Category Archives: crafty

swapping around….

So, it is that time of year again where I participate in the Savvy {Seasons} Swap, an off-shoot of the Urban Home Goods Swap.  This is my third time swapping, and these swaps are by far my favorite!  One of the reasons I like them so much is that I get to adventure into something I haven’t tried before.

Last year, I made these goodies for my partner, Kristen over at Three Dancing Magpies.

Savvy Seasons - All the loot

And, I tried out fabric snow flakes.  They were quite an adventure.

Savvy Seasons - Table Runner Front Close-Up

I just finished up this year’s swap goodies for my partner, so I thought I would share a little of what I did.

The whole sha-bang!

These were all the goodies I sent.

Cup Warmer

I made a reusable cup warmer because my partner said she loved coffee.

Coordinating Napkins

Then, I made some fabric napkins in different, but coordinating, fabrics.

Close-up of the Napkin Rings

My favorite part was the napkin rings I made with pvc pipe and washi tape. I am having lots of fun with pvc this year!

Folded Star

And, the big gift was the folded star wall hanging.

I had made a folded star before, but it was a really long time ago.  And, this one gave me a run for my money.  Just getting it into the embroidery ring was really hard because of all the layers of fabric.  I followed the tutorial from the Moda Bake Shop.  The directions were really easy to follow.  I just didn’t follow them all, which meant I needed to frame the star in a porthole in order to cover some goofs.

I am really happy with how everything turned out!  Hope my partner likes everything.

{30-in-30} a little turkey craftiness…

At the start of November, I saw a super cute turkey shirt on pinterest!  It was created by GoodiesN2Shoes, who has a very cool Etsy shop!  I contacted Michelle  about sizes, and she got back to me super fast, but unfortunately, I missed it!  So, I decided that I would give them a shot myself!

I think they came out so cute.  Here are our four little turkeys in action, plus my nephews who I didn’t think would be keen on turkey shirts!

cute little turkeys

And, here is what one of the backs look like.  I love the tail feathers.

shirt back

What I love about all these pictures (and these are just a few of the tons taken) is that you can so clearly see all the little personalities come through!

four little personalities

Katie’s dancing in the center, Lily is rolling around on the floor, Cade is hiding behind the pillar, and Willow (my neice) is right along side him!  I was inside cooking when this was going on, so it was so awesome to be able to flip through all the pictures.  And, I love how cute they all are together in their little shirts!

So, thank you so much Michelle for the inspiration for our turkey shirts!

{30-in-30} why watching Hoarders is good for me…

So, I am not a collector.  I don’t collect too many of any one type of thing because the homes and images of spaces that I love the most are the ones that have an eclectic feel.  In fact, if someone notices that I have started collecting any one particular thing, I tend to purge the start of the collection down to the few items I do want.  In my head, if someone has a collection, they are bound to have pieces in the collection that they don’t actually want/love.

I am also pretty ruthless about what I buy and what I keep.  In the Army, we have a weight limit for moves, and I am always thinking about how things will add up to the magical number of pounds we are allowed to have.  And, I try hard to follow the rule “if it isn’t an absolute yes, then it is a no.”

However, I do have one weakness….crafting supplies.  I love to create something out of nothing.  I love to have other people exclaim “You made that?!?”  There is a thrill in getting inspired to start something new, and I tend to collect supplies for projects I know there is no way I can possibly complete because I have no room to do them.  And, that is where watching Hoarders comes in.

That show makes me physically uncomfortable.  It jacks with my sense of comfortable in my own mess.  It makes me see what is actually in my home, not just what I think is there.  And, it makes me want to clean like there is no tomorrow!

So, I thought that I would make this even more uncomfortable and come clean with my own “hoard.”  This is what my crafting area looks like right now.

craft space before
craft space before

And, it has been this way pretty much sense we moved into our house two years ago.  There are supplies everywhere.  There are pieces of projects or remnants of hastily finished projects everywhere.  This is the space in my house that I am truly uncomfortable if anyone else sees, and this is where I am supposed to be the most creative?  Not working!

So, by the end of November, by the end of my thirty days of posting, I am giving myself a little challenge.  I will have this space better organized!  And, I will report back about my progress!  I am determined to carve out this space for myself (and a few Hoarders episodes along the way couldn’t hurt)!

{30-in-30} a little quilt love….

My favorite gift to give a recently married couple is a quilt.  Unfortunately, my craft room has been such a mess (along with the rest of my basement) for the last two years that I have a little bit of a back log going.  I have been thinking for a while about the quilt that I would like to make for my brother and his bride, so I went to look through my favorites on Flickr.

Here are a few of the contenders (you can click on the picture to get to the flickr post with more information about the creator)!

If I decide to go with something pieced, it will likely be like one of these:

little apples firecracker

love the shape in this one


i love the solids in this one

Vintage Sheet New Wave Quilt

the simplicity of the design for this one would lend itself to really pretty quilting...

Wave quilt

this one is super cute too...

