Friday, December 26, 2014

We Survived!! or, After Holiday Rejoicing.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season, no matter what you celebrated.  By the time Christmas evening rolls around, I find myself glad to have made it to the other side of the presents and in no mood to touch anything remotely craft or cookie related.  The day after is spent doing nothing other than playing with new toys and eating leftovers.  Did I get everything finished?  Heck no!  Can I live with what I DID get finished? Sure thing!  Have I already vowed to start MUCH earlier on Christmas gifts next year? Yep!  Will I actually start early?  Heh, probably not.

(One of the gifts I made on Christmas Eve - Hooped embroidered rose with iridescent thread that almost drove me crazy)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

UFO/WIP Wednesday - Christmas Rush!

Guess what, only a week until Christmas!!  It's crunch time!  (Did that panic you as much as it panicked me?  I need to sit down for a minute so I don't hyperventilate.  Ok, much better.)

WIP for this week - EVERYTHING.  Almost anyway.  I'm eyebrows deep in Christmas cards, cookies, flannel blankets, embroidered tin toys, and anything else I can try to get finished in time.

Here's last year's Christmas card, which I think I sent out before least before New Year's!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UFO/WIP Wednesday

No, I haven't been abducted by aliens, UFO in crafter terms is "UnFinished Object" and WIP is Work In Progress.  But it IS fun to say "I have several UFOs in my house."  In an effort to motivate myself, I'm going to try to drag out at least one project every Wednesday and post pictures of where I'm at.  Some will be stuff I'm currently working on, others will be long lost projects I found at the bottom of a pile while looking for something else.  Hopefully I will either decide to finish them, or donate them to someone who will...or just hide them back at the bottom of the pile.

First up, my current WIP - a purse/diaper bag (not really a surprise there!)  Need to have this finished by the weekend so I can mail it off!

(The two outside panels, in various levels of 'finished'

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Rush - Ornaments, Plus A Million Things On The List That Never Ends

Every year after the mad rush of Christmas, I vow to start presents early NEXT YEAR, and every year I find myself in the middle of December, still needing to finish Christmas cards, make presents, buy presents, bake cookies, and ship stuff off.  Then it's suddenly Christmas Eve and it's too late for anything still left on the list!  Next year I will start early!!

In the spirit of the holidays, here are some pretty ornaments I've been whipping up on my embroidery machine. They take a while to finish, but minimal supervision, so I can do other things at the same time!

(Lots and lots of ornaments!)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Embroidery Machines - a Guide For Beginners by Someone That Is In No Way An Expert

When I first started seriously considering buying an embroidery machine, I began scouring the Internet for advice, reviews, and general knowledge.  I knew they made pretty pictures, and that you had to have something to make those pictures, but that was about it.   Then I started reading more, got intimidated and gave up on my dream of owning one.  Finally I did more searching and decided that I could figure it all out, eventually and took the plunge.  I still don't know everything and I'm constantly finding out new features, but here's what I gathered.

(The machine in action!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Midtown Messenger - Perfect Pattern Parcel #7

I finally finished the bag!  If I wait for 'good' light to take the pictures, not only will my friend never get the purse, it will be sometime in the spring!  Sorry for the not as good as usual pictures!  Check out the post here for all the info on how to get your own copy of this pattern, plus more!

(The strap can be worn cross-body or over the shoulder)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #7 - Handbags Galore!

I was recently able to join a great group of bloggers in promoting indie pattern makers AND helping a charity for classrooms -  I scoured my friends to find someone that needed a new bag.  (Ok, I asked one and she jumped on it, sorry guys, you'll have a chance for a purse soon!)  She was torn between the Midtown Messenger and the Betty Bowler, but eventually settled on the Messenger.  Of course I then took on several other projects and craft fairs, but I'm almost done on time!  Burning the wee hours of the night led to a big mistake last night (does the flap REALLY need to be attached?) so here's a sneak peak of the nearly completed bag!

(Almost done!  Front of the bag)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Serendipity Hip - Cross-Body Purse Pattern Testing

Once again I was lucky enough to test ChrisW's newest design, the Serendipity Hip.  It's a smaller bag, worn cross-body or over the shoulder and perfect for quick trips where you need to be hands free!  I'm thinking I need to make another one for Black Friday shopping....  But my youngest has been patiently waiting for me to make her a purse of her own.  The oldest got the last bag I tested, the Gizmo Garage, so it was her turn. 


Friday, October 24, 2014

This and That...Random finishes

Some weeks/months it seems like I never finish anything, but I really do!  These are just some pictures of random things I've been finishing up in the past week or 2.  I'm trying to build up variety for all the upcoming craft shows, but I have no idea what is going to be popular, so I am doing little bits of a lot of stuff.

Lots of ITH items...

Owl hand sanitizer holders, these fit the Bath and Body Works ones perfectly!  Pattern is from Embroidery Garden.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ravenclaw Purse, or all things Potter

My friends and I try to make gifts for each other's children, when possible.  Usually we double check their interests, and try to find something fun to make. (And then we run out if time so only about half the time do the handmade gifts get finished.)  This last birthday was for a Harry Potter fan. She was sorted into the Hufflepuff house, so yellow and black became the colors or choice.

(Hedwig and purse)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Boxy Cross Body Bag

After making several totes and purses from patterns and tutorials, I decided to try my own.  I based it off of a few I had seen around the internet, they looked pretty simple, but still had a few good features.  My first attempt I planned for my IPad, so I lined it with flannel for protection, but since it was my first one, I made it with less expensive material I found at Wal-Mart.  I made matching bias tape to hide where I sewed the zipper straight onto the sides of the bag, something I fixed in later versions.

(The fabric has glitter on it and is very bright and bold.  I had someone ask if it was a Vera Bradley!!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

More ITH (In The Hoop) Embroidery - pouches

One of the catchwords thrown around by the embroidery crowd is 'ITH'  (I say the letters, I-T-H, like how my oldest actually says "Shrug" as she shrugs, or my kids will say "LOL!" instead of laughing).  It only took me a few days to figure out what that meant, and now that I know, I feel super special. 

Anyway, my latest ITH projects are these super cute and fun gift card/business card holders.  There is no sewing anything shut (although I may fray check the one opening for turning) and I've had some good luck changing the design to match the recipient.  The pattern come with each letter of the alphabet, but the size is perfect for a little design too!  I plan on making a few for the teachers this year, so much nicer than just a plain gift card in an envelope!

(Pouch for my Sister-In-Law, forgot to put the ribbon on during the initial construction!)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Gizmo Garage - Laptop bag Pattern Testing

Thanks once again to Christine for letting me test another of her great bags!!  I saw her sneak peek of a laptop bag on her blog, and volunteered right away to test because my oldest had just gotten her very own laptop and needed a bag!  Perfect timing!  The Gizmo Garage is a fun bag that has some nice detailing that isn't really as difficult as it might look.  I love all the different looks the testers came up with, and any time I see something I made on a popular blog, it makes me feel like I'm one of the cool kids!  LOL! 

(Embroidery from, matched the fabric almost perfectly!)

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Sugar and Spice Bag is Very Nice!

A long time ago (at least a year, which seems like forever!) I ran across an awesome purse pattern that was only available from Homespun magazine in Australia.  I really wanted to try it, but didn't want to sign up for the $$$$ shipping and subscription.  Fortunately I am part of a great group of quilting ladies on facebook and one of them happens to live in Australia AND her mom had a copy of that same magazine that she was willing to ship to me.  I almost passed out when I saw the shipping, but the magazine was amazing.  The purse was Sugar and Spice by ChrisW designs, and now you can actually buy the pdf without having an amazing friend in Australia!  Before I got a chance to make the bag, I was distracted by some other cute projects in the magazine, which led to making a super cute fox for my oldest and eventually a penguin, but that is a story for another post!
(Slightly distorted picture because it's stuffed full of everything!)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Relatively Fast Crochet - Cowls and Tutus

I am always looking for crochet patterns that are cute, easy to do, and fast.  I'm not the world's slowest hooker, but I'm definitely not the fastest either!  Last winter I started making the Ava cowls, which use bulky yarn to work up fast and are also super soft and cuddly.  I was able to finish them in just a few trips in the car on the way home from work.  (I like to pretend I'm being productive so I hate to just sit in a car without my hands doing something.)
(A lovely grey with matching button)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mini Hobo Bag

When I think of hobo bags, I picture something big enough to carry a small child, or possibly the kitchen sink.  This "mini" version is only 15" tall (including handle) and  16" wide which is still a good sized purse! I found a free pattern at Flamingo Toes blog and printed out the pattern. It makes a giant bag, so I trimmed the pattern.  I took the extra off the bottom and the middle so I could keep a nice curve to the purse. 

(Purse is empty so it's hard to make it nice and stretched out)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My First Pillow Cover! (And the lessons I learned)

I love getting mail, and swaps are the best mail to get! I joined a swap on a quilting group for mug rugs and pillow covers.  I prefer my pillows naked, so I asked for a mug rug, but my swap match up asked for a pillow cover.  It seem that to get mail, you have to send something in return, and I always worry that my stuff isn't as good as what everyone else is making.  In an attempt to make something "AWESOME", I went overboard and tried to make a 61"x61" quilt pattern downsized to an 18" pillow.  Given enough time and quilting experience, I'm sure it could be done, but I like to wait for the last minute panic to set in, so I gave up on that idea after I had already cut 80+ tiny triangles and sewn a third of them together.  It would be an awesome pillow, but I think I'll try it as a quilt first.  When I have some free time. ;)

(Here is the pillow top on the recipient's quilt, much better than anything I managed to take!)

Monday, July 14, 2014

More Fun with the Embroidery Machine - Bows Galore and More!

Sometimes when I do a craft, after the first run I'm finished.  It was a new skill I learned, and it was fun to do (usually), but not something I see myself doing regularly, if ever again.  Not so with these bows.  I can't get enough of them, and they are so fun to make!  I also started using sheets of glitter vinyl (found mine at Hobby Lobby, next to the felt) and that opens up a whole new world of materials!  And then I found out that I could do them in fabric (Duh!) which means I may soon have bows of every fabric I least the ones with cute little patterns. 
(Inspired by an ice queen - Pre gluing, excuse the pin)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pattern Testing - Big Girl Briefs by SergerPepper

I will start this off with saying that I rarely make clothes.  Two main reasons, first is that I can usually buy pretty nice stuff for cheap, so why waste my time on stuff like that when I can make fun bags and totes? And second, knits and I do NOT get along.  Now if I were to take the time to follow all the tips and tricks that abound on the internet I'd probably have much better luck, but it's just not something that usually interests me.  That being said, I had the opportunity to test for SergerPepper and decided to step outside my comfort zone.  The pattern was a simple and fast one, so I hoped I wouldn't screw it up too bad. 

(Super soft and comfy!)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Stow It All Tote - pattern testing

I had the privilege of being picked to test again for ChrisW Designs. Her bags are usually very involved with great details and fun hardware that makes them amazing, so when she said it was going to be an "easy" bag, I figured it would be a quick one. Well, for her it was "easy", but it still has a great amount of detail and fun features!

(I love this Bag!)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Quilty Goodness - More Things I've actually finished!

Growing up I thought that quilts were so cool, but also too much work to ever make one of my own.  The patterns were amazing and totally intimidating to a novice sew-ist (I prefer that to sew-er). Then I saw the 1600 quilts and thought "Hmm, that seems simple enough, just sewing in straight lines, minimal cutting, and fast!" and decided that I'd try it out. 

