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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Gift Card Bags

Here is a super easy, super cute way to dress up your gift cards this holiday season. 
And a little added bonus to give with your gift cards.

These bags are light, an easy solution for mailing gifts to friends and family!

Here are some Hanukkah themed drawstring gift card bags...

And some Christmas themed gift card bags....
Make your own with a 7" x 3" piece of holiday fabric and coordinating ribbon, or check out mine for sale HERE and HERE and HERE

 Happy Holidays!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dating your Husband

My husband and I just celebrated our 9-year (dating) anniversary. He asked me to be his girlfriend Halloween of 2003... Next year we will have been married 5 years, seems impossible.

We don't really celebrate this anniversary, we usually just celebrate Halloween instead. I always remember it, he says it has been replaced with our wedding anniversary. So, this year I put together a fun little homemade idea I came across to remind us of our dating life and how important it is to keep dating throughout our marriage.

Introducing the Date Jar. I've seen several versions of it online, I put together my own with ideas from each version I saw. All you need is an empty mason jar, some colored wooden popsicle sticks, and date ideas!

It can be dates for any night of the week, I came up with a system that we would pick one each Sunday and plan it for the following week.  The good thing about this is that you can customize it unique to you and your partner!

yellow = stay at home dates
      • Puzzle & Popcorn
      • Make Pizza & Italian Movie
      • Football & Nachos
      • Fondue & French Movie
      • Takeout & Board Games
      • Bake Something NEW Together
      • Card Games & Cocktails 
blue = going out $ dates
      • Mexican Food & Margaritas
      • Brunch Date
      • Bike Ride & Picnic
      • Coffee & Shopping
      • Bar Bingo/Trivia Night
      • Dessert Only Date
      • Drinks & Ping Pong
green = plan ahead $$ dates
      • Weekend Getaway
      • College Football Game
      • Whale Watching
      • National Park Visit
      • Skiing
      • Bed & Breakfast
      • Concert & Dinner
It was fun coming up with all the date night options. You could even put one together.... together. Make sure you include things both of you like to do and some new things you've never done, unique to YOUR relationship!

I found it was a quick, inexpensive, and thoughtful gift. Those are hard to find. My husband really enjoyed the idea and appreciated the fact I came up with things we can do together... considering both of our total indecisiveness, it is really helpful! Make sure he knows not to open it out and READ them all first (big mistake I almost made hah!).

Hope this helps you spice up your married dating life!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DIY Owl Zipper Pouch

 Here is my latest creation, its a mini version of THIS pencil pouch tutorial.

I used a 4 inch brown zipper and one piece of 4" x 7" heavyweight home decor Owl print fabric.

You can use any fabric, this is a great way to use up your fabric scraps.

Follow the step by step pictures on the tutorial and you can't go wrong!

Adjust the size of your fabric/zipper according to what you want to put in your pouch.  

  I use mine for change/cash and my chapstick. A few must haves for me...

Use a small key ring to attach it to your keys. It's the perfect little mini keychain and super easy to make!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Memory Calendar

Just came across another great journal/calendar idea....

I will need to make some type of variation of this, since I do not have a baby yet or know anyone expecting right now.

Some ideas...

Husband/Wife Memories
Your Accomplishments
Meals/Food Calendar
Good Deed a Day
Exercise Calendar (If you're into tracking that)
Thought a Day
Q/A Calendar.... LIKE THIS ONE!

For the record, my 5 year journal is still going strong! Ready for month 2 prompts....

  1. What decision are you glad you made?
  2. Share some good advice.
  3. What occupied your mind today?
  4. What was the best conversation you had today?
  5. Do you love your job?
  6. If you could get rid of one of your habits, what would it be?
  7. List 5 things you wish you had with you today.
  8. What are the achievements you are most proud of?
  9. What gadgets did you use today?
  10. What shocked you?
  11. What was the last lie you told?
  12. What is your favorite cuisine?
  13. What do you have too much of?
  14. What do you want to tell yourself in one year?
  15. What is your greatest strength?
  16. Other than your clothes, what was with you the majority of the day?
  17. What’s your guilty pleasure?
  1. What is bothering you?
  2. What inspires you?
  3. What impression did you make on others today?
  4. What did you give up on today?
  5. How did you play today?
  6. How do you know?
  7. Name the last three things you used today.
  8. What sound do you hate hearing?
  9. Do you feel appreciated?
  10. My body is ______________________.
  28. Today I had too much ________________.
  1. What worries you?
  2. What did you get to do today? 

     Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How Pinterest Ideas Run My Life

I could spend my life looking at all these cute blogs and great ideas to get me motivated, but the truth is I'm not great at following through.

I realized recently that too many of my conversations start with that sentence "So, I found this thing on Pinterest....<Insert cool thing I will never have, do, or attempt>. My husband tells me I should just eliminate the "On Pinterest" part and then I could sound normal.... "So, I found this thing" 

Anyways, for the record, I am following through with something I found on Pinterest! Finally!

