The Fixer Upper


So, my followers,  its been a while since we last spoke. The back is doing extremely well following surgery, and I went back to work. Then suddenly, in December, BAMMM, work injury to my knee. Fell like a wounded water buffalo, and injured the PCL. So needless to say Gma found herself sentenced to 8 weeks house arrest, and a huge amount of bored. So while visiting our somewhat local Habitat for Humanity Restore, I found this darling little 1 bedroom 1 bath fixer upper. It came fully furnished, but was in bad shape.

(no amount of peptol bismol pink from the previous owners could save it)

But the price was right $25.00 bucks!

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So, the first step in any fixer upper, (after closing escrow) is demolition! Stripped the wall paper off, peeled up the vinyl flooring, removed the windows, and unsafe railing on the upper deck.

Made a couple structural improvements, to the base and back wall.

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We removed the hinged roof and decided to give it a shake roof. unfortunately, the cost of dollhouse shingles is over $20 bucks a square foot, Luckily, I found craft sticks at the dollar store and bought 2 packages for $2 bucks! Taped them together in bundles of 20, cut them to 2″ shakes. Used the yardstick to make straight lines,  and glued them on with wood glue.

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While the glue dried, we painted the entire place with Kilz paint. Cures all evils, stains, smells, bad paint choices, and seals the bare wood. Making it a nice blank canvas to create!

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The back roof panel is glued and screwed secure, and the front is hinged so they can open and play inside the attic.

Next, I decided on my color palette, the pink I was stuck with, Hubby convinced me not to paint the vintage Barbie furniture it was mostly pink. But I had some leftover Minnie Mouse print and added a few fat quarters in a pretty blue to balance out the pink overload! Yep, there was sewing and construction involved! I painted the outside walls “Tiffany” blue, and added white trim molding. It helped stabilize the house.

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Flooring is next, since there was a kitchen and bath, of course I tiled it! After doing projects on our real homestead, I consider myself a self-taught expert! I had leftover tiny hexagon tiles and added 2 sheets matching tile with black tiles (looked like flowers to me) I still had adhesive and silver sparkly grout leftover from the wishing well project, so it really only cost $6 bucks for tile. ‘

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The bedroom, living room and attic needed wood floors. I was in the local flooring store, and found 3 planks of snap together dark stained real wood flooring. The guy just gave it to me since they were samples. All I had to do was measure, cut and snap together. Since is was so thick, no need to glue or nail it down. (hope she doesn’t trip between rooms, lol)

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Windows needed replacing, looks like they used page dividers and a sharpie to make them. I splurged on Ikea 5×7 frames ($1.99 ea) and just glued them in place.

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It’s not complete unless the patio is covered. Lowes kindly donated a scrap of Astroturf so she can relax with her shoes off. (all I had to do was ask!) Decided to do a more substantial railing. Since I was using black as an accent, decided to try it on the top rail. Used the same molding I had put on the corners of the house, but painted it gloss black

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So this whole renovation took about two weeks, with drying times, so I had plenty of time to sew accessories and cover the 70’s Barbie fabric.

The sofa and chair pads got recovered and the pillows. Made all new bedding (yes, I did fitted and flat sheets, duvet cover, bed skirt and pillows) all new curtains and drapes with fancy beaded finials on the curtain rods.  I hung them with command hooks, the rods are 1/2″ dowels, cut to fit the windows.  I was considering cup hooks but the walls are paper-thin and they would have come through the outside. I sacrificed a white bar towel, cut it up, hemmed it and added appliqué hearts for the bath.

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I decided to put “puck” lights in the rooms, easy for them to operate, but they kept falling off. I used my go to E300 super glue to attach the bases and problem solved.

The attic isn’t complete yet, think I want to put a closet pole (small metal towel bar?) across the side and hang her clothes up and maybe some cuter storage bins for her shoes and accessories. You know ladies, make it a “dream” closet, right?

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And lastly, don’t miss the family picture above the sofa, it’s the best part!!

So I encourage you to do your own fixer upper, it was a blast! Maybe I can tackle a real size one?

Enjoy!!

