Musings of a self-taught crafter

Back from Radio Silence? November 1, 2011

Filed under: 2011,General,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 3:42 pm

It’s been embarrassingly too long since I last posted.  I could run through my long list of excuses about why I fell off the blogging bandwagon, but suffice to say it was not my priority while the rest of my life was.  I’ve been having too good of a time being a mother, a wife, an employee, and setting up our new house, among other things, to take the time to post here.  That’s not to say that I have not been crafting.  It’s slow going these days and I pick projects that I find relaxing.

I’ve recently gotten into quilting and sewing and have spent some time at the sewing machine reminding myself about how to use it.  Actually, I completed one of my favorite sewing projects just in time for Halloween festivities.

Our little girl is totally into dress up and playing princess these days and insisted on being “a green fairy” for Halloween.  I searched around Pinterest (have you heard about Pinterest?  If not, that’s information for another post) for a little bit until I found this pin (which looks incredibly close to the pattern that I ended up buying and using – there was no way that, with my beginner garment sewing skills, I could have patterned this by myself). This is probably the most appreciated project I have ever made – she does not want to take it off!  It will definitely be a well loved item in her dress up bin now and I’m happy I made it one size larger than what she currently wears so she’ll get the most use out of it!


Pattern: Simplicity Disney Fairy Pattern

Fabric: costume satin in green and yellow purchased at Joann’s.

The pattern includes instructions on how to make the wings, but I decided to save myself some time and purchase them from Joann’s instead. And seeing the amount of abuse they took through her multiple Halloween parties I’m happy I bought them on the cheap.  I did not use tulle for the under skirt and instead made it out of yellow satin. We could put one of her tutus under it if she wanted the skirt to have extra pouf, but I think it is overall more comfortable for her to wear without the tulle next to her skin.  I also made a long yellow satin ribbon as  a belt instead of the belt from the pattern.  I just made a long tube, closed the ends, and then basted it to the side of the dress so it would not fall down and would cover the waist seam. I did not make bloomers since she wore white leggings (it’s cold out there!).  And the satin was incredibly washable, which was great because she managed to get it dirty at each and every party.

I hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!  We went through a pretty bad snow storm (we live in the northeast) and lost a couple of trees in our yard, so trick-or-treating was postponed until Friday.  Instead, we enjoyed a quiet dinner lit by the candlelight of our jack-0-lantern (only one since we ran out of energy after cleaning up from the storm) and then played with the glow sticks in a dark room after dinner. That was actually really fun, so much so that our daughter asked to have the jack-0-lantern in her bedroom as she fell asleep (it was lit by a battery operated “candle”)!

I know that many of you continue to craft on a regular basis – I’m definitely inspired by much of what I see out there in the blogosphere.  Hopefully I can find a few moments, energy, and a few spare brain cells to document my projects on a more regular basis.

I linked this project up with Sherry, Katie, Ana, and Erin for the Fall 2011 Pinterest Challenge.


2009: Year in Review January 8, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Knitting,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 4:30 pm

If you had asked me a month ago how many items I handmade during the year I would have gawked at you.  I mean, be real – I just had a baby and there were times during the past year that I barely found time to shower and sleep, much less indulge in a favorite crafty past time!  But when I took the time to look back on all that I had crafted throughout 2009 I found myself pleasantly surprised and proud.

2009 – Knitting

Knits 20091) Claudia Hat 2) Nottingham Hat 3) Button-up Herringbone Cowl

4) Booties 5) Booties 6) and More Booties

7,8)  Hats for donation to local hospital for kids with cancer

9) Little Mabel (detailed blog post to come) and 10) Fish Dishcloth

Okay, the truth is that the green hat was not really my finished object.  It’s actually my husband’s first knitted item, which he did with the help of my instructions.  That counts, right? Some knitters at his company pulled together a charity hat drive and he came home and asked for me to teach him how to knit so that he could take part (I participated too, hence the little yellow had with crocheted flower topper).  I will proudly boast that he did mighty well for his first knit (the cute model does not hurt either)!

I am by far the most excited about the Button-up Herringbone Cowl, which was my first pattern.  It is not a mind-blowing design – it’s a simple cowl knit with two needles and closed with buttons! – but it was the first time that I had written up instructions and put them out there for others to use.  It’s been quite exciting to see it be knit up by others who discovered it over on Ravelry and to see the Ravelry “ticker” kick up to 4 projects!

