Sunday, May 6, 2012

April's Pattern Success

Well, the month of April really seemed to fly right past me! I only completed ONE pattern for my personal pattern challenge. I'm still happy though! One is better than none! Plus, this pattern is way too cute! I made a sheep pillow from pattern #2197 Fleece Pillows. At first, I thought I'd sell it in my shop, but my daughter's heart won me over instead! O well. It feels good to keep something for a change!
And here it is with the happy recipient!
This was very fun and easy to make! I'm hoping for a chance to make the bug. I like that this pattern comes with so many options. You can choose from the lamb, a frog, a bee, a ladybug, a monkey, and a bug. They're all very cute!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On a Whim

An unexpected project came my way this week after reading a blog post by The Little Fabric Shop . She made the cutest Basket of Bunnies for Easter.

Some of my nieces and nephews are coming to visit for Easter this weekend. I've been trying to think of something quick, easy, and cute to make for all the kids (including my own). I think these bunnies will be the perfect thing! What a fantastically fun way to use up my scraps! Added bonus...NO COST! Yea! I'm so excited.

And here they are....
(one special bunny has already been claimed by my youngest)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pattern Success Month 1

This month I chose Simplicity patterns 5124 Home Decorating "Simply Teen Room Organizers" and 2667 "Organizer Bags". I recently spoke about the bulletin board in a previous post. I only used the bottom pocket portion from the pattern and am very happy with the result. I think having pockets on this board adds so much more to the look and provides greater functionality.
( I still have a few things to do before this is truly complete, but...)

I've been wanting a more professional look for packaging sold items from my Etsy shop. I found the Drawstring Bag pattern to be a great possibility. It was incredibly easy to make which is a major plus! I've never made a drawstring bag before. I feel so accomplished! The act of creating something from nothing is such a magical feeling! It's hard to fully describe. It just feels so great to look at an item and realize "I made that!"

I enjoyed completing my Pattern Challenge this month. There's another 99 cent sale going on this weekend! Can't wait to add a few more to select from in my growing collection.

I hope you will consider joining me in this challenge next month! Be sure to share your pictures too! Thanks!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pattern Challenge

My best local "go-to" store for fabric is Joann's. They frequently have really great pattern sales. I get their Simplicity patterns (my fav.) for 99 cents each.

I've developed a nice collection from these generous sales. I now have around 32 patterns. I've used some of them but would like to do more. I thought it'd be fun to challenge myself by digging these patterns out and getting to work by creating at least two per month. I extend this challenge to you, as well, if you happen to have a stash of unused patterns. That "rainy day" has arrived! I hope you will join me so we can share in this sewing success together. This is going to be so much fun!

I will post my pattern success on the last day of each month.

Friday, March 23, 2012

For My Girls

Since diving into the world of Etsy my focus has been on building inventory for my shop, writing for this blog, and keeping up with my Facebook Fan Page. Recently I allowed myself to give it a short rest while I dove back into the magical world of my children.

Time to make something for THEM! They are the ones that inspired my creativity to begin with after all!

I took my oldest daughter to the fabric store where she chose fabric and supplies for us to cover an old bulletin board and fabric for me to make her a phone case. She found her fabric incredibly fast! I enjoyed how much fun she had picking everything out.

Once home, I finished up a dress I had started earlier in the week for my youngest daughter. All the projects turned out great and it felt so wonderful to make something for my own kids again!

Now I have promised them all crocheted baby bunnies for Easter. That's going to be fun (especially the red one requested by my youngest son. HA)!

That reminds me of one of my favorite books I used to read to the kids. "White Rabbit's Color Book". Someday I'd like to make all the colors and give the bunnies and book away as a gift!

Phone Case
Not quite finished YET..........the main fabric says "Faith Hope Love" The Polka Dot fabric is used at the bottom for pockets!

"Faux Pillow Case Dress" from the book "Small Stash Sewing" by Melissa Averinos
I made a DRESS!!!! (excited) : )

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Re-Vamped Lunch Bag

My daughter has decided she no longer likes Hello Kitty and requested a new lunch bag. Oh boy! After close examination, I found that I could easily remove the Hello Kitty and simply make some modifications instead of going out to buy a new bag!

Here's what I did:

I Used my seam ripper to remove the Kitty

Sayonara, Kitty!

Found some scrap fabric in just the right pattern and color....lucky me!!!

Buttons that match the same flower pattern as the bag too! WOW!

And wouldn't you know, while making this, my daughter grabs the Kitty and says "yea! I can play with it"! WHAT? My reply..."I thought you didn't LIKE Hello Kitty anymore!" to which she states..."only at school!" Hmmm O well! She LOVES the "New" bag, and I had fun changing it for her! I also enjoyed finding a new use for scraps!

What kind of new uses have you found for your scraps?
Ever Re-vamped something? Do share...!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Craft Show News

Just recently I received a message in my Etsy shop from an event recruiter regarding an upcoming craft show. She loved my shop (WOW, so flattered!) and asked if I would participate in her Avant Garde Art & Craft Show this summer!

The show currently runs four times per year in a neighboring city and they'll be bringing it to my local town for the first time. There will be at least 125 vendors selling their handmade works of art.

What a thrill to be invited to such an event! I've sent the paperwork in and am looking forward to the show on August 19th! I have lots of time to work on new inventory for my table. It's going to be so much fun!

I'm also aiming for a more professional look for my business. I'd like to have a banner-type sign, business cards, and such.

Know of any good places for this stuff?? (much obliged for your input)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chair Cover Critique

Awhile ago I made a chair cover for my daughter. I thought it turned out charming, so I posted it as a custom order in my Etsy shop.

No one has inquired yet, but it has been receiving views almost daily.

I thought I'd turn to you, as readers and cool "craftsters" to help me figure out what to do better with this.

Please take a moment to check out my listing while considering the following:
Entwined's Custom Order Chair Cover

No orders could be because...

~People don't like making custom orders
~The style is "off"
~The price is too high

Should I...

~Make more?
~Include pictures of available fabrics?
~Lower the price?

Any other suggestions?

I deeply appreciate your input on this!!!! Thank you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week #7

On my most recent trip to the library I dug up a nice big stack of sewing books to review. A very fascinating one to highlight this week is "Sewing with Oilcloth", by Kelly McCants.

I have seen a few things made with this specialty fabric. Things like make-up bags, pencil pouches, and lunch totes.

My eyes opened to a whole new world of possibilities within the pages of this book!

Not only does the author use oilcloth, but laminated cottons and chalk cloth. Chalk cloth? Never even heard of it before! Now I want to use it! Imagine a table runner you can write on and erase over and over. Fun! This stuff is just and fresh!

The author provides 20 patterns to get you on your way to loving this new fabric! Chapters are filled with tools and tips; patterns for the house (storage bins, seat cushions, party banners); patterns for YOU (that trusty make-up bag!, a wallet, those new and trendy snack bags...GO GREEN!); and patterns for kids (baby bibs, art smock, apron).

Some cool things you'll find with oilcloth are: the brilliance of color, the ease of cleaning it, and its durability.

For more about oilcloth and author, Kelly McCants, check out her blogs Oilcloth Addict and Modern June!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Party Updates and Such...

What sickness will do to put you behind!! I was off the grid for awhile due to a very rude and terrible cold. I have learned I cannot take cold medicines! They put me out and make me awfully dizzy. I will say that because of it, I did a little "research" and found lots of wonderful cold remedies in the infamous world of Etsy! Of course! I mean, what don't they have??? It's pretty awesome. I created a treasury from my finds...

I made it to the Valentine Party just before my cold took it's turn. The party went very well. The kids thoroughly enjoyed all the games. Yay!

Kindergartener's are just so wonderful and easy to please! They're full of enthusiasm, energy, and seem to carry a natural appreciation for anything that is presented to them.

We played 5 games, and here they are:

Healthy Heart...I made heart bean bags after finding the idea on "Make and Takes"craft blog.

The kids had to toss the hearts onto the healthy foods

Jumping Hearts

Guess What You Are? Using clues from classmates they had to guess the picture or word on the heart that was taped to their foreheads

Heart Hopping...I had written actions on paper hearts for the kids to do while going from the starting line, then, on the way back they put a stuffed Valentine monkey between their knees and hopped back to the beginning line

Finally, Place the Nose on Ms. Valentine

After all the games (and there was a craft provided by another mom, but I didn't get pictures because I was setting up the games!) the kids enjoyed sitting down at their very festive tables for a special snack.

A bit tired out....

I did not end up making the crocheted hearts for everyone. O well! Who knew?

This year most of my game ideas came from a site I found called "Kid Activities". This is an incredible resource for classroom parties, crafts for kids, lesson plans, and really anything under the sun you want to do with your kids! There are some great ideas for fun things to do in the snow (umm...if we ever get any this winter, maybe we'll do some)! Check this site out....but I do warn you, you may be stuck on there for hours!

