Dress Up Your Glasses

I finally had to give in to the reading glasses.  I suppose I really should be calling them the crafting-sewing-knitting-computer-reading glasses. I even splurged on the pretty ones.  But I wanted to dress them up a little and also be able to take them on and off without losing them. 

A pretty beaded necklace for my glasses was the natural choice.  My favorite, colorful, glass beads practically jumped out of my bead box.  I could almost hear them saying, “pick us”! 

If you are new to bead stringing, I found this instructional video Beading Basicsby Karla Schafer to be very clear. Follow her basic instructions but replace the toggle with the eyeglass chain findings and also extend the overall length to about 28”.

This fun and fast project makes a great gift.  But be sure to make yourself one as well.  


Make Gift Tags with Shrinky Dinks

These gift tags were so much fun to make.  I like to use personal and interesting gift tags.  I usually design gift tags on the computer and print on card stock or photo paper.  But my printer isn't working and I've been too busy crafting to fix it.  So... Shrinky Dinks to the rescue.  I cut letter size Shrink Dinks into thirds, used Sharpies to draw the names and designs and baked them for three minutes at 300〫- done!


Make Reusable Fabric Gift Bags

I just got my Christmas wrapping done in record time!  

I must admit that although I’m working on it, I do not have the best “green” practices.  But a few years ago I got thumped with a vision of waste that made me want to change my ways.  There in the school hallway was a veritable mountain of boxes filled with gift-wrap; the fundraiser of choice for schools all over the country. Suddenly, all I could see was a heap of future trash. 

I am definitely a fan of gifts of all sorts enclosed in enticing and attractive wrapping, just waiting for the recipient to undo it and discover what treasures lie within.  But the idea of the money, time and energy spent (albeit for a good cause) on wrapping paper, that is doomed from the start to be trash, jolted me into a project.

I got started at the fabric store where the adorable Christmas prints were just coming in.  Bonus!  They were on sale.  I picked up a yard or two in an assortment of prints and got started on cloth bags in a variety of sizes with drawstring tops.  

• Cut a rectangle twice as long as the intended size
• Fold it over
• Stitch up the sides
• Fold over the top edge creating a casing for a drawstring
• Feed a ribbon or cord through the casing

You really don’t need to do much, if any, planning since all shapes and sizes of rectangles will be useful.

Although it really isn’t critical to the overall presentation, you can take as much or as little care with the details of the casing and ribbon.  A larger coordinating ribbon makes for a very pretty package however a simple cord will get the job done too.

In the end you have saved some trees, had some fun and the “wrapping” can be part of the gift as well.  OR, as my family will tell you… I just gather up all the wrapping bags and use them again next year. 

Polymer Clay Snowman

Polymer Clay is so much fun!  Nicole makes the cutest things using Fimo and Sculpey.  This little snowman has hung on my tree for years.  His scarf is a little delicate but I wrap him up carefully with some tissues and cotton and he has stood the test of time.  A fun winter project that requires just a few supplies and a lot of imagination.


Visions of Sugar Plums - Make a Christmas Pillowcase.

“The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”  Make a Christmas Pillowcase to make the wait for Santa a little more jolly.   There are so many adorable cotton Christmas prints it is hard to decide what to use.  I made pillowcases for the six cousins all in different prints, but each of them have the same Santa print hem.

Use a pillowcase you have on hand as a guide to determine the size. 
I used a generous 5” hem. (doubled over – so you need 11” for both sides and a seam allowance.)
Ribbon, rickrack, lace or other trims will make your pillowcase even more festive. 
Embroidery would be a fun way to personalize it even more.

A fun and easy project for the special child in your life! 
Merry Christmas!


Fleece Jewelry

I love working with fleece.  I’ve been making fleece blankets, fleece scarves and I’m working on an idea for a fleece jacket.  I had some leftover pieces of red fleece and I was fooling around with the sewing machine and look what I came up with!  A fleece brooch!  This one is perfect for the Christmas season but will work year round as well.  I found this vintage button in my Grandmother’s button box and I love the way it finishes my brooch.

• Stack two 4” squares of fleece.
• Use a straight stitch to sew a spiral beginning at the center.  Toward the outer edge, leave enough fleece unstitched so you can trim it into a circle and create a fringe. I like my spiral to be uneven and a bit wiggly. 
• Trim your piece into a circle.
• Fringe the edges.
• Sew a special button in the center.
• Attach a pin back. (A safety pin will work too)
• Fluff the fringed edges

Tips, Tricks and Variations
• Use heavy thread, like hand quilting thread, for a stronger looking stitch.
• Position the pinback at the top rather than in the center.  (In the center position it will likely flop over.)
• Accent your brooch with a colorful print yoyo instead of a button.
• Instead of a pin, sew it to a headband or a purse.


Make a Serving Tray from a Picture Frame

Make a decorative serving tray from a thrift shop picture frame and a pair of drawer or cabinet pulls.


  • Picture frame with glass
  • 2 Handles – Drawer or cabinet pulls
  • Piece of wallpaper, wrapping paper or fabric to fit tray
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam core board
  • Glazier points
  • Knobs for feet (optional)
  • Strong glue (for feet) I prefer Aquarium glue
  • Spray primer (if needed)
  • Paint for frame (if needed)
Get Started:

  • Remove backings and glass from frame.   Find center on each short side of frame and mark spots for drilling holes for handles.  (Handles may be positioned on top or on sides of frame.)  Drill holes. 
  • Clean frame thoroughly.  If necessary or desired, paint the frame. I like to start with spray primer then spray or brush on paint in your choice of color. After paint has dried, attach handles.
  • Using the glass as a template, position, mark the edges and cut the paper/fabric to size.  Mark and cut the foam core board the same size.  Brush Mod Podge onto back of paper/fabric and adhere to foam core board.
  • Now comes the fun part.  Place glass into frame, then foam core board with paper.  If necessary, add another piece of foam core board to fill up frame.  Secure all around inside edges with glazier points.  Now flip over and admire!
  • To finish up, glue “feet” on bottom of frame at each corner using a strong glue. 

Tips, Tricks and Variations:
  • I like to cover entire bottom of tray by gluing on a stiff piece of canvas.  Cut notches at corners for feet.
  • Vary your look with feet made of marbles, river rocks, twigs with bark or corks.
  • Vary your tray top with print fabric, wrapping paper or a wonderful collage of ephemera.
  • If you are not so swift with power tools, omit the handles.  Just embellish with “feet”.
  • You can try finishing your frame with antiquing glaze, milk paint wash, crackle glaze or metallic spray paint.
  • A small picture frame makes an adorable vanity tray.

I love my tray so much I keep it out on display when not in use!


An Easy Craft for Kids

Need an easy craft for kids?  Your kids can make blue mummies or make robots out of supplies you probably have on hand. This was so much fun and even my youngest crafters were feeling creative and successful.  Best of all… no mess! 

You need:
• Juice boxes and water bottles
• Blue painter’s tape
• Mailing labels
• Toothpics
• Markers

1. Drink the juice or water. 
2. Clean the container. 
3. Wrap the container with Blue Tape.
4. Draw eyes and other decorations on the mailing labels and stick them on.
5.  Make arms, antennae, etc with toothpicks.

Have fun!


Make a New Lampshade

This lampshade was way past its prime.  It really didn’t look too bad on the exterior but the interior was looking more and more like a fire hazard every day.  It isn’t a standard size so I knew it would be hard to find a replacement at a reasonable price.  This was a great solution and a fun and simple project.

I found some wool felt, beads and ribbon and got started:
• I stripped the existing shade down to the wire frame. 
• Cut the wool felt to fit the wire frame.  I cut generously so it would drape a bit.
• Sewed the bead and ribbon on the bottom edge.
• Stitched a seam up the back.
• Next I got out my trusty grommet plyers and made grommets about 3” apart.
• Laced the ribbon through the grommets and around the top of the wire frame.

