Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Hanging Dish Towel

Super Easy Hanging Dish Towel

Ever have your towels constantly disappear from in the kitchen or you set them down in one place only to not be able to find them when you need them later?  Me personally, I have two kiddos who like to steal the towels from the kitchen and move them all over the downstairs and a husband who leaves it wadded up on the counter when it's soaking wet!!!  So I searched the internet for some hanging dish towel ideas and I'd told my mom to send me some new towels for Christmas so that I can remake them into hanging ones! 


I found this website which has a great link up to a tutorial for taking a towel and making your own top for the hanger out of fabric.  I'm going to use this for some of my towels, but I was in a hurry for a gift for a friend and thought I'd seen somewhere a simpler way.  I tried to find the other tutorial for making hanging dish towels that I saw with no luck and decided to just wing it and get to work, because as I said I was in a hurry her birthday was just around the corner and I had to get these in the mail. So I also snapped pictures while making these since I couldn't find the tutorial, or maybe there never was one, maybe my mind was playing tricks on me ;) I'm not sure, but I thought this would make a great tutorial to post for you all, so I was sure to take pictures and notes as I went so that I could write a post to share with you all!


Without further ado, my Easy Hanging Dish Towels:


  •  Dish Towel

  • Pot Holder-(you want to be sure they have loops centered on one side not in the corner for this to work)

  • Button

  • Normal sewing materials, (thread, scissors, ruler, machine, hand needle)

    Another great thing about this project is it can be super cheap!!!  You can get dish towels at the dollar stores and usually the pot holders come in two packs there also, so for $3 you have enough to make two hanging towels.  I happened to have these buttons on hand which was a bonus for me because they matched perfectly!

    Okay, step one you need to take your towel and gather it down the middle.  I've seen on a lot of tutorials that added hangers to the tops and they would cut the towels in half, but I didn't want to do that!  I also saw where they would fold the towel into thirds and then sew the topper of choice on, but I wanted my friend to be able to have full access to the entire towel and both sides of it!  So I chose to gather it right down the middle!
     In the picture to the right you can see where the towel looks scrunched up in the middle of the towel.  That's where I ran a gathering stitch down the center of the towel.  I didn't do anything special to measure where I was sewing, the towels come folded in half and I followed the line that they had sort of ironed into it already.

    Now the easiest way I have found to do any kind of gathering especially on fabric is to adjust the tension and stitch length on your sewing machine.  I set the tension on my sewing machine all the way to 9 which is the highest it will go and increased my stitch length all the way to a 6 also the highest it will go.  You can see in the pictures below what I'm talking about. Doing this doesn't give you as accurate way to gather fabric so if you need to gather from like 12 inches down to 6 inches you probably could do it this way and adjust it, but know that you will probably still need to adjust the gathers.  I still had to adjust my gathers for this project even, but not very much which was a blessing!

    tension dial set to 9
    stitch length on my machine set to 6

     These next pictures show  you more detail about what happens when you adjust the stitch length and the tension!  Be sure to first pull out a good length of both your threads before you start sewing.  This way you have some thread to work with if you need to adjust the gathers to be more or less after your done sewing this step.  Then without doing any back-stitching you will sew straight down the middle of your towel.  You can see in the second picture the towel as it goes past the foot on the machine is gathering up all on its own! Also leave a tail of threads at the end of the sewing when you cut it off, that way you can gather from either side of the towel.

    Different fabrics will gather differently, but this method does help save some time as it gets the gathers going for you and saves you some of the pulling and tugging I've had to do with other methods.  It also makes them evenly spaced already for you also so if there isn't a lot of adjusting to be done that helps too since you'll know that your project is already evenly spaced out!

    center of pot holder be sure the line is parallel to loop
    On to the next step!  Next you will take your pot holder and find the middle of it, for mine this was at about 3 1/2 inches.  So I drew a line on the side of the pot holder I wanted to be my wrong side, meaning it would be sandwiched closed around the bar it was hanging from.  So if you get a pot holder that's got a decorative side draw the line on the other side of it, but if it's solid then it won't mater really. Also be sure to do this with your line parallel to the loop on the pot holder!

    Now the part that I found a little tricky was lining up my towel with the pot holder.  You want the right sides to be facing each other, so the pretty side of the towel to touch the side of the pot holder that you didn't draw on.  I'd put the towel flat on the table then the pot holder on top of it, BUT what I did first was make sure to gather my towel to the same size as the pot holder.  You do this by pulling on only one of the two threads that are hanging from each end of the towel. Don't pull to hard because you will break your thread and then the gathers will come out!  If you pull on one thread and nothing happens then just grab the other thread and that one should pull the fabric.  You sort of have to pull the thread and push the fabric at the same time as if your easing the fabric down the thread.

    First I lined up the towel and pulled one thread to adjust the towel to the right size.
Here you can see where I marked the line a little on this side of the pot holder also to line up the middles, but I flipped it over to do the pinning.  When I sewed the two pieces together I sewed with the pot holder on top and sewed down the line I drew on the pot holder!  Thankfully because the towels do drape down with the gathers in them it doesn't have to be perfect because no one will know!

