Channel Your Inner Grandma: How To Make A Pincushion Jar

Friday, May 27, 2011

Remember these little pincushion jars? Well, recently I had a flashback to seeing them somewhere in my childhood and, coupled with my ever growing need for more and more storage, I thought I would make one. Currently my button collection is in a bag that is really beautiful and special to me; a gift from my aunt from her travels to Japan. I have been wanting to move them into a see-through container because buttons are just one of those things I never tire of looking at, not to mention having to dump them all out every time I need to find a button is not the most effective method. But because I so love that little bag they are currently hiding in, I needed some inspiration to make the move.

...And if you sew a lot, it certainly doesn't hurt to have extra pincushions. In fact I think I am going to devote this one to sewing needles, and stop torturing myself with another ineffective method of mine, of trying to find them in my current pincushion, which is home to straight pins, safety pins and sewing pins, along with other strange things that have gotten stuck and tangled in there.

What you need:

Mason jar screw top lid - where the middle pops out.

Scrap of fabric (one for the top and one for underneath) light weight material is best so that your lid will easily
screw on to your jar when you are done.

Glue gun or tacky glue


Sewing needle


Fiber filling, or cotton balls work too.

Card stock (optional)

There are a few different ways to do this at the end. But overall it's very easy! It's also a really great project for the younger crafters in their life, or one to do together.

First: Cut your top fabric circle about 1 - 1.5 inches larger than the circumference of the inner jar lid. Cut your underneath piece of fabric (seen in step 5) the same size as your jar lid. Also cut your piece of card stock a little smaller than the size of the inner piece of the jar lid. If you don't have card stock, you can skip this step, along with step four.

Second: Place your fabric on your work space wrong side up, place your cotton balls, or filling centered on top, then the jar lid on top of that. As the picture shows.

Third: I take a needle and thread and gather the excess material tightly around the underside of the jar lid - making sure my batting isn't too lumpy in any one spot, and if you are using a patterned material that needs to be centered, making sure it's where you want it. To do this just roughly thread big stitches through the fabric. It doesn't need to look pretty, it will be covered up. If you are using a really light weight fabric you can also just glue it down.

Forth: Take a piece your piece of card stock and glue it on to the underside of the lid, the part where you have just sewed it together (or glued it). If you don't have card stock you can skip this step and go to step five.

Fifth: Now glue your second piece of scrap fabric on to the top of the card stock. If you are using a light weight material and not using card stock, just make this step four. (Pictured below)

Lastly: Place your finished piece inside the lid ring. Pictured below.

That's it grandma! You are all done!

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day: don't miss out on all the fun!

Monday, May 23, 2011

What it is the May Giveaway by Sew, Mama, Sew? Well, they sponsor the event and you can find a (giant) list of blogs on their blog, where each participating blog gives something away: handmade items, knitting items, fabric and supplies. Each blog has their own rules for entering, but most go something like this: leave a comment, follow the blog and viola! you are entered to win.

Sadly, I am not participating in the "giveaway" part of this exciting event because I didn't realize this was going on until yesterday, and (sniff, sniff) that was past the deadline. But the good news is there is still time to participate in the "try to win free things" part of the event!

Go to Sew, Mama, Sew for a list of the awesome blogs participating, it looks like you have until about 5pm on the 25th. And good luck. I have my eye on some pretty cool stuff! If I win anything I will be sure to post about it!

Happy Thrifting: Be Green Sewing Notions

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I love vintage, chotchkie, knick-knack, brick-brack, items of all shapes sizes and genres; but I have moved too many times, in times in my life when I did not have any reserve for my eclectic purchases and have since learned to enjoy the looking - without the buying.  But I am always really excited when I find something that gives me - that wonderful feeling that only items with a bit of history can, but I can actually use it and lessen my carbon footprint at the same time! Right now I can't afford a prius, or solar panels for my home but I can afford vintage sewing notions - because, hey, they are way less than the new ones!

The great thing with sewing notions, unlike vintage dresses that have been vacant from the thrift stores for the last decade (at least in my part of the world), there is so much out there! And why buy new when you can get the same thing, with cooler packaging, for about 1/10th of the "new" cost? Of course when I'm in need of red rick-rack in a pinch, I am probably going to run to the store rather than seek out yard sales and thrift stores, because let's face it, all that driving is probably a lot less "green" in the end. But it is fun to keep your eyes open for these finds when you are meandering through flea markets, garage sales, estate sales (the best places, in my opinion to find awesome vintage fabrics, buttons, etc.), or thrift stores. Here a are few of my second hand-vintage finds from this past weekend, it's hard to say what my favorite is...but I do love buttons!

How to: Photo Printing on Fabric - the homemade way

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Printing on fabric at home is easy enough using an inkjet printer, freezer paper and fabric. *Having said that, this is a strictly use at your own risk project! There are no manufactures instructions that come with this homemade photo fabric and, while I have never had any trouble with this myself, I can't (and do not) guarantee that it wouldn't damage your own printer.

If you are not comfortable trying this "home" method, I suggest using a professional photo fabric sheets, manufactured and sold for this same purpose. I also do not use this on projects that I plan on washing. But that's just a personal preference, you can do whatever you want!

What you need:

  • Freezer Paper (cut into standard paper size of 8.5 by 11 inches)
  • Light colored fabric
  • Iron
  • Scissors (Not your nice fabric scissors)
  • Photos or artwork that you wish to print onto fabric

Cut out your pieces of Freezerpaper. (I usually just trace around a piece of printer paper.)

Iron your light colored fabric so that it is smooth and wrinkle free.

Iron your pieces of Freezerpaper (shiny-side down onto to fabric) down smoothly and securely onto your fabric. No bumps, lumps wrinkles.

Cut out around the Freezerpaper. You should now have a piece of fabric paper, one side freezerpaper and one side fabric . Keep the Freezerpaper on when this goes through the printer, it is what gives it support and feeds it through.

Make sure the fabric side is the side being printed on and stick it into your printer just as you would any other piece of paper. But do double check that it is smooth, no corners are sticking up that can get caught on the gears of your printer. No loose threads.


To use your photo fabric, remove Freezerpaper (I suggest doing any cutting/trimming of photos before you remove Freezerpaper backing). You can then sew with it, or use heat and bond (as I did on the super silly pillows I made for my twins; top photo) to applique with it. 

Horse Cake: Easy Cake Decoration Idea!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Here is a simple cake decoration idea submitted to me by Jenessa V. What I love about this is the simplicity of it - and that is really what I strive to make this blog about more than anything else; crafts and ideas that look amazing but do not take years of training nor hours upon hours of ones time to create. The truth is most of us do not have as much time as we would like to have!

This cake is sweetly decorated with little plastic horses. This particular cake was made for an adult, who happens to really like horses, but it's a great idea for a child's cake too! For kids, the plastic horses could be given out as party favors and one could easily use green frosting rather than white as well. Of course this is a basic idea that stands really well on it's own, or it is one that you could easily add your own amazing ideas to. Now, giddyup and go buy a bag of plastic horses and make a cake!

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