Tie a pretty bow and… it’s lovely!

I haven't used my grommet plyers in so long, I had forgotten how much fun they are.  Now I want to make another lampshade with vintage linen that has a beautiful border.


How to Make a Big Bow

A Great Big Bow is a grand decorating accessory.  A red bow on a Christmas wreath is classic but this Great Big Bow in red taffeta will be stunning.  It is so striking; it can hang alone on the front door.  These big bows are also perfect for pew bows or other wedding decorations.  Once you learn how to make a bow like this, you will want to use them in lots of your creative craft projects.

Cut three basic rectangles of fabric and lining.  Seam then tie.  Now you have crafted a fabulous bow!  Taffeta is my favorite fabric to use for these bows since it is lustrous and crisp.

3 yards fabric (at least 44" wide)
3 yards lining
2 lengths craft wire

Here’s How:
1. For streamers:
Cut taffeta into 2 rectangles each 12” x 108”
Cut lining into 1 rectangle 12” x 108”

2. For bow:
Cut lining into 1 rectangle 20” x 27”
Cut taffeta into 1 rectangle 20” x 55”

3.  Sew Streamers:
Layer and pin piece of lining, then 2 pieces taffeta on top of lining with taffeta facing right sides together.  Sew narrow seam around edges leaving 8” opening along center of one long side.  As you reach each end, angle the stitching to create long pointed tips.  Trim ends, turn and press.  This one long piece will make up the double streamer. Fig 1

4.  Sew Bow:
With right sides together, fold taffeta in half.  Along the 20” end, sew 2” of seam from top and bottom edges toward center. Use a 1/2” seam allowance.  Fig 2

Reposition sewn piece to lie flat with folded edges on each side and seam centered on top.  Place on top of lining piece.  Sew taffeta to lining with 1/2” seams along top and bottom edges. Fig 3

5.  Make a casing for wire out of one of the seam allowances by sewing raw edges closed.  Stitch very close to raw edges.  

6. Now place 2 pieces of wire on top of casing.  Position a tip from each piece near corners then twist wires together in the center so they are overlapping; wrap tightly with masking tape.  Insert into your casing. Turn bow right side out.

7.  Place on ironing board with open-ended seam facing up.  Close opening with a hand basting stitch.

8.  Flip bow on ironing board with front side up.  Pinch and pin 5 pleats down center front.  Baste loosely with double thread through all layers.  Fig 4

9.  Now comes the fun part!  Finish the bow with a single loose knot.  Fold streamers in half lengthwise over the top (wired) center of the bow.  On the back side tie a single loose knot.  Adjust so that the “smooth” vertical part of the knot is in front and the “bumpy” knotted side at the back.  Now fluff and arrange the wired edge and the streamers.

Tips and Tricks
Don’t worry about wire bending while manipulating bow.  You will adjust it later.

If you are displaying your bow on a wreath or rod, loop the streamer piece around both wreath and bow to secure in place.

Bow will look great using taffeta but you can also achieve a beautiful bow with dupioni silk, velveteen or a fun cotton print.

I love my fabulous large bows!


Reupholster Children's Folding Chairs

Oh no... These little chairs were headed for the trash!  I never liked the plastic, juvenile print anyway so I rooted around in my fabric collection and found this cute plaid.   With a screwdriver, a staple gun and a little poly-fil batting I saved them from the dump and now have this adorable set.  It will be great to have these extra chairs for the holidays.

For this kind of project, I prefer the Stanley Light Duty Staple Gun.  It fits my hand nicely, is easy to use and refill.

Last month I reupholstered some dining chairs.  The process for the folding chair is pretty much the same and actually a bit easier.  Give it a try!
CLICK HERE to see how I did these.


Make a Chalkboard & a Mirror

I found these trays at a thrift shop and immediately knew what I wanted to do.  With a drill, some ribbon, chalkboard paint and a craft mirror I have a new look.  It was so fun and very easy.  With some help from my favorite four year old, we made these in about an hour. 

