Friday, December 19, 2008

My gift to you - a last minute gift!

My dear friends,

Thanks for a wonderful year! I've had such a great time talking to you and getting to know new people from around the world. I've been so very lucky this year!

To thank you, I've make a new little pattern that I think you'll really enjoy. I'm giving it to you early because it's always tortuous for me to wait until Christmas (substitute your favorite holiday as needed) to see the joy--and to show off my creations!

Plus, this new pattern will make a great last minute gift. You can stitch up a whole pile lickety-split and have gifts for everyone. So here you go--the Tiny Tote!

tiny tote pile

Download here. You'll need Adobe reader, available free here.

These guys are itty-bitty, perfect for ornaments,

tiny tote ornament

or gift tags,

tiny tote gift tag

or a business card holder for your desk,

tiny tote card holder

or tuck a gift card or other treat inside for a great gift.

tiny tote gift card

Hope you enjoy this pattern! Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Scrapperella - a fairy tale

Warning! This story contains a Christmas present reveal. If you gave birth to me, stop reading now!

Once upon a time there was a girl named Scrapperella. She was perfectly normal girl except for one thing - she hated scrapbooking. Scrapperella absolutely despised the craft, muttering under her breath about how all those scrapbooking supplies took up "valuable space for fabric" in the local craft store. She'd tell everyone how much she hated scrapbooking, but she never told anyone her secret...

She wished she could scrapbook.

See, Scrapperella had tried scrapbooking. She had a drawer full of fancy scissors, but every time she used them her rectangles turned out like trapazoids. There was a pile of fancy papers and a half finished book under her bed. Yet she couldn't get the motivation to finish because every time she pulled it out she ended up with glued fingers, paper cuts, and glitter in her hair. Not to mention the fact that she couldn't write in bubble letters to save her life.

But Scrappella now had a dilemma. She loved to take pictures with her digital camera, but then they just sat on her computer, unloved. Random prints would go into a cheesy album or a lonely box, only seeing the light of day once a year.

One day, Scrapperlla was reading her favorite blogs and, upon seeing a gorgeous scrapbook, wondered aloud, "Oh, how I wish I could scrapbook!"

Poof! Ding-ding!

All of a sudden there appeared, in a pop-up window, her Fairy God-friend, complete with his magic wand.

"Scraperella, girl, why so glum? We've gotta turn that frown upside-down before you get wrinkles," he exclaimed.

"Oh Fairy God-fairy, I'm a scrapbooking failure! And I have all these fun pics that I want to show off and no way to do it," she sobbed.

"Sugar, you're not a failure, you're fabulous! Now I know you've got some mad Photoshop skills and I know just how you can use them..."

With that he waived his magic wand (and his hips) and window started popping up left and right.

"First, you need a template. Then some fun papers and embellishments. And then you just layer them up in Photoshop, upload your pages, and they will print them off for you. You won't have to lift a finger, or break a nail!" Fairy God-friend jumped for joy in his window, then ordered a cocktail.

"Oh Fairy God-friend, you've done it again...Look what I did:"



"I told you that you were fabulous!" he exclaimed. "And besides, have I ever steered you wrong? I did find you that hottie hairdresser, didn't I?"

And with that, Fairy God-friend vanished, and Scrapperella didn't hate scrapbooking anymore!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Getting there...

The clock is ticking... I'm feeling the rush of "Gotta get this work done before everyone leaves for holiday," on top of my own holiday plans in various states of undone. Christmas presents are in progress, and every spare moment is devoted to finishing, wrapping, and finding shoes to wear to a wedding on the 20th (because it's all about the shoes!)

The kitties are rebelling due to lack of attention. One has determined that she needs to sit in between me and whatever I'm working on, which is especially useful when her tail adds keystrokes and turns "science" into "sgjehskt." The other is so excited by the Christmas spirit that he's bound to take down the tree by running circles around it. At least we got our Christmas card out of his antics:

Awww! I wish I could just curl up under the tree for a nap.

I know I say this every year, but is any one else dangerously close to not finishing everything on time? Maybe it's time to just step back and take in the joy of the season...

Sunday, December 7, 2008


You know what is a great feeling? It's the feeling that you get after you've been working on a home improvement project, with your house in disarray and your daily schedule in shambles, and everything is dirty and out of place, and it drags on three times longer than you thought it would, and you are wondering if it was a good idea in the first place and then....ahhh, completion! And it's wonderful and life is good.

That's where I am right now.

