Friday, December 2, 2011

christmas in may

last december we were living in my parents' basement, and my mom asked if i'd like to help out with christmas decorations. i said sure, and we decided it was time for our family to get a new batch of stockings. my mom was planning ahead and wanted one for each person in our family and then one for each of our spouses/future spouses...which totalled to be 12 stockings. we bought all the supplies and i got started....but never finished. we used old mismatched stockings last year.

the new year rolled around, and i was still in school, and the stockings got put on the back burner.  in may, when i asked my mom what she wanted for mother's day, she said she'd love to have the stockings finished. so i did.

i don't have a full tutorial for them... but i can explain the basics.

1) draw a large stocking shape. the shape is based on preference and the size depends on what you like to put in them. our family usually puts grapefruits in the toe (i think this tradition evolved from the classic christmas orange??) so we tried to accommodate for that. this "pattern" also needs to have room for seam allowance (1/2" or so extra on all sides).

2) design your stocking. i did ours out of burlap and cotton crochet trim and/or doilies.  sew on anything you want to the pieces before putting the stocking together.

3) cut out. if you want to line your stockings (like i did--notice the red striped ticking) you will need to cut TWO stocking pieces and TWO lining pieces from your fabrics.  also, cut the stocking fabric about 1" taller than the lining fabric. (as you can see in the photos, the stocking fabric will fold over to the backside so the lining does not show from the front).

3).  sew together. sew both stocking fabric pieces together, with right sides facing. backstitch at both ends. flip right side out.  REPEAT for the lining fabrics, with right sides facing.  you will have two completed stocking-shaped pieces.

4). this is the tricky part to explain.  with your stocking piece RIGHT side out, and your lining piece INSIDE out, put the stocking inside the lining...this will mean that rides sides are facing.  match up the side seams at the top of the stocking, and pin.  sew around the top, leaving a 2-3" gap. make sure to backstitch.  you can trim the seam down to 1/4" for less bulk.

5). flip the stocking through the small gap in the stitching you left. tuck the lining down inside of the stocking. iron, so the stocking fabric folds over a little bit to the facing side, like shown in the pictures. it should resemble a lined stocking now...almost finished!

6). hand stitch the gap of the stocking and lining fabrics together. you can topstitch around if you like.

7)  add a fabric or ribbon loop on the side to hang the stocking.

8) do it 11 more times! ...just kidding. only if you're me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

newborn baby gift

i've said it before and i'll say it again.....i'm a little snobby about baby clothes. i think i like them to look like miniature adults.  that being said, i think newborns deserve to spend most of their time in soft, comfy clothes.

here's a baby gift i made for a friend's newborn daughter. i can't wait to see these striped legging/sweats on those skinny little baby legs.

also, i love this long sleeve has the look of a onesie....without any snap setting necessary. also thought the subtle contrast with the polka dot turned out cute.

