Mary

Crafty Kitchen: Owl S’mores

Here’s a fun recipe for adults and kids alike–owl smores! Let’s just start off by saying, when the items below are the ingredients, you know the final product is going to be good!

To make these owls you’ll need graham crackers, Reese’s peanut butter cups, candy corn, M&Ms, and large marshmallows. To get started, use a sharp knife to cut off the top 3/8″ of each peanut butter cup (PB cups). If you’re having problems with the chocolate peeling off the bottom of the PB cups when you take off the wrapper, try putting them in the fridge or a cool place so the chocolate isn’t as soft.

Line the PB cups up on half a graham cracker so the rounded part hangs just off the bottom. Use the tops of the PB cups you cut off in the step above for wings. Since you need two tops for one set of wings, only half your owls get wings and the other half are wing-less.

Tear a large marshmallow in half and place above the PB cup on the graham cracker, sticky side down. Smush it down a bit to hold in place.

Microwave until the marshmallows start to puff up. On my 1100 watt microwave, it took 13 seconds for two owls. At this point the chocolate should melt enough to stick to the graham cracker. Press a candy corn between the marshmallows and into the PB cup for the owl beak.

Lastly, press in M&Ms for the eyes.

Keep going until your flock is complete!

 

For a different style of owl without the PB cups and different eyes, check out this post at Living Locurto. I’ve seen other s’mores owls out there but I think Living Locurto’s author Amy gets the credit for the original idea.

Also, check out this cute Hello Kitty Cake Pops recipe from CraftFoxes.

Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

Looking for an easy DIY pumpkin? Look no further! Here’s a cute way to make them out of fabric. You could even have an older child make or help make them.

To get started you’ll need orange fabric (cutting instructions below), leaves cut from green fabric (felt or fleece would be ideal), 2″ piece of stick, embroidery floss, heavy duty thread and needle, a glue gun, brown or tan raffia, and a sewing machine (optional).

1. Cut your orange fabric into a rectangle. For a rounder pumpkin, the length should be 2 times the width (ex. 10″ wide by 20″ long). For a slightly squattier pumpkin, the length should be 2.5 times the width (ex. 10″ wide by 25″ long).

2. Fold the orange fabric lengthwise with right sides together. Use a sewing machine or hand stitch along the open edge.

3. With right sides still together, gather up the fabric at one of the openings and tie securely with embroidery floss. A rubber band rather than floss could also work but may not be as durable over several years.

4. Turn the pumpkin right side out. Loosely hand stitch around the opening of the pumpkin with a 3/8″ seam allowance with stitches around 1/4″ wide. Use a heavy duty thread so it doesn’t break when you pull it in step 6. Leave loose tails hanging off at both the beginning and the end and don’t tie any knots.

5. Fill the pumpkin with stuffing until it is fairly firm.

6. Pull the ends of the thread stitched around the top until the opening is closed or nearly closed and tie several knots. Trim off the long ends of the thread.

7. Take your embroidery floss and tie a tight circle around the pumpkin and leave around a 6″ tail. (For reference, I needed about 4 feet total of embroidery floss for a pumpkin that used the fabric measurements of 10″ x 20″).

8. Next, wrap the long piece of the embroidery floss twice around the pumpkin diagonally from your first line so there are six total segments. Tightly tie the string to the tail left from step 7.

9. Use your glue gun to make a large dot of glue in the top center of the pumpkin. I’m using white glue so you can see it in the photo but clear would be best. Press your stick into the hot glue.

10. Use the hot glue gun to attach your leaves.

11. To finish, wrap a piece of  raffia around the base of the stem to hide any excess glue.

12. After this step you can call it finished, or you (or kids!) could cut jack o’lantern faces out of felt and hot glue them to the pumpkins.

Free Pattern Features: Halloween Printables + Winner

There are so many great designers and generous people out there who are willing to share their talent for free. Here are some of my favorite free Halloween printables!

 

This Snow White inspired poison apple is from less cake {more frosting}.

Poison Apples from less cake more frosting

 

Tatertots and Jello shares this fun chevron eye chart.

Halloween Eye Chart from Tatertots and Jello

 

From Eye Candy is this colorful subway art.

