Sunday, August 12, 2018

Savoring Summer Craftastic Monday Link Party


Hey craft lovers!  It's time to share what creative things you've been working on.  How is it already mid-August?!  I'm trying to savor what's left of summer with a bit of vacation time this week, but have some projects in the works (including plans for the first Real Deal Review installment).  Got to make these sunny, slower days last while they're here!  

Last week I shared a new FREE downloadable pattern for my 3-In-1 Infinity Bib using the favorite fabric of summer,  muslin swaddle:  


 ~~~~~~~
Don't forget, after linking up below, head over to Facebook for the Sew Can Do Craftastic Mixer to advertise YOUR blog or crafty shop for FREE:


It's an easy way to share your site or FB page with other creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time.  

Share your blog or handmade/craft-related business or its Facebook page.  A new one posts every Sunday night on the Sew Can Do Facebook page at 5pm EST (the same time this link up kicks off).  

Head over to the Sew Can Do FB page to join in this week's Craftastic Mixer!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let's see those Craftastic Picks!

Sweet Bee Buzzings created this beautiful hydrangea wreath:


Winding Road Crochet had a fantastic tutorial for these sturdy bottom crochet baskets:


Sparkle Living created these striking brushed letter fall leaf coasters:


Coastal Bohemian shared how to make this beachy seashell switch plate:


Threading My Way gave a great tutorial for making this drawstring bag with clever a sewn in divider:


If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

 
Want a Chance to 
Be Featured Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   

On Twitter: 
On Pinterest: Sew Can Do

Ready to link up your crafty creations?
 
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

FREE Pattern Download: 3 in 1 Infinity Bib, Blankie & Burp Cloth


Today I've got a new downloadable pattern that's handy & stylish for the little one: My 3-in1 Infinity Bib!



For such small people, babies sure need a lot of stuff!  Our diaper bag weighs a ton right now.  Streamlining is hard though.  My little guy is a drooly one.  He's also still in the occasional spit-up phase, so good bib & burp cloth need to go everywhere with us.  As does a lovey blanket, which is vital to him going to sleep.  How about being able to bring one thing that acts as all 3?  Enter my new pattern.

Use it folded lengthwise as a bib to keep drool from soaking those cute outfits:



Fold it in half sideways for lightweight, yet absorbent burp cloth:



Leave it open for a baby-sized blankie to cuddle:



It's been a crazy hot summer, so something light & breezy is key.  I've made mine out of bamboo cotton swaddle muslin which is perfect.  It allows for airflow and is super soft.  It also looks stylish thanks to some pom pom trim.  

I'd seen a similar bib design for sale online for the hefty price of $18 each.  Yikes.  With how many bibs my 4 month old can go through in a day, I'd need a small loan to afford more than a day's worth.  Mine cost about $3.50 each to make & are a quick sew. My son's favorite swaddle blankets are a swanky brand made from bamboo muslin, so being able to make these from that same lovely fabric for a fraction of the price is ideal.  Serious savings!



Now let's make one!


Materials:
- My FREE Infinity Bib Pattern HERE
- 1/2 yd bamboo organic cotton blend swaddle muslin fabric (I bought mine from Simplififabric)
- 1 1/2 yds baby pom pom trim (I bought mine from Sugar Pink Boutique)
- 2 plastic snap sets
- Ball point needle

Download the pattern and print at 100% scale.  Measure the printout against the 1 inch sets box to confirm sizing is correct.  Cut out all 4 pieces and tape together at sides as indicated.


The swaddle muslin I bought gets softer in every wash.  Being a bamboo/organic cotton blend, it's the cuddliest muslin I've found too.  The baby pom pom trim is nice & plush and adds just the right amount of detail.



Start with folded fabric and, using the pattern piece, cut out the bib front & back:


On the right side of one piece, pin the trim 1/4 inch from the raw edge:


Stitch the trim in place, using a ball point needle.


Sew the trim all the way around, curving around the pointed ends, and overlapping the raw edges.  


Place this piece over the other piece, right sides together and pin.


On the side with the trim attached, stitch the bib front & back together, using the trim stitching as a guide to stitch over:


Leave a 1 1/2 inch gap for turning, then slipstitch closed by hand.


Set the plastic snaps along the markings, having the male snaps face up on one end and the female snaps face down on the other.  


When the ends are snapped together, this will give the slight twist needed for the layered infinity look.



Or just leave it open for a quick cuddle.  Whatever baby needs in the moment!




Sunday, August 5, 2018

End of July Craftastic Monday Link Party


Happy Monday crafties!  It's time to share your creations.  Let's end July with some awesome projects!  Come link up what you've been making and have get some inspiration from other creative people too.  

Last week I shared the crafting fun activity that's become a summer favorite with my kids (even the teen!) - our Home Version of Nailed It!


And I announced my plans for a new feature here at Sew Can Do for Real World Experience Craft Product Reviews


