Mar 22

Paint Chip Setting
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]

Jul 13

broken jewelry necklace

I spent one great afternoon last weekend playing with wire, beads, and broken jewelry. I made about eight necklaces and five or six pendants that haven’t been attached to chain yet. It was so much fun to craft with no agenda (other than the joy of creating).

They’re hard to photograph accurately, but even in photos you can tell how cool these necklaces are! I used a big pendant from a broken cheapster necklace I used to wear to work back when I had to go to work.

I used a charm I received in a Steampunk swap as the beginning for this necklace, and then added a couple large beads on either side, then just kept adding until I liked the look. I love this one! I can’t wait to wear it out in public to see if anyone else likes it as much as I do.

This one uses a steampunk “pocketwatch” charm I made (the circular part) and simply has wings and some pretty beads on each side. Simple, but really pretty, I think!

So what do you think, should I quit all my writing jobs and just make jewelry full time? (Crickets?)

If you want to know how I made these, check out how to remake old jewelry into a statement necklace over at Dollar Store Crafts.

Jul 6

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—


Apr 6

Welcome to the April 6, 2010 edition of the All Things Family blog carnival.


I called this a "Yoplaithouse" - ha ha!



Earth Day Crafts, Activities, and Tips:
Other Family-Related Articles:
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of all things family using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Sep 11

I went to the Pendleton Woolen Mill store a couple weeks ago and picked up some of their waste-wool products. This is “blanket leader” – strips of wool blanket waste. I sewed them together to form a backing for a rug. They cost $2 a pound, and they have a variety of patterns and colors (and they don’t all look this rough – I just knew I could use these for the bottom of a rug).

I LOVE using these upcycled materials!

I also picked up some off-white waste strips of blanket. I had a couple ideas in my mind. One, I could just sew the strips together to make rug. Two, I could get crazy and twist the strips. I was intrigued with the idea of that, and I wanted to see how it would look, so that’s what I ended up doing.

I just started by sewing the strips to the end of the prepared rug backing.

This is what it ended up looking like. I wanted it to look kind of trashcycled, but I’m not sure I love the look I achieved (although it looks a bit better in real life). Yeah, it’s kind of a CraftFail. BUT,

My three year-old likes it. He immediately hunkered down on it and proceeded to “nap.”

Although this particular rug isn’t perfect, I enjoyed the process, and using the reclaimed materials. I would definitely like to try making another rug (with a different technique!).

May 18

I absolutely loved this article by Julie Finn I found on Crafting A Green World (great blog, by the way!) about sewing on knitted or crocheted fabric. The article has tips for using old afghans, etc. to create new clothing – I am in love with this concept (especially because handmade afghans abound at the thrift store)!

You must check it out, and then we must all try it for ourselves!

Click here for entire article

Feb 13

Over the years, I have filed the idea away in my head of making a rag rug. The project I really wanted to try was a Martha Stewart bath mat made from braided towels. I have had that project on my mental list for years now. However, the thing that held me back from wanting to actually MAKE a braided rag rug was the whole sewing issue. I really didn’t want to sit there and hand-sew all the braids together into a rug.

Enter the huge crochet hook!

I had a Craftster swap partner who mentioned she would like to receive a kitchen rag rug, and so I made her a small crocheted rug in about two hours. I ripped up some stash fabric I had (that was too junky to actually use to sew anything – why was it in my stash?) and a vintage sheet I recently picked up at the thrift store. The rug went together so fast that I started another one. It’s the perfect activity to do while watching TV.

To make:

First: Prepare Your Fabric Strips

I ripped up strips from stash fabric (easy to rip), sheets (easy also), old curtains (easy), and clothing (not as easy!). Basically, if the item to be ripped up is in flat and straight pieces, it’s pretty easy to turn into fabric strips.

To rip a flat sheet, I undo any hems, then cut a one-inch notch in the fabric about one inch in from the hem. Rip all the way to the other side of the sheet, but don’t rip to the very edge. Leave a quarter-inch bit unripped, and then cut a notch about one inch in and continue ripping. In this way, you will get one long strip of fabric. Roll ripped fabric into balls like yarn.

How much yarn will I get from a sheet? Assuming your strips are exactly one inch in width, a queen sized flat sheet will yield approximately 255 yards of yarn. (The math: a queen flat sheet is 90×102 inches. 90 times 102 strips in one-inch widths = 9180 inches. Divide by 12 to get 765 feet of yarn. Divide by 3 to get 255 yards. Tell me if I did my math wrong!)

Right now, the rug is getting big (about 5 feet x 5 feet) and one queen sized flat sheet ripped up into approx. 1” strips made four rows of crochet.

To join ripped pieces, you can just tie the ends together in a square knot (if you don’t mind the nubs in your finished rug), or just twist them together when you are crocheting to create a more seamless join.

To rip something like clothing, you have to be more creative, and it involves more cutting and less ripping. It also doesn’t yield much “yarn”. Something that is relatively long and flat, like pants or maybe a bathrobe or big nightshirt might be worth working on.

The pattern:

More experienced crocheters might have better info about this, but I just started by making a chain of 12, then single crocheting 2 in from the edge. I sc’d to the end, and then did about 4 scs in the last stitch (to go around the corner). Continue sc-ing. Do 2 scs in one stitch when you get near the corners. I kind of just randomly add stitches – about 6-10 per trip around the rug. Like I said, I’m sure there is a much more perfect way to do this, but it’s working for me.

When I get done with my big rug (I call it “a monstrosity”), I’m going to block it by laying it on the floor and covering it with damp towels overnight. We’ll see how well that works!