Valentine’s Day Kid Art


If you want a super easy craft you can do with your kids with the end result being awesome art you’ll want to use for years to come, you’ve come to the right place!  This one is specifically for Valentine’s Day, but you can do this for any holiday or occasion with just a few simple tweaks! This craft is good for kids of all ages, and different ages can be involved in different ways.

 

First, have your kids paint on some paper.  This is the part that every kid can do.  My daughter was 13 months old when she did this with me, but she would’ve been able to do this even at 6 months.  Just make sure to use age-appropriate materials (like non-toxic or edible paint for little ones that like to explore with their mouths!).  For this Valentine’s Day art, I had my daughter use red, pink, and purple.  You could use any colors you want, and the colors can be changed for different holidays, occasions, or preferences. Below, I have included a picture of my daughter’s artwork.

img_5758

My daughter’s original artwork.

Once their artwork is completely dry, its time to cut out the shapes.  I used heart shaped cookie cutters to trace hearts on the back of the paper, making sure to place them  where there was paint.  Then I cut out the hearts.  You can do this step, or if your child is old enough to use scissors you can have them cut out the shapes.

 

Then place the shapes on your canvas to see how you want to arrange them. I used an 8″ x 10″ canvas that I had painted lavender.  Either you can paint the canvas or you can let your child(ren) paint the canvas.

img_6029

Painted canvas with heart cut-outs loosely laid on top so I can figure out placement.

Once you figure out where you want your hearts to be placed, it is time to glue them to the canvas.  Make sure your canvas is completely dry before you glue your hearts on. I recommend using Mod Podge or a similar glue.  It is designed so it does not affect the texture or color of your paper or paints, and it also acts as a sealent.

img_6033

Mod Podge glue that I used.

Generously coat the back of the paper hearts with glue.

img_6030

Paper heart coated with glue on the back.

Place the heart on the canvas and smooth it out.  My paper was pretty rippled from where my daughter painted it, so I had to push and smooth the paper out quite a bit to get rid of bubbles.

 

Once you have all the hearts glued in place, you can use the Mod Podge to coat the entire canvas.  This really ensures the hearts stay in place and are protected.

img_6031

My canvas partially coated with Mod Podge.

img_6032

My canvas completely coated with Mod Podge.

I did a generous layer of Mod Podge so I could make sure to seal the edges of the hearts.  I do not want the edges getting caught on something and getting ripped.  This takes some time to dry since it is a thick coat, but mine was almost completely dry within an hour.

 

You have completed artwork!

img_6039

Finished artwork being proudly displayed on my mantle!

 

I absolutely LOVE how this turned out!!

The best thing about this craft is that it is COMPLETELY customizable! You can use any colors and any shapes you want!  I personally plan on making one for Easter as well. Maybe even St. Patrick’s Day and the 4th of July.  The possibilities are endless.  I think it would also be a perfect birthday craft every year, letting the kid pick out their favorite shapes and colors at the time.  It would be a little time capsule into their personalities at each age.

 

Let me know if you enjoy this craft, and if you have any ideas for updates or future crafts! I’d love to hear from you!

Mason Jar Gender Reveal!


Gender reveals are a hot trend right now, with a million different ways you can announce whether your baby is a boy or girl.

One way to do a gender reveal is where the sex of the baby is a secret even to the parents.  With these reveals, the parents have the ultrasound technician right the sex on a piece of paper that the parents then give to the baker, florist, or whoever is preparing the reveal materials.

Another way to do a gender reveal is where the parents know the sex of the baby, and they prepare a reveal for their friends and family.  We chose to do our reveal this way because we were way to impatient to wait for someone else to prepare the goods.  Also, we live too far away from our family to plan a big party where everyone is present, so we needed something we could do with pictures that we could then email or text to our friends and family.

We wanted to do something a little different and a little personalized for our reveal, so we chose to use Mason jars.  This is perfect if your last name is Mason or if you are naming your baby Mason, but it also works for anyone else as just a cute way to reveal if your baby is a boy or girl.  Plus, you get cute jars you can decorate with once you’re done!

For this reveal, you first have to buy two Mason jars.

20140805-192205-69725483.jpg

Pint-sized, regular-mouth Mason jar with lid removed.

Next, you need to paint the Mason jars pink (for a girl) and blue (for a boy).  There are several ways you can do this, but we decided to use spray paint, since it is quick and easy to use.  Plus, we already had spray paint from previous projects.

We used gloss spray paint, but you could use any type of finish (gloss, satin, matte, or textured).  Its totally up to your personal preference.

Tip:  Paint the jars a few days before you plan to do the gender reveal, that way they have time to fully dry.

