Tag Archives: crafts

A “Just Because” Apron

10 Jan

My family gives each other birthday gifts and thoughtful “just because” gifts but we don’t exchange Christmas gifts anymore.  It’s not a religious belief or anything of that nature. We just decided a few years ago that exchanging Christmas gifts for so many family members was too expensive and stressful on everyone.

You see, I have a family full of procrastinators. We all waited until the last minute to shop, and then had no idea what to buy each other in a frantic rush. One of us finally had the genius idea that we forego all the stressful shopping drama and only get together at Christmas for a good time.  We still buy Christmas presents for the all the children in our family but not a single adult receives a gift.  We think it’s the best way to spend Christmas because more money and energy are spent gifting the kids. Making Christmas special for the kids is really what’s most important to us.  Now we have a fun happy carefree Christmas… and the presents aren’t missed one bit.

We celebrated Christmas this year, at my middle sister’s Becky’s house (there are three of us sisters and I’m the oldest).  It was a fantastic pig out session full of turkey, loads of creamy carb loaded delights and most importantly…Becky’s famous cornbread dressing.

It also involved washing a million dishes afterwards. When my sister and I we cleaning up, my nieces and nephews teased me about wearing an apron. Let’s just say they didn’t think it was too hip.  The fashionista I try to be could have cared less because I love aprons.  Ever since starting to wear one a few months ago, I’ve been addicted.  Aprons are a necessity for me now because they keep my clothes spot free when cooking and cleaning.

Becky joked that if she ever wore an apron, it would have to be some sort of waterproof apron because she is really messy when it comes to spilling water liquids on herself.   Waterproof?!?  That got me thinking…

I instantly knew what she needed : an oilcloth apron.

And that’s how the the idea for a special just because gift for Becky was born!

I had been saving some oilcloth for months for a purse I envisioned in my mind and wanted to attempt to make.  Since I didn’t have the hardware needed to make the purse, I decided to sacrifice the oilcloth and make Becky her much needed waterproof apron.

And BAM, here it is!

By the way, if you haven’t heard of oilcloth before it’s a fabric material that is coated on one side to make it waterproof.  The coating is oil based, hence the name “oilcloth”.  I discovered it on a vacation in Mexico where it is commonly used for tablecloths.

Here are the instructions for making your very own waterproof apron. All that’s needed are basic sewing machine skills, hot glue, clear nail polish and ribbon (two sizes: wide and narrow).


  • 1 yard oilcloth
  • 7’5″ of  1.5″ width ribbon (for neck loop and waist ties)
  • 14′ of  3/8″ width ribbon (for exterior trim)
  • Clear nail polish

I started off drawing a pattern for the apron by hand.  This was probably my first ever free hand pattern and it couldn’t have been easier. An apron is basically a rectangle with concave cut outs at the top of each side. The concave cut makes the top of the apron narrower and frames the chest. My apron was approximately 27″ by 36″ (the wider section for the sides).  You can either attempt free handing or use another apron as a pattern.  (I’ll also try to figure out a way to create an apron pattern that can be download off our blog sometime in the future).

Cut the large width ribbon into the following lengths:  two 33″ pieces for waist ties and one 23″ piece for the neck loop.  I cut all the pieces with a straight edge except for one end of each waist tie which was given a slant cut shown below.  Those two slant ends will be the loose ends of the waist ties. The slant cut gives a more decorative edge and also helps with unraveling. (The straight edges will be sewn to the oilcloth which will also help against unraveling).

To further stop unraveling, I used a dab of nail polish on the ends of all the ribbon pieces, even the ones that will be sewn.  Clear polish works great but since I had a dark blue color that almost exactly matched the dark navy ribbon, I used it.

Sew the neck ribbon to both sides of the top of the apron using a 2/8″ seam.  This is necessary so that the 3/8″ decorative ribbon covers the stitching later.

After that sew each tie to the top of each side.

Next hot glue the thin ribbon to the entire perimeter of the apron.  I used a piece of paper underneath to protect my table from hot glue.

Glue flush to the oilcloth edge making sure to cover all stitch marks. Use only trace amounts of hot glue so that it doesn’t ooze under or through the ribbon (Only a tiny bit of hot glue is necessary).  I cut the ribbon at the corners to give it clean lines.

Once the entire perimeter has been covered with the trim ribbon the apron is complete.

That’s it.  Very simple and took about 45 minutes to make.

Now go make yourself one or give it as a gift just because. :)


Reversible Reusable Fabric Wine Bags

9 Jan

Over the holidays, we were lucky to have some of our projects featured one of our favorite blogs, PB&J Stories.  If you missed our projects on PB&J Stories, here’s your second chance!  These DIY gift bags are easy to make and have lots of great uses:

Gift bags for wine bottles can be expensive so I started making my own.  I discovered that it was easy and after the wine is gone, the bags can be repurposed for other things.  I use one of my favorite wine bags as a cover for my flat iron when traveling. It keeps the hot iron from burning the contents of my luggage when packing in a hurry.

Making your own is not only easy but it’s a great way to use up scrap fabric.  This tutorial will illustrate how to make a completely reversible wine bag…

when flipped inside out, it has a completely different look.

Start with two pieces of fabric: one 15″x18″ and the other 15″x14″.  I will refer to these two pieces as the long piece and the short piece.

I chose a piece of coffee bag for the short piece and a red printed canvas for the long piece.

Fold both pieces in half on the 15″ side (with the good sides facing inside).

Sew each piece on two sides creating a pocket.

Then flip only the short piece, right side out.

Stuff the short piece inside the long piece until the raw edges meet up.

Sew the raw edges together only 2/3 of the way around the circle.

Now flip the burlap bag right side out, using the hole (the 1/3 portion of the circle that wasn’t sewn together).

Then insert the long piece inside the short piece.

Blind stitch by hand the small remaining hole.

Now you have one wine bag holder with two different looks!

(If desired, a tie can be made by using a fabric strip 4.5″x 15″.  Sew two sides of the fabric with the good sides facing in.  Then flip inside out and hand sew remaining end closed.)

- Angie

Oh Amy!

19 Sep

Oh Amy!

I am inherently a bold colored modern minimalist…yet somehow Amy Butler brings out the rare to be seen frilly, pastel loving girly side of me.

Look at this necklace!. Pretty pretty!

And…another great idea to use leftover scrap fabric.

Amy includes yet another free pattern here!

DIY: Making Wrapping Paper from Grocery Bags

21 Dec

DIY: Making Wrapping Paper from Grocery Bags

I take reusable fabric shopping bags when grocery shopping but somehow quite a few paper bags still magically turn up at my house.  We try to recycle and repurpose as many things as possible so when staring at some paper grocery bags in my cabinet the other day thought hmmmm….wrapping paper!

If you want some earth friendly paper…or perhaps don’t have time to run to the store, here is a great way to make your own wrapping paper.

Paper grocery bags left plain and tied with raffia ribbon would make a natural and pretty look for wrapping paper.

I decided to jazz mine up with a little paint!

Here’s what you need.

Paper grocery bag, scissors or tool that cuts paper, tape or glue, paint and paint brushes.  I used leftover sample of house paint. Yes, house paint!  I used an old sample of paint I was planning to use on the exterior of my house. Any paint that adheres to paper will work.  You can use any type of paint brush but I wanted to use a sponge brush for a blotchy effect.

It’s okay if the bag is a little beat up. It just adds to the rustic look.

Cut along one side of the bag.

Cut the bottom out.

Cutting it this way maximizes the coverage area of the paper bag.  Now you have one long flat piece of wrapping paper.

If there are handles on the bag, remove them.

Cut out a piece of wrapping paper to fit your gift.

Now wrap gift.  I glued shut with a glue stick but tape can also be used.

Time to paint!

I don’t own a cutting machine like a Cricut or Silhouette so I made my own stencils.  I printed out shapes I liked on standard white printing paper and then cut them out with an exacto knife.

Lay stencil directly on package.  Paper bags are so thick, the paint will not soak through it.

I love how the sponge paint brush left this blotchy effect. It can be painted thicker if you prefer a solid look.

I also made some wrapping paper with stripes using painter’s tape. To do this, you must paint the wrapping paper before wrapping the gift.  However, making stripes takes more time and more paint. If you want to make some quickly, just use stencil.  I actually was more pleased with the stencil look anyway!

It is possible to use the same stencil over and over.  Just make sure the paint is dry before you switch colors.

Polish off with ribbon!

This would even be a fun project for children to do with crayons.

DIY: How to make 4×6 Photo Holiday Cards & Envelopes

13 Dec

DIY: How to make 4×6 Photo Holiday Cards & Envelopes

I’m so lazy when it comes to sending Christmas cards.  Something about running to the store , buying a box of cards and frantically trying to sign and mail them at the last minute just doesn’t seem appealing or meaningful to me.

Wait a minute. Meaningful?

Maybe that’s why I never looked forward to sending Christmas cards!

There were some pictures I wanted to send family and friends for the holidays and that’s when it dawned on me – sending generic mass produced commercial cards doesn’t have much meaning.

So this year I created my own holiday cards – with photos and images I loved and wanted to share.

This was one of the easiest projects I have done in a long time!

I already had a package of 4 x 6 photo paper stock but it’s possible to buy a box at Target for $6.

Then I printed away!

My printer is an HP C4795 that we received FREE when we bought an Apple computer this year. It is an amazing printer and the color pictures print like professional developing.  It prints, scans and copies.  If you are looking for a printer, you can also buy this one on Amazon for $63, just click HERE

If you don’t have a color printer, black and white images make great cards.

Now my family and friends have photos they can cherish forever.

It is possible to mail photo cards like a postcard but it will probably get damaged in the mail.  To protect it, it’s best to put it in an envelope.

I journeyed to the store… and couldn’t find any envelopes to fit my 4×6 photo cards!

So guess what?!

I created my own.   Again…easy!!!

There are lots of ways to create envelopes.  Most involve cutting and making a V shaped flap.

My way is the simplest.  No cutting.

I didn’t have any nice paper so I bought some at Target for $4.14 (Astrobrights).  100 pieces so there will be plenty left over for future crafty projects.

Umm…can you tell I live near a Target?  :)

Fold a piece of letter sized paper (8 1/2 x 11 inches) 1 1/4 inch from the top (on the long side).  Use a hard surface to create a crisp fold. I used a bamboo board but a counter or table top would work well.

Then fold the bottom portion in half so that it reaches the first fold mark.

Now glue both sides 1/4 inch from the border and close together. Any craft or paper glue will work.

Let dry.

Then insert photo card.  The flap can be glue shut to completely close the envelope but instead I sealed mine with a sticker.

Ready to mail!

Happy Holidays!

DIY – How to Etch Glass Christmas Ornaments

10 Dec

DIY – How to Etch Glass Christmas Ornaments

Etching produces a frosty design and is permanent. It can be a fun way to add a dramatic flair to glass!!

AND…you can do it yourself with cream.   A special cream that can be bought at any craft store.

It’s easy and quick and can be completed in less than 10 minutes.

Here’s how to etch glass Christmas ornaments!

I bought this pack of 9 glass ball ornaments for $6 at Tar-zhay (Target!).

Some sort of template is needed to etch your pattern.  A Cricut or Silhouette that cuts vinyl stickers would be ideal but since I didn’t have one, I used plain ol’ stickers!

Something that adheres well to the glass well is required.  Otherwise, the etching cream will penetrate under the stencil. I tried painter’s tape and it did not work well.  Since painter’s tape has a light hold, the etching cream seeped under it and the design was ruined.

You can create whatever patterns you like.  I am using snowflakes, Christmas trees and stockings for these ornaments.  I am also going to do a few without stencils and frost them completely all over.

Adhere the stencil.

Now time for the etching cream!!!!

I bought my etching cream at Michael’s (Armour Etch).  There’s not a Hobby Lobby in the state I live which is unfortunate…because I’d die to have one of those 50% off coupons!  Etching cream is not cheap.  This bottle was $29.99.  But it was large and will last a long time.  They sell much smaller bottles but the Michael’s I went to was out of stock.

This cream has to be toxic if it changes the composition of the glass surface!  It would be smart to wear gloves.  However I wasn’t smart and passed on the gloves. I actually got a small bit on my hands but it didn’t irritate or burn them.  I was expecting some pungent acid like stench but the cream didn’t really smell much either.

