Tutorials: August 2011 Archives
So I was cruising the Martha Stewart Craft site a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this Lunch Bag Tutorial featuring oil cloth. I knew it would be perfect for our Dorm Days series and coupled with Anna Maria Horner's Laminated Cotton it could easily be adapted for a college student, middle or high school student. It is also a fun way to get motivated to start bringing your own lunch to the work place if you are rebudgeting or pack snacks for a mom on the go or for road trip snacks to reduced fighting. These bags are super easy and the impact is high. You could make a dozen in one day to give to friends and family for fast Christmas gifts or fill them with candles, lotions and homemade goods as teacher and caregiver presents.
My lunch bag was so fast and fun. I used Anna Maria Horner's laminated cotton for all exterior panels and followed the instructions here. If you are thinking to save time by skipping the topstitching, DON'T. It gives structure along with a finishing detail. You can finger press the seams before you topstitch to help keep the fold since you don't want to use pins. I also used a basting stitch as my topstitching because the longer stitch helped my machine run over the laminate easier. I also recommend making a cotton lining using the same directions as the exterior only with wrong sides together. By not attaching the lining to the top of the bag, it can be removed for washing. OR you could use Insul-Bright batting between the exterior and lining to turn your lunch bag into an insulated lunch bag, perfect for yogurts, meats and cheeses.
Don't forget to add a closure at the top. You can go with a clip like Martha or some Velcro like me. Grommets and a ribbon are also a pretty option along with buttons. Go crazy and have fun since these are so quick and simple and infinity useful!
I am a big fan of Cricut and love all their cartridges! It is just too fun to watch my Cricut make perfect cuts without lifting a finger. I have made some other projects in the past with my Cricut: cutting fabric, making magnets and a Halloween banner. Today I wanted to do something for our Dorm Days series and so focused on cutting vinyl with my Cricut.
Cutting Vinyl with your Cricut is similar to cutting fabric, a little tricky at first but once you get your settings right- no problem. Also you need a fresh blade. I watched this video which was very informative (The video hostess is from the Netherlands so she says ven-al instead of vinyl). She offers some REALLY great tips for applying your vinyl letters and removing them as well. What I used was not Cricut vinyl but contact paper which is cheaper and easier to find than Cricut sticky back vinyl plus in some stores you can purchase it in funky patterns like Faux Bois or in your fave college colors. Vinyl is perfect for decorating dorms or apartments because it is easy to apply and easy to remove without wall damage. You can customize it to your taste or style by choosing the Cricut cartridges you like best. I wanted to incorporate the new funky, vintage inspired letters that are all the rage in home design these days. Instead of hunting and purchasing letters of various sizes, fonts, and colors then hauling them home and hanging them, I cut some from contact paper using my Cricut and different font cartridges. Each letter stands for a family member's name and our last name. It was so easy and a lot of fun to make, plus I get compliments whenever someone pops over for a play date or coffee.
Below you can find some more Cricut+Vinyl (contact paper) wall décor ideas for your Dorm or home. Have fun!
Everyone has one these days but if you are anything like me more often than not you don't have a pocket to spare for your MP3 player. Some of my lady clothes just don't offer the pocket space I need to take my tunes with me and some don't offer pockets at all. I tried keeping mine in my bra for a while but then the hot weather hit and that just didn't work out any more. So I vowed for Back to School I would design a great arm band for my MP3 player that I could wear with any outfit to anywhere. I use it walking with my stroller, going to the grocery store, gardening, cleaning, etc. The great thing about my MP3 Go Band is that many activities that previously were 'no-no's for my MP3 player in the pocket (it would fall out) are now back on!
To create your own takes a little bit of time, a little bit of fabric and Velcro but leads to much freedom. These are great for college kids who need an MP3 player to catch up on lectures, language lessons or just music to listen to while they trek from one end of campus to the other. As a mom, I love it as a companion for long walks, household chores and a break while running errands. But really these are great gifts for anyone in the family. You can download your own MP3 Go Band pattern below by clicking on the picture.
You can find your materials here:
The classic story begins: So I was surfing the 'net' a few weeks ago when I found this tutorial...
I would say that 50% of my blog projects start with the above sentence, but not all end with this sentence: As soon as I saw this project I had to make it IMMEDIATELY!
Most projects I look forward to, most I love to shop for and some I stay up late to work on. A select few get my heart pumping and my brain spinning. This is one of those projects. I love rugs. I love softness under my toes. I love a block of color, texture or design to make a room. I love how rugs can 'make' a room. Now I can make them too! I knew this would be a great project for our Dorm Days series because it is such an easy project, dorm rugs are often cheap in construction and in design and since you make it, you can make it to size, color and design that fits you.
To make my rug, I followed High-Heeled Foot in Door's awesome DIY Chevron Rug tutorial which calls for:
2 yds of home decor fabric
One 6x9 ft canvas drop cloth
One 5x8 ft rug gripper
Tacky Glue Spray
Size 14 needle
This tutorial was really well done and assembly was easy. You do need a significant area of clean floor space to lay everything out and a heck of a lot of spray starch to get all the wrinkles out of the drop cloth. I would recommend using the more expensive rug gripper that has more gripper surface and less holes and applying the same tacky glue spray trick to attach the gripper to the drop cloth as for attaching the fabric to the drop cloth. Don't flip over or sew until the tacky spray glue has dried. I suggest this because the gripper slips around and bunches a lot when sewing.
I used Valori Wells Wrenly Twill Home Décor weight fabric (2 yds) and this busy pattern lends itself well to piecing should you want as bigger rug. It will also hide spills or dirt which I am counting on since it is beneath my eat-in kitchen table. I like the print so much I am going to make a big rug by ordering 6 yds of fabric, cutting it in half and stitching them side by side to make more of a 9 x 9 rug for my dining room. Also, the amount of rug gripper I cut off would make the perfect size for a runner. This fabric rug is really customizable for any and all sizes. The rug feels nice underfoot with just a little plushness and stays in place very well. I am impressed with how well it turned out and how well it seems to be functioning as a rug.
Check out all of our Free Spirit fabrics to create your own Design Fabric Rug!
P.s. Of course my kitchen always looks like this and I didn't set the table just for you ;)
Here is a great, quick Halloween mask pattern for our readers to get in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve before the rush really hits. Your kids are probably already planning their costumes and perhaps can't even decide what they will be. With the ease of this pattern, you can create several masks for them to 'try on' an idea to help the decision making go faster so you can order your patterns and fabric to get started!
Materials for 1 black cat mask:
1 piece of black eco-felt
Eye Mask pattern from Prudent Baby (reduced to fit your child's face. I reduced mine 20% to 6 in. wide)
1 spool of coordinating thread
Ear Pattern (See PDF download below)
After you have cut out your pattern piece, lay your quilting cotton face down and place your felt on top. Cut out 1 of the mask pattern piece and two ear pieces. Cut out two 4 in. by 12 in. from quilting cotton for mask ties.
Pin your mask pieces together and using a medium zig zag stitch, sew around the bottom of the mask, leaving the sides and top open. Set mask aside.
Assemble your ear by pinning them together and zig zagging around the ears. Place your ear between your mask layers (on above each eye) and pin in place. Repeat for 2nd ear. Zig zag across the top of your mask, set aside.
With right sides together, fold your ties in half lengthwise and sew a ½ in. seam across one short side and down the long side. Repeat for other tie. Trim your corners, turn and press. Insert your ties on either side of the mask in the side openings, pin in place. Zig zag your mask sides.
Trace a spool of thread onto your mask for eye holes. You can gently hold your mask on your child's face to mark the eye hole placement. Choose a spool big enough to accommodate your eyes and you know it will be big enough for your child. Cut out each eye hole, pin around the hole and zig zag around each eye hole. Trim any loose threads as needed.
You can add embroidery details or contrasting thread to highlight your ears. With the quilting cotton lining, you know these masks will be comfy enough for hours of play, giving you much needed quality sewing machine time.
A concrete cube is what awaits many collegiates this fall and nothing distracts more from studying than a blank canvas. Given the various rules and contrasts on decorating dorms is it tricky to put your signature on a room that you will spend the next 4 years (5, 6 or 7 years, who am I to judge a major-a-semester student). It may be necessary to break the rules or at least work around them.
One of my favorite mediums to use as wall art is plates. I understand that ceramic plates and college students may not jive; you can pick them up cheap at a thrift store or use this technique on another solid surface it will create a project just as fun. What you need is a cool plate, some equally cool lightweight fabric, a silhouette (I use coloring sheets because of their big, detail less shapes are great for negative art), and some decoupage medium. Trace the silhouette onto your fabric and carefully cut it out. Use some decoupage medium to glue the fabric onto the plate and then slather more medium over the entire surface of the plate. Allow to dry and then use a plate hanger to hang (you can try some 3M hooks for concrete walls). You might also try the decoupage medium right on the walls. In a small spot out-of-view, test to make sure but I am reasonably certain that the medium will peel off of concrete. This project will add some spicy details to a dorm fridge, microwave, book covers, trash cans or storage containers.
There are many other awesome fabric wall art projects out on the web to try in conjunction with my fabric art project. Anna Maria Horner on the Martha Stewart Show used fabric, canvas and paint to create trendy hip wall art. Here is another tutorial using embroidery hoops and quilting cotton. Or you can just cover canvas frames with your favorite fabrics for big, bold color accents.