Category Archives: Crafts and Gifts

Some Geeky Woodburning

In preparation for our Ugly Geeky Sweater Party, I’ve begun making our

tacky door prizes. ¬†Here’s the first one!

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Filed under Arts and Crafts, Crafts and Gifts

DIY Baby Snuggler Swaddle Wrap

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Part II of the recent baby shower gift I put together. These snuggler swaddle wraps seem to be popping up on all the registries lately and so I thought perhaps I would make a pattern so my lovely friends could have them in patterns of their choice (instead of the limited styles they have at the store). I made this one as part of the most recent baby shower gift I put together and in doing so I was able to make it out of really cute flannel monster fabric…and I was able to save $20.00 over the cost of the swaddler at Target. The way I see it…that’s win/win. After all If I can make it for less….my friends get more ūüôā

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First I started by googling snuggle swaddlers so I could break down the pieces needed to create one of my own. There are a surprising number of free patterns from sewing to knitting. I took the opportunity to really assess a few for sewing and then drew out my own. Above is the pattern I made by taping together a few pieces of paper (I used some from the last presentation I went to at work so as not to waist fresh printer paper but do as you like. News paper works well for patterns as well and allows for less taping on small projects like this) and then drawing and cutting out the basic pattern. The straight areas of these patterns line up with the center fold of the fabric you are using. Next iron fabric and cut out both pieces twice (once for the outer shell and once for the liner)

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Next sew together pleats where all of the triangle cut outs appear in the pattern above -2 sets at the feet and one set at the shoulders (as you can see I added two pleats to the bottom of the main piece so it would line up with and match the front pocket piece). Then line up your outer shell and your liner (with the outer patterns facing in and sew from foot pleat to foot pleat leaving an opening between the pleats. Turn both pieces right side out and iron.

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With the outer shell patterns facing in again line up the bottom foot pleats of the main body and the front pouch and sew from armpit to armpit. I used my surger to finish off the fabric at the toes to remove all raw edges. Then flip right side out for an almost completed project. At this point you can happily hold up your very recognizable swaddler and parade around the room proudly showing what you have accomplished.

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Finally attach Velcro as your securing method. I placed a strip of Velcro on the top of the front pouch for the first fold. I placed two pieces horizontally and one piece vertically for the second fold (this allows the front piece to be adjustable based on the size of the baby).

**Update…the swaddle and sleep sack were a great success. Another successful baby shower gift complete.

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Filed under Budget, Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Motherhood, parenting

DIY Baby Sleepsack

20141117_124520¬†Baby sleepsacks are all the rage throughout the winter months as they keep new babies nice and warm without new parents having to worry about bulky blankets which are a risk for smothering and infant death. Sleepsacks can be purchased at just about every baby store and online registry these days…but many are expensive¬†and there are limited prints and styles. Here is one I made as a baby shower gift for a friend – the total cost was (hopefully my friend doesn’t see this post) about $5.00. There are many variations (zippers in the front instead of snaps, or Velcro along the sides, or even kimono style wrap front designs), no matter which style you choose these are always sure to be a big hit.

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I started by picking a fabric I knew my friends would enjoy (they had registered for other fun monster print items) and then I mapped out a pattern. If you already have a sleepsack handy you can literally just trace the one you have. If you don’t you can make a paper pattern by looking up different styles as I did here. (I also used a baby onesie (3-6months) when creating the pattern to ensure the neck and arm holes would be big enough for baby to fit into them comfortably.)

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Next cut out the pattern  x 4- front and back of the outside and front and back of the liner. I used a crushed velvet material for the liner and a flannel for the outer shell. Then sew from armpit to armpit leaving about 3 inches of space on one side (this will allow the sleepsack to open so the baby can be placed inside). You can see my opening where I have left pins in the liner.

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Flip the two pieces inside out and stuff the outer shell into the liner and sew together the arm pit holes and the yolk of the neck. You can close the top of 3 shoulders but leave one open so you can turn the sack right side out.

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Open the whole you have left at the top of the shoulder and proceed to stuff the sack through it turning the whole thing right side out.

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Now you only need to close up one hole and get ready to add buttons or snaps. I used a blind hem to  close the top of the shoulder so it would match the other three however you can use a straight stitch over the top after you tuck in all the raw unfinished edges.

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Finally add buttons to the top for a clean finished look and snaps to the insides of one shoulder and the open side. I used the button on the left to secure the left shoulder (it doesn’t open). The button on the right is just for decoration as safety snaps are what the parents actually use to close the garment up. Vowalla one happy custom sleepsack ready for a new baby.

