Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Block Printed Minimalist Backpack

Minimalist Backpack | Red Circle Crafts

I love cute little backpacks. I've got the start of a complicated one sketched out. But the adjustable straps, big zippers, many pockets, and all that goes into an adorable backpack has kept me from making myself one. So, when I saw this adorable back to school tutorial, designed for an adult too, on Design*Sponge, I knew I needed to make it.

Minimalist Backpack | Red Circle Crafts

It's really just the kick I need to start block printing too. I finally found a brayer* at my local SCRAP and have read a bunch about technique, tips, and spent hours looking at other people's beautiful prints.

This is my first attempt at block printing. I LOVED it. I think I love it as much as if it had turned out perfect. I'm a big perfectionist, but this looks so wonderful with all of it's imperfections (including dropping an inked stamp onto the fabric).

Minimalist Backpack | Red Circle Crafts

Some of the ways I didn't follow the tutorial (because I can never follow along exactly like they tell me to):

  • I didn't have any rope or enough grommets, so I sewed in nylon webbing at the step when you should add grommets.

  • I put in french seams so that my inner seams would be finished (it did make the fold-over flap more difficult to hem).

Wow. I guess I really liked this tutorial. I didn't make too many changes I think it would still be absolutely lovely if I had followed along exactly.

Minimalist Backpack | Red Circle Crafts

*I used an Amazon Affiliate link, in case you want to know what a brayer is, and I make a few cents if you choose to buy one through this link.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall Decor DIYs

As of yesterday, we are officially into fall. After the hottest summer that Portland has ever seen, I'm pretty happy to move into some cooler, rainier days. I'm ready for cozy sweaters, piles of leaves and hot drinks.

Here are some fun DIY projects to get your home into that fall feeling.

Twig and Pom Pom Fall Wreath | Red Circle Crafts

Last year, I made an Autumn wreath to hang on my front door. I'm definitely putting it back up ASAP.

Fall Leaves Mobile from The Style Files

This beautiful table setting from The Style Files doesn't have a tutorial for the amazing fall leaf mobile. But it looks like someone just hung some leaves from the ceiling with thread. And to beautiful effect!

Wood Slice Chalkboard from Craftaholics Anonymous

While this tutorial for a Wood Slice Chalkboard from Craftaholics Anonymous is styled for Halloween decor, I think it's something you could put up long before Halloween comes around and could likely transition all the way through Christmas with just a different saying written in chalk.

Deer Stenciled Door Mat from Hi + Hello

I love this doormat from Hi + Hello. Although the possibilities are endless, I think this makes great seasonal change just like it is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Travel Earring Book

Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts

I'm traveling again next week. I've been able to do a lot of traveling this year, certainly more than usual. But I'm always thinking of ways to make it easier. Bring less by only bringing things that can do double duty. Use convenient storage. Pack more and better snacks. For me the secret to traveling well is to do enough planning ahead of time to have some options, but being totally open to whatever wonderful, unexpected things come my way while I'm in a new or unusual place. I admit it's a fine balance that sometimes works out better than others.

Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts

I saw this tutorial for a little book to hold earrings on Made By Mazipan. It's perfect for travel! I always end up dumping out a bag of jewelry to try and find the match to whatever earrings I want to wear.

Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts

I made mine a little smaller than hers, but it's only to hold a handful of earrings in any case. And I didn't put the velcro between the foam sheets like she did. I'm not entirely sure what the point of keeping them closed like that is. Also, I put a button closure on the outside instead of velcro. I just have a thing for buttons really.

Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts

Seriously how cute is that rainbow cloud? I want to put that on everything now.

Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts Travel Earring Book | Red Circle Crafts

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Eco Friendly Alternatives to Plastic

You know sometimes when an issue shows up in front of you from several different angles and you can't help but notice? I've had "The Problem With Plastics" show up in my email, a magazine at lunch the other day, while talking to a friend, and now I can't stop thinking about the micro bead problem, or the plastic covering the ocean, or how I could go about reducing my own plastic usage. I like to think I'm pretty good, but just a few key things could make me better, easily.

Often it's easier to just use the disposable option. The other option requires planning and thinking ahead. But if I carried my own little bamboo spork (they're not infinitely reuasable, but certainly better than plastic), a small jar or other container, and some cotton produce bags in my regular shoulder bag, I could probably cut down on a lot of my disposable plastic usage. And the funny thing is that it probably won't even seem strange here in Portland. Oh Portland, I do love that weirdness elsewhere is just business as usual here.

Want to make your own switch to less plastic? Here's some easy crafts to help you.

DIY Produce Bags from Well Nesting

Re-usable cotton produce bag for bulk  bins, lettuce, or farmer's market shopping. Tutorial from Well Nester.

Crocheted Drawstring Sacs from The Art of Zen Crochet

Another option for produce and general shopping is a crochet bag, like this pattern and tutorial from The Art of Zen Crochet.

Reusable Snack Bags & Sandwhich Wraps from Better Homes & Gardens

As an alternative to ziplock bags, try some re-usable snack bags or sandwich wraps like these from Better Homes & Gardens.

Homemade Cling Wrap DIY from Nourishing Joy

This tutorial from Nourishing Joy shows how to make natural, water-resistant oil cloth from cotton fabric and beeswax. It can be used for all kinds of plastic alternatives, including cling wrap.

I've already warned J that I may be slightly more embarrassing than usual as I figure out how to ask people to use my convenient, re-usable container at restaurants, the grocery store, and anywhere else I can think of to eliminate my disposable plastic.

