Thursday, November 29, 2012

Made By You

I was giving a little look-see into the Flickr group I set up for you to plop your creations into and discovered some delightful bits of fun. I figured I'd share them here so we can all see what you've been up to.

First up, let's do some wavy totes!

 Pretty, eh? I like the patchworky look it has. It's hard to tell without the other size right next to it, but Lisa made the smaller version (and I think the first one submitted). 

Wavy Top Bag
 Maria made this one is from some elegant looking home dec fabrics. I love the red! I think I want a fancy dress made out of it, if anyone wants to hook me up.

 Wavy top tote 005 
That marble copybook blue is a nice complement to those bright flowers. Nice work, Barbara!

I don't have a name for the submitter of this one, but she claims it's her first bag ever. I feel inclined to call her a liar--it looks too good for a first try! I say that jokingly, of course. Bravo! My first bag looked nowhere near as good :)

Judith posted this lovely butterfly bag. My mom has a soft spot for butterflies and her name is Judy, too. Just sayin'.
The Wavy bag, from Marisa.
Text prints are huge right now, so I love this one from Marisa. The script gives it a lovely scroll look, and an understated elegance.
Kaylas FSU purse 2
Isn't this cool? Gaile made this for an FSU fan--I hope she liked it because that came out nice!
Photo Oct 07, 3 26 16 PM
I don't know who made this one either,  but they were clearly feeling the football vibe, too. I like the bright blue with it. Diggin' that contrast.

That's it for the wavies right now. We've got a few totes in there as well--
Insanely Easy Tote
 CraftyTokyoMama shared a simple and pretty Insanely Easy Tote. There is something just so fresh about blue and white.
Floral Tote
But of course I dig the floral color explosion of this One Yard Tote by Sandy.  

Green Tote  
She also made one in the reverse. How's that for fabric efficiency?! Or maybe it's the lining of the first? I can't tell but either way I like it. Such happy colors!
Paula made a super-cute backpack. I might be afraid to carry it myself as I have an irrational fear of creepy-crawlies, but I think it's adorable anyway :)
And she also made this one. How stinkin' cute is this fabric? So cute I could eat it! See what I did there? Hahaha--because I would totally eat everything on it.

And finally, we have some crochet! I am a bit chilly at the moment, so I very want to wrap myself up in this blocky stripe scarf.

I don't have a name for the creator of this one either, but it sure is a wonderful crochet job.

That's all I've got for now (and I think that's plenty for this pic-heavy post, eh?). Keep 'em comin' and I'll keep sharin'! As long as it's ok with you--if your work is up there and you don't want it to be please let me know and I'll take it down. I do so love when you share things in that pool--inspiration is something that's always welcome here!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Three Things You Might Want

Am I allowed to say the c-word now? Because I'm going to say it. Christmas. It's in less than a month. I have no idea what I want. No. Idea. I need a new cutting mat and big quilting ruler but beyond that I've got nothing. However, I do have a list of things YOU might want if you haven't already got them. They're all perfectly sized to be stocking stuffers. Coincidentally I've got some stockings for sale in my shop. And speaking of my shop--I was able to write a nice check for the fundraiser held over the weekend--thank you to everyone who bought something, whether for that purpose or not. I appreciate it greatly! Circling back to my original point...

First up - Clover Wonder Clips. They come in packages of 10 or 50, and are one of my favorite things ever.

While I have more pins in my cushions than...someone with a lot of something has of that something, sometimes they just don't cut it. For piecing most fabrics I use either glass-head pins or flat-head pins (with a longer shaft). But sometimes, especially if it's a layer-licious handbag, pins distort the layers and then I must wield the mighty seam ripper, and I hate wielding that thing. But these clips hold everything nice and snug, keep everything from shifting, and are easy to clip/unclip. Some people use binder clips for the same purpose, but sometimes those are tough little buggers to open.

They're also marvelous for holding bias tape in place when binding a quilt. I am very meticulous when pinning the binding on a quilt, but when I remove the pins, things wiggle juuuuuuuuust enough to goof things up. These keep things in place. OH! And if you sew with oilcloth, vinyl, leather, or other fabrics you don't want pinholes in, these are the doohickeys for the job. You definitely want these.

Next up is something I've extolled the virtues of before--the hera marker. It's a thin piece of plastic that ever so subtly marks a temporary line on your quilt, thereby eliminating the need to use disappearing inks, chalk pencils, or quilter's masking tape (and then trying to make the ink disappear, clean off the chalk, or pick the tape residue out of your stitches--all things that have made me utter unladylike phrases).

When I do simple whole-cloth quilting, I can mark several lines at a time and just zip them under my needle. It takes me maybe a tenth of the time as it used to now that I have one of these. Some quilters may be aghast at my lickety-split approach to quilting, but I don't quilt often, I don't make heirloom quilts, and I'm too jumpy to get to the next project--I want tools that make certain things easier. This is definitely one of those things.

See those subtle creases? That's the line it makes. It's even easier to see under the light from your sewing machine. Simple grid quilting is my favorite--if there are no seams to guide me then this is my best friend.

I've also mentioned this next item before--a tailor's awl.

I use mine awl the time. Hahahahaha--get it? Awl? All? I changed the words for the....they sound alike...but when you spell it...whatever. It's awesome. I try to not sew over  my pins, but sometimes you need a little pin action right up until the last second. This helps with that. It also helps when trying to press open seams--your fingers are kept out of the way of your vicious iron. I think you're probably supposed to use it for making holes or whatever, and I'm sure it works for that, too.

I've found these items on Amazon, as well as on the Clover website. Clover has bunches of other goodies you might be interested--poke around when you've got a few.

Anything you'd add to the list? Any gadgets you're madly in love with? Let us know! I'd greatly appreciate you telling me what I might want for Christmas :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Things You'll Want to Print (Maybe)

Good Friday morning to you! Are you among the throngs hitting the shops today for the best deals? Or are you all cozy at home, waiting for cyber Monday to roll around? I'm doing the latter. I don't do massive crowds, especially those that tend to trample, so I avoid the whole ordeal.

I've got just a few things to share today, a little bit repeatish, but if there's one thing I do well it's repeat myself. First, if you haven't started your shopping yet, or your kids haven't written their lists, I've got a printable I posted last year to share again. Simply click on the link below under the photo, set your print options to 'no scaling,' and print/cut apart. They work best on card stock (for sturdiness) but plain paper is fine too.

Click here to print

And secondly (also lastly)--do you remember these trees? I don't mean as remember existing at your grandma's house or something, but here on this wee blog?

Well I posted a template for you (after several pleas) in case you feel like sewing and stuffing a few this year (or any year). It's on the original post (towards the end) where you'll also find some brief directions on how to make them. Make sure your scaling is set to 'none' when you print, or your trees may come out a bit smaller. Which is no big deal--I want to make another of these in this pretty white fabric that I don't have a ton of so I'll need a smaller size.

And that's that! Must go eat leftovers. Have a good 'un!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It sounds so trite to say to someone "Be thankful for what you have." And oftentimes I hear people deride the holiday of Thanksgiving with "One should be thankful every day, not just one day a year." True. But it's lovely to have that one day of the year where we actually stop and consciously think of all that we have to be thankful for, instead of a cursory "Yeah, yeah, I know I'm lucky." And this is coming from someone who ranks TG as one of their least favorite holidays.

When I consider the year I've had (as well as those around me), I realize I have so much to be thankful for. I have my health, my family, my friends, hobbies that I enjoy, my job, enough food to put some extra pounds on even though the guy at our corporate health fair tells me to lose a few each year (yeah, I guess I showed him :) and people that make me happy when I think of them (i.e. you. Yuns. Youse guys. Y'all)

So I thank you for giving me a small chunk of your time to read my blathering. In a busy, crazy world that sometimes kicks your ass, it means a lot to head to my inbox and see the lovely things you've posted/emailed. So thank you for being you.

Now go tuck in that napkin, undo the button on your pants, and chow down.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Giveaway Winner!!!

