Sunday, November 30, 2008

The hoodie

Here's the before and after hoodie.

Before: A plain hoodie, sized for a kid.

After: Butterflies and a lacy collar! Embellishments chosen by me. Designed by Ellie. Sewn and ironed on by me. Worn by Ellie!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Five Crafts that are Good for the Environment

We all know the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Recycling is the easiest. It's not only no trouble, it's downright gratifying to drop that soda can into the blue bin. Reducing, on the other hand, is almost asking too much. I want to save the environment as much as the next person, but I want an iPod, too.

In the middle is Reuse. This is where we can all do better without much sacrifice. And lucky for me and my creative compatriots, crafting and reusing were made for each other.

So in the spirit of conservation and the need for all of us to keep instead of dump, I have created a list of my top five crafts to make, use, and reuse. These are all generally disposable items that, if we only turned them into reusable items, we would keep a lot of garbage out of the landfills.

1. Coffee sleeves

If you want to keep blisters off your fingers when you pick up your coffee, those sleeves that fit over your cup aren't an indulgence--they're a necessity. But they don't have to be disposable. Make a few sleeves with your leftover fabric, take them with you to the coffee shop, and you'll be environmentally friendly and pain free.

Check out this tutorial from blogger poppytalk here.

2. Sandwich bags

Kids everywhere go to school with a sandwich tucked into their lunch box, and that sandwich is almost always stuck inside a Ziplock bag. That's a lot of plastic going into the environment. There are, thankfully, places you can buy reusable sandwich wraps, like here. But if you're crafty, why not make them? In fact, with some leftover placemats and some velcro, you can make reusable and recycled sandwich bags.

3. Produce bags

Many of us are already bringing a few grocery totes to the store to cut down on paper and plastic bags, but what about the bags in the produce section? You can go through 8-10 bags by the time you've gotten all your produce. Why not make some lightweight bags to throw the apples and carrots into and save some more plastic from going into the dump? Here are some plain white ones that are being sold, but you can easily make ones like that and prettier.

4. Napkins

Here's something that everyone used to reuse just a few generations ago. Cloth napkins are not only environmentally friendly, but they are beautiful and they add elegance to a table. They are easy to make, fun to embellish with trim or embroidery and an immediate heirloom. Here's a tutorial from a crafter who made a napkin set with a matching pouch to store them in.

5. Maxi pads

I've saved this one for last so that you can stop right here if you are too daunted by this idea. But for those intrepid few who might want to turn this disposable item into a reusable one, yes you can make and use your own maxi pads. If you're intrigued, check out this tutorial. If you're completely grossed out, don't worry. This aint for everyone.

More ideas?
I'm always looking for more ideas on ways to turn disposable items into reusable ones, and if it's something I can make myself, that's even better. So comments and ideas are welcome!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Preview post

My next craft will be a ......

.............Hoodie embellishment!

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Top Five Crafts to Do With the Kids

My house is Craft Central, so when my daughter invites her friends to play, they're pretty much guaranteed to go home holding something they've made.

So I've decided to put together my top five crafts to do with kids. Of the many crafts I've done with kids, these are the easiest and most fun, and they provide (almost) instant gratification. You can find the things you need to get started at a craft store like Michael's, a fabric store like Joann's, a big-box store like Target or Walmart, or any number of smaller crafty shops.

Without further ado...

1. Shrink Plastic

Take an 8x10 sheet of plastic, draw a lovely picture all over it with markers, punch a hole on top, stick it in the oven for a few minutes, and voila! Your work of art has shrunk down to about a third of its size and now you have a beautiful pendant to wear around your neck. Or don't poke a hole in it--just glue a magnet on the back and hang it on the refrigerator. It's great fun, gives you quick results, and it doesn't cost a lot of money. Shrinky Dinks is the brand name that I associate with the craft, but I've seen other brands in the stores recently.

You'll need: Shrinky Dinks(TM) or other shrink plastic kit.

2. Beading

For me, making jewelry has the biggest payoff for the effort of any craft. There are thousands of options for beads, and so many of them are simply beautiful. Your kids (and you, too!) can create necklaces, bracelets and even earrings that are just as lovely as the ones in the store. And it takes less than an afternoon to create a whole set of jewelry. For smaller kids, buy the thicker plastic string and plastic beads with large holes. Older kids will have fun with the smaller beads, and you can all experiment with the many types of strings available, such as hemp, metal, and fiber.

