Tidbit Times

Tiny Tidbits of my Time

Pencil Roll February 15, 2016

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 4:16 pm
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Like many adults, I got an adult coloring book for Christmas this year.  There was, however, a shortage of colored pencils in town after Christmas.  I was able to check my reserves and found an old box of Crayola colored pencils from who knows when to get me by until I could find some new ones.  I quickly found out 1) I needed more shades of colors and 2) I needed to be able to see all my pencils at once outside of the box.

I found a pattern for a fabric pencil roll on Pintrest here and had to make one for myself and one for my mom.  I love how it turned out and it is the perfect home to my new palate of 50 colored pencils.



2 coordinating patterned fabrics (cut 12″ x 18″)

Coordinating Thread

Coordinating Ribbon


                       Start by placing the right sides (pretty sides) of the two fabrics together.  Pin them in place.


        Sew around the rectangle, but leaving about a 4 inch opening to turn it right side out.

After sewing around the rectangle, pull the fabric through the opening so that the right side of the fabric is showing.

Iron your fabric rectangle.  Next, use a decorative stitch to sew around the rectangle and to secure the opening.

It is hard to see in my picture, but I used a wavy line decorative stitch.


Now fold up the bottom about 4 inches or so to create the pencil holder pockets.

Using disappearing ink, make line guides about every inch or so.


Sew the vertical lines using a straight stitch.  Be sure to stop at the top of the folded fabric.  Also sew the ends of the fabric to create pockets at each end.  This is where you may want to add a ribbon to one end before sewing it closed.  That way you can wrap up your roll with a tie.


Add your pencils and roll it up!  When I got more pencils I was able to fit two pencils in each slot so my roll holds about 50 colored pencils.  It makes it easy to store and to carry with me.  Bring on the stress relief of coloring!

I am loving it especially while watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey!



Magnetic Bookmarks July 1, 2014

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 3:46 pm
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Magnetic Bookmarks


This past weekend was our Book Club’s annual Girls’ Weekend at the lake in Minnesota.  A great time was had by all.  We didn’t have very good lake weather, but we still had great girl time!  As a fun treat I made these fun magnetic bookmarks for the girls.  I found the idea on Pintrest from “The Southern Institute“.

Bookmarkers 001



Figured Fabrics (2)

Coordinating Thread

2 Round Magnets

Step 1:  Cut each figured fabric into 2.5″ by 6″ rectangles.

Bookmarkers 002

Step 2:  Sew the two pieces together (right sides together).  Leave about a one inch opening to turn right-side out and insert the magnets.  Also, clip the corners to reduce bulk once they are turned right-side out.

Bookmarkers 003

Step 3: Turn the bookmark right-side out.  Insert a magnet on each end of the bookmark.  Be sure you are putting the magnets in the correct way so they don’t repel each other.  The tutorial I followed said to use sew-in magnets, but I couldn’t find them in town.  I just used some magnets I had in my stash of supplies.

Bookmarkers 006

Step 4:  Since I didn’t have sew-in magnets, I needed to do something to keep the magnets in place.  I just sewed a zig-zag stitch at the top of each magnet to keep it in place.

Bookmarkers 004

Step 5:  Viola!  Snap your bookmark together in your book to hold your place.  It should hold several pages together.

Bookmarkers 008

Girls' weekend

Love these girls!  We were missing 2 girls from our group on our trip this year.  Hoping everyone can be together to celebrate our 10th anniversary later this month!  So fun how a random group of girls can come together and become great friends!


Ironman Birthday Party ~ Part 2 ~ Treat Sacks June 13, 2013

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 10:44 pm
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Treat Sacks

Along with candy, stickers and temporary Avengers tattoos, I had two handmade items in the Ironman treat sacks that I’m going to show you in Part 2 of the Ironman Birthday Party posts.  I decided it would be fun to put all the goodies into a clear cone-shaped bag.  I was even able to find coordinating colored M&Ms and Sixlets.  I just tied the top of the bag together with maroon and gold ribbon.

Superhero Suckers

First up, Superhero Suckers!  I found this idea on Pintrest, but there was no further link to anything other than the picture.


I hand-drew the cape pattern on an index card and then traced the shape on the maroon-colored felt.  I cut the triangle shape out of the gold-colored felt.


I also punched a small hole in the top-center of each cape using a hole punch.  Glue the gold triangles on the capes.


You can see I printed the message “Thanks for Coming!” on white cardstock and used a circle punch to cut them out. Next, using the hole punch I added a hole at the top and bottom of each circle (to insert the sucker)


To assemble just insert the sucker stick through the cape and then through each hole in the circle message piece.  Very quick and easy project.


Next up, the Ironman Mask!  I also found this on Pintrest which led me to Jessica at Cutesy Crafts.  She gives great tips here and has patterns for a whole variety of superhero masks.  I made all Ironman for Will’s party.  I would suggest going here to get more detailed instructions for making the masks.  I’m just going to briefly show you how I made them (plus I forgot to take pictures during the process).

Pattern Collage

I copied the Ironman pattern (found here) on cardstock and cut out the pieces to use as a pattern.  Next, I traced the patterns onto the felt using a fade-away pen.  One pattern is traced on gold felt and the other on maroon felt.   I cut two of each maroon piece per mask.

Mask Collage

First, I sewed the gold piece on top of one of the maroon pieces using gold thread.  Remember to also sew around the eye holes.  Next, I laid this piece on top of the second maroon piece.  In between the two pieces secure the 3/4″ elastic piece (14-inches long).  Sew around the whole mask using maroon thread.  Also, remember to sew around the eye holes during this step.   That’s all there is to it!  It was a really fun project and they were a big hit at the party.

Will's 5th Birthday 073

The Birthday Boy Ironman!

Will's 5th Birthday 085

The Whole Crazy Ironman Gang!


Reusable Snack Bags August 18, 2012

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 11:29 pm
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Does your mom or grandma take the time to wash and reuse ziplock bags?  I don’t go so far as to do that, but I just hate using those bags once and throwing them away.  I tend to use baggies until they are too full of peanut butter smudges and cracker crumbs to reuse anymore.  With everyone trying to be more “green”, here is a solution — reusable snack bags!

I’ve been wanting to try this sewing project for some time.  I finally got a few moments to sit down and give them a try the other day.  They are fun and quick to make.  I found the original idea on Pintrest which led me here.


vinyl table cloth (one table cloth will make a ton of these bags)

clear plastic (you can find it in the fabric store near the utility fabric section — used to cover tables)

sew-on velcro

coordinating thread

This time of the year you can find the vinyl table cloths pretty cheap at end of the season sales.  I found this one at Target cheap!  I did have a little trouble tracking down a table-cloth at first.  I got a round one, which made it a bit challenging to cut out rectangle pieces, so I’d suggested a square or rectangle table-cloth if you can find one.


Outside (from table-cloth)

  • 7 1/2″ x 6 1/2 “
  • 10 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

Inside (from table-cloth or coordinating table-cloth pattern)

  • 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″

Clear Plastic

  • 14″ x 6 1/2″


1.  Sew the small strip to the clear plastic putting right sides together (clear plastic doesn’t have a right side). Sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance at one end of the clear plastic/vinyl piece.

2.   Now take the two outside pieces (not the clear plastic) and place them right sides together matching the bottom         edges.   Sew them using a 1/2″ seam allowance.

To add a little detail, sew a line of stitches on each side of the seam using a coordinating thread.  This will be the bottom of your snack bag when you put it all together.

3.  Now you will attach the outside and inside pieces together.  Place the pieces right sides together.  Open up the small flap from the plastic piece and match it to the longer outside piece (table cloth).   The plastic piece should reach all the way to the end of the vinyl pieces.

Sew the pieces together at the end with the flap using a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Now turn the pieces right side out.  Measure down about 1 1/2″ inches from the top of the flap and pin your velcro and sew it on.  I decided to sew the velcro on now so the stitches didn’t show through on the flap.  Once velcro is secured down, sew along the bottom edge of the flap.

4.  Now sew the bottom edge of the long piece together.  This attaches the vinyl to the clear plastic piece.  Now you can sew the other piece of velcro to the bag.

5.  To finalize your bag fold up the bottom at the seam you stitched along to match to the top of the flap.  Start at the top and sew all the way down one side.  Make sure you completely sew the bottom corner shut.  Then sew the other edge from top to bottom.

6.  Load up your bags with any number of things!



I made these for our niece and nephews as a fun back to school gift.  I filled them with a mini notebook, eraser and candy.  I added a little tag with ribbon and it made a fun little gift in a repurposed bag.


