Thursday, September 4, 2014

Craft Book Month Blog Hop

It's Craft Book Month and sweet Lindsay from Craft Buds asked me to participate again.

Craft Book Month

Last year, I fell in love with a book another blogger featured--Hoop-La by Kirsty Neale so I knew this year I wanted to feature something from it since this blog hop is where I first heard of the book.  It's a great book filled with "100 things to do with Embroidery Hoops" including tooth fairy pillows, bird mobiles, mixed media designs and actual embroidery designs.  Kirsty does a great job of explaining each project with helpful hints into the craft involved and cutesy ideas with each design.

With fall not too far away (I hope!!), I chose the apple hoop (pg. 18) to make to add to my fall decorating.

Awhile back my sewing room was a total mess bit messy and I accidentally stepped on and broke a wooden embroidery hoop that had fallen out of my embroidery supplies bag.  No worries, the only injury was to the hoop.  :)

I couldn't bear to throw it away though, so I saved it to make hoop art with at a later date.  Perfect for this project!  I heavily glued the hoop back together since I was going to cover it anyway and it wouldn't affect my project and set it aside to dry.

Usually I find inspiration in craft books, but don't necessarily copy straight from them.  I'll find something I like and use that as a starting point, but I loved that the book apple used both green and red buttons.  My kids are very specific about their favorite kind of apples, so I thought it would be cute to use both green and red, with a touch of yellow thrown in too.

I used both vintage and cheapy plastic buttons from Walmart on this project and found they worked together perfectly.  On a side note, I think this would be so fun to do with kids, using glue instead of needle and thread.  It's the kindergarten teacher coming out in me again--all that sorting and fine motor skill action.  lol

At any rate,  traced the pattern from the book onto my chosen background fabric and started laying out buttons until I was happy with the design.  Then I basted them down with some regular school glue to keep my design intact while I started sewing.

You can see here if you look closely that I didn't necessarily stay in my template lines--going for a more abstract apple to fit my buttons.  You can see the stem and leaf outlines as well.

I did sew each button down, but you could just use glue.  I like the extra hand-made touch the sewing gives and it didn't take long at all.  After I finished, I thought the bare spaces could use a little something so I added a few more buttons on a second layer to help.

Then I glued down small pieces of felt for the stem and leaf and the apple art was done.  But I still needed to cover that glued edge and make the hoop a little prettier so dug out some old red Homespun Yarn I've been hoarding and quickly wrapped the outer hoop.

And voila--done in no time at all.  It honestly took me longer to decide on a project and gather my supplies than it did to make this cute hoop that's a small, homey addition to my fall decorating.  I do think I'll go back and embroider some text, but haven't decided for sure what I'd like to write.  I'm thinking something in cursive to go with the flowy background--maybe just apples, maybe apples written in different languages...  Ideas??

I've teamed up with some fabulous bloggers who will be showing off their projects made from craft books, all month long!

Monday 9/1: Fabric Mutt / Lindsay Sews

Tuesday 9/2: Rae Gun Ramblings / Craftside

Wednesday 9/3: The Feisty Redhead / The Fabric Studio

Thursday 9/4: Marci Girl Designs / Small Town Stitcher

Friday 9/5: LRstitched / A Prairie Sunrise
Monday 9/8: Hopeful Threads / sewVery

Tuesday 9/9: 13 Spools / Lisa Liza Lou

Wednesday 9/10: Stitch This! / My Sewcial Hour

Thursday 9/11: The Littlest Thistle / Fabric Seeds

Friday 9/12: Sew Sweetness / Clover + Violet

Monday 9/15: Inspire Me Grey / amylouwho

Link Up

The girls at Craft Buds want to see what you're making too, so they're hosting a giveaway this month. Link up your craft book project at Craft Buds from your blog, instagram or Flickr account, and enter to win prizes. To participate in the month-long contest, just link up any project you've made from a pattern in a craft book. That easy! You'll tell us a little about the book, the project, how you personalized it, etc. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, October, 1!


1) One entry per person.

2) Your craft book project must have been completed in 2014.

3) Create a new blog post, instagram or Flickr photo (dated September 1, 2014 or later) and link back to Craft Buds/Craft Book Month in your post or photo description (tag #craftbookmonth for instagram). In your post or photo description, make sure to list the craft book you used and provide a link if possible.

4) All winners chosen via Some prizes available to international winners, so please join us!

Visit Craft Buds and link up your craft book project during the window of Sept 1-30 and you'll automatically be entered to win some fantastic prizes from the Craft Book Month sponsors!

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

Monday, September 1, 2014

More selfish sewing done!

Happy Labor Day to my American friends!  And so marks the end of summer and beginning of fall.  Only someone forgot to tell Mother Nature because we're having summer weather with no end in sight.  ;)  Oh well, I'm sure we can all enjoy our pumpkin-spiced everything in the air conditioning.

