Hand Dying with Indigo- Bird Themed Pillow

Hand dyed indigo pillow 2Indigo dying dates back to the ancient societies of Greece and Rome when India supplied this form of hand dying to the early Europeans. It is believed to be the oldest form of hand dying and arguably the most beautiful.

Jacquard’s Indigo Tie Dye kit comes with everything you will need to produce beautiful results. The one pound package is enough to dye 15 t-shirts and can be reserved by storing in a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid, easily found at many home improvement centers.

Indigo Dying KitSo it was with excitement that I set out to produce some hand dyed muslin to use in several projects one fun Saturday afternoon. The kit comes with the dying agent, packets of soda ash and thiox in addition to all the accessories you will need including latex gloves and items to help you produce various results such as wooden blocks and rubber bands. All I needed to gather was the 5 gallon bucket (of course, this would not fit into the kit), a small container for removing the flower (explained later) a shallow pan to store my dyed fabrics while oxidizing (explained later) and a mixing stick (I used a long 1″ thick round dowel I had on hand).

Folded fabric for dyingAfter reading the instructional booklet thoroughly, I decided to use the wooden blocks contained in the kit to accordion fold and bind some of my muslin. Rubber bands placed at various points on the fabrics promised to produce circular effects. Since I wanted to experiment with other effects, I randomly folded and bound two more pieces. The instructional booklet provided with the kit gives several ideas for using the rubber bands to produce unique effects, which is good for a beginner like me.

Hand dying resultsOf course showing you the final results is putting the process into fast forward. I found it a little nerve racking to try and photograph the process while wearing gloves and working with wet dye, especially since the dying vat needs to be protected from oxygen to work properly. So here are the highlights of the process, which, in retrospect was very simple.

1. Mix 4 gallons of warm water with the indigo agent in the bucket. Of course, using a large piece of plastic to protect the floor surface is essential unless working outdoors.

2. Mix the thiox and soda ash in hot water in a small container and let dissolve thoroughly.

3. Add the mixture to the vat slowly, taking care not to splash to much as you do not want to introduce too much oxygen to the vat. Let this mixture sit for an hour. A “flower” will form on the surface which will need to be removed. After removal, a yellow green mixture will be visible.

4. Place thoroughly wet fabrics into the vat, being careful not to splash, and making sure the fabrics do not sink to the bottom since residue forms there and can cause undesirable spots on the fabric.

5. Remove fabrics and place in a shallow pan to dry. They will appear yellow green. The air will cause them to oxidize and turn an indigo color.

Hand dying resultsI found the whole process to be fascinating. After I had rinsed and dried my fabrics, I set out to create a fun bird themed pillow.

Cut hand dyed fabricI used a rotary cutter and mat to cut four 9″ squares from my various patterns with the intention of producing a patchwork front. The back of the pillow was cut to the size of my pillow form, using a 1″ seam allowance.

Wool felt circleOnce I had the four pieces for the front sewed together, I fused a large wool felt circle to the center of the squares.

Sizzix bigshotUsing my Sizzix Bigshot Machine and favorite bird die, I cut out a bird from a piece of the indigo dyed muslin.

Hand dyed die cutI pinned the bird to the center of the circle and used the machine and a straight stitch to sew most of the bird, leaving a small area at the bottom open.

Pin on image

Sew on imageI lightly stuffed the bird with polyfil fiber for a three dimensional effect and sewed the bird closed.

Stuff imageThe rest of the process was nothing but fun, fun, fun as I embellished with free form stitching and a cute little stuffed wing.

Stuffed image on pillow

Embellishing imageI used Aleenes Fabric Fusion to adhere most of the fabric pieces to the pillow but Liquid Fusion for a little bird eye, made from a 6/0 pebble bead.

Hand dyed indigo pillow 2Once I had my pillow front and back sewn together, right sides in, I turned inside out, stuffed with a pillow form and whip stitched the bottom closed.

I have plenty of leftover fabric that I am going to use to create some summery accessories so stayed tuned!

Live Life Creatively,



Hand Dying with Indigo- Pretty Bird Burlap Tote

Bird and Burlap BagI don’t know about you, but I cant seem to get enough of birds. And burlap. When I created these wool felt bird clips and wedding table markers, I immediately fell in love with them and decided that I had to see them on some burlap totes. Enter Jacquard Products Indigo Tie Dye kit, which I played with this past Saturday.

JAC9410_Indigo_rightSuddenly, I knew that I had to combine the three elements- wool felt birds, burlap and indigo. This is a project that makes me more eager for Spring than ever.

