#StitchingSanta Sneak Peek

Let me start by saying I’ve had fun reading some new blogs through this festive swap! But I’ve really enjoyed reading my recipient’s blog. She was a new one to me so I started stalking reading her blog to learn about her. Her personality comes through and she seems like such a fun person. I’ve had to stop myself from liking or commenting on old posts, lest she figures out I’m her #stitchingsanta!

Now, you guys, this activity has helped me realize I have a problem. While digging through my stash box, I discovered that I’ve picked up many fat quarter bundles and remnants over the last few years. There were things in there I completely forgot I had purchased! I found some fun ones that I think (hope) my recipient will like.

I’m only going to provide a sneak peek of some items I’ll be sending her because it’ll be more fun to see it from the reveal side of things!

some items from my stash/collection

Above you’ll see some items from my stash: some of the fat quarters I mentioned earlier, a jar of some buttons, hand needles, and a pack of lace seam tape. This lace came from a thrift find I blogged about a few years ago. Not pictured is also a pattern for a few different shirt styles.

I made a couple of things, too! A simple pin cushion (super proud of my stripes all lined up, but you can’t tell in the picture below) & a fabric basket. I love love this fabric basket! I want to make one (or many) for myself. I followed the tutorial from Threading My Way that I found on Pinterest ages ago. It was easy to follow and fun to do. I used a thin batting to give structure to it. It was the first time I made boxed corners and I’m very pleased with the overall result. It probably took me a little over an hour from cutting fabric to folding over the edge.

it is actually square, but the picture was taken at an angle so my shadow wouldn’t show


I won’t be showing pictures of the purchased items as they are monogrammed things for the kitchen, and a charm that I hope she likes! We have a great store around here called Christmas Tree Shops, and despite its name, they sell all sorts of things and are open all year ’round (though there’s a ton of Christmas stuff once the season comes around!) Their slogan is “Don’t you just love a bargain?” (although looking at their website, I don’t see it anymore, so maybe it only used to be their slogan…) But you can definitely find good bargains! It was one of the first non-craft stores that popped into my head when I started thinking about what fun things I could purchase that would fit the budget.

I’ll leave it to her to fully reveal the contents. 😊

I’ve been having so much fun with this and can’t wait to see all of the reveals in a few weeks!


#StitchingSanta 2017


Sheila over at Sewchet has coordinated a crafters’ Secret Santa (called #StitchingSanta) for the last few years. I’ve been on the sidelines watching as everyone exchanges such lovely, thoughtful gifts so I finally decided to join in this year! You can choose to do crocheting/knitting, sewing, or both. I chose to do the sewing Secret Santa.

I got my recipient today and I’m so excited to get to know her through her blog. I’ve already started perusing and am starting to get some ideas…

‘Tis the season, friends! 🙂
ETA: veterans of #stitchingsanta: do you have any advice for items to consider (or avoid) for the parcels?


Yes, I made them again…

This post is long overdue, has been sitting in my drafts for some time, waiting for me to finish the 3rd version, but it’s still not done, so I figured I’d post this, just to get it off the draft list.

On May 7th, 2016, I FINALLY sat down at my sewing machine for the first time since June 2015. The last project I made was another diaper pouch/changing pad combo, but didn’t post about it until December. This time it was … yes, another one! I know too many people having babies, I guess! And it’s a quick-to-make go-to gift and a useful item for the receiver.

In fact, I had 3 left to make, so rather than do a post for each one, I’m lumping them together. (and they’re all way overdue — is there a bashful smiley face?)

This first one was for my cousin’s youngest, and oddly enough, I completed it on his 1st birthday. I did change it up a little by keeping it square instead of rounding the corners and added batting in the middle. So it’s more comfortable to lay on (instead of just 2 PUL pieces of material sewn together).  I was able to use all material from my stash (minus the batting) so was happy about that! Orange is my cousin’s favorite color and I liked the idea of using a few different solids, instead of patterns like I’ve used in the past. It’s not perfect, but I’m pleased and my cousin was happy to have it!

