Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays - I'm taking a vacation...

That's right - I'm taking a little vacation from the bloggering to enjoy the holidays and start planning what sorts of projects I will want to tackle next year. So there will be silence from me for the next two weeks. I will be back on January 7.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and enjoys the time with their families. Don't forget, this is the season of giving and togetherness. Give what you can to those who need it, shop local crafters and artists for last minute gifts and try to enjoy what you have.

Family, friends and those people that are most important in your life will make you more happy than material possessions - try to remember that when you open that one horrible gift you never wanted. Someone put a lot of thought in to getting it for and that should mean more than the gift itself.

Happy Holidays - see you next year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Cozy Gift

There is always that one person you have a hard time shopping for. For me, it's my brother-in-law and his wife. They live about 100 miles away and much different interests than the family that is closer. They are always the most difficult to shop for.

This year, after much thought, and hair pulling-out and stress and asking the hubby "what do get them?" I decided on a simple personalized gift. I purchased a warm fleece throw while they were on sale. Next I found a coordinating piece of felt and cut out their initials and appliqued it to the blanket. And PRESTO! A personalized gift that shows thought, care and sentiment and is useful to boot.

It takes only a little bit of sewing knowledge - and I hand stitched it.This is something that can be done in a night. If you want to personalize it further, make a no sew blanket from fleece or a minimal sew blanket with fleece and flannel sewn together with a applique personalization.

Sorry the picture isn't the greatest. It was taken on my phone before I went on a gift wrapping rampage and couldn't get a better picture!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Practical Gift

Families are getting busier and busier. It can get hard to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Some times what we all need is that visual reminder of what what is coming up for the week. Or like me, to let the family know what I am planning to make for dinners for the week.

So I got an 11x14 frame, some scrapbook paper, ruler, sharpie, glue and pretty stickers to create a cute dry erase board. I got everything put together, divided the page in to eight sections, one for each day and one section for notes.

This is such a cute little functional gift for the busy people in your life. We can all get so overwhelmed with everything we have to do that we forget some of them.

The best things about this type of gift: it is affordable, it is functional, it can be personalized to match and decor, it is reusable because dry erase markers will wipe right off. This is another gift that doesn't take long to put together and shows a lot of thought on your part.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sentimental Picture Gift

It is a little scary to think about, but we are eight days from Christmas! People may be starting to panic trying to figure out gifts for those hard-to-shop for loved ones. Or how to fit one more gift in to an already tight budget. You don't want to give some generic gift that will be forgotten about or re-gifted next year.

One thing I love to do as an affordable and very meaningful gift is a scrapbook inspired framed picture. There are so many possibilities if you have a huge stash of supplies. If you don't, not to worry - this is still a fairly inexpensive gift that really doesn't take long to create.

What you need:
- picture frame (I used 8x10)
- pictures (I used two trimmed to fit, but you can use as many as you can fit)
- scrapbook papers
- sentiment stickers
- scissors
- glue
- ruler or paper cutter

The process is super simple and pretty straightforward. Trim your main background to fit the frame. Deciding on your layout may take awhile, but take the time to play with it, see what you like and don't glue anything down until you are sure you love it. I trimmed a strip of coordinating paper to put the sentiment on and help it stand out and trimmed the pictures so they would fit well.

I used an inexpensive frame from my local Walmart. For the papers and sticker sentiments you can either go to a craft store and buy individual pages and matched stickers. Or you can do what I did - check out the stationary/gift wrap area of your local Walmart or Target. I paid $1 each for a set of coordinated papers (that had several pages in it) and a sheet of matched stickers. Total, after printing the pictures was about $6 for this project. It may not cost a lot, but it will surely get an "AWWW" when opened!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sentimental Greetings

In this time of tight budgets and scattered friends and families, it can be difficult to send someone you care about a little something. It gets expensive, especially in large families. A Christmas card allows you to send that tangible reminder to someone that you are thinking about them at this hectic time of year.
The easy way is to just go buy a box of cards and quickly breeze through them to get them in the mail. Personally, since it is the only thing many of the people in my life will get, I prefer to make my cards and have made them for the past several years.

You really don't need to do anything elaborate. This year my card consists of scrapbook paper trees (the shape coming from a cookie cutter) topped with a glittered foam star sticker, a band of red textured paper and a stamped piece of white paper with the seasonal greeting. I made 15 cards in about two hours in one evening. Te majority of the time was spent tracing and cutting out the tree shapes.

This is another great project that you can get the kidlets involved with. Why not do hand print cards by tracing hands on different fun papers and layering the hands of everyone in your family? Or let the kids decorate with stickers, crayons and paints for keepsake cards to grandparents, aunts and uncle. 

Everyone I have sent my cards to always seems so grateful for the thought and time put in to the cards. That is why I love doing this every year. We live in a time of instant communication between text messages, phone calls and social media, it can mean a lot to someone to receive a handmade card. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Outside the Cookie Cutter

 Every year I like to make some sort of new ornament for our tree. Since I've been fascinated with felt this year, I decided that would be what I would use.

I knew I didn't want to do the cookie style ornament that are so popular in felt. Of course the idea I had wasn't too far off from the cookie idea.

What I did was take my felt and some of those inexpensive, big plastic cookie cutters and cut out two of each, stacked them and sewed them together.

For the candy cane, I opted for some bling and used some red rhinestone cup chain. It glitters so nicely in the light. I really like the non-traditional look of the candy cane. Rather than the normal spiral-inspired stripes, I chose to simply outline the whole cane.

As for my star I went for a more classic look with the string of small pearls surrounding the set white start and then the entire outer border.

Personally, I really like the way these turned out. Tweaking a basic idea to create interesting new pieces. Felt cookie cutter ornaments made to look like frosted cookies have been done a million times. But my adding a pinch of ingenuity, I've made something different, classy and timeless to hang on my tree.

With the simple tweak of an old idea, the creative possibilities are endless and I look forward to making more!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Decorated Dining

 I don't have a fancy-schmancy dining room that I can keep pretty for special occasions. Nope. I have a single dining room that must function as such on a daily basis.

Does that mean I can't decorate it for the holidays? Absolutely not!! :)

My wonderful mother-in-law gave me some adorable quilted place mats as an early Christmas gift. I love them and could not wait to get them on my table. You can see the little Santa's that offer their jolly laugh.

To complement the Santa's, I wanted a centerpiece that could continue the holiday spirit. I took my glass cake plate, filled it with glass bulb ornaments that I made a couple years. They remind me of oversized candies. 

This is a really simple way of bringing your decorations to a functional area without impeding on the space. If you don't have a covered cake plate, use an over-sized clear bowl. If you don't want to take the time to paint ornaments get some inexpensive bulbs from your local dollar store in colors that will compliment your decor.

Considering this is the only holiday I really get excited about, I love it when I find a new way to add some cute decorative touches to the house. I get even more excited when I can use supplies I already have in the house. It just proves that you really don't need to spend a lot to create a beautifully decorated home.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Greetings on Display

 With the holidays quickly approaching, we will finally start receiving something other than bills in the mail! For a long time, I would just display cards on whatever flat surface I could find and figure that was good enough.

This year, I decided I would actually make a card holder. Best part? It did not involve my sewing machine. I can't technically call it a no sew project because there was a little bit of hand stitching, but nothing really challenging.

I started by using fabric glue to adhere the silver ribbon to the wider red satin ribbon. Once that was dry, I got out a few wooden clothes pins and, on the back of the red, I glued down one side of the clothes pin. Next, I held the pin open, spread some Fabri-Tac and pushed the ribbon in to the open pin and let it close. This created the wavy look to the hanger and made a soft place for the cards.

Finally, I made the red bow for the top of the hanging out of the same ribbon that is behind the silver. I attached it to the front at the same place as a small split ring I had in my jewelry supplies.  At the bottom, I added three little jingle bells to add a little bit of weight to help keep the ribbon hanging straight.

Since these pictures were taken, I have filled the baby up. You will definitely want to pay more attention to what you are doing than I did. I accidentally my bow and hanger to the wrong end. It does work for me, so the only issue this created was the cards don't hang below the clothes pin. For me it's not the end of the world, but if I was to make another, I would make sure I put it together the right way!

Anyway, I think this is a nice way to highlight the cards that we receive, especially considering how popular picture cards are getting to be.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Door Valance

 I always loved those paper loop chains that kids make. They are just cute and make me think of childhood. So this year, I decided I wanted to try to adapt one of those chains to fit in with my decorations.

I opted for red and white felt for the loops. Staying with my buttons these for the year, I stitched buttons on to the red loops where the ends meet and used them to close the loop. I kept the white loops simple and just stitched them closed.

We live in a split level house, so when guests leave they will see this cute chain suspended over the door. I didn't want to just do loops, so at each end I staggered ribbon. Jingle bells and acrylic "lights" are tied to the ends of the ribbon streamers.

This is just another cute, fun decoration that can be quickly put together in an evening. I really love the childlike quality to these decorations. For me, Christmas has always been about kids and that wonderment that comes with this time of year. And my favorite decorations reflect that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Let the Merry Begin!

Thanksgiving in my house means two things: A huge family dinner and time to decorate for Christmas. I don't take out or put up decorations until the day after Thanksgiving, that's always been our tradition. This year that has gotten tweaked a little due to a major home improvement project. As I type this, my wonderful hubby is finishing putting in the last of our beautiful new laminate wood floors. It's been a long week working on this, but the end is in sight and I'm so happy to finally have pretty new floors. My house should be all put back together and decorated by the end of the week.

One of the new decorations that will be up this year is this felt wallhanging. This is a really nice project to do with kids. While you are weaving and sewing the red and white background, let the kids decorate the tree with dimensional fabric paint, beads, sequins, buttons or whatever else you have handy.

This year I'm in love with buttons, so I stitched buttons around the border and used them as embellishments on both the tree and around the tree. The colored chain that hangs on one side added some nice texture and tied in the chain used to hang it. The chain can easily be substituted with ribbon. In total, this little project cost maybe $10 if you have to buy all the supplies, much less if you only need to get felt. It would be a nice activity for little ones, as I did with my granddaughters, sure to make memories that will be cherished every year when you take it out.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Finished Product

So here is the final quilt. I showed it to my hubby and he "ooh, I get a new quilt!" I am pretty happy about how the whole thing came together. You can see in the second picture how much the denim frayed after one wash and two trips through the dryer.

A few lessons I learn:

I will be avoiding the light weight, stretchy denim the next time I make one. Even though the flannel has a tendency to grip whatever material, the stretchy fabric had a tendency to move.

One thing I didn't really think about was a seam around the outside edge. I will add it before the next wash. I'm not sure why I didn't think about it. I mean, what else will keep the fraying in check?

I didn't seem to have any issues with the fact that I didn't prewash the fabrics. There didn't seem to be any excessive shrinkage. I did notice that the colors of flannel seemed less vibrant. Also, I noticed the flannel picked up a lot of the little lint pills that came out of the dryer. Those are not always easy to get off.

If you are going to be washing this kind of blanket in your home washer and dryer, be prepared to pull a lot of lint out of both machines. And you will probably have to continue pulling tons of lint every time you wash it. Small price to pay though.

This blanket didn't turn out as heavy as I was expecting it to be. This is probably just because of the denim I used. I don't know that I will be jumping to make another of these in the immediate future. It's not that it was any more difficult than a regular quilt. I will say that personally, denim is not my favorite material to use. I will make another one but I will probably wait a couple of months before tackling another one of these. I have plenty of denim to work with!

