Friday Favorites–Flowers

The winter after my daughter turned one, I bought an amaryllis bulb.  Surprisingly, I remembered to water it a few times, and it bloomed into a beautiful red flower.  It just so happened that Codi had a favorite book, which we had to read every day, that included a flower that looked just like it.  Every single time we reached that page, she’d point to the flower.  The weird thing is, she continued to point at the spot where the flower used to be every time we read the book, long after it was dead and gone.

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In the wake of this same girl turning 18 and every day bringing up a new aspect of what college life will be like, I nostalgically bought another amaryllis last month.  It finally bloomed a couple of days ago, leading me to a realization.  I need one of these every year.  Having that bright flower in the window is the perfect antidote for the dreary, post holiday month of January.  Even without a little blonde girl pointing it out.

For all the beauty of an amaryllis, with none of the watering, check out this lovely pop-up card from CardNotions on Etsy.

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The flower on this Back to School Headband from Brassy Apple is simple enough to make with some motivated little girls.

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I like the way this Fabric Flower from I’m Feelin’ Crafty is cut in a spiral, making it curve perfectly.

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I love a tutorial that has no words, like these Paper Dogwood Flowers from La Manufacture, and what a fabulous re-use of a shopping bag and tissue.

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Do you have an old necktie lying around?  Make it into a cute flower with this tutorial from My Heart is Yours.

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These Felt Camelias from How Joyful would be perfect on top of a gift or attached to a headband.

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I just love the ruffley-ness of these Ruffled Fabric Flowers from Quiltish.

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I’ve seen these rick-rack flowers around, but didn’t understand how they were made until right this very minute.  Thanks to The Crafting Chicks for excellent directions on their Rick Rack Rosettes.

Buttons always make cute flowers, and here’s a slightly different take from Artsy Crafty Babe.

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As if I needed a reason to want a rainbow of duct tape, I’ve added these Duct Tape Flower Pens from Seven Sisters to my want list.

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Here’s hoping you find something to brighten up your day today!

Friday Favorites–Calendars

Ok, I know we’re almost a week into the new year already.  But I’m usually just now realizing I didn’t buy a calendar and I’m scrambling to find one that doesn’t have cats or cars on it.  The upside is, I don’t have to pay much for them.  That’s unless I cave in and use the one from the florist or the tire shop.  Free, but uninspiring.

Despite my inability to read the calendar and know I need to replace it, I have several in my house.  This Perpetual Button Calendar from Craft would be perfect for the sewing room.  I could see this made with magnets and an upcycled baking sheet.

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This Printable Perpetual Calendar from S.C. Johnson is so simple.  It would be great in a little corner where you didn’t need a full-on calendar, like the laundry room.  I don’t know why you’d need to know what day it is in the laundry room, but just go with it.

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I love how colorful and lively this Perpetual Calendar from Sandy’s Space is.

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I love the idea of perpetual calendars, which is probably obvious by now, but the problem is you can’t usually write on them.  This Vinyl Wall Calendar from Etsy seller SimpleShapes solves that issue nicely.

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This printable Words to Live By Calendar from Home Made Simple is pretty, but what I really like is all the different ways they show to display it.  They also give you to option to download the pages as desktop backgrounds for your computer.

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This Perpetual Family Calendar from Lowes would be a fun project to make with older kids.

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I’ve downloaded lots of fun backgrounds and screensavers from American Greetings over the years.  They happen to have a large collection of calendar desktop backgrounds, with several for each month.

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You don’t often see a weekly perpetual calendar, but I love this Weekly Calendar from Next to Heaven.

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This Vintage Postcard Calendar Journal from Design Sponge is amazing, and I wish I would have started something like this years ago.

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I did buy a calendar for the dining room before Christmas.  It has nice, big squares for writing on.  The thing is, the front was shown in turquoise, and I assumed each month would be a different color.  Nope.  Every month is the same.  B-O-R-I-N-G!  What I need to brighten it up are these Cute Calendar Reminder Stickers from Etsy seller JoeyDesign.  I might just make up some appointments, just so I can put stickers all over it.

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I hope your 2012 is off to a good start!

Messenger Bag

My daughter saved up some money a few months ago and bought herself a notebook computer.  So far, it’s saved us all some grief.  She can do her homework and keep up with what’s happening on Facebook without anyone in the house losing my mind.  I mean, their minds. She wanted to be able to take it to school once in a while, but was afraid to try to carry it in any of the bags she has because none of them are padded.  I’ve been wanting to try a messenger bag idea I’ve been carrying around in my head, so we gave it a go.

