Friday, November 9, 2012

Personalized Pencil Drink Sleeve

It's important that we show the teachers in our kid's lives that they are appreciated. I wanted to make something personalized for their Christmas gifts this year and thanks to Crafty Staci and her tutorial I was able to come up with something pretty cute.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Exploding Transformers Cake

How-to Secrets Revealed...
When you spend as many hours as I did on something you plan to cut up and eat, you better believe I'm going to document it! My son is a HUGE Transformers fan and I wanted to make him an Optimus Prime cake for his seventh birthday. I'm really happy with how it turned out... and it wasn't as hard as it might look. Shhh... here are my secrets...

Exploding Cake 
A huge thanks to Rose Bakes for the exploding cake tutorial. It was really easy and I hope to be able to use this technique again sometime.

This is pretty simple, you'll need Duff's Decorative Cake Wire Twists. Take your fondant, roll it like a snake and wrap it around the spirals until it's covered.

Cake Topper
Transformers that don't transform are no fun at all, so I wasn't interested in getting a "cake topper". Here's the Optimus Prime toy I used instead. He was a perfect size for the cake top. I jammed toothpicks into his feet/wheels to get him to stand in place. He was definitely the hit of the party, and one less gift I had to wrap!

Super cool Transformers and Autobot logo
This looks hard to do huh? HA! Check out the Play-Doh Autobot Workshop. I used fondant instead of Play-Doh and it worked perfectly! A dab of icing on the back and bam, perfectly shaped Transformers. This was the easiest part of the whole cake.

The Rubble
The rubble at Optimus Prime's feet are red and blue Sixlets. These are yummier than those hard silver decorative balls and much more colorful.

I downloaded the free Transformer font, printed my sons name and age, and then used an exacto knife to poke through the paper into the fondant to transfer his name.

Please join our flickr group and upload pictures of your exploding cakes or any other Finding Pins and Needles projects. I'd love to see them!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ladybug Cake

Cake decorating, no needles but it's crafty, right?
In the past few years I've dabbled in cake decorating. With 3 kids, 3 birthday cakes a year, and a number of showers in between I don't have a lot of experience, but wanted to share the one I whipped up last week because it was seriously fun to make.

As I mentioned, my niece had a 1st birthday party and I was asked to make the cake with a ladybug theme. I did, but I surprised everyone by making the inside polka-dotted! Here's how it turned out...

It's crazy how easy this polka-dot technique is. First, I used the red velvet cake recipe that came with my Babycakes Cake Pop Maker machine which I ordered from Amazon.

Once the cake pop balls were cool, I placed whole and half balls in the cake pans and poured the cake batter (white and chocolate) over them. Bake. Surprisingly, they don't overcook being baked twice! So fun and I love the contrast of the red/white and red/chocolate! Thanks Once Upon a Pedestal and Snowy Bliss for the inspiration!

The cake topper was made using the Wilton Mini Ball Pan. I used one ball and covered it with fondant. The head of the ladybug is a ball of black fondant and the face was cut from scraps. I cut the eyes out using a round Wilton icing tip, super easy.

The red polkadots on the white layer believe it or not were cut out using a beer bottle. HA! It was the perfect size and gave the dots a nice rounded edge. Now that is being environmentally friendly... recycling, no... reusing. I'm so green.

The great flowers on the red layer are easy to make using PME Veined Sunflower, Gerbera & Daisy Cutters with fondant. I used the small one on the cake and the large cutter for the "1". I've used these cutters on three cakes now. I highly recommend them!

Cake Decorating Supplies

And a thanks to for showcasing this post!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Preppy Girl Vest: Free American Girl Pattern

Because you asked for it... here is the FREE vest pattern & tutorial from my Sew Cool for School post.

And a thanks to for showcasing this post!

Please join our flickr group and upload pictures of your preppy girl vest or any other Finding Pins and Needles projects. I'd love to see them!

For info on the other clothes pictured, visit my Sew Cool for School post.

Monday, September 3, 2012

PEZ Pillow Tutorial

My four year old son is absolutely obsessed with PEZ dispensers, he has 30+ and his collection is always growing. It's actually a fixation due to his Autism, but we love to encourage him since it's age appropriate and I'm just happy he's over his whisk and kitchen utensil phase!! I scoured the internet and found PEZ fabric (found on eBay)! When it arrived, he was so excited. But he'll have to wait until Christmas to get what I made...

Here's a tutorial on how to transfer a word to fabric. For this application, I used felt, since it doesn't require hemming. You'll need a few supplies...


Print Words
For starters, find a font that you love and that will transfer well, I used the PEZ font (it's a free download). Because the PEZ font has two parts, the white rectangles and black shadow, I printed out Andrew's name twice.

