Friday, April 29, 2011

Creative Spotlight: Nettie's Zipper Flower Tutorial

Hi! I'm Nettie. My 9-5 job is Manager of Sunglass Hut. I am a mommy to 4 wonderful children. I am married to the love of my life. Let's face it though, my life is CRAZY! Crafting and blogging are my sanity. I love to create things. I like making things that look complicated and intricate, but are actually super easy. Some of my favorite areas of crafting are, Sewing, Making Jewelry, Making hair bows, and re purposing old junk. So come and craft with me!


OK kids... first things first you will need a zipper. All zippers are not created equally. I prefer the zippers with the metal teeth, simply because they add dimension to the finished flower. Now, zippers can be relatively expensive. For this particular flower I used a 22-inch zipper (1 zipper makes 2 flowers generally-the longer the zipper the more petals your finished flower will have). A 22-inch zipper at JoAnn's is about $8... which makes it about $4 per flower... now to me, that is a lot. So.... I go to the thrift store. I buy jackets with long metal zippers, for about $4. That makes each flower about $2... MUCH BETTER! This involves cutting out the zipper, but I just get my seam ripper, and it is done in seconds. It is also important to note that colored zippers are sometimes more expensive, unless you purchase them in the "jacket" form... =) 

*I recently discovered that tent zippers and purses generally have metal teeth... talk about a goldmine! ;)
So get a needle and thread. (make sure you use strong thread) Weave it in and out like so.. all the way to the end.
Just kidding, cut off about 2 inches or so (this will be used to make your center), and then sew to the end. Then you just cinch the thread up tight. This will cause the zipper to twist, kind of like a whirlpool slide.
Once the zipper is cinched up tight, just stitch a few stitches at the end of the zipper to keep it from unraveling. Then start arranging the flower. layer each loop on top of the next until you get something like this. Then start stitching randomly, just to tack down each petal. (make sure you are using matching thread. =) Also, if you have to go over the teeth, make sure your thread falls perfectly BETWEEN them, because they are metal, and sort of sharp, they will cut your thread, and then your flower will fall apart. *trust me on this one. ;)
Then just twist up that little piece you cut off earlier. stitch it so it looks like this.
Then just stitch it to the flower and voila! You, my crafty little friend, have just created a zipper flower. =)... Now just attach a clip or a pin or sew it to your favorite hat, or shirt, and you will be looking FINE! Now hurry and go find a zipper!!!

Nettie's original post can be found here:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spotlight Award: Crissy's Crafts Gift Boxes

Today I am excited to award the Spotlight Award to Cris 
from Crissy's Crafts with her genius Gift boxes! 

Chances are that you already have most of the tools to make them! 

Here's what she has to say:

Hi! I am Cris from Crissy's Crafts.  I love crafts!! EASY CRAFTS!! Crafts that just by looking at it you can figure it out how to make it!!  I try to make my crafts easy and affordable! Most of the time my crafts are made from recycled materials!
Some random facts about me:
1. I am a stay home mom to 3 wonderful children! The 3rd was a BIG surprise!! :) He was born in Brazil!
2. Moved to AZ recently
3. I am from Brazil.
4. Met Condoleezza Rice(have a picture to prove it!:))  while working at the US Embassy in Brazil in 2008.
5. LOVE Bruce Springsteen
6. Love summer and backyard barbecues.
7. This week my blog is turning 2 months old! :)

Now let's talk about the "Teacher Appreciation Day" Craft!

This craft is so simple but it looks so good! Its a little gift box made out of a toilet tissue paper roll! You can add candy or a small gift. 

I was at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago when I spotted the Hershey's Bliss Chocolate and my mind just started to work! I did the Hugs and Kisses chocolate before but this is year  I wanted to do something different. I came up with this saying: "Thank you for a BLISS school year!" You can download the label for free or you can use any kind of tag. 

Hope you enjoy!

Go HERE to Cris's original post.

And I love that she used this same idea for some thank you gift boxes to give out at her son's birthday. So cute! 
Thanks Cris for sharing this easy amazing craft!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blanket Party!

Gabe's Gifts
Hey guys!  It's the end of the month - which means blanket party time!   Don't forget each Monday you can see a special blanket tutorial at Today's Top 20, We're the Joneses, and This & That Creative

For anyone new - I've started a blanket drive this year to raise blankets for Project Linus.  Why?  To donate blankets in my son Gabe's name.  I lost our baby in August due to a miscarriage.  I really wanted something positive to be associated with his name.  And giving back is the best way to do that.

