Yogurt Tub and Denim Drawstring Bag

When I was asked by Earth 911 if I had any good recycled crafts they could share for Earth Day, I didn’t think I’d have any problem digging one up.  I was surprised to find most of my projects that fit the bill were seasonal, and not appropriate for spring.  I really wanted something that was mostly repurposed, didn’t take a lot of materials and was a little unusual.    I think this bag fits.

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To make this, you’ll need a clean yogurt tub (about 24 oz size), a piece of denim (a leg cut off to make shorts will work) and two shoe laces.

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Ok, so I know that’s technically not just yogurt, but have you tried this stuff?  Yum.

Measure around the top edge of your tub.  Add 1/2” to determine the width to cut your denim.  Measure the height of the tub, multiply by 1 1/2 and add 3” to determine the height.  Mine came out to 14 1/8 by 9”.

You can leave a decorative seam if your sewing machine can handle sewing over it doubled.

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Fold the denim with the short sides together.  Subtracting the 1/4” seam you’ll sew in the next step, find and mark the center on both sides.  Unfold.  Measure 2 1/4” down from the top edge at the mark.  Draw a 1/4” line from 2 1/4 to 2 1/2”.  Stitch a 1/4” buttonhole at the line and carefully cut it open.

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Fold the denim right sides touching and short ends together.  Stitch a 1/4” seam down the side.  Press the seam open.

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Stitch over the edge at the top and bottom with a zigzag stitch or serger to reduce fraying.  Fold the upper edge toward the wrong side 1 1/2” and press.  Stitch 1/2” from the edge and 1/2” from the fold.

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Using scissors or a razor knife, cut the lip off the tub.  Slip the fabric tube over the tub, wrong side of the fabric toward the tub and the top edge of the fabric and tub even with each other.

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Using a long stitch and a large needle, stitch 1/4” from the edge through the plastic and denim.  Add a pleat to the denim if you need to make it fit.  If you have any doubt at all about whether your sewing machine can survive this, punch holes in the plastic with an awl and sew by hand.

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Pull the denim up over the tub, turning right side out.  Feed a shoelace into one of the buttonholes, all the way around through the casing, and back out through the same hole.  Repeat on the opposite side with the other shoelace.  Tie the laces together near the buttonhole and again at the ends.  Pull both sides to draw closed.

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I thought I was done at this point, but when I turned around the lid was laying there.  I cut a small flower from it, which I stitched on with a button on top.

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I keep imagining taking this to the beach with my sunglasses, bottle of water and sunscreen in it.

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If this wasn’t Oregon.  In April.  Maybe a snack instead?

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Friday Favorites–Reusing K-Cups

I’m just going to say it.  I have a Keurig coffee maker, and it’s one of my favorite kitchen appliances.  My husband has an erratic schedule, and I was always drinking reheated, burnt coffee.  He also doesn’t like coconut, so one of my favorite coffee flavors was out.  But with my new single-serve buddy, I can have a fresh cup of whatever flavor of coffee I want, whenever I want it.  Given my addiction to my morning cup of joe, that’s a big deal.

The only issue I have with it is the waste.  Each of those single serve coffees leaves us with a little empty cup to throw away.  I knew there had to be something that could be done with them, and thanks to some creative crafters, I have some new ideas to try out.

Make It Easy Crafts made a K-Cup Toothpick Holder with a creative popsicle stick support system around the outside.

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Crafting a Green World made a variety of creatures using yogurt cups, but the shapes would suit K-cups as well.

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Here’s one to hang onto for a few months:  a Recycled K-Cup Snowman Ornament, also from Make It Easy Crafts.

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Earth911 made several K-cups into tiny hanging planters.

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Entirely Smitten came up with several ways to reuse K-cups, including a cute pincushion.

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This K-cup Sound Memory Game is also from Entirely Smitten.

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PopSugar shares several practical ideas for reusing empty K-cups.

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Make It Easy Crafts is back one more time with a Patriotic K-cup Flower Wreath.

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ExperimentMom has a great idea for K-cupsicles.  I’m saving this one for the hot weather.

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Have you come across any good K-cup crafts?

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center

I mentioned the kitchenware Reuse Design Challenge at Earth911 a a while back.  Well, I won!  My thanks to everyone who voted.  This was the challenge:

Upcycle used/old/worn out cookware (pots, pans, utensils…etc) into something completely different, but useful. We are looking for creative AND practical reuse designs, not simply decorative.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except all I could think of were projects that were decorative. My sketch sheet is almost hilarious. Draw something, realize it’s only purpose is to look pretty, cross it out.

Luckily, my need for a good project and an actual need collided. My husband and I have started exercising regularly and trying to eat healthier. I find we eat better food if I plan it out in advance, so I wanted a menu board for my kitchen. I saw lots of kitchen command centers out there, but I have lots of windows and very little wall and they were all too big.  This little cookie sheet fits the spot perfectly.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

To make one of these handy boards, you’ll need a cookie sheet, an empty mint container, a flat-sided pen cup (or a small box), clothespins, a shopping list pad, chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, a silver Sharpie, flat magnets or a magnetic sheet, ribbon or cord to hang it, and, of course, chalk to write on it with. 

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This is probably the cheapest cookie sheet known to man, but in this case that’s an advantage.  I felt like I could safely hang it on the wall without having to worry about it.  Rough your pan up with some sandpaper to help the paint stick.  I did this on the back, because that’s the side I chose to use.  Do the same with your mint tin and pencil cup, if it’s metal.  Clean everything well.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

My cookie sheet didn’t have any holes in the ends, so I used a screwdriver, a hammer and a piece of wood to add a couple.  It wasn’t difficult on this thin metal.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Spray all three pieces with two or three coats of chalkboard paint.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

After the paint has dried completely, use a pencil to draw a menu block.  Trace the pencil lines with a silver Sharpie.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Add the days of the week, if you’d like them to be permanent. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I printed my own shopping list (which you can download here) and secured them together with a piece of cardboard on the back using padding compound.  I cut a magnetic calendar down to fit the back (don’t tell my insurance agent!) but any flat, sheet-style magnetic will work.  Glue that to the cardboard.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Paint the clothespins with the acrylic paint and glue magnets to the back.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I also added a few details to the mint tin and pencil cup using the Sharpie and paint.  Glue magnets to the side of the pencil cup and the bottom of the mint tin.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

String the ribbon through the holes in the cookie sheet and tie for hanging.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

The day I finished this, I just made up a menu for the photos.  My son walked in while it was hanging and excitedly asked “Are we having Pad Thai for dinner?" which is his favorite.  Since I didn’t even have the ingredients into the house, that wasn’t happening, and he sadly left the kitchen.  I probably owe someone some Pad Thai.

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Now that I have this little thing, I don’t know what I did without it.  I always know where my shopping list and pens are, and my son could stop coming home and asking me what’s for dinner every night.  That’s if I can ever get him to trust it again.

Friday Favorites–Creative Planters

I love the way the outdoors looks this time of year.  Flowers are starting to bloom, the leaves on the trees are unfurling and it’s still raining so it all stays green and healthy.  It’s always right about now when I get an urge to plant something in a container, but that little voice in my head says “Really?  You want to add to the plant body count around here?  You know as soon as it stops raining, that thing is a goner.”  When they make a plant that will water itself and not rely on me, it might stand a chance.

Around here, we’re wearing rain boots about now, but if you have some that have been outgrown or are no longer a pair, try these cute planters from Rosy~Posy.

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I love the mini tiered garden effect created by this Tackle Box Garden from More Design Please.

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We’re planning to replace the gutters on our house in the next year or so.  I might have my husband save the old ones so I can make this DIY Vertical Garden with Reclaimed Gutters from Green Upgrader.

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All that clear, beveled glass makes these old ceiling fixtures perfect for planters.  Design Sponge shows you how.

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We’ve all seen old tires used as planters, but there’s something special about the way they’re used in this park in Peru.  They almost look like you could sit on them.  Shared by Wallace Gardens.

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Just…wow.  Click through to see this Mobile Garden Dress from Foodtree on an actual human model.

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We’ve pulled a few sinks out of our house, and although ours were lovely 70’s shades of avocado and light blue, they might still make great planters.  Cherry Hill Cottage set hers on top of a sewing machine stand.

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These Baby’s Tears in Muffin Tins from Country Living would make great centerpieces for an outdoor event.

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If it’s still a little too cold to think about planting outside where you are, try this Indoor Terrarium, made using a fishbowl, from SheKnows.

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Using tea cups as planters is an idea that’s been around for a long time, but the addition of the Tea Bag Plant Markers from At Home on the Bay is genius.

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Just so you know, I think my lack of gardening skills has skipped a generation.  My daughter was given a bamboo plant for her birthday over a year and a half ago and it’s still alive.  She forgot to take it back to school with her when she left after spring break, and is worried I’ll kill it in the 5 days until she’s here again.  Nothing green is safe with me.

