DIY-namite: let’s create

November 30, 2006

Santa bags

Filed under: holiday — by threadslinger @ 4:12 am

Finished santa bag

I know seeing Santa in the title of the post may alarm you as per my previous vow to celebrate fall. It is after all still November. I am writing this post so you all can get ahead on Christmas gift ideas. Plus, Thanksgiving is over so there are technically no more fall holidays to prepare for. Over Thanksgiving weekend my mom and I made these Santa bags and plan on putting our holiday goodies in them. Its a nice alternative to the traditional tin people give away cookies in, plus they are really cute.

Materials Needed

-Red, gray,black felt (I bought red glitter felt because I like the bling, but regualr felt is fine)
-1 inch ribbon (ribbed or plain is fine)
– White furry fabric
-Acrylic glue
-Sewing machine or extreme patience/perfect hand sewing

Santa bag materials

Step 1:
Cut all your felt pieces.

First, cut out two equal rectular sizes of the red felt (just use your best judgement for measurement, mine is like 12 inches tall, 7 wide) Then cut one red felt piece that is as long as the two sides plus the bottom of the rectangle (and about 3′ wide). This will be sewn to the other to the other and act as your sides and bottom.

Cut a black piece of felt as wide as rectangle pieces (Santa’s belt)

Lastly, cut a belt buckle out of gray felt.

Step 3: Glue “belt pieces” onto the front of bag.

Step 4: Sew buttons onto felt (either 2 or 3 depending how big they are) above belt as if they are buttons on Santa’s shirt.

Step 5: Sew bag togehter. Starting on the sides sew longer piece of felt to the front of the bag. Sew so that there is an edge on the bag (ie just sew the pieces together on the outside of the felt).

Step 6: After sewing both rectangle pieces to the longer piece it should be like a box without a top. Now sew handles to the bag. On the pieces of rectangles spaced about 3 inches apart sew ribbon onto each side.

Step 7: For final touch glue white fluff around the top of the bag and it is finished! Now bake lots of goodies to fill your cute bag with.

November 27, 2006

All-Purpose Fabric Hat

Filed under: fabric,holiday — by marieann @ 2:27 pm

Waldo Hat Instructions

I made this hat for Sean for his Halloween Waldo costume. Everybody at the party recognized him and yelled “I found you!” This was really basic and easy. I think this would work great using fleece to make a warm winter hat. I have to apologize for the quality of these pictures. I had low batteries in my camera and so I was having a hard time shooting because there wasn’t enough juice to focus.

Fabric; you need less than 1/4 yard

Scissors — both fabric and paper scissors
Sewing machine

First, making the pomp pomp.
1. Draw and then cut out two equally sized circles from the cardboard with a donut-hole center cutout. The pomp pomp turns out to be about the same size as the circle so keep that in mind when drawing it out.

Waldo Hat Instructions

2. Hold the two circles against each other.

Waldo Hat Instructions

3. Wrap strips of fabric (or yarn) around the donuts, thru the hole, until the entire center hole if filled. I torn strips of fabric about 1/2 thick to use for this. Fabric doesn’t make as nice of a poof but I didn’t want to use any yarn. The more fabric/yarn you put the poofy-er it will be. So you can double up if you want it to be really full looking.

Waldo Hat Instructions

Waldo Hat Instructions

4. When the entire cardboard thing is full, then put your scissors between the cardboard pieces and cut around the outside of the circle until the edges are all disconnected. But be careful! Keep the cardboards squeezed together and hold on to your fabric or else it will fall off the model.

Waldo Hat Instructions

5. Put a string/fabric strip between the two cardboard pieces to tie the strings together.

Waldo Hat Instructions

6. Peel the cardboard forms off either side of the knot you just made, and wallaa! You have the pomp pomp finished

Waldo Hat Instructions

Second, make the body of the hat.

1. Measure around the head of the person who’s going to wear your hat, where you want the hat to sit. If you want it to go around the ears, be sure to take that into account. Add 1/2 inch for the seams. Cut a piece of fabric (I chose white fabric) that is this measurement long by 12 inches tall. This is your hat “body” piece.

2. Cut a second piece of that fabric (or a different color, I chose red) that is 4.5 inches wide and your measured length long. This is your brim piece.

3. Turn over, iron, and hem the long edge of one of the brim piece 1/4 inch.

4. Sew the short ends of the body piece together with a 1/4 inch seam so that you made a tube 12 inches tall. Turn this right side out and try this on your/your model’s head. If your hat is too big, then you can just sew again with a bigger seem (like 1/2 inch). Keep trying on until it fits perfectly. When it’s the correct size, turn it wrong-side out again.

5. Pin the RIGHT side of the brim piece to the WRONG side of the body piece. Be sure to line up the ends of the brim piece so that seam will line up with the body seam you’ve already made.

