Monday, December 24, 2012

An Idea for Next Year

When Olivia and I were at Macy's shopping for Christmas gifts, we ran into this awesome tree decorated with yarn ornaments!

From a distance, they look like any other ornament. But, when we got closer, we realized they were yarn balls!

Olivia took this close-up so we could remember how to craft them. I think we could use a foam ball as the base and wrap worsted-weight yarn around until it's covered. The loop could be attached with a simple knot... or maybe threaded in with a large needle? Next year, I think we will have a yarn tree!

On this Christmas Eve, I want to thank all of you for reading my blog and for your continued support and encouragement through comments and emails. Merry Christmas to you and your family! May it be the best one yet!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Much to Say

So much to catch you up on! Here's what's been going on in my life...

1. This December, I vended at two local craft shows. I spent a tremendous amount of time preparing, and I am really proud of the final displays!

2. We attended our area downtown Christmas tree lighting. Olivia was thrilled to discover they offered free carousel rides to children! Isn't she beautiful!?

3. Spunky Ellie is saying "shoe," "sissy," "good girl," and - just to spite me - "dada" when I prompt her to say "mama."

4. Bill and I visited our college - Eastern Michigan University - for the day. He was a guest speaker in one of our favorite professor's poli sci classes on elections. Here I am in front of my old - literally OLD (can't believe the place is still standing!) - dorm room. Good times!

5. We chopped down our family Christmas tree in the new old fashioned way. Here I am with my girls - the tree we chose is behind us.

6. And finally, after two years of being in business, I've decided to close down my fabric shop. There are many reasons but mostly it's because I've decided to focus on my hair accessory business. It's all good! Check out the shop sale - I'll continue to do mark downs over the next few weeks. :)

Merry Christmas to you and your families!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Finish - Ribbed Baby Jacket

I finished a sweater for Ellie this fall - the Ribbed Baby Jacket by Debbie Bliss. Unfortunately, Ellie was not as excited to be photographed in it as I was to have completed the project.

The photo shoot started out positive and fun.... Watch as the story unfolds, as told by her perspective. :)

See mom, here's my eye!

Okay, I've been cute long enough. I'm done here.

Alright, alright. I'll get back in my chair. But just one more picture, okay?

I said one more more picture. It's been, like, fifteen! Seriously!

I can't take anymore! I just. Can't. Take it!

Being an adorable model is too stressful...

I refuse to listen to your silly antics trying to get me to smile. Forget it!

Ooh, there's my toy. I'm happy again! 

Trying to photograph our kids in something we made them is a little bit ridiculous from their perceptive, right? It's so important to us to document the item and how adorable they look in it, but they clearly have much better things to do. Like play with their toys. It's hard to argue with that. :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Crafts - Pintervention Needed

Pinterest has gotten me into so much trouble this Halloween season. We've had a lot of Halloween crafting going on around here, mostly due to innocent searches on Pinterest for things like "kids Halloween crafts" and "Halloween baking" and "easy Halloween projects." There is so much cute on the site, it's easy to get sucked in.

First, we made these fun spooky handprint canvasses. Olivia's is her handprint turned ghost. Ellie's is both her handprints turned spider. Adorable, right?

Then, we made some mummy cookie pops for Olivia's class when it was her turn to be "star of the week." They were a big hit.

For our neighborhood Halloween party, we made these grotesque finger cookies. Not only did they have visual impact but they also are a delicious cookie recipe. We'll be using this again during the holidays for sure!

Finally, we took a little family time away from Pinterest crafts to go out to the pumpkin patch - one of my favorite seasonal traditions. The girls had a wonderful time!

Happy Halloween! May yours be creepy and crafty!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hot (Glue Gun) Dates

Me and my glue gun have had a lot of hot dates around here lately.

I received a ton of new supplies and am steadily working my way through making, photographing and posting new products to my Ellie and Liv hair pretties Etsy shop. Any spare minute I have is devoted to getting this upstart up and running.

I'm loving the creative process! Like with sewing - the possibilities are endless. I'm trying to be deliberate and work through my master list of styles and ribbons, week by week. It's really coming along!

The customer interaction is also something I am enjoying! There is a lot of joy in working with clients on special projects - like weddings. It is a thrill and an honor to make something that will be worn by a new baby on a special photo shoot or by a flower girl in a wedding. :)

Anyway, that's mostly what I've been up to over here. Bows. Lots and lots of bows!

What have you been working on?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

I'm totally cheating on my commitment to finish that stupid Christmas quilt. The sashing didn't  line up correctly - super frustrating! I needed a mental break from it.

Then, a little baggie of scraps I got in a CMQG swap caught my attention. The colors screamed "fall." I just had to start fussy cutting those sweet little owls.

I'm making an improv log cabin of sorts. Not sure if it's going to be a pillow cover or a table runner? But the open creativity is a breath of fresh air.

What about you? Are you working on any fall projects?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Before I am Allowed to Start Anything Else...

... I have to finish this!

It's a block-of-the-month Christmas quilt I started back in - ahem! - 2010. Shame, shame. I know...

2010 was spent making the blocks-of-the-month. Then, the quilt languished in 2011 while I was pregnant and then in the newborn baby haze. I tried to work on it last fall but simply lacked the bandwidth.

And so now it is 2012. And I'm making my way through the sashing and piecing the top together. Perhaps we will enjoy the quilt this holiday season.

But, if not, there's always 2013. :)

Hope you all are having a fun, productive sewing week!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Looking Ahead

This time of year gets me itching to start new projects. There are so many I want to tackle... If only there were time! I'm swamped sprucing up and adding products to my Ellie & Liv hair accessories shop and preparing to participate in a craft show. In between chasing Ellie (who is walking full steam ahead!) and running Olivia to soccer, ballet, and other school activities, I need every spare minute with my glue gun. :)
In the meantime, I am dreaming of some new sewing and knitting projects. Here's what has me swooning these days.

I cast on for this sweater - Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket - and knit on it while Olivia is in dance class. It's for Ellie - I'm using a dark brown Cascade washable wool and thinking a large hot pink button will be just right.

I really, really want to make this Feather Quilt by Anna Maria Horner. She has impeccable taste. The image below is from her shop where you can purchase the kit.

I also want to make Olivia and me each a scarf from AMH's shop. Seems like a reasonable splurge, right?

Also on the quilt front, I'd love to make one of my friend, Heather's quilts. The Ohio Super Nova is so striking - and I like how large the quilt is with not much piecing involved.

Lately, I've been in the mood to make my girls some clothes and am tempted to try using knits. I'm inspired by Too Sweet Pattern's designs... 

I could really go on and on... I have more ideas than time. But, then, doesn't everyone have that problem?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Embroidered Lunch Box Napkin Tutorial

What better way to send a little love to your child at school than with a little message tucked into their lunch box? I decided to make Olivia a set of cloth napkins for her lunch box and, on a whim, added a message to each napkin in embroidery.

So, how about a little tutorial on how to make them?

a. Two different colors 1/4 yard cuts of solid fabric (amount may vary if you decide on a different finished size - see Step 1)
b. Coordinating embroidery floss and embroidery needle
c. Masking tape
d. Fabric pen
e. Embroidery hoop

Of course, you will also need the usual materials for a sewing project - machine, thread, rotary cutter, iron, etc. :)

1. Decide on desired finished napkin size. Then add 1/2" each direction for a quarter-inch seam allowance on both sides. For instance, my finished size was 8" x 8". So, my cutting size was 8-1/2" x 8-1/2".

2. Cut 4 pieces of each color fabric. You should have 4 pieces of Fabric A and 4 pieces of Fabric B, for a total of 8 squares.

3. Take 2 of each Fabric A and Fabric B colors and fold them into quarters. (Set aside the remaining squares for now.) Finger press along folded edges.

4. Open to reveal lines marking 4 quadrants.

5. Using a ruler, measure 1" from the side and bottom of the lower right quadrant. Make a small mark. Then draw a line about 2" from the mark to about 1" from the fold on the left. This makes a guide so your embroidery will be straight. (Using this method, you could place the embroidery any where you'd like on the fabric as long as you make sure to stay outside the seam allowance.)

6. Print the embroidery PDF on a regular 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.

7. Tape the embroidery PDF print out with masking tape to a window. Then tape the fabric over the embroidery PDF print out, lining up the line you drew to the text you will trace.

8. Trace the words from the embroidery PDF print out to the solid fabric using a fabric marker.

9. Thread your embroidery needle and follow the text you traced with the fabric in an embroidery hoop. You can do any stitch you'd like - I chose a back stitch.

10. Complete the steps above for each of the remaining 3 messages.

11. Now it's time to sew! Take one of the pieces of fabric you set aside in Step 3 and place one of the embroidered pieces on top of it, right sides together. Using a quarter inch seam allowance, stitch around the parameter of the napkin, leaving approximately 3" opening for turning.

12. Turn the napkin right side out. Press seams out. Then, press the opening fabric 1/4 under. You will close the opening in the next step.

13. Edge stitch approximately 1/8" around the whole napkin. Trim threads.

14. Repeat the previous steps for the other 3 napkins.

And that's all there is to it! A cute set of napkins to last all school year long. Now, if only I can get Olivia to use the napkins... So far they've come home folded as neatly as I placed them in her lunch box when I packed it. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012


It's been a week of firsts. Isabelle's first birthday - as seen above, questioning if the whole cupcake is really for her. "Who? Me?"

And Olivia's first day of school - as seen above, putting on a brave face while clutching her American Girl doll, Sophie, who was also in her school uniform.

What's a mom to do when she realizes her little girls are growing up on her? I still haven't figured out the whole time reversal thing. So, until I do, I'm going to keep holding them close to me... And be there to support them in all the many other firsts to come.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Modern Quilts Unlimited

I'm writing from the land of back-to-school and first birthday party craziness. Hoping to get back on a more regular blogging schedule once things settle down a bit! In the meantime, please forgive my absence!

I received an email about a new magazine that I want to share with you. The publication is called Modern Quilts Unlimited by Meander Publishing, Inc.

Looks like it's conveniently available as both a paper and digital version. The premiere issue is due out in the fall.

Please let me know if you try out the magazine! I would love to know your thoughts

Also, for those of you who are pattern writers, they have a submission link too. :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back to School Sewing

It is unbelievable to me that Olivia starts kindergarten in two short weeks. I cannot believe my baby is going to put on her plaid Catholic uniform jumper, mary jane shoes, and knee-high socks, and walk through the school doors for the first time. I, for one, plan to wear sunglasses that morning so she doesn't see my tears... and then the full-on bawling - as I make my way back to the car. 

We're having a great time back-to-school shopping - our first time buying school supplies! There are also some great patterns out there for back-to-school sewing. Here are just a sampling of some fun ones I've found cruising Pinterest. 

(perfect first day of school outfit)

I've had a BTS sewing project idea percolating for a few weeks. After I put needle to fabric, I'll be back with a fun little tutorial.

Until then, what are some of your favorite back-to-school sewing patterns?