Did you love sleepovers when you were a little girl? They were my favorite! Last weekend some fun girls in my family drove in for a “Crafty Cousins Slumber Party.” We went out to eat, chatted, crafted, slept, ate breakfast casserole and cinnamon roll-ups, went to a big craft show (where my lovely daughter-in-law Shannon launched Shantilly!), and ended with lunch out with my dad. We made fabric flower brooches, Christmas cards (thanks Margo!) and earrings (thanks Karen!). If you heard laughter floating through the air Saturday night, now you know why. ♥
No, it’s not the Halloween kind of shocker . . . it’s the Wichita State University Shockers (as in a shock of wheat . . . click here to see our mascot, Wu Shock!). I had some fabric left over from the WSU apron I made for the fundraiser silent auction, so I made a half apron for one of my friends who is a huge fan and follower of WSU’s volleyball and basketball teams. The “Shockers” logo on the pocket is snipped from the same t-shirt that I used to get the Wu Shock for the bib of the original apron. The tutorial is from this post on Jona Giammalva’s amazingingly inspirational blog Stop Staring & Start Sewing, and the black/yellow fabrics are from my friend bloggy friend Laura’s LC’s Cottage Etsy shop. Here is the finished apron blowing in the Kansas wind! ♥
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! ♥
I had so much fun on Saturday at the Kansas Barn Sale! (See FB photos here.) We drove out to a beautiful farm near Hesston, Kansas where the organizers, Beki and Stacee, offered dozens of amazing art and vintage booths as well as live music and all kinds of delicious food. I made a purchase . . . a gorgeous pink hand-crocheted scarf made by one of the vendors, my friend Tamara of Crochet with Tamara (click here to see her posting about it on her blog) . . . aaaaaaaaand the pattern was designed by my friend Jill of Nice Piece of Work (click here to see some other versions)! How cool is THAT??? It was chilly enough to wear it around at the sale, and I got lots of lovely compliments on it. Thank you, Tamara and Jill! ♥
THANK YOU for helping me celebrate my second blog anniversary with another amazing outpouring of nominations for the Good Neighbor Award! For every blogger listed below, an avid reader (or more than one!) took time out of her busy schedule to send me an email telling me how much she would love to have you for a neighbor and why. Isn’t that just the most lovely compliment?
- First, I’ll share the comments, in no particular order.
- Then I’ll list the blogs that were nominated in ABC order. (Be sure to click on the links to find some new friends!)
- Finally, I’ll announce who got the most nominations and wins the giveaway. Here we go!
- Living next door to this blogger would be great. She could help me with my photography skills and I know I would learn so much from her. She is such a sweet person and I feel a kindred spirit with this lovely lady.
- She’s my twin but she doesn’t know it . . . we must have been separated at birth!
- She’s so stinkin’ funny!!!
- Her home sounds like quilt heaven. Imagine being able to visit any time I’d like!
- Because of her, I can’t throw ANYTHING away without first pondering how to reuse it in a creative new way.
- I would like to have her as my next door neighbor to have a cup of tea together because she is so friendly and cheerful.
- I love the ideas she has for different crafts, plus she just sounds like the kind of person who would make a great neighbor.
- She’s Wonder Woman in disguise!
- Her tips make my life easier.
- She makes me look forward to getting older because she has so dang much fun!
- Her patterns and tutorials inspire me, teach me, and stretch my limits.
- Her DIYs are to DIE for!
- I so admire how she balances her family, job, and creative pursuits. I hope to be able to do that someday, too!
- She’s SO sweet! What’s not to like???
- Her cards and paper crafts are a delight to the eyes.
- I’ve learned so much about how to make my home more company-ready and hospitable from her, something that’s very important to me.
- Her OOTDs are so inspiring! I’d love to be able to recreate something similar from my own closet. If she lived next door, she could help me!
- Her blog is WAY better than Pinterest!
- I love, love, LOVE the jewelry she designs and sells! It would be so much fun to watch her in action!
- She has given me lots of good advice, both knowingly and unknowingly. I just love the way she thinks things through.
- She’s so creative, yet so humble . . . I can’t imagine a nicer neighbor to have.