Subway Art from Eye Candy

 

At DLTK’s you can find a list of printable Halloween activites and coloring pages for kids.

DLTK's Halloween Printables

 

And at We Love to Illustrate, SIX different cupcake topper designs to choose from.

Halloween Cupcake Toppers at We Love to Illustrate

Winner!

The winner of Sew Serendipity Bags was #51 chosen by random.org, Joyce who said “I have been sewing for years, but my newest and most fun thing to do is making bags.  The possibilities are endless and the fabrics are SO fun.  Kay Whitt has become a real inspiration to me with her unique, feminine style and colorful use of fabrics.  I am still chicken to sew without a pattern though, so the new bag book looks very fun to me!”. Congratulations Joyce, I’ve sent you an e-mail with more information!

 

Halloween Printables

Now that Craft Book Month is over we’re starting to think about all of the upcoming holidays! For Halloween, I’ve designed a couple printables to get you and your house into the Halloween spirit.

Above you’ll see the Halloween Subway art. The Halloween Subway Art PDF is sized for an 8″ x 10″ frame opening but you can use your printer settings to scale it down if necessary.

I’ve also put together a “Happy Halloween” bunting. To assemble, print out the 2-page Halloween Bunting PDF. Then cut along the center of each orange line/border around each triangle. Besides the letters there are a few images to use if you choose. Below you can see what the PDF pages will look like.

After cutting out the triangles I used rubber cement to glue each one to orange scrapbook paper that I cut slightly larger than the printouts (I needed 2 sheets of scrapbook paper). Then I used a hot glue gun to glue each triangle to a piece of ribbon and that was it! This could also be a fun craft to do with a child.

Note: The links to the PDFs will take you to Google Docs. If you are having problems getting it to print properly, use your mouse to click on File (left side of screen), then choose “download original.” Open the downloaded document and try printing again.

Book Review: Sew Serendipity Bags

Yesterday we were lucky enough to interview pattern designer and author Kay Whitt (and there’s a giveaway of the book at the end of the interview!). Her first book was Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear and she just recently released Sew Serendipity Bags. I had the pleasure of receiving a copy to review and make a project from!

The layout of the book is nicely divided up into skill level so you can choose between Simple, Intermediate, and Challenging. It was fun to look through all the projects but I appreciated knowing what I was getting into based on the skill level rating. The book is spiral bound so it easily lays flat and has a nice sturdy envelope of full size pattern pieces in the back. There is a wide variety of patterns and styles so you may not love everything in the book but you’ll definitely find some favorites. Projects include a lunch bucket bag, cross-body purses, duffel bag, ruffle hobo bag, backpack, diaper bag, laptop messenger bag and many more.

The introduction of the book includes techniques  on sewing, working with hardware, and working with stabilizers so you’ll have all the knowledge you need as you make the patterns. There are a total of 12 patterns. Many of the patterns offer different size options.

Once you choose a pattern, the instructions clearly tell you what fabric you’ll need along with any other materials (marking pencil, safety pin, etc.). There’s also a handy list for each pattern telling you the finished dimensions of the bag. Each pattern shows you Kay’s initial hand drawn sketch on the first page. Then in the following pages there are hand drawn illustrations for many of the steps. For example, the Green Grocery Bag (you can see my version below) has a total of 22 illustrations.

 

My Project

I chose to make the Green Grocery Bag in small. I liked that even though it was in the “simple” category it had some nice details. The bottom of the bag is finished with a French seam and is completely lined (including the pocket) so the final product looks great and is durable. The bag can be folded up into the pocket for easy storage and has a loop to put around your wrist. The sides of the bag have pleats so it’s nice and roomy.

I found the many illustrations extremely helpful so I always had a visual reference as I was making the bag. The instructions are very detailed. I did have to re-read each step of the instructions a few times to make sure I completely understood what to do next. All in all, I think my bag turned out well and I look forward to using it! (And if you’re wondering, the exterior floral fabric is from a vintage sheet and although you can’t see it, the interior is a green fabric with white polka dots.)

