Lip Balm Key Fob

Perfect for teens, tweens, teachers and coworkers and anyone else who keeps lip balm handy!

Perfect for teens, tweens, teachers and coworkers and anyone else who keeps lip balm handy!

Taking a cue from one of my favorite Sew Easy projects (a simple key fob), our first Sewing for the Holidays project is a key fob that doubles as a lip balm carrier.  The following directions will work for your basic tube lip balm (Burt’s Bees, Chapstick, etc).

Supplies Needed:

  • Two 2″ x 8″ rectangles of fusible interfacing
  • Remnants of two complementary 100% cotton fabrics (ideally a bit larger than 2″ x 8″)
  • One 1.5″ D ring
  • Lip Balm

Tip:  selecting a non-directional fabric with a small print works best

Step One: Cut, Fuse and Cut Again

Don’t skip the interfacing.  Without it, the fabric will stretch and you will eventually lose your lip balm!

Begin by drawing two 2″ x 8″ rectangles on the interfacing and cut out the rectangles.  (I like to loosely cut around the rectangles so I actually cut through both the interfacing and fabric after it’s fused.)  Following your interfacing directions, fuse one rectangle to the back of each fabric and cut out the rectangles of fabric.

Tip: Leave some space around the rectangles of interfacing when you cut them out so you can cut out the interfacing and fabric at once after it's fused.

Tip: Leave some space around the rectangles of interfacing when you cut them out so you can cut out the interfacing and fabric at once after it’s fused.

You'll have two strips of fabric, each with interfacing on the back.

You’ll have two strips of fabric, each with interfacing on the back.

 

Step Two: Sew Strips Together

Place strips right sides together and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around three sides, leaving one of the  2″ ends open.  Be sure you backstitch at the beginning and end, or the strips will come apart when you turn it right side out. Clip the corners and turn the tube right-side-out.

Clip the corners after you have sewn the two strips together.  Don't forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Clip the corners after you have sewn the two strips together. Don’t forget to backstitch at the beginning and end.

Step Three:  Press Tube

After you have turned the tube right-side-out, press it flat and turn the open end in 1/2″.

Pressed Tube Side One

Pressed Tube Side 2

Step Four: Sew Pocket

Fold up the sewn end about 2 1/2″ (or the length of your lip balm tube) to create a a pocket for the tube.  Sew down the edges of the pocket being sure to backstitch at each start and end (you will backstitch 4 times).  You will sew as close to the edge as you can as long as you are catching both sides–I use a 1/8″ seam allowance.  (If you want, you can sew across the bottom, too.)

Fold up the side you want to show for the pocket.  Do not skip backstitching!

Fold up the side you want to show for the pocket. Do not skip backstitching!

Step Five:  Sew in D Ring

Fold down the open end over the flat edge of the D Ring and sew down the flap.  I usually reinforce it by sewing it a few times.

At a minimum, backstitch.   However, I prefer to sew a few times to really reinforce the flap.

At a minimum, backstitch. However, I prefer to sew a few times to really reinforce the flap.

Insert your tube of lip balm and enjoy!

Ready to attach to key ring, lanyard, backpack, etc!

Ready to attach to key ring, lanyard, backpack, etc!

Valentine’s Day Reverse Applique Pillow

Image This is a fairly simple pillow to make.  You can make it with a zipper (as I have) or sew a simple pillow. What you’ll need:

  • basic sewing supplies
  • pillow form (size of your choice)
  • two rectangles or squares cut 1″ larger than form (for example, if you have a 12″ square form, cut two 13″ squares; if you have a 16″ x 10″ rectangle, cut two 17″ x 13″ rectangles)
  • a paper heart cut to about 1/2″ larger than the size you want to show on your pillow
  • a scrap of fabric a little bigger than the paper heart you’ve cut

Steps 1 and 2: Trace and Place the Heart Using the paper heart you’ve cut, trace the heart onto the WRONG side (back side/unprinted side/side you don’t want to show) of the scrap of fabric. Then place the fabric RIGHT side down onto the WRONG side of your pillow fabric.  Place it where you want the heart to show.  Pin in place. Be sure your heart is at least two inches in from the sides and top to avoid it curving too much or being sewn into the seam allowance. You’ll see from the photo at the top, I placed mine at an angle off to the side. Step 3: Sew on Heart Sew heart onto pillow fabric.  Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end.  Begin sewing a couple of inches above the “point” at the bottom of the heart.  If you start and end at the point, you risk missing a couple of stitches, thus creating a weak spot that will open over time. If you have an applique foot (clear, plastic presser foot), use this–it will help you see better as you curve around the heart. DSC_0032     Step 4:  Trim Excess from Front and Back Remove pins and cut away the excess fabric from the heart (in my case, the red fabric).  Then, turn over the fabric and carefully snip a hole in the center of the heart only going through the pillow fabric, not the fabric underneath.  Cutting away the pillow fabric will expose the reverse applique heart shape you see on the finished example above.  Do not cut against the stitching, but aim for about 1/4″ or more away.  For mine, I trimmed it with shears and then cut away the shape with pinking shears for an additional decorative effect. Now you have a plain back panel and a front panel with a reverse applique ready to turn into a pillow.

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Trim away excess from the heart.  The stitches on the opposite side will help guide you to cut away the center of the heart an expose the fabric underneath.

Step 4: Turn Panels into a Pillow Now, using your favorite method, adding a zipper or not, turn these panels into a pillow.  I like to add a zipper and make all of my holiday pillowcases the same size because I have one pillow form I recover for each holiday instead of having loads of little pillows I can only use for a short time each year.

Sweet Stitches for Valentine’s Day

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I love Valentine’s Day!  Truly, I do.  When I was a girl, my mom made a big deal of Valentines with special treats, gifts, decorations and my grandmother’s sour cream cookies.  I never considered it a romantic holiday until I was much older and met my would-be spouse at a Valentine’s Day dance.  Lucky, lucky me!

So there’s a little backstory for you.

Especially here in the dreary Midwest, I find Valentine’s Day decorations the perfect remedy for the post-holiday, wintertime blahs.  You can’t go wrong with cheerful colors, candies and kind wishes for our friends!  For the next couple of weeks, I’ll post some Valentine’s day favorites and a few tutorials, too.  If you want to be sure you get every post, please subscribe (“Sew With Me”–to the right)!

Reverse-Appliqued Heart Pillow

Using one of my favorite applique techniques, I made this pillow last year.  Some of you may remember it from class.  Tutorial next week!

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Valentine’s Day Appliques

I love making appliqued shirts for the me and my boys.  Of course, you can applique a simple heart, but it’s fun to make an applique that uses hearts to replace another object.  Here are the boys’ Valentine’s Day shirts from last year.  You’ll see I replaced the dump truck rubble and leaves with hearts.  This year we may do Pac Man, replacing the pellets/pac-dots with hearts or some sort of robot.

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Tree of Love

In our foyer, we keep a little “tree” of twigs the boys have gathered on our adventures.  The addition of these hearts make a cheery greeting for all.  I saw something similar on Pinterest.  It was from a round-up and I couldn’t find the original source.  Perhaps it’s Martha? Regardless, I loved that i could do this project quickly and had all the supplies at hand.  (The original photo I pinned shows twine and a blanket stitch instead of the embroidery floss and whipstitch I used.  While I like the twine better, that would have required a trip to the store…and the blanket stitch would have taken a bit longer. Lazy me!)  Find the tutorial soon, although I doubt you need one!  These little hearts have a secret, though…

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Valentine’s Day Mini Birdhouse Garland

Find the tutorial here at my other blog.  I love this garland so much, I believe it will stay up through spring.  Sure, there isn’t any sewing (unless you replace the roof with felt), but it was so sweet I wanted to share.

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I’d love to hear from you and know what Valentine’s decorating plans you have for 2013!

Christmas Countdown/Advent “Calendar”

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Click on photos to enlarge them.

The problem:  My boys destroy everything.  Ev-er-eeeeeee-thing.  Nothing is spared in this house.  So, any sort of Advent calendar wouldn’t be long for this world.  I envisioned doors being ripped off, decorations chewed on… So I knew I needed something that could be 1) easily replaced/repaired and 2) could be both out of the way, but visible.  (The latter is becoming more and more difficult, what with the chair moving they do and the best places already being occupied with items that need to be kept up high.)

The solution: To turn a mitten garland into a calendar.  This way if one gets wrecked, all I have to do it replace a single mitten.  I’m feeling pretty smug over here right now.  And will until I Google this; I’m certain I’m not the first to make one of these.  Every time I think I’m clever I find out I’m about the 47th person to make it and post it.

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Anyway, no tutorial here–you can figure this one out on your own.  I mean, my 2- and 4-year olds were able to do the bulk of the decorating, so I know you can do it!

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Another great thing about the project was it required no new purchases and used up a bunch of random buttons and bits of ribbon and ric-rac.  I thought I was going to have to buy white fabric paint, but found some winter white puffy paint in my craft supplies.

Any day I don’t have to go to a fabric or craft store with my devils angels is a good day!

In a nutshell:  Trace a mitten to make your pattern.  Cut out 48 mittens.  Sew them together, wrong sides together and being sure to backstitch a half inch at start and finish (or you’ll trim it off and the mitten will come apart), and use pinking shears to trim top and sides.  Decorate.  Hang.  Smile.  Merry and Happy, my friends!