Monthly Archives: July 2012

D.I.Y. magnetic pin cushion/findings holder

In the last post, AJ showed off the usefulness of a magnetic pin cushion.   In addition to increased pet safety, I find that it seems awfully handy and much more HUMAN-safe as well to be able to drop your pin in the vicinity of the container and have it just go to the right spot!  How many times have you been sewing and in a groove and found it a hassle to remove pins and have to take your attention away from the machine to put the pin in the right spot?

The idea of magnets helping out clumsy people like me is a great idea!  So I thought I would try to expand on the idea with a simple DIY case that I could take with me many places, as I’m often crafting at fellow Krafty Kitties’ houses!

1. Magnets and a container of your choice.  I got these from Joanne’s for about $5 total.  This little plastic container is actually a bead container and screws into a stack of four.  But what I really wanted was a container with a lid.






2, Cut out two pieces of cloth to match the size of your container.  Great way to use up scraps!  And maybe some pinked edges for both the cuteness factor and to keep the edges from fraying.

It is helpful to make one piece slightly larger than the other, which I totally didn’t do here and wish I did!







3. Lay out your magnets.  If you have rare earth magnets which are super strong, you’ll only need one.  I used 3 to make sure I have enough magnetic power, and a bit of tape to hold them in position as they have a tendency to flip over onto themselves.







4. Stitch the two matching pieces of cloth together.  This is where one piece being larger than the other really helps out, because you’ll need that piece ON TOP – and what with needing to cover a three dimensional object it will make it easier to have the edges match up.







5. Drop your magnet packet into place and affix with glue.  And bam!  A nice little place to drop your pins.









6. Look Mom, no spills!

I look forward to taking this little container with me for portable sewing, I feel more secure because I can screw on the lid and drop it into my carrying bag.
The 4 stack of containers could be very useful this way for one’s beading collection of head pins, clasps, and jump rings. You can keep them all separate and don’t have to worry them all spilling out all over the place with the inevitable bump-off-the table.

I hope this tutorial has been helpful! 🙂  Any other uses for magnets you can think of?  Please share!

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in DIY, Tools & Accessories


Magnetic Pin Cushion

Today’s tip is not really profound, but I’ve found it indispensable: Get a magnetic pin cushion! They’re very affordable if you wait for a 50% off notions sale at JoAnns, or use a coupon.

Thankfully, Yoyo and Bobo are not “steal the tomato pin cushion” type cats but I have a lot of costumer friends who have cats like that. They say that their cats like to run off with the little tomatoes, or sit there and pull all the pins out of them. Scary! What happens if the kitty swallows a pin by accident?

A magnetic pin cushion is too heavy to be carried off and generally, the pins lay flat on it, so cats are not as likely to be able to get a hold of them. I also find that magnetic pin cushions are kind of a time saver because you can just lay the pin on the pin cushion and it stays. I find having to stop what I’m doing to stab pins into a tomato pin cushion really aggravating, but that might just be me. (You’ll discover as you read our blog that I am an incredibly lazy sewer and I’m game for anything that makes my life easier.)

And because today’s post was kind of skimpy, I’m going to post a bunch of kitty photos!

My “assistants” that always show up when I’m laying out fabric for cutting.

Yoyo: looking as clueless as ever.

Bobo: the mighty stuffed mouse hunter.

What is it with kitties and boxes?

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Informational, Tools & Accessories


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Space Saving Craft Armoire

I’ve found that whether you’re an experienced or new cat owner, you can never predict the wide range of cat personalities your furry friend might have. As I accustom to my two cats (and seeing my friends’ cats in a new light), I’ve started to pick up on their differences. I even draw cats better now. Speaking of which, here is my very belated drawing of the Cats of Kraftsy Kitties in my very belated blog post:

If you’ve been reading Kraftsy Kitties, you’ve already met Bobo and Otoro. The two of them are a lot more curious than my cat Monticore (Monty for short). Monty is, in a word, lazy. Monty won’t eat or topple plants, jump on your patterns, knock over your hot iron, play with your bobbins…Heck, I’ve never even seen him barf up hairballs or food… (or clean himself, but that’s a different problem).

However, his passive trait of ultimate destruction is also perhaps the worst one: he is a longhaired Siberian…which means one thing: HE. SHEDS. A. LOT.

