Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cereal Box Lacing Cards


Made from common household materials, these lacing cards won't cost you a thing. Change them up by making them into different shapes and decorating the centers. Perfect for beginning sewers of all ages!

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.


You will need:

  1. An empty cereal box
  2. Yarn
  3. Standard hole punch
  4. Scissors
  5. Scotch tape


Cut desired card shape from cereal box.

Use hole punch to punch holes around the outside of the card.

Tie one end of the yarn though a hole in the card.
Tape yarn end to back of lacing card.

Wrap loose end of yarn with scotch tape.
Trim tip.

Note: For younger children, use a shorter piece of yarn so it's easier to manage and less likely to get tangled. Keep yarn long for practicing more complicated stitches.

Mini Doll Books


Made from scratch paper and recycled cereal boxes, these mini doll books are as earth-friendly as they are fun! Just cut, prep, staple, and you're set. Make several at once so your child can write a thrilling series for their dolly friends to read.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

You will need:

  1. An empty cereal box
  2. Scratch paper
  3. A stapler & staples
  4. Rotary cutting supplies

Not pictured: ruler for rotary cutter, rotary cutting mat


From cereal box, cut book cover  to 3" tall x 6" wide.

To score book cover, use rotary cutter as you usually would, but only press blade through the surface of the cardboard. Do not cut all the way through.
Score book cover at 2 1/2", 3", and 3 1/2".

Cut scratch paper to 10 pieces measuring 3" tall x 2 3/4" wide.

Fold book cover at center (3") scoring line.

Sandwich paper in between book cover, making sure all edges are aligned along open sides.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Embroidered Heart Magnets


Made from recycled cereal boxes, these sweet little heart magnets are both easy and economical to make. Stitch up a handful and share the love with your friends and family.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.


You will need:

  1. An empty cereal box
  2. 2" circle punch
  3. Hot glue gun & glue
  4. Magnet
  5. Corrugated cardboard
  6. Thumbtack
  7. Scratch paper
  8. Scissors
  9. Embroidery floss
  10. Embroidery needle

Not pictured: scotch tape

Using the circle punch, cut one circle for each magnet.

Cut a small heart from scratch paper.
Center heart over a circle and place on top of cardboard.
Use thumbtack to poke holes around the outside of the heart.

Choose embroidery floss and thread onto the needle. Do not tie a knot.
Tape one end of the embroidery floss to the back of the circle.

To sew heart, poke the needle up through the second hole from the bottom.
Send needle down through the hole at the base of the heart.
Bring needle back up through the third hole.
Send needle back down through the second hole again.

Continue to sew, sending the needle up through the hole in front and back down through the hole just behind it for the rest of the heart.

Mini Magnet Quilts


Half the fun in sewing a quilt is deciding how to arrange all the pieces and with this fun mini magnet quilt, you can rearrange the pieces over and over again to your heart's content! It stores easily in a recycled mint container... or on your fridge! These mini quilts are perfect for gift giving too!

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

You will need:

  1. adhesive business card magnets
  2. fabric scraps
  3. dark thread*
  4. paper
  5. pen
  6. empty mint tin
  7. small bit of stuffing

Not pictured: sewing machine, sewing scissors, rotary cutting supplies

*Sewing through the magnets makes the thread a little dirty. Use a darker color thread and it won't show.


Use rotary cutting supplies to cut magnets into the following pieces:

  • 1" x 1" squares (cut 13)
  • 1" x 3" rectangles (cut 4) 

Peel paper off magnet and fix the sticky side of the magnet onto the back of a fabric scrap.

Trim fabric around magnet.

With fabric side up, sew around magnet using an 1/8" seam allowance, making sure to backstitch as you stop and start.
When you finish sewing, there will be a slight bump next to the backstitching.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Valentine's Day Bubble Tags


These festive bubble wands make great sugar-free valentines to give to friends. And personalizing them is quick and easy with this free printable.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

You will need:
  1. "Happy Valentine's Day!" bubble tag free printable (click HERE to view and print)
  2. Small bubble wands
  3. Pen
  4. Glue stick
  5. Scissors or paper cutter

Follow link above to print bubble tags.
Use scissors or a paper cutter to cut tags apart.
Fold each tag in half.