Now, paint it on!  You need to paint it on pretty thick. It is okay if you get it on top of the stencil.

Next let the cream set on the ornament for 5 minutes.  I hung mine on a clothes hanger outside.

While I was waiting on that, I made another ornament using the outline of the sticker.  This will create a different effect on how the ornament design will look.  The first ornament will be completely frosted and the area where the stencil was will be clear.

On second one, the entire ornament will be clear and the stencil area will be frosted.

This is a good way to use a the part of the sticker packaging that typically would have been discarded. And this method uses a lot less etching cream!

Here is how to use the stencil (sticker) outline.

Cut the area around the sticker outline out.

Then stick on ornament.

Now paint on the inside of the outline.  Leave the rest of the ornament naked.

After the ornament has sat with the cream for 5 minutes, rinse in water.

Once the ornament is washed and the sticker removed, the stencil design will not be visible and the glass won’t look frosted.

Don’t be discouraged, once the ornament dries for at least an hour…

the frosting and stencil design will become DRAMATIC!


Simple Gift Idea #1

8 Dec

Simple Gift Idea #1

Tis the season for family gifts…friend gifts…and teacher gifts.

I love giving to my children’s teachers.  Teachers have the hardest job…besides motherhood…and I always wish I could give alot more.

Besides our homeroom teacher, my daugher has several ‘specials’ teachers…like art and music, the librarian and coaches, teacher aides and the sweetest office secretary.

And now that my son is in preschool, I added those precious teachers to the list this year too.

As the list grew, the $$ amount got smaller and smaller…and so we decided what we could give and hated to leave anyone out.

And then I discovered these adorable cards on an amazing blog, Brooklyn Limestone.  How I found this blog…I’ll never know because I get lost in click-click-clicking my way around the web.

Brooklyn Limestone is one of my new favorite reads…and now I have some adorable ‘little somethings’ for our special teachers and helpers.

Incredibly easy to print and make…and my little Sweet P absolutely LOVED the idea…because you know I had to get her approval on the project.

I printed the cards on white cardstock from Target.  A pack of 48 sheets for $5:

peppermint tea teacher gift printable tags

Fold on the dotted lines…

Bought Candy Cane Lane decaf Green Tea…smells just like a Peppermint Patty…

celestial seasonings candy cane lane tea christmas tea

Stapled 2 tea bags inside…

Teacher name on the outside…and Sweet P wrote a precious ‘thank you’ inside…

Fold…and tie up with a pretty bow.

These cards make me happy…they smell amazing.

Visit Brooklyn Limestone here…tell her Angie & Carrie said HI…and download the cards here.

It shouldn’t cost alot to put a smile in someone’s heart this season…because it’s the thought that means the most.

Happy Gift Giving, friends!

Artisanal LA – Highlight on Crafts

25 Oct

Artisanal LA – Highlight on Crafts

The Artisanal LA event this weekend was a blast.  There were some good finds and discoveries.

The best craft discovery was Common Thread.  Common Thread is a studio that allows you to rent their equipment. Inexpensive rentals!!  $10 an hour. Or $50 for the day.   They have a wide variety of sewing and craft machinery including equipment for silkscreening.

Grrrrr….I would never have bought my sewing machine and serger last year had I known Common Thread existed!  I don’t sew often so it would have been more practical to rent the equipment.

I have always wanted to try silkscreening.  Silkscreening equipment is expensive and Common Thread makes it possible to test it out for a low fee.

Here is a picture of Common Thread’s booth at the Artisanal LA event.

Common Thread also offers classes and private lessons.  You can find out more about them by going to their website at www.commonthreadstudio.com.

I am going to have to make a trip to their studio in Pasadena soon and check it out.

Do you have a studio similar to this in your city?  If so, please share this information.  This is something I am sure others would love to know about!

I also happened to come across this cork bulletin board on display.  I’ve been saving up my wine corks and wanted to do something interesting with them.  This just might be the thing!  It’s small and easy to make. I also love how they have it standing up like a picture frame instead of hanging on a wall. That would be so helpful and look great on a desk.

Here are some more interesting craft works that were on display at Artisanal LA.  The pattern mixes and color combinations are fun and inspiring!

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