Tuesday, February 28

Coin purse with felt DIY

The hardest part about small change, is not finding it when you need it the most. Ever got mad when you thought you spotted coins around home, or in the handbag, but when the time came to pay a toll, or buy a toffee, you struggled?

I remembered making a Christmas tree ornament a few months back with felt. And thought of putting it to use again. The felt sheets we get in USA are soft, more of a cloth variety and easy to work with like fabric. And so I made a coin purse. I hope to make more of them, just to tuck them away in corners so I can stash away not just coins, but buttons, beads, twist-ties and more.

You will need:

-- a pair of scissors

-- some felt sheets, ideally one

-- embroidery skeins to either match the felt sheet or contrast

-- embellishments such as sequins, or cloth flowers

-- thread to match the embellishments

-- a marker pen

-- a pair of magnets or press buttons, or velcro tape

-- optional is a hot glue gun or super glue

Start by cutting a piece off the felt sheet, about five inches wide and 10-12 inches long. Fold this sheet into three-folds, in such a way that the upper flap is about half an inch or one inch lesser than the second fold. This serves as the flap of purse.

Where the second fold meets the first, mark with your pen.

Round off the corners of the flap. Use a matching coloured embroidery skein, and stitch up some cloth flowers on to this flap. Make sure you spare enough space to do the Blanket stitch.

You may use extra sequins like the flower stamen that you get from craft stores.

Start the Blanket stitch along the flap. Once you have finished with the flap, move to join the first and second folds on the edges using the stitch.

You need not use the stitch on the bottom of the purse.Once you have rounded off the Blanket stitch on one side of the purse edges, move to the other side. Your purse is almost ready.

Here is where you get those small magnets out, or maybe press-buttons or velcro tape. Magnets that I had were self-adhesive. So it was just about peel-and-stick. You may use the hot glue gun or super glue if you have no self-adhesive magnets.

Stick one magnet under the flap, and the other to pair with it on the purse .

Use this to hide your coins. If lying around your living room, it makes for a cute decor piece. It makes for a good pull-out for your vanity bag. Or a gift for your friends and colleagues.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

For permissions to reuse, write to radiscribe@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 21

Basket ball for your office cubilcle DIY

An entire industry thrives on the office cubicle or corporate desk products. From desktop gods to photoframes, pen-stands, mobile-holders and expensive pen sets, the product list goes endlessly. I once made a miniature golf set for the office desk. This week, I got attracted to the idea of making a basket-ball set for the desk or a wall with a hook, or simply a shelf with door knobs, by hardly spending a penny on it. 

I love how in front of homes in our neighbourhood, basket-ball baskets are a must-fixture for kids to play. And all you need is a container to throw ball in. I had containers in the form of glasses, but no ball. The ping pong balls stash in my home has gone missing. And I have not been in the mood to shop afresh.

You need a few things for this project-in-a-jiffy.

-- a used gift bag (in paper) or cardboard -- the hard surface for it

-- used paper cup (I had a plastic cup, but a paper cup is anyday a better idea)

-- a small hold paper punch

-- ball point head pins (jewelry findings)

-- hot glue gun with glue sticks (optional) or tacky glue (optional)

-- tacky glue is optional or a stapler if you choose

I also kept handy some gift wrap tissue paper or kite paper. And a toothpick.

If you want to use a sheet of cardboard, the hard variety, punch holes towards its center along the top edge and fix a hanging loop with twine or wool. I started by using some tacky glue to stick up the folded end of the bag's bottom.

This is meant to firm up the bag's base.

Now hold the plastic cup against the gift bag, under the handles but centered enough.  Roughly gauge in your head, how much space you need to leave out before punching it.

The next bit is to punch holes in the paper cup by leaving about half an inch towards the center.

I then twisted two ball-point head pins together as one was not enough for the punched holes. The next bit was about inserting this into not just the glass but the other paper cup as well, and once this is done, secure it by twisting further, and bending it inwards into the paper cup. Your desktop or office shelf basket ball set is ready. I was only too eager to play, and so crumpled some gift wrap tissue paper that is helpful for the presents packaging.

You really do not need expensive toys for the office space. This sort of a project can work well for kids too, who have less attention span and tend to throw toys away after the first few days.

This is one way to reuse gift bags. You can involve your bored kids into this project. No sharp items around, not even a pair of scissors.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

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Tuesday, February 14

A ribbon hanger for your make up pencils

The biggest of challenges in organizing my cosmetics is where to tuck my eye pencils and lip pencils. It is similar to what I face with toothbrushes and tongue-cleaners. Sadly products related to organizing are too focused on plastic boxes and cylindrical containers. I recently found how a foot long ribbon and sometimes a small bangle or bracelet can do a lot to help with organizing the pencil-stick kind of paraphernalia. 

Grab your needle and thread, a pair of scissors, and some ribbon. I chose decorative sequins ribbon that we utilize to embellish sarees with patchwork designs. This is rich in texture, and can blend into your wardrobe easily. Or simply stick it up on your office cubicle wall for that all important pen, eraser-marker, or a hair clip that you cannot allow to be thrown around.

You will also need a wooden ring or a bangle. This ribbon or cloth tape or saree border, is over an inch wide. And I used up over a feet of it in length for the project. If you want to stick this up on a cardboard after finishing, grab a glue gun. Or go after a double sided tape. I also kept some quilting headpins handy to keep the ribbon intact with folds while I stitched up.

Start by inserting the ribbon into the ring and bringing it over. Spare an inch of the inserted or protruding bit and pin it up against the longer part of the ribbon. Now grab a spool of matching thread, a large sized needle, and hem the piece up. I used four strands of thread to give it the necessary strength.

Once the hemming is done, leave a five inches' gap from the point of hemming downwards on the ribbon. Gently use your fingers to create a fold, such that you can insert your index finger into the fold's hole. Pin it up and stitch. If you want to insert and store wider objects such as combs, fold accordingly.

Create three such folds or more and stitch up. Once this bit is done, you may trim the length of the ribbon holder, by cutting it. Fold the end inwards and hem-sew.

You have the option, of sticking the finished piece on a cardboard or hard surface and hanging it. Or simply find a hook on the wall and hang it up.

I tucked in my toothbrush and tongue cleaner, and a make up brush.  This hanger is useful for storing your child's head or hairbands, colour pencils, marker pens and the likes.

So if you have a spare fabric lying around, waste not your time. Try this for yourself, or to give as a party favour.

Pictures Courtesy: Radhika M B

Content: Radhika M B

For permissions write to radiscribe@gmail.com