IMG_0228       IMG_0231

The second one was for my best friend Krista, who had a little girl about 3 weeks before Dom was born. The fabric for the changing pad and the batting were the only things I had to buy; I already had the fabric for the pouch and the bias tape. (you may remember the pouch material from the alphabet pillows I made a few years ago). So the one above was given to my nephew on his first birthday, I didn’t get this one to Krista until shortly after her daughter’s 2nd birthday. (I’m on a roll..)



The third one that still isn’t done is for us! Can you believe it? I never got around to making my own. And even worse, I have all the materials and they’re all sitting in a bag waiting for me to get to it. Dom is 2 — he’ll be in diapers for a bit longer; is it worth it to make it? I suppose we could always re-purpose the pouch for something else once he’s out of diapers…


Sorbetto Tank Top Take 2


Back in 2013 I made my first shirt ever, using Colette’s Sorbetto Tank Top pattern. I decided to try it again, as I figured it would be an easy pattern to get me back into sewing clothing. I also wanted to use some fabric I’ve had in my stash for a few  years now (originally intended for a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, I think). It’s Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen, in navy with white specks (from, ordered through Amazon back in – wow – 2013!, no longer available on either site).

Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks
Bloom Stretch Cotton Sateen in navy with white specks

The first time around, I used a Keepsake Calico cotton, which was pretty stiff for this shirt, I think.  (This was when I was really first getting into sewing, so didn’t really know much about different fabrics yet. I was also somewhat overwhelmed by the variety, so stuck with the cotton area that was most familiar to me.) The top was also a bit too short for my comfort. So this time, I decided to use the stretch cotton sateen and I lengthened the top by  2 inches and made the armholes slightly bigger. Since this is a tank, I didn’t have to worry about matching up sleeves (whew! — one step at time to pattern adjustments, Danielle!)

As part of my resolution to dedicate more time to sewing, I started by cutting out the pieces for this pattern during one of Dom’s naps. (I found a note I had written on the back of the pattern instructions from when I had traced these pieces with my adjustments — and it was from September!)

easing my way back into sewing with a 2 piece pattern project!

(side note, I think I saw on the Monthly Stitch blog that someone just sewed a bag that had 50 separate pieces, due to the linings and interfacings, etc. — yeah, 2 pieces sounds like a good start to me)

I actually sat down to start sewing it about a week later, one night after he had gone to bed. Since my sewing room is right across the (narrow) hall from his bedroom, I moved by machine, table top ironing board, and my handy little kit down to our dining room.

sewing in the dining room

It was clear to me that I was a little rusty – see the embarrassing picture of the staystitching below. Luckily, it’s covered by the bias tape, but also, you can’t even see the thread on the fabric because it blends so well.

Oof! that’s some rough staystitching!

I was very pleased with how the front pleat turned out. Neat and even. And I think this material will be better than the Calico cotton from the first one, which got super wrinkly after the first washing, and made it difficult for the pleat to lay flat.

front pleat — not the best picture, but as close as I could get to show you; it’s a bit hard to see due to the fabric pattern

I bought navy bias tape for the top, but then started thinking that I might want to use a contrasting color that would pop (like pink or green). I went back and forth on the idea for a little bit, but when I checked out some other options, nothing really stood out to me, so I stuck with the navy.

Now I have another big admission: I broke another sewing cardinal rule: I didn’t double check that the size cut out of the pattern still fit. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I added a couple of inches to the length and trimmed a teeny bit off the armholes but I failed to mention that I had used the same size from when I first made this shirt 3.5 years ago. I’ve had a baby (and still haven’t lost the accompanying weight) since then. I tried it on after adding the bias tape to the neckline and was really bummed to discover that it was too tight. I mentally kicked myself for not re-doing my measurements to be sure it still aligned with the pattern.

I also realized that the armholes are still too small for my comfort (too high up in my armpit to be comfortable for me). I decided to open them up a bit more before adding the bias tape.


Needless to say, there will be no pictures of me wearing the shirt, so you’ll have to make-do with pictures of it on a hanger. (someday I’ll get a dressform!)



In the end, I’m actually pretty pleased with the construction, despite how long it has been since I last sewed a wearable item (a Sewaholic Renfrew top back in 2015 — though the armholes on that shirt are also a little uncomfortable). However, while this material has a nice stretch, I think it still might not be completely right for this top.