I'll get back to my Bookshelf Peeks later in the week...stay tuned...

Care to share YOUR room party ideas or sites you find helpful?? I do enjoy your comments...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Design Inspired

The idea of creating my own designs has been floating around my brain for a little while now. It surfaced again, BIG TIME, when my 8 year old son came home after the 100th day of school. They do it up and celebrate with lots of fun games and activities at school.

He came off the bus carrying an activity mat, a crown, a pencil, and was wearing a special sticker on his shirt. When I got a closer look, I nearly jumped out of my skin at the realization of my first real design inspiration! The colorful characters in this theme are just calling to me to bring them to life!! This is it! I am ready to take it on!

I found the stuff on a teachers website called "Really Good Stuff"

I am SO anxious to get started. I have a few other projects to finish up first, but as soon as I start creating one of these little alien creatures, I will be posting!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week #7

This week, I bring your attention to, "Tiny Yarn Animals Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy", by Tamie Snow.

In this book, the author begins with a few basics to get you started and then gets right down to it with her very charming collection of 20 critters to create.

Very basic (cheap) yarn is suggested for these Ami's because "it's durable, washable, and holds its shape beautifully." I like Tamie's method for stuffing in small amounts at a time. She says "A pinch of fluff in every stuff." Cute!

The style of critters in this book are pretty easy to make. A few of them have some very lively embroidered faces with the most beautiful eyelashes, which I find a fun challenge to create.

My favorites are the hippo, turtle, lemur, and the lamb. I made the lemur and sold it at a craft show. Yay! I started the lamb, but am ashamed to say I ran out of the special yarn I was using and haven't returned to it. It's such a precious design too! (one day...)

I highly recommend adding this to your stash of Ami books!

You may also enjoy the website Tamie created called Check it out!

**What Ami's do you have in progress right now?**

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine Party

It's time to start planning my daughter's kindergarten room party for Valentine's Day. Now I have a great excuse for crocheting a bunch of hearts! I enjoy making these parties festive and memorable.

As the room parent, I typically prepare four to five games to play. The kids gather in groups of four to six and rotate to each game station for about five minutes at a time.

One of the games calls for tossing bean bags, so I will be sewing a few bean bag hearts. Woohoo!

About seven years ago, when my first child began kindergarten, I found an adorable pattern from a Family Fun magazine for seasonal slip covers. I modified the size so they could fit on the wee little classroom chairs. I think I'm going to pull those out again for this party. They just add so much to the festivities. We are really going to be heart crazy!

I wonder how ridiculous it would be if I made a stuffed crochet heart for each child with their name on it? We'll see....

What are YOUR crafty Valentine plans?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week #6

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amigurumi", by June Gilbank, is definitely the essential guidebook to have for both the beginner and the well-seasoned Amigurumi artist. The author provides complete details for everything you need to begin. She discusses the various types of hooks, stitch markers, yarn, needles, stuffing, eyes, and possible embellishments you can use.

The book is divided into three main parts. In part one, for the beginner; she explains the basics, along with wonderful step-by-step photographs to aid in your understanding of the instructions. As an added bonus, June also provides video tutorials on her website, I must confess that in reading these basics, I learned some new ways to improve my technique. SO, I really encourage even the well-seasoned crocheters to read through it all. There is always room for improvement!

In part two, you will learn shaping, color changing, stuffing, assembly, posing, and working with novelty yarns (the fuzzy and textured types). What I love about this section is the way June expresses the unlimited possibilities for creating your own designs with just a few basic methods. I feel inspired to get creative and allow my own artistic talent to come out into a design, while my usual tendency is to keep it hidden under the ease of using a pattern! Many fun ideas are surfacing for me, especially after reading part three.

In part three she instructs on the finishing touches. This is where your Ami really comes to life! From exciting options for eyes, hair styles, and a thorough look into embellishing. June makes it feel quite possible to create your own unique designs.

The last section of the book is filled with a handful of super cute patterns to get you going. The author has designed these patterns with your own creativity in mind as she leaves plenty of options for color changing, hair, and more.

Whether you make amigurumi with a pattern or design your own, your individual style is sure to shine, and you will feel so proud of such an accomplishment! Go ahead...give it a try!!!

