Monday, December 15, 2008

More Winter Embroidery Fun

Tricia-Rennea Art is offering this sweet little penguin who apparently loves hot chocolate, too. The design is at her blog. If you click on the photo, it will link to her pattern. So many amazingly talented people are sharing their work. I'm happy for all that generosity.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Favorite Burp Cloth Tutorial

I've got babies to gift for this holiday and here is one of my favorite gifts to make. The chenille on these burp clothes is perfectly absorbant and so soft on baby skin. They even work as a changing pad in a pinch. You simply need a fat quarter of your decorative material and a fat quarter of the chenille of your choice.
Step 1: Cut your fat quarters in in half.

Step 2: Pin chenille and cotton material right-side together and sew leaving an opening to turn right-sides out.

Step 3: Trim corners.
Step 4: Turn right-sides out and press, being certain to carefully pin the opening left for turning.

Step 5: Use a decorative stitch or a zig zag to sew around the perimeter of the burpcloth.

Step 6: Give as gifts, or stock your baby's diaper bag.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Sweet Pattern and Some Down-Time

This sweet little guy seems the perfect distraction from my morning. Believe it or not, I had an ear tube placed this morning. I'm not six, which is when I had my first tubes, but I have been struggling with ear/sinus stuff for a year. . . so we started with one tube. I'm hoping we're done. The procedure was fast and really easy. I'm just experiencing the ear ache I remember from childhood now and I want my Mama. At least I want her to watch my babies while I rest my head on a heating pad. . . So to get over my pouting, I went searching for some holiday fun and this little wiener dog is it. Since we have a wiener dog in our house, this one needs to be made and placed on a holiday pillow. Maybe I'll get ot it this afternoon. Hope you enjoy him. You can find instructions for it if you click the photo. It links to the illustrator's blog. Happy stitching.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Ornaments by Syko

Christmas ornaments
Originally uploaded by -syko-
You won't believe Kajsa Wikman' amazing art quilts and her scandinavian ornaments. Her site is Everything I saw on her site was inspiring. I've been nervous to try quilting because I thought I'd have trouble with all the precision--all the numbers, really. But her work is so organic and beautiful. I hope you take a minute to enjoy. God Jul.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Flirty Apron Swap Fun

She likes it; she really likes it. I like mine so much, too. If you haven't participated in an apron swap, please do give it a whirl. I had so much fun pondering what I would make and then received my lovely surprise in the mail. In the process, I made two new friends. Thanks ladies!

Sherry made mine and I made the red one for Adrienne.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Winner is #12

I used the random number generator at and the number it gave me was 12. So Cinnimon is the winner. Thank you all for visiting. I will get these little wings on their way. Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway

Sorry it took me so long to post about my giveaway. This is the item, if you're in, just leave me a comment. I'll choose a winner on the 5th--then get it on it's merry way.
Thought these lacy wings might be a fun win for a special tree. If you like them, just leave me a note. Happy holidays!

Thanks for playing!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Where to find a White Christmas

As I was arranging the bows of our artificial tree, I couldn't help but long for the white Christmases of the Upper Midwest. As an adult, I would drive up to Leverty's Traditional Trees and take in the season--cider, an amazing selection, friendly staff, wreaths made while you watched, and all the Christmas fun. I think my parents and my brother still make that trip part of their holiday traditions. If you are in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, or on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River, the drive to Leverty's is worth the trip. I wish I could make it today.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving.

Things around here have been strange. We sadly lost one of our doggies yesterday. She was a sweet old girl who took good care of us. Our little boy says she'll be a doggie angel in this many weeks, buy showing all his fingers; at least it made his sad big sister laugh. I've been sick, my sweetheart has been working like mad and we're all thankful to have a day to rest and enjoy one another. We are loving Uncle Jack for cooking, hosting and sharing his family with us. Anna's post seemed the perfect thing to share--exactly what the doctor ordered (after the antibiotics, of course). It seems like the perfect little something this season--simple, thoughtful and so kind. Hope you're cooking comfort for yourselves and your loves today. . . and every day. Happy Thanksgiving. How I wish I was sitting at my mother's always beautiful table and eating my grandma's pumpkin pie. I love you Mom and GranMargaret.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sweet New Blog Friend

Kind Kaycee at On a Whimm just gave me an award. She makes lovely repurposed items for kids and also whimsical play things with a purpose.

"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Please pass this award on to others who can then do the same."

Thank you Kaycee.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is December 3rd and I'm excited to participate! I have to figure out what I'll give away, but even that is fun. I'll get that item posted soon. . . or maybe it will be a combination of things. Hmm. Please come back to see what you would win. You could maybe even look at my etsy shop and tell me what you'd like to have in the giveaway. I'd love suggestions.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Handmade Holiday Discounts and Freebies--2

Here are a few more goodies to help you create and keep your holiday budget.

If you're plotting some scrapbooking or some photos for cards. . . can help you with super saver deals on 20 prints--one cent a piece. That is a super bargain. is also offering discounts on their products. Their photo books are my favorite and great gifts for family.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

To Organize or Gift a Girl's Hair Clips

Did any of you resist cutting your child's hair? Our baby girl is probably due for a haircut, but I'm not ready. A cut would mean her baby hair was gone and I love that some of the dark brown from her first days is on the tips of her now blonde hair. So we've tried hairbands, ponies and clips. She rejects them most days and I find them strewn about as I chase her to replace them. I've been trying to figure out how to organize them, especially with the travel season upon us. And I had an idea. Here it is, a girlie clip organizer. It will fit in my purse or diaper bag easily and will keep her hair pretties handy. Go ahead and make them any size you like. You only need some fabric, interfacing, ribbon and a snap (or velcro).

1. Cut your pieces--two of fabric, one of interfacing, two of ribbon.
2. Adhere your interfacing to the wrong side of one fabric piece.
3. Baste stitch your ribbons to both ends of the other piece of fabric. Straight stitch down the center of the fabric and ribbon to hold it securely.

4. With right sides together, sew around the perimeter, leaving an opening to turn it right-side out.

5. Turn, iron, topstitch the edge and sew on a snap or velcro. Now you have easy storage for clippies, or add some pretty clips or bobbies and it is a great present or stocking stuffer.

Have fun!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Handmade Holiday Discounts and Freebies

These links all have discounts or freebies this holiday season. Who doesn't love crafters who share their lovely talents and vendors who offer discounts to help us keep our budgets? Also, Pacrific Fabric and Craft has holiday discounts running now, too. They offer on-line sales as well as sales at their Northwest stores.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Christmas Quilt inspired by Wee Wonderfuls

The above photos are of embroidery patterns from Wee Wonderfuls. I am so excited for the mailman to bring the the set that isn't in pdf. Now that the baby girl is walking, my hands are a little freer. I don't think this project will be finished for this holiday, but maybe next year I'll have something new and lovely for my family to snuggle under while we admire the tree and the fire. Check out the lovely quilt on her blog. I'd love some ideas for holiday themed fabrics to compliment--or maybe just some classic calicos to showcase the stitching--please give me your suggestions.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh, the Generosity--Old Red Barn Giveaway

One of these three lovelies could be yours. Having only made one baby nine-patch quilt, I cannot imagine giving away a piece like these to anyone but family. Incredible. Visit her blog to enter the giveaway. The photo above and the button on my sidebar will link you. Good luck!

Nordic Bo Peep and Long Lost Sheep Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!

Nordic Bo Peep and Long Lost Sheep Costume GIVEAWAY!!!!
This is her last costume giveaway. . . go look and check out her new shop--lovely little birdies skirts.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Memory Game to Sew for Kids

My little guy loves to play memory with his daddy. They use playing cards. I've been trying to come up with some Christmas ideas for my kiddos and this one is great! If you want to make something lovely for your little one, this memory game seems perfect. The intructions are on a the Hallmark Magazine Blog and the photo above links to it. All you need is some of your favorite digital photos sized 2x2", printable fabric, some felt or flannel and a material you like for the backing. What a lovely gift--personal and keepsake. Happy Crafting!

Friday, November 7, 2008

No-Sew Holiday Ornaments or Gift Toppers

Though the pumpkins are just carved, I can't help but be getting ready for Christmas. Here is a super easy way to handmake ornaments out of scraps--you know my dislike for throwing them already. I love the beautiful faces on the Matryoushka dolls at and her etsy store. I thought my holiday tree might enjoy a little choir of them. To make them, or any shape that represents the holiday season for you, the instructions are below. Have fun!