Hand dying resultsWith plenty of dyed indigo scraps left over from my bird pillow project. I carefully tore some 2 1/2″ thick strips from one of the fabrics to create “ribbons.”

Dyed indigo stripsI used a sewing machine and contrasting thread (because I like this look) to straight stitch down the center and create knife pleats. This will be the handles and cuff for the bag.

Knife pleatsNow, lets move on to the burlap bag itself. I decided on the size of my tote, which is about 5″ x 6″ and added 1/2″ for a seam allowance. Then I fused Lite Steam a Seam to a 4″ x 5″ rectangle of dyed indigo fabric and cut a 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle from that. Fuse the rectangle to the center of one of the burlap rectangles.

Indigo sewn to burlapMachine stitch the fused square in place on the burlap by peeling off the paper backing and using a straight stitch about 1/4″ from the edges of the indigo fabric.

Bird die cutThe bird itself was cut from my all time favorite Sizzix Die and BigShot machine. I cut it from white wool felt.

Sew bird to front of bagPinning the bird in place on the indigo rectangle, sew in place with a straight stitch, leaving the bottom open for stuffing.

Stuff bird openingStuff the bird with polyfil fiber (lightly) and sew opening closed with the machine.

Now, embellish the bird with a stuffed wing, a pretty flower center, and a scrap of burlap. Don’t forget to add a pebble bead eye.

Embellish bird

Now its time to sew the front and back pieces of the bag together. Do this by turning the rights sides in and sew 1/2″ from the edges. Steam the seams open with an iron on steam setting.

Steam seams open
Turn the bag right sides out.

Turn right sides out
Use Aleenes Fabric Fusion to glue the knife pleated cuff to the top of the bag, covering the raw burlap edge. Cut pieces of knife pleated “ribbon” to lengths measuring approximately 6″ and glue to the inside of the bag. Use a needle and thread, plus pretty flower centers to sew in place.

Sew on handlesFor a unique handle, cut a 1/2″ dowel rod to 8.” Use Neopaque by Jacquard Products in brown to paint the dowel.

Paint dowelInsert the rod into the handles and sew in place to secure.

Bird and Burlap BagThe combination of burlap, white wool felt and hand dyed indigo makes a striking statement. My mind is already at work thinking of fun ways to use the rest of my hand dyed indigo fabric!

Close upLive Life Creatively,



Form Folding Jewelry

Whenever I find I am just mojoless or in a rut I usually end up teaching myself a new skill. Well, I stumbled upon an AWESOME metalsmithing technique called Fold Forming developed by Charlest Lewton – Brain in the 1980’s…I just found it this week  and fell in love it!! This site, Brain Press, has TONS of info if you’d like to see and understand how it’s done.

I decided to go find some copper to work on today. And here’s my first project. It’s not “Over the Top” amazing or anything but I love it! 🙂 I have a second project in the works and a plan to work on some Sterling Silver that I have in the studio either later tonight or early tomorrow morning…


This is the pendant before I applied a black patina. I like it but it was “too shiny” so I decided to add some contrast by using a black patina.

2-10-12 First Form Folded Piece Prior to Patina - Keri Lee Sereika


And here’s the same piece just after I applied a bit of black patina to the top surface. Pretty neat change isn’t it? I like how it really brought out the contrast in the textures on here.

2-10-12 First Form Folded Piece After Patina - Keri Lee Sereika


Now, I only have one style hammer so I can’t get all the textures I would like right now but as I start to build my tool inventory I will be interested to see how this changes the look of the pieces I am making. This pendant is approximately 1 1/2″ x 4″. My second project is more oval/round in style and just about the size of  the bottom of a muffin pan I would guess…I will be sure to post pics of that one once I get it done. 🙂 I am thinking that I may just start an Etsy store and sell these nifty things…my question is this, would you buy one? Would you wear one? Thoughts?


Trendy Little Thank You Gifts by Melony Bradley

Thank you 1

Right now, I am loving the idea of embellishing plain old wooden clothespins and giving them as a coordinated set as a super quick gift idea. I mean, who doesn’t have gobs of patterned paper and/or fabric scraps to use up??

So along comes Eileen Hull’s new Celebrations dies from Sizzix. The scalloped box in this set is PERFECT for holding the smaller pins that can purchased at most crafts stores in the wood crafts section. I cut the die from thick mat board and painted it brown. I cut patterned paper scraps into thin strips and glued them to the front of the clothespins. I also added some really tiny painted and stamped circles to them with Aleenes Original Tacky Glue. I added a wire and wood handle to box and tied on a tag.

