Now that Christmas is finally over (yes, finally since it started in September this year), you probably want to get all that holiday cheer out of your house. I know I do! Sure, I can be a little Scroogey. I mean, I like watching the Grinch, (but only the first half, when all the Christmas stuff has been cleaned up) but sometimes there’s only so much joy you can grind out of me.
Christmas is great and all, but I like to start the new year with a clean house, not one covered in decorations that need to be put away, and gifts that never found a home, and leftover fruit cake. So here’s the post-Christmas clean up list:
1) Throw out wrapping and packaging – make sure any gift cards or cash are accounted for first! – trash is easy to get rid of because it’s obviously trash. Doing this first will give you more room to manuever and won’t take much brain power.
2) Put away Christmas decorations – throw out any light strands that didn’t work, or ornaments a fat cat stole off the tree and broke behind the table. This happened twice this year at our house. But our cat is a jackass; you might have good cats. Christmas decorations presumably have a home already so you know right where to put them, so again, no-brainer.
3) Find a home for all your fancy new gadgets and gizmos – don’t forget to get rid of an old version if your gift was an upgrade, or if you follow the ultimate uncluttering rule: if one thing enters your house, one must leave. It’s like the Thunderdome, but for your stuff.
4) Put anything you need to return (wrong size or completely wrong for you, whatever the reason) somewhere you won’t forget them along with their gift receipts, if they have them. Your car might be a good place, if you won’t forget about them. Returns often have a time limit, so make sure to get after it!
5) Christmas cards – If someone has written a touching message, or made a card themselves, or it’s particularly funny I usually keep it. However, some are just generic, like “Happy Holidays, from your dentist”. Well these apparently have a home, other than the recycle bin! St. Jude’s recycles old cards into new ones. I just found out about this thanks to Unclutterer! They actually take cards year-round, for all occassions, so I’m going to keep this in mind as I unclutter my scrapbooking box.
Here’s to a clean and organized New Year!
I love to crochet, but I have huge gaps in my knowledge of it. I can’t read patterns, and I have no idea how much yarn it takes to make what I want. For this project, I started out with 4 rolls of yarn from my Gram. I was trying to make a throw blanket, but it came out too long and skinny, and it looks ridiculous. I didn’t want to rip it all out and start over like I did with my giant blanket, so I stuffed it in a closet out of frustration.
Recently, on pinterest I saw a tutorial to make your own poof foot stool. I didn’t actually know that was a thing, but apparently it is. The tutorial it linked to was for knitting, but the gist is that you need a long skinny piece of fabric (I think. A lot of the site seemed to be in French). So the messed up blanket now had a purpose! I folded it in half, and sewed all down the short side. On one end I gathered the edges together like this:
Basically, I kept it folded in half, sewed one stitch in the middle to hold it together, brought the middle of each side in and sewed that together also. Once I had it divided into quarters in the picture above, I brought the middle of each loop to the center and sewed it all together again, which gives you this:
I hope I explained all that clearly. If not, send me ten dollars (enough for a box of wine!) and I’ll try again. Then flip your poof right side out, like this:
So you can see it gives you a nice, gathered look. On the tutorial I read, the creator got some blankets at the thrift store to stuff her poof. I think that’s genius, but I already have a plethora of blankets laying around; I just don’t want to permanently stitch them into a foot stool. What’s a Clever Chick to do? Drink. What’s a Clever Chick to do next? Use a blanket I want to keep, but find a way to make it still accessible. I used this comforter we have that is way too hot for the Texas summer.
I laid it out like this, then rolled it up, and stuffed it into my poof. I then closed it off with…a hairband! BOOM. I’m awesome. Since I chopped my hair off, I don’t need all these hairbands I have laying around, so this is the perfect solution. I can get to my blanket whenever I want, and it’s actually serving a purpose, rather than just cluttering up my linen closet right now.
Here’s the bottom once the whole thing was stuffed and poof-ified:
There was extra fabric on top where the hairband was holding it shut, so I just flared it out, and I have to say, it’s pretty adorable. It’s also very stable and solid. I think I stuffed an extra towel into the center of the poof once the blanket was in to make it more solid.
It came out super cute, and now 4 things that were just sitting around are being useful! Cause that’s how I roll.
Back in college is when I really started getting crafty. I made my own purse, made some dorm decorations, and made my own body pillow cover. That body pillow cover finally gave out after lasting
ten three years. My beautiful stitches stayed in place; the fabric itself gave out. I had hand sewn the whole thing, and Mi Madre thought I had machine sewn it, that’s how awesome I am.
I decided it was time to make a new cover, and in fact I made two, so one could go through the wash. I also made them using two different methods, because I’m awesome, and that’s the kind of crafting that keeps you on the edge of your seat! The first one is just plain old fabric sewn together. Maybe “plain” is not the right word for this fabric. It is faux quilt fabric from probably the 70′s that I found at a thrift store years ago. I have hoarded it, and used it periodically, but this is the biggest piece I’ve used so far. This piece is a yard wide, and I just laid the pillow down on top to get the length.
