Trend Watch: Rope Baskets

I love baskets! I am always attracted to them. And always tempted to buy them.  Have you noticed lately all of the rope baskets available?  Or rope basket tutorials?  It really is quite easy to make.  Today I have a list of websites showing a variety of rope basket tutorials.  

By looking at the above picture would you be surprised it is put together by hot glue?  The rope is actually cording/piping used on furniture and pillows.  You can find this diy here. 

Another no sew option is from Martha Stewart.  Her team uses flower pots to wrap the rope around.

If you know how to sew there are 2 options you can choose,  Sweet Paul and Elise Blaha blogs have tutorials.  Using a neon pink thread really adds to the pop!  You can find Elise's tutorial right here.

Sweet Paul, who is based here in Brooklyn, takes it one step further. Dyeing! This would be a great weekend project because dyeing can sometimes be messy.  But dip dyeing has such a beautiful effect. dip dye rope bowl project

All you need for the above projects is clothes line rope that you can find at your local hardware store.  Enjoy!

Tracey  |

DIY: Halloween Puppets

There’s a chill in the air, jack o’lanterns and ghostly decorations are everywhere. Yes, Halloween is near! This year we wanted to try making something different other than the usual paper plate masks and construction paper cut out bats. We love those, don’t get me wrong but we came up with our own project and we love it. We made puppets with foam balls, wooden dowels and my husband’s old shirts (sshhh! Don’t tell!) The best part of this project is that you can make any character you want and make them as crazy as you want them to be.  This is how we did it:

1. Make the heads:

You’ll need 3” smooth foam balls (or approximate size),  gesso, wooden dowels, pencil, craft paint in the colors of your choice, brushes in different sizes. For the optional steps you’ll need school glue, water, tissue paper, mod podge or finishing spray.

Cover the foam balls with a couple coats of Gesso. You need to do this in order for the paint to stay on the surface later on, that way it won’t peel off. After the gesso is dry, use a pencil to draw your puppets’ facial features. Draw eyes, mouths, big ones, small ones, anything you like, this is Halloween after all! Use your craft paint to paint the ball all around, making sure you can still see the pencil lines through the paint. Trace the features with a thin brush. Insert the wooden dowel at the bottom of the head. Because the foam ball is soft, it won’t be hard to get the dowel in there but you may use the tip of a pencil to get a hole started and then push the dowel. 

Optional steps:

* If you would like to make three-dimensional features such as ears or noses, you’ll need to make a quick mix of papier maché. Simply mix equal amounts of school glue and water and dip shredded pieces of tissue paper in it, mold into shape and place on the foam ball, where you want it. It will be very wet, you will need to let it dry overnight. This is what I did for the cat’s ears and nose and the pumpkin’s stem.

* You may add a special touch by adding the year on the back and making it a family keepsake. 

* After painting the head and facial features, you may add a layer of mod podge or finishing spray. That way you’ll be able to show off your puppet for years!

2. Make the clothes:

I kept this part very simple. I used sleeves from old men’s shirts. Cut off the sleeves and cut off the cuffs. Then gather the narrower end at the base of the puppets’ heads and glue gun it to the dowel, at the base of the head. If you don’t have shirts to cut, simply use old scraps of fabric to glue on the dowel, at the base of the head.

Optional steps:

Make a couple of fancy items to add to your characters! I used felt to make a little witch’s hat and cape. You can use ribbons, buttons, pom poms, etc to glue onto your puppet’s clothes or heads.

The kids loved working on these puppets, I think we’ll keep them around even after Halloween passes. They’re making up their own little stories and using their imaginations to play and be creative. They also loved being involved in the making process. From brushing the gesso onto the balls, to painting and cutting off the shirts, this project is kid friendly. My oldest is learning how to use the glue gun but you be careful with the little ones around as they can get easily burned with the tip of the gun or the melted silicon. Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Natasha K.


