Friday Favorites–Decorating for Halloween

We have two October birthdays in our house, so if I’m going to decorate for Halloween I try to hold off until those have passed.  My husband’s was yesterday (Happy birthday honey!), so I think it’s time.  Since my kids are grown and we don’t get trick-or-treaters I don’t often do much, but I’m feeling it this year.  I think it might be nostalgia, since my oldest is completely out of the nest.  That’s okay, because there is no shortage of good ideas out there – I had a hard time narrowing it to ten this week!

Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites - Decorating for Halloween

I noticed after I was done collecting this week’s favorites that almost all of them involve repurposing.  One of the most impressive transformations is this pink and purple Little Tikes playhouse that became a spooky haunted mansion, thanks to the talents of Saki.Girl on Halloween Forums.

Little Tikes Playhouse Makeover by Saki.Girl on Halloween Forum

Thanks to so many charities using “flocking” as a fundraiser, you can buy pink flamingos lots of places year round.  Pick up a few and make these Painted Skeleton Flamingos with Craftbits.

Painted Skeleton Flamingo by Craftbits

I think these Rock Jack-O-Lanterns from No Time for Flashcards might be my kind of pumpkin carving.

I think these Halloween Spiders from Crafts ‘N Coffee are adorable, and not even a little scary.

Halloween Spiders by Crafts 'N Coffee

These DIY Halloween Lanterns from The Australian Baby Blog would be a fun craft to make with the kids.  All the glow, without all the fire hazard.

DIY Halloween Lanterns by The Australian Baby Blog

These Coffee Filter Spiderwebs from The Artful Parent remind me a little of snowflakes – until you add the spiders.

Spider Webs from Coffee Filters by The Artful Parent

I might need to start saving up shopping bags to make this skeleton from Curious Tangles on Instructables.

Halloween Skeleton Made of Plastic Shopping Bags by Curious Tangles on Instructables

I love a craft that can transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving, like these Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins from The Summery Umbrella.

Reclaimed Wood Pumpkins by The Summery Umbrella

These Toilet Paper Roll Bats from Practically Functional are easy, just the right amount of spooky, and use something everyone has around.

Toilet Paper Roll Bats by Practically Functional

These Barbie Zombies from Crafts by Amanda are at the top of my want-to-make list.  It probably helps that we’re big Walking Dead fans.

Barbie Zombies by Crafts by Amanda

Yogurt Tub and Denim Drawstring Bag

When I was asked by Earth 911 if I had any good recycled crafts they could share for Earth Day, I didn’t think I’d have any problem digging one up.  I was surprised to find most of my projects that fit the bill were seasonal, and not appropriate for spring.  I really wanted something that was mostly repurposed, didn’t take a lot of materials and was a little unusual.    I think this bag fits. Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 0

To make this, you’ll need a clean yogurt tub (about 24 oz size), a piece of denim (a leg cut off to make shorts will work) and two shoe laces.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 1

Ok, so I know that’s technically not just yogurt, but have you tried this stuff?  Yum.

Measure around the top edge of your tub.  Add 1/2” to determine the width to cut your denim.  Measure the height of the tub, multiply by 1 1/2 and add 3” to determine the height.  Mine came out to 14 1/8 by 9”.

You can leave a decorative seam if your sewing machine can handle sewing over it doubled.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 2

Fold the denim with the short sides together.  Subtracting the 1/4” seam you’ll sew in the next step, find and mark the center on both sides.  Unfold.  Measure 2 1/4” down from the top edge at the mark.  Draw a 1/4” line from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2”.  Stitch a 1/4” buttonhole at the line and carefully cut it open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 3

Fold the denim right sides touching and short ends together.  Stitch a 1/4” seam down the side.  Press the seam open.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 4

Stitch over the edge at the top and bottom with a zigzag stitch or serger to reduce fraying.  Fold the upper edge toward the wrong side 1 1/2” and press.  Stitch 1/2” from the edge and 1/2” from the fold.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 5

Using scissors or a razor knife, cut the lip off the tub.  Slip the fabric tube over the tub, wrong side of the fabric toward the tub and the top edge of the fabric and tub even with each other.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 6

Using a long stitch and a large needle, stitch 1/4” from the edge through the plastic and denim.  Add a pleat to the denim if you need to make it fit.  If you have any doubt at all about whether your sewing machine can survive this, punch holes in the plastic with an awl and sew by hand.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 7

Pull the denim up over the tub, turning right side out.  Feed a shoelace into one of the buttonholes, all the way around through the casing, and back out through the same hole.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other shoelace.  Tie the laces together near the buttonhole and again at the ends.  Pull both sides to draw closed.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 8

I thought I was done at this point, but when I turned around the lid was laying there.  I cut a small flower from it, which I stitched on with a button on top.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 9

I keep imagining taking this to the beach with my sunglasses, bottle of water and sunscreen in it.

