Ben 10 Omnitrix (The Original), Cheap and Easy DIY

Ben 10 Omnitrix (The Original), Cheap and Easy DIY This is a tutorial for a Ben 10 Omnitrix, which was a requested tutorial. This is for the original omnitrix, as far as I know. Continue reading

12 Things Every Crafter Can Identify With…

12 Things Every Crafter Can Identify With...The more a person crafts, the more they realize, there are some things that are just a part of crafting life. While crafting is for the most part a very pleasant experience, there are a few things that strike a chord with those who create. Here are a few things that almost every crafter can probably identify with… starting with the fact that those of us who have used glue guns, can attest that they will indeed burn off one’s finger prints…
Continue reading

Super Easy DIY Easter Egg Garland

Super Easy DIY Easter Egg Garland This simple Easter Egg garland is super easy and quick to make, and very inexpensive. Continue reading

Wonder Woman Costume Part 4 – How to Make a Wonder Woman Cape

How to Make a Wonder Woman Cape I was really sick last week, so I didn’t get any requests done up. So instead, here’s a tutorial for a Wonder Woman cape. Continue reading

How to Make Fossil Soaps (melt and pour)

How to Make Fossil Soaps (melt and pour)

It’s easy to make “fossil” soaps with safer melt and pour soap, and it makes a fun craft to do with kids (under adult supervision). Continue reading

DIY Reusable Thanksgiving Table Place cards

DIY Reusable Thanksgiving Table Place cards I made these table place cards with Thanksgiving in mind, but the colors and imagery could easily be altered to accommodate any holiday gathering. Continue reading

Winter Soldier Costume Part 3: DIY Winter Soldier Mask

DIY Winter Soldier maskOk, so finally got the DIY Winter Soldier mask tutorial finished. Continue reading

Winter Soldier Costume Part 2: How to Make the Jacket

How to Make a Winter Soldier Costume: JacketHad several requests to do tutorials for the rest of the Winter Soldier costume. Continue reading

Barnabas Collins DIY Dark Shadows Inverness Cape Coat

DIY Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Inverness Cape CoatHad a request for the inverness cape coat that Jonathan Frid wore as Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows TV series. Continue reading

Crafts for Kids – Thanksgiving Turkey Clothespins

Crafts for Kids - Thanksgiving Turkey Clothespins An autumn leaf and some colored paper can turn a plain clothespin into a Thanksgiving turkey, perfect for sealing up the Thanksgiving leftovers. Continue reading

Dr. McCoy Tunic – DIY “Bones” Medical Tunic

DIY Dr. McCoy Tunic This is the tutorial for the short-sleeved, satin medical tunic that McCoy usually wore on board the Enterprise in Star Trek TOS. Continue reading

How to Carve a Bruce Springsteen Pumpkin (or any intricate pumpkin)

How to Carve a Bruce Springsteen Pumpkin (or any intricate pumpkin) While Jack o’ lanterns are always nice, sometimes it’s fun to bring a little more character out of the pumpkin by doing an intricate pattern; in this example I’m using Bruce Springsteen. Continue reading

How to Make Halloween Spider Soaps

How to Make Halloween Spider Soaps Get your kitchen or bathroom ready for Halloween by making some Halloween spider soaps. Continue reading

How to Make a Witch’s Broom

How to Make a Witch's Broom It’s easy to learn how to make a witch’s broom with a little “broomcorn” and a twisty piece of wood. Continue reading

Winter Soldier Arm – How to Make a Winter Soldier Arm

How to Make a Winter Soldier ArmI had a couple requests for how to make a winter soldier arm, so here it is. Continue reading

Wonder Woman Costume DIY Part 3: Corset and Skirt

Wonder Woman Costume DIY Part 3: Corset and Skirt This is the final part of my Wonder Woman costume tutorial and it details how to make the skirt and the corset. Continue reading

Maleficent Costume Tutorial Part 2: How to Make the Easy DIY Dress

How to Make a Maleficent Costume Dress Easy This dress is mostly based on the Maleficent costume from christening scenes in the Maleficent movie, with a little artistic liberty taken to simplify it. Continue reading

Sauron Costume Tutorial part 3: Body Armor, gloves, chain mail

Sauron Costume Part 3An old knitted blanket, some craft foam, and duct tape will get you chain mail, armor, and movable gloves to finish your Sauron costume. Continue reading

Sauron Costume Part 1: How to Make Sauron’s Mace

Sauron's MaceYou can make a fairly convincing Sauron’s mace using old wrapping paper tubes, some clay, and a little bit of spotty painting. Continue reading

How to Make a Pop Up Tissue Paper Valentine Heart Card

valentine heart cardA few layers of tissue paper glued together in a honeycomb pattern makes a charming pop-up Valentine heart card. Continue reading

Renaissance Fortune Teller Costume Tutorial

Renaissance Fortune Teller CostumeThis Renaissance fortune teller costume requires a little bit of sewing on the over skirts and sequins, but much of the rest of the costume base can be picked up for a few dollars in a 2nd hand shop. Continue reading

Iron Man Arc Reactor that Really Glows – DIY Cheap and Easy

Iron Man Arc Reactor - DIY Cheap and Easy This Iron Man arc reactor looks amazingly realistic, but is actually very easy to make and can be put together with just a few simple materials for around $5. Continue reading

Odin’s Spear, Gungnir Cosplay Tutorial

Odin's Spear, Gungnir I had a request for a Gungnir, Odin’s Spear tutorial. This is the version from the Thor: The Dark World movie, so it can be used for either an Odin cosplay, or for Loki after having taking the throne. Continue reading

How to Make a Record Album Binder Cover

Record Album Binder Cover If you made the record wreath I posted a couple weeks ago, then you probably have some leftover album covers. Upcycle them into fun record album binder covers. Continue reading

Communicator – DIY Star Trek Communicator and Tricorder

Star Trek communicator and tricorderIf you have a box of tacks and an old transistor radio, you can make an inexpensive Star Trek communicator and Tricorder. Continue reading

How to Replace a Zipper Using a Regular Presser Foot

replace a zipperYou can easily replace a zipper on a coat or other garment using an ordinary presser foot on a sewing machine. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts: Shamrock Glasses

St. Patrick's Day CraftsTo make these St. Patrick’s Day crafts, all you need is a little paint and glitter for some appropriately shamrock-ed dinnerware. Continue reading

Loki Costume Tutorial: The Coat

Loki CostumeThis is the explaination for how to make Loki’s coat, cape, and tunic. Continue reading

Loki Costume Part 1 – How to Make Loki Costume Bracers

Loki costume bracers

Here is the second part of the Loki Costume tutorial. These are the gold bracers. Continue reading

Loki Staff – How to Make a Loki Costume Staff that Actually Glows

Loki staffHere is the first part of the Loki Costume tutorial. It’s a fairly simple and inexpensive way to make a Loki staff that actually lights up. Continue reading

Easy Paper Heart Valentine Decorations

valentine decorationsThese little Valentine decorations go together pretty quick and they’re easy enough Valentine crafts that kids can make them. Continue reading

Easy Valentine Heart Garland

Valentine Heart GarlandA little cardboard, yarn, and some tacky glue are all you need to make a cute Valentine heart garland. Continue reading

How to Make a Shag Rag Rug from Old Shirts Easily

Shag Rag RugA shag rag rug is the perfect way to use up old shirts or other rag material you might have laying around the house. Continue reading

How to Make a Perfect Size Cover for Any Kindle, Ipad, or Tablet

Kindle CoverNeed a cover to protect your Kindle, Ipad, or tablet? Why settle for a store bought version when you can make one yourself to fit your own style.

Continue reading

DIY Flare Jeans

DIY Flare Jeans You can buy flare jeans in the store, but when you make them yourself, you can add more of your personal style to your flares. Continue reading

How to Make a Christmas Wreath out of Pine Cones

How to Make a Christmas Wreath out of Pine Cones This tutorial shows how to make a Christmas wreath using pine cones. The pine cones are spray painted white to create a contrasting background for the red birds and ribbon. Continue reading

DIY Wedding Invitations with Lace

DIY wedding invitations with laceThese DIY wedding invitations are easy, inexpensive, and fairly quick to make, but the lace and ribbon give them an elegant touch. Continue reading

Harry Potter Costume Tutorial Part 2: Easy No-Sew Robe, Crest, & Glasses

Here is part 2 of the Harry Potter costume tutorial. This covers making the robe, the house crest, and a pair of glasses. Continue reading

Harry Potter Costume Part 1: Easy No-Sew Sweater, Shirt, & Tie

Easy No-Sew Harry Potter Costume Part 1: Sweater, Shirt, & TieThis is a quick and easy Harry Potter costume that requires almost no sewing, save for a small bit to attach the robe closure. It’s easy enough that kids can make it themselves.  Continue reading

Thor Costume Tutorial Part 3 – Hammer, Cape, Boots, & Belt

thor costumeHere is the third and final part of the Thor costume tutorial. I was starting to run out of time before the comic con, so I wasn’t able to film the actual production of these parts, but here’s the explain on how to complete the remaining Thor costume pieces. Continue reading

Thor Costume Tutorial Part 2: The Vest

thor costumeThis is part two of the Thor costume tutorial. This how-to is for making Thor’s vest. I’ve simplified it a bit just to make it a little easier to do.

Continue reading

Wheat Weaving: Heart-shaped Wedding Favor

Wheat WeavingThis one was a request I got from someone wanting to make heart-shaped wheat weavings as favors for their wedding. The hearts are woven around a wire core which allows you to bend the finished weaving into any shape; in this case a heart.

Continue reading

How to Make a Skirt from an Old Pair of Jeans

Jean SkirtYou can upcycle an old pair of jeans into a fun denim skirt by adding a little bit of material. It’s a good way to use up old jeans that have holes in the knees, but where the top is still good. Continue reading

Leaf Printed Easter Egg

easter eggThis is a quick way to put a “reverse” image design on an Easter egg.

Just dab a little paint over the leaf with the sponge and the leaf’s basic shape remains free of paint on the egg. Continue reading

How to Make Leprechaun Costume Shoes

Leprechaun Costume ShoesWith St. Patrick’s Day being next week and all, a leprechaun costume or two usually shows up this time of year. You can turn pretty much any pair of plain, black shoes into leprechaun shoes to go with a leprechaun costume just by using a little cardboard, gold paint and some masking tape. Continue reading

Multi-Layer Spinning Shamrock

This decoration was inspired by those garden spinners that seem to be so popular now. They’re usually metal, in several layers, and the layers separate and spin at the slightest breeze. This shamrock for St. Patrick’s day won’t be outdoors, so cardstock works fine instead of metal for this decoration. Continue reading

Rainbow Tissue Paper Card

This little card is made by placing colored paper or cardstock under a printed tissue paper overlay for a muted rainbow effect. Easy for kids. Using recycled paper keeps your cards eco-friendly.

Make a Moth-Repelling Lavender Sock Sachet

Scuffing my feet in and out of farm boots all the time means that I go through pairs of socks pretty fast. That leaves me with quite the pile of socks with holes in the heels. I’ve tried darning them, but it doesn’t really last that long, so what to do with all those un-wearable socks? Make sock sachets!

More specifically, sock sachets filled with lavender. It’s a “two birds with one stone,” solution. Moths don’t like the smell of lavender, so a sachet filled with lavender heads keeps moths away from clothes just as well as cedar or mothballs would (and the lavender smells a lot better too!). And making the sachets out of old socks is a great way to upcycle socks that are past their prime.

How to Make a Lacy Heart Valentine Magnet

Most Valentines go through the mail, are enjoyed for a few weeks, and are then thrown out, never to be seen again. So this year I decided to try something a little more practical, by giving out Valentine magnets instead of Valentine cards. They’re something practical (as far as I know, everybody uses magnets at some point or another) as well as being cute enough to keep year round.

These little magnets are also a good way to recycled excess seambinding pieces, small bits of cardstock and business card magnets. (In the office where I work, they often update the magnetic business cards. Rather than throw out the old ones, I take them home for crafts, so I’ve usually got plenty that need recycling.) The lace makes these look fancy, but really they only take a few minutes to make, and since they use hot glue, you don’t even have to wait long for the glue to dry!

2 Minute Valentine Card

Here’s a simple, kid-friendly Valentine card that’s good to do with younger kids. It’s quick and easy and turns a bunch of hearts into a flower for Valentine’s Day. Regular tacky glue and kid-friendly scissors will help keep the project nice and safe for tiny hands.

How to Make a Valentine Hearts Wreath from Scrapbooking Paper

This wreath uses 6 strips of scrapbooking cardstock to make hearts. I used tacky glue to fasten my hearts together which makes the sides pinch up and gives the hearts a pointed, abstract look. If you don’t like that look and want the heart edges to remain rounded, use some scrapbooking sticky dots instead to connect the hearts together.

How to Make a Hair Scrunchy

I have long hair so I often wear it in a scrunchy, and as I don’t really like going shopping, I usually make my own. Due to sewing all the time, I generally have plenty of leftover material lying around, and scrunchies are a great way to use up some of those extra pieces. They require very minimal sewing, using only a basting stitch. For each scrunchy you’ll need a piece of fabric 18 inches long and 3 inches wide, as well as a piece of thin elastic (no thicker than 1/4 inch).

Super Easy Embroidery Thread Twist Bracelets

These bracelets are a great kids’ craft. Just a little twisting of embroidery thread and a bracelet is made. It can be as plain or as colorful as desired simply by changing the colors of the thread being twisted.

Quick and Easy Gift Tags

Just a little bit of stamping and some glue and you’re good to go. These little gift tags are cute name holders when you’re in a pinch for time.

Open Door Santa Sleigh Card from Used Christmas Cards

This card is a good way to recycle used Christmas cards from a previous year. You’ll be needing one with a Santa and sleigh, and one with a door. The slight pop up part of this card is on the front, which leaves the interior blank for writing.