So there is all that. It was an experience and one that was not as easy as I was hoping nor as difficult as I was expecting. But one I will be willing to try again.

I am going to taking the rest of this week off to focus on a big home improvement project and on family with Thanksgiving being just a few days away. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! I will be back next week to start preparing for the Christmas season... So many possible projects to work on!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Almost done...

The quilt is in the home stretch. With the blocks being pieced and put together, the size of the blanket is becoming clear and I can start seeing how my seam allowance wasn't exactly perfect. Of course, I didn't really stress about keeping them perfect. But that's okay.

I actually like the little imperfections that can be found in this quilt. I like them because they add to the homemade feel. I like that the imperfections show that someone took the time to make it rather than just went out and bought it. So, if you are kinda new to sewing or trying this style for the first time, don't stress about imperfections! Take pride in what you do, practice it and you will do just fine.

Okay, now that the little pep talk is done, I gotta show you the next step in the process. Clipping the seams is one of the last steps in the process. This step helps the material fray and become soft. It gives it the classic rag quilt look. You can see that I opted to have the seams on the denim side. I thought, when cuddling under the blanket, having the soft and flannel close to the body would be so much nicer.

Clipping the fabric can be pretty tedious. It seems to be much easier with the wider seam allowance. Especially if you separate the layers. I noticed in researching the process, the pictures of people clipping the seams all made it look so easy. Using the tips of the scissors like you could just sail right through it.

Well, you can't. The only way to really use just the tips of the scissors is to cut each layer of material individual. At least, that is the way it worked for me. That would have taken way too long. So, being very careful, I cut through all four layers by moving the seam further down the scissors. Yes I had to be much more careful, but I think it helped me get through it faster.

Anyway, tomorrow I will show you the finished product and give you some points based on what I learned through the process.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Let the Sewing Begin...

 Now that all the squares are cut, it is time for me to get to work sewing everything together. Here you can see two of the blocks I have assembled. (One is flannel side up and the other is denim up.)

You can see the quilt pattern is a super simple checkerboard. I really like this because this quilt doesn't need to be extra difficult to put together, just warm when it's done.

From my research I learned that you don't really have to do any traditional quilting on these types of throws. I opted to sew an "X" through each 6.5" block before assembling my finished blocks. I did this pretty much just for looks, and to help me hold my material straight as I pieced the blocks together.

The second picture is a close up of the back of the block. As you can see, I wasn't stressed about getting everything lined up perfectly. I feel this type of project will be fairly forgiving, of course I won't know for sure until I am all the way done.

At any rate, I am piecing this as I would any other quilt, except I am using a roughly 1/2" seam allowance. All that extra allowance is what will be frayed and fuzzy looking in the finished project. So far, I am happy with how this is going together, but I will have to see how I feel after putting some of the blocks together. I am noticing that sometimes, just because of the thickness of the materials, these can be a little difficult to get through the sewing machine.

When all the blocks are done, it will be time to assemble the whole quilt. I will work on that part tomorrow. For now, I'll focus on getting my twenty blocks (made from 80 smaller blocks) finished. Then I'll start being happy that it is almost done!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Tedious Part...

I'm one of those people that loves instant gratification. Today's part of the quilt was a little difficult for me, just because it was so tedious! I had to cut all the material!!! I know - it's hardly traumatic for a person that enjoys quilting, I just don't like it.

Anyway, I decided to use 6 1/2" squares for my quilt. For the 44"x55" quilt, I figured I would need about 80 total squares, so I set to work cutting my 6.5" squares out of both the denim and the flannel.

 Here you can see that each stack is about the same height, which might hint at the fact that I used a lightweight denim. All the denim squares were cut from the legs of the pants.

(I am working on a project for the pockets that were left over. I really don't like wasting anything that I can use. Stay tuned and see how that works out!)

In the close up picture you can also see the different shades of denim. You will notice that there is a total of 40 yellow flannel squares and 20 of each red and brown. The reason for this is that I had more yellow on hand.

From what I have gathered, denim and flannel quilts each lend themselves nicely to simple square patterns. So that is what I am going with - a nice simple checkerboard pattern.

Once you have your squares cut, take a break. I did! Tomorrow we start sewing, which won't be that difficult, but again a little time consuming. Of course, by the end of the week, it will be nice to have a quilt to cuddle under. I will just keep reminding myself that the gratification may not be instant, but it still won't take that long!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Upcycling For Warmth

It has been getting cold out there. You can't deny it, winter is upon us. I try to clean out my house in the fall to make room for all the new toys and treats I will get over the holiday season. This year, the cleaning out includes a pile of jeans that have been either worn out or just don't fit anymore. The first thing that came to mind was a denim quilt. Of course I've also been itching to do a flannel quilt, so I compromised and am doing a denim and flannel rag quilt.

So this week is all about the process of making such a quilt. Kind of a week long tutorial based on my experience. Naturally, the first step is gather your materials. I have a ton of denim floating around the house, so I gathered up the lightweight pairs of jeans for this quilt. I really don't want it to be overly heavy. (Afterall, with the fireplace we have, we don't need super heavy blankets!)

You can see there are different shades of denim in the mix which I think will help create an interesting pattern in the finished quilt. In all, I used five pairs of jeans.

I lucked out on the flannel. I found four remnants, each just about a yard. I bought them when I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them but wanted to do something autumn-ish. At any rate, those are the colors I used. Fortunately, I won't have to worry about batting for this quilt, which I really like because it is one less expense. I didn't use all of the flannel, but I'm sure I will use the left overs for something else. In all, I believe I used a little less than three and a half yards.

For those of you playing along at home, on the first day you just need to find your supplies and wash and dry them. My research showed that nearly everyone says to wash it. I only saw one site (a fabric store) that didn't say to wash it. So I am going to skip the washing step and by the end of the week, we'll know if that was a mistake or not!

To recap, you need:

-multiple pairs of jeans (don't buy them, use what you have, if you have to buy them, get them from a thrift store!)
-roughly 3 1/2 yards of flannel - I am estimating for a 44"x55" finished quilt and 44-45" flannel material
-basic sewing supplies (sewing machine, rotary cutter, ruler, cutting mat, etc.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dressing Up The Everyday

Now that you have an idea for a nice everyday pillow, I wanted to show you a way to dress it up for the holidays. Maybe you don't want to completely changed the look of your pillows. Or maybe you only want to change a few. I know it can seem like holiday overload if there is too many decorations.

For those like me that want to just accent for the holidays and not make your room look like a window display (because, I mean, really - you do have to live in that room!) I came up with the idea of having a pillow band that dresses up the pillow without taking it over.

What I love about the design: It's reversible! One band to cover two holidays which is great for saving storage space. Another cool thing about these, if you have a plain pillow that you already love, make the band in coordinating fabrics to dress it up for the holidays. (I used the Everyday Pillow from yesterday's post.) The band pictured was done for Thanksgiving/Autumn and Christmas.

The Autumn side is made of five strips of brown materials, simple light green embroidered design using a running stitch and embellished with some sparkly leaves in fall colors. The Christmas side is made from a deep, rich red cotton, with the words stenciled on and painted with metallic silver fabric paint and outlined with dimensional paint. Then I added a few buttons to fill in the empty space with a few coordinating buttons.

Again, super simple, not too expensive and these can be made as simple or elaborate as you want or as time allows. And honestly, once you get started making these types of accessories you can get addicted and fall in love with changing the look of your home whenever you want without spending a ton of money!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A More Everyday Pillow

I'm one of those people that gets bored looking at the same things day in and day out. I like to have those little changes that keep a room feeling fresh and new. It's too expensive to change furniture out everytime I want something new. So I do the next best thing and change the accessories. Our living room is done in warm browns, blues and greens to remind us of the outdoors. Plus being fairly neutral, it is easy to bring in pops of color.

