Bicycle Tube Straps

It always makes me cringe a little when I fix a flat tire on my bike and throw away the tube. I have this feeling that there simply must be something crafty I can do with the tubes. So, I’ve been saving the tubes for a while. So far my favorite thing to do with them is to make straps. They’re great for straps because they’re strong but have a little bit of give so you can make them quite snug. I’ve used them to hold all sorts of things in place, from keeping craft boxes closed to keeping the brake cable from rattling on my bike. Start by cutting off the valve. Then cut along a seam for the length of the tube so that it opens flat. Then measure how long you want the strap to be. Remember that the strap will hold tightest if it’s stretched a …

Mason Jar Memories

When I’m traveling, I like to stick little things that remind me of the trip in my pocket. A shell from the beach. A dried leaf from the forest. A candy wrapper in a fruit flavor I’ve never heard of. I used to stick these sorts of things in with my photo albums, but nowadays I make digital scrapbooks so I don’t really have a home for the little physical remembrances. Enter the Mason Jar Memory Jar, an idea inspired by a project from Martha Stewart. Mason jars can hold a surprisingly large collection of little bits and bobs, and when packed in, like this jar from my time in East Africa, it becomes like a game of I Spy. I have beads from a necklace a Maasai woman made for me and animal teeth I scrounged from the dust in the savannah. As I look through the jar, I …


Corks and Chalk Message Board Tutorial

I like things to be organized, and what better way to organize than in a fun, pretty, and DIY manner! I originally made this cork and chalk message board for my cousin – since she got married in a vineyard I themed her wedding gifts around cork. But I definitely have plans to replicate it for myself since I love the way it turned out! To make the cork and chalk message board, you need: cutting board TSP (use a phosphate free version as it’s better for the environment) primer paint paintbrush non-sanded grout (to make the paint into chalkboard) painter’s tape hot glue gun corks supplies for hanging picture wire (discussed below) I found a fancy cutting board at a thrift store that was already divided into two sections, but any cutting board or slab of wood will do. Start by washing the cutting board really well. You need a …


Cabochon Keychain Wedding Favors Tutorial

I’ve always liked party favors and since a wedding is just one giant party (at least ours was!), giving out wedding favors was a given. However, I wanted the favors to be something lasting (I love getting candies but I eat them before the wedding is even over!) and I wanted them to be connected to our wedding and to be used again in the future. (It’s super fun getting sunglasses with the couple’s name on them to wear at the wedding reception, but they don’t really get worn after that, right?) So I decided to make a whole bunch of cabochon keychains using art from our wedding invitations. To make your own cabochon keychains, you will need cabochons and cabochon backs (I ordered the cabochon and backs on Etsy), mod podge, a strong craft glue that dries clear (I love Aileen’s original tacky glue), print-outs of your design, scissors, …


Kanzashi Wedding Bouquet Tutorial

Although I made many things for our wedding, I think the pièce de résistance that made everything feel so me was the handmade silk kanzashi bouquet. I mean it’s just so bright and silly and happy and colorful! A kanzashi bouquet starts with a whole pile of kanzashi flowers – I had previously made a whole bunch from silk that I hand dyed. What makes them sparkle is a whole bunch of vintage earrings (I got these cheap in a lot since they were all missing their partners), cleaned, with their backs removed. You will also need a hot glue gun, floral wire, fabric for the stems, scraps of felt or fleece, and ribbon. On the top of each flower, hot-glue a vintage earring (already cleaned and with the back removed). Create a bunch of rouleau cord using your favorite technique (a quick google will lead you to a bunch of …


Painted Initials on Cork Mat

For my cousin’s wedding, I made a whole stack of projects themed on cork (since it was at a winery) and the color blue (her and her husband’s favorite color). After sewing a recycled sweaters blanket, and making a chalk and cork message board, I wanted to add another little something that was personalized for Lindsey & Max. While at the thrift store, I found a whole stack of large cork coasters and decided that I would paint their initials onto one of the coasters as a finishing touch. Lindsey had admitted to me that she knew they would be very short on decorative items to hang on their walls when they moved in together after the wedding, so I thought something like this painted cork mat would be a fun, personal little piece of art that would fit nicely into their house and hopefully make them think of their wedding (and …


Laser Cut Logo Keychains

I played with lasers! It was fun! One of my girlfriends was working on prototyping a fancy tool to hold her microscopy slides and it involved getting trained on (and access to) a laser cutter and a 3-D printer. Before leaving San Francisco, I simply had to get the chance to play on use the laser cutter myself, because, well, lasers! I bought a sheet of pink acrylic and cut out a bunch of circles with bits of my logo on them. The laser cutter imports .ai files so it was very easy for me to create the necessary file to guide the laser cutting. The file needed to be un-filled shapes with the outline color telling the machine which order to cut. I’m not actually sure what to do with all these cut circles (other than make keychains) now that they are cut, so I welcome any ideas! I saved …