You'll need: Beads, string, hooks

3. Sculpting Clay

Build on your kids' love of play dough and let them create more permanent sculptures using polymer and other types of sculpting clay. You'll find lots of options for types of clay, including ones that cure in the oven, ones that will dry and harden in the air, and ones you can sculpt and then paint. Prices can be steep, depending on how much you need and which type you buy, so start out with a small amount and see if your kids take to it.

You'll need: Sculpting clay (e.g., polymer, modeling, earth), sculpting tools (optional)

4. T-shirt Painting

What is the first thing you want to do after you've made something new? Run straight out your front door and show it to everyone who will look, of course! And what better way for a kid to show off a brand new creation than to wear it? Kids can paint a picture free form, use stencils, explore their inner splatter painter, or even tye dye the shirt. Once you've spread around the newspapers or, better yet, set up your studio outside, just let the kids go wild. Then let them wear it proudly.

You'll need: T-shirt, fabric paint or tye dye, brushes, stencils (optional), water and rags for cleanup

5. Embossing

Here's one you might not have heard of, but believe me, the ease-to-wow ratio is huge. I first read about embossing on the Craftster website. (See the link to them on the righthand column of this blog.) A quick tutorial: Find a picture or photo that has a lot of color and looks fairly vibrant. Cut out the picture and glue or tape it to something sturdy. A piece of cardboard will work well, and so will a magnet. The magnet has the extra advantage of being able to hang on your fridge, and this is a great use of those magnets that businesses give out for free as advertisements.

Now that you have the picture fixed to a sturdy backing, cover it with tape. You need super-sticky double-sided tape like Terrifically Tacky Tape(TM). Then turn your sticky picture over on top of a tray filled with tiny, transparent embossing beads. What you get is a dazzling, shimmery picture that looks like a stained glass window or a mosaic. The kids will be amazed that they created something so beautiful. Check out a few that my daughter and I made here:

(I found embossing beads in the scrapbooking aisle at Michael's. These are not the same as the beads used for beading jewelry. They are tiny and have no holes.)

You'll need: A picture you are happy to cut up, a magnet, piece of cardboard or something sturdy, super-sticky tape, embossing beads.

I hope this has given you some ideas of fun crafts to do with the kids. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Over the Rainbow

My first swap on Craftster is done and I've sent off the goods to my swap partner. I planned to wait until she got it, but I think it's okay to post what I made to the blog. Especially since I haven't posted in so long. The swap theme was The Wizard of Oz.

Here's what my partner was going to get in the mail, before the U.S. Postal Service stomped all over my creativity by making it prohibitively expensive to send.

Yes, the dog was supposed to be Toto and the basket was supposed to be Dorothy's. I didn't make Toto or the basket, but the other stuff in it is what I made and there is a bracelet around Toto's neck that I also made.

Since it was too expensive to send and I also was not allowed to send it in the Jose Cuervo box I had, I had to shift the contents to a padded envelope.

I made a messenger bag, lined with rainbow fabric (my swap partner loves rainbows):

And I made a picnic setting with placemats and napkins:

I didn't get a shot of the rainbow bracelet that's around Toto's neck, but it's cute. I hope my swap partner loves it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

New shoes

This is not as crafty as it is solution-to-a-problem-y.

I bought these shoes at the thrift store for $6. They are way cool shoes, even if Greg thinks they are too bowling-shoe looking. I still love them--they are imported from Italy and they are made with really nice, sturdy leather. And it was too cheap to pass up.

The only problem is that they don't fit me. They are too small, of course, for my size 10 clown feet. I bought them and tried walking around for awhile, but my toes were most certainly getting squished.

I considered going Cinderella's stepsister's route and cutting off my heels, but I decided to go a different way. I cut off the shoe's heels! Behold:

I think with black socks and long pants, no one will notice. And if people do notice and think it's weird that I hacked into my shoes, I don't care! My toes are no longer squished!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What's this bear doing on my chest?

I am thinking about making something like this. Really. I hate my seatbelt, it drives me nuts. But even if I don't, I think you all should check out this product because it's freaking hilarious. And apparently it is a real product--no joke.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Shrinky dinks!!!!

More kid-friendly crafting going on. Ellie and I have been making shrinky dinks, which I remember very fondly from my childhood. Greg said he's never even heard of shrinky dinks. Now that is a gaping hole in his upbringing. I blame his parents. :)

Here's Ellie's signature ladybug design.

And here's a picture of Ariel, which I traced and Ellie colored.

Then I did my own tracing of Paddington Bear, which I colored in too dark so now it looks a little muddled.

Monday, August 4, 2008


We had another fun crafternoon last week! (No, I didn't make up that word. I read it on a blog somewhere.) Ellie and I decided to paint eggs. So we pulled out a few eggs and a bunch of paint, glue, glitter, markers, etc. After we finished a few, we ran off to the store and bought two double-size egg cartons (it was buy one get one free) and ran back to paint more. I nearly gave myself an ear infection blowing the insides out of 12 eggs and then we painted them with a different kinds of paint, rolled them in glitter, drew pictures on them, and generally gussied them up. We put them back into the egg carton and I had plans to decorate the egg carton as well, but I haven't done that yet. I'll post pictures in a bit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


These magnets are embossed with tiny glass beads that are clear, so they take on the color of the picture underneath and create a shiny, mosaic-like appearance. I did the lady with the hat and then Ellie picked out the picture of the kids sitting down to dinner and helped me make the magnet. The pictures don't capture how shimmery they are, especially at night with an overhead light on. I love the old-fashioned look to the pictures and the beads, but the pictures underneath aren't brightly colored enough. Next I'm going to search for some bright pictures, but hopefully some that still have fancy, old-fashioned images.

These magnets are great because they are quick to do and the materials are so easy to find. Now I'm going to be saving every advertisement magnet I get!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


My latest poppet. She's much prettier than Luella, but I still have a soft spot for that freaky alien-lookin thing.

This is Mimi. Mimi followed the Dead for a few years back in the '80s and now she's a hairstylist in her own salon. She doesn't have any kids, but she's been married for 10 years to a guy who has three kids from a previous marriage.

Jewelry box

I've got the cord back, so I have some crafts to share! I'll try to show them in the order we made them. Here's the box that Ellie made, before she painted it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

No pics, but I've been busy

I'm too scared to do my quilt, so I'm putting that off. (I know, after my big excited post about it and everything.) I have done quite a few other crafts, including painting glass with stained glass paint, making more jewelry and making some craftsy containers with recycled materials. Ellie has been doing a lot of the crafts with me and she made a box with glitter glue and gems that she copied from a demo version in Michael's. In fact, she brought her box in to Michael's to compare it to the demo and the woman at the store thought it was theirs.

I would post pics of all of this, but I can't find the cord for the camera to upload to the computer. As soon as I locate that, I'll post pics of our amazing creations.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Almost last part to do to finish quilt

I was on vacation for 10 days, but I'm back now and I'm ready to finish my quilt! I got the batting and back piece before we left, and now I've prepped them and they're ready to go. I have no idea what I'm doing, but some basic research has told me that I need to start quilting in the middle and stitch to the edges. I've decided that that's enough information for me, so I'm off to finish it. Woo hoo!!

Once I have it quilted it, I need to put the binding on and then I'll be done. I have a feeling the binding part will be tough, too.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A lovely necklace

Here's a necklace I made from some beads I had lying around. I love all the shades of blue--my favorite color!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Here she is!! She's possibly not totally done. If I want to really fix her up, she needs hair and a dress. But Ellie says she likes her better without hair. And with the crazy eyes that make her look like a cross between an alien and a Japanese cartoon, she might do just as well without hair.

This is my first attempt at a pretty poppet (in this case a not-so-pretty poppet), which is a doll created by a Craftster member named Ghilie. Ghilie was kind enough to send me really great instructions on how to make the poppet. I discovered that it's really freakin hard to find doll eyes and it's absolutely impossible to find freezer paper. So I had to improvise and make do and that, combined with my inexperience, made for a doll that is completely asymmetrical and kind crazy looking. Here she is again:

Her name is Luella. I had a whole backstory for her before she was done--she was a divorced mother of three who had recently gotten certified as a dental hygienist and was looking forward to starting fresh with her kids. But the thing I made doesn't look anything like a dental hygienist.

I'm going to make a new poppet as soon as I can find some freezer paper (off to Walmart). I started Luella yesterday while Ellie was at school and I finished at midnight but of course I had to stop a lot and do other things and I also had to make a few trips for supplies. So I think the next one won't take me as long.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quilt is pieced!

