Other Projects

The ABCs of DIY Shoes

My toddler is VERY into his letters and numbers lately, so when it came time to think up a theme for a spring shoe refashion, his vintage-style alphabet blocks stood out from the pack (that, and I’m not as good at drawing dinosaurs or trains, which would have been the other top contenders!).

ABC shoes finish2 generation-t.com

And sure enough, when I presented them to him the morning after I made them, he picked one up and said, “ABC shoe!” Exactly, my dear. Now we can practice his letters and colors while we’re on the go!


-White canvas shoes
-Black permanent pen

-Tulip Dual Tip Fabric Markers (Neon)
-Alphabet blacks (optional, for inspiration!)
ABC shoes materials generation-t.com

Make it:
Follow the step-by-step instructions over at the iLoveToCreate blog!

ABC shoes4 generation-t.com

Psst! Not just for toddlers! Decorate any size shoe for a delightfully personalized style statement — just be sure to schedule in more time, since there’ll more surface area to cover.


[ 1 Comment | Posted on February 25th, 2014 ]

DIY: Leaf Resist Skirt

As promised, here’s one more way to use leaves to influence your fall fashion. Rather than use tracings or stencils made from the leaves, I used the leaves themselves as the “mask” before painting. I laid them down on the skirt, added a touch of glue stick to encourage some of them to hold independently (to contend with the gentle breeze created by the spray paint), and peeled them up when I was done. Now that it’s December, and leaves may be scarcer, you can swap out the leaves for some paper snowflakes to get festive.

leaf skirt finish generation-t.com

-Denim skirt (or, start with an old pair of jeans, like I did!)
-Fabric spray paint (gold)
-Pressed leaves (collect freshly fallen leaves a day or two in advance and press them between pieces of plain paper in a heavy old book)
-Glue stick

Optional (if you plan to refashion your jeans into a skirt first):
-Seam ripper
-Sewing machine and matching thread
-Fabric scissors

Make it:
Lay the skirt flat on some newspaper (to protect your work surface).

leaf skirt 2 generation-t.com

2. Arrange the leaves over the front. Dab the back of each leaf with a single dot of glue stick (just enough to hold it still at the center).

leaf skirt 3 generation-t.com

3. Spray the gold fabric paint over the entire front of the shirt. Embrace the splatters!

leaf skirt 4 generation-t.com

4. Peel up the leaves, set them aside, and let the skirt dry for a few minutes. Then flip the skirt over and reposition the leaves on the back before spraying again. Let dry completely (about 4 hours should do the trick, but check the instructions on the packaging of the paint) before wearing.

leaf skirt 5 generation-t.com

5. Try it on!
leaf skirt finish 2 generation-t.com

Gold Leaf Skirt generation-t.com


[ No Comments | Posted on December 6th, 2013 ]

How to: Make a Silhouette Portrait

Here’s a handmade, personalized, and timeless gift for Grandparent’s Day (the first Sunday after Labor Day — for 2013, it’s on September 8!), or you can save it for Mother’s or Father’s Day. Just snap a photo of your subject in profile, gather up the rest of the materials, and you can make and assemble this in minutes. Start a series by making a new image each year so you can see the growth of your child!

-Aleene’s Tacky Dot Runner adhesive
-photo frame
-photo of subject in profile
to fit your frame (the photo doesn’t need to be crisp or particularly high quality–just irresistible, like my little pal Caleb, featured above!)
-artists tape
-craft knife and cutting mat

-black paper (tip: if you don’t have any, create and print out a sheet of black paper on your computer)
-decorative paper (for background–check out your wrapping paper stash for good options)
-scrap paper (for banner–I found a colorful envelope from a holiday card in the recycling bin)
-thin-tipped pen

Make it:
Check out the step-by-step tutorial over at the iLoveToCreate Blog!

There’s also a video tutorial I did for About.com, below:

[ No Comments | Posted on September 4th, 2013 ]

How to: Paint a Cityscape with Tape!

Though my motivation was nursery decor (inspired particularly by my son’s love for taxis and trucks — hey, we live in Brooklyn!), this technique could easily be applied to any shapes that benefit from a grid-like treatment — like robots, or alphabet tiles, or basic shapes. I was inspired by the geometry of the landscape where we live, but your cityscape could be urban or rural (or suburban, for that matter!). The tape technique works like any resist–I love the rough-hewn, batik-like result, and the effect, as I mentioned, could be applied to any subject matter, to suit any room in the house!

-Stretched canvas (mine is 10″ x 8″)
-Tulip Soft Fabric Paint
-Tulip Sponge Pouncers and other foam brushes
-Tulip Fabric Paintbrushes
-Artist’s tape (or masking tape, but artist’s tape peels off more easily)
-Craft knife and cutting mat
-Paper plates (to use as paint palettes)

Make it:
Gather your materials, and click on through to the I Love to Create Blog for the complete tutorial!

My imaginary city is the perfect accompaniment to the New York City “Bridges” print by Two Arms Inc. and the Safari Mobile by PetitCollage that we already have hanging. I’m thinking of adding Sophie Blackall’s subway poster to my urban/jungle theme….

[ No Comments | Posted on July 24th, 2013 ]

I Love to Create: A Painted Umbrella!

They say that April showers bring May flowers. And in some parts of the country this year there’ve even been April flurries to herald in the blooms! While Mother Nature keeps us on our toes, here’s a colorful springtime project that really brings the flowers when it rains. It’s just one of a slew of ways to decorate an umbrella with paint (because let’s face it, sometimes a purple umbrella isn’t quite bright enough). It’s part pop art (a gumball machine!), part impressionism (Monet’s gardens at Giverny) — and a whole lot of color to brighten any dreary day! We often think of fabric paints in the context of T-shirts and other wearables, but it’s fun to experiment with paint on other fabric-based surfaces: embellished pillows, couches, canvas director chairs, curtains, and…umbrellas!

What you need:
-plain umbrella
Tulip Soft Fabric Paint in a variety of colors (I used Azalea, Lime, Mandarin Orange, Linen, Crimson Red Matte, and Holiday Green Matte)
-Tulip Sponge Pouncers (foam paintbrush)
-paper plate (to use as a paint palette)

Make it:
Click through to the the iLoveToCreate Blog
to watch the how-to video I did for About.com, and follow the step-by-step photos.

What a nice vibrant splash of color while we wait for more flowers to poke through!

[ No Comments | Posted on April 23rd, 2013 ]

How to: Paper Bunny Ears!

Here’s one last Easter-themed tutorial before the weekend! And this how-to is egg-free (no more glitter, dye, or shaving cream). Best of all, the adjustable band means that both little and big kids can perch these bunny ears atop their heads!

-Colored paper (for headband)
-Decorative paper (for ear exteriors; check your wrapping paper stash!)
-White paper (for ear interiors)
-File folder (as stiffener, for perky ears!)
-Tacky Dot Runner or glue stick
-Paper scissors
-Clear tape
-Pen or pencil

Make it:

Click below to follow along with the Paper Bunny Ears video tutorial I made for About.com!

And here’s additional proof that these ears are for bunny-wannabes of all ages:

Happy Easter!

[ No Comments | Posted on March 29th, 2013 ]

Easy Ombre Easter Eggs

Ombre skirts, ombre totes, ombre shoes, ombre nails, ombre hair, and don’t forget ombre T-shirts — ombre style is everywhere! Here’s Easter Egg DIY decorating #3 of the week: a clever tutorial for applying the trendy technique to your Easter eggs.

-eggs (blown or hard-boiled)
-food coloring
-8 oz.clean, empty jam jars (or similar, for containing the dye)
-white vinegar
-warm water
-glass measuring cup
-measuring spoons
-rubber bands or tape (to hold the skewer and egg in place in the jar)
-timer (kitchen or smartphone timer work well)

Make it:
1. Mix up your dye: Measure 3/4 cup of warm water. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar and about 20-25 drops of food coloring (in desired color).  Note: I mixed 3/4 cup of dye in order to cover an egg completely in an 8-ounce jar–if your containers are bigger, mix more dye at the same ratio.
2. Click below to follow along with the video tutorial I did for Ombre-Dyed Easter Eggs for About.com!

[ 1 Comment | Posted on March 28th, 2013 ]

Dye Easter Eggs with Shaving Cream

Okay, we kicked off a week of non-T-shirt-related posts with the Glitter Dot Easter Eggs yesterday, because as teased last week, I taped a bunch of how-to videos for About.com and since so many of them are Easter-themed, that’s what’s comin’ atcha! I’m definitely not the first person to use shaving cream and food coloring to dye my Easter eggs, but the amazing marbleized effect on the surface of the egg is so irresistible…

-eggs (blown or hard-boiled)
-food coloring
-foaming shaving cream
-plastic spoon or knife
-bamboo skewer
-drying rack
-paper towels
-a timer (4-5 minutes)

Make it:
-Click below to follow along with the video tutorial for Marbleized Eggs with Shaving Cream for About.com.

Update: I heard from a commenter that you can do this technique with Cool Whip, too! Have you tried it?

[ 1 Comment | Posted on March 27th, 2013 ]

iLoveToCreate: Glitter Polka Dot Easter Eggs

I’m pretty traditional when it comes to decorating eggs at Easter time (dollar store egg dying kit, anyone?), but to be honest, it was getting kind of dull year after year. So this year, I dug through my craft stash to find a material that might have good crossover potential — one that was likely developed for one particular use (say, scrapbooking) that I could easily apply to something else (like Easter eggs). And voila!

Bring on the polka dots! Bring on the disco sparkle! The best part? No waiting around for dye to set or glue to dry. This is egg decorating with immediate (and rather shimmery) results.

For materials for the project and how to make these sparkle-riffic eggs, click below to watch the video tutorial I did for About.com and/or follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions (and a variation) at iLoveToCreate.com!

[ 2 Comments | Posted on March 26th, 2013 ]

How to: Make a Starter Embroidery Kit

As you may know, my niece became very enthusiastic about embroidery over the holidays, and now that another very important holiday is upon us (her 6th birthday, of course!), I decided to put together a personalized “my first embroidery kit” for her. It has a combination of store-bought and handmade elements, so you can make your shopping and DIY lists accordingly.

Here’s what I included:
-Tin box (or a basket, or a small tote bag)
-6 swatches of about 10″ by 10″ fabric (snipped from my own fabric stash — lots of geometric patterns for easy stitching)
-6 skeins of embroidery floss in different colors
-4″ wooden embroidery hoop
-Classic stork embroidery scissors and a felt sheath
-6 needles and a felt case
-Disappearing ink pen and a felt sleeve

To make the scissor sheath, trace about 1/4″ to 1/2″ around the scissors on a piece of felt (tip: use the disappearing ink pen before packaging it up!). The shape should be approximately 4 1/4″ by 2 1/4 at its longest and widest.

Cut four matching pieces of felt using the tracing as your guide. If you’re using printed felt (with a right and a wrong side), pair off the four pieces, wrong sides together.

Then sandwich all four pieces together and blanket stitch along the edge with a contrasting color embroidery floss. Starting about 3/4″ from the top, stitch around the bottom of the sheath (where the point of the scissors will rest) through all four layers, then stop again on the other side, 3/4″ from the top.

Without tying off the thread, stitch through only two layers at a time to finish the edges at the top of the sheath (where the scissors will be inserted).

Tie off and snip the thread, and insert the scissors! Here’s a diagram from my sketchbook as a refresher:

For the needle case, cut two 3″ by 5 1/2″ felt rectangles for the cover and one 2 1/2″ by 5″ rectangle for the inside page (1). Center the inside page on the right side of one of the larger rectangles and sew a straight running backstitch along the center to create the interior “spine” of the needle case (2). Then sandwich the second larger rectangle against the first, wrong sides together, and blanket stitch around the edges (3)! Arrange the needles onto the inside page (4), and fold the book closed (5).

For the disappearing ink pen sleeve/cozy, cut four pieces of 1 1/4″ by 6 3/4″ felt rectangles (1). Stack them together as you did the pieces of the scissor sheath and blanket stitch them the same way: through all four layers and then through just two layers at a time around the opening (2). Tie off the end, snip the thread, and insert the pen (3)!

Here’s a look at the finished felt DIY components.

Then it’s time to assemble everything. Make sure it looks nice and neat — because it’s likely the last time it’ll look that way!

What would you put in a first embroidery kit? I thought about some iron-on patterns, but for now I think she’s at the stage where she’s experimenting and doing her own thing (but I’ve got my eye on this one for future gifting!). I also thought about including a stitch card (there’s a tear-out one from this book and I was tempted to include the one from my copy).

[ 4 Comments | Posted on June 7th, 2012 ]