Project Linus is such a great organization.  They donate handmade blankets to kids (newborn - teens) who need them the most.  I'm really happy to be working with them.

I am so happy to say that I have recieved over 50 blankets for Project Linus.  WOW!  Thank you so much!!!  I really am just so greatful.  :)  Thank you thank you thank you.

  So link up any blanket project you've got.  Mail me your blankets to get donated.  Email if you are interested in guest posting a blanket tutorial (it will be seen at Today's Top 20, We're The Joneses and This & That Creative). 

Can't wait to see your projects!!

And don't forget the 31st is the Blogger of the Month Party at Today's Top 20.  Come link up your fave. project you've made in March for a chance to win a great prize from My Vinyl Designer as well as a month's of advertising at Today's Top 20!


Friday, April 22, 2011

My new Internet Obsession

Pinterest.  Move over Facebook and iGoogle (the only other sites I visit on a daily basis)!  That's right.  I have a new love thanks to my friend, Anna, who introduced me to this AMAZING website.  It allows me to organize all my creative musings in one place until I'm ready to actually implement them.

Have you ever read a blog post or looked at a website and thought, "Oh!  I totally want to make that...But I don't have time right now...," or "That recipe looks amzingly delish.  I wanna try it, for my next cooking adventure," and then when you go to find said post or site again, it's missing?

ENTER:  Pinterest.

It's the greatest.

It's a site that keeps track of all those past posts/sites that you want to have access to later.  Anna explained it as a "virtual cork board" and I couldn't agree more.  Similar to Facebook or Blogger, you can "follow" people who are either your friends or have similar interests/style tastes you do.  Thus, giving you access to even MORE great ideas rather than just the ones you find on your own!

Sold yet?

To "pin" something, you just have to add the Pinterest Bookmark to your task bar (It says, "Pin It") and click on it whenever you encounter something worth pinning.  That's it.  Pretty simple.  As a heads-up, you do have to request an invite to Pinterest (which takes a few days), but it's totally worth it.  Promise.

To give you an idea, here's a screenshot of my recent pins.  Pinterest allows you to sort them into categories you name yourself as well.  If this is something you're interested in, you can view my profile HERE (I currently have eleven boards you can check out).  If you're already a member, feel free to follow my pins.  Leave a comment and I'll follow you back!  Happy pinning, people!

***UPDATE***  If you're interested, you can request and invite by going to their website, OR, if you leave your e-mail address in the comments below, I'll send you an invite myself.  :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mod Podge Easter Eggs

Easter is one of the holidays that I don't have a lot of
decorations for. So I decided to make some!
I blew out a dozen eggs(which was harder than I had expected)
and mod-podged them with tissue paper.
The Mod Podge part was super easy and they came out pretty cute!
I filled my apothecary jars with some moss and arranged the eggs inside!
and a close up:
I LOVE the patterned tissue paper,which I found at Hallmark,
but I think even Wal Mart has some too!
They would also be cute in a big bowl as a centerpiece.
And save the egg carton so you can store them for next year!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hemming pants

My husband is tall and thin and it's always been kind of difficult to find pants that fit him well. A while back, he was going for a walk during his lunch break and our Utah weather took a turn. He was caught it a rainstorm and was drenched. He walked back to work, drove to the closest mall, and quickly bought a new outfit. The thing is, it sometimes takes us months to find a good looking pair of pants that actually fit him. So "quickly" doesn't work out so great. Long story short, I needed to lengthen the hem in his pants. Luckily, my good old mom taught me how long ago. My dad and I have short legs. My sister has long legs. My mom has mad sewing skills. We do a lot of alterations at our house.

So, here's how to alter the length of the hem in pants. You can use the same general instructions to shorten a hem.

I had my husband try on the pants and measured to see how much more length he'd need. He would need about an inch. Which would leave about a quarter of an inch hem...which is pretty much the minimum length of hem I like to do.

Here's the original hem...see how you can't see it so well. I think it's called a blind hem. If it isn't, it maybe should be.

This is the inside of the hem. Not lined. Surged. Convenient.

Unpick your blind stiched hem. Don't unpick the surging.

Iron your old hem's crease.

Measure and pin. I went with a quarter inch seam. I don't really like going much shorter than that. And I needed to make the pants as long as possible. This will add an inch to the pants. Now, I hate pinning and often skip this step. But when it comes to clothing, may as well make them straight and even, right? So measure and pin well.

(Sorry about the bad pictures, by the way. I am crap with a camera)

This is the part when you sew the new hem. You can do this by machine but my mom taught me by hand and I like to do what I know Plus, it really isn't so hard. Tie a knot in your thread.

This is a poorly done paint picture to try to better illustrate the process. Sorry if it is more confusing then helpful. The red lines are your stiches. Start at the star, poke the needle through from behind and pull it out toward yourself. Skootch a little to the left, pick up a tiny bit of the pant leg and then poke the needle through the hem.

Here's a picture of the real deal. The needle is in the middle of the second stitch.

Same picture, different angle.

Stitch your blind hem all the way around the bottom of the pant leg. You can kind of see the little dimples in the pants where my stiches are. This is the new hem.

Close up...pretty much can't see the hem, which is kind of the point.

Press the pants again. Make your husband try them on right away then praise your mad alteration skills. Now you have a new skill and a longer pair of pants!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Vintage Easter Postcard

Check out this adorable vintage Easter postcard I found on Wapedia when we
were looking up the origins of the Easter Bunny as a family.
It was printed in 1907, so it is public domain. Go ahead and click on it to download it :)

He looks so quaint as a little addition to my Easter decor.

Excuse the flash--it was night

Monday, April 18, 2011

Free Autism Print - Love you to puzzle pieces

Something a little different today.  No blanket post, instead I have something to give to you! 

April is Autism awareness month. 

In case you didn't know ...
This is what Autism looks like.
I'm so blessed to be his mommy!

{And here's another one -- just because he's so darn cute}

Ok. Ok.  You guys don't want to look at my little guy all day --- you want the freebie!!
You can copy and paste it OR if you want the pdf file you can email me amandablogs (at) yahoo

You can print and frame or do like I did and print it on fabric. (Your craft store sells special fabric -  it usually comes 3 sheets in a pack.  Mine was print and iron.  SOOO easy!)

Make a bag and voila!  PERFECT gift to therapists, teachers, helpers - YOURSELF! :)


Friday, April 15, 2011

Digital Scrapbooking

When I started my personal blog in 2007, I also started dabbling in digital scrapbooking.  I liked that I didn't have to clean up my mess (or pull it out to begin with), I didn't run out of my favorite paper EVER, and when printed, the pages took up far less space.

I don't claim to be amazing (far from it actually), but I have become completely converted.  Thanks to blog printing, I still have pretty scrapbooks which are, by far, more financially sound and space-friendly.  If you're interested in trying your hand at some digi-scrapping, here are some things you'll need:

Do you have other favorite sites for supplies and tutorials?  If so, please share!  I would LOVE to add more to my list.  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Look HOO's Ready For Easter

The Easter Bunny has been busy
getting things ready for baskets and decided
that something was missing.

I decided to join in and help, by making
this cute little plush owl.
I found some inspiration online,
and made a pattern in Adobe Illustrator.
I used scraps from previous projects
so it was 100% free!
I used flannel for the body, and felt
for the details. I simply glued the felt
details on to make it quicker and easier,
but you could also sew them on for a
more professional look.
It's the perfect addition, and the
Easter Bunny was very pleased.
I think that my little 2 year old will also
be pleased when she sees it sitting in her basket!

If you'd like the PDF pattern simply become
a follower and leave a comment on this post
with your email address and I will email it to you!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easy Easter Decoration

I don't have a lot of decorations for any holiday other than Christmas. My husband and I have been married about two years...not a lot of time for decoration accumulating. With Easter around the corner, I decided to make an easy Easter decoration. I got a cute frame for 50% off at a local craft store. I intended to mod podge some styrofoam eggs but when I found these, I decided just to get them. They are pastel and speckled and kind of adorable. I found some coordinating ribbon to go with them.

I started by poking little holes in the eggs with a pin, wrapped an ornament hanger wire thingy around the ribbon, put a dab of glue over the hole, and jabbed the ornament hanger into the egg. Feel free to attach the ribbon any way you like, this is just what I went with. Then trial and error it to see what looks good to you. Trim the ribbon to size and tape in place on the back of the frame.
You can glue it but I had big plans on using this frame for other holidays too. I bought some wooden stars and some twine. I painted the stars and then glued the small ones to larger stars. Then I measured, trial-and-errored (not real verb, I know), and taped. I actually started this project for Easter but totally love the 4th of the July one.
I switched the frame back to the Easter eggs for now, but I'm really looking forward to swapping it back out for my cute new July decoration.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Backpack Plus a Zipper Tip

I was at my local fabric store when my little boy excitedly spotted some Buzz & Woody fabric (He is close to obsessed). I thought it would be fun to make him something out of it so I bought some. Here's what I ended up making:

I thought it would be something fun for him to pack his clothes in for when we go visit his grandmas & grandpas.