I don't have a picture of it yet, but I'm done with the piecing part of the quilt!! I'm waiting for a 40% off coupon for Joanns so I can get the batting inexpensively. Then I'm on my way to finishing it! If the points match up in any given place, it's completely accidental. I could not make those points match up if you paid me. It was horrible. But in the end it doesn't look too bad and it should serve its purpose very well of being a cute blanket for Ellie's bed that will keep us warm, too.

I'm going to make a doll next, so I'll post pictures when that's done and I'll add a shot of the quilt when I can, too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dark and sparkly

A kind of goth, old-fashioned style bracelet. I really like the bracelet but it doesn't go with my pasty, pale freckled skin. It looks prettier laid out so you can see the jewelled part of it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Anyone know a stylish octagenarian?

I tried to make one of those old-fashioned purses with the big pleated fronts but the dimensions just did not work and the interfacing I used was too light so it's flimsy. It looks like a big flowery adult diaper. I'm giving up and doing something fun and cute next to get my mojo back. Maybe more fabric painting. This was supposed to be a quick and easy project but I had some kind of block.

Update on 5/22/08: I discovered something today when I was reading about pleating at I've added a link to this blog in my list and you can read more. I found out that slippery fabrics are harder to pleat than crisp fabrics like cotton. I think my difficulty in pleating my purse was the choice of fabric. I'm going to try pleating again with a stiffer fabric.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It's a doggie dog world

Some recent things I've made. A pillowcase for my nephew and a shirt for Ellie. It's all dogs all the time in this house.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Maker Faire

I went to the Maker Faire in San Mateo over the weekend. It's an expo show just for people who like to make things. Anything. Arts. Crafts. Robotics. Computers. Woodworking. Anything. Here is a rundown of my day at the fair just from the top of my head.

I just couldn't believe how big it was. The creativity was just overwhelming. All day long walking through numerous enormous warehouses plus a huge outdoor area, all filled with batshit insane inventor types with wild hair and long beards who spend all day sitting in their basements building prototypes. Awesome.

I so wish I had my camera. I can't believe I forgot it. I asked this hippie girl at the information booth if there was any place on the grounds where I could buy a disposable camera and she said, "Oh, that's a great idea!" But of course there wasn't. I did find toward the end of the day an artist's piece that was a cement mixer that had sand and water and two 35mm cameras that the mixer was slowly grinding into stone. I wanted to dive into the mixer yelling "Noooooooooo!!!!!!!"

They had one warehouse just for woodworking and a table where you could make a rubber band ping pong ball shooter but when I got there they were out of wood. Then there was a whole crafting/sewing room that had tables of clothes you could just take and rework into whatever you wanted. The rest of the craft room was people selling the stuff they made. There was another warehouse for flying machines and another one for robot wars but I didn't go into the robot war one. They had a glass room where I think they held the robot wars. They had an outdoor "pool" where they held combat boat wars but I didn't watch that either. There were a ton of ecological folks who had wind power prototypes that cost like 25,000 dollars or something and information about how to switch your toilet to a flushless waterless toilet that converts poop to compost for your garden. The toilet people had a jar that held composted human poop that they invited you to take a whiff of. I did not.

There were two enormous main warehouse rooms. One was divided into two areas--one area for books and other things to buy and one area for speeches In that warehouse they had a few people milling around in costume (one was an amazing dragon costume). And there was a moving rectangular robot kind of thing that was about as tall as a person and sitting on a platform on the top was a laptop with the screen facing out. And on the screen was a guy's face talking to you as he moved the robot through the crowd. So there was a guy on a computer somewhere else with a webcam pointed to his face and then a webcam on the laptop pointing out at the crowd so he could see people as he moved the robot through the crowd. So simple but the effect was really cool.

The other warehouse was where many of the exhibits were. It was huge and absolutely filled up with people and their inventions. Lots of people who had ideas for recycling products into other products. Lots of science teacher types who had products that would help teach science to kids. Lots of computer applications. Lots of the computer stuff was over my head. They did have a sort of abstract artist woman who had a beaver computer where she took a real, actual taxidermied beaver and put a computer tower into it. So if you pressed the beaver's chest, the DVD drive came out and you turned the computer on and off by pressing a button on the beaver's stomach. It was so cool. And really soft.

