DIY: Suncatcher Wind Chimes

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a really neat DIY project for you. I was looking around at DIY wind chimes, as I absolutely love them. I grew up with someone in my family who always had them, and though I can’t remember who it was, I am always transported back to that time. There’s quite a few different tutorials online for making your own wind chimes, and I might post another one next week. But I came across this:

… and I just fell in love with the idea of suncatcher wind chimes, and thanks to this tutorial from Hands On as We Grow, there’s an easy way to make them, and not just that, but to have it be a project that you can do with your kids. You will need some supplies to do this though: Contact paper (you will want transparent rather than a patterned one) that can be found at any craft store, and maybe even some kitchen stores, scissors, a marker or pen, rings (your choice of size) from mason jar lids, string or cord, and a sturdy stick. Outside of these materials, you will need to go in search of foliage to actually keep inside the suncatcher portion of these chimes.

Your first step (other than collecting flowers) is to cut a piece of contact paper and trace mason jar rings onto the paper side of the stuff. Do as many as you have the rings for. Then you’ll want to peel the adhesive off and – very carefully – lay it on the table with the sticky side up.

When you have your foliage where you would like it, peel the other contact paper, and try to stick it as smoothly as you can over your creation. Cut out the circles.

Tie a knot around the rings using the string, and then simply push the suncatcher circles into the ring. They might be the right size enough to fit, or you might have to tape them in place. Then just attach them to a stick to turn them into some beautiful windchimes to hang near your window.

Hope you enjoyed this easy and beautiful tutorial.

Happy Crafting,

~Megan

 


Small Kitchen? Maximize Your Space!

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Happy Monday, friends! First off, I apologize for my absence. Had a bit of a family emergency but everything is looking better now. So I’m back to provide you with some fun ways to organize your kitchen!

I’m going to brag for a moment. I have been blessed to live in a lovely, LARGE and affordable apartment in Chicago-land. There really is only one thing I don’t like about it and that is the size of the kitchen. I love to bake and am getting more into cooking as I age so the lack of counter space has been a real challenge for me. There is also fairly limited storage space. Because of this, I am always looking for ways I can make the most out of the least space.

One problem with my storage is that I LOVE coffee cups; the geekier, the better (which explains my absolute and total adoration of the lovely HandPainted Nerd whom I’ve featured on this very blog). But I find I am running out of room in my cabinet for all my pretties. Some of the mugs are larger than standard size too. So when I saw this wall mount, I thought, “What a gorgeous idea!” Not only would this clear up some cabinet space but it also creates some awesome decoration for my blank walls in the dining area and puts all my beautiful mugs on display.

I also don’t have a lot of under the sink space and this is where I keep both my garbage can and recycle bin (so my HeloKitteh can’t get into them). Right now, I have sponges, scrub brushes and extra rubber gloves along with bottles of cleaning solutions just sort of strewn about under there. However, with some adhesive hooks and plastic baskets attached to the insider of the cabinet drawers, all those sponges and gloves can be put in one, easy-to-reach spot and never get lost in the bowels of the under-sink. Using an adjustable curtain rod can give you a place to hang those bottles out of the way. Doing this allows me space to put my dish drainer under the sink when not in use and opens up a bit more counter space.

One other thing I struggle with is where to put my fruits and veggies. Sure, some of them go into the fridge but the majority don’t require refrigeration so they end up on my one already small counter top.

This is where the wonderful ModernMomLife comes to the rescue. This tutorial walks you though an easy and inexpensive way to get your produce up off the counter. And it looks great too!

But what about those fruits and veggies in the fridge? Some of our readers my have gorgeous new appliances with crisper drawers and the like. My fridge is older than God so it’s pretty much just wire racks. Solution? Office supply store! Plastic desk organizers can be re-purposed into your very own fridge separation and organization.

 

 

The other thing that takes up a lot of space in my kitchen are my baking and cooking supplies; namely the baking sheets, muffin tins, and pots & pans. Now, the pots and pans can nest and for the most part, don’t take up a lot of room. But those lids…there’s just no easy way to stack them. So I say, don’t even try! You can hang a magazine rack or even a metal towel rung onto the insides of your cabinet doors or a wall in the kitchen and just slide them onto it. For the cookie sheets and muffin tins, a simple wicker basket from Target will suffice and you can mount a floating shelf on a door (if you have high ceilings like me) to store it out of the way.