Yogurt Tub and Jeans Drawstring Bag - Crafty Staci 10

If this wasn’t Oregon.  In April.  Maybe a snack instead?

Friday Favorites–Reusing K-Cups

I’m just going to say it.  I have a Keurig coffee maker, and it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  My husband has an erratic schedule, and I was always drinking reheated, burnt coffee.  He also doesn’t like coconut, so one of my favorite coffee flavors was out.  But with my new single-serve buddy, I can have a fresh cup of whatever flavor of coffee I want, whenever I want it.  Given my addiction to my morning cup of joe, that’s a big deal.

The only issue I have with it is the waste.  Each of those single serve coffees leaves us with a little empty cup to throw away.  I knew there had to be something that could be done with them, and thanks to some creative crafters, I have some new ideas to try out.

Make It Easy Crafts made a K-Cup Toothpick Holder with a creative popsicle stick support system around the outside.

P1040797

Crafting a Green World made a variety of creatures using yogurt cups, but the shapes would suit K-cups as well.

yogurt-penguins-300x276

Here’s one to hang onto for a few months:  a Recycled K-Cup Snowman Ornament, also from Make It Easy Crafts.

P1060153 

Earth911 made several K-cups into tiny hanging planters.

HP-Finished-478x308

Entirely Smitten came up with several ways to reuse K-cups, including a cute pincushion.

6a014e5f5efe78970c015433ca0ba0970c-450wi

This K-cup Sound Memory Game is also from Entirely Smitten.

6a014e5f5efe78970c015433435e69970c-500wi

PopSugar shares several practical ideas for reusing empty K-cups.

783c83e8a149bd97_1.preview

Make It Easy Crafts is back one more time with a Patriotic K-cup Flower Wreath.

P1050040

ExperimentMom has a great idea for K-cupsicles.  I’m saving this one for the hot weather.

IMG_3337

Have you come across any good K-cup crafts?

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center

I mentioned the kitchenware Reuse Design Challenge at Earth911 a a while back.  Well, I won!  My thanks to everyone who voted.  This was the challenge:

Upcycle used/old/worn out cookware (pots, pans, utensils…etc) into something completely different, but useful. We are looking for creative AND practical reuse designs, not simply decorative.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except all I could think of were projects that were decorative. My sketch sheet is almost hilarious. Draw something, realize it’s only purpose is to look pretty, cross it out.

Luckily, my need for a good project and an actual need collided. My husband and I have started exercising regularly and trying to eat healthier. I find we eat better food if I plan it out in advance, so I wanted a menu board for my kitchen. I saw lots of kitchen command centers out there, but I have lots of windows and very little wall and they were all too big.  This little cookie sheet fits the spot perfectly.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 0

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 0

To make one of these handy boards, you’ll need a cookie sheet, an empty mint container, a flat-sided pen cup (or a small box), clothespins, a shopping list pad, chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, a silver Sharpie, flat magnets or a magnetic sheet, ribbon or cord to hang it, and, of course, chalk to write on it with. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 1

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 1

This is probably the cheapest cookie sheet known to man, but in this case that’s an advantage.  I felt like I could safely hang it on the wall without having to worry about it.  Rough your pan up with some sandpaper to help the paint stick.  I did this on the back, because that’s the side I chose to use.  Do the same with your mint tin and pencil cup, if it’s metal.  Clean everything well.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 2

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 2

My cookie sheet didn’t have any holes in the ends, so I used a screwdriver, a hammer and a piece of wood to add a couple.  It wasn’t difficult on this thin metal.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 3

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 3

Spray all three pieces with two or three coats of chalkboard paint.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 4

