Wildly Identifiable | Easy ID Lanyard DIY

I have to wear an ID badge at work. I must have it on at all times while I’m in the building or at a school function. It allows me to be identified as a “staff” member (sort of…I don’t get paid to be there) instead of a threat to National Security. In a constant effort to be adorable in everything I do, I wanted a cute lanyard on which to display my lovely ID.

Hello, Target dollar section.

I found a cute sparkly lanyard ($1!!!), but after wearing it for less than a week, it was already starting to fall apart. I guess you get what you pay for. So I did what I should have done the first time. I asked Pinterest.

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Which is how I found this completely adorable fabric lanyard tutorial from Two Peas In a Pod. Even with my terrible novice sewing skills, I easily whipped out this baby in about 10 minutes. If you have a sewing machine and can sew a straight line, you can make this lanyard. Ridiculous. Since I used fabric scraps I already had lying around and repurposed the hardware from the now defunct Target lanyard, the project cost me a grand total of $0, which is my favorite amount to spend on things.

20150829_111653Mine is a wee bit wider than the original, because I started with 2.5″ scraps instead of 2″, but other than that, I followed the instructions pretty closely. You could use this same method, and wider fabric scraps to make key chains or luggage tags. The possibilities are endless!

Happy Crafting!

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day 23 | Virtual Party Planning

I’m not having an actual birthday party this year, aside from a tiny family get together this afternoon (the get together is tiny, my family is normal-sized, just to be clear), so I decided to throw myself a little virtual party. All the glamour, none of the clean up, and I don’t have to wear pants. In keeping with the theme of my golden birthday, I’m going with a bit of a grown up princess party thing.

Not Disney Princess. More, fairy-tale-ish? No Grimm Brothers, though. Not fairy princess, either. Whatever, just look.

Birthday CollageLace Crowns|Sequin Dress|Gold Balloon|Lighted Trees|Cupcake Hearts|Straws|Sparkle Print

You can check out more of my ideas for the perfect Golden Birthday on my Pinterest board! Try to ignore that most of them come from baby showers or parties for two-year-olds. It’s my birthday, I’ll do what I want.

Happy Saturday!

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day 14 | Climbing Kilimanjaro

I get deeply invested in (read: obsessed with) Vacation Bible School. 2015 marks my 5th consecutive year as the Pre-Primary Director (3-5 year olds). During my tenure, I’ve learned more than a few things about coordinating a week’s worth of lessons, crafts, and activities. To get through the week without pulling my hair out, organization is the key.

All a girl needs is a really organized binder, a large coffee, a pinch of faith, and a Master Plan.

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1) Master Plan: I start in Microsoft Excel and make a skeleton that holds all the information I need. Then I fill in each section, and when it’s done, I have a plan for the week! Of course, you know what they say, “A plan is a point from which to deviate.”

Isn’t it glorious?

Times are listed and the shaded box is to remind me that Thursday is Water Day (dun dun duhhhhh) which means chaos will erupt. I keep a copy of the plan in the binder and post additional copies around the classrooms so that my helpers can easily see what the next activity will be.

20150514_1055112) The curriculum book is full of all kinds of awesome things, but the workbook style of it makes it hard to organize. I spent way too much time flipping through the pages trying to stay on the right day. To solve this problem, I pulled out my handy-dandy paper-cutter, removed the staples from the binding, and sliced the pages free.

3) Order is key! This is how my binder is set up.

Master Plan
VBS Rules Sheet
Parent Info Sheet
Curriculum Book Intro Pages

Day Divider (5 total)
Coloring Sheet Master Copies
Daily Puppet Script
Discovery Center and Craft Cards
Daily Curriculum

4) Parent Communication is a huge part of our success. Between our “No Parents” policy and getting ready for water day, we have a lot to explain! I can’t be sure that in the craziness, I’ll get face to face time with each parent, so we send home announcements with the kids. Here’s my cute African themed sheet for this year!

VBS-Parents

This way, I can circumvent some of the my-kid-isn’t-prepared-because-you-didn’t-tell-me nonsense. I do get parents who are offended that they can’t sit with little Johnny or Susie in class and let me know that they’ll go where they please. A very diplomatic, “I understand, but my primary job is to ensure the safety of all of our campers, including Johnny/Susie,” usually cuts it. If not, I can bring out the big guns with, “I understand if you need to remove your Johnny/Susie from the class, but these are the rules, and they aren’t going to change.

A new strategy for the ones that think it’s cool to yell at me comes from my sweet friend Kristi, “Okay, but you’re yelling. Why don’t we talk about it?”

5) This year, I’m trying something new. For each Discovery Center and Craft, I made a card that has the instructions and all the necessary materials. This way, I can just hand them off to a helper and there is no need to micromanage everything that’s happening in my classroom! I formatted them in Microsoft word, and printed them on cardstock for durability.

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Have hot glue, will travel.

I’ve been home for 3 days in a row because of the ridiculous weather we’ve had. We’re two weeks away from the official start of spring and there is 5″ of snow on the ground. Ugh. I’m also holding down the fort for a week while my mom is visiting David & Maggie on the West Coast. So in addition to cabin fever, I’m also an extremely introspective person, alone with her thoughts for a week.

Such potential for bad.

20150306_133152In that spirit, I’ve done my best to stay busy. I have a ton of projects I’ve started, or intended to start, but never got around to finishing. One such project: sorting, purging, and organizing the contents of my closet. With weight loss and finally unpacking from my move (4 years ago *shame*), I have tons of things that no longer fit or are no longer my style. Buh-bye!

Tell me if you’ve heard this one: you hang up all of your clothes in the closet. In defiance, they slide right off the hangers, onto the floor. You then hulk out in frustration and demolish a small village. There are angry villagers and pitchforks involved and your weekend gets way more interesting than you planned.

Solution: hot glue. Seriously.

Simply apply a bead of glue along the top edge of each plastic hanger and it becomes instantly non-slip. Voila!

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A couple notes on hot glue:

  1. The name is not a misnomer. This stuff is hot, so this isn’t really a kid-friendly project.
  2. The glue cools really fast, so make sure you get it where you want it, and nowhere else.
  3. This isn’t exactly a permanent solution. If you’re gentle on the hangers, the glue should last indefinitely, but it may eventually get brittle and start to come off.
  4. Allow the glue gun to cool completely before you put it away, being especially careful around the metal tip.
  5. Don’t have a glue gun of your very own? Please don’t spend a fortune on one. I have a mini high temp glue gun (like this one) It cost me about $3, and I’ve had it for almost 10 years. Unless you need an industrial size gun for some reason, this works beautifully.

Once I got into a rhythm, it didn’t even take that long to get all of my hangers done. Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

Chevrons are like stripes — with attitude!

Tell me what is better than finding something for a dollar.

I know, I know, finding it for free would be better, but give me a break, okay?

Inspired by my new re-dedication to my blog and my need to come up with new, amazing projects and things, I spent some time with Emily this weekend.  She wanted to make a zip-top bag quilt for displaying student work in her classroom and called on me to offer technical assistance and, as it turned out, mad math skills.  The result was an afternoon of hi-jinks and fun.  This project is pretty simple, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it easy.  Also, this is definitely one of those things that is easier with two people.

All you need is duct tape, packing tape, and gallon-sized zip-top bags. I actually recommend using an off brand (we used ones from Target) to avoid the white writing traditionally found on the more mainstream brands.  The tape we found was ADORABLE chevron duct tape from the dollar section at Target.  It came in 10 ft rolls and we ended up using about 60 feet.

*Incidentally, they also had a cute damask print tape that I may or may not have purchased 9 rolls of (because that’s all they had!)  just in case I ever decided that I needed it for anything.  Maybe)*

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Which brings me to a really important point.  DO THE MATH.  No joke, we had to make a mid-afternoon Target run and pray that there would still be tape left because someone (*cough* Emily) didn’t do the math to figure out how much tape we’d need.  We wanted to make a 5 bag x 5 bag grid.  If you assume that each bag is about 1 square foot then you’d need 6, 5′ strips for the verticals and the same for the horizontals (one strip between each row of bags (4) and one for each of the outside edges (2 more)) So that’s 60 feet total.  Still with me?  It’s easiest to draw it out.

Once enough materials were procured, we started with the top edge.  Lay out a strip of tape about 5′ long, sticky side up,  and starting about 2″ in from one end, lay the bags down from the top, overlapping them about halfway up the tape.  Make sure to keep the tape taught and the bags straight.  We left about and eighth to a quarter of an inch between bags.

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Lay a second strip of tape down and secure the bottoms of the bags in the same fashion, overlapping the edge about half way across the tape.  Then add another row of bags.  Continue this until you’ve reached the desired length.  The tape on the in-between rows is pretty well covered, but to deal with the extra stickiness of the top and bottom rows, line those rows with packing tape.  Yes, go right over the openings of the bags on the top row.  When all is said and done, you can slice those open with ease.

Once all the rows have been assembled, lay the quilt face up (sticky side down) and tape the cross rows.   Again, taught-ness is key here!

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Finish off the sides with packing tape on the backs and voila!

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So Cute!!!!!  It sounds fairly complicated, but I swear, once you try it, you’ll see that it really isn’t challenging!

Happy Monday!!!

Better a silly girl with a flower than a silly boy with a horse and a stick…

Pop Quiz!  Can you name the film from which comes the line that makes up today’s title?

Don’t look at me, I’m not telling!

I’m taking a break today from regaling you with my dinner victories to talk about a little craft project.  This project stemmed from an abundance of thin cardboard I happened to have on hand after a particularly large order of caps came through my shop, but any thin cardboard will work for this.   You’ll also need paint, a canvas or board, and hot glue.  Optional: wooden hearts or some other small shapes.

I cut my cardboard pieces into two different sized petal shapes and painted them all turquoise before curling them with my fingers and hot gluing them together in the shape of a flower.  I made two flowers and nested them together, securing with hot glue.  Then I added the wooden hearts, painted yellow to the center to finish it off.

I mounted the flower on the canvas, but it turned out to be much smaller than I had envisioned, and there was SOOOOOO much which space that I added a couple of stripes of paint to one edge.  The result, a simple yet lovely going away present for Emily as she headed back to school.

Pretty, no?  I still have a ton of these cardboard pieces left, so I might try some other things.  IMPORTANT NOTE!!!!  Never use your good craft or fabric scissors to cut cardboard.  The fibers will dull your scissors really fast and that’s never good.  I have a dedicated cardboard/chipboard/random paper scissors that are old and beat up.

Hope you’re having a lovely Wednesday!

PS.  If anyone is wondering what happened to the last two weeks of Emily’s column, I swear we’re working on it.  The last two installments of [Re]Working it will be up soon!!!!

Pssht…I could do that….

GOOD MORNING!!!!!!!!!!

Too early for that?  Sorry.  Let me try again

*good morning*

Better?  Good.

I hope you had a lovely weekend.  As you may have read on Friday, Emily and I were supposed to have a crafting weekend but since she bailed on me  couldn’t make it, I crafted alone.  I finished two projects and got materials for two more, and all in all, I think it went quite well.  The project I want to share with you today is a tee-shirt scarf/necklace thingy.  It has some interesting origins, kind of a right place, right time, deal.  Obviously, I just finished my Tee Shirt Quilt, and I had leftover tee-shirt pieces from the project. Then, I was trolling around Pinterest one day and I saw this:

Blue Ocean Fabric Necklace

Pretty, no?  It’s lovely, but the link goes to an Etsy store, and not a tutorial (Click the photo to see the original posting).  I didn’t really want to buy one, when I was sure I could make one just as easy, so I did.  There you go. Now, the original necklace is just made of soft jersey, not tee shirts, so it’s a little different.

I started with the bottom parts of 4 different tee shirts.  Because my shirts are different brands/sizes/colors/materials, they have different stretch capacities, and didn’t all turn out the same length. I like it a lot, but  if it bugs you, make sure you use identical shirts.  Also, I only had the bottom third or so of the shirt to use, but if you’re starting from scratch, you can use the entire torso from under arm to hem.  Just don’t actually use the hem, it won’t work.  I collected my shirts, creating a nice color palette.

Then, using sharp fabric scissors, I cut the shirts into 1″ ribbons but left them whole, so that I had loops.  Don’t cut up the sides of the shirt, no bueno.

PS: Now is as good a time as any to talk about scissors.  Having a good sharp pair of scissors that you use for fabric is essential.  You should never NEVER cut paper with your fabric scissors, because the fibers in the paper will dull your blades.  If you find that your scissors aren’t cutting as well as they used to be, don’t get new ones, just get them sharpened.  Fabric stores have periodic scissor and knife sharpening events and it’s inexpensive.  My local Joann’s is having one this week, but check with your local craft or sewing supply store to find out when they have these kinds of events.  Or, if you live in/close to a large city, you may have a full-time sharpening shop.  Do some research.  Trust me, it’s easier and cheaper to get your scissors sharpened than to buy new ones.

I made the ribbons into yarn by tugging on them.  When you pull, they’ll curl up on themselves as if by magic.  It’s actually pretty cool….

I gathered them all together and braided them a little.  Because the pieces are loops, and not straight, if you braid it on one side, it braids on the other. Embrace it!  I secured the braids with masking tape until I was ready for them and then hot glued a spare piece of shirt to hold the braids.  Yes hot glue, I already had it out for another project and I didn’t feel like sewing it!  Don’t judge me.  If you’re a purist, you could certainly do a few stitches to secure.  I might even do that at some point in the future.

Et Voila! Scarf, or necklace, or whatever.  All in all, it probably took me about half an hour, and mostly that because I had to figure out the placement of the braids.  I’m psyched for the arrival of cool fall days when I can add this to my accessories wardrobe!

Happy Monday!

BAM! Quilt! Part 2

I told you this would be long….

If you haven’t read Part 1 of this post, click here.

So now that you have all the pieces cut out, it’s time to start assembly.  Start with the “bottom” row.  Lay two blocks right sides together and pin and sew up the shared edge.  Continue for the other half of the row and then sew the two pieces together.

I found that if I started by making block of two, and then put two together to make a row, then put two rows together to make half, and then sewed the whole thing together, it was more organized and less, you know, mind-bending.

Once you have the whole front sewn together…

Wait, did you miss the part when I said to do that?  It’s cool, I’ll wait.

Done? Good, back to it.  When you have the whole front sewn together, lay out your backing fabric on the floor, right side down.  Add your batting and your tee shirt front, right side up.

Then, pin.  Seriously, pin everything.  Pin the top, the bottom, the sides, the middle of the squares, the edges, the corners, EVERYTHING.  The better you pin it now, the less carnage might occur later.  Trim the edges of the backing fabric and batting so that they are flush with the edges of the front.  During this time, you will be sweating and bleeding (from the pins…I don’t know what you’re talking about) and your cat will be laying on your couch looking completely nonplussed.

So cute.

Now comes the quilting.  I actually didn’t take an photos of the quilting…so that’s my bad, but what you want to do is use masking tape to mark off a diagonal 45 degree line across one corner, and then sew along that line, careful NOT to sew on the masking tape.  A basic running stitch is fine for this.  When the first row is done, remove the tape and mark the next row.  If you look at the packaging your batting came in, you’ll see instructions on how far apart you can place your rows.  Mine were 4″ because I used a relatively thin batting.  About half way through, you might find that you have too much fabric bunched up under the sewing machine.  In that case, just turn it around keep going.  No biggie.

When your quilting is done, pin a quilting tape to the edges to bind.  I used a lime green pre-made tape, but if you’re brave, you could attempt to make your own.  Quilt binding is double folded to give a really nice clean edge, and comes in a variety of widths.  A simple, straight stitch would be sufficient, but I decided to use a zig-zag for added interest.

Finish off the binding and BAM! Quilt!

Just lovely.  See the quilting?  Good.

It really isn’t a difficult project, just time-consuming.  If you’d like to start quilting, but are terrified of the tiny pieces involved, this is a great starter quilt.

Happy Crafting!

BAM! Quilt! Part 1

You may (or may not) know this about me: I graduated from Auburn University in 2009.  Another random fact?  I am a member of Omega Phi Alpha, National Service Sorority.  One more for good measure? Sororities give out a lot of tee shirts.  Like, a lot.

Now, I don’t really wear tee shirts but I don’t want to get rid of the chronicle of my college life, so I decided to do what any reasonable crafter would do…I made a quilt.

I’ve read a few blog posts from people who have done similar things, but none of them really looked like what I wanted to do, so this is an original tutorial.  Also, it’s broken up into parts, because it’s a pretty long one.

