I’ve joined a “club” that some of my favorite people belong to but I’d hoped never to join . . . the Breast Cancer Club. My particular diagnosis involves 6 months of chemotherapy, then a mastectomy, then radiation. However, I have wonderful doctors and the best family/friend support group anyone could ever hope for, and I’m being showered daily with prayers and lovingkindness, so I’ve got this!
My blog will be on hiatus for awhile, but first I want to share something with you. A couple of years ago, my sweet granddaughter Ally drew the picture at the left for me while we were traveling somewhere in the car, and it’s been hanging on my wall ever since. Last night, she was stroking my hair, knowing that I’ll be losing it soon, and suddenly asked for a piece of white tape. A few minutes later, she showed me what she wanted it for . . . to change my crazy reddish hair into a chemo cap. Children are so perceptive and loving!
All shall be well! ♥
My niece and her husband have a little one coming soon! I saw lots of cute elephant-themed items on their registry, so I purchased a couple and then bought some flannel to make some burp cloths. I had one little strip left over so dreamed up a pillow for the rocking chair, too. Can’t wait to meet the newest member of the family! ♥
Alphabet burlap on the outside . . . coffee print on the inside . . .
happy birthday, Jen! ♥
(Visit THE Inspired WREN for the tutorial!)
Since my refrigerator door is already full of grandchildren art attached by magnets, I decided to start an art wall down the hall for new creations. I tried Wallies, and I LOVE them! They stick easily to the wall, hold the projects firmly, and remove without a trace. I got the binder clip design, but the company also sells versions that look like paper clips, push pins, and clothespins, as well as many other types of wall decals and murals. The Wallies company doesn’t know I’m promoting them, but they deserve it! ♥
How do you sew with a three-year-old? Get shelf liner, an embroidery hoop, plastic needles, colorful cording, and fun things to attach. Don’t you love my granddaughter Katy’s first stitched masterpiece? ♥
Our granddaughter Ally asked to have her family birthday party at our house (happy face!), so I decided to make some colorful, festive, girly garland to offset the autumn décor. First, I put on a good movie and cut out a bazillion or so circles from my felt stash (using a peanut butter jar lid as a template). Then I arranged the circles in color patterns, moved to the sewing machine, and stitched them together down the middle with edges touching. Finally, I draped them around the room, ready to add table decorations, balloons, a cake, and gifts. She loved it! ♥
Our sweet little Mason is turning five, so it’s time for a tooth fairy pillow! I love making them from beloved outgrown garments, and Mason’s mom picked a hoodie. I design as I go along, trying to keep as many of the structural elements and as much as of the text as possible. Click here and here for two more hoodie versions. Happy birthday, Mason! ♥
Here’s the fourth transformation, after an apron, long-sleeved blue shirt, and short-sleeved plaid shirt. I love this one with jeans, black yoga pants, and even a black pencil skirt, alone or with a cardigan. I have more Dave shirts I’ll tackle this winter, but for now I’m off to other projects. Next up . . . a tooth fairy pillow for a new five-year old! ♥
First an apron, then a long-sleeved blue shirt for me, and now a short-sleeved plaid shirt for me! I love it with jeans and my lightweight orange cardigan. ♥
After warming up by making an apron from one of Dave’s shirts, I refashioned the next one into a shirt for me with a little snipping, pinning, stitching, and homemade bias tape. It’s perfect for summer-into-fall, and SO comfortable. I love it! ♥
My husband cleaned out his closet, and I gained a stack of shirts to refashion.
Here’s the first result . . . an apron with coordinating fabric added for neck and back ties.
The sleeves and other leftover parts will be put to good use for another project.
