Posts Tagged ‘crafts’


To Anyone Who Thinks They Can’t

21 February, 2011

This applies to any creative endeavor- sewing, knitting, crocheting, art, photography, writing, sculpting, rughooking, rugbraiding, papercrafting, woodworking, ANYTHING.

To everyone who thinks that they can’t be creative- it’s not true. You can. You just don’t.

To everyone who has told me, “I wish I could make things like that”- you can.

To everyone who has told me, “You’re amazing!”- I’m no more amazing than you are. You could do it too, if you only tried.

To everyone who has said, “I can’t even sew a straight line”- it takes practice. You just have to be persistent and try.

To everyone who thinks they can’t learn something new because they’re too old, too young, too inexperienced- you’re lying to yourself and to everyone else.

You have learned to do many things throughout the course of your life. You learned how to walk, even though you’d never done it before. You learned to feed yourself. You learned to read, you learned to spell, to add and subtract. You learned to solve complex equations, you learned human anatomy, you learned literature, history, sports, economics, problem solving- whatever it was you were interested in, you studied it and learned it. Why is anything creative so much harder?

When you were born, you knew how to do only basic tasks- breathe, eat, poop, and complain. And look at you now. Look at how far you’ve come. If you want to learn something, you can learn it. You have an amazing capability to learn and create and do wonderful things. You are free to learn anything at any time in your life. The only thing stopping you is you. The only thing stopping you from doing anything you want to do is you, telling yourself, “I can’t.” That is a dirty rotten lie.

You  can.



The Plague

15 February, 2011

We have around here what we like to refer to as, “The Plague”, which is a yearly epidemic that sweeps the campus. It changes every year, and this year, it’s a 24 hour stomach bug. And I have it.

So while I’m here in my self-imposed quarantine, I thought I’d bring you some fun things from the Internet.

I preface this by saying that I’m one of those people that, if it weren’t for things like ice, heat, glass and other foreign particulates that can easily become embedded in the epidermis covering the soles of my feet, etc., I would never wear shoes. I just love to be able to feel the ground under me. My favorite pair of shoes I ever owned was an old beat-up pair of ballet slippers from a play I acted in in high school. Being leather, they gave a decent amount of protection from hot pavement, debris, detritus and other  foreign objects, but still let me feel everything that was going on beneath me. They looked something like this:

They were also super comfortable and always made me want to dance.  🙂

Being barefoot (or near enough to it) has it’s health benefits. Recent science has even proven that running barefoot results in a better stride and is, over time, less taxing on your body than running in sneakers- thus the advent of Vivram’s FiveFingers shoe. Toddlers and children who go barefoot more often develop faster both mentally and in musculature- ” ‘The barefoot walker receives a continuous stream of information about the ground and about his own relationship to it, while a shod foot sleeps inside an unchanging environment. Sensations that are not used or listened to become decayed and atrophy. There is a sense of aliveness and joy which I experience walking barefoot that I never get in shoes,’ he says.” (Dr. Paul W. Brand, 1976)

Shoes are also really expensive. The last pair of sneakers I bought cost me around $20, and were retired after 18 months of use.

So while searching around Instructables the other night, I found these beauties, which seem to remedy the problems of price and sensitivity-

Norse-Inspired Leather Shoes!

Skymring's Norse-Inspired Shoes

They look so incredibly comfortable and easy to make, I’m making myself a pair as soon as I get a hold of some leather.

Many thanks to Skymring, who put these up for all to see! The full instructions are freely available HERE.


Blame it on the Ovaries

29 May, 2010

(I apologize for the gap in posts- I recently got a summer job in the next town over. I don’t mind the 10-mile bike ride everyday; it just leaves me really tired by the time I get home, and I haven’t had the energy to put together a coherent post. Also, this one took me a good three days to put together.)

Today, I bring you something that I blame entirely on my ovaries- kid’s crafts. No, not finger painting and pipe cleaner people, though I will admit, those were some of my favourites in preschool.

Alright, I can’t blame this post entirely on my ovaries. That would be unfair. No, this is partly due to the fact that I recently finished my final research/opinion paper for World Civilizations II, on “The History of Childhood Through Fashion”, which followed fashion trends and their relationship to the prevailing cultural, religious and political views from the 1700’s to present day. This paper topped out at 12 pages, and the process of writing it was remarkably similar to reading Nabakov’s Lolita. In fact, it was almost exactly like reading Nabakov’s Lolita. There were several times that I had to save my paper and walk away from it for several hours, just out of sheer outrage at what our society deems “appropriate clothing” for children. A small excerpt is below:

“This is from the nationwide chain store Abercrombie&Fitch’s children’s collection, which sells clothing for children ages 7-14. This is from their – and I emphasize this- children’s line, which came out in the summer of 2002:

Yes, dear reader, this is a thong. This is a thong sized for a 7-year-old girl. If that’s not disturbing enough, look closer. That little green tag in the top right? That says, “Wink wink”.
That little red heart in the bottom? “Eye Candy”.
Excuse me? Labeling a 7-year-old’s groin as “eye candy”? I was under the impression that that sort of thinking is what got a person their own page in the Sex Offender Registry. Apparently, I was mistaken”

Also included in this paper were push-up bikinis for 7-14 year olds, push up bras for 9 year olds, children’s pole-dancing kits, and children’s lingerie sporting the slogan, “Why should adults have all the fun?”.

I fear for the future of children’s fashions, I really do. I fear for the future’s children in general. So, with this post, I like to feel that I’m doing my part to combat the “prostitot” phenomenon that’s been taking hold of the world.

Sparing you from what could easily become a long, drawn out, opinionated rant, I present: free patterns and project ideas for children’s clothing, toys, accessories and even some cool stuff for moms.

Children’s Clothes

Fact of life: Kids grow really, really quickly. Faster, sometimes, than a family can afford. Here are some easy ways to expand your children’s wardrobes without shrinking your bank account.


Touching Little Lives’ Newborn Sleeper (fits up to 8 lbs) and Preemie Sleeper (fits 4-6 lbs)

NICU Preemie Hospital Vests from

3-Seam Baby Booties from (Oh my goodness, these things are adorable!)

Free Patterns for Infant’s Clothing up through the first year

Cloth Diapers! from This site includes basic cloth diaper and diaper cover patterns for free, as well as tips and tutorials for making a variety of different styles.

Comfy, quick and easy baby pants from (I really love her blog.)

Quick and Easy Infant Romper from a T-shirt via

Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Young Children

Market Skirt from While you’re at it, check out the Tutorial page over there, she’s got some great kids clothing ideas and easy-to-follow tutorials, like this one on making Puffed Sleeves.

Disney over at has some fantastic ideas for lengthening the life of kids clothes, while still keeping them fashionable. Check out her posts: Making Her Clothes Last, Part One, and Making Her Clothes Last, Part Two.

Pillow-Case Dress from

Twirly Skirt Variations from Corn Patch Creations and Going Sew Crazy

Tiered Skirt from

Girl’s Dress from Men’s Dress Shirt (I know I’ve meantioned this one before, but it is absolutely adorable. Forgive me.) from

Tunic Dress from a T-Shirt from Quilting In Cornfields

Children’s Toys

Personally, I’m not one for all the new wave of electronic games and toys for kids- I think it’s really destroying kids’ natural abilities to imagine. It’s becoming too much of a hassle to imagine the sound of a toy truck when for $XX.95, you can get one with lights, sounds, and a remote control. Why try to imagine, when they make so many video games that do all the work for you? I think kids are too dependant on electronics, televisions, and video games for their entertainment, and don’t know the power of their own imaginations any more. Again, saving you what could easily become long, drawn out, and highly opinionated, here are some easy to make toys for kids.

Plush Doll Pattern and Tutorial – a great beginning for making personalised kid’s dolls! (And for gamer’s kids, they have an adorable Moogle pattern as well)

How many little girls didn’t want to be a ballerina at some point, even if just for a short while? has a great no-sew tutorial for making a tutu out of elastic and toule. Check it out!

And who, boy or girl, didn’t want to be a superhero? Come on! has some great ideas for SuperKid capes (the pattern isn’t free, sorry, but it’s pretty close to it- $3.99 USD. Or you could make your own.)

Okay, I’m 21 years old, and I want one of these things! Who wouldn’t want an 8-foot-tall giant squid body pillow?! Thank you, Philadelphia Weekly!

Again, 21. Still intrigued by these grab-ball things. (Courtesy of Debbie Colgrove at

Did I mention how I love She’s got some great craft ideas over there, like these Waldorf-esque Felt Crowns or the Roll-up Kitchen Placemat (Brilliant!) has a great solution to that ever-famous question that has nagged parents since the invention of travel: Are we there yet? (Answer: I-Spy Bags!)

How about home made scratch-off tickets using silver acrylic paint?

Children’s Accessories

Any parent can attest that kids come with things. Stuff. It’s all over the house. Aside from clothes and toys, there’s bibs, diaper bags, blankies, burp clothes, lunchboxes, piggy banks, towels, car seats, carriers, cribs… *gasp* you get the picture.

Bill and Weeks from over at have a great solution to the “antsies”- those restless, “sensory-seeking” muscles that send kids running around, kicking things, squirming in seats. They’ve created .pdf instructions for creating weighted quilts for sensory seeking kids and adults, using weighted poly pellets.

Kristena Derrick at has an excellent solution to buying expensive plastic bibs or cheap, effectively one-time-use bibs- use that one pair of maternity jeans that you cannot stand (or, inversely, that one pair of regular jeans you KNOW you’re never going to fit into again) and turn them into easy to clean, durably and fashionable baby bibs! has a gread tutorial, too, for homemade burp-cloths, and for preemie baby beanbags (a great little invention for those special little ones who unfortunately came a little too early- check out her site for more info on these.