There is no hope in the world of anything in Monty’s house not eventually getting some hair on it, but I have found a way to turn a simple IKEA shelf into something that can at least keep my sewing machine and my crafts-in-progress a bit cleaner! While trying to find a solution, I came across something called a “craft armoire” in my internet searches. These are quite nifty, and have a bunch of drawers, doors and other moveable doodads that hide your machines and your messes, and protect them from dust:

Awesome, until you see the price tag: over $300.00. Ouch.

However, with an existing Billy shelf from IKEA (half-size or full size), a piece of particle board from your local home improvement store, and some hinges, you can put together something quite decent for a fraction of the price!

On a scale of Beginner to Advanced, I’d rate this project sort of an Advanced Intermediate – It’s best if you have some basic drafting and math skills, and aren’t afraid of power tools. If you happen to have access to a table saw, you can make the large cuts yourself, but most of the time, whichever home improvement store you buy your particle or MDF board from will be happy to cut it for you.


If you can, draw out your plan first. This will help you shake out some design flaws that you might run into – better to run into it on the drawing board than when your garage is a total mess of sawdust and particle board pieces. Here’s my design, as you can see I was pretty ambitious and I ended up scaling back a lot of stuff! Remember…THAT IS OKAY! Don’t get bogged down by unimportant bells and whistles.

Step 1
Buy Billy shelf, particle board, 2 folding leg brackets, two simple hinges (door hinges work fine), and a small can of white paint – like the $2 sample cans. It’s very worth it to pay a little extra for good quality particleboard. It would also be wise to match the thickness to the shelves that come with the Billy bookcase, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t.

Step 2
Cut particle board into 3 pieces: table top, and two 1″ legs. (in retrospect, I could’ve gone 2″ to be safe and sturdy). Use a table saw, or enlist the help of your local woodshop/hardware store for a few bucks per cut.

Step 3
The idea is that the table will be attached to a shelf via hinges, and dropped 90 degrees (perpendicular to the ground) when not in use. This allows it to act as a door, preventing dust and cat hair from layering on top of your open shelving. To make room for the table top in dropped position, I had to trim 1/2″ off the Billy shelves.

Step 4
attach the table top board to one of the billy shelves. Line up the boards, place the two hinges on the boards where you want them. Pencil in the circles, drill your pilot hole, then fasten with wood screws. Be sure to test your hinge mobility as you go, so all your gaps are even and your movement is smooth.

Step 5 (optional but you’re crazy not to)
I didn’t trust the stability of the Billy shelves’ adjustable holes and the tiny metal things the shelf sits on. So, I got four basic L-brackets and permanently fixed the shelf to the bookcase.

Step 6
choose a decorative knob and attach to table surface, so that you can open and close the moveable flap you’ve created. In retrospect, you could also cut a little U-shaped indent so you can open the table, BUT you are still left with a smooth table surface when it’s open.

Step 7
I bought a pair of table hinges that locked in both open and closed position. I attached the two legs to them, and then attached them to the table surface. I found it easiest to accomodate their length by having them fold in an “X” fashion. However, if you do this, be aware you will have to trim the second Billy shelf even shallower because the legs take up more depth.

It sounds complicated and is a bit hard to describe, but the idea of this “craft armoire” is very straightforward when viewed as a photo!











I found that my sewing machine fit perfectly into the space underneath, as you can see in the picture – but these days since I sew more often, I just place the machine on top of the shelf with a cover, and stuff all my half-finished projects underneath. As an even better added benefit, this armoire takes up very little space when it is not being used as a table! It’s like a magical appearing-disappearing craft nook!

Hope you find this post helpful!!!

(Dra-ut-hyllan armoire tutorial cross-posted from my blog at

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Posted by on July 9, 2012 in DIY, Informational, Tutorials


Decorative Cat Grass Tabletop Garden

One of my many hobbies includes gardening, although it’s often one of those things I keep up optimistically by shuffling dead plants away and replacing them with nice live ones from the store.  But after I adopted Otoro and discovered one of his bad habits is ALWAYS jumping on the table to see what is up there, I got a lot more paranoid about accidentally poisoning my cat through household greenery. At the same time, I really wanted to continue to enjoy having plants inside.

The ASPCA has a good list of what plants are toxic to dogs and cats (and horses) that I look at before I buy any flowers for myself or for anyone who has a cat.  Sadly, lilies (my favorite flower) are like #1 deadly toxic to cats and so I’ll never have them in the house again.  Even some of the non-toxic ones are kind of barf-inducing, as I discovered Otoro going after the Alstroemeria (a lily-like plant but not toxic to cats)  like it was a salad bar and finding barf spots all over the carpet for 2 days.

