Mar 10 2014

Birthday Tea Party

Published by under Cooking,Crafts

Goodie bag

For my birthday this year, I invited my friends to a tea party. Seeing as I was having a birthday party, I couldn’t very well not have goodie bags.

Goodie bags

The gold takeout boxes are actually leftover from the candy bar from my wedding over 5 years ago. I’ve kept them that long. I know. I kept thinking I’d have a use for them. Well, I still have a ton more so I’ll have to find something else. It’s really been too long. I used my Silhouette to cutout the labels after I’d printed them out. I used this cute little tea party graphic from the online store that I colored in the Silhouette software. I expanded then border of the outside line to make a scalloped cutting line. I love the way they came out and it was so simple!

Goodie bag filling

I wanted to fill the good bags with tea themed gifts. So I put a couple of tea bags (I used some by Tea Forté since they came in cool pyramid boxes). I made some charms for identifying your tea cup. I made some sugar gems for sweetening your tea. And since it was Valentine’s time, I picked up a bag of yummy chocolates and added a handful to each bag as well.

Tea charms

I made the tea charms using girly themed charms from Michael’s that include hairbrushes, shoes, purses, hearts, etc. I attached them to an earring hoop and just turned up the end so they were easy to take on and off. Then I made a little backing card for them that said “This tea is for me!”. I used an exacto knife to put two little slices in the backing card so I could slip the ring through it.

Sugar gem ingredients

For the sugar gems, I used the Martha Stewart recipe. I’ve actually had this mold since I first read about the recipe in Martha Stewart, but I never had a reason to make them. Now I finally did!

Making sugar gems

I made two different types: a plain one that I made pink and a lemon flavored one that I made yellow. They didn’t come out perfect — not quite as faceted as I would have liked because I my thermometer wasn’t a true candy thermometer — but they still came out sparkly and gem like. For my first time out, I was happy with them.

Sugar gems

I put them in little bags and made the labels on my Silhouette. These labels I designed myself.

Everyone loved the goodie bags and we had a great time! Wonder what I will do for next year . . . :)

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Mar 03 2014

Baby quilt for a baby shower

Published by under Sewing

Baby quilt wrapped up

My college roommate is having her first baby (yay!) and was having a surprise shower this weekend. I would have loved to attend, but by the time I found out about it, my parents had been scheduled to visit me for many months so that was a no-go. However, I still wanted to give her something special, not just something off the registry so I decided to make her a baby quilt.

Baby quilt fabric

As it turns out, I had the perfect set of 8 Sommerville Spring fat quarters (which was good since I’m still on my “only use stuff in my stash” kick). Cute and perfect for a little kid. Although it’s a girl, this would work for a boy or a girl which I figured was good in case they were trying to avoid gender stereotypes or something like that (not that she’s really the kind to worry about that sort of thing). I cut each fat quarter into 3 5.5″ x 20″ strip. Then I sewed them together into one long massive strip using the same repeating order of strips, an order which nicely separated the very green strips by less green strips. Then I cut the super long strip into 11 42″ wide strips, varying the starting and ending panel sizes, maybe adding an extra piece here and there so it was more random and organic looking.

Baby quilt on backing

I stitched all the strips together and then sliced down the sides to make them nice and even. The resulting width was about 40″. I laid it on the batting (I used Warm & Natural batting in baby quilt size, also from my stash) and then laid that on the backing which I pieced together using two pieces. For the backing I used a bright pink tie dyed fuchsia snuggle flannel. It was super cozy and I hope the little lady likes it. I was pretty happy with how it brought out the bits of pink in the quilt.

Baby quilt pinning

For the actual quilting, I used large pins to pin the layers together, trying to keep the pins no more than 6″ apart. I stitched across, parallel to the strips, doing 1/4″ on either side of each seam and one down the center of each strip. I switched directions on each line of stitching to prevent the quilt from starting to drift in either direction.