20140805-192204-69724578.jpg

The spray paint we used. Any brand and any finish would work.

Now that you have your paint, its time to paint the jars.

Tip:  When spray painting, make sure to do it outside on a surface you don’t care about, like cardboard.

Tip:  Its also best to paint the jars while they are upside down and while they are right side up, that way you make sure to get all the surface evenly coated.  It will take a few coats, depending on how well the paint covers.

20140805-192206-69726395.jpg

First coat.

20140805-192207-69727209.jpg

First coat.

20140805-192208-69728002.jpg

Final coats.

Once the jars are painted, you need to let them dry at least 24 hours, especially if you plan on doing this next step.

We decided to remove the paint from some of the design, specifically the word “MASON”.  You can either skip this step or you can remove the paint from more of the design.

To remove some of the paint, get some sandpaper (we used 150-grit that we had from other projects) and carefully rub the sandpaper on the raised part of the design.

Tip:  Don’t push TOO hard while sanding the paint off or you will take the paint off the background as well, since the design isn’t raised very far from the background.

20140805-192210-69730570.jpg

Sanding the paint from the raised letters.

The jars are finished!

Once you know the sex of your baby, put the mini light strand into the correct jar.

20140805-192208-69728914.jpg

Mini light strand.

IMG_7554

We found out we are having a girl, so we put the lights into the pink jar.

Now its time to work on the lids.

Using some straight tin snips, cut a little notch in the flat part of the lid.  Make sure the notch is large enough for a light cord to fit through once the outer part is screwed on.

Task Force 10" Tin Snips

Tin snips.

 

IMG_7553

Notch cut in the flat part of the lid.

Make sure the notch is located towards the back of the jar, so the cord will not be visible in the pictures.

Next, screw the lid on while keeping the notch in the correct location.

IMG_7552

The lid is completely assembled.

 

Next, its time to set up your shots and take the before pictures without the lights turned on.

Then, you take the next set of pictures with the lights plugged in, so the jar lights up.

20140805-192211-69731192.jpg

Our gender reveal pictures.

Tip:  Its important to take the pictures at an angle so the cord is not visible, as this will give away which jar will be lit up.  Another alternative is to put light strands in both jars, but only plug up one.  You could also remove a light from the strand in the “incorrect” jar so the strand will not light up (test this first, as some modern strands will light up even with a missing light).

So that’s all there is to making this cute and simple gender reveal!  I hope  you enjoyed this tutorial.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions.

Minecraft Diamond Sword fleece blanket (Part 3)


This is the final installment of the Minecraft Diamond Sword Fleece Blanket.  Check out Part 1 for the planning and making of the sword.  Check out Part 2 for the making of the name and attaching everything to the background.

In this installment, we will finish the blanket!

At the end of Part 2, everything was ironed on to the background fleece, making everything stay in place.

IMG_2155

Background fleece with everything held in place after ironing.

Tip:  Because this is a blanket and will experience lots of movement, I decided to reinforce the iron-on backing for the sword and letters.  For this, I went along the edges of the sword and letters and stitched the applique to the background fabric in several places.  You can stitch the entire outline, or just every couple inches, depending on how well you feel your applique is adhered.  The iron-on process is still VERY useful because it keeps the layout from shifting and it adds stabilization to the project.  Fleece is also notorious for stretching while stitching, and using the iron-on method prevents that stretching.

Now it is time for finishing the blanket by making the no-sew fringe!

Tip:  First, I like to lay out both the front and back of my blanket together, so I can cut the fringe in both at the same time.  This saves you a LOT of time and frustration when you knot the fringe.  The back of the blanket is grey fleece, so I laid the grey fleece down first, good side down.  Then I laid the green appliqued fleece down, good side up. This puts the wrong sides together, like you want them in your final blanket.

Trim the edges to make both pieces of fleece square and the same size and shape.

Now it is time to start cutting the fringe!

You can do this with scissors, but it is really easy if you have a cutting mat and rotary cutter.

I like to cut my fringe strips roughly 1-inch wide and cut about 4 inches into the fabric, making sure you cut both pieces of fabric.

How far you cut into the fabric depends on how you want your fringe to look.  If you want your fringe to be very tight, you can cut a shorter fringe.  However, I found that cutting anything less than 3 inches makes it difficult to tie, and you will end up with just knots instead of a fringe.

Cut all the way around all edges of the fabric.  You will end up taking 4-inch squares out of every corner (the size of the square depends on how long you cut your fringe).

IMG_2164

Fringe cut roughly 1-inch wide and 4-inches long, using a cutting mat and rotary cutter.

Cut all the way around all edges of the fabric.  You will end up taking 4-inch squares out of every corner (the size of the square depends on how long you cut your fringe).

