folded end under another 1/4 inch and pin in place. Stitch the hem in place.

Variations: If desired, the dress waist can fall at the natural waistline. To find this location, have your child try on the shirt; mark her natural waist with a pin. Trim the T-shirt to this length, plus seam allowance. Or, make the waist higher than the natural waistline. You can even make this garment a shirt by cutting the skirt very short.

Dec 16, 2011

What to Do With Empty Altoid Tins

Over the years, I've used Altoid containers to hold small tool parts (like the bits for my electric screw driver), as a travel sewing kit, and as a travel "first aid" kit. But recently, I ran across some really creative uses for Altoid boxes - and I had to share. Whether you make these as Christmas gifts, presents for another time of year, or just because, I think these are great little projects!
For Kids:

* A mini dollhouse.

* An accordion book shaped like a camera.
* Travel games. Here's a super tutorial, complete with free printables to help you turn an Altoid box into a mini checkers, chess, backgammon, and tic-tac-toe game. Or, choose these instructions, which include all those games, plus dots and squares, solitaire, and reversi. Here's yet another version, which uses mostly store bought items.

* A spelling set. Purchase letter beads at a craft store and sand off the back letters. Glue a magnet to the back of each bead.

* A planets of the solar system set.

* A tin for the tooth fairy.

* A magnet faces game.

For Kids or Adults:

* A poetry magnet kit.

* A belt.

* An adorable purse. (Find a different set of instructions here.)

* A treasure box.

* A photo album. (Or try this tutorial instead.)

* A pinhole camera.

* A pocket tackle box.

* A play-able guitar.

Dec 7, 2011

Last Minute Stocking Stuffer: Pirate's Eye Patch

Both my children love to play dress up, and one of their favorite "characters" is a pirate. But we've found store bought pirate patches break much too easily. So this year, I decided to make some pirate eye patches. They are quick to stitch up, a perfect stocking stuffer - and you may already have everything needed to make them.

I'll begin by explaining how I made my children's eye patches; then I'll explain an even easier, although not as "finished," way to sew them.

What You'll Need:
about an 1/8 yard of black fabric
about an 1/8 yard of iron on interfacing
white or light colored chalk
about 18 1/2 inches narrow black elastic
thread and sewing machine
sewing pins

How to Do It:Link
1. Measure your child's head and subtract 1/2 in. or 1 in. to determine the correct length of the elastic. If the eye patch is a surprise, you may have to be stealthy about this! I found 18 1/2 in. was about right for my 6 year old, who is of average size for her age.

2. Download the pirate eye patch pattern and print it out. Cut out the pattern.

3. Lay the pattern on the black fabric, which should be folded in half. Trace the pattern with white or other light colored chalk, being sure to transfer the dart and the dots. Cut out the double layer of fabric.

4. Pin the pattern on a single layer of interfacing; cut out.

5. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of one of the eye patch pieces.

6. Stitch the darts in both eye patch pieces.

7. Place the two fabric pieces right side together and stitch a very scant 1/4 around the entire outer edge, leaving an opening at each dot. One opening should be about the width of your thumb (so the patch is easy to turn right side out). The other opening should be only slightly wider than the width of the elastic.

8. Turn the patch so the right sides face out. Turn under the raw edges at the openings and press into place. Insert one end of the elastic into the larger of the two holes; pin in place. Insert the other end of the elastic in the smaller hole and pin in place. Topstitch all the way around the edge of the eye patch.

Two eye patches took me about 15 minutes to complete.

An Even Easier Way

If you don't mind what the back side of the patch looks like, use the pattern piece to cut 1 layer of black felt for the outside of the eye patch, and one layer of black interfacing. Press the interfacing to the back side of the felt, sew the dart, and stitch the elastic in place at the dots.

Sep 12, 2011

15 Ideas for Handmade Gifts

Christmas will be here before we know it, and already I'm thinking I'd like to make most of the gifts I give. That means getting started now.

If you already sew, knit, crochet, or do similar crafts, you can probably come up with lots of ideas for gifts. But if you're not a strong crafter, there's still a lot you can make for friends and family. Here are a few ideas.

1. Canned goods. If you've taken the plunge into canning, you'll find most people are thrilled to get home canned items, especially jams, jellies, fruit butters, and the like. Check out this post on making the jars prettier.

2. An easy to knit scarf. Learn to knit by using the directions here. The design is simple, but if you choose a beautiful yarn, the end result will be lovely.

3. Fun, scarves for kids using only minimal sewing skills.

4. Family heirloom cookbooks.

5. Bath goods, like these bath fizzies, easily decorated soaps, bath "snowballs," and body scrubs; they are better than store bought.

6. Totes/grocery bags from pretty fabric. If you don't sew, try decorating simple store bought bags. One idea: Gorgeous silhouettes. Or try Martha Stewart's no-sew bag. For a simple sewing project, try making drawstring bags or desk bags.

7. Button necklaces.

8. A child's pom-poms (made from recycled plastic shopping bags).

9. Storage bag and play area for matchbox-style cars or an art caddy.

10. A simple dress-up cowboy vest for boys or girls or a really nifty superhero cape.

11. Map coasters.

12. Soap crayons.

13. Butterfly house.

Link 14. Rapunzel hair clip organizer.

14. Homemade vanilla extract.

15. Driftwood shelf or driftwood rack.

Be sure to also see last year's post on gifts children can make.

May 25, 2011

The Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net!

Best Free Apron Patterns on the Internet
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I love aprons. Not only are they practical (I always end up with flour head to toe if I neglect to wear one), but they tend to keep me on task. And these days, there are so many fun aprons available, it's tempting to acquire a whole collection for every mood and whim.

My favorite aprons have full coverage, long straps for tying, and never need ironing. The latter is one reason I love aprons made of quilted fabric. Besides, if you're like me and you can never find a pot holder when you need one, a good quilted apron can double as one.

There's quite a market for aprons these days, and many of the most attractive ones are costly. It's not usual to see well made, pretty aprons sell for $40 and up. That's why I've been considering making my own aprons lately, even though I don't have much time to sew. Luckily, the Internet is full of free apron patterns and tutorials. Here are some of the best:

UPDATE 3/1/12: Click here for even more great apron patterns - including 6 from my personal collection of vintage patterns.

For Women
Smock apron
Vintage style smock apron
Butcher style apron
Martha Stewart's baker's apron
Martha Stewart's dishtowel apron
1940s utility apron
Early 1900s apron
Apron in an hour
Apron made from jeans
Another style apron from jeans
And another from jeans
Apron from napkins
Bib apron from jeans
Box pleat apron
Suzy Homemaker apron
Old fashioned plain apron
Dishtowel apron

Clean sweep apron
Reversible half apron
T-shirt half apron
Lined half apron
Half apron from jeans
Cottage half apron
Martha Stewart's crafter's half apron
Pillowcase half apron
Scalloped half apron
Hostess half aprons
Hostess petal half apron
Simple hostess apron
Vintage tie half apron
Sassy apron

For Kids
Kids chef apron
Quilt block girl's apron
Child's bandana apron
Girl's ruffle half apron
Mother-Daughter aprons

For Men
Man's grilling apron
Martha Stewart's chef apron