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DIY

DreamCatcher Tutorial

Lana Hawk

IMG_2367.jpg

Babies are everywhere. Old Pink House is not immune to this epidemic. We are in full baby prep mode here at Old Pink House. Greta is due in July with her first little one and the whole family is prepping for another grand-baby. I, in true Lana form, have gone into a crafting frenzy these last few months making various things for Greta and her sweet baby girl on the way. She has shared various snippets of her thoughts on the nursery and ideas for a theme all along, so when it came time to prep for her baby shower I knew I wanted to create some decor she could use in the nursery after the shower was over. After a few late night Pinterest sessions, I settled on dreamcatchers as the big ticket item. I looked at a few online for inspiration, but decided to just go for it instead of wasting time looking at other people’s ideas. Below is a quick tutorial on how I made each one. In the above picture, I created the two smaller ones. Without knowing I had made smaller dreamcatchers, Greta purchased the larger one from our local favorite, Dottie Couture Boutique (SOLD OUT). The combination made for a perfect layered display at her shower. And bonus, it really only took me a couple hours to make all three. Once you are in the groove, it goes really quickly. An easy addition for any home, nursery, girls room, classroom, you name it!

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

embroidery hoop

variety of yarn/string

scissors

MATERIALS: I went with a variety of color and texture with the string/yarn. Depending on  your theme and color scheme, colors and textures may vary. I used thin yarn, thicker yarn, t-shirt yarn, ribbon, thin gold ribbon, lace yarn, and leftover sheer fabric from my mom’s wedding dress. .

Look at the size of your hoop and determine how long you want your tails to be. Then, add an extra 2 inches to each to allow room to tie. Err on the side of longer because you can always trim up the ends. Cut your string/yarn into strips.

THE MIDDLE: Figure out what you want the middle of your dreamcatcher to be. I went with one more traditional woven dreamcatcher and two smaller lace ones. I wanted these to be extra special for Greta and sweet baby girl, so the lace for the two smaller ones also came from my mom’s wedding dress. Baby Snell will have her Gammy’s wedding dress as a part of her room. Kind of cool right?

   TIP: The ones with the lace, I did the lace first and the tying second. The woven one, I started with the tying and ended with the weaving. Make sense?

LACE VERSION: I cut the lace to fit the embroidery hoop and fitted the hoop over the lace. I then proceeded with the tying outlined below.

TYING: Honestly, the tying is sort of a figure it out as you go. It was a bit trickier with the lace ones because I had to find/make holes in the lace to weave through. Otherwise, you really are just making a simple knot around the base of the hoop to secure each string. You can use a pattern as I did or simply tie on random pieces in random places. I placed the embroidery hoop clamp/tightener at the top of the dreamcatcher. If you do this, be sure to center your strings and make it even.

TIP: I started to secure the excess from each tie under the next knot. It kept the back a lot cleaner. So each new knot you tie, tuck in the ends of the previous one so they basically disappear.

WEAVING: For the woven dreamcatcher, I started by securing all my tails before doing the inside. For the how-to on this weaving, I honestly googled it. Just google “DreamCatcher weaving” or check out Pinterest. It is pretty basic and took no time at all to figure out and complete. For this portion I used the thin pink yarn I used for the tails. Once I secured my weaving, I went over the entire embroidery hoop with my fluffy white yarn. This covered up the weaving edges and made it look a bit more finished. And there it is! Three completed dreamcatchers in no time at all. Fully customizable too which means I could make 10 more and they wouldn’t look the same.

Kitchen Cabinet Facelift

Lana Hawk

Back in September, of 2015 the husband and I bought our first home. It is a simple 2 bedroom condo down in the suburbs of Denver. It was a fairly “move-in ready” place at the right price and available when we needed it. After moving in, we decided a few upgrades were in order to make it feel more like us and more like home. Our biggest project was the kitchen. The cabinets were this awful pinkish color with the cream roll out vinyl floors. Basic, but definitely not our style and not what we wanted to look at everyday.

