Thanksgiving before last, we had a family craft/service project while everyone was here for the holiday, making fleece pillows for Christmas gifts for local nonprofits. Afterward, I had about a bazillion 4 x 4 inch squares of fleece left over! Last summer I used some to make freezer pop holders, but I still had tons in my stash. Then I found several tutorials for earbud pouches. . . perfect! They take less than a half hour to cut out and stitch, and they’ll make fun mini-gifts for lots of kids I know. Here are some of the ideas I read about . . . thank you for the inspiration, ladies! ♥
Are you looking for a fun, quick, and easy gift for a mom or grandma you love? Last summer I made a grandmother vase for a dear friend . . . a tiny bottle, corked when not in use, with charm a-la-mode in which to display a flower (or dandelion!) lovingly picked by a small child . . . or a pretty leaf he or she discovers . . . or a found feather. . . These sweet little bottles are readily available at craft stores, as are bags of charms—plus these stores often have great coupons. However, I was lucky enough to snag the 5-inch wooden-stoppered bottles below at a craft garage sale! With a good washing, a coat of paint on top, and charms around the necks, they’re all ready to go. Simply remove the stopper, fill part way with water, and add a flower. Happy Mother’s Day! ♥
When I saw a touching layout designed by Ellie on My Little Bunny Cupcake, I knew I’d found the perfect quote to put on my card when I give a fabric flower to a friend: Just living isn’t enough . . . one must also have freedom, sunshine, and a little flower. Thank you, Ellie and Hans Christian Andersen! ♥ P.S. My dress form is wearing my scarf crocheted by our bloggy friend Tamara. Isn’t it just lovely?
First of all, THANK YOU for all the lovely comments, good wishes, and over 100 LIKES on my Christmas Bunting post! I met my writing deadline for work and had an extra-special time with our Thanksgiving guests. Before I straighten the house and start decorating for Christmas, I want to make sure you’ve heard about our friend Mahe’s newest “green crafting” e-book that you can get TODAY through DECEMBER 4 for FREE by clicking here! (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get a Kindle app for your computer—also for free—right here.) The book includes step-by-step photos and directions for a Christmas tree, snowman, package toppers and tags, ornaments, placecards, a mobile, bunting, cards, envelopes, gift bags, and LOTS of fun handmade gifts. Most of the projects are designed by Mahe herself but (as always!) Mahe welcomes guest artists, such as:
- Danielle of On the Upcycle
- Vicky of Vicky Myers Creations
- Cherie of Down In Fairy Dell
- Cristin of Eve of Reduction
When my boys were little, they loved Mr. Men books. My first-graders loved them, too. Now my grandchildren love them! The stories are odd and quaint and preachy, but the characters are totally loveable . . . and we can all relate to their funny foibles. After Mr. Men Books became so popular, the author/illustrator Roger Hargreaves also started writing Little Miss books. Imagine how excited I was to find Mr. Men fabric at Fabric.com! I ordered a yard to make a drawstring gift bag for a set of Little Miss books for an upcoming birthday girl (there’s even a birthday book in the set!) and had enough for a pillow, too. Oh, and this drawstring bag was so much fun! I’ve made dozens of these bags in my life, but never with this super-cool design by Jona of Stop Staring & Start Sewing. Thank you, Jona! ♥
Remember my “Get a Clue with Nancy Drew” coasters? When I bought the charm pack, I also bought a yard each of two different Nancy Drew fabrics to make lined tote bags for a couple of cutie-patootie girls in my family . . . and fill with their first sets of Nancy Drew books!
I used a tutorial from Quick Stuff to Sew (Volume IV), a publication of Craftstylish.com, for the totes (like this one, minus the stripes). I hope there will soon be two new Nancy Drew fans in the world! ♥
- Book 1: The Secret of the Old Clock
- Book 2: The Hidden Staircase
- Book 3: The Bungalow Mystery
- Book 4: The Mystery at Lilac Inn
- Book 5: The Secret of Shadow Ranch
- Book 6: The Secret of Red Gate Farm
I got a lovely gift in a pretty lime green Coldwater Creek shopping bag that had the store name written across both sides, but I wanted to reuse the bag for a homemade gift. So, I cut out some flowers from last year’s calendar and glued them on the sides . . . perfect! P.S. The lace hairbow on the card is from my recent vintage dress upcycle . . . a little extra gift to go with what’s inside. ♥
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! ♥
I recently received a bag of vintage sweaters for pillow making, and I just fell in love with this fun print. I used everything from the armholes down, leaving the zipper in the middle for a-la-mode, stitched, and stuffed. It still has the side-seam pockets, too! I think I’ll give it as a birthday or Christmas present and tuck a gift card in the pocket. Then the recipient can use the pockets for . . . hmmm . . . the TV remote? Earphones? Tissues for a sad movie? Or . . . M&M’s??? (OK, I’m still thinking about chocolate after that last post!) ♥
Today I’d like to introduce my blogging friend Linda of Country By Design. I checked out Linda’s Etsy Shop and ordered this beautiful handsewn gift card case . . . but she also sent me a matching quilted bookmark! How sweet is that??? Linda also has quilted table runners, place mats, pencil cases, cosmetic bags, pouches, tea wallets, and other fabulous fabric items.
Click here for Linda’s blog.
Click here for Linda’s Etsy shop.
Or, find them anytime on my Shop Love! page above.
Thank you, Linda! ♥
Yes, I’m about to share ANOTHER amazing daughter-in-law craft! We were so excited to get this beautiful star with photos of our dear little ones for Christmas. Jen was kind enough to send me a tutorial this week . . . and she must have known I’d ask, because she’d even taken a photo of her materials! Thank you, Jen! ♥
(1) Get a wooden or metal star from a craft store, some scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, a paint brush, scissors, and photos. Tip: Photos that are further away from the subject work better than close-ups.
(2) Use a piece of plain paper to cut templates for each side of the star points. Then look at the pictures and decide which ones to put on the star and where they will go based on their sizes and vertical/horizontal positions.
(3) Use your template to cut out the pictures, making sure they are facing the same way as their position will be on the star.
(4) Paint the backs of the photos with Mod Podge and stick them to the star.
(5) Cut scrapbook paper to fit any extra space on each point of the star and Mod Podge it on.
(6) Paint the whole star with Mod Podge and let it dry overnight.
One of my VERY favorite bloggers is Liz from a A Ponytail Kind of Day. Every time I saw one of her unique creations, I’d think, “I sure wish she had a shop!” Well, now she does! It’s the Sincerely Liz Boutique, where you’ll find all kinds of beautiful handmade items for your home. Since I was looking for gifts for specific people, I ordered these fabric hangers, a set of rag coasters, and this way-cool bowl made from a Christmas record album. Then, friend that she is, Liz also put in this “Keep Calm and Sew On” framed art AND an AMAZING vintage dress and lace overlay that she bought for one dollar because she knew how much I’d have fun using it for a “What Can You Make With A . . .” project! What a sweetie! Please check out Liz’s boutique from this post or from my Shop Love! page above, and THANK YOU, Liz! ♥
Today I’d like to highlight three more of our WordPress blogging friends who have lovely handmade items you’ll want to check out! Read about them here today and anytime on my Shop Love! page above.
(1) I Love Cards & Design: Click here for Patricia’s lovely blog and here for her Etsy shop. I LOVE these chevron cards! You can choose your own colors (or a mixture like these) and get any name or message on the front. I asked for “Happy Birthday” so I can use them for extra-classy greeting cards in the new year. Patricia also has other fun items, such as calling cards, favor boxes, and birth announcements. Plus, her customer service and packaging are SO professional! Thank you, Patricia!
(2) Jewels for All: Click here for Stefanie’s fun, creative blog and here for her Etsy shop. These gorgeous red earrings will be a gift for someone special . . . if I can part with them! :) Stefanie also has many other one-of-a-kind earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. I really love your work, Stefanie!
(3) I’d Rather Be Crafting: I just met Eleanor, a new WordPress blogger here, but she makes the cutest coin pouches and matching keychains (along with other crafty items) that she sells on her Eleanor’s Creations Facebook page. To order, simply write “Sold” in the comment section and message her the email address associated with your PayPal account, and she will email you an invoice. I’ll have fun gifting these to some girls on my list, Eleanor! ♥
Last week I put out my first “Shop Love!” post.
I wanted to start promoting our blogging friends’ small businesses.
I’ve done a little more shopping . . .
and I won a giveaway . . .
so today I’d like to highlight four more bloggers and stores.
Once again, each one impressed me with both their BEAUTIFUL products . . .
and their QUALITY customer service.
Here are their contact links!
You can also check them out ANYtime on my new “Shop Love” page above. ♥
(1) The Original Thread: I fell in LOVE with this inspirational 2013 calendar, which is designed by Melanie of The Original Thread blog and sold as a fabric panel in her Spoonflower shop at Madex Designs. She has many other gorgeous fabrics as well!
(2) Terri’s Notebook: I recently won a lovely giveaway from Terri’s Notebook—two pdf patterns. I was going to wait until I made the items to share them . . . but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll share what they WILL look like. :) The first pattern is for Stuff Baskets and the second is for a Checkerboard Set, and both are for sale at her Patchwork Trails Etsy Shop. You can also visit Terri’s portfolio here and her paper goods shops here. Terri’s motto is “Explore. Dream. Create.” Don’t you love that? ♥
(3) A Kitschy Kitchen: I’m just starting to make aprons myself, but I know someone on my gift list who will LOVE this one! It’s from Megan of A Kitschy Kitchen: The Life and Studio of an Apronista who sells her creations at her Etsy shop. Notice, too, the adorable fabric gift card holder! Stressing quality as well as beauty, Megan’s motto is “Buy Well, Buy Once.” She also has some other lovely items in her shop, such as embroidery, cocktail napkins, and coasters.