Trace & Cut
Using the iron on transfer pen, outline your letters on the paper you just printed. Next, pin your paper, letters down to your felt and iron on the words (see first image below). When using iron on transfer methods, your image will be ironed on as a mirror image. If you are using felt, this doesn't matter, if you are ironing on to a print, make sure you transfer the letters on the "wrong side" of the fabric. For the PEZ fabric, on one printout I traced the rectangles and the other I traced just the black shadow. For the white rectangles I was able to use the iron pen transfer method, then cut them from the felt. For the shadow, I traced the shape, pined it to my dark blue fabric and cut it out (see second image below). This works ok for large shapes, but is a pain for smaller shapes.

Pin & Sew
Next, pin your rectangles onto the shadow and sew them in place. Once you've got your word, pin and sew to your pillow fabric (see image 3 & 4 above). I decided the size of my pillow after this step and cut my pillow backing according to this size.

Making the Pillow
Pin right sides of name fabric and pillow back fabric together with piped bias tape in between. Make sure the piping is facing inward. Sew around the edge, making sure to catch all layers. Make sure you leave a hole for turning right side out! Stuff pillow and hand sew the hole closed. There you go, a customized PEZ pillow! Merry Christmas Andrew!

Please join our flickr group and upload pictures of your PEZ pillow or any other Finding Pins and Needles projects. I'd love to see them!

And a thanks to for showcasing this post!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Nautical Mag Rack

I've been haunted by this tutorial, and have wanted to do it for months. Thanks Pinterest. Our guest bathroom is a nautical theme and when I found the the Anchors Away line from Dear Stella Designs, I couldn't help myself. 

To be honest, I didn't really use the tutorial, I did it my own way. I cut a 16" x 16" square out of each of the contrasting fabrics. Right sides together, I sewed the sides, leaving 2 inches on either side open. Next I folded under the (8) 2 in flaps and top stitched them, but not together. Last I folded under and top stitched the long open sides. That's it. The dowel rod and double drapery rod brackets were both from Lowe's.

I'm super pleased with how it turned out and my hubby helped install it above the toilet. I love the nautical ropes holding the magazines and the peek of anchors when you look inside. Happy sailing and happy reading.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

My "Jean" Doll

I have a niece turning one and every little girl needs a dolly. I found the "Jean" pattern at Bit of Whimsy Dolls and fell in love. The pattern has simple directions and she's a super sweet doll.

I found the pink flower fabric, "Flight of Fancy" at Joann's
It has the perfect scale for doll clothes. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

*FREE* Printable Cleaning & Meal Calendars

A mamma's got to be organized so there's more time for fun stuff, like sewing. Here's a Cleaning Calendar and Meal Calendar I created to organize my day to day. I like the 4 week rotating cleaning schedule instead of just 1 week because there are some things you just don't need to do every week. I also looked at actual calendars with dates, but I figured that's a lot of hassle to create new ones each month.

The downloads:

My family's calendar for your viewing pleasure.

A blank calendar for customization. 8.5x11in.
Click picture to download the pdf.

Meal calendar 4x6in. 
Click picture to download the pdf. 

To display your calendar here are a few ideas...
1st option is what I use, on the fridge in magnet sleeves. I can easily update or change the calendar and also use a dry erase marker to cross off chores.
2nd great option would be to laminate them. I've got that laminator and I love it.
3rd option is to put the calendar in a picture frame and use dry erase marker on the glass.
4th the old school way, print a new one every 4 weeks and cross out chores with a pen. What fun is that?

Now I'm all organized. Don't ask me if I'm actually following through and crossing off chores. The fun is making the calendar. ;) Enjoy!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The wheels on the bus: Bus driver gift

Make a SWEET treat to say thanks to your bus driver for keeping your child safe this year. Feel free to use my free printable stop sign card and mason jar lid label!


A little tip for the Jolly Rancher jar: I used a cut
piece of paper towel roll to create the inside structure,
it makes it much easier to create a design. I used
pinking sheers to trim out the cardboard edges and
then stuffed it full of more Jolly Ranchers. 

Click for PDF.
Stop sign card and mason jar top are for personal use only, do not redistribute. If you use them and share pictures, please give credit back to Thanks and enjoy!

Please join our flickr group and upload pictures of your gifts or any other Finding Pins and Needles projects. I'd love to see them!

A thanks to for showcasing this post!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Body Scrub & Wash Printable Labels

It's Time to Come Clean... here's my dirty clean little secret.... I've deviated from sewing and made Body Scrub and Body Wash. Get it? Come clean? Oh boy, I'm losing it.

It's a perfect time to whipped up these bad boys as Mother's Day gifts, teacher's gifts, or even bachelorette gifts. They aren't my recipes, the Body Scrub recipe is from And the Body Wash recipe is from You can visit those sites for full instructions. But I thought I'd share with everyone the labels I designed, feel free to use. Plus bonus gift tags!