'Allo! Whizzing by to let you all know the winner of the gift certificate. Because if I don't do it now I will surely forget. And I'll be sound asleep one night, and then I'll wake with a start and a hearty handclap to the forehead with a mid-night exclamation of "Oh no! The giveaway!" So without further ado--

Drum roll please. Ahem....drum roll?? Hello?  :)

I plugged some numbers into the random number generator and it violently spit a number back out at me. And that would be:

Which is Sandy, who commented:

Congratulations Sandy! I'll be emailing you shortly to firm up the details to get you your prize!

Thank you all so much for playing along--I really enjoyed your comments. They were truly feel-good reading material (and sometimes made me hungry :)  Have an excellent day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Winterberry Handbag

After seeing how my sister's and my mom's new bags turned out I decided that that was the style I needed to make for myself. However, I'm not a black and tan or black or gray kind of person. I need to have some color or I'll just be all meh about it. I don't know what took me so long to think of gray, but once I latched onto it I started concocting different color schemes for what might work best. My coat is a pretty shade of turquoise, so I was thinking gray and that or gray and lime, but I couldn't find anything that seemed just right. I had to pick a few things up at Joann's so I figured I'd have a casual look-see. When I walked past the purples there was one there that just seemed to say "Please won't you pick me?" I'm not a purple person (I'm actually quite fair-skinned, bahahahahaha). Seriously, purple may be my least favorite color. But this was more of a cross between fuchsia and plum and was quite acceptable, especially with the gray. Throw in the perfectly matching lining and a trip to the Kona solids section for a matching berry solid and bam! My new handbag.

The gray and the white and the medallions all make me think of snow, and the soft purply light that comes just after sunset (especially when there's a white blanket covering the ground). I always found there to be something so...survivalist about berries that grow even in winter. Like in 'Farmer Boy' from the Little House series where Almanzo and Alice go digging through the snow for wintergreen leaves and berries. Something so wintry and cold, but sweet and hopeful. 

I put the diamonds to the side instead of upright, just for a different look. I was going to fussy cut the diamonds and mix them in with the berry solid, but then it would be too purply, which just would not do at all.

The inside is a tiny medallion print that looks like a snowfall inside. LOVE!!!!!! I usually buy my zippers in bulk over the internet, and it's hard to tell the colors accurately sometimes. As such, I end up with weird colors and wonder just what the hell they'll go with. Well, if you wait long enough you'll make a winterberry bag and find the perfect use for the purple zipper you bought. Patience, kids. Patience.

I obviously still have not mastered tying the bow. Stupid thing that's stupid and won't be tied right. If you use eyelets and grommets in your sewing and don't already have one, I highly recommend the grommet/eyelet setting pliers. They make everything snug and secure, and if you have some aggression you need to work out a few squeezes and you'll be back to calm. They're not always an easy squeeze, so if you have carpal tunnel issues the little anvil kit that you whack with a hammer works just as well too (both for the eyelets and the aggression). I used silver rectangle rings for the straps:

The basic construction of this one is the same as the other two I've made, and I love the versatility of the bag. It looks good in different materials and prints, in patchwork or plain. It took me a Saturday afternoon to make my bag, and a full day each for the other two (because of the patchwork and measuring, etc.). Because I have an almost complete idea of what works and what sizes work best for all the parts even the patchwork versions would be quicker now. I'm not saying it's going to happen in a wink (most likely after the holidays), but if you think you might like a sew-along for this one please let me know in the comments.

Ta for now!

Linking up here this week:
Under the Table and Dreaming*** Skip to My Lou *** Pinkapotamus *** Sew Can Do *** Craftomaniac *** Homemaker on a Dime *** C.R.A.F.T. *** Sarahndipities *** Today's Creative Blog*** Creative Itch *** Funky Polkadot Giraffe ***Chef in Training *** My Girlish Whims *** Sew Much Ado *** Free Pretty Things for You *** Tea Rose Home *** Someday Crafts*** Somewhat Simple *** Fireflies and Jellybeans *** Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom  *** The Shabby Nest *** While He Was Napping *** Tatertots and Jello *** Be Different Act Normal *** To Sew With Love *** Craftionary *** Family, Home and Life

Sunday, November 18, 2012


I've finished up a few things this week that I'm happy to have done. They're the kinds of things that don't take much time to do, and perhaps that''s why they keep getting put off--because they won't take long and I can just whip them up and blah blah blah.

