January 31, 2014

Goodwill Outlet Strikes Again!

My best friend is visiting me from out of state and I've been busy showing her all of the local sights including the Goodwill Outlet, of course!

We were there for a few hours and our husband were quite patient, for the most part, while we scoured the bins. And it was well worth every minute! My haul included a few books (The Modern Girl's Guide to Life, The MacGregor Brides, The Complete Garden Guide, The Complete Guide to Windows and Doors, and Atlas of Wine,) a Pampered Chef apple peeler, water proofing shoe spray, wrapping paper, Battle of the Sexes board game, sandals, an Ann Taylor Loft tank, an Ann Taylor Loft capris, a pink hanger, a tie, a Mossimo flannel button up shirt, and an Aerie spring jacket. I got everything picture here for only $10.83.

These heels were by far my favorite find of the day and they still have the T J Maxx tags in them. I only had to fight off a few people for them. ;)

January 27, 2014


Recently I was talking to my brother when he mentioned how hard it has been for his grand kids to be cooped up in the house. Their mom is running out of ideas to keep them engaged in wholesome activities. That was when I remembered how much I loved sewing cards as a child. I had some fancy cards from the store and I really felt special every time I got them out to use them. When they got a little worn my crafty grandma set to work to make a home crafted version for me. So here is my rendition of that memory.
Cut 12 x 12 cardboard into quarters.
I started with a 12 x 12 piece of white cardboard. You can use anything you have on hand. If you are desperate you could even use a breakfast cereal box. Get creative and use what you have on hand. I decided that because this was a craft for young people the sewing cards shouldn't be too big. It seemed natural to divide the cardboard into quarters. That made each card a 6 x 6 square.

Start your art work.
 Now is the fun creative/crafty part. You need an image on each card for the kids to sew around. You may use a stencil, a photo from a magazine, trace a picture from a coloring book, or in my case sketch something because it was faster than finding the coloring books in our house. The design needs to be fairly simple and have a strong outline. I sketched a lady bug, goldfish, bird and tulip. Then I added color to the picture. As soon as you have your picture colored you will want to add the holes that the sewing will go through. They should be evenly spaced and place them near the edge of the outline. You can see that I used a hole punch for some of the areas and a islet hole punch for the inner areas that I couldn't reach with the regular hole punch.
Add the well placed holes.
 Next choose your "thread". It can be anything that you have on hand. It might be yarn (mine was) or string or a shoe lace, embroidery floss, or ribbon. Just use what ever you have. I used some Scotch tape to create a stiff end to the yarn. If you use a shoe lace this step is already completed. If you have a child that is old enough to use a plastic darning needle you won't need to do this step. You be the judge of what would be safe for your special kiddo. I found that if you wrap a piece of tape around the yarn before you cut the yarn into two pieces it seems to work more easily.
Create the "thread".

Close up of the thread end.
 Once you get the end of the yarn stiff enough to sew with you just start anywhere that works for you. My grandma never made me start anywhere special. She usually told me not to knot the end. (Smart grandma). This is not only a good way for the kids to do something quiet, but it really helps to develop eye/hand coordination and a sense of order. Each kid will inevitably end up with some giant knots. Let them try to undo what they did. Let them struggle a little with cause and effect before you rescue them from the dreaded knot.
Finished sewing card.
Here is what the finished sewing card looks like. This is a good old fashioned quiet educational item. Think about trips in the car, church services, or any other time little hands need to busy with an indoor activity. It really is a good "blizzard buster".

January 26, 2014

Wonderful Winter Wedding

WOW have I been busy lately! I just finished up a custom order for faux fur wedding shawls and wanted to share my hard work with you all. I really like how these turned out. In fact, I may even make one for myself. (If I could find the time!)

Faux fur shawl

Finished shawl

Snap closures

Black satin lining

January 7, 2014

Bling Bling Nail Art

Today is my SECOND adult snow day IN A ROW! Today I decided to use my extra time to pamper myself. I got these nail stickers and new Ulta polish (Ultra Violet Femme) for Christmas and was very excited to try them out!

After my nails were painted and dry I simply followed the instructions on the nail stickers package, putting the correct size sticker on the appropriate nail and filing off the excess.

I like the finished look of the nails, but wasn't entirely happy with how the stickers conformed to the shape of my nails. I think a design with less "rhinestones" would lay more nicely.


I ended up removing this nail art within the first 24 hours. No matter how many layers of clear nail polish I put on top of the rhinestone stickers they caught on EVERYTHING. I would not use these again, definitely not worth the time and energy.

January 6, 2014

Adult Snow Day

I have been getting a TON of snow and cold weather. So much in fact that I have an adult snow day today!
What's a girl to do with so much time on her hands? Sew of course! And I was glad to have some ideal material on hand.
YEAH for JoAnn sales!