2009 – Sewing

Sewing 20091, 2, 3) Lots of Babies = Lots of Burp cloths 4) Heat/Cold Pack 5) Baby Quilt

6) Birthday Banner 7,8) Doll Quilts

One of the most surprising developments of 2009 was that I dusted off the ol’ sewing machine and began to use it with more regularity.  With the amount that I had to focus on this year, this didn’t seem like a very smart way to use my crafting time.  But I am SO INSPIRED by the quilts and gorgeous cloth that I’ve seen on other blogs (and those made by L’s daycare provider!) that I could not stop myself.  My 2009 sewing projects are by no means difficult, but they were a start to strengthening my sewing skills.  I’ve really caught the sewing bug now.

The Tally for 2009:

hats – 3 (and 1 for the hubby!)

Booties – 4 (1 pair never photographed or blogged)

cowl – 1 (my pattern!)

sweaters – 1 (toddler sized)

burp cloths – 3 sets of 3

quilt – 3 (1 baby, 2 doll sized)

dishcloth – 1 (raveled but never blogged)

heat/cold pack – 1 (never blogged)

birthday banner – 1

Total – 18 (15 for gifts/charity, 3 for me)

I gave away the majority (83% – WOW!) of my completed products, which is probably why I felt like I didn’t accomplish much since I had gifted the visual reminders of my time and energy.  I can definitely identify which of the items were well cherished and appreciated by their recipients.  I always love when something that you’ve put so much time, energy, and love into is well received and acknowledged.

I can confidently say that I succeeded in my goal that I set at the beginning of 2009 – to find a way to fit crafting into my role as a new mom.  I hope to continue to do so in 2010.  In 2009, I definitely used what time that I did have to craft, not to blog about my crafting.  I hope to post more regularly throughout 2010 and to do so as I finish projects.  It’s nice to have this record to see how far I’ve come in a years time, in two years time, and so forth.  I even have a few ideas for posts queued up, so hopefully this will get me off on a good start! As for 2010 goals, I have a knitting WIP that doesn’t seem like it will ever be completed, probably because I continue to focus my time and energy elsewhere.  It’s time to get that going and finished.  Perhaps I should challenge myself to finish it during the Olympics, à la this?  I also have so many quilting ideas running through my head and I would love to see at least one of them be started and ideally completed.  Hopefully 2010 will be another productive year!


A Bevy of Blankets January 7, 2010

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 10:05 pm

A short post lacking in detail as I try to wrap up posting my 2009 projects.

A baby sized quilt for PSC

DSC_0029 (2)

A doll blanket for my Mom and L – a Christmas present


And another doll quilt for my Mother-in-law and L – – a Christmas present



New Traditions December 24, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 2:55 pm

I love decorating for the holidays.  I have my favorite decorations that I look forward to uncovering out each year – the cross stitch santas, handmade paper holiday cards too pretty to throw out that I’ve framed, special ornaments, the crocheted Christmas tree angel.  To me, these items bring up fond memories of family members and celebrations gone by and these items are now like old friends whom I get excited to see even before we open the storage crate.

L’s first birthday is just a few short weeks before Christmas.  As we prepared for her FIRST birthday party (YEAH!  She’s ONE!), I wanted to create a special decoration that could be pulled out and displayed year-after-year.  I’ve loved the birthday buntings that I’ve seen on Etsy and around the web and decided to create one of my own.


I purchased a Fabric Central Refresh fabric bundle on a whim awhile ago.  I fell in love with the nature prints (leaves, flowers, butterflies) and the color palette of soft blues, greens, and browns.  The colors are a little mature for a first birthday, but I think that its quiet sophistication will help it “age” over time.


I cut the letters out of white fabric that I had in my stash.  I ironed on paper backed fusible web and then traced letters which I printed out to use them as a stencil.  I ironed on and sewed around each letter on the front half of the bunting before sewing together the front and backs together.  The finished size is about 4.5″ x 5″.  I finished the banner by sewing each letter on cotton bias tape 1′ apart.

I’m really happy with the finished product.  It hung in our living room for a whole week before L’s party and I became more excited to celebrate the milestone birthday each time I passed it.  I’m excited to have this project completed and in our stash of decorations.  I know that when we pull this out each year that I will fondly remember L’s first birthday and be amazed at how she’s changed.