Well, actually this would be #2 thing that I am doing. #1 is a T-Shirt Quilt using old t-shirts I can't seem to throw away, ever. I started working on it, but not enough done to show pictures yet.... BUT it's going to be amazing when it's done, I'm super excited about it, but that's all I can share right now :)

I don't know if I can link directly to Pinterest since you have to have an account to open it up, but this is the one I'm working on....T-Shirt Quilt Tutorial. I promise pictures of my progress and definitely a blog of my experiences once I get something that somewhat resembles a quilt. It might be a while though..

My #2 Pinterest project is a 5 year journal, an idea by Tami Taylor.

A WHAT?! Yeah that was my initial reaction too. Doing anything for 5 years sounds intense. Don't worry - it's not that bad! It's a super cute idea, and it is super super easy to keep up with. I know it is a little ambitious of me to start with such a long-term project so I am willing to accept your ridicule and stuff shortly but first I'll tell you about it, then you be the judge.

Each month she posts a series of prompts/questions to answer for each day. And each day you write down your answer, for 5 years. Quick, easy, to the point. I am obsessed with journals and anything writing related, it's something you can do every night before bed, and you can compare where you are year to year (coolest part). I started with October, and so far am going strong. Laughing now would be appropriate since October is not over yet, so not much to be proud of.

I will keep you posted on my progress, see if I make it past the first month or two. But I am aiming for all 5 years, go all in or go home.

The hard part is making the cards, after that, answering is fun! I even made Novembers cards already... month 2. 

I think the hardest part to make this work is coming up with a cute, efficient way to keep your questions and answers. For those of you scrapbookers, there are so many cute ways to put this together.  Here is a creative one I came across...

It's My Life!: 365 Day Filofax Journal - a lot of work, but looks great when finished!

I REALLY like the card method used by the original poster, I wasn't sure I could handle that so originally I opted to use this cute journal I have that has a page for every day of the year. Was going to cut and paste each question onto each page...
In the end, I decided to keep this journal for a thought a day type of journal -- write down something I have accomplished or want to remember from each day. 

So, this is how I am ACTUALLY going to track my 5 year journal/questions...

I got a cute magnetic closing box at Michael's, on sale for $5.99, use 5" x 7" cards and scrapbook away. The back of the cards are blank for answering the questions.  Please excuse the poor quality pics from my cell phone, just wanted to share!
Each  month I'll print off the questions, make a months cards at a time, and answer one question each day! Great idea, great concept, but....Think I can keep doing it?? Ahhh I hope so, thanks for the great idea and inspiration Tami!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Zippers, Buttons, and Darts Oh My!

Yesterday marked the second session in my 4 week sewing course. If you missed my post on the first class, Machine Basics, you can find it HERE!

This week's class was called Sewing Essentials, and was a little more information overload than last week. And also a much smaller group, so easier to learn and ask plenty of questions.

We covered zippers, buttons/buttonholes, darts (for altering clothes mostly), and even learned how to make a casing for a small ribbon drawstring bag.


I was glad we were going over this because as much as I think I can I think I can, I never can.
First step (one I never did), machine baste stitch the two pieces of fabric together with a 1/2" seam allowance. The zipper is eventually going to be placed here and be the opening of your bag. But but ... how, where will the zipper go, yeah I know, I asked the same thing.

Flip over your fabric and press the seam open.

Lay the zipper, teeth down, face down, whatever you want to call it and pin it in place so that the center of the zipper is laying exactly where your basting stitches are.

Next, once the zipper is pinned in place properly, using a hand sewing needle, baste stitch the zipper in place. This may seem overkill, but really it is worth it because the zipper will be perfectly in the center of your fabric.

When that is ready, all you have to do is stitch down either side of the zipper (using a zipper foot if you have one), pivot at either end back-stitching to secure it in place.

I was too busy paying attention and not messing up to take pictures during the process, but here is our finished zipper pouch!


The buttonhole practice was a little silly for me because my machine was so automated I hardly had to pay attention. The one most important thing I took away from the buttonhole lesson was to make sure you get the right size buttonhole for your button. Nothing worse than trying to make that button squeeze through your FINISHED project to find out, oh wait it's too small. 

If you don't have a buttonhole foot that measures the size for you. Take the diameter of your button and add the thickness of your button, and that is the size your buttonhole should be. It doesn't sound like taking the 1/16" of thickness of your button will much of a difference, but trust me, it will!

OK I lied -  second most important thing I took away: always apply a fusible interfacing to the back of your fabric where the buttonhole will be placed. It makes it more durable and less likely to fray, ruin over time.
Buttonhole practice - My machine has a lot of different buttonhole stitches available, I tried these 4.


Not the kind you throw at a dartboard in a bar. The kind that fixes clothes that don't fit. I am not really into fixing clothes, I think I would rather pay the designers and get a new one. BUT, this technique was pretty interesting to learn.

It takes a lot of practice. We didn't apply it on the actual piece of clothes, just on a square piece of white fabric to figure out the technique (probably better this way). You can't see it from the front picture, but there are a lot of measurements and drawings involved on the other side to make this happen. Questions? Take the class.. or an alterations class because this was tricky and way over my head!

