Happy Halloween

I couldn't resist re-posting this. Seen on the vol.25 blog.



I'm hooked!

I've found the cutest crochet (and knit) patterns over at creativeyarn. LOVE these!

I've also found some really great patterns (plus how-tos and crochet tips) at Crochet Spot.

Can't wait to get started on these! I'll leave you with my latest creation, based on the bow pattern found here. I thought it was a bit large for a hair bow so I sewed a pin back on instead.



Happy hookin'! Sorry, I just can't resist those crochet puns. What can I say? I am just a punny kind of girl.


tutorial: vintage spool wreath

Last week I woke with just a flutter of an image in my head. I suspect it was due to all of the lovely Autumn wreaths I've been noticing lately. It took me a week to figure out how to make it and now here it is!


You'll need:
* wire hanger
* wire cutters / pliers
* approx. 1 yard of: fabric (1 1/2-2" in width to make a thick ribbon) or 1 1/2-2" thick ribbon or wire ribbon
* 15-20 spools of thread in various sizes (vintage spools can be found at flea markets, garage sales, and on Ebay)
* if you aren't using wire ribbon, you'll need a fabric stiffener (I'm using Aleen's Stiffen Quik)


Using your wire cutters, cut the top off of the hanger (see photo below). Use your hands to bend the hanger into a circle shape. It doesn't need to be perfect. Start sliding the spools of thread onto the hanger. Depending on how many spools you have and their sizes, you might want to cut the wire hanger to be a bit smaller. Make sure there is still a couple inches of wire on either side of the spools.


Use pliers to bend the end of the coat hanger into a hook shape (see photo below).


Bend the other end of the hanger as well, so that you can hook the two together, forming a wreath. You'll find that the whole thing is easier to shape into a circle at this point.


If using fabric, cut about 2 feet or enough to form a bow. If using wire ribbon, you can skip the fabric stiffener step.


I couldn't find any wire ribbon I liked but my fabric ribbon was sagging and not holding it's shape. Solution? Fabric Stiffener! I like Aleen's Stiffen Quik because you just spray it on. Follow the directions on the bottle. If using another brand, you may need to brush the liquid on with a paint brush.


Shape the bow and let it dry according to the directions on the bottle of fabric stiffener.


Use the remaining foot of fabric or ribbon to tie the bow onto the place where you joined the wreath, to cover the exposed wire. A regular knot is fine.


Tie the ends of this ribbon together in a double knot to make a loop for hanging.


Find a place to hang your new wreath and enjoy!

P.S.) If you make one of these lovelies, I would love it if you'd join my Flickr group and post some photos of your finished wreath.

it's not perfect...

but I am so proud of my new wrist warmer! It's the first "finished" thing I've crocheted (not including granny squares). I didn't make it from a pattern - I just double crocheted a few rows testing the length by holding it around my wrist. When I came to the end, I chained 6 and then joined the chain to form a loop. My yarn needle wouldn't fit through the button hole, so I sewed the button on with embroidery floss.



I think I have a new addiction...


all in favor, say "pie!"

I baked an apple pie today. If it's good, I'll share the recipe.

apple pie - unbaked

apple pie

I usually do lattice top, but I thought I'd try something different for Autumn. You can get similar (and slightly cuter) cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma, but if you're on a budget (like me), you can get the Wilton cutters and draw on details yourself with a toothpick.
P.S.) I found the Wilton ones at Walmart.

Tuesday inspiration

Margot's Halloween photos

another terrific crochet tutorial

wasting is a beautiful resource for daily inspiration (all of the above photos and artwork can be found on this site).

sewing machine cozy

pretty machine embroidery

I hope your Tuesday was as inspiring as mine was.

etsy love: scallops

I love this scarf from Heyday Fashion. The scallops make it so much more fun. It's a steal at only $15!

If you're like me and spent all your shopping money on yarn then you also have the option of making it yourself. Neasy Pea (Heyday Fashion's creator) is also the original designer of this drafted crochet pattern, as seen in the Stitch 'N Bitch Happy Hooker Crochet book!

P.S.) I happen to own this crochet book and it's terrific. I don't think I've reviewed it yet (not knowing how to crochet was a problem!) but now that I can actually try out and read soem of the patterns, I'll add it to my "to review" list.

Happy Tuesday!

Crafty Book Review: Appliqué Your Way

Applique Your Way Applique Your Way by Kayte Terry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed Kayte Terry's last book: Complete Embellishing: Techniques and Projects and I can tell you that her newest book does not disappoint! I think it's even better than her first.

First of all, the photos and drawings are lovely (as is the cover) and I love the hand-written font used for section titles.

The book begins with a brief intro and history of appliqué, then some quick info on tools, techniques, and inspiration. Next you'll find some how-to instructions that include some terrific tips that go beyond common sense (and common sewing knowledge). The book also includes drawings showing some basic embroidery stitches, how to embroider with beads and sequins, and how to make fabric yo-yos (no special tool required!).

The Falling Leaves Ballet Flats project is the first and is one of my favs. It's super-simple and easy but these are some seriously adorable shoes! This project is a must for dressing up a plain pair of flats. The Pretty as a Peacock Clutch is another favorite. I could see adapting this project to your favorite design motif or animal (I'm thinking owls). It's retro-inspired and sooo cute. I've just learned to crochet so the Crochet Appliqué Tee is another project I see in my future. The instructions seem do-able for a beginner that's had some practice.

The book goes on to show appliqué ideas for shirts, pants, skirts, sweaters, and more. Not all projects are traditional appliqué — many are 3D (think 3-dimensional roses and bows).

The book also features home projects such as doily coasters and appliqué pillows. There are also instructions for appliquéd table linens and those fabric birthday banners that are so popular now. The layered frames wall appliqués are also really trendy, yet offer a unique way to achieve this look.

Next, we've got appliqué cards, an adorable watermelon pin-cushion, and my favorite, the How Does Your Garden Grow? Apron. The flowers are made from fabric yo-yos. LOVE! The Felted Faux Bois Scarf is also amazing and so "in" right now. I can see making these projects as holiday gifts. The dog sweater, apple tote, and mixed tape phone cozy are also terrific gift ideas.

The instructions are easy to follow, the diagrams are both cute and easy to read, and the book comes with an envelope of patterns (embroidery and sewing), which is awesome because you don't have to try free-handing them or enlarging drawings from the book. I really loved everything about this book and can't wait to start embellsihing everything!

P.S.) Loving Kayte Terry's blog as well: www.thisisloveforever.com.

View all my reviews >>

Indie Gift Guide: The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen

Dear Santa...

I would like one copy of The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen, pretty please.

The book is supposed to be filled with yummy, family friendly recipes (check out that pie on the cover) plus some DIY ideas for your kitchen.

A pony would be nice also, but I will settle for just the book. I'm sure you will find that I've been extra nice this year.



upcoming event

I'm only doing TWO holiday shows this year and only one locally and this is it:

Second Saturday Craft Show sponsored by the Paper Garden Boutique
2601 El Paseo Lane
Sacramento, CA 95821

Saturday, November 14th, 2009
free admission

Paper Garden

Quality handmade gifts made by local creative local artisans. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Sacramento Children's home.

We will also have a free make and take and a big sale inside our boutique. The craft show will be next door in the old toy store.

Paper Garden
photos taken from Missy's blog.

I've mentioned the Paper Garden in the past and I have to tell you, it's a crafter's dream. It's not specifically a scrapbooking store (though they do have scrapbooking supplies). And even if you don't think you are "paper crafty," trust me, there is something for you in this store. I absolutely adore it.

If you're local, I'd love it if you'd come out and show your support!


sneak peaks

brooch for shy peopleI promised I'd stitch up a couple of designs from my favorite things pattern (if you missed it, be sure to check it out - it's a free pattern for you to download and use). This is as far as I got. Granny squares got the best of me this week. It's all I can think about.

P.S.) I call this brooch for shy people. If you are often too shy to say "hi" first, let your brooch do it for you.

The other thing I promised...a tutorial for an Autumn wreath that came to me in my dreams... It didn't come together quite as easily as I thought so I'll post a tutorial as soon as I get it just right. Here is a little hint:

a surprise...

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekends. Today was chore day for me but tomorrow I get to have a slumber party with a very special 'lil sis. I haven't seen her in like FOREVER.

I managed to get a little thrifting in today as well. Pretty much my best thrift store purchase EVER. Still deciding if I should switch out the frame and exactly where to hang it.

gnome sweet gnome

Happy weekend!


I did it!

After countless hours of practicing, a 2-hour crochet session with the future MIL, 6 YouTube videos and 8 blog tutorials, I finally completed ONE granny square.

my first granny square

One of the hardest parts is that I used different resources to help me understand parts of each tutorial that I found confusing. But it seems that everyone makes their granny squares a little different so it doesn't always work out well...I found the blog tutorials MOST helpful as the YouTube videos went to fast.

I found this tutorial to be very helpful as well as this one.

The part that really confused me after getting the initial rounds down is the part where you are supposed to slip stitch over to the corner. I found this tutorial extremely helpful as far as figuring out where I needed to start the new round, plus it was really helpful in teaching me how to do color change.