When I got done with it, he was really excited that it had Buzz and Woody on it, but was in no way excited to have it strapped to his back, otherwise I would have pictures of my little guy modeling it.

I considered making up my own pattern but then spotted this pattern at the same place I got the fabric at for only $3. Why not? It's the Butterick See & Sew B5346. I actually altered it a little for the straps because I wanted them to be adjustable and have a little more padding. I'll admit, I am not an advanced seamstress--it took me a while, but seemed pretty easy to follow.

Image from HERE

Well, that's not all I wanted to post about. Here is a little zipper tip. My mom is a seamstress. Much better than I am. Well, the sewing skills were actually mostly inherited by my sister Lizz. She can sew just about anything and totally makes her own clothes and handbags all of the time, and they are impressive! I was recently talking to her on the phone, and she told me that she saves the plastic bags that her pillows, bedding items, etc. come in and uses the zippers from those--they are usually in great shape and easy to use a seam ripper to remove. Come to think of it, maybe that's why my mom always had a box full of zippers handy for any sewing project (apparently I am not as observant as my sister is--maybe that is why she ended up with all the skills). So that is what I did for Tucker's backpack when I realized I forgot to buy a zipper.

Thank you Boppy Pillow Plastic Case for contributing your perfect zipper for this backpack and saving me a trip to the store to get one because I forgot to buy one earlier. Look! I even have 2 more black zippers for a future project from our Beautyrest pillows purchase! I am now a collector :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Frayed Rose Quilt

This is a pretty quilt tutorial from Megan - from right here at This & That Creative.  I loov her quilt! :) Thanks Megan!!

Here is the blanket that I have had tucked away in my mind for a while
that needed to become a reality.
I wanted to do something I haven't done before,
and I had a few different ideas in mind. I was thinking I might want 
a scalloped design to quilt all over the blanket--similar to the scalloped 
design on the wall in this picture.
Image from HERE
My other idea was to use a flower outline--I ended up doing this one but 
would love to still try the scallops. I found an image online of an outline of a rose.
It is from a piece of jewelry, but just the design I wanted for my blanket.
Image from HERE 
I freehanded the design on my top selection of fabric for my blanket with chalk. 
As the chalk got smooth and didn't write as well, I'd rub it on
some sandpaper and keep going till I had the whole design on the blanket.
I had my top fabric, my batting, and my bottom layer of fabric already
laid out and matched up when I started my design.
I then measured each petal outline and wrote down those measurements.
Next, I cut some strips from some matching white cotton fabric to go over my outlines.
If my measurement from one petal section was 11", then I would make sure
to add a couple inches to it and make the strip to cover it about 13"or so, so that I could allow
for the curves where I knew the fabric would be folded a little. The
more the curves in the measurement, the more length I added to the strip.
It's best to always over estimate, so you don't have to cut a new strip. 
Here are all the strips laid out over top of my design.
I then pinned down the strips, folding in some spots like shown below to
help make the curves. Make sure to pin through your strip, top layer of fabric,
batting, as well as the bottom layer of fabric for your blanket and make sure
that all the layers match up correctly.
I missed a few spots and had to redo some parts.
Here's all of my strips pinned on. 
I then used my sewing machine to stitch my strips on.
 Just follow the center of each strip until you have the
whole design all quilted.
I used the simple binding technique that I found at My Spare Time , but 
instead of using a satin ribbon, I used some white fleece material that I had
pieced together and cut into a long strip.
After I had everything sewn, I threw my blanket in the washer and dryer.
I cut away any ugly looking strings as a result of the 
strips fraying in the wash and this is the result!
I love how it is super "fluffy" (Despicable Me--anyone?) and 
down-comforter-like that it turned out.
There really is no end to the possibilities that you can use for a design.
And I think next time I would like to try a ruffled edge around the blanket.
I'd love to see any more designs that anyone else tries!
Seriously... how much does this rock!?!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

I thought of these babies while driving home from a meeting yesterday...You'll need:
  • 24 white cupcakes
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding
  • chocolate frosting

 When your cupcakes have cooled, hollow them out (I use one of my Wilton tips).

 Prepare the instant vanilla pudding using HALF of the milk on the instant recipe (my box called for three cups, so I used 1 1/2 cups).  Let the pudding set in the fridge for about 15 minutes before filling the cupcakes.  Fill a pastry bag with the pudding and squeeze it into the hollowed out portion of the cupcake.  You can see I added just a bit on the top because...well...I really love pudding.

Top with your favorite chocolate frosting.  Gosh, these were yummy!  And easy.


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