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.