DIY Wedding Makeup

Before leaving San Francisco, I made friends with the Hannah, the brilliantly creative lady behind the Dress Up Box. She’s a super talented makeup artist and offered to teach me some pointers about how to do my own makeup for my wedding. What follows is the process and some of the tips she shared with me. If you regularly wear makeup, this may be obvious to you, but as someone who considers under-eye concealer and lipstick to be a full face of makeup, I was very grateful to have such a talented lady point me in the right direction for my big day! Hannah pulled out a giant makeup kit of mostly fancy high-end brand-name stuff. But, she promised that I could get the same effect from the random mish-mash of drug store products that I already owned. Hint 1: If you are recommended a brand name product, google the …


Kanzashi Wall Clock on Sew Mama Sew

I’ve been on a kanzashi flower kick recently, as you might know. My latest kanzashi project is giant size flower I turned into a clock, featured today on Sew Mama Sew. Head on over to see a full tutorial.


Orange and Turquoise Howlite Necklace

Turquoise and orange. Not a color combo I often rock. I don’t wear much orange since it’s not great with my skin. But it’s so bright and happy and attention grabbing, especially paired with blue, that I’m determined to add some orange into my life this summer. (No, it’s not just because I want to be Oona, but that is one small part of it ;) Like my pink skulls necklace, the beads on this necklace are made from howlite, a stone that is commonly dyed to resemble other more expensive stones like turquoise. The pendant was from a necklace that I bought at a thrift store aeons ago, whose fake leather cord promptly broke, and so the pendant sat in my bead box for a very long time. I got a little excited and ended up buying a LOT of howlite turquoise beads (as you can clearly see). I …


Pink and Black Skull Necklace

Clearly, I can’t start one project without diving into another handful at the same time. Since I had to buy some beads and dig out my beading supplies to make my pearl necklace, I clearly had to buy other beads and start making some other necklaces too! I really won’t complain about having too much inspiration and I won’t even complain about not having enough time to follow through on all of my inspirations. I’ll just share this fun new necklace, how about that? I bought these cute little skulls and fuchsia beads at the same time without actually intending for them to go together. But when I started playing around with ideas on my beading tray, it was obvious that they had to go together because, while I do enjoy a dose of the macabre, I enjoy it much more when it’s mixed with bright pink happy things! Since …


How To String a Pearl Necklace

Making simple necklaces is quite easy. But, like many crafts, you can make simple projects truly special by paying attention to  craftsmanship. I wanted to make a pearl necklace to wear for my wedding so I bought some pearls and set about to learn how to string a pearl necklace in the best possible way. When working with pearls,  you need silk thread. While there are many, many options for beading threads, wires, and cords, you want to use silk because it is very sturdy but will not wear away at the pearls from the inside. I really enjoyed working with Griffin Silk Bead Cord which comes with a beading needle already attached for easing stringing. Other than using silk, there are two characteristics that set a pearl necklace apart from another necklace – pearl necklaces are often threaded on two strands of cord and a knot is tied between each pearl. …


Hand Dyed Silk Kanzashi Flowers

A collection of flowers. A panoply of kanzashi flowers. A range of silk flowers. An array of handmade flowers. A multitude of hand-dyed flowers. An assemblage of pink and purple flowers. A lot of flowers. Aren’t they so very bright and happy! And cheerful and fun! Okay, okay, I’ll lay off the thesaurus, I promise. I handmade and hand-dyed each of these flowers from silk noile from Minerva Crafts for my Minerva Craft Blogger project this month. Kanzashi is a Japanese method of folding fabric into individual petals and then sewing them together into flowers. I followed instructions in the book Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland. The instructions in the book are great, but it’s worth noting that the vast majority of the book is ideas for using the flowers in projects. Diane has a how-to video on her website that’s a great resource if you want to make …


Goodbye Loretta, Hello Madge

Sometimes growing up is hard to do. For most of my time in San Francisco, I’ve had a little white scooter named Loretta. She represented my feisty, independent, single-gal life. And then I met Adam, and we moved in together, and we got engaged, and he asked me to get rid of Loretta. The request came from a place of love – he would get scared that something would happen to me every time I would ride her. So I agreed, from a place of love and compromise. However, since I sold Loretta last month (pictured above with my 1942 Shirtwaist Dress) and replaced her with a very practical but un-sexy old Subaru (who I just named Madge), I’ve been struggling with the decision. After some deliberation, I figured out that it wasn’t the decision to get rid of Loretta that was bothering me, per se, it was that Madge …


Handmade Pom Pom and Cork Tree Christmas Ornaments

Although I keep announcing that I’m not making anything for Christmas this year, I guess I keep proving myself wrong, because I got inspired and had to make a cute handmade ornaments to give out, gift, and decorate with! These handmade ornaments are made from pom-poms, corks, ribbon, and buttons – all things that I had readily in my craft supplies. Even if you don’t compulsively stash craft supplies like I do, you should be able to find what you need pretty easily. To make the pompom trees you need pom-poms, cork, something to cut the cork with (I use a little metal saw), a hot glue gun, ribbon, and buttons. If you don’t have pre-made pom-poms, it’s really easy to make your own! Wrap yarn around a couple of your fingers. Pull the yarn off carefully, and tie a knot around the center with another piece of yarn. (I …


Bleach T-Shirt with Star Pattern using Freezer Paper

Adam was getting rid of a few t-shirts that he didn’t wear much. I snagged them as a chance to play with some bleach techniques. To make this shirt I used an old t-shirt, bleach, a spray bottle, and some freezer paper. I’ve always been a fan of stars as a fun graphic shape (and on red or blue they would be great for the 4th of July), but next time I think I’ll try something complicated to see how intricate this will work. Freezer paper is a great tool that I got in the habit of using thanks to my mom (it’s often used in quilting). Available at the grocery store, it acts just like paper on one side so you can draw on it to your hearts content. Here I roughly drew a bunch of different sizes of stars and cut them out. The other side of the …


How to Back an Embroidery Hoop for Framing

There are many ways to frame an embroidery. I really like how they look framed in wooden embroidery hoops. This is tutorial for how I permanently frame an embroidery in an embroidery hoop. You need: Wooden embroidery hoop. Available cheap at craft stores. Not recommended for use while embroidering, but pretty for framing purposes. Felt for backing. Synthetic craft felt works just fine, but if you have nice wool felt you can use that too. Other fabrics are possible, but it must be something that doesn’t ravel. Fine tip permanent marker. Shears. Regular shears (or scissors) are necessary. Also having pinking shears is suggested. Hot glue gun. Trace around the edge of the outer ring of the embroidery hoop with your permanent marker. Cut out the circle of felt just inside the marker line. Position your embroidery in the embroidery hoop. Use pinking shears to pink the fabric 3/4″ from the edge …

How to French Knot

My favorite embroidery stitch, and the one that gave me the most persistent headaches while learning, is the french knot. It makes a lovely accent with other stitches and can be quite beautiful on its own. It’s one of only two stitches you need to know to stitch my embroidered love letter (along with backstitch).

How to Backstitch

I thought I would share how to do a couple of different embroidery stitches for those of you interested in getting into embroidery for your wall or to spice up a handmade wearable. First up, backstitch. One of two stitches you need to know in order to stitch my How Do I Love Thee? embroidery. Backstitch is a great stitch for working straight lines and outlining shapes. You can make the stitch length as long or as short as you want and it’s easy to use on tightly woven fabrics as well as aida cloth. To make a line of backstitch growing from right to left: 1 – Start the stitch, coming up from below. 2 – Insert the needle one stitch length to the right. 3 – Come up from below one stitch length to the left. 4 – Insert the needle into the same hole as the left …

Handmade Hanukkah Gifts

I made it home in time this year to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah and I was spoiled rotten by my godfamily. I got a lovely assortment of handmade gifts. My Godmother was quipping that it was like bringing coals to Newcastle, but I completely disagree. I love love love to get handmade gifts even if I could have made something similar myself because I didn’t make them, someone that I love invested their time and energy and love into making them for me. As a crafter/knitter/seamstress I can truly appreciate the time and energy and love that goes into making such things and I can be that much more grateful for them.

Wrapping Paper Ribbon

I love wrapping Christmas/Hanukkah presents. When I was young it was the task that mom gave me to help her prepare for the holidays. I got great at cutting paper to the right size, getting crisp corners, getting odd shapes to package nicely. However, once I had the packages wrapped, mom would take them back to add on the bow. That was her domain and she made big, elaborate, showpiece bows.

Wool Tree Ring Coasters Tutorial

This is a tutorial for sewing coasters and a trivet out of wool felt to look like tree rings. Make them from a neutral color palette to fit in just about any decoration scheme, or go bright and play up the kitsch!


Wine Cork Coasters Tutorial

I love to make my holiday presents. While I have grand intentions of having everything done before the month of December, I’m honestly usually just getting started (and a little frantic) right about now. For those of you like me, I’m publishing a week of tutorials for easy, fun, gift-able craft projects that you can make in time for Christmas! (Although you’ll be pressed to get them done in time for Hanukkah since it’s so darn early this year!)

Bachelorette Hair Clips

My cousin is getting married this fall. I am so excited in so many ways. First, I’m thrilled that she’s getting married. Her fiance is a wonderful man and they make a wonderful couple. Second, I’m thrilled to be a part of the wedding and to be able to celebrate it with her and the rest of our family. Third, I’m stoked to go to Nashville for the first time for the bachelorette party! I thought I would make a fun little contribution to the bachelorette celebration. I’m not one for the typical bachelorette debauchment or accoutrement (i.e. not so thrilled to make phalluses a part of my party clothes). Instead, I’ve borrowed a wonderful idea from another friend’s bachelorette party. I made floral hair clips for each gal joining the celebration. And I made a special one for my cousin with some white tulle. Construction was super simple. I …