Thanks, Dave! ♥
A fun way to present a handmade or store-bought gift is in a bag made of a fabric design that fits the gift. Sometimes you can use a bit of fabric left over from the project itself, such as this bag for Katy’s superhero cape with a “K” logo for a-la-mode:
Other times, you can use a themed fabric, such as this beach-designed bag for the swimsuit cover-up I made for Danielle and bunny/carrot fabric for a carrot and book for a toddler Easter gift:
It’s also fun to find fabric that matches books. Here is some Mr. Men fabric for a drawstring bag for a set of books for Kira and some Nancy Drew fabric for a tote bag full of books for Ally and Miranda:
A final idea is to add embroidery to “regular” fabric to fit the theme, such as this bag for cookie cutters:
I love making drawstring bags and totes when I need a quick “sewing fix,” so this is definitely win-win. Thank you for checking them out! ♥
Katy is turning three, so it’s time for another superhero cape! Click on the post about Josh’s cape to get the tutorial for this super-safe version (worn by slipping the child’s arms through the elastics rather than tying the cape around his or her neck). I found the fun fabric on ebay by searching for “girl’s superhero fabric” and used star fabric from one of my Wonder Woman aprons for the tips and back. Happy birthday, dear Katy! ♥
Our grandson Josh turned three today and is a superhero in every way. He needed a cape! In a Pinterest search, I found one that attaches with arm elastics instead of tying around the neck. How clever is that! And safe! And easy! I used this tutorial, except I made it reversible and left the top of the triangle to showcase both fabrics when worn. Just tuck the elastic arm bands into the seam when stitching the two fabrics right sides together, leaving a small opening at the bottom for turning, then topstitch and press. Oh, and you can also add an emblem with your little one’s initial from this pattern before stitching the two triangles together. Happy birthday, Josh! ♥
THANK YOU to my friend Tamara of Crochet With Tamara (who lives in my city . . . lucky me!) for making these adorable cowgirl booties for our newest granddaughter, Emily. Tamara had my order ready in a couple of days, and she even made an extra pair so Emily will have both newborn AND size 3-6 months boots to wear. My husband is a cowboy at heart, and this is his favorite gift for all the new little ones in the family, so we feel blessed to have met Tamara through WordPress. If you love to crochet, you’ll love Tamara’s blog! ♥
OK, now that’s a crazy title! But it’s perfect for these burp cloths made from Lauren’s tutorial on The Thinking Closet for a new baby born into a family of musicians! These are super-easy and a great way to use soft remnants from other projects. I couldn’t resist photographing them on my piano! ♥ P.S. Here’s a link to another set of burpies I made using a tutorial on Homemade by Jill. They’re keepers, too!
My Grandma Leona used to make these receiving blankets for all the spring and summer babies in the family. No pattern is needed; simply pin and sew two large squares of lightweight, seersucker-type fabric together with giant ric-rac tucked in the seam. I had the perfect excuse to make one, too . . . for our newest granddaughter, Emily Elizabeth! ♥
Brown and pink for girls . . . gray and chevron for boys . . . bunny pattern available from Positively Splendid . . . bunnies embroidered with names and attached with Heat n’ Bond and outline stitch . . . use any lined tote pattern . . . time for an Easter egg hunt! ♥
Besides cars, Tyler and Ryan love puzzles! So, when their mom Jen saw the zippered pencil pouches on my blog, she thought they’d be perfect as puzzle bags, too. I made the pouches a bit larger to hold 24-piece puzzles, and I used a different color of zipper on each one so the boys will know which color stands for which puzzle. Here they are, trying them out. ♥ P.S. Click Pencil Pouch to download instructions.
My daughter-in-law Jen is always looking for creative ways to corral her little boys’ toys. When she found a wall-hanging car caddy on Pinterest, I was in!
Jen tweaked the design and chose the fabric, and I sewed, adding some interfacing between the front and back and doubling the fabric on the pockets to make it extra sturdy.
We got a curtain rod for hanging, but instead of the usual hardware, Jen cleverly used some removable hooks to avoid putting holes in the wall.
We think it’s cute . . . but not nearly as cute as the sweet little boys using it! ♥
When I saw this fun fabric on Pick Your Plum, I HAD to get one each for grandchildren Allyson, Kira, Miranda, Brody, Tyler, Ryan, Joshua, and Kaitlyn. It’s exactly the right amount for a “sweet dreams” pillowcase, but it would also make a perfect cape, tote bag, or other personalized item. The photo below is Joshua, who immediately snuggled in and told his mom, “I sleep on it!”
If you sign up at Pick Your Plum, you’ll get daily emails with fun crafty items and accessories at amazing discounted prices. With a little luck, this fabric treasure will come up again soon! ♥
Hello, my long-lost friends! I hope everyone is well. I miss reading your blogs and hope to catch up soon.
My friend Sewing Machine and I haven’t spent much time together this summer, but I did find a spot o’ time to make an apron for my adorable granddaughter Katy’s 2nd birthday. This fun pattern is SUPER easy to stitch up, since it uses bias tape instead of hems around all the edges. I bought this pretty pink-flowered tape for Katy’s apron at a craft show, but I now own a bias tape maker and can’t wait to try creating some myself with Beth’s tutorial at The Renegade Seamstress. Katy especially loves her name embroidered on the pocket!
Click here for the pattern from Joan Giammalva. And, if you want a fun cookbook to gift with the apron, I recommend Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen . . . perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
Thank you for taking a peek! ♥
My niece Amanda got to stop by for a few hours on her vacation to Kansas. We love to make projects together when she visits, like last summer’s ruffle apron. This time we made pencil pouches for HER nieces who are getting ready to begin first and second grade. Amanda looked through my stash and found a crayon print for the outside, alphabet print for the inside, felt for interfacing, and zippers in the girls’ favorite colors. We used the sunnies cases tutorial, only in a different size and shape. We also typed up the instructions so Amanda can make more when she gets home. Click Pencil Pouch to download all the steps. Happy Back-to-School! ♥
My niece Amanda made this clothespin wreath . . . isn’t it festive? Here are some of her tips:
I bought 100 clothespins at Target and painted them with acrylic paint I already had. I like to paint, so it was fun for me, but it would be easier/faster with spray paint. Then I got a wire wreath and a bag of little wooden stars at Jo-Ann using a 40% off coupon and put it together! The clothespins just clip on and I used hot glue to attach the stars. I made sure that there were 7 red and 6 white “stripes.” (My Pinterest inspiration photo didn’t do that and it was driving me crazy!) I love it and it goes great with my blue front door.
Total cost? Eight dollars! Thank you for letting me share your fun project, Amanda! And happy holiday to all my U.S.A. blog friends. ♥ P.S. Click here to see the apron Amanda and I sewed together last summer!
What’s inside these upcycled scrapbook paper/washi tape/twine wrapped potato chip cans? Cookies! We received some lovely invitations for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, so I made treats for hostess gifts. Here is a recipe my sons LOVED when they were little that’s no-fail and easy to transport. Enjoy, and I wish you a happy time of remembrance with your family and friends. ♥
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup butter
1 cup each sugar and brown sugar
1 teaspoon each baking powder, soda, salt, and vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups crisp rice cereal
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until well blended. Stir in cereal. Drop by rounded teaspoon onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Let stand one minute before removing from pan. Makes five dozen.
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! ♥
My sister took a crazy quilt class and made this fun block. I love the fabrics she chose and all the dashing embroidery stitches she added for a-la-mode. Then she gave it to me to make a pillow! I used a square of black and white striped fabric from my stash for the back. Thank you, Susan! ♥
On a recent visit to our Georgia family, we got to enjoy this beautiful dresser in our guest room. Mary Ann restyled a hand-me-down with two colors of paint and a different pair of silvery knobs on each drawer. I can’t wait to try this at home! ♥
Our lovely daughter-in-law Mary Ann is a registered dietician turned physician’s assistant and sports a fun “Periodic Table of the Vegetables” poster in her kitchen. On a trip to Jo-Ann to buy a foam cushion for the toy box bench, I spotted this “Farmer’s Market” fabric—perfect for a decorative cushion for the kitchen window seat. The cat promptly nestled beside it for a nap . . . and Mary Ann loves it, too! ♥
Our Georgia family recently moved and needed some new pillow décor. First, we made a bench seat cushion for baby Josh’s toy box (handmade by his Uncle Jeff!). Josh’s room is morphing into a travel theme—don’t you just LOVE this map fabric his mommy picked out? We had enough for a square pillow to pose on the rocking chair, too. Then we made some floral and solid-with-button-a-la-mode pillows for the purple sofa in the living room. Mary Ann purchased the fabrics at Curtain Call in Augusta, Georgia. ♥ P.S. Now I want a purple sofa!
On a recent visit, our eight-year-old granddaughter Miranda and I raided her mom’s fabric stash and put our heads together to design and sew a tote for her Nook e-reader—a colorful, lined bag with shoulder length handles and shabby chic roses for a-la-mode. What a fun project with a fun sewing buddy! ♥
I love to make tooth fairy pillows from well-loved baby or toddler clothes! To transform the Disney World hoodie that Tyler chose, I simply cut it into a square, embroidered a tooth on one pocket and a dollar sign on the other, and stitched and stuffed. So easy! Now he’s eagerly waiting for that first loose tooth! ♥ P.S. Click here for another hoodie tooth fairy pillow and here and here for two more designs.
Dave requested a sour cream chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day this year, and I found just the one on Taste of Home. Since the recipe is for a layer cake, I used my heart-shaped pans. It’s a keeper! ♥
Do you have hearts all over your home these days? My favorite new display is the clay heart my granddaughter Ally made, my collection of heart necklaces, and the beautiful mixed-media canvas Shannon of Shantilly made for my birthday. From my heart to yours . . . have a happy Valentine’s Day! ♥
For Tyler-the-matchbox-car-lovin’-kid’s birthday, I stitched up a car wallet . . . plus (surprise! surprise!) a pillow with the leftover fabric. I read TONS of tutorials for the wallet and ended up using bits of several of them. My version has four pockets, a road, a Velcro closure, an elastic band (aka stretchy headband cut to size) to hold it all together, and the birthday boy’s initials embroidered on the front. Here are my favorite links in case you’d like to make one for a small person you love! ♥
It’s birthday party time again in our family! Five-year-old Tyler chose Disney Planes for the theme. I had fun searching out a yard of DP fabric (found it on ebay and got it in two days!) to use for bunting and then sewing a big pile of red goodie bags for Tyler to fill with treasures and send home with his friends. Now for some cake and ice cream! ♥
- 1 package cornbread mix prepared, cooled, and crumbled
- 1 can pork and beans
- 1 can sweet corn, drained
- 2 diced tomatoes
- 1 cup green pepper, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 15 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 packet ranch dip mix
DIRECTIONS: Layer all but the last three ingredients in a clear glass bowl. Mix mayonnaise, sour cream, and ranch dip together and spread over the top. Garnish with green onions, bacon bits, or cheese. Chill and serve. ♥
This Christmas I had the opportunity to help Darilyn of Thehighnotedotnet surprise her brother-in-law with a Kansas State University guy apron to wear while serving as the family chef. (See the tutorial tutorial here at The Purl Bee.) She was sweet enough to write a lovely blog post about it, complete with photos, that truly put a smile on my face. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Darilyn’s blog, please check out her creative projects! She also has a My Fave DIY’s page and an Etsy shop specializing in items made with vintage sheet music, like these paper Christmas trees that I used while making my snowflake garland last winter. Thank you, Darilyn! ♥
Once upon a time, a Pennsylvania girl married a Kansas boy . . . and now they’re living happily ever after in Georgia. But they still need their own aprons!
- You’ve seen my girly apron before . . . here, here, here, and here. (The last link has info about the original pattern and tutorial.)
- I found the manly barbecue apron tutorial here at The Purl Bee. It was super easy and fun to make, too. ♥
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! ♥
In my Sleepover! post I told you about Shantilly, a new crafty business launched by my daughter-in-law Shannon and her sweet mom and sister. Their popular handmade items include different sizes and colors of chicken-wire frames to use for memo boards. (My friend Karen bought one for each of her nieces for Christmas!) With mine, I made a new wall decoration for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The letters are snipped from a remnant of the burlap I used for my mini-screen bag, the teeny wooden clothespins are left over from my t-shirt garland kit, and for a-la-mode I pinned on one of my fabric flower brooches. I just love it, and the best part is that I can update and reuse it for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and more! Thank you, Shantilly! ♥
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. ♥
A couple of weeks ago I showed you the tutus and tops I made for Ally and Kira, and you made me promise to post a photo of them in costume. Here they are with their mom! (I have many amazing daughters-in-law, including Catwoman!) Click here for a link to the tutututorial. ♥
Do you need a hostess gift idea? Does your hostess love to bake?
1. Stitch a simple drawstring bag.
2. Embroider the word “Cookies” on one side.
3. Fill it with fun or seasonal cookie cutters.
Don’t be surprised if you hear some oohs and aahs! ♥
Ally and Kira found some adorable “superhero in tutu” photos while checking out Halloween costume ideas on Pinterest, and of course I said, “Let’s make some!” The girls decided on Batman and Robin, so first we poured over illustrations of the real characters to figure out our colors and designs. For our versions, their mom first bought appropriately-colored tank tops. I found logos on Bing Images, which I traced onto fabric, cut out, and appliqued onto the fronts of the tanks. Next, I made short capes (so they won’t get in the way of the tutus), ruffled them at the tops, and attached them from shoulder to shoulder along the backs of the tanks. Then I studied dozens of cut-and-tie and sewn tutu tutorials (tutututorials???), and I decided on this this lovely version from Rachael Rabbit. Now all the girls will have to do is add simple black masks, tights, and boots . . . plus long-sleeved t-shirts for warmth (black for Batman and green for Robin, which their mom has ready to go). Here are the finished pieces . . . I can’t wait to see them on my little superheroes! ♥
I had some bits of orange and yellow jersey, so I stitched them into a ruffled skirt, added color-coordinated ric-rac, and attached it to a new white baby t-shirt for a cutie in our family! The a-la-mode is a strip of “treat” fabric from last year’s Halloween pillows twisted, coiled, and stitched into a flower and centered with an orange button. Happy candy corn season! ♥
We got to fly to Florida for our grandson’s second birthday this weekend. What fun!
His mommy asked me to make some Thomas the Train bunting for the party, and of course I said yes!
The fabrics I chose (all from Fabric.Com) were:
- Who’s That Train panel
- Who’s That Train Word Blender in grey
- Who’s That Train Symbol in red
I had enough left to make a tablecloth for the gift table and . . . no surprise here . . . a pillow for Ryan’s room. ♥
Some family members are starting a therapeutic riding business and recently had an open house/barbeque at their stable and arena. I offered to make the desserts, and I had a fun baking day! Here are three for which I managed to snap photos. The first one is a family recipe from my mom-in-law. The other two were first-time tries clipped from magazines and tweaked a bit. (Do you do that, too???) But they were all yummy! Oh, and the GORGEOUS doily was a gift from my sweet friend Tamara of Crochet with Tamara. Thank you again, Tamara! ♥ P.S. You can click on each dessert name for a printable recipe!
Guess what??? My sweet daughter-in-law Christin and I ran our first-ever 5K today!
Our route took us around the river in Wichita, KS where we saw lovely grass, flowers, trees, birds, bridges, and statues.
We got t-shirts, medals, chocolates, and champagne when we crossed the finish line.
The race directors had inspirational quotes all around, and we helped earn money for lymphoma research.
Dave, Kyle, Ally, and Kira were there to cheer us on. And the weather was PERFECT!
What a fun way to start the weekend . . . thank you for being my running buddy, Christin! ♥
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
Even though Kansas is still REALLY hot, I couldn’t resist getting out my fall decor this weekend.
After I set up the mantel, Dave added a bouquet he picked from his wildflower garden.
Isn’t it just perfect?
Thank you, Dave! ♥
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 . . . ♥
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! ♥
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! ♥
I LOVED my houseful of little boys! But I was also super-excited when my niece Amanda was born. She used to come for an Amanda-Aunt Kathy overnighter every summer where we’d play, sew, craft, embroider, bake, and shop. Now Amanda is grown-up, married, and a high school math teacher several states away (besides being beautiful, she’s also S-M-A-R-T!), but on a recent visit back home she came to sew with me! She loved the blog posts with the ruffly aprons (here and here), so that’s what we made. Amanda picked these lovely, summery fabrics from my stash, which are all from my bloggy friend Laura’s LC’s Cottage Etsy Shop. Isn’t it just perfect on her? ♥
When our family was all together in June, we created an art project that Dave and I will cherish forever! When I say “we,” I admit that all I did was pin the original idea (click here . . . it’s REALLY cute!) on Pinterest and send it to our seven amazing daughters-in-law. They took it from there! Shannon is our mixed media artist, so she prepared the canvas. Then she wrote a tutorial! (See links below.) When everyone arrived, Jen took charge of the grandchildren handprints. Being a kindergarten teacher and mother of toddlers, she’s a pro! Tiffany, Mary Ann, Vickie, Danielle, and Christin all helped with the painting, holding, and cleaning up of little hands. Our work of art is now hanging over our staircase so it will be the first thing guests see when they enter our home. HAPPY SIGH . . . ♥
Click Mixed Media Canvas for a word document.
Click Mixed Media Canvas for a pdf.
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! ♥
I’ve been baking and freezing cookies so I can keep the cookie jar filled for our family get-together this week. (Dave LOVES being my taste tester! )
I tried a new recipe I cut out of a magazine (click the picture for a larger view), and it’s definitely a keeper! Luckily, I found the online version, too. You can click here for a printable copy with U.S. or metric measurements. (The teeny-tiny “Print” command is below the recipe to the right of the share buttons.) And you really WILL want a copy, because they are AMAZING!
P.S. I inherited my cookie jar from a beloved aunt. This lovely little lady is full of wonderful memories! ♥
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! ♥
When our whole family gathers in over Father’s Day weekend, I want to have some fun crafts that work for *kids* from pre- schoolers to 80+. My latest idea is a decoration that everyone helps create—T-shirt garland! To keep everything handy, I decided to make a kit with all the necessary materials. Then I can simply hang some baker’s twine across the windows and we can pin on our paper T-shirts as we “customize” them.
To make the kit, I first found an empty box that was just the right size. (This one once held a chocolate cake that came in an order one of our kids sent us from Omaha Steaks . . . yum!!!) I cut off the lid and then cut, folded, and glued the lid cardboard to divide the box into four compartments. Here it is with clips holding everything in place while it dried. When the inside was ready, I traced around the outsides and covered them with scrapbook paper, then made a simple word-processed label for the front using clip art and a text box.
