Monday, March 20, 2017

Customize Towels with Grosgrain Ribbon

Whether you're looking to tie your towels to your bathroom theme or color scheme, want to make a special gift for someone (wedding, house warming, baby, etc.), or simply want your kids to be able to easily identify their towel, sewing on some grosgrain ribbon is an easy and eye-catching way to achieve your goal.

Grosgrain ribbon comes in a variety of widths and almost every color and pattern imaginable, from aquamarine to zaffre, apples to zigzags, and "Avengers" to "Zootopia". It's available at dollar stores, craft stores, big box stores (like Walmart), and online (eBay, etsy, etc.).

Transform your boring towels into sharp-looking accents and tie-together mismatched towels into coordinating sets without spending a tonne of money on new or designer towels.

- towel and matching thread for the bobbin
- grosgrain ribbon and matching or coordinating thread for the top thread
- sewing machine, notions, scissors, etc.

1. Lay the towel edge on a flat surface that you can pin on. Lots of towels have a band that is shorter/smoother than the fluffy parts, which is the perfect area to sew on the ribbon, but if the towel doesn't have that, you can still sew the ribbon on over a fluffy area (you may need to measure up from the outside edge of the towel to ensure that your ribbon is straight.

2. Cut a piece of ribbon that is the same width as the towel. Position it carefully and pin every few inches/centimeters to keep it in position while you sew. At both ends, tuck approximately 1/4" (0.5 cm) of ribbon under itself and pin securely. This keeps the "raw edge" of the ribbon sewn inside the stitching so that it won't fray.

3. If you're sewing on hand towels or face cloths, you can simply sew around the ribbon along the edges and backstitch at both ends. For large towels, it's much easier to sew two separate seams. Sew along one long edge, turn at the end, and sew the edge of the end, making sure to backstitch at the start and finish.

4. Start sewing again at the same start point, this time sewing the edge of the end first, then along the other long edge to the same finish point, making sure to backstitch at the start and finish.

5. Trim your threads. Apply a dot of fabric glue to any spots that you think might fray or come loose, if applicable.


#TeamCap #TeamIronman ;)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Streamer Wands - Craft with or for Kids

Whether it's for a party, parade, picnic, or just playing around, these simple but colorful wands are sure to delight the kids. They're fun to make for the kids or with the kids.

Choose team colors, favorite colors, patriotic colors, or whatever catches your fancy.
- wooden dowels approximately 24" (60 cm) long (or whatever length you prefer)
- acrylic paint, brushes
- ribbon
- glue
- scissors
- other decorations, such as: beads, glitter glue, washi tape, stickers, markers, etc.
- large wooden beads, decorative pencil-top erasers, or other items that will fit on the end of the dowels (optional)

1. If your dowels are too long, cut them to the correct length. Remove any stickers/tags from the dowels.

2. Paint the dowels with whatever color or colors you like. Allow the paint to dry completely.

3. Decide which end of the dowel will be the "top" where the "streamers" will be attached. Cut 5 to 10 pieces of ribbon approximately 12" (30 cm) long. You can make them different lengths. Glue one end of the ribbons to the sides of the dowel near the "top" end, varying the side that you attach them on and the distance from the tip.

Alternatively, you can cut longer ribbons (approximately 24" [30 cm]) and glue/tie the middles of the ribbons to the dowel.

Put a little bit of glue on the loose ends of the ribbons to stop them from fraying. Allow the glue to dry.

4. Decorate the rest of the dowel however you like. You can wrap tape or more ribbon around the "top" to cover where you glue the ends of the ribbons on.

5. Add a painted bead, bow, or other decoration to the "top" of the wand (optional).

DONE. Enjoy watching the kids play with their new wands.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Build Your Own Home Reference Binder

You may never have heard of a home reference binder, but once I explain what it is, I think you'll agree that it's a pretty handy thing to have around. A home reference binder is a place to store all sorts of information pertaining to your home (scroll down for a list of things to add to yours). You can use files or a box, but I really like the convenience of using a binder.

I started our home reference binder as soon as we bought our house, but it's never too late to start one and it's a never-ending project. I keep ours handy, both for referring to and for updating. It's so much easier to grab a page from the binder to take to a store than to go searching for things or try to remember.

- 2"-3" binder
- hole punch
- clear page protectors
- sturdy cardboard or plastic dividers (you can make your own with the hole punch)
- strong glue (I use GOOP)
- pen, marker, scissors, stapler, tape, glue stick...

