Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts

Mar 11, 2013

DIY Family Tree Pillow

Hi All,

I'd like to share my DIY family tree pillow that I did 2 Christmases ago for my mother, mother in law, and grandmother.  I was reminded of this project recently by mother because she wanted me to "update" it.  Let me explain....



As you may already know, I like to do homemade gifts.  Not only are they from the heart but they also suit Dan and I's budget and frugal lifestyle better.  Don't get me wrong, we spend money on gifts too!  (I would hope that no one ever called us "cheap" when it comes to gift giving).  However, I just really enjoying crafting things with my hands.  I'm sure you other crafters would agree with me when I say there is just something immensely gratifying and happy about creating something beautiful yourself.  So I make my presents homemade when I can mostly for this reason and because I love seeing the reaction the gift receivers give when they open up my gift from the heart.

So enough of the back story, let me get back to the actual post.  Two Christmases ago I wanted to make something really special and unique for the aforementioned people.  I don't quite remember how I came up with the idea to do a family tree, but I did.  At the time I was just starting to experiment alot with my sewing machine and was making pillows.  Slowly the idea for a "family tree" pillow came together.  Now because this was a year and half ago, unfortunately I don't have the step by step pictures, but hopefully you'll get the gist of it.

I started off with a trip to JoAnn Fabrics to get me some material.  I bought a bunch of those cotton fabric squares in different patterns.  I also made sure I had some green fabric and brown fabric for the "tree."  For the pillow material, I went with a neutral linen color. 

The family members would each be represented with different size birds.  The template for these I did find somewhere online from google images.  The largest bird would be the first generation, the medium the second generation, and the smallest the third.  

To denote birds that were related to each other vs. married, I used the same color fabrics.  For instance, this is Dan, Noah, and I.  My yellow fabric matches that of my mothers.  Dan has an entirely different fabric from  my Dad's (see picture above, my dad's is black), but Noah's fabric matches Dan's.  
OK so first I started out with my tree shape, which I first free handed onto a piece of craft paper.  Once I had the shape I liked, I traced it onto my fabric and cut it out.  To attach the tree to the linen pillow material, I used hand stitching with silvery embroidery thread. I wasn't too concerned with fraying edges, because I knew this pillow was more decorative than useful.  I didn't think it would be seeing much wear and tear to agitate the fabric edges.  

I attached the birds in the same fashion, hand stitching a simple straight stitch around their borders.  Under each bird I also added two "leaves" cut from glittery green felt fabric.  These I hot glued onto the pillow along with the decorative white buttons.  

  For some extra decoration, I added these cute little felt flowers.  I also hot glued them to the material.


To finish, I sewed my other pillow piece of fabric to the decorative one and got a nice pillow case.

 Which I then stuffed with this pillow foam shape from JoAnn's for less than 5 dollars (with a coupon!)

Lastly, I added the name of the family at the bottom of the pillow.  I used iron on paper and printed out each family's name, cut it, and ironed it onto my fabric.
 
And there you have it!  A finished family tree pillow!  My Gram's looked really awesome since she's the mother of three, with 4 grandchildren (all married) and 5 great grandchildren.  The birds on her pillow are crazy!  All three women loved their gift, and I'm so glad it worked out so well.  


What homemade gifts have you made that you are really proud of?!





Mar 10, 2013

DIY Birth Announcement


Hey Friends,

For a quick post, I wanted to share with you my DIY birth announcement for Noah.  Like most new moms, I was excited to share Noah's arrival with the world.  But I wanted to do something different and more unique than the standard birth announcement.  Plus, I was determined to DIY and save some money in the process. 

So I browsed the internet for some ideas.  I thought it would be really cool to play the whole baby as a "package" angle.  You know, sorta akin to the whole stork thing.  Going along with that, I found a really cool graphic art website (which for the life of me I can't locate again), that had a birth announcement formatted to look like a shipping card.  It. was. Awesome.  And I was determined to replicate it and add my own twist. 