I then hemmed one of the short sides to be the open end of the pillow case.
Next, I folded the fabric in half, inside out, and pinned along the back end and long side, a couple inches from the pillow. You want the pillow case to be snug enough to stay on the pillow, but easy to slide on and off.
I ran it through my magical sewing machine, and BAM! Look at that crazy fabric! It’s so amazing, and yet terrible!
So, pillow case #2 is MUCH tamer. For this, I’m using 2 normal pillow cases. This is a great way to do this, because you can easily match your existing bed sheets, if that’s a concern of yours. If you can see the picture above these words, and the one below, you can tell that is OBVIOUSLY not a priority of mine.
I decided to have the open ends of these pillow cases both facing outward. First, I used my trusty seam ripper to open up the short end of both pillow cases.
Now here’s the tricky part: I turned one inside out, and left the other rightside out, then stuffed one inside the other so that rightsides were against each other, and the insides were both showing. The one that is rightside out goes inside the inside-out one. lined up the long seams on the pillow cases first, then the open seams I had just made. I then pinned it to death.
This picture shows the two “right” sides of the fabric touching each other.
And this is after I had pinned it all the way around the circle.
I then did a running stitch, by hand, all the way around. After that, I turned the whole thing right-side out, to make sure everything had worked as I planned, then turned it inside out and sewed one end shut.
I then turned the whole thing back rightside-out, and put it on the pillow. Fabulous!
This is a great way to use extra pillow cases you might have, like I obviously did. The hand-sewn one took a little longer, maybe a total of 45 minutes, and the first one took maybe 30 minutes. These are both great projects for someone beginning to learn to sew, or learning a sewing machine for the first time.
I have been having a lot of fun with my friend Kornberg’s sewing machine. I found this skirt at the thrift store, and knew I needed it in my house. I didn’t know why or how, but I needed it. What’s cool about it, is it was already repurposed by a company in San Antonio, Texas. I think it was a dress which they then transformed into a skirt, which ended up at the thrift store, and became a throw pillow at my house. I love it! Screw you, landfill!
Here’s the pillow form I used, that I happened to have laying around. Another thing you could do, is just re-cover an ugly throw pillow (which I’ve done), or even just make another cover for a throw pillow you like. Then you can change your look around without burying your couch in pillows.
I turned the skirt inside out, and sewed the top of the skirt shut. The sides were trickier since they were curved, so I used a ruler and drew dots as a guide.
I then pinned along the dots. If you use a washable marker, this will just wash out in the machine. I would still use a relatively light color, just in case.
Look at that beautiful seam! One thing I learned the hard way, was not to use a really tight stitch on the sewing machine. If you screw up, it is REALLY hard to pull out by hand. So I sewed down both sides, and left the bottom open to insert the pillow.
Here we are! Finished pillow:
I hand sewed a few snaps on the bottom so I can take it out and wash the cover if I need to. You can also use velcro, which is harder to sew on, but looks better in the end, in my opinion. Someday I need to take a picture of my couch to show you all the throw pillows I’ve made. It’s getting ridiculous. Flapjack is always losing his toys in them, and Hubby prefers sleeping on the couch to the bed. I guess I better get cracking on some bed pillows.
Once again, I got an idea off Pinterest. Here’s the original idea:
Simply take an empty plastic bottle, cut it like so, and you can hang your device on the wall while it’s charging. That’s a good reuse, but having my cell phone down near floor-level is not very useful to me.
I do, however, have some wires that need to be wrangled, Christmas lights in fact. Some of you know that Hubby and I have decked the interior of our house out in Christmas lights year round, as seen in a few of the pictures in the pirate decoration post. This enables us to make an instant party whenever we want, and makes us the coolest house on the block. In one spot, the lights have to be plugged in through our bedroom doorway, so when they aren’t plugged in they create a horrific tripping hazard. Who has two thumbs and is accident prone? This guy, so I needed to remedy this situation. You will need:
An empty, washed out shampoo or other bottle, and a utility or x-acto knife. In the example above, they decorated their container with scrapbook paper and mod podge, so feel free to go that extra step if the urge takes you. I did not. Cut the top off the bottle.
Once the top was cut off, I ran it through the dishwasher to clean out any remaining shampoo. I then drilled a tiny hole with the x-acto knife.
I crammed the lights inside, and hung it on the wall with a thumb tack.
I didn’t take a picture of the before, because I would have had to vacuum, and in order to vacuum, I had to get the lights off the floor, etc. It’s just a vicious cycle. I “crafted” this light-holder-object in about 5 minutes (not including the run through the dishwasher), and it is so nice not to trip on those stupid lights anymore. Next time I trip I’ll have only my drunkenness to blame.
I finally got my act together for one Christmas Craft. I’ve had these jar lids sitting around for awhile with the idea of making them into ornaments.
