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Decor Tutorial

DIY Decor – Sock storage for free elves

February 5, 2018

I’ve had something on my mind for awhile and this week, I finally got around to making it a reality.

I’m going to start this by admitting that I’m quite a dork. Am I wearing a Star Wars scarf and drinking tea from an Outlander mug as I type? Maybe.

So anyway, what do you do with spare socks? You know, those extras that get separated from their mates no matter how careful you think you are with the laundry?

You can leave them in pile somewhere and hope to find their partners. Or you can decorate with them while they wait, and then when if you find their mate, you can reunite them easily.

And so I bring you, easy wood transfers part 2! FREE DOBBY!

Part 1 was here – while that works, I made an improvement for part 2.

Back when I was taking masters degree classes, I took a fascinating hands on art history class where we used historical methods. This included dyeing yarn with natural materials, making our own paints, and doing transfers the old fashioned way – using charcoal. Well, charcoal is messy and anyway I don’t have any on hand, so I went with the next best thing. I borrowed my toddler’s black crayon.


  • Craft wood (I used a 6×11″ piece from Joann Fabrics)
  • White paint and a paint brush, if you want a background
  • A black crayon
  • A fine ballpoint pen (Pentel RSVP is my favorite)
  • A paint marker in your choice of color
  • String or ribbon
  • A handful of clothespins
  • A stapler*
  • Scotch tape
  • Computer, printer and basic design skills

*this will work for a quick and dirty method on soft wood. On thicker/harder wood, you can use press in frame hangers

The method:

  1. If you want a background, throw a coat of paint over your craft wood and let it dry.
  2. Image time! I have the advantage of being a graphic designer, but you don’t need mad skills to do this. If you choose to trace rather than just freehand the design, you’ll need to grab your design and print it at the right size. This can be accomplished in Microsoft Word using basic fonts and clipart from Google image search (keep in mind that you can use these images if you’re making it for personal use, once you go to sell something, licenses are needed).
  3. Turn your paper over and scribble on it with the black crayon. Really go for it. It doesn’t need to be a thick coating, but you want a bit of the crayon wax specifically around the outsides of your letters and image.
  4. Turn the paper back the right way and tape it to your craft wood. Grab the ballpoint pen and trace around the outside of all your letters and images with medium pressure. You can periodically lift the edge of your paper a little to check.
  5. Remove your paper. You should have a decent imprint of your image on the wood, and with luck, some of your crayon has transferred also to make the outlines a little easier to see.
  6. Grab that paint marker and shake it up, baby (no twisting or shouting required)! Get a good flow on your marker (test on scrap paper) then use it to trace your transferred design, filling in wherever you like. Paint marker will dry within moments, but be sure to work from left to right if you’re right-handed, or opposite if you’re a lefty, and try to keep your hand raised so you don’t drag the paint around.
  7. Roughly measure your string or ribbon and attach it however you think is best. I used an office stapler and centering the string at the bottom with a little slack, stapled the two bottom corners, ran it up the sides and stapled at the top corners, then tied a bow up top that I could hang it from.
  8. Finally, I hung it on the wall with a removable command hook, grabbed some clothespins and clipped up some socks.

Considerations: Weight and balance are going to affect how this hangs. If you want it super stable, use a thicker wood (like the blank plaques in craft stores) and use press/hammer in frame hangers, one on each side up top and hang it from two nails. This will keep it from shifting with the weight of the socks. You can also run the bottom string taut across the wood rather than loose below it. And finally, I used a stapler because it was here and it worked. Hot glue should work, as will any number of other fasteners.

So what do you think? Ready to get crafting and prepare to free those house elves?

Crafting Decor Tutorial

DIY Decor: Easy Wood Plaques

June 15, 2016

Every now and then I just decide I need something. Last time it was a dream catcher for each bedroom; this time it’s a little wooden plaque to hang in my daughter’s room. Here’s the thing, I’m big on precision and I don’t like my handwriting! I can easily whip something up on my computer, but once I print it, how do I get it onto the wood? Want to know?

