Tag Archives: in the craft room

Birds of a feather

So, who else is *so happy* that spring is here?!? I know I am!

Today I want to share a tutorial that will bring a little bit of spring inside your home, though originally I made it to use as a decoration for a bridal shower. I didn’t think at the time to take step-by-step photos as I was making it, because at the time I didn’t intend on doing a tutorial. But then Lindsay posted about her Five Dollar Challenge, so I decided to go ahead and enter it. Hopefully I can explain it well enough for you all.

Supplies – I bought everything I needed from the Dollar Tree, and used some supplies we had on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Base – I used a black metal tea-light holder that had a pedestal base, and it also had sides. If you can’t find it, I’m sure you can find something similar – a normal glass candlestick would probably work too. You just want something with a little height wide enough at the top to support the base of the nest.

For the nest – I found a two pack of Styrofoam discs, about an inch thick and 5 inches in diameter. I used one of these for the foundation of the nest. I used a bag of Spanish moss to make the actual nest. I also gathered some twigs from a few of our many mulberry trees. πŸ˜€

Something to put in the nest – Since it was originally for a bridal shower, I used two “lovebirds” to put in the nest. You should be able to find them near the front of the store, where all the little knick-knacky things are. (Assuming all Dollar Trees are laid out the same – every one I’ve been in is.) But you are free to use your imagination when it comes to putting things in the nest – I think some eggs would be nice, or maybe one bird and some eggs, or a small glass dish with jelly beans or those “robin’s egg” malted chocolate candies !

Ribbon and some small artificial flowers – I had these on hand, and I used baby’s breath for the flowers.

Putting it all together:

The base – I decided to spray-paint the tea light holder, so two coats of cream spray paint was the first step.

The nest – First, I arranged five little twigs on the top of the Styrofoam disc, with ends joined in the middle. Think like a pie cut into five pieces. Of course you can use more or less twigs, or none at all.

Then, I took small pieces of the Spanish moss and hot-glued them all around the edges of the disc. For the top of the nest, I took one big chunk of moss, formed it into a circle with a “well” in the center, put a bunch of hot glue on the top of the disc and over the sticks, and gently pressed the nest in place. Then I went back and filled in any gaps were I saw the Styrofoam peaking through with more hot glue and bits of Spanish moss.

Attaching the nest to the base – This part took some thought and a few tries. I wasn’t sure if the base would support the nest with the birds in it without being too top heavy and tipping over. I tried gluing the nest to something and sitting it down inside the base, but then the nest didn’t sit flush with the top of the base so I pulled it off. In the end, I took the base and sort of pushed it into the bottom of the Styrofoam disc to make a little “ditch” and then just ran a thick line of hot glue around the rim of the base and put that into the ditch I’d made. I held it firmly until it dried, and it worked well.

The nest looked a little lopsided on the base since I didn’t center it exactly right, so I just balanced it out by gluing another clump of Spanish moss onto the one side.

Decorating – I placed the birds into the nest to see how I wanted to arrange them, then I took them out, put hot glue on the bottom of them, and set them back in. Then I made a small bow using some ribbon, and glued it and a flower to one of the twigs sticking out. Then I randomly artistically glued a few more flowers to the other twigs, and when it looked nice and pretty, called it a day.

Here’s another photo:

Cost breakdown:

Base – $1

Styrofoam disc – $0.50 ($1 for a 2-pack)

Spanish moss – $1 for the bag, I used about half

Birds – $2 ($1 each)

All other supplies – on hand

Total cost: $4.50

Okay, I hope that was clear enough! Happy crafting and if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer!

I’m also linking up to DIY Day at A Soft Place To Land



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It’s worth a try…

So… about maybe a year ago I was looking at skirts online “just for the fun of it” and I saw a cute black circle skirt with a border print of a city outlined in white going around the hem. I thought “oh, that’s a cute skirt” and clicked to the next page.

Fast-forward to a few months ago. I think it was the current trend of and my new-found love for the Eiffel Tower motif in decorating, but in any case, I started thinking about that skirt again – and this time, I would *really* like to have it.

Google isn’t any help at all – believe me I’ve searched – and I just can’t find it or anything similar anywhere! I looked for fabric too… same thing. I have the concept in my head but can’t find anything in real life to match what I’m thinking. I’m beginning to think maybe I dreamed it all in the first place, who knows?

Here’s a Photoshop mockup I made just now to show what I’m talking about:

city skirt

So, friends, can you help me? Have you seen anything like it anywhere? Fabric? Even if I had to piece the strip around the bottom to some solid black fabric it would be okay… even if could find an all-over print of building outlines and had to piece *that* into a strip… I just would really like to have that skirt!

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.a functional kitchen necessity.

Pardon the influx of sewing posts, but that’s what I’ve been doing lately – sewing, studying, sewing, studying, sewing… haha you get the point right?

On our most recent thrifting expedition, I found a lovely little vintage tablecloth. I knew it would make a great apron, and at $1.50 I just couldn’t pass it up!


So I decided to use the pattern pictured – I don’t remember the number and I’m too lazy to go find it now. πŸ˜› I made View 2, (the one in the top middle.)


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes… the ones I had. The second sheet of instructions is missing from the pattern – the part I had were the instructions for laying out and cutting, and then how to do the flange, which I’m glad I had those. I have a good knowledge of basic garment construction, so doing the rest wasn’t hard even without the instructions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The vintage look! And it was easy. I don’t do complicated… I’m a pretty lazy seamstress. πŸ˜› Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used:
Thrifted cotton tablecloth.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
From the directions on the pattern pieces themselves, such as “Cut 2” on the bodice, I’mΒ  assuming it was supposed to be lined. I didn’t have enough fabric to do that, but that was okay because I was planning on finishing the neckline with bias anyway, and the flange took care of the side seams.

I wanted to keep the bias edge of the table cloth for the hem of the apron “skirt,” so I made sure to lay it out accordingly. It was a round tablecloth, so the back of the apron sort of curves, but I like it. πŸ™‚

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes and yes. πŸ™‚

What I really like about this patten is the width of the bodice with the flange, so it’s the one I use when I’m, say, preparingΒ  lunch on Sunday after church – I’m dressed up and don’t want to get anything on my clothes, and the width gives me that extra coverage. (I need it because I’m not the neatest cook. :P)


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Sewing for Sister, Part 2

Next on the make-Sis-a-new-wardrobe list was this dress, made from McCall’s 9000, a vintage 1967 pattern I happily found in the stash. I probably complained to Mom how ugly it was when she bought it a few years ago… πŸ˜› But now vintage-style sewing is my new obsession. πŸ™‚ If you decide to try the pattern for yourself, it’s for sale (in size 16) on eBay here.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Mostly, though I lengthened it considerably and some slight alterations had to be made for a better fit.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, they were very easy, though they are written a bit differently than modern patterns – less detailed.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the look of the front yoke, and that it came together easily. I didn’t like that the dress without the belt seems to be rather shapeless and baggy, but I think that’s because my sister is quite petite.

Fabric Used:
Cotton calico.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As mentioned, I lengthened the dress – it falls to just above her ankle. I also made 3/4 length sleeves instead of long, and finished them with a faux cuff of my own design. Since it wound up being a bit to big for her in some places, Mom had to tailor it to fit better (she’s much better at tailoring than I am.) and in the end, I think it turned out well. Also I made a simple belt with wide grosgrain ribbon and D-rings to define the shape and bring it in a bit more.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I think I’ll re-visit the pattern after she grows a bit more, as the style really does look nice on her, and she likes it very much as well.

This was my first experience sewing with a vintage pattern, and I’m very pleased at how it all turned out. So pleased that I bought three more vintage patterns for Sis and two for myself. She is in that in-between age where she’s too old for little girl styles, yet doesn’t quite fit big girl sizes. She thinks that modern pattern styles in her size are rather ugly, but adores some of the vintage styles we’ve seen, so that’s what we’re going with! My favourite part of this particular dress is the ric-rac trim around the neckline, hem, and especially the little bit poking out of the cuff!

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Sewing for Sister, Part 1

My little sister is growing taller by the day, it seems, and is therefore in need of some new clothes. I’ve been very inspired by various sewing blogs lately, and so after looking through our pattern and fabric stash, she and I chose what she’d like me to sew up for her.

I remembered a length of denim we have had for a long time. We got the whole piece at a yard sale for $1, and it wound up being about 4 yds and 60” nap.Though you can barely see them, there are largish roses printed on it as well. She chose a pattern for a half-circle skirt.

While locating the denim, we also came across a piece of burgundy/cranberry velvet that she loved, and it matched the roses perfectly. At first I wasn’t sure how to use it, but then I thought I would try to make a capelet. It took a bit of convincing, but she agreed. πŸ™‚


For the skirt, I used Butterick Fast and Easy 3779.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Mostly, though I lengthened it considerably

Were the instructions easy to follow?
So easy I didn’t need them. πŸ™‚

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it is so easy to make – 4 seams with my adaptation of the waist. Nothing to dislike.

Fabric Used:
A heavy denim which gave it a nice drape.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
As mentioned, I lengthened the skirt considerably. Also, since my sister is so petite it is much easier to get a good fit around the waist when I make an elastic or drawstring casing. Though I’m not sure what this pattern had for the waistband since I didn’t even look at the instructions, I think it had a fitted band, gathers, and a side zipper. Instead, I sewed the seam all the way up and made a simple elastic casing.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Like I said, this was very fast and easy, which is good for me because I’m sort of a lazy seamstress. πŸ˜› In fact, since both the front and back pieces were the same, I simply doubled the fabric and pinned the front piece to both layers at once on the center fold. Yay for a good pair of scissors!


For the capelet, I followed this tutorial from Disney at Ruffles N Stuff. I made a few modifications – namely my rectangle was only 60” long instead of 66”, and instead of using ribbon to finish the edges and make the tie, I just hemmed the edges and made a wide bias from the velvet, then sewed two snaps on the band so it sort of crosses over. It was my first time working with velvet, and while I found it a little “slippery”, it wasn’t too bad.

Isn’t she lovely?


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Sing, or The post in which I show you my latest crafty attempt and how to make one yourself.

What does one do with a box full of vintage sheet music they purchase at an auction for $1.00?

Well, if they are anything like me, they look through the box once, pull out what looks interesting, and put the rest into an old briefcase to be forgotten about for a few years and generally collect dust.

Then one day, while browsing this really cool blog they might come across this post and in particular, this image:

And armed with the knowledge of those really cute banners that have been appearing everywhere…

It’s then that they remember all that vintage music collecting dust and decide to turn it into something more pleasing to the eye.

At least, that’s what I did.

And that’s how I wound up with this.

Yes, for the first few seconds, it *really* hurt to cut the music up. But I made sure to choose some organ music which I can’t play anyway, a piece that was so torn on the edges and into the music it wasn’t playable, and a piece that was missing the last page and was therefore also not playable. So I got over it.

For those of you who want to know how to make something like this for yourself, here are my carefully thought out made-up-as-I-went along directions.

1 ) Open up a new document in your word processor of choice. (I used MS Word.) Choose your font – I suggest one that will have some width to it. Using whatever tool you have for bubble letters (I used WordArt) type out your word – one letter per page. I choose the word “Sing” since it went with theme, but you can use any word that you want too… Dream, like my inspirational picture, or Happy, or even supercalifragilisticexpialidocious if you wish. Because, you know, no home is complete with out that word somehow included in the decor.

2 ) Determine what paper you wish to use. You can probably use anything… scrapbook paper, something you’ve designed yourself, newsprint, maybe even the comics page.

3 ) Print out your letters. If you are really confident, you can put the paper you’re using right into the printer. I wasn’t so confident (I know my limits and Murphy’s Law) so I printed mine out on normal printer paper first, and used carbon paper to transfer the design onto the music.

4 ) Find some thin cardboard or thick cardstock. I used two empty cereal boxes… the front and back panels from each.

5 ) Glue the paper to the cardboard. Make sure you spread it out thinly so the paper doesn’t buckle (you can mix it with a little water if you wish) and all the way to the edges.

6 ) Cut out your letters.

7 ) Find some string. I used a piece of bailing twine I got from the barn, but I’m sure jute would work, or ribbon, or whatever you wish to use.

8 ) Tape the letters to the string

9 ) Brush a coat of Mod-Podge over the letters, if you feel like it. I didn’t feel like it. And if I did, I don’t think I could have because I don’t think I have any Mod-Podge.

10 ) Find some place to hang it, step back, and admire your handiwork!

*Update* The blog I got the inspiration from, Living with Lindsay, is having an inspiration link-up party, so I’m participating.

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