Friday, June 27, 2014

The Happy Gardener Reycyles Cookie Tins!

These past couple of weeks have been spent sprucing up my "secret" side garden and the deck off my living room with flowers, flowers and more flowers.  It's just lovely sitting out there with my morning coffee and my Kobo... a little read,a cup of good coffee, some sunshine and this kid is a happy camper!

First let me tell you about those flower boxes.  They are the best thing since sliced bread for putting over a railing.  They are adjustable to the width of the railing but the best thing is that they have a leveling piece on the bottom of them that allows them to remain upright... no sagging, no danger they will fall over or off.  They also have a reservoir in the bottom of them so that in warm weather your plants won't be suffering from thirst.  They are more expensive than most planter boxes but worth every penny.  Called "fence and railing planters", they are available from LeeValley.

Recycled Cookie Tin Project

One fine sunny day, in the early days of spring, I was cleaning up and clearing out "stuff" that had been lingering forgotten in my downstairs pantry.  I came across some old cookie tins I had been saving for a couple of years.  They were the big ones from Costco that had once held some very delicious Christmas cookies.  I couldn't remember why I was saving them so they were earmarked for the recycling bin.

As I was about to place them in the bin and send them to recycling heaven, it hit me.  Of course, use them to plant flowers in this summer!  But boy the first thing they would need would be a paint job and some sprucing up.  They were okay as cookie tins but pretty ugly for fleurs!!

Over to the hardware store I went to buy some primer paint and some hot red and yellow spray paint for the second coat. Well it was a bit too nippy outside to do any painting so I had to put the project on hold till it warmed up some outside.  But in the meantime...

I went looking for vintage flower seed packet graphics and found  a whole collection of Seed Catalogues at the Smithsonian digital collection.

I found a bunch I liked, re-sized them in my graphics program to fit the sides of the cookie tins and printed them off.  Because they will be outside all summer, I decided to ModgePodge them with a couple of coats to protect them from inclement weather.

Fast forward to a warm spring day.  Out the door into the backyard I went with a big cardboard box, my primer paint and the tins.  Put the tins in the box to paint as spray paint goes all over.  Even being as careful as I was with both the primer and finish coat of red, I ended up with some rather pretty but unusual colored grass!!

Take your time painting inside and out.  Get into all the crevices with the primer.  Let it dry thoroughly... best to wait overnight.  The next day you can start with the your chosen finish colour for the outside of the tin.  You really don't need to do the inside.

Once your tins are thoroughly dry, you can modge podge your graphics to the sides of the tin.  Do all four sides as you may be turning the plants around for even blooming. Punch a bunch of holes in the bottom of the tin. Take a kitchen garbage bag and cut it to fit inside the tin, fill it with dirt and then your plants.

I made three of them... two red ones for the bench in my secret garden and one yellow one that sits on the table at our front door...

Happy Gardening,


Monday, June 9, 2014

Fun Projects - Messenger Bag/Tutorial

Well my friend Karen recently "lightly and gently" scolded me for not posting more often! "it doesn't have to be a long post you know... you do some cool projects we all want to see."

Okay, my friend, I promise I will do a series of small posts over the summer.  And the first one is the "I need to grab my wallet and go to the store" messenger bag project I just completed a couple of days ago.

I don't know about you, but I ABSOLUTELY do not like having to haul my big tote bag (with everything but the kitchen sink in it...) to the grocery store or the beach.  So one day last week with a couple of hours to play in my sewing room, I decided to make a small kid sized messenger bag that fits my sunglasses, my wallet and keys. Here are the 5 things I like about it:

1. strap is wide and fits either over my shoulder and diagonally across my body
2. was made from left over fabric in my stash
3. has a little inner pocket to tuck my car/house keys in
4. washable
5. lined with iron on fleece to give it shape and body

 Here's a photo of the finished project:

I made the "body" out of jean fabric, lined it with the outer fabric and used another piece of fabric for the strap.  It's a great way to use up those scraps of fabric from other projects.

Here are the fabric size cutting instructions I used for my bag:

Flap - 1 - print fabric - 9.5" x 8"
Flap Lining - 1 - jean fabric - 9.5 x 8"

Body - 1 - jean fabric - 12" x 17"
Body Lining - 1 - print fabric - 12" x 17" 

Strap - 1 - print fabric - 40" long x 4.5" wide

Iron on fleece - for strap - 40" long x 4" wide
               - for flap - 1 piece - 9.5" x 8"
               - for body - 1 piece - 12" x 17"

You can find excellent picture sewing instructions for a kids messenger bag here. 

If you want to add an inner pocket, there are also instructions at the site for measurements and how to do it.

The pictorial is especially helpful if you need some assistance in learning how to attach the lining and strap to the bag.  It is easy as pie once you "get it" but it can drive you to drink (chuckle) if you don't know how... it is not an intuitive assembly!!

If you want to add a magnetic snap to the bag, do it before you assemble it!!  I forgot and then decided to just leave it off altogether rather than mess it up!

To strengthen the strap and allow it to "lie" nicely, top-stitch it on both sides and sew a couple of "lines" through the length of the strap.

So there you have it... use up your stash...make one for yourself, one for a friend, a neighbour, a favourite sister or niece and while you are at it why not make one for each of your kids, your grandkids, the neighbour kids, their friends... Just kidding...

Happy Sewing,