- She was one of the very first supporters when I joined the blogging world and has been a super bloggy friend. Even though we live in different countries, I feel that we are close friends and close neighbours. I am always inspired by each one of her posts. She always leaves me thinking a bit more deeply about the simple things in life.
- She’s REAL! And not many people are real these days.
- Her sense of humor never fails to brighten my day.
- She always takes wonderful photography and it would be so neat if she was my neighbor and could teach me how to take better photos!
- She makes me laugh every day.
- I would love for her to drop in for a cup of tea and show me her latest ideas. I would like to tell her some kids’ craft ideas of my own and she could use them in her own work.
- Her gentle, loving personality comes through her art.
- I want her craft room! Please, please, please move next door and help me!
- Her blog is many things to many people (crafty, witty, funny, sweet and always, always kind and caring). I never would have dreamed that a woman I met through blogging would one day become one of my dearest friends.
- I wish she lived next door for a hundred reasons: we have an amazing ‘kindred spirit’ connection. If she lived next door we would share walks, talks and cups of tea. We would craft together, visit antique shops, eat falafels and be there for each other (as we are now) through thick and thin.
- She makes me laugh. She makes me smile. She loves animals and children and shows her care through words and deeds. I would be one lucky woman to have her living next door.
- Her life seems to be a lot like mine was 15 years or so ago, when the youngest kid was just starting school and the oldest was starting the teenaged years. I’d love to have her next door so I could say every morning “You’re doing a great job! They’ll be fine!”
- I love how she weaves her faith in God into her everyday life. It’s hard to do that without being preachy, but she nails it.
- She’s always nice and encouraging and seems like a fun person to be around.
- She has a variety on her blog but what I would love to learn from her is paper piercing. She has done some amazing birds and I have bought one of her cushions, so beautifully made. Very inspiring and very creative.
- I’ve learned so much from her about how to promote my business through my blog.
- Her recipes are so amazing that I just want to lick my computer screen. If she lived next door, I’d always leave my window open so I could enjoy the good smells coming from her kitchen.
- They make me laugh!!! They need to move to my neighborhood so we can go shopping together.
- She could check my patterns and find the errors! (That’s selfish, I know . . . LOL!)
- She has a great blog full of wonderful craft projects to do with your children. They are inexpensive and fun projects that promote lots of creative play. She would be fantastic to have as a neighbour, endless ideas for me!
- She cares for the world and everyone in it. I admire that.
- There are actually two ladies that I would like to have as neighbors. They are both so generous with their time and talents. I look forward to their posts. They lift my spirits and make me laugh. They are also wonderful at teaching their particular craft.
- She’s so open about sharing the ups and downs of her life . . . I need someone like that next door!
- She helps me so much over at my blog. When I get stuck with how to do things, she just writes me a lovely clear instruction and I am away. She is kind, generous with her time, has a terrific sense of humour and talented at crochet! I wish she lived nearby.
- Her writing voice is so witty. I’ve learned a lot about writing AND life from her!
- I’m so much more organized since I’ve “met” her through her blog. If she lived next door, I’d hire her to help me get my whole house in ship-shape.
- I never heard of “refashioning” until I read her blog. Now I see it everywhere, but hers are the best of the best! I’d so love to learn from her.
- I want her to move next door so I can see her collections and so we can go thrifting together. What fun we’d have!
- I’d invite her over for coffee and get her advice on redoing my living room . . . or kitchen . . . or family room . . .
- Her tablescapes never cease to amaze me. They make me want to entertain every night just so I can create such prettiness!
- She could teach me to crochet and make me laugh!
- She helps me keep things in perspective. I need a next door neighbor just like her!
- She ALWAYS “likes” and comments on my blog posts. That means SO much to me!
- Her refashions are beyond words! Maybe, just maybe, she could teach me to do that!
- It is one of many grandparenting blogs I read, but it is above and beyond because of her exceptional photography, quilting, decorating, gardening, shopping skills, and it is an all around fun blog. She has a great sense of humor and I could picture myself sharing a cup of coffee and dessert with her and enjoying the conversation immensely.
- Where do I begin? I use her recipes! I try her decorating ideas! I pin her crafts! She simply inspires me with each and every post. How wonderful it would be to have her as my next-door neighbor!
Please pick up your button above to display on your blog (if you wish). Nothing is required. I just want you to know that you’ve made a big impression on someone (or many someones!) and that we’re all grateful you’re sharing your life with us. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand . . . the blog with the MOST nominations is . . . Crafty Staci! Click here to read about your prize, Staci, and if you choose to accept it, please email me and I’ll send you my mailing address to get the ball rolling. CONGRATULATIONS! ♥
It has been SO much fun to get SO many email nominations for the Good Neighbor Award this week! I’ll be posting the results this Sunday, September 22, so you still have time to send me the names of your favorite neighborly bloggers! Click here for details . . . and remember that the blog with the MOST nominations wins a prize like the one below! (Click here for a description . . . all made from last year’s winner’s beautiful but no-longer-needed sundress!) Also, I got an email from author/blogger Geraldine Hartman of Veggies, Yarns & Tails and she is offering Kindle versions of ALL of her books for FREE this Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to check them out! (Remember . . . you don’t have to own a Kindle–you can download the app here for your smartphone, tablet, or PC.) Thank you, Geraldine! ♥
AWARD: Simply put, the Good Neighbor Award is for someone you’ve met in the blogging world you wish could be your real-life neighbor. To nominate a blogger, simply email me (to keep it a surprise!) at email@example.com, including a link to the blog and why you’d like this blogger to live next door. Is it to cook, sew, craft, shop, or write together? To learn to do something new? To be inspired? To visit over a cup of tea? Nominees will receive the award button on my second blogiversary, Sunday, September 22. (Click here to read about last year’s nominations!)
GIVEAWAY: The person with the MOST nominations will be invited to send me a formerly-loved garment that I’ll make into some fun treasures and return. (Click here and here to read about last year’s winner!) Thank YOU for being MY good neighbors the past two years, and I hope to hear from you soon! ♥
I wanted to make a special hostess gift for our granddaughter Katy’s other grandmother . . . a wonderful, fun-loving lady who hosted Katy’s first birthday party earlier this month. When I read this sweet post and tutorial by Kim of Craft•Create•Connect, I knew I’d found just the right one . . . a tiny bottle vase in which to display a little flower Katy lovingly picks or a pretty leaf or feather she finds. Simply find or purchase a glass bottle (this one was less than $2 at Michaels), attach one or more charms around the neck (I used raffia-covered wire), and you’re done! And how lucky was I to find this adorable little “K” charm??? Thank you for all you do for the family we both love, dear Lydia! ♥
Believe it or not, I’d baked so many goodies before our family reunion weekend that one treat remained in the freezer after everyone was gone! So, I decided to take them to a baseball game tailgate party we attended Saturday afternoon with a bunch of our fun friends. To make them more finger-food friendly, I cut and rewrapped the bars individually in pinked parchment, tied them with baker’s twine, put them in a bowl, and returned them to the freezer until time to leave (since Kansas is HOT this time of year!). Then I added a little sign . . . and it worked! ♥
Seven-Layer Cookie Bars
Melt 1 stick of butter in a 9 x 13 inch pan. Then add the following layers:
- 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
- 1 small package of sweetened, flaked coconut
- 1 small package of chocolate chips
- 1 small package of butterscotch chips
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup of chopped nuts
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
I went out this morning to see if my miniature daffodils were coming up . . . and they ARE! They were a gift from two of my very favorite teacher friends, Carla and Denise, two springs ago. I love it that these beautiful blooms don’t mind that the mulch is weathered, the sun hasn’t been out much lately, and the latest snow just now disappeared from the ground. They just do what they’re meant to do, symbolizing all that is right with the world. And now I’m off to finish a big writing assignment (YAY!), have a rather . . . er . . . unusual date night (dinner out followed by Good Friday Service followed by KU Sweet Sixteen basketball!), finish Ally’s first communion dress tomorrow, and enjoy Easter service, friends, and family on Sunday. I wish all of you a happy, happy weekend too! ♥
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! ♥
When I meet my amazing daughters-in-law or gal pals for coffee or lunch, I love to take them a little handmade gift. My newest craze is these little spring bunnies made from fabric scraps! You can find the pattern and tutorial from Angie on The Little Fabric Blog. Thank you, Angie! P.S. The lovely tulips are a gift from our recent houseguest and friend, Nancy. The table mat is here, and the photo star on the wall is here. ♥
Allyson chose Butterick 3350 with sleeves, scalloped neckline, and straight hem.
I’ll admit I’m a tiny bit nervous about working with and on two such important dresses, but I’m excited about it, too!
And I have a cheerleader! My dear friend Faye transformed her daughter-in-law’s wedding dress into the stunning First Communion dress below for her adorable granddaughter, and she’s only a phone call away if I need advice and encouragement.
Watch for the big reveal in April . . . and wish me luck! ♥
Remember the beautiful birthday cards I received a week ago today? The fabric postcard is framed (Laura wrote a how-to post about it and I even commented . . . never knowing what she was up to! :)), twenty are on my photo mobile, and the rest are displayed in a beautiful bowl. Thank you again for the wonderful surprise! ♥
My 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.
We 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. ♥
I’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! ♥
As you know, it has been raining surprises in my mailbox lately! Then my doorbell rang, and it was my friend and faithful Pillows A-La-Mode reader Audrey with a container of her world-famous bierocks . . . “just because.” They’re BEAUTIFUL to look at and MOUTHWATERING to taste! She was also gracious enough to send me her recipe to share with my blogging friends. Click the link below for a printable pdf, and prepare to be amazed! Thank you, Audrey! ♥ P.S. Update: For those new to this dish, a bierock is a mixture of beef, cabbage, and other goodies baked in a pocket of bread dough. Mmmmmm . . .
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! ♥
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. ♥
My crafty friend Debbie gave me a fun gift. . . a sample of her new Halloween treat bag! Isn’t he cute??? Mine is filled with paper to use as a decoration, and he looks right at home beside my bowl of giant fabric candy corn! I’m going to try my best to make some for our trick-or-treaters this year. Thank you, Debbie! ♥ P.S. If you love owls, remember that you can get a free David Bromstad owl art print by following the link you’ll find here!
In my spare moments this week, I’ve been standing at the kitchen island turning the scrapbook paper circles I cut out on our recent road trip into garland for my class reunion this weekend. The first string I made was plain blue and gold, but I decided to have fun with this one and add some designs. Oh, and I also found some pretty blue and gold fabrics for the tables. It seems like only yesterday that we were wearing these colors for our high school activities! But I love “now” WAY more, don’t you? ♥
One of my teacher/writing group friends just got her first publication acceptance, so I wanted to give her a gift that includes the dragonfly on her business cards. I traced the dragonfly on a small scrap of sheer fabric, triple-folded it for strength, and embroidered over the lines. Then I cut it out and glued the body onto a flower on the cover of one of my mini-notebooks, leaving the wings free. Oh, and I wrote a message for her to discover on the first page. I’m SO happy for Pam! ♥
Two of my good friends have birthdays today, which is also our state’s birthday. So, for their Year of Homemade Gifts cards, I trolled the internet for Kansas symbols to cut and paste and came up with this design. While it’s doubtful that any of my readers are in the same situation, perhaps you have friends and family whose birthdays fall on other “obscure” holidays. Click here for ideas! (Today is also National Cornchip Day, so it’s not too late to celebrate, but I’m sorry to report that you’ve already missed National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day this year.)
Thanksgiving is the big holiday around our house. We love having our kids, grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends join us. Besides catching up on each others’ lives and eating (alot!), we usually end up doing something crafty in the afternoon. Last year it was playdough! I’m including my no-fail recipe for homemade dough, which got us through hundreds of rainy days and school projects through the years, but our guests made the ones in the gallery below with a 24-pack of the storebought brand.
Homemade Playdough: Mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water, 2 t cream of tarter, 1 T cooking oil, and a few drops of food coloring in a pan. Cook on top of the stove, stirring constantly, until everything pulls together. Dump onto counter and knead. Store in covered container. ♥
“Taking the time to create something by hand is the highest honor you can give any one thing.”
(Sara Carter in notthekitchensink)
I love walking through the rooms of our home and taking a moment to notice all the fun and beautiful things our family and friends have created. Here are a dozen . . . more to come in future posts!