Category Archives: Up to Something

DIY, Decorating & Tutorials

Tutorial: Braided Chains

The crowd favorite at craft night were these woven chains I found on, where else?, Pinterest of course! The trickiest part of this craftiness is finding the right chain. Ours was a little smaller than I would have liked, but it was the largest I could find for the cheapest price, and it ended up working great.

What You Need:

  • embroidery thread
  • large gold chain
  • jewelry clasps
  • 2 bobby pins
  • piece of tape

What You Do:

1. Start by attached your jewelry clasps to your gold chain. Make sure that you measure the length of chain before-hand to make sure that it will fit around your wrist.

2. The amount of embroidery thread you will need will depend on how thick your chain is. For ours, we used 12 pieces of thread that were roughly twice the length of the chain we were using. Use as many colors as you would like. Tie all 12 strands in a knot at the top.

3. Tape the thread and the chain down so that it won’t move all over when you are trying to work. (Think back to the days when we used to make friendship bracelets). Divide the strands into two even groups (for ours, it was 2 groups of 6 strands).

4. Attach a bobby pin to each set of strands. These will act as ‘needles’ and will help thread the strands through the chain. (1)

5. To weave the chain start by pulling B through the first link in the chain. Always thread from underneath the chain. (2)

6. Pull B all the way through the first loop. (1) Try to keep things as tight as possible as you weave it. (Even though you can’t see the bobby pin on B in this picture it is still there)

7. Braid A over B (2)

8. Pull A through the second loop. Remember to always thread from underneath the chain, so that all your weaving will go in the same direction. (3). Then braid B over A and repeat steps 5-8 until you reach the end of your chain. Try to keep your braid as tight as possible.

9. When you reach the end of the chain, tie another tight knot at the top with all of your embroidery strands. For a more finished look, you can cut the extra thread off of the knots and then secure the knots with hot glue.

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Tutorial: Braided Leather Cuffs

I have 3 tutorials this week as a result of last month’s craft night. This first one, for a braided leather cuff, is probably the quickest of all of them.

I would venture to say that this tutorial is less specific and more trial and error. I will show you some pictures I took, and send you off to try this one with a pinch of luck. It’s not that it’s hard, and it’s not even that it will take you more than 10 minutes – it’s just that  you might want to throw it across the room at one point and then pick it back up to finish it. Convinced you want to try this now? Good. Let’s get started.

Here’s What You Need:

  • A piece of leather
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors/Rotary cutter
  • Needle and thread
  • 1-2 snaps

Here’s What You Do:

1. Measure around your wrist with a tape measure. Add one inch and cut a strip of leather that length. Decide the width of the strip of leather based on how thick you would like your bracelet to be (Somewhere between 1-2 inches).

2. Make two parallel cuts in your leather, leaving 1/2 inch uncut at both ends.

3. This is where things get a little wonky…Start braiding at the top of the bracelet. (1)

4. As you braid the top – the bottom of the leather will start to braid as well. (2)

5. By trial-and-error (and probably a bit of angst) flip the leather until only the top is braided and the bottom is not. Martha has provided a really complex tutorial for how to do this…I would suggest blazing your own trail on this one. (3) Eventually, you will succeed. (4)

6. Continue braiding/unbraiding until the braid looks how you want it to. Less braiding=a flater bracelet. Spread the braid out from the top if necessary.

7. Attach snaps to the bracelet. For a more finished look, don’t sew completely through the leather so that you can hide your stitches.


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Pretty Presents

Last year was my first foray into creative Christmas wrapping. And I had so much fun that I decided to try again this year. I found lots of fun ideas on Pinterest and combined my favorite ones for this year’s gifts. Sean was even up for brainstorming with me and helped with the entire process, including the 4 trips to Target we accidentally had to make – each time after discovering another piece in the process was missing (tape, tissue paper, etc…)

(My mother, who is forever trying to get me to plan ahead and avoid instances like this, is shaking her head right now)

My favorite addition to the presents this year were the two pear ornaments that I made and attached to the outside of a couple of the gifts.

I love giving gifts and I can’t wait to give these away, but for now, I don’t mind enjoying the pretty packages under our tree.

Merry Christmas!

…and Happy (last-minute) Wrapping!

