DIY Link: Yo-Yo Christmas Trees & Product Review

I’ve mentioned my love of Swap-Bot before, and today I’ll show off one of my latest projects that was shipped off several weeks ago to one of my swap partners.  The Yo-Yo Christmas Tree:


Isn’t it cute?  I love to make yo-yo’s, making them is quite soothing to me for some reason.   Typically I have a pile of them laying around with no clue how to use them and after seeing a yo-yo pumpkin this fall thought I should attempt to make a tree.  Then I saw this fun tutorial from Kiwi at Heart and she had made exactly what I was dreaming up in my head.  She does a great job explaining the process…I only did one thing differently.

Where she uses templates to cut her circles, I decided to try out this fun little gadget I picked up 50% off at Joann’s a while back.

Olfa Circle CutterThe verdict?  I LOVE it!

I was able to just adjust the setting to match her dimensions and cut the circles out with no templates.  It works much like using a string & pencil to draw a circle…only this bad boy has a sharp pin to hold it in place and a super shape rotary blade.  Such a time saver…especially when you love to make yo-yo’s as much as I do! I have a quilt I want to make this year that involves circles and I am thinking this little guy might be a life saver when I get to that point.  So if you cut out circles-o-plenty of like I do…it might be the best $15 you spend.

It uses a really sharp rotary blade, so you absolutely must use a cutting mat underneath it.  It can also be a bit odd to hold and turn at first, but once you get the hang of it that isn’t really a problem.

Any other recommendations out there for yo-yo construction or quilting gadgets I might also find indispensable?  Please, share!!


Make sure you check out the yo-yo tree tutorial:  Yo-Yo Christmas Tree Tutorial from Kiwi at Heart

You might also check out Mummy Crafts to see her take on the same tutorial, which also includes a template for cutting the circles.

Fine Print:  I have not been compensated in any way by either Joann’s or Olfa for my review of this product.  It is simply my opinion based on usage of the product I purchased.

Challenge: Craft it Forward Reveal Part 1

Ages ago you might have seen several posts about a fun little crafting challenge/giveaway I participated in called “Craft it Forward”.  If not, check out this post for all the details.  I ended having a really hard time getting in touch with the 5 winners (who knew it would be so hard to give something away) and I ended up with only 2 participants.    Hopefully my next challenge/giveaway will be a bit more successful (hint, hint…there might be something coming up in September).

Today, it’s time to show off the goodies that the the lovely Lisa M found in her mailbox earlier this summer.  Using that large bolt of fabric I picked up at Goodwill for $2.00, I created this little apron for her:

And since the flower could get a bit dusty with all that baking, there is an extra flower pin to switch it up with from time to time:

And finally to help get her started on her own Craft-it-Forward projects I included a little bag of crafty items from my ever growing stash:

It was really fun getting back into sewing (this was the first project I had sewn start to finish in a long time) and it was especially fun to just sit down without a pattern and see what I could come up with.  Lisa, I hope you are enjoying your apron and have as much fun as I did when you do your crafts to pass along.

Check back on Monday to see the second project from my crafting it forward.  Have you ever participated in a crafting challenge?  And if so, did you have problems getting your winners to respond so they could collect their prizes?

DIY: No Sew Bow Tie

I’ve been making these quick bow ties for years.  They are great for quick dress-up items and even Halloween costumes and had originally put this quick & easy tutorial together as a set of images to share with a local crafty bride.  The day before her wedding she was looking for some last minute bow ties for photobooth props and not finding anything to her liking.  So, I snapped a few photos to get her started and then she rocked them out in her true artistic fashion.    Below is the quick and dirty tutorial to whip up your own photobooth or next impromptu costume.

Supplies Needed:

  • 1 piece of felt (or other fabric) for each bow tie.
  • elastic headband or wooden dowel
  • scissors
  • hot glue


    1. Start by cutting off the piece that will become the center of your tie.  If using a standard size piece of craft felt, just cut down one edge vertically and approximately 2 inches wide.
    2. Fold each of the edges of the larger piece of felt to the inside.  Hot dog style. I leave a small opening in the center to make it a small bit larger, but this is not necessary.

    1. Take the long skinny piece of felt, and fold in half.

    2. Take the large piece from step 3 and squish it to the center (from both the top and bottom) to create the “bow” shape.
    3. Use the skinny piece to wrap around the center of the bow to hold it together.  Secure the piece to the back of the bow with hot glue and then trim the excess length off with scissors. If you are using an elastic headband for your bow tie secure it underneath this center piece as well.
    4. Ready to wear…either as a bow tie or a large bow headband.  Or if you are using for a photobooth attach a wooden dowel to the back as perfectly demonstrated by the Über creative Lauren (go ahead, link over and check out her super fun photobooth photos while you are at it)

So, there you have it a no sew fun bow tie in less than 5 minutes!  Try them out, you’ll have fun I promise 🙂  How will you use your no sew bow ties?  Wedding photobooth props?  Halloween costume?