By the way…June is my absolute favorite crochet artist! I will blog more about that another time, but for now, please take a look at the patterns she sells on her website, It’s the first place I go for patterns (as you may notice from my Etsy shop)! They are all very cute and realistic. Plus, her step-by-step instructions are phenomenal!! Click…click…click! I promise you will LOVE it!!!

*After you take a look, please come back and share your thoughts...* THANKS!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Last weekend I began constructing the Petal Pillow from "Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders". It's a round decorative pillow and is really turning out very pretty. The pattern has been easy to follow and suggests a light-weight corduroy. I chose a dark pink and will use black satin buttons to fill in the center of the flower.

The pattern also suggests cutting out 175 individual petals to be sewn onto the top circle of the pillow. Somehow I ran out of material and only ended up with 150 petals. I'm beginning to wonder about the "cutters" at my fabric store. This is the second time my yard of material has come up short! I'm going to have to get assertive about this issue next time! My 150 petals actually went very far. I only need three more to complete the flower. That will be an odd order for the "cutters"!

I've enjoyed sewing with corduroy. I think it's my new favorite material to cut too! I was worried about cutting a circle because I'm not very good with circles, but the corduroy cut so smoothly and it came out great! This is a delicate project with all of those petals! At times, it's almost like working with real petals. This project takes a lot of patience and care. Even though it's "easy", it takes a good amount of time to place the petals correctly and sew them on. Pins and corduroy don't mix, so for the petals you have to carefully place them and watch that they don't fall off while moving from table to machine. The corduroy kind of makes them stick though, so that helps a lot! All-in-all, a fabulous project! I'm very happy! I will post a picture of the finished product when I complete it. It's on hold until I find the right color piping to match for the edging of the pillow.

The petals will be flipped down for the finished piece.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Word About Needle Felting

Needle Felting is defined as: Piercing tufts of raw wool hundreds of times using a very sharp needle with tiny barbs to sculpt various shapes and figures.

I recently discovered the adorable world of Needle Felting while browsing around on Etsy. I am totally amazed by this beautiful form of art! The detail created on these pieces is truly astounding!

I loved it so much, I was compelled to curate a "Treasury List" featuring Valentine themed felties.

I urge you to join me in the admiration of these sweeties, and browse through the talented artists shops.

A special thanks to Purple Platypus for sharing my treasury on her Bits of Fiber blog.

Here's my treasury:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week #5

This week's peek..."Vanna's Choice Easy Crochet Critters"

Oh for the love of little critters! This booklet is filled with ten wild and wonderful animals hoping to take form with that yarn stash and shiny hook hiding deep down in your project bag.

What a great book for those new to Amigurumi. Instructions are easy to follow and don't have too many parts to deal with. You need very little yarn to complete these animals. Vanna's Choice yarn is wonderful to use for Amigurumi because it keeps its shape well over time and does not tend to pill like some other yarns may do. There are so many fantastic colors to choose from too.

If you are intimidated at all by Amigurumi, give this book a try and be encouraged. You can do it! You will be making your own Ami-Zoo in no time!

My personal favorites from this book are: the seal, the penguin, and the alligator. Next on my list to try are the walrus and the monkey.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Mop-Top" Crazy

This week I'm making a bunch of Valentine-themed "Mop-Tops". I purchased the "Mop-Top" pattern from my favorite crochet artist, June Gilbank of a couple years ago. I've had so much fun coming up with different styles and themes for these crazy-haired critters!

Recently, I opened up my Etsy shop, and have had a few sales (Yay!). I "secretly" hope these Valentine cuties will stir-up some traffic in my shop. I think people like cute, fun, and unique stuffed items for Valentine's Day. I'm pretty sure these qualify!

Last November when I participated in a local craft show, I took more than twenty "Mop-Tops" and sold over half of them! I received a few custom orders as well. Most everyone visiting my table or even just walking by would react with a smile or giggle. You just can't help yourself. It happens to me with each one I make! They all seem to have their own little "personalities".

I'm trying to think of more accessories to add for the Valentine "Mop-Tops". Any thoughts?

Any ideas for future "Mop-Top" themes?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week #4

"Simple Sewing" patterns and how to for 24 fresh and easy projects, by Lotta Jansdotter.

I absolutely LOVE Lotta Jansdotter's simple style. She has a wonderful way of making sewing look fun and easy. This is a fantastic book for beginners. The layout of her patterns is clear and easy to follow. The supplies are minimal, so you don't need much to get started. Many projects require less than a yard of material.