Friday, October 21, 2011

master list of gift ideas

gift set ideas

1. painted round cork coasters w/ bottle martinelli's
(paint w/ polka dot effect using stencil made from binder hole reinforcement and sponge brush?)
2. recipe box w/ finished printed recipe cards (laminated?)
3. apron w/ recipe (or baking implement, cupcake kit, etc.)
4. apron in a jar "recipe"
5. hot pads set w/ baking implement
6. doily clock? kit?
7. 3 terra cotta plants, soil?, 3 seed balls, 3 garden markers kit
8. baby onesie, pacifier clip, leggings, bibs, diaper cover, etc.
9. baby foot stamp kit--shadow box? design. $1 stamps from michael's?
10. at christmas time, small polaroid style calendar
11. wrap soaps and give in glass jar, give w/ washcloth set
12. liquid hand soap + lotion set w/ homemade dish towels
13. placemats w/ dish set
14. buy skillet, give w/ homemade hot pads
15. dottie angel style permanent birth announcement
16. zookie dishes w/ recipe (and homemade potholders?)
17. cupcake kit
18. gift wrapping set
19. stationary set
20. terra cotta + bell jar terranium (or plate, bell jar, and bird/other trinket under)
21. fresh bread, homemade jam, with cute labels
22. cookie in a jar kit with labels (add measuring tools/whisk)
23. pie in a jar with labels (add measuring tools/whisk) (or napkin set)
24. buy set off flip top bottles, make homemade italian soda/simple syrup sodas, etc. give w/ gift tag and flower
25. kid--give homemade velcro wallet and coins, or money
26. toddler--popcicle memory game
27. toddler/baby--felt food
28. toddler--felt play mail kit
29. homemade assortment cookies, candied nuts, caramels, craisins, (could be partly or all store bought items) etc. boxed in kraft box from H.L.
30. handmade cute zipper pouch (plastic lined?) w/ some favorite or homemade makeup/lip gloss
31. teacup candle (homemade) w/ cute match boxes in glass bowl
32. homemade granola w/ cute bowls
33. simplified hot cocoa bar idea (like mom's)
34. sewing kit in a jar
35. any tutorial in a jar--with all supplies and instructions gathered
hot pads
36. buy a toolkit and paint w/ stripes (enamel)
37. try painting wooden spoons w/ stripes (durable) and give as set
38. blank cute recipe card set w/ recipe box
39. "the vegetable box" recipe set
40. covered button earring card
41. yarn wrapped letter
42. homemade bias tape (as part of sewing kit? or part of hot pad kit?)
43. baby--embroidered alphabet wall hanging -- framed or hung
44. homemade vanilla in fliptop bottles w/ label
45. early christmas gift--cute advent calendar
46. general craft kit given in a cute box--vintage muffin tin, old tool box, etc.
47. kid gift--fort kit in a duffle bag
48. spa kit--homemade cosmetics, eye mask, etc.
49. kid gift--tent or tepee
50. baby--handmade stuffed animals
51. kid--homemade flashcard set (alphabet, etc.) using vintage pictures, stenciled letters, cool graphic design idea, etc.
52. families w/ fireplaces: fire starter kit, wood, etc. in homemade carrying case
53. family s'more kit, with wood burned initials on sticks (ashley ann photography)
54. gardening kit w/ homemade bag
55. hot chocolate kit w/ homemade marshmallows
56. kids..growth chart kit
57. anybody...pinata, with candy/small toys for kids, candy/craft supplies, etc. for adults
58. candles in a vintage muffin tin set
59. girl-- homemade pouch w/ back to school supplies
60. flavored salts/spice rub assortment, w/ labels
61. baby gift set--months 1-12 onesies
62. homemade tie and box for men
63. camera strap
64. homemade butter w/ bread
65. baby handprint ornament kit
66. kid: any art supply kit
67. kid: any easy sewing kit (pillowcase, drawstring bag)
68: kid: handmade crayons with notepad
69: kid: quiet book for church
70: kid: outdoor explorer kit
71: kid: science kit
72: party in a box kit
73: initial stamped jewelry
74. washcloths "monogrammed" with words on my sewing machine
75. big birthday idea...send envelopes with days (however many you want to do. 30 for a whole month, 7 for birthday week, 10 for a countdown, 6 for turning 6 yrs, etc.) each envelope has a small suprise...($5 gift card, small piece of jewelry--like covered button earrings, a website to a special playlist for them, or website to a blog entry for them, printed photos, postcard, cute note, stickers, small notebook, recipe for a treat, i'll pick you up at noon today for lunch/ice cream/lemonade--if local-- etc.)
76. scavenger hunt gift: kid--give envelopes around house/neighborhood (depending who it is) adult--give scavenger hunt for around the internet (playlist here, photos here, redeem gift card here, choose item and ship w/ this CC#, etc.)
77. birthday in a box...cake mix with toppers, streamers/garland, birthday hat/bib/other, favorite drink and treats, etc.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

part 2

(see part 1 here)

i talked about the book natural patchwork in the part 1 post. the hot pads made by author suzuko koseki were one of the main reasons i bought the book. i love them:
my hot pads were loosely inspired by hers, but i'd like to make another set that are as identical to these as possible!

here are mine:

 close ups

these two have pockets on the back to slip your hand into when taking a pan out of the oven.
 my binding didn't go on as smooth as i wanted, so i did a wide zigzag stitch in a contrast color around all 4 sides. i ended up loving how it looked. some mistakes are happy accidents i guess!

i made these with insul-brite heat resistant batting from hancock fabrics, so they should be pretty safe for handing hot pans or going underneath something hot.

