Tag Archives: DIY

Getting Crafty with Pin Cushions

There’s a bee in my bonnet – Lori Holt’s Bee In My Bonnet blog. It’s spectacular. I often drool over her beautiful website with its plethora of quilts, her line of custom-designed fabrics and patterns, and adorable craft tutorials.

Pin Cushion Crafts - Finished Lawn Chair Pin Cushion

This lawn chair pin cushion tutorial is one of my favorites. It starts with a metal lawn chair candle holder sourced from the dollar store. Mine is a vibrant shade of teal. From there, you just need a few basic items from the craft store.

Not pictured - loose quilt batting (a.k.a. fluffy stuff).

Not pictured – loose quilt batting (a.k.a. the fluffy stuff).

I love this bright argyle print. It’s perfect for my tiny teal chair. To start, I measured the width and length of the chair. Stitching around three sides, I then turned it right-side-out and stuffed the ‘seat’ with batting. A quick stitch across the width of the cushion helped divide the seat from the back. The seat gets twice as much batting so the pins have something in which to rest. The back of the cushion gets a light stuffing and then the top is stitched shut.

Pin Cushion Crafts - Lawn Chair Pin Cushion - Overview

To keep the cushion in place, I opted to stitch a color-coordinated ribbon to the back of the cushion and tie it to the chair. It can be hot-glued into place, but I opted for a ribbon so I can use it as a candle holder or blog prop at any time.

Pin Cushion Crafts - Lawn Chair Pin Cushion Collage

The last small detail, and I do mean small, is the button tufting on the cushion. Using tiny white buttons from the craft department at Hobby Lobby, I used embroidery thread to attach them at intersecting lines on the argyle print. Pulling the buttons tightly and stitching them down at the back creates that cute tufted cushion detail. And you don’t have to worry about the stitching showing on the back because the metal covers it. Perfect!

Pin Cushion Crafts - Button Detail Close-Up

Okay, before I let you go I have to show you one more cute pin cushion idea I saw on Lori’s Instagram feed. She made a tiny travel-size pin cushion out of plastic Easter eggs. For real! They could not be cuter, so of course I had to try it. Tis the season, after all. Here’s how mine turned out.

Pin Cushion Crafts - Easter Egg Pin Cushion Collage

Those glittery Easter eggs are from WalMart. I love the colors and texture. The fabrics are remnants from my fabric basket. This one it just too easy. To make, cut a 4″ circle of a color-coordinated fabric for each egg. Stuff it with quilt batting and pin or tie it into a ball. Use a glue gun or quick-drying craft glue to glue it into the bottom of the egg and allow it to dry completely. Once dry, add pins and presto! A tiny portable pin cushion you can pop in your pocket.

Pin Cushion Crafts - Easter Egg Travel Sewing Kit

I went a step further and added a few safety pins and two needles pre-threaded with tan and black thread to convert it to a portable sewing kit. I can toss this little gem into my cosmetic bag for travel and never have to worry about losing a button again. Even better, these would make perfect gifts for a Ladies Only weekend. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorials, Lori!

Pin Cushion Crafts - Easter Egg Pin Cushions - Dozen

If you love to get crafty or just appreciate true creative genius, visit Lori Holt’s Bee In My Bonnet blog. The links to these tutorials are imbedded above, or can be found by clicking here:

Lawn Chair Pin Cushion Tutorial at Bee In My Bonnet Co.
Apron Water Bottle Cover – Bee In My Bonnet Blog
Easter Egg Pin Cushion – photo on Lori Holt’s Instagram feed

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DIY: Girly Decorative Pillowcases

DIY Pillowcase - Finished Collection Collage

Feeling crafty? I am! Our OKMH gang is getting together for a weekend in just 10 days, and I’m beyond excited. All seven of us under the same roof for the first time ever? It’s going to be epic! As a special treat, I made pillowcases for the girls – bright, colorful, girly pillowcases. What’s a girlfriends weekend for, after all, if not pampering, shopping, cocktails and flashy floral prints?

This is my simple DIY tutorial for decorative pillowcases.

For one queen-size pillowcase, you will need:
one yard of cotton quilting fabric (42″ wide x 36″ long)
one 6″ x 44″ piece of a coordinating solid
one 44″ piece of 1/2″ grosgrain ribbon
thread to match
felt & embroidery floss, to make a monogram (optional)
one tiny color-coordinated button (also optional)

Start by washing and ironing your yard of quilting fabric and the coordinating solid, then trim off any scraggly threads along the unfinished edges.

DIY Pillowcase - Loose Threads

Fold the yard of quilting fabric in half lengthwise with the good sides facing each other. Because quilting fabrics come from the factory with finished edges, this means your longer sides will already be ‘finished’ and only the top & bottom of the pillowcase will need to be edged to keep it from unraveling.

DIY Pillowcase - Factory Finished Edges

Pin the long side of your pillowcase and stitch it twice, so it’s extra sturdy. CAUTION: some fabrics have white edges and print along the finished edges. Be sure to stitch inside that line so this doesn’t show on your finished pillowcase. I’ll show you what I mean.

DIY Pillowcase - Double Stitched Edges

Here’s a simple trick for stitching the bottom of the pillowcase. Because the edges are ‘raw’ they can unravel when washed. I like to use bias tape to cover the raw edge. It helps create really sharp edges when the case is turned right-side out. Place your bias tape halfway beneath your unfinished edge, leaving at least 1/2″ of excess tape on each end. Fold the edges in so they’re flush with the edge of the fabric, then bend the bias tape in half to cover the entire edge and pin it into place. Double stitch all the way across to secure the tape. When done, trim off your thread tails and turn the case right sides out. Use a ruler to push your corners into a perfect right angle, and press your pillowcase.

DIY Pillowcase - Bias Tape Collage

Now we’re ready to tackle the opening and decorative trim. For the opening of the pillowcase, I turn the raw edge under 1/2″ and press, then turn under 1/2″ again and pin it in place. Again, double stitch for a more professional finish.

DIY Pillowcase - Finished Hem Collage

If you’re making a simple pillowcase, you can stop here. But if want to embellish, a simple ruffle with ribbon trim is a great way to go about it.

DIY Pillowcase - Ribbon Collage

1. Fold your solid trim fabric in half lengthwise and lay it on your finished case. I like to place the folded edge about 1″ from the finished opening of the case.

2. Lay out the ribbon, aligning it so that it just overlaps the cut edge. Pin the ribbon and ruffle into place so that the two edges meet at the side seam.

3. Stitch it all into place. I like use a ribbon with decorative stitching, and sew just along both sides of that stitching.

4. To join the two ends, fold one edge of the ruffle fabric in about 1/2″ and press it flat. Tuck the unfinished edge inside to hide it. Fold one end of the ribbon under 1/4″ or so and pin it to cover the other end of the ribbon. To finish, stitch across the folded edge of the trim to close it.

5. One last flourish – monogramming.

Do you have to monogram your pillowcases? No, but it does add a nice finishing touch and it’s easier than you think. Using your computer, open a Word document. Type in the initial you need and change the font until you find one you like. Play with the font size so that the finished letter fits easily on your solid border. Then hit ‘print’ and grab your paper off the printer. Roughly cut out a square around your letter and pin that square onto a piece of felt. Using sharp scissors, cut out the letter. When done, pin it to your solid ruffle and sew it on with your machine OR by using a simple stitch and a contrasting embroidery floss. (This one is machine-stitched. The others below are hand-stitched.)

DIY Pillowcase - Finished & Rolled

I took this one a step further with an iron-on flower and a small felt butterfly because this one is for the young daughter of a friend. I hope she’ll love her butterfly with pearls. For the ladies, I embroidered the monograms and finished them with a cute little button in a contrasting color.

When done, I folded the pillowcases and tied them shut with a coordinating ribbon. Here’s a look at some of the finished pillowcases for our first One Kitchen Many Hearts weekend. I just love how they turned out.

DIY Pillowcase - Finished Cases Collage

There’s so much joy in a handmade gift, and I admit I had a ball making these! Even better, the ladies will all have a keepsake from our first weekend together. Now I just need them to hurry up and get here. Not that we’re watching the clock or anything (we’re all totally watching the clock), but SHAKE A LEG, LADIES! We need to get this party started!

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DIY Craft: Zippered Cosmetic Bags

Tired of losing stuff? Need a new bag for your purse or for travel? Want to make a quick homemade gift for family or friends? Well, I have the perfect tutorial for you! Our annual “Ladies Only” family weekend is rapidly approaching so I made these for the ladies. If I can do it, so can you! Same bag; two fun patterns.

Colorful stripes or stylish black & white - both are fun!

Are you familiar with oilcloth? It’s that fabulous retro fabric used mainly to make tablecloths. It has a plastic-coated outer layer and a soft fleecy flannel lining, which makes it perfect for these little cosmetic bags. It’s durable and washable. And if you have a great fabric store in your area, you can potentially find fabulous prints, solids or stripes to work with. You will, of course, need a sewing machine with a zipper foot to create these at home but if you’ve got that, you’re half way there.

For each bag, you will need:

1 rectangle piece of oilcloth (8 1/2″ x 11″)
1 heavy-duty 7″ metal zipper in a coordinating color
thread in a coordinating color
1 6″ piece of ribbon in a coordinating color

To start, cut your oil cloth into a rectangle. I used a standard piece of printer paper as my template, since it measures 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Next, cut the rectangle in half to make two equal pieces that are 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. You’ll also need to cut two tabs (1.5″ x 1.5″ square) for the zipper.