              

There are always very simple and easy solutions to maximizing your storage space. I hope today’s blog helped someone out there to really open up their kitchen.

Happy Organizing, people!


DIY: Upcycled Paper Wreath

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

If you’re living in a condo where decorating might need to be kept to a minimum, or in an apartment, or really anywhere where you have a front door that is safely kept away from all the elements, this paper wreath might be just the thing for you! It’s beautiful, upcycled, and can be customized more than what is shown. The original post can be found here from A Piece of Rainbow.

You will need a few things: Some old books, about a cup of white craft glue, natural twine for hanging, and any embellishments you’d like to add. You’ll also need an old stock pot so that you can get a circular form without using a foam wreath form, and clamps or possibly clothespins would work, to hold things together while they dry. The original poster used outdoor faucet handles, but you can add anything to spruce this puppy up.

Cut some book pages out, and glue 2-3, end to end to make a longer piece. Make about 20-30 pieces.

Crumple each piece and dip in glue that has been diluted with an equal amount of water. Squeeze out the glue while twisting and rotating to make a paper vine, and then drape your vines over the outside of a stewpot laying on its side. You’ll want to cover the size with a garbage bag or a shopping bag to keep the glue from sticking to the pot.

When the vines are dry, take three pieces and glue them together to form a circle. Use your clamps to hold everything together until the glue dries.

After they’re dry, add three more and glue to the mid point of the first three pieces. This will give a base to start with and provide many openings to weave the vines.

When the base is dry and sturdy, weave the rest of the paper vines around and through the base in a circular way so that they look like they’re growing around each other. If you find anything feels loose, just add some glue to secure them down.

To make flowers from the book pages, just cut two connected petals, crumple in the centre. Do this a number of times as all you need to do is glue a few pairs of these petals together to make beautiful flowers. You can tie your flowers to the faucet handles, or just glue (if you’re not holding something heavy) or tie them to the wreath.

Keep in mind that here’s where you can decorate and use your imagination. you can add rhinestones, glitter, you can add painted details, or paint just the flowers to give them some pop. You can add antique jewelry findings, or old coins that you have laying around. With the book prints, old and antiqued accents look amazing.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial and as always,

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 

 


Sewing with Scraps – Sandwich Wrap

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A bit of a step back in difficulty from last week, and yet this one is slightly more annoying to make (more on that in a bit, lol). So we go thru a lot of plastic baggies for conventions and I thought this pattern would be great to help reduce on that waste! Not to mention you can claim a fabric as ‘yours’ so no more need to write a name on bags either! 😀

These are plastic sandwich wraps from the ladies at Chica and Jo. Now, right off the bat, I’m gonna admit that I changed one main aspect about this pattern. While it walks you thru the steps very nicely for how to make fused plastic from extra plastic shopping bags…none of my attempts really ended up with something I liked. We also have been using reusable shopping bags here for years so I didn’t have much to work with. Instead I just bought some plastic from Joanns for like $3 a yard. Totally worth it.

Okay, so it’s hard to see since my plastic is clear, but want to cut a 14″x14″ square of the fabric and a 12″x12″ square of the plastic. With wrong side facing you for the fabric, lay the plastic on top; centering it to give a 1″ border all around. Now the next step is hard to explain and I couldn’t be bothered to take pics of it, but basically you have to do a double fold over all around the border and pin it in place. See the Chica and Jo site for great photos to walk you thru it. I personally used my iron to hold down the first 1/2″ fold to make my pinning life easier, but you do what works for you.

With all your pins in place, you simply sew around the boarder to attach these two. I recommend sewing as close to the fold as you feel comfortable to reduce the size of the hangover for your finished piece. Once that’s done you just need to add velcro; which is used to hold your wrap in place. You’ll need 2 pieces total: a 1″ long and a 2″ long piece. Now the only velcro I have is 2″ wide, so I just did two 1″x2″ pieces. You’ll be attaching them in the corners with 2 on the inside, and 2 on the outside.

Once they’re on, that’s it! You have a finished wrap! The plastic will make it very easy to clean up as you can just wipe off and dressing/condiments or even toss the whole piece in the wash for bad stains. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the dryer (cause plastic), but just let it air dry by laying flat instead.

Overall I give this pattern 4/5 bobbins. It seems like it can work great, and I look forward to giving it a try at C2E2 this weekend, but until I do I can’t say as to how well it performs. I may come back and give it 5/5 if it amazing, lol.


Easter Eggs, Dyed Naturally.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I was thinking about the traditions we had when we were kids with dying eggs that were hidden for us in the morning by the Easter bunny. When I was a kid, we always used the little vinegar/food colouring pellets. In the last few years, I’ve done Ukranian egg dying, which was entirely different and special also (you can see the post about it here). Today, I found a tutorial for how to not only make your own dye from natural ingredients, but how to dye these eggs with reliefs of interesting leaves.

The original tutorial is from Cynthia Weber and can be found here for the full tutorial. The dyes are made from cabbage, onion and beets, and as you can see, the colours that they make are pretty darn awesome. To do this, boil separate pots of chopped up red cabbage, onion skins and chopped beets (covered with enough water that when you add eggs later they’ll be covered). Allow to boil for about twenty minutes and let them cool slightly. Add 4 tablespoons of vinegar to each pot.

 

While the pots boil, you can get your eggs ready. You will need nylons, twist ties or string, and some interesting pieces of foliage either from outside or from the herb garden. Use thin nylons for this, as if they are too thick, you won’t get enough of the dye to the egg to do it’s job. Cut the toes out a few inches to make a pocket (you can use the rest of the nylons, just cut pieces large enough to encircle your eggs). Place your interesting herb or flower into the nylon and lay the egg on top. Tie the nylon off so that the plant is held tightly against the egg.

When your eggs are ready, put them into the dye of your choice, and bring that pot back up to a slow boil and boil them for at least 20 minutes, though for more vibrant colours, you can let them sit in the bath for longer.

Pull your eggs out, remove the nylons and herbs, pat to dry and rub with oil. The cabbage dye makes a blue colour, and you can make two tone eggs by dying them first with the nylons and the foliage, then taking that out, taking the nylon and the greenery off, and letting it sit in the cabbage pot.

I love the natural colours, and I love the look of the leaves on the eggs. I hope you guys have a very nice holiday, and as always…

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 

 

 


Sewing with Scraps – Earbud Pouch

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Okay, so I probably queued these out of order as this is the pattern I learned how to make a tab from which I put in the tissue pattern for last week, but I was trying to do these in increasing order of difficulty sooooo……sorry. XD

Anyway, this is the first pattern I found using the scraps and what made me dig to find more as I thought that was something useful in daily life. The pattern comes from Dog Under my Desk and it’s probably one of my favorites from how high quality it looks when you’re done.

Materials needed were about a 6″x7″ piece of fabric for both inner and outer fabrics along with the same amount for interfacing (midweight again). A keyring (or hook) and a 5″ or longer plastic zipper.

You’ll have to print out the provided template, but it prints true to form so as long as you have a printer you’re good to go. Cut your fabric per the pattern requirements while your iron warms up. Then apply interfacing to the circle and 2 half circles for the fabric you want showing. Now, I’m not even going to try and write up how to explain adding the zipper cause I’ll screw it up, lol, but that where you’ll start by layering the half circles on one side (curved ends facing the zipper with right sides of the fabric facing each other), sewing, pressing, and then repeating on the other side. You’ll end up with something like this.

Next you’ll make the tab and sew it at the top of the circle edge where the zipper pulled from. I accidentally did this at the bottom on my first one. So learn from my mistakes, lol. The tab should be laying on the zipper track towards the inside of circle when you do it.

Now, making sure you zipper is in the middle of your circle, layer the circles with right sides out -not touching- and lay it on top of the zipper (yes you’re covering the zipper. This is why it needs to be half way down so you can reach inside). The the fabric you want on the outside should be touching when you do this. So for me, zelda fabric touching zelda fabric and green on the top.

Start anywhere you like, but I did it at the tab on the top. I also recommend do a few back and forth stitches here to reinforce that tab. You’ll want a 3/8″ seam on this one, so give yourself extra room and if it starts to bunch/pucker then stop sewing, lift the foot and smooth things out before continuing. Once you’ve sewn the edge, you also want to pinking shears to trim the edge. I used scissors my first time to clip the circle and the shears work waaaay better. This is why you had to leave so much space for your seam. Once you’re done just turn it inside out and ta da! You’ve got a pouch!

I really like how this looked and part of that admittedly is cause I did fussy cutting to get the image centered just how I wanted. It’s really just a nice little case and I may even make some as gifts for my family. 🙂 Overall I’d rate this a 5/5 bobbins. Great little pattern, but take your time and follow the step by step info at Dog Under my Desk and not my general ramblings.

 


Sewing with Scraps – Tissue Pouch

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In case it wasn’t obvious with the first 2 scrap patterns I reviewed, I was looking for things I would personally make use of. This will of course vary for everyone, but I just figured I’d let you all know my mind set when I was finding projects so you have an idea of what’s to come. Today’s pattern is a travel tissue pouch that I had to dig up in a web archive as the original site long gone. You can find that archived pattern here, but I’m going to include more info since I don’t know how long that archive will last. I recommend saving the page if you want to follow the original pattern while you work. I even made into a pdf. The original credit for this pattern goes to So Sew Something.

So first you’ll need to gather your materials All you need for this is just 2 pieces of scrap fabric measuring 6″x7″ and sewing thread. I decided to use a little extra fabric and add a loop so I can hang this from a purse or something in the future. I have it pinned just to mark placement as this does not get sewn on until much later. It’s made from a 2″ wide and 3″ long piece that I folded into quarters (with edges folded to meet in the middle and then folded in half) and then sewed around the edge of it to keep it together.

Just like last week’s pattern, you’ll want to place the right (aka printed) side of the fabric together and sew a 1/4″ seam around the edge. Start on the 7″ edge and leave a 3″ gap so you can turn it inside out. Once you’ve turned it inside out, push out all the corners (use a stick to help if needed) and press it with a hot iron.

Now, with the fabric you want showing on top, fold the edges in so they meet evenly in the middle. (NOTE: If you want to add a loop like I did simply place the loop inside the pouch with the edge just visible at the top. I recommend using a pin to keep it in place until you sew it.) Yes this makes it seem like it will be inside, but it will not.

Do another 1/4″ seam on the top and bottom now. This will be hard to do on the top if you added a loop since you’re going through so many layers. You may want a jean needle if you worry about the normal one breaking. I only use jean needles cause I mainly use my machine to sew through yarn and velcro, lol. Anyway, once you’ve done your seam on both edges, turn your piece inside out once more, using your fingers to pop the corners out as you do.

And you’re done! Now you’ll see the little line on mine at the opening but if you had your opening on the 7″ side you won’t have that. I did mine on the 6″ side for this first batch like the pattern said to do, and then had to add these lines to close up the hole. Hopefully my suffering will save you trouble in the end. 🙂 I also  have my edges over lapping slightly to help cover the opening a bit since I won’t always have a pack of tissues and may just fold some up and put them in. You can add things like buttons to help keep it closed, but that’s beyond my skill right now, lol. Overall I think this is another great easy pattern. Probably on par with the cord keeper one from last week. You don’t need interfacing, but I know I messed up on the forgetting to turn something inside out again step so just go slow until you get into the groove of the pattern. I also made it hard by adding the tab (which I messed up like 3 times, lol) so don’t to that until you’ve made it once the normal way unless you’re more skilled then I am, lol. I’d give it 5/5 bobbins again. Great little pattern.


Salt Dough Easter Ornaments

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Hey there, Hackers!

As the Easter holiday comes upon us, I wanted to share with you one easy and homemade decoration you can use to spruce up your home for the festivities. Now I know that Michael’s and Joann Fabrics tend to have really awesome and beautiful decorations and that they are usually quite inexpensive. However, the downside to this is that everyone and their mother probably also goes to those same stores and buys all those same decorations. All the houses on the blocks become Stepford Easter houses. Wouldn’t you like to add a little unique flair to your abode? Here’s how you can!

Salt dough is a time-honored holiday decoration technique and is great if you have kids in the house. It’s like playing with playdoh! It’s also really easy and cheap to make. All you need is the items listed below:

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 water

Items Needed:

rolling pin

spatula

straw

Easter cookie cutters

parchment paper

baking sheets

Acrylic or spray paint

Paint pens (optional)

Directions:

Mix flour, salt and water in a bowl until it makes a dough. Kneading the dough helps to make it smoother so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Once your dough is mixed thoroughly, you will want to roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments. Using the straw, poke a hole near the top of your cut-outs (make sure it’s not too close to the top or it will break when you try to hang them later).

Cover your baking sheets with the parchment paper, lay out the cut-outs and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Once thoroughly baked, allow to fully dry and cool. Then you get to paint however you want! Make them colorful and vibrant or light and pastel. Or both! The sky’s the limit.

Once the paint has fully dried, you can use ribbon or twine to loop through the holes in the ornaments and hang around your home.

Happy Easter, all!


DIY: Easy Easter Wreath

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a beautiful little tutorial for you to make an Easter/spring time wreath. The best part is this wreath reuses plastic egg containers that you find all over this time of year for toys, chocolates, and such. So make sure you’re hanging onto the ones that you get, or you can also find plastic eggs in craft stores also.

The original post for this tutorial can be found here, and what you’ll need for this project is relatively simple and easy to find (at your local craft shop). You will need a Styrofoam wreath form, pink (or your choice of colour) streamer paper, and a selection of small, synthetic flowers that match your eggs,  plastic Easter eggs – this tutorial used a package of pink eggs that were purchased from a store, but you can  use any colour you like, decorate your own plastic eggs, or reuse ones that you have laying around from this time of year. You’ll also need a glue gun (low temp to avoid burning) and a wire cutter.

Your first step is to wrap your wreath form in your streamer paper. Just a dab of glue to hold the ends in place will do, and make sure when you’re wrapping, that you’re keeping it tight. You can also use thick ribbon or even tulle for this step. Whatever your preference is!

Start adding your eggs to your wreath. Use a generous dab of glue, and mix up the colours and positions to create a more random style. Make sure to add eggs to the inside and outside edges of the wreath. It’s advised to keep the wreath’s back on a flat surface as you work so that you don’t over egg your wreath to the point of it not laying flat on your door or wall.

Cut your artificial flowers from their stems using a wire cutter, though just make sure to leave about an inch of the stem at the end of the bloom. Add your flowers to the wreath by poking them straight into the foam – this will hold them in place. Fill in any gaps between your eggs with the flowers, and you can put as many or as little as you’d like, and keep adding them until you get the mix of eggs and flowers that you like.

Just as an fyi, this is a better indoor or covered porch wreath as it is slightly fragile. So keep that in mind when you’re looking for a spot to hang. Also keep in mind that if you wanted to add any glitter, or glitter any eggs before attaching them you can do that too!

Happy crafting!

Megan

 


Sewing with Scraps – Cord Wraps

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So the scrap sewing pattern this week was another one that was picked cause I needed something to manage the spaghetti factory of cables I have collected, and comes from Leafy Treetop. I recently gave my sister my old laptop case since she needed one for work and mine was just being used to hold all my various charging cables as I no longer have a laptop. This left me with the issue of about 10 cables that now suddenly needed a new home and to be organized. Time to put that scrap to work!

The time for this was much faster then the mousepad last week since I had no drying time, and once I knew what I was doing, I had these setup assembly line style to sew up and save time. You’ll need 2 scraps that are about 3″x7″ and interfacing (midweight) for each cord wrap, along with a bit of velcro. I buy velcro by the giant spool for my chain chomp plush, so I just cut some off to whatever size I needed but I think anything 1″x1″ or there abouts will work.

Using the template, I cut out the fabric needed for the first few (and then more later cause I didn’t make enough, lol). I decided to frame the images on some of the fabric (known as fussy cutting) so I used more scrap then I had to as a result, but that was my choice so it didn’t bother me toooooo much. Once everything was cut, I ironed the interfacing on the back (or wrong) side of the fabric I wanted to have showing. Then I placed the 2 fabrics, right side facing together, next to my machine to sew.

I sewed around the edge without pins (cause this was so small) about 1/4″ from the edge. I have a special foot that Toni suggested to me for this exact purpose and it really helped a lot. You have to leave about a 2-3″ gap in your sewing so you can turn your piece inside out and then iron and sew around the edge once more.

Now that the body is done, you simply place and sew the velcro on as you desire. the first few I did I used vertical strips just on the ends, but I wanted to be able to tighten it more so for the second batch I had the velcro go horizontal on the body. It does mean the design is covered more, but I know the kind of jostling my cords will take and just felt like the initial batch won’t stay in the keeper as well. Time will tell if I’m wrong about this, lol.

As you can see from this picture of my first batch, I forgot to sew the right sides together on one. Opps! I just said screw it and I’m living with it, but if you were making these as gifts or for someone else, then maybe don’t work at like 10pm like I did, lol. In the end I really liked this pattern. It was very easy to follow (lots of pictures) and a great introduction to interfacing if you’ve never used it before. The pattern is simple and besides the small change in velcro placement I’m very happy with everything. I’d give it a 5/5 bobbins. Highly recommend it.