Old Becomes New

A few years back I shared with you my love of all things old:  books, clothes, music and furniture.  I love that in nourishing vintage items, we can breath life into them and make the old become new.

My husband’s grandmother recently got some new digs, and she was unable to fit all of her furniture in her new place.  I was thrilled when she asked if I could use them for something.  Yes, please.

It’s amazing what a bit of paint and some clearance fabric can do!  The only downside of this project is that now I have the itch…and I want to do oh so much more 🙂





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.)

An Afternoon Project

As we prepared to begin our homeschooling adventure last week, I needed to do some pretty hefty cleaning and organizing.  Our crafting space in our basement needed some extra special attention because it had gotten a bit out of control over the course of the last two years.  (Yes, I am sad to say this is how long it had been since I organized this space.  And maybe how long it had been since I had cleaned it too.  Ooops.)

Anyway, while organizing my hovel, I found a ton of scrap fabric that was just asking to be used for something quick and fun.  So I pulled out one of my favorite crafting books, The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake Soule and her husband Stephen Soule, and got to work on the handkerchief pattern.  I love using this pattern to make cloth napkins so as to not contribute more waste to the landfills with paper napkins, and it also helps me to get rid of lots of scrap fabric.  It’s a win win.

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At This Moment


At this moment, I am…

~preparing my eldest’s Girl Scout Daisy smock.  Today is her first Daisy meeting, and I am just praying her little cough from last night is better this morning so she is able to attend.  She is so very excited.

~putting the finishing touches on the sleep hats I mentioned last week.  More on this to come later this week.

~frosting biscotti.  It’s my Nona’s recipe from Italy, and they are delicious.  No worries, more on these tasty treats later this week as well 🙂

~wishing a few extra hours could be added to each day this week.  There is so much that needs to be done.

~reminding myself what is important this time of year, despite the above mentioned craziness that seems to be seeping into each day.

~awaiting an important day in my family’s life.  Check in on Friday for more about this news.

~hoping each of you has a wonderful start to your week.

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.

Winter Sewing


My sewing machine spent it’s summer and fall days collecting a nice little layer of dust in my basement.  I never really felt overly drawn to it during those months.  I’m guessing because my time and attention focused on all of the outside work that needed to be done, and sewing never really seemed to fit with that particular rhythm.

But now all of that has changed.  It’s darker earlier, it’s colder outside, and it’s time to begin sewing again.  I have quite the stack of projects in the works, because I couldn’t decide on just one project to start.  It all seemed so fun!  I have forced myself to get a bit more organized in the past few days, and I’ve now completed a pair of nice flannel night gowns for my two favorite gals.  My little ones much prefer to wear night gowns than any other form of pajama, and I’m happy to oblige.  For is there anything cuter than a little girl snuggled up in a warm comfy night gown?  I cannot think of anything better.

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.

Drawing Fun


Ever since our February trip to the Northwoods, and my visit to this fabulous antique mall, I have had some lovely vintage fabric sitting on my shelf, just begging to be fashioned into some type of lovely.

Inspired by the “Felt Pencil Roll” in The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule, I made some adjustments to the pattern and created a lovely crayon/colored pencil roll for a brand new “Big Sister” friend of ours.

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