Karen over at Sew Many Ways has come up with nine great napkin and place setting ideas. My favorite is pictured above. The best part of that one? The supplies are free! And you can customize the colors to match your party theme! Check out her other napkin and place setting ideas, such as using an empty Capri Sun, a hose clamp or even an eyeglass case! [Tool Time Tuesday...Napkin and Place Setting Ideas]
I recently made some cloth diapers. If you have explored making cloth diapers yourself, you know that the subject is deep and wide with tons of opinions and “I’m right” ways to do things and “don’t do THAT” advice. It took me weeks of research to even figure out HOW to make a cloth diaper because the info out there is so confusing. I find this whole scenario rather ridiculous because when I was a baby, my mom used a padded flat diaper that she folded to fit me, changing the fold to fit me as I grew. The cloth diapering scene is a crazy confusopoly, and when I’m confused and overwhelmed, I just can’t buy into any specific radical philosophy. I finally decided to jump in and try a free pattern and discover my own radical philosophy.
—-Read the rest of this post, including the tutorial for how to make cloth diaper inserts – over at DollarStoreMom.com.—
During any given week, I do at least two or three craft projects. I am posting them here, there, and everywhere, and sometimes it takes a month or more between when I make the project to when I can post about it. There are a few things I value in a craft tutorial: it uses fairly common household items, it isn’t complicated to do (anyone can do it), and is compelling enough that it excites people to actually make the project. Here are some of my recent projects.
Make a Peg Family: I wrote a tutorial for making peg dolls of your family members. This is a super-cute gift for kids (ages 3 and up. My 2 year-old put his own peg in his mouth and destroyed the paint job!). Find it at Skip to My Lou.
Make Paper Lanterns: I updated the traditional paper lantern craft project with a double layer of pretty scrapbook paper. I love this because it helped me bust into my stash of scrapbooking paper. Check out my guest post at Salty Pineapple.
I am a regular contributor at AmazingMoms, too, so here are some of my recent projects for them:
Make Bike Streamers
(This pic is my 2 year-old son posed on his brother’s bike. He totally can’t ride it! Ha!)
Patriotic Tablecloth Weights
Painting rocks is fun! They make super cute table cloth weight clips.
Recycled Clothing Crinkly Baby Toy
I used some stained clothing and a baby wipes container to make this crinkly baby toy. It was my infant son’s favorite toy for a long time.
Victorian Flower Cones
I love how these cones turned out! So pretty. I made them from party hats and used leftover broken jewelry and ribbon scraps from my stash.
And, sometimes crafts don’t work out, which is why I founded CraftFail as a place crafters could share their not-so-awesome projects. Check out my first draft of reusable cloth pads. Not pretty. I’m not posting a pic because I want you to be surprised when you check it out.
See Yourself on TV
Mixed media fiber art by Angela Flicker
Available for sale at Etsy
Angela Flicker of The Artists’ House made a series of super-cute mixed media art pieces that feature midcentury furniture, and clever little in-art frames you can use to put your own pictures in. She was inspired by the April Stash Bust to work with stuff she had on hand, and came up with these little beauties! I love ‘em!
Speaking of Etsy, you can get all 11 issues of CROQzine together for less than $40 in our Etsy shop.
My experience with Stashbusting in April: I pretty much kept to the agreement, although I bought some Velcro and snaps on the 28th. The discipline of not buying helped me realize that sometimes I buy supplies as a form of escapism – I buy because I like to imagine myself making specific projects, but the actual work of making the projects is sometimes intimidating. (Not to mention the preparation and clean up of crafting).
Shopping from my stash: I’m a pretty lax person, so having a specific rule regarding purchasing was kind of refreshing! Disciplining myself to “shop” from my stash first was a good reminder that I should always shop my stash before heading to the store. I have so much fabric – I don’t know how I’ll ever use it all up! Also, I was able to reduce my stash a lot just by sending out ten super secret stash packages!
How I stashbusted: I participated in a frugal swap on Craftster, so I channeled my stashbusting toward making stuff for my partner. She hasn’t received my package yet, so I’ll probably have at least one more stashbusting post in May so I can show off what I worked on.
I’ve been swapping up a small storm to get over the post-holiday crafting doldrums. I made these pirate-themed crafts for a person on Craftster who was flaked on in a pirate swap. Since I love all things pirate, I stepped up to send her an “angel” package.
Sister Diane‘s salt dough struck again for this ocean-y garland. I was kind of thinking Davy Jones (Pirates of the Caribbean version) and his heart/key thing, plus the sealife that takes over the undead pirates on the Flying Dutchman. But in a subtle way! This garland says “beach house” to me a lot more than “pirate.”
I love how the starfish turned out! The salt dough texture is perfect for starfish skin!
I stamped these notecards from a hand-carved stamp I made awhile back.
And I crocheted a quick pirate choker with a fun skull & crossbones button from the dollar store:
The thing I most loved about what I made was that I used what I had to make it! I get a buzz from stashbusting!
Here are my favorite posts/projects from 2008:
- Edible Finger Paint
- Make Nature Walk Faces
- Children’s Art as Lino Prints
- Calavera Sandwich
- Painted Toast
- Autumn Wreath using found materials
- Make a Super Easy Toddler Sewing Card
- Reverse Applique Trick
I made a couple things “for me” during this holiday break. First, I made two stockings for my sons, who have been without personalized stockings since they each were born. I made these red corduroy with cream corduroy cuff jobbies for them to go with the ones I made for my husband and myself years ago. I wisely thought ahead and got a metric ton of both corduroys in case of offspring. I still have enough left for maybe five more kids, so I think we’ll be covered for any future children’s stockings. Or maybe by then I’ll want a different style of stocking!
