Wednesday, December 31, 2008

needle holders

Finally I can post about the awesomely crafty gifts I made for people this year. I am trying to group them a little bit but I don't want to just put everything up at once. So I am starting with 2 knitting needle holders I made.

The first is for my future Mother-in-law and it holds needles from about size 6 to size 15 I think. It is for 14 inch needles so it is pretty tall. I made it out of some beautiful leftover fabrics that I had and had been wanting to use with a nice lime green as the lining. I also used elastic and buttons as the is the same pattern I made up for my chopstick holder earlier this year, but I decided elastic would be easier to use than the ties. It came out really well :)

The second is one that I made for double pointed needles for my dad. He picked out his fabirc and told me the basic design that he wanted- two layers of pouches for 7 inch and 10 inch needles in case his collection ever gets that big. The orange fabric for the lining is actually a thick canvas fabric which makes it a little thick, but I think it works. He requested the ties instead of the elastic so I put leather cord on in keeping with the manly theme :-P Each time I make something like this I get better which is a good sign.

I guess that is it for round one....more to come!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

wedding goodies part III

The countdown continues! This month, I would like to showcase the cute little knitted favor bags we (meaning myself, my father and my future mother-in-law) have been making for the wedding. There are 4 colors and 5 patterns and they are turning out really well. They are all pretty simple/basic patterns, but they look nice and using 5 patterns keeps it from getting too boring. They are 4"x6" before they are sewn up so they make nice little 3"x3" pouches to hold things. We are going to put ribbon through and tie them up with something inside for everyone and get little tags to thank everyone and such. Anyway, there isn't much else to say about them.

After the new year I will post some of the gifts I made this year. They are all sewn and I am quite proud of them.....even the ones that didn't turn out so well :-P

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things I Like

Sometimes, I am just such a slackerific blogger. Currently I attribute that to my ongoing projects of christmas gifts which still can't be posted for a few weeks and really, I don't have a lot of time for other, non-christmas related projects. One of the wedding projects that I have been working on will be posted next week, but other than that, I just wanted to write about a few projects that I have been considering making for myself at some point when I have time.

The first is a knitting project. A few weeks back I saw an adorable cardigan type sweater on the front of the Jo-Ann fabric ad and of couse had to search for the pattern. I found it here and although it looks pretty difficult, I might be inclined to tackle it. I think it is really cute and it is absolutely something I would wear. I have never really knit something quite that big or with that much shaping, but I figure I would have to start somewhere. I don't typically like the idea of making clothes, but if I was ever to make a sweater, it would probably be this or something fairly similar. I guess we'll see. I figure if I start this summer maybe it will be done by the time it is freezing out....or maybe the year after haha.

The other is a sewing project. I signed up for the website burdastyle which has some cute free patterns and I found this dress that I think would be a fun and fairly easy project that would look really good. I don't know exactly how I feel about such a high neckline, but it is cute enough that I think I might try it. I am a little hesitant about using jersey fabric since I know from my t-shirt blanket how much more difficult knits are to work with, but it could be worth it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More wedding goodies: save-the-dates

My, it has been a while since I posted anything. Lately I just haven't done anything that I could put up without fear of someone ruining an upcoming gift. Anyway, today is the day for another wedding craft installment. Today will feature the save-the-date cards I designed. We had engagement pictures taken with signs and picked out our favorites, wanting it to have a vague photobooth feel. The inspiration for the background for this and all of our wedding stationery came from a folder I got at barnes and noble a few months back that I just fell in love with. It is so cheery and I thought it would be perfect for a relaxed summer wedding. Currently I am working on the invitation that will be the same flower design but with the colors reversed. We decided that for quality and sanitys sake, I would design them and then we would go ahead and get them printed at kinkos which worked out great for the save-the-the dates. They are 3" x 6 3/4" and we made special 3.5" x 7" envelopes for them and attached a piece of cardstock with our contact information. Anyway, I love them and thought I would share. My photoshop skills are still not great, but I am still impressed by the things I can figure out. We shall see how invitations go.
Hopefully soon I will have some other crafts to put up, but in any case, the gifts will be given soon enough and then I will have plenty of things to put up :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lessons in Sewing

