Tuesday Tutorials – No Sew Fleece Blanket Edging (Without Tying Knots!)

You often see the easy no-sew fleece blankets pop up every winter, usually with the edge strips tied in knots.  Tired of tying all those knots?  Grab a crochet hook and try out this very pretty and different edging technique!  This makes a more sophisticated edge worthy of any gifted blanket, all thanks to Nebraska Views.

 

Crochet Edging for Fleece Blanket

Step 1  I trimmed the selvages off and straightened the ends.  This part is not difficult as they don’t have to be perfect rectangles.  The fabric always is wiggly so who is going to know if it is a llittle off square one way or another.

 IMG_4536
 Step 2 – Cut 1” slits around the entire edge and a 2” square out of each corner.  The 1” cuts are 2” deep.  I stuck a piece of painters tape 2” in from the edges of the fleece, laid the straight edge of the fleece on one of the lines of my cutting mat then used the rotary cutter to eyeball cutting every inch.  If it did not come out even in 1” increments I eyeballed to the end of where I IMG_4537was cutting and either added a little to each 1” fringe or subtracted a little so I wouldn’t have a really skinny or really fat strip at the corners.  I did cut through 2 layers at a time and it was no problem to keep my cuts even.  The tape really helped and cutting into it a little at times didn’t dull the rotary cutter like hitting the edge of a ruler would.  I cut the corners out with a scissors to avoid overcutting into the side strips.
After this step is done the rest could be finished sitting in my favorite chair and watching TV,  listening to music or an audio book.  These fleece throws are so easy even kids can do the edge treatment but would do the fringe cutting for them to keep them safe from those sharp rotary blades.  How about making a Christmas gift for grandparents or in my case I have gifts for my family for Christmas….OK, now on to the finishing of the edge treatment.
IMG_4539
Step 3  Cut a small slit about 1/2” to 3/4” from the end of each strip with a scissors.  These small clips into the fleece are only about 3/8” long.  As you can see in the photo I just folded over the end and snipped to get the slit I needed.
IMG_4541
I had a large crochet hook to use for the next step.  It is a size N but the size isn’t important, just need something that it will go through the slits I cut and be able to grab the next strip and pull it through.  The original web page had them using a looped paper clip  or wire for this step.  Check out the photos on that page.
Step 4  Starting in the center of one long side the crochet hook is slipped through the slit of one strip and into the one next in line. ( I am a left handed person so I am working from left to right – if you are a right handed person you will be going from right to left.  If you can’t figure it out check out the photos from the blog I learned this from here.  I was going to photograph it for right handed people but decided no, I am always having to transpose everything for myself from right handed directions so this time right handers would have to transpose and  I would just show how I did it.  If it were a complicated procedure I would have made it easy but since it is really pretty simple and self explanatory through the photos it stays left handed.)
The second strip is pulled through the slit of the first one and now the second one is on the crochet hook.  Next put the crochet hook through the slit in the next strip and pull it through….keep doing this all around the throw until you only have one strip left.

IMG_4548Step 5 The corners are treated no differently than the sides.  As the strips are pulled through and around the corners you will get a rounding of the corner and can keep going along the next side.  No fancy stuff just the same thing you have been doing on the sides.
Step 6  The last strip is cut in half to make two smaller strips.  Cut a slit in the first strip close to the body of the throw and pull one of the half strips through that slit from the back then hook the other small strip and pull it through the last one you hooked as you worked around the throw.

  IMG_4549 IMG_4550

Tie the two smaller strips together in a double knot and try to hide it under the back if you can.  I had trouble with this part and decided if the knot showed a little that was OK.  The ending is the only place where you have a small knot.  If you have ever used those other kind of throws made with two layers and knotted fringe you know how uncomfortable it is to lay on those huge knots.  With this edge the only knot is small and hopefully pretty invisible and not lumpy to lay on.

IMG_4551 IMG_4554

Tuesday Tutorials – Custom Color Chalkboard Paint

I think chalkboard paint is amazing.  You can turn any surface in your house into a reusable message board.  Not to mention that there is something fun and youthful about chalkboards.  I think it reminds us of our young school days, when life was a lot less stressful.  The problem with most commercially available chalkboard paint is that it only comes in black and green (which makes sense, that’s what most school chalkboards are anyway), but what if you want more pizzazz in your life?  What if black or green simply does not go with your room decor?

