Saturday, December 11, 2010

baby gifts

My friend Nancy just had a baby boy (okay, he was born September 3rd) and he's just too cute! I sent Nancy and Ruffin a package recently and wanted to show you what I made...


I crocheted trim around fleece and added a monkey motif. It's a pretty small blanket, meant to be used in a carseat or stroller.



I made another changing pad using the Bernina pattern. This one was fun because I used my free motion presser foot for the very first time to quilt it! It was pretty cool to be able to make all kinds of wavy lines.


I picked this lovey up at Target to continue the monkey theme of the gift. I read somewhere that if Mom sleeps with the lovey and then gives it to her child, it will hold her scent and comfort Baby. Interesting concept.


No present is complete without something for the new mom! I sent Nancy one of my zippered pouches and a crocheted headband.


I put together a cute little card to tie it all together.

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby boy, Nancy! I hope you liked your package. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Since headbands have become so popular the last few years, I jumped on the bandwagon and crocheted a headband modeled after my daisy chain scarf pattern. I love regular headbands, but they squeeze my  head in all the wrong places and give me a giant headache. This one is nice because it doesn't make me feel like my head is in a vise. (This one is Nancy's, but mine looks the same. Don't worry, Nancy, I didn't send you a used headband, lol!)


When I wore it to work, a friend saw it and asked me to make some for her two elementary school daughters. This is what I came up with...


I decided to get a little fancier than my original headband. The simple one works well for me but I figured the girls needed a little more pizzazz than that.

Sorry about the bad second photo. I still suck at photographing purple.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

knuffle bunny

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, by Mo Willems, has long been one of my favorite picture books for kids. My favorite part is when Trixie is trying to tell her dad that Knuffle Bunny is missing, and she says "Aggle flaggle klabble! Blaggle plabble! Wumby flappy?! Snurp.". So sweet!

When I saw this pattern for a Knuffle Bunny on emilie handmade, I knew I had to make one! One of my very dear friends is having a baby early next year, and since she's also a teacher I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift for her.


Knuffle Bunny will be accompanied by a copy of the original book. There is also a Knuffle Bunny Too and a Knuffle Bunny Free! Mo Willems is a great writer. Have you ever seen Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?


I do have one question that I'd like to pose to you: Is it bad to give my pregnant friend a baby gift for Christmas? I'm also giving her a baby quilt closer to when the baby is born, but I really wanted to do this for her. Is it considered bad etiquette? Discuss. :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

homeless shelter hat

Every Tuesday night I go to a knit/crochet group  at a local yarn store. A bunch of ladies from all ages and walks of life gather together for a couple of hours to knit, crochet, and talk. I started going in August, right before school started, and I really enjoy it!

One of the women who knits was watching a movie with her boyfriend and he caught sight of a crocheted hat in blue and white... she thinks it's terribly ugly and dubbed it the "homeless shelter hat" but he LOVED it. She wanted to make it for him for Christmas but doesn't crochet.

We decided to do a swap... I'd make the hat and she'll make me a knitted cowl. She decided on blue and gray, and here is the finished hat!


I actually like how it turned out. The color changes on every row meant lots of ends to weave in, but the end resut was worth it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

skinny daisy chain scarf

I am so excited about this... it's my very first tutorial/pattern!

I love scarves in the fall and winter. I'm a scarf-a-holic... my husband is currently researching scarf rehab options for me. He's asked me several times to stop buying/making/otherwise acquiring scarves, but I just can't help myself.

So. Here we go with a scarf pattern, yay!

daisy chain scarf

Skinny Daisy Chain Scarf
This scarf is a great accessory! (totally useless to keep you warm!)

Notes: I used Lion Brand Wool Ease and an H/5mm hook, but you can use any yarn and hook. Gague is not important for this project. I'm assuming you have a basic knowledge of crochet, but if you need help, you can find it here and here.

Ch 4, join to first ch with sl st.

Ch 3, 11 dc into ring, sl st to top of beginning ch 3.

Ch 1, *[sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc] in next st

sl st in next st.

repeat from * around to create six "petals".

ch 15, and make the loop on your hook big so that you don't pull out any stitches. Cut a long tail for connecting later.

Make 16 of these daisy and chain combinations, and one daisy without the chain. Use the loop you left to slip stitch them together.

Weave in all ends.
I also made a headband using this same method... make the flower and crochet the chain as long as you need to go around your head. Slip stitch back to the other side of the flower and there you go!

If you try this pattern out and find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them. Also, I wrote the pattern so that it makes sense to me but may seem to be complete gibberish to you. Let me know if you need clarification. Thank you!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a lovely holiday. I'm thankful for lots of things this year... my husband, my family and friends, being able to make stuff, and for you, dear reader.

Right now I'm nursing a war wound from cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Don't try to peel your finger with a vegetable peeler. It hurts.