1. If you are going to sew on your lap, you should probably make sure you don't stab yourself in the leg (which, might I add, is still a better situation then cutting out a chunk of finger while baking). I'm not saying this happened to me or anything, it just seems like something to be aware of....
2. If you make an oops, you just need to pick the solution that will make the oops less obvious in the end
3. If you oops again as you are trying to fix the first oops, and all hopes of playing it off like you meant to do that have flown out the window, just make sure when you give it to someone (if you are in fact going to give it to someone) you stress how much time, love and devotion went into the making of said sad object
4. If nothing else, the most important lesson sewing has taught me that mistakes happen and life will move on. Not everything can be perfect (or anything if I am sewing....especially by hand) and sometimes you just have to tell yourself that imperfection is what makes things special. If it's true for people it can certainly be true for things, crafts included. As my dad always says, it makes it unique, and really aren't we all about unique? That said, I should still probably consider giving up hand sewing and stick to machine sewing if I feel like I really want to continue to torture myself.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Card Holder Wallets

Well, I am working my way through my list of gifts for this holiday season and am getting close to done. I just finished making little card holders for my two younger cousins that are the same two fabrics but reversed. First of all, the pattern is from the book Bend-the-Rules Sewing which I know I have mentioned before. I thought they were really cute and I had the perfect leftover fabric so figured I would go ahead and try it and let me just say, they could have come out better. They look pretty good overall, but the main problem is that cards do not fit in the pouch, thereby defeating it's purpose as a card holder! They each have two pockets that are the same fabric as the outside and on each one, the bottom pocket can squeeze a card in, but the top one really doesn't work. I am figuring that it will still fit cash or tickets from the carnival/arcade and things like that so I am not too worried about it. The other thing is that the snaps are a bit strong so everytime you open it, it seems that the fabric might rip if you aren't careful. There is really not much I can do about either of these issues so we will just have to see how it goes. Worse case scenario: they don't use them and at least I got some good experience. I really like how the pattern came together and despite their problems they are really cute. This is why I shouldn't make things that need to be a specific size. I swear I measured right and everything! But at the end you go around the outside to close up the edge and that was what made the pockets just that little bit too small. I even tried to fix it for the second one, but apparently it did not work and they are exactly the same size. Oh well. So here they are!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cat Pillow

Yes, I know, more pillow business, I have a pillow problem, but I finally decided last week to make a pillow for our kitty to try and make him more comfortable and give him a space of his own. Of course he is absolutely not interested and would rather attack the pillow then sleep on it, but that's okay. I made it to fit in his new carrier to make it a little more homey for him and so maybe he would hate it less, but I doubt it will work. Anyway, I actually cut up a pillow case that we had (a sock monky pattern that seemed like a good idea at the time but is actually really creepy to sleep on so it was perfect to cut up for the cat) and remade it into a pillow with an envelope back so that I could also make a pillow form and stuff it and put it inside so the cover is removable and thus washable. I made the pillow form out of a plain cotton flannel and stuffed it with leftover eco-friendly stuffing from the ugly bear. Then I cut up the pillow case so that I could use the ends as the place in the back where the case overlaps and I wouldn't have to hem or anything because they would already be so nicely finished which worked out beautifully :) I opted for the envelope closure so that I wouldn't have to deal with zippers or ties (which he would just attack) and I am incredibly happy with the choice. In fact I think I may make all my future pillows close that way! I guess we'll see once I have space for more pillows haha.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

wedding goodies part II

Well here we are, another month down as the wedding slowly creeps up. The wedding project for this month is going to be the cute "will you be my bridesmaid/maid of honor?" cards that I made for my girls. I used the red yellow and orange theme and when I went into it I really had no idea what the cards would come out looking like but I was really happy with how they turned out. I don't often have a good excuse to do paper crafts like scrapbooking every since I caught up so I love having little projects like this that I can spend an afternoon doing and really take my time figuring out layouts and details. It is nice to have a project that is not overwhelming (unlike doing an entire scrapbook with tons of pictures). I used ribbon and rub-on flowers (I love rub-on stickers by the way) and a pretty dress stamp. Actually the only thing I don't really like about them is my handwriting but oh well (and the fact that nothing I do ends up straight haha). So here they are:

And I swear I will post about all these projects I keep babbling on about soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pot Holders

Yesterday and this morning I have been a very busy bee. I still have to take care of some details and snap some pictures and of course some things must wait until after the holidays to be posted, but I still have some good things to post. Today is a follow up to the cloth napkins because yesterday I finally finished my pot holders! They are super cute and really make it a nice set. I already had the fabric sewn together and everything as you may have seen in the other post, I was just waiting on some cotton and insul-bright batting so that, ya know, you don't burn your hand trying to pick up something hot! And now I have it and they are done :) The only weird thing about them is the insul-bright batting actually. It makes a sort of strange crinkly noise when you move it but since it keeps hands safe, it's all good. So that is all I have for today, if I can get my camera to cooperate, I will have the rest by next week and if not, I'm sorry that my camera is crap and won't hold a charge for more than 10 minutes.

Monday, October 13, 2008

totally unrelated

This is absolutely not craft related, but I just saw this handbag givaway here. There is really nothing to lose and it looks like it will be a pretty sweet website :) Anyway, I'll be back later this week with a lot of crafty things that I am ready to go on!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

digital scrapbooking

A while back I decided to get into a little bit of digital scrapbooking. It was actually more out of necessity as I was trying to make a photo book for my sisters birthday (a book celebrating her 20th birthday and all the great pictures we have from the past 20 years) and was really frustrated with the limitations of the templates offered by the book publishing companies. I decided that I would learn to use photoshop (something I also wanted to learn in order to design our wedding stationery) and I made jpeg files out of the pages I created so I could just put them in the software as full page images thus giving myself complete control over the creative process. I bought Digital Designs for Scrapbooking 2 so that I could learn some basics and pretty much figured out whatever else I needed as I went along. I then published through and the book ended up being 76 pages (counting each side as a page) and it really came out beautifully. I was not trying to do true scrapbooking and really did not use embellishments or anything, just some words and quotes that I felt were relevant and a few decorative elements where I felt them necessary like on backgrounds and such. The color scheme for the book in an attempt to unify is black, white, gray and pink. I thought it would be nice to post a few of these pages that I am really proud of. The pages that I am posting are being displayed for layout and/or design elements, not for the photographs they contain. Of course the photo is always part of making a page good; being able to choose the right photo for a layout or design or vice versa is definitely important, but anyway, here are a few of my favorites:

I really liked the way the quote went with the flowers I put on and I also think the black shadow boxes really brought it together and gave it more depth.

This pages is dedicated to our grandmother who passed away and my sister was especially close to her (their birthdays were only a day apart). I managed to use the lyrics to amazing grace in the background and just emphasized the title words in red to make them stand out. It turned out to be a really nice way to use those lyrics while keeping the focus of the page on the picture.
This was an instance where I decided the background just needed something so I decided on an all over flower pattern with the pink to bring the pictures out and keep them in focus.

Perhaps my favorite thing about making designs is playing with the opacity. I love being able to make things fade into the background a bit and control which elements are more prominent. That is what I did with the year in this one. I thought it was important to preserve what year this particular halloween took place along with the happy halloween message and this seemed the perfect way to include it all.

This is actually what I made for the back cover. I thought it would be nice to reuse one of my favorite pictures of the two of us and try out some special effects the I learned using the digital scrapbooking book. It came out really well and ended up being a perfect back cover page.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cloth napkins

This week I have been spending some time trying to figure out some crafty Christmas gifts. "Christmas?!?!" you say in shock. Absolutely. I figure if I start now I have much more time to make things and might get it all done. I really like making gifts for people but only if they are practical and I think they will really like them and get good use out of them which sometimes makes it difficult to think of things. Anyway, I got a few things figured out but can't post them for obvious reasons. I am going to have to start gathering coupons for Joann's though and make a trip for some of the little things I need. I also don't really like to make big things. I tend toward projects that won't take me more than a few hours so as to limit the frustration I have time to feel.

