Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas by the {Faux} Fireside...

 Well hello there.  I really hope all is well with you, and that you had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday!  Ours was spent with some new but dear friends here in Japan.  It was the kind of relaxed, comfortable fun that everyone hopes for.
I love having people over, not only because I enjoy their company but because of the motivation I find to clean and decorate.  The Sunday before Thanksgiving, the Officer and I were discussing possibilities for places to hang our stockings for Christmas.  He remembered seeing plans for a faux fireplace on the Ana White's blog - and I instantly fell in love.  

I'm thankful that we are able to live on base in military housing, but these town homes are basically big white boxes.  Everything is white - floors, walls, ceiling, appliances, closets- no character my challenge is to bring in color and character in unconventional ways.  
This faux fireplace accomplishes both! 
So there we were - hammering, sanding, cooking Thanksgiving one point I running from the kitchen to the backyard - drying cornbread and painting at the same time.  Wednesday night we brought it in and the Officer installed it - anchoring it into the wall with a couple of screws. 

You can find the tutorial for this faux fireplace at Ana's blog here.

This fireplace was pretty easy to build - and the added touch of chalkboard paint provides some whimsy.  So what do you think?  Where do you hang your stockings if you don't have a fireplace?  Hope you're all having fun decorating!!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{DIY}15-Minute Furry Cowl-Neck Scarf : Handmade Gift Idea under $10

Well hello and happy November to you!  It is truly the season of gift making, and while I made this little scarf to keep my own neck cozy as the temperatures drop, it would make a great gift too!  

I had never sewn with faux fur before, but it was sooooo easy and so forgiving.  You can hardly even see the seams.  I scored this piece of fabric in a bargain bin for only ¥540, which is about $6.00.  My mom is visiting from the States and we found the most amazing fabric store about 15 minutes from my house.  It's called Swany and it's in Kamakura.  I've found fabric (well actually everything) in Japan to be very expensive.  If you're thinking you could buy some really cute Japanese fabrics cheaper because you're in Japan, you'd be wrong.  Anyway, Swany has an entire building dedicated to bargains and sales - full of remnants.  This place is like fabric heaven in Japan - and it was evident by the business they were doing.  I also bought a pattern (though it's all in Japanese....) to make Charlotte a turtleneck dress - I'll let you know how that one turns out.
Anyway, here's the simple instructions for this scarf.  I'm serious when I say it takes 15 minutes- 30 if you're a really slow sewer.  It's 3 seams- you can do that right?  Of course you can.  AND it only takes 1/2 a yard so that should be under $10 - sweet.
Here's what you'll need:
1/2 yard of faux fur with some nice drape (if it's too stiff it won't lay nicely around your neck)
sewing machine/thread

STEP 1:  Cut your fabric so that it's 18"x37".
STEP 2:  Fold it right sides together, aligning the long edges.  Pin together, marking off an opening of about 8" near one end.

Sew together using a 3/8" seam allowance (but leave the opening) to create a long tube.  
Turn right side out.

STEP 3: This is the only tricky part.  Turn the end (with the opening near it) inside out and pull it towards the other edge like this:

Continue pulling it until the edges align.  You should be able to see the opening.  If you can't, you won't be able to turn it right side out.  

Pin along the edges and then sew.
STEP 4:  Reach your hand through the opening and pull the right side out.  You should have a nice loop - with a small opening.

Now pin the opening closed and topstitch it together.
 I tried to take a picture of the seam - but the fur just fluffs up and you can really can't even see it!
There you have it!  A simple, inexpensive gift idea - have fun!!

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