Macrame Mania – Square Knots and Beads!

“At first I was afraid… I was petrified…” and now I’m totally obsessed with macrame! With apologies to Gloria Gaynor… once you learn a few basic knots, there are so many possible macrame projects!


You might remember that for my first plant hanger, I used heavy rope and simple overhand knots. I added gathering knots in colored yarn. For my next projects, I learned the square knot and added some beads.

This project uses some silver-colored beads, and the hanger is formed with short stretches of three square knots. I used sport weight cotton yarn (similar to this yarn) which I already had. The advantage is that it’s thin enough to thread the beads onto, but the result is quite thin, so it will be best for a smaller plant.

This next project uses some braided candle wick. It lies flat, which makes the square knots much easier and neater. I did two longer stretches of square knots at the top and then shorter stretches to form the hanger. The twine is heavier than the cotton yarn, and I really like how it lies flat. I’ll definitely be doing more projects with this string!

By the way, you may have noticed the same (fake) plant in both these hangers. We’re on vacation in Toronto, and I ended up buying a “plant model” to help with my projects. 😂

Next macrame projects coming up: wave knots, colored string, and dip-dyeing (I think I will save that for when I get home…)! I always need to have a project to work on, and this has turned out to be a great one for traveling, because it is so compact. Hope you will give it a try.

“Jewels”

Macrame Madness: A Simple Plant Hanger

Everything old is new again! I’m visiting my dad and fantasizing about magically unearthing some old macrame projects from the 70s. Meanwhile, I’m trying my hand at making some plant hangers. This macrame obsession pairs perfectly with my newfound love of plants!


Tying knots in string shouldn’t be that complicated, but I was nervous getting started, so I chose the simplest project I could. Using some heavy cotton rope leftover from hanging a birthday piñata, I based my plant hanger off of these instructions.

Because the rope was so thick, I chose to use a gathering knot in blue cotton yarn rather than tie a heavy knot with the rope at the top and bottom.

Being a busy mom, the first chance I had to work on this project was on a plane! Luckily, the tab that holds up the tray table works perfectly for attaching the loop at the top;)

Here’s how the plant hanger looks empty:

And here’s how it looks planted with Golden Pothos.

Stay groovy and green!

“Jewels”

Onesie Decorating Party

When I first saw the idea of doing appliqué onesies at a baby shower at the Cutting Table, I immediately thought of doing this project at Nicola’s baby shower. I did have some trepidation about having to stitch around the appliqués, but thankfully my co-host Maura convinced me that it would be worthwhile, and it certainly was.

Here’s what you’ll need to do this at your party:

  • blank onesies. I was unable to find these in any color besides white in local stores, but I ended up getting a good selection between Rock Bottom T-Shirts and these Disney solid bodysuits. These MoonTree Kids Bold Colors Bodysuits are very cute as well! I got a range of sizes from newborn to 18 months, because we all know how fast babies grow!
  • fabric – I pulled a bunch from my stash, and Maura brought an adorable charm pack
  • fusible webbing – I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • iron and ironing board
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • optional: stencils or objects to trace (cookie cutters are good for this), examples of appliqued onesies
Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party.

I wrote up a set of instructions with a storybook theme that you can download here: DIY Onesie Instructions from Jewels at Home. It also helped to show the first people step by step, and then they helped the next group. It all went quite smoothly, and there were just two that I needed to fix up afterward, because the Heat ‘n Bond didn’t stick. I’ll show you the “rescue” tips later in the post, but first, here are the step-by-step instructions for decorating the onesies.

DIY Onesie Tutorial

  • Choose a design and fabrics.
  • Sketch your design onto the paper side of the iron-on paper. Note: your drawing will be reversed when the design is finished, which is important for letters.
Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond.

Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond.

  • Cut out the paper with your design with a small margin around it
  • Place the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite facing the back side of the fabric and iron for just 2 seconds.
Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

  • Cut out the design exactly along the lines you sketched
  • Peel off the paper backing
  • Place your design on the onesie and iron for 8-10 seconds
  • Optional: Add words or details with the fabric markers. We signed the “bums” with our names!
Sign your DIY onesie.