How to Make a Christmas Tree Garland out of Scrapbooking Paper

I have a tendency to use scrapbooking paper for pretty much anything but scrapbooking. In particular, I love making Christmas decorations out of it. The Christmas Tree I have in my bedroom is an old artificial one that someone was getting rid of, so I took it. It’s kind of scrappy (It makes Charlie’s Brown’s tree look good!) so it needs plenty of color to jazz it up. This scrapbooking paper garland fits the bill. It’s made using the same technique as a gum wrapper chain, so if you’ve ever made one of those, this garland should be a cinch. But if not it’s pretty easy to get the hang of.


How to Make a Christmas Riddle Card

For years I’ve been making up clue games for my siblings and relatives (that usually result in headaches for them as they try for hours to solve the riddles and get to the next clue), so I thought it’d be fun to extend a bit of that cipher-making into some Christmas cards. It’s just kind of a fun way to make your family and friends think for a moment when they open their Christmas cards. However, the riddle on this card is pretty straight forward and easy enough that there shouldn’t be any headaches involved for the recipients. Though if you do want to make it a bit more difficult for them, you can leave out the underscore completely so it takes just a bit longer to figure out what letter is missing.

Transforming a Room with Color

A little color can go a long way. It can turn a hum-ho room into a bright and happy place. Here I redo the window, bed, and dresser in this room, giving them a splash of color to make them pop. The Buddhist style motif was inspired Inara’s lavish shuttle decorations in Firefly. A little bold color goes a long way to making the room seem energized with life.

How to Tie a Perfect 6-loop Bow

A bow is a pretty basic need in crafting, but sometimes a perfect bow can be an elusive item, especially when it involves multiple loops. The trick is to use wire-edged ribbon, as it allows you to bend the loops into any shape. That and a little twisting, and you’ve got an easy, perfect bow. I use these on wreaths and centerpeices and sometimes even on wrapped gifts if I want to make them look extra fancy.

Wheat Weaving: Easy Harvest Braid

Autumn time is usually when I start getting heavily back into the wheat weaving, but thought I’d start with something simple. A harvest braid is very traditional wheat weaving. It’s also very easy, as the “hair braid” is the only plait you’ll be needing. The trick to making this braid look good is to ensure the straws all stay in the same order and remain flat as you’re weaving, otherwise it tends to look messy.

How to Make Flowered Gourds

flowered gourdsThese are something I make every year. They’re just cute little table decorations and look great in a bunch. They can work for any of the autumn holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc. Usually they’ll last all the way through Thanksgiving before they start to rot (so long as they’re not kept in a very warm spot). Although one year I gave one to my grandmother and it dried, so she kept it right through Christmas!

The nice thing about these is that everything on them is real, except the silk leaves. (I tried real leaves one year and they ended up a crumpled, powdery mess by the end). You can usually find them by the bag at Michael’s or Joann Fabrics. If not, you can cut the leaves off one of those holiday leaf garlands.

3 Flower Preservation Methods: Air drying, Silica Crystal, and Pressing

I use a lot of dried flowers in my crafts and basically the 3 easiest ways to preserve them are by air drying, silica crystals, or pressing. Air drying is by far the easiest. Just tie a string ’round the flowers and hang ’em to dry. Silica crystals are cool because they preserve the original shape and color for the most part. Plus the silica crystals can be reused again and again. (An alternative, but similar method to silica is to put the flowers in a pan of sand and bake them on low for about 20 minutes. It sucks the moisture right out of them). And of course pressing is an irreplaceable method to obtain preserved flowers suitable for note cards or other projects requiring flat blossoms.

Cookie Cutter Reversed Image Card

Was just kind of in a cardmaking mood, so here’s another card. This one uses a cookie cutter cut out, and a little piece of cardstock on the inside to make what’s cut out on the top, pop up on the inside.

Feeling Groovy Card

I was just having some fun with this card. I had some really small pieces of incense leftover that were way too small to be of any use to burn, so I figured, why not use ’em on a hippie-themed card. It also let me use up some leftover flowered cardstock that was too small to use for much of anything, but still too cool to throw out.

How to Dye Queen Anne’s Lace with Food Coloring

Well it’s Queen’s Anne’s Lace season (a.k.a wild carrot), so I’ve been dying some as usual. There really is something that’s almost magical about watching those pristine white flowers slowly take on the vibrant colors of the food coloring they’re immersed in. It’s a great country pastime, and it’s so easy anyone can do it. The shorter the stem, the quicker it takes up the dye. And once the flowers are dyed, they can be dried for brightly colored craft projects!

