Monogrammed Button Bracelet

Button Bracelet
Mom’s Day crafts aren’t always simple. Sure, they’re not as hard as Father’s Day, but it’s still hard to strike the balance between honoring the holiday and making something that looks like a school project made by a Kindergartener. You could just make something pretty, or you could make something sentimental. Or you could make this button bracelet, that’s both.

The buttons make it a charming vintage looking bracelet, but the subtle dyed monogram makes it touching and sentimental without looking like you’d have to be touched to wear it. It’s the best of both worlds.

[Read more...]

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Singed Flower Headband

Dyed Headband
My organza flower tutorial is, still, one of the most popular things I’ve ever done on this site, and every time I see another link to it I chuckle to myself, remembering that it was a total accident and not what I intended to make at all. There’s little I love as much as a good happy accident.

After all this time I wanted to revisit that tutorial and update it with a fresh technique and a fresh use. Perfect for Spring and Summer, everybody needs a flower headband, and if you’re the type that doesn’t love headbands – like me – you can use it like a fascinator by just making your flower extra big.

Click through for the full tutorial.

[Read more...]

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Reupholster a Kid’s Chair

Reupholster a kids chair

Reupholster a kids chair

Atti has had a fabulous but hideous chair in his room for the last few years and literally every time I go in there I twitch, looking at that cover. It’s faded and stained, and totally not hygienic. But the chair was just too perfect for Atti’s needs. It was just the right size for him, is easy for him to get in and out of, easy for him to sit in, and has sentimental value because it was given to us by one of Atti’s former therapists. Even if the chair was just like any other chair, I couldn’t bear to get rid of our reminder of Miss Margie. I had to rescue it from the crust of cheerio dust that had overcome it.

Click through for a full tutorial, including a coupon for a steal on fabric! [Read more...]

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Make a Child’s Bean Bag Chair

Beanbag Chair

Beanbag Chair

There are lots of dreams that came true with my little Atticus, but one of my favorites is getting to pass on my love of reading. My little guy is every bit as obsessed with books as I am, and he loves to while away the hours by playing with all the books in his bookshelf. He still plays pretty rough with the books and every once in a while I’ll hear, RIIIP “Oh no! The book!” One of these days he’ll be stretched all over the furniture reading, but right now he’s still pretty active with them.

Which means that the best thing I could put in his reading corner is a beanbag chair. Right now he can roll over on it and toss it around, but as time goes by he’ll still be using it as he’s slouched up against it turning pages.

Click through for the pattern and a great coupon to Michael Levine Fabrics!
[Read more...]

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

DIY Nail Stickers

DIY Nail Art Stickers

DIY Nail Art Stickers

So with the DIY Nail Art tools I shared yesterday, I’ve been practicing my nail art skills and come to the realization that I’m not great. There are a few things working against me – not being terribly ambidextrous, not putting in any practice time – but the thing that gets me every time is waiting for all the layers of pretty paint to dry. I botch my nails EVERY TIME I put paint on them. Literally. I cannot seem to wait for the paint to dry, and then if I’ve managed to be still long enough for it to dry, I always forget about giving it time to cure and mess it up with dents and gouges. You add multiple layers of paint or, oh for goodness sake, pools of paint like in polka dots, and I don’t have a chance.

I’ve gotten in to nail art stickers, but they’re pricey. And as a rule I can’t stand paying for something I’m technically capable of myself. So I needed to come up with a way to make my own.

DIY Nail Art Step 1
The secret is parchment paper. It has to be parchment paper – not wax paper. There is a very significant difference. On parchment paper the polish lifts up like a dream. This might work on tinfoil or plastic bags, but I didn’t bother experimenting. It’s so dang perfect on parchment paper.

Paint ten rectangles bigger than your nails. Paint two or three coats, as necessary, to get the base color you want.

DIY Nail Art Step 3
Decorate to your heart’s content. After coming up with this I’ll never try and do polka dots any other way. It’s amazing to just leave these to dry overnight and know you’re coming back to completely cured polka dots with no smearing.

DIY Nail Art Step 2
Peel the stickers off of the parchment paper, being careful not to tear them. Paint your nails with a base coat and while they’re still wet apply the nail sticker and press firmly to smooth it in place. Depending on how neat you painted your rectangles, you may want to trim the base in a rounded curve to give you a smooth place to start applying. Just cut the sticker with a small pair of scissors.

Nail Art Stickers ApplicationApply just as you would any other nail stickers. Use a nail file or orange stick to press the sticker into the cuticles and nail bed and tear the extra away. I also used a pin for this for good results, but the best results of all came from just using a fingernail. The stickers are so thin that they’re super easy to tear. Which is a bit of a problem when you’re lifting them off the paper, but the best when you’re smoothing them to the nail.

Whenever I use nail stickers I finish with a couple of thick layers of top coat, paying extra attention to the sides. With a thick topcoat you can make your manicure last for over a week.

If I was just painting a solid color I think it’s more time efficient to just paint your nails. But once you start adding all the decorative flourishes, I don’t think I’ll do it any other way. I get to ensure that everything gets all the way dry before I mess it up, I get the benefit of using my dominant hand for everything, and I get to do it on a flat surface and not worry about coloring outside the lines. It’s almost too good to be true.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

DIY Nail Art Tools

DIY Nail Art Tools

DIY Nail Art Tools

As firmly on record as I am with not obsessing about the condition of my nails, I’m also not immune from pretty things. And when I feel so inclined, it’s a really nice treat to have my nails looking pretty. But because of, you know, life, I can’t spend a lot of time making my nails pretty. So I’ve been paying attention to how to get great results in the easiest way. For today, it’s nail tools. The pros and the artists use professional quality tools. There are dotters and liners and all kinds of special nail art brushes out there. But I don’t want to pay for specific tools when I barely do my nails, and when I have tried a brush I was frustrated that I could never get the nail polish out. One use and a brush felt like a brick.

Here’s my perfect solution: disposable, do it yourself nail art tools. Nearly free so you don’t need to worry about tossing it or making another if you want to switch up your colors.

Nail Art Tool Step 1
Snip off a tiny amount of hair. I mean tiny. A bang trim is more than you’ll need in length and depending on how thick you want to make your brush you really only need a few hairs. Liner brushes should be a bit longer and thinner, painting brushes should be a bit shorter and fatter.

Nail Art Tool Step 2
Rip off a piece of duct tape, about 3 inches long. Tape your hair snips to the very corner of one end.

Nail Art Tool Step 3
Then roll it up to make your handle. Give your brush a trim if you have any wayward hairs or to create the effect you want.

Nail Art Tools
If you want to make dots, all you need is a dull pencil. The size of the dot changes based on how much paint you have on the brush. Between your little disposable brushes and items you can find around the house, there’s no need to spend money on tools.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Crochet Circle Cuff

Crochet Circle Cuff

Crochet Circle Cuff

The idea for this bracelet has been cooking away in my brain for nearly two years, always getting bumped down the priority list for other things that seemed more important than decorating my arm. But a new friend I made at CHA made me put myself first for a change. I met Michelle from Simplicity at a blogger party where I was wearing my crocheted necklace, and she instantly recognized those little circles (apparently they’re actually called cabones) as coming from her company. I met up with her at the tradeshow the next day and we were hugging like long time friends and she gave me all kinds of great stuff under the condition that I make something great with them. So here I am, keeping my promise, getting this project out of my head after all this time, and giving myself a new bracelet for Valentine’s Day.

Crochet Circle Step 1
If you can single crochet you basically know all you need to know to make this bracelet. Watch the video below for a full demonstration in action, but I promise, even if you’ve never held a crochet hook you can make this bracelet.  I’ve already gotten a jump start here, but the process is the same. Begin with a slip knot on your hook.

Crochet Circle Step 2

 

Push the hook down through the circle. Grab the yarn and bring it back up through the loop to where you started so you have two loops on your hook. Grab the yarn again and pull it through both loops so that you’re back down to one loop left on the hook. You’ve just made a single crochet stitch. Now do that over and over again until you’ve covered the whole cabone with neat little stitches.

join crochet circle

 

When you meet back up with where you started you’ll need to join your circle together. If you have a favorite way of doing then, go for it. I just made another single crochet stitch by pushing my hook through one of my first stitches, grabbing the yarn, and then pulling through the loops as usual. Snip your thread and pull it tight, leaving about a two inch tail.

Second Crochet Circle

 

For your second ring and every ring after, you’ll start it just the same way. You always want to get your crocheting started before you reach a point where you’d have to join it to another ring, even if that’s only a few stitches.

Connect Crochet Circles Step 1

 

Hold the rings how you want them to be arranged on the bracelet. Once you reach a point where they’ll join up, begin just as you would a single crochet stitch. Push your hook down through the center of the ring, but when you come back up the other side, come up through one of the stitches on the other ring. Then grab the thread and pull it back up to the front and finish your single crochet as normal.

Connect Crochet Circles Step 2

 

Repeat this everywhere your rings touch, but to keep it good and stable I’d recommend at least three stitches to join each ring. When you’re all done weave in all your ends and snip off whatever threads remain.

Crochet Bracelet Closure

 

Once you have your whole bracelet put together the way you want it, you’ll need a way to keep it on your wrist. Luckily those cabones make perfect toggle closures all on their own, you just have to add the toggle part of it. On my last ring I joined the circle together as usual and then instead of snipping the thread I chained a few stitches. Then I threaded the yarn through the toggle and tied a great big knot.

Bracelet

What I love about this bracelet is how the open circles in a variety of sizes makes such a mod pattern, but the crochet on top makes it so homespun, and the two together just make magic to me.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Clay Best Friend Necklace and Galentine’s Cards!

Polymer Clay Best Friend Necklaces

Polymer Clay Best Friend Necklaces

Are you watching Parks & Recreation? Because you should be. It’s the best show on television, easily. Not only is it hilarious, but all the characters actually like and support each other. It’s the kind of people you want to know, and the kind of town you want to live in, mostly. I could do without the raccoon infestation.

On that show Leslie Knope starts a new holiday for the day before Valentine’s Day which she calls Galentine’s Day. It’s a chance for her to get together with all her lady friends and celebrate their friendships, and I think that is so beyond super brilliant. My lady friendships are something I appreciate more and more with each passing year, and I think we absolutely do deserve a holiday. So I made some cards I’ll be passing out to my friends, and which you are welcome to use as well.

Galentine's Day Cards

Galentine’s Day Cards

I made six different versions, just click and save, and spread the lady love.

Galentine's Day Card 6 Galentine's Day Card 5 Galentine's Day Card 4 Galentine's Day Card 2 Galentine's Day Card 3 Galentine's Day Card 1

But since some friendships deserve more than just cards, I couldn’t stop there. I wanted to make a modern grown up version of the little gold necklaces that best friends would give each other when I was a teenager (I hear. I don’t have any personal experience with that. Cue the sad trombones of Tresa’s depressing childhood). Wearing one half of those “Best Friend” necklaces just looked so special to me, and now that I’m a grown up I can make up for lost time.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 1
Take some well-conditioned polymer clay and roll it out to about 1/4″ thick. Well-conditioned just means that it’s nice and smooth and pliable, and not a dried out crumbly piece of garbage. You just have to squish it and squish it and squish it for a while to make that happen, but if you have a particularly bad case you can mix in a bit of petroleum jelly. Once it’s rolled out, use a cookie cutter to cut a heart shape, just as if you were making sugar cookies. Once you use it on the clay, however, you won’t want to use it on cookies again, so the dollar store is a great place to look for one.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 2
Cut a jagged line down the center of your heart and smooth out any rough edges.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 3
Poke a hole in the top of each piece so it can be worn as a necklace. A pencil works great for this job.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 4
I used letter stamps to put “Be Fri” on one piece and “St Ends” on the other, but you could also do that by hand with a dull pencil. Smooth out any stray marks.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 5
This step is optional, but I wanted to add a little glitter. So I used this stuff called Luster Dust and brushed it onto the clay like I was applying blush to my face. I love the cool opalescent shimmer this stuff adds. Bake the clay pieces according to the instructions on the package.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 6
Once the clay is baked and cooled, you can add some paint to the debossed letters to make them stand out. I rubbed a bit of acrylic paint over the letters, and then came back with a washcloth or a baby wipe to remove the excess paint. Use a light touch over the top of the letters so you don’t just wipe all the paint away.

Clay Necklace Tutorial Step 7

With the paint dry you can add a ribbon and your necklace is ready to give away.

I don’t really have one specific person I would describe as my Best Friend, so I made a few sets of these to pass out among a treasured group of friends. I feel a lot more lucky that way. I wish I could go back and tell my 7th grade self that there would come a time when I had such an embarrassment of riches in the friend department.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Tutorial: Valentines Heart Bouquet

Valentines Heart Bouquet

Valentines Heart Bouquet

For most of our marriage Bear and I have prided ourselves on being above Valentine’s Day. We’re really really good at this marriage stuff, we don’t need candy and card makers to give us a day to remind us to be good at it. But this isn’t the first thing that having a kid has made me soften on, and I doubt it will be the last. Now that Atti’s in school, all these little holidays are suddenly a whole lot of fun.

I made two different kind of heart “flowers” for my little bouquet, but they’re both super easy and darn near free.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 1

 

We’ll start with the glittered hearts. You might get lucky at your dollar or craft store and find some styrofoam hearts ready for glitter. I was not so lucky and it forced me to get creative. Instead of heart ornaments my dollar store had these styrofoam egg ornaments which I made into hearts, and I think it’s a neat trick. Styrofoam egg shapes are pretty easy to find. I don’t know why, but I always see them in the foam section, just about any time of year.

