Glass Block To-Do List

Since I already covered some things I like on my birthday this week, I thought I’d bring you a project instead of my usual Friday Favorites.  Hope you don’t mind.

I was wandering around Craft Warehouse a couple of days ago.  They lured me in with the “Truckload Fabric Sale” sign out front.  They have things hanging around the store that their employees have made and there’s almost always an instruction sheet nearby.  I spotted two different projects I liked and decided to combine them into one.

The first was a shadowbox frame someone had decorated and written a to-do list on the front of the glass.  I loved the fact that it was dimensional and the paper in the back of the frame could be changed out if I got tired of looking at it.  I was all set to gather the supplies, until I walked past the glass blocks.

This store has been carrying the glass blocks with a slit in the top for a long time now and they usually have little Christmas lights inside and vinyl words on the outside.  This time, they had one with river rocks in the bottom and a silk plant sticking out through the slot.  I’m a sucker for river rocks.

Here’s what I came up with.  You’ll need a glass block with a hole in the top, some scrapbook paper, some flat rocks, a small magnet, some branches and a wipe-off chalk marker.  I also splurged on the frame to hold the block, but it’s optional.

glass block to-do list 1

Trace the block on the paper and cut it out.  I didn’t want the paper to be permanently attached to the glass, so I used small pieces of removable double stick tape around the edge of the paper to hold it in place. 

glass block to-do list 2

The print on the paper and the lip around the block makes it invisible.  Just make sure you attach the tape to the printed side of the paper.  As always, learned that one the hard way.  Stick the paper to the back of the block.

glass block to-do list 3

Pull out the stopper in the top of the block and add the rocks.  Carefully.  I found it helps if you hold your breath.

glass block to-do list 4

Cut the sticks to your desired length and poke them through the opening and into the rocks.  I used some I’ve had in my craft room for years.  According to the package, it’s Crazy Ting Basil.  No, I have no idea what that is either.

glass block to-do list 5

You might notice in the first photo I showed a roll of magnetic tape.  I glued it to the side of the chalk pen with hot glue, but it wasn’t strong enough to hold it to the metal block frame.  My advice is check your magnet before gluing.  I ended up using one of those tiny super-strong kind.

glass block to-do list 6

I eventually read the instructions on the pen, and it says it will last longer if stored horizontally.  So instead of sticking it to the side of the frame, I moved it to the bottom in the back.

I almost stopped here because I liked it, but I started out intending for this to be a to-do list, so I had to power through.

glass block to-do list 7

And I’m not sorry.

glass block to-do list 8

I’ve never used a chalk marker before, but apparently it wipes right off with a damp cloth.  I could see all kinds of uses for this.  A quote instead of a list.  As a display at a wedding or party.  Filled with marbles or moss instead of rocks.  Fabric instead of paper.  I even considered curling some wire to use in place of the sticks.  The possibilities are endless.


Now if you’ll excuse me…I have a to-do list to complete.

Shamrock Barrette

When I was a kid, you didn’t dare go to bed on March 16th without something green on.  “But, I have green eyes!” didn’t cut it.  My red-bearded, last-name-starts-with-Mc dad would leprechaun-ninja attack in the morning with a pinch.  We took the holiday seriously.

In the interest of saving my poor defenseless daughter (have I ever mentioned she’s a black belt?) from getting pinched this week, I created this little bit of greenery for her to wear.

Shamrock barrette 9

To make one for yourself, you’ll need some fabric, a button, hot glue, a tiny piece of green embroidery floss or thread and this pattern.

Cut the shape out on the fold, as indicated on the pattern.  You’ll end up with a weird looking shape like this.

Shamrock barrette 1

Press, if needed, then fold with right sides together.  Stitch around the edge with a scant 1/4” seam, leaving both ends open.  Clip the corners and curves.

Shamrock barrette 2

Turn right-side out and press.  You’ll need something pointy to push out the circles and stem.

Shamrock barrette 3

Turn the end near the stem to the inside about 1/4” and press.    Feed the other end inside that, creating a circle.  Stitch the two ends together.

Shamrock barrette 4

Hand sew a long running stitch near the bottom edge, all the way around.

Shamrock barrette 5

Pull tightly to gather.  Knot the thread to hold it.

Shamrock barrette 6

Stitch through the button holes with the embroidery floss and knot on the back.  The reason I don’t stitch it on is that it’s difficult with the hole in the middle of the shamrock to catch enough of the fabric.

