Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays (and a break)

I'm taking a blog break to enjoy the holidays with my family. I'll be back in the new year.

I'm not sure exactly when I'll be back... I'm thinking of taking a couple of weeks to recharge. After all the busyness of Christmas preparations and Haul Out the Holly, I need some time to reconnect with my family and think about what direction I'd like to take this blog in the next year.

I have some Christmas presents I made that I'm itching to share :) A couple of big projects that I finally got crossed off my list. I won't be able to stay away too long ;)

Thanks to all the wonderful people who visited my blog this past year. Your encouragement and support mean the world to me. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and a safe and Happy New Year! Enjoy every minute with your family and friends. See you next year...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

So I started a Flickr group...

Over the weekend I received an email from Kelly of kelbysews. She sent me a link to some pencil pouches that she made using my tutorial. I've gotten other emails from people who have made things using my tutorials, and they have been showing up in my inbox more regularly, so I decided that it was time to start a Gwenny Penny Flickr group where people can share things that they have made using (or inspired by) my tutorials. You can find the link to the Flickr group HERE.

I get a kick out of seeing people using my tutorials :) Kelly already added photos of her pouches to the group, and I couldn't believe it when I saw that neshamamama added a photo of the 38 pencil pouches she made as birthday party favors! Yes, 38... that is not a typo! Wow!

If you have made anything using one of my tutorials, I would love it if you would add some pictures to the Flickr group... I can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Have you voted in the Pink Chalk Studio Handmade With Love Tutorial Contest?
My pencil pouch is a finalist! Voting ends today!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingy Junior

Several years ago my mother bought me a giant fleece gingerbread man. I have no idea where she got it, and she can't remember buying it for me. When my oldest was about two and a half, she took quite a liking to it when it came out at Christmastime. She named her Gingy, carried her around all day, and slept with her every night for the month of December. She did the same thing last year, too. Well, I wasn't thinking about Gingy when I got out the boxes of Christmas decorations this year, but guess who was sitting right on top when we opened the first box? And guess who proceeded to fight over her for the next two hours? Yes, both my girls. This is my 22 month old's second Christmas but her first realizing that Christmas is fun. I could see that Gingy was going to be a problem, but two Gingys would take care of everything :) I went to Jo-Ann's that afternoon, and by the time I went to bed the next morning that night...

Gingy Jr was born! I love how this cutie turned out :) When the girls woke up the next morning, I brought out Gingy and Gingy Jr, and they were happy as could be. All gingerbread-induced fighting ceased. Each girl carries around her respective Gingy during the day and sleeps with her Gingy at night.

My oldest understands that Gingy goes away after Christmas and won't be back until next December, but it will be interesting to see how my youngest reacts to putting Gingy Jr in a box headed for the basement in a few weeks.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad to have a gingerbread man out all year, but I kind of like what a special treat it is at Christmastime. Fingers crossed the little one doesn't have a total meltdown :)

Have you voted in the Pink Chalk Studio Handmade With Love Tutorial Contest?
My pencil pouch is a finalist! Voting ends tomorrow, 12/21.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm a Finalist!!!

About a month ago Pink Chalk Studio posted a Handmade with Love holiday tutorial contest. After some encouragement (thanks, Simone!), I decided to enter. There were 153 entries, and guess what?!? My pencil pouch made the top 15!!!

The contest is broken up into three categories: Gifts for Friends, Gifts for Little Ones, and Deck the Halls. My pouch is competing in the Gifts for Little Ones category. There are some great tutorials in the final fifteen, so make sure you check them out. The Pink Chalk Team narrowed the field down to 15, but now it's up to you to determine the winner in each category and the grand prize overall winner. Please take a minute to go vote for your favorites in each category. Voting ends Wednesday, 12/21. Thank you!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Haul Out the Holly 2011 Wrap-Up

I can't believe this year's Haul Out the Holly is over already! I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. A great big thank you to all of my guests... you ladies are the best! Just in case you missed any of the tutorials, here are links to all fifteen projects that were shared over the past three weeks:
The last three weeks flew by so quickly. I've been sewing. A lot of sewing. But I can't share most of it with you until after Christmas... gotta keep the presents a surprise, right? I am no where near ready for Christmas, but I am happy with what I have managed to accomplish so far. Time to cram in all the last minute shopping and sewing in preparation for next weekend. I'm sure there are many people in the same boat, so good luck this week! Oh, and here's a little peek at some awesome news I'll be sharing tomorrow :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

HOTH Day 15: Festive Sock Monkey Egg Cozies with let's go fly a kite

Hi there! I am KJ, I have a little blog called let's go fly a kite where I post about crafty messes and the odd sewing project. I love Christmas and our tree is full of handmade ornaments that my girls work on together, like these:
I like thrift, nostalgia, and tradition, especially around the holidays. This year, I have had sock monkeys on my mind. Sock monkeys kind of scream Christmas and I was excited to get my hands on some yardage of Moda’s Santa's Little Helper fabric which is very fun and festive. I know Gwen likes fun fabric, so I thought this fabric would be perfect for a Haul Out the Holly project.

