Category Archives: Tutorials

Pinterest Perfect: DIY Rustic Headboard

I wish my house were magazine-worthy. I wish one interior wall were made of raw brick. I wish I had large windows with endless natural light. I wish I had crisp white linens. I wish I had 11-foot ceilings. I wish I had a subway tile kitchen backsplash.

A woman can dream, right? And that’s what Pinterest is for.

I’m usually a practical pinner. I pin recipes I’ll actually make, knitting techniques I reference over and over, but once in a while I just want to be dazzled by what I call “Pinterest perfectionism.”

My friend Julie’s “For the Home” board is just that — a virtual cork board of immaculate kitchens, bedrooms and dens that are seemingly unattainable. But Julie is a DIY-er. I’ve seen her tackle several projects that require power tools. I’m a crafter, but I can’t get myself to pick up anything heftier than a staple gun.

I thought of Julie last summer when my parents were tearing down their 25-year-old cedar deck. My husband meticulously planed every board that came off of that wrap-around deck. He was left with quite a bit of cedar, which he used to build our son’s playhouse.

In the spring I invited Julie to stop by and pick up some planks because it just looked Pinterest worthy. The last month she sent me photos of what she created — a rustic headboard with personality.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

I guess this post is an ode to those who actually do it. Her bedroom is a DIY, Pinterest-perfect dream come true. Well done, Julie!

Here’s what Julie had to say about how she made her too-easy-to-be-true, step-by-step instructions for a super cute headboard.

1. Get some awesome friends (wink wink) who offer you already sanded and planed cedar planks AND cut them to the length you want. I did some measuring prior to that and decided how long and tall I wanted the pieces.

2. Lay out your pieces how you want them and use wood glue to glue the sides together. I will admit, it was a little tricky because it was hard to apply enough pressure so that the wood would adhere together. A table with clamps would work a whole lot better than what I did!

3. Once all the pieces are glued together, I waited 24 hours to let the glue set, according to the instructions on the bottle.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

4. The last thing I did was take the special piece I had picked out to go across the headboard and nail it down. I picked out some 2-inch galvanized nails. I really liked the way they looked with the raw cedar.

DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

5. For installation, I was lazy and just set it up behind my bed. But you’re probably more motivated than me and might want to actually take the time to attach some longer pieces on to the sides to give the headboard some more height and screw those into the frame. I’ll probably do that…next summer.DIY Rustic Headboard | just a few unsanded cedar boards are all you need to easily create your own rustic headboard. Free tutorial from alaskaknitnat.comSo that’s it! There’s your new headboard! There’s a lot of creative license with this you can take, so just have fun and make it your own! Enjoy!

 

Babe in Shining Armor

It’s been a busy month here in Alaska blogland. Akshopgirl, Tessie Style, DJ Spencer Lee, The Sawbuck, Fernanda Conrad and I have been providing tips, costume ideas, music mixes, cocktails, decor projects and more for the Halloween season.

This week is dedicated to all those procrastinators. We’ll be featuring last-minute Halloween ideas, but today I wanted to feature a costume that if you have a few hours to spare this week you could still pull off.

My friend Kait sent me photos of her daughter’s costume and it was too darn cute not to share.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Little Bea’s armor is constructed out of soda pop tabs and jump rings. Kait said she used about 350 tabs. Construction wasn’t the hard part, she said. It was collecting the tabs themselves.

“That’s the long game part of it,” she said. “You have to start collecting and asking around if people will help.”

Luckily she was able to find a friend with a whole bag of tabs.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Kait used 10cm jump rings to connect the tabs, but if she were to do it again she said she would use 12 or 14cm instead so it would use fewer tabs and take less time to make.

The dragon emblem was part of a handmade birthday card her husband received in the mail and the belt and crown are made from a belt purchased from a rummage sale.

DIY Knight in Shining Armor Baby Costume | made from soda pop tabs and jump rings, this DIY baby costume is a great project for those dedicated crafty parents. Featured on Alaskaknitnat.com

Bea’s costume doesn’t stop here. Bea’s father is going to be her damsel in distress and Kait will be dressed up as a dragon.

Kait is already planning for next year.

“I’m thinking famous scientists.”

Super quick baby gnome costume

It’s week two of our Halloween Blog Party and the theme is “Woodland Creatures.” So far we’ve had fairy flower crown and forest garland tutorials, a woodland fairytale mix by DJ Spencer Lee and today I’ve got a super quick baby costume that requires minimal crafty skills and a shoestring budget.

