Bottle-Cap Magnets

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Bottle-cap magnets are a fun way to add a little personality to your fridge, and are a gift friends and family will love.

I follow Martha Stewart’s instructions, and have found that it’s a pretty easy process (although using clear casting resin for the 1st time was intimidating). I use a 1″ hole puncher and stamp out the circles, the glue them into the bottle caps with enormous amounts of ModPodge, let it dry thoroughly and then pour in a thick layer of clear casting resin. After the resin is totally dry, about 24 hours later, I glue on a super strong magnet on the back and, ta-da, bottle cap magnets.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-inch circular craft punch
  • Any interesting paper (I often use scrapbooking paper)
  • Craft glue or ModPodge
  • Bottle caps
  • Clear casting resin
  • Contact cement
  • Small magnets (I recommend these by Rare Earth)

Directions:

  • Using the craft punch, cut out pictures. Using craft glue or ModPodge, attach one picture to the inside of each bottle cap. Let dry thoroughly.
  • Cover a work surface to protect it from spills, and lay caps on top. Following manufacturer’s instructions for clear casting resin, fill each bottle cap to the rim. Let dry overnight.
  • Using contact cement, attach magnets or thumbtacks to the backs of the bottle caps. Let dry overnight before using.

Easy Tile Coaster Tutorial

I found a tutorial for these tile coasters a year ago and have made them quite a few times since. They are so easy to make and inexpensive as well. Last year, I gave sets of 4 out as Christmas gifts, and my friends loved them!

Any scrapbook paper can be used. Ross and T.J.Maxx often have scrapbook paper (I got a book of over 100 sheets for less than $5 at Ross). Also, JoAnn’s frequently has coupons that can be used on any regular-priced item. Instead of scrapbook paper, you could save the Christmas cards you receive this year and make a set of holiday coasters for next year’s Christmas gifts.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tiles from your local hardware store (4.25″ x 4.25″)
  • Scrapbook paper (3.75″ x 3.75″)
  • Felt or cork (4.25″ x 4.25″)
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge brush
  • Glue (i.e. Fabri-tac or other strong adhesive)
  • Clear acrylic sealer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Small paint brush

Instructions:

  • I followed the instructions from The Cottage Mama’s blog, but made two customizations:
  1. I extended the felt to cover the entire bottom of the tile (4.25″ x 4.25″). The Cottage Mama’s instructions had you cut the felt at 3.75″ x 3.75″.
  2.  I also painted the edge of the coaster as I wanted to hide the rough edges. I used Martha Stewart’s metallic gold acrylic craft paint, and applied the paint at the very end (after Step #6 in the tutorial).

Wrap four of these coasters up with some beautiful ribbon and you’ve got a gorgeous handmade gift.

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P.S. – If Christmas cards are piling up and you’re running out of ways to display them, these creative Christmas card projects on Better Homes and Gardens are easy-to-make and will put holiday greetings to good use.

Remnant Fabric Tote Bag

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A frequent sewer, I often have remnant fabric…1/2 yard of this, a yard of that. Not wanting it to go unused, I’m always glad when I find a way to create something with my remnants. I was especially happy to come across a tutorial for a tote bag that not only used what I had lying around, but was aesthetically pretty stylish with the panels.

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I do recommend that you use a heavier, more durable fabric for the bottom panel such as a canvas. Also, if you don’t have a serger (I don’t have one), I do recommend using a French seam as it will give your tote bag a more professional look and completely hide all the raw edges.

Instructions:

  • I followed the tutorial exactly, except as I don’t have a serger I used French seams. Directions for a French seam will have you sew a 3/8″ (1 cm) seam allowance, and then trim the seam allowance to 1/8″ (3 mm). To save time, I just sewed a 1/8″ seam allowance. Also, steps #10, 11 & 12 are kinda tricky with the French seams, so I’ll walk you through those steps here.
  • Remember with a French seam, you sew wrong sides together first and then right sides together. When you get to step #10 in the tutorial, you’ll be sewing the middle panel to the top panel, but you also be adding the straps. It’s important that you do not pin the straps between the fabric. Rather, you’ll want to pin the straps to the outside of the middle panel, onto the right side of the fabric as show below.