Other recommendations:

* I bought less "fuzzy" yarn but was still having problems 'til my future MIL gave me some yarn to work with. I found medium worsted 100% acrylic worked well for learning. Look for yarn that has a little bit of stiffness to it. I know the softer yarns are so much more appealing but a little bit of stiffness helps your stitches maintain more structured shapes, which helped while learning.

* After you make the slip stitch to create your initial ring, try to keep your finger in the hole so you don't forget where it is. Make sure you do your double crochets into that hole. Pretty soon it'll be well-formed and you won't have to keep your finger there.

* Get someone to help you if possible. That really helped me to see how the grannies are "built."

Now I just hope I don't forget it all tomorrow!


blog makeover & a free pattern for you

Okay, so I know I change the look of my blog just about every month but I think I finally have one that I really, really like. I love doodling and then turning my doodles into little digital illustrations (these often become embroidery patterns). Speaking of embroidery patterns...

Since I already have my new blog buttons drawn in Illustrator, I decided to take my favorites and offer them as a free embroidery pattern collection called My favorite Things.

download the pattern here

* If you are having trouble opening the PDF file, you can download the latest version of Acrobat Reader for free here.

You can save the pattern and print it when you're ready to start stitching. I only ask that you don't sell what you make from my patterns. Feel free to use them as often as you like for yourself and as gifts. I'd love to see what you come up with! In fact, I created a peptogirl flickr group in hopes that people will join and upload their photos.

If you haven't used digital embroidery patterns before, here are some suggestions for transferring the images to fabric:

* Trace the selected image with an iron-on transfer pen or pencil.

* If using light-weight, light-colored fabric, you can tape the pattern to a window, hold your fabric over the pattern, and trace directly onto the fabric using a fabric pen or pencil. If you have a light box, use that instead! Or shine a light under a glass table.

* Trace the pattern onto a piece of light-weight tear-away stabilizer. Pin the stabilizer to your fabric and stitch through both the fabric and stabilizer. When you are finished stitching, tear away the stabilizer to reveal your finished embroidery on fabric. This is a particularly helpful method if embroidering on felt!

I'll stitch a couple of these up and share my results later this week. Enjoy!

help a fellow crafter

If you've been following my blog, you know I've been taking online craft classes from RVA. Rachel and Elsie are both so fun and inspiring but I also really treasure the social interaction of the class. Granted, the social interaction is all virtual (there are students from all over the world) but it still feels good to make new "online friends" and it's SO much fun to view everybody's projects on Flickr and read their blogs.

One of the girls I've met through RVA is going through a family crisis and I'd like to spread the word. Her niece is sick and the family is in need of some financial help so that they can afford the treatments. My family has been hit hard by the economy as well, so I can relate. We just hope and pray that no one comes down with a serious illness or injury -- especially during such trying financial times. Unfortunately, Erin's family is going through this now. If you are interested in helping (every little bit counts), please email Erin at erinsunday3.5(at)gmail(dot)com as soon as possible. You can read her blog post on the topic here.

There's also another way you can help out. "The Robots" at Polka Dot Robot have so generously offered to donate all the profits made from sales of their Happy Hour Bow Beret.

Not only is it cute, but you'd be helping a good cause. I am loving anything with a bow on it lately.

Wishing Erin and her family the best and hoping for a fast recovery for her niece.

Etsy Love: Skin Essentials

I've been meaning to tell you about a product. I met Carol of Skin Essentials - C.T. Durham Soap & Candle Company through IndieSacramento and noticed she was selling a product called Eczema Cream. If you have Eczema or if you know someone who has it, you know it can be a pretty nasty skin condition. Try Googling Eczema and you'll cringe at the photos you find. It looks down right painful. I am SO lucky that I have a very mild case but still, it's very itchy and no fun.

I've tried the cream on my eyelids, legs, and hands and it works terrific. I recently started getting Eczema on my hands (I usually notice a breakout right after using one of my industrial strength craft glues). As someone who works with her hands, itchy dry hands are just not acceptable. It can be agonizing and annoying! Skin Essentials Eczema Cream is the only thing I've found that gives me instant relief from the itching. It also seems to clear up the problem (at least until I get E6000 all over them again).

Itchy eyelids are a big problem for my during allergy season (aka all year long) and I love the Eczema Relief Stick because I can just slick it on for instant relief. It's great for traveling too.

I wanted to share this with my blog readers in case any of you have Eczema. I can imagine how horrible a bad case can be and I know how hard it is to find a product that offers relief!

P.S.) I also really liked the Peppermint Loofa and their Beer Soaps would make an awesome Christmas gift.