We took on the task of replacing the carpeting in the upstairs bonus area. This has been on our to-do list for a while due to an unfortunate incident involving unsupervised cat introductions and a smelly boy cat. You can never get that smell out...ewww. Not wanting to invite more cat mischief, as well as avoiding the foot-meets-pin scenarios which are all too common with sewing on carpet, we went with bamboo. Sounded easy at the start, but turned out to be a wee bit trickier.


Icky carpet, uninspiring color...oh, and clutter (my bad!)

It's a small space, so it should be a snap, right?

boxes o' bambooin progress - no more carpet
Boxes of flooring................. Bye, bye carpet

in progress - underlaymentin progress - boards!
Painted! ...........................................Boards going in...

Fast forward a whole week and a half, which includes two more trips to Lowes for supplies. Apparently old houses don't have level floors (go figure) and we had to do some impromptu leveling of the subfloor in order to have un-wavy bamboo!

Oh, and the whole time there was an air compressor sitting in living room at the bottom of the stairs so we could run the nailer. Previously mentioned boy cat LOVED that noise (but fortunately controlled his bladder!).

And so (drumroll, please)....


Still working on the organization of the rest of the room, but here's some up close pictures of the beautiful floor for ya:
new floor, new paintup close

Yummy. Definitely worth the time, hassle, banged fingers, choice words, and overall dysfunction. I'm feeling inspired.... :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008












Sweet Treats

Sweet Treats



Hope your Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Hyperventilating

Friends, it is just days to Thanksgiving. Which means just days until the holiday SHOPPING season. All well and good if you buy most of your presents, but what about us crazy gotta-DIY-everything folks? We should have started long ago...

I have not started anything.

I haven't even thought about what I want to make for anyone. I love the thrill of finding or making just the right thing for the people who are just the right thing for me. However, that takes time, and I'm woefully short on time right now. What's a girl to do?

Ahh yes.

And now it's time to sort through all those "I should make this" tutorials I've got laying around. There's gotta be something I can sneak in during those random moments when I'm not writing manuscripts, working on my new pattern (you'll see that soon, I hope!), laying bamboo flooring (pics shortly!), or otherwise catching up on the millions of unfinished projects that haunt my dreams.

Starting with the wrapping (of course), I'm totally digging this faux bois treatment. I've even got kraft paper and some of that wood contact paper hanging out unloved in my wrapping bin! Score!

Hmmm, time for the moms. The boy and I took our moms on a trip to Niagara Falls this summer, so I'm thinking a cute photobook will do the trick. Gives me a chance to use some of those digital scrapbooking resources I've stumbled upon of late. All of my pics are digital, and I always get papercuts and gluey hands with regular scrapbooking, so maybe this will be more my speed.

Ohhhh, a scarf! I love this one from Quilting Arts Gifts. Awesome mag, btw.

Pretty! And it lets me try a new technique. Bonus for me :)

Hmm, now men are REALLY hard to craft for - all their toys require cords or gasoline or are too big to wrap (table saw, anyone?). This could require some pondering. Last year I made my guy a laptop sleeve that he loves. Maybe a matching pouch for the cords or a matching ipod cozy is in order this year.

Little brother would rather have gift cards, but maybe I can draw inspiration from these gift card boxes and make something a little more manly.

As for everyone else in my life, I've still got some crazy work to do. Let the holiday madness begin!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My first free motion quilting attempt

The dilemma:

Eye sore

The oh so pretty food dehydrator. It lives on a table in the corner of the dining room because there is no other place that it will fit! But not to appetizing during dinner.

The idea:

Create a cover for said appliance. However, I didn't want to do something fitted in case, by miracles of miracles, we find another place for the dehydrator to rest its weary head. Sooo....

The result:

Putting the quilt to good use

A square quilt of sorts to (sort of) hide the dehydrator but still is able to act as a table centerpiece thingy. Cool.

The method:

I made a valiant effort at free motion quilting in a "bubbles" design.


Um, yeah, it's harder than it looks. But fun. So I'll give it another go, as I'm sure it'll be easier once I get my long promised sewing cabinet! (Soon, hopefully!).

I edged it with one of the decorative stitches on my machine. Cuteness...

Decorative Stitches

And one more for those who like staging:

Hidden in plain sight

Tuesday, November 4, 2008



Today's the day, folks. The day we get to exercise the right that we've gone to war to ensure, taken to the streets to defend, and pitted brother against brother (and sister against sister) to protect. So get on out there and vote! Here's your chance to thank those who have fought for democracy, show pride in your country, and spend a few moments chatting with neighbors in line. Amazing how something so important is so easy, isn't it?

Happy voting!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Coralling the drop zone.

The dreaded drop zone. Ugh.

A never ending pile of papers, shoes, grocery lists, keys, cellphones... They accumulate by the door until you need them and then they have magically vanished to some yet undiscovered place in the house. Which means an additional search before you are actually out the door.

We enter through our back door the majority of the time (seeing that the driveway is out back and all..). Not so conveniently, this door opens right into the kitchen. Which means our little rolling island, originally intended as additional usable counter space ended up a catch-all for all sorts of unthinkable pocket debris. Finally, I decided to wrangle our drop zone into order and made this:

drop zone organizer 2

A handy dandy drop zone organizer! I specifically designed this to handle what we needed. We had already been using the bulletin board with hooks for keys, so I build from that. Small pockets for coupons, stamps, and shoppers cards. A dedicated pen pocket and a place for scratch paper (an absolute necessity for shopping lists or we will forget everything we need and come home with Cheez-its).

drop zone organizer

The big pocket on the bottom is for the boy's wallet and phone, as he is always (always) laying them somewhere else and can't find them.

And it fits nicely next to the fridge while keeping random stuff off food prep surfaces (such a pet peeve!)

drp zone organizer 3
Most people stage with pretty fruity like green apples, oranges or lemons. However, we are lousy with sweet potatoes right now so that's what ya' get! :)

Hey, did you notice my new red walls?!? Finally got the kitchen painted, hurrah! More pics to follow when we get everything else back in order...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Itty bitty = really cute!

I haven't decided what it is about human nature that makes us so attracted to small things. Kittens, puppies, doll house furniture...they get me every time. I'm considering taking up knitting just so I can fill my house with mini cable sweaters this winter.

Umm, can it get much cuter?

And I totally can't get over the tiny heirloom peppers we got from our CSA:

Mini peppers
Awwww, the wittle peppers are so cute!

And then there are the obvious small ones that are so darn cute: little babies and their oh so small clothes. Since everyone around me is coming up preggers, I figured that was a good excuse to buy another craft book, this time one for the youngins. I chose Amy Butler's Little Stitches.

Baby Booties

Darling. The pictures are just ridiculously cute, and the projects inspired, like the rest of Amy's books. All I've made so far is the booties. Not too bad, but I do have to agree with some of the reviews that say there are not enough illustrations. You actually have to read (bummer, I know). But as I've been working on patterns myself I know that the illustrations are MUCH harder than they seem, so I can't blame them too much for being a little sparse.

Overall, I'd say go for this book as there is always room for a little more itty bitty cuteness!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blank wall no more!

We had a lonely blank wall in the living room that was mocking me. Such a sad, unloved expanse of bare wall was just begging for something happy. But I had been asked not to put anything large or precious there as it would be in the throwing area for the dart board (I know, I know, but the boy needs his fun). So I was at a loss...until now.

Meet my new art, courtesy of ebay and my fabric stash:

embroidery hoop art

Yippee! And I love that they are in embroidery hoops so I can just pull them off the wall and "embellish" as I see fit.

I started on this embellishment here, with a cute little hedgehog from Pimp Stitch.

Here he is in progress:

unfinished hedgehog

And the finished result:

hedgehog embroidery

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fun with photomanipulation

So fun, and so easy...

It's addicting, but if you want to try, go here:

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pimp my Swiffer

I love my Swiffer Vac.


With hardwood floors, two furry cats, and a boy who is a messy cook, I feel like I swiffer constantly. The vac is extra special because it collects the cat fur tumbleweeds that appear at random and lets me finish my swiffering in peace.

But here's the rub. With swiffering at least once a day, I feel tad guilty about all the swiffer sheet thingys I use. So guilty that the partially used swiffer sheet stays on the vac, parked in a corner somewhere until it gets used enough (sometimes I flip it around cause the front is dirty but the back isn' that pathetic?).

So I had to bust out a new solution. Meet my swiffer improvements:

Microfiber towels I found in the auto care department of Target. 12 towels that are 14 in by 14 in. Under $10 I think...much more economical than anything in the actual cleaning department.

I cut them in half and serged the cut edge. Super bummed that I didn't have awesome orange thread to serge with, but it works. These things are fuzzy though, so it did require a post-serge cleaning of the serger.

Ta-da! It's pimped, alright :) The towel just barely fits into those little prong thingys that hold the sheets, so make sure you have one that is at least 7 in wide when cut. Works pretty well too! Picks up a lot of dirt and washes well too. Now I'm free of the swiffer sheets!