Friday Favorites–Refashioned Clothing

On the heels of my long-sleeved shirt save this week, I thought I’d introduce you to a few other refashioned clothing projects this week.  I’m not sure where the word “refashioned” came from, or how it worked its way into our vocabulary, but I have a feeling someone just thought it sounded better than recycled.  Whatever you want to call it, turning something unwearable into a new favorite is a pretty satisfying experience.

When it comes to refashioning, you have two options:  make the item into a better version of what it is, or turn it into something entirely different.  Pillows-A-La-Mode took it up an extra notch and made a whole bunch of items from a cute sundress.

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The Renegade Seamstress must have a very full closet with her refashioning skills.  One of my favorites is this skirt made from a Hawaiian shirt.

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I have this problem all the time.  Drama Queen Seams found that her favorite white T had tiny holes near the bottom edge.  Rather than toss it, she covered the holes with flowers.

No before, but you can probably picture a plain, white T-shirt.  After:

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Tara from All Glorious turned a pair of pajama pants into a skirt and infinity scarf with a nautical feel.

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Sometimes a refashion doesn’t need to be dramatic or complicated to make a difference.  A waistband was all this shirt from Crab and Bee needed.

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It’s hard to believe this knit, peplum, off-the-shoulder top from Private Runway started out as a skirt.

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The Five F’s was able to keep the art from her original sweatshirt while turning it into a sassy little strapless top.

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I love the fact that Diary of a MadMama kept the original collar on her coat refashion.

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Wedding Dress Blue transformed an ordinary skirt into something cute and fashionable.

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Refashionista is a refashioning guru, with a ton of transformations under her stylish belt, but I especially like this little black dress.

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Have you transformed any clothing from drab to fab?

Too-Short Shirt Refashion

I had two long-sleeved t-shirts in my closet that I hated because they were both too short.  I have a long torso, and like my shirts long besides, so it’s a constant problem for me.  The thing is, I kept forgetting that I hated these shirts so I’d pull one of them out, put it on, remember the problem, and decide to just wear it anyway.  I thought I’d grab them from the clean laundry and not stick them back in the closet.  As you can imagine, I’d forget (again!) and hang them right back up. 

I broke the cycle!  I have hooks on the back of my sewing room door where the future project clothes hang, and I finally managed to move them there.  Sometimes things live there for a long time, but I just kept looking at those two shirts thinking they might work if they were combined into one.

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The first decision I had to make was which shirt to keep as the main color.  I went with the green because it was in a little better condition than the blue. 

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I very lazily held the shirt up to myself and estimated how much longer I’d like it to be.  I highly recommend actually trying it on for this step.  Fortunately, I guessed too long which is much easier to fix than too short. 

I cut off the amount of length I wanted to add to the green shirt from the blue shirt, plus one inch, which was 6 1/2” total.  Since the sleeves weren’t too short, I just wanted to add a little of the blue, so I cut 2” from the bottom of each sleeve.

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Since the fabric didn’t unravel when I cut it, I didn’t finish any of the edges.  I marked 1” from the edge on the blue so I would know where to overlap the green to.

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I overlapped and generously pinned all the way around the bottom and both sleeves.

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I used a narrow zigzag stitch to sew them together so it would still stretch.

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You might be thinking this looks a little weird.  Well, it did.  I tried it on and it was twice as long as it should be, so I folded the blue in half and stitched again. 

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I could have stopped there, but that blue t-shirt carcass was laying on my table just begging to not get thrown in the trash.  Starting from the bottom of the shirt, I cut off four 1” strips.  I then cut off the side seams, so I was left with eight strips.

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I lined up a strip about 1/8” away from the top edge of the neckline and sewed a zigzag stitch down the middle, overlapping the strip back on top of itself about 1/2” as I went.  When each strip ran out, I just started the next one where it left off.

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I was a little concerned this was going to make the neck too heavy and it would hang too low, but I tried it on and it fit just like before.

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You know I still have blue shirt pieces left, right?  At this point, I cut everything up that I had left into equal width pieces…

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…and sewed them together by overlapping them slightly and zigzagging.

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I wrapped the remaining strip I had around one section, tied it and tucked the tail under the knot.  Infinity scarf!

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I have to admit, I was a little hesitant about mixing these two colors, but I’m happy with the result.  Two shirts I couldn’t stand wearing turned into one I love with a bonus infinity scarf?  Today was a win.

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Leather Cell Phone Wristlet

The Protect Your Tech Challenge is over, so now I can share my project with you.  Every time I think I’m done using the leather I cut off to refashion this coat, I find something new to do with it.  Believe it or not, I still have a little bit left, so I can’t guarantee you’ve seen the last of it.