First up--I finished up the wristlet to go with my mom's handbag. Since I had chopped up a charm pack into equal sized scraps it was easy to piece together the front and back and do some light quiting (it's not misshapen--she's already filled it).

That's the back. That floral print just left of dead center is my favorite in this whole collection. I think I might stock up on some just to have on hand as it's such a versatile fabric.

On the front I added a little yo-yo made from the same fabric as the lining (which is the same gray as I used for the lining in the bag). The button is much more off-white than the picture shows, for some reason.

Didn't it turn out cute? I love it. And now she's all matchy-matchy.

Next up I finished my scarf I had started last week. I was looking for a project that was different from what I usually do, but was still going to be fairly quick and easy. I made one of those ruffle scarves that seem to be quite popular lately. Different to make, but kind of fun once you get the hang of it. And the effect is pretty dang cool.

I made it Sunday afternoon. And then it sat in the pile waiting for the ends to be hidden. I didn't know how to hide them so I tied a few knots and buried them in the ruffles.

The yarn itself is this meshy open stuff--you stick your needle through the mesh instead of wrapping it in the traditional way. Weird to get started but easy once you get going.

Nifty, eh? It looks delicate but feels thick and sturdy. I love the poof to it.

I don't know when I'll wear it as it's a bit dressy looking and I made it to go with my dressier coat (and I'm not a dressy person who goes dressy places)...but it was fun to make. Maybe I'll wear it to work since they frequently try to freeze me to death (honestly--I have fingerless gloves and a space heater by my desk and sometimes that's not even enough).

Then I finished a few things to add to the shop. Don't forget--you have until Thursday to have half of your total go to fundraising efforts (see the note just under my header for details). Thank you to those of you who have purchased items--you have no idea how much I appreciate it!

First I made a pile of pot scrubbies. These are the first things that I learned to crochet.

You can find the listing and the whole description here--these would make a cute Christmas gift, hint hint.

And then I made these quilted coasters. I bought the fabric out of love but had no idea what to do with it. I googled the fabric name (Merry Main Street by Alexander Henry) and found the idea at Gwenny Penny's blog. I made two sets and then got bored.

The best part is how some of them look like photo bombs. You can find the listings here and here (they're two separate listings as they're two subtly different sets).

So that's that. I'd say it was a productive weekend, wouldn't you? Now I must go play with a baby that came to visit :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Few Things

Just a quick reminder: there's only one week left if you'd like to make a purchase from my shop and have 50% of your total go directly towards the fundraiser being held for my friend's husband. They have thankfully received a partial diagnosis. So while he is still unable to work (he was self-employed) and may not be able to do so again (at least in his previous line of work) he has been able to start very slowly down a very long road of treatment. If you use the code BEESBUZZ at checkout you'll receive 10% off your order (savings on some goodies for you!) and again, half of everything (including shipping) will go to the fundraiser. Some things have already been snagged, so grab it if you're interested!

Also--there's only a few days left to enter my blogiversary giveaway--$25 to See this post for all the details. You're leaving me the most delightful comments, by the way.

Want to make some adorable pressies that are quick and simple? Michelle Patterns (formerly known as Keyka Lou Patterns) is having a great sale right now. The patterns are well-written, go together quickly, and really look nice. Or you can have a look at my pal Jane's Etsy shop. She's got some great patterns for sale, too. If you want to give a handmade bag/purse/pouch/etc. to someone special this Christmas, the prices at these sites are reasonable, the results adorable, and the effort needed not ridiculous.

Time has been a bit short of late--I apologize if I haven't responded to your comments. I read every single one, and try to reply to as many as I can. If I haven't replied please know it's just due to a big fat case of the busies that I get hit with every year around this time. I do appreciate the visits and the time it takes to leave a comment.

And finally, here are some flowers. Just because. They're for you :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Twenty-One in Dog Years Giveaway!

Hey there, gang! With time flying by the way it's been I almost missed the grand event that is my three-year blogiversary! I had a few moments of "When...but wait it had to be, it was AFTER that..." until I went and looked it up. Today is three years to the day. Wow. I can't believe it. It feels like forever, and yet like it was yesterday.

