Thursday, February 25, 2010

more memory lane: teacup pincushion

My last intallment of blog memories. Ah, good times. Good times. (wistful expression)

I should have some new posts for you next week. Today's selection is a teacup pincushion tutorial from May two years ago. Maybe new to you?


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.

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!

Monday, February 22, 2010

more memory lane: friendship tree

Waaay on back toward the beginning of my blog journey I did a series called, eloquently enough, 'stuff to do with charm packs'. This post was part of that series, and might be new to some of my newer readers. If I had just known then how stinkin hard it would be to get more Flea Market Fancy I might've made a larger purchase than a charm pack. Doh!


FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2008
stuff to do with charm packs, part four

Make frameable art.

I was inspired by these cute cards from How About Orange. This is a tree I drew in Illustrator, then output on green art paper that I had in my stash. Then I cut the leaves out with an Xacto knife and used charm square fabric behind the holes. You just snip out a piece slightly larger than the leaf and glue or tape it around the edges to the back side of the paper. Then put it in a frame, or if you use it without a frame, you would adhere an additional piece of chip board or matte board on the back so you won't see all the ugly stuff. I like to use a generous sized matte and a simple black frame.

If you want to do something a lot like this, you can download the tree here. It makes a 5x7 piece of art.

Friday, February 19, 2010

blog break and memory lane

Hey there, you guys. There is going to be a shortage of new posts here at mmmcrafts until the first of March.

I thought I'd send you down a trip through blog memory lane. It will give you something to look at until I'm back. So here is a reprise of my very first blog post, from March two years ago. Maybe it is new to some of you! (As it turns out, Robyn is not my only reader. Thanks, y'all!)



So here's my new crafty blog. Robyn, you'll probably be my only reader. :-)
I thought I'd start off with a freebie. Here is a card I designed for congrats on a new baby/pregnancy. If you'd like to use it for personal greetings (please don't sell items made with this image) feel free to download it. Print it from your own color printer on card stock. Trim and fold it according to the built in directions and voila!
Finished size = 5.5" x 4.25", fits in a standard invitation envelope.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

frilly unmentionables bag

My friend Kristyn had a lingerie shower this past weekend and I decided to make her a travel bag to go with the hardly-wearables I was giving her. My mom made me a similar bag when I got married, and it has come in very handy to protect my filmy and snag-able items from wear and tear inside the suitcase.

The fabric I used was a decor weight Jade Somerset I have had for a while. What is it with me and paisley lately?

It is very simple to make, but it took a couple tries to get the closure right. I thought at first I'd make it a drawstring bag and I had it gathered round the top with a really pretty black and white grosgrain ribbon, but discovered that it would not cinch closed because the fabric was too bulky. Oops. So I cut off the the drawstring tube and sewed in a zipper instead. Not as attractive maybe, but easier to use. Done.

If you are interested in making one, it is basically two 14 inch x 18 inch rectangles sewn right sides together with one short side left open for the zipper, then turned. I made a silky lining that was the same size, dropped it inside the bag wrong sides facing, and basted it around the top. Then I folded over the edges and sewed in the zipper.

Monday, February 15, 2010

papercut valentines

I hope you all had a moony-eyed and chocolate filled weekend. If that is the kind of thing you like, of course.

I had fun making these cards a few days ago. One is for my schmoopie, and one was for a sweet couple we know who are getting married in a couple of weeks. (If you were never twelve, then you would not know that the TLF ligature means True Love Forever.)

I could see myself getting really obsessed by paper cutting, if there weren't already a thousand other craft skillz I like to dabble in.

Friday, February 12, 2010

thrifted fabric

From a recent stop in my local thrift store. They had tons of fabric that day for some reason, and I had a hard time not buying it all. This is an interesting paisley euro sham I'll turn into something.

Denim curtains that are destined for some dresses for me and the girls. You can't beat the yardage for the money.

Two solid sheet sets that are in great colors. Nothing like cheap sheet sets to use as a first run with a new pattern.
  1. there's plenty to spare for mistakes in cutting
  2. if it sews up as a total disaster you are not out a lot of money
  3. if by some miracle the result is wearable, then it is at least in a nice color and weight instead of white muslin.

I couldn't resist all these cheerful yellow remnants for some future quilting endeavor!

And some purple floral polyester double knit, baby. I've never sewn with this stuff before, but I think it will make the girls some cute dresses or shirts.

Not pictured are some white faux fur and also brown knubbly stuff that I couldn't resist for possible future softies. They had a lot of different kinds of faux fur and also some real fur that I held and stared at for a long while, but which I restrained myself from buying in the end.

As soon as I walk in the door with any thrifted fabric (or store bought fabric for that matter) it goes straight in the washer with warm or hot water, then in the dryer. Then it is clean and pre-shrunk and ready for whatever ideas hit me later.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Simplicity 3835, second try

full length shot, including my not-photo-ready toes

and, a bit closer, so your eyes can really cross at the riot of different colors and patterns in this picture.

I'm sorry about that photo background. Squint your eyes and envision me superimposed on a pristine, softly lit white wall next to a distressed-but-charming yellow demilune table, atop which is a delicate bird's nest, including two blue spotted eggs. Isn't that stunning?



Yay! It worked. Eventually. With adjustments. But I can actually wear this out and about and feel great in it. I made myself a dress, people! (Andy Williams singing "The Impossible Dream" in background). The fabric is from Amy Butler's Lotus collection, which I adored. Perfect for spring.

After much internal debate, I chose to cut out the size 14 and take it in rather than try to adjust the fit of the size 12. And it was too big. Quite a bit too big, actually. In hindsight what I should have done was kept the size 12, widened the shoulders a tad and shortened the waist (which would have fixed the snugness in the hips). Why doesn't hindsight show up early for once? Stupid hindsight.

So it took a bit of adjusting. I took it in on the sides quite a bit, and it was still kind of billowy looking across the front. After some more pondering I improvised a 2 inch wide self-belt across the front that is sewn into the side seams. I like how it gives some definition to my waist and takes in some of the extra fabric.

Since it was a size up, I went ahead and sewed the sleeves with the full seam allowance and they are not too snug. It is just the right amount of tightness.

I got real ambitious this time and decided to add a lining, just in the main body and not the sleeves. Which was actually not difficult at all! And it feels so great on. Very worth the trouble.

You can see the unfortunate pattern clash on the back center seam of the dress, where it is almost-matched-but-not-quite so it looks like a mistake. Sigh. I only had 2 yards of fabric so I was really houdini-ing it to make the dress, and there was no way I could have attempted to pattern match. This particular arrangement was just the dumb luck of the draw when I cut it out. I'm going to try not to let it bother me.

And here again is the duvet cover trial run, now transformed into a tunic with pockets:

I left the sleeves alone because in the end I was too lazy to cuff them, but I think it works since I used a little of that fabric for the top of the pockets. I made my own larger pockets because I thought the ones in the pattern were kind of shrimpy. And I like flaps like hers. With buttons.

It is still kind of snug around the hips, especially since now I need to wear pants with it, but I'll deal with that. I am actually now noticing in the top picture that one paisley bloom thingy right there in the front is so much lighter than the rest. Hmmm. Weird. I really like this blue, and I still have a bunch of this fabric left over, so I might even attempt this one again.

I will definitely be making more of this pattern, in all the variations. It is pretty simple to sew, and now that I have most of the kinks worked out, I can count on them coming out at the least wearable, and maybe fabulous.

Friday, February 5, 2010

what I'm up to

1) waiting for some sunshine, please.

2) when the sunshine appears, I'll take a photo of this, altered into a tunic.

3) hopefully by then I'll also be able to take a photo of my new dress currently underway (same pattern), which will {fingers crossed} fit better and be something I can wear. In public I mean. I seized this opportunity to try adding a lining also, which turned out pretty good.

4) I am also still practicing crochet. One day I want to make something as beautiful as this! Or at least a scarf.

5) I did some thrifting the other day to find the girls some spring clothes and came home with a bunch of fabric. From which I can theoretically make them some clothes. I mean I couldn't just leave it there. Could I? *snort* Heck no! I'll snap some pictures of that too.

6) The Holland Academy for Young Ladies is in full winter swing here. My five year old is learning to read, and doing a great job reading aloud. The only drawback is she reads only in the voice of Sid the Sloth from Ice Age. My seven year old daily laments being born to write in English, which surely must be one of the weirdest languages in the world*. I just have to continually smile and say, "Nope, it is not spelled at all how it sounds. It's crazy, I know."

*Which brings up the random memory of my chagrined dutch friend Anette exclaiming after she offered me a piece of gum, "It is DentEEN? DENTEEN? But WHY do they spell it DENTYNE when they want you to say DENTEEEEN??" Why indeed, Anette. Why indeed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

and the Knitty Bitties winner is...

image courtesy of Knitty Bitties

Hey everybody, what a bunch of nice comments on Andrea's shop! She is very talented, and generous to boot.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for, by random number generator, the winner is:

workerbee, who writes:
"Wow - what a talented girl she is! Oh how I wish I had the time and creativity to design like her. Woe is me. Guess I'll just have to hope I win! (would be only be right since today is my birthday....)."

People, I promise, I didn't pick her because it was her birthday, Mr. Random did! But how cool is that? Happy birthday, workerbee! You need to contact me via this post and let me know your email address, and also which fabulous prize you would like, the ruffle bag or the camera strap.

Everyone, thanks for participating!

P.S. If you'd like another chance to win something, hurry over to Knitty Bitties and comment for your chance to win your choice of a Baby Binky Bunny, Katy Kitty, or a Mikey Monkey pattern. Her comments are still open, last I checked.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Knitty Bitties giveaway

images courtesy of Knitty Bitties

Comments are now closed! Thanks a bunch.

To combat the February blahs, here is a colorful Valentines treat for you:

Andrea of Knitty Bitties, talented crafter extraordinaire, has graciously offered to give one of my wonderful and ever tasteful readers your choice of the following from her great shop on etsy:

1) one Happy Little Camera Strap Slipcover, Hello 2010 Colorway


2) one Everyday Ruffle Pouch

Isn't that swell of her? To enter the giveaway, leave one comment here, including your email address. Be sure to check out the other awesomeness in her shop as well.

Comments will be closed on Wednesday the 3rd and the winner will be chosen by a random number generator. Good luck!