Neck Pillow and Space Saver

I made this for my trip to Costa Rica this spring with Yobel International. We needed to travel light so we could bring supplies to and from, not to mention it was an 8 hr red eye on the way down. So, how about a pillow that, instead of taking up extra space, relieves space from my suitcase? Even better, you can make it for ALMOST NOTHING.

Travel Pillow

What you need:

  • old teeshirt (or comfortable fabric
  • sewing machine
  • travel plans

It’s pretty straight forward, just an empty neck pillow that you then fill with (comfy) items that you want to bring with you.

I’m sorry, I don’t have a pattern for yet, but I wanted to get you this idea with the holidays approaching. You can see the proportions on the teeshirt below. Also, sorry for the terrible photos… it was a crazy time and this was a late night craft.

Step 1: Fold your comfy shirt in half.

Step 2: Cut out half a neck pillow shape (but across the folded shirt it will make a full pillow)

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Step 3: Sew all the edges together.

Step 4: Cut a small slit on the top (for stuffing) and flip inside out

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Step 5: Stuff with clothes that you are packing!

I was able to fit all of the below in mine, it was amazing! I ended up taking a little out of the back of the neck so it was more for the sides of my head to lean on on the plane. It could be a good idea as well to put a couple undergarments in here in case of lost luggage.

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The extra nice thing is that very seldom do you get told you need to fit this in your carry-on. I flew all around with it just “attached” to my carry on, which can also be great for those of you who, like me, try your hardest to never pay baggage fees! It’s really amazing how much you can fit in your “carry on and a personal item”. I’m becoming a pro.

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Again, this was like a 20 minute craft, but kind of looks like it. You can easily class it up with some nice fabric and finish up the seem around the stuffing hole (terrible name…). You could also get even fancier and make the side with the slit 2 separate pieces, creating a nice overlap where you stuff so that nothing is peaking out! I’ll have to try that idea soon and give a 1 hour version to join with the 20 minute version.

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DIY Dino Sweater

The other night I thought to myself,

“I want a Dinosaur shirt.”

Then I remembered the random old sweater I got for free (clothing swap), and a pile of felting wool that I’ve had for, oh, 5+ years?  The lesson to take from this post: it’s OK to never throw things away! Because then you can make rad little things like a Dino Sweater:

Dino Sweater

(My face is a tad blurry… I think I’m OK with that.)

What You Need:

  • Sweater/shirt (Note, mine was a little chunky of a knit for felting, but it worked for now. I’d recommend a smooth knit/woven for best results.)
  • Cardboard
  • Pen/pencil
  • Exacto knife
  • Felting wool
  • Felting needle/kit

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I got this wool years ago at a cool little store on Etsy that is no longer operating. There are ENDLESS color options on Etsy, as well as natural dyes and everything else. I’m not positive how much wool this was, but I’d guess around 2 oz? It goes a long way. Of course, you can probably find it at your local craft store as well.

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I hand sketched this dino from a couple different stencils I found online, keeping features I liked and adding some I wanted. It took a few tries.

Also, for felting I recommend staying away from intricate designs (especially at the start), because the nature of it is to be a little loose and lumpy. That partly influenced which dino I went with (no attempting intricate spikes for this girl!). I also now get to have nerdy conversations about the Brontosaurs vs Brachiosaurus.

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Place your stencil on your sweater. Keep in mind the length of your sweater… this one is a little short on me so the dino is higher than I was thinking in the end, but still awesome of course.

I used a little gaf tape from my job to keep it in place, then reinforced it with a couple pins to keep the sweater from stretching and deforming.

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Here’ s what my felting needle looks like. You can’t see the little barbs at the end of the needle, but they serve to “tangle” the wool and turn it into felt. Mine also came with a nice little foam square to put behind the needle so you can felt through fabric.

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Start placing a layer of wool, not too thick, over your stencil. Take your needle and start pushing through the wool and the sweater.

Make sure you have something protective behind the sweater! If you are doing this on your lap use a thick magazine or something else dense or you will stab yourself in the leg repeatedly!

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Felting Dino Sweater

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Basically, that’s it! Continue to tuck in along the edges, add more will to places that seem thin. After you have it all filled up remove the stencil an do any touching up along the edges that you need to.

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Fair warning, I haven’t washed this sweater yet. I’d recommend it gentle on cold, or hand washing warm. Depending on how well the wool fused with your sweater it could come off easily, and warm hot water can felt the wool even further.

I’d say it’s worth it for a hand made Dino Sweater!

DIY Dino Sweater

 

First knit of the year.

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The past year has been… well, busy. I am well aware I say that quite a lot, but looking back at what I did and didn’t do, it really has been quite a year. I recently decided to make some intentional changes (specifically in my yes-saying) to be sure I am doing more of the things I want to be doing.

So, one of those things I didn’t do last year and want to be intentional about doing this year is knitting/crocheting.

Often my crafting process goes like this:

“Man I could use x. I could make x by doing this and this and this. Oh, and I have this and this and this to make it with. Am I too busy? Probably. Let’s do it anyway.”

So, I wanted a headband, I remembered I had some leftover yarn from my super chunky scarf, and got knitting.

What you need:

  • An idea
  • Yarn
  • 3 knitting needles at least close to the same size.
  • knowledge of knitting….
  • Fleece
  • Embroidery thread or small yarn
  • Embroidery needle

I’m not one for knitting patterns, I can’t read them for the life of me. I know how to knit, purl, and get the cable knit look, so I did all of those things. Basically I knit a row of 10, flipped, then purled a row of 10 so the knit look was always on the outside. I knit/purled 10 rows total, and on the 11th (first) I did the cable stitch. I knit 2, pulled 3 off on a separate needle, knit the next 3, the knit the pulled off 3 in line, and knit 2 more. (If you don’t know how to cable stitch, then I’d recommend going somewhere other than that terrible description to find out, it’s actually fairly simple.) And, I simple did that until it was long enough.

I was a little worried at first because the cabling makes it look a little funny and warped and not flat, as you can see on the left half. I wasn’t sure how the fleece backing would help.

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But, lo and behold, it definitely did! Look how much flatter and straight it is when the fleece is on the back!

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To measure the fleece, I just laid out my knitted headband on the fleece, gave a good estimated measure, and cut from there. It ended up being about perfect.

I used some thin yarn (you can use embroidery floss here too) and an embroidery needle. Just be sure to not send the needle all the way to the outside of your headband unless you want that embroidered look on the outside as well. I just went through the layers of yarn, but not outside the black thread isn’t visible.

I also kept a row of knitting just outside the fleece, so all you saw when I was wearing it was the knit, not the black fleece.

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Then, put the edges together in some sort of janky fashion. Mine looks a little rough, but it’s the back, so I don’t really care.

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Here is just the big ole scarf that I where once it gets remotely cold because it is so so comfy.

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And now with matching chunky headband! It’s a bit goofy and 80’s… but who doesn’t love the 80’s?

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For all those Christmas Cards

As adults now, we get a pile of Christmas cards from people we love… and I want to show off how loved we are!
I have seen these at friends places, often in girly colors or with shiny ribbon. (I, of course, am avoiding the girly-ness for our place, gotta respect the husb.) I love simple design and practicality, but I couldn’t find one for under $20… And of course that mantra went off in my head: “I can totally make that.”
Here is what I used:
  • Bulletin board, or other large, flat, sturdy surface, whatever size you want. You could probably use a peice of wood, it would just be heavier.
  • Fabric – color of choice, enough to cover your board + a good 3 or 4in over every side.
  • Foam – 1/4 to 1/2 in thick, as much as you need.
  • Elastic – wider holds things a little better without creasing them. I used plain white, but you can find colors and pretty versions out there if you want to be adventurous.
  • Buttons – depending on the size of your board and the number of times your elastic crosses over -enough for both front and back (see directions to understand), and also holes large enough for your choice of needle to go through.
  • Large thick strong needle – mine came under the title of “heavy duty hand needle”
  • Strong thread or embroidery floss
  • Stapler – I had a tiny one, it survived. One that opens up all the way is VERY beneficial, and if you use wood, you should probably get more than a basic office stapler…
  • (mini saw or heavy scissors if you are silly like me and don’t measure ahead of time, or just too cheap to buy more foam.)
After a couple of moves I had an old bulletin board laying around that had some stuff I had to rip off the front. Don’t have one laying around? You can probably get one for 3 bucks at your local thrift store.
As you may have gathered from earlier, I didn’t measure, but assumed the foam was enough, but it was just under. I was tired of waiting to make it, I had the time, so I just took the frame off the board and went a trimming. When measuring, I think it looks best when the foam is barely over the edge of the board. If you go over too much, it leaves weird lumps on the edges of the final product (learn from my mistakes… see finished product)

Cutting, I decided the little saw worked WAY better.

The edge closest to the camera is an ideal location for the foam. The edge on the right is probably a little too much extra foam that will result in the “lumps.”

No need to be super exact in the measuring on the fabric. Just give at least a few inches of fabric on the back.

Time to staple. Staple until it is secure on the back, pull it nice and tight so that there isn’t wrinkling on the front.

Never said it looked pretty… When you are done you can always cover it with something prettier, but lets face it, it will be against the wall.

Same with the elastic. Pull it a little tight, no need to overly stretch it, and staple it at least a couple times (Again, doesn’t look pretty on back.)

Do the big elastic X across the middle first, then add the outer elastic.

(In some pictures you see hemp, but I changed my mind to using black embroidery floss.) Take your needle, stab THROUGH the board (drill, get creative if you are using something harder). The cork cracks and makes a fairly large hole, this is why you will need buttons for both sides.

Put the string through the front button and put both ends through the eye of the needle. Pull it through the hole. Put through the holes on the back button (or whatever equivalent you decide to use) and pull it TIGHT. If you can go through the buttons again with success, do it, but I had too many issues, and it is still holding strong with just the one time through. Make sure you try and keep the knot tight enough that there is a “dent” in the foam, almost like buttons on a vintage chair would look.

Tighter all your buttons and Viola! Start shoving your Christmas cards (birthday cards, random pictures, receipts…) and show off how awesomely loved you are!