Thursday, December 27, 2007

Baby Sling

I made this sling for my friend Annie and her new baby Sophia. The reversible pattern by Jan Andrea was easy to follow for a beginner like me. Annie preferred cotton, but fleece would be snuggly too. Sophia didn't take to it right away...

...but Annie's cat Lenny did.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Therese Laskey's "Softies" is packed with zany sweetness. I got it from my mom for Christmas and am now taking advantage of my vacation time to render a few of these very simple patterns. This treeling will be a belated Hanukkah present for my friend Jessica, who adores all woodland plushies.

Monday, November 5, 2007

play time.

The Duke recently scored a sweet new Husqvarna sewing machine and immediately went to work on some play clothes for Anna who visited the following weekend. Capes are an essential accessory in every wardrobe, and now Anna's is complete. She also made a cute fringe skirt and bandanna from this storybook fabric to complete her cowgirl ensemble.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Chubby Bird Bud Vases

I think it's clear that I live in the place that becomes dark and cold first, as it seems I am already reaching an autumnal level of crafting. Anyway. Ellen gave me some super fun paper for my birthday, and I picked up these small pharmacy jars at an antique store. I used a chubby bird pattern I found online and used decoupage glue by Decopatch. I removed glue outside the bird on the glass using my go-to handy dandy standby for everything - nailpolish remover.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

a self-explanatory apron

I have sewn an apron. It was easy and back to the kind of 'flat' sewing I like best. There really isn't that much else to. say. about. this. apron. The fabric is Michael Miller Fifties Kitchen. The word apron is starting to look funny to me now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pack Your Bags

Here's Elana and her new weekender bag! For my second attempt (see first version here), I used Etsuko Furuya's Echino Balance bird meduim-weight fabric. The matching toiletry bag was made from Amy Butler's stash & dash pattern (interior is the cheerful full moon polka dot in cherry from Amy Butler's Lotus line).

Saturday, September 8, 2007

When friends reproduce, I produce. Baby onesies.

I also used the japanese pattern book (referred to by Ellen below) to make some baby onesies. I thought a bit about how to make the pattern transfer. I first traced the pattern onto regular notebook paper. Then, on two of the onesies, I used a tracing paper/tracing wheel set for fabric and a ballpoint pen to push the pattern through the tracing paper onto the fabric when the wheel could not catch the necessary detail. For the rather un-detailed rainbow onesie, I just traced the pattern onto a piece of notebook paper and sewed the paper onto the shirt to get the main pattern (before filling in with color etc). The paper was pretty easy to tear away.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Bridezilla's Sweatshop

During the month of June, I did more cutting, pasting, folding, pressing, taping, measuring, stitching, sewing and tying than I ever thought possible. And somewhere in the middle of it all, double-sided tape became my best friend. Preparation for Elana's wedding pushed me to the edge of craftiness and beyond, and even though it was occasionally lonely being the only worker in Bridezilla's sweatshop, it was super fun*.

Elana picked out gorgeous Japanese paper for the table tents, place cards, wedding directory and guest book, which were all made from supplies we bought at the Paper Source**. The guest book was made from a photo album kit and was bound with the dove gray German linen photo book cloth. I thought the album was the perfect size but I didn't think the vellum paper between the pages was appropriate for a guest book, so I removed each vellum sheet and pasted a strip of the Japanese paper against the spine of each page. If you're into book binding, and even if you're not, you should pick up one of these bonefolders cuz it's a sweet little tool (but not as cool as double-sided tape). Elana came up with the idea of a guest seating directory which listed each guest's name, affiliation to the bride or groom, kids (if applicable), where they were from, and their table number. It was a very practical little booklet and a great souvenir.

The petal cones were made from regular sheets of paper and were covered with white 8" paper doilies. We spruced up three inexpensive baskets with cute white ribbon and stuffed them with the petal cones (that were constructed very late at night, I might add).

Lastly, the photo garland added a personal touch to the reception. I printed out a bunch of childhood photos of the bride and groom, sandwiched them between pieces of vellum paper and stitched them together. Two trusty friendzillas strung them up with pretty ribbon at the reception.

