Category Archives: Re-visited

December Revamp: A Hat

This revamp marks probably the first New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever actually completed! I didn’t skip a single month, and I’m pretty proud of many of the projects and posts I’ve improved and re-done over the last year. Check out the full, year-long project here!

This month, I am proud both of the project I am revamping and the project I produced. I’ve made several of these floppy, flippable hats in the past and now I’m happy to add one more to that number.

My brother wore the last one down to rags, so I’m hoping that he’ll like the new one as much as the old.

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Also, I made a matching scarf. Merry Christmas Everyone!

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November Revamp: Trivets

This post is revamped from all the way in 2011. I made trivets having just moved into a school dorm apartment which had a kitchen, so it appears history is repeating itself since I’ve made some trivets to go with my new kitchen in my first real-person apartment. I did the curtains first, and built/painted furniture to bring down some of the colors from the curtains. When all was said and done I still had some curtain fabric left over, and some fabric from the cushions on the chairs, so I did now what I did then and made a set of trivets for my new kitchen.

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This project was originally inspired by a trivet we had at home as a child. My mom had gotten it from a friend a long time ago, and I reverse engineered the process to figure out how to do it. Since then I’ve done it many times, and so I’m revisiting my tutorial to share the technique, because it’s fun and easy, and really cute.

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Because bottle caps are so easy to gather and recycle, the effective cost of this project comes down to the fabric- which I already had because of the curtains. Basically what you need are a sewing kit, so a needle, thread, and something to cut the thread with, and the bottle caps and fabric.

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You’ll be essentially covering the bottle caps in fabric, creating little fabric “yo-yo’s” which you’ll then sew together. For a simple circle trivet you’ll need 19 bottle caps. More if you want to make it longer, or a larger size.

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Cut out a nice circle of fabric, with maybe a 1″ larger diameter than a bottle cap.

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Your circle does not have to be perfect. Almost none of mine were. It doesn’t matter anyway, because (in a technique similar to these Fabric Yo-yos from About.com) you’ll start by stitching loosely around the edge in a circle.

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Flip your fabric over, and put your bottle cap on it, top down. Start to pull on the thread, cinching in the stitches.

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Pull the thread tight, and if you feel the need to, stitch a second round in the bottle cap, to secure the “yo-yo”. Here’s a finished one.

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The front of your bottle cap should be covered in one smooth, nice looking layer of fabric.

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Wash rinse repeat however many times you need to until you have enough fabric covered bottle caps for the trivet you want. You may decide to lay them out before you start stitching to make sure you like the final result. I usually do.

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Start sewing together your bottle caps. I use a simple running stitch, adjusting tension wherever I need to to make the fabric lay properly. Sorry I didn’t stitch this in black so you could see it better- I didn’t want to have to unpick my stitches and re-do the whole project later.

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The stitching process can be a little bit tedious but it is really rewarding to watch the pieces build together into something recognizable.

My one piece of real advice is to make sure you don’t miss any seams- think of each piece as if it were a hexagon, and make sure that even the corner pieces have at least three seams connecting them to each other. This will give you a really solid trivet. The back should look like this.

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The finished trivet from the top will look like this.

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Of course I am nothing if not thorough, so I made a set of three with different patterns. I think the striped one is my favorite!

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October Revamp: Sweater Pillows

While I made these truly adorable pillows a few years ago, I didn’t exactly have a sewing machine. Or a color scheme. Or any plan at all.

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Three years later I’ve moved into my own place and I finally have all three of those things available, so I decided now was finally the time to re-visit this idea and talk about it a little more in depth.

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The first thing I grabbed was these sweaters from goodwill ($5 total, you guys.) I also had pillow forms already, so my total cost for project was $5 ($1.66/pillow if you will)

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Honestly, this project is so simple if you have a sewing machine, you guys. All you have to do is remove the seams so that you end up with a vaguely square shape.

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Knits stretch, so it doesn’t matter if your fabric is a little narrower than your pillow form as long as they will stretch to fit.

