August 31, 2010

Upcycled Boy Hats

Today's tutorial comes from last week's SYTYC entry for the "recycled" theme.  I loved this theme and had a hard time narrowing down options.  I think refashioning and upcycling is ridiculously fun.
In fact, a little over a year ago I started storing all the old worn-out clothing I had.  I love to re-use and transform items in that pile.  For this project I pulled out a bunch of old t-shirts and turned them into boy hats.  I have a bit of an obsession with boys in hats.

I was able to utilize different parts of the shirts to make the hats more interesting.....button strips....

August 30, 2010

Baby Tracks

This was my entry for SYTYC when the theme was "Animal."  Today you get the full tutorial, including the PDF files to make them yourself.
There is something undeniably adorable about baby handprints and footprints.  I love those chunky little feet.  Well, here is a way to showcase those sweet little fingers and tracks!  These little animals are cute on their own, but add some baby prints and you have fun, meaningful art for your children's room. 

The animals are 3-D with multiple layers.  See how the owl's little feathers curl out?  (It's a little tricky to show you that in a picture.)  You can use handprints or footprints on any of the animals. 

You can find a downloadable PDF for the elephant HERE, for the sheep HERE, and for the owl HERE.  All you have to do is find the color paper you want to use, trace and cut, and stamp away.  I recommend using cardstock for everything, not thin paper.

When stamping the baby's foot here are some tips:

1) Select the color you want the print to be. Use a brush to paint the acrylic paint onto the baby's foot or hand.
2) Don't cut out the animal part (wings, sheep body, or elephant ear) until you have a good footprint there.  Use a big blank sheet of paper and keep stamping the foot till you get a good clear print.
3) Have wet wipes near by to wipe off the hand or foot right after you get a good stamp of it.
4) You definitely need someone to assist you so it doesn't get too messy.

Once you have a good print, then you can cut out the shape around it.  You'll cut out all the parts and layer them with thick glue foam stickers.  You need to use quite a few of them placed throughout the animal cut out.  Then continue to layer.  The wings, the eyes, the other parts all go on thick foam stickers as well.  It give the whole picture a fun 3-D look.

The ideal frame for these is a shadow box or any frame where the glass sits some distance away from the mat itself.  The ones I used are from Ikea.

You may choose to label the print with the name of the child and the date or the child's age.

There you have it!  Simple, adorable, meaningful art for your child's room.

Thanks for dropping in.  You can head over to SYTYC today to vote for your favorite craft.  The theme is "Telling Time."  We're now down to just three crafters....oh the intensity :)

August 29, 2010

Sunshine Sunday - help, hair cuts, helping yourself

You know how sometimes things are really busy.....the laundry has piled up, your fridge is empty, the things you meant to get done a couple of weeks ago are still not done?  Then someone swoops down to help you out?  My parents and sister have been so helpful this week.

My sister showed up yesterday and gave my boys haircuts - another thing I had put off far too long.  She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know and somehow I'm lucky enough to call her my little sis.

Now they both have their hair short enough to do the faux-hawk again.

Baden is learning to help himself a bit more.....sometimes in a good way, sometimes by climbing into the fridge to get grapes.

Any sunshine in your Sunday today?  What have you been grateful for this week?

August 28, 2010

Sharing Saturday

It's been a while since we've done a Sharing Saturday, so I thought it would be nice to throw one in today.  Here are the questions.  Tell us watcha know!

1) What do you do to spoil yourself?  Is there anything you do to indulge yourself when you're down or when you have reason to celebrate?

2) Are there any subjects (craft-related) that you would like to learn more about?

3) What is something you have your young children do to learn work ethic and responsibility?

4) Do you have any questions you'd like to see answered on a Sharing Saturday?  We've run out.  Just shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment here and we'll put it up in the next one.

Thanks for your input.  You rock!

August 27, 2010

Upcoming Review

Have I mentioned how much I love CSN Stores?  Okay I have, but I really do.  I'll be doing another product review soon.  With over 200 online stores you know they carry pretty much everything.....awesome kid toys, Corelle dinnerware, furniture, shoes, you name it.  I'll keep you posted on what we end up reviewing.

Feature Friday - free printable thread bobbins

I'm still trying to get everything in order in my craft room.  When I saw THESE free printable thread bobbins (via WhipUp) I thought they were adorable and I knew they'd help me in my predicament.  See, I really love embroidery floss.  I've been good about keeping it all in the same place so I don't lose track of it, but it's become tangled and sad.  Look.  Yikes.  I end up losing a lot of floss with all the knots.  Not good, my friends.  Not good.

Enter really cute blog called Wild Olive by Mollie Johanson.  I printed out these ridiculously adorable little thread bobbins on cardstock.

Pretty stinkin' cute if you ask me (the bobbin, that is - not my paint covered thumb.  I'm a bit deep in a bunch of projects right now.  Can you tell one of them involves paint?)

Now?  I can sleep at night knowing my embroidery floss in under control.

