What We’ve Been Up To

DIY Lazy Days Skirt

The Oliver + S Lazy Days Skirt is the subject of this latest installment in our series where we give other folks’ DIYs a try. The verdict: Do it!  I enjoyed making one for Scarlet so much, I had to sew one for Clare too!  The free pattern from Oliver + S was so simple… Read more »

Baby + Kid, By Craft, Clothing, Sewing & Serging

DIY Hooded Baby Towel


A luxurious hooded baby towel is a great gift for an expecting or new mom. It’s big bang for your buck. Be sure to coordinate your towel to the nursery or family bathroom. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, present the gift in one of Jaime’s drawstring bags made from your accent fabric. 
DIY after the jump…
What you need:
A bath towel (approx 30″x54″)
A hand towel (approx 16″x27″) (not face cloth)
Accent fabric, an approximately 3.5″ x 18″ strip
Coordinating thread
Head pins
Sewing Machine
Iron

1. Wash and dry towels and accent fabric
2. Iron accent fabric
3. Fold, pin and iron a 1/2 inch seam allowance on both long sides of your accent fabric for a finished width of 2.5″

Tip: pinning through the outside of the fabric rather than the inside, shown incorrectly here, will ensure that you do not sew pins into your piece. Good to know.

4. Cut the edges off of your hand towel to 17″ length

5. Fold the hand towel the long way and position accent fabric strip evenly 1″ from the fold, pin in place through top layer of towel only

6. Unfold towel and sew trim to towel with 1/4″ seam along both lengths

7. Fold towel so that accent trim is folded in half on the inside as shown and sew down left and right side at inside edge of original towel seam

8. Invert piece to look like this…

9. Invert top left point into top right point to look like this…

10. Open piece to look like this (it’s the hood!)…

11. Fold Bath towel in half and place a pin at center edge.
12 Align top center edge of Bath Towel with back center seam of hood and pin an inside seam along entire back edge of hood (be sure to pin the vertical seam of hood open)

13.Sew seam

14. Now would be a really good time to make sure there are no random pins inside your hood. Last chance before we sew it up!

15. Fold inside bottom hood seam under, hiding all edges and trim inside and pin. The bulk of this seam should fall just below the back seam if the inside hood point is pushed all the way in, as it should be.
16. Sew. This is where a newer machine might get tired as the layers are quite thick here. You may need to skip over the corners and stitch these by hand later.

17. And you’re done!

18. Bathe baby, tuck baby in, drink wine.

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Autumn Leaf Platter


This is a fun way to display your treats this season. Check out the DIY after the jump…

Use this template from Martha to cut out a selection of oak and maple leaves. I used a manila folder and some orange and gold origami paper.

Tip: Place your template on a window with your leaf paper on top (bottom side facing you) and trace. Then cut out leaf shapes.


Scatter your leaves on a unfinished wood plaque available at Michael’s or Walmart and arrange your treats!


So easy and festive!

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Artist Retreat Recap – Ace Hotel DIYs

Is it possible to love your best friend as much as your sister or husband? I think so. Is it possible to love a hotel as much as your own home? I think so. On this mini-artist retreat,I made progress towards meeting my book deadline for Prudent Advice(note: your inspirations always help and would be welcome) and ThreadMary made progress on getting her hand sewn project off the ground. How could we not with surroundings like these?
The Ace Hotel is heaven for the DIY inspiration-seeker; all kilim, ikat and army green with industrial fixings reworked to create an almost run-down, modern, laid-back desert charm.
See more details and how-to ideas after the jump:

one good friend + sunscreen
Make some outdoor cushions and throw them on any old wall or planter. I’m working on a project like this to share with you but it’s going to be a minute.
Industrial piping as towel hooks. Try these plumbing fixtures: aflange, a 1 1/4″ nipple, a90 degree elbow, and a 1 1/4″ plug, then coat with high gloss paint.
These stools were made by Ten10 Design in Silver Lake. Maybe you could find some old metal stools on craigslist and take them to a local auto body shop for powder coating, and have a leather repair shop cut a top for you.
i totally advocate having a vintage trailer by your pool.
Outdoor dhurries have such a dusty charm. i picked up several $2.99 multi-striped cheapies at ikea and sewed ’em together (i’ll post on this soon)
Pick up a used sail and create windows or bedspreads out of it. The grommets are a great touch and an easy way to hang them.
Try a bike hook as a curtain tie-back.
these were custom made for the Ace, but you can get a similar chair here or you can often find a rope version along the Baja Coast if you have time to cross the border this weekend.
these slatted walls are a great storage solution for a kids room, and unframed art hung with bullclips means constant changes and updates to the visual space.
and why not repaint a vintage bike just because it looks so cute?

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Shortbread Cookie Recipe


It’s been chilly and rainy here. Perfect weather a cup of tea and shortbread cookies! These cookies are so delicious and easy to make and nothing beats the “wow” factor from the kiddies when they see yummy little treats in fun cookie-cutter shapes.

This is the recipe I’ve been using for years, passed on from my friend June…

June’s Shortbread

Pre-heat oven to 325.

Ingredients
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (powdered)

Cream butter. Very gradually work in sugar… just a little at a time. Add flour and mix thoroughly.

Chill dough 30 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap.

Option 1: Roll dough out to 1/2 inch. Score with knife.
Option 2: Roll dough out to 3/4 inch (or pat down with hands) and cut with small cookie cutter.

Place cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle granulated sugar on the cookies (or dip front of cookies in colored sugar, get creative!)

Bake for 5 minutes at 325. Turn down to 300 and bake for 15-30 minutes. They are done when you see even the tiniest hint of browning at the bottom. The next time you make them, take them out a minute before the tiniest hint of browning. The cookies should be ivory in color.

Store cookies in a tin. Separate layers with wax paper. In my experience, these ship very well.

Here is another recipe. It includes vanilla (I’m going to try that next time) and is a bit more detailed.

I’ll stop back later with a little DIY on the presentationbut for now I’m off to cuddle with sweet babies and a plate of cookies. heaven.

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DIY Simple Snuggly Baby Blanket

Simple Snuggly Baby Blanket
Last week our 100 degree temperatures suddenly disappeared, and now it finally feels like fall.  Time to make Miss S a cozy blanket for snuggling…
DIY Baby Blanket
To get a custom feel without spending a bunch, use this DIY to make your bean his or her own stylish baby blanket. Use an adorable cotton fabric on one side, and compliment it with a cozy dose of snuggly softness on the other like fleece or minkee.  Here’s one I sent off to Miss Quinn (back before we knew she was a Miss!):
quinnblanket

Now you try!  Get the Simple Snuggly Baby Blanket DIY after the jump…


How to Sew a Simple Baby Blanket

1. Prewash, iron and cut your fabrics to your desired size, cotton for one side and minkee or something cozy on the other.  I had a yard of Echino Spring in Grey Lion so I started with that.  Lay your fabrics right-sides facing, smooth them nice and flat, then pin all the way around:

Then cut the excess fabric, leaving enough for a 3/4″ seam allowance:

2. Next you want to sew around the perimeter with a 3/4″ seam allowance, leaving a section open so you can turn your blanket inside out (depending on how thick your backing is you can decide how big your opening needs to be). I left my opening at the corner, but it’s easier if you leave it in the middle of one side:

Try not to sew your hair into the blanket, because nothing disgusts Jacinda more on earth then a stray hair:

3. Snip a square out of each corner.  This will allow you to get a nice flat corner when you turn your blanket inside out:

4. Turn your blanket and iron it flat, paying special attention to the edges to ensure your fabrics aren’t rolling onto the wrong side.  At the opening, fold the fabrics in, iron and pin in place:

5. Choose treads that coordinates or contrast, whatever your pleasure, and remember you can choose different colors for each side. Put your color for the cotton side in your spool and for the soft side in your bobbin.  With your cotton side on top, with a 5/8″ seam allowance sew a nice straight line all the way around your square.  Remember at the corners to leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot, turn your fabric and put the presser foot back down to get a nice corner:

and just sew that opening closed:

I stopped there, but you could do it one or two more times around.  For added cuteness you can switch thread colors or use the same.  This time go another 1/4″ in (so 1/2″ seam allowance).

6. Snuggle!

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DIY Lazy Days Skirt

The Oliver + S Lazy Days Skirt is the subject of this latest installment in our series where we give other folks’ DIYs a try. The verdict: Do it!  I enjoyed making one for Scarlet so much, I had to sew one for Clare too!  The free pattern from Oliver + S was so simple to follow; you can download it here. I can’t wait to try the more complicated Play Date Dress next time.

Materials included the last of the Joel Dewberry Tossed Flowers (Ginseng Collection) fabric in Raspberry and Camel leftover from the fabric alphabet project, some 3/4″ elastic, and some generic grosgrain ribbon.  The whole skirt cost less then $3 to make!

Don’t forget to send us a picture if you give it a try, and let us know what you think of the pattern in the comments!

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Crochet Pennant Garland

Pennant Garlands are everywhere and we still can’t get enough. This weekend, I tried one with yarn! It was really fun to make and pretty quick. Oh, and you can make this in bed, a total plus for crochet in general. I think these would be A-dorable on the mantle for Christmas strung from stocking to stocking.

Directions after the jump:

Key:

DC: Double Crochet

Ch: Chain Stitch

SC: Single Crochet 

I used an I/9 hook but anything from G-K would work.

Tips:

Unless otherwise noted, pick up both loops of each stitch

Keep gauge loose for ease of crochet and so that the piece will lay flat

 

Pennant:

Row 1: Ch 4, 3 DC in first Ch stitch (This should look like 4 DC in one loop – a tiny triangle)

Row 2: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 4 stitches (including the first stitch right at the bottom of your chain & the last stitch, which will be tighter. You can pick up just the top loop on the last DC)

Row 3: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 5 stitches

Row 4: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 6 stitches

Row 5: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 7 stitches

Row 6: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 8 stitches

Row 7: Ch 3, turn, 1 DC each in next 9 stitches (You can continue with more rows if you would prefer larger triangles)

Pull yarn through one last time to tie off and cut leaving a 1-2 inch tail

Crochet desired number of pennants (there are 7 here)

Connecting Garland:

1. With garland color, Ch 25 (or more stitches for added length at end)

2. Pick up top row of a pennant (with the pennant tail facing right)

3. 1 SC in each (10) stitch across top of pennant (make sure your first stitch is directly under the tail knot)

4. Ch 5 (or more, if you want more space between pennants)

5. Repeat step 2-4 for each pennant

6. After attaching last pennant, Ch 25 (or more for added length.)

Clean up:

Weave hook through top row of pennant (as shown below) and pick up tail on hook. Pull tail through piece.

Weave hook down side towards bottom point, pick up bottom tail and pull throw piece.

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