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Mine certainly did. I had 0 problems fitting the pillow forms into my pillow cases once I’d sewn the two sides together (leaving a hole for stuffing, which I totally didn’t forget to do at all on the first pillow nope no way)

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They’re so fun! They match my decor perfectly, and they’re actually really comfy. I feel very cozy in my bed now.

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As you can see, I’ve got some variety. I switched it up by making the two large pillows each have the same back and front, so I have two pillows with turquoise in them instead of just one. I sleep on the little one so I made sure there was a “real pillowcase” side to him for comfort.

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In order to vary it up a bit  (and not totally because I sewed it wrong the first time) I used the “wrong side” of the teal sweater for one of the pillows, and the “right side” for the other so they match but they don’t match.

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The little guy is also special because of the pattern of the knit. I’m a lot in love with these new pillows and they go really well in my new room.

September Revamp: To Do List

Last month’s re-vamp post in many ways inspired this one. If you recall, it was based on a project which I had chosen to include in a to-do list in 2012. I usually don’t make my crafty to-do lists public, unless I have some great inspiration images or I’m in a period of unusual transition in my life. I seem to be meeting both of those criteria this month, since I’m moving into a new apartment next month and I have some really fun and interesting ideas I want to share with you. As per usual, I found most of my ideas on Pinterest.

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A friend recently gave me some lovely wood pieces and I’m definitely inspired by this combination of wood and pearl. I’m hoping to find a good way to bring out the natural beauty of the wood in a few pairs of earrings.

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There is another piece I have in mind inspired by this bracelet (which inspired these bracelets). I am hoping to drill holes in the tin I currently store embroidery floss in, and plan to embroider a traditional flower pattern using those holes. I’m pretty excited about the idea.

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I think I’m going to follow up on this pair of earrings from April by making a second pair of puffy geometric shapes, maybe triangles. I’ll have my craft supplies and my beads back again this weekend so I will be able to really dive into something like this again.

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This project is not exactly what I plan to do, but it has a lot of similarities. I have a lot of really really lovely broken china from work, and when I move into my new place I’ll be acquiring a three level rolling cart. I plan to mosaic the tops of the shelves and make it a nice addition to our kitchen with some plants ect. on it.

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And finally, I have fallen in love with the idea of making my own face scrubbers and dish scrubbers, and as soon as I’m in my own apartment I intend to do just that. I actually already have the cotton to do these projects, for the most part, so they should be a snap to churn out, and super useful!

I only ended up completing 3 of the 5 projects I included in the first to-do list. This is pretty par for the course; there are always ideas which seem great to me at the time but don’t really have a place in my life/don’t end up coming to fruition because I lose interest in them. I’m sure this list will be no different, but my goal is to complete at least half of these projects by the end of the year. I will periodically come back to update this list with links and images to the completed projects, as I have now done with the old list from 2012.

August Revamp: Sewing Kit

I know I’m just squeezing this one in under the wire but it is still technically August so HA. I’ve moved again, I’m now based in NYC (!!!) and that’s most of why there hasn’t been much going on me-making-things-wise. Since I’ve moved, however, and am planning to make this city a permanent home for a while, I’m able to revisit a project I did while I was still mobile.

In 2012 I made a To-Do List. I make these all the time and rarely stick to them, but in this case I completed a whopping half the list, and one of those projects was this mason jar sewing kit.

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What I ended up making was this more versatile cloth kit which I can carry in my bag and not worry about breaking.

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Now that I’m more permanent I’ve created this awesome large version of the mason jar kit. I’m so excited for this to find a permanent home on my desk!

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July Revamp: Beaded Flower Hairpin

A long time ago, I made this hairpin.

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I only got to wear it once before it fell out and I lost it. For my revamp this month I wanted to do something similar with some new seed beads (Toho PF2114, Cocoa Opal Silver Lined) which are just delicious.

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If you notice, the original scrunched a bit in an odd way when it was in my hair.

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I decided to use this as inspiration for the flower, so instead of this rounder design…

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I flattened it and tacked it together for a flatter pin.

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I’m so happy I have some of this left over- it’ll make a great accent color for another project someday.

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June Revamp: A Third Beaded Bead Tutorial

This re-vamp is from the first beaded bead tutorial I ever did, which sadly lacked quality photos, so I’m taking the opportunity to go back through and fix it. You can find the original project photos from this post here, as well as more projects using this technique here.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of most of the fads which have hit the beading world in the last four years. I love mixed media work in theory, but in practice it often comes off feeling cheap and craft-sy, where I prefer jewelry that feels sleek and professional. There was a big wave of picture frame jewelry that came through, introducing many of us to various resins. I had the same problem with many of the results of this fad as well. In general, fads tend to feel cheap and homemade to me, while older techniques from metal work, linking, and stitching almost always feel like real, lasting jewelry. One fad that I can definitely get behind, which is quickly becoming one of the longer-lasting techniques any seed-beader should have in their bag of tricks, is the beaded bead.

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Today, I am finishing the group of three tutorials from this month and creating the tutorial for the smallest beaded bead in that stack. I think I created this pattern myself, but if this is a pattern you’ve encountered somewhere else, I apologize. I guess great minds think alike? Anyway, be nice, and don’t use this tutorial to teach or re-post without crediting please. The creative arts are tricky, I know, but this is one I’d actually like to hang on to. This is probably a project for someone who has some experience with a needle and thread already. If you’re an absolute beginner, I suggest trying a peyote stitch project first, many examples of which you can find by perusing my blog.

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In my beaded beads, I used a size 15/0 purple seed beads (you can use both Czech and Japanese, although I’ve found that the rounder Czech beads tend to work better for this project) and 4 size 8/0 seed beads, as well as a few Delicas (slighly on the small end) Japanese seed beads. You could definitely do this project using 4mm spacer beads and just 11/0 beads, which would result in a larger sized beaded bead. You could replace the spacer beads with anything else that is a 4mm size, or if you want to make them bigger you can just up the sizes, keeping the ratio steady. They’re not intended to be super big beads, but if you’re looking for a way to showcase some really cool stones, this could make a cool focal bead.

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1) Start by stringing four of your seed beads. Loop through them to create a circle, tie off, and continue. You’ll end up going through them a few times to secure the rest of the bead, so don’t worry too much about tension or security right now, just make sure that knot is tight!

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2) String a spacer onto your string and pass your needle back through the bead you just came through, so you create a loop above your bead with the spacer on it. Pull tight.

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4) Repeat with the other three beads in your loop, so your piece looks a bit like a cross. End with your thread coming out of one of your spacer beads.

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5) Pass your needle through all four beads, creating a circle.

6) Pull tight. The beads should cinch up, and look like this from the top…

and this from the side. You can see your previous loop of seed beads there, securely fastened to your new circle of spacers.

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7) Repeat steps 3-6 with four new Delicas.

After step seven, your beaded bead will look like this. End with your thread coming out of one of your seed beads. Doesn’t matter which one.

And from the side.

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8) String four seed beads, and pass your needle through the seed bead from your first loop which corresponds to the seed bead your thread ended up coming out of in step 7, in the opposite direction from the way you threaded it originally, so that you bridge the gap between your spacer beads with the four seed beads.

9) Repeat this process by adding four more seed beads to your thread, and passing back through your point of origin in step 8. After this step the goal is to cover all four gaps between spacer beads with seed beads. You’re halfway done. Pass through the first four you threaded in step 8, and instead of going through the same seed bead to anchor it, head the other direction, through the other seed bead on this side.

10) Add four more seed beads, and continue this pattern until you’ve got a fully anchored beaded bead, with all four gaps between spacer beads covered.

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11) Tie off your thread to itself. Pass through all four spacer beads in a circle. Tie it again. Pass through whichever of the seed beads is nearest, tie it off one more time, and cut your thread.

Congrats! You have a beaded bead. I know it got kinda picture-less at the end. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to write a comment!