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This project is a little more complicated and has a lot more pieces than most I post here, but you start out with nothing but rectangles and if you read through the directions before you start you’ll get thought it just fine.  I’m going to refer to the pieces by a letter and number to make it easier to follow.  This is also my most photo-heavy tutorial yet.

You’ll need outer fabric, lining fabric, medium weight interfacing and cotton batting or other thin padding.  Here’s the pieces you’ll need to cut from your fabric:

  • A – bag – 20” wide x 15” tall

  • A1 – cut two from outer fabric

  • A2 – cut two from lining fabric

  • A3 – cut two from interfacing

  • A4 – cut four from cotton batting

  • B – top flap – 20” wide x 7 1/2” tall

  • B1 – cut one from outer fabric

  • B2 – cut one from lining fabric

  • B3 – cut one from interfacing

  • C – closure tab – 3 1/2” wide x 11” tall

  • C1 – cut two from lining fabric

  • C2 – cut one from interfacing

  • D- closure loop – 4” wide x 1” tall

  • D1 – cut one from outer fabric

  • E – tab for strap hardware – 4” wide x 5” tall

  • E1 – cut two from outer fabric

  • E2 – cut two from interfacing

  • F – outside pocket – 12” wide x 12” tall

  • F1 – cut one from lining fabric

  • F2 – cut two 2” square pieces of interfacing

  • G – outside pocket flap – 12” wide by 5” tall

  • G1 – cut one from lining fabric

  • G2 – cut one from interfacing

  • H – inside pocket – 7” wide by 11” tall

  • H1 – cut one from outer fabric

That’s a lot of pieces, so keep the list handy as you go through the instructions so you know which piece I’m referring to.  Everything is sewn using a 1/2” seam unless otherwise noted.  Also, if I tell you to turn and press something, always trim the seam and clip the corners first.

You’ll also need two 1 1/2” D rings, a 1 1/2” button, two 1 1/2” by 3/4” pieces of Velcro and about 1 to 1 1/2 yards of webbing for the strap.

Iron the interfacing onto the back of pieces A1 (the one you intend to use on the back), A2 (the one at the front of the bag), B1, C1 (either one), E2 (both) and G2.

Fold D1 lengthwise with right sides together.  Stitch down long side with a 1/8” seam.  Don’t trim seam.  Turn and press.

Lay out B1, right side up.  Pin ends of D1 8 3/4” in from each end.  It should measure 2 1/2” between the ends when you’re finished.  Lay B2 on top, right side down.  Stitch sides and bottom (the side where you pinned D1).  Double stitch over D1 ends.   Turn and press.  Top stitch close to edge.

Fold H1 in half lengthwise.  Stitch all sides except fold, leaving an opening to turn.  Turn and press.

Measure 7” in on each side and 4” from top on A2 (the one with interfacing) and pin H1 with fold on the top edge.  Stitch close to side and bottom edges.  Stitch a row from top to bottom of pocket 1 1/2” from one side.

Fold G1 in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Press fold.  Open, right side up.  Position a 1 1/2” x 3/4” piece of Velcro 1” from edge at side and 1/4” from crease on both sides.  Stitch both pieces on securely. 

Fold G1 with right sides together.  Stitch around all edges, leaving an opening for turning.  Turn and press.  Top stitch sides and creased edge.

Fold F1 in half lengthwise with right sides together.  Press fold.  Unfold and turn wrong side up.  Iron a 2” square of interfacing 3/4” from edge and even with fold on both sides.

Turn F1 right side up.  Pin remaining Velcro 1” from edge and 1/2” from fold on both sides.  Stitch securely in place.

Fold F1, right sides together.  Stitch around all sides except fold, leaving an opening for turning.  Turn and press.  Top stitch edge near Velcro.

Lay A1 (with interfacing) right side up.  Place F1 4 1/2” from edges on sides and 4 1/2” from top edge.  Make sure Velcro is on the outside and near the upper edge.  Stitch sides and bottom close to edge.

Pin G1, Velcro down, 4” from upper edge.  Velcro and sides should match up with F1.  Stitch close to top edge of G1.

