New Year’s Resolution: Learn to Sew

Every year is an opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby. If you have been wanting to learn how to sew, but don’t know exactly where to start, look no further than this post. Tree Classics will guide you through the process, from choosing the right thread and needle to adding decorative stitches on your fabric.

Step 1. Prepare the Essential Sewing Tools

Sewing entails having the right kind of equipment at your disposal. It would be easy to grasp, and eventually master, this craft if you have the following:

Sewing Machine

A good sewing machine is the most important thing you need to create beautiful garments and accessories. It wouldn’t hurt to use a secondhand sewing machine for as long as its parts are working. If this is your first time to operate a sewing machine, this post will guide you through.

Spools of Thread

You need a variety of threads; each type of fabric or sewing style will require you to use a specific type of thread. Click here to learn about the different types of threads and how to choose the right one for your sewing project.

Needles

Make sure to use the right kind of needle to avoid creating uneven stitches or damaging the fabric. Before you start sewing, double-check the size of your needle to ensure it suits the size, texture, and weight of your fabric.

Sewing Pattern

Draft a sewing pattern to ensure that your finished product will fit you perfectly. You can either draw and cut or download an array of patterns.

Iron and Ironing Board

Aside from polishing the seams, pressing a sewn garment blends the fabric and thread. Take note of these important tips when pressing to avoid damaging your fabric and its design.

Step 2. Learn to Sew a Seam

A seam is a line of stitches holding two pieces of fabric together. Learning how to sew a seam is the basic step in sewing. The finishing and durability of your sewn item will depend on how you made its seams. Click here for a tutorial on sewing seams.

Step 3. Study Different Kinds of Stitches

Some stitches are used to structure a fabric, while others are meant to strengthen and embellish it. Having knowledge of a variety of stitches will enable you to create embroidery designs and a clean finish on your garment.

Step 4. Start with Small Projects

Learning how to sew is no different from trying a new recipe. Start working on simple projects, like a coaster, bib, sunglasses case, and pillowcase to name a few. Blogs that feature sewing tutorials and projects will help quicken your learning pace.

Step 5. Sewing Projects in Under 30 Minutes

Start your sewing lessons with these fun and easy projects. Once you’ve mastered sewing, you’ll find that these items would take only 30 minutes or less to make.

Sunglasses Case

Choose a fabric of your choice to combine with fleece. Cut the fabric and fleece into squares, and then sew them together along their short sides. Fold it lengthwise and stitch the longer sides to create a tube. Thrust the fabric into the fleece so that the latter becomes the outer layer of the case. This tutorial will show you how to embellish your sunglasses case.

Baby Bib

You will need three fat quarters of a fabric, two matching Velcro strips, and a bib pattern. Trace the pattern on each fabric, cut it out, and then start sewing your bib like this.

Standard Pillowcase

A standard pillowcase will require a yard of fabric and a rectangular pattern measuring 22 inches by 32 inches. Fold the fabric lengthwise, trace the pattern, and cut it out. Pin the edges of the fabric, and then start sewing a seam along the pinned area. Click here for the complete tutorial on sewing a pillowcase.

Drawstring Bag

Before you start on this one, determine the size of your drawstring bag. Cut a piece of rectangle that is twice the width of your bag from a fat quarter of fabric. Fold the cutout crosswise, and then sew the edges together. Follow this step-by-step guide to making a cute drawstring bag.

Full Gathered Skirt

Making your own clothes offers a unique sense of pride that you can’t get from shop-bought clothes. This nice full skirt requires two yards of knit fabric and an elastic that fits around your waistline. Cut two rectangles from the pieces of fabric to make the skirt, and one long rectangle for the waistband. The length and width of the cutouts should be in proportion to the size of your waistline and desired length for the skirt. Click here for the full tutorial.

If you’re new to sewing, these tips and pieces of information will guarantee the success of your first sewing project.

New Year’s Resolution: Learn to Knit

Knitted Bib

Learn the basics of knitting with Tree Classics easy to follow guide on how to knit.

