Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Musical Bangles

Hi All!   Sorry I've been a bad blogger lately. I'm working a ton and crafting a lot but it doesn't leave much time to write about my crafts. I'm gearing up for Renaissance Faire season and debating costume ideas. In the meantime I've made these cute sheet music bangles that anyone can do!

     Sheet Music
     Bangle Blanks
     Modge podge & a paintbrush
     Acrylic spray

   Word to the wise: I tried making bangle blanks out of a variety of materials including clay and paper mache paste. Just buy them, none of it works. Actually, most of it is a disaster!

      Cut the sheet music into strips long enough to wrap around the bangle so the ends overlap. Cut a lot of them.

      Paint some modge podge onto a section of the bangle, wrap a strip of the music around it, coat the top of the wrapped sheet music with modge podge.
    Keep adding sheet music in this manner, slightly overlapping with the strips already applied.
    Wait for them to dry (The hardest part for me). Then take outside, spray with sealer, let dry, flip over, spray the other side. Let dry.
    Then wear or share your fantastic new bangles! These make a great gift for cast members of a musical since you can use the music from the show.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Look! We're Famous!

Ok, famous might be a stretch... But we did get a mention on In This Crazy Life's March Tips and Tricks! I shared some of my great grandmother's trips with her on a post a while back and she shared them with the world. Thanks Nana for always knowing how to fix stuff, thanks In This Crazy Life for a fantastic blog, and thanks all of you for reading!

On another note, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and a "Hoppy" Easter. I'm excited to share stuff I cooked and made with you, as soon as life settles down a little bit. Have a fantastic week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Microwaveable Hot Pack Slippers

     So for Christmas I made a bunch of my friends and family microwaveable hot packs to carry or stick in their pockets. One of my brothers likes them for going to class in the winter and some of my friends use them for walking the dog on cold days. I basically sewed a pouch out of denim, filled it with rice, and sewed it closed and had a hand warmer. They were so simple I began to wonder what else I could make into a "warmer". My youngest brother and I are both dancers, and sore feet are par for the course, so for his birthday I made him hot pack slippers. I loved this because I got to scrap-bust, and use some of the rice leftover from the handwarmers I had made for Christmas.
     I started by tracing my brother's (GIANT) shoe onto paper, folding it in half, and cutting out for a pattern. I then cut four "bottom" pieces according to this pattern, and four top pieces that were about half as long as the pattern and a bit wider near the middle of the foot.

     I took two bottom pieces and places them right side to right side and sewed three sides of the slipper leaving the toe area open. I repeated this with the other two bottoms, and the top pieces. I then turned all four pieces right side out. I sewed channels into each pouch from the open end back and used a paper funnel to fill these channels with rice. Do not fill excessively, give the rice a little space. I only filled the channels about half way up. Warning: Do this in an area where a little spilling is ok, it got messy... there was rice everywhere!

     Once the channels were filled with rice I pinned the ends closed. I sewed the ends closed, worked the rice down the channels so it filled them up evenly, then sewed across the pieces, locking the rice in place.

      Next I cut out soles of felt the same size and shape as the slipper and put those to the side. (Denim would work equally well) I placed two of the pieces of the top of the slipper right side to right side and again sewed three sides leaving the toe open. I flipped the top right side out and made channels the same way I did the bottoms, then continued filling them with rice, sewing the toe closed, and then sewing the rice into smaller pockets. After completing both tops and both soles I then machine stitched the tops of the slippers to the foot.

      I took left over material and made binding for the slippers, pinned the felt soles to the bottom of the slippers, pinned the binding around the edges securing the slipper soles, bottoms, and tops together. I used embroidery thread to sew the binding in place.

    I gave these to him with instructions to microwave them for no more than a minute! They kind of flop around, they're not exactly designed for walking in, but they are great for relaxing in!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Disney Autograph Book

     My little bro has a school Disney trip planned over spring break this year and he mentioned that his first stop upon arrival at Disney was going to be to purchase an autograph book. He even had a list of characters who he really really wanted the autographs of,  organized by park! Keep in mind that my brother is 17...
     I vaguely remembered learning how to bind books in high school, so I started planning. I surreptitiously got his list of characters from his desk, copied it down, and put it back before he knew it was gone. I then downloaded a free Disney font and some photos of the characters he wanted autographs from and made pages to go inside the book. I also interspersed a few blank pages and left a number of blank pages at the end. I made sure the book was large enough to double as a photo album when he got back. I printed all these pages, cut them down, grouped them together in bundles of about 5 sheets each, and folded them in half. Then I clamped them together to hold them for the next steps.

     I measured out 5 spots equidistant along the edge of the pages and marked them as points I planned to sew through. I wish I had an awl, instead I used a sharp needle and clear thread to sew the pages together. This was hard! And I managed to stab myself a number of times. If you're doing this, get an awl. After I sewed the pages together I coated the spines in glue and set it aside to dry.

     I used an old shoe box lid for the cover. I cut a front and back cover slightly larger than the pages, and a spine about the size of the book bundle. I used masking tape to hold these three pages together. Then I cut scrapbook paper to go on the cover. I cut it slightly large, and applied it while the book was folded closed to make sure it fit properly.

       Then I printed out a label for the front and added it, plus decorations. Since this was for a guy I decided to keep it simple.
      I took the pages and glued the front and back pages down to the inside covers, then covered them with red cardstock to match the front.
    I used a heavy book to weigh it down and let it dry. I imagine there are multiple ways to bind these, I thin spiral binding would be easy and fun. I also think foam Micky heads or something similar would appeal to the younger crew. I think it is fun to know which characters are most important and make them special pages. I know Cinderella, Belle, and Jessica Rabbit would be on my list. Who would be on yours?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Button Flowers

        Introducing my new basement apartment: I inherited it complete with green shag carpeting pieced together from various relative’s home renovations and the piece vary in color from bright lime to dark olive. In addition to the carpet, there is a black pleather sofa. I’m talking an original sleeper sofa! I’m not exactly sure how to date it, but I can say for certain, it is OLD. Accompanying the retro couch are two super 70s end tables and matching coffee table. The light fixtures look like something out of That 70s Show and in place of a dining room table I have a banquet table that seats 12 and probably came into this house at the same time as my mother came into this world. And no, we have no clue how they got it in and we accept that there is no way we can possibly get it out. Plus, it is one big old room. No separate bedroom. The closet and the bathroom have doors and walls, but that is it.
    Initially I was coming up with every possible idea to remake this place so it didn’t look like some place Hyde and Fez would enjoy special brownies. After a couple days the nightmare carpeting started to grow on me, and I began to see possibilities with the couch and table set. Thus I have a goal: embrace the retro 70s vibe without the headache inducing color and print scheme. Simple and cute. 

            Can I tell you how mad I am that I didn’t take “before” pictures of my basement! I jumped straight into making it liveable and I love it so much now that it makes me sad that I can’t show you the drastic improvements. One of the fantastic crafts that helped to make my basement look livable is crazy easy as well as cute. They’re framed button flowers! Let me tell you something, I love buttons! Buttons make me so happy! I buy them at garage sales, collect them from family members, and cut them off of old garments. So these flowers make me extra happy. Plus it isn't a craft that is limited to my scarily 70s decor, with the right frames, embroidery, and buttons it can work with a wide variety of decorating schemes. The best part is how fun it is as a stash-buster. I spent $0 making these.

            Picture Frames
            Paint and paintbrushes
            Something to protect the surface you’re working on
            Embroidery floss and needles
            Hot glue gun and glue (optional)

     I had paint stashed in my dad’s basement, so I dug that out, and grabbed some old wood frames I had laying around. My goal lately has been to stash-bust so I just used what I had but dollar store frames would work wonderfully too. One of my frames was smaller than the others, I had five total, one of which was 3x5 and all the others were 5x7. I covered my craft table and painted the frames, two dark green, three light blue. I was channeling the 70s vibe to suit the rest of my living space and these colors happened to work perfectly!

    While the paint was drying I played with my buttons! Yay buttons! I sorted my buttons into colored piles, then made pretty colorful flowers out of them, trying different arrangements until I had seven flowers of different sizes I was happy with. I packed up my extra buttons and checked my frames. Dry!

 I LOVE BUTTONS! (ok, back to the regularly scheduled tutorial)

     I cut my fabric to the size of the frames and sewed around the edges so it wouldn’t fray. I then embroidered grass, stems, leaves, and (on some) small flowers. I used three different colors of green, changing up the color combinations and shapes so each one was very unique. If you chose fabric with a tighter weave, and actually embroidered stems and leaves it could even be a very classy look.

      I then plugged in my glue gun (I feel like one of Charlie’s Angels when I use my glue gun, but the cord isn’t long enough for me to play butt-kicking-babe too much). I hot glued all the buttons down in flower shapes on the top of my embroidered stems, let it cool, and put the fabulous flowers into the painted frames. Ta-da! How cute! If you aren't a big fan of hot glue you can always sew your buttons down, I mean, buttons were meant to be sewn after all... 

      Check out the throw pillows, the red and patterned ones are made from vintage fabric I picked up at an estate sale to add a touch of authenticity to my 70s look, the blue one was made from an old sweater. I love the color they add to the black couch and dark basement.