Baby quilt binding

For the binding I used the method from Made by Rae which just folds over the backing. I liked this because I would have made the binding the backing color anyways and it was super easy and clean looking! I was really happy with how it turned out and would definitely use this method again.

Baby quilt

This is before i washed it. Before sending it off, I washed it because it had some stitch markings on it and also because I think quilts always look better after a washing. This is technically only the 3rd quilt I’ve ever finished (if you don’t count my tester long arm quilts — 5th in that case — but those are tiny) and I’m definitely inspired to do more since it was both satisfying and fun to make. The 2nd one was another baby quilt for our other college roommate when she had her first baby a couple years ago. Coincidentally that quilt was also a similar shade of green but my quilting skills have increased considerably since then. :)

Baby quilt

For the actual packaging, I took the strips of backing fabric that I had cut off and made a long sash of it by folding it in half and then folding the raw edges in and stitching down the both sides. Then I used that as a ribbon to wrap up the quilt, put that in a bag with a card and mailed it off. Can’t wait to hear what she thinks of it!

Baby quilt wrapped up

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Jan 26 2014

Purple and Pink Pettiskirt

Published by under Sewing


I finally made a pettiskirt! First, I love ruffles. Ruffles are amazing. So naturally I wanted needed a pettiskirt because they are ruffley and wonderful. I think the first time I found out about pettiskirts was this post on Make It Love It. However, she recommended AFC Express for nylon chiffon and on there I found their tutorial which starts here. They’ve got some great videos that really explain it.

This isn’t the best tutorial because I really wanted to get this done and so forgot to take some photos during some of the more important parts. I will definitely be making another pettiskirt so I will try to take more photos then.

More ruffles

Before I explain how I did it, a couple of shout outs:

AFC Express — This is where I got my nylon chiffon (I listed my colors below in case you want similar ones). They have a great selection (you can mail them via their website to get a sample of their colors). But even more importantly they have amazing customer service. I accidentally put the wrong shipping address on my order so it was returned to them. A dude with a cool NY accent called me, got the right address and shipped it out that day — and they didn’t even charge me for the error when it was my fault! These people are amazing. I can’t wait to pick out my next selection for my next skirt (after I finish my current UFOs of course . . .)

Sewing Parts Online — I had had a ruffler like this one that I had gotten for $12 on ebay. It never sat right and would always skip stitches when ruffling so that the ruffles were not truly gathered. Just sorta gathered. It made me sad. I looked at videos. I read tutorials. I seemed to be doing everything right although I noticed that the ruffler never really sat flat on my feed dogs. I thought I had the right one since it said it was for Singer. Finally, I posted in one of my G+ communities asking if anyone had any tips on a ruffler and I linked to the one I had. Sewing Parts Online chimed in and told me that I should try a higher quality one. I gave her my Singer model number and they also informed me that I was using the wrong ruffler! I never knew, but my Singer has a slant shank, not a low shank as I thought it did. Sewing Parts Online recommended a high quality slant shank ruffler and it worked amazingly. With my first ruffles I totally freaked out — I was so excited to finally have something I had been trying to get for literally a few years. So many thanks go to Sewing Parts Online for sorting out my ruffler issues and making the pettiskirt possible.

Finally, if you love the look of pettiskirts but can’t be bothered to take the time to make your own (trust me, I get you), then I recommend Pettiskirt Style for purchasing them. I needed a pettiskirt for a photoshoot and they shipped me what I needed so I had it within a week. Great service and responsive on e-mail. They have a great selection or can custom make your skirt and pretty decent prices.

So here’s what I did . . .


  • 1 90 yd roll of 2″ chiffon (magic pink glo)
  • 1 60 yd roll of 8″ chiffon (purple)
  • 1 yd of 1″ non roll elastic


Using your ruffler foot turn your entire 90 yd roll of chiffon into a pile of ruffles but simply stitching down the middle of the 2″ chiffon. To make this faster, I put a pole through the roll of chiffon and rested that on my legs so I could just let the ruffler do it’s work.

