Here are some favorite ideas from Darby Stickler for a Homemade Holiday during the month of December. If you start now, you can cruise into Christmas while giving one item a shot each day. Make sure to click on the links (any type that's blue) for more information and step-by-step tutorials with pictures. Enjoy!
12. Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments
A fun variation on the salt dough ornaments (click here for salt dough ornament recipe), these are a rich gingerbread color and keep their delicious scent for years.
• 3 cups applesauce
• 3 cups of cinnamon
1. Mix applesauce and cinnamon together until it is thick enough to hold a form when cut into cookie cutter shapes. Flatten the mixture on a flat surface and cut into cookie cutter shapes.
2. Place cookie shapes on a cookie sheet to dry for 3 to 4 days depending on the size and thickness of the cookies. If using as a hanging ornament, make hole with straw or toothpick before drying.
Literally made from socks, this craft is a little complicated but well worth the work. Darby referred to a craftbits.com tutorial to create her bunny version shown on page 56 of the December issue.
These sweet little baubles mask odors.
• baking soda
• seam allowance: 3/8-inch
1. Cut out pattern pieces. (See Darby’s tutorail for pattern)
2. Attach contrasting band to sachet bag front and back by placing pattern pieces right sides together and placing contrasting band on dotted line.
3. Press bands up and stitch in place
4. Fold under the top of the banding and the top of the sachet bag fabric towards each other and stitch along the top.
5. Fold the strap fabric piece in half (lengthwise) and then turn each long side under again towards center crease, press, and stitch together. Then pin and attach strap to inside of sachet bag.
6. Create a buttonhole on the front of the sachet bag. Being careful to keep it toward the top of the bag so the insert will fit properly
7. Place right sides of front and back pieces of sachet bag together. Stitch around the outside. Clip corners and turn right side out. Sew on button.
8. With wrong sides together, using a shorter stitch, stitch around the exterior of the insert. Leaving a 1- to 2-inch opening at the top to fill halfway with baking soda and sew shut.
9. Dish Mat
Sew up a custom sink accessory with a print of your own picking. Double duty: use them to wrap cookbooks. Click here for a PDF of Darby's tutorial.
• 5/8 yard of main fabric, prewashed
• 5/8 yard of coordinating fabric, prewashed
• 5/8 yard of terrycloth or a recycled bath towel, prewashed
• (All seam allowances are ¼ inch unless otherwise noted.)
1. Cut or tear main fabric (with grain) into (4) 5 ½-inch x 22 ½-inch strips.
2. Cut or tear coordinating fabric (with grain) into (5) 3 ¼-inch x 22 ½-inch strips.
3. Starting with the thinner coordinating fabric piece the front of the dish mat together, sew with a straight stitch and press seams towards/under the main fabric panels (this will build bulk and give an appearance of the coordinating fabric being inset).
4. Top stitch with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, using a triple stitch along the inside seam of main fabric. A triple stitch will give you a thick and substantial looking stitch. If your machine doesn’t have a triple stitch a straight stitch would work just fine, but less substantial.
5. Now that the front of your dish mat is pieced together you can lay it on top of your bath towel or terrycloth (with right sides together), cut the terrycloth to size, and pin around the edges.
6. Using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew around the outside of the dish mat with right sides together, be sure to leave an opening large enough on one side to turn the dish mat right side out. Once you’ve sewn around the outside with right sides together, trim your seams and clip your corners.
7. Then you can turn your dish mat right-sides-out, press, and hand sew the opening shut. Finish by topstitching around the outside of the finished dish mat using about a 3/8-inch seam allowance.
8. The terrycloth does tend to pucker a little around the edges. After the first wash it will lay completely flat.
8. Coffee Cozy
Darby follows Erin Harris’s guide to make sassy coffee cup slips. You can find the tutorial here.