All photos in this post belong to their respective and linked sites.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tutorial: Felt Flower Cord Minder

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

I'm in love with this little flower cord minder. It's a little wabisabi and a lot adorable, not to mention super easy to make.

I've included instructions to make this no-sew too, so if you don't like to sew, you can still make it!

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts


1 Sheet of Felt
A Fork
Velcro (Self-Adhesive for no-sew)
Sewing Machine (Optional)
Needle & Coordinating Thread OR Hot Glue Gun


Step 1

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Cut out one of each pattern piece from the felt.

Step 2

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Attach one of each piece of velcro (hooks and loops) to either end of the felt strap piece. I used a sewing machine to quickly and securely attach it, but it can be done with a needle and thread too. You can see that I cut down each piece of velcro to better fit on my strap.

If you're making this without sewing, use adhesive backed velcro.

Step 3

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

To make a pom pom: pull a piece of yarn or string (string is better and won't break on you as you pull it taught to tie later) through the middle of the tines of your  fork. Then wrap some yarn around the fork until it's fairly full. Take the string you laid through the middle and wrap it a few times around the bulk of the yarn and tie it as tight as you can. Cut all of the loops through.

Note: As I was trimming my pom pom, the string tie broke and I had to start over. So the rest of my pom pom photos look different, but I used the same method with different yarn and a piece of string instead of yarn to tie it all together.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

To shape this, find the knot and move all the yarn away from it, so it sits flat on your work surface. Then take a sharp pair of scissors and trim the rest of the pom pom around it until it looks somewhat spherical. For this particular pom pom, I wanted it to look  less like a sphere and more like the tuft at the center of a flower. So I left some long pieces and a few different layers. Giving it some wabisabi will make it seem more natural (as natural as a felt and yarn flower can be, I guess).

Step 4

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Attaching it all together.

If you are doing the no sew option: Time to use the hot glue gun. Take a dab of hot glue and attach the big flower piece to the end of the strap on the side without the velcro (hook side should be under the flower), the smaller flower on top of that, and the pom pom on top of that. Use the following photos as a guide.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

If you are sewing it all together (my preferred method because I think it's a little more durable), lay the smaller flower on top of the bigger one, and bring the needle through both with the knot on the back of the big flower.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

You can see in the photo that the thread is still attached to the flower pieces, now bring the needle through the knot in the pom pom and then back down through all the layers of felt.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Then add the strap it all. I put the hook side of the velcro under the flower, facing away from it.

And sew back up through the whole thing a few times.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Then tie a knot, hiding it between to the layers of flower petals.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

It'll look like this when you're done.

There are two ways you can secure your cords (I'm using mine for my earbud headphones).

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Wrap the strap around the coiled cords and bring the two pieces of velcro together.


Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Wrap the strap around the cord tightly and secure the hooks side of velcro to the felt wherever it meets. If you have only a few cords, this method will probably hold them more securely.

Flower Felt Cord Minder | Red Circle Crafts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cool Craft Kits

One of my favorite things to look for on Etsy are craft kits. Just about any kind of craft you're interested in, but don't know where to start has a kit put together by another maker. I like them much better than the kits you find at art stores. Mostly those kits are geared towards kids and have shoddy supplies. These kits are for the most part put together from whatever supplies that maker would want to use. Plus you get their first hand knowledge in a project or two with it.

Screen Printing Kit on Etsy | Red Circle Crafts

This screen printing kit is actually in my etsy shop. A lot of the free stencils I offer on my blog work well with it too.

Frame Loom Weaving Starter Kit from Hello Chiqui on Etsy

This Frame Loom Weaving Kit from Hello Chiqui is an amazing starter kit. It comes with everything you need, and each piece is made beautifully.

Soap Making Kit from Wild Herb Soap Co on Etsy

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at the urban homesteading skill of soap making, this Cold Process Soap Kit from Wild Herb Soap Co looks great.

Embroidery Starter Kit from Kiriki Press on Etsy

The Embroidered Doll Kits from Kiriki Press are adorable and would be a great way to practice your embroidery.

Desktop Terrarium Kit from JPants4Sale on Etsy

JPants has so many terrarium supplies, but my favorite are the complete kits. Everything is packaged beautifully and comes with tiny amounts of everything you need. This Desktop Terrarium Kit looks really fun.

All photos in this post belong to their respective and linked owners, except the first, which belongs to me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kid-Sized Owl Bags

Kid-Sized Owl Bags | Red Circle Crafts

What's better than one small owl bag? A mini owl bag to go with it.

My niece is obsessed with a doll she has (a non-american girl branded 18" doll). Which does make present making easier because all I have to do is make a matching ___ for her doll as well and instant success.

Kid-Sized Owl Bags | Red Circle Crafts

I was inspired by the Owl Bag Pattern that Gingercake sells. Her owls are really lovely.

I drafted the pattern for these myself, but you can see how heavily her design influenced mine. The larger one will be a small satchel for my six year old niece and a perfectly matching bag for her doll to carry too.

The details: I used some cotton fabric I had already and felt. I added stabilizer to the yellow fabric to give some weight and used wonder under to attach the wings and purple circles for the eyes. Both so that the fabric would stick while I sewed it on, and also so that it wouldn't fray (much). The straps are a cool Japanese cotton tape that I've been waiting for the perfect project to use and lavender nylon webbing that was cannibalized from an old falling apart bag years ago.

I hand sewed all the felt on because I thought it might be too fussy to sew nicely on my machine. Plus I love the way they pop out a bit this way.

Kid-Sized Owl Bags | Red Circle Crafts

Kid-Sized Owl Bags | Red Circle Crafts