Monday, May 26, 2014

Leftover Denim

I have tons of jeans that either don't fit or have ripped or frayed beyond repair. I just hate to throw out the material because denim is so versatile. So I have scoured the internet looking for crafts to use my old jeans for and figured I would share a few of my favorites with you.

Hope this inspires you to do something crafty with your old jeans instead of throwing them away. Happy crafting!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cedar Point

 A couple friends and I are going to Cedar Point tomorrow. I'm pumped to go because I've just recently gotten over my fear of roller coasters. Seriously, last summer was the first time I rode the Millenium Force or the Dragster. Happy to say I survived, obviously. I used to be the friend that would hold everyone's stuff while they rode the big rides. Now that I'm over that fear we have to figure out what to do with our stuff. Lockers are expensive and often times across the park, bags can't be taken on a number of rides, and pockets, well, you can never be sure stuff won't fall out of them. I am a big fan of pockets in general but, it is always hard to find a pair of women's jeans that actually have some decent pockets. That is a rant for another time.

This year I came up with a cute little pouch to keep the important stuff in (keys, phone, money, cards) that won't fall out of my pocket or make me look ridiculous wearing.

I made it using a pair of old jeans that had worn out. The front has a clear vinyl window that allows me to still see my phone while it's inside. The nice thing about vinyl is that you can still use touchscreens through it. The other side has a small zipper compartment that is big enough to hold cash, cards and keys secure. The small clip allows me to attach it to my belt or belt loop and then stick the whole ting in my pocket. no more worries about losing my stuff.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thrifty Refashion

Blog Post 2
Tell me I'm not the only person who loves blogs where crafters find things at thrift stores and make them into something awesome. I've seen almost everything you could conceivably find at a thrift store turned into something completely different and reimagined. My favorite ones are the crafters who take old and out of style clothes and refashion them. I'm inspired to try and do it every time I see one of those blogs. However, I never seem to find anything at the thrift stores I frequent to refashion. But recently I've run into a stroke of luck. I got this cute shirt for $2 (I cheated a bit and got it from JC Penny, but $2 is still a steal)

When I bought it I didn't intend to refashion it, but after trying it on it wasn't as flattering as I had hoped. I then perked up considerably when I realized that this is what I had been waiting for and at once I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it. For now my plan is a secret but I will do another post when I finish my refashion.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Repurposed Books

I for one own three devices that allow me to read ebooks on the go and I use them with some regularity. However, I own many, many more physical books than ebooks and I hope that never changes. Any book lover will tell you that there is just something about reading an actual book that can't be replaced by an electronic. The biggest downside to books is that they can only take so much before they wear out and begin to lose pages. I have a few books that if I open, I'm pretty sure they will disintegrate. Too much of my love and time have gone into those well worn books and I can't bring myself to just throw them away. So I took to Google and Pinterest to find new lives for my friends and figured I share some with you.

I hope these ideas have given you inspiration on ways to bring new life to your old friends. Happy crafting!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Makeup Bags

As a crafty person I give a lot of handmade gifts for Christmas and birthdays. I’m pretty specific about the types of crafts I give as gifts though. If I’m going to go through the work of making something by hand I want the person receiving it to be able to use it and  not just put it somewhere to be forgotten about. This is why all the handmade gifts I give are all practical things that can be used regularly. This past Christmas I made all of my girlfriends a matching set of monogrammed makeup bags. I don’t know of anyone who can’t use another cute storage bag.

I love these bags because they are wider at the bottom, allowing them to stand up and hold more things. To make them extra awesome I used Vinyl Fuse on the lining of them. If you don’t know, Vinyl Fuse is a sheet of vinyl that you can iron on fabric to make it water repellent. It makes the perfect lining for a makeup because it makes it so much easier to clean up the surprise makeup spills we find occasionally. The larger bag also would be great as a bikini bag. The monograming is thanks to my embroidery machine, but you can buy precut fabric letters from most craft stores.

To make these bags I used this tutorial from Craftster. I used her measurements to make the smaller bag and the larger bag I made up my own measurements for.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Galactic Goblets

Birthday gifts aren't always easy to come up with. Sometimes you want something that is custom made for someone that fits their interests exactly. For that you want something like these etched cups.

Specially made for the Star Trek, and of course, drinking enthusiast, these cups boldly go where no cup has gone before. The cups have the uniform logo from the original series on one side and Star Trek in the shows special font going up the other side.

Nearly anything can be designed to be etched into a cup like this, so it makes a great gift to make nearly anyone happy.

To start you are going to want to find some good cups. You will want to find glasses with flat surfaces so the image you will be applying won’t be distorted.

Next you are going to want to find the image to put onto the glasses. Keep in mind the more complicated the image is to draw the harder it is going to be to cut out. After that you will want to size out the image so it will fit properly on the cup. After getting the image to size you will trace the image onto contact paper using carbon paper.

After cleaning the glass thoroughly, take the contact paper and place it onto the glass. Do your best to make sure it’s not at an odd angle. Use an x-acto, or similar craft knife, to cut the image out on the glass. Peel the cut areas from the glass.

 Apply masking tape around the glass to cover everywhere but the area where the graphic is going to be. Then apply etching compound to the graphic area. Follow the directions from your etching compound. Most will want to be left on for several minutes.

After the compound has done its job you just need to rinse off the compound thoroughly, remove the tape and contact paper, give the glass a thorough cleaning and then fix yourself a nice drink in your custom glass. Perhaps one of these Star Trek inspired drink recipes used at Quark’s Bar.

Monday, March 3, 2014

d20 Bag

I've put a lot of thought into what my favorite thing I've made is. It took some time because I've been crafting for awhile but after much consideration I've landed on this...

my first attempt at the the d20 bag. For all you non nerds a d20 is a twenty sided dice used mainly in tabletop role playing games. If you want to represent Dungeons and Dragons with just one object it would be a d20. It is the quintessential tabletop roleplaying item and the people at Evil Mad Scientist have given us the ability to recreate it in bag form. Not only have they given us instructions on how to sew your own d20 bag but also how to sew a d12 bag for all your favorite Barbarians and Great Axe wielders.

Now seeing as that particular one was my first attempt at it, not to mention one of the first things I ever sewed myself, it only came out sew-sew (haha get it.) It is floppy and doesn't have the nice edges of the one in the instructions, there are threads hanging out, and places where edges didn't quite meet up but I still love it. I've since learned from my mistakes on the first one and made a new one. 

It came out a lot better this time. As it turns out having a zipper foot for your sewing machine is a good thing to have when sewing in zippers, who would have thought. If anyone decides to make your own I have a warning for you: be aware of what you are getting yourself into. This bag requires you to cut out 60 pieces of material and that alone is time consuming, not to mention dewing all those pieces together. Make sure you use heavyweight interfacing if you want the nice crisp edges but if you like the floppy version just use some light or medium weight interfacing. I hope your first attempt comes out better than mine.  

Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentine's Day Cupcakes

I love cupcakes, but lets be fair who doesn't. Personally, I prefer them to regular cake because they can be eaten without a plate and a fork (Woo Hoo!! Two less dishes to do!) I'm a fan of the mini cupcake as well because they're adorable and you can eat like three of them to one normal cupcake. I know not all share my enthusiasm for the mini version of something that is already a mini cake ...

but let's just forget about them because these mini cupcakes I made are adorable and perfect for your special someone this Valentine's day.

For them I used a cherry chip cake mix and made it up as directed. Then I filled the mini cupcake liners to about 1/2 full and stuck a maraschino cherry in the middle. I made these for a friends birthday so I soaked the cherries in vodka for about three days before I used them. Even after baking they were still pretty strong. 


I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes and then let them to cool. For the frosting I used my family's go to frosting for any cake: cool whip pudding frosting. It is not as sweet as most frosting is and doesn't taste nearly as sugary. The name tells you almost all there is to it to make it. All you need is: 

 - One small box of instant pudding, any flavor even the sugar free.  
 - 1/2 of the milk that is called for on the box of pudding
 - One normal size tub of cool whip

To make it just mix together the pudding and 1/2 of the milk called for on the pudding. Stir until smooth and then stir in the tub of cool whip until it is all incorporated. I used some food coloring to make it a lovely shade of pink and then frost your cupcakes however you see fit. This recipe for frosting will make enough for one box of cake mix. It works for a 9 x 13 cake just as well as it does for a dozen cupcakes or the 5 dozen mini cupcakes like I made. Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy!     

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dark Fairytales

I'm a tad bit spoiled as a crafter. My mom does everything crafty so I have access to all sorts of crafty supplies and machines. My biggest advantage has to be the embroidery machine she purchased a few years ago. I love it. Most of the things I have embroidered have been for costumes and other small crafty endeavors but when I saw the Dark Fairytales design pack on Urban Threads I knew I would have to use them to make a quilt.

I loved the color on the examples and wanted mine to be stitched out similar to them. I opted to stitch them out on black cotton instead of dark grey, mainly because I had a large supply of black cotton on hand. I used silver for all the outlining because metallic thread stands out so nice on dark material.

When I first embroidered the designs I didn't have a pattern for the quilt in mind yet but eventually I came up with something...and then I tweaked it a bit.

Once I finish sewing all the black and red strips onto the pieces with the embroidery they will end up looking like this.

Then all that is left to do is sew them together. Likely it will be then put into storage for a few years before I get to quilting it. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's try this again...

So… it has been awhile… if you consider three years awhile. I literally laughed out loud when I read the part where I mused that writing a blog might keep me motivated to finish a craft that I’ve started. May I present...

Exhibit A.

That is the quilt I mentioned in my first post. It has been rolled up and sitting in that chest for about a year now. That’s not to say I haven't worked on it at all since my last post, in fact, I finished the top and have actually started quilting it. It’s a miracle I've gotten that much done considering how large of a quilt it turned into. I started out hoping to make it large enough for a queen size bed. Somehow it ballooned out to a size larger than California king. I will finish it someday but I can only sew so many straight lines at a time.

Please don't mind the clutter in the background. Its so large my basement was the only room with enough open floor space to roll it out.

I did make both the Magic: the Gathering etched glasses and the Mario mushroom cookies. Both came out just as I had hoped and were well loved by their recipients.

Since then I have made many, many dresses, both for myself and friends. One of my best friends got married and asked me to help her make both junior bridesmaids and flower girl dresses. I can't say no to any of my friends so I committed to helping her make four (4!) dresses in total. Of course, seeing how she was the bride, she had way too many things on her plate already and about 75% of the work fell to me. Despite the fact that they were not completely done until 3 days before the wedding they came out perfect and the little girls looked adorable.

I have since also started another quilt. I know, I know, “Bad Courtney! You should finish what you start!” Maybe someday I’ll be that type of person. More on the new quilt next week.