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:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Macarons & Springtime In Paris Challenge

Macarons.  Those amazing pastries we all know and love. They're beautiful, mysterious, and tantalizing.  They are also a pain in the butt to make.  Fortunately, Michael's carries a line of goodies specifically for those of us with enough bravery to give these babies a shot ourselves.  Mastrad Paris offers a nifty silicon baking sheet with templates and guides for piping your meringue, and a cookbook with incredibly detailed instructions.  

When we were challenged with creating something Parisian themed this month, our minds immediately snapped to macarons.  We are fortunate enough to have sever french patisseries nearby in Pittsburgh with unbelievably divine macarons, but, of course, they are quite costly.  Why not try to get the goodness on our own?

I won't be posting a recipe here because, honestly, it's entirely too complex and you really do need the entire book to  help you.  I used cocoa powder to flavor the meringues and a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Sauce for the filling.  It was heavenly!  I took a few photos of the process... which take a lot of patience and a lot of focus.    

My macarons did not turn out perfect by any means, but at least my meringues didn't crack!  I did a little happy dance when I opened the oven and saw these tiny little beautiful pastries.  I definitely recommend giving these products a shot.  But, beware, practice makes perfect!  You most likely will not get it totally right on the first try.  Hang in there, though.  When you do get it right, it feels SO good!

Now it’s your turn!  That’s right, you can enter to win the trip of a lifetime to Paris too. How? By creating your own Parisian-inspired art, floral, baking or paper crafting project and uploading a photo to https://paris.michaels.com/ through March 31. You can also share your project on social using #SpringtimeInParis #Contest.

What do you win? A four-night trip for two to Paris, 1,000 euros, a VIP tour of the Louvre, private classes including sketching, floral arranging, baking and more!

If you need a little Paris inspiration to get you started, take a look at some of the Springtime in Paris projects on Michaels.com.

Good luck!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lentil Soup

Brrrr.....are you all as cold as I am?? Lately, we've had some of the coldest days I've felt since my childhood in Colorado. Pennsylvania is known for it's cold winters, but these past few days have been in the single digits and I'm not a fan All I want to do is curl up under a blanket with some hot chocolate and Netflix and hibernate until springtime. I'm SO very lucky that I have a boss that allows me to work from home because most days I dread even going outdoors.

Are you picking up on the fact that I'm a big cold weather baby?

It's not a secret. In fact, my husband is so used to my hatred of snow and cold that, every time the kids ask to go out in the snow and play, he immediately gets his snow gear on. He's a good man :)

On cold days like these, I look forward to a big steamy bowl of soup at the end of the day. It warms me right up and helps me remember that spring is (hopefully) not far away. Plus, you can't beat throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and letting it simmer while you cuddle with the kiddos. That's the best form of warmth if you ask me :)

Lentil soup is one of my favorite soups since childhood. I remember my mom making it all the time. There's nothing fancy or unusual about this soup - it's just a big bowl of comforting deliciousness! Unfortunately, my husband and kids hate beans of all shapes and sizes (what's wrong with them?!), but I still make a big pot of lentil soup and freeze any leftovers to pull out on cold winter days.

You know you want some...

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 cups dried lentils, 6 cups water, 1 tablespoon beef bullion, 2 tablespoons dried parsley, 1 large onion chopped, 1 medium carrot diced, 1 bay leaf, 1/2-1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 clove garlic crushed, 1 cup chopped ham.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf and enjoy!

Bonus points if you have some crusty bread to go along with it. This soup is simple and filling, and sometimes, those are the best kind of dinners.

Monday, February 16, 2015

DIY Denim Journals

Denim is becoming one of the newest and hottest crafting trends of 2015. Typically when I think about denim, it's for use in clothing only, or maybe as a fun accent like in my simple serged hand warmers project that I posted last week. When Michael's told us that this month's project challenge was going to be denim, my mind immediately went to clothing. I packed up the kids and headed out to gather supplies for what I was sure would be a clothing-related post - right up my alley! When I got there, I quickly realized that 1. denim is wayyy more versatile than I thought and 2. my project was definitely not going to be one involving clothing with all the cool options out there!

Michaels has a whole new product line called Make Market  for DIY project and home d├ęcor ideas – all made with simple, on-trend surfaces and textures like chalk, denim, galvanized, burlap and cork. I had a great time browsing the aisles and looking at all the fun things I wanted to buy.

You can see that I had a little fun with the industrial letters :)

And when I got to the denim, you can see why I wouldn't be making any clothing! They had more things than I thought could be done with denim: denim canvases, denim covered plates, denim dyes and paints...but no denim yardage.

I was a bit out of my comfort zone since I originally assumed I'd be making clothing, then I stumbled upon the cute denim letters in the picture above.  My mind immediately flashed back to the burlap-covered journals I had just seen in the Make Market aisle, and I knew exactly what to make - denim journals! And wouldn't you know, those cute little denim letters are the perfect size for the journal covers.

It was denim destiny I tell you.

Since I always seem to come up with craft ideas at the weirdest times, these little personalized inspiration journals are a handy way for me to jot down crafting ideas when they hit. While I made mine to be used as crafting journals, they could be used for anything really! Sketching, journaling, diaries, sticker collecting...whatever your thing is! Ready for the easiest project ever?

SUPPLIES: (most items were found in the Make Market aisle of Michaels) burlap journal, hot glue and glue gun, denim letters, denim patterned washi tape, denim shapes, burlap and denim gift tags (optional)

First, use your glue gun to glue your letters onto the front of your burlap journal and let dry.

If you'd rather use something else other than the letters, Michael's also has cute denim shapes that you could use. I made this journal above for my daughter to draw in, so I went with the denim heart shapes found in the Make Market aisle.

After adding your lettering or shapes, take the super awesome denim tape and attach it along the binding of your journal, then trim excess.

And that's it! Simplest, fastest project ever. And sometimes those are the best kind. I love that I have a personalized journal to add inspiration ideas and photos to wherever I go. I can just slip it in my purse or keep it in my car to write in whenever inspiration hits.

I also grabbed some of these adorable burlap patterned gift tags to use as a bookmark.

Now onto some super secret-y stuff! Michaels Makers readers are getting the inside scoop on an upcoming craft contest that will send one lucky participant on the trip of a lifetime to Paris. Paris, people!! Be sure to check back here March 2 to get all the details on how to enter to win the trip of a lifetime!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Simple Serged Handwarmers

This post first appeared on The Sewing Rabbit, and now I'm bringing it home! Hope this DIY helps warm your chilly hands this winter :)

My husband got me a serger for Christmas, and I couldn't have been happier (it's the Brother 1034D in case you're wondering, and I absolutely LOVE it.) I had been wanting one for awhile, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and try it out. The only problem was, what to make? After thinking about it for awhile, I came up with the idea to make a few hand warmers for Christmas gifts.

Hand warmers are perfect for the chilly winter weather we've been getting, and they're also the perfect project for practicing with a serger in case you have one (or you convince your husband to get you one for Christmas too :) If you don't have a serger, no problem! Just use a zig-zag stitch around the edges instead.

SUPPLIES: 1/4 yard cotton fabric, serger and thread, long grain rice, funnel, essential oil.

First, cut out 5x5 inch squares from your pieces of cotton. I went with some gingham and chambray scraps I had in my stash.

Next, remove the right needle on your serger by using the little screwdriver your machine came with. Make sure to tighten well after you remove the right needle so that your remaining needle is lined up properly on the left side.

Pin two squares wrong sides (or the sides without the pattern) together.

Beginning at one of the corners, start to serge along each edge with a 1/4-1/2 inch seam allowance. To serge corners, I serged along the edge until I reached the corner then, with the needle still down, I raised the foot and turned my square and began to serge along the next edge.

Stop serging when you're about 1 1/2 inches from where you began and clip your loose threads.

Use a spoon or funnel to fill your hand warmer with rice. Make sure not to overfill, because you still need to serge the opening and you don't want to get rice in your serger :) I used about 3/4 cup I think.

Add 2-3 drops of essential oil to the rice (this will help the hand warmers smell nice each time they're heated!)

Finally, serge your opening closed by starting at the corner and overlapping your stitches. Tie the ends of your strings in knots to make sure nothing comes unraveled and clip the excess.

These little hand warmers make great stocking stuffers or gifts for neighbors. Stack a few together and tie with some baker's twine! Easy.

To heat, simply stick them in the microwave for 30-40 seconds. They're perfect little companions when you need help staying warm outdoors (or keeping your feet warm in bed on chilly winter nights!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Faux Cross Stitched "Love" Shirt

I love the look of cross stitching on clothes. It can really add a lot of personality to a dull, plain shirt. With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it'd be fun to try out a little faux cross stitching on my daughter's shirt by using my CAMEO to make the stitches rather than hand sewing - and I gotta say, I love the result!!

The "stitches" are actually little X's made of transfer material that spell out "love." This shirt couldn't have been easier to make! And while I used my CAMEO, you could also achieve the same result with fabric paint and freezer paper stenciling if you're willing to take the time to cut out lots of little X's.

This shirt is the perfect project to make for your little Valentine :) Let's make one!

SUPPLIES: white shirt, Silhouette or Silhouette CAMEO, red heat transfer material , Silhouette cut file HERE, iron and ironing board.

Download my free Silhouette cut file HERE, or to make your own I opened up Silhouette Studio and typed out "love" in a bold font. Then, I filled in the blank space inside the letters with X's using the grid as a guide. After you've filled your wording with X's, click and move the wording off of the design area so that only the X's will be cut.

Before cutting, be sure to click and group all of your X's, then mirror your image so that your wording won't be backwards. Cut.

Follow the instructions on the heat transfer material to iron onto your shirt (I personally ignore the instructions and instead set my iron to "satin" and iron directly on the shiny plastic material on the back of the heat transfer. Then I peel off the shiny part and swipe a few times directly on my heat transfer material to make sure it's set.)

The result is an adorable faux cross stitched shirt that my daughter can wear for V-Day and beyond!

Love her little furry boots that I got from Target! They've been sooo handy during these snowy days we've had lately. When we get up the motivation to leave the house on these snowy days, that is ;)

Also, leggings are made by me using this gorgeous buffalo plaid from Girl Charlee.

Love is in the air!

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