Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pretzel Shamrock Tutorial

Here's another one of my favorite tutorials from the old blog. I think I might have to make these tonight with the kids.

I came up with these as I was brainstorming some fun ideas for the kids to celebrate St. Patricks Day. I'll be honest... growing up, I had no idea what St. Patrick's Day was and all I cared about was making sure I was wearing green on March 17th. As long as the kids walk away with fun memories - that's all I can ask. We have read about leprechauns and talked about finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We have also talked about shamrocks and the significance of the three leaflets and why some think it to be a lucky charm. So this snack was a fun one to present to them. I did not do this with them as I wasn't looking for a chocolate and sprinkle covered kitchen - but the kids could easily help or even do this one on their own.

Pretzels - the knots and the mini sticks (I bought mine at the dollar store)
White melting chocolate - I used CandiQuik because I had it left over from Christmas
Green sprinkles (or you could use food coloring and color the chocolate)

Step 1: Melt the chocolate (or in the case of CandiQuik - candy coating) as directed on the package. I do it in the microwave and it only takes a little over a minute. Stir it when it comes out of the microwave to evenly distribute the heat and to melt those parts that didn't melt.

Step 2: Dip three knot pretzels and one mini stick. I just did less the half the pretzel and the tip of the stick because I didn't want a huge mess. But you could dip the entire thing for a very yummy shamrock.

Step 3: Assemble them as shown in the picture with the stick in the middle making sure that as each pretzel is up against another.

Step 4: Cover with sprinkles and allow to dry (only takes 5-10 minutes depending on how much coating you have).

Super easy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fan Heart Shamrock Tutorial

I'm still hoping to get my other tutorials transferred over to the new blog. I figure I'll start with the St. Patty crafts. This one will still direct you to the old blog because I haven't transferred the heart tutorial yet.

This is a fun project to do with the Fan Heart Tutorial that I did last month. It's easy and fast and it would make great place holders at a dinner table or make lots of them for a centerpiece.

Materials (for clover only)

Green paper (I cut and 8.5 x 11 sheet into 4.25" x 3" pieces)
Popsicle sticks (I bought a package of colored ones at the dollar store)

Step 1: Follow directions here for making the fan heart - make 4 (if you want a three leaf clover, you will probably need to make the hearts a little bit bigger)

Step 2: Fold the hearts in half (see picture below) and apply glue to the side of three of them.

Step 3: Stack all the three on top of each other with the glue-less one on top. I rubber band them together to hold them while they dry.

Step 4: Open it up and apply glue to the two outside ends. Put a Popsicle stick in the middle and hold closed for a minute until glue dries.

I used a small pot (found at the dollar store) and some dirt and stood it up. You can write a person's name on the stem of the shamrock or on the pot itself to use it as a place holder.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Work in Progress - Lady Gaga Hello Kitty Dress

Last year I had a little fun and replicated the Bjork swan dress. It was a lot of fun and I got a great response from it (plus, it sold). So I was looking for another challenge dress to make... and someone brought the Hello Kitty Lady Gaga dress to my attention. This was around October of last year.

So, I've been slowly working up to it. The first challenge was finding all the Hello Kittys - remember 100% recycled, so they had to be from thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Luckily I have retired parents that love to bargain hunt. They have collected nearly 40 plush Hello Kitty. We have yet to see if it's enough.
I have many more challenges ahead of me as I have now completed the base dress and one row of elastic. I thought I'd share my progress here.
This is the base dress. It has two hoops (they are removable so that the dress can be washed and shipped easily). My daughter loves the dress this way... and if I didn't have a huge pile of plush, I might have just stopped here. But I love a challenge and I want to see if I can replicate this dress.
I stitched on one layer of elastic. I originally designed this so that the kitties could be removed and played with. Of course, I'm not sure this is going to be a practical dress that anyone could ever wear.

This dress, with just one layer of plush, is very heavy. I've reinforced many of the seams up top anticipating extra weight... however, I didn't anticipate it being as heavy as it is already. So, I'll be doing some more reinforcement as I add more layers of elastic. We still have at least 3 - 4 more layers. Yikes! Thankfully they get smaller as we go up. I have a feeling this is going to be quite the display piece at my shows.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Super Simple Flower Headband from Recycled Tshirts

I have a number of flowers that I make with my recycled tshirt scraps. This is the simplest and quickest flower that I make. I like it because it's versatile (I use it on many different things) and it uses buttons!

So, I've put together a quick tutorial for the leaves, flower and an example of what you can do with it.

  • Recycled tshirt scraps (I used different shades of orange and green - using one color of green on each side also looks good)
  • Thread
  • Button
  • Stretchy Headband (I bought mine from the dollar store)


1. Put two pieces of tshirt scrap together with wrong sides together. I just folded this piece in half.

2. Sorry about the brightness of this one, the flash went off because obviously I sew with too little light. But I used white so that you could see the stitch. I make a curve for one side of the leaf. Then with the needle down, turn the fabric to sew the middle vein (you can also make the second stitch the outside and do the inside last, it's up to you).

3. I don't worry about making sure that the ends match up... I kind of like when they don't. Again, keep the needle down and turn the fabric for the last stitch.

4. once you finish the third stitch, you can just put the needle in the up position and move the fabric over to begin the process again. It makes it quicker when you are making a lot of leaves.

4. Cut of the threads and cut about an eighth inch from the stitches. You are done with the leaf! I make two of them for the headband.


1. Cut 4 circles from the tshirt scraps. I make my circles each a different size so that you can see each color. I also cut them freehand rather than using a template. I like the look of the not so perfect circle. You can vary the look of your flower by adding more circles, making them the same size and color, etc.

2. Stack the circles on top of each other and choose a button for the middle.

3. Stitch the button on going through the center of all the circles. You can either tie it off and your flower is done or if you are going to add it to a headband, leave the thread for the next step.


1. Stitch the headband onto the back of the flower. I make sure it only goes through the last two circles so that you don't see your stitches from the front. I also sew through the elastic headband so that it stays in place.

2. Stitch it several times and tie off the end.

3. Place the leaves along the back. I try not to run them long along the headband, otherwise the headband will be over the leaves. I also like to overlap the leaves so that I don't have to sew it more than once.

4. Starting your thread underneath so that it doesn't show, start stitching the leaves on. I do small stitches from one side to the other so that they don't show.

5. I tie off the thread, then thread it though the back of the leaves and cut it back there so I don't have thread showing on the other side. And you're done! Super simple :)

I'll be sharing another tutorial for another idea of what you can do with these flowers. The green in this project is the green from that green shirt I had posted about previously... I'll share the project the scraps came from soon!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Work in progress

I'm still here! Unfortunately, I'm also still in my slump, but I've been forcing a little productivity. I have a few tutorials that I am working on (hopefully at least one will make it the site!). In addition to a lack of motivation, I'm also suffering from a lack of focus. Not a good combination.

There are many things on the horizon and I've done little to prepare. So I'm sure my blog posts will be sporadic in the next few weeks... or until I get my mojo back. An etsyRAIN Spring Holiday Show is in the planning phase (it's be the day after Mother's Day) which not only do I help plan, but I also vend (read: I need to sew!). I have yet to sign up for any shows this year. Yes, I have missed the deadline for many summer ones... and it doesn't really bother me. I figure it'll all work itself out, right? I really need to be more productive though because we are planning a family vacation at the end of the summer... and our extra money normally comes from my business.

Anyhow, last month I attended the etsyRAIN "holiday" party. I had the pleasure of meeting several new members, and I enjoyed the company of all the old (not in age) members that I like to call me friends. During this event, Kim of Pepo Park gave me a HUGE box of tshirts. All the same... and all green. Luckily, I like the green... and there is TONS of usable fabric on each shirt. So I thought I'd take a few of them and make a couple tutorials of things you can do with recycled tshirts.

These are the shirts and the tutorial I am working on is transforming this lovely shirt in to a cute fairy skirt. Super simple and little sewing experience needed. I'll try to have it posted in the next day or two (I'm hoping putting it here will motivate me to finish it up).

I've got to shake this "funk" I'm in. I think it's unhealthy for me, my family and my blog :) Do you ever have moments like this? What do you do to shake it? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


My daughter's birthday party was last month. Her rainbow birthday party. And yes, we still have most of the decorations up. I figure, I went through all that time hanging it up, I might as well stretch it until St. Patick's Day. In the photo above, you also see cloud pillows (tooth fairy pillows to be exact - given to each of her friends) and gold at the end of the rainbow. These were surprise balls with their favors inside them.

But I think one of my favorite details was the rain. I made clouds with balloons and hung rain - because you can't have a rainbow without rain.

Here's what I did. I really wanted to use recycled paper - maps would have been my first choice. However, because I procrastinated so long, I didn't have time to hunt some down. So, I bought a package of index cards at the dollar store.
All you need is string, strips of index cards (mine were about an inch wide), hole punch and a stapler. Oh, and lots of staples if you are planning on making a lot of raindrops like we did.

First, you will want to punch a hole in the middle of the strips. I used my small hole punch and it seemed to work great. The size of the hole need to be big enough to string the string through it.

Well, then you string your string through the hole in one strip.

Fold it over without creasing it and staple it together with the string running between each side of paper.

I left room between each drop. Keep stringing them on until it's the length you want. Staple one last one at the end of the string to finish it off.

Soooo easy! I think it just adds that little extra detail that makes the decorations a little more special.


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