Thursday, 30 October 2014

Making Pretty Outdoor Tea Light Holders

Milk Jug (Polyethylene) Votives
Since I want to use these in our backyard this summer, I decided to make them as water-resistant as possible while also keeping it an easy DIY. After trying several adhesives, I'm happiest with this clear adhesive sealant. It is easy to work with (the texture is thick enough to adhere the pieces together without using clamps) and it also dries relatively quickly... although not as quickly as hot glue.

Why I didn't use a hot glue gun... Unfortunately hot glue does not adhere well to polyethylene (the material that milk jugs are made from) and it is not water resistant. If you do want to use a hot glue gun, you'll have paint the polyethylene (clear spray paint or acrylic paints) or rough it up with sand paper. Even with that, the bond will not be as strong.

If you don't have any milk jugs on-hand or don't feel like an upcycle project, you can also purchase polyethylene plastic sheets. They vary in thickness though and, since I have never used them before, I can't vouch for their performance.

Materials needed:

clean milk jug (once you cut away the bottom and handle, one jug should make one votive)
scrap paper for template
cheap scissors (to cut the milk jug)
clear silicone adhesive sealant (I used this one)
battery-powered votive lights
acrylic paint (optional) i used this multi purpose paint in gold since it adheres well to many surfaces. i also used this glitter paint to add some dimension.


The first step is to make a template for your petals. I cut-out eight (small) 2.25-inch petals, six (medium) 3-inch petals and 6 (large) 4-inch petals. There aren't any set rules for this. I wanted a lotus-like votive so I made my medium and large petals wide.

Cut out your petals from the milk jug as well as a round piece for the center. The round piece should be about the same size as your votive. You obviously don't want to use your best scissors for this project. I used a cheap pair and it worked fine.

Bend the end of your petals. Luckily polyethylene is very flexible and doesn't crease (at least my jugs from Trader Joe's don't). You can later add more "bend" to your petals when the project is complete.

Now it's time to glue everything together. Start with the circle and adhere the smallest petals first. You can wait a bit for the sealant to dry a little... or if you're impatient like me, you'll just plow ahead.

I then attached the medium-sized petals, followed by the large petals. I perched it upside-down on a acrylic paint bottle to dry. Let the sealant dry overnight. It will be clear when dry.

During the day...

And at night...

Ready to add some ambiance to our back yard...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Making Your Own Sock Monkey - These Are So Cute

OMG These Are So Cute

Make Your Own Sock Monkey- these wildly popular Monkeys make great gift basket additions,  it's hands for a unique gift on it's own.


Prepare all the materials needed as described above.
Cut the eye from white felt by following the download pattern above. Mark the button eye position.
If your socks have folded cuff, remove the stitches carefully and don’t accidentally cut the sock. Flatten the fold to have a longer length.

Turn the sock to wrong side, align sock as per photo below. Press with warm iron.

Draw pattern on the sock with erasable fabric marker. Since not all socks are the same, I can’t make a standard pattern for you to trace.
If you haven’t had the pattern, download it here and print it out.

1. Align the stripes on both layers, pin.
2. Sew it with sewing machine, best if you have walking foot so both layers walk together. You can use hand sewn too.
3. Cut as per pattern.
4. Cut all pieces out.


There will be an opening created between the legs. Use this opening to turn the sock right side out.

1. Insert the thumb into the leg till the feet end. “Pinch” the feet end with your thumb and index finger.
2. Push the index finger into the sock while thumb withdrawing from the sock to turn the sock right side out.
3. When the feet surface to the opening, pull the whole leg right side out.
4. Repeat the same to the other leg.

Finally, turn the body out. Smooth out all the seam line.
Turn the rest of the body parts, except the tail.

Stuff the legs with poly-fill stuffing material.

Fill the body round and to the firmness you like.

1. Sew slip / ladder stitch on the opening about 1/8″ from the raw edge. Let the thread loose and don’t pull it yet.
2. After finish slip stitch the opening, pull the thread to close the opening.
3. With the needle still on the sock, wrap 2 to 3 rounds of thread on it, pull the needle through while pressing the wrapping thread with your finger.
4. Insert the needle some where near by and come out from the other side. Pull the thread and cut it close to the sock. The thread will be hidden in the sock neatly. Always do this when you sew.