Come back tomorrow for something exciting and new! (No, it's not the Love Boat.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I have this thing where I feel as though every post should be accompanied by one or more pictures. I have four different posts drafted right now, wating to be published, but they need pictures and I haven't been able to get outside to take advantage of natural sunlight. (Too busy or too lazy? You decide.)

I'm getting snobby about where I take pictures, too. Now I want fun or interesting backgrounds in addition to natural lighting for whatever I'm photographing, like this...


I really feel like the brown table slats really make this picture something interesting to look at. What do you think? Am I missing the mark or is my photography improving a smidge?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the retreat

I was fortunate to spend a weekend with this group of lovely ladies! We talked, laughed, ate, and of course, quilted. Warning- this is the longest post I've ever written!


I arrived Friday at about 11:30 and set up my station. I was right next to a window with awesome natural lighting and a nice view:




and we had a great lunch of minestrone, salad, and homemade focaccia. All the food was made by Tara, innkeeper extraordinare. :) Afterward, our instructor, the fabulous Amanda Jean of crazy mom quilts, talked a little about thread, needles, making quilt sandwiches (pinning vs. spray basting) and other tips on quilting. Then we got some time to work on our individual projects, so I pieced my placemats, which I'll show you later because I *love love LOVE* them!

Friday night after dinner we had a scrap bag free for all. Everyone brought a gallon ziploc full of scraps and we dumped them out on the kitchen floor... and the frenzy started! We turned that pile over and mixed it up and threw scraps around, trying to root out the good stuff from the *ahem* not so good and I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! I also returned home with twice the scraps I left home with, having caught scrap fever (you didn't really think I was destashing, did you?).


Did I mention the fabulous goody bag? There were coupons to local fabric stores, soaps, lotions, and lip balm all made by Tara, a great key chain, a cool pincushion, a magnet, a fat quarter, and a nametag (also all made by Tara... she was a very busy lady in the months before the retreat!), all for me!



There were several ladies staying at the inn, but since I live just 20 minutes away I went home each night, which was great because I got to see my hubby. So I showed up on Saturday morning for breakfast and Amanda's next workshop, free motion quilting. It was so nice because I really didn't know what I was doing when it comes to free motion, so it was great to hear from a pro! We started by practicing doodling on paper with a marker...


and then had a partner hold the marker while we moved the paper to simulate what happens when sewing...


and as you can see my second doodle was a little more spastic than the first. :)

After a demonstration, we got a chance to go practice for ourselves, so I did some free motion quilting on my fall pot holders.


Not too bad. I did a little meandering stippling, and some wavy lines, and one poor potholder got a mishmash of techniques and is definitely unique, ha ha.

After lunch on Saturday we had more time to work on our projects and splintered off into little groups to shop and such. I went with Amanda and Tara to a fairly new fabric store in the area and an adorable yarn store just down the street from the inn. I bought several fat quarters and a copy of One Yard Wonders.


I also started piecing this little table topper on Saturday afternoon... I've since finished the piecing and need to start quilting. Yay for red and aqua at Christmas! The best part? All of this fabric came from the scrap frenzy! Special thanks to Penny and Amanda Jean for showing me how fun scraps can be!


Saturday night I had dinner with my hubby... but woke up Sunday morning thinking about quilting and piecing and binding, which is a switch because normally I wake up thinking about school. Definite improvement. :)

Sunday's workshop and demonstration was about using a walking foot while quilting. This was one of the reasons why I bought a new sewing machine... my old one didn't have a walking foot and I really wanted one for the retreat. I'm so glad I did! I hadn't ever used a walking foot before but it was so much fun... way less stress (for me, a beginning quilter) than free motion and my first walking foot project turned out FABULOUS!!

I  pieced some placemats on Friday afternoon and quilted them with my walking foot after Amanda's demo... I absolutely love them!


Sunday morning was also prize day! There was a slew of prizes, so much so that everyone won something! Unfortunately, I didn't win this gorgeous quilt, but I did win this great bundle of black and white fabrics. I was happy, too- I was eyeballing this very same line at my local quilt shop a few weeks ago!


Sunday afternoon, after a yummy lunch of chicken pot pie, I also had time to finish (except for the hand sewing of the binding) another changing pad for a pregnant friend,


plus Amanda helped me redo my quilt along quilt sandwich because I hated the orginal backing. Here she is talking to her hubby on the phone while taping the backing to the table. (Come to think of it, not sure if she knew I took this picture. Hi, Amanda! I took your picture!)


I also had time to finish the ugliest brown table runner EVER. I have decided I don't like anything about this project, and it will be relegated to the Dark Hole of Ugly Projects. I'm not even going to finish hand sewing the binding. I'm chalking it up to practice.

Everyone was so encouraging and friendly! I really enjoyed getting to know new people and hearing about techniques, strategies, and creative ideas. It was also so nice getting to meet Amanda, whose blog I've been reading for quite a while... she is SO NICE in person! Not that I expected anything less. :)

Amanda Jean on the left, me on the right. She knew about this one. :)

Probably should have made this a two-part post, but I was so excited to share! Thanks for sticking with me to the end. :)

What a great weekend! I can't wait for next year's retreat!