IMG_2165

Fringe cut all along one side of the blanket.

Once you have all the fringe cut, it is now time to go around the blanket and tie the two pieces of fabric together.

For this, you take the top and bottom piece of fringe and tie a knot.  If you want the fringe to be a uniform color on each side (as in all green shows on backside and all grey shows on the front), tie each knot the same way.  If you don’t care about fringe uniformity or want alternating colors, tie the knots accordingly.

IMG_2166

Tie the knots the same way every time to get a uniform fringe.

Tie the knots all the way around the blanket until you are done!

IMG_2175

Finished blanket!!

And the Minecraft Diamond Sword fleece blanket is finished!!!

I hope this tutorial series was entertaining and educational.  If you try this or a version of it, I would love to see it!

Leave any suggestions, comments, or questions.

Thanks for reading, and happy crafting!!

Minecraft Diamond Sword fleece blanket (Part 2)


This is a continuation from Minecraft Diamond Sword fleece blanket (Part 1), which you can visit here.

In Part 2, I will be making the letter and attaching everything to the background fleece.

First, let us begin by getting the design for the letters.  The letters will be made from blocks, as is everything in Minecraft.  I decided to use 2″ x 2″ squares (final size).  (You could use smaller squares if you are making a long name, but I found that anything smaller than 2″ x 2″ squares of fleece would be very difficult to work with.  Maybe use a nickname or a different type of fabric.)

Tip: I decided to use two different shades of grey fleece to give the letters some depth and really emphasize that they are composed of individual blocks.

I figured out how many blocks I would need of each shade of grey for each letter.  Each letter is 7 blocks in height, with a maximum width of 5 blocks.

IMG_2094

Diagram showing the number of blocks per letter. Each letter is 7 blocks in height.

After you figure out how many squares you need, now its time to cut the squares.  The final size of the squares will be 2″ x 2″, but you will need to cut 3″ x 3″ squares.  This allows for a 1/2″ seam, which is the smallest seam I would recommend for sewing fleece.

IMG_2093

3″ x 3″ fleece square for letter blocks.

Cut the appropriate number of squares you need of each color used for the letters.  Next, lay out the squares into the pattern you designed to make sure you like the color choices.

IMG_2107

Layout of blocks in the letter “A”.

Sew the blocks together just like you did while making the diamond sword in Part 1, using a 1/2″ seam.  Finish off the letters by hemming the outside edges.

Tip:  These are small squares and the fleece may stretch.  You can minimize this by sewing with a “baggy bottom”, where the stretchiest fabric is on the bottom of your stitch.  If you do get some stretching (I did with this project), its okay!  You can fix some of it at a later step.

Tip:  Some letters (like the letter “Y” will have a lot of 1-square pieces.  This is okay, and these will be attached to the blanket separately.

IMG_2111

The letter “A” with all the seams and hems finished.

IMG_2141

The letters “B” and “Y” with the seams and hems finished.

Next, we will begin attaching the sword and letters to the blanket.  First, lay out everything on the top side of the blanket exactly as you want it when you are finished.

Tip:  Keep in mind to leave a minimum of 5 inches around the perimeter if you are making a blanket with fringe.

IMG_2155

Layout of sword and letters.

Tip:  To make it easier for me to keep everything in place when I stitch, I used a fusible web to applique the sword and letters to my blanket.

20140624-142011-51611659.jpg

The fusible web I used for this project.

To use the fusible web, follow the directions on the package.  The basic directions usually consist of cutting the strips of web that you need and placing the strips paper side up on the back of one of your fabrics, in this case the letters (shown below).  Then, using a damp cloth in between the iron and the web, iron the web onto the fabric.

Tip:  Read the instructions on the fusible web you have to determine if you need the damp cloth and to determine the iron settings.

IMG_2146

The top two strips of fusible web have not been ironed, while the bottom strip has been ironed.

Do this until you coat the backs of all of the letters and the sword with fusible web.  This will take some patience and time.

Tip:  Do not overlap the strips, as this will make removing the paper much more difficult.

Next, remove the paper backing from the fusible web.

IMG_2153

The paper backing has been removed from the fabric on the right-hand side, while you can still see the paper backing remaining on the lower left-hand side.

Once, you get all of the paper backing removed, make sure everything is still in its final location on your blanket front.

Next, iron the sword and letters to fuse them to the blanket front, following the instructions on the fusible web.

IMG_2155

Everything is now ironed into place.

Tip:  I used a sewing machine to stitch around the edges to ensure that the sword and letters will not come off.  This is probably best in this situation given the heaviness of the applique.  The fusible web still functions to keep the design flat, help keep it attached, and importantly keeps the design in place while sewing.