Click for pdf.
For personal use only, do not redistribute. If you use them and share pictures, please give credit back to Thanks and enjoy!

The labels fit on regular mouth half pint Ball jars. I laminated the labels since they will be in wet areas. When you cut them out from the lamination sheet, leave a 1/4" edge and it should stay waterproof as well as fit nicely between the lid and band.

A few tips when making the recipes... For the Body Scrub, one batch will fill one half pint jar perfectly. This is a SUPER easy recipe. For the Body Wash, I used Kirk's Castile soap, it took about 1 1/2 of the 4oz. bars. I also ended up using a lot more water because it was too thick. One batch filled 3 half pint jars. I suggest that you mix the essential oils and food coloring before you put them in the jars, it's much easier to stir in a larger container.

Happy mixing!!
And a thanks to for showcasing this post!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fabric Rosette Tutorial Showdown

While making these bookmarks for teacher appreciation week, I found I needed a tutorial for a cloth rosette. To my surprise, there are a number of rosette tutorials out there with a number of different techniques. I thought it was only appropriate that I do a showdown.

{insert cheesy showdown music}

Here are the tutes, results and my reviews. Disclaimer: I've never done a fabric rosette in my life... this is my amateur trial and error attempt and in no way should reflect badly on the tutorial authors!

1. Cherry Street Cottage: Fabric Flower Tutorial: The fold, hot glue and twist version.
Difficulty: Easy (depending on your hot glue skills)

This process is very simple really, my only complaint with this version is fighting with the dreaded hot glue. The hot glue makes it very difficult to make this look neat and tidy with the small scale of the project.

A few tips:
  • Try and keep the hot glue dots tiny, and in the center of the fabric strip. You may decide you like the opposite side and you'll have your choice if you're careful with your glue.
  • If you want a looser rosette, you can go in after and glue the bottom to secure it better.
  • Since this tute calls for a double fold, you may want to glue down the folds ahead of time. This will make the wrapping process quicker.
1.  My version of  Cherry Street Cottage: Fabric Flower Tutorial

2. Little Birdie Secrets: fabric rosette tutorial extravaganza!: The fabric glue and twist version
Difficulty: Super Easy

This tutorial is similar to #1. Their differences are the type of glue and in #1, there is folding of the fabric before twisting, requiring a wider piece of fabric. This one just seemed to go really smoothly for me (to be fair #1 was my first attempt, so it's only natural that it would get easier). At first I thought the fabric glue wouldn't hold well enough while wrapping, but it did great. The fabric glue is also much more forgiving than hot glue. I used Sobo glue. My art professor in college is the one who introduced me to Sobo glue, it has worked well for many projects.

2.  My version of  Little Birdie Secrets: fabric rosette tutorial extravaganza!

3. Create and Delegate: Shabby Fabric Roses: The roll and stitch (or glue) version.
Difficulty: Medium

This tute included rolling the fabric before starting. This proved to be a bit tricky. I'd suggest putting a weight on one end while rolling from the other. So far, from #1-#3 I feel like this one turned out the best. The tute suggests stitching but also mentions glue as an option. My first try I stitched. I didn't feel like I had the control that I needed, so I used glue. To each his own.

3.  My version of  Create and Delegate: Shabby Fabric Roses

4. Plumtickled: Fabric Rosette: The gather version.
Difficulty: Super're a perfectionist.

Super fast and easy, but if you want a perfect looking rosette, this is not the tutorial for you. It's really in it's own league. This was the fastest one for me by far!

4.  My version of  Plumtickled: Fabric Rosette

5. andie johnson sews: Ruched Fabric Flower Tutorial: The hand-stitched ruched version.
Difficulty: Medium, or more so time consuming.

By far the most time- consuming, but well worth it. I love how this turned out! You might recognize the chalkboard fabric from my post Sew Cool for School.

A few tips:
  • I used a felt circle for the backing and trimmed the excess after I sewed it on.
  • Double up your thread and make sure your knots are secure. I had my thread break on me twice while doing the running stitch. That was extremely frustrating!
5. My version of andie  johnson sews: Ruched Fabric Flower Tutorial.

My conclusion:
I'm most likely to use tute #3, #4 and #5 depending on the look I want. #3 turned out to be my best looking "clean" rose, #4 is just plain fast and #5 is just plain cool looking. Good luck everyone and I hope you find the tute that best works for you!

Here's the cheesy little poem I wrote to accompany the bookmarks. Feel free to use it, but please don't redistribute it. Thanks!

In my son's life,
You’ve made a mark.

The year is at a close,
A new journey he’ll embark.

As a token of appreciation,
Here’s a bookmark.

For other teacher appreciation gift ideas: Teacher ToteMrs. D's Pencil Pouch, and Bus Driver Gift (Candy in mason jars).
You know a different method? Send me the link and maybe I'll do round 2.