Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

Retro Apron I Made from Free Pattern

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

retro apron I made

Fabulous Free Vintage Apron Pattern

Why is it that women drool over vintage aprons? The thought of actually being a 1950’s housewife toiling away in the kitchen appalls us.  But the fun, frilly aprons are just too cute.

A good friend’s son is getting married and his beautiful bride-to-be is a great cook.  So I whipped up a retro-style apron to give at her bridal shower.  I can just see her making her yummy crepes in this little number.

I love the fact that it is reversible.  I knew it turned out OK when my husband said it looked like it came out of one of those shops all the women love that he refuses to enter. Also when my teenage daughter squealed upon seeing it.

The design is based on a free retro apron pattern I found online.  The directions are pretty clear. Kudos to the designer for sharing.  I did change a couple things.  The original has the bias tape going all the way around the sides.  If you only want it on the top, bottom and pockets like I have, then just put rights sides together on both the apron and flounce, sew seams, right side it out and proceed.  I have two sewing machines, both vintage without an automatic buttonholer.  So I did not want to make button holes.  I switched up the top ties a bit and did not use buttonholes.  When you sew the buttons on, be careful to only go through one layer so you do not see stitching on reverse.  I also added a pocket on reverse side.  I made a square for a different look, and also because those angled pockets were hard to sew!

I have seen other pictures on the web of crafty women who have made really cute aprons using this pattern.

I also bought a retro apron pattern from McCalls, so I may try that next.  Hope Jemma likes it.

A great selection of retro apron patterns are available at Amazon.

What to Wear to the Revolution?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

It didn’t take long for the masses to try to make money off the movement.


Print-on-demand (POD) sites like Cafepress and Zazzle now have a bazillion versions of “I am the 99%” t-shirts and other power-to-the-people products. What to make of all these people trying to cash in? Are they crass capitalists undercutting the whole ethos of the Occupy idea? Regular folks (out of work? underpaid?) trying to pay the rent anyway they know how? Or creative artists supporting the message while supporting themselves?

Maybe a little of each. But I’ve decided the marketing of Occupy is OK as long as the t-shirts and bumper stickers and cups are coming from individuals, not corporations with highly compensated executives. In fact, I’ve whipped up a few Occupy designs myself.

One thing I like about buying off the POD sites is that at least you don’t end up with a huge corporate logo all over your chest. What’s with that anyway? T-shirts should belong to the proletariat, shouldn’t they? T-shirts started out utilitarian in the early 1900s when the Navy issued them to sailors. By the time the Depression rolled around (the early one, not this one) the comfy, cheap shirts were de rigueur for farmers and others who worked outside.

The plain white t-shirt look became popular with guys after World War II (Think Marlon Brando in Streetcar Named Desire). In the 60s hippies discovered the tee made a perfect canvas for tie-dye, and in the 70s it became popular for slogans.

Brooke shields jeans pic

But by the 1980s companies were plastering their own logo on the outside of clothing. This unfortunate trend started with stitched crocodiles and polo ponies on the chests of preppy men. When Calvin Klein’s name famously appeared on the jeans pocket of young Brooke Shield’s butt, retailers learned consumers would pay double for the “status” of conspicuous designer labels. No matter that flaunting your wealth is gauche, logos quickly found their way onto purses, sunglasses, flip flops and especially, t-shirts.

Nowadays it’s impossible to buy a t-shirt without a logo on it. And that’s a drag. As my son put it: “Why would I want to be a walking billboard? They should pay me to wear the shirt if they put their logo on it!” A brilliant marketing idea, really, for them to con us into being an unpaid part of their advertising campaign. But it’s time for the free ride to stop.

The more radical Sans Culottes in the French Revolution were working class who wore long pants.

So, if you like one of these “real people” designs, go ahead and make a statement by buying one. In the French Revolution, the radical militants of the working class were known as the “sans-culottes” because they wore long pants, not the fancy shmancy silk knee-breeches of the more moderate bourgeois. Maybe today’s Occupy crowd can be known as “sans-logo” for eschewing brand-name t-shirts. Instead of being a walking billboard, they can be a walking protest sign . . . and at the same time support a real live artist. The hyper-PC can even pick t-shirts made-in-America of all-organic cotton from POD sites . . . all designed by some regular guy. Wearing one of these masterpieces, you can put down your cardboard sign and still broadcast your message.