Making bottom ruffles

This will be result:


OMG RUFFLES!! This pile made me so happy. For so long I had wanted ruffles. Now I had oodles.

Next you’ll want to attach the ruffles to your 8″ chiffon. I did this just by sewing down the center seam of my ruffles and attaching it about 1/2″ from the edge of the 8″ chiffon. Sadly I don’t have a photo. This probably took the longest since I had to unwind the 2″ ruffles as I went and they have a tendency to be twisted.

Once you’ve attached that, cut your 8″. I think I had about 60 ft of ruffles-attached-to-8″-chiffon. Next it’s time to attach the 8″ chiffon that you just sewed the ruffles to to another piece of 8″ chiffon, but this time you’ll want to ruffle the first 8″ piece of chiffon as you attach it. Fortunately the ruffler is set up to do this. I think on the AFC videos they recommend against this, but I’m lazy and didn’t want to sew it twice. Was it always even? No. But you can’t really see it with all the ruffles so no biggie.

After that I had about 20 ft of 8″ chiffon. Now cut this in half. Yes, you want two parts.

Cut a piece of solid fabric (to hide the skivvies) that’s 10″ wide and as long as your widest hip measurement with a couple inches buffer.

Next you’ll want to attach each half of your chiffon in the same fashion as you did chiffon to chiffon (ruffling the part you just sewed, but not the new part) to each side of your solid fabric. After you’ve done that, you’ll be folding them over to make a casing for your elastic. You can choose to have the seams all face each other or all face in.

Once you’ve sewn both long sides, make a tube by matching seams of the chiffon and short edges of the solid fabric. I cleaned up this edge after sewing it by just going down with a pair of scissors and making the edge nice and even.

Next, fold over the solid fabric, right down the middle and stitch a line about 1.5″ from the fold, leaving a 2″ gap. Insert the elastic, fit it to your waist, sew the ends together and stitch up your casing.

And that’s it!

What I plan to do differently

I will definitely be making another pettiskirt but there are a couple of things that I will do differently.

  1. I want more ruffles. I’m a total ruffle addict. I think the skirt should be up to my hips in ruffles. Therefore next time I plan to use TWO 90 yd rolls of 2″ chiffon for my bottom ruffle. This will make it take much longer but I think I will be much more pleased with the result.
  2. I want it shorter. This skirt is nice and will look great under a skirt, but I want something more sassy. So my next skirt will probably use 4″ or 5″ for the middle tiers.
  3. It was a bit sheer. This may be because I didn’t have enough ruffles. But if I want to wear my pettiskirt as just a skirt, I need to find some way to make it decent.


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Jan 23 2014

Silver Picture Frame

Published by under Crafts

Painted frame

So this is off my UFO list, but it was still working at cleaning stuff up so I allowed it. Also, the only thing that it required buying was some spray paint.


I started with this little frame that my Bubba gave me. I had it in my kitchen at the old house, but the frame didn’t really match the new house. I am a huge fan of the Virginia at LiveLoveDIY who manages to transform the ugliest things into works of art using spray paint. And I’ve been wanting to try myself. This was the perfect small starter project. So I picked up her recommended silver — Rustoleum Titanium Silver — since we were making multiple trips to Home Depot anyhow.

I took out the picture and glass and wiped down with frame with an alcohol wipe to make sure the surface was clean so the paint would adhere well.

Ready to spray

I used one of the many boxes I had unpacked and dropped the frame in there and began to spray.

Letting the frame dry

I soon realized that I needed to lay the box on it’s side so I could get in there better to get the sides. This took two coats. I let it dry overnight.

Finished frame hanging

And voila! I’m quite happy with how it turned out and it’s now hanging in my kitchen.

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Jan 22 2014

UFO: Laundry room curtains

Published by under Sewing

Curtain closed

So I finally unpacked my computer and hard drives so that I can manage pictures. Yay! Meanwhile, I have been starting to whittle away at my unfinished objects per this post.