these were part of a wedding present given to a friend of mine.

we are in our new apartment now.  somehow we only got here with one hot pad. (????) the other night we had some friends over, and i was making homemade fries in the oven at a high temp.  the smoke alarm kept going off (even though there was no smoke in the house) and it was such a loud noise. to top off all the commotion, i couldn't find our one and only hot pad. it was pretty funny.

that hot pad is still AWOL. so i have a set of homemade hot pads at the top of my to-make list.

and in the mean time, if anyone sees a lone green hot pad, tell it to come back home :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


remember this cart? (blogged about here and here) the one that i refer to as my pride and joy:

we have decided for our apartment to use it as an entertainment center/shelving in our living room.  but the problem was that my precious cart did not have shelves.  originally we were planning on just buying cheap plywood and having it cut to size to use as makeshift shelving.  it didn't sound great aesthetically but we didn't really want to put money into a temporary fix. 

anyway, when we were at home depot, the plywood sizes were just not going to work out right and it was actually going to be kinda pricey (and not look very good).  

plan b. we walked past these big 2"x10"x16' boards that were quite pretty and really sturdy. they were cheaper than plywood and long enough that we could get 3 lengths out of them. so we ended up getting 2 of the boards ($10 each) and they cut them for us for free.  here was our basic idea:
the mister and i tag-teamed it. 
i did the sanding
we sampled our stain options.....and decided on "provincial".
before and after the staining
and he did the staining. 
a few hours later.....we are proud. 
of course i will have to get better pictures of it when it is actually in our home (and i've figured out storage solutions....yikes. this thing is so big we need to get a lot of storage out of it for all the square footage it is taking up! ha ha)

andrew was sweet and supportive when i wanted to buy the cart. it was kinda an irresponsible buy, for many reasons:

1. it wasn't in the budget
2. we were living with my parents. so it sat in the front yard for a year.
3. it is huge.
4. we were moving to texas and it had to make the move with us.
5. it was impulsive
6. the real use i wanted to buy it for (kitchen island) will not be realistic until we own a home. with a large kitchen. that could be years....
7. it is an acquired taste for some (not everyone understands putting an industrial cart in the living room).

but regardless of all of these things, we bought it.  he thought it was cool but not spend-money-on-and-keep-in-the-front-yard cool. but he let me do it.  

now even he is telling me how great it will look in our apartment. the simple shelves really dress it up. although he still teases me ("i think we need to sell this....") he is on board. it is so nice to have a supportive husband and it was fun to work together on it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


a few updates from my list for the apartment planning the other day.

1. we got the butcher block table top i was hoping for. we bought it off craigslist. it is a trestle table that is perfectly fine the way it is...but i just don't care for it (the base) much.  or the color of the stain. or the scratches, etc.

my parents were in town this week and they surprised me by sanding the whole table top while i was at the DMV for 2+ hours. yay!  now i just need to stain and polyurethane it.

2. i was originally planning on doing a pipe base that i talked about here. it was going to take a little while to save up extra money to buy plumbing pipes...every girl's dream i know. but then i stumbled across a little gem on pinterest...
via stylizimo blog
that made me aware of those metal trestle legs from ikea that she uses as her table base.  well i think those would be just great with our butcher block table top. [did i mention that the legs are only $10 each!!) i can get them right away and i think i will be just as happy with them as i would with the pipe base. easy.

3. i am not dismissing my love of pipes so easily. there are still many things i'd like to do with my plumbing pipes. in fact, it's probably a good thing that i can scratch one pipe project off my list, because i don't want my apartment to look like some waterworks warehouse.  so anyway, projects like
via the brick house

all still valid options.

4. we ordered chairs.  in a dream world, i'd get tolix chairs in a fun color.

but that just isn't an option financially, so i downgraded to the knock off:
 i actually don't think of them as knock-off tolix, because then i would never be satisfied. they do not have nearly the same character or charm as the tolix chairs.

...but they are metal, affordable, and interesting. they are lightweight and stackable.  plus they were $139 (including shipping) for a set of 4! so i consider them a cute budget chair that got really good reviews from the customers.  i'll let you know what i think when we get them.

