Sep 30, 2011

Storage for tiny little things

Man! Shoot! Dang it!

Here it is the last day of September and I have nothing really fall-y (Yep, new word) to show. In fact most of September has been a blur and I haven't been feeling in the mood to do fall crafts. My little scarecrows were it for me this year and that is really sad. The good news though, I do have something to share and to be quite honest, I'm in love with this low-cost storage solution.

Recently I was asked to teach a group of 12 to 14 year old girls how to make jewelry.  It was so fun.  We did three projects in total and the girls left with some fun things.  The problem for me was in the prep work.  One of the projects was a bracelet made using different colored paper circles.  I needed a way to keep the colors organized and spill proof.  So, I ended up using items I had on hand and to create the tray above.  And, since it worked so good, when I got home, I re-created for all my little jewelry findings that normally are just in a plastic bags piled in a box.

So, if you have little things that you want to have access to but don't want to invest a lot of money for storage here's a couple of ideas on how you can make these storage things.

Velcro Cups: semi permanent, good for short term

I knew taking a bunch of little paper circles into a youth group could have chaotic results.  I could just see the individual cups being spilled ALL OVER!  And I didn't want to pick them up.  So, to avoid a disaster, I took a cake board, some small plastic cups with lids, and self adhesive velcro and joined them all together.

For the light weight paper it worked perfectly.  It gave me a way to transport everything safely as well as it let the girls see their options clearly.  Perfect solution!

All you do is just add that little velro dot to your board and your cup and hook them together.  That easy.

Brads: Long term solution

When I got home I decided I wanted to keep this idea but use it for all the little small things I use when I make jewelry.  All my little metal findings like jump rings, clasps and crimp rings.  However, I knew that the velcro, with heavier items in the cups probably wasn't going to hold up long term.  (The velcro doesn't stick very strongly to the plastic bowl and I could see over time that the velcro might come off)    Again though, velcro is great for light weight items.  So, here's the steps I took to make it a more permanent solution...

You'll need the following items:

2 - cake boards, any size will work but I used the 10x14 size
Multi purpose small cups with lids (I found mine at Walmart, intended them for fry sauce - yum)
X-acto knife
Cutting board

1- Put your cake board on top of your cutting board. The photo shows the cutting board with a mouse pad on top and then the cake board. That was a little overkill, I really only needed the cutting board but I didn't want to take any chances in marking up my counters.

2- Put a small cup in one corner of your board and using your x-acto knife cut a small slit through both the plastic cup and the cardboard.

3- Next, attach your brad/fastener by pushing the item through the slit you cut and then turn the board over and fasten the prongs to the back of the cake board.

4- Complete one line of cups, making sure to leave enough room in between each cup to add on the lids, then turn your board and complete another line near the one of the other edges like shown above.

5- Then, following the same steps, just complete the rest of the board like shown.

6- You could stop here and just fill your containers and be done. However, I didn't like the back. I could just see those little exposed brad prongs scraping my work surface or snagging fabric or getting caught on things. So, I took it one step further. I put a layer of Mod Podge over the back of the board, prongs and all, and adhered another cake board over top. This way, it's clean and smooth and I don't have to worry about possible snags or scratches.

Then, after the two layers dry, just fill up your little cups and add the lids.

Seriously, I couldn't be happier with the results.  All my stuff is together, easy to see, and easy to store.  The bonus for me is that the board fits perfectly in my IKEA Prant boxes so once I'm done being crafty, I just take the whole board and store it away.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that!

Now, I know there are magnet boards you can buy that are similar, however, my solution cost under $2.  You can't beat that.  Also, the magnetic boards you have to hang on a wall and I didn't want to do that so the fact that my boards are portable is a huge plus for me.  I also like that the cups are clear which helps with visibility.  So, yes, I could have bought something similar but  this low cost solution worked great for me.

Now that I'm organized, I think I'll go make some jewelry.... later gators!

Sep 14, 2011

Sock Scarecrow

So, remember this little guy?

Well, he decided that he wanted to change seasons and give being a scarecrow a try.  He's quite successful at it don't ya think? 

Now, I'm not sure what prompted the change but perhaps it was a desire to fit in more with his lady love.

Don't ya think they make a cute pair .... (of socks)

If you missed it from before, you can get the tutorial on how to make these little sock cuties here:  Sock Snowmen Tutorial

Sep 9, 2011

Quick Gift idea - dish towel apron

Make sure to check out the other version of this at the bottom of the post

Man, this week is quickly approaching it's end.  I had mentioned I had some ideas that might work for Grandparents day this coming Sunday, well, looks like only one of them was good enough to share.  And, really, this idea could be used for other holidays or just-because gifts too.

Recently my daughter and I made a bunch of dish towel aprons for her young women's class.  They turned out adorable and so I thought I'd show how you can make a really super cute, and really super easy, apron from just one dishtowel and some ribbon. Plus, since the dishtowel I found at Target had whisks on it, I thought I'd through in a whisk with kisses too so you can turn it into a fun little gift for Grandma.

Here's everything you'll need:

- Dishtowel
- Whisk
- Ribbon
- Hershey Kisses
Also, thread, scissors, sewing machine

Let's start with the apron.

Step 1:  Find a super cute dishtowel then wash it.  It's really important that you wash it otherwise your apron may shrink after you have it made and well, that would NOT be good.

Step 2:  Iron it.  So far so good, right?  Easy steps.

Step 3:  Fold your dishtowel in half length wise

Step 4:  With the dishtowel folded in half, cut on a curved angle a small portion off of the corner as shown above.

Here's an up-close photo of the cut.  Be sure not to cut too much off or it will look funny once it is sewn. It will make more sense in minute.

Step 5:  Once you've made your cut, open the towel up and then turn the towel over so the right side is down.  Then, carefully fold the cut edge over about a 1/2 inch or slightly less.  Iron.  Then fold over again and iron again.  Once ironed, pin in place.

Do this step to both sides of the towel where you cut.

Step 6:  After you have each side folded, ironed, and pinned, sew them in place.

When you have both sides sewn, you should have something that looks like the photo above.  You can see now how the part you cut out makes the area for the arms.

Step 7:  Next we will add the ribbon.  You need to cut three pieces of ribbon.  One will be for the neck and the other two will be for the side ties.  Here's where it gets a little tricky.  There really isn't a set length to cut.  To determine the length you have to think about the person who will be using the apron.  Are they small chested?  If so, cut a shorter length for the neck ribbon.  If they are larger, cut it longer.  The ribbon for the neck will determine where the apron lays on the chest.  Does that make sense?  So, with that said, I cut my neck piece about 27 inches long and my side ties at about 29 inches.  This is for what I assume is just an average size apron wearer.

Then, after you have the ribbon cut, carefully singe the ends.  Do this by holding the edges of the ribbon close to an open flame.  DO NOT put it in the flame.  You don't want to burn it.  You just want it close enough to melt the edges.  This will prevent the edges of the ribbon from fraying. 

Step 8:  Now that your ribbon is cut and singed, take the piece for the neck and fold the end over about 1/2 inch.  Then pin it to the back side of the top of the apron.  Keep in mind you want the front side of the ribbon to show on the front side of the apron so be careful in how you pin/sew it.  Fold and pin one end of the ribbon and then once in place, fold and pin the other end of the ribbon onto the other side of the top of the apron.  Then sew in place.

Once you have both sides of the ribbon sewed down it should look something like above. 

Also, here's a close up shot of the stitching. (click on the photo to see it bigger) You can sew the ribbon on any way you want but I found it works well to sew it in a little box with an x in the middle.  It holds really well and looks a little more polished too.

 Step 9:   Next, add on the side ties.  Add them the same way you added the neck loop only just sew down one side of the ribbon to each side of the apron.