Pin both C pieces right sides together.  Stitch sides and bottom end.  Turn and press.  Top stitch sewn sides.

Stitch a buttonhole the width appropriate to your button (mine is 1 1/2” but you could go smaller) 1 1/4” from stitched bottom end of C.

Fold E in half widthwise with right sides together.  Stitch long (5”) edge.  Turn and press with seam centered.  Repeat with second piece.  Top stitch both long sides on each.

Layer these pieces:  A4 (one); A1 (with pocket) right side up; C1 centered, even with top edge and buttonhole end away from edge; A1 right side down; A4 (other one).  Stitch sides and bottom.  Backstitch over C1.  Trim seam.  Press side seams open.

Flatten bottom corners so bottom and side seam meet.  Draw a line at the point that measures 2 1/2” across (a little over 1” from the corner). 

Stitch along that line.  Trim off the corner below stitching.

Repeat the entire process from layering with lining pieces A2 and remaining two A4 pieces, excluding piece C1.  Leave a 6” opening in the bottom for turning.

Thread a D ring onto each E1 piece.  Fold in half and stitch close to edge to hold.

Turn outer bag, A1, right side out.  Pin each E1 piece onto A1 (on the back - side with the pocket) 1 1/2” from the side seams.

Pin top flap, B, on top, sides matching bag side seams, raw edges even and outer side (B1) down.  Stitch around top 1/4” from edge.

Stitch around bag lining, A2, 1/4” from edge.  Stuff outer bag, A1, inside lining, A2, with inner pocket facing the front of the outer bag.  Pin edges, matching seams.  Stitch 1/2” from the edge.  Trim seam.  Zigzag edge for added strength.

Turn the bag right side through the hole in the lining.  Push out the corners.  Stitch the opening closed. 

Push the lining into the bag.  Press the upper edge.  Topstitch close to edge.

Feed the closure tab, C1, through the closure loop, D1, and make a mark in the center of the buttonhole.  Sew button at mark, so button faces out when tab is fed through loop.

Feed one end of the webbing through the hardware tab, E1.  Fold the end under about 1 1/2”, then under again about 3”.  Stitch securely through 1 1/2” section in several directions.

I made the strap adjustable using the necessary hardware but it broke the first time she used it because it was plastic.  I recommend adjusting the strap to the desired length, feeding the remaining end through the other D ring and sewing it in place, which is what I’ll be doing with her bag now.

I’m pretty sure it took me a lot longer to write this tutorial than it did to actually make this bag, so don’t be intimidated by the length of these instructions.  One step at a time, and you’ll be carrying your notebook in style.

Friday Favorites–Bracelets

I love bracelets.  That’s probably obvious, considering I’ve covered paracord, recycled T-shirt and braided leather versions and included a couple of them in my Quick and Easy Gifts on Friday Favorites .  I don’t usually wear them much this time of year because I’m completely cold-blooded and can’t even think about short sleeves until at least May.  But there are so many cute ones out there, and we need time to get them made, right? 

I love the simplicity of this Button Bracelet from Little Miss Momma.  I could make this without even going to the store.  That’s always a good thing.

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I keep trying to get my daughter to make one of these Soda Can Tab Bracelets like the one shown here from CraftyPanda.  Another user on the message board suggests a product for painting the tabs.  Go look…they did red, my favorite!

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I have to try these Yarn Bangles from Keely’s Korner.  A few basic bangles and some cute yarn and I could have them to match everything I own, including a few scarves.  My kind of jewelry.

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How about a gift of money and jewelry at the same time?  Sounds extravagant, doesn’t it?  This Money Bracelet from Under the Table and Dreaming makes the idea a little more accessible.

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You know I’m a sucker for repurposing old jeans.  This Denim Bracelet from Mich L. in L.A. makes me want to go tear a pair up.

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This is cute.  It just is.  Find the instructions for this Fun Circles Wrist Cuff at Crochet Spot.

I want to try making a Chain Maille Bracelet like this one from Ellifolks.  I just need to get together all those rings.  And I need them to be in colors.  No problem, right?

I love these Fabric Cuff Bracelets from Etsy seller Ponder and Stitch.  Check out the ones with embroidery.  So pretty.

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I’m sure this zipper fad is winding down, but I still like them.  I’ve had my eye on this Zipper Bracelet from Cut Out and Keep for way too long.

