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.

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 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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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 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 – 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 – Handmade Hand Warmer

Another great find from Little Birdie Secrets! This easy little hand warmer will save you tons on the one-use kind you buy at the store, and it makes a truly heart-warming gift or party favor.  Try it out!

Heart-Shaped Hand Warmer

1. cut two of the same shape out felt (two hearts, two stars. etc.). make sure they are the same size.
2. sew the pieces together leaving about half-an-inch open.
3. using a funnel, fill the shape with rice through the unsewn opening.
4. hand-stitch the opening closed.
voila! done! so easy and so sweet, right?


About 25 seconds in the microwave is perfect, but you might want to try out a few different cooking times, depending on the size of your warmer. (make sure no metal accidentally gets shoved in the warmer, you don’t want any explosions in the microwave!)

There’s even a cute little tag to add!
Download your own from the original post here.

Tuesday Tutorials – Make Your Own Gift Bag

December is finally here, and with it comes lots of gift wrapping for the holidays.  Last week we learned how to make gift bows for our boxed gifts, and the week before we used old greeting cards as fun and creative gift tags.  Today we look at gift bags–possibly the easiest way to wrap anything (after all, you just stick the item in the bag and put some tissue paper in it).

If you don’t want to spend money on gift bags, or are just looking for a way to be more eco-friendly this holiday, trying making your bags from newspapers, magazines, leftover wallpaper, or even extra wrapping paper you have around.

This tutorial is from an awesome blog called How About Orange, and it focuses on using newspaper for this demonstration.

How to Make a Recycled Gift Bag

You can vary the dimensions, of course, but here’s what will create a bag that’s 5″ tall, 4.5″ wide, and 3″ deep.

Stack two sheets of newspaper on top of each other. This will be a two-ply bag for extra sturdiness.

Cut out a rectangle that’s 15.5″ wide and 8.25″ tall. If your paper already has a fold in it, align the existing fold with one of the fold lines in the diagram below, unless you don’t mind an extra fold appearing somewhere on your bag. I cut out this rectangle, then flipped the paper over so the blue area would be on the outside of the bag.

Fold a flap 1.25″ down from the top. Fold a flap 2″ up from the bottom. Then measure off and make vertical folds in the places shown in the diagram above. The front and back panels are 4.5″ wide, the side gussets are 3″ wide, and you’ll need a 0.5″ flap for gluing the bag together.

If you want to add more stability to the sides of your bag, cut two pieces of cardstock, thin cardboard, or chipboard to 4.25″ x 1″, then glue them on the widest two panels just under the top fold.  Glue the top flap down along the length of the bag, covering the cardstock. Since the bag is two-ply, you’ll need to glue both flap pieces down one at a time. (I believe this step to be optional, but very helpful in getting your bag to stand up nice and firmly on its own.)

Put glue on the outside of the 0.5″ tab and bring the left-most panel over to form the body of the bag, aligning the cut edge of the panel with the folded edge of the flap. Add a little more glue to make sure the outermost sheet of newsprint gets tacked down, too.

Upend the bag so the 2″ flap is now up. Fold the short sides inward as if you were wrapping a present. If it seems easier, you could also lay the bag on its side and crease those folds against the table.

Put glue on both flaps and fold them inward to form the bottom of the bag. Standing the bag upright and pressing down from the inside will help to secure them.

Cut a piece of chipboard or cardboard to 4″ x 2.5″ and glue it to the bottom of the bag to reinforce it and hide the flaps. This lends more stability to the bottom of the bag.

Punch holes in the rim of the bag, adding eyelets if you like, and string some cord through the holes to form handles. Knot each end of the cord so it won’t pull out through the holes.

This tutorial is a bit free form, but you can also create different size bags by using boxes as a mold.  For example, this tutorial uses a cereal box to create the shape of the bag, and this one uses a wooden box just big enough for a bottle of wine.  Larger shoe boxes work particularly well if you need a wider base for your bag.  You can get creative and use any size box you have around the house, or use the above method to create your own custom size.

Many of my gifts this year can fit nicely in wrapped boxes, but I may have to make a few of these bags just to try it out.

Tuesday Tutorials – DIY Gift Bows

This week we continue our series of reusing and recycling for the holidays!  Last week we looked at ways to use old greeting cards (including Christmas cards), and this week we’ll learn how to make your own gift bows!  These are incredibly easy and fun to make, and can use any paper you have lying around.  The original tutorial was found at 100 Layer Cake and uses old magazine pages.  I think it’s a great way to use up old magazines instead of throwing them out, and I had fun flipping through them to find colorful pages!

How to Make a Gift Bow

gift wrap bow

Step 1: Cut the page lengthwise into nine 3/4-inch-thick strips of heights shown: Three at 11 inches, three at 10 inches, two at 9 inches, and one at 3 1/2 inches.

Step 2: Twist each strip to form loops at both ends. Make a circle out of the smallest.

Step 3: Secure the ends with a piece of double-sided tape.

Step 4: Layer and stick, starting with the longest strips. End with the circle in the center.

 

Here’s one I made to top my Mom’s birthday gift.  She was just as impressed with the creative bow as she was with the gift!

Spend an afternoon making enough for all the gifts you’re giving this year and feel good knowing you are getting a little more life out of materials you already had.  Happy crafting!