Monday, August 29

Felt pin cushion with used sticky wrap DIY

Often I wonder what our lives would be without plastic. Is it possible to eliminate it from our lives for good? We recently moved home and I faced the dilemma, of using sticky wraps of plastic sheets to secure my packing, or let it all go haywire.

I had hardly any breathing time to research alternatives. So although guilt ridden, I opted for sticky wraps, bubble wraps, and the likes.

It is when I unwrap my items that the guilt multiplies. So this week I decided to put the used sticky wrap to use, by using it as stuffing for a felt pin cushion.

What you need as basics is of course used sticky wrapping plastic, and a piece of felt.

Among the other materials you need:

-- a pair of scissors

-- needle that is thick enough to poke through felt

-- embroidery skeins of - the felt sheet colour

-- decorative fabric rolls - or saree borders that are easily available

-- optional, a ruler

-- any other embellishments such as cloth flowers or sequins that you may deem fit 

I used a decorative roll, and stitched up one end of it to the rear of one of the felt pieces. My felt pieces I cut from the main sheet, and measured about five inches on each side.

You will need to use a hemming stitch, and preferably threat that matches the edge of your ribbon or roll. After securing the ribbon on what I deemed, the rear of the felt pieces, I hemmed the roll on to the front and finished it by stitching it into the felt on the other end.

Once this got done, it was about choosing betweeen adding more embellishments to decorate, or leave the beautiful design to shine through. I left the design intact because of the sheer contrast that was so eye catching.

The next step, was to knot an embroidery skein's piece at one end. I chose a colour that would work as an accented bit to match the ribbon design, and would stand out on the blue felt. And I used all the six strands on the embroidery skein for the stitching.

After this, it is about how good you are with the stitching of edges, using the button stitch.

The button stitch came in handy, while at the same time giving a vibrant texture to the piece. You will notice in these pictures that the ribbon that got stitched looks not so straight. I let that be, to see how the final outcome would be. You will need to use the button stitch on three sides before you start filling.

The next step, is to fill this pouch that just got created. Roll the sticky roll on to your fingers and make mini-lemon sized balls that you can stuff in. Be gentle when you fill, and look for gaps. If you do not have sticky wrap, left over plastic bag pieces that are thin and cut can be used. Remember, this material is not like the cotton or other batting, and can be more messy to use. But it is worth the effort.

After filling the pouch, seal the fourth side with another round of button stitch. And end it by using a neat knot. Your felt pin cushion is ready.

Use this, to fix ball pins on your desk, or when you want to stitch, as a needle rest. You can also use it as a doll house floor cushion, or simply as a pillow for one of your child's dolls.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

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Monday, August 22

Super quick newspaper festoon DIY

Parties may be events to mark a celebration. But they are stressful for hosts who must organize everything.. from food to entertainment, and decorate with elan. Post-patty days make you feel guilty about having wasted precious bucks on party decor.

Interestingly, newspaper and newsprint that get re-used for wrapping, wiping, gift covers and even as handfans, can be used for party decor. Guests may even thank you for doing something positive.

Should your child's birthday be around the corner, you can get your little one to use crayons and markers with abandon, and use that to decorate.

Go grab that pair of scissors and get to work.

You just need:

- a few sheets of newspaper

- a pair of scissors

- marker pens or crayons of different colours to decorate

- needle and thread ( let thread match marker colours or newsprint colour)

- optional is a pencil

Arrange a few layers of the newspaper one over another.

Draw out a shape or picture of an object to match your party theme. If it is your kid's birthday party you can get her to draw her favourites. Use a pencil or a marker. But make sure the colour does not bleed on the paper.

If it bleeds, switch to crayons or pastels, or paint pens.

Get the pair of scissors out. If you do this project with young kids, exercise caution when using scissors. It would be safer for you to do the cutting.

Cut the layers using the top drawing as a stencil.
Bring out your markers or sketch pens, or paint pens, draw along the cut outline to define the shape. I cut flowers, so I drew along the outline of petals.

I preferred a single colour. You may choose colours based on your party's theme.

To avoid staining surfaces, you may use the newspaper sheets beneath when you outline.

These paper flowers can be useful for a variety of projects. Here I stuck to using them as bunting though.

For the next step, bring out your needle and thread, get it the thread through its eye and knot it.

After this, stitch a running stitch from one end of a flower's petals, and put in a stitch or two more through the other end or petal.

Pick another flower and use the stitch again. Repeat this with as many flowers as you please and have.

When you wish to stop at a particular length, knot your thread up in the end.

Hang this like festoons, or as garlands from a table or ceiling. Or, place them on tables. Once the party is over, you have less guilt to deal with.
You can pin it to end tables or as backdrop for as theme.

Or simply do this whole thing to keep your kid occupied on a Sunday.

Picture courtesy: Radhika M B

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Tuesday, August 16

Mini burlap table runner or party bunting diy

Jute or burlap as a material has acquired revved up popularity in recent years, from being a poor man's protective gear, to evoking positive branding about environmental consciousness.

In the crafting world full of paper quilling, scrap booking, jewellery making and the likes, it has not acquired the sort of place wool, paper and cotton fabrics have managed.

You can make simple but sophisticated party decor such as mini table runners or drapes using fine quality jute strips.

I was fortunate to get a roll of burlap, fine in finish and worthy of decor.

Knot four strands of the beige thread after insert into the tapestry needle, and poke through the center of the jute strip. You do not have to be accurate. Approximate measure would do.

