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…

Free Pattern Features: Gifts for Grads

It’s can be difficult to figure out gifts for students graduating from high school so here’s a few idea starters for you! I’ve chosen items that can all be customized for girls or guys depending on what fabric you choose. For guys, using pinstripe suit fabric is a fun idea.

 This card holder by The Crafty Cubpoard is perfect for a gift card. After the gift card is used it’s two interior pockets are just right for business cards.

Card Holder from The Crafty Cupboard

This messenger bag from Heart of Mary includes a zippered top and extra pockets. It would be great for a laptop or carrying around college books.  

Messenger Bag by Heart of Mary

And if that grad is moving into their own place, how about a housewarming pillow? This felt lattice pillow  from Persia Lou is so creative and the end result is amazing.  

Felt Lattice Pillow by Persia Lou

Or for a more guy-ish pillow, check out Lindsay’s tutorial on making a remote control pocket pillow!

 

Remote Control Pillow by Lindsay from Craft Buds

 
 
 

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 something I use often so here’s the tutorial one more time for anyone who missed it the first time around.

You can scale the size up or down for whatever purpose you have in mind. I make two sizes generally. One is a small tote the same size as one of the paper Bath and Body Works bags you get at their stores. It’s great for a few toys, extra shoes, or even wrapping up a gift. The larger size is great for grocerices, farmer’s markets, extra toddler clothes/toys when going out for the day, as a beach bag, for a change of clothes for the gym or whatever else you can think of. It’s about the same size as a paper grocery bag.

For this pattern you’ll need an outer fabric and a liner fabric. I like at least one of the fabrics to be a heavier weight to help the bag hold it’s shape a little better. All seam allowances are 1/2″ unless otherwise noted.

1. Small size: Cut 15″ squares from both your outer and liner fabrics with the center fold of the fabric at the bottom of the square. (If you do it this way, you’ll be cutting through two layers of fabric and if you were to open it up, you would have a rectangle of 15″ x 30″.) At each of the bottom corners cut a rectangle 2 1/2″ tall by 3″ wide. If the fabric you’re using doesn’t allow you to have the center fold at the bottom you’ll cut two rectangles from both fabrics 15″ wide by 15 1/2″ tall, and your corners will be 3″ square.

Large size: Cut 20″ squares from both your outer and liner fabrics with the center fold of the fabric at the bottom of the square. (If you do it this way, you’ll be cutting through two layers of fabric and if you were to open it up, you would have a rectangle of 20″ x 40″.) At each of the bottom corners cut a rectangle 3″ tall by 3 1/2″ wide. If the fabric you’re using doesn’t allow you to have the center fold at the bottom you’ll cut two rectangles 20″ wide by 20 1/2″ tall, and your corners will be 3 1/2″ square.

2. For the outer fabric, put right sides together then stitch up the sides. Repeat with the liner fabric.

3. If you have a raw edge rather than a fold at the bottom, stitch that together.

4. Create the bottom of the bag by stitching the corners. See below for photo detail. You’ll stitch all 4 corners (the 2 for the outer fabric and the 2 for the liner).

5. Your outer fabric and liner should now look like this and you can iron the seams flat.

6. Now flip the outer fabric right side out, then nestle the liner inside.

7. Now pin along the bottom of the bag on the front and back, but not the sides. Stitch along the edge with a 1/8″ or 3/16″ seam allowance.

8. Fold the raw edges of the top of your bag in 1/2″ and pin. Also, tuck the straps about 1″ down in between the two fabrics and pin in place. I used these cotton straps from JoAnns but you could also make them out of a coordinating fabric. For the small bag each strap is 14″. Fot the large bag I wanted something I could carry by hand or over my shoulder so it’s 26″.

9. Now stitch around the top. Leave a 1/8″ seam allowance at the top and then sew a second seam 3/4″ down from the top. Then go back and put an X over each strap. Or if you don’t want to have to go back and do the Xs later, see the diagram below for the exact steps I followed.

 

10. Optional: If you want your tote to have a boxy shape, pin the 4 sides going straight up from each corner then stitch 1/8″ in from the edge like you did in step 7 around the bottom.

 

And now you’re all done! You should probably go shopping to test out your new bag.

Craft Swaps: Everything You Need to Know

Craft Swaps!

Photos: Flickr

One of the perks of being connected to so many crafters, bloggers and handmade artists online is to ability to trade skills, inspiration and beautiful, handcrafted things!

A craft swap is an exchange of handcrafted items or craft supplies. Swaps typically take place between strangers. While most craft swaps are organized online, there are also some in-person craft swaps that take place among friends, or members of a local craft guild.