This simple transfer method can be used on any soft wood (pretty much any craft wood you can buy in a craft or hobby shop). You don’t need any real art skills per se, but it will be helpful for you to have a relatively steady hand.

diy decor old fashioned modern livingLet’s go back to the beginning. I love wood slices, and I’ve been seeing them again and again in Joann Fabric and wondering what I can do with them. I finally bought one, just a little ornament size, about 3″ in either direction, with a hole drilled so it can hang. After a few weeks, it struck me – I could use it to make an ornament for Little Miss’ bedroom!

I’ve always had a fondness for the line from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “and though she be but little, she is fierce.” In the play, it’s a warning…one character tells another that the third will not hurt her, to which she responds, basically, she’s tough when she’s angry, and don’t underestimate her due to her size.

Being rather short of stature myself, I’ve always liked this quote. Being underestimated for your size is no fun. Plus, one of my favorite fiction series (The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, FYI) utilizes the quote in regard to a particularly tough female character. Now enter Little Miss – nearly two, a little big for her age but still quite small in the scheme of things, and sweet and smart and tough! Yes, she’s little, but she’s fierce!

So now, I have a wood slice and I have a quote. But as I mentioned, if I just freehand this, I’m 150% guaranteed to hate it. I don’t feel like doing a messy and labor intensive gel medium transfer…I just need to get what I print out of my computer onto the wood. Ready to see how I did it?

You’ll need:

  • A sharp pointed ballpoint pen (I’m a big fan of the Pentel RSVP fine point pen)
  • A fine point marker that will not bleed (I’ll argue that a Micron size 01 is best all day, every day)
  • Your wood slice
  • A ruler
  • Computer/printer/printer paper
  • Scotch tape

Get started!

  1. Measure the usable area on your wood slice, meaning account for edges, dark areas around the outside and any drilled holes. If there’s a string, remove it so it sits flat.
  2. Design your own, or print out an image you want to use in the appropriate size. I realize this is easy for me since I’m a graphic artist, but even MS Paint has text and re-sizing capabilities. You can also use a picture from a magazine, or simply draw your image on another sheet of practice paper and then transfer. Trim down your image to the right size and tape it where you want it.
  3. Take your fine point ballpoint pen and carefully trace your text or image, putting a little more pressure than usual. If your letters are thin, just do it once, however if there are thicker parts, like in my script words, outline the thick areas.
  4. Remove the tape and paper, and you should be able to see a fine inprint in the wood. Take your fine point marker and carefully trace, coloring in any thicker areas you want solid.
  5. Decorate in any way you wish, add color with colored pencils or fine point markers (test markers on the back to make sure they don’t bleed!) or leave it as is, then replace the string.

This same trick can be used on any size, from little ornaments like this to larger wall plaque size wood slices which you add a hanger to once you’re done. You can also buy craft wood shapes loose, or packs of thin rectangles to make into signs or other decor.

I think mine came pretty decent, with the exception of the s in “is” getting a little wonky, but I’ll just need to ignore that. It’s not super easy to write carefully with a toddler trying to climb on you. I haven’t decided yet if I want to draw some sort of decorative border or just leave it plain.

There are so many possibilities here! Think about the gifts you can make – imagine a set of wood coasters (sealed with a top coat, of course) with a cute hand drawn motif or a customized decorative plaque. I’m thinking there may be more of these around here in the future.

Decor Health & Home Tutorial

DIY Decor: Dreamcatchers

March 21, 2016
diy dreamcatcher old fashioned modern living

diy dreamcatcher old fashioned modern livingSince I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by dreamcatchers. If you’re unfamiliar, dreamcatchers are intricately woven hoops, originally made by Native Americans, which are thought to capture bad dreams in the woven web while allowing good dreams through the open center. Dreamcatchers are also important symbols within many Native American cultures, and if you’re interested, I would encourage you to look into it, as the origin and legends surrounding them are quite interesting. If you know me personally, you know I’m a sucker for historical details, myths and legends, but aside from that, I do feel like it is important to understand the origin of symbols we utilize.

The dreamcatcher design has become somewhat ubiquitous, appearing on garments and popping up at craft fairs. Dreamcatcher was the title of a Stephen King novel, and in recent episodes of season 5 of Once Upon a Time, a dreamcatcher was used as a magic charm to store memories.

