Category: Stash Bust

Modified Herringbone Quilt Scraps

Angela FlickerI made a modified herringbone quilt for my mother, for Christmas, from an original quilt design of mine. I didn’t really have a solidified plan when I sat down to start. As a result, I had lost of leftover scraps. Here are a few photos showing what I did with the scraps…

angela flicker

angela flicker

Don’t throw those quilt scraps out, but find creative ways to use them.

angela flicker modified herringbone quilt

How to Cut a Chain of Paper Dolls

how to cut a chain of paper dolls You may remember cutting a chain of paper dolls from your childhood, but may not remember the exact procedure. These directions will help stir your memory and get you crafting.

A few months back, I wrote about “Crafts for Kids with Scrap Fabric”.  These paper dolls are a great extension or variation to that project.

And before I get to the tutorial part of this post, I wanted to make an announcement.  At Craft Lake City this Saturday, I will be hosting a craft booth where kids can make these paper doll chains.  Come on by!

craft lake city 2012

DIY Paper Doll Chain

Things You’ll Need:

• Construction paper or card-stock (old file folders also work great)

• Pen or pencil

• Scissors and glue

• Doll Template

• Craft supplies such as scrap fabric, markers, crayons, yarn, etc.


1. Fold paper into an accordion with equal parts. (Note: 9×12 construction paper gets folded in half, 12×18 construction paper gets folded in thirds, old file folders get folded in fourths, etc)

2. Take the accordion folded paper, and using the doll template, draw a doll shape on to the top panel of the paper. Make sure to touch side to side with arms/hands and additional points if desired, such as the skirt and/or feet.

doll template

chain paper doll tutorial

3. Cut along the drawn outline, making sure not to cut into the linking arms/hands.

4. Open the chain of paper dolls and color or decorate the dolls with scrap fabric, yarn, crayons, markers, etc.

5. Consider drawing non-traditional forms, such as animals or aliens, for additional creativity.

DIY Paper Doll Chain tutorial

Happy crafting!

Crafts for Kids with Scrap Fabric

Crafts for Kids with Scrap Fabric

Lately, I have been keeping my eyes open, trying to find crafts for kids that use scrap fabric.  My stash of scrap fabric is taking over my studio, and so the other day when I was spring cleaning I decided I needed to let my daughter help me.

crafts for kids with scrap fabric

First, she made a house.  It was much like a gingerbread house, but we used fabric, glue and an old box instead of cookies, icing, and candy.

crafts for kids with scrap fabric

She also decorated a few paper dolls and a paper horse.  The outcome was adorable and it occupied her for days.  Along with that, it was a great activity to help with her cutting and gluing skills.  I didn’t realize this, but children’s scissors will cut fabric.  (I bet they will also cut hair and clothes then –note to self!)

After Monet was all done, I still had gobs of fabric left, so we put together about ten kits for other cousins and friends.

Crafts for Kids with Scrap Fabric

What kid crafts have you done, as a means to use up all that scrap fabric?

A Heartmade Eco-Holiday Contest

Have you heard about the eco-holiday contest going on over at Heartmade, inspired by the lovely Mayi Carles?  Today is the last day to submit work.  Check it out.

hearmade's eco-holiday contest

I decided to submit a few items --both inspired by applique and Christmas.

Growing up, my grandmother whom I’m very close to, never wasted anything.  For example, I have vivid memories of her putting water into a basically empty ketchup bottle where she would shake it around and dump it into a pot of soup she was cooking on the stove.  Wasting was not an option.  And since I lived with my grandmother for awhile, and grew up around her after we moved out, I believe her ability to use every last drop has been past down to me.  This is why I love applique –applique allows me to use all the scraps of fabric I collect over time, instead of throwing them away.

The print below for example, was made entirely out of scrap fabric, scrap binding, scrap ribbon, buttons, and embroidery thread.  And the Christmas tree was made from re-purposed felt, originally a sweater with moth holes from my wardrobe.

christmas machine applique scene

I made this holiday applique scene awhile back, as I was getting ready for the "A Crafty Holiday" blog hop event.

Christmas machine applique pillow

I then turned the print into a pillow for my mother, again using scraps I had left over from quilting.

Christmas machine applique pillowChristmas machine applique pillow

Lastly, I used scrap fabric to make name tags, putting the names of all the grandchildren in my immediate family on the presents, and the pillow insert was made using scrap batting and scrap polly-fill.

sewn paper and fabric cards

I also made a few Holiday cards, again using scrap paper, buttons, and fabric.

I hope this inspires you to save your scrap fabric in the future.  Any piece of ribbon or fabric, bigger than an inch, get’s saved in my studio.  Look at the tiny presents, with their tiny ribbons –really, every last drop can be used, just like my grandmother use to do.

Scrappy Projects

I’m a firm believer in saving and using scraps, even though it can sometimes become overwhelming.  I put up with the chaos it creates because I believe in being resourceful and “green”.  Lately, all my scrap-saving has really come in handy –I’ve been busting through my scrappy piles as I prepare for The Beehive Bazaar.  Do you want to see?

machine applique felt flower

A machine applique flower made from old sweaters.

applique flower made from an old skirt

A flower made from an old skirt, scraps of tulle, and an old sweater.

leftover batting

A throw pillow insert made with leftover quilt batting and poly-fill.

pot holders made from scraps

Potholders made with leftover fabric and binding scraps.

The potholder idea was inspired by Camille Roskelley, after taking her Retro Kitchen class at The Creative Connections Conference.  Below are my piles of coordinated scrap fabrics and scrap binding.

Are you working on any “scrappy” projects?

A Picture That Tells a Thousand Stories

When I was a little girl, my sister and I loved to dress up dolls: paper dolls, Barbie dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids.  We never really played with the dolls.  Rather, we spent countless hours dressing them, doing their hair, and creatively setting up their houses and rooms.  In hind sight, I guess I’m not surprised that I enjoyed making these projects so much.  I genuinely felt like I was seven again, dressing up dolls with my beloved big sister.  
As I created these applique images, from photographs that Josh and I have taken, I only used materials that I found in my stash.  This is my final submission to the April Stash Bust.  Materials I used consisted of freezer paper, left over applique supplies from the quilt I made Monet last year (invisible thread, basting glue, an awl, and a glue stick), embroidery thread, and scrap fabrics from my many drawers of leftovers.
While the picture below originally only reminded me of my sweet husband, running around the house with my nieces, playing with umbrellas inside; the new version’s many fabrics now remind me of all the stories that each specific piece of fabric holds within its various threads.

The fabric that created the skin came from a flower I made for a friend’s wedding bouquet and dress.
The umbrella’s fabric was given to me by a friend when we were making Christmas cards at a ladies craft night.
The dress was leftover from when I was pregnant and making my daughter a quilt. 
The black sweater in this image came from a sweater I altered just recently.
The rug was a leftover scrap from when we upholstered our bar stools.
And so, with each new fabric, a whole new story is added to the picture, a memory is revisited.
Now these pictures don’t tell just one story, or even two, but countless narratives.  Each fabric scrap is a chapter perfectly crafted together into an artwork that tells a story that is exponentially deeper.

Repurpose Your Scrap Wood Into Great Games

Here is a project that I completed a little while back, yet it fits in great with the April Stash Bash. If you find yourself with scraps of wood, leftover from projects, and are unsure of what to do with them, why not repurpose those leftovers into beautiful board games?

After collecting various leftovers from years worth of woodworking projects, I found myself with quite a few dowel rods of different sizes, along with a piece of 1/2 inch plywood.  Just having had my butt kicked at chess the previous night, I vowed to make my game better, and so this beautiful chess board was born.  And even if my game didn’t get any better, at least I have a great board to lose on, right?
The board was made by cutting shallow groves into the wood with a table saw.  A dark stain was used to create the checkerboard pattern and then everything was sealed with a couple coats of polyurethane.  The chess pieces were simply made by combining the dowel rods, cut into a few basic shapes, with wood glue.
If chess isn’t your game you could also try out your luck at a game of checkers.
The great thing about this type of board is that you can also use the backside to create a totally different game.  The board shown below is used for the game “Go”.  Another strategy game I’m no good at.  You could also create a board for “backgammon” or any other game of your choosing.

Here is a totally different project for a game I actually used to be pretty good at.  That is until I had a child.  Darts and kids unfortunately don’t mix very well.  This dart cabinet was made using scraps from a redwood deck and a few cross sections of branches off some trees that were recently trimmed in the yard.

If you have any great ideas for games made from recycled, reused, and repurposed materials, we’d love to hear about them.

– Joshua Flicker

Turning an Old Skirt Into a Reversible Bag – April Stash Bust Continues

My sister Jene’ had a birthday eleven days ago, and finally this weekend I got to making her gift.  I know what you’re thinking.  Better late then never though, right?  And don’t worry, I don’t think she reads the blog, so our secret is still safe.

Before starting Jene’s project, I first had to come up with an idea.  And can I just stop here for a moment and say that I’m really enjoying the “April Stash Bust” this month.  Every time I go through my drawers of fabric and supplies, to coordinate a project, stories flood out of those drawers and overwhelm me with wonderful memories.  It seems each piece of fabric has a story behind it.  What a beautiful thing.  Unexpectedly, this has been my favorite part of the “bust” so far.

While collecting supplies for Jene’s gift, I opened one of my drawers where I keep old clothes that I hope to re-purpose one day. Old sweaters, dresses, skirts, shirts of Josh’s –and out of that drawer jumped a small, black, velvet miniskirt with tassels.  I picked this hot little number up at a clothing-swap a few months back.  A good friend of mine has these clothing swaps tri-annually where she invites a bunch of great woman that she knows from all areas of her life.  We all gather at her house and dump out our unwanted clothes in multiple rooms.  From there we basically drink wine, eat good food, and go treasure hunting among all the unwanted items.  And at the end of the night, we bag up all the leftovers and bring them to a Goodwill.  During this stage, I usually salvage once more through the items to see if any might inspire a future sewing project.  Can you believe no one wanted this skirt?

Here’s the miniskirt I was hoping to repurpose for Jene’s gift.
(Note:  I apologize for the poor quality of this picture.  My husband took it and when I asked him to make sure the picture was good and focused, well, he must of been watching basketball or something.)
Along with this miniskirt, I used some…
fancy pink and black fabric I had planned to use to make a diaper bag last year but never did, a vintage button, and other bag making supplies I had hiding in my stash (ribbon, felt interfacing, handle clips, etc.)
While I sipped my wine, sewed, and though about all the lovely woman who attended the last clothing-swap, soon this useless skirt, once again, had a beautiful purpose.

Note:  This bag is reversible.  Above you see the one side, and below the other.
I wanted to use the tassels for something else, other than tassels, for reasons I don’t think I necessarily need to explain.  I created this flower out of them and…
… the loops for the handle.
And so the skirt lives on, still a hot little number!

Grandma’s Napkins; A Granny Inspired Green Project

A few years ago, when my Grandmother passed away, my family found itself faced with the task of dividing her estate.  We’re not talking like, “I’ll take the summer home in the Hampton’s and you can have the cabin in the Rockies,” but rather, “Do you want the plates with the butterflies or the pink couch?”.  Our 1200 square foot bungalow didn’t have much room for her collection of about 200 angels or a gigantic entertainment center for an old tube television, so we found ourselves seeking out the little things.  Angela found a few pieces of vintage jewelry that were just coming back into style, and I happily took Grandpa’s old dented green metal toolbox filled with all the basic tools and even a “church key” inside for the really hard jobs.

As we looked through Grandma’s things, and memories associated with each item came back to our minds, Angela and I went down to the basement.  While down in the depths of the earth, we stumbled upon a giant treasure chest filled with wonders.  It was actually the chest that her family used when they immigrated to America from Germany, and she had recently been using it to store all her sewing supplies and fabric scraps.  There were tons of great swatches, from years past, that would be quite difficult to find in stores today.  Unfortunately, many of the fabric swatches were rather small, but I knew Angela would find something creative to do with them.  We loaded them up, happy to have found our treasure.

Fast forward to today.  Well, it took a while, but we found a great use for some of those small fabric scraps and we thought the idea fit in great with this months theme of “reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle.” See I’m Busting My Stash Up This Month and Going Green for more info.  Grandma’s leftover fabric scraps are now our nightly dinner napkins.

What a great way for us to remember Grandma at every meal, decorate our home with a little bit of charm, and also to keep a few more items out of the landfill.  
– Joshua Flicker

I’m Busting My Stash Up This Month and Going Green

Hey look, that’s me.  What am I wearing?  Yikes!  This was my exact thought the other day when I walked past a mirror.  Nine months ago I had a baby, and since my pregnancy weight has come off, all my clothes have been too big; they look terribly frumpy on me.  I could of course run out to the stores and buy more clothes, I do love to shop, but this month I’m saying no and I’m taking a challenge. This month, I’m making a vow to think about our lovely earth more.  Instead of always responding to my needs by buying, I want to further instill in myself good habits; I’m going to eat, think, craft, and execute, on a consistent basis, words like reuse, organic, reduce, re-purpose, and recycle!
What started all this?  Scoutie Girl, along with some other amazing bloggers!  They have introduced a challenge called April Stash Bust“.  The challenge they put out there is this, all crafters, big and small, instead of buying new supplies this month, only use what supplies you have stashed away.  I’m taking this vow as an artists, and also applying this idea to my personal life.  I’m not a wasteful person by any means, yet at the same time I think we all have room for improvement when it comes to really important issues like this.
So let’s get back to my problem.  Remember, the problem with the frumpy sweater?  With just a little bit of work, I can make this sweater adorable.  Here’s what I did…
Step 1:  I added a machine applique flower to the front of the sweater.
Step 2:  I pinned the sweater to fit.
Step 3:  I cut off the buttons and sewed where I pinned, altering the sweater.
Step 4:  I cut out the excess sweater material.
That was it.  It only took about 30 minutes.  What do you think of the results?
Please join me and make a statement to our Earth this month.  What could you do, big or small, to help lessen your impact?