Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fabric Roses Embellished Throw Pillow

After deciding to “upgrade” the couch cushions in our household, there was one pillow remaining that I couldn’t bear to get rid of without first attempting to update it myself. Using blue cotton fabric (because the pillow itself was brown and I love a good brown/blue combo!), I cut out a 4” and 6” circle. Using the 6” circle, I cut in a circular motion until reaching the center of the circle so that, if picked up from the center, it formed what looked like a coil. After spreading the coil out, I began using a glue gun to glue the tail of the fabric to the outside edge of the 4” circle, coiling it around and securing with glue until reaching the center of the circle. I created two smaller rosettes using 2” and 4” circles and glued all three to the upper corner of the pillow. TADAH!!!

There are a MILLION other ways to create fabric rosettes, carnations, poppies, you name it, there is a way to recreate it using fabric. Here is a cool link that gives instructions for a variety of them!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Wooden Name Nursery Decor

As soon as my brother and sister-in-law decided on a name for their baby-to-be, we took a little trip to Pat Catan’s, our local craft store here in Pittsburgh (which, I might add, is the BEST!) and immediately bought 4” letters to spell “CAMDYN.” Knowing that the baby’s room would be pink and green, we alternated pastel pink and green paint on each of the letters and created polka dots in the opposing colors then glued ribbon to the backs of each letter to hang on Camdyn’s wall.

Note: There are some AWESOME circular sponge brushes at most craft stores that are FABULOUS for polka dots and such (especially for people like me who can't draw a symmetrical shape of ANY sort on my own)!

What kind of aunt would I be without posting a pic of my fave lil' cutie pie?!?!?!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making It Work!!!

Project Runway
Soooo pumped about the new season of Project Runway!!! It never ceases to amaze me what these incredible people are capable of! So far, I am a big fan of Bert (aka "The old guy") and Anya (aka "Gorgeous side mohawk model girl"); however, my heart will always belong to my someday BFF, Tim Gunn!

Blossoming Tree Centerpiece

I am all about designing on a dime, so I decided to borrow from the bounty of free items Mother Nature has to offer. Using a square vase that I have had forever, I filled it with a variety of “river rocks” (that I couldn’t find in nature, so I bought from a dollar store) and placed three of my favorite branches found outside into the vase. To make the flowers, I used five sheets of tissue paper that I folded like a fan and cut into 4” pieces (for smaller flowers). I used jewelry wire to wrap around the center of each tissue paper fan, leaving a tail of wire to be used later. Carefully pull each layer of tissue paper toward the wire in the center on one side and do the same to the opposite side. Once your flower is completed to your satisfaction, use the wire to twist around any part of the branch you would prefer. Repeat this process until your “tree” is decorated the way you want.
In case you’re as much of a visual learner as I am, here is a link showing how to make a variation of tissue paper flowers somewhat like mine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Faux Fascinators in Honor of the Royal Wedding

The wedding "guests"-Julie, Alison, me, and Jen

Ok, so the royal wedding was months ago, and I’m a little late in posting this, but I figured the royals were hyped up enough in April that they needed a refresher in July! The night before Will and Kate’s big day, my mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and nieces got together for some pre-wedding festivities not limited to making our very own fascinators using tulle, flowers, feathers, sequins, butterflies, bird, pipe cleaners, a glue gun, and anything else I could grab from my craft supplies or the Dollar Tree. I think the final projects gave the fascinators worn at Westminster Abbey a run for their money, don’t you??? 

My niece, Adrienne and I showing off our head gear

Monday, July 25, 2011

Owl and Panda Canvas Tote Bags

I recently found some blank tote bags in my craft storage bins and, seeing as how I can’t leave anything untouched, I immediately decided to start decorating them. I found a few clip art pictures online that I decided to use as a guide and began getting to work. Using my personal stock of felt, I cut out and glued various pieces together and onto the bag to make a panda bag and an owl bag.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Easy to Make Accent Pillows Using Upholstery Samples

Awesome accent pillows using fabric samples

I have zero shame in admitting my love for and possible obsession with craft stores, but my most recent trip to Joann Fabrics proved that my constant observation and shopping was not done in vain. My husband and I recently bought new bedspreads for the bedrooms of our new house but were not willing to spend the money on the accent pillows that went with the bedspreads. On my trip to Joann’s, I spotted a huge area in the middle of the store with fabric samples. I high-tailed it over to the samples to see if they would work for the pillows I wanted to make and to check on the cost, only to find that they were $2 each. Not bad! As I began to dig (‘cause the good stuff is ALWAYS at the bottom), the fabulous salesperson informed me that they were all 50% off, making them $1 each. Score!!! I snagged three samples that would match one bedspread, three to match a second, and a few I thought were too cute to pass up, despite not knowing what I could use them for.
Here is a picture of what each fabric sample I picked up looks like

