Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Christmassy Front Step

It's coming. The holiday season.

And we're doing things differently this year. I'm pretty sure that Scientist Husband is getting the year off from having to put up Christmas lights on the eaves. He hates doing it and I just won't. We both have a fear of heights (well, ladders, really), so I decided to jazz up the front step instead.

Usually, I have pine garlands and rope lights twisted around the railings, but I got to thinking about these tomato cage porch trees you see all over the Internet (you and I both know that I really mean Pinterest). And, guess what? I don't grow tomatoes, but the past owners of this house sure did leave a tomato cage behind! After jamming the cage into a plastic urn planter, I used my old garlands and rope lights and got to work. I also found an old gold coloured sheer curtain as a garland and topped the tree off with an paper star lantern that I was about to trash.

As I was about to post the picture of my front door, I realized that I completely forgot to post a before & after sequence of my front door colour change from this summer. Ha! You'll just have to imagine that it was a dark taupe before and now it's dark purple. It sounds classier if you call it "deep aubergine", so let's do that instead.

For $0 and 20 minutes of work, I'm pretty satisfied with the front step. You're welcome, husband.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Making a Crayon Roll

My niece is a budding little artiste. She's always been "the quiet one", with big eyes that are always watching. It shouldn't have really surprised us when she started doodling instead of battling to get attention, like her older sister and cousin (who are both loud, crazy confident girls).

After seeing a great tutorial at The Pleated Poppy on how to see your own crayon roll, I knew that my little niece would be getting one for Christmas. Since I started sewing a few months ago, I'm always on the lookout for simple projects to take on. And let me tell you, if you can sew a straight line (actually, lots of them), you can make a crayon roll!

Please read the full tutorial at HERE. This project is completely hers, and I thank her for making her instructions clear and easy to follow.

The only thing I did differently was filling the roll with wood-less pencil crayons, instead of regular wax crayons. I just thought they were neat, since there's no sharpening needed. I also used flannelette fabric throughout the project. I only did this because I liked the prints better than the ones I found in the cotton and canvas sections.

Happy sewing!

Felt Slipper Project

How freaking cute are felt slippers? They just are. Like little elfin shoes.

Felt is super easy to work with, too. And cheap. For a toddler, you can use two sheets of felt, which can cost as little as $.40! When I saw Martha Stewart's tutorial for making a pair of slippers, I (sarcastically) thought, "Great. Let me get comfortable and pour a glass of wine - this could be arduous". But then, it wasn't! In fact, it was a quick and easy project. I winged it without actually printing the template and changed a few things: I sewed a strip of elastic inside the back of the heel for a better fit and drew puff fabric paint snowflakes on the soles for traction. Hey, just because I can sew a slipper does not mean I can draw a snowflake properly.

My normally barefoot little dude fought the slippers at first, but he now calls them his "elf shoes" and will at least pad around in them for my benefit.

You can read the full tutorial on MarthaStewart.com HERE.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Bookmark Corners - Made From Envelopes

Pinterest has pretty much changed the way I look at things. I can't give all credit to a mere website, since it is really a massive collection of creative ideas from thousands of real people and amazing sources.

Disappointed with my recent library book choices a few weeks ago, I scoured my bookcases at home and found a heavy volume of Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I can't believe I've never actually read any of Arthur Conan Doyle's famous stories until now! Since this collection is big and heavy, I really felt the need to have a good bookmark that wasn't a) my library receipt, or b) the 'Cat in the Hat' bookmark that I borrowed from my toddler.

So, inspired by a Pin (yeah, I capitalized that), I made a cute corner bookmark with an envelope and some flocked stock paper. Just cut a corner off an envelope and glue some fancy shmancy paper on it. You can finish the edges in a ton of different ways - I've seen some really neat cutout designs online. I followed the edges of my chosen paper's design. It's pretty and the flocking is soft, so my OCD will be satisfied.

I'm thinking that these handmade bookmarks would make a cute and quick project for kids to make for friends - they can make them as fancy or simple as they want. It would also add a nice touch to a gifted book; a personalized surprise hidden in the pages (I can't be the only one who loves finding surprises in books)!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Kids' Pants for Under $3

You read that right, friends.

I stumbled upon a cute little pair of DIY pants via Pinterest (obviously) that are made entirely from only two bandanas. You can find the tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew (by Stefani from Blue Yonder Ranch) right HERE. Because I actually had bandanas laying around, leftover from my daughter's birthday party - and Halloween, for that matter - I thought this would be a great project to try out. Not only did I have the materials on hand, but I just so happened to start sewing about a month ago and am really enjoying it! (My first project, a sham-type pillow cover was made for the guest room makeover).

My bandanas were originally purchased at the dollar store for a whopping $1.25 apiece. So, if I round up, maybe to account for thread and such, these pants cost about $3 to make. Three freaking dollars, folks!

The site from which I got this tutorial calls these boys' summer pants, but they would be just as cute on girls and/or as pajama bottoms. On my little dude, they are the perfect length (he is 2 1/2 and on the tall side), but can be worn until they are capri length or even shorter. I'd love to see these made in tons of other colours, too.

The only thing that I changed from the original tutorial is that I re-used a waistband from a pair of the little dude's ratty lounge pants instead of buying plain elastic. The original lounge pants still fit around the waist, they were way too short and the knee was ripped. Bonus: I didn't have to measure for the waist and the elastic was already neatly covered by soft fabric, which adds more substance to the finished waistband.

Not only were these pants easy to make, but the little dude LOVES them! Score.