Archive for the ‘Christmas Crafts’ Category
Marshmallow Shooters & Shields
My dissertation was submitted and I had nothing better to do than sit and wait (right, and if you believe that I have an entire “to-do” list you can complete for me!). So, over Thanksgiving I decided to start working on some Christmas gifts – many of which I had purchased supplies for LAST year! This year’s “fun” gift was family sets of marshmallow shooters with shields!
Supplies (for one shooter):
12-inch length of 1/2 inch PVC pipe (sprinkler/plumping pipe)
One – 1/2 inch end cap
Two – 1/2 inch elbows
One – 1/2 inch T joint
Craft glue (I like Tacky Glue)
Cut the PVC pipe into three pieces 2” long, and two pieces 3” long. My original intent was to cut these by hand with a small saw…luckily, I ran into my neighbor at Lowe’s and when she found out what I was up to, she volunteered her husband and his nice, FAST table saw (we bartered 3 shooters in the deal!). What was I thinking??? I did cut one piece by hand, and it took me as long to make one cut as it did for T.H. to do about 20!
It is also important to get two smooth edges (one for each end, since invariably big and little people pick them up and “shoot” out of either end). Even though the table saw made pretty smooth cuts, I still used the sand paper to “finish” off the edges a bit.
Lay out as shown in the picture below.
Starting with the mouthpiece end (top right in picture), use a paint brush, Q-tip, or foam applicator, to brush a SMALL amount of craft glue around the edge of the connecting end (of course, if you put the glue on the wrong end, just flip it around – if it is smooth enough!). You may need to add a few drops of water to the glue to get it to be “brushing” consistency. Insert the PVC piece into the elbow and wipe away any excess glue. Repeat process for each PVC piece and connector. I let the shooters dry overnight before putting them away to start on the next project – the body armor.
*The PVC pipe comes in 5’ lengths – with careful measuring/cutting, I was able to get enough “little” pieces to make 5 shooters out of each length – if your pieces aren’t exactly 2” or 3” it is no big deal!
*You do not want to do the pipe cutting inside – we made a real mess on my neighbors’ patio!
*I made 18 of these shooters for less than $20, including a new bottle of Tacky Glue
*Play rules include “No aiming at heads” – Marshmallows travel at high speeds when shot!
*After the initial gift giving/opening, these shooters have been consigned to outside play only (see picture below – marshmallow stuck on INSIDE of living room window, found FIVE days after Christmas!)
*I think these would be fabulous fun for a sleepover, couples wedding shower, family reunion, etc. You would certainly “break the ice” quickly!
Supplies for One Shield:
½ yard fabric (all one color, or assorted scraps – I used flannel, mainly because that was the only pink camouflage I could find)
½ yard of 3/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
12” of 7/8” wide grosgrain ribbon
1/2 yard of Heavy-duty interfacing
Embellishments – optional (e.g., buttons, silk flowers)
Since I made enough of these to outfit an army (or at least a large squad!), I started by cutting out a number of solid color pieces for the backing. Then after cutting out an assortment of full pieces from the coordinating fabrics, I cut them into smaller pieces and did some mixing-matching – this means your finished front piece will be a bit smaller than the backing (because of the seams) – just trim to match (I’m all about making these projects fun and easy – not precise and perfect!).
All seams were about ¼” (give or take!). Sew the two small pieces together – iron the seam and sew on a piece of the 3/8” ribbon (I used a zigzag stitch for this). Sew the top piece to the bottom and repeat ironing and ribbon. If you’re going to add buttons, an initial, or any other embellishment, now is the time!
Baste the interfacing to the inside of the solid back piece (or, if you were smart and actually bought iron-on interfacing, iron that stuff on!). Flip it over and on the outside, place 7/8”
ribbon for “grips”. See picture below for placement (I forgot to take the picture of the back as I was making these, so just used an extra piece of the interfacing … do NOT sew your grips onto the interfacing – because then they would be INSIDE the finished shield!).
Stitch ribbon in place on each end (where the pins are in place).
Now, placing right sides together (after trimming the back piece to match the front piece), stitch the two pieces together, leaving a small opening so that you can stuff the pillow “shield”. Trim the seam, and then turn inside out. Stuff the shield and then top stitch to finish (and close the opening).
Once the “battle” got heated, we were laughing so hard I had tears running down my face! Too bad I forgot to make myself one!
Wishing you and yours a healthy, safe, and Happy New Year!
My 7 year old son is a LEGO maniac. Since he is so into building with his LEGO bricks, I decided to splurge on this:
If you buy LEGO products, you know that it was definitely a splurge…especially since I normally buy the dollar chocolate Advent calendars. Once I decided to purchase this for my son, I knew I needed to come up with an idea for my daughter. I contemplated the LEGO City Advent Calendar for her but I decided that while she would enjoy opening it up and putting the pieces together each day, it would ultimately end up in my son’s room.
I decided that I would make an Advent calendar myself using some of her favorite things. I have to give credit to my friend, E, for the idea. We researched different make-your-own Advent calendars on our favorite craft blogs and Pinterest, but nothing jumped out at us. There is one that we want to sew but we knew that would we would be cutting it close! That is when E saw the idea to tie up the little gifts in a candy roll style and hang it from a hook. We gathered up our goodies and got to work! For my daughter, I bought one package of Squinkies and I had a bag of Polly Pockets I had bought at a consignment store. I also had My Little Ponies in my closet that I used.
E made four of them. In her girls’ calendars, she tucked nail polish, lip gloss and candy. In her little guy’s calendar she used a bunch of Hot Wheels she was regifting from her older son. For her older son, it was LEGO Mini Figures and candy. They don’t have to be expensive items. They can be notes, candies, and more.
Making the Calendar
You need an inexpensive 2 ply with lining paper table cloth. We used a red tablecloth that E picked up at Target for $3.00, ribbon, scissors, and your items.
Cut your tablecloth. We started the project cutting the tablecloth on the short side because we wanted to make sure we got six calendars out of it. Because we cut on the short side, we had to tie two panels together. If you cut the long length, you shouldn’t have to combine more than one panel because it will be long enough. We cut our strip 8 inches wide so that all of the items would fit.
Decide the pattern of your gifts. If you are using all candy pieces, you can skip this step. If you are mixing up candy and toys or notes, you will want to decide how to arrange it. For example, E used 9 gifts (chapstick, nailpolish, Hot Wheel cars) and her pattern looked like this (the T stands for toy and the C stands for candy).
Tie off the top of your strip with curling ribbon.
Place your item in the tablecloth strip.
Twist the tablecloth around the item so that it covers it up and tie it off (kind of like a little piece of candy or sausage links).
Repeat until you have 25 links for the 25 days counting up until Christmas.
Curl the ribbon and hang from a hook. You can make a little card with an initial or name to staple to the top of the Advent calendar.
I knotted the ribbon so that little fingers wouldn’t decide to give it a tug. Each day, I am going to have my kids cut off the next surprise before the tied off ribbon. I hope this becomes a yearly tradition!
I. Love. Black Friday.
Black Friday is way more exciting to me then a turkey that had to cook all day and is eaten up in 15 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the together time with the family and the yummy food that was cooked lovingly but I spend the majority of Thanksgiving looking through the ads and making my game plan strategy.
We use Black Friday to pick up gifts for Christmas as well as things we have been eyeing for ourselves for awhile but just didn’t want to spend the money. That being said, I Christmas shop for my family all year and I need somewhere to keep track of purchases and also to store coupons and receipts. Usually I just pick up a new notebook but last year I was admiring my friend’s shopping notebook that she made herself. I convinced her to help me and this morning we completed our project!
To make your own little Black Friday book, you will need the following:
- marbled composition notebook
- four pieces of cardstock
- stickers or paper to use for decorative elements
- glue stick
- two sandwich bags
When my sewing buddy E sent this link to alphabet letter similar to these (I can’t find the original site she sent but the letters were similar to these), I thought she was nuts! Like I said before, I do not sew on a regular basis. I can attach ribbon to a burp cloth and I can sew a patch but I don’t consider myself any more than a total amateur. E decided to give it a try and I LOVED the way her letters looked so I decided to go for it! I am actually really happy with the way the letters turned out and they are going to be a perfect gift for my sweet baby nephew!
First, we decided to get rid of the magnets. They were going to little ones and we didn’t want to take any chances with the stitching opening up and the magnets falling out. Our letters are just to play with.
To make the letter template, we chose a Cricut font that appealed to us. We made sure that it did not have twists and curls and would be easy to stitch around. Once we decided which size and font, we cut out each letter of the alphabet onto cardstock.
Using the template, I traced each letter onto batting. **E and I each used a different batting. After the letters were finished, we decided that we liked the thicker batting better.
I gathered up 26 different scraps in boy-ish fabrics (not easy to do since lately all of my projects have been girly projects!) that were large enough to fold over the batting. This is where I need to mention that E did all of the legwork here. She practiced with several different techniques until we decided what looked the best and was the easiest way to mass produce these things!
I started with the letter A. I took the batting for the letter A, placed it in between two scraps of fabric (right sides out) and pinned the cardstock template A on top of the fabric. E was able to just stitch the letters but when I tried to feel the batting through the fabric to guide the sewing machine, my letters looked ridiculous! Pinning the cardstock template to the fabric gave me a sewing guide. Be sure to pin the cardstock in several spots because the cardstock had a tendency to slip if not pinned properly.
Once the letters were sewn, I used pinking shears to cut the letters out.
They are definitely not all pretty and not all perfectly shaped letters, but I love them!
These are headed to my sweet little nephew’s house, but my four year old has been looking at them all day. Methinks I will be making another set in the near future!
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I wanted to make a crayon apron for my daughter and my niece. I had my heart set on the cutest crayon apron, Simplicity Pattern 2295, but every time I went to Joann’s they were out or the pattern wasn’t on sale. I refuse to pay 15 dollars for a pattern when they sell them for 99 cents every other week! The last time I went looking for that crayon apron pattern and it was still out of stock, I saw Simplicity Pattern 2555 for $2.50. I decided to give it a try and make my own version. I am not fabulous at the sewing machine so I was a little worried but it was very easy!
First, I used Pattern B but all I did was cut out the apron part. This pattern had an adjustable neck and I wasn’t ready to try that so I just cut out fabric for apron strings at the neck and the waist. To make the front of the apron, I cut out a pocket that was about 6×6. I sewed the pocket, right sides together, turned it and attached it to the front of the apron with a zigzag stitch.
To make the crayon holder part of the apron, I used the crayon hold part of this Coloring Caddy at The Crafty Cupboard. I have made several of these crayon bags, so I figured that it would be easy to adapt it to the apron. I made sure that the crayon part was longer than the apron. I attached it to the apron and stitched the crayon pockets.
I followed apron directions to stitch the neck and waist strings.
I put the lining and the front of the apron right sides together, stitched them together and left a hole to pull it through. I pulled the apron through and finished it with a stitch all the way around for a finished look.
My niece is going to love the pinks in this one!
the problem with posting all of my gift idea tutorials is the small handful of people receiving these gifts read this website! That is why I haven’t posted like I promised!
I have been busily working on my handmade Christmas though and am working on a tutorial for a crayon apron that any little artist in your life will love!
While I’ve never been a big user of napkin rings (or my husband a user of napkins), I still love them. I used to have a neighbor that always used cloth napkins. After they finished eating, they would fold them in half and hang them on the back of their chairs. I always thought this was so neat and “fancy but casual”. I’ve tried it, but because I’m always using the kitchen table as my craft table, the napkins fall to the floor, the dog claims them, and I later find them in the backyard. But…Thanksgiving is a different story. Thanksgiving calls for all kinds of fancy; honestly, other than Christmas, when do you insist on hand washing the dishes instead of putting them through the dishwasher?
I found the idea for these napkin rings in a craft magazine I grabbed at a yard sale. (Hello, my name is Kelley and I’m addicted to Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications.) Although I didn’t come up with the idea on my own, I did put my own little twist to them. So here ya go:
Beading Wire: You’ll need the kind that is malleable. I bought 20 guage. The higher the number, the finer the wire. You want the stiffer stuff, but you don’t want it too big for your beads.