That takes me to Word Publisher, which apparently has become a useful program to me!  It took me many hours to create all the lines and bubbles, and get it just right, but I ended up with a document that looked like this....


This isn't an exact replica of the one I found on the web, but it is very similar.   
Fun right?  As you can see the card is arranged into 11 sections.  Each section details certain information about the "package".  The graphics on the label are from google images and I  made up the different serial numbers. I arranged my word document so that two of these fit onto one page.  I then bought some cardstock in a tan-ish color from Michaels to print the announcements out on.  I wanted something "sturdier" so that it would look and feel more official. 
The next step was the fun one.  Filling in the details on each card!
What I really loved about these announcements was how personal they were.  I thought it would be fun for my family and friends to read a little about Noah and about the delivery.  As you can tell from the photo, I had to fill out info not only about his size but also about his looks, personality, and my labor.  More interesting and fun to read wouldn't you say? 

For the envelopes, I used rather large manila ones to complete the "packaged mail" look of the announcement.  And well they wouldn't be complete without a picture, so I printed out pictures at the local pharmacy and attached them to each announcement with a colorful paper clip I had on hand. 

Voila, the finished product!  The postage was a little extra due to the size of the envelopes, but I felt it worth it to receive this ultra-awesome announcement (in my opinion)!

So there you go folks.  Thought I'd share my DIY birth announcement in case any of you were looking for some inspiration for your own! 










 
PS If you are interested in my announcement, message me and I can share the Word Publisher file with you =)

Mar 3, 2013

"Twitter" Me Message Board

Hey People,

So this Sunday has become a cleaning and reorganizing day.  Poor little Noah has an ear infection.  We took him to the weekend clinic this morning to get him antibiotics and the rest of the day he's been pretty low key.  Poor little bugger has just wanted to sleep and cuddle (which this mommy doesn't mind at all!).  Because he hasn't required too much attention, I was able to organize his clothes into 0mos, 3mos, and 6mos boxes.  Boy did that kid acquire quite the collection of clothing.  If we have another boy, he'll be set! 

After that was done, I decided it was time to tackle my craft room, which looks like a warzone.  Without going into too many details, let's just say that it was long overdue.  That place was a health hazard.  (2 minutes in there and Noah would probably come out with a pin in his eyeball and something covered with glue in his mouth)  In cleaning out my craft room, I stumbled upon an unused 11x14 picture frame....which got my mind a churnin.  The frame was silver, so I knew that I wouldn't be using it in any of my picture wall hangings (because all of the pictures around my house are framed with brown, white, or cream frames).  But it seemed like such a shame to let it sit there unused.  At the same time I stumbled across this frame, I happened to be sorting through my marker collection.  As I bundled my dry erase markers with a gumband, I remembered an idea I saw on Pinterest using a picture frame as a makeshift dry erase board. So naturally, I dropped everything that I was doing and set about to crafting one for myself.  (Got to love my ADD).

So basically I used some scrapbook paper I had lying around, cut it to the shape and size of the frame, and drew little red lines to mock that elementary school paper I remember practicing my cursive letters on as a child.  Voila...

The message "Twitter Me" was completely impulsive.  I've never used twitter in my life, nor do I have any imminent plans too.  But it seemed like a cute phrase to caption my thought..."Hey write on me, I'm fun!"  The dry erase marker is attached to the frame by a piece of yarn.  (it is tied to the horizontal wall hook on the back of the frame)

Not sure yet where I'll put our little message board.  I'm thinking it may serve some good in the kitchen to jot down quick notes to the hubby or make reminders of things I need at the grocery store.  Best part about that is, no paper, no waste, no mess!  Gotta love that=)

Hope you enjoyed my impromptu craft of the day.

Feb 26, 2013

DIY reusable shopping bag

Just as I promised, I attempted to make my own reusable shopping bag.  The experience took me a few hours and was a little frustrating (because I've never sewn this type of material before), but I think that with a little more practice, I could get one of these puppies done in no time. 