Of course, you could just go out an buy plain white beefy T’s and a Sharpie and write your message on your chest.

I put up a list of my favorite Occupy t-shirt designs (some my own, some by others) on a Squidoo lens. Stop by and let me know which ones you like best.

You can check out my designs by clicking on the panel below. You can FB “Like” the one you like best. Or just buy it.

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

If you want to make your very own design, click on the banner below and try out Zazzle. Very easy to use. For a limited time, I have a coupon for $10 a Zazzle product.

Custom T-Shirts

Lots of deals on OWS merchandise at Amazon.

Fall Leaf Cuff Bracelet

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Fall leaf cuff bracelet made of Sculpey polymer clay.




Autumn makes you want to wear the colors of leaves. The first cuff bracelet I made out of polymer clay is the leaf bracelet I made out of shades of brown, gold, orange and green.  I started by making a Skinner blend of gold and green.  I covered one side of an aluminum cuff bracelet blank.  Then I whipped up some leaf canes and slice a few pieces off.  Using a contrasting color, I made an organic square shape to back each leaf.  Next I gently pressed them into the bracelet.  Bake, Cool.  Polish a bit.  Great fall bracelet.

See some of my other Sculpey jewelry.

The biggest craft I do in the fall, however, is making creative scarecrows. My sister and I work together to come up with outrageous scarecrow ideas.  Check out our prize-winning Halloween scarecrows.



Sculpey as Stress Balls

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


Polymer Clay Lets You Relax While You Create

Sculpey is kinda like a stress ball that lets you make beautiful things. Stress balls are those little bags full of a sand-like substance that you can’t put down without squeezing it a few times. They are often given out as promotional gifts and have smiley faces or silly designs on them. Massaging them supposedly reduces your stress and can even be used in physical therapy to strengthen muscles.

Sculpey is a brand of polymer clay, which isn’t really “clay” at all, but rather a concoction of polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and liquid plasticizer. It’s only called clay because you can mold it like clay and then “fire” it in your oven.

Sculpey and other polymer clay brands have long enticed me because they come in these appealing little 2 oz packages in beautiful colors. Over the years I would buy a couple packages and try it, but the clay always seemed so hard to manipulate. I’d get frustrated and give up.

In the last couple months though, I’ve become a big fan of polymer clay. I’ve made my first bracelet and pair of earrings with it, and I am thrilled. Now I can’t stop thinking of things I want to make out of Sculepy. The trick, I learned, is that before you try to mold anything, you have to condition the clay. This is why Sculpey is like a stress ball. To condition it, you have to knead it.

The warmth of your hands combined with the process of stretching and compressing the clay changes its texture, making it pliable. You must be in the right frame of mind to condition polymer clay because it requires patience. If you are in a rush, you are just going to get more stressed! But if you put yourself into a zen-like state of acceptance, you can work out the pressures of your mind as you work the clay.

Plus, after the clay is conditioned, you can make something cool! Manipulating the clay into art requires creativity and concentration, which can also be stress-reducing.

Here’s some images of my first attempts at making art with polymer clay. Credit is due to all the polymer clay artists who share their tips and tutorials on Youtube and websites.


Handmade Christmas Ornaments

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Salt and Flour Ornaments and More

I was proud of our tree last year because almost every decoration on it was handmade. We were on sabbatical in Princeton, New Jersey, for the year from So Cal. We did not haul our holiday decorations across country. We got a great tree from a Vermont tree farmer, but we had nothing to put on it! So we decided to make our own ornaments. We started with flour and salt dough ornaments and went from there, adding wire, Sculpey and pipe cleaners to the mix. Here’s the results. I am hoping to find time to make some more this year. Let me know which on is your favorite.

wreath made by Shea

Wreath made by Shea.

Jester ornament made of Sculpey, pipecleaners, copper wire by Kim.

Jester ornament made of Sculpey, pipecleaners, copper wire by Kim.

Present and name we all worked on.

Present and name we all worked on.

Snowman I made.

Snowman I made.

Peace sign Shea made.

Peace sign ornament Shea made.


Candy cane, Shea.

Candy Cane ornament, Shea.

Christmas tree, Shea.

Christmas tree, Shea.

Reindeer, flour and salt, Kim.

Reindeer, flour and salt, Kim. Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250

Four and salt dough snowman, Kim.