• 1 piece exterior fabric, 6 inches x 14 inches
• 1 piece lining fabric, 6 inches x 14 inches
• 1 piece of cotton batting, 6 inches x 14 inches
• 1 hair elastic
• 1 large button
• Sewing Machine
• Marking pen or pencil
1. Using coffee cozy template, cut one out of each the exterior, lining and batting fabrics. Make sure you print the template at 100 percent.
2. Take the hair elastic and pinch it to form two loops. Place this on the right side of the exterior fabric so that the loop pointing towards the center is approximately 1 inch. Using a zig zag stitch, sew this to the exterior fabric 1/4 inch from the edge, going over your stitches a few times to secure it.
3. Pin all three layers together in this manner: batting on the bottom, exterior fabric right side up in the middle, and lining fabric right side down on top.
4. Starting on the bottom edge, sew around the cozy using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, pivoting at the corners and leaving a 2- to 3-inch opening in the bottom center for turning.
5. Reinforce the stitching over the elastic by sewing over it four or so times.
6. Trim seams to a scant 1/4 inch except at the opening. Leave that seam allowance as is.
7. Turn right-side-out, pushing out corners. Press flat, folding the seam allowance at the opening towards the inside.
8. Starting in one corner, topstitch around the cozy 1/8 inch from edge.
9. Fold cozy so that the elastic end is on top of the other end. The top edge should overlap approximately 1 inch and the bottom edge should overlap approximately 1/2 inch.
10. Using the elastic band as a guide, mark the position of your button.
11. Sew the button in place. Pull elastic over button.
12. Go get a coffee. Slip cozy on cup. Notice barista’s amazement at your craftiness!
Make one for yourself while stitching a few for friends. With this cute creation tied around your waist, you’ll be inspired to whip up some holiday happies in the kitchen.
• 5/8 yard of fabric for apron skirt
• 1/4 yard of fabric (without nap or grain) for contrasting waistband/ties and pleated insert (If you choose a contrasting fabric that has a nap/grain you will need 3/4 yard)
• All seam allowances are 1/2-inch unless otherwise stated.
1. Cut or tear 2 pieces for main skirt panel 13 ½-inches wide x 20 ½-inches long and one piece of contrasting fabric for pleat 4 ½-inches wide x 20 ½-inches long.
2. With right sides together attach one skirt panel piece to the center with a straight stitch.
Serge, overcast or zigzag over your raw edges. And repeat for the other panel seam.
3. Fold in half with right sides. Move in from the fold 3 ½ inches, mark the top of fabric at edge, measure down from that point 3 ½ inches and mark again. Pin and sew from top marking to bottom marking. To reinforce the pleat sew back and forth several times at the bottom of stitching row.
4. Open panel pleat and press.
5. Baste (long-running straight stitch) ½ inch from the top to hold pleat in place.
6. Finishing apron skirt panel, turn under panel sides ½ inch and press. Turn under ½ inch again and stitch. To hem bottom: fold up 1 inch and press. Again, fold up 1 inch and stitch.
For the waistband and apron ties:
1. Cut or tear 3 pieces of fabric 4 ½-inches wide x 22-inches long. Pin right sides of short sides together and sew with a straight stitch. Open seams and press flat.
2. Hold the waistband / ties lengthwise, fold in half and press. Open and pin to the top of the apron, lining up the seams on the waistband with the top of the finished apron skirt. And stitch using a ½-inch seam allowance.
3. After you’ve attached the waistband to the top of your apron panel, turn the waistband up and press remaining waistband/ties up ¼ inch on both raw edges
4. Press in half (wrong sides together), pin and stitch.
This yummy spread is tasty on a variety of different breads. The recipe yields half a dozen jars making great gifts for neighbors. Click the link above for the recipe and cute gift-giving ideas!
This delectable bread is oh-so-good any time of the day. Try it hot, topped with Cinnamon Honey Butter from Day 6.
• 2 cups boiling water
• 1 cup rolled oats
• ½ cup honey
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 (.24 oz) package of active dry yeast
• ½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
• 1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
• 3 ½ to 4 cups bread flour
• 3 tablespoons milk
• 3 tablespoons honey
• handful of rolled oats
1. In large mixing bowl, combine boiling water with oats, honey, butter and salt. Let stand 1 hour.
2. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
3. Pour the yeast mixture into the oats mixture. Combine wheat flour and bread flour in separate bowl. Add 2 cups of flour mixture to oats mixture and combine well. Continue adding flour mixture to mixing bowl by 1/2 cup increments until dough pulls together. This will happen when between 5 ½ and 6 cups of flour has been added. You may not need the last 1/2 cup of flour.
4. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Or add your bread hook to your mixer and knead for a few minutes.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about one hour.
6. Deflate the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place in 9 x 5 greased loaf pans, cover with damp cloth and let rise again until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. While oven is preheating, mix milk and honey together in mug and microwave for about 20 seconds. Brush warm milk mixture over loaves and generously sprinkle with rolled oats.
8. Bake loaves for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool before removing from pans. Yields 2 loaves.
4. Rice Bag Heating Pad
Fun fabrics on a functional heating pad make winter aches and pains a bit more tolerable. Click here for a tutorial.
• a piece of 100% cotton fabric 9 inches x 36 inches
• 100% cotton thread
• a couple tea bags or lavender (about 2 tea bags)
1. Fold the fabric in half with right sides together and sew a straight stitch (with 1/2-inch seam allowance) on the two long sides. Turn it right side out.
2. Mark 4 equal sections on the front. Starting with the section closest to the closed end, stitch a straight stitch (topstitch) about 3/4 of the way down the marked line. Fill with rice (about a cup and half) and tea or lavender.
3. Maneuver all the rice away from the small section that has not been sewn shut and then sew it closed. Then moved on to the next section doing the same thing. At the end turn the ends under and top stitch the bag closed.
Make a festive flower bow or simply accessorize gifts with these adorable buds.
• fabric scraps
• Elmer’s glue
• barrette (if desired)
1. Cut scraps of fabric into flower shapes (going from big flower to small flower).
2. Dip flowers into a bowl of watered down Elmer’s glue.
3. Place wet flowers on drying rack and let dry.
4. Layer flowers.
5. Stitch the flowers together.
6. Glue buttons on top.
7. Attach to barrette clip in the same fashion you would the bow.
Darby put her own touch on these chocolate and mint yummies, adapted from an AllRecipes.com treat by Patty Stockton.
• 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
• 4 cups confectioners' sugar
• 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
• 2 teaspoons shortening
• red food coloring
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine condensed milk, peppermint extract and food coloring. Beat in enough confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough that is no longer sticky. Form into 1-inch balls, then place on waxed paper and flatten with fingers to form patties. Let patties dry at room temperature two hours, turning once.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate with shortening, stirring often. Remove from heat. Using a candy mold, fill with chocolate, add patty, then top with chocolate and freeze.
Finally, you’ll need a super-cute carryall to stow gifts while you deliver them to friends and family. Darby used the tutorial on Sew Mama, Sew! for her own adorable bag.
• 1 yard of home décor cotton fabric (1½ yards for fabric with nap or if you’d like to add more pockets)
• Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
• Straight pins (for this thick fabric, I recommend quilting pins, size 28)
• Sewing machine fitted with a needle for thicker fabrics. I use a Schmetz 90/14 needle. (Some may recommend a topstitching needle and thread, but this is what I’ve always used with hardly any trouble.)
1. Cut two pieces of each size from your fabric:
a) 20- x 21-inch (Pay attention to the nap here because the top and bottom of the tote will be the shorter 20-inch sides. For my fabric in the photo, I wanted the direction of the design to be vertical on the finished tote so I cut my fabric accordingly.)
b) 5- x 26-inches for the handles
c) 10- x 10-inches for the pocket.
2. Make the pocket:
a) With right sides together sew around all sides using ½-inch seam allowance, but leave a small, (2- to 3-inch), opening for turning. (If your fabric has a certain nap like mine, be sure to match your design before sewing. You don’t want to turn your pocket and find the design running one way for the outside and another for the inside!)
b) Clip corners, turn and push corners out. (I use a chopstick.)
c) Press making sure seams pushed out and opening is turned in.
d) Topstitch about 1 inch down across the side opposite of your opening. (The topstitched side will be the opening of the pocket.)
3. Attach Pocket:
a) Using one of your 20- x 21-inch pieces, place your 9- x 9-inch pocket on your panel with the right sides up making sure the top of your pocket is parallel to the 20-inch sides of your tote. (You don’t want your pocket to open along the side of your bag!)
b) Measure in 5 ½ inches from each 21-inch side and 6 inches from the top and bottom.
c) Pin pocket in place.
d) Sew the three sides of your pocket in place using 1/8-inch seam allowance. Be sure to secure the opening you used to turn your pocket closed with your stitches. (I also use the triple stitch selection on my sewing machine to be sure the pocket doesn’t come loose.)
4. Sew main panels:
a) Since I don’t have a serger, I use a simple French seam to hide all the frayed ends of the home décor fabric.
b) First, sew around all three sides with wrong sides together using ¼-inch seam allowance.
c) I’ve found that in order to have a neat, crisp edge for your French seam, it’s best to iron your seams open with the seam pressed to one side. (I put it over the end of my ironing board.)
d) Then turn your tote inside out, lay it out with right sides together and all the seams at the sides. (You may want to use a chopstick or something to push out your corners. Since these will be in a gusset, it’s not important to get them pushed out perfectly.) Then press the seams flat so you have a neat edge to sew your next seam.
e) Sew around all three sides with a 3/8-inch seam allowance.
f) Now marvel at your beautiful French seam!
5. Make the gussets:
a) With your tote inside out, take one corner and open it up.
b) I do this next step by feel because this is how I taught myself and it’s fast. Basically, you feel for your seams: the side seam of your tote, which should be on top (between my thumbs in the photo), and the bottom seam of the tote, which should be between your index fingers. Simply move the fabric around feeling with your fingers until the seams are lined up on top each other and there’s a nice point. (To reduce bulk, be sure that your French seams are laying the in the opposite direction of each other. In the photo, the top seam between my thumbs is laying to the left so I made sure the bottom seam is laying to the right.)
c) Now, measure 2 ½ inches down from the top point and draw a line. Sew a strong triple stitch along your line.
d) Repeat the above steps for the other corner, but before sewing your gusset line, be sure that the bottom French seam is laying flat in the same direction.
6. Make the handles:
a) Press both 5- x 26-inch pieces in half lengthwise.
b) Open and press both sides in toward the center crease.
c) Press center crease closed again.
d) Stitch 1/8 inch or as close as you can along each long side. I use a triple stitch again here, but it’s mainly for aesthetic reasons.
7. Attach the handles:
a) With your tote inside out, create a 1½-inch hem along the top of your tote by folding down the top raw edge ½ inch and press with an iron. Fold down another 1½ inches and press again.
b) Working with one side at a time, place your tote on a flat surface and lay out one handle making sure it isn’t twisted.
c) Place your handle by measuring in 5 inches from each side of the tote. This should leave a 6-inch space in the middle, between the two handle ends.
d) Tuck each handle end under the hem pushing it all the way up to the top crease and pin.
e) Repeat handle placement and pin on the other side of the tote.
f) Sew a strong triple stitch along the bottom of the hem with the handles laying flat. I use the ¼-inch guide on my machine and try to keep it as straight as possible. Sew around the entire tote stitching both handles in place. (As you come to a pin, carefully hold your handle in place and remove your pins before continuing. Don’t sew over pins!)
g) Now move to the top of the tote. Again sew around the entire tote, but this time fold your handles up and sew in place. (I don’t use pins here and I follow the ¼-inch seam guide again.)
h) Check your work to be sure everything matches up.