Sunday, January 29, 2012

recycle old mags

i got a magazine from ala moana a while back, and by a while back i mean before christmas.  and i haven't really found a good recycling center that accepts paper so i've kinda just been hanging on to it.  so today i decided to recycle it myself-into a little catch all/bowl/thingy.

i'm trying out the collage/montage method of tutorials again so...
1.  i cut all the magazine pages in half lengthwise
2.  fold them in half, and then into thirds
3.  start rolling the first strip-it's harder to get started but you want to pinch the corners to get the square shape
4.  when you add new strips be sure overlap the new one a little bit
5.  keep adding strips
6.  add strips until the base is about the size you want-mine is roughly palm sized
7.  now start on the sides-place the glue along the top edge of the existing strips
8.  place the new strip slightly higher than the existing strips-the higher you place it, the more vertical the walls will be.  the lower you place it, the more flared or V-shaped the walls will be
9.  keep adding strips

somehow i lost the photos i took of finishing the top edge??  basically, instead of placing the new strip higher, gradually lower the new strip until the top edge of the bowl is flat.

they're pretty useful little bowls, and i used less than half the magazine so i could make more...i think a pencil cup may be in order...?

  DIY under $5

echino bird skirt

i've recently discovered echino prints and i'm really quite smitten...they're so whimsical and i love the bold colors and patterns!!  i ordered a couple fabrics a while back from Hart's Fabrics and i finally decided to make something.  the fabric is pretty expensive but the prints are fun and the quality of the fabric itself is good too.  the fabric i used for this project is a cotton/linen blend; it's little rough (compared to the cotton gauze prints they also make) but it has a nice give to it and it's linen so it's nice for hawaii.  

sooo...the cost break down:
the echino fabric cost me $20 (for one yard)
the lining was $4 (for one yard)(i kinda felt like wal-mart was ripping me off at $4/yard for the world's thinnest cotton broadcloth but whatev lol)
the elastic was $2 (i only used about 1/3)

and i still have some scraps of echino left, probably enough to make a small coin purse or something along those lines...

okay, so on to the tutorial...about halfway through i realized i was making the whole process a lot harder on myself so i'm going to write about the faster way.  since the way i'm writing about isn't the way i actually sewed it i have limited photos but i'll try to be as specific as possible.

first decide what length you want your skirt to be then add 2 inches for seam allowances-i wanted mine to be 15", add 2, so i cut 17".  i cut 17" up from the selvaged edge of the fabric so you should end up with a rectangle 17"x36" (technically 2 rectangles).  now repeat for the lining fabric (if you want to line your skirt) but make it one inch shorter-16" instead of 17".  so you'll basically cut along the white lines-the top and bottom pieces will be the front/back of your skirt and you can use the strip in the middle for the waistband later.

now lay the two pieces on top of each other, right sides facing in, and sew along the 17" edges forming a large tube.  
1.  press the seams open
2.  fold the unfinished edges under, and 
3.  sew along either side of the seam.  
i don't have a serger so this is one of my methods of avoiding unfinished seams.  
4.  this is what your seam should look like from the right side
5.  now press the the bottom (selvaged) edge up 1".  fold the unfinished edge under and sew along the edge forming the bottom hem.  
6.  your large tube of  skirt

*if you are lining the skirt, repeat the above steps to your lining fabric.  then line up the skirt and lining fabric exactly how you want it to be when finished (right sides facing out) and sew the two tubes together along the top.  you don't want this to show later so try to keep it as close to the edge as possible.  

7.  now the pleats:  so this involves a little bit of math...and it sounds pretty complicated, but once you start it's actually pretty easy.  i like my skirts to sit pretty low on my hips so i made the waist 36".  divide by 2=18" and that's the width of the front of my skirt.  now, just kind of eyeballing, i decided i wanted the pleats to be 5" from either side which means the center area will be 10" wide (18-5-5=10").  now mark 5" from left and right seam (the mark should be closer to the front center of the skirt).  from the front center of the skirt, mark 5" away from the center to the left and right (this should form a 10" section centered on the front of the skirt).  you should now have 4 marks along the top edge of the front of your skirt.  now measure the distance between the  2 rightmost marks (roughly 7-8") and place an X in the center.  the 2 original marks should now be roughly 4" to either side of the X.  pull the the 2 original marks inward toward the X and pin in place.  repeat on the left side.
8.  this step isn't really necessary but i just like the look-sew down either side of your pleat about 1 1/2".  

just a side note-this is my first attempt and 'collage' type photo tutorials and i think i like them...they're much easier than loading a million separate photos...

so now the front of your skirt should be pretty much finished (except for the waistband).  for the back, (place a mark in the very center of the back for later) just baste along the top edge and ruche it together until it's rough 18" (or 1/2 of your desired waist size).

now for the waistband:
cut your elastic about 1/3 of your waist (mine was 36/3=12").  now stretch your elastic along your tape measure to determine it's max stretch-mine ended up about 22".  for the back of the waist band, you should cut (2) 2"x23" strips.

the front of the waistband should be 18" (or 1/2 of your desired waist size) plus seam allowances-this part can be kind of tricky if you don't have a pattern.  in order for the waist band to sit smoothly there should be a slight curve.  first, fold your fabric in half.  and i basically just took my tape measure at 9", laid one end against the fold of the fabric on the bottom edge and curved it so that the other end was about 1-2" up from the bottom of the fabric.  mark and cut along this line.  then, checking every few inches, i cut 2" up from the original cut.  you should end up with a 2" strip with a slight curve upward curve.  cut another so that you have 2 curved pieces.  you can also cut a piece of thin interfacing to give the front a bit more structure.

now, if you have patterned fabric, pick the 2 front/back pieces that look the nicest and these will go on the outside of your waistband.  the other two will be on the inside.  take the 2 outside pieces, right sides together, and sew along the 2" seams.  repeat for the inside fabric.  press the seams open.  you should now have 2 thin loops slightly larger than your waist.

now you are going to form a fabric sandwich-from the top down:
the outside waist band (right side down)
the skirt fabric (right side up, lining side down)
the inside waist band (right side up)

the bottom edges of the waistband should be lined up with the top, unfinished edge of the skirt.

make sure the front/backs are lined up and pin along the seams and center.  the front should be pretty easy because they should be about the same length.  for the back, line up the mark you made in the center of the skirt with the back center of your waist band.  now sew along the edge and press the waistband up away from the skirt.  the only open seam should be the very top of your waistband-press the unfinished edges down and in about 1/2".

now the elastic-line the ends up along the back of the waistband as close to the side seams as you can.  sew a big X over the ends to secure them.

now sew along the top edge of the waistband where you pressed the edges in...and that's it!!

sorry i don't have better photos of the actual skirt construction-let me know if you have any questions!!

a note on the sizing-i wear a size 6-8 pant size and all the above measurements reflect this.  however, my skirt ended up being a little bit loose so size-wise it is probably closer to an 8.

seed bombs...

i've always like seed bombs...being an 'environmental scientist' and all i like sifting through all the green ideas popping up all over the place.  i like the idea of making some small little fragment of earth, 'bombing' a place, and seeing new growth explode.  but what is a seed bomb really...?  basically a giant bunny poo!!  i mean, you can use some nice molds and packaging:

but in the end they're just giant bunny poos...with seeds

i've been surfing tutorials on how to make seed bombs and apparently they're pretty easy.  all you need is some clay (soil or craft) or recycled paper, and composted material, and seeds.   so i think i'm going to skip the clay and try to make some out of just bunny poo and see how they turn out.  i mean they stick together pretty well on they're own...and i throw bags of that stuff away every week so i might as well make something useful out of it right??  i guess if i really wanted to be green i'd already be composting that stuff...  i'm thinking it'll be really similar to when i made cake poppers: mix the batter, roll the balls, let dry.  anyway, i'm going to wait a couple days (since i just cleaned out the bunnies' litter boxes) and try it out. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

chevron rug

paint a rug and make your bunny happy!!  when we originally moved into our apartment, which has linoleum floors, the bunnies had no where to hop.  they can't really get traction on the linoleum so they kinda just sat in one localized area.  so we got them a rug, a pretty plain (and somewhat ugly) brown jute rug from target, but it was cheap which was the important thing...cheapish anyway.  i had no idea how expensive rugs were...  anyway, i'd been really wanting to replace it and came across the idea of floor clothes.  basically a nicely decorated piece of cloth you put on your floor-just as the name describes.  and i figured i could just lay it over the existing rug so it would still have some traction/padding. 

it was surprising difficult to get grumbles to hold still even for a second for this photo...first i bribed him with carrot, but then he just pulled it from my hand and took it on a little victory lap (for some reason he's become very fond of victory laps...) around the rug before settling down on the very far edge with his rump towards me.  

first-the supplies:
-i made mine out of canvas drop cloth from city mill.  they come in 6 oz. or 8 oz, which are about $20 and $40 respectively (sorry i don't have the exact dimensions but i threw the package away already...).  i bought the 8 oz but only because they were out of the 6 oz at the time...  i made my rug 5'x8' and that was only half of the drop cloth so i think it might've originally been 12'x18'??

-paint-i originally bought 3 tubes of acrylic paint and once i got home i realized what a foolish mistake that was...i ended up using about 7 tubes of paint...which actually ended up being a pretty expensive part of this project.  in hind sight i probably should've just bought some mistinted paint it would've been way cheaper (i saw small cans at city mill for $6-8).

-stencil-i'm waay too lazy to tape off the chevron pattern on a 5'x8' rug so i was trying to think of different things i could use a stencil.  some other tutorials i read used vinyl but i had no idea where i could buy vinyl near where i i went ghetto and used non-corrugated cardboard.  cardstock is a little too flimsy and corrugated cardboard makes it too difficult to paint.  just measure/cut your pattern out of the cardboard.  this method won't give you as clean or exact lines as taping would but unless you're face is inches away from the rug you won't really be able to tell. 

-brush-just any cheapo brush will do

-something to put your paint in (or you can just paint out of the can)
ignore the fact that the paint in the bowl doesn't match the paint in the tube...

canvas drop cloth tends to unravel pretty fast so i'd recommend hemming the edges as soon as you cut out your rug.  i actually painted the pattern first and then cut the rug out and hemmed the edges but  painting after would work just as well.  i painted one complete horizontal row at a time (versus making one v all the way down and repeating). 
not sure why but for some reason this photo is a different color than the rest...
this is my rug folded in thirds

and that's it-i painted half of my rug in a couple hours so it can be somewhat time consuming...but if you're doing something small like a door mat it shouldn't take very long at all.

and if you buy the the 6 oz. drop cloth and mistinted paint you should be able to make a rug for around $30.  and you'll probably have paint and a lot of canvas left over for other projects (for example i some of the scraps to make my bunny sachets).

this is a great project to cover up a rug you want to replace or just to change things up a little up.  they are really thin since it's just canvas so by itself it doesn't really have much substance but it is a great little cover up. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

color story quilt part 1

ah my blogging is always so skewed...everything gets pushed back till sunday lol.  anyway, i've been really loving the poseidon color story of kona cotton and decided to make a quilt

 so first i cut the fat quarters into 4"x4" squares-you should be able to get 20 squares from each color, plus a few scraps.  i'm keeping the long strip along the top-i'm thinking about sewing them together as a spectrum strip across the back of the quilt. 

when you're done you should have a pretty big pile of squares, some scraps, and a pile of long strips in each color.

then i sorted them into light/medium/dark colors.  i probably should've done this first...before i cut them into a million teeny tiny squares... 

then i laid them out-you should have exactly enough squares to make a quilt that is 20x21 squares.  i put the darker colors more toward the edge and the lighter colors toward the center. 

i got about half way through sewing this together when i ran out of thread...but on the plus side i guess that gives me time to choose fabric for the back and binding. 

bunny sachets

this past christmas was, sadly, the first christmas i'd ever actually had a real christmas tree.  so i decided to make little sachets out of my tree, well parts of my tree.  i made these out of the leftover fabric from the drop cloth i used to make my chevron rug (i will post a tutorial eventually...).  originally i wanted to try to use a freezer paper stencil but apparently foodland doesn't sell freezer paper and i really wasn't in the mood for the hellish nightmare that is the honolulu i just used a paint pen. but i liked the way they turned out-using the pen i was able to change the intensity so it kind of faded out toward the center. 

yarn rope!!

so i was making yarn pompoms and happened to have about half a skein left and decided to make some yarn rope.  

btw using credit cards/IDs/gift cards, ect is the best way to make don't have to make weird cardboard circles, buy a kit, or wrap your own hand and worry about cutting a finger off...which probably would've happened to me had i gone that route of pompom making...  

anyway, back to yarn's basically a bigger, better version of my friendship bracelet but the possibilities are endless!!  after i made mine i ended up wandering around my tiny apartment for almost an hour just draping it over things and imagining different ways to use it:

bag/purse straps
rug (if you're really ambitious)
garlands (i've been thinking about hanging my pompoms off one of these lol)
vase/pencil holder (soak the rope in liquid starch, wrap around a glass, let it dry and voila)

my list seems so much smaller compared to the time i spent contemplating...

Sunday, January 15, 2012

anthro inspired pillow

okay so i've been infatuated with the rosette bedding at anthropologie for quite some time now...i actually made the blanket last year following this awesome tutorial at kojo designs...but after a couple months the rosettes started coming unravelled...i guess i didn't knot it enough times?  anyway, i decided to try making a couple pillows to see if i could come up with a sturdier method.  

i'd really recommend reading the tutorial at kojo designs before you start making this.  

so i went to wal-mart and got:
-twin size flat sheet (grey) 
-24"x24" pillow
-24" zipper

to start out i cut:
-(2) 24"x24" squares (one for the front and back)
-(1) 34"x34" square (to make the rosette on the front)
-(1) 6"x24" square (also for the back)

(I made the squares the same size as my pillow because it was really soft and i knew it would give a little if the case was smaller-but if you have a really firm pillow i'd add an extra inch for the seams.)

the larger square for the rosettes was really just an estimate; i basically just took the square i cut for the front (outlined in black) and added an extra 5 inches in all directions (outlined in white).  i ended up having to trim a little bit off but i wouldn't recommend going much smaller than that-plus if you feel like you have too much extra fabric you can always make the rosette larger and that will make up for it.  

for now we will be working on the front which uses (1) 24"x24" square and (1) 34"x34" square:
i started by marking the centers of both squares-basically i just folded the squares into quarters and marked the corners (the blue dots).  this will also help you determine what size circle you should use to make the rosette.  you don't want the radius of your circle to be larger than the area indicated by the blue arrow.  

on the larger square i just free handed (is that the right past tense..??) the circle and stitched around it using stitches at least 1 inch apart.  once you pull your thread tight you should get a little pouf like this:

next, lay the larger square onto the smaller making sure the centers line up.  pinching the center of the pouf, press down and twist.

this is where i changed it bit from the kojo tutorial: i sewed a circle all around the pouf attaching it to the smaller square.  i also stitched the center of the pouf into place.  this way inside of your pillow is smooth and the rosette is pretty solidly attached and (hopefully) won't unravel.  don't worry about your stitches showing, as long as you keep it pretty close to the the your hand stiching the fabric will keep it covered-i can't even see it on my pillow unless i pull the fabric apart.  

before you start pinning the pleats in place, keep twisting the larger, top square around as much as you can to get a sort of 'torsion' effect-this will help hide your stitches.  then line up the corners and pin in place.  the fabric should already be forming ridges so just use these as a guide to pin your pleats into place.

at this point, depending on the size of the circle you used for the rosette, your top square may still be larger than your bottom square.  if this is the case, don't try to line up the edges, just pull the top square taut, pin, and trim the excess.  if you try to line up the edges when there is excess fabric, you will end up with a weird poofy version (that's what happened to mine along the corners).

sew along the edges, trim the excess fabric, and that's the front of the pillow!!  (somehow i managed to lose some of my pleats during this process.  i still haven't figured out how since they were all pinned in place...)

 now for the need the other 24"x24" square and the 6"24" strip:
you might be wondering what that random 6"x24" strip is for...well i wanted my zipper to be near the bottom instead of the middle and this is my weird method of zipper sewing.  basically i wanted the zipper to be 3" up from the bottom, so i doubled that and cut a 6" strip instead of 3".  this saves me from having to make 2 hems and adds a little more weight to the bottom half.

first press the 6"x24" strip in half lengthwise, that crease will be where the zipper eventually goes (blue line).  now line up the strip along the bottom (or any side really since it's a square...) of the 24"x24" square (the 6"x24" strip is outlined in white).  pin in place and baste along the crease (blue line).

sorry i don't have a really good photo of the next few steps...but press your seam open.  make sure the 2 halves of the 6" strip are together-the strip should be folded in half.  press the 3" flap of the 24"x24" square up or away from the 6" strip.  trim this flap down to about 1", then fold and press into a hem.

pin your zipper in place and sew along each side.

this is what it should look like when you're this point you can rip out the baste stitches and your zipper should be good to go.

now, right sides facing in, line up the front and back sides.  pin and sew all the way around.  flip the pillow case right side out through the zipper opening and voila!  your brand new anthro inspired rosette pillow for a fraction of the cost!!  I think i spent just under $20 for my pillow (compared to $60 at anthro) and i love it!!  plus, i still have quite a bit of leftover fabric...  let me know if you have any questions and good luck!!

this tutorial has been featured on knock off decor-hop on over and check out all the cool knock off tutorials!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

chan luu style wrap bracelet

like everyone else i've been harboring a growing obsession with the chan luu style wrap bracelets and i've been wanting to make one for a while.  so i skimmed through a couple tutorials and it seemed like too much wrapping/twisting/beading for me but i finally tried it...and it was actually really easy.  it took me less than an hour to make this single wrap bracelet and it was my first time.  (you can see on the first photo where i accidentally wrapped the wrong direction...)  the photos make the beads look kinda washed out but they actually cast a pretty nice shadow.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

easy friendship bracelet

this is probably one of the easiest/cheapest friendship bracelet ever...  all you need is scissors and 3 different colors of embroidery floss.  i went with a pink scheme in preparation of valentine's day lol.

first you want to completely unravel the floss.  then fold it in half 3 times-you should end up with a thick bunch of thread about 2-3 feet long (or roughly 4x the circumference of your wrist).  repeat with the other two colors.  

combine all three colors (try to keep them somewhat separated otherwise when you start twisting the colors start 'blending').  starting from the center of the threads start twisting.  after you've been twisting for a while the threads should automatically start bunching up in the center, otherwise you can just pull up on the center and it should force it to twist together. 

keep twisting until it is long enough to wrap comfortably around your wrist.  tie the end in a knot and cut away the excess thread.  and that's it!!  easiest bracelet ever?  i think so...