May 2015
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Neighbor Quilt

We are heading back to our summer cabin this weekend, probably for the last time this year now that the weather is starting to get a bit chilly. This fall is especially sad because one of our wonderful neighbors passed away a few weeks ago. He had been in the hospital for most of the summer, but we were hopeful he would pull through.

Early in the summer, I made him this quick quilt, and his wife told me he really loved having it on his bed. I can’t find the exact tutorial I used to do the circles, but this one is similar. It was pretty tricky because I had to piece together large sheets of freezer paper, and it was hard to keep the circles from stretching, so I was not very happy with how wonky it ended up. (Even though it looks like just two blue rings, I basically had to follow that circle technique four times: a layer of blue, then white, then blue, then white again). I do think for a smaller circle, this technique is really quite good.

I didn’t use batting, but used a thick, plush fabric on the back, and kept the quilting pretty simple. The logo comes from a Boy Scouts camp that is on the other side of the pond.




Baby Knits

Two friends _ one near, one far _ recently had baby girls, so I decided to knit them some gifts. I was so proud that I finished this first sweater a month before Baby #1 was due, and promptly mailed it off to my friend in Australia. I found this free pattern on Ravelry (Rolled Edge Raglan Baby Sweater by Joan Marie)


This is exactly the style of sweater I wanted to make for Parker before he was born, when I got as far as buying the supplies and a book of patterns and then failed miserably in actually learning how to knit. (I did sent the yarn off to my husband’s grandmother, who made an adorable sweater for me). Ten years later, I finally made one! This one is was not perfect, but it was pretty cute! Note the past tense: I mailed it to Australia and it never arrived! :(

So, after the baby was born, I got back to work, and tried a different pattern, “Cascade” by Raya Budrevich.  This one, I’m happy to say, arrived, and my friend loved it. The little leaf border is so cute, I couldn’t resist adding ladybug buttons.




For Baby #2, I went with a dress that supposedly will stretch as baby grows, and be wearable as a tunic later. I have my doubts about that, but for now, it is a cute dress. (A free pattern called “Longevity Shirt/Dress on Ravelry)





Back to the ’80s Craft Kit

I was trying to come up with a little birthday gift for my 9-year-old niece to go with a larger present, and I was thinking of getting her a Chinese jump rope. Horrible name aside, I remember really enjoying those as a kid. But then that got me thinking about other activities I enjoyed at her age, so I ended up ditching that idea and making her a “Back to the ’80s’” craft kit with all the supplies to make ribbon barrettes, friendship bracelets and friendship pins.


The little set of drawers was under $5 at Target, and I had a lot of the supplies (ribbon, embroidery thread) already. In putting this together, I realized that if you use regular safety pins, your beads will end up on the “arm” that opens, which means you couldn’t attach the pin to a shirt or something. But we used to just put them on our sneakers, and you can just slip the back of the pin under a shoelace. (I’ve seen other instructions that say to use pliers to open the coil so you can slide the pins to the other arm, but frankly, that seemed too complicated.) And then I stumbled upon coil-less safety pins, in the jewelry making supply aisle at Jo-Ann Fabric. So that makes it even easier!

Here are a few pictures of the drawers:





And here is a label you can download and print (without my niece’s name on it!) if you want to make one yourself! I also wrote a tutorial for AP, which you can find here, but you can probably figure it out from the pictures!



Pre-camp Crafting

We moved out of our house and into our camp last weekend while some major renovations are done to our kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and sunroom. And while my commute is now more than five times as long (OK, it’s only jumped from 6 minutes to 35 minutes), I do love coming home to this view:


(Not that we’re swimming quite yet. It’s still pretty cold. We’ve been using the wood stove at night. And we have all three of our cats with us in a one-room cabin, and one of them has already figured out how to climb up the ladder to Parker’s sleep loft to wake him up in the middle of the night. But I really can’t complain about having a beautiful cabin and eventually, a beautiful new kitchen at home!)

The move also means that I had to think about what craft projects I needed to accomplish before the move, since I left behind my sewing machine and nearly all other supplies. (I did bring my knitting, and I’m actually taking an online painting class this summer, so I’ll still be fairly creative!) That made for a hectic few weeks before the move, but the upshot is I finished a few things quite early!

For example, I knew I did not have time to make gifts for Parker’s teachers, but I did find a cute idea for wrapping up a gift card HERE. So I have two of these all ready to go. (Oops, now I see I forgot to make a little gift tag for the present, but I still have time to add that).



And I made a stenciled t-shirt for my best friend’s son, who is a big Harry Potter fan. I can’t remember where I originally saw this idea of taking the key words from each of the book titles, but I tweaked it a bit, almost accidentally. I used my Silhoutte machine to cut a stencil out of Con-Tact paper, and while I was trying to figure out what colors to paint each word, I realized that the recipient’s name _ Cade _ was right there among the letters!

I was a bit impatient, and for some reason my colored textile paint was much thinner than the white, so the colored letters did not come out as crisply as I would have liked.


Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I now have lots of great ideas for refreshing summer drinks!

The winner is Karen B., who said people think she’s weird for drinking watered down orange juice, but I actually also enjoy orange juice mixed with seltzer water :)


Giveaway Day

Welcome to my giveaway! For first-time visitors, I am a reporter for The Associated Press by day, crafter by night. This blog has been a bit neglected as of late because we are getting ready for a home renovation project that requires us to move out for a few months, starting Saturday! But in the midst of packing, I did find some time to make a few goodies for Sew, Mama, Sew!’s giveaway day.

