Monday, June 28, 2010

Jackpot Flowers

I wanted a housewarming gift for a friend who has recently moved back into my area and into a brand new house. I just didn't know what to get. I finally decided I would go with the generic gift card because that is my favorite kind of gift even if it isn't exciting.

Just as I started to unload my cart (for the third time) at Target, I remembered I hadn't gotten my gift card. The checkout line didn't have anything fun so I headed back towards the stationery department because there is usually something interesting there on the end of the aisles. Jackpot!

And, as I walked back to the checkout line, I thought of just the right presentation for my cute little token gift cards housewarming gift--flowers, of course! And, I realized these would be excellent teacher gifts, too, so add this to your list for later.

Would you like to make your own?

You will need to gather the following supplies--most are probably already around your craft table. You can improvise on some of them. You might notice I did!

        --Supplies--
gift card coins/tokens
1 sheet cardstock
container--check your recycling bin
large artificial flowers with large centers
hot glue
floral foam
ribbon
card
shredded paper
Sharpie
ruler
scrap paper


Instructions:
[1] Wrap a sheet of scrap paper around your container to determine the size. If your container is more narrow at the bottom than the top, you may need to tape it down in a few places. Draw lines where you need to cut to make the paper even on the bottom and the top as well as the length to go around the container.

[2] Lay your scrap paper flat and use a ruler to straighten and even out your lines.

[3] Wrap your scrap paper around your container and make sure it fits correctly. Make any adjustments you might need.

[4]Use your scrap paper as a pattern to trace and cut your cardstock to the right size to wrap around your container.

[5] After carefully and precisely cutting my cardstock, it was perfect--yeah, right! I still had a few gaps and problem spots. The bottom one was easy to trim off with a utility knife.

[6] To cover the top hole, I simply wrapped a coordinating ribbon around the top and glued it on with hot glue.

[7] Next, trace the bottom of your container onto your floral foam and cut out the shape. I used a butter knife to cut the foam--it cuts pretty easily and I wasn't worried about being precise.

[8] Put a dab of hot glue into the bottom of your container and stick your floral foam right on it.

[9] Poke your flowers into the floral foam arranging them as you go.

[10] Add grass, Spanish moss, or some other filler to your container to fill in the holes. I used shredded paper from my shredder. Depending on how tall your flowers are, you many want to use rocks (gravel?) or weights of some sort. Mine was a little top heavy, but I spread the flowers out and it balanced pretty well. The whole thing is lighter than it looks, though, and the container part weighed almost nothing.


[11] Use hot glue to carefully glue your gift card tokens onto the center of the flowers. I put the glue on the card itself so I could control where the glue was going. There was a little space at the top where I wouldn't interfere with the barcode or anything else on the card. I think the glue will just chip right off, but I didn't want to take any chances.

I really only used a tiny bit of glue--I only wanted to hold it to the flower and didn't need it to last through children or pets or any of the stuff most of my crafts have to withstand.

That's all there is to it.

You can decide how many of the gift cards you actually want on the flowers. Regardless of the amount, you have a nice presentation. The gift cards look snazzy and the whole thing is completely disposable OR recycle-able for your next craft!


I'll be linking HERE today.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fix your rolls!

Eeek! When I sew elastic waistbands, I prefer to make the kind that have a casing (tube) that you push the elastic through. I think it is quick, easy and looks neat--that's neat like orderly, not neat like cool, BTW! I have been making these for a long time and they generally work just fine, but I still get elastic that rolls sometimes after the item has been washed a few times. Like this:

You generally don't see this with store-bought clothing because an elastic waistband is usually made by stretching the elastic along the fabric and sewing it down the entire length of the elastic at least a couple of times. That elastic isn't going anywhere! While I like the concept, I don't like the look as well for most of the items I sew. It seems a little unfinished to me.

Why does the elastic roll, then? I really don't know for sure, but I know it will roll when the casing is too big. If you have gathered too much fabric (trying to make a too-big size fit a smaller waist by tightening the elastic for instance), the elastic will be stretched a lot and seems to roll easily. Cheap elastic tends to roll pretty easily, too.

But sometimes there isn't an identifiable reason. This was one of those times. These PJ shorts have been washed many times and I noticed when I was folding them that the elastic was in horrible shape.
Have no fear; we can fix this!

{First} Wash the item a couple of times, at least, so the elastic can snap back into shape after being stretched into the casing when you made the item. It will also help the fabric naturally even itself out along the elastic so it isn't bunched in various places like it is when you first put it in.

{Second} Gently ease the elastic back into place in the casing the way it should be. Try not to bunch up the fabric or stretch out the elastic as you do this. It is kind of like kneading the elastic to make it turn or roll the direction you want it to go.

{Third} Once it is flat, sew it down by stitching a straight line on the outside of the item in the seams. This will force the elastic to stay in place. Sew along the seam as close as possible so that the stitching line doesn't stand out. Be sure you are sewing on the outside so it looks good--it won't be as neat on the other side.

{Fourth} Sew straight lines halfway between the two seams on each side (front and back) of the item. When you are finished, you will have sewn in 4 places along the waistband. This should do the trick!

Here's to flat and smooth waistbands!
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Who's the boss of Daddy?

I'm ahead of this one finally! I wanted a simple Father's Day gift for my youngest daughter to give to Daddy. This fit my requirements perfectly.



I wanted a picture of my girls for my husband's desk at work. He doesn't care what the frame looks like, but I thought it would be fun to say something cutesy about how our children are the real bosses of him. (True!) There wasn't a long space to fit this on the frame so I came up with "My Management Team".

Doesn't that sound just like something you would expect to see at the office? I just hope someone doesn't think he is recycling an office handout or gift.

*To make this, you will need an acrylic frame. I bought the 4x6 size with a bent edge which makes its own stand and the picture just slides into the back.
*You will also need a picture of your child(ren).
*You need to decide how to do your lettering. I just used vinyl lettering, but you could easily do this one with a Sharpie, paint pen, or even Mod Podge if you print on something see-through or nearly see-through like vellum paper. The vinyl lettering is a little slippery on the acrylic. Next time, I would rather make a stencil with cardstock and fill it in with a paint pen which will provide good coverage and look sharp. Or, I think the vinyl could have been applied backwards (cut it out that way too!), if you could carefully apply it while holding the back part open.

Easy, but cute--so there you go!

There are still two weeks until Father's Day and we are almost ready now--whew! (And definitely shocking!)

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Firecracker!


I found this great placemat (?) at IKEA and knew it needed my crafty love and attention.


I chose a firecracker design for this and cut it out of vinyl thinking it would make a great stencil for the painting. I was wrong.

Just cut your stencil out of cardstock and hold it in place or tape it down.

I painted one or two sections at a time using a sponge brush.
 You have to use a lot of paint to get it down into the folds.

After each section dried, I just placed my stencil on and painted the next section until it was done.

I got really crafty when I did the lighter blue because I decided my design needed a little more pizazz. While looking for the glitter, I found this cool silver confetti. It is cool alright, but I kind of wished I had used glitter. The confetti was a little too thick for this project, but I still liked the end result. I just poured it over the wet paint, shook off the excess and then let it all dry.

I finished up with the red and then white over the blue paint--using my stencils.

Now I just need to refinish the little picnic table we rescued from someone's trash and we will be good to go!

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SYS Thurs

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roll Whatever You Need To Roll!

I got to thinking about the Roll-a-Chore soft cube and decided I could improve it easily. So, TA-DA,  this is the result! I like to call it the
Roll-a-Whatever Cube

I know it looks simple and that's because it is!
 But, just imagine the possibilities

You can insert cards for virutally whatever you need on a roll of the die. We also have a variety of games that come with their own special little dies for simple things like colors or number words. You can pare down and toss a little clutter by using this with your own interchangeable cards.

Some more ideas:
Numbers (not pictured) or Number words


Color words/Colors
(I forgot to take a picture of the pink card, but you can kind of see it glowing at the bottom in this picture!)

Pictures
How fun, especially for non-readers. And this would be a good way to use pictures of chores or things to do when you are getting ready for bed or whatever you can think up!

Song Time Games
And someone told me this would be perfect for song time at church with young children--roll a way to practice singing a song!


Or, what about family pictures--roll to see who has to take the trash out! Or, or, (I can hardly get it out--so excited!) what about a gift using your family photos? The recipient can just insert the updated family photo each year!? Grandmas and Grandpas everywhere will cheer!

Want one? Are the ideas for using it overflowing?

To make it, follow the general instructions HERE.

Instead of using the iron on applique picture, you can just sew on clear vinyl. I used 12 gauge (Is that the right word? It describes the thickness.) so it would be sturdy but pliable.

To do this, you will need to cut it about 1- 1 1/2 inches smaller all around than your fabric. I used 4 1/2 inch fabric squares and 3 1/4 inch vinyl squares. I cut everything with my rotary cutter so it would be pretty accurate. Tape the vinyl in place using masking tape on each side. Leave a space where you will start. This is difficult to see since the vinyl is clear, but you get the idea.

I started sewing on the left side. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and ending to secure the thread so it doesn't unravel and your pocket fall off. I made sure to backstitch a little before the vinyl and a little on the vinyl. I used a zig zag stitch that was fairly close in length.
After you have made 6 squares with 6 vinyl pockets, continue putting your soft cube together using the instructions found HERE. When it is complete, just add your cards. Mine were just a little smaller than 3 inches square and I used cardstock so they would slide more easily into the vinyl pocket.

The possibilities are endless. And, since you have the die ready, it is super easy to just change the cards or make up new ones. How about roll-a-meal? Maybe that would help me decide my menus!? Enjoy!

UPDATE: To make this more of a block, you might want to consider putting a 4 inch square foam block in the inside so it is stiffer. You will probably have to handstitch at least 2, if not 3, sides on the top flap to be able to insert the foam. It will give your soft block a little more stability and a stiffer shape. It all depends on the look you want and the way you are using your block. Hope you enjoy it either way!

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