Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pullover make-over

This pullover certainly came close to disposal. I bought it at Value Village (where else, right?) for about $7-$8. It was the start of winter and I was looking for something warm to wear around the house, and the orange colour (my favourite!) immediately caught my eye. Unfortunately I discovered I'm not a big fan of pullovers; cardigans are more my thing so I contemplated donating it back to VV. Fortunately, I found a tutorial on how to turn an old pullover into a cardigan over at Happiness is...creating and, well, suffice it to say that this orange number is back in my closet.

I started with the tutorial and added my own embellishments. Instead of seam binding, I used twill tape, which I feel are a little strudier and suited to something I'm going to wear a lot. Since the material is thick cotton wool blend, I would suggest using a tape or ribbon that's at least 1" wide. I also added pockets (for practical reasons!) cut out from an old bed sheet and a heart appliqué (why not, right?) from some left over fabric. The result was a slouchy cardigan I can quickly throw on when I'm curling up on the sofa and take off when I'm doing dishes.

Check out the tutorial and see if you can do this to one of your old sweaters!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Creature feature jars

Guest post by Nani a.k.a. Crafty Momma

If you're a compulsive jar-hoarder like my sister, you'll like this easy little DIY project.

With a few simple materials and just 30 minutes, you'll have a pretty set of decorative jars that's great for storage or as cute gifts. My sister made hers as a farewell gift and filled the jars with chocolates. You can add a little more feature with complimentary tags or ribbons tied around it.

Read on after the jump for the full tutorial.

Creature Feature jars
What you need:
1. Empty jars
2. Hot glue gun
3. Plastic animals
4. Spray paint

1. Clean your jars and their lids, remove any stickers or residue and wipe dry.
2. Attach the plastic animals onto the lids using your hot glue gun. Let the glue dry completely.

3. Once the glue has dried completely, you can start spray painting the lids with your choice of colours. To get an even and opaque finish, apply 2-3 coats of paint. Alternatively, you can apply a single layer or paint and let some of the animals' texture show through.

4. Let the paint dry completely. Put the lids back onto the jars and voila! You have new upcycled jars.

Have fun making them!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bento tote bag

Boy, have I been busy these past few weeks! I've actually been making things in the pockets of time I've had in my busy schedule. I just couldn't find the time to blog about them, which is a tragedy! So here's my first one for March: a bento tote bag!

I found the tutorial for this incredible easy tote bag last year but neglected to note the website or the name of this particular design. I had to do a few hours of online 'investigative research' (re: endlessly scrolling through pictures of DIY tote bag designs) until I found the original blog post. I also discovered that there several different ways of constructing it. Between The Lines calls it the "wings" tote because the construction resembles a pair of wings folded upwards to form a bag. I went with Pretty Prudent's 'bento' tote bag, which I found to be much easier for beginners, but modified it to fit my needs. Check out both their posts to see which method appeals to you.

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It took me about 30 miniutes to make my first one - which turned out PERFECT! - and I've been using it as my go-to carry-all for a few weeks now. There are a few different ways to construct and finish the bag - lined or unlined; flat, angled or boxed corners; single compartment or with pockets; short or long handles. I chose to line mine with an old bed sheet and finish it with boxed corners and a eight-inch handle from some thick cotton canvas.

bag, tote, DIY, fashion, sewing, bento, Lin Making Things

 The great thing about this bag is that it's easy enough that you could experiment with it on a scaled down version (which is what I did for this tutorial) in order to understand the construction and modify it to suit your taste. Since there are only straight stitches involved, you can certainly spend  a little bit more time hand-stitching the bag if you want.

Check out how you can make this bento tote bag yourself after the jump.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Masala chai

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I love warming up with a hot cup of tea every morning and every time I come out of the cold. Tea is one of those popular beverages that you can find anywhere you go. From China to Morocco to Britain, almost every country on the globe will have its own culture of tea-drinking and special brews. One of the countries I've been admiring from afar for its tea is India, which is second only to China for producing and consuming the most amount of tea in the world. India has a unique tea drinking culture where its tea, or chai in Hindi, is brewed with varying mixes of spices, or masala. There are no hard and fast rule to making masala chai, as there are a multitude of ways to customize your own spice combination. I started off with this masala combination from Manjula's Kitchen and, as usual, tweaked it to fit my pallet.

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This recipe will make a spice mix for 10-12 cups of masala chai. You can brew your tea in milk only or a combination of milk and water, which is how I like mine. You can also sweeten it and spice it up to your liking. You can also brew your tea a little longer than 5-6 minutes to get a stronger flavour of the spices. Be careful not to let your tea boil over; once milk has reached its critical boiling point, it can bubble up within seconds boil over. Trust me, you do not want your kitchen smelling like burnt milk!

tea, beverage, masala chai, Indian, recipe, linmakingthings

I grounded my spices in a food processor and then used a pastel and mortar to crush any remaining spices that were still whole. A pastel and mortar is probably more suitable for single-serve spices but if you're making a small batch as I did, go for the food processor or a spice grinder if you have it.

Check out the super easy recipe after the jump.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Tea towel pillow case

tea towel, pillow case, DIY, tutorial, sewing, linmakingthings, repurpose

It's starting to look as though I've developed an obsession with tea towels, doesn't it? Well, I can't help it! They come in such fun colours and motifs, they're sturdy and their edges are all neatly hemmed. And when they go on clearance at Ikea, tea towels are impossible to resist! They also beat buying yards of fabric only to end up with bits and pieces that I can't really use for anything.

I've been wanting to give my throw pillow a makeover, so when I got these tea towels, I just played around and wrapped one around my pillow. Et voila! I discovered that I can make a pillow case out of this tea towel with just three lines of stitches and a button. It took me less than 30 minutes to make this pillow case. How easy is that?

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This project is perfect for beginners since you only have to sew a few lines of straight stitches and you don't have to worry about measuring, cutting patterns, serging frayed edges or attaching zippers. It's also completely doable without a sewing machine. Do note, though, that this project requires a tea towel with a built-in loop and it makes a 12"x18" pillow case for a standard throw pillow.

Read on after the jump for the full picture tutorial.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Onesie dresses - make your own with onesies and fat quarters!

As usual, this DIY is a marriage between some plain items and some unused materials. My mom and I were looking for some baby gifts and we settled on these cute little onesies to make into dresses. Then my mom remembered the set of fat quarters that she never got around to making into a quilt. So I decided try this refashion DIY project and turn the plain onesies into adorable little onesie dresses with the fat quarters.

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Fat quarters are 18"x22" precut quilting fabric pieces. If you don't have any fat quarters, you can simply cut any fabric of your choice to size. You can also adjust the width and length of the fabric to fit the size of your onesies. I used 9-month for this project.

Read on after the jump for the full photo tutorial.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Two-toned infinity scarf - from upcycled pashminas

So this is what happens when you buy things on impulse. I wear the hijab and I have a pronounced weakness when it comes to scarves. One of my ongoing quests is to reduce the number of scarves I buy because, really, I don't need that many. These two pashminas are the result of an impulse buy several years back. The colours are pretty but the materials is far too coarse for me to wear around my face so they've been sitting dormant in my drawer.

I decided to turn them into an infinity scarf after stumbling upon a few Youtube tutorials and seeing how easy it is to make one. Plus, I've also been craving for a new infinity scarf since winter set in. The two pashminas combined made a four-layer thick infinity scarf. Two days ago, when temperatures in Toronto dropped to almost thirty below, this scarf did its job in keeping my neck warm and toasty. It also doubled as a heavy hood which didn't flip too easily in gusty winds.

Because of the double layers, there's a few extra steps in this tutorial as opposed to making a regular infinity scarf. You can totally do this with just one pashmina for a thinner infinity scarf. Also, the final step of turning the finished scarf inside out can be a bit nerve-wrecking, but don't panic. Just keeping pulling and it'll all come together at the end!

Check out the full picture tutorial after the jump.