This was my son’s first Halloween costume and I love it so.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.
“Step off. Don’t make me sick my Jeremy Fisher on you.”
A while back AK Shopgirl was inspired by our little gnome. She decided to dress up her twin baby boys as more traditional David the Gnome.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Here’s all you need to achieve a gnome-tastic baby outfit:

  • 1 piece of white felt (24 cents from Wal-Mart)
  • A large mug
  • pen
  • scissors
  • safety pin
  • a dark-colored onesie
  • pants
  • booties
  • gnome hat (knitting pattern here)*

*If you aren’t a knitter, I suggest making a gnome hat the way AK Shopgirl did using a sheet of red craft foam fashioned into a cone, adhered with a hot glue gun. Ohhappyday.com has a free template here, if you want to get technical.

How to make the beard

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Place the mug upside down in the middle of the white felt, 1.5 inches down from the top edge. Trace a circle for the neck hole.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Use the mug to shape the corners of the beard bib.

Draw a line at the top of the neck hole to the top edge of the felt. This will be the opening of the beard bib. I just love saying “beard bib.”

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Freehand the shape of the beard. Cut out your beard bib.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Dress up baby of choice in the onesie, pants and booties. Use a safety pin to connect the back edges of the beard bib. Place pointy hat atop baby.

Super quick baby gnome costume | a DIY Halloween craft from alaskaknitnat.com.

Presto. Baby gnome.

DIY Flower Crown – A video tutorial

Flower crowns are my thing. I love making them and I certainly love wearing them. After months of working with Meringue Studio Boudoir and having a couple of booths set up with the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, I’ve had lots of people ask me if I have a tutorial for my flower crowns.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

This is Week Two of the Halloween Blog Party with AK Shopgirl, Tessie Style and me. I’m happy to announce this week’s theme: Woodland Creatures.

Check all three of our sites this week for costume ideas, décor, music mixes and more.

My flower crowns are no trade secret (although you do have to have a florist business license to acquire the light green floral tape). I’ve been held up by simple technological difficulties (I don’t have a tripod that allows for bird’s eye view).

I asked my husband to figure it out. Five minutes and some duct tape later, he had rigged up a suitable bird’s eye camera. Thanks to The Alaska Life for the free selfie stick — I finally found a non-silly way to use it ;).

Whether you’re dressing up yourself or your little girl this Halloween, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a fresh flower crown to compliment your fairy costume.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Alaska Weddings: Charlee + Marc | Photo by Rhae Anne Photography
Photo by Rhae Anne Photography

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Photo by Kerry Tasker
Photo by Kerry Tasker
DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com
Photo by Laura Stennett Photography

DIY Fresh Flower Crown

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Materials:

Directions:

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Measure your wire around your head and cut the wire with four inches extra length.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Tear off pieces of floral tape about six inches long. You’ll need several, but I usually tear off five at a time.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

In this time lapse video I show you how I construct a partial crown, which is worn off to the side. I usually start in the middle of the wire and work my way toward the edge. If you want a full flower crown, start about three inches from one end and work your way toward the other end.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Prepare your flowers and greens by leaving two inches of stem remaining. Trim away any excess leaves or buds.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Starting at the middle of the crown, lay a green against the wire and tightly wrap the tape around it, working your way down the stem. Add a new flower to the wire and position it to cover the first wrapped stem. Tightly wrap this stem with the floral tape.

Work your way down the wire, positioning the flowers and greens in a herringbone fashion. I usually wrap a green tilting toward the left, then a flower tilting toward the right, a flower tilting toward the left and a green tilting toward the right.

Use your best judgment to nestle greens and flowers together. Pay attention to the natural curve of each flower and place them so they are featured in a pleasing way.

When you have about three inches remaining on the wire, stop adding more flowers. Wrap the ends of the wire around each other so it fits your head well.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Store in the fridge whenever you’re not wearing it. It should last for a few days.

Here is a one-minute time lapse of my making a flower crown. Pretty neat! View the long version here.

DIY Fairy Flower Crown | A video tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Make a grocery store flower arrangement

Happy October! As I glance out the window at the trees half shed of their leaves and the drizzly, cold rain, I am eager for the festivities of fall.

In celebration of Halloween, my blogging friends Leslie Shroyer (a.k.a. AK Shopgirl) and Tess Weaver of Tessie Style and I are collaborating to present fresh, fun and accessible Halloween ideas and do-it-yourself tips. Each week during our Halloween Blog Party we will curate a collection of costumes, décor, crafts, and last-minute ideas focused on a weekly theme. Local traveling speakeasy, The Sawbuck, will contribute craft cocktail recipes, and DJ Spencer Lee will create a playlist to complete the party.

This week Leslie takes the reins with “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Where the Wild Things Are DIY costumes from akshopgirl.com

You just have to check out her darling DIY costumes for children and adults.

I thought I’d give a brief tutorial on how to arrange grocery store flowers for a “Where the Wild Things Are” theme party — or if you just want to spruce up your living room on the cheap.