I was introduced to dreamcatchers when I was 7 or 8 years old. My mother, brothers and I would spend summers upstate and we began attending a local library class where we would read a story and then do a craft to accompany it. Sometimes it was something basic like building a plaque from popsicle sticks, sometimes much more complex, like the time a local artist co-hosted and we created mosaic flower pots. I don’t recall the story we read this particular day, but I remember making my first dreamcatcher. Imagine, if you will, a white paper plate with the center cut out and holes punched around the edges. Yarn was woven through the holes with plastic pony bead accents, and then we added bright primary colored craft feathers to the bottom. It was crude, sure, but it got me hooked. That first dreamcatcher may well still be in my parents’ summer home somewhere, along with many of our childhood craft projects.

diy dreamcatcher old fashioned modern livingFast forward. While I was pregnant with my daughter (before we knew she was a she), we decided to do the nursery green, and I decided to make a dreamcatcher for the window. I started with a 9″ wood hoop which I wrapped with white suede cord, then I used white crochet cotton and an assortment of gemstone beads I had on hand to create the web. Then we moved and the dreamcatcher sat unfinished for over a year. I recently finished it, and decided to make another for my own room, and a third with a doily just to try it out. The doily is a much less traditional design, but I think it’s very quaint and attractive. I added some quartz crystals to all of my dreamcatchers, as quartz is a great protective stone and I love it.

I apologize for the quality of some of these photos, I don’t know what was wrong with my camera! This is a quick project, however I finished these two over the course of a weekend, as I had an extremely curious toddler trying to help.

Onto your DIY Decor – here’s what you’ll need. If you have materials that will work, go ahead! I had nearly everything on hand before I started. There are so many ways you can customize, please understand this is only an outline. This is one of those projects that once you see how to do it, you’ll be off running and can personalize to your heart’s content.


  • 2-piece wood embroidery hoop, your choice of size (the small ones I used are 6″, the larger 9″)
  • Crochet cotton, embroidery floss, thin yarn or twine
  • Doily (if using)
  • Beads or feathers for embellishments, if desired
  • Strips of fabric, yarn, suede cord, ribbon
  • Paper clamp
  • Quick drying glue (anything that will adhere, I used Hypo-Cement)

Doily style hoop assembly:

diy dreamcatcher old fashioned modern livingThis style is a more modern bohemian style, so you retain the silhouette of the piece but lose the woven aspect. It’s still lovely to look at. For this project I used a 6″ wood hoop with a 1″ strip of white muslin, white crochet cotton and a white doily from the craft store.

  1. Start with your wood hoop, a doily at least a little smaller, and your crochet cotton/embroidery floss/twine. Take apart the embroidery hoop and set aside the split part, you’ll be using the solid here. If you are not covering the ring, move on to the next step. If you are covering the ring, take the ribbon or 1″ strip of fabric you’ll be using and choose a starting point. Put a dab of glue on the inside of the hoop and stick your fabric there, clamping it in place with the paper clamp. Begin winding your fabric, giving enough overlap that it covers evenly. Feel free to move the clamp as you go if it makes you feel more secure. When you get back to the start, overlap slightly, trim your fabric and glue it down, using the clamp to hold it until it dries.
  2. Cut yourself a piece of your string about 3x as long as your hoop so you have plenty of space (6″ hoop = 18″ string), and tie it on in any spot, relatively snugly with a secure double knot. Place your doily in the center and begin weaving through the outer point, around the hoop and through the next outer point. Some doily designs may have 1 central spot on each outer bump, mine had 2. Continue all the way around, keeping a relatively even tension (a smaller doily will leave more open space around the outside, mine stretched slightly to fit just so) and when you get to the end, just tie off with a double knot and trim the edges.

Woven style hoop assembly:

For this one I used some red suede cord I had on hand for the hoop, and pale yellow crochet cotton for the web. Any thin cord will work for the web, and there are plenty of similar materials you can use to wrap the hoop if you prefer.

