December 29, 2012

Yard Stick Magnets

In case you didn't know, I love magnets.  I've made polaroid magnets, bottle cap magnets, clay rock magnets, (to name a few) and now Yard Stick Magnets!

I love how they turned out. 
I got my inspiration from this great post at Modge Podge Rocks - and used these as a teacher gift for Christmas!  I also made a few for friends and family - because you can never have too many magnets.  Especially when they are this cute!!

I used my mitre saw to cut approx. 1.25" lengths of yard stick (because when you can use a heavy duty power tool, why wouldn't you??). 

Then, I followed the tutorial to sand them and paint them, and added a little flair of my own.  As you can see below, I added texture with things as mundane as bubble wrap and patterned paper towels - and they turned out great!

After painting the squares with Sparkle Mod Podge I added embellishments.
I used hot glue to secure ribbon to look like a present:

I had these chipboard heart stickers around - and they worked great:

Everything was made with things I had laying around the house, including these snowmen which were made from cardstock, a little paint, and a scrap of red rick-rack:

I had never used Sparkle Mod Podge before, but it was a MUST for this project.  The glitter shimmer absolutely makes these!  Now I've used the Mod Podge for a few other things too - so glad I have it! 

Last thing, I hot glued a magnet to the back of each.

I stuck each set of magnets onto a canning jar top - they are great for magnet presentation - and put them in little cellophane bags with some ribbon.  So festive and fun!  The great part is, my daughter helped with these, so she felt proud giving them to her teachers. 

So, next time you are looking for a magnet project, or need a nice, simple gift idea, grab a yardstick and go to town!  These are a hit!
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December 27, 2012

Felt Toy Car Mat

Now that Christmas is past, I can finally post about the gifts I made!  I love giving handmade gifts - and this year, I was very proud of a few of my creations :)

My nephews love playing with cars - and AGAAGG makes some killer felt car mats that gave me some great inspiration for this gift. 

I ended up sewing most of the pieces together - which I am very glad that I did.  It looks great, is durable, and personally, I much prefer sewing to gluing.  I hate those hot glue strings all over the place!!  Plus, felt can melt if you are not careful.

To start, I picked up some of the sturdy part-wool felt from the fabric store for the base.  It is a 36" wide bolt, so my square was 36" x 36".  All the rest of the felt I used was the really inexpensive, made from recycled bottles kind that I purchased by the yard. 

Now, I might be a little bit more obsessive about this than other people, but I really like knowing how it is all going to look, and fit, before I start sewing.  I started by drawing a rough draft of my mat on a little piece of paper. 
Once I knew the general shape, any of the roads that were curved I sketched out in actual size on paper first (above).  My roads were 2.25" wide, which I think worked out well.  I made myself a little rectangle of paper at that width to constantly measured the curved roads so that they all ended up the correct and even width. 

Once I had figured out where all my roads were, I taped off the table to match the size of my car mat, and started to lay everything out.  (below) The blue tape represents the 36" square mat, and I could easily see where all my little buildings and details would fit!  It made it easy to determine the size of the stores, and the houses, and see where I could fit in details like trees, road signs, a stop light, etc. 

As I said, I secured almost everything by sewing.  The exceptions were the words, and tiny details, like the bases on the baseball field below.  For those I did use hot glue. 
To make the words out of felt, I used the computer to make the letters in a font I liked, in the size that I needed.  Then I printed the words out, cut them out, and then held them up to felt and cut around them.  It was a bit tedious, but easy work to do in front of the TV.   I recommend sharp tiny scissors!

There is a proper order in which to sew things down too! 
Start with the roads.  I sewed the yellow lines down first (don't pin, just measure the space in between each dash as you sew.  Then, sew the roads to the mat.  Another word to the the border after the roads are finished.  That way, if roads run off the end of the mat, the border can cover the raw edges.
Another example of sewing in the correct order - the houses, for example.  I started by sewing the door to the body of the house.   Then I sewed the body of the house, then the roof, then the chimney.  That is true for all the buildings.  Doors and details first, then sew the whole building down to the mat. 
Road signs and trees were last. 

I tried to incorporate puns for their family.  Doug is my brother-in-law, hence "Doug it up Farm."
Finn is my nephew - so we have "Finnder Bender Garage."  My husband is brilliant when it comes to thinking up puns - so I give him the credit :)
To make the farm sign and road signs I used fabric printer paper (the kind you can iron down), made the signs in Word, printed and cut them, and sewed them down. 