So if you missed my last post, I was rambling on about how awesome it was to be green in your kitchen.  Not only does it save you money but it is also kind to earth.  And I mean, who doesn't love earth?  So if you don't have any reusable shopping bags or you do and are up for a fun sewing project, read on!

So this little tutorial is a mini adaptation of the one I found here at pieandcoffee.org.  If any of my directions are unclear, I urge you to check out this website as they have much more detail and better pictures in their tutorial.

STEP 1:  Get some fabric! And have fun people!  I went a little crazy with my fabric choice, but when else can I use outstandingly colorful fabric such as this piece below?  Plus, I am 100% positive this will make my grocery shopping experience a little more fun & bright (pun intended---hawwwink) I bought 3/4 yard of a stretchy denim/canvas combo.  I thought this choice would be a little more durable.


STEP 2:  Fold your fabric in half and cut your fabric 23 in wide (as per the tutorial above)  This is  what I ended up doing, but I think in the future I'm going to leave the width of my fabric as it comes from the store (27ish inches) and cut the height to 23 inches.  This may or may not have been what the tutorial above actually wanted me to do, since they never mentioned a height measurement.  If so, I was confused, but either way works. 

STEP 3:  To form the pattern for the bottom of the bag you need to cut two squares 5.5 inches wide by 4 inches high out of each corner of your fabric.  Make sure you are cutting your fabric on the FOLDED side. 


STEP 4:  Sew the left and right side of your bag.  Leave the top and bottom squares UN-SEWN.   Now the stitch I used.  This was the most difficult part for me.  I couldn't figure out what stitch would hold this fabric without bunching it, coming undone, or just plain not working.  I experimented with different tensions of my thread, spacing, and stitches, and ended up using a ridiculously complicated stitch that was really unnecessary.  After I finished I found out the best method to use is actually the flat felled seem.  Definitely use this.  It takes a little longer on your machine, since it is multiple steps, but it really will save you time and effort in the long run.  This is my go to stitch for future projects with this sort of material. 

STEP 5:  Pin the corners of the bottom of your bag together and sew.  Now the tutorial at pieandcoffee.org has you first sew the bottom shut with the bag right side out and then has you resew the seems with the bag flipped inside out.  This is the method I used as well, and it turned out alright. 

STEP 6:  Hem that puppy.  This is the hem on the top half of my bag.  And yes, I cheated.  The stitch you see was the original hem I created. But I wasn't happy with how my bag appeared to be too tall for it's width.  (which goes back to the whole 23 inch measurement thing)  So i folded my hem down further and used hem tape the second go around.  Honestly at this point, I was so tired of fighting my sewing machine, plus it was late, that I cheated and used my hem tape I've had sitting around for a year.  Hey that's what it's for anyway right?  So if you feel like cheating too, go ahead, I won't tell.

STEP 7:  With your scrap fabrics, cut pieces that are 4 inches wide and however long you would like your handles to be.  My handles ended up a little shorter than I would like, so make sure you presize them with your bag.  Fold them in half (hot dog style) with the print sides inward. Stitch along the edge, but leave the ends open.  When you've got them stitched, flip them inside out so the fabric print is on the outside again. 


STEP 8:  Attach straps to bag.  So I folded that unfinished edge into the tube about 1/4-1/2 inch and then used a straight stitch to sew around the border of the handle.  As you can see below, I made an "X"  to add extra strength to the hold. 

The upside down view from the other side of the bag.  Sorry, blogger won't let me flip my pictures around for some reason!


STEP 9:  Admire your finished product.  There you go folks.  A finished reusable shopping bag.  I bet this thing will hold at least 4 plastic bags worth of groceries.  I have to go grocery shopping later today, so I'll let you know ;-)





Update:
Look at this beaut! She worked and held more groceries than I coulda hoped for.

