Tutorial: Easy Yo-Yo Hair Clips

April 5th, 2014  |  Published in Baby, Crafts, Kids, Tutorials  |  2 Comments

Annie Get Your Glue Gun: Easy Yo-Yo Hair Clip Tutorial

Whew, it’s been quite a busy six months! We are settling into our new city, new jobs, and new daycare. I have still been crafting here and there, but haven’t been as good about documenting it on my blog. But I couldn’t resist sharing this super easy hair clip tutorial with you in time for Easter. These are a great non-candy Easter egg filler!

Annie Get Your Glue Gun: Easy Yo-Yo Hair Clip Tutorial

Look how big my little Alice has gotten!


She’s in the growing out bangs stage, so these clips are perfect for keeping her hair out of her face.


Here’s how you can make some for your little cuties!

Supplies for one hair clip:

  • 6″ 3/8″ grosgrain ribbon
  • yo-yo (I use the Clover large yo-yo maker)
  • lighter
  • button
  • hair clip
  • needle and thread
  • glue gun

Step 1: Use a lighter to heat seal the end of your ribbon so that it doesn’t fray.

Step 2: Add a bit of hot glue to the bottom of the hair clip. Glue the heat sealed end of your ribbon in place.

Step 3: Add a short line of hot glue to the ribbon and quickly shape ribbon around end of hair clip.

Step 4: Add hot glue to the solid part of the hair clip and glue ribbon down.

Step 5: Set the hair clip aside for a minute as you sew the button to the yo-yo.

Step 6: Then sew the yo-yo to the hair clip.

Step 7: Cut the ribbon long enough to wrap around the other side. Heat seal the end.

Step 8: Add a line of hot glue along the back side of the ribbon. Sorry for the blurry picture; I was trying to work quickly before the hot glue dried!

Step 9: Wrap the ribbon around the top prong of the hair clip.

IMG_0316-2 IMG_0317
Step 10: And you’re done!

Step 11: Make another one for cutie-pie pig tails.

Let me know if you make them! I’d love to see photos of your cute little ones wearing these clips!



Simple Padded Stocking Tutorial

December 10th, 2011  |  Published in Holidays, Sewing, Tutorials  |  2 Comments

Christmas Stockings

And the stockings were hung…on the apartment wall…with care.

My daughter finally learned how to nap in her crib the last week that I was on maternity leave, so I finally got a few minutes to work on a project. And what better project than matching stockings for our new family of three? I just love having them all the same red fabric with different linings/cuffs. I saw this idea on another blog and had to replicate it.

I wrote up a little stocking how-to for all of you. Let me know if you make them; I’d love to see what fabrics you pick out!

Christmas Stockings


  • Stocking Pattern (note: my husband made the stocking pattern based off of my paper one, so it may vary slightly from my photos)
  • 1/2 yard red fabric
  • 1/2 yard lining fabric
  • 1/2 yard batting
  • 10″ ribbon
  • thread

Step 1: Cut two stocking pieces out of batting, red fabric, and lining fabric.

Christmas Stockings

Step 2:  With right sides of red fabric together, pin batting on either side like a sandwich. Sew around with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving the top edge open. Trim seam allowances, notch convex curves and clip concave curve (here’s why).

Christmas Stockings

Step 3: Repeat with lining fabric, also leaving a ~3″ opening on the long straight side.

Christmas Stockings

Step 4: Turn lining stocking right side out. Fit inside of red stocking with right sides together. Pin, matching side seams. Sew around with a 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim seam allowance. Turn stocking right side out through opening left in the lining fabric. Hand sew opening closed (here’s how).

Christmas Stockings

Step 5: Fold 10″ of ribbon into a circle. Sew to inside of stocking.

Christmas Stockings

Step 6: Fold down cuff and hang. Fill with sweets and treats!


Quilted Table Runner Tutorial

February 12th, 2011  |  Published in Crafts, Sewing, Tutorials  |  2 Comments

I started writing this post before Christmas, but wanted to wait until after Christmas to actually post it so that my gift recipients wouldn’t see ahead of time. I saw a daffodil blooming yesterday, so I think that means it’s sufficiently after Christmas.

