Little Gray Dress

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I love this dress. It is adorable. There are matching shorts underneath, too!
Can I just say, though, that curves are hard?
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Paige was invited to a birthday party for a friend who turned 3 recently. I dipped into the fabulous fabric stash that my friend's mom gave me to make this skirt:

It's made from a single charm pack, plus a little extra for the waistband and hem. I got the pattern here. The original pattern doesn't call for the extra piece at the hem, but I think it finished off the skirt nicely. I had a jelly roll of the same fabric line that I used to make that and the waistband. They worked perfectly! I think her friend will look adorable in it, and I hope she likes it!

A Bag for Sarah

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Finally showing off the bag I made for Sarah! I think the bag looks super cute in this fabric combo. Luckily for me, Sarah loves polka dots, because I bought the fabric without consulting her!

The only change I made was to use lighter interfacing in the handle and along side the zipper. Otherwise it's just like the one I made for Lisa. This should make a great diaper bag/purse for when she goes shopping with my niece!

French General Quilt

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Back in early December, my mom visited and bought me a jelly roll of the French General line from Moda. I decided to design my own quilt for the first time, rather than using a pattern. I worked it out on the computer:I put the top together pretty quickly, and had the thing basted and partially quilted for quite awhile. Then I got bored with it and moved on to other projects for awhile. I finally got around to finishing it this past week. I did the binding correctly this time, by sewing it onto the front first and then hand sewing the back. Before I've always just used the machine. It does look MUCH better done by hand, but I don't know if I'll bother doing it again. It was quite a pain.

Here it is, all finished!
A close up of the back showing the binding:

My thrifting ways

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This post isn't really about crafting. I've been reading a lot of blogs on the subject of thrift store finds and the re-doing of them. I got inspired to write a post about some of the bargains I've scored over the years.My most recent score was a FREE swing set! All wood, it is about 15 years old and the owners' boys were way past the age of playing on it. The slide is a little rough and we had to trash the "teeter totter" because their dog had eaten away at the seats. But with some stain on the wood, spray paint on the hardware and some new fixtures, it is a gem for our daughters!

Here's the before, sitting in the previous owner's yard:
And after, set up in our yard (we added a sandbox that my husband built):
Side note: the people we got it from had a deer's head laying in the backyard, waiting to go to the taxidermist for its antlers. Can you say 'EEEWWW'?!

I also recently scored a small bedroom set from a neighbor during our neighborhood's annual clean up days. For $40, I got a queen sized headboard that is the bookshelf kind, a night stand and a tall dresser with attached mirror. Sweet deal! Right now it is dark walnut veneer, but that will change. I'm going to paint them off white and get new knobs. The dresser and nightstand will go in one of my daughter's rooms, and the headboard will go on the bed in the guest room, which doesn't have one currently. I'll show you the before and after shots as soon as I have some.

There's a web site called Hayneedle (formerly NetShops) that sells all kinds of things for the home. Well, guess what? Their headquarters are in my town, as is their main warehouse. And 2 or 3 times a year, they have a warehouse sale where they get rid of all the returns, scratch & dents, and overstock. It's invitation only -- you have to know someone who works there. Here's a list of some of my scores over the past few years:

1. A captain's bed. Ours has storage in the bottom drawers, and the upper drawers are actually a trundle bed. Retail: $699. My price: $72. It was damaged, but my Renaissance man of a husband fixed that up, lickety split!

2. Barstools. We picked up TWO of the one pictured, barstool height, for $10 each! Swear! Retail: $350 each. AND there was nothing wrong with either stool. The year before we picked up two stools (one bar, one counter, but they matched) for $20 each. The hubby just cut the barstool down to counter height, and fixed a minor issue on one of them.

3. Dartboard. Not sure of the exact model we picked up, but it was similar to this one. Retail: $150-ish. My price: $15.

4. Poker Chip set. Retail: $50. My price: $10. Made a great gift for my brother-in-law. I'm told that he keeps it in the trunk of his car so that he's never without it when he needs it.

5. Patio umbrella. Retail: $150+, and it doesn't include the iron base. My price: $15, including the base. Mine is wood and doesn't tilt, but that's the only difference.

I think that's it for Hayneedle deals. Can I just say how much I love living in the same town as their headquarters?

I also prowl craigslist occasionally when I'm looking for something specific. My best find was a brand new, in the box, never used Cricut Expression for $180. Less than HALF of retail! Yay!

Here's a tip: if you're prowling craigslist, you can set up a feed with your specific search term right to your blog reader. I use Google Reader to peruse all the different blogs I like to read. If you read a lot of blogs and haven't figured one of these reader things out yet, do so now. Anyway, once you've input your search term and hit 'Search' on craigslist, scroll down to the very bottom of the first page of results. You'll see an orange RSS button. Click that to "subscribe" to the feed for your exact search term. That way you don't have to keep going to craigslist to do a search, it will just forward items to you as they're listed!

Summer dress

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I recently went to a local consignment sale that happens twice a year. In a word, it is awesome. There is anything and everything you could possibly need for your kids, and most of it is very high quality. Because it's consignment, people get to set their own price, so you have to look carefully to find the best deal. But when you do! Jeans for $1, anyone? That's what I'm sayin'!

Why do I bring this up? Because this year, I showed great restraint and did not buy my daughter any summer dresses at all. I just couldn't justify it when I've got bins full of cute fabric, and I can get patterns on sale for around $1. I've made only 2 dresses so far, but this one is to die for:

The halter dress is from a Simplicity pattern, and it was so easy! And this picture doesn't do it justice. It looks less sack-like in person. Here's a shot of the back:
The dress is only 4 pieces of fabric, plus some elastic. There's a facing in the bodice, which next time I'll make a little longer. Love it! I can't wait for the weather to turn warmer so she can wear it all the time!

What kind of sister would I be?

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If I didn't make a bag for my sister?!

For Lisa, we have the lush pink paisley with coordinating stripe:Isn't it gorgeous? I love, love, love paisleys, and this one is particularly awesome, in my humble opinion. Here's a view of the inside:
The best part? On super duper clearance at Hancock a couple of weeks ago. Normally around $20 a yard, I got it for less than $5 per yard!

I made a few changes from the original pattern. Like before, I used the lining fabric for the piping and handles. This time I cut the handles on the bias, too, so that they have that barber pole effect. I didn't put piping around the bottom of the bag this time. It made it so hard to sew on the previous bag. I made sure to leave piping "tails" on the sides so that I could use them to plug the holes left in the corners. That worked even better than I had hoped! This time I also used heavier interfacing than the pattern calls for. I like how it makes the bag stand up on its own a little bit more. Unfortunately, it made the handles a bit more stiff than I'd like, though Lisa may find it works for her. I also didn't think it needs to be that heavy in the zipper area, either. Next time I'll use a mix of the heavy and light interfacing to get the best result. Final bonus addition: pockets on the outside, in between the handles. Perfect for the grocery list, boarding pass or parking ticket!

Oh, and note to self: remember to unzip the zipper before you sew on the bottom of the bag. Trying to unzip one from the wrong side is a pain in the ass!

Coming soon: Sarah's adorable polka dot bag!

Bag Lady

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This is what I have been making lately. I am planning to make a bunch and take them with me to work and sell them. I have had some people express interest. This is the 2-hour Tulip Bag by Janice Pope. I have used fabric by Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, Moda’s Hunky Dory and some other unknown brand that I got as a remnant. I also use very stiff interfacing because I don’t like my bags all loosey-goosey. Let me know if you want one!


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It may be one of my favorite crafts because you can eat the finished product! (Over the weekend I have eaten far too many "crafts") I made these cute little Easter egg cupcakes:

and these bunny cupcakes:

(which I forgot to take a picture of the completed cupcakes before they were all eaten). Ooops :)

The finished bunny also had miniature marshmallows as cheeks and frosted whiskers but you get the idea! These were very easy to make and turned out super cute! The eyes and nose are made from jelly beans cut in half. The ears were made from large pink marshmallows that were cut in half twice:


The grass and the bunny "fur" was just shredded coconut! Easy and cute!!

A little reprieve

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I've been going, going, going with all the crafting lately, and I had to take a break. So I put away the sewing machine to make room for a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I haven't done a puzzle in forever because I had a cat for a very long time. You just can't have something like that laying around with a cat. This puzzle was harder than I thought it would be, but I finally finished it the other day.