The first one I’ve completed is my laundry room curtains. These were the colors that were in the laundry room when we moved here. Fortunately the matched my ice cream painting so that immediately went up here. Now I wanted my curtains to match.

Here’s what the old curtains looked like:

Old curtains

Yech. They were sun faded in various ways. Also, not really my style. Very 1980’s tropical.

However, since the framework was up for them, I decided to basically make the same thing in my own way. So I measured the size and made mine the same size. It was nice to have that guideline and not have to make a pattern from scratch. I reused the top frame that held them up, especially since there were already 4 large holes in the wall so I didn’t have to make new holes. I also reused all the rope and struts for the roman shades which I pulled out by ripping the seams. 

The finished product is above and here is another look when they are open.

Curtain open

I love how they came out. The ice cream cones look great and the colors match the laundry room and make it so cheery. And of course, it has ruffles. Ruffles are awesome.

Curtain under view

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Dec 22 2013

UFO sightings

Published by under Sewing

Purple flower quilt

No, this has nothing to do with little green men (or women). It has to do with my UnFinished Objects. 

I recently found out about the blog LLadyBird and proceeded to devour her last year of posts. I love her blogging style. It cracks me up. Also she sews a lot. Her fashion style is awesome and I find her pictures and posts very inspirational. I really like that she uses interesting patterns from smaller companies. I still love Simplicity/McCall’s/Vogue/etc but recently I’ve been much more taken with the smaller businesses. I like the care and creativity that goes into the patterns. But I digress . . .

Anyhow I was most taken by Lauren of LLadyBird’s article on how she manages to sew so much. She offers lots of good tips on making use of small bits of time and always having a queue of current projects. But the one bit of advice that really stuck out to me was her point about finishing UFOs. She doesn’t have them. She points how it really damages your productivity because you invest the time in starting up something and then that investment never . . . matures.

In my case, it’s also a real waste of space. I have soooo many UFOs at this point. Not only does it take up space, but I feel guilty when I start a new project because I think “Oh, I should be working on one of my old projects.” This takes away from my enjoyment of sewing and this will not do.

So even though it’s not the first of the year, I’m making this coming year (yes, 2014) the year I finish my UFOs.

I’m going to post a list of them here to keep myself accountable. I will update this post with links to finished project posts and strikethrough when I get one of them done. I will also update the post with additional UFOs as I find them (I’m still unpacking my sewing room and it’s about to get moved again when we paint that room) so there are bound to be more. My hope is to be done with them by the end of the year.

Here we go . . .

  • Blue sky hat
  • Bohemian triangle quilt
  • Burgundy flannel-lined coverup
  • Cambie dress
  • Can-can skirt
  • Jeans – 4 pairs to hem <– this is crazy
  • Harem pants (fabric for at least 2 pairs)
  • Laundry room curtains finished project
  • Mermaid skirt
  • Navy blue raw silk dress
  • Negroni shirt
  • Pettiskirt, purple & pink  finished project
  • Pig pajamas bottoms
  • Pig quilt
  • Purple flower quilt (see above for a teaser photo)
  • Rainbow crazy quilt
  • Red polyester cover up
  • Renfrew shirts (I have fabric for at least 2)
  • Tie, flowered for dad
  • Weekender bag from travel fabric
  • World map quilts (x2)

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Dec 09 2013

Longarm Quilting Certification

Published by under Sewing

Longarm Quilter

This weekend I finally took some steps to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I took a longarm quilting certification class. What does that mean? It means I’m now certified to use the longarm quilting machine at the local quilting store and can rent time on it. Above is a picture of one of the machines and the threading for it. They have a second one you can see in the back that they’re trying to sell.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I have some unfinished quilts — the patchwork is done, but I’ve been so daunted by the prospect of dealing with the quilt on my tiny machines that I’ve never finished them. One is over 10 years old!

