Baseball Bracelet

Baseball Bracelet 9

Major League Baseball is over for yet another season (go Tigers!).  But who says it has to end for everyone else? We have a baseball fan in our family.  Actually, fan is an understatement.  This person is wholly engrossed in obsessed with baseball.  So this is a wee giftie for that person.

Baseball Bracelet 7

I got the idea from My Ruby Girl and modified it a bit so it would be a bit bigger.

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First you need yourself a baseball, one made out of genuine leather.  This one is from an Ottawa Little League.  Not sure how we ended up with it, but nonetheless …

Baseball Bracelet 5

Then you take a sturdy craft knife or box cutter and you cut around the seams, leaving a centimetre or two of space. You don’t want to cut too closely because you might cut the threads binding the whole thing together.

Baseball Bracelet 1

Baseball Bracelet 2

Then you can peel off those little centre bits away from the seam.

Baseball Bracelet 3

And then you can peel off the seam, all in one piece.

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You can easily pull off all that sticky string.

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Now you want to find the spot where the seam ends and the stitches are loose. Pull a few of those stitches out so you have space to cut the leather. You don’t want to cut the string.

Baseball Bracelet 8

Baseball Bracelet 9

Now you want to trim off that excess leather, cutting closer to the seam. Not too close, of course, but close enough that it looks nice and tidy. It’s up to you. Then you’re going to fold your long strip in half and cut it again.

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Now you have two bracelets. If you want, you can stop right here, tack on some string or hardware at the ends for fastening and be done with it.

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But we’re going to take it a little further.

Baseball Bracelet 10

What if we take both strips and sew them together? Makes the bracelet a bit bigger, right? I have some lovely hemp string here in a nice shade of Toronto Blue Jays blue, for their biggest fan.

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I popped open my Altoids tin containing my special needles.

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And got to work with one of the curved ones. It was a little bit of a challenge to force the string through the small holes, and because of the curve, not all the holes lined up properly but that didn’t really concern me.

Baseball Bracelet 18

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When I had finished, I used the existing holes to sew on some vintage plastic buttons.

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I made sure to tie the knots carefully underneath, and I rubbed a little beeswax over the knots to keep them in place.

Baseball Bracelet Final 7

Put a little wax on the buttons, too.

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Then I doubled up the thread to make two loops around which to hook the buttons and fasten the bracelet.

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I used beeswax here too, to strengthen the hemp string.

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And then the loops naturally twisted around themselves.

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The finished product.

Baseball Bracelet Final 1

I put a little almond oil into the leather, too, to soften it. It’s a nice little cuff.

Baseball Bracelet Final 2


Cardigan Cozy

Cardigan Cozy

We know that I’ve done things with cardigans, and I’ve done things with cozies.  And now for something completely different.

My mother is an artist, and she spends many long hours perched in her chair, leaning over her drafting table. That can lead to a sore back after a day of drawing, and, in the wintertime, a cold backside.

In her living room, she has a new fireplace, and so spends a lot of time cozied up to the flames.  But upstairs in the studio she has no such luck.

Now, this sweater was knitted for her by my grandmother eons ago.  It no longer fit her, so she gave it to me, because it’s beautiful.  She even switched all the buttons for me and make all the buttonholes fit properly with the new hardware.

Cardigan Cozy

Alas, I’m a little longer in the torso than my mother and so the cardigan doesn’t suit me at all.

But here’s my idea.  We all know about “magic” bags, those sacks filled with buckwheat or rice that you microwave that keep you toasty.  The Pie and I use them nearly every night in the winter, to heat up the foot of our bed.

Why not turn this cardigan into a heating pad that will fit on the back of the chair?  It will slide over the back of most, and for the ones where it doesn’t, well, you can always use the arms of the sweater to hold it in place, right?

Cardigan Cozy

So first I had to come up with the heating pad itself, because I’m not going to stick this sweater in the microwave.  This heating pad is going to be removable, something I can button inside the cardigan.

What I need is a big, flat, rectangle, which I will fill with rice.  To keep the rice from falling to the bottom when the pad is in place inside the sweater, I’m going to sew it into little pockets.  I’m basically quilting, but instead of using batting, I’m using rice.

Cardigan Cozy

To make the bag, I measured (roughly) the inside of the sweater.

Cardigan Cozy

Then I cut out a square of folded fabric.

Cardigan Cozy

It was my goal to sew ribbon loops into the four corners to serve as button holes.  I messed it up, but I also fixed it later.

Cardigan Cozy

So here I am, sewing up three sides of the folded cloth, including the fold side.

Cardigan Cozy

Turn it inside out, and sew again to create the frame for the rice.

