Friday, August 31, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Upcycled Feed Bag Aprons

Since my last post was so long re: my Upcycled Feed Bag Totes, I promised a separate post about how to make the aprons.  Here we go…DSCN9190My first apron is hanging on the left in the above photo….made with a Wrangler 10 Sweet Livestock Feed bag.  The thing I love about these is that the apron is water-resistant and can easily be wiped off.  I am pretty messy sometimes, so I love the idea of an apron that I don’t have to worry about too much.

Here is how I made it:
Using an old apron to check for size, lay out a clean, empty feed bag on your craft table. 
As you can see, the bag is just the right length for an apron! Sweet!
Next, cut the bag open…splitting the side panels down the center to make sure you have enough width.DSCN9165Then, using your old apron as a pattern, cut one side of the apron top out.  I folded the bag in half and cut the other side to keep things symmetrical.DSCN9166And, there it is…looking a little like an apron now.DSCN9167Using the remaining back and sides of the bag, cut four (4) strips for the ties.  The maroon ones I left full length for the waist ties.  The white one is shorter for around the neck.  I also cut a short strip in white for the adjustable part of the neck strap.DSCN9169I folded all of the straps in on both sides about 1/4-1/2” along the length and then folded the entire strip in half lengthwise.  Using a zig-zag stitch, sew all four sides to make your straps.  I added two rings to the shortest strap…this makes the neck strap adjustable. (**This is really not necessary, but I had the rings and have done this before, so I did it.  For future aprons, I think I will just make a big enough neck strap that one can slip it over his/her head.)DSCN9171Fold over a hem (folded over on itself so that no ends show) all the way around the apron.  You really cannot press this material for fear of melting, but I found that a few strategically placed pins worked just fine to hold things in place.  Then, zig-zag stitch the entire apron.DSCN9170Stitch your straps in place.  I stitched them on in a square to really reinforce them since they will get the most wear & tear.  And, that is it…you have a cute upcycled apron!  DSCN9182I have a friend who is saving some Deer Corn bags for me…wouldn’t that make a great man’s BBQ apron?

Note:  I forgot to mention how I cleaned these bags and got the smell out of them.  I hosed them off outside and let them air dry at first, but the smell persisted.  So, I wound-up rinsing them out in the bathtub and then letting them soak in water with some vinegar and a little soap.  Worked like a charm.  For persistent stains/grime, I used a Clorox Wipe.

Are you going to try to make an apron?  Let me know if you do!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Upcycled Feed Bag Totes

Bags made out of bags, you say??!!??  Many of you may have seen these on Etsy, Pinterest, or on another blog…upcycled feed bag totes!  There are lots of tutorials out there so I won’t post details here, but I will say that it is fun and pretty easy to make these.DSCN9190DSCN9115I first saw similar bags (and aprons) at a craft show this summer.  I thought the horse and dog food ones would be cute for my niece (she loves puppies and horses!), but they were $15/each.  And, being the crafter that I am, I thought:  “I could do that for nuthin’”! So, I did!

A friend from work brought me a horse feed bag and a couple of dog food bags.  Layla (our dog) donated a couple of her empty bags too.  DSCN9040They need to be that plastic-y…shiny, coated material…NOT paper.  Here is a close-up of the material:DSCN9096The first one I made was a straight-forward large tote bag.  The plastic-ish weave is a bit stiff to work with and definitely requires a little practice.  The first couple of items I made using a straight stitch, then I read online to try a zig-zag stitch…so much easier!DSCN9080Then, I experimented with lining the totes.  This one was for my mother and has a pocket inside. She loved it and so do the other teachers at her school.DSCN9114DSCN9110I lined the horse bag too and included a magnetic closure.  I think my niece is going to like carrying her stuff to Grandma’s house in this bag:DSCN9122DSCN9126DSCN9125I really wanted to experiment with some more bags and to try to make an apron, but I did not have access to anymore empty feed bags.  So, I did something I’ve never done…I put a “wanted” ad on Craigslist!  I immediately received a response from a nice local gentleman and his wife who are into recycling.  They save their livestock feed bags and usually sell them (for $0.25/each) to construction sites (to use as sandbags).  They originally offered to sell me ~50 bags, but then when they found out what I was doing with them and saw the pics…they decided to give me all of their bags in exchange for a tote and apron.  How fun is that??  When they dropped the bags off, I wound-up with ~80 bags!!  IMG_0941[1]Now that I have so many bags, I have been free to experiment a bit.  So fun!  I am also on a waiting list for a craft show (my first), so these bags will definitely be making an appearance at the show. 

