Texas State String Art

Texas String Art

It is my experience that if ever you have a good idea, someone else has already done it. Coughsuzannecough. Ok, well, I may have had the idea but seeing hers gave me the motivation to do make it myself.

Texas String Art

The idea is simple – take a board, I used particle board (it doesn’t warp like plywood can) which they sell in pre-cut 2 ft by 2 ft squares at big box home improvement stores; spray paint it; pick a shape, I printed out the shape of Texas across 6 printer paper pages and taped them together and cut it out; tape the shape to the board and use finishing nails to create an outline of the shape; take out the paper and run string back and forth all over the shape, I used thin crochet thread.

Texas String Art

I would have added a heart on Austin like Suzanne did on her Wisconsin but Texas is a weird shape and wouldn’t work well with trying to pull string in one direction from the edges. I just make a hot mess of string instead.

Texas String Art

It’s cute! And it sits on my mantle which is nice ’cause I didn’t want to have to add a wire on the back to hang it. (that’s my sparkly garland leftover from Christmas)

Texas String Art

Starlight Mint Ornament – Holiday Ornament Exchange

Starlight Mint Ornament

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Except, well, because of global warming or something my Texas Christmas is more resembling an Australian Christmas. It was 80 degrees yesterday! What’s up with that?

A few weeks ago the lovely (and expecting!) Kelli from True Bias asked me as well as a bunch of other bloggers, many who you also know and love, to participate in an ornament exchange! So of course I was like, “yes please!”

Starlight Mint Ornament

We all made our own ornaments that we’re mailing to each other. None of us know what each of us are making so it’s a big surprise for everyone.

Let me just say that while coming up with my idea I nixed a few others because, as usual, whenever I come up with a good idea someone else has already thought of it and put it on Pinterest. I had to stop Pinterest-ing for a while because I was getting discouraged. No doubt my idea has already been made by others as well, and if by some chance another one of the participating ladies had the same idea for an ornament as I, well, then we’re both geniuses. 😉

Moving on, I don’t really like mint flavor, and I never really eat these things but for some reason my childhood memories are filled with these little Starlight mints. They remind me of spending Christmases with my grandmother and the iconic colors and shapes shout “Christmas” to me. So, naturally, I covered a ball in mints.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

You will need:

  • Starlight mints
  • Styrofoam balls (These are 2 1/2″ size. I don’t recommend any bigger, the mints add a lot of bulk)
  • A glue gun
  • Some kind of wire (I used floral wire)
  • Wire cutters
  • Ribbon for hanging
  • Scissors
  • Clear spray sealant
  • Ziplock bags
  • And maybe a hammer…

This project is pretty simple.

Starlight Mint Ornaments
Starlight Mint Ornaments

Dab some glue on the back of a mint and stick it on the ball.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

They ya go. Not so hard, right?

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Now keep adding mints next to mints you just glued.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Hold each mint down for a few seconds to let the glue stick.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Soon you’ll have your ball covered!

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you get big spaces that can’t fit a whole mint, don’t worry. We’ll fix that next.

As you unwrap your mints you’ll no doubt have a few broken mints. That’s good. You can use those bits to patch spaces between mints.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you need smaller pieces you can put them all in a ziplock bag and hammer the mints into tiny bits.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Glue and stick the broken bits in the empty spots.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

If you’re making more than one ornament you can save this part for last.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Just fill in all the really big spots, all those tiny spaces won’t be seen from a distance.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Next cut a length of wire, about 4″, like in the picture above.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Bend to make a loop on one end that will hold the ribbon.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Wrap the short end around the rest of the wire.

Starlight Mint Ornaments
Starlight Mint Ornaments

Put glue along the wire and find a nice spot on the ball and stick the wire in.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Add some extra glue at the base of the loop for support.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Then spray the whole thing with sealant. I sprayed one side at a time so I could let the sealant dry. The sealant and mints can get sticky so make sure you spray on some plastic like a big ziplock bag, not paper towels. The mints can stick to the paper.

Starlight Mint Ornaments

Finally cut some ribbon, I cut about 12″, and string it through the loop.

Starlight Mint Ornament

Make a cute bow and now hang it on your tree!!! They’re a little heavy but I have much heavier ornaments than these so it should be fine.

