SMP Craft
17 Nov

Burlap Wreath by Heather Moscola

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by Heather Moscola, executive assistant at Macmillan by day, closeted DIY-extraordinaire by night. She’s been married for five years with a partner she describes as “the most patient, loving, décor oblivious (thank gosh!!) man ever, Joe.” HeatherMoscolaThey share their home with two furry friends–Maxwell, a feisty little Maltese Chihuahua mix, and Milo, a curious Border Collie with a hint of Corgi.

PoochiesI’ve always loved the smell of burlap. Let’s blame it on a burlap Christmas sack as I had a child that was always full of little gifts from Santa on Christmas morning. Anyways, when burlap wreaths started to become a thing, I knew I had to have one. (We won’t discuss the fact that I still had a grapevine wreath sporting silk tulips in bright pinks and lush purples on the front door; or the fact that it had hung there for the last … 5 months). And so began my Etsy.com search.

burlapwreatheWell, let me tell you, there are some GORGEOUS wreaths out there. But, unfortunately, the majority of them have some not so stellar prices. So I sat back for a minute and said, “What if I just make my own?” I could completely customize it and maybe even switch it up for each season. So I looked up a few tutorials, headed to the craft store for some supplies and then got down to work.

RingFlowers

 

 

 

You will need a wire wreath form, burlap ribbon or a sheet of burlap cut into 4” strips, floral wire, wire cutters, and whatever seasonal decorations you love. I made my wreath for fall, so I grabbed a bunch of burgundy, orange and yellow silk flowers. Start by attaching the burlap to the innermost ring of the wreath with the wire. Next, push loops of burlap through each of the wire rings from behind.

AttachBurlapRuffleBurlapScrunchBurlapFinishedBurlap

Then twist the burlap and scrunch it together to make it look ruffle-y and full. Repeat these steps all the way around until the wire form is full. Use the floral wire again to attach the end of the burlap to the form.

Now comes the real fun part – decorating it. Since I bought flowers, they all had long stems which I was able to just poke through the burlap and weave around the wire form in the back. If you’re using something smaller, i.e., Christmas balls or pinecones, use the floral wire to attach them to the wire form.

To hang the wreath, you can use a ribbon, or just place the wire form on a hook. Don’t forget, if you grow tired of the decorations, or just want to swap them out for the change of season, it’s easy to remove them and replace with something new.

ArrangingFor more Heather Moscola crafts, DIY tips and decorating mishaps, check out her blog SunsetHillCottage.

Check out our newest November title!

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Tagged with: burlap, DIY, holiday, holiday decorating, Thanksgiving, wreath
14 Nov

Freebie Friday: Reversible Tote Bag

My mood, like New York weather in November, can change on a dime. So how am I supposed to choose a single pattern for my everyday bag? One day I may be feeling gingham, and the next, classic Victorian. One day black, next day plaid. Heck–I may not even wait a day to change my mind. That’s the level of volatility we’re talking about, people.

So you can imagine my elation! Followed by incredulity! Followed by elation again! after seeing this week’s FREE PROJECT: a reversible tote bag that can be designed using two totally contrasting patterns to suit my “flexible” personality. tote freebie 2All you need are two different cotton fabrics, two yards of fusible hemming web, and a spool of thread. The drop-in construction and hidden seams make this tote bag truly reversible, just like your changing mind (hey–it’s our prerogative!).

tote freebie 1This is just one of 30 tote-ally fun projects in the new book Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 Quick and Easy Bags to Make for All Occasions by Helen Angharad Henley, who also happens to be our Author of the Month. This colorful book, which includes a CD of full-size patterns,  guides you through all the possible incarnations of the tote bag, from children’s bags and simple grocery totes to stylish shoulder bags in contemporary fabrics, with patterns ranging from the fun to the functional.

Buy a copy today, and be sure to check back here on Sunday for our Goodreads giveaway.


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

Check out our newest November title!

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Tagged with: bags, books, free project, patterns, reversible, Sewing, smpcraft
7 Nov

Author of the Month: Helen Angharad Henley, author of Tote-ally Amazing Bags

WELCOME, Helen Angharad Henley!

HelenAngharadHenley

Helen Angharad Henley

This month, we sit down with Helen Angharad Henley, mother of three, handbag designer, self-proclaimed “compulsive maker,” and author of newly published Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 quick and easy bags to make for all occasions. Helen lives and works in Wales where she designs, makes, and sells her sewing patterns and handbags. She blogs her stitching endeavours at angharadhandmade.blogspot.com and sells her bags online at angharad handmade. herringbone tweed clutch bag_small1. What’s your craft?
I am a compulsive stitcher, and enjoy all kinds of needlework from bag making to quilting; I’m never without a project or three on the go!

finished scrap quilt_smalltweed bag_small

2. What project would you consider an all-time best?
I’m quite fickle when it comes to favourites–one day it might be a herringbone tweed bag and the next a hand-quilted scrap quilt. For me the pleasure is all in the finishing touches, whether it be a pretty row of Liberty tana lawn covered buttons, or a neat line of topstitching.

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst?
I’ve had some cracking craft-fails over the years, but I know my husband would vote for the lederhosen I made for him out of some old 70s curtains when we were students. He was forced to wear them through central London on the way to a fancy dress Sound of Music sing-along with friends, and I don’t think he’s ever quite recovered from the experience!

purple organiser_small4. What tool or material could you not live without?
I couldn’t be without my rotary cutter, rulers and mat. I find that cutting out is the most tedious part of a project as I’m generally itching to get needle and thread to fabric, so anything which can speed up the process, and introduce a bit more accuracy to boot, is a winner in my book.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I’d love to have the power to accomplish several tasks at once – that way I could be stitching up a bag or two whilst simultaneously helping with the children’s homework and making a cup of tea.

sausage dog coin purse_smallChristmas stockings_small

Follow Helen’s stitching adventures on her blog, angharadhandmade.blogspot.com.

