Friday, February 26, 2016

Instructables - A New Tutorial Site

While recently searching for instructions to do a particular project I stumbled across a new site called  The site is full of wonderful tutorials for all sorts of projects.  Anyone can post their "Instructable" tutorial in a wide array of categories.

Instructables has some nice features like: you can walk through the steps online while working on the project or print out a PDF file of the project to do later.  After posting you can be invited to judge one of their many contests.  I have been selected as a judge for several contests.

I have posted 3 Instructable tutorials for some of my projects both old and new.  I was excited when all three of my Instructables were featured on the site not long after being posted.  Below are the links for my Instructables:

Be sure to check out this site to learn something new or to share your own "Instructable" with others.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Crayons, Crayons & More Crayons!

At the end of the last school year I ask teachers to save their broken crayons for a project I was doing over the summer.  I was expecting to receive a bag of crayons instead I ended up with a box full of crayons. WOW! Who knew elementary school kids had so many broken crayons.

My copy paper box full of crayons.

The project I had envisioned was for the students in my Sewing Camps to make heart shaped crayons and then sew a bag to carry the crayons.  They could sew one for themselves and one to give to a friend.  At both of my sewing camps we made crayons and bags and the girls loved the project.

The two purple bags tied with ribbon are the crayon bags.

But, I still had a whole box of broken crayons left.  What to do? What to do? After spending hours peeling the paper off the crayons I had several ideas.

Peeling the paper off the crayons was in a strange way
kind of therapeutic. It was mindless work that was much needed
after a long school year.

First I made "crazy crayons" to pass out at my churches Trunk or Treat party.  I figured the kids would get enough candy so why not make something a little different.  This was a big hit!

Crazy crayons are made by putting a small piece of
various colors in the mold.  Each one comes out different.

Next I packaged in paper cupcake holders a small set of solid color crayons and a "crazy crayon" for my family and friends children and grandchildren for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

These paper cupcake holders hold 5 crayons perfectly.
I found my holders at the dollar store in a package of 24.

Each cupcake holder had 4 solid crayons and one "crazy crayon"

The remaining 500+ crayons I made will be used for student prizes in my husbands school classes and our daughters after school program.  It just goes to show that when you ask people to save some items that are destined for the trash can you need to be prepared for more than you thought you would receive.

The question now remains will I be able to distribute all of the crayons I made before the end of the school year, and will I ask for more?  Check back in June to see the result.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Small Gift for a Large Crowd

I did not do the Christmas Countdown this year because of some health issues in my family.  I was able to make some unique and fun gifts for family and friends so over the next few posts I will share those with you.

As you know I am a very thrifty crafter.  I like to create new items out of old pieces.  One aspect of thrifty crafting is the challenge of making the same item for a large group.

At our annual quilters Christmas party I like to give each lady a small gift that has something of a quilting or sewing element in the design. Last year I gave each quilter a Christmas ornament made from an old wooden thread spool.  The ornaments were quick and easy to make and turned out quite nice.

To learn how this ornament was made check out

Since we have about 25 ladies in our group I try to design a gift that uses supplies I can get in bulk that only cost a few dollars.  This years gift uses Jenga blocks as the base.  They come 50+ to a box and if you have to buty them new only cost about $3.00 per box.  But if you can find them at a garage sale they cost much less.  I paid $1.00 for my box so each block costs about $0.02 each.  Here is the fun gift I made this year.

A small reminder of how our friendships grow in our group.

Using the Jenga block as my base I wrapped lace around the center of each block and glued it in place.  I then added a small piece of paper I stamped with the phrase "Friendships are sewn one stitch at a time."  I inked the edges of the paper in a coordinating color to soften them.  To finish the block I glued a small fabric yo-yo with a button in the center.  The yo-yos were made from scraps of previous projects.  

To make the hanger for my small sign I coiled some lightweight wire around a pencil and added a bead to each end and hot glued the hanger to the back.

Another example.

Now each quilter has a small sign to hang in their sewing area to remind them of the friendships they have in our group.

A basket full of gifts.  I wrapped each sign in a small baggie
with a few pieces of shredded paper in the bottom and a curly ribbon tie.

The saying still holds true that it is not the price of the gift that gives it value it is the love that goes into the gift that adds the true value.  So don't be afraid to be a thrifty crafter and add lots of love to each gift you give this year.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Picture Frame Wreaths

Who said a wreath has to be round?  Whoever it was would not appreciate the new trend of "Picture Frame Wreaths".  Yes you read that correctly - picture frame wreath. If you are on Pinterest or any other creative website or just driving through your neighborhood you will see tons of variations of this new trend.

Bring in any season with a picture frame wreath on your door.

The concept is fairly simple.  You take an old picture frame, any size will work, take out the glass and backing board then paint the frame if desired.  Next you decide if your wreath will follow a holiday, season or your present decor theme.  Now the fun begins.  Select something to decorate your corners, hang in the center etc.  Really the sky is the limit.

For the Fall wreath I found a yard wind chime on clearance.
I removed the chimes and added buttons to cover the holes at the bottom.

To spell out the season I painted a wooden banner blank
and added the letters in scrabble tiles.