Sign your DIY onesie.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Onesie decorating party. I love how each one is unique!

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finishing the Onesies

After the party, Maura and I split up the onesies to take home and sew the edges. For the simple outlines, I used a small zig-zag stitch, which I think is the most secure. For the ones with fine details, I used a straight stitch, so I could follow the shape more neatly.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finish the onesies by sewing around the appliques with a zig-zag or straight stitch.  I used a zig-zag for the simple shapes, as I think this will be the most secure.

DIY Onesie party from Jewels at Home

Finish the onesies by stitching around the edge of the fabric. I used a straight stitch for more detailed designs like this one.

If you end up with some onesies with appliques that didn’t stick, I thought of two ways to rescue them.

  • Pictured below, place the fabric on the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite. Use some glossy paper (this is from some contact paper) face down on the fabric, and iron. Cut out carefully.
  • You could also place the fabric on they sticky side of the Heat ‘n Bond, trace around the design with pencil, and cut out the paper. Then iron the fabric onto the cut-out paper.
Adding Heat 'n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

Adding Heat ‘n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

This was a lovely project – it was wonderful to see so many people try it, even those who don’t usually do craft projects, and it was fun to see how each onesie reflected a little bit of the artist’s personality.

Can’t wait to see these on the new baby!

“Jewels”

Diaper Cake Using Cloth Diapers

I had a great time co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Nicola’s baby shower last weekend, and I’m working on getting all the pictures together to share on the blog.  I started with the tea party, and I’m still wrapping up some of the activities, but here are some pictures and a short tutorial on the diaper cake!

I used cloth diapers for our youngest through a lot of his first year, but I’ve fallen off the wagon lately. It really wasn’t that difficult, and I am so glad we did it.  Cloth diapers do, however, mean a few extra loads of laundry each week, and I was losing buy-in from hubby and the toddler himself. So, despite my feelings of guilt, I have given it up. We’re slowly starting to introduce him to the potty, so hopefully our days of diapers are numbered. In any case, the timing works out well for me to pass these diapers on to Nicola and Victor.

There are many ideas out there for beautiful diaper cakes. Most of them use disposable diapers or plain cloth ones. The diapers I had were the all-in-one or pocket diaper style, and I’ll write about how to use those diapers in another post for Nicola and the rest of you who want to get started. Since these diapers are bulkier than disposables and come in a variety of colors, I had to get creative with the design and owe thanks to Ari and Monica for their artistic input.

The technique for all diaper cakes is similar. You’ll need:

  • cardboard and fabric or wrapping paper for the base
  • diapers
  • small elastic bands
  • extra large elastics – I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop
  • ribbon – wired ribbon gives extra strength
  • decorations – more ribbon, toys, diaper cream, etc.

Prepare the base

I cut a large circle out of corrugated cardboard. It’s about a foot and a half in diameter, and I didn’t have a large circle to trace, so I taped a piece of string to the center, taped a pen about 9″ out from the center, and drew around the string to make a neat circle.

I used a piece of scrap fabric to wrap the cardboard and taped it to the bottom. You could also use a cute wrapping paper.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Prepare the diapers

Start by rolling up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic

Making a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Roll up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic.

Constructing the cake

Group your first layer of diapers together inside a large elastic band. I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop. Once you have them tied together, you can rearrange them to get the look you want (this picture was taken before I arranged them).  Because there were so many different patterns, I tried to group them by color (blues on the bottom; yellows in the middle; greens on top), and I hid the diapers that stood out too much in the middle (the tiger stripe diaper, the dark blues).

Make a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Make the first layer of the cake by grouping the rolled diapers inside a large elastic band.

Put something tall in the middle of the first layer to help attach it to the next layer. I used a roll of diaper liners (these are amazing, by the way. The poop sticks to the liner, and you just dump the liner in the toilet and flush it, leaving you with a much cleaner diaper to wash).

Making a diaper cake with cloth diapers by Jewels at Home.

Put something tall in the center of the first layer to help attach the next layer.

Add your second and third layers, keeping something that projects upwards in the middle, to secure the layers to each other.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

When each layer is done, you can tie a decorative ribbon around the diapers and remove the large elastic.  I used two layers of wired ribbon, and it made the bundles of diapers very secure.

