Monday, November 7, 2011

Wine Glass Charms

I am horrible at keeping track of things.  No matter how many times I tell myself to put things back where they came from, I inevitably will tuck my keys under a hat, leave my phone in the car, or lose track of what I'm looking for.  This applies to beverages and food in a shared space.  I'll set a glass of wine down on a table, and suddenly, in a sea of other glasses, I've forgotten which is mine.

Luckily, this is a problem that is affordably and quickly solved with homemade wine charms!  I made these with some friends of mine last week, and now I shall never lose track of my beverages.  These can also be used on mug handles!  

Materials Required:

  • 24-26mm earring hoop
  • assorted beads
  • charm
  • jump ring
  • needle nose or jewelry pliers

Using the pliers, open the jump ring.  Don't open up the circle to make a "C", because it will be harder to put it back to a circular shape.  Instead, hold it such that the ring is facing you and the joint is facing upwards.  Hold one side with your hand, and use the pliers to hold on the other side.  Twist it such that one side is towards you, and the other is away.  If you look at it straight on, it should look like an "O" still.

If that didn't make sense, check out this tutorial.
Slide the charm into the jump ring, and twist closed.
Thread your beads and charm along the hoop.
Your earring hoop should have two sides: one flat side with a hole, and the post on the other side.  Bend a few millimeters of the post at 90 degrees using the pliers.

Now the hoop will stay closed when hooked together.
Easy!  Now you know which glass is yours.

Make a whole set!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Reusable Cup Sleeve

Sometimes I find myself without my coffee travel mug, and have to succumb to using another disposable cup.  This usually happens when I'm in a hurry, my travel mug isn't clean, and/or I'm being forgetful.

I've always felt the most wasteful part is the little corrugated cardboard sleeve.  If I were patient enough for my coffee to cool, I wouldn't even need it.  After seeing a few of these reusable fabric sleeves all over the internet, I decided it's not a bad idea to use up some scraps this way.  The sleeves are much easier to keep in my backpack and purse, and don't require too much space or cleaning (like the travel mugs do).  In the event that I forget my mug again, I'll at least have these to use!  Plus, it's a great way to use up smaller scraps of fabric.

Materials Required:
-One cardboard sleeve
-Quilt batting (I used a dense bamboo/cotton blend, ~12"x4" rectangle for each layer, I used two layers of batting since it was thin)
-Outside and inside fabrics (can be the same, ~12"x4" rectangle of each)
-Elastic (5")

Open up the cardboard sleeve at the glue joint.  Lay flat over your fabric pieces.  Cut with a 1/2" border around the shape for each layer.

You will end up with 3-4 layers: outer fabric, inner fabric, and 1-2 layers of batting, depending on thickness.
 Cut 5" of elastic.
 Layer the fabrics in the following order:
-batting (bottom)
-inner fabric (pattern side up)
-outer fabric (pattern side down)
-optional second layer of batting

Between the inner and outer fabric layers, fold the elastic in half and pin the ends to the center edge of the patterns like below:
 Pin in place.
 Sew using a topstitch, giving a 1/4" allowance from the edge.
 This is what it should look like now!
 When you open up the layers like a book, you should have the two fabric patterns facing up, with the elastic loop between them:
 Press the layers facing each other again, and stitch along the curved sides (1/4" from the edge) but leave the end opposite of the elastic open.
 Clip the corners, and turn it inside out.  Use a chopstick or other dull, skinny object to push out the corners.  Press with an iron, and it should look like this:

 Tuck in 1/4" of the fabric of the open edge.  Trim the batting to reduce the bulk.
 Iron in place, and top stitch to secure.
 About two and a half inches in from the edge, sew a decorative button in place.
 I used embroidery thread for strength and color.
 Voila!  It is complete!  Wrap around your coffee cup, and loop the elastic around the button to keep into place.  Overlap the fabric to adjust for the size of your cup.