10 Little Lunchbox Surprises for Your Kiddo

by YCMT on November 21, 2013


Spending all day at school can be tough. Want to add some cheer to your child’s day? A little lunchbox surprise just might do the trick. Sneak in serving after serving of fun with these 10 adorable ideas that your kid will love!

1. Love note

Go ahead, be a sap! Write the traditional love note-on-a-napkin to your kid, or pen a few words of encouragement in Sharpie on her sandwich baggie. Cuter yet, jot your affections upon a favorite photo print from a recent family vacation, on a picture of her favorite animated character, or a creatively folded paper.

2. Mystery game

Make a mystery game of your child’s lunch hour by dropping a clue into his lunch sack that leads to another clue the next day. Reveal the answer to the puzzle at the end of the week. For added fun, offer him a prize if he can solve the riddle before Friday.

3. Funny joke or food prank

Slip a written joke into her lunchbox and deliver the punchline when she gets home, or pull a food prank like a gummy worm coming out of her apple or put googly eyes on all of her food containers.

4. Super treat 

Sweeten your young one’s day with a thoughtful treat such as a handmade candy-gram or heart-shaped brownies.


5. Lunchtime survey

Insert a fun questionnaire about his day to fill out and return, and then have fun reading his responses! Get inspired with these printables.

6. Fun table-top accessory

Complement her lunch with cool accessories like disposable cutlery adorned with custom phrases, eco-friendly paper straws, finger sporks, fancy toothpicks, or origami napkins.

7. Lunch poem or haiku

Hearken back to your days in English class by composing a few words of poetry, like an acrostic poem using your child’s name, or haiku dedicated to her. Make your rhyme heartfelt or silly.

8. Paper fortune cookies

Create a custom fortune for your kid with this darling, simple DIY.

fortune cookie

9. Invitation to an upcoming family event

Let your child know he is cordially invited to the next family party, outing or vacation by including a formal invitation with his meal. Step up the fun by signing the invitation from his favorite celebrity, athlete or fictional character.

10. Fancy food

For an extra dash of class in the cafeteria, try dressing up your kid’s lunch bento box-style, print a whimsical image on a plain brown paper lunch sack, or really make him smile by wrapping up his sandwich like a holiday gift, complete with a bow!

Tickle your kid pink with these crafts and patterns, and then share your own lunchbox surprise ideas with us below! And for even more fun ideas, visit our Crafts & Hobbies page.

Kathryn Sheehan from The Silver Penny

by admin on November 19, 2013

Click Here to Checkout Patterns by The Silver Penny!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I love to sew, crochet and cook! I started my at-home business when my daughter was young and it grew over the years. It was her fascination with fairies and make-believe that was and continues to be my inspiration.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?

The fairy houses are my definitely favorite! It’s so much fun to accessorize and decorate the houses with tiny treasures and miniatures.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?

That’s a difficult question to answer because there are so many! I guess I’m best known as the resident Tooth Fairy in my family. For every child, as they reach the age of losing teeth, I’ll make them a personalized Tooth Fairy Bag and fill it with fairy goodies. I just love to see their happy, toothless smile upon receiving it.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?

Halloween has always been my favorite! Even though my daughter is grown and moved away, I still love to decorate the house for Halloween. It’s a scary kind of playful fun that keeps me young at heart.

5. What DIY tips or tricks would you like to share with customers?

I make quilts for charity in my spare time, but don’t enjoy binding the edges. I find the method of folding over the binding from the back to be the quickest and easiest way. A super-fast and fun quilt to make requires only two fabrics, one of flannel and the other of polar fleece. Cut the fleece about 2″ bigger than the flannel all around, center the flannel on the fleece and simply fold the border of fleece to the front and zigzag in place, mitering the corners. You can complete an entire quilt in an afternoon with this easy method!

6. Any other interests or hobbies?

I am a docent at our local art museum and enjoy giving tours to school age children.  I volunteer at a local daycare center presenting story time programs to the children. I love to crochet, read good books, cook and take walks with my Miniature Aussie pup.

7. Do you have a favorite quote?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” by Albert Einstein

Pattern Highlight:

Get 10% off the Fairy Pagoda Dollhouse or any other pattern by The Silver Penny for the next week by using the Promo Code “SILVERPENNY10” when checking out!

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Sewing Machines Title

So you are buying your first machine! Or maybe you’re just buying your latest machine.

Either way, the process is basically the same. If you already have a machine, then perhaps you know more of what you want – or don’t want! Here are the things to consider when buying a sewing machine.

Kinds of machines available

The first question you want to ask is, what kind of sewing do I want to do? Serging? Fancy embroidery? Regular dressmaking or quilting?

Look at the side seams on the knit top you are wearing right now and you will see that the seams are probably about ¼ inch wide and completely covered with thread so they will not ravel out.  That was done with a serger. If you want to serge the seams, then you will need to buy a separate machine called a serger.

Another popular machine is the fancy embroidery machine. It is computerized and will follow the pattern you have programed into the computer. Some regular machines do a little of this, but there are machines that are bigger and have a hoop attached, on which you stretch the fabric, much like doing hand embroidery. The nicest of these embroidery machines can cost up to $10,000!

Many of the less expensive regular machines will do some embroidery work. My regular machine has one alphabet font with no size variation and about 28 special stitches.


However, the possibilities are almost endless with an embroidery machine.

Since most of us can’t pay a used car price for an embroidery machine, the rest of this article will mostly deal with regular sewing machines.


Machines vary widely in price, so how much can you spend? $100 or $10,000? You can buy a fairly decent machine at a discount retail store (like Walmart) or you can go to a sewing machine store and pay more. What you get in the end really does vary, and you should think about this when you decide where to shop.  At discount retail stores, you can get a basic machine – which is good for a starter machine – but from my experience, a $100 machine will not last very long or give you consistent good stitches. Pay a little more and you get a little more. The cheaper they are, the more parts will be made of plastic, and then they will break sooner. However, I bought a Brother machine ($250.00) at one of those discount retail stores and used it when I taught sewing classes once a week for 5 years. I sold it to one of my students at the end of that time and it was still a great machine.


A very basic machine goes forward and backwards and zigzags. However, there are literally hundreds of different special stitches and feet available. Your choice depends on what you think you will use and how many you are willing to pay for.

Another factor to consider is which feet come with the machine. My expensive Bernina machine came with a walking foot (I use this often when quilting or sewing heavier fabrics), but when I bought the cheaper machine, it cost me $60.00 extra for the walking foot).


For me, one consideration I used when buying my machine was the weight. I cannot carry around a 50-pound machine, whereas my cheap little Brother weighed only about 18 pounds. If you are hauling your machine to class, this may be something to consider.

For me, an important thing to have with a new machine is lessons on how to use it. I am an experienced sewer and I was still glad for them. Usually, they are free when you buy the machine and they show you all the features and tricks for using your new machine. A big discount retail store, however, usually does not give lessons.

Do you want to buy new or used?

That’s up to you. Many people begin with an old hand-me-down from their mother or Great Aunt Lizzie. In fact, I still have an old straight-stitch Singer made in 1952. It works great for many projects and I would never sell it!



Think about what kind of machine you want, what kind of sewing you will realistically be doing and how much you can afford to spend.

Be sure you also talk to your friends who sew.

Check out online reviews (like Consumer Reports or Amazon)

Go into the stores that sell machines and test-drive them. Before you go in, figure out how much you can spend and what features are important to you. Then ask all the questions you can possibly think of. Don’t be embarrassed, even if you haven’t ever sewn before. Test-drive a variety of different makers, too.

Happy sewing!

 (After you get the machine, buy extra bobbins! I feel like I never have enough!)


Now that you’ve got your sewing machine picked out, why not check out all of the cute and creative sewing patterns at youcanmakethis.com?


Cherie Killilea of Studio Cherie

by admin on November 12, 2013

Click Here to Checkout Studio Cherie Patterns!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Seattle native, and I miss the salt air. Living in Spokane, I enjoy the river and woods and wildlife here with my husband and 3 kids. I am into Bikram yoga. It’s great to have a place to go and get hot and sweaty, especially in the long Spokane winters.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?
What I love about being a designer is filling a need. So whether it is the need to cover a piece of furniture or the need to have a chic travel bag, it’s all about looking great while you get the job done. Every project is my favorite as I am doing it because it is filling a current need, and there is great satisfaction in that.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?
My current favorite is the slip covers I made for our storage ottomen. They were so ugly, but we needed them, so it is nice to have them looking awesome. My favorite thing I ever made for someone else was a slip cover I made for a friend, covering her favorite reading chaise lounge in a gorgeous linen blend that she found at a thrift store. I rebuilt the chaise first, so I put a lot of myself into that piece.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?
I love Christmas. I have been collecting ornaments since I was 18, so we have a lot of them. I love hanging the stockings and decking the halls.

5. Favorite quote?
The smallest thing, done in love, becomes infinite in the eyes of God. – Mother Teresa

Highlighted Pattern:

Get 10% off this pattern or any other Studio Cherie Patterns now through Tuesday, November 19 when using the promo code “CHERIE10″ at checkout.

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Photo courtesy of sflovestory, via flickr.com

Grandmothers influence their grandkids’ lives in profound ways, usually by doing simple things. The first step to being the cool grandma is to realize two things about what “cool” really means: First, being cool isn’t a phony, surface-level attitude that is concerned about looking cool. Second, being cool emphasizes spending time over spending money. You don’t need to shower your grandkids with material gifts or do expensive things to be on their A-list. Whether you live across the street or half a continent away, the key to being cool is to spend time with them as often as you can. Doing so will build a great relationship with your grandkids now. And chances are they’ll still be boasting about your awesomeness when they grow up!

1. Teach a hobby or activity you love
Chances are you’ve developed a bunch of useful skills so far in your life. Why not share those skills with a new generation? A few ideas, among others, include crocheting, guitar, fishing, watercolor painting, playing board games, sewing, gardening, cooking, food preservation and even just collecting things. If you live far away, you can still teach a skill over several sessions of video chat, like FaceTime or Skype. Even if you don’t know how to use these services, chances are your kids or grandkids will. Just think of things you love to do and pass on your passion!

2. Make a time capsule together
Assemble a box filled with simple “treasures,” like written notes to each other. Bury the capsule in the yard or store it in a remote cabinet to be opened in 5 or 10 years. For more on the how-to of time capsule creation, go here.

3. Serve others in fun ways
Gather materials to make care packages and send them to people in need, or create a lemonade stand or bake sale and donate the proceeds to charity. Explore more fun service ideas here.

4. Go on “grandma dates”
As often as you can, take opportunities to go swimming, hiking, camping, on a picnic or mini road trip, to the movie theater, a museum, class or workshop. If you live far away, be pen pals or video chat online with each other regularly.

5. Teach them about your life
Share stories about your life and childhood while you’re together (this is great to do while driving!) Take your grandkids places you liked to go when you were their age, if possible. Drive by your childhood home. Show them family photos from your youth and tell them memories you have of your parents, siblings, grandparents, other relatives and friends.

6. Show interest in their lives
Attend concerts and sporting events in which your grandkids participate. Show them you care enough to show up and cheer them on in their endeavors. For long-distance grandmas, live video chat again comes in handy where electronic devices are permitted. Arrange for someone attending the event to FaceTime your phone during your grandchild’s performance so that you can smile with pride in real time!

7. Host sleepovers at your house
Remember those old school overnight bags flanked with the illustration of a smiling child, suitcase and teddy bear in-hand, bounding down the road beneath the words Going to Grandma’s? Those attest to the reality that sleepovers at Grandma’s are the pinnacle of fun in childhood! As circumstances allow, invite your grandkids to indulge in an over-nighter at your place.

8. Create or carry on a family tradition together
Throw a costume party each Halloween, submit gratitudes to a “thankful box” every Thanksgiving, make fondue on New Year’s Eve, host dress-up tea parties, celebrate half-birthdays or even put on your own annual “family olympics”. Find dozens more ideas for family traditions here.

9. Sing, read, and dance with them
Your grandkids will appreciate you for this, and the memories will last them a lifetime. In addition to the joy of bonding with them now, you may appreciate this later, too; they could be reading to you one day!

10. Invest time in them individually
Have candid, one-on-one conversations with each of your grandchildren about their lives and future. Ask them questions, learn their interests and ambitions. Teach them ways to prepare for their future and do what you can to help, like showing them how to open college savings accounts or how to set and write down goals.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of inexpensive ways to spend time with your grandchildren. They will not only grow up with fond memories of you, but they may pass along those activities and traditions to their own children and grandchildren, making you the first link in a long chain of family bonding.

View Gingercake Patterns!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a mom of 4 and self taught sewer. I did lots of different crafts before I tried sewing but this is the one that I will stay loyal to for life! I live near Pittsburgh PA but I am from Atlanta GA.

2. What are your favorite projects to design?

I love to design useful and fun things for kids and Moms. I love fun pillows and pretty things. I design what I would want to sew for myself and my friends and family.

3. What is your favorite thing you have made for yourself? For someone else?

I almost always love the bags I make for myself. I try to make a new one each season to get me in the mood! My clothes may be on the tame side but my bag can really be bright and fun! My favorite thing I have made for another person is my Annie Penguin Pillow for my daughter Anne. She sleeps with it every night and I love seeing her arrange it just right when she makes her bed.

4. What is your favorite season/holiday to decorate for?

Christmas for sure!! I barely do any decorating for other holidays but I go all out at Christmas!

