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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tutorial 11--Making a Fabric Envelope

Here's a chance to use some material you may have lying around.  This project is good if you have material that is loosely woven.  I used flannel.  Selected edges of the envelope have had the threads removed, giving it a "furry" look.  This is not suitable for knits.  This reusable fabric envelope can be used for packaging gifts.

Making a Fabric Envelope

Difficulty Level
Very easy

Time Taken
5 minutes

Loosely Woven Fabric
Sewing Machine

1)  Trim the edge of the piece of fabric so it is straight.  The piece of flannel that I used included the selvedge edge, which I will keep as a decorative part of the envelope.

2)  Fold the bottom edge up, to the size you would like the envelope to be.  Trim the top edge 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) above the top edge of the envelope.

3)  Sew the right edges of the envelope, 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) from the right edge.  Similarly with the left edge.  In the picture below, you can see the selvedge edge of the fabric that I used.

4)  Fold the envelope so that the flap is folded in half.  Trim the flap at an angle.

5)  Unfold the envelope.

6)  Remove the threads along the top edge of the flap.

7)  Remove the threads along the sides of the flap.

8)  Remove the threads along the top edge of the envelope's opening.

9) Put a gift in the envelope and tie a ribbon on it, or put a pin the front.  Here, I used a pins that I received from LAWST in their Blog Giveaway.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tutorial 10--Junk Mail Valentine

I hope this little card
Brightens up your day.
I made it out of junk mail
So don't throw it away.

I donated the 3 cards above to Etsy's Special Delivery Project.

In Tutorial 2, I showed how you could make a Christmas card out of junk mail, by using a method known as iris folding.  Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, in this tutorial, I will make a Valentine's Day card using free templates on the web to speed the process up; however, the templates require that you work on the iris folding from the back of the card, so it is more difficult to spot mistakes if you are using junk mail.  This tutorial will be easier to understand if you have already done Tutorial 2.  Instead of junk mail, you can use wrapping paper, origami paper, or ribbons.  

The rightmost card below was made using junk mail advertisements for plaid shirts.  It would be a nice, not-too-sissy Valentine's Day card to give to a man.

Making an iris folding Valentine's Day card out of junk mail, using a template (this tutorial is for the card in the center).

Difficulty Level
Very easy

Time Taken
I hour


  • Thick paper for the card (I used 67 lb cover stock)--one large piece and one half its size
  • Junk Mail, unwanted magazine, used wrapping paper, or any other pretty paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or string
  • Color pencil
  • Optional--Compasses, bowl or some circular object for drawing a circle

Step 1)  Fold the large sheet of thick paper into half.  If the paper is too large for the card, cut it to an appropriate size.  I cut mine to 6.2 inches (1.5 cm) by 4.5 inches (11.3 cm) before folding.

Step 2)  Cut a piece of thick paper (I used the same cover stock) to the same size as the front of the card (i.e. half the size of the paper in Step 1).  This will be the frame of the card.

Step 3)  Draw half a heart on a separate piece of paper.  I used the compasses to draw a circle.

Step 4)  Cut the half a heart out.

Step 5)  Draw half a heart on the frame from Step 2.  Flip the half heart piece and use it to draw the opposite side of the heart.  Make sure the heart is centered.

Step 6)  Cut the heart shape out of the card stock.

Step 7)  Print this template out.  The template was too small for the heart I had cut, so I drew extra lines, extending the pattern on the template.

Step 8)  Tape the frame onto the template, so that the iris is in the center of the heart.  Note that you are looking at the back of the frame.  The heart covered some of the numbers up, so I rewrote them within the same triangle, in a position where I could see them.

Step 9)  Cut out pictures with pretty colors from the junk mail.  Since this is a Valentine's Day card, I cut out pictures with lots of red, purple and pink.

Step 10)  Cut out a sliver of junk mail.  Determine which side of the sliver is the right side (which will be shown on the card).  Fold one long raw edge over, with wrong sides together.  Tape the folded sliver on to the smallest number that appears in the template, placing the folded edge aligned with the lines of the template.  Do not tape on the template.

Tip:  The project will go faster if you stop reading the junk mail.

Step 11)  Continue with another sliver, taping the sliver onto the portion with the next larger number on the template.  Make sure the sliver is long and wide enough to cover the corresponding number portion on the template.  Here's what it looks like after 3 slivers have been taped.  Note that the folded edges are aligned with the lines of the template.

