Monthly Archives: December 2012

Zuliganz and Wired for Impact

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ChickenMy newest  Shop Love! artists made two of my Christmas and birthday gifts this year!

Their friend and colleague (my art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany!) sent me this adorable chicken from Zuliganz and these gorgeous felt-ball earrings (made by the same artist who created the measuring tape earrings Tiffany gave me last spring) from Wired for Impact.

This husband/wife team sell their creations locally in the St. Louis area and at their Unboxed Art Etsy Shop in support of causes near and dear to their hearts.

I hope you’ll get a chance to check out their web site and store soon . . . and THANK YOU, Tiffany! ♥

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Birthday Surprise!

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TinCard from ShannonWe had our “Walker Family Christmas” yesterday, and when my daughter-in-law Shannon walked in with this cute owl tin, little did I know that a surprise birthday party was inside!  A few weeks ago, Shannon secretly emailed as many of my blogging friends as she could and invited them to join in a card shower for my birthday today, and W-O-W, was I ever showered!  I stayed up until all hours last night reading and shedding some tears over the beautiful cards and sweet messages from all over the world.  I can’t thank Shannon enough for this incredibly thoughtful gesture, and I can’t thank YOU enough for being my wonderful friends and encouragers.  As this card that Shannon made for me says, “One kind word can warm three winter months.”  New Year blessings to all of you, with love from Pillows A-La-Mode. ♥

Cards with Thank You

Confessions of a Refashionista

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PackageMy blogging friend Sheri of Awesome Sauce and Asshattery was kind enough to send me a complimentary copy of her new book Confessions of a Refashionista: Life on the Zig Zag.  Sheri autographs the books AND includes an item to refashion to get you started! My gift was a beautiful thrifted scarf, which Sheri suggested making into a scarfigan (page 6), crisscross vest (page 63), infinity scarf (page 64), or even a new neckline or sleeves for a shirt (pages 44 and 58). How cool is THAT??? You can read all about her book (and see fun photos of Sheri!) in this post  . . . but here are some of my favorite parts:

  • You can learn to refashion/redesign/embellish shirts, pants, shrugs, skirts, and flip-flops and make amazing accessories like ruffled flowers, scarves, wristlets, and bangle bracelets.
  • You can learn to make a dress form from duct tape, sleeves from socks and aprons, a boho blouse from a vintage nightgown, a skirt from a tablecloth, and an amazing tunic from a BEDSHEET!
  • Do you have neckties . . . doilies . . . dishtowels . . . lace? You’ll use them in amazing new ways!
  • You’ll even learn to make an instant, no-sew skirt from a man’s shirt!

You can read a review of Sheri’s book at Designers Against AIDS (where Sheri donates a portion of each sale) and purchase Sheri’s book at Sew Much Fun or Dawanda. Oh, and Sheri has another store, too: Mensch T’s. And remember that you can find Sheri’s book anytime in my Shop Love! page above. THANK YOU, Sheri! ♥

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Cul-De-Sac Shop Love!

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ClutchI’m SO fond of my blogging friend Josée of Cul de Sac! She’s always so kind and encouraging about my sewing and crafting projects, and once she even sent me a box of laces as a surprise gift! Her blog is full of amazing creativity, too . . . and when I found out she has an Etsy shop, I couldn’t wait to visit it! I chose this adorable necktie clutch, which a special girl in my family will LOVE for her birthday this year!  Josée also creates lots of other purse, tote bag, and pouch designs as well as dolls, mittens, scarves, and iPad sleeves, using upcycled materials whenever possible. Oh, and she sent me some “Chocolatey Chai” herbal tea bags, a coupon, and a sweet note along with my purchase . . . totally unexpected “extras”! Please check out Josée’s shop from this post or anytime on my Shop Love! page above. Thank you, Josée! ♥

BFF Refashion

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No, I didn’t refashion my BFF (really my sister Susan!) . . . I love her just the way she is! :)  But I DID help her turn something beautiful but too-big into something fun and fashionable. This Eddie Bauer dress is a gorgeous color with a velvety touch and drapey, travel-friendly fabric. But . . . it went almost to Susan’s ankles (even though she’s 5’10″ like me), was too big around the middle, and left her neck out in the cold. To move it to the front of Susan’s closet, I:

(1) removed the skirt from the bodice,

(2) widened the two front and back darts by 1/2 inch each and did the same with the two front and back seams of the gored skirt,

(3) sewed the skirt and bodice back together,

(4) shortened the skirt by a whopping 17 inches and rehemmed, and

(5) made an infinity scarf from the fabric I cut off by reading several different tutorials I’d bookmarked and adapting them to the size and shape of the fabric I had to work with.