Anyhow, I’m now super excited to try it out and play around with it. I just need to find some time!

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Nov 26 2013

Walden Cooper Pattern Sewalong

Published by under Sewing

Walden Cooper Pattern

So Colette Patterns just came out with a new line of mens patterns. I already have the Negroni shirt (although I haven’t made it yet — it’s high on my list!) and the next one out is the Cooper bag. The bag is really more of a unisex bag.

Cooper Bag Sewalong

Anyhow, for this one they are doing a sewalong so I thought I’d get the pattern and do it with them. Of course, the first part was due today and of course due to holiday prep I’ve been too busy. But the deadlines go after Thanksgivukkah so it shouldn’t be too bad and I’ll catch up. 

In the meantime, here is a photo of some of my holiday prep — persimmon jam! (I have no idea what it tastes like yet)

Persimmon Jam

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Nov 25 2013

Doo Wa Ditty Zipper Bag

Published by under Sewing

Green ditty bag

A friend asked me about my little bags and I realized I had never done a tutorial even though I had previously posted a photo of one of them. Oh and I guess there are some here as well.

Anyhow, she was specifically interested in how I did the zipper. So here is a tutorial for it. I wish I had more time (it being the holidays and all) to do a nicer job, but this should give the right idea.

Green ditty bag materials

Get your fabrics. I’m not giving any size. This is all proportional. You should make this whatever size you want! This is fabric leftover from cutting “squares” for a crazy quilt that I will some day post. The green is the outside. The white is the inside.

Basically what we’re going to do is add tabs that will effectively act as the stops for either side of the zipper. So the two little pieces you have should be about 3 inches long and at least as wide as the zipper.

My zipper is so long because I get them from the bargain bin and then cut them to size. You should feel free to use a zipper that is already the size you need.

Green ditty bag zipper

Let’s get started with the zipper. You’ll want to to sandwich each end of the zipper between two little pieces, right sides together. I put a pin the zipper to keep the two ends together on the open end.

Green ditty bag zipper

A yummy sandwich. Line up the ends of the zipper with the edges of the fabric.

Green ditty bag zipper

And pin. The perpendicular pin is to mark where the metal stopper of the zipper is so that I don’t sew over it and crunch my needle.

Green ditty bag zipper

After it’s sewn (I know the white stitching is hard to see there) . . .

Green ditty bag zipper

 . . .you can fold it back and see that it will make a new stopper. You could sew on the other size of the metal stop and you really would be creating a new stop. In this case I chose to sew on the outside so that it would still use the metal as the stop which I think is more durable.

Green ditty bag zipper

Now it’s time to do the other size. First we’ll need to cut our zipper to size. Lay it out on the main fabric.

Green ditty bag zipper

Cut it to a size you like. I want it a bit smaller than the actual sewn edge so that you’ll see my stopper fabric on either size. Now we’re going to make our sandwich again.

Green ditty bag zipper

And here is the sandwich sewn on the other side. Yeah, you’ll see I didn’t quite get that straight. We’ll fix that when we press it.

Green ditty bag zipper

So press that bad boy open. I like to overlap the stopper just a bit.

Green ditty bag zipper

Both sides pressed open. Look how nice and straight they are! ;) 

Green ditty bag zipper

Yeah, I just realigned it. We’re going to sew over it to hold it down so just make sure it’s pressed straight and you’re good to go.

Green ditty bag zipper

Now we’re going to sew the real bag. Start by laying the zipper right side down along the top edge of the main fabric, right side up (so effectively right sides together). Be sure to center it. We’ll cut off the extra from the tabs later. And stitch along that edge.

Note: You will probably need to move the zipper foot at some point during this line of stitching.

Green ditty bag zipper

And there’s the finished stitching, folded back.

Green ditty bag zipper

Now let’s add the lining. Lay your lining along that edge, but this time right sides to the bottom of the zipper. And stitch.