But, I also love the idea of doing a hand quilted whole cloth quilt using some yummy AMH pearl cotton like this.  These are some of the examples I am finding inspiring:

Colorful Crafting with Jen:  Rickie's Sashiko Pillow

even though this is just a pillow, it would be an amazing overall quilt!

I'm also lovin' wavy lines!!

this would be cute with the lines in different colors...

I am still at a loss about what I am going to do exactly, but I will post more about it as I figure it out!

{30-in-30} halloween recap part one

Yes, I know Halloween was a week ago, but I just wanted to be fashionably late sharing our costumes.  Really I just thought I would have more time to edit pictures, but I didn’t.  So, I decided to share them anyway!

Halloween started on Friday night for us.  Cade and I went and picked Joe up from work, and we ran up to see our best friends, James and Alie, and their little girls, Katie and Lily.  I was super excited about getting there because I had been working hard all week to put these together!

angry birds costumes

That’s right, we decided to go as Angry Birds.  The kids were the birds, and the parents were the pigs.

This is the first time that Alie and I have lived near each other in just under ten years, and that was long before the little people arrived.  We also both really like Halloween, so we were excited to be able to all dress up as a group!  And, the boys were nice enough to play along.

The best thing about these costumes is that we didn’t take them too far.  They were done just enough that people pretty much knew what we were, but not so much that the kids were uncomfortable all day.

So after we arrived, I threw the costumes on the kids to just get a sense of how they were going to work.  I wanted to see if they were going to keep them on, which they did.

dress rehearsalUntil, we stripped them down to dig out the pumpkin.  Alie had already cut the top, so she was able to show them that the lid came off.

"the lid comes off"

And, that there was slimy stuff inside!

"what's in there?"

Lily was by far the most into it, literally!

"Let me see"

And, Cade spent most of the time playing with what was pulled out into the bowl.


Then, the next morning we all decked out for a few pictures.  We had really wanted to take these outside, but it was raining like crazy the whole day (or most of the day as you will see later), so some of these are a little dark, but we got a few cute ones of the group.

the gang

And, of the families!

"angry" family
DSC_5810And, tried to get one of all the kids together, but it didn’t really work as well as we had hoped!
three little birds

Then, we were all dressed up, so we had to go on a smallish adventure!  That will be part two!

{30-in-30} to warm a tiny head

So, my little man has a huge noggin!  We joke that it is to hold his huge brain, but really, he is in the 95% for head circumference.  And, you know what they say about babies with big heads?

It is really hard to find them hats that fit!  All the kid hats are too small, as in they don’t cover his tiny ears, and adult hats are way too big.  So, when I saw this super cute boy-friendly pattern, I thought I would just try to make him one!

I taught myself how to crochet last year, but I have this theory about knitting and crocheting.  You are always better at the one you learn first.  It would seem that switching between the two would be easy, but it is hard to relearn those skills.  But, now that I have made the leap into crocheting, I am really loving it!  Super easy to pick up something for a few rows and then go back to what I should be doing.

But, back to the hat.  I think it came out super cute!  It was definitely the most complicated pattern I have done so far, but that wasn’t because the pattern was difficult.  It was just my learning curve.  But, for my little “sputnik” (obscure movie reference), I added three more rows at the bottom to make sure it was long enough to fit!

So here is a really bad picture (sorry, it was dark outside, so I took it in the weird lighting of my kitchen) of the front of the hat.  I am really happy with the way it turned out (at least from this side).

my good side...

Now, the back is another story. I am not so good with making the seams look seamless yet.

But, on my little model, you can’t really tell.  I am really happy that it turned out so well, and that it covers those little ears!

the cute model

a little bit of funk…

So, there seems to be a little funk going around online, and not the good kind (happens to be my favorite of the Mastercard commercials too)!  Several people have mentioned it around the interweb.  Some are reporting it as a blah feeling.  That was the way Ashley Ann explained it over at Under the Sycamore.  I have definitely been feeling the same way lately.  I find that I always get this way at the point where seasons are changing, but it also comes around when my schedule shifts (moving out of the spring semester into summer, etc).

And, Ashley’s post resonated with me because I am realizing that one thing that happens at the point where my schedule shifts is that I usually have a little more time.  For me, this is both a blessing and a curse.  A curse because I tend to spend a little more time surfing around online.  And, when I read in Ashley’s post that quote “comparison is a thief of joy,” it was like a little light bulb went off.

In academia, we spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to our classmates and colleagues.  After all, it is really clear that these are the people that we are going to be (or already are) competing with for money, awards, recognition, grades, admission slots, presentations, etc.  And, even though it is logical to do this, this thinking comes from a position of scarcity.  The idea that there isn’t enough.  And, this way of thinking is infectious.

In fact, I can see subtle ways that my ideas of scarcity have infected my whole life.  I watch myself think that there isn’t enough time, money, success, love, (fill in the blank).  And, unfortunately, when I am looking at other people’s creations as a comparison to myself rather just as what they are supposed to be…inspiration…then, I do realize that my joy is being thieved!  And, worse yet, I am letting it.