DIY: Upcycled Skirt

It is that time of the year again and we find ourselves transitioning into Fall. We go into our closets,  take out the sweaters and start wearing layers. As I went into my daughter’s closet and found a few things to donate, I found a couple of pants that still fit her at the waist but are short at the ankles. So I thought to turn them into a skirt, which became the idea for this post! Note that you can do this project with your own, adult size pants. You will need:

A pair of old pants

Your sewing machine

Fabric scissors

Seam ripper

Coordinating thread

Basic sewing skills

1.a. Decide where you would like your hem height to be (above or below the knee, etc) and mark it. Lay the pants completely flat on a flat surface. Cut the legs off where you marked the leg. Be careful to cut in a “curve” and not straight across (image above)

1.b. Use your seam ripper to take apart the seam on the inside leg.  When you get to crotch area, carefully rip the seams as close to the zipper as possible. It may take a little time to do this but it will be worth it.  Keep the bottom part of the legs that you just cut off for the next step.

2.a. Use your scissors to cut open the legs (the pieces you just cut off) along one of the seams (side or inseam, it doesn’t matter). No need to rip the seams, just cut as close to the seam as possible. The top part of the pants (which will become your skirt) will have two sort of flaps, at the front and back, in what used to be the inseam of the leg and crotch. Lay the pants flat, overlap the crotch flaps one on top of the other and put one of the pieces of fabric from the cutout legs (legs you cut off) under the opening. Make sure the flaps are on top of that piece of fabric, laying flat, fold in the edges and carefully pin the layers together.

3.a. Time to sew! Top stitch along the pinned folded flaps.  You can use a thicker, contrasting thread color for fun - you gotta show off your work, right? I used a couple strands from a DMC embroidery floss. Cut the excess fabric on the wrong side of the garment (middle image above). 

3.b. Repeat steps 2.a through 3.a to finish the back of the skirt. Once front and back are finished, your skirt is ready! You can wash and dry it to fray the hem.


Step 2.a. optional: Instead of using the cut out leg to insert under the opening at the front and back of the skirt, you could use a different fabric to add contrast. Maybe use a patterned fabric or different color fabric but you should find something that is the same fabric weight as the rest of the skirt.

Step 3.b. optional: You may decide to finish the hem differently. You can fold in the hem and top stitch it but you must remember to add an extra 1.5” to 2” hem height when cutting the pants on step 1.a. You can also top stitch lace or ribbon at the edge of the hem. However, it must be a narrow width as your hem is curved and the lace or ribbon will lay flat,  possibly producing a puckered effect.

Now that your skirt is ready, wear it, layer it with tights this Fall and strut it around next Summer. You will be so happy with the result and best of it all, you did it all yourself and reused a piece from your closet.  This is a great project to reuse your favorite pair of pants and to create a unique piece of clothing you can wear all year around.  Enjoy it, have fun and happy sewing!

Natasha K.




Part II DIY Fall Kitchen Patchwork Trivet

Last Friday we demonstrated a tutorial of how to make a patchwork trivet for your kitchen. Today we will finish it up with part II.  If you missed part I you can find it right here.   I know with the change of weather I am ready to start having hot coffees and warming teas.  

Last week's last step was making the patchwork top part of the trivet. It should look like this. 

1. The bottom row is sewn to the middle row, be sure to match seams and press with steamy iron.  Then sew the middle row to the top row. Repeat same steps.

2. SQUARE IT UP.  This means you need to cut the sides to make sure it is even.  It's ok if it ends up being smaller than 9" square or not a complete square.

3. Step 3 you are going to start making the quilt sandwich. Take your wool, place your batting on top of that, then your trivet top on top face up. 

4. Pin the layers together and sew along the seams. You can use regular straight pins or basting pins.  It's good to use a Walking Foot but if you don't have one that's ok. 

5. Attaching the bias tape binding. When you first start to attach it you need to fold over one short end raw edge about a half inch.  

