Friday, July 30, 2010

Ladies Embroidered Dress or Skirt from a Pair of Pillowcases

I have already showed ya'll how to make a nightgown from a pair of pillowcases.

I thought you might like to see how I made a convertible skirt or strapless dress from another pair of pillowcases.  My mom gave me a huge bin of sheets and pillowcases from her overstuffed linen closet when she moved, and I have had lots of fun making things from sheets!  This time I used a plain pair, in a soft sage green.  I recently bought a new sewing machine that has a lot of embroidery stitches, and I made this to play with those stitches.

I can wear it like this, as a dress, or the way I usually wear this is as a low slung (it fits my hips) skirt.  This was super simple and fun to make.  This was my first successful attempt at using piping.  I think the bias tape hem, the piping, and the embroidery make this garment really sweet.  Mr. Green compliments me on this every time he sees it.  Here is a closer picture of the embroidery:

 Mr. Green shared his opinion that he thinks I must show this dress "with the green sweater."

I didn't make the sweater, though I wish I did.  I actually am about to start working on something similar, in brown.  I want to try Christine Hayne's jacket pattern using some yardage of a decorative, open knit I picked up on sale, lined with cotton gauze.  I am hoping it will work!  I have to dye the gauze brown first, and that sounds like something fun to do now.  Maybe I will be able to show ya'll that jacket real soon!

But back to this convertible dress/ skirt.  I  removed the doubled, hemmed pillowcase band to make the embroidered skirt band.  Then I cut apart the rest of both pillowcases, sewed them together, and gathered to fit the band, which I made to my measurement.  Then I applied the piping, and sewed the skirt to the band.  Because I had bias tape to match the piping, I used that to finish the hem, but both the piping and bias trim could be eliminated to make this easy to sew dress or skirt.

I will be back here soon.  Until then, Happy Sewing!

If you cook meat, try My Meatloaf

I made my meatloaf (with turkey) last night and as we were just devouring the leftovers, Mr. Green asked me if I had shared that recipe here.  I told him I didn't, that yahoo had published this recipe at Associated Content, but that I had not shared it on my blog.  He insisted that I share it with you here, as he just loves loves the way I make meatloaf.

It's much different than the average meatloaf, as it has peppers and instead of oats or breadcrumbs, I use crushed cheese crackers (or you could use plain crackers, too).  It's really really really good.

So, without further ado, here is the link to Aunt Millie's Garden Meatloaf.  

Try it; I bet your family will love this, too.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Mess Management and Holiday Idea: Casserole Cozies

Please excuse me ya'll, for taking so long between this post and the last.  I told ya'll that I make a mess, and I had to spend a whole day cleaning my big mess in the sewing room so I could think and sew.  It was pretty ridiculous in there.  The day before that, because of the mess, I spent making other things, not sewing.  Then I started working with the softest yarns I have ever felt and making what I hope will be beautiful, my first scarf, honeycomb knit in two contrasting blues, a gift for my sister.

But I did finally clean the sewing room really well, and now I feel so much better!  I am going to try to implement a new rule with myself, to clean up after I complete each project.  I tend to want to run on to the next project.  But mess upon mess accumulating beneath me contributes to insanity, lol, so I am going to work on cleaning up after myself throughout the day.  We'll see how it goes....

And now for our project.  When I got my copy of One Yard Wonders, this was the first project I saw that I knew I really needed to make.  When I saw it, I immediately thought of last year, Christmas Day.  We were supposed to already be at Grandmother Green's house and I was standing in our kitchen, looking at the hot dish from the oven, and wondering how on earth I was going to get it to Grandma's house.   Mr. Green came in and assisted, and we wrapped it in towels and nested it inside of a collapsible beer cooler.  I was embarrassed when Mr. Green had to walk into the party carrying that!

So I made this:

It will fit several different casserole sizes and shapes, including one considerably larger than the one that is inside in the picture.  My sister told me she does not have one and would love one, so I made this:

I did not then have any more one yard cuts I wanted to use to make more.  I did have a bit of the John Deere fabric remnant I had bought for my other sister, to make the oven mitt I showed you already, and so I used it for the straps and made this:

The last one I cut out, I cut from a partially ruined storebought quilt that came from Mr. Green's grandmother's house.  I also used part of a quilted poly blanket that wouldn't be soft for a bed and that was given to me to reuse.  I thought I wanted to use the quilt sides on the outside, and have the pink stripes showing on the inside bottom:

But now I am thinking I should turn the bottom piece over with the quilt showing on the inside and have the stripes on the table side.   Any opinions??  I want to get more binding before I finish it, but should wait until notions are half off at Hancocks Fabrics, on August 13.