I made quilted table runners for my sisters and mother-in-law Christmas gifts. I used this great tutorial for a reversible table runner, but changed it a bit. Mine is not reversible, symmetrical, and quilted along the patchwork lines instead of across them. It was a fun project to pick out coordinating fabrics for each person and easy to whip them out fairly quickly during super-busy December.


Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:

  • three 13″ squares of coordinating fabrics
  • two 13″ x 9″ rectangles of linen
  • one 13″ x 42″ rectangle of linen
  • one 13″ x 42″ rectangle of batting


Step 2: Cut strips of coordinating fabrics

Stack the squares of coordinating fabrics on top of each other. Using a long ruler and a rotary blade, make 4 cuts (to create 5 pieces). Have fun and cut these at different angles to make different sized and shaped strips.


Step 3: Piece fabric strips together

Stitch together fabric strips. Start with the left strip in your stack and work to the right. (Does that make sense?) Vary the fabric order.


Step 4: Attach linen

Sew 13″ x 9″ rectangles of linen to either side of your patchwork.


Step 5: Sew all pieces together

Stack batting, patchworked piece right-side up, and linen backing right-side down. Stitch all the way around the rectangle, leaving a ~4″ gap. Trim corners. Flip right-side out through the gap you left.


Step 6: Finish edge

Sew all the way around runner 1/4″ from the edge, closing the gap as you sew.


Step 7: Quit along patchwork lines

Sew through all layers along the patchwork lines. Oops, it looks like I didn’t take a good picture of this! I simply sewed along each line.

And then you’re done! Easy peasy! Let me know if you make one. I love to see what fabrics people pick out.


Tutorial Inspiration

May 23rd, 2010  |  Published in Crafts, Sewing, Tutorials  |  2 Comments


Top Row: Apron in an Hour, Tote Bag, Cathedral Window Quilt. Bottom Row: Summer Wallet, Shirred Twirly Dress, Don’t Get Out of Bed Pants.

And finally, all of the craft/sewing tutorials that were left in the comments to my Giveaway Day post. Thank you again to everyone who participated! These tutorials are so amazing, and they will keep me busy all summer. I hope you find some new, fun things to make as well!







Compact Tote Bag Tutorial

May 9th, 2010  |  Published in Crafts, Sewing, Tutorials  |  32 Comments

My coworker carries a great bag like this that you can fold up into the cute accent pocket. I knew it couldn’t be too hard to make one for myself, so I measured her bag and got to work. It’s the perfect size to fit into my bike basket and to pick up groceries from the farmers market or corner store.

And it can be stuffed into the pocket so I can carry extra with me for shopping. Cute, eh? I put together a tutorial so that you, too, can make foldable (er, stuffable) tote bags!

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:

  • 2 14″x16″ rectangles of main fabric
  • 2 2″x27″ strips of main fabric
  • 1 10.5″x10.5″ square of accent fabric, cut in half on diagonal to make 2 triangles
  • 32″ cord
  • Cord stop

Step 2: Make Straps

With right sides together, fold long strips in half hot-dog bun style. Sew 1/4″ from raw edges. Flip rightside out and iron.

Step 3: Attach Straps

Pin straps to top of main bag pieces 4″ in from each side. Baste 1/4″ from raw edges.

Step 4: Hem Top Edge

Iron down 1/4″ and then 1″. Sew close to bottom fold.

Step 5: Finish Top Edge

Fold straps up and sew all the way across, 1/4″ from top. Set main bag pieces aside.

Step 6: Prep Pocket

Iron one corner of one triangle 3″ up one side (wrong sides together), flush with the edge. Iron the other corner of one triangle 1.5″ up one side (wrong sides together), flush with the edge. Do the same thing with the other triangle, but on opposite corners. The triangles should be mirrors of each other.

Step 7: Hem Pocket

Iron down 1/4″ then 3/4″ of hypotenuse. Sew close to bottom fold.

Step 8: Add Cord

String the cord through both triangles, with pointy tips of triangles touching. Tails on either end should be about the same length.

