Saturday, December 31, 2011

Next Doodle Bag in the Works

I doodled this today and will be doing the other side this evening. Hope to have the bag made by tomorrow. That'll be in for my thrilling New Year's Eve. 

Happy New Year everyone!

The Sharpie Doodle Bag Tutorial

I have been hanging out a lot on lately and came across how to "tie-dye" using Sharpie markers. Since I like to do my tie-dye the original way, I was mildly curious about how these folks thought the process was anything remotely like tie-dye, however it did pique my imagination and get me fired up about a new project...

Doodling my own pattern pieces for hand bags.

Here's the end product, my "Doodle Bag".

It was inspired in a vague sort of way by this Anthro bag that sells for $88!! I didn't have the tassels or bangles handy and I have to have a strap on my bag, but the pattern is reminiscent. :P

And here's how I did the doodling. You can do this for any bag pattern you might want to use. I didn't use a pattern but traced the general outline of one of my favorite small bags and basically "winged" it. This tutorial is more about the doodling process and less about bag construction. Just use your favorite pattern and do the doodling on the cloth using this technique.

Using a pencil, I traced a favorite small basic bag's shape onto plain 100% cotton cloth, similar to sheet material. I made sure to leave a generous 1/2" of seam allowance all the way around. If using a pattern, cut the pattern pieces out along the outline and then trace the pattern pieces using a pencil onto the cloth.


Draw some general guidelines for your design in pencil if you like.

Next, using an embroidery hoop, circle a portion of the traced pattern piece and tighten down the hoop.

Using Sharpie fine point colored markers, begin to color in background areas. If you want to make these colors looks a little like "watercolor", you can use a dab of rubbing alcohol applied with a Q-tip to the areas. Be sure to use VERY SPARINGLY!! It will totally ruin your design if you use to much -- practice on a test piece of cloth you have colored on to get the *feel* for it.

The example below was gently touched with an alcohol Q-tip in several places. If you look close you can see that the color bleeds a little.

Continue to color in your design however you like. For larger areas of color I like to use a crosshatching technique or scribbles that are in small sections at varying angles.

When coloring sections where you want black to outline lighter colors, apply the lighter colors first. Outline in black afterward.

When you've completed a section, move the hoop to a new blank area and continue until you have the whole pattern piece covered with doodles. Don't be afraid to let your mind wander while your hand takes over. Some of my best doodles are done while watching TV or talking on the phone. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason to the design for something beautiful to happen.

 Cover each piece of cloth where you traced the pattern with doodles and then cut them out. After you have them cut, depending on your pattern, you may want to apply fusible fleece to give the bag some body/stiffness.

Assemble your bag according to whatever pattern instructions you are using and you now have a one-of-a-kind piece of functional art! The Doodle Bag!


Monday, December 26, 2011

O Christmas Stick, O Christmas Stick...

We had a mishap with the fake tree. After 20 solid years of faithfully putting that same tree up, we decided to store it in the garage last year to free up some space in the loft.

Imagine our surprise when we picked up the box to carry it in the house and a family of mice sprang forth from between the box flaps. With visions of nests and pee and poo everywhere, we did not even open the box to check the damage. I still can't bring myself to look.

Now what were we going to do for a Christmas tree?

I've spent way too much time on Pinterest lately pinning one craft idea after another. It shows in the way I've started to think.

No way was I going to shell out $20 to Walmart for a dead tree I'd just be throwing out next week.

I looked around me while I stood there beside the old tree which had become Mouse Motel, and looked about the property for a likely substitute.

I spied some fallen branches from the oaks we have all around us and a seed was planted in my brain.

♫ 3 Sticks from oak trees
2 Strings of Lights
and a new tra-dition is born. ♫

I sprayed the sticks metallic silver (thinking it was gold like the cap of the spray can).
Carefully draped 2 strings of lights, then placed sections of cut garland around and added silk wrapped Styrofoam Christmas balls and the new celebratory decorative object was born.

Total cost: $2 for the can of spray paint. The rest of the stuff we already had.

This falls short of a traditional tree, yet shows more effort than say a Festivus Pole.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas  Festivus  holiday!

I'm seriously thinking of doing this for every holiday. Next up? The Valentine Stick. {thanks for the idea, Cindy!}

Friday, December 23, 2011

How to Side Load Android Apps onto the Amazon Kindle Fire

Yeah, I know this isn't a craft tutorial or anything but I just got a Kindle Fire and I was all hyped up about it until I realized that when I tried to go to the Android Market for apps not available on Amazon's app store, I kept getting redirected back to the Amazon app store. Grrrr!

So a friend of mine turned me on to a way around it. Without having to jailbreak or otherwise hack the Kindle, I am now able to get any apps I want and put them onto the Fire successfully.

What you need:
A Kindle Fire
An Android Phone
A Computer
A USB cable to hook your Kindle Fire to your computer. The Kindle didn't come with one, but the one for your phone should probably work. Try it before you go buying one.
A free account at

What to do:

1.PREP THE KINDLE Go to the settings on your Kindle Fire (the quick drop down at top right of screen that looks like a gear). Choose "More...", then select Device. Scroll down until you see "Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources". Turn that to ON. Now your Kindle Fire is all set to install apps. The trick is getting the apk file onto the kindle. Go to the Amazon App Store. Search for “file manager” and take your pick of the choices. I used ES File Explorer. Install this so you can navigate your file folders on the Kindle.

2. PREP YOUR PHONE From your android phone, you need to go to the android market and get a file manager app. Astro is the one I use. Install that on your phone. After you have it installed, open it up and go to Menu > Tools > Application Manager/Backup. Select the apps you want to transfer and check them. Then click "Backup" at the top. This will put the apk for the app in a folder on your phone called "Backup".

3. PHONE AND COMPUTER: Next you'll need a way to get them off the phone and onto your computer easily. There's an app called "Dropbox" that works beautifully for this purpose and you need to have an account (free) at What this does is give you online storage that will sync to any computer or device on which you have dropbox installed. Once installed, it's just a file sharing system of folders.

Get the program for your computer at the website. Get the app by searching Android Market for Dropbox. Install them accordingly.

4. GETTING THE APP TO THE KINDLE Once you have Dropbox on your computer and on your phone, go into Dropbox on your phone and select "Upload" at the top. In order to get to your backups folder you may have to select the "other files" button at bottom right of screen.Once in the "backups" folder, select the apps you saved in step 2.

Now time to put them on the Kindle. Plug your Kindle Fire into your computer via a USB cable. Go open the Kindle on the computer (It is one of your USB drives now and it should say "Kindle"). Make a new folder called "My Android Apps" or whatever you like. Open that folder. With your Dropbox folder open on the computer (where you just uploaded the apps off your phone), simply drag and drop from the Dropbox folder to the Kindle folder any apps you want to install.

Go back to your Kindle now and open your ES File Explorer. You should be able to see your newly created folder and the apk files inside.

Select one and click to install. You're done.

After I was done, I also installed Dropbox on my Kindle. That makes the final step about plugging your Kindle to the computer unnecessary.

Now, I back up the apps on my phone using Dropbox, then go into the Dropbox on my Kindle and it shows up there due to the magic of syncing. All I have to do is click the apk I want from the dropbox window on the Kindle and it starts to install.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ribbon Dragonfly

I saw a cool tutorial for making a braided ribbon headband refashion and decided to try it out to see how easy it was to do (the ribbon braiding part). It didn't involve actually having to cut the ribbon, but consisted of interlocking loops. With a single tug of the ribbon it could all be undone if you weren't careful.

I got the tutorial here after finding it on

So I had some extremely skinny white ribbon I got from the thrift store for a quarter and decided to practice.

First I spooled out about 2 feet of ribbon to start with my "center". I didn't cut it since this was just practice and it could all be easily undone.

Then I tied a bow as if tying shoestrings. I followed that with another bow, trying (somewhat successfully-I think one side got flipped before I could get pics) to make the second set of bow "wings" to be slightly smaller than the first.

I pulled these 4 wings just as tight as I could and then started with the headband weaving tutorial from there on out.

Here's what I ended up with:

You could use these as package toppers in place of a bow for something a little different. So cute! Might also make a nice key fob or zipper pull, or even tree ornament.

I love anything dragonfly. <3

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anthro Inspired Braided Cloth Bracelet

I had no idea those little bits of scrap fabric were worth so much!

Check out this Anthro bracelet that sells for $58!

I'm inspired to make a cloth bracelet for my granddaughter to match her new cast-friendly shirt I'm working on. I can make the bracelet from the cut-off sleeve.

I got kind of carried away when I was trying to think of what to use in place of the star. I found beads, one thing led to another and next thing you know I have a bracelet that looks totally different but, in my opinion, much nicer than this expensive one. Best thing is, she loves it.

I used scraps from a shirt I made her from a piece of fabric my sister had hand tie-dyed. I made 4 strips by folding 2 long ones in 1/2. Then I made the loop (see right below the long tail at top). Then I used these instructions to make a 4 strand round braid:

I tied it off in a big knot that doesn't easily slip through the initial loop.

Then I strung a long strand of beads from my granddaughter's massive bead collection and wrapped them around the braid.

Finally I found some bigger pearl type beads and sewed them randomly to the bracelet.

Here she is modeling it and she loves it.

I know it was thrown together fast and could have been perfected more, but she was going to a movie with friends and I wanted to surprise her with something silly but beautiful to wear. It passed the test as you can plainly see. :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

UPDATE: The silky purple re-purposed top was a hit!

My granddaughter got her first look at the new silky top and the verdict is in: she loves it!

Only thing I need to fix is to back the lace straps with some silky material as she says it feels a little scratchy. After all she's been through, she deserves a little comfort. :)

DIY Gift Wrapping Tutorial

Found this video while surfing this morning and thought I would share.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Silky top from thrifted pajama bottoms

When I was shopping for notions in my local Wal-mart's pathetic excuse for a sewing department, I came across this purple sequined floral ribbon embellishment that I had to snatch up since it was both a) sparkly and b) purple: two requirements to make my granddaughter squeal with delight.

Lately I have been sewing up a storm since it's quite apparent that garments with cast-accommodating right sleeves are non-existent. My granddaughter, poor little thing, was attacked by a dog a week ago and it broke her poor little arm. Now her arm is in a splint and wrapped with copious padding, gauze and bandages so it's huge and impossible to dress around.

Here is her favorite pajama top below:
Because this is her all time favorite top, I couldn't bear to alter it. After all, her arm will heal and she's going to want to get back to being normal. Rip away side seams and shoulders aren't your every day apparel.

So I looked through my stash of *fabric*. This stash is actually clothing from the Human Society Thrift Store. I went there on a "Stuff the Bag" day. They gave me a 13 gallon kitchen trash bag and said "stuff 2 of those for $10 total."

I was in the market for clothing with interesting fabric and buttons to make purses from. I've actually made 3 so far from this huge clothing/cloth stash but that's for another post. I bought 6 13gal bags full of clothing that day for a whopping $30.

When I thought of making my granddaughter a p.j. top like this, I instantly remembered that I'd bought at least one pair of silky pajama bottoms in an extra large adult size. The idea had originally been to use it for lining a purse, but it was silky, it was purple, and it begged to be turned into a size 7 girl's pajama top with sequined lace to girly it up more.

Once again, I didn't photograph the whole process (sorry, I'll do this the right way when I get used the hang of blogging and creating simultaneously.)

Here is the pic of the p.j.'s from when I was cataloging my cloth stash. They are a light, almost dusty, lavender.

I laid the store bought top upside down along one leg until side seams matched. Then I cut armhole shapes and straight across the top.

When I cut that out, I split the piece I cut out up center back. Then I cut some strips to make a ruffle for bottom and make bias tape to wrap cut edge of top of bodice.

Then I used the purple sequined ribbon to make a decorative strip across the chest and for the straps. Right strap has ribbon rosette sewn to it, hiding a circle of Velcro so the strap can rip away to wrap around her arm with the splint.

Then a couple or ribbon ties to close the back opening and it's done.