Cardigan Cozy

Sew up towards the opening, in equal spacing.  These will be the columns for the rice.

Cardigan Cozy

I scooped 1/3 cup uncooked rice into each column.

Cardigan Cozy

Then pinned each column shut.

Cardigan Cozy

And sewed it up — to make a quilted pocket.

Cardigan Cozy

Continue that way all the way up.

Cardigan Cozy

The finished pockets.

Cardigan Cozy

Then I sealed the top, added some more loops of ribbons to attach to more buttons, and sewed that under.

Cardigan Cozy

Now, because I’d made the loops too small, I used the loops instead as an anchor for another ribbon, which I tied around the buttons, which I of course sewed into the sweater.

Cardigan Cozy

I used extra buttons along the top edge because I was concerned about the weight.  All that rice is nearly 4lb!

Cardigan Cozy

Then I sewed a velvet ribbon into each of the sleeves so that I could tie them together and they wouldn’t dangle.  I figure if this cozy ever goes onto a chair where it can’t slide over the back, you can always use the ribbons to tie the arms to the chair.

Cardigan Cozy

So here it is on a chair.  Gren is not impressed. He’s a hard one to please.

Cardigan Cozy

My mother’s studio chair is a bit more substantial, more like my office chair.  So here is how it looks from the back.

Cardigan Cozy

And the front.  Cozy, huh?

Cardigan Cozy

Button Magnets

Martha Stewart has a clever method of dealing with almost everything.  In this particular case, it’s the leftover buttons you have lying around after they’ve fallen off shirts or come as spares with clothing you can’t even remember.  It’s easy to make fridge magnets out of them.  Well, easy if you’re not me, of course.

I picked up a selection of rare earth magnets from Lee Valley for a reasonable price — ninety magnets, to be precise.  I like to go whole hog into things like this.  Rare earth magnets are super strong, so be careful not to get them near your electronics or credit cards. 

If you like the shape of some of your buttons but not the colour, you can always paint them with model paint.  I of course managed to get myself coated in model paint when I did this, but I’m sure you have more advanced motor skills than I do.

The process is pretty simple. 

You take your magnets.  You take your buttons.  You take a glue gun.  You apply burning hot glue to either the magnet or the button (be careful here because of course the magnet will try to stick to your glue gun and unhappy situations can arise from that).  You try not to swear too loudly when you miss and accidentally apply burning hot glue to your finger.  Or when you accidentally adhere either the magnet or the button to your person.  Or the table.  Or the floor.  These things happen.

Once the glue is cooled you can click those babies right onto your fridge or wherever else you want to put them.  I found that some buttons didn’t like the glue and fell off, so I just used different buttons.  You may find the same thing.

Real McCoy Felted Mittens

Last week we had a little fun with the MacGuyver mittens.  This week I bring you the real deal.

Trace your hand (or someone else’s hand, it’s up to you, of course) with the thumb sticking out a bit.  Cut out your tracing, leaving about half an inch on the outside edges.  Use that tracing as a template and cut it out of both sides of your felted sweater, using the ribbing on the bottom of the sweater as the opening of the mitten.

Flip your cut out pieces so they are right-side in and pin them.Sew them up using a blanket stitch and turn them right-side out again.  It’s as easy as that.


If you want to be really clever, you can sew a loop of thread onto one mitten at the cuff, and a button onto the other mitten in the same place.  Then you can slip the loop over the button and keep your mittens together!

Button Up

Most people know how to sew on a button.  I hope.

The Pie doesn’t know.  So this one is for him so he can do it while I’m away.

I find a lot of the things I buy have buttons that are inadequately reinforced, and generally within a few months of purchase the buttons fall off.  Tragedy.

In this case, this is one of my favourite skirts, which I have had for years.  The button at the top is about to pop off and leave me for good.

First, thread your needle, to wit., stick a piece of thread about twice the length of your forearm into the eye of a needle and tie the ends together.

Poke the needle through the back side of your fabric and through one of the holes on your button.  My button has four holes, so I’m going to sew across it in an X fashion.

Poke the needle back through the hole diagonal to the hole it came out of, then through the fabric and through the button again, this time in the hole adjacent to the one you just stuck the needle through.

Go diagonal again, and repeat until you have trouble getting the needle through the button holes.

Poke the needle back through the back side of the fabric into the space between the button and the cloth.  Hold the needle in your hand and wind the thread several times around the join between the cloth and the button.  This will help protect against fraying.

Poke the needle back through to the back side of the fabric and tie it off carefully.

It’s not the neatest of jobs but it’s not coming off again any time soon.

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