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When I was asked to create a holder for a cell phone or tablet using recycled materials, it was important to me that as many of the materials were reused from something else as possible.  The only thing I ended up using that was brand new was the thread.  Seriously, I draw the line at trying to reuse thread…just, no.

Recycled Leather Phone Case 1 - Crafty Staci

This is what I used:

  • leather – from refashioned coat
  • hook and loop – from a duffle bag
  • D ring – from a bag
  • clip-on wrist strap – from an old point and shoot camera bag
  • lining fabric – scraps left from my Pan Protector and Hot Pad project
  • webbing – from a belt

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To create my pattern, I drew a rectangle that measured 3/4” larger than my phone on all sides.  My phone is pretty thin (Samsung Galaxy SIII) so be sure to take the thickness of your phone into account when drawing your pattern.  I used something with a rounded edge to round the two bottom corners.  If I could remember what that was, I’d tell you, but it was probably a jar or something similar.

After you’ve drawn your pattern, cut two pieces from the leather (or whatever fabric you’re using) for the outside and two from the lining fabric.  You’ll also need a 1 1/4 by 2” piece of leather for the side loop.  Cut the 5/8 to 3/4” wide hook and loop 1 1/2” long.  The webbing I used was 1 3/4” wide and had a finished end, so I cut it 3 3/4” long.  If you’ll have to finish the end, cut it 1/2” longer, fold it under 1/4” twice and stitch.

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Sew the loop piece of the hook and loop to the front leather piece, centered side to side and 2 1/4” from the top edge.  Sew the hook piece to the webbing, 1/4” from the finished end.

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Fold the 2” sides of the small piece of leather under 1/4” and stitch.

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Slip into the D-ring and fold, wrong sides together.

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Use binder clips to clip the two remaining pieces of leather right sides together.  Slip the D-ring loop into one side with the ring inside, 1” from the top.  Stitch 1/4” from the edge, leaving top open.  Do the same with the lining, without the D-ring loop, and leave a 4” opening at the bottom.

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Turn the lining right side out.  Stuff it into the leather piece.  Clip the top edges of both together.  Slip the webbing between the layers , opposite the front hook and loop (the loop part) with the hook and loop on the webbing facing the lining.  In the photo you’ll see my webbing sticking up above the edge, which is only because I started out with it too long.  Yours should be even with the edge.

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Stitch around, 1/4” from the edge.

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Turn right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.  Stitch the opening closed by hand or machine.

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Push the lining to the inside.  Roll the seam with your fingers until it is completely turned.  Stitch around close to the upper edge.

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For the flower embellishment, cut your favorite shape from the leather.  I also cut a smaller starburst shape for the center to add a little more texture.

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Stitch onto the webbing through the button.

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Clip the wrist strap onto the D-ring and it’s finished.  If you don’t have a wrist strap, some narrow webbing stitched together and a carabiner of some kind will do the trick.

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My phone fits in the case perfectly without my phone cover, however I’d make it larger if you want your cover to stay on.

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I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for my project in the challenge.  I appreciate the support!

 

 

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Protect Your Tech Design Challenge

I was asked by Earth911, a great website focused on creating less waste and finding ways to use things in new ways, to participate in their Protect Your Tech Design Challenge this month.  The goal was to make a carrier or case for an electronic device using recycled or repurposed materials.  You know how you’re full of great ideas until you’re asked to think about something specific, then totally draw a blank?  That was me for a while.

Eventually it came to me.  My red coat!  I still had some leather and a couple of small buttons left and I’d been wanting to make something to hold my smart phone anyway.  I managed to scavenge all of the other pieces from my “I’m saving this because I might use it later” box, so the only part of it that’s new is the thread.

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It turned out exactly the way I pictured, and holds my phone perfectly.

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I think my favorite part of it is the flower I cut out from the leather.

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In case you didn’t catch the “Challenge” part of this, it’s a competition between me and 8 amazing craft bloggers, determined by your vote.  If you’d like to participate, visit the Earth911 website here and click the circle next to your favorite project on the 11th page of the slide show.  Voting closes on January 30th.

Of course, I’ll be sharing the tutorial for this little bag with you, but I have to wait until the challenge is over.  Thanks for taking the time to share your opinion!

Fire Starter Hostess Gift

I’m starting to feel that anxiety of a busy week coming up.  I don’t mind the chaos.  In fact, I sometimes like a little crazy.  The part that makes me tense is the thought that I’ll forget something important.  When there’s so much to do, something is bound to slip through the cracks (FYI – as I was typing this I wrote “crafts” instead of “cracks” – psychoanalyze that!).

