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

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

Peppermint Marshmallows

Ever seen those fancy square marshmallows in a little boutique? They look fabulously delicious, but it’s hard to swallow the $20 price tag for one mug’s worth. So we decided to make our own :)

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

…It was a bizarre experience. My friend Mary (chef extraordinaire) and I modified the Toasted Coconut Marshmallow recipe found on the Food Network to make these awesome peppermint marshmallows!

Ingredients:

  • 3 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 cup ground peppermint candies
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Tools:

  • Electric mixer with whisk attachment
  • Candy thermometer
  • 8×12″ non-metal pan
  • Food processor (you can do this by hand, but it’s harder that way)
  • Measuring cups, mixing bowl, saucepan, mixing utensils

Grind peppermint candiesPour syrup into gelatinMix on high until thick and fluffy!"Pour" into pan

Instructions:

  1. Finely grind peppermint candies in a food processor. Then line an 8×12″ pan with parchment paper and grease. (Or you can do this during step 3.)
  2. Combine gelatin and ½ cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Allow to sit while you make the syrup.
  3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and ½ cup water in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240˚F on a candy thermometer (will take several minutes). Remove from heat.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 8-10 minutes (really neat to watch!). Add the peppermint extract and mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour* the marshmallow batter into the pan and smooth. Sprinkle the peppermint candy on top. Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.
  6. Remove the marshmallows on the parchment paper from the pan. Use kitchen shears to cut into squares (I suggest cutting through the parchment paper, then peeling off). Roll the sides of each piece carefully in confectioners’ sugar.
  7. Add to a mug of hot cocoa and enjoy with friends! :)

Marhsmallows is sticky stuffsSprinkle peppermintMarshmallow CuttingCoat in powdered sugar

*I don’t know how other people do it, but for us the “pour the marshmallow batter” step did not go smoothly. That stuff is sticky! However, it was really fun, and I recommend it if you don’t mind getting a little messy!

Keep checking all day for more tutorials on my Handmade Holiday Blogathon!