I have been doing a little crafting since my last post, which I'll show off shortly. I'm sporadic about posting mostly because I don't download the pictures from my camera often enough! But I've got a cute watermelon table runner to show off, and I'm working on refashioning a t-shirt of mine into a dress for Paige. Not sure if that will turn out or not. And after that? Believe it or not, I've got plans to make a couple more of the Sophia Carry All bags! My very good friend wants one just like the one I've already made, and I picked up some cute fabric the other day to make another as a gift.

Sorry for a picture-less post!

Craft carnival going on now!

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Craft Critique is a blog I just discovered recently, and I already have it in my feed reader! They have a spring craft carnival going on now, and I was included in the blog roll for the top I made my daughter. How cool is that? Head on over to check it out!

Button, button, who's got the button?

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I've got the button! I saw a rainbow colored cha-cha bracelet in a j. crew catalog and I was inspired to make a piece of rainbow jewelry. I used a chain, jump rings and toggle clasp, all from Michaels. The buttons are mine. I have a little hand-crank drill that I used to make holes in the larger buttons. Open up the jump rings, add a button and hook it onto the chain. For the clasp, all you need to do is open up your end links and attach the clasp to the end.

Remember that sneak peek I gave you?

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Ta da! I think it turned out really cute!
The pattern doesn't call for the lining fabric to be used for the handle or the piping on the outside, but I think it looks better this way. Striped fabric on the bias (for the piping) is adorable! I kind of wish I'd done the handles on the bias, too. I think this fabric pattern fits the style of the bag really well.

The bag is a great size... big, but not TOO big. There were definitely things I would do differently next time. Check out my review on for the minutia.

So, do you want one? They still have a ton of this fabric available on clearance!

My cute kid

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I made a top for Paige from Butterick pattern #5020. I put up a review of it on I had a lot to say, so rather than repeat it here, please just check out the review. Regardless of how the project went, it turned out pretty cute, no?

The bodice is a bit too big, but I made it in size 3 since she's already 2 1/2 years old. Hopefully she'll grow into it before the cold weather returns in the fall!

Where did I get the fabric, you ask? My fairy godmother, of course!

A piece of my heart

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The very first thing I made with the fabric my friend's mom gave me? A gift for her, of course!This is called the "schlep bag", based on a pattern from my local quilt shop. Normally the four patch you see is just one piece of fabric, but I used some of those precious scraps that had been given to me. They were already cut into 5" squares, but the bag calls for 8" squares, so I had to sew them together first. There are still enough left over to make another bag if I wanted! I hope she likes it!

How much is too much?

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My best friend's mom is a quilter. She's in the process of getting her home ready to sell, and decided to destash. I was the very fortunate recipient of 10 GARBAGE BAGS FULL of fabric!! Here's what it looked like after I had gone through every bag and folded everything neatly:
You can't tell from this picture, but there is a little more fabric behind the stacks you see here. The plastic grocery bag on top of the stack is full of precut bundles. There are TWO jelly rolls, at least one charm pack and a bundle of fat quarters in there! The paper grocery bag over there to the side? That contains fabric that she had already cut for a project, and in some cases had begun to piece together. I did cull quite a bit of that kind of thing out, but these were gems that I wanted to find a way to use.

Here's what it looks like laid out on my kitchen table, all coordinated by color:
I'm still pinching myself! I did thin out a little bit of the stash she gave me. It ended up filling two garbage bags. That stuff was mostly very small scraps. As you can see from the pictures, there was a LOT of decent yardage in this, in some cases more than enough to make a quilt back for a lap to queen sized quilt. Don't worry, I'm not going to throw away what I didn't keep. Some of it will go to a friend whose son loves tractors (John Deere fabric just isn't my thing), and the rest will go to Project Linus.

My cup runneth over!

A sneak peek!!

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Here's what I'm up to next:

This is the Sophia Carry All bag from Amy Butler. However, those are NOT Amy Butler fabrics this time! Hancock fabric was having a great sale on decorator remnants, with 50% off the already discounted price. I got these two coordinating prints for $6 a yard, and since they're decorator fabrics, they're 54" instead of 44", which means you buy less. Score!

