Category Archives: tutorials

Handmade gifts and DIY sewing projects

Hello, I hope your springtime is off and running in the right direction and at the rate you hope for. I’ve been trying to get organized, eternally on the list… no matter what. I’ve just been filling up the Etsy shop with oodles of handmade gifts for yourself or others- drawstring backpacks and busy worker bee kid aprons, patchwork quilt panels, party banners, girls tier skirts and even dream catchers. Here’s a sampling…

dream catcher
This dreamcatcher, Peaceful Willow is actually the biggest one I’ve made. It’s 18 inches wide and 52 inches long. It’s got all the cool elements- wool felt feathers, wooden beads and a assortment of funky trims I’ve collected over the years and in all the bright colors.

drawstring backpacks
The drawstring backpacks and kids worker aprons are also available as DIY sewing projects, if you’re inclined to make it for yourself. Look on Atly for the drawstring backpack video tutorial and here for the apron tutorial.
busy bee aprons

Little aprons for the guys and gals.

worker boy aprons I can customize aprons with names (like the one pictured above) just message me on Etsy. They make great birthday gifts for boys and girls- artists, chefs, scientists and the list goes on…
patchwork quilt panelPatchwork panels now in the shop too, these one-of-a-kind quilts are more of a tablecloth or even a wall hanging. There isn’t any batting between the layers making it unlike like a traditional quilt and this makes it easy to wash over and over again.

ombre patchwork quilt panelTHIS ombre panel, is SO one-of-a-kind and would make an excellent wall hanging or throw or any other use you can dream up- like wedding or outdoor party decor.

colorful all occasion bannerHollah!   All occasion banner, teamed up with felt birthday banner my mom gave me many years ago- working together to knock this party out of the park. Valentine and Christmas banners in the shop too.

girls tier skirtsTier skirts for the young ladies too, these are super fun for me to make, combining fabrics and colors like crazy and just letting my imagination take a walk on the wild side.

Thanks for taking a look, until next time- have a peaceful and happy spring!

how to make drawstring backpacks

Hello and happy 2014! Sorry about my missing-in-action status but it was a crazy month with sewing, Beehive Bazaaring, skiing, holiday festivities and now cleaning and organizing for the new year.
In the midst of the madness I managed to sneak in teaching a video class for Atly on how to make my drawstring backpacks. drawstring backpacks
Here’s a bit about Atly, in case you don’t already know, it’s a fantastic website or forum for expanding your horizons and skills, learning something new with beautiful video classes on all kinds of topics (and upgrade possibilities within the classes for personal instructor feedback.) No dark, obscure YouTube tutorials shot in dirty houses that you realize aren’t really what you needed to know after painfully watching and waiting for way too long. …this may have happened to me once or twice… Just straightforward, visually motivating, well-done classes.
The great part of this class is learning the EASY WAY to put in a zipper and how to install grommets for connecting the handles. So, without further ado, here a link to my drawstring backpack class.

If you need some inspiration for fabrics and backpack designs, here are a few more backpacks I’ve sewn up.

corrugated metal fences

corrugated metal fenceMy corrugated metal fences (ceiling tiles and corrugated steel) are finished! I’ve dreamt about building one of many fancy metal fences I’ve seen before we even bought this house 3 years ago, so at long last– it’s a reality. Out of my head and into the real world.

tin ceiling tile fenceAnd the south side of the house with a plain corrugated gate. The rest of the fence, on the other 3 sides of the property, will be corrugated between wooden posts and look a lot like this, but not galvanized, although that part hasn’t been finished yet.

tin ceiling tilesIt was really hard to get a good picture of the raw ceiling tiles, they are so reflective especially in the sunlight. Here they are all laid out on the front lawn, ready to be painted.

painting tin ceiling tilesI used house paint, the colors of the front door, shutters and garage door among others colors I had (leftover from other house projects) and spray paint to put a base layer on the tin tiles. Once the base layer was dry, I rollered other colors over that to make the detailed relief patterns stand out.

corrugated and tin fence DIYBuilding the fence was a bit of a puzzle, without a pattern or instructions,  I had to make it up as I went along. What you can see here are the gates being pieced together. I used pressure treated 2×4’s to match the 4×4 fence posts. Within the gates and fence panels, all of the horizontal beams run the full width of the panel (secured with metal building brackets) and the vertical wood pieces are shorties placed between the horizontal sections.

corrugated and tin fence DIYHere are a few tiles painted and already in place. Instead of measuring for width and height of the individual square sections with a tape measure, I measured with an actual ceiling tile held in place, these tiles are 24″ square and conveniently very lightweight.

fence square panelsHere are the gates, on their hinges and ready for the squares to be filled.

corrugated and tin fence DIYAnd the other side coming together. All of the tin went in first and the corrugated sections I put in last. The short sections (smaller than the full 24″ square tiles) were cut with tin snips and bent to size. Really very simple- the tin was thin enough it was very easy to cut and bend.

ceiling tile fenceWorking in the cold weather actually worked out well, much better than the heat of summer, especially when it came time to cut the corrugated metal.

cutting corrugated metal I was very nervous to cut the metal, having lots of previous experience with wood working but very little with metal working, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I asked around for advice and tips, got a metal cutting blade for my circular saw, covered up every inch of skin and took a deep breath.

cutting corrugated metalA bit intimidating at first- to see sparks flying everywhere- but the preparations paid off and it was easier than I’d initially thought. Tip: stock up on saw blades, I went through 4 metal cutting blades, which quickly wear down into nubs, just in making this relatively small project.

funky metal fencePutting the panels in place, I randomly switched between vertical and horizontal placement for the corrugated sections. Luckily, I had the foresight to purchase tin snips that cut 22 gauge metal (exactly the gauge of the corrugated here). It was convenient to be able to trim corners here and there for easier fitting.
corrugated metal fence DIYTo connect the corrugated metal to the wood, I used these smaller L brackets and small bolts and nuts to secure each section into place. I secured each panel in two places and then all 4 corners on the corrugated sections of the gates.

The metal building brackets I used to connect all of the 2×4’s look like this. I chose them because they were the simplest  (and cheapest) building bracket I could find that fit the scenario. The metal brackets are about 3″ wide, I mounted them closest to the back of the fence so they be less in the way of the metal sections and less visible from the front.

drop in tin ceiling tileThis is what a drop in ceiling tile edge looks like from the front. You can see the extra material nicely provided on the edges of  drop in type ceiling tiles.

corrugated metal fence DIY With a bit of bending with needle nose pliers those section can be flattened out and used to secure the tiles in place by providing about an inch of material to screw through.

corrugated metal fenceThe brackets here and there definitely give it an industrial look, but I think the process evident aspect adds to the charm.

corrugated metal fence backHere is what the back of the gates look like, a good view of the raw tin. I didn’t even occur to me to worry about what the back would look like. I think it’s kinda of a two-fer  have it look funky from both sides. The naked tin is very reflective in bright sunlight and I think I’ll paint the back like I did the front sides, in the spring.

corrugated metal fence gateI went a little crazy on the hardware trying to make my gates the squarest, non-saggyest gates ever. So far- I’m very disappointed in the wheels from Home Depot, there isn’t enough travel to keep them on the ground when the gates are all the way open and then they bump against  the wood when they are all the way closed and won’t even roll which leads to a lot of forcing which I do not appreciate. Also, I realize my gate tension system is backwards, I did this on purpose because the wood was beginning to bend forward at the top of one of the gates and I had to nip it in the bud. I think I will add another to criss cross (the right way) for actual support.

corrugated metal fence backHere is the back of the fence on the other side of the house, and our grow boxes all ready for spring.

I loved sharing this project with you! If you have any questions or comments, need details or encouragement please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help.

To view the next phase of construction look here.

To view the fence and rusting process a year later look here.