I spray painted them with a matte primer to start with. It doesn’t really matter that it’s grey instead of white, and I was out of white.
Before painting them, I used a hammer and nail to punch a hole to hang them up. This worked, but resulted in a lot of swearing on my part, like most projects that involve tools.
I painted them all blue, let them dry thoroughly, then painted them blue on the other side and let them dry again. I decided this project would be a great way to use up some random odds and ends of crafting supplies, like beads and sequins. I used some Elmer’s clear glue to draw a Christmas tree on this one, and wreaths on others. You could use glitter or buttons also, and this would be a great craft for kids.
Fill in the tree with glue.
And cram it with sequins or glitter. I used a little star bead at the top for that finishing touch.
Here are some wreath ornaments also:
On the inside you can glue all kinds of cool stuff. This is a great way to reuse Christmas cards, tiny toys, or even broken ornaments. Be creative! As long as it’s sparkley it counts as an ornament.
I am a huge fan of Netflix. I know they’ve had issues recently with changing the name, price hikes, etc, but so far I still love them. There are a ridiculous amount of movies I want to watch that they have, and it makes checking the mail fun again. Unfortunately, those red envelopes are always getting buried under junk mail on the coffee table, so I wanted them to have their own special place where they won’t get lost.
The materials I used are a light bulb box, because it was made of really sturdy cardboard, left over paint, and a post card. I found the original idea that inspired this on pinterest using a cereal box.
First, trim the top of your box to look like this:
I used a nail to punch two holes at the top to hang it from.
I painted it blue, and let it dry overnight. I wanted to use this postcard to decorate the box, but I don’t necessarily want it on there permanently. I have these tiny plastic picture mounters that I used.
You can barely see it, but they are little plastic triangles that fit over the corner of your photo or postcard, and are sticky on the back. I put one each on the upper right and lower left corners, lined up the post card, and stuck it to the box. I then added the mounters to the other two corners.
I tacked it to the wall near the TV so my movies are always visible, and conveniently located for enjoyment.
My new Netflix box is hanging next to this set of framed movie monster postcards, and they look great together.
I keep a grocery list on my fridge so that the minute I run out of something, I can just write it down. I have a goldfish brain, so if I don’t write it down I forget immediately. Spending too much time hunting for a pen has the same effect; by the time I’ve found the pen, I’ve forgotten why I needed it, and then I see something shiny and get distracted.
In order to accomodate my growing senility, I wanted to have a pen on the fridge. There are probably simpler ways to do this, but who cares? My way is cooler. This project requires a small container, such as the tic tac box pictured below, a magnet strong enough to hold up said container, glue (I should probably switch to some kind of non-toxic, this maybe the key to my loss in brain function. Oooh! KEYS! So pretty!), and some kind of magazine or other decorative paper.
First, I ate all the tic tacs, then removed the paper label, and the plastic top. At this stage, make sure a pen will actually fit into your container. I pre-measured my paper (you can see the green piece below, already folded to fit the plastic), then slathered glue on the plastic, and stuck the paper to it.
I used more of the same glue to attach the magnet to the back.
Last thing, I glued on this lovely portrait of H.P. Lovecraft. Let me tell you, MANY people are jealous when they see this on my fridge. Pair it up with those 2 cool magnets I made at the same time (that’s David Bowie on the right), and you can bet people are trying to pocket this stuff when I’m not looking. Just because I can’t remember things for more than ten seconds doesn’t mean I won’t notice.
I seem to have a fixation with decorating my fridge. Or with finding excuses to use lots of glue…
At some point, somewhere, I acquired this top:
It’s kind of a camisole, tank-top type thing. It’s made of very light, flowy fabric, which is great for summer. Unfortunately, it was too tight on me, and I decided to play around with it. First thing, I slit it up the back, using the stripes for guidance to make sure I was in the middle.
I folded the raw edge under, then folded it again to hem it. The folded part is about a half inch wide.
Once that was done, I collected coke tabs to use for corset-style eyelets. I sewed them on individually, which took awhile. In the picture below, the are upside-down. I sewed them with the sharp metal parts facing into the fabric, not my skin. I placed each one so that the middle bar that runs across each one was just below the edge of the fabric, so that I could sew it to the fabric as well.
Here’s the whole back with all the tabs in place:
Here’s a bit of a close up: you can see that just the top of the coke tabs is showing past the edge of the fabric.
I threaded ribbon through the tabs, and I love the look!
Once I have it on, you get a blatant illustration of my body type, and the issues I have with clothes. Tiny waist, ample booty region.
I still like the top, but I may cut off the bottom 4 or 5 inches. You can also see my sunburn in this shot, which isn’t great.
I think this top will be great for a costume, like steampunk, gypsy, or pirate wench at some point in the future, and I may continue to alter it. It was a lot of work hand-sewing all the coke tabs on it, but I think it was worth it.