Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Loosen Those Jar Tops Quick and Easy

Here's a simple and quick solution for getting those stubborn jar caps off  without straining your wrists or rubbing the skin from your hands.

Start with fabric of your choice , I used about an 8"  square. I purchased a roll of that foamy, for lack of a better work, shelf liner. It's kind of like rubber, but lighter and really does grip. Cut the same size as the fabric.

Then pin right sides together and sew around the outside using 1/4" allowance. Leave an opening big enough to turn it right side out.

Trim the edges and corners.

Turn the square right side out. 

 Top stitch around the perimeter of the square.

And there you have it. Of course you can make these any size, color, or shape you want. Makes a quick and easy stocking stuffer, shower, house warming or just because gift.

Time to start using those scraps.

Holidays Revisted

Wow... I can't believe I haven't posted since before Halloween. Well, *sigh with head down* yes I can.  I , just like many more of you, need more time in the day. With that said, I'm not promising anything more regular. If it happens, it happens.  So let's get on with it!

Although it's almost Valentines Day, I'd like to show some of the projects I made for the holidays. I couldn't post them earlier because most were gifts.

Candy Cane Candle Sticks

These were fun to make. Candy canes, hot glue, taper candles and some ribbon is all you need. 

Unwrap and glue the candy canes equidistant around the candle , add a ribbon and you have a cute accent to your holiday table.

I was saving these to burn when the whole family got together, but before that happened, the candy canes became brittle. And wouldn't you know it they broke before I could light them. I did have them through the Christmas holiday though.  I will definitely make them again.

Lesson learned:
1. I will try to place the candy canes farther up on the candle.

Reindeer Beer 

A cute gift for those who enjoy their brew.  Get your hot glue gun, pipe cleaners, red pom poms and movable eyes. And of course the favorite beer of the gift recipient.   The how to's are pretty self explanatory.

Lessons learned:
1. Bigger eyes and noses next time.
2. Buy the brown pipe cleaners EARLY.

IH Pillowcases

My nephew and his girl are country through and through.  Well, she is at least a little bit.   I thought this gift would get a chuckle or two from them. I didn't get to see them open it,  but I'm sure it's something they'll remember.

At work, my students sew HaanCrafts stuffed animal or sewing kits. I've seen these pillow cases over the years and thought it would be a good idea for this gift. I added the International Harvester logo on each, one with a heart for the "hers" pillow.

Lessons learned:
1. I will make the band on any pillow case wider and maybe add a little piping or other contrast to show off the border.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I like to give a small gift to some friends and family that I've made. This year I chose to make homemade vanilla extract.  I pinned this last summer and decided to make them at the end of August. This gave them enough time to sit and soak up the vanilla bean flavor.  You can find the tutorial at http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2009/12/26/make-your-own-vanilla-extract.html.

I've been using this vanilla in all my baked goodies since. It smells terrific and has the same results as the expensive pure vanilla you buy in the store.

Lessons learned:  None really.

Advice and Tips: Use the best quality vodka you can afford, and the best vanilla beans too.

I'd wish everyone a Happy Holiday season right now, but I think we better stop and move on. Easter will be here before you know it and I hope to get in a few more posts before then.