For some people, knitting is arguably one of the most worth-while activities you can do in your spare time. A lot of people get hooked (pun intended) to knitting because it’s very easy to learn and doesn’t cost much to pursue. All you need are a pair of needles, a nice ball of yarn, and your creative hands to create beautiful and useful crafts such as scarves, socks, and sweaters.

In this edition of Tree Classics’ New Year’s Resolution series, we present to you the fine art of knitting. As you welcome the beginnings of a new year, let us teach you the basics of this wonderful hobby so you can start your resolution by picking up another helpful.

What You Need

  • Knitting needles
  • Yarn

Knitting needles

There are three basic types of knitting needles you can use depending on their material. These are metal, plastic and bamboo.

For beginners, you can use plastic needles as they are inexpensive and can easily be found in most crafting stores. Afterwards, once you get the hang of knitting, you can then switch to the more durable metal needles. For some knitters, they prefer to use bamboo needles because they are more comfortable use.

Knitting needles also come in different sizes. The most popular one for beginners is the size 7-9 needle. You can check out other measurements of knitting needles here.

Whichever pair of needles you choose, the important thing is to get familiar in using them as much as possible so you can achieve a consistent look for your crafts.

Yarn

In choosing the right yarn to use, it is important to know the different types of strings according to their color, their size and thickness, and their fiber composition.

To help create colorful knitting projects, yarns are made available in various hues. This is achieved by coloring strings through the use of natural or artificial dyes.  And while most yarns are dyed in a single hue, some strings are also offered in multi-colored variants. Some examples of variegated yarns are:

  • Tweed or heathered – These are yarns with spots of different colored fiber.
  • Ombre – This type of variegated yarn has light and dark shades of a single hue.
  • Multicolored – This variegated yarn features a combination of two or more distinct hues.
  • Self-striping – This type of yarn is dyed in different color lengths in order to create stripes in a knitted object.
  • Marled – This yarn is made from strands of multi-colored strings twisted together. They often feature closely-related hues.

Yarns also come in a multitude of sizes and thickness commonly known as weights. Some well-known weights include:

  • Lace (two-ply yarn) – This yarn is often used for shawls or doilies.
  • Fingering yarn (four-ply yarn)
  • Sport yarn (five-ply yarn)
  • Double-knit yarn (eight-ply yarn) This weight is perfect for knitting socks and children’s clothes.
  • Worsted yarn (ten-ply yarn) – Also known as the Aran, this common weight is a great choice for people who are only starting to learn how to knit. This is often used to make scarves and hats.

When you buy your first set of yarns, the store clerk might also ask you for the type of fiber you want to use. This is important because the fiber of your yarn determines whether your knitting project is going to be machine-washable or can be only cleaned through hand wash.

  • Animal-based fibers – A popular choice for its good insulating properties, this type of yarn fiber is very absorbent and retains its shape well no matter how many times it is used. However, this yarn can only be hand washed and must be laid flat to dry. An example of this yarn is the lambswool.
  • Plant fibers – These fibers are known for their softness and durability. They are also very breathable, making them a perfect choice for knitting summer and children’s clothes. Compared to animal-based fibers, plant fibers can be machine washed. Linen and cotton are some examples of this type of yarn.
  • Synthetic fibers – Also known as acrylic fibers, these materials are cheap and easy to wash. This makes them the perfect choice for knitting baby clothes and other fashion items. They can be machine washed and placed in a dryer. Some common synthetic fibers include polyester and nylon.

Learning How to Knit

Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the tools of your new craft, it’s time to begin your first knitting project. For starters, let’s try knitting a basic scarf.

Gather your materials

For beginners, it is always advisable to use thick needles and bulky yarn. This is to make your knitting faster and easier. If you want to create a multi-colored scarf, try using a variegated yarn instead of combining two colored strings together. Also, make sure to have at least 200 yards (182.9 m) of yarn so you wouldn’t run out.

Find a comfortable position

Knitting takes a considerable amount of time. While this is going to be your first project, it would be best to get yourself comfortable before you start. Find a perfect spot in your home where you can do your knitting. This can be in your living room, dining room, or even in your bedroom. Wherever your knitting post may be, make sure that it is well-lit and well-ventilated so you can work on your project peacefully.

