Dec 15


Have some felted sweaters on hand? Make some quick & cozy mittens. You can find wool sweaters at the thrift store (just make sure the tag says it is mostly or 100% animal fiber such as wool, alpaca or cashmere). Need to know more about the process of felting? Check out this post by Diane Gilleland at Craft Stylish about felting your sweaters.

Project Materials:

  • Felted sweater
  • Scissors
  • Sewing stuff (sewing machine & thread)
  • Paper and pen


To Make Mitten Template:

Trace your hand (or your child’s hand) on a piece of paper.

Add a seam allowance line about 1/2 inch around the outside of your traced area.

Place template on sweater and cut out two pieces for each hand.


Place pieces right sides together and sew around the edge. Be sure to reinforce the seam at the cuff of the mitten by backing your stitch up a bit.

Clip any excessive extra fabric (pay attention to the area near the thumb), and turn mitten right side out. Try on mitten to see if it works. If you need to, you can turn it back inside-out and adjust.

Smile because that was so simple and quick!


Visit me at Dollar Store Crafts for more great holiday ideas and tutorials!

Oct 6

Sister Diane of CraftyPod is donating her free project sheet this week at Knittn’ Kitten in Portland! Swing by the store this week and ask for the sheet, and while you’re there, peruse all the craft stash goodies to buy for low, low prices!

Diane says:
I wanted to do a little project that makes a simple, useful gift you can make for pretty much anyone on your list. The patchwork process is very easy – even if you’ve never done any patchwork, you can do this. Then, all you need are some inexpensive cotton dishtowels from your variety or dollar store.

And, since there have been requests from out-of-towners, we will be collecting all our free projects into an ebook for those who are geographically challenged! Look for it in November. I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s available!

Sep 28

And here’s a little more Knittn’ Kitten inspiration for you! My mom and I made baby barrettes and headbands from buttons, bows, and ribbon we got at Knittn’ Kitten. Here are a ton of ideas for you:


Making cute barrettes for newborns, infants, and little girls is a simple and fun project. My mom and I were only too overjoyed to experiment when we were faced with several baby showers for female babies (there are no little girls in our family yet!). We made hair adornments with newborns and infants in mind, and we experimented with several different styles, sizes, and hair-clipping methods.

First off, we hit up our favorite local craft thrift store (if you like crafting and you are ever in Portland, OR, I highly suggest scheduling in a trip to Knittn’ Kitten!) and gathered supplies for making wee barrettes. You can use whatever you have in your stash, too!

Craft supplies we picked up:

  • ribbon of different widths and styles, $1 each, or on hand
  • buttons, on hand
  • lace, $1 or on hand
  • (optional) a package of 1″ yo-yos (you’ll need to make your own or find them at a thrift store or garage sale, or grandma’s sewing room!)

We also picked up some additional supplies. You can find these at your dollar store, local big-box warehouse department store, craft store, or drug store.

Additional supplies:

  • mini barrettes (also called “snap pins“), $1
  • Velcro-type round closures, on hand or $1
  • elastic, on hand or $1
  • needle & thread, on hand

Total cost: $1 and up

Unsure of what kind of barrette would work best in baby-fine hair, we experimented with several styles (well, actually, my mom did all the experimenting!) such as:


The Classic Clippie

Way, way back in the 1980s, my mom made “clippies” for my sister and I in a similar style to these pink ones.

To make:

Take a length of lace and gather it on the hemming edge, into a rosette. Tighten the thread and tie off. Add a ribbon bow and a cute button. Attach securely to clip.


These turned out really cute, but they were kind of big for a newborn or infant (about 1-1/2″ in diameter). They’d probably be better for a toddler. See the clippie “in action” above in my pre-schooler’s* hair.

So, the revised infant-sized version was made:


For the small clippie, just a 1/2″ piece of ribbon was gathered into a rosette and embellished with a cute button, then attached to the clip. Here you can see the type of clip we used, and the method of attaching the embellishment. Because these are intended for small babies, we secured the ribbon to the clip with thread instead of a hot glue gun, with the idea that it would be harder for the baby to pop the ribbon off the barrette if it was sewn on.

The Velcro Barrette


Another method we used that we think would be great for wispy baby hair is the Velcro “barrette.” We made lightweight embellishments (these Hello Kitty ones were made using a pre-made “bow” cutout and a shank button) and sewed them to small 1/2″ round Velcro pieces.


This version of the Velcro barrette looks like a kimono to me!


To put this barrette on baby, just remove the back of the Velcro round, place under small amount of hair, and attach front of barrette to back of barrette, with hair flowing through the Velcro. This is very lightweight and doesn’t pull the baby’s hair, but stays secure.


My toddler wasn’t available at photo shoot time! We did test it on his* hair, though (still baby wispy-fine), and the Velcro worked very well.

The Snap Tape Barrette


Another barrette method we tried was using snap tape. How do you use it? Snap it into baby’s hair – hair is caught between both sides of the tape and stays secure. It seemed to work well, but is harder to remove. That might be a good thing if you have a grabby girl!


For the snap tape barrettes, we used the mini yo-yos with ribbon and shank buttons, and they looked really cute! We sewed the snap tape to the yo-yo. The pre-made yo-yos we had were bold colors, but you can make yo-yos in any color you want, and they sure are sweet! These ones are about an inch in diameter.


Here’s another yo-yo barrette shot because I like the Hello Kitty buttons! :)

Magnet Barrette Fail


Not all of our experiments were successful. For instance, we tried to make a “barrette” out of sheet magnet, thinking maybe we could make the magnet stick to itself with hair between the pieces of magnet. With standard thin/weak magnet sheet, this didn’t work well.  It did actually stay in the hair, but just not to our satisfaction. It might be worth experimenting with further if slightly stronger magnets were used.

Send this barrette to CraftFail.

And on to the headbands. We made a couple styles:


Lace and Velcro Headband

One headband was made with a length of lace that fits around baby’s head, and secured with a couple pieces of velcro. The bow-style, which we think is so sweet, takes very narrow ribbon and makes a loopy bow, secured with a pretty button.


The lace and velcro headband stays put very well, and looks super cute.

The Elasticized Ribbon Headband


To make this headband, sew two pieces of ribbon together on long edges, leaving a small opening (an inch or so) to run elastic through. Put a safety pin on the end of a piece of elastic and run it through the ribbon casing to create the headband. Attach desired adornment. For this headband we used grosgrain ribbon for the headband and pretty sheer ribbon for the loopy bow.


We also tried the same method with bias tape for the headband. It worked fine as well (and you only have to sew it on one side). I like the lace and narrow ribbon loopy bow on it! And don’t you love those pretty rhinestone buttons?

This style of headband seems to work well, too, but we didn’t give it the “church service test” to see if it stays on for longer than five minutes! Please let us know how yours works for you!


*Thanks to my sons for being my guinea pigs! :)

And thanks to my mom for doing all the hard work!

Warning/Disclaimer: Please watch baby if you make these – she might put them in her mouth!

Thanks to all of you intrepid Portlanders who have made it over to the Knittn Kitten to pick up our free project sheets and shop the goods! Don’t forget, we’ll be releasing a new project sheet every Tuesday. These are the amazing crafters’ projects you have to look forward to:

September 29 – Teresa Sullivan

October 6 – Diane Gilleland

October 13 – Joey Groendes

October 20 – Christine Blystone

October 27 – Susan Beal

November 3 – Lee Meredith

November 10 – Bridget Benton

May 19

If you need to occupy your toddler for 15 minutes, give her something to work on! In this simple activity, you have two cups and something to pour. I used rice (although, don’t be alarmed if it makes a mess!) If you’re concerned about the mess, try something bigger like cotton balls or larger dried beans.

My 16 month old had fun with this. Once your kid gets used to the concept of pouring, you can move on to pouring water! If you dare…

Apr 1

As I was making the graphic for “Make Something Cool Everyday”, my son picked up some of the alphabet pasta that I used and started to string them onto a pipe cleaner. I was so impressed that he started his own crafty project! I threaded a ribbon onto the pipe cleaner and let him use the pipe cleaner as a beading needle for the pasta. I also had some terry ponytail holders out that he strung onto his necklace. Not a bad project for a 2-1/2 year old to come up with on his own!

He loves to “do a little project.”

Nov 2

I saw tattooed soaps at Soap Queen (as designed by Johanna) and posted a tutorial for tattooing your own soap at my other blog, Dollar Store Crafts. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should! Don’t forget to subscribe to my RSS feeds, too!)

If you have temporary tattooed yourself or someone you love, you are fully capable of doing this, and it takes less than five minutes, from gathering the supplies up to completing the soap! Easy!

What you need:

  • A bar of soap (3 for $1 at the DS)
  • Temporary Tattoos ($1 for a bunch)
  • Wet washcloth, paper towel, or sponge

Total Cost: $2 for 3 bars (price goes down the more soap you make, though, because you can get a sheet of multiple tats at the DS)

To make (or follow your temp tattoo directions, if they are different):

  1. Unwrap soap
  2. Place tattoo sticky side down onto soap
  3. Use wettish cloth to completely dampen tattoo paper
  4. For best results, burnish tattoo (use a spoon to rub the paper, paying close attention to tattoo edges, especially if there are any little pieces of the tattoo that stick out from the body of the tattoo)
  5. Using care, apply pressure with your fingers as you slide the tattoo paper across the soap, away from the applied tattoo