The next step is to sew the two pieces together, for this I used a zigzag stitch as this has a bit more forgiveness and can be tugged on a little more and not want to tear when it is.  So as you can see in this next picture I used white thread, which if I had the right color red I should have used that, but I didn't and this helps to illustrate also.  I did back-stitch at the start and end when I attached the towel in order to give the ends some extra strength also.  I figured those outside edges will get a lot of pulling on by everyone so wanted them the most secure!

After you have these two sewn together all you have left is to fold your pot holder closed, fold over the loop in order to find where your best button placement should be and sew down your button!  That's it!!!!  The biggest step was the gathering and once you do it once it's super easy!  I've gathered at least 6 more towels for projects since and it makes life so much easier to only need to do a little adjusting versus the pulling and tugging to shrink the towel down all the way on my own.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and feel free to share pictures of your finished projects if you try it at home because I'd love to see them!!!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Melted Crayons for Valentines Gifts

    ♥ Homemade Melted Crayons for Valentines ♥

Great use for old broken crayons or the ones the kids will no longer use because they are no longer pointy! Let's recycle those crayons and make a fun new crayon!


Silicone Molds-Cupcake are best I've found
broken or used crayons
cookie sheet 
bowl of water
oven to melt crayons in

 I've done this with my daughter for the past couple years we collect the old crayons from her class and usually other classes and recycle the used crayons to make new heart shaped crayons.  It helps the teachers out because they get the kids to clean out their desks of the old broken crayons and helps us make a cheap reusable gift for her classmates.  Every year the kids have been so excited to get a heart crayon from her and she asked to do it this year, so last week I sent a note to my daughters teacher asking for any broken crayons they may have. Well, the teacher did not disappoint, a few days later my daughter came home with a gallon size bag overflowing with crayons.  I laughed a little though as most are not broken, but they are used down to the paper so I guess they are no good to the kids :)


So I have found the easiest way to get the paper of the crayons is take a big bowl and soak them in water for awhile. (See the picture lots of big unbroken crayons!) The easiest crayons for this are Crayola crayons as the paper doesn't seem to be glued to the crayon, but most kids don't have those.  Anyways, so I just soak them for as long as I can usually just toss them in and go about my day and then come back to the bowl later and MOST of the paper comes off.  You do have to kind of scrap off the part where the glue met the crayon though on some crayons.  I've seen some people use a knife to cut a slit in the paper on each crayon and peel the paper off, but I've cut my finger and that takes longer in my opinion.

 Next you break the crayons into little pieces if they aren't already smallish.  I'm saying little we tried to keep them to an inch or under.  I did have my 7 year old help with this process so she could put the colors in the silicone muffin cups so an inch is as small as she could break them.  The smaller they are the faster they melt.  Fill the cups to where it's just over the tops as they melt down. I always put the molds onto the cookie sheet because once the wax melts you don't want it sloshing around when you remove them from the oven trust me!!!!

My oven was set 250 degrees and we ended up having these bake for about 20 minutes.  I'd set the timer for 10-15 minutes and check them! You want them to all melt together, but not so much that the color completely runs together, this first round almost went to far I think. They look cool though so we will totally use them, but they ran way together and that wasn't my intention. There's 21 kids in her class so we are trying again today and I'll update you on the time.

update: I did do another round of these and kept the oven at 350 degrees and it still took over 15 minutes to melt the crayons but it was faster, these were muffin sized molds so the smaller molds would take less time so be sure to keep a close eye on your crayons!

Once they are all melted down set them on the counter and let them cool maybe 30 minutes I didn't time it we let them cool over night because it was bedtime.  If you can't wait you can speed up the process by placing them in the freezer!  Then when they are completely cool carefully pull the silicone mold away from the crayons and you are done!  The photos below are the same crayons before and after being pulled from the mold, so the bottoms on the left and tops on the right.  Each new crayon is unique and has different colors throughout which makes them so much fun!  I tried to tell my daughter to not put to many dark colors together and not to many of the same color close to each other as well so there's a bigger rainbow effect.  She did a pretty good job on some, but some crayons didn't have as much rainbow to them as others did!

This is a fun project to do any time and you can find silicone molds at the dollar store a lot of times which is nice too!  There's still time left til Valentine's day this year so maybe you too can make crayons for your child's class!!!

All 24 completed!

We had a few crayons left over so we made some primary colored ones for little sister to use at home!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Where did January go?????

Oh My Goodness,

I truly have no idea where the whole month of January went!!!  Well, okay that's a little bit of a lie I know where it went, but it went so fast that I couldn't keep up and I've neglected a lot of things during that time that I'm not happy I did.

My blog for one thing got terribly neglected :(  I really wanted to get better about this and February should be a much better month in terms of life getting into a routine again, so I promise to anyone who is reading this I WILL write something during the month.  I won't promise you anything more then that as I don't want to fail, but I'm hoping for a tutorial or two at least!  Which also means that my much neglected crafting time will get back into my life as I can't post a tutorial about things without having the pictures and I won't have those without crafting....see where this is going :)

So my apologies to anyone of you who may have been following my start up of a blog and was disappointed to not see anything all month of January!!!  It was a whirlwind month in my household and I just truly didn't have time to do much of anything.