Monday, June 7, 2010

Breast Cancer

Recently, I found out that I have breast cancer.

In my mind, I've debated about whether or not to share this sad news with you. I cannot tell you the sadness it brings me to share sad news with others.

This is supposed to be a crafty, thrifty, look-what-I-had-fun-making kind of blog. Not a journey-through-surviving-breast-cancer blog. Though I may not blog about it, I plan to beat it.

My goal is to live. To live for my family and my children (ages 3 1/2 and 6 months).

On the horizon, I will have a double mastectomy. I will proceed with chemotherapy.

I may disappear from my little blog here, for a while anyway. My focus will be on recovering and moving forward with life.

God has showered my life with blessings. This is not just empty "Christian-speak"... it's the truth. I can clearly see how, starting several years ago, He set our discovery of this disease in motion. We are grateful.

If you wouldn't mind, would you please say a prayer for me and for my family? There's a bit of a bumpy road ahead.

Thank You

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Southampton Rosette Tunic Apron

My latest creation is this light canvas tunic apron, bespeckled with rosettes. It's perfect for picking berries and apples.... or just trying to keep your clothes free from spit-up, crumbs, cooking grease and laundry detergent drips. And with the linen pockets, you'll always know where your pen/kleenex/cell phone/lip gloss is located.

I've long been in search of just the right tunic apron. Remember this one? Only this time I used a real pattern. Vintage McCall's M5551.
In my attempt to get a fresh, anthro-inspired, outdoor pic of the new apron, you can clearly see that the only item difficult to see is the apron itself. Booo. At least I missed the rain by 20 minutes. Instead, I'll just tell you about the chocolate brown linen dress that I thrifted for $5 and the apple basket for $3.Here's a little close-up of the sweet print. It reminds me of Jane, so I've named it the Southampton Tunic Apron. They probably pick berries in Southampton, right?
This is headed to my shop soon, along with the tote and some other goodies in the works.

To view a variety of inspiring creations, please visit:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Thrifted Finds: Time To Knit And Sew

After several months of considering to buy the Pottery Barn clock on the left, I stumbled upon the clock on the right at my local thrift store. It works perfectly and even came with a battery. Patience = Savings of $40!
I hesitate to admit this, but I was a crafter that had no glue gun. For shame! After a yard sale outting on Saturday morning, I finally joined the ranks of millions of other crafters by adding the glue gun to my tool box... for .25 cents, including the glue sticks. Also, worth the wait.
Just as the doors opened at 9 a.m. sharp, I entered a church rummage sale. About 10 seconds later, a woman announced that everything was 50% off. The prices were already excellent, so this was a pure bonus. I beelined it to the craft section. Behold, there was yarn. Not craft yarn, but real merino wool yarn. Each skein still had original tags of between $6 and $9 on them. My final price was .25 cents each. Gee, I wish that knitting and I were not foes. My eyes caught a pile of fabric in the back corner. Like a moth to a flame, I floated to the light. My arms were so full of wonderful colors and prints, that I grabbed a box. It was quickly filled. Upon checkout, the man offered to charge me $4 for the box. I agreed. He then gave me the 50% discount... final price $2 for the whole box.

There is a time for thrifting and a time for crafting. Oh the joy of trying to fit it all in to one day!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poppies Embellishment Tutorial

Recently, I thrifted this simple gray top with satin trim, for $2.75. It called out to be improved upon.

It seems that everywhere you look this season, you'll see flower embellished tops like this and this. Since I wanted to hide the slightly uneven empire waist seam, here's my version...
It's easy to make your own poppies. Start with any fabric that includes synthetic fibers (such as polyester). I used a sheer formal wear fabric in grey.
Cut out a circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, in fact, they look better if they're not perfectly round.
Cut out more in various sizes. I use 6-7 per flower.
Safely light a tea light (or something with a low controlled flame). Hold your fabric edge near the flame and rotate. The heat melts the synthetic fibers to seal the edges and curl your petals. Tip: keep the fabric moving to prevent over-synging. This may take practice on a few circles to get comfortable.
Lay your petals together to start forming your flower. Stitch beads, sequins or buttons to the center to hold all your petals in place. Apply everywhere! They can be stitched in place or glued, depending on your application. (Keep in mind that hot glue will also melt the synthetic fabric.)
Make a little or a lot!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lace Doily Reversable Tote - The Elinor Tote

Being a fan of all things floral and lace, I set out to make a new feminine tote. Since sewing time is guaranteed once a week during my sewing class, I took advantage and completed my bag.A sneek peek inside at the lining...
and it is fully reversible as well. It's constructed from white canvas, a vintage beige doily and a floral pillowcase.

