Noel Paper-Pieced Quilt Block

Welcome to visitors from the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt Along. For those of you who don’t know, Craft Buds is one of 12 stops on a fun blog…

Christmas Ornaments from Wool Sweater

Anyone else out there have a pile of old wool sweaters they don’t wear anymore? I was looking through a box of sweaters and found this sweater that I remember…

Christmas Cookie Favorites

Every holiday season I pull out my stash of recipes that for some reason, I only use at Christmas time. I think it makes these cookies feel extra special. What…

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts for Kids and Adults

Reindeer Food: Kid’s Craft Still looking for a couple last-minute Christmas gift ideas? First up is this “Reindeer Food” craft project for kids. I’ve included a free Christmas printable. You…

Fresh Picks for Saturday, 4.9.11

Lots going on at Craft Buds yesterday, including this Bias Tape Giveaway and the launch of Mary’s pattern shop! So I’ve held off on posting the fresh picks until today. Here are some fresh ideas to get you thinking crafty this weekend.

Fabric Doilies Mobile

Sweet Dreams: Erin at Lemon Tree Creations guest blogged her darling doilies mobile tutorial at Tatertots and Jello.

Lemon Cupcakes

L’il Squirt: Caitlin shares the recipe for her delicious-looking lemon cupcakes at Blackberry Jam!

Worry Cat

M-reow: What’s a worry cat? Read Amy’s story about why she made this little cutie for her son at Made During Quiet Time.

Dying Fabric in Strips

Dye Trying: Learn how to dye fabric in sections from Nicci at Dye ‘n Stitch. Hint: You’ll want a ketchup bottle!

Giveaways Roundup If you haven’t stopped by, make sure you check out the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 12 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

Another Craft Buds Giveaway! Custom Bias Tape

I’m currently participating in the One Month to Win It contest and the results for Round 1 are in and I made it to Round 2! See the previous post for my ABCs and 123s Wall Hanging entry for week 1. We started with 12 contestants and each week 3 are voted off. To celebrate making it through the first round and to welcome any new visitors from the contest, we are giving away ten, yes TEN, packs of custom bias tape. I love custom bias tape but it can be a bit of a hassle so I made it for you with a little help from my Bias Tape Maker! The bias tape is made with Happy Dots in Apricot fabric from Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern Line and each pack is three yards.

To win just leave a comment below (one comment per person please). We’ll leave the contest open until midnight EST on Thursday, April 14 then randomly draw the names of ten winners and contact you by e-mail on Friday. To enter you must be a follower of Craft Buds. Please make sure your e-mail is included in your profile or list it in your comment as example(at)gmail(dot)com to avoid spammers. If we don’t have a way to contact you we’ll have to pick a new winner. Good luck! (Open to U.S. and Canada)

Extra details: The tape is 1/2″ single fold but if you want 1/4″ double fold just iron it in half.  It is homemade so it’s not as perfect as store bought!

*4/15/2011, 12:00 AM EST, Comments are now closed! Look for the winners to be announced in tomorrow’s Fresh Picks!*

ABCs and 123s Wall Hanging

This was my entry for the first week of the One Month to Win It competition where I am currently a contestant! The contest started with 12 contestants and each week 3 are voted off. Luckily, I made it through the first round so below is the tutorial for my project. In other exciting news, I’ve started a shop for my patterns! I’ll still be including free patterns on most posts but the ones that have a more detailed design and need printable pages will be in the shop.

Materials list:
The following supplies are exactly what I used. You could easily modify this design to use a different frame or no frame and just wrap the fabric around a piece of cardboard backing.

  • One 14″ tall x 25″ long frame with cardboard backing (glass not necessary) with an opening of
    21 1/2″ x 9 3/4″
  • One piece of brown fabric 4″ larger than the cardboard backing from the frame (I used 25 1/2″ x 13 3/4″)
  • 1/4″ batting the same size as your brown background fabric
  • Six strips of red 1/2″ grosgrain ribbon cut to 26″ with optional black wooden beads threaded onto the bottom of each (a total of 13 feet of ribbon)
  • One package Wrights® scarlet double fold quilt binding bias tape
  • One package Wrights® orange jumbo rick rack
  • One roll of 1/4″ fusible web for the border
  • Alphabet blocks printed onto cardstock and cut out (pages 6, 7, 8). If printing correctly they should be 2 3/8″ square.
  • Number stencils
  • Nine fabric scraps for the numbers
  • Fusible web for the numbers
  • Iron, glue gun, sewing machine (optional), rubber cement (optional)

If you would like to purchase the number blocks that I designed and the alphabet stencils, you can buy them at my new shop here! Your purchase will be delivered instantly as a PDF and will also include printable pages of the instructions provided in this post.

Step 1: Make the applique numbers. First cut out the number stencils and line up your fabrics in order on your background to make sure you like the color choices.

Then cut out rectangles slightly larger than your numbers. Iron your fusible web to the rectangles. I like to first use the tip of my iron to iron down just the center of the rectangles. Then, cut off all the excess fusible web, then iron it down completely. This helps you avoid getting the sticky backing on your iron. If that happens, just wipe it off on a paper towel. Then trace all your number stencils backwards on each rectangle and cut out the numbers.

Step 2: Prepare the background and border. First, cut out your background fabric 4″ larger than the piece of cardboard backing from your frame. Next, center that piece of cardboard on the front of your fabric and trace around it. Cut your bias tape so you have two strips the length of the background and two strips the width of the background.

Then iron open your bias tape strips and pin them down so that the center matches up with the line you drew. Either sew along the centers or use fusible web to iron the strips in place. I did it this way because I initially thought I would only be using a piece of cardboard backing and no frame and I wanted the red border to go behind the backing when I wrapped it around. If you choose to use a frame, you don’t necessarily need to open up the bias tape because it’ll all be hidden behind the frame anyway.

Measure the length and width of the red border from the center of the bias tape. Using that measurement cut two strips of rick rack for the length and two for the width. Using fusible web strips under the rick rack, iron it down just inside the bias tape border so it looks like a scalloped edge. Then place a second strip of fusible web on top of the rick rack and iron the bias tape down.

Step 3: Putting it all together. Now that your border is complete, arrange and iron down your numbers.

Then stack together the front piece, the layer of batting, and the cardboard backing piece from the frame.

Press your project gently into the frame. Flip it around and make sure everything is lined up correctly. Next, fold down the fabric you have sticking up on the back. Cover it by either cutting a second layer of cardboard, or I just used the mat that came with my frame. If you need a hanging device, hammer in an alligator clip.

And this is how the framed part should look.

Step 4: Adding the ribbons and letters. Use a hot glue gun and apply strips of glue to each letter and press it into your strips of ribbon. Keep a ruler nearby to measure the same amount of space between each letter block. In the example the amount of space is 1 3/8″ from the frame to the first letter block and between each set of blocks on the ribbon. When the strips of ribbon are finished, apply strips of glue to the frame and attach the ribbons.

Step 5: Finishing the back. To make the back of the frame a little more professional looking I cut a piece of paper to the size of the frame and used rubber cement to glue it to the frame. I chose rubber cement so I could eventually peel off the backing paper if necessary.

And the project is complete! Here’s a couple final shots for inspiration.


I’m also giving away some handmade bias tape to 10 winners!

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 calls them)! And if you need even more Easter inspiration such as a printable Easter mobile, Easter mazes, egg wraps and more, check out this post from We Love to Illustrate.

The Bunnies

These no-bake bunnies are much easier to make than cut-outs but still give you that cute Easter bunny look! If you’re wanting to make these easier for kids to decorate, scroll to the bottom for some alternate decorating tips.

I used my standard no-bake cookie recipe for these with just a little extra oats. In a saucepan combine: 1 cup white sugar, 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a rolling boil (when it’s boiling hard enough that when you stir it keeps boiling). When the rolling boil starts, start up your timer for one minute. When the minute is up, remove from heat and quickly stir in 1 3/4 cup quick cooking oats, 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Use  a spoon to quickly drop by teaspoonfulls onto wax paper.

You can double the recipe but it’s hard to get them all done before they dry unless you’ve got some helpers! As soon as the cookies are on the wax paper, press two white chocolate chips into them for eyes with the flat side facing out. Press two slivered almonds into the tops for the ears. If they look like blank-eyed zombies then you’re doing a great job.