As I mentioned last week, I pattern-tested for Jenny again, making her Split-Neck Raglan Top.  It's so cute!  I, for lack of time, kept the neckline of my shirt rounded instead of the cute v-split she shows, but I still think the top is great.  She includes 3 sleeve lengths, different finishing ideas, and lengths for petite, regular, and tall hem-lengths.

One thing about pattern testing, is that you don't always come out with the perfect fit.  As Jenny is teeny-tiny herself, she has to use formulas and experience to know how big to size up a pattern for each gain in size and sometimes, it just doesn't' work right.  I'm a consistent large-medium or smaller-large, meaning my measurements call for a large, but I can often wear a medium with no trouble.  

So on this pattern, I cut just larger than the medium lines knowing that the top was not fitted so I'd have a little extra room.  But it ended up being too large for my taste.  Chris said it looked fine, but I felt like I was wearing a scrub top.  A beautiful one, but still...  It just wasn't quite what I wanted.

  So I played around with some ideas to bring in the width and tighten the neckline up a bit.  I'd have loved to do pintucks across the front, but really didn't want to take the bias binding all the way off the neckline to pin-tuck it and then put it all back on again.  ;)

I decided to go with a simple pleat to just bring it in a bit.  I actually took both sides in a good inch, removing about 2 inches from the neckline and probably could have adjusted a little more, but I feel like this is good enough for now.

This is me with no makeup, & wet hair from the shower--see what I do for y'all!  :)

The shirt is still a bit large everywhere for my taste, but it's done and I think it's going to stay that way.  I think it'll look great under a cardigan all fall & winter, and it's so light that it'll work perfect now for these steamy days we're still having.

The fabric is a Kaffe Fasset voile I bought a few years back to make a dress with.  I finally got around to said dress this summer before our Bahamas trip and ended up hating it.  I couldn't just toss such pretty fabric, so I re-purposed it for this top.  It's so buttery and light.  A joy to wear.

Jenny has taken the pattern in quite a bit to tighten up the neckline and width and the pattern is now for sale if you're interested.  I get no profit from telling you about her patterns, she's just a great person who makes easy-to-follow and cute patterns for women and kids and I love to spread the word about things & people I think are great.

So, have you ever pattern-tested?  What were your results?  Have you ever tested/made something that came out just awful?  What did you do?  Toss it?  Fix it?  Re-purpose it?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Staying Busy

Oh my goodness, I'd forgotten just how busy going back to school was!  My kids went back last Monday so they're finishing up their second week today.  We've had Open House, karate lessons, Back to School lunch for the school staff, PTO meetings, doctor's appointments, volleyball games, football games...

But they are loving their new teachers and have lots of friends in their classes and come home everyday telling me something they've learned or a teacher said and it makes my heart happy.  :)

Here's their first day pics for you:

I've found a little time for sewing this week and made myself a new top, testing another new pattern for Jenny.  She's tweaking the sizing as I found it a little too big, but the pattern is great.  It's a split-neck raglan top.  Think peasant top for women without elastic in the neckline or arms.  I'm going to make some adjustments to the sizing on my top and hope to show it off Monday.

What are you up to on this long holiday weekend?  Gearing up for fall?  Celebrating the last bits of summer?  We'll be watching tons of football and spending time with some dear friends that are coming to visit.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Selfish Sewing done

So I finished up the shorts from last week.  They were really quite simple.  It took me longer to get photos of them than to make them for sure.

I'm not thrilled with any of the pictures, my friend Mindy reminded me, we are our own worst critics.  So here goes:

I sewed these up with a cotton blend that had a slight stretch to them and a heavy weight.  It was perfect for these shorts.   The weight of the fabric really holds the shape of these shorts well and adds to the "dressier" look of these shorts.  I was hoping for a pair that could easily be dressed up or down and I think I've got that with these.

 The directions were easy to follow and quick to sew up.  I do want to go back and add pockets to these as I left them out since I was pattern testing.  I've even got them cut out and ready to add.  I originally cut the 6-inch inseam length on these shorts.  But once I got them made I felt that was too long so I turned them up about 1 1/2 inches for the hem.  Perfect.

Funnily enough, I had Chris take a few pics of me on our front porch in these shorts and just felt the lighting was terrible so I said we'd just redo them Saturday morning before my nephew's birthday party.  And after looking at all the pics, I ended up liking those original pics the best.

Does anyone remember the scene from the movie Clueless when she takes pictures of her outfits because she says they're better than just looking in the mirror.  I always think of that when I have Chris photograph me in outfits.  I would have sworn I liked the blue shirt better but after looking at the photos--the green shirt wins.  :)

Next up is some sashing strips from Oren's (never-ending) Star Wars quilt and a quick skirt for Emma for back to school.  Then I'm going to do some more selfish sewing and whip up those seersucker shorts for me too.  :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Work in Progress

We're home from the Bahamas and back to a normal swing.  Well, until school starts in 2 weeks and then we'll be back to that swing, but I'm enjoying every second of these last bits of summer!

Since it's been a long time since I blogged, it's been even longer since I showed a work in progress.  Today I'm in progress!  I've turned my machine back on in the last few days and I'm making things again.  :)

It's a good feeling.  It's a feeling I want to keep going and as school starts in 2 weeks, I'm hopeful that I can continue sewing now and making progress.

Today I'm doing some selfish sewing that's not really selfish at all.  My friend Jenny, the great pattern designer, has a new pattern for women's shorts with different waist- and hem-lengths and I volunteered to try it out.  So you see, while I am making something just for me, I'm really helping out a friend...  Really, I'm just the picture of kindness.

Emma and I ran by JoAnn's yesterday to look for fabric both for the shorts and for some skirts and maybe a new top for her for school.  And I found this great black and white cotton blend.  It's got a bit of stretch and a heavier weight so I'm hopeful the shorts will turn out looking tailored and fun.

I wanted some orange seersucker that would be perfect for summer days and Gator games, but their selections was miniscule.  I settled for some black that I intend to make into some shorts as well.

So, I'm ready to cut and after looking through the pattern directions, I'm hopeful to be modeling these for you tomorrow.

I've also got some bee blocks and some birthday party things I've made for my sweet nephew to show off soon.  And some Bahamas pictures.  Oh man, it was the best vacation ever!!!

What are you up to today?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Hi everyone!

After a busy and hot weekend watching softball, I'm back with a giveaway winner and an update of my latest projects.

I let pick the winner for the Etsy gift card and it turned out to be Helen!!  Congrats to you, my friend, and I've sent you an email.

As for what I'm up to this week...I've got all of Oren's star blocks done and ready to sash. I'm going with a 2.5" black sashing to spread the blocks out, and I haven't decided for sure on final layout.

Why does blogger like to turn my photos sideways??  Oh well, I guess these aren't really directional blocks so it works...

And I've got the clothing itch again and as we're coming near our summer vacation (to the Bahamas!!), I want to whip up a few dresses to take with me.  I've asked Em if she wants anything new as well but she politely declined.  That's fine with me--more time to sew for myself.  ;)

So, I'm thinking of adding another Staple Dress and a sheath at least, but am up for suggestions.  I've got any number of great patterns and tutorials pinned to my clothing board and saved to my computer.  It's almost like I've got so many choices I don't know where to start...


I've got some linens, rayons and cottons put to the side and ready to sew up.  I think I've actually got a dress or two in my WIP basket to get working on as well...

So what do you like to sew in the summertime?  Dresses?  Skirts?  Bags?  Handstitching?  Honestly, at this point I think I'd just be happy to get any sewing done.  But before I get to it, I'm off to the pool for a bit.  :)

Happy July 1!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Time flies...

Wow, time really does fly whether you want it to or not.

Hello to everyone still hanging on and I see I've even gained a few new followers in my long absence.  I never had any intention to stop blogging, but with surgery recovery became a new focus and blogging got less and less important.  Then, of course, sewing did too, and with no progress, there's not much to blog about.  :)

And then I just got out of the habit of coming to this space to talk with you all...

But I'm back.  I took the time today to sit down and write.  To say hello.  To assure everyone that doesn't follow me on instagram that I am alright.  I am mostly healed from my surgery and have been given the "ok" to resume normal life.  Exercise is still SLOW GOING and it's frustrating, but I do not wake up with back pain every morning.  I can stand for hours without my back aching and in turn my legs and feet.  I feel like a new woman--an out of shape woman, but still.  :)

We've been busy since I last posted.  There's been LOTS of softball and lots of karate.  There's been many hours spent driving back and forth between the two.  There's been hours of PTO stuff--book fair, coffee bars, testing fun days...  There's been proud Mama moments of field days, awards ceremonies, district softball wins, karate accomplishments.  There's been summer schedule adjustments with more swimming and less packing of lunches.

Like I said, we've been busy.

But I want to be busy here as well, with y'all.  So to thank you for sticking around, I want to give something away.  How's an etsy gift card sound?  That way, whatever it is that strikes your fancy can be yours and we're not limited to fabric or yarn or whatever else...

Just leave a comment here telling me what you're up to this summer and I'll randomly draw a winner this weekend.  Em's in the state tournament this weekend, so it'll probably be Sunday before I draw and Monday before I announce.  That's almost a week to get entered.  :)