Wednesday, April 30, 2014

10 Tips for Pinterest Party Success

Have you ever taken part in a Pinterest Party? I had not until last night, when I pinned along with the One Stop DIY Shop's Spring Fling on Pinterest. It was frantic, crazy, and wonderful, and I had so much fun! Plus I walked away with some great digital party favors!

As this was my first time "attending" such an event, I wasn't really sure how it worked, so I thought it might be helpful to post some tips I learned through the experience.

The object of this party was to pin, pin, pin all the great pins being put up every few seconds by the 13 amazing bloggers hosting. There was also a grand prize giveaway and several smaller giveaways pinned during the party.

1. Set an alarm or reminder for yourself for a few minutes before the party starts. These are fast paced events, and you don't want to get behind, or worse, miss it all together because you forgot or lost track of time!

2. Make sure that your computer/phone/tablet has a good charge before the party starts.

3. Do your very best to make sure there will be no interruptions. Go to the bathroom beforehand, get the kids occupied or in bed, let the dog out, and make sure there are no problems with your internet connection.

4. Beforehand, create a specific board to pin everything from the party to. You can go back later and edit each pin to sort them to the boards they belong on, but you will waste valuable time trying to find the correct board for each pin during the party.

5. This is probably pretty obvious (and the hosts were great about reminding us), but refresh your screen every few seconds to make sure you're not missing any pins! Also, stay on the party board rather than the Pinterest home page. Your home page will also be showing you pins from outside the party, and you may miss a giveaway in all the confusion!

6. This may seem like overkill, but it's not a bad idea to have the party pulled up on two devices (ie. laptop and phone/tablet) if you have them available. I found that my Iphone was more efficient in some ways, such as being able to use the long press to quick pin on my Pinterest app, but my laptop was better if I actually needed to click through on a pin, such as for pins about giveaways that came up during the party.

7. Speaking of those giveaways, click through to see if you need to enter during the party. If you don't, just pin it so that you can go back and enter later. A lot of giveaways will have several tasks for you to complete for multiple entries, and often they will require you to move away from the blog to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or the blog's Pinterest account to earn those entries. I wasted a lot of time trying to get my entries in during the party, and I got behind on my pins and really had to scramble to catch up!

8. Even if you don't do it during the party, do try to show your hosts some love as soon as you get the chance by following them on the various social media platforms they use. A lot of love, work, and even money has gone into making this party happen for you, so show your appreciation!

9. If there's a giveaway at the end of the party, stick around until the final winner is announced! The hosts ended up having to draw 5 names before one of them responded to the announcement of the winner of the {very} nice grand prize! I know those first four ladies are probably kicking themselves that they missed out! I do understand that there may have been extenuating circumstances that prevented them from responding - this is NOT a criticism! But there were a lot of ladies commenting on the 2nd drawing announcement that they had missed the first name because they went to check their email for the winner instead of watching the party board. Check your email by all means, but don't abandon the party board until the winner is confirmed. I think a lot of people logged off after the first name was announced because they assumed it was over, but there were multiple pins put up after that, and the announced first (and second, third, and fourth) winner ended up not responding in time.

10. There may be a survey after the party (I was asked to complete one when I was emailed the link to my party favors). Take the time to fill it out to help your hosts know what you loved or didn't love so much about the experience. This will help them plan their next event for you, and it also helps them to see the impact that the event did/will have on their blog.

*Bonus tip* Be gracious! Be polite in your comments, and be appreciative of the opportunity to interact with some awesome people and pin some great ideas, even if you don't walk away with the grand prize!

A huge thank you to the following bloggers for hosting this event:

The Dating Divas / The 36th Avenue / Somewhat Simple / Lil Luna / I Heart Naptime / One Good Thing / Maskcara / HowDoesShe Twist Me Pretty / Living Locutro / The Crafting Chicks / Living Well Spending Less / Kids Activities Blog

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pink Glitter Flat Zipper Pouch

Today I have a fun and easy little zipper pouch for you. I've made a ton of these, mostly out of printed felt, but I really love these textured fabric sheets that Hobby Lobby sells too.

These two live in my purse. The giraffe print holds my nail clippers and some favorite jewelry.

The tiny little zebra pouch (it's about 2 1/2 inches tall) holds my headphones. This is a great project if you have an itty bitty, short zipper in your stash, although of course you can use a longer one and cut it down.

First of all, you're going to need your fabric sheet. Or felt. Your choice. Hobby Lobby has an assortment of these in various prints for $1.47 each. You can find them beside the craft felt.

A half sheet (cut hamburger style, not hot dog) will make a pouch the size of the giraffe print pouch above, but you can cut it to any length (or even use a whole sheet if you want a big pouch).

The fabric sheet I used is pretty sturdy, but some of the others, like the zebra and leopard print sheets, have considerable stretch in one direction. You want to make sure that when you cut it, the stretch does not run along your short edges (where the zipper will be sewn), because that will cause it to pull as you sew the zipper on, and it will cause your zipper to bow out and be wavy when closed. The stretch needs to run toward the edges of your pouch that will be sewn closed.

I just cut mine at 4 inches by the width of the sheet for this project. 

Now you can totally leave your edges straight here if you'd like. These won't unravel, and of course neither will felt. But I like to cut mine with pinking shears or scallop scissors. You might get away with decorative scrapbooking scissors if they're really sharp, but I use these scalloped fabric shears. I think I got mine on Amazon (or Ebay maybe?), but you can also buy them on Etsy.

Trim both short ends with your scalloped/pinking shears.

Make sure to switch to your zipper foot, because we will be sewing these very close to the teeth of the zipper.

Because this material will show pin holes, and because the length we are dealing with is short, I recommend just holding the material and the zipper together by hand and feeding it slowly into the machine.

Unzip your zipper, carefully line up the other edge of the fabric, and repeat for the second side. You may need to move your zipper foot over for this step.

Zip up the sewn pouch partway and with your hand, press it flat with the zipper positioned where you would like it to be on the finished pouch. You can choose to have this off center if you want. I put mine right in the middle for this pouch.

Sew the sides closed with whatever seam allowance you would like. Trim your seams.

Work the zipper all the way open and flip your pouch inside out, being careful to straighten the corners. A point turner comes in handy here, especially on very stiff material like this.

There you have your finished zipper pouch! The prefect thing for all the stray lip balms or coins hanging out in the bottom of your purse!

These are quick, easy, and inexpensive, so why not whip a few up for Mother's Day?

Monday, April 28, 2014

My favorite crafting tools {Hand Tool Edition}

The other day I posted about some of my favorite crafty tools, like my sewing machine and my Silhouette machine. Today I thought I'd tell you about some of my favorite and most used hand tools. None of the links in this post are affiliate links, and I'm not being compensated in any way to promote these items.

Point Turner and Seam Creaser:

I mentioned this handy little thing yesterday. For the longest time I turned corners with the little tapered sticks that come in bags of Polyfil,and they worked okay. But this tool is so much better for getting sharp corners on things like pillow covers and zipper pouches.

Babyville Boutique Snap Pliers

These things are awesome! My mom bought them for me a few years ago, and I've used them a bunch! They allow you to add plastic snaps to all kinds of projects quickly and easily, and the snaps come in all kinds of colors. Plus you can get even more colors at I will tell you that I've never actually used the Kam Snaps products, so I can't vouch for their quality, but the pricing is reasonable, and I'd like to try them someday. Babyville Boutique is awesome to work with though. The first set of pliers I had kept splitting the snaps, which turned out to be caused by a faulty presser. I contacted them on Facebook, and they not only sent me a brand new set of pliers, but they sent me a whole new bag of snaps (60 sets) to replace the 8 or so sets that were damaged. I've used these to close bracelets, add closures to bags and pouches, and make stacks of doll diapers.

Rotary Cutter

I have 3 different sizes of these, but this is the one I use the most. A must have for squaring up fabric.

One Step Looper

I got this with a birthday gift card, and it had been so handy for jewelry making. It will even cut and loop memory wire.

Jewelry Pliers

I don't have this exact set, but I have all of the pliers in it, which include bent nose, flat nose, round nose, long nose, and side cutters. I think I actually got my set at Lowes (easier to talk Nick into shelling out money for jewelry supplies if they can be found next to power tools ha ha). But this set is less than $10 on Amazon.

Nylon Jaw Pliers

These are great when making wire jewelry to prevent tool marks on your wire. They are a little pricier than some of the other pliers, but with a sale or a coupon they are still well under $10.

Bead Reamer

This is for enlarging the center of beads that may be a bit too narrow for the wire or cording you are trying to string them on. But I also use mine for sharpening the individual dies or the next tool...

Leather Punch

These can be really expensive. I opted to get the one linked for around $6 with free shipping. When it came, only the smallest two punches would work well on even thin patent leather. I contacted the merchant and they very quickly shipped me a replacement at no charge. The second one worked a little better. But I had the idea to sharpen the edges of the dies with my bead reamer, and the performance vastly improved. I use these for punching holes prior to installing rivets, eyelets or grommets in leather. 

Eyelet Tool

This simple tool is what I use to set eyelets. They are available for every size eyelet you can buy, and can generally be bought with the eyelets as a set or by themselves.