In-person Craft Swaps

  • Look for craft guilds and organizations that might be organizing a local swap. The Portland Modern Quilt Guild recently swapped mug rugs at their monthly meeting. Each participant made a mug rug and brought it to the meeting in a brown paper sack, and other members chose a random mug rug to take home. Great idea!
  • I organized a craft swap among a group of friends at my church who all have various crafty talents. We decided on a Daily Life swap (making things to help enrich your swap partner’s daily life) and as the swap organizer, I paired everyone up at random. Each person completed a brief survey with some of their likes and dislikes, favorite colors, day-to-day activities, and hobbies. It was so much fun to swap the items in person, and those who couldn’t make it that day made other swap arrangements.

Online Craft Swaps

Because not everyone has a network of crafty friends they can get together with, it’s great to be able to take part in craft swaps online. When you join an online craft swap, you’ll first want to make sure you understand the expectations. It’s best not to sign up for five swaps at the same time, unless you are a full-time crafter! Otherwise, you will not be able to devote the time to making your partner’s crafts fantastic.

You’ll also want to make sure that you can communicate well with the swap organizer and your partner about expectations. For instance, if you plan to send a flat-rate box full of goodies, and your partner sends you a small envelope, it’s probably not going to be a great swap for either of you!

Here are a quick primer for joining craft swaps online:

Craft Swap Site Reviews

Craftster

A social networking site for crafters, Craftster is free to join and hosts many forums on various crafting topics, ranging from needle arts to recycled crafts, sewing and jewelry art. To join a craft swap on this site, you must first register for a free account and be an active member for 30 days, making comments on posts and adding life to the online community.

When you sign up for your first swap, you will be a “newbie” swapper, so you can only participate in one swap at a time. Once you’ve sent and received your items, you’ll post photos in the appropriate forum, and the swap organizer will leave you feedback. After receiving positive feedback, you are free to sign up for as many as five swaps at one time!

There’s also a system in place for making sure crafters send each other about the same quality/quantity of crafts by letting participants choose between small, medium or large swap requirements.

Craftster swappers can choose whether or not they will ship internationally and they may also specify any pertinent allergies on their swap surveys. In most cases, you will send to and receive from the same person.

  • Pros: Huge variety of swaps, ranging from TV-show themes to geeked-out interests. Also, there is a system in place to pair “swap angels” (kind crafters who make a package and ask for nothing in return) with people who “get flaked on” (do not receive a package at all).
  • Cons: The quality of crafted items you receive may be incredible, perfectly paired to your interests, or it may be completely off. In other words, there’s not a huge level of accountability for creating quality crafts, although each swap generally has a few fantastic crafts in the bunch.


Swap-Bot

Swap bot logo

Swap-Bot is another popular site for swapping crafts, recipes, international postcards, candy and more. To start swapping with Swap-Bot is very easy, and just takes registering for a free account.

In order to make sure crafters send equal packages, there is often a monetary value attached to each swap, such as $3 or $20. Some of the swaps on this site are as simple as sending postcards in the mail, or e-mailing a recipe, and the limit for newbie swappers is five swaps at a time. Once a swapper has successfully completed five swaps, the limit is lifted and they can be in as many as 20 swaps at one time! These members can also organize their own swap via Swap-Bot.

Swap partners cannot specify if they will ship internationally, and swap partners are chosen randomly by the computer system. You may send to and receive from different people.

  • Pros: Swap-Bot sends e-mail reminders when your swapped item is due, and will keep reminding you until you log in and mark your items as shipped (very much like eBay or Amazon sales).
  • Cons: Swap angels are sometimes available if you are flaked on, but Swap-Bot does not officially organize any kind of swap angels. It’s not a very tight-knit community of swappers, and it may be easy for someone to pop into and out of the community and take advantage of the system to get free stuff. (Swappers with 3 cases of negative feedback are banned, but that’s a lot of people to be disappointed before any action is taken!)

Flickr

Flickr logo

Run a Flickr search for “craft swap” and you’ll come up with a list of groups for specific themed swaps. Whether you are into ’80s culture or handmade cookies, there’s a group for you. Here are a couple groups I like:

To take part in a Flickr craft swap, you’ll want to search for a group that has had some recent activity, and then request to join. Some swaps have specific start and end dates (such as the Doll Quilt Swap), and others you may join at any time. Once you join a group, check out the photos and discussion board for details on how to be a part (you might have to wait for the next “round” to start).

Flickr swap organizers typically send interested participants a questionnaire to complete before they tell them if they’ve been accepted into the swap. It’s a common requirement that swappers must have an active Flickr account with craft photos in it (photos of things they’ve made) in order to be accepted into swaps. This leads to a swap with lots of high-quality items! Once a participant is accepted to join a swap, they may be asked to create a photo mosaic of their “likes” in that category, such as fabric styles or jewelry they like to wear.

