Tag Archives: Experiences in Craftiness


When we found out our good friends Joseph and Courtney were expecting, I knew I wanted to make them something. I made the patchwork ball for Ethan and Carla last year, so I wasn’t sure what I should make from my extremely limited sewing repertoire. I guess it had to be something new. I must have been feeling ambitious when I decided to make a little baby quilt (or “quiltette” as I dubbed it). As I have zero quilting skills, this was quite a project for me. I tried to make it as simple as possible, using only squares from charm packs instead of making blocks.

When it came time to quilt, I figured I’d just do it by hand since I didn’t know what I was doing. I practiced on a scrap piece, and it was awful! Apparently hand stitching needs some practice. I also practiced machine quilting, but it wasn’t working either. Per the internets, I needed a walking foot for my machine, and that was just the trick. I just traced the lines of the squares on the face to quilt it, and I didn’t make too many mistakes. Finally, I bound it (on the airplane to Nashville) and was done!

I’m not up for any quilting projects any time soon, but I’m glad I did it. See this post for a picture of baby Noland!

PS – Props to Anna Maria Horner’s Seams to Me: 24 New Reasons to Love Sewing for helping me assemble and bind the quilt!

My largest project

Well, this is my largest project to date (not difficult, just large). I know we will think this fabric is hideous in a somewhat short period of time, but it’s fun for now (especially in our bland bathroom). I thought it would be difficult due to the shape of the shower, but it wasn’t bad at all. And with this, I am off to an interview. We’ll see how it goes, but I am happy to at least have a little interest!

Napkin time

When we moved, my first sewing project was going to be making napkins. Wellllll….it took me a little while to get around to it. A month or two ago, I made 4 pretty shoddy napkins because I was tired of being out of napkins. Finally last week, I buckled down and made some decent ones from some Anna Maria Horner fabric I had (too small for most projects, but not quite scraps). While not nearly approaching the efforts of Mandy and Carrie (round 2, round 3, round 4!!), I made 11. They are different sizes and don’t match my house, but they’re fun. Joel and I don’t mind ours several times before washing, so 11 should be enough.

Back at it and baby time

After a long hiatus from my little sewing projects (almost entirely due to the discovery of gardening), I finally got back at it. I cut out all the pieces for this pink ball back before gardening season hit, but I never got around to sewing it. Tenopardgyse . I knew I wanted to make a ball for Ethan and Carla, but pink wasn’t going to work. So, I finished the pink one and made the other one for them last week.IMG_1557

I went to Nashville this week for work stuff, and since Ethan and Carla’s baby, Eli, came early, I got to see him! Here is a picture stolen from Carla’s facebook (unfortunately the only time I remembered to take a picture was the one time he cried during the times I visited!). Needless to say, he is a very good baby…ok he was great while I was there, but I think he’s a little troublemaker at night. :) We hate to be away while he’s growing up, but we’ll be excited to see him when we visit.


Just makes you say “aww…”

One more thing – while in Nashville, I got to meet Brittney’s horse! I’m not much of an animal person, but I liked that one.IMG_1308

Traveling and Travel Crafting

Here we go again…another fun trip! We love love traveling and try to go anywhere any chance we get. Joel’s sister-in-law’s parents have lived in Paris for the last few years, and they think this is their last year. We had talked back and forth about trying to get over there before they left, but we had never gotten serious about it. While trying to decide where to take a trip this year, I set up a bunch of fare alerts on Kayak, where they email you if a ticket goes below the price you set. We got a good price for a flight to Madrid, and here we go! We’re going to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain and then on to Beaune and Paris in France. We’re very very excited, and we leave tomorrow!

With a big trip comes things you need (or you think you need). I decided I needed some bag I could carry along that could easily be stowed in my backpack when we get there. I decided I could remake one of the grocery bags I made earlier with some cute fabric. Even with lining it, it went a good bit faster this time.img_0710

Joel then had the interesting idea of making covers for our guidebooks. img_0716Yes, we know we are tourists, and we know it’s obvious, but why shout about it if you don’t have to? :) So, now we at least have cute books.

Ok I’ve really got to pack now! And I have even one more small craft project to do tonight before we can finish packing…

Alteration? Not exactly…

I would like to think that I just made an alteration to a garment, but I think that’s giving me a little too much credit. img_0673Ok, all I did was move the belt/sash loops up, but I felt somewhat accomplished. That’s not to say the seam ripper wasn’t employed multiple times. Peta satelit dunia What I learned this time: don’t adjust the stitch length if you don’t know what you’re doing. It apparently doesn’t just make a smaller stitch!

Pins & Needles

I have somewhat successfully completed the construction of a giant pincushion. I knew it would be large, but I was still surprised. In the picture below, I set a pen beside it so you can see the sheer enormity.


It’s not anywhere near as cute as the original, but at least you can tell what it is!


What did I learn this time?

1. Sewing in a circle is hard. I’m not sure how they got the top of the one pictured to be so flat. However, I do think photography skills can help.

2. I have a terrible problem with not thinking through things before I do them…seam ripper anyone?

3. I learned how to hand-sew. Well, I at least hand-sewed. Peta satelit dunia . I’m not sure if I even approached a proper method.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll come up with a new project soon. If you want to make your own giant pincushion, see http://www.bhg.com/crafts/sewing/projects/wild-flower-pincushion/.

Lauren Takes a Stab at Crafts

Don’t rub your eyes; it’s true. I got one of these puppies for Christmas:

Janome tb-30It’s the Janome Threadbanger 30, and I’m really liking it so far. I definitely didn’t think I’d want a sewing machine…maybe ever…but here I am. I found out after we got it that there is a website called Threadbanger where they have all these videos, etc. about sewing, and that’s what this machine is named after.  Here’s the interesting part – you don’t have to use the pedal! if you can see that button that is kind of green near the needle, you just press it to start or stop sewing. I have a long way to go, but it’s good so far.

I got a remnant of a gorgeous (ha) pink stripe at Textile, and a few ripped seams later, I have two brand new grocery bags. By the way, reusable grocery bags are the only way to go! Anyway, here are pictures. I laid our cordless phone on them so you could see that they’re pretty spacious.

Bag #1:

Bag 1

I bought the pattern, and it was very detailed for beginners. It’s unlined but has a facing and a sweet pocket. It actually went pretty well!

Bag #2:

Bag 2I got this pattern free from a site called burdastyle.com. The directions were not amazing, but I made it through (liberal use of seam ripper). It is supposed to fold into a pouch on the inside, but it doesn’t fit. It’s also unlined, but the pattern has you leave the overcast edges raw…not pretty! I found more directions to add a bias tape all around, so it looks a lot better.

Tips for next time:

1. Work on posture – it’s so easy to slump over!

2. Work on making seams with 5/8″ seam allowance straight…I am ok at the small seam allowances, but super crooked on the big ones.

If this totally bores you (as it would have me a few months ago), you probably didn’t read this far. However, if you were interested or somehow read this far for any other reason, I’m sure I’ll have some super exciting posts about future projects…in the future.