  1. Start with your wood hoop and suede cord. Remove the outer split portion of the embroidery hoop. Dab some glue on the inside of the hoop and press the end of your cord into it, using the paper clamp to hold it. Begin winding, being careful to keep the cord from twisting and keeping it fairly even all the way around so you don’t end up with gaps. Feel free to glue every here and there, and move the clamp to hold it in place as you go. When you reach the starting point again, trim your cord so it will meet the other end, dab in some glue, press and clamp until it has set.
  2. Get yourself plenty of your web material (crochet cotton, twine, yarn, embroidery floss, etc). Choose a spot to start and tie on with a snug double knot; feel free to use the ridges between the cord to nestle it in. Visually determine 6-8 anchor points (I like to note the 4 basic points, then put one between as well for a total of 8). Bring your string to your next anchor point, go around and back through the space your string and hoop made – if you do not double back the string will not anchor (look at the photos to see what I mean). Continue around until you have your first round, then continue the pattern onto the string instead of the hoop this time, going to the center of the section, around and through. Continue until your web covers as much as you wish and tie off with a double knot, then trim. If you want beads in your web, just slip them onto the cord and let them fall in as you weave.

Adding decorations:

You can get creative here. I use mostly slipknot type knots to attach my dangling pieces; I used mostly yarn here, but you can use strips of fabric, ribbon, trim, suede cord, or whatever else you like. Try different textures, braid some pieces, and try different lengths. I added some crystals in as well, and tapered the hanging pieces towards the center. Add drilled seashells or  coins, strands of beads, or whatever strikes your fancy. I added some lovely feathers I had ordered on Etsy from a family farm that responsibly and humanely harvests feathers from their chickens (and cleans them!) to two of the three dreamcatchers, stripping the top fluffy bits to reveal some stem, then hot gluing them together and attaching them by simply using a piece of string and a series of knots – wrap to front and tie, wrap to back and tie, etc etc until the entire stem was covered and the feather cluster securely attached. Get creative!

I added some pieces and then removed them if I wasn’t happy with how it looked – that’s the beauty of the slipknot. If you’re braiding, just use something to hold the hoop in place (I used my phone, which you’ll see in the photos).

Then just add a loop of string to hang and you’re ready to go!

The white dreamcatcher is in Little Miss’ room, while the red and yellow is a subtle but attractive addition to the red and gold curtains on my double window. The doily one will likely be heading north to Kristen. I love these! The design is just so elegant and lovely, and I like the thought of them keeping away nasty dreams and only letting the sweet ones through, especially for my little girl.

Will you be trying this? What are you crafting?

Crafting Tutorial Uncategorized

Make a Fall Garland!

September 30, 2015

Grab yourself a warm fall beverage, gather a few craft supplies and make an easy fall decoration for your home! The best part about this project is that is that it’s a simple activity to do while watching the Halloween episodes of your favorite shows on Netflix. Sadly, My So Called Life is no longer on Netflix, but there’s always “The Slutty Pumpkin” HIMYM episode, as well as the Dawson’s Creek episode with the escaped serial killer in season 1. There are so many good choices. You could also just pop Hocus Pocus into your DVD player.


I originally got the idea for a fall garland from one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess. I began reading Elsie and Emma’s blog when we moved upstate and into our first apartment. I loved the garland DIY because it was perfect for decorating boring white apartment walls without painting or damaging anything .  These garlands are also extremely easy to make, and easy to change up and make your own. Although I no longer live in an apartment, I still find myself making garlands for each holiday. Here’s how I made two of mine:

Leaf Garland

You’ll Need:

Felt in the colors of your choice (decide on your pattern ahead of time)



Pen and paper

Rotary Leather Punch or craft screw punch


Draw a leaf on a piece of paper, and cut it out to make yourself a stencil. Trace as many leaves onto your felt as you can fit. Cut out the leaves and use the leather punch to punch two holes into each leaf. Once you are finished, you are ready to string the  leaves into the pattern of your choice. You can wrap tape around the end of the string if you are having a tough time – I find that that helps me! I make loops on either end of the string to hang the garland.

Here’s the finished product!



Ghost Garland

What you’ll need:

White tulle

White stuffing

Orange or black ribbon

White thread

Sewing needles


Cut the tulle into a large circle- a little larger than a dinner plate. Put a ball of stuffing in the center of the tulle. Gather all of the tulle up, and tie a ribbon around the ghost’s head.  Secure the ribbon with a double knotted bow. Repeat until you have made the desired number of ghosts. Next, thread the needle, and string the thread through the ghost’s heads. Once you are finished, make loops on either side of the thread to hang the garland.

Here’s the finished product!


I hope you make some time to relax and craft in front of the tv!




Crafting Tutorial

Car seat cape tutorial

September 27, 2015
Car seat cape tutorial. Old Fashioned Modern Living.

Last winter was difficult. It was my first with a baby, my first in a new house…my first living on my own as a grown up. It was all good stuff, but it was hard to know what to do sometimes.

One of the questions I had, that I think a lot of new parents have, is what to put on my sweet little baby when it’s cold. We wear short, sporty jackets or long coats to stave off the cold. Naturally, we may want to bundle up these fragile, tiny humans in much the same way we bundle ourselves up. According to car seat safety regulations though, no puffy coats or articles of clothing that will add bulk to the child – basically, if you’d need to loosen the car seat harness to fit the extra clothing in, it’s too much. That extra slack in the harness can lead to it being less effective in case of an accident, and of course that’s the last thing we want.

So what do you do? Layer them up? Put on a jacket to walk from the house to the car, take it off when you get to the car, the put it on again when you get where you’re going? Use a blanket that keeps slipping off? It’s confusing. This summer, with my little girl already one year old, I was introduced to the concept of a car seat cape. You dress the child in something light, like a long sleeved sweatshirt, then layer this warm fleece cape over the top. Put her in the car with the back of the cape flipped up, and buckle the harness underneath. Baby gets a wearable blanket to keep her cozy in the car with no extra bulk under the straps, and the poor thing doesn’t need to be half undressed to get in the car.

If you’re into baby wearing and your little one spend time in a carrier, these can easily be put on over the carrier for an extra layer of warmth without too much bundling inside the carrier. And hang on, baby wearing mamas, you can size this up you too, and wear it over you and baby for extra cuddle front carries! Read through the tutorial, then see notes at the end.

Sewing skills: You only need basic sewing skills for this project. Fleece is a somewhat forgiving fabric, and there’s really nothing that difficult here.

Time: I’m not sure how long this took because I was interrupted by Little Miss 30,000 times. I wouldn’t guess more than maybe 2 hours total though.

Cost: It depends on how big you’re making your cape and what price you can find on fleece. Watch for Joann Fabrics coupons, and compare priced between online fabric retailers. I got my fleece on sale for $4.99 from the Hancock Fabrics website. For a 12-24 month size, this cost me $10 in fabric, and I had the thread and snaps.

Car seat cape tutorial

Car seat cape tutorial. Old Fashioned Modern Living.Materials:

  • Fleece in two colors/patterns (1 yard of each for 12-24 or infant size, 1.5 of each for childrens size, 2 of each for adult size)
  • Thread in coordinating color
  • Scissors, pins, measuring tape
  • Sharpies or fabric marking pencil or markers
  • Closure (buttons, snaps, hooks)

Before you begin: Figure out how much fabric you need. Measure from the middle of your child’s chest to the wrist, then add at least 1″ for seams, and a couple of extra inches if you’d like it a little longer. I’ve found that infant through maybe 2T size can be gotten out of a yard of each fabric. Kids sizes need 1.5 yards of each, and adult sizes 2 yards of each. For this tutorial, I did 17″, which leaves the completed cape falling a bit past my daughter’s hands, which is nice because it’ll last until next winter too. I’d consider this my 12-24 month pattern.

Get the concept: The base of this cape is a circle. A full circle. Keep this in mind as you lay things out and measure, it may help you.

For this tutorial, I’m working with a 17″ circle for a 12-24 month size, so we have 1 yard of each fabric.

Step 1: Choose one fleece color to start with. It is already folded in half; fold it in half the other way. Choose a side and measure 17″ – mark with your Sharpie or fabric pencil, and pin loosely at about 15″ just to hold your fabric in place. Do the same at the other folded side, and then go around with your measuring tape end staying in the same place, marking and sewing so you get a perfect circle.

Step 2: Cut around the perfect circle you marked, through all 4 layers. You now have a circle cut out, folded into quarters. At this size, you’ll have plenty of space for the hood. Go into that extra fabric and unfold it so it’s 2 layers rather than 4. Cut out your hood based on an existing hood (make sure to add at least 1″ all around for seam allowances) or based on my measurements in the photo (8″ across the base, 8.5″ across the widest point, 11″ tall). Go ahead and cut that out. Remember, only 2 pieces, not 4!

