Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More wool dryer balls!

Because you can never have too many dryer balls! (a friend of mine uses 8 at a time!)

I think they are just so cool, and the kids like to play with them too. :)


Sunday, December 29, 2013

DIY Christmas tree onesie

So I took a little break from blogging for the month of December, but that didn't mean that I stopped sewing or creating. Nope, not at all!  Rather, I was just too busy doing all the other stuff that a family has to do in December, besides taking some time to slow down and celebrate the real meaning of the season.

And so, my next few posts are going to be about Christmas.  Maybe you can get a head start on your presents for next year (!) or maybe these will just inspire you to modify and make something even cooler for Valentine's Day. Because there is always another holiday right around the corner! 

The Christmas Onesie:

If you're not following me on Pinterest yet, you really should (let me know, and I'll follow you back!)  I found this idea on there, but of course when I tried to go back and find it again, I couldn't!  I just had to go off of my memory and just make it up as I went along. For your benefit, here's a brief synopsis of how to make a ribbon Christmas Tree onesie. 

Cute, huh?


First you'll want to do a test-run by cutting your ribbon to the right lengths and setting everything out.  As you can see, my original idea involved a lot more buttons than the final product. I also was going to use a shiny green ribbon, but then decided against it. I also heat-sealed all of the ribbon edges to prevent fraying.  But, the material of that particular green ribbon wouldn't heat-seal (it kept lighting on fire actually), so I skipped it. 


And here's how NOT to make it. When starting this project I forgot one very crucial step. Which will happen when you are going off of a picture in your memory and not directions. Crucial-step-do-not-forget-or-your-project-will-be-a-mess:  Stabilizer. Yep. Just a simple iron-on stabilizer makes a world of difference when you're sewing on a knit onesie.  Obviously, I had to rip out the first four rows and start completely over after using my trusty iron-on stabilizer. I use the tear-away kind, and it's kinda fun to rip it all off when you're done sewing. 


I think if I were to make it again, I'd think ahead and buy a cooler button for the top and bottom.  Maybe a square-shaped button for the bottom and a cool yellow star for the top.  I could always change it out, but that means I'd have to remember them next time I go to Joann's, and I can barely remember my name when I go there, I get so overwhelmed from all the crafts I could make-colors, fabrics, paper,yarn!!!! I will just keep it as is for now (hey, Christmas is past anyways), and improve upon it for next year. 

~Patricia


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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Advent calendar is finally finished!

If you follow along on my blog, you might remember last year when I started making an Advent Calendar  that was inspired by one I saw in a Pottery Barn catalog. I had such good intentions to finish it, but then came something, and something else, and then here I was again at Christmas time, with my Advent Calendar still not finished!

So I got busy, and finished it. And although I didn't actually put anything in it this year (the kids wanted to shove all their Halloween leftovers inside the pockets and then eat it all, so I had to put a stop to that), I have good intentions of making cute cards for each day of Advent next year. Yup, I'm writing it down, and it will happen!

My favorite part is that the girls helped make the pockets, both this year and last year.  It really was a lot of fun, and more togetherness was experienced than if I had just bought it from Pottery Barn, that's for sure! Next year I'd also like to add an Advent wreath, but I'm trying to not get ahead of myself. ;)




Easy American Girl Doll Cape



For Christmas, I decided I wanted to make a few things for my daughter's American Girl Doll. (You can see all of the ideas I've pinned on my AG doll idea board on Pinterest here). 

But probably the best tutorial I found was for a cute, easy cape from Strictly Homemade here. I made this in less than an hour, and it's so soft and cozy, I'd probably make a full-size one for my daughter, except there is probably only 3 days out of the whole year she could wear it where we live. :)

Here's the dolly looking pretty cozy!


I modified the pattern she gave a little bit, since I had already bought soft and cuddly fabric, not fleece (which would have been a genius idea, had I found the pattern before I bought the material). Originally I had thought I would just make a pattern on my own, then I searched Pinterest, because someone out there probably thought to make a cape for their AG doll before, right?  It probably took me 2 minutes to find this tutorial. Fleece is nice because it doesn't fray, so you don't need to spend time hemming.  I used soft and cuddly on one side and red felt on the other, so technically mine is reversible. I bought a cute 1" fur trim and hand-stitched it and the ribbon ties on. 

Here are some action photos!
After cutting out the pieces, I made sure to pin, pin, pin and then trim the circles to make them even! 

Pinning again!

I sewed everything but the interior circle, then I turned it right-side out....

...then hand-stitched the fur trim and ribbon ties. 

Ta-da!!! Super cute and ready to party!

Like I said, super easy and cute, right? My daughter was so excited Christmas morning! I also made some awesome reversible skirts for her doll too.  I'll share the details on those later this week, stay tuned!

~Patricia

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Love Pillow Cover

That's my throw pillow cover! I made it using this tutorial from U-Create.com They call it their "10 minute Throw Pillow Cover.  And while it didn't take me 10 minutes, it definitely took less than an hour, if you don't include the time I spent winding bobbins and oiling my machine (it's so much less noisy now!).  I really like how it turned out, and can't wait to use it. It's the same material as the chairs that I covered awhile back, and I still have more fabric left to use up.  Buying a giant curtain on sale is the way to go!  I'm thinking of making another pillow cover for our living room. We're having some friends and family over on Christmas, which is really making me want to make things! I can only hope there is enough time!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dollar Store Holiday Craft

Today I whipped up a little hanging kitchen towel out of a potholder and a towel I bought at the dollar store!

I added the ribbon myself, just to give it a little extra something, and the button is from my craft stash.

Such an easy, fun thing to make; I may even make some as gifts!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Christmas List

With Christmas coming so soon, I've decided to make a list of some of the things that my kids have been bugging me for for the past year. Every time we're at the store and they want something, I say "Let's put it on your Christmas list." It keeps me from having to deal with sad kiddos because I won't (well, most of the time) impulse buy every little thing their hearts desire.

Because let me tell you, they want a lot of things!  And I'll be honest, we just don't have the room for all that stuff!  The more stuff we have, the more they complain about being bored. I've been filtering through their toys for month now, throwing away a little here and there. When I do, it feels good! I usually give it away to another family first, and then anything that's left I drop off at Goodwill or another similar organization.

It feels good to give, and Christmas is about giving after all!

But since this is a post about my kids' Christmas list, let's get to it! My 3 girls are between the ages of 1 and 6, so perhaps you'll find some ideas too!

1. Books!
These are my personal favorite thing to buy, because when you get tired of them, you can pass them along!  A good book is like a good friend, in my opinion. Have you seen the Pinterest idea where you wrap a book for each day of advent? Such a cool idea!

The Very Fairy Princess books :  
We have the first one and really like it!  They are written by Julie Andrews and her daughter, and they are all great stories!

2. Monster High Dolls:

   

I'm not really sure when/how we got into Monster High, but we did. Sorta. My girls are familiar with the characters, but aren't super obsessed with them, but they definitely want the dolls. We've got a backpack, lunchbox, movie and book, but the dolls are what they continue to ask for when we go shopping.  Always.

3. Equestria Girls

My girls have always liked My Little Pony (I actually should do a post on how they've creatively altered their MLP ponies, it's quite interesting), so the Equestria Girls are a natural progression. Although, I think I may go with Monster High, since the Equestria Girls just seem based off of one movie, so I feel like they'll grow old faster.

4. Something to do with Horses and/or Unicorns
My 3 year old is obsessed with horses and unicorns. Every time we walk through Target she is drawn to them and just wants to hug them. It's very sweet!

5. Art Supplies
My 6 year old wants to be a "singing artist" when she grows up, so I'd like to find some age-appropriate things for her to do.

6. American Girl Doll Accessories
This past summer we got our first AG doll and, according to my oldest, she is lonely. So we've got to solve that problem! lol!

Well, I think that's enough of a start for now, I'll add more as I think of it! Thanks for following along!
~Patricia
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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wool Dryer Balls: The Results!



Remember yesterday when I posted about my in-progress experiment? I was making wool dryer balls and here's the verdict.....
They definitely worked! You can still see see some of the yarn as I wove it around into a ball, and they will continue to felt even more as I use them. I am really happy with them!

Scroll down for a photo!

For the tutorial (so you can make your own) click here.

I promise you, it is super easy, and although it might take a few times in the wash to fully felt the dryer balls, it's totally worth it!  Just think of all the money you'll save! Wool dryer balls reduce drying time (saving on electricity) and eliminate your need for dryer sheets (no more harsh chemicals!).

Win-win!

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Wool dryer balls

I'm so excited about this! I found a tutorial to make wool dryer balls and I'm actually going to make them!

You know how sometimes you get a good idea but never actually do it? Not this time!

Here's a photo of my work in progress. I'm going to finish them tomorrow when I do the laundry. And they are a cute mustard yellow too! Stay tuned for the finished product! (and a link to the tutorial too, trust me, you'll want to make some of these!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tulle skirt upcycle



A few seasons ago I bought this dress from Target:

Cute, huh?

But....now that I'm a few years older,  I realized that I didn't like it as a dress, but it was in too good of shape to just get rid of it. And I'm terrrrrible at having a garage sale. Not gonna happen.

So, I decided to make it into a skirt!

I cut off the "top" of the dress, then sewed on some black 2 in. elastic for a waistband.

Easy, peasy.

And I love it!

Ta-da!

I love when I can upcycle something! Don't you?

HAve you upcycled anything lately? I'd love to hear about it! 

~Patricia

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bangs!



Since I've had bangs now for a few months, I've invested in a pair of haircutting scissors and have learned how to cut my own bangs. It takes a little bit of practice, but follow the tutorial below and you'll be able to do it too!

Note: It's from Seventeen magazine....Remember reading Seventeen magazine? Lol, brings me back to high school!  And while I don't recommend that you follow closely their other advice (unless you happen to be 17, then do whatcha want), this is a really quick, easy way to save a few bucks between haircuts and trim those unruly bangs into shape.

Up. Always cut up.

Click Here for the Tutorial


My trusty hair-only scissors that I bought at Sally Beauty. 

And for someone like me that doesn't really do anything with their hair (besides cut my bangs) except have it, Sally Beauty was like walking in to another world. The cashier must have seen my little lost puppy face and took pity on me, for she helped me find these scissors, then shooed me out into the light of day once more. 

Which reminds me, it's getting hard to see again, better go cut my bangs!

~Patricia

I re-covered my kitchen chairs for cheap! - Part 2



So maybe you saw my before/after photos here of my kitchen chairs.  Did you know that I covered them with a curtain from Target?

I know, right?!

A curtain I bought on sale for under $6, cut up and hot-glued to my chair forms.



It was actually so easy to do, I cannot believe I didn't think of doing this before.  I mean, did you see my chairs? They were atrocious! My apologies to anyone who's ever come over and sat on them.  How embarrassing!  Truth be told, they were all ripped up from a stray cat that we (okay, I) adopted who then had 5 kittens. We had to keep the kittens inside for 6 weeks until we could find them new homes. Boy, did they love using those claws!!

But I digress. Back to the chairs. I love how they turned out.  But then I started thinking about all the mess my 3 children will make on them. I mean, they are light-colored after all.  And not stain-resistant. At all. So what's a girl to do?  Ask on Facebook.  That's right, I wrote to Craftaholics Anonymous and asked what to do.

I got some good answers too. Such as: use iron-on vinyl; use a fabric that is water-resistant; and scotch-guard spray. I ended up using the scotch-guard and......while at first it kept the seats protected, my kids are no match for a spray.  I thought about getting some iron-on vinyl, but the fabric has a little bit of texture to it, and I really liked that about it. I'm not sure that sitting on vinyl would be comfortable, especially since we're always wearing shorts here.

Never bought Scotchguard? Click here to check it out on Amazon. It's pretty cool stuff, just didn't repel the sticky fingers and spills like I would have liked; but it's a definite step up from what we had before!


I'm so happy with the way it turned out! 

Stay tuned for more! Now that my 3 kitchen chairs (the other one was eaten by our dog) are looking good, lots of good crafting is happening!

~Patricia

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Halloween Wreath

Have I mentioned I love Halloween?

