Hand Sanitizer Cozy–Makes a great teacher gift!

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Here is a super quick but thoughtful gift you can make your kids’ teachers this year!  Practical, inexpensive, and adorable… Dust off your sewing machine, because you have no choice–you’re totally going to do this with me!

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Materials:

  • Pump Bottle of Hand Sanitizer
  • One 8 3/4″ x 6 1/4″ piece of fabric  (Wash and dry your fabric before you cut it, to make sure this project is machine washable.)
  • Straight Pins
  • Sewing gauge or ruler
  • Sewing Machine/Thread
  • Iron and Ironing board
  • Embellishments of your choice!

You’ll be able to  churn out several of these pretty quickly after the first one.  I based this tutorial on an 8 oz. bottle of Purell.

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Step 1: With WRONG SIDES TOGETHER (in other words, you should be looking at the pretty side of the fabric as you sew) sew the 6 1/4″ ends of your fabric together leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  That doesn’t leave you a ton of space, so go carefully, and pin it beforehand if you think it will help.  We’re about to make French seams!!!

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Step 2:  Press that seam to one side.  Turn the piece inside out, and press the seam into a crease.

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Step 3:  Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, stitch the side again with RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.  (You should be looking at the wrong side of the fabric now.)

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Step 4: Press the seam flat, and turn your work right side out again.  Before you begin the next step CENTER that seam.  You want it to be in the center of the back of your bottle.  It wouldn’t hurt to press your work flat this way so you remember.

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Step 5:  With WRONG SIDES TOGETHER stitch the bottom with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Press, turn inside out, then stitch again with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  You’re getting the hang of it now!  Have you noticed yet that 3/8″ is probably just the edge of your presser foot? 😉

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Step 6:  Go back to your ironing board, and press that bottom seam flat.  Now, keeping your work inside out, turn it bottoms up, and sort of karate chop the center so you have two “ears”.  See?

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Step 7:  Bring these ears together and press them flat.

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Step 8:  Measuring 5/8″ from the tips of ears, stitch a line on each one.  You’ll want to press the ears so that they point upward, toward the bottle’s spout.

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Step 9:  You’re almost done!  We just have to hem the top!  Fold down 1/2″ and press.  Fold down 1/2″ again and press.  Stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance.

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Step 10:  Add embellishments!!!  This might just be a bow around the neck of the bottle, or bows/ buttons/embroidery/lace on the cozy itself!  Get creative!  Now do a happy dance!!!  You have an adorable gift for your kids’ teachers, or just for cuteness around your home!

I’m thinking I’ll tuck in one of these quick tissue holders to coordinate and voila!  Winter illnesses will be no match for my kids teachers!

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Apx. cost of this project:
Hand Sanitizer: $1-3
Fabric: Free-$1
Thread/notions: Free-$1 depending on your embellisments!
Total: $1-$5
Mine cost: $3 because I paid full price for my hand sanitizer.  Dag nabit!

Time for this project: 12 minutes 6 seconds  (Full Disclosure: This was my personal best stopwatch time after a few practices.  Betcha’ can’t beat it!)

Send me a link to your photos because you’re totally doing this project!

-Mac-

My First Wreath Decorating Attempt

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As much as I love Pinterest, and DIY, and crafting, I have to admit, anything near to the realm of floral arrangement intimidates me.  It seems like no matter how beautiful the bouquet, as soon as I remove the tissue paper and put it in a vase, I totally ruin it.  Does anybody else have this problem?  I’ve been learning a little more here and there, but still.  Intimidating.

But, now that I have all these handmade grapevine wreaths from our garden, it was time to try working with foliage again.  I had a few harvesty “permanent florals” stowed away in my basement, so I just worked with them, as well as cutting up a few fabric scraps for a little variety.  The wreath above hangs in my kitchen, and the one below is the very first harvest wreath to grace my front door.

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Oh, look! There I am!

 

I obviously have a lot to learn, but I really like the earthy style.  I always feel a bit conflicted about using fake flowers in decorating, but I think it’s not too obvious here.  And also, just, come on.  My little scrap fabric bows!  I don’t have a lot of shabby-chic/rustic/country themed stuff going on in my home, but those little bows almost make me want to convert.  😉

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And now that I have these pretty harvest wreaths up, I feel like these guys are trying to get my attention.  What have you been doing to welcome fall into your home?

-Mac-

Playing with Plasti-Dip

So, I have a confession.  Do you remember the unsightly floor register from last week?photo 1-1

You probably assumed the chipping red paint was a leftover eyesore from previous residents.  Confession time:  That was me.  That floor register was our first experiment with spray on plasti-dip.  Did you know many car enthusiasts use it specifically for its ability to easily peel away from metal when needed?  Yeah.  I’m not sure why we thought plasti-dipping a floor vent next to a dining chair would be a good idea.