Happy 1rst Birthday, L!


New Parent Sanity Savers December 8, 2009

Filed under: 2009,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 4:04 pm

Most of our friends got married around the same time.  So, as expected, we find ourselves at the start of a baby boom right now.  And with numerous expectant first time parents comes numerous baby showers!  I have found that my ideas of an appropriate baby gift has changed since becoming a new parent and, thus, I now give everyone my “New Parent Sanity Saver Kit” containing a swaddle blanket, booties (details to follow), and burp cloths, as well as the frequently overlooked but very useful diaper bag items  (stain remover, pad of paper and pencil).

Wanting to make the items a bit special and individual, I’ve been having fun creating burp cloths by dressing up your standard cloth diaper, which we found to be the softest and most absorbent of all of the burp cloths we used.

DSC_0162 (2)For Baby IMM

DSC_0318 (2)For Baby AGM

I added the animals on each of these using the same technique as I did for L’s nursery art, sewing around each before attaching the panel to the burp cloth.  I did find that the size of each diaper differs ever-so- slightly, making measuring each one separately a necessity.

DSC_0002For Baby PSC

For the third set I used scraps from a coordinating project (to be discussed here in the near future) and pieced them together in a faux quilted look.

I hope the recipients enjoyed this personal touch.  I know that at least one set has been put to use.  Thankfully these are a pretty quick project and therefore easy to whip up for a baby shower.


Creative Nesting, Part 2 October 28, 2008

Filed under: 2008,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 10:45 am


Here it is, the final piece of art that I made for our baby’s room. It is made similarly to the two described in my last post, however I used paper backed fusible web for each of the individual pattern pieces and ironed them on before stitching around each piece.  This cut down on a lot of the shifting as I sewed around each piece and eliminated and bumping of the fabric pieces. 


The crib and dresser were delivered by our families this  past weekend and we’re busy organizing the room with all of the goodies from our baby shower.  A number of the gifts were handmade (I plan to describe these on a future post) and a few of which will be proudly displayed and used in the nursery itself.  I cannot wait to get the surfaces of the nursery cleared off so that we can choose appropriate locations for all of these special decorations for the baby’s room.


Creative Nesting October 23, 2008

Filed under: 2008,Finished Objects,Sewing — blueberryblues @ 3:13 pm

 Our baby’s due date is less than 7 weeks away. 

(Deep breath)

We’ve been busy over the past few months preparing the baby’s room and doing a kitchen “face lift” in preparation for the new addition to our family.  Formerly the office, the baby’s room currently sits empty, awaiting the delivery of the crib and dresser that are arriving this weekend via our wonderful families. We’ve been working on both rooms for most of the summer and all of the fall, making great progress thanks to numerous helpers, yet I’ve had an overwhelming sense of nightmare-spuring dread that we wouldn’t complete our projects in time.  My urge to nest has grown infinitely stronger with every passing day. I can’t wait to begin to put the rooms back together and to clean.  I just want to feel that we’re ready to focus exclusively on the little one that will, in a few short weeks, expand our family from two to three.


I found inspiration to make my own art for the baby’s room during a Google search this summer. I instantly fell in love with the free form quilt decor project and decided to embark on creating my own versions.

 I sketched several animals and flowers, and combinations of the two, finally deciding on a turtle, a butterfly, and a combination of a bird and flower.  I started with the two smaller frames, since they didn’t seem as intricate.  Using my sketches as the pattern, I cut out each piece, pinned the individual pieces to the background fabric and batting in the appropriate location, and zig zag stitched around each of the pieces.  A little embroidery thread and fun-shaped buttons and colorful beads and my artwork was ready for display.


In the middle of working on these small frames, I called my mom for sewing machine advice (my sewing machine is her old, but trustworthy, 1970 Singer) and she came up with a brilliant suggestion to reduce the “fiddilyness” of sewing around each small piece – iron on fabric adhesive.  I am in the process of employing this suggestion with the piece for the large frame, thus far with much success.  I’ll post a picture of the project once complete.

I absolutely love all three of the pieces and cannot wait to see them hanging in the baby’s room.  I also have many ideas for a variety of projects using this technique.  But first, I need to take a break from the crafts to get the room ready for the baby’s arrival.