Everything is now attached to the blanket front!  The next part of this series will be the finishing touches!

 

Minecraft Diamond Sword fleece blanket (Part 1)


My little sister loves Minecraft, so I decided to make her a Minecraft-themed Christmas present.  She’s always cold, so a blanket is perfect!  I thought this would be relatively easy and quick, given the 8-bit graphics in the game.  It was pretty easy, but it was not quick and took a lot of advance preparation.  Since I have done all that work for you, I hope this tutorial will allow you to make the blanket much quicker.

Since this is a long project, I’ve decided to break it up into parts.  Part 1 will be the diagram and making the sword.  Part 2 will be making the letter and attaching everything to the background fleece.  Part 3 will be finishing everything up.

First, the game plan!  Because I wanted this to be a really warm blanket, I decided to use fleece for everything.  (Though you can use whatever fabric you desire.)  Any Minecraft fan knows a diamond sword is a big deal, so I decided that would be the focal point of the blanket.  I also wanted to personalize it with her name in block letters.

minecraft blanket flattened (2)

Basic layout of blanket.

Next, I had to decide on the size of everything:

1) The sword is made of 2.5” x 2.5” squares (final size)

2) The name is made of 2” x 2” squares (final size)

3) The blanket will be 60” tall x 59” wide (final size)

IMG_1814

Layout of sword and letters.

The sword is 16 squares tall and 16 squares wide, so the total height and width of the sword is 40” x 40”.  The letters are 7 squares tall and 5 squares wide, so the total height and width of each letter is 14” x 10″.

Based on these numbers, I decided to make the overall blanket be 60” x 59”, to allow for room between the sword and name as well as around the edges.

Tip:  If making this blanket out of a thinner fabric, such as cotton, the squares could be made smaller.  However, when working with fleece, 2” squares are about as small as you would want to go. The smaller the square, the harder it is to make a seam and to work with, due to the thickness of the fabric.

Now that we have a plan, lets get started!

First, we need to get the fabric.  I simplified the design a bit by reducing the numbers of shades of blue and brown.  I chose four different shades of blue, two shades of brown, and two shades of grey (only one shown here).  I decided on a green for the background color and grey for the back side of the blanket.

IMG_1813

Assorted colors of fleece needed for the blanket.

Now that we have our fabric, its time to start cutting those squares!

For the sword, the final size of the squares is 2.5″ x 2.5″, so you need to cut 3.5″ x 3.5″ squares of fabric.  This allows for 1/2″ seams.

Tip:  You can’t really go much smaller than 1/2″ seams with fleece, or you won’t be able to get the seam to lay flat and it will be bulky.

IMG_2028

Lower left piece is a 3.5″ x 3.5″ square.

Number of squares per color:

lightest blue: 16              second lightest blue: 9             blue: 27                  dark blue/navy: 25

lighter brown: 3             darker brown: 4

IMG_2031

All colors except the dark blue/navy.

Now its time to lay out the squares in the correct pattern.

IMG_2035

Squares laid out in the correct pattern.

It will look really large, but it will be much smaller once its sewn together.

Tip:  Lay out the squares in the correct pattern.  Then, pick up the squares one by one and sew them together row by row.  This will make it MUCH easier to sew them together correctly.

Time to begin sewing!  Sew the squares together in rows first using 1/2″ seams.  If your fleece has a good side and bad side, put the squares good side-together while sewing.

IMG_2060

Second row from the top.

IMG_2061

First row sewn together and second row sewn together, then laid next to each other.

Continue with each row.

IMG_2064

Two squares sewn with 1/2″ seam.

IMG_2065

Two square sewn with 1/2″ seam.

IMG_2066

Placement of third square, ready to be sewn.

Before long, you have a big pile of fabric rows.

IMG_2069

Rows of fabric squares.

Now you begin to sew the rows together.  Place the rows good sides-together and sew with a 1/2″ seam.

Tip:  Try to keep the perpendicular seams opened flat when you sew across them.  This prevents bulges.

IMG_2084

Place rows good sides-together and sew using a 1/2″ seam.

IMG_2085

Keep perpendicular seams open flat when sewing across them.

IMG_2079

Its beginning to look like a sword!

Once you have the rows sewn together, hem along the outside edges of the sword, making a 1/4″ seam if you can.  This seam can be narrower since it will not need to be opened flat.

IMG_2086

Its a diamond sword!

Once you are done with the hemming, your sword is complete!

 

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I show you how to make theMinecraft block letters.

 

 

 

Double-sided pillow covers


My mom LOVES to decorate for the different seasons and holidays.  One thing I’ve started making for her is decorative pillow covers.