I am offering a set of colorful coasters I made using the Modern Geometric Table Runner & Coaster pattern featured earlier this month at Sew, Mama, Sew!, and a set of notecards I made using photographs I have taken. The winner will get the coasters and his/her choice of notecard sets, either the “Color Collection,” or “Granite State Seasons.” (I personally like the “Seasons” set better, but I can see how that might not have broad appeal beyond New Hampshire/New England!















For a chance to win, just leave a comment, including which notecard set you would pick.  If you are feeling chatty, tell me about your favorite summer beverage.

I will close comments at 10 p.m. EST Friday, and will announce the winner Saturday. I will ship internationally.

Please check out all the other great giveaways by clicking the image below:


Spring Chicks



I once again thwarted my own efforts to avoid buying new craft supplies in order to make these adorable chicks! I could not resist, so I purchased a bundle of wool-blend felt sheets from an Etsy shop called Felt the Love. (It was a happy surprise to realize when I received my package that she is also located here in New Hampshire!)

You can find the pattern and instructions for making these chicks at Myrtle & Eunice. I found making the legs a bit challenging, but that clearly did not stop me from making a whole flock!





Seeing Green

My son is obsessed with Minecraft, which means I spend a lot of time trying very hard not to appear utterly bored when he wants to talk and talk and talk about it ALL THE TIME. But when he got invited to a birthday party for a girl he may or may not have a crush on, and he told me she also loves Minecraft, I was happy to make her a Minecraft-related gift.


(Creeper graphic by Danixolider on deviantART)
I quickly came upon this tutorial for a plush Creeper on Instead of fleece, I used some kind of “cuddle” fabric from Jo-Ann’s. (Going against my pledge to avoid buying new craft supplies. But I used a coupon, so we’re talking maybe $2 worth of fabric). Before cutting out the pieces, I ironed very light-weight fusible interfacing to the back of the fabric which made it easier to cut and sew because it added a bit of stability. Still, there are bits of green fur all over my craft room …
Unlike the tutorial, I also sewed everything by machine instead of by hand, except the last bits of closing up the openings after stuffing. And I used felt shapes ironed on with fusible webbing to make the face.

Here’s a little tip that I figured out for the first time, even though I’ve had my sewing machine for about a decade. Because this project involved sewing basically a bunch of cubes, I wanted to start and stop sewing 1/4 inch from the ends of each piece. Duh! There are markings on my sewing machine foot that make it very easy to do just that. For years, I’ve just been sort of eye-balling it, when all along there were these handy little guides.



I also was able this week to cross another project off my list: the long lingering “Passport Jacket,” one of several Sew Lisette patterns I purchased back in 2010.

I intended for this to go with the dress I made, but now that it’s done, I don’t like how it looks with the shape of the dress. I think something with a fitted skirt looks better, and I like how it looks with jeans.

This jacket is probably the most complicated garment I’ve ever made, and it was mostly trouble-free, except the facing along the back of the collar is all bunched up for some reason, even though I unpicked it and sewed it twice. And I got all the way to the last step, hemming the sleeves, when I accidentally cut where I meant to fold, so the sleeve hem is tiny.

Overall, I think I  like it, though I can’t tell whether it is supposed to stay closed with one button or swing open … it tends to swing open a bit.


Use it or Lose it, American Girl Doll-style

While I really like having the opportunity to make gifts for little girls, I must admit, I find sewing doll clothes _ particularly tops _ very frustrating, what with all the tiny sleeves and hems, etc. But in making my latest batch (birthday gifts for my best friend’s 7-year-old daughter),  I found some easy workarounds.


Knitting a sweater, even a doll-sized one, is not a quick project (at least for a relatively new knitter like me), but it was mostly stress free, considering it is the first sweater like this I’ve ever made. (Much easier than the cardigan I made for my niece, because this one has no seams, it’s all one piece).The free pattern can be found at Sophia’s Sundries HERE.

The matching headband was super easy and quick, thanks to a tutorial I found HERE.



The skirts involve a very clever repurposing of a pattern I already had, for a hat! I saw this idea on an Oliver + S blog post by Rachel at Nest Full of Eggs. Her version uses bias tape around the edges, but I decided to simplify it a bit by just sewing the skirt and lining together right-sides-together, leaving an opening for turning, and then turning it right-side-out.

Very quickly I had two reversible skirts!




I didn’t have any purple fabric to make a skirt that actually matches the sweater, but I was trying to stick to my pledge to “use it or lose it” and not buy new craft supplies. In fact, the animal print fabric is left over from a baby quilt I made for a girl who just turned 13!

Here’s a peek at where the other fabrics/supplies originally came from.

The purple yarn is leftover from the monster I made for my niece.

The pink satin fabric and the hair elastics I used for the head bands are leftover from the fabric flowers I made for my cousin’s daughters in 2010.

And the denim fabric is leftover from the tote bags I also made in 2010. They were so easy, I should make some more.

Skip To My Lou

Free Printable Valentines

With Valentine’s Day falling during the Winter Games this year, I thought it would be cute to come up with an Olympics-themed Valentine. But what can I say? My son is more crafty than athletic (Gee, wonder where he gets that …) and he decided he’d rather make his classmates rubber band bracelets instead. But I developed my Olympics idea anyway, and wrote about both ideas for my latest AP craft story. You can read it HERE, but know that news links often expire quickly, so if the link doesn’t work, just google my name and valentines.




Parker was happy to eat the chocolate  ”gold medal” I used for this photo, but he was determined to stick with the bracelet idea, and has made about 15 so far. He has informed however, that he will not be writing “LOVE, Parker” on any of the cards.

You can download the cards here: