Saturday, May 31, 2008

good to be home

hey, everybody, and thanks for your emails and comments! I had a wonderful time visiting my mom and a bunch of my family in Huntsvegas. ;-)
We went to a huge sale at Hancock Fabrics and also to a quilt shop in Decatur while we were there and of course I bought some fabric. You know, because I really need some. Not.
I managed to sew myself a shirt. I'll blog that later.
After spending some time with my sister Leigh Ann, the Quilt Master, I have a huge huge desire to immediately make a circle quilt or a snow ball quilt. Using something fun like Katie Jump Rope fabrics (pictured above) and lots of white. little time. So much stuff to do and learn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

ta ta for now

I'm off to Huntsvegas (Huntsville, AL) to visit my mom and watch my nephew Josh graduate from high school. Can I be that old?

In honor of Josh's graduation, here's some ideas from for gift wrapping the graduate's favorite gift – money.

By the way, is anyone actually reading this thing? Don't be shy. Leave me a comment! Even if the post is an older one, I'll still get it.

See y'all the first of June.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

mmmtea cozy

image by Bella Dia

I think this tea cozy from Bella Dia is just to die for. I adore the felt and the combination of colors and the pinwheeling flowers and the short, I like it. It makes me really itch to try something similar. I don't have a tea cozy. I must need one, right?

Bella Dia is quite the talented handcrafter, go here to see her other creations.

Monday, May 19, 2008

cool book

My bosom friend, Robyn, had this book on her coffee table when I went to visit recently. I really was charmed by it, and would recommend it to all crafty or non-crafty gals who are trying to lose a little modern manic craziness and experience joy in the simple and practical things of the home.

Image courtesy of, and here is the link to the book on their site.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

if you love pattern...

as much as I do, you will love this blog.
Not pattern as in a sewing pattern, but just the joy of a well constructed and eye-pleasing graphic pattern and how they can be used on fabric, stationery, and everyday objects.
I think this obsessive love of pattern is why I am so into fabric. I could also happily blow a day just browsing through a paper store. Brain candy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

make a pillowcase dress

I have wanted to make a pillowcase dress for my girls since they were babies. They are now almost four and six. Obviously, I'm a better dreamer than doer.

Recently I found some really cute pillowcases for a quarter each at a thrift shop, and that was motivation enough, finally. I used the handy tutorial at Rostitchery to do the dress. However, making a pillowcase dress for a tall almost-6 yr old presents certain issues.

Lessons learned:
1) You should restitch the side seam to reinforce it at the bottom, especially if it is a vintage pillowcase. When the child is older like mine, there is not as much room to swing their legs in the pillowcase. This can cause a lot of strain on that seam.

2) I was initially happy that one of the cases was a king size, because my oldest girl is tall and I love the look of a long dress. However, after learning point 1), I will be hemming it up to a knee length because the longer the dress, the less room for leg swing. Alternately, you could fashion slits in the sides using more bias tape. Or, you could always make a pillowcase tunic or shirt instead of a dress.

3) when using this tutorial for a kid older than a toddler, you will possibly need to add depth to the armscye and possibly more width to the elastic. (I used a 4" armscye and increased the elastic to 6.5 inches). Also you will need a bit more bias tape than she has listed.

4) and lastly, kids that are older will look a little bare in a vintage pillowcase if it is thin and white like the ones I have. You can clearly see her underwear through the cloth. So, I will be adding a built in lining to cut down on the peekaboo factor.

So much for this easy and quick dress. But, it is still adorable, and comfy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

julia rothman rocks

I love patterns and have dabbled some in making some patterns for myself on the computer, but I've always wondered how artists come up with complicated repeating patterns. I discovered this great tutorial for repeating patterns on Design*Sponge, by talented artist, Julia Rothman.

I plan to try this out as soon as possible! Thanks, Julia.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

molly monkey doll

So here is Molly the Monkey, the doll I whipped out in a few days for my youngest daughter's birthday. I designed the doll and pattern on my computer, so I can share it at a future date once I make the adjustments to it that I made on the fly while I was sewing it together. She's made out of brown corduroy, yellow wool felt, and a mishmash of cotton quilting fabrics and ticking. I didn't stuff her really tightly for two reasons:

1) I wanted her to be squashy and lovable
2) I didn't see how the tarnation I was supposed to sew it all right sides together with the legs, arms and tail tucked inside if they were all stuffed to the max. Is there another method for this?

I used a modified Wee Wonderfuls shoe pattern which worked great for her little mary janes. I really like my Put Together Book I ordered of hers. I'd love to use her patterns for a whole doll one of these days. I have a hand sewing set of hers also that I'd love to break open! Too much to do.

 Overall, and even with sleep deprivation, I'm really pleased with how she turned out! She was girly enough for me, and monkey enough for my four year old. Also, I got to use my Flutterby charm pack from a previous post for her clothes! So, yet another great use for charm packs -- doll clothes!

And now I can use this pattern as a base for Katy Kitty, my next doll creation for my other daughter's birthday in August.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

make a birthday present card

Whew! Today is over. My daughter is now officially four, her party was grand, and her monkey doll was finished in good time. And, more importantly, she loves it. She is currently sleeping with Molly Monkey, and I'll post pictures of her later. Her older sister made sure to remind me that her kitty cat doll (future Katy Kitty) would be made in time for her birthday in August, and she even generously offered for me to make it before her birthday, if that would help me not forget. So thoughtful. I'll be very glad to have 3 months to design and make a doll, instead of 3 days.

For now, here is how to make a card with a cute little birthday present on the front. This has become my signature card to send to my friends and family. Here is one I just made for my wonderful Mom-in-Law. It is so quick to make, the possibilities with paper and ribbon combos are endless, and everyone appreciates a handmade card. Unless they work for Hallmark.

You'll need:

• 8.5 x 11 sheet cardstock

• small sheet of decorative paper (You could go green here. I have recycled wrapping paper, cards, shopping bags, packaging, anything with a nice pattern, which I squirrel away in a drawer for future card making). Thicker works better, but if you adore a really thin piece you could always reinforce it by gluing it to card stock. The decorative paper I show here is actually from a recycled Talbots shopping bag.

• small amt of ribbon, enough to span about 3.5 inches and then another piece to tie a little bow. Thinner ribbon works best, like 1/4 or 3/8 inch wide.

• tiny paper price tag with string, I found mine in the office/school supply section at Wal-Mart.

• bone folder (optional)

• paper cutter or scissors

• glue (I love and recommend Fabritac - it has an instant bond and won't wrinkle your paper.)

1) Ok, first cut the card stock in half on the long side, so that you have two 5.5 x 8.5 inch pieces. Set one aside (use it for a second card later). Fold the other one in half so that you have a card that is 4.25 x 5.5 inches.

2) Cut a tall rectangle out of your decorative paper, about 2-ish x 3-ish inches.

3) Cut a piece of ribbon that is about 1/2 inch longer than your rectangle. Put a dab of glue on the back of the ribbon on either end, align it in the center of the rectangle and fold the sticky ends around the edges to the back, as shown. Make sure the ribbon is not too loose on the front. You want it to lay tight 'n smooth.

4) Put a dab of glue in each of the four corners of the back of the rectangle and adhere it to the front of the card. I like to leave more room at the top for the bow and the tag.

5) Write the birthday person's name on the tag and adhere the string to the top of the present and the tag to the card with little dabs of glue.

6) Fashion a little bow out of the remaining ribbon and glue it to the top of the present, covering the end of the tag. Trim the tag string ends if needed.


If you used Fabritac glue, you won't even have to wait for it to dry before mailing. This card will fit in a standard invitation envelope, which I also buy at Wally World (as my husband affectionately refers to Wal-Mart).

Friday, May 9, 2008


One of the joys of May -- picking your own strawberries. Extra fun when you are with good friends, and your very excited 4 and 5 yr old daughters. (OOOH mama! look at this one. OOOOH, look at THIS one!). Then of course, the joy of eating them.
I am run off my feet this weekend. I have mother's day prep, a singing to attend this evening, a birthday party for precious little boy tomorrow at lunch, then my own little sweetie is turning four tomorrow, so her party that evening at our house. Then, of course, Mother's Day is on Sunday, and the celebrating that goes on there.
Blessed but busy!
One of the things keeping me busy is the monkey doll I decided must be finished for my birthday girl's party. Tomorrow. Here's what it looked like on Wednesday evening. Late.

I'm much further along now, just need to give her a face and some shoes and hopefully some clothes. Clothes are optional at this point.
For the monkey, that is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

make a teacup pincushion

I've had these tiny vintage teacups for a couple of years, thinking I'd make candles out of them. Today, I decided to make one into a pincushion for my lovely mom.

If you'd like to make one, here's what you'll need.

a small teacup (mine is not the usual sized teacup -- of course, if your teacup is regular sized, you can size up your pincushion to match)

poly stuffing

a 6 inch circle of coordinating cotton midweight fabric



hot glue gun

rubber gloves, if you are hot glue challenged and thrice burned, like me

Thread your needle, no knot, and sew a big running stitch all around the wrong side perimeter of the circle of fabric. Leave a long tail so you don't pull your thread through. I sewed about a quarter inch from the edge. If you know how to make yo yos, this is just like that, without the extra fold.

Gather your circle of fabric into a little pouch, leaving a small hole to stuff through, and tie off the ends securely.

Stuff, and stuff, and stuff until it's nice and compact and smooth. Using small pieces of stuffing rather than large blobs will make this look nicer. Squash it around to make it look even. (you could embellish the pincushion more at this stage than I did -- add a fabric button on the top, for instance, or some ribbon criss crossing)

Apply liberal amounts of hot glue in the bottom and sides of your cup, taking care not to come too close to the top. Squash your pincushion down firmly into the glue. This is where you might need gloves -- the glue makes the cup HOT.

Done. Put some coordinating pins in it and wrap it up for your sewing friend. Or keep it for yourself!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

dolls from Robyn

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, my amazing friend Robyn made my girls matching dolls a la Wee Wonderfuls for their birthdays. I am posting about them to show you her genius way with a needle.

My girls named the dolls after themselves, because Robyn made the dolls to look like them. They are being slept with and dragged around the house and in the car, so I made sure to take these pictures of them before they start looking kind of loved.

When I was talking with my 5 yr old daughter about them, her comment to me was, 'Mama, Miss Robyn can craft.'

Nary a truer word has been spoken.

It has added greatly to my fever to make some dolls myself. Robyn showed me the basic pattern from Put Together Book No. 1 from Hillary Lang that she referenced (she also used ideas from Black Apple's doll tute), and showed me how to sew the body and clothes together as one and a few other pointers.

I love how Emily of Black Apple has added some felt pigtails and also the illusion of long socks to hers, click here to view.

I feel ready! Now I just need to find some time! Upcoming events, all in the next two weeks: home school curriculum fair, our anniversary, daughter's 4th birthday, mother's day. Who needs sleep?

My almost four year old just now came to my elbow, saw what I was posting about, and said "Can you make me a monkey doll, Mama?" (walking away, over shoulder:) "I love you Mama." sigh...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

the ruffle dress

The dress I made to coordinate with the bunny doll in the previous post is from McCall's Easy Stitch 'N Save M5369. The ubiquitous 'Easy' label has fooled me before, but I was in love with the photo of the smiling cherub in her sweet ruffly girly confection. I thought, 'how hard could it be?'.

Well, it was a bit of an education. As soon as I cut out the size 3 yoke I thought it looked pretty wide. So I tried it on my five year old, and it swallowed her shoulders. So I took a full two inches out of the pattern width in each pattern piece, which was a long and tricky process. However, I'm happy with how it turned out. It is a really cute dress, if you don't examine the inside of mine too closely.

(If you have a serger, and can do a rolled hem instead of the time-consuming narrow hem at the bottom of each circular flounce, this pattern would be a whole lot faster to assemble)

The little girl it was made for is blonde and ever so girly, and her favorite color is yellow. As soon as she tried it on, she ran to get her coordinating yellow Mary Janes. She is only just turning 3 this month. Now, that is my kind of gal.