Monday, July 30, 2012

Cell Phone Case

Hello again!

I am here with my latest sewing project! It is another simple one that turns out super cute... and useful too! It is a cell phone case and can be done several ways.

The original tutorial, here, uses all of the "official" sewing supplies and tools. For those of us who haven't quite built up our collection of supplies, you have my two variations:

1) use this plastic grid material, I am not exactly sure of its name so here is a picture:

2) use felt!
Both of these materials were used in place of the interfacing and batting, which are materials used in sewing to make bags and such more sturdy.

For my phone case I added 1/4 inch more length because I have an HTC EVO 4G, not an iPhone and it is a bit taller. I used a different fabric for the inner and outer material and I used the same fabric as the inside for the tab.

My first phone case used bright fabrics with pink as the main color... Perfect! I followed the instructions (leaving off the parts for the interfacing and batting) except when it says to leave a hole for turning on the side, I left one of the short ends open instead. This allowed me to then fold the fabric in half with the inside fabric out and sew up one side, insert my plastic grid in the opening, sew that shut, then turn right side out and sew the final side stitch. Unfortunatly this final stitch is visible but since I used pink thread and sewed so close to the edge you can hardly notice!
**note: I used a peice of plastic grid that was the same size as just one of the finished sides(half as big as the batting or interface measurements).

I was so pleased with my result I have been using my case ever since! Here is a pic:

Isn't it cute?

This pattern was so fun and simple I decided to make another! This time I experimented with felt to replace the interfacing and batting. In this case I used more primary colors, reds and blues with fun patterns!

I again used the slightly bigger measurements and cut the felt the same size as suggested for the batting (plus 1/4 inch). Then I pretty much just followed the instructions and I was done! Here is the result:

Another cutie! You can get this one in my store on, ChicBoutique! Check it out!

Let me know how you like this blog and this craft :)

My first sewing project in a long time...

Hello :)

Well you may not know this but I actually own a sewing machine! My grandma got it for me several years ago when I first showed interest in sewing (both of my grandmas are sewing queens!). So I sewed a few things but I never really got into sewing due to lack of time and interest. But recently, after so much time on Pinterest... I decided to bring it out and give sewing another go. The results have been suprisingly good! Disclaimer: when I say good, I mean good for me... Not good when you look at the overall sewing skill scale haha!

So after scowering the internet for a beginner's sewing project, I settled on this simple bag. Well... Seemingly simple. Click here for the original step by step instructions by The Sewing Dork.

Here is how it went for me:
The blog says to use a pillowcase to make the bag, I didn't have a spare pillow case to sew but I used one as a pattern to cut my fabric. I used a denim-ish fabric for the outside and a plain red cotton fabric for the inside. My coordinating fabric for the straps and pocket was yellow with some blue butterflies.

Now I am going to tell you what I did but please pay close attention to the hints! This was a learning experience and hindsite is 20/20 so your bag can turn out even better than mine! :)

So after cutting the shell and liner fabric I began to sew the long edges with right sides together. I then realized that I should have sewn on the pocket to the liner so that the stitching wouldn't show on the outside. Lucky for me I realized this before I sewed shut the short edges! I cut a pretty big square of fabric and hemed all the edges and then situated my fabric on my machine so that only the liner would be sewn to the pocket. It worked pretty well, if I had sewn the pocket to the liner before it was attached to the outside fabric it would have been more centered, but it still serves its purpose as a pocket :)

**Another pocket hint! Make sure that you only sew 3 sides of the pocket. Otherwise it will not be a pocket! And make sure your one open side will end up being up (so when you have the finished bag your bag and pocket opening are facing the same way...up!

Next I turned my fabric right sides out and sewed the top and bottom edges so that the outter fabric would be seen on the inside (this was instead of using the tape, which I do not own). This is when I realized my next error. I should have sewn the straps onto the outer fabric first too. Like the pocket, I didnt want the stitching from the straps to show on the inside of the bag. Alas I had no choice. This problem also affected the positioning of the straps because I did not want to sew my pocket shut at all either. Because of this my straps were not exactly as I wanted and instead of attaching them by sewing on both edges, I had to just sew along the middle of each strap and therefore they do not lay as flat as I wish.

So the moral of the story so far is to sew the accesories onto inner and outer fabrics FIRST before attaching them together as a bag. If you do this, you will have a really nice looking bag!

Back to the straps:
The tutorial gives an approximate length for the straps but I wasn't sure if those would work for me since I was not using an actual pillowcase. The way I determined the length for my straps was to measure the length of the bag (layed flat, it isn't quite a bag at this point, more like a long rectangle with a pocket on one side) and add about 2 feet. This way the bag will go on your shoulder without being right up against your armpit when you carry it :) no one likes an armpit bag! You will need to make TWO straps. One for each half of the bag. They will meet at the bottom of the bag so you dont see the seams.