Martha Stewart to the rescue!  Mix your own custom chalkboard paint colors with her simple how-to.  Now you can start thinking about what to paint this weekend…

Custom Color Chalkboard Paint

Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.

1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.

2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.

3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.

4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.

Tuesday Tutorials – Party Favor Bags From Envelopes

I found this really nifty project on one of my favorite blogs, How About Orange.  Using some plain white envelopes and pretty washi tape, you can create little bags perfect for party favors or tiny gifts.  Go ahead a create a few today just for fun!

Envelope Bags

You’ll need an envelope, decorative tape, and scissors. I used 4 3/8″ x 5 3/4″ envelopes, but any size will work.

Seal the envelope and trim off one of the short sides to make an opening.

Wrap tape around both sides of the envelope. No need to cover the last inch, since it will form the bottom of the bag.

Fold about one inch of each side of the bag toward the middle; then fold the bottom upwards, creasing your folds well. You can vary the width of these flaps depending on the proportion of the bag you want. Flip the bag over and reverse the folds along the same lines for easier shaping in the next step.

Put one hand inside the bag, and with the other, push the bottom fold down. This will leave the bottom corners of the bag standing up. Press each corner into a triangle.

Fold both triangles down and secure them with more tape, covering the bottom of the bag.

 

Fill with whatever goodies your heart desires, fold over the top and seal with a small piece of tape.  Enjoy your new thrifty creation!

Tuesday Tutorial – Valentine’s Day Bookmarks

With Valentine’s Day only two days away, it’s time for one last Valentine’s related craft!  These super cute little bookmarks are great little valentine’s for kids, teachers, or anyone you know who just loves to read.  They are super easy to put together, and you can find a link to download the accompanying card templates at Thirty Handmade Days.

You can whip up quite a few of these in just an evening and have them ready for the 14th in no time.  Have fun!  And happy (almost) Valentine’s Day!  I know not everyone loves the holiday, but I hope its a good day for each and every one of you 🙂

Sweet Felt Valentine’s Day Bookmarks

Materials:

  • felt
  • white embroidery thread
  • paperclips
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors
  • fabric marking pen

Directions:

Start by drawing your shape onto felt. To help keep the felt in place while cutting, use a straight pin to stabilize the two pieces.

Stitch a running stitch along the perimeter of the heart. It is the simplest stitch – just up and down through the felt.

Once you stitch all the way around, you can secure your thread by running your needle along the very top of the felt, pulling though and cutting off the excess. You will be gluing the heart down with hot glue, so you don’t have to worry about this string coming out.

Put a small dot of glue on your plain heart and glue down the paperclip. Add more hot glue over the surface of the plain heart, and very lightly press your stitched heart down on top. If you smash the two hearts together, two things will happen: hot glue will ooze out of the sides, and you will be able to see the outline of the paperclip. Pressing lightly keeps the surface smooth and pretty.

Clip to cute cards of your choosing, or you can download the template for the cards shown below.  Enjoy!

Tuesday Tutorials – Valentine’s Day Paper Heart Pouches

I feel that ever year Valentine’s Day means something different to everyone I meet.  For some it’s all about romance with a significant other, for others it’s about throwing a small party for mingling singles, and still others consider it a time to get candy and cards for their kid’s classroom.  Really though, Valentine’s Day is just about expressing love and appreciation for those who matter in our lives.

These cute heart pouches are the perfect little gift to say “I’m thinking of you today” whether you have a significant other or not.  Give one to your mom, your friend, or your kid’s teacher.  Make a few manly colored ones for dad, your brother, or the mailman.  They are super fun to make, and although the original tutorial (found on inmyownstyle.com) suggests sewing them closed, I found glue and staples to work just as well and be much less time consuming.

The great thing about these is you can customize them however you like!  Embellish them with button or tags or other fun trinkets, and fill them with candy or a secret little note.   I love getting into the holiday spirit, so rest assured there will be another Valentine’s Day craft next week before Feb. 14th arrives.   Just remember to have fun with it!

Valentine’s Day Paper Heart Pouches

Valentine-Heart-Candy-Pockets

Materials:

  • Cardstock to make heart template
  • Scissors
  • Decorate paper
  • Glue stick or staples
  • Optional: Fancy scissors for a decorative edges, tags, ribbons, bows, other embellishments
  • Candy to fill the hearts

 

Directions:

Fold the cardstock in half and draw half a heart shape.  Cut out with scissors and unfold.