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 4

After the paint has dried completely, use a pencil to draw a menu block.  Trace the pencil lines with a silver Sharpie.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 5

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 5

Add the days of the week, if you’d like them to be permanent. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 6

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 6

I printed my own shopping list (which you can download here) and secured them together with a piece of cardboard on the back using padding compound.  I cut a magnetic calendar down to fit the back (don’t tell my insurance agent!) but any flat, sheet-style magnetic will work.  Glue that to the cardboard.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 7

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 7

Paint the clothespins with the acrylic paint and glue magnets to the back.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 9

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 9

I also added a few details to the mint tin and pencil cup using the Sharpie and paint.  Glue magnets to the side of the pencil cup and the bottom of the mint tin.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 10

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 10

String the ribbon through the holes in the cookie sheet and tie for hanging.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 11

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 11

The day I finished this, I just made up a menu for the photos.  My son walked in while it was hanging and excitedly asked “Are we having Pad Thai for dinner?" which is his favorite.  Since I didn’t even have the ingredients into the house, that wasn’t happening, and he sadly left the kitchen.  I probably owe someone some Pad Thai.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 12

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 12

Now that I have this little thing, I don’t know what I did without it.  I always know where my shopping list and pens are, and my son could stop coming home and asking me what’s for dinner every night.  That’s if I can ever get him to trust it again.

Friday Favorites–Creative Planters

I love the way the outdoors looks this time of year.  Flowers are starting to bloom, the leaves on the trees are unfurling and it’s still raining so it all stays green and healthy.  It’s always right about now when I get an urge to plant something in a container, but that little voice in my head says “Really?  You want to add to the plant body count around here?  You know as soon as it stops raining, that thing is a goner.”  When they make a plant that will water itself and not rely on me, it might stand a chance.

Around here, we’re wearing rain boots about now, but if you have some that have been outgrown or are no longer a pair, try these cute planters from Rosy~Posy.

4698478577_000e3c97de

I love the mini tiered garden effect created by this Tackle Box Garden from More Design Please.

tackleboxgarden1

We’re planning to replace the gutters on our house in the next year or so.  I might have my husband save the old ones so I can make this DIY Vertical Garden with Reclaimed Gutters from Green Upgrader.

guttergarden-550x259

All that clear, beveled glass makes these old ceiling fixtures perfect for planters.  Design Sponge shows you how.

ds-displaybox-1

We’ve all seen old tires used as planters, but there’s something special about the way they’re used in this park in Peru.  They almost look like you could sit on them.  Shared by Wallace Gardens.

tumblr_lr963wXbo01qh9jr9o1_500

Just…wow.  Click through to see this Mobile Garden Dress from Foodtree on an actual human model.

garden-dress2

We’ve pulled a few sinks out of our house, and although ours were lovely 70’s shades of avocado and light blue, they might still make great planters.  Cherry Hill Cottage set hers on top of a sewing machine stand.

6a00d834515ba169e20133f2cc7303970b-800wi

These Baby’s Tears in Muffin Tins from Country Living would make great centerpieces for an outdoor event.

CLX0606FLORAL01DG-de

If it’s still a little too cold to think about planting outside where you are, try this Indoor Terrarium, made using a fishbowl, from SheKnows.

terrarium-main-image

Using tea cups as planters is an idea that’s been around for a long time, but the addition of the Tea Bag Plant Markers from At Home on the Bay is genius.

teabagmarker-698x1024

Just so you know, I think my lack of gardening skills has skipped a generation.  My daughter was given a bamboo plant for her birthday over a year and a half ago and it’s still alive.  She forgot to take it back to school with her when she left after spring break, and is worried I’ll kill it in the 5 days until she’s here again.  Nothing green is safe with me.

Friday Favorites–Refashioned Clothing

On the heels of my long-sleeved shirt save this week, I thought I’d introduce you to a few other refashioned clothing projects this week.  I’m not sure where the word “refashioned” came from, or how it worked its way into our vocabulary, but I have a feeling someone just thought it sounded better than recycled.  Whatever you want to call it, turning something unwearable into a new favorite is a pretty satisfying experience.

When it comes to refashioning, you have two options:  make the item into a better version of what it is, or turn it into something entirely different.  Pillows-A-La-Mode took it up an extra notch and made a whole bunch of items from a cute sundress.

Before:

After:

pillowsalamode after

The Renegade Seamstress must have a very full closet with her refashioning skills.  One of my favorites is this skirt made from a Hawaiian shirt.

Before:

chicevvelopements before

After:

chicevvelopements after

I have this problem all the time.  Drama Queen Seams found that her favorite white T had tiny holes near the bottom edge.  Rather than toss it, she covered the holes with flowers.

No before, but you can probably picture a plain, white T-shirt.  After:

dramaqueenseams after 

Tara from All Glorious turned a pair of pajama pants into a skirt and infinity scarf with a nautical feel.

Before:

tarapcunningham before

After:

tarapcunningham after

Sometimes a refashion doesn’t need to be dramatic or complicated to make a difference.  A waistband was all this shirt from Crab and Bee needed.

Before:

crabandbee before

After:

crabandbee after

It’s hard to believe this knit, peplum, off-the-shoulder top from Private Runway started out as a skirt.

Before:

privaterunway before

After:

privaterunway after

The Five F’s was able to keep the art from her original sweatshirt while turning it into a sassy little strapless top.

Before:

After:

thefiveeffs after

I love the fact that Diary of a MadMama kept the original collar on her coat refashion.

Before:

diaryofamadmama before

After:

diaryofamadmama after

Wedding Dress Blue transformed an ordinary skirt into something cute and fashionable.

Before:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Refashionista is a refashioning guru, with a ton of transformations under her stylish belt, but I especially like this little black dress.

Before:

refashionista before

After:

refashionista after

Have you transformed any clothing from drab to fab?

Too-Short Shirt Refashion

I had two long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet that I hated because they were both too short.  I have a long torso, and like my shirts long besides, so it’s a constant problem for me.  The thing is, I kept forgetting that I hated these shirts so I’d pull one of them out, put it on, remember the problem, and decide to just wear it anyway.  I thought I’d grab them from the clean laundry and not stick them back in the closet.  As you can imagine, I’d forget (again!) and hang them right back up. 

I broke the cycle!  I have hooks on the back of my sewing room door where the future project clothes hang, and I finally managed to move them there.  Sometimes things live there for a long time, but I just kept looking at those two shirts thinking they might work if they were combined into one.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 1

The first decision I had to make was which shirt to keep as the main color.  I went with the green because it was in a little better condition than the blue. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 2

I very lazily held the shirt up to myself and estimated how much longer I’d like it to be.  I highly recommend actually trying it on for this step.  Fortunately, I guessed too long which is much easier to fix than too short. 

I cut off the amount of length I wanted to add to the green shirt from the blue shirt, plus one inch, which was 6 1/2” total.  Since the sleeves weren’t too short, I just wanted to add a little of the blue, so I cut 2” from the bottom of each sleeve.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 3

Since the fabric didn’t unravel when I cut it, I didn’t finish any of the edges.  I marked 1” from the edge on the blue so I would know where to overlap the green to.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 4

I overlapped and generously pinned all the way around the bottom and both sleeves.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 5

I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew them together so it would still stretch.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 6

You might be thinking this looks a little weird.  Well, it did.  I tried it on and it was twice as long as it should be, so I folded the blue in half and stitched again. 

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 7

I could have stopped there, but that blue t-shirt carcass was laying on my table just begging to not get thrown in the trash.  Starting from the bottom of the shirt, I cut off four 1” strips.  I then cut off the side seams, so I was left with eight strips.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 8

I lined up a strip about 1/8” away from the top edge of the neckline and sewed a zigzag stitch down the middle, overlapping the strip back on top of itself about 1/2” as I went.  When each strip ran out, I just started the next one where it left off.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 9

I was a little concerned this was going to make the neck too heavy and it would hang too low, but I tried it on and it fit just like before.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 10

You know I still have blue shirt pieces left, right?  At this point, I cut everything up that I had left into equal width pieces…

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 11

…and sewed them together by overlapping them slightly and zigzagging.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 12

I wrapped the remaining strip I had around one section, tied it and tucked the tail under the knot.  Infinity scarf!

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 13

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about mixing these two colors, but I’m happy with the result.  Two shirts I couldn’t stand wearing turned into one I love with a bonus infinity scarf?  Today was a win.

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Long Sleeved Shirt Refashion - Crafty Staci 14

Protect Your Tech Design Challenge

I was asked by Earth911, a great website focused on creating less waste and finding ways to use things in new ways, to participate in their Protect Your Tech Design Challenge this month.  The goal was to make a carrier or case for an electronic device using recycled or repurposed materials.  You know how you’re full of great ideas until you’re asked to think about something specific, then totally draw a blank?  That was me for a while. Eventually it came to me.  My red coat!  I still had some leather and a couple of small buttons left and I’d been wanting to make something to hold my smart phone anyway.  I managed to scavenge all of the other pieces from my “I’m saving this because I might use it later” box, so the only part of it that’s new is the thread.

Reuse Design Challenge 1

It turned out exactly the way I pictured, and holds my phone perfectly.

Reuse Design Challenge 3

I think my favorite part of it is the flower I cut out from the leather.

Reuse Design Challenge 2

In case you didn’t catch the "Challenge” part of this, it’s a competition between me and 8 amazing craft bloggers, determined by your vote.  If you’d like to participate, visit the Earth911 website here and click the circle next to your favorite project on the 11th page of the slide show.  Voting closes on January 30th.

Of course, I’ll be sharing the tutorial for this little bag with you, but I have to wait until the challenge is over.  Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!). One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 1

Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 2

To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 3

I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 4

Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 5

Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 6

To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 7

…and light the ends.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 8

I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 9

After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 10

Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11
Fire Starter Hostess Gift 11

Friday Favorites–New Life for Old Clothes

This is the time of year when I always find myself standing in front of my closet with a critical eye, ready to start tossing.  Sometimes it’s things that have just seen their last outing, thanks to a hole here or a stain there.  But often, it’s just that I’m tired of looking at a garment in it’s current form.  In fact, I’m working on a major clothing refashion of my own I’ll be showing you soon.  In the meantime, I’ve found lots of inspiration.

I actually tried this Pinched Hem from Feathers Flights a couple of months ago.  My jeans are always too long, but I don’t like the look of my “homemade” hems.  This trick worked beautifully.

100_2786

This Draped T-Shirt from One Avian Daemon is made from a piece of knit fabric, but I think it could also be done with a t-shirt or two.

shirt1-1024x682

I love these Faux Chenille Capri Pants from RoCa and Company.  I think if I made these with the chenille closer to the hem I could get away with it.

pants 3000

I used to have a sweatshirt with three-quarter length sleeves and I wore it a lot this time of the year.  I’ve been thinking about altering a long-sleeved one I already have to replace it, and I’d like to also use the neckline from this Sweatshirt Makeover from Irish Attic.

20110708185313-768x1024

My short-short days are over, but luckily I have a daughter with lovely legs.  I think she’s going to need these DIY Vintage Lace Trimmed Shorts from Hippie Lace.  Living vicariously through my daughter’s closet.

hippie lace DIY eyelet lace trim shorts

The ruffle and buttons are a great details on this Men’s Polo Shirt to Woman’s Cute Shirt with Yolk from LauPre.  This would be equally fun with short sleeves for summer.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m not sure this Snowflake Cutout Tank from Honeybear Lane on Ucreate would be the same if she hadn’t used the black and white polka dot fabric.  It really adds to the design.

snowflakecutouttank

These little Ruffle Cuff Pants from The Mother Huddle are adorable.  How cute would this be for shorts?

16261189670

I love how the braiding turns this big, boring shirt into something so stylish.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the tutorial on Crafting Dreams to see what she did with the bottom of the sleeves.

IMG_3469

Single-shoulder tops are everywhere right now, so why not make your own?  Find out how with this tutorial from Craft.

ruffleshirt_final1

Also, in case you haven’t already heard, next Monday is the first day of Giveaway Day (which is really Giveaway Week) at Sew, Mama, Sew!  If you haven’t heard of it, you’re really missing something.  Hundreds of bloggers and crafters from all over participate by giving something away.  Some offer a premade item, others craft supplies.  Some give both.  Everyone has their own method of entry, but it’s often as simple as leaving a comment. 

I’ll be giving something away as well, so be sure to check back here on Monday to see what it is and enter to win!

