Friday Favorites No. 323

After a crummy week of trying to deal with the pain of an injured shoulder, I have something to celebrate today. It's exactly one month until we leave to go visit our son in Italy! We last saw him nearly a year ago, so we're over-the-moon excited for this trip. I'll apologize in advance, but it might be all I can talk about until we go!

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Denim is back in a big way this year, and not just in a two-legged kind of way. I've seen LOTS of home decor items and accessories sporting the blue. The Unfashionista shares a way to bring it into a different part of your wardrobe, and rehab a pair of old shoes in the process.

Why is something that's outside its normal size so compelling? Tiny, huge, it's just different from what we're used to. As a book lover I'm especially drawn to these big free printables from The Painted Hive.

I know the photo looks a little holiday-ish, but I just bought a bottle of pear vodka made by a local distillery, and while I was looking for ways to use it I came across this tasty drink from Growing Up Gable. What I like about this recipe is that there aren't a ton of other ingredients, so that pear flavor gets to shine.

I've bought pre-marinaded chicken and popped it into the freezer for another day, so why have I never thought to make my own? These recipes from Sweet Peas and Saffron all sound delicious. She also gives some marinating advice, and serving ideas for each flavor.

The candle shown here is from Define Design 11 at Handmade at Amazon. This happens to be the Oregon version (from an Oregon seller), but they seem to have most, if not all, the other states as well. Each candle has a scent reminiscent of it's region, and is a perfect gift for someone who's missing home.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Friday Favorites–Denim

I’m back from my camping trip in the wilderness.  It was relaxing, if for no other reason than there’s no internet or phone there.  My husband is usually the camp cook and dishwasher, so for two days I did almost nothing.  It was weird.

In anticipation of all that free time, I bought a couple of magazines to bring along.  Between my daughter and I, we had one home decorating magazine, two fashion magazines and two puzzle books.  In reading through them all, I learned two things.  One, I suck at Sudoku.  Two, denim is hot right now.

The first quilt I ever made was recycled denim.  I just cut up big squares, but I love the strips It’s Always Autumn used in her modern take on this upcycling classic.  The gold binding that suggests the thread often used on jeans is also a nice touch.

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These denim cubes made by Style Diaries from old jeans are nice all by themselves, but even better when you find out they’re filled with lavender.

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Everything is cuter when it’s made baby-sized, including these Denim Skull Baby Shoes from Ecouterre.

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I loved this art piece before I even knew it was made from denim.  Belrossa made this Denim Sunburst Textile Art using small pieces of recycled denim.  Time consuming, but so worth it.

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The use, or reuse, of the pockets on this Denim Pencil Cube from Crafts ‘N Coffee were well-planned, but the grommets to hold the pencils are a stroke of genius.

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If you’d like to wear your denim on your nails, Nordstrom can help you out with this Denim Manicure Set.

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This jacket started out solid white.  After Second Chances by Susan was through, her Tattooed Denim Jacket was a work of art.

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This adorable Denim Whale from Valaan Villapaita would make a great gift for an ocean-loving kid.

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I love the different colored layers in this hairband by Meijo’s Joy, and the reused button is just the right touch.

This sweet little tree by Michele Made Me was created by rolling strips of denim. 

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And, because I said I would report back, I want you to know I tried roasting Starburst over the campfire.  Maybe I don’t understand how to do it correctly, but I couldn’t keep it on the stick long enough to cook it all the way through.  The part that did tasted like a warm Starburst.  Sigh.  It was the most work I did during the entire trip.

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!

Reusable Shopping Bags

Earth Day is this week.  According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, this year will mark its 40th anniversary.  The thing is, I don't recall hearing a peep about Earth Day until the last couple of years or so.  I understand the concept of appreciating and protecting our planet, but I don't know what the official way to celebrate is.  I feel like I've been missing something all these years.  In light of this, I decided to focus on my personal crusade to use fewer plastic bags.  I would like to say I don't use them at all, but I only remember to bring my own about every third time I shop.  Sometimes I try to catch the cashier and tell them I don't need a bag at all, but if they've already started the bagging process it goes in the trash, totally defeating the purpose.

I carry reusable shopping bags in my car that I've bought various places, but they're not cute.  I realized if I had bags I loved, it might make me remember them more often.  Lacking a pattern, as I often am, I measured one of my store bags and made my own.

You'll need strong fabric, like denim or home decor fabric.  Got a set of old drapes?  I had some leftover home dec fabric from my daughter's pink/green/brown period.

Bag 1

Bag 1

Cut one piece 21" x 38" for the body.  You'll need a piece 3" x 106" for the handles.  Rather than try to find a continuous piece of fabric that long, you can sew together several pieces.  Lay them together as shown in the picture, stitch diagonally, trim and press. 

Bag 2

Bag 2

My handles happen to be about 2" short, because I ran out of fabric.  They're pretty flexible that way.  Fold each edge of the handle in 1/2" and press.  Fold the entire handle in half and press again.  Unfold one end, fold raw edge in 1/4".  Lay the other end across, forming a giant loop, making sure there are no twists. 