I bought two yards of gray fabric for the backs of the pillows and cut out and pinned the fabric to the samples as soon as I got home. After running the sewing machine around the edges of the pinned fabric, leaving a gap of about three inches, I used Poly-fil for stuffing and hand-sewed the pillows shut. I could not be happier with the result!
Completed pillows with bedding in bedroom #1
And in bedroom #2

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Elephant Themed Baby Shower

Baby boy bowtie onesie
My sister, Kyra, is expecting her first child, a little boy, in September, which means many things…tons of diapers, loads and loads of laundry, late night feedings, and eventually race cars, mud pies, and high speed chases around the house. But before all of that, it means another reason to throw a themed party to celebrate her BABY SHOWER!!!  Kyra chose elephants as her nursery theme, so we incorporated them into the shower, along with the colors blue and lime green.  We started with the basics…lime green and baby blue table cloths, blue plates and cups, lime green silverware and napkins, and baby blue and lime green  balloons and streamers.  I also cut elephant shapes out of craft foam, added a googly eye and foam polka-dots to each elephant and used them on the walls of the shower room. In addition, we purchased six blow-up elephants (found in the Target “One Spot” I might add) for added d├ęcor and whimsy.

Tables set up and ready to go!

Makeshift clothesline featuring handmade and store-bought clothing, as well as adorable blowup elephants!

More table decor...Notice the elephant confetti on the table courtesy of Martha Stewart's elephant stamp and punch
Food table
Since my mother was recently gifted with multiple boxes of empty baby food jars, we decided we wanted to incorporate them in some way into the favors or centerpieces.  As a result, we decided to use them for cupcakes in a jar to duel as favors for guests to eat at the party or take home to enjoy later AND to arrange them in a way that they could also function as table centerpieces.  We filled each jar about 1/3 full of “Whoopie pie” batter (recipe included) and placed them into cupcake pans so that they didn’t fall over in the oven. After baking them at degrees for minutes, we let them cool and eventually place in the fridge overnight, since we wanted to wait until the last possible moment to add icing and sprinkles. The following day, we added icing to fill each cupcake jar, leaving about ½” of space for sprinkles and to twist on the cap. We had previously cut out fabric circles using pinking shears to put on the tops of our jars and tie with ribbon in coordinating colors and add a tag thanking guests for attending and a spoon. I then found four-packs of green, plastic plates, blue plastic plates, green, plastic cups, and blue, plastic cups and glued the bottom edge of each cup onto the bottom of the corresponding colored plate, creating a simple, cake stand to place the cupcakes on.

Decorated cupcake in a jar

Cupcakes on their homemade cake stand

Another glance

Games included a baby pool where guests indicated what they thought the baby’s name, age, weight, and date of birth would be, and a baby-themed guessing game, where tables of guests played in teams to answer questions related to having and raising a baby (for example, “How many diapers does an average mommy change in two years?” The answer, by the way, is an astounding 7,200!!!).  Since my sister is not revealing the name of her little man, we also decided to give each guest seven Scrabble tiles(2 vowels, 5 consonants), markers, and construction paper. The idea was to come up with a name for baby using as many of the letters as possible and write down the final name on the piece of construction paper. Kyra would then chose her two favorite names from the options provided and give their creators prizes.

Team #1 ready to win!

The final activity we had guests participate in at the shower was to take a piece of cardstock with a letter placed on it (one page for each letter of the alphabet). The guests were directed to decorate the page with words and pictures of objects beginning with that letter so that, when the activity ended, the pages would be compiled to make baby’s first alphabet book.

Decorating Baby Boy's alphabet book pages

Here are a few more pics from the shower just for funsies!!!
Punch with rubber whales for added cuteness

My BFF Tammie made these adorable elephant cookies

The mommy-to-be holding the elephant pillow I made for my future nephew
Holding the beautiful and super-soft car seat cover my grandmother knitted for her future great grandson

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Felt Stuffed Owls

Camdyn's owl friends

Using felt, I concocted these stuffed owls for my sweet little niece, Camdyn! At almost eight months, she’s not old enough to do anything but chew on them, but she looks ADORABLE doing so! Since my mommy dearest bought me a sewing machine for my 30th birthday, I decided to start simple. Here are the directions…

Little Miss Camdyn...How cute is this face???

