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.

How to: Paper Dress Banner in a Shadow Box & giveaway

May 17th, 2010

A couple of month’s ago I was seriously inspired by Trish Turay’s dress garland featured on Get it Scrapped. I instantly knew that I wanted to create a shadowbox for my new niece’s nursery. So I bookmarked the website and ordered a 9×20 Shadowbox online.

On Saturday I had a whole day to do whatever I wanted with it. So I hopped out of bed and got to work! The first thing I did was create my own cutting files. I have a Cricut Expression and use SCAL to cut all my own custom files.

I created 2 dresses, 1 apron, 2 over-skirts, and a collar. This made really short work of my project because I didn’t have to hand cut anything.  I love my Cricut.

All the paper that I used is from my Quite Contrary line – Hello Beautiful color set by My Mind’s Eye.

With all my dresses and items cut out, I grabbed some Lush embellishments also by My Mind’s Eye, and my awesome new Glue Arts Glue Glider Pro and started embellishing!

For the first dress, I used ribbons, paper and brads to create some cute hand-made flowers. I also added some tiny rhinestones for buttons and made a glittered sash.

The second dress also got some glitter on the collar and layered skirt. I ran the top skirt through the sewing machine and topped it off with a ribbon sash and a button. I also added a playful pink pom pom trim using my Glue Arts Glider.

For the third dress, I wanted to gather some wide organza that I had lying around. So I pulled out my sewing machine… I barely know how to sew, so pardon how messy this is… but at least you know beginners can do it too!

I traced where the apron hit the dress so that I would know where I needed to start my skirt and how long of a gathered piece I needed.

Then I grabbed some yarn and sewed it loosely to my organza – about twice as long as the skirt.

Then I gently pulled on the yarn to gather it, and then sewed it to the bottom dress, so that none of my bad sewing would show!

The gathered skirt was a little unruly, so I used my glue glider to help it stick down. You couldn’t see any of the glue in the final product.

I also wanted some ric-rac on the bottom of the apron to finish the transition. The best way I know to create adhesive ribbon is to run it through my Xyron. This really makes it easy to get ribbon down securely especially on curves. I also used it on the green ribbon on the first dress.

Once I was happy with how all the dresses turned out, I decided to make a banner with the new baby’s name.

I just hand-cut a bunch of triangles and then ran them through the sewing machine with some crocheting string. I did it really SLOWLY so I had control over the string and the placement on the triangles.

I chose a contrasting color – brown, to give the banner a more detailed effect. Then I simply added some glitter sticker letters.

Once I decided how everything would be placed. I grabbed some teeny clothes pins and some cream seam binding to hang the dresses on. I also found some eye-screws to hang the ribbon by.

For the banner, I used some small pins and tied the string around them.

You can also see that I added a few pins in the middle of the banner to create a scalloped look. This was the final product and I absolutely love how it turned out. The hardest part was having to give it away! But I can’t wait to see it in my new nieces adorable nursery.

For the wrapping, I wrapped some tissue paper around the frame and had my cricut cut out another dress and apron. I only added one embellishment to this dress — a little rhinestone necklace. Then I clothes-pinned it to the ribbon with a little congratulations tag.

If you’re interested in doing this or a similar project, I actually took the time to build all the files (SVG, GSD, JPG, AI)  for the various cutting programs and am selling them at Design House Digital starting Thursday May 2oth (2010). These files should work for any die-cut machine including the Cricut (with SCAL), & Silhouette. I’m giving away this digital kit to one of my readers, all you need to do is comment — tell me what kind of cutting machine you have — and I’ll choose one random winner on Thursday Morning!