But, the truth is, something happens on a deeply psychological level when someone gives you a can of sprayable plastic.

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This is me on the outside.

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This is me on the inside.

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So now, I’m trying again, this time on a smaller scale with the pulls on my (severely dated) ceiling fan.  As you can see, I had already given them some sloppy swipes of blue when I painted the walls.  They came with the house, and were originally painted with country/Christmas looking stuff, kind of like this.

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I’m thinking on wood, it will be a lot more durable.  It’s actually been about a week, and while I think the color has definitely deepened and dulled a little, the plasti-dip itself seems to be a lot more durable than my last attempt.  The drippy parts are still visible, so if I were to try this again I’d be a little more careful.  All in all, it does add a fun little punch of color to what was once one of the drabber details of my kitchen.  But, truth be told, I probably just need to give in and replace that awful fan.  Eventually.  But for now, a happy little red house and… salt shaker?

-Mac-

 

Done is better than perfect.

At least that’s what they say at Facebook headquarters.  Maybe I’m no Zuckerberg, but in my quest to makeover my kitchen on the cheap, I have so many financial and time goals to get to before I spend the resources required to get my dream kitchen.  So, I’m not aiming for a dream kitchen.  I’m aiming for two goals:

  1. Neutralize eyesores.
  2. Replace the personal touches of the last residents with a bit of our own personality.

This five minute project was about the first goal.

I can tolerate a lot of things, but I cannot endure this country blue paper towel holder, or  the nasty chipping paint on the floor vent.

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I could have bought a new paper towel holder for like a dollar, and the floor vent will probably be replaced eventually, too, but why even mess with that when I had five minutes and a perfectly good can of black spray paint in the basement?

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Done and done.  If it’s free and it works, why not?  Amiright?

-Mac-

P.S.  It’s October?! Yowza!

On reupholstering my dining chairs…

After just about a year in our new home, I’m finally getting around to a few of those updates that I was just too overwhelmed to tackle early on.  First up, our dining table chairs!

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I can’t tell you about our dining set without telling you that my parents are totally rad.  After pinning several chrome dining sets on Pinterest, I started to show my mom a few I was thinking of buying off Craigslist.  “You can do better than that,” my mom said, but I didn’t believe her until she showed up at our house with this beauty they found in a barn sale.

Of course, it wasn’t quite as pretty to start.  The chairs were upholstered in yellow cracking vinyl that had been gloriously patched with grey duct tape.  Obviously we’d want to reupholster them, so on one of their visits up, my mom and I made it our mission.

The hardest part was probably taking the old vinyl off.  The second hardest part was deciding what color the new vinyl should be.  We went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I chose a safe color.  (I’m glad I played it safe, and you’ll see why, later.)  I do kind of wonder if I shouldn’t have selected a heavier weight vinyl.  My two year old has already done some damage to the new upholstery, but if Stitch wasn’t living with us, it would probably wear just fine.

We bought 5 yards which turned out to be WAY more than we needed.  If I do this again, I definitely won’t go with more than one yard per chair.  Maybe even less.

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Here’s a (glamourous) shot of the underside.  My nephew gave me some of this wonderful chrome polish, which really made the set shine, but, as you can see, I didn’t worry about hitting the underside too hard.  I’ll probably go over it again later.

Everything is stapled, even the piping.  We started with a special cord from the fabric store that was made for upholstery piping, but it was kind of pricey, and I ran out after the first two chairs.  I went to Dollar Tree and bought a thin plastic rope for the rest of the project.  You seriously cannot tell the difference between the two.  I’m not sure I would recommend it for your couch cushions or something like that, but for this?  Perfect!

Also, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of my hair dryer to this project!  The heat is how we were able to staple the vinyl to the chairs with minimal puckering or folding.  DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS KIND OF PROJECT WITHOUT A HAIRDRYER SET TO HOT!

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If there’s one part I’m not totally satisfied with, it’s the back.  You can see, I had a few unexpected lumps and bumps along the way with this, and I didn’t expect those decorative tacks to be so tricky to hammer in.  (There’s got to be a trick to those tacks!)  I realize now why the original upholstery had that back piece of vinyl wrapped around a perfectly shaped piece of cardboard.

Also, we had to be incredibly aware of where holes were drilled, so we’d actually be able to reassemble the chairs once they had been recovered!  I promise you, that sounds way simpler than it actually was.

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All, in all, not too shabby, and the set has a perfect footprint in our eat-in kitchen!  Next up?  Cabinets!  But don’t expect to see those for another couple weeks! 😉

-Mac-

I heard it through the grapevine (wreath)…

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So yesterday, when I took you on a tour through my garden, I forgot to mention one of my “crops”:

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Wild grapes!!!  Of course, I didn’t know that they were wild when I asked permission to drape the vine over my neighbor’s fence.  I had hoped they would be the same concord grapes he’s nurturing just a few feet down.  It’s okay, though.  These grapes are small and sweet, but refreshing to pluck and nibble on when I’m out enjoying the yard.  The photo above was taken much earlier in the season.  They’re a deep purple now, but not much larger.

Aside from the grapes, though, the vines quickly enveloped the chain link fence that borders our yard.   In fact, they were even starting to grow up into one of my trees, and I was pretty sure they were killing off some of the limbs.  So, yes.  It was time for a little trim:

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But the point?  Thanks to a little something I found on Pinterest, I was able to turn my trimmings into, hopefully, some show stopping decor a little ways down the line.

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Of course, I should have done this a little earlier in the season, according to the tutorial, but I still feel pretty accomplished about my wreaths.  I actually made four of them, but the biggest one is my favorite.  They’re drying in the sun, right now.  I can’t wait until they’re totally brown and ready to decorate!

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Yes, this is a kid friendly craft.

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So that checks off the FUNNEST item on this weeks to do list.    It’s always good to get the funnest project out of the way first, right???

Have a great weekend!
-Mac-

Customizing our Power Wheels with Spray Paint!

Like I was saying last time, my oldest has been begging me to paint his Jeep blue all summer.  I was sure this would be a bear of a project.  I wasn’t even sure it was possible, but about two hours and half a can of spray paint later… IMG_6636   I was so intimidated by this job.  I was sure it would be tedious to work around all the little details, and I didn’t know how we’d deal with all the decals that covered the toy.  I was delighted when I realized the decals Fisher Price provides peel right off!  It took us less than five minutes!  That evening we gave the Jeep a nice sudsy wash before we headed inside for the evening.  Today, was paint shopping day.  Off to Home Depot we went.  I asked an associate to show me what the best spray paint for plastic was.  They recommended this:

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These colors were in his top running…

They assured me primer would not be necessary.  I’ll try to update this post over time as I see how the paint job really holds up.  I was extremely pleased to see SEVERAL shades of light blue there for us to choose from.  My son eventually landed on this one: image-9 The store only had this color in a satin finish, but I’m so glad we ended up with it instead of a gloss.  The paint can told me to lightly sand glossy surfaces.  I thought I had the finest grit sandpaper, but some of these scratches still ended up showing through a little in the final product.  The satin finish makes it a lot less noticeable. image-3   Next we had to tape up the parts we didn’t want painted.  I knew I didn’t want to paint any of the interior, so I sort of taped an arbitrary line along the Jeep’s frame where I felt the interior and exterior should be separated.  I did not use tape on the roll bar and back seats at all, as it was just the right size to stretch my trash bag (lawn and leaf size) taut, leaving a clean paint line.  I imagined the front of the vehicle would be a little more tedious, but the car’s design really allowed me to just drape trash bags over most of the non-paint areas.  In case you try this at home, you will have to tape the bag around the windshield a bit more carefully than the back.  Overall, this process probably took me less than 30 minutes with my 5 year old “helping”. image-6   Now we were ready to paint!  I was very thankful to a friend in Home Depot who saw us shopping and explained strictly to my son that spray paint is toxic and dangerous to children.  He peacefully supervised from a few feet away while I went to work. image-2image It took about two coats.  Half of one $3.50 can of spray paint!  Talk about a budget makeover!  I distracted the kiddo with some screen time and as soon as the 20 minute mark had passed… image-4 image-1 I couldn’t believe how nice it turned out!!!  There are, of course, a few imperfections, but this is a kid’s toy.  I appreciated from the get-go that this project would be more about the bonding experience of us working on his car than about the end result.  But seriously.  The results were stinking GREAT!!! image-7   If this project HAD been more about the results, I would have waited at least an hour before letting him drive the thing, but it was just too exciting!  I couldn’t show the kiddos without letting them take their “new” Jeep out for a spin!  I’m very curious to see how the paint will hold up over time.  But at least I still have plenty of paint left over if we need a touch up here or there.  The kids were SO excited for the reveal.  Something as simple as a new color! IMG_6641 If this paint holds up well, it makes my head spin with potential refreshes on plastic toys.  How many times have I been shopping for my boys at a garage sale, saw the perfect big wheel/wagon/scooter/play kitchen… but then I look closer and realize it’s all pink and purple!  What if it could be any crazy color?!  What if it didn’t even have to be a “kid” color?!  If I can spray paint a Jeep, then, heck!  The world is my oyster! IMG_6711 IMG_6661 Let me know if you try something like this out!  Like I said, I’ll try to update with a report on wear and tear, but right now, all I have to say is that was just SO much easier than I expected! Happy Monday! -Mac-

EDIT–October 14, 2014:  Over a month in!  We had one minor ding the first day before it’d even dried for an hour (and you might even see it in this blog post if you look closely), but nothing since!  We leave the jeep outside, uncovered, in the weather most days/nights, but the paint job is going strong.