Want to print off some of these little babies for yourself?  Click HERE for Mollie's great printable.  Thanks Mollie!  You rock.  I'm off to explore more of your blog now.

Have a fantastic weekend all of you!  Thanks for stopping by!

August 26, 2010

the Leather Purse

So, here is the tutorial some of you have been asking for - the Leather Purse.  This is a pretty beefy tutorial, so hang in there.  I wouldn't say it's really hard to make this, but it is quite time consuming.  However, it's pretty fun in the end to have a leather handbag that you've made.  I never would have even dreamed of trying to make something like this a year ago.  I love figuring out new stuff!

I tried to make it big enough to carry everything I need, but not giant.  While I won't be giving exact measurements for everything, but I will explain and draw out exactly what you need.

The first thing I did was to create a basic pattern.  I used my freezer paper and cut a rectangle the size I wanted the bag to be.  (Later I ended up rounding the bottom corners.)  The pattern is nice because you can lay it all out on your mat and use a rotary cutter to cut the leather, just like you would if it was fabric.  Yes, it might make your blade a little more dull, but it will cut the leather really well.

Here's a quick sketch of the different parts you'll need and the shapes of each piece.  Remember geometry?  Well, you don't really have to, but just realize that "a" is the same length as "a" below.

The majority of the bag is held together by the leather lacing.  You need to make holes all along the edges to be able to lace it up.  I bought the leather hole punch at the leather store.  It's best to put a cutting board (from your kitchen) underneath while hammering in the holes.  The holes of the two leather pieces that will be laced together need to match.  That's why I laid them next to each other and made sure they'd match up.  Don't panic.  They don't have to be perfect.  You can eye it up. 

You'll punch holes along all the edges except for the top of the bag.  Take your time and be sure not to get too close to the edge with your holes.  Make sure all your holes match up. 

After some sweat, you'll have this.

The leather lace can be purchased at Hobby Lobby.  They have a variety of colors, too.  Lace the pieces together.  Leave the extra lace hanging out of the top for now.  You'll be able to sew it down later.

To create your lining you will use your pattern again.  Cut the pieces the same size and sew them together.  Insert the lining into the purse.  Now, here's something I didn't do but should have.  Find some hard plastic or cardboard.  Cut a rectangle to fit perfectly into the bottom of the bag.  Then insert the lining.  If you do this the purse will keep its shape better when you're carrying a lot of stuff.

I tacked down the lining in places along the top.

Next you'll cut and fold over some long strips of leather to go over the edge.  Sew them down.  This will also help to firm up the purse a bit.  I didn't do that on the sides because I left the leather extra long there.  I folded in the leather flaps on the side and sewed them down.  I made sure that I sewed the leather lace down under that flap so it would stay down tightly.  You now have the main part of the bag finished!

Next up are the straps.  I recommend measuring the length of straps that are comfortable to you on a purse.  Use that length.  Some people like them longer and some like them shorter.  Here's another sketch showing you how the straps work.

Lastly, you'll want to add the flap.  I didn't want the flap to be flimsy, so I made it two layers thick.  I also wanted to carry on the leather lacing here so I cut two flaps, punched my holes through one of them.  Then I lined them up and made marks on the unpunched flap so I would know exactly where to punch the holes to have them match up. 

I sewed the flap onto the back, where I made sure I sewed the leather lace under it as well to hold it in place.

I sewed on a large button for looks and then added a magnetic snap underneath for convenience.

Now you're all done!  Whew!  That was a big one.  Thanks for hanging in there.  If you try this one out PLEASE let me know.  I'd love to see how it turns out.  Here are a few more tips if you're going to make one:

- Most sewing machines will go through the leather quite well.  There is a leather needle you can buy for your machine.  It's a bit thicker so it won't break.  (I didn't use a special one and I didn't have a problem, but you never know.)
- You might want to use a bit of fabric glue between the leather and the lining so it doesn't shift around on you.
- When adding the magnetic snap, use an exacto knife to cut the slits for it in the leather.
- You might want to add a little pocket in the lining.  It would be nice.
- If you don't like having to maneveur things awkwardly under your sewing machine then I would sew the handles on before lacing up the purse.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Thank you especially for all your kind, supportive comments on yesterday's post.  I sincerely appreciate it and I'm glad you're here.  Have a terrific day!

August 25, 2010

How to Plant a Blog and Make it Grow

Since I started this blog back in February I've had a lot of questions regarding how to start a blog.  First of all, I do not claim to be an expert, but today I'm going to share several ideas that I think are crucial for a successful blog.

1) Blog about what you love and love what you blog.

Pick the things you are most passionate about.  Blog because it makes you truly happy - not because you want a lot of people commenting about how brilliant you are, not because you think you'll make millions from sponsors, and not because you want a billion followers.  Would you do what you're doing if nobody was there to watch?  Do you love it enough?

2) Give credit where credit is deserved.

