Tag Archives: diy

Completed Project: Easy Knitted Baby Blanket

Knitted baby blanket folded over-titleWhen I found out I was pregnant I first thought, yay!, but my next thought was oooooh….what am I going to make?? So many choices! I did know though that I would have to start a baby blanket soon since I’m a pretty slow knitter and I wanted to complete it before the baby came.

Also, I wanted to knit a baby blanket that was gender-neutral since I’m not a fan of gendered colors and patterns. Since then, we’ve found out that Munchkin is a girl, which brings up for me a whole host of issues on raising a daughter. Like the current Disney princess culture  (don’t get me started). If Munchkin wants to dress up like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, that’s great, but I don’t want to unintentionally foist that on her. What if she thinks Peter Pan or Han Solo (totally) is cooler? I don’t want to suppress her creativity or imagination.

So all of this over what kind of blanket to knit. I was totally over thinking it, I know.

Knitted baby blanket-drapedAnyhow, I loooove the knitting patterns at Purl Soho and I came across their free Super Easy Baby Blanket pattern. And it’s stripes! Love stripes…The pattern is so easy, you only use the garter stitch (knitting only). That’s it! Instead of using the merino wool that the pattern recommended, I chose colors from Caron’s Simply Soft line since the colors won’t bleed, the yarn is very soft and I can throw it in the washer/dryer. Why waste fancy yarn on something that is just going to be covered in spit up?

Easy Knitted Baby Blanket Pattern

Adapted from the Super Easy Baby Blanket pattern, The Purl Bee

Materials

  • US #8, 24 or 32-inch circulars
  •  7 skeins of Caron Simply Soft Solids (1 each in Persimmon, Pumpkin, Off White, Sunshine, Soft Blue, Light Country Blue and Ocean)
  • Darning needle

Finished Size

Approximately 30 inches x 45 inches

Directions

Like the original pattern, loosely cast on 120 stitches using your first color. Knit 40 rows in that color before switching to the next color. Make sure to switch colors on the same side each time. Repeat with each color. After you’ve completed all of the stripes, bind off and weave in any loose ends.

You should refer to the original pattern as well– there is a good tip on creating a nice edge on the blanket. I completely missed it and recommend it anyone knitting this pattern–it would have made my blanket a little more professional looking.

P.S– I just made it under the wire with this project. My due date has come and gone, but I’ve finished the baby blanket before Munchkin’s arrival!

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Printable Valentine’s Day Matchbook Covers

 

Whenever I go to a fun restaurant or bar, I keep a lookout for matches. They’re nice little mementos to take home and I like keeping a small collection.  So, I thought, maybe it would be cool to make classic rock-inspired matchbook covers just in time for Valentine’s Day.  And with my husband being a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, of course I HAD to include our wedding song, “Fire.”

DIY Matchbook Covers

If you like these matchbook covers, you can download a PDF of the Classic Rock Matchbook Covers here.

Or you can design your own—perfect for wedding or shower favors. To create your own matchbook covers, flatten the matchbook and measure it around from the strike strip to the edge of the flap. Then, in your design program, enter the dimensions and create something fun!

I found these matchbooks in bulk in my grocery store

Next, print your design or the PDF in this post on 8-1/2” x 11” sticker paper. Trim the cover using the crop marks in the PDF and then align the sticker on the matchbook with the shorter end of the sticker flush against the strike strip. The side of the matchbook with the flap is a little longer. Press the sticker firmly, then fold and tuck the matchbook flap.

I dare you not to sing these songs while you’re making the matchbook covers!

Free Printable PDF: Classic Rock Matchbook Covers

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Tutorial: Hipster Gingerbread Man Felt Ornament

Hipster Gingerbread Man Felt ornament

Last year, after I made my little lobster ornament, I was revved up to come up with other felt ornament ideas. I adore gingerbread men, but what twist could I make on a traditional theme? OMG, I gotta make a hipster gingerbread man ornament!

In New York City (or any major U.S metropolitan area, I’d imagine), if you work in a creative field or venture to an of-the-moment restaurant or bar, you’ll invariably run into a subculture—that of the hipster.  For me, it’s easier to describe the fashion of a hipster guy than a hipster girl. Usually, the guys have large, black plastic glasses, bushy beards, slouchy knit hat, plaid flannel shirt and skinny dark jeans rolled at the ankle. It’s grunge for the 2010s.