Cast on your yarn  

Next, cast on around 10-40 stitches of yarn on your needles, depending on the desired size of your scarf. Since this is your first try at knitting, let’s keep the size of the scarf small for now. Once you’ve mastered the basics of knitting, you can continue with bigger and more elaborate projects.

Start knitting

  1. After casting on your yarn, you can now start knitting. Make sure that each knit is tight and secure before proceeding to the next row. Also, avoid leaving a knit in the middle of a row or else it would pull funny once you start working on it again.
  2. If you’re looking to create a multi-colored scarf, try to finish at least 12 rows using your first color. Afterwards, cut the yarn at the end of the 12th row. Leave a 6-inch tail to which you can attach the next colored yarn.
  3. Connect the two colored yarns by aligning the end of the first string with the beginning of the second. Hold the two yarns with your left hand, away from the thread of the new color that you’ll be knitting. Continue knitting the next 12 rows using the second color. Follow this step with your other colored yarns until you finish the desired length of your scarf.
  4. Once you’re through knitting your scarf, cast off your stitches. You can use a crochet hook to stitch the loose ends of your scarf so that no knot is left.

This ends your first lesson in knitting. Wrap your scarf around your neck and check out the final product.

Start off the New Year by expanding your knowledge of different crafts. By learning the basics of knitting, not only are you enriching you know how, but you’re also picking up a very helpful skill you can use to start a budding business with.

Photo by storebukkebruse via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Use Christmas Lights All Year Round

Of all the Christmas decorations in your home, those strings of lights are hard to do without. In fact, now that the festivities are over, turning them off seems to be the most natural thing to do.

Holiday lights bring unexpected liveliness to a home, so switching them off would be like cutting the fun too soon. If you’re not yet ready to turn off your lights, here are some interesting ways to keep them lit in a not-so-Christmas fashion.

Create a Luminous Curtain

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How To Make DIY Snow Globes

Christmas snow globes add a magical touch to your home. These accents feature snippets of the snowy outdoors and other sceneries in nature. The great thing about snow globes is that they are actually very easy to make!

Customize a snow globe scene by picking out the elements you want, giving it your own style and personal touch. Follow these steps to make a do-it-yourself snow globe that you can add to your Christmas décor.

The materials you need are:

  • A glass jar
  • Glitter and/or fake snow
  • Distilled water
  • Glycerin or light corn syrup as substitute
  • Super glue adhesive
  • Sandpaper
  • Any plastic figurine
  • Any miniature tree, bottle brush tree or plastic evergreen tips

How to Make your Snow Globe

Step 1. Test the lid of the jar to make sure that water does not leak from it. Or else, your snow globe will dry up before you know it.

Step 2. Sand the inside part of the lid until it gets rougher for the super glue to stick better. Glue the bottom of your figurines and/or miniature tree onto the inside of the lid. Let them dry.

Step 3. Fill about three quarters of the jar with water. Add a few drops of glycerine or corn syrup to make the water denser, thus making it easier for the glitter and/or fake snow to float on longer. The more drops you add, the slower they fall.

Step 4. Try to close the jar with the lid. If the liquid rises up too much because of the added volume from the figurines, take some of the water out and make sure that there is enough room for air.

Step 5. Add a teaspoon of glitter and/or fake snow. The amount you add will depend on how big your jar is. Increase the amount as you see fit.

Step 6. Screw the lid tightly. If you want to seal it permanently, put super glue on the lid’s edges. Shake or tip the jar upside down then back again, and enjoy the snowy scene!

Decorating Ideas for your Christmas Stockings

Stuffed Christmas stockings are always so nice to wake up to, making Christmas mornings even more exciting for the family. Inspire charm and cheer in your home by spicing up your Christmas stockings this holiday season with these decorating ideas.

Sequins for Sparkle

If you are recycling unused socks for Christmas, and you want to give it some shimmer, sew sequins onto them for embellishment. Using a variety of colors will give each a festive touch. Make sure to cover the entire socks with the shiny sequins to make them glitter from any angle.

Colorful Accents

Metallic Christmas baubles are not just for the Christmas tree – they can go with a lot of things as well. Adorn your Christmas stockings with small colorful Christmas balls just like tassels. These accents not only add a playful touch, they also draw attention to the stockings, tempting anyone to take a peek even before Christmas day.