Starlight Mint Ornament

Thanks again to Kelli for organizing this! Now go see all the other cool ornament ideas:

Jen at Grainline Studio
Kelli at True Bias
Maddie at Madalynne
Megan at Megan Nielsen
Miranda at One Little Minute
Mika at Savory Stitches
Sonja of Ginger Makes
Suzanne of My Beau Baby

Christmas Wreath and Giving Thanks

Gold Christmas Wreath

I have been sewing this past couple weeks but it’s always those elusive pictures that give me trouble, especially since the sky gets darker earlier – less time for natural light photography. In the mean time I’m posting a project of a different kind and taking a moment to give thanks. For those of you outside of the US you may not know but this Thursday is our big national holiday, Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we gorge ourselves on turkey and pumpkin pie and watch parades and football on TV. But really we’re supposed to spend time with friends and family and think about everything we are grateful for.

So this is my sewing/blogging/creative related thank yous. I’m grateful for all of you! Thanks to the people I’ve met in real life and have become great friends, those who I know only from blogs and email. Thank you to everyone who reads the blog (and whose blogs I read). Whether or not you comment I still appreciate your presence (I know it’s hard to keep up with so many blogs and comment on each). Thanks to all those who have bought/used my patterns. Thanks to those who share them. Thanks to those who design their own patterns and alterations. You inspire me!

Thanks for allowing me to waste hours at a time catching up on reading blog posts. Thanks for always giving me more cool techniques or details to apply to my next project. Thanks for making me want to knit or try something hard like tailoring or sewing pants. Thanks for keeping my sewing-to-do-list longer than the United States Tax Code. Thanks for making me swoon over the most beautiful printed dresses as well as the otherwise plain, but exceptionally well constructed black pants. Thanks for giving me Pinterest overload. Thanks for making me smile when I see your happy faces in pictures of your newest creation. It all makes me feel very connected to this community in a way I cannot fully explain. Thanks for challenging and supporting me.

Gold Christmas Wreath

Ok, enough sappy stuff. Here’s a wreath I made while celebrating and early Thanksgiving with my boyfriend’s fam. When it comes to holidays I’m surprisingly traditional. I like classic colors and motifs. Unfortunately my orange door doesn’t lend itself well to Christmas green and red so I made a gold themed wreath.

Gold Christmas Wreath

Here’s my supplies:

  • One grapevine wreath (they’re the best for sticking picks into).
  • Two bunches of sparkly balls attached to stems. I cut each individual stem off and wrapped it around the wreath. I probably got about 16 individual stems.
  • A package of about 20 wooden sticks, covered in glitter and curled on the end.
  • One bunch of plastic-y, glitter-y leaves that I cut apart into individual stems.
  • Four glitter pine cones on picks.
  • Two glitter birds on picks
  • A package of gold plastic ball ornaments (don’t use glass, that’s a mess waiting to happen!). I used five of each style.
  • Gold wire ribbon for the big bow.
  • Hot glue gun to keep the ball ornaments in place.

I bought everything at Hobby Lobby except for the leaves, bird and pine cone picks which I got for cheap at Joann. I think it’s festive for the winter holidays but doesn’t clash with the orange.

Gold Christmas Wreath

One good thing about making a new wreath – I finally got off my lazy bum and cleaned my door – it was covered in spiderwebs, dirt, leaves and dead bugs, ew.

Ok, I’m off for the next couple days to spend time with my family for Thanksgiving – funny story, last year at Thanksgiving I was jumping on a trampoline with my little cousins (about 5 of them under the age of 12) and my jeans ripped! Like, an un-fixable crotch rip. I’m not surprised, they were old and most jeans get worn out in that spot. The bad part was I hadn’t brought any other pants. I spend the rest of the day in pajama pants. Yeah – no trampoline for me this year…

Using Scraps: Wine Bottle Gift Bag (Guest Post by Leah of Struggle Sews a Straight Seam)