Feb 18, 2013

DIY fabric journal

I have another cool tutorial-ish post for you all.  A fabric covered DIY journal.  But let's go back to the origination of this idea.  It all started last Wednesday.  Noah bear had his 6 month old well baby check up.  Emphasis on the well.  Well, he came out of the appointment severely pissed off after waiting 2 hours to be poked and prodded by two different doctors and stabbed 3 times by a not-so-friendly nurse.  Needless to say, the rest of the day I had a pretty grumpy baby on my hands.  By that evening, it was evident that the trip gave him more than a sour attitude, he had developed a lovely hacking cough, waterfall-ish runny nose, low grade fever, and generalized malaise.  Yay.  To boot, I hadn't been left unscathed either, sporting a rather stuffy nose and sexy nasally voice myself.

Thank goodness for the hubby.  He has nursed us back to a semi-healthiesh state the last few days.  I am almost recovered, but poor Noah is still miserable.  I really hope his little body kicks this thing soon.  But anyway, yesterday Dan and I decided we needed to get out of the house.  Even though it was like -40 degrees outside, we thought some fresh air would do the family good.  So we took a trip to one of our favorite go to hangouts, Barnes N Noble.  This brings us to the idea for a journal.  While perusing the store, I stumbled across the journals section.  Nostalgia hit as I remembered this portion of the store being my favorite place to hang out as a little girl.  As a pre-teen and teenage girl, I had more journals than I knew what to do with.  There was just something so enticing about writing down my secret thoughts on fresh, clean, stylish pages I couldn't get enough of.  To top off my trip down memory lane, there was a young girl scouring the shelves for the perfect diary/journal right next to Noah and I.  This prompted my own search for a journal.  "Maybe I'll take up writing one again"  I thought to myself.  Cue searching for the perfect match.  Five minutes in, I abandoned my hunt.  Paying anywhere from $10-$30 for a book I may not even use was becoming unattractive.  And then that voice...."You can make one!"

So I came home, determined to conquer another DIY project. So here's what happened.


I gathered some supplies (all of which I had on hand)
1. cardboard
2. iron-on adhesive sheets (adhesive spray would probably work too)
3. scrap fabric
4. notebook paper
5. ribbon
6. needle
7. thread
8. button
9. rubber band

Step 1:  I cut out the "bones" of my journal.  Using the cardboard (it was of the thinner more paper-like variety), I sized and cut out the front, back, and spine of my journal.


Step 2:  I placed iron on adhesive strips all round the edges of my cardboard.





Step 3:  I ironed the cardboard onto the fabric.  
I'm sorry I don't have any pictures documenting this.  I was doing it as I was watching Noah, so I didn't have a lot of time.  But essentially I had a piece of fabric large enough to fold completely in half and cover both sides of my "layout".  (By layout I mean the three places as I have them placed in the pictures above)  After ironing on each of those pieces separately in that layout, I folded the fabric down over top of them all so that the bottom edges aligned, and I ironed that.  

Step 4:  I prepared my notebook pages.  
I used a standard-ruled notebook and cut the pages to the size I needed for the journal, being careful to leave the little round circles from the spiral wire intact.  I then placed these into the journal so that the circles lined up above the little space of fabric to the right of the spine and to the left of the back cover.

Step 5:  Using a craft needle and some sparkly embroidery thread I carefully sewed my pages to the binding of the book.  (I came up through the back of the book first, through the hole, across the spine, and into the space to the left of the spine and the right of the cover).  

This long, rather arduous process yielded this.
Pretty right?!

Step 6:  I bedazzled.  Using the adhesive paper, I attached two yellow ribbons onto the front cover of my journal.


Step 7:  I attached a big white button.  This was a little more tricky.  First I marked where my holes needed to be with a permanent marker.
Next I took a pin and poked through the cardboard to get a pathway started for my big fat craft needle.  Then I threaded my needle through and attached said button in no particular fashion.  I just made sure I criss-crossed, zig-zagged, and all sorts of things to keep that puppy on there tight.