This is something I feel extremely strongly about.  If you didn't make up the tutorial DON'T pretend you did.  No one is asking you to be Martha here.  If you used someone's tutorial but changed it a tiny bit, why not link it up to the original one and praise the other person for their great idea?  Invite them to see how you added to it.  A wise man once said that withholding praise that could uplift another is a form of pride.  Let's build each other up, eh?  I love trying out other people's idea and that's why I do Feature Friday.  I like to share those great ideas with you guys.  It's not Plagerism Friday and no one wants it to be.  It's dishonest and ugly.

3) Find the good in others.

I have read some posts from other bloggers about how to make your blog grow and there is one thing they all say.  Leave comments and be sincere, honest, and specific when commenting.  If someone says, "cute" as a comment that's very nice.  If someone says, "I like the way you used two opposing colors and added the extra touch with that floss," then there's a good chance that blogger will go see who it was that left such a thoughtful comment.

4) Link parties.

If you click on the tab under my header that says, "Link Parties" you'll see some great blogs who host blog parties where you can link up something you've made.  These are a great way to meet new people and share your work with others.  (Be sure to follow the rules of the party you're linking to.  Most of them want you to link back to the party in your post or on your blog somewhere.)

5) Post regularly.

I'm not saying you need to post everyday, but if you want others to follow what you're doing you need to be doing something.  I've erased blogs from my google reader because they drop off the face of the earth for a couple of weeks or a month.  When I started my blog I had been reading Ruffles and Stuff and I loved that she had something up almost everyday.  (Yeah, I miss her too!)  It was always the first blog I'd check because I felt like I could depend on her.  I have tried to emmulate that same dependability in my blog because it's something I myself appreciate.     

6) Have a memorable name for your blog.

I picked my blog name for a lot of different reasons, but especially because I felt it was memorable.  If your blog is titled, "Crafting is Cool" it may not be as memorable as "The Purple Paisly" or "The Red Knee Sock."  Okay, yes those are totally random but that can be a good thing.  Make sure when you leave a comment on someone's blog that it says your blog name with your name.  For example, if you're signed in as Judy @ Jars and Junk then people know who that is or want to find out.  If you're signed in as "Sarah" then people won't know who that is.

7) Learn to photograph well.

Your blog will look a lot more professional if you spend a little time getting to know your camera.  Use natural light for your photos.  Click on photography in my sidebar for a week's worth of tips on this one.  Use large pictures.  There are some blogs I love purely because of the great photography.  Don't feel left out if you don't have a fancy camera.  You can still take great pictures.  You just have to learn how to make the camera work for you. 

That's all I've got for tips right now.  As I mentioned, I'm not an expert, but I'm happy to help.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Want to pitch in on today's subject?  Tell us all what your favorite thing is about your favorite blog.  Thanks for sharing! 

See you tomorrow with the leather purse tutorial from SYTYC.  Yup, it's finally here!  Thanks for being patient.

August 24, 2010

Hat Makeover

A couple of months ago I was at Target (yes, very typical of me) and I found this hat on clearance.  My first thought was, hmmmm that's an odd little bird.  However, that hat itself was cute and I figured I could give it a mini makeover.  Here it is before the makeover.

See what I mean?  It's a bit odd.  If any of you readers bought this same hat and like the bird, please don't be offended.  I can't rock the bird, but I'm sure you can.

I removed the bird and ribbon through some careful surgery.  Don't worry - the bird was NOT harmed in the process.  I replaced the ribbon with a black one and I tacked it on in a few places along the way.

Now it's pretty neutral, but I can spice it up if I want to.  Since I didn't sew the ribbon down everywhere, I can clip on anything that's on an alligator clip like this.  (I happen to have quite a few of these as hair accessories.)

Voila!  A hat for any taking my little guy to preschool when I haven't showered.

That's all for today.  Thanks for tuning in and thank you for your kind comments!  I sure appreciate it!

August 22, 2010

The Magic Tie Trick

Okay, I know you're all pretty much women or girls out there reading this.   However, this tutorial is for men.  You know at least one man, right?  Alright then.  Let's continue. 

Apparently ties can be annoying.  I think men probably feel similarly to the way we feel about nylons or pantyhose (if you like to call them that.  That one is just a weird word if you ask me.)  Please allow my dad to demonstrate the frustration here.

They can get wet while leaning over the sink to wash your hands.

They can blow back out of place in the wind.

They can even blow in your face.  Oh, the horror of it all.

Now, we just can't have that.  So?  We're making these today. 

What the heck is that, you ask?  Let my dad demonstrate again.

You can save this part off an old shirt or make one from felt.

Just slip it through the label on the back of your tie....

....and button it to the buttons on your shirt.

And?  That tie is stuck to you like glue.  Whew!  And your secret is safe with us because no one can see your little nifty device.

I think the felt version would work well for a little guy's shirt.

My dad let me know that he was willing to be my male model for free this time, but he'll be expecting compensation the next time around.  Looks like his aren't free, ya know.

Thanks for reading.  If you're looking for more crafting fun you can head over to So You Think You're Crafty to vote for this week's crafts.  The theme is "Recycled" and we only have 4 crafters left!


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