Easy Homespun Garland

Have some time on a Saturday? Want to get in the holiday spirit? Make something that will last for years? Then THIS is for you! All it takes is time, twine, some homespun fabrics and pinking shears.

Supplies:

Spool/roll of twine- as much as you’ll need to stretch as far as you need

1  yards of three DIFFERENT homespun fabrics. We got ours at JoAnns. You may do any variation of fabrics as long as you total about 3 yards of fabric total. This may vary if you are doing more than 1 spool of twine.

Pinking Shears

  1. Using your pinking shears, cut 1inch by 6 inch strips of your fabric. This a wee bit time consuming. If you have friends or children that are very good at cutting in the lines, this is a good time to get them involved.
  2. Measure out lengths of twine. Make sure it spans the width you need, plus a few extra inches for “swag.” Cut them to length.

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  1. Taking all of your strips, simply double knot them onto the twine. One can very easily come undone over the years of packing and unpacking. You can do a pattern or random- what ever floats your boat.
  2. When you’re done, knot the ends.

We used clothes pins to pin the garland to our valances. Mom embellished with some old mittens and cute ornaments. This also looks really pretty on a Christmas tree. We did not do that this year, but have in previous years. Decorate til your little heart’s content. You could easily use this same process to make garland for other holidays throughout the year. With a little time, this craft is a simple, lasting project you can enjoy for years to come!

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Flannel Blanket Scarf

Hi. My name is Anna and I have an addiction. I am addicted to scarves.

Last fall, the phenomenon of the “blanket scarf” occurred. The American Eagle blanket scarves were selling for upwards of $30. From my research, $20 seems to be about the average cost of a blanket scarf. Funny enough, you can make one yourself, for less than $10 if you use your coupons right.

What you’ll need:

1 1/2- 2 yards flannel (preferably plaid) fabric

Scissors

Seam Ripper

  1. Go to a fabric store, like JoAnn’s and get your fabric. I used a flannel from JoAnn’s Plaiditude line. The fabric was on sale for $5.99/yd and I had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase. For 1 1/2 yes of fabric I spent less than $7.
  2. Trim your fabric so that it is even- AKA follow the plaid lines
  3. On the raw edges, the edges that aren’t “finished” and will fray, pull the horizontal threads to create the frays. I used the point of a seam ripper to help pick out the threads. I only went in about 1/4 of an inch or so, I didn’t want long dramatic frays. Totally up to you though.
  4. WEAR!

Literally took me 45 minutes INCLUDING travel time to my local JoAnn’s and back. So, really, it took me about 15 minutes to trim and pull the frays. The colors of the plaid I used will make mixing and matching a breeze this winter. I can not wait for the weather to cool off enough for me to actually wear/use it. It’s so easy to wear and is comfy and professional.

This would make an AWESOME, inexpensive, and greatly appreciated Christmas gift.

Quick Christmas Gift-Checkbook Cover

Sometimes, when Christmas rolls around, friends and family have very specific wishes. Sometimes, that makes everyone’s life VERY easy. You know EXACTLY what to get. Other times, it makes life very hard because that item is no longer around.

Grandma asked for a Vera Bradley checkbook cover. I thought that this would be an easy no brainer. My own mother has one. When I worked there, we had bins of them. JUST KIDDING. I went to the outlet, retail store, and a few independent retailers- NOTHING. I refuse to support the bulk buyers on eBay. So what was my alternative- MAKE ONE! I mean, look at who we’re talking about here. In less than an hour I was able to make my own version of the checkbook cover!

Supplies:

Thread/bobbin that match your fabric

1 fabric fat quarter- pattern of your choice

Ruler

Good Scissors

Pencil

  1. Using the Vera Bradley checkbook cover that I had, I used that as a template and made 2,  7 1/2 x 7 5/8 rectangles. This gave me about 1/4 inch seam allowance all of the way around. I then made 2, 7 5/8 x 3 1/4 rectangles. These would be the flaps that hold the checkbook covers. Again, this allowed for a seam allowance. I cut them all out.
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One flap sewn, back side, unsown flap, Vera template

  1. I first did a seam across the top of what would be, the 2 inner flaps. It would be near impossible to do once you sew everything else together, so do NOT skip this step.
  2. With one of the larger rectangles, I sewed the flaps along 3 sides. BOTH were PATTERN side up, this is important.
  3. Now that both of my inner flaps were attached, I place the outer, second large rectangle on top so that the pattern side was facing the pattern side of the inside. I sewed around 3 3/4s of the whole thing. This left me with a hole to turn it right-side out.
  4. I very carefully hand-sewed the last 2 inches to seal it.

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    Outside

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    Inside with both flaps, turned right-side out

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    Compared to the Vera Checkbook Cover

    What I would do next time: I would get some interfacing to give it a little more heft. It’s fine as it is, and adding cardboard would definitely be way too much, but a little interfacing to give it some more structure would be great! Due to the size of the project, I can’t imagine needing anymore than 1/4 of a yard.

Terra Cotta Pot Pen Holder

There is a battle going on in my brain. I am preparing to enter the world of student teaching. I have a bajillion things going on in my brain and so many questions. What should I bring? Can I bring decorative things? Should I bring my own pens, pencils and markers? Am I going to look crazy walking into school with an entire cardboard box of unit binders? Can I be too organized? What should I wear the first day of school? Do I have enough grading stickers? Are my pens going to be as useful as I think they’re going to be?

