Saturday, December 28, 2013

Indulging with Berries

This is what I do when I have berries on hand ... and time ... (rare combination, right?) ...








Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Nativity

Merry Christmas! I made this little nativity scene this year to celebrate the reason for the season.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Signed, framed picture - a present from the primary

We gave this framed pictured, with signatures from the primary children, as a thank-you present to the departing primary president. I love how it turned out. 




Friday, December 20, 2013

New desk

New desk - perfect height for this window. Objective was to maximize on space in an attractive way so the table was as tall as I could find, yet still fit UNDER the window sill. I use a drafting chair with it, or treat it as a standing desk.





Monday, December 16, 2013

How to Hem Jeans (and Other Pants)

If you can operate a sewing machine, you can easily hem your own jeans. The professionals do this a bit differently but my way should last the life of your jeans and only takes about 10 minutes for one pair of jeans and 5 minutes for each additional pair.

You will need:
- the jeans you want to hem
- your pants that are the perfect length
- scissors
- iron and ironing board
- sewing machine
- thread

1. Align the crotch of your favorite jeans to the crotch of jeans that you want to hem. Notice in the pic below that when I do this, the jeans I want to hem are several inches too long.



2. Carefully cut your jeans about 1 inch longer than the length of the inseam of your favorite jeans.  I usually just keep the pair of jeans on top of the jeans I am hemming while I cut, but you could also mark the length an inch past the length of your favorite jeans. This is your most important step - using a reliable length from a favorite pair of jeans to decide how much you need to cut off the bottom. If you try to wear your jeans and fold them where you want to hem them while you are wearing them, you run a big risk of making floods.




3. Turn the jeans that you want to hem inside out. Now take that inch and fold them back. Your jeans should still be inside out. Iron this area so that you have a sharp crease where you plan to hem.

4. Sew your jeans at your new length. Jeans tend to be a mustard yellow thread color, but some are white, blue, etc ... if you want your jeans to look more professionally hemmed, match the color of the thread to the thread used in other areas of your jeans. Now, simply sew down your new hem using a straight pattern. Cut off loose threads.

5. Turn your jeans right-side out.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Look at the stars, Look how they shine for you - ( DIY necklace for the holidays )

I was gifted four vintage star brooches one Christmas. Individually, none of them are really my style, but together, they make a lovely necklace. I receive compliments whenever I wear this piece, and it only took about five minutes to put together!


How I did it

Supplies
Chain - I bought mine for about a $1 on a going-out-of-business sale at a craft store.
Brooches - Find them in vintage shops, in your jewelry box, or even online!
Ribbon

Instructions
1. Simply open the clasp and lock each brooch onto the chain. There's no alteration done to the brooches so you can pull them off at any time. Keep them close together, even overlap them a bit, so that the pins behind each broach don't show through.
2. Tie a ribbon through the opening at the end. This is your necklace clasp.

Done!

If you buy a smaller chain, you can always buy a jump ring and lobster clasp and actually turn your chain into a "real necklace," or just buy a necklace with big links. My way cost about $1 though :) 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Healthful Raspberry Mint Drink

I threw some fresh raspberries and mint in a glass of sparkling water, then let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. The water slowly turned light pink, and just had a super mild raspberry and mint flavor. So good!


This is overnight - not as pretty but even more yummy!




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

My DIY Skinny Belt

My DIY red, skinny belt to give this dress some pop.


Inspired by some paracord bracelets I taught my niece and nephew to make this summer: (Great tutorials on how to make paracord bracelets all over YouTube!)



I considered using the pattern I used to make paracord bracelets, but that would be difficult for a length much greater than a bracelet.

I also considered braiding three cords together but I liked the look of two, simple lines. This same pattern works great for a spunky necklace, etc. I wouldn't put a ton of weight on it, though, or expect it to hold up your pants, since one end is just melted together ... this is simply to give your outfits some pop in a fun, new way.

To make the belt you will need: paracord (twice the length of your waist), a small belt buckle (make sure your buckle has belt openings for each side), scissors, and a lighter.


1. Double the paracord, then wrap it around your waist to ascertain length. Cut the paracord, giving yourself a little extra cord to work with - maybe six inches.

2. Fold the cord in half.


3. Stuff the cord, at the fold, through one of the buckle openings. Pull the two ends through the opening until only a small bit  remains, which looks like a loop.





4. Draw the ends of the paracord through the loop. You should now have two even lengths of paracord hanging from one side of the buckle.






5.  Draw the two cut ends of the paracord through the loop. 


6. Now, melt the two ends together using the lighter. Simply hold the lighter up to the two ends at the same time, then when they start to melt, quickly hold the two pieces together. You do not want to melt the two ends until AFTER you draw them through the buckle or they will not fit through the opening in the buckle. You can use thick paper to wipe off some of the melted paracord. It should not look as bumpy as the picture below - this is was just so I could quickly take some photos for you :)





7. Tie off the second loop the same way you tied off the first loop by drawing the entire length through the loop you just created in the second buckle. 



8. Voila, skinny belt. Your belt should be longer than a pair of scissors. I just cut off a small length for demo purposes :)


Happy belt-making! 



If you try this yourself and you make it too big, just tie the belt in a knot in the center - still looks great but you've shortened the belt a bit.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

DIY Photo Puzzle Wooden Cube with Modge Podge - Great Christmas Present!