Bag 3

Bag 3

Fold it back up and stitch through.  I seriously need to put "New Ironing Board Cover" on the list of projects.  Ugh.

Bag 4

Bag 4

On the bag fabric, fold each short end under 2" and press.  Fold raw edge in 1/2", press again and stitch close to inner fold.  Lay the bag fabric out, right side up.  Find the center on each long side.  Find the center of the handle, opposite your connecting seam.  Lay the handle over the bag, matching centers, and pin down 7" from long raw edge, facing open side of handle toward the center of the bag.

Bag 5

Bag 5

Halfway through pinning the handle down, I decided an outside pocket to hold receipts, coupons, shopping lists or change would be handy.  Cut a piece of fabric 6" x 9".  Fold the bottom edge up 1", then under 1/2" and press.  Fold the top up 2", then under 1" and press.  Stitch across the top, close to the inner fold.  Don't stitch the bottom yet.  Lay pocket on the bag with the top 3" from the upper edge of the bag and edges under the handle.  Pin.

Stitch close to both edges of the handle, all the way around, starting with the open side.  Stitch an X shape at the top edge of the bag over each handle for reinforcement.  Stitch across the bottom of the pocket.

Bag 6

Bag 6

I made one of these, overcomplicated the side seams, slapped my forehead and said "French seams, duh!"  With wrong sides together, stitch a scant 1/4" seam down each side.  Turn with right sides together and stitch again with a generous 1/2" seam.  Simple.

Flatten the corner with the seam in the middle.  Measure 4" from corner and draw a line across.  Pin in place.

Stitch along line, then again 1/8" away, closer to the corner.

Bag 8

Bag 8

Turn and press.  You can lay something in the bottom if you'd like.  I used plastic canvas for one of mine.  You can also use cardboard, either covered in fabric or not.  Fill with groceries and save a plastic bag!

Recycling Jeans Part II - The Purse

I was finishing up the skirt from yesterday, glanced at the remaining denim scraps, and they said "Purse." So I went and ate lunch, because if the fabric is talking to you it's time for a break. I wanted to keep the look of the jeans, so I decided to keep the shape of one leg and cut everything else to match that. You'll need two matching denim leg-bottoms and a piece of lining fabric cut double on the fold…

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Recycling Jeans Part 1 - The Skirt

The jeans I used for this project were passed down to me from my daughter. She was 14 at the time and I was pretty thrilled I could wear her jeans. They should probably have been placed in a shrine somewhere so I could look at them any time my confidence needed a boost but when I went to my closet to find a pair to turn into a skirt, they volunteered.

You will probably want to use a sewing machine for this , although if you don't have one it could be stitched by hand using some strong thread. I think my camera ate some of my photos, so there are portions of this that aren't as illustrated as I intended.

To get started, you'll need a pair of jeans. A little stretch is fine, but try not to go too stretchy. It will affect the shape of your skirt. Try the jeans on and decide how long you want your skirt. Add a few inches, about 4 to 6, and mark it. You can always shorten, but good luck making it longer. Cut off the legs parallel to the bottom hem.

Using a seam ripper or small, sharp scissors, rip out entire inner seam.

Now rip out the front center seam up to the bottom of the zipper.

Rip out the back seam up to a corresponding point to the bottom of the zipper. This isn't an exact science - you're looking for it to lay flat when you overlap the two sides. If it doesn't, go a little higher. It can always be stitched up later.

Find the widest side of the leg pieces you cut off in the first step. Most likely, it will be the back. Cut along just inside both seams so you end up with two raw edges.

Lay the skirt flat. Starting with the front, overlap one side over the other. Pin it together with safety pins. Repeat on the back. Slide one leg piece underneath the overlapped pieces. Pin this piece in place and try the skirt on. Make sure it hangs the way you want it to. If not, adjust overlaps and pieces until it does.

I like to use a product called Wonder Under to hold everything in place until I can sew it. Here's the company's website, with a little more detail: http://www.pellonideas.com/content/view/21/27/. There are other products that do the same thing, such as Heat 'N Bond and Steam-A-Seam, but they are all basically iron-on glue. You cut a strip of Wonder Under to fit inside where the stitching will be and following the instructions on the package, iron it in place. Trim the excess fabric from the leg piece at the bottom edge and inside.

Next you'll need to trim the bottom edge of your skirt evenly. Don't trim straight across. I made that mistake and the sides of the skirt looked longer than the front and back when I put it on. You'll want to trim in a slight curve up at each side.

Sew along the seams as shown. You can trim away the remaining excess fabric on the wrong side. Sew a row of stitching along the bottom edge, about 1/2 inch in. This will stop the fabric from unraveling too far.

Wash and dry your skirt. You can trim the unraveled edge to the amount of strings you want. I did a lot of trimming on this one because I wanted a more even look. You'll probably have to repeat the process the first few times its washed.

Finished! Tune in tomorrow for another project using the remaining leg fabric!