 Pull out a flower from your bunch. My set were stuck on to a cardboard, to prevent the flowers from falling apart.

This needle that you just ran through the burlap, for about half an inch, you will need to insert it through the bottom side of the fabric roses. This part is an effort.


Stitch this rose to the fabric in a way that it sits on the fabric surface, and run a few more running stitches in the center - maybe five, that are about less than half inch long each.

After the five stitches, it is time to pick another rose and stitch it to the fabric.

It is an effortless stretch.


Sometimes you may have to poke your needle through the gapes between the `petals' of the rose effected by the twists of the ribbon they are made from. Make sure you can hide the thread a little.

Towards the end of your desired length of the fabric decor, run the needle back into the fabric, in reverse direction. And your runner is ready.

Tuesday, August 9

Make a mini circle weaving loom for kids

A million ways exist to keep kids engaged, and yet nothing you do can be enough. Tragedy is when you spend hard earned hundreds on toys, only to see your child forget it after a day of play.

You can make room for inexpensive activities around home instead. I tried making a circular weaving loom, something you can try with kids on a lazy afternoon.
Unlike the regular looms with warp and weft, a circular loom is a little different from the rectangular looms that are universal, and get used by DIYers for a range of pieces such as rag rugs, doormats, plarn projects, etc.

You need spokes, like in a wheel, drawn on the base.

Materials you need for this project:

-- a piece of corrugated cardboard

-- a marker or pencil

-- a ruler, one foot long

-- a pair of scissors

-- a spherical container such as a bowl, made of sturdy material, from your kitchen

-- yarn - chunky ideally. I used jute and wool. You can choose a couple of colours or stick to jute

-- a tapestry needle that is blunt (kids' safety) - optional

Draw a circle using the kitchen cup to guide.

Cut this circle.

Using a ruler, gauge the centre approximately and draw a bunch of lines criss crossing through the center, forming spokes for the circle.

Get the pair of scissors out again, and make small slits on the circumferene of the piece, towards the centre. These slits must be on the spokes.

Knot one end of a twine between the slits of this circle.

And run the thread along the spokes by using the space between the spokes on the rear side of this circle.

Once done with most of the spokes, knot its ends. An get the rest of the yarn out.

The looping of the spokes bit, you can do with your child. The weaving part is definitely the teachable part, where you show how the thread can go over and under the spoke-yarn and form a textured piece. You can optionally use a tapestry needle and demonstrate.

In effect, get your child to start weaving. For fun sake, get another colour yarn, or a different texture yarn to experiment with the thickness.

Either glue it towards the end, or knot the thread.

Optionally, cut of the warp from the slits and knot it up, or use this disc as a little wall hanging instead. Carry it to work, or keep at the kid's desk.

To hang it, cut a piece of wool or yarn and loop through one of the pieces at the slit, and knot it.

Try this in different colours. It's something kids will love, and you will not have to fret over costs.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

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Tuesday, August 2

No sew tote from T Shirt for my stuff toys

No-sew T-Shirt totes tutorials have taken the internet by storm of late. Every other day, a new video turns up on social media. For the methodical crafter that I am, these pieces of quickie bag making from old Tees were a put off. But out of curiosity I decided to pull out my husband's old T-shirt and give the effort a shot.

Often the tutorials for no-sew bags are with small sized T-shirts. The one I used was a baggy type garment that would have landed in the old-clothes dump box, but for my experiment.

Since the internet is so full of the tutorials, I will list out tips that may be helpful, based on my project that lasted about an hour and half.

All you need for this project, is

-- and old T-shirt and a pair of scissors

When choosing a T-shirt, keep in mind the purpose of your end product, the bag. If you plan to step out of home, a decent looking one could help.

Else, reach out for those ready-to-trash ones.

Here is a picture of the Tee I used.

The colour was originally a shade of military green.

But it turned into greenish beige with over-use.

Mark out how much you want to cut at the bottom and fold the Tee at its lower end by about two inches or more if you deem fit.

Keep in mind, that you will need to cut off the hands. You can visualize the length of the hands to get an idea how much needs to be cut.

Run the scissors along the fold and cut it.

Now you may fold the T-shirt again, by an inch or two, and cut this part into several strips that start from the upper end side of the T-shirt and hang at its bottom.

Cut off the garment's sleeves and alongside the neck.

Here is where a tip of two will come in handy for you. Gauge the length of the sleeves and the neck. This T-shirt had a round neck, and had a dramatic difference in height, compared to the length or height of the sleeves. I had to trim after initial cutting. This piece of upper garment can alternatively be used as a layer that you pull over on your body in winter. It works as a bust piece that can be hidden away.

The shearing may not be as smooth as the videos online show. It is your first attempt. Do not beat yourself up. It is all about trimming and patience.

Pick one strip from a corner, and another from the other layer, and knot the two strips up. I used two knots to keep it sturdy.

Continue knotting. Tip: Keep in mind the quality of your fabric. I cut the strips two thin. A little extra width for each strip does no harm.

Knotting takes long. Load yourself with patience. Plus, it is possible that a piece or two actually breaks when you try to knot it.

Once you are done with the knotting, the bag is ready. If you want to invert it, go ahead. I did not. I was only glad to stash in my stuffed toys, toys that I keep ready for any visiting toddler to play with.

Enjoy using the tote.

It is a teen craft. And you can either use it, or gift it away. My suggestion, keep a bunch of these ready and stash in your hand-bag. You can use them for groceries. Or give away when you spot someone in need of it. Or simply make a whole cartload of them for charity.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

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