Easter Eggs and Bunny Cookies

My tutorials are usually more sewing based, but today’s Easter themed post includes tips on fun Easter eggs plus a recipe for these no-bake bunny cookies (or buppins as my son…

Tote Bag Tutorial

This is one of the very first tutorials I put together! We posted it back when this blog was started before we had many followers. My totes continue to be…

Rainbow Diamonds Mini Quilt Tutorial

This weekend, I finished up a Diamonds Mini Quilt I’ve been working on, and posted on my other blog, Lindsay Sews. There was some interest in a tutorial, so I…

Car Trash Bag / Reusable Lunch Bag

I find that the car is never more cluttered than when filled with wrappers, empty drink bottles and waste from a summer road trip. I try to pick up all…

Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 8.24.11

Have your kids gone back to school? With orange buses back on the road, here are some crafts to make for kids or things to try with them after school. You may even learn something new.

Don’t forget to visit the giveaways page for lots of crafting supplies and handmade giveaways, including a gift certificate to Crafty Girls Workshop!

Tissue Box to Tattle Monster

Tattle Monster: Mariah turned a tissue box into a tattle monster to teach kids not to tattle on their classmates. Now all the teachers are using them! Get the tutorial at Giggle Galore.

100 Quilts for Kids

A Hundred Strong: Today’s assignment: Quilting for a cause! Check out the 100 Quilts for Kids Project. While you are there, spread the word and you can enter this fabric giveaway!

Back to School Sandwich Wraps Printables

Free Printables: Little Lovely shares a free download for these cute first-day-of-school sandwich wraps!

Dying Fabric with the Sun

Sun-Drenched: How about a science experiment? Jessica shows off how to use Inkodye, some common household objects and the sun to make custom fabric prints. You can see the results at her blog, How About Orange. Neat!

Coconut Banana Pancakes

Island Living: It’s back-to-school time, but that doesn’t have to mean going back to the typical. Brittany puts a twist on the morning routine with these delicious-looking banana coconut pancakes. Get the recipe at Bebe a la Mode Designs.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
Weekly Giveaways Linky
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Giveaway: Crafty Girls Workshop

*** This giveaway is now closed. Make sure to check out all the current handmade giveaways around the web in our Giveaway Roundup! ***

Crafty Girls Workshop is offering a $25 gift certificate to her shop to one lucky Craft Buds reader! If you’re local to San Antonio, you could also visit her for studio time at the brick-and-mortar shop.

$25 to Crafty Girl's Workshop

In her online store, Anna sells great patterns like the Sea Views Quilt e-Pattern by Kate Conklin Designs . . .

Kate Conklin pattern

And her fabric selection includes one of my favorite new lines, Summer House!

Summer House charm pack

Don’t forget to check out the bargain bin, filled with lots of fabrics for $5 a yard.

To enter:

1)   Head over to our sponsor’s Facebook page. “Like” Crafty Girls Workshop on Facebook and leave another comment on this post letting us know.

2) Visit her shop and pick out a favorite fabric or pattern. Leave a comment telling us what you love!

3) Follow our blog via Google Friend Connect, RSS or e-mail subscription to win.

* * *

That’s three possible entries. This giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada.

Comments will close on Friday, August 26 at 11:59pm (EST), and one winner will be chosen by Random.org. Good luck!

Ruffly Flower Tutorial

These ruffly flowers are fast and easy to make! To get started you’ll just need a stack of fabric cut into squares. I used nine 3″ squares from knit fabric so it wouldn’t fray (you may want to use more squares for a fuller flower). Fold the square in half, in half again, then into a triangle as shown in the diagram below. Then cut a curve into the top of the triangle to form the petals.

Here’s my pile of cut flowers. You can see that they’re not exactly identical but it won’t be noticable in the final flower.

I found it easiest to fold the flower into quarters, and stick the needle through the folds and string them all together. Once you’ve run the thread through all the flowers, bring it back around to the beginning (upper right photo) and tie it off (lower photos). Once you’ve tied it off the flower petals will be in a circle. Set it on a flat surface and fluff out the petals. This version is ruffly on top and the bottom is flat. For a ball shape make two flowers the same size and then sew them together.

My final flower arrangement! These are fun for headbands, shirt or bag embellishments, or just decoration.

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Free Pattern Features: Cats

Last week we looked at dog-related sewing projects so this week we’ll focus on some items for your furry feline friends! Just like last week, a few of these projects would work for dogs too.

From Sew 4 Home is this cute and cozy pet bed.

Pet Bed at Sew 4 Home

Pet Bed at Sew 4 Home

 

At Craftstylish is a tutorial for a cat mat to protect your furniture or to use for food and water bowls.

Patchwork Cat Mat at Craftstylish

Patchwork Cat Mat at Craftstylish

 

Fantastic Toys has a fantastic set of patterns for a variety of cat toys.

Cat Toys at Fantastic Toys

Cat Toys at Fantastic Toys

 

From Canadian Living is this fur lined kitty tunnel for your playful pal.

Kitty Tunnel at Canadian Living

Kitty Tunnel at Canadian Living

 

And because these colors and this cat are so fun together, here’s one more pet bed option from Design Sponge.

Pet Bed at Design Sponge

Pet Bed at Design Sponge

How to Cut Charm Squares from Fabric


Tutorial: How to Cut Charm Squares

Charm squares are a great cut of fabric to use in quilts and other patchwork projects!