And that is it, you are done.  Cute right?  It looks even better on....

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning, if you want to make this and give it as a gift for Grandparents day, you'll want to add in the whisk and kisses.

So, take a whisk and add a bunch of Hershey kisses inside the whisk cage.  Then add a simple but cute note and say something cheesy like:

"We WHISK you a very happy grandparents day that is filled with lots of love and KISSES!" 

If you give the whisk and the apron together, it would make a nice simple gift that I'm sure grandma will love.

Oh, one more thing about the aprons.  If you can't find a cute dish cloth with a pattern you like, just buy plain ones.  Then use decorative ribbon and some buttons to make them adorable.  Here's what I mean...

I picked up the towels above at Walmart, they are just plain terry cloth dish towels but they were only a $1.27 each.  Can't go wrong with that.

Then just follow the steps above to make the apron.  Once it's done, add some cute buttons to make a fun design on the bottom.  It will dress it up a bit and make a super cute apron.

Sep 2, 2011

Easy to make Jewelry holder

Ok, honestly I don't know if this post is the best idea ever or so simple it shouldn't even be posted.  I'll let you decided.  Here's the story...

My super awesome sister-in-law, Susie, came to visit us this summer and was asking about by my jewelry holder.  She liked the idea and wanted to know where I got it.  I'd really never thought much about it.  I was just in a pinch for something to hold my jewelry so I used what I had on hand.  Is that called upcycling? Well, I'm fixin' to go see her this weekend and decided to make her a holder.  Here's how I did it.

First though, do you all remember these wire cubes?  

I say remember because about 5 to 6 years ago they were all the rage with scrapbookers.  If you have some of these that you are no longer using in cube form, or that are in storage, then you may want to consider using them to hold your jewelry.  They work great for keeping everything organized and visible.

You can keep your earrings, bracelets, and necklaces all in one place.  I've even stored rings on here at one point but don't have any on there now.

So, here's how simple it is to make this...

You will need a wire square (one panel from your cube set), some ribbon and scissors.  Seriously, that is all.  I told you it was going to be easy.

So, take a 12 to 15 inch piece of ribbon and tie each end of the ribbon to the top corners on your square.  Then, if you want, decorate it by placing a cute bow over top of each knot.  That's all! You're DONE!!!  Now you just need to add your jewelry.

Now, just a couple of quick tips to make this more useful.  Not all jewelry has a claps and can't hook around the wire form.  So, for those items that don't, like bracelets, just grab some office supplies like binder rings, and hook them on just like shown below.

You can also use binder clips.  Place them along the sides of the square and then you can clip on your long neckaces that  don't have clasps as well.

If you look close you can see what I mean.  There are two small black binder clips on each side.

So, that's all.  Really easy and it looks kind of cool too!  Oh, and if you don't have these wire cubes, think about using something like a baking cooling rack.  That would work too.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sep 1, 2011

Toot - toot!

So, do you all remember this little project from last fall?  If not, you can see the original post here:  Tic Tac Treat

Anyway, I arrived home today to find a lovely little package waiting for me on my door step.  It was a copy of this magazine....

Pretty cool, right?  I mean who doesn't love Country Woman magazine and then of course, there's the one and only Pioneer Woman right there on the front cover.  Awesome.  However, the excitement for me was opening up to page 52 and seeing this .....

Yahoo!  FINALLY!  Country Woman contacted me last February asking if they could publish this.  February to September is a long time to wait.  I used to work for Simple Scrapbook magazine so I understand the publication timelines but still, it doesn't make the wait any easier.  Needless to say, I'm a pretty happy camper.

Seriously, September 1st is the best day ever because it means I can get out my fall decor and now, to top it off, my name is in print. 

Ok, I'll stop now - thanks for letting me share my excitement.

In other news I've got two new projects in the works. One of them is a fun little gift for Grandma  - remember, Grandparents day is coming up.