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1  CROCHET / Amigurumi: Completed Projects / Cute Little Kitty on: February 15, 2018 04:08:04 PM
This cute little amigurumi kitty was a free pattern from here and she also has a really neat way to tie in the tails after youve stitched them on, which I had never seen before (watch the video it makes it just a little easier to understand), and Ill be finishing all of my amigurumi projects using this technique!

I always forget how long it takes me to sew the parts together...the little pile of parts can be a bit daunting! Smiley

Over halfway done!

2  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Pool Warning Sign on: December 29, 2017 08:44:11 AM
Since my mom got a Silhouette for Christmas, along with free lessons while I visited, we decided to make a fun sign to hang on the wall in her pool area.

The lettering came from a file purchased from the Silhouette Design Store, and the picture was found online, and we transferred the outline to the painted board (using the tried and true "rub the pencil on the back and trace over it" method) , and my mom painted it.

Now, all we have to do is hang it up!
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Completed Projects / Christmas Silhouette = New Welcome Sign on: December 29, 2017 08:38:59 AM
For Christmas, my sister and I bought my mom a Silhouette Cameo, and since I was visiting for vacation, she got some lessons while I was there! One of the first things we made was a welcome sign for her to put out by her front door.

She had everything on hand, except for the starfish!

First, we painted a piece of plywood using the paint that matches the color of her front door. Then, we cut out vinyl letters using the Silhouette. And, the starfish got a coat of white paint to match the letters.

Next, we positioned the letters and starfish on the board...

And then applied the vinyl letters.

Using some E-6000, the starfish was glued on to make the letter "O" (and after a bit of discussion, the shells were added at the top {discarded ideas: ribbon, sand dollars}).

4  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / These Boots Were Made for Standing Upright! (AKA Boot Inserts from Pool Noodles) on: November 28, 2017 09:24:48 AM
I have a pair of boots that I don't wear often, and I hated that they were flopping over in the closet. So, I made myself a pair of boot inserts to keep them upright.

Here's how I made them...


A pool noodle (I bought 2, but I ended up using about 3/4 of one)
Duct tape
Scissors (kitchen scissors worked really well)
Fabric (shoe or boot themed, even!)

Step 1:

Stick the pool noodle into a boot to measure the height that the inserts need to be.

Step 2:

Cut 3 pieces of pool noodle the same length. Then, cut one of the pieces in half lengthwise.

Step 3:

Duct tape one of the half pieces along the length of one of the other cut pieces of pool noodle. Repeat for the other pieces. Check to make sure that they fit into your boots.

Step 4:

Measure the length of the pool noodle from the hole in one end, to the hole on the other end. I included the holes in my measurement to make sure I had a long enough piece, and then I added 1" for seam allowance on each end (I did 1/2" seams).

Measure the circumference of the pool noodle, and add 1" for seam allowance. Note, make sure to measure at the widest part, and check both noodles. I only measure one noodle in a random spot, and one of the inserts was a snug fit. Fortunately, pool noodles are squishy.

Step 5:

Cut out 2 pieces of fabric that fit your dimensions (mine were 10" X 17").

Step 6:

Fold each piece in half the long way, right sides together, and stitch down the long side, and across one short end. Trim the corners and turn right side out.

Step 7:

Slip (or carefully wiggle the fabric over) the noodle into the fabric tube.

Step 8:

Fold the raw edges over and pin to hold in place. I folded mine like I was wrapping a present. Hand stitch the folded ends in place.

Stick them inside your boots and admire how upstanding your boots are!

5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Science T-Shirts Become Classroom Inspiration Art w/tutorial on: November 28, 2017 08:58:25 AM
This isn't really "art," it's a craft, but I couldn't find a proper category, so I'm putting it here...for now Smiley

Back in September, one of my 6th grade students came into school wearing the shirt on the right in the picture above, and I knew I wanted to make something out of it. When I hunted down the shirt, I found a couple of other ones that I liked, so I decided to turn them into some inspirational art for my science classroom.

Here's what I used:

T-shirts (these are youth shirts, so I bought the largest size available)
Staple Gun
10" X 10" canvases
Scissors (not pictured)

Step 1:

Put the canvas inside of the t-shirt and position the shirt design on the canvas.

Step 2:

Carefully turn the shirt & canvas over, making sure that you don't shift the design. Anchor the shirt in position by stapling it in place (I just did one on each side to hold it in place before the next step).

Step 3:

Trim away the excess t-shirt (save the scraps for another project!), making sure that you leave enough at the corners to staple down.

Step 4:

Staple the corners down, and then staple the rest of the way around to securely anchor the shirt in place (no picture of that bit, but I put about 7 or 8 staples on a side...that shirt is not falling off Smiley ).

Flip it over and admire your new art! Repeat as many times as you'd like to cover your walls with fabulous t-shirt art!

6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Comfort Food Mashup- Kale Soup Shepherd's Pie on: October 31, 2017 07:29:14 PM
Growing up, once I hit about age 11, I was in charge of a lot of the cooking at home. One of my favorite meals to make was Shepherd's Pie, and because we lived in an area that had a lot of Portuguese immigrants, Kale Soup soon became another favorite. After my mom gave me some ground linguica, I thought it might be interesting to blend these two recipes together... sort of...

Kale Soup Shepherd's Pie

1 lb. ground linguica
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 potatoes
1 bunch of kale
1 medium onion, diced
Small amount of milk (and butter, if desired) for making mashed potatoes

Peel and cut the potatoes, and put them in a pot of water to boil. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the ground linguica and onions in a skillet until the onions are translucent. Dump the meat/onion mixture into a 13" X  9" baking dish. Rinse and chop the kale and spread it on top of the meat mixture. Layer the kidney beans on top. Drain and mash the potatoes with a bit of milk (and butter), and spread the mashed potatoes on top. Dot with additional butter, if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until the top of the potatoes are lightly browned and the dish is heated through.

I had a serving tonight for dinner, and it was pretty good! I expect that, after a night in the fridge, it'll taste even better, as Shepherd's Pie and Kale Soup usually do Smiley
7  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Custom Quilted Scissor Cozy (with a tutuorial of many pictures) on: September 30, 2017 06:23:16 PM
In the front seat of my car, I keep a small bucket tote to contain the item I usually just toss on the seat (keys, sunglasses, work ID, gum, CDs, etc.) and I added a pair of scissors after realizing how handy it would be to have scissors in the car (like for when I need to wrap a gift in the car in the parking lot of the surprise party I forgot about until the last minute). I didn't love the idea of just tossing the scissors in there "naked,"(potential projectile of death if I ever get in an accident), so I decided to make them their own scissor cozy. I couldn't find a pattern that was the right size for my scissors, so I just decided to make my own.

Outside Fabric (buy enough to fit the length of your scissors)
Lining fabric
Batting or thick stabilizer
Some sort of closure (button, velcro, snap, etc)
The scissors that the cozy is for

1. First, you need to make a pattern. I drew a triangle around my scissors.

2. Then, realizing that I couldn't draw a nice, even triangle (because I couldn't find a ruler), I folded my triangle in half and  drew a 1/4" seam allowance around the half of the triangle that looked better.

3. Next, I cut the triangle out, and checked to make sure that the scissors would still fit inside the inside triangle.

4. I traced the triangle onto another sheet of paper, and drew on a flap so I could close the cozy. I didn't need to add seam allowance because it was included on the original triangle.

5. Lay your pattern pieces on the fabric and cut the front and back pieces out of your outside fabric and your lining fabric so you have a set of each. Hopefully, you don't realize that your very directional fabric is not quite big enough... Since I had to cut it on an angle, the text fabric, which I had planned to use for the outside, was now going to be the lining Smiley

6. If you're using batting, use the pattern pieces to cut out a front and back piece, adding a little extra all the way around.

7. Lay the outside fabric on top of the batting, and quilt as desired (if desired Smiley ). I cut out a badly drawn bat and used that as a template to quilt my fabric.

My quilted (mutant) bats!

8. For the outer (now quilted) fabric, place the right sides together and stitch the side seams. Repeat for the lining fabric.

9. Trim away the excess batting to reduce the bulk on the seam allowance.

10. Turn the lining right side out (I think I may have trimmed the seam first), and tuck it into the outer piece so that the right sides are together.

11. Stitch around the edges, leaving an opening (mine was about 2 1/2" wide) for turning. Turn everything right side out, and tuck the lining inside the cozy. Topstitch around the edge of the opening and the flap.

12. Put the scissors inside to test the fit, and mark where you want your closure to be. Add your closure and you're finished! ETA: I realized that if you are using a button for a closure, you might want to add a loop of ribbon (or a piece of elastic) in the seam of the flap, or just stitch a buttonhole in the flap. If you're using Velcro, you might need to stitch the piece for the front of the cozy on before you stitch the front and back pieces together.

