baby applique.

i was about to say 'recent baby sewing' but then realized that these first 2 were made back in november during the k's birthday/my birthday/thanksgiving crunch, and i never posted about them.

i really really love applique for baby projects because it is SUCH an instant gratification craft. you just iron the magic paper on the back of your fabric, cut out your letter or shape [you can even draw or trace right onto the paper!] and then iron it onto the item. then sew around the edges and you're done! it's especially great for a quick and easy way to monogram. i have seriously used this method for everything.

so back in november, i had really wanted to make a cupcake shirt for kenna to wear to go with her cupcake party. i had a really cute brown tee from target all ready to go, and then found this birthday girl shirt on clearance at gymboree.
the sleeves were too big and a little wonky, but i loved the cupcake part, so i just cut it out in a big circle and appliqued it onto the brown tee!
and my favorite picture of the night of her wearing it [complete with tu-tu, even though you can't really see the tee]:
then i got so inspired by the little pumpkins and turkeys, i decided she needed a turkey shirt to wear thanksgiving day. i used the awesome amy butler's mustard wallflower print that did all of the 'feather' work for me!
luckily, my sister-in-law has a new camera and took lots of photos because i completely spaced out and hardly took any! love that little tongue-of-determination.
does inspiration ever strike you just because you see a pile accidentally sitting together in your craft space? that's what happened with this valentine's bib. there was a little pink and a little red and a plain white bib that just happened to all be together- and a knew i had pink and red rick-rack, so about 15 minutes later a little valentine's bib came back upstairs with me:
there are a couple of things in her closet that need a little refurbishing, including a little summer onesie i got for $1 at a consignment sale. unfortunately, the only one i've actually started is sitting on my sewing machine 3/4 of the way finished! hopefully it will be done before she outgrows it, which seems to be in the blink of an eye these days.

it's also a great way to cover up an unfortunate stain [or maybe even a tiny rip? i'll have to experiment with that]. i've really gone crazy appliqueing things, there are more finished projects soon to come!


a little design work.

if you're wondering why the headings around here change so often, i will admit... i have discovered picnik and i have become obsessed with making blog headers. it is so fun. i wanted to share some of my favorites that i have done for leaf and letter, our family blog, and other blogs in the past few months. i am really addicted!
and even though i would size it a little differently now, this is still my absolute favorite one from our family blog, one of the first ones i made quite awhile ago!
[OH how i miss those tiny toes!]

i've also had a blast making the little 'linkies' [i'm sure that is the totally technical web design computer programmer term for them] that take you to my shop/photos/twitter, etc. and i've also used picnik to make christmas cards, birthday invites, or any type of photo card... you just edit the photo and then you can print them out at walgreens [love their quality] or wherever you like rather than ordering expensive custom ones!

in fact, let me know if you have a personal or business blog that you are interested in a custom header for. i am completely self-taught so i'm offering them at an introductory price of $10 by paypal or i will set up a custom etsy listing for you if you prefer- i would love to make you one! if you're interested in linkies and the whole shebang, let me know and we can work that out too.


the yarn book.

after all that talk about making a quiet book for my sweet baby k, wouldn't you know i made her mommy one first! [well, sort of...]
i tend to do tons of crocheting when the weather is cold, and i realized when sorting through my yarn stash not too long ago, that i am in need of two things: a crochet hook holder and a way to organize my crochet patterns. i rely way too heavily on my memory [which is terrible and ends up in a lot of wasteful trial and error] and hoping that i can google my way back to that really great pattern/tutorial/idea i once saw online. also, there were tons of little scraps hanging around from where i had jotted down a pattern as i worked it, or cut out from the back of a yarn label, etc.

and as we all know, a pile of scrappy mess = an opportunity to creatively organize! yay! so i took one of those little $1 plastic photo albums [which i find actually useful for many things, including a mini coupon folder, you can see it here on our family blog] and decided to make a cover for it.

i started by writing out all of my most-used patterns, my basic tried-and-trues, on some index cards and stamped the little titles on them.
then i stopped long enough to pull a wee explorer out of my living room yarn basket [not an uncommon occurrence around here].
i winged the construction of this one big time. i took a piece of felt that was a little more than the height of the book, and made sure the sides were long enough to fold over the inside covers to make a little flap it would tuck into. then i added some fabric strips on the inside of the front and back covers.
i tried out two new experiments... the first was 'writing' with yarn by sewing it on with a zig zag stitch. i sewed a piece of striped fabric onto the little cover and roughly pinned the word 'yarn' but ended up free-handing it as i sewed. tricky, but it turned out cute and fun!
the other experiment was that i had been wanting to try a little fabric covered button and stretchy loop closure. the stretchy loop is a hair elastic [un-used of course!] folded in half and stitched right into the back cover. then i closed the book to see where the button would need to lay to close securely. success!
i also made space in the back for a few little yarn swatches... scraps of yarn i've used in the past attached to their labels, so that i'll have laundering info and name/brand info if i ever want to use that exact color or type on another project [or for mending any little damaged spots in something i've made].
its so nice to have all the little scrappies gone and everything in one place! now i think my day planner feels left out and a little naked!


