Sunday, November 23, 2014

#GiveHappy & #HappyHolidayPledge (#MC #Sponsored)

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central (#MC) for OshKosh B’gosh. I received an OshKosh B’gosh gift card to purchase product and to thank me for my participation.”

It's that time of year again-- as soon as Christmas Carols start playing in the stores, we start feeling the pressure to crank out a bunch of handmade gifts. Starting two years ago, I've taken the Happy Holiday pledge. Yes, that's right. I'm not making any gifts for anyone. *gasp*

It's made such a huge difference for the past couple of holiday seasons to not be knitting on a deadline or be up at 2am rethreading my sewing machine. And I can spend the crafting time I do have working on things that I love (like expanding my embroidered ornament collection!)

That's why I was so excited when I saw the new Osh Kosh B'gosh #GiveHappy campaign.

I'll definitely be shopping for kids gifts and holiday clothes this season instead of making my own. Osh Kosh has adorable holiday clothes for parties, dress up, and even christmas pj's. Osh Kosh's quality is amazing; and I've always been able to hand down our Osh Kosh clothes even though our normal outfits are reduced to rags.

We are lucky enough that we have an Osh Kosh outlet nearby by (check for yours using the store locator!) ... so I decided to pop in and get my #Give Happy on.

 The first thing I noticed is that they have a lot of in season basics on sale-- Jeans, long sleeved tees and jackets at reasonable prices. These are perfect for gifts!
 They also have some adorable accessories that would look great in holiday pictures paired with more formal clothes (handmade or not).
 I grabbed a ton of pink long sleeved tees for for Amaani, and then my husband distracted the kids while I got a few small items to put away for Christmas gifts. Here's a hint:
Shhh... don't tell what they are! I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get snow this Christmas too!

Want your own? Osh Kosh B'gosh is subsidizing your holiday shopping with this awesome 25% off $30 or more coupon. (Most coupon's make you spend 50 dollars at least, so this is an awesome deal!) You can also connect with Osh Kosh on Facebook and Twitter to OshKosh B’gosh and keep an eye out for more deals.

And don't forget-- take the #HandmadeHolidaysPledge-- let us know what you are doing to keep the holidays stress free and fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Sewing

I'm just taking a break from sewing yards and yards of glitter tulle to admire the prettiest bobbin ever.

Anyone else behind on Halloween Sewing?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tulip Face Paint!

When I was asked to do a tutorial about Tulip's face paint, I was worried for two reasons-- 1) I can't draw to save my life, and 2) we are definitely Halloween 'cute' and not Halloween 'scary'. No fake blood in my house!

We made a Face Paint Picnic one of our Halloween Countdown activities.  We decided to test a bit on her arm to get started. Tulip is non toxic, and cosmetic grade, but I still wanted to make sure she'd be ok with it, before putting it all over her face.
 I was a little worried that all the stencils would be creepy, but there were so many girly-girly cute designs. I was also suprised by how many stencils came in one package-- you could do an entire girls party with one of these!
 She picked a butterfly and I snipped it out of the adhesive sheet.
 The stencils stick on like a sticker, so they aren't reusable; but you do get an extremely clean image.
 I was so impressed when I pulled of the stencil-- there is no way I could have free handed that on a wiggly 3 year old. You can even see the tiny antennae!
 I added some dots using the back of the brush, and of course, glitter.

 Afterword we were left with this beautiful 'tattoo' that washed off completely at bed time!

Although I hadn't seriously considered face paint before, I think this would be a great activity for any day-- not just Halloween. With the stencils, the paint was so quick and easy to put on, that I won't hesitate to whip it out at our next birthday party or play date.

This post was sponsered by Tulip and Blueprint social. In addition to the paint, Tulip also has other body art products like glitter, hair products, and black light products. You can check out their offerings on their website or connect with them on FacebookTwitterPinterest and the I Love To Create Blog.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Countdown Calendar

Fall is here!!! Here in Texas we are enjoying the 2 weeks of good weather we'll have before it starts to get 'cold'. And I'm already singing Christmas carols and gearing up for the holiday season.

Speaking of anticipation....I've always loved the idea of Advent calendars, but I've always been shy about doing a Christmas one in our home, as we aren't Christian.

But ever since the weather has changed, my son starts each morning by asking me if it's Halloween yet. So we decided to make a Halloween count down calender.

I made up a bunch of teeny tiny envelopes using my brand new Envelope punch board. Each one is about an inch and a half across. When I first bought this thing I considered it a bit of a splurge, but in the week that I've had it, I've used it to make seed packets, birthday card envelopes, our Diwali cards, and little storage boxes for small things in the kitchen. I love it!

I also love the little count down garland. I filled each envelope with a slip of paper with a name of an activity. Since Diwali also falls in this time, I included a few Diwali crafts and activities as well. I love having an activity planned for each day, and since I can't remember what I put in each envelope, I'm also surprised each day!

Some activities are small ones, like taking a fall walk, and some are more involved, like making salt dough diyas. Almost all are free, and every single one is a lot of fun!

I think I'm definitely going to be doing  more of these through the rest of the holiday season. Let me know if ya'll want a tutorial!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Felt Baskets (In Any Size!) Tutorial

Hi everyone! I'm back with a quick tutorial for Felt Baskets! I made these as a cheap option for baskets to go in our mudroom shelf--which you'll be hearing more about tomorrow.

These are super simple and super cheap. I spent a whopping 5 dollars on 2 yards of felt and had enough to make 3 baskets, a hanging organizer and still have felt left over. All you need to do is sew a seam-- it doesn't even need to be straight!

First, a note about shopping for felt. Some felt can be thin and icky feeling. I like to purchase premium felt off the bolt, and I make sure to find a color that has some variegation to make it look more natural.

Next we need to do our math. Instead of a formula I thought it might be easier to explain how to come up with your rectangle size in a diagram. Use the height, width and length of your desired basket to cut your big rectangle. Then cut squares out of each corner. (The sides of the squares will be the same as your basket height.) If you feel your felt is thin, cut two boxes, lay them on top of each other and treat them as one piece for the rest of the tutorial.

For me, the hardest part of this project was cutting the felt. I really, really suggest getting a sharp rotary cutter for this project. Mine was too dull and just ended chewing up the felt.
Instead I had to trace lines and cut with (gasp!) scissors. The humanity!
When you are finished, you should have something that looks like this but better. This was my first attempt with my rotary cutter.
Now, pinch each of the sides wrong sides together, and sew about a quarter inch in from the edge.

I trimmed the seam allowance a bit to hide any wonky sewing and cutting.
And you are done!
Add caption

You can embellish them any way you wish. For one of my baskets, I folded down the top and hand embroidered a running stitch in felt.
I love the way the exposed edges look. On this basket I used a double thickness of felt for a super sturdy basket. This one will keep our wallets and stuff so it will be used constantly.
I also made baskets out of just a single layer of felt. I was suprised that they seemed just as sturdy. Instead of doing a cuff, I just sewed a small decorative seam on the bottom edge of the long sides.

I love handsewing through felt, so I'm planning on embroidering these with something... maybe my kids names? Right now they just hold our reusable plastic bags.

In case you were curious, the rest of the fabric became this cute hanging organizer.

Thanks, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for a mudroom sneak peek! And I hope you all are getting ready for Pillow Palooza

Monday, September 15, 2014

How To Get The Best Deal on Cheap Pillow Forms

I'll admit-- my least favorite part of pillow making is buying pillow forms. Even with coupons and sales it's painful. I'm cheap (but you knew that) and it physically hurts me in my bones to spend $12.99 on an 18"x 18" pillow. I can't do it. In fact, that's the only reason that I've put off making new pillows for so long (instead of just serially recovering the same ones over and over).

Then I came across the most amazing find. IKEA pillow forms. 

IKEA! I'm sure this is old news to most of you-- but just today I saw someone spending $15 bucks on a pillow form at a JoAnns just across the highway from our local IKEA. I vowed then and there that I would do my part to spread the word.

Things to know about the IKEA pillow forms:

1) To search for the pillows on IKEA's website, you need to search for 'inner cushions'. Both down and polyester pillows will come up.
2) The least expensive couch pillow option is this 20x20 poly version for $2.99.  I bought 6 of these and love each and every one.

3) In my opinion, the best value for your money is this duck down pillow form. To be honest, I never even considered down as an option because it's normally so expensive. But at  5.99 per pillow, these still come in less than half the cost of a poly pillow form from the fabric store. These are also far more fluffy and plush than the poly versions. The pillow form fabric is also much nicer than the poly versions.

4. Finally-- one thing to know is that when you buy your pillow form from ikea, they will come in these little tubes with all the air sucked out. And you will think I'm a crazy person for reccomending them and making you deal with those awful shopping carts, because those little white burritos can't possible make good pillows.

I honestly was a little alarmed when I first opened the package. It took a bit of handfluffing and an hour or two for the pillow to transform from a pancake to a cushy, soft, fluffy pillow. I'm convinced that the compressed packaging (and reduced shipping cost) is what makes these pillow forms so much cheaper than their more expensive counterparts. So it's worth the wait!

Sadly, these pillow forms are not available for online purchase from IKEA. Don't live near IKEA? Short of moving, here are a few options:
  1. Buy online from amazon. Although not as cheap as IKEA, I've still found what look like to be good deals when compared to the fabric store. 
  2. Cut up a body pillow to make 3 pillows like Amy from Positively Splendid did. 
  3. Cannibalize a cheap bed pillow to make a throw pillow. From Little Yellow Barn.
  4. Adopt an ugly pillow like Jackie from Teal and Lime does. Shop the clearance at home decor stores for ugly, discounted pillows and toss the covers when you get home!
You have just a few days to run to IKEA and gather up your pillows before our next pillow post. I'll see you in the FJADRAR section!