It’s by no means my most impressive arrangement, but it only takes a few minutes to put together and I feel as though I’ve accomplished something by doing it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

How to arrange grocery store flowers | learn how to make flowers from the grocery store look like a professional arrangement. Tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

The safflowers, $8 at Fred Meyer, remind me of the character Max’s crown as he parades through the forest with the wild things. The vase, a Mason jar painted like mercury glass, was just $4.50 at JoAnn Fabrics. The mixed bouquet was $5 and the baby’s breath was $1.60 a stem at Alaska Wholesale Flower Market.

First, fill your vase with water and stir in the flower food packet. The packet came with the flowers, so you might as well use it, but it’s of course optional.

How to arrange grocery store flowers | learn how to make flowers from the grocery store look like a professional arrangement. Tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Next, trim the baby’s breath so about three inches of the blooms stick out of the vase. This acts as the framework and velcro for the arrangement. Without it the other flowers would flop around. Baby’s breath keeps it all in place.

How to arrange grocery store flowers | learn how to make flowers from the grocery store look like a professional arrangement. Tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Start cutting away the safflowers and placing the short stems around the lip of the vase. Try and get the leaves to curl around the lip. This gives the arrangement more continuity.

A good tip for trimming stems is to bring the vase to the edge of the table and line the stem up to the vase. Determine what height you prefer and cut the stem at an angle so it draws up water more easily, thus prolonging its vase life.

How to arrange grocery store flowers | learn how to make flowers from the grocery store look like a professional arrangement. Tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Start filling out the arrangement with the remaining flowers. Stagger the heights of the yellow flowers and have them point in different directions if you’re going to have the arrangement be a centerpiece. That way it’s lovely from all angles.

A rule of thumb is to use an odd number of focal blooms. It’s more pleasing to the eye, I suppose.

Add other flowers here and there, filling in any gaps in the baby’s breath, until you like what you see.

How to arrange grocery store flowers | learn how to make flowers from the grocery store look like a professional arrangement. Tutorial from alaskaknitnat.com

Now place your arrangement in a calming spot and revel in the fact that you just did something nice for yourself.

Check back all month for more Halloween crafts and tutorials. Take a peek at what akshopgirl is up to this week so you can have your own wild rumpus.

Harvesting Anchorage: Pickling and Canning Beets

I’m thrilled to introduce fellow Anchorage blogger, Ashley Taborsky, in this week’s “Harvesting Anchorage.” Ashley is the woman behind Alaska Urban Soil Project where she aims to create an “online community of fellow urban hippies who want to get into Alaskan backyard farming.”

This gal is diving deep into Alaska gardening and I admire her for her tenacity and willingness to try new things.

Throughout the summer I’ve been blogging about how I interact with the wild foods of Anchorage and Alaska, but you’ll notice that I don’t garden. It’s partially due to my hectic working mom/florist/other stuff schedule, part laziness and also that I don’t have an easily accessible water source in my yard (ok, this equates to laziness. I just don’t want to stretch my hose to the other side of my lawn where we actually get sun).

Ashley is obviously more determined than I am to produce her own food and it appears that she is succeeding. This is why I thought she would be a great guest to talk about how she harvests Anchorage in her own back yard.

Check out her site for lots of DIY projects and recipe ideas. Today I’ll be passing the mic to Ashley to let her talk about pickling and canning her homegrown beets.

Harvesting Anchorage: Pickling and canning beets in Alaska | A great step-by-step tutorial by the Alaska Urban Soil Project

Continue reading Harvesting Anchorage: Pickling and Canning Beets

Oilcloth Coin Purse — A free tutorial

Every time I travel to Mexico I can’t resist buying a meter or two of brightly colored oilcloth. You see it everywhere down there, mostly as cheerful tablecloths. I use it for just about everything. I cover cans with it, I reupholstered my dining chairs and I love to use it for coin purses.

Oilcloth Coin Purse | An easy tutorial from Alaskaknitnat.com

I have a simple pattern for my coin purses. You could use any fabric you like, but since the oilcloth is so thick I don’t have to use any stabilizer. That cuts down on project time, which is good because I have a really short attention span for sewing.

Oilcloth Coin Purse | An easy tutorial from Alaskaknitnat.com

Oilcloth coin purse: a free tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat

Oilcloth Coin Purse | An easy tutorial from Alaskaknitnat.com

Materials:

  • 2, 6×8-inch pieces of oilcloth
  • one long, nylon zipper (9 inches or longer makes it easier)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot
  • chopstick (optional)

Continue reading Oilcloth Coin Purse — A free tutorial

DIY mini greenhouse: A quick kids craft

Last week was our son’s third birthday party. He requested it be Lorax themed, which is fitting because his birthday is on Earth Day. Although I consider myself of the crafty variety, birthdays are overwhelming to me and going all out is too exhausting. So I choose activities and decorations with minimal prep work.

One of the save-the-trees crafts I put together was a miniature greenhouse where the kids could plant a seed, create the greenhouse, take it home and watch it grow. It was a hit among two partygoers and that’s a success in my book for a 3-year-old birthday.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

DIY mini greenhouses

Materials:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • Potting soil
  • Dry beans
  • Painter’s tape
  • Knife

Directions:

Fill a plastic cup halfway with potting soil. Wet the soil so it’s moist, but not sopping.

With a knife, poke three holes in the bottom of another cup. Set aside.

Let your little one plant two or three beans in the soil. There’s no wrong way to do it. Jack barely put them beneath the soil and they still sprouted.

DIY mini greenhouse || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

DIY mini greenhouse || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

Place the other cup on top and affix a few pieces of painter’s tape to hold the cups in place.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

Set in a sunny window. No need to water it. About three or four days later your beans should sprout. You can transfer your sprout to a small pot if you like. Be sure there is a drainage hole.

DIY mini greenhouses || a quick kids craft from Alaskaknitnat.com

DIY mini hang tags

Recently I was commissioned to sew 10 coin purses out of vintage kimono silk remnants. Part of providing the service of craft is the presentation. Sure, I could have delivered the purses in a plastic grocery bag, but the buyer is more impressed when she receives them as though they are a gift. It’s remarkable how much a tiny hang tag on your product gives it a professional finish.

I have yet to order Alaska Knit Nat hang tags. I just don’t feel like ordering large quantities and I worry they might not turn out right and I’d have spent money on something I won’t use.

Here’s a way to create your own hang tags in small quantities that is super inexpensive.

DIY mini hang tags | Give your products a professional finish with affordable homemade hang tags. Tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat

First, log in to Canva.com. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a fantastic, free site where you can create pretty graphic elements from Facebook posts to business cards. It’s like graphic design for dummies.

Continue reading DIY mini hang tags

Tokyo Tie Bag — Free Pattern and Tutorial

A few years ago I went sewing machine crazy and sewed a couple dozen Tokyo tie bags. I was inspired by a pattern on Darling Petunia’s blog. I never got around to posting my own pattern because I was too caught up in sewing them. My pattern, which I tweaked slightly from Darling Petunia’s, sadly sat in my craft pile for a few years until someone from Mexico emailed me last month and asked if she could buy one. I sewed it, shipped it and was reminded how easy and fun it was to make.

So here I am, three years later, ready to offer a full tutorial and pattern for the Tokyo tie bag. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I do!

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

Tokyo Tie Bag

An easy sewing project that can be completed in an hour

Materials:

3/4 yard each of lining and outer fabric (100% cotton is recommended)

fabric scissors

rotary cutter and board (optional)

Tokyo tie bag pattern 1 & Tokyo tie bag pattern 2 printed at 100% to match the indicated dimensions, cut out and taped together

 

Directions:

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project. Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

1. Iron your fabric and cut out two pieces of the pattern from the lining and outer fabrics. If your fabric is directional (meaning it looks different upside down) be sure you cut your pattern so the bottom of the pattern is on the same edge for both pieces. You should have four pieces.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

2. With right sides together, sew each edge of the lining with a  3/8 inch seam allowance. Repeat for outer fabric.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

3. Iron open the seams.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

4. Turn your lining right side out and slip it inside the outer fabric.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

5. Make sure the seams from the outer and lining fabrics match up in the middle and pin all around the top edge and handles.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

6. Sew all around the top edge, along the handles and back down again. Your seam should end at the same place you began as you’ll be sewing in a giant loop.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

7. Trim the corners of the handles so there is less bulk.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

8. Cut notches at the center curves so the seam will be more smooth when turned right-side out.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

9. Turn the bag right-side out and use a chopstick to push out the handles. Stuff the lining down into the outer fabric. It should now look somewhat like a bag but with the bottom unfinished. Iron the whole bag flat.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

10. Lay the bag flat so the side seams are now in the middle. Make sure these seams line up on the bottom and then iron the bag flat.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

11. Using a rotary blade, cut the bottom edges of the bag so it’s all even. Sometimes things just aren’t lined up well and a good fresh cut will make it turn out better. This step is optional.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

12. With the bag right-side out pin along the bottom edge, starting at the center seams so they line up on both sides. Sew along the edge with the shortest seam allowance possible.

13. Trim closely along this seam and turn inside out.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

14. Pin the now sewn shut bottom edge again and sew a new seam with 1/4-inch seam allowance. You have now created a French seam. Hurrah!

15. Turn your bag right-side out and iron one more time.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project. Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project. Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.

16. Join the two handles by tying a square knot.

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.
17. Admire your work. You’re a super sewer!

Tokyo Tie Bag -- Free pattern and tutorial from Alaska Knit Nat. Great beginner project.