Month: December 2011

Simple Hair Band Flowers: a Tutorial

Alright, last-minute-gift-makers… here’s another easy gift for you to make today.  This one is super fun, and can be done while you’re watching your favorite Christmas movie or even riding in the car.  Simple hair band flowers, made from jersey knit or even T-shirt scraps.


1. Cut three circles of your knit or T-shirt fabric, varying the size.  [If you cut lots of circles at one time, then you can make a bunch of flowers really quickly.]


2. Stack the circles together, with the largest on the bottom.


3. Pinch the bottom of the circle, “scrunching” the layers together.


4. Take your threaded needle and weave in and out of the pinched layers, pulling your thread tightly as you go. [But not too tight – you don’t want it to break… not that that’s happened to me or anything…]  Do as many times as you’d like, until your flower looks like you want it to. [The more you sew in and out of the layers, the more “scrunched” your flower will look]



5. Sew your flower onto your hairband.  You could also sew it onto soft elastic or a large strip of jersey knit to make a headband.


6. Admire your handiwork :)


7. Make a bunch more, because you just might become addicted…


Painted Burlap Placemats: a Tutorial

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile, you might remember a tutorial I shared awhile ago on The Southern Institute: painted burlap placemats.  I never posted the full tutorial here on my blog, so I’m sharing it today.  They are perfect for a simple, quick handmade gift!

  1. Measure and cut your burlap.  You can use a placemat you have on hand as a guide or just eyeball it.  I cut mine about 16in. x 22in.  Keep in mind that the placemat will end up being a little bit smaller than you cut it, plus you want to leave a little margin for error (burlap can be tricky to cut in straight lines!)
  2.  Zig-zag stitch about one inch in from the edge of the burlap, all around the placemat.

    When you are sewing around the edges, be sure to back stitch at the beginning and then again at the end.  When you reach a corner (leaving about an inch to go before the edge), don’t take your needle out.  Leave it in and pivot your burlap to continue sewing on the next side.

  3. After you have zig-zagged around all four edges, trim each side of the burlap to make sure they’re all even.  Be careful to cut the burlap as straight as you can
  4. Now you’re going to fray your edges.  Carefully pull out the loose threads of burlap – the ones that are parallel to the side you are fraying.
  5. As you are fraying the sides, you may occasionally come to a spot where the burlap thread won’t pull anymore because it has been sewn into your zig-zig stitch.
    When this happens just trim close to the zig-zag stitch- but don’t cut through that!
    This is what your placemat edges will look like when they are all frayed.
  6. Now you get to add your paint accents! You can free hand paint or use freezer paper stenciling. I recommend using freezer paper, because you’ll get a much cleaner line. I’ve done it free hand, but it doesn’t look quite as nice.If you’re going the freezer paper route, draw your image onto the dull side of the paper, use a sharp paper cutting tool to cut it out, then iron it onto your burlap, shiny side down.

  7.  Then use fabric paint to paint over your freezer paper!  Let it dry some before pulling the paper off your placemat.  If you pull carefully, you should be able to re-use your freezer paper stencil for your other placemats as well.
  8. Let the paint dry completely and set the table with your beautiful new placemats!
  9. Pair them up with some cloth napkinsto add a fun new look to your dinner table!

These are fun to make for holiday decor or lovely for everyday use as  well!  Tomorrow I’m going to share another quick and easy handmade gift.  Because I can’t be the only one still making gifts, right…?

Truth in the Tinsel – 12 Days till Christmas Discount!

I have to admit, we’ve kinda been slacking on our Advent calendar.  We’ve been talking about Christmas, and preparing for the birth of the King, but we’ve gotten a little side tracked from our Truth in the Tinsel crafts.

If you haven’t done an Advent calendar yet, but would still like to, Truth in the Tinsel is 20% off today!  Plus, when you download your copy, you’ll get a new 12 day schedule to follow for the remainder of the Advent season.

This sale goes until midnight ET tonight.  Use the code 12DAYS to get your copy.

P.S. I have not too many sewing projects to show you right now, because the ones I’m working on are all gifts for family members who would probably read about it here… so I will share a lot of those after Christmas.  I’ll be sharing a few quick and easy handmade gift ideas [for procrastinators like me!] over the next couple weeks, though.  Come back tomorrow for one!

A Little Handmade Shopping Guide

I don’t know about you, but Christmas seems to be approaching at lightening speed this year!  Add to it all the icky sicky bugs that seem to be making their way into our home, and my sewing time is running low.

I really love to give handmade gifts, though.  If I can’t make my own, I love to support other small businesses.  Since you are a reader of this little blog, you probably enjoy handmade items as well.  So here’s a little guide to some of my faves.

[And just so you know, I wasn’t asked to highlight these businesses, nor am I being compensated in any way.  I just like them and think you might too.]

Mockingbird Masks

These theatre-grade masks are all beautifully crafted, ready to be worn or used as decor in your home.  We own one of these, and they are incredibly durable. Plus, absolutely gorgeous.

Eager Hands

This shop is filled with vintage lovelies (fabric and other gorgeous finds) and hand crafted jewelry.  I have one of her necklaces, which I absolutely love – and I get so many compliments on it when I wear it.  She’s even offering one of her pieces for 30% off each day for the month of December – follow her on Twitter @eagerhands to hear about her daily deal.

See Kate Sew

I recently purchased a present for one of my little niecies from this shop. I can’t tell you what it is [because her mama might just read about it here!] but I can tell you that it is incredibly well-made.  In this shop you’ll find lovely clutches and wristlets, hair accessories, adorable stuffed animals [the sweetest little hedgehogs you’ve ever seen in your life] and even PDF patterns to make some of your own gifts.

And since you’re already doing a little handmade browsing, would you head over to my shop, Joy and Delight?

I’ve got felted wool coffee cozies and pillows. Plus…

I just reduced prices on all my baby hats and leggings!  Snatch ’em up while you can.

[I also don’t know how soon you need to order from these shops to get them by Christmas, but I’m guessing pretty soon!]

Advent Calendar {An Easy How-To}

Yesterday marked the beginning of our Advent celebration.  But just one problem – no Advent calendar.  Since we have this fantastic ebook Truth in the Tinsel this year, I wanted to make sure we had a calendar to use with it.

I had dreams of sewing one, I had even pinned a couple ideas to my Pinterest board. (and p.s. I’d love it if you follow me ;) But I really should have started that in, like, July…. because let’s be honest, as the Queen of Procrastination, I’ve got enough on my plate with all the Christmas gift sewing I plan to do still.

So instead of sewing, I put together a super simple Advent Calendar, made with materials I had on hand.

No step-by-step photo tutorial, but it’s easy enough to figure out how to do it, if you want to make one of your own [and it’s not too late if you want to!]


  • cardboard
  • 25 clothespins
  • number stickers
  • scrapbook paper [or you could even use wrapping paper]
  • chipboard/sticker/vinyl letters
  • glue [i used both hot glue and glue stick]
  • large circle hole punch
  • ribbon

1. Glue scrapbook paper to the cardboard. I had three sheets of paper that display the words of the Christmas story from the Bible. I cut these to fit my cardboard.

2. Punch 25 circles out of scrapbook paper. Apply number stickers 1-25 on each circle.  I didn’t have enough numbers from the same type of sticker, but I like the eclectic look of having different number styles.

3. Glue/stick the chipboard or sticker letters to the board for your heading – mine reads “let us adore him”

4. Using hot glue [or the glue of your choice] attach your 25 clothespins to the cardboard in the arrangement you choose.

5. Apply one circle to each clothespin [I just used glue stick for this]. I found it easier to apply these circles after the clothespins had already been glued.

6. Using hot glue, attach ribbon to the back of the cardboard to use to hang your Advent calendar.

That’s it! In each clothespin is a “clue” [from the Truth in the Tinsel e-book] that tells what ornament we will be making together on that day.  You could also clip an activity that you’d like to do that day, if that’s how you and your family celebrates Advent.  We decided to leave the clues clipped on the calendar, so that we could look back and remember which ornaments we already made.

The boys are having a lot of fun and [hopefully] learning a bit in the process. I’m especially enjoying all the family time, since even the hubs is joining in!

Do you celebrate Advent in your house? What kind of calendar do you use? Share the link, I’d love to see it!