Category Archives: Craft Projects

Sweet Little Fairy

Another little miss had her birthday last week.  This young lady loves fairies, so when I saw a tutorial for fairy bendy dolls, I knew what to do!

Isn’t she cute?

The birthday girl aslo enjoys making things, so I also included all the materials so that she can make a family of fairies on her own, and a few things to create a fairy house, too.

I might just have to make a few more of these…. :)

Sock Snowmen

Is anyone else out there just a little addicted to Pinterest?  I have only been on the site for the last two weeks, but have found it to be an amazing resource for creative ideas, as well as a way to finally get my overloaded “Favourites” file under control!   And for someone who likes to make things, there is no shortage of things to add to my “to make” list!

It’s not often I come across something and make it right away, but I found these sock snowmen too cute to resist.  You can find the originals on “Then She Made…”

My versions are slightly smaller (I used one short white sock and one ankle sock to make each one.) 

This was a super fun and quick craft (I made two in under an hour) and I think it would be fun for older children to make, too (anyone old enough to handle a glue gun.)

Anyone else creating crafts for the holidays?  What’s on the top of your “to make” list?

 

Make Your Own Evergreen Christmas Wreath

Last year I shared with you how my mother-in-law taught me how to make an evergreen wreath.  This year we gathered with the whole family (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, too!) to make them again.  We started our outing at our land to gather the evergreen boughs, and after a long (and somewhat wet!) hike we finally found the perfect branches.  After lunch we had a wonderful time creating our wreaths, and then going through the bags of flowers and pinecones that my mother-in-law has kept for just this purpose in order to decorate them.

Creating an evergreen wreath is super easy and fun!  Here’s how:

1.  Gather a bucket of fresh evergreen boughs.  We found fir trees to work best for this because their needles lie flat and aren’t prickly.  I think other branches would work, but you might want to wear gloves to keep from getting poked by the needles.

 

2.  Find or make a wire wreath frame.  You could make one out of a wire coat hanger, and the bonus is you will already have a hook for hanging!  You will also need some florist wire.

3.  Cut your boughs into lengths about as long as your hand.

4.  Gather these “hands” into a group of three or four (depending on how full your boughs are).

5.  Secure your wire to the wreath frame.  Wire the greens onto the front of your wreath frame by wrapping the wire around the wreath and greenery several times.

6.  Gather another group of “hands” and wire them to the back of your wreath frame, a small distance away from the group you just wired to the front.

7.  Continue to wire groups of branches alternately to the front and back until your whole wreath is covered.

8.  Twist the end of the wire to secure, and cut it off.  If you need a hanger, twist the wire into a hanging loop before cutting.

9.  You now have a beautiful evergreen wreath!  If the shape is a little wild, trim the boughs until you are happy with it.

10.  Decorate as you wish!  When I purchased wreaths in years past I only ever decorated them with a long velvet bow that I reused year after year.  I can’t resist my mother-in-law’s collection of decorations though, and love the way the flowers and pinecones look on the greenery.  These are attached with a glue gun, and they pull easily off the wreath at the end of the season to reuse next year.

Happy wreath making!

Inspiration

In this moment I have herbs that need harvesting, a project in half-completion in the sewing room, a book half-read whose story dances around my head even when I have decided I MUST leave it and get back to doing something more productive.  My to-do list extends well beyond what time and space will ever allow, as my creative mind dreams up 20 new projects to start before I have even finished the first on the list.

And yet, I can’t help seeking out new inspiration, dreaming new dreams, solving new problems.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’d want to live any other way.

Here are just a few things that have grabbed my attention lately:

Sew, Mama, Sew is posting daily holiday inspiration.  I want to make a neighbourhood of these and isn’t this one of the coolest scrap-busters ever?

I somehow stumbled across a new blog today and am in love with some of the cute crafts!   I am definitely inspired to do something creative with all of the buttons I own.

I was also reminded this morning that what I have is enough, I learned to use picnik and created my own banner for my new Etsy shop (more on that in a few days),  and I discovered this fun Halloween treat  and am busy trying to think of a way to make it without the chocolate.  (I’ll let you know if I come up with something!)

Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of a world-wide community of idea-sharers?   What is inspiring you today?

Pretty Fabric Necklace Organizer

I love necklaces.  I could live without earrings, I usually forget to wear the rings I own, and I have yet to find a bracelet that sits nicely on my small wrists, but an outfit seems incomplete without a necklace.

And I own many of them.

For the longest time they were folded, rolled, and stacked several necklaces deep in one of four little jewellery boxes that I own.  It kept them out of sight, but often made it impossible to grab the right one in a hurry.  What I really needed was a hanging necklace organizer.

And so I made myself one.  Gathering inspiration from here, here and here, I headed to the thrift store and found a framed print that would work perfectly.

I removed the glass and since the print was glued to sturdy cardboard, decided to reuse it as the backing for the organizer.

I covered the entire thing in Mod Podge and stuck down the fabric.

I then folded in the corners, using a little of the Mod Podge to make them stick, and then folded down the sides over the back, to keep the fabric in place.

 

After putting it back into the frame, I was ready to add hangers.

To create the hangers, I hot-glued small plain buttons to the surface, and then covered them with larger, prettier, buttons from my stash.  (Due to the shallowness of the frame, I couldn’t use nails or push pins without having them poke too far through, but I think the buttons were a fun solution!)

Then I hung it on the wall and filled it with necklaces!  Isn’t it pretty?

Starting the Year with Giving

Do you ever happen upon a blog and something about the writer makes you decide you just have to add it to your daily blog reading? 

That’s what happened with me and Keri who writes Quaint and Quirky.   Three things in her bio caught my attention  – she lives in New England (so she’s not too far from here), she’s an Irish dancer (and I would love to be an Irish dancer!) and she used the words “kindred spirit.”    I have been reading her blog ever since.

She had a great idea she posted on her blog yesterday to start her year with giving, by paying it forward.   I decided it would be a great way to start my year too, and I am excited to pass my giving on to you.

Here is how it works. 

“Pay it forward” is the idea that random acts of kindness are given without expecting anything in return. It’s passing on a kindness hoping that your recipients will do the same, and forming a never-ending chain of goodwill , that’s what this is about. But it isn’t only kindness, it is also a means to connect with our fellow crafters, to network, if you will, and to share our enjoyment of crafting/sewing instead of just keeping it to ourselves or where only friends and family get to see it.
 This is how it works: You’ll have to comment on this post and the first three people who comment will receive a handmade gift from me within the next few months. But those three people will also have to post the idea on their blog (or Facebook for those of you I know who might like to participate but who don’t blog!) and commit to making a gift for the first three people who comment and so on and so forth.
 
SO, the first three people to comment here will get something handmade by me,  but you have to do this on your blog as well.  I’ll be reading your blog (or checking out your Facebook!) to figure out what to make you and to make sure that you have posted about your Pay it Forward!   

Have fun giving to others!

Making an Evergreen Wreath

I am truly blessed with wonderful family.  With my own family members living a few provinces away I feel lucky to have been welcomed into hubby’s family with open arms.  His parents, brother and sister-in-law are all wonderful people who I am happy to be related to.  When we get together we always have a great time.

This week-end my mother-in-law showed me how to make an evergreen wreath.  Growing up as a city girl I find I am still surprised to discover that people actually do these things I used to think only happened in the movies (like walk into a forest and cut down a Christmas tree with an axe, or visit the same forest to gather evergreen boughs for wreaths and garlands.) 

With snow softly falling outside we gathered at the dining room table with a big bucket of evergreen boughs. 

It smelled like Christmas already and we hadn’t even started yet!

We then cut the boughs into smaller “hands” which we piled in groups of 3 or 4. 

We then used green florists wire to attach the “hands” to the wire frame, alternating attaching them to the front and back.  (Maybe next year I will write a tutorial on this.  It was super fun and easy, if you have access to fresh greenery you really should give it a try!)

Ta da!

I have to admit I did have a few “oh dear” moments when my wreath seemed more like a wild square then a wreath, but with a little trimming I was quite happy with the result.

I tucked a little cedar in for variety. 

I usually just trim my wreaths with a simple bow and hang it on the door, but my mother-in-law had bags and bags of ribbons and flowers and pinecones that she had saved over the years.  It was too much fun to pass up! 

With the wreath now gracing our front door I feel like the holiday season has truly begun.   And with snow on the ground and more softly falling, it certainly does feel like Christmas is coming.

Quick and Easy Fabric Magnets

I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  :(

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  :)

Menu Planner Tutorial

I would be lost without a menu plan.  I have become so used to making one that the few times I have gone to the grocery store without one I wandered around having no idea what to buy!    So every week I plan out the meals we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, make a list of the baking I will do, and then create the grocery list based on what we need.  I take advantage of sale items whenever I can by planning the menu around those items, as well as what is in the freezer or what is local and in season. 

To make this easier I have always kept a list of the different meals I have cooked and what cookbook they can be found in.  When I try new recipes they only get recorded if both of us enjoy them and would eat them again.   Then when it comes time to make the menu, I just scan the list and slot in the meals.  After I have planned the main meals I try to plan lunches around leftovers or similar ingredients to make the most of what we buy at the store. 

This has worked well for me for several years, but my loose-leaf list of menu items has become too long to easily scan, the holes have ripped away so it keeps falling out of the binder, and as I have moved to cooking with local and seasonal produce, many of the meals listed have become obsolete in my cooking repertoire.

Enter…..the menu planning book!  In its humble beginnings it looked like this:

Just a simple book from the dollar store with sticky-note tabs separating the different sections.  But things are more fun to use when they are dressed up a bit, so I decided to give my book a little makeover:

It has three main sections.  Spring/Summer is for meals based around frozen produce from last year’s garden that may be in the freezer, as well as items that pop up in the garden or markets early in the year (like fiddleheads – yum!).  The Fall/Winter section makes the most of garden produce, as well as good winter keepers such as potatoes, carrots, apples, squash, etc.  Anything that can be made all year round fits in the all-season section.  I did consider creating one section for each season, but this seemed too limiting to me.  I also included baking sections for each seasonal section, as many quick-bread, muffin and dessert recipes I make are based around seasonal produce as well. 

Filling each page is easy – I just list the name of the meal and then follow it with the title of the cookbook where it can be found (or the colour of binder for printed recipes) and the page number.  

For very little money this has made my menu planning easy, peasy! 

Here’s a quick tutorial on how I prettied-up my menu planner.

You need: a notebook, a piece of scrapbook  paper, Mod Podge and a foam brush. 

If you want to divide your book into sections you will also need some self-stick tabs.  Write the titles on each of the tabs and stick them onto the appropriate pages.

Then measure the length and width (minus the spiral binding) of your front cover.

Turn your paper over so the back is facing up.  Using a ruler, measure out the length of your notebook and then make a mark a few millimeters smaller (you want your paper slightly smaller than the cover so that the edges will not get ruffled with use.)

You do not need paper with guidelines, this piece just happened to have them. 

Do the same with the width measurement, again making it slightly smaller.

Use these marks as guidelines to cut your paper using a paper-cutter.  If you don’t have a paper-cutter (I don’t!) and your paper is not gridded like mine, use your ruler to draw out the shape of the rectangle before you cut to keep your lines straight. 

Lay your cut out paper on top of your notebook and trim if necessary.  I clipped my corners a bit too. 

Cover the back of your rectangle with Mod Podge, being sure to spread the glue right across the edges. 

Stick your paper firmly on top of your book, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go.

For extra durability you can also spread another layer of Mod Podge on top.  Be sure to place  a piece of paper under the cover when you do this so you don’t accidently get glue on your book pages!

Place a label on the front of your book and you’re done!

Now you can plan your menus in style! :)

Ok, so literally a day after I post this my beautiful paper cover fell off of my book!  I think perhaps it was because the paper I used was thick, like card stock?  I’ve done this technique a bunch of times with other books and regular paper and never had a problem.   Anyway, I needed another way to attach my paper, so here is option number two:

You need clear contact paper, your notebook, and your pretty paper.  Cut the contact paper larger than your notebook and carefully lay it over the paper and notebook.

Smooth it out with your fingers then flip open the cover.

Cut a rectangle out at each corner.

Fold over your edges and press firmly.

Done!

Thank You Cards

My mother taught me how to write thank you notes when I was very young, in response to far-away relatives who sent me gifts at Christmas.   It has become such a habit that  the Christmas season is just not complete until the notes are done. 

In keeping with my decision to make all of my own cards, I created my thank you notes from scraps of Christmas paper left over from holiday card making and a few pieces from cards that I received and saved over the course of the year. 

Most of these will go to my students who gave me a wide variety of beautiful gifts this Christmas (I truly am a spoiled teacher!).

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