Friday, December 12, 2014

12 Handmade Days of Christmas: Day 9 Placemat to Tote

Today's tutorial is brought to you by my friend Bree. She is making these for her friends and family for Christmas. Bree hates to sew so her mom Brenda is walking her through the steps for each bag. If Bree can sew these, than anyone can. I stole this one from Bree to showcase here. Enjoy!

Materials Needed:
  1. Placemat
  2. Thread
  3. Bias Tape or Ribbon 
  4. Velcro (Optional)
  1. Fold the placemat lengthwise.
  2. Measure two inches down from the top. Mark a line across for the fold down flap.  
  3. Take your bias tape or ribbon and place each edge just under the fold line. Pin the edges in place. This will be your bag strap.
  4. Fold the bottom of the long rectangle upward so the bottom of the rectangle meets the flap fold down line. Pin in place. Make sure your bag strap is on the outside.
  5. With the top flap up. Sew one side seam of the tote bag body and keep sewing up to the side of the flap. Pivot. Sew across the top. Pivot. Then sew down the other side. 
  6. Your bag should have two pockets inside! 
  7. Optional: Place velcro on the inside of the flap and at the top of the tote bag body. Either sew your velcro in place or stick it on. Et, voila! Easy Placemat to Totebag!
  Sweet Reminder No. 9: "Sleep in Heavenly Peeeeaaaccceeee..." Means you too!
I don't know about you, but I am one of those "Just one more thing" people. I always find just one more thing to work on before I go to bed. It's a terrible habit and one I very much wish to break.
If you're like me and have trouble turning off the lights, then try and dial up your bedtime 10 minutes a night until you reach a normal hour. That "one more thing" can wait. Get good sleep. There will be plenty of late nights carousing and fellowship when Christmas Eve and Christmas arrive. You really won't miss out on much if you go to bed a notch earlier each night. In fact, you'll likely gain more than you miss. So in the spirit of practicing "Peace-Be-Still" this season, make sure to sleep. 
How do you ensure that you're sleeping in "Heavenly PEEEEAAACEEE?" Also, do you know any little kids that sing it that way?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12 Handmade Days of Christmas: Day 8 Skirt Apron

I'm a huge fan of one yard wonders and this tutorial is easy and looks sweet. I love one yard wonders especially when I love a bold quilter's cotton fabric, but know that a full blown skirt or dress would look cray cray. This is a quick handmade gift and can be modified with all sorts of embellishments and trims. You can change the style of pocket, you can use ribbon for ties, or you can add a bib. Have fun with this one!

Materials Needed:
  1. One yard of Quilter's Cotton
  2. Contrasting fabric for the pockets in two 5x5 squares
  3. 3 Yard Package of Quilter's Bias Tape or Ribbon
  4. Thread
  1. Quick Note: One yard should be enough for two small sized skirt aprons.
  2. Lay the yard of fabric out with the selvedge towards you and the fold away from you. Cut along the fold line so you have two long rectangles.
  3. Cut two squares in your contrasting fabric. Mine were 5x5inches. Cut four squares if you are making two aprons.
  4. Hem the edges of the pockets and the edges of one of the fabric rectangles.
  5. Pin the pocket squares onto the apron fabric.
  6. Top stitch the pockets to the apron fabric. Make sure to leave one side open for your hand to go in.
  7. Gather the top of the apron. To gather fabric. Put your machine on its longest stitch setting. Do two rows of long running stitches. Make sure to leave long thread tails on both ends of the running stitches.
  8. Pull the threads on the top and start gathering the fabric. Play with the gathers until they are fairly even all the way across.
  9. Take the large bias tape and sandwich the gathered top of the apron between the folded edges. Make sure to leave long tail ends for apron ties. 
  10. Pin in place and sew from one end of tail, across the apron, and to the end of the other tail. 
  11. (This is the quickest way to do this! If you are an experienced sewer than you know the proper several-step way to properly sew on bias tape. By all means experienced sewers, have at it!) 

Sweet Reminder No.8: Choose Kindness!
This time of year seems to bring out the very worst in me. It brings out my short temper, my insecurities, and my control freak nature. I am often tired, hyped up on way too much sugar and caffeine, and snap! I am working very hard not to go there this year. 

I am choosing kindness and not just for others, but also for myself. I choose to be kind to my tired feet and my tired brain. I work a full-time job. There is no maid, housekeeper, accountant, party planner, baker at my house... there is just me and the Pookie. So rather than choose grumpy obligation, I choose kindness to me. A little kindness to me then I can direct that kindness outward. Then, I can really pour out love and kindness on others. A well-rested, plucky, full of gumption me is much better than the caffeinated meanie version. Choose kindness, choose peace, choose joy or choose stress. It is up to you!

If you need help with the tutorial, let me know in the comments below!

Monday, December 8, 2014

12 Handmade Days of Christmas: Day 7 Bow Brooch

I cannot make jewelry, but I love a good brooch. My friend Kara is a very gifted jewelry designer. I so admire her ability to work with little tiny pieces and details. This is my contribution to Christmas jewelry. With just a little sewing, the brooch takes less than 20 minutes and requires little to no fabric.

Materials Needed: 
  1. Two fabric rectangles (10x6 for mine). You can use whatever scrap fabric you have that you can reasonably cut into a rectangle.
  2. Thread
  3. A strip of fabric for the bow center (3x2 inches for mine). Again, you can use whatever scrap fabric you have that you can reasonable cut into a thin rectangular strip.   
  4. Brooch or pin backing. These are sold at fabric stores, usually in the jewelry section of your Joanns or Michael's. Alternatively, use a big safety pin.
  1. Cut your fabric rectangles. You will need two rectangles for the main bow.
  2. Place your fabric rectangles rightsides together. 
  3. Sew the seams leaving an opening for turning the rectangle rightsides out.
  4. Trim and cut the corners. Turn the rectangles rightsides out.
  5. For the bow center there are three alternatives for completion:
  • First, You can use thread and wrap it around the center of the bow multiple times. Tie it each time you loop it around. Make sure the thread is tied nice and tight. Cut the loose ends. Fluff the bow.
  • Second, You can do what I did, and use a thin strip of jersey fabric. Wrap it around the bow center multiple time. Tie it each time you loop it around. Make sure the jersey strip is tied nice and tight. Cut the loose ends. Fluff the bow.
  • Third, you cut two thin rectangle strips. Put them rightsides together. Sew but remember to leave an opening. Turn them right side out. Place around the middle of the bow and sew the ends together. Clip the edges. Flip the raw seam edges to the inside. 
 Last, sew the pin or brooch backing to your bow. Et, voila! Bow brooch gift! 

Sweet Reminder No.7: Choose Joy!
I know that sounds cliche, but bear with me. You can choose gifts, but you cannot force people to like the gifts. You can choose the perfect menu on pinterest, but you cannot force people to like the food you prepare. You can choose the best decorations that your money can buy, but you cannot force people into like your idea of pretty decor.You have no control over the many many situations, circumstances, and people you face everyday. There is no difference merely because it is Christmas.

I can create a million different things, but I cannot force anyone  to enjoy my creations. I only have control over whether I enjoy my Christmas. I only have control over whether I enjoy my own creations. I control my response to my pinterest failures and my recipe disasters. I choose joy. I could choose frustration, self-pity, worry, anxiety, and stress. I am opting out of those this year. Again, I choose joy! What are you choosing this Christmas?

If you need help with the instructions, please let me know in the comments below!