As fall arrives, our world changes to a place decorated with vibrant colors and filled with the tastes and abundance of the harvest. And as the season changes, it's only natural that we crave some changes of our own. Whether you want to update your wardrobe with some new looks for the cooler weather, or warm up your home with some stylish new decor, it's good to know that you can make changes without breaking the bank.
"Fall is such an exciting season for style," says Susan Atchison, manager of trend development for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. "We're saying farewell to the breezy lightness of summer and looking forward to a rich and cozy feel in the season that takes kids back to school and gets us looking toward the excitement of the holidays. In fall, inspiration is literally all around you and it's a great time to get inspired to do some projects that will give you a look that is perfectly suited to the season."
The do-it-yourself approach makes creating new looks for fall even more fun. Whether you're enhancing your own style or updating your home's decor, it's budget friendly and surprisingly easy to make accessories that would cost a lot in stores.
Here are some ideas from the creativity and craft experts at Jo-Ann:
* Warm up your wardrobe.
Autumn means it's time to go back to the closet - to the very back of the closet, for some of us - and pull out our favorite, never-out-of-style sweaters, slacks, jeans and boots from last year.
It's easy to put a 2010 stamp on last year's outfits with a few trendy and stylish new pieces, like a wet-felted scarf, a perfect pencil skirt or sophisticated needle-felted wool jacket. Wool felting is a great project that you can do right at home with a few simple tools, which allows you to turn yarn into a warm, thick fabric through brushing and exposure to water. Make sure the wool you use 100 percent wool or other animal fiber or marked "feltable" if it's synthetic. You'll find directions for wet felting projects and more on Jo-Ann's website, www.joann.com.
* Fun fashion for home
Your wardrobe isn't the only look you might want to update for fall. Your home decor could use a seasonal make-over as well. "In fall, we start inviting more people into our homes: backyard barbeques are out, but dinner parties and indoor get-togethers are in," Atchison says. "It' the perfect time to create a seasonal atmosphere inside your house, taking cues from the colors of the leaves and late blooming plants."
Bringing the shades of the season to your table top can be an easy, economical way to freshen your home decor for fall. Some new napkins, a dazzling centerpiece and hand-painted placemats can completely change the look of your fall table.
To discover more fall trends for you and your home, visit www.JoAnn.com.
Follow fiber artist Shannon Okey’s directions to create your own wet-felted scarf.
Supplies and tools:
* Clover Natural Wool Roving, at least 3 packages total: pink, gray, camel, natural, brown or colors of choice
* Patons Classic Merino yarn, short pieces for decoration
* Needle-felting tool
* Needle-felting brush
* Bubble wrap (two pieces, each as large as desired scarf size)
* Dishwashing soap
* Large bath towel
* Spray bottle
* Optional: sushi mat, old matchstick roller blind, two pieces of plastic wrap (each as large as desired scarf size)
1. Arrange bath towel on a flat surface that can get wet, such as a kitchen countertop or bathroom floor. Place a piece of bubble wrap on top of the towel. Point the bubbles upward for extra friction. Multiple pieces of bubble wrap can be taped together if necessary. If using a sushi mat or matchstick blind, place it on the towel with a layer of plastic wrap on top to keep the wool from sticking.
2. Arrange roving strips onto bubble wrap or plastic. Wrap work surface as follows: Start at the top long edge of the scarf and work down, pulling out and placing thin roving strips next to each other at a 45-degree angle facing towards the right on the bubble wrap or plastic wrap. Note: Tightly pinch the fibers at one end of the wool piece and yank away to one side quickly to pull a small, perfectly aligned strip of fiber off the end. This motion is important to ensure very thin strips of fiber instead of large, chunky ones in the finished design.
3. For the next row (change colors each row if desired), overlap the fiber pieces over the bottom 1/3 to 1/2 of the previous row, shingle style, and change the 45-degree angle to face left. Repeat the previous row until the scarf is slightly wider than desired, changing the slant of the fibers with each successive row.
4. Mix a little dishwashing soap into warm water and place the solution in the spray bottle. Spray the wool roving until the entire scarf is saturated with soapy water. Place a second piece of plastic wrap or bubble wrap (bubbles facing towards the wool) on top. If you’re using a sushi mat or blind, roll the entire piece up into a tube and begin rocking it back and forth with your hands, applying pressure as you go. If using bubble wrap, put one hand under the plastic and the other on top, then rub your hands back and forth section by section. Continue rolling or rubbing until the entire piece holds together when you pick it up.
5. Crumple the piece into a ball, making sure there is still soapy water in it, and move to a bathtub or shower. Throw the ball of wet wool at the shower wall or tub bottom as hard as you can. Continue for five minutes or until individual wool strands start looking wavy on the surface, as if they were curled. Rinse the soap out and hang to dry.
6. For added interest, arrange yarn pieces on the surface in swirls or other designs and needle felt onto scarf according to the manufacturer’s directions.
To take your table setting to the next level, try this simple project for hand-painted placemats www.joann.com/static.
Supplies and tools:
* 1 1/4 yards of 54-inch wide silk fabric, cream
* 1 yard of 54-inch-wide wide silk fabric, contrasting color
* Lumiere’s paint, 1 bottle per color: burnt orange, metallic rust, old brass, bright gold
* 1 to 2 cans shaving cream (not gel)
* Combing tool, wide-tooth comb or pick
* Cookie sheet with raised sides
* Rotary cutter, mat and grid ruler
* Basic sewing supplies
* Sewing machine
* Thread to match fabric
* Iron and ironing board
1. Cut four 12-by-17-inch pieces of cream-colored silk fabric for the centers of the place mats. Press the fabric pieces.
2. Apply shaving cream to the cookie sheet, up to the top of the sides. Level off the cream using the ruler.
3. Apply paint onto the shaving cream by generously sprinkling paint over the entire cookie sheet. Apply one color then repeat with other colors.
4. Using the combing tool, pull with a wiggle action in one direction.
5. Lay the right side of the fabric on the shaving cream. Spread your hands lightly over the back of the fabric to press the paint onto the fabric. Allow the fabric to stay on the shaving cream for approximately 20 minutes, then rinse the fabric with cool water until the shaving cream is removed and the water runs clear.
6. Rinse the shaving cream off the cookie sheet. Every place mat should start with fresh shaving cream. Repeat steps one through five until all place mats are done.
7. Allow place mats to drip dry for a few minutes. Dry over a clothes rack or line.
8. Iron the place mat to set the paint. Paint needs to dry 24 hours before it is cured.
9. Trim painted fabrics to 10 inches by 15 1/2 inches.
10. To create borders, cut two 3-by-11-inch pieces and two 3-by-20 1/2-inch pieces of contrasting silk fabric for each place mat.
11. Pin the 3-by-11 border piece to each side on the place mat. Sew pieces together using 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press seams towards center.
12. Pin the longer pieces to the top and bottom on the place mat and sew together. Press.
13. Trim the border pieces to 2 inches on all four sides from the sewn edge. Cut the back piece to the size of the place mat. Pin both pieces together and sew, leaving an opening to turn right side out.
14. Turn place mat right sides out and press. Whipstitch the opening closed.
For more products, projects and inspiration, log onto www.Joann.com.
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PressDome is easy to use! Just place on any smooth surface for an airtight seal, and just press for a vacuum seal. It works with plates, platters, bowls, skillets, cutting boards, and even the countertops!