Saturday, November 29, 2008

Owl brooch tutorial

I whipped up this little felt owl brooch in mere moments.  OK, maybe it took a wee bit longer than moments, but it was super-easy, and super-quick to make.  I've made a handy one-page printable for you, complete with pattern and instructions, so you can make one (or two or three) yourself!

This would make a lovely stocking stuffer, gift topper, Secret Santa item or card enclosure!

Or, why not print out the instructions and make up a little kit for a sewing newbie or teen? These are so easy and fun to make, especially for beginners!

Again, you can find the pattern / tutorial in PDF format HERE.  Enjoy!
Talk to you soon.

Feel free to make as many of these as you like for your friends and family. Please don't sell my pattern.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful, plus a peek at my stash

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! (Or just an extra-special Thursday to my sweet international friends!)

Even in difficult times, we are all so abundantly blessed. We have life. We have opportunity. We have dreams. We are all Loved. My dad always used to tell me that if we are thankful, then we'll be happy. I didn't understand that when I was young. . . I thought that once I was happy, then I'd be thankful. I had it backwards. His words are so true.

I pray that each and every one of you and your loved ones are blessed beyond measure, and that your days are full of peace. And maybe some pie.

And now, my humble stash. . . .

I am showing you this ONLY because Stacy asked, and I spent 5 hours (yep, FIVE) sorting, organizing and cleaning up my horrendous mess of a stash last night (and some this morning!) I am too ashamed to show you a "before"picture, so please don't ask. My Monkeys had decided it would be great fun to pretend that my stash was a mountain for them to climb, and it became, well, a mountain. Mama was not happy. But Mama is happy with this now:

This is a big part of my stash. Now that I look at it, it's really not that big. The fabrics had previously been stored in large plastic bins in my closet. However, once they were dragged out, they didn't always make it back into the bin (or closet.) The bins were also bulky and heavy, and I almost always needed a fabric from the bottom bin at the back of the closet. Ugh. I like this system so much better, as now I know what I have at all times. I actually found several fabrics that I didn't even know I had! Plus, it's just pretty to look at.

My small WIPs are in the small basket and plastic container in the corner (behind the rainbow drawers,) while my larger WIPs (such as totes) are rolled into bundles in my closet. (When I'm planning totes or pouches, I bundle the exterior, lining and accent fabrics all together into a roll, secure that with a rubber band, and label it with a post-it so I'll remember later what my plans were. . . otherwise, I'd forget.) I also have some very large/bulky cuts of fabric (such as khaki and denim,) plus some other odd fabrics that I have, but can't figure out what to make of them yet, stored away in those big plastic bins in the closet.

I moved all of my shipping supplies (except for boxes -- they're in the closet, too) next to my work area, where it makes more sense than across the room on a decorative ledge just cluttering up the place.

On, and under, the little tray table, I have all of my felt and embroidery supplies in one place. They used to be scattered under my table, on the table, on my computer desk. . . you get the picture. My sewing machine isn't pictured, but it's on the left-hand side, and all of my supplies are now right behind me, within arm's reach.

Even all of my dried herbs and spices have a home outside of their shipping containers! Yay!
I can hardly wait to get to work tonight and make a new mess. . . I mean, use my new-and-improved workspace. Anyone want to share pictures of your stash?? (shameful or otherwise?)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One lone wallet

Sigh. Not enough hours in the day.

The plague seems to be ending. The last victim was claimed last night, and she is already up and about (and hungry -- always a good sign.) I am so relieved that this bout of illness is just about over.

Today, I'll be cramming my huge-embarrassingly-shamefully-massive fabric stash into a closet (or two) to appear presentable for company tomorrow. I would like to show you a picture of my stash, but I'm just not that brave yet. (You might call the people with the straight-jackets.) Anyway, I really don't want to put it up. I'd like to keep it out, so I can work on my projects in every spare moment, as sick children have not allowed me to get much of anything done this week.

But. . . we have some pies to bake, cornbread dressing to prepare, laundry to fold, and floors to mop.

I'd rather be sewing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just a couple of wallets... no time for anything else!

A super-quick post today. The plague has spread throughout the ReFabulous household, and has no indication of slowing down. I'm sick of the sickness already.

But here are the only two wallets I've managed to finish. I ran out of snaps, and had to run out to buy more the other day. . . I haven't had a chance to work on them since!

Taken from Midnight Magic.

