Thursday, November 14, 2013

Giving thanks...for kids

Last year, I shared this link for a great family Thanksgiving activity.  We just pulled it out and read over what we wrote.  It was cute to see the kids read their responses. 

Thanksgiving printable for kids.

This year, I found this via Craft Gossip and wanted to share with you.  It would be a great project for school, or home, either before or on Thanksgiving.

Hope you are finding many reasons for giving thanks! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

New Blog Button...finally!

Jane Of All Trades

After working on it way too long yesterday, I finally figured out how to include a blog button (at the request of one lovely reader - thanks, N!). 

If you are in a similar boat, look no further than HERE. It took me all of 3 minutes!  Not bad for a severely inept techy like me!

Feel free to grab the code and post the button on your blog - especially if you've referenced one of my tutorials.  Share the love! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Custom Halloween Pillows

A while back, I fell in love with this pillow.  It was on my list of Halloween crafts, but I just hadn't found the right template for my oversize couch pillows (remember them from this?). 

Flash forward a few weeks, and I found the above skeleton sketch in the trash!  Little E had drawn it to carve on her pumpkin, but didn't like it after all.  I pulled it out, enlarged it on the copier and turned it into a felt applique for the pillow cover.  Instead of a blanket stitch, I made coordinating felt piping (see here for the how-to).  I didn't have to worry about cutting on the bias because the felt is stretchy enough with the straight cut.  I basically followed these directions to make the pillow. 

With one pillow done, I was inspired to cover the other two in the same fashion.  Little E supplied the ghost.  Little A was more hesitant to draw on demand, so I found one of her drawings of a happy face and turned the hair into a stem.  Can you keep a straight face when you look at him?

I'm so excited to have festive, custom pillow covers for the Halloween season.  They are even more special because they are based on my girls' art work.  I know we'll have fun pulling them out every year and remembering their 4 and almost 7 year old versions of these Halloween classics. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Orange and Pink

This fall, oranges and pinks seem to abound.  My eye is drawn to this vibrant combination, and I can't seem to get enough!

While walking through Joann's a few months ago, I spotted this fabric.  I couldn't resist scooping it up - especially with two new baby friends in the world.  

Two simple baby blankets, with rounded corners and a cozy chenille backing.  Perfect for that tummy time, and totally machine-washable for the mamas.  I hope the baby girls love the colors and print as much as I do!  Perhaps I'll inspire a (very) early love of fabric.

Wishing you a vibrant day!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween wreath, take two

A few weeks ago, I shared this wreath, with some thoughts on a second version.  Miracle of crafting miracles, I actually made a second version!  
Same grapevine wreath, but different paint.  This time, I used Rust-Oleum American Accents Ultra Cover Gloss in Real Orange.  I was really happy with the color, shine and coverage, even with the first coat. 
For the flowers, I loosely followed this tutorial.  The cream and yellow flowers were made with 2 1/2" circles, while the smaller gray ones were made with 1 1/2" circles.

I cut a simple 3" strip of felt with this and tied it to the top with a simple overhand knot. 
Except for my uber-procrastination, this project would have taken about a night.  I think I might be slightly addicted to this spray paint/wreath/fabric flower wreath project.  Don't be surprised if you see a few more (dozen) in the future! 
What are you doing to decorate for Halloween?  If you are looking for some other fun, simple projects, check these out:

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Falling into Fall: Halloween Wreath

It's the first day of fall!  For us New Englanders, this means the promise of apple picking, leaf peeping, and, of course, Halloween! 

As an early house-warming gift for a friend, I made this Halloween wreath.    A simple grapevine wreath spray painted with Krylon Pumpkin Orange Interior and Exterior Decorator Paint (took a few coats to get in all those nooks and crannies!).  I followed this tutorial to make the flowers - altering the length and width of the fabric strips for the various sized flowers.

Between the paint and rolled flowers, it only took an evening.  I love projects like these - quick, simple, uses materials on-hand - and yields a beautiful result!

Now I have to go out and make more for myself!  I have a few other flower styles I want to try - maybe black, gray and white felt? 

What's your favorite part of fall?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Skirt-A-Day giveaway winner!

We have a winner!
Katie F, who said, "Oh wow! I love this book already! I would have a hard time deciding between the Tuesday, and Saturday skirt!!!!!"
Katie, start thinking hard about which skirt to sew because the book is coming your way!  Please email me your mailing address and I'll send it along to Storey Publishing.  They'll ship the book out speedy quick so you can get sewing!
Thanks to all who entered - either via blog comment or email!
I'll be back soon to share something new to my crafty repertoire. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Skirt-A-Day Sewing: Book Review and Giveaway!

Happy September, everyone!