I drilled two holes with a 3/8” bit first.  I found a round mirror that fit perfectly and used aquarium glue for a tight bond.  For my square tray I painted on some chalkboard paint. 

Tie some pretty ribbons in a bow and hang them up!  What fun!


Craft a Christmas Tradition

I’m always happiest when I am making stuff and being creative.  I love the way a few bits of fabric, ribbon and trims can come to life with a pair of scissors, needle and thread and a bit of glue. 

Years ago when I was beginning to collect Christmas ornaments and decorations for my first home, a friend and I got together once a week to make things for our trees.  These ‘guys’ came to life way back then and have been a part of our family Christmas tradition ever since.

Stuffed Gingerbread Men
Here’s what you need:
Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter about 6” tall (or a steady hand to draw one)
A few squares of brown craft felt
6 red sequins
White Baby Rick Rack
Needle and Thread
Craft Glue
Polyester Fiberfill

Cut 2 pieces of felt into Gingerbread Man shape.
Machine or hand sew the front to the back.  By hand, a small overcast stitch will work well.  If you prefer the machine, a small zigzag stitch over the edges is perfect.  Leave an opening along the long side of one leg to stuff.

Gently push the fiberfill into the head, arms and legs.  Pack it rather tight so he will be nice and sturdy. 
Stitch the opening closed.

Create a hanger.  Cut a piece of sturdy thread about 8” long.  Using a needle, poke the thread through the very top of his head about 3/8” and tie off, creating a loop for hanging.

Attach the Rick Rack and the sequins with craft glue.
Allow time for the glue to dry.

Christmas Tree Bears
Make these in much the same way.  Use a cookie cutter or hand draw the bear shape.  A felt bear is perfect but consider other fabrics such as calico.  I used a remnant of ultra suede. 

Use one or two ply of embroidery floss to sew features as shown. 

If your bear is made from a woven fabric, it is preferable to place right sides together and machine stitch the outline.  Don’t forget to leave an opening for stuffing.  Then turn right side out, stuff and close the opening.  Run a length of thread through the top of the head  and tie into a loop to create a hanger.

Tie a handsome bow around his neck and he is ready to hang on your tree.

Christmas Angel

This beauty can stand alone or adorn the top of your tree.  Craft your angel using bits of lace and trim you have or hand pick some special pieces at your local fabric store.

My angel stands about 10” tall.  I used a piece of white, eyelet edged fabric for her gown with another piece of lace trim with gold ribbon up the front.  I used a smaller scrap of eyelet for her collar. 

Gather the gown at the top edge and sew to the neck edge of the face.  No need to fuss over it since the stitching will be covered up by the collar.  Attach the collar, sewing it so that the raw edges are tucked out of sight.  Tack the wings lightly on the nape of the neck and the halo so it forms a half circle that shows on top of her head.The wings and halo are cut out of white felt, edged in small gold braid.  

Her face is made from cotton broadcloth; 2 circles, about 2” diameter sewn right sides together, turned and lightly stuffed.  For hair, I wrapped yellow yarn in a spiral from the center back of the head working out bigger and bigger to the edge of the face.

Use fabric paint or a Sharpie marker to draw her facial features.

Now take the cardboard core from a roll of paper towels and trim it to fit the height of your angel’s body.  Wrap white tissue paper loosely around the core, place it gently into the gown giving her body some shape.  The core will give it stability to stand on a table OR can be place over the top branch of your Christmas tree for a tree topper.

Have fun making these Christmas decorations.  I hope they will become part of YOUR family traditions as they have been for my family.


How to Make a Fleece Scarf With Pockets

I love to wear fleece and I love to make things with fleece even more.  It is so soft and comfy and also easy to work with.  I love the fact that the cut edges do not ravel. Here are three different looks for a fleece scarf.

The camo scarf has cozy hand warmer pockets.  I've written detailed instructions for this one.  

Since I had some leftover fleece when I made my blankets, I decided to add a little ribbon and make a couple more scarves. 

This scarf with hand warmer pockets is so cozy and very easy to make.  I figured out how to do it and made it in less than an hour. You can too!  My finished scarf measures 6” wide x 58” long.  Most fleece comes 58” wide so you will need 3/8 yd of fabric.  Adjust the size and fabric needed for a larger scarf.  The instructions will remain the same.

Fig 1 - Fold the fleece in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  Neatly cut off the selvages. 

Fig 2 - Measure 9” in from each side and mark with a pin.  Using a straight stitch, sew both layers together creating a long rectangle.

Fig 3 - On the cut (not folded) side, trim to about 1/8” from stitching.  Take care to make a nice clean cut.
Sew a tight zigzag stitch 3” from each short end.
Trim each end to make fringe.

Fig 4 - Reinforce the inner line of stitching along the opening of the pocket for extra stability.

Tips and Tricks
I have good scissors, a steady hand and I wasn’t looking for perfection on the fringing on this project, so I cut freehand.  But if you are more cautious try out the Fring'ez - Adjustable No Sew Fringe Cutting Template.  It is a great and handy tool for many projects.

This size is best for a child or woman.  If you would like a larger version for a taller man, simply adjust the dimensions, make the pocket larger and otherwise use the same directions.  You will however need to determine the length of scarf you want and buy additional fabric.  For example if you want your scarf to be 72” long you will need to buy 2 yards of fabric.

I like my scarves to be double thickness but a single thickness will work well too, especially if you use a thicker fleece.

When cutting fleece I love to use my Olfa Rotary Cutter.  It cuts through fleece like warm butter and with a nice clean edge.  To save your work surface, be sure to use the companion self-healing mat. 


Knit a Cupcake

a small cake baked in a cup-shaped container and typically iced.
an attractive woman (often as a term of address).

Webster’s definition seems simple enough… but the world of cupcakes has exploded the past few years.  A decade ago, cupcakes were simply a sugary treat that was standard fare for children’s school parties.  Whether they were baked at home or picked up at the supermarket or bakery; cupcakes had either yellow or chocolate cake and some way too sweet icing slapped on the top.  If it was a holiday, then they came with those funny plastic sticks that had a pink heart for Valentines Day, a black cat for Halloween, a Santa hat for Christmas and so on. 

How did we get from childhood treat to multi million-dollar industry? Did Carrie and Miranda really start this craze when they so innocently nibbled on cupcakes in front of The Magnolia Bakery in a 2000 episode of Sex and the City? By 2009, Slate ran a piece about “the cupcake bubble”. What happened? 

Then in January 2011 Business Week declared, 
“The idea of a cupcake shop filing for an IPO is baffling. But last week, Crumbs Bakery announced it would go public in a reverse merger worth $66 million. Crumbs, which is the largest chain of cupcake bakeries, did $31 million in revenue and $2.5 million in income in 2010. The company's top-selling product cost $3.75.”

We have become a society wild about cupcakes. Perhaps it is just that in this tenuous economy, the simple cupcake has become an affordable luxury.  Seems like most days at least one of my Facebook peeps mentions cupcakes.  It is either wanting one, needing one, making a cupcake run, treating herself to some sort of designer cupcake.  It’s become a new delectable vice.  The deliciousness of it all!!

Princess Beatrice certainly made us giggle when she wore a hat that looked like a cupcake. 

But what else can you crafters do with cupcakes?

Betz White felts sweaters and makes them into adorable ornaments. 

You can knit a cupcake pin cushion like this one from Spud and Chloe

Julie Williams created this darling decoration and shares her pattern at Little Cotton Rabbits


Inedible Jewelry takes the cupcake with this entire plateful of cupcake charms they sculpted in polymer clay! 

These cupcake fans are actually tooling around town in cupcake cars! What fun! 

If you are a fan of ‘everything cupcakes’ there are LOTS of choices not just to nibble on but also lots of craft ideas with cupcake themes.  What is your favorite?