Archive for August 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

baby binkie clips

It's Baby Week at Little Birdie Secrets! We have so many baby crafts to show you we decided to feature them all week long. Even if you don't have babies of your own right now, each of these items makes a great handmade gift for the moms and babies in your life. And if you leave us a comment this week you'll be entered in our drawing to win some darling baby items from this week's posts! Add a link to this blog on your blog or Web site and you'll be entered twice. Oh, baby!

Our first baby post this week has to be one of the easiest, and most appreciated, baby gifts you could give. Most babies love their binkies (my second wouldn't touch one--grrr!), but they also love pop them in and out of their mouths, or toss them and watch you pick them up 200 times a day. And when it's something that's meant to go in their mouth, you feel this annoying urge to wash them off each time. This simple baby binkie clip solves all your flying-binkie problems. Until your baby learns how to open Velcro, that is. But at that point it may be time to lose the binkie anyway. . .

Baby Binkie Clip Tutorial

What you'll need:

*15 inches of ribbon
*Mitten/suspender clip (we found them in a package of 2 at JoAnn in either silver or gold)
*Small piece of Velcro (either in strip form or small dots)
*Fray check (optional)
*Fabric glue (optional--if you want to sew everything you don’t need it)
*Sewing machine and matching thread

Okay, let's get started!

1. Apply fray check to both edges of ribbon to prevent fraying. If you don't have Fray Check, just sew a small hem on each end of the ribbon.

2. Thread ribbon through the mitten clip and fold over about 1-2 inches. Sew a square and then a diagonal line down the center to secure it.

3. Separate Velcro and use fabric glue to adhere pieces about 1 inch apart on the other end of the ribbon. Or sew in place if you prefer.

4. Attach binkie by threading ribbon through ring and securing Velcro.

5. For a little extra cuteness, glue a large coordinating button to the top of the clip. We suggest E6000 or a plastic/glass glue to really make it stick.

Clip the mitten clip to baby's collar, shirt, or waistband and just watch her try to throw that thing! Oh, and don't forget to make one to coordinate with every outfit!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}

Saturday, August 30, 2008

framed magnet board

We showed you one magnet project and we have another waiting in the wings, so we thought it was time to give you something on which to stick those magnets! Here's a tutorial for a very easy magnet board.

Magnet Board Tutorial

What you'll need:

*Any picture frame
*Spray paint and newspaper (if you want to paint it--you may like it the way it is!)
*Piece of sheet metal the same size or larger than your frame
*Ruler or measuring tape and marking tool
*Metal snips and gloves (if your sheet metal needs to be cut down)

Okay, let's get started.

This frame was on clearance at Ben Franklin for $4. It was cute, but Stacy wanted a punch of color, so she covered it with a quick coat of red spray paint. No sanding required. Then she measured the dimensions of the inside where the picture would normally go.

Next she took a piece of sheet metal, found at a local hardware store, and marked the measurements from the frame on it with a measuring tape and a Sharpie.

To trim it to the right size, use heavy metal shears. Or, ask your hardware store to cut it for you (some may do it for free, others for a nominal fee). Don't forget to bring your dimensions with you to the store!

Slip the metal into the back of the frame like you would a picture and replace the backing.

Uh, is that not the easiest magnet board in America? We know we have some international readers--can you come up with something easier than that? I highly doubt it, but send us a note if you do! This is such a great size because it can be hung on the wall or, if your frame has a stand, it's perfect to stand on a desk. Cover it with pictures or reminders and, of course, with your favorite magnets.

Look for frames at garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Restyle it with a coat of paint and your magnet board will be both hip and cheap. Two of the birdies' favorite things!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}

Friday, August 29, 2008

easy quilt ideas

WARNING: Do not be fooled by the post title. This was NOT an easy quilt. Each flower pot is appliqued, and tiny ric rac was sewn around each square. It took hours upon hours. It's beautiful, but the lucky baby who had this hanging over her crib was terrified of it. Maybe the flower centers looked like dozens of eyes staring down at her while she slept.

This quilt was not simple, either. Look at all those adorable forms of transportation for a kid to discover while he's fighting a nap. This also included hours of applique, not to mention all the time cutting out those intricate shapes. This blanket is never found on the owner's bed. You know what is? A simple fleece blanket that involved no sewing. This quilt, as cool as it is, turned out to be a totally unappreciated endeavor.

Sometimes all our hours of work on a quilt seem like a waste when others don't love it as much as we do. But, for those of us who live with the quilting bug, we still need to quilt, right? Today we'd like to offer some advice to all of you quilters out there, experts and novices alike. Simplify.