Happy stitching!

 Tote-ally Amazing Bags includes a wide variety of 30 bag designs and full-sized patterns and instructions, guiding beginners and intermediate sewers through all the possible incarnations of the tote bag. Available now at your favorite bookseller:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

Check out our new title in November!

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Tagged with: Fashion, handbags, purses, Sewing, stitching, style
31 Oct

Freebie Friday: Origami Jack-o’-lantern!

This Freebie Friday is brought to you by our wonderful marketing intern, Ana Perez!

Ready with only a square piece of paper, or in this case a t-shirt, and some tenacity leads to extraordinary things. Origami to Astonish and Amuse lives up to its name! Jeremy Shafer’s book is the perfect starting point for novices (like me) and origami masters alike. As a beginner, I started with the basic folding techniques illustrated in the book and gradually worked my way toward more challenging models. Aside from the paper crane, I tried my hand at one of the more unique models- the jack-o’-lantern. It bypasses paper and uses a t-shirt! It’s very simple and creates an instant celebratory feeling- perfect for fall. I accentuated the pumpkin shape by reinforcing the middle with cardboard and adding a more prominent stem. I also took some felt and just played with shapes to create a more complete look, but the basic pumpkin is just as fun! So on this Halloween Freebie Friday, I give you the treat of the jack-o’-lantern pattern from Origami to Astonish and Amuse.

pumpkin final

The book is really easy to understand, the illustrations are clear, and the results are so gratifying (a flapping paper crane is such a treat!) The book includes 89 original and classic models including:

A clapping and flapping T-Rex
A Swiss army knife complete with corkscrew
A wearable hat
And so many more!

Jeffery has been making origami pieces since he was ten, making him a great teacher and inspiration. His own style and personality comes out in his original designs, which is what makes them so unique and fun. This book is sure to surprise, and really furthers origami as an art form. Origami to Astonish and Amuse is divided into four sections: Origami Action, Symbols and Signs and Stunning Designs, Models from the Heart, and Origami for the Almost Deranged. Each section begins with models anyone can fold, and progresses to more complex projects. This is a perfect craft book for cold winter days spent indoors!

Try your hand at the jack-o’-lantern project and come back on Sunday to learn how to win your own copy of Origami to Astonish and Amuse.

Origami to Astonish and Amuse

Can’t wait? Buy your copy today!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
Indiebound
Walmart

Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: books, Crafts, free, free project, smpcraft
30 Oct

Kwik Sew Harley Quinn Halloween Costume by Angela Craft

Today’s SMP Craft piece is written by special guest blogger Digital Marketing Manager Angela Craft AKA Batman villain Harley Quinn!

It’s been an exciting fall for comic book fans! Between new superhero shows like The Flash and Constantine and the huge Marvel Phase 3 announcements, there’s never been a better time to love comics and media. To celebrate the superhero spirit, as well as Halloween, this year I’m dressing up as Batman villain Harley Quinn, and making the costume from scratch.

Harley Quinn has many incarnations, so for this costume I drew my inspiration from the animated DC film Assault on Arkham, creating a Harley costume that wouldn’t leave me freezing in New York City in late October. The base costume is from two Kwik Sew patterns, meaning that from start to finish assembling the costume can be done in just a few hours. The top is Kwik Sew KP-3497 (view C), and the leggings are Kwik Sew KP-3636 (view A – stirrup pants may be passé but I want to keep the pants effortlessly tucked into my boots all night!). I used stretch jersey knit in burgundy and black, about a yard total of each.

Harley-Quin-ArkhamACHarleyQuinnHarley Quinn suppliesThe trickiest part of the costume is putting together the patchwork effect of the top. The trick is to sew your two colors of fabric together before making the first cut. Fold your fabric along the seam, and place the edge of the pattern on that fold just like you would normally. The leggings were easier, as each leg is one piece of fabric, so I could cut one of each color.

The final details are the collar and arm warmers. The collar is cut from a square of fabric as wide as my shoulders, with a triangle pattern cut into it. I’ve bulked it up a little bit with peel-and-stick felt. And while patterns for arm warmers exist, I simply sewed two tubes of fabric and cut holes for my thumbs.

Accessorize with a blonde pigtail wig (not pictured) and a maniacal smile!

Happy Geeky Halloween!

Check out our October and November titles!

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Tagged with: batman, comics, DC Comics, halloween, harley quinn, Kwik Sew, superhero

Author of the Month

This month we sit down with Helen Angharad Henley, mother of three, handbag designer, self-proclaimed “compulsive maker,” and author of newly published Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 quick and easy bags to make for all occasions. Helen lives and works in Wales where she designs, makes, and sells her sewing patterns and handbags. She blogs her stitching endeavours at angharadhandmade.blogspot.com and sells her bags online at angharad handmade.

Helen  Angharad Henley, author of Tote-ally Amazing Bags

Cookie Jewelry Box


They say there are two types of women in the world: those who love jewelry, and those who love cookies. What? You say you're both types of woman? Well then I sure have a treat for you, with this free pattern from our new book 50 Deliciously Decorative Cookies: Easy-t0-Make Cookie Creations by Fiona Pearce, you can have your jewelry box and eat it, too!

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