Step 9: Sew Around Bag

Line up all pieces of your bag with right sides out. The triangles will fit on either side of the bag, like a tote bag sandwich. Sew around sides and bottom, 1/4″ from edge. Be sure not to sew over your cord tails.

Step 10: Finish Bag

Turn bag inside out and iron flat. Sew around sides and bottom, 1/2″ from edge. Be sure not to sew over your cord tails.

Step 11: Cord Stop

Turn bag right side out and pull out corners with a pin. String cord stop onto the tails. Tie the tails into a knot and trim ends.

You’re done!! Now you have a super cute bag that can be stuffed into the pocket so that you can go from this…

To this!

Look at that! I have an extra one tucked inside my bag. Check back next weekend for a chance to win that extra bag! (Hooray for Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day!)


Fabric Bread Box Tutorial

January 18th, 2010  |  Published in Crafts, Sewing, Tutorials  |  10 Comments

Whew! Christmas is over and it’s halfway through January! How did that happen? We finally got our Christmas tree out of the house today and are now starting to enjoy some of the great gifts that we received. My brother-in-law gave me the amazing King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion cookbook for Christmas. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more about baking bread. It’s such a well-written cookbook and I want to make every recipe in it! I’ve made a few so far, and the recipes are super easy to follow and so delicious.

With all of the bread I’ve been baking, I’ve been struggling to find a container to store and carry the bread in. I wanted to bring it places to share with people and none of my tupperware containers were the size of a bread loaf. So I decided to fashion a convertible, washable, colorful, portable, fabric bread box! And lucky for you, I took pictures throughout the process so that you can make one, too!

I made it to fit a small cutting board in the bottom so that I can just untie the straps, open it up, and cut right there. Then when I’m done, all I need to do is retie the straps. All of the crumbs are contained within! And if the fabric needs washing, I can just remove the cardboard inserts and throw the whole thing in the washing machine.

Here goes nothing! Please let me know if anything is unclear. I can try my best to clear it up for you!

Step 1: Cut out your fabric.

Outside fabric (1/2 yard total):
(2) 22” x 6” (tops)
(1) 18.5” x 22” (main piece)

Lining fabric (3/4 yard total):
(1) 12″ x 8.5″ (center piece)
(4) 6″ x 6″ (corners)
(2) 12″ x 6″ (long sides)
(2) 8.5″ x 6″ (short sides)
(2) 22″ x 6″ (tops)
(1) 4.5′ x 3” (long strap)
(4) 12″ x 2” (short straps)

Step 2: With right sides together, line up long edges of the main piece and top pieces of your outside fabric. Measure 5.5″ in from each corner and pin. Sew between pins. Set aside.

Step 3: Hem one edge of the lining center piece and each side piece (Iron down 1/4″ and then another 1/4″ and sew). These hemmed edges will be the entrance slots to slide cardboard inserts in and out.

Step 4: Baste one edge of each corner square down. (Iron down 1/2″ and baste.)

Step 5: Attach a corner square to the unfinished end of each side piece as seen here, lining up raw outside edges. The basted edge of each square will line up with the hemmed edge of another side piece.

Step 6: Attach long sides to center piece, lining up with the hemmed edge of center piece.

Step 7: Attach one short side to center (along the non-hemmed edge of center piece). The other short side will stay separate until you attach the lining to the outside fabric (next). Speaking of that separate short side: go ahead and baste down 1/2″ on the edge that will lay next to the hemmed center piece.

Step 8: Attach top pieces to long sides. (Only to the long sides, don’t sew the top pieces to corner squares. I didn’t take a picture of that step by itself, but you can see it attached in this photo.) Lay lining on top of outside fabric with right sides together. Pin. Sew around the whole thing, as shown here. It’s a little tricky to sew around the top flaps, so take it slow. Trim corners and flip right side out.

Step 9: Top stitch 1/4″ around the outside edge. Top stitch along all seams, tacking down all those places that you previously basted 1/2″ under. Be careful to leave the hemmed edge of each of those cardboard insert slots free.