To follow along with this tutorial, you’ll need a rotary cutter, self-healing cutting mat and large cutting ruler. One yard of cotton fabric (the normal 45″ width) will produce 56 charm squares (5″x5″).

To get started, take your yard of fabric and make sure the selvage (the white strip with words or colored circles) is straight and ready to be trimmed. I am right-handed, so I made sure the selvage was on the right. Because I am cutting a yard of Spoonflower fabric, it’s a little different because there is white all around the border. I chose to fold the top of my fabric down, and here you can see how I lined up the selvage edges, to make the cutting process quicker.

Next, I lined up my ruler on the inside of the selvage. Using my rotary cutter in my right hand, I held down the ruler firmly with my left hand. Make sure your body is in a good position to hold the ruler so it doesn’t slip.

Once your selvage is gone, you’ll want to flip your cutting mat so the fresh edge you just cut is on the opposite side (left for right-handers). Line up your ruler on top of your fabric and measure out a strip that is 5 inches wide. I have a 5-inch ruler, but many rulers are 6 inches wide. Cut along the side of the ruler for the entire length of the fabric. Continue cutting 5 inch strips in this same way until you can cut no more. (Notice that my fabric is still folded, so each strip will have a top and a bottom piece.)

Take two strips, and line them up on your mat as pictured. Use your ruler to measure out 5 inches again, this time the other way so you will make 5-inch squares. With each cut, you will make 4 squares (2 top, 2 bottom). Repeat this process to cut a total of 56 charm squares.

I originally shared this tutorial as part of Sewing Back-to-School series at Sew Sweetness. Check out the rest of the series here!

Sewing Basics: Tools for Cutting Fabric

Did you know that next month is National Sewing Month? If you don’t sew, it’s time to learn the basics. And it doesn’t get more basic than learning how to choose and cut your fabric!

Brands
There are a few brands of fabric cutters that are popular for sewists and quilters, like Olfa, Fiskars, Dritz and Clover. I’ve used both Olfa and Fiskars, and I’d have to say that I find them to be about the same in quality. Tip: The Olfa and Fiskars blades are interchangeable, so you can buy one or the other for your cutter, whichever is on sale!

Rotary Cutters
My absolute favorite tool for cutting fabric is not scissors, but my rotary cutter. Rotary cutters look a lot like pizza cutters, and they come in several sizes. The smallest is 18mm or 28mm, the most common is 45mm, and the largest is typically 60mm. On the packaging, the 60mm rotary cutters say they are for thicker fabrics or cutting up to six layers of cotton fabric at a time. The smaller blades are useful for cutting around curves.

If you can only buy one size of rotary cutter, I’d say a 60mm is the way to go, but many people use the 45mm size. So did I, for a long time, and they work perfectly fine! You’ll also notice that the styles of handle are often different, which is another preference. Whichever you choose, you’ll want to buy some replacement blades as well, which usually come in a pack of five. It’s best to change out the blade when you notice that your blade is becoming dull and isn’t making very sharp cuts. Generations Quilt Patterns has some great tips for when to replace a rotary cutter.

To use a rotary cutter, you’ll also need a self-healing cutting mat and a clear plastic ruler or cutting template.

Mats
When you choose your mat and ruler, I recommend the largest size you can afford. This will save you lots of time when cutting a yard of fabric or more, because you won’t have to adjust the fabric as much on the mat. Again, this is a matter of preference on my part.

The mat will also have markings you can use to line up your fabric. Smaller mats and rulers are helpful for traveling with you to sewing meetings, but I don’t find it necessary to have a smaller size. The mat I use regularly is 24 inches long, which is a great size for cutting a yard of fabric into charm squares, which I’ll show you next!

Rulers
The clear ruler should have sightlines, or markings to help you line up your fabric. I use an OmniGrip ruler with a Lip Edge, which is great because it hooks onto the edge of the cutting mat to keep the ruler from slipping while you cut.

Types of Scissors
Although I love my rotary cutter, sometimes I do actually use scissors to cut fabric. When you buy scissors, make sure they are heavy-duty and are meant for cutting fabric. Nothing will ruin your fabric faster than a dull, awful pair of scissors from the dollar store. Investing in a pair of quality scissors will make your sewing much more enjoyable!

A smaller pair of scissors, called point scissors or micro scissors, is also helpful for detailed cutting. Another tool you may find handy is pinking shears! Pinking shears have a saw-tooth or zig-zag edge for cutting fabric. You may wish to cut fabric charms with a pinked edge, for instance, to prevent fraying. Pinking the edge of fleece fabric along joined seams will make the seam less bulky. Or, you might use this edge on fabric scraps for a ticker-tape quilt.

To “pink” the edges of the charms we cut earlier, look for a pinking rotary cutter blade and use it with your rotary cutter to pink the edges the first time around.

Caring for Scissors

To care for your scissors, make sure you only use them to cut fabric. Cutting paper with them will dull the blades. Also, try not to open and close the scissors unless you have fabric in them, because this will also wear down your blades. When your scissors aren’t cutting very well any more, you can often take them to a craft store for sharpening. Ask if your local craft store if they have a special knife or scissors sharpening day.

I originally shared this tutorial as part of Sewing Back-to-School series at Sew Sweetness. Check out the rest of the series here!

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