Sunday, March 18, 2012

owl bucket bag

Well. That was quite a hiatus.  It was unexpected, but on the plus side, I've gotten a ton of stuff done on my time off from blogging.  I'm glad to say that my car is back and running perfectly (and not to mention, it looks amazing since they actually washed it and stuff. Something I hardly do. :P), and things seem to be getting back to normal (as in... pre-stress mode).  Oh, and also, I managed to make this cutie!

I had this bag pinned a while ago after seeing it on Sew Mama Sew, and I finally decided to give it a try.  I'm super glad with the results. :)  I tend to choose a bunch of mismatching colors (this time, it was bright green, orange, and blue), but I'm glad to say it worked!

For anyone interested in the pattern, you can go to the website.  It's actually an excerpt from The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam, but they offer it on the site as a pdf file for free.  I did make some adjustments: I didn't need to have it reversible, so I made the lining slightly smaller for a better fit.  Also, I added fusible interfacing to the straps, since just having binding as straps made me feel a bit uneasy.  I also used lightweight fabrics (and not medium as suggested), so I used lightweight interfacing for my exterior fabric.

Here's the bag a little close-up so you can see the swirly green fabric I used for the lining:

I'm already cutting fabric for a second one.  It's the perfect size, and so adorable!  This time I'm adding pockets to the inside so I don't have to fish around for my cell phone. :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

be you project {printable}

Happy weekend. :)

So lately I've been really worried about how young women tend to view themselves.  I think my concern spawned from the overwhelming amount of self esteem issues I see on reality TV (my sister is a bit of a reality TV junkie), but I also see the same issues reflected on my Facebook news feed everyday.  I'm not sure why, but it seems like everyone (women especially) goes through this phase of believing like they're just not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough, and we tend to forget that we're perfect just the way we are.

I've been in that position many times, where I will compare myself to everyone who I see as "better" than me, and convince myself that I'm just not enough.  I'm happy to say that I'm usually able to pull myself out of that rather quickly, but it's hard to not go there every now and then, you know?  So I decided to make myself a little something to remind myself how amazing I really am.

I made a short list of the qualities in myself I really like (and maybe want to portray more), and I made this to inspire myself to stay "me".  It serves two purposes: to remind myself why I'm awesome, and to motivate myself to stay true to me.

It's only been a few days since I've drawn this up, but I have to say... it does do a lovely job of perking me up when I'm feeling a little down about myself.  You should definitely try it.  It might be a little hard thinking up qualities that describe you (especially if you tend to be modest ;) ), but after a while your list gets longer, and you start feeling pretty good about yourself!

And in case anyone was interested, I've included what I made as a printable.  It's quite a large drawing (I wasn't sure how big I'd want it in the beginning), so make sure you resize it if you wanted a smaller print. I also made two versions, one with a butterfly and polka dots (like in my photo), and a plain version without the butterfly and dots.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

burlap owl wreath {mini tutorial}

I know everyone's gearing up for spring, but it rained yesterday... and it was cold as heck today, so I'm not quite ready to bust out my bright and colorful projects out quiiiite yet. I've decided to hold on to my browns and oranges just a bit longer.  :)

A few days ago I shared my tutorial for gathered fabric flowers, and I thought I'd show what I ended up using them for.  It's nothing too awesomely special, so I didn't want to do a full tutorial on it, but in case you were curious, I thought I'd do a little mini-tutorial.

::Supplies I used ::

  • Styrofoam wreath
  • Burlap fabric
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Gathered Fabric Flowers
  • Felt (to make the owl)
:: Steps ::

This is how I created my owl.  You can obviously make yours however you want it, but in case you needed an idea, I started with the body, then added the belly and wings, and then the face.  I left out the feet, mostly because my owl feet always suck... but maybe you can make yours not suck? :P

Cut strips of burlap and wrap around the wreath , hot gluing along the way.
Cover the entire wreath with burlap.  There were stray strands, but I liked the rustic look, so I didn't trim.
Cut a long, wide strip of burlap.
Hot glue one end of the strip to the wreath.  Start bunching and gluing down that side of the strip around the wreath.
When you're done, it should look like a strange, bunchy donut. :)
Then take the other side of the strip (that isn't glued down), and fold it over where you just glued down the other side (it should be further inside the wreath hole).  Glue this side down, bunching as you go.  This is what it will look like on the inside.
What you have should look something like this.  Except, you know, the full wreath. :)
Add owl, flowers... whatever you'd like with your glue.  And you're done!
Ta da!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

gathered fabric flowers {tutorial}

Happy weekend!  I've been spending a lot of time these days trying to come up with crafts that perk me up (because of all the stress), and what better way than to make a bunch of flowers?!

