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Denim Bag/Purse from Girls Jeans

Last weekend my daughter and I made an embroidered denim scripture bag from flare jeans that she has outgrown.  The flowers were already embroidered on the bottom of the jean leg, so I just cut the bottom of the jean leg off, turned it upside down, stitched across the bottom and instant bag!  Then, of course, we added a few more things to make it fun. :)


Cut the bottom of the jeans off at the height that you want your bag.  Add extra for a flap at the top and for the seam at the bottom of the bag.  (Since my daughter is using this bag for her scriptures, we put them inside the jeans to measure how tall the bag needed to be.)

To sew a pocket on:   Cut the pocket out of the jeans by cutting right along the outside edge and through both layers of denim.  Pin it onto the bag and then stitch right next to the outside edge of the pocket, then stitch again about 1/4 inch in from the first stitching.  If you match the thread color to the denim, you won't even notice the stitching lines.

To stitch the bottom of the bag, turn the pant leg inside out and then upside down.  Stitch across the unhemmed edge and then stitch across each corner to make the bottom of the bag.

To make a flap, cut the bag down on each side (right next to the side seam of the jeans), fold the front down and stitch the sides to hold it in place.  I made this one so that the flap closes on the inside of the bag (she really wanted a flap to close).  If you don't add the belt loop, you could close the flap to the outside of the bag.  Stitch on a piece of velcro or add a snap to the flap to keep it closed.
To add a belt loop (pen pocket), cut the top of the jeans off next to the stitching, cutting around the bottoms of the belt loops as you go.  (Don't unpick the thread, just cut up close to the stitching on the belt loop.)  Pin the top of the jeans around the top of the bag and then stitch it at the top and the bottom.  Cut, then fold the end of the waistband under and stitch it at the end.  (This makes a little pocket that is just the perfect size for a pen.)  Stitch the belt loops to the bag. 
To add a handle, cut up the side of the pant leg (against the stretch of the jean) so their is a seam on one side.  Open it up and fold the two sides in so the cut edges are in the center and the seam is on the bottom in the center.  Sew a piece of ribbon on top, over the cut edges, along each side of the ribbon.  (This will enclose the raw edges.)   Turn the end of the handle in, that isn't already hemmed, and stitch it to the inside of the bag.  Stitch the hemmed side to the other side of the bag.  You're done!
I pushed the bottom of the bag up to show you how it would look as a purse.  For a purse I would make two handles instead of one.  Bright colored wide ribbon or a scarf for the handles would be so pretty, don't you think?
I also made a scripture bag for my son that is similar, but with the flap on the outside and the handle on the side.  He picked out the fabric all by himself, can you tell?  ;) 
Today's Fabulous Find...Making a Denim Bag from Girls Jeans
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Featuring: Free Printable Music and More

The first thing that caught my eye at Making Music Fun  (while searching for music helps for my kids) was the long list of well-known traditional songs that can be printed for free.  There are songs for piano as well as strings, woodwinds, and brass, which would be great for students learning to play the piano or an instrument in band. 

snip from Making Music Fun Home Page

The songs are grouped by instrument and skill level.  Many of the beginning level songs are children's songs (with lyrics) and include Do Your Ears Hang Low, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Little Green Frog, Old MacDonald, and many more.  The intermediate levels have traditional songs including:  Alouette, Pop Goes the Weasel, and Six Little Ducks, to name just a few.  The higher level songs include Fur Elise, The Entertainer, Maple Leaf Rag, and Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, and are simplified versions as well.

Other Highlights:
Free Composer Worksheets
Free Award Certificates
Free Music Theory Worksheets (a great find in itself)
Free Sticker Practice Charts
Free Manuscript Paper
Free On-line Piano Lessons
Arcade games for learning notes, beats, etc.
Coloring Pages

If you took piano lessons when you were younger, but are a bit rusty and want to brush up on your skills, or maybe didn't get very far in piano, but would like some simple songs to play and sing with your children, I really think you'll like this site.