During class, I did not have my camera with me, so there's no tutorial here. But I did find an excellent tutorial for you here, that is very nearly the exact tote that I made.

Since I know that there are more to come, I've named this one the Elinor Tote. I figured that if Jane Austen, or any of her characters, carried a tote, it might just look like this one.
This new tote is the perfect bag for carrying around my Mother's Day gifts - a stunning copy of Pride and Prejudice (available here) and this card from my daughter (transcribed by my Dear H).

Sniff sniff. I hope that you had a lovely Mother's Day too.

(I linked to Tea Rose Home. Please check out their other great posts!)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yard Sale Crafting Goodies

I did not intend to find a yard sale, it was only two houses away. Tell me who has the will power to pass up a yard sale only two houses away?? Not I.

Even though I can usually assess a yard sale in the first 30 seconds, I've also learned it might be worth a few more moments of browsing... after all, my daughter was only playing with the internal car lights, not honking the horn today.

Riding out the overpriced holiday decor paid off. I picked up a smallish box of ric rac, hem and bias tapes... at .05 cents each I didn't put the box back down. (So there were 26 packages, I realize that I have a problem.) The lady running the sale glared at me, "It's not .05 cents for the WHOLE BOX!"

I smiled in return, "Oh, I know (since they were all individually marked .05 cents) but I like to sew."

She relaxed, "Well, then, you might like the craft stuff around the corner."


Loads of pipe cleaners, wooden beads, craft sticks, wooden clothes pins with instructions for doll making, pieces of fabric with samples and sizes measured out... were all marked at near giveaway prices. The woman obviously valued holiday decor, but not crafting goods. I also scored manila envelopes, cards, patches, yarn, elastic and stationary. Filling up a whole box, I happily paid $7.50 for a years worth of crafting supplies. I thanked her for myself and my toddler.

I only stopped there after cruising by "free estate sale leftovers" sign a couple of blocks away. Another major score with...
organizational freebies! I never have enough of these. Plus I nabbed a free Fiskars scissors sharpener.

I'm juuust figuring this out... if I locate the organizational supplies first, the craft supplies find me!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Personalized Washer Necklace

Last week, I made this washer necklace for a friend, for Mother's Day.
After a quick trip to the hardward store, where I found multiple sizes of washers, I picked up the necklace clasps and rat tail satin cord at my local craft store. I already owned the metal letter stamps and a hammer.

Then, I set to work on the concrete. Eleven washers later, I was happy with how it turned out. (Never attempt making these necklaces with a curious toddler at your side!)

There are about 10 more necklaces that I want to make, but I'm not sure the city of Seattle has enough washers for all of my mistakes! But, I think they're just too cute not to try, try again.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Footstool Re-do

It's only been 2 years in the making, but I finally recovered this footstool. It was nearly purchased at a yard sale, until the woman just gave it to me. Love it! The tapestry fabric never really fit our decor...
and I guess this cowhide underneath the tapestry didn't fit her decor. It wasn't going to work for me either, but I did find some apple green fabric, on sale, that suits our living room perfectly. Staple gun + new fabric = Happiness. Even Dear H gave it a thumbs up!
Also, I recently thrifted these books because, well, I'm pretty sure that I've needed them many times and just didn't know it. Plus, they'll come in handy for the sewing class that I started tonight. They're both very thick, but at $2 a piece I couldn't pass them up. Now if I could only learn everything in the books just by owning them...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Toddler Shirt Refashion: Add Spring Roses!

We all need a basic white t-shirt... but what happens when you already have one? Add roses of course! This one is for my daughter, but I definitely see one heading to my closet too.

I took a couple of thrifted sheets (pink and white), cut imperfect concentric circles and fray checked 'em. Then I scrunched them a bit and stitched them together. Finally, I added pearls.

Girlie perfection!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recent Thrifted Finds: Jane, Charlotte and Polka Dots

Thrifting has paid off once again... I found a Jane Austen biography along with a novel about a Jane Austen fan. (These will be added to the 10 copies of Pride and Prejudice in my collection.)
A miniature mug for my miniature girl...
For $2, a full 3 yards of turquoise polka dot fabric, because a certain mini girl has renewed my love of all things dotted...
Lastly, this bright skirt for spring. Red is usually not my thing, but I'm trying to mix it up... and look at that scalloped hem. Love it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Anthropologie Inspired Chair Re-do

From brass and gold to gray and yellow glory!