This blog was a tiny little thing for oh-so-long. I had a handful of readers a day, and most of them I either lived with/was related to, or worked with. I had grand expectations for everything--somehow I was going to get rich and just blog and sew the day away. I'd have a gazillion followers who would all think I was a genius. Needless to say it didn't happen that way. Blogging isn't always easy--I honestly think the hardest part is not the content, not the photographs, but the getting-your-name-out-there aspect of it all. If you're not a big self-promoter (and I am nowhere near being one) it's hard to get that traffic moving your way. After thinking long and hard of what I want from my blog, I decided I want what it already is. A little space to share and reflect, to give and get ideas, to capture moments in time that may otherwise pass, forgotten.

While no one wants to write a blog just for themselves to read, it's also not all about the number of followers (this I know is true, but I do get excited when the number goes up, and feel a little pang of aw-shucks when it goes down), but the interaction and the inspiration and the support that this aspect of the internet can give. Your comments make me grin and laugh, and puff my feathers with pride when you tell me how you loved one of my tutorials. I thank you so very much for the bits of time that you spend here.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a $25 gift certificate to They carry so many makes and models of fabrics and prints it's dizzying, and their prices aren't too shabby, either. Say you don't sew, but would like to learn to knit or crochet--they've got the tools for that. Need some scrapbook embellishments? They've got those too. Need to fill your button jar? Yep, you can. Patterns? Check. Sewing machines? Yeah-huh. OK, I'll stop. You get the point.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. You can tell me what you had for breakfast, a really good book that you read, or ideas for things you'd like to see more of here on my blog. I need a way to contact the winner so please leave your email address (you can write it as mynameATwhereverDOTcom to trick the spambots if that concerns you) or have it linked to your profile. And that's it. I'll leave it open for a week, so this will end on Monday, November 19th at 11:59 PM EST.

Good luck!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

My Momma and Her Little Black Dress

Anyone who knows my mother is probably all "Whaaaat?" upon reading that title. Because one of the last things my mother would don (and let me post about, nonetheless) is a little black dress. We share the "Are dress pants and flats acceptable?" gene. So what's the dillio then? I made my mother a handbag. Her first. Well, not her first. She still owns her first, from way back in the day (nostalgia and all that jazz). But the first one she's let me make for her. I have pleaded with her since I started churning out handbags to puh-leaze let me make her a bag. She always says something like "No, I don't really need one" or "I have no idea what I'd even want" or "No, I don't want to give you more work." The closest I've gotten is a wristlet that she uses all the time.

However, upon seeing my sister's bag she proclaimed "I want one." And so I made her one this weekend, in Basic Gray for Moda's "Little Black Dress." What a beautiful fabric line! I'm usually all about color, but there was something about this line that caught my eye and held it. And it was perfect for my mother's taste.

I used a charm pack for the patchwork part. I cut each 5 inch square down to a 3 inch square, and stashed the scraps to make a new wristlet for her as well (when I get a mo). I sewed strips of black to the bottom of each panel and boxed the corners so that they would fall precisely on the bottom (so the base of the bag is all black, but you can't tell by looking at it head on). I used each square in the pack (which I was happy about--I don't know what I would have done with a few random squares). I was considering doing some light quilting, but I didn't want it to be too quilty looking, so I stopped at the patchwork.

I found some antique bronze rings that were perfect for the straps, and wanted to find grommets to match. I did and verily skipped out of the store with glee. But when I got them home they were too large for any of the tools I have (including a few sets of those grommet setting plier thingees). So I had to go with the regular brass ones. They're close enough that as they tarnish with time they should match spot on. Hopefully.

 My sewing machine started throwing a miniature fit that had me on the brink of punching a wall. Apparently I had a bit of an icky needle that was protesting the many layers of fleece and fabric it had to punch through. Now would not be a wonderful time to take her to the shop for a look-see. Luckily everything went back to normal. Crisis averted by a quick needle change. Phew.

I used the same lining as I did for my sissie's bag. I absolutely love this gray. Have you seen all of the not-quite-solid solids they've been coming out with? Very subtle characteristics that make it still one color but with a little something extra? Love it! Plain solids can be boring, but solids with a bit o' somethin'-somethin' are fun.

OK, fine. I'll tell you the secret mistake. You dragged it out of me. I sewed it together upside down. You can't really tell, but I can, and I always feel the need to blurt such things out. I was so anal and neurotic about sewing the squares together, that I didn't even notice until I was sewing the straps on that I had made a not-obvious uh-oh. And also? Why are bows so stinkin' hard to tie? I tried absolutely everything and it is beyond me to make a perfect bow. Good thing my mother isn't a fan of perfect.

Wouldn't this fabric be a great quilt? Even if it was just big simple squares with easy quilting? It's so pretty, so classy, so elegant in and of itself that nothing more would need to be done with it. I've fallen in love with fabrics before--for example, Aneela Hoey's "Sherbet Pips" is my all-time favorite. This is my second. Go figure. Two lines that couldn't be more opposite and I adore them both. Kind of like my parents, bwahahahahaha. Happy Monday, kids!

Linking up here:
Under the Table and Dreaming*** Skip to My Lou *** Pinkapotamus *** Sew Can Do *** Craftomaniac *** Homemaker on a Dime *** C.R.A.F.T. *** Today's Creative Blog*** Creative Itch *** Funky Polkadot Giraffe ***Chef in Training *** My Girlish Whims *** Sew Much Ado *** Free Pretty Things for You *** Tea Rose Home *** Someday Crafts*** Somewhat Simple *** Fireflies and Jellybeans *** Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom  *** The Shabby Nest *** While He Was Napping *** Tatertots and Jello *** Be Different Act Normal *** To Sew With Love *** Craftionary *** Family, Home and Life 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bavarian Crochet

Bavarian crochet. I've heard it called 'Yarn Eater' crochet, but I prefer Bavarian. It makes me think of sleepy German villages, nestled at the foot of a mountain, with snowy fir trees and cozy wooden houses. Sitting within these houses, next to the fire, warm blankets are stitched while tasty pretzels are being munched (because there always must be food).

Anywhodle, I bought this book from Amazon several weeks ago when I was trying to get my total high enough for free shipping.

I gave a flip through the projects and decided I love this baby blanket--

--and this table runner:

I then put the book down and forgot about it completely. Last weekend when we were sitting around, waiting for Superstorm Sandy to go away, I didn't feel like sewing (though I had some to do). I remembered my forgotten book and sat down with some yarn left over from my granny square to practice with.

I don't know why (because crochet is crochet, after all) but I thought this was going to be some entirely new method of hooking. What it really is is a two-round stitch pattern with a few variations for different shapes. The projects are all based on the same stitch, just with different counts depending on what it is you're making. If I had thought ahead slightly I'd have searched Google for instructions and found everything I needed to know (so do that if you're interested and save yourself some money).

Here's the first thing I made up--just a square...thing.

Everything is triple/treble crochet and chains (with a few singles thrown in). I don't usually work in triples so it's hard to make the double-wrap a habit. I also seem to work a little looser in this stitch than I prefer--

I'm not a fan of gaps . Of course because I embrace the definition of insanity (same thing/different results) I kept trying. Next I went for the rectangle--

It seems that finding just the right yarn and hook combo is critical to creating a fabric that isn't too tight, but isn't too loose and open. I decided to see if switching to a double crochet would help at all. I switched to one of the super-soft yarns instead of regular for this.

It gave the look I wanted, but was way too hard to do. There are a ton of back-post crochets, and the double really didn't give enough flexibility to do it over and over and over without the feeling that you'd need carpal tunnel surgery the very next day, even with the softer yarn.

After a bit of examination, I realized my problem. In between certain sections you're required to chain 5. This was too many. When I cut it down to 4 I was much happier with the results, though I still need some practice to get my stitching consistent.

I love the diamond-pattern that emerges on the front as you go round and round and round. And round. No wonder it's aka the yarn eater.

The back has an interesting look, too. Kind of puffy and squishy looking. I can't quite put my finger on what it reminds me of.

But I've decided this will be my next blanket. I'd like to do a sportweight yarn so it won't be heavier than me when I'm done but I'm having trouble finding colors I like. I may have to forgo that idea and go with a yarn that is widely available, since I have no idea how much I'll need. I foresee several yarn-buying trips during the making of whatever I decide on.


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