Step 10: Iron strap pieces in half. Sew, trim excess fabric. Flip right-side out and iron again.

Step 11: Turn under strap edges and sew. Or, for a more finished look, tuck ends into the tube and top stitch.

Step 12: Line up the center of the long strap with the center of the outside fabric. Attach at top-stitch lines (see circled areas above). Attach side straps to corners as seen above.

Step 13: Cut cardboard to fit in slots. Slip in. The cardboard is removable so that you can wash the fabric in a washing machine at any time.

Step 14: Fold up, tie short straps along long side to form a box. Tuck in top flaps and tie long strap across the top. Carry bread wherever you please!

Let me know if you make one! Happy bread making and sharing!


Recycled Sweater into Pocket Warmers Tutorial

November 29th, 2009  |  Published in Crafts, Sewing, Tutorials  |  6 Comments

My husband tried to throw out a pile of old sweaters that have been collecting dust in the closet. Luckily I caught him before the sweaters left the house, and they got added to my pile of fabric scraps.

My first project with them was to make these cute little pocket warmers. They can be heated up in the microwave and slipped into your (or a loved ones) coat pockets in the morning before heading out to brave the cold weather. Even though Oregon isn’t quite as cold as Wisconsin was, it’s still nice to have a little warmth for my cold fingers while waiting for the bus!

Step 1: Cut off a section of the sleeve. Repeat with the other sleeve so that you have 2 pieces that are the same size. I cut mine ~5″ long, but you can make yours bigger or smaller, depending on the size of the pockets that they will go into!

Step 2: Turn the fabric inside-out, and sew up the openings, leaving an ~1″ opening on one end.

Step 3: Turn the fabric right side-out through the opening that you left. Fill with dry beans, lentils, rice, pie weights, or whatever you have on hand that will withstand microwaving.

Step 4: Hand sew opening closed.

Step 5: Now you have two soft and cute bean bags! Microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Step 6: Slip into your coat pocket and enjoy the warmth!


Canning Applesauce

October 17th, 2009  |  Published in Cooking, Recipes, Tutorials  |  2 Comments

Nothing warms up a gray and rainy day like the smell of applesauce simmering on the stovetop. And nothing brightens up a cold February day like opening up a jar full of preserved fruit. Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to can your own homemade applesauce.

Peel, core and slice your apples. (I love my Apple Peeler Corer Slicer!) You need 15 apples to get 2 quarts (or 4 pints or 8 cups) of applesauce.

Combine ~1 inch of water, apples, a cinnamon stick, and 1/4 cup sugar. (This is not an exact recipe – you may not need any sugar if you have really sweet apples.)

Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and mash apples with a potato masher or whisk. You could also run it through a food-mill or a blender, but I like chunky applesauce.

Fill clean, hot jars with hot applesauce, leaving 1/4″ head space. Wipe off rim of jar.

Cap with lid and place in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.

Remove from hot water bath and let sit on counter overnight. Check to see that the lids have popped down. (The popping noise of the lids after canning something is one of my all-time favorite sounds!)

Set jars aside to enjoy once apple season is over. Or attach pretty labels and give as host/hostess gifts. Eat the leftover sauce in the bottom of the pan. Take a big breath of cinnamon apple air.


Camp Craft: Woven Yarn Pouch

August 1st, 2009  |  Published in Crafts, Tutorials  |  9 Comments

This summer has been quite unusually hot for Oregon! One of our “pros” on the pro/con list for moving to Oregon was the mild seasons, but this summer is not living up to that promise. This past week was over 105* F for 3 days straight!! It has been quite the challenge to survive, let alone keep 35 campers happy outside in the heat. We had a few “water altercations” (there’s no fighting at camp), swam in the river, and did crafts in the shade. Another counselor taught how to make these great woven yarn pouches, and I thought I would share it with you all.

1. Create your loom. The great thing about these pouches are that they are woven on a loom made of scrap cardboard. You can really cut your cardboard to any size you want. Mine was 4.5″ x 8″.

2. Cut slits in loom. Measure and cut slits every 1/4″. You need to have an odd number of slits.

3. Thread warp yarn. Tape end of yarn to one side of the cardboard, then thread the yarn through a slit and down to the other side. Wrap around and through next slit and bring yarn back to the top. Keep all of your warp yarn on one side of the cardboard. When you finish, cut the yarn and tape to the inside of the loom.

Fold cardboard, keeping one side longer for the top flap.

4. Weave. Cut an 8′ piece of yarn to use as your weft. Using a yarn needle, weave over and under through your warp starting at the bottom. Turn over, and continue to weave on the back.

When you get to the top flap, just weave back and forth on the one side.

5. Slide off loom. When finished weaving, slip loops off of slits and pull pouch off of your loom. Thread ends of yarn back through your work. You now have a woven pouch! This is a good place for kids to stop, but you can keep going to give your pouch a more finished look.

6. Finish. If desired, add a line of crochet along the loops.

7. Add button. If desired, add a braided piece of yarn and a button. I just added a straight braid to wrap around my button, but you could also make a loop.

Fill with change. Stash your makeup inside. Fit a gift card inside and give it as a gift. Collect odds and ends. Marvel in the cuteness made from a piece of cardboard and some yarn.

Stay cool everyone! And if you’re in one of those lucky places having an unusually cold summer, send some my way!


How To Make A Vermicompost Bin

July 19th, 2009  |  Published in Environment, Tutorials  |  26 Comments

Moving to a new town and starting 2 new jobs has not left me much time for crafting! I started teaching summer nature camp last week, and the kids, sun, hiking, and games are definitely taking up all of my energy. Whew! Luckily I get weekends to recover (i.e. lay around the apartment all day).

Today I finally got around to making a new Vermicompost / Worm Bin. Wooo! I’ve been living without a compost bin for a few months now, and I’m going crazy! Compost is one of my favorite things in the world, so I have put together this tutorial to make it one of YOUR favorite things, too!

Vermicompost bins are perfect for those of us with no yards, families with kids (and adults) who <3 worms, and really anyone who wants a simple compost system. The worms in a bin this size can eat 3-4 pounds of food scraps every week, so it can make a big dent in your trash load. The bin is super easy to set up, and these little hard working worms create a compost that improves the structure of the soil, acts as a disease suppressant, and balances pH. It’s great for your garden, your house plants, gifts for your neighbors garden, etc. Have I sold you on keeping a bin of worms under your sink yet?

The Worms
The worms that work best for a vermicompost bin are called Red Wigglers. You will need 1 pound of Red Wigglers to start a worm bin. These worms are happy to live in a shallow bin and are community worms that don’t mind being all clumped together in a small place.

You can ask at local garden stores and bait shops to see if anyone is selling them locally. If not, there are some online sources that will mail you worms. I just did a basic google search and found the following sites that offer Red Wigglers for sale. There are plenty more if these don’t work for you!

The Bin
You can really use any dark container that you can find for worms. I like to use styrofoam coolers because they are cheap (or sometimes even free at pet stores or fish counters – ask around!) and easy to poke holes into. You could also use wooden or plastic rubbermaid containers. For 3-4 pounds of scraps per week, the bin should be about 2′x2′x1′.

Poke or drill 1/4″ holes (pencil-sized) in the bottom and sides of your bin. I also added some to the top of mine. I like to err on the side of too many holes rather than too few. The holes allow oxygen into the bin so the worms can breathe, and also ventilate the bin to keep down smells.

Don’t be afraid to poke holes in the bottom! The worms are much happier in a dark, cool, damp, full of food space than out on your bright, dry kitchen floor. They won’t escape the bin unless conditions inside are really terrible. Without holes, the bin can become far too damp and start to turn anaerobic (yuck!).

Worms like to burrow beneath a layer of bedding, so you should always make sure there is a nice thick layer on top of the bin. Bedding can be damp, shredded newspaper or damp leaves. You can use any paper for the bedding, but stay away from glossy or fluorescent papers. The worms will eat the bedding, so you will have to replenish it occasionally. Remember that the bedding should always be kept damp, not wet.