Step 3: Measure the bottom of your hood. For this tutorial, we’ll go with 8″ across, for a total of 16″ (because that 8″ is each half). 16″ will be the circumference of our neck hole, and we need to calculate the radius. I can’t do math. I Google “formula for radius of a circle” and use the tool that pops up. Magic Google tells me the radius will be 2.55″. Measure just like in step 1, but at about 2.5″. If in doubt, go ever so slightly less rather than more, because the fleece cut in a circle will stretch a tad. Now cut – look at the photo above to see what it should look like cut out.

Step 4: Your cape body is still pinned, right? It’s a perfect circle, right? We need to open up the front. Very carefully take your scissors and snip straight down one of the folded pieces. You’re only cutting one layer.


Step 5: Repeat steps 1-5 on your other color fleece.

Step 6: Take your 4 hood pieces and match up your two lining and two outer pieces, then pin and stitch down the curved side that will be the top and down the back (you’re doing the lining, then the outer so you’ll finish with two hood pieces). Then unpin, and around the curved part, snip right up to the stitching (but don’t cut your stitching itself) every inch or two as seen in the picture above, just to release some tension in the fabric.

Step 7: Choose a color to start. Unpin and unfold the cape body once, so it’s still cut in half. Pin your hood to your neckline right sides together (so the seam, what will be the inside of the hood, is facing up). Start with the hood seam and the center back point of the cape body. Pin outwards, making sure your front pieces line up. Play with it a little if you need to, the curved neckline will stretch slightly more than the hood, so may appear to be longer even if it isn’t really. Do the same with your second color and stitch both.


Step 8: Now you have two pieces, your outer and your lining, hoods attached on each. Place them right sides together, and again starting at the center of your hood, start pinning. Use the seams on the hoods and guides to line them up, then continue down the front and around the sides. It may be helpful to lay it out in all it’s circular glory (see below) so you can smooth it out and pin everything in place nice and flat. If your fabric retained it’s center fold crease, line those up. Fleece has a little give, so feel free to tug it into place a little. If you cut both pieces pretty close, it will fit together nicely, you may just need to tease the fabric into place.

This is important. Somewhere (I like to do along one of the straight front parts) you need to leave 5-6 inches open when you sew. Either mark it by not pinning it, or just remember not to stitch all the way. Now stitch aaaaall the way around (except for that gap). After you’re done, unpin and snip the corners off by the front like in the photo below – don’t cut your stitching!


Step 9: All your pins are out, so reach into that hole you left open, grab and pull to turn your cape inside out. Turn it all the way, then reach in and stick your finger in the front corners so they get nice and pointy. You’re nearly there. Flatten out your cape now, and pin around the edges, all the way around. When you get to the opening, just make sure the cut edges are folded in and pin over it. Top stitch around the entire thing (which will seal the gap), remove your pins, add a closure and you’re good to go. You can use a button and buttonhole/loop, a cute clasp, snaps. I used KAM snaps which are plastic, and make the whole thing fully reversible because there is no right/wrong side.


That’s it! You did it!

Car seat cape tutorial. Old Fashioned Modern Living.Sizing up: To size it up, take the measurement as described above and calculate from there. For larger hoods, pattern off an existing hood on something like a sweatshirt.

Fleece is usually 58-60″ wide, so the largest beginning measurement you can usually do is maybe 27-28″ which is for a taller/larger person. At that measurement, you should still be able to get the cape and the hood out of 2 yards.

Look at the image with the houndstooth pattern. I drew colored lines to help you see where everything is, and yes they’re messy (I edited this one handed while holding Little Miss with the other. Oh well.) This is 2 yards of fabric, so 72″. I made my circle (blue line) based on the measurement 28″. 28 x 2 = 56, so I have 16″ of extra. From the fold at the right to the green line is doubled, so 4 layers. After I cut my cape body, I flipped up the top piece and I had a nice solid area underneath where I was able to cut my hood (red outline) with plenty of extra space. This isn’t hard, it just takes some measuring!

Thanks for reading! This is my first tutorial that is this complex. Does everything make sense? Is there anything unclear that you think should be revised?