Decorate your cake

You could add little toys, bottles, diaper cream, etc..  I just added some ribbons to the top and around the edges.  I folded pink and blue ribbons and secured them with a paperclip before stuffing them in the top.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

And here it is, the finished diaper cake!

Diaper cake using cloth diapers.  From Jewels at Home.

Finished diaper cake using cloth diapers.

In retrospect, I will have to say that this is not as fast a project as it looks, mostly because I had to fiddle with the arrangements and colors to make all those different diapers work together, but it was a very cute addition to the baby shower, so definitely worth it.

I’ll try to get the information on using the diapers up on the blog soon, as well as some more baby shower projects!

“Jewels”

DIY “Tie” T-shirt Tutorial

We’re not formal people… this is how my son showed up to Kindergarten graduation:

Tie T-shirt

Kindergarten graduation. The tie T-shirt is about as dressed up as this kid will get.

I love these tie “Fat Tie” T-shirts that I bought on Zulily. The boys have worn them for a wedding, too, and they seem to strike the right note of respect and whimsy. After getting lots of comments on them, I decided to make some for our boys and to give as gifts.

"Fat Tie" shirt

Another cute “Fat Tie” shirt.

This is not the only tutorial around for this project, but each of us approaches it a little differently, so here’s what I did:

I started with plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands’ End. Lands’ End is really hard to beat when you are looking for good quality basics. Their sales are great, and I got these shirts for about $5-$10 each.  I prewashed the shirts and the fabric for the ties.

Plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands' End.

Plain long-sleeved T-shirts from Lands’ End.

I made a template with a piece of scrap paper, using a bit of trial and error to get the shape I wanted.

Paper template for "tie"

Paper template for “tie”

To make the tie,

  • I cut a piece of Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive a bit larger than the template and traced the tie pattern onto it
  • I cut a piece of fabric a bit larger than the Heat ‘n Bond.
  • After folding down a finished edge for the top of the tie, I ironed the Heat ‘n Bond onto the back side of the fabric.
  • After it cooled, I cut out the tie.
Preparing a fabric "tie" for ironing onto a T-shirt

Preparing a fabric “tie” for ironing onto a T-shirt

I ironed the “tie” onto the shirt, lining up the top to the collar of the shirt and using a tape measure to make sure it was centered.

Center the "tie" on the shirt

Center the “tie” on the shirt

I’ve seen people describe iron-on projects where they don’t sew down the edges, but it never seems to work for me (the fabric peels off), so I sewed a straight stitch about 1/8″-1/4″ from the edge of the tie.

Sew a straight stitch around the edge of the tie.

Sew a straight stitch around the edge of the tie.

And here are the finished shirts!  Next time, I think I will try some with a false “knot” at the top, like these shirts by Erin at Lemon Tree Creations.  I’d also like to try experimenting with a bow tie!

DIY Iron-on "tie" T-shirts by Jewels at Home

DIY Iron-on “tie” T-shirts

So many ways to have fun with this idea!

“Jewels”

DIY Custom Gift Bags

Here’s another easy idea to make a gift that is unique and meaningful from things you might already around the house. We just celebrated my twin nieces’ first birthday, and I wanted to make them cute gift bags. They were born in the year of the rabbit, so this paper that hubby bought for me in Japan years ago was perfect.

I almost always make my own gift bags by reusing paper shopping bags or party treat bags. I add decoration (and cover up the writing) with wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, or art paper. I finish off the packaging with coordinating tissue paper and ribbon. It’s easy to make matching cards with the same paper, too.

DIY gift bags by Jewels at Home

Custom gift bags for my nieces’ first birthday.

DIY gift bags by Jewels at Home

Custom gift bags

While I started making these bag to make good use out of paper bags I already had, I’ve also done it by buying a group of plain bags from the craft store. Not only are you conserving resources, the handmade result will be one-of-a-kind and beautiful!

“Jewels”

Taggie Blanket and Animal Loveys

“Pei-pei,” our second child’s blankie, has been referred to as our third child. That was in the days before we had a third child, and it was appropriate, as he went everywhere with us and is immortalized in countless family photos from all over the continent and the globe! These days, pei-pei stays at home, but he still occasionally will pose for a picture, like this one:

Blankie is a member of our family!

