Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Nesting Ground: Moss Letters

Image from Pottery Barn

When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in my fort in the back yard which was really just a gigantic boulder hidden at the edge of our equally large backyard.  (I think it was therapeutic for my dad to circle on his John Deere so he just kept adding to the lawn.) As the hours of warm summer days slowly peeled off the clock, I sat surrounded by the the sights of the north woods peeling moss off of my giant fort.  

In recent years, moss has become a very popular decorating material which always pleasantly surprises me as it brings back memories of warm shade, dirt under my nails and the texture of the many different mosses God created for us to enjoy.  

Thanks to Rebekah, who sent me this link from "Our Nesting Ground", now we can see how the project above is done.  The image shown is from Pottery Barn and Sarah from "Our Nesting Ground" shows another photo from "dear lilly" and her own step by step pictures and instructions.  Enjoy!

Google Earth's view of my "fort" (the blue arrow).
I wasn't kidding when I said my dad likes his John Deere.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Guitar Hero

After watching numerous sessions of air guitar during our impromptu family living room dance parties, I decided it was time for my little guitar hero to have something more.  This shirt was my solution.   Goodbye air... hello guitar.

Black, White, and Beige Eco-Fi Felt (it is washable)
Sewing Machine
Black and White Thread
Washable Fabric Glue

Just by looking at this shirt, many of you can recreate it.
However, here are the steps I took if you would like a few tips.

I bought a t-shirt to fit my son and washed and dried it.  Then I searched Google Images to find a simple picture of a guitar.  I drew the shapes free-hand onto the felt with a marker and cut them out.  However, if you aren't comfortable with doing this, print your picture and blow it up on a copier multiple times.  Cut out the different shapes and use them as stencils.

As I placed each layer down, I used washable fabric glue on the back.  When it was dry, I machine stitched inside the outer edge on the big pieces.  Then I went on to the next layer.  When layering the small pieces, I hand stitched them for more control.  For the final touch, I machine stitched the strings using black thread.

Warning:  If this shirt is made for dad... watch out for spontaneous unplugged versions of "We're Not Gonna Make It" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Summer Scarf Tutorial

This is the second tutorial that I have shared from Made... but they are just so good! Scarves are such an easy way to dress up your look. If you happen to have a piece of fabric in your stash that you LOVE but don't know what to do with it - here you go! (All you need is 1/2 yard!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Business Casual

Have you seen this idea?  Daddy's mini-me can now easily accomplish the dapper look with this simple project.  Most importantly, he can dress-up in comfort for any special event!  Goodbye clip-on ties and untucked dress shirts.  Hello Mr. Cool!

Onesie (Long or Short Sleeve)
Scrap Material for Tie
Washable Fabric Glue
Sewing Machine or Needle

Pre-wash your onesie and dry it making sure to get the wrinkles out.

Next, cut out the shape of a tie from your material.  The tie pictured is cut from a felted sweater.  However, any material that does not fray excessively will do.   I usually make the tie fall just below half way so it is not covered up by the waist of pants.

Apply fabric glue on the back of the tie and center it on the onesie just below the ribbing around the neck.  To secure, hand stitch or machine stitch around the inside of the fabric edge.

You did it!  Mary's Makings now has 20 followers!  The prize for the 20th follower goes to Sharon.  She will receive the "Thankful" Scrabble Rack.  And now for the individual who referred her...  (drumroll)... Auntie Bobbie!  She will be the lucky recipient of the "April Showers Bring May Flowers:  Boutique Barrette".  Thanks to each of you for following Mary's Makings!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Subtle Stripes for Your Wall

If you would like to add something extra to your walls, painting stripes can give an alluring charm to your room. However, sometimes stripes of two contrasting colors can make your room look like circus tent.  Instead, painting stripes of the same color in flat and high gloss paint will create an elegant feeling. My mother-in-law told me about this idea.  I tried it, loved it, and had to refrain from doing every single wall in my house.

Paint Color of Choice - Flat
Paint Color of Choice - Gloss (or semi-gloss for a more subtle look)
Paint Roller
Paint Tray
Painter's Tape
Paint Brush
Yard Stick

Prep your walls by repairing them as needed and wiping them down with a damp rag.  Wait a few hours until they are dry.  Paint two flat coats or more until you are satisfied with the coverage.  Let your paint dry completely in between coats.