Tutorial for Newlyweds: How to Sew a Button

I guess that it would be fair to say that this isn’t so much a tutorial for newlyweds, as it is for people who have been dependent on their moms their entire lives for simple things like reattaching buttons.

In any event, I just learned how to do this, and since it’s ‘something new’ for me – I figured that it might be for you as well. Not wanting to leave you stranded with gaping holes in your clothing, I have come to the rescue with a tutorial on button sewing. Enjoy.

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1. Line up your button where it goes. Make sure that it will fit through the corresponding button-hole.

(Step 1.5 not shown): Thread your needle with a thread color that matches all your other buttons. Pull the thread all the way through the needle so that the ends match up and tie these in a knot. Double knot if you are over-zealous (I am when it comes to button sewing, in case you were wondering).

2. Pull your needle through one of the button holes – Starting from the backside of the fabric and pushing your needle out through the button on the outside of the fabric.

3. Attach a straight pin to the fabric underneath the button. This will give you some wiggle room under the button after you have sewn it on.

4. Put your needle down through the second hole on your button and pull it through to the backside of the fabric. Repeat steps 2 and 4 at least 4 times each. Make sure that your stitches are even (you are coming out and going back in the backside of the fabric in roughly the same spots every time) and that they are tight (nobody likes wobbly buttons).

(For buttons with 4 holes, simply follow the stitching pattern of the other buttons on the garment).

5. Once you have completed your stitching, your needle should be coming out of the backside of the fabric. Push the needle through the fabric (from back to front) and instead of coming out through the button-hole – pull the needle out underneath the button.

6. Remove the straight pin. In a counter-clockwise motion, wrap the thread around the stitching holding the button to the fabric.

7. Put your needle down through the fabric from front to back at a spot underneath the button.

8. Do a couple of back-stitches on the backside of the fabric, by putting your needle in and out of the fabric as shown in the picture and then pulling it all the way through. I do my back-stitches at a couple different angles, and on the last one or two stitches, I put my needle through the loop in the thread as I am pulling my back-stitch through the fabric. This creates a couple of knots and helps keep things in place.

That’s it.

Reading back over that…I’m not sure that was clear at all. Hopefully my pictures help. If not, I’m sure that Martha could show you how.

…or your mom.

Tutorial: Coffee Filter Wreath

I made something fun for our front door a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to share.

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I had seen pictures of these coffee filter wreaths online a couple of times, and wanted to make one of my own for the fall. I kind of made things up as I went along, but if you’d like the how-to…here’s what I did.

  1. I bought a styrofoam wreath ring and some natural-colored coffee filters. I bought a package of 200 and I have more than enough left-over. I went with the natural brown color, because it reminded me more of fall. I bet this wreath would look beautiful for winter if you used white filters!coffee filter wreath, easy tutorial, fall wreath, fall project, tutorial, wreath
  2. Using your glue gun, cover up the styrofoam with the coffee filters. This doesn’t have to be neat – just make sure you can’t see any of the white ring. I flattened out the coffee filters and then wrapped them around, as best I could. I even ripped them a bit, if I needed to, so they fit how I wanted them.coffee filter wreath, easy tutorial, fall wreath, fall project, tutorial, wreath
  3. To make the poofs, first – flatten out a coffee filter. Then, fold it in half three times.coffee filter wreath, easy tutorial, fall wreath, fall project, tutorial, wreath
  4. Snip off the bottom triangle of the coffee filter. You can adjust how much you cut off based on how high you want the poofs to sit on the wreath.
  5. I started with the wreath laying flat on its back and glued poofs all around the circle. I tried to alternate how they were laying on the wreath so that it didn’t look too perfect (not that any of my crafting comes out looking perfect!). Then I glued along the inside and outside of the wreath. I made sure to fill in any holes or awkward-looking spots with extra poofs! Don’t be afraid to shuffle things around until you like how it looks – Glue guns are great smooshing tools! (That’s some professional language there – try not to be intimidated).
  6. I hot glued a loop of twine to the back of mine to hang it up. (You could also use a pretty piece of ribbon if you wanted to dress it up a bit). Be generous with the glue so that your hook doesn’t come apart. Let the glue dry completely before you try to hang it up. coffee filter wreath, easy tutorial, fall wreath, fall project, tutorial, wreath