"Simple Sewing" is also great for the "seasoned sewer". There are three levels of difficulty for those wanting a more complex project. These patterns can be completed within just a few hours or throughout a weekend.

Chapters are divided into four categories. COOK--(stuff for the kitchen), GO--(totes and such), NEST--(for the home), and ORGANIZE--(cool stuff for stashing your stuff).

I have made a handful of things from this book, and found them all very simple, practical, and quick to make! I've made placemats, napkins, potholders, and a few tote bags. Next, I want to make the magazine holder and the Yoga mat tote.

This is one of those must-have, essential books. Everything is very useful and would make really awesome, personal gifts! Sure you can buy this kind of stuff, but how much nicer to choose your own fabric, create it, and give it! Check it out and ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pajama Boots

I am just having too much fun with this “Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders” book! This time I chose a pattern with my teenage daughter in mind. Using one yard of 60” fleece, I made the “Pajama Boots”. No bias tape in this one! Just fabric and thread. Easy peesy!

These were really fun to make. I love the softness of the fleece and found it very easy to cut. I would say the prep work on this is what took the most time. There were a lot of pieces to cut out. They can be made in sizes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, with a regular calf size or a larger calf size. I finally had a calf piece, a sole, and an upper shoe piece. The pattern includes use of a lining, so I had to cut four of each piece.

In my experience with fleece in the past, I had trouble with the fabric bunching up and the stitches turning into one messy glob.

With this book, I learned to use the walking presser foot;

a zig-zag stitch for extra stability due to the stretch of the material; and to use a 3mm stitch length. I couldn’t have been happier with the effect those changes had in making fleece a cinch to use!

Once the sewing began, and I saw the material transforming into boots, I really felt overjoyed that I could create something so fun and cool! I had to repeat the process four times in order to have two exterior boots with lining in each one. Phew!

I am very happy with the results of this project. I may make more and add them to my Etsy shop. What do you think?

What is your experience with fleece? What have you made?

As always, I would LOVE to see pics! Please share...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bookshelf Peek of the Week # 3

This week’s peek…Crobots 20 Amigurumi Robots to Make, by Nelly Pailloux.

Usually before I purchase a book, I like to check it out from my local library. I want to preview it and weigh its usefulness and price to be sure it’s worth my time and money. This paperback, however, was the exception! I saw it displayed in a book store and found myself hooked at first glance! When I flipped through the pages, I had no doubt this book would meet my expectations. I felt privileged that someone was willing to share their incredible designs.

Crobots is filled with twenty of the cutest little bots imaginable. The author uses a wonderful variety of crafting supplies to bring unique characteristics to each bot and then titles them to match. For instance, the “Mechanobot” uses two pen springs as arms, silver snap fasteners as legs, two brooch bar fasteners as ears, and he even holds a screw.
Here he is! (from the book)

Other supplies may include: sequins, beads, nuts, bolts, screws, valves, buttons, embroidery floss, felt and more! The author provides detailed instruction on stitching for the embellishments, as well as beginner crochet techniques. It's all there!

I hope you will check it out for yourself! These make a great weekend project, and Valentine's Day is just around the corner...

Here's a couple of my Crobots
Space Mouse

Ninjabot (without his red's been misplaced!)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Swaddle Blanket

In my first “Pick of the Week” post, I mentioned my desire to make the “Swaddle Blanket” from “Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders”. I am thrilled to say I bought that flannel and made one! I only had to buy one yard of fabric, a spool of coordinating thread, and a couple packs of bias tape.

Unfortunately, the project did not go as smoothly as I had anticipated. I barely had enough fabric. I ended up having to keep an unsightly selvage end (with the brand printed on it) on my cut piece. I sewed an extra bit of bias tape to cover it up, which still didn’t help the look much. I found working with the bias tape so extremely tedious. It outlines the whole blanket and there are quite a few curves to deal with. The constant pinning looked like I was performing acupuncture on the thing! This about drove me nuts! I did finally get the hang of it by the end, but the blanket is a ridiculous mess. For example:

The fabric is pretty and I do love the concept of the design.
Here's the idea:

For some reason, I feel like giving it another try. I may just be crazy! I do believe in second chances, and hope I will have a better experience next time. Besides, there is a huge sale on flannel that I want to get in on! I did enjoy working with a new material. Wish me well on my second time around!

Do share……

Have you worked with flannel? What was your experience?

Any tips on working with an insane amount of bias tape with curves and 90 degree angles???