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I love necklaces.  I could live without earrings, I usually forget to wear the rings I own, and I have yet to find a bracelet that sits nicely on my small wrists, but an outfit seems incomplete without a necklace.

And I own many of them.

For the longest time they were folded, rolled, and stacked several necklaces deep in one of four little jewellery boxes that I own.  It kept them out of sight, but often made it impossible to grab the right one in a hurry.  What I really needed was a hanging necklace organizer.

And so I made myself one.  Gathering inspiration from here, here and here, I headed to the thrift store and found a framed print that would work perfectly. 

I removed the glass and since the print was glued to sturdy cardboard, decided to reuse it as the backing for the organizer.

I covered the entire thing in Mod Podge and stuck down the fabric.

I then folded in the corners, using a little of the Mod Podge to make them stick, and then folded down the sides over the back, to keep the fabric in place.

 

After putting it back into the frame, I was ready to add hangers. 

To create the hangers, I hot-glued small plain buttons to the surface, and then covered them with larger, prettier, buttons from my stash.  (Due to the shallowness of the frame, I couldn’t use nails or push pins without having them poke too far through, but I think the buttons were a fun solution!)

Then I hung it on the wall and filled it with necklaces!  Isn’t it pretty?

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Everyone deserves a stylish ironing board.  Until two weeks ago I was still using the same cover my ironing board came with 6 years ago and it was in desperate need of a makeover.  I grabbed some of my most favourite fabric and got to work.  It’s actually a fairly easy project with a big pay-off: no more ugly ironing board!  

Do you want to give your ironing board a facelift too?  Here’s how to do it.

Materials:

  • a piece of cotton fabric a few inches longer and wider than your ironing board. (I used quilting weight, although I am sure a heavier weight would be even better.) 
  • Your old ironing board cover.

1.  Remove the old cover from your ironing board.  

2.  Pull out the cord from the old cover.  You are going to reuse it in the new one.

3.  Use your old cover as a pattern for cutting the new one.  Lay it on the fabric, and then draw around it a 3/4 of an inch away from the edges.  You can now bid a fond farewell to your old cover!

4.  Cut out your fabric along the line you just drew.  (Check out how brown that cover is!  I don’t think I’ll be repurposing this fabric….)

5.  Fold over the edges of your new cover 1/4 inch and press. (Ha, ha!  This is the point when you will realize that you don’t have an ironing board to iron on at the moment.  After the initial “oh…..right….” moment,I covered mine with a towel and motored on.)  Then fold them over again another 3/8″.  Press and pin.

6.  Allow the fabric to buckle around the curves.  No one will know.

  7.  Sew around the whole thing, close to the edge, to make a casing for the cord.  Leave an opening about an inch wide on the straight end so you will be able to feed the cord into the casing.  Backstitch on both sides.

8.  Tie one end of the cord to a safety-pin, and use the pin to move the cord through the casing.  Pull the threads so they are even.

 

9.  Prepare your board for its new cover.  If you need new padding, use the old as a pattern to cut yourself some new.  The photo below is of the original, but I cut myself a few layers of cotton quilt batting to use instead. 

10.  Now for the fun part.  I found that this took two people, but if you are more talented (or patient?) than myself you might be able to handle it on your own.  Pull the cords to slightly gather the cover and slip it over the board and batting.  Pull on the cords again to tighten it over the board and use your fingers to ease the gathers around the sides until the cover is on tight.  Tie off the cord.

11.  Stand back and admire your handiwork! 

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Patch Pocket Tutorials

Welcome to all of you who have taken on the Summer of No Pants challenge!  I am really excited to share some patch pocket tutorials with you today.  I love patch pockets because they are easy to make, adaptable to many styles, and you can add them to anything (even clothes you didn’t sew yourself!)  So let’s get sewing!

Basic Patch Pocket

There are several ways to make a patch pocket, this way is super-easy and results in a nice strong pocket without any raw edges to worry about.

Decide what size you would like your pocket to be, and then add 1/2″ inch to each side.  For example, if you want a pocket that is 4 x 5 , cut two squares that are 4.5 x 5.5.  You will need 2 squares per pocket.   If you have stripes or plaids you might want to spend some time cutting pieces that line up with the plaids or stripes on your skirt.

If you aren’t sure what size you want your pockets to be, cut out some paper squares in the size you think you want, lay it on the skirt and see what you think.  When you find the size that looks good, add 1/2″ and you’re ready to go!

Place your squares right-sides together, and sew around all edges with 1/4″ seam, leaving about 3 inches open for turning.

Clip the corners, turn the pocket right-side out and press.  (If you want to be fancy you could slip-stitch the opening closed at this point but I usually don’t bother)

Top-stitch across the top of the pocket.

Pin your pocket in place on the garment.

Sew around the sides and bottom, close to the edges.  Make sure the opening you left for turning gets sewn closed at this point. 

Tip:  For pockets that don’t sag when they are full, start and finish sewing a little bit across the top on each side. 

Done!  That was easy, right? 

But what if you want something with a little more style to it?

Dress it up!

Before you sew the pocket to your garment it’s really easy to dress it up with ribbon, a contrasting fabric piece, buttons, ric rac, or oven some embroidery. 

Make a Shapely Pocket

Who says pockets have to be squares or rectangles?  Try cutting your pocket in circles or half-circles, triangles, flowers, stars, hearts, you’re limited only by your imagination!

Bias-Binding Trim

Sometimes a little bias binding on the top of a pocket dresses it up nicely. 

To make this kind of pocket, follow the directions for the basic patch pocket, but when sewing your fabric pieces together, leave the top open.

Clip corners or curves, turn right-side out and press.

Now take a piece of bias binding, open it up, and pin it to the top of the pocket, right-sides facing and matching the edges.  (Bias binding usually has one side that is shorter than the other.  Pin the short side to the pocket.)  The binding should hang over the sides about 1/2″

Sew the binding to the pocket just to the side (closer to the edge) of the first fold-line.

Press the binding towards the top of the pocket, and then fold it over to the other side to encase the top of the pocket and press again.

Top-stitch along the bottom of the binding, being sure to catch the back of the binding in the stitches. 

Fold the ends of the binding to the back of the pocket and pin it to your garment.

Stitch around the pocket as described for the basic patch pocket.

You now have a fancy bias-trimmed pocket!

Create Flapped Pockets

Start with patch pockets already sewn to your garment. 

Decide how big you want your flaps to be.  This is a good time to play around with paper models until it looks right.

Once you have the right size, add 1/4″ seam allowance to all sides to create your pattern.

Cut two of these out of your fabric, and one out of interfacing for each pocket.

Apply the interfacing to one of the two pieces for each pocket. 

With right-sides facing, sew around all sides, leaving a hole for turning.

Clip curves and corners, turn right-side out and press.  (Sounds familiar, right?)

Find the centre of the flap and put in a button-hole.

Pin the flap into place on your garment and stitch across the top.

Sew a button to the pocket.

That’s it!  (Isn’t this fun?)

And one more….

The Gathered Pocket

This pocket has a unique look, and also provides a little extra room for pocket treasures.

Start with a paper pattern of  the size of pocket you want to create.

Trace the bottom onto another piece of paper, and then mark out a top that is 1.5x larger than what you want your finished top to be.  (You could go bigger than this if you want even more gathers in your pocket, but this was a good size for me.)

Connect the top line to the bottom line. (I used curved edges for this semi-circle, you would use straight lines for a square.)  I folded it along the centre-line to do this so I would have two sides exactly the same.

Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to the bottom and sides.   Cut out your pattern and use it to cut 2 pieces of fabric (per pocket.)

With right-sides together sew along the bottom and sides, leaving the top open.  Turn and press.

Set your machine on a long stitch and stitch two rows of stitching across the top – one at 1/4″ and one at 1/8″.

Pull the bottom threads to gather the top to the desired width.

Finish with bias tape as described for the bias-taped pocket.

Voila!  A gathered pocket! 

So there!  Absolutely no excuses for not having pockets on your skirts and dresses (or aprons, or pants, or bags, or anything else you’re making!)    Once you’ve mastered the patch pocket there are so many others you could try (with zippers and pleats and welts, oh my!  Maybe a future blog post?)

Happy Sewing!

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Pillow Cube Tutorial

I designed this pillow cube months ago when I was looking for something that would act as a design element, but also be functional for extra seating or to put up your feet at the end of a long day.   (Not that I ever sit still long enough to put my feet up, but I have heard that it can be enjoyable!)

They are a quick and easy project and the end result is soft, squishy and fun!  (What more do you want from a pillow?) 

Want to make your own?  Just click on this handy dandy tutorial and you’re on your way!

The Fabulous Pillow Cube Tutorial

If you make a pillow, please let me know!  I would love to see it!   Enjoy!

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I like to keep a magnetic pad of paper on the fridge for recording grocery items we need to buy.  This makes it easy to write down what we need, as we run out of it.  Otherwise I am bound to forget on grocery day just what it is we ran out of during the week. 

Unfortunately, I do not have much luck with magnetic pads.  In many cases the magnets stick to the fridge, but the paper doesn’t, pulling right off the magnetic back, so I have a whole collection of pads of paper and their corresponding magnetic backs, but still nothing on my fridge. 

This past year the problem was temporarily solved with a snowman paper pad I was given at Christmas that stuck perfectly.   The only downside to this was that Hubby, who does most of the grocery shopping, did not like walking through the store in mid-summer with a large piece of red-hatted snowman paper.  Unfortunately for him, I wasn’t about to give up a pad that worked so he suffered through (dear man.)

But I used the last snowman today.  😦

I also make more than one list as there are several places that we shop for food so I am constantly adding new pieces of paper to the fridge with the plain black magnets torn from the back of our useless paper pads.  Functional, but not pretty.

Looking at the pile of magnets and un-sticky paper pads this morning gave me an idea.  I set about reusing the magnets to make labelled paper holders for the fridge.  Check it out!

Now I have a list for everything, and no more papers falling off the fridge!

Here’s how I made them.

I began by tearing the cardboard backs from the useless pads of paper off of the magnets.

I then raided the scrap bin for fabric that coordinated with the kitchen.  This would also be a good project for scrapbook paper scraps, but I thought of the fabric first.

I then found some Mod Podge, a foam brush, a piece of fun foam leftover from a school project (although this would also be a good project for reusing cardboard), and a glue gun. 

The foam pieces were cut so they were just a little bigger than the biggest magnet.  Even though the magnets differed in size, I wanted the finished magnets to all be the same. 

I then cut the fabric scraps to be a bit bigger than the foam pieces. 

I used the Mod Podge to glue the fabric to the foam, wrapping it like a present to keep the corners neat. 

I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back of the magnet, covering the folded edges of the fabric.  (Handy Hint: make sure you glue the magnet magnetic-side up, instead of upside-down like I did….)

While the magnets were drying, I went down to the computer and printed off the names of the different lists in a pretty font.  If I had return-address sized labels I think they would have fit perfectly, but since I didn’t I used the shipping labels I already had and just cut them apart. 

I then stuck the labels to the front of the magnets and put them on the fridge. An easy way to use what I already had and be a little more organized.

And Hubby will be happy that he doesn’t have to take a snowman to the grocery store anymore!  🙂

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After my sewing experiment yesterday turned out so well, I was really excited about trying to transform another of Hubby’s old shirts.   He can’t wear them anymore because the collars have started to fray, but some of them are just such nice fabric that I can’t bear to throw them away.  And the pile of shirts in my sewing room just keeps on growing…..

For this project I picked out this little Pierre Cardin number (I should mention here that ever since we started buying all  of our clothes second-hand our closet has seen a wealth of designer labels it never knew before…)

Then I cut off the offending collar and the sleeves.

I wanted a prettier neckline so I cut one side in a nice v-neck kind of shape.

Then I folded the shirt in half and cut the other side to match.

Then I tried it on and realized the shoulders were way too wide, the armholes way too deep and the whole thing way too big.  So I kind of eye-balled it (take 3 finger widths off here, 4 finger widths off there…)  I turned it inside out and cut one side into the shape I wanted, then folded it over and cut the other side to match.  This was a much more flattering shape.

From there I sewed the side seams, using flat-felled seams to keep it neat.  Then I grabbed some seam binding from my grandmother’s stash and covered the armholes and neckline.  Then, ta-da!  A new nightshirt!

I love it!  It is a teensy bit shorter than I would like so I am going to make a pair of shorts to wear with it.   I wonder what Pierre would think of his shirt now?

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I would be lost without a menu plan.  I have become so used to making one that the few times I have gone to the grocery store without one I wandered around having no idea what to buy!    So every week I plan out the meals we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, make a list of the baking I will do, and then create the grocery list based on what we need.  I take advantage of sale items whenever I can by planning the menu around those items, as well as what is in the freezer or what is local and in season. 

To make this easier I have always kept a list of the different meals I have cooked and what cookbook they can be found in.  When I try new recipes they only get recorded if both of us enjoy them and would eat them again.   Then when it comes time to make the menu, I just scan the list and slot in the meals.  After I have planned the main meals I try to plan lunches around leftovers or similar ingredients to make the most of what we buy at the store. 

This has worked well for me for several years, but my loose-leaf list of menu items has become too long to easily scan, the holes have ripped away so it keeps falling out of the binder, and as I have moved to cooking with local and seasonal produce, many of the meals listed have become obsolete in my cooking repertoire.

Enter…..the menu planning book!  In its humble beginnings it looked like this:

Just a simple book from the dollar store with sticky-note tabs separating the different sections.  But things are more fun to use when they are dressed up a bit, so I decided to give my book a little makeover:

It has three main sections.  Spring/Summer is for meals based around frozen produce from last year’s garden that may be in the freezer, as well as items that pop up in the garden or markets early in the year (like fiddleheads – yum!).  The Fall/Winter section makes the most of garden produce, as well as good winter keepers such as potatoes, carrots, apples, squash, etc.  Anything that can be made all year round fits in the all-season section.  I did consider creating one section for each season, but this seemed too limiting to me.  I also included baking sections for each seasonal section, as many quick-bread, muffin and dessert recipes I make are based around seasonal produce as well. 

Filling each page is easy – I just list the name of the meal and then follow it with the title of the cookbook where it can be found (or the colour of binder for printed recipes) and the page number.  

For very little money this has made my menu planning easy, peasy! 

Here’s a quick tutorial on how I prettied-up my menu planner.

You need: a notebook, a piece of scrapbook  paper, Mod Podge and a foam brush. 

If you want to divide your book into sections you will also need some self-stick tabs.  Write the titles on each of the tabs and stick them onto the appropriate pages.

Then measure the length and width (minus the spiral binding) of your front cover.

Turn your paper over so the back is facing up.  Using a ruler, measure out the length of your notebook and then make a mark a few millimeters smaller (you want your paper slightly smaller than the cover so that the edges will not get ruffled with use.)

You do not need paper with guidelines, this piece just happened to have them. 

Do the same with the width measurement, again making it slightly smaller.

Use these marks as guidelines to cut your paper using a paper-cutter.  If you don’t have a paper-cutter (I don’t!) and your paper is not gridded like mine, use your ruler to draw out the shape of the rectangle before you cut to keep your lines straight. 

Lay your cut out paper on top of your notebook and trim if necessary.  I clipped my corners a bit too. 

Cover the back of your rectangle with Mod Podge, being sure to spread the glue right across the edges. 

Stick your paper firmly on top of your book, smoothing out any wrinkles as you go.

For extra durability you can also spread another layer of Mod Podge on top.  Be sure to place  a piece of paper under the cover when you do this so you don’t accidently get glue on your book pages!

Place a label on the front of your book and you’re done!

Now you can plan your menus in style! 🙂

Ok, so literally a day after I post this my beautiful paper cover fell off of my book!  I think perhaps it was because the paper I used was thick, like card stock?  I’ve done this technique a bunch of times with other books and regular paper and never had a problem.   Anyway, I needed another way to attach my paper, so here is option number two:

You need clear contact paper, your notebook, and your pretty paper.  Cut the contact paper larger than your notebook and carefully lay it over the paper and notebook.

Smooth it out with your fingers then flip open the cover.

Cut a rectangle out at each corner.

Fold over your edges and press firmly.

Done!

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