On the "presses"
With the help of my trusty husband photography, I was even able to get my new creations listed on my Etsy shop today! Click on the picture below to see the listing.



January 4, 2014

Like Daughter, Like Mother....again!

Marissa has done it again! She has inspired me to get crafty with the sewing machine. I enjoyed her post here about a plaid shirt refashion. So I ran right to my local thrift shop and started looking for a nice plaid shirt. Here is what I found. It was such a lovely shade of blue and was a very nice quality fabric so it was the winner. Because it was a quality fabric the plaid is woven instead of printed onto the fabric, some of the reconstruction was easier, and the end result more attractive. The seams were flat felled seams, and they always make a nicer product. I replaced those with regular construction seams. This is just for fun after all.
 The shirt is a man's medium. It didn't really matter what size I chose because there would be so much altering going on. If you choose a refashion project think about how much alteration you will need to make to the sleeve length and shoulder area.
Well lets get serious about this thing. You are going to have to cut it sooner or later. Here we go. Start by cutting up the side seams and all the way to where the sleeves attach. Now cut the shoulder seam away from the body of the shirt, being careful to maintain the original shape of the sleeve. The next step is to cut the sleeve seam. Cut the full length of the sleeve. Do not cut through the cuff of the sleeve. I cut the sleeve seam to with in 3-4 inches of the cuff. At that point I opened the cuff seam where it attaches to the sleeve. Open just enough to ease the sleeve seam out. I will want to complete the sleeve seam and then reinsert into the cuff at the end of the project. I used this method so that I didn't have to change the sleeve placket. It was very nicely constructed and had multiple buttons on the placket.

Here is what it will look like when you get the side seams opened and the sleeves removed. You can't see in the photo very well but I have opened the sleeve seams nearly all the way at this point. Being careful not to cut the cuff.

Now that you have your shirt cut, you start the engineering process of reconstruction. Start by deciding how wide the shoulder seam should be. I put on a shirt that fits nicely and measured the width of the shirt from the collar to the shoulder seam. It was five inches for me. Keep in mind for this project the end product is supposed to be a little box-ie. (If we wanted to make a more fitted shirt we would need to deconstruct a bit further before reconstruction.) After I knew what the shoulder width should be I knew how much fabric to trim away from the shirt. I used the same measurement and followed the original shape of the garment. Then I measured how long the sleeve would need to be. I guesstimated that length by putting the sleeve onto my arm and bending my arm at the elbow. I pinned the top of the sleeve to the shirt that I had on, and looked in the mirror for a point of reference. When I was satisfied with the length of the sleeve I marked where the shoulder seam would need to go. The picture above shows that I needed to cut off 4 inches. I cut off 4 inches all the way across the top of the sleeve piece being careful to maintain the original sleeve shape. Re -attach the sleeve to the shirt. It will no longer match exactly because we have made so many alteration. Be sure that your sleeve is attached to the shirt with out any puckers. 
Once the sleeve has been reattached to the armscye you are ready to determine how to trim the side seams. I used one of my dresses that fits loosely as a guide. If you have a pattern that you like, that would be a really good guide also. When you determine where you will trim be sure to make each side match each other. After I had the fabric trimmed away from the side seams I re-sewed the seams extending the seam from the hem of the shirt all the way out to the end of the sleeve. I finished the side seams with serging and reinserted the sleeve into the cuff and top stitched the cuff. That was the last step! Yay, it wasn't tooooo labor intensive and the shirt will be a fun addition to my winter wardrobe. 

I will probably pair the shirt with jeans and boots when I wear them outside of the house. It is a nice warm and soft shirt and will be a trendy/fun thing for me to wear for the season. Thanks mama for teaching me how to get crafty with refashions.

January 2, 2014

Pocket Square Christmas Gift

I wasn't able to sew as many Christmas gifts this year but I was able to make a few pocket squares for Paul. They were very inexpensive because I purchased satin remnants on sale from JoAnn Fabrics. However, sewing a traditional pocket square with a rolled hem by hand did take much longer than I thought it would!

I used this tutorial, which I found on Pinterest, from Hands Occupied. What hand made Christmas gifts did you give this year?

January 1, 2014

Simple Bed Makeover

A while back Krista started to makeover our childhood bedroom. She painted the walls and as much trim as she was allowed and Mom made new window treatments and purchased new bedding. But the room wasn't quite complete.

While I was home for Christmas break I made a few pillows to tie the whole look together. Its amazing how a few simple pillows can make all the difference in a bedroom!

Small Pillows

I wanted to take the easy way out and top stitch the pillow closed, don't tell my 4-H leader, so I decided to also top stitch the bottom end of the pillow for a uniform look.

Bottom of pillow

Once the small pillows were stuffed and sewn together (no small feat) I started on the larger pillows.

I really like the completed look and best of all it was very quick and inexpensive! Now all we need to do is paint the bedframes white.