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This last bracelet, called Lederschleifenarmband, is from a German blog called Maikitten.  Of course you can translate it, but there’s really no need.  The photos tell the whole story.

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I have a new tutorial I’m excited to share with you next week.  This post might give you a hint as to what it is!

Friday Favorites–Christmas Ornaments

We’re getting our tree this weekend, so I have ornaments on the brain.  I try to add a new one or two each year, but I can never bring myself to get rid of any.  I’m either going to need a bigger tree or a taller ceiling.

When my kids were small, AOL was at it’s peak.  They were sending us a CD once a week, trying to get us to sign up for their service.  I could never bring myself to throw them away, thinking they would be perfect for a future craft project.  We used a few of them over the years, but I really wish I would have seen Helenismos’ Quilted CD Ornaments before I tossed the rest.

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I already made one of these Yarn Stocking Hat ornaments by Craft Elf.  They’re really cute and would be a great kid project.  Just make sure you read all of the directions, instead of trying to finish it without completing all the steps.  I don’t know who would do something like that.

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I. Have. To. Make. This.  We have ornaments representing the interests of everyone in my family, but I don’t think I have any sewing-related ornaments.  I love this Cute as a Button Ornament from Zakka Life.  I need a whole tree of them, in every color of felt I can find.

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This Royal Icing ornament from Food Mayhem looks so delicate, which is kinda what I like about it.  This is a top-of-the-tree ornament, so the kids won’t break it and the dog won’t eat it.

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This is actually a pattern that’s available for purchase from Rosie Little Things.  I can’t even tell you how much I love the red coat.  In fact, I wish it came in my size, complete with the mittens.

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I just like how these Paper Mache ornaments from Blue Cricket Design look.  That simple.  This would be a great way to repurpose old, scratched up ornaments.

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I try not to include something from Martha Stewart in every one of these things, but there’s a reason she became a bajillionaire by making stuff.  This Button Wreath ornament would be another good one to make with the kids and the color options are just about endless.

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I had to include these Mason Jar Lid Ornaments from Fun on a Dime because I remember having something like this on our tree growing up.  I think ours had photos of us in the middle, but I like the idea of using old Christmas cards.

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Anyone who sews has fabric scraps.  Unless you’re making big rectangles.  A few of those scraps and a foam ball and you have this cute fabric ornament from Jody on WhipUp.

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Argyle was popular for a while in the 80’s.  I don’t think I ever let it, or plaid, go.  No, I’m not sitting here in my neon tank, off-one-shoulder Flashdance shirt, zipper-ankle jeans and legwarmers.  You can’t see me, right?  Like everything I just listed, I think argyle is back and I couldn’t be happier.  This Argyle Applique ornament from So September is both current and nostalgic, making it a perfect fit on my tree.

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Hubby's Vacation Shirt

I'm on the wagon.  I've stopped folding pattern pieces exactly the way they came out of the envelope.  If you've ever sewn anything using a store-bought pattern,  you're either horrified that I've stopped or questioning why I was doing it in the first place.  I rarely get a chance to sew for my husband, but we have a vacation coming up and I thought he could use a Hawaiian shirt.  I used McCall's M4518, which is one I haven't tried before.  It's supposed to be a two-hour pattern, but it has THREE pages of fitting instructions.  It would take me two hours just to get through those.  In my opinion, a two hour pattern shouldn't require extra fitting instructions.  It's a button-up shirt, for crying out loud, not a cocktail dress.  Whew, maybe I need a cocktail.

Anyway, the shirt took me quite a bit longer than McCall's thinks it should, but turned out great.  I had to take an extra inch off each side when I sewed the side seams, but it ended up fitting well otherwise.  My biggest issue was finding five 1/2" buttons.  This is my well-stocked button box:

I could only find one set of matching buttons that would work on the shirt and they happen to have my husband's initials printed on them.  I don't know which is weirder, the initials, or the fact that in that entire box I only had 5 matching buttons in that size.

I especially like the yoke on the back.

And, even more especially, the guy wearing it.

Last-Minute Mother's Day Flower

I have two problems today.  I'm not supposed to be doing anything and I'm not allowed to have any plants or flowers in the house until I've recovered completely.  Those are both particularly painful the day before Mother's Day.  Being the crafty girl I am, I set out today to remedy those without getting into too much trouble.  Turns out, my solution would also make a quick and easy Mother's Day gift…

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