Wheat Weaving: Hunger Games Mockingjay Pin

Well, I’m betting I’m the first one to try this! A mockingjay pin made out of wheat. I just finished reading the first and second Hunger Games books, so I decided to weave the famous mockingjay pin out of wheat. (Hey, we all need to geek out once in a while, right). So I used a simple plait for the circle and used a straw marquetry technique for the bird, and then just joined the two with glue to make the pin. Straw marquetry refers to the practice of ironing wet straw flat and then gluing them onto a surface (in this case cardstock shaped like a mockingjay). It actually came out great on the first attempt, so I thought I’d post it for any fellow Hunger Games fans who wanted to try it. Hope you all have as much fun with it as I did!

How to Make a Cornhusk Doll

One of my favorite parts about summer is of course sweet corn (who doesn’t love that?) and the leftover husks (ok, a little less commonly sought after than the sweet corn, but still loads of fun). Most of our leftover husks go to the cows, as husks are like a cow’s version of desert, but I always save a out a few to make cornhusk dolls. They’re cute little folkart things that are fun to make, and the best part is, if anything gets messed up during the creation, there are plenty more husks where those came from.

Cornhusk dolls have their origins in Native American culture. The dolls were made as toys for children as well for more serious ceremonies. In later years, the pioneers also borrowed the tradition from the Native Americans and made dolls for their children out of cornhusks.

Traditionally cornhusk dolls have no faces. This is due to Continue reading

How to Make No-sew Curtains

Normally I’m a patient person, but when it comes to redecorating my room, I turn into a rather lazy seamstress. When it’s my own room, I pretty much want it “done yesterday” so I end up taking a lot of shortcuts. Some of those shortcuts crash and burn, but others end up fine. This set of curtains is one of the latter. I needed some curtains for my window, and lately I’ve really felt the need to add some orange to my room. So I got myself a piece of material that wouldn’t fray, a little glue and a pair of scissors and set about making a set of curtains that only took a few minutes. Since there’s no sewing, these curtains are easy enough that anyone can make them. (Sorry, the sound isn’t great in this. I was shooting this video at midnight so I couldn’t talk very loudly, as everyone was sleeping.)

How to Make a Lavender Bottle

The lavender is in full bloom, so it’s time to make some lavender bottles! I always make a few to hang off my bed’s headboard because the relaxing aroma of lavender is good for insomnia. It also helps with headaches. Lavender bottles are a pretty way to keep that lovely fragrence in the house all year long. And if they’re kept in a clothing drawer, they give all the clothes a nice, lavendery scent.

How to Make a Catnip Toy

There aren’t too many cats that don’t love the smell of catnip. It’s basically like a feline drug that makes even older cats seem like they’re crazy high. I usually have a lot of excess material lying around from old sewing projects, and usually extra peices of small quilt batting which are much too tiny to be used for anything else. Catnip sachets get two birds with one stone; they’re a quick and easy way to recycle my extra material and batting, and they make my cat love me even more (or maybe that’s just the catnip talking). I’ve also heard that catnip is good for insomnia. So if you don’t have a cat, make one for yourself to put under your pillow. (If you start meowing, you’ll know you’ve gone too far!)

How to Make a Hemp Fabric Shopping Bag Part 1

Hemp is one of the strongest most eco-friendly fabrics on the planet. The hemp used in this project came from www.hemptraders.com (Sorry, the sound in this one is rather poor after the intro)

How to Make Simple Curtains Part 1: Cutting

Here’s my first sewing tutorial. It’s a set of fairly easy curtains that are a good project for a beginner. The curtains are thin to avoid blocking too much light from the window. I did this tutorial in 2 parts so it wouldn’t be such a long video: cutting the material and then sewing the material. I’ve never taught anyone other than myself how to sew, so I don’t know if I’m being clear or confusing for others. If anyone has any suggestions for improvement, they’d be greatly appreciated.

Making a Between a Shamrock and a Hard Place Card

If a bad situation is called being between a rock and a hard place, is a good situation being between a sham-rock and a hard place?

Shamrock Templates

How to Make a Two Layer Melt-and-Pour Soap Bar

Melt-and-Pour Soap is a fun and safe alternative to traditional lye for making handmade soaps. This video demonstrates how to use two colors to make a two layer bar of soap, with a clear glycerin layer on top.

How to Make a Pressed Leaf Bookmark

A piece of plastic and a little spray adhesive keep the pressed leaves in place on this bookmark. If you’ve never pressed leaves and want information on how to do so, follow this link: Pressing Leaves and Flowers

How to Make a Woven Hearts Valentine Card

This card is made out of two scrapbooking paper hearts that have been woven together. For a cutting template for this project, click the image below.

 

Bittersweet and Broomcorn Wreath

I’ve made a lot of broomcorn wreaths over the years, usually using a metal coathanger or the premade 12 and 18 inch metal hoops. This week, however, I had a request for a larger wreath, which I knew would be the perfect time to experiment with adding bittersweet to the broomcorn.