What we started with…

As we began planning out our updates, we wanted a kitchen that was clean, simple and modern that didn’t break the bank. Our biggest goal in this place is to avoid overspending on things we can’t take with us when we move. So floors, countertops, etc. needed to be done in an inexpensive way. Translation: no new cabinets or custom kitchen. No problem. We decided on new floors, new countertops, and a little DIY paint job on the cabinets. A little intimidating to tackle the paint job, but lucky for me, my friend Jennifer over at Midwest Eclectic (follow her on instagram) is a PRO at kitchen cabinet paint jobs. Not to mention, she has impeccable style and design sense. You can read more of her tips and tricks on Curbly as well. Seriously. I can’t say that I am an expert in the kitchen cabinet painting department, but here is the basic tutorial she gave me for our kitchen re-do.

    1    Remove all cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware, including hinges.

    2    Tape off all the edges and lay down drop cloths.

    3    Clean cabinets with TSP (example here).

    4    Scrub down cabinets with a deglosser (example here).

    5    Clean cabinets again with TSP.

    6    Paint cabinets with a bonded primer.

    7    Paint cabinets with Benjamin Moore Advanced Paint (we used semi-gloss and high gloss).

    8    Paint cabinets AGAIN with Benjamin Moore Advanced Paint

It was quite the process, but the end result was certainly worth it! The paint job alone was a HUGE improvement, even with the still ugly vinyl flooring in place. We were truly amazed at the end result and the quality of the paint. We have had no issues with chipping or scratches on the paint and the cabinets still look great. Here are a few things I learned along the way.

  • Scrub Sponge: For the cleaning with TSP, I used a scrubber sponge to help break down the finish on the cabinets. I really wanted to avoid sanding and the TSP/degloss/TSP process, along with the sponge helped make that happen. I just used a simple rag for deglossing.
  • Air: Take a break regularly during the deglossing process. That stuff packs a major punch and will leave you a bit dizzy if you don’t get some fresh air!
  • Tape: Tape off edges carefully and thoroughly. This will save time later on with touch ups.
  •  Edging: Although not ideal, if you are getting new countertops, it is probably best to paint edges AFTER the new countertops go in. We painted before and had a major touch up situation on our hands at the base of the countertops. The old countertop used to hang over and the new quartz countertops do not. Back to the beginning to complete the process.
  • Tylenol: Take tylenol because with all the crouching your legs and back will hurt.
  • Timing: Pay attention to dry time and time needed between coats. The whole process took us a good 3-4 days to complete with dry time included. The doors are the hardest because you need them to dry thoroughly before flipping. Don’t rush the process. Better to be slow and purposeful rather than risk having to start over.
  • Rollers: Rollers are tricky. We tried a couple different rollers to figure out which ones worked the best and were the least “streaky”. We used short fat ones for edges, long skinny ones for the bigger sections, and a couple other random ones. Find what works for you and keep your rolling direction consistent to avoid streaks.
  • Drips: Watch for drips. If you don’t catch them early, they become permanent and will require a bit of sanding and a restart. We did pretty well with only a few that need to be fixed. I’m sure that will happen right before we move.
  • Add Hardware: We also added hardware after doors were reinstalled. This, paired with the paint job, updated the kitchen and made it feel much more put together. We went with simple knobs from Lowes and they turned out great. We went with round knobs all around to keep the install as simple as possible.

We were really happy with the end result and the cabinets have held up over the last few months. We opted out of painting the insides of the cabinets to save our sanity. The inner trim and the inside of the doors were a must to ensure a finished look. Ideally we would go with stainless steel appliances, but the refrigerator and stove were less than a year old. Hard to spend that much money to replace something in such good condition. So white appliances it is!

*Additional updates: We added simple hardware to the cabinets (found at Lowes), new countertops and floors, a new faucet, and finally a new sink.

**Sidenote: We hired someone to do floors and countertops because of some leveling issues with the floor. Plus, some things are best left to the professionals and worth the money to save us time!

The painting…

And the finished product…

Easy DIY Baby Blanket

Lana Hawk

I don’t know about you, but I am currently in the life season of “everyone is having babies.” Is that just me? Anyone else? With all the babies comes the idea of figuring out what to get new moms for their little ones. I am a huge fan of buying gifts of need over want and providing something of value to new moms. I also love to add a personal touch and give something with a bit more meaning than something bought at the store. Over the years I have tried the ribbon/tag blankets and various other blanket versions. With this new season of “everyone is having babies”, I have tried to come up with a simple blanket that is functional and also cute. Enter this tutorial! I have now made 7 of these babies and they are super easy. So, for all those moms-to-be and their little ones, try out one of these blankets as an easy gift.