Here is a short tutorial on how to make double-sided pillow covers.  Its super easy, super quick, and hopefully a lot of fun for you to make.

I typically make one side quilted and one side have a single print.  However, you can make both sides single-print or both sides quilted.  You can use as many fabrics in as many ways as you want.  The possibilities are endless!

First, you need to pick your fabrics.  I am making fall/autumn-themed pillow covers, so here are my three fabrics:

IMG_4035

Three fall/autumn patterns. The top is for the single-print side, and the bottom two are for the quilted side.

I am making the overall pillow cover by 16.5″ x 16.5″.  This fits a 16″ x 16″ pillow.

For the quilted side, I chose to use 9 squares.  You can use more or less squares, just adjust their size accordingly.  I cut the squares to be 6 and 1/8″.  This accounts for the 1/4″ seams to give you a final square of 5 and 5/8″.

IMG_4037

Quilt square cut to 6 and 1/8″.

Tip:  Make sure to square up your fabric using a factory edge rather than the edge cut in the store.

Tip:  Once you get your squares cut, lay them out in the pattern you want to use so you can adjust orientation or pattern.

IMG_4041

Layout of squares.

Once you get your layout, you are ready to start sewing!

Tip:  One way to make sure your layout stays the same is to just take one row at a time for sewing.

To begin, flip one square over and lay it on top of the next square, so the fabrics are right-side together.

IMG_4090

Two squares placed right-side together.

Sew a 1/4″ along one side (the right-hand side shown in the picture above and below).

IMG_4088

1/4″ seam.

Next, place the third square in that row on top of the middle square in the pattern.

IMG_4091

Fabric “A” placed on top of fabric “B”, in the order in the pattern.

Sew a 1/4″ seam along the right-hand edge shown in the picture above and the picture below.

IMG_4087

Sewing a 1/4″ seam.

Repeat this with each row of squares.

Iron the seams so the squares lay flat.

IMG_4095

Ironed seams.

IMG_4097

All three rows complete.

Now you are ready to assemble the rows.  Flip one row on top of the other so they are right-sides together.  For example, put the top row on top of the middle row, right-sides together.

IMG_4099

Two rows, right-sides together.

Sew a 1/4″ seam along the edge where the two rows will meet (refer to pattern).

IMG_4100

Sewing two rows together.

IMG_4101

1/4″ seam along meeting edge of two rows of squares.

Repeat with third row, so that all three rows are assembled.  Iron the seams flat again.

IMG_4104

All three rows assembled.

Now it is time to cut the fabric for the other side of the pillow.  Since this side is just a single fabric, you just have to cut one 17″ x 17″ square.

IMG_4051

17″ x 17″ square.

Now that you have both sides, you’re ready to start assembling the pillow cover.

Tip:  I like to reinforce the bottom hems by sewing and extra strip of fabric to them, shown below.

To reinforce he bottom hems, first cut a 1″ or 2″ tall strip that is at least 17″ long.

IMG_4106

2″ x 17″ reinforcement strip.

Fold the strip in half length-wise and iron it.

IMG_4163

Reinforcement strip folded and ironed in half.

Next, iron a 1/4″ hem on the bottom of one side of the pillow cover.

IMG_4164

One side of the pillow cover with an ironed 1/4″ hem.

Align the reinforcement strip with the hem of the bottom.

IMG_4166

Reinforcement strip aligned with hemmed bottom.

Next, sew the reinforcement strip to the hemmed bottom with a 1/4″ seam.

IMG_4167

Sewing reinforcement strip to hemmed bottom.

IMG_4170

1/4″ seam on bottom hem.

Repeat these steps for the other side of the pillow so both sides have reinforced bottom hems.

IMG_4171

1/4″ hem ironed on the bottom of the other side of the pillow cover.

IMG_4174

Reinforcement strip aligned with bottom hem.

IMG_4175

Sewing the reinforcement strip to the bottom hem with a 1/4″ seam.

Once both sides of the pillow cover are hemmed with their reinforcement strips, its time to sew the two sides together.

Put the two sides of the pillow cover right-sides together.

IMG_4176

Two sides of pillow cover, right-sides together.

Sew along the un-hemmed sides (top, left, and right) using 1/4″ seams.  Leave the hemmed bottom open, as this is the opening to insert the pillow.

IMG_4177

1/4″ seam along the three unhemmed sides of the pillow cover.

Turn the pillow covers right side out.

IMG_4180

Side 1 of the pillow cover.

IMG_4181

Side 2 of the pillow cover.

At this point, there are a couple options for the closure of the bottom of the pillow cover.