Be sure to fold the short raw edge as above. 

6.  Sew a half inch seam allowance around all of the edges. 

7. Fold raw edge and wrap to top side of trivet. Pin. 

step 7B

8. Sew an edge stitch.  This is a stitch right along the grey binding. 


Step 9. Done! Have a cup of tea!

final trivet 2 colors.png

If you have any questions please let me know.  Next tutorial will be the Apple Picking Tote on October 16th. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Tracey Toole   |

DIY: Fall Patchwork Kitchen Trivet Tutorial

It's National Sewing Month! Did you know that? Did you know it was President Regan who started  National Sewing Month in 1982.  He wanted to celebrate and honor the importance of home sewing in the United States.  If you want to learn more about National Sewing Month check out the National Sewing Month website.  However I am here to show you how to make a Patchwork Trivet just in time for the beginning of tea and soup season.   This is a good project for a beginner or intermediate but you do need to know how to use a sewing machine.


scissors or rotary cutter

pins /  iron

double wide bias tape 

cotton woven fabric scraps adding up to 9" square

Insul Bright batting

wool - I use Mary Flanagan wool that comes in beautiful colors and patterns 

1. Cut your cotton woven fabric scraps into 3" squares.  I used 3 different patterns/colors. 

2. Arrange your squares into the design you would like for the top part of the trivet. 

3.  Once you decide on your design, take 2 squares and lay them face to face, pin them and sew 1/4" seam allowance on one side. 

5. Remove the pins and with a hot iron and the back side facing up, press the seam to the darker fabric side. 

6.  Arrange your pieces again into your desired design.  You can see in my photo I sewed 6 pieces together to create 3 2 patch blocks.  My design is 3 swatches across, 2 are sewn and the 3rd isn't.  Now I will sew a third square onto each row of 2.


Continue this step with the other 2 rows of 2 squares each and this will complete your trivet top.

Next Friday will be part 2 of this tutorial and I will show you how to make your quilt sandwich and  complete the trivet. 

Have a great weekend! And please ask any questions or comments below!


TUTORIAL: Upcycle Grocery Store Paper Bags into Usable Envelopes

In honor of Earth Day, we share this tutorial from the archives of our old team blog on upcycling paper bags (from the grocery store and other stores) into envelopes you can use to mail letters (April is National Letter Writing Month!) to your loved ones.  It's also another great way to get crafty and give something a new life before it goes to the recycling bin.

The tutorial includes a print out envelope template for you to use to create your own. Huzzah!

If you make envelopes, please share your experience in the comments. We'd love to see what you create. You can also share them on the team Facebook page if you are inclined.

Happy Earth Day!  Happy crafting! 

Sara, S2 Stationery & Design

D.I.Y. Valentine's inpired PJ case

Valentine’s day is approaching fast! Just a few days and it’s here. I came up with a project inspired by Valentine’s but perfect to keep around all year long. It’s a PJ case, a case where you can store PJs  during the day. No more pajamas under the pillows or laying around the bedroom. It will lay fluffy on your kid’s bed waiting for bedtime to get emptied out!

You will need:

One 14” x 14” and two 14” x 8” pieces of fleece

Freezer paper

Acrylic or textile paint in color of your choice

Textile medium (if you decide to use acrylic paint)

A foam or spouncer brush

Exacto knife

Surface for mixing colors (I use the cover of a take out container)

Love heart stencil


Follow steps 1. though 6. used in April showers Tee project to make your stencil and print the design on the 14” x 14” piece of fleece. Note that you are NOT using the striped area in the heart stencil. Place the letters as you like. If you are using textile paint, you do not need to use the textile medium.


I decided to use fleece for this case because it won’t fray and I didn’t want to finish the edges. If you decide you want to use a different kind of fabric and you want to finish the edges, you have to account for this in the measurements.

Overlap the two 14” x 8” pieces of fleece so that you have a 14” x 14” square. That will be your opening. Pin it down to keep it in place. Place the 3 layers of fabric so that the right sides are facing each other. Stitch all  around the edges using a ¼” to ½” seam allowance. Clip the corners and turn inside out. Press edges and enjoy!


* I recommend printing your fabric first. If you mess up, all you have to do is cut another piece of fabric as oppose to having to make a whole case again.

* You can print the design on a previously purchased pillow case and use that instead. Or print it on a Tee shirt too!

I made this one for my daughter and she loves it! You can make them as gifts for your friends' kids or your own. Have your littles give you a hand, they’ll treasure their PJ cases even more! Remember to supervise children while doing this project, specially while cutting, ironing and sewing.

Have fun and please share pictures of your projects!

Natasha K.




DIY: Advent Calendar Banner

It seems as if the year flew by and yes, the holidays are already so close!!! For those who celebrate, here’s an easy DIY advent calendar. It can be adapted for both Christian and Jewish celebrants, just change your colors a bit. Best of all, it’s so easy, kids will enjoy working on it with you! So gather your supplies and start working, you’ll need:

* Scrapbook paper with two different patterns

* Mini paper bags (the amount depends on how many advent days you celebrate)

* Baker’s twine (or some sort of thin cord)

* Hole punch

* Paper scissors

* Glue

* Printer

* Odd and even number designs

1. Print out the 2 designs, odd and even numbers, on your scrapbook paper. Make sure your scrapbook paper fits your printer (you can cut it to about 8.5’ wide) and that you place it correctly in order to print on the patterned side of the paper. Cut each number along the dotted lines.

2. Use your punch hole to make two holes on each paper bag, one hole at each top corner. If your bags are too long, you can simply fold them back to make them a bit shorter (that’s what I did for mine as I wanted each to be square) Glue the numbers to the bags, here’s where the kids can start to help!

3. Put the banner together by threading the baker’s twine through each hole. Hang, fill each bag with a small treat every day and enjoy! By the way, what favorite treat would you stuff in these little bags? Comment below!!!

This is a perfect project to work on during this coming Thanksgiving weekend. Have fun and as always, keep an eye on the little ones as they use scissors. Happy holidays!

Natasha K.



DIY: upcycled pencil case

Fall is at our doorstep and we’re getting ready to welcome it around our house. The kids are back in school so I have more time to clean up their closets. As I’m putting their outgrown clothes aside for donation, I decided to keep a couple of zippered sweatshirts to experiment with for this project. I ended up making this little pouch, perfect for my daughter’s crayons, here’s how I did it:

1. Use an old zippered sweater to upcycle. Turn the sweater inside out and place it on a flat surface. Decide the final length of your pencil case by marking the zipper at two points (blue dots on picture). If the sweater has a front pocket, try to avoid it to facilitate sewing.  Machine stitch on the marked points to close the zipper, making sure the zipper pull is between the points.

2. Hold the sweater (still inside out) from the center front zipper, fold it and lay it flat as pictured. Use a water-soluble pen or chalk to mark the shape of the pencil case (blue dotted line on picture). The shape can be anything you want, rectangular, square, rounded corners, etc, depending on the size of the sweater. Mark a seam allowance of about ¼” (red  line on picture).

3. Pin down the two layers of fabric and cut along the marked seam allowance (red line) Make sure the zipper pull is pulled to the middle of your work so you can turn it later. Stitch along marked stitch line (blue line). At zipper points, make several stitches to reinforce.

4. Turn your pencil case right side out and tidy up the edges with a pointed tool (pencil, chopstick, etc). Voilà! You’re done… start using to store school supplies, even cosmetics or electronics!

TIP: When stitching along marked stitch line (step 3) you may want to add a second stitch line just next to the first, using your machine’s zig-zag stitch. This is helpful reinforcement, specially because you’re working with a knit and your straight stitch may brake after a while.

Have fun and please share pictures of your upcycled pencil cases!

Natasha K.

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