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DIY baby fairy or ballerina

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I originally made these little tutu’s as a baby gift for a friend but just love them as regular dress up box items or fun, quick and easy Halloween costumes for the little ones. Whether this costume is to play in around the house, or wear over to Grandma’s for the first Halloween Oooooo’s and Ahhhh’s, these little skirts are sure to please! Here’s how you make them…

First assemble your needed supplies… elastic for the waist band (measure a little snug or short the measurement by an inch or two on the baby or child so that it still fits once you add all the fluff), needle and thread, measuring tape, pins, scissors, and tulle/ribbon in various colors.

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Lay out the tool on a flat cutting surface – measure and mark the width you want your strips to be -and place a pin in each to hold them together? I doubled over the tulle I had, and then layered three pieces together so I could cut the whole skirt all at once. If you have a rotary cutter and sewing mat this process goes crazy quick! (Remember to make the length of the strips twice the length you want them to be for the finished skirt. Each piece will be folded over and looped around the waist band as the attachment method.)

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Once you have all of your strips of ribbon and tulle cut into equal lengths, make your waist band for them to loop around. Make sure to make the waist a little smaller than the actual child. Once you start adding the fluff the elastic will stretch a bit and the final size will actually be bigger than you start with.

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Finally Take two to three pieces of tulle at a time or a piece of tulle and a piece of ribbon and match them up one on top of the other. fold all three pieces in half and loop them around the waist band making a small knot at the waist band to hold them in place. You want to make sure to have multiple layers of tulle in each loop to ensure the skirt is nice and full. Also having multiple colors in each loop creates a nice depth and whimsy.

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Aaaaaaaand vowala you have an adorable and fun tutu or fairy skirt in no time!

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DIY Wedding Dress

Back in April I had the great privilege of making a wedding dress for a good friend of mine. I hadn’t made a wedding dress since I worked in the costume department during my college years (so needless to say I was a bit rusty), but I had a friend in need and so I set out to make the dress she had been envisioning for the last year. Truthfully, my friend had been very wise and had picked out and ordered her dress a year before the wedding. However, when the dress arrived a mere 3 weeks before the wedding it wasn’t right. From the fabric, to the design, all the way to the size the dress was wrong. Panicked and overwhelmed with the final weeks of wedding planning she had resigned herself to buying a simple cocktail dress at a department store to get married in…but for me that simply wouldn’t do! So one duct tape manikin, 6 yards of dupioni silk, and 72 pearl buttons later I was helping her into her dress for the wedding. AND I am happy to report she was happy with the final product! Here is a quick breakdown (in pictures) of how I made her dress in 3 weeks (while still working my normal job, cleaning my house, and attending pre-wedding / bachelorette functions etc ūüôā

First we bought a long night shirt and a roll of duct tape and I made a duct tape manikin of my friend. (By doing this I was able to make the dress to fit her perfectly from the start. We didn’t have time for extra alterations later.

 Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I created the general shape of the dress with a basic white satin (this will become the under slip and guide for the rest of the dress). My friend wanted a deep sweetheart neck line, low back and mermaid fit through the hips…so I pinned and created seams accordingly. (I also added corseting style boning and cups at this point so my fiend wouldn’t have to worry about an uncomfortable strapless bra. This dress was made to stay up throughout the ceremony and party without any unsightly tugging or adjusting!)

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Always make sure you look at the dress from every angle ensuring you have extra fabric for finishing seams and zippers later!Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Next I began laying the Dupioni silk over the top of the Satin under dress. Achieving the right look with ruching or folds can be difficult. If you are going to attempt this type of project take as much time as you need at this point and get the fabric to lay properly. Pin and re-pin as necessary without getting discouraged. Trust me it’s worth it in the end to do it right at this point ūüôā

Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Once I had the front pinned I began working on the back. To some degree the back of the dress can be more difficult than the front as a result of the zipper. For this dress I started by creating the folds on one side of the zipper and then moved to the other side working to ensure everything would match up perfectly once the dress was zipped.

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Next I closed all of the seams (which can be tricky keeping all of your ornate folds in place properly and the only piece of advice I can give is lots of pins and lots of patience!)

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Next (and I’m sorry I don’t have pictures of this part) turn your new lovely dress inside out and sew the top of the under dress to the actual wedding dress and then turn right side out again. This will create an invisible hem at the bust line and a clean finish to the whole dress effectively hiding all of your seams (the seams of the dress face the seams of the under dress so you can’t see the seams at all). Once this is complete ensure the bust line is laying properly and make any adjustments necessary to ensure it won’t bubble or pucker.