What’s great about this project is that aside from the body and the beard, you can use whatever fabric scraps you have lying around. Also, if you have a small 2-foot tree like I do, the ornament doesn’t look too big—he’s only 6-1/2” inches tall.

Hipster Gingerbread Man Felt Ornament

Finished size: Approximately 4-3/4” x 6-1/2”

Supplies

  • Brown felt
  • Dark brown embroidery floss
  • Polyester fiberfill
  • Fabric scraps for shirt and vest
  • Denim
  • Thread to match fabric
  • Curly doll hair (kind find this in craft stores)
  • Black cardstock
  • 5/8” hole punch
  • 3/8” hole punch
  • Piece of silk ribbon

Click on the link for the free PDF of the Hipster Gingerbread Felt Ornament pattern.

Directions

1. Print and cut out the hipster gingerbread ornament pattern. Fold brown felt in half and pin the gingerbread body pattern to felt. Cut fabric. Do the same for the shirt, vest and pants.

2. Pin the gingerbread body pieces together and using 2-ply of the dark brown embroidery floss, sew the edges together using a blanket stitch. Leave a small opening between the arms and legs and gently stuff the ornament with the fiberfill. Sew the hole closed.
3. Sew the side seams of the denim pants with right sides together. Turn the pants right side out and put on the gingerbread man. Cuff the pants.
4. Pin the two shirt pieces to the gingerbread ornament and hand-stitch the shirt together as close as possible. You will need the shirt to hug the gingerbread man so that it won’t appear bulky under the vest. Fold sleeves under.
5. With right sides together, sew each vest front to the vest back. Turn right side out and put it on the ornament.

6. For the beard, cut a small length of the curly doll hair. Bunch it together wrap a piece of thread around it to keep in contained. Then sew to the bottom of the gingerbread face.
7. Use the hole punches on the card stock to create the glasses. Cut out a small, narrow strip of paper for the bridge and attach to the glasses with either craft glue or tape. Attach the glasses to the gingerbread face with a small bead of craft glue.

Oh no, Mr Bill! That lobster is about to eat the hipster gingerbread man!

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DIY Missoni Infinity Scarf

Infinity Scarf Tutorial title

Fall is my favorite time of year. To me, it means pumpkin lattes, boots….and scarves! Over the years I’ve amassed a small scarf collection and I look forward to bringing them out of hibernation as soon as there is a slight chill in the air. Here’s the weird thing—I’ve never sewn a scarf. I’ve only knit them.

So, remember how I had a major craft-fail with my first Jalie scarf-collar top? I was crushed since the fabric I had used was this luscious, faux-Missoni knit that I bought at Fabric Place Basement outside Boston.  Well, I was able to salvage some of the fabric to make this infinity scarf. Score!

Infinity scarves are so easy to make too.  And, it’s the perfect sewing project to use up any of the fabric scraps you have in your stash. Be sure to use a fabric that is thin, but has decent body to it.  If you want more of a cowl look, just make the panel wider.

Instructions

  1. Cut out a long length of fabric. For my scarf, I cut out a panel 14” wide x 64” long.
  2. Fold the panel in half length-wise, with right sides together. Pin and then sew the seam.
  3. Turn the scarf so it’s right side out. Hand-stitch the ends together.

That’s it!

So, you could spend over $200 on this real Missoni infinity scarf.

Or you could pick up a chevron print—there are a bunch at Fabric.com for $8/yard—and sew your own custom-made scarf.

No brainer!

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DIY Stenciled Snowflake Mug

I don’t care what the groundhog predicted—it’s still winter and it will be for a while. What better way to settle in for the winter than with a new mug for coffee/tea/hot cocoa?

Ever since I made the Gothic Raven Mug, I’ve been on a mug stencil kick. I had been tinkering with a potential mug stencil for Valentine’s Day, but it was an epic failure. For one thing, curves are hard for me to cut out nicely with a knife. For another, I tried using glitter craft paint. It looked like dried puffy paint by the time I was done with it-– ick!

I went back to the drawing board and was inspired to try a snowflake stencil instead. Although it was more complex, the straight lines were much easier to cut out with the craft knife. Plus, the craft paint I picked up at Michaels was a glossy enamel that works on wood, glass and ceramics. Score!

If you would like to make your own Ski Chalet mug, you can download my free snowflake stencil here. See below for the mug stencil tutorial.

DIY Mug Stencil Tutorial

Materials

  • mug
  • peel and stick contact paper
  • tape
  • craft knife
  • small paint brush
  • acrylic paint made for ceramics (I used Americana Gloss Enamels in Calypso blue)
  • small dish
  • toothpicks
  • cotton swabs
  • ceramic pen (I used Sharpie oil-based paint pen in aqua)

Directions

Lay contact paper down with the shiny side up and tape to a cutting mat or board. Tape snowflake stencil on top of the contact paper. Carefully, using the craft knife, cut out the outline of the image and then delicately punch out the contact paper. This may require some practice.

Clean the mug and wipe down with rubbing alcohol. Next, peel off the contact paper backing and stick on mug, making sure that the stencil is stuck to the mug securely. For this mug, I decided that the blue paint was too pretty to be limited to just the snowflake, so I painted the negative space instead. Using contact paper, I cut out straight strips to frame the snowflake stencil.

Paint the stencil. Since I used a glossy enamel for this project, I brushed with a small paint brush instead of a craft brush and painted in smooth strokes.

Carefully peel stencil and frame from the mug. The stencil will probably not be 100% clean, but that’s OK. Using a combination of toothpicks and cottons swabs dipped in water, scrape off any extraneous paint that got on the snowflake.

To add some whimsy, I wrote a little message on the back of the mug using an oil-based pen from Sharpie. Definitely practice on paper before writing on your mug– this is permanent!

Once done, if you’re using gloss enamel, let the mug air dry for 48 hours. Then, to cure the mug, place mug in a cool oven and heat to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes. Let mug cool in the oven. Your painted mug is now microwave and dishwasher safe (top rack only).

The Stitcherati Snowflake Stencil free download.

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DIY Stenciled Gothic Raven Mug

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.’

Excerpt from “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It’s multifaceted. On one hand, you have the Disneyfied cuteness of dressing up and going trick-or-treating — a great American childhood ritual. On the other, you have the dark gothic tales of yore. I prefer the latter. Now, I don’t really care for horror movies (except Hitchcock!), but give me a creepy book from the Victorian era anytime. I’m thinking of stories like Uncle Silas, Frankenstein and A Rose for Emily

So what could be better than to curl up and read a dark tale with a steaming cup of tea? I know — how about a cup with a stenciled raven that you made yourself?

I’ve been seeing some really cute, Anthropologie-looking, stenciled mugs on Pinterest lately, (like this one from The 36th Avenue) and it inspired me to give it a try. However, I didn’t really like the stencils I found in craft stores. So, how do you make your own custom stencil? Not that long ago, I found a video from Lowe’s (below) that shows a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own stencil using contact paper. Genius!

I found that using contact paper to stencil on a mug was especially great since the stencil could mold around the curve of the mug. Below are directions on how to make your own stenciled mug. If you’d like to use the raven stencil that I created, you can download it for free here.

DIY Mug Stencil Tutorial

Materials

  • mug
  • peel and stick contact paper
  • tape
  • craft knife
  • stencil brush
  • acrylic paint made for ceramics (I used Plaid Folk Art Enamel)
  • small dish
  • toothpick

Directions

Lay contact paper down with the shiny side up and tape to a cutting mat or board. Tape image or drawing that you want to stencil on top of the contact paper. Carefully, using the craft knife, cut out the outline of the image and then delicately punch out the contact paper. This may require some practice.

Clean the mug and wipe down with rubbing alcohol. Next, peel off the contact paper backing and stick on mug, making sure that the stencil is stuck to the mug securely.

In a small dish, squirt a small amount of acrylic paint. Before painting the mug, you may want to practice painting a stencil on a piece of paper first. Lightly dip brush into paint and tap off any excess. Then paint the stencil by pouncing, or tapping the flat top of the brush, on the mug. This will give you an even finish.

Carefully peel the stencil from the mug.

Don’t worry if the stencil outline isn’t completely crisp. You can use a toothpick to even out the edges while the paint is still wet.

When you have finished tidying up the stencil, let the paint air-dry for an hour. Follow the directions on the acrylic paint bottle to cure the mug. If you are using Folk Art Enamel, place mug on a cookie sheet in a cool oven that is not pre-heated. Turn on the oven and heat to 350 degrees. After the oven has reached 350, bake mug for 30 minutes. Then turn off heat and keep the mug in the oven until it has cooled completely. Now the mug is microwaveable and dishwasher safe (top rack).

You know what I’ll be doing tonight? Making an apple cinnamon hot toddy in my raven mug and watching the season premiere of American Horror Story. How perfect is that?

Again, you can download a free raven stencil printable here.

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DIY Rubber Stamp Embossing

Last week I took a holiday card-making class at the Paper Source in Soho. It was so much fun! However, what really blew my mind was the rubber stamp embossing technique.

For whatever reason, rubber stamping has been off my crafting radar. But after this class, I thought how about making embossed thank you cards? Usually I only need one or two cards at a time and I’ve been sending the same Papyrus thank you cards for about 2 years.  Even though they are gorgeous, I’m kind of sick of them at this point. Plus, making your own cards gives the cards a more personal touch.

If you’ve never tried rubber stamp embossing, below is a tutorial.

Rubber Stamp Embossing

Supplies

  • Blank card & envelope – I used 5-1/2” square cards
  • Variety of stamps
  • VersaMark watermark stamp pad
  • Cutting board or mat
  • Embossing powders
  • Heat tool (like the Zap heat tool)

Embossing powders

Directions

Ink stamp with the VersaMark stamp pad. With the card laying flat on a cutting board or mat, press stamp firmly into the card and release. The VersaMark is clear, but if you hold the card up to the light, you’ll see a slightly darker watermark.

While the ink is still wet, liberally sprinkle embossing powder over the watermark. Firmly tap off any excess powder. If there are any sections without any powder, repeat.

 

Run the heat tool about 3-4” above the card. If you are using silver powder, you will see the powder bubble slightly and darken.

Follow the process above for each stamp. Let card dry for at least 15 minutes before using card.

Now you have beautiful custom thank you cards!

 

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DIY Indoor Succulent Garden

When I see succulent plants, it takes me back to my grandparents’ patio garden in Arizona. Growing up in Pennsylvania, cactus and succulents were so different from the plants I was used to seeing every day and they fascinated me.

In the last couple years, succulents have had a bit of a renaissance. They are appearing all over Pinterest boards, West Elm catalogs and as wedding centerpieces. It’s no surprise, really—they are both hardy and lovely. Even someone like me, who can barely keep a basil plant alive, can grow succulents.

Well…sort of.

Four years ago I bought a mini succulent planter at a local flower shop, but since then a couple of the plants have dried up and died. But, a couple of the plants were doing OK and there were a few new sprouts.

Succulents from Home Depot

So, this weekend, I visited Home Depot and bought a few more succulents and set out to create some new planters. I had a glass square vase from the wedding that would make a great planter, as well as a round glass bowl I had picked up at Crate and Barrel. I think I was a little overzealous when I bought the succulents though. As I started to assemble the planters, I realized that the containers were too small to fit all the plants! Luckily I found a Pyrex bowl I didn’t use that often that would work nicely.

Assembling Indoor Succulent Garden

Supplies

  • Small succulent plants
  • Glass containers (try Michael’s or AC Moore)
  • Small rocks
  • Potting soil (I used Miracle Gro’s Moisture Control soil)
  • Sand
  • River rocks (you can buy these in craft stores)

Directions

At the bottom of the planters, add a layer of rocks. I collected these rocks at the beach this summer. Succulents shouldn’t sit in water, so the rocks help drain any excess water. Also in a glass container, the rocks look pretty!

Add soil to the planters, but the soil needs to be well-drained. You can use cactus soil, or make your own. I mixed 2 parts potting soil with 1 part sand.

Next, map out how you want to arrange the plants. Then start planting! After the bigger succulents were planted, I divided the cuttings from my old planter between the new planters.

After you are done planting, spread the river rocks on top of the soil and under the plant leaves. This will help prevent leaf rot. Also, it’s how they grow in the desert.

Place planters in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day. Keep an eye on the plants though. If there is too much sun, the leaves will turn brown. If there isn’t enough light the plants will stretch.

Watering is tricky. For now, I’m going to water once a week and see if it’s too much or too little. In the winter months, when the plants are dormant, they will need to be watered even less often. Allow soil to dry out before watering.

So I think the planters turned out well! Now I have a piece of my grandparents’ garden on my windowsill.

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