Next, melt one block of almond bark white chocolate coating (that’s the block in the lower right of the photo below) and mix in two drops of red food coloring. (You can also melt some of your white chocolate chips but I’ve never had good luck with them in the microwave, only on the stovetop on low heat.) Then spoon it into a ziploc bag. Twist the top so the chocolate is all firmly in the bottom corner. Then snip 1/8″ off the corner. In the photo below I haven’t twisted the bag yet. Make sure to twist it around several times so the chocolate doesn’t go squishing everyone when you squeeze on the bag.

Start piping on the pink for the noses and ears.

Next, squeeze out the remaining pink chocolate back into the bowl and add food coloring to make it dark brown. I added 2 drops blue and 1 drop green but you may need more or less depending on your food colorings and chocolate. Spoon it into the unused corner of your ziploc bag, snip that corner and pipe on the eyes.

And now you have a cute little field of bunnies (ready to be eaten!).

Alternate decorating tips: Piping the melted chocolate will be too difficult for younger and some older kids. You can use jelly beans for the features by using black for the eyes and red or pink for the nose. Leave the ears just the plain almonds or cut a pink or red jellybean in half lengthwise and put it in front of the almond. Another option is to look for confetti sprinkles or something similar in the cake decorating aisle in your grocery store. After a few minutes, the white chocolate chips will melt and you can press the blue or purple sprinkles into the chips to make the eyes and add the pink ones for the noses. You can also use mini chocolate chips for the dark part of the eyes.

The Eggs

I’ve always enjoyed the tradition of dying eggs. Now that I’m doing it with my own son it’s fun to think about combining different colors and learning how they all work together so you can make this project a bit educational too!

Start out by hard boiling the eggs. I prepared my dyes using a standard Paas egg dying kit and following the instructions to add together 1 tablet, 3 Tbsp. vinegar and 1/2 cup water. You can also make your own egg dye from food coloring using 1 tsp. vinegar, 20 drops coloring and 1/2 cup boiling water. You can find more information on the McCormick website.

Next, drizzle rubber cement over the eggs. On some I used the brush that comes in the bottle and on others I used a toothpick. Then I waited about 20 seconds and put each egg into a cup of dye. The rubber cement wasn’t dry yet but I was impatient and figured most kids would be the same way! I let each egg sit a few minutes, pulled them all out and re drizzled with rubber cement. Back into the dyes a second time, then one more round of rubber cement and dying. Below you can see stages one, two and three.

Next, gently dry the eggs with a paper towel and rub off the rubber cement. The dyes weren’t completely dry yet when I did it so they rubbed off a little with the rubber cement but I like the effect it gave the eggs. I don’t recommend eating these eggs. The rubber cement is not non-toxic and the shell of an egg is porous so it’s possible you could be ingesting some of it if you eat the egg. But they make a great decoration! Rather than hardboiling, you can also poke a hole about 1/8″ in the top and bottom of the raw egg and blow the insides out then rinse. They’re more fragile that way but you can also leave them out of the fridge for an unlimited amount of time!

And as a side note, the eggs below were the inspiration for the rubber cement eggs. I know these look quite a bit different but they are made in a similar way of covering over different colors and re-dying the eggs. I made these back in high school and college. They’re a Ukranian art form called pysanky. Each egg is made using a tiny funnel filled with melted wax that you carefully draw onto the egg. Then, starting with the lightest color dye, you dye the egg, add more wax decorations, dye again and keep repeating untill you get to the darkest dye color, usually black. A little too involved for kids but it’s so fun combining the different layers of colors! If you’re interested in learning more or trying it yourself, I bought all of my supplies and how-to books from The Ukrainian Gift Shop.

Pssst. Our new sponsor, Crafty Girls Workshop, is having some fabric sales this week! Use the coupon code PILLOWCASE for an extra 20% off your order, including sale items! Click here to look around: http://craftygirlsworkshop.com/category_119/Fabric.htm

Start Your Crafts Business: Tips from Crafty Girls Workshop

CGW Anna Luna Anna Luna, owner of The Crafty Girls Workshop in San Antonio, Texas, recently shared her insights on running a handmade business. Familiar with both the brick-and-mortar and online retail venues, she’s faced the highs and lows that running a business can provide.

Anna is not just a super-cool business owner and lover of all things crafty, but she’s also recently become a Craft Buds sponsor! We are so excited to have her on board, and we know that you’ll love getting to know her around here. Crafty Girls Workshop

I recently got the chance to talk with Anna and ask her some of those things I’ve been dying to know, like . . .

1) How long have you been working with Crafty Girls Workshop and how did it get started?

I’ve had Crafty Girls Workshop online for 2 years and recently opened a brick and mortar shop to teach classes. It started with the love of bright fabrics and easy patterns that I sold online and I realized that I loved teaching and missed that interaction so decided to open the studio in December of 2010.

2) What are some of the biggest thrills associated with running a crafty business?

It’s always fun to meet new crafty people and network with people who have the same interests as me. It’s been completely awesome to meet the “celebrities” of the sewing and quilting world such as Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner. Oh, and I got to see Ty Pennington at the Houston Fall Quilt Market last year, that was quite a thrill. I especially love teaching children to sew. I’ve worked with girls who are 7, 9 and 10, and they have a desire to learn which is just so fun to experience.

Color Wheel Quilt at Crafty Girls Workshop 3) What are the greatest challenges with running CGW, and how do you work to meet them?

Balancing my urge to buy the next greatest new fabrics or notions with the reality that if I buy it I have to figure out how to make it sell and it might not be something people in my market will actually buy. I guess I’m just a shopaholic at heart (and fabric-a-holic).

4) Why is it important to you to give back to the community (teaching classes to non-profit groups)?

I believe that sewing and creativity is something that everyone should experience, not just those who have the financial means. I also believe that quilters and sew-ers are some of the most generous people around and we just have a natural inclination to want to give back to those in need.


5) What’s your best advice for readers who are looking to get into selling crafts supplies, running a handmade business or someday teaching classes?

The best advice is just go for it. Even if you start really small with a shop on Etsy or Meylah, both are great places to jump in or even just get your feet wet a little. Plus, be sure to have a blog, Facebook page and Twitter account to be able to network yourself.

And lastly, sign up for my newsletter because I’m planning to have an online class called the Crafty Business Startup that addresses this exact question and will go into TONs of detail about marketing and other business issues. (And if you like my fabric, I send out monthly coupons for newsletter subscribers.)

Sale!

This week only, Anna is offering visitors to her shop 20% off their purchase with the discount code PILLOWCASE.

And because she is so generous, she’s also giving Craft Buds readers 10% off through June 30 with the discount code CRAFTBUDS. What are you waiting for? Check out CGW’s fabric and patterns, and be sure to leave her some nice comments here or at her blog if you learned something from this article.

Petite Purse + Wallet and Flower Mini Tutorial

I made this purse, wallet and optional flower for my contribution for a silent auction. The purse is the “Buttercup Bag” sewing pattern that you can get (free!) at the Made by Rae site. If you haven’t found Rae’s site yet, it’s amazing and you should go take a look around! The bag has a magnetic closure and a pocket inside and little pleats around the outside. I’d recommend either using a heavier weight fabric or some fusible fleece between the layers to give it a little weight.

The wallet and flower were both things I made up as I went along. For the flower, I used fusible web and ironed together some of the blue and brown fabrics. Then I cut out five 1″ squares. Then (like origami) I folded the sides in so they met in the middle. I did that to all five squares and ironed them flat. Then I cut out a 1″ circle, stacked everything up and hand stitched it all together with a button in the center. I put a safety pin on the back so the user could put it on the strap, the purse, or choose not to use it at all.

For the wallet, I measured out two strips of fabric 5 1/2″ wide by 9 1/2″ long. Then on one side, I cut the last 2″ of the length into a triangle. Next I put right sides together and stitched all around the wallet, leaving an opening at the bottom and using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Then snip the corners and turn it right side out and iron it flat.

Stich along the open edge to close it up. Then fold over the bottom to make a pocket and stitch down the sides.

To finish it off I stitched a decorative button to the flap and put a snap underneath which you can see in the second photo from the top of the post.

 


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