And so much else. A guy who built an elliptical bike. Just like the elliptical machines at the gym but you are making a bike go. I would totally buy that if it didn't cost a fortune. That looks like so much fun. Lots of other bikes that people made or reworked from existing bikes. SO much more. Everyone should go to this thing, whether they are into making things or not. Even if you are not into making things you will still be amazed. AMAZED.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Quiche! Yum!

I've got another recipe that is awesome for its yummiosity and easability (new words--look for them in the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary). This is a spinach feta quiche, which is technically crustless but which forms a kind of pseudo crust because of the flour and baking powder in it. I got it from the blog (check it out), which has a ton of recipes that all look good. I've only tried this one so far and it's a winner! This took me hardly any time to put together, it's healthy, and it makes such a quick and elegant breakfast or even dinner if you put it with a salad. I added olives because I love em and of course you can add whatever you want. Here's the recipe:

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche
1 medium onion, diced
6-oz fresh baby spinach
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/3 cups milk (low fat is fine)
1/2 cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.
Lightly grease a 10-inch quiche/tart pan (or a pie plate)
In a medium frying pan, cook diced onion with a bit of vegetable oil (or cooking spray) over medium-high heat until translucent and tender. Add in fresh spinach and cook until just wilted. Set aside to cool for a few minutes
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, then stir in spinach-onion mixture.
Pour quiche base into prepared pan. Top with feta cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.
Let set for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

Serves 4.
salt and pepper, to taste

Monday, April 21, 2008

More fabric painting

Here's a shirt I made for Ellie. In the picture you can't tell that the bears each have a letter on them so it spells out "Ellie." In person you can kind of tell but it's not very clear and until I painted the letters you couldn't tell at all. But it's a really cute shirt and kind of reminds me of Grateful Dead bears, which I like. I'm going to practice painting a bear on some fabric and if I don't mess it up I'll try painting these bears. It still works for me as line drawings, though. I have a feeling she's never going to wear it (like the gorgeous tie-dyed dress that she made that she never wears), but I hope I'm wrong!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fabric Painting

I started a three-week fabric painting class and I finished a little picture on a piece of fabric that I think I will sew onto something else as a pocket or something. Maybe on a tote bag. Cause I don't think I have enough tote bags.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The quilt is coming along

I've been working on the quilt and I've got all of the four squares blocked into 24 blocks. Now I'm planning on sewing the blocks together into six rows of four blocks and then sew the rows together into the final piece. I'm anticipating lots of problems lining it up, so I've been putting it off a bit. But I think I'm ready to give it a go tonight. Ellie got a new bed a few days ago and it's a twin, so I think this quilt is going to be very big on her bed. We'll see.

Here's how the four squares look together (wrinkly fabric, I know):

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Awesome bread

I got really into making bread a few years ago. I made it from total scratch in the oven and it was really good but it took me awhile to get the hang of it and it took sooo long. So I bought a bread machine and that was a lot easier but it didn't taste great. It was just alright. NOW I have a new recipe and I tried the other day and it is amazing. I found it on (greatest site ever) but that recipe was taken from one that was in the New York Times and there are similar recipes around that all have the same basic principle.

Basically, you put some very simple bread ingredients together and instead of kneading it and kneading it again, you don't knead it at all and you just let it sit in a bowl for 12-18 hours. Then you shape it once or twice, let it rise for 2 more hours, then throw it in a preheated bowl and bake it for about 45 minutes. It seems like it's a lot of work, but it isn't because there's so much time when you don't have to pay attention to it. I put it together before I went to bed and let it sit all night and most of the day. I took a few minutes to shape it and then instead of letting it sit for the 2 hours it suggested, I had stuff to do and I didn't get back home for four hours. It didn't matter! It was still yummy! In all, it was under an hour of my time and attention. I'm going to make it again and again.

Here's the recipe:

3 cups/375g bread flour
1 1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 5/8 cups/13 oz water, warm but not hot

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients to combine. Add the water and stir until it’s a blended and shaggy dough. It will be very wet.

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 12 -18 hours.

Dump the risen but still-sticky dough onto a well-floured surface and turn it onto itself once or twice to deflate. Drape with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Heavily flour your hands and a cotton dishtowel or silicone sheet. Form the dough, as best you can, into a ball and place it, seam-side up on the towel. Cover with another floured towel and let rise about two hours, until doubled in size.

Place a large covered pot in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees/ 230 C/ Gas Mark 8 for at least 20 minutes.

Dump the dough into the hot pot, seam-side down, and shake to distribute, if necessary. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15-30 minutes until bread is browned.

Cool on a rack.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tote bag

I finally finished the tote bag that I started in class. It took me soooooooooooo long. I cannot believe how long it took me. I've done a few tote bags before using roughly the same method and they didn't take me nearly as long. I have no idea why this seemed so endless.

I did work with interfacing for the first time and the extra cutting and ironing might have been part of it. I messed up the interfacing a bit and it was quite wrinkly, but I think I fixed it for the most part. The interfacing does definitely create a much nicer feel and look to the bag, so I will use it again. There's a pocket on the outside and the inside but no zipper. I think it will be a nice bag to take to the pool with towels and a book in it.

My next project is a quilt. After I did the pillows, I decided to make a matching quilt. It's going to be a very big, very EASY quilt with simple, big squares. I think it will still look cute, but it's not going to be intricate at all.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I finished one of the pillowcases for Ellie's bedroom. It has a cuff and a little runner down the side so it looks all fancy shmancy. I followed instructions from my sewing class and it's very easy and doesn't take much time at all and it looks so cute!

This is the closeup of the fabric. It's little moons and stars, which goes very nicely with the curtains Nana made when Ellie was just a wee one. Thanks Nana! Nana also gave me the rest of the fabric she used to make the curtains for our dining room and now they are the cuff of this pillowcase! There's such symmetry to life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Twirly skirt

Here's a skirt I made in my sewing class. It still needs a drawstring and it needs to be hemmed, but the general shape is there. It's very cute but doesn't look quite right on me so I don't think I'll ever wear it. The skirt is made from a Simplicity pattern that was very easy to follow, so I recommend it if you are a beginner and get easily overwhelmed by patterns, like I do. My next class project is a handbag, but I won't be able to start on that for a week. So I'm going to do a pillowcase for Ellie's bedroom next.

Thank you to Nana for the pretty fabric!

More elephants!

And to go along with my elephant bracelet, I have an elephant tote bag. It's made with a corduroy outer fabric that is very sturdy and holds up well without interfacing. And I lined it with a brown shimmery fabric that creates a very eastern look like I could have bought it at a market in India or something.

Here's a closeup of the elephant!

Sewing projects

Here's a purse I made. It was my first attempt at a zipper and it didn't turn out too well, but I learned a lot about how to put in zippers from it. I am now taking a formal class and it's fun to learn the right way to do all the things I taught myself to do the wrong way. I lined it with a plain mauve fabric and used a thicker felt material as interfacing. I even added three little pockets inside to keep my cell phone and keys from getting lost at the bottom of the bag. All in all, it turned out well. I love the outer fabric. It's starting to rip along the base of the handles, which I'm not sure how to fix.

There's a great website to check out if you are into sewing or any kind of craft. It's and it's a community of crafty folks who post pictures of the things they've made and often tell you exactly how they made it, step by step. They are so encouraging and creative and helpful and if you are a newbie to something, like I am to sewing, it is a fantastic site. I highly recommend it.

Here's a shirt I made pretty much on my own. I loosely copied the form of another shirt I have and I did a lot of measuring and remeasuring to make sure it fit me where it should. The sleeves took the longest because I had never done them before. I followed instructions from a website and it took me hours to get it done but the good thing is that I cut it out on muslin first so now I have a nice template that I can use over and over. This shirt is made from a very stretchy material, so it's very forgiving. If I use the sleeves again on a material that doesn't give so much, it will probably require readjusting. But I was excited to finish it and have the sleeves turn out nicely.

I'll add a picture of the handbag I made as soon as I can get it uploaded. It was one of the first things I made, so it's very simple with no pockets or zippers or anything. But it has held up very well and I think the fabric is cool.


Here's a mother's bracelet I made with Ellie's name. It's a fairly classic design for mother's bracelets. I think it looks very nice and elegant, but when I originally bought the materials the letter beads were silver plated. Over time, the silver color has worn off and now the beads are white. It still looks nice, but it's not as elegant as it was. Next time I'll splurge and try to find letter beads that are made of a silver material. I made this a long time ago and it's lasted through a lot of wearing so I'm pretty happy with its construction.

I like the clasp the best though it was, of course, the most expensive item in the bracelet. It's an elephant and you move its trunk to unclasp the bracelet. Here's a closeup!