Did you try to make your own car seat cape? How did it come?


Updated 12/16/18 – edited the tutorial for clarity, and I’ve finally remembered to add an action shot! Baby Z is 14 months, wearing a long sleeve onesies and single-layer fleece vest under there (yes, he’s wearing two hoods). He’s buckled in under the cape and I’ve spread it behind him over his car seat. His little hands can come out in the front so he can play.

Crafting Tutorial

Baby, You’ve Got Mail!

September 4, 2015
Make a felt play envelope for the kids with minimal sewing skills needed. Old Fashioned Modern Living.

I’m lucky enough to be able to stay home with my daughter and work from home, allowing me both the best and worst of both worlds. I love getting to spend time with her, taking her to see her friends or out for a walk, or just staying inside stacking toys and playing games (and I’m not going to lie, in the summer I hide from the sun like a vampire, so there’s been a lot of stacking and playing these past few months).

I wouldn’t trade the moments I’ve had with her for anything, but the fact remains that aside from the snuggles and games, mama has work to do. Yes, there’s the housework – the laundry, the dish washing and cooking. But then there’s also the work work. There are emails to be answered, websites to be updated and logos to be designed.

So what’s a mama to do? Mostly, whatever I can to keep her busy. Sometimes it means listening to the same song over and over and over until I can’t take it anymore. Sometimes it means letting Little Miss do something weird, like arrange my unused canvases like a little hammock and sit on them. Sometimes it means typing an email with one hand while holding a nursing munchkin with the other (clients: yes, you’ve almost certainly received an email written whilst nursing).

Fairly often, I wind up sitting at my desk trying to work with Little Miss on my lap. And my desk…my desk is an absolute wonderland of things to grab, crumble and throw on the floor. What kind of toddler would she be if she didn’t take advantage of these opportunities?

Felt play envelope tutorial. Old Fashioned Modern LivingAnd that’s where this project comes in. Little Miss got into the habit of grabbing the envelopes stacked on my desk. She would specifically target the bills, and while I’d love for them to disappear, somehow I don’t think the companies they’re from would appreciate “my daughter ate the payment slips” as an excuse for nonpayment.

So one day, looking at the pile of fabric I had stolen scavenged brought home from my parents’ house I had a thought. That white felt can become an envelope. I can make Little Miss mail of her own! And so this project was born. It’s quick and easy, requiring only the most basic of sewing skills – if you can sew a straight line and turn a corner, you’re good. You could hand sew this also, but it will take a little bit more time. Now, without further ado, the tutorial.

Felt Play Envelope Tutorial

You will need:

  • A sewing machine and thread
  • Scissors and/or a cutting mat and rotary cutter
  • White felt (dimensions below)
  • A tiny snippet of colored felt
  • Half to an inch of white sew-on velcro
  • Sewing pins

Step 1: Cut your felt into a rectangle the basic size you want. You can do it short and wide like a bill, or smaller like a note card. This one started out just about 5×11″. You can easily get this out of a sheet of craft felt, or felt you purchase by the yard. Felt is the ideal fabric here because it’s sturdy and doesn’t fray on the edges.

Step 2: Fold your felt up so that you have the pocket portion of the envelope and a smaller bit up top that will become the flap. Place a pin where each of the two folds will go as placeholders.

Step 3: (optional) Fold the flap piece and taper it like a real envelope. You can also skip this step and leave it straight. If you cut it, open up your fabric and leave those marker pins in. Now grab your other color of felt and cut out a little square, 1×1″ or so (not too much smaller or it’ll be tough to stitch on).

Step 4: Add your little one’s “address”. If you have a fancy embroidery machine, have fun. Otherwise, do a zig zag, straight stitch, or whatever strikes your fancy. Use pins to mark a central area on the middle panel and with a darker thread, just sew three lines, using the presser foot as a guide for spacing.

Step 5: Up in the corner where the stamp would go, pin your little contrasting square. Using a straight stitch, just stitch a box over it to attach it to your white felt. Be mindful of where your guide pin marking the fold is; keep the stamp a little below so it doesn’t interfere with the fold, and at least .25″ from the edge.

Step 6: The first piece of velcro! You really only need 1/2″ or under. Pin it in the center of the peak on what will be the inside (the backside from where you just added your stamp), and stitch it on with a simple square just like you just did the stamp. The photos below should help with placement.

