Monday, July 25, 2011

Plastic Bag Holder Tutorial

Here's a super-easy, super-quick project you could complete in an afternoon:

Plastic Bag Holder

Cotton fabric, pieced or solid, 20" x 25"
1/4" Elastic, cut to 10" and 6"
3/4" Ribbon, cut to 12"

 As you can see, I took some scraps from a previous project and pieced them into a design I liked.  I used a heavy cotton which kept the holder from looking lumpy once the bags were inside.  You could design any pattern you like, and a solid piece of fabric would work just as well.

This holder is a bit over-sized because I had a large space on my wall I wanted to fill.  You could easily change the height of the fabric to fit a smaller or larger space.  Keep the 20" width, and adjust height however you like.  No other measurements (for elastic or ribbon) need change.

Once you have your rectangle, lay it right side up and measure 2.5" down and 5" in from the left edge.  Mark this point with chalk or disappearing fabric pen.  Repeat with the right edge.  You will sew the ribbon to these points later.

Next fold over the bottom edge of your rectangle 1/4" and press.  Fold again 1/2" and press to make a casing for the elastic.  Repeat with the top edge of your rectangle.  Sew along the very outer edge of these folds.

Attache a safety pin to the end of your 6" elastic.

 Insert the pin into the casing at the bottom of your fabric.

 Thread the pin through the casing, taking care to stop just before the end of the elastic disappears.

 Sew over this end a few times to secure the elastic.   Keep threading the safety pin through the casing until you reach the other side, then sew over that end as well.

 The bottom of your holder will now look like this.  Repeat these steps with the 10" elastic and the top of your holder.  (This elastic is longer to allow for stuffing lots of bags into a larger opening.)

 Here's how the holder will look with the elastic in both ends.

 Next, attach the ribbon to the points you previously marked. Fold the ribbon under and sew over a few times to secure.

 Fold the bag in half length-wise with right sides together and sew ends with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn your bag out, and voilĂ !  

You're Done!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chalkboard nook

I don't know about you, but I struggle keeping track of to do lists.  Either they're on teeny scraps of paper scattered throughout the house, or on some document on my computer that I never look at.

I particularly need a good - visible - place for my list of around-the-house chores that are perfect to tackle during the weekend.  (How it works now is I live with a vague sense that I wanted to accomplish something, but instead spend hours playing Plants vs. Zombies while I wait for inspiration to strike.)

So I decided to take an uninspired corner of the kitchen and turn it into a much more attractive, much more functional To Do nook.

 First, I cleared out the space.  I removed the sad little hook holding way too many things, moved the artwork, and set the broom aside.

 I taped off a large rectangle to delineate where the chalk wall would be.  I used a yard stick and level to draw a straight line in pencil, then ran 2" painters tape along the line.

 Two inches in, I drew another rectangle and taped it off in 1" painters tape to create a border for visual interest.

 I made sure to keep the corners of the inner rectangle nice and clean.  Cutting the tape with scissors helped.

 Then I painted over the whole shebang in black chalkboard paint.  It took me two coats to get a nice clean surface.  After it dried I removed the tape.

 I hung a coat rack that was leftover from a previous project, and since the paint was also leftover and I had all the paint supplies on hand, this project cost me exactly $0!

 Tip: make sure to press the edges of the painters tape down firmly or you'll be doing some touch-up like me.

 And here's the finished look!  Now I have a place for art smocks, aprons, the broom, and a great visual reminder or all those little projects I want to take care of.

 Another view

 The added bonus is a fun new art space for the kids.  (Of course I've been warned they'll soon take over the whole wall, but until they grow a bit, I still have the top to myself.)

 A little plastic cup screwed into the wall makes a great place to hold chalk.  I placed it high enough for my 4-year-old to reach, but too high for the 1-year-old.  Since she thinks chalk is pretty tasty, it's best that she can't get into it on her own, for now.

As you can see, they're big fans.