A small lunch tote with Velcro closure:DSCN9145DSCN9159
A large tote:DSCN9184DSCN9188 DSCN9192DSCN9193DSCN9194DSCN9195Aren’t these livestock bags great?  I love the images on them and they are big (50lb bags).  I am hoping to get some different bags..maybe some cute chicken feed or hog feed would be neat....for the next round of sewing.
Since this post is soooo long (sorry!), I’ll show you how I made the apron in a separate post.

I just love making treasure out of trash!  What have you UPCYCLED into a fun project lately?

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Monday, August 20, 2012

DIY Storage Cubbies with Adjustable Shelves

I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I was getting to play with new tools while building something with my Mother this past week…well, this is what we were building:  DSCN9134My Mother is the librarian at my son’s small Christian school.  The school did a bunch of remodeling this Summer…including a little front office makeover.  In the process, they realized that they needed a new set of cubbies.  Of course, my Mother volunteered US to build the custom size needed!

The pattern came from none other than Ana White…you can find it here:  (Be sure to watch her video…there are important steps in the video that are not clear on the written instructions.)  Ours is a little different because we needed our unit to have 18 cubbies…enough for all of the school staff to have a “mailbox”.

We bought the lumber, moulding, and screws.  I brought my circular saw and we set to work in my parents’ garage. Warning: These are not the most flattering pictures…but it was over 100 degrees on a hot South Texas day and many were taken by my 10 year old son.DSCN8991We finally got to play with my Kreg Jig Jr! I have been itching to try it out and it did not disappoint. Look at these awesome joints:DSCN9005DSCN9002DSCN9013The basic unit is complete…so far so good.DSCN9018We added the frame and then played with my Mother’s new Kreg tool…a Shelf Pin Jig!  This was cool and easy to use. It allows you to easily make adjustable shelving. Your holes will always be lined-up…saves the measuring and marking and guesswork!!DSCN9029DSCN9030My son and my niece even got in on the building with Grandma:DSCN9035Cubby Adyson 2My Mother added the molding and painted the unit herself a few days later.100_1391 editDSCN9134We delivered it to the school this afternoon and they loved it!  Aren’t those adjustable shelves neat?DSCN9135Let me know if you build one!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Camo Corn

Today was my son’s first day of 5th grade! It is hard to believe that I have a 10-year old and he’s only a couple of years away from Jr. High!!!  Where does the time go? So, last night we went to school orientation and saw his homeroom.  The theme this year is: “Soldiers in the Lord’s Army”.  His teacher did a cute job of decorating with green army men and each class was given a “company name”.  My T is in Bravo Company.  Fun, right?

I wanted to send in a treat for the class’ first day.  In keeping with the theme, I decided to do: Camo Corn…..popcorn in camouflage colors!I searched the internet and found several ways to dye popcorn, but the way that sounded tastiest was using butter, sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin to make a candy coating.
Here is the recipe I used:

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

“New” Old Finds!

I have accomplished nothing lately…or at least it feels that way.  Summer is winding down and life has been busy with odds-n-ends stuff.  I have a project started in the garage and another one waiting to be started.  I have tons of ideas, but no time or inspiration.  The laundry is waiting and the house needs to be cleaned.  Ugh…what’s a gal to do?

Go shopping, of course!

I went to see the latest stash of goodies available at Old is Better Than New…I’ve posted about Gabriel’s shop before and love his finds.  (Check out his FB page…he updates with photos of new items frequently and offers discounts!) 

I saw this old wooden ladder on his FB page and knew I had to have it! 
Photo: Vintage wood ladder. Asking $12
I love the ladder projects I’ve seen on Pinterest, so I created a new Pin Board “Old Ladders”.  Now, I just have to decide where to put it and how exactly I want to use it!!  It is already a lovely, beat-up, paint-splattered pale blue too!  Indoors or outdoors?  I can’t quite decide.

One of my all-time favorite finds was this old nursery scale!  DSCN8965As a NICU nurse who uses fancy electronic scales on a daily basis, I just love this rusty old thing!  I also just accepted a new position as a staff educator this week and will have an office soon…this is totally going in as part of my d├ęcor!DSCN8960I also picked-up an antique wooden washboard.  Just thought it was cool.  I almost hate to hang it in my laundry room since no one ever goes in there but me. Maybe on top of my kitchen cabinets? Hmm…

Gabriel gave me a great deal on all three items and discounted prices for being a FB follower.  I walked away with all 3 items for $40!!  Woo-hoo!

I even made a new washer jewelry item yesterday afternoon for a friend…shopping does inspire, right?  She gave me the quote she wanted and also said that she wanted her and her husband’s initials included.  Simple, but cute…and she loved it.  Here it is:DSCN8954Now, maybe I should start working on that laundry…

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