Green ditty bag zipper sewing

I like to stitch along the same stitch line. This is also a good chance to clean up that line if you were funny about it before. Again, you’ll probably need to play with the zipper food to be able to sew the whole way.

Green ditty bag zipper

And there is one side of the lining as well! Now repeat on the other side of the zipper.

Green ditty bag zipper

I guess I forgot to take a picture of the main fabric, but here’s the linng for the other side.

Green ditty bag zipper

So now we’ve sewn both sides. Here’s a photo of them both spread out. Time to tidy this up a bit.

Green ditty bag zipper

You’ll notice that my sides are kinda a mess. Well, let’s press that!

Green ditty bag zipper

Magic! Pressing makes everything look so pretty. Also, you’ll notice I cut the tabs to align with the edge of the bag.

Green ditty bag zipper

Don’t forget to press the inside as well. If you wanted to topstitch around the zipper opening, now we would be the time to do it. I normally do it, but I forgot this time.

Green ditty bag zipper

First let’s cut off some more tab extra.

Green ditty bag zipper

Repeat on both sides. Now it’s time to actually make the bag. Put the lining sides together and the outside sides together. Sew around that edge, leaving and opening in the lining (I do that part at the bottom).

Note: Where the zipper tabs are, you can either fold towards main fabric or towards the lining.  I prefer to fold towards the lining. That is, the tabs are actually between the lining sides as opposed to the main fabric sides.

Note: It’s easier if you open the zipper before sewing the sides together. Makes turning easier later.

Green ditty bag zipper

Here’s a better picture after it’s sewn so you can see what I mean. This means you’ll have a nicer corner when you open out the bag.

Press your seams after you sew the bag together.

Optional part: I decided to put little corners on my bag.

Green ditty bag corner

To do that, press the corners with seams together. Then stitch across. It doesn’t really matter where you stitch across, so long as you do it the same for all 4 corners (2 main fabric, 2 lining fabric). I just chose a spot on my sewing machine that I lined up the corner with.

Green ditty bag corners

Here they are, all 4 sewn. You can see my opening on the right and how I stitch the whole bag together.

Green ditty bag corner clipped

Then clip your corners and press them open.

Finally, turn your bag inside out and enjoy it!

Green ditty bag inside

I like how the inside looks green because of the light showing through.

Green ditty bag inside

A close up of the zipper  and inside.

Green ditty bag corner detail

And a close up of the corner and the tab.

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Nov 18 2013

I’ve been moving on . . .

Published by under Sewing

Sewing Studio

Not from posting, but from my old house! Yes, I’ve moved. Moving is a surprising amount of work. Well, I guess it’s not that surprising. But the fact remains that it’s a lot of work. And although our new house was “move in ready” there was (is) still quite a bit that we wanted to do. Like get rid of carpets.

At any rate, in memory of my old sewing/art studio (oh, how I miss it), I’ll post some pictures that I took before we packed everything up at the old house. I meant to post these ages ago, but always kept forgetting. I did post pictures of the cutting table a while back, so that’s old news.

I’m in love with the bright colors I picked and plan to recreate this room in the new house. Unfortunately that room is currently being used as holding cell for all things which don’t have a home yet which is why my sewing machines have lived on the dining room table for the last month or two . . .

Couple interesting facts:
Fact 1: my husband did everything but drywall and paint this room — yes, air ducts, studs, electrical, internet, lighting, etc. I love that man.
Fact 2: All the furniture except the top of the cutting table and the chair is from IKEA. Did you know you could put that many desks together? Yes, yes you can. 

Sewing Studio

Yes, all three of those diplomas are mine . . . I’m proud to be a nerd.

Sewing Studio

Books upon books. The mirror doors were great for fitting.

Sewing Studio

And, yes, that’s a treadmill. You never know when you need to go for a jog in between seams.

(In reality this room was downstairs so it was much cooler and a last resort that I compromised on.)

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