Well, now that you’ve seen a glimpse of the crazy in my brain: I bought myself pens, pencils, white board markers and good ole crayolas. I have my Groot,  Dumbledoore, and Flyers Gnome packed. I’m wearing an apple dress, yes it’s a thing. I DO have a box of 3 ring binders full of unit plans. I do have labeled binder clips that go with my matching accordion binder/file folder set. I have over 2,000 A+, Great Job!, 100% and apple stickers. My Ink Joy Pens are FREAKING AWESOME.

Walking around Michaels I wanted to bring something to store all of those pens, pencils, and markers that I had bought myself. I came across the terra cotta pot section. I found one on the small side, but it’s not very squat, it’s a bit on the tall and thin side, AKA, writing utensil sized. I stood staring at it for a moment as I thought about my pile of acrylic paints at home and how I could paint it and put it on my desk for myself. BOOM. With my coupon, I paid under $2 for the pot and the rest I already had sitting at home.

  1. I painted the entire pot a single color. I LOVE pink.   
  2. Using different sized widths of wash tape, I created a geometric spider web.     
  3. I then painted within the shapes randomly.       
  4. After allowing the paint to dry, I went through and painted some sparkle here and there. Life needs a little glitz.
  5. I was going to leave the inside but the terra cotta didn’t match so I went with a purple.   
  6. I went back through and touched up color here and there that had dried uneven etc and allowed it to dry. 
  7. I removed the washi tapes from all around the pot. I was left with a pretty neato pot as it was, but I can’t leave well enough alone. 
  8. Using a Sharpi, on the side that will face the class I am going to write,  “Miss Swenda.” On the side that will face me I will do “Called Equipped Prepared.” It has become my motivation, my mantra, and my constant reminder that if God has Called me, He has Equipped me, and He will  Prepare me. So when the days get tough, when nobody does their homework, when they’re too busy on their phones to listen, when I am swamped with grading and sleep deprived, I will be able to look up and remember that God has put me in this position for a purpose and with His strength I will be successful.

I now have a super cute, totally personalized, motivational and all around awesome piece to hold my junk! This would make a perfect teacher gift, and even with buying a few paints, it can easily cost under $10 to do a few of these guys! I plan on making another one for my binder clip collection!    

    

 

Dying Art

Once upon a time women were taught beautiful arts. At bridal showers, the bride received a “Bless This House,” cross stitch/embroidery, or something along those lines to hang in their new house from a grandmother or an aunt. When babies came, quilts and afghans were made for the little one to snuggle up with as a gifts from older generations. Schools are cutting art and music programs and parents are enraged. So why are these same people not enraged that they were not taught these other precious gifts?

My aunts taught my mother how to crochet, and she in turn taught me. They started the tradition of making baby blankets when ever a little one is on the way. It is something that my mother and I have both continued to do for our friends over the years. It’s not huge, or fancy, but something most mothers and children treasure over the years. When I’m cold, I just make ear warmers and scarves. FullSizeRenderI’ve been blessed to grow up surrounded by women who were fortunate to know these arts, whether out of necessity or choice. I have grown up in a house full of pieces lovingly cross stitched and surrounded by crocheted afghans and heirloom quilts from aunts, my great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, mother, and myself. Throughout the year quilts and larger blankets grace our quilt hanger….the majority of which were made by these women. IMG_5939I recently set up one of my sewing machines. I learned how to sew on my great-grandmothers Singer. I am nowhere near the seamstress as the other ladies in my life, but I’m working on it! I needed a skirt for a costume. Working at JoAnn Fabrics, I bought myself some supplies and made my Minnie Mouse skirt, for a fraction of the price a skirt like this would cost in stores. It took me 30 minutes.
IMG_5936I was struggling with a bridal gift. I remembered that I had some embroidery floss from making friendship bracelets in high school. Again, working at JoAnn’s, I bought myself some hoops, fabric, needles, and more floss. I’ve now completed 3 pieces in the last month. IMG_5810 IMG_5938 FullSizeRender-1I am not posting this to brag about my craft savvy. It’s a question and something for us all to think about- when did we get so busy that our mother’s and grandmothers and great grandmothers couldn’t teach us these gifts? For hundreds of years women spent their days using their hands, passed down from generation to generation. Many times, it was out of necessity. Wool was spun, clothes and blankets were made. Embroidery was for more than decorative tapestries, but to decorate what would have otherwise been a very plain dress or cloak. My pieces are a far cray from Renaissance pieces like this one.

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Elizabethan Polychrome Nightcap c.1600.

How did our lives get so busy that basic skills like sewing a button or fixing a hole in a garment have been lost to the past? Why is there such little interest in these hobbies in the younger generations? When did these arts get lost? When did they begin to die?

As of right now, I have 3 weddings and a baby this year, not ME, but other people. Since handmade gifts like these don’t show up at showers too often, I have made it my mission to be that person. Everyone deserves to have something that can’t be bought, something made just for them, something that will last, something that is literally stitched with love. I am not saying our mothers, our aunts, or our grandmothers have done a disservice, but quite the opposite. I think we have let them down by not looking to them to teach us these arts that they so painstakingly learned. I for one am taking the stand. I want my children, my friends and my family, to grow up in houses full of love, full of stories, and full of art- just like mine.