Next, I googled “printable t-shirt template” to find a pattern I like and watched a couple of movies while I traced and cut them out on light-colored paper. I also shopped for tiny clothespins and found these at Amazon.com. They’re REALLY tiny—about one inch long—but perfect for hanging paper items. I also found a small empty jar in the pantry to store them in since we’ll need to keep them safely away from the babies and toddlers. (I later glued three of the pins to the lid for a-la-mode.)
Finally, I added markers, crayons, and colored pencils for creating the T-shirt designs. Since I already had these and the paper on hand, my only expense was the clothespins—and they’re so cute I probably would have bought them anyway. 🙂 I’ll be sure to show you a photo of our garland after everyone is here! P.S. I think this would be a fun way to commemorate family activities over the summer, too . . . books the kids read, trips to the beach and zoo, special treats they get to eat, and that sort of thing. If only I’d thought of that when MY kids were little! ♥
Have you ever heard of 9-hole buttons? And did you know you can use them for words and monograms??? I didn’t until I read this fun post by Nicole on Diary of a Mad Crafter! And Nicole is so clever that she even made her OWN buttons!!!
I found mine at the yehuting Etsy Shop . . . only $4.98 plus shipping for forty. This lovely shop owner has TONS of other amazing notions, too. Do pay her a visit!
We’re having a big family reunion in June that falls on Father’s Day weekend. I wanted to make cards for all the dads who’ll be visiting, and the wooden buttons on plain kraft cardstock worked perfectly for a masculine monogram. I have quite a few left over, too . . . so more projects to come! ♥
I’ve had the BEST Mother’s Day weekend! Cute cards! Thoughtful gifts! Phone calls! Dinner! Flowers! A music theater production of my favorite book, Little Women! And most of all, lots of love. As as I think about my mom, mom-in-law, and grandmothers, I fondly remember my sweet aunts, too. You’ve heard about Aunt Vitha, wearer of fun earrings . . . she always had a cookie jar full of Oreos. And my other aunts . . . what a heartfelt visit I had with them this spring. I cherish every moment with my dear nieces and nephews, and my sister Susan and seven daughters-in-law have the most amazing auntie skills I’ve ever seen. So hats off to you, dear aunts . . . thank you for being our “other” moms. ♥
When Linny J Creations posted last fall about the upcoming Nancy Drew fabric at The Fat Quarter Shop, I was in! I bought my first ever charm pack just so I could see a tiny sample of everything. Thanks to inspiration from Feathered Nest Studio, these fun little designs are now a set of 24 coasters. It was so easy . . . just stitch two squares right sides together along with a square of quilt batting (leaving a small opening for turning), trim the corners, turn, and topstitch. We’re having a B-I-G family get-together at our house in June (more on that to come!), so I’m all ready in the coaster department! P.S. The beautiful basket is from 1840 Farm Mercantile. ♥
Last month I told you about my “biggest refashion ever” . . . making a first communion dress from a wedding gown. It’s done! I would never attempt a tutorial, because every gown is different, but here is a summary of the steps that worked for me:
- I used the bodice from the Butterick 3350 pattern, cutting it from the gown train.
- I also used the Butterick 3350 sleeve, cutting it from the beaded top front of the gown.
- I was able to use the gown’s skirt (taken in at the side seams and shortened, of course) and preserve the back of the gown (including the original zipper!) by stitching it right onto the new bodice.
- I made a sash from the extra buttons going down the gown’s back through the train.
- Finally, I snipped the beads from the remaining remnants and handstitched them around the front neckline.
My only advice is to (1) spend quite awhile thinking, planning, and sketching before you start, (2) baste everything (and let your special little girl try it on!) before sewing anything permanently, and (3) keep every little bit of fabric and embellishment, because you might use it. Thank you for joining in my excitement over this once-in-a-lifetime project! P.S. I couldn’t resist using the “Radiance” effect from PicMonkey on the photo below. ♥
Thank you SO much to everyone for entering the Origami Owl Blogger Locket Giveaway and for all your lovely, encouraging comments. Seriously, every time a new one popped up, I said to myself, “Oh . . . I hope SHE wins!!!” But the time came to draw one name out of the hat, and the lucky winner is . . .
Jeanna of Drama Queen Seams!
Congratulations, Jeanna! As soon as you email me your mailing address, I’ll send your prize and Tiffany will send the extra charm you chose—the crystal clear crown. And for all of our other blogging friends . . . thank you again for your enthusiasm and support for small businesses, and feel free to contact Tiffany at firstname.lastname@example.org, her Facebook page, or her web site if you have any questions about creating your own Living Locket or becoming an Origami Owl independent designer. You’re the best! ♥
My lovely art teacher daughter-in-law Tiffany just became an independent designer for Origami Owl. Have you seen these amazing “Living Lockets” yet? You choose your locket size and design, fill it with hand-picked charms, and (if you like) add plates, dangles, and tags. Then you either purchase a chain or wear your creation on a chain or ribbon you already own. They’re absolutely beautiful! So Tiffany and I put our heads together and came up with a “blogger locket” giveaway that we think you’ll love! It includes:
- the large silver Living Locket with crystals,
- 5 charms: a laptop computer, a camera, a pair of scissors, a cup of coffee (or tea!), and the April stone,
- an 18-inch silver ball station chain,
- and an “Inspire” tag that can be worn either with the locket or separately.
You can see close-ups of all the components below!
To enter this giveaway, you only have three easy steps to follow:
(1) “Like” Tiffany’s Origami Owl Facebook page here. (But if you’re not on FB, no worries! You can still enter by skipping to Step 2! :))
(2) Go to Tiffany’s Origami Owl web site and find your favorite charm here. (Click on “Charm Collections” on the “Living Lockets” page.)
(3) Leave a comment below telling us you’ve liked the FB page (see note on Step 1) and what your favorite charm is.
That’s it! A week from today (Monday, April 8) we’ll draw a name out of a hat and announce the winner right here at Pillows A-La-Mode. And not only does the winner get the blogger locket, but Tiffany will mail her the other charm she chose, too! So please join in the fun, and thank you for visiting Origami Owl today or anytime from my Shop Love! page above. ♥
P.S. I forgot to mention that Origami Owl’s packaging is amazing—a drawstring bag for the tag and a “fortune cookie” made of kimono fabric to keep your locket in, all delivered in a cute little take-out box! Oh, and Tiffany has also put together a Shutterfly book with design ideas. You can check it out here.
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! ♥
Dave and I collaborated on an indoor/outdoor and foldable/take-apartable/storable play tent for a special birthday boy using a tutorial from Gemma of Gembobs Crafts. Check out her beautiful crocheted version here! The fabric for ours is “Red River II Stripe Blue” from Fabric.com, and two and one-half yards of 45-inch wide fabric was a PERFECT fit. It was easy and fun and we’re ready to make more! Thank you, Gemma! ♥
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. ♥
This beautiful bride, Christin, now has an amazing 8-year-old daughter, Allyson, and I’ll be transforming Christin’s wedding gown into Allyson’s First Communion dress!
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! ♥
I haven’t been baking much lately since Dave and I are both working on our New Year’s resolutions for healthier eating.
BUT . . . yesterday was Valentine’s Day, right?
And Valentine’s Day was MADE for chocolate, right???
I still remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen copying down this recipe from her file box when I was a new bride.
It’s just as delicious as ever!
Thank you, Grandma! ♥
In a large bowl, blend and set aside:
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
In a heavy pan, blend and bring to a boil:
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup oil
- ¼ cup cocoa
Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Add:
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared large cake pan and bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.
Five minutes before the cake is done, blend and bring to a boil the following:
- 1 stick butter
- 6 Tbsp milk
- 4 Tbsp cocoa
Pour over 1 lb of powdered sugar. Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat until smooth.
Punch holes in the hot cake with a fork or toothpick and pour the hot frosting on top. Let cool and serve.
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! ♥
P.S. Click here for the heart-to-heart garland and here for the red sweater heart pillow.
. . . for all the kind comments, wishes, and prayers you sent our way after my last post. I keep being amazed at the love and care you so freely share, and I’m determined to pay it forward every chance I get.
We’re home now after spending many treasured hours with our family. So, as Vida would want, I’m ready to go back to “making stuff” and sharing about other people I admire who do the same.
One of my resolutions this year is to learn to crochet, and I was ever more inspired while watching my sweet daughter-in-law Tiffany (who JUST learned how!) finish this adorable scarf for cutie Miranda last night while we were all piled into our hotel room chatting. The Bernat Pipsqueak yarn is about the softest thing I’ve ever felt, and I LOVE how it designed itself as she worked.
Thank you to Tiffany for all the tips and to Miranda for modeling. And please watch for a new series of Shop Love! posts while I travel to attend a conference for a few days and then catch up on some projects of my own! ♥
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! ♥
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.
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.