For this cover, I used the 18" square form and a rich tonal green fabric. Then I decided to use up a bunch of buttons I had floating around. This was a nice relaxing, evening project for me. I kept the buttons in a little bowl next to my chair and hand-sewed them on while watching TV.

Even with such a simple design, it brings a lot "WOW!" to the room. The colors compliment the rest of the decor but don't overwhelm. A great thing about this design is that it would be great for those large scraps or strange size remnant. The front is actually two pieces of material with the seam in the middle. This worked out great because it gave me a straight line to base my buttons around. I can see myself making a few more of these, with different materials and a variety of colorful buttons.

Just think of how nice this would look on your couch, a comfy chair or on the guest bed. Why not buy the large packages of buttons, enough material and pillow forms, and make several for around the house.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pillow Bow!

Christmas is my favorite holiday to decorate for. Really the only one I decorate for. I feel like I do quite a bit, but I by no means go overboard. We have our family decorations that have become part of our traditional decorations, and every so often I add to them. Last year I made felt pointsettas and simple wallhanging to decorate the living room. 

This year I decided to add a couple of pillows to our couch to bring in more festive colors. So I made the pillow cover below, again on an 18" square form. This one was a little tricky because I had to figure out measurements on my own, instead of looking them up somewhere.

Once again, I raided my stash for remnants and scraps to make this cover. In fact, the white bow on the front is made from fabric leftover from flowergirl baskets I made for my step-son's wedding in 2010. I thought the shimmery silver snowflakes accented the fun, bright green color and cute little snowmen quite well.

This picture was taken in our family room on the old comfy couch my boys have pretty much worn out over the years. But even on an older couch that may be well past its best days, a nice throw blanket draped across the back and some pillows can really dress up the look. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Adding a little comfort...

After spending a week and a half working on nothing but flowers, I had a lot of catching up to do. Soooo, the second week of nothing on the blog was spent tackling the Mt Everest sized pile of laundry that accumulated, the huge mess of a kitchen and living room and getting caught up on my projects for the blog. I will confess that I did take one day and did absolutely nothing. Things have calmed down now and I can get back in to a nice little routine, which is extra nice considering the holidays are here! This is my favorite time of year. Personally, I only really go all out on decorating the house for Christmas, but I do like a few fall accents here and there.

What I especially love is simple accents that I can make and not have to spend a ton of money. One such is throw pillows They are always a quick a way to accessorize a room. My issue with throw pillows is the cost and space. Have you looked at the cost of pillows lately? Especially the really pretty ones that make you stop and say "oooooh!" Then there is the size of them. By themselves, they aren't too bad. But what if you want to use them to decorate for the season or just change them for a new look? What do you do with all the old pillows? 

Easy answer? PILLOW FORMS!!! I love pillow forms. For those not in the know, they are plain white, pre-stuffed pillows that you can find in fabric and craft stores. The reason I love them: You buy the pillows once, change the covers to change the look of a room. Minimal sewing experience needed. Covers can be as simple or elaborate as you choose. This week, I'm going to show a few ideas for covers that can be made at home and will focus more on the seasonal decor than everyday use.

First up is my Give Thanks pillow cover for an 18" square pillow form. I found the autumn leaf material a long time ago as a remnant and it has been patiently waiting in my stash to be used. For the front I used a strip of a fat quarter, stenciled on the "Thanks" with fabric paint and free-handed "Give" and the letter outlines with dimensional (puffy) paint. Super simple and super cheap. And SUPER CUTE! 

It would easy to make multiple sizes with the same material or coordinating fabric. The possibilities are many and the only thing that took a lot of time about this cover was letting the paint dry (overnight for each paint). Hopefully this has given you some ideas!

Monday, November 5, 2012

MIA Crafter...