Pick the width that you would like for the stripes and lightly mark your walls.  I have done stripes in one room that are 2" and another that is 4 " wide.  Do whatever pleases you.  Connect the markings on your wall with painters tape and run your finger along all of the edges to ensure that paint does not seep under it.  With a paintbrush (or a small roller) apply your (semi-)gloss paint.  When the paint is dry to the touch, CAREFULLY peel the tape off at an angle so the gloss paint doesn't come up.  That is it!

My little camera can't do justice for the beautiful results of this painting technique.  Trust me... the work is worth it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Make Your Own Notebook

I ran across a great way to create a personalized notebook on "the crafting chicks.com" and had to share it with you.  These chicks know what they are chirping about!  The tool they are using,  the cinch,  is going on my wish-list!  Check it out!

Crafting Chick's Notebook

They used a cereal box (way to reduce, re-use, recycle!) but you could also use a greeting card with a message you love, a photo printed on heavy card stock, or even cardboard with material glued on.  The possibilities are endless...

So Close...
Thank you to those of you who are following this blog!  We are so close to having 20 official followers.  For those of you who haven't hit the "follow" button on this site: do it!  It won't hurt I promise.  If you are lucky number 20 you will receive the "thankful" scrabble rack from the "Calling All Scrabble Lovers" post (to show that I am thankful for all of you.)  What is in it for you?  If the 20th person tells me that they were referred by you, you will receive the April Showers Bring May Flowers:  Boutique Barrette.  Stay tuned and have fun spreading the word!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Festive Flowers

Picture Taken by Delora
Does anyone else feel bad mowing over the sweet daisies that grow in your yard?  Here is a fun way to use them for a gift or for a science project.  Did you know that you can color your daisies by putting them in water with food coloring?

Sharp Scissors
Food Coloring

Round up the daisies that pop up in your yard or purchase some at your florist.  This process will work for carnations, too.

Trim the stems of your flower by making a slanted cut under running water.  Why a slanted cut? Making a flat cut may cause your flower stem to sit flat on the bottom of your vase which won't allow your flower to take in water.  Why cut under water?  Without this step small air bubbles may form at the end of the stem also preventing water intake.

Fill your vase 2/3 of the way with warm water.  Add 25 drops of food coloring per half cup. Place your flowers in the vase and check back every hour.  After one day your petals should be fully colored.  

Scientific Explanation:
Here is About.com's scientific explanation for this process called transpiration (plant drinking).  As water evaporates from flowers and leaves, the attractive force between water molecules, called cohesion, pulls more water along.  Water is pulled up through tiny tubes (xylem) that run up a plant's stem.  Although gravity might want to pull the water back down toward the ground, water sticks to itself and these tubes.  This capillary action keeps water in the xylem in much the same way as water stays in a straw when you suck water through it.  Except evaporation and biochemical reactions provide the initial upward pull.

Good thing you are following this blog!  You are now officially smarter.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Signs of Spring

Is anyone else hungry for spring?  Soon we will be turning the clocks forward, dying Easter eggs, and seeing little blades of green grass peek through melting snow patches.  Here is a little project to get our minds moving in this direction.

Brown Wool Roving
White Wool Roving
Felting Needle

Break out your needle felting supplies and begin to create a cup shape by needling your brown wool roving.  Start by making a circle and continue to add more roving while tipping the nest to create the sides.

Next, make each of your eggs by rolling the white wool roving.  Begin to needle felt (stab or strike) the fibers in place.  When finished, place your eggs in the nest.

Quick and simple - yet sweet!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Boring to Beautiful

How about this for amazing...  

Sachiko from the blog "Tea Rose Home" shows us how to make a gorgeous ruffled shirt out of two matching t's.  As soon as you try this or another amazing shirt from her blog, let me know and I will post it.  

Next on my shopping list:  
Two Matching T-Shirts!

Friday, March 4, 2011

So In Love: Bride and Groom Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Milk chocolate, almond bark, and strawberries... is your mouth watering like mine is?  This idea adds such an elegant touch to your table when you are hosting a wedding shower.  Although they take a little time and patience, you will thank yourself when you take a bite.

Washed Strawberries
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
White Almond Bark
White Tulle
White Thread
Wax Paper
Baking Sheet

Groom Instructions:
Slowly warm 1 row of almond bark squares on the stove in a small pot.  Once the consistency is runny, dip the strawberries by holding on to the stems.  Stop just before you get to the greens. Lay them on wax paper on a baking sheet until the bark hardens.  Set aside the left over bark for the brides.

Slowly warm a 1 cup of chocolate chips on the stove in a small pot.  Once the consistency is runny, dip your strawberries twice - once at an angle on one side of your strawberry and once on the other.  Leave a white triangle in the middle for the front of the shirt.  Once all of the grooms are dipped, take a toothpick and dip it in the chocolate and make two small dots for buttons down the middle of the shirt.  Place them in the fridge until their debut.

Bride Instructions:
If needed, add more bark and warm it once again.  When the consistency is runny, dip the strawberries by holding on to the stems.  Set them on wax paper on a baking sheet and place them in the fridge.

Now make the veils.  Cut 1" x 2" rectangles - one for each of your brides.  With your needle and white thread, gather one of the 1" sides.  Leave 2" of extra thread at each end of this gathering and make a knot.  With the excess thread, attach your veil to the strawberry by knotting it around the stem.  Trim off the extra strands.

Make sure to remind your guests that the veil is not edible.  It may seem obvious but it is better to be cautious.

What are your tips and tricks?
Have you made these before?  There are many different ways to do it.  What are your tips and tricks? We would love to hear from you!

Perfect Diaper Cover Tutorial

Wanting to experiment with some new fabric, I came across a great tutorial for how to make diaper covers.  They are perfect for picture sessions or hot summer days (and nights). I thought I would share the link with you.  

Dana from "made" includes numerous pictures and thorough explanations. I tested the directions by whipping up a pair tonight for sparkle #2. Dana's tutorial has my stamp of approval!

Mary's Version

I added brown tulle ruffles to to the back for a little glitz.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crazy Cute Baby's Hat

It is hard to get any shopping done when you are out with your baby.  There are the numerous fallen nuk retrievals followed by a quick sanitizing... and the switching of outfits due to a sudden outburst of one kind or another. However, I found most side-tracking came from the random stops of adoring strangers.

Don't expect the shopping to go any quicker with this hat on your little girlie. Be sure to allow extra time for all the "oohs" and "ahhs".

Felted Sweater (Can be Substituted with Fleece, etc.)
Sewing Machine

As you know, I love the look of felted sweaters and I have a stash already felted for projects such as these.  However, you can substitute in fleece or any other warm material.  I saw someone who had knit and sewn two (unused) dishcloths together for a similar hat.

Cut two 8" x 6" rectangles from your material.  If you are using a felted sweater, your edges won't unravel so you can cut from the bottom edge of the sweater but you do not have to.  With right sides together sew a 1/4" seam just as the picture below shows leaving 1" that is not sewn on either side.

Flip your piece right-side out and sew the two 1" sections.  Now your seams will not show when you flip up the cuff on the hat.  Go ahead, flip up that cuff!  

Now for the embellishments.  I used wool yarn to add a loose stitch around the top of the cuff not only to add some detail but to secure it in place.  Then, I attached two bows by hand-sewing them on each corner.  I also added little pieces of yarn with knots at the ends to add some extra pizazz.  

Almost There...
Thanks to each of you for following Mary's Makings!  We are almost up to a group of 20 people!  Hooray!  Remember, if you happen to be the person who refers the 20th person, you will receive the Boutique Barrette and they will receive the "thankful" scrabble decoration.

What do you want to see?  Please leave your comments  below!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cuckoo for Tutus!

When I young, I remember how seriously I took my dancing as I wiggled and jumped in front of the dark glass on the oven, seeing my reflection.  Then at night, the windows became my mirror.  I believed that I was a world-class ballerina and people all around were clambering to see my secret performances.

Every little girl needs a tutu as they grand jete and sout de chat their tiny tushies around the house.  Here are easy instructions to make a dreamy tutu for your little one.

3-6 Yards of Tulle (One or Multiple Colors)
Sewing Machine

I need to give credit to the source of inspiration for these projects, so today's idea is brought to you by my neighbor and friend, Brianne.

Measure the waist of your ballerina and add 2".  This is the length of the elastic you will need.  I used 1" wide elastic.  To secure the band together, overlap the elastic ends by 1".  Sew a square over this overlap as shown below.
If you would like a short ballerina skirt (which is a good length for little girls) cut along the fold of your tulle so you have two pieces.  For longer skirts, do not make this cut.  

You can cut long 3" strips with a scissor or rotary cutter.  But, here is a trick to make one quick, uniform snip for each strip.  Cut your tulle into 1 yard sections and roll them up.  With a yardstick as your guide, make a cut at every 3" mark.

Tie the strips to the elastic using whatever type of knot you prefer.  Just stay consistent.  When you have tulle knotted to cover all of the elastic, you are done.  

Let the leaps and twirls begin!