ITEMS TO COLLECT (as much as you have or want to include)
- paint chips with your wall colors
- swatches/samples of your flooring, siding, baseboard, etc. (or color photos)
- manuals/warranties/receipts for appliances, furnace, smoke alarms, etc.
- information from your municipality about things like garbage pick-up, bylaws, etc.
- business cards and/or contact information for contractors, plumbers, electricians, suppliers, etc. that you have used or might use
- pamphlets/brochures/printouts that contain pictures or information about home improvement products you have in your home/yard/garage
- color photos of other items around your home/yard/garage that you may want to refer to when you can't actually see them in person

1. Divide your items by area (i.e. basement, main floor, 2nd floor, exterior, yard, garage, etc.). Label your dividers.

2. Decide what order you want things to be in the binder.

3. Glue samples to your heavy dividers. Write details beside them (room names, color, item numbers, etc.). Place them in your binder.

4. Place your other information in page protectors or hole punch the pages.

Write in additional details (purchase/installation date, product numbers, etc.).

Attach smaller to large pages with glue, tape or staples.

Put everything into the right sections of the binder.

5. Keep the binder up to date by removing things you no longer have and adding new information as you add things to your home.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

DIY Costume Tail [Dinosaur, Alligator, Monster, etc.]

Whether it's for Halloween or just everyday play, a tail is always lots of fun and not difficult to sew. This tail has a belt so it is independent of any other costume/clothing piece. You can adjust the size to fit your kids or even yourself.

- fabric (I prefer heavier stuff like fleece, denim, etc.)
- thread
- sewing machine, notions
- tape measure, ruler
- marker
- Velcro
- poly-fill stuffing

1. Cut two triangles of fabric that have two 20" (50 cm) long sides and one 8" (20 cm) short side. You can fold your fabric right sides together and use the folded edge as one of the sides.

2. Sew all three sides (fabric right sides together), leaving a 4" (10 cm) gap on one long side to turn the tail later.

3. Measure around your kid's waist and divide that measurement in half to determine how long you need to make your belt pieces. For my 5 year old, I used two 12" (30 cm) long strips. Cut the strips 3" (7.5 cm) wide, fold in half right sides together width-wise (so it's long and narrow), and sew one end and along the long side (makes a tube with one end closed). Turn right sides out. Top stitch around to help the belt lay flat. Sew a 3" (7.5 cm) piece of Velcro to one side of the stitched/closed end. Repeat for the second strip. (I used a different color fabric for the belt but you can use whatever color you want.)

4. This part is a bit tricky. Flatten the short side of the tail (not the pointy end) opposite of the seam, so that the corners become triangles with the seam down the middle. Take the unstitched/open end of one belt strip and tuck it inside the tail and into one of the corner triangles as far as you can. Pin through the triangle to hold the belt strip inside. Draw a line on the tail corner where you can feel the end of belt strip inside. Use the line you made as your guide and sew across the triangle, making sure you sew over the end of the belt inside.

Repeat for the other belt strip, making sure that you have both Velcro sides facing the same way so that they will line up properly once everything is done.

5. Cut the corner triangles off where you drew the guideline earlier.

6. Turn the tail right sides out.

7. Stuff the tail with poly-fill stuffing. The firmer you stuff it, the more the tail will stick out from the wearer's body. Sew the opening closed.


Have fun playing dinosaur, dragon, Gekko, lizard, monster...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Super Easy Hero Cape

Whether it's for you or your kid or your dog, there is never a bad reason to have a super hero cape around, and they are surprisingly easy to make. Older kids can make their own and younger kids can decorate theirs, so it could be a fun party activity. I do HIGHLY RECOMMEND attaching a Velcro closure to the neck, especially for kids and pets, to reduce the risk of choking in the event that the cape becomes hooked on something, but you're welcome to skip that for teens/adults if you don't feel it's necessary.

- sharp scissors or fabric scissors
- old t-shirt or sweatshirt that is the length you want the cape with a neck opening large enough for the wearer's head to fit through easily (raid the closet or visit a second hand store)
- long ruler or straight edge
- pen or marker that will write on fabric
- Velcro and fabric glue or needle/thread (RECOMMENDED)
- ribbon, iron-on patches, fabric markers, etc. for decorating (optional)

1. Decide whether you want to use the front or back of the shirt as the cape portion. The majority of whichever side you choose will be visible.

2. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it on a table or flat surface with the side you chose for the cape to the top. Smooth the shirt as much as possible, making sure you have it centered.

3. Use the ruler to mark a line from the bottom edge at the very left side up to the left side of the collar where it meets the shoulder seam at the top of the shirt. Repeat for the right side. 