Mixed Media Confetti


Made from bits of photographs and craft paper, this confetti is quick and doesn't cost a thing! So grab those hole punches and get ready for a party!

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

You will need:

  1. 1/8" hole punch
  2. Standard hole punch
  3. Glitter
  4. Card stock
  5. Old photographs


Punch holes from a variety of card stock and old photograph leftovers.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Woodsman Peg Doll Tutorial


Little Red Riding Hood is in trouble! Lucky for her, this handsome woodsman is well equipped to come to her rescue.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

 You will need:
  1. A wooden peg person (1" wide x 2 1/2" tall)
  2. White ribbing (2 1/2" wide x 3/4" tall)
  3. Lightweight flannel (4" wide x 1 1/2" tall)
  4. Khaki (3 1/2" wide x 3/4" tall)
  5. Brown ribbing (1 1/2" wide x 1 1/4" tall)
  6. Brown thread
  7. Leather scrap (1 1/4" wide x 1/4"-1/2" tall)
  8. Twine (4")
  9. Bamboo skewer
  10. Aluminum foil (5" wide x 2" tall)

Not pictured: hot glue gun and glue sticks, sewing machine and thread, sewing scissors, rotary cutting supplies, paper scissors
Draw a line of hot glue down the wrong side of one short (3/4") edge of the white ribbing and attach to doll from the neck down.
Pulling slightly, wrap ribbing around doll body, add hot glue to the remaining end, and glue in place.

With the glued ends of the undershirt at the back of the doll, add glue to the back of the beard and attach beard to doll face.

Grandmother & the Wolf Peg Doll Tutorial


That wicked old wolf is doing his best to look like Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. Help him look the part with this simple dress and bonnet. Don't forget his ears--all the better to hear you with!

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.


You will need:
  1. A wooden peg person (1" wide x 2 1/2" tall)
  2. White lace (3" wide x 1 1/2" tall)
  3. Calico (5" wide x 4" tall)
  4. Bakers twine
  5. A small scrap of brown leather

Not pictured: hot glue gun and glue sticks, sewing machine and thread, sewing scissors, rotary cutting supplies

With the wrong side of the calico facing up, fold each short (4") end over 1/2" and press.
Fold fabric in half, matching up raw ends.
Sew raw edges together using a 1/4" seam allowance.
Turn dress right side out, position seam at center back, and press.
Edgestitch (sew 1/8" from the edge) each remaining open end.


With the center seam facing the doll, glue one edge of the dress in place along the doll's body.
Wrap dress around body and glue in place along back edge.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood Peg Doll Tutorial

Creating your own Little Red Riding Hood is as fun and simple as helping her tell her story. With a few tidbits from your sewing room you'll have Red all dressed and ready to go to Grandmother's house in a jiffy.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.
You will need:
  1. A wooden peg person (1" wide x 2 1/2" tall)
  2. White lace (2 3/4" wide x 1 1/2" tall)
  3. Red quilting cotton (4" wide x 2 1/2" tall)
  4. Bakers twine
  5. A thimble
  6. Gingham (2" wide x 2" tall)
  7. A small brown pom pom

Not pictured: hot glue gun and glue sticks, sewing machine and thread, sewing scissors, pinking shears, rotary cutting supplies

Place a small dab of hot glue at doll's neck and press a top corner of the lace into the glue.
Wrap lace around body, add another dab of hot glue, and attach remaining top corner of lace at neck.

With the wrong side facing up, fold a long (4") edge over 1/4" and press.
With the right side facing up, edgestitch (sew 1/8" from the fold) along the folded edge.
Fold the hood in half, wrong sides together.
Use pinking shears to trim the remaining raw edges and round the corners.

Center the sewn edge of the hood around the doll's face.
Use bakers twine to tie the hood in place at neck. Pull twine tight and secure with a square knot.
Trim twine ends to desired length.

(See the rest of the tutorial below)

Glitter Tags Tutorial


These fun gift tags are a snap to make and add a punch of glam without spending the big bucks. Make several at once and you'll be set for months.

Note: I originally published this tutorial in my portfolio, but over the next little while I'll be working on re-publishing these tutorials here just to simplify things and keep it all together.

You will need:

  1. Assorted card stock
  2. A 2" circle punch and an 1/8" hole punch
  3. Circle sponge brushes
  4. Glitter
  5. School glue
  6. A disposable cup

Not pictured: water and a plastic spoon for mixing
Use the 2" circle punch to cut tags from card stock, old post cards, etc.
Use the 1/8" hole punch to punch a hole at the top of each tag.

(See the rest of the tutorial below)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Heart of my heart, true of my true


As I've mentioned before, writing braggy things about myself is not really my favorite kind of writing to do. And, as it turns out, writing braggy things about my book kind of falls into the same category. Unfortunately for me, a big part of being an author in this techno-savvy world we live in is constantly saying "Look at me! Be my friend! Buy my book!" Let me just say up front that I hope I never come off that way. If there's one thing I want to be it's genuine.

Anyway, this moment of reflection is brought to you by the fact that I have to write a press release. I've never written a press release in my life, so I'm eternally grateful once again to my publisher, Cedar Fort, for teaching me all the things. Still, I'm pretty sure it's going to feel a little like writing my biographies, so I'm trying to pump myself up for it. I've been back to feeling totally overwhelmed and inadequate when I think about the fact that I've written a book and (insert all the things I'm feeling second-rate about), so I thought I'd do a little pumping up of the self by talking about who I am and what I'm good at.

Let's start by saying this: I'm realizing these two things more and more...

1. I'm trying to remember that I'm still young and in a super transitional phase of life.
2. This is my beginning.

You know what I love? Seeing pictures of beautiful women who I really admire... before they really fit into their own skin and knew themselves really well. It gives me hope because I know I'm not there yet. I like to think, at the ripe old age of 26, that I'm totally myself. That I have myself figured out. That my sense of style is spot-on. Bah. Yeah right. Just like I watch my daughter throughout the day and catch glimpses of that inner self, that girl I'll still see in her eyes her whole life through, I have moments of reflection and realization when I think to myself, "Oh. This is right. This is who I am." Sometimes it's on an especially stylish day. More often it's when I'm gluing pom poms to cardboard circles for no apparent reason.

We took the last week off from book writing and optometrist-becoming and preschool-going to visit Bryan's parents and his little brother. While we were there we looked around at a model home (which, ahem, there's no way we could afford, so, Mom, don't give up hope yet that we'll never move back to Oregon). The home was beautiful. It was gorgeous. And it wasn't even some mansion home. It was just a little condo, basically a cross between a big apartment and a regular-sized townhouse. But the details and the layout made my heart pitter patter. And it was sometime after being there and then returning back to our funky little townhouse that we call home that it kind of hit me; we only have two more years of student life left. My mom went back to school when I was little, then I was in school, then college, and then even after I graduated my dear husband has still been in school. So in a very real way, the student life is all I've ever really known. It's going to be a shock to our systems (but, ya know, hopefully a really awesome shock) when Bryan graduates, gets a job (fingers crossed), and we actually start paying off student loans instead of accruing more. And he won't have homework to do all evening! What will that be like?

I'm so happy and comfortable in our current situation and our little townhouse is cute and funky and just the right size for us, so it's easy for me to forget that it'll only be for a couple more years. New schedules, new address, new life. Thank goodness for keeping the same family. :) Still, the point of all this rambling is that, even though my situation feels permanent now, it's not. And as much as I hate to admit it, some of the things I feel insecure about really could be solved by a little extra funding.

So, dear self, you should feel like a champ. You make do with thrift store and Craigslist finds. You make business cards out of cereal boxes. You have no idea how to use your camera, but you photographed and wrote a whole book anyway and it's getting published this year. Someday you'll take classes and buy better equipment. But for now you're making it on cereal boxes. High five, little selfie.