When I was little, I lived on soft boiled eggs with messages written on them. For Christmas, I wanted to create a couple festive cozies to keep our eggs warm. For me, one of the best parts of the holidays is enjoying a lazy breakfast with my family - instead of the morning scramble which has become my family’s routine.

An egg cozy is the sort of thing that you do not see very often in North America, so it is perfect for that person who seems to have everything. In addition, the project uses small pieces of fabric (which by December 16th is probably all you have left in that festive fabric stash). I would love for you to drop by let's go fly a kite to find out how to keep those eggs warm.

Gwen, thanks so much for inviting me to join your “Haul Out the Holly” this year. It is a special space over here.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

That fabric is so sweet, and I love how unique this project is. Really cute! KJ has got to be one of the coolest moms on the planet. She always has her girls doing amazing projects that are also great learning experiences for them (like Indian block printing, Japanese dip dying, and cork and walnut boats). Make sure you visit her blog and let her know what you think of her Sock Monkey Egg Cozy tutorial! And check out her project from last year's Haul Out the Holly event... her awesome gingerbread party ideas. Thanks so much for joining me again this year, KJ :)

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly 2011 tutorials!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

HOTH Day 14: Double Sided Polaroid Ornament with Increasingly Domestic

Hello Gwenny Penny readers!

I'm Amy from Increasingly Domestic, where I blog about what I am learning and doing:
I blog about sewing, crafting, organizing, natural cleaning, parenting, furniture refinishing and really anything that strikes my fancy!

I am thrilled to be here again this year for the 2nd annual Haul Out the Holly event!
Last year I shared a Mug Rug Tutorial, but this year I wanted to do something a little simpler so I went with an ornament.

I love hanging pictures on my tree, but the picture frame ornaments are too heavy for the "Charlie Brown Christmas Trees" that we cut down each year.

I love Polaroids, so that's what I decided to make: a Polaroid Photo Ornament!
It is double sided, so that you can see pictures no matter how it hangs on the tree.
My favorite part is that it doesn't weigh down my tree branches:)

Come on over to get the Tutorial on my Double Sided Polaroid Photo Ornament!

Thanks so much for having me again Gwen!

This is a cute way to showcase special photos from the past year. Really sweet. Head on over to Amy's blog to see the colorful photos of her upcycled crayons... love them! Looking for a last minute gift idea? Try Amy's aromatherapy neck heating bag tutorial. And as Amy already mentioned, make sure you check out her project from last year's Haul Out the Holly event... her quilted mug rug. Please take a minute to visit Amy's blog and let her know what you think of her Double Sided Polaroid Ornament tutorial! Amy, thanks for being a part of Haul Out the Holly again this year.

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly 2011 tutorials!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HOTH Day 13: Felt Christmas Pudding with Modern Country Style

I'm very excited indeed to be meeting you here
at gorgeous Gwen's Haul Out the Holly series.

I'm Sarah from Modern Country Style,
pared-back interiors infused with the warmth of country,
crafting lovely projects and a little bitta fashion.

Today, I'm sharing my felt Christmas pudding
It's quick, it's easy and it's utterly scrumptious - and, really,
what more could you ask for?!

How can you not smile when you see this plumptious beauty?

I'll be taking you through the tutorial step by easy step...
Come on over - I'd love you to join me!

I love this adorable ornament! A Christmas pudding is just so - well - Christmassy! Sarah is an absolute delight. When reading her blog, you feel as if she is speaking directly to you and that you have known each other forever. Her blog is filled with modern country eye candy. She has done extensive case studies on paint colors and modern country decorating styles. She also created this gorgeous pillow that I hope one day to make. Make sure you visit her blog and leave a comment on her Felt Christmas Pudding tutorial! Thanks so much for being a part of Haul Out the Holly, Sarah!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly 2011 tutorials!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

HOTH Day 12: Upcycled Burlap Ornaments with A Simply Klassic Home

Merry Christmas Gwenny Penny readers! I'm Kristin from A Simply Klassic Home, where I am learning to define self and style on a single mom's budget, and Simply Klassic Blog Design, where I help YOU define your blog style! I was so excited to be asked again to be a part of Haul Out the Holly. I had so much fun partying it up last year when I shared my Christmas Ornament Window Swag.

Then came the dreaded decision making... what do I want to make and share??? I had tons of ideas, but, well, time has been limited this season, so I went for simple and easy. Yes, that works for me!

I decided to go with a very limited amount of green in my Christmas decor this year. I had a bunch of Dollar Tree ornaments that I wasn't going to use, and empty space on my tree. So I upcycled them! Stop by A Simply Klassic Home and I'll show you how I made a dozen "new" ornaments for practically free!

Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of the fun this year, Gwen! I'm off to start planning for next year...

Love what a quick, easy, and affordable idea this is, and I am loving how the burlap looks hanging on the tree! I've got some glass balls that I don't hang on the tree anymore... I think I'll have to try this. Kristin just wrapped up her 12 Days of Christmas Printables series on her blog. There were some really beautiful free printables, so make sure you go take a look. And as Kristin already mentioned, check out her project from last year's Haul Out the Holly event... her Christmas Ornament Swag. Make sure you visit Kristin's blog and leave a comment on her Upcycled Burlap Ornament tutorial! Kristin, thanks for joining me for Haul Out the Holly again this year!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly 2011 tutorials!

Monday, December 12, 2011

HOTH Day 11: Wooden Nativity Ornament with Creation Corner

I am super excited to be over here at Gwen's Haul Out the Holly series.  I simply adore Gwen and I am happy to be participating in her fun series.  My name is Tasha (said with an "a" sound as in apples) from over at Creation Corner.  I love all things crafty and generally have 2-3 projects going at once.

I love a good tutorial and love when I can share some of my own projects with you.  A few of my favorite tutorials you can find on my blog are: my school zipper pouches, summer tote bag, pointed flower hair-clips, fabric pumpkins, bunting stationary, and birthday headbands.  I hope you will stop on by and visit.  I would love to meet you!  Today, I will be sharing how to make Wooden Nativity Ornaments.

Come join me for this fun Christmas tutorial.

I love how simple and beautiful this ornament is. Tasha and I have only recently found each other's blogs, but we quickly found out that we have very similar taste. She likes to use bright, fun colors as much as I do. Need proof? Check out her baby bibs, baby boy shower gift, and her eyeglass case. Make sure you visit Tasha's blog and leave a comment on her Wooden Nativity Ornament tutorial! Tasha, I am so glad that you could be a part of Haul Out the Holly... Thanks so much!

Click HERE to see more Haul Out the Holly 2011 tutorials!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Travel Jewelry Organizer Tutorial

This tutorial was a guest post that I did over at Creation Corner a few weeks ago as part of Tasha's Handmade Christmas Series...

Today I'm going to show you how to make a travel jewelry organizer...

Everyone goes away from time to time, whether it's on vacation, a weekend to visit family, or a business trip. Why not give them something handmade to carry their jewelry in while they're away?

The finished organizer is about 8" x 12" when it's opened up, 8" x 4 1/4" when it's folded. This project involves vinyl, but don't let that scare you. This was only my second time sewing with vinyl, and this project went together smoothly without any hiccups. Ready to give it a try? Let's go!

  • vinyl (8 gauge) - 1/3 yd
  • exterior fabric - one fat quarter
  • interior fabric - one fat quarter
  • strap fabric - one fat quarter
  • fusible fleece interfacing
  • three 9" zippers
  • 9mm snap (or small piece of hook and loop tape)
  • coordinating thread
  • zipper foot for your machine (not completely necessary but very helpful)


Step 1: Cut your vinyl, interior fabric, and fusible fleece. You will need to cut three pieces of vinyl:  4 1/4" x 8", 5 1/8" x 8", and 3 7/8" x 8". Cut your interior fabric 8" x 13". Cut your fusible fleece 7 3/4" x 12 3/4". Center the fusible fleece on the wrong side of your interior fabric and fuse in place following the manufacturer's directions.

Step 2: Start with the 4 1/4" x 8" piece of vinyl. Fold the top long edge under 3/8" and crease. If you press along the entire fold, the vinyl will stick to itself, which is helpful. Take one of your zippers and lay it right side up with the zipper pull on the left. Lay your vinyl piece along the bottom edge of the zipper with the folded edge of the vinyl against the zipper.

Use a zipper foot to attach the vinyl to the zipper by sewing along the entire length about 1/16" to 1/8" from the fold in the vinyl. Don't use pins or you will put holes in your vinyl. Just go slowly and hold it together with your fingers.

Repeat this for your 5 1/8" piece of vinyl and your second zipper. Repeat again for your 3 7/8" piece of vinyl and your third zipper.

Step 3: Time to start assembling the interior of the organizer. Lay your interior fabric right side up. Take your first vinyl/zipper combination (4 1/4") and line up the top of the zipper with the top of the interior fabric. The zipper/vinyl piece should also be right side up.

Baste along the top edge using a very long stitch about 1/8" from the edge.