I’m starting simple now with a cat grass garden.  Like, hey, if he’s going to eat it, it might as well be good for him, right?  And, having cat grass available can* encourage him to stay away from more dangerous variety of plants.

*Really? I keep reading this, but would you think it was safe to put poison next to something that was OK to eat on the theory that your pet or child will eat the safe thing and then not be interested in the poison? Yeah, I wouldn’t risk it either.
tabletop catgrass garden

tabletop catgrass garden

So, key factors in mind for an indoor garden:
1) non-toxic
2) solid enough so a curious paw won’t knock it over
3) visually attractive

Here I’ve got my little container going.  I went to IKEA and got a glass planter.  Ross, TJ Maxx, and stores like that are fantastic places for glass vases for cheap.  Of course, any planter would work, but I just happen to love glass ones.

I filled up the bottom with rocks for drainage and weight, because there are no drainage holes at the bottom of this thing.  (Rocks also from IKEA, get the undyed ones if you get them from there – after all, your cat will eat this grass and you probably ought not grow a food in dye-rich rocks.)  I put in about an inch of dirt at the top and scattered in cat grass seeds from my local PetCo.  I wasn’t sure how much dirt I would need and if all the dirt would just filter through the holes in the gravel as I watered, but it seems to be doing fine so far!  You can see the roots extend all the way to the bottom of the container so I water it lightly every few days to prevent too much stagnant water from drowning the roots.

This is my first attempt at this cat grass thing. so I will have to do a follow up with the long term sustainability of this thing.  Does cat grass keep growing if you mow it, or do you have to to throw down new seeds every few weeks?  Anyhow, it all did grow in about a week so it is at least an easy and (to my mind) attractive way to get some green in the house.

Anyone else have cats and indoor plants?  What do you do?

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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Informational, Tutorials


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Rubber Tubing Cover for Seam Rippers

So I am sporting a new war wound from the sewing trenches: I put a gash in my arm with my seam ripper. I have a bad habit of storing my seam rippers pointy side up in a basket, and this isn’t the first time that I’ve stabbed myself while reaching for something. I’ve decided it’s the last time though!

It’s bad enough that I keep cutting myself on the seam rippers, but my cats like to wander across my sewing table too and I’m worried that one of these days, they’ll poke out an eyeball or something. My cats are pretty clumsy for cats…

I know seam rippers come with a cover when you buy them, but I can never seem to hold on to mine. They always end up falling off and getting lost or misplaced.

I decided I could make a more secure solution using clear rubber tubing, so I headed off to Home Depot to check out the plumbing aisle. Yes, I actually took my seam ripper with me and tried shoving it into all the different size tubes to see what would work best. The Home Depot guys didn’t even blink an eye at me. =D

I decided on the 5/8″ wide tubing. Unfortunately Home Depot doesn’t sell tubing by the foot so I had to buy a coil of 10 ft. The total came out to a little over $5, which isn’t too bad.

When I got home, I put the seam ripper into the tubing again and marked the tube where I wanted to cut it.

I tried a couple different cutting techniques including using an x-acto knife and a regular pair of scissors. I got the best result using my rotary cutter. I have titanium blades but I’m sure cutting rubber dulls the blade pretty quickly so I’ll be swapping out this blade soon.

And now my seam ripper has a cover!

If you have more than one seam ripper, check the measurement for each one individually. It turns out one of mine had a thinner handle and I had to cut a longer tube for it.

And then the seam rippers went into my basket, and now I won’t stab myself anymore!

I had a lot of tubing left over so I thought I’d try to make some bobbin clips using the Schlosser Designs tutorial that I found via pillowsalamode.

I cut a bunch of small 1/2″ wide rings.

Then I used a pair of scissors to cut the rings open.

I found that I had cut the rubber rings a little too big and I hadn’t managed to cut very straight lines, so I flattened the ring and trimmed it down using a quilting ruler and my rotary cutter.

And then I put the rubber ring on my bobbins and it worked great!

I’m not sure I want to do this for all 30+ bobbins I have laying around, but I think this would be a good way to transport 2-3 bobbins in a bag for when I don’t want to bring my entire bobbin saver with me.

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Posted by on July 3, 2012 in Tutorials


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