I’m not ashamed to say I use reusable grocery bags every time I go to the grocery store (unless I forget to bring them with me). Yesterday I went to an event where they handed out fabric bags to throw your goodies in, and my first thought was “Yay another grocery bag!” My family also holds onto gift bags and reuses the same ones over and over and over again. So I thought to myself, why not sew a fabric gift bag?
A little drawstring Christmas pouch is great for small gifts, candy, ornaments, etc. It’s reusable, and the drawstring opening builds suspense by completely concealing what’s inside. And if your Christmas party is lacking anything, it’s suspense.
What you’ll need:
- A Christmas fabric
- Matching thread
- A safety pin
First I take a cut of fabric that’s about twice as long as it is wide.
I press them in half where the bottom of the bag will be, and the two free ends that meet at the top will form the opening.
My ribbon is 3/8″ wide, so I’m making the drawstring casing 1/2″ wide to allow adequate room. to make sure no frayed edges are exposed, Fold over about 1/8″ on the edge of the fabric and stitch it in place. Only one side is pictured above, but I do this on both sides of the opening.
Next I fold down 1/2″ and press to form the casing.
I stitch down the casing with a zigzag stitch to keep the edge from fraying as much. I could theoretically overlock and then straight stitch it down, but the zigzag stitch just looks more fun. And in the words of Sheldon Cooper, “What’s life without whimsy?”
Next I pin the right sides together to form the sides of the bag, and these I stitch with an overlock stitch and no seam allowance so that the stitch will line up perfectly when the edge of the casing. Make sure to leave the opening of the casing free so you can insert the ribbon!
To make the bag stand up on its own, you’ll want to sew the corners of the inside into two triangles that will lay flat against the bottom. I don’t know if there’s a science to determining how wide you want your triangles, but I make mine half the width of my pouch. My pouch is 6 inches wide, so you can see in the picture that I’m making my triangles 3 inches wide, with the side seam right in the middle. I draw a line where my gauge is measuring 3 inches and stitch right along that line, then draw a similar line on the other side and repeat.
A view from the top after I stitched my corners.
Next it’s time to insert the ribbon and make it a drawstring pouch!
I used leftover pieces of ribbon from another project that weren’t quite long enough, but you’ll want yours to be twice the width of your bag plus a couple of inches. My pouches were 6 inches wide, so I should have used 14 inch ribbons, but alas.
Affix a safety pin to the end of one of your ribbons, and insert it into one of the casings. When you reach the next opening, keep pushing the ribbon through the other side of the casing until the ribbon has come full circle.
Now you’re halfway done!
Finally, attach the safety pin to one end of your second piece of ribbon, and insert it into the other side of the opening, where your first ribbon simply continued through without stopping. You’ll again want to move the ribbon all the way through so that both ends of the same ribbon are on the same side of the opening.
And voila! You have a drawstring little pouch for Christmas. I think these would be great if you’re having a party and want to give out little goody bags, and you can make it taller or wider as you so desire!
Remember the post where I talked about how to find a stud in your wall? Well this is why I had to learn how! Each shelf has three screws to secure it to the wall, and for maximum weight capacity at least one has to be secured to a stud.
Here are a few screwing tips I learned to hang these walls.
Before you get to screwing, you’ll want to use a skinny drill bit like the one pictured above to form a little starter hole where you’re planning to drill in a screw. It’ll make the screw move into the wall more easily.
The white screw-looking object pictured above is actually a dry wall anchor. Anchors will help stabilize a screw in the wall so that it can carry more weight without pulling out a chunk of the wall. I only used anchors on screws that weren’t going into a stud. Different kinds of anchors come with different instructions, so be sure to follow yours closely!
If your screw ends up looking like the one pictured above, and no screwdriver can turn it in or out, you have yourself a stripped screw. The only choice is to take it out and put in a new one. Mine got so securely stuck I had to get out the pliers and jiggle it out!
