Archive | March, 2013

Baby Shower Decor

28 Mar

Here in Minnesota we are all clamoring for Spring.  I decided to bring Spring indoors as the decor for Gina’s baby shower this past weekend.

My inspiration started from this photo I found on Pinterest a month or two ago.

I gathered up the tissue paper I had on hand and grabbed a few more multicolored packs at Dollar Tree.  I folded the piece of tissue paper in half the long way to double the thickness, then I accordion folded it the entire length of this paper. As you can see below I had some help.IMG_8916

You will also need the smaller sized “fans” which is what is pictured above.  To make these we cut the tissue paper in half the long way.  I then folded it again in half again to double the thickness the long way and accordion folded all the way down the paper.   When I had each piece folded I taped a piece of scotch tape around the end of the folds, creating a fan.

IMG_8914I then took a needle and some simple white thread and stitched through the center of the taped area on each of the larger fans.  I think fishing line could work well for this as well. While I only used one string I might recommend two strings be stitched through each fan a quarter to half inch apart.  This will allow for additional stability as you separate the fans and make it less likely for the fans to slide on their own.

Now to attach the smaller fans to the larger fans.  Double-sided tape would work well for this. I used small scrap booking squares that have adhesive on both sides. I placed a small square of double-sided adhesive on the top and bottom of each side of the small fan.  I then inverted the fan so that it “fanned” the opposite direction as the larger sized fan.  I fastened one between two large fans.

IMG_8918This is what the entire length of my banner looked like before it was hung in the room. As I stitched through each fan, I left the spool of thread going so I knew I would have plenty of thread for whatever length this ended up.


Here it is hung and ready for the party!  We fastened it to the walls with packing tape. It took three of us to get this up on the walls although two could have handled it had we prepped the tape before hand.  It is made with tissue paper so it is a bit delicate and takes some care to hang.  The good news is when the party was done I carefully removed the banner and folded it back up to be packed away for another party in the future. You can hardly tell it was even used!


Along with the bright banner I added some table cloths made from clearance gingham fabric I bought a few years ago in preparation for another baby shower.  I’ve used them for three or four other showers along the way and they still look bright and welcoming- especially on this cold winter spring day!

IMG_8921At Trader Joes I picked up some bright spring blooms of tulips and daffodils to add a little life to the party for less than $10.  Silverware were rolled into new cloth napkins I had onhand (purchased for less than $1 a piece at my local Salvation Army that has Target samples) and tied with florist ribbon I picked up at a garage sale years ago.


Also bringing a bit of spring fun to the tables were the party favors.  I found these fun patterned gardening gloves at our local Dollar Tree for $1 each and paired them with a packet of seeds that were 4 for a $1 also at the Dollar Tree.


Last summer I bought a pack of 20+ of these favor boxes for $1 at a garage sale knowing they would make a great favor for a party.  They were originally intended for a wedding favor with a wax seal and white ribbon, but I knew they could be re-purposed into something much more fun with a little bit of color.  I think when paired together these inexpensive favors (approximately $1.35 each) looked much more expensive and polished and were a great take-away for the guests who came to celebrate Gina and the new life she is growing!

Yarn Wreath: Spring Edition

26 Mar

I got my Seasonal Yarn Wreath updated just in time for Easter.  I found a new version of felt flowers to make, via The Purl Bee’s Anemone Magnet tutorial.  I thought these were cute and colorful flowers to give a friendly boot to the snow, and hello to the sunshine!

For each flower, I cut (free hand) three 1″x2″ strips of felt for the petals, and a thin 2″ strip to make the center of the flower.


I then shaped each petal.


And snipped the thin strip into fringe.


I used fabric glue to glue the pieces together.




And then used a glue gun to adhere each flower to a felt base for the wreath.


As you’ve seen me do in my previous wreath posts, I trimmed the felt base behind the flowers, and used extra yarn to tie the piece into place.  Here is how my door now greets you!


Kubb Messenger Bag

22 Mar

Remember this post last fall about the Kubb set?  Not long after, I set about making a bag for the Kubb set.  I sewed, I took pictures, and then I needed Velcro. This project has been sitting in my sewing room waiting for Velcro  for months, but I finished this in five minutes the other morning.


To figure out the sizing of the bag I did a little measuring of my Kubb pieces to figure out how big I wanted the bag to be.  This might look like scribbling to you, but it helped me cut my pieces.