Using those small squares, you’ll need to stitch them on each end of the zipper. First fold one side under 1/4″ to create a finished end. Place that end up against the end of the zipper and pin into place. You’ll want to do this on both ends of the zipper, then double stitch into place.

Next, grab a side and fold one long edge under 1/4″. With the zipper closed, center the folded edge along one side of the zipper and pin it into place.

Using the zipper foot, stitch along the folded edge making sure you sew off of both ends. Also note that once you get close to the zipper, you’ll need to remove a few of the pins you just sewed over, raise the zipper foot, and unzip the zipper so that you can get past the zipper head without messing up your stitching. Don’t worry. It’s not as scary as it sounds. The pins you’ll remove to unzip the zipper will be in the area you just stitched, so it’s all good. Once you’ve stitched all the way across one side, remove the pins and do the same on the second side.

Using the same method, sew the second side of the bag along the zipper. Once both sides are stitched on, it should look like this.

Now that your two sides are stitched onto your zipper, you’re almost ready to fold it up and sew it shut. One important tip – before you do, be sure to unzip the bag half way. Otherwise, you’ll stitch your bag shut and the zipper pull will be on the inside. Unzipping that bag is going to be really difficult if the zipper pull is on the inside and the bag is sewn shut. (Live & learn, kids. Live & learn.)

So, once you’ve unzipped the zipper half way, fold the bag in half so that the “good” sides are facing each other and pin it to keep it from slipping as you sew.

Here are close-ups of the zipper ends and how they’re pinned.

See that white peeking out of the ends of the zipper? That’s what those tabs we sewed onto the ends were for. They cover that gap in the zipper so you have a nice finished edge when we’re done. I’ll show you another close-up of that in a moment. For now, start at one end of the zipper and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the three open sides of the bag. If you want, you can stitch around it twice. I just use the “back up” button on my machine and go over those top edges and the bottom corners a couple of times to reinforce them.

Here’s a close-up of those reinforced corners. Snip that corner off before you turn the bag right-side-out to get a good, crisp finished corner.

Turn the bag inside out and using a chopstick or other bluntly pointed object, gently poke the corners (top & bottom) to pop them into place. This is where you’ll be really glad you unzipped that bag halfway. Here’s a closer look at how those corners at each end of the zipper should look. It’s also a good look at how those tabs we sewed on in the beginning come into play. They really do help give a cleaner edge to the finished bag.

One last finishing touch – a ribbon as a zipper pull. It’s not necessary, but it adds a decorative touch and it does come in handy. You’ll need one piece of ribbon in a coordinating color, about 5 or 6 inches long. Fold the ribbon in half to make a 3″ length, then roll the cut ends together and poke them through the little hole in the end of the zipper pull.

Here’s another great tip – use Fray Check to seal the ends of that ribbon and keep it from unraveling. You can find it at fabric stores, and it’s worth keeping around. It really does work. If you wash the bag, retouch with Fray Check.

That’s it! Here’s a look at the finished bag.

If you’re going to use a striped oilcloth, be sure to match stripes when you sew these together. It makes a big difference in how they look once finished.

Same goes for those little tabs you sew on each end of the zipper. If you take a moment to lay all this out before you start pinning, you can even line up the stripes on those end tabs so they match as well. It takes a few more minutes of planning, but it’s worth it in the end. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

One last helpful tip. If you’re going to be making multiple bags, it goes faster if you cut each bag and lay the parts for each bag together. I also stitched all of the tabs onto the zippers before I started sewing bags together. It saved time by allowing me to just grab a zipper and go when I was ready for the next bag.

I hope you’ll jump in and try these. They’re fun to make, and don’t really take a lot of effort or time. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. If you make them and post pictures, let me know where I can see them. I’d love to see how yours turn out.

And to my mother, sisters, nieces, daughter, granddaughter and all the ladies who’ll be coming to visit next week – surprise! You’ll be getting one of these. Feel free to call dibs on your favorite – stripes or print. They’ll be filled with swag, and they’re going to go fast.

PS – Do I need to apologize for that nail polish color? It is kind of a spastic, groady green. Sorry you had to see that. I was experimenting for St Patty’s Day. Don’t worry… it’s coming off. It’s true what they say. It’s not easy being green.

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DIY Light Box for Photography

That TCP… I’m telling you. We don’t call him The Complete Package for nothing. This weekend, he built me a light box so my food photographs would look better. I had mentioned to him that photos taken in our kitchen tend to have a yellow tint. This happens for two reasons:

1. We have yellow-tinted glass shades on our kitchen pendants, and
2. We have only one kitchen window, for a few hours worth of morning sun.