Waldo Hat Instructions

6. Sew around the edge (1/4 seam) but don’t so it shut. Don’t sew all the way around so that you connect the loose edges. Remember, your brim isn’t a full circle yet.

Waldo Hat Instructions

7. Now you need to sew the brim into a complete circle. Pin the edges of the band together and sew that part shut.

Waldo Hat Instructions

8. Finish the seam now so that the brim is fully connected to the body. Turn the hat inside out and iron the brim up against the hat. You might want to put a couple of small stitches in the brim so that it’s sure to keep standing up.

9. You need to try on the hat and see how “tall” you want it. That is, how much do you want the hat to stick up from your head? Trim any extra fabric.

10. Next, thread a needle and sew around the top of the hat by hand with a running stitch. When you’re finished pull the thread tight and this will gather the center together.

11. Sew the pomp pomp into the top of the hat. I put a little bit of a glue gun glue there too so that I was sure that it was held on tight.

12. Be Waldo or just warm in a fleecy winter hat.

November 20, 2006

Pumpkin cookies

Filed under: food — by threadslinger @ 3:50 am

My mother taught me to be a firm believer in celebrating fall despite the fact that after October 31 it seems that stores are overwhelmed with Christmas. I decided I needed to celebrate fall by making fall-ish cookies. After looking for awhile, I found a recepie for Pumpkin cookies. These are great if you like pumpkin and rather unusal (but delicious) tasting cookies.

1 cup Shortening
3/4 cup Sugar
1 cup Cooked, strained Pumpkin(or canned)
1 Egg
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Molasses
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup chocolate chips or rolled oats

Preparation Directions:

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375.

Step 2: Cream shortening and sugar. (Tip: for softer cookies use brown sugar)

Step 3: Mix in pumpkin ,egg, and molasses. It will be like a goopy mess at this point but have faith, it gets better.

Step 4: Stir in dry ingredients, spices and chocolate chips or rolled oats. You can choose which you prefer, but it is nice to have something because I think it makes them taste more like cookies and less like scones.

Step 5: Drop by the spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet. A little tip here, you can use an ice cream scoop to make it so that all your cookies are the same size. Plus, if you have the kind with the “scoop blade” (my made up word for that thingy that makes the ice cream come out) then your fingers don’t have to get all doughy.

Step 6: Bake 10 to 12 minutes, depending on your oven. And then, embrace and enjoy fall!

November 17, 2006

Marie’s To Do List

Filed under: to-dos — by marieann @ 2:58 pm

Of course, as the law school grind revs up a couple of steps, I can’t stop thinking of creative things.

Here’s what’s next on my crafting To Dos: Either use these as your own inspiration or come back over the next few weeks since you know that there are new things to enjoy!

  • Sewing machine cover: my machine sits on our desk next to the computer when I’m not using it. It’s not an eye sore (mine’s sexy) but I don’t want it to get dusty when it’s not in use.
  • Advent calendar: Caro and I have been tossing around ideas on how to make one for this season. I want to use felt, want it to be reusable in years to come, and want a place to keep a piece of chocolate in each pocket. Other than that? It’s still a work in progress.
  • Skinny dresser refurnish: I picked up this great dresser from the street and I’ve been painting it over. So far I’ve painted the base coat, it’s a rich chocolately color. Dots and stripes to come!
  • Pin cushion: My mom had a fabric cat cushion; craftsters have cupcakes and hedgehogs. I don’t know what mine will be but it is gonna be something cuter than a plastic box.
  • Finish Mario quilt: It’s all pieced together, I just have to find the perfect back fabric, bind it, and tie it to finish.
  • Top secret: Christmas present for my mom. I would post about this, but I think my mom reads the blog. I wouldn’t want to spoil here.
  • McCalls’ pattern vest: I got this great pattern to make vests. I loved vests when I was young and now they are back in the indie crowd. Yay!
  • Sean and I’s stenciled t-shirts: I am a stencil maniac. I have two designs in progress and then next up is, “think aloha” and “bring back naptime.”
  • Fabric holiday boxes: I have a pattern for these too. They use fabric and stiffener along with ribbon. I’ll use them to package presents.
  • Plunger cozy: Plungers are so ugly! Our toilet is moody so we have one in the bathroom but I hate showing it off. I don’t know what I want to put on it, but maybe I’ll crochet something to make it cooler.
  • Homemade rubber stamps: Caro’s local art store sells the supplies. I can’t wait to try it out since I love carving.
  • Cool appliques: I have this idea about taking appliques, such a granny-style of crafting, and make it cool with modern designs. I have no idea what I want to put those appliques on though.

What’s on your creative plate?