How-to-make-a-paper-heart

Fold one piece of your decorative paper in half.  Use the template to trace a heart onto the paper.  Cut out the shape to have a perfectly matched front and back.

Valentine-Craft-Ideas

Use glue or staples to close the two hearts together, but leave a 2 inch opening at the top or bottom.

Fill the heart with candy through the opening, then close the heart.

Make-a-paper-heart-to-hold-candy

Embellishment with pipe cleaners, thread, ribbon, yarn, buttons or whatever else you have around.  Get creative and share the love!

How-to-Make-Paper-Candy-Heart-Pouches

Tuesday Tutorials – Owl Wrist Pillow

This one is for those of you who sew (in which case I’m quite jealous of your skills).  I think I’d probably like to sew more if I had a sewing machine…and if I tried sewing more than just hemming pants and fixes holes in my favorite sweater.

Regardless, this tutorial I found easy enough to hand sew, and since my boyfriend plays games on his computer a LOT, and was using just a bunch of socks as a wrist pillow to provide support and comfort, I think this little owl friend will help him out (and it’s much cuter than a bunch of socks).

I found the original tutorial on Leonie’s Creations–kudos to Leonie!

Whip up one of these cute owls for yourself or as a gift, either way wrists everywhere will thank you!

Owl Wrist Pillow

Materials

  • 2 pieces of cotton for the back and front: 14×19 cm
  • Little felt pieces for the eyes and nose: 2 circles (light color): 2.5cm diameter, 2 circles (dark color): 1.5cm diameter, 1 triangular piece
  • Bright colored thread, 30 cm
  • Filling

Directions

      1. Cut out the back and front piece for the owl. I used 2 different prints for the front and back piece so it looks more playful. Cut out 4 circles for the eyes and a triangular piece for the nose.
 
      2. Stitch the 2 big circles and the nose on the front piece.
 
      3. Stitch the 2 small circles on top of the big ones. You can use a distinctive thread color for stitching on the small circles so the eyes look more bright!
 
           4. Place the back piece onto the front piece with the right sides facing each other. Stitch them together and leave 5cm gap at the bottom.
   
      5. Fold the owl inside out and stuff it with the filling. Close the 5 cm gap at the bottom. You are done!

Tuesday Tutorials – Shrinky Dink Buttons

Do you remember making Shrinky-Dinks when you were a kid?  I sure do, and it’s still just as much fun now as it was then.

In case you aren’t familiar with shrink plastic, it’s a nifty plastic that comes in a sheet which shrinks when you heat it into a small hard plastic piece.

I originally found this tutorial on SWP, and wanted to share it.  Definitely a fun but grown-up way to play with Shrinky-Dinks again!

Shrink Plastic Buttons

Use shrink plastic to make clothing buttons

1. The buttons. The buttons are cut from shrink paper. Make sure you use frosted, not clear! Clear works, but it won’t look like the buttons on this post. To cut the button shape, use a Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. To get the center holes, use a standard where to punch holes to make your own buttonssingle hole, hole punch. To keep each button the same, punch a large circle out on some paper, fold it in half, punch a smaller hole in place where the diagram (left) shows. Unfold it, and use it a template to get the sewing holes in exactly the same place every time.

2. The Pens. If you’re going to do this right.. use ZIG Millennium Pens, they were the best. Using this brand means you can wash your buttons and the ink won’t run or fade, whereas all of the other brands did (most of the time, the ink didn’t run completely off, but faded a lot).

3. The Template. You can download the template shown in the second photo with room to draw your own here. (This template fits the Fiskars Squeeze Circle punch – size large. You can use scissors, but you will notice the imperfections if you want the circle to be perfect.)

Okay.. lets get started!

Trace you design onto the frosted side of the shrink plastic paper

Tracing tips: You can use either colored pencils or permanent pens. At this initial stage it’s really important to keep the buttons clean from smudges.  When you shrink the buttons the colors will intensify. Any smudges (even the ones you can’t see), will become very evident.

Words must be written backwards in order to be readable. This is because the text is on the rough underside of the button, and once flipped to face the smooth side, the image will be reversed. An easy way to do this is to write your text onto the frosted side of some scrap shrink paper, flip it over, and then trace it as you see it onto your button.