Each heart requires two eggs. Remove any hangers, if yours has them like mine did, and then cut a piece off starting just after the curve on the bottom finishes and cut across to where the top curve ends, leaving yourself a point on one side and a curve on the other.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 2

 

Glue the two pieces together with a piece of wire in the middle. I got my wire by cutting apart a wire hanger, and instead of glue I used dimensional fabric paint. Once the fabric paint is dry it will stick everything together just the same, but since it’s made to hold it’s shape you can use it like caulk to fill in any gaps or seams. Then your hearts will look more like one piece. They’ll be ugly at this point, so just bear with me. Everything is prettier once it’s glittered.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 3

 

Give each heart a coat of paint that matches the glitter…

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 4

 

Then give it a coat of glue and sprinkle the glitter on top. Shake off the excess and let it dry.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 5

 

Now on to flower number two! For this one you just need scrapbook paper, glue, and ribbon, all of which I had on hand, which means that this project officially cost me $1. I cut a heart shape out of cardboard to serve as my template, and this will keep me from having to fold a big center line down the middle of all my pretty paper. Cut out two pieces of paper to the shape of your template. I cut them both at the same time and lined them up with the wrong sides together so that they would line up perfectly when it was time to glue them together. I also took this opportunity, as long as I was raiding ancient stashes, to bust out my dusty decorative scissors and give these hearts a pretty edge.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 6

 

Place another piece of sturdy wire (the other half of the wire hanger in my case) on the back of one of the hearts and cover the whole thing in glue.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 7

 

Place a few pieces of crumple up paper on top, gathering it towards the center to give it some dimension.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 8

 

Then place the other heart on top of the wire sandwich and use bobby pins to keep the edges together until the glue dries.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 9

 

Use a hole punch to make holes all around the outside at regular intervals.

Valentine Heart Bouquet Step 10

 

And lace some ribbon through them, tying a bow at the bottom when you’re done. I didn’t even count the number of holes I was making, so if yours come out uneven like mine did, just bring the end of the ribbon back up through the same hole you started from in order to tie the bow.

Valentine Heart Bouquet 4

 

I think this would make an adorable teachers gift, especially since your kids could easily help. Even the youngest kids school kids can do some lacing, and imagine how proud of themselves they’d feel when they gave their teacher something they took part in.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Christmas DIY: Miniature Quilt Ornament

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial
Oh the last minute. It and I are bosom companions. In planning my calendar I, of course, never planned two a day tutorials, or even a tutorial on Christmas Eve. I mean, who’s still making ornaments besides crazy old me? But if I’ve learned anything from so many years blogging, it’s that these kinds of ideas are entertainment just as much as they’re inspiration, so in that spirit, and to complete the record of this sweet little tree I’ve been frantically building in between killer colds and holiday party and cramps that are trying to kill me. Given my current level of pain and what I long to do, I think it’s perfectly fitting that my last ornament for this cozy Christmas tree is a quilt.

I didn’t just want to cover the tree in blankets, but I knew I needed a blanket somewhere. It’s too much a part of our family life: snuggled up together on the couch watching TV, having a family slumber party under the weight of a homemade quilt, laying outside in the sunshine on the giant picnic blanket I made. So to finish off this tree I had to make the teeniest tiniest quilt ever.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 1
Cut a bunch of strips out of your fabric one inch wide and plenty long. If you really want to you could just cut a bunch of one inch squares, but you will give yourself a WHOLE lot more sewing to do that way.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 2
Sew five of these strips together to make each row. You’ll have to do a little planning so that you make sure when your rows are laid together you get the colors where you want them to be. I just started sewing willy nilly and then had to rip a bunch a part because once I laid the rows out I had a bunch of reds touching. Once your rows are all sewn up, iron the seams flat.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 3
Cut across your panels to make the rows 1 inch tall.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 4
Sew five rows together as you had them laid out and iron the seams flat.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 5
Cut a square of fabric the same size as your quilt and sew them right sides together leaving a 1 inch opening for turning. Be sure and add a loop of yarn for an ornament hanger between the layers before you sew. For stuffing, since I wanted it flat like a blanket and not puffy like a pillow, I cut a couple of pieces of polar fleece 1/2″ smaller than my ornament. Turn your quilt right side out and put the fleece inside, fiddling with it until it lays flat and the corners are tucked up inside of the corners of the quilt.

Miniature Quilt Ornament Tutorial Step 6
Tuck the edges of your opening inside and sew a line of topstitching all the way around your quilt to close it up. You could stop there, but I wanted to make my quilt look like an old-fashioned tied quilt so I used a little more crochet thread on a needle, threaded it down through the quilt and then right back up and tied it in a knot.

Miniature Quilt Ornament
Now that this last ornament is done, I’m ready to show you the finished project. Coming up in just a few hours – our Christmas home tour and the unveiling of the Cozy Christmas tree.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail