I Got A Heat Press!!

Okay guys, I have big news! I got a heat press!!! I’m so excited! My mom and dad got it for me as a birthday/Christmas gift, and this has been such a game changer for me with shirt making! This is the one I got:

It came with attachments to also do hats, 2 sizes of plates, and 2 sizes of mugs. This thing is so awesome! Not only is it crazy faster than applying heat transfer vinyl with an iron, the quality of the finished product is miles better! What really surprised me though was the fact that you can re-press old projects that have maybe started to peel a bit and fix them! I’ve been playing with htv for about a year now, and I’ve loved working with it, but I’ve always been a little disappointed that it didn’t seem to hold up very well in the wash. Well this has been the answer to that for sure. My new projects as well as old ones that I repaired are now holding up perfectly in the washing machine! And I have LOVED being able to rescue some ragged favorites that seemed destined for the trash. I had just assumed that once an item had gone through the laundry there would be no way to make the htv stick. Not that every single project I did with an iron started to peel, but well, a good percentage of them eventually did. So if I’ve made you a gift with htv in the past and it’s starting to come off, bring it back and I’ll fix it right up!
My nephew Levi’s birthday party is this Saturday. He’s going to be four, and he looooves superheros, Batman especially. I made him this t-shirt, as well as a pillow with Superman fabric on one side and Batman fabric on the other. I also added his name to the pillow in htv. The Batman decal below is actually a 3D rubber applique that I found at Walmart for $3.97. The instructions included were for a household iron, but I took a chance and applied it with the heat press, and it turned out amazing!

Lily wanted a superhero shirt for her birthday to wear to Levi’s party. She originally wanted a Wonder Woman shirt, but then she saw a pink and black Batman shirt online and wanted it instead. So what’s a mama with a brand new heat press supposed to do besides make them both? The Batman shirt she saw had a matching bow, so I made one to match each shirt. I even used the heat press for the bows! I don’t know why the Wonder Woman set looks pink in the picture below, but as you can see in the shot with her wearing them they are red. Both shirts were the basic $2.97 boys tees from Walmart, and I had the ribbon and htv on hand, so this was a really inexpensive gift.

The gold HTV on this shirt was in an Expressions Vinyl grab bag that arrived on her birthday, and it was perfect for this project. I mentioned when I shared this picture on Instagram, isn’t it neat how God loves on us in little ways as well as big ways?
Sawyer wants a superhero shirt too, but he keeps going back and forth on what kind, so I will be making one or two for him as well. 
I plan on offering some items in my shop soon too.
Heat press for the win!
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Handmade Gifts

Guys, the craft room is coming together! I’ve still got a little organizing to do, but I’m getting there. So anyway, I wanted to show you some of the handmade gifts I’ve made and given over the last few months. Fair warning, a lot of these are quick cell phone pictures I grabbed on my way out the door rather than pretty staged shots, but I’m going on the theory that done is better than perfect.

Let’s start with a few things I made for Christmas gifts.

I made paracord fishing flies for the dads and brothers in my life, and I really liked the way they turned out. They were quick and easy, and you can find the tutorial I followed here. I wrapped mine with fishing line instead of an interior filament of the paracord and sealed it with super glue, and I was really pleased with the way they looked. I made some from bright colors and some from muted shades, which made them good for different applications.

I also made several of these paracord lanyards that hang from the straps of waders and hold the tools used in fly fishing.

I made this shirt for my cousin. You can buy a similar one here if you don’t want to DIY your own. (Not an affiliate link)

I made Taylor and her best friend Lexye each a Taco Bell Is Life pillow from hand dyed drop cloth.

These were various bracelets I made for moms, aunts, and sisters.

 (I might have kept this one for myself. Shhhh!)

This was the shirt I made Lily for Valentines Day. It was her very specific design.

This was the shirt I made for Levi, which matched the one I made for Sawyer, although Sawyer’s said Heartbreaker.

 (No, I have no idea why he was wearing a helmet)

They also got matching Plex shirts.They’re both big Yo Gabba Gabba fans.

Speaking of Yo Gabba Gabba, I made Sawyer this Brobee shirt. I passed this little green striped shirt at the thrift store 4 or 5 times before I bought it. I really liked the stripes, but I couldn’t think what I wanted to do with it, and Sawyer has a ton of t-shirts. Then one day it just clicked what a perfect Brobee shirt it would make, so into my cart it went. It’s one of his favorites.
These little Jesus Loves Me shirts for Lily and my niece Adelaide were made at the request of Adelaide’s mom Rachael. You can buy a similar one here. (Not an affiliate link)

This was Lily’s St. Patrick’s Day shirt.
This little shirt was for my nephew Lawrence who looooves his little guitar!
My brother Cary is a huge duck hunter, so as part of his birthday gift Nick and I made him this duck hunting themed key fob. It was a metal tag from the Target Dollar Spot. I cut a stencil out of vinyl, and Nick sand blasted it. The quote on the back is a scripture reference. We also sand blasted his favorite sports logo into a metal tumbler, but I didn’t get a picture of it. (I know, lame.)

This was Lily’s shirt for Dr. Seuss Day at school.
This coral earrings and bracelet set was for my sister-in-law Leah’s birthday.
Just before we moved into the new house we had the biggest blessing! A lovely lady from our church got some new furniture for her living room and gifted us her previous couch, chair, and recliner. They were in pristine condition – she just wanted some smaller pieces, and they were perfect for our living room! She is a pilot, and I made her this bracelet as a thank you.
This Minnie shirt was for my niece Adelaide’s 2nd birthday.
I also found these sweet leggings and made shirts to match them.

 
For Mother’s Day I made a few of these fun potholder purse organizers. The floral one came from Walmart and the quatrefoil one came from Target.

On Mother’s Day our church gives a small gift to every woman and girl there. This year we gave these lovely fancy paper clips. My mom, Taylor, her friend Lexye, and I added the buttons to the clips, and I cut, punched, and stamped all the cards.
I added vinyl to these cups as thank you gifts for our realty team and they loved them! FYI, these are the Ozark Trail brand from Walmart. I have the same cup in the 30 ounce, and it is identical in looks and performance to Nick’s 30 ounce Yeti tumbler for oh, 1/4 of the price. Seriously. Get one.

My friend Melissa’s birthday was a few weeks ago, and I made her this sweet little cross stitch necklace. 

This wreath was for Lily’s room. It has been on my to do list since I saw it on Capture the Details like six years ago, but I couldn’t ever seem to find the fun fur yarn in this shade of green. Then when we were “in storage” as I refer to the time of our life when we were on the market and everything fun that I own was in a storage unit, I found a couple of skeins at a thrift store. I finally got to put it together a couple of weeks ago.  
These were gifts for Nick’s grandmother for Mother’s Day (the yellow set) and her birthday (the red white and blue set and the cards).

The cards are blank inside and were hand embroidered. I made them using this Amy Tangerine Stitched set I found at Tuesday Morning. They were actually pretty time consuming to make, but also kind of a soothing activity, and I hope she likes them.

   

These were the cards I made her to give her with the gifts, and I am SO excited with how they turned out. Okay, here’s the deal. As I was going through all the mountains of stuff I was putting away in my craft room I came across a couple of sheets of 4×6 photo paper. I have tons of this stuff. Tons of it. But I never print my own pictures. I have a photo lab that I love, and I just couldn’t begin to touch their quality on a home printer. But several people have given me boxes of the paper, and I was always at kind of a loss what to do with it. I was on the verge of tossing the couple of loose sheets in the trash when my eyes fell on the box housing my ridiculously large collection of embossing folders. I grabbed my Big Shot and some dies and cranked out the coolest paper elements ever! Okay, maybe not really, but I love, love, LOVE the way the photo paper looks with some embossing!

Anyway, that’s some of what I’ve been up to. What have you been making?
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Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange Winter 2015

For several years now I’ve participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange, and it’s always a blast! This round I was paired with the lovely Lisa Hickey of Caron Designs. She sent me such neat things! This was round one (yes, round one).

First was this gorgeous flattened wine bottle cheese tray. I’ve been fascinated with flattened glassware for years, but as I’m lacking a kiln it’s not really a craft I can do, so I was thrilled with it. Unfortunately this beautiful piece got cracked in shipping. However, it worked out, as you will see.

She also sent this adorable handpainted flattened jar soap dish which currently lives beside my kitchen sink.

There were also these two delicious smelling soaps, one of which is in the above soap dish in my kitchen and the other of which is in our downstairs bath.
Last were these awesome original artwork greeting cards.
I contacted Lisa to let her know how much I loved everything, and I mentioned that the cheese platter had been cracked in shipping. The break was a very clean one, and I wanted to ask her advice on the best glue to use to repair it. I also wanted to let her know in case she wanted to contact her shipping company to be reimbursed for this damage. She generously told me that she would take care of it and that I should expect a new one later in the week! I promise I was not trying to wrangle a new one from her, but I was so touched by her generosity!
So a few days later I got another package in the mail, and sure enough there was another gorgeous platter, this one clear.
But also included was this lovely pair of glass bead earrings.
And this beautiful fused glass star ornament. When I was getting to know her work online these stars were one of the creations that really caught my eye, so I was thrilled to get one! It went waaaaay up high on my Christmas tree to keep it away from the grabby hands of the short people in my house.
So here’s what I sent Lisa:
I made her these two little Christmas pillows from drop cloth and heat transfer vinyl. This one was made from drop cloth I hand dyed a deep cranberry red. The bell shape was purchased from the Silhouette Design Store. My favorite part of it is the tiny bell dotting the i in Jingle.
This one was left the natural color, and the heat transfer vinyl was cut from a Tulip Twilight Shimmer Transfer Sheet. (Not an affiliate link) I actually found these on clearance at one of the discount stores (Ross? Burkes? TJ Maxx? I can’t remember).  I was a little nervous cutting it with my Cameo, but it worked great.
Next I made her three memory wire bracelets. I love these as gifts because they work for any size wrist and are easy to put on and take off for little hands that can’t manage clasps well yet and older hands that struggle with arthritis and everybody in between. I wanted them to work well for Christmas yet still be versatile enough to wear the rest of the year, so I chose the colors accordingly.
I also made these fun snowman earrings, and they were embarrassingly easy to put together. 
They started out like this, so all I did was literally add the ear wires and backings.
Like always, this was so much fun, and I’m so grateful to Linda of Craftaholics Anonymous for hosting again and Lisa for partnering with me! I’ll be linking up at the Handmade Gift Exchange Linky Party.

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Hodge Podge End of Year Update

Guys. Come on now. You didn’t really think I was going to go the whole rest of 2015 without blogging again, did you? Okay, okay, so I’m cutting it close, but I’ve been a little busy. Here’s all that’s been happening:

First of all, the house. We got the foundation work all completed, and it is now completely steady and under a transferable lifetime warranty. Unfortunately, the buyer ended up backing out with no real explanation the very day we were having the work done. So that was disappointing, but the foundation repair needed to be done either way, so we are more prepared than ever for when the right buyer comes along. We also put in new kitchen counter tops and new backsplash along the sink wall, so it went from this:

to this:

Halloween was definitely better this year than last, but I didn’t do anything crafty in the costume department. Or take really any pictures, apparently. This seems to be the sole picture I have of the two littles who trick or treated. Lily was either Rapunzel or Sophia the First, depending on her mood and whether or not she wanted to wear the wig. Sawyer was a little more put together as a pirate. But seriously, what was the deal with this picture? Mom/photographer/blogger fail.

We also had a couple of things going on with the ladies ministries at church. Our Teachers of Good Things group had their quarterly craft meeting, and this time around we made easy burlap wreaths. Nick came up with a pile of wire coat hangers and helped me (mostly just did it for me) shape them into wreath forms. Then we just unhooked the top, accordion folded burlap ribbon, threaded it on, and rehooked the top. My awesome mom, who is a licensed florist, whipped up burlap bows for everyone.

My SIL Leah the wreath model.

We used basically this tutorial on Just Call Me Homegirl although as I mentioned, we accordion folded the burlap instead of zigzagging/twisting to save on time because our church life center had a second event happening after ours. In retrospect, I wish we had followed Homegirl’s tutorial more exactly, because folding it the way we did required more burlap (about 15 yards a wreath) and I found that over time it tends to compress and sag down to the bottom. I think it would work well this way if you were to first use a fabric stiffener on the ribbon.
We also did a fun Christmas Sock Exchange/Cookie Party. Everyone brought a fun pair of new Christmas socks filled with goodies and we all baked cookies and exchanged socks. So fun!
In other news, I finally got to upgrade to a Cameo, and I did a lot of fun projects for Christmas with it, I made a couple of cool guy gifts out of paracord, I made some awesome drop cloth Christmas stockings, and I participated in the Craftaholics Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange again, all of which deserve their own post. Happy New Year, guys!
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Vintage Tart Tin Pincushions

Guys, we’re getting ready to put our house on the market. This little home has been oh so good to us, but we’re bursting at the seams, so we’re working on saying goodbye. We’ve (well mostly I’ve, since Nick’s been working) been packing up a good 45ish% of our stuff, and we’ve been stacking it all up in the garage in anticipation of renting a storage unit here in a few weeks. People, we’ve got boxes for days. And the number of boxes that are labeled Craft Room (faith, guys, it’s called faith) is kind of embarrassing, in no small part because I’ve kept back the stuff I feel like I can’t live without for potentially the next few months, and there’s still enough stuff out there to build a pretty respectable igloo. You know, assuming igloos were made of boxes of fabric and happiness.

Once all this stuff is safely in storage, the carpet people are going to come and lay new carpet and we will be putting new flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms and basically making it seem like 13 years of kids and mechanic’s boots never happened. And after the floors and the painting and the cleaning and the threatening the kids with doom if they spill anything, we plan on listing this bad boy and continuing to pray that God will send just the right family (come quickly, Lord).

In the meantime, my crafting is going to have to be, of necessity, a bit more streamlined. So while I still have my sewing machine and enough fabric to take care of any Etsy orders I may get, all my friends and family are forbidden to have any babies until I’m reunited with my box(es) of minky and flannel. And it may be a bit before I get to show you some of the cool crafting tools I got for Christmas.

But if (when please, Lord) I get my craft room, I’m going to not only have access to all my stuff, but I’ve got all kinds of decorating plans to share! For right now though, I wanted to show you the darling little pincushions I made for Christmas.

Any time I come across little vintage tin/aluminum tart/cupcake tins I snatch them right up. I’ve got several different styles collected, but these just begged me to turn them into pincushions.

This is another not-really-a-tutorial tutorials for you. It’s really so simple that anyone at all can make them, but here are the steps.

  • Gather your glue gun (high temp is better, but be safe), tin, scrap of fabric, bit of Polyfil or other stuffing material, scissors, needle, thread, and something to trace a circle with. I used a salad plate that was about 7 1/4 inches in diameter. I would keep the circle between say 6.5 to 8 inches across.
  • Trace a circle right onto your fabric with ball point pen. It doesn’t have to be flawless, but recognizably round is preferable.
  • Cut out the circle. It doesn’t even matter if the pen marks show, because the edges of the circle will be hidden when the pincushion is done.
  • Thread your needle and run a loose basting stitch around the circle by hand.
  • Pull the ends of the thread to gather your circle into a pouch-like shape, with the wrong side of the fabric on the inside. 
  • Stuff your pouch with Polyfil/other filling material.
  • Pull the threads tight to close off the stuffed circle into a ball shape. It needs to be stuffed firmly, but not so full that you break your thread trying to close it up. I didn’t do that or anything. Ahem.
  • Carefully squirt hot glue onto the underside of your ball (where the gather is) and quickly press it into your tart tin. Keep in mind that you’re pressing hot glue onto a metal object that you’re holding, so you may want to hold the tin with a towel/hot pad to keep from getting burned.
  • Now fill your new pincushion with pretty pins and admire! 

Aren’t they lovely? I just love the pairing of the fresh new fabric with the worn patina of the metal! And aren’t those gold pins fun? These were so quick and easy, and the ladies who got them all loved them!

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Christmas Jewelry Gifts

I was a jewelry-making fiend this year for Christmas. I made tons and tons and tons of earrings and bracelets, and even a few hair pins! These were all very simple to make, and they all came together very quickly. And I had so much fun making my own earring cards from pretty scrapbook paper! Here are some (but not all) of the ones that went out to loved ones this year.

Okay, this is not jewelry, but it’s the bag I made to package up Lily’s teacher’s gift (the first two pairs of earrings pictured below). I used my Gift Bag Punch Board (tutorial coming soon) to make the bag, then punched the top with my Marvy Uchida Clever Lever Border Punch System. Then I wove ribbon through the slots and closed it with a bow at the front. Isn’t it darling?

Memory wire bracelet

Coiled wire bracelet tutorial

These started as cabochons I got crazy cheap at Tuesday Morning, and I added them to hair pin blanks.

These were little scrapbook embellishments.
 
Tiny seashells for the top pair and former scrapbooking brads for the bottom.

More brads.

Covered button embellishments and cabochons.

This started as a straight metal feather. I just rounded it over my wrist, punched holes for the leather cord and added crimps, jump rings, and a clasp.

I love the worn leather paired with the gold and floral.

Metal stickers made into earrings for our oldest resident Frozen fan.

Little bitty ones for Lily.

Extra large cabochons and hair pins.

Earring and bracelet set.
Did you make any jewelry for gifts this year? Leave me a link in the comments – I’d love to see it!

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Leather Cord Keepers

I love giving handmade gifts. And I’ve got oh, 47,000 ideas pinned and planned for gifts for the moms, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends in my life. But it’s become pretty dang hard to come up with handmade gifts for the guys in my life. That’s why I was so excited to come up with the idea for these handsome and useful cord keepers!

Nick listens to audio books all the time, and he spends all day with a set of headphones in his ears. But when he does take them off, they tend to get tangled up or caught on one thing or another, so this was the perfect gift for him. I also wanted something to round out the gift we sent my brother-in-law Scott, who does a lot of traveling, and I though these would work well for corralling various phone and Ipad chargers. These are the ones I sent him.

These are crazy simple to make, and you just need a scrap of leather, a ball hitch fastener (or a snap), and a 1/8 and 1/4 hole punch (or a snap setter).

I’ve had this gorgeous, worn leather for ages, and I loved it, but it was too small for most projects. So I was thrilled to be able to turn it into something both lovely and functional.

First cut your leather to 1 by 4 inches. You can round your corners if you like. Then add your fastener. If you use a ball hitch fastener, you can find instructions on my Embossed Leather Cuff tutorial here. If you use a snap, follow the instructions on your snap package.

And you’re done! Easiest tutorial ever! I love them, and I hope the guys loved them too. I have a shameful assortment of leather remnants, and I can’t wait to make up some more. I think I will be adding a few to my shop as soon as I have the chance.

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I-Spy Bags

Some of the simple gifts I made this year were I-Spy Bags for some of the littles in my family and church. A few years ago I made some of these for Lily and her cousins Mason and Max, and they were a huge hit among the recipients.

A few weeks ago I happened across one at the thrift store made of fleece. Rather badly made, actually. The window was reeeeeaaaallly crooked, and the seams were super wonky. Not judging – my first sewing efforts weren’t any better, and it was functional at least. Functional, but not very pretty. But it was only a dollar, and I knew I could use the filling, so I snatched it up. The last ones I made were from corduroy, and I finished off all the seams and made them look really nice. But I really liked the idea of using a non-fraying fabric to make these a quick project, and I knew that they would look great in felt too.

I chose patterns that were a bit I-Spyish themselves, which stretches the entertainment value of these.