Snap Fastener Kit

This little kit sets metal snaps in fabric (or leather or vinyl, etc.). The snaps can also be bought separately. 

Self Healing Mats

I have several sizes of these, and I use them all.

6 x 24 Quilting Ruler

I use this thing ALL. The. Dang. Time. For tons of stuff. I live in fear that my kids will break it.

Fabric Marking Pen

I'm on my 3rd one of these. Love them!

Elastic Threaders

Yes, you can absolutely use a safety pin to thread elastic through a casing. But these are very inexpensive, and they keep the elastic from twisting, something I always struggled with using safety pins. I'll never go back.

Ring Sizer 

Sometimes you will see these called a mandrel. And they can be pricey. But I got mine at Joann's for less than $2 with a coupon. If you make rings at all, this is a necessity.  

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but those are the tools I use the most. Happy crafting!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Princess Crown for Dolly

My girl Lily is a princess with a big capital glittery pink puffy P. Bath time is a production, because first she has to take off the crown, the bracelet(s), the tutu, the necklace, the plastic high get the picture. A few weeks ago a lovely lady at our church found this sweet little pink crown at the Target One Spot, and she snagged it for Lily. She didn't take it off for days.

When I was on the hunt for Sawyer's Easter shoes, I hit up Target myself, and I saw that they had a purple one too. Lily's dress featured purple flowers, and I had planned to make her a matching headband from the scraps, but when I saw the purple crown, I knew she would be so much happier with it, and that much joy for $1 is always a good buy. :)

As you can see, she loved it, and she was in full on princess mode on Easter:

She really, really loved her doll with the matching dress, so I thought I would make Melody, as she named her, a crown of her own.

I started with a doll sized headband blank. I got these a couple of years ago from Really Reasonable Ribbon, and they were really reasonable! This is not an affiliate link and I'm not getting paid to talk about them, but I had a great experience with them and wanted to share. It was $4.49 for a dozen headbands, and they were super awesome to work with. Initially I checked out with a shipping charge of $4.50, but I got an email the next day that they were able to ship it for $3.75 and were revising my total. I love merchants like that! These are the perfect size to fit an 18" (think American Girl) doll, and I've made Lily several mommy-and-me sets over the last couple of years. 

This ribbon was in a bag of random ribbons someone gave me, and it was just what I was looking for. I started by snipping off about an inch and sealing the ends with a lighter.

Glue one end to the inside tip of the headband on one side.

Glue the sealed end of your ribbon (it may be easiest to just leave it on the
spool for this project) to the outside of the same end of the headband, perpendicular to the headband.

Then fold the other end of the short piece up over your long piece and glue it in place.

Then begin to wrap your ribbon around the headband, making sure to cover the end of the small piece of ribbon on the front. Can we please not talk about the horrifying state of my nails?

Keep wrapping, angling the ribbon a bit as you go so that the edge crosses the portion of ribbon under it about halfway across.

When you get close to the end, snip off another small piece of ribbon, fold it over the bare end of the headband, and glue it in place on both the front and the back.

Continue wrapping the headband until you get to the very end, making sure to finish with the ribbon on the inside of the headband. Seal the end and glue it in place.

For the crown, I cut a scrap of white felt, just eyeballing a good width for the size of the headband. I folded it in half and cut out some points to make a crown.

I had this weird vintage purple knit in my stash. I just laid my felt piece down on it and traced around it with my fabric marking pen on the wrong side of the knit. 

Sew wrong sides together, leaving most of the bottom open (sorry, forgot to take a picture of this step).Turn it inside out, using a pencil or something like this awesome turning tool to get the points. 

Tuck the bottom edges in and sew it closed with a very close seam allowance. You can topstitch the whole thing at this point if you'd like, but I felt like the thickness of the fabrics I chose would make this difficult to do neatly, so I skipped it.

It may look a little wonky at this point (or perhaps not if you're better than me, ha!), but it looks better once it has the headband to stabilize it.

Lily's crown has little jewels all over it, but because of the small size of this one, I opted to only add them to the points.

Use a small jewel for the center and tiny ones for each of the other points.

 These can just be hot glued on.

Run a bead of hot glue along the bottom edge of the crown and glue it to the headband.

The points of the crown should point up when the headband is laid on its side.

Lily was thrilled with it, and Melody looks quite regal if I do say so myself. :)

Those tiny pigtails are killing me! I went to get my hair colored Friday at my mother-in-law's beauty shop. Lily told her she wanted "a cuter look", so Nana hooked her up with some pigtails, and we've had to repeat it every day since. :)