Thank you 3
I am hosting a Bunco night at my home later this month and plan to give these at favors. Another idea is to make a quick set for teachers. Here is my take on an end-of-the-year teacher goody. I used small squares stamped with numbers and flocked strips of paper for this set.

Teacher 1
Teacher 2
here are a few tips for this project

– Assemble the box with red line tape

– paint the box after you have assembled it.

– Die cut the box from patterned paper or measure the sides you want to cover with patterned paper and cut the paper with a paper trimmer

. Use super sturdy mat-board or chipboard for the box

– For the distressed look, paint a darker base coat and rub surface with wax candle. Paint a lighter top coat and lightly sand to reveal distressed surface. Another option is to dry brush a lighter color over the darker color..

Make a gift bag for your food gifts.

Lovin from the oven Gift Bag
Lovin from the oven Gift Bag

If you need a gift for a friend or a neighbor then this is a crafty idea for you.  It is really simple to make  Purchase a red bag and find a paper collection you like.  This one is from Kaisercraft and the stamps are from Unity Stamp Company.


1.  Cut the pattern paper to the width of the bag.

2.  Cut the length to measure 4-6 inches on each side.

3.  Fold the paper in half and place a slit in the center.  This will allow it to fit over the handles.

4.  Stamp the images as shown and adhere.


You could easily make a bunch in an hour.  I know I like to have a gift bag reserve… for those unexpected momoments.


Glamping with marshmallow roasting sticks

Glamping is the only way I am going to hang in the woods or an open field.  Tents and sleeping bags are really not my jam.  Campfire food does not sound appealing unless we are talking about roasted and toasted marshmallow and especially s’mores. Roasting marshmallows must be done in style with marshmallow roasting sticks.  Hotels and warm showers are more my style but I can learn to make an exception when I get to use these roasting sticks.  The Glamping marshmallow roasting sticks were inspired by a kid version I made.  Thank you to all my blog friends who gave me such great feedback after I posted my version of handmade camp roasting sticks made for kids.  Now how about I share instructions for a grown up more glamorous version of these perfect for those glamping trips!

According to the Urban Dictonary, “Glamping” is shorthand for luxury or glamorous camping. Easy to make, these roasting sticks will be the perfect addition to your arsenal of glamping accessories. Here’s how to do it. The content below may have been sponsored, contain affiliate links or free items for use. Know that this will not sway the opinion no matter what. (Even though they may want to!) This costs you nothing and helps pay for this blog's overhead. Click Diclosures to learn more.

Supplies for glamping marshmallow roasting sticks:

I might be showing my age but every time I think of wire hangers I am reminded of  the scene in Mommie Dearest.  She really did detest them.  😉

Instructions for glamping marshmallow roasting sticks:

First, cut the dowels to approximately 10-12″ using a hand saw and cutting surface.

After sanding and wiping with a tack cloth and base coat the dowels black or white.Once the dowels are dry to the touch, randomly rub them with a wax candle to create random areas that when sanded, will act as a resist to create a distressed finish. Paint the top coat using Halo Violet, Metallic Silver or Magenta.

Top coatAllow the dowels to dry to the touch and sand thoroughly to reveal a distressed finish.

Distressed dowelsNow the real fun begins! Use a paper trimmer to cut vintage book pages to 3″x 6 1/2.” Coat the dowel and wrong sides of paper with Mod Podge and a foam brush to decoupage papers to dowels.

Allow the decoupage medium to dry and go to town embellishing your glamp roasting stick to your hearts content.

Here are a few tips:

– Use a multipurpose glue to adhere hard embellishments such as resin flowers and rhinestone jewelry chain

– Wrap bits of soft trims while drying with a rubber band to hold in place until glue has set.

– Use jewelry wire to attach larger pieces such as old brooches or earrings.

– Leave 4-5″ at the top of the dowel so you have a place to hold it without disturbing all the bling.

After your glamping roasting stick is embellished and fit for a princess, drill a small hole (1/4″) at the bottom of the stick.

Gather your recycled clothes hangers and straigthen them out into one long straight piece of wire with pliers. Use wire nips to remove any excess wire. Place liquid fusion on one end of the wire and insert it into the drilled hole.

glamping with marshmallow roasting sticks

You now have a pretty glamping roasting stick that will do your weenie and marshmallows proud!
Live Life Creatively,


Make a Mosaic Pillow

Many of the designers you see featured on 365 Days of Crafts are veterans in the crafting industry and I feel honored that they are willing to share their  creations with me. and with all of you.  Each time I review a post I am amazed at the talent each of these individuals have.  Melony Bradley never ceases to amaze me.

Mosaic pillow 1

I love to create handmade embellishments. You can see my full line of them in my etsy shop. When I created some fabric, metal foiled and ticking stripe embellishments recently, I racked my brain to create a project that would best showcase them. That’s when I decided on creating a Mosaic pillow loaded with my handmade embellishments.

Metal flower embellishment

First, I cut 2 1/2″ squares of various fabric scraps, steamed the edges under and sewed them to a mustard colored square for the pillow front. I opted for contrasting thread to give the pillow that homespun, raw look that is so popular right now. The fun part was embellishing each of the squares. For me, the sky was the limit, I even added this metal foil flower embellishment created from die cut foil and colored with Jacquard Products Pinata Inks.

Fabric embellishment 2I also love these stamped muslin and ticking fabric embellishments because there are so many delightful details on them! People ask me all the time where I got the script fabric. It is called Micheal Miller Script on Beige and it can be purchased fromFabric.comI have used it on so many projects I have posted here!

Fabric embellishment 1I also used black and white polka dots and various colors of ticking for the fabric mosaic squares.

Ticking flower 1These adorable rolled ticking flowers are my favorite. They have sentiments stamped on their muslin stems plus wool felt leaves.

Other things you can decorate your squares with? Buttons, crochet flowers, die cut images, little dolls (glue with strong adhesive then sew a few stitches around the doll), little miniatures, etc

Mosaic pillow 1
These adorable embellishments are all available for purchasing in my etsy shop and can be used in so many different ways. Here are a few ideas:

– Cardmaking, Scrapbooking

– To embellish handmade clothing (soft items recommended)

– To embellish other home decor pieces such as lampshades, tea towels, napkin rings, place mats

– To adorn party favors such as a cute glassine bag or a plain brown bag

– As gifts to artsy friends- how adorable would it be to present them in a handmade gift box?

What would you do with them? I am always so inspired by what you come up with!

Live Life Creatively,


Make a quick and easy Valentine’s Day Teacher Gift

Here’s a quick and easy teacher’s gift idea
for Valentine’s Day:
Supplies: *Ceiling Tile (mine is 12″ square)
*Fringed Valentine Garland
*Acrylic Paint (Black and White)
Hot Glue
Scissors, Paintbrush, Transfer Paper
and a Sawtooth Hanger
 I used a sponge roller to paint the
ceiling tiles black.
Next, write the teacher’s name
in 3″ block letters on tracing paper.
Here’s a TIP:
The copier is your friend.
If you aren’t comfortable writing in 3″ block letters,
write the name in normal-sized lettering
and use the copier to enlarge
the letters to the desired size.
Also, I love graph paper.
And I love enlarging graph paper with
my copier, and using it as a guide
for all my handwriting patterns.
Hope this helps ya.
Center the words on the tile
and transfer your pattern lines
using light colored transfer paper and a stylus.
I thinned white paint with water to
an ink-like consistency, and
painted over my pattern lines with
a round paintbrush.
Allow the paint to dry thoroughly,
and trim the Valentine garland to 48″.
Starting at one corner of the tile,
use the hot glue gun to attach the garland
to the outside edges of the ceiling tile.
I used the hot glue to secure
a sawtooth hanger to the back of the
ceiling tile for easy hanging.
Line up the hanger and mark
the holes with a pencil.
Two dollops of hot glue
right on top of each of your marks.
Smoosh the hanger in place for
exactly a quarter of a second and VOILA!!!
Instant hanging awesomeness.
Peace and Super Easy Giftyness!!!

Make a Valentine necklace out of clay.

Paper Clay Beads
Paper Clay Beads
Paper Clay Beads


Welcome to 365 days of Crafts.  We are pleased to be a part of the blog hop.  “Love Cast in Clay”

The piece I created was made with Amazing Mold Putty that I used to make molds of buttons.  I placed straight pins through the clay before curing.  I painted the clay and highlighted the texture with Lumiere paint.  Glass beads and Wire are from Cousin Corp.

If you are here to participate in the blog hop and would like to win the BLOG CANDY (aka a prize)

The AMP blog and the Creative Paperclay® blog will each pick a winner – they will receive on 16oz package of Creative Paperclay® and a package of Amazing Mold Putty.    retail value is $25

Rules to get candy:  They must leave a comment on all blogs and become a follower of all blogs…

Blog Hops: