Jo-Ann National Craft Month – Spring Rug Project

By Lia

Shout out to all of us living above the Mason-Dixon line – today it’s 55-ish degrees out and it feels like we’re living in a tropical paradise. We’ve made it. And I’m exhausted to even have to say it again, but I am so.over.this.winter. Which is why when Erin and I relaunched the site a few months ago, we were ecstatic to see that the awesome folks at one of our favorite stores, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, had contacted us to take part in their spring National Craft Month campaign, we practically screamed with joy. Not only because it sparked a ton of amazing ideas, but because it means that may be the sun is going to come back afterall. (And click here for a $5 off coupon for you so you can take part, as well!)

We reviewed the four key trends for the spring season to guide our project – the lovely trend of orchid-inspired everything thanks to Pantone’s Radiant Orchid being color of the year, florals, nautical and geometric. For me, the choice was simple. I am an orchid nut, so I knew that would be the base. But I love a good floral in spring. So I decided to split the difference and make an orchid colored rug, with a floral-inspired print!  I also gave it a switchable back so it can be changed out per season (was so proud of myself for thinking about that.)  I picked a jacquard-style print, with a ribbon embellishment, also in orchid. Here is the finished product! The best part is, it only took me two hours. (Please ignore the blurriness of this pic. My nice camera ran out of battery near the end of the project, so this is an iPhone snap. The rest of the pics are good, swear.)

Rug

And here is the how-to!

First – I went on Jo-Ann’s Website  and started shopping!*  I immediately was drawn to this swatch of fabric.

Swatch

Unfortunately, you can only now only get this in get an 8” x 8′ swatch but I bought the whole yard, like this. The indigo is lovely, IMO. The price came to an extremely affordable $14.99, which is awesome, because my rug is 3′ x 2′ which means I have a ton of fabric left over for more fun.

Then, I scooped up this lovely satin ribbon. I knew I wanted an embellishment of some kind, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I bought the ribbon and decided I’d figure it out later. For $2.99 it was a steal.

ribbon

I actually already owned the other materials you’ll need for the project, but those are:

  • Small roll of shelf liner
  • Scissors
  • Square velcro strips
  • Thread
  • Needle
  • Fusible Web 

Step 1:  First things first – you have to measure your rug! I wanted it to be 3 feet long and two feet high, so I measured out 38 inches x 26 inches, so allow for a one-inch seam on all sides.

measure

Measuring across

 

2 inches

Adding two extra inches

 

Step 2:  Once you have everything measured, it’s time to cut!

Cut out

All cut out

Step 3: After cutting it out, give it a good iron to make it nice and flat. Then, begin pressing down a one-inch seam on all sides.

Pressing down bit by bit

Pressing down bit by bit

One side down...

One side down…

4 sides folded

Four sides down

Step 4: Now, use the fusion tape to make those seams stick.

webbig

Tuck the fusible web in there and press!

Step 5: Now, it’s time to work on the ribbon. After Pinterest-ing and Googling around, I finally found this cute little tutorial on Pinterest on how to braid a ribbon. It took me a couple tries to get the hang of it, but once I did, it took all of five minute to whip a braid into shape.

Braid in progress

Braid in progress

securing ribbon

I finished the braid by using just a little thread to hold everything in place. You can use hot glue, too, but I wanted to perhaps wash this at some point, so the glue didn’t seem like a permanent solution. I also added a little loop on the back end, just so that it looked more finished.

It can be messy in back. No one will see it!

It can be messy in back. No one will see it!

 

finished ribbon

Step 8: Now, attach your embellishment to the rug with a few more stitches. My camera died on this step, so sadly I don’t have a photo. But! You can also glue it down if that’s easier.

Step 9: Almost done! Flip your rug over and give it one more good iron. Now it’s time to attach your backing. I realized that if I attached the backing with Velcro, I can reuse it for future rugs! I put Velcro in the four corners.

Velcro on fabric

Velcro on fabric

 

velcro down 2

And now onto the backing

Now the backing is on!

Now the backing is on!

Step 10: Now flip over, and you’re done!

finished

Sorry again for the blurry photo. My good camera died!

A big thank you to Jo-Ann who provided the inspiration for this project! As always, we want our reader to know that Jo-Ann generously provided a gift certificate to purchase the items to complete this craft, but the positive opinions expressed on the materials and online experience were all our own!

Let us know what you’re making for spring!

Will You Be My Valentine?

By Erin Happy almost Valetine’s Day! Today I made the CUTEST Valentine’s cards.  A few of my friends had baby boys right around the same time I had baby T., so I thought, wouldn’t it be cute to send Valentines to their sons from Baby T? (And I thought these would also be cute to send to grandparents and cousins!) Since most of these friends had only seen baby T once or not at all, I wanted to use her beautiful newborn photos from Anne Constance I blogged about a few weeks ago.

Because Baby T. is sleeping in the photos, I decided to go with a dream theme, and also wanted to use this cute owl stamp I found for a few bucks at Michael’s. Here’s two of my finished products! Aren’t they the cutest?

 

They’re so easy to replicate – you can use he same sayings if you have a photo of your baby sleeping, or you could say something like “Hooooo wants to be your Valentine?”

First, I found these cards for $1 at Michaels. Yes – 8 notecards WITH envelopes for a $1.

I picked up some stickers for a few dollars more:

And this adorable owl stamp, which was just a few dollars.

I used a silver and black sharpie to write my words. On the pink card, I decided to use this cute candy hearts ribbon that I had in my ribbon box. I stuck it on with a dab of glue and a heart sticker.

I also used glue to stick the pictures on the inside. That was it. So easy and super cute! I think my friends will like them! Are you making any cute Valentine’s?

Project Update: Jewelry Box Redo

By Lia

So this week the temperatures in the Northeast dipped. You may have heard. Or seen on Facebook. Because apparently it’s all anyone can talk about when it’s winter. How cold it is. :)

I’ve tried hard not to complain because our unusually warm winter is kind of scary to me, even though I can’t lie – global warming is kind of great for that one reason. (Not all the other reasons! But that one we can kind of agree on right?) Anyway, when the temperature is 11 degrees, but feels like -3 degrees, you sort of lose the desire to do anything that involves not being three inches or less from your radiator. So, driven indoors, I started in on the jewelry box I found in my community giveaway pile that I shared a photo of last week. 

Now, forgive how messy it looks – projects like these are always darkest before the dawn! But I’m really happy with how it’s coming out. I should have thought ahead and done a little sanding of chipped paint before starting, so I may have to still do that over the acrylic I’m using and then fix those areas…but overall, it’s looking pretty pretty pretty good!

I am going to redo the box in brown, gray and gold, which matches my bedroom color scheme and doesn’t clash with my dresser. Here is a quick look after one coat of paint. The good news is, in these first coats, you can be a little messy. The gold acrylic I have covers everything, which is why you can see I didn’t try to stay inside the lines with the brown.

 

 

 

And then here is some shots after two coats of paint, and the added gray:

And a close up so you can see that it’s REALLY okay to be messy!

 

This weekend I should be able to finish! I’ll take pictures in better light so the quality of the photo is much better. And you can see where I still need to sand and do some clean up, but overall a vast improvement! Can’t wait to finish!

How to Make an Easy Valentine’s Day Wreath

By Erin

A few years ago I made this super cute wreath for Valentine’s Day. When I make wreaths that aren’t made with anything fresh and can pack away easily, I always save them for the years following. This one is the perfect wreath to use over and over as you really can’t ruin the pom poms once they’re glued on.  If you use wire-rimmed ribbon for the bow, you can also just pop the bow right back into shape. If you’re not a bow person this one looks cute enough to display without a bow, too.

To make the wreath:

- Start with a green foam wreath from Michael’s or AC Moore.

- Using hot glue, cover with red and white pom poms.  You can use small ones, large ones, or a mixture, like I did.  Let dry overnight, add a bow and hang!

 

One Girl’s Trash…

By Lia

It never ceases to amaze me what people in this city throw away. In my house, I have no less than three lamps, two end tables, three air conditioners and countless other perfectly good knick-knacks that have all come from the street. Sometimes, with just a simple coat of paint, these pieces become something amazing.  All you have to do is look a little closer.

Which is why I was SO excited to find this little jewelry box in my apartment’s community giveaway pile.

It’s perfect! Just in need of a little TLC. I can have this whole thing redone and looking brand spanking new in two hours. Which is exactly what I plan to do.

When looking to re-paint or update something, I find that the keys to knowing you have a winner are:

  • Overall shape. This jewelry box has a great look to it and it’s not dented, nor is the wood splintered or broken.
  • Cleanliness. The marks you see are just scuffs, easily covered up.
  • Hardware. I could change the hardware on this, but it’s all there and nothing is loose or broken. Why mess with it? 

I likely won’t have time this weekend to give this the attention it deserves, but with a slow week up ahead, stay tuned! This little guy will be ready for top-of-my-dresser living in no time!

Easy Desk Organization

By Lia

A really clever post on BuzzFeed today shares some easy ways to organize your office space in the New Year. If you’re anything like me and my co-workers, keeping your desk organized falls somewhere between climbing Mount Everest and hitching a ride to the international space station in terms of levels of difficulty. And why? It’s where we spend most of our time. Here is a real run down of everything currently in my office cube:

  • a chandelier
  • four pairs of silver shoes that I’m definitely going to return to Zappos, even though I bought them more than 2.5 years ago
  • Five dresses to be altered
  • A pair of running shoes I need to return
  • A very fancy telephone from someone else’s office
  • Five water cups on my desk
  • A bathing suit I need to return
  • A hair straightener

And that’s just what I can see within my line of sight. God only knows what’s out of my line of sight. So trust that I’ll be putting some of these tips in action in the next few days, if for no other reason than that I’m an adult and that’s what I should do.

How to Make an Ornament Wreath

Continuing my last-minute Christmas spirit activities, I hung the ornament wreath I made last year.  It’s pretty cute, huh? Did I mention you can make this IN AN HOUR?  I got these ornaments in a box from Target last year, but I saw some SUPER cheap ones at Ikea earlier this month.

It’s quick and easy to get your house all spruced up before guests come over. All you need is a wreath and some hot glue.  The full tutorial can be found here, on last year’s post. 

 

A Douglas Fir Christmas Wreath

By Erin

The rumor is true. I had a baby. And she’s absolutely perfect.  I’d like to say I’m up all hours of the night, and I never sleep, which is why we haven’t posted in so long on the blog… but that would be a lie.  She’s a good sleeper. Honestly, I’m too busy staring at her cute little face that I don’t have time to craft or cook. Literally, I just sit there and stare at her and hold her. It’s the absolute best.

But the other day I was getting sad that we hadn’t done anything to get in the Christmas spirit. We hadn’t gotten a tree, I hadn’t pulled out our decorations, I had hardly started shopping. So when I was at the farmer’s market last Saturday, and decided to buy a Douglas Fir wreath and turn it into something special.  Here’s the final product:

I wanted to layer the Fir wreath on top of another wreath I had at home, to give it some depth.  Here’s how I did it.  I started with two wreaths, the Fir being slightly smaller:

I first tied the two wreaths together with a random piece of ribbon.

I decided to use this ribbon in the background, to add a little gold  in the center void between the top and bottom. So when I tied the two wreaths together, I left one side very long, and brought it down to the bottom.  I then tied it on the opposite side in the back as well.

Then I made a bow, of course. I tied another gold around the middle of the bow.  I used this to attach it to the wreath.

The bow would go at the top. At the bottom, I wrapped the same color ribbon around the wreath, and help it together with a piece of tape.  Here’s the tape:

That’s it! All done!

Getting in the Halloween Spirit

I ALWAYS love Halloween. In past years, my friends and I dress up, and we go to our favorite bar, The Dove.  I’ve been Karen from Will and Grace, Sarah Palin, and one year, my friend Steve. That was a work of genius.  The last few years the marathon has gotten in the way, which makes me sad.  And this year, well not surprising, I won’t be participating in our usual debauchery.  For those of you on baby watch, we’re just over 37.5 weeks. Getting close! Any day now, really.

Because we live in a brownstone we also won’t get any trick-or-treaters, which is a bummer. But I still wanted SOME sort of decoration.  Pathetically, all I could muster up this year was this cute zombie bow that I added to the cork wreath that hangs on our door.  It’s easy to make a cork wreath seasonal by adding decoration that can be taken off easily, like a bow.

Next year, I promise homemade costumes for baby and me.

Learning to Knit on Double Points

For those of you who don’t knit, this is probably totally boring. But for those of you who do, you will understand my excitement as I scream, “I DID IT!!! I DID IT! I Knitted a hat on double  points!”

It was my first self-taught attempt, and it was TRYING. I think I had to restart about 10 times.  I watched a bunch of videos online (Google “how to knit on double pointed needles”), and turned to websites like Knit Picks and The Purl Bee for instructions on how to get started. These were all totally helpful. The hardest part for me was keeping the stitches on the needles, and not letting them fall off. Once they fell off, disaster.  I dropped stitches, they weren’t coming together right, etc.

I was trying to use a set of short size five needles.  I decided to give it a try instead on longer, size six needles, and that helped me get the hang of it much easier  - and helped the stitches stay on the needles easier, since they were longer.   I used this VERY simple pattern I found online, which is all just straight up knitting, not purling, nothing fancy. Forming the crown was even very easy.

It’s not perfect, and of course I’m obsessing over the two or three dropped stitches in there that I didn’t notice.  I also think its a bit too big for the baby as a newborn.  But its pretty good for a first attempt! I’m knitting another one now, the same exact one, but on smaller needles so it will hopefully fit her right in the beginning.  I will use this one when she’s a bit bigger. Or, maybe I’ll pull all the yarn out and start over.  Once I’m obsessing over a mistake, its all I can see!