Wednesday, August 27, 2014

DIY Pincushion Sewing Box

This project evolved from my need to put a gold chicken on something. Or technically I guess it would be a rooster. It makes a great gift for someone crafty or someone just learning to sew, and it uses up all kinds of little scraps you might have lying around.

Plastic animal figurine
Cardboard/ paper mache box with lid
Fabric or scrapbook paper scraps
Bits of ribbon or trim
Acrylic paint (optional)
Mod Podge
Tacky glue
E-6000 glue
Glue gun

You can use scrapbook paper or fabric to cover the box and lid. For the tutorial photos I will use fabric, but the instructions are basically the same for paper. I think it came out a lot nicer with fabric, though.

The fabric-covered boxes are for my mom. She loves civil-war-ish fabrics, and she recently split her entire fabric stash in half and shared it with me. I am in heaven! Always wanted to play in Mom's fabric :)

Before beginning the outside of the box and lid, paint the insides if you want to be fancy. Apply as many coats as necessary, then Mod Podge. If you have decided to paint your animal, start coating it early on because it's probably going to take quite a few thin coats plus a topcoat of Mod Podge to seal it.

Cut out a circle of fabric about a half inch larger all around than the top of the lid. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the top of the lid and press down the center of the circle of fabric.

Snip out small triangles of fabric from the overhanging edge about every half inch so that there will be no bulky folding when you glue it down. Working with just an inch at a time, apply Mod Podge to the outside edge of the lid and press the excess fabric down. Trim any excess fabric from the bottom edge of the lid.

If the trim or ribbon you are planning on using is wide enough to cover the lid edge, you could just glue that on and be done with it. Otherwise, make a bias strip out of fabric. Cut a strip of fabric twice the width of the lid edge and long enough to go around plus a half inch extra. Cut it crosswise (against the grain) on the fabric so that when you fold and curve the strip, there will be no gaping.

Fold one edge of the strip lengthwise to meet the center and press. Do the same with the other side. The folded strip should now be exactly as wide as the edge of the lid. Open the folds slightly and apply a thin layer of Mod Podge. Fold back together and smooth out. Apply with Mod Podge to the lid edge right away, before the inner layer has time to dry stiffly. When you reach the starting point, use the extra length to fold the raw edge to the inside and glue down.

Cut a rectangle of fabric wide enough for the box plus a tad extra for folding over the top edge and bottom edge and long enough to go all the way around with a tad extra for folding over the raw edge. Apply with Mod Podge, cutting small triangles at the top and bottom to fold to the inside the same way as for the lid. Apply a length of ribbon or trim to the top inside edge to hide the raw triangle edge of the fabric.

Add decorative trim or ribbon wherever you'd like. Use tacky glue for heavy trim. It's ok to Mod Podge right over the top of thinner ones, like the lace.

To make the pincushion, cut a circle of fabric about 5" across. Knot one end of thread and stitch close to the edge all around the circle. Pull the thread so that the fabric gathers up and inward. Before cinching completely closed, fill the fabric with bits of Fiberfill. Pull the thread to close up the circle, making a few crosswise stitches to secure the tension. Knot.

Use the glue gun to stick the pincushion to the back of the animal.

Follow the instructions on the E6000 tube to stick the animal's feet to the lid. This part was kind of tricky because my animals' feet were so small. I dabbed some glue onto the feet, stuck them onto the lid, and took them right back off. That way I had a base of glue started on the lid, it gives the feet a better base to stick to. Then I applied more glue to the dabs on the lid and the feet, and stuck them back together.

Let the lid and box dry for at least a day before you put them back together. Trust me, this is important. I stuck the chicken lid to the box right away and now it's kind of permanent :/ Oh well, it's still functional as a pincushion!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Explore Me

I have corralled all my useful posts into a Recipes and Tutorials page. Click below or see the sidebar. Happy exploring!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Midnight No-Bakes

 So basically these are just classic no-bake cookies made with Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder. I love these because they're so fast and easy, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand so they're perfect for last-minute cookie emergencies. You already know all this, right? But JUST IN CASE you've never made them, here's a no-fail recipe!

2 c sugar
2 TB Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
1/2 c milk
1/2 c butter
3 c quick-cook oats
1 TB vanilla
1/2 c peanut butter, heaping

Mix together sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter in medium saucepan. Stir continually over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat.
Add oats, vanilla, and peanut butter. Stir well. 
Spoon or scoop onto foil or wax paper. Cool completely.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

As you have hopefully noticed, I'm giving this blogging/self-employment thing another shot. I never did stop Etsy, I just kind of let it sit there unattended and now I'm ready to put all my creativity back into it. What's been happening? A lot.
If you remember, I was diagnosed with Bipolar type 1, and now I found out I also have Myalgic Encephalomyalitis, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

A federal advisory committee has recommended that the name of the condition be changed from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) to myalgic encephalomyelitis or myalgic encephalopathy chronic fatigue syndrome (ME-CFS) to more accurately characterize the complex nature of the disease.

