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TV Tray turned Ironing Board

25 Apr

A long while ago I picked up a wooden black TV tray at the Salvation Army for $4.  I had been pondering a way to be able to sew and press seams easily without having a huge ironing board cluttering up my space.  This TV tray would become the answer.  For several years I used a pillowcase on top of the tv tray and it functioned fairly well as a small space to press seams. I could use this to press in front of the television or next to my sewing space (which I will show you one day when it doesn’t look like a tornado has been through the area!).  However, the pillowcase would often slip off so I was looking for a permanent solution. Finally I would make an ironing cover to work the way I wanted!  I started with some scrap batting and some fabric that I rescued from a bin of fabric my mom was donating to the quilt makers at her church.  I measured across the top of the tv tray and underneath on both sides. I did this both directions.  Take it from me and do this twice and remember to add in room for a seam allowance- about a half an inch on each side.


I then sandwiched some leftover batting in between the two pieces of fabric. Pinned it all the way around and sewed a seam about 2 inches in on each side creating a box.  To make sure the the batting wouldn’t shift, I also sewed across the center.

IMG_8950I then folded in the edges to create a nice edge and sewed the edges around the perimeter, save a one inch opening. Through this I threaded a thin piece of ribbon connected to a safety pin.  This would form a drawstring to tighten the bottom of the cover. FAIL!  It was at this point I realized I had measured incorrectly.  The  fabric was too short lenghwise!  I also discovered that I needed to create a smaller space for the drawstring to be threaded through- it wasn’t cinching around the sides of the table- it was cinching on top.

IMG_8985So I ripped out the seams I made on the edge. I unfolded the amount I had sewn under. I then sewed along the rough edge around the perimeter save the one inch space.  I sewed a complete square inside this seam about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch wide.  This would become the new space through which I would run the ribbon as described above.  You can see the two seams in the photo above.


I once again threaded the ribbon through the gap in the outer circle and through the small space I had left for it.  I set the cover on the table and cinched the ribbon tight.  It worked!  I tied a knot with the ribbon to keep the fabric stretched taut. Viola! A handy tool for next to your sewing machine or your sofa!



Thank you Mother Nature!

11 Apr

A few months ago in this post I promised I’d have Fred’s hat done before winter was over.  The Spring Solstice has come and gone, and the hat wasn’t finished. As I write this on April 10th, we’ve already received a blanket of new snow and 6 to 10 inches are expected tomorrow.  Winter drags on, but the hat is complete!


I used this pattern to create the hat.  Unlike most hats I have crocheted in the round, this was crocheted into one long rectangle.

orange hat rectangleI then joined the two sides with a hidden stitched.

IMG_8951After  creating the tube, you crocheted the top together to shape the beanie.

IMG_8963Aww the joys of   late night self photography? This was a relatively easy pattern using a half double crochet, single crochet, slip stitch and single crochet decrease, although you wouldn’t know it for how long it took me to complete this project!

IMG_8959And another view for you all. Too bad Fred wasn’t here to model for me!

Happy almost spring!

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!

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!


24 Jan


We’re all smiles because we hit 50+ posts at The Craftery MN!  Thanks for all the great comments on the blog, on our facebook page and especially to those of you who have shared your appreciation with us in person!  We love having a place to share our projects with you.

What do you want to see from us next? While we’ve both got big years ahead of us – one of us having a baby and the other one planning a wedding- we’d love to hear what you want to see more of (or less of) here at The Craftery.

Thanks again for joining us- there is much more to come!

Wine Gift Bag

20 Dec

This is a quick way to dress up that host gift you bring along for the holidays (or any time of year).  It is also a great way to use of some scraps of fabric you have lying around.  You’ll need one piece of fabric 20 x 12 inches.  I’ve found cotton works well and there are so many options to get you into the festive holiday spirit.  No fabric lying about? Visit the salvage bins at your craft stores.  You can typically find fabric here for 50 to 75% off.  You’ll also need a piece of ribbon 30 inches long.  I keep some spools of the narrow $1.00 ribbon lying about for projects like this one.

Fold the piece of fabric in half the long direction- right sides facing in towards each other. Fold the piece of ribbon in half. Measure 13 inches from one end along the two edged side.  At the thirteen inch mark, pin the ribbon inside the fabric so that all but the fold of theribbon istucked inside between the two pieces of fabric.


Pin the two pieces together along the edge where the two sides of fabric meet.  Sew along this edge making sure that you only sew across the ribbon at the 13 inch mark where the ribbon is folded. When you have completed this side seam, fold the fabric on the end closest to the ribbon down four inches. Sew along the seam once more where the fabric is doubled over.


Now open the sleeve and refold the fabric so that it is inside out one portion of the sleeve and right side side out for the four inches you resewed.  You should be able to see two ribbons loose within the sleeve as well.


Turn the sleeve  and refold it so that the seam faces you and  runs right down the middle.  On the opposite end of the sleeve that the ribbon is closest to,  fold in the fabric to the center approximately one inch on each side and pin.


Sew across the folds (being careful to not stitch across the ribbons inside)


Now invert the sleeve and the bottom of your wine gift bag should like this below.


Simply add your favorite bottle of wine, champagne or liter of beer and you have a lovely hostess gift!


As you can see we are ready for Christmas at this house!

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate and Happy Solstice and Happy Hanukkah to others of you in this holiday season.

Personalized Holiday Gift Basket

13 Dec

Each year I try to come up with some quick gifts to share with neighbors and family alike.  Today’s post has a few elements to it, but all were completed in less than an hour and within that hour you could have completed ten or twenty as easily as one!

I found metal baskets in the Dollar Section at Target in green, red and brown. They were originally $2.50 each, but were 50% off at Thanksgiving.  I bought twenty to use for holiday gifts and upcoming weddings.  My intent was to put a monogram on the front of the metal basket to personalize each one for the family or individual to whom I was giving them.

I tried a variety of colors with the red, settling on a vibrant green.


I then used my cricut to cut out the letters.  While I’m not papercrafting and scrapbooking as much as I used to I am finding vinyl a new life for this crafting machine in cutting out vinyl.


I had anticipated using a 2 1/2 inch letter on the front, but when I printed it wasn’t proportioned quite right.  I increased the size on the cricket to 4 and cut again to have my desired size of the letter “R”.   As you can see- while it was noted at a size 4 on the cricut, the actual size was closer to the 2 1/2 inches I was looking for.  I used the Jasmine font for this letter.


They vinyl is self stick so I was able to just eye-ball the center vertically and horizontally and stick it to the basket.  Now to fill the basket!  Every year after the holiday season I haunt the aisles of Target watching and waiting for the prices to drop from 50% to 75% to 90%.  If there are things I love I pick them up at 50%. For things I need, but don’t necessarily love like small gifts I wait until holiday items drop to 75% then I stock up on holiday hand towels, and soap and other trinkets that could be great stocking stuffers or paired with a homemade treat.  I wait for 90% off to pick up fun decorative items like tissue paper, wrapping paper, paper bags and small ornaments that I can decorate packages with like the snowflake below.


I found this package of two ornaments for probably twenty cents when the holiday clearance hit 90% off.  The plastic bag is one that was gifted to me that I was able to reuse. Inside the bag is tucked a ziplock bag of puppy chow– one of my favorite snacks from this time of the year and a simple and easy holiday treat that doesn’t require baking.  Behind the bag of puppy chow are two holiday hand towels purchased on clearance last year and a toy also purchased in the Target clearance aisle.


Hopefully the basket can be used for cards and other things for years to come!  I hope the neighbors like it!