To finish off your wreath add a large beautiful bow that fits your style or leave the bow off, what ever you like.  On the fall wreath I did not add a bow because the flowers in the corners were enough.  I hung the owl and wooden plaque from the center using jute twine.  You could make this part where it could be changed seasonally to extend the life of your wreath.

Here is another sample using a small 5x7 frame with a Christmas theme.

I like the smaller size for variety of locations to hang it.

For this frame I put each plastic ornament on a piece of gold ribbon and hot glued them to the back of the frame.  I then added the ribbon bow and glued an old Christmas pin in the center for the finishing touch.

The ornaments are plastic so they are light weight.

Be sure to secure your decorations well especially if the "wreath" will be hanging on your front porch or door.  For my wreaths I used garage sale frames, dollar store ornaments and flowers, old scrabble pieces and some ribbon.  The total cost to make each frame was about $3.00.

So dig around in your closets for those frames, take out the outdated pictures, gather some additional decorations, the hot glue gun and make your own Picture Frame Wreath.


Friday, February 5, 2016

A Different Kind of Wreath

So have you jumped on the paper straw wagon?  They come in all kinds of colors, themes and sizes. Paper straws are popping up in all kinds of places from weddings, baby showers to fabulous kids parties.  They definitely add a festive touch to any gathering in drinks, sticks on cake balls to a touch of color in your party decor.

Well I have used them some in various gatherings we have had recently.  But, I have definitely jumped on the paper straw crafting wagon.  Who knew you could use them in so many crafting projects.  Pinterest is covered with tons of ideas.  Just search paper straws and brace yourself for a flood of ideas.

While on a shopping trip to Target (in the Dollar Spot of course) they had some great Halloween colored straws.  I bought two packages and decided to give a paper straw wreath a try.  I bought one package in orange and white polka dot and another in black and white stripe.  Here is the completed wreath.

Mine turned out smaller than that ones I had seen online because I cut the straws in half.  My purpose for making it smaller was so I can hang it on my door at school.  Here is a quick run down on how I made mine.

1. Cut 6 stars from each package in half creating 12 from each color.
2. From a light weight cardboard cut 2 circles using a vegetable can lid as a template.
3. Draw lines on one of the cardboard circles dividing it into 4 equal parts.
4. Draw 4 more lines subdividing the circle into 8 parts.
5. Draw a small circle in the center of the cardboard about 1/2" in diameter.
6. Draw another circle about 1/4" out from center circle.

Lines subdividing the circle into 8 parts with smaller inner circle

7. Take 4 black & white straws and glue them to the 4 equal part lines touching the center circle.
8. Take 4 orange and white straws and glue them to the 8 part lines touching the outer circle. (This gives you the staggered straws at the outer edge.
9. Take the remaining straws and fill in between the beginning straws around the circle. Stagger the last straws glued to about 1/4" from the outer edge of circle.

By staggering the placement of the straws you create more
movement on the outer edge of the wreath.

10. Take the remaining cardboard circle and decorate it to cover the center of the wreath.  I made an orange paper pleated circle and then added some other fun embellishments.
11. To hang your wreath glue or tape a ribbon loop to the back.

My wreath on my classroom door.

So the next time you have a party and have some of these fun paper straws leftover jump on the paper straw wagon and create a fun wreath.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A New Adventure - Sewing Camp Bigger Projects

In the previous posts, A New Adventure - Sewing Camp and A New Adventure -Sewing Camp First Projects, I have shared about my sewing camp for kids.  I told you about some of the smaller projects the campers sewed both by hand and on the machine.  In this post I will describe our two larger projects.

Now if you have read other posts on my blog you will have come to the conclusion that I am a thrifty crafter.  This same thriftiness holds true in my seamstress projects as well.  Using old t-shirts the campers each made a pieced t-shirt scarf.

The tie dye t-shirts work great to add that fun element.

 The seams don't have to be perfect on this project.

A scarf ready for pinning the final long seam.

This was a great project for learning to sew short straight seams. The t-shirt knit is forgiving if the seams aren't perfectly straight.  It is also a great way to use old t-shirts you have outgrown and keep those memories alive.  The pattern and tutorial for the t-shirt scarf are on this post Repurposed T-shirt Scarf Tutorial.

The final project was a small monogram pillow.  The main body of the pillow is made from a canvas painters drop cloth.  The drop cloth canvas is a nice weight and a neutral color.  Be sure to wash and dry the drop cloth first to soften the canvas.  One other nice benefit to the drop cloth is the amount of fabric you get for a small price.  To see some other big projects made with drop cloths check out these posts.  Drop Cloth Table Runner and A Couch Refresh.

Our final project - a monogrammed pillow.

To see a tutorial on how we made the pillow go to my Instructable Beginner Sewing Project -  on  

Sewing Camp 2015 was a success and I have already started working on the plans for 2016.  Since camp I have been told by several moms that their kids have been sewing on something each week.  They are excited and proud of the projects they are making.  Sharing your knowledge of a talent and passion you have is essential to keeping the craft alive in future generations.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching these kids my passion for sewing and it brings joy to my heart to hear about the creative spark that has been ignited in their lives.  So be sure you are sharing your gifts and talents with the younger generations so you can share in the joy of igniting a new creative passion for years to come.