Friday, November 12, 2010

it's finally here!

The quilt retreat I signed up for is this weekend! I'm so excited! Here's what I have ready to go:

We'll be swapping scraps and needed to bring a gallon bag full. I've been adding to this bag for a couple of months now; there's a good variety of fabrics in there!


I really struggled with picking a pattern for the pot holders and placemats... I finally just started cutting and piecing. These are the potholders; I haven't started the placemats yet.


I'm also taking my quilt...


Yes, I know. I'm the last to finish my quilt along quilt... It was supposed to take six weeks and we started the first week of June! Bad Carmen, bad. Mia and Nancy  have both had theirs finished for ages. Me? I'll finish dead last, behind the new mom and the self proclaimed procrastinator, haha.

And... ta da! I got a new sewing machine! It's a Singer Confidence Quilter. It  might not be a Viking or a Brother or a Janome, but I love it and it's mine!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

halloween table runner

I wanted something fun to put on the coffee table for Halloween, so I decided to make a table runner. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I found the one I modeled it after! Whoops. I'll keep looking for it.

This was my first time using my free motion presser foot in a meandering pattern. There's only a couple mistakes that you can't really see. Overall, I'm very pleased!


I pieced the back a little, too.


On another note... the craft fair was a bust. I sold one miniature fabric pumpkin for $2, but I bought an ornament from another vendor for $5, so I lost $3 on the venture, haha. No big deal... crafting for money is too stressful anyway. I'll just keep doing it for myself or for gifts.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

craft fair

Next weekend I'm doing a small craft fair with a friend here in my town. This is a take on the little tags I'm going to attach to the things I'll sell.


It's my first attempt to sell things I've made and I'm pretty nervous. What if no one wants to buy my stuff? Not that I'm expecting to make oodles of money, but I at least would like to hear some positive feedback. Cross your fingers!

Friday, October 15, 2010

i'm baaaack!

Whew! That was a long and unintentional blog break. The last month has been ca-razy. Isn't it funny how life keeps moving and time keeps passing even as you're screaming "FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, SLOW THE HECK DOWN!"

Ahem. Sorry.

I have been crafty the last few days, though. I'm sharing a table with a friend at a craft fair (gulp) in one week, and I'm making these to sell...


What do you think? Would you buy one? And how much would you pay? I'm also thinking I'll cut some of my vintage sheets into fat quarters and sell those. Thoughts?

I love this next one... might keep it for myself. Plus, it turns out that zippers are nearly as hard as I thought they would be.


What are they leaning against, you ask? My newly thrifted spool shelf... love it!


I have a few more things up my sleeve, but they aren't ready for public viewing yet. I'll leave you with a link to one of my new favorite sewing books. Happy Weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

thread catcher

Another finished project! I'm a sewing fiend these days.


I really needed something to corral all the loose threads and bits that pile up during sewing. After a look around blogland, I found this tutorial at Sew, Mama, Sew!, and it was designed by Elizabeth from Oh, Fransson!


I chose some fabrics from my stash, and set to work. There were a lot of little pieces (a lot of pieces in general) but I think it turned out great! The tute was easy to follow and had lots of pictures, which is great for us kindergarten teachers, haha.


Monday, September 13, 2010

stacked coins baby quilt (and matching changing pad)

I started this quilt waaaaaaay back in the first week of July, using the Stacked Coins Baby Quilt tutorial on Moda Bake Shop.

I put the quilt top together pretty quickly and got halfway through quilting before my machine got mad and punked out on me. A trip to the sewing machine doctor was in order!


I got her back the first week of August, perfectly tuned and timed, but school has taken up all my time, so I didn't pick the quilt back up until Thursday night.

Did I mention the baby was born July 27th? Oops.

At least she'll get it before she's 2 months old! Because....


it's finished! I am in love with this quilt... I'm going to have a hard time sending it away.

I quilted in straight lines (must get a walking foot for the next quilt!) with purple thread perpendicular to the columns.


This quilt measures 31.5 by 32 inches and is backed in a dark purple and bound in a medium shade. I think it will be a good size for a play mat and tummy time, or to use as a cover in a stroller.


And I added my label to the back.


I made a matching changing pad using this tutorial from Bernina. It was an easy tute to follow and I love the result! I also used a button covering kit for the first time... if I had known it was that easy, I would have done it a long time ago.


I added a pack of wipes and a diaper left over from babysitting a friend's kiddo.


Does anyone else have the problems I do with photographing purple things? They all turn out too blue!

I also made a sweet little card to include. I stitched around the outside with pink thread, and the letters were pre-made with the zig zag stitch.


Overall, I'm really pleased with this gift. Now I just have to get myself to the post office to mail it.

Welcome to the world, Baby A!