Saturday, September 1, 2012

Paper Crafting Meets Office Organization

I have managed to take on quite a few projects in our research lab this semester and found myself in need of a new way to keep my papers for various tasks organized.  So today I pulled out a file folder and set to work transforming the generally boring office supply into beautiful office decor.

For this project I used: Fiskars butterfly embellishment from the new Fuse (diecut letterpress in one!) found in the September/October 2012 issue of Creating Keepsakes; Prima paper flowers; Distress Marker in Black Soot (Ranger - Tim Holtz); Glossy Accents (Inkssentials); Colorbox Fluid Chalk Inkpad in Chestnut Brown. Other miscellaneous supplies used were: beads; other paper flowers; colored staples; embroidery floss; brads; ribbon; lace; dimensional letter stickers; teal paper; file folder.

I simply traced the outline of the file folder onto the teal paper and cut it out. After sticking the paper to the file folder, I began its decorative transformation. I can't wait to take it into my office (after enjoying the long weekend, of course).

NOTE: I completed this project for the Fiskars Fuse Contest. If you would like to vote for my entry, please click here. You are able to vote 5 times a day, so take advantage of that! Voting ends September 25th.

Economical Gift Wrap

I love giving gifts, but the costs of wrapping paper, gift boxes, and bows can be crazy! Because I believe the outside of a gift should be just as fun as the inside, I've found alternative methods for making my gifts beautiful.

Alternative to buying gift boxes: Simply use a box you have around your house. Many foods come nicely packaged in boxes that vary in sizes perfect for most gifts. I've used cereal boxes, granola bar boxes, and snack boxes before. It is always funny to see someone's reaction when they see the box. :)

Alternative to buying wrapping paper: Use extra pieces of fabric or even old t-shirts turned inside out to wrap your box. For this gift, I used an old t-shirt that I am planning to use for an upcoming sewing project. Because I didn't want to cut up the shirt, I just tucked in the sleeves on each side and used masking tape to hold the fabric wrapping in place. The gift was just going to my husband, so I didn't have to worry about trying to get the shirt back after the gift was opened. If I was giving the gift to someone else, I would just make sure I didn't need the fabric.

Alternative to buying bows: Make your own gift topper. It can be so quick and simple to put a cute gift topper together using your stash of creative supplies. I was able to put this topper together fairly quickly using the scrapbooking supplies I had on hand. 

Supply list for gift topper: Fiskars love embellishment from the Fuse (letterpress and diecut in one) from the September/October 2012 issue of Creating Keepsakes; Glitter Glue (Gary M. Burlin & Co.); Distress Crackle Paint in Vintage Photo (Ranger - Tim Holtz); Heidi Grace Rub-ons; Colorbox Fluid Chalk in Chestnut Brown; Making Memories Sanding Block; Glue Dots Minis. Other miscellaneous supplies included: chipboard heart; lace; rhinestones; sticker.

NOTE: I created this gift topper for the Fiskars Fuse ContestIf you would like to vote for my entry, please click here. You are able to vote 5 times a day, so take advantage of that! Voting ends September 25th.

I should also note that I ALWAYS save any salvageable gift wrap/tissue paper/boxes/bags/bows when I receive gifts from others. These items are easily stored and then I use them when wrapping my own gifts to give. Just remember--it's always smart to volunteer for cleanup at holiday parties after the gifts have been opened and the wrapping thrown aside--no one will mind if you take the shiny bow that once sat atop their gift--they were just going to throw it away anyways. ;)

I hope these tricks come in handy next time you need some pretty wrapping!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

DIY Thread Organization

Let's talk about organization. Specifically, craft supplies organization. See, my studio is pretty small. It is a little room that I share with my husband, and it doubles as our study/studio space (pictures to come later). Basically I don't have a lot of room to work with. But--I love being able to see all my supplies out in the open and I love having a colorful and inspiring environment to work in. So when my mother-in-law recently gave me a bunch of thread, I knew I wanted to be visible in my studio, but didn't want to buy a fancy storage piece and needed to store all that thread so that it only took up a small amount of space. That is why I came up with this (super cheap!) way to organize my new supplies.

I just took this:

And did this:

Simply take a straw and slide your spools of thread onto it. If you want a stack of thread taller than your original straw, grab another straw, cut a few small slits in one end of it, and slide that down over the first straw (see above picture). Then continue stacking. Once you've reached your desired height, snip the extra bit of straw off. Continue until all your spools are stacked. This method allows you to stack many spools in one spot without worrying about them falling over and rolling all over the room. And  you can mix up colors and heights to make eye-catching patterns. 

That's it! A quick, easy, budget-friendly storage solution for your thread. Isn't it great when your craft supplies can double as decor? :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

DIY Monogram Pillow

Hello and welcome to MegInspired! I hope this is a place you will enjoy visiting to find creative inspiration.

The first project I would like to share with you is a wedding gift I made for one of my close friends this summer. I knew I wanted to give a personal gift that she and her new husband could use or display. I am also on a pretty tight budget and needed something that would be awesome without costing a ton of money.

After searching Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs for gift inspiration, I came up with an idea for a DIY monogram pillow.

To make this pillow you will need: 2 pieces of fabrics (different colors), poly-fil, thread, straight pins, sewing machine, computer with word processing program, printer, contact paper, and 2 pairs of scissors (one for paper, one for fabric)

Tip: If you are making this for a gift, choose neutral fabrics that will fit with any home decor. Also remember to iron your fabric before starting so the finished product looks good.

Step 1: Measure out your two main squares of fabric that will form the front and back of the pillow. I used a decorative pillow as a guide and ended up with two 18x18in. squares of tan fabric.
Step 2: Measure out your letter fabric. I just cut this piece a little smaller than the main squares because I wanted my letter to be pretty big.
Step 3: Using a word processing program, play around with fonts to determine which look you like best. Once you find your desired font, type your letter into WordArt (or equivalent) and reverse the letter. Note: I used WordArt Style 1 to get a nice outline to guide my cutting.

Step 4: Print the large letter onto contact paper.
Step 5: I didn't have any contact paper on hand, but I did have a very old roll of sticky shelf liner, so I just cut a piece of that and stuck it to the back of the paper I had printed my letter on--it worked just fine!
Step 6: Cut out the letter following the printed outline.
Step 7: Unpeel the backing from the sticky paper and stick the letter down in the center of the front square of fabric.

Step 8: Lift up a bit of the letter and make a small slit in the fabric--this will make it easier for you to cut out the letter later without cutting the back piece of fabric.
Step 9: Pin the letter fabric onto the back of the main square of fabric. Be sure this fabric covers the whole area that your letter will take up. Begin slowly sewing around the letter, stitching close to the letter but not actually stitching it down.
Step 10: This is what the back of the front main square will look like once you've finished step 9. Remove the pins and cut away excess fabric if you wish.
Step 11: Peel the letter off the front of your fabric square.

Step 12: Starting at the small slit you made previously, begin cutting out the inside of the letter, getting as close to your stitch as you can. Be careful not to cut the back fabric! I found it helpful to use a smaller pair of fabric scissors to cut out most of the letter.
Step 13: Once you have cut out the whole letter, look it over and trim any rough edges before moving on to the next step.
Step 14: Now sew around the whole letter again. I used a zig-zag stitch to sew down the small bit of fabric I couldn't cleanly cut away and to add a fun decorative element to the pillow.
Step 15: If you do accidentally cut a small slit in the back fabric when cutting out the letter, simply pin a small patch over the hole before stitching around the letter the second time to patch the hole.

Step 16: Now pin the two main squares of fabric together with the insides facing out. Sew the squares together. Be sure to leave an open spot at the bottom of the pillow so you can stuff it.
Step 17: Flip the pillow right-side-out.
Step 18: Begin stuffing the pillow with poly-fil. Stuff it nice and full, being sure to pull apart any weird lumps or clumps in the poly-fil.
Step 19: Once you are satisfied with the stuffing, fold the bottom edges in and pin the unsewn edges together. Sew these edges together to seal up and complete your pillow.

Now sit back and admire your handiwork!

This made a great gift, but it would look great in your own home, too! It would be really cute to change it up using different color fabrics or even using a fun pattern for the letter. Now I'm thinking about making one for our living room. :) Best of all, this project costs very little to complete. I had everything on hand except the fabric and polyfil--less than $10 and a couple of hours creating produced this lovely monogram pillow.

Also check out these other DIY pillows (that inspired me) for more inspiration when making your own: His and Her Pillow CasesFelt Monogram PillowBurlap and Sharpie Pillow

Happy crafting!