Friday, March 20, 2015

DIY Handkerchiefs make sneezing look good.

YAY for Spring!

It's finally here!.... If there is a downside to the shiny newness of Spring, it comes in the form of sniffles, sneezes and itchy eyes.  At least, that is the case in the Sutton house.

So, if you have to fight your allergies, why not use something pretty?  Who wants a paper tissue rubbing your nose raw when you can have a bright, soft and happy handkerchief?

Here is my last selling point on handkerchiefs...

When the world says:

Why not carry something that will say it no matter how many times you sneeze?...

I have always had a soft spot for special handkerchiefs... they always remind me of the wonderful women in my family:

Since a lot of these feel too special to use, I wanted to try to make some of my own. Who says hankies are only for weddings? (Although, I think it's an awesome idea to make fun handkerchiefs for a bridal party or special family members! For the happy tears!)

When I think of embroidered handkerchiefs, I usually think of incredibly detailed or delicate designs like these:

I wanted to make something a little more fun, like these I found on Etsy:

This project is great for even the most beginner sewer. (like me) 
The handkerchiefs were incredibly simple to make.  
You can basically follow our fabric napkin tutorial, just cutting smaller squares of fabric (12"x12".)

Here is a great tutorial from PurlBee that I used to get started:

I followed this tutorial for the basics of measuring, cutting and ironing, but did a couple things differently.

Here are the fabrics I chose:

Make sure you check the care instructions on the bolt of fabric-- you want to be able to throw these hankies in the wash without any worries!

Happy fabrics to make your nose happy!
Cut and ready for ironing, folding and sewing!

For my purposes, I decided to sew the hems on each side with the machine rather than by hand.  Let's be real, who has time for that? 
(If you do have the energy to spare, go for the hand-stitching!  Maybe try one of these blanket stitch variations.)

Fold according to the tutorial

Rather than using pins and hand-sewing, I used a straight stitch with a fun gold thread to make the seams.

9 handkerchiefs ready for personalization :)

After sewing each handkerchief, I decided to personalize them with embroidery. 
You could add monograms or any fun design that you like. (I loved the simple cross-stitch monograms from the PurlBee tutorial.)  
 Either draw your design on the fabric with a water-soluble fabric marker or use an iron-on transfer! 
Once you have the design on the fabric, embroider with whatever stitch you like!  Have fun. :)
(Check out your craft or fabric store for all kinds of fun designs-- I remember my mom using some of these Aunt Martha's designs for projects when I was a kid!)

The transfers are easy to use-- just follow the instructions on the package!

I definitely recommend pinning the transfer stamp to your fabric.  This will help prevent it wiggling, giving you a fuzzy transfer.

ready to stitch!

Embroidery is a great way to stay busy when you're waiting at a doctor's office!


Side note: If you want to do a special monogram, check out this Monogram Etiquette by Mark and Graham.

Here are a few more I finished!

Now, get to it! You can make as many or as few as you like!... and why not make one or two for a fellow allergy-sufferer!

Happy Spring!

Friday, March 13, 2015

DIY Tassel Earrings

Are you as ready for Spring as I am?

I'm choosing to ignore the 40-degree temperatures today and focus on the baby hyacinth peeking out in our little yard. :)

Yay Spring!

Spring means skirts, flip-flops and bright, pretty accessories, right?

I thought so too.  

You don't have to look far to see these fun tassel earrings lately:

I LOVE those "neon tassel" earrings in the bottom right.  (Dear Santa...)

Since JCrew accessories are a little outside of my price range, why not make my own version?

Making jewelry can actually be really simple and straightforward, especially when it comes to earrings. Don't be afraid to try! 

For these earrings, you'll need:
-Needle nose pliers (x2)
-Head pins or eye pins, like these (you can find them in any finish)
-Bead caps (optional!), like these
-Earring hook of your choice! Like these
-Embroidery thread (#5 Cotton Pearl thread worked well for me)

Ok, here we go!

First, gather your tools and threads!

I tried with a thicker thread (#5 Cotton Pearl) and a six-stranded embroidery floss. The thicker thread behaved a little better, but you can try any kind of string/thread/yarn.  Experiment and have fun. :)

Bonus tip:
You can find ready-made tassels at the craft store! You can go for the challenge and make them yourself; but if you see some you like, just buy them and attach the earring hardware!

To make the tassel:

1.) Wrap string/thread around a piece of cardboard (or your fingers).  The length of the tassels is up to you; the piece of cardboard I used was about 2 inches wide.

The number of times you wrap the thread is also up to you.  Obviously, the more you wrap it, the thicker the tassel will be. :)  Try it different ways and see what you prefer!

2.) When you have wrapped the thread the number of times you want, cut the thread and grab one of your eye/head pins. 

3.) Slide the pin under the thread and use the pliers to help you wind the wire once or twice around the thread.

4.) To make this into a tassel, wrap and tie another piece of the same thread around all of the thread.

4.) Use sharp scissors to cut the bottom loop of the thread and even up the fringe.

Now you have a tassel!

To make the earring:

1.) This is optional, but I used a bead cap (to match the pin and earring hook), over the top of the tassel.

2.) Now you can add another bead here for decoration, but that's also optional!

3.) Use the pliers to bend the remaining part of the pin into a loop. You may also need to clip off some of the pin with your pliers before you bend it into a loop-- it depends on the look you're going for!

4.) Use the pliers to open the loop on the earring hook, slide on the tassel, and close the loop!

Done!!  Try different thread, hardware and beads for different looks!


Now, the tassel earrings made me want to try some metallic "fringe" earrings, like these from AlexandAni:

Here is what I made:

To make these earrings, you'll need:
-Copper/Brass/Gold/ Silver Link Chain like this one
-Jump rings, like these 
-Earring Hooks
-Eye pins (one for each earring)
-Needle nose pliers
-Bead caps (optional), like these

These earrings were quick to make.  I liked that they had the same dangly effect as the tassels, but with a little more sparkle.

Option #1:

1.)  Select the chain you'd like to use.  You can find chain that you buy by-the-foot or that are pre-cut at craft stores or bead stores. Some link chains need to be cut with pliers and others are customizable by allowing you to open the individual links.

2.) Once you have the chain you like, cut however many lengths of the chain that you'd like for the earring.  I cut 4 lengths of chain. (they can be the same or different lengths)  

3.) Attach the chain lengths to a jump ring. (Open the jump ring with pliers and slide the chain lengths onto it.)

4.) Before you close the jump ring, slide on the "eye" of an eye pin.  Close the jump ring with pliers.

5.) I added a flower-shaped bead cap, (like this one), to the eye pin, so that it covered the jump ring and some of the chain.  I also added one more metal bead over the bead cap.

6.) Just like with the tassel earrings, cut any excess wire and bend the rest of it to make a loop.

7.) Attach the loop to an earring hook, and you're done!

Option #2:

1.) Repeat steps #1-3 and omit the eye pin bead cap. I used bigger double-link chain for these earrings. 

2.) Attach the jump ring directly to the earring hook.  


3.) I went back and added gold-colored chain for a mixed-metal look. :)


Now, go make yourself (or a friend!) some earrings!  Have fun!

Thanks for reading!