I know, I know.... there are a billion ways to make fabric flowers nowadays (and trust me, I love every method.  I'm pretty sure I've tried every method.), but when I need to make something quick and have it look halfway decent, this is my favorite method. :)

:: Supplies I used ::

  • Fabric
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors
  • Needle & Thread
  • Felt
Cut a strip of fabric.  You'll be folding this in half, and that will determine how "long" your "petal" is, so keep that in mind when deciding how wide to cut the fabric.  The wider your fabric, the bigger your petals, and the longer your fabric the bigger your overall flower will be.

Thread your needle, and create a knot at the end.  Fold the strip in half and start your sewing near the raw edge (not at the fold).  You'll notice my knotted thread, and I actually sewed around the side a couple of times to secure my knot in place (you really don't want that sucker to get out).

Sew along the raw edge in long stitches.  I kept my stitches at about half an inch.

When you've stitched the entire length of fabric, hold the thread at the end without the knot and gently start pulling your fabric towards the end with the knot.  You are 'gathering' your fabric. :)

You should end up with a scrunched up pile like this:

There are two kinds of flowers you can make from here.  You can space it out evenly and create a flat flower with space in the middle for a button or an accent:

Or you can wrap it around to create a more 3D flower:

Either way, glue it down to a piece of felt to secure the flower, and cut the remaining thread once the flower is secure.

You can try different lengths and widths of fabric to see what different variations of the flower you can make.  The dark orange and yellow fabrics were cut thinner than my light orange one, and it gave me more of a funky, zig zag petal pattern (which I liked). :)


Thursday, February 23, 2012

polka-dotted flower {pillow}

What a week!

How is it that when things break down, everything breaks down at once?  The cell phone was a bummer.  The internet was a bother.  But my car really put me over my stress limit.

Murphy's law, am I right?

Anyways, to cheer myself up I've been doing more crafting that usual, but as you know, I tend to do everything at once, so everything's anywhere from "just started" to "one more stitch and I'll be done".  Except this... I managed to somehow finish this:

Hello, happy green polka-dotted flowery pillow!

I'm kind of a little obsessed with yellow, green, and orange, and I go a little nuts over polka dots, so this definitely brought all of my happy things together.  It's almost like I don't even care that I currently don't have a working car!  Almost.

The pillow has a yellow binding around it, and I chose different shades of yellow and orange for the different flowers:

So yes, life is a bit stressful right now (I forgot a jacket on the way to work yesterday and almost burst out crying, that's how stressed I am!), but at least I feel a little bit accomplished in something.

On a related note... if I come home and something has happened to this pillow, I think I'll completely lose it. :P

Saturday, February 18, 2012

magnetic canvas board {tutorial}

Happy weekend!

I hope your week was just as fun as mine.  My cousin from Australia is in town with her hubby and three young boys (ages 3-6), so on Thursday I got to join them for a little Disneyland time. :)  All the pictures I've been taking got me thinking on how I wanted a board in my room to display them... but I knew I didn't want to use pins because that would destroy the pictures.  I liked the fabric/photo frame magnetic boards that are popular nowadays, but I wanted it to be a little more personal.  So I came up with...

The magnetic canvas board!  It's quick (took me about 2 hours, including drying time), cheap, and pretty fun to do. :)

{the magnets on the board were made by me using the same method as my photo magnets, except I used fabric instead of photos.}

{ Supplies I used... }

  • Canvas (mine is 11 x 14 inches. On sale for $4 at Michaels)
  • Metal sheet (mins is 8 x 12 inches. Pre-cut in the ventilation section at Lowe's. $1.)
  • Paint (I used acrylic. About $1 a bottle at Michaels.  I ended up only needing one yellow and a bit of white.)
  • Paintbrushes (Foam brush is 7 cents at Michaels. Other brushes I already had)
  • Strong clear glue (already in stock for me!)
  • Pencil (for those of us who aren't too confident in our skills at painting letters.) that totals to about $6.07 plus tax.  Not bad!

My sheet of metal is just a bit smaller than my canvas, which was perfect because I could just slide it in between the canvas and the frame in the back like this:

There's some space at the bottom, but I didn't mind because that's where my lettering went, and I didn't need that part to be magnetic.

I decided to glue the sheet in before I painted the canvas, just in case the glue leaked out (I didn't want it to ruin my painting).  So put some glue around the edges of the metal sheet and slid it right back in between the canvas and the frame.

Let the glue dry for a little bit.  Go have a snack.  Watch some TV.  Pet the dog.  That sort of stuff. :)

Next step is to paint the canvas however you'd like.  I looove the color yellow, so I opted to paint my entire canvas that gorgeous color. 

You could still see the gray of the metal sheet after the first coat, so I let the first coat dry a bit and did a second coat on top of it.  

Let the pain dry completely.

When the canvas is dry, you can start your lettering.  I don't like to chance anything, so I used a pencil first.  My printer is down at the moment, so I had to freehand my lettering.  You can use a template and trace a pretty font on if you'd like (and are able).

Go over the lettering in your paint color of choice with a small brush.  Since I used white, I needed to do three coats for the pencil marks to really go away.  I also opted to draw flowers in the corner because it looked a bit empty. :)

I chose "life is good" because it seemed like a great way for me to wake up and remember to be grateful for everything that I have.  I could put cards, notes, pictures, whatever on the board, and it would all reflect on the fact that life is good.

You can letter different things on your board, like your family name, "to-do list"... possibilities are endless. :)

When the board's dry, you can start putting magnets on it and hang it up!

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

post-valentine's day post

Hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

I spent 11 hours of my lovely day in the office... which sounds just awful at first, but when you share an office with your valentine, it's not so bad. :)

He actually goes into the office before me, but I snuck in before he got there to set up his loot:

The cookies, card, and Star Wars placemat were made by me, and the little takeout box actually contains the photo magnets I made a few days ago.  They were actually a hit.  Apparently physicists love magnets.  Go figure.

The chocolates were obviously not made by me, but Ghirardelli does a much better job at making them anyways. ;)

I also came in later with a homemade meal (which was the original reason for making the placemat).  Nothing fancy... just monte cristo sandwiches and some mac and cheese, but he loves those foods, so that's what I made.  [Star Wars, sandwiches, cookies... yes, I am aware that it sounds like I'm dating a 10 year old, but I'm a firm believer in keeping some of the child in us alive, so I encourage it. :) ]

I also erased whatever important things we had on our giant whiteboard to write this:

...because I thought that was also very important (and we got to see the magnets in use! sort of. :P).

Hope your day was full of love and joy... and chocolate! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

photo magnets {tutorial}

One of my favorite things about Valentine's Day is that it's a perfect excuse to make personalized, handmade, lovey-dovey gifts.  And what could possibly be more personalized than a gift with your face on it?  :P  I'd seen some tutorials for making marble magnets using cardstock, but I found that the same rules do not apply for photographs.  I tried three different sealers and glues before I could find one that stuck and didn't ruin the photo.  So here it is.. a quick how to on photo magnets.

{ Supplies I used... }

  • Photos (shrunk them on the computer and printed 4 per a 4x6 page so they'd fit in the marbles)
  • Magnets (bought at Michael's)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Silicone Sealer (found at the home improvement section at Target, makes sure it's clear)
  • Clear Jumbo Marbles (you can also use the little ones if you wish, just make sure they are truly clear. Hold it up to the light, if you see any pink, blue, or green tinge, they're not clear.  Both kinds were at Joanne's.)
  • E600 (but any strong glue will work except a hot glue gun)
I tried using mod podge instead of the silicone sealer, but the glue refused to dry in the middle, no matter how think I spread it on the photo.  I also tried using just E600, but that damaged the photos I had and made them blurry.  It did work very well to glue down the magnets, however. :)

Start by choosing one of the marbles to work with (make sure it's not scratched, as a lot of mine were.  I also carefully washed all of mine before starting.) and tracing it around your photo.

Cut on the inside of the line, so that your photo is slightly smaller than how you traced it.  Put your marble over it and make sure the photo edge doesn't stick out anywhere.  You might have to trim parts of it to make it fit properly.  When finished, they should look like this:

...You'll notice two of those aren't photos of anyone.  :)  I chose to print some logos and pictures of stuff he likes, so he wouldn't be bombarded with our faces everywhere.  I also used photoshop to create a quick "happy valentines day 2012" one:

...I think it's cute. :)

Put a dab of the silicone sealer onto your marble.  I put on a lot more than was needed, because I wanted some spillover to ensure a good bond all the way around.  You don't have to put as much as I have on here.  Also, the silicone sealant looks white, but since it said "clear" on the tube, I knew it would dry clear, so don't freak out if it looks like that. :)

And then press the photo onto the glue until there's a good coat all around.  You can move around the photo if it's not centered (my sealer said it dried in 3 hours... so that gave me plenty of time!), and wipe off any excess around the edges.

Put them face down to dry.

Once dry, put a dab of glue onto the magnet, and glue them to the backs of your photo marble.

And... you're done! :)  Here is my finished batch:

They stay on the fridge quite well even though I didn't buy the "heavy duty" ones (couldn't find them anywhere), and even though I used jumbo marbles instead of the usual small ones.

Enjoy! :)

toastie studio