I'm off to print some of the level 1 songs for my daughter, who has just started piano lessons.  I hope that, just like the name of the site, they'll help to make learning music fun. :)

Today's Fabulous Find...Free Printable Music at Making Music Fun

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How to Make a Window from a Picture Frame

I'm so excited to show you today how to take a picture frame and turn it into an old screened window!  Often when I start on a new project I have no clue what the end result will be.  I'm not really a planner, more of a maker-upper-as-I-goer.  When I first started on this project I had no idea it would turn into another window, but I'm so glad that it did, I absolutely love it. :)

I've noticed that when I make up craft projects as I go, I'm more likely to think of using things that I already have around the house (or garage).  Sometimes, like in the case of this window, I'm able to make them without spending any money and that really makes me happy!

Originally I made the wispy wreath and hung it on the wall.  Then I took an old frame that I had, painted it in Apple 4 (my free sample from Valspar) and hung it with the wreath.  After looking at it for a few days, I searched the garage, found a piece of window screening, and stapled it inside the frame to add some interest.  It was when I saw the screening in the frame that I realized it would make the perfect window.  I went a bit backwards (a hazard of making it up as you go) and added the grids to the frame last, which was not the easiest way to do it.  The final touch was adding the orange daisies about a week later.

Window Frame 
  • Old frame:  Any large frame will work, check around your house, or at a thrift store.
  • Paint:  Whatever color you like, you can get a free paint sample from Valspar or use paint you have
  • Stain:  Dark Walnut
  • Trim for window grid:  You should be able to find it at Home Depot or Lowes.   It's 3/4" wide and flat with rounded edges.
  • Screening:  I used a piece of plastic window screening that I already had.   I bought it several years ago at either Lowes or Home Depot, I think.  I don't remember the cost, but I know I didn't spend a lot on the roll.
  • White/Off White Paint:  I used SW Alabaster semi-gloss paint leftover from another project.

Wispy Wreath
  • Wreath:  $2.99 from a local craft store
  • Daisies-- $3.00 on sale, which was a splurge for me, but I thought it was worth it.              
  • Other flowers--$2.00, two stems from the dollar store.  The flowers aren't even glued in, just poked in between the branches so they can be changed easily
  • Ribbon:   I used a piece that I had, it wouldn't cost much to buy 1/2 yd of ribbon. 
  • My Total Cost:  $7.00

How to Make A Window From a Picture Frame 

  1. Decide where you want the trim pieces to go for the inside and cut them.
  2. Paint the frame and trim pieces.
  3. Glue the inside trim pieces in place.  (They should fit in the rim where the glass usually is placed.) 
  4. Staple screening over the back.  
  5. Hang a wreath over it. 
*Sorry, I don't have any pictures of the process, sometimes it's nice to just make something without the camera out.  Also, I wasn't confident that it was going to work, obviously my four year old (and best helper) wasn't either:

This was our conversation while he was watching me rub the white paint onto the frame:

4 year old:  Mommy, what are you doing?
Me:  Well...I think I'm ruining this.
4 year old:  Pauses, looks at the frame, and then says matter-of-factly; "You am Mommy, you am wuining it."
It was just too funny!  I love his honesty. :)

Here's how you can 'wuin' the paint on your frame too:
  • Paint the frame with Apple 4 from Valspar or whatever color you like.
  • Sand to distress
  • Stain over it with Dark Walnut Stain.  Using a cloth, rub the stain on and then rub the excess off with another rag until it's as dark as you'd like.  (The longer you leave the stain on before you rub off the excess, the darker the wood gets.)
  • Using a rag, rub on white paint is some areas, making sure you don't cover all of the base color.  I found that rubbing the paint on over the stain helped the paint to clump up some and look old.
  • Sand to distress
  • Stain over it again with dark walnut stain until it's as dark as you'd like.
I am so happy with the color and finish of this window.  The stain darkens the green paint, makes the white paint appear silvery and really brings out the distressed areas too.  (It's hard to see the effect in a picture.) 