I prayed pretty vehemently that hanging these right above my TV wouldn’t backfire terribly, but so far they’ve been safe and secure!
A lot of home decor objects that are made to hang on the wall, like the wall shelves I recently bought, need to be secured to a stud to prevent falling and pulling out a piece of the wall. So if you’re planning to hang an object, you’ll need to know how to find the studs in your wall.
Just a note, when you tell people you’re having trouble finding studs it’s a good idea to clarify that you mean in your walls. It should come as no surprise that I got a lot of funny looks when I said I needed help finding a stud to hang my wall shelves.
But hopefully this post will keep you from getting put in such awkward situations.
A good starting place for finding studs is an outlet.
Outlets are typically attached to the side of a stud, so you can be pretty sure that there will be one either to the left or right of any outlet in your home. The trick is to determine which side it’s on.
One basic technique is the “knock and listen” technique, which consists of knocking on the wall and listening for the stud’s location. As I mentioned before, walls are hollow except for where a stud is, so most spots you knock will produce a hollow sound. When you hear a fuller sound, you’ve likely found a stud.
However, when I tried this method in my apartment walls I had little luck. So here’s another method I found to determine with more accuracy where your studs are located.
Start by grabbing the strongest magnet on your refrigerator.
Zigzag the magnet above the outlet, covering the areas to the left and right of the outlet. What you’re doing is looking for a nail where the wall was attached to the stud. Keep moving left and right and up and down until you feel your magnet pull.
Studs are typically 16 inches apart in modern homes, but they may be 24 inches apart. From your X, measure 16 inches to either side and find the next stud using either the knock and listen technique or your magnet. If you can’t find the next stud at 16 inches, try 24 inches instead.
Now you’re ready to have your decorations and be sure that they’re secure on your wall!
Even the most eclectic collection of furniture and decor can seem unified if you establish a color palette for the room and work within that scheme.
As I mentioned in this post, when I set out to cute-ify my kitchen, one of the first steps was to decide what color scheme I wanted to use. Before I even moved into my apartment, I knew I wanted it to have a beachy and open vibe, so blue-greens were a natural choice. I painted the walls a deep sea foam and bought linens in shades of turquoise. I decided my accent colors would be a warm brown, like my paper towel holder, and green as in my kitchen rug.
That example had a pretty narrow spectrum of colors I wanted to use, but not every color in your scheme has to be next to each other on the color wheel. Here are a few tips on thinking outside the box to create a color scheme for your room.
- Start with paint chips. Head to your local hardware store and collect paint chips in a wide variety of hues and values that will allow you to mix, match, and experiment freely. Pick up paint chips that have multiple values of a pigment on one sheet, and cut the chips to separate the values and allow you more flexibility. Then arrange and rearrange them freely until you stumble upon a color combination you particularly like – working without setting yourself boundaries could bring out ideas you would never have considered otherwise!
- If it’s not an empty room, start with the objects you can’t change. Somewhat luckily for me, my apartment was completely empty when I moved in. But if you’re on a redecorating kick, start thinking about colors relative to the piece(s) of furniture that have to stay. Painting a room and buying accent pieces are much easier and less expensive than a new couch or bed.
- If you get stuck, try complimentary colors. As I said before, not every color in your scheme needs to be next to each other on the color wheel. If you want to add a little pop to a room, try jumping across the color wheel and using a complimentary color. For example, a well-placed orange accent will work great against a rich cerulean.
- Browse the fabric store and sew your own decorative items. My last post was about choosing a fabric for home decor based on texture and other factors, and deciding to DIY your home decor even simply for accent pieces will allow you more options while working within your color scheme. It’s also much less expensive than buying everything from a boutique.
- Look for inspiration wherever you find it. Don’t just browse others’ home decor for color inspiration. Color is everywhere! A picture of a parrot could be the jumping off point for a vibrantly colored room, or the local park might give you ideas for earthy, natural tones. If it inspires you, it’s not wrong!
Try these techniques and see if they don’t get the color juices flowing!