Since I did these as gifts rather than as an actual blog project, I didn’t take step by step photos. So this isn’t really a tutorial per se, but it’s a very simple project. Here are the basic steps:

  • Cut two pieces of felt to the same dimensions. I just cut mine into squares the size of the width of the piece of felt, but you can really do any shape/size you want. 
  • Fold one piece in half and cut out the inside of the shape, leaving at least an inch border all around. This is your front piece.
  • Cut a piece of clear vinyl the same shape as your opening, but about an inch bigger on all sides. I got my vinyl at Walmart, but you can also reuse a piece from the sorts of bags that sheet sets come in. The thicker the vinyl the better, but really any thickness is fine just so long as it’s actually vinyl/plastic and not say, a Ziploc bag. 
  • Sew the vinyl over the opening of the front piece with the vinyl against the wrong side of the felt. It’s okay to pin the vinyl to the felt to keep it in place, but ONLY if you keep your pins at the edge of the vinyl. If you put pin holes in your window, you will be able to see them, and it could eventually cause a tear in the window. Plus if you’re anything like me, it will bug you forever and you’ll never be quite happy with the finished project. Ahem. 
  • If you don’t want to risk getting the pin holes too close, you can hold the felt and vinyl together with wonder clips while you sew them. I actually just bought these (not an affiliate link) with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, and I love them! Way cheaper than Clover Wonder Clips, and they worked awesome holding slippery chiffon in place on some curtains I recently hemmed for a lady at church. 
  •  Also, vinyl tends to stick to your presser foot, so you can either switch to a Teflon foot or walking foot for this step, or you can stick a piece of scotch tape to the bottom of your presser foot to help it slide.
  • Clip the edges of your vinyl 1/4 inch from your seam.
  • Place your front and back pieces wrong sides together and sew with a 1/4 inch seam all the way around, leaving 2-3 inches open for filling.
  • Fill your bag about 2/3 full with the filling of your choice. I always use poly pellets just because they won’t mold or decay if they happen to get wet. When I gave Max his, he was Sawyer’s age, and he promptly chucked it into the lobster tank at Red Lobster. We pulled it out and rinsed it out very well, then laid it out to dry and it was good as new by the next day. But if you don’t want to use poly pellets, you can use rice, beans, lentils, corn, or even pony beads. 
  • Add your treasures. These can be anything tiny like buttons, Barbie shoes, dollhouse miniatures, coins, mini seashells, toy soldiers, etc. I made one for Lily, and hers included mostly girly/princessy stuff, like Barbie high heels, tiny dishes, mini baby blocks, etc. I made one each for Sawyer, my nephews Lawrence and Levi, and my friend Melissa’s little boy Jackson. Theirs had things like buttons, miniature animals, a tiny pirate sword, small wood cuts shaped like mustaches and cameras, toy coins, and skull beads to name a few. If you’re making several, you might want to hit up the baby shower section at Dollar Tree or Hobby Lobby for cupcake toppers like mini teddy bears, baby figurines, and pacifiers. Or you can find an assortment of trinkets on Etsy. 
  • Sew your opening shut. Either go slowly to make sure your filling is not getting under your needle or move it all to the opposite side of the bag from the opening and pin the bag shut to keep it out of the way. All done!
Jackson was a fan of his. 🙂
These are a super quick sew, and they’re great for keeping little ones quiet in church. 
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The Christmas Season

Guys, I finally have my computer back! I’m so excited! It took forever, but it’s good as new now, and I can’t wait to get to posting again!

Did you guys have a good Christmas and New Year’s? Our New Year’s was less than ideal, sick babies and selves, and Sawyer threw up on me and Nick in literally the last 10 seconds of 2014. Yuck!

But we’re all better now, and our Christmas was great! I’ve got lots of things to share with you, but I wanted to start out with a few pictures I took this year.

These were from sessions I did with my niece and nephews.

Levi and Adelaide

Lawrence

This one was their Christmas card this year.

And here are a few from our little church Christmas play service.

Sawyer Ford (literally) Driving By
My Mom and Dad with all 6 grandbabies.
All the grandbabies in their Christmas pj’s on Christmas Eve.
A couple of the cowboys patrolling the range this year. They were all SO cute!

This was such a blessed Christmas season, and we have so much to be thankful for!
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