Happy Belated V-Day!

heart tights diy

I hope you all had a wonderful Saint Valentine’s Day :) Ours was so hectic, but beautiful!! Lots of little specials throughout the day ♥

There are many big things happening in my world right now. Everything is hectic! We were in New Orleans over the weekend for my soccer tournament – super fun, but exhausting! Long story short: drove all day Friday, won first game Saturday 3-0, got a concussion in game 2 (we lost), French Quarter in the evening, cheered on my team Sunday (ended up in 3rd place!), and a looong drive home. Enjoyable craziness!

More news to come….but that’s all for tonight 😉 Oh! And you can find the DIY for those adorable heart tights right here, on the pineneedle collective. Make cute things! xo

From across the blogiverse…

As I am exhausting myself at a soccer tournament in New Orleans right now, I thought I could leave you with some fabulous finds from the blogosphere.

Have you noticed that geometrics are totally in right now? I knew that repeating, usually symmetrical geometrics look great on fabric, but I’ve seen crazy assymetrical designs popping up all across Etsy (like this necklace ♡) and Pinterest (like this wall thing) A new fad, perhaps? What do you think? Either way, I like this triangle-themed mobile, spotted over on Smile and Wave. Don’t you want to make one? Project ReStyle: Modern Mobile

I started one of these a while back, but lost motivation. Seeing it again (and accompanied by a tutorial!) makes me want to try again! Weave your own basket out of newspaper with the help of nifty thrifty things:

As a long-time fan of stripes and a new-found lover of crochet, I have to share these crocheted striped hand warmers from the Purl Bee! In case we get another cold snap (hey, it’s possible!), I’ll whip up a pair of these 😀Whit's Knits: Crocheted Striped Hand Warmers

And I must not be quite over Valentine’s Day yet, because I think this simple balsa wood heart on Design*Sponge is just super cute! diy project: scandinavian-inspired wooden heart

And make some adorable kitchen utensil holders with this tutorial from Crafts by Amanda:Make Your Own Kitchen Utensil Holders

Have a fun and crafty Saturday! 😀

a surprise and a good book

Lego creationCreationary

I threw a surprise Lego party for Alex’s birthday Thursday, and I just have to tell you that it was a hit! Good dinner, great friends, and lots of Legos!! I also decorated his cake with chocolate Lego men. [Here’s how: Buy a Lego minifigure ice cube tray. Melt white chocolate and color it yellow. Fill the mold and wait for it to set. Pop out, and draw faces with black icing gel!] It was awesome. He got lots of Lego gifts and afterward we played Creationary. I love theme parties 😀

In other news, I’m in love with this book:

You may have seen me tweet about it a couple times. I’ve now read it cover to cover! It contains tutorials – some are simple and obvious, some are novel and interesting. It gives many ideas for living sustainably (cheaply, resourcefully) by reusing things in new ways, by creating your own natural products instead of buying chemicals, and by many putting to use things you’d otherwise throw away. And it includes a ton of profiles on art projects and artists who have done all these things! There are chairs made from suitcases, chandeliers from eyeglasses, and speakers from paper cups. There are vintage products made new, packaging made into furniture, and a million other trash-to-treasure stories. I’ve found it to be a great source of inspiration, and I bet you’d like it, too :)

Valentine DIY Round-up

No other holiday lends itself to homemade gifts quite like Valentine’s Day. It’s a great way of showing someone you care!

Twig & Thistle helps you sweeten someone’s day with her DIY stickersNaturally Sweet DIY Valentine

Print adorable class Valentines (and find some sweet party ideas) on One Charming Partyprintable class valentine

Roxycraft shares an adorable amigurumi heart patternFree Amigurumi Heart Pattern

I still love these sweet fabric window Valentines from the Purl BeeMolly's Sketchbook: Fabric Window Valentines

String up a heart garland with a DIY from Design*Spongediy project: molly’s crochet heart garland

Dip your own chocolate-covered strawberries with Food NetworkChocolate-Dipped Strawberries

I hope this gives you some ideas for sweetening up your upcoming V-Day! Do you have any crafts already on your list?

Sewing a body pillow

The other “Home Improvements” project I finished last week was a body pillow for our bedroom. I created it to fit into our plan for a cohesive style. I decided to use two fabrics to give it a little extra, and I’m very happy with the result. Though I made a few (fixable) mistakes as I went, it’s one of the few finished products I’ve been able to call perfect.

Body Pillow

Special considerations:

  • Color: I chose silver and grey to fit into our overall palette while contrasting each other enough to express the difference between materials
  • Material: Silk and velvet fit the feel of the room, but they are slightly more difficult to work with. I used a smaller sewing needle and lots of pins.
  • Zipper: Since I want the pillow to last, I included a zipper in the design – this way I can change out the stuffing if it starts to lump, and remove it for cleaning.

Cutting FabricSewing Silk

1. Measure and cut fabric. I used the full width of my velvet, then added enough silk on each end to make it the width of our bed (adding seam allowances).

2. Pin and sew end pieces to middle. I made each silk end piece exactly the same size, then pinned them to the ends of the velvet (right sides facing) and sewed together.

Layout fabricAlign fabric

3. Line up all pieces and trim. I first made this as one large rectangle, then cut it in half (to make the 2 sides) and trimmed each to match up.

