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how to

paper pumpkins

by @according2kelly on October 8, 2008

over the past couple of days ghosts, witches, a few pirates & lots of pumpkins have taken over the house. last year we had so much making these paper pumpkins, that we decided to do them again. you & your kiddos want to make a some too? grab some paper, a paper punch, some floral wire, & a few fake leaves and you’ll be making pumpkins in no time. (click on the pictures on the right to enlarge them.)

1. start with a piece of paper. i prefer card stock, but really, any paper will do. & the size really isn’t important. different sizes of paper will create different sized pumpkins, so have fun with it & be creative.
2. cut your paper into strips. i usually make the strips 1″ wide, but again, be creative. experiment with different widths, or even a mixture. there is no right or wrong way to do this.
3. after you’ve cut your strips punch a hole in each end of your strip, resulting in two holes per strip, one at each end.
4. stack all the strips on top of each other, line up the holes, & thread a piece of floral wire (about 5″ long) through all of the holes. make sure to kink or coil one of the ends of the floral wire to “anchor” it.
5. after you’ve threaded the floral wire through one set of the holes, fold the paper in a u-shape & thread the wire through the other set of stacked holes. make sense? when you’ve done it correctly the paper will make a tear drop shape.
6. now, kink or coil this end of the floral wire, once again “anchoring” it. how much space or wire you leave between the two ends of paper is up to you. again experiment with the length of wire you leave. the more wire, the taller the pumpkin will sit. just play with the shape.
7. using some excess floral wire attach a couple of leaves, fan out your pumpkin, & ta da! you are all finished.

this is a quick & easy project, & my kids love to help. they get a kick out of punching holes & helping “thread” the pumpkins. try different colors & paper textures… it’s fun seeing what you can create.

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happy everything.

by @according2kelly on September 11, 2008


who says you can’t celebrate the “every day”? gather your supplies, break out the sewing machine & let’s make some “happy everything” banners. they are super easy & pretty quick… you’ll be done in no time at all.

supplies needed:
* somewhere between 4 & 24 different fat quarters, depending on how many “different” fabrics you want in your banner (you can get about 6 double-sided flags from one fat quarter, and each banner has about 24 (or 18) double-sided flags total, depending on the length of your bias tape)
* bias tape (which style you use, is totally up to you… i’ve used both single fold bias tape & double fold bias tape… personally, i prefer the double fold, simply because i think it’s easier, but, the single folds over into a really cute & tiny edge. i usually use whatever i have on hand. it should be noted that most bias tapes come 4 yards in length, however some are 3 yards. if you are using the yard variety you’ll have a total of 24 double-sided flags, however if you use the 3 yard variety you’ll end up with 18 double-sided flags)
* basic “other” sewing supplies… rotary cutter, cutting mat, ruler, sewing pins, pinking shears (although not totally necessary) & a sewing machine


fold your fat quarter in half so that it’s measurements are aprroximately 22″ x 9″. using your ruler, cut the fat quarter down so that it is is only 8 1/2″ inches tall… the new measurements (while still folded in half ) are approximately 22″ x 8.5″.


keeping the fabric folded in half (that way, with each cut you’ll actually be making 2 flags, instead of just one!) & making sure the end that you are going to start cutting on, is on a whole number (it’s just easier for me to count when there’s a whole number involved). use your ruler to cut the first side of your triangular shaped flag. (i find it easier to lay my ruler on the lower right hand corner, & angle it so, that at the top it is 3 inches to left of my starting point. make sense?)


for the second cut, start with your ruler at the top (the point that is now 3 inches in from the side) & angle it down, 3 more inches to the left of the center point. for example: if you look at this picture closely (if it’s not big enough, click on it it enlarge). notice how on the right hand side, the lowest corner starts on the 25″ mark… for the first cut, i layed my ruler starting at the 25″ mark on the bottom & angled the ruler up & to the left 3″, so that it ended on the 22″ mark on the top. for my second cut, my ruler started on the 22″ mark on the top, & then i angled the ruler down & out 3″ from this middle point, so the ruler crossed the lower edge at the 19″ mark.

when all is said & done, you’ll have all these pretty little triangle that measures 8 1/2″ tall, & 6″ wide. have i lost you yet?


after you’ve cut the first triangle, you start all over, simply angling your next cut 3″ inches up & to the left…. as you can see (in the picture), the triangles will alternate with the “points” being up on top, & then on the bottom. when you are all finished, you should be able to get approximately 6 (double-sided) flags from one fat quarter.

repeat this same “cutting” process for your remaining fat quarters. remember, you only need 24 double-sided flags (a total of 48 individual flags, hopefully that doesn’t confuse you), or 18 double-sided flags (36 individual) if you are using the 3 yard bias tape.


after all your flags are cut, sew two individual flags together (wrong-sides together, with a 1/2″ seam) so that you have 24 (or 18) double-sided flags. it’s not necessary to sew shorter straight side of the triangle (i’m sure there is some correct, mathematical term for this side, but i have no clue what it is), because that side will be enclosed in the bias tape.


now, this next step is totally optional, but… if you use pinking shears on the long sides of the trianlge (yet another technical term i don’t know), it gives the flags a very cute, finished-looking edge. (click on the picture to enjoy the cuteness.)


now it’s time to break out the bias tape. (don’t worry, we’re almost done!) so what you want to do is enclose the “shorter” edges of the triangles inside the bias tape. it’s much easier (although it takes a bit more time) if you pin the corners of each flag, inside the bias tape. as for spacing of the flags, that’s totally up to you, personally i like the flags butted up against each other, with little or no space in between.


baby, it’s time to sew! after everything has been pinned & you’ve made sure you’ve caught all those little triangle corners inside the bias tape, sew as close to the open edge of the binding as possible. (you may or may not have noticed that one side of the binding is slightly shorter than the other side. it’s easiest to sew the binding, if you sew with that slightly shorter side on top…. and then, ta da! you are all done. your very own “happy everything” banner.

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i spy with my own eye…

by @according2kelly on May 20, 2008

easy sew i spy bagsi’ve been collecting little doo-dads forever (paper clips, foam stickers, confetti), wanting to make “i spy” bags for the boys. (click on pictures to enlarge.) finally, this weekend, i actually got around to making them. they came together easily & were super quick to make. the best part… the boys love them. here are the directions, they might be wordy, but it’s just because i’m trying to explain everything the best i can. really they truly are easy. looking for an even easier way to get your little kiddos there own little “i spy” bag? you can buy them HERE, HERE & HERE.

prep:
2 fleece squares that are 7″ square
a 4″ square of clear vinyl (at least 4 mm or thicker)
1 inkjet fabric sheet (can be found at most craft stores, or you can make your own HERE)
poly-pellets (can also be found at craft sores… it’s usually used for doll stuffing)
aprox. 30+ small doo-dads to fill bag (peruse craft stores, etc. for “little” stuff. buttons, scrapbook stuff, household odds & ends. for ex: paper clip, button, penny.)

assembly (click on the pictures, to enlarge them for a pictorial how-to):
easy to make i spy bags1. on the wrong side of one piece of fleece, using a ruler, find the exact center of the square. using your ruler, measure out from the center & draw a line 1.5″ from the center on all sides of the square (make each line about 3″ inches long). then using scissors or a rotary cutter, carefully cut along the lines to make your “window”.
2. center the vinyl over the window, on the wrong side of the fleece. you might find it helpful to use a bit of tape to hold it in place. very carefully sew the vinyl to the fleece. *vinyl can sometimes stick to the sewing machine, so you might want to test it first. if you find it sticking, you can use a piece of tissue paper between the vinyl & whatever it’s sticking to & just tear it away when you are done.) i personally like to sew with the fabric side against the pressure foot, but do whatever works for you. be sure to double stitch to prevent anything from falling out! i do a straight stitch around the window, and then go over the straight stitch with a decorative zig zag stitch.
3. if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to gather all your little doo-dads, type up your “i spy” list in a word processing program like word. i like to type it in a 3×3″ square text box. then, print the list out onto the fabric paper. cut out your list, make sure to leave enough room around the list, so you can sew around the edges (i figured this one out the hard way.) place your “list” on the solid (back) fleece square, with the right side facing up. zig zag around the edges to prevent it from fraying (you can also dab a little “no fray” on it as well).
4. now that your front “window” square, and back “list” square are done, pin them together, wrong sides together, & carefully sew around the bag, making a sem of about 1/4″ – 1/2″. again, i like to double stitch – the first time around i did a straight stitch, & then i did a decorative zig zag stitch the second time around. *be sure to leave a small opening on one side of the bag that you can use to pour the contents in.
5. fill your bag with your doo-dads, then start pouring in the poly-pellets, a funnel is really useful here. i start with about a cup of poly-pellets & slowly add. personally i like the pellets to fill the bag, to the top edge of the window, but it’s all personal preference. you just don’t want to add so many pellets that it’s hard to manipulate the bag & objects.
6. when you are down filling, carefully shake everything to the bottom of the bag & carefully sew up your opening. & then, ta da! you are finished.

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have you checked your calender lately?

by @according2kelly on April 14, 2008

because mother’s day is fast approaching! may 11 is just around the corner. & while i’m sure you all have been dropping hints to your hubby’s about ordering something from my shop (wink, wink! nudge, nudge!) what do you have planned from your own mothers, mil, etc. etc.? although i’m sure they too would appreciate a nice piece of jewelry, i think it’s fun to give something your kiddos can help create. last week a couple of girls & i got together with our littles to create mother’s day frames, perfect for framing a sweet picture of the kids. the frames turned out great, & my mom (who received hers as a birthday present) loved it (so she says). anyway, i thought i’d share the idea with all of you. (& to be honest, they’d really be great for any recipient, or holiday… father’s day, birthday’s, christmas, you get the idea.) what do i love about this idea? it’s totally personal, your kids can help, it’ super cheap, & really easy…. anyone can do it.

supplies needed:
an unfinished frame (we used the dollar specials we picked up at michael’s, but i’m sure any craft stores has the exact, if not similar frame), wood stain, a piece of plain colored card stock paper (larger than your frame), water colors/ crayons/ colored pencils… or what ever “medium” your little one prefers, a jar of mod podge, a sponge brush aplicator, a tiny bit of sand paper & a razor blade or exacto knife.

directions:
1. assemble all of your supplies & set up your “work space”. mod podge, water colors, wood stain… this could definitely get messy.
2. stain your frame. you don’t have to stain the entire frame, just the areas that will be visible after you mod podge the paper to the front… that means you will be staining the back of the frame, the outer sides of the frame as well as the inner sides (near where the picture will go) & don’t forget to stain the dowel that you will be using as the stand.
3. while the stain is drying, get out the cardstock & let your little one go to town on it. encourage them to have fun & be colorful. our kiddos are just wee little ones, so we tried to push the finger painting. if you have older children, just make sure they realize that some of the paper is going to be cut away… you don’t want to cut away vital parts of their picture!
4. once the kids are finished with their masterpieces, if necessary, let it dry.
5. when the frame & artworks are dry, it’s time to get your mod podge on! (if your artwork has warped at all, as ours did, i’d suggest ironing it between layers of a dishtowel…)
6. the first step to the art of mod podging is to apply a light layer over the entire surface to be mod podged (the front of the frame) & let it dry for about 30 seconds or so. the timing isn’t setting in stone, you just want it to set-up a touch.
7. next, you apply another layer of mod podge & then position your child’s artwork on top of the frame (pay careful attention to any particular areas that you don’t want to cut away & steer those parts away from the center or edges of your frame).
8. press the paper firmly to the frame, smoothing away any air bubbles that may form. (it’s kinda like wall papering… i found it helpful to use an old credit card to help smooth the paper out.)
9. once the paper is set in place, let it sit for about 5 minutes, then recheck your frame to see if any more bubbles have appeared. if there are, press the bubble down again. if it still doesn’t stick, take a straight pin to release the air under the paper & press it smooth.
10. once your frame is dry, put it right-side down on a cutting surface & using your razor blade or exacto knife, trim off the extra paper from around the edges & from the center opening of the frame.
11. using your sand paper, sand all of the paper edges (that you just trimmed) to ensure that they are smooth.
12. once your paper trimming & sanding is all done, apply at least 2 more layers of mod podge on top of the artwork.
13. when everything is good & dry, at this point you are pretty much done & your frame is ready for a cute picture of your little one(s). however, if you so choose, using a paper towel or cloth & just a touch of stain, you can “vintage-ize” your frame by rubbing just a bit of stain on the exposed edges of your paper. but, like i said, this step is totally up to you & not at all necessary to create your incredibly personalized frame, that i’m sure it’s recipient will love & be thrilled to receive.

click on the pictures for a step-by-step pictorial, & if you have any questions, just leave me a comment or shoot me an email!

have fun!