***What? I’m still gone? Craziness. Lucky for you there’s more guest post greatness coming up!!!!

Leah’s blog is one of my faves to read for several reasons: her big smile in every photo along with her hilarious writing style always makes my day. You really get the idea that this is one fun lady! Her enthusiasm for her sewing projects is contagious! Not to mention she’s got an adorable cat who frequently makes appearances (I love cats and sewing…). I love how she brings her unique heritige into her sewing. Part Russian and Puerto Rican, you’ll often see her posing in cute shorts amongst palm trees in Puerto Rico and she is using vintage fabrics that she inherited from her grandmother to create her own clothes. Thanks Leah for coming over to the dark side my blog!! ***

When Dixie asked me to do a guest post, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. A guest post? For one of my favorite bloggers? Are you kidding me? Where do I sign? I was all ready to do something Faustian and just give my soul or what have you but Dixie assured me all I had to do was a tutorial. Ha. Is that all?

One of the many things I adore about Dixie is her dedication to using small amounts of fabrics and scraps. The great scrap debate rages across the interwebs, with some desperate to use theirs and others scorning these humble bits of fabric and all they can do. Me, I can’t bear to part with tiny bits of even the crappiest fabric, let alone half or quarter yards. So I like to think up projects that can efficiently employ such pieces of precious (and non-precious cloth). And I figured, what better way to show my devotion to Dixie then with a scrap-based tutorial?

So here it goes, my tutorial for wine bags! I love wine. I love it deeply and completely. But I know that not everyone is into it, so this would be a great way to package sparking cider, soda, or even Perrier! I like to bring wine whenever I go somewhere for dinner, or stay at the house of a friend, and my mom actually gives
bottles of prosecco away at every settlement (she’s in Real Estate). So I thought this might be a great way to make that gift extra special, while using access fabric too!

What you will need:

  • About ¼ of a yard of fabric of any kind
  • Thread
  • A sewing machine (unless you are sadistic and want to hand sew this thing)
  • Pins
  • A Pencil
  • A bottle of whatever you plan to put in this bag
  • Measuring tape
  • A Ruler

Step 1:
Measure your bottle both lengthwise:

and widthwise

Allow whatever seam allowance you enjoy. I personally am a ½ inch kind of a girl, but hey, find the you in you and ask them what they desire in a seam allowance.

So say my bottle was 13 inches long by 6 inches around. So adding ½ inch seam allowance per seam, I would cut two pieces of fabric that were 4 inches by 14 inches. I personally added an inch on the top (and would add another, for the future) just so the whole bottle would be completed covered in the bag (and preserve the surprise!) but again, do what feels right.

I also cut two pieces of fabric 5 inches by 1 inch. These will become the strap of the bag. Feel free to alter those dimensions should you want thicker straps, but I wouldn’t go much thinner, as liquids are heavy.

Step 2: With right sides together, pin and sew the body of the bag, pivoting around
the corners.

Step 3: Lay the strap pieces together at a right angle.

Using your ruler, mark a line across the center of the square formed by the overlap
of the two pieces of strap fabric:

Step 4:
Pin and stitch along that marked line.

Trim the excess and iron.

Press the strap in half, right sides together

Step 5:
Pink the seam allowance on the body of the bag.

Turn the top of the bag over by ½ an inch (or whatever works according to your seam allowance etc). Turn it over again, and stitch the double fold in place. (I like to wait until I’m attaching the straps and do it all in one step, so you can do that too, if you like!)

Step 6: (Optional)
If you want the bag to have a rectangular bottom you can sew along the bottom two corners of the bag. You don’t have to do this but I like it, personally. You just sew perpendicularly to the corner, creating a little sewn triangle:

And it will look like this:

Step 7:
Sew the strap together on the long side, leaving the two short sides unsewn.

Taking a safety pin, pull the right side of the strap through until the whole tube of fabric is facing the correct way (i.e. you can see the right side and the wrong side is the inside of the tube).

Step 8:
Attach the strap to the body of the bag, using the two seams as your placement guide. I like to do a zigzag stitch because I like the way it looks, making sure to double back over the places where the strap meets the body of the bag. As I mentioned before, I tend to double this step up and be hemming as I’m attaching,
but if that doesn’t work for you, no worries!

And there you have it! A lovely wine/prosseco/yoohoo bag to bring to your next shindig!

Thanks, Dixie, I loved making this tutorial, and I hope your readers enjoy it too! ~Leah