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Valentine Idea: Day 5 – Free Printable Cards

Print your own card – I had a little extra time to whip up two cards that are free to download and print! The “Your love means the world to me” flower card measures 3.5 x 5 inches and the diagonal label card that reads “Thoughts for you, my love, on Valentine’s Day” measures 4 x 6 inches. There are two versions of the flower card, one with the flowers printed on the cover and the other with the flowers printed on the side. The side flowers are there so you can cut them out separately and adhere them with foam tape for a 3-dimensional look (like in the photo). Enjoy!


Download version 1 | version 2 (3D)


Download Valentine Label Card

Need some more kid-friendly cards? Try this free Light-up Valentine printable.


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Valentine Idea: Day 3 – Handmade Stamps

Handmade Stamps – I’ve always liked stamps, but I’m pretty picky about the few I end up buying. I need to know I’ll use them again and again. Heart and love stamps can be particularly useful, from cards and envelopes to gift wrap and fabric. Here are a couple fun ideas and tutorials to make your own, or you could buy one handmade.


Heart Stamps from Potatoes


Stamp your own conversation hearts


Handcarved Valentine Stamp, Cupid


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Free Holiday Gift Tags – Updated Colors

I was hoping to make a brand new set of gift tags to give away this year, but time just seems to be slipping away! Instead, please enjoy this updated color set, or feel free to download the original color set. Why buy tags when you can download and print them for free?!

Also, the following downloads are still available from previous years:

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Holiday Gift Checklist 2007 / Happy Holidays Card / Printable Snowflake Giftwrap

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Holiday Gift Tags / Holiday Cheer Board Game / From Me to You for the Holidays

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Little Bird Notecard Set / Snowflake Placecards


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Bias-tape Baby Bib Tutorial and Template


You can download this bib template or just freehand one

Another project that I tried while visiting Chloe’s Grandma Sandy was how to make a bias tape bib. Back when I was pregnant I had read that bibs with ties were a choking hazard, so when we were yard-saling we mostly picked up velcro versions. Turns out the ties are SO much better because you can get a custom fit around the neck, and baby can’t pull it off like she can with the velcro. Two of my favorite bibs were ones I won from Quilt Baby (now called The Modern Baby Co.), so Grandma Sandy showed me how to make something similar, while also giving me an introduction to bias tape. Here’s what I learned:

Materials for Bib
fabric piece for the cover (approx 8″x8″)
terry cloth for backing (approx 8″x8″)
bias tape (approx 54″)

1. Cut out the desired shape from a piece of cover fabric (front) and a piece of terry cloth (back). This is an ideal project for scraps. The one in the photo is about 7.75 x 8 inches. You can download, print and trace this bib template, or just freehand one.

2. Pin the two pieces together, pretty sides out.

3. Starting from the top corner, sandwich the raw edges of the fabric between a first piece of bias-tape, from one side to the other, pinning as you go. Keep in mind that the longer side of the bias-tape goes on the back so that it will “catch” when you sew it down (see this great bias-tape tutorial and video). We’re using pre-made bias tape that is 1/2″ wide folded, but you can learn to make your own from this video .

4. Cut the bias tape on both ends so that it is flush with the fabric, or just slightly longer. Sew this piece of tape down with a straight stitch, close to the edge of where the tape meets the fabric, but being careful not to fall off the edge of the tape. If it is important to you, match the top thread to the top fabric and the bottom thread to the terrycloth.

4. Next, sandwich and pin a second piece of bias-tape around the remaining outside perimeter, being sure to leave enough tape on both ends (about 11-12″) to form the strings for tying. Fold under the raw edge tips of the tape ties and tuck inside itself for a neat appearance.

5. Starting on one end of the tape, sew the tape together, all the way around until you get to the other side. Now just snip the threads and your done!


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Make-Your-Own Cauldron Bubbles!


Download Halloween_bubble_labels 213 kB

Every Halloween I try to keep my eyes out for something out-of-the-ordinary to give away to our neighborhood trick-or-treaters. When I was a kid, I remember thinking, when I grow up, I’m going to give out full-size candy bars! That would be so cool! Except full-size candy bars now cost a lot more, and kids these days seem to be getting enough candy as it is. So I challenge myself with finding an alternative.

This year, we’ll be handing out “Cauldron Bubbles.”

I’ve considered mini bubble bottles before since they are so easy to find, except the ones I bought this year were not individually labeled. As I tend to over-think things, I began to worry that some kid without parental guidance might not realize what it is, or that it might be something to drink. So I whipped up these labels.

Feel free to download and print a set of labels to use for yourself – they’d be cute at a Halloween party, too!

Note: Keep in mind that these items might not be suitable for especially young children, so it might be good to have some candy on hand, just in case. 🙂
Skull image by WickedSunshine.com and used under the creative commons license.