Materials for one felt owl:
-8.5x11 felt sheet (I used green, purple, and camouflage for the pictured owls)
-felt scraps in corresponding colors (two wings, beak, two eyes, two feet
-pinking shears
-fabric scissors
-sewing machine
-needle and thread
Glue gun/glue sticks
1. Fold felt sheet in half and trace the owl shape on one side
2. Using pinking shears, cut through both sides of felt along the traced shape
3. Using fabric scissors, cut out two large, two medium, and two small circles to complete the eyes of the owl, two feet, beak, and two wings in the colors chosen
4. Glue the cut out shapes onto one owl-shaped piece of felt using a glue gun
5. Placing the felt  with the right sides toward each other, pin along the sides of both of the cut pieces of felt
6. Sew along the edge of the owl shape leaving a gap of about three inches for stuffing around the area in which the owl’s feet would go.
7. Turn the sewn fabric inside out so that the right side of the owl is now facing out.
8. Stuff the owl with Poly-fil and hand sew the existing gap

Bonus Owl: I found some camouflage patterned felt lying around, so I decided to make another owl for my 1 1/2 year old cousin, Cole. With parents who are avid hunters, I thought I might as well start his camo obsession early (if it hasn't started already).

Now for some shameless niece promotion...My sister-in-law recently entered Camdyn into the Gerber Generation Photo Search Scholarship contest. If you want to vote for this little sweetie pie, we would LOVE it. You must "Like" it on Facebook first then you can vote up to one time per day for the remainder of the month of July. Here is the link:​rphotosearch/entry/143685/camd​yn.aspx

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Simple Decorative Mugs

Mugs made as prizes for a baby shower
This is one of the simplest craft projects to complete! Use ceramic markers, which you can buy at any local craft store OR Sharpies (which I think are one of the greatest items ever invented) to decorate a ceramic mug, plate, piggy bank, or anything else you can imagine. If you make a mistake and a wet paper towel won’t take it off, nail polish remover will! Once you feel you are done with your design, place the item in the oven at 250 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool and begin to use! I have used this idea for gifts, personal use, and with my Daisy Girl Scout troop and it is always a hit!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Placemat Pillow

Here’s an easy one for you! Using three placemats purchased at a dollar store, I sewed two together with plaid sides facing each other (opposing side of each placemat was a solid color)along the edges, turned it right-side-out leaving a gap for stuffing, which I filled it with and hand sewed it shut. Using half of a third placemat, I cut ½” strips of fabric and twisted them into rosettes, which were sewn onto the pillow. 
The End!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Onesies Decorated Using Iron On Transfers

Onesies for Baby Boy Tanner

Although I don’t have any kids of my own (yet), I am no stranger to all things baby. I grew up with baby cousins, worked in daycares and now have nieces, nephews, and second cousins I love and adore. One thing I can’t understand is the price of cleverly-worded onesies! I mean, the kiddo wears it a few times and if he or she doesn’t ruin it with food, spit up, or other fluids, it is worn a few more times and grown out of. My solution??? Buy a five pack of onesies at Target for around $7.00 and buy iron-on transfers to come up with my own. Using (non-copyrighted) images found, clip art, and Microsoft Word Art, I was able to come up with five onesies and a bib for my sister’s baby boy, scheduled to arrive in September.  Word to the wise: Make sure you invert any and all letters before printing onto iron-on transfer paper or it will show up BACKWARDS on your onesie. (You would think making the mistake once would force me to always make sure I did it correctly but, uh, not so much!)

My sister's maiden name is "Beaver," hence the bib
Guess whose parents are Republicans???
Helping mommy and daddy to look on the bright side of late night feedings and diaper changes
Because even the littlest gentleman need to be fancy from time to time
Added Bonus Onesie: I should also mention that we also made a long-sleeved shirt for my brother’s baby, Camdyn, with the message “Auntie Kyra and Uncle Michael are bringing me a COUSIN” to announce my sister’s pregnancy news to my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. While Camdyn was NOT a huge fan of her extra outfit change, the announcement was a HUGE success!
Camdyn "enjoying" her announcement onesie

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Laundry Room Sign

Before moving into our new house, I used my spring break to binge on craft projects. Using the Cricut machine (which I ADORE) I got for Christmas, I cut letters to spell the word “LAUNDRY” and placed them the way I wanted them on a blank sign I purchased at a dollar store years ago and painted white using two coats of acrylic paint. In retrospect, I would NOT have glued the letters onto the sign using scrapbooking tape as I did, because it was a HUGE pain to take the letters off after painting over them. I would suggest using simple Scotch tape rolled up and placed on the backs of each of the letters as “flatly” as possible. Paint over the letters (carefully) and sign completely using 2 coats of another color acrylic paint (I used a mint green) and let dry. Once dry, carefully peel off the letters to reveal the color underneath of the top coats. Using a glue gun, place three clothespins (I painted mine white, but you wouldn’t necessarily need to do the same) along the bottom of the sign to use for un-matched socks or to hold dryer sheets. Spray a clear acrylic lacquer over the entire sign and clothespins and let dry. Using a 24” ribbon, thread each side of the ribbon into the holes in the sign and tie bows on each side for hanging.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leukemia Awareness Bracelet

Here are some pics of my incredible, twelve-year-old cousin, Dustin! Dustin is an avid athlete and all-together well-rounded kid. He is an incredible soccer and football player, soloist in his school’s choir, flute player, and has the most amazing character of any child I have ever encountered! On December 23rd, 2010, when he was just 11 years old, doctors discovered that the result of the pain Dustin had been feeling in his legs was a result of ALA Leukemia. While the rest of us were wrapping last minute gifts, spending time with family and putting goodies in the oven for Christmas day, this amazing guy was beginning the fight of his life. Throughout Dustin’s treatments and medications, he has exuded positivity and light and, to say he has been an inspiration to all of us, would be an understatement.  He has taken his medications and chemotherapy treatments like a true champion and continues to epitomize what myself, my family, and everyone who knows Dustin, would call a HERO!
As orange is the color of the leukemia awareness ribbon, I made each of my family members a bracelet similar to the one shown (the boys all got more masculine looking ones!). I also made my Aunt Patty (Dustin’s mom) earrings to match, as she has been SUPERMOM through all of this and never ceases to amaze me with her hope, perseverance, and never-ending love for her children. Maybe the next craft project I make will be a cape for Aunt Patty ;0)

Dustin’s siblings have also demonstrated their commitment to their brother’s battle by having  blue t-shirts made in honor of Dustin that display “Team Dustin” on the front and the Leukemia Awareness ribbon, along with the phrase “Stay Strong” on the back. Each member of my family, along with many other friends and family members of Dustin own and proudly wear these t-shirts to cheer on their favorite superstar. In order to expand that support to the K-9 division, I bought a blue doggie t-shirt and ironed on a “Team Dustin” phrase for our pup, Reese to wear, as well! While Reese was NOT the biggest fan of wearing said t-shirt, she LOVES Dustin and is also cheering him on in his battle against Leukemia!

If you are interested in cheering on Dustin, as well, feel free to join his Facebook page!/pages/Dustin-Beaver/184941771518036

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Steelers Dog Bandana

Pittsburgh's furriest fan

Our dog, Reese, a nine-month-old golden retriever, often becomes a “model” for some of the crafts I make. While she is never fond of modeling, she will always put on a good show for peanut butter or string cheese (cheap date!).  As a Pittsburgh resident, I OBVIOUSLY love me some Pittsburgh Steelers! As a result, my poor puppy became the brunt of my Steelers-themed craft idea when the team went to the conference championships. I used yellow, black, and white ribbon scraps, along with my awesome mini Bowdabra® to make little hair bows that I put onto ribbon-lined alligator clips. Next, I got ¼ yards of Steelers fabric and cut out a large triangular shape, folding the straight edge of the triangle about 1” and sewing along the edge in order to slip Reese’s collar through the “bandana.”  Peanut butter and a fast camera enabled me to snip a quick picture of our girl in both of her accessories before the game began. Mission accomplished!!!

Our little "Reeseter" Bunny
Around Easter time, I used pinking shears on white and pink felt to make “Reeseter Bunny” ears. I hot glued white pipe cleaners to the backs of the ears to make them sturdy and flexible then folded them under and glued them to an elastic headband, which fit around her head long enough to sit for her cheese and allow me to quickly snap a picture to send to all of my friends. Good girl, Reese! Good girl!