Materials Needed

Fabric in 4-5 patterns

scissors

sewing machine and thread

batting 

solid fabric for back (I use a light fleece or flannel)

**TIP: The pictures are a mixture of different blankets created. The first used only 4 strips, the other uses 5. This tutorial is easily customizable to whatever works for you! See notes at the end to find out additional ways I have changed it up.

**TIP: All my fabrics were found at JoAnn Fabrics. They have upped their fabric game. I also usually check Hobby Lobby because they often have cute fabrics and I ALWAYS use those coupons. I usually buy 1/2 yard to a yard at time so I always have fabrics on hand to make another blanket.

*This originally appeared on Old Pink House. All step-by-step pictures are posted at the end of the tutorial.

STEP-BY-STEP

Step 1: Cut your patterned fabric into equal size strips. I went for something around 7 by 36 inches. Why 36 inches? So, here’s the deal. I really dislike the need to be so precise with measuring and cutting. That is a lot of focused time and attention. To solve that issue, I usually buy a yard of fabric at a time and can get quite a few blankets using the same fabric. I then straighten the one edge and cut into 7 inch strips. Sidenote: Because I am not super diligent in my measuring, sometimes they aren’t the same length. I sew the strips together, even or not, and trim it up after. No pattern means I get to make my own rules and do it my way. 

Step 2: Pin the right sides together of your first two strips. Sew along the long edge using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step 3: Repeat until the front is completed. Be sure to keep right sides together each time!

Step 4: Cut your batting and back fabric to the same size as the front. I usually the cut the back fabric first, pin it to the front, and then cut the batting before pinning all 3 layers together.

Step 5: See pictures at the end. Pin the right sides of the patterned front and back fabric together. The batting should be pinned on top of the patterned fabric.

Step 6: Sew along the outer edge of your blanket using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. IMPORTANT: leave a hole of about 5 inches. You need this hole to turn your blanket right side out. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your project.

Step 7: Cut the corners as seen below. This allows your corners to be as crisp as possible. With this much fabric, this gives a little more space to sharpen your corners.

Step 8: Moment of truth. Through that tiny hole you left, start pulling your layers out. Take your time and don’t force it or you will rip the edges a bit. Feed a little bit of time out until your blanket is completely right side out.

Step 9: Pull the blanket completely out and sharpen the corners as best you can. If you really want to make the blanket a bit more “cleaned up” iron out the blanket before continuing on to the next step.

Step 10: This is my least favorite part. Bust out your needle, thread it, and seal up the hole you left. I do a no-show stitch that is far from perfect. I mean if you look closely, it’s seriously rough, but it does what it needs to by sealing up the hole. You will be going over the whole blanket again to make it a bit more finished, this is just one of those things you have to do. 

Step 11: Time for the finishing touches! I usually up my seam length a bit for this one. Maybe 3.5 inches or so. This does a few things, it 1) makes it go a bit faster and 2) seems a bit fancier. I’ve done a zigzag stitch before, but I like the clean lines of a basic stitch for this particular project. So, I use about a 1/2 inch seam allowance and sew all the way around the blanket. You can adjust the seam allowance based on how your machine is working. With all the fabric and can sometimes be a bit hard to get right on a half inch, so I will often use whatever seam allowance works for the blanket.

Step 12: Wrap that beauty up and gift it to your nearest and dearest about to have a little one. Here are a few examples of the blankets used by my awesome mom friends. And can I just say, baby models? Seriously.

HOW TO CUSTOMIZE: As I mentioned, I have done several variations of this blanket and have loved them all. Here are a few options:

  • Use the long strips and vary the size of the blanket by how many strips you use.
  • Use more strips and fabrics, but make them thinner. So instead of 4-5 fabrics, use 8-10. Or use the same 4-5 fabrics, but use thinner strips and do two of each fabric.
  • Add a fun print to the back of the blanket.
  • Add some hand stitching to have a “quilted” effect without the endless hours of quilting. Seriously, I considered doing this and thought of a better way to use those hours and hours.
  • Go more traditional with squares. For Greta (and Zoey’s) blanket, I used squares. I used 7 different fabrics and made 6 rows to make an even pattern. See the picture below. This one certainly took the longest, but I think it turned out well!

DIY Girls T-Shirt Dress

Lana Hawk

I love learning and trying new things. I’m constantly reading and looking up tutorials online (thank you Pinterest) to find something new to try. Over the last several years, I’ve taken up (or returned to) sewing. I love the idea of creating something from a square of fabric. Even with sewing classes, detailed instructions, and tutorials, I’m a trial and error kind of girl. One of the first lessons I learned in a sewing class was measure twice and cut once. Not me. I just go for it and fix mistakes as I go! Not the best method, but it works for me. It also explains why I will probably never take up serious, precise quilting as a hobby. I would probably go insane or break something. All that to say, I like to keep sewing projects simple and leave room for imperfections. As I said in my camera strap tutorial, imperfections are what make it homemade and personal. Right? At least that is how I see it.

So, for about six months now I have had fabric prepped, primed, and readied to make a dress of some sort for one of my adorable nieces. I wanted to try and make an easy dress using a t-shirt with a gathered, fabric skirt. Finally, I got around to focusing on completing my incomplete project. Anyways, I did a little internet search and found a couple tutorials to help me in the process. I used this tutorial (here) to get me started and then made my usual modifications to complete my own version. I have now made two dresses with each taking me just about an hour to make. To be honest, the darn cutting is what took me forever. Measuring. Always with the measuring.

**Note: Since I have made two dresses, pictures go between my first attempt (pink and purple) and second attempt (white and yellow). Sorry for any confusion.

DIY GIRLS T-SHIRT DRESS

Supplies Needed:

1 1/4 yard of fabric

1 coordinating t-shirt or tank

coordinating thread

sewing machine and other sewing tools (if you’re like me, a seam-ripper)

1. Start by prepping the fabric. Wash fabric on delicate, dry, and iron. This is one lesson from sewing class that has stuck with me. Best to prep it so it lasts longer with future washes.

2. Once fabric is ironed, it is time to cut. Cut your fabric into a 14 inch by 42 inch size piece. My niece wears 4T to 5T, so these measurements work well with a 5T top. The picture below shows how long the fabric is compared to the shirt. Adjust as needed. I actually used a dress at Target to get an idea for length.

3. Time to prep your shirt. Take your shirt and lay it flat out on your cutting mat. Be sure your edges are even and there aren’t any major folds. Then, measure approximately 4 inches (give or take) down from the armpit of the shirt. Place your ruler down securely and cut across the shirt. Your shirt is now ready to go!

4. Now, bust out your iron again to create a nice pressed seam at the bottom of your fabric. Fold up the fabric on the long edge a tiny bit (told you I was exact). I’m talking less than 1/4 inch. Press it with your iron without burning your fingers. Then, fold up that edge again making a slightly larger (about 1/4 inch) folded edge. Press again with the iron. Go ahead and place a few pins in your bottom seam to keep it still for sewing.

5. Time to sew! This is where it gets scary and seam-rippers sometimes make an appearance (mine was used on attempt #1). Start by sewing a seam along your pinned bottom edge. Make sure the folded edge is secured with your stitch.

6. On the opposite, long edge do a long basting stitch. Basically, all you do is lengthen your normal stitch as long as it can go. Mine went to 5.0. Sew a 1/4 inch seam along the top edge of your fabric. Again, make sure this is the longest stitch length possible and DON’T backstitch.

7. Put the right sides of your fabric together and sew your fabric into a tube of sorts. I start at the top, just below the basting stitch. You want to make sure you can still use the basting stitch to gather the fabric so avoid anything that might make it permanent.

8. Now comes the fun part, gathering! Gently begin pulling one end of the basting stitch. As you pull, gather the fabric and slide it down to make room for more gathers. Do this from both ends of the fabric (now sewn together) until you have a fairly tightly gathered tube of fabric.

9.  Once you feel like you are tired of gathering, grab your shirt. Keep your shirt right side out and place face down into your tube of fabric. Line up the seam of the fabric tube to the middle of the back of the shirt. Line up the edges of your fabric with the shirt. If your fabric is too large or too small, adjust your gathering accordingly. Pin up your edges and take a deep breath… time to REALLY sew.

10. Select the slanted zig-zag stitch on your machine. Make your stitch longer (I went with 3.5) and wider (I went with 2.5) and test it on a similar fabric until it feels right. Yep, that’s how I did it. Does it look okay? Have a little give? Okay.

11. Time to sew. Sew around the inside of your tube using a 1/4 inch seam. My machine wouldn’t backstitch using the zigzag stitch, so I did a backstitch at the beginning and end using a normal stitch before switching to the zigzag. Then go for it. As you go, make sure you are keeping the gathered fabric from clumping up under the seam. My first attempt ended in a beautiful seam with a giant clump of extra fabric sewn in smack in the front-middle of the dress. Thank goodness for seam-rippers!

12. Last step, turn it right side out, admire your work, and put it on the cutest little girl you know! It may be a bit basic and the seam may not stretch as much as it should, but for a simple one hour dress… I was happy.

DIY Camera Strap

Lana Hawk

As I continue to learn and practice photography, I felt like my camera strap needed an update. Looking around I see tons of adorable camera straps that are handmade and stitched to perfection (Made with Love by Gabriela Koopmans are definitely swoon-worthy). Those same camera straps run upwards of $60, and I am just not ready to drop that much money on one. So, I set out on a little DIY project hunt. I searched all over the great internet, looking for ideas and inspiration. I combined a couple different tutorials to create the one I am going to show you here. Before I show you what I did and how I did it, a few things I learned.

  •     •    Leather is a pain to work with. A huge pain. I had to use a seam ripper multiple times in the beginning because I couldn’t get my darn sewing machine to advance. AND, this was my second strap attempt. Oh well, problem solving, patience, and a few tricks will get you through.
  •     •    Good pictures are hard to come by as you work through a project like this. I took a few pictures throughout, but as I began the actual sewing process, I was so focused on making sure I was advancing on the leather that the pictures got left behind.
  •     •    DIY and “hand-crafted”equals rough around the edges. My product is imperfect. I had to trim up some edges, fix some stitches, and yet, there are still spots that if you look too closely you can see five stitches on top of each other or a crooked seam, BUT that’s what makes them great! I love the imperfections because in the end, it’s still made by me. Also, it ensures that I will most likely never make these to sell, which is great because … well, see bullet point #1. Seriously.

Supplies Needed

Scarf (you can also use regular fabric about 1.25 yards) // $14 Dottie Couture

Scraps of leather (enough for 4 x 3inch squares) // $5 Hobby Lobby

Old camera strap (for the black cords)

Sewing Machine

Dark thread // $2

Leather sewing needle // $5 Hancock Fabrics

Scissors

Measuring tape/ruler

TOTAL COST: $26

** You could also use an old scarf to make this even cheaper!

**Pictures are in order at the end.

  1. Hang your scarf or fabric around your neck to find your preferred length of strap. I started with about 47 inches  (120 cm) but ended up shrinking that to 45 inches (1.25 yards or 115 cm). (Remember, you will have cords added at the end, as well as the leather.) Be sure to keep that in mind when you decide on length. I wanted to make sure I had space/room to have it around my neck and shoulders and shoot at the same time. If I were to make another one, I would probably go a bit shorter. Mine is a bit long.
  2. Now, Lay out your scarf or fabric with your measuring tape over top. Find your preferred length and cut. The great news here is that you don’t need to be precise in cutting a straight line. These edges will be concealed in the leather. The ever-difficult task of getting that line straight need not stress you out! High fives all around.
  3. Next, you need to make yourself a pattern for your leather. On a piece of paper, measure out and draw a 2-in. x 2-in. square. Find the center on one side and measure up 1 in. and make a small mark. At that mark, draw a 5/8-in. log line to make a flat edge instead of a point. Then, connect the end of that shorter line to the corners of the square. Confused yet? Look at the picture below to get an idea of what I’m talking about.
  4. Now, on the raw side of the leather (or hidden side) trace the outline of your pattern. Cut out four identical pieces from your scrap leather.
  5. Cut the black cords off the end of your old camera strap. I cut right at the end so I have the longest possible strap to use.
  6. Sewing time! If you haven’t already, change out your normal needle for a leather needle (examples here). Make sure you buy needles that are intended for leather and fit your machine. Once you change out your needle, thread your machine with a dark thread to semi-match your leather. I used navy. I debated using a lighter thread to liven things up, but was a bit nervous about that showing too many imperfections.
  7. Take one set of your leather pieces and one cord. Place your cord on top of one of the leather pieces making sure it enters the short side and goes almost all the way to the start of your 2-in. square. Place the other leather piece on top. Now, sew across the short end of the leather. I don’t pin this because it is short and leather is hard enough to deal with without throwing in the pins.   [**Tip: Wedge the back of your presser foot to help move your sewing machine forward. I am usually a “hold on and go” kind of operator, but with this, slow and steady is best. Give your machine some help and a tug from the back to move it forward. Also, keep a seam-ripper handy!]
  8. Next, sew the diagonal lines as close to the edge as you can get. We are talking 1/4-in. seam or smaller. When finished, trim off the excess to make your seams and lines a bit cleaner.
  9. Finish off the cord end, by sewing across the diagonals sealing the squared end off by itself. You should now have the cord sticking out of the end with a triangle sewed into your leather.
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 with your second set of leather pieces.
  11. Grab the end of your scarf and fold it up like an accordion. The length of the folds shouldn’t exceed your 2-in. square. Keep them about 1 1/2 in. long.
  12. Place your accordion folded end inside the 2-in. square section of one of your pieces. Make sure it goes as close to the sewn seam as possible. Now comes the hard part. This is where my machine got angry. Start with the bottom edge of your 2-in. square to secure your scarf. Sew across that side using a wedge to help you get your machine going. I also chose to start in the middle of that side. It helped having something to pull on the back and also, not having to ramp up on to the scarf seemed to help. Just don’t forget to finish the other half! Now, you should have a triangle sewed in the leather with the cord sticking out and a scarf sealed up on the other side.
  13. We are on the home stretch! Sew up the sides of your 2-in. square completing the four sides.
  14. Sew an X through the middle of the square. This makes it look a bit more finished and provides insurance on holding your camera tight.
  15. Trim off excess ends of the leather and clean up edges. Scissors help fix imperfections in sewing and seam allowances. Don’t neglect your threads either!
  16. Repeat steps 11-15 for the other end of your strap.
  17. You’re done! Now, spend a few minutes admiring your DIY/handcrafted loveliness.
  18. Strap on your camera, and give it a test run.

A few other camera strap tutorials that were helpful can be found on Home Sweet Ruby and from fellow hometown alum Stacie Grissom. Below is another camera strap I made for Greta, too.

 

Dressing Up the Mantel

Lana Hawk

First of all, sorry about the bad pun in the title. It just had to happen. I have watched CNN Student News with Carl Azuz one too many times. The puns just flow out of me sometimes. Anyways…

I love fireplaces, not just for their functional value, but also for their ascetic value. We live in an apartment at the moment and that fireplace provides a great focal point in an otherwise bland (actually beige) room. With that as a clear focus of the room, I try and utilize it as much as possible. The mantle is perfect to display some of my favorite old books, a wedding photo, and a lovely clock (shoutout to our woodworking daddio). Aside from those things, an easy way to draw attention and add interest is dressing up the mantle with fun garland. I have experimented with a number of different varieties, but here are a few of my favorites with a few tips to create your own.

Scrap Fabric Garland

For this one, I grabbed seven different types of fabric scraps from my huge collection of fabric. I ripped and cut the fabric into strips about five inches long. I then knotted the fabric on to the twine with some space between. I used about seven of each kind of fabric. For a couple of the thinner fabrics, I double knotted them to add a bit of oomph to the middle. It’s a great spring garland and it is currently brightening up our living room!

 Pennant Banner

I have done a few variations of this one, including a smaller one for Greta’s bachelorette weekend. For this, I drew out a template for the fabric on paper leaving extra room at the top to fold over and sew (or glue). I then took each one and folded the top over allowing plenty of room for twine to feed through. Then it was time for the lettering. For this one, I went for it freehand. The other pennant banner was more of a traditional triangle pennant and I painted using lettering stencils.

Map Garland

I love maps. I think I’ve mentioned it before. This garland was a great way to use an old atlas and it was incredibly easy. For this one, I used my circle punch from Michaels and punched a number of circles out of the atlas pages. I then simply started my sewing machine, gave the ends a bit of room/length, and then started sewing the circles together. This would be easy to do with any printed paper or paper product. A friend of mine made a one-of-a-kind mobile for a nursery using the same technique.

Draped White Garland

This one was a great addition to our mantle for both Christmas and Easter. For this one, I again used five different white scrap fabrics including fabric from flowers I made for Greta’s wedding and fabric from my mom’s wedding dress. I made these strips quite a bit longer, about six to seven inches long. I tied the fabric to twine (I do love twine) tying only the top inch or so of the fabric letting the rest hang down. This fabric garland is more tightly packed than the other to add layers of texture with all the different types of fabrics. Ideally I will eventually make the section of fabric a bit larger, but for now, it works quite nicely. Now the question is, how do you dress up your mantel?

 

Meal Planning Board

Lana Hawk

Cooking can be fun. I love cooking new dishes, favorite dishes, and for guests. The problem comes with the mundane, quick weeknight meals. What usually happens with our grocery shopping is we go with no plan, buy a bunch of random items, and our weeknight meals turn into a constant “What are we having for dinner tonight?” problem. That is when I do not like cooking. The scramble, throw something together, functional cooking. All of the scrambling also goes against those type-A tendencies I hold so dear. So, to alleviate the stress of weeknight cooking, I started to actually plan meals in advance and make grocery lists. Talk about a revolution. To help with the planning, I made a meal board to organize our weekly menu and keep my husband and I on the same page each day. It was really quite easy, and I ended up using materials I already had on hand. It’s all about finding a way to use all the craft stuff I have accumulated over the years. Hopefully, you can find some inspiration to create something similar and start planning those weeknight meals.

SUPPLIES NEEDED

Old frame

Scrap fabric cut into the size of the glass in your frame

Tape

About 14 inches of twine

7 small circles of paper

7 clothespins

3 pieces of paper (appx 2×4 for pockets)

Hot glue gun

Marker

Scrap paper for menu options

Paint (optional)

Needle and thread (optional)

STEP-BY-STEP

  1. Plan: First, decide on your color scheme and choose your paper and fabric being sure they look okay together before diving in. I went with stripes for the fabric, a more colorful print for the days of the week, and a neutral for my envelopes.
  2. Frame: After choosing the coordinating fabric and paper, decide on a paint color for the frame. Obviously, you don’t have to paint the frame, but I wanted a pop of color. I chose a bright turquoise/blue color to accent the printed paper and painted over a couple coats on the frame.
  3. Fabric: Pull out your fabric and wrap it around the glass. I actually just attached the loose edges to the back using tape. Better to keep your options open for future use with the frame!
  4. Twine: With the fabric in place, measure your twine to the length of the long side of the frame with a bit of length to spare. Place the twine down the left side of the glass (a couple inches from the frames edge) and again tape it down in back. Then, fix the glass into place inside the frame.
  5. Planning: Now comes the planning space. Make seven small circles of equal size labeling each one with a different day of the week. I went with the first initial for the sake of space. Attach each of these to the edge of a clothespin using your hot glue gun.
  6. Pockets: For the pockets, the measurements are approximate. Depending on the size of the frame, your pockets may be slightly smaller or larger. Fold your pieces of paper into half and seal up the edges. This is where I used a needle and thread. Again, I wanted to add a little something and decided glue wasn’t going to cut it. Once the pockets are sealed up, label them with three different categories. I chose “Soups & Crockpot”, “Go-To’s & International”, and “Sides & Others.” This fits our normal meal routine quite well and the last category pretty much covers the rest. Attach your label or write the categories directly on the pockets.
  7. Assembly: Assembly time! Using your trusty hot glue gun (and lots of glue), attach the seven clothespins to the twine and then attach the three pockets to the far right side.
  8. Finishing Touches: Once it is all assembled, cut small slips of paper to write down your favorite recipes or recipes you use regularly. The weekly plan will then be attached to the clothespins, with the extras going in the proper pocket.

The planning board has really helped organize our weekly grocery trip and weeknight meals. It is more enjoyable having a plan for the week and knowing what needs to be done to prep in advance. We still have days/weeks without a plan, but having this on the wall serves as a great reminder to make a plan to alleviate the stress of those weeknight meals.

How do you plan out your weekly meals?