(4) TheHighNoteDotNet: I’ve followed Darilyn’s lovely blog thehighnotedotnet for a long time now and was so excited to receive my first purchase from her Etsy shop, which specializes in vintage music projects. Darilyn even included a little gift . . . a copy of my favorite quote, which I embroidered on a pillow and she offers to all of us for free to make an iron-on transfer. She graciously provides tutorials for her projects as well. And check out her craft room . . . it’s amazing!
A couple of years ago I saw a kids’ art jar online and thought it would be the perfect gift for a special little girl’s birthday. It was so colorful and intriguing . . . but when we dumped everything out, I found LOTS of pretty raffia filling and WAY too few actual art supplies. Live and learn, right? So, when my dad was preparing for a recent move and asked if I’d like to have some empty plastic snack containers, I immediately thought, “ART JARS!” I began collecting artsy/crafty items from the dollar bins at Michaels and Target, plus hitting the dollar stores, and soon had a huge bag of fun things to include. These will be under some Christmas trees soon! ♥
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 . . .
After the big Thanksgiving dinner at our house, the kids and grown-ups visit, snack, watch football, snack, nap, snack, and . . . make things! (Check out these Play-Doh sculptures from Thanksgivings past! :)) This year I’ll still have the usual supplies, but I thought it would also be fun to have a project that the kids can take home and/or guests can make to donate to a local nonprofit for Christmas gifts for children in need. The minute I decided on no-sew fleece pillows, I got an email from Hancock Fabrics with all their fleece for half price PLUS free shipping, so I knew it had to be! To keep it simple, I went ahead and did all the cutting, rolled and tied each matching pillow top and bottom together, and put the right amount of stuffing in individual bags so everyone can just choose a fabric, grab a bag, and find a comfy spot to craft and chat. I’ll try to post a photo of all the kids with the pillows we make after the holiday! ♥
P.S. Since the instructions call for cutting out the corners from each piece, I now I have about a bazillion colorful 4 x 4 inch fleece squares to use for other projects. Any ideas???
Here are the tags for this year’s donations to the silent auction at the Arts and Crafts Mission Market at my church. It’s such a worthy cause . . . all the money goes to a local daycare center for families in need. Click here to see how to make the Christmas wreath pillow and here to see the Americana pillows. P.S. Below are my gift baskets from markets past, each based on . . . you guessed it . . . a pillow! ♥
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! ♥
I follow the Empty Nest Feathers blog and really fell for this blogger. We have so much in common! All sons . . . check! Writers and editors . . . check! Play the piano . . . check! And on and on and on! Since we live less than an hour apart, I thought it would be fun to meet in person. So I emailed her and we met for coffee (two regular coffees with cream), talked for an hour and a half (it seemed like five minutes), walked to our cars (the same color), and parted ways with a hug. If you ever get a chance to meet one of your blogging friends in real life—go for it! ♥ P.S. Here is the funny blog post my new friend wrote about our meeting. (She’s WAY wittier than I am! But, for the record, my red hair is from Clairol too, I’m NOT mrhmpher narrower, and she’s most definitely not evil!) Oh, and to see what’s in the package, click here and here and here!
- They’re quick and easy, and it’s so much fun to mix and match scrapbook papers for the covers, spines, and labels.
- A notebook costs less than $1 to make and less than $2 to mail, so by adding a handwritten message on the first page, it makes the perfect economical yet pretty and useful greeting card/gift combination.
You can find a complete tutorial here. I can’t wait to start giving these away, too! ♥
Have I ever mentioned that we have LOTS of guys in our family? As in a blended family of seven sons and no daughters??? I love to make things for our beautiful daughters-in-law and grandbabies, but I haven’t ventured far into homemade-for-men land. So, when I saw a tutorial for a zippered toiletry bag on The Purl Bee, I decided to give it a try. The first challenge was fabric. I wanted to use oilcloth to make the bag easy to clean, but all I could find was gingham, fruit, vegetables, animal prints, and floral designs. Then I stumbled on this fun plaid online at Mendel’s, and it just happens to be the colors for the University of Kansas, the birthday guy’s favorite college basketball team . . . how lucky was that? The bag was easy and fun to sew, and I have plenty of fabric left (and plenty of KU fans left!), so I’m sure I’ll be making more. 8-7-12 UPDATE: Today I added a little guy a-la-mode . . . a zipper pull made from a Jayhawk keychain. ♥
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! ♥
This project looked SO cute and easy that I just had to try it! Visit Dreampatch for my original inspiration (via Pinterest, of course!). I made all of these in an hour or so . . . but most of that time was spent enjoying sorting through my grandmother’s vintage buttons. We have LOTS of girls in our family now, so it will be fun giving them away! ♥
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! ♥