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the joys of doing it yourself

This holiday season I have been busy with Do-It-Yourself projects (or DIY for the totally hip and crafty folks).

I wanted to share some of the cool things I’ve been working on this holiday season.  I’ve broken the projects down into 3 levels of difficulty:

  1. Easy, requires very little concentration – You can work on these projects while drinking a couple glasses of wine as your iPod blasts your favorite tunes.
  2. Easy, requires some concentration – You can accomplish this project while enjoying 1 glass of wine, however loud-ish music might throw off your concentration.
  3. Hard – Don’t drink and craft.  Music is optional, might want to listen to smart music like classical music.

So here are the fun projects I have been throwing myself into lately:

  • Level 1- The DIY Dog Toy.  You can probably even drink a martini and manage to successfully make these guys.

diydogtoys

These are simply scraps of material braided with cotton batting used for quilting.  Just cut 2 strips of batting + 1 strip of brightly colored fabric (2” wide x 28”-30” long) then braid.  That’s it!  These are puppy tested and approved!

  • Level 1 – Adorable Hair Ties.  These are so easy, I’m embarrassed that I even gave them as gifts this holiday season.

diyhairties1 diyhairties2

These are great for girls because boys don’t usually wear them.  They’re great for runners, too (girl runners).  If you can tie a knot, you can make these.  If you can’t tie a knot, I’m sorry.  To make these adorable hair ties, cut 8.5”-9.5” lengths of fold over elastic and tie in a knot.  Congratulations, you’re done.

What’s fold over elastic, you ask?  It’s the cool patterned elastic used to make hair ties.  I found a great wholesale place on-line that sells most elastic for approx. $1.00/yard (some are a few cents more, some less).  You can make around 4 hair ties with 1 yard.  My new go to place for hair tie supplies:  My Sunshine Shoppe.  If you like this kind of stuff, you must check it out!

  • Level 2 – Headbands.  I wrote about my headband adventures here and demonstrated how easy they are to make.  I’ll be honest, they are a little harder than braiding or tying knots.  They include a teeny tiny bit of sewing…which is why they are in the Level 2 category.

diyheadbandfinishedside Instructions for these easy headbands can be found here.

  • Level 3 – Funky, Awesome, Sweet Pencil Case (or to put it more generically, zippered pouch).  I found this idea on Pinterest and bought a bunch of candy, ate it, then made these cute ‘zippered pouches’:

diyskittlesbag diymms

Here are the instructions for making these tasty pencil cases!  Now this project requires zipper installation so if you’re like me and don’t have much zipper experience, don’t get discouraged.  Who am I kidding…you’ll be discouraged but don’t stop trying.  You’ll get it!

  • Level 3 – Tool Roll.  What’s a tool roll, right?  It’s this:

diyrolluptool

It’s something for artsy people to use to organize their artsy tools, like paint brushes and such.  You place said tools in the Tool Roll, roll it up, tie it then consider yourself organized!  This is for my mom for her belated Christmas gift.  Surprise, Mom!!!  This is a level 3 but could almost go to Level 4.  It requires an immense amount of concentration and direction following…neither of which are my strong points.  So this gift took a little longer than usual…thank goodness for seam rippers!

I found the instructions in a book by Lotta Jansdotter called, “Simple Sewing.”  When it comes to me and a sewing machine, there is nothing simple about sewing.  Despite the misleading title, it’s a great book!

So these are the projects that have kept me busy ‘doing-it-myself’ this past month.  Working on projects for others brings me joy (when I’m not cussing at the sewing machine) so I hope the recipients experience a little joy and happiness when they open their awesome ‘DIY’ gifts!

Merry Christmas!

Easy, Inexpensive, DIY Workout Headband

When I run, I sweat.  I’m not going to try to be all lady-like about it.  I don’t glow or sparkle, I sweat.  One thing I hate about sweating is when it gets in my eyes and drips down my face.  It’s annoying and bothers me which is why I’m a big fan of the headband.

Now there are some workout headbands that are fashionable and utilized more for holding your hair out of your face.  Like the headbands from sweatybands.  They are super cute but personally, they are a little pricey for me and they don’t necessarily absorb my sweat.  They do stay in place and keep my hair out of my face but I need something more absorbent.

Then there are the poly/cotton blend headbands like the ones made by prAna.  I love these headbands but again, the price ($10 – $12) just kills me because I use 4 or 5 headbands a week.  I just can’t justify plopping down $50 – $60 bucks for little pieces of material that go around your head.  So, being the crafty (read frugal – read cheap ass) person that I am, I decided to take the Do It Yourself approach.

Here’s the Sweaty Chick’s easy, inexpensive, don’t need to be an expert seamstress, DIY workout headband.  Warning!  If you are a perfectionist seamstress, this tutorial will drive you crazy.  I do a lot of eyeballing.

First, buy a third of a yard or so of POLY/COTTON blend fabric.  The cotton will give you some absorbency and the polyester will give you some stretch.  Make sure it is a blend…you will NOT want one or the other.  1/3 yard should give you around 6 headbands.  My fabric came to $3.33 (divided by 6 = $.55 a headband!)

polycottonfabricheadband

Second, figure out the length of your headband.  My head measures 22” around so I made the length of my fabric 19 inches.  So, figure out how big your head is and subtract a few inches.  The width should be around 7.5 inches.

headbandinstructions

Third, if your fabric has a right side and a wrong side (mine did not), sew the RIGHT sides together along the top.  Keep in mind the edges of this fabric have the tendency to roll so do the best you can to sew a 1/4” seam.  Don’t get frustrated if it’s not straight.  It doesn’t matter:

diyheadbandinstructionsa

After you sew the top, you will have a “tube” thing.  Turn that tube thing inside-out and you will have a nice clean seam:

diyheadbandinstructionsb

Next, take one end of the “tube”  and fold the raw edges in, like so:

diyheadbandinstructions2

Take the second, unfolded end, and slip it in the folded end, like so:

diyheadbandinstructions3

Once the unfolded end is tucked inside the folded end, fold in half, like so:

diyheadbandinstructions4

Sew, like so.  Make sure you get through all layers:

diyheadbandinstructions5

Then, you are done, sister!  Put on your awesome, inexpensive, DIY headband and sweat away:

diyheadbandfinishedside diyheadbandfinishedfront

Have fun making headbands.  It’s a great gift idea for a runner….the holidays are right around the corner 🙂