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Appliqued Handtowels in 5 easy steps

While we were in Colorado earlier this month, I had an opportunity to watch my mother-in-law make this fun set of appliqued handtowels as a gift. She made it look so easy! Here are the materials and steps she used:

Materials
Dishtowel
Double sided fusible interface
Fabric scrap for the design
Thread for both the top side and bottom side

1. Find an image that you like and cut the shape out of both the interface and fabric. Sandy chose to use this cat image.

2. Sandwich the fusible interface between the dishtowel and the fabric, and iron them together until they are properly adhered.

3. Using a satin stitch (also called applique stitch, or tight zig-zag stitch), sew around the border of your shape. This will cover the raw edges of the fabric. I was surprised to note that Sandy kept the feed dog up, yet was able to move the fabric around with her fingers pretty easily.

4. After the border of the shape is done, use a pencil to draw the inner details to be “traced” by stitching. Sandy wanted to use a thinner satin stitch, so she adjusted the settings on her sewing machine and did a few tests before continuing.

5. Stitch over the pencil marks to add detail. Sandy noted that it is very helpful to always snip the loose threads as you go.

The finished designs!


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Make Your Own Last-Minute Father's Day Card

As usual, I put off making David a Father’s Day card until the very last minute. Being his very first Father’s Day as a father, I didn’t want to just let it go, either, so I whipped up this card with a few minutes to spare. As you can probably see from the photo, I took a blank card and cut the word “Dad” out with an exacto knife. Then I glued some colored paper behind it to make it pop. Normally, pink wouldn’t have been my first choice, but being a last minute project didn’t make for many options. I figured David was man enough to handle it anyhow. Want to make your own? You can download and print this pdf template (originally sized for a 5×7 card).


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Fast food cupcakes by Bakerella

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Aren’t these hamburger shaped cupcakes fantastic? And check out those sugar cookie french fries! Bakerella has an awesome tutorial complete with download and print packaging templates. If I thought they’d get eaten around here I would definitely give it a try for Father’s Day. Which makes me wonder… does anyone know of a tutorial for fly fishing themed cupcakes?
Via Twig & Thistle


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Amazing DIY Dressers

I am always amazed when people are able to take an old, ugly or plain piece of furniture and re-purpose or refinish it into something new. David did a great job on our bedroom dresser and side table, turning it from a beat-up honey, to a smooth and modern walnut. These are a few other examples that really wow me:

This is the Decades, No. 1 chest of drawers by Wis Design. I wish I owned this gorgeous masterpiece. Their web site describes the project as a “Chest of drawers made out of discarded drawers, found and rescued from flea markets. A mix of different styles from earlier decades, with woods and knobs of various kinds, in a single piece of furniture. The old drawers are enhanced by the new frame in white lacquered MDF.” Check out their web site for the other 4 versions.

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One very enterprising DIYer re-purposed this dresser for his son’s nursery. He was given the dresser as a gift, and decided to turn it into a modern dresser/changing table. Very impressive. Via Apartment Therapy.

And lastly, I really dig this stenciled dresser by Lena Corwin, author of the book Printing by Hand. You can check out her process and tutorial on the Etsy blog.


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Baby Craft Tutorial Roundup

A while back I started a page devoted completely to cool baby craft tutorials. There is a tab below the blog header that links to it. It contains a mix of my own tutorials and other people’s projects. So far there are tutorials for baby hair clips, appliqued onesies, felt baby shoes, burp cloths, kimono wrap, diaper and wipes pouch (poopy clutch), knit hat with earflaps, LED baby booties, diaper cake and embellishing baby tees. I hope to add more as I come across them on the net, so check back if you’re interested, or let me know what some of your favorite ones are and I’ll add them to the list.


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Easy Halloween Fun on a Mac

inverted mac screenshot

Want to have a little fun by dressing up your mac in orange and black for Halloween (and giving your co-workers and boss a good scare in the process)? Here’s how:

1. Click on System Preferences in your dashboard (the silver rectangle icon with the apple logo on the right and a light switch on the left).

2. Click on Universal Access, shown near the bottom right corner, in the “System” catagory.

3. Now click the radio button for White on Black under the “Display” catagory.

This will automatically “invert” the colors on your screen. For example, anything that was once white, will now be black. If you want to change your desktop color to invert to orange, like the picture above, you have to start with a blue background (because blue inverts to orange).

To do this go to “System Preferences” and choose “Desktop & Screen Saver” near the top under the Personal catagory. Then choose any blue background under “Apple Images.” Repeat the steps above to “invert” and then show off your spooky computer.

To change back, simply click again on the “Black on White” radio button under Universal Access.


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Easy Felt Photo Album – Tutorial

felt album cover

Yay! My first real sewing craft project (okay, not including pant hems or that dog pillow I did in 7th grade)! Anyway, this was so easy. As I wrote previously, sewing just doesn’t come naturally to me. I wanted to start small to ensure at least moderate success on my first foray back. My mom sewed a lot when we were kids, to the point where all three of us had sunday outfits of matching fabric and I wasn’t even embarrassed (hey, I was young!). I wish I had paid attention back then.

I remember seeing these covers somewhere before. The construction seemed fairly straightforward, with only three pieces stitched together. Another bonus is that felt doesn’t unravel, and is forgiving to work with. If I can make this then I know that everyone else can, too! Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, felt is the oldest form of fabric known to humankind and predates weaving and knitting.

Items Needed
2 sheets of felt
photo album insert
thread
embellishment (optional)

Instructions
For the album above, I chose a red embossed sheet for the outside, a smooth dark brown for the inside, and red thread. I’m not sure of their types, but the red sheet was softer and floppy, like typical craft felt, and the brown one was stiffer. The album insert came from Target.

1. Begin by measuring the album opened flat on a table, and add .25″ to the top and bottom and .5″ to the sides for seam allowance. For example, if the opened album measured 10″wide x 6.5″tall then the end measurement would be 11″wide x 7″tall. Cut this rectangle out of the outside felt cover sheet.

2. Measure the front cover. Add .25″ to the top and bottom only. For example, if the front cover measures 4.75″wide x 6.5″ tall, the end measurement would be 4.75″wide x 7″tall. Cut out two of these shapes – one for the inside front cover and one for the inside back cover.

3. Lay the pieces together as shown below (large red outside piece face down, with two brown pieces facing up, matching outside edges). Stitch around the whole perimeter, keeping about .1875″ from the edge and backstitching at the end. I used a sewing machine, but this could be done by hand, too, and might look neat using a blanket stitch. Trim the thread ends.

felt photo album diagram

4. Now tuck the front and back covers of the album into the side pockets. That’s it!

Adding An Embellishment
I happened to have a set of EK Success “Inspirables” metal charms that I bought for our wedding and never used. For this project I chose the “Love” charm. Using the same red thread I stitched it onto the lower right of the front cover for a simple finishing touch. Craft stores are filled with neat ad-ons that could be glued or stitched on. Or simply cut some fun shapes out of the remaining felt scraps and stitch them onto the cover before completion.

The inside. This will be a gift to Marcy so I’ve included one of her wedding photos.

The red thread makes a nice contrast on the brown

Detail of the spine and discreet backstitching to keep the thread from unraveling

Detail of the “Love” embellishment, hand-stitched with red thread


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Recycled Gift Crafts

blog action day

In response to this year’s blog action day on the environment, I thought I’d list 7 recycled craft ideas that I really like, including links to their instructions. Besides ending up with a wonderful, handmade gift (for you or someone else!), recycling also conserves energy, natural resources, saves landfill space, and most of all, saves money! So instead of throwing away that moth eaten sweater, scratched record, old candles, and empty glass jars, use them instead to create these useful recycled crafts…

Recycled Envelopes
Make unique envelopes by recycling calendars, magazines, maps, sheet music or any other unused papers that you might have lying around. There are several places where you can download templates, including here, here or here, or you can simply find an envelope you like, unfold it and trace.

Recycled calendar kitten envelopes from kimmzy’s flickr photostream

Recycled magazine paper envelopes from janick’s flickr photostream

Recycled Sweater Crafts
I can’t resist these projects made from old sweaters. Leave it to Martha Stewart (and her staff and guests) to come up with such beautiful handmade items. Here are instructions on her website to make recycled sweater mittens (including video!), pouches, pillow covers, soft toys and stuffed animals, christmas stockings and a felted knitting basket.

Homemade Gel Air Freshener
Air fresheners are a nice way to reuse smaller glass jars from baby foods, jams, and fancy condiments. You can even learn to punch fancy lid designs by adapting this project. Add a little extra flair with descriptive labels or decorative embellishments.

gel air fresheners

Pinecone Firestarters
Cozy winter fires are so fun. I only wish our house had a fireplace! Nevertheless, its nice to use all those pinecones in our backyard for something. According to Orvis’ website, pinecone firestarters are “an environmentally friendly and totally sustainable way to start a fire,” plus “there is no messy residue because the wax burns away completely.” So save those chemically treated firestarter sticks and use these babies instead! The perfect opportunity to use up the wax from old, burnt-down candle ends. Instead of paying a small fortune at Orvis or LLBean, it’s easy to make your own firestarter gift baskets. Try these directions here, here or here.

pinecone firestarters

Melted Vinyl Record Bowl
This is a project I’ve mentioned before. These bowls are so easy and fun to make, and there are a ton of old records just waiting to be recycled in this way. Because of the hole in the center, these bowls work best for larger items like fruit, or candy, or it can be used as a catch-all for keys and wallets.

recycled record

Recycled Paint Chip Business Card Holder
I’ve also written a post on these before, but I still think it is one of the coolest projects. Plus these could be used to hold more than just business cards – maybe a tiny set of note paper or sticky notes, or a miniature stack of bookmarks made of recycled greeting cards, even toothpicks! The possibilites are endless. Instructions and templates can be found at Designverb.

recycled paint chip business card holder

Plastic Bag Messenger Bag
My husband found this video on youtube for making a messenger bag by ironing plastic bags. It’s a bit more involved, but the result is SO COOL! Check it out:

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