Step 4: Take the bottom edge of the vinyl piece that you just attached and fold it under 3/8", creasing along the entire length. Take your second vinyl/zipper combination (5 1/8") and lay it out across your interior fabric, overlapping the fold you just created along the bottom of the first piece of vinyl over the top of the second zipper.

Use a zipper foot to attach the first piece of vinyl to the second zipper and the interior fabric by sewing along the entire length of the zipper about 1/16" to 1/8" from the fold in the vinyl . This creates your first pocket. Important: You can't pin any of this together unless you just pin the very edges. You don't want to put holes in the vinyl. I didn't use pins. I moved slowly and carefully, stopping to measure about every inch to make sure that the distance between the first and second zipper was consistent.

Step 5: Take the bottom edge of the second vinyl piece that you just attached and fold it under 3/8", creasing along the entire length.

Take your third vinyl/zipper combination (3 7/8") and lay it out across your interior fabric, overlapping the fold you just created along the bottom of the second piece of vinyl over the top of the third zipper.

Use a zipper foot to attach the second piece of vinyl to the third zipper and the interior fabric by sewing along the entire length of the zipper about 1/16" to 1/8" from the fold in the vinyl . This creates your second pocket.

Step 6: Baste along the bottom edge of your third piece of vinyl using a very long stitch about 1/8" from the edge. This creates your third pocket. Trim your interior fabric to the bottom of your third piece of vinyl, squaring up the length of the entire interior of the organizer. Move all three zipper pulls to the center of the organizer. Baste along the entire length of both the left and right sides about 1/8" from the edges. Go back and forth a few times over each end of the zipper when you do.

Clip the ends of your zippers and any overhanging vinyl even with the edges of your interior fabric.

If you would like to, you can divide the top pocket for earrings and/or rings. Just sew a vertical line half way between the left and right edges of the pocket, being careful not to sew over the zipper.

The interior of your organizer is complete! Let's move to the exterior.

Step 7: Start by cutting your exterior and strap fabrics. Measure the interior of your organizer that you just created. Mine ended up being 8" x 12". Add 1 1/2" to each dimension, and cut your exterior fabric. For example, I cut my exterior fabric 9 1/2" x 13 1/2". Cut your strap fabric 4" x 12 1/2"

Step 8: Start by making the strap. Fold your strap fabric in half lengthwise wrong sides together and press.

Open it up and fold both long edges into the center crease. Press.

Fold the entire length again along the original crease and press.

Open it up again and fold both short edges in about 1/2". Press.

Refold the entire length and press the entire strap one more time. Topstitch around all four sides about 1/8" from the edges.

Step 9: Now it's time to attach your strap to the exterior fabric. Lay your exterior fabric right side up. Center your strap horizontally on top of your exterior fabric (your should have about 4 1/4" on either side of the strap). Place the bottom of the strap 2 1/2" up from the bottom of your exterior fabric. Pin in place. Sew straight across the strap in two places: first about 5" up from the bottom of your exterior fabric, and second about 4 1/4" down from the top of your exterior fabric.

Step 10: Let's assemble this thing! Lay your exterior and interior pieces like so.

Flip your exterior piece over (left to right NOT top to bottom) so that the strap is facing down. Center your interior piece right side up on top of your exterior piece. You should have about 3/4" of exterior fabric peeking out on all four sides.

Make sure your zippers are still in the middle, unzipped half way. Pin the ends of your strap together on the back so they won't get caught up in the binding process. If you are adding a label, pin it on now.

Starting on one side, fold the raw edge of the exterior fabric in 3/8" so that it is touching the raw edge of the interior fabric.

Fold the exterior fabric over another 3/8" onto the interior piece. Pin in place along the entire length of that side.

Now for the corners. With the fabric folded in at the end by the corner...

... fold the corner down so that it lines up with the raw edge of the interior fabric along the adjacent side.

Fold the raw edge of the adjacent side in 3/8" so that it is touching the raw edge of the interior fabric.

Fold the exterior fabric along this side over another 3/8" onto the interior piece.

Pin in place along the entire length of that side. Repeat for all four corners/sides. Sew all the way around about 1/16" to 1/8" from the inside edge of the binding.

Step 11: I would wait until the end to add the snap (or hook and loop tape) to the strap. Variances along the way can change the best placement of the fastener. At this point, fold up your organizer. First, fold the bottom edge up, just above the third zipper.

Then, fold the top edge down.

Pull the bottom piece of the strap up, and bring the top piece of the strap down over it. Mark the placement of your snap (or other fastener), and attach following the manufacturer's directions.

Voila! You're done! You now have this cute handmade organizer to give to someone special (or everyone :) on your gift list.

You could even include a nice pair of earrings or a necklace as another special treat when they open it up.

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