Friday, December 30, 2011

Handmade Kindle Fire Cover

I made this Kindle Fire cover after looking for some online and seeing a few I liked but not liking the price. The best one I saw was a Kate Spade teal blue one that is $99 on Amazon. I love it; it seems so Tiffany-esque and Martha  Stewart-ish yet has the Kate Spade cute little logo on it. LOVE IT! But, don't love the price. 

So I started looking online at other ones and found that several styles have the elastic bands around the four corners. This seems to be acceptable, though several reviews questioned the longevity of the elastic. There also seemed to be several that had plastic clips the kindle would "clip into", that seemed harder to replicate. 

I also found a few reviews of a cover that had an elastic band around the front to keep it closed, similar to a Moleskin journal, which a friend pointed out to me earlier today. 

So I thought to myself, can I make one of these? How hard is it? It's a square that folds over. 

As I do often, I thought very carefully about the construction during the many savasanas in yoga class. No, we are not suppose to think during class and certainly not how to make cool crafts but sometimes the mind wanders and gets stuck on technical aspects of design. 

By the time I was done with class I had decided I knew what I wanted and how to constructed it. I went to Jo-ann's Fabrics and bought two fabrics, a basic black faux suede, a decorative outer fabric and some elastic.
It took me a couple of try's but here it is! The custom made Kindle Fire cover. 

Cover open with Kindle inside

Closed cover with elastic closure

Detail of the elastic bands around the corners.

Left inside flap with pocket to hold notes.

More up close detail of the straps.

I can only assume this is scalable to an ipad but since I don't have one I don't know. Anyone have a broken ipad they want to mail to me for free? :) 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Happy Father's Day card for my daddy

As a busy crafter, sometimes I find I want to just but premade things instead of making them. I know, shame on me! Lol

Unfortunately or fortunately, crafting is a hobby and not my job so I sometimes run out of time to make cute and thoughtful things. On the flipside, I tend to feel guilty as store bought cards somehow make me feel like I didn't care ENOUGH to make time to make a card. What a dilemma!

Just fyi to anyone that receives a store bought card from me, with all the great card selections, it can be hard work finding the perfect premade card!

I did manage to have a few hours where I made my dad a card but it was only after I had gone through the above delimma in my head.

This card is not my own design. I'm pretty sure it was in a Cricut newsletter I got though I couldn't find it when I was trying to come up with what to create. I also am pretty sure it is a fairly standard design.

I measured out a shape for the tie and folded it over the blue piece of paper. I cut "DAD" out of red paper using the Opposites Attract Cricut cartridge. I popped it off the card with some pop dots.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Easy to Make Wool Dryer Balls

Old dryer balls
I got these plastic dryer balls years ago in an effort to be more green and stop buying dryer sheets. I've really liked them, they fluff up the laundry and reduce static without chemicals. One down side to them is they are really loud in the dryer.

I recently discovered wool felted dryer balls. I think these are such a great idea! Eco friendly and relatively inexpensive. (And quieter!) I found a great blog post at goodmama on how to make these. These are great detailed instructions with pictures.

With what I felt was good enough knowledge in hand, I went to Michael's and purchased some wool yarn. I already have two huge bins full of yarn but not wool yarn, so of course I had to go BUY more materials. :) Thank goodness Michael's was having a sale and some of their off colors were discounted to $2.99. I bought 6 skeins of Paton Classic Wool medium gauge, 3.5 oz. 

I wound the yard into a ball, measured and put in a panty hoses leg per the instructions. Instead of putting them in the wash I put them in a bowl with scalding hot water and swished them around. I'm not sure this was the best idea, obviously the agitation in the wash would have been better for felting the fibers together but I have an HE washer and I felt there wasn't a lot of swishing going on anyway. After the water was cool enough for me to stick my hands in it, still hot though, I squeezed the yarn balls and massaged them a little to help the fibers mesh.

After that I put them in the dryer. I let them set out for a day before I added more yarn, they weren't quite dry and I hate to use the dryer to just dry dryer balls.

I wrapped more yarn around and repeated the process.

Here are my finished dryer balls. I like them. They look like the ones in the pictures on the blog post and like others I found on the internet.

New pretty wool dryer balls

I will say though, I don't like the fact that they still look like yarn. Why go to all the trouble of "felting" if its still just going to look like a ball of yarn?

Also, even though each skein was the same weight, the multi colored one didn't go as far. I had to use a different color for the inside of the ball so the outside was the multi color. This of course was only discovered after I had wound one ball almost all the way and realized I wasn't going to have enough.

The solid red color was better, I used 1 full skein and maybe 1/4 of the second skein. I still have probably 3 full skeins left and could make another 4 balls.

A friend told me about another technique for felting and I'm going to try some other things with the other yarn, I'll post again when I get those done.

All in all, if you consider the yarn was only $2.99 a skein, I basically got two dryer balls for less than $6, not a bad deal. My old plastic ones cost me $9.99 at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

If you are curious why someone would even use dryer balls. Here are two things I found on the internet.

How are Dryer Sheets Manufactured?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Yummy Treats on Mother's Day

These great chocolate covered strawberries are from my sister in law, she runs Baby Cakes in Georgetown. They were so yummy!

My wonderful nieces explained how some had swirls and some wew decorated with smiley faces. The moms got smiley face ones. Either way, they were delicious!

Just the right touch for a special day.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mothers: Happy Mother's Day! (Cards using the Cricut Design Studio Software)

I decided to try the Cricut Design Studio software again and make a few Mother's Day cards. I researched the software a few months ago, bought a cord, watched a few videos, tried to use it and gave up. I encountered a few problems. I have a netbook, not a full computer so buying the cd was not an option as I don't have a cd player. I also wasn't too keen on purchasing the software without trying it out first. I saw lots of videos showing how you could download the trial version and just use the fonts on your computer but I couldn't make that work. The trial version does work with the cartridge that came with the Cricut but I must have been having a bad mental day because I tried it and couldn't make it work.

Earlier this week though I decided to give it another go. I had a choice, buy Mother's Day cards or make them. I opted to make cards since I have an entire room dedicated to crafts...I have a lot of craft stuff including an entire section dedicated to stamps, paper and other card making things - I'm like a mini Michael's Store.

My goal was to learn how to "weld" the letters together to make a continuous title. After a few messed up cuts I finally got it right! Wow, they looked great! Perfectly connected words ready to be added to cards or scrapbooking pages.

After cutting out "Mother's Day", I cut tiny flowers out of printed paper and backgrounds for the flowers out of complimentary solid colored paper. 

Cricut cutting the flower backgrounds, beginnings of a card!

Here is the completed card. The letters and flowers are from the George and Basic Shapes that came with my Cricut machine. I added a matching printed backing and a pink ribbon in the corner. Each flower also has a colored brad as the center.

For myy second card I created a repeat pattern of "Happy" for the outside of the card and added glitter to each word. This could be used for any occasion, I might actually make up a few of these just as extra cards. For this one I added an all in one "Happy Mother's Day" to the inside of the card. I also added a flower background to the cut so it was all in one.



Here is what the design studio software and Cricut set up for the front of the card.

My last card I used the same design of the inside of the last card and added more flowers. I used several different paper patterens for the flowers. The background for the flowers is part of the title and everything was done in grey. I used brads again in vintage metal tones for the insides of the flowers. A textured pink ribbon adds the final touch.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fabric bulletin boards made easy

New custom fabric bulletin board I created for a client. These are fairly easy to do, below are the basic steps to create your own. This particular one is 2' x 2'.

Materials needed:
  • 2' x 2' plywood. Thickness is up to you. I picked one that was thick enough for nail heads. 
  • 2 spools of grosgrain ribbon. 
  • Ruler
  • Staple gun (I used 5/8 staples)
  • Decorative fabric
  • Coordinating backing fabric
  • Tape
  • Mallet
  • Needle Nose Pliers

For this one since the overall size was small, I used the ruler as a guide to space the ribbon. The larger the board the wider you can make the space between ribbons. I taped down the ribbons into place and wrapped the ribbon around the side so it was easy to staple down.

Once the fabric and ribbons were stapled on, I took off most of the tape and used the mallet to pound the decorative nail heads in. This takes some work. I recommend buying extra packages. I used the needle nose pliers to hold the nail in place while I hammered it in. You don't have to put nails in at the edge where the ribbons cross unless you are not framing. I frame mine so I don't use nails on the edges.

I added a backer piece of fabric just to finish off the piece. Not that anyone sees the back but it completes the work. Now it is ready for a frame.

I made one of these a few years ago and bought an old picture that had an awesome frame, took the picture out and put my bulletin board in the frame. I was trying to recreate the awesome bulletin board that was behind Rachel's desk on Friends. I'm not sure that was the best idea I ever had, the frame cost me $200. But, it was and still is an awesome looking bulletin board! If you are looking to frame yours, I suggest thinking about making your board the size of a standard frame that you can get for less money at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

Here is my original fabric bulletin board.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Custom screen printed yoga mat towels

Another success with the YUDU screen printing machine! I made these custom towels for the yoga studio where I teach. We had a grand re-opening party and honored several people that had been coming to the studio since the beginning. Each towel is custom printed with their name and date they started. (I removed the names for the sake of the posting.)

I used the Manduka equa mat towel. These towels are great to screen print, they are thick with a suede like texture. After screen printing I folded the towels and wrapped them with a ribbon to finish off the gift.

Mustache or whales? A tank with two tales...or tails as it were.

I created a one-of-a-kind tank top for a friend, out of her own drawing, with my new YUDU screen printing machine. She drew a picture of a mustache, then, added a few extra details and made it into two cute whales. I thought it was so cute I made it into a cute tank for her as a going away gift.

I used to edit the image so just the whales and waves were left.

Image after editing in

I used an American Apparel tank in heather grey with black ink. 

Final tank!

I love my new YUDU machine! It is so awesome to be able to make custom printed shirts whenever I want!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Does anyone really need a BIG green Cricut Plushie?

I love my Cricut cutting machine but this is a little weird. I got my weekly email from Cricut today goodness, there is a BIG stuffed cricket as the first thing you can buy! LOL Who needs a stuffed green cricket?! Uh, not me! LOL

I am sure there will be Cricut lovers all over the place buying these up and finding a prominent place in their craft room to proudly show off their love for Cricut cutting machines..but please...isn't money better spent on cartridges or accessories? :D

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Create Decorative Scrapbook Spines with Cricut

I got a Cricut cutting system for Christmas! I was so excited. I played around with one at a scrapbooking retreat about a year ago. Wasn't sure it was right for me but every time I have to buy new sticker letters or die cuts, I think about the Cricut. And wow, I didn't realize just HOW much I would like it! 

I took it with me recently on a scrapbooking retreat and used it the entire time I was there. Here are a few examples of some simple things I created. Still learning; these were pretty easy but really brought out the details of the page.

This page from Dash Down Greenville 5k Run has accents from the Sweethearts Cartridge. I used the Heart flowers in two different colors of green to make them look like shamrocks. 

For this Snow in Dallas page I used the Ashlyn's Alphabet Cartridge.

This 4th of July journal box was made with the frame setting and cutting out the phrase "4th of July" from the Stand and Salutes Cartridge.

Once I got home I was reminded I need to get my albums embossed so I know what dates each covers. It can be expensive per spine and I have 8 to do! Then the Cricut came to mind. What if I made a sort of name plate and used some decorative ribbon to attach it? Hmmm....After a few trial cuts I think I figured out a good look. 

This look depends on how your albums are created and how thick they are. My albums are all Creative Memories albums and all are quite thick. 

Here you can see my already embossed album spines and my new date plate spine create with the Cricut. 

 I used the George and Basic Shapes Cartridge for the oval and Opposites Attract for the letters. The ribbon is cut from some sheer ribbon I got from Michael's. Mine happens to be grey/silver but you could use anything that coordinated. 

I used the So Saffron yellow from Stampin Up. It was the closest I had to the color of yellow of the album. I cut the oval at size 4" and a shadow in black. Numbers are 1" tall from Opposites Attract

There are lots of "tags" in the George and Basic Shapes Cartridge; I plan on trying some other versions later. If you try this technique, let me know, would love to see other ideas! 

Glue numbers on, then thread ribbon through the top through the back, up through the bottom. Glue number plate (oval) to the oval back. Tip: Let it fully dry to make sure it is dry and secure. I noticed mine is pulling away a little on the sides.
Then tie to the spine securely with not very much  wiggle room(but not to tight as to crease the spine) and wrap it so the knot is on the back side like below.  You can move number plate up and down depending on where you want the label. If you want to make a bow or tie, leave the excess ribbon on the front instead of wrapping it to the back. Replace your spine. 

This can be done with permanent spines too as long as you have room to thread the ribbon through top to bottom.

Inside of spine; knot is on this side unless you want a decorative tie.

Here are additional ones I created in silver instead of a color that matches the album. 

I am fascinated with what the Cricut can do, I hope to post more of my creations soon!

Friday, January 21, 2011

First Crochet Project: Amigurumi Dolls

I recently took some books to Half Price Books to see what I could get. (Purging) They have you wait in the store while they review what you brought, I am sure this is a purposeful tactic to get you to buy books. It worked.

I looked through the craft books hoping to find a book on knitting with sock yarn and stumbled upon a great book "Crobots". (See image to the left.) It is a great little book with the cutest amigurumi creatures. I particularly like the Geisha at the end; it has 4 wheels though, meaning it is hard, so I will tackle it after I have made a few more of the other ones.

One problem, I don't know how to crochet.

The book has instructions on how to get started and how hard can it be right? I knit. I sew. I can crochet. LOL

I bought the appropriate hook at Jo-Ann's and some cheap yarn and went home to get started. It says in the book a good crocheter can make one of these things in a few hours. New people, a little longer. I'm on the new side.

The instructions as they turn out are not that easy to follow. Maybe if you already know what you are doing, they are a good refresher. Me? I found them confusing and I read them S-L-O-W-L-Y and over and over again.

I finally gave up and went on youtube and found a bunch of videos on how to get started. Youtube is a GREAT resource to learn just about anything. There are good and bad videos so you have to search a little but I saw great tips in most of the videos I watched.

After a few tries at the "magic circle" I managed to make a few cute amigurumi dolls/monsters.

White Amigurumi Dog
This cute dog is my first amigurumi. A friend suggested the pink collar and I like it, it makes her sassy.

Techno Monster

This guy is so cute. He originally had old style head phones on that went over his head. I modified to to make them white and gave him a little "mp3" player.

Audrey is my favorite. She is quirky, made from random things in my house. I didn't quite have everything the book said so I improvised and I think she came out better. I particularly love her hat.

I'm having a lot of fun making these...I can't wait to get started on my next one! If you want to see the rest of my amigurumi, check out my etsy store.