4. Cut on these lines, BUT DON'T CUT THE COLLAR.

5. On the opposite side of the shirt, carefully cut around the collar, leaving it attached to the cape portion. You'll be left with the round collar and the cape attached. NOTE: If you think that the collar will be too tight, cut a strip of the t-shirt just below the collar instead, then cut the entire collar off.

6. To attach the Velcro, cut the collar and attach Velcro to both sides of the cut. (Sorry the cape color changes here, the teal one was easier to photograph for these steps.)

7. Decorate as desired. DONE.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DIY PJ Masks GEKKO Hoodie

If your kid(s) is/are into the Disney Channel TV show "PJ Masks", then you've likely encountered the same thing that I have: it's hard to find clothing inspired by the show. If you've been looking everywhere for a green "Gekko" costume and haven't had any luck, then here's a tutorial for you.

Surf over to the official PJ Masks website for a great 3D view of the characters, including Gekko. There are also downloadable masks, bracelets, and a tutorial for Gekko gloves.

- medium green hoodie that fits your kid (wash and dry as per manufacturer's instructions)
- dark green or black fabric marker (I used STAINED by Sharpie)
- light/lime green felt or fleece
- fabric glue
- green thread, needle (optional)
- scissors
- long ruler or straight edge
- glow in the dark fabric paint (optional)

1. Lay the hoodie down on a table and smooth the front out as much as possible. Use the ruler and fabric marker to draw lines across the front of the hoodie at an approximately 45 degree angle with about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between the lines. Once you have covered the front of the hoodie with lines in one direction, turn the ruler 90 degrees and repeat the process in the other direction, covering the front of the hoodie with a lattice of diamonds. Repeat this on the back, sleeves and hood until the entire hoodie is covered in the diamonds. Step back and admire your beautiful Gekko "scales".

2. From the fleece/felt, cut out the following pieces:
a. Gekko logo approximately 8 inches (20 cm) wide (I made a stencil by printing the logo off the internet and cutting it out)
b. three circles approximately 2.5 inches (6 cm) in diameter (trace a glass or other circular object)
c. two ovals (hockey rink shape) approximately 2 inches by 3 inches (5 cm by 7.5 cm) (I cut one out and traced around it to get the second one fairly similar)
d. two ovals with one short side squared off approximately 2 inches by 3 inches (5 cm by 7.5 cm) (I cut one out and traced around it to get the second one fairly similar)

3. Use the fabric marker to draw two lines across each of the four oval pieces the short way, evenly spaced. Glue the squared off ovals onto the shoulders of the hoodie with the straight edges towards the hood. Let the glue dry thoroughly. You can also sew around the edge if you like.

4. Glue the ovals onto the elbow areas of the sleeves, with the oval going lengthwise on the sleeve. Let the glue dry thoroughly. You can also sew around the edge if you like.

5. If the hood doesn't have a center seam running front to back on it, lay the hoodie on its side and flatten the hood so that you can find the center and mark it with pins or small marks. Lay the hood so you can see where the center line is and place a fleece/felt circle centered on that line. Sew and/or glue the circle to the center line ONLY WHERE IT TOUCHES THE CENTER LINE a little way back from the front edge of the top of the hood.

Leave a space and attach the next circle the same way. Leave another space and attach the final circle. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

6. Apply glue to the top of the circle and fold it in half onto itself. Sew the edge if you like. I used binder clips to hold it while the glue dried. Repeat for the other two circles and allow the glue to dry thoroughly.

7. If you want the Gekko logo to glow in the dark, paint the front of it with glow in the dark paint. If you plan to sew it to the front of the hoodie, it's probably easiest if you paint it after you sew it on. Glue (or sew) the logo to the front center chest area of the hoodie. NOTE: If the hoodie has a zipper, you'll have to cut the logo in half first.


Thursday, September 29, 2016


Inspired by Star Wars, I gave new life to an old throw pillow.

- pillow form or old throw pillow
- solid green fabric - any kind you like, large enough to cover the pillow plus ears and seam allowance (I used fleece)
- thread matching your fabric
- marker
- sewing notions, sewing machine, etc.
- Yoda photo or toy for reference

1. Lay out the fabric, double-layered and right-sides-together. Place your pillow on top. Draw a line on the fabric around the pillow approximately 1 inch from the sides of the pillow. Draw ears. (You can make a paper template if you want them to be perfectly even.) Remove pillow. Pin fabric layers together. Sew around on the lines BUT NOT BETWEEN THE PILLOW AND THE EARS. Leave an opening at the bottom edge for turning and inserting pillow.

2. Trim the excess fabric and turn right side out.

3. Sew around inside the ears and between the ears and where the pillow will go.

4. Insert the pillow and sew the opening shut. DONE.