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.
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! ♥
I love PEEPS . . . even though they make most of the rest of my family go “Ewwwwwwwww . . . !” But who could resist some adorable PEEPS garland? It’s super easy, and as I made it, I realized I had lots of choices. So here’s a chart! Simply pick one thing from each column (which you probably already have around the house!), and soon you’ll have your finished garland hanging among your other spring decor. Here is mine with felt, fabric paint, ric-rac, and machine stitching. (Click on the photo for a close-up.) Oh, and you can find lots of free templates for the bunny shape on Google images. Have fun! ♥
|Eyes and Nose
- fabric scraps
- construction paper
- scrapbook paper
- brown fabric paint
- brown permanent marker
- brown embroidered French knots
- machine stitch
- hand stitch
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! ♥
Here’s my latest apron . . . and I must say, I had LOTS of help! Here’s the scoop:
- 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! ♥
Recently I shared “Another Wonder Woman Apron” (a version of the Wonder Woman Retro Apron) that I made using a denim apron body from a sack of remnants a family member gave me.
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.
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 mantle decor.
Before you get started on YOUR mini-pillow hearts, be sure to visit all the amazing Lovey-Dovey blog posts below. Enjoy! ♥
Have you discovered the Nicky Grace Vintage Fabric & Gorgeous Things blog? It’s a feast for the eyes! And when I checked out Nicky’s Etsy shop, I just had to buy this beautiful set of 10 fabric collage cards, two each of five designs. Look . . . some of them even have HEARTS on them . . . perfect for Valentine’s Day! Nicky also has other fabric collages, embroidery, hearts, ceramics, paintings, bunting, pillows, bags, dolls, pincushions, and even shapes cut from vintage fabrics for crafting. Click here for Nicky’s blog, here for her FB page, and here for her Etsy shop from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. Oh, and you MUST check out these photos of Nicky’s amazing Pop-Up Shop! Thank you, Nicky! ♥
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!
Click here for Kayla’s blog and here for her shop from this post or anytime from my Shop Love! page above.
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 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! ♥
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! ♥
- Click here for Laura’s blog.
- Click here for Laura’s store.
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! ♥
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. ♥
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! ♥
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! ♥
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! ♥
Do you have little ones in your family who LOVE to play tic-tac-toe? We do! Since I bought plenty of orange, yellow, green, and white felt for my citrus coaster project, I decided to use it to make a birthday gift for one of these sweet little girls with a giant orange slice gameboard and lemon and lime game pieces. And how serendipitous to find an orange slice notepad in the dollar bin at Michaels for keeping score! At first, I was going to make a bag out of my citrus fabric to hold everything, but then I figured out that the gameboard itself could be the bag with the addition of ties. It worked! Now I’m imagining all sorts of other themes . . . a basketball gameboard with different colors of “team” T-shirts for the game pieces . . . a Disney fabric gameboard with Mickey and Goofy game pieces . . . the sky is the limit! You could also make them different sizes and even add velcro to the gameboard and pieces to play it in the car. Other ideas are welcome! ♥
I always have a line-up of a dozen or so projects I want to try, but once in awhile something bumps all the way to the front. That happened when I saw this intriguing bag on the Empty Nest Feathers blog, who linked to the tutorial at Exchanging Fire. I couldn’t wait to make one for my embroidery floss, and I decided to use a couple of the black and white fabrics I already have as different elements in my office/sewing room. (Click on any photo for a larger view.) All you need are two 18-inch squares of fabric, two yards of cording or ribbon, and an hour or less of time. I can foresee a larger version for a beach bag, a tiny version for a jewelry bag, and every size in between for all different types of gifts and storage. It was SO easy and fun . . . you’ll want to try it! ♥
I was browsing the department store ads in the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago when I was captivated by a lovely display of summery picnic dinnerware. When I saw coasters that looked like slices of oranges, lemons, and limes, my little DIY fairy said, “You should make some of those!” So off I went to the fabric store where, serendipitously, I spotted a lovely orange, lemon, and lime print on my way to purchase the felt I’d need. How fun is that!!!
Here’s how I made the coasters:
- 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, my trusty 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 little drawstring bag to gift them in. They’re so fun, easy, and colorful . . . you’ll love making your own! ♥
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! ♥
After making necktie onesies, I wanted to make a girly version, but what to put for a-la-mode? Ruffles? Flowers? No, BLING! But sweet bling, like embroidered lockets. These were super easy, too.
(1) Lay a real locket on the onesie and lightly trace around it with a pencil.
(2) Embroider the chain in gold.
(3) Embroider the “Mom” heart in hot pink and the “Dad” heart in teal blue. ♥