I think it will be super-cute with tights and boots this winter.  Enjoy, Susan! ♥

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Lizzie Rose Jewellery

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PackageWe had such a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our family!  And I have the week off . . .  and the sun is shining . . . and I have lots of fun projects to do . . . I could go on and on! :)  But instead, I’m going to share my newest Shop Love! post in honor of my blogging friend Catherine of Lizzie Rose Jewellery.  I absolutely love these feather earrings, which will be a lovely birthday gift for someone special in my family.  Catherine also creates bracelets, necklaces, anklets, and charms and sells the cutest ribbon . . . like these measuring tape and button designed ribbons that will definitely be appearing on some of my projects this year!  AND, her packaging and customer service are superb!  Catherine is originally from England but now lives in Singapore, and her shop is named after her daughter.  You can read Catherine’s blog here and visit here Etsy shop here from this post or anytime by clicking on the Shop Love! page above.  Thank you, Catherine! ♥

Fabric Forest

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Forest

I have the sweetest friends! One of them gave me a stack of Christmas remnants this fall. I used them for my mini-pillow ornaments and decided to make a “fabric forest” from some of the other bits.  I was inspired by the cute design I saw on the cover of my Fa la la la Felt book by Kathy Sheldon, but I wanted to use cotton fabric instead of felt and make all different sizes, so I came up with my own tutorial. It would also be pretty to use solid color fabrics and make them look like decorated Christmas trees with buttons, sequins, rick-rack, and other a-la-mode. I think I’ll leave my forest up through the winter, switching out their Santa companion for a snowman. Each tree takes about 15 minutes. Ready? Let’s go! ♥

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For the tree, find a corner of the fabric. Measure and mark the same length straight down, straight across, and at several points in the curve between, then cut along your marks. For the base, divide the length you used by .25. This measurement will be the radius of the circle. Mark a dot on the fabric. Measure and mark the radius all the way around, then cut along your marks. Example: This tree measurement is 9 inches, so the base radius measurement is 2.25 inches.

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Fold the tree piece right sides together and pin along the straight edge  . . .

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and then sew the edge with a ¼ or 3/8 inch seam.

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Turn the tree right side out.

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Open the seam at the bottom and pin on the base, right sides together. Only use one pin . . . your fingers will do the rest!

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Sew the tree and base together from the tree side using a 3/8 inch seam. Feed the fabric through a bit at a time, using your fingers to make tiny gathers in the tree to help it fit the curve of the base. It sounds hard, but it’s really not!

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Keep going . . .

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until you’re a couple of inches away from where you started.

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Turn the base right side out.

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Put stuffing through the opening. If needed, use a chopstick to poke the stuffing to the top. NOTE: Don’t overstuff, as that will give the tree a rounded base and it won’t stand up straight.

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Pin the opening and hand-stitch it shut.

 Merry Christmas

You’re done with that one! To make a little forest, simply repeat with different fabrics and sizes. Enjoy!

J-O-Y to the World!

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J-O-Y

Welcome to the “JOYFUL” edition of Collectively Creative, hosted by Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! My project is easy and fun . . . similar to the Instagram collage letters I made this summer. . . . and I love how it turned out!

(1) Purchase some wooden letters at a craft store. Mine are 12 inches tall and were on sale for around $2 each.

(2) Optional: Paint the letters and let them thoroughly dry. I spray painted these with the green paint left over from my antique milk bottle project.

(3) Get out Christmas cards you received and saved from last year and cut out pictures and words to fit the shapes of the letters, overlapping them as in a collage. Attach these bits with Mod Podge. Or, if you don’t have cards available, use images and words from holiday magazines.

(4) When each surface is covered to your satisfaction, coat the entire letter with Mod Podge and let it thoroughly dry.