I hope you’ll get a chance to check out their web site and store soon . . . and THANK YOU, Tiffany! ♥
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. ♥
No, I didn’t refashion my BFF (really my sister Susan!) . . . I love her just the way she is! 🙂 But I DID help her turn something beautiful but too-big into something fun and fashionable. This Eddie Bauer dress is a gorgeous color with a velvety touch and drapey, travel-friendly fabric. But . . . it went almost to Susan’s ankles (even though she’s 5’10” like me), was too big around the middle, and left her neck out in the cold. To move it to the front of Susan’s closet, I:
(1) removed the skirt from the bodice,
(2) widened the two front and back darts by 1/2 inch each and did the same with the two front and back seams of the gored skirt,
(3) sewed the skirt and bodice back together,
(4) shortened the skirt by a whopping 17 inches and rehemmed, and
(5) made an infinity scarf from the fabric I cut off by reading several different tutorials I’d bookmarked and adapting them to the size and shape of the fabric I had to work with.
I think it will be super-cute with tights and boots this winter. Enjoy, Susan! ♥
I started writing this post a couple of days ago to show you my new Christmas decoration. When I began having children of my own, my mother gave me the cookie cutters we used to make Christmas cookies when I was a little girl. Oh, the hours of fun I’ve had with them! This December I wanted a little something extra in the kitchen, so I strung them on ribbons, tied them together at the top, and hung them in my window.
Today, I think of my cookie cutters in a completely different way. I weep with joy that I got to grow up baking Christmas cookies with my mom and that my sons got to grow up baking Christmas cookies with me. And I weep with sadness for those children and parents who won’t have that opportunity this Christmas.
To Kris and Mike, who lost their 14-year-old daughter Bekah to cancer this week . . . to the parents of the children who were killed at their elementary school yesterday . . . to all parents everywhere who mourn the loss of a child . . . may you find comfort in the love and prayers of all of us. ♥
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! ♥
A special little girl in our family celebrated her sixth birthday on December 1st. As you know, a December birthday gift must NOT be Christmasy! 🙂 So, since she absolutely loves to bake with her mom, I decided on a cupcake gift. First I made an apron using a remnant from the nursery pillows I sewed last summer that looks like sprinkles. I didn’t have a child-size pattern, so I just cut a rectangle for the front, a long, skinny piece for the waistband and tie, found some rick-rack trim, and stitched it up. Then I folded a piece of paper, sketched half of a cupcake paper and top, cut them out, unfolded the paper, and used these as patterns for some cupcake a-la-mode (two yellow fabrics and sequins for sprinkles) and a scrapbook paper gift tag. Then I bought some cake mix, frosting (with sprinkles!), cupcake papers, and cupcake flags to go with the apron. I was going to make a little totebag to gift it in, but then I spotted this adorable tin for $2.99 in my grocery store’s clearance aisle . . . how lucky is that! Happy birthday, dear Kira! ♥ P.S. Please check out this fun post on Peg’s Gotta Do for more cupcake inspiration!
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???
P.P.S. Click here for a kids’ Thanksgiving story and lots of wonderful last-minute holiday recipes and crafts from Collectively Creative. Blessings to all!
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! ♥
I was so excited to see some milk bottle carriers on RE: RETRO, because my dad had just given me the set above . . . that my grandparents actually USED!
The glass bottles needed some vinegar and hot soapy water, and the metal carrier needed a good sanding and coat of spray paint, but here it is!
I had some eucalyptus branches left over from my tote bag wall hanging project, so adding those in makes the perfect autumn accent for the top of the kitchen cabinets.
P.S. My husband Dave hung the carrier in a tree to spray it. It worked perfectly and looks lovely. Thank you to you, too, Dave! ♥
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 met my super-crafty, super-sweet, and super-pretty daughter-in-law Shannon for coffee, and look what she made for me! Tiny easels with paint and ribbon a-la-mode and tiny art canvases with paint and paper decoupage (and tiny spools for Frankenstein!) for my Halloween decor! I LOVE them! THANK YOU, Shannon! ♥ P.S. Click here to see an example of Shannon’s mixed media “She Art.”
I was so intrigued when I saw some wooden letters decoupaged with maps on House of 34 and decided to make a set for a gift. However, the birthday guy is an amazing photographer who creatively explores the city of Philadelphia with all of its amazing architecture, landmarks, murals, and street art. So . . . I printed off some of my favorite Instagram photos he’s shared on FB and cut out different bits to create a “Mod Podge collage” on each letter instead. I love that I can show him how proud I am of him . . . and it was fun, too! ♥ P.S. You can follow on Instagram at mr_fisher. And Ashley Bollinger has some other fun Instagram art projects here.