I also included stores that were meaningful, if possible.  Grandma's favorite store is Costco.  Uncle Sean works at Home Depot.  Dad worked at Smith's.  You get the idea!

Overall, the gift was a huge hit!  You can make these for girls or boys, by sewing or gluing, elaborate or simple - and they will be well loved!!  Especially because they are easy to personalize, and everyone loves a unique gift!

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December 19, 2012

Christmas Pillowcases

One of the gifts I made for the girls this year were these Christmas Pillowcases!
They were incredibly easy to make - great for a beginning sewer!

I used this tutorial - which is very good and easy to follow!

I made them each in about 20 minutes - which includes cutting and ironing - and bought the Christmas fabric from the sale rack - so they were also very inexpensive. 
I decided to put these in the advent calendar so that the girls could use them for a while before Christmas. 

They are a huge hit - and it is so cute to see the girls use them!
These would be fun to make for other holidays - or birthdays - and would also make great gifts!!

So, go make some fun pillowcases - you still have time before Christmas - and Happy Holidays!

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December 10, 2012

Wooden Spool Rolling Bookshelf and Stool

I am SO happy with this project!  It has been in my house now for a few weeks, and I still LOVE it!!
It is functional, and a cool upcycled piece which I had fun modifying myself. 

You might have seen this project before - it can be found here at Country Living - and there is a tutorial there as well.  I used the tutorial, and modified it slightly for my needs. 

I got my spool the very easy way.  A friend was getting rid of it - I shouted from the rooftops "I WANT IT!!!" - and she dropped it off at my house the next day :)  It is so charming, I giggled for hours.

November 24, 2012

Funky Chicken!

Are you looking for the perfect handmade gift?

Funky Chicken Roll Basket Covers!

Made from quilted fabric, these colorful, funky chickens are a delightful addition to any dinner table!
It has been a tradition in my husband's family to use one at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for years.

The elastic bottom fits around a basket or bowl, keeping the rolls inside warm and waiting....
for someone to snatch one from the holes underneath the wings!

Choose one with fun and funky color - or go with the more traditional (seen below).

No matter what, one of these chickens makes a GREAT gift, and will charm any dinner table!

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November 9, 2012

Colorful Clay Acorns

There are some darling acorn inspired crafts that you can find on pinterest, or in blogland. 
A few weeks ago I thought it would be fun to do an acorn project with my girls, and add to my sparse fall decor. 

Originally, I thought we would collect full acorns - but that idea was quickly squashed when we got outside and found an oak tree.  The squirrels must have beat us to them, because all we could find were the lids!  After talking to some friends though, I'm glad that this is what we found because apparently the acorns can harbor worms :(-

We gathered about 100 of these pretty lids, and came home and gave them a bath in some warm water with a little bit of bleach in it.  I figured it would help to kill any little worms or critters still lingering on them...

Now, there are a million things you could do with the acorn tops.  These colorful caps would be a fun kid's craft.  And I have always thought that felted acorns are very beautiful!

November 6, 2012

Antique Jug and Metal Letter Press Drawer

New England is an amazing place to pick up antiques!  This past summer, I went to the fabled Brimfield Antique Fair in western Massachusetts - wow.  It is spectacular...and huge.

And whenever my mom comes into town from Utah, there are a few antique stores we always hit up. 

I can never buy a fraction of what I admire - but here are a couple of things I have picked up recently:

These antique jugs are in just about every antique shop - but they are often very expensive.  I recently discovered a new shop in my home town that had about two dozen jugs for sale.
This one caught my eye for a few reasons. 

1) It has a good amount of cobalt - the stamped colored writing.  This makes it more valuable, and more interesting. 
2) The cobalt says "Boston - Brookline" which I really like, considering how close I live to Boston. 
3) The price was killer.

So you bet I brought it home, and filled it with some twigs and leaves from around my house.  Beautiful for fall :)

This drawer was another steal - one that I picked up at the Brimfield fair.  These drawers were used to hold little metal letters for printing. 

I have had my thimble collection packed away for years - so when I saw this drawer, I was thrilled to discover that my thimbles fit perfectly inside!  I love that I can now display them.  I have picked up the thimbles from places I have been.  It was started for me by my parents when I was a kid. 

I added some hanging hardware which you can see in the picture below.  D-Ring hangers are sturdy and easy to install. 
Now, both the thimbles and the display case look awesome on the wall.

Do you have some favorite antique items you have picked up recently?  What kinds of things do you repurpose them into??
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November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween: Harry Potter Family

Hope your Halloween was safe and sugary!

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