Debbie

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Minnie Inspired Headwrap

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OK, it’s been a while since I last posted. Let’s just agree it was a year not to be forgotten. I’m happily recuperating from back surgery and finally feeling more like myself. “the Happy Crafter” so as we are planning baby Hailey’s first birthday celebration in Disneyland, I’m inspired to make some goodies! If this one looks familiar, it is a variation of the 10 min table runner. Of course, you want to wear a table runner on your head, right? But I was looking at the retro head wraps on Pinterest thinking….. Disney inspired but not soooo mousey.

Supplies needed:

5″ X 36″ dark colored fabric (this is the back and edge fabric)

3″ X 36″ pattern fabric (for the center panel)

thread to match or contrast

Sewing machine or Serger

Steam Iron

And about 10-15 mins to assemble

 

As you can see, I choose a large polka dot in red and pink, and small dot black and solid black. This is what happens when I can’t make up my mind, I choose them all! There’s 10 of us going, so I made several options for us to share.

 

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I like to cut on a mat with a guide. Cutting straight seems to not be my strength. Cut the backing and edge fabric 5″ and the center piece 3″. I just left the length from the fabric store (44′ i think) and trimmed it after I put it together.

 

This project is so easy, I would totally recommend it as a mom/daughter learning to sew tutorial. Let them pick the fabrics and do the cutting and sewing.

 

I measured around my head, it was about 24″ so I added 12″ for the ties and came up with 36″ total. You can alter that measurement shorter if you are sewing for a child, or add if you have that one friend with the really big melon.

 

Sew the right sides together, I used my serger, one of the best investment I’ve made in crafting. But you could totally do this on a basic machine. Make sure to get good seams and turn right side out. Press the tube with the seams outward toward the edge.

 

 

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Now the tricky part, creating the ends. It’s really quite simple, fold the tube backwards. Yep, with the back edges even fold lengthwise.

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Then sew shut the short end. This make the point when you fold it down. Be sure to use your scissors or other pointy thing to get the point out, if sewing on a conventional machine trim the fabric to reduce bulk in the point.

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See? it’s really quite simple!

Now all you need to do it tie it around your noggin!!

 

 

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There they are…all dozen Minnie inspired headbands, can’t wait for vacation!

Enjoy!

Debbie

 

Margarita Bar Towel

Ok, so I’m going to blame Frank for this. Was it his fault? No, I never said that, I just said I was going to blame him.

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So, you ask how was this his fault? I bought him a shirt for the rehearsal dinner. (In case you didn’t know, youngest son is getting hitched in June) and I asked him to try it on. Several times I asked him to try it on…. I got an XL because I loved the shirt, and they didn’t have a large. I’m pretty handy with the sewing machine, and I figured I could just take it in some. Problem was, he wouldn’t try it on while I was available to mark it. Long Story short, he tried it on alone, told me it was really big, and I took it upon myself to take it in, sans measurements. Needless to say I took it in too much! Ugh! A perfectly good, Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville Shirt, too small!!

After blaming him relentlessly, and a good nights sleep. INSPIRATION!! Bar towels for the Margarita bar at the rehearsal dinner. GENUIS….

Supplies needed:

One super cool Magaritaville Shirt (made too small) or any other print you’re fond of

Colored bar towels to match fabric (mine were 16″x19″)

Simplicity pattern #1483 (make sure you get these on sale)

Sewing machine and some time to kill

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So early this morning, scissors in hand, I chopped up what was left of the shirt, removed the super cool buttons (they say Margaritaville on them) and began redeeming my sewing confidence. I did use a pattern, Simplicity #1483, since I really didn’t want to screw this up. This pattern retails for $17.95, but if you watch for your local fabric/craft store sales, they will go on sale for 5/$5.00.

I picked this one up months ago during one of those sales, and finally used it on this project.

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I may have spent a little too much time attempting to get the coolest parts of the fabric strategically  placed. Could of probably gotten another set of tops, but I tend to fuss over details.

Worked out OK, I got five tops, and the package of bar towels came with five!

The tissue pattern made it easy to see placement over the prints.

You could totally do this without a pattern, in fact next time I will improvise the front flap into a curved or squared shape instead of the point.

Just make a newspaper square about 8 1/2″ X 4 1/2″ for the base, a 5″ wide middle piece, and 6 1/2 x 4″ flap.

The overall size approx 9″ x 9″.

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When cutting them out, I did utilize the sleeves (the already hemmed edge) for the bottoms of a couple of the towel tops.

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If you are using an obvious one way print, be sure to cut one side upside down. Because after you sew them together, the “flap” needs to be upside down so its right side up when finished.

Sew according to directions, right sides together. leaving the bottom open. Turn and press a hem along the bottom edge (some were already done) and stitch that down.

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The pattern calls for velcro on the flap to attach, but I opted for a button/buttonhole option. The buttons from the shirt were cool, and since my “Opal” does them automatically, why not?

Next step, I removed the hem from one of the short sides of the bar towel. (to reduce bulk) and gathered along that edge.

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Another of Opal’s super cool attachments, is this automatic ruffler. Made gathering the towels super easy and fast.

Next, I just put the gathered edge of the towel inside the top, the pattern calls for it to be sewn along the bottom edge, but my towels seemed long (I didn’t trim to 13″) so I put them all the way into the square portion. Pinned the corners and across the top, then topstitched across and down each side to secure the towel inside.

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Final step, I sewed the buttons on, going through the front and the towel, but not the back of the topper. (that made it pucker, and I didn’t like how that looked)

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There they are… Margaritaville Bar towels, ready for the Margarita Bar at the Rehearsal Dinner!

So when you screw up, pretend like you meant to, and look for inspiration to cover it up!

Enjoy,

Debbie

Mrs. Butterworth’s project

So I thought I’d share a sneak peek of my costume this year. I’ve been hard a work in the sewing room with my new bestie Helga, and I have to admit it’s coming out great!

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First, a little inspiration… I do work for a major grocery chain, so it seems inevitable that at some point,

a food related costume is appropriate. the key is trying to make sure its PC appropriate for work.

This blog is going to be mostly inspirational rather than informational.

Not sure you want to recreate it, but the creative process would be the same with any idea.

Supplies Used:

6 yards mahogany brown cotton fabric

1 yard each red, yellow and white cotton fabric

2 pkgs heat and bond iron on fabric adhesive

1 bailing wire for skirt hoop

clasp, frog or tie for collar

21″ zipper

Large yellow rick rack

Sinplicity pattern #3723, pilgrim dress

2 1/2 quart paint bucket (or your head size)

yellow spray paint

fine tip sharpie marker

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Started with a little inspiration, the bottle.

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Found a patter similar to the dress shape/silhouette, used the one with the collar and make it according to directions with all brown fabric.

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In order to get the bottom to stay out, I stole a bailing wire from work, and inserted it into the hem of the dress. Instant hoop skirt.

And then it was on to the “cap”.

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This bucket turned out to be too round, so I found a more straight sided paint bucket. Spray painted it with two coats of yellow and then wrote “twist to open” on the rim.

It was slightly too small to sit down on my head so I secured it with bobby pins on the sides and put elastic through the sides and ran it under the hair bun I had in the back.

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I spent the most time on the apron. made a basic flat apron (the one in the pattern was too gathered so I used the ties and trimmed down the body.

The ties were the same brown as the dress, the base was bright red, and bottom yellow. I used the large rick rack to make the edge “wavy” and around the pocket.

I used a sharpie marker to put the “MB” monogram on the pocket.

The letters were harder. I’m sure there is an easier way, but for me, I first drew them out on plain white computer paper.

I searched for a font that might work, but none of them seemed to be just right.

I also have a cricket dye cutting machine, but didn’t have any cartridges either. Did learn that if you lay out your design and photograph it, you can get a better look at the overall shape.

I realized I had made some of the too fat. Much easier to toss out the paper, than spend all that time cutting fabric multiple times.

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Once I was happy with them, I cut them out of white fabric, put the double-sided adhesive behind them, and bonded them to the brown fabric.

cut around them 1/2″ or so and again placed another layer of adhesive on the back of the brown fabric.

I made the “pat” of butter out of yellow, backed it with brown, did the lettering with a sharpie and placed all the letters BEFORE the final pressing.

You can’t really move them, so making sure they’re spaced is crucial. I actually pinned them since they insisted on moving around on my ironing board.

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I used a brown bun maker, put some gold glitter on my cheeks, put some leggings under (its cold here, and I hadn’t made a underskirt) and off to work I went.