Update: Craft it Forward

A while back I mentioned winning a unique sort of contest from Amy over at The Nifty Foodie’s Life.  Last week right before we left for a little anniversary trip, I found a fun surprise in my PO Box.  It was my Craft-it-Forward treat from Amy.  Check it out…

Aren’t these dishtowels just the snazziest ever?  I love the colors!
And, if the dishtowels weren’t enough…check out this adorable little baggie!

And while I had originally thought I’d have my own packages to my winners in the mail by our 1st Anniversary…it just didn’t happen.  Life happens, but here is a little sneak peek of some thrift store goodness that *might* be finding its way into a few of the Craft-It-Forward packages I’m putting together for you lucky ladies that are patiently waiting for me to get with the program.

I love finding entire bolts of fabric at the thrift store, especially when they are 50% off $4.64!

Sadly, it also seems that 2 of my winners never responded to emails… so if anyone else out there feels left out of the Craft-it-Forward movement shoot me a message.  I bet we can work something out 😉

Anyone else out there feeling a bit behind with all there summer projects this year?

Semi-DIY: Embellished Vendor Apron – Reveal

A few weeks ago I posted a link to help with making 3D fabric flowers, with the following teaser photo:

And now that the finished product has made its way to the lovely vendor recipient, I can show you the finished product.  First, a little back story:

For our June wedding I was sure I needed or even wanted a DOC (day-of-coordinator).  I plan things fairly regularly for work, so really this shouldn’t have been any different.  Only…it was!  In addition to the wedding planning I was also in the middle of some serious work-place drama and stress.  Due to family situations that just went from bad to unimaginable my boss stepped back for several months , leaving me & our assistant to “hold down the fort”.  I thought I was managing everything quite well…until a discussion over table linens left me a sobbing mess, standing in Ikea, on Valentines Day.  It was that day Brainy and I agreed I needed help.  We worked to find vendors to scale back my DIY efforts and he took over several areas of wedding planning (Honeymoon & Music to name a couple).  One of those vendors was our florist.  Since we were getting married in such a small town I was really, really worried about the florist in particular.  I grew up in a small town, and had never had a great floral experience with anyone there.  Everyone we asked recommended her, and it was often just assumed that brides there hired her to be their DOC as well.  After our first meeting I was sold on her as the florist, but not sure I needed a DOC.  Then Brainy reminded me of Ikea and said for the low cost it would be fine….and you know what?  It was more than “fine”.  She rocked!  Honestly, I still feel like we didn’t pay her enough, and the best thing was she didn’t seem like a vendor.  Instead, she felt like a long lost family friend and everyone that met her at the wedding raved about how sweet and helpful she was.  So, I decided I wanted to “create” her a small token of appreciation (in addition to rave reviews) but I wasn’t sure what.  One afternoon I remembered a funny conversation we had during the days leading up to the wedding and it hit me, she needed a frilly apron. 

So, using some leftover fabric she had painstakingly decorated our cake table with and a few other items, I whipped up a functional frilly apron to keep her clothes all clean when she is working on her floral goodness.  Since I haven’t sewn in a few years (at least), I was super happy with how it turned out.

Remember those 3D Flowers?  I created 3 different matching flowers and attached half of a snap to the back of each one, then sewed the back half of one of the snaps to the top of the apron.  So she can change them out, and easily remove it for laundering.  Notice how the frills didn’t cover the whole apron?  That way she isn’t wiping her hands on the ruffles.  And yes, I hand embroidered the shop name on the top. 

I’m hoping she loves it almost as much as I loved having her keeping our wedding in line!  Let me know if you are interested in a tutorial for this project and I’ll put one together and post.

DIY – Framed Fabric Table Numbers

To start with I wasn’t sure we would even need table numbers.  We hadn’t’ planned on a seated dinner, but then realized it would be easier on both our event staff and our guests if we tackled assigned seating.  Of course that meant more DIY projects since that single decision yielded the need for escort cards, table numbers, and perhaps seating cards.  I didn’t like the idea of a piece of paper on a metal stick.   While I think they are perfectly fine, I just didn’t think they’d fit our “not-so-shabby chic meets French Garden” wedding.  So I went to my standard go-to for wedding inspiration and found some framed table numbers on Weddingbee to use for inspiration and then gave it a little different approach for a look that really fit with our table decor.  I think they turned out quite well 🙂

table01(photo credit:  Climie + CO)

Tools Needed:

  • Hot Glue Gun & Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Tape
  • Paint in desired color

Supplies Needed:

  • 4×6 ” Frames (make sure they have glass panes)
  • Fabric (1/2 yard or so per 5 frames)
  • Wooden Number(s) for each table.

Getting Everything Ready to Assemble:

  1. Disassemble your frames.  Doing this all at once will mean you can put them back together in a more assembly line type process which will go MUCH faster.
  2. Paint your frames if they need to be a different color.  I realize that it might be easier & cheaper to buy unfinished frames and paint them.  Had I not found white frames I liked I would have done the same thing.  This is the step where you should paint the front and sides of your frames.  Let them dry and then flip them over to paint the back.  I also think spray paint might work well for this, especially if you could hang the frames on a makeshift clothes line so they could hang and dry more quickly.
  3. Paint the wooden numbers.  Since they are unfinished it may mean you need multiple coats of paint to produce a solid coated surface.  Since I wanted a more textured look to my numbers I used a foam stencil brush and “dabbed” them up and down with paint.  It gave it a more textured finish than painting them with a regular brush in a back and forth motion.
  4. Let everything dry.  I painted my numbers one night and then left them to dry until the following evening before I started assembly.

Assembling the Table Numbers:

  1. Take one of the pieces of glass and lay it on top of your fabric to use as a template.  Use your scissors and cut around the piece of glass, leaving about an inch of fabric on all sides.  Repeat this step for the number of tables you will have.  We used two different prints and had 10 tables, so we cut 5 blue pieces and 5 green ones.
  2. This is where the assembly line process kicks in (so if you have buddies over to help you can assign each one a task).  Go ahead and plug in your glue gun and get that bad boy preheated.  And no laughing at how old my glue gun looks…because it is!  My mom gave me her OLD one when I left for college 10 years ago, and it still works so I still have it!  Thanks Mom! 🙂
  3. Take a piece of your fabric and place it face down on a flat surface.
  4. Place a piece of glass centered on top of the fabric.
  5. Pull up one of the long sides of the fabric wrapping it around the edge of the glass and using scotch tape secure it to the glass.  Shocked that I used tape for attaching the fabric instead of glue?  By using tape we were able to easily remove the fabric and reuse the frames after the wedding!
  6. Repeat this process on the other long side, making sure to pull the fabric tightly against the glass to make a smooth surface.
  7. Now, take the fabric on the end of the glass and push it in from the sides to make two triangular flaps.  Pull the back flaps back firmly against the glass and tape down.
  8. Then pull the top flap down over the bottom one and also tape it securely to the glass.  Repeat this process on the other side of the glass plate and then turn it over to make sure you have it all tight and smooth. This is where you could pass it off to someone else if you’d like.
  9. Now it’s time to reassemble your frames.  Place the covered glass pane back into the frame with the covered side exposed.  Then place the frame backing into the frame and reattach with side slides or press down the staples (depending on how your frames are structured).  Then pass the reassembled frame off to be glued.
  10. First play around and decide where you want your numbers to lie on the frame.  I wanted everything centered which made it really easy to stick them and move on.
  11. Break out your trusty glue gun and apply a thin line of glue to the back of your painted numbers and then quickly position them in the center of the fabric area.
  12. Hold it down until solid, and you are DONE.  Pack them up and mark table numbers off your list.

For ReUse After the Wedding:
Using this method made it possible for use to reuse the frames after our event, AND even sell the fabric/number portion to another bride and save her some work! I call that a win-win!  To reuse simply take the back off the frames and remove the glass plate with the fabric/number still attached.  Simply peel off the scotch tape and separate the fabric from the glass.  As long as you used a light weight Cotton fabric the glue won’t have gone through the fabric and it will slide right off.  You might need to clean the glass panes, but otherwise your frames are ready to showcase your beautiful wedding photos!  This is how my mom reused them for our hometown reception.


This is what we were left with once we took the fabric off the glass….see they are all intact and ready for someone else to use with the frames of their choice or even save for a future event!

Cost Breakdown & Ideas for more savings:
Frames: We used white wooden frames that my mom already had to use for our hometown reception to display wedding photos (and later gift to several family members).  However, for this mock-up I used white plastic ones  I picked up for $1 each at Dollar Tree and I actually think with the beaded edge they look nicer , plus they are lighter weight for those needing to pack & transport.

Fabric: $1.00 from the Dollar-a -Yard section at Hancock Fabrics we had leftover from covering our jam jar escort cards/favors.  We purchased a yard of each fabric and used approx. 1/2 a yard of each color for (5) 4×6 inch frames of each color.  You could also use leftover scrapbook paper like this or wrapping paper like this.

Wooden Numbers: $6.24 (including tax) for 11.  From Michaels (purchased during a 40% sale).  Using coupons at craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn’s, or Hobby Lobby can really save you alot of money!  Sign up for each of their email programs to get advance notice of big sales and extra coupons sent directly to your inbox.

Paint & Brush: Free since I already had them from some other project years ago.  These are also items you could pick up for a buck at Dollar Tree.

Total for 10 Tables: $18.96 (w/Dollar Tree Frames)
Price per Table: $1.89 (w/Dollar Tree Frames)