Monday, February 28, 2011

Crafted by You

It is always such a joy to find out someone made something from one of my tutorials.

This past Chinese New Year, Tawni @ The L-T Experience created the her own Firecrackers from my Firecracker Wall Hanging. But instead, she placed them in a bowl to create a centerpiece. I thought it was such an elegant idea. She also filled the firecrackers with treats for her kiddos to “crack” open!


And over the holidays, Kim @ kidHaven created her own version of my clove-studded orange sign. Get this…she strung hers from the ceiling! So cool. Check out how she did it!


And two lovely bloggers created my Decoupage Kids Art Beads with their little girls:

Nina @ Pretty Little ProjectsClick here for more sweet pictures. Her little girl Grace used Crayola Slick Stick crayons in her artwork and I love the resulting bright, saturated colors!


Last but not least, Lisa @ Blessed With Grace used watercolor paints to make mother/daughter bracelets. Such a different look! So pretty.


Thank you ladies for creating something from my tutorials!

Hope that if anyone else has tried one of my tutorials, you’ll let me know. I would love to feature you on my blog!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Roll-Up Tote Strap

Need some tote bags that roll up with a handy snappy strap? Here’s how I made mine.

The strap is attached to the bottom outside layer of a reversible tote. You just roll up the tote and wrap the strap around, closing it with a snap.

How to Make a Roll-Up Tote Strap
RollUpStrap1 RollUpStrap2
  • Fabric cut to this size:
    • Outside (two pieces 15x18 inches)
    • Inside (two pieces 15x18 inches)
    • Tote Strap (two pieces 4x22 inches)
    • Roll-Up Strap (one piece 3x13 inches)
      • Note: In picture above, I’ve already pressed the straps.
  • Stuff you use to cut fabric, such as a ruler/straight-edge, rotary cutter and self-healing mat or scissors.
  • Two sets of snaps for Roll-Up Strap.
    • I used KAMSnaps that I used before for a product review, but you could also use any other type of snap, or use velcro. Make sure the snaps would fit on the strap (the finished strap here is 3/4 inches wide and the snaps I’m using are about 1/2 inch in diameter).
    • Any other accessories to apply snaps (I use an awl and pliers that came with my KAMSnaps).
  • Not pictured: Iron and ironing board, sewing machine and thread.

Take your Roll-Up Strap fabric and fold it lengthwise and press to create a crease and open up again. Then fold in each edge to meet at the center crease and press. Then fold again in half and press again.
RollUpStrap3 RollUpStrap4

Then fold in one end about 1/8 an inch and fold in another 1/2 inch and press. This finishes the ends and is where you’ll place your snap. Repeat this fold on the other end.

Topstitch the strap along the sides and around the folded ends, making sure the 1/8 inch fold at the edges are tucked in as you sew.

Now we’ll apply the snaps. These are directions on how to use KAMSnaps, so if you’re using different snaps then these exact directions may not apply. First, poke a hole with the awl in the center of the 1/2 inch fold at one end.
Insert the top of the snap through the hole, and then apply the snap part on the other side and press using the pliers.

Repeat on the other end, but you’ll flip the strap over so that the opposite is showing on each side. So when you snap them together, it will overlap like so creating a circle. That’s how you want it to snap together when you roll up the tote.

Now we’ll start sewing the outside layer of the tote, where the roll-up strap will be attached. Pin right sides of the outside layer together along three edges, leaving one of the 15-inch edges open. Then at the bottom 15-inch edge, fold your tote in half lengthwise to determine the center of the bottom edge and mark. Determine what will be the midpoint between your seam and this center mark. So you’ll need to take into consideration your seam allowance (1/2 inch for me) plus you’ll be squaring the tote (see my Patchwork Pocket Tote tutorial on how I squared the bottom). So for my tote, I determined the midpoint after sewing all of that would be 2.5 inches from the center mark. Doesn’t have to be exactly exact!

Fold the Roll-Up Strap in half and insert in between your two outside tote fabrics. Place it at this 2.5-inch mark, with the fold even with the raw edge of the tote fabrics and pin in place. Sew as usual along the three edges, backstitching over the strap a few times to reinforce and continue sewing the tote layers together as usual.

Turn inside out…here’s the strap sticking out of the outside of the tote.

There are lots of tote tutorials out there…the rest will follow how I made my Patchwork Pocket Tote Bag. So next stitch up the lining fabrics, and square the bottom of the tote. Take the bottom seam in one hand and one of the side seams in the other. Flatten it so that the two seams lay on top of one another (line them up as best as you can…it will be by feeling. Then when it’s all flattened and lined up, draw a line about 2 inches from the top tip of the seam. Then just sew right across on the line. Repeat on the other side, and on the outside layer as well.rollupstrap13 rollupstrap14

Take the tote straps you have pressed and topstitch along both edges.

Keep one tote body inside out and one right side out. Insert the one that’s right side out inside the other so that right sides are facing. Pin at the side seams. Then you’ll insert the straps. Curve the strap so it’s not twisted and slide it in between.

So it looks like this.

Pin the straps in between the tote outside and lining about 2 inches from each side seam. I also mark a gap for turning.

Starting at one of the marks, sew everything together along the top edge. You can backstitch over the straps a few times to make it more secure.

Pull everything out the turning hole. Shove the lining inside and press the seam flat.

Finally, topstitch along the top, closing the turning hole. Make sure your straps aren’t wrapped around the free arm of your sewing machine, or you’ll have to stop sewing, unwrap it and pick up where you left off. Not that I’ve ever done that.

And you’re done!

You could also add a Roll-Up Strap to an existing tote by opening the bottom seams and restitching it closed. It would be really easy to do with an unlined bag.

Sorry I didn’t get a picture of this particular bag rolled up! But here is another one I made for myself.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Craft Blogs at Sassy Sites

I was going to formally introduce The Silly Pearl to the craft world next week when I finish up a new project, but it looks like today I’m doing a pre-announcement!


One of my favorite craft blogs, Sassy Sites, is so kindly hosting a new craft blog link-up today. I just wanted to give Marni a shout-out of thanks, for supporting those of us starting new craft blogs!

If you’re visiting from Sassy Sites, welcome to The Silly Pearl! My blog is about 20 days old, so it’s still in baby stages. I am currently bringing over my tutorials from my personal blog, so that’s what you’ll mainly see as of today. So if you have visited Silly Precious Piggies before, I’m sorry you will see nothing new today! But if you haven’t, then I hope you’ll enjoy my previous tutorials, and stay tuned for more coming soon.

I am off to visit some fellow new craft blogs on the linky.Thank you again to Marni for the support!

{PS I decided to do a pre-announcement on Silly Precious Piggies just now too. So if you’ve clicked on over from my old blog, hello!!!!!!! So glad you could stop by my new blog! I will have more details on the who what where why how of my two blogs, very soon.}


Make Crafting a Snap with KAMsnaps

kamsnapsbutton_thumb KAMsnaps sells cute, high-quality and easy-to-use snaps, pliers, dies, and presses to suit so many of your crafting needs. KAMsnaps are great for making cloth diapers or for giving a new life to your old ones that used velcro. KAMsnaps are also great other projects, giving you an option besides velcro, button holes or zippers.

I received pliers and several designs and colors of plastic snaps to try out.



I really needed some hand towels for the kitchen and wanted the kind that tied to the oven or fridge handle so it wouldn’t constantly fall on the floor. I came across a great pattern and tutorial on Kleio's Belly to attach some cotton fabric to a towel. But instead of using a button and buttonhole, I used KAMsnaps. I made two towels in an afternoon.

After the sewing portion was complete, I used the awl to poke a hole in my fabric.


I selected colors that would go nicely with my fabric. That was a tough decision because they were all so cute. I couldn’t resist the heart and the flower for my towels. I also took out a socket and stud for each towel, plus plain snaps for the back.


The video tutorial explained everything so clearly. It was easy to change the die that fit my snaps, and my snaps went on easily (I did practice a few times on some scrap fabric).


Here’s what the front and back look like:


A close-up:


And the finished product in my kitchen (my mom has already stolen the orange one).


I have already washed the blue one several times and I’m happy to report that the KAMsnaps held up great (update: it’s been 6 months, and this towel has been washed once a week. The KAMsnap is still holding up!).

Check out all the other tutorials on the KAMsnaps website. There are so many things you can make using KAMsnaps. Did you know you could make pull-up style cloth training pants? You can even resize diapers using KAMsnaps.

KAMsnaps plastic snaps are CPSIA compliant so they are safe to use in children’s products. KAMsnaps also loves animals and supports animal rescue organizations.

So…snap up some KAMsnaps and get crafty!

This was a product review I wrote for Real Moms Real Views in July 2010. KAMSnaps provided pliers, dies and a collection of snaps for the review. Opinions expressed are solely my own; yours may be different.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Clove-Studded Orange Sign

I remember the third grade being a very crafty year…my teachers introduced us to a lot of new skills, including hand embroidery! During the holidays it was craft central in our class, and the one that stands out in my memory is clove-studded oranges.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Patchwork Pocket Tote Bag

When my girls started preschool last fall, the school requested an open-top cloth grocery bag-type tote as their school bag. I had one week to make them and meant to make a simple, lined tote and asked the girls what color they wanted. They kept changing their minds, naming every color they could think of.

So I thought hey why not incorporate all those colors? So I made them each a patchwork pocket tote bag, personalized with their names and a special applique on the back.


As in my sketches, I planned to make a smaller, lower pocket and the applique up top.


In the end I decided to put the name up top (The girls requested that I make a bag for myself too. Don’t ask my why MAMA has an H at the end. Well, perhaps it sounds whinier, so maybe that is in fact the correct spelling in this house).

And as I further played with the design, I liked the proportion of a bigger pocket.


So I put the applique on the back. This way, if the totes are turned around, I can tell whose tote is whose.


I would discover later that my girls appreciated this too. They still can’t quite recognize their names yet, and because they chose their own applique, they now can recognize their own bags that way as well. “I’m Sarah, and I have the sun!” “I’m Sophie, and mine is the heart!”

How to Make a Patchwork Pocket Tote Bag

Materials for the pocket:


  • Six different fabrics for the patchwork part, cut to 2x7 inch strips
  • One piece of fabric for the top of the pocket where the name will go, cut to 9x4.5 inches
  • Fabric scraps for the name and applique
  • Fusible webbing such as Steam-A-Seam2
  • Medium weight interfacing, cut to the same size as the pocket (the total size of the strips plus the top of the pocket sewn together, about 9x11 inches)
  • One piece of fabric for pocket lining, cut to the same size as the interfacing
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and self-healing cutting mat and ruler/straight edge
  • Not pictured: Sewing machine, thread, tear-away stabilizer

Materials for tote bag


  • Two pieces of fabric for outside of tote (I used duck cloth), cut to 15x18 inches
  • Two pieces of fabric for lining (I used a vintage sheet), cut to same measurements as above
  • Two pieces of fabric for straps, cut to 4x20 inches
  • Not pictured: Sewing machine, thread

Directions for the pocket

For the pocket, I used a 5/16"-inch seam allowance (the edge of my presser foot).

1. Line up all your color strips in the desired order.


2. Sew together the six strips


3) Press the seams to one side


4. Sew the top of the pocket to the top of the strips. I used a vintage sheet here as well as for the lining. Press the seam to one side.


5. Cut out your letters for the top of the pocket with fabric and fusible webbing. Click here for more detailed instructions on one of my previous tutorials, or just follow the directions on your fusible webbing package.


6. Center the letters onto the top of the pocket and fuse, following the directions on your fusible webbing package.



Because I plan to wash these totes (they’re filthy already…smooth amateur mom move making them a light color!) I sewed the letters to the pocket in addition to fusing them.






7. Fuse the pocket lining with the medium-weight interfacing. With right sides together, pin the lining/interfacing with the front of the pocket and sew together, leaving a hole for turning.


8. Turn the pocket right side out and press


9. Position the pocket onto one of your duck cloth panels. I centered it and then raised it an inch or two because you’ll be squaring the bottom of the tote which will lower the center, if that makes sense. Pin with big pins. Be sure all horseys and piggies are cleared away before pinning.


10. Top-stitch the pocket to the duck cloth panel, first along the edge and then about 1/8 inches away (I followed the tick marks on my presser foot). Leave the top open for the pocket and back stitch at the ends to secure.

PatchworkTote21 PatchworkTote22

I’m glad I made the pocket big. It’s big enough for this book! We now put our items for sharing time in the front pocket (easier access=less frustration).


10. Sew the applique on the other duck cloth panel. You can use anything, but I quickly made my shapes with cookie cutters and a jar of pomade. I used  fusible webbing to fuse the pieces together as well as to fuse them to the back duck cloth panel, and with a piece of tear-away stabilizer in the back, I sewed a satin stitch around all the edges.


Directions for the Tote Bag

First, pin the two duck cloth panels right sides together and stitch around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open. Do the same with the two lining panels. For the duck cloth panels, make sure the pocket and applique are facing the right direction!

Then square the bottom of the tote by pulling the two sides apart at the bottom and matching up the side and bottom seams. Mark about 2 inches from the corner and draw a line. Stitch along the line. Do the same with the other corner as well as with the lining.

PatchworkTote25 PatchworkTote26

Make the straps by pressing the two ends towards the middle and folding it closed. Top stitch it closed, and then top stitch the other side.


Now we’ll sew all the pieces together…turn the lining right side out and stuff that inside the duck cloth which is still inside out. Pin them together with right sides together. When you get to about 2 inches from the sides, pin the straps in place. Sew all the way around, leaving an opening for turning up top.


Pull the lining and the duck cloth all the way through the hole and stuff the lining inside. Press the seam, and top stitch all the way around, closing the opening. I referenced this tutorial to make the tote.


And we have two tote bags for two preschoolers.

PatchworkTote30 PatchworkTote31

Sarah’s Sun


Sophie’s Heart




Hanging on our “School Station”. The little box on the shelf has their hair brushes, ponytail holders, clothing labels, and sun block.


Linking: The CSI Project



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