  • One piece 22″ by 10″ for the bottom
  • Two pieces 10″ by 16″ for the sides
  • One pieces 22″ by 16″ for the front
  • One piece 22″ by 29″ for the back, and flap
  • One piece 4″ by 40″ for the handle

IMG_0047While wondering around the suburbs of Eagan my friend Johnna and I stumbled up on a garage sale with yards and yards of  upholstery for sale- many of it in smaller pieces in bags for $1 and other larger pieces for $1 or $2 per yard.   Most of these came from those big bags for $1!  First I laid out the pieces to know how they would go together with right sides facing in. I began by pinning them, then sewing together the back, bottom and front pieces. To reinforce the seams I sewed a tight zig-zag stitch.


I then carefully pinned the sides into the front, bottom, and back piece as seen above.

IMG_0050This is what the corners looked like when it was sewn together.


This is what it looked like right side out.  I had nice square corners that the Kubb pieces would fit into nicely.

IMG_0053This is the bag sewn together before I turned the edges over.  Because this will be used for yard games I wasn’t too worried about having the most perfect edges. I turned them over once along all the edges not yet hemmed- if you wanted a cleaner edge you could line this bag or double turn the edges so the rough edge was no longer visible.

IMG_0055Now to create the shoulder strap.  I opted for one long strap that could go over the shoulder or across the body. Taking the long piece of fabric, I folded it in half lengthwise with the right side facing in.  I then pinned the long two edges together and stitched them together with a straight seam. To flip the fabric rights side out, I used a scissor as seen above to push the fabric back through onto itself.

IMG_0056When this was complete I turned in the fabric on the other end of fabric that was left opened and stitched across the end.

IMG_8908 I tacked both ends on the inside of the bag and reinforced it by sewing across the end several times. If you look closely you can see this above.

IMG_8906For the last step I added a piece of velcro.  I first sewed the velcro onto the top flap, then filled the bag and measured to see where the second piece should appear. I pinned it in place, emptied the bag and sewed a small square to keep it in place.


I had an extra piece of fabric I quickly sewed into a bag to hold the dowel throwing pieces. This way they wouldn’t easily fall out of the bag.

IMG_8905Here is a close up of the bag.


Here is the full view of our new Kubb bag. I think it will transport easily to parks, camping excursions or in and out of the garage for a backyard game of Kubb. I plan on making a few more to fit the Kubb sets we have already gifted others!

Happy Friday everyone!

Tufting a Chair Cushion

20 Mar

I recovered my glider cushions a couple of weeks ago, and was considering tufting the back cushion with fabric buttons.  I decided to go ahead and try it.  I made a tufted headboard a few years ago, and have to admit there is something completely satisfying about making fabric buttons. I think it’s because they are so quick and easy to make, and the buttons look great!

To make the buttons, I use a button kit that you can find at any fabric or craft store.


I had plenty of extra fabric from the cushion recovering project.  The button kit has a plastic template to trace the appropriate sized circles onto the fabric. I traced and cut out 9 circles to create 9 buttons.


To create the buttons, you place the metal button onto the circle of fabric and push it into the white button mold with the blue “push” tool.



You then fold the fabric into the inside of the button, and press in the button back with the blue push tool.


Here is what the buttons look like when complete.  It’s pretty much impossible to screw these up…I love them!


After I had the buttons made, I used a needle and thread to sew them into the cushion.  I first figured out the pattern and spacing on the cushion, and started sewing them in one at a time.  Because I wanted to keep my options open for the look of the cushion, I didn’t sew the buttons all the way through to the other side of the cushion fabric. I just sewed them through one of the two pieces of cushion I used to make the back cushion (see my original post for the cushion making details).  This allowed me to have one side tufted and one side smooth.

When I first tried pulling the thread through the cushion, the thread just cut right through, so I improvised and used a thin piece of cardboard from a cereal box in my recycling bin to give me a hard surface to hold the thread in place.  You can see that I started the stitch through the cardboard and cushion  and then pulled it back through the cushion and cardboard.


I pushed the needle back through to the top of the cushion, pulling the thread taut and knotted the thread before sewing through the button back and completing the button placement. This creates the tufted dimension for pulling the buttons into the cushion.


To finish, I knotted the thread on the back of the piece of cardboard.  This was repeated for each button until the cushion was complete:


Mittens in March?

14 Mar

Last year at this time the trees were in bloom and the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s over St. Patty’s Day.  This week we woke up to dustings of snow and frigid temperatures once again.  Perfect time to finish a new pair of mittens I’ve been meaning to make for months!

