Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thrift Store Suede Vest = Toy Gun Holster

Recently my sister-in-law and I were at a fun junk/antique fair and among the amazing "treasures" we found was a vintage leather toy gun belt. I instantly thought of my little cowboy and how much he would love that, but sadly the belt was just too big and it didn't come home with us. Oh but so much more did! Details on that however my dear followers.. all 8 of you :) will have to wait for future "projects" so stay tuned!  Anyways back to the gun belt, I have not stopped thinking about that thing since we left.  It was totally broken in and with so much more character than anything I have seen since in my vast searches.  So since I couldn't find one I liked to buy I've been determined to make one....
 First I found these toy pistols at Walmart for $10.  They were by far the cheapest I could find, but they weren't exactly what I wanted... they were orange not silver and the belt/holsters were cheap plastic.
Then I saw this 1X  leather vest at a thrift store for $2.... and thought BINGO! 
With a good leather belt I also found at the thrift store for 25 cents.... I thought I could make this work.  As you can see I have already painted the pistols.  I just taped off the white handles and with a little left over silver spray paint from another project they were instantly transformed :) 
 For the holsters I pulled apart the plastic pieces that came with the toy guns and used them as a pattern on the vest.
To make the holsters a little sturdier I actually sewed two pieces together making sure the best sides of the leather were facing out since it will be folded over to create a pocket.
Then I just cut slits in the top section and weaved the belt through those spaces.
 Next I used a leather punch to poke through both layers of the leather, then I used these fun star rivets I found in the leather section at Michael's to hold the pieces together and create the pocket for the pistols.
 Used five rivets down the side leaving the bottom open for the barrel of the pistols and three rivets on top just for fun.
With a few extra holes punched into the belt, and the pistols tucked in... the cowboy gun belt is done!
My little outlaw LOVES his holster and "bang bangs"!!!
And I think they turned out way better than the plastic version... if I do say so myself :)

Hope you like them!

Lindsey :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Old Crib Bedding Becomes DIY Play Tent "Under The Stars"

When we had our little man I admit I lost it when it came to buying clothes and "stuff" for this little person.  I see it now as complete insanity, but at the time it felt oh so right!  One of the many silly things I just "had to have" was an adorable crib bedding set.  It was patchwork, cowboy and entirely too expensive but I did some bargain hunting found a discount website and it was mine.. even though I still paid way too much! Then he arrived and I soon realized how little that ridiculous crib bumper was actually used and by the way it never stayed up right anyways! So long story short I learned my lesson the hard way and didn't make the same mistake with our little girl.  However, because I spent the money on this crazy set that was barely used I have not been able to part with it even though he has long been in a "bog boy bed"! I know dragging it cross country was ridiculous but I just couldn't get rid of it and it's kind of sentimental.. I remember how cute and tiny he looked sound asleep in it.  This photo above is now 3 years old, but still makes my heart melt! Needless to say I've really been wanting to use this heap of fabric for something.. and when I saw this great play tent tutorial .... out came the seam ripper... and away went the crib bumper, blanket, sheet, curtains, and my frustrations.  It's amazing how satisfying a little thread destruction can be!  
With a very small investment and some sewing practice now under my belt... Ta-Da the tent is done and this is how it turned out!!!
For the tent frame once again my "Home Depot Men" came to my rescue.  I like to think of myself as very independent and capable, but I am not above playing the "damsel in distress" role at a home improvement store to get the things I need, instead of wandering aimlessly for hours! SERIOUSLY TRY IT!!!  Obviously I have no shame :) But it is incredible.. look a little lost, ask nicely for help and pretty soon you've got everything you thought you needed, the few things you didn't realize you needed and help out to your car! I guess I'm taking a risk here, if they catch onto my scheme they will run the other way when I enter the store... but I'm going go out on a limb and say those wonderful men aren't my target audience :)
 The only change I made to the frame tutorial is I spray painted the wood a dark brown and trimmed about 1.5 feet off of the top wood piece that the sides are tied to so that there wasn't so much extra hanging over the cross pieces.
 In the tutorial you use curtain panels for the two rectangle sides, which is super fast and easy.  I took both sides of my crib bumper, cut strips and sewed those strips together.  Then using a few of the crib ties sewed to the top of the panel, I tied it to the top beam.  By far this is the biggest sewing project I have undertaken, it took some time but I love how it turned out... and the fabric was free.
 The bottom doesn't have to be perfect, I just tucked the fabric under and around the bottom wood piece and then used a staple gun to keep it in place.
 Then I decided I wanted my tent to have a front and back as well.  So I patched together
 the rest of the fabric into a rough triangle like shape, using the curtain panels from our bedding set to make the slight opening.
 Then again I just wrapped the raw edged sides of the triangle openings around the wood and stapled it tight on the inside.
 This is the view from the inside.
 I even used the cute fabric stars from the mobile to make a "chandelier" on the inside.  An embroidery hoop an another one of those crib ties secured it to the top beam. Who knew all those dreaded ties would be so handy one day???  :)
 For the lights I wrapped some dollar store white lights around the top... and hid a short extension cord down the inside to plug in to the wall.
 The "stars" (aka..lights :) and the small amount of space left open at the top by the ties leave plenty of light on the inside to play even in a dark room.
 The kiddos got this for Christmas and they LOVE it!!  Even our little girl toddles in and out giggling the entire time, she thinks it's the best "peek-a-boo" game on the planet :)
 The bolts loosen easily to fold up for easy storage, but I don't think my munchins are going to let me take it down anytime soon!

Hope you like it!

Lindsey :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Baby Blanket Upcycle = DIY Heating Pads ... Gift Idea!

 "Blankies" in our house are a necessity!!!  Both my kids love them.  To them, the "blankie" has super powers and solves all problems... hey maybe mommy needs one too :)  The problem is my kiddos are attached to one particular "blankie" each.. and try as I might to rotate them out... IT AIN'T HAPPENIN'!!! I can't track down the exact same blanket as my son's, but I sure as heck have tried.  We now have a dozen, similar blankets that just don't quiet cut it with him. Our little girl has several as well (but I think I just found an actual "understudy" for her... yippy!!).  Long story short, we have tons of these soft, cozy, brand new blankets and I am determined to use them somehow.   Recently when I was asked to try and make some homemade heating pads I thought this would be the perfect project. In one night I knocked out half a dozen of these, which I'm calling "Little Heaty's", in a bunch of different shapes and sizes and am now so excited to stick them into Christmas gift baskets.  I also plan to keep a few on hand for boo-boos and to give as gifts throughout the year.  
This is how I did it :)
I started with a cozy fleece blanket, but obviously you could use any fleece or cotton material that you have.
Now cut 2 pieces whatever size you want.  For the large pouches I used pieces roughly 12 inches by 6 inches and the smaller version 6 inches by 3 inches.  But any size or shape you like will work perfectly!  Since these are so quick and easy you can try out a bunch or different versions :)
With the right sides of your fabric together, sew all the way around the edges except for a small 2 inch opening  to turn and fill with rice.
Next, use your scissors to round the corner so they will turn and lay flatter.
Now patiently turn your pouch right side out through that small hole you left.
I use a pencil or a chop stick to make sure all the corners are pushed out... now it's time to fill!
I just used a piece of printer paper to carefully fill the pouch with uncooked long grain rice.  You want it about 3/4 full.
For some I added a few drops of essential oil to the rice in a large zip lock freezer bag, closed it up tight, gave it a good shake and left it over night to really soak in the scent.  This is totally up to you.  I did end up doing three "Little Heaty" options... unscented, vanilla and lavender :) But you could try anything!  I will say the scent is really soothing once it's all warmed up.
Finally, I just took a little left over edge from the blanket, trimmed as close as I could to the bias tape, made a loop, stuck it into the open space for a little handle to carry the hot pouch and stitched it closed.
Since these are gifts I did add a little label with my cheesy directions :)
I think they turned out great and I hope everyone enjoys them.
Uh oh... it looks like we already have a tiny taker :)

Happy Heating, Lindsey

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles

Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles I thought sounded nice and fancy, but "Chocolate Heaven" is what I like to call these little melt in your mouth concoctions.  With all of the crafting, procrastinating, wrapping and more procrastinating going on in my house I figured it was time for a treat!  I deserve it.. right??? OK, no I don't NEED these, but need and want are too very different things and today it a total WANT kind of day :)  And with Christmas just days away.. AHHHHHH! typing that while also staring at the piles of unwrapped/unfinished gifts in front of me I'm pretty sure I just experienced a mild panic attack! While I attempt to recover from this harsh reality I'll let you in on the back story. I found a similar recipe online a few years ago while searching for some new Christmas candy ideas and after a few tweaks have come up with just the right mix.. at least I think so :) I have been making these sinful morsels for the last couple of Christmas' and they are a big hit.  In fact they are so good I only allow myself to make them over the holidays and quickly get them out of my house in gift tins as fast as humanly possible because this "no willpower" girl would consume them ALL, wouldn't be able to fit into a single thing in my closet and would quite possibly be in a diabetic coma.  Because... dare I say they are even better than a Reese's.... they are creamy, chocolatey and crunchy!!!  Plus, they are super easy and only a few ingredients!  This is how I do it....
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups creamy peanut butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 cups rice krispies
2 teaspoons vanilla
chocolate chips or bark for covering
(I used the almond bark for this batch and used 2 packages and had some left over)
***This recipe makes 5-6 dozen depending on the size you make your truffles.
Mix the cereal and powdered sugar in a large bowl until combined.
Melt the butter and peanut butter in a saucepan until combined and pourable,remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Now pour the butter mix over the cereal mix and stir.  Make sure all the powdered sugar at the bottom is completely mixed in.  
Next, I used a small cookie scoop to measure out a portion and then used my hands to press it together into a ball.  Once that is done... this next step is key, I put all the peanut butter balls on a cookie sheet in the freezer for several hours... these stayed chilled over night because the kiddos wanted to take advantage of a rare day of sunshine in out neck of the woods.  Basically, you want them cold so that they will stay together when you cover them in the warm chocolate.  The first time I made these they tasted great but didn't look very pretty because they fell apart in the chocolate.  But, I saw a cake pop tutorial that recommended freezing them and thought I would give it a try and it works perfectly.  So put them in the freezer while you do something else or leave them a few days until you are ready for them, that's the beauty of this recipe.
Finally melt either chocolate chips or almond bark slowly in your microwave or over a double boiler... dip each ball and place on some wax paper.  I just use a big spoon, drop one in the bowl of chocolate, roll it around and then scoop it out... nothing too technical :)
In just a few minutes you will have these beauties!!!  
Delicious and oh so easy!
WARNING.... eating just one is impossible from my perspective!  If you can, I applaud you!  If you don't like chocolate and peanut butter I don't understand you!!!  HEHE!!

Enjoy, Lindsey

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Sew Felt Booze Bag :) Just in time for Christmas!!!

I've decided that "SPIRITS" are going to be one of my gifts of choice this year.  A nice bottle of something is always good to have on hand to take to a Christmas party and since the guys in my family are not really THAT into headbands and frilly things.... I think they're getting a little "holiday cheer" as well :)  But a bottle with a bow, while perfectly acceptable isn't that pretty or special so I went looking for PLAN B!  I found this great no sew felt gift bag tutorial and gave it a try.  
My bottles were too big to use just one piece of felt folded over so I changed it a little, but the original idea was great and I love the way they turned out.
To make these super cute "booze bags" as I am calling them :) You literally need 10 minutes, two pieces of felt, some fusible tape (I used stitch witchery), a bottle of alcohol of your choice, a piece of ribbon, scissors (I used pinking sheers just for fun) and an iron.
Lay your bottle on the felt and figure out how much you will need to to cover half way around the bottle (because the 2nd sheet will cover the other half), then lay out your stitch witchery along those edges.  You should need about 3/4 of the sheet.
Now take your second sheet of felt and snip a hole a couple inches from the top in the center of where your bottle will be.  Then cut out a circle around that mark.
It doesn't have to be perfect, just make a circle big enough to slid in your bottle later.  The felt will give a little so it doesn't have to be more than a couple inches across.
Now lay that felt sheet on top of the the first, cover with a damp press cloth and using a hot iron on the steam setting iron over the edges.  The directions say 10 seconds should fuse the fabrics and that worked for me.  If after going over all the edges there is a spot that isn't fused just set the hot iron on there for another few seconds and it should be perfect.
You could stop now with a perfectly usable gift bag, but I decided what's two more minutes.. right??? So I used my pinking sheers to cut off the excess on the one side and then trimmed all along the other three sides so they would all have the same jagged edge.
Now take the extra you cut off the right side, (you may have to pull them apart if there is a little stitch witchery on the one edge) and use this as your material for your felt flower ornament.
I just cut those strips into a bunch of circles and then with some hot glue and a piece of ribbon folded in half used one of those circles as the back of the flower.
Next just glue on a layer or two of your circles.
Then to make the center of the flower, take your last two or three circles.. put some glue down the middle...
fold it in half.
A little more glue in the center, then fold it in half again.
Now one last dab or glue... (forgive the glue fingers... it seems as if I am a bit of a messy crafter :)
Press a couple of those into the center of your circle layers and there you have a super easy flower ornament for your bottle!
Ta-da!!! I made all of these during one nap time.  I think they look great with tall bottles and shorter ones.
So much cuter than a boring paper gift bag!  
And not only is it inexpensive, they are unique and won't wrinkle so you can totally re-use them.
Oh and all the great color options are pretty fun too!
I'm also thinking about doing some with a flap so you could use them for other gifts as well. 
Hope you like my latest project!

Good Luck, Lindsey!