Blankie is a member of our family!

Baby brother has a blankie, too.

Baby brother has a blankie, too.

After seeing how much the boys love their blankies, I wanted to make some of my own. I had this minky blanket fabric that matches our baby’s pei-pei, so I thought I would make some extra blankies for him and for gifts… more on how that turned out, later!

In the past, I had made some little stuffed animals with ribbon “taggies,” since it seems like that is usually little kids’ favorite part of any blanket or animal. Here are a couple of the dinosaurs I made with taggie spines, before they got stuffed.

DIY dinosaur lovey with taggies on spine by Jewels at Home

Dinosaur lovey with taggies on spine, before she gets stuffed.

Dinosaur taggie lovey by Jewels at Home

Finished dinosaur taggie lovey

 

Our baby’s lovey has a white bear head in the center, but I decided to add some taggies around the edge of the new blankets instead (foreshadowing: this was a mistake!). There are two ways to add the taggies:

  • For a complex shape like the dinosaurs, put the two sides of the fabric with right sides together and pin the taggies in place facing inward. Then sew around the perimeter, leaving a small gap to turn it. Finally, flip the whole thing , stuff it, and close the seam.
  • For a simple shape like a blanket, you can put the wrong sides together and fold under the raw edges, as shown below. Pin on the taggies, and sew around the edge to close the seams and secure the taggies.
DIY lovey blanket with taggies by Jewels at Home

Turn the raw edges of the fabric under and pin the taggies in place before sewing.

DIY lovey blanket with taggies by Jewels at Home

Finished DIY lovey blanket with taggies

I think these taggie blankets will make great gifts. And mnie will have to be gifts, because, as I hinted above, the new blankies did not go over with our toddler. As I mentioned, his blanket is made of the same material, but it does not have the taggies and has a white teddy bear head in the center. When I showed him one of the new taggie blankets, expecting him to grab it excitedly, he instead stared with a look of horror and shook his head, backing away. I can just read his mind: “Oh my goodness! Mommy decapitated my pei-pei and added these horrible garish tags to it! This is an abomination! Help!”

Well, hopefully, some lucky baby will start off with these taggie blankets and learn to love them for what they are.

“Jewels”

 

Fabric Banding on Bath Towels

Do you have some plain towels calling out for a bit of interest?  Adding some ribbon or a beautiful fabric – or both – to some towels is an easy way to transform them. The finished products make great accents for your home and would be great housewarming gifts! The sewing is all straight lines, so a forgiving and doable project. These plush towels were lovely already, but I felt like dressing them up a bit. I used a band of fabric and some bias tape.

Before you start this project, prewash the towels and fabric, so they won’t pucker later, if they shrink unevenly.

I started by cutting strips of each fabric to the width I wanted and joined pieces end to end to make a long strip.

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Make long strips of the fabrics you want for the towels

Then, I joined the strips of different fabric to each other and ironed down a seam allowance on the top and bottom.

Sew together the different fabric strips

Sew together the different fabric strips

Finally, I cut sections a bit wider than each towel and pinned it onto the towels, folding a seam allowance on the ends before sewing the fabric to the towel.

Adding fabric border to towels by Jewels at Home

Pin the fabric in place, turning under the raw edges.

This was really an easy project, and I think it makes a big impact! I used a little bit of the green and white fabric to decorate a basket in the vanity, to tie the room together.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

Finished towels with new fabric border in our master bathroom.

DIY fabric border towels by Jewels at Home

New fabric border on master bath towels.

A funny story along the way: ever wonder what the kids think of all these craft projects? Our six year-old saw the fabric pinned to the towels in my sewing room and asked, “But won’t the pins hurt?” It reminds me that all my great ideas might seem a little crazy to others.

Now that I’ve decorated these towels for our master bathroom, I’d love to try some more. I’ve seen some very pretty versions of this idea on tea towels or burp cloths, all of which would make great and special handmade gifts.

And with these towels, our master bathroom is pretty much done, do that room tour will be coming up soon!