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  • Then pin the wrong sides of the middle panel and upper panel together. Sew together with a with a 1/8″ seam allowance, press open, then finish the French seam by folding the right sides together and sewing with a with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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  • Press open, and voilà, the straps should be in the right place. 🙂

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The finished tote bag measures, 15″ wide x 16″ tall. Should you want a smaller/larger, skinnier/wider or shorter/taller bag, simply adjust the pieces that you cut (perhaps cut the panels 18″ wide instead of the 16″ recommended if you want it to be wider).

As always, please let me know if you have questions.

Linen Lavender Sachets

I made these lovely lavender sachets earlier this year for my bridesmaids. Quick, easy and inexpensive to make, I think that they would also make a great gift for friends/family during this holiday season. You could stamp with holiday images of snowmen, snowflakes, Santa, Christmas trees in colors of red or green…use your imagination!

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The instructions I followed are from PaintCutPaste.com, but I did make mine with one variation. As I didn’t have any rubber stamps on hand, and didn’t want to leave the house just to find a stamp, I made a simple heart shaped stamp from a potato. A potato stamp is easy to make and very inexpensive, and if you don’t know how to, I recommend watching the How to Make Potato Stamps video from Martha Stewart.

Here’s what you’ll need to make linen lavender sachets:

  • Linen fabric
  • Lavender
  • Poly-fill
  • EITHER rubber stamp(s) and ink pad(s) in color(s) of your choice OR potato stamp(s) and fabric paint(s) in color(s) of your choice if using a potato
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine

Instructions:

  • As mentioned, the instructions I followed are on PaintCutPaste.com, but used a potato stamp instead of a rubber stamp. If using a potato stamp, do allow the paint to dry before sewing. Please do let me know if you have questions.

Happy Holidays!

Quilted Burlap Christmas Stocking

This is our first Christmas in our new house, and I decided to make new Christmas stockings for the fireplace mantle.  I love the rustic look of a burlap stocking, but wanted to soften it up a bit, which is why I decided to add a quilted cuff with a lace trim.

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I found the best tutorial for making a lined stocking with a cuff on the Cluck Cluck Sew website. McCall’s has a free stocking pattern (with instructions) online, but as I don’t have a printer at home, I used last year’s Christmas stocking as the pattern and cut 5/8″ larger than the stocking’s edge.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric for the outside of the stocking – I used burlap
  • Fabric for the lining of the stocking – I used linen leftover from another project
  • Fabric for the cuff – I used the Diamond Double Faced Quilt Fabric
  • Fabric for the hanging tab – I actually used twine, but you could use the burlap and sew a tab
  • Lace (optional)

Instructions:

  • As mentioned, the best tutorial was on the Cluck Cluck Sew website. The only change I made was to add a piece of lace to the bottom of the cuff. I added the lace before I sewed the raw edges of the cuff together.

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I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy decorating for the upcoming Christmas season!

I know we are all busy, and if you don’t have the time to make a stocking yourself, I am happy to sell you one. Please use the contact form below to reach me directly.

DIY Wedding Signs

Marie Kochert & Bryce Niekamp Wedding

I got married a couple months ago, and my husband and I made a lot of the decorations for our outdoor, DIY, rustic themed wedding. Thanks hubs! 🙂 Most of our projects were pretty easy, and I thought I’d share a few of the things we made, beginning with the wedding signs.

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Before we started making the signs, we walked the wedding venue and decided what signs we needed – Parking or Ceremony or Photobooth or Dancing. This also helped us decide what size each sign should be (the Parking sign by the road needed to be large so it was easy to see, while the Ceremony sign could be smaller). I had seen an adorable use of Mr. & Mrs. signs on the back of the bride and grooms chairs and knew I wanted to do that too.

Marie Kochert & Bryce Niekamp Wedding

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Wood  – the size and shape are up to you
  • Paint – the color is also up to you
  • Lettering – I used the Vladimir Script font
  • Carbon paper
  • Pen
  • Paint brushes of assorted brush sizes – I used a tiny/small brush size the most often
  • Sealer or lacquer

Instructions:

  • I followed the instructions on My Pink Life’s blog, with the exception of Step #3 & #4. I liked the natural color of most of the wood I used, so I didn’t prime or paint it. For the Mr. & Mrs. signs, as this was new wood, I actually wanted it darker, so I applied a dark walnut wood finish.IMG_5073[1]

If you are interested in seeing the photos from our wedding and/or the inspiration for the wedding decor, please check out my Facebook album and/or my Pinterest board.

