Monthly Archives: September 2010

Make Your Own Toys

If you’ve recently been out shopping for a child, you’ve noticed a new trend – nostalgic toys. Toys that are not only made to look like the ones we grew up with, but those with a handmade touch. Take the sock monkey, for around $20 you can take this soft little critter home. But why buy him, when you can create you own plush at home? Make Your Own Toys teaches you how to make you own animals with details such as patchwork and button ‘joints’ – all with small bits of material and reclaimed fabric to make it all the more special.
Never made a stuffie? This book gives you tips and tricks on how to make your own (including the stitches needed to secure and attach limbs) and includes step-by-step instructions and drawings for each animal. All the patterns necessary to create each creature (22 in all including monkeys, bears, dogs, fish, and bunnies) are included, but require enlarging in order to achieve the appropriate dimensions. My personal favorites? The Hot Dog (a patchwork wiener dog), the Spaceman (because there is something about the faceless, little round head that makes me want to sew him up first), and the Squirrel (not just because he’s made of tweed, but because I have a fondness for him since it’s my sorority’s mascot) – they all make me want to dig through some of Easton’s old clothes to make a one-of-a-kind creation. Stay tuned, I definitely see me making one of these sometime in the near future… between Easton constantly taking this book off my bookshelf (I think he’s partial to the monkey on the cover) and the number of crafty swaps I’ve joined, I think I’ll have a good excuse to make one.

Style Stitches

For anyone who regularly reads this site, it comes as no surprise when I admit that I am a huge Amy Butler fan. Recently Amy came out with a new book, Amy Butler’s Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags, and it might very well be my favorite so far.
This title is packed with 12 different bags ranging from cute little clutches to large hobos. Included within the instructions are ways to modify each bag (largely strap sizes) to give you a total of 26 different looks. The best part is, no matter what your skill level, there’s at least one bag that you’ll be able to make. The instructions are clear and have drawings to help further clarify any steps and there’s a handy glossary and techniques section to assist with unfamiliar terms, skills, and tools as well as how to use specific interfacings listed in the book.
So, what about the bags? I can easily say that I want to make everything. The Origami Bag set for my makeup, the Beautiful Balance Checkbook cover for my checkbook (even though I don’t carry it around), the Reversible Everyday Shopper to tote supplies, and the Blossom Handbag for ‘everyday’. Every bag is different from each other – making it difficult to pick which one to start with first! Consequently, let’s do a sew along and share our creations with each other. I’ve gotten ambitious and decided to try one of the more difficult bags first, the Blossom Handbag. What’s your pick?

Cutting, Cutting, Cutting

The one nice thing about ‘prep work’ is that a lot of it can be done while sitting in front of the tv… and that’s what I’ve been doing! I’ve managed to trace a smaller size Tommy Boxer for Taylor and cut out the fabric and applique lettering for three shorts. I spent the rest of the time debating on how I want to sew the appliques (do I want to do a zig-zag and keep it neat or straight stitch close to the edges to let the edges ravel?) and what shirts I might make for my partner in the Week of Baby Onesies swap. Once again I was paired up with a fantastic crafter and I’m excited to get to work! I have a lot of ideas, I just need to narrow them down and get started.
I also want to thank you all for the comments in yesterday’s post! I am also thankful for insurance coverage (now let’s hope our premiums don’t go up)! We’re also getting the ball rolling on roofing estimates and tarping the rest of the roof before it rains again next week…. keep in mind it won’t be me on the roof – I’m the crafty sort of DIY person, not the home repairremodel sort!

Linky Thursday Hailed Out

I know that it happens because we occasionally see pictures of it on the news, but I’ve never seen it in real life….. GIANT hail! Last night’s storms produced some record setting hail stones right in our neighborhood (I’m very thankful we didn’t get the tornado on top of it as well). While I didn’t see anything quite that size land in our yard, I did see softball size chunks exploding in our backyard and splashing into the pond (it was quite impressive) behind us. The aftermath was quite impressive as well – divots in our yard that you can submerge you fist into, guttering that looks as if it’s been in a train wreck, and softball sized holes in our roof (yes HOLES!). This of course happens while Bret is out of town – thankfully, I have wonderful neighbors that were looking out for us and came over and patched up some of the worst spots on our roof…. in the dark.
The photo on the right are some of the hail stones I ran out to get when there was a lull in the hail (it did this off an on for about an hour). They had melted some before I got them, but you can still see how impressively large they are. I stashed them in the freezer for Bret to check out when he comes home tonight. Please tell me I’m not the only one that does stuff like that!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk

I know I should be working on my Amy Butler Blossom Bag, but I’ve had the material from my next project sitting on my table for some time and I think I had better get to it before the temperatures turn cold (it’s still in the mid 90s here) – it’s another round of the Tommy Boxers! The last round of boxers were such a hit, I’ve decided to make 3 sets of University Kansas shorts with “Jayhawks” along the seat (inspired by the ‘University’ themed wear found at Victoria Secret). I’ve managed to trace all the lettering for the 3 shorts I think when it comes to cutting them out, I’ll probably regret not going with a shorter saying like “Hawks”. I’m hoping to cut everything out and have it ready to start sewing by the weekend. Now let’s hope I can take in some sewing over the weekend!

New Stash

I have to admit, the lure of Labor Day sales drew me into several stores – I even made a few purchases…. and they all arrived yesterday! The first lot was from SuperBuzzy:

If ever there was a fabric that I had to have it was the Kyoto Dream print. It reminds me of Tokidoki fabrics that are used to make their fun and fabulous bags. I bought enough yardage so that I can make virtually any style handbag sometime in the near future, although I suspect Taylor will see this print and want it for herself. I also picked up a 1/2 yard of the ‘vintage button card’ print – I thought this might make nice needle cardsewing themed items. While it’s a cute print in person, I think that I liked it better on the computer screen than ‘live’. Lastly I picked up the Baby Chibi stuffy from One Red Robin – I couldn’t help myself, I thought it was too cute to pass up.
I also fell in love with some prints at Gorgeous Fabrics:

The fabric that really lead me to my purchase was the “Who’s That Lady” Jersey. For whatever reason I’m totally attracted to material that has faces and this one was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist…. it wasn’t even on sale (so that says a lot). I also picked up a funky snakeskin sprint and a sweet floral jersey. Now to scour some patterns for projects that may work with these fabrics. I’m really itching to use them!
Anyone else succumb to sales?


I know that there’s never a good time for it, but my laptop is toast. It’s not like we don’t have other computers to use in the mean time, but this one has all my deadline projects on it! Fortunately, Bret was able pull all my documents off my hard drive and put them onto another computer (yay, my panic is over) but for now, I am sans laptop. I also noticed that many of my comments are being sent to my ‘spam’ folder. I’m in the process of weeding these out and trying to answer them – so if you’ve sent in a comment and I haven’t answered that’s probably why!
Since my computer is down, I’ve spent considerably less time on the internet and have had more time to concentrate on projects….. One is Easton’s upcoming Halloween costume! I even went out this afternoon and rounded up some fabrics so the project is official and up on the sidebar. Now all I have left to do is decide if he’ll go the ‘extra’ mile and wear a mask so I can make him a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!

Catching Fire

Thank you Suzanne Collins for keeping me up half the night reading your book, Catching Fire. I am now too tired to do much else other than read the rest of your novel… or at least that’s my excuse. Actually, reading this book is my own ‘personal reward’ for (almost) wrapping up a sewing article yesterday. I also decided to indulge myself by joining two more Craftster swaps: A Week of Baby Onesies Round 5 (I’ve participated in a few previous rounds) and Christmas Stocking Swap Round 6 (this will be my 5th year doing this swap – it’s one of my favorites). Both require lots of work, but it will definitely give some variety to some of the projects I’ll be working on in the coming months. Not to mention the fact it’ll get me in the mood for some holiday sewing!
Now to take in a few more chapters (I said that last night and got 100+ pages read before I had to quit) and head off to the sewing room. I had a fun idea for a Halloween project that I’m looking to test out!