I think this casserole caddy makes a great gift.  I plan to be on the lookout at the thrift store for some glass casserole dishes to give inside of them.  Don't ya'll think that would make an amazing hostess gift, to show up with something delicious for the party, in a pretty and practical package the hostess can keep?  I  thought about making one from holiday fabric for this purpose, but I decided that is too limiting, as I will want to use mine all year.  But there is your perfect present for someone who has everything already and who loves having Holiday "Stuff."  She would probably love to have a Holiday theme cozy for her casserole!

This pattern is great because it fits different sizes and shapes of dishes, and also because of the design of the straps.  Mr. Green pointed out how you can just slide it over your arm to carry, and have your hands free for carrying presents or whatever else.

Seriously, if you sew and you haven't gotten One Yard Wonders yet, buy it now!
I appreciate you ordering at Amazon through my links.

This book has 101 projects (and full sized patterns).  I am thinking I will probably wind up making about 96 of them.  Maybe more.  I assure you you will find many projects in this book that you want to make too.  There are clothes for ladies, babies, and children- even the dog; adorable toys; awesome things to make for the home; a selection of beautiful bags; precious things for pets; and plenty more.  It has been the best book buy I have made for my sewing library.  You should get it now for yours!

Have an amazing day and Happy Sewing!  I will be back here real soon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Handmade Gift Ideas Will Continue All Year

Hi!  I have more than 2 full pages, front and back, of gift ideas to make and to show you.  Some are tutorials I need to make, some are for projects from other creative folks that I want to make.  I have only scratched off a small portion of these gift ideas and July is nearing its end.

Re-use-Full Gift Wrap!
I have been storing a lot of Christmas fabrics for several years, that were passed to me by someone else.  This morning I decided to go ahead and get started on wrapping my presents and made small gift bags, as well as that holiday stocking gift bag, which has a drawstring flap inside it to prevent anything from spilling out.

So our holiday ideas in July continues, but will be extended throughout the rest of the year.  Gift ideas to make will be a constant theme on this blog.  You will also see here DIY fashions and clothing to make for everyone, as well as gardening and recipes.  Whatever inspiration brings up and I make, I will show you.

The next post will be up soon, and it is a holiday idea.

I made this one for me and cut out three more for gifts.  I will post this project as soon as they are done.

I have also been busy with DIY summer fashions and I want to work on new dresses soon and so I am just letting ya'll know that my muse is demanding not to be restricted!  So every post for the rest of July will not be limited to holiday ideas.  Gift idea posts will continue, however, for the rest of the year.  I have lots of cool ideas for easy gifts to make to show you.  I hope no one will mind some fashion inspiration and other DIY interspersed as well.

I will be back soon.  I hope everyone has a great day today!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Felt Food Inspiration

My fat little sprout is going to be nearly 2 in December, and I plan to make him lots of felt foods from Santa.  I haven't started yet, because as I told ya'll in the soft ball post, I have been very unhappy with the acrylic felt that I can get locally.  Just yesterday I found a good supplier for wool blend felt, and I plan to order some of that better stuff for making felt food.  I will give you lots of links later in this post.  But first, I want to show ya'll this, another awesome gift made by my friend Hilary:

Here is what she wrote about this gift:

I'm always striving to make thoughtful handmade presents. Because I'm on also on a very tight budget they also need to be low cost. This involves using materials found at thrift stores (and a lot of the time hand me down clothes,sheets,curtains,etc. from friends and family). Conveniently this also works out for being friendly to the earth.

Here's a gift I made for about $3. It was for a 2 yr old's birthday but I think it would be great as a Christmas present too. The lunch box was a thrift store find that I picked up a while ago.When I see something cute at the thrift store, I immediately start going through a mental gift recipient list to decide if I can actually use it or will it just become clutter.  I knew right away the lunch box would get used.

I was a bit intimidated at first by all the great felt food out there, and my head was spinning with all the possibilities.  I decided to make foods that the recipient actually eats and that brought me out of the whirlwind.  But I quickly found that felt food is fun and pretty easy to make.  Felt is very forgiving and I was able to just "wing it".  And the present was a big hit(with the grown ups just as much as the kids)!

Happy Making!

I have found so many great links for felt food tutorials that like Hilary, I don't know where to start!

The first link you will want to see is for "Felt Food Making 101," where you will find lots of advice on what felt, stitches, and needles to use, as well as some easy and simple tutorials.  I have linked you to lesson 1, but be sure to read through all 5 lessons.  This blog also has a store which sells wool and wool blend felts and other supplies.