 Created with Nokia Smart Cam Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Finally insert zipper using the invisible zipper method, attach buttons down the back of the dress covering the zipper (if desired), add any details such as rhinestones or feathers you wish to have, and hem the bottom (You will need your lovely bride to be in her wedding shoes of choice for this last measurement). Vowalla one wedding dress custom made and ready to wear.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam(I also added a bustle to the back of this dress so she could dance the night away without worrying about people stepping on the train.)

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From Clock to Shadow Box

A couple of years ago, we bought a thrift store clock to gut out its gears for our Steampunk costumes.

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We have had a lot of upheaval in our home and have been forced to go through all of our crap and decide what stays and what goes. When I got to the clock I decided to keep it–but only if I immediately put it to use. ¬†This was one of the fastest and easier projects I’ve done in a while.

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Old clock

I wanted a shadow box, but I couldn’t decide what to put in it. ¬†I’m trying to incorporate my girlier tastes with my family’s more Geeky tastes in our family room and my husband’s more masculine taste as well. ¬†So I decided on our family crest, since we are Genealogy geeks, it is fun and adds some heritage and character to the space.

Added Paint and family crest display

I kind of love it and can’t wait to finish the wall around it and hide those cords.

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A little coat of paint works wonders.

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With a glass chess set to finish off the look,

some charcoal paint made quite a difference in 

this antique and made it flow better with our room.

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Pioneer Day Treat/Craft

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Pretzels sticks, peanut/almond butter, Bananas and Blueberries make a covered wagon.

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Filed under Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY, Family, Holidays

School Store Ideas

The end of the year is upon us, and for our family, that means finding crafts for our kids to do in their economics classes.  I scoured Pinterest, but it was rough finding any kid store tested ideas.  Here are some ideas for those who are interested.

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My 5th grader used a wood burner and a metal engraver.  I had to help with the wood burner, so she drew or wrote, and I burned.

The metal washers were between 16-23 cents each and we only spent about $10.  Washers make for easy necklaces too.  A big bag of wooden ovals was $1.

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Next, the 5th grader did origami boxes, crocheted friendship bracelets, and monogrammed scrapbook papers. The engraver, though, ended up being used by both of the girls 3rd and 5th grade. ¬†Easy and safe to use. The 3rd grader “laminated” (with clear packing tape) print outs of Avengers, Frozen, and Despicable Me characters, among others. ¬†She then hot glued pins on the back.

Also laminated, were round bottle cap circles found on line, and glued with Elmer’s glue into bottle caps. Yes they do stay on and it is a lot easier and cheaper than finding diamond glue. She hot glued black yarn necklaces to the back. The left over circles, when we ran out of bottle caps, worked for cute necklaces for less school play money/tickets.

The 3rd grader’s 2 best necklaces, a BYU engraved¬†washer¬†and a Heart covered engraved washer, she raffled off and made more money than she would have sold them for.

For two kids, we made over 200 items, almost all sold out, and I spent a total of about $17 for both kids.  In turn, they both made a haul in their stores, raking in a total of $1500 in play school money.

Items they liked from other kids’ stores were: Flour filled Balloons referred to as “Keith” and cute clay accessories for Keith. Clear stone with pictures behind it, glued to a magnet. Designer Duct Tape bows for hair things. Rainbow looms were popular to make, but less to buy. Leather worked bracelets. Paper boxes labeled as “grab bags” with stickers inside. All sorts of food items (Although only the 5th grade was allowed edible items.) Hair Chalking Nail painting Face Painting Hair braiding Beaded Jewelry

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Rainbow Loom Fish Tail Instructions With Pictures

This is probably the easiest bracelet to make and it is super easy.  It only takes two pegs.  You could put 2 thumbtacks on a board and get the same results.

ImageStep 1: Loop first band in a crazy 8 twist over two pegs.

Step 1Step 2: Place two bands without twisting above the crazy 8 band on the bottom.

Step 2

Step 2

You can see both angles.

Step 3: Using your hook or fingers, take the bottom band on one side and lift it over the two bands above it.

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Step 4: Repeat with the other side.Step 4

It should look like this before step five:

End of step 4

Step 5: Place a new band on top and repeat steps 1-5 using the new bottom band.

Step 5

Step 6: Once you have your desired length, continue steps 1-4 without adding new bands.

Use the last two Loops to hook through a fastener.

Fun suggestion:  A twisted fishtail is a fun change.  Just lay the bracelet out and twist it before closing the bracelet.

Step 6

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Filed under Children, Crafts and Gifts, DIY