These mittens are made from a pattern used by a family friend- McCall’s M4683. Isn’t that pattern photo a riot? I’ve been blessed to have a few pairs made by her hand, but I thought they looked like a simple and easy gift- I was right.  Made with fleece they are easy to sew and super soft and cuddly warm.  They also go together quite quickly.  The pattern is doubled so that they have twice the coziness and wicked winter wind blocking factor. I cut these pieces out back in Thanksgiving while others watched a football game and I sewed them together in under a half hour one morning before work this week.  We added an extra two inches to the original pattern so the mittens went a bit further up the arm.


Each mitten has six pieces at I laid out first to make sure I liked the looks with my coordinating fabrics.  These mittens are doubled, but if you wanted to leave them a little thinner you could make two pairs out of each group.

First you stitch the seam that goes around the thumb and across the palm-fleece should be facing each other right side in.


This piece is then opened up and matched with the back side of the mitten.

IMG_8893I then pinned the pieces together and stitched all but the short flat end which will be the opening for the mitten.

IMG_8896Once all four of the mittens were sewn together I flipped one of the two pairs so that the fabric is right side out.  Then, one of the  mittens with the seams on the outside was then inserted into the mitten with the seems on the inside.  Before you insert the mitten be sure to trip extra fabric away. This will cut down on how big the seams feel on the inside of the mitten.   See above.

IMG_8898Using your hands make sure the thumbs are lined up correctly inside.  Then turn the rough edges into each other along the opening to the mitten and pin.  Sew along this edge for a nice finished seam as seen above.


I love these mittens! I think they’ll make nice gifts for a silent auction I have coming up.  They are also affordable.  Check the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabrics for pieces of fleece-especially during fleece sales. Often times you will be able to purchase this material for 60 to 75% off .   My intent is to try this pattern with a few old sweaters I rescued from the trash and goodwill pile recently. I’ll post photos when I make that happen!

Yarn Wreath: St. Patty’s Edition

12 Mar

It’s time again to update my seasonal yarn wreath!  You can see how I originally created the wreath here.   For my March/St. Patrick’s day version, I repurposed a Shamrock Welcome Sign that I picked up on clearance for a few dollars.


I used a tin snips to clip the decorative wire that linked each letter together.


I decided to keep the decorative wire spirals in the front of each shamrock rather than leave the empty hole, so I used pliers to crimp the back of the wire down after cutting each piece.


I also removed the bow from the top ‘W’ Shamrock.  I scraped off the glue as much as I could and used some sandpaper to sand it down to a flatter finish.  I then used some of the spare wire I cut off the other pieces to glue in a wire spiral for further camouflage to the blemished area.

Once I had my Shamrock letters ready, I laid them out on the wreath, and cut some base felt pieces that would be used to hold everything together.


I used my glue gun to glue the letters to the base felt.  Once everything was glued in place, I trimmed the felt around each shamrock.


To fasten the piece in place, I used a length of yarn to weave between the letters and around the wreath, and then fastened the yarn in back, just as I  had done for my previous versions of the yarn wreath.  The first and last letters weren’t holding in place as well, so I added a piece of stick-on velcro to these two pieces.  I used the rougher side of the velcro, which naturally adhered to the yarn on my wreath.

This makes me ready for more green! I hope the snow will take the hint.


Corralling My Electronic Devices

7 Mar

Do any of you have a mess of cords somewhere in your home that you JUST CAN”T STAND?!  A few years ago I found a solution to a mess of cords that included the cable connection for television and Internet and a mess of chargers for phones and other devices that kept finding their way to this corner next to the armoire that I keep my television in.  Unfortunately, the cable cords weren’t long enough to reach to the armoire so I couldn’t hide it inside. In addition they sat in front of the heat vent where dust bunnies seemed to congregate on my wood floors and add to my frustration every time I swept the floor.

Enter this wicker chest I found at a garage sale one day.  I think I paid $5 for it.


I gave it 2 to 3 coats of spraypaint win this orange rust color.  Then I got out my utility knife and a very sharp scissors and cut a whole on the back.


I knew that I cut could away a section of the wicker to allow the cords in and out.  Here is a photo of what the inside looks like.

IMG_8826It keeps this mess of chargers and electronic devices hidden away.  Now I simply sweep under it and around it to keep the dust bunnies at bay!

IMG_8824Here is the full wicker container with the flip-top cover. While we keep the cover closed it is easy access to the electronics hidden inside.

What ingenious ways have you found for hiding away electrical cords?

Recovered Glider

6 Mar

We have a hand me down glider for our nursery that is super comfy, but the cushion fabric is beyond worn out.  So I embarked on a cushion recovering adventure.  I have to preface this post with the fact that I’m not a sewing expert – so please don’t judge my get-it-done techniques!  But I did enlist the supervision of my mom for this project, which gains me some decent credibility.