  • Pros: Because Flickr is a highly visual environment, the quality of crafts swapped is typically very high, and so is the photography.
  • Cons: It can be difficult to find active swaps on Flickr, because there are so many swap groups that are not current cluttering up the system.

Other Places to Find Craft Swaps

  • One way to find out about new and upcoming swaps is to follow your favorite craft blogs and see what swaps others are involved with. Today, I learned about an upcoming vintage sheet fat quarter swap from a vintage sheet blog I follow.
  • SwapDex is a blog that showcases current craft swaps from around the web, like a pin cushion or postcard swap. The site lists signup and swap dates.
  • Quilting Board offers regular sign-ups for quilt block swaps. (Thanks foxflower!)
  • Ravelry is a great swap resource for knitters and crocheters. Register for a free account to see swaps. (Thanks Michelle!)

Have you jumped on the craft swaps train? Please share with us where you find out about new swaps in the comments!

Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 5.11.11

Moms, we hope you had a great Mother’s Day! Now, we’re getting ready for grads, dads, and summer fun. Here’s another round-up of fresh picks from all around the Web to help inspire your family time, “you time” and even help grow your creative business!

If you’d like to be considered for a future spotlight here at Craft Buds, we invite you to submit your project, business tips or craft tutorials here.

Lightbulb favors @ Kara's Party Ideas

Light Me Up: Why didn’t we think of this clever treat container? Check out the entire graduation party at Kara’s Party Ideas!

Bored Jar by Stephanie

Are We Bored Yet? Take the summer boredom out of kids with this cute and functional activity jar, from Stephanie at Somewhat Simple, guest blogged at Brassy Apple!

CCE logo

Stir Those Creative Juices: If you’re in the San Fran area or can get there, check out the Conference for Creative Entrepreneurs this August. You can also enter to win a free day pass here.

Buttercup bags @Skemommle

Hey, Buttercup: We love these buttercup bags sewn up by Skemommle! This is the same pattern Mary used for her petite purse and wallet.

Home Boutique @ The Pleated Poppy

Home Boutique Tips: Would you like a bag for that? Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy shares her best advice on starting a home sales boutique for your handmade business. What a fun idea!


Giveaways Roundup
Visit the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 31 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

Free Pattern Features: Baby & Toddler

This week we’re featuring a few projects to make for babies and toddlers. First up is this “bapron“, the baby apron from Craftiness Is Not Optional. I love the idea of this apron rather than a bib. It offers better front coverage than a regular bib plus it’s harder than a velcro bib for baby to rip off and throw across the room (not that I have any personal experience with that…).
Update: This pattern is no longer free, but can be purchased here for $6.

Bapron from Craftiness is not Optional

 

If you haven’t discovered Grosgrain yet, they’re having a free pattern MONTH event going on right now. Today’s pattern is a cute baby/toddler hat designed by Prudent Baby you could easily customize for a boy or girl.

Sunhat from Prudent Baby/Grosgrain

 

And last but not least for this week, these adorable kimono baby shoes from HomeSpun-Threads! Make a pair to match the hat above or coordinate them with baby pants or a dress for a great gift set.

Kimono Baby Shoes from HomeSpun-Threads

 

Mother’s Day Memory Binder

Still looking for a Mother’s Day gift for this Sunday? Here’s an idea for a project you still have time to make! I created this binder with a personalized cover and plastic sheet protectors inside to store all my son’s artwork. He’s still a toddler so for now I filled the binders with a few paintings he’s done over the past few months along with some photos of him making those paintings. Now his grandmas have a place to store and preserve all those precious creations from their grandchildren!

Materials: 3 ring binder with plastic exterior pockets, scrapbooking supplies, clear page protectors

1. Use the scrapbooking supplies to decorate the exterior as simply or elaborately as you like.

2. Fill the inside page protectors. I put a painting my son did in the front of each page protector and photos of him making the painting showing on the back. You could leave out the photos and keep it to strictly artwork though!

For the photo pages I cut pieces of scrapbook paper to 8 1/2″ x 11″ and printed the date of each painting and used rubber cement to attach two photos. I left these pages pretty simple so they’d be easy to put together as my son makes new artwork. If you’re a scrapbooker you could make these pages more elaborate. I was able to get each album started with 3 paintings and photo pages.

Now for future Mother’s Days, other holidays, or whenever we feel creative we can start filling up these books. And while you’re making one for the moms in your life, don’t forget to make one for yourself too! I can see myself filling this up with cards, notes, and artwork for years to come.

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