(5) Display your letters on a shelf or drill small holes or attach hanging hardware to the backs and hang them on the wall. Mine are now over the stairs along with my peppermint wreath where they’ll greet our Christmas Day guests at the front door. ♥

P.S. Before I link to our other Collectively Creative posts, I’d like to give a shout out to some other amazing bloggers who have shared their J-O-Y this season. Thank you to ALL of you for your inspiration!

Daisey Jane

Alana Jones-Mann

My Latest Project

Diary of a Mad Crafter

Our Next Great Adventure

Made in a Day (and here!)

The Joyful Edition Logo 2012COLLECTIVELY CREATIVE:

Sincerely Liz Boutique

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DressOne of my VERY favorite bloggers is Liz from a A Ponytail Kind of Day. Every time I saw one of her unique creations, I’d think, “I sure wish she had a shop!” Well, now she does! It’s the Sincerely Liz Boutique, where you’ll find all kinds of beautiful handmade items for your home. Since I was looking for gifts for specific people, I ordered these fabric hangers, a set of rag coasters, and this way-cool bowl made from a Christmas record album. Then, friend that she is, Liz also put in this “Keep Calm and Sew On” framed art AND an AMAZING vintage dress and lace overlay that she bought for one dollar because she knew how much I’d have fun using it for a “What Can You Make With A . . .” project! What a sweetie! Please check out Liz’s boutique from this post or from my Shop Love! page above, and THANK YOU, Liz! ♥

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Cookies, Love, and Prayers

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Cookie CuttersI started writing this post a couple of days ago to show you my new Christmas decoration. When I began having children of my own, my mother gave me the cookie cutters we used to make Christmas cookies when I was a little girl. Oh, the hours of fun I’ve had with them! This December I wanted a little something extra in the kitchen, so I strung them on ribbons, tied them together at the top, and hung them in my window.

Today, I think of my cookie cutters in a completely different way. I weep with joy that I got to grow up baking Christmas cookies with my mom and that my sons got to grow up baking Christmas cookies with me. And I weep with sadness for those children and parents who won’t have that opportunity this Christmas.

To Kris and Mike, who lost their 14-year-old daughter Bekah to cancer this week . . . to the parents of the children who were killed at their elementary school yesterday . . . to all parents everywhere who mourn the loss of a child . . . may you find comfort in the love and prayers of all of us. ♥

More Shop Love!

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Today I’d like to highlight three more of our WordPress blogging friends who have lovely handmade items you’ll want to check out! Read about them here today and anytime on my Shop Love! page above.

(1) I Love Cards & Design: Click here for Patricia’s lovely blog and here for her Etsy shop. I LOVE these chevron cards! You can choose your own colors (or a mixture like these) and get any name or message on the front. I asked for “Happy Birthday” so I can use them for extra-classy greeting cards in the new year. Patricia also has other fun items, such as calling cards, favor boxes, and birth announcements. Plus, her customer service and packaging are SO professional! Thank you, Patricia!

(2) Jewels for All: Click here for Stefanie’s fun, creative blog and here for her Etsy shop. These gorgeous red earrings will be a gift for someone special . . . if I can part with them! :) Stefanie also has many other one-of-a-kind earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. I really love your work, Stefanie!

(3) I’d Rather Be Crafting: I just met Eleanor, a new WordPress blogger here, but she makes the cutest coin pouches and matching keychains (along with other crafty items) that she sells on her Eleanor’s Creations Facebook page. To order, simply write “Sold” in the comment section and message her the email address associated with your PayPal account, and she will email you an invoice. I’ll have fun gifting these to some girls on my list, Eleanor! ♥

1-I Love Cards

2-Earrings

3-Evelyn's Bags

15-Minute Wall Decor: From Sunflowers to Santas!

