Crafty Nails?

I’m not sure this should really be categorized as craftiness, but I’m going with it.  My DIY Christmas nails.  I’ve seen a few pictures on Pinterest (anyone seeing a trend in my craftiness posts yet?), and thought that Christmas nails with snowflakes should be easy, cheap, and festive!

Here is an image that I was going for:

 

THE CHIC BIZARRE EFFECT: FUN CHRISTMAS NAIL ART IDEAS

Here is what I ended up with:

photo

Close enough…

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DIY Baby Blanket

So I will start this post by letting everyone know I am a complete sewing newbie.  The couple small projects that required my sewing machine turned out to be a complete disaster!  That being said, I found this baby blanket tutorial on Pinterest and thought… hmm that doesn’t look too difficult…  So, despite my horrific sewing past, I set off on this project which I will be giving to my 4 month old niece for Christmas.  In case you didn’t look at the tutorial, the blanket should look like this:

To start with, I ordered 1 yard of Minkie fabric and 1 yard of satin fabric from fabric.com.  It took just over a week to get to my house, but I was lazy and couldn’t handle the over-crowded Joann near my office.

Anyway, fabric in hand, I decided to get started.  First, I laid out the fabric and cut it to the required dimensions (as laid out in the tutorial).  Next, I folded the edges and pinned them.  This is where I varied from the instructions a little.  Knowing my lack of sewing prowess, instead of folding the edges under by 1/4″ and having a 2 inch border around the blanket, I folded them under a little further and had about a 1-1/4″ border around the blanket so I could make sure that if my stitches got a little crooked, I would still catch the folded-under part (technical term).  Another area where I varied a little was the corners.  The pattern required mitered corners.  After about an hour of trying to figure those out online, I gave up and made up my own corners.  Couldn’t really tell you how I did it, and I don’t know that I’d suggest doing it my way, but you will see a close up of them at the end.

So, during this process I took a break and called my Grandma to tell her about the project and just catch up on life.  When I told her about the fabrics I was using, she noted they were probably slippery and suggested that I baste-stitch the fabric together.  Now, knowing nothing about sewing, the image of basting a turkey flashed through my head before inquiring further.  Basically, “A basting stitch is essentially a straight stitch, sewn with long stitches and unfinished ends. The basting stitch is used for temporarily holding sandwiched pieces of fabric in place. The stitch is removed after the piece is finished.” (Thank you Wikipedia!)

With this new-found knowledge in hand, I baste stitched the blankets edges to make sure everything held in place when I got to the sewing machine and removed the pins.  Next, I spent about an hour taking my sewing machine out of the box, setting it up, and re-learning how to use it.  With all of that complete, I did a test stitch with some scraps I had left over to get a feel for the fabrics and decide which stitch I wanted to use.  Then, I went to work.  I left the pattern again here.  Instead of just doing one row of stitches along the inside edges of the border, I did one along the inside edge and one along the outside edge (which was looking a little poofy and loose)  Other than that, the sewing went surprisingly well!  There were only a couple places where I almost veered of the edge of the blanket, but I caught it first and now you can barely notice!  Last step was to remove the baste stitches and I was done!  So, here is the final product:

Finished Blanket 1 Corner Finished Blanket 2

Not too shabby, eh?  Especially for my first real sewing project!  All in, it cost me about $25 for the fabric, pins, and thread.  Considering she is 4 months old, I don’t know that my niece will really appreciate the work that went into it, but I’m still excited to give it to her!

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Family Cookbook

With Christmas coming up, and my budget being a little tight, I’ve decided to make presents for most of my family and friends this year.  My first project was a family cookbook for my brother and sister-in-law.  They both love to cook, and our family has a bunch of favorites that we make throughout the year.  However, all of these recipes are spread out amongst the family cooks.  So, I decided to compile them into a family cookbook!

I found this post on Pinterest on how to make your own cookbook.  I loved the simplicity of it and the scrapbook paper added a touch of style.  As with most crafts and recipes I try, I didn’t follow the instructions exactly, but I’m really happy with the results!

Family Cookbook - Front CoverFamily Cookbook - Table of ContentsFamily Cookbook - Recipe Page

It took me about 2 weeks to get all of the recipes together (46 total) and about 16 hours to type them all up in the template provided in the post I mentioned earlier.  After that, I printed the recipes out on 8.5″x11″ cardstock and used my scrapbook paper cutter to split the pages in half (the recipes are on 5.5″x8.5″ pages).

Next, I cut out a bunch of 3/4″ strips of scrapbook paper and glued it to the edges of each page (there are different colors/ designs for the different types of recipes).  This part took a while and was a little messy.  I used a glue stick and was sitting on the living room floor watching TV with the hubs.  It probably would have been a little neater at the table, but I made it work.  I think this step took me about 2.5 hours total between cutting the strips and gluing them on so they looked just right.

Finally, I stuck the recipes in 5.5″x8.5″ sheet protectors (purchased from Staples) and put them in a 1/2″ binder.  If I had it to do over, I would have gone with about a 1″ binder instead.  The binder bulges just slightly with the 47 pages in it.  Side note: if you’ve never ordered from Staples before, it’s WONDERFUL!  I ordered all of the stuff I needed for this project online (including the giant pack of card stock) and they shipped it overnight for free!  I LOVE free shipping – especially when I get my order the next day!

Anyway, it took me about 2 weeks and $40 to put this together.  So, it was a little bit of a time investment, but it was a lot of fun and I’m glad to have all of these recipes in one place now.  I hope my brother loves it as much as I do!

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