Driving was fun with the hoop behind my head, and the “cap” hitting the ceiling of my car, but….I got so many compliments, it was totally worth it!

I hope you feel inspired to do you own thing, this one I was really proud of!

Enjoy,

Debbie

No Sew “Quilted” Ornament

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So I’ve seen so many of these beautiful ornaments on Etsy and Pinterest. I thought i’d take a stab (pun intended) at it.

They’re surprisingly easy once you get going, but my thumb sure got sore quickly!

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Supplies / tools needed:

styrofoam balls 2 1/2″ I started with the traditional “crunchy” kind and then tried the smoother more dense kind.

tip:  I have to admit, the denser ones were harder to push the pins into especially once you were to row 3-4.

1 solid color and 1 pattern ribbon flat, non wired edge 5/8″ wide

2 complimentary color ribbons 1/8″ wide

tip: the sheer, and wired ribbons were more difficult to work with and didn’t give the same look

Sequin pins or applique pins (they are shorter and sharper)

Eye hooks or wire for creating hanging loop

scissors

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I began by cutting short 2″ – 2 1/2″ strips of each color

24 strips of color A (inside color)

32 strips of color B (second color and extra to wrap around ball)

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Find the starting point, this will be the center of design.

You can mark the other side by measuring around the ball and dividing in half for placement.

Pin the center of the first ribbon, place the pin near the top holding the ribbon right side down.

Next fold down, and pin each side.

Be sure to fold over the center pin head so you can’t see it, and pin below the bottom edge of the ribbon underneath it.

Turn the ball around and put the second one directly opposite it. Then fill both sides the same way (4 ribbons used)

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On this one, I used the patterned ribbon first, and then begin the second row. Place the center of the second color 1/2″ below the point of center pieces.

Place one ribbon at each point, then place one at the space between each point (8 new points)

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This way, they overlap one up, one down, one up….etc.

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Work the third row the same way, starting with the lower points (4 of them, and then layering the next 4 last) using the contrast ribbon.

The fourth row is the same with the solid ribbon. Trim the edges so that it covers half of the ball.

Turn the ball over and locate the center point, and repeat the four rows above.

tip: try to line up the points with the other side, it just looks better when you’re done.

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Since this one finished with the solid green ribbon, I cut a piece to wrap around and hide all the loose ends. I trimmed them to lay flat and put two pins in the ribbon,

wrapped it around, and finished it with 3 pins and folded back the raw edge.

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I decided to add a sequin and head pin to the center of each side.

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An eye hook and a couple 1/8″ ribbon bow for hanging….

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Ta Da!!! couple sore thumbs and fingers, but a really pretty,no-sew, quilted ornament!!

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Careful, they’re addictive, and the color combos are endless!!

Enjoy!!

Debbie

EZhair Bun Maker (top secret!!)

So I did it again, I’m a  bad, bad, bad crafter. I bought something at a craft fair to “steal” the secret. Shhhh, I’ll share it with you, only if you keep it a secret!

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It’s the amazing “wonder bun, EZ bun, Bun easy… what ever it’s called, it’s genus!! Since it is mid-august, and its way too hot for long hair, you need any easy solution for your hair besides cutting it all off!  Years ago I had a couple of these thingys, but the holes stretched out, and I forgot how much I loved them. Until this past summer on our road trip, and I found them again in the Marketplace. I was so thrilled, I paid $20 bucks for two of them. Yes, twenty of my hard-earned bucks!! Well you know me by now, as soon as I got home I began “deconstructing” them to figure out what gauge wire, type fabric, size and began customizing them for me. (and you) hint: if you use it on wet hair, you get really nice curls when it’s dry!! Try it at the beach, and you’ll be party ready by night!

Materials Needed:

Cute fabric, stretchy worked best, but I also did a few with cotton (go 49ers!)

Think I might do some seasonal ones too!

12 gauge craft wire, it needs to be stiff but flexible

wire cutters

thread to match or compliment

sewing machine

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I experimented until I figured out the best measurements.

For adults cut fabric 16″ X 4″, children and those of us with really fine hair 10″ X 4″ rectangles. (cut 2). I used the rotary cutter and mat to cut multiples, because I can’t make one of anything!

Don’t worry about cutting the ends round, you can do this after you sew them, before you turn them.