To start your bin, fill it 2/3 full of bedding.

Add Worms
Add 1 pound of worms to the top of the bin, and allow them to crawl to the bottom. Add a handful of sandy dirt to help the worms digest their food. My worms came with all of this dirt; you won’t need to add quite that much.

Cover Bin
Cover your bin with a piece of plastic or the original lid – worms like it in the dark! Set the bin on bricks or blocks of wood to give it better air circulation. Then place a piece of plastic or a tray under the bin to catch any liquid that may drip out. If desired, you can collect the liquid that drips out and use it as a fertilizer on your plants.

Bin Placement
Place your bin in a location that is dark and easily accessible. You will never use it if it is in an inconvenient spot. Place it in under the kitchen sink, in the basement, shed, or garage. You can keep it outside as long as it is protected from the hot summer sun, heavy rains, and freezing weather.

Feeding the Worms
Worms love fruit and vegetable scraps from your kitchen. Be sure to cut up large chunks of food to help it go faster. To feed them, lift up the top layer of bedding in one corner of the bin, place the food scraps in, then cover generously with bedding. With each new additions of scraps, rotate food burial sites clockwise around the bin. This way the worms can eat their way around the bin and distribute an even layer of castings.

I keep a little pin on top so I remember where I last fed them. I just have to remember to move the pin each time I add food.

Here is a list of what you should and shouldn’t add to your worm bin.

Good ideas:

  • vegetable/fruit scraps: peels, pulp, cores, leaves, etc.
  • coffee/tea: grounds, leaves, filters, bags
  • vegetable plate scrapings and leftovers from the back of the ‘fridge
  • stale cake and bread crumbs
  • cooked grains and cereals
  • egg shells

Bad ideas:

  • pet wastes
  • dairy products
  • fatty or oily foods
  • meat, fish and bones
  • anything non-biodegradable (plastic bags, twist ties, rubber bands, etc.)

Other Organisms
After you start to use your bin, you may notice other organisms besides worms living in your bin. This is normal and good! Worms tunnel through the compost to keep the bin aerobic (and therefore odor-free), quickly reduce the mass of material in the bin, and produce super rich castings. But they can’t do it all alone! They work along with bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and other insects such as potato bugs, springtails, and centipedes. These organisms will seem to come from nowhere, but they really came from the fruit and veggie peels, the soil you added in the beginning, the material the worms came in, etc.

Odor: If your bin starts to smell, it is probably because there is not enough air, too much water, or too much food in the bin. To solve the problem, make sure you have a thick layer of moist, but not wet, bedding. Fluff it up to restore air space. Stop feeding the worms until they can catch up to the amount of food in the bin. Always underfeed worms in a new bin until they are well established.

Fruit flies: The one organism that you definitely do NOT want in your bin is flies. To get rid of them, mix material in the bin, add a thick layer of new bedding, and stop feeding the worms for a week. When you start to feed again, make sure the food is always buried under the bedding and the bin is always covered.

You can also build a fruit fly trap. Pour some cider vinegar in the bottom of a jar. Make a small cut in the corner of a plastic sandwich bag, and rubber band over jar to make a funnel. Place the jar inside your worm bin. The flies will go in after the vinegar, but will be unable to fly out.

Harvesting Finished Compost
There are 2 main methods to harvesting the finished compost from your worm bin:

Push and Wait:

  1. Push contents of bin to one side.
  2. Add fresh bedding in empty half.
  3. Only add food in new bedding.
  4. Wait about a month for all of the worms to migrate to the new bedding.
  5. Harvest the compost from the old side once all worms have moved.

Dump and Scoop:

  1. Dump contents of bin into small piles on a piece of plastic under a bright light.
  2. Wait for the worms to clump at the bottom of the piles – they hate the light.
  3. Scoop finished vermicompost from the top of the piles.
  4. Return the worms to the bin.

Please ask me any questions that you have regarding vermicompost bins (or really any compost systems!). I am more than happy to help more people compost! I’ve worked with a lot of compost in the past, and even became a Master Composter in NY while in college, so I should be able to answer any of your questions. Happy composting!