So for the last two weeks I have been MIA, but I have a good reason. We have a cousin who got married on October 28th. On the 15th she asked me to make her bouquets, six ribbon flower bouquets - bridal, tossing and four bridesmaid - and I couldn't meet with her until the 17th to actually pick out ribbon colors and discuss what she wanted. Once everything was figured out, I spent the following week and a half doing nearly nothing but sewing ribbon flowers and crafting bouquet embellishments. In all I ended up with around six dozen flowers and two dozen embellishments. 

It was stressful, my whole house suffered and my poor hubby had to deal with nearly two weeks of me being cranky. In the end it was all worth it when I delivered the bouquets and saw the bride's face. She loved them, said they were better than she could have expected even though she knew they would be beautiful. 

So here are three of the six bouquets that nearly cost me my sanity. :) I am very happy with how they turned out. She had a Halloween themed wedding, complete with guests being required to wear costumes (which was more stress considering I had to make a costume for myself as well) and her colors were a rich red, black and white.
Here you can see the bridal bouquet in the vase, the tossing bouquet to the right and the maid of honor bouquet to the left. The only difference between the maid of honor bouquet and the other bridesmaid is the sparkly black pendant set to the front of bouquet. 

The bridal had several accents that made it really stand out. The bride loves sparkly, blingy accents. Knowing that, I crafted some rhinestone accents out of cup-chain with clear stones and silver wire and incorporated a really pretty iridescent ribbon both in the bouquet and circling it. This bouquet really stood out in front of her dress. The bridesmaids bouquets were smaller but made of the same style flowers and accents. They did not get any rhinestones, but they did get some bicone accents in the wedding colors. The tossing bouquet was the smallest of the bouquets but still had some major impact. It was also the biggest pain the neck to make. Probably because it was the last and I was trying to hurry to get everything done to deliver the flowers in the afternoon, the day before the wedding.

I loved being able to do this for our cousin. The joy in her face when she saw them, the surprise when I told her she didn't have to pay and they were her wedding gift. It took a lot of stress off her - especially considering she gave herself a total of 28 days to plan the wedding! Naturally, her big day was beautiful and filled with family and love. And I'm happy to know I had a small part in making the day so special for her. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Owls are a Hoot!

Bad pun, I know, but I have been weirdly drawn to owls lately. Perhaps it's because my grandmother collected them most her life and now that she is gone, they remind me of her. The big eyes always get me, and they are surprisingly simple to try to design.

I decided one day I wanted to make some owls when I needed a project I could take with me. So searching online for cute little patterns, I came across a super cute one here from They have  the pdf pattern available and instructions for making a mobile. I wasn't that interested in making a mobile, so I just made a few owls.

These were pretty easy and inexpensive - just felt, thread, buttons for eyes and stuffing. I could do them just about anywhere and came together quickly. Overall, very happy with them and actually want to make a few more...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Dog Cookie Jar

That title may be a little misleading. Let's say this is more of a "Treat" jar, but a lot of people refer to their pup's treats as cookies. And it kinda looks like a cookie a jar.

Anyway, we are going to finish the week with a tutorial on how to make this super easy and very inexpensive  treat jar.

Here's what you need:

  1. Glass jar (I paid $5 at Walmart)
  2. Alphabet stickers ($1.50 at Michael's)
  3. Masking tape
  4. Armour Etch*
Armour Etch is getting hard to find in stores, which is a shame because I love that stuff. It is a quick and easy way to get the etched glass or mirror looks at home. I know you can get it on Amazon pretty easily (along with letter stencils) or try the Walmart website.

The process:

1. Make sure the glass jar is clean and dry. Apply stickers to spell "Treats", "Cookies", or your dog's name. Be sure stickers are completely stuck down, you don't want the etching cream seeping under them. This is totally customizable. Next put masking tape around the area you don't want etched. Again, make sure edges are completely sealed.