I hope to get the rest of the batch finished some time this week. I'm ready to move onto the next project already!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mama always knows, and a new skirt

We were so excited about my husband's cousin's wedding today. All week long, we planned, shopped, anticipated. We don't have a lot of weddings in our family, or too many big get-togethers, either. Everyone's so busy with work or sports or whatever, it's so hard to just be together. We were really looking forward to this day.

My poor Monkey 6 woke up looking very pale this morning. I knew the look. It said that vomiting would be a part of our day. My hubby didn't believe me, and said our son would be fine. I knew better.

We got dressed up, left the house (on time!!) and drove over an hour to the wedding. Within half an hour of arriving, my prediction came true. (Don't ever question mom's intuition!)
(Marlin, our visiting gnome, went to the wedding with us.)

The Monkeys were all so disappointed that we had to leave so quickly, especially Monkey 6. ("But why, mom?" with big, teary eyes.) To salvage a little bit of the day, we picked up some yummy pizza from a Mexican pizza place on the way home, and shared a loud, happy meal together at home. Monkey 6 nibbled on some crackers, and made us promise to save him two pieces of pepperoni for tomorrow. We did.

Oh, the skirt. . . .

On Monday, my oldest Monkey asked me if I could make her a skirt for the wedding. I agreed, as long as it wasn't anything intricate or complex. I don't have a lot of confidence in my clothing-making skills. She searched Etsy for some fabric, and decided on this lovely print by Alexander Henry:

We ordered it from Shiloh Sweetface on Etsy, and had the fabric within two days -- wow! (Pssst -- she's having a great sale right now!)

Monkey 1 then found a simple A-line, bias-cut skirt in my massive stash that looked easy enough for me to copy. I deconstructed the skirt along the seam lines, saved the intact black polyester skirt lining, and also carefully cut off the lacy black fold-over elastic from the skirt. I used the skirt pieces as a pattern, and whipped it up in just a few minutes. I basted the polyester skirt lining to the new skirt (shhh!) and then reused the fold-over elastic for the waistband to bind it all together. It fits her perfectly, and I love how it turned out!

I'll definitely be making more of these skirts!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Excuse me, do these effectively hide my thunder?

Sorry. I couldn't resist.

Jenn knitted up these adorable leg warmers and hat for our sweet Owen! They arrived just in time, as it's suddenly gotten very cold, especially for Texas! They fit perfectly, are so well-made, and the colors are great. Thanks so much, Jenn!
Be sure to check out Jenn's Etsy shop, Nature's Enchantment. She has the cutest little waldorf-inspired toys (I LOVE these little gnomes!) She also has another shop, The Button Shop, that sells handmade, unique Tree Branch Buttons. Very nice!

Now, some oldies but goodies. . . .

I have a very limited supply of children's album record bowls left, so I decided to list them in my Etsy shop. They make really unique gift and cookie baskets, and I thought they'd be perfect for babysitters, teachers, moms or just the young-at-heart. I was particularly pleased to see them picked for the House Warming Gift Guide on Etsy!

Today, I'm still working on that last batch of wallets. I should have finished them yesterday, but I got a design for a new item in my head, and got too distracted playing with that! I should have some of the new items ready for my shop by Monday, and I'll have a couple of patterns I made up to share with you as well. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

$4 can still buy you a nice little house

I think I almost danced out of the thrift store yesterday with this!

(It folds up.)

I've always been fascinated with mini houses. Some of my earliest art projects were making tiny homes for my Little People or Glamour Gals (does anyone else remember those??) from shoe boxes, old wood scraps or outside in the flowerbeds. I spent hours playing with those houses.

Now, I have a blank canvas to play with! I can't decide if I want to paint it. . . I kind of like the worn look it has now. Hmmmm. . . . not sure. I definitely want to decorate it for Christmas, with tiny working lights, garlands, presents, curtains. . . .

Of course, I have to be practical, too. It will be a perfect showcase for my pincushions when I do a craft show with my sister next year.

The details: it is solid wood -- very heavy. It seems to be in pretty good condition. The two hinges in the middle probably need to be replaced, as they are wobbly and may be sprung. The two doors on it work well, and both have intact panes of glass. It is 22 inches high, and 28 inches long when opened. It has wall hanging hardware on the back, too!

I think that this is my favorite thrift store find ever!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I finally finished this order of wallets last week. . . .

I know the artist must be especially happy to have her order finished. It only took me weeks. I hope I never get that backlogged again!

In other wallet news, this one is featured in the Etsy Gift Guide for Men!