inspiration: doilies

i've never thought of myself of much of a 'grannie chic' type- i like slightly more mod things like big polka dots and neutrals. so i'm not quite sure how to explain to myself why my inspiration folder is full of doilies.
skirt by dottie angel.
pillow by coastline
and soulemama
and smile and wave [sort-of a doily collage, if you will.]
hoodie by art in the age
and beautiful gift wrap by posie gets cozy and color me pretty-that red would be perfect for a valentine's gift! you could also use one to line the plate of your love brownies! [of course, these doilies are paper.]

oh, and a doily table runner. also, doily-print projects seem like they could be pretty fun, such as:

a lampshade

a canvas bag

a frosted glass table [love!]

i have a beautiful square doily and a super intricate flower doily my mom made that i have been thinking about framing, but i love these ideas so much i think i'll have to use it for one of them... i just have to commit to one! i think some type of pillow will win out. [these aren't actually sewn down, just sitting pretty for a picture!]
[i didn't realize it until i took the picture, but above the doiles is a quilt my mom made, and below is an afghan i crocheted! i love knowing that guests who sleep in this bed will be wrapped in things made with love! just how mom and i both would want it.]
i forgot how detailed they are- i remember seeing her do that teeny, tiny little crocheting one time [technically called filet crochet, which in french actually just means 'net' and 'hook.' isn't that funny?] and thinking what amazing patience it must take. i think making it into something that i'll use and see everyday (like a guest room pillow) will be much better than it sitting in a box full of memories somewhere, tucked out of sight.

who would have thought that something i considered kinda old and outdated could be so inspiring?


hearts on a string.

i figured i'd better go ahead and write about my little heart garland before it's not even february anymore! it started with a tiny red heart that i made as a tester for my first attempt at felting. i used this mini heart pattern from crochet today and felted it with the little baggie method. i definitely knew i wanted to make them into a garland!
in my search for garland inspiration, i came across this lovely heart garland complete with heart pattern which made a slightly larger heart! so i started making the bigger hearts in two shades of pink, some solid and some lined with a darker pink or red.
so when i had all my bigger hearts done, i knew i'd need lots more of those little hearts to go between each one! so i got to work making a little army of them.
i lay them all out in a nice pattern strung [stringed? i don't know] them all together with a simple chain stitch- it took a little finagling to connect them in a way that they would lie flat. the mini ones still like to turn a little, but i think it's kinda cute.
i got the finished garland hung just in time for our romantic home-cooked valentine's dinner together- i just looped the ends over the top bar of our window blinds!
i put up the little flag pennants from k's birthday party, and i thought they looked pretty cute together. if you can't take valentine's day as a chance to put a bunch of pink things around, when can you? i have a tutorial coming soon if you want to see how to make the pennant, they are fun and so easy, and festive!


in circles.

sometimes on a bitterly cold, blustery day in february, there can be something comforting about the rhythm of a hand craft.
counting, counting, counting, turn. circular, but going somewhere.
even in an unfamiliar material, making the directions up as you go along, there's a sense of control. a sense that you can, to some degree, dictate the outcome of the end product.
my job is only to not give up before it's finished.


sweet valentine in pink pictures.

this year we discovered pink heart-shaped, strawberry-flavored marshmallows, and they are so good... dear Lord, please don't let these be seasonal.
morning coffee from one of my favorite mugs, pink with brown hearts.
making a heart bib, reminding me that she's getting too old for the decorative ones now since the food goes everywhere. [the onesie she wore underneath it says 'hug me' and reminds me of a conversation heart!]
a sweet little crocheted garland, made from this mini heart pattern [and an experiment in felting] and this heart pattern. so sweet just hangin' out on our mantel mirror, and probably destined for movement to the nursery when valentine's is over.
and chocolate valentine cupcakes made by a fabulous mom in my sunday school group... with the perfect shade of pink frosting. they were so delicious.
and of course, a diet coke to wash it down with [funny how all these good things are food related!]. technically, the heart is for women's heart health, but it's been extra festive for february.

happy valentine's day!


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