So TCP took it upon himself to research photography light boxes on the internet. Those available for purchase were in the $200 range. But since TCP has a love of PVC pipe and tools that come in plastic carrying cases, he found a DIY version on the web and took it upon himself to build one.

Here’s what he used:
3/4″ diameter PVC pipe in 24″ lengths (10 pieces)
end caps, elbows and connector joints for PVC
clamps for holding backdrop fabrics in place
clip-on lamps with ‘daylight’ compact fluorescents
a power strip for the lamps

In addition, I bought:
4 yards of muslin for the light box cover
various fabrics to use as backdrops

The light box comes apart so you can break it down and store it in a tote bag. For that reason, I made a slip cover with rod pockets for the front two posts, and ribbon ties to hold it into place on the other two corners. I haven’t stitched together the top panel yet, but I was able to drape some fabric over the top so I could snap these photos. Sorry. I just couldn’t wait to show it to you. But first, I’d like to thank Gumby for his part in this show and tell segment.

Excuse my drooping top panel; I didn't clamp it down taut.

Wow. I really should have folded the leftover fabric in the back right corner.

Ladies & Gentlemen... the star of our show, Gumby!

As you can tell, I haven’t hemmed the edges of this background fabric to fit the width of the box yet. I didn’t iron it yet, either. Sorry. I’ll get there. Eventually. When choosing backdrops, I went for textures and colors – basically the types of things I enjoy seeing in other food blogger’s photos.

Okay, Mr. DeMille.... Gumby is ready for his close-up.

Notice the absence of obvious shadows or glare? Nice, huh? For this photo, I used one lamp on each side of the photo box and the overhead light that was behind me. For future photos, I have an additional third lamp that can be mounted to illuminate the back or the top of the box, depending on the situation and how much light is needed. Cool, right? And, as I said, it all breaks down into a medium-size tote bag so I can store it when it’s not in use. Booyah!

Cost of the box itself (including the frame, lights, clamps & power strip) was $60. The muslin to enclose the box was $15. The ribbons to tie the corners in place came from a pile I already had in my sewing room. If you want to make one even cheaper, I’ve seen tutorials for light boxes made from cardboard boxes. But not mine. It was made with love by The Complete Package, and homeboy doesn’t slack when it comes to DIY projects. Which is why we call him The Complete Package in the first place. The end. Cue the closing credits & kill the lights!

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Crafty Recycling: A DIY Toddler Dress

Our beautiful firecracker of a granddaughter turns two next month. Can you believe it? I can’t. She’s changed so much over the past few months. Her language skills have improved. Her dancing skills have improved. Her patience at meal time has not improved, but nobody’s perfect. She’s just the sweetest, funniest, spunkiest little cutie-patootie ever. Yes, I am biased.

One of my favorite hobbies is making stuff for the grandkids. I usually have one project or another going for them, which brings me great joy. This week, I was cleaning out some old clothes when I found an old men’s underwear tank. You know the kind… your grandfather probably wore them under his dress shirts. I threw it into the trash can, even though it was barely used, then pulled it right back out and thought “What a waste. There’s got to be a way to recycle that.” It was so soft, it just begged to be turned into something useful. I chose to covert it into a lightweight summer dress for little Lilly Bug. All it needed was some “taking in” and some embellishment to girly it up a little.

Here’s what I did:
1. I cut the shirt in half, horizontally, about 6″ below the front neckline.
2. I folded the back side of the top over and stitched it down (see below).
3. I pinned the shoulders and cut off 1 1/2″ to shorten, then re-stitched them.
4. I folded the top of the “skirt” down 3/4″ and stitched it to finish the edge.
5. I pinned the top back onto the bottom, with the “skirt” overlapping the top.
6. I stitched the two pieces back together with a zigzag stitch so it would stretch.
7. I pleated the sides to take them in & stitched them along the top of the skirt.
8. I ironed a cute print onto 2-sided fusing and cut out 3 flowers (freehand).
9. I did the same thing with a green print and cut out stems and leaves.
10. I peeled off the fusing paper and ironed the flowers & stems into place.
11. I used a zigzag stitch to stitch/embellish the flowers, stems & leaves.
12. I stitched a red bow to the back, just to jazz it up a little.

The details - front, back and hem. All it takes is a cute print, fusing & buttons. Click anywhere on the photo to enlarge, then hit your back arrow to return.

Cost: Zero dollars
The shirt was recycled, and the fabrics, ribbon and buttons came from my scrap piles. And now Lilly Bug as a super soft, lightweight little dress. Or a nightgown. I’ll let Lilly Bug decide if this is day or evening wear. It’s a girl thing.

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