Speaking of small projects, recently I purchased the book Bend-the-Rules Sewing, mostly because it has lots of small projects that don't require much fabric and thus, I can use a lot of what I have instead of buying more fabric, a real money saver. I was looking through it last week and discovered the pattern for cloth napkins which are simple and use fabric beautifully! I got very excited but also annoyed at myself at the same time for not having thought of it myself. Had I just stopped to think about it, it would have occurred to me that you just need a piece of fabric and then to fold the sides over and sew. If I had just looked at the cloth napkins I already have I might have noticed. But at any rate, there it was and I decided that I could make some cloth napkins that are all cute and mis-matchy and I could also make some pot holders with the leftover scraps. Genius, pure genius! So that is just what I did this weekend. The potholders are not completed due to the fact that I need to get some batting that won't, ya know, melt when heated thus defeating it's primary purpose. So the fabric pieces are ready to go once I have the rest and the napkins are done and really cute. In fact, they are so cute, I might make more, a gift set perhaps? Only time will tell. So first up are the napkins by themselves. They are about 13x9 or so when opened so the perfect size when folded for a muffin or scone (tea party anyone??) And then we have the napkins with their matching soon-to-be pot holders.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

wedding goodies part I

10 months from today, I will be a Mrs. which really just blows my mind. To honor the countdown and all the hard work I am putting into said wedding, I have decided that every month on the 18th if possible, I will post a wedding craft that I have made. At this point I think I have enough to last me a couple of months so we'll just have to see where the planning takes me by the time I run out, but I'm sure knowing me that I will continue to have things to post.

Anyway, I would like to kick this off by honoring my girls. When we got engaged, I immediately knew who I wanted by my side and decided that I wanted to make them a little something to show them how much I love and appreciate them. I have a maid of honor and a bridesmaid so we are keeping it small and I made them each (and one for me of course!) a little tote bag with a cute fabric design on them and then put sparkley words on them that said 'bride' 'bridesmaid' or 'maid of honor' so that we can all use them as we run around doing wedding related tasks. They were really so much fun to make and didn't take too much time or money and honestly I want to make more, I just need to find an excuse and some money to do so. I used coloring book-like pages as patterns and cut out the shapes and then folded them under and sewed on that for a clean edge. Doing it that way made the curves a little rough and um...pointy, but I think they came out really well :) I also made cards to ask them, but I think that will be for next month, I love the bags too much and am too excited about them to do the cards first.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

gym bag

So next week I should have some nice new projects to post, but until then here is another one that I did a few months ago. Early in the summer my future mother-in-law bought the book Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-shirt and we decided to go to town. Our big project was a t-shirt wedding dress (oh yeah we did!) made out of 7 white t-shirts (actually a top and a skirt) which I sadly realize now I do not have pictures of, but I will be sure to acquire some. It did take two of us, but it came out pretty cute considering it is a wedding dress made of t-shirts haha. Anyway, I did a number of other projects like a sunglasses case, checkbook cover, and skirt that I also don't have pictures of. As indicated by the title, possibly my favorite project and the one that I do have pictures of, is a gym bag that I made for my sister. On one of our goodwill trips collecting t-shirts to transform I found a shirt that said "the cops just pulled me over for carrying these guns" and I just could not stop laughing about it and thought it would be just perfect for a little gym bag. It came out a bit smaller than intended because I was bound by the size of the t-shirt which also made the strap a bit short, but that's okay, it was fun :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008


It occured to me over this past week that although I have no new projects to post, I certainly have plenty of past projects that deserve some love. Thus, because I seriously miss having a sewing machine, I thought I would honor a few of my sewing projects from the past year. I am starting out with my pillows. I love making pillows! Unfortunately I really don't have space to make too many of them, but that's okay. The first one came about from a pattern I found here and decided that chickens were definitely not going to work for me. And for whatever reason in the fabric shop I was really into brown retro, weird pattern fabric, but somehow it all came together and I love the result. For the record, the back is the same big flowery pattern as the center but I'm only putting up a picture of the front. I also decided on both of them to make ties for the opening so that I can easily take them off and wash them. The red pillow is a cover for a massage pillow that I accidentally ripped when I pulled the tag off and now it is slowly leaking little white round things. Man that sounds gross. Anyway, I needed a cover for it and decided on this pattern as I flipped through my quilting books. The back on that one is the nice red with white polka dots. They were both a lot of fun and to be honest, they are the only sewing projects I have done to date where the seams match up! I was and remain very proud of myself :) And now, pictures of my glorious handiwork!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

yarn love

I recently started a project that unfortunately can not be revealed for many months. (Which is often my problem....I would post a lot more projects if they weren't for people and I wasn't afraid they might see them.) In any case, the point is that I love the yarn I am working with and I thought everyone should know. It is spa yarn from and it is a mix of acrylic and bamboo which makes it super soft. I was afraid I wasn't going to like it (we had a little fight in the beginning when I couldn't find the end....resulting in a very long process that involved much untangling) but it is turning out to be great! The first row was rough because it can be quite stringy but once I got into it, it was fine and now I really love working with it. So that's all for now. I actually am not sure when I will have another finished project to show, but hopefully it won't be too long. I should be getting the sewing machine back in 2 weeks and that will expand my possibilities. I have a lot of sewing planned and that generally goes much quicker than knitting, so by the end of the month things should pick up :)

and p.s. thanks for all the bear love, the more I look at it the more I kind of like it and enjoy it's quirks :)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

ugly bear

So I've been making a little teddy bear to give my cousin for his baby, and when I say little, I mean it...It is not even 6 inches tall, but the pattern online looked cute. Anyway, I finally finished it and then made the little dress to go with it and quite frankly, it is the first project I have ever thought was ugly and was unhappy with. Good thing the poncho is so cute :-P I guess it's not terrible, but come on, it is far from great. I think it was because of the pattern being confusing and because I used different yarn that wasn't as fuzzy so any problems with it are more obvious. In any case, it is a good baby size and the yarn is organic cotton with eco-friendly filling. I am currently in the process of trying to figure out if there is any way to fix the dress so that it is not quite so big so if I do try to fix it I'll post another picture. For now here is the tragic little thing.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

baby poncho

This past week I finished a baby poncho I was working on for my cousins baby and it came out even cuter than I had imagined it would. It is a lion brand pattern here, that I found so I could use up some of the leftover yarn from the afgan. Since I had so many colors left over I decided to stripe it in order to get rid of some. The pattern was simple and I got to learn a lot of things I hadn't done before like casting off in the middle and then picking stitches back up to make the hood. I made the 3-6 month size on bigger needles since I knit so tight and I think it came out about half an inch wider than the pattern said, which is totally okay for a poncho. In any case, it went really well and I am quite happy with it. I can only hope that my cousin likes it and uses it for his little girl :)

Thursday, July 31, 2008


It would seem that I am slightly blanket obsessed. My first real sewing project was my t-shirt blanket after college, and I am now working on my third knit blanket. The first of course, was the most difficult, but which I made for my sister and will always be quite proud of. I found the pattern in Knit it!, a magazine that I really enjoyed but have yet to see since that issue last spring. In any case, the blanket came out beautifully despite it's rather small size. A lap blanket I like to call it. I made it in 5 strips and I think it came out slightly larger than the 30x42 inches it was supposed to be thanks to different yarn and larger needles.

The second was a really easy stockinette stitch blanket on size 17 needles which went nice and quick. That was a lion brand pattern found here. It was all using two strands of yarn to give it that cool look and it was made in three 12 inch strips.

And now I am working on my large patchwork-like blanket out of 7x9 rectangles with I think 12 different colors and around 17 different stitch patterns. So far I am done 14 blocks, but it has become a rather low priority on my project list since it is not really for anyone else and I have no deadline or anything. I would also like to add that the other two knit blankets were childs size making them that little bit easier. I guess we'll see if my current blanket makes it all the way to its intended 49x63 inch size. I suppose it is not that I am blanket obsessed, it is more that I like to make useful things that are not sweaters. And really, one can only make so many scarves :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chopstick holder

So I am going to start with my most recent project and work from there, adding past projects when I get to it and other projects as they come. Anyway, this came out really well and I am really happy with it despite a few minor mistakes. The design is one that I sort of created after looking at a number of knitting needle holders online and taking the parts of them that I liked. I used a fusable interfacing between the layers to give it strength and it worked great. The result is not at all bulky and is easy to roll and store and now there is no need to worry about any of our chopsticks being broken by being shuffled around in a drawer. I think the whole thing only took an hour or two to put together once I figured out the pattern and how it would work. At any rate, here it is.