Oh look, it’s again. Tell me you didn’t see this coming. She has some great ideas for turning old, outgrown or stained kids jeans into a child’s wallet, or for making a lap-desk for colouring or homework.

For the environmentally-conscious mom or dad with a school-aged kid, why not brown-bag it with style with Chica and Jo’s fused plastic sandwich wraps (puts those plastic shopping bags to good use!), easy shopping-bag based lunch sacks from, or an embroidered cotton lunch bag from

I’m drawn to the simplest of things. I really want one of these hooded bath towels (from in my size. ( has a variation for the littler ones too!) And to go with those awesome bath-wraps, how about some homemade Snow-Globe Soap from or some natural hand-sanitizer from

For the bedroom, has a great tutorial for making your own crib and tot bed sheets, and of all places has a tutorial for making your own crib dust ruffle, to add a little extra storage space to your child’s room.

Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! (Dude, it’s a holiday entirely dedicated to playing dress up! Come on!) Old Fashioned Living has some great ideas for making easy animal costumes for kids.

Stuff For Moms

Gotta give props to Moms. ❤ I love you, Mom. has a great tutorial and some really helpful tips for moms who want to switch over from expensive disposable menstrual pads and tampons to washable, cotton cloth pads, whether to save money or the environment.

Ever hear of a Moby wrap? I hadn’t, but when I saw this faux Moby Wrap tutorial over at, you guessed it,, I thought they were just the coolest things ever! (Totally serious about that, I want one for when I have kids.) Edit: One of the professors here at school has one. Still the coolest things ever.

Speaking of baby carriers, how about this Mei-Tai carrier pattern and tutorial from The pattern is free and basic instructions are available on the webpage- the special notions such as buckles and comfy straps can be bought from for  $18, or salvaged from an unused backpack. (If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can try to make the straps with fabric and camp foam, but I take no responsibility for your sewing machine’s reaction to camp foam.)


Natural Dies FTW

20 May, 2010

I found this the other day at Build/Make/Craft/Bake while Stumbling, because Stumble won’t let me look at sewing pages anymore. What a great idea for cards… *gasp* or on FABRIC! (that totally just clicked for me right now- just set the colour with vinegar… I’ll have to try that…)


BuildMakeCraftBake's Hammered Leaf Prints


The Family That Makes Together

16 May, 2010

I found this over at CraftNectar today while updating the OOS Links Bar and felt compelled to share it. It’s so true. As part of a couple (3 years this October!) that lives for crafting (in any medium- fabric, wood, paper, stone, wire, film, etc.), I was absolutely ecstatic to read this:

“Countless numbers of people have expressed astonishment at the fact that Bill and I have run a business together for 10 years and spend almost every waking hour together. “I’d end up killing him,” is the comment I’ve heard often. Although we have our moments like any other couple, I have long thought that working together at FunQuilts has made our marriage stronger.

At last research is bearing out what I’ve been saying. The 2009 State of Our Unions, report issued by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the Institute for American Values has released a list of five factors that correlate to marital bliss. Number One is “Make Your Own Homemade Goods.” Seriously?

Researchers claim that making things together results in partners having “a sense of solidarity.” Partners can garden together, cook together, share a craft or engage in some other aspect of the home economy. The strengthening of the bonds by making homemade goods also applies between parents and children, according to the research. “In short, the family that makes together stays together,” claims the report. As a family whose 1996 Honda wagon just hit 100,000 miles, I was heartened to read that research shows that thrifty couples are generally the happiest.” (CraftNectar)


Bleach Is My New Best Friend

15 May, 2010

Today I bring you one of my favourite methods for customizing clothing, courtesy of– Bleach Pen Embroidery!

Okay, that’s a little misleading, because you can do it a couple different ways- using a bleach pen, or a bleach solution with cotton balls and ear cleaners, or even using bleach in a spraybottle. All of them look pretty frickin’ amazing.

Both the concept and the execution are incredibly simple: get an article of clothing in need of sprucing up, preferably in a dark colour (though I imagine you could do this on pastels too) and a super-special-awesome design. Embroider it on by hand or let your ubercool embroidery machine do the work for you (or, if you’re not up for embroidery, cut out a stencil and lay it out flat on your clothes). Grab your bleach pen or mix up a 1:1  bleach solution and grab some ear cleaners and cotton balls. Draw away. If you went with the spraybottle method, spray around your stencil. Wait for the bleach to work its awesome on your shirt/pants/pillow/hat/whatever. Wash out the bleach and wait for the clothing to dry. Repeat if desired.

The results are absolutely amazing:

KimberyMichelle's "Sleeping Beauty's Castle" shirt

UrbanThreads' Western Grunge Shirt

UrbanThreads' PenPal Pillow

De-Miley-fied Skinny Jeans

My Own De-Miley-fied Skinny Jeans

I love– check them out. Right now. Go. Do it! NOW!