1)  You can  sew snaps to each side, but I found snaps to be difficult to sew by hand.  It can be done though.  It just takes patience.

2)  You can also sew a loop on one side of the cover and put a button on the other side.  If you do this, you will have to sew the loop (cloth tubing, string, etc.) into the bottom hem.

3)  Another option is sewing or gluing hook-and-loop (Velcro) to each side of the cover.

I decided to use the third option.  I use hook-and-loop dots/coins and Fabric Fusion fabric glue (see below).

IMG_4271

Sew-ology hook-and-loop dots from Hobby Lobby.

IMG_4275

Fabric Fusion fabric glue.

Use one dot from each strip and put them together.

IMG_4274

Assembled hook-and-loop dot.

Then place the dots on top of the pillow cover to figure out placement.

Tip:  For a pillow this size, I find that four dots are sufficient.

IMG_4279

Layout of hook-and-loop dots.

Apply glue to both the top and bottom of the assembled glue dot and place it in between the two sides of the pillow cover.

IMG_4278

Hook-and-loop dot placed between two sides of the pillow cover.

Place some books (or something of similar weight) on top of the glued dots to apply a slight amount of pressure to secure them in place.

IMG_4280

Books placed on top of the glued dots.

Let the glue dry following the instructions (I usually just let it dry overnight to be safe).

And now you are done!

Here are the different seasonal pillow covers I have made this way.

IMG_4181

Fall/autumn pillow, side 1.

IMG_4180

Fall/autumn pillow cover, side 2.

644257_4437463339523_1310588043_n

Christmas pillow cover, side 1.

549835_4437463299522_975576601_n

Christmas pillow cover, side 2.

426513_4437463699532_396987215_n

Halloween pillow cover, side 1.

417420_4437463779534_166862184_n

Halloween pillow cover, side 2.

485364_4549700185374_427797608_n

Easter pillow covers, sides 1 and 2.

Pendant Necklace with a tie back


This is a quick, easy tutorial on how to make a pendant necklace.  I made this one for my sister for Christmas.

First, there is no wrong way to design a necklace.  If you like it, then it is correct.

The first decision is what you want the focal point of the necklace to be.  I found a pendant that was perfect for my sister’s necklace.

IMG_2225

I decided this pendant would be the focal point, with everything else remaining more understated.

Next, you need to decide what to make the necklace out of.  There are many options:  chain, beads on string, leather string, rope, cloth, and ribbon, to name a few.  You also must decide if you want the necklace to clasp or tie behind your neck, or if you prefer a necklace that just slips over your head.

Tip:  Necklaces that tie around your neck make it easy to adjust the length of the necklace for a versatile look.

My sister likes things that tie around her neck, so I decided to use a ribbon.  I chose a 1/2-inch black organza ribbon.

You also need to decide how  you want to attach the pendant to the chain or ribbon. This is typically done with a bail (and possibly a jump ring, if needed)

20140119-151927.jpg

The jump ring is on the left and the bail is on the right.

20140119-151945.jpg

Because I’m using 1/2-inch ribbon, I made sure my ribbon would fit through the bail.

Tip:  If you are using a thick material as your chain/ribbon, make sure you get a bail that is large enough to accommodate your material.

Now that you have all of your materials picked out, it is time for a quick and easy assembly.

20140119-152002.jpg

20140119-152031.jpg

Tip:  You will probably need a pair of needle-nose pliers to attach the jump ring to the bail and pendant.

Optional:  You can add beads or whatever you want next to your pendant.  I decided to keep it simple and let the pendant be the focus, since it is such a statement piece.

Once you have everything on your chain/ribbon, it is time to finish the ends.  There are several options.  First, you can use toggle claspsmagnetic clasps, lobster claws, crimp ends, or you can simply finish the end of the ribbon.  There are many decorative clasps available to customize your necklace.

Since I am using ribbon, I decided to finish the ends of the ribbon.  There are a couple ways to do this.  1) You can use a wood-burning kit to cut you ribbon, which will also seal the end of the ribbon.  2) You can fold the end of the ribbon and stitch across the end to prevent unraveling.  3) You can use a lighter or some other source of flame to melt the ends of the ribbon, sealing them and preventing unraveling.

I chose option #3, because wood-burning kits are expensive, and my ribbon is transparent so I did not want to fold the ends.

Tip:  Be very careful when using a wood-burning kit, as they get extremely hot.

Tip:  Be very careful when using an open flame to seal the ribbon.  If you get too close to the ribbon, it will burn rather than melt.  The best technique is to slowly move the ribbon towards the flame (DO NOT touch the flame with the ribbon) until it begins the melt and quickly pass the ribbon end near the flame.