 So now I'm curious, what are you
Are you a planner or a maker-upper-as-you-goer? 

Edited to Add:  I was asked why I made a window instead of just buying one, I've got a few reasons and thought you might like to know them too:
  • I've looked for old windows at thrift stores, but haven't found any yet that were nice enough to buy.
  • If I bought an older window from a thrift store, I'd run the risk that it might have lead in the paint, which could be a huge pain to remove and an extra cost too.
  • I was able to make it for free, and found a purpose for a few otherwise useless items that were hanging around the house.
  • I like that the screened 'window' is light because it doesn't have any glass in it.  This means if my kids 'accidentally' knock it off of the wall it won't hurt them.
Today's Fabulous Find...How to Make a Faux Window from a Picture Frame

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Free Paint Sample and a $5 off Coupon

Many of you have probably already heard of Valspars paint sample promotion, for those of you who haven't yet, I thought I'd show you what you can get for free!

Valspar is giving away 100 paint samples each day for 100 days.  I don't know when the promotion ends, so if you want one, don't put it off.  The best time to try for the sample is in the morning, it opens at 9am CST.  Go to Valspars web page, select a color, and then wait for about 3-5 business days for this to show up at your door...or in your bushes...which is where mine was...crazy wind.

Inside you'll find a sample of the paint you chose, a $5 off paint coupon, and paint chips for the paint color you selected and for two coordinating colors. 

Valspar will also send you a small roller with two roller brushes and a plastic paint tray.  Not bad, right?

Generally when I choose a paint color, I take for-e-ver!  I will grab a bunch of paint chips, move them around the room to see them in different light, stew, fret, stew some more, hope that I got it right, and then cross my fingers and finally buy the paint.   Because this was free, and I wasn't planning to paint an entire room with it, I went ahead and just picked a color right off of the screen.  I may have to change my ways because Apple 4 is exactly what I hoped it would be!  Maybe I was just lucky. :)

Today's Fabulous Find...Free Paint Samples at Valspar

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Spring Subway Art Prints

Welcome Spring!

This clip from Disney's Bambi beautifully captures the wonder of spring.  It reminds me of watching my own children in wonder as they watched the world come awake around them.  What a truly magical time.

There are so many wonderfully descriptive words for spring that it was tough to choose only a few.  In the end, I used words that encompass the senses of spring:  hearing the birds melodious songs and the sound of the rain; feeling the warmth of the sun; seeing the bright and beautiful flowers in bloom; smelling the air right after a rain shower; and the sweet smells of flowers, trees in blossom, and newly cut grass. 

For personal use only

*If you'd like to feature the subway art (I'd love it if you did!), I ask that you please not post the prints themselves on your blog.  It takes me a long time to design them and I like to keep them here. :)  You are welcome to use any of the pictures or the image above. 

*If you print one, would you mind clicking on 'going on my list of things to do' in the comment section?   It's fun to see how many of you are printing them and Google Analytics has really got me stumped. ;)  Thanks!


The digital papers that I used were offered for free online.  I don't know the original sources, so thanks to all of you who offer them for free for all of us to enjoy!
To download: You must first click on the image to open it in a new window in it's highest resolution.  Right click on the image and either copy and paste it into a document (to size and then print), or click on save image as to save it to your computer.  You will need to size it before you print.
To size the prints:   The prints look will look the best printed as an 8x10 or 4"x5" (for a card), but can be stretched to other sizes if you insert them into a document using a program like Microsoft Word/Publisher or Photo shop.  Insert the image, click on it, then drag the sides of the image to the size that you want.  (A 5x7 will look a bit stretched with this design.) 
You can print them on white or colored card stock, scrapbook paper, or (for the best quality) on photo paper.  (Check your dollar store for photo paper, I found a package of 8- 8x10 sheets for $1.)

*For even more color and digital paper choices, read through this tutorial on
 How to recolor a subway art image.
(You can see examples of some of the images that I recolored in the prints above.)

Today's Fabulous Find...Spring Subway Art

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