Today, I'm working on my last batch of wallets for this year (and maybe forever.) I hope to start listing them over the next day or so, but I'll give you guys the usual sneak peek! Until tomorrow, have a blessed day and happy crafting!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ohhhh, such lovely quilts! And one can be yours!

Look what I found. . .

You know I'm crazy for gorgeous fabrics, and they just don't get prettier than these!

These fabrics were lovingly and tirelessly pieced together to make beautiful works of art -- quilts! And the best part? Old Red Barn is giving three of them away to three lucky readers! Yay! But you have to hurry -- the giveaway ends tonight!

This one would be perfect for curling up with my Monkeys on movie night, and it's big enough for all of us!

And how sweet are these?

My fingers are crossed, and good luck to you, too!

My transition to cloth diapering, week 2

I made the jump. We're using cloth diapers now.

This is Week 2 of using cloth diapers. (Week 1 was while the monkeys and I were sick, so no documentation or photos from our first foray into cloth diapering.)

I have sewn several fitted pocket diapers using the Rita's Rump Pocket pattern. On a few of the diapers, I used flannel on both the inside and outside, which I bought at our thrift store. They sell large bundles of flannel receiving blankets for just a couple of dollars. Sure, there are cuter, new fabrics out there, but let's remember what these are being used for. (I'll save the cute fabrics for the diaper covers!) Here's a photo of Owen with my favorite (monkey!) flannel diaper:

I also made some of the diapers with fleece or terry linings. . . I like the terry the best so far. I'm really happy with the pattern, as it fits Owen's chubby legs and belly very well. I use bamboo terry, with a layer of cotton terry in the middle, then folded in half or thirds, for stuffing the pockets.

I mostly use wool butt sweaters and longies for covers:

I made them from this pattern, using (again) thrift store wool sweaters. I have to say, I am amazed at how well these work! (Sorry about the blurry photo, but he just didn't want to lie still any longer!)

I have made one cover using PUL and fold-over-elastic. It works great, but the pattern I used, also a Rita's pattern, is not big enough to fit Owen well. I just need to adapt the pattern a bit. I don't like sewing the PUL or FOE. . . I found it very difficult to work with, but then again, it was my first time sewing with the stuff, and maybe I just need more practice.

Time for honesty: I am not enamored with cloth diapers.

  • I miss the convenience of disposables.
  • I have to wash them every day. Owen is a very heavy wetter (he leaked from every type, brand and size of disposable in record time) so he goes through our entire stash of cloth diapers every day. I think making more diapers would solve that problem. . . . ?
  • They are bulky, so most of his pants can't be worn with these diapers. Winter's coming, so this doesn't look good! In the first photo above, I used a very thin soaker to stuff the diaper, so it looks pretty trim, but he'll wet through this in 10 minutes or less.
  • He needs ultra-absorbency, but with less bulk. . . . I just haven't found what works for Owen yet. Someone recommended hemp layered with microsuede. I'll have to try that soon.
But ---- I do like using them. I like how I'm not filling the landfill with more garbage. I like saving money. I like recycling/repurposing materials to make these diapers. He's happy and more comfortable in them. AND -- he does wake up dry. He's stuffed to the max for bedtime, but his clothes and bed are dry. . . something that never happened with disposables!
So, I'm going to keep using them, but I'm going to have to get used to using them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lots of swap goodies, lots of patterns for you to try!

First, I have to thank all of you who have sent such sweet wishes and prayers my way. You have no idea how much this has helped me, and what they have meant to me.

The reason for this latest delay is because this dreaded cold/flu/sinus infection nightmare just won't go away! And its latest victim? ME. Ugh. No wonder the kids were so whiny and fussy. I am feeling better today, so that's good.

Now, onto baby swap madness. . . .

Shoes. Sweet, adorable baby shoes. I just can't get enough of these!

This pattern is from Michael Miller Fabrics (yay!), and it's free (double-yay!) Go download your pattern here.

UPDATE:  Oh, no!  It seems that the Michael Miller website has taken down this pattern and tutorial.  Click HERE for an identical tutorial and pattern, on a different website.  Please let me know in the comments if this one doesn't work for you.  (thanks!)

I made these for Owen:

Unfortunately, his feet are too chubby for the shoes made with this pattern, so I'll probably just enlarge the pattern a bit to accomodate his sweet tootsies!

My baby swap staple -- a fleece sleep sack!

I used McCall's M4236. . . super-easy pattern, and comes with several options for the bunting, as well as a jumpsuit, hat and blanket pattern!