This chair belonged to my mother. She had it back in the 70's, when brass and gold velveteen were magical. At least I thought so as a kid. Mom gave me the chair because I couldn't bear for her to throw it out.

My original goal was a sunny yellow spray painted chair with a gray and white reupholstered seat cushion. First, I primed the chair gray. Then, I stopped and stared. It was perfect.

After some searching, I found the yellow and white polka dot linen fabric at this etsy shop.
Next, I pulled together some yellow piping with thrifted bias tape and string.
Insert string and stitch.
Then, I pinned the dickens out of the two pieces of fabric with the piping sandwiched in between.
With a little help from my staple gun, the chair is complete. It reminded me of...
this bed from Anthropologie.

The chair is going into our master bedroom, which has been a gray-and-yellow work in progress since January. This was my first attempt at reupholstery (start small!) and sewing piping. I couldn't be happier with the results!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Forest Friends Mobile

Since my daughter and baby son share a room, I decided on a forest theme for their room. All the walls are white (we're in a rental) the furniture is white, but there are green and brown accents with deer, polka dots and some stripes.

Henry needed to look at something more interesting. So, about a month ago, I started working on these felt forest friends. Five minutes here and ten minutes there... it's finally complete.
First, I freehand cut out some woodsy shapes (two of each). Then I started stitching. I left a small opening to stuff with felt scraps before I stitched these mini-pillows closed.
Next, I assembled the rest of the mobile supplies: a thrifted embroidery hoop, some ribbon and a D-ring from an unused belt.

Finally, I stitched the small ribbon to the tops of the creatures and tied them to the hoop. The brown polka-dotted ribbon was wrapped around the hoop to cover the bare wood. I cut three strips of ribbon to hang the mobile, folded the top ends over the D-ring and stitched in place.

Henry smiled. So did I :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Tuna Can Pin Cushion

Finally, I had the perfect excuse to make a tuna can pin cushion... I needed a hostess gift. It's simple, yet adorable. Here's what you'll need to make one:
an empty tuna can, a felt strip (or paper or ribbon), a circle of fabric at least twice the diameter of your can, stuffing (such as polyfil or fabric scraps), scissors, glue, a needle and thread.

First, adhere your felt, paper or ribbon to the outside of your can. Fold over the top edge of the can for a clean look. Let dry.
Next, sew a long running stitch around the edge of your circle of fabric. This will be your gather.

Stuff your circle. Gather tightly and stitch a knot to hold the cushion's shape.

Run a bead of glue around the inside rim of your can. Place your cushion in the can. Let dry.

Embellish with ribbon, buttons, ric rac, etc. Or not.

Sometimes beans or rice are added to the bottom of the can for weight, but since I did not have a tall cushion, it wasn't necessary.

Easy and totally customizable. You're done!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Chicken Tortilla Soup Crockpot Recipe

A friend recently gave me her recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. I have since adapted it to be my husband's favorite recipe. This event was the final excuse I needed to purchase a larger 7 quart crockpot. Bliss!


3 chicken breasts (can be frozen)
6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 can of low sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can of corn
1 cup of salsa
1/2 cup of low fat sour cream
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 large olive oil wrap (from Trader Joe's) or flour or corn tortilla, torn into bite sized pieces
2 handfulls of tortilla chips
1/2 cup of shredded cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large crockpot, except for last three ingredients. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. About half way through cooking, remove whole chicken breasts and cut into bite sized pieces. Place chicken back in crock pot. About 1/2 hour before serving, add wrap/tortilla pieces.

Serve with crunchy tortilla chips and shredded cheese sprinkled on top. Serves 6-8.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gray Linen Shirt To Pillow

This is my new gray linen/cotton blend pillow accessorized with a yellow wool felt flower. It started out as a .55 cent thrifted shirt...
I already had a pillow form measuring 18 inches. So, I cut out my shirt...
with a 1/2" seam allowance on each side. Next, I sewed my seam, then zig-zagged for durability.
I cut out 7 circles in varying diameters - averaging 3.5 inches across. (Idea from here.)
Next, I pinched the felt together and stitched the bottom of my "scrunch".
I repeated for each circle, then placed all my scrunched circles together and stitched those together to form my flower.

Lastly, I safety-pinned the flower to my pillow (easily removed for washing).

The best part is actually the back of the pillow, which could be the front too. It's easily unbuttoned to remove the pillow case for washing!
The whole project cost me less than $1 for new materials. Love it!
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