5. we will have a bar/open counter space in our little apartment. so i was about to get these bar stools (2 for about $75) in the same order with the chairs....
but then i realized i had no clue if i'd need the 24" height or the 30" height. and i guarantee the return shipping would be a lot more than the $3 shipping overstock charges.  so i figured i'd pay the $3 again and order them next week once we're in the apartment and i've measured, etc.  cute huh?

6. i was re-reading the post about the ikea trestle legs (see item #1) and realized that she was inspired by someone else's table. so i followed the link. here's what i found: 
via helt enkelt
and now i am so excited! because look at the chairs on the left side of the table. same material and color as my chairs i just ordered. same style, although i can't tell if these are real or knock-offs. but my point is i am excited to see my finished dining room with the ikea legs and metal chairs. judging by this picture i think i'll like it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

part 1

i had a gift card to barnes and noble a little while back and picked up this book, natural patchwork by suzuko koseki.  it has lots of cute little projects and i love her aesthetic. also i need to get my hands on a milk bottle like that.

anyway she has a cute little coasters tutorial that i had to try.

here is my set.
i made them mostly out of different scraps.
and a close up of each one:

i actually gave this set away so i need to make another one to keep.  a housewarming gift to myself for our new apartment sounds appropriate...ha ha

i have a few other projects that went together with this one this i will show next week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

laundry list

i'm going to ignore the fact that i have been MIA from the blog for a couple months...and just say that my husband and i have been busy. moving. starting a new job. apartment hunting. car shopping. and another little surprise but i'll save that for later.

back to the moving/apartment thing. we found a place! and we move in about 2 weeks from now. so now i am in full mental-decorating mode.  here are a few of my tentative plans:
sorry, i don't know the link
build hanging shelves like these in the dining room (smaller scale i'm sure)

via pinterest from design sponge sneak peek
stain rather than paint a dresser green

via this sneak peek
i would kill to get a filing cabinet like this..
via hindsvik
build a piece of furniture using hairpin legs
and make this table base for a new kitchen table using the tutorial from frugal farmhouse design...
but we may have to save up a while. these little pipes are pricey. (i have become an expert on galvanized steel plumbing pipes and fittings)

if all goes well today, then i will have a butcher block top for it.

via wit + delight

plant an herb garden right away... possibly a big one on our little patio like this:
sorry again

 have more ideas, but in the spirit of not getting too ahead of myself....i'll leave it at that.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

sewing for the husband

it is the end of the term...i will have lots of odds and ends to show once they are all graded and returned to me!

for my last knits project, i made andrew a t-shirt.  it is his birthday this week and i like sewing for him when i can.

 also for my last photo project, i had to do a portrait.  i used andrew for obvious proximity reasons, and cause he's so cute of course.  we had tried to do a few the night before they were due (nothing quite like procrastination) but they didn't turn out.

so this man woke up with me at 6:00 am so we could get the "sweet light" and redo the portrait before my 9:00 am class.  

yes, this is what he looks like straight out of bed with no shower.

 in this one you can see the contrast thread and double needle.  if you look in a nice t-shirt (not a free giveaway type) from j. crew, etc. you will notice that they reinforce the shoulders and back collar with a piece of knit cut lengthwise, topstitched with a chainstitch (you need a coverstitch machine to do that stitch).  i echoed this technique with my stretch double needle.  since the fabric is so thin, the reinforcement was a must.

this is also the 1.5 month beard he's been growing.  it is almost time for it to go.... no comment on who's decision that is! ha ha.
 [it was pointed out to me that in this photo he has a big log about to stab him in the head. i choose to ignore this]

after this photoshoot we both had severe allergy attacks.  ha

the fabric i used was a tissue weight knit, which is really nice, soft and comfy, but kinda hard to sew with.  i used a double needle for all of the topstitching...but when i tested it on the fabric, the double needle was pinching the fabric layers together too much.  does that make any sense without a visual?

well if you've ever tried a double needle with super thin fabric before, you'd know what i mean.  so to remedy this problem, my teacher taught us a trick. using a pattern paper as a third layer stabilizes the stitch and helps it to lay flat and smooth.  after you finish, you just tear it out.  pretty tricky little maneuver if you ask me.

all in all, i think we're both happy with it. oh, when i get it back from school i'll have to get a close up of the tag i made with his initials embroidered..