Here is the Before & After, followed by the nitty gritty:





I wanted to keep the cushions fairly neutral since I’m incorporating lots of color and pattern into other pieces in the room.  I found some grey polka dotted fabric and decided to go for it. I picked up some white piping to offset the white polka dots, as well as some zippers for all three cushions, so I could wash the covers going forward.

I started by using a seam ripper to pull the existing fabric off the cushions, and marked the pleating on each piece.DSC00027

I then pinned each piece like a pattern to the new fabric and cut them out.


I transferred the pleat markings onto the new fabric with a fabric pen.  


To set the pleats, I pinned them in, and tacked them down by stitching the top to hold them in place for when I complete the cushion seams.



After setting the pleats, I began each piece with installing the zipper.  I’ve never sewn in a zipper before, so my mom showed me the ropes.

Installing Zippers:

  1.  Prepare the seam where the zipper will be placed by pinning the fabric together with right sides facing in towards  each other.
  2. Plan out the placement of the zipper by laying it down on the fabric, and mark each end of the zipper onto the fabric. This will tell you where the seam will be open for the zipper.DSC00067
  3. Start to stitch the seam as normal, when you reach the first mark for the zipper start, backstitch to reinforce the seam, and then change your stitch setting to create a longer basting stitch. (This will allow for you to easily remove the seam for the zipper opening.)  Continue the longer basting stitch until you reach the zipper end mark.  Switch back to your normal length straight stitch, backstitch again like you would when you start a seam, and complete the rest of the seam. In the picture below, you can see that the stitches are much shorter on the right side, and the longer basting stitch begins where the zipper starts and follows to the left:DSC00050
  4. Next, you’ll press the seam open, and line up the zipper onto the seam as you pin it into place.DSC00052
  5. Install the  zipper foot onto your machine.  With your fabric facing right side up, line up the edge of the zipper to the foot.  (It seemed odd and a bit “blind” to stitch with the fabric right side up, but I learned that it does work better this way, since the “zipper hump” under the seam will guide you against the zipper foot.)DSC00053Stitch along the edge of the zipper.  When you get to the end, you can turn your stitch and stitch across the end mark of the zipper, making sure you  have plenty of room for the zipper head to lie down at the top.  I backstitched a couple of rounds across the end to reinforce it.
  6. Repeat step 5 on the other side and end of the zipper.
  7. Now that the zipper is sewn in, use a seam ripper to remove the long basting stitch to reveal your newly installed zipper!DSC00041


Since the existing cushion fabric had about a 1/4 inch allowance, it was pretty simple to pin the piping into place, since it too had about a 1/4″  allowance.  I pinned the piping onto one side of the cushion fabric, with the right side of  the fabric facing out, and stitched it into place by again using the zipper foot to line up against the piping.


DSC00047Next, I pinned the other side of the cushion fabric to the piped piece, with the right sides of the fabric facing in, and the piping sandwiched in between.  With the first piping seam facing up, I again used the zipper foot to follow along the piping, using the first piping seam as my guide.


Once I completed the seam, my cushion cover was ready to be turned inside out (through the zipper opening), and have the cushion inserted into place!  Once in place, I used some fiber fill to smooth out any loose edges in the cushion.



Creating a Cushion from Scratch:

Because the back cushion had seaming in the cushion, I decided it would be best to create a completely new cushion.  I figured it would be too much to try and sew the seaming into the cushion, so I picked up a piece of foam, and then traced and cut out the new cushion piece. Because the foam was about half as thick as the existing cushion, I cut two pieces to double up the thickness.


With my other two cushions, I used the existing fabric to pattern the fabric and pleats, but in this case, I needed to measure and plan out the pleats onto my newly created cushion.  I started by marking the edge of the single layer cushion onto the fabric, and then added another 1/3″ seam allowance, knowing that the seam would run along the center of the two foam pieces, and this would give me a little extra allowance for the doubled up cushion and 1/4″ piping allowance.  I marked these measurements a number of times around the cushion and then cut the fabric freehand with markings as my guide.


Next, I pinned the  fabric up along the edges of the cushion to plan out where I would need pleats to accommodate the curves in the cushion.

DSC00064 Once pinned into place, I marked the pleat folds with my fabric pen, and then pinned and tacked the pleats into place like I did with the previous cushions and followed the same zipper and piping steps to finish.


I’m considering tufting the back cushion with some fabric buttons. I’ll certainly let you know if I do!