Crafty Kitchen: Oreo Spiders

I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with Halloween related goodies like our Owl S’mores and now these spiders! These are an easy treat to make. For ingredients you’ll…

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…

Free Pattern Features: Halloween Pillows

Looking for ways to add some Halloween fun to your decor? On Craft Buds we’ve featured Halloween printables, fabric pumpkins, and owl smores. Lots of other crafty sites have been…

Jack-o’-Lantern Shirt Stencils

Looking to add some Halloween fun to your family’s wardrobe? Here’s a shirt idea for either you or your kids to make. It would also be a fun project for…

Fresh Picks for Friday 4.1.11

First off, Craft Buds is joining The Ultimate Blog Party (April 1-8), and you should too! Lots of prizes for linking up your blog in one of many categories (mom blogs, specialty blogs like crafting, business blogs, etc.).

For those of you visiting from the party, Craft Buds is a place with weekly craft and sewing tutorials, fresh ideas for promoting and running your handmade business, and (my favorite) a weekly linkup of craft supplies or handmade giveaways!

Each week, we also highlight some of the freshest handcrafted items and ideas from our blog hopping, and that’s what you’ll see here today. These “fresh picks” are selected by the editors, and you can submit your project for consideration. And without further ado, this week’s fresh picks!

Magazine Rack Transformation
What a Rack: A fresh coat of spray paint transformed this old-school magazine rack into something spectacular at Stop Staring and Start Sewing.

Spring Has Sprung: Celebrate April by getting your flower vases ready for fresh-cut blooms. Tutorial at Happy Clippings.

S’more, Please: Sometimes a recipe just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, you need to see the finished product. Thanks to Colleen at Freaked out ‘n Small for this delicious teaser and recipe review.

Sis Boom Jamie Dress

Make This Dress:
Get ready for spring with Sara at Sew Sweetness, who is hosting a sew-along to make this cute dress! You can still join in, and even order the pattern at a discount if you visit her blog by today (April 1). There are even prizes for a few lucky participants.
Giveaways Roundup
If you haven’t stopped by, make sure you check out the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 20 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

Finding Inspiration for Your Handmade Business

Hi, I’m June, and I blog at June Bug’s World. When I signed up to do a guest post on “Inspiration” for Craft Buds, it didn’t occur to me that I would have trouble writing the post because of a lack of inspiration. That’s irony for you. But being stumped really helped me to see the biggest issue I face when it comes to finding ideas. There are just so many cool ideas out there it’s hard to distill down to that one project you just have to try.

pinterest

We’ve heard about Pinterest, Etsy treasuries, bookmarking your favorites, “liking” craft pages on Facebook… but have you ever counted up all the sources you’ve marked? It can get overwhelming. There’s not enough time in the day to look at all the creative talent out on the web.

So this is how I (try to) keep it simple. I bookmark pages, “like” things on Etsy, but first and foremost… I use my brain. If I see an image or hear a song or have an idea I will trust that if it is brilliant, it will stay in my brain. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t a strong enough idea to work out as a real project for me. If it doggs me, keeps me up at night, pops into my head whenever I sit down at the computer, then I know it’s important enough for me to turn into a design.

Etsy treasury

Then I pull the picture into my design folder. Or sketch it out. Or let it fill all my thoughts until it solidifies into a real project. A project that I can pick fabrics for and start cutting. Most of the time I’ve thought about it enough that it comes together just as I hoped. Sometimes it doesn’t, but always it’s something I really enjoy doing and can feel really proud of.

For example, with my Swooping Solids Pillow, I saw this picture on one of my regular blogs (elsie marley):


And I just COULD NOT get it out of my head. I kept going back to that post, over and over, until I decided it would be my next project. It fit all of my prime design criteria: curves and color. The fact that it was all laid out in “blocks” helped too. So I went and picked out some fabrics and started cutting away. I didn’t sketch anything – I kept it all in my head – and I made some modifications along the way. In the end? A design of my own, inspired by art:


And while this project was a little too time consuming for me to use it in my Etsy shop, the basic idea stuck and turned into some very marketable items:


And I think that’s the best way for inspiration to flow – from an image I found all the way into a signature item that I can use to grow my store inventory.

Things that help?

  • Pick your favorite 5-7 craft blogs, and visit them regularly. More than that is too much. Less and it’s feeling like not enough sources.
  • Enter contests. Visit those linkups and browse around. Comment on other people’s posts that you love. But remember that “it’s gotta stick” is what matters.
  • And I try really hard to only work on 1-2 projects at a time. Because for me, completion is what counts.

Blogs I like to visit for inspiration:
Noodlehead
Grosgrain
Stitched in Color
Elsie Marley
The Long Thread
I am Momma Hear Me Roar
Pink Penguin

Contests and Linkys I love
Bloggers Pillow Party
Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday
Sew Modern Monday

What is your favorite way to find inspiration for your handmade business or personal craft?

Fresh Picks for Friday, 3.25.11

Here are this week’s inspirations! If you’d like us to consider your project for Fresh Picks, fill out the submission form here.

Life of the Party: Check out this vintage superhero birthday party at Kara’s Party Ideas, courtesy of Maureen & Adria at Anders Ruff!

Perpetual Calendar

Day by Day: A bright and funky perpetual calendar tutorial at Sandy’s Space!

Fleece Flower Petal Pillows
In Full Bloom: Cute and inexpensive home decor! Fleece flower petal pillows tutorial at Come Together Kids
 

Blitz ‘Em: Timothy Adam at Handmadeology is offering a free 5-day e-course called Social Media Blitz, aimed at crafters who sell their handmade items online. Check it out!

Giveaways Roundup
If you haven’t stopped by, make sure you check out the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 15 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

Upcycle: Hoodie into Cowl Neck Pullover


We have a lot of hooded sweatshirts at this house and I’ve always wondered if I could convert them into something else. There’s a boy’s shirt contest going on over at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar so I decided to give it a shot. Here’s a great way to transform those hooded sweatshirts into a cowl neck pullover!

Start out with a sweatshirt that fits your child (or you!) comfortably with a little extra room because you’ll be loosing just a little bit of the width. Make sure the hood fits comfortably over their head. My son normally wears 24 month sized clothes but I used a 2T for this project. *If you are using a different style shirt check out the tips at the bottom of the post.

First you’ll cut out the zipper. It’s easiest to do this from the inside of the sweatshirt and to cut as close to the zipper as you can.




Next cut off the hood and cut off the seam that connected the hood to the rest of the shirt. You may need to use a seam ripper to remove and bits still stuck to the sides.




Your cut up shirt will now look like this:



At this stage you’ll want to remove any embellishments like the basketball patch on my sweatshirt above. Next lay the hood flat. If it is unlined like most hoodies you’ll cut it twice the final desired so you can fold it in half. Add an additional 1/4″ to that measurement for your seam allowance. I cut a strip 4 3/4″ for my son’s 2T size shirt.


 

Now you’re ready to start sewing! Fold the sweatshirt inside out and pin the seam together. I cut the pockets so they would be 1/2″ away from the edge of the shirt. Next, sew along the edge with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Start at the bottom so if the shirt shifts at all, at least that part will match up correctly!




Lay the sweatshirt out and press the seams open. Pin the seams down and sew 1/4″ on each side of the seam. When you do this, fold the edges down over the sides of the pockets so when you stitch it up you’ll close the pockets that you cut open when you removed the zipper.




Turn the sweatshirt right side out and pin the center of the neck strip (the piece cut from the hood) to the center of the neck on the back of the shirt. The right side of the hood should be facing out with the seam at the bottom.




Continue to pin around the curve of the neck.




Turn the shirt over and pin down the neck strip leaving a gap slightly larger than the folded width of the neck piece. My neck strip folded in half minus the seam allowance is 2 1/4″ so the gap I left is 2 1/2″. Sew the neck strip down all the way around the shirt. Do not stitch down the 1/4″ at the edge where the Xs are marked below.


Next cut out the V of material between the neck strip. Cut along the edge of the neck strip on both sides and cut across where your stitches stop (1/4″ before the edge of the neck strip). Click on the image below (or any image in the post) for a larger view. The smaller image is the same as the larger one so you can see how mine looked.




Fold the neck strip over so it resembles a dress shirt collar. Pin down the edges.




Sew the neck down all the way around as close to the edge as you can. Also, sew the front edge of the neck shut.




For the final step, turn the shirt inside out and line up the two edges of the collar with the opening. Pin it in place and stitch shut.




Turn right side out and the shirt is complete! You could easily add some extra character with piping around the neck or with contrast stitching.




*Tips for other shirt styles: If you’re starting out with a lined hood you won’t have to fold the neck strip in half like the example above. Below, using a 2T shirt, I cut the neck strip 2 3/4″ for a final neck of 2 1/2″ with 1/4″ seam allowance.




With this style of pockets I was able to do just a single seam down the center and that closed the pockets back up. Because the graphic was misshapen after the cutting and sewing I just cut a patch from the extra hood material to cover it up. That also covered up the top of the pockets that became slightly mismatched after sewing! 




Easy Drawstring Tote



I made this tote to match the number bean bags from this post. They’re just so cute together I can’t resist posting a photo here of the whole set!

 

I wanted to do a separate post for the tote since it’s such a versatile thing to make and it was really fast to whip up. Plus it’s easy enough you could even make them to use as gift bags!

 

To make your own, first cut two rectangles, one for the front and one for the back. You’ll be folding this in half later so take that into account when you decide on a size. For the bean bag tote I used a 23″ x 13″ rectangle. Put right sides together and stitch all the way around but leave a 3″ opening.

 



Turn right side out. Next, use an iron to crease the edges of the opening so that the raw edges are inside. Then fold the top over 1 1/4″ and iron that down. Put a drawstring inside the opening then pin down the edge. Stitch along the edge with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

 



Fold in half so you’re seeing the side that you want to be the inside. Stitch around the bottom and the open side, stopping 2″ before the top.

 



Attach the drawstring toggle.




Turn right side out.

 

Ready to fill with goodies!

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