General Lessons Learned:

  • always double check measurements before diving in, especially if it’s a pattern cut out long before actually sewing it up
  • take my time with construction (try not to get impatient with the more “boring” steps, like finishing seams)

Pattern Specific Lessons Learned:

  • use a fabric with more flow
  • re-print and cut out updated pattern pieces to fit my current measurements
  • If updated pattern pieces don’t meet my needs: add additional length to bottom and make bigger armholes

Have you made this top? What adjustments or embellishments have you made? What fabric do you recommend using?

Sewing · The Monthly Stitch Challenge

Monthly Stitch Challenge: January – Cheers for New Year!


As mentioned in my Looking Ahead post, I wanted to participate in The Monthly Stitch‘s Monthly Challenge. January’s theme is Cheers for New Year and we’re supposed to sew something inspired by a favorite drink. I’ve been on a tea thing since my birthday back in November (I recently bought a tea for two set for myself as a birthday present along with loose leaf tea samples of a bunch of different teas) so I decided to use that as my inspiration.

I decided I wanted to make a cardigan as it made me think of curling up in a comfy chair with a cup of tea and a good book. I found the Ladies Library Cardigan by Little Lizard King Sewing Patterns on Etsy and thought it was the perfect make. (I didn’t need to tackle button holes just yet!) It was an automatic download so I had to print out all the pages and tape them together. (I’ve done pdf patterns before and I much prefer paper patterns; taping the pages together takes up so much time! — However, I try to keep them in good condition, or trace them onto Swedish tracing paper so I can re-use them.) One of the great things with this pdf is the ability to remove the lines for the sizes you don’t need. They use the overlap feature in Adobe so you can uncheck the sizes you don’t need. Brilliant! (and they provided full instructions on how to do this and how to do it if you needed to grade from one size to another)

Originally, I wanted to make the sweater in grey with purple elbow patches, but then I thought about a navy cardigan with grey or cream elbow patches, which might get more use. BUT I just couldn’t find any fabric that called out to me in the store. I started considering other color combos but just wasn’t feeling anything I saw.

Then, I never got ’round to actually properly setting up my sewing space this month. And going back to work and taking care of a 3 month old just took over and before I knew it, the month was over.

So all that to say I didn’t make anything this month, despite all my ideas/plans. However, I really do like the pattern and hope to find the fabric I want and make it within the next month or so. I need to find other fabric stores nearby other than Joann’s (buying online is fine, but I like to walk up and down the aisles and feel the fabrics).

Ah well, there are still 11 other monthly stitch challenges and I’ll be pleased if I complete a third of them this year!


That again?

Yup, another one of these changing pad/diaper pouch combos. I can’t help it that everyone loves them and keeps having babies! 🙂

This one was made for my sister, who had a baby boy back in April.

I won’t bother going into the details at this point since I’ve made and posted about a number of them already!



(I still have 4 more to make: a cousin had a baby in May, my best friend had a baby in September, and both hubby and I want one for Baby D, too! — I have all the materials for each one, just never got around to making them, especially as my pregnancy progressed and we moved into our new house… I still have to set up my sewing station! So you’ll see another post on these once they’re made. Then hopefully we’ll all have a break from them! :))


Pillowcase Dresses

In my catch up post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was helping out a co-worker who was going on a relief mission by sewing up some dresses. Well, I finally finished the couple I had to do. I was procrastinating a bit, and then when I finally sat down to do them, I was only able to complete one as I had to go out and buy more bias tape, which I wasn’t able to do until yesterday. In total though, it probably only took me 2-3 hours to do both of them.

A little more information on her relief trip: she is going to Malawi, Africa with an organization called Villages in Partnership. She went last year and is returning again to do the same thing: help set up and run medical and dental clinics for the people who live there. They have a list of items requested (like pain medicines for adults and children– like Tylenol, Advil, etc., gently used prescription glasses, and other everyday items.). This year, as I mentioned in that earlier post, she wanted to include home-sewn clothing as well.

The dresses that I hemmed were a couple of different colors: 2 orange ones and 2 purple ones. I kept 1 purple one with me so I could use it as a guide to sew the remaining 2 blue ones.

purple fabric

They’re very simple to put together and really cute!

shoulder tie
shoulder tie
close up of fabric pattern
close up of fabric pattern

I’ll be giving them to my co-worker on Monday when we get back to work. I hope they make some of the little girls happy!