I worked production line style once I figured out the dimensions. Sssshhh, there’s the original on top, just place the right sides together, and sew down the edges and “round” out the corners.

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I sewed about a dozen of each color, then trimmed the corners off. Fold them in half and cut a slit down the middle 4″ hole for adult, 3″ hole kids/fine hair.

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Use this opening to turn right side out.

Now to make the “magic” part. It took some shopping around, but finally found the correct gauge of wire. I found it sold as floral wire, 12 gauge coated. (it’s pliable but stiff enough to hold its shape.)

Cut the wire at 32″ for adults, and 24″ kids/fine hair and twist together to form a large oval shape. Make sure its tied/twisted securely, you are sewing it inside and don’t want it to come untied.

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Insert the wire into opening, and stitch it shut. If you have a “fancy” machine you could do a long button hole, but I just topstitched it shut. You won’t see it anyway, your hair goes through it, but neatness counts!!

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And Voila! easy, wonder, EZ bun maker.

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So to use it, you just gather up your hair into a pony tail, low if you’re adding a hat, or high if you’re going for naughty librarian. Give it a twist a couple of times to tighten the hole. pull down about 2/3 to 3/4 of the hair length, and begin rolling up.

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Wow. trying to take a selfie is harder than it looks!

Continue rolling the hair until up against the scalp, but not too tight.

Bring the ends together, and twist to secure. You can tuck them on top, or hide underneath the bun.

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I think I need one more hand…..

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Ta Daaa!! it’s a bun!!

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Here’s my 49er one too! You can do a double bun, just use two makers and roll half your hair at a time. You can do a half bun by only rolling the top and sides of your hair and leaving the lower portion out. Or try a pony bun by rolling the bottom half of your hair, and placing the top portion through the bun before you twist it closed. Since I don’t have a photographer on hand, and two hands aren’t enough to shoot properly, and for more professional styling instructions, please go online to youtube!

Enjoy

Debbie

Summer cooling bandanas

Cooling bandanas are super easy to make. If you can sew a straight or almost straight line you can do it! It might be snowing outside today, but summer will be here soon enough and you want to be ready.

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Here’s all you’ll need:
Inexpensive bandanas
Thread to match or contrast  (I used white for contrast)
Water storing crystals  (in the garden center)
A sewing machine
Scissors
Measuring spoon

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I found my bandanas for a dollar each, and since you only need 1-1 1/2 tsp. crystals per bandana, these are super budget friendly. I’ve seen these sold at summer fairs for up to ten bucks each. But, on a hot day in August at the rib cook off, I almost paid it to cool off!

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Start by folding your bandana in half crosswise. Right sides facing each other. Mark a spot 6 inches back from each point. This is where you will make the casing for the crystals. I used a pin on each end to mark.

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You want to sew from the folded side down 1 1/2 inches from the edge, stop with your needle down in the fabric. Lift the pressure foot and turn the fabric to sew along the long side. Sew down to your second mark but don’t turn. You need to leave this open to put in the crystals. Remove from your machine, and clip your threads. You’ve just made a pocket (tube) to hold the “magic” crystals.

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Use a measuring spoon to scoop 1/4- 1/2 tsp. of crystals and pour into the opening you just created. Be sure to keep the crystals away from children and pets, they’re highly toxic! Shake them down to the end of the tube. I suggest you split up this tube into four sections so all the crystals don’t bunch into one clump. Sew a line across the pocket about 3-4 inches from the end to keep those crystals there. Repeat this 3 more times for a total of four pockets. They only need to be measured if your OCD is acting up, otherwise just eyeball it. When you close the final pocket, double stitch it, and continue down the long side and finish a double line at the other end.

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Now flip the bandana open, right sides out, crystal pockets inside, and stitch along the edge of the pockets over again. This puts a double layer of fabric over the crystals, and hides any boo boos.

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You can get fancy with your sewing machine and use a decorative top stitch.  I was working on quantity, so plain straight stitch for these.

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To use them, just soak in cold water 2-3 hours (try it overnight in the fridge). They can be stored wet in a ziplock bag, or let them dry out completely when not in use. Good to keep a couple in your vehicle or RV. Great for hiking, biking or anytime the heat is on!

Enjoy!
Debbie