I love Hilary's idea of using a thrifted lunchbox, but if you cannot find or don't want to buy a lunchbox, Litl Brown Bird's Passion has a tutorial for an adorable woven felt picnic basket.  She also has a tutorial for a chinese take out box made of felt and some other cute things, too.

Skip to my Lou has an easy to follow tutorial for a complete brown bag lunch, including the bag and a cute little debbie swiss roll.

This mama on Craftster made a whole ton of stuff and shares instructions, too!

I just love the pancake tutorial at Turkey Feathers, and here is how to make a banana you can unpeel and corn in the husk   I definitely plan to make these.

The Petite Cafe is a whole blog devoted to felt food making, and One Crafty Place has collected tons of felt food tutorials into a roundup.

Another place to find some awe inspiring felt foods is to google felt food tutorial and look on Google Images.  This brings up more free tutorials, as well as some really amazing patterns you can order for pretend meals.

As soon as I get my wool blend felt, I know I will have tons of fun making a lot of these foods for my son.

Thank you to Hilary for sharing what she already made.  I hope you all will comment and let her know what a great job she did!

I will post again soon.  Until then, as Hilary said, Happy Making!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gift Idea: Easy Earrings and Earring Hanger from a Picture Frame

Okay, it's not sewing, sorry.  But making an earring hanger like this is super easy and for someone who needs it, a much appreciated gift.  I made a few of these last year as gifts, so this one I am showing you is mine.  Hanging on it in the photo are several easy pairs of earrings I made as gifts today, as well as a few I made already for me.

To make an earring hanger like this, all you need is a picture frame in whatever size you want to use.  I have found some nice 8"x10" size ones in my local dollar store.  Mine was made from a frame I already owned, after the glass was broken.  The only other supplies you need for this are a staple gun and staples (or tacks and a hammer) and some screen.  I got enough screen to make at least 10 of these by talking to the manager at the hardware store, who sold me what was left on a roll for less than a dollar.  So this neat gift can be very inexpensive to make.  Of course, you could spend significantly more buying an extra special frame.  You just remove the glass and the back of the frame, and staple or tack the screen tightly across the back.  I love having a convenient place to hang my earrings in pairs.

To make simple earrings, all you need is the jewelry findings, which are very inexpensive in craft stores.  You need the fishhook wires, tiny jump rings, and either small charms in pairs, or earwires for beads.  And a couple pairs of small pliers.  Of course there are infinite ways to make earrings, with wires and stringing and knotting beads and all kinds of other ways.  I am not a jewelry artist however, and I make jewelry very simply like this.  If you have not made jewelry before, this way is affordable, easy, satisfying, and quick.  I have made lots of earrings as gifts, and I often notice my sister or friends wearing the jewelry I have given them, so I know they are appreciated.

I like to make one beautiful pair of sterling earrings and hang them in the middle of an earring hanger as a gift.  Another thing you can do is make a pretty pair and hang them on a small rectangle of colored card and enclose them in a small 3"x5" clear zip or cellophane bag.  Then you can enclose a pretty handmade gift in with your cousin or aunt or faraway friend's holiday card.  They won't cost you more than a dollar or two and about ten or fifteen minutes, but will be something so much more special than just a card. 

I will be back soon with a neat gift to sew.  Until then, I hope all of you have a nice day.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kitchen Gift Idea: Oven Mitts

My friend Hilary made these oven mitts; aren't they adorable?

 I thought this was a great idea for an easy gift to sew.  Simple quick projects like this are the perfect way for me to make sure that everyone I know will get something handmade by me for the holidays.  I sewed some of these for father's day gifts but they are gone now so I cannot show photos of those.

But I did sew a few today to stash away in my Santa Sack:

for a couple who have John Deere everything in their kitchen

This one is for Mr. Green; I omitted the hanging loop on his because we stash ours in a drawer.

This one is for a guy who works on a boat and who soon will be a Captain.

I am quite sure I will be sewing lots more of these for gifts this year.  Like I said, they are super easy and quick to make.  You can easily sew several in a day and you will feel so satisfied to know that you are already working on your gift list!  

If you really feel like you need a pattern and instructions for making these, I noticed they have a pattern for oven mitts, and also a hot pad, in the One Yard Wonders book.  But what Hilary and I both did is to just use an existing oven mitt we had already.  Just turn it inside out and trace to make your pattern.  You can either use things like old towels or flannel blankets or quilt batting to make it thick inside, or you can buy insulated batting, which makes the middle layers not as thick and easier to sew.  Just cut 2 pieces of your cute fabric and 2 pieces for lining, assemble as a quilt with the batting in the middle, and quilt all three layers together on both pieces.  Then I attach the binding to the bottom edge before I put them right sides together and sew. Then you just clip your corners and turn and you are done.  Simple, easy, satisfying, and cute.

If you have an hour, why don't you go make some now?  Have fun!   I will be back son with more gift ideas to make.  Have a great day!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Santa Stuff Sack and Creative Gift Wrap

I have been sewing more DIY summer fashion over the last few days than Christmas gifts, sorry!  I would like to have a fashion show here, lol, but I have promised to make gifts and share holiday and gift ideas to sew throughout this month.

I did sew another zip bag and made patchwork for sewing and needle books, and knit 2 more dish scrubbers, and that toppled the pile of presents on my sewing table.  I needed to stash them away in my chest, but I needed to contain them first.  When I opened the chest, I saw my box of Christmas fabrics.  I inherited most of that stash from a grandma, and haven't really used much of it.  So I was delighted to see some Santa fabric peeking out, and I used it to sew a Santa Sack to hold my gifts.  I could also see making one of these as a gift, for someone who likes to play Santa, or even to wrap a quilt or some other large gift.

Here it is, half full already, before I put it away:

The ribbon is strong and you can hold on to the bow loops and sling it over your shoulder just like the real Santa does.  I sewed it like a pillowcase, but with a casing for the ribbon.   I started to do another, with patchwork and an applique, but this works for now.  I made a lovely skirt and wanted to sew a blouse to go with it to wear to a birthday party tomorrow.  So the Santa sack is the Holiday idea to sew for today.

I will also show you the presents I am taking to the birthday party tomorrow, as a suggestion to not use disposable wrapping paper but to make something useful instead.  Both children are getting colored pencils in a roll, but I wrapped them each with another gift:

these are birthday, not holiday presents;
use your imagination to think of ways to make holiday gift wrappings
simple drawstring bags sewn from holiday fabrics can hold candy or coins...
we will visit this topic again later this month....

The birthday girl gets a pretty apron, I made from a vintage sheet.  And for the birthday boy, that's just a simple drawstring bag that I am sure he can use to hold baseball cards or marbles or candy or whatever he likes.

So I hope that will get you thinking about creative wrapping for the holidays; I definitely am now.  In fact, I just got a good idea; we will see it later...
I am off to work on that blouse now, but I will be back soon to share more holiday gift ideas.  Have a great day!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gifts to Make: Zip Bags for Everyone

Small zippered bags are really easy to make.  I have made lots of these for ladies, as cosmetic bags.  I made one today to save as a Christmas gift for a friend:

I have been thinking lately that these do not have to be for ladies only, and that anyone could use one.  So I made another gift, this one for a man.  I made it slightly larger so he can use it to hold toiletries, etc. for travelling.  This fabric was originally a shirt that no one here would wear, but the guitars are cool:

Then I made one, slightly smaller, for a nephew, for transporting his Legos:

You can buy bags already made by a beautiful mama for Legos on Etsy, at heartsongfarms.

I make these kind of bags by cutting rectangles from fabric, batting, and lining fabric, which I quilt together.  Then I attach the zipper.  After sewing the zipper in place, I sew it down neatly.  Then, I sew up the side seams.  Before I had a serger, I used to make binding for covering the seams and making it to look nice and neat inside.  Now I just use the serger.  Then I pinch the corners on the inside and sew them down, to make the bag flat on the bottom.  This is nice as it allows the bag to stand upright.  There must be a million different uses for these, and you can make one in about 15 minutes.  I think they make a great gift for anyone.

Before I leave, I will show you this other little bag I made.  I cut the pieces for this little bag by following the shapes of the folklore bag, but significantly smaller.  It took a bit longer than my simpler zip bags above, and I was not entirely pleased with my execution of this, but since I mentioned it before, I will show you; maybe it will give you an idea...

So now it's your turn.  Take an hour and make up several fast and cute bags now to stash away for holiday gifts.  It feels great to be crossing names of the gift list already.  Have fun!  I will be back soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Gift Idea: The Folklore Bag

Hi, Ya'll.  I am sorry; this is not the new tutorial from me.  I have been dealing with Mr.Green and a little boy not feeling well, which has kept me quite busy, and now I think the sickness is in me.   When I was finally able to make it into my sewing room last night, I realized that I was behind on my gift making.  So I used the time to cross more gifts off my list, instead of making the tutorial for my way of making baby blocks.  I have already made blocks for all the babies on my list, and so I made bags for my sister in laws first.  I promise I will get that tutorial up soon.

Here are the bags I made last night:

While I have made lots of bags before, this is the first time I have followed a pattern for a purse.  The pattern is the Folklore Bag, designed by Lauren Booth, which is one of several cute bag patterns that comes with One Yard Wonders.  I have mentioned this book here before, and now I am mentioning it again, because it is pretty awesome.  There are 101 patterns in this book, and believe me, you can find a lot of ideas for gifts (and using up your fabric stash) in this book.  If you haven't ordered this book yet, just click on over to Amazon and order it now; you will be glad you did.  Here is the link:  

I am just out of medium weight interfacing, but instead of making a trip to the store, I made those bags by quilting the outer fabric to pieces of a sturdy canvas curtain I thrifted.  I also used velcro in lieu of magnetic purse closures.  I bet the magnetic closures are much nicer than velcro, but I am all about using what I have.

I think I will make one more of these.  I just made a smaller version pattern based on this design, and am about to go in there and try to do a zippered pouch in this shape....if it works, I will show that off, too.  I plan to work on bags for the rest of this day, as I can do different types of bags for several folks on my Christmas list.  I kinda liked doing it with a pattern, maybe I will look around for something cute in a free tutorial.  Do you have a favorite bag pattern?  I would love to know what you like, do tell us!

I will be back soon.  In the meantime, have a great day, and happy sewing!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Announcing the Winner of Our First Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway, for my sewing kit/ needle book.

I wrote down all of our followers' names twice, and the names of you who commented once, as promised.

Put them in Mr. Green's favorite hat,

Shook them up, and asked our baby, Stout Sprout to please draw one.  He pulled out a few!

And then he immediately started depositing them, one by one, back into the hat, counting.  Our 8 year old, Tall Sprout helped out by grabbing the ONE name remaining in his hand from that first draw.  And the winner is......

Pat Redekopp!  Congratulations, Pat. 

Remember that our garden giveaway is running now until the end of the month.  Look for an announcement regarding our next giveaway (and also a new tutorial from me) to be posted very soon.

Until then, have a great day, and happy sewing!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gift Idea: Soft Balls for Baby

I am working on a tutorial for ya'll; I plan for it to be up later today.  But it has been too long since my last post, so I thought I would share some links for this gift idea.

Here is the first soft ball I made:

I made this by cutting 12 pentagon shapes with 2 inch sides.  You just choose one to use as the middle and sew 5 other pieces to that, one along each side.  Then repeat, and sew these two halves together, turn, and stuff.  I like to add a jingle bell, encased inside a small plastic container (like the capsules that hold vending machine toys, or a small plastic easter egg, taped closed).

After I made this "soccer ball" type soft toy, I found a different pattern at  Grand Revival.  This page includes patterns for making three different sized balls.  The first ones I made were from felt, which I do not recommend.  These balls will be played with a lot, and the felt gets pilly and kindof yucky.  You can see that in this picture of the balls I made last year:

So, now I make these balls from regular cotton fabrics, and they turn out much nicer.  Like I said, I like to add a jingle bell inside and also ribbon tags for grabbing:

Another thing I have done with these balls is add an applique.  This is a photo taken before I had a digital camera, and I hesitate to post it because it is so bad, but it might inspire you to add something cute to the balls you will make:

So that should give you some ideas for cute baby or toddler gifts.  I also found another cute way to make a soft ball that might be even better for a younger baby; this one has lots of places for a little baby to grab.  I haven't made one like this yet, so I don't have pictures to show you.  But there are pictures along with the tutorial for sewing this kind of soft ball at the Daily Skein.

Like I said, this is just a bonus post of sorts, while we wait on the next tutorial from me.  I hope it will be up in a few hours.  Until then, happy sewing!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gifts for the Gulf

I live on the Gulf Coast.  My Dad has earned his living directly from the Gulf since before I was born.  I grew up spending nearly every weekend on the beach.  As an adult, when stresses have had me feeling overwhelmed, I could always hop in my car and speed down to the beach and recharge by listening to the surf meet the shore and the call of the gulls soaring overhead.  It is heartbreaking to think that my little boys will not get to play on the beach anymore.  And every time I see a sign that says "Fresh Gulf Seafood," I want to cry.

I have wanted to do something to help, but have been unclear as to what can be done.  Yesterday I learned about Craft Hope.

Craft Hope Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

I read about what they are doing to help: asking crafters to make small towels and washrags to help in cleaning oiled wildlife.  And so, since yesterday, I have been making mitts and small towels to send for this cause.  It made me happy to knit a blue cotton mitt, thinking it might be used to save a dolphin or a bird.  And my serger helped me to easily make towels from some old sheets, a blanket, and a ripped beach towel.

But I have been doing some investigating today, and it turns out that not enough creatures are being helped at the moment.   A volunteer I spoke with today told me that most of what is being done is assessment and documentation of the damage, not much for recovery.  She told me that BP is somehow preventing agencies from actually launching recovery efforts.  She said there are not people cruising around in boats looking for dolphins in the spill to save. 

This is breaking my heart.  I cannot understand why BP is in charge of this cleanup!  Sure, they should pay, but they should not be directing the efforts! 

So, back to what we CAN do:
I have made all these towels, as have many more crafters.  I desperately hope that they will be used to help and that a great many animals can be saved.  But what is needed more than towels is money to fund projects that can make a real difference. 

I have been planning to donate profits from items I will be selling on etsy, and today I have discovered a whole shop dedicated to this purpose.  If you are a crafter on etsy, I encourage you to contribute something to Help the Gulf Coast.  If you have already done so, I thank you.  I also encourage everyone to visit this shop and buy some special gift for yourself or someone you love that will also be a gift for the gulf.  The proceeds from these items are being donated to OxFam America and the National Wildlife Federation.  Again, the name of the charity shop on Etsy is Help the Gulf Coast

I will be making gifts for the Gulf and will add them towards this cause as soon as I am set up on etsy.   I encourage everyone else to help with this by either donating something towards this shop, or purchasing something from there, or both.

I will continue my research into what is being done and what can be done to help. 
If you know more about real ways we can help, or about real organizations that are actually doing something to save wildlife in the Gulf, please let me know.

In the meantime, we should all be praying for the animals that live in the Gulf and have nowhere else to go.  Even if you don't believe in God, I ask you to pray.  Please God, help us to Save Our Gulf.  Amen.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Best Dish Scrubbers You Can Make

UPDATE: I called mine the best, but it's the nylon yarn that makes these scrubbers the best for scrubbing.  I just found another pattern, at Rostitchery, for a nice compact round scrubber.  I am off to make one of these now; it might be better than mine. 

If you don't think that dish scrubbers make a good gift idea, I encourage you to look next to your friends and family members' sinks.  I have been so surprised to see that people who wash their hands, brush their teeth, and vacuum their floors often have a nasty, yucky, gross, old sponge on their sink ledge for washing dishes.  This is disgusting, people!  I care about my friends and family and I want to save them from the billions of germs that live in such sponges, so I think a pair of these makes an excellent gift.  These dish scrubbers can go in the washing machine and dryer, so with one to use and one to wash, your loved ones can always have something fresh and clean for scrubbing dishes.

This was the first design I came up with for the Knifty Knitter long looms.  All you need to make one of these handy dandy little scrubbers is the pink short loom, 2 skeins of nylon yarn, and an hour.

You can make these with one skein of nylon yarn and one ball of cotton, but cotton tends to stay damp longer.  Using nylon yarn gives these scrubbers their scrubbing ability and it dries out fast.

Wrap your loom as directed, using both strands of yarn.  Knit the piece until it has reached 5 inches, and then loom off, leaving tails approximately 7" long.

Then, take the short ends and bring them together.  Use one of your yarn tails to sew these edges together, behind the first row, creating a ridge, which will be your handle.  Then, center the handle in the middle, on the top layer of the scrubber.  Then use your other yarn tails to sew this top layer down to the bottom layer, keeping the handle ridge centered, and closing the open edges.

And here is what one looks like when you are done.  These are the best things I have found for scrubbing dishes; they are strong and scrub well.  The handle is handy and being able to wash these makes them sanitary and clean.  A pair of these makes a nice gift, especially when coupled with handmade dish scrubbing soap.  There are various ways to make liquid soap, but the easiest is to start with liquid castile soap.  I use Dr. Bronner's lavender.  Squeeze this into a pretty bottle, add warm water, a little glycerine, and some lavender essential oil, and you're done.

This is my original design; do not make these for sale.  But have fun making these for yourself and as gifts.

UPDATE: Now, after I made and posted this, I have seen another scrubber, designed Rowena at Rostitchery, that looks even neater than mine, as it is round.  I think it is a good bit smaller, though, and haven't tried her way yet.  I am going to make one her way now, but I wanted to post this and apologize to Rowena for proclaiming my scrubber the "best!"  Here again, is the link to the neat round scrubber at Rostitchery.