“Jewels”

Inspirations from Daily Life – June 2012

I’ll keep updating this post through June and plan to start a new post each month with some of the photos I’ve taken of inspiring projects and scenes I’ve encountered in daily life.

Coffee can napkin holder

This would be great for a picnic buffet. The Cafe du Monde can is especially cool, but you could print vintage labels for a similar feel. Could also cover cans in coordinating labels for utensils, and your casual summer party is complete!
20120603-064656.jpg

Low water landscape
We only have a small patio at home, but here’s how to add a ton of beauty and charm with little maintenance. It’s a dry creek with grasses and a pergola above.

20120603-064710.jpg

More ideas to come!

“Jewels”<

Ribbon Border Window Panels ~ Master Bath

When I bought the roman shades for our master bedroom, I almost ordered one for our bath, too. I’m very glad that I decided to go with something lighter. I ended up making a sheer panel for the bottom half and a matching valance at the top. This gives privacy while still letting in light and our view.

Since I do a lot of my projects after the kids are in bed, I got to see the nighttime view first, and I am so excited that I wanted to post it right away, so here is how our master bath window looks with the new window panels:

Tutorial for adding ribbon to window shades by Jewels at Home

Finished window panels with ribbon detail in master bath.

tutorial for adding ribbon to window shades by Jewels at Home

Finished window panels with ribbon detail in master bath.

Daytime view is pretty foggy outside, but I’ll keep trying!

tutorial for ribbon border sheer panels by Jewels at Home

20120603-222555.jpg
Ribbon border shade tutorial:

You will need:

  • plain shade or panel: you could use a ready-made shade or sew a simple panel.
  • ribbon: I used bias tape/ ribbon, because I had it around the house. Grosgrain ribbon would look beautiful, too.
  • Heat’n Bond Liteiron-on adhesive. You can buy it in strips, but I cut my own strips from a sheet I already had

Lay out your pattern:

  • Here’s the pattern I used. My bias tape was 1/2″ wide. There are lots of variations, some of which I’ll show below, so go ahead and get creative!
  • Once you know what pattern you want to use, measure out a length of ribbon, including a little extra just in case.
Ribbon layout for shade by Jewels at Home

Ribbon layout for shade

Apply the ribbon:
  • Apply the Heat’n Bond Liteto the back of the ribbon according to the instructions on the package.
  • Peel off the backing in short sections and iron onto your fabric, following your pattern.
  • Mitre the corners by laying the ribbon up to your corner, then folding it back on an angle.
  • I cut tiny triangles of Heat ‘n Bond and slipped them under the mitered edges to help the corners lie flat. You can see in the second picture the difference between adding the extra triangle (left) and not (right)
Heat 'n Bond applied to back of ribbon - shade tutorial by Jewels at Home
Mitered corners on ribbon shade

Mitered corners. On the left, you can see that adding a small triangle of Heat ‘n Bond helped the corners lie neat and flat.

More inspirations!

Here are some other great examples of ribbon borders on window panels and shades. There are so many possible patterns and techniques.

pottery barn ribbon border roman shade

These ribbon border roman shades were sold by Pottery Barn a couple of years ago. I like the use of the wide ribbon and simple pattern. This will be the inspiration for our boys’ shades.

valance with ribbon border

Another simple and elegant ribbon border by Wendy at The Shabby Nest. I would love to do something like this in our kitchen, too!

Go to The Shabby Nest

bathroom with ribbon border shade

I fell in love with this beautiful picture on Pinterest, but I cannot find the original source. If you find it, please let me know, so I can give proper credit. I love the detail on the ribbon border. It was too ornate for our bathroom, but I am looking for a place to use it!

roller shade with border by What the Vita

Pretty shade with border by Elisa at What the Vita. I love the orange ribbon and the way the shade looks layered with the drapes. She used glue to attach grosgrain ribbon to a plain roller shade! I’m going to look at her tips when I do my boys’ shades, since I won’t be able to iron directly onto them.

Go to What the Vita

Some other ideas would be to

  • add a ribbon border along the bottom or
  • add two rows of ribbon around the border, in different colors or widths.

Let me know what you come up with for your windows!

“Jewels”

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