So ya’ want to sew?

Okay, so those of you who follow me on Facebook may have noticed my recent desire to learn how to sew. I even signed up for a free Craftsy online sewing class! There’s just one problem.

I don’t own a sewing machine…

Well, my very helpful and thrifty seester went on Craigslist for me today and found a basic 10 stitch Brother sewing machine! And it looks perfect. And, even better, within my price range! In fact, I’m “sew” excited about it, that I’m already writing this post (see what I did there?!) And I have no idea if I will even end up with it, haha!

But before I get too ahead of myself, I’m wondering what have been some of your favorite basic sewing projects? (Psst, this is where reader participation comes in!) So, I’m calling all seamstresses! You know who you are! What is your favorite basic sewing project? And just for fun, what is your most impressive to date? I would love for you to send in pictures!

Any favorite inspiration websites or bloggers? My favorite Sherry from YHL made her daughter a fun looking quilt! How fun does that look?! Maybe I should make Eden a quilt… If we weren’t moving soon, I would consider curtains… Maybe some placemats, or a table runner?

What is your favorite beginner machine? What did you start on? Was it your grandmothers vintage Singer? Or a new basic Brother? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not I actually score a sewing machine, and if I do, the projects I embark on.

Be honest, did you name your sewing machine? I need to come up with a good one…

2×4 Fall Pumpkins

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So my friend Jena was surfing Pinterest one day and discovered all these super fun crafts made out of 2x4s. They were so adorable, and seemed really simple, that we decided to try a few. Now, she made her set of pumpkins first, so I have stolen a few of her tips to pass on to all of you. Also, here is the original blog post where we got all of our directions.

What you will need:

  • 2×4 cut into 3.5″, 6″, and 8.5″ blocks.
  • orange and brown craft paint
  • paint brushes
  • sandpaper
  • jewelry wire
  • raffia or ribbon
  • pieces of a branch to make “stems”
  • wood glue or hot glue gun
  • paper towels

Our hubbies were nice enough to do all the cutting for us :) Now, you do have the option before proceeding to drill a hole in the top for your stems, but I ended up feeling like this was an unnecessary step (more on that later).

Before painting, we took our blocks outside to rough them up a bit. This actually seemed to work a lot better than a sander or sanding paper. We just used the concrete in the driveway to rough up all of the corners and edges. Just enough to give them a slightly softened look.

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Next comes paint. I tend to like my colors to be a bit darker, so I chose a more burnt orange for my pumpkins. Jena preferred a happier, brighter orange.

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After the coat of paint, you want to sand the blocks a bit, especially at the edges and corners, but also the face of the blocks. Just remember that anywhere you sand and can see natural wood, is going to soak up the brown wash in the next step.

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Brown-washing something is pretty easy really. In a cup, mix a nice sized blob of paint and a little bit of water. The more water you have, the less potent your brown wash, and vice versa. Just paint the wash onto your blocks and give them a minute or so to soak in. The longer you let it soak, the darker they will be. After letting them soak for a minute, go ahead and wipe all the excess off with a paper towel or rag. Again, I prefer mine a bit darker, so I ended up doing a second coat because I wanted them darker still.

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Next come the stems. If you drilled a hole in the top, use the wood glue to put down in the hole and then stuff with your stem. If not, just hot glue the stem on the top.

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Side note: I ended up liking these so much, and they were so easy to make, that a few girls and I made 8 sets for our MOPS Harvest Brunch to be table centerpieces and door prizes. During our mass assembly, we had some with holes drilled, and some without. We ended up deciding that without was easier and saved us the step of drilling the holes, having to whittle down then end of the stem to fit, and then gluing them. We felt they were just as secure when using a hot glue gun and it was much quicker.

The jewelry wire part is super easy, but slightly time consuming (if you are making 8 sets, that is…) I wrapped the wire around the stem first, and then used a pen to curly cue the wire ends. You just wrap it around the pen, and then pull the pen out through your curls. It is easy to adjust how tight the curls look, just wrap it closer together on the pen for a tighter look.

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The final step is just tying the raffia/ribbon to the stem. The original post had both, but I felt it looked simpler and less cluttered with just raffia. I used some left-over green raffia from my “Boo” sign to achieve the same green stem effect. I just love how they turned out!!

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Price breakdown: $2 for wood, $2 for jewelry wire, and $2 for sand paper. Add about $10 if you don’t already have craft paint, and raffia.

Have you made any fall crafts lately?

Belated Halloween Fun

Just a quick blurb of a post for you! But here is the “Boo” sign I made for Halloween!

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I saw this idea on my friend’s Instagram feed, and just loved it. So, of course, I wanted to make my own.

Well, it is super easy, let me tell you. I bought my letters from Joann Craft, and I think they are around $4 ea, and they always have great coupons. I realized in the store that the “O”s looked a bit like pumpkins, so decided to go that route. Hence the green rafia (i.e. “stems”).

The first step: paint the “B” black. Super easy, right?

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Next step: Paint the “O”s orange. Again, doesn’t get any simpler than this. I already had some craft paint in my stash that was a burnt orange so I went with that.

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Step three: Paint the pumpkin stripes. This step took me a few tries, but I got it right in the end. At first I wanted to paint the stripes black. That was a terrible idea. They ended up looking like basket balls. So I started over and tried with brown paint. Once again, way too stand-outish. Then I ended up layering the original orange paint on top while the brown stripes were still wet, and voila! Pumpkins!

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Step four: Use raffia to connect pumpkins. I’m still not super crazy about how this turned out. Because of where the “O” loop connects, they ended up hanging a little bit crooked, but I think I am the only one that will ever really notice, so oh well. For this step, I just wrapped the raffia around each letter to have them hanging from each other, tied it at the back and hot glued it for security. Then I made some bows out of the raffia and hot glued them on top.

And now you have a “Boo” sign :) See how the green raffia makes the “O”s look like little pumpkins? Love.

For those of you interested in a cost breakdown, the letters cost about $4ea, craft paint about $1-2ea, and raffia was around $3 for a bag of green raffia. So if you didn’t have any of this on hand already, it might run you about $20 total and that would probably include a cheap set of paint brushes too. If you have Joann or Michael’s coupons, that may be even less. All in all, a fairly cheap craft.

I loved this super easy craft, and it looked so cute! One idea I might end up adding next year is some type of bat to the “B”. What kinds of crafting have you been up to lately? Don’t worry, I have a few more seasonal things to share with you soon!