The Holiday Planner – create a removable binder cover with fabric

October 5th, 2011

Let’s stay focused and stress free this Holiday Season with a fun yet functional planning binder. Holly Jolly by Jen Allyson is the perfect fabric to cover some old unused binders to create this holiday binder. I dare you to only make one….

What you need to make binder cover:

  • Your choice of binder (I have tons of used binders laying around the office ready to be covered and up-cycled or you can purchase one)
  • ½ yard fabric for front (I’m using Gray Holly Jolly Damask)
  • ½ yard fabric for back/inside (I’m using Gray Holly Jolly Damask, Lost & Found Basic Shades Slate)
  • 2 fat quarters for inside pockets (I’m using Gray Holly Jolly Damask, Red Holly Jolly Dots)
  • 1 piece of fusible batting & optional lightweight interfacing for pockets
  • Optional: lace, ric rack, ribbon, vinyl, binding

First start by measuring your binder. Open the binder and measure from side to side. I just used my cutting mat. This is a 1.5″ binder and the length measures  21.5″ inches. The width (top to bottom) is 11.75″ inches. So to cut the outside of your cover you will add 1″ inch to both the length and width. For a standard 1.5″ binder you will cut your outside fabric 22.5″ x 12.75″.

You will also cut a 22.5″ x 12.75″ piece of fusible batting. Measure from the edge of the side towards the rings to determine the width of the pockets. I cut mine 12.75″ x 10″, you will need 2 (And you will need to cut 2 of the interfacing). I cut the small pockets 6″ x 10″ (red dot).
Once everything is cut out you will need to fuse the batting to your outside piece using the manufacturer’s directions. Then you can start the fun part of embellishing your front…. I cut a piece of the Red Holly Jolly Dots, pinked the edges, gathered it and sewed it down the front on the right side.

I then added jumbo ric rack to the middle of the ruffle stitched down the middle. Next you will need to finish the pockets for the binder to slip into. Take the small pockets and finish one of the 10″ inch sides.  I just folded it down a quarter inch, pressed then folded again and topstitched. You will layer these small pockets with the larger pockets and baste the edges.=

I measured in 2′ inches from the right side on the left pocket for a pencil/pen holder. This pocket will be closest to the rings to allow for room for the pen or pencil. You will bind one 12.75″ inch edge of the 2 pockets.  

Now let’s put it all together with 4 simple strait seams! Lay out the outside piece right side up (you can see the gray Damask in the middle). Lay the pockets right side down, bound edges in the center, on the outside piece and pin the 12.75″ sides. Sew down these 2 sides. Take it back to your cutting table and measure the whole piece and cut your lining piece (Basic Shades Slate) to fit, pink the short sides of the lining. Layer this lining piece right side down on top of the main piece and pin the long edges.

Again sew 2 simple strait seams along the long sides. Turn the lining right side out.

Now turn the pockets right side out.

Now you can slide your binder inside the pockets.

And there you have a covered binder that is sure to keep you in that Holiday spirit…. Now all you have to do is fill it!

Be our guest! Fun ideas for Guest baskets

September 11th, 2011

A few years ago, Martha (you know, my good friend Martha Stewart) introduced me to the idea of guest baskets. Now I love nothing more than being a great hostess, and so I tucked this fun idea away for a time when I actually had a guest room and an opportunity to welcome guests into my home. As my regular readers may know, my parents are coming to visit TODAY. I’ve been hustling to get a guest room ready for them… less than a week ago it was just an empty room with way too many storage containers in it! Magically it has all come together and the room looks great. I’m going to do a post about that, but am waiting for Mr. Project to come home and get the curtains up for me first! Okay back to guest baskets!! I wanted to make my parents feel as welcome as possible, so I bought a bunch of fun items to put in a big basket in their room.

Here is a list of what I got:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Body wash
  • Bar soaps
  • Shower poof
  • Flossers
  • Toothbrushes (not in the basket, just extras on hand)
  • Washcloths
  • Trail mix
  • Cashews
  • Flavored almonds
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Fruit Bars
  • Pistachios
  • Dried Apricots
  • Crackers
  • Water Bottles
  • Do not Disturb sign

I placed everything in this fun wire basket from Cost Plus World Market like so:

But of course it wasn’t cute enough for me (Martha would not approve). So I decided to take a little time and make some custom labels and give the whole basket some cohesive elements. Here are a few shots of the cute new packaging:

And the whole basket, just ready to welcome my folks for their visit, and hopefully make their stay as comfortable as possible.

I hope this inspired you to create some sort of welcome basket the next time you have special guests!

How to make fabric flowers tutorial- Quite Contrary

August 22nd, 2011

Janell here, In March I got a hold of some of Jen Allyson’s Quite Contrary Fabric Collection from Riley Blake and I made my daughter this cute summer dress, but what’s a girl to do without accessories? Make some of course!

There’s still time for a few summer craft projects, these flowers are so simple you can whip up a bunch to enjoy for the rest of the summer or give a few away, they make perfect gifts.  Simple, sweet, and handmade.

The best part about these projects is that they can be made from fabric scraps.  Those of you who work with fabric have oodles of scraps. I chose five different fabrics from Quite Contrary.  For the first flower, you’ll need thread, a needle, scissors, and extra embellishments like buttons, hair clips, or a head band if you choose.

Start with cutting a circle about the size of your hand from one piece of fabric.  You don’t need to make this is perfect circle, in fact a little imperfection adds to the fun of these flowers.

The take your threaded needle and simply stitch about a ¼ inch all around the border.

Then gently pull to cinch the circle together.  Repeat with another circle of fabric slightly smaller than your first circle.  You can make multiple layers to add depth and beauty to your flower.  Once you have at least two circle flowers you can layer them one on top of the other and stitch together.  I added a button so I sewed all three together at the same time.  You can also use jewels or beads in the center, or leave the flowers plain.

Now you can attach the flower to a clip or a hair band or an elastic hair tie.  I wanted to make a fabric covered hair hand to attach the flower to.  This is also very simple to do.  Take your head band that you want to cover and a few long strips of fabric. I chose to tear some strips because I like the raw frayed look of the edges. I started with two long strips that were about ¾ inch thick.  Take a hot glue gun or your favorite craft glue and start at one end and wrap the headband with the fabric strips adding glue about every inch or so.

You can attach your flowers with a little glue or you can sew them on as well. I chose to do both to make sure they were very well attached since I knew my toddler might not be so gentle with her headband.

I even made a card with an extra fabric flower that I had.

The second flower is a “no-sew” flower, also great for scraps.  Tear some strips of fabric anywhere from 1 inch thick to 2 inches.  You can experiement with the thickness to find one you like.  Tie a knot at the end of one strip and start twisting the ends around the knot to form a circle. As you go place glue around the edges. I used a hot glue gun, because that’s what I already had out, but a quick dry craft glue would be ideal and you don’t have to worry about getting burned.

Here are three examples of the different looks you can get from different fabrics using the Quite Contrary line.

The hair clips (below) I started with the pink polka dots for the center of the flowers and then wrapped them with green circles.  I filled the center with brads and buttons.

Try layering multiple flowers for a larger hair barrette or attaching to a pin for a fun, colorful broach.  Make a few for present toppers, magnets, scrapbooking or t-shirt embellishments, there are so many ways to use fabric flowers.