Step 8:  I used a yellow rubber band to make a "tie" for my button.  First I poked a hole through the back cover using the pin and craft needle again.  Next I knotted my rubber band on one end so that it would hold onto the inside of my back cover.  Next I forced the end with the loop through the hole and out the back of my journal.

inside back cover
outside back cover
And looped around to fit the front. (I originally wanted to use a hairband, but couldn't get it to go through the hole, so I gave up when I saw the yellow rubber band).

Well there you have it.  A homemade journal for $0.  Although, it did take a few hours to come together.  Anyway, it's amazing what you can do with the things you have lying around your house.  I love "tinkering" and finding ways to make old or unused items new!

Let me know if this tutorial helped you at all and if the directions were unclear in any part, let me know!
Happy Crafting =)









Feb 16, 2013

DIY Recipe Organizer

In the spirit of simplifying our lives and being budget-savvy, I decided that our weekly grocery shopping trips needed to change.  Dan and I can easily drop $100-150 every week to two weeks on groceries.  While this was never an issue before, I can foresee it becoming one in the near future.  Plus, I feel like that is a good bit to be spending on food for a family of 2 1/2.  Now obviously we make food a top budget priority because before all else, we need to eat....however, I've seen blogs where families of four live off of $200 a month for groceries!  I think that is amazing!  I'm not sure if I'll ever be that good at couponing, planning, and budgeting my shopping trips, but I know there is certainly more that I can be doing to save money than I am now.

So I took a good, hard look at what we were purchasing week to week and which items were the most costly.  Turns out prepackaged snack foods are the culprit.  Not only are they pricey, but they are also notoriously unhealthy and packed with lots of additives, chemicals, and lord knows what else.  I figured if I could find an alternative to these packaged snacks, it would be healthier and cheaper for all of us.  (Packaged snacks for us include(d) cheese and cracker sticks, rice krispie treats, granola bars, brownies, fruit cups, etc etc.)  So my plan....replace each of these packaged snacks with a homemade, healthier, cheaper version. Sounds simple enough right?  Wrong, I knew I'd have a 150 lb road block in my way....my husband.  You see, Dan likes his lunches the same way, everyday.  And let's be honest, he's not so keen on accepting change.  For example 95% of our date nights, we usually end up at TGI Fridays.  Not once have we ever eaten at a Mexican, Chinese, Sushi, Korean, Indian, Japanese, or any other of the sort restaurant. (Now I'll admit, I'm partly to blame for this too...I just really like TGI Fridays, but now I'm getting off topic)  Anyway, I knew it would be a challenge to get him on board with my new approach to snack foods. But I was up for it.  I figured if I introduced one new homemade snack food at a time, I wouldn't overwhelm him, and maybe, just maybe, he'd come around to liking them!?  One can hope right?

So the first switcheroo I tried:
 Prepackaged Snack vs. Homemade Version Number 1: cheese and crackers. (one of Dan's favorites)
Product Image
google image
A box of 15 of these puppies is approximately $6.  And what is the snack essentially?  Well 5 crackers and some soft cheddary cheese dip with a few chemicals and preservatives.  How can I replicate this for cheaper?  A block of Cheddar cheese and some club crackers of course!  (Okay, Okay, I know what you are thinking.  Calling store bought cheese and club crackers "homemade" is a bit of a stretch, but since I don't own a goat, and have no idea how to make my own cheese and crackers from scratch, this is as close to it as I'm gonna get people.  So just go with it)
Now a block of Cheddar cheese is ~$2.70 and a box of of 128 club crackers (store brand) is ~$2.50.  Cutting this block of cheese into small squares will give you around 15 servings.  And 128 crackers will give you about 25 servings (5 crackers each).  So do all that math and it comes out to one package of crackers is 0.40, And one homemade equivalent is 0.28.  You save 12 cents per package and $1.80 for the entire box.  Did you follow?   That small hunk of change adds up, and imagine how much more I could save if I did this sort of thing to all of our snack food?

To make this version more hubby friendly, I pre sliced the block of cheese and sorted it out into separate baggies.  Convenience is a big thing for Dan, so the pre-cut cheese in baggies made this more appealing to him and the transition was smoother.  And the verdict....the big guy reluctantly admits that this version "is tastier"!  Zing! I win.

Next week I will continue my slow overhaul of snacky foods with homemade granola bars (I am for real making these ones!), so check back later for that.  But now, the real point of this post.

 Because I want us to be more responsible about our eating and snacking, I decided it was time to organize our recipes.  Up until now, they've had no organization.  Some are in our heads, others on the ipad, others on pinterest, and still more in cookbooks and on recipe cards.  It is far past time for all of them to come together in one nice, organized, and preferably stylish place.  So voila, here is what I came up with.


 An old binder

+ some scrapbook paper

+ some scrapbook vintage-y stickers I had lying around

+ some handy dividers from another notebook

+ post it note labels all cut up and fit on there.

+ recipe pages of course (i designed in word publisher with a picture of vintage notebook paper & downloaded font from Fontex.org)








= a spectacular solution to our scattered, unorganized, recipe problem

Well folks, that's all for now!  Hope you enjoyed.

Feb 10, 2013

DIY Labels for Sewing Projects


 
Keeping true to my current sewing themed posts, I wanted to share with you how I make my homemade sewing labels.  I found a similar idea one day while browsing pinterest, and knew I had to try it.  The original idea came from Tutorial Ideas.  I took her tutorial and modified it a little to my liking and needs.

So since I've been doing a lot of sewing lately, I thought that a cute little homemade label would be a nice final touch to my projects. 

So what you need:
Iron on transfer paper
1.5 in wide white ribbon
your label template
an iron!

Step 1:  Create your label in the program of your choice.  I used Word Publisher, but I'm sure Microsoft Word would also work.  I'm not sure what the Mac equivalent would be, but I know there is one.  To create my label, I played around with different fonts, colors, symbols, etc.  When I found the combo I liked, I "grouped" my design together.  (You can do this by ctrl selecting everything, then right clicking and hitting the "group" button)  This just allows you to copy all the pieces of your label at once.

Once you have everything grouped together, go ahead and copy your label.  Then add copies of your label side by side until you have one row of labels.  Microsoft Publisher helps you with this by making sure you align your pieces evenly, so if your program has it, use the pink/red guidelines.  Once you have an entire row, select all of the labels again and "group" the whole row.  Then copy and paste the rows down the page until you have something that looks like this.

 

One thing you want to be mindful of.... Make sure that your labels aren't any larger than 1.5 inches or they won't fit onto your ribbon. 

Step 2:  Grab your handy dandy t shirt transfer paper.  Make sure your read the instructions on properly loading the paper into the printer.  And before you click print, in the printer settings/properties under paper type, click T-shirt transfer paper.  This will automatically mirror your labels for you.  (I'd print out a test sheet just to be safe)



Step 3:  Now that you have your BEautiful labels, cut em out!


Step 4:  Grab that ribbon and align your labels 2-4 at time along the ribbon for ironing.  (Tip:  Make sure you leave a small edge on top and bottom of label to fold over while sewing.



Step 5:  Iron those puppies on!  I believe I ironed for 15-30 seconds.  I also didn't just leave my iron in one place.  I moved and pressed at different angles.  


Step 6:  AFTER, the ribbon and label have COOLED, remove the backing.  If you remove it while it's still warm, the font will pull up away from the ribbon.  


Step 7:  Admire and SEW to your product!!!  

I use a straight stitch to sew my labels and I fold over the tabs as I go to make sure the edges are finished. 

Hope this tutorial helps you all out!  Let me know how your labels turn out! 






DISCLAIMER:  These are not "heavy" duty labels.  I'm not sure how many washes they will hold up to being that they are transfer/iron on.  If you would like heavier duty labels, you may have to find a different method!