Monday, April 18, 2016

Jelly Jar Sewing Kit

Mason jar projects have been popping up all over the place, so I guess I may as well join in on the fun. I've had this pretty little jelly jar for a while, and I finally found the perfect way to use it. So here are my super-simple instructions for making a jelly jar sewing kit.

It all started with this emergency sewing kit I picked up at a dollar store. It's very functional--but not much to look at--so I gave it a makeover.

I knew I wanted to use the top of the jar as a pincushion, so I chose a few coordinating fabrics from my stash. Use whatever prints or solids you have around; you really only need a few scraps. For the pincushion top, cut a circle about one inch in diameter larger than the jar lid insert. Baste around the edge of the fabric circle and set it aside for a minute.

Use double-stick tape to secure a puff of polyester fiberfill to the top of the jar insert and then place the basted circle over the lid. Pull the thread tightly so it fits snugly over the insert and knot it. To cover up the underside of the lid, cut a circle from another print fabric--or from a piece of colored heavyweight paper--and tape or glue it over the bottom of the insert. (You'll see the end result in the final photo.)

When you turn the insert right side up, you'll see your finished pincushion. Now pop the pincushion into the jar ring. The fabric held my insert firmly in place--no need for glue or tape.

Now it's time to gather your sewing kit supplies. I used the thread and cute little scissors that came with the kit, but I added a few extras. To hold the needles, I swapped a piece of bright felt for the flimsy foil, and I replaced the plastic thimble with a pretty vintage one. I also added a few colorful buttons to the kit and topped the pincushion with some ball-head straight pins.

All the supplies fit perfectly in the jar--and see how nice the underside of the lid looks covered with print fabric? I admit that my jelly jar sewing kit isn't something I can carry in my purse for button emergencies, but it really looks cute in my craft room.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Earth-Friendly Ideas for Crafters

April has finally arrived, which means that Earth Day is only a few weeks away. I'm starting the celebration early and sharing a few Earth-friendly ideas from my craft room. I'm a big fan of recycling and repurposing, which means I hate to throw boxes, scraps, and broken things away.

Idea #1: Upcycled Embroidery Floss Bobbins

I admit it. I often choose facial tissue by the design on the boxes. But when those pretty boxes are empty, they have to go in the recycling bin--unless I use them to make embroidery floss bobbins.

I just used a purchased bobbin as a template and traced it onto the tissue box cardboard. After cutting the bobbins out, I punched a hole punch in one end and used scissors to cut two slits in the other. I wrote the floss color number on the plain side--and I recycled the leftover scraps, of course.

Don't they look pretty all wrapped up in floss? I think I'm going to try this with greeting cards and other decorative boxes.

Idea #2: For the Birds

If you're a needleworker like me, you probably produce a lot of fabric, thread, and yarn scraps. Did you know that some backyard birds like to use these scraps when they make their nests? You can hang an onion bag or suet feeder filled with fabric and fiber scraps in a tree where birds can find them. Be sure to keep the strips and strands just a few inches long so birds can't get tangled in them. To see what bird experts have to say about providing nesting materials for birds, visit the websites of The Humane SocietyNational Wildlife Federation, and Bird Watcher's Digest.

Idea #3: Repurposed Teapot Yarn Bowl

If I had a green thumb, I would use this cute teapot--which never poured properly--as a planter. Since I'm much better at knitting and crocheting than I am at growing things, I rescued the teapot from the glassware graveyard and put it to work as a yarn bowl. I just placed a small ball of yarn inside, pulled the end of the yarn through the spout with a crochet hook, and started knitting. It works beautifully! I think I'm going to start looking for other misfit teapots that need some love.

Do you have any Earth-friendly crafting tips? I'd love to hear them! Please share your ideas in the comments section.