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March 30, 2010

Cross Stitch Stocking

I woke my husband up this morning with a "Merry Christmas a year and a half ago!"  That is how long I have been working on this stocking after telling him I was making it for him.  This pattern came from Shepherd's Bush but I used thread colors that I could find at my local craft store.  Looking back on it, I would probably buy the entire kit from them if I did this again, instead of just buying the pattern and trying to piece it together myself.  Still, I think the finished product turned out cute.  It was not a very difficult pattern, and it sat around unfinished for a long time mostly because I was having trouble finding the right thread colors and embellishments. 


Above is a picture before sewing and after sewing.  I sewed the shape of a stocking with fabric right sides together, including a backing for the aida cloth.  I left the top unsewn so I could fold it down twice and sew around the top.  Before turning it right side out I snipped along the edges, toward the sewn line, about 1/4 inch apart to make it lay flat.  Finally, I sewed a loop for hanging. 
Below is a picture of our stockings side by side:)  The second is one my mom made for me when I was a kid.  Love it!  We'll see if I ever get around to making our kids their own.

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March 16, 2010

Drink Sleeve - Coffee Cozy

This is my favorite new sewing craft! I am giving this as a gift to someone who drinks a coffee every day - and it is so nice and easy.

1.  I took a cardboard sleeve from Starbucks, and opened it up to make a guide.  As you can see, I did not follow the shape exactly but it really helped me get the correct curve. 
I made the template at least a 1 inch wider than the cardboard sleeve, and 2 inches longer.  This compensates for seam allowance. 
I made a template for the inner insulation which was about the same size as the cardboard sleeve. 
2. Cut two pieces of fabric using the larger template.  Cut one piece of insul bright using the smaller template.  Insulbright can be found at the fabric store.  It comes on a roll, to be purchased by the yard.  It was about $6 or $7 a yard when I bought it.  It is white, and has a metalic layer to keep things hot or cold!
3.  Lay your fabric pieces right sides together, and the insulbright on top of that.  Align the insul bright close to one of the sort edges of the fabric.  Sew around 3 sides of the fabric using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  So - you will sew down the 2 long edges, and the short edge.  You will only sew the insulbright along the short edge. 
4.  Turn it right side out.  Fold in the raw edge and sew around the entire sleeve, using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  This time, you will catch the insulbright between the layers as you sew.  Note:  If you make the insulbright the same size as your fabric, when you sew it down and flip it right side out it will look very bulky along the seams.  This does not look as good. 
5.  I prefer using the velcro as an attachment.  I found that it is easier to get on the cup.  However, I have made some using elastic and a button.  I have attached a couple of pictures.  If you want to use elastic and a button you will need to insert your elastic before you sew around the edge. 

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6. The pictures above show the velcro sewn on
7. The pictures below show the button sewn on

March 13, 2010

Car Seat Back Organizer

I really wanted to make a seat back organizer that also doubled as an educational tool. This not only has pockets for storing toys and books, but also has a clear pocket for holding cards. This particular card teaches my daughter a new letter, and while we drive we look for things that start with that letter.
I have also seen people make a money chart to teach the difference between coin denominations. Whatever kind of information you put there, a short or long car ride gives one more chance to learn.

-First I measured the size of my seat back. I added 2 inches to the length and width to allow for folding under the edges. This project is great because it is very forgiving.
-I took some fabric that I liked and made it double thick (for stability) before cutting it to the size that I had measured.
- I also cut one pocket for the bottom. This I also made double thick. I cut it the same width as my base, and measured the height that I wanted and added 1 inch to that for folding the top edge.
- Fold the top pocket edge under twice and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then, line the pocket up at the bottom of the base.
- Fold the edges under twice all the way around - this will include the pocket sides and bottom.
- Sew with a 1/4 in seam allowance all the way around. It would probably make it easier to iron down the folds before sewing, if you have the patience:)
- Sew one line up the middle of the pocket if you want to divide it into 2 pockets
- The clear pocket is made with clear vinyl. You can buy it by the yard at the fabric store. I made it just bigger than a half sheet of paper, so that making my own cards would be easy. After sewing it down, I sewed rick rack over the edges to make it cute.
- As you can see in the picture below, I used button holes to allow the head rest rods to go through and hold my organizer into place.



-Lastly, measure with your elastic around the back of the seat of your car. Sew the ends of the elastic to each of the edges at the bottom of your organizer. This will wrap around the bottom of the seat of your car to hold the base down.



March 10, 2010

Wood Burned Shelf

Don't know what woodburning is?? Click Here!

This shelf is a life saver...literally.
I needed a place to put my cell phone, which doubled as my alarm clock. My husband did not like that I was keeping it under my pillow - cancerizing my brain.
I needed it near my bed but, as many New Englanders can comiserate, my room is too small for a nightstand. This little shelf was the ticket, and I quickly wood burned it and painted it. Fun!! Now it hangs beside my bed, within arm's reach of the pillow:)

Bottle Cap Teacher Appreciation Gifts: Magnets, Push Pins & Bookmarks

This year we are involving the students in the teacher appreciation gifts - and all the gifts involve bottle caps.
We are giving each teacher a set of 8 push pins, a couple of bookmarks and a handful of magnets, personalized with their student's artwork.

Students draw pictures within a 1 inch space. (I made a template in word to show them how small 1" circles are.)
We cut out the art with a 1" punch which fits perfectly within the bottle caps. The images shown here were cut out of magazines.
The rest is simple assembly. Glue the picture into the bottle cap, stick the "resin dot" over the top, and glue a magnet, bookmark, or push pin to the back. I used Amazing Goop glue, and allowed it to dry for at least 24 hours before using the items.
I have listed all the websites I used to purchase the hardware, and the wonderful thing is - the supplies are inexpensive - even in small quantities!
This picture shows how we are presenting the magnets.  I printed a thank you note onto a label, cut it out into a circle, and stuck it on the front of a canning lid.  The canning lid holds the magnets and makes them easy to present as a gift. 
This would be a great idea for kids in a family to give their teachers - because everyone can use magnets, pushpins and bookmarks - and it can be sweet and personalized!
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