Each of the following quilts was made primarily from pre-cut fabric. Cutting fabric is my least favorite part of the process, and can take hours (especially if you're geometrically-challenged like me).

This quilt was made from pre-cut 6.5" x 6.5" squares found on eBay. They feature almost every pattern in a popular Amy Butler line. Stacy did not have to find and buy all the different fabrics of this line and then spend time measuring
and cutting, hoping to have enough squares. They came washed, ironed, and cut, ready to be pieced. She offset the blocks to make a brick pattern and skipped the border altogether. She found a simple backing (not an Amy Butler print, so it was cheaper) and used the same fabric for the binding. The quilting is a large stipple. This gorgeous quilt is simple, economical, and beautiful.

This sweet baby blanket was also made from pre-cut squares on eBay. It took two packs of 4" x 4" squares to complete it, plus a small border, backing, and binding. It's finished with small stipple machine quilting.

This baby quilt is even easier than sewing squares together. It's just strips of fabric, cut at the cutting counter where it was purchased. It's as wide as the bolt, then each strip is either an 1/8 of a yard, a 1/6 of a yard, or 1/4 of a yard. The strips were sewn together, then a few pieces of ric rac and other trim were sewn along a few of the seams for added interest. The quilting is very simple--just a few wavy lines across the strips. A fun and fast project.

If you love buying fabric, you have to love Moda's charm packs. Just like sellers are doing on eBay, these pre-cut squares from the manufacturer feature most or all the fabrics in a designer's line, just to give you a little taste (at a little price).

Stacy saw this cute pattern from Me and My Sisters Design called “Seeing Spots”. She loved the way it looked and decided to make it, but change it up a little for a more mature look. She used the charm pack for Moda’s Urban Chicks Summer in the City line. It is hard to find much of that line now, but Moda has some great new lines coming out. All you need is a charm pack and some additional yardage for a the background, border, binding, and backing. Trace the circles in different sizes using household items, like a drinking glass.

Okay, so this one did take a teeny tiny bit of applique action, but a circle is a lot less difficult than some of those shapes on the quilts above!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with creating beautiful, intricate quilts that take painstaking hours to make. That satisfies a need in many of us to be sure. But don't be afraid to give yourself a break once in a while and make something fun and unique that is also simple. That satisfies another need altogether--the need to have a finished quilt!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}

Thursday, August 28, 2008

no-sew ottomon upholstery

I have always wanted to learn to re-upholster furniture. Once my mother-in-law and I bought fifteen yards of beautiful upholstery fabric to recover a thread-bare love seat I had.

We took detailed pictures of how it looked "before." We planned to take all the old fabric off and use it as a pattern to cut the new fabric. She is one of those people who can figure out a project with minimal instruction. I was basically just going to be there for support and to observe. It was going to be a piece of cake.

But then kids came along, she got extremely busy at church, and to make a long story short, seven years later I still have the bolt of fabric we bought. The love seat is long gone. It was just such a big project to tackle.

My friend Heather is another one of those people who can just take a project and figure it out on her own. She's not afraid to try anything. When she offered me this free hand-me-down ottoman in need of some serious TLC, I decided to let her help me recover it. I'm such a good friend.

I found a fabric remnant I liked for $4 and purchased a matte finish black spray paint. Then I got out my staple gun and called Heather.

We took off the old fabric using the end of a hammer to pull out the nails. Then we took off the legs and spray painted them black. After they dried, we put them back on and added a new layer of batting to make it a little softer than the original bench, stretching it across the top and stapling it to the underside. Then we started playing with the fabric. It took a few tries to figure out what would look best. Basically we just stretched it across the top and turned the ottoman upside down, then we started stapling along the sides, keeping the fabric pulled taut. Okay, she was doing all the stapling because I was too nervous to mess it up, but I did stop Ethan from eating several discarded nails! When we got to the corners, we folded the fabric so it looked nice, cut out a little fabric where it was too bulky, and stapled it down. Again, it took a few tries to make them all four look right, but really, that's all it took. That and some serious sugar to occupy the kids so they'd keep their hands out from under the staple gun. And here's the final project. Total cost: $6.

Stacy just recently completed a very similar project using some fabric in her stash that she loved but didn't know what else to do with. A vintage piece, some fresh paint, and a few staples and voila! Restyled into a hip piece of furniture!

Your local thrift shops and have tons of things like that just need a little paint and fabric to bring them back to life. And it really is easier than you think!

{P.S. I miss you, Heather!}

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

eddie cap

Stacy was bored one afternoon and needed a quick sewing fix (how she has time to be bored is a mystery--that girl is always busy!). She came across this great tutorial for an adorable childrens' hat from Mushroom Villagers. She decided to make one in in this cool dark denim. Here’s how it turned out. . .

