Whimsical Kitchen Towels

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 6

Adding a little whimsy to your kitchen is easy with this project!  I found an interesting way to embellish kitchen towels to add some jazz to an otherwise plain ole’ towel.  For some inspiration, I found the this tutorial helpful on Sew4Home that includes detailed measurement suggestions and technique tips.

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 2

As a special Father’s Day present, I embellished two kitchen towels for my Dad.  He recently renovated his kitchen, so accessorizing now is a must!  He loves using blue accents.  I thought this Echino “Buck with Glasses” Fabric was perfect for my Dad – the avid deer hunter and father of 2 eyeglass-wearing daughters. 8)

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 4

 

I found a complementary fabric of beige bubbles at my local JoAnn store.  I used it to trim the blue Echino print and add a soft detail to the kitchen towels.    The towels are 100% cotton Room Essentials brand from Target and measure 16 inches by 26 inches.  The subtle lattice detail in the towels adds another layer of texture.

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I added a special embroidery on one towel for my special gift recipient. :)  My new sewing machine, Brother PC 420, has so many fun options for decorative stitches and lettering.  It was a fun experiment!

Kitchen Towels Buck with Glasses 7 I decided to make two different designs, as seen here.  It was fun to alternate the fabric dimensions a bit.

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 Voila!  Super cute kitchen towels!

My Adventure: Amy Butler’s Weekender Tote Bag

 Weekender Tote 18

For my first Amy Butler project, I fell in love with the Weekender Tote Bag pattern.  An customized overnight bag sounded so romantic, so I dove in head first!  I am pleased with the results and my improved skills.  I hope my detailed account of this experience will be helpful to those attempting this project.

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Weekender Tote 1

I found the cutest home decor fabric by HGTV at my local JoAnn Store.  I took the time during the cutting phase to make the exterior pocket pieces match the pattern exactly for the pieces cut for the front and back exterior panels.  This made all the difference in the final result.

THE PIPING:

Weekender Tote 2

 

Weekender Tote 3

Weekender Tote 5

Creating my own piping was actually quite fun.  Sewing the strips together on a bias was challenging to get the angle exact, but it worked up beautifully.  I only purchased the cotton cording required and it was an accurate estimate of the piping needed.  Only a small segment was discarded in the end.

THE ZIPPER:

Weekender Tote 8 Weekender Tote 7 Weekender Tote 6

When making this zipper, I am so happy that I decided to trust the instructions and throw logic out the window.  I have no idea how it turned out so perfectly because the instructions were a bit bizarre in instructing you to sew over the zipper and close it in completely.  But in the end, it’s gorgeous!  I’m completely shocked!

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For me, this was the end of the easy part of the pattern.  I had no issues when creating the front and back panels and the zipper piece.  However, when I started with the joining process I was in pure misery.  I had to rescue my bobbin from a nest of tangled thread so many times!  Not only do you have to join the pieces, but you also have to be mindful of the alignment of the piping! Oh the nightmare!

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The binder clips look hilarious!  It was the only way to keep the pieces together while sewing.  I had to throw away a few dozen bent pins after this project.  Oh well!

ADDED FEATURES:

Weekender Tote 20Weekender Tote 13

I added silver purse feet to the bottom of the Weekender Tote.  Since I used a lighter fabric for the exterior, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the fabric off the floor as much as possible.  I also finished the project with a light mist of Scotch Guard.

THE INTERIOR:

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The interior was the worst part of this crafting experience.  I didn’t look ahead to realize that it would require extensive hand sewing.  It took at least a week for my fingers to heal!  The interior sewing was incredibly awkward because the fabric shifts as you pull it open to do the actual sewing.  This causes some looseness inside.  I tried my best to keep it tight, away from the zipper and tacked well in the corners.

My Reflection:

All in all, the project was a satisfying experience.  In hindsight, it was probably too advanced for my newbie-level skills.  I can’t believe I used my old sewing machine – it struggled so much to sew on the thickness this project required.  We both survived, but my old Brother LS1717 is a little worse for wear.

“Sheldon” the Bobble Sheep

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My first adventure with Bobbles! Woot Woot! Learning a “Bobble” stitch has been on my “Knit Before I Die” list for a long time.  When I saw this adorable project on the PurlBee.com blog, I just fell in love Kiss ………

PATTERN: http://www.purlbee.com/bobble-sheep-pillow/

It is made with 2 luscious yarns:

  • Blue Sky Alpaca Sport Weight in Dark Gray – 1 skein
  • Purl Soho Super Soft Merino in Heirloom White – 3 skeins

 

Bobble Sheep 4

My Knit Notes:

4/5/13: I am getting the hang of the bobble stitch. Thank heaven for the mini tutorial on Purl Bee -http://www.purlbee.com/bobble-5-stitch-garter-bobble/

This is my first project with the Crochet chain cast-on technique (aka Provisional Cast On), so I am anxious to see how it turns out when I have to return to the live stitches on the belly. I found this tutorial SUPER helpful for the Provision Cast On method: http://verypink.com/2011/02/15/provisional-cast-on/

Bobble Sheep 3

It is so adorable already! The bobbles have such an interesting texture that I love holding it even when I’m not in the knitting throws. The side gusset worked out perfectly. The pillow architecture is coming together beautifully.

There is a typo on Row 17. There is any extra “K2” before the SM. Disregard that.

I added new pictures – showing my progress. I am now starting the mid-section of the Sheep. No more increasing! :) The instruction for the markers is incredibly helpful.

Bobble Sheep 2

4/16/13: Starting the decrease! Starting the last skein of the Merino! I’m getting nervous about the other parts, but hopefully I will conquer my fears soon. Picked up a mini Sheep toy for Karma, my dog. Now she can have her own! Looks the same!

Bobble Sheep 5

4/22/13: The body is complete! I survived the kitchener stitch to close up the back. Now, its on to the head! I wish that I would have waited to weave in the ends because I just realized that I will be picking up stitches in this same area to create the head and ears. I hope I don’t accidentally pick up the weaved-in ends as new stitches!

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4/27/13: Oh no! Yesterday I cast on the head beautifully and knit the whole thing – ready for kitchener stitch and a little stuffing – when I realized that I had put the head on the tail’s spot! I was devastated!! I had already cut the yarn and everything! I can’t believe I never noticed. I knit the piece in one sitting, so I guess I never laid it down to notice the curvature where the head should be. I snapped a few pictures, then ‘frogged’ the head into a small center-wound ball and I am ready to try again on the correct place soon. Wish me luck! lol!

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5/1/13: Almost there…. Finished the head (now in the right spot..lol), added the adorable ears and tail. The ears are so cute! They give this sheep such personality. I was debating on including the ears, but I am so glad that I went for it. The tail is pretty plain, but adds spunk nonetheless.

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I also did the body stuffing and final grafting to close the belly today. I wish that I would have left a longer tail at the initial cast on because I ran out during the Kitchener stitch and had to add on about a foot. I love how it turned out. Now only feet to go! lol! what a pun!

My Insight:

I think the pattern needs some clarification -

  1. When casting on for the head: you make 3 stitches for each one picked up only on the left and right sides of the head (not the top of the head). Its a 3-sided head. For the top, you only make one out of each one picked up. Therefore, 15 becomes 45 on left, 15 becomes 45 on the right, and 2 becomes 2 on the top. Total: 92 stitches after the set up. Then this is divided onto 4 DPNs for 16,30,30,16.
  2. I used DPNs for the head and the markers kept slipping off, so I decided to clip them onto the yarn in the row below so I could see them but didn’t have to slip each round or worry about them constantly falling off. This was effective.
  3. When casting on initially make sure you leave a tail that is long enough for the final stage – Kitchener stitch. I had to add some length at the end and it felt awkward. I wish I would have known to leave more than a few inches, which I typically leave for weaving in.
  4. There should be clearer notation that the tail is NOT knit in the round. I made it first connecting in the round, only to rip it back out and try again. Since it comes right after the ears, I was in circular mode I guess. :)

Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

Karma’s New Dog Bed


Dog Bed for Karma 3

From FabricWorm.com, I found the most adorable print for my dog, Karma.  I purchased a unit (1/2 yard) without a real plan for how I would use it.  It has all of Karma’s mannerisms captured in the cartoon dogs in this modern playful print, so I knew I just had to have some! It’s by Michael Miller called “Dog Speak Multi”.

On sale last week at Target, I found a dog bed insert (poly filled) for less than $10.00.  It’s from Target’s Boots & Barley line.  Target sells many covers, but I ventured to make my own!  The bed measures 36 inches by 29 inches, so I needed a complementary print to cover the entire face of  the pet bed.  I paired this designer fabric with a inexpensive light grey chevron print that I found at my local JoAnn store.  I only needed 1/2 yard.

Dog Bed for Karma 5

I also picked up a solid light grey fabric to use for the backside.  Instead of a zipper, I used overlapping back pieces to hold in the insert.  To finish each edge of the overlap, I used a “Loopy” decorative stitch.

Dog Bed for Karma 2

I had some scrap fabric from a recent project called Stampin’ Up Tea for Two Fabric that I used to create a “K” on the bottom right of the dog bed.  I used a decorative zig-zag stitch to tack it in place.

Dog Bed for Karma 6

  It was my first time to add applique like this – daring to wing it on my own but I think it worked beautifully!

Dog Bed for Karma 4

BIG YAWN!  Now, Karma is ready for a nap!

 

Simple Zipper Pouch

Pencil Pouch9

My re-introduction to sewing started with this simple zipper pouch.  I found a beginner class on Craftsy.com and jumped right in!  I started with this project in a purple and polka dot fabric combo that I found in Fat Quarters on sale at JoAnn’s.

Pencil Pouch6

I learned quite a bit about my old sewing machine.  I had actually moved the thing from apartment to apartment since 2005 as my hubbie and I have moved from Gainesville, FL to Boston, MA and now to Syracuse, NY for our graduate educations.  My sweetie bought me this Brother LS1717 in 2005 and it took me until 2013 to open the box! Ooops!

Pencil Pouch3

 

I learned a clever trick for zippers from this Craftsy class.  A regular ole’ glue stick works perfectly to temporarily hold the zipper tape to the fabric while you run to the sewing machine to baste it in place.  I have heard nightmares about pinning zipper tape, so I am relieved that this glue stick method makes zippers not scary at all!

Pencil Pouch2

 

Just a narrow line of glue along the top edge of the zipper tape is all it takes to hold the fabric together.  I used the children’s glue stick that goes on purple and dries clear.  This made it even easier to see where I was gluing.

The best part: Once the glue dries, there isn’t even a trace of it!  No sticky mess!

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Pencil Pouch5

Ironing between each step was great assurance that my bag would end up with perfect corners and square edges in the end.

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I love this adorable little handle on the side.  It is super convenient for grabbing this pouch on the go!  Surprisingly, it didn’t add much bulk when sewing the top corner.  It gives a cute reveal of the adorable fabric that is on the inside of the pouch.

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I love the magic of turning the work inside right at the end and how everything just works out! Oh the fun of crafting!

 

Pencil Pouch10

 

As I work on my sewing skills, stay tuned for more of my crafting adventures as I kick it up a notch!

 

 

Brrr Bear by Spud & Chloe

Brrr Bear Spud Chloe12

In a drastic attempt to distract me from the torturous bar exam prep I was enduring this past January, I embarked on an equally challenging (yet way more fun!) project.  I ordered the Spud & Chloe pattern called “3 Brrr Bears” from WEBS (www.yarn.com).  It was my first stuffed animal to knit EVER…actually my first project with any real intricacy.

This project was an absolute lifesaver.  It was truly calming to knit a small piece each night after a grueling study day.  I always felt that knitting was great stress relief.  But, I can honestly say it is the best therapy!  It was a great way to wind down and to top it all off, I have this incredibly adorable bear to remember this life altering challenge I survived this past winter… passing the bar exam!

Sweater Yarn in "Ice Cream"

Sweater Yarn in “Ice Cream”

My Knit Notes:

2/4/13: Supplies arrived! My first impression of sweater yarn = scrumptious! I can’t wait to get this yarn wound and get started. (I ordered 4 instead of 3 skeins after reading several ravelry projects of the medium brrr bear that noted needing an extra.)

2/6/13: Wound 1 skein by hand. I like the “turkey baster” technique – worked like a charm and wound up fast. Off to a great start on the Body. Realize now that I still need a few supplies…

Current Shopping List: 
Muslin Fabric 
Poly Pellets 
Stuffing 
Sweater Yarn in Penguin (7522) 
Craft Eyes (21mm)from http://60-60.blogspot.com/2008/08/plastic-safety-eye-size…

Brrr Bear Spud Chloe3Brrr Bear Spud Chloe2
2/8/13: This yarn is a delight to work with. It makes the most perfect little v’s. I am surprised how fast it is coming along, considering there are now 100+ stitches per row. I am still working on the Body, almost ready to decrease again. Now that the work is shaped like a bag, it is super convenient to carry my active ball of yarn. Since it is so easily transported, I am taking it everywhere like this! :)

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2/13/13: The body and head pieces are ready for filling, so I have had to set them aside while I wait to buy the rest of my supplies. Last night I started my first leg. The edge pickup was challenging and it’s too soon to tell if there will be holes along the seam. It seems daunting to have 3 more legs just like it still to go. I have to admit this project is a great way to learn new stitches, finishing techniques, etc.

Brrr Bear Spud Chloe7Brrr Bear Spud Chloe6

 So far I have conquered the pfb and ssk, which were both new to me. I have also learned the felted splice joining technique, not sure how I feel about it yet, but its certainly holding. I have done the edge pickup on socks before but this project is a great refresher. By the time I get 4 legs, I should have some confidence in the technique. Here’s hoping!

I have completed the ears and tail pieces. They are so cute! And work up really fast! I love that the cast on tail becomes the yarn used to attach to the bear. So convenient!

I have read that the stuffing and sewing should be done as you finish each piece, but unfortunately my sewing is piling up because I don’t have any filing on hand. This seems daunting to a novice seamstress. I hope to tackle this aspect of the project soon.

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2/14/13: Finished the first hind leg last night! What a feat! I am excited to start the next one. A few pictures added of the pieces, all still without filing yet. Luckily, i have a few spare cables to hold the work at the filing spot while I move on to other pieces. I ordered the craft eyes from Etsy yesterday. Can’t wait to see them! I selected the 21mm size in Black.

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2/16/13: The second hind leg is complete. With all the pieces sitting together, this little guy is so adorable! I can’t wait to sew him together!

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Delay: Bar Exam – Feb 2013

3/5/13: Picked up the muslin fabric, poly pellets, and stuffing today. I sewed little pouches for the poly pellets for each hind leg paw and one for the body. The bear really came to life! I used black safety eyes (see link above).

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3/7/13: Added the last 2 legs and he is super cute! So cuddly! Only ears and tail to go!

3/17/13: All done! This has to be my most favorite project I have ever made! I don’t make many for myself, but I am really happy to have splurged on this one and created something I will cherish forever. Maybe it will be a special treasure for my future child someday! :)

With this project, I met some incredibly kind knitters on Ravelry.  I asked one fellow knitter, who had previously completed this project, for a few tips and made a wonderful friend!  In search of enough Sweater Yarn in Penguin for the nose, I met a wonderfully sweet knitter who offered to mail me a few yards from her stash  - no questions asked.  I feel so grateful to have met these kind women and I love belonging to the Ravelry community.

Check out this project and connect with me on Ravelry!

In the end, I named him “Sherlock” because I am absolutely addicted to the new show on CBS called “Elementary.”  I watch it every week with my guy Sherlock by my side. :)  I hope to make Sherlock a buddy soon.  I am going to start the Purlbee Bobble Sheep project in the next few weeks.

Stay Tuned!

Comfort Cafe So Saffron Floral Birthday

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Comfort Cafe Birthday Floral Stampin Up 1

Layers of soft colors complement this floral motif from the Comfort Cafe DSP to create a sweet birthday greeting card.

PAPER: Summer Starfruit Cardstock, Comfort Cafe DSP, Pool Party Cardstock, Very Vanilla Cardstock, Midnight Muse Cardstock.

INK: Midnight Muse Stampin’ Pad.

STAMP SET: Perfectly Penned Clear, Bring on the Cake Clear.

EMBELLISHMENTS: Stitched Satin Ribbon Summer Starfruit, Snail Adhesive, Dimensionals.

--Audrey

Quick & Simple: Tea for Two Get Well

Tea for Two Hexagon Get Well Stampin Up1

Hexagons are a popular shape in the new Spring 2013 Catalog.  There is even a hexagon design in the Tea for Two DSP set! I layered a soft blue grid-line pattern over the hexagon pattern and added spunky polka dot ribbon for a sweet Get Well Card.

PAPER: Tea for Two DSP (Spring 2013), Lucky Limeade Cardstock, Very Vanilla Cardstock.

INK: Marina Mist Stampin’ Pad, Early Espresso Stampin’ Pad.

STAMP SETS: Tea Shoppe Clear, Teeny Tiny Wishes Wood, Oh Hello Clear (Spring 2013).

TOOLS & EMBELLISHMENTS: Scallop Dots Ribbon Chocolate Chip, Modern Label Punch, Stamp-A-Ma-Jig, Dimensionals, Snail Adhesive.

--Audrey

Calypso Coral Floral Mini Card

Calypso Coral Tea for Two Mini Card Stampin Up 2

I was so excited to revisit my favorite layout for mini cards – using the adorable Petite Curly Label Punch from the 2013 Sale-a-bration promotion.  This feminine motif of calypso coral flowers makes a sweet Thank You card!

PAPER: Tea for Two DSP (Spring 2013), Very Vanilla Cardstock, Calypso Coral Cardstock, Lucky Limeade Cardstock.

INK: Calypso Coral Stampin’ Pad.

STAMP SET: Ciao Baby Clear.

TOOLS & EMBELLISHMENTS: Ruffled Ribbon Calypso Coral, Snail Adhesive, Petite Curly Label Punch (SAB 2013).


 

--Audrey

DIY Monogrammed Card Keeper

Monogrammed Card Keeper Stampin Up Card Box1

 

Great for holding my outgoing mail, this monogrammed card keeper was simple to create and fun to embellish.  For the structure, I used a template from Craft Gossip.

PAPER: Riding Hood Red Cardstock, Midnight Muse Cardstock, Whisper White Cardstock, Glossy White Cardstock.

INK: Midnight Muse Stampin’ Pad.

STAMP SETS: Everything Eleanor Clear, Morning Post Alphabet Clear.

TOOLS & EMBELLISHMENTS: Stitched Satin Ribbon Midnight Muse, Extra-Large Oval Punch, Designer Frames Folders for Big Shot Embossing, Sticky Strip, Snail Adhesive, Scallop Edge Border Punch, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border Punch.


 

--Audrey
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