Stuff the arm with poly stuffing material until about 1/2″ from the opening.
Roll the monkey arm with you hands to make the stuffing even and nice. You can do this now and/or after sewing up the opening.

1. Stuffed monkey arms waiting to be sewn.
2. Run stitches about 1/4″ from the raw edge.
3. Pull the thread to gather a bit, push the raw edge into the arm.
4. Tighten up the opening by pulling the thread fully, make a few stitch across, knot and cut thread.

Both arms waiting to be assembled to the sock monkey.


1. Stuff the ear with small amount of poly-fill. Fold the raw edges in and slip stitch.
2. Pull the thread to close the opening. Knot.
3. Fold the ear vertically and slip stitch the opening seam line.
4. The finished ear looks like this.


Cut a piece of batting or thick aquarium filter pad, 3 times the width of the tail and the length when it is stretched or partially stretched.

Fold the batting three times and sew the end to the seam line of the tail end (wrong side).
Whip stitch the folded batting in place until the other end.
Sew the batting again to tail seam allowance about 1/4″ below the raw edge.
(Note: I used this method since stuffing with poly-fill to a long narrow tail is difficult and uneven.)

1. The batting and the tail before turning.
2. Insert finger into the sock and pull the tail right side out, portion by portion. Only turn the sock not the batting.
3. Repeat (2) until you reach to the end. Continue with the turning by inserting the batting into the tail until it fully gets into it.
4. Adjust the batting so that it looks neat. Fold the raw edge in and stitch it up just like the arms method.


Body, arms, ears, tail, mouth, felt eye and button eyes are all set to be assembled into a sock monkey.
Divide the body into half, with top half being the face of the monkey where eyes and mouth are sewed to.

Position the felt eye with the center point align to the middle of the face portion. Pin it and sew with blanket stitch.
You may want to decorate the felt eye with a line of running stitch with 6 strands of embroidery floss before sewing it on the face.

Sew the button eyes to the marked positions of the felt.
To make the eyes attach to the face closely, insert your needle as deep as possible into the face, turn and come out to another point of the same eye. Pull thread tightly so that the eye attach closely to the face.

1. Mark the mouth on the face with erasable fabric marker. The shape is rounded corner rectangular, with bottom align to the face’s border and top covers a little on the felt eye.
2. Fold and baste the raw edge of the mouth, then pin it in place. Slip stitch around until you are about 1″ away from the starting point.
3. Stuff the mouth fully. Continue to slip stitch to the starting point to complete the mouth.
4. Embroidery branch stitches across the middle of the mouth. Tips: look out for the toe seam line of the sock, this is where the middle is.

1. Sew ears on the side of the face with slip stitch around (front and back of the ear).
2. The front of the ear is aligned to the side line of the monkey.
3. Position of tail.
4. Sew it with slip stitch around too.

Sew the arm on the marked position with slip stitch around. Knot the thread and insert the needle to the other side of the arm position. Pull the thread so that arm “squeezes” into the body, knot to secure the shape.
Sew another arm with slip stitch.
If you think that the arms are not “sunken” enough, pass the needle to the other side, pull the thread to get the result you want, knot the thread securely.

Provided you stuff you monkey very dense, sometime, you may find the monkey head is a little tall and pointy, this is normal due the shape of the adult sock. I found that kid’s and toddler’s sock do’t have this problem.
If you are happy with it, then it is OK. But, if you want to make the monkey head round like the one I made, the following step will be helpful.

The original pointy head due the toe compartment of the sock.
2. Pinch the top of the head to judge how much you want to sew to make it rounder. Mark the space with erasable marker. Gradually decrease the width from center towards the front and the back.
3. Join both lines with slip stitch.
4. Here is it, a rounder head for the monkey.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Cocktail Napkin Poinsettia's

Last Christmas, a designer friend of mine introduced me to making the paper poinsettia from a cocktail napkin. I loved this idea, and after a few tweaks and a glitter addition, I love it even more. I now call it my 30 second gift topper. I have made a step-by-step tutorial below and promise after a few tries, you will have it down to 30 seconds too. This would be very pretty in white or even gold or silver napkins.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Making A Miniature Diaper Baby for A Baby Shower Gift

How to make a Miniature Diaper Baby for a Baby Shower...

Fun little addition to your shower decor or baby's gift! With only 1 diaper, a washcloth and a sock, create a unique and simple gift or decoration for your next baby shower event. All items can be reused. You can add ribbon around the "blanket" or add stick-on eyes instead. Mix a pack of 6 washcloths and 3 pairs of socks to create 6 mini diaper babies that are all a little different

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Home Made Doggy Casseroles That Any Dog Of Any Size Will Enjoy

Canine Casserole is a healthy homemade blend of beef, veggies and brown rice. 
This easy make ahead doggy dinner can be frozen in small containers or ziplock bags.
There are a number of reasons, beside expense that one might choose to make their own pet food. 

You'll Need:

2 c. brown rice, cooked
1/2 c. finely chopped steamed carrots 
1/2 c. finely chopped steamed broccoli 
1 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1/2 lb ground chuck (or venison or ground turkey)
1 garlic clove, crushed 

Sauté garlic in oil in good size frying pan, add ground beef until cook well. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine flavors, cool. Serve cooled & refrigerate leftovers (My dog asks... "What Leftovers???!")

You can make this grain free by switching out the rice for diced cooked sweet potatoes.

A Note about Garlic:

Now, before you bombard me with emails saying how Garlic is bad for your dog, please note that Garlic is safe in doses of 1/2 clove per 10 pounds of body weight, in short, your dog would have to eat a MASSIVE amount of garlic to cause health issues and if your vet claims otherwise, it might be worthwhile to seek out a better vet with updated information. Onions, on the other hand, are extremely dangerous to the health of your dog! 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Home Made Granola or Muesli Bars

Use Your Imagination With This Recipe, You Could Add Anything you Liked Really

2/3 cup rolled oat, ground in food processor (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup almonds, ground in food processor (about 1/2 cup, may use other nuts if you like-if allergic to nuts, use 1/2 cup more ground oats)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (or Rice Krispies)
1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (any neutral tasting oil)
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup raisins (or any dried fruit you like-optional)

Preheat oven to 300*F. Line a 9" square or 13x9" baking pan completely with foil or parchment paper and butter the foil(or spray with cooking spray). In a medium bowl, combine oats, almonds, wheat germ, ground flax seeds, cereal, fry milk, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the oil, honey, vanilla, and the optional chocolate chips and fruit, if using. Mix well, then pour into the prepared baking pan. Press down with the palm of your hand, evenly distributing the mixture into the corners of the dish and bake for 15-18 minutes. Check occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from the oven and using the foil to help you, lift the giant bar out of the pan. Place on a flat surface and while still warm, cut into small bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze in plastic bags. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Nifty Idea On How To Use Up Those Baby Food Jars

Here's the How-To:

Materials Needed:
Babyfood Jars
Scrapbook paper/cardstock
Distressing ink
Hot Glue & Gun (or superglue!)

1. Feed your baby lots and lots of baby food. :)

2. Remove labels and wash bottles and lids in the dishwasher--don't stress too much about that little sticky spot from the label. You'll be wrapping the jar with paper anyways, so it's not a huge deal.

3. Choose your color scheme and paper. 
These go on sale all the time, and there are always coupons floating around. 
But anyhoo--whatever paper you choose, cut it into 1" wide strips, and make sure they are long enough to wrap around the jar and overlap a little bit. You will need to cut out circles for the labels, as well--two for each jar. I don't have a fancy paper cutter, so I went about this the old-school way. I pillaged my box with old coins, and found two that were about the right diameter. 
I think I used a silver dollar and a quarter? Maybe? Once I cut everything out I distressed the edges with brown distressing ink.

4. Fill in your labels with your spice names. I wrote mine by hand, but you could also use your printer before cutting them out.

5. Get some magnets. I used some 1/2 inch diameter earth magnets I got on ebay. Because I'm a cheapo I used two of these smaller diameter magnets per jar, but if I did it again, I would spend a little more per magnet and use one per jar instead. 

6. Now it's time to assemble your spice jars! Use the Glue to adhere the strips around the jar, let dry, and then cover the strip with another coat to give it a nice even sheen. Use the same method to adhere the labels on the end. Glue the bigger circle first, then the smaller one with the spice name, then cover the whole shebang with a final coat. 

7. Glue your magnet(s) to the lid using hot glue or super glue and you're good to go!