Here's the masterpiece in all it's glory. :)


I promise I'll do real tutorials just as soon as I stop to breath while tearing into a project. I got this one all cut out and half sewn before I did a face palm and said "DOH!" realizing I hadn't documented anything in photographs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ruffled Shrug Re-purposed T-shirt

Hi and welcome to my brand spanking new blog. If I could have re-created it from an old blog that would have been even better since I'm going to attempt to make new stuff from old stuff and blog it here.

To kick things off, I've made this shrug for my granddaughter who recently broke her right arm (ow!) and there are no clothes that come with quick release sleeves to wrap around casts... at least not that I'm aware of.

Here's a photo of the finished project. Had I realized BEFORE I started making it that I would have this blog, I'd have taken lots more pics along the way to make a nifty tutorial.

Instead, I'll tell you how I made it and you can either figure it out on your own (it was simple) or wait for the second shrug with photos. I have to visit my granddaughter and make sure this one fits before I bother making another just yet...

Ruffled Split Sleeve Shrug

  1. Find a suitable T-shirt to transform. The one I used was my son's size 12 boys shirt that I am using to make a shrug to fit my size 7 granddaughter.
  2. Select a length for the finished shrug and cut across the shirt horizontally at this new hemline. Set extra cloth aside to use for ruffles.
  3. Cut up center front of shirt from hemline to neckline to create the 2 front panels of the shrug.
  4. Round off the 2 bottom center corners of the panels you just created.
  5. Take the extra material you just cut off the shirt and cut it apart at one of the side seams so it makes one big flat single-layer rectangle.
  6. Cut this into strips lengthwise of  1.5" or so each.
  7. Serge or zig-zag stitch the edge of the shirt starting at neckline, going down one side of front and continue until you have gone completely around shirt and back to neckline at top of other side of front.
  8. Sew your 1.5" strips together at ends to make one huge skinny strip of material.
  9. Starting at neckline, lay down your skinny strip, tucking a quarter inch under to make a finished edge at top neckline. Making sure outer edge of skinny strip stays even with shirt panel edge, start randomly bunching the material to form crazy pleats as you sew down the center of the strip. 
  10. Continue slowly going around shirt edge, sewing this ruffle down as you make the pleats at random. Stop with needle down just short of neckline (keep shirt in sewing position), trim off extra material so that you will have a small section to tuck under and make a finished edge on this side as well. Then continue to edge of neckline and finish off.
  11. Split sleeves from neckline to sleeve hem along top of sleeve.
  12. Use bias tape to make a channel to hold the ribbon drawstring. If you don't know how to sew bias tape, you can read this great tutorial about it here:
  13. Once the channels are made on both sides, hook a safety pin through the end of your ribbon before you cut it to length. Feed the safety pin in from hem end of the sleeve on one side and draw the ribbon up and out at neckline.
  14. WITHOUT CUTTING feed the ribbon back down the other channel of same sleeve from neckline to hemline.
  15. with sleeve flat (not gathered, make sure you have at least a couple inches of ribbon extending from the hemline of both sides and then cut off the ribbon roll.
  16. Repeat steps 11-15 for the second sleeve.
  17. Gather up the sleeves by pulling on ribbons, then tie into bows to keep them gathered.
OPTIONAL steps for making a rip away sleeve for a person who is wearing a cast and cannot get the shirt over their arm.

For the sleeve on the broken arm side, instead of looping the ribbon at neckline and continuing back down the other channel of the sleeve, only extend ribbon 1/2" past end of channel at neckline, make sure there is at lease a couple inches of ribbon extending out hem end of sleeve, and cut ribbon at neckline (leaving 1/2" to sew it down). Fold the 1/2" of ribbon at neckline back over the channel you drew it up through and tack it down by sewing back and forth a couple times over it.

Do the same thing for the other channel of that sleeve. Now you should have 2 channels on the sleeve that have ribbon going through the channel and extending out the hem of the sleeve while sewn securely at neckline.

Use a 1" strip of velcro and sew to inside of shirt at neckline so that the bias tape will be face to face with both pieces of velcro holding shirt together at neck. (see photo below).

And that's it!

Wish I had more photos for this tutorial, but when I make the next one (now that I know I'll be blogging it) I'll take lots of pics.

Happy crafting!