November 13, 2006

Sweet Cornbread

Filed under: food — by marieann @ 4:17 pm

Sweet Corn Bread

Who woulda thunk that corn could taste so irresistable? This is great because it’s much more moist and sweet than your average cornbread. Cut slices and freeze em in ziplock baggies for snacks when you need it. That is, if you don’t eat it all from the pan when the bread is hot!

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease bread loaf pan. You can also use a 8 inch pan but then it’s not nearly as cute.
2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. If you have a sifter, you should use that too.
3. Form a well in the mixture and add the milk, oil, and egg. Stir just until everything is combined – there should still be very small scattered clumps of flour.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 24 to 30 minutes, until the cornbread is starting to brown slightly (especially at the edges) and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5. Pile on the butter and sigh with glee!

Hats for the crochet-speak impaired

Filed under: clothing,yarn — by threadslinger @ 3:28 am

first hat!
I went to high school in the NW where it was the coolest thing ever when you could make beanies and give them to your friends. Problem was, I could never read the patterns. All the sc’s and ch’s got me confused. Even with a key that explained the words I would always get overwhelmed and give up. So finally, 5 years later, I decided to try again. First, I learned how to crochet by just messing around with yarn and a crochet hook until I could figure out how to make a scarf, and still when I am around my friends that crochet they say I “do it weird”. To me it isn’t weird, it is the only way. I searched online for an instruction manual in english as opposed to crochet speak and alas, there was none to be found. Luckily, I was able to mess around long enough until I figured it out. So, I now give to you instructions on how to crochet a hat in complete sentences! Hopefullly it will help someone!

Materials needed:

Yarn (any kind, I use think wool yarn usually but anything works)
Crochet hook (this also can be any size, but you should usally match size of yarn to crochet hook, ie fat yarn = fat needle, ect.)

Step 1:

Start out with the normal knot around your crochet hook.

Step 2:

Do 6 single crochet stitches in a line (chain), then go back over them once so you have two rows of 6 stitches.

Step 3:

Join one end of the chain with the other end so it is in a little loop.

Step 4:

Do a normal single stitch once, but then instead of doing another one, loop the free yarn around the hook without going through a hoop. This is the trick because instead of making your yarn curve in like a basketball it will go out like a doily.

Step 5:

Measure on your head/ head of person you are making hat for to see when you need to stop doing the skip loop trick (my made up name to make it sound cool).

Step 6:

When your doily-like object is big enough go back to regular single stitch crochet until the end of the hat. (This is the curve part of the hat). I don’t believe there is a magic number for rows or anything so I just put it on periodically to see if it is the right size. If you want at the end you can make a “brim” by changing the color of yarn for the last 3-4 rows.

Step 7:

When finished, wear your awesome hat, get used to getting compliments. (Or, in my case statements of the obvious, “whoa, you guys have matching hats”).

my two favorite people

November 10, 2006

How to tie a scarf

Filed under: clothing — by threadslinger @ 6:37 pm

If you live in a cold part of the world (like I do) then you are probably wear a scarf almost everyday. After wearing scarves the same way everyday is boring and I realized that there has to be some sort of cool way to tie it that is both functional and fashionable. After playing around for a bit I made up this way to tie a scarf. Now, it may well could have already existed and I am just claiming an already created scarf knot made my Miss Famous McScarferson or something, but until informed otherwise, I will claime this idea as my own.


Scarf (preferably one that isn’t too fat, as it will be in a knot around your neck.)

Step one:

how to tie a scarf

Drape scarf around your neck.

Step two:

how to tie a scarf
Then shorten the left side of the scarf wrapping the right side around your neck. There should be a part of the scarf around your neck with the tails of the scarf on the sides.

Step three:

how to tie a scarf
Loosen the part around your neck by shortnening one side of the scarf.

Step four:

Position the scarf so that the longer side of the scarf is hanging in the middle of the loop around your neck.

Step five: (Complicated part)

how to tie a scarf
This is the “over under” part of the scarf trick. Take the shorter side of the scarf and bring it over the loop while putting it under the longer side of the scarf (still in the middle of the loop).

The result should be a nice little knot that you will make you look cool and keep you warm this winter.

Note: This may be something you have to play around with a bit to get it right. Also, I cut myself off in all of the pictures because I was sick and therefore looked disgusting. Happy scarfing!

November 9, 2006

Fluffiest Pancakes

Filed under: food — by marieann @ 7:23 pm


This is my dad’s recipe for pancakes. He’s made them for me every time I do something special and on random days too. They’re the best tasting breakfast cakes you have and will ever taste. I stake my entire reputation that you will enjoy these pancakes. I could circulate a petition of everyone who agrees with me on this point, but the list would be too long to be worth the effort.

They taste much much better than Bisquick.

