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Back to the ’80s Craft Kit

I was trying to come up with a little birthday gift for my 9-year-old niece to go with a larger present, and I was thinking of getting her a Chinese jump rope. Horrible name aside, I remember really enjoying those as a kid. But then that got me thinking about other activities I enjoyed at her age, so I ended up ditching that idea and making her a “Back to the ’80s’” craft kit with all the supplies to make ribbon barrettes, friendship bracelets and friendship pins.

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The little set of drawers was under $5 at Target, and I had a lot of the supplies (ribbon, embroidery thread) already. In putting this together, I realized that if you use regular safety pins, your beads will end up on the “arm” that opens, which means you couldn’t attach the pin to a shirt or something. But we used to just put them on our sneakers, and you can just slip the back of the pin under a shoelace. (I’ve seen other instructions that say to use pliers to open the coil so you can slide the pins to the other arm, but frankly, that seemed too complicated.) And then I stumbled upon coil-less safety pins, in the jewelry making supply aisle at Jo-Ann Fabric. So that makes it even easier!

Here are a few pictures of the drawers:

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And here is a label you can download and print (without my niece’s name on it!) if you want to make one yourself! I also wrote a tutorial for AP, which you can find here, but you can probably figure it out from the pictures!

80skit

 

Pre-camp Crafting

We moved out of our house and into our camp last weekend while some major renovations are done to our kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and sunroom. And while my commute is now more than five times as long (OK, it’s only jumped from 6 minutes to 35 minutes), I do love coming home to this view:

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(Not that we’re swimming quite yet. It’s still pretty cold. We’ve been using the wood stove at night. And we have all three of our cats with us in a one-room cabin, and one of them has already figured out how to climb up the ladder to Parker’s sleep loft to wake him up in the middle of the night. But I really can’t complain about having a beautiful cabin and eventually, a beautiful new kitchen at home!)

The move also means that I had to think about what craft projects I needed to accomplish before the move, since I left behind my sewing machine and nearly all other supplies. (I did bring my knitting, and I’m actually taking an online painting class this summer, so I’ll still be fairly creative!) That made for a hectic few weeks before the move, but the upshot is I finished a few things quite early!

For example, I knew I did not have time to make gifts for Parker’s teachers, but I did find a cute idea for wrapping up a gift card HERE. So I have two of these all ready to go. (Oops, now I see I forgot to make a little gift tag for the present, but I still have time to add that).

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And I made a stenciled t-shirt for my best friend’s son, who is a big Harry Potter fan. I can’t remember where I originally saw this idea of taking the key words from each of the book titles, but I tweaked it a bit, almost accidentally. I used my Silhoutte machine to cut a stencil out of Con-Tact paper, and while I was trying to figure out what colors to paint each word, I realized that the recipient’s name _ Cade _ was right there among the letters!

I was a bit impatient, and for some reason my colored textile paint was much thinner than the white, so the colored letters did not come out as crisply as I would have liked.

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Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I now have lots of great ideas for refreshing summer drinks!

The winner is Karen B., who said people think she’s weird for drinking watered down orange juice, but I actually also enjoy orange juice mixed with seltzer water :)

 

Giveaway Day

Welcome to my giveaway! For first-time visitors, I am a reporter for The Associated Press by day, crafter by night. This blog has been a bit neglected as of late because we are getting ready for a home renovation project that requires us to move out for a few months, starting Saturday! But in the midst of packing, I did find some time to make a few goodies for Sew, Mama, Sew!’s giveaway day.

I am offering a set of colorful coasters I made using the Modern Geometric Table Runner & Coaster pattern featured earlier this month at Sew, Mama, Sew!, and a set of notecards I made using photographs I have taken. The winner will get the coasters and his/her choice of notecard sets, either the “Color Collection,” or “Granite State Seasons.” (I personally like the “Seasons” set better, but I can see how that might not have broad appeal beyond New Hampshire/New England!

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Here is NOTECARD SET 1:

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And NOTECARD SET 2:

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For a chance to win, just leave a comment, including which notecard set you would pick.  If you are feeling chatty, tell me about your favorite summer beverage.

I will close comments at 10 p.m. EST Friday, and will announce the winner Saturday. I will ship internationally.

Please check out all the other great giveaways by clicking the image below:

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Spring Chicks

 

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I once again thwarted my own efforts to avoid buying new craft supplies in order to make these adorable chicks! I could not resist, so I purchased a bundle of wool-blend felt sheets from an Etsy shop called Felt the Love. (It was a happy surprise to realize when I received my package that she is also located here in New Hampshire!)

You can find the pattern and instructions for making these chicks at Myrtle & Eunice. I found making the legs a bit challenging, but that clearly did not stop me from making a whole flock!

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Seeing Green

My son is obsessed with Minecraft, which means I spend a lot of time trying very hard not to appear utterly bored when he wants to talk and talk and talk about it ALL THE TIME. But when he got invited to a birthday party for a girl he may or may not have a crush on, and he told me she also loves Minecraft, I was happy to make her a Minecraft-related gift.

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(Creeper graphic by Danixolider on deviantART)
I quickly came upon this tutorial for a plush Creeper on Instructables.com. Instead of fleece, I used some kind of “cuddle” fabric from Jo-Ann’s. (Going against my pledge to avoid buying new craft supplies. But I used a coupon, so we’re talking maybe $2 worth of fabric). Before cutting out the pieces, I ironed very light-weight fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric which made it easier to cut and sew because it added a bit of stability. Still, there are bits of green fur all over my craft room …
Unlike the tutorial, I also sewed everything by machine instead of by hand, except the last bits of closing up the openings after stuffing. And I used felt shapes ironed on with fusible webbing to make the face.

Here’s a little tip that I figured out for the first time, even though I’ve had my sewing machine for about a decade. Because this project involved sewing basically a bunch of cubes, I wanted to start and stop sewing 1/4 inch from the ends of each piece. Duh! There are markings on my sewing machine foot that make it very easy to do just that. For years, I’ve just been sort of eye-balling it, when all along there were these handy little guides.

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I also was able this week to cross another project off my list: the long lingering “Passport Jacket,” one of several Sew Lisette patterns I purchased back in 2010.

I intended for this to go with the dress I made, but now that it’s done, I don’t like how it looks with the shape of the dress. I think something with a fitted skirt looks better, and I like how it looks with jeans.

This jacket is probably the most complicated garment I’ve ever made, and it was mostly trouble-free, except the facing along the back of the collar is all bunched up for some reason, even though I unpicked it and sewed it twice. And I got all the way to the last step, hemming the sleeves, when I accidentally cut where I meant to fold, so the sleeve hem is tiny.

Overall, I think I  like it, though I can’t tell whether it is supposed to stay closed with one button or swing open … it tends to swing open a bit.

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Use it or Lose it, American Girl Doll-style

While I really like having the opportunity to make gifts for little girls, I must admit, I find sewing doll clothes _ particularly tops _ very frustrating, what with all the tiny sleeves and hems, etc. But in making my latest batch (birthday gifts for my best friend’s 7-year-old daughter),  I found some easy workarounds.

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Knitting a sweater, even a doll-sized one, is not a quick project (at least for a relatively new knitter like me), but it was mostly stress free, considering it is the first sweater like this I’ve ever made. (Much easier than the cardigan I made for my niece, because this one has no seams, it’s all one piece).The free pattern can be found at Sophia’s Sundries HERE.

The matching headband was super easy and quick, thanks to a tutorial I found HERE.

 

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The skirts involve a very clever repurposing of a pattern I already had, for a hat! I saw this idea on an Oliver + S blog post by Rachel at Nest Full of Eggs. Her version uses bias tape around the edges, but I decided to simplify it a bit by just sewing the skirt and lining together right-sides-together, leaving an opening for turning, and then turning it right-side-out.

Very quickly I had two reversible skirts!

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I didn’t have any purple fabric to make a skirt that actually matches the sweater, but I was trying to stick to my pledge to “use it or lose it” and not buy new craft supplies. In fact, the animal print fabric is left over from a baby quilt I made for a girl who just turned 13!

Here’s a peek at where the other fabrics/supplies originally came from.

The purple yarn is leftover from the monster I made for my niece.

The pink satin fabric and the hair elastics I used for the head bands are leftover from the fabric flowers I made for my cousin’s daughters in 2010.

And the denim fabric is leftover from the tote bags I also made in 2010. They were so easy, I should make some more.

Skip To My Lou

Free Printable Valentines

With Valentine’s Day falling during the Winter Games this year, I thought it would be cute to come up with an Olympics-themed Valentine. But what can I say? My son is more crafty than athletic (Gee, wonder where he gets that …) and he decided he’d rather make his classmates rubber band bracelets instead. But I developed my Olympics idea anyway, and wrote about both ideas for my latest AP craft story. You can read it HERE, but know that news links often expire quickly, so if the link doesn’t work, just google my name and valentines.

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Olympic-Valentines

Parker was happy to eat the chocolate  ”gold medal” I used for this photo, but he was determined to stick with the bracelet idea, and has made about 15 so far. He has informed however, that he will not be writing “LOVE, Parker” on any of the cards.

You can download the cards here:

BAND VALENTINES

 

OLYMPICS VALENTINES

 

 

Valentines Through the Years

I have two new Valentine ideas to share, but I have to wait til next week, when an article I wrote for AP is published. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of all my past Valentine projects all in one place. I don’t think I’ll ever top the light saber Valentines from two years ago!

Click on the pictures to go to the posts:

Valentine Tissue Cozies

 

 

Embroidered Valentine

Valentine Pocket Warmers

Lego Star Wars Valentines

 

Light Saber Valentines

Light Saber Valentines

Scratch Ticket Valentines

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Valen-slime

 

Finish First-Update #1

I am making a bit of progress on my unfinished projects! (Which is the upbeat way of saying, “I finally delivered these Christmas gifts nearly a month late!”)

It took only a few minutes to finish these “Snowball buddies,” so I really had no excuse for procrastinating. Though they are designed to be Christmas ornaments, they were belated gifts to two of my cousin’s daughters, so I attached little clips on them and thought maybe they could attach them to their backpacks. And that is exactly what the girls thought of when they opened them, so that was a relief!

 

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For my cousin’s other two daughters, I made some polymer clay earrings. These were so easy, I’m going to make some for myself as well. I used two tutorials: the Geometric Clay Earrings tutorial at Rays of Purple and the Polymer Clay Geometric Dome Earstud tutorial at The Creative Muslimah. For the faceted earrings, I mixed translucent clay with colored clay, except for the gold pair. For those, I used white clay and painted them gold later. I also tried another tutorial that involved coating round balls of clay with tiny glass beads, but that one didn’t work very well. What a mess.

I used my Silhouette machine to make the earring cards and to cut their names out of card stock to decorate the little tins I put the earrings in.

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And for their little brother, I made this cute fleece knight helmet/hat. Parker would’ve loved this when he was little! I only had light gray fleece, but I really like the original at Wine & Glue, where I got the free pattern.

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Here’s the adorable recipient, all decked out in his knight accessories:

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And finally, something for me, and something to cross off my unfinished project list! Here are my new mittens, after a trip through the washer and dryer to soften them up and shrink them a bit. The wool felted a bit in some spots but I think that just makes them more durable.

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