Problably not enough yet, huh?  Well, you're in luck because I have two more awesome Halloween ideas to share with you!

Remember that super cool Valentine's Day heart wreath that I did? Check it out here if you need to jog your memory. It was/is awesome. I actually left it up for a long time because I liked it so much!

I now have a new favorite wreath that I saw on this Etsy website. Whoever makes the wreaths in that shop is amazing. I seriously could order so many of them, I love them so much!  But, this got me thinking.....these wreaths are so similar to the style of the Valentine's Day wreath....why don't I just make another one in the style of my new favorites? And guess what (drumroll please...) it was sooo much cheaper!

I think I spent less than $5 total on this project. A nicely-made felt wreath that you'd buy on Etsy could easily cost upwards of $30, 40, 50 dollars, not including shipping!  However, I truly believe that what you are paying for is the maker's time. Because let's be honest, these wreaths take time. And if you don't have time to spend listening to your favorite radio programs on Stitcher Smart Radio, doing so much cutting that your hand starts to cramp, and almost burning yourself many times on hot glue....then you'd better just buy a wreath from Etsy.

Here's the How-to:
My materials:
6" strip of black felt (bought off the bolt at Joann's)
1/2 yard of purple felt (again off the bolt at Joann's)
6 googly eyes (just had these around the house, but they sell them at the dollar store)
cardboard box to use as a "form" (you could use a styrofoam wreath form, but then you'll need more felt to cover the whole area)
Hot glue sticks
Hot glue gun
Ribbon for hanging / bow

Basic instructions:
I cut out the "form" from a cardboard box, using a colander as my template.  I didn't want something too big, personally. I made another circle 2 or 3" inside of the colander one and cut it all out.

I wrapped the form with 2" strips of purple felt, securing with hot glue.

I used an old cd to trace circles on the felt and cut them out.  Then I cut a spiral out of each cd-sized circle. Starting from the inside of the circle, I rolled them up and secured with hot glue, making a sort of "flower".

Then I glued each "flower" onto the felt covered form. I added little pieces of felt to the inside layer to support it.

Add your googly eyes to the black flowers.

Tie a ribbon around the wreath to hang or add a decorative bow.

Hang and enjoy!


Stay tuned for my second awesome Halloween idea...it is seriously adorable!

~Patricia

Note: 
My new favorite app on my Nook is Stitcher Smart Radio. It basically holds a bunch of radio podcasts in one place and plays them to you for free.  No need to go to a bunch of websites and try to download them, oh no. They are all right here.

My current favorites:
This American Life
Radio Lab
Freakonomics Radio
Fresh Air

Easy Halloween crafts with the kids!


When my kids get in the crafting mood, we run with it! This time we ran straight to our stack of construction paper and made a ton of Halloween decorations to.....well, decorate our house!  The kids really had a fun time and were super creative and well-behaved.  So definitely worth all the cutting I had to do! 

Scroll down to see some cool ideas...

Mixed-up pumpkin


Love the arms! (because I made them, lol!)
I just wanted to add that you could use the crinkly arms to make some spooky spiders....I personally get freaked out, even by fake spiders, so they were a no-go.  Seriously, even if they are giant, pretend, construction paper spiders-they freak me out.  Let's be honest, when I wake up early in the morning and turn on the lights, I don't want to look at a spider.  Spiders in Florida are HUGE, so a pretend construction paper one made by a 6 year old might be mistaken for the real thing.  I'm not taking any chances here.  

Note: Remember those crinkly arms from Elementary school?  I sure did!  I felt pretty proud of myself pulling out all the stops for the pumpkins here.  "They need arms, Mommy!" Of course they do kids. Of course they do. 

Not sure why there is a Halloween "maze" on the pink paper, but they were insistent that our decorations would be incomplete without it.


Bats, lots and lots of bats.  They loved them!
And bonus question......can you guess who made the pumpkin in the picture above? (here's a hint...she did pretty much all of the cutting too!)

So there you have it!  Something easy and fun to keep the kids (and let's be honest, you) busy.  I think we made these when it was raining out, so it definitely added some cheer to our day. Create some yourself and see what you come up with!

~Patricia
Ha for the Kids!