Friday Favorites–Recycling and Repurposing

I’m never quite sure what to say about Earth Day.  It feels similar to what we all tell our children when they ask why there’s no Kids’ Day.  Say it with me – every day is Kids’ Day.  Isn’t every day Earth Day?  Do you only recycle on April 22nd?  Probably not, and I found a bunch of creative people who do it year-round too.

I just bought some shrinkable plastic sheets to play with.  I wish I would have found these DIY Shrinky Dinks from Curbly first.

shrinkydink_large-1_large

If someone comes up with some creative way this thing will water itself (I’m sure it’s out there) I’ll be all over this Vertical Vegetable Garden from Instructables user pippa5, because I’m pretty sure I have this shoe organizer somewhere.

VERTICAL-VEGETABLES-Grow-up-in-a-small-garden-a

I’m sure if you’ve even dipped your foot into Pinterest, you’ve experienced the frustration of trying to track down the original source of a pin.  I saw this photo and loved it, but finding where it came from took a LONG time.  Turns out, it’s an entry in a photo contest on Dave’s Garden.  The photo, taken by Elfishone, is lovely and the idea is a brilliant way to reuse an old purse.

feefa7

Who hasn’t found themselves with old, empty DVD cases and wondered how they could be repurposed?  This DVD Coloring Case from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn is the perfect answer.

P4070956

I’m not sure how difficult it would be to find the hardware for this Book Page Bracelet from Happy Hour Projects, but I think it’s definitely worth looking.

Mod Podge book page bracelet

Start collecting those pop tops, because you’ll need a lot of them to make this Pop Top Lamp Shade from Make.

pop-top-lampshade-01

This Buckle Up Key Holder from Uncommon Goods is a ready-made item, but with a little ingenuity and access to an old seatbelt, I’m sure you crafters out there could make one. 

20272_zoom1

Something about this Corner Door Shelf from Craftaholics Anonymous feels like Alice in Wonderland.

mantel-party-shelf-025

This braided belt from Instructables user hammer9876 uses ties from yoga pants, but the possibilities for reusing other string-shaped items are endless.

F3P2OOTFKB3DRC1.MEDIUM

I’m going to start stashing away colorful magazine pages so I can make these gift bows from How About Orange.  As if I need another excuse.

Magazine-bow-finished

Pharmacy Bottle Christmas Tree

Yes, you read that right.  Pharmacy bottles.  Before you get concerned about my medicinal habits, let me explain.

My brother-in-law, Jerome, found himself in need of a career change a couple of years ago.  He decided to go back to school to become a pharmacy technician.  No small task, but he stuck with it and graduated at the top of his class.  That part has nothing to do with these trees, but I’m just so proud of him!

His training involved some practice with the bottles used in a pharmacy.  They were empty, and would have been disposed of after the class was finished with them.  Like any good crafter, Jerome saw a better use for them and brought them home.  Lots of them.

jeromes trees 1

He dog-sat for us when we went to Seattle for a couple of days, and spent most of that time working on these.  I think before this he thought I was a little crazy for all the crafting I do.  He thinks I’m completely off my rocker now.

jeromes trees 2

After a couple of tubes of glass and bead glue, and possibly some damaged brain cells, he had glued together 132 bottles and a variety of beads and decorations.  Not to mention inserting Christmas lights into every single bottle.

jeromes trees 4

The tree on the far right is actually made from mini-bar size vodka bottles.  Luckily, he was given the bottles already empty.  Otherwise we might have an entirely less attractive group of trees.  Here’s the vodka tree lit up.

jeromes trees 5

I didn’t get a photo of this one with the lights on, but it was a wedding gift for Jerome’s friend, who was one of the many married on 11/11/11.  Seems appropriate somehow.

jeromes trees 8

This blue tree is ours.  It looks really pretty in the window in my kitchen.

jeromes trees 6

Jerome is definitely the biggest Kiss fan I’ve ever met.  He has been for all of the 22 years I’ve known him.  This is his tree.

jeromes trees 7

I’ve never seen someone so happy to be done with a craft project.  In fact, it kind of seems like he’s running past my craft room when he comes in the house now.  I’d feel bad for him, except I really love my new blue tree. 

I think sometimes crafting is like having a baby.  Eventually, you forget the pain you went through to get the amazing end product and you do it all over again.

Friday Favorites–T-Shirt Refashion and Recycling

T-shirts are like the flour of fashion.  They aren’t good for much all by themselves but they’re the foundation of a lot of things that couldn’t exist without them.  Once in a while, I look into my closet, wonder how I ended up with so many t-shirts and go shopping for something new.  But I always come back to them, and occasionally try to figure out how I can make them better with crayons, paint, bleach or scissors.  And I’m not the only one out there.

These T-Shirt Pom Poms from Craftaholics Anonymous are not only cute, but they look like they would be really fun to make.

valentine's-day_pom_poms
valentine's-day_pom_poms

I’m so glad I found this this tutorial for Dear Lizzy’s Pretty Petals Tee before I bought another one of these flowery tops.  I actually wish I had found it before I bought the first one.

IMG_2057b-2
IMG_2057b-2

I like crafts I can do while I watch television or movies with my family. These T-Shirt Yarn Braided Coasters from Homework would be perfect, and when I’m done, I can set whatever tasty beverage I’m drinking on them.

Braided_5
Braided_5

I love all of the texture and detail on this Anthropologie Pratia Tank Top from Made by Lex.

untitled
untitled

I’ve wanted to try these Bleach Pen T-Shirts, like these from Show Tell Share, for months now.  I’m just waiting for the weather to be nice enough I can do it outside so I don’t knock myself out.

february2011_008
february2011_008

This Empire Cut Blouse from Guaya is cute, but the bit of ribbon and lace she added makes it adorable.

2910194344_a9bc7c2937_o
2910194344_a9bc7c2937_o

I. Love. This. Rug.  Thanks to Xoelle for sharing how she made it.

3499154651_ab8c7acd61
3499154651_ab8c7acd61

This Long Sleeved Shirt to Short Sleeves from Make It and Love It didn’t just get its sleeves cut off, but added details as well.

IMG_3750
IMG_3750

All I can say about this reverse applique t-shirt from Sew Simple is wow.

DSC01722
DSC01722

And finally, a pretty Lace Applique Tank Top refashion from Ali Foster Patterns that would be perfect for the lovely summer weather I’m sure is coming our way soon. 

finishedtanktoprefashion-390x487
finishedtanktoprefashion-390x487

Friday Favorites–Earth Day

I had grand intentions this week.  I have a pair of jeans with a broken zipper that I was going to use to create some sort of Easter basket/container, covering my Easter and Earth Day projects in one fell swoop.  Didn’t happen.  Honestly, there was just too much going on this week.  But it’s Friday, so instead I’m going to let you in on some great recycling projects other people have done.  Don’t worry – that denim thing will turn up here at some point.

I’ve been seeing these homemade play kitchens for a while and every one of them is more clever than the last.  They are usually made from a piece of old furniture, like a night stand.  The details on this version from My Little Gems really put it over the top.

playkitchen10

I don’t think it would be especially difficult to get a kid to empty a candy bag for me so I could make this Sweet Tooth Pouch from Punkin Patterns.

DSC06636

And I think there’s someone else in the house willing to empty the dog food bag for the Upcycled Garden Tote from Garden of Eden Goods.

DSC06051

I really like this Braided T-Shirt Yarn Headwrap from Sew Homegrown, but I also think it would make a great belt.

side

I’ve worried that bags made from old t-shirts might stretch and sag, but I think She Wears Flowers has solved the problem by lining hers.

T-shirt_tote_30_Tutorial[5]

We have loads of Pez dispensers floating around this house.  I seriously love this Toy Story Wall Art by Under the Table and Dreaming and might have to make one for myself.

100_1267

This Ribbon Sling Bag by My Recycled Bags is an ingenious use of old store shopping bags.

ribbonslingbag

Primitive Living Skills shows you how to make your own Tire Sandals.

sandals1

This Treasure Chest Gift Box, made from recycled plastic containers, by Creative Jewish Mom is a present all by itself.

untitled

This is one of the most unique recycling projects I’ve seen.  UrbanWoodsWalker on Our Everyday Earth made this plastic coat by fusing plastic shopping bags together with an iron and using it as fabric.  Pretty amazing!

wonderful_plastic_coat

Happy Earth Day…now go recycle something!