Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Lights Trick...

I learned this trick from my mother-in-law and I love it.  Best thing ever!  When I first met my husband and we dated during our first Christmas together I noticed his lights were put up with hot glue.  I thought it was unusual and somewhat tacky at first but then I tried it out our first year of marriage...awesome!!

Simply use a hot glue gun and all-purpose glue sticks.  Squirt a big glob of glue onto your window and immediately place the wire of your light in the glue.  Hold it in place briefly until the glue cools and hardens.  Sometimes condensation may cause pieces to pop off but simply reapply.  The glue peels right off when the holidays are over. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Start Following...

Start following and you might just be rewarded (or some other lucky winner will be).  My sister made the suggestion to do a giveaway on this blog.  So just imagine...out of the followers (at the moment) out there you have pretty great odds if you start following.  Details to follow...most likely at the beginning of 2012.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Tomato Cage Topiary

I saw variations of this on with very little help in the matter of how to make one.  So most of this is me winging it but I thought I'd share how I did it.

Tomato Cage Topiary / Christmas Tree

-tomato cage (I think mine are 4 ft)
-wire or wire clothes hangers (I tried to do mine on the absolute cheap)
-wire cutters (somewhat optional; I didn't use mine)

*under $10 including cost of lights and tomato cage (I believe); cheaper or FREE if you have either on hand.

Step 1.  Turn your tomato cage upside down and secure the legs together in a point using the wire/hanger.  I tried hemp tie at first so ignore that part.

If your tomato cage is like mine there it too much space between the wire to have a nice rounded shape when wrapped in garland or lights.  It comes off looking more like a triangle than a "tree".

Step 2. Keep you tomato cage upside down.  Unwind you wire hanger and straighten it out.  Place your wire/hanger in between two cage wires to fill in space.  Put your wire on the outside of the tomato cage wire to help strength it and keep its shape when wrapped with garland or lights.

Step 3.  Using the top wire (holding the legs together) hook your wire/hanger over it.  In order to use one hanger for the height of the "tree" this hook was rather small made by bending it over itself with the pliers, placing it over the wrapped wire and then pinching it closed with the pliers.

Step 4.  Stretch the wire to the bottom rung wire of your cage and then loop it over like the top and pinch it shut with pliers.
Step 5.  Repeat steps 2 through 4 to fill in the other spaces around the "tree".
Finished cage/"tree" should look something like this; the top swirl wire is just my excess from wiring the legs together.  Click on the picture to enlarge it if this helps.

Step 6.  If you do place it into a pot or on the ground it never hurts to secure it.  This could be done with little stakes or even bent pieces of hanger looped over the bottom wire and stuck into the ground. 

Don't love this picture.  I think they look better in person but maybe I'm a little biased.

I wrapped lights around mine but you could also use garland and other decorations.  I think next year I may try a combination of lights and garland.

* I also saw instructions on how you can use this for ivy plants or other vine growing plants in the summer.  Awesome!

If you happen to use this tutorial or link to it I'd love to know.  Please leave a comment.  Thanks!

Free Craft Friday -- Holiday Card Boxes

I love to repurpose things.  It saves money and it makes something useful out of something that may have otherwise been thrown in the trash.  Here is one that my aunt taught me years ago on reusing old holiday cards or the cards that you've gotten in years past.

Holiday Card Boxes

-old holiday cards (blank or written in it doesn't matter)
-ruler or straight edge (I used a book)
-pen or pencil
Step 1.  Tear your card in half down the fold line.  Draw an "X" on the card by drawing a straight line from corner to corner. 
Step 2.  Taking your top first (half with the design) fold all edges to the center of the "X".  Crease these folds firmly. 
Step 3.  Your card should have fold lines that create 9 squares.  Cut a slit in the card along the 2 side folds until it meets with the perpendicular fold (as shown).  The slit fold is typically longer than the side folds adjacent to it.
Step 4.  Fold the two shorter side pieces into the middle of the box and then fold the end piece over the two side pieces.  Tape this down to secure it.  Repeat this step for the opposite side.  This form the lid to your box. 

Step 5.  Repeat steps for the bottom of the box with the exception that when you fold to the center "X" you will want to fold just slightly over the center (as pictured; in order to make the inside of the box a tiny bit smaller so it will fit inside). 
Step 6.  Insert the lid of the box over the body of the box and you are ready to go.  These are fun for stocking stuffers, small presents and treat boxes.  Could be fun for advent calendars, tree minatures and all sorts of other things too.  I also used to use them for my Barbies (shows you how old I was when I learned this hehe).
Also I trimmed a little off the bottom of some cards before splitting them in half...this made for more square boxes.  I love the variety you can get...unfortunately I didn't save any last year so these are all from the same box/style.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Felt Flower Hair Accessory

These are so cute and so easy.  Why is it again that I rarely put bows and flowers in my little girls' hair?? (maybe when they get more hair I will :) hehe)  This tutorial can be found here (I love her stuff!)
Step 1.  Cut a small circle out of felt.  Then cut a slightly larger circle using the first circle as a guide.  Then use the second circle as a guide and cut a circle slightly larger than it.  Continue this process until you have the size of flower you like (I did four layers).
Step 2.  Cut slits into all of your circles.  You don't need to cut all the way to the middle as the next layer will cover it and the next and then your button or topper(s).
Step 3.  Cut very small shavings off of the slits you made in the felt.  (the circle on the left is pre-slit cutting and the one on the right is after).  
Step 4.  Stack your cut circle on top of each other.  You can then fasten them with a button or sew them together and then add jewels or other notions to the top.  Glue on an alligator clip to the back.
Notes:  Next time I think I would try these felt bows with nicer felt as I just used the cheaper crafting felt not wool felt. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Free Craft Friday -- Rag Quilt (part one)

Okay I admit it.  I was slacking off this week.  We have been dealing with two sick babies and although I have some projects in the works...they just aren't happening anytime soon.  So instead I'm sharing a rag quilt that is in process (ie all over my family room floor).  I made one of these for my friend's baby shower last year using this tutorial and love how it turned out.

Step 1.  Determine the size of quilt you want to make.  I typically decide on the size of square I want and then based on that determine how many squares and yards of fabric I will need.  For this quilt I'm working on I did 8 inch squares and did a 6 square by 8 square size (4 ft by 5 1/3 ft).  Also keep in mind that you have a 1/2 seam that will be sewn and snipped around each square and the outside.  

Step 2.  Lay out your selection/pattern (one front and one back) with squares.  You can do the same pattern front and back or change it up on the back or do a solid (too many choices).  Once you have determined the pattern pin them together with wrong sides together.  Sew an X through each square (picture below).
Step 3.  Keeping your pattern in order pin strips horizontally together (as pictured below) and sew a 1/2" seam with "wrong sides"/back squares together.
Step 4.  Once you have your horizontal strips pieced together and sewn your next step is to pin them together.  Pin the same way (so that 1/2" seam is toward the front of blanket).  Pin the seams from Step 3 together so that the underside seam (held by my forefinger) goes flat on the machine and the top lays toward the needle (held by my thumb).  This will keep your material thinner and save your needle.  Also by laying it this way the underside will not bunch and you are able to see the top and prevent bunching.  The video tutorial explains this really well.
Step 5.  Your blanket will look something like this once you have the horizontal strips sewn together.

....stay tuned for how my rag quilt turns out.