So, I am making a conscious effort to shift my energy towards abundance.  There is enough time to do the things I really want to do, but I have to decide what those things are.  There is enough money if I pay attention to what projects we take on.  I will be successful if I don’t define my version of success on others’ definitions and accomplishments.  And, I truly believe that with this attitude, there will be more love than I could imagine. So, a couple of nights ago instead of looking at other creations, I finished one of my own inspired by two of the many amazingly creative people out there.

I saw the US Map prints by JanuaryJones on Etsy a while ago. (I know I was directed there by somewhere else, but I am not sure where now.)  And, I loved the idea of creating some kind of road map to show all the places we have lived and some of the trips we have taken.

So, because I also firmly believe in supporting the artists selling their work on Etsy, I contacted Nic and Kristen.  They were super nice and got back to me immediately, but because of the unique nature of my project (and huge amount of additional design work involved), I realized pretty quickly that it was going to be cost prohibitive to order exactly what I was looking for.  So, I decided to take some inspiration from their “the roadtrip,” and I created “our map.”

Our Map Project

This map represents the journey my little family has taken over the first ten years of our lives together (1999-2009).  It denotes a proposal, a wedding, four houses in four states, a baby boy, two huge road trips, two overseas adventures, and one cruise!  It is a little more detailed and abstract than I thought it would be at the start, but I really love the way it turned out!  I am hoping to get it printed onto a canvas and hang it up stairs in my hallway or in our master bedroom!

This was a project that I had started a while ago, so I took the lead from Ashley and just finished it.  The coolest part was that I learned a ton more about Illustrator and Photoshop as I was finishing everything up, so now the next project will be easier to do.  Abundance, here I come!

And, to conclude, some gratuitous pics of the little man!  Someone was recently introduced to ketchup!  Needless to say, he is in love!

I don't want to miss any!

Do I have something on my face?

First Ana White Project – Six Cube Bookcase

I knew that I wanted a little bookcase for the little man’s room for under his windows.  But, I knew that it was going to be hard to find if I was going to avoid the Ikea route, which I am trying to do these days, and not pay a million dollars for them.

So, when I saw these plans on Ana White’s site, I took them to the boy and asked if he thought it was something we could do.  He agreed, so we gave it a shot.  We have seen a ton of plans on her site for things we would like to build, including a new bed frame for us, so we thought this would be a good place to start.

It turned out to not be that hard to do, and the boy and I learned some important things about cuts and why buying nicer wood helps your finished project.  We aren’t usually the type of people to skimp on materials, but there are sentimental reasons that we used this substandard wood (seems silly to be attached to wood, but it is done now).  This was made from the cheap stuff, and it still came out super sturdy and awesome.  Here is a picture of bookshelf in its put together, but not yet painted state.


And, here it is in its painted but not styled state.  In all honesty, this is a functional bookcase.  One that has little hands in it all the time, so it never will really be “styled.”  There isn’t really anywhere in my house that gets styled.  We live here, you know.  But, when I got all the books put away, it did look really cute!  I just knew if I waited to have the camera up there again to get a picture of it in good light, blah, blah, blah, I would never get this posted.  This is part of my whole trying to avoid perfection thing.

Finished Bookshelf

And, here is the little man with his new shelf.  He was really proud of himself that he had just gone in and tried to put the teddy bear back when I asked him to.  Besides our grinning toddler, you can also see the bead board back nicely in this one!

Little Man with Bookcase

So, that’s it.  The first of many Ana White projects.  Next, we are going to modify this plan for the bookcase over our stairs!

tiny project for my favorite three year old…

So, every year since my best friend’s oldest beast (her term) turned one, I have made her a birthday shirt. Not too long ago, some how if it is at all possible, Miss Katie turned three!  So, I thought that a whole outfit was in order.  I made her a little t-shirt and skirt to match because her party was going to be a garden party theme.

The shirt was store-bought, and I just appliqued a three on the front.
3 shirt

The skirt was my first attempt at making a real piece of clothing from scratch, and I am happy to say that it turned out okay.  Not perfect, but not too bad. I love that I was able to find a shirt that matched the colors so closely.  And, the polka dots just make me happy.

whole ensemble

So does this little girl, all dressed up and ready to party!  I was really worried that it wasn’t going to fit, but it looks pretty good here, and I think there is even some room to grow! (Would you look at that belly!!  I love it!)

KT - All dressed up and ready to party!

In fact, I was so worried about the sizing, that I had to try it on the little man, just to see if I was close.  I think he rocks the skirt well.  These pictures will just be blackmail later!

Little Man in the little skirt

And, last, but certainly not least, is her littlest beastie Lily rocking the shirt I made for her when she turned one!  Man, she is so cute!


I guess I need to get on making a shirt for my little man now.  I mean he only turned one six months ago!  Not much else to say about that.