20140119-152051.jpg

And now your necklace is done!!

1511246_10201079123845062_62477995_n

20140119-162438.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial on making a pendant necklace.

Please leave any comment, questions, or suggestions for future crafts!

Cloth Stocking Christmas Ornaments


As Christmas is quickly approaching, I wanted to post a tutorial on making some simple Christmas decorations.  I decided to make some personalized  cloth stocking ornaments.  The one in this post is for my husband, who loves classic cars and the color yellow.  I hope you enjoy!!

First, you have to find a pattern.  I modified a simple stocking outline from clipart.

Tip:  I found that the stocking patterns with the shorter toes tend to work better for this project.  if  you use a pattern with a longer toe, the stocking comes with a long, pointy toe.  The toe might look like it is too short, but when sewn it will look longer.

20131210-095228.jpg

As you can see in the picture above, my stocking pattern is about 5 inches tall and 5 inches wide with a top trim that is about 2 inches tall and 4 inches wide.  Don’t worry! The final stocking will not be this big.

You then have to decide on fabric.  I want to embroider the top so I am using a simple white fabric with a leaf pattern.  For the bottom of the stocking, I chose a car print, since I am making this stocking for my husband.

Once you have decided on a pattern and fabric, its time to start cutting!

First, cut the pieces for the top trim.  Since you have two sides to the stocking, you will need two pieces.

20131210-095649.jpg

Tip:  Cut the trim pieces a little bigger than your pattern if you are embroidering them.  This way, you don’t have to get your embroidery perfectly centered as you can adjust later when you trim down to size.  If you are not embroidering your fabric, you can just cut the fabric to match your pattern.

Tip:  Make sure you iron the fabric before you cut so any wrinkles don’t affect your shape or size.  Remember, its best to iron on the wrong side of the fabric so you don’t run the chance of ruining the good side.

20131210-095708.jpg

Now, its time to cut the stocking fabric.  Make sure to align the pattern with the desired print on your fabric.

20131210-095727.jpg

Important:  Make sure to cut fabric using the pattern right-side and wrong-side up, that way you get mirrored pieces of fabric, as shown above and below.

20131210-095749.jpg

20131210-095815.jpg

Now, it is time to embroider the trim if you want.  For this, try to align your trim piece the best you can so the text is centered when you are finished.

Tip:  I keep a piece of fabric with a name stitched in it so I can use it as a judge of how long the text will be when it is finished.  This helps me align the foot at the correct starting position.

20131210-095929.jpg

20131210-095945.jpg

20131210-095959.jpg

Once you have the fabric aligned, you can now stitch the text.

Optional:  You can also hand-stitch the text you want to personalize your stocking.

Once you’re done stitching, if done with a machine, it will look like this:

20131210-100132.jpg

You will have to use scissors to remove the excess thread.

20131210-100149.jpg

Remember, we cut the trim pieces a little bigger than the pattern.  This allows us to now center our text within the pattern and trim the fabric, making our text centered in the fabric.

20131210-100314.jpg

20131210-100300.jpg

Now that all the pieces are ready, it is time to sew them together to make a stocking!

20131210-100358.jpg

Start by sewing the trim onto the bottom, right sides together.

20131210-100418.jpg

Use a 1/2 inch seam.

20131210-100448.jpg

20131210-100512.jpg

Do this for both halves of the stocking

Next, iron the seam flat.

20131210-100600.jpg

20131210-100620.jpg

20131210-100641.jpg

Next, put both halves right side together.

20131210-100725.jpg

Sew the two halves together using a 1/2 inch seam, leaving the top of the trim open

20131210-100744.jpg

20131210-100800.jpg

Tip:  When sewing around the curves of the toe and heel, if your fabric is stiff enough you can just rotate the fabric as it passes under the presser foot, keeping a 1/2 inch seam all the way around.  However, if your fabric is to flimsy or soft, you can achieve the continuous 1/2 inch seam by sewing a few stitches, then (with the needle in the down position, in the fabric) raise the presser foot and rotate the fabric.  Then put the presser foot back down, stitch a few stitches, and repeat.

Now it is time to turn the stocking right-side out!

20131210-100848.jpg

Its okay if it looks a little funny at this step.  It looks better once you stuff it.

20131210-100906.jpg

Now it is time to close the top.  First, you fold in the top edge.

20131210-100947.jpg

The top will most likely have to be hand-sewn because the presser foot on most machines won’t allow for the thickness of the stuffing.

Pinch the sides together and begin hand stitching the top opening closed.

20131210-101005.jpg

If you want to add a ribbon to hang the stocking, it should be inserted into this top seam.  I cut my ribbon to be about 7 inches long.

20131210-101049.jpg

Loop the ribbon and insert the ends into the top seam prior to stitching it closed.

Tip:  I usually stitch at least half-way across the top seam before I insert the ribbons.  If you insert them before that point, the top is so open they will just fall out.

20131210-101106.jpg

Finish stitching all the way across the top.

20131210-101127.jpg

Tie a knot and trim the thread, and then you’re done!

20131210-101152.jpg

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a cute, simple Christmas stocking ornament.  Please leave any comments, suggestions, or questions!

Reversible Tote Bag


To begin this blog, I wanted to pick something that looks complicated but is actually pretty simple.  I decided to show how to make a reversible tote bag!  I made this tote for my niece for Christmas.  Her mommy always carries Vera Bradley bags, so I wanted to make something for her to carry too.  I hope you enjoy!

First, you have to decide on the fabrics.  (I picked to fabrics that go well together, but you could also do complete opposites if you really want a versatile bag to go with different looks.)  Just keep in mind that you will see a little bit of the inside material while you’re carrying it.  I picked a third material for the handles (the orange fabric) that goes with both main materials.  (You can do this, or you can use fabrics you chose for the bag.  I wanted the handles to add a decorative touch, so I chose the third, solid fabric.)

IMG_1984

Next, you have to decide size.  I decided to make a purse that was 10 inches wide and 11 inches tall (10’’ x 11”).  I want to use ½ inch seams, so I cut pieces that were 11” x 12”.  Cut two of these pieces for the two purse fabrics.

IMG_2423

Align like fabrics, right sides together.  For example, blue fabric with blue fabric.

IMG_2424

Then a ½ inch seam along the sides and bottom of the pieces.

Tip: Make sure to do some reverse stitching at the beginning and end of your seam.  This helps the stitches be more stable.

IMG_2426

Repeat for the other fabric.

IMG_2427

Next, trim the excess fabric close to the seam.  This allows the two bags to better fit within each other.

IMG_2428

Now, fold the top of the bag ½ inch towards the wrong side of the fabric and iron to keep the fold.

IMG_2432

Turn one of the bags right side out (I chose the blue one).  With one bag right side out (blue one) and the other bag wrong side out (pink one), place the wrong-side-out bag inside the right-side-out bag (pink inside blue).  When this is done correctly, you should see the right sides of the fabric on the outside and inside of the bag.

IMG_2429

IMG_2430

Before we can hem the top, we first have to make the handles.  I wanted 13” handles so they’re roughly 6” tall when attached to the bag.  I also decided to make them 1” wide.  For this, I cut strips of the handle fabric (orange in my case) that were 15” long and 2” wide.

IMG_2436 (2)

You will need 2 strips of fabric per handle, so 4 strips total.  For each strip, fold ½ inch seams from each side and iron to secure.

IMG_2439

IMG_2438

Put two of the strips folds-together.  Making the handles this way makes the fabric 4-ply, so this increases the strength of the handles.  Optional: If you want stronger handles, you can also add an interfacing inside one of the folded strips.

IMG_2447

With the two strips aligned, sew a seam along each long edge.

Tip: Again, remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.

IMG_2448

IMG_2449

IMG_2450

Now that the handles are completed, we can sew them into the top hem.  I decided to put the handles 1.5 inches from the sides of the bag.

IMG_2453

As I mentioned, I cut the handles to be 15” when I wanted a final length of 13”.  This allows me to insert 1” of the handle into the top hem.  The handle is inserted between the blue and pink layers.

IMG_2452

Once you get the handle in place, you can pin it to hold it in place while you’re getting ready to sew.

Now it is time to finish the bag by hemming the top.

Tip: Depending on your fabric, you may use the same color of thread in the bobbin and top of your sewing machine.  However, in my case, I want to use different colors of thread because the base colors of my fabrics are different.  While sewing the top hem, I had the pink fabric facing upward and the blue fabric facing downward.

IMG_2458

For this, I used pink thread in the top of my machine, and blue thread in my bobbin.

IMG_2457

IMG_2456

Double check your machine to determine which color you need on top and which you need in the bobbin.

Once you get your machine threaded the way you want it, sew a ½ inch hem along the top of the bag, making sure to keep the handles in place.  Also, keep checking that the two fabrics are aligned.

Tip: Again, make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.

IMG_2459

Optional: If you’re worried about handle strength you can go back and stitch an X over the 1” piece of the handle that is inside the bag.

And you’re done!!

IMG_2460

IMG_2462

Hopefully you enjoyed this lesson in making a reversible tote bag.  Let me know if you like it or tried it.  Please leave comments, questions, or suggestions for future projects!