We need a picture of a cute boy in this hat! Check out the Eddie Cap Flickr group for some other great fabric choices, like wool felt and corduroy. I wonder if you could make this in a womens' size, too. My sister has a couple of similar hats made from canvas with cute snaps on the sides. All you crafty seamstresses out there, show us what you've got!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}
1 Comment

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

and the winner is. . .

The winner of our Back-to-School giveaway is

Barbara Brown of!

Congratulations, Barbara! Your little "E" is going to look so cute at school with all her new stuff! Please e-mail us at with your contact info so we can send you your fabulous prizes--something from each post last week.

And thanks to everyone who entered and linked us to their sites! We'll be hosting lots more giveaways, so keep coming back!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}

Sunday, August 24, 2008

it's a cinch! easy bags for back to school

Technically back-to-school week ended Friday, but we've decided to give you some extra-credit homework! So here's one more chance to link us to your blog and leave us a comment for a chance to win something from every post this week. We'll post our winner on Tuesday!

We couldn't resist creating a tutorial for seriously simple drawstring backpacks. I made one for myself to take instead of my purse on major outings with the kids (then I have my hands free to catch them when they take off running, which they frequently do). The coolest part? Both of these easy bags are made from a pillowcase! Yes, this is our third post regarding pillowcases. I cannot explain our obsession. Maybe it's that half the sewing is done for you, and we're into quick and easy. Or maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me I need more sleep!

It can be hard to find cute pillowcases sold separately from sheet sets. But I discovered something this summer. Target sells a "college" line each year that includes single pillowcases in fun prints! Plus, they are two-sided. Not reversible, but each side has a different print, which means the inside of your backpack will have a different but coordinating lining! Just another reason I heart Target.

Pillowcase Backpack Tutorial

What you'll need:
*Rotary cutter & mat or scissors
*About 3 yards coordinating ribbon or single-fold bias tape, cut into two 1.5 yard pieces
*Two large eyelets or fabric gromets and something to set them
*Sewing machine and matching thread

Let the fun begin!

1. Iron your pillowcase so there are no fold lines.

2. Fold your pillowcase in half width-wise.

3. Trim off about 1/4" of folded edge so you have two separate pieces.

4. Iron a 1/4" hem on each of the two cut sides.
5. Sew down the outside of both hems.

6. Iron a hem on the top of each piece wide enough to hold your ribbon or bias tape plus a little. Mine was about 1.5" to accomodate my 1" wide ribbon. Sew along outside edge of hems to create drawstring space.
(Please try not to notice my crooked sewing! I fixed it but forgot to take a new picture!)

7. I used a Crop-A-Dile to punch holes and set the large eyelets about 1.5" from the bottom and 1.5" from the side. This is where your drawstring (ribbon or bias tape) will connect to make the straps. You could also use a fabric grommet kit.

8. Set your eyelet as tight as possible. Make sure the "cute" side of the eyelet is on the outside of the bag.This is what it looks like from the inside.

9. Pin the two pieces right-sides together. Sew down the sides and across the bottom to make the bag.
Don't sew over the openings for your drawstring ribbon!

10. Turn your bag right-side out. Now it's starting to look like a backpack!

11. If using bias tape for your straps instead of ribbon, sew a zig-zag stitch down the entire length of the tape to keep it folded. Now, secure a safety pin on the end of your ribbon or bias tape.

12. Thread the ribbon with the safety pin through the opening, starting with one side then going through the both openings on the opposite side, and making your way back to the other opening on the first side. In other words, your first piece of ribbon should make a full circle.

13. Repeat with other piece of ribbon or tape starting with the opposite side.
When you're finished, you should have two tails coming from each side, and if pulled, they should "cinch" the sack.

14. Cut the ribbon or tape on a angle and pass both ends through the eyelet from the outside of the bag to the inside. Repeat for other strap. Cinch the sack and carefully try the bag on to make sure the straps are long enough. Adjust if necessary.

15. Turn the bag inside out and pull the ribbon through far enough to tie a knot. Repeat on other side.

16. Turn your bag right-side out again and ta-da! You have a darling drawstring backpack! Now wasn't that easy? That's what I thought.
I used the single-fold bias tape for this bag. Bias tape comes in so many colors that it's perfect for this project.

Want an even easier and cheaper pillowcase bag? Check out this "sleeper of a bag" tutorial we found on It's basically a pillowcase cut in half diagonally and then sewn together. The straps are just tied in a knot at the top. If you use one of the Target two-sided cases, your bag will have two different prints on each side.

These are fun for school, and also great to have on hand for sleepovers and field trips!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}
LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs