Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tutorial: Five-Minute Tea Towel Apron

Before a cross-country trip to visit my family's old stomping grounds in Portland, Oregon this summer, I was frantically thinking about what to take as gifts for our hosts. A family of four, including two pre-teen kids, they are HUGE fans of Baltimore's own Berger Cookies, and I knew they'd be expecting me to bring them. I did, of course, but I wanted to include something a bit more unexpected. Everyone in the family cooks, so I decided to whip up some easy aprons out of supplies I had readily at hand: dish towels, grosgrain ribbon, and twill tape. This project literally could not be faster, and yet feels special and handmade when you give it as a gift.

For a one-size-fits-most apron, you'll need:
  • 1 tea towel in the pattern of your choice. My inner textile junkie often leads me to buy tea towels for the fabric alone. The fact that they're functional, too, is an added bonus. If you don't have a huge stash of dish towels at your disposal, head to a thrift store or your nearest Target to stock up on cool prints for under $5 each. Be sure to wash and press any new materials.
  • 6-7 ft. (72 - 84 in.) of grosgrain ribbon or twill tape. I used 1" wide ribbon, but you could use wider for a broader sash.
  • basic sewing supplies - pins, scissors, sewing machine, or needle and thread. I like to use a thread that is slightly lighter in color than the ribbon I'm using.

  1. Fold towel in half along the long edge.
  2. Fold ribbon in half and line up center point with folded top edge of the towel.

  3. Unfold ribbon and pin so that the top edge of the ribbon aligns with the top edge of the towel.
  4. Starting at the outer side edge of the towel, sew a top seam 1/8" in from top edge of ribbon and towel. Repeat with bottom edge of ribbon.

  5. That's it! Wrap around your waist or the waist of a friend and start cooking!

  • If you have another 10 minutes to spare, cut an 8x8" square out of contrasting fabric to make a handy pocket, a la this {beatrice + the bird} apron:

  • For a debatably more "masculine" version, cut the ribbon in half and sew one half to each short side of the apron. Or use twill tape instead of grosgrain.
Happy sewing!

Written by: Lily of {beatrice + the bird}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let's Go Out!

It’s always fun to play dress up and the Holidays are a perfect time to pull on something that makes you feel pretty and girly as soon as you zip it up. This would be great for a Holiday cocktail party or hosting a small but dressy New Year’s dinner party. I think I’d be happy just wearing it around the house and twirling around!

The B&W version of this dress from Etsy seller Weezie. Very “Retro” but with the bold stripes and B&W, I want to add some color. This awesome recycled/repurposed royal blue velvet clutch by Redeem Designs looks so soft and pettable! I like the organic shape of it and bright color against the striping of the dress and it looks so soft! I think I’d like to add fuchsia covered platform heels, too.

Lauren Polished Quartz Necklace by Kenton Beadworks

For jewelry, I like this clear crystal quartz bead necklace – like a strand of pearls but with a little edge. Lastly, you can’t forget to smell good and stay super-soft in the winter months! My favorite pick-me-up scent is Jasmine and you can’t beat the yummy smell and deep moisturizers in this vegan whipped body cream by Bunny Butt Apothecary.

Written By: FuzzyMug,

Monday, December 26, 2011

Favorite Etsy Shop - Camille Montgomery

I love anything that's made with reclaimed barn wood. I recently bought 2 picture frames that are just beautifully made from old barn wood.

I stumbled upon this etsy shop while I was poking around looking for more Christmas gifts! I love the crates that have been re-purposed into nightstands and dressers. Camille's candle holders are also really lovely.

Here are some of my favorites-

Written by Katie of Charms City Company

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Recyled Wrapping Paper Necklace

While you are unwrapping all those presents this holiday season remember to recycle that wrapping paper! Large pieces can be reused and smaller pieces can be made into cards, envelopes, accessories and more. To kick start those recycled wrapping paper ideas, Design by Night has created a tutorial for a wrapping paper necklace. You can easily take this tutorial and apply it to other accessories.

Wrapping Paper
White Glue
Scissors or X-acto Knife
4-Jump Rings
2-eye head pins
1-Lobster Clasp
Jewelry Pliers
Hot Glue
Felt (that compliments wrapping paper)
Piece of paper
  1. Cut several pieces of wrapping paper 2” wide. Vary the size from 10” to 36”.

  2. Take one of the pieces and fold it in half. Fold this half in half two more times making about a half inch high strip.

  3. Starting at an end, start to roll the paper on itself to create a tight coil. The coil will be larger or smaller depending on the length of the paper.

  4. When you get to the end, use the white glue to finish the coil. Hold in place until it is dry.

  5. After you have several coils you like, on a piece of paper arrange the coils into a design. When you get a design you like trace around the outside of it to create a backer template.

    Cut out the template and use it to cut out a piece of felt to use as a backer. Take your shapes and arrange them on the felt. Trim felt where necessary to avoid overhang.

  6. Using the hot glue gun, glue the eye pins on opposite sides of the shape. This is how you will attach the chain to your paper pendant.

  7. Hot glue the shapes to the felt backer.

  8. Figure out how long you want your necklace and cut 2 pieces of equal chain.
  9. Add a jump ring to one end of the chain and attach it to one of the eye head pins on the pendant. Repeat step with other side.

  10. Attach jump rings to both open ends of chain, making sure to add the lobster clasp to one of them.

Written by: Kolleen Kilduff from Design by Night

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My three things: Gifts for Boys to Inspire Craftiness

I was reading one of two-year-old son’s favorite winter books, the truly lovely Shall I Knit You a Hat, by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise, the other day, and it made me think about crafting with kids. Specifically, it made me think of crafting with little boys. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a young rabbit and his mother who, on the eve of a huge winter storm, decide to make wonderful and elaborate knitted hats for all their animal friends. Most of the adult crafters I know are women – often mothers – but I’d love for my son and other boys I know to follow in our footsteps. I fully intend to teach my boy to sew, knit, embroider, and make jewelry to the extent that he’s interested. If you’re interested in encouraging the boys in your life to pursue crafty hobbies, Etsy is chock-full with kits and ideas for a range of ages. Here are three (note: most require adult supervision and are appropriate for ages 4 and up):

Written by Lily of {beatrice + the bird}

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Vintage Dressing for the Holidays

The Holidays are finally upon us...which usually means lots of opportunities to get dressed up, and sometimes kick up your heels. Why not make those heels, that dress, and even some bling to accompany it all vintage this year? You might be doing your wallet, and the planet, a favor. Plus it's safe to say, you won't look around and see someone else in your outfit. Here are just a few items available at Etsy. For more ideas, just search the etsy vintage section, you will be amazed at the options out there.

Vintage Chiffon party Dress from Anna Yergat

Add a sweet little cardi to this and you are set!

If Green is more your color, how about this?

Gorgeous 70s era drape sleeved emerald party dress from Victoria Westbury.

Now for those shoes....

These ballet style patent pumps from SoLo Vintage Shop are a serious steal....if they fit me they'd be in my cart now.

And last but certainly not least...vintage bling just has that certain something.

Long 70s pendant fringe necklace from BasyaBerkman.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tutorial: Furoshiki

Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese method of using fabric to wrap gifts. It is a simple, eco friendly way to round out your gift giving during the holidays (or anytime), and is definitely a bonus for whoever is on the receiving end (they can reuse the fabric!). This red and white stripe satin furoshiki by Lucinda-Newton Dunn is a beautiful example. Get creative with scarves, tea towels, and/or scraps of fabric you might have laying around. Or, check out this super awesome tutorial from Bookhou on how to print your own!

Written by Rachael of Open Eyes Press

Red and white stripe furoshiki photo courtesy Lucinda-Newton Dunn.
Block printed furoshiki photo courtesy Poppytalk.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Power Plant Lazer Show, Baltimore Life

So if you have not made it down to the Inner Harbor to see the Grand Power Plant Holiday Light Show Spectacular, you MUST go soon!

We took our daughter down there one evening to see the lights and take in the beautiful decked out holiday harbor. To our delight we had a front row seat to the unbelievable lights, lasers, music and really intriguing projected imagery, right on the Power Plant building facade.

You won’t want to miss this event! There are plenty of showings through the 31st, so check it out while it's around!

Saturday, November 19 – Saturday December 31
Sunday – Thursday: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm
Friday – Saturday: 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Random Baltimore Photo

In 2008, Columbia-based Humanim renovated the American Brewery Building at 1701 N. Gay Street to serve as Baltimore headquarters for its services offerings to the community. I work as a Baltimore Reads volunteer for a GED class that meets there.

Submitted by Marcia Dresner at Wood Art for Living

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Simple Gift Card Holder Tutorial

Gift cards make great last minute gifts around the holiday. They are quick, easy and the recipient can get exactly what they want. Where they fall short however is presentation. Although most of us love to get gift cards they are often shoved in lack luster, totally boring envelopes...but no more!

This Simple Gift Card Holder tutorial by Smashed Peas and Carrots will have the packaging for the gift card be just as great as the present it holds. Check out the tutorial from Smashed Peas and Carrots by clicking here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Finds: Something Different for the Holidays

Etsy is an amazing resource for holiday gift and merchandise. Here are a few less traditional ideas from Christmas robots to Festivus celebrations to custom decorations.

Cinnamon Stick Christmas Ornament
by Lala Dangerous

Written by: Becca & Mars

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Off the Mall Holiday Craft Show

Eco Snack Pack by Open Eyes Press

Visit BEST members Design by Night, Open Eyes Press, Yarnings by Seanna and Heavens to Bessie this weekend at the Towson Commons Rotunda. The Towson ARTS Collective is having an Off the Mall Holiday Show. The show will feature Handmade Gifts and Collectibles, 2 for 1 beverage coupos, goofy gift swap, music & a kids art table. Plus there is FREE Parking in the garage!

Where: Towson Commons Rotunda, York Road and Pennsylvania Ave.
When: Saturday, December 17 and Sunday, December 18
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Birds Nest Necklace by Heavens to Bessie