Vintage Feed Sack Corkboard

Just because I haven’t posted any tutorials on here in what seems like forever doesn’t mean I haven’t made anything lately. On the contrary, my friends, I’ve been crafting a plenty.

(When don’t I? Ummm… pretty much never.)

Here’s a little something I’ve been trying out with those vintage feed sacks I bought back in the summer.

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Cork boards covered with the front image of a vintage feed sack.

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I chose ones that still had a decent color to them. Lots of older ones have their image faded on the front, or even lots of pulls in the burlap.

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I’m still kicking myself for not buying one that had an awesomely bright image of a Holstein with one of the brand names. It was much more than I paid for these, but it could have been made into something really, really cool. There are quite a few farmers and former farmers in our families that would have loved it.

Anyway, using some bags that I DO have, I covered some plain Jane cork boards. You can probably surmise how I made these. Basically you cut out the image (give yourself a lot of margin on the sides to start with) and center it over the front of a board. Then, flipping it over, use a staple gun to tack it tightly around the back frame. Seriously–you need to be pretty liberal with the staples and pull the burlap tight as you go. This process took longer than I would have thought and I did end up yanking out some staples and redoing some.

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Once things were nice and taut, I used these decorative furniture nails to embellish the edges. Mine are maybe an inch from the edge, so I just pushed them firmly into the cork, not the wooden frame. I think they give it a much more finished look.

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Next I would like to try making some on just a plain canvas for a wall art option.

Here’s a little peek at a stool I had recovered this summer from the same batch of feed sacks. We are enjoying it, plus one with a different design in my house right now.

My one caution for anyone that would like to try making something with these is to wash them well beforehand. I had line dried mine for something like a week, even letting them get rained on once or twice. That way a lot of the musty dusty stuff can get washed off of there before handling them too much.

Overall, I think these would make a great gift or act as a unique piece of functional decor in your home.

Crocheted Rag Rug Tutorial

As promised in the previous post, I am now putting on my tutorial for making crocheted rag rugs.

I have been enjoying making these and using up some of my fabric stash in the process!

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This particular one may be my most favorite yet–a cheery red, white, and blue.

The tutorial I am going to explain is for a rectangular shaped rug with stripes of color.

To make these, all you need is the following: scissors, a variety of cotton or cotton/poly fabrics, a large crochet hook, and a basic knowledge of crochet.

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Before you can crochet anything, you need to tear your fabric into strips. I make snips at one end, probably @1 1/2″ apart, then tear down the length of the strip. (A bonus: This is very stress relieving. I LOVE to hear that Rrrripping sound as I tear them!!) I personally don’t do the prep work for all the fabrics at once, just pretty much as I go to do each row.

Make a slit at either end of each strip. This is essential when you go to connect two together.

Make a slip knot with the first color you want to use. Using your large hook, chain a number of stitches together. However many you make depends on how long you want your rug to end up being, so this is up to you.

At the end of the first row, connect a new row of fabrics on.

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Take the new strip and slide one end of it through the slit of the “old” strip, just up about an inch or so.

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Then pull the tail end of the new strip through that slit of the piece that is sticking up through. I hope to heavens that makes sense. Hopefully you can tell what I’m talking about by my pictures of it.

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Just so you know, I did a basic single crochet stitch throughout this rug. Remember to chain two at the end of each row, then flip over to start at the right side beginning with the second set of loops.

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Keep on doing this process until your rug is the size you would like. Weave in any ends, step back, and enjoy your handiwork!

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**I will warn you now that this uses up a HECK of a lot of fabric, likely more than you’d guess. I didn’t mind because I had a ton, most of it acquired through yard sales or thrift shops. To me it was a great way to use some up. If you are buying for the purpose of making these, I would recommend buying old sheets and things like that at yard sales. They are easy to work with plus you get a lot of yardage at once for cheap.

**Also, another little tip: If your fabric is a heavier weight, you need to cut your strips thinner than I showed. (Otherwise it is a bugger to crochet with.) For my denim one I did strips about half the width of these I just pictured.

I hope this made sense and if you have any questions, feel free to ask away!

“Gather” Mini-Grapevine Wreath

Well, apparently I’m on a bit of a wreath kick again. They really are one of my most favorite things to make.

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This time around I went for a grapevine one, just to mix things up.

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It is adorned with these little flowers I made from a cute orange & white houndstooth print fabric.

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Across the top I formed the word “Gather” using scrabble tiles. They are mounted on a rectangle of burlap, which I let peek out around the edges. The burlap is on another rectangle of felt for a little stability. Everything is hot glued onto the grapevine.

I used just a basic gold ribbon for hanging.

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All in all, a quick little project that turned out sorta cute.

Blessings to all,

Rachel

Gingham Wrapped Favors

Today I am sharing an idea for favors that could be used for a banquet, party, shower, or even a wedding.

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If you’re into gingham, that is.

I made a bunch of these recently for a cub scout banquet, also known as the “Blue and Gold Banquet” that is held annually. Basically I wanted to make something that looked non-girly but was still cute.

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Inside each one is an individually wrapped mint. Since I had to make over 100, I bought the mints at a bulk foods store.

These were incredibly easy to make and I could see them working with a lot of different color schemes. Also since these were for a Blue and Gold banquet, I used a blue and white gingham and a yellow cotton yarn.

B & G favors 2014 011For the gingham, I cut squares that were right around 5″ by 5″ a piece.

I can’t really explain how I wrapped them, but pretty much like you would a present and so no raw edges of the fabric were sticking out. After cutting about a 12″ piece of yarn, I wrapped it around the fabric one way, then crossed the two pieces and wrapped them the other way. Each ended up with a simple little bow on the front.

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As I mentioned earlier, I could really see this same general idea used for a variety of occasions. I would totally use this idea again for shower favors or even for a wedding. Gingham can be found in a whole plethora of colors, plus they could be wrapped with twine or any kind of ribbon.

To see another one of my favor ideas, check out this post from almost two years ago. It’s one of my most viewed posts ever!

Handmade Christmas 2013: Button and Flower Rings

Today’s handmade Christmas gift idea targets all of the little ladies in your life. I know my own daughter was practically swooning over these cutesy rings I slapped together this past week.

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When I use the phrase “slap together,” I mean that they are so stinking quick to make. Even if you are craft-challenged, these are a breeze to create.

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What you need: A set of ring blanks (found in jewelry section of craft store under “findings”), Krazy glue (or other jewelry bonding agent), flower cabochons or button cover kit with fabric circles.

To make flower rings: Pick out a flower cabochon and adhere the back of it to the flat circle front of the ring blank. Allow to set and that’s it!

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To make button rings: Using a button cover kit, use pliers to remove back button shank so that the back portion is completely flat. Put button together with fabric scrap circle. Adhere back of button to front of ring and allow to set.

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Adding Length to a Dress

I was excited to find this pink knit cotton dress on the Kohl’s clearance rack for $2-something this winter.

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The first time I put it on this summer, it fit just right. Comfy, and most importantly, just the right length. My husband came home and admired it on me, calling me his Pinkalicious woman.

As you can probably see, it has the high-low type of hemline (higher in the front, longer in the back).

Well, after one washing, that hemline rose, I swear about several inches! I tried to wear it again, but thank God I didn’t go anywhere but out in our yard. At 5’10”, most dresses or skirts that look like a modest length on other women fit me about mid-thigh or so. Yep, I can rock the long stuff, but have to be super careful about how other things fall on me. So, after bending over to weed a flowerbed and feeling like I was overexposing myself, I went in the house and quickly changed. That’s when the idea to add a fabric band around the bottom came to me.

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Upon raiding my fabric stash, I settled on this pink and white striped cotton. I measured the circumference of the bottom hemline, then cut that much plus a bit extra, while making sure it was a few inches long as well. After cutting, I folded one long end in 1/4″, then another 1/4″ and pinned along the whole thing. One straight shot of sewing and the new bottom hem was complete!

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Once that was done, I measured what I had against the bottom hem of the dress. They had to line up exactly for this to work out!! I made one short seam along one side of the new fabric band to make it a circle. Then, pinning right sides carefully together, I sewed the new band onto the bottom of my dress.

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This method could be used on almost any basic skirt or dress. I even did something similar to a pair of knit cotton shorts that I had bought for my daughter. (I won’t even start on how improper some little girls’ clothing in stores is!! I couldn’t find one pair that were a decent length. A post on modesty may be in the works…)

My newly updated pink dress, blowing in the breeze.
My newly updated pink dress, blowing in the breeze.

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After doing this little alteration, I felt much more comfortable wearing my pink dress, and it is now a great length for me. Yippee!

Fun With Tie Dye

One of the items on our summer bucket list was to tie-dye T-shirts.

