A Vessel

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Friends, I’m telling you, there are times when it is just awesome to have a dad who owns a hardware store.  For those times you want to paint a room, or unclog a drain, or make a basket.  Wait, what? Yup.  I think I did indeed just find a new obsession:  rope basket making.

For months now, I have been eying Amanda Blake Soule’s baskets made with clothesline on her blog.  I yearned to make one myself, but was not confident in my sewing ability.  Then Taproot’s “Folk” issue arrived on my doorstep, and within its pages were step-by-step instructions for these rope baskets.  So, this week I decided to give it a try.  I went to my dad’s hardware store, bought some clothesline, and got to work.

Now let me be clear…I am by no means a seamstress.  I can barely handle sewing pajama pants and nightgowns for my girls.  So believe me when I tell you, these baskets are a cinch to make, and so much fun!  And there is something so meditative about working in a circular pattern, which made this particular project that much more wonderful.  Once I got started, I couldn’t stop.  Have I said making this basket was a blast?  🙂

Dinner ended up being super late to the table and my family was starving, but I made a fabulous basket!  I think I will find myself in the rope aisle of my dad’s hardware store again very soon.  Man, this is fun!

(P.S.  If you are in my family, plan to get a basket for your birthday this year.  And Christmas.  And on a random Tuesday.)

Some Christmas Sewing


As I mentioned last week, my Singer has been calling my name lately.  I’ve found myself nestled in front of the sewing machine more and more, busy creating some goodies for the holidays that are so quickly approaching.

The first item I’ve completed this week is a felt garland for our homemade Christmas tree.  (We have one Christmas tree in our home, specifically designated to house all of the homemade ornaments the girls have crafted over the years.  It is one of my favorite spots in our house right now.)  I actually got the idea for the garland from my daughter’s piano teacher.  And the best ideas are always “borrowed” from others, right? Thank you Ms. Nelson for the fabulous idea!

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I am also working on our annual Christmas jammies for the girls.  I’ve completed one pair of pants so far, but I think I’m most excited for what I have next in the works…a sleep hat.  My little four year old requested a snuggly hat she can sleep in.  So the PJs are coming first, with a matching “sleep hat” to follow.  More on this to come 🙂

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What are you making for the holidays this year?  Feel free to share your homemade project ideas in the comment section so that others may become inspired by your craftiness.

Big Sister Baby Brother


This May marks ten years since I graduated from The University of Illinois.  (How is this possible I ask you?  Oh my!)  In honor of our decade since graduating, and the birth of the 15th baby born to my group of college girlfriends, we gathered in central Illinois for some food, fun and fabulous conversation.

And of course with every new birth, there must be presents.  I had a bit more vintage fabric in my closet, so I decided to try my hand at a stuffed animal for the new baby, and why not a skirt to match for the big sister?  I used the same variation on the Butterick pattern I mentioned in yesterday’s post for the Big Sis Skirt.  And I played around a bit and came up with the following process for the stuffed owl.  I hope you enjoy!

Step 1:  I took a wool sweater I had already felted (I washed it in warm water, then let it dry.  Repeat this step several times to shrink the stitching up a bit.), and using the edge of the sweater as my fold, I cut 2 4″ X 8″ strips.


Step 2:  Placing right sides together, sew around 2 sides of the strip, leaving the top open.  (I actually sewed two lines of stitching to strengthen the edge.)


Step 3:  Turn right side out, and stuff the “legs.” Set aside.

Step 4:  I then used the cuffs of the sweater and cut out two ovals.  Then take remnant fabric and cut out two more ovals a bit smaller than the first two.  Stitch the smaller oval on top of the larger, sew on a button and your eyes are done.

Step 5:  Again using remnant fabric, cut out a triangle for the nose.


Step 6:  Draw an owl pattern on a large sheet of paper.  Take a large piece of fabric, fold it so the right sides are together, trace the owl pattern and cut out both pieces.


Step 7:  Sew the eyes and nose to one of the owl cut outs.

Step 8:  Place one owl-shaped piece down on a table (right side facing up).  Pin each leg in place along the bottom of the owl.


Then place the second owl-shaped piece on top with the right side facing down.

Step 9:  Sew around the outer edge of the owl, being sure to capture both legs in your stitching.  (Again here, I also sewed two lines of stitching to strengthen the edge.)  Be sure to leave about a 2″ opening so you can feed the fabric back through and stuff the owl.

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Step 10:  Feed the fabric and legs through the opening, and remove pins.  Stuff the owl and then sew shut the opening.


Spring Sewing

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I can feel it.  Spring weather is on its way.  It has surely been slow in coming, but I think it is just around the corner.  For that reason, I tucked myself in behind my sewing machine to craft some Spring goodies for my girls.  Using vintage fabric I found at a thrift store, I made a slightly adjusted version of Butterick B5757 for my oldest daughter.

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And then I made a mini-verson of the maxi dress from this wonderful blog for my youngest.  I kid you not, both of these pieces took under 30 minutes total time to sew.  This mama has got to make a few more of these quick projects to finish off the girls’ spring wardrobes.

Sew, A Needle Pulling Thread


With Weather rearing her ugly head the past few days, the girls and I have been scrounging for indoor projects to keep our hands and minds busy.  The girls wanted to sew, so sew we did.  I had a few pieces of burlap left from a previous project (Here is the other embroidery project we completed), so the girls used those to create the front panel for these pillows.

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We then used a bit of left over fabric, sewed a couple of pillows, stuffed them…


and we were done.  It turned out to be a nice quick project to showcase their little creative selves.


Valentine Number Two


My youngest daughter’s Valentine idea yesterday led me to another idea I could use for my oldest daughter’s Valentines.  I used a similar play on words, changed sew to sow, and voila…2013 Valentines are done.  Here’s how to do it…

Step 1:  Cut a length of ribbon that will fit around your chosen seed pack.  (I gave myself an extra inch.)


Step 2:  Put a dot of hot glue on one end of the ribbon and attach it to the seed pack.  Then use another dot of hot glue to attach the other end of the ribbon to itself.  (This way the seed pack won’t slip out of the ribbon.)


Step 3:  Print your text I’m “SOW” happy you are my Valentine! onto these labels.

Step 5:  Place one label on the seed pack, over the seam of the ribbon.

And that’s it!


Happy crafting!

Valentine Number One

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that I needed to peruse the internet for some fun, creative Valentine ideas.  Well, before I ventured into cyberspace to find ideas, I first went to my three year-old who is never short on a few ideas of her own.  Let me tell you, I’m so glad that I did.  That little lady had such a cute idea, and I bring it to you here today.

She told me, “Mommy, I want to use my new sewing machine and sew hearts for my friends for Valentine’s Day.”  And that’s just what we did…

Step 1:  Trace heart shapes onto a piece of felt.


Step 2:  Cut out the heart shapes using pinking shears.


Step 3:  Sew a zig zag stitch along the outside edge of each heart.


Step 4:  Print your text I’m “SEW” glad you are my Valentine! onto these labels.

Step 5:  Place one label on each heart, reinforcing it with a brad of your choice.

And that’s it!


Happy crafting!

Winter Pastime


Well, if you can believe it, my family has found itself in the midst of yet another run with the flu.  My youngest, who never got the brunt of the flu the first go-round, got slammed with it full go this week.  Poor baby.

So, yet again, we have stayed close to home, passing the time near the fire, with those activities that make home-time so much fun.





I did get in a bit of sewing while my little one napped this past week.  I made this jumper for each of my gals.  I’ve been referring to it as my first “real” outfit I’ve ever sewn 🙂  It is Butterick 3772.  I would highly recommend it if you are a novice sewer like myself.  It went together very nicely and fit the girls really well.


I hope all of you find yourselves enjoying your time indoors this winter as well!

Her First Project


As I mentioned on Tuesday, my three year-old received a sewing machine for Christmas this year.  Now, many of you may be wondering, “Why on earth did this crazy mom buy her three year old a real sewing machine?”  Well, when researching the kids-type sewing machines and speaking with the lovely gals at my local sewing shop, they informed me that many of the machines geared towards kids will fall apart over just a short period of time.  They told me that by spending just about $40 more, I could get a nice, quality machine that can grow with her.

Obviously, this real sewing machine (as my daughter refers to it), involves a lot of assistance from mama at this time, but I have no doubt that in a few years this little lady will be sewing away all by herself.  But for now, I run the pedal, and she feeds the fabric through the machine, with mommy’s hand gently atop hers to insure it doesn’t get too close to the needle.


The week my daughter returned to pre-school after the holiday break, they were suppose to bring in a toy they received for Christmas for show-and-tell.  So, my tiny seamstress wanted to make a quilt, and bring that quilt in to show her class because “Mommy, my real sewing machine is too heavy to bring into my classroom and I don’t think it will fit in my school bag.”

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So we worked and worked on a cold afternoon, while Big Sissy was at school, and we created this tiny little quilt.  She is so very proud of this crafted bit.  She has been taking it everywhere, and showing it to anyone who will look.


I just had to add this picture here at the end.  My daughter told me she had to iron her seams with her iron to make sure they were flat.  Quite the professional little seamstress she is.  I’m such a proud mama.