Step 7: Now take the other side of your velcro and fold the peak down to see where it should sit. Pin it on and stitch away. This is on the front/right side. When you fold it you’ll see where it goes.

Step 8: Using those pins you’ve had in place to mark your folds, fold your felt, remove those pins and put them in place to hold the sides. Now stitch close to the edge on both sides. Clip any hanging threads, and you’re done!


I cut felt shapes to put in Little Miss’ envelopes. Her favorite is the note card sized envelope with the heart inside.

And that’s that! Easy, inexpensive, and now your little one can have mail to open alongside you. You can get creative too, using different colors or decorating the envelopes. Have fun!

Accessories Crafting Tutorial

Make a double flower headband in 5 minutes

August 28, 2015
flower headband tutorial

I got on a kick before my daughter was born, making cute little headbands for her in all different colors. She’s almost 14 months now, with quite a collection of headbands. Personally, I’ve never been a headband person. Sure they’re cute on kids and maybe librarians, but it didn’t work for me.

Then recently I cut my hair. It’s not short, but it’s shorter than I’ve ever had as an adult. On a whim I pulled on an elastic headband that was sitting in my dresser drawer and thought, “hey…that’s actually kind of cute.” So I dug around in my craft supplies and found everything I need to make the easiest, quickest headband around.

I kid you not, you can make a super trendy shabby flower headband in minutes with under $5 worth of supplies. If you’re crafty and already own a glue gun, this is even easier.

flower headband tutorialSupplies for your double flower headband:

  • Hot glue gun (mini or full size) and glue sticks
  • Sharp scissors
  • A measuring tape or ruler
  • About 18″ of fold over elastic
  • 2 shabby fabric flowers
  • About 2×5″ felt

Getting your supplies: A hot glue gun and glue sticks can be found at any craft or hobby store. You can get a multi-temperature or low temperature one, and the mini glue guns only cost a few dollars. Regular sheet felt from the craft store can be used. 3″ shabby flowers will cost you approximately $.40 each, and 5/8″ fold over elastic in solid colors will likely run around the same per yard. That’s $1.20 total for your main materials here. Sunshine Supply Shoppe is a great source for your flowers and elastic, as are any number of shops on Etsy.

Step 1: If you haven’t already, measure and cut your elastic to the right size. 18″ seems to be a good standard adult size. Make sure your glue gun is plugged in so it’s ready to go when you are!

Step 2: Cut 2 felt circles 1/2-1″ smaller than your flowers. These will be invisible when worn but provide support for the flowers. Your felt can match your flowers, your hair or your elastic. Again, they won’t show. While you’re at it, carefully trim the mesh around your flower from the underside (the flowers come on a roll of mesh and are just cut apart, you’ll need to remove the extra).

Step 3: You’re going to squeeze a little glue across the center of one felt circle and glue down the two ends of your elastic like in the picture below. Make sure not to twist your elastic!

Step 4: Run some hot glue onto the felt circle over the elastic. Do a circle around the outside (not too close to the edge) and dab a little on the inside in whatever design makes you happy. Then before it starts to dry, plop your first flower on top, centering it as best you can.

Step 5: Decide if you want your second flower next to the first, or even slightly overlapping. Put some glue down the center of your second felt piece and affix it to the back of the elastic. Then same as the first, glue on your second flower. If you overlapped them a little, you may need to dab some glue between to get them to stay in place properly.


And that’s it. Unplug your glue gun and pull off any stray hot glue strings, and you’re ready to go!

kids headband sizesYou’re a headband making master now! Make them for yourself! Make them for your kids, friends and family! Try different size flowers, singles, multiples, different colors and patterns of elastic! Go wild! They’re cute, they’re super simple to make and they’re cheap.

This tutorial was for an adult headband, but the same principles apply to any size. Use the lengths to the right as a basic guide for sizes from newborn up.  Even though 18″ is the standard size for 18-24 months, that size easily fits on my head and is the same size as some store-bought elastic headbands I have. That picture, by the way, is some of the headbands I made for my daughter recently to give some idea of how many styles are available.

I hope you enjoyed our first tutorial! Stay crafty!