* Since I used Mikey's apartment as my craft studio (thanks, Michael!), he kept me company and provided feedback, so I wan't technically alone...

**Warning: The Paper Source is a great store but can be a dangerous black hole for enthusiastic crafters. Never go into the Paper Source just to "look around" and never go by yourself - either situation will result in a state of total delirium.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Here is a rag doll I made from a pattern Sharon sent me, you can find it on; click on mailorder; click on pattern six (currently sold out, unfortunately). This doll was certainly one of those projects that required faith to continue. When I first started making the doll, it initially looked like the kind of doll Sauron would want to play with, if he was interested in dolls or had a body. I didn't want to go to bed with it in the apartment....But I pressed on and it took shape quite nicely! I had seen elsewhere that it was good to cut the dress longer than the pattern indicated and had good luck with that. I would also recommend cutting everything slightly larger to facilitate larger seam allowances - the dolls shoes, for example, ended up being quite small because the fabric I was using was prone to fraying and I had to use rather substantial seams to make the shoes sturdy. It's a great way of using odds and ends of fabric, buttons, ribbons etc.

Sassy fruit and veg tea towel

This is a tea towel I embroidered for Ellen and she kindly sent me this photo. Primarily I want to showcase her very cool stove. The towel I embroidered was a bit too loosely woven, I think, and was consequently more difficult to work with for embroidery and more prone to shrinking/curling from washing and drying. I would recommend sticking with tightly woven cottons for real durability and ease in embroidering.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Baby Lizard... wait, caterpillar?

Sharon told me about this intensely cute embroidery book. Here is my first design.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sarah Kusa's Web Store Debut

Sarah Kusa, friend and rower extraordinaire, has just launched her online store! She's been designing hand-screenprinted home decor goods for the past year and is taking her business to the next level. Check her out.
Sarah Kusa Design Goods

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Here is a pair of pillowcases that I made to honor the ever so wonderful SOB (sister of bride), who was also a fantastic maid of honor. I loved this old-fashioned pattern by Bucilla that duke sent me and the bright summery colors it required. The pattern, stamped directly on the pillow cases, washes out, but you have to select fairly hot water (40 C/over 100 F).

Repainting dressers

Spring came and with it the desire to upgrade the look of the bedroom, which hosted some gems, like a fire engine red dresser and a totally useless IKEA bathroom cupboard that was desperately trying to live up to the demands of clothes storage. I found a $10 lime green dresser at a school fundraiser, thusly relegating the IKEA cupboard to presiding over greater order in our basement storage space. The fire engine red dresser, in its ruddy health, was not to be discarded or moved, but transformed.
I started first by finding new drawer knobs that could be used on both dressers to create a little more furniture harmony in the room. I found that at a store in Norway a bit like Anthropologie, where it is possible to order new knobs online. I wanted to keep the bedroom rather light, as the room is small, so looked for a paint color in the white family with green undertones and bought paint. We used about 1.5 liters of semi-matte oil based paint for two dressers, be sure not to buy too much as paint is expensivo! Oil paint is great for trim and furniture. In addition, I bought a new roller and a new brush.
On both dressers, Lars and I started by removing the existing wooden knobs and then sanding them, merely to rough up the surface lightly so that it took paint better. I then washed both dressers with a light soap to remove dust (in fact when sanding the red dresser, I wet the surface just before sanding in order to keep red dust down as we were doing this inside). On the light lime green dresser, we skipped the coat of primer as the color was quite light and then over the course of three days we applied three coats (with 24 hour drying time). The red dresser got a coat of primer first and then only required one further coat (and we ran out of paint...).

I think our only surprise was that as we didn't assiduously clean the roller (used for the broad flat surfaces such as top and fronts of drawers), the roller sponge became uneven/a bit prickly and in later coats would rough up the surface a bit. I kind of like the not totally glossy, flat look anyway, and better than opening up white spirit in the apartment to clean the brushes (yuck). Very fun to make something old into something new!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Spring-- er, summer skirt

Thankfully I finished this before fall. It's my first solo sewing project, thanks to a lot of guidance from my mom. Things I learned: zipper, hem, waistband... um, everything.