Update:  I have had a lot of folks asking where to find the nylon yarn for making these.  I like using the "Bonnie" brand the best, and they do carry it at Amazon.  Here are some links
There are other colors available, too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gift Idea: Colored Pencil/ Crayon/ Marker Rolls

I am sorry I am late with this post.  Tuesday was a high intensity Mama day, as it rained, keeping my big boy inside, and my little guy wanted Mama to hold him all day.  I wasn't able to even go in the sewing room until nearly midnight. And then, once I started making these, I kept thinking of someone else who would like one.

There are a lot of colored pencil roll tutorials to choose from, and every one I have seen is super cute.  I started with one from Carson J. Designs, although I made a couple changes.  I didn't have a cord stop, so I used ribbon instead.  And I also added an inner layer.  I have seen some tutorials call for a layer of flannel or fusible fleece.  I used what I had, which was a piece of canvas curtain.  I also used the serger to finish the edges, instead of turning...this speeds things up a lot.   Here is a view of the inside of one I made tonight:

And then I made three more.  The Spider Man is for a particular neighbor boy who is always wearing either one of two pairs of Spider Man shoes, or one of what must be a dozen different Spider Man shirts:

There are other tutorials for beautiful colored pencil rolls at You Go Girl  and  Pink Chalk Studio, and possibly elsewhere, as well.

After I finished these, I decided to do crayon rolls.  I had seen pictures of precious rolls at Skip to My Lou, but the little boys I am making these for will need the fat kind of crayons.  So I just kindof adapted the rolls I had just made, cutting the rainbow strips at 2" x 9":

I thought these should definitely have a fold down flap, to prevent the crayons being spilled in Mama's purse.
Here they are all rolled up:

I got all six of these gifts made in just about two hours, so you can see that these are quick and easy projects.  I really like sewing the rainbow strips together; it's like making a little quilt.

It is 3 am now, so I must go to bed.  If it wasn't so late I would like to make Fawnda's marker roll; there is a tutorial at Fireflies and Jellybeans.  I would like to make one of these for my sharpies, as well as some for gifts.  But that will have to be another day!

If you haven't seen my giveaway yet, please read this post.   Next Monday my baby will draw a name from a hat to determine the winner of my patchwork needle book/ sewing kit.  You need to comment on that post, or be a follower of this blog, for your chance to win it.

I am going to bed!  I hope to see ya'll tomorrow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gift Idea: Car Rolls

 I had plenty fabric left from that firetruck crib sheet that I used to make the toy box, and I decided to use it (along with pieces from 2 other sheets and a salvaged jeans leg for the road section) and make a car cozy.  I have made one of these before, using the great tutorial at My Little Gems.

I kept thinking as I was turning this right sides out that the process could be speeded up with the serger.  So I made another one in less than half the time, using rainbow variegated thread to finish the edges.

My baby will be ready for hot wheels by December, so I think he will just love this.  We also have a lot of sweet little boys on our street, so I am about to go back in my sewing room and use the rest of these fabrics (there is still more left of that crib sheet), to make at least a couple more.  These would make a great birthday gift, too, especially if you had one or two already made and could just grab it and go to a party.  They are perfect for slipping into Mama's purse so she has a great diversion to offer her boy while out and about.

There is also another beautiful tutorial for another way of making these at Homemade By Jill.  I haven't made one this way yet, but I have a piece of natural duck cloth and some paints and can think of a lot of fun ways to do this one.  Maybe I will try her way next.

And here is another variation on this project, this time at The Trendy Treehouse.  I just now saw this, and like me, I am sure you, too will see many fun possibilities for decorating this one.  I think I am about to break out my paints!  I hope ya'll have a great day!

Did you see this post yet?  I am giving away a sewing kit/ needle book made by me on Monday; you need to comment (or be a follower of this blog) for your chance to win it.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Holidays Gifts: Sewing and Needle Book- You Can Win It!

 Happy Saturday, Ya'll.

I haven't finished with the tutorial for this yet.  I want to make it a pdf file (which I will share with my followers as a gift, and sell after that), but I have a little learning to do first.  I hope you all don't mind waiting; I apologize!

But I can show you the first sewing and needle book I made.  This is the gift I am giving away next week.  And as I said, am working on making the instructions into a pdf file, so that you can make one for yourself or someone you love, too.

This is the front cover.  This little book has a zippered pocket to hold folding scissors, a seam ripper, needle threader, and quilter's thimble.  This little book is my original design; do not make these for sale.  If anyone wants to buy one, they will be available in several different cover designs in my Etsy shop, opening soon.

Here is a look at the inside:

This book is not exactly perfect, as I wish I had not used that darker green thread to sew closed the zip pocket.  Like I said, this was the first one I made!  It works just fine and I think it is pretty.

This is the back cover.  This project started when I bent to the scrap bag just to grab a little piece to test that orange/gold thread, which I hadn't used before.  Something inside me told me to make something pretty while I tried out the thread.  I made the patchwork piece that became the front cover, and when I looked at it, the idea for this little book just popped in my head!

I will announce the winner for this either Sunday evening or at the latest on Monday, July 12, 2010.  Comment on this post for a chance to win it.  Or, as I have said, to reward my loyal readers, if you are a follower of this blog I will put your name in the hat twice.  Three times if you comment!  I will let my 1 year old choose a name from the hat as the winner.

Good luck!  Ya'll have a great day; I will be back real soon.....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crib Sheet to Toy Box Recon

Ever since I first heard about the Iron Crafter Challenge and the secret ingredient of sheets, I have been thinking about this crib sheet:

This will be my second entry in this challenge.
I removed the elastic from the edges and cut the corners so I could press the crib sheet before taking this picture.  My baby loves trucks and is quickly amassing quite the collection.  He really needs a box for his "cars" and I think this will be just the project for this sheet.  I also have some other sheets.

At first I wasn't sure which to use for this project, but the red sheet has already been cut and I have some navy bias tape I could use for the top edges.

So, you need the crib sheet (or whatever) and another sheet or pillowcase (or whatever) to use for the lining, some bias tape, which you can easily make from your sheet if you don't have any, and sheets of needlepoint canvas.  I used these because I had them, and because I want my box to be sturdy enough to stand up well.

Start by cutting 5 squares measuring 5 3/4" each,  from the crib sheet.  You also need 5 squares (again, 5.75") for the lining, and 5 squares of cotton batting.  I cut my batting squares a little bit larger, just to be safe.

Take one lining square and one front square and line them up right sides together, and then lay down one of your batting squares on top.  Sew with a 1/4" seam allowance on three sides, leaving the entire 4th side open for turning.  Now, you could just trim the edges and press and turn.  But I like to use the serger and I want to show you what it can do.  So, after I sew my 1/4" seams, I run them quickly under the serger.    I want to show you a picture, but I had a hard time taking one while serging.  It's blurry, but I will show you and hope you can see.  Notice at the top what has already passed through the serger has been trimmed neatly with the edges wrapped in thread.  At the bottom of the picture, you can see all the excess batting that is being trimmed as it goes into the serger.

Like I said, I am sorry this picture is so blurry!  Here you can see how nice and neat this looks after I have sergered all three sides:

So, do this on all 5 panels, and then turn them and press.  Then you will take a piece of the needlepoint canvas and trim it just small enough to slip into the panel.  Trim it on the top edge short enough that there will be enough room on the top edge to sew the binding on the machine without the needle hitting the canvas.  So, you use your bias tape to close up the open end on each panel.  Skip the bias on one panel and just turn under your raw edges and topstitch.  Now you have 4 panels like this (and one without the bias binding):

I have decided to reverse my bottom panel, so the firetrucks will show and the red will be on the floor.
Now you want to sew four side panels along their bottom edge to all four sides of the bottom square:

Now, this has all come together quickly.  But because of the plastic panels inside, I have decided I will have to hand sew the sides together.  So thread a needle and sit down and carefully and neatly sew up three of the sides.  Catch the lining on both sides with your needle, right at their edges.  On the fourth side seam, sew a little more than halfway up, and then stop, leaving your needle still threaded.

Now you want to turn the box outside out before finishing this last seam.  I will tell you it was scary turning this; I was afraid of the plastic panels cracking....but it turns just fine, just have patience and go slowly.  Once you get it turned, finish sewing the side seam and tie off.  And Voila:

Toy Box from a Crib Sheet

You can see he has already pulled out a truck.  He likes his new toy box and has moved it into the other room and emptied and refilled it and emptied it again.  I am glad its roomy enough to hold all his trucks and more and I am sure that any little boy would be happy to have a box filled with trucks!  Plus, I see endless variations on this.  You could use something pretty and make a bin for your crafts.  Or what about making another panel with a flap to make a velcro-able lid and then having pockets on the outside or inside (or both).  You could make a little flap to secure it around a seatbelt and have a neat place to store books and toys between kids in your car.  Or make more, in graduated sizes, and then they could stack and nest.

I hope you will make one or many neat boxes and I know you will have fun!  Have a great day!