Sewaholic Renfrew Top

On one of my trips to Joann’s Fabrics earlier this year, I found a great deep purple knit interlock called Blackberry by Sew Classics in the remnants bin (there was 1 yard left). I didn’t have a pattern in mind at the time, but I loved the color and how it felt and thought I could figure out something to make with it.

I also purchased the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern earlier in the year. I loved the different views and how you can take a mix-and-match approach with the different pieces. To start, I wanted to try View B. (One thing I noticed about the pattern was that piece #5 was marked as piece #6 (so there were 2 #6s on the pattern paper) so I missed tracing it at first.)

After buying the pattern, I thought the Blackberry interlock might be good to use for it. The color would go really well with a pair of work pants.

The pattern called for almost 3 yards for the size I needed, and I thought that might be a lot. I was curious to see if I could eek out the whole pattern with just the 1 yard of the Blackberry interlock.

Sewaholic Renfrew & Blackberry Interlock

I traced all the pattern piece sizes I needed onto tracing paper and then tried my best to get all the pieces on the one yard of fabric. I almost succeeded! I was so disappointed when I discovered they wouldn’t all fit. I tried a couple of different ways to maximize the amount of fabric, but no luck. Because the fabric was a remnant, I wasn’t sure if they would have more in stock. I hopped online to and found that they had more in stock in my local Joann’s!

I bought another yard of fabric and had no problem cutting out the pattern pieces. It was pretty quick to sew together and I was pretty pleased with the result. I’ve worn it a couple of times.


The fabric ended up feeling a bit thicker than I was expecting when all was said and done. One change I would make is the size of the arm holes on the bodice piece. I would make them a little bigger as the armpit of the shirt is basically right up against my armpit and so can be a little annoying as the day goes on. (I suppose washing it a couple of times has shrunk the fabric a bit more because I don’t remember it being that way the first time I wore it).

When I walked into the living room to show hubby, he said “good job, babe. It looks like you bought it at the store.” I was pretty happy to hear that 🙂


I think having a serger would be really helpful with something like this, but alas, I do not have one. Maybe some day…

(side note: I actually completed this shirt on Feb 8, but time got away from me and I just realized I still had this post in draft! I just had to update some references to time)


Patriotic Golf Ball Pouch

So last weekend fiancé asked if I could make him a zippered pouch for his golf balls. (I mean, I’ve made club covers, a golf tee pouch, and a golf shoe bag, so why not one for the golf balls, too?)

Anyway,last weekend was also Memorial Day Weekend, so he picked out a patriotic fabric. I made it Sunday so he was able to take it with him golfing on Monday morning.

The one thing I’ve found aggravating with the last couple of zippered items I’ve made is that my needles keep breaking on the zippers. The first couple I made went perfectly fine with no problems, but now all of a sudden I’m having trouble. (I do use a bigger sized needle for the zipper part so I don’t think that’s the problem — maybe it’s my sewing speed? – any thoughts/recommendations?)

Not much more to tell, so here are the pictures:




The Return of the Changing Pad & Diaper Pouch…

Yup, I made another one!

A co-worker, J., is due in mid-June and we’re having a baby shower for her tomorrow at work. (there is a good chance she’ll deliver early). She’s had to work from home recently, so it’s not a surprise because we needed to make sure she could come in for it. What she doesn’t know is that I collected donations from our group at work to buy a group gift and we collected enough to get 2 items off her registry. My work BFF, C., and I went to Babies R Us on Friday after work and had a field day. We couldn’t stop cooing over the cute baby clothes. It is so easy to spend money in that store!

We determined that we think it’s all so very cute, but we’re not ready to have babies ourselves yet.

Here’s part of a conversation we had:
Me: “this makes me want to have a baby…but just to dress up”
C: “yeah, a baby we could give back”
Me: “so what we really want are dolls, right?”

Though there are tons of cute baby girl clothes, I still think baby boys clothes are the cutest (I mean, a teeny tiny “suit” or sweater with elbow patches? come on!). We each got some clothes for the baby (as separate gifts from ourselves, not the group), and I decided to also make a changing pad and diaper pouch, too. Conveniently, I had the materials I needed as I had originally purchased the stuff quite some time ago to make this for someone else, but then never did. Whoops.

changing pad diaper pouch collageI’m pretty pleased with the way this came out, though I forgot how thick the home decor weight fabric can be once there are a few layers! I hope J. likes it!

I think she is going to be surprised by the gifts 🙂



Summertime Clutch

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned that I bought a new fabric from the remnants bin at JoAnn’s. Well, I decided what I could use it for: a summertime clutch! (I still have some leftover fabric, so I don’t know what else I’ll  make yet…)

I used the Glenda Clutch pattern from Sue Kim’s Bags, the Modern Classics. (this is the same book where I got the pattern for the beach bag I made last year).

I have a “crafty” photo album on Facebook and so I posted a picture of this there .. I have already received comments asking for some! (from my sister and one of my best friends) — so I see a bit more bag making in my future 🙂

DSCN2089   DSCN2090

DSCN2091   DSCN2092

I’m pretty pleased with the way this turned out. However, there wasn’t a guide for the seam allowance, so I went with 1/2″. I had a little trouble sewing around where the magnetic button is on the flap; probably due to both the size of the button as well as my seam allowance. I can just adjust either (or both) of those on the next iterations.

It makes me smile 🙂

Knitting · Sewing · With My Reading Buddy

Remember me?

Why, hello there! Remember me?

So much for wanting to post more regularly! The beginning of this year has been pretty busy. Here are brief outlines of what’s been going on. (and as much as I want to say I’ll be better about posting, I don’t want to make any promises since we all know how well that’s been working!)

Of course I’m still reading! I’ve read 23 books so far since January 1. Most were really good (I think only one 5-star Goodreads rating so far, but quite a few 4 stars). Check out my 2014 page to see the list.

Finally got settled with My Reading Buddy! This is his last year in the program, so it’s a little bittersweet. I can’t remember if I mentioned anything about it in earlier posts (and frankly, I’m too lazy to go back and look) but there is a new program coordinator this year and it just doesn’t seem as organized as before. Anyway, we’ve only met a bit more than a handful of times based on weather, holidays, vacations, etc. In all that time we’ve only read one book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Man that main character is a terrible role model! Anyway, we finally finished that book and then A. wanted to read another one, so we started the Wimpy Kid book that came before Dog Days (yeah A. doesn’t care about reading things in order..ahhh!) Anyway, it’s been good to meet with him, but I think we won’t meet for the next couple of weeks due to school vacation and some testing they have going on. Before we know it, it will be the end of the program & he’ll be “graduating”!

I actually wasn’t as productive with crafty things, either. After making the Kimono dress I didn’t make anything else until very recently. I’ve knitted a couple of blanket squares for baby blankets at work, but only took a picture of one (I forgot to take a picture of the other one before turning it in).

footprints square
Ophelia Baby Footprint Pattern by Bridget McKenzie (found on Ravelry)

I finally finished the apron for my sister — her Christmas gift! (I finished it on Easter) I needed more of the bias tape for the edging and took a while to get it, and then got lazy. But I finally sat down to the sewing machine for the first time since January 2 and really got into it and finished the apron. I’m really pleased with it, and my sister loves it!


Sonny wanted to make sure the neck strap was comfy enough

Then while taking a quick (yes, actually quick!) trip to JoAnn Fabrics (to get a cushion) we saw — Bruins fabric!!! They finally released the licensing rights, so without any idea of what to make, I grabbed a couple yards of each print available. When we got home, M. asked for a zippered bag for his golf tees. To make it interesting, I used both fabrics. Voila:
(UPDATE – I actually made 2 of these, the same way with the 2 different fabrics)

golf tee bag Collage

Now I’m back in a sewing mood and want to make more things! While at JoAnn’s I found a really cute fabric pattern in the remnants bin and had to grab it. I think I might make a small springy/summery clutch with it.

Well, we’ve been busy with wedding plans and have done a lot! We’ve sent out our save the dates, we’re finalizing our invitations to order them, we started our wedding registry, we have an appointment in a couple of weeks to have a menu tasting for the dinner, and I got my dress!! (alterations to follow a bit later in the summer)

A lot of people said “oh you’ll just cry when you find the ONE”, and being an emotional person, I was expecting it to happen. But I didn’t cry, I was just happy with my decision 🙂 I tried on maybe 8-10 different dresses (something like that). The one I ended up with was actually the 4th or 5th one I tried, and it was at the top of my mental list and even though I tried on a few more after that, it just solidified my choice. The funny thing is, going in, I had an idea of what I wanted: a strapless dress and loved the idea of the tea-length, shorter dresses. I didn’t want a train. Well, I ended up with a long, strapless dress with a train! It’s a simple dress, flowy, and most importantly: comfortable! (many people did tell me that I would probably walk out with something different than I had pictured; they were right!)

I began training for the Calle’s Miracle Run 5k in January and while the beginning training went really well, I got sick (you know, winter time and all), had to stop and then never really got back into it the way I wanted to. However, I still beat my 5k time from last year by almost 9 minutes! I did run more than last year but still had to walk for some of it. So my goal for next year is to cut my time down by 5 minutes and run even more of it!

After some encouragement from my friend Darcel (check out her fitness blog here), I started a 21 Day Fix plan that has daily 30 minute high energy exercise routines as well as an eating plan with special containers to categorize and portion meals. (that was a really high-level overview of the plan). I love the idea of it and started off really well, then I started slacking. I stuck with the exercising longer than the food plan. I really need to get better self-discipline going here! I’ve decided to re-start the plan this upcoming weekend. The daily exercises are great. As soon as I start feeling like I can’t do much more, they’re over! Definitely work up a sweat and have that great sore muscle feeling that lets you know you got a good workout. I just need to get over this mental bump to really push myself to do this consistently and well.

In conclusion…
Just kidding. But really, that’s what’s been going on with me. How are you?



Easy Kimono Dress (Pattern Runway)

I’ve completed my first dress for 2014: Pattern Runway’s Easy Kimono Dress! A little misleading, perhaps, since I began working on it in December. I first made a test piece of the top and then I spent about an hour cutting out the real fabric and ironing the interfacing.

I started sewing it on January 1 (and finished it on January 2). In total, it probably took me about 8 hours. It would have taken less time if I didn’t have such trouble with the rouleau band. I could not, for the life of me, flip it right-side out. It seemed to be too narrow to do it. The suggested way (using needle and thread) was no help at all, and the other way I tried was taking too long and then I couldn’t flip it all the way. Argh! So I ended up making a new rouleau band, slightly wider, and used a knitting needle to flip. And it took no time at all!

I’ve discovered I’m not really a fan of hemming, but it has to be done.

In the end, I was happy with the work I did: neat, clean, and well done (in my humble opinion), but I just don’t like the way it looks on me. I even tried it with a belt so it would cover up the seam between top and bottom and also pull it in at the waist a little more, but I still didn’t like it. I think it’s too boxy at the top for me. I felt like I was wearing a hospital gown or something. Maybe it’s just my body shape…

I think it looks great on the hanger, though!


I love the color and the material (Milos stretch poplin royal blue—the picture is slightly misleading as it’s a bit darker in real life). It’s a thinner material, so it would definitely be for warmer weather. But it has a nice stretch. However, it also seems to be easy to wrinkle but I’ve learned it’s easy enough to iron!

I have material left over, enough to make something else, so I’d like to use it for something else. Suggestions?


Homemade Gifts

I’ve always thought homemade gifts were a great idea. When little kids give you something homemade, it’s adorable (even if you’re not quite sure what it is.) As an adult, though, you kind of have to hold yourself to a higher standard…

Since learning how to knit and sew my goal has always been to give some homemade gifts at either birthdays or Christmastime (basically, any gift-giving time). The winter I first learned to knit, I was a broke college student. I only knew the knit stitch, so you can bet I made a dozen basic-knit scarves for family members for Christmas. (they all claimed to love them…) But I never really got beyond that for homemade gifts.

I can make excuses (that I ran out of time — which is true, but mainly because I was lazy and waited until the last minute), but really, I just need to be dedicated to doing it; I need to make the time for it throughout the year so that by Christmastime, the gifts would be ready.

Last year, I ended up making only 2 gifts. The 2 gifts went to 2 of my cousins (one had just had a baby and the other was due a few days after Christmas). So I made the diaper pouch and changing pads.

This year, I planned to make 5 homemade gifts: initial pillows for my niece, nephew, and my 2 cousins’ children (recipients of the diaper pouch and changing pads…moving forward they will also be called niece and nephew, to make it easier to type and read) and a (still) secret gift for my sister (I ran out of bias tape that I need to finish, so I haven’t been able to give it to her yet—and in the off-chance that she reads this, I don’t want to give it away!).

I ended up having to finish the last 2 pillows on Christmas Eve (surprise!), but all 4 were ready for Christmas day. I was excited to give them to the kids, and everyone loved them. Some people were surprised when I said I made the pillows. (I always like to surprise people – in a good way).

In addition to the initial, I personalized it further with the fabric. My 10-year-old niece likes sparkles and things, so I chose a fabric that had different shades of pink flowers with sparkles on a black background:


My 4-year-old nephew LOVES all the superheros and currently his favorite is Spiderman:


My about-15-month-old nephew LOVES Mickey Mouse. He loves watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse TV show and whenever he sees Mickey, he starts saying “hot dog” because of the Hot Dog song at the end of every episode. So getting Mickey fabric was a no brainer:


And last, but not least, the pillow for my almost 1-year-old niece (she’ll be 1 tomorrow!). My cousin sometimes calls her “her little monkey” so I found cute, soft monkey fabric that I thought would be perfect:


I had been thinking about making these for a long time and at first searched for patterns to follow. However, I couldn’t quite find something that mimicked what I saw in my brain. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that my first thought wouldn’t work out so well, and decided to go a bit easier: find a font that I really liked and print it out on large paper so I could use it as a pattern. So I browsed fonts and came up with ones that I liked. I wanted to do the letters lowercase and some fonts looked better than others depending on the letter, so I’ve used a few different fonts to make the pillows.

I then traced the letters onto pattern paper so I could test them out before using the real fabric. The original print outs were too small to my liking, so I made modifications to make them larger. Then I folded the fabric and traced the letter, pinned the 2 letters together, and sewed as much as I could except for an opening where I could stuff with the fiberfill. (I wish I had take pictures of this process, but I didn’t).

Originally, I had chosen a capital “G” but then realized I didn’t like the way it looked. I ran out of printer ink so I couldn’t reprint a lower case “g”. So I got creative: I took the “a” print out, flipped it, and stretched the hook so that it became a “g”! (I was so proud of myself for doing that — it’s the little things, people!)

Trying to figure out how much I could close up and still be able to flip right side out was a little trial-and-error for all but the “s”. (The “s” was pretty straight forward, just leave one end open!) For the “m” I figured out that I could stitch up almost the whole thing except for the end of the middle “leg”. For the “a” and “g”, I ended up sewing the whole outside shut, but had to leave the middle circle open. I first stitched the “g” and realized after I started stuffing that I could have handstitched some of the circle closed before I started stuffing. So I stopped stuffing to close the circle as much as I could. Then after I finished stuffing I closed it up. I took what I learned from the “g” and applied it to the “a” in the beginning: close up some of the circle first! (I thought the circles would be a pain to handstitch closed, but it was actually easier than I was expecting– yay!)

I’ll post about my sister’s gift once I’ve finished it & given it to her. 🙂

My homemade goal for next year is to make more special, personalized gifts for my friends and family.

Do you like to make homemade gifts? What’s your favorite gift you’ve made? What you’re favorite homemade gift that you’ve received?


Pillow with Fringe

My aunt recently got a new living room set and wanted to add some accent pillows. She felt the ones that came with the set (neutral stripes) looked too masculine and so purchased some fabric to re-cover the pillows. However she liked the fringe that was on the original stripe pillow and wanted to try to salvage it for the new pillows.

So I took the stripe pillow and fabric home with me to see what I could do. I used my seam ripper to take the pillow apart but the fringe didn’t fare so well – some of it started to come apart. So i stopped what I was doing so it wouldn’t get any worse. Luckily, my aunt had smaller pillows that she wanted to work with, and there was more than enough fringe to use on the smaller pillow (whew!).

So I made a new cover with fringe for the smaller pillow and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It just seems slightly loose-fitting on the pillow itself, but still looks nice:


I sent a picture of it to my aunt and she was really happy with the way it turned out. I just need to bring it to her – hopefully we’ll get together soon.