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tbs. sugar

1. Mix the first three ingredients until fluffy with the whisk in a bowl. The eggs should be totally blended in. This is the key to the fluff so be sure to whisk really well. (Whisk it. Whisk it good.)


2. Mix the last three ingredients in another bowl.

3. Pour the wet bowl into the dry. Mix with the whisk. Be sure to fluff again! It’s okay if there are a few small lumps of dry mix, but try to get it all worked in.


4. Pour by the 1/3 cup onto hot griddle/frying pan. This is the hardest part because the pan cannot be too hot. If you have a gas burner like me, it is really difficult to keep the temperature low. But this is essential. Otherwise, you’ll get burnt cakes with raw centers. Disgusting.

5. Flip the pancake when when the top looks really bubbly. It is about two minutes. The second side doesn’t cook nearly so long (less than a minute).

6. Lots of butter! Look how fluffy!


November 2, 2006

Thumbprint Cookies

Filed under: food,holiday — by threadslinger @ 6:37 pm

These cookies are excellent for the holidays (my mom makes them at Christmas every year) or for those times when you want to make cookies but you are tired of making chocolate chip. Plus, this recepie calls for ingredients that you probably already have in your home so it is easy and quick.


2/3 C butter (soften)
2 egg yokes
1 t cream of tartar
1 t vanilla
1 and 1/2 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 egg whites
1/2 C jam or preserves (any flavor you prefer)
Chopped walnuts (optional)

Materials Needed:

Cookie sheet
Mixing bowl


Step 1: Set out butter a few hours before starting cookies to make sure its soft. Then, in a mixing bowl (medium size is fine) mix together butter and sugar, beat for about 30 seconds.
Step 2: Add vanilla, egg yokes, cream of tartar. Mix together until blended. (Remember to separate the egg yokes and whites. I usually do it with the egg shell shifting them back and forth. Some people have those fancy egg separaters which work well too.)
Step 3: Add as much flour as you can, mix together until dough is smooth (remember to scrape the sides).
Step 4: After dough is finished refrigerate for 1 hour or until you can eaisly roll the dough into balls. Spend hour dreaming of how good your cookies will taste.
Step 5: About 10 min before taking dough out of fridge start pre-heating the oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet. I always use the wrapper from the butter by rubbing it on the cookie sheet but if you want to use Pam or whatever else that will work too.
Step 6: Take dough out of fridge and measure out about spoon full size of dough. Then, roll dough into balls. Here is where you have the option of rolling the dough balls into the egg whites and then into the chopped walnuts. If you don’t like nuts (or are too poor/lazy to go buy them as I was when I made these) then skip that step and just roll dough into balls.
Step 7: Place dough balls on cookie sheet, I can usually fit 9 cookies in 3 x 3 rows on my cookie sheet but I have a gigantor mother of all cookie sheets so you may only be able to fit 6.
Step 8: After placing dough balls onto cookie sheet use your thumb to make a indentation big enough to fit about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of jam in.
Step 9: Bake for about 10 min depending on your oven.
Step 10: Remove from oven and just before serving cookies scoop jam into the hole. If your cookies don’t have an indentation for the jam when they get out of the oven try pressing them with a spoon while they are still warm to form an indentation for the jam.
Step 11: Eat and enjoy these wonderful little treats.

November 1, 2006

Peacock Costume

Filed under: holiday — by marieann @ 2:40 pm

Body Shot

I know it’s too late for you to make a costume this year for Halloween but there’s always next year (thanks Google!) or a themed celebration. This is a great costume because it looks very homemade and people will appreciate the effort you put into it.

Large piece of cardboard
10 pieces of white typing paper
Peacock feathers
Green/teal/blue clothing
Blue eye shadow
Long piece of ribbon

Cardboard knife
Paintbrushes (small and medium)
Stick glue

1. Curve the edge of the cardboard so that it makes a rounded plume. Cover the cardboard in white typing paper so that you can paint on it.
2. Draw teardrop shaped plumes all over the paper. Paint them in! I found it easiest to paint all the centers dark blue, then all the light blues, etc. Finally, add some gold wispies around the centers.
3. When it’s all dry, hold up the plume to your back and mark a hole beneath your armpit and above your shoulder near your neck for both arms. It is important that these are very close together. The ribbon can always stretch but if the holes are too far apart than the cardboard won’t stay straight on your back.
4. Thread ribbon thru the holes and tie them in the back to hold the plumes on your back.

Plumes Closeup

5. Wear blues/green/teal clothing. I wore a teal sweater, green skirt, and blue stockings.
6. Paint your face! Don’t forget dark blue eyeshadow!

Face Paintin'

7. Pin feathers in your hair standing up like real feathers.

Painting Closeup

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