 

Free Pattern

Want to check out more of the book AND get a free pattern? Head on over to Sew Mama Sew where they’re offering PDF pattern and instructions for the Lunch Bucket Bag!

Free Patterns from Books: Knitting & Crochet + Winner

Today is our last day of free patterns from books and your last day to link up your projects to win some great prizes! In the past weeks, we’ve featured patterns for the homebags, kid’s toys and softies, and jewelry.


From Knitting in the Sun (Wiley): Knit Sunhat

Windansea Hat from Wiley

 

From Knitting it Old School (Wiley): Ahoy Sailor, Sweater

Ahoy, Sailor sweater from Wiley

 

From Knit, Wrap, Repeat (Lark): Snugg Neck Warmer

 

From Teach Yourself Visually Crochet (Wiley): Magnificent Shawl

Magnificent Shawl from Wiley

 

From Interweave Press: Assorted free crochet projects

 

And the winner of Modern Mix chosen by random.org was #23, Jenelle, who said, “I think that waiting to see how the book pitch went would be the hardest part for me too. It’s amazing that just by writing your blog, you were already taking the first step towards being published. Congrats and thanks for the interview!” Congrats Jenelle and I’ve sent you an e-mail!

 

Free Patterns from Books: Jewelry + Winner

In our fourth week of free patterns from books we’re looking at jewelry tutorials. If you missed the past weeks in this series, we’ve also highlighted patterns for the home, bags, and kid’s toys and softies!

 

From New Dimensions in Bead & Wire Jewelry (North Light): Magnoliophhyta Earrings and Dragonmoon Choker

 

From Modern Expressions: Creating Fabulous and Fashionable Jewelry: Parquet Earrings

 

From Wired Beautiful (North Light): Double Loop Earrings

 

From Handcrafted Wire Findings (Interweave): Make Your Own Kidney Ear Wires

 

From Interweave Press: Assorted free beading projects

 

As we’ve mentioned before, you can use any of these patterns to participate in the Craft Book Month linky party through the end of September! And, our winner of the book Mixed and Stitched (review found here) is commenter #21, Jil (I’ve sent you an e-mail with more information Jil!).

 

Free Patterns from Books: Kids’ Toys + Winner

We’re in our third week of free patterns from books after looking at patterns for the home, and patterns for bags. Up this week are kid’s toys and softies!

From Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose Scarves (Lark): Hoppy the Bunny

 

From Sockology (Stash): Be Free, Piggy Softies

 

From Make Stuff Together (Wiley): Appreciation Banner

 

From Girls World (Chronicle): Glitter Badges and Chloe Paper Doll Bag

From Socks Appeal (Stash): Striped Owl Softie

 

As we’ve mentioned before, you can use one of these patterns to participate in the Craft Book Month linky party through the end of September! And, our winner of the book Sewing for Boys by Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage from Wiley is Cat, #30 chosen by random.org, who said, “I am getting ready to have a little boy in 6 weeks . . . would love to get to play with this book! Plus the authors are going to be teaching in Portland soon.  One more reason to move to Portland!” Congratulations Cat on your win and your little guy! I’ve sent you an e-mail.

And don’t forget, you still have until Monday to enter the giveaway for the book Sewing with Oilcloth!

Book Review: Sewing for Boys

Earlier this week we interviewed Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage, the authors of the book Sewing for Boys (Wiley). Today I’m sharing my review of their book! I’ve been excited about this book since the moment I first heard about it months ago. As the mom of a little boy, I find lots of patterns for cute little dresses and tops for girls but not nearly as much for boys. This book is full of great clothing patterns with fun extra details that get you excited about sewing boy clothes.

I love the way this book is designed. It’s spiral bound so it lays flat, the patterns are in a nice sturdy envelope inside the front cover, and there are great illustrations and photos. One of my favorite parts about the book layout is that there are photos of every project in the front of the book. It’s so easy to browse through all the patterns this way. There are even more photos throughout the book so you get a really good feel for what your final product will look like. Each pattern sheet in the envelope is numbered so you can easily find the pattern sheet you are looking for. Also, each project is rated with a difficulty level. All those little well thought out details in the layout alone made this book enjoyable.