Evergreen Leaves

There is something enchanting about evergreens that will keep you wanting them on every part of your home for the holidays. Add a vibrant touch to your stockings by stuffing some evergreen leaves after completely filling them with treats. This finishing touch makes the stockings more interesting to look at. Allow the evergreens to peek through the opening so others can appreciate the beauty of nature even with just a tiny part of it.

Ribbons

Add a finishing touch to your Christmas stocking with a ribbon. Choose a ribbon color that contrasts with the socks for it to stand out. Patterned ribbons look great on stockings with solid color, while plain ribbons stick out better on patterned fabrics.

Personalized Stockings with Embroidery, Paint or Applique

Customizing each stocking will make it easier for the giver to know where to place each treat. But more importantly, it makes each stocking special for the owner. There are many ways to label each stocking – you can have them embroidered, sewn with name appliques, or painted. Whichever way you choose to create personalized Christmas stockings, it’s always a heartwarming feeling to know that everyone in your home is well-accounted for.

Christmas stockings are exceptional pieces of holiday decorations because of the thought that comes with hanging and filling them up. Give them your personal touch and style to make them one-of-a-kind for a more special Christmas morning.

DIY Christmas Thank You Cards

A thank you card is one wonderful way to show your gratitude to loved ones and friends during the holiday season. This will show how much you appreciate their gifts and their presence in your life.

Signing your name on a ready-made card would be easy. But, making your own thank you card is a lot of fun and an excellent way to strengthen your relationship with the person you’re giving the card to.

Tree Classics gets in the mood for DIY Christmas crafts and shares five easy card ideas that will get your heart’s message across loud and clear.

Rainbow Card

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Christmas Tree Deals: Get Ready for Next Year

   Gone are the days when one had to wait for the winter season, or until Thanksgiving, to purchase a Christmas tree. As more people start to see the advantages of having an artificial tree, stores are beginning to offer these prized products all year round.

The best time to shop for an artificial holiday tree is during the post-Christmas tree sale period, which runs from the day after Christmas until January. Aside from finding the best deals, this will get you ready for the next holiday. You may stock up on holiday ornaments and décor sold for a fraction of their regular price.

If this is your first time to buy an artificial Christmas tree, take note of these important reminders.

Measure the Space of Your Tree

Determine the space that your tree will fill in. Measure the distance from your ceiling to the floor and get the area’s square footage as well. Make sure to include some space allowance so your display doesn’t look stuffed.

If you want to place gifts underneath your tree, a full-shaped tree guarantees more room at its base. Online Christmas tree stores offer different types of spruce, fir, and pine in varying sizes. Determining the height and width of your tree will make the selection process less tedious.

Invest in a Pre-lit Tree

The day you purchase a pre-lit artificial tree marks the day you stop assembling lights on a tree. Aside from the instant glow it gives your home, a pre-lit tree that’s equipped with LED Christmas lights will guarantee big savings on your electric bill.

Check the Tree’s Branches

Nothing can beat a realistic artificial tree. A number of Tree Classics’ artificial Christmas trees capture the features of fresh outdoor evergreens in a coniferous forest because of its Real FeelTM Needles. Combined with sturdy PVC needles, the trees can carry an assortment of ornaments in varying sizes.

Go for a Sturdy Stand

Don’t settle for a stand made of plastic or any weak material. This can lead to many accidents. A reliable tree stand should not only be made of metal, but also match the tree’s width. This will enable it to support the weight of the tree and all the trimmings on it.

Use this guide as you take advantage of the after Christmas tree sale, and avoid the hassle and stress that comes with the peak season.

Photo by Celeste via Flickr. CC BY 2.0
Photo by Joe Barney via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

This year’s color reflects every individual’s need for nurturing and empowerment, say color authority Pantone. People will get inspiration from Marsala, coined from the famous Sicilian wine, which is going to dominate this year’s fashion and clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and home design.

In the area of home design, Marsala’s underlying brown tones and sophisticated reds will serve as the focal point of many designers. This flexible shade can produce a lot of red and brown variations to suit every homeowner’s personality and lifestyle.

