Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Baby Take-Along Blankie

Since his sister has her own blankie (3, actually), I decided Levi needed his own to perhaps save myself from future battles of blankieism. This little blanket was simple and easy, and all the contrast and bright colors seem to keep an inquisitive baby's attention.

I started with some random placed 4" squares and just stitched them together for a patchwork look. Most of the fabrics are organic cotton which is nice and soft. I wanted the blanket to have a thinner feel for little fingers to grab, so I opted for one layer of flannel in between as a batting. A little X quilting through the blocks and I was ready to attach the back. I didn't want to do a binding on this particular blanket, so I quilted the top to the flannel and then sewed to the back piece (simple cream flannel), fronts facing each other. Then after I left a section unstitched, I turned the blanket inside out (or right side out!) and gave it a quick iron. Now it was time for my top stitch to finish the edges and close up that gap! 

Its simple, sweet and the perfect size (18" square) for a carseat blankie or a security blankie without being too overwhelming. 

Let me know if you have any questions and happy crafting!
xo - Cheri

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Hexie Card Making Tutorial: a hexagon paper project

Lets be honest here, I've begun a little love affair with the hexagon. It's been culminating in my sewing adventures BUT it spilled over into my paper crafting when I purchased my Friskars hexagon paper punch. You can find yours in a local craft store which most likely has sales or coupons to keep the initial cost down. I will tell you this, it makes paper piecing pretty simple if you're a sewist (seamstress?).

Here's what you'll need:
Paper punch
Coordinating scrapbook papers
Blank cards
Colored or black fine point markers
Glue stick

Now the first step is to just start punching away. There, that was easy.

Next step is to lay out a plan for your hexes on each card. Once you've done that, use the glue stick to adhere each piece to the card, making sure to get the edges fairly well.

Now that you have your patterns, you can start to embellish your designs using your fine point markers. I like to sketch a word or greeting in pencil before tracing in marker, then going back and erasing the pencil lines after.

As you can see, you can be as simple or as creative as you want. There, you're done. Now that was't so difficult. These make great gifts for fellow sewing or hexagon enthusiasts, and great greetings to use with swap packages or just to say hello. And who doesn't love a little surprise snail mail?

Happy crafting!
- Cheri

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Out to Sea Quilt, or, How to Stress Yourself Out Right Before Vacation

Truth be told, I love this thing. Like a fat kid loves cake. Or, like I love donuts. It was such a crazy time-consuming labor of love. To be honest, the inspiration came entirely from the fabric. As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to become a beach blanket. Seeing that I'm a brandy-new quilter, I decided to keep things simple and stick to squares. A lot of them apparently.

Six inch squares that I pieced together in blocks of nine, and then kept attaching them together until I had a top piece and a bottom. That's where you can see the shifting blocks and not everything matched up, but I don't mind too much. I didn't have that much of a plan with this, so when I had my large blocks all sewn together, I decided to add a 3" border all the way around. I wanted this as big as I could go with the piece of batting I had, but I didn't have quite enough fabric left from some of the prints so I had to compromise and check my stash for coordinates. The end size is around 5.5' by 6.5'. It fits nicely on top of a queen bed as an extra blanket but would probably be better on a twin.

For the back I decided to use a vintage sheet from my stash. I've been wanting to use it for something fun, and this project was perfect. I mean, it already had enough pink in it to embarrass my husband, so why not just go for it? The sheet is soft and worn which I love, making it the perfect choice. The binding was a bit daring for me but that being said, it might be my favorite part. Its cheery and bright, and for some reason it makes me think of pirates.

In the end I really fell in love with this project even though I stressed myself out trying to complete it before vacation. And although it was a lot of work, I would gladly do it again! (In about three years. Or when my children are in school.) It really got so much use on our trip. We snuggled up in it to watch sunrises and sunsets, it kept us warm over our bed on chilly nights, and it made a great floor blanket for a baby who's just about to crawl. I'm proud of my first non-baby quilt, and I think it'll stick around our family for a long long time.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

DIY: A needle minder tutorial

So as it turns out, I really love embroidery. It's a very calming craft, and easily accessible for relaxing on the couch. But what to do with those pesky disappearing needles?! Time to buy a needle minder! What? No! You can totally make one! And it's a great use for all those teeny scraps of fabulous fabric that you just can't seem to toss. (You fabric hoarder, you.)

First things first: supplies.

You'll need a button kit. I found mine at Joanne's. It came with the tools (white and blue bits there) to pop the buttons together. Use buttons large enough to hole your magnets. I used two different sizes here.
Buy some strong or ultra strong magnets. I found these at ACMoore but I know they have something similar at just about every craft store.
Scraps of fabric from your collection.
Some E6000 glue. I found a pack of these four small tubes at Walmart. These are nice because the large tube is expensive and tends to get all dried up before you use it all.

Okay, make your buttons according to the directions. (The really easy-to-figure-out directions. But if you need explanation, let me know!)

Now add the magnet to the back, using a dab of your E6000 glue. (In a well-ventilated area, it's stinky!)

Let it dry for a few hours, then hold a plain magnet behind your hoop fabric and attach the fabric button magnet to the front. They'll stick together no problem! Now you have a cute little button to stick your needle to when you need to take a break! (Or fix dinner, or take a shower. You know you have to eventually.)

Hope you enjoy making your own cute needle minders! I made a few of my own just for good measure...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A DIY nursery mobile, with a side of cute

Well, I finally got around to making this baby mobile that's been just a thought in my head for the last 6 months or so. And I have to say, it's kinda cute:

It was pretty simple. I've shot a photo of some of the supplies, but there are things missing. Like the branch I scavenged from the backyard and the yarn and hot glue I used to cover it. And to be honest, that step was so simple and the result was so beautiful that I'm actually tempted to cover multiple sticks in random colors of soft yarn and use them as home decor. I digress.

I bought some scrapbooking wood embellishments in nifty leaf and mushroom shapes. The drill was only necessary for some of the wood embellishments, if I was using them in the middle of the string and they needed holes in the top and the bottom. I used the smallest drill bit I could find and it worked really well. The fishing line worked great and I love that you can't see all the knots and strings. I added my own handmade pieces, like these DIY mushrooms and the painted wood disks.

The hedgehog was also a souvenir purchase from a day trip to NYC. I had just found out I was pregnant a couple of months earlier, and knew regardless of gender that I wanted to go with a woodland themed design. He finally found a home at the top of this sweet mobile. He seems happy there.

And there you have it. After tying together a few wooden embellishments and then tying those to the yarn-covered branch, it was ready to hang! Once I had all the supplies and really dove into the project, it didn't take long at all. The hardest part is the planning. That's it, enjoy, and thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Into the woods: a nursery design

Well here it is. I've finally managed to put together a post about the new nursery! I honestly think nurseries may be my favorite decorating project. I love to concept and plan, and then buy all the quirky little details. Here it is, the 'nursery' side of the room:

 And here's the 'guest' side of the room. I spent several weeks in this bed getting adjusted to a newborns sleep pattern. Again.

Our task was fairly simple this time. Being our second baby, I knew exactly what I needed/wanted and what I could live without. First on the agenda, move the crib in. This wasn't as easy as it sounded since I needed to transition little E into a big-girl bed. Once she figured out the kind of freedom that came with an open-sided sleeping area, we were done for. It was a challenge but after a week or two we were adjusted.

Next I wanted a good quality rocker. The one I had with E was awkward and uncomfortable, and the wooden arms proved a danger to a thrashing doesn't-want-to-sleep-no-way child. So cushy and cozy it was. I was willing to spend money on this. In fact, it's the most expensive piece of furniture in the whole room. Maybe the whole house?

Then came the dresser. I wanted something small and simple (and maybe in need of some work/creative genius), but the husband talked me into something larger and more convenient, something that would grow with the boy and his needs. To be honest, I love it. Lots of drawers and space on top. Perfect.

The rest of the details came in bits and pieces. Finding something at a store, like the silver deer head, or making a custom pillow cover to match my desired color scheme. Stitched arrows, wooden arrows and an antique camera from a flea market.

Other things happened accidentally, like finding an adorable (inexpensive) crib sheet at Target that matched the decor or the soft blue end table I thrifted for $10. My favorite thing might just be the antique skis my mother gave me. With a little painters tape and craft paint, I added a pop of orange to one, then mounted it to the wall and added hooks for keeping baby outfits handy.

 To be perfectly honest, I love how everything turned out in this room. I had gathered a lot more items to put in the room, but as I went, I came to a point where I decided I liked the calm simplicity. And I stopped. It was perfect. And perfect for my little man.

Flea markets and antique shops are great places to find unique decor. Think about using items in different ways, like how I turned a couple of old cheese boxes into small shelves simply by mounting them to the wall. If you have any questions about items I used please let me know! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Don't forget to washi the edges!

Guess what? I crafted. Yeah, shocking, I know. And I discovered a new use for wash tape. Yes, another one. Pinterest will be so glad.

Finishing the edges of your embroidered hoops! Who knew? I think it adds that little essence of adorable to your creations. Happy crafting!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

First post of 2014! WooHoo!

Yes, almost an entire month into the year. Looks like I have let this blog drift off a bit...I'll have to work on that! Instagram seems to be my social media of choice lately, but I need to sit down and write more, for me, for you, for sanity I suppose.

There's a lot going on right now. Mostly the little boy growing inside my belly, but also a LOT of crafting/sewing.

I've actually been updating my shop more often, so I thought I would throw out some pretty pictures and a free shipping coupon code. So if you plan to buy yourself a little Valentine this year {I totally do that every time I visit Target}, you won't have to waste your money on shipping it.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY chalkboard gift tags: For Christmas and beyond

So chalkboard is all the rage, right? We're well aware of that by now especially if you're a Pinner. I love the idea of chalkboard reusable gift tags but I haven't found any that I fell in love with or that I was willing to pay outrageous bucks for. Enter a random stroll down the craft aisle. I found some wood laser cut tags for Mason jars and my head immediately came up with a brilliant plan. So I bought them. {Of course, it's probably not all that brilliant, in fact, I bet you could find a gazillion tutorials on this exact thing via Pinterest, but we'll just go with my crafty brilliant intuition, shall we?}

So here's what you really need:
chalkboard paint {I happen to always have the stuff lying around…}
painters tape or masking tape
chalkboard pen
wooden tags {I found mine at ACMoore, $1.99 for ten.}

{Ignore that white crayon, I thought it would be a genius idea to use a washable crayon but it hardly showed up on the tag at all. Genius to stupid in one quick stroke.}

Step 1:
Tape your tags where you want the chalkboard paint to end. I made mine simple but you can get fancier if you've got the time. These are fairly small so I wanted to get as much writing space as possible but still keep some of the wood showing. You can paint the whole thing if you want and skip this step entirely. Up to you.

Step 2:
Coat the top with your chalkboard paint. I found it really seeped into the raw wood, so I ended up doing three coats, which really didn't take me that long at all.

Step 3:
Remove the tape and decorate! I ended up using my trusty chalk marker. The crayon didn't show up, the Target chalk pens were too light for what I wanted, and I didn't dare try the white colored pencil since I've previously noticed they don't erase off. Also these were too small to use regular chalk, and I don't want the tags to get accidentally erased in transit, so chalk marker it was.

Ah, aren't they pretty?! And if you're like me and, you have everything else on hand, they only ended up costing me .20 cents a piece!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Mushroom Pincushions: a tutorial of sorts

You know you want to make one of these. Or maybe a few, for your sewing friends this Christmas…

The nice thing is they're boxes, so inside you could store measuring tape or extra pins or really anything you wanted. To get started you'll need a few things. First, the round box. I found mine at A.C. Moore for $1.00 each. How's that for inexpensive project? You'll also need stuffing, scrap fabric, scissors and hot glue/gun. Also you will need paint or wood stain, depending on what you choose to do with the bottom. The top pincushions have painted bases, the one at the end of this post has a stained base. Both were easy and quick, but the stained one did need to set outside for a night to get rid of the smell.

Step 1: Sandwich the stuffing in between the fabric and the box lid. Start hot glueing the four corners, keeping the stuffing in between and keeping it a little snug as you go. You want the fabric and stuffing to sit off the top a little to give it that mushroom shape. Once you have the four corners, start glueing the rest of the fabric to the lid.

Step 2: Once you've completed that, trim the excess fabric down, leaving enough to glue inside the edge.

Now here's the options part. You can go over and inside with the glue and fabric like I did, or if you don't have enough room when the lid is on the base {mine was fairly loose} then you may want to explore other ways to finish the edge. I tried cutting the fabric so there would be nothing glued to the inner portion of the lid.

I also tried glueing close to the top of the lid, trimming the fabric and then glueing on a piece of ribbon to keep everything hidden and snug. I honestly didn't like this option so much. It made things a little busier in my opinion. BUT if you want to do it that way, go ahead! Like I said, There are options at this point. What you do with them is up to you!

And then, you're pretty much finished! You can rework the stuffing a bit to get a better shape if you need to, but regardless it will look like a little mushroom when you're done.

PS: I do apologize for the photo quality. I was experimenting using my phone to capture the process and have come to the conclusion that I need to suck it up and pull out the big camera next time…

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