December 28, 2010

my favorite project of the year

This week's CSI Project theme is your favorite project of the year. Now that my son is almost 4 years old, I've been able to get back into crafting. (The willingness of a child to play independently is such a wonderful thing!) I had a number of craft fails in 2010, but I've also made several things that I've loved. If I have to choose just one favorite project, it would be my Goodwill dresser/hutch makeover I did back in October.

Before (but after sanding because I forgot to take real "before" photos):


I've always wanted to revamp a piece of furniture. I'm proud of myself for finally doing it and completing it in less than a week from start to finish (my husband needed his side of the garage back). I sanded it myself, painted it myself, and replaced the hardware myself. My husband did help me move it (it is heavy). He also primed it for me. I think he knew it was going to turn out awesome and wanted to be able to take credit for helping!

December 23, 2010

painted wood Christmas ornaments

I had some leftover scraps of wood from my painted jack-o-lantern project, so I decided to make some little wooden Christmas ornaments.

They were so easy to make. I painted the front and back of the wood pieces with a brush and a light coat of eggshell white acrylic paint. Normally when I paint, I do several coats to completely cover the wood. For these ornaments, I wanted a more distressed look, and one light coat allowed the wood grain to show through. I stamped the ornaments with various Christmas stamps and StazOn ink. I sanded the edges to get rid of the rough spots and distress it even more. A few little holes drilled in the top, some craft wire, a quick coat of matte sealer, and they're done! I'm going to use them as package toppers for my Christmas gifts this year. The ones that turned out less than perfect will find a home on my Christmas tree. Thanks for looking!

December 18, 2010

SMS Giveaway Winner!

Using, the winner of my Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway is comment #21. . .

barneyn said...

this year i will be making a few of these as gifts! they are soo cute!

Thanks for everybody for participating in my giveaway and sharing all of the fun gifts you are making for Christmas this year!

December 12, 2010

Sew, Mamma, Sew! Giveaway Day

It's Sew, Mama, Sew! giveaway time again! I will be giving away one morsbag (fabric shopping bag) to at least one lucky winner. If I can finish more than one bag this week, there will be more than one winner. Of course I haven't finished any bags yet, but they will look something like this--

--except they will be made out of different fabric from thrifted sheets. (I promise the material I use will be like brand new. I'm pretty picky about the thrifted items I use to make my bags.) I'll post a picture of the completed bags when they're done.

To be entered to win, just leave a comment on this post (one comment per person and US residents only) about a handmade gift you have made or plan to make for somebody this holiday season. (If you have a link to the tutorial or a picture of your completed project, I would love to see them. I'm always looking for new ideas!) If you're not a crafter, leave a comment about the best handmade gift you ever received. I will use to choose the winner(s) from all comments left by 12 midnight CST on Friday, December 17, 2010. I will ship the item(s) by December 20. Be sure to leave an e-mail address if I can't contact you through your comment. Thanks for participating!

December 8, 2010

krafty Christmas cards

I have about half of my Christmas cards made. I decided to go very, very simple this year. . .

The cardstock is cardboard I rescued from the trash at work. I have a thing for saving kraft-colored stuff, and some of the cardboard has a really beautiful texture to it. I embossed the bottom using my Cuttlebug. The "Merry Christmas" paper, corrugated green cardstock, and twine are all from my stash so my cards were pretty much free. I'll add a computer-generated sentiment inside, print off my address labels and cross cards off my to-do list. Thanks for looking!

December 7, 2010

nativity parade

Char at Crap I've Made is hosting a Nativity Parade.  We inherited a manger and nativity figures from my mother-in-law last year after she moved to a smaller home.  The manger was handmade by my husband's grandfather in 1973--so it's older than I am.  The ceramic figurines are dated 1976 on the bottom.

I also have a clay pot set my friend made me for Christmas several years ago.  I put it on my almost 4-year-old son's dresser.

My son keeps asking me why baby Jesus is in a pot, and I don't really have a good answer for him!

December 1, 2010

painted Christmas signs

I love this small handmade painted sign I purchased at a gift shop a few years ago--

I've considered buying more every time I'm at a craft show, but I decide not to since I could make one myself.  I finally bought a 1" x 2", had my husband cut it in small pieces and made this--

I painted it with Ceramcoat acrylic paint (barn red and lime green) and used foam stamps to stamp the sentiment.  I wasn't that happy with the paint job on the words until I sanded them a little.  It distressed it just enough to make it look good.  (Not that you can tell from the horrible picture.)  Now to make about 10 more before Christmas!

November 30, 2010

easy recycled gift bags

I tend to save anything that I can potentially use again--great for the environment but not so great for my storage situation.  I had a stack of brown paper wine bags like this--

Gather some acrylic paint, foam brushes, and foam stamps--

And stamp your bags--

Tie them shut with a cute ribbon and they can be used as a gift bag for a bottle of wine or other small gift.  You can reuse any paper bag or even a sheet of paper to make your own gift wrap.  This is a great project for kids, too.  My 3-year-old son stamped some gift tags while I was making my gift bags.  I must have been really happy with the results because each time he stamped a gift tag he would say, "Mom, don't you just LOVE it?  I just LOVE it!"  Glad my husband wasn't around to hear that!

November 22, 2010

Melvin the monster

Have you been checking out the daily inspiration over at Sew, Mama, Sew! for their 4th Annual Handmade Holidays? I religiously check their site every morning and have already bookmarked too many projects. My to-do list is getting very long. My son and I actually made one of the projects using a Monster Doll Tutorial from Dragonfly Designs. Our little monster. . .

He's already looking a little ragged as he has been well-loved the last few days! I drew up a pattern in a shape I liked, and we used fleece fabric for the body. (I have a whole bin of fleece remnants, and I'm not sure why I purchased so much. I probably had grand plans for it at one time.) My son helped me with the face, and even though I tried to talk him into two eyes, he was insistent his monster have just one eye. We had a lot of fun with our project, and I'm sure there will be monster friends in the future.

November 17, 2010

cute reversible baby pants

As I've probably mentioned before, I rarely buy craft books. I'm too cheap, and my local library usually has any craft book I've considered buying. One exception was Anna Marie Horner's Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby. I was on the library waiting list forever, but it was still "on order" after a few months so I broke down and purchased it. I really wanted to make the Quick Change Trousers for a baby gift. Before buying the book, I tried to make my own version of the pants but the results weren't so good. I just finished up my third pair. (Please be sure to note how perfectly the stripes are matched up at the crotch seam. I'm pretty proud of myself.)

The pants have this cute little contrasting panel across the back--

. The reverse side--

The floral fabric is a remnant I purchased at Hobby Lobby. That's the great thing about making baby items--you can use up all those cute little pieces of fabric. The polka dot is a Michael Miller remnant, and the striped fabric is from a thrifted men's dress shirt. I had purchased the shirt for another project but when I saw it next to the floral fabric on my sewing table I thought it looked perfect together. I love the look of the different fabrics. It's girly but not all pink and over-the-top. This will be a gift for a friend who is having a little girl in December. But I secretly want to keep them even though I have no use for baby girl pants. They're just too cute.

October 25, 2010

Toy Story Costume

I love making Halloween costumes. My son will be Iron Man this year. I tried to make his costume. I failed. He will be trick-or-treating in an Iron Man costume from WalMart. I still wanted to make him costume, so I convinced him that he should be Woody from Toy Story for the zoo's Halloween Spooktakular. It was pretty easy to put together if you're looking for a last-minute costume.

  1. long-sleeved yellow plaid button-down shirt--This garage sale Gap shirt inspired the costume. It was hanging in my son's closet, and I thought it would make the perfect Woody shirt.

  2. blue jeans

  3. cow-print vest--I made a pattern for this by tracing the basic vest shape around the shirt. I lined it with muslin and trimmed the edge in bias tape, but you could easily use fleece fabric and not have to finish the edges. I was thrilled with how well the vest turned out, and it will be fun for dress up after Halloween. (On a side note, I thought I was buying cow-print fabric until the lady at the counter handed my cut fabric to me and said "Here's your doggie fabric." Apparently I had picked out dalmation-print fabric.)

  4. cowboy hat--I purchased this foam hat at Hobby Lobby for $2.99.

  5. suede lace for the cowboy hat brim--This is optional. I punched holes along the edge of the brim then strung the lace through the holes.

  6. red bandana

  7. sheriff badge and belt buckle--unfinished wood shapes purchased at Michael's, painted with gold spray paint, stamped with alphabet stamps and StazOn ink, attatch a jewelry pin to the back

  8. cowboy "boots"--My son doesn't have cowboy boots. I made these by sewing tubes of felt that would fit over the legs of his jeans. I cut the tops to look like cowboy boots and tacked the fabric to his jeans so they wouldn't slip off. When paired with brown shoes, they really look like cowboy boots!

  9. belt and holster--belt is a strip of brown felt cut long enough to fit around the waist and pinned in the front. I also made the holster out of felt and sewed a loop to the top which the belt goes through.
That's it! Happy Halloween!

October 18, 2010

pumpkin spice bundt cake

It's odd for me to share a photo and recipe of something I made.  My husband is a much better cook than I am and does most of the cooking.  I do like to bake, especially when there are shortcuts involved like using a cake mix.  When fall rolls around, I am totally ready to break out the canned pumpkin and start baking.  My first pumpkin item of the season is a pumpkin spice bundt cake--

The recipe was in our local newspaper and included instructions for frosting it to look like a pumpkin.  I decided simple was better and just made a basic icing.

Pumpkin Spice Cake
(from Omaha World Herald)

1 package Duncan Hines moist deluxe spice cake mix
2 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup chopped nuts (I omitted these)

Heat over to 350 degrees.  Meanwhile, grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.  Combine cake mix, eggs, water and pumpkin in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into the prepared bundt pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in the pan for 25 minutes.  Invert onto a serving plate and allow the cake to cool completely. 

After it cooled, I topped it with some icing.

Quick White Icing
(adapted from The All New All Purpose Joy of Cooking)

In a medium bowl, beat together on medium speed:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter

Add and beat until smooth:
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

That's it!  A yummy fall-inspired treat that's kind of homemade.

October 12, 2010

painted wood jack-o-lanterns

I don't do much decorating for Halloween. (I don't do much decorating for any holiday, though, since whatever decorations go up always have to come back down.) I do like using stuff that would otherwise be thrown away to make other stuff. Several months ago I dug some wood out of our trash that my husband had thrown away (leftover oak veneer from the basement bar he built). I had him cut it into several smaller pieces so I could paint them with chalkboard paint and make cute little labels. And like most other project ideas, they've been sitting in the garage untouched. After being inspired by these spooky soap dispensers at Crap I've Made I decided to try and make some cute little jack-o-lanterns out of the larger wood scraps. I love it when an idea actually turns out--

Don't the dead plants in the pot make it look extra spooky? I painted it with Ceramcoat Georgia Clay (the best pumpkin color if you don't want obnoxious bright orange) and sanded and inked the edges with Tim Holtz walnut ink. I made the face using a freezer paper stencil. I found several templates online. I was hoping freezer paper stencils would work on wood, and it did. I used black craft paint for the face on this one, but I also used spray paint on some. Don't use too much paint or the freezer paper will start to lift up and paint will leak under the stencil. The freezer paper did leave a little waxy stuff in some spots, but since I inked it you can't even tell. The stem and stake is a shim which my husband trimmed down the top to make it more stem-like. I painted the shim, glued it together, sprayed it with sealer, and my Halloween decorating is complete! I even let Fred (my three-year-old son, not his real name) make one. His is obnoxious orange, and we used a craft stick for the stem and stake. I made the face stencil for him since he's not allowed to use an exacto knife or an iron, but he painted the face himself. His turned out pretty cute, too--

The best part is he had so much fun, he keeps asking me when we can do more craft projects. I love it!

October 5, 2010

hutch makeover

I'm ready to start furnishing my new craft room, but I don't want to spend a lot of money. I love the look of Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs, but I do not love the prices. For example, I love this Ballard bookcase:

The price tag on this? On sale for just $599.99. Marked down from $999.99. I'm sure it's a very nice bookcase, but are they crazy? My grand plan for furnishing my new craft room is to purchase pieces from thrift stores and garage sales and paint everything white to match. My first project was a $60 dresser/hutch from Goodwill. I was looking for something that had a cabinet on the bottom instead of a dresser, but you can't be too picky when you're shopping at a thrift store. I'm really bad at taking before pictures, so here are the pieces already sanded. The hutch:

The dresser (minus the drawers):

I shocked myself by completing this whole project in one week. A big motivator was needing it out of the garage so my husband could park his car in there again. After some sanding, primer, paint and $28 in new hardware (total splurge), my beautiful new hutch:

With some of my craft stuff in its new home:

I am incredibly proud of myself for tackling and completing this project in record time. I constantly tell myself I don't have time for projects like since I work full time and have an almost 4 year old son to contend with when I'm not working. But I did it! My husband was a little skeptical at first, but even he was amazed by the results. Now I just need to find that next piece of furniture to transform!

September 24, 2010

what's in my bag?

I haven't posted in awhile because I haven't had time to make anything lately--lots of things on the to-do list but just no time. Fortunately, Roo at Nice Girl Notes is hosting a "what's in your bag" linkup so now I have something to post about.


Empty out my purse and snap a picture? I can do that. . .

  1. very large wallet with a broken zipper--I haven't purchased a new one yet because I'm cheap
  2. three pens
  3. Hancock Fabrics ad
  4. small wet bag with fem hygeine products
  5. fabric I'm going to use to make my friend a blanket for her baby--who knows when I might find the perfect coordinating fabric and need to match colors
  6. two sets of keys
  7. two morsbags
  8. calculator--for figuring yardages and such
  9. folder full of work stuff--schedules, days off requests, employee availabilities, etc.
  10. wintergreen Icebreakers
  11. empty watch face package
  12. ChapStick All Natural
  13. empty bottle of hand sanitizer
  14. random key--I have no idea what it goes to
  15. nail clippers
  16. peppermint Dentyne
  17. post it notes
  18. Dum Dum wrapper (cream soda)
  19. mini photo album--the most recent photo I have in there is almost two years old
  20. coupon folder with a broken closure--too cheap to replace this, too
  21. cell phone (not pictured because it was still sitting on the kitchen table from looking up phone numbers last night)

That's actually pretty clean and organized for me. There's usually a mass of receipts and expired coupons in there, too.

September 6, 2010

art smock

When I was in kindergarten (many, many years ago) we had to bring one of our dad's old shirts to use as a paint smock. (Apparently there were budget issues even back then.) Using that same dress-shirt-to-smock idea, I made my son an art smock using a thrifted men's dress shirt. The smock is worn backwards with the buttons in the back. I removed the pocket and sewed it the the front of the smock. I also cut the shirt apart, trimmed the extra fabric, and sewed it back together. This made the shirt small enough so it's not in the way but has enough room to fit over his clothes. (If you used a boy's dress shirt in a size larger than your child wears, that would probably eliminate a lot of the extra cutting and sewing.) The front of the smock complete with crusty play-doh:

The very wrinkled back of the smock (or straight jacket since he can't get out of it by himself):

My favorite part is the elastic around the wrists to keep the clothing underneath clean:

Thanks for looking!

September 1, 2010

menswear bunny

I check out a LOT of craft books from my local library. I know what sections of the library house the craft books and just go browse. One of my recent finds was Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts. I rarely buy craft books, but after flipping through the first few pages I was considering spending $23.10 on Amazon for this book. And I'm cheap, so you know it's a pretty good book. Then I remembered Martha Stewart has a website. All of the projects I want to make are on the website. First up is the menswear bunny.

I think the idea is to use menswear fabrics, but I recycled some actual menswear to make this little guy. The main fabric is from a thrifted wool suit jacket (a total bargain at 99 cents). I only had to use one sleeve to make this bunny so I'll be able to make a few more from the rest of the jacket. The (lopsided) ears are from scraps leftover from a men's dress shirt used for another project. I hand-embroidered the facial features and the heart. (I need to work on my embroidery skills.) My son wanted this bunny so much I had to give it to him. It's such a simple project I know I'll be making more for easy and adorable baby gifts. Thanks for looking!

Linked up to Tea Rose Home Link Party #22.

August 16, 2010

freezer paper and spray paint

Back in April I wrote about my love for freezer paper and bleach. My new love is freezer paper and spray paint. On Sunday I finally had time to try this awesome tutorial from Crap I've Made to jazz up a plain morsbag. My husband took my son fishing. They were gone for 6 hours. That's probably the most alone time I've had in the last 3&1/2 years. I made a freezer paper stencil using a google image of a recycling symbol and some metallic silver spray paint. A really bad picture of the really cool result:
I recommend making sure your fabric is completely covered before you start spraying. On the first bag I stenciled I thought I had the fabric sufficiently covered, but some spray paint managed to float under the newspaper I used so there's a faint spray paint line on the side and top of the stencil.
It's not too noticeable, so I'll just keep this bag for myself! On the second bag, I made sure to tape the paper down with masking tape. I love this stencil so much, I want to make a cute shirt for my son. Thanks for looking!

August 11, 2010

kids thank you cards

Everybody told me that time would fly after I had my son. I knew it would, but I still can't believe he's already 3&1/2! Next Monday at daycare he moves on to Room 8. He started in Room 1 at just 6 weeks old, and he's already going to Room 8?! And he'll start kindergarten in just two short years?! Time does fly. He learned so much and really enjoyed his time in Room 7, so I decided we needed to make some thank you cards for his two teachers. I used a word processing program to set up a file that would print a blank thank you card.

I would like the outline to be a little darker, but haven't figured out how to do that yet. My son used markers to color in the letters.

I think I'll trace the letters in black marker since some of the letters are hard to see. I also colored a card which didn't turn out that great. It's difficult to color with a Pip-Squeaks marker.

Thanks for looking!