Tree Classics offers a range of palettes that you can combine with the color of the year to give your home an amazingly new look for 2015.

Bronze and Amber Blend


Anyone with a penchant for warm, earthy tones will love the combination of Marsala, bronze, and amber. Play up Marsala on the walls of your home and the brown tones on your furniture, while using accent pieces tinged with amber, to create a beautiful contrast.

Marsala with Complementary Shades


If you have an inclination for cool shades, here’s good news for you. Marsala looks great when combined with a bright and muted shades of blue. Blue green walls and a blue patterned rug can brighten up a living room that is dominated by furniture pieces in wine red. On the other hand, adding bits of white accessories in said room will strike a balance between Marsala’s strength and blue’s softness.

A Touch of Mono


Marsala was chosen color of the year for its ability to stand alone. However, if you’re using it in your family room, it would be best to pair up this bold shade with white upholstered furniture and accessories, such as the immaculate white rug shown in this photo. Doing so will make the room appear more cheerful amidst its strong dominant color. Because of its association with wine and spices, and its ability to stimulate appetite, Marsala is also recommended for kitchen and dining room walls.

Elegance in Gray


Like with most neutral colors, using Marsala in a room that is dominated by gray tones will make it all the more noticeable. Gray may be a color for relaxation, but it has the power to emphasize other colors. If you strew a gray armchair with bright pink throw pillows, these will be easily noticed. Just imagine the sophistication that a traditional Marsala couch can bring into your space.

A Dash of Metallic 


Glossy Marsala lipstick and eyeshadow are on-trend, and so are metallic throw pillows and vintage gold picture frames. Gold offers not only glam but also warmth to a room. A roomful of metallic accessories backdropped with Marsala walls and furniture offers a spectacle reminiscent of the medieval era’s quaint charm.

Marsala is, indeed, a versatile color that is worth experimenting with. How do you plan to incorporate Marsala into your home design?

The Guide to a Perfect Christmas Morning

Christmas Eve does not mark the end of the holiday celebration. The actual fun begins on Christmas morning; it’s when a series of activities await the whole family. Some people maintain their family’s annual Christmas morning traditions, while there are others who experiment with new activities each year.

Tree Classics has prepared a list of activities with which you can start your Christmas Day. For you to have fun in all of these, encourage your family to wake up at the same time so that you can do them together. It is, after all, by sharing these activities with them that you can attain a perfect Christmas morning.

Hang the Stockings 

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Spend quality time with your family by hanging your Christmas stockings together.

On Christmas Eve, fill your children’s Christmas stockings with goodies, then hang the stockings on their assigned seats at the dining table while they’re fast asleep. The next day, watch them as they happily pull the goodies out of their stockings.

Enjoy a Pre-made Breakfast

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Treat your loved ones to a hearty and delicious breakfast on Christmas morning.

Prepare your Christmas breakfast the night before so that you can laze around all morning. After working on a hefty Christmas Eve dinner, it’s time to relax with a cup of coffee and a delicious slice of cinnamon monkey bread. While having breakfast, enjoy a long conversation with your family, as this is something you seldom do on regular school days.

Open Gifts under the Tree

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Have a grand time opening gifts together under the Christmas tree.

After breakfast, rush to the presents under the tree, then tear open your Christmas loot. On Christmas Day, adults are given the permission to feel and act like kids.

Watch Classic Christmas Films

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A heartwarming scene from the classic holiday movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Make a bowl of popcorn, then watch classic Christmas-themed movies, such as Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Story, to name a few. Never mind if you’ve seen these films countless times. What matters is that you get to watch them this time with your whole family.

Play a Board Game 

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Do away with video games and have a good round of board games with the family.

Games on cell phones, computers, and other digital devices have succeeded in detaching one from his own family. This Christmas, forget the digital world and use board games to bond with your family. Reconnect with them though a checkers board game, domino set, and backgammon board game.

When shared with your loved ones, all these activities will lead to a perfect Christmas morning.

Photo by Christopher Cornelius via Flickr. CC BY 2.0

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Photo by Khairil Zhafri via Flickr. CC BY 2.0