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cutting on the bias.

by @according2kelly on March 12, 2008

let me be honest here, this post is mostly for my benefit. one day, i may want to cut my fabric on the bias again. & more than likely i’ll have forgotten how. (what’s cutting on the bias you ask? basically, instead of cutting your fabric in horizontal strips, you cut it on a 45 degree angle. it’s great for strips, checks… makes them lay at an angle. still confused? check out THIS picture of my quilt. see the how the stripes on the binding lay at angle? that’s because i cut the fabric on the bias.) and yes, before i get started, i realize there are lots of tutorials out, showing you how to cut on the bias. but all the ones i came across involved math & looked super confusing. although, the perk of using THIS how-to, is that when you are done cutting, your strips are already sewn together… but just looking at the diagrams gave me a headache. so, here’s how i do it… (a big thanks to abby for teaching me how!) click on each picture to enlarge & show all the fine little details.

step one: lay out your fabric, similar to a piece of paper (i use the selvedge edges as my top and bottom). now mentally, or literally, which ever works for you… mark each corner. starting with the top left & going clockwise, mark the corners with A,B,C & D (as shown below.)

step 2: fold corner A down diagonally, so that the top (selvedge) edge lines up with the side. when folded, corner A will be above corner C. (see picture below)

step 3: fold corner B down diagonally. you will basically be folding the crease created by step 2, in half. when folded, corner B will be above corner D, and your fabric will look like a little house: a triangle roof (we will call the tip of the roof or triangle: E) & a rectangle below. (see picture below)

step 4: fold corner B up to point E, once again, folding the crease in half. (see picture below)

step five: carefully flip the fabric over. instead of seeing the right side of the fabric near corner C & the wrong side near corner D, you want to see the right side of the fabric near corner D & the wrong side of the fabric near corner C. you also want to make sure that corner D is pointing down, with the long horizontal edge at the top. (see picture below)

step six: this step isn’t necessary, but i’ve found that if i fold the fabric in half, i can cut a strip with just one swish of my rotary. simply take corner C & fold it back over the fabric (to the left), making sure to keep the horizontal edges lined up. (see picture below)

step seven: line your ruler up with the horizontal edge & cut strips to your desired width. (see picture below) i prefer to cut them about 2.25″ wide.

step eight: viola! bias cut fabric.

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keeping the hair out of my eyes.

by @according2kelly on February 5, 2008

last week i was doing some sewing & i found myself constantly blowing at my bangs to keep them out of my eyes. my hair is in this self-imposed, weird stage. my bangs are long, much longer than i’d like. but i’m just not sure what to do with them. i’ve been attempting to go for that swept to the side bang look, but my bangs just do really go there. i’m not sure if i should go back to the straight bang look, or if i should just grow them out… (although, i think i look kinda boring without bangs. i need them for the little umph! they add to my face.) not able to make a decision, the bangs are now, just in the way. anyway, back to my story. not having any bobby pins on hand (& i can’t wear traditional headbands because they just make my head hurt), i ended up tying a piece of fabric around my head, a la 1950′s housewife style. later i found myself liking the way it looked & i realized if i’d just sew a bit here & there, i’d have the makings of an awfully cute headband (or ascout, ha ha ha), that wouldn’t give me a headache.
so if you’re at all interested in making your own super chic headband, here are the instructions: (click on the pictures to enlarge.)
1. cut two strips of fabric. (i actually used two different fabrics, so that mine would be reversible.) you’ll also want to measure your head to get an approximation for how long the fabric should be… i cut my fabric 2.5″ x 33.5″, but i didn’t want really long “tails”.
2. using a hard edge (i used my fabric ruler), draw a curve (on the wrong side of the fabric) from the midpoint on the 2.5″ edge (at 1.25″) to the midpoint of your length (for me it was at 16.75″). (you’ll want to draw this curve twice, along the top long edge & the bottom edge as well). once the curves are drawn, fold both fabrics in half & cut. does this make sense? basically you just want a slight curve that comes to a point on the short edge… (check out the pictures.)
3. with the right sides of the fabric together, sew (using a 1/4″ seam) around the edge of the headband, leaving approximately 2-3″ open (so you can turn it).
4. using your fingers, turn the headband right side out.
5. iron your headband, especially along the seams. also really iron at the “opening”, folding under the edges of the “opening” & create a good crease.
6. using your sewing machine, top-stitch the entire headband, getting as close to the edge of the fabric as you can… making sure you stitch down the edges of the “opening” so that “opening” is now closed.
7. tie your new creation around your head & your finished!

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spreading the love… one cookie at a time.

by @according2kelly on January 30, 2008

love is in the air… can you feel it? although i really should admit that i don’t really love valentine’s day. i won’t bore you with my opinions here, i just think it’s overly commercialized. there enough said. but, i’m not going to let my attitude get in the way of having some fun. especially after i ran across these cute felt fortune cookies in martha’s magazine this month. you can check out her directions & how-to HERE. although, while making mine i made a couple of modifications. i started out doing it her way, but some of the steps just seemed unnecessary, so i made some changes. here’s what i did:

supplies needed:
felt
cup & pen (for tracing)
scissors
hot glue gun & glue (although any craft glue would do)

instructions: (click on the pictures to the right to get an idea of how it all looks)
1. using a cup, mug or bowl (just depending on how big want your fortune cookies. bigger = bigger cookies… i used a variety of sizes) trace a circle onto your felt. using scissors, cut your circle(s) out.
2. on the right side of the fabric, (the side you want to show on the outside of the cookie) place a dab of glue in the very center of the circle & then fold the circle in half (so that the glue & the right side of the fabric is inside) & hold, while the glue dries. (if you’re using craft glue, this could take a while so you might want to put a book on it & let it sit.)
3. after the glue is dry, hold the circle with the right side facing you & with the dried glue line horizontal. (i think the crease the glue makes kind of looks like a mouth at this point.)
4. you’ll notice that the fabric kind of puckers from the glue (i like to think of them as dimples). place your fingers in those puckers, at either end of the dried glue. using the fingers inside of the puckers, fold the circle in half, matching edge to edge. at this point, the right side of the fabric should be on the outside & your felt circle should be resembling a fortune cookie.
5. put another dab of glue at the top of the cookie, in order to hold the two sides together & hold it until it dries (or put a book on it, in the case of craft glue.) after it’s dry you can insert a fortune or some valentine’s candy & deliver them to your sweetie.

these really do come together quick & easy. you could even make them with the kiddos (just don’t let them do any of the gluing, we wouldn’t want them to get burned!) if you have any questions though, i’d love to help. happy crafting!

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clove-studded oranges.

by @according2kelly on December 19, 2007

who didn’t make these as a kid. i remember looking forward to this project in school, it always made the classroom smell oh so good!

ingredients:
* oranges
* cloves
* ribbon
* toothpicks

directions:
press cloves into oranges in a decorative pattern. push ribbon through top of orange with toothpick. Loop, tie and hang, or display in a dish.

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bubble bubble toil & trouble

by @according2kelly on October 11, 2007

witches brew

fillet of a fenny snake,
in the caldron boil & bake;
eye of newt, & toe of frog,
wool of bat, & tongue of dog,
adder’s fork, & blind-worm’s sting,
lizard’s leg, &owlet’s wing,—
for a charm of powerful trouble,
like a hell-broth boil & bubble.

double, double toil & trouble;
fire burn, & caldron bubble.

unlike the witches in macbeth, this witch’s brew isn’t made of toads and lizards. instead, i used spray foam insulation that i picked up at my local home improvement store.

after it was dry & hard i painted it green & hot glued on some toy eye balls, spiders & skulls… care to have a taste?

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not intended for consumption.

by @according2kelly on October 8, 2007

we spent the weekend crafting paper pumpkins. once again

my inspiration came from paper source (i don’t think i’m able capable of original ideas, they are all taken!)… they were selling these cute pumpkin place card kits. but at 12 bucks a pop, i decided i was better off figuring it out on my own.
they were pretty simple to make after i got my supplies: pumpkin-ey colored paper, a small hole punch, floral wire & fake leaves (i found everything at michaels). all i did was cut the paper into 1-inch strips. then i proceeded to punch a hole at both ends of the strips. i stacked the strips on top of one another, creating a small pile of strips. next, i fed the wire through the bottom hole of every strip & then the top hole as well. you then kinda push down on the top of the papers & fan them out like a pumpkin. once you have your desired shape coil the ends of the wire so that your holes won’t slip off & add a leaf or two.

okay, so it might sound a little complicated, but it really isn’t. once you start making them, it will totally make sense & come together quickly. if you get stuck or are confused, just shoot me an email & i’ll do my darnedest to explain it better!

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