Monthly Archives: April 2012

More Burpies


Remember these blue burpies I posted earlier? (Click here for tutorial.) Well, now I’ve been making pink ones as well. That’s right, we have a grandson AND a granddaughter arriving this summer! I’ll admit that I couldn’t choose among all the cute flannels, though, so I ended up getting WAY too much. Flannel baby quilts may follow soon! ♥

New Roll-Up Pencil Kit


I previously posted about the easy, fun roll-up pencil kits (upcycled from placemats) that I learned how to make using this Martha Stewart tutorial. Here’s my newest one! I love using mats that are patterned on one side and plain on the other . . . perfect for showing off the pretty pencil colors. ♥

From Hoodie to Tooth Fairy Pillow


A good way to preserve a favorite item of clothing from a child’s preschool years is to upcycle it into a pillow. For example, with just a bit of embroidery, snipping, stuffing, and stitching, this hoodie turned into something new to cuddle and treasure. ♥

Needle Book


Have you ever heard of a needle book? I hadn’t until I saw one in my daily email from AllFreeSewing . . . but it sounded like the perfect way to round up all the needles from my sewing drawer, sewing box, embroidery box, wrist pincushion, and everywhere else I tend to stash them. Since this was just for me, and I already had a perfect quilted remnant to use for the cover, I made it into a 15-minute project by:

  • pinning the two sides of the fabric together, right sides facing, and stitching around the edges (leaving an opening for turning)
  • turning it right side out and top-stitching all the way around
  • folding it in half and cutting six pieces of white felt to fit
  • tucking the “pages” into the fold and “binding” the book by stitching down the left side of the front cover, then again 3/8 inch away for good measure

I love my handy, easy-to-tote 6 x 4 inch book. ♥

Placemat Tote Bag


As you know, I’m fond of making things out of placemats I find in the clearance bins at World Market, Bed/Bath/Beyond, and Target. This time I decided to try making a tote bag. It turned out great . . . and it’s even tangerine! Here are the directions:


  • 2 placemats (I used one print and one solid, but any combination is fine.)
  • a coordinating remnant for the lining (I used a piece of retro jersey from a box of fabric my mom-in-law gave me . . . I wish I knew what she made with it!)
  • up to 2 yards of cording for the strap
  • sewing thread and embroidery floss

The "insides" before attaching the lining . . .


1. With right sides of the fabric facing, stitch the sides and bottom of the placemats.

2. Hand stitch the strap inside the two side seams with embroidery floss for sturdiness.

3. Turn the bag right side out and press if needed.

4. Use the bag as a pattern to cut two pieces of the remnant, leaving a little around the edges for the seams.

5. With right sides of the fabric facing, stitch the sides and bottom of the lining. DON’T turn right side out, but do press.

6. Slip the lining inside the bag. Fold it under at the top and pin it along the top edge of the bag, bunching a bit at the straps if needed.

7. Use a slip stitch or decorative embroidery stitch to attach the lining to the bag.  You’re done! ♥

Other placemat projects:

Placemat Pouch

More Placemat Pouches

Roll-Up Pencil Case

T-Shirt Headbands


Craft Snob posted a fun tutorial on making headbands out of old T-shirts. Being a headband fan, I just had to try it. Here are my first two, made from a gray ribbed tank top that was ready for the rag bag. My flower is a little smaller than hers, but I like it, and the other one has a sort of cornucopia-shaped decoration for a-la-mode. They only take a few minutes to make and are VERY comfortable . . . strong enough to hold your hair back, but light enough that you don’t even feel them.  I’ll be making more! ♥

Spring Sweater Refashion, Chapter 2


After the success of my first sweater refashion project, I decided to tackle the other pink spring sweater hanging out in my closet. When I bought it last year, I also picked up a ruffle-neck T-shirt to wear with it, but, alas, they didn’t get along. The sleeves were fine on this sweater, but I used the same neckline refashion technique as before, and I love the results! It also looks great with a white tank or collared shirt . . . and obviously needs no a-la-mode. ♥

Spiral Zipper Wristlet


I’ve seen several spiral zipper bags on Pinterest lately and was eager to try one.  Unzipped, they’re flat, but zipped, they’re coin purses or wristlets. I used a tutorial from How About Orange to get started (hers are BEAUTIFUL!!!) but ended up designing my own way to finish off the top.  It was as tricky as it looks . . . kind of like putting a puzzle together . . . but fun too, and I think it’s pretty cute. ♥

Spring Sweater Refashion


One of my favorite new blog discoveries is Refashion Co-op, which I discovered through another new favorite blog called Chic Envelopements, which gave me the courage to take my scissors to a brand-new sweater! Here’s the story. A year or so ago, I was on my way to the cash register at Kohl’s after buying a gift and saw a beautiful pastel pink sweater, light as a feather, in my size, on a sale rack for $10, and just had to have it.  I was pretty pleased with myself . . . until I got home and tried it on. It had a too-high neck that looked dowdy buttoned all the way up and sloppy with the first couple of buttons undone, and the sleeves had tight bands at the wrist which made it feel hot and uncomfortable. So, I stuck it back in my closet until this past weekend. Taking a deep breath (and forgetting to take a “before” snapshot), I cut a diagonal line from just above the third button to the shoulder seam and around to the middle of the back just under the neck ribbing, and then I used the piece I’d cut off as a pattern for the other side. Next, I used an elbow-length-sleeved sweater I like as a pattern to cut off the lower arms. Then I rolled and pinned all the raw edges under and hand-stitched around them with tiny hem stitches. Success! It’s perfect with a white tank, brown belt, skirt, and ballet flats . . . plus I made a pin-on flower out of the ribbed cuffs I’d removed and brown embroidery floss and beads. Look out closet, here I come! ♥

Yellow Sweater Pillow


As you know, I love to upcycle old clothing, which is why this “sweater with issues” is now a cushy 10 x 15 inch pillow. Although the built-in smocking added a nice bit of texture, I decided to up the a-la-mode by making a flower out of the same fabric. With the gold floss and button in the center, it even harmonizes with my sunflower paintings . . . a surprise bonus! ♥

Pink and Brown


Since my all-time favorite remnants were getting pretty slim after making the unsuccessful and then successful pink bracelet purses, I decided to finish them off by making one last “What’s not to love about pink and brown?” pillow. I added a hot pink fabric flower from my notions stash for a little a-la-mode, and the finished pillow is 9 x 22 inches.

Bracelet Purse


Recently I read a post from a fun blogger that included a link to an intriguing craft project I just had to try: bracelet purses for little girls. Aren’t they cute? And they’re easy, too, with the following qualifying remarks . . .

(1) The pdf for the pattern wasn’t quite true to size, so I had to enlarge it a bit.

(2) When shopping for the bangle bracelets, I was excited to find these colorful, floss-wrapped versions in the dollar bin at Michaels. Since they’re thicker than the ones in the tutorial, I added a couple of inches to the top of the pattern.

(3) I had to do a “practice run” to get it right. The first time, I sewed too far up the sides, so by the time I attached the bracelets I could barely open the bag. But the second time around (with a different pink fabric) went off without a hitch. And, after I had to cut off the handles from Attempt #1, I turned the bottom half into a cute basket for some of my vintage buttons, so no worries! ♥