Friday, August 31, 2012

B is for book. And bag. And baby!

**Update: The links to the Christmas Presents in the "50 Rock Your Socks Christmas Presents" are updated and in order now!  Sorry!**
My entry into Shwin&Shwin's Link Party  sponsored by Appliances Online.

Long, long, LOOOOONGGGG ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends had a baby shower.  She was expecting her first baby, and oh my, was she a cutie.  The mama, not the baby.  I mean, the baby was too, but at that point I didn't really know that.  Back to the story.
Her mom and sister threw the shower with a book theme - you know, those Storybook Showers that are all over?  It was like that.  I love those.  If I ever throw a baby shower (ahem, SOMEONE have a baby so I can throw you a shower...) I would use that theme.  (Who cares if the mama doesn't like books???)
And just to give you an idea of how long ago this was, the baby who is comfortably residing in the belly of the mama in this picture?
She is now eating solid foods and sitting up on her own.
Yeah.  I made this a looooong time ago...
I digress again.  So it was a book shower, and we were supposed to gift our favorite kids' book.  But I couldn't stop there.  I had to hand-make something, right?  So here is the:

"B is for Book" Bag!  With a little pocket for the library card and everything...

You'll need some sturdy material - like canvas and some cotton type material for the lining and straps.

Cut your fabric like so:
Fold your fabric in half and cut a rectangle of about 17x16.  Ish.
Do this with the canvas as well.
Then, for the straps, fold that fabric in half and cut 4 inch strips.

Here's how to make some easy straps.
1. Lay three strips on top of each other.  Sew down the short end.
2. Braid them together.
3. Braid all the way to the other end, then layer the ends on top of each other and sew them together.
4. Do this twice.  You'll need 6 strips total.  

Now, to make the library card holder.
1. Using your library card as a template, cut two rectangles of canvas and one of clear vinyl.  Make them larger than the card to allow for seam allowance.
2. In one of the canvas rectangles, cut an x shape.
3. Pin the vinyl piece to the canvas piece.
4. Sew around using a long stitch length so you don't perforate the vinyl.
5. Cut out the center of the canvas.  Zig-zag stitch around the opening, you could even do this a few times, or make the zig-zag stitch length shorter and tighter.  This will prevent some fraying.
6. (Now, for the actual pocket, for the bag, I used the liner material for the back, instead of canvas material, so it will look a little different, but it is the same method)  Hem all around the second canvas rectangle, to finish off all the edges.  Pin this rectangle to the vinyl/canvas piece, right sides together.
7. Sew around THREE sides, leaving the top UNSEWN.
8. Trim the edges down, cut the corners at an angle, and turn this piece right side out.

Now, you will pin it to the large canvas rectangle.  Pin it about 5 inches down from the top edge.  Sew around THREE sides, leaving the top open.  You now how two little pockets.  The see-through section is for the library card.  You can put library fine money in the second pocket section!

Let's start to assemble the bag.
1.  On the front side of the large canvas rectangle, lay one of your straps.  Make sure the canvas is right side up.  Position it so that the strap is down on the canvas and the ends of the straps overlap the edge of the canvas.  Make sure the straps are a few inches in from the sides.
2. Lay the lining fabric over the top of this, right side DOWN.
3. Pin all across the top edge, making sure to secure the straps into position.

4.  Do the same thing with the back of the bag - where you've already sewn the card holder.  Position the straps, lay the liner across and pin.  Then sew across both top sections, one at a time.

When you are finished, just pull the fabric through the sides - which haven't been sewn yet - to turn it right side out.

5. Now, top stitch along the top edge on the back and on the front.

6. With the right side OUT, pin up the sides of the bag.
7. Use a straight stitch to sew up each side.  Trim the excess just a little, then use your fingernail to fray the fabric.

8. Turn your bag inside out.
9. Pull the bottom corners of the bag down to form points.
10. When you hold the corner up, you can see it forms a triangle.  You will sew across the BOTTOM of this "triangle" on both sides.
11. Use a straight stitch and sew from one side of the triangle to the other.
12. This is what the bottom of the bag looks like.
13.  Now, cut off the triangles just outside your seams.

Here's the inside of the bag, versus the outside.  Make sure to fray all "unfinished" edges with your fingernail for a fun, frayed, distressed fell.

14. Now you're going to add your design.  Freezer paper stencil time!  I chose my font and printed my letters from my computer.  Then I traced the letters on freezer paper.  I cut them out with an x-acto knife.  All of you people with silhouettes or cricuts should feel REALLY lucky right now.  Iron your letters on, and use fabric paint.  Once the paint dries, peel off the freezer paper.  
I just freehand painted the books.

Now, to round out the present, I added a few more things.  FIRST, I gave mama a book, you know, to preoccupy her during early labor.  At least that's what the tag said.  If you're interested, it was this book.  
Which I loved, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I just wrapped some twine around and added a tag.

Then I included this book:

because we knew her baby was a girl.  I absolutely love these puffy board books illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church.  There is another with a little boy called "I Love You Through and Through" which is phenomenal.  Ezra owns that one and Zoe owns the little girl one.  We read them ALL the time.  On top of that book, I placed our top 50 kids book picks, entitled "The Essential Little Library".  I just made it in Pages on my mac, printed it out on card stock and covered it in contact paper to make it more sturdy.  I thought this would be a really fun resource for them as they picked out books for their girly.  I even told them on the list who "recommended" it:

Our original list was actually 100 books long, but I pared it down for them, since I wanted them to be able to easily read it and this font is TINY.  Plus, I didn't want to overwhelm the new parents...  Here is our list of Top 100 books, if you are interested.  (and just so you know, in the past few months since making this list, I have several others I'd like to add, so you may see an updated version of top 200 or something in the future...) 
You may not know this, but we are a book loving family, for SURE.  mr and I are always reading something, sometimes the same something.  The kids and I read during the day, of course, and they always get stories at bedtime.  We've asked for books for them for presents for Christmas and birthdays from now on, since we really want to build their library.  I'd love to say we own all of our favorites from this list, but sadly many of them were just checked out from the library.
So that's my gift to you!  If you want it - either to include in a book gift of your own or for your own use, feel free to right click and download or normal click and print from the internet.

This is one of my favorite handmade gifts to date.

Baby approves as well.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Maywidge. Maywidge is what bwings us togevuh today.

My entry into Shwin&Shwin's Link Party  sponsored by Appliances Online.

I contemplated passing this idea off as my own, but knew it would never fly.  Firstly, you've probably seen this before - at least in variation.  Also, you probably remember it from my 50 "I do"-able Gifts.  And if you don't, well, go check out that round-up because there are a lot of great gifts there.  (And I can say that without being considered arrogant because I had nothing to do with any of them except putting the links all together in one post.)  

I love this idea.  It's a wedding gift that comes together fast, looks cute, is nondiscriminatory of skill level, and is really just a good idea for pretty much any couple.

Remember this fab idea by Grace of Poetic Home?
Hers is an anniversary gift she presented her hubby on their second anniversary (another lovely idea for this present).

I'm sharing my version today.

Recently a girl from my ward got married out west and came home for a wedding reception (an adorable backyard reception, I must add).  Now, this is a super cute girl I know from church but don't really know personally very well... considering she's about 10 years younger than me we kind of ran in different circles.  Also, I had never even met her significant other.  Anyway, I just wanted to throw that in there so you realize you don't have to be best friends with someone for this gift to be a success.  Even if you don't know everything about the happy couple.

To make a Catalogue of Love, you'll need:
A box of some sort - in general, a recipe box is perfect
A toilet paper or paper towel tube
Card stock in white or off-white
Decorative embellishments of your favorite variety (as in cute stamps and colorful ink or washi tape)
A hole punch
This website (to create the card catalogue look)

First off, I have to admit that I found using the card catalogue generator way more fun than I probably should have, and definitely more fun than was intended.  I kind of want to print everything I do on these cards...

Let's get down to business.

1. Decorate your box.
I used Mod Podge brand rub-ons.  The one I chose says "PS I Love You" and then I added a heart as well.  I thought it was appropriate since inside the box they'll collect little "notes" about their love story.  Inside the lid I added a rub on that says "Love Notes".

I added one strip of washi tape for simplicity sake (I mean, we don't want to get all washi tape OBSESSED now, do we?) I liked the idea of decorating it with washi tape because it's impermanent.  If she hates she can take it off, no sweat.  
To add the washi tape I simple cut one piece a little longer than the length of the lid and edges.  I placed it horizontally and tucked the ends of the tape around to the inside of the lid.  Then I cut a piece of tape a little longer than the length of one side.  I lined it up with the top piece and tucked the top edge of the tape into the inside of the box and tucked the bottom end of the tape around underneath on the bottom.  I did this on the other side too so it looks like one continuous piece of tape wrapped around the box.

2. Create your content.
This is where the card catalogue generator becomes your best friend.  You simply pick a few dates, add the date as the "call number" (which is then printed in red on the left side of the card) and pick a general theme for the day which becomes the "title" at the very top.  If you want, you can add "notes" which are then added in different positions and scribbled handwriting for a bit more explanation of the day.  Leave the rest of the card blank for the happy couple to fill in.

So how do you find dates when you aren't best friends with the couple?  In my case, I turned to that uber pervasive destroyer of privacy, facebook.  I pretty much trolled around her page like a scary stalker looking for special things they'd posted about each other and the correlating dates.  I figured out the month they started dating, the day they got engaged, and other little tidbits - like the fact that they spent their first Valentine's Day apart and that they spent their first Christmas back here so hubby could meet her family.  That kind of thing.  Armed with this info, it was fairly easy to create some cards for their catalogue.
I gave them cards for: Christmas, Valentine's Day, the month they started dating (which I admit, I thought was also the month they met, but I was wrong... oops...), a few trips they took, the date of the proposal, their wedding day, their reception day, and cards for their first 5 anniversaries.  I also included several completely blank cards without any information at all so they can fill in their own dates.

I also included a card (which turned into 2) that explained the gift and how they were to use it.  I created our wedding card as well, because as I said before, I was having WAYYY too much fun.  The whole family signed that card.

3. Prepare your cards.
Once you've generated your cards, save them to your computer and print them out on card stock.  (I think off-white or cream colored card stock would have been better, but didn't think about that until after the fact.)  Cut your cards out.  Use a hole punch to punch out the little hole illustration to make them more authentic.

4. Embellish the cards.
I used some small stamps and colorful ink to make the cards a little more interesting.  

5. Put it together.
Place your cards in chronological order with your explanation cards on top.  Put these in the box.

6. Wrap it up.
For a little something extra, we gave them some cash as well.  Because let's face it, we all know that's everyone's favorite wedding present.  Then you can just go out and get what you want!  Or, if you're poor and at least one of you is still a college student, you will use it to buy groceries and kitchen stapled neither one of you have as well as a garbage can and a shower curtain.
Cut your tube to the same length as the money.  Roll your money up.  (PS, I DID give them more than a 5er.  I'm not THAT cheap.)  Place your money in the tube.  On one end, tuck a side in, then tuck the other side down on top of that so they just overlap.  Do this to the other side, too.  Instant free pillow box!  Wrap it in some washi tape.  Not because you're obsessed, but to tie everything together (figuratively).  

To tie everything together LITERALLY, get some fancy ribbon and tie it around the box first (make a super pretty bow.  Unlike me.  How the heck do you people tie your perfect bows??) then use an extra piece to tie the pillow box on top.

Tape your card on top with washi tape.  Voila!  A cute, meaningful, simple, fast, thoughtful gift.  How often can you say that??

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Put some pep in someone's step.

My entry into Shwin&Shwin's Link Party  sponsored by Appliances Online.

Absolutely anything is cuter in a mason jar.  Case in point?  This milk and cookies pick me up.  This sunshine in a box.  And this hair... uh, stuff.  You must know I love a good mason jar project.  After all, I have an entire pinterest board devoted to the subject.
I happen to have acquired a PLETHORA of mason jars.  And by plethora I mean peach crate upon peach crate brimming with mason jars haphazardly stacked in my garage for wont of a better spot.
What can you do with a plethora of mason jars??  Suffice it to say, you will likely be seeing many more mason jar projects around these parts...  But for this first (of about 50 million) mason jar projects, I wanted to show you how to package up a cute little "feel better" gift.