One of the things I want to make sure to remember is a hostess gift for Thanksgiving.  My husband is still away and my sister invited me and my kids to spend the holiday with her family.  Hosting Thanksgiving is no small task, so I want to thank her properly.  Before you think I’m giving away the surprise here, this isn’t the gift I decided on, but I love it and wanted to share it with you anyway.

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Everywhere we have lived has had either a fireplace or a woodstove.  I love being able to have a fire in the winter.  What I do not enjoy is wading up balls of newspaper to start it.  I decided instead to make something I could just grab out of a basket and throw in under some kindling.

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To make the fire starters, I used cardboard rolls.  Mine are toilet paper rolls, but you could also cut down a paper towel roll or the center from the wrapping paper.  Speaking of gift wrap, you’ll need some of that too.   You’ll also need some cotton string and something flammable to stuff inside, like shredded paper.  I’ve even seen these made with dryer lint.

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I used shredded paper for mine.  I also wadded up pieces of the instructions that come wrapped around interfacing and stuffed that in the ends of the tube so the shred wouldn’t fall out while I was working with it.

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Cut the gift wrap into pieces about 6” by 10”.  Starting from the larger side, roll it around the stuffed tube.  Secure with a small piece of tape.

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Squish the ends just above the tube and tie with a 6” piece of string at each end.

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To use, simply stick a couple under some small pieces of dry wood…

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…and light the ends.

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I normally use a butane lighter to start a fire, but I thought something prettier would make this a better gift.  The Burlap Bag had shared a match jar project that was exactly what I was looking for.  The only changes I made were to not cut a hole in the top and use the lid insert under the sandpaper.  I actually had a partial box of strike anywhere matches that I’m pretty sure has been around our house through most of our marriage.

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After I made the first batch of these using Christmas wrap, I happened to find some wood grain print paper at Target.  Now they’re perfect!

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Throw in a few dried pinecones and you have a gift that’s both functional and pretty – if your hostess can bring herself to actually burn it.  The wood grain starters will probably still be sitting on my hearth in April.

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Friday Favorites–New Life for Old Clothes

This is the time of year when I always find myself standing in front of my closet with a critical eye, ready to start tossing.  Sometimes it’s things that have just seen their last outing, thanks to a hole here or a stain there.  But often, it’s just that I’m tired of looking at a garment in it’s current form.  In fact, I’m working on a major clothing refashion of my own I’ll be showing you soon.  In the meantime, I’ve found lots of inspiration.

I actually tried this Pinched Hem from Feathers Flights a couple of months ago.  My jeans are always too long, but I don’t like the look of my “homemade” hems.  This trick worked beautifully.

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This Draped T-Shirt from One Avian Daemon is made from a piece of knit fabric, but I think it could also be done with a t-shirt or two.

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I love these Faux Chenille Capri Pants from RoCa and Company.  I think if I made these with the chenille closer to the hem I could get away with it.

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I used to have a sweatshirt with three-quarter length sleeves and I wore it a lot this time of the year.  I’ve been thinking about altering a long-sleeved one I already have to replace it, and I’d like to also use the neckline from this Sweatshirt Makeover from Irish Attic.

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My short-short days are over, but luckily I have a daughter with lovely legs.  I think she’s going to need these DIY Vintage Lace Trimmed Shorts from Hippie Lace.  Living vicariously through my daughter’s closet.

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The ruffle and buttons are a great details on this Men’s Polo Shirt to Woman’s Cute Shirt with Yolk from LauPre.  This would be equally fun with short sleeves for summer.

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I’m not sure this Snowflake Cutout Tank from Honeybear Lane on Ucreate would be the same if she hadn’t used the black and white polka dot fabric.  It really adds to the design.

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These little Ruffle Cuff Pants from The Mother Huddle are adorable.  How cute would this be for shorts?

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I love how the braiding turns this big, boring shirt into something so stylish.  Scroll all the way to the bottom of the tutorial on Crafting Dreams to see what she did with the bottom of the sleeves.

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Single-shoulder tops are everywhere right now, so why not make your own?  Find out how with this tutorial from Craft.

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Also, in case you haven’t already heard, next Monday is the first day of Giveaway Day (which is really Giveaway Week) at Sew, Mama, Sew!  If you haven’t heard of it, you’re really missing something.  Hundreds of bloggers and crafters from all over participate by giving something away.  Some offer a premade item, others craft supplies.  Some give both.  Everyone has their own method of entry, but it’s often as simple as leaving a comment. 

I’ll be giving something away as well, so be sure to check back here on Monday to see what it is and enter to win!