Our Projects for the Home Category

Dec. 2010 15

Last Minute Holiday Decor

Are you as bad at being on top of decorating for the season as I am? Well if so, it’s your lucky day! Today, we have a double holiday post!! So exciting. So to start off we have a simple ruffled tree skirt. And to follow we have a guest post from the very talented Sandy of Common Wealth Staging on how to make Rustic Christmas tree (insert to the left is a close up).

Lets start with the tree skirt. I have a small tree; it’s only 4.5′. This will still work for a larger tree, but you may find you want a wider ruffle or something to make up for the size differential. Also, I made this pretty fast. It took me maybe an evening after work. I think it would have been even faster but the fabric I used for the backing was terrible and shifted a lot !

What you’ll need

-2.5 yards Red fabric (about 44″ wide)

-1/2 yard green fabric

Since my pictures turned out less than stellar, I’ve done some illustrations of the step.

1. Cut 2 squares out of your red fabric 44″x44″ (so you use the whole width of your fabric)

2. Fold into quarters

3. Using a ruler, measure a 22″ arch starting from the corner, so you’ll end up with a quarter circle

4. Cut off excess

5. Measure a 2″ arch the same way as step 3, cut off excess

6. Making the ruffle:

6A. Cut 4 strips 4″ wide. Use the whole width of the fabric

6B. Sew strips together, press open seams

6C. Fold in half, wrong sides together, press

6D. You can either ruffle the length or pleat it. I pleated it because it was much faster, and it lays flat that way

6E. Either option you choose (ruffle or pleating) should bring your length down by about half. You are going to have more than enough to go around.

7. Pin ruffle strip to right side of one of your red circles

8. Pin the other red circle to the right side of your circle/ruffle combo. You should have a sandwich: red, green, red.

9. Pin along the inner edge as well. Sew outer edge and inner edge at 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave the long straight edges open.

10. Turn right side out. Press.

11. Tuck the raw edges in on each of the straight sides.

12. Top stitch around everything (long edges, outer edge, inner edger)

All done, so pretty!

And now for the guest post! Today’s post comes from the lovely and talented Sandy of Common Wealth Staging. She has a keen eye for design and quick do-it-yourself projects that lends itself perfectly to her staging and redesign business. (She’s also my mom  :)    )

Rustic Christmas “Trees”

Here’s how they were created-
First– put your coat on!  One of the best parts of this project is a hike in the woods.  Fortunately, we have parkland behind our house and a ready supply of branches.  There were also piles of cuttings dragged through to the woods by neighbors who pruned their trees.  So, I selectively dragged some of them back out.
Select some willowy branches for filler and some stronger branches to hold ornaments. I found some that still had a few leaves on them. They were fresh cuttings, therefore stronger than brittle dried wood.
Next, fill a planter with sand, I used one 50 pound bag.  Here’s the trick- in the center insert a length of PVC pipe to corral your branches and help keep them upright.  I bought a piece with a 4″ diameter opening in the center for $2.00 at the hardware store.  Then insert the branches, cutting to a pleasing length, filling in with the more willowy branches as desired. I covered the sand with leftover burlap and a few lengths of grapevine.  You could also cover the sand with pinecones.
Finally decorate.  Glass ornaments are really nice and an uplight at the base of your “tree” will provide dramatic lighting at night.  During the day sunlight lights them up nicely.
Sep. 2010 8

Accessory Basket

Obviously I love my accessories. So much so I’ve made displays for them. But what to do with my scarves and belts? Bingo! A basket.

But there’s a hitch…. Wicker baskets like this, although lovely, tend to snag delicate scarves. And we can’t have that. So here’s a super fast no sew/no glue tutorial for a basket make over.

You’ll need:


-Pillow Case

-Safety Pins

-Ribbon (I used the kind that comes around blankets from the store. I like it because it has velcro)

1. Cut open the pillow case along the bottom edge.

2.Put the pillow case inside your basket, leaving equal amount of excess on either side

3. Tuck and pin the corners so the final edge is about 2″ below the rim

4. Wrap your ribbon around the basket to cover up any safety pins. Pin together in the back

Done! So fast. And your scarves will thank you

Jul. 2010 12

Things I Heart #3

This is something me and my best sewing buddy/coworker Heather often talk about. We totally heart Alternative fabric/material sources. Fabric by the yard is great and all, but when you get down to it, it is pretty darn expensive. We have some some alternative sources to get yards of fabric, and save some cash in the process. Here’s what I mean:

-Sheet sets. Marshall’s, TJMaxx, and Ross (and stores like these) carry sheet sets for under $20. I love using sheet sets because you get a wider cut of fabric than you would if you bought it off the bolt, and you already know the fabric will be comfortable on you skin because it’s sheets. I recently got a queen set that is a bright, beautiful aqua for around $15. Now that’s a ton of fabric. I made a couple beach cover-ups out of it (a couple because I messed up a few times). And I still have a ton left over. Here’s a dress I made from navy blue jersey sheets. It photographs a little prom-y, but it looks much more casual in person. This also happens to be the first dress I’ve made.    :)

I heart these straps. The one that comes across my lower back goes the full length of the dress down the side seam

- Pre-made curtains. Talk about a gold mine. You can often get a set of full length curtains for fairly cheap at the above mentioned stores. But here is the great part: You can get lined curtains. This way, you are spending 10-20 bucks, and not only are you getting the panels, but you are getting lining fabric. Which is something everyone can always use. I like to use it for pattern making and as pillow forms. Heather uses it to line her beautiful historic gowns.