Beads: Use whatever suits your fancy.
Head Pins: These are what you use to make drop earrings.
Needle nose Pliers and Wire Cutters
Decide on your bead layout and string them on your beading wire. Don’t cut the wire yet.
Once you have the desired length of beaded string (mine was about nine inches), make a small loop on the end of your wire. This is where you’ll attach the head pin.
Get a bead (or two) that matches your ensemble and put it on your head pin. Cut the head pin to leave the right about needed for a loop. Make sure you don’t close the loop before you hook it onto your beading wire. Personally, I found that closing the loop on the head pin last was easier than the beading wire. The head pin will take more “strength” to close, but if you do it slowly and carefully, I think you’ll end up with a nicer looking product.
Here’s where I give my other two cents’ worth: Instead of using a toilet paper roll to wrap the wire around, use a spool of thread. And here’s why: When you wrap the wire and then release it, it’s going to expand a bit. Using a spool of thread allows it to expand to the normal size of a napkin ring. When I tried using a toilet paper roll, it expanded to something that looked like a bracelet.
When you wrap your wire around the spool of thread take into account how much you’ll need for a loop on the end and then cut your wire. You don’t want to cut it before wrapping because you’ll need more length as you wrap. Put more beads on another headpin, cut, loop, and attach to the other end of your beading wire.
I did put my own twist to the these napkin rings. I decided to personalize the rings for each person. I know that it’s somewhat impractical if you aren’t sure who will be dining with you or if you plan on using them for regular meals, but I wanted to add a little extra. There’s also the fact that Marissa and her kiddos traveled down to have a big Thanksgiving with Jen and Debbie. And even though I wasn’t there, I wanted it to be super special for them. So…I thought I’d go ahead and send these napkin rings on over for them to use.
And so here’s what we have:
Debbie, Jen, and Marissa’s rings are made with various styles of pearled beads…because they really are pearls.
Jen and Marissa’s daughters are the two girliest girls you’ll ever meet. I made theirs with pink beads.
Jen’s son is a master soccer player. He has soccer beads with his team colors.
Marissa’s son is really into cub scouts (future eagle scout, I’m sure!). He has blue, yellow, and wooden beads.
Jen’s husband has a purple belt in Brazilian Jujitsu. Although I made his with purple and black beads, don’t laugh, because he can totally kick your butt…or twist you into a pretzel…whichever you prefer.
Marissa’s husband is in the navy, and although he is deployed and won’t be there for Thanksgiving, he still get’s a spot at the table. I made his with red, white, and blue beads (they also have stars and stripes on them!).
A little tacky? Maybe.
A little extra special? I really hope so.
Thankful for all of them? You have no idea.
Hello again everyone! Today I am highlighting the pinecone place card holders originally featured in our 100th post with Thanksgiving table designs. I had a lot of fun making these, mostly because they were SO easy to do! I pulled out the materials and from start to finish I don’t know if this even took me ten minutes.
- Designer stones with flat bottoms, usually found around the stepping stone area of your local craft store or Wal-Mart
- Glitter in the color of your choice – I used gold to make it look more Autumn-ish
- Pinecones – I just picked mine at the local park! but you can also buy a bag for usually $1 -3
- Spray adhesive (you will also see regular tacky glue in the picture…I didn’t use it)
- Glue gun and sticks
- Container to work on/put glitter on – in our family we use recycled meat and veggie trays as can be seen in Jen’s post
- Card stock
- If the bottom of the pinecone is not level, pull or cut off excess pine spokes
- Pour a small amount of glitter into your container
- Spray pinecone generously with spray adhesive, coating entire cone
- Roll pinecone in glitter making sure to thoroughly cover the outside of the cone and allow to dry
- Using glue gun, put a dime-sized amount of hot glue on the bottom of the pinecone and immediately place pinecone on rounded part of designer stone; hold steady in place until glue dries, usually less than one minute
- Print out or hand-write the names of your guests on 2 x 3 inch pieces of card stock and place holder at the top of your place setting
At the end of this project, the design was SCREAMING Christmas tree at me, so I guess I will be making these again at Christmas time with green glitter instead. I will probably still use the orange stones though because they will make great “tree trunks!”
As I was reading the paper last week, I saw all sorts of Christmas in July ads! That was a blatant reminder that I have tons of fabric, thread, paper, and other materials that are just sitting and waiting to be turned into Christmas gifts.
Marissa just finished with her 30 Days 30 Bites Challenge and is hopefully working on coming up with her next challenge but today I am announcing my Threaded Together Blog Challenge – Crafting for Christmas! Last year our goal was to have every Christmas gift that we gave be a homemade gift. I was successful but only about 70% of the gifts we gave were homemade. This year I want to get closer to 90% of the gifts to be homemade. I am staying at home again this year so our budget is tight!
Every week, I will post a new completed (hopefully!) craft that I will be giving as a Christmas gift. I am still on the look out for some ideas so if you have any great crafty gift ideas, please leave me a link!
These instructions will make one standard size pillowcase (approximately 32” x 20”). I have adapted these into EASY instructions from some complicated directions I got for free from a quilt shop in California about 15 years ago. There are almost no limits to the fabrics and colors available. The instructions can be adapted to any size pillow.
- I first made pillowcases when my daughters were headed off to college:
- If your students attend a large school it is fairly easy to find novelty fabric, otherwise use the school colors
- Use stencils to cut out the school/sorority letters out of iron-on patch material; zigzag around to make sure they stay on through repeated washings
- I have also made them to decorate beds
- An inexpensive way for decorator pillows to coordinate with sheets on the bed – pick up a twin size flat to match to use as the fabric
- Use ribbons and buttons to close up the end
- Now I make them for the “grands”
- for holidays
- to decorate their bedrooms (e.g., anything pink, baseball)
- or their hobbies and interests (e.g., Boy Scouts, dance, soccer)
Fabric (44-45” wide) required:
1 yard (44-45” wide) for body of pillowcase
1/3 yard for end of pillowcase
1/8 yard for accent strip
It is up to you to decide whether you want to use something recommended for children’s wear (e.g., flame retardant fabrics). I’ve always used 100% cotton (e.g., quilting-type fabrics, novelty & holiday-print fabrics and flannel). Prewash all fabrics.
Optional: Rickrack and other embellishments
Cutting (or “ripping”) Directions:
From the 1 yard piece, cut one piece 27” x 41”
From 1/3 yard piece, cut one piece 10” x 41”
From 1/8 yard piece, cut one piece 3” x 41”
Press the 3” x 41 accent strip in half lengthwise, right side out, raw edges together (strip will now be 1 ½” x 41”) .
Press the 10” x 41” end piece in half lengthwise, right side out, raw edges together (strip will now be 5” x 41”).
Sandwich the accent (1 ½” wide) strip between the end piece (5” wide) and right side of the bottom long edge of the body fabric with all raw edges together. You can pin them together if you are hesitant about feeding them along, or do like I do and just hold them in place. Make sure that your “body” fabric is going in the desired direction.
Sew a 5/8” wide seam along the bottom edge. Don’t panic if they don’t match up exactly on the other end, just trim accordingly!
Press: 1) seams up; 2) accent piece up; and 3) end piece down.
Top stitch the accent piece to keep it standing up. This is a good time/place to add rickrack or ribbon, if desired. I only add buttons and other embellishments if the pillowcases won’t actually be used for sleeping (who wants a button in their ear?).
Fold the body piece (with attached accent and end piece) in half with right sides together, matching the edges (should be starting to look like a pillowcase at this point!).
Sew a 5/8” seam around the long side and top open edges. You can doublestitch this if you think it will get heavy duty wear.
Clip close to the seam and the corners.
Turn inside out and press.
Taking pictures and all, this one took me about 30 minutes. Usually I make these in “assembly-line” fashion. In no time at all you’ll have a Pile of Pillowcases.
I just had a brilliant idea to make “tooth” pillows – will let you know how those work out (when I get around to them).
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