4. Pin together. Make sure all your seams are aligned!

Pin ZipperTurn

5. Add the zipper (optional). Design Sponge has a great tutorial here. Put it in a place it won’t be noticed – mine is along the bottom (but not the whole length). Don’t forget to unzip it when you’re done, or turning will be a pain!

6. Pin and sew around. Remember to back-tack! (If you don’t add a zipper, you’d better leave an opening to turn.) Go ahead and trim any bulky seams and clip corners, too.

7. Turn right side out, stuff, zip. (No zipper people: sew the gap closed.) You’re done!

Quick & Easy Cushion Tutorial

Chase on his new dog bed

I made mine to be a dog bed for Chase, but this could also be a floor pillow, a bench cushion, or a million other things – the possibilities are endless!

Supplies:

  • Large pillow case (or fabric, folded) [Mine was $2 on clearance at Ikea!]
  • Fabric scraps and/or stuffing
  • Sewing machine, pins, thread, scissors

Now for the instructions!

Cut seams2 squares and 2 stripsSew strips togetherPin sides to square

  1. Cut your pillow case in half to form a square from the closed end (or cut 2 squares from your fabric). Turn inside out; remove side seams and cut fold so you have 2 squares.
  2. From remaining pillow case (or fabric), cut 2 strips along the cut edge – the width will be the depth of your cushion.
  3. Cut one side seam off each piece, so that they are strips instead of circles (each should now be the length of 2 sides of your square – the seam in the middle will be a corner).
  4. Pin the 2 strips right sides together. Sew each end. You now have the 4 sides of your cushion, forming a square.
  5. Pin the sides to one square of fabric, right sides together. Sew around.
  6. Now pin the second square to the open sides. Sew, leaving a 4in. gap.
  7. Turn and stuff! [I used fabric scraps I’ve been saving forever!] Sew gap closed.
  8. Place in a cozy place and add sleepy dog (Optional ;))

Sew, right sides togetherLeave 4" gap for turningStuff with fabric scrapsscrap-eating monster! nom nom

I tried to make this really simple, so I hope it makes sense for everyone. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions! Now go make and enjoy your quick & easy cushions 😀

Sleepy dog on his new dog bed

Holiday Bread Jars

Homemade Holiday Bread in a Jar

My friend Mary and I love giving home-baked gifts. And since she is an amazing chef, I asked her to help me come up with one we could bake in jars and mail to friends. She created this amazing recipe for holiday bread!

Ingredients:

  • 8 8-oz Ball jars
  • 2c flour
  • 1-½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¹⁄₈ tsp nutmeg
  • 1c buttermilk
  • 1c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1c peeled, diced apple
  • ½ c dried cherries (you can substitute raisins or craisins)
  • 1c chocolate chips

Instructions:

Recipe & ButtermilkChop ApplesZest over bowlWhish wet and dry ingredients

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease Ball jars.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, sugar, eggs, oil, zest, and vanilla.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry mix. Give three good stirs (should be about half-way mixed) and add apples, cherries, and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. [Don’t overmix! It’ll make it tough.]
  5. Fill jars about ⅔ full. Bake 35min or until done.
  6. Cool completely. If they’ve overflowed, scrape off a bit so you can put the glaze and lid on (and taste it ;))!
  7. Then spoon 1 tbs of the glaze* on each and top with sprinkles (optional).
  8. Package them up pretty and send away 😀

*Glaze: Mix 1c powdered sugar with 1 tbs orange juice (from the one you just zested!).

Put into ovenCook 35 minutes or until donePour on glazeAdd sprinkles

I hope you’re enjoying my Handmade Holiday Blogathon! Feel free to share your favorite handmade gifts/recipes/tutorials, too :)

Fabric Button Ornaments

Mini tree with Fabric Button Ornaments

Here’s a little tutorial to make some adorable button ornaments!

First, cut fabric of your choice (consider a theme for your tree as you go) and use a button maker to make your fabric buttons.

Add ribbon to fabric button ornament

Then attach coordinating ribbon or a wire hook to the back of the button.

Lastly, hang on your tree and admire your work!

Fabric Button Ornaments hanging on treeFabric Button Ornaments hanging on tree

Handmade Gifts: Ideas

Here are some ideas for gifts to make and give this holiday season :) [Click the photo to go to the tutorial!]

Holiday baked goods: Cookies, brownies, bread…it’s all golden! Just make sure to package it beautifully :) [I’ll be uploading a delicious holiday bread recipe later today!]
Easy Gingerbread Friends Recipe
Mixes in a jar. Layer dry ingredients for cookies, soups, bread, etc. in a Mason jar. Attach the recipe with a ribbon and a handmade card. Add a wooden spoon or measuring spoon for an extra touch. It’s a great, old-fashioned gift!
Cowgirl Cookies
Terrariums in vintage containers (or ornaments!). A little plant brightens up any room :)
terrarium party favorsterrarium ornaments
Reusable fabric shopping bags. Everyone goes grocery shopping – why not spread the environmentally-friendly love? Choose interesting fabrics, or upcycle old cloth into useful bags!
Quick fix grocery bag :: a tutorial
Accessories. A girl can always use an extra headband, bracelet, scarf, or ring. (At least I think so ;)) Whip up a little cutie for each of your friends!tutorial: fabric flower ring