It's coming together very fast, much faster than the Field Bag I made earlier. Using a decorator fabric means there's less interfacing to work with. I'm at a little bit of an impasse right now. I followed the instructions, but there's part of the bag that didn't come together as well as I would have liked, so I'm going to hand sew a little bit to correct the issue before going on to the next step. I should have a finished bag to share with you soon!

Grab Bag

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I've gone and made another handbag. Check it out:
This one is also from a free pattern, available here. Be careful, because part of the pattern instructions is dependent on viewing it in color. I ended up ripping out a bunch of unnecessary stitches because I printed the instructions in black and white. The stitches on the diagram are actually both black and RED, and I was only supposed to sew the red stitches indicated. Because all of the stitches on my print out were black, I sewed all of them. Oops!

It's a very cute bag, though not very secure. You close it like this:

Fun for a casual evening out, but probably not very good for an every day bag. If you want it, it's for sale in my Etsy shop!

D is for Dear Friend

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I made this recently:

It's the smaller version of the portfolio I made earlier. Both patterns are available in the same download. I made this one to give to a friend whose last name begins with D. Not sure what she'll use it for, maybe grocery coupons or something like that. It has two small pockets on the inside. Guess who designed the fabric?

I didn't use the Cricut to make the applique this time. I've come to the conclusion that it's too much of a pain to put the actual fabric through the machine. Instead, I cut out whatever shape I want out of nice, thick card stock and use it as a template. Old school (sort of), but much easier in the end. Plus, it means I can use whatever shapes I want since it will work with both cartridges AND Sure Cuts a Lot, the software that I bought to use with the Cricut. I found that I couldn't cut fabric using Sure Cuts a Lot, since the software specifies the speed setting on the Cricut for cutting, and it wasn't slow enough. I'll write more about Sure Cuts a Lot someday.

Baby Shower

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I am throwing a baby shower for a friend next month and I am so excited (I love babies and baby showers)! This is her 2nd child, however they are 10 years apart!! Her 10 year old is a boy and she just found out that she is having a girl this time and I am so excited for her! So I am working on some gifts as well as some decorations. Here is what I have so far...

Binky clips:

I purchased badge clips and removed the plastic piece from the metal piece.

Then I used my trusty hot glue gun to attach the metal clip to one end of a 6" piece of ribbon and used tacky glue to attach the plastic piece to the other end.

After that was dry I attached a cute, LARGE button to the end with the clip and ta-da!

These were very easy to make and turned out so cute!

Sweet Tooth

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Guess what? More felt! Tuck your little one's tooth in the back pocket and put it under his or her pillow. Check the pocket in the morning and see if the Tooth Fairy left any surprises. This piece is about 4" tall.

I just cut a freehand tooth out of a double layer of white felt. I stitched bead eyes onto one of the felt pieces and stitched little eyelashes. Stitch on a smile and two pink felt circles for rosy cheeks. Put the two white pieces right sides together stitch all but a little opening for turning. Turn and stuff, then hand stitch the opening. I stitched on a little pink bow and sparkly bead to make it a girl. You can make a boy tooth, too.

Felt keychains

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I told you I love felt. I have some more things to show. First, I appliqued a little design on a felt circle/square. Then, I cut a circle of really stiff interfacing and stitched the appliqued felt circle and a plain circle around the interfacing circle. I punched a hole and set an eyelet with my handy dandy Big Bite. I took a key chain off of something I wasn't using and put it through the eyelet hole. Viola!

Be my Valentine

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My fifth grader decided not to pass Valentine's out at school. When I asked him why, he said he hated doing all that writing. I said, "I may have a solution for you." The first one turned out cute. We really went crazy for his teachers, though, and dressed him up as cupid. They LOVED it! Just take a picture with the hand closest to you, then punch a hole right above the hand and right below. Slide in a Dum Dum or Pixie stick and you are good to go. No writing necessary. I used half-sized photos to save photo paper and ink.

dress and misc

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So I stopped at Walmart the other day on an errand. I just happened to mosey over to the fabric section. I picked up a cheap and easy dress pattern and some cheap fabric. I whipped up a little dress for my daughter and it turned out great. I haven't sewn anything for many years, so I was a little apprehensive. She was totally thrilled that I was making something for her to wear. I snapped a couple of pics. Also, I am not very good at incorporating the photos into my post. Please forgive me while I am learning.