Autumnal Door Arrangement

Hello again! It’s been over a year since I have made a post! Life got a bit busy. I started a new job, then got engaged/married, and bought a house…all in the same year! Now that life has slowed down, I have more time for crafting…and blogging. Yea!

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Last week, inspired by Martha Stewart’s Autumnal Door Arrangements, my friend and I made our own versions of the seasonal door decorations. Only a few materials are needed, and you may find that you already have most of what’s needed. Unfortunately, the caning was impossible to find! I substituted burlap, which turned out amazing and was probably way cheaper! I decided to use fresh flowers instead of dried or artificial silk and got the Autumnal flora from a variety of places – JoAnn’s, the grocery store, even my own backyard.

Materials

  • Floral wire or floral tape
  • Caning or burlap
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Decorative ribbon
  • Wire
  • Autumnal flora arrangement (dried or fresh)

If you found caning and will use that instead of burlap, follow Martha’s instructions. However, if you will be using burlap as I did, you’ll want to follow these steps.

Steps

Step 1

  • Bind the stems of foliage, twigs, and flower bouquets using floral wire or floral tape.

Step 2

  • If using fresh flowers, wrap ends of stems with a damp paper towel or newspaper and secure a small plastic bag over the towel/paper with the floral wire.

Step 3

  • Position burlap as a diamond, and wrap the sides around, enclosing the bouquet. To secure, tie a piece of string around.

Step 4

  • Wrap with a decorative ribbon (I used a brown ribbon I saved from Pottery Barn), tying it in back for a tailored look. Run a wire through the back to hang.

Happy Fall!!!  

I also made an arrangement that didn’t hang on the door. Instead I used a plate stand to prop it up. Worked perfectly!

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New Life for Old Candles

I have quite a few old, half burned candles packed away in a closet, with little intention of using again. I knew that there had to be a way to get new life out of the candles, but what? And how easy would it be to do? I’ve never melted wax before!

Turns out it’s super easy to melt down an old candle. Simply put the candle(s) in a pot, turn the burner on medium and the wax will melt. I would recommend buying an old pot from Goodwill/Salvation Army because you will ruin the pot.

For the containers, I found inspiration online – use old tea cups from Goodwill or Salvation Army.  I decided to expand the idea and use old Mason jars too.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Candles
  • Tea cups and/or Mason jars
  • Candle wicks
  • Wick stablizers
  • Candle scent (optional)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Pencils or kabab sticks

Instructions:

  • Clean the tea cups and jars thoroughly and dry completely.
  • Place candles in the pot and put the pot on a stove with the burner on medium. If candle is already in a glass container, simply place the glass container into a pot of water on your stove burner. Water should reach no more than halfway up the glass sides. Heat the glass container in the water over a medium flame until the was is pourable.

  • While you are waiting for wax to melt, cut candle wicks. The candle wick should be 1-2″ longer than the depth of the cup/jar. Attach one end of the wick to a wick stabilizer (I didn’t use them, but wish I had).
  • Place your wick in the center of your cup/jar and glue the base down with a dab of hot glue. Let dry.

  • When wax has melted, pour into the cup/jar. You can gently adjust the wick to make sure it is straight after you poor the wax in. You may need to hold the wick in place with pencils or with kabob sticks.

  • Let sit until the wax is cool and solid.
  • Trim wick down to 1/4″.

I have a few final FYI’s:

  • Be cognizant of what colors you are melting together.
  • Wax is very hard to clean up from counters. In order to help with cleanup, cover your work space in newspaper. wish I had done that.
  • Wax’s flash point is 300 degrees F, don’t let it’s temperature exceed 250 degrees.