(One thing I have to mention -- my machine HATED sewing this brown fleece. It chewed up the fleece, and the thread would shred and break every few inches. This particular sack took me three days to make it (instead of 30 minutes) as I had to keep taking a break so I wouldn't throw my stupid machine out the window. WHY did it do this?)

These are the hats are included with the pattern. These do fit Owen, and I need to make him a few. A baby softie. I buried a rattle deep inside it. It's another fantastic Wee Wonderfuls pattern.

Two year-old Monkey 7 just reassured me that it is not a potato. Thanks, son. . . I hadn't even thought about that, until now.

These birdies. . . turns out they're great chewing/teething toys. Who knew?

My partner wanted a soft name game for her baby. I made it with a carrying case for both the letters (the small white bag) and the whole shebang (the long leafy bag.)

Isn't that fabric amazing? Another fantastic Etsy find -- from Adele Hartlep. (This gal's so sweet to work with!)

As for a pattern, I just winged it. I used a half yard of each print fabric, plus some white scrap fabric I already had. I printed out some giant letters from my computer, using a simple font, and used those as my letter patterns. The letters are double-layered felt, blanket stitched together. Couldn't you see making an entire alphabet, and then some simple felt shapes (fish, tree, bird)? This would encourage learning and play. . . they would be especially perfect for a tactile learner, and even some children with dyslexia (I have a couple myself!)

She also wanted a large wet bag (it's probably 12 X 18 inches):

I used Michael Miller's Pistachio Patti Paisley (it also comes in Watermelon) for the exterior, and lined it with 1 ml PUL film. I sewed the linings separately, to help reduce leaking and wicking. If I had it to do over again, I would use a heavier PUL. It was my first time sewing with the stuff, and I didn't like it one bit. Maybe I just need practice. But my partner was thrilled with it, so that's what matters! If you'd like a super-easy tutorial on now to make a lined bag, try this one.

The bag could also be used to store the moby wrap I made her:

I sewed a fat quarter of the paisley fabric to the center of the wrap as a decorative accent, and it also helps you find the center of the wrap quickly and easily. Again, no pattern. I just winged it, made two of them, and tried it out first on Owen. It works great!

And finally, the coffee swap. . . .

I organized a Fill-A-Mug Swap on Craftster, and in addition to sending my partner some yummy coffees, tea and other goodies, I made her this pincushion (as seen in a previous post):

And this apron:

I had never made an apron before, and WOW was this fun! I need to make more of these. Lots more. My camera did not do the colors justice. The purple is a very rich plum, and the stripes are deep harvest-y colors. Here's a close-up of the pocket, with a brown (coffee!) interior:

I also made a coaster, some recipe cards and magnets, but didn't snap pics of those. This was such a fun and easy swap!

Obviously, I'm addicted to swaps! I am now organizing and participating in another pincushion swap, and the roaming gnome swap. I'll keep you posted on those!

Monkey 2 update: Day 5 of migraine-free living! Yay!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two new pincushions, gorgeous fabrics, and another day-brightener!

I was recently making some wrist pincushions for a large order, so I made up a few extra for my shop. They're so much fun to make! This one came together by accident. I had planned the cuff in completely different patterns and colors, but just randomly set the pincushion down on this cuff instead. A happy accident!

This one has a pretty, rich brown cuff. That gorgeous brown paisley fabric is Pistachio Patti Paisley, by Michael Miller. I purchased it from fabricsupplies on Etsy. A great guy to work with, and very reasonable prices!

Speaking of gorgeous fabrics. . . .

I haven't bought any lately, but I did buy this a few weeks ago from modfabric's shop (also on Etsy):

Again, a lovely shop to work with! I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. It reminds me of Hawaii.

Have you seen Heather Ross' Menocino line? Ohhhhh. My new favorite fabric set:
It comes in such great colorways! That's the only reason I haven't bought any yet -- I can't decide which colors I want!
Another day brightener. . . .
Today I received a lovely package from laideebugz from the Fill A Mug Swap on Craftster!

I just love the batik fabrics she used, and the rich colors, too. Those fingertip oven mitts in the back are so neat -- my daughters were especially impressed with those! Some coasters, a java jacket, little drawstring bags, and that awesome pyramid bag were all crafted by my sweet partner! Then, those were all stuffed with coffees, cocoa, and apple cider -- yum! I'm sipping the pumpkin spice coffee now from my new coffee mug. Who needs Starbucks?!? Thanks so much, G.!

Monkey 2 update. . . .

Today was the first day in 4 weeks that she did not wake up crying in pain. Seems like the antibiotics are working so far.

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