No, but really, it takes measuring your body, the clothes you want altered, applying the measurements to the fabric, sewing, cutting, testing...etc etc etc.
Dart on a random piece of fabric!

The last thing we did in last nights class was put together a little drawstring bag with ribbon and mitered corners (the bottom of the bag).

It turned out to be perfect for my foot pedal and sewing machine plug for when I need to transport my machine. So Cute!

Start with two pieces of fabric, same size. On one piece of fabric, on the wrong side (interior), draw 3 horizontal lines, 1" apart. These will be your folds for the ribbon casing (later!).

Now we get to practice our buttonholes on a real live project!

Measure approximately the middle of the fabric in between your first and second lines. This is where you will fuse a small piece of interfacing and put in a buttonhole.

Once your buttonhole is complete, lay the two pieces of fabric flat with the right sides of the fabric facing together. Pin, and sew around 3 edges with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn bag right side out and admire! Still need to finish the top, casing for the ribbon (the point of this lesson).

Take your project to the ironing board. Fold your bag on the lines you drew earlier, pressing with each fold. It should fold over twice leaving your buttonhole visible on the inside of your bag.

Back at the sewing machine, place your bag around the machine and stitch all the way around the top creating the casing for your ribbon.


Well, insert the ribbon. I use a safety pin to do this. Attach one end of the ribbon to the pin and slide it through using both hands.

I have pictures of the finished product here. But again, I was learning and in class so couldn't really take a lot of pictures of the steps. I hope this still helps, but if you have questions please feel free to ask me any time!

 Next week, hand sewing... Yuck! But hey, we all need to learn it eventually.

If you made it through this whole post, know that I appreciate you. I just realized how much I blabbed on this post. Anyways, if you are new to my blog, please follow me or visit my facebook page (links on the right). Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Machine Basics - Check!

Thank you PDX Seamsters for my first official sewing machine education course.

Everything I knew up until yesterday, I taught myself. I'm doing SOMEthing right because I can do a lot of things in the sewing world that I never could before. I can cut fabric properly, press projects, sew in a straight line, read patterns, all foreign to me just a year or two ago.

So even though I know a lot, there is always something new to learn in the world of sewing. I decided to step up my game and learn from a real professional seamstress.

Machine Basics course was yesterday, first of four sessions. I took my sewing machine for a ride and we learned. I got a lot of good practice time in and learned a lot of things I didn't know about my Brother.

We started with a few simple things I've already done such as winding the bobbin, threading the needle, but I took advantage and asked questions about my sewing machine that I hadn't already learned from the handbook.

We practiced on a few pieces of fabric, different stitches, stitch length, the importance of slow vs fast stitching, a few other technical things. I messed around with some weird stitches I didn't know my machine had.

We made circles (harder than it looks), turned corners, made a labyrinth, and a mini pillow pocket. We even learned an advanced technique called easing, which is good for making sleeves and clothes, something new to me.
Mini pillow pocket. Sewn shut with slip stitch.
My favorite was the slip stitch, so now I can finish my projects with a neat, hidden hand sewing technique.

Next week, Sewing Essentials, we'll learn zippers, casings, darts, and buttonholes. Also some things I already sort of know, but also - taught myself. Excited for this session, zippers intimidate me!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Thursday on Alberta - August Edition

Another successful Portland craft show last night. My loving husband came home from work a little early to accompany me to set up at Last Thursday on Alberta, a monthly street festival in NE Portland.

I did this festival for the first time last month (in July) and it was a huge success. For me. I'm just a little guy compared to these life long crafters.

The street closes at 6pm but you can set up on the sidewalk anytime, as long as you don't move your stuff into the streets before 6pm. I showed up around 5 last time and that seemed to work fine. This week, not OK. Since it's free to set up, people don't mess around. I ended up in front of Townshend's Tea House, squeezing between a lady that had been setting up in that same spot for 5 years, every month and gets there around 11am (1st sign I am a rookie) and another 2 girls setting up their canopy of bowties for sale (super cute). Anyways, this location was good, but not as great as last months in front of The Hilt. I think after a certain hour it didn't really matter because the streets were packed.

This may be the last month the weather is nice enough for it, but I really enjoy this one. We packed up around 10pm, around the time when the "buying crafts" type of people are replaced with the "get drunk and dance" kind of people. It looked like the party was just getting started. A little more energy and we might have stuck around to watch, great people watching event.

Here are some pics of my display before the sun went down. I'm still working with a few tables and a flat display. Until I can keep more inventory and do shows more regularly, this is how it's going to be. My goal is to up it to a booth by December, I'll keep you posted. Good thing is, people don't care what your stuff looks like, handmade? OK good I'll take it.

Setting up.

iPad Cases...
I discovered owls are so in right now.

Reusable Snack Bags...


Bike Stuff in Every Size....

Cell Phone Cases...


So I met some interesting people, made several sales, and I even ran out of business cards. I like it!

My next show will be Sunday, September 16 at Portland Center for Performing Arts 25th Anniversary with Handmade NW. It is from noon to 5pm, come out and join us!