2. Apply a thick coat of the etching cream. Cover the letter stickers completely, but be careful not to go past the masking tape. Follow the package directions. (Although I've found that leaving it on a little longer than directed helps the etched look.)
3. Rinse with water. I always try to do one of the sides without stickers first so I can check the quality of the frosted glass look. If it doesn't look even or frosted enough, I leave the cream on and apply more where needed.

4. Air dry to see completed frosted look. Because the outside is etched, you can hand wash the inside as needed.
And that's it. Now all that's left to do is fill it with treats for the pups and you are all done. 

Keep in mind this process is perfect for customization. Use smaller jars for smaller dog treats or even cat treats. Or change the words and use it as a candy jar. Use swirly accent stickers instead of letters and these jars are great for home decor. Once you have the process down, there are really so many possibilities for what you can make!

***Sorry, the pictures for some reason didn't load, but I will get them uploaded again as soon as I can!***

*** UPDATE 11/5/12: Pictures uploaded and working this time! ***

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Snuggle Pup

All three of our dogs are kennel trained. Well, that's not entirely true. The Dachshund is still in the process of being trained. She's a pup and resistant to the idea of being in a cage. I can't say I blame her. She was abandoned at my vet's office (where my step-daughter happens to work). I believe she is pure bred doxie because her original family had paid more than $700 for her, but then had to move and couldn't take her with them.

She sat at the vets office for a little more than a month, going on three overnight trials to potential families, my step-daughter being one of them. The reasons for not keeping her ranged from "She hid from us and wouldn't come near us" to "Our house is already full, and as small and sweet as she is, we just can't handle a puppy right now." When she came to us for a trial night, her little nose raw from nudging at her cage door trying to get out. After about 20 minutes, we knew she wouldn't be going back.

Mini is a sweetheart - a bit of pain considering she still gets in to everything and will have the occasional accident on the floor - but still a little doll. She loves to cuddle and will jump on your lap to cuddle. I've also learned, like most doxies, she loves to burrow. I think it goes back to the original job of the breed - burrowing in to rabbit and other small animal holes. Yes, Dachshunds were bred to be hunters.

Anyway, my intention for this little bed is to have it stay in her kennel. It has a little "cave" at one end for her to burrow in to and lots of stuffing to make it extra soft. The bed was made from a flannel remnant I found at Walmart. It was just under a yard of material and worked perfectly to make this little bed.

The idea now is to train her, outside the kennel, that it is her bed where she can be safe and comfy. Then move it in to her kennel, which it should fit in to perfectly, so she will be more comfortable in there. Of course that is our plan, but doxies usually will do things their own way so I guess we will just have to see how this all goes. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scrap Stash Dog Toys

Yesterday I showed you some super simple upcycled dog toys made from old clothes. Today is all about using up scraps of material from your sewing stash. If you don't sew, you could always just look for remnants at your local craft stores. Remnants are a great way to go because you don't necessarily need a lot of yardage to make some great toys for your pup.

All three of these toys were made entirely from scrap material. On the far right is some pink flannel that I had left over from a dog bed I made (which will be another post). Because I only had a couple of small strips, I sewed down the short sides and one long side. Then I divided it in to fourths and made four small "puffs" which were stuffed with scraps of fleece and then sewed the fourth side. The reason for the fleece stuffing is I hate having to pick up regular stuffing that has been scattered all over the floor. This way, should the dogs get this one open, I have a small strip of fleece to toss and that's it.

The middle is four strips, about 22" long, of a one-way stretch fleece, that was knotted at one end, weaved together in a rope and knotted at the other end. The stretch allowed me to add a lot of length to the toy and is great when the Dachshund and Lab mix want to play tug 'o war. (Yes, they do, quite often, and the doxie usually wins.)

Finally, the little gray bone shape is just two pieces of felt stitched together. No stuffing and nothing special. For some reason, the doxie loves to grab the little flat toys and shake them like crazy so that's why I made this one for her.