First.  I have a question for you.  Say your bestie is having a horrid time of things.  You know, one of those MONTHS that just goes on and on and nothing is going her way?  Or say your sis IL is recovering from a particularly grueling cesarean birth?  Or say you want to give a good friend a pick me up?  Or someone just needs a little girl time?  
The answer to all of the above is, of course, take them for a pedicure!  (though maybe not all at once.  You don't want to overwhelm the little shop.)

A little pampering (especially at someone else's expense, I might add) can be the perfect pick me up.  

Problem.  My bestie lives 4 hours away.  And my sis IL? A good 1200 miles away.  I can't exactly make us an appointment, pop in the car and be on our way...
And that's where the mason jars come in.  Because honestly, what ISN'T cute when packaged up in a mason jar?

The fact that it's currently summertime only makes this pick me up gift even more perfect.

So, let's talk about the supplies, shall we?  First off, you'll need your standard pedicure type accoutrements.
1. Polish - obviously.  I included three perfect hues for painting on little flowers.  You know, for summer.  Found these cuties very reasonably priced at Walmart.
2. Foot scrub, foot soak, exfoliant, buff, and lotion.  These tiny little bottles are also from Walmart and are only $0.99 each!
3. Cotton swabs and Nail polish remover - again, a miniature bottle.  From Walmart.  Cheap.
4. Pumice stone.  $0.99 at Walmart.  Are you detecting a pattern?
5. Little tube of mini emery board, clippers and tweezers.  Not sure what use the tweezers will be for a pedicure, but regardless, the tube was only $0.99.  Where?  Oh, Walmart. (However, you can also buy a pack of three miniature emery boards for cheap as well, if you want to skip the clippers and useless tweezers.)
6. Cuticle thingiemabobbers.  Also cheap.  Also from Walmart.
7.  Not pictured (how did that happen??) Toe dividers.  

These are the pedicure essentials to this project.  Of course, I may have gone a teensy tiny bit overboard since, as you'll see, it didn't all fit in one jar.

Once you've got your pedicure supplies, you'll need a few other things, as well.  
A jar with a lid, for instance.
paper doily.
pedicure in a jar printables (see below).
And my current (quite obvious) obsession:

Yes, washi tape.

So.  Pretty up your pedicure necessities with washi tape.  You may need to remove them from the store packaging - I did this with the pumice stone, cuticle thingiemabobbers and the toe dividers, then just wrapped them with a bit of scrapbook paper and taped it with the washi tape.  I also took some of the cotton swabs and wrapped them in scrapbook paper and washi tape - not because the packaging was garish, as with the other items, but because I couldn't possibly fit the whole long tube of them in the jar.  (And, yes, I DID try, thank you very much.)  I cut some of my washi tape pieces in half the long way to make the strips skinny.  And you can see I went a bit crazy.

Pop your items in a jar - much like this one (Or two) - 

along with your cute little card (see below).

Put the top on.  Roll a piece of tape and put it on the lid.

Place a paper doily on the tape.  Then just screw on the sealer thingie.  (I am full of very technical terms tonight.)

 I was very OCD about the fact that my jar lids did not match.  So I wrapped the gold one in washi tape.  To hide it?  Or just draw attention to it... whatever.  Cut out your "pedicure in a jar" circle printable (see below) (Is this a record for most "see below's" in one post?).  Tape it to the top.  In one case (the gold lid) the sealer thingie screwed down tightly over the circle to hold it in place.  That was pretty handy.  But I think I'm still partial to the wider mouth of the silver one... 

Then you just wrap it up all good and tight in packing paper or bubble wrap, stick it in a shoe box and send it off!

Now, when I can't take my favorite ladies for a little girl time, I can at least send them a little girl time in a cute little package.

And if you want to send a little girl time in a cute little package, here are my printable (see below) (just kidding).   Obviously, the top image is the outside of the card.  Below are the circle for the jar and the inside right of the card.
Just click to enlarge and print from the internet, or right click to download and then resize in your favorite photo editor.

Here's a simplified version for you as well:

I pared it down a bit so it would all fit in one jar.  And this version used no washi tape, just in case you're not as washi tape obsessed as me!

Put it all together:

Make sure you print out and add the little card!
Good for a birthday.  Good for a pick me up.  Good for get well.  Good for "happy summer!"  Pretty much good for "just because."  Put some pep in someone's step!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!
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