I'm so excited to share another new book with you all: Skirt-a-Day Sewing: Create 28 Skirts for a Unique Look Every Day

If you've read my blog at all, you know I aspire to sew more clothes for myself.  I've attempted store-bought patterns but am always stuck when it comes to sizing - my curves don't fit exactly what's on the package!  Enter: Skirt-a-Day Sewing

This book walks you through the steps of creating your own customized sloper (a pattern made exactly to YOUR measurements).  From that sloper, the book shows you how to springboard and create 28 different skirts, based on four basic styles: wrap, straight, flare and high-waisted.  Each project is rated beginner, intermediate or advanced.

To start, I went with the author's advice and sewed a wrap skirt.  It was hard to choose because all the skirts are so cute! 

Creating a sloper, and the subsequent patterns takes time.  These are not one-hour projects.  But, the time put in is well worth it as you'll create a skirt that fits you EXACTLY how you want it! 

I treated myself to a new tool suggested by the author: the Dritz Styling Design Ruler
It helps draw curves (which I definitely have!) and other pattern needs.

Because it's getting cool here in New England, I wanted to use a fabric that would transition into fall - a light-weight corduroy felt right.  Works with wedges for now, tights and boots later.  My goal was to use leather trim for the ties and pocket.

A work in progress here.  I ended up cutting the ties too short (so they don't actually wrap!) and I decided to forego the pocket.  But...can you see the fit?  Pretty spot on for my curves. 

I'm looking forward to trying more skirts (27 to go!) and working more with my sloper.  For never having done sewing like this, Skirt-a-Day Sewing is a great resource for construction, drafting, designing and sewing. 

Would you like to try your hand at it? 

Thanks to the lovely Storey Publishing, I have a copy of Skirt-a-Day Sewing to give away!

Leave a comment about which style you would try first.  Giveaway is open until Monday, September 16th at 11 p.m. EST.  Open to U.S. residents only. 

And, if you just can't wait for the giveaway, you can find a copy HERE !

Good luck!

And, for more chances to win, check out these amazing blogs:



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Beginning of school projects abound

It's that time of year again - back to school!

This year, we have a first grader in the house.  Her little IKEA craft table wasn't cutting it anymore - her sewing machine barely fit on it, and she was hunched over sewing.  Time for a grown up desk.

Enter this guy from Salvation Army.  I loved the slightly smaller size, but still lots of storage and space for homework and a sewing machine.

Here it is after MANY days of sanding off that ugly dark brown stain and finish!  Already looking better.

And here it is done!  I had to negotiate a bit so the whole thing didn't end up magenta, but I think Little E did well with the drawer pulls.  Stay tuned for the matching (and I mean hot pink) stool I'm working on now.

With the desk finally done, and Little E sewing up a storm, I had some time to get back to my machine too.  First up, some snack sacks for three friends starting new schools.  Pattern based on this tutorial

Next up, a book sling for Little A.  She starts preschool this year and was in need of a spot for her books.  Remember the one I made for Little E?  That was already 3 years ago!

Last but not least, I couldn't resist this "apple for the teacher".  Based on this tutorial and using this pattern, I sewed this up the morning school started (it's super quick).  I have another one for Little A's teacher for next week, too.  

Phew!  I think that makes us officially ready for the start of school!  Now, to get to some selfish sewing (and a giveaway for all of you)...stay tuned...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crafty Warning!!

water bottle holder
If you purchase a copy of Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing; 20 Projects Kids Will Love to Make, you might create a sewing monster!  We certainly have one in our house!
sleepy bear
As I said in my book review HERE, these projects are so appealing and accessible for young sewists.  Little E has been sewing up a storm, and is SO proud of her accomplishments (could her smile be any wider?). 

I am enjoying being able to repurpose so many scraps and see them turned into something wonderful and loveable.

I'll be back soon to share some of my completed projects - just in time for school!  And, I'll have another book review and giveaway soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Winner, winner...Sewing School 2!

Thank you to all of you who entered the Sewing School 2 giveaway.  This is such a great book, I wish I could give one to each of you!  Luckily, the book is very affordable - if you don't win a copy, you can buy one HERE .

And, now...for the winner of Sewing School 2 ....

Blogger njmendel, who said...
We have the first Sewing School book which has a lot of great ideas for all ages. My older daughter (9) is ready to learn how to use a sewing machine to make skirts for herself and her American Girl doll.

Congratulations!  Please email me your mailing address.

And, the two lucky winners of the Pilot FriXion Ball Erasable Gel Pens ...

Blogger Niki, who said...

I learned to sew a tiny bit with my mom teaching me to sew a crop top when I was in middle school. I didn't sew again until I was bored in my third year of law school and bought a sewing machine on a whim. Since then, I am completely self-taught!

Blogger Sherry D, who said...
This looks like a great book. I would love to win either the book or the pens. I will save this book for my granddaughter. It will not be long before she will be ready to sew.

Congratulations, ladies!  I hope you enjoy the pens as much as I do!  Please email me your mailing address.

Thank you to all who entered, and don't forget to check out Sewing School 2 even if you didn't win!  You'll be so happy you did!


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