I found some clearance jelly rolls at Joann's and one (or maybe two?) weekend(s) later, viola, quilt top!  Then I had to figure out how to make it slightly longer (not quite long enough for a twin bed), back it, quilt it, and bind it.  My little sewing machine was able to chug along and do straight lines, but I didn't know much about quilting at that time.  (Such as, some batting has a minimum distance between sewing lines.  Or that the more you quilt, the more it crinkles.)  All in all, for a first quilt, I was pretty proud of myself!

(I even got the seams mostly even!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

In The Hoop Embroidery -- Who knew embroidery machines could do so much??

I really love my new embroidery machine.  Have I mentioned that this week?  REALLY love it.  Really really REALLY.  Besides doing awesome designs, I discovered that it does this neat thing that the 'professionals' (what I consider anyone who has been doing a skill long enough to know more than me!) call "In the hoop" projects.  Mine is only a tiny hoop, so I can only do small projects, but there are some out there that can make purses entirely on their embroidery machine!  With zippers! (insert amazed face here)

Even limited to my 4x4 hoop area, I have still managed to make some fun bows from the Bobbin for Appliques patterns.  I planned on making a few for the etsy store, but so far they've all been claimed before I could even get that far! 

(My first one, using some felt I stole, er, borrowed from my oldest)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Random finishes - Crochet projects

I love looking at the older things I've finished, sometimes to say "I am so much better now!" and other times just to say "Hey, I do finish things, it's not just a giant pile of project pieces in my craft area!" (also I'm procrastinating on the Foxy Messenger bag tutorial.  Just a little)

Here's a few of my previous crochet finishes, I can't even remember where I found all the patterns, but I'd guess Ravelry and some of my books...

(This was my first attempt at Tunisian stitch, I made enough that I could turn it into a pencil/hook case and then sent it off for a swap!)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Foxy Messenger Bag - with tutorial - Supply List

Several months ago I was lucky enough to trade a crocheted hat for an AWESOME paper pieced fox panel by Sandra from Small Town Thread.  My oldest saw it in pouch form and actually squealed, which made me just stare at her because I've never heard that sound come out of her mouth before.  After getting over the shock and discounting aliens taking over her brain, I decided to see if she wanted one of the pouches.  She's not a 'purse' girl, so she decided that a messenger bag would be perfect.  Once I got the panel (and got over being amazed by how great it looks) I had to actually make the bag.  Fast forward several months, and I decided to stop procrastinating and start doing it. 

(finished bag, how awesome is this fox??)

A fast little baby crochet hat

I had a chance to make a little hat for a new baby, and I love this pattern!  Shell Stitch Beanie is a fast and cute hat, and I made the flower from the link at the bottom of that post.  I only did the first 4 rounds, but I am not a fan of GIANT flowers on tiny hats.  Big flowers are cuter than giant, I think anyway... This is actually the second one I've done, but of course I can't find the pictures of the first. 
 (actually a pretty good shot of the true yarn color!)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

All things Tinkerbell....

One of my best friends is having a little girl and the nursery is going to be Tinkerbell.  (Really, she already had a Tink room and that became the nursery.)  She couldn't find a crib set in the stores, so she asked for a blanket.  I found a panel and made a super easy and fun blanket for her, but that wasn't enough Tink! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yet another Necessary Clutch!

Just a quick update on my latest clutch!  I finally got to make one with my embroidery machine, and I think it turned out so fun!  I've had my eye on this pattern ever since I saw someone do an applique with it many years ago...
(I call him Captain BunnyBeard)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Pinch me, I might be dreaming! Embroidery machine!

For as long as I can remember, there have been two specialty machines I've been awed /intimidated by and at the same time wanted them for sewing, a Serger and an embroidery machine. I still don't have a Serger, but I finally have the embroidery machine! Besides the price, the thing holding me back was the question of 'would I really use it?'  I'm a great person for collecting crafts, and I've finally gotten to the point where I try (not always succeed, but I try!) not to impulse buy crafting stuff. (Fabric doesn't count!) when a neighbor got a fancy machine of her own several years ago, she told me I could use it, with my own supplies. Then she told me the price and I was afraid to even look at it, in case I somehow messed it up! That machine cost more than my first car!!

My new baby was nowhere near that pricey, but it has all the features I need!

(So pretty!!)

Monday, March 17, 2014

January Bag of the Month - Bye Bye Love!

I finally had an excuse to make the first bag from the Bag of the Month club pack.  My wonderful Mom got me the subscription for Christmas (I only had to suggest it and she jumped at the easy gift).  My BFF asked for a Star Wars purse for her birthday and picked the pattern and fabric, so here it is!  Sorry for the bad pics, was trying to rush them before I ran off to give her the bag and it was hard to photograph for some reason!

(This bag is HUGE!!)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fun little gifts for kids!

I recently had the chance to make a few birthday presents, so I thought I'd share them now that the kiddos have gotten their gifts!

First up was a 'real' wallet for a boy turning 4!  He requested one 'Just like Dad's, except with a zipper'  So I modified the tutorial over at Modestmaven to include a box zipper.

(Inside has card pockets and the zipper pocket)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Crayon Rolls - a tutorial

There are millions of crayon roll tutorials on the Internet (well, maybe only half a million).  I’ve read several of them and come up with my own version that combined features I liked.  I seem to make them just infrequently enough that I have don’t have the measurements and assembly order always at the front of my brain, so I figured I should write it down somewhere.    I like to use a ½” seam allowance, I feel it is a little sturdier and more forgiving than the ¼” I see on several tutorials.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Messenger bags - a happy little family!

I love messenger bags, they are roomy, fast to make, and fun!  Recently I finished 2 more, so here is my 'family' of messenger bags.  I feel like there is a Poppa, a Momma, and a Baby bag...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Uptown Girl Bag - Pattern testing

I took a break from the Necessary Clutches to test the Uptown Girl purse from ChrisW Designs.  It is  designed for Pleather/leather, but I wasn't adventurous enough to do it with those materials!  Thanks for giving me the chance to try this one out Christine!

(Pay no attention to the dead grass.  It's winter!)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tools of the Crafting Trade - Sewing edition

I always see the pretty sewing spaces in magazines and blogs and sigh.  I have taken over the dining room table and random parts of that room, but I someday I'll have an awesome dedicated craft room...probably after at least 2 children leave for college.  I've got a few years to go.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share my tools that I can't live without!

Someday I'll have a super awesome amazing sewing machine that brews a latte while it sews perfect seams, but for now I have a slightly above basic sewing machine.  (Latte sewing machine sounds like an untapped market, I should patent that!)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Necessary Clutch plus mini tutorial for installing a swing lock!

I had a request to make another NCW and had the idea of trying to take notes on how I installed the swing lock since it's not exactly the same as the other ones that Emmaline Bags has on her blog (Emmaline Bag Latch installation)  And I also had to make one for myself since I finally caught up on Christmas presents!

 First, the Pirate Loot Clutch for me:

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas Stockings, or, Sequins Are Evil

I love traditions, like the handmade crocheted blankets and quilts that my Grandmas made for each grandchild, so when I discovered that my husband had a stocking that his aunt had made for him, I was inspired to do the same for our children.  His is a felt and sequined train, so I went for the same style. I ran across the kits at Hobby Lobby, and thought 'Oh, these will be fast!  All the pieces are included!'

The first one I picked out was a beautiful snowflake and icicle covered one that I started a few months before my daughter's first Christmas.  I finished it before her third Christmas. Yeah, it took me that long.  I'm pretty sure sequins were invented as some sort of torture device.  I could only work on it for so long before I felt insanity creeping closer.  Finally I finished, and then I had the horrible realization that if we had more children I  was now stuck making one for each of them!