5. What DIY tips or tricks would you like to share with customers?

Measure 3 times and cut once! In sewing, it’s all about good cutting and paying attention to the uniformity of your seams. Oh, and, clip your threads as you sew! Everything is so much neater this way…

6. Other interests or hobbies?

I love taking walks with my kids, vegetable gardening and watching movies with my handsome husband!


7. Favorite Quote:

“This, too, shall pass.” That has gotten me through a lot crying babies in the night and through many home improvement projects. I like to go with the flow and know that life has mostly ups and a few downs.

Receive 10% off all Gingercake patterns by using “GINGERCAKE10” in the promo code box for the next week!

View Gingercake Patterns!


7 Tips for Throwing a Killer Halloween Party

by YCMT on October 31, 2013

Want to kill it this Halloween with your own hit party? Here are a few expert (yet simple) pointers that will have your guests raving about your spooky soiree for many full moons to come!

Disclaimer: Before we dig in, we assume that you are going to have guests at your party. No guests equals no party, unless you plan to celebrate with the ghosts in that abandoned house down the street. Just wanted to get that out of the way. Mail out spooky invites if you’ve got time to spare, but a simple Facebook or email invite will do. Digital invites often yield better turnout this day and age, especially for guests who like to do things on the fly.

1. Theme to Inspire Costumes
Halloween without costumes is like…every other day of the year! What better way to encourage your partygoers to dress up than a theme? Whether you want to put on a masquerade ball or host Goth Prom, you can find dozens of ideas here and here.

2. Venue
You need a fitting place to throw your monster bash! Ideas include your home or a friend’s, a church gym, or a local event venue you can rent out for the night. Wherever you decide to party, make sure it accommodates your budget and number of guests, and is (ideally) centrally located if your attendees are traveling from various directions.

3. Spooky Decorations
Take time to spookify your atmosphere according to your theme. Simple as they are, carved pumpkins, crepe paper garlands and cheesecloth “cobwebs” crawling with fake spiders really do go a long way, especially in the glow of spooky lighting. Browse scores of spine-chillingly fabulous decor how-to’s here and here.

4. Danceable Halloween Music
Breath is to life as music is to party! Whether you plan to groove out in a full-volume dance-a-thon or simply maintain a subtle backdrop to conversation, great Halloween tunes are a must. To help you assemble yours, here and here are playlists featuring golden oldies (beyond just the Monster Mash,) dance floor favorites like Michael Jackson’s Thriller and modern hipster hits like Howlin’ For You by the Black Keys.

5. Delicious Festive Food and Drinks
Indulgences alike, great parties and great food go hand-in-hand. You can’t skimp in this area. Include finger food appetizers, sweets and drinks in your lineup. If you’re not serving alcohol, you can still impress guests with monster mocktails , haunted hot chocolate, and spider cider.

6. Activities Grown-Ups Can Enjoy
In addition to dancing, provide things for your guests to do beyond bobbing for apples. For a small gathering, grown-up games might be right up your alley. A photo booth is always a hit. You can rent one from your local party-supply store or DIY on the cheap. Set up a festive backdrop like this, incorporate a table laden with easy-to-make props like these (downloadable and printable) or these, and get a friend to man the camera on a tripod.

7. Time for Socializing
Remember to make your get-together as much about the people as the festivities. Try to avoid getting so wrapped up in your party agenda that you fail to leave time for conversation and catching up with the people you invite. Furthermore, hosting a party needn’t be all stress! Plan it in a way so that you can participate as much as everyone else (even if that means simplifying your to-do list) and have fun! Your guests—not to mention your own sanity—will enjoy a more relaxed you.

Patty Young of MODKID

by admin on October 29, 2013

Visit MODKID on YouCanMakeThis.com!

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21 Cutest DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids!

by YCMT on October 25, 2013

Hark, Halloween aficionados! The spooky holiday is lurking around the corner. Of course your kids want to dress up and, of course, you want them to be the cutest trick-or-treaters on the block! Need ideas, fast? Browse our lineup of the most ADORABLE getups that you can make yourself!

1. Paper Doll


2. Circus Ringmaster



3. Fantastic Mr. Fox



4. Donut


5. Butterfly



6. Sushi



7. Pinata



8. R2D2 from Star Wars


9. Astronaut



10. Snail


11. Pirate



12. Sock Monkey



13. One Cool Cat



14. Mad Scientist



15. Raining Cats and Dogs



16. Hobbit



17. Famous Artist



18. Chicken



19. Cotton Candy



20. Boxing Champ



21. Mini George Washington


Visit Swoon Sewing Patterns!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a graphic designer by trade and fell in love with sewing many years ago. I think it was a natural progression for me to mesh the two and start drafting my own patterns.

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