Before and after.. shrinking the shrink plastic button

Shrinking the buttons: To shrink the buttons, you can use an oven or a heat gun (the kind used for embellishing). I would recommend using an oven as it’s the easiest way to start. While you’re creating your buttons, pre-heat your oven to 350F. When your buttons are ready, place the button on a baking sheet and then into the oven. Close the door and in seconds you will be able to see the buttons shrink before your eyes!!! (It never gets dull!)

After the buttons have twisted and twirled, and are LYING FLAT, it’s time to take them out.

Note: If the shrinking is taking too long, you may need to turn your oven up.

Tuesday Tutorials – Crochet Heart Garland

Valentine’s Day is officially less than a month away, and it’s never too early to start planning! I love the warm and cozy feeling of decorations made from yarn (hence why I love to knit and crochet), and this crocheted heart garland is no exception! Whether you’re having a small party with singles, or your and your partner are celebrating as a couple, this cute heart garland will definitely add some festive charm to your home.

I found the original pattern at Sarahndipities.com, which has tons of cool tutorials and projects.  Give this a try and have some fun decorating!

Crochet Heart Garland

Materials Needed

  • Size I (5.50mm) crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry or yarn needle

Abbreviations

  • sl st = slip stitch
  • ch = chain
  • sc = single crochet
  • hdc = half double crochet
  • dc = double crochet
  • trc = treble crochet
  • sk = skip
  • sp = space
  • st(s) = stitch(es)

Heart

Round 1: Ch 4.  Make all of the following sts in the first ch: 3 trc, 3 dc, ch 1, 1 trc, ch 1, 3 dc, 3 trc, ch 3, sl st.

Round 2: Ch 3.  Sc in first trc, hdc in same st. 3 hdc in next st.  2 hdc in next st. Sc in next four sts. Sc, ch 2, sc in trc.  Sc in next four sts.  2 hdc in next st.  3 hdc in next st. Hdc in next, sc in same st. Ch 3, sl st in center.

Round 3:  Ch 3.  Sc in first sc, 2 sc in next st, sc in next st, 2 sc in next st.  Sc in next seven sts, sk next st. Sc in ch 2 sp from previous row, ch 3, sc in same sp.  Sk next st, sc in next seven sts. 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, 1 sc in next st, ch 3 and then sl st in center of heart.  Pull loop to the back and fasten off. Weave in ends.

Garland

Ch 45.  Sc in top bump of heart, ch 6, sc in next top bump of heart.  *Ch 12, sc in top bump of heart, ch 6, sc in next top bump of heart.* Repeat from * to * until all hearts are joined.  Ch 45, fasten off.

I’m thinking of doing a Valentine’s day theme for the Tuesday Tutorials over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more fun projects and ideas!

Tuesday Tutorials – DIY Paint Chip Magnets

I found this really neat tutorial on How About Orange (a favorite site of mine), which uses Pantone chips to make bright, cheery magnets.  If you don’t have Pantone chips, don’t fret, you can use any other colorful paint chips you have around (or pick a few up for FREE at the hardware/home improvement store).

Paint Chip Magnets

Materials:

  • Pantone chips (or other paint chips)
  • Double-sided tape
  • White acrylic paint
  • Self-adhesive magnets
  • Paper glaze
  • Bookboard or other thick cardboard

1. Cut small pieces of the bookboard or other thick cardboard with an X-acto knife. Make the pieces exactly the size of the Pantone chips. Then paint the edges white using the acrylic paint.

https://homegrownjoy.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/pantone-chip-project.jpg?w=300

2. Attach the chip to the cardboard with double-sided tape.

3. Then cover the face of the chip with paper glaze. It dries with a clear, raised glass-like surface. There are a few products on the market, like Aleene’s Paper Glaze. Let it dry overnight.

4. Finally, attach a magnet to the back.

5. Stick the magnets to whatever you want!  Fridge, filing cabinet, dry erase board, etc.

All photos are from How About Orange

Tuesday Tutorials – Create Your Own 2013 Calendar

Happy New Year!

To ring in the new year with a fun and useful craft, create your own 2013 calendar over at My Owl Barn.  It’s a ton of fun picking out what pictures to use for each month, and in the end you get a beautiful customized calendar!

If you don’t want to choose your own pictures for each month, you can download a pre-made version or check out the one I made.  Have fun with it!