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Since my favorite set of paintings take up a large bit of wall space in our great room, I like to gift-wrap them in December to fit our Christmas decor. This year I used some sweet vintage Santa paper I received as a gift. Click here to see last year’s! ♥

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Earring Frame

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The beautiful vintage sewing machine earrings I won in the Hugs & Kisses blog giveaway inspired me to take all the danglies out of my overcrowded jewelry box and hang them on the wall.  Since I already had all the materials on hand, it was free, too!  Simply wrap an old frame in fabric strips (I used a faux suede remnant), staple strips of lace across the back, and poke the earring wires through the holes in the lace.  It’s easy-peasy, pretty, and makes choosing just the right pair of earrings a breeze.  P.S. One of my Thanksgiving guests exclaimed, “That’s just what I need!” so now I’m making one as a gift for her, too!  P.P. S. (1-3-13) I was just going through some bookmarked websites and found THIS! I couldn’t remember before where I got my inspiration, but now I know! Thank you, This Italian Family! ♥

Earring Frame

More Shop Love!

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1-CalendarLast week I put out my first “Shop Love!” post.

I wanted to start promoting our blogging friends’ small businesses.

I’ve done a little more shopping . . .

and I won a giveaway . . .

so today I’d like to highlight four more bloggers and stores.

Once again, each one impressed me with both their BEAUTIFUL products . . .

and their QUALITY customer service.

Here are their contact links!

You can also check them out ANYtime on my new “Shop Love” page above. ♥

(1) The Original Thread: I fell in LOVE with this inspirational 2013 calendar, which is designed by Melanie of The Original Thread blog and sold as a fabric panel in her Spoonflower shop at Madex Designs. She has many other gorgeous fabrics as well!

2-pdf Patterns(2) Terri’s Notebook: I recently won a lovely giveaway from Terri’s Notebook—two pdf patterns. I was going to wait until I made the items to share them . . . but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll share what they WILL look like. :) The first pattern is for Stuff Baskets and the second is for a Checkerboard Set, and both are for sale at her Patchwork Trails Etsy Shop. You can also visit Terri’s portfolio here and her paper goods shops here. Terri’s motto is “Explore. Dream. Create.” Don’t you love that? ♥

3-Apron(3) A Kitschy Kitchen: I’m just starting to make aprons myself, but I know someone on my gift list who will LOVE this one! It’s from Megan of A Kitschy Kitchen: The Life and Studio of an Apronista who sells her creations at her Etsy shop. Notice, too, the adorable fabric gift card holder! Stressing quality as well as beauty, Megan’s motto is “Buy Well, Buy Once.” She also has some other lovely items in her shop, such as embroidery, cocktail napkins, and coasters.

4-Tags(4) TheHighNoteDotNet: I’ve followed Darilyn’s lovely blog thehighnotedotnet for a long time now and was so excited to receive my first purchase from her Etsy shop, which specializes in vintage music projects. Darilyn even included a little gift . . . a copy of my favorite quote, which I embroidered on a pillow and she offers to all of us for free to make an iron-on transfer. She graciously provides tutorials for her projects as well. And check out her craft room . . . it’s amazing!

 

Art Jars

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A couple of years ago I saw a kids’ art jar online and thought it would be the perfect gift for a special little girl’s birthday.  It was so colorful and intriguing . . . but when we dumped everything out, I found LOTS of pretty raffia filling and WAY too few actual art supplies.  Live and learn, right? So, when my dad was preparing for a recent move and asked if I’d like to have some empty plastic snack containers, I immediately thought, “ART JARS!”  I began collecting artsy/crafty items from the dollar bins at Michaels and Target, plus hitting the dollar stores, and soon had a huge bag of fun things to include.  These will be under some Christmas trees soon! ♥

Art Jars

Wonder Woman Retro Apron

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Apron

I saw a set of superhero aprons on Pinterest and was so excited to try them, only to find that the post didn’t lead anywhere, even to a photo credit! But thank you to someone out there for inspiring me to figure out my own design, which—since I decided on Wonder Woman + ruffles—I’m calling “Wonder Woman Retro.”  Here are some links and tips if you’d like to make your own!

  • I got the white-star-on-blue-background fabric here at the Hancock Fabrics web site. (I used remnants for the red and yellow.) It washed beautifully and came out wrinkle-free.
  • I found the Wonder Woman logo here on Google Images. Go to print preview, click landscape, resize to 175%, and print. I traced around the pattern on the yellow fabric, cut it out leaving a 1/2 inch edge, and pinned it to the apron bib. Then I embroidered through all the layers in red, trimmed close to the outer border, and zig-zagged the edge.
  • I used the Ruffle Aprons Tutorial at the Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts web site for the rest of the apron except that I  (1) made the neck straps the old-fashioned way from two folded/stitched/turned lengths of fabric, (2) shortened the bib ruffle so it won’t cover the logo, (3) used the bib ruffle as the top seam and tucked the neck straps in before stitching instead of sewing everything on separately,  (4) stitched the skirt, top skirt ruffle, and bib together at the same time, (5) added one more ruffle on the skirt, and (6) top-stitched all the ruffles down and tucked in the side ties before topstitching the top skirt ruffle. However, I’m sure it would turn out just as cute if you stick with the original directions . . . I’m just not very good at that. :)

Happy sewing! ♥

Cupcake Girl

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PatternA special little girl in our family celebrated her sixth birthday on December 1st. As you know, a December birthday gift must NOT be Christmasy! :) So, since she absolutely loves to bake with her mom, I decided on a cupcake gift. First I made an apron using a remnant from the nursery pillows I sewed last summer that looks like sprinkles. I didn’t have a child-size pattern, so I just cut a rectangle for the front, a long, skinny piece for the waistband and tie, found some rick-rack trim, and stitched it up. Then I folded a piece of paper, sketched half of a cupcake paper and top, cut them out, unfolded the paper, and used these as patterns for some cupcake a-la-mode (two yellow fabrics and sequins for sprinkles) and a scrapbook paper gift tag. Then I bought some cake mix, frosting (with sprinkles!), cupcake papers, and cupcake flags to go with the apron. I was going to make a little totebag to gift it in, but then I spotted this adorable tin for $2.99 in my grocery store’s clearance aisle . . . how lucky is that! Happy birthday, dear Kira! ♥  P.S. Please check out this fun post on Peg’s Gotta Do for more cupcake inspiration!

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Shop Love . . . a Post and a Page!

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Today I’d like to highlight four amazing WordPress bloggers’ stores where I did my Cyber-Monday gift shopping this year. Each one has BEAUTIFUL products and EXCEPTIONAL customer service! Here are their contact links along with a little photo shoot of my lovely purchases (plus a few freebies they added!). I hope you’ll get a chance to check them out yourself soon!  P.S. I now have  “Shop Love!” page in my header to promote my blogging friends’ small businesses. I’d love to add more, so please leave a comment or send me an email if I may feature YOUR store! ♥

(1) Lili and Mum’s: Click here for her blog, here for her FB page, and here for her store.

(2) Neecy’s Neccessities: Click here for her blog, here for her FB page, and here for her store.

(3) P.S. I Love Soap Company: Click here for her blog, here for her FB page, and here for her store.

(4) Drama Queen Seams: Click here for her blog, here for her FB page, and here for her store. ♥

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Peppermint Headband

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HeadbandAfter making a peppermint wreath and peppermint Christmas tree skirt, I had three little felt peppermints left, so I wrapped a headband in red bias tape and stitched the candies on top to make a festive accessory for a special little girl. This was another free-to-me activity since I already had all the supplies on hand . . . don’t you love it when that happens? There’ll be no more peppermint projects for me this Christmas since I used up all my red felt remnants and have vowed to use up my stash before buying more fabrics (we’ll see how THAT goes!). But several of you have said you’re on it now, so I can’t wait to see what you make! Now . . . on to some Christmas gifts . . . and Christmas pillows . . . and . . . ♥

Peppermint Mini-Skirt

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Mini-SkirtNo, not for me . . . for a mini-Christmas tree! :) I used this small tree in my classroom when I was an elementary teacher and decided to put it on a side table this year to showcase some of our homemade-by-family-and-friends ornaments. To make the skirt, I:

  • Treecut a 24-inch diameter circle from the thrifted red tablecloth I used for my argyle pillow and opened one side,
  • cut a 3-inch diameter circle in the center,
  • used a remnant from my snowman pillow to make a bias edging for the top,
  • sewed on some fancy red and white rick-rack from my stash,
  • machine-hemmed the sides and bottom, and added my no-sew felt peppermints.

It was a “free” project for me since I already had all the materials and adds a festive touch to a favorite little spot in our living room. ♥  P.S. Three peppermints to go . . . one more project!