I thought the cropping on this photo was funny, since my 2 year-old was trying to reach into the frame as I shot the picture.
I used a super-narrow zig zag stitch on the sewing machine to make the “embroidered” names. I wrote the names on the fabric in pencil and then sewed over them. Straight lines look awesome, but the curves gave me a bit of a challenge (see the “S” above). Also, the “W” was a little weird, but oh well!
Since I was just using an idea out of my head to make the stockings, I didn’t have the specifics that a pattern would have provided (although while I was sewing I was imagining what markings I would put on a pattern if I drafted it, and the instructions to accompany the pattern). I think I made the stockings needlessly complicated, when I could have done a super simple lined stocking with no real-working cuff, and it would have taken me about twenty minutes.
I did some fancy-dancy stuff with the cuffs, which turned out fine when all was done. Since the cuff was going to be turned over when displayed, but had to be sewn on inside the stocking, I remembered to put the name-part of the cuff upside down, attached to the lining. But I had a few hilarious mishaps with the placement of the fabric loop at the top of the stocking. Basically, the fabric loop ended up: 1) underneath the cuff once it was turned over, then 2) on the toe-side of the cuff (not good for hanging! like one of those “what’s wrong with this picture?” 4th grade puzzles), and then 3.) sewed to the lining and looking a little funky, but passable since it took me so much time to correct my first two mistakes.
Anyway, it was fun. I love making things with no pattern. I know it’s weird but I really like it. It’s a sudoku-like challenge for my brain.
Here’s the lining fabric from my Christmas fabric stash. I think it’s pretty cute! Too bad you will never see it!
I also made this quilting-inspired table runner from some of my stash fabrics and some of the cream corduroy. I have almost no holiday decorations, so I wanted to start building my arsenal. I love the way this turned out. LOVE the red topstitching, too!
The reverse side is more of the stash fabrics string-pieced together. I love it!
I had a great time crafting for myself. I almost never make things with myself in mind. I think my New Years’ Craftolution will be to make more things for myself. I am working on black and white granny squares to make into an afghan for myself. I should be done sometime this year! I have about fifty squares, but I need about a hundred or so more! Plus assembling them.
My family tries to exchange primarily handmade gifts whenever possible. We’ve found that it has helped us focus on what Christmas is really about and get away from feeling trapped by all the consumerism that surrounds the holidays. I love to see what my parents and siblings come up with to give each year, and I enjoy plotting and planning my own handmade gifts. It’s also interesting to see which ideas are hits (duct tape wallets), and which are misses (the homely crochet-altered t-shirt I made for my mom this year – she actually laughed in my face when she opened it. Strangely, it entertained me rather than offended me.)
I hit the jackpot this year with a great advent calendar my mom made for me. It’s a nativity scene theme, and is really cute! I’m sure we will get decades of enjoyment out of this gift!
My sister made these adorable little packets that are filled with her own blends of loose tea. She sewed sturdy gift wrap into bags, and then sealed them with buttons and added a custom label to each. I LOVE the packets – so creative and cute!
My sister also got lots of mileage out of trinkets received in the Sampler, by attaching them to gifts as gift tags and baubles. I love this handspun yarn on a spool… I’m so sorry, I didn’t get a photo of who the sample is from, and this gift wasn’t for me!
One of my handmade gifts to everyone were monogrammed loot bags. I made about eight of them the day before Christmas Eve, and seriously, the entire project took me two hours or less to sew. I assembly-lined the whole thing (cut everything at the same time, sewed all the monogrammed letters on the corduroy, sewed up the bags, etc.) and it was amazing how quickly the whole thing came together. Oh, and I got to burn through some of my stash fabric! I bought a whole bunch of holiday/winter fabric several years ago when it was on super-sale. It felt SO GOOD to use some of it up!!
The loot bags were also very useful for everyone to put their Christmas swag into. You know how all that little stocking stuff gets all over the place! In my imagination, everyone will put the loot bags in their Christmas boxes (or their stockings?) to use for next year, so I hope it comes true! Or, if they want to keep them out to use all year, that would also be fine! (Not that I attach any strings to gifts I give – do what you want with them, or not, y’all!)
My mom was so nice to fulfill a gift request I made: to make two crib sheets, two pillowcases, and two curtains for the boys’ room. She complied and used some adorable construction vehicle fabric.
Now I just need to paint a mural on the wall, and they’ll be all set!
What did you make or receive this year?
I’ve seen this yarn-filled glass bulb project around, but I can’t remember where I saw it last year. I was so inspired by that post author (whoever you are!) that last December I got three boxes of these glass ornaments with which to make this craft. I was kidding myself because I was 9 months pregnant, it was Christmas time, and we were moving on December 26th… so I didn’t get around to making these ornaments until last week!
The idea I saw centered around putting yarn from your stash into the glass bulbs. I love this idea because I have some pretty novelty yarn that I bought randomly with no projects in mind (like the Noro shown in the bulb above), that just don’t suit my crochet/knitting style.
My twist on the project is that I also used a length of the same yarn to hang the bulb with, showcasing the yarn another way.
To make them: I either fed the yarn through the hole in the bulb slowly (to create the coiling/balling effect), or I had a big mass of the yarn and shoved it through the hole with a pen (this method used for the pink ornament).
These are hard to take good photos of if you’re in a hurry (as I always am), so I hope you will get the idea! I like the orange eyelash yarn – it looks like fire in a bulb in real life!
p.s. If you know where I saw it last year (I think it was linked to on a pretty big blog), let me know and I’ll link to it!