 ~~~~~~~
Don't forget, after linking up below, head over to Facebook for the Sew Can Do Craftastic Mixer to advertise YOUR blog or crafty shop for FREE:


It's an easy way to share your site or FB page with other creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time.  

Share your blog or handmade/craft-related business or its Facebook page.  A new one posts every Sunday night on the Sew Can Do Facebook page at 5pm EST (the same time this link up kicks off).  

Head over to the Sew Can Do FB page to join in this week's Craftastic Mixer!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let's see those Craftastic Picks!

My Bright Ideas did an incredible concert patio transformation with some paint to make it fun & inviting:



Howling At The Moon had this adorable crochet cactus:


Duct Tape and Denim showed how she transformed a a plain boring recipe box into this vintage beauty:


The Creative Twins shared this cute quilled owl keychain


Anika's DIY Life shared how to make this pretty and contemporary wall sconce: 


Threading My Way gave a great tutorial for making this drawstring bag with clever a sewn in divider:


If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news. 

 
Want a Chance to 
Be Featured Next Week?  

Link back to the party somewhere on your blog.
I can't feature your post if you don't share the party.  
  
I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure for YOUR blog!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   

On Twitter: 
On Pinterest: Sew Can Do

Ready to link up your crafty creations?
 
Party rules are simple: 
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post. Product reviews, plagiarized or sponsored posts for random items will be immediately deleted.  
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post, party page or blog somewhere.  If you want the chance to be featured, this is key.  The button code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!



   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Friday, August 3, 2018

Getting Real About Craft Product Reviews


Sewing & craft blogging has changed a lot in the nearly 10 years I've done Sew Can Do.  A lot of it for the better.  Yet, there are some things I really and truly miss about the "old days" when blogs were less slick, polished and perfect.  When regular people didn't have perfectly staged photos and projects that make Martha Stewart look like she's slacking.  When reviews were really reviews.



These days, whenever something new hits the craft market or you're wanting to find out how a product actually fares when you use it, it's a challenge to really find out without sifting through a lot of hype or shiny marketing spin.  Sponsored posts and advertorial "reviews" are everywhere.  And I get it, sometimes I've done them myself.  If someone offers you a complimentary product and you're eager to try it, saying "this is terrible don't buy it" once you actually use it isn't ideal.  But realistically, is someone who's on a design team for a brand (and gets all the latest products for free) going to tell you that the new item is just mediocre....or that it's really a piece of crap?  Not really.

I've noticed that when it comes to crafty gear, there's a formula where a brand will round up a number of bloggers and at the same time they've all got "reviews" that are nearly identical.  There's stock wording and showcasing of a few specific things.  They're practically interchangeable.  It doesn't make it easy to find out what something is really like and a lot of time is wasted skimming through lots of posts to find one that's the real deal.   

Some of my most popular posts have been when I've shared my real life experience with something I've bought and been candid about, like last year when I got myself a Cricut Easy Press.



and when I shared my nightmare experience buying glitter vinyl:



There are also a lot of products out there that don't get the star treatment on blogs because they're inexpensive or have been around for a while.  Since they're not the latest & greatest or aren't well known, they don't get talked about much.  As well as the times when I've discovered, by trying a new product, that you can make your own DIY version - that works even better - like when I tried Mod Melts:



So last week I put feelers out on the Sew Can Do Facebook page about a new feature here I'm going to call The Real Deal Review.  My plan is to try out a product I've purchased and share what it's really like to use.  What's great about it, what's not, does it really do what it says and, most importantly, is it worth buying?

