Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sweater Upcycle: Sock Fail to Okay

Last week I made a pillow cover and a plastic bag holder out of sweaters.  Another idea that looked quick and easy was making socks out of the sleeves of a sweater. Well, I tried it, but it was a resounding fail.

Supplies for failed socks:
-sweater with 2 sweater sleeves
-sewing machine (or could do by hand) & thread

I used the same red sparkly sweater from last week's pillow case. As you can see, I pretty much just had sleeves left from it anyway.  Darwin wanted to help too.

I cut the sleeves off of the sweater.  Then I pinned the toe and turned over the top to hem it.
I sewed the toe closed.  Instead of just sewing straight across, I angled the sewing on the sides to try to make it more circular like a sock toe.  Next I finished off the top.  This gray thread makes it easy to see.

I should have angled the toes some more, but it wouldn't have saved these socks.  They were a total sock fail.
I guess the picture doesn't show the complete fail. The photo actually makes it look much better than it was.  The bottom was a square and the top was like a wavy/scallopy, slouchy top.   The sock was too big. I think I used a L or XL sweater.  I guess it needed to be a size or 2 smaller.

So, I took the material for the other sock, and I came up with other uses for it.

First, I made a water bottle cozy.  (I don't drink coffee, but it would also fit a Starbucks or other coffee cup.)

Next, I made a headband.  It could be used for cold days or for while I'm waiting for my hair to dry.

Finally, I made a loose collar for Darwin.  He actually didn't hate it.  I thought he looked quite dapper in it.

(I don't know why it looks pink in this photo, but it does.  You can also see Deli.)

 I also worked on a sweater blanket this week, but it's for another post.  It will probably take me several weeks or more to complete it.

I think I will blog about this lamp next week.  I bought it with the intention of decorating the shade.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sweater Upcycle Project Week 1

For this week's project, I wanted to try some of the neat sweater upcycling projects I have been seeing on Pinterest.  There are a lot of great ideas floating around on the blogosphere.

This project also forced me to finally get out my sewing machine and figure out how to use it.  I used to sew back in high school, but that was quite a few years ago and my mom was always there to help when I didn't know how to do something.  I got a tutorial on sewing machine anatomy and use at Craftsy recently (available there for free), and it made me feel much more comfortable about trying out my sewing machine.  It took me some time to thread the bobbin and then thread the machine, but I eventually got it working and got to sewing.

For this project, I went to Goodwill and got an assortment of old sweaters from both the men's and women's sections.  I searched for sweaters in good condition and tried to find ones that were XL or XXL, so that I could get more fabric for my buck (wells bucks).

Blue Stripe Pillow Case
My friend Heather came over for this project, and she had a couple sweaters as well.  With one of her sweaters, we made this pillow case.  She didn't have any stuffing, so she will have to finish it later.

Red Sparkle Pillow Case
I found this great sparkly red sweater and wanted to make a pillow case out of it like these pillow cases.
(I also got a blue sparkly one, but I already had coordinating ribbon to go with the red and none for the blue.)

-sewing machine & thread

I cut it off right below the armpit and sewed that section closed.  I added the ribbon on the bottom where it was already hemmed when the sweater was made. In this photo, you can see the pillow I wanted to cover, the ribbon, and where I cut off the fabric.

I learned something while making this pillow case.  You need to account for the fact that the sweater tapers out towards the bottom.  I had to go back and sew a little more inward to make the pillow even.

Bag Holder
I also wanted to make a bag holder for the cat box area, so that my husband didn't have to keep hunting down a plastic bag each time he changes the cat box.  We reuse the plastic grocery bags rather than buy cat waste bags.

-sewing machine & thread
-glue gun & glue sticks

For the bag holder, I used a purple sweater and cut off the sleeve.  I cut off another piece of the sleeve to make the handle. I turned the sleeve inside out and sewed the top closed (not the cuff).  Next, I used the other section for the handle and sewed it so that it was more finished.

I thought it looked really plain, so I added these blue buttons that I had cut off of another sweater.  I think they added a nice touch.  Instead of trying to use the button sewing part of my sewing machine, I took the easy way out for the embellishment.  I got out my hot glue gun.


Here is the bag holder stuffed and hanging up.  It was hard get a picture because of it's placement by the dryer.

Finally, while I had my glue gun out, I fixed my redneck wine glass.  I had put it in the dishwasher, and it came out as two pieces.  Here is it drying/cooling.

There are still quite a few more sweater upcycle projects that I have in mind, including a blanket that I may make this next week.  I will probably have one or more additional sweater upcycle posts in the near future.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

8-Bit Mario Magnets

I saw these coasters on Pinterest, and I thought they looked like fun.  I looked at Etsy for coasters and other household items made out of perler beads, and I thought it might be fun to make my own.  Instead of making coasters, I decided to make Mario magnets.  My husband is a big Mario fan, and we like to play Mario games together when we have spare time, so I went with that theme. (There are lots of other perler options, like Zelda, Dr. Who, and Star Trek.)

I obtained some perler beads from Target, and got to work.  The boards that came with the beads were smaller than the examples I found on Etsy, so I changed the patterns to fit the boards.  I plan on adding easy to follow patterns for the ones I created later this week.

My husband really liked the Mario patterns, so we went to Joann's today and bought bigger boards and more colors.  The beads I bought the previous day didn't have all of the colors I needed to create some of the Mario characters.  With the bigger boards, I was able to just look at examples on Etsy and recreate them.  I won't be sharing those patterns because they are not my own, but I will link to some of them.   There are so many options, and it's easy to work from the finished example if you magnify the image.

-perler beads & peg board
-glue gun & glue stick (if magnet isn't sticky enough on its own)
-wax paper

Step 1: Find patterns you want to recreate and buy corresponding perler beads and boards (or use what you have).

Step 2: Place beads on your board according to your pattern.

Step 3:  Heat iron to medium.  Once the iron has warmed up, place wax paper on your bead project and then put your iron on it.  You want to leave the iron on the beads long enough to fuse the beads, but not so long that you are melting the plastic boards.  The directions recommended 10-30 seconds, but it took significantly longer than that to make sure all of the beads were uniformly fused.

Step 4: Once your project has cooled, place a magnet on the back of it.  I used the stick-on magnets, but they were not sticky enough, so I used a hot glue gun to make them stick.

Here are some examples of what they look like unfinished:

Now, for some closeups of the finished magnets:

(This project was featured on House of Hepworths.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Landscaping Update & Easter Door Decoration

I don't have a new craft, recipe, or home improvement to blog about this time, but I am trying to blog once a week, so I am sharing the new front door decoration and the flowers in the front yard.

It looks like the tree, bushes, and (most of the) flowers are doing well.  As you can see, the azaleas are happily blooming.

The flowers look pretty good for the most part, but some of them seem to have had some trouble with the weather.  Our temperatures have been all over the place lately.  I planted a bunch of bulbs, but I am not seeing any sprouts yet.  Hopefully some of them survived the cold snaps.

Easter Door Decoration
I found a very cheap but also cute front door decoration recently, so I decided not to make an Easter wreath.  The wreaths are cute, but they often end up costing in the $20-30 range.  I may do a wreath next year, but for now, this cute bunny will suffice.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Easter Napkin Rings

Last weekend my husband told me that my mother in law wanted to come over and have me help her glue something.  I said okay not knowing what she wanted.  Well, it was pretty cool.

My mother in law had trouble finding napkin rings for her Easter table setting that she wanted to put together, so she decided she wanted to make her own.  She found some Easter erasers she liked and key rings for the ring portion.  It was super easy and much cheaper than seasonal/holiday napkin rings normally cost.  And the most important part is that they turned out really cute.

Of course, this idea can be used for many different holidays.

--glue gun (we found that the hotter glue gun worked better, and it didn't melt the erasers)
--glue stick
--key rings

Step 1: Collect your supplies and start up your glue gun.

Step 2: Put glue on back of eraser and attach key ring.  Let dry a little bit, and add a little more glue over top of the key ring where it touches the eraser.

Step 3: Let dry.

Step 4:  Fold your napkins and put on your napkin rings.

I think they turned out great.  I am definitely going to copy her idea.