Apron with Ruffles

Over the past year, I’ve been into making aprons. I’ve not bought a pattern; through trial and error, I’ve figured out how to do it. The inspiration for my aprons mostly comes from the adorable ones on Anthropologie. The apron I’ll show you how to make today is fairly easy, but does require a some knowledge of sewing as it does involve ruffles. You should be able to finish it within 4 hours, a great weekend project!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 yard of the apron fabric (43″ wide) – I love using feedsack fabric from the early 1900′s and for cheaper fabric go to Goodwill and buy old curtains or other interior fabrics
  • 1/2 yard of accent fabric (43″ wide)
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Double fold bias tape (optional)

Instructions:

  • Cut the fabric you will be using for the apron. I made a pattern out of wrapping paper. As it’s a half circle, it’s easy to do. It should be 16″ from the top to the bottom of the curve. The width should be 30″. The easiest way to make the pattern is to fold the paper in half, mark 16″ along the fold, mark 15″ from the fold and draw an arch connecting the two marks. Adjust measurements to body type.
  • Cut the accent fabric. I cut four 4″ wide strips.
  • You’ll sew the waistband/ties onto the apron first. Take two of the 4″ wide strips and connect so that you have one strip that is about 90″ long. Fold edges in and iron.

  • With right sides of both fabrics together, sew the  waistband/tie onto the top of the apron.

  • Fold fabric over the seam and match edges of the waistband/tie. I basted the waistband/tie before going back over with a permanent stitch. Get creative on the stitch! I choose to use an accent color (black) and a zigzag stitch.
  • Now for the ruffle! Take two of your 4″ wide strips and sew together to make another 90″ strip. Hem one edge by turning the fabric under 1/4″ and another 1/4″. You can use a color of thread different than the fabric if you wish (I used the same color as the fabric).
  • To create ruffle, you’ll need to gather the fabric. My recommendation is to sew a long straight stitch (the highest stitch length on your machine).  Hold onto the end of one thread and gently pull the fabric away. This should start to gather the fabric. Keep pulling the fabric until you have “shrunk” it to fit the bottom of the apron. Be sure to make the ruffle even throughout. Pin the ruffle to the bottom of the apron (right sides together).
  • When stitching the ruffle down, I find it best to make a temporary stitch with a long straight stitch 1st and in a different thread color (easier to see). I’ve found that I usually have to take out stitches and resew. Ruffles can be tricky. Once I’m happy, I’ll go back over with a permanent stitch.
  • I recommend making a top stitch to help keep the ruffle in place.

  • The final step is aesthetic and where you can get creative. I like putting pockets on the aprons I make, but the finishing touch is all you! If making a pocket similar to the one I did, it’s a 4″x6″ rectangle, with the bottom edges rounded. Turn the edges under and sew onto the apron. I add a bow which I make out of double fold bias tape.

Please do let me know if you have questions on any of the above steps. If you want an actual pattern, the most similar is McCall M5284.

DIY Jewelry Organizer

First post! I’m excited!

I made this jewelry organizer a few years ago, but recently gave it a facelift to match my new apartment. That’s one thing I love about it. So easy to change to match a new color scheme or theme.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An old frame. You can find these for a few bucks at any Goodwill or Salvation army.
  • Spray paint (if you want to paint the frame).
  • Foam board. If I remember correctly I picked mine up at a Bartell’s. If not, any craft store will have it.
  • Fabric
  • Glue gun or craft glue
  • Nails
  • Wire
  • Mounting T-Pins
  • Craft Razor Knife

Instructions:

  • Clean the frame. If you found one that doesn’t need painted, skip to step #3.
  • Spray paint the frame. I recommend 2-3 light coats. Be super careful not to put on too heavy of a coat or it will run. Let dry.
  • Cut the foam board to fit the frame. I found a Craft Razor Knife to be the easiest. You probably could get away with scissors since no one will see the edges.
  • Cut the fabric to fit the foam board. Leave 2-3 inches of fabric beyond the edge of the foam board. You’ll need this extra fabric!
  • Heat up your glue gun. Put the fabric face down on a table. Center the foam board over the fabric and turn the fabric over the edges of the board. Glue the fabric down. Again, don’t worry about it being neat. It’s on the backside an nobody will see. Let dry.
  • Fit the covered foam board into the frame and glue down along the lip of the frame. You can use a glue gun or a stronger craft glue. You will need to be a bit more careful with the glue because it could leak through to the front of the frame. Let dry.

  • A quick way to hang is to hammer in two nails, one on either side of the frame, towards the top. Secure a piece of wire to each nail.
  • Arrange the t-pins to your liking. And re-arrange as your jewelry collection changes.