We took advantage of a nice day about a week and a half ago to do just that, then were able to wear them to Raystown Lake where my side of the family took a little vacation last week.

My crew + 2 nieces
My crew + 2 nieces

I had no idea how they would turn out as I hadn’t tie-dyed a thing since I was in elementary school. Which was, um, quite a number of years ago and I’m sure I was just doing what the teacher instructed us to do.

Thankfully in our tie-dye kit (Jacquard brand) there were clear instructions as well as a pretty informative DVD that showed us how to do the different designs.

Each one is a little bit different, which is the beauty of tie-dye I guess.

We started out with plain white cotton tees. The kit contained a powder (soda ash) that you mix with water to make a solution, then soak your item in it for 20 minutes or so.

When done soaking, you can then make your design using rubber bands. I tried the scrunch method, bulls-eye, spiral, mirror image, and stripes.

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After rubber-banding all of your items, give them another good soak in the solution. In the meantime, get your dyes ready. Our sweet little kit had them ready to go in bottles, you just had to add some water and shake ’em up.

Wring out the excess, then lay on a protected surface. Warning–this is the messy part!! Messy can be fun though:)

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The next step is to add your color. This was by far my most favorite part of tie-dyeing. I don’t think you can really “mess up” as they are all supposed to be unique.

After the color was on, I put each separate piece in a plastic bag to sit for a day. Once the day was up, I took off the rubber bands and rinsed each T-shirt out well, then gave them a good washing in my machine. It was fun to see how our creations came out!

Me and my Fab 5
Me and my Fab 5
...and a view from the back.
…and a view from the back.

As you can see, the kiddos then wore them to Raystown Lake, where we had a good time with family.

My favorite little monsters.
My favorite little monsters.

All in all, I really enjoyed tie-dyeing and would enjoy messing about with it more and trying out some different pattern ideas.

DIY Sheer Curtains

I’m back…. this time with another show and tell of handmade curtains  I had made for my daughter’s room recently.

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The inspiration for these came from this cool sheer fabric I found at either Goodwill or thrift store probably a year ago.

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Here’s a more close-up look at this fabric.

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I have no idea how old this fabric is, but it had a nice vintage look to it with all of these world travel locations and icons.

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I didn’t have quite enough to make two full sets of panels, so I used sheer pink chiffon to help complete these, doubling it up and making a loop for the curtain rod to go through.

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Where they join I sewed on a green grosgrain ribbon and zig-zag stitched it with pink thread. I already had the green pull-down blinds for her windows, so it matched up nicely. (I think–I’m always questioning my own taste.)

H Curtains 001I do have to admit that I never really had much experience working with sheer material. My vintage material wasn’t too tough to work with, but the pink chiffon was a little too “slippery” to work with for my taste.

All in all though, I was pleased with how these turned out and rather enjoy making curtains.

New Spring Curtains!

With the approach of some *possible* spring weather, I’ve been on a curtain-making binge.

Yep, 4 of our rooms now have different curtains hanging in them. I’m a little nutty like that when I get on a kick. Today I’ll be sharing the ones I made for our living room.

Oh, and by the way, I hardly spent a thing to make them. Store-bought curtains can be so stinking expensive! I’ve priced them out before and even if you think you’re getting an okay deal, that’s sometimes just the price for one half of a window. With an overflowing fabric stash, I raided it and found something unique for each of the rooms.

For this pair, I used a linen white tablecloth that my mother trash-picked for me last year. It was still in its packaging, so don’t be too grossed out. (Good job Mom!) She knew I may find a good use for it, and so I did:

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It was in perfect shape, so I cut it in half and used that white linen as a base for my curtains. My other ones were much more formal-looking valances. I was looking for something more casual and bright, so the white fit the bill for that.

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To add some pops of bright color, I embellished these with some quilting squares I had won off of Ebay. They are Amy Butler fabrics–I forget the name of the collection, but thought they were very pretty. Basically I sewed a few together in a strip, then sewed them near the top of the curtain. I have a bunch left, so I may make a matching pillow to go with.

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I love the colors and designs in these squares!

For some finishing touches, I sewed on a length of orange grosgrain ribbon to the top and a length of green to the bottom of the squares.

Hanging with my handmade curtains are lace panels that I’ve had for many years.

All in all, I am enjoying my new curtains and think they definitely give my room a different look. You never know what you can come up with when thinking a bit outside of the box!

I may be sharing some of my other curtain-making adventures in the near future, so stay tuned!!