Archive for category: Christmas Gift Ideas

Marbles and Copper Wind Chime

Nothing is more pleasant on a windy fall day than enjoying the melodies of wind chimes as you cuddle the one you love. However, most wind chimes are rather pricey and I can’t justify paying for noise-when I can make it myself.

With a little creativity and a few leftover bits, I invented my own rendition for under $5.
And it is music to my frugal ears.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own wind chime:
4’ + feet of copper tubing (found in the plumbing dept. in home improvement stores. I had a scrap laying around.)
Kitchen twine or any thin waxed rope
Drill with drill bit comparable to the size of rope you use
Thin, bendable wire (I used 20 Gauge, galvanized)
Wire cutters
Needle nose pliers
Marbles or a replacement striker (a small piece of solid wood, etc)
Paint Can Lid
Spray Paint of your desired color
Skill saw with metal cutting blade
‘S’ hook for hanging the wind chime

Evenly spray your paint can lid in your desired color. Let it dry and do some other stuff to keep busy.

I divided my 4’ of copper tubing into 5 segments; 4”, 6”, 8”, 10” and 12”.
Using the skill saw with a metal blade, cut the desired lengths from the copper tubing.

Here are my pretty little copper tube segments. They remind me of churches and pipe organ and fancy lacy socks…but I digress.

Measure 1” down from the top of each segment, marking it with a sharpie.

Using your drill with the bit the same size as your rope; drill all the way through your copper tubing.

Lightly sand any burs from the drilling and cutting process off of the copper. Be careful-copper scratches easily.

The circumference of my paint can lid was 15”.
I divided the circumference equally among the five segments of my copper tubing.
For example, my circumference was 15” and I had five segments. This means that I could equally space each tube three inches from each other.
I wanted the rope that held each piece of copper tubing to be attached to the paint can lid 2” apart. This left 1” to space between the next copper tubing. Are you confused yet? Sorry…
Next, drill a hole in the center of the paint can lid. That’ll give your tired brain a bit of a rest.

Thread only the smallest piece of copper tubing. Then thread this piece to the paint can lid, allowing it to hang about 3” from the lid.
Continue this pattern, using the next longest piece of copper tubing.

This is what the top of your paint can will look like once you have threaded each piece. I used electrical tape to tape down the ends of my kitchen twine.

This is the bottom view of how the copper tubing has been threaded together. By threading it this way, it prevents the tubes from being tangled up with one another in the case of high winds.
And if you live anywhere close to the Dust Bowl area, you know what I mean.

Encase your marbles (if you haven’t lost them, haha…) with your 20 gauge wire, leaving a loop on the top and on the bottom. I used a larger marble to be the striker and the smaller marble to hang on the very end of the striking rope to weigh it down.

Thread the larger marble through the paint can lid, leaving a 6” excess on the top side of the paint can lid in order to tie it onto the ‘S’ hook. Make sure that the larger marble will strike your copper tubing. Mine rests at about 5” down from the paint can lid. Tie the smaller marble to the larger marble. My smaller marble rests at about 17” from the paint can lid.

Tie the excess 6” of rope onto your ‘S’ hook and find a super duper spot and hang that sucker up.
Then, sit back and enjoy the melodious sounds of your brand new, frugally made but gorgeous wind chime while snuggling your favorite pal or cat or dog or stuffed dolphin…
Hey, I don’t judge. Well, maybe a little.

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Recycled Sweater Mittens

I love wintery mittens and needed a pair to accompany the Sweater Scarf I had recently created.
Using the sweater scraps leftover from the scarf, I was able to make two adorable, matching mittens.

I lined my mittens with a darker sweater material, leaving the vibrant lime green material on the outside for prime cuteness.

Here’s the two pieces together in action. I can’t wait for the weather to turn colder so that I may sport these around town.

This is what you’ll need for you very own pair o’ mittens:
Two old sweaters
Seam Ripper (for mistakes…which I typically make)
Straight pins
Tape measure
Thread and Bobbin to match
Sewing Machine

I am sure there is a more technical way to create mittens, but I had a pair of stripy mittens that fit my hands well.
Using the stripy mitten as a template, I lined it up on the body of the sweater. I wanted the ribbing of the bottom of the sweater to be the opening of my mitten (where it would hit my wrists).
With the fabric doubled and with right sides out, I pinned the stripy mitten to the sweater fabric.

I cut around the stripy mitten, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance, creating two pieces of material with the fabric right side out.

Using the recently cut out pieces from the lime green sweater, I pinned one to the wrong side of the lime green sweater, with the fabric doubled.
I cut out two more lime green pieces, creating four pieces altogether.
I then cut out two darker green sweater pieces, with right sides out, but allowing for a 1/4” seam allowance around the entirety of the mitten.
I turned the darker green sweater inside out and cut out two more mittens.

I now had eight total pieces; four darker green and four lime green.
When viewing the pieces going in the same direction, you should now have two of each color with right sides out and two with wrong sides out.

Sew together two matching pieces with the thumbs facing the same direction and with the material wrong side out. You should end up with four total mittens.
Turn the set right side out that will be the outside of your mittens.

Insert the inside of your mitten into the outside of your mitten.

Fold over and sew the extra 1/4” of the inside of your mitten onto the bottom of the outside of your mitten.

I harvested embellishments from the original sweater and hand sewed them to the front of my cutesy little gloves. Which then reminded me of a whale…which then made me take this photograph…which you are now forced to endure.

Here’s a look at the entire ensemble which has made me happier than a hot pig in a cold mud bath.
Weird analogy, I know. But that’s just me-weird.

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Recycled Sweater Scarf

I own several cute sweaters that have have seen better days.
Pilly, accidentally shrunken and worn out in places, these sweaters were on the verge of being tossed out.
But the fabrics were soft and cozy and they asked me for a second chance.

Armed with my old, pilly sweaters and with the need for wintery accoutrements; I forged into the unknown world of scarves and mittens…with a seam ripper at my side.
(So, as not to overwhelm, this tutorial will focus on the scarf. I’ll add the tutorial for the mittens later.)

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own sweater scarf:
Two old sweaters
Seam Ripper (if you sew like me)
Straight pins
Tape measure
Thread and Bobbin to match
Sewing Machine

Cut the sleeves from the body of both of the sweaters. One of my sleeves had pretties on it, which I placed strategically at the end of the scarf.

Measure the overall length of your sleeves and divide by three, cutting the sleeve in thirds. Each of my three pieces measured to be 6 1/2” long. A typical scarf if about 50-55” in length. Mine ended up being about 58”.

Lay the cut pieces out in an alternating pattern. I used the sleeves of my lime green sweater to be the end pieces of the scarf.

Cut along the old seam of each of your pieces, laying them open flat.

Pin each flat piece to the next, right sides together, with a 1/4” seam allowance.

Double check that the right sides are all on one side of the scarf by laying it out flat.
My scarf started resembling a caterpillar at this point.

Sew together each of the pinned pieces on the wrong side of the material.

The seams should all be on the wrong side of the material. If not, pull out your handy dandy seam ripper out and get to work…

Fold the scarf in half, lengthwise. Pin together, leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.

Once the length of the scarf has been sewn a fresh new seam, turn it inside out.

I left the ends of the scarf open, but you can sure as heck sew yours closed. I wanted the option of smuggling candy inside of them if need be.

Try the cuteness factor of your scarf out by wearing it around the house. Add sassy stances and flip the end of the scarf around your neck until your husband notices.
When he asks you why you are wearing a scarf when it is still 94 degrees outside, tell him that you saved him $35 by making your own scarf from old sweaters.
I guarantee you that he will love your new scarf.
(Make sure you stop back by soon. I’ll be putting up the tutorial for the matching mittens for your sewing pleasure!)

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Sew Vintage Blank Note Cards

Biceps owned several vintage postcards P.R. (pre-Rebekah).
Neither of us knew what to do with them, and we revered them too much to actually use them as postcards.
But things are meant to be used in a practical way and not made to look at and clutter up my desk drawers.

Stitching Bicep’s vintage postcards onto card stock seemed like the next logical step in my strange brain.
You can do this with old photos, as well. As long as they’re weird. That’s my only stipulation.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own ‘Sew Vintage Cards’:
Old, weird photos or postcards
Vibrant colored thread
8.5 x 11 Card Stock or pre-made blank notecards
Sewing Machine
‘Jean Needle’ (100/16)
Envelopes 3.5” x 5”

If you don’t have pre-made blank notecards on tap, use card stock and make your own.
Fold your card stock in half and draw a line down the middle using your pen and ruler. Cut your card stock in half, making sure it fits inside of your envelope.

Dust off your sewing machine, slap in your heavy duty ‘Jean Needle’ and choose your favorite decorative stitch.

Test the look of several different types of stitches on a piece of cardboard, just to see what you are getting yourself into.
Once you’ve decided on a pattern you like, temporarily tape your photo/postcard to the card stock or your pre-made fancy note card with scotch tape.

Tack down two opposing sides of the photo/postcard with your preferred stitching method to prevent it from sliding around.

Sew around the entire perimeter of the photo/postcard, changing up the decorative stitch if you feel so inclined.

Using a straight stitch, take your time slowly stitching whatever crazy phrase comes to mind that compliments the picture. I thought that the phrase, ‘Miss You’ seemed appropriate.
Don’t get picky, get weird.

Decorate the flap of your envelope with a decorative stitch, as well.
Finally, choose someone you really love that deserves such a cool hand-crafted card. Sending them this piece of snail mail will surely impress them and make them have warm fuzzies.
If you need my address, just let me know….

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