I have found some seriously cute projects to use up all those fabric scraps.. not that I have like two dresser drawers of fabric scraps or anything… Okay.. let’s be honest. I probably have more fabric scraps than two drawers even. I, of course, also use a lot of those scraps to make my little baby scrap dragons, but I’ve still got more fabric flying around than even I can use for them! So I am super excited about some of these great ideas for fun little projects to use up all those stray scraps.
Just finished these cute little gloves tonight. They started out as those little flip-up mittens but the mitten part wouldn’t fit my fingers so I cut it and the fingertips off, then went for the felt and buttons. I wish the colors were showing up brighter – the lighting sadly isn’t doing them justice.
Just a little downtime project while I’m taking a breather around the holidays.
I read an interesting article this morning about the debate over whether an item should be listed as handmade or not, based on what goes into the stages of its creation. This is a question constantly brewing in my mind because I sometimes feels shamed by what some people put in the Etsy store descriptions.
“100% Handmade. NO MACHINE SEWING. All hand sewing!”
This makes me feel like maybe I don’t have the right to call my Cuddle Buddies handmade, because I do use my sewing machine for the simpler parts of the process to speed up my work just a little. I don’t think it’s fair, though, to take away my handmade tag and want to put me in the same category as dolls mass-produced in factories and sweat shops. Yes, I do use a sewing machine, but every piece of my dolls is cut by hand and most, if not all, of their clothes are hand sewn on to their little body. At this point I hand-embroider their eyes but I may learn to do the embroidery on the machine eventually. Their hair is soft sculpted – I cut out all these little random pieces and stitch each one into place like assembling a puzzle.
My Cuddle Buddies are assembled one by one with my two hands. Each one is different from all the others. Even when I make two or three dolls at the same time, they never come out all the same. Every one of my cuddly little babies is unique. While I may use a sewing machine, I am not a machine. I cannot mass produce the exact same toy over and over so that when you put them on the shelf they are carbon copies of each other.
I put love and great attention to detail in every doll that I make. I give every doll its own special care and treatment. I sit here in my crafty space or at work or watching tv with my family and work on my dolls. I am not an assembly line.
I make all of my Cuddle Buddies with the intention of spreading joy to whoever takes them home. And I think that is what makes something handmade. Not whether you used a sewing machine but whether you sewed with love and happyness in your heart for your creation and the soul who would receive it when you sent it out into the world.
While my roomies were gone to New York (read: stranded in New York with no car!) I needed a little distraction from all the crazy and stress going on. I saw the cutest window dressing on Pinterest. It was a valance made with strips of fabric. Adorable! I absolutely loved the idea, so I HAD to make one of my own. I piled up strips of fabric from various parts of my (considerable) stash, some cut into strips, some ripped. Now I did look over a couple of tutorials (shared at the bottom) but it can be really simple to do.
1. Collect your strips of fabric – rip them for rough edges or cute into strips for smooth edges (I made mine various lengths to make it a little more fun and wild)
2. Measure your ribbon against the width of your window and cut it, leaving considerable extra on the sides for tying it up.
3. Fold it so you find the middle and start knotting your strips onto the ribbon. One to mark the middle, then alternate one on each side until you reach the desired width for your window. You can also use rope or something like that instead of the ribbon, if you’re going for a more natural, rustic look.
4. Put up nails on either side of the window where you want the valance to hang and tie the ends in a knot to slip over the nail.
*You can also knot the strips over a curtain rod and it looks very cute but I could not for the life of me get the curtain rod hangers to go into the wall on either side of my window! lol *
Once I had my valance hanging, I added in some extra lengths of yarn with beads and baubles strung on them for extra charm. I also tied in some bits of lace and gift wrap ribbon for extra textures.
This is my finished valance:
I’m especially happy with my valance because a lot of the scrap fabrics are from sentimental projects – a pillow my grandmother made me, a sun dress and skirt that I made in high school, one of my dad’s shirts, a shirt I made myself recently for prom.
It’s definitely brightened up my work space.
What could you do today to bring a little more fun into your craft space?
If you want more proper tutorials than my simple one – with pictures even – these are the two that I looked over before I made my valance: