I had a sentimental sweater from a beloved family member that always seemed to say “teddy bear,” so I decided to give it a go! I have a hand-me-down pattern that was a perfect fit for the sweater front and back (McCall’s Crafts 703), but otherwise I probably would have sketched my own. The eyes only required a bit of embroidery on two of the knit-in designs. Then, since the McCall’s pattern was faceless, I used Claire’s cute (and FREE!) softie pattern on Craft Schmaft to figure out the snout. After stitching and stuffing, the squeezable, huggable Teddy is in the arms of a sweet little one. Plus, I still have the sleeves and a few smaller remnants left for new projects . . . we’ll see what those bits say! ♥
I love making a gift basket for the silent auction at the Arts and Crafts Mission Market at my church every November, which this year will benefit the Downtown Daycare Center here in Wichita, KS. This time I decided on a music theme.
- First, I made an embroidered pillow and a music-note-fabric half apron with fabric flower a-la-mode. (Click here for the apron tutorial from Jona of Stop Staring & Start Sewing).
- Next, I added a framed music saying (which you can get here for FREE from the lovelyn Darilyn of TheHighNotedotNet) and a package of vintage music Christmas tree confetti from Darilyn’s Etsy shop.
- I finished if off with a blank journal and coffee cup cozy for idea-gathering and a small vintage hymnal.
Click here for gift baskets from the past few years. It’s my secret ambition to go into the gift basket business someday! (Dave, you didn’t see that, right???) ♥
In September, I told you about the lovely but mysterious 1927 quilt top we found among my husband Dave’s parents’ belongings. You can read about it and see photos here. Thanks to Dave’s cousin Betsy and some considerate and determined librarians, I’ve found a home for it! Here are the latest updates:
- Betsy and her parents recognized some of the names and thought the quilt top originated in a small town called Quinter, Kansas, where Betsy’s mother was born. (Betsy’s mother is Dave’s dad’s sister.)
- I contacted the library in Quinter, sent a photo of the quilt top and a list of all the names on it, and asked if they could confirm that these were community families and perhaps find out what the “HHC” on the bottom right quilt block stands for.
- The librarians found several of the names in old high school yearbooks. They also found old news articles about a quilting club called the Helping Hands Club. We were on the right track!
- One of the librarians tracked down the granddaughter of Helen Martin, a woman who created one of the quilt squares. I’ll put a photo of Mrs. Martin’s handiwork below. Don’t you love how she embroidered her name? And we even have a spider web for Halloween week!
- I’ve contacted the granddaughter, and not only does she want the quilt top, she has all the minutes of all the Helping Hand Club meetings in her possession! So she is going to research them to try to answer our remaining questions: (1) What was the occasion for creating the quilt top? (2) Why wasn’t the quilt ever finished? (3) How did the quilt top end up with someone who has ties to the community but isn’t represented on any of the squares?
So . . . watch for “A Quilt Mystery: Part 3″ . . . coming soon! ♥
For my two year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world who you would like to have as next-door neighbors. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came from around the world! The blogger with the most nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some new treasures and return. This year’s winner was Staci of Crafty Staci, who decided to send her going-away dress from her wedding 22 years ago! She said, “It’s been stored under my bed ever since. I’d love to have it made into some things I could actually have out to enjoy, and red is still my favorite color, so that’s what I’ll be shipping to you.” I was so excited, and when this exquisite handmade dress arrived, my mind started spinning! So . . .today is the reveal! Here we go!
(1) I always like to start with a pillow, and the bodice of this dress was the perfect size to make a pillow cover for a 12 x 16 cushion. After detaching it from the skirt and shoulder straps and removing the boning, I traced and embroidered the logo from Staci’s blog and Etsy shop. Next, I put the pillow inside and nipped and tucked and pinned until I had a perfect fit, then took in the seams and stitched across the bottom. (The zipper is still in the back, just shortened a bit.) To fill in the armholes at the top, I made a lining with a coordinating floral fabric that could peek out at the corners, checked the fit again, pinned, then stitched the top closed. Then all I had to do was trim the seams, turn, press, and zip the pillow inside. I love that I got to showcase the lovely lace on both the front and back of the pillow!
(2) Next, I wanted to use part of the still-gathered skirt to make something to wear and decided on an apron! I found my inspiration on page 40 of my A is for Apron book by Nathalie Mornu which had a short skirt over a longer one. I used pieces from several different apron patterns along with some of my own ideas and two fun fabrics from my stash, and it came together perfectly. Here it is blowing in the wind on photo shoot day!
(3) When I saw the size and shape of the shoulder straps, I immediately thought of a bow clutch–one strap for the bag and one for the bow. However, this project turned out to be a little more challenging! I opened up one of the straps for the bag, made a lining from a coordinating fabric in my stash, and attempted to put in a zipper. Since the bottom was already closed up, that was a total fail! So I carefully removed the crooked zipper and simply blanket stitched the top and lining together, then added a button hole and vintage button for the closure. Next, I opened up the side seams and handstitched the other shoulder strap in on both sides, being careful not to catch the lining since I probably should have done this step first! (Since both pieces are padded, the seam was too thick for my machine.) Finally, I used another strip of the lining fabric to cinch the middle of the outer piece to form the bow. So . . . it’s not as perfect as I had envisioned . . . but maybe it will be cute for an evening event where the lights are low??? ♥
(4) The next step was to trim the hem from the skirt. With it, I made three of those fun “twist, coil, and stitch” flowers. I had a straw wreath and some red and green ribbon in my craft stash, so I wrapped the wreath, added green vintage buttons to the flowers, stitched the flowers onto the wreath, and added a coordinating green ribbon for hanging.
(5) Last but not least, I decided to make something kind of artsy and festive with a remaining piece of skirt fabric. I cut it into one-inch strips and made a pom-pom, then I hung it from ribbon on a gold wooden frame from my stash. I hope it will inspire the idea of “celebrating the everyday” as Staci lives her very creative life with her loved family and friends.
Thank you for being our good neighbor, dear Staci . . . and your package is in the mail! ♥
My mom-in-law had a quilt top among passed-down items tucked away in her home. When we helped her move to a smaller apartment, I asked her about it and she didn’t remember ever seeing it before. So I put it in a safe place and decided to try to solve the mystery someday. The time has come! The quilt has twelve muslin squares with embroidered names/designs and one square that says “HHC” (Happy Homemaker’s Club???) and the year 1927. First, I took a photo and checked with other family members to see if any of them recognized it or any of the names on it. Even though none of the names are relatives, I do have a lead as to a community where it may have originated so I’ll be starting there. My hope is that I can return it home, either to a quilt club or library, where it can be displayed—or the beautifully-embroidered squares can be detached and given to individual families–and, hopefully, find out the occasion for its creation, why the project was abandoned, and how it ended up where it did. Yes, I FINALLY get to carry out my fantasy of being Nancy Drew when I grow up! I’ll keep you posted! ♥
My dear nephew and his beautiful wife are expecting their first baby in November, and I wanted to make a little handmade gift for them. Then I found the PERFECT project by Sarah at Diddle Dumpling . . . a button caterpillar onesie to go with The Very Hungry Caterpillar board book. I just love it! And this will be extra special because all the buttons belonged to my grandmother . . . the new baby’s great-great-grandmother! Awwwww . . . ♥
In this post I told how to make freezer pop holders from 4 x 4 fleece squares. One of my wise commenters said that when she made them, she was going to leave them open at the top AND bottom so kids could slide them up the freezer pops as they ate. Well, I had lots of testers at our family get-together, and she was absolutely right! So I refashioned them by snipping off the bottom seam and blanket-stitching it like the top. Ahhhhhh . . . much better! Oh, and freezer pops and a little pouch of holders in a fun gift bag make a perfect summer hostess gift for families with little ones! ♥
Our granddaughters Ally and Kira requested an overnighter before going back to school last week, so we decided to call it “Craft Camp.” We sewed pillowcase nightgowns and made painted fabric pillows. Ally made a mini-pillow with embroidery, and Kira made a button headband. We also enjoyed our usual play-dough, Bendaroos, Tinker toys, and fingerprint art projects, played outside, read books, cooked, and had lunch with the girls’ great-grandparents. I think we may have started a new tradition! ♥
Since I donated last year’s 4th of July pillows (here and here and here) to a charity auction, I whipped up a new one over the weekend using a remnant from the last Wonder Woman apron and some ric-rac and embroidery floss from my stash. I love how the red pops on the bright blue and silver fabric! The finished pillow is 11 inches tall and 20 inches wide. To all my U.S. bloggy pals . . . have a safe and fun holiday with your family and friends! ♥
Look at this BEAUTIFUL apron I won in a recent giveaway from Deb and Kathy at Second Hand Roses! It’s vintage! And embroidered! And PINK! I just LOVE it!
If you’ve never read the Friday morning posts at Second Hand Roses, you MUST subscribe to their blog! Deb and Kathy give a tongue-in-cheek play-by-play of their visits to local second-hand shops and sales, like Be Kind to Animals, Please and Another Friday, Another Estate Sale. They make me laugh every time! They’ve even invited me to go shopping with them next time I visit Colorado . . . it’s on my bucket list!
Thank you, Deb and Kathy! ♥
P.S. Click here to read about Deb’s apron collection!
I had just enough fabric left to make one last Wonder Woman apron to give to an amazing Wonder Woman I know. But, even though I’m moving on to new designs, I’ll definitely keep using this pattern! Click here for links to the free tutorial along with some of my own tweaks. And, speaking of aprons, I’m taking a week off from work (and sewing! and crafting! and blogging!) and donning an apron to play hostess to our family while everyone gathers in to celebrate Dave’s milestone birthday. The house is clean . . . the party and meals are planned . . . the decorations are made . . . the toys and crafts are ready. . . the cookie jar is full . . . I can’t wait! See you next week! ♥
When I went through my mom-in-law’s fabric box, I found a burlap square stamped on the right half with this lovely floral design.
I couldn’t wait to embroider it!
Then I paired it with one of the fun fabrics from my Make & Mingle kit and stitched them together into a lined eyeglass case.
I’ll really love carrying this summery, sentimental handiwork! ♥
After updating the guest bathroom with a painted and decoupaged kids’ stepstool and a few other decorative touches, I decided to finish it off with a piece of fabric art. First I “shopped my house” and came up with a 17 x 21 black poster frame and a remnant of black/white/lime green fabric (from this crib skirt) that perfectly matches the colors of the room. Then I . . .
- cut the fabric,
- sketched and embroidered a rubber ducky in the middle,
- stretched and taped the fabric over a piece of cardboard cut to size,
- and popped it behind the glass in the frame.
Perfect! Now . . . bring on those guests! P.S. I laid the picture on one of my mother-in-law’s quilts to take this photo . . . such beautiful handiwork! ♥
Happy Memorial Day weekend! We traveled to Dave’s hometown today to pay our respects and visit loved ones. Since I needed a road trip project, I grabbed a bag of the 4 x 4 fleece squares left over from the no-sew fleece pillows my family made last Thanksgiving and some embroidery floss. I simply folded each square in half, hand-stitched the bottom and side, and added a blanket stitch on the top. [UPDATE: Now I only stitch the sides and blanket stitch the top AND bottom. Click HERE to see why! :)] They’re the perfect size to keep little hands comfy while holding and slurping freezer pops at our family get-together this summer! And, since it was a long trip, I have plenty for everyone. ♥
After seeing all the creative menu boards on Pinterest, I decided it would be fun to have one in our kitchen. However, I needed a tall, narrow version to fit the best spot for it, so I decided to go with a pin-up board. I made it out of cardboard, quilt batting, and fabric like the memo boards here, here, here, and here. The adorable fabric is left over from my “Mix Things Up Apron” and purchased from Laura at LC’s Cottage. (Click here for a post with links to her lovely shop!) Then I found a bit of khaki-colored knit from my polo shirt upcycle and embroidered the word “Menus” to affix to the top, finishing it off with a small length of ric-rac trim. Since I had everything on hand, the cost was $0 . . . my kind of project! And the two recipes are perfect complements to your favorite enchiladas! The “Corn Bake” has been in my husband’s family for a long time, and the dip is from a magazine ad. I’ll write an easier-to-read copy below! ♥
Salsa and Sour Cream Dip
- One 16-ounce jar of salsa
- One 16-ounce container of sour cream
- 1 envelope of taco seasoning mix
Combine all ingredients; mix well, and chill. Serve with tortilla chips.
Remember the fun felt citrus coasters I made last summer? While on my recent craft room spring-cleaning frenzy, I was surprised to find a whole set already made, just waiting for their little citrus fabric drawstring bag to live in! Don’t you just LOVE it when that happens??? I whipped up the bag in nothing flat, and now I have a another set ready for a summery hostess gift. Here are the instructions again:
- Cut out three sizes of circles. The smallest and largest are from colored felt, and the middle is white. (I used the bottom of a yogurt carton, a peanut butter lid, and a random lid from my container drawer for templates.)
- Handstitch the small circle onto the white circle using matching embroidery floss.
- With white embroidery floss, stitch three criss-crossing lines across the colored circle.
- Glue the now-attached pieces to the larger circle to cover up the stitches, and trim all the way around with pinking shears.
- For a gift, make four of each and tie them together with a pretty orange, yellow, or green ribbon. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find some fabulous fruity fabric, you can make a simple drawstring bag to gift them in. ♥
Make & Mingle has these fun “emporium of craft” boxes in their Etsy shop now! Even though I’m loving spring and looking forward to summer, I decided to go with the box of autumn colors. It will be so much fun to come up with projects for all these fabulous materials! I also ordered a little packet of “felt bon bon roses,” which will go on some accessories I have planned.
Have you discovered Global Girlfriend yet? Besides my friends’ shops, it’s my favorite shopping spot EVER! This fair-trade boutique sells handmade clothes, jewelry, handbags, accessories, bath and body products, and paper goods from all over the world, and the money goes to help craftswomen make a living to feed their families. They also have gift certificates, which the special girls in my family LOVE to get for their birthdays . . . even though it can literally take hours to decide which gorgeous items to spend them on! Right now, in honor of Earth Day, Global Girlfriend is offering FREE SHIPPING for $25 U.S. orders (code: FREE25) and $50 international orders (code: FREE50). Please check them out if you get a chance . . . it will definitely brighten your day! They’re also on Facebook here and my Shop Love! page here. P.S. Below is one of my favorite GG purchases, a set of inspirational cards made from handmade paper. I love them so much that I’ve also displayed them on my office wall! ♥
So, ever since my Bag O’ Bunnies post, all my sewing buddies have been making bunnies out of their fabric and ribbon scraps! And some of my blogging friends, too, like Something to Ponder About and Sew Much Choice! I’ve been giving them away in small baskets as hostess gifts and have a big basketful of them by the fireplace, but I decided to gift the rest in handmade bags. I’m sure everyone already has a favorite method for making drawstring bags, but just in case, here’s mine:
(1) Cut out fabric in a square or rectangle of the desired size.
(2) Decorate the half that will be on the front with embroidery, applique, painting, or other crafty skills. I love to embroider and needed a road-trip project last weekend, so here is my design.
(3) Fold the bag in half right sides together.
(4) Stitch the side and bottom EXCEPT (and this is important!) for leaving an opening in the seam two or three inches from the top.
(5) Press open the seam, and press under 1/4 inch on the top of the bag.
(6) Turn the top to the inside and stitch it to the bag all the way around, making sure your stitching is below the opening in the seam.
(7) Turn the bag right-side out and press.
(8) Using a safety pin, thread ribbon or cord through the opening and tie the ends. (Click photo below for close-up.)
(9) Stuff bag with bunnies . . . you’re done! ♥
Not long ago, I had a brave moment and decided to try crocheting. I got pictures to look at and lots of tips from family and friends. I already had some beautiful reddish yarn and a crochet hook. I made the chain and then dug in. I did it! Yay! I got to the end of the first row and added another row . . . and another . . . and another. “This isn’t so hard,” I congratulated myself.
Then I spread it all out and looked at what I’d made so far. Instead of a rectangle, it was an arch! Oops! I guess I added a stitch or two on every new row! But since it was my first try, AND I love the yarn, AND it looked pretty even in its wonkiness, AND it reminded me of the red soil on the farm where I grew up, I decided to make something out of it.
The picture slowly grew in my mind: a red hill covered in grass and wildflowers with a bright blue sky and bright yellow sun. So I dug through my remnants and . . .
- found some blue canvas duck for the pillow squares
- handstitched my piece of crochet at the bottom of the pillow front,
- found some yellow canvas duck and appliqued/embroidered the sun,
- embroidered some lime-green grass on top of the hill,
- chose some vintage buttons that complemented the colors I’d already used and stitched them at the top of green embroidered stems for flowers,
- sewed a zipper in the center of the pillow back and opened it,
- stitched the front and back right sides together,
- trimmed the seams,
- turned the pillow right-side out through the zipper opening, and
- inserted a 12-inch pillow form.
That’s my lucky save, all ready to jump-start my spring decor! And today is your lucky day, too, because you get to read some amazing posts on the “Lucky” theme from eleven other bloggers (including one on how to REALLY crochet!) in this month’s Collectively Creative. Enjoy! ♥
Make your own luck (using a crochet hook) - (Gentle Stitches)
The many meanings of “lucky” - (The Thing About Joan)
This Party Calls For A Theme: It’s All Rainbows and Unicorns - (Green Door Hospitality)
Keep Calm and Pinch On - (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)
Honorary Irish and my favorite Irish Soda Bread - (My Healthy ‘Ohana)
Hello, 6 – (Joy, Lovely Joy)
Luck o’the Irish for Easter! - (Minerva’s Hand)
Lucky Gold Elephant – (Now at Home Mom)
Asian Cucumber Salad – (Inspire and Indulge)
- The adorable design on the bib came from my blogging friend Megan of A Kitschy Kitchen. Click here, and this original drawing can be yours, too, as a gift from Megan! Since I used a heavy muslin (a remnant I had on hand) for the bib, I was able to simply trace the design. Then I embroidered it while watching TV when we were snowed in. Megan has an Etsy shop, too . . . here’s a post about it!
- The skirt, bib ruffle, and neck and waist ties are made from this fabric I bought from Karen of KRS Designs. The cute baking motif was perfect for this project! You can find links to all of Karen’s shops on her blog.
- And now for the ruffles. The blue one was from a gift of fat quarters I got for my birthday. It has a seam in the middle, but it’s pretty well hidden. The fabric for the pink and brown ruffles came from Laura of LC’s Cottage. Click here for Laura’s blog, here for her Etsy store, and here for a previous post I wrote about her shop.
Details about the design are available on my Wonder Woman Retro Apron post . . . a free tutorial from the Jo-Ann web site along with a few tweaks of my own. The only thing I changed on this one was to line the bib to hide the back of my embroidery and make the top ruffle smaller so as not to hide the mixer.
I had SO much fun making this, and thank you to my friends for your lovely contributions! ♥
March 2 is Dr. Seuss’s birthday! When I taught first grade, we always celebrated by wearing Dr. Seuss T-shirts, cooking green eggs and ham in the classroom, and reading all the kids’ favorite DS books. But now that I’ve moved on to a different career, I decided to use this well-loved T-shirt for my next “What can you make with a . . .” refashion.
- First, I used the bottom of the shirt for the no-sew spaghetti t-shirt scarf that I shared last month.
- Next, I used the “Sam’s Ham” graphic and back for a pillow (which is now on its way to some sweet little guys in Florida along with a copy of the matching book). I love that the T-shirt had a Dr. Seuss label that I could stitch into the side seam of the pillow!
- The fabric from the shoulders became a travel neck pillow with “Ahh . . .” embroidered for a-la-mode. (You’ll find a fabulous tutorial at The Cottage Home!)
- The rest of the scraps were stitched together into a rectangle and paired with a colorful remnant to make a little mat to put under a centerpiece or plant.
- Oh, and did you know that a t-shirt neckband makes a perfect no-sew headband for around the house or working out??? Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! ♥
A little more digging uncovered another one—a light blue this time—but again just the body and a bib pocket with no straps.
So . . . I decided to make another art apron!
First, I removed the pocket, googled a clip art picture of a paint palette, penciled it onto the pocket, embroidered it, and stitched the pocket back on.
Then I used the zebra fabric you’ve seen on some of my other projects (originally a set of sheets from Target!) for the neck and waist ties.
And, speaking of love . . . I just had to share this gorgeous fabric ribbon I bought from The Dizzy Izzy Shop.
It’s full of hearts with a sweet saying for Valentine’s Day or any day.
It will be so much fun to use for projects, wrapping, and labels!
The shop also sells bias binding, button, felt, felt balls, notions, and other supplies.
Thank you for my lovely purchase, Helen! ♥
Remember my Wonder Woman retro apron? (You can take a quick peek here!) I’ve made and given away three so far and have more in the works, but I wanted to make a simpler, non-ruffly version for art teacher Tiffany (one of the beautiful brides on my mantel!) who wears fun aprons at work in her job as a middle school art teacher. Then I received a bag of sewing hand-me-downs, and tucked between some fabric remnants was a denim work apron—just the body with a pocket on the bib, no neck or waist ties . . . perfect! To WW-ize it, I:
- removed the pocket,
- appliqued one of my WW bibs right over the top of the denim,
- used the pocket I removed for the inside of a new WW star fabric pocket and sewed it on the skirt, and
- made and attached star-fabric neck and waist ties. Done! ♥
Welcome to the Collectively Creative Lovey-Dovey edition, hosted by Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! My project this month is felt conversation heart mini-pillows. They were so much fun to make! Here’s how:
(1) Buy a bag of candy conversation hearts for . . . um . . . er . . . research.
(2) Create a pattern with a free-hand drawing or googling a heart template—or do like I did and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
(3) Trace around your pattern on two pieces each of white and various pastel felt.
(4) Lightly pencil a candy saying on a heart of each color, then embroider all the sayings in red.
(5) Put the hearts of the same color back to back and attach the edges with a blanket stitch using a coordinating color of embroidery floss. Stop a couple of inches before you’re done to add a bit of fiberfill stuffing, then close them up.
(6) Use your hearts for valentines, brooches, magnets, hair accessories, sachets, mobiles, or gift-wrap, wreath, or pillow a-la-mode; display them in a pretty bowl or shadow box; or . . . make GARLAND! I added in some of my red-sweater hearts as well for the perfect Valentine mantel decor.
- I Love You More Than… – (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons)
- Top Ten Romantic Movies of All Time - (The Thinking Closet)
- DIY Heart T-Shirt - (NorthStory)
- [DIY] 12 Pre-Planned Date Cards - (Inspire and Indulge)
- The Love Letters - (Mrs. And The Misc.)
- Valentine’s Day Bon Bon’s - (Happy Little Kiwi)
- Lovey Dovey School Lunch Ideas - (Time With Thea)
- Loving These Products - (Neaten Your Nest)
- Kniting Hearts - (Gentle Stitches)
- A Little Lovie Magic - (The Thing About Joan)
- Sending Hugs - (Cul de Sac)
- Give a Fortune of Love- (Green Door Hospitality)
- Will You Be My Valentine? - (A Ponytail Kind Of Day)
- Love Languages – for adults and kids! - (My Healthy ‘Ohana)
My blogging friend Kayla of The Art of Creating Joy has some exciting plans!
She is raising money for a mission trip to India in the fall!
To jump-start her funding, she has opened an Etsy shop featuring these adorable handmade knitted and embroidered coffee and tea cozies.
I chose these three and can’t wait to give them as gifts!
Now she even has one in French!
She’ll keep refilling the shop as her supporters keep ordering.
Thank you for my fun purchases, Kaylee, and thank you most of all for your vision to help the world. ♥
Last week I had a work-related training meeting in NYC. By the time I came home to Kansas I’d been in four planes, one train, and numerous cars and cabs, including a four-hour airport layover. Luckily, I’d brought along a project that hardly took up any space in my bag . . . hand-stitching little hearts made from the sleeve of an old red sweater. (If you predict a What Can You Make With A . . .? post coming up, you’re right!) I cut the shapes at home using a small cookie cutter for a template, then joined each pair together with a blanket stitch on my travels, leaving a small opening for stuffing and closing when I returned. What will I do with them? So far I’ve thought of:
- adding a pin to the back for a Valentine brooch,
- tying them onto baker’s twine for gift-wrapping,
- displaying them in a pink heart-shaped bowl,
- sewing or tying them onto a small wreath,
- sewing them onto a pillow, and
- stringing them together for garland.
Your ideas are welcome! ♥
I recently bought this fun tote pattern from my blogging friend Michelle of Sew Michelle. I can’t wait to make it! Besides the detailed, photo-filled e-book, Michelle includes a unique feature called a “Sewnopsis” at the end of her patterns—a reference tool that has the supply list, cutting instructions, and important steps all on one super-handy page. Michelle has other amazing bag patterns as well and has also been kind enough to make some FREE patterns available to us! Click on the “Tutorials” link to find projects such as this “Owl Sweet Treat Holder”—PERFECT for Valentine’s Day!
“I have taught sewing classes for many years and have learned that including detailed instructions with lots of pictures makes it seem like I am right there with you when working on your project. My mission is to ‘Inspire You to Sew’ and I hope you will go and do just that,” shares Michelle. Please check out Michelle’s patterns at Sew Michelle from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. ♥
We lost my mom-in-law Vida last night. So I’ll be away for awhile, but first I want to share a story. This photo shows a tiny section of the border of a huge, gorgeous tablecloth that Vida embroidered for us, along with a set of eight napkins. I can’t even begin to imagine how long it took to make . . . just look at all the details, including little French knots around the centers of the flowers! One holiday we were all sitting around the table stuffed and unmoving, savoring the memory of the meal and putting off dish-washing as long as possible. “Everything was just perfect,” someone finally said, breaking the silence. Then another family member replied, “Well . . . not quite . . .” We all looked at her expectantly. “I’m not positive, but I THINK the cloth is on the table wrong-side up!” she explained. We all peered intently at the stitches, and honestly we couldn’t even tell because Vida’s embroidery is as perfect on the back as it is on the front! I sheepishly apologized, but Vida just smiled graciously, loving that my mistake was actually the highest form of compliment to her handiwork. Vida and I have laughed about that every holiday since then, and I know I always will . . . but from now on, with a tear. I love you, Vida! ♥
I absolutely love to send people cards made from original art and photography reproductions, so I was very excited to find these in the Redbubble Shop of my blogging friend Rita from Australia! Rita has her own studio and gallery, teaches classes, hosts exhibitions, and has MANY creative irons in the fire including quilts, fibre and textile art, mixed media, and collectibles. Here are Rita’s links, which you can locate anytime in my Shop Love! page above:
- Gone Rustic WordPress blog
- Gone Rustic Etsy Shop
- Redbubble Shop
- Pilgrim Cottage Collectibles Etsy Shop
- Stitched Up Mama WordPress blog
- Stitched Up Mama Etsy Shop
Thank you for the beautiful cards, Rita! ♥
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! ♥
(1) When I recently organized my crafty corner, these two fabrics ended up side by side on a shelf and made me think of Christmas. The red cotton is from a thrifted tablecloth, and the lime green felt is from the citrus coasters I made last summer. Then I saw an argyle sweater in an ad, and a lightbulb went on!
(2) I used a shape pattern from Google images to cut these diamonds from the felt. Then I pinned them in rows and pondered how to attach them. I decided that having the corners loose would give the pillow a more interesting texture, so I embroidered an “X” across the middle of each diamond . . . sort of a “free-form argyle.”
(3) When I stitched the pillow front and back together (the back is another piece of the red tablecloth, unadorned), I stitched through the middle of each outer diamond, which gave the edges a sort of rick-rack pattern. Finally, I stuffed the pillow and hand-stitched the opening. I may never make another one, but it sure makes me smile! ♥
Today I want to give a shout-out to my blogging friend Laura of LC’s Cottage. She has an AMAZING Etsy store where I found these patterns (the clown was a bonus . . . wasn’t that sweet?), beautiful fabric, and (as my granddaughter Miranda declared) the most adorable embroidery scissors in the world! She also has LOTS of other fabrics and patterns along with gorgeous threads and other goodies. Please check out Laura’s blog and store . . . you’ll be glad you did! ♥
In late summer I started on my Christmas mini-pillow ornaments, and I finally decided to stop . . . for this year! (They’re addictive!) All they take are little bits of fabric and ribbon, plus buttons, bells, lace, and embroidery . . . oh, and your imagination! P.S. Please check out these links for some more ornaments to try! ♥
- Crafts ‘n Coffee
- Gembobs Crafts
- Em One, Em Two
- Southern Cricket Lady
- Handmade Tales of DIY Derring Do
Awhile back I wrote a post about my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy and how she inspired me to do the Good Neighbor Award project and refashion for my one year blog anniversary. Laura has been traveling, and I’ve been sewing, but she’s home, and I’m finished . . . so today is the reveal! Laura, your coat is now on my “What Can You Make With A . . .” page, and your package is in the mail! I was able to make:
- A pillow . . . of course!
- A fabric flower with beads from a vintage earring in the center
- A coffee cup cozy
- A tissue cozy (Thank you, Little Bit Funky!)
- Two jacket-sleeve notecard pouches
- A Chanel pouch makeover
- An embroidery-hoop wall hanging with Laura’s blog name
- A framed fabric-under-glass for writing notes, menus, or welcome messages for guests
- A garment dust jacket for one of Laura’s lovely outfits (Thank you, Schlosser Designs!)
- A tote bag with a jacket pocket on each side and a braided leather belt handle
- And, last but not least, all the leftover bits made into mini-bunting! ♥
Knowing that I had lots of my grandmother’s embroidered pillowcases, one of my crafty friends offered to lend me her pattern for pillowcase dolls! She explained that, historically, the dresses have matching bonnets and are worn by very simple, faceless muslin dolls so I’d actually have three items to cut out and sew—a doll, a dress, and a bonnet. Although I couldn’t locate a link for a free pattern like mine online, you can find several inexpensive (under ten dollars) patterns for dolls identical to these by Googling “pillowcase doll kits,” and you can also find free patterns for different types of rag dolls and doll dresses that could be adapted to this style. Making pillowcase dolls IS detailed and time-consuming, but it’s completely worth every tender stitch you put into it. I know these little ladies will be loved forever! ♥
Here’s a little project I made for someone special to keep her hands warm on the way to work while getting a *hug* from the two loves of her life. Filled with rice, just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and put them in your pockets. Please visit Trixie’s Blog for a tutorial . . . thank you for the inspiration, Trixie! ♥
My mom-in-law LOVES Chanel face powder . . . and I love it when she gives me the little black drawstring bags it comes in! Of course you can leave the famous brand name on the front, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I like to cover the label with a teeny remnant. This bit of green fabric with embroidered flowers was perfect (does it look familiar? ♥), and I added some colorful “reverse blanket stitch” on the edge for extra a-la-mode. Now it’s ready for its new life as a pretty jewelry pouch . . . or even a wristlet. ♥
A common recent lunch-with-friends topic is how to know when it’s time to make a change—any kind of change. Most of us comment that we’re extra content with our lives right now, but we remember some of the big, sometimes scary changes we’ve made in the past and know that we may have to make new ones someday, too. Although a big part of the conversation is about prayer, we also marvel at the way inspiring quotes or words from songs and poems—whether funny or serious—often come our way just when we need them. I love this “chic chick” question (it’s on a pillow!), and another friend shared a “chapter” quote she keeps on her bulletin board. Here they are . . . just in case this is a bit of the inspiration YOU need today. ♥
As you know, I’ve been having tons of fun with my “What Can You Make With A . . .” series (see page in header), so I MUST share who inspired me to offer a “makeover” for my one year blog anniversary prize! Following one of my posts, I had the following comment conversation with my blogging friend Laura of As Time Goes . . . Buy:
Laura: Okay, that’s it. I can’t take it anymore. Either you are going to have to adopt me or I am sending you all my old clothes so you can turn them in to cool new things. Of course you’ll have to send the new things back to me.
Me: Actually, now I want to do that!!! Because you have such a beautiful wardrobe, I can only imagine what fun I’d have! Send me an item you no longer wear . . . and I’ll work my magic and mail it back to you, and we can both blog about it. Okay???
Laura: Seriously?! That is so cool! Now I will be up all night thinking about what I can send…but I have a thought. I’ll email you tomorrow. I’m soooo excited!!
Me: Yay!!! Can’t wait!
So, I thought if Laura would think this was fun, maybe someone else would, too. Thank you, Laura! And check out the A-M-A-Z-I-N-G jacket Laura sent (and click on the photo to see the beautiful embroidery!) . . . all the way from Australia to Kansas, USA! I’ll be posting on it sometime in November . . . stay tuned! ♥
For my one year blog anniversary, I invited you to nominate people you’ve met through the blogging world whom you would like to have as next-door neighbors . . . and to tell why. It was SO heartwarming to read the lovely comments that came in from all around the world! The blogger with the MOST nominations was then invited to send me a once-loved garment to remake into some fun treasures (a-la “What can you make with a flannel shirt?,” “What can you make with a lace tank?,” and “What can you make with a polo shirt?“) and return. The winner was Kelly of Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons! Kelly said, “After the shock wore off I ran to my closet to decide what I was going to send. I chose a little sundress that has a lot of happy memories attached to it, but now that I’m a mama seems a little, well…SHORT. I know that I will never wear it again, so I am very excited to send it off!” So . . .today is the big reveal! In addition, this project will have a permanent home on the “What Can You Make With A . . .” page on my header.
- I couldn’t resist using the bottom of the sundress with its lacy underskirt for another dress . . . this time for Kelly’s adorable daughter Annabelle! A bright pink T-shirt from Target made the perfect top. (Click here and here for more little girl’s T-shirt dress ideas.)
- The zippered back of the sundress was perfect for the back of a pillow cover, and I added the pretty label and butterfly that I snipped from the inside neckline. The pillow front is a combination of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, a vintage hanky, pale pink lace, and lime-green embroidery.
- The bodice of the sundress is now a jewelry pouch! The ribbons form the casings, and the dress straps are the strings. The lining of the pouch is made from the dress lining for a soft, shiny finish.
- With seven circles of fabric, three stacked buttons, and a bit more of the lace from the bottom of the sundress, I made a fabric flower to pin onto a jacket, hat, or headband.
- A small rectangle of dress fabric and T-shirt fabric along with a bit of green dotted fabric and some buttons and ribbon were just the right ingredients for a Christmas mini-pillow ornament.
- While pondering Kelly’s blog name, I thought of embroidering three C’s onto a bit of fabric and framing it. Suddenly I thought, “Hmm . . . if the Scrabble letter C is worth 3 points, I could use that instead.” I ran to look it up, and . . . it is! I KNOW Kelly didn’t choose “Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons” based on this fact . . . but I was excited! After several experiments, I ended up with a collage of dress fabric, T-shirt fabric, lace, scrapbook paper, and a paper Scrabble tile in a hot pink frame. (The back of the frame is also magnetized for a frig or file cabinet.)
- Finally, I was down to a small pile of random scraps. Not ready to give up quite yet, I decoupaged them onto a plastic bangle bracelet.
Done! Kelly . . . your package is in the mail! ♥
Since I finished my fall wreath, my new “kitchen project”–as in leaving the materials out on the kitchen island to work on in spare moments–is to make enough mini-pillow ornaments to decorate a small Christmas tree. I started on these last fall but only ended up finishing five. First, I cut all my Christmas remnants into 4-inch squares to mix and match for fronts and backs. I always add a bit of embroidery a-la-mode to the front, along with buttons or jingle bells here and there. Then I stitch and stuff just as I would a regular pillow but add a ribbon for hanging before sewing. I love how festive they look, and they make a great road-trip project, too. I’ll post my decorated tree when they’re all done! ♥
When I ran across a paper towel holder I no longer use, I immediately thought of the rolls of ribbon I recently bought at Michaels (three for a dollar!) to make some more fabric memo boards. They’re a perfect fit! Here are a few other craft and sewing room ideas:
- For pretty tape dispensers, click here.
- For a pattern weight jar, storage bin labels, and needle book, click here.
- For no-tangle bobbins, click here.
- For easy-access thread storage, click here.
- For neat and pretty embroidery floss storage, click here.
- For a pretty ironing board, click here.
- For a way to store and display your fabric flowers, click here and here.
- For a portable way to store your colored pencils (or knitting needles or crochet hooks), click here and here. Happy weekend! ♥
UPDATE: Emily at Two Purple Couches just sent me a tip that this and lots of other great storage tips are included in the September HGTV magazine! I did a little sleuthing and found a link here. Enjoy!
One of my teacher friends posted this adorable chart-paper poster from the First Grader At Last! blog on Pinterest. I wanted to make one for a teacher in my family, but instead of recopying it on paper I decided to embroider the whole thing! Crazy, I know! But here are the steps:
- Find some fabric that looks like notebook paper, cut out a rectangle, and embroider the red line and “holes.”
- Print the sayings lightly in pencil on the lines.
- Embroider, using a different color of floss for each line.
- Cut out a piece of quilt batting and back fabric, stack and pin (with right sides together), and stitch the sides and bottom.
- Trim the seams, turn, press, and top stitch the edges.
- Sew a strip of 2-inch seam facing to the top (right sides together), fold it back to make a dowel rod casing for hanging, and handstitch it down.
Here’s my colorful version, taped (a bit wonkily!) to a wall for a photo shoot before heading to a new kindergarten classroom. Happy school year! ♥
I’ve loved notebooks ever since I was a little girl . . . maybe that’s why I decided to be an elementary teacher and writer when I grew up! Anyway, awhile back I started on a B-I-G embroidery project (post to come!) and I wanted it to be on fabric that looks like notebook paper. I found a lightweight knit in white with black stripes . . . perfect! The other day I noticed the remnants and decided I should turn them into something, too. So I cut them into twelve squares, embroidered a red stripe on half of them (my other road trip embroidery project), stitched them right sides together with a square of quilt batting added to the stack, trimmed, turned, top-stitched, and had a set of six cute coasters in no time at all. I think they’ll make a perfect gift for a teacher or writer . . . and I know lots of those! ♥
One of my recent road trip embroidery projects is now paired with a fun music print to make a pillow! The credit for this idea goes to Darilyn at TheHighNoteDotNet who graciously shared this lovely quote by author Bertold Auerbach. And, if embroidery isn’t your medium of choice, she will email you an iron-on transfer to use on a pillow, T-shirt, or other fabric craft . . . how sweet is that!!! P.S. The red one is from my flower pillow collection, and here’s a link to another music pillow from my very first month of blogging! ♥
We spent fifteen hours in the car this weekend for a fun trip to see family. In my project bag I brought along . . .
(1) blue and gold scrapbook paper to cut into circles for garland for my class reunion next weekend,
(2) fabric and buttons to make flowers, and
(3) two embroidery projects to finish (posts to come!).
I also received these adorable earrings as a surprise gift from our hostess! They’re created by a nonprofit called Unboxed Art . . . please check out their website when you get a chance, and have a lovely week! ♥
Here are my latest pillowcases, embroidered with a simple graphic and floral design. I do love to embroider . . . it’s relaxing, portable, and the perfect way to add a bit of a-la-mode to sewing and crafting projects. I learned my first stitches from my grandma when I was ten years old . . . I hope I get to pass them on to my granddaughters someday! ♥