Step 12)  Continue in this manner.  Here's what the frame looks like halfway through.

I'm going to flip it over to show you what it looks like so far.  If  you're not careful, you could end up with words or some undesirable picture on the front.  This is the nature of junk mail.  We are, after all, working with junk.  Also, I've found that the project goes faster if I stop admiring the advertisements. 

Step 13)  Continue taping slivers to the back of the frame.  Find some special picture for the iris.  I found a picture of a dress with a flower on it, which I will be using for the iris.

Step 14)  Tape the final piece of junk mail over the iris.  Detach the frame from the template.  Turn the frame over so it is topside up.

Step 15)  Outline the heart with a color pencil.  

Step 16)  Tie a bow and glue it to the bottom of the heart.

Step 17)  Glue the frame to the larger piece of card stock.

Step 18)  Write a note in it, and give it to someone special :) .

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I WON a Blog Giveaway!

I had entered the Loud and Wacky Street Team (LAWST) New Year's Blog Giveaway.  Entering was easy.  I had to visit each of 10 shops, and pick my favorite item from each shop.  I could have additional blog giveaway entries by blogging about the giveaway, purchasing from any of the 10 shops, or by following the blog.  Each of the 10 shops donated a prize.

Earlier this week, I was excited to receive a message stating that I was the winner of the blog giveaway.  On Friday, I received a big box, with all the wonderful prizes!

Here's what I got:
Thank you Meesh's Pieces for this fluffy scarf.  It's cold outside.  This is just perfect for the cold weather, and the scarf is so soft and comfortable.  It easily wraps twice around my neck.
Thank you Laughing Fridge for this colorful refrigerator magnet.  The fish is following me around with its one eye as I walk around the room.

Thank you Itz Fitz for this cute little squirrel bookmark.  It's so handy, and the squirrel will look like its popping out of the book.

Thank you Susan Williams Designs for this unusual glass pendant and necklace.  The cord feels so velvety.  It will go well with my gray sweater.

Thank you Donkey Says for this dainty necklace.  It has a convenient magnetic clasp that will be a snap to put on when I'm in a hurry.

Thank you Soul in Chains for this furry, fully-lined bag.  I've never seen novelty yarn like this before.  It's hairy and has white fabric and shimmering tinsel in it.  What an interesting conversation piece.

Thank you More Ideas Than Time for this pretty, fully-lined crocheted bag.  I've been meaning to reorganize my purse.  Now I'll have a place to keep my nick knacks when I go out.

Thank you Keychains By Design for this brightly-colored keychain.  I'll be able to spot my keys easily with this, and the gnomes won't be able to hide my keys from me ever again.

Thank you His Child for these sparkly crystal earrings.  They're cute, great for all occasions, and go with just about any kind of clothes.

Thank you Cassie's Creations 09 for these practical note cards.  I've already used one of them, between the time I took the photo and now.

Special Thanks go to Reflections for donating this embroidered gift bag for the finishing touch.  I like how the fish is blowing a bubble.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tutorial 9--Spiral Macrame Bracelet

This is a free tutorial for two-color macrame bracelet.  It is made with the Overhand Knot and Square knot, which were seen in Tutorial 4.  It will also include the Half Knot Spiral, which we will learn in this tutorial.  The Half Knot spiral is named such because it is half of the Square Knot, and, made repeatedly, results in a spiral.

I've included a few beads in the bracelet as well.  For this project, I have used cotton yarn which is about 1 mm thick.  You can use acrylic yarn, hemp, or any of the myriad types of string-like materials available.  I encourage you to experiment.

As usual, you can pin your work to a pillow or safety pin it to your pants, or tape it to a table to make it easier to work with.

Making a Spiral Macrame Bracelet, 7 inches (18 cm) long

Difficulty Level
Very Easy

Time Taken
15 minutes


  • 50 inches (125 cm) of red cotton yarn
  • 50 inches (125 cm) of white cotton yarn
  • 3 Beads with holes large enough for 2 lengths of yarn to fit though (I show 6 beads in the following picture, but only used 3)
  • Crochet hook for pulling yarn through the beads
  • Scissors

1)  Align one red end and one white end of the yarn, and straighten.

2)  Fold the yarn over 12 inches (30 cm) from the end.

3)  Leave a loop about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) long.  Tie an overhand knot.  This is part of the clasp.

4)  Tie 5 Square knots, using the 2 short ends as holding cords and the 2 long ends as working cords.  Thread the 2 holding cords through the bead.  I used the crochet hook to aid me in this.