To begin, you will need a 24 inch grapevine wreath to use as the base. Cover it with broomcorn, using 22 gauge wire to secure the broomcorn to the grapevine base. Normally I go around the edges with brown thread (which is pretty much invisible against broomcorn) to keep the broomcorn tight, but since this wreath was so big, I thought it looked better with the edges loose, so I left them alone.

Tie a large, two loop bow from some autumn wire-edged ribbon. I found that plaid looked very nice. Secure it to the wreath with wreath wire.

Make four bunches of bittersweet stalks, each piece being about 4-6 inches in length. Fasten them to the wreath with wire putting two bunches at the top near the bow, and two bunches toward the bottom, but leaving several inches of space in the middle between them.

Make three bunch of dried roses (yellow or red work best as they’re autumn colors). Use wreath wire to fasten the rose bunches on the wreath, in between the bittersweet bunches.

Hang this wreath on an indoor wall or outside under an eave.

Sherbet Tie-Dye

I’m not sure what the technical name for this sort of tie-dye is, but I call it sherbet tie-dye due to the fact that it’s part white, part colored, kinda like sherbet ice-cream. This is one of the simplest tie-dye methods to use.

You will need:
White shirts
Colored dye
Rubber bands
Rubber gloves

Start by wetting down a white shirt (this project can also be done with a black shirt for a striking effect). Wring it out to remove excess water, and lay the shirt out flat on a table. Grabbing the very middle of the shirt, begin to twist it in a clockwise direction. Continue twisting until the entire shirt is tightly wound up into the spiral. Secure it with rubber bands.

Next drop the twisted shirt into a vat of dye, and quickly pull it out. (You may want to use gloves for this part to prevent your hands from getting all dye). Without squeezing the shirt and without removing the rubberbands, set the shirt aside to dry.

When the shirt has completely dried, remove the rubberbands and untwist the shirt. You should now have a colored spiral pattern on the white shirt. Wash the shirt on its own the first time to remove any excess dye. After that, the shirt can be washed normally with the rest of the colored clothes.

Wheat Weaving: Dreamcatcher

Traditional wheat weavings designs had many meanings in ancient times. Some were used as courting favors, some were meant to bring luck, and many were used to ensure a bountiful harvest in the next year. Traditional designs abound in plenty, but even with the multitude of classic wheat weaving designs, it’s still fun create one’s own patterns. I created this dreamcatcher to blend the Celtic tradition of wheat weaving with the Native American tradition of dreamcatchers.

Begin by soaking a few dozen wheat or rye straws without heads.

Take a length of bailing wire (or a wire of  similar thickness) and bend it in a circle. Cut it to your desired dreamcatcher size. Unbend the wire and slip a piece of straw over the wire, add a second if needed, until the wire is completely covered. Tie five long straws to one end of the straw-covered wire, bend them out at an angle, so that one straw points north, east, west, and two straws point south. Take the left-hand south straw and bend it over the right-hand south straw so that it lies flat next to the straw pointed east. Then take the original east straw and bend it over the new east straw so that it lies flat next to the north east straw. Continue on in this manner, with the left-hand straw always bending out the right-hand straw (rotate the weaving so the straws you’re bending are always south if it makes it easier). When one straw gets short, just put another in its place.

Continue until the entire wire is covered, then bend the entire design in a circle and secure all the ends with white thread. This is your dreamcatcher hoop. To make the “string” peel the leaves off a few straws of wheat or rye and soak them. Twist the wet leaves together to form a string (keep adding leaves into the twist until the string is about 3 feet long). String the dreamcatcher as you would any normal dream catcher. (See here if you need instruction). For the hanger, take two wheat straws with heads and tie them together. Bend them down so they are at a right angle to each other, and proceed to fold the two straws over one another until the chain is two inches long.

Do the same with two more straws. Tie both ends of each chain together to form a loop, then tie it to the top of the dream catcher hoop.

The feathers are each made by braiding 7 straws together, then slowly cutting them off one at a time, so that the ends taper away. Twist the remaining two ends around each other and tie each feather to the dreamcatcher. It’s a bit harder to make than a traditional dreamcatcher, but I’m sure it keeps nightmares away just the same.


Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

Groovy Jeans

Turn an old pair of jeans into a 60’s flashback.

Hippies and bellbottoms are synonymous with each other. The young generation of the 1960’s counter culture wholeheartedly embraced what had originally been a navy fashion and made it their own. While bellbottoms could be purchased in the 60’s, many stores refused to sell them due to the counter culture fashion statement they were becoming famous for. As such, many flower children took ordinary jeans and turned them into bellbottoms by slicing open the outer seams and inserting a triangular piece of denim or other material. This sometimes led to very large bells.

Today the fashion seems to have returned, albeit in a less wide fashion now called “boot cut.” The jeans are worn by both men and women today. Personally, I have never liked jeans with tight bottoms and I have found that even boot cut jeans are too close around the ankles for my taste. As such, I generally look back to the earlier decades and take a page out the fashion books by making my own. This allows me to be in control of the amount of flare.