Shamrock barrette 7

Since we wanted to make this into a barrette, I glued the ends of a 1/2 by 1 1/2” piece of felt on the back to feed a bobby pin through.  (Note to self:  find out if those are still called bobby pins so we can avoid the whole thong/flip-flop fiasco again.)

Shamrock barrette 8

Glue the button on the front.  Here it is, shown on my lovely model and the shamrock’s future owner.

Shamrock barrette 10

Erin Go Bragh!

Creamer Bottle Snowman

I couldn’t let Christmas go by without sharing this tutorial with you because it has special meaning to me.  This little guy is the project that planted the seed for this blog years ago.


I’m a complete and total coffee addict.  Coffee house lattes are my favorite, but when I’m at home it’s vanilla flavored coffee with vanilla creamer.  I kept looking at the creamer bottles and thinking how easy they would be to make into a snowman.  I know there are others out there now, but at the time I hadn’t seen any.

Finally, I saved bottles until I had enough for friends and family.  I came up with a powdered drink recipe and the snowman army was born.   After I made them, I thought it would be nice if I could share how I did it with other crafty people.  And then I let that thought go.

Here I am, several years and creamer bottles later, with a tutorial to show you how they’re made.  I feel like I just completed some sort of loop.

You will need:

an empty 32 ounce liquid creamer bottle

5” by 1 1/2” flannel (cotton will work too)

18” by 1 1/2” flannel (again, cotton is ok)

12” by 4” felt

8” by 1 1/2” felt

18” of wire

embellishments (buttons, felt scraps, etc.)

Print the pattern here.  If you have the capability, you’ll want to print it borderless because it barely fits on a piece of paper.  Cut the larger piece for the vest from the 12” piece of felt.  Cut out 4 of the mittens from the smaller piece of felt.  You can also cut little squares for embellishing the mittens from a contrasting color of felt.


Wrap the vest tightly around the empty creamer bottle.  Glue the edge down to the vest in the front using a hot glue gun.


Using a pencil or pen, mark a dot on each side for the arms.  Slide the vest off the top of the bottle.  Using a toothpick, poke a hole on each side at the mark.  Feed the end of the wire out each hole, bending it slightly so it conforms to the back of the vest.


Slide the vest back onto the bottle.  Glue the edges down using tacky glue.  Secure with a rubber band until it’s dry.  I used hot glue, but I don’t necessarily recommend that.  You have to be very careful not to melt your bottle and the edge doesn’t end up looking as neat.


If you’re adding the contrasting piece, sew them on with embroidery floss before sewing the two mitten pieces together.  Stitch two mittens together using a blanket or straight stitch.  Repeat with the other set of mittens.


Curl the wire around a pencil, leaving about an inch at the end straight.


Squirt some hot glue into the bottom of the mitten and, working quickly, slide the wire in between the two pieces of felt.  If you’re me, carefully pry the finger loose that you glued to the back of the mitten.


Fringe both short ends about 1” up on the 18” piece of flannel.  Tie it around the snowman’s neck, pushing the knot to one side.


Fold the 5” piece of flannel in half lengthwise.  Press.  Fringe, clipping close to, but not through the fold.


Unfold.  Roll up from one end, wrong side in.


Hot glue to the top of the bottle with the edge in the glue.  After the glue is cool, fluff.


Glue a button or other embellishment onto the vest on the side opposite the scarf.


Let me apologize for his nose.  I know, it’s cute.  It’s a carrot button I’ve had for a thousand or so years.  I don’t know if you can still get them.  A piece of orange felt cut into a carrot shape would be a good substitute.  You could even add a little black stitching.

For his eyes, I used a Sharpie.  You could also paint them on or glue on a little button.  When I made these the first time, I used fabric puffy paint.  It gave them nice shine and dimension.


Somewhere in the years since I first made these, they changed the bottles from white to clear.  I hadn’t even realized it until I washed a bottle to make this one.  I have an easy solution to that though.  Here’s the recipe for the drink mix I put in mine.

Cinnamon Vanilla Warmer Mix

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup powdered vanilla flavored coffee creamer

1 1/2 cup dry milk

6 tablespoons cinnamon imperials (known as red hots around here)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Add 3 tablespoons of mix to a mug of boiling water.

This recipe will fill the snowman with some left over.  I will warn you, when you add it to the hot water, it turns pink.  Tasty, but definitely pink.

The smaller snowman shown here is a stripped-down, quick version, using a smaller creamer bottle.  The buttons are glued on the front.  I now realize I forgot to fluff the pom-pom on the top of his hat. Don’t worry, I fixed it.


It seems fitting that this would be my last tutorial before Christmas.  This chilly guy and I have come a long way together.


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