If you work straight through and nothing shiny distracts you, you could probably finish this quilt in a weekend.  If, however, your power goes out and you have to give your cat a bath and then you get a new job and the stomach flu, this might take a bit longer.  I started about a month ago and worked on it in fits and spurts.  Also, I made a lap quilt, which measures 48″ x 60″, so if your quilt is smaller/larger, the time will be relative.

I used my sorority tees, but this would work just as well with any collection of tees.  How cute would a quilt be with all of your kid’s little league uniforms? All of my blocks are the same size, but I’ve also seen quilts out of baby clothes which are more mosaic-ish in nature.

Anyway, here’s what you need for this quilt

– A mess of tee shirts

– Fusible  interfacing

– Fabric for backing

– Quilt binding (make your own or buy some, I bought mine at JoAnne Fabric)

– Quilt batting

– Coordinating thread

– General sewing supplies (pins, scissors, etc.)

– Sewing Machine

– Large pieces of cardboard

– Cutting mat

– Rotary Cutter

Here’s what you do (Directions for a 48″ x 60″ Quilt) :

Start by making sure that your tees are all clean, and wash and dry your back fabric according to the care instructions.  When buying fabric, make sure to take into account that the fabric may shrink and buy enough to compensate for that.  For a large quilt, you may have to piece together a piece large enough to cover the whole area.  I chose a plaid, which ended up being a HUGE pain because I had to stress about keeping it straight, so a solid or print would be best.  Unless you’re really into masochism….

Cut a piece of heavy cardboard into a 13″ x 17″ rectangle.  This will act as your template to create 16, 12″ x 16″ blocks.  If you don’t have enough shirts, you can cut a smaller piece and make one block out of several left chest designs.  Trim off the sleeves and neck bands from your shirts with scissors and then cut them up the sides to separate front and back.  For some shirts, you will be able to use both the front and back.  Others will only be useful once.

Lay the cardboard over the shirt and use your cutter to cut out a rectangle.  Work carefully to keep from cutting up the template.

Continue until you have cut all the blocks and use the same template to cut out pieces of fusible interfacing.  The interfacing will keep the shirt pieces stable as you sew.  I bought interfacing by the foot, but it also comes in packages.  The stuff I used was specifically designed for knits.  Follow the package instructions to adhere it to your fabric pieces.

Lay out all of your block on a flat neutral-colored surface (I used my bed with everything but the fitted sheet pulled back) and arrange them for composition.  Try to keep the colors evenly dispersed and keep similar designs away from each other.  This actually took a bit of doing, and it’s helpful to have a friend take a look at it to see if anything jumps out at them.  When you’re satisfied with the design, take a photo so you don’t forget the correct arrangement.

Part 2 will be published on Monday! Stay tuned!

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Weekend Warriors…Aunt Peaches

Every once in awhile, I come across a blog that actually makes me laugh out loud. Enter, Aunt Peaches (www.auntpeaches.com), a creative free spirit living in Chicago who embraces all things colorful and reusable.  She is quite well known in the blogging world, and her work is often featured on crafting blogs and her blog features her thoughts on everything from daily observations to her regular feature on paper flowers.  She is a lover of coffee filters and bright colors and her particular brand of humor brightens my day.

Here is what Peaches says about herself:

“I’m Peaches: aunt, artist, wannabe photographer, expert city dweller, World Class Diet Coke Connoisseur. My hands are always moving. My toenails are tangerine. I’m excellent at procrastinating. I guarantee you, at the time you are reading this, there are dirty dishes in my sink. I didn’t get my driver’s license until a was twenty-nine. Did I mention it was my third attempt?

I’m sort of like that chubby friend everyone knows; you like me because I know how to order cocktails and make you look skinny by comparison, and, I like you because your family/office/personal/Mother-In-Law/Baby-Daddy drama makes my life feel normal.  Damn, we are so good together.

My days are spent in an office getting paid to have people tell me do lots of things, most of which translate to “make it pretty.” My nights are spent working as a freelance graphic designer, attempting to validate the time and money I wasted on a pretentious art school.”

Love it!  As a posseser of a slightly pretentious, practically useless art degree myself, I can relate.

Have a lovely weekend!

PS:  Does someone inspire you?  Would you love to see a feature on them in the Weekend Warriors column?  Hit me up and let me know, and I’ll check them out.  If I pick your idea, I’ll feature you right along side!