5)  Now we will start tying the spiral.  Start as you would a Square Knot, by putting the left cord over the holding cords, then putting the right cord over the left cord and up through the space created by the left cord.  Note that the white cord is on top of the holding cords at this point.

6)  Tighten.  This is a Half Knot Spiral.  Note that the two working cords are on the outside of the bead.

7)  Ordinarily, to make a Square Knot, the white cord will continue to be above the holding cords; however, for a Half Knot Spiral, the white cord and the red cord take turns being above the holding cords.  In other words, to make a Half Knot Spiral, always put the left cord over the holding cords.

8)  Continue until you have 2 inches (5 cm) of Half Knot Spirals.  Thread the 2 holding cords through the second bead.

9)  Make another 2 inches (5 cm) of Half Knot Spirals.  Thread the 2 holding cords through the third bead.

10)  Make 10 Square Knots.

11)  Tie an Overhand Knot close to the final Square Knot.  If the Knot is not big enough to form a tight clasp, tie more Overhand Knots.  Trim the ends.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tutorial 8--Striped Friendship Bracelet

Friendship bracelets were all the craze in the 1970s.  Kids would make them and give them to each other, and see who could go to school with an arm or two covered with these bracelets.  Many would wear them until the bracelets fell off.

Friendship bracelets are made by tying knots.  I'll show you how to make a striped friendship bracelet in this free tutorial.  I recommend that you try Tutorial 7 first, as we will be using the Double Half Hitch knot repeatedly.  I'm going to make mine in 6 different shades of brown, but you can make them in whatever color you like.  Here's a colorful striped one in wikipedia.  I'll show you how to make some of the other ones in wikipedia in another tutorial.

The main part of the bracelet is striped, and the ends have been braided to form ties, which are used for tying the bracelet to a friend's wrist.

As usual, I recommend pinning your work to a corkboard or pillow, or even taping it to a table while you work.

Striped Friendship Bracelet

Difficulty Level
Very Easy

Time Taken
1 1/2 hour

Embroidery Floss, 6 different colors, 50 inches (125 cm ) of each color to make a 7-inch (17.5 cm) long bracelet with 2 1/2 inch (6.5 cm) long ties.

1)  Cut a 50-inch length of each of the 6 colors.

2)  Align the 6 ends of the cords.  Tie an Overhand knot 6 inches (12.5 cm) from the end, using all 6 cords.

3)  We will now braid from the Overhand knot towards the end of the 6-inch (12.5-cm) length, using 3 pairs of cords.  To braid, pick up the pair of cords on the right, and place them in between the other 2 pairs of cords.

4)  Pick up the pair of cords on the left and place them in between the other 2 pairs of cords.  Steps 3 and 4 complete one iteration of a braid.

5)  Repeat steps 3 and 4.  Here's a picture of what it looks like at this point.

6)  Continue braiding, keeping the braid tight, until you have 2.5 inches (7.5 cm) of cord left.  Tie an Overhand Knot.  Turn the cords around so that the long cords are now towards you.  Steps 2 through 6 form a tie about 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm) long.

7)  We will now make the striped portion of the bracelet.  Separate the 6 cords.  Place the rightmost cord over all the other cords.  This is the holding cord for the next 5 Double Half Hitches.  The other 5 cords are the working cords.

8)  Lift the current rightmost cord and wrap it around the cord from Step 7.

9)  Tighten.  Lift the same cord from Step 8, and wrap it around the cord from Step 7 a second time.  Tighten.  Steps 8 and 9 form the Double Half Hitch, just like the one from Tutorial 7.  Make sure that the holding cord is straight, while the working cords wrap around the holding cord.

10)  Continue making Double Half Hitches, using the same holding cord, and each of the working cords.  There will be 5 Double Half Hitches.  In this firs row of Double Half Hitches, there is a tendency for the Double Half Hitches to be tied farther and farther away from the Overhand Knot.  This is fine.

11)  Repeat Steps 7 through 10, using the current rightmost cord as the holding cord and the other 5 cords as working cords.

12)  Continue in this manner until the bracelet is of the desired length.  I made mine 7 inches (17.5 cm) long.

13)  Tie an Overhand knot close to the last row of Double Half Hitches.

14)  Braid 3 pairs of cords to form another tie.

15)  Tie an overhand knot at the end of the final braid.

16)  Give it to a friend :) .