After you attach the straps, fold the bag right sides together (this was yet another point of error for me... I realized my cutting skills need some improvement, one end of my bag was wider than the other. Oops :/ so basically I had some more fabric on the inside of my bag in the end, not a big deal but I would be more careful to cut evenly next time). With right sides together, sew the two edges, turn and you're done!

Despite my mistakes I am still pleased with my bag because I think it is really cute and it was my first time sewing in a long time. The thing I love about this bag is that you can easily change the pattern to make any size of bag. If you are a more experienced sewer you could even add a zipper to the bag for security.

Well I hope your first attempt is smoother than mine! I look forward to sharing more of my sewing adventures with you!

Happy crafting :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Countdown Keychain

Todays craft is a creation all my own! The "countdown keychain" was inspired by my upcoming beach trip! I am really looking forward to it so I decided to make a countdown... 12 days to go!
Above is a picture of the final product. I used markers, 3D stickers, and color-your-own stickers. This project is the perfect craft to use up any scraps or left overs from scrapbooks. My countdown is for my beach vacation and therefore is beach themed, but the great thing about this tutorial is that it can be for ANY occasion! Here's how to make your own:

Step 1. Figure out how many days until your event, trip, or holiday. Add 1 for the "zero" page (I like to have a 0 for the day-of but you can leave it out if you'd prefer). Add another 1 for the cover page. So for my trip that is 12 days away, I had 14 squares. Even after the countdown is over, I plan to keep my craft and I want to remember what is was from someday!

Step 2. Cut out the number of squares (or any shape) of cardstock you'll need. I had some leftover squares from a previous project that I had saved thinking, "someday I will need some squares for something"... And I was right! Because these were scraps they ranged in size from 9.5cm to 10cm squares, so sligtly different. Just adds character :)
Step 3. Stack up all of your "pages" so that they all match up at one corner. Make a single hole punch in the upper left hand corner of one page and use that as a pattern for the other pages.
Step 4. Decorate! Go crazy! Make it fun! I tried to make the number the focus of each page (it is a countdown after all!). By the end I was getting more creative and tried to incorporate the number into a beach themed object! When I reached a brain block, I just googled "beach doodles" and got some great ideas! Below are some of the stickers I used.

Step 5. Layout all your pages to admire your hard work :)
Step 6. This is where the "keychain" part comes in. Find a key ring somewhere, I just went to my box of keychains and took one off an old souvineir keychain. You could use a ribbon, some string, a rubber band, even a twisted paper clip! Anything will work! Then put your key ring through each page. If I were to do it again, I would somehow reinforce the holes. Luckily none of my pages ripped this time, but I was concerned that it could happen.

Well I hope you like this idea and that there is something for you to countdown to! I have to say, this would be a great alternative to an advent calendar for the holidays, just an idea!
As always, comment below with your results! Or let me know what you think of this idea, what you plan to do, how you would change it, and what you're counting down to!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cutest Bracelet Ever! And I made it myself!

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These are now available in my Etsy shop! Pick from 4 great colors :)

This is a tutorial to make one of the cutest bracelets I have ever seen!  It is surprisingly simple but will impress your friends because it looks really complex!  I made three so far but gave one away to a friend, but below is a photo of the two I kept:
Cute right?  Here is my disclaimer: I did NOT come up with this idea... I found it on Pinterest, here is the link to the original tutorial:  Her blog has step by step pictures of how to do the tying, I made these before having a blog so I did not do that.  Also she offers a kit for you to buy to make your own bracelet, or for those less ambitious, the opportunity to buy one already made!

But anyways, back to my tutorial :)

I wanted to tell my experience when making the bracelet for those of you who can be crafting challenged, like me.

When I first saw this idea I decided to just get my own supplies, they look like this:

I got the hemp and jewels from Michael's Arts and Crafts Store and the bracelets from Forever 21.  It took me a minute to find the jewels at Michael's, they were actually on a row near the hemp at my store.   You can look for the package shown above, it is on one of the jewelry rows; and don't worry, they can be cut apart with scissors, no real tools needed!  You will also need some sort of strong glue, I used my trusty hot glue gun and that seemed to be sufficient!

After you have purchased your supplies you are ready to begin!

Step 1. Select the bracelet and hemp color you want to use.  The bracelets that I had were all different colors and thicknesses.  I first did a pink bangle with pink hemp (my fav!) and then a yellow bangle with the green hemp.  The one I made for my friend was a dark purple bangle with the light purple hemp... she loved it!

Step 2. Cut the hemp to the suggested length (if you have thicker bangles, like mine, be sure to use a longer string of hemp than what is suggested on the Yellow Blackbird blog).

Step 3. Glue the jewels onto the bangle.  I followed the picture and just used 4 jewels but I think it could work with more!  Try it out!  Here is my hint: keep your desired number of jewels attached together but glue them down one at a time (as opposed to putting a strip of glue and then laying them all down together).  This worked better for me because each jewel got placed more precisely and I could make sure each one was secure.

Step 4. Follow the steps for tying the hemp, it can be tough to get started but once you get going it is really not bad!  My tip for this step is to make sure that you keep the hemp evenly in half when you start, otherwise one string will get too short.  Also, as a note, if you do run out of hemp before the bracelet is covered, have no fear! you can just glue the ends of that string onto the bangle and start a new piece as you did in the beginning!  I had to do this several times, the only thing is that there are more lumps of glue on the inside, which no one really sees anyways!  Another hint is to make sure the "knots" are on the edge or are more to the outside of the bracelet, this is what makes the bracelet cute so you want those to be visible.

Step 5. Glue the ends of your final piece of hemp and cut off any excess.  You can make the "knots" as tight or as loose as you'd like, the style on the original blog is very tight, you don't see any of the bangle.  My "knots" are a little more spaced out, you can see through to the bangle, which in this case I like because I had colorful bangles.  The choice is yours!  No one way is better or worse, it is whatever fits your style!

Well I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope my hints are helpful!  I hope you try this out and post your results, I'd love to see what your style leads you to make!

Happy Crafting :)
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And don't forget to go check out Precious Prep!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Letter Art - The Craft with Many Uses

Tonight I found myself feeling a little bored and at the same time having that need to craft.  Luckily I discovered something that is easy, quick, and fun!  Letter Art!  After cleaning off my bookshelf recently I found some old books with ideas for letter art designs (you can still buy the same one I have here).  Tonight when I decided to work on a project using letter art, I remembered I needed to make a birthday card for someone whose birthday is in a few days.  This was the perfect way to get me started!  After flipping through all the ideas I settled on a flower design.  Here is my process for creating (I think) a relatively good looking card:

Step 1. Fold paper into your desired card shape, I was boring today and went with white, which turned out not to be such a bad choice since my design was busy.
Step 2. Start drawing in PENCIL!  Feeling brave and just starting with marker, pen, etc? I hope you have extra paper because chances are you'll mess up at some point.  Don't try to replicate the book too hard, you do want it to have that handmade feel a little bit.  Your own spin on things will make your card that much more personal :)
Step 3. Go over the letters (not the flowers) with marker, I chose green since to me the letters are kind of like the stems of the flowers.
Step 4. Color the flowers, I followed the color scheme used in the book today but you could easily change it up to match your style or the recipient's favorite colors.
Step 5. Write a message inside, sign your name, and you're done!  Sometimes I like to write something on the back of the card so the recipient knows it is made with love, such as: made especially for (recipient name) by (your name).

After finishing the birthday card, my need to craft was not yet satisfied, so I found the next design I wanted to try and wrote my name.  I chose the Zebra print and did my name in bubble letters, outlined in black.  Then I used purple and blue colored pencils to decorate the rest of the page.

Here are my results and a picture of the book:

I hope you can have some fun with letter art and maybe even come up with some designs of your own! This was a really simple craft that wasn't too time consuming (although it could be...) and made me feel like a kid again!  Let me know how your designs turn out!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July!!

Hello again,

Sorry for not posting any crafts yet... I have been really busy with school and getting ready for tomorrow's festivities!  So this isn't exactly a craft but I believe most people who enjoy crafts will enjoy this extremely simple tutorial for... The Perfect Patriotic Look!

Pictured above is my celebration outfit and my patriotic nails!  Want to re-create the look?  Here's how:

Step 1. Go to Target (or any store it seems like) and buy flag shorts!  When I first saw this trend I wasn't a fan, but one day at Target I decided to try these on and I fell in love!  What better way to show love for our country than sporting some stars and stripes?
Step 2. Get a navy blue shirt... easier said than done, believe it or not!  I searched many stores to find a simple, plain, navy blue shirt and my final attempt found me at Hollister... success!
Step 3. Buy and/or look around you house for red, white, and (I like sparkly) blue nail polish.
Step 4. Paint your thumbs blue and then alternate with red and white on the other fingers (hey, I warned you it would be extremely simple!).  If you are in a more adventurous mood you could add a star to your thumb or maybe a few stripes here and there (I have done this previously for other occasions using  some thinly cut labels, but thats a whole other tutorial!).
Step 5. Party it up!  Have a fantastic 4th! Have fun, be proud, be safe!

Until next time :)