8  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / String Bag Makeover with Quilted Panel on: August 27, 2017 12:35:34 PM

So, it seems that I am now of the age where the AARP is trying to recruit me as a member   Grin This summer, I went to a free AARP-sponsored shredding event, and they gave me a coffee thermos and a string bag. I gave the thermos to my stepdad, but kept the string bag. Since I don't often like to wear things or carry things with a logo, I wanted to cover the logo up.

First, I measured the area that I wanted to cover up, then I cut a piece of fabric, some batting, and a piece of backing fabric.

Next, I did some FMQ practice to quilt the panel (I definitely need more practice!), and cut some strips to make binding. I stitched the binding on (I just folded it over and machine stitched it) to make the completed panel.

Then, I pinned it to the bag, and stitched right around the edge to finish it off! Since everything was from my stash (I even pieced together 2 scraps of batting to make the piece I needed), this was a totally free project, and I really like how it looks Smiley Win-win!

9  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / From the Junk Mail Pile to the Wastebasket=Biodegradable Wastebasket Liners! on: August 27, 2017 10:09:51 AM
This summer, I took part in Plastic Free July (http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/), and while I was able to reduce some of my plastic usage, an area that I totally failed at was in reducing my plastic bag "habit." While I have a whole bunch of reusable shopping bags, I almost never use them for shopping. Besides forgetting to put them in the car (and remembering to bring them into the store), I often fill them with other things in the house (craft projects, for example). But, one of my main reasons for collecting plastic bags is to use them as wastebasket liners throughout the house (bedrooms, laundry room, bathroom).

One of the hints that the Plastic Free July site suggested was to line the bin with newspaper. But, I know that when I go to take the newspaper bundle out, I'll dump half of the stuff on the floor. I know that I could just skip the bag altogether but I don't want to do that because we have to put our city trash on the street in special bags, not trash bins, and sometimes the bags rip, and trash spills...using a second bag makes some of the trash a bit less likely to fly into the neighbor's yard.

So...I have a solution that works for me Smiley And, it's free, to boot!

Every week in the mail, we get a bundle of sales flyers. I almost never look at them, and usually just add them to the recycling. But now, they're my new wastebasket liners!

Here's how I made them:

First, measure the distance around the wastebasket.

Next, measure the height of the wastebasket. I didn't add any extra for the width of the wastebasket bottom, but you could always add a few inches if you wanted.

Now, if the flyers are long enough, you can cut a piece that is same dimension as the distance around the wastebasket. Mine were note quite long enough, so I cut two pieces that were half the distance. Trim the pieces to the correct height.

Pair up two pieces for each liner.

Then stitch the sides and bottom together, leaving an opening at the top. I used a large stitch length because I didn't want to have the seams rip. Also, I didn't use cotton thread for these because I didn't have any (so not 100% biodegradable, right now). But, if they work out fine, I'll pick up a spool of cotton thread for the future!

Stuff one into the wastebasket, and you're good to go!

I think they'll hold up pretty well. I don't usually put a lot of heavy, wet items in these wastebaskets, so I'm not worried about them tearing from that.

Now, I just need to remember to start using my reusable bags when I do the shopping!

10  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / The Endless Cone of Yarn Dish Towel on: July 27, 2017 04:24:37 PM

I've had this cone of peach-colored cotton yarn for a long time. I think it was on clearance and I bought it to use as an inexpensive alternative to string in my classroom. At some point, I took it home (I think I started a random crochet project during an after school program and took the project home to finish...I have a dishcloth in this yarn, so I'm guessing that was it...).

I recently took a trip to Canada, and since my friend was doing all of the driving, I needed something to keep myself from going stir-crazy in the car. Enter the cone of yarn. Since it isn't my favorite color, I wanted to use it up, so I figured that a dish towel would do the trick. I used the linen stitch (also called the moss stitch, I think: single crochet one, chain one for a row, then in the next row, put a single crochet in every chain space, and a chain between each single crochet). Then, when I thought it was big enough, I chained a loop, and then crocheted a bunch of single crochets into the loop.

It took longer than expected but, sadly, it didn't make much of a dent in the cone of yarn. Since I gifted this one to my friend, I'll have to make another for myself... maybe even two...
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