There are six total chapters including a chapter of clothing for each of the four seasons. There’s also a chapter for on the go items including a playmat and toy bag. And lastly is a chapter for items that repurpose your scraps or old clothing items into new things like a patchwork blanket. There are 24 projects total. Sizes available vary by project, but overall they go from 0-6 months to 7.

As for the patterns, there’s a great variety of clothing for inside and outside for all seasons. Every item includes extra details that make your project look like it was done by a professional. The directions are easy to follow and there are diagrams to help you out along the way. If you need any extra help, there’s a glossary in the back that will assist you with sewing terms and techniques.

My Project

It was a tough choice deciding what pattern to make for this review because they are all great! Some of my favorites were the ralglan T-shirt, the Luka hoodie and the reversible “two-in-one” jacket. In the end I chose to make the Easy Linen Shirt. First I traced the pattern onto sheets of paper then I picked out my fabric. Rather than purchasing new fabric, I cut my pieces of a gray knit shirt of my husband’s that he never wears and re-used the existing hem on the bottom of the shirt for the hem of this new shirt. I had a scrap of dark gray knit that I used inside the collar.

The instructions were easy to follow and I didn’t need to use my seam ripper even once on this project (amazing)! As I’ve mentioned, there are extra details in each pattern that makes your clothing look professsional. This pattern was no exception with topstitching around the arms and shoulders and extra tips on how to finish the seams to make them extra comfortable and durable. The fit was perfect for my son (I purposely made it a little large) and this’ll be a great shirt to easily pull off and on during fall weather, and to wear layered in the winter.

Want to win a copy?

Head over to our interview with the Sewing for Boys authors, Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage. Just leave a comment on that post for your chance to win! This giveaway is now closed.

 

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Sewing Apps for iPhone and Android

While we’re focusing most of this month on printed craft books, we wanted to highlight some digital applications for iPhone or Android smartphones that can assist you as you’re purchasing and cutting fabric for all those great patterns!

Android or iPhone

Jo-Ann Fabrics (Free for Android or iPhone): Browse products, check out customer reviews, find a store and best of all, save your coupons! You can load coupons and show them to the cashier for a discount rather than using a printed coupon.

Quilting Calculators (Free for Android or iPhone): From Robert Kaufmann Fabrics and Quilter’s Paradise is this great collection of eight free calculators.1. Fabric Measurement Conversion, convert between decimals and fractions. 2. Backing and Batting Calculator, calculate how much yardage is needed for the backing and batting of a quilt. 3. Piece Count Calculator, shows the number of fabric pieces that can be cut from a large piece. 4. Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator, fabric needed to cut a set amount of a certain size piece 5. Binding Calculator, calculated fabric needed based on quilt dimensions and binding strip width. 6. Border Calculator, shows the amount of fabric needed to create borders. 7. Square in a Square Calculator, calculates dimensions of a square within a square block. 8. Set-in and Corner Triangle Calculator, calculates square size needed to create unfinished triangles.

iPhone only

Fabric Stash ($4.99): When you’re out shopping do you have trouble remembering what’s at home in your stash? Use this app to snap photos of your fabric along with any notes you may want to include such as measurements, where you bought it, price and more. You can view your stash according to color, style, manufacturer or project.

Pattern Pal ($4.99): Use this app to keep your patterns organized with name, brand, number, notes and photos. You can also track the fabric and notions needed for each pattern.

Quick and Easy Quilt Block Tool ($3.99): Browse 102 quilt block patterns and view cutting instructions and yardage requirements for each block in five sizes.

Quilt Index ($0.99): Browse through thousands of historical and contemporary quilt photos. You can also view the quiltmaker and quilt pattern names, dates and more. 

Yardage Calc ($2.99): Convert between yards and meters or calculate how much fabric you’ll need when buying a different width than whatis specified on the package.

Android only

Quilt Binding Calculator ($0.99): Calculate the length and width of fabric needed for single or double-fold straight grain binding.

Note: To download the apps, go to the Android Market or the iPhone App Store depending on the type of phone you have, search for the app and download it directly on to your phone. If you have any favorite sewing apps that we’ve missed, let us know in the comments!


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