The response there was really enthusiastic and I got some great feedback on some things fellow crafters want to hear more about.  So I'm going to do it!  


Here's where you come in.  

- What kinds of items would you want to read about most?  

- Is there specific gear or crafty/sewing tools you want to see reviewed?

- Are you looking for product comparisons?

- Are there things you can't find and want?  

I've got a few items in mind already, but I'd love to hear what other crafters are most curious about or really want to know, so share your thoughts in the comments below.  I'm really excited to  make this happen and bring real reviews back to the blogosphere.  After all, being authentic and a real life person sharing, is supposed to be the whole point of a blog! 



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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Nailed It The Home Version aka Crafting Even Big Kids Love To Do


One of my big goals this summer has been to do more creative projects & crafts with my big kids.  For years I've done loads of things for them, but not a lot of crafting with all 3 of them.  Part of the challenge is finding something everyone wants to do.  My 8 yr old daughter loves just about every arts & crafts genre, but try finding something for her plus two boys age 12 & 15.  Not a long list.  Until now.  We found a craft that they ALL love doing:  Nailed It @ Home.



Recently we discovered a contest show on Netflix called Nailed It.  The premise is 3 bakers compete to pull off some amazing themed baking challenges, but the twist is they are all amateurs.  As in real, minimal experience amateurs, not bloggers who are practically professionals.  These are people who forget to put in the eggs despite having a recipe to follow, people who think using 1/2 cup of food dye is totally normal.  People who do not have miraculous decorating skills.  The results take your breath away, but more in shock and surprise than awe.  

It's not a mean-spirited show though, they always try to find positives about the bakers' creations and taste is just as important as looks, so someone always wins (even if it's because they were just the least worst).  And seeing the amazing example bakes is fun too. My kids LOVE it.  They beg to watch it and recently said they wanted to do it themselves.  So we've created our own at-home Nailed It.



We've done it twice now.  I already had a lot of baking gear (that I haven't used in ages, so another good reason to do it) and then we got a bunch of ingredients and decorations.



Our first challenge was making emoji-themed cake pops.  Since we don't have 3 ovens, they had to work together to do the actual cake baking and then each of them worked on their own to mix up cake pops and dip and decorate them.




They really love the judging aspect too.  My husband & I critiqued their work.  How close the details were to the original, how good it tasted, etc.  We were able to give some good feedback on improvements and also focus on their positives too.  Our little guy was our "guest judge", so we held things up for him to get a look.  One cake pop did NOT meet with his approval.  He took one look at it and burst into tears.  A cake pop actually scared a baby.  It may be a first:



Our latest challenge was to re-create one of the show's challenges - this cosmic cupcake:


Image: copyright "Nailed It" by Netflix
Again, they had to work together to make the cupcakes and craft up some buttercream frosting from scratch.  



They were able to use some cake mix and had to find the recipe for the frosting in a cookbook.



We bought some ready-made fondant, but they had to color some of it themselves.


And do all the decoration sculpting.  Like on the show, they each had the option to use a "panic button" to get 3 minutes of help if they got stuck trying to do something.  I let my 8 yr old get a bonus second 3 minutes since she was the littlest.



It was incredible watching them put so much effort into something.  



Everyone took their time and really focused on what they were doing.  They spent an entire afternoon making them.  



Not only did they have a blast doing it, but it was a great learning experience - they had to follow directions, work as a team and individually, problem solve when things didn't go as planned....



They also got to try out lots of tools, techniques and baking materials they'd barely even noticed before.  Developing actual skills too.  When they would ask me to make some elaborate cake they had no idea what went into it.  Now they've got first hand experience and recognize it's not as easy as it looks. There's also a new-found appreciation of the bakers on the show and how difficult their challenges actually are.  The best part is that they enjoy the making more than being proclaimed the winner or getting a prize.  It's been an awesome summer activity and we can't wait for the next round!   





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