Source: Chronic fatigue syndrome | University of Maryland Medical Center 

This means I spend most of the time in bed, but occasionally I'll still have those fits of mania, and I'll run around like a literally crazy person and wear myself out to the point of near death. It's a vicious cycle. The good news is I finally found a medication for the Bipolar that's working pretty well, so I'm no longer a danger to myself or others. I wish that were a joke. :)

I let the shop and the blogging go because I wanted to focus on my Bible ministry and I didn't want any distractions since I have a brain the size of a pea. That's still my goal, but since I spend most of my life horizontally, I have plenty of time to waste on the internet. But I don't want it to be wasted, I want to be a productive, contributing member of society in my own small way. So here I am! Again.

My interests have grown in the time I was away from blogging, and I hope to share one tutorial or DIY idea every week. It's good for me to have a little challenge, I think (a challenge besides showering.) I'll also be talking about what it's like to have CFS, and increase awareness about chronic illnesses a little bit. I want to be encouraging but also have a place to whine and complain, since I'm sure you're all dying to know every sticky detail of what it's like to be me. You're welcome.  I'll also probably make you look at pictures of my kid. It'll be a blast.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recycled Sweater Wreath

Browsing projects made from sweaters got me inspired! I made this wreath for under $10 using thrift store sweaters and a grape vine wreath. Here's how:

Sweaters in a variety of colors and textures
Glue gun

So basically we have two shapes of flowers and freeform leaves. Assemble the flowers, cut the leaves, and hot glue them all to the wreath.

 Cut a long strip from a sweater. The sleeves or the bottom band work well for this. Apply a thin string of hot glue lengthwise on the bottom of the strip and fold in half. Cut slits into the folded edge. Apply hot glue to one end, and roll inwards. Continue applying glue and rolling, offsetting the layers slightly so that the center forms a dome shape. (See last photo)

Vary the depth and width of the cuts for each flower to make them look different:

Cut a circle of sweater into a spiral, leaving a circle at one end for the base. (A starting circle the size of a CD will make a pretty good sized rose, while a circle the size of a water bottle will make delicate little ones.) Beginning with the tapered end, roll the strip until you reach the base circle. Spread glue on the base circle, and press into the spiral. 

Again, the overall look of the finished flower will vary depending on the size and type of cloth. The above rose used a thin rib-knit sweater, and the following was made from a thick stockinette-knit sweater.

The leaves were cut freehand. I happened to find a sweater with a knitted leaf pattern, so I cut those out and layered them on top of plain knits.

Simple and fast! Let me know if you have any questions!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Big Bedroom Plans

This is the extent of my progress so far. Pretty sad, huh? The table is going to be turquoise, I think. It's a lovely little place to sit and quilt. Here's what I've got done on my vintage sheet quilt:

The top is just 6" patches with a few random 12" x 12" thrown in. At first I was in love with this stencil because I thought it went with the playful look of the colors and florals so well, but my mom pointed out that it's actually a machine quilting stencil, and now I'm mortified that people might think I machine quilted this. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I just spend about 3 hours per block, so I want my credit!

The pillow is the same patchworked sheets with pom-pom trim. LOVE pom-pom trim! And I used this pineapple pattern for the doily on the back of the chair. It was a booger. I'm not great at crochet. When I recover from the ordeal that was crocheting that stupid thing, I want to make small ones for the arm rests too, and giant ones for rugs.

Anyway, I have big ideas for this bedroom. I want it to be cheerful and colorful, but also soft and gentle, not overpoweringly bright. I want it to be a pretty place to relax, since my bed is where I spent 95% of my days. So one wall will be pink, and the rest white, and then the furniture will be painted turquoise and pink and maybe yellow.

Crochet mandala- Little cushions? Wall hangings?

More beautiful crochet trim

This wallpaper pretty much epitomizes everything I want for my bedroom. Ohhhh it's perfect. I'd like to paper just one wall, behind my bed, but it would cost a fortune and there isn't even enough available to do it. So I think I'll get a few yards of different wallpapers and use them to cover boxes I can keep on my bedside tables for papers and other random crap. I hate that stuff lying around.

One thing at a time!