Flour and salt dough snowman, Kim.


Sculpey reindeer, flour/salt snowman, Kim.


Love, Shea.



Wreath, Colman.

Wreath, Colman.

Figure skater made of pipe cleaners.  Kim.

figure skater made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Angel made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Angel made of pipe cleaners. Kim.

Christmas tree made of pipe cleaners. Cole.

Christmas tree made of pipe cleaners. Cole.

Poinsettia made of Sculpey. Kim.

Poinsettia made of Sculpey. Kim.

Pipe cleaner Christmas ornament, Colman.

Which one is your favorite?

Happy Holidays to all!!!

Custom Holiday Gifts 1

If you want to make pipe cleaner ornaments, believe it or not, Amazon has the best deals and best selection on pipe cleaners.


Related posts:
What I Made My Friend for Her 50th Birthday
Prizewinning Scarecrows My Sister and I Made
Yoga Tote Bag I Made
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloth Using Ribbon
How to Make Upscale Bookmarks Using Photos


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Handmade Jewelry Makes Best Gift

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Bead, pearl, crystal necklace and earring set I made my friend for her birthday.

Bead, pearl, crystal necklace I made my friend for her birthday.[/caption]

Dori and I became best friends in 7th grade. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other often anymore, but I wanted to make her jewelry for a milestone birthday. Here’s some pics of the design made of beads, pearls and crystals with copper and rose gold findings.  The necklace is long, and you can wear it two ways. As seen in the photo above,  you can wear it with the charm dangling.  You can also remove the charms and one section of the necklace to make a simpler strand.

Here’s some more pics to show the design.necklace100bwebnecklacecharm105web


Did you know Amazon has tons of jewelry making supplies? Sometimes they have better prices that Michaels or Joanns. They definitely have a wider selection.

Creative Scarecrow Ideas for Halloween Decorating

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Creative scarecrows can spice up fall decorations. Many neighborhoods hold scarecrow decorating contests. My sister and I have worked together to enter a few of these and have been lucky enough to win grand prize a couple of times. Our best tip? Use old clothes to come up with a scarecrow theme, then pay attention to detail to make a whole scene.

I used my daughter’s old flower girl dress, for example, to come up with a scene depicting “The Ring Bearer and Flower Girl at Frankenstein’s Wedding. I used her old figure skates to come up with “Skate Crow.” I used my son’s old Kobe Bryant jersey and old basketball shoes to come up with a scarecrow shooting hoops . . . (Kobe Die-ant of the LA  UnderTakers.) An old saddle gave me the inspiration to come up with “Ghost Rustler,” a cowboy lassoing a ghost.

Next up: I want to do a hula girl in a bikini to make a beach scene. Got you thinking? What clothes do you have that be used for a creative scarecrow scene this Halloween?

Make your scarecrows pop at night with a blacklight.

I hope my pics inspire you. Let me know if you have other creative scarecrow decoration ideas for Halloween.

Related Post: How to Make A Prize-Winning Scarecrow






Pet Clothing





Please share your creative ideas for cool scarecrows.

view my squidoo lens on Halloween scarecrows.

Amazon has some funny Halloween decorations! Check them out!

Also lots of craft stuff.

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag
How to Make a Tassel
How to Make Bookmarks from a Photo
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

How to Make a Yoga Tote Bag

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Sew a Bag to Keep Your Yoga Bag Clean


When I first started yoga I had a yoga mat I could roll up and toss in the car. Then I got a new yoga mat which was plusher and prettier . . .  But I noticed that the better material picks up dirt easier. So I decided to sew a custom yoga mat bag for it to keep it clean in the car.

Looking online I saw a few patterns. Some had three seams to make a big bag, but that seemed too basic.  Some were shaped more like a roll with a round bottom, but I am not a big fan of sewing on a curve if I don’t have to.  So I came up with my own design. The design is similar to the square-bottom shopping totes that a lot of crafters make.

It is pretty easy and you can adjust it. The instructions are for a lined yoga mat bag, but if you used thicker material you would not have to line it. To make the bag just line mine, you will need material 45 inches by 36 inches for the lining and 45 by 40 for the bag fabric plus matching thread.



1. Measure. Roll up your yoga mat and measure how big you need to make your bag.  My mat is pretty standard and I started with material 45 inches by 36 inches for the lining and 45 by 40 for the bag fabric.  You may need to adjust if your mat is not standard.


2. Cut material for handle. Cut a strip 45 inches by 6 inches.


3. Fold the handle in half, right sides together and iron to get it even.


4. Fold 1/4 inch on the ends and iron.


5. Stitch the handle the long way.



6. Flip the handle inside out by attaching a safety pin to one end and pushing the material up the tube.  Then iron.


7. Tuck the ends of handle inside. Set aside.

8. Make the tie and the drawstring.  Use the same steps you just used to make the handle.  The tie is the same 6 x 45 inch as the handle, only cut from the bag fabric.    The drawstring is 4 x 45 inches and cut from the extra bag fabric.  Set aside.


8. Fold the large piece of material for the lining of the bag right sides together, pin.


9. Stitch seam on side of yoga bag lining.


10. Fold down and iron 1/4 inch on the top edge.


11. Sew the bottom edge.


12. Make corner gussets by reaching your hand in one corner of the bag and flattening it in the opposite direction. Now fold it so you form a triangle. You are going to sew across the triangle to create the corner.  Making a corner gusset is not hard to do, but is a bit hard to explain.  Another blogger has a good description of making a corner gusset if you need more help visualizing it.


11.  Sew across to form the corner.


12. Repeat above steps to make the bag itself. On the outer bag you can make “edges” by sewing along the fold lines.  This makes the bag appear as if it has four side seams and makes it boxier.


13. Make a deep hem on top of bag to form casing. Set aside the lining and now work on the bag itself. To determine the depth of the hem you want, first roll up the yoga mat, and put it inside the bag to measure, then remove. You are going to want about 10 inches of material above the bag after the hem.  My deep hem was about 6 inches. So I stitched about 6 inches down to sew down the edge, then stitched again about 1.5 inches up from that.  This forms the casing for the drawstring.


14.  Make an opening in the side seam in between these two rows so you can insert the drawstring. The easiest way to insert the drawstring is to put a safety pin on the end and push it through.  Once it is through you can hand sew the ends of the drawstring together if you like so that it is a big loop and can’t fall out.



13. Attach the lining. Put the lining inside the bag, wrong sides together, matching the seam at bottom and on edge.  Pull the top on the lining up and over the bag so that when folded down it would form a hems that ends just above where the drawstring casing begins. Pin and then in place baste by hand.


14. Sew down lining at top. Fold over top of lining and stitch in place, but leave a couple inches open at the seam (so you have a place to insert one end of the strap.)



15. Attach strap. One end goes under the contrasting hem on top you just made.  The other end goes at the  bottom of the bag.  I had mine go across the bottom of the bag and I stitched it in two places as shown in picture.

16. Use the tie to secure your rolled up mat.



17. Enjoy your new yoga mat bag!

The yoga mat bag would be a great gift for a someone who loves yoga.  Let me know if you find the yoga mat bag tutorial helpful.

Need help choosing a yoga mat? Read my ehow article on how to pick the perfect yoga mat for you.

After yoga, enjoy a pomegranate smoothie. Here’s my recipe.

If you need relaxing yoga music for home, please check out the reviews for the cd “Cave of the Siddhars.” 5 stars from everyone who rated it on Amazon.

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Prize-Winning Scarecrow
How to Make a Tassel
How to Make Bookmarks from a Photo
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

How to make a prize-winning scarecrow

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Scarecrows: Flower Girl and Ring Bear for Frakenstein and His Bride. [/caption]

A few years ago our local newspaper sponsored a scarecrow contest each Halloween in our city. In 2005 my sister and I decided to enter and we won Grand Prize. Here’s how we did it.

Be sure to look at other scarecrows I’ve made for more inspiration.

Start with a theme: In looking at old dress-up clothes my kids had, I saw I had a beautiful flower girl dress my daughter had worn when she was 3 and a little tux my son had worn when he was 1.

It is  easiest to start with one or two great fashion items you already have.  If you do not have any old clothes you like, then search through a couple thrift stores: you will see lots of ideas: old bikinis; prom dresses, suits, nightgowns, soccer uniforms, scout uniforms.  You should look for items you can build a whole scene around.

So pretty in her custom gown. Frankenstein's flower girl.

So pretty in her custom gown. Frankenstein's flower girl.

Our Scarecrows: Flower Girl and Ring Bearer for Frankenstein and His Bride.

Make your scarecrows: Take an old pillow and tape it to a hanger with duct tape. Then add a sturdy stick or pole. You can stick the pole in an old umbrella stand, a big pot filled with sand or attach to a saw horse. Hang the outfit over the hanger and then add straw, corn stalk or raffia to make the legs and arms. Heads can be scary Halloween masks or skulls you attach to the top of the hanger.

Isn't he handsome in his little tuxedo? Ring bearer for Frankenstein.

So handsome in his tux. The ring bearer.

Add detail: Look for hats, gloves, scarves, purses, suspenders, jewelery and other accessories that complete the outfit. The details are what gives the scarecrow the WOW factor. Our flower girl has real leather gloves, a hat trimmed in black lace, and a flower basket adorned with a bat. Our ring bearer has suspenders, a cummerbund and a custom-made pillow.

Our flower girl wears gloves and carries a basket of purple flowers.

Our flower girl wears gloves and carries a basket of purple flowers.

Our ring bearer carries a black satin pillow trimmed in black lace. The ring is attached with purple ribbon.

Add Scary: Pick up some creepy bugs and spiders at the dollar store. Use a glue gun or a needle and thread to attach them to the clothes and accessories. My flower girl, for example, has bugs spiders and little rats crawling all over her dress and hat. The boy has lots of spiders.

The wedding trellis is topped by a gorgeous bat.

The wedding trellis is topped by a gorgeous bat.

Build the Scene: These scarecrows are cool, but they might not win a prize on their own. You need few props to set the scene. I used a garden trellis decorated with black and purple netting, purple spider webs, and black flowers to give the feel of a wedding alter.

Yummy enough to eat! Frakenstein's custom cake.

Yummy enough to eat! Click to view larger.

I added the photo of Frakenstein and his bride to a cake topper from a dollar store.

I threw some black material over a small table so we could add a cake and champagne glasses.  The cake is a hat box beautifully painted by my sister.  I got a cheap cake topper and added the heart of Frankenstein and his bride. I used a glue gun to add bats to some plastic wine glasses.

A large spider serves as boutonniere for the ring bearer.

A white hat is trimmed in black lace and spiders on the flower girl.
The back of the scarecrow scene.

The back of the scarecrow scene.

I added a couple crows and a skeleton hanging out on the back of the saw horse as a little joke.

We added a sign explaining the scene.

We added a sign explaining the scene.

The artists with their winning scarecrow design

The artists with their winning scarecrow design

Let me know if you like my scarecrows. We won a couple other years as well with other designs. I’ll try to post those soon. Happy Halloween!

View my squidoo lens on making scarecrows.

I love these black crows from Amazon.

Find great papercraft ideas for Halloween in this book.

Amazon’s Halloween store has tons of great ideas for Halloween!

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag
How to Make a Tassel
How to Make Bookmarks from a Photo
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

How to Make a Tassel

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Making Tassels for Your Bookmark

Tassels can be made from all sorts of materials: ribbon, floss, yarn, etc. You can pick these up at a fabric or craft stores or even at dollar stores.  You can also find a wide variety of online sources.

I am going to show you how I made the tassel I used on some bookmarks I made for my son’s Little League Team party.

For this example I am using some embroidery and crochet materials I had around the house. The first step is to wrap the thread about a dozen times around two fingers. Trim and remove.

Next cut about 6 inches of thred and tie it around your looped circle.

Next you will measure and cut the thread that attaches the tassel.  Measure off about 12 inches and place it as shown in the pictures below. Tie it with the ends of the thread you used to tie the tassel.

One way to finish off the tassel is to add a bead. You need one with a wide opening.  I used inexpensive plastic pony beads fore this project, but you could use fancier ones. Just slip it over the end of the loop and position over the top of the tassel. You may want to secure it with a drop of craft glue.

Next trim the end of the tassel and arrange the threads the way you like.  On this bookmark tassel, I unwinded the individual thread in my crochet yarn.

My daughter and I make many varieties of tassels, and I hope to show more soon.  Tassels can be used on bookmarks and lots of other craft projects.  Let me know if this easy tutorial helped you with your projects.

Related post:  How to Make Bookmarks From a Photo

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Prize-Winning Scarecrow

How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag

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