I used curtains to add accents in my bedroom. I showed you the Necklace Peg Board last week. I made those side panels from a curtain set I bought a while back. It’s this really great woven fabric. Also, I covered the  book shelf (that I use for pants) below with the same fabric. I then used it in some pillows on my bed to tie the whole room together.

-Speaking of pillows, one of my best tips for pillow making is look out in Target and Walmart for when their  bed pillows go on sale. These can get as cheap as $2 a pillow. This is way way cheaper than you’ll every find the fluff for. Plus, you get the fabric from the actual pillow to make forms. I’ve also found great deals on body pillows, which have a ton of fluff. I actually prefer the fluff in these pillows to the polyfill anyways. So, there ya go… hope I’ve opened your eyes to a couple alternative material sources!

Jul. 2010 7

Necklace Display

I have a bunch of necklaces that are prone to getting tangled. I used to have them hanging in my closet using push pins in the wall. But, recently I’ve rearranged my room and couldn’t do that any more. So I decided, what a perfect time for a craft project!

I’ve seen these jewelry hanging bulletin boards all over the craft-blog-world. And people have done some really cute things with them. I wanted to make mind just a little different, and I wanted to make it for less.

Before I tell you how to do it, let me say there are a couple draw backs to doing it this way. For starters, it is not as sturdy. You can’t put a 2 lb weight on the hooks and expect them to stay. But none of my jewelry is that heavy, so it is OK. And secondly, the hooks/pins on the front are going to be glued in place to make them stronger, so they can’t be moved. With that being said, here we go!

What you’ll need:

-Cardboard boxes. Enough for 3 layers of the size board you want + some extra

-Staple gun

-Elmer’s glue (trust me, it actually works)


-Exacto knife/ cutting tool

-Pretty fabric (2-3in bigger on each side than your final dimensions)

-Scrap fabric. I used flannel, because I have a ton and it was off white

  1. Cut 3 pieces of cardboard to the size you want. I chose 16”x20”. It’s OK if there are creases in the board, it will be covered up with fabric later.
  2. Cut 6 pieces 1” wide and 20” long.
  3. Glue the 3 large pieces of cardboard together in a stack. Use lots of glue, seriously. I don’t recommend using hot glue for a couple reasons:
    1. It cools way to quickly to get enough on a space that large
    2. It doesn’t flatten well. So you end up with an uneven surface
  4. Glue the 1” strips together in stacks of 2 (so there will be 3 total).
  5. Stack books and heavy object (with flat bottoms) on top of your glued together stacks. You want to do this for both the large stack and the 1” strips. Adding this weight will help to make sure the pieces are nice and stuck together.
  6. Let dry
  7. Cut 1 piece of pretty fabric to about 20”x24”.
  8. Cut 3 pieces of scrap fabric to about 20”24”
  9. Place the pretty fabric right side down on the floor. Place the 3 pieces of scrap fabric on top of it.
  10. Once your stack of cardboard is dry, place it on top of your stack of fabric, making sure it is centered.
  11. Create a 1” to 2” border of glue on the backside (facing you) edges of the cardboard.
  12. Pull the fabric to the backside of the cardboard stack and staple in place.
  13. Top do the corners:
    1. Have all the sides stapled in place
    2. The corner fabric should be sticking up in a triangle shape
    3. Pinch the edge closest to the cardboard together and bring the upper point of the triangle down
    4. Flatten the shape out. It should look like a square (kite shape is ok too)
  14. Put a dab of glue over all the staples. I don’t know if this actually helps, but I did it
  15. Glue 2 of your 1” strips to the long side of the back of the board. If possible, have the strip over lapping the raw cardboard and the fabric/staple portion
  16. Take your remaining 1” strip and cut it in half. Glue the two pieces down the short sides on the back of the board.
  17. Stack books on top and let dry

***Put plastic wrap over the surface before adding books if you are worried about the glue seeping out***

  1. Add tabs:
    1. You can either use ribbon or sew fabric strips
    2. Staple these to the 1” strips and glue over the staples to make more secure.
  2. On the front side take either hooks or thumb tacks and add glue to the tips, then push into the board.

All done!!!! Hang on the wall and display your favorite pieces. This is also good if you have broaches and pins, you can just stick them right in the board.

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