I made this photo cube for my brother's family last year, as the homemade portion of their Christmas present. I sent a smaller version (a flatter, two-sided square) to my grandma, and when my mom saw it, she wanted one, too!



I have been wanting to try making this photo cube puzzle ever since I saw a kit on sale about 10 years ago. I had that instinctive reaction, "I can make that, I don't need a kit." Perhaps I wouldn't have waited 10 years if I had not had that thought. Last winter, I finally went to Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's and bought everything I thought I needed.

The key for me was that I bought a Fiskars square hole punch (at JoAnn's), then went over to the wood aisle  at Hobby Lobby, and found wood the same size as the punch. This made cutting out the pictures easy, fast, and neat. You can just stick to a paper cutter if you want to save a few bucks. Remember, craft stores usually have 40% off coupons so just print one off before you head over, and you won't spent much on the tools, like the hole punch.

Actual investment time in this project is probably about 45 minutes of shopping and 2-5 hours of cutting and gluing, but this is spread out over time as you need to wait for glue to dry. Just make sure you have some work space available to leave your project sitting out.




1. Buy a square hole punch (or use a paper cutter but that sounds tedious to me), a couple of sponge brushes, Modge Podge (it's magical glue!), and nine wooden cubes.

2. Print out your pictures large enough to cover the nine cubes.

3. Use your hole punch to carefully cut your image into nine squares. Since this is a hole punch, there will be some space between each image so use your judgement and keep the squares close together - and it will look fine.

4. Spread a THIN layer of Modge Podge on one square. Place your photo onto the first cube. Do this all the way through until you've completed a single image on nine cubes. Spread a thin layer of Modge Podge over each of these glued-on images. Walk away and give it five minutes to dry.





5. Carefully turn your cubes all one turn, the same direction. You want to be systematic so your images don't get "tangled," as you are working on multiple images on multiple sides of the cube. Follow step 4 again.

6. Do Step 5 on all but one side of the cube. This is the side the cube will sit on while you let it air dry over night. 

7. The next day, apply the last image on the last side of the cube. Let it air dry. 

8. Now, have fun and take a few days to apply additional coatings of Modge Podge over your picture. Careful not to overdue it or you will get bubbles in your pictures.

Friday, November 29, 2013

How to Make Nativity Costumes and Bible Costumes - Easy DIY

Every year, around Christmas time, I seem to find myself in need of some Bible costumes, whether to play the part of prophets from the scriptures, or to play the nativity scene. This year, I finally decided to make my own.


These Bible costumes were so easy to make, and I was so pleased with how they turned out. I made a few in my own size and tried them on to make sure these would work since it was such a boxy pattern. The costumes pictured above range in size from 3 - 10 years, at a guess, but I also made larger ones. Since the tunics tie with a sash in the middle, you can billow out the top above the sash if a child is too short for the costume.


Initially, I Googled to look for patterns and found several different DIY blog posts that sounded fabulous, but I wanted to sew the costumes, not glue them, and the directions to sew them were either too vague or too complicated for my skills and time constraints so hopefully this helps someone else in that in-between area that I found myself.
Originally I was going to cut the fabric out in the shape of a “T” and sew around it, but I was worried that the placement of the sleeves would look awkward so this is really just a simple box. In a few cases, I did make the sleeve area slightly wider when I cut the fabric, but I dropped that after a while and it seemed fine. Here’s a basic sketch of what I did, but I tried to explain it better below.



1. I doubled the fabric by folding it in half, then cut a rectangular piece of fabric approximately the length and width of the age of child I had in mind. You can lay a child’s dress out on the first piece of fabric to get an idea of the required length and width. I did this with the first piece.


Where possible, I like to cut the fabric so that the fold was on one side of the fabric, as this was just one more piece that didn’t need to be sewn.

2. Once I had a width of costume that I liked, I cut out a neck line. I was originally just cutting them out like below, but then I started folding the fabric vertically (so it would be down the long edge in the picture below), and cutting along the corner created by that fold, to get the same neck cut, but with slightly less effort. I made the mistake of cutting the first one too wide so I tried to make sure to accommodate head size after that, but not so much that the neck would cause the tunic to fall off the shoulders. (On the one I cut too wide, I made the neck into a v-shape by folding the fabric in the center and sewing a line onto the fold to keep it in place.)


3. I sewed along the long edge of each side of the fabric, leaving a 6-10 inch opening on each side for arms, and stopping about 6 inches early at the bottom to ensure that the fabric would not hamper walking. This did not matter as much on fabric that I left really wide like the one above, or really stretchy fabric but I cut some of my pieces in a much more narrow line. By the way, I found my favorite fabric was the stretch, thin, wrinkly fabric that reminded me of muslim.

4. I turned the completed tunic inside out, and voila, done! I cut strips of fabric to make belts for the tunics and just left the costume at that for the most part, but for a few of them, I also made a robe/vest. See step 5.

x


5. To make the vest/robe, I did the exact same thing as I did with the base layer, except that I made the vest/robe piece slightly more narrow – once again, eyeballing it, so if it’s wider or narrower, it’s not really a big deal. After I was done creating the second piece in the exact same style as the first, I cut the fabric down the center of the tunic. For a little embellishment, you can also take a contrasting piece of thread and sew all around the edges of the vest/robe. I did this with the sash that I cut out as well.

6. For the headpiece, just cut out a rectangle of fabric and a sash – no sewing required!