Tuesday, May 26, 2015

DIY Entertainment Shelf

For the longest time, our TV in the bedroom lived on top of a cheap, ugly, Ikea dresser.  The Blu-ray player and cable box were stacked on top of each other and it was just... unpleasant.  The before is at left... it's wretched, I know!  I couldn't stand the empty space above the tv, the harsh lines of the dresser completely clashed with the rest of the room.  I just hated it.  So, we made a change.  It started with mounting the TV and concealing the cables.  We found a strip to hide the cables in that you can paint so it blends in with your wall.  But, then I had to solve the problem of where to put the Blu-ray player and cable box.  I had found these rustic brackets at an estate sale for $10 for the pair.  I had been hanging onto them, kind of unsure what to do with them when I realized they would be a perfect solution for this project.  I bought some wood at the local hardware store, stained all the pieces and screwed them together to make a shelf.  To allow the cords to be concealed within the strip, I fixed the shelf to the brackets leaving a one inch gap between the shelf and the wall.  It worked beautifully!  

Then I was frustrated with the empty space below the shelf, between the brackets.  Simple.  I got some screw in hooks and some baskets with handles... and instant storage!  I didn't even need to drill holes for the hooks, they screwed right into the wood by hand.  

Just a note... make sure your hooks are both facing the same direction so you can lift the basket and slide off the hooks.  Removing the baskets could get tricky if your hooks are both facing inward toward each other.  You can see how I did it below.

Of course, Skilo always has to get in on the photo shoots. That's okay, though.  He only makes them cuter!  I could not be more pleased with that corner, now.  I added a sweet little wicker chair from Ikea, a Nate Berkus blanket from Target, some storage boxes from Target for random documents and a basket for all the magazines I still need to read.  The drawings on the wall were done by my mom when she was a teenager.  I adore them. 

I think this corner looks infinitely better than it did before.  It doesn't make me want to close the door and never look in my bedroom again anymore.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

EAT: Summer Yogurt Salad

Who doesn't love something sweet and healthy?  Never ever can you have too much sweetness if it's actually doing your body good.  I was not born with an inherently natural sweet tooth like my mother. She can honestly eat an entire bag of Dove chocolates and call it "dinner" with no remorse.  It's astonishing, actually.  I very rarely get a craving for sweetness, but when I do, I tend to opt for something less... guilt ridden.  Typically, I spoonful of peanut butter is enough to satiate my craving, but sometimes, I need fruit.  And chocolate.  And brown sugar.

I came up with this salad based on my love for yogurt parfait... and quite honestly, it's to die for.  The best part is that you can customize it with whatever fruit/toppings you like.  

Chobani Greek Yogurt
Brown Sugar
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Chips

I added in the brown sugar first to make sure it mixed with the yogurt.  I didn't want it getting stuck to the fruit and clumping.

Next, I added the fruit and just mixed it all together.

Along with some mini caprese's and tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa, we had the perfect snack table for a movie night with Jen and Pat.  I cannot wait to whip up some more tasty summer snacks and share them with you!  This is also the PERFECT Memorial Day picnic salad.  Pack it up in the cooler and take it to the park or the pool and dig in!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Faux Button Placket (No Buttonholes Involved!)

With an ever-growing to-do list, I'm always looking for short cuts. Which leads me to a confession....

I hate buttonholes.

Phew, glad I got that off my chest! For the longest time, I refused to sew buttonholes. I think my fear stems mostly from the fact that I've been sewing for the last 5 1/2 years on a basic sewing machine, and my sewing machine hates buttonholes. What I mean is, my machine knows how to make buttonholes, it just flat out refuses to make them. And when it does, it usually takes me 2-3 times of unpicking stitches before I have semi-presentable results.

And who wants to spend an hour on buttonholes? Ain't nobody got time for that. That's how I came up with an idea to make a faux button placket!

Now, I'm not going to promise you that this method cuts your buttonhole making time in half or anything like that (and actually it may take a little bit longer), but if you're like me and have a machine that just doesn't like to make buttonholes, or if you're not ready to make the plunge into making buttonholes, this tutorial will give you a finished button placket that people will never guess is a fake. Plus, since we're using velcro, a faux placket makes it much easier for little ones to dress themselves.

Ready to add a faux placket to everything??

SUPPLIES: finished top, velcro, disappearing ink marker, buttons at least 1 inch in diameter or more, sewing machine, needle and thread.

First, you'll need a finished top that needs a button placket. This particular top above is a peplum top I made as part of The Sewing Rabbit's fall 2013 collection, minus the piping. (Come visit me on The Sewing Rabbit to learn how to make a peplum top next week!)

ONE: first, measure your shirt from neckline to the bottom and subtract an inch.
TWO: next, separate your velcro so that the "hook" part, or the scratchy part, is separate from the soft "loop" part of the velcro. Cut a length of the loop portion of the velcro only,  as long as the measurement you wrote down above.
THREE: pin your loop tape to your shirt, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on both the top and bottom.
FOUR: sew around all sides of your tape to attach it to your shirt.

FIVE: now you'll need to cut squares of the "hook" portion of the velcro to attach to the other side of your button placket. You'll want each square of hook tape to be slightly smaller that your button (so people won't be able to see your stitch lines), so trim if needed.
SIX: cut out as many squares of hook tape as you have buttons. See how my hook tape is slightly smaller than my button?
SEVEN: now use your disappearing ink marker to make marks where you want your buttons to go on the underside of your button placket.
EIGHT: pin each square of hook tape on the marks you just made and sew to secure.

Here is what the other side of your button placket will look like as soon as you've sewn your hook squares down! Now all that's left is to sew your buttons on right on top of your squares to hide your stitches.

And now you have a beautiful faux button placket with no buttonholes involved! I'll be no one will even notice it's a fake :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mother's Day Card with Detachable Flower Brooch

Mother's Day is coming up, and you know what that means - breakfast in bed, massages, no dishes to clean, and an afternoon of sewing all to myself without someone whining for a snack! At least, that's what I want for Mother's Day. That and a cover stitch machine. A girl can dream, right?

This month's Michael's Makers post is all about celebrations, and I chose to celebrate Mothers. Mother's Day is a wonderful time to give special recognition to the women in our lives with love and appreciation for all that they do, and traditionally that involves giving Mother's Day cards, so I wanted to come up with a card that is more than it seems.

I'm actually not at all a card person at all. I never buy them. I appreciate the gesture, but I personally don't like to buy something that I know will get thrown away almost immediately. This card is different though - it has a detachable brooch that Mom can wear! I love that I am able to give a card that says all the wonderful things I want to say to my Mom, but has the bonus of something she can wear to show my love too.

SUPPLIES: cardstock in 2 colors (one for the card and one for the rose), vellum paper, jewelry pin, foam adhesive craft circles, paper trimmer, scissors, hot glue, craft glue.

Making The Rose:

ONE: first, use a bowl or something else circular to trace and cut out a circle from your pink card stock.
TWO: you can draw a swirl on your circle or just freehand it like I did. Start on the outer edge and cut a swirl until you reach the middle.
THREE: leave a little circle in the middle of your rose (we will use this to apply glue to hold your rose in place later.)
FOUR: here's what your rose should look like so far!

FIVE: starting at the outside edge, begin to tightly roll your rose.
SIX: keep rolling...
SEVEN: when you reach the center of your rose, it should look like this.
EIGHT: poke your pin through the center of your rose as shown.
NINE: cut a small circle from your card stock and apply it over the base of your pin. Secure with hot glue over the flat part of your pin.
TEN: allow your rose to uncoil slightly. Put a generous amount of hot glue at the center of your rose to secure in place.

Assembling the Card:

ONE: cut a piece of vellum to size. I made mine as long as my card, but left a couple of inches at the top and bottom.
TWO: secure the vellum to your card using crafting glue (don't go crazy with the glue or you will get lots of wrinkles! Trust me on that one ;) Allow your card to dry.

THREE: poke a hole through the top layer of your card using another pin (or something similar) where your rose will go. 
FOUR: insert your rose through your card and secure on the inside with the back of your pin.

FIVE: cut out your M's (I used my Silhouette Cameo for this, but you can buy or cut your letters by hand.) Place your foam adhesive dots on the back of your letter.
SIX: peel off the backing and attach your M's on either side of your rose.

SEVEN: finally, I tied a piece of ribbon in a bow and hot glued it to the front to complete the card.

Now fill your card with lots of love about Mom...

...and on top of your sweet words in your handmade card, Mom will have a detachable brooch that she can wear with pride on Mother's Day! That's my kind of card.

I hope you enjoy! The rose is so easy to make, you could even get the kids into it and make a card for Grandma. Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Easy Tassel Necklace

I love simple necklaces - the danglier the better! It really doesn't take much to add a pop of color to an outfit, and it doesn't have to be complicated. You can keep your chunky statement necklaces, I'll take a simple suede tassel necklace like this one any day (especially when they're this easy to make!)
I love the look of leather tassel necklaces like this one at Anthropologie, but I don't love the price tag. I had a bunch of suede leftover from my knotted suede bracelet project, so I decided to whip up a tassel necklace with some of the leftover. These are easier than most leather necklaces I've seen (since you're basically just stuffing a bunch of suede in a cap end) so you have no excuse not to make one. And, if you're looking for a gift for Mom on Mother's Day, this would be perfect!

SUPPLIES: I found most of my supplies at Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby, but Etsy is also a great resource for craft supplies. You will also need chain, a small jump ring, scissors, wire cutters and round nose pliers for this project.

ONE: cut 5 strands of suede cord (or more depending on the size of end cap you have) 5 inches long and bunch together as shown in the picture above.

TWO: fill your end cap with E-600 glue and insert the folded parts of your cording into the cap securely. Let dry according to the instructions on the tube.

THREE: insert 1 seed bead on your eye pin, then add a decorative bead followed by a second seed bead.

FOUR: Loop the end of your eye pin over the nose of your pliers close to your seed bead, then wrap the wire around a couple of times and snip off any extra. (Not shown) open the other side of your eyepin some and thread on your end cap. Use a jump ring to attach the other end to your chain.

And that's it. Classy, and SO easy to make. I just love mine and can't wait to make more in different colors.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Leather Accent Zipper Pouch

This post originally appeared on The Sewing Rabbit. If you need a good makeup pouch, or even a trendy pouch for pencils and other school supplies, this is the tutorial for you!

I found a bag filled with leather scraps for under $5 at an estate sale a couple years ago and snapped it up as quickly as I could. It was like finding hidden treasure! Inside, there were several large strips of leather, leather lacing, and leather dye. Most of the leather strips were covered in chalk markings, and I've always wondered what those leather strips were meant for. Maybe a pair of men's shoes? Some belts maybe? Whatever the case, I'm sure the former owner never thought his leather collection would eventually find its way into my hands to be turned into necklaces, riding pants, purses, and now a zipper pouch!

I love sewing with leather. There's just something about adding leather to a project that gives it a little edge and chicness. With the simple addition of a few leather triangles, this simple zipper pouch becomes a stylish bag perfect for makeup or odds and ends.

SUPPLIES: two 8"wide x 6" tall pieces sewable interfacing, two 8" wide x 6" tall main fabric pieces, two 8" wide x 6" tall lining pieces, one 7" zipper, one 2" wide x 3" tall piece of fabric for zipper tag, four thin leather triangles approximately 4" long and 2" tall, iron and ironing board, zipper foot, sewing machine and basic sewing supplies.

Note about working with leather: when selecting your leather to use for this pouch you want 7-9 oz. leather that is soft and easily pliable (not the stiff kind typically used for belts.) You can find bags of thin scrap leather at many hobby stores. Also, if you're using thin leather as suggested, a universal sewing needle will work fine.

Attaching The Leather Triangles

ONE: first (not pictured), iron your interfacing to the back of your two main fabric pieces. Then, measure the 6" sides of your main pieces to determine where to place your leather pieces.
TWO: I didn't pin my leather down because I didn't want to poke holes in it. Instead, I held the leather in place with my fingers and slowly (and very carefully!) sewed in a continuous triangle until I got to the middle. You could always try a small amount of spray adhesive to help keep your leather in place, but I didn't have a problem with my leather moving around.

Attaching the Zipper

ONE: take your 3x2 scrap of fabric and iron the long sides over to meet in the middle.
TWO: next, fold each end to meet the middle and press, then fold once more in half and press so that the raw edges are encased inside of your fabric tab.
THREE: sandwich the end of your zipper in the fabric tab you just made, and sew straight across to secure. On the opposite end of your zipper where the zipper pull is, trim off approximately 1/2 inch.
FOUR: Place one piece of your main fabric face up on the table, then place your zipper face down as shown above with your zipper pull face down on the left side. Make sure the top edge of your zipper is lined up with the raw edge of the fabric.
FIVE: place a piece of your lining fabric face down, sandwiching the zipper inside. Your fabrics will now be facing right sides together (RST.) Pin along the top edge to secure.


ONE: using your zipper foot, sew along the edge of your fabric close to your zipper teeth.
TWO: when you unfold your fabric pieces, it should look like this with your main and lining fabric wrong sides together (WST). Repeat the steps above to attach your main fabric and lining pieces to the other side of your zipper.
THREE: Your pouch should now look like this, with one main piece and one lining piece on either side of the zipper facing WST.
FOUR: to give the pouch a more finished look, you can go back with your zipper foot and top stitch along each side of the zipper.

FIVE: unzip your zipper halfway (don't skip this step!) and fold your pouch so that the two main pieces are facing each other and the lining pieces are facing each other RST. With your regular sewing foot, sew around the perimeter of your pouch, but leave a 2-3 inch opening in your lining pieces for turning as shown in the picture above.
SIX: pull your pouch right side out through the opening you left, and then tuck the raw edge of your lining fabric inside and hand stitch the opening closed. Push your lining inside your pouch, zip and you're done!

Now you have a beautiful finished pouch!

I love the polka dot lining fabric inside of my pouch. It's like a little surprise each time I open the bag :)

I hope you enjoy your new zipper pouch, and if you're looking for a few more ideas to incorporate leather into your projects, here are some past projects to try:

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