Funniest potential blunder: I knew the back should be hemmed slightly longer than the front. I thought an inch difference might do the trick. Right. Like I have an inch's worth of badonkadonk that needs accommodating (wishful thinking). Had my mom not stepped in to suggest a hem-pinning with the skirt on, I might have ended up with something like this:


Ta da! Here is the purse I made for Elana's big day! I wanted to make something special out of the hem from her bridal gown and decided a little purse might come in handy. Unfortunately there wasn't enough fabric from the bridal gown for the exterior, so I purchased a matching fabric and stitched together the hem from my SOB (sister of the bride) dress for a spicy interior. The small hearts embroidered with their initials and wedding day are made from her g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s dress fabric (we're talkin' buttery, here). The 8.5" purse frame and Guterman glue came from and I followed the directions they posted to assemble the clutch purse.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Paper Doll Apron

The Duke made this apron out of paper doll fabric by Timeless Treasures that we bought online from Lady Button Fabrics. The finished apron has two pockets on the front and was made from Simplicity pattern 3802 (view 'C'). The ruffled straps and piping is absolutely adorable! The remaining fabric was used to make a potholder, placemats, napkins and a tea towel. Anna's kitchen is open for business!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Birthday Pressie for the Peanut

This ditty is for my precious little niece, Holly, who is turning the big o-n-e at the end of June. I made the dress from Burda pattern 9709 and the gingham and fruit fabric is from Sew Contempo, a store in Houston. This was the first time I've made anything from a Burda pattern, and I think both the instructions and illustrations could be improved for clarity. It was an interesting adventure, however, and would definitely be easier if I made it again. I hope it fits!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Manga Me

I saw an extremely cute idea on and since my wonderful cousin had a graduation coming up: Yo. Time for another crafty gift. I found my way to the manga section of Barnes & Noble, which is fairly substantial (to a newbie). Luckily there was a pre-adolescent boy sitting in the aisle whose hunched posture and intense eyes-to-page proximity said to me, "Expert right here. Ask me." Thanks to him I now own my first manga: Love Hina (3).

Here are my versions of the earrings:

Then I stumbled across instructions for folding a paper wallet. Since my friend Ben is *really* good at saving money (and it happened to be his birthday) hark -- another crafty gift opportunity.

I actually shellacked the wallet for durability with the same clear spray glaze I used on the earrings (not high-gloss). I'll check back with Ben to find out how it's holding up (although maybe the Biggest Saver won't be taking it in and out of his pocket very much.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Nothing compliments lazy weekends at the cabin quite like a comfy pair of lounge pants! The pattern for the wide leg, drawstring pant is from Amy Butler's In Stitches book, of course! You may recognize the flower print from a previous project (those bedspreads give you oodles of fabric!) and the trim is a tangerine polka dot from Amy Butler's Lotus line. Duke scored her citrus jammies as a mother's day bonus.

Kimono Robe

The pattern for this kimono style robe came from Amy Butler's In Stitches book and is made out of a red asian flower bedspread from Urban Outfitters - a fabric tip from Mrs. Butler herself. It's the perfect cover-up and those of you who live in cold weather climates (ahem...) could line it for additional warmth!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cabled Handwarmers

This pattern was created by Cheryl Niamath. Thanks, Sharon, for walking me through the cable how-to during our crafting weekend!

Whale Tee

The felted swatches continue...

(He's kind of swimming off to one side, no?)

This one I had to hand-sew because I wasn't getting the tension right on the sewing machine (novice, here). But sewing by hand offered some nice precision.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Cute Enough to Eat: The Baguette

I might have to carry this bag every day for the next 5 years in order to justify the time I took knitting it and sewing the liner. Felted carpet baguette pattern from Noni.

Collaborative crafting: The button was Elana's idea. Good thing she reminded me to add the button loop before sewing the liner. And the liner, it must be said, was all my mom's doing.