Messenger Style Bag April 25, 2012

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 3:40 pm
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Here is another one of my sewing projects as I’m slowly learning how to sew again.  When I saw the tutorial for this bag from Maggie at Smashed Peas and Carrots I knew I had to make one for Will.   A couple of years ago I made him a small bag to carry his trains around for entertainment when we went places like out to eat.  He still loves trains, but has also taken a liking to Cars.  I’ve been wanting to make him a bag to lug around his cars.  This bag also would work well to take to the library to carry books.

He was pretty excited about his new bag, which to his dad’s dismay he calls his purse (what a corny smile, huh).  This is probably because I have a messenger style purse I carry around.  We’ll just go with it for now — I love that he really has no gender specified labels/role quite yet.  In my book it’s okay for him to carry a purse, have a baby doll and watch old episodes of “My Little Pony” and “Care Bears”.

Messenger Style Bag Materials: 

1/2 yd each of two different patterned fabrics (one for the bag and one for the lining)

1 yd of 1-inch belting for the strap

Coordinating Thread

Small bowl or CD


Pinking Sheers

Iron and Ironing Board

This is a pretty quick project.  Maggie says it is a one-hour project.  I would say this for the experienced sewer, but for me it took about twice as long.  Still a quick project to complete in 2 hours!

Constructing the Front Flap

1)  Cut one piece of each fabric to 7 x 13-inches long.

2)  Place right sides together (like above)

3)  Fold the two pieces in half (like a hamburger bun, not a hot dog bun,  as I used to say when I taught)

4) Using a bowl cut off one rounded corner from the unfolded edge.

5)  Open up the flap and sew around the curve of the flap (not the straight edge) at 1/2″ seam allowance.  Using a pinking shears trim the excess fabric around the curve.  Turn the flap right-side out and iron it flat.  Last, sew at 1/4″ seam allowance around the curve of the flap.

Constructing the Body of the Bag

1)  Cut two pieces measuring 14 x 14-inches from each piece of fabric (total 4 squares).  Place the right sides of each fabric together (one set will be your lining and one set will be the outside of your bag).   Sew together the two sides and bottom of the bag using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.  Cut the excess fabric with your pinking shears.

2)  With both sides still wrong-side out, pinch each corner at the bottom of the bag.

Measure down from the tip 1-1/2 inches and sew across.

Cut the excess fabric (tip) off using pinking shears.

You will do this two times each for both the lining and the outside of the bag.

3)  To assemble the bag place the lining piece inside of the outer piece with right sides together.

4)  Place the flap inside the bag so that the outer fabrics face each other and the lining fabrics face each other.

(So sorry I forgot to take a picture of this step)

5)  Measure the belting so it fits your child.  Place it at the side seam of the bag between the outer fabric and the lining.  I copied Maggie’s measurement for the belting since Will is close in age to her little guy.  We measured the belting at 30 inches in length.

6)  Now sew around the top edge of your bag using a 1/2-inch seam allowance.  Be sure that you catch the flap and the belting while going around.  I sewed across the parts with the belting a couple of times to reinforce that area.  Be sure to leave about a 4-inch opening somewhere on the top of the bag so you can turn it right-side out!

7)  Turn your bag right-side out using the 4-inch opening.  Fold the opening in and press with your iron.  Now sew using a 1/4-inch seam allowance around the entire top of the bag.  This also closes the 4-inch opening.

There you go!  A new bag for all things boy!  I may add a piece of velcro to the flap so it stays closed better.  This seems to bother Will.  I’ll get to it one of these days.  Give the project a try, it is quite fun and simple!


April 19, 2012

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 2:21 pm
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I had several reasons for tackling this craft project.

1) I wanted to learn how to use my “new to me” sewing machine.

2) I wanted to make a more springy coffee cuff for my co-workers.

3)  It looked like fun!


Turns out I met all 3 goals for this project!  I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out the sewing machine with the combined help of my 9th grade home ec. experiences and the sewing machine’s user manual.  Not that is was a speedy process, but successful no less.


I found this idea quite a while ago on Pintrest (of course).  Pintrest led me to the blog Love 2 Create.  Here I found wonderful step-by-step instructions on how to make these coffee cuffs/cozies.

Here are the materials you’ll need:

 2 different fabric designs

Quilting batting

Coordinating thread

2 buttons per coffee cuff

one thin hairband

a coffee cuff from your local coffee shop to use as a template


After I shopped for all the supplies, I had to send my husband to the local bagel shop to pick up some Saturday morning bagels and coffee so I could get my coffee cuff template to use to make this craft.  Win – Win for me!


Using a fabric pencil trace an opened coffee cuff onto the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces.   Cut out the fabric 1/4″ from your drawn line.

 Lay the first cut out piece on the second design of fabric, trace and cut.

Then use one of the piece of fabric to cut a third piece out of a thin layer of quilting batting.


Next, pin all three pieces together in this order

  1.   fabric with markings (wrong side up)
  2.  fabric right side up
  3.  thin batting piece

Place a hairband between the two layers of fabric.  Make sure the fused end of the hairband is hanging outside the fabric.  (I see from my picture I have it backwards.)  Flip the top layer of fabric over the hairband and secure the hairband with two pins.  Continue to pin the rest of the fabric in place to get ready to sew it.

Be sure to mark a 2-inch opening with pins so that you are able to turn the fabric right-side out when you are done.  Using your markings as a guide sew around the whole cuff, but do not sew the 2-inch opening you marked off.  Sew over the part with the hairband a couple times to make sure it is very secure.

Cut off the corners at each end of the coffee cuff.

Also, cut off the end of the hairband that is sticking out.

Turn your fabric right-side out through the 2-inch opening and press with an iron.  Last, sew a straight stitch across the 2-inch opening.

Place your cuff around the coffee cup you will be using it for and pull the hairband to the place you wish to place the button.  Mark this spot with a pin.

Hold buttons on either side of the cuff and make two stitches to secure the button.  Next, slip a toothpick through the buttons on both sides to give it a little wiggle room.  Finish sewing on the buttons.

You are done and can enjoy a nice cup of coffee or give it as a gift!

Since I had given my co-workers cups with a winter cuff (see here), I made cardboard coffee cups with the new cuff wrapped around it.


Ruffled Curtain August 21, 2011

Filed under: Crafty Bits — tidbittimes @ 8:31 pm
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My inspiration for this project came from Pintrest.  If you haven’t discovered Pintrest yet, it is a MUST for great ideas about anything you can imagine.  I loved the idea of the ruffled curtain as shown in the play kitchen above.  Also, I recently inherited a sewing machine from my mother-in-law when she got a new one, so I’ve been itching to give it a spin. 

Here are the instructions for this curtain that we used and tweaked.  I needed a little more detail on making ruffles, so I went here for a ruffle making tutorial.   The other bit of information I should share with you is I don’t think I’ve done a major sewing project since my pink and grey duffel bag I made in Home Ec.  So you know how long ago that was from the the popular color combination of pink and grey and that it was actually called Home Ec rather than FACS.  

At work when we converted on empty cubicle to a staff lounge area, I knew I just had to make the ruffled curtain to cover up our storage area.  It would be the perfect spot!  I enlisted the help of my mom to get me started.  We sure had a fun time together trying to figure out the gather and ruffling process.

Here are the fabrics I found — not too girly, yet not too masculine.  The theme I chose was cherries with the color scheme of black and red.  I got the fabric at Mills End Textiles.  It is a great place to shop for remnants.  All of these fabrics were remnants with the exception of the small cherry patterned fabric. 

First, we made each of the three ruffles.  We started by pressing the folds on three of the four sides and sewing the seam.    We kept the top of each ruffle as a raw edge since it wouldn’t show.  Next we were on to the gathering stitch.  We set the stitch length to the longest stitch and increased the tension on the sewing machine.  It took us a few trials, but we figured out that we had to start the gathering stitch about a 1/2 inch from the end (be sure to keep long tails with your threads).  Stop stitching a 1/2 inch from the opposite end (do not back stitch at either end).  Sew another gathering stitch 1/4 inch from the first in the same manner.  Pull the ends of the thread and your fabric should ruffle!  Tie the ends when you have the correct length and amount of gather. 

The top of the curtain is not ruffled, but loops over the rod to hold up the curtain.  I sewed all the ends of this piece of fabric. 

All the pieces are then sewn to a solid curtain.  I cut the solid piece to fit the space for the curtain.  The space I was

covering was 30 inches wide by 27 inches long.  Last, the non-ruffled piece was sewn to the top and folded over to

create a space to slip the rod through to hang the curtain.


Here is the finished curtain and its new home at work!

If you want to try this project, I would suggest reading the two blogs I linked above with more detailed instructions.  I am quite the novice seamstress.


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