Simple crafts that can help perk up coffee lovers
How to make a reusable coffee-cup sleeve or collar, plus other easy crafts to dress up that morning cup of java.
The Associated Press
You can make a morning cup of java even more enjoyable for yourself or the coffee lover in your life by adding simple, personal touches to favorite cups, containers and bags of beans.
Instead of a pricey trip to the paint-your-own pottery studio, use porcelain or glass paints and markers to decorate mugs, then pop them in your kitchen oven to make your creation last. Stencils from your local crafts store can help make attractive patterns and pictures.
Or add embellishment by attaching wine charms to the handle of a special mug, says Becky Hermann, a craft specialist with Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. You can make your own charms in any color or style by using wire and beads, ribbons, or even a tag with scrapbooking stickers and stamps. Just remove them for washing.
The charms can work especially well for brushed stainless steel travel mugs to which paint doesn't adhere easily. Permanent markers and rub-on appliqué stickers can be applied to the outside of the mug for additional interest. Some crafters suggest coating those in clear nail polish for longer use. Remember to wash gently.
Many photo shops will print pictures of friends, family and pets onto a mug or stainless steel commuter cup; then you can add artistic touches at home.
There are plenty of other ways to dress up your morning cuppa and accompanying products as well.
Consider creating colorful wraps or coffee coats to keep your pot of java and French press piping hot, or your blender of iced coffee freezing cold. Most any fabric will do double duty, keeping the heat or cold inside.
Hermann suggests fun fabrics such as Insul-Bright, the insulating fabric you can use to make oven mitts and pot holders. Or use lined cotton and Velcro for an easy, inexpensive cover.
Make a template using your own pot, press or blender, or find one online or in sewing magazines.
For friends who enjoy grinding their own beans, decorate a small, vinyl place mat to catch the grounds that escape the grinder.
Or use printable food or scrapbooking labels to design custom labels to attach to reusable plastic containers that keep bags of beans and grounds fresh. If you use a single-cup coffee maker, decorate a container or make an organizer for coffee pods.
One of the easiest and most eco-friendly projects for yourself or a friend who makes regular trips to the coffee shop is a coffee collar or sleeve. That's the small piece of cardboard that many coffee stores offer to protect your hands from the heat and make your cup more portable. Your version can be a little more colorful, comfortable and reusable.
On her blog, the Iowa Farmer's Wife (http://theiowafarmerswife.blogspot.com), Adrienne Weeks details how to make an adorable and inexpensive coffee collar or sleeve:
1 large rectangle of felt in the color of your choice
1 small piece in a second color of your choice
1 to 2 colors of embroider floss
1 small piece of ribbon
Use your coffee lover's favorite to-go cup as a template
1. Cut your preferred shape — a star, cross, heart, bird, anything you like — from the small piece of felt and set aside.
2. Using a cardboard coffee sleeve from a coffee store, trace a template on the larger piece of felt. Or measure a to-go cup in two spots about 3 inches apart where you would place your hand, draw the lines on the felt at the same distance apart and connect the sides. Weeks suggests doubling up on your felt pieces for extra insulation.
3. Cut out your felt sleeve.
4. Pull the pieces apart and stitch your preferred shape onto the front piece of the collar.
5. Press the two collar pieces together and sew a whip stitch around the top edge, stopping at each end, but leave the needle/floss attached.
6. Use your cup to find the right placement for the button by pulling the collar tight and marking the spot. Then sew the button on using your embroidery floss.
7. Using the needle still attached to the button end of the collar, use a whip stitch to sew up that end and keep stitching around the bottom until you get to the other side.
8. Put the collar back around the cup and mark where you want to place the ribbon. Make a loop in the ribbon, place it around the button and cut. Sew the ribbon to the inside of the collar.
9. Stitch up that end.
Add a gift card to a favorite coffee shop or a bag of fresh beans to go along your craftwork to perk up the java lover in your life.
Homes -- New Home Showcase
Dig into local Gardening