These jeans are made “hippie style” so any pair of jeans can be used, straight-legged or flared. Begin by cutting off the outer seam up the knee on the pair of jeans. Sew off the remainder of the seam to ensure it does not unravel. Measure a piece of denim the same height as the jeans from knee to bottom. Cut it into a triangular shape, finishing the top at a point. You can either use the same color denim as the pair of jeans or create a contrasting effect by using a lighter or darker colored denim. You can also go really wild and use an insert of some other heavy material instead of denim. Anything with bright colors will make an interesting fashion statement against the blue denim.

Insert the triangular wedge into the sliced outer seam. Sew the triangle into the jeans. If hand sewing, use a double thread. If sewing on a machine, go over the stitches twice. Repeat on the other pant leg. Hem the bottom of the jeans to finish.

Christmas Card Lampshade

Here’s a good way to upcycle old Christmas cards and broken lampshades while ending up with a free decoration for next year.

You will need:
An old lamp shade
Old Christmas cards
Silver or gold paper
Red or green bias tape.
Glue

We don’t throw much out at my house, and Christmas cards are no exception. We usually end up with stacks of all the prettiest ones from previous years. The question is, what to do with all the left-over beauties? The answer came this year in the form of a cracked lampshade. I realized there was no better way to give new life to both the lampshade and the cards than by putting the two together.

First find an old lampshade. It doesn’t matter how stained or cracked it is because the cards will cover the surface. If there is fabric on the outside of the lampshade, cut it off. Cut the backs off the Christmas cards; you’ll be using only the fronts for this project.

Glue several cards to the outside of the lampshade, laying them so that the top edges just overlap. There will be 1-2 inch spaces between the card bottoms. To fill those, cut triangular strips of gold or silver paper and glue them to the lampshade covering any open spaces between the cards. Next glue a piece of red or green bias tape to the top and bottom edges of the lampshade.

Next year use the shade to give your lights a holiday feel. You can either change the lampshades for the holiday season, or if your Christmas card lampshade is large enough, just set it right over the other lampshade.

Little Hearts Wreath

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of help in finding shops that will take my craft items. One of my fellow market vendors was very kind in mentioning my name to several people who ended up putting some of my things in their shops. I wanted to do a something for her to thank her for her help, so I made her a little wreath. It turned out kinda cute, so I thought I’d share it.

This wreath is made from nothing more than wallpaper sample fabrics and scrap pieces of quilt batting.

You will need:
2 small pieces of patterned fabric
1 piece of white fabric
Cotton batting
Navy blue ribbon (1/4 inch wide)

My aunt used to work in design, so she ended up giving us several old wallpaper books. Aside from a slew of lovely papers to use as valentines, there were also a bunch of fabric samples in the wallpaper books. I decided to use them to make a wreath.

Choose two corresponding pieces of patterned fabric (they don’t have to be from wallpaper sample books, any scrap fabric will do). Cut a basic heart shape from a piece of paper or card stock, it should be about 2 and half inches at the widest end. Use it as a template to cut five hearts from each piece of cloth. Also use it to cut ten hearts from plain white cloth to use as the backing.

To make each section, put a patterned heart and a white heart wrong sides together and sew the entire edge together, leaving a small half inch section open. Through the open half inch, turn the heart right side out and stuff it with some sort of fluffy cotton. (I always save the tiny scraps left over from quilting, so this is a great way to use them up). Sew the half inch closed. Repeat for all ten hearts.

Sew the hearts together side by side forming a ring. Fashion five little bows from the navy blue ribbon and run two stitches through the center of each to secure them to the wreath. Because there’s nothing fragile on this wreath, it can be put almost anywhere without fear of damage from falling.

Here’s the finished product:


Wreath Front

 


Wreath Back
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

Charlie Brown Iron-on Transfer Paper Shirt

One of my cousins is a Charlie Brown nut. I think he has every line in the Christmas and Great Pumpkin specials memorized. So this year for Christmas, we wanted to give him a shirt from one of the Charlie Brown specials, but store-bought shirts can be so generic. We decided to have a bit more fun and customize one with iron-on transfer paper.

Iron-on transfer paper is one of the coolest things they ever invented in the craft department. It’s so versatile; it can be used on clothes, bags, quilts; pretty much anything made of some type of fabric. It’s easy to use and 100% washable. A little imagination and a half-way decent printer and the possibilities are endless.

First we searched the Internet for screen captures from Merry Christmas Charlie Brown (in particular searching for the “five good reasons” scene). After locating suitable images, we altered them in paint to add the word bubbles, then we printed the two images on a sheet of iron-on transfer paper.

The most important thing to remember with iron-on transfer paper, especially when there are words involved, is that the finished item will have a mirror image of what you see on your computer, so flip the image backwards before printing it onto the paper. (I forgot to print the image backward the first time I used this stuff, but fortunately realized the mistake before I actually ironed it on or my letters would have ended up backward!)

To transfer the image to fabric, place the fabric on a hard surface (not a cushy ironing board) and using dry heat, continuously move the iron around the sheet in circular motions for about one minute total, giving particular attention to the edges. Then you can immediately peel off the paper backing, or if you want a glossy finish, wait until it has cooled before removing the backing.

The transfer area of the fabric usually stiff at first, but after a few washings, it softens up.


Close up of images

 


Full Shirt

Coincidence

It’s interesting how coincidences happen sometimes. I was dropping off a wreath order at the The Dalai Java this morning (if you’re a coffee drinker it’s next to Byrne Dairy on Main Street in Canandaigua) and about 3 seconds after I walked in, someone who frequented the farm market this summer walked in behind me. He saw me and said I might just the person who could help him, asking if I could repair an item for him. Now that is what I call a happy coincidence; being in the right place at just the right time.

I also finished the St. Mary’s show this weekend. The turnout wasn’t as big as we’d been hoping, but this was only the first year, and next year they’re planning on more advertising. It was certainly a lot of fun though, going around and seeing all the things everyone else had made and talking with the other vendors. Turns out the woman sitting next to me was even related to someone my mother used to landscape for. Two coincidences in one day; what are the odds.

Broom Ladies

Broom LadiesThese cute little brooms are functional as well as decorative. Made of broomcorn, they are excellent as hand brooms.

You will need:

  • Broomcorn (also called ornamental grass/sorghum)
  • Material for dress, face, and hands
  • Cotton
  • Yarn
  • Markers
  • Raffia
  • Needle and thread
  • Glue

Before the invention of nylon brooms, broomcorn was (and often still is) used to make corn brooms. It is not actually a type of corn, but in fact a very large grass. The nickname of broomcorn was derived from the fact that the grass stems are so large they closely resemble cornstalks.

Begin by shucking the seeds from the broomcorn heads (if your broom will be merely decorative, the seeds can be left on for the colorful effect) Tie several of the shucked broomcorn stalks together with raffia just above the heads, and again about an inch from the broom’s top. Form a raffia loop, and attach this to the top tie.

Cut 2 identical dress shapes from material and sew them together. Make sure the neck hole is large enough to fit over the broom handle. Cut a head and a pair of hands from material. Stuff them with cotton. Sew the head to the front half of the dress. Sew the hands to the sleeves of the dress.

Slip the dress over the top of the broom handle, sliding it down until the skirt part of the dress covers the heads of the broomcorn. Leave about an inch and a half of the broomcorn peeking out beneath the dress. Using the markers, draw a face on the broom lady. Cut a few pieces of yarn and glue them to the top of the head as hair. Embellish the broom ladies with miniature baskets or tiny brooms of their own glued to their hands.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf

Book Bags

These little bags are named for their construction material, not what they carry. They’re a great way to recycle old hardcover books.

You will need:

  • Hardcover book
  • 1 yard of material
  • Hot glue gun
  • Bag handles
  • Ribbon
  • A large button
  • Cardboard

Start by cutting the pages out of an old hardcover book. Cut a piece of cardboard, the width of the book’s spine, and hot glue it to the inside of the spine. Lay the book out flat, with the inside facing up. Measure and cut a piece of cloth that will cover the entire book. Set aside.

Cut four pieces of ribbon that are twice as long as the book’s front cover width. Loop these pieces of ribbon through the bag handles (for extra stability, you can sew the two sides of the halved ribbon together.) Hot glue the four ribbons to the front and back cover of the bag, allow enough ribbon so the handles do not quite touch the bag.

 

Cut a piece of ribbon a little larger than the circumference of your button. Form a loop and hot glue this the center of the edge of the back cover. Run a piece of ribbon through the holes in the button and hot glue the ribbon ends to the center of the edge of the front cover. This will form a button and loop closure for the bag.

Cut two pieces of triangular-shaped material. The tip of the triangle, should be as wide as the spine of the book, the bottom of the triangle should be several inches wider than the spine. Make the triangle half an inch taller than the book. Glue a triangular piece to each side of the bag, attaching the cloth to the spine, front and back covers of the book.

 

 

Take the piece of material that was cut to the size of the book. Glue the material to the Books Bagsbook, covering all the ribbons. Make sure this is securely glued.

When the glue is dry, the bag is ready to be used. If you want to get really fancy, you can cut a few rectangles of the same material, and glue them to the inside of the bag to make pockets. Once you get the hang of these, they are really fun to make.
Copyright © Amber Reifsteck ~ The Woodland Elf