Choose your shape (I made some lovely lace stars and angel wings last night), motif, etc. and gather the following items:

Fabric Scraps, Felt, Double-Sided Fusible Interfacing, String/Ribbon, Embroidery Floss (if you like).

Step 1: Cut your scraps into the shape you desire your ornament to represent.

Step 2: Iron on the fusible interfacing to both sides of the felt. You will need to apply heat to both sides for the adhesive to transfer. Follow the directions of the fusible you purchased for heat temperature and duration.

Step 3: Remove the fusible paper and cut the felt to match the shape you've chosen for your ornaments. Some ideas include stars, bells, angels, candles, gingerbreadmen. . . If you want to embellish your fabric, do so at this time. My little girls have a happy choir face done with embroidery, but you could just as easily use stamps or markers to create what you like.

Step 4: Sandwich the following elements together: top fabric pice, centered ribbon and felt. Iron the top portion of the ornament, again following the instructions on the fusible you purchased. Then flip and center the ribbon and back fabric piece. Iron this to fuse and trim any threads that seem to be strays. Now you are ready to hang.

Step 5: Hang or make garlands or gift toppers.

Here are some other ideas. . .

I've also made some acorns for all decorations. . . just need to get the camera out. Have fun!

E-Patterns with a Vintage Style

Friends, you will love these patterns. Now Jennie at Sense and Sensibility Patterns is offering e-patterns. The romantic and vintage designs are so sweet. I can't wait to make some for my little girl. Don't you just love e-patterns--the instant gratification and with no shipping fees. Yea!!! Happy Shopping.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bed Hogs Unite!

My friends, Sue and Patrick have a new business called, You'll love the product and if you submit a video with your own "bedhog" saga, you could win a set of their fun sheets. Check them out and enjoy! What a fun idea for weddings, anniversaries, holiday giving or for settling that age-old argument, who is the bedhog in the couple?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


If you don't know Grosgrain, go meet there. She does such lovely work and has incredible giveaways. You'll love her birdie skirts for your little girl.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Boys of Summer Give Away Winner

Congratulations to #3 Alison Coyle. The random integer creator is such a nifty device. I will get your little package on the way to you. Thanks for all the comments and entries!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boy's Christmas Sweater Pattern Dilemma

The pattern is in this house--somewhere. It is here, unless the dog ate it, the baby shredded it or I threw it out by mistake. So here I am with the front, back and one sleeve of the boy child's Christmas sweater complete and no pattern to finish it. I know I can noodle the second sleeve using the first as my guide, but then there is the collar. hmmm. I don't remember the name of the pattern. I didn't find it on Ravelry. I think it was a Debbie Bliss Freebie from a Canadian magazine. Hmm. So knitters, I may need some help once I get to the collar. It was a modified rolled collar--4 row rib followed by 6 rows of stockinette. I'll muddle through if I don't find it. The mommy brain thing is wearing thin this Sunday morning.
If he had not asked me to make it (what a sweet little boy, and only 3) if I were not so close, I'd move on to another something fun to make him like:
If you find you love any of these and need to make them for your kiddos--remember to save the link so you do not find yourself in a scramble. Lesson learned.

Praise for Seattle Adventure Boot Camp

When I told my husband I wanted to do a 5:30 am, bootcamp class three days a week for a month, he was a little surprised. Since the boy was born (3 1/2 years ago) the only exercise I've engaged in is walking and since the girl was born, that got harder because the boy doesn't want to stroll. His big boy status makes his reasoning obvious. My sweet husband encouraged me to do it, but after he did the math, he said, "You know for the value, you might as well go five days a week." I gulped, and then I signed up--send the money and dug out the running shoes.
The cloak of darkness definitely helped. Nobody had to see the pain in my face as I did rills, ran laps, or wore out on repetitions. I learned some great things that encouraged me the first week.

1. I am stronger than I thought. Though slow, I could still run a mile.

2. Though I have the mama "jelly belly" it is strong enough to do all the ab work required.

3. Such an early workout gave me energy all day long.

4. The women in the group were fun and great support as we all struggled with different aspects of the training.

5. Trainer John had a great approach. He was firm. He was challenging, but he was alway guiding us to do our best for ourselves. "Don't quit on yourself" is a line he used that really worked for me. Thanks Trainer John.

Some things that encouraged me to keep going--

1. My balance was horrible. Seriously, standing on one foot to stretch out the other ankle was a true test and I wobbled, I failed. A month later I am so much more stable!

2. My legs are weak. Somehow they manage to carry my body around and my kids around, but they are weak and I want them to be strong.

3. I could no longer do 20 push-ups at a shot. Time to get after it.

4. The '80s music that helped me channel my young and fit self.

The Seattle Boot Camp does before and after measurements (I didn't ask about these because I just wanted to get stronger.) What I can tell you is that in a month, I lost five pounds (not so much you might think), but my body changed and I can wear clothes I haven't worn in over a year. I know I am leaner and stronger--muscle weighs more than fat.

I thought I would do one session of this and then just get to the gym and see what I could maintain. Now, I'm thinking I need another session. I know I have a ways to go to get back to myself. The time alone working on me was a real gift. I have to thank my friend Nancy for encouraging me to sign up for camp, the ladies of the Shoreline 5:30 am class for their hard work that pushed me, Trainer John for helping us all hang in there and my sweet husband who provided the freedom to go and the extra encouragement when my old ankles and knees let me know I'm not 20 anymore. After a month, I'm in a new place. Please don't think I didn't ache the first week or struggle with sore ankles and knees. I did, but it was worth it. I feel better--stronger. . . maybe even younger. If you want to check it out, here is the link: They have testimonials, calendars, locations, trainer contact info--good luck and get after it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Enjoy the Moment--Every, Every One

While searching for the perfect gift for my sister-in-law who is an amazing graphic designer at Gartner Studios, I stumbled across this Emily Dickenson quote and it has stayed with me for over a month.

"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet."

It reminds me of another quote by an ancient, but that is in the forward of one of my favorite books, A Thousand Days in Tuscany, by Marlena Di Blasi. I'll find that and post it, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scrap Challenge--Finished Mine

Jennifer over at created the Scrap Challenge (she makes lovely quilts and piece-work handies). As a member of group 7, I'm finally done with my piece and getting it on Flickr. My little boy loves the yo-yos and they reminded me of morning glories. . . so a yarn trellis and some rickrack vines later, here is his new pillow. Just a little fun. Hope you're having some today, too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boys of Summer Give-Away

In October of 1977, my grandfather and I watched the Yankees win the World Series. I know, you say Yankees, really. . . but please understand, my grandpa's mother read the baseball news to him when he was a boy and much of it was about Babe Ruth as a Yankee. He brainwashed his grandchildren. I recall my cousin explaining to his son that he could root for any team he liked while at Grandpa's house, but he could not talk badly about the Yankees.
The present series and my baseball memories with Grandpa inspired the burp cloth set and pair of newborn slipper shoes, that are the give-away for this week. Please leave a comment by the evening of October 25th and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner and announce on October 27th. These are great for your own little guy or girl and a fun gift, too. I can't wait to see who gets them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Holiday Star Ornament

Oh, I love this. The linen with the stamped print and unfinished edges remind me of an book I have with The Shaker Hymn, Tis a Gift to be Simple. These work up so quickly and would be lovely of felt, holiday cotton, or wool. If you'd rather purchase, just check my etsy store. . . I'll have some of these there. If you don't own stamps, you could embroider the words that you adore--noel, love, joy.

Now I'm thinking I could make little circle ornaments in bright colors with the names of my son's friends from pre-school for their little holiday goody bags. This season is so much fun!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sew Craft Blog

The new button on my side bar is for a new Blog to create community among crafting bloggers. What a darling the woman who started this is--and such a pretty dog she has, too. Just click the button to view that Blog and join the fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Harvest Bird Ornament

Throwing scraps away makes me feel icky, so I've been looking for some fun little things to make with bits of my "left-overs". I know there are other little birdie ornament patterns out there--a lovely little one is in Last Minute Quilted Gifts, but I wanted mine to be more bluebirdish, which is to say, plumper. I did some sketching and some drafting and this little birdie is what I came up with. It would be great in holiday colors for a tree, but I was thinking of harvest time when I created it--thus the orange and brown. I'll get a little pattern together to share. I'm also thinking the birdie would be cute made of just two pieces--maybe linen or felt--easier to make, too. I'll get the pattern on a link soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Das Kaput

My trusty Sears sewing machine decided to take a break today. The motor revs, but nothing happens. If I wanted to manually stitch by using my hand to work the mechanism, I could make some very slow progress, but hand sewing would be faster. And now the dilemma. . . obviously, I should have it repaired, and have been putting that off since the button-holer hasn't worked in over a year, but it gives me the reasonable excuse to look at a better sewing machine. I would love to have some input on what I should test. The sewing I do is mostly garments, toys, bags and small quilts. Having some bells and would be nice, but I'm such a practical girl, that it seems silly to even dream about anything really fancy. What type of machine do you use in your craft time? Oh I hope I get some helpful advice!

Here are some review links that I am noodling:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kid Birthday Ideas

Hmmm. This weekend, we have a double kid birthday party. . . a 4 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. Books are always on my list so that will be easy, but I'm plotting some crafty ideas for them, too. For the little girl, I was thinking of a mini-purse and a set of headbands or barrettes in some of her signature colors. For the little boy, I was thinking a softie toy, though I've never made one and I'm finding designing one without a pattern is quite a task. If any one has suggestions, please share them. I'm assuming bigger is easier, but I could be wrong. I'd like it to be no more than three or four pieces. First I thought a set of bean bags might be fun for him, but then when I saw my 1 year old discover her stuffed animals this week, I thought something of fleece might be fun for him. I'll get to work and share what I make and come up with for these little people.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Etsy Banner

Thank you to Sherry at She does seriously stylish graphic design. If you're looking for a banner, avatar or even a whole shop makeover, she is super-fast and very kind. I love the new look at my store!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wristlet Winner!

Thanks to all who visited and commented on the blue wristlet. I used the following site for a random number generation:

Number 24, Elizabeth is the winner. Congratulations to Elizabeth. You package will ship as soon as you e-mail me your mailing address.

Please stop back for more giveaways and tutorials.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

In Memoriam--Paul Newman

The world is diminished today with the loss of Paul Newman. It is easy to be a fan of Cool Hand Luke, but Newman's philanthropy is what astounds me the most.

My first introduction to Newman was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He was quite a Brick--a pretty brave role for any man to play during that time. I promptly followed that viewing with Long Hot Summer and then the rest of his work followed.

In 2003, I saw Newman live in the Broadway production of "Our Town" that moved from his wife's Connecticut theater. He played the role of the Stage Manager and one image of him in that role is indelible for me. After visiting her childhood, when Emily is overwhelmed by all she didn't notice, she begs the Stage Manager to "take her back" to her grave. As the Stage Manager sitting on Emily's grave, Newman responded by holding his arms open wide. God should greet us all that way.

Words Newman spoke in that role are comforting me tonight, "We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars . . . everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being." Thank you Thornton Wilder.

Thank you, Mr. Newman. For your performances, your humanity, your kindness and your joy. You will be greatly missed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ten Minute Headband Tutorial

Ten Minutes--seriously! I know many headband makers painstakingly sew, flip, iron, top stitch and attach elastic. This is my easy way of having a similar effect in 1/3 the time.

Materials: You will need the following: a 4"-6" x 22" piece of material (20" or 18" if you are making if for a child or toddler), a hair band of your favorite variety, thread.

Step 1: Cut your material to the appropriate size and iron flat.

Step 2: Fold in half lengthwise (the hot dog way for those of you with children) and iron.

Step 3: Fold one edge to the center and iron. Do the same to the other edge.

Step 4: Fold the material in half along the first iron mark and iron flat.

Step 5: Top stitch one side of the strip, then the other.

Step 6: Fold over 1/4" of end and iron. Fold that again 1/2" and iron. Repeat at other end.

Step 7: Place the hair band inside the flap created by the 1/2" fold and pin. Repeat at other end.

Step 8: Zig-zag along the casing for the hair band on each end.

Step 9: Wear!