July Hoop Art of the Month - Fringed Denim Pocket

My husband walked by me with a pair of old jeans recently and said they were done. In a ninja move, I grabbed them as he was tossing them into the trash. Ordinarily that would just be me just saving them for some undetermined future project, but I knew immediately what I would do with these. In spite of the fact that they were mostly stained, holey and falling apart, there was a good section just waiting to be hoop art.

You don't need much for this one, aside from some patience and time. The supplies are only a pair of old jeans and a 10" embroidery hoop. If you intend to add any embroidery you'll also need some floss.

Cut the inseam and up the center of the back. I also removed the tag and a belt loop since it looked like they'd interfere with the hoop. Cut away the remaining jeans, leaving plenty of room to put on the hoop and at least 12" of length below it.

Insert the denim in the hoop, centering the pocket as much as possible. Draw a line from the center of the side of the hoop down about 8-10". Repeat on the other side. Cut the lines to within about 1/4" of the hoop. Find the center about 12" from the bottom. Draw a line from that point to the bottom of each cut. Cut along line.

This is a lot of thread-picking, so if you're like to shorten the length of your project you can reduce the length of the fabric below the hoop.

Starting at the point at the bottom, pull out the horizontal threads, one at a time.  This takes a while, and becomes more complicated the higher you go and the longer they get. Use a pin to pull each thread out of the weave before pulling it out to keep them from breaking and tangling.

As you get up to the hoop you'll have to clip some of the threads close to the hoop as you pull them out. Because of that curve, I ended up with crocked fringe. The way your fringe comes out in the end can vary a lot based on what jeans you're using. There are lots of kinds of denim, and they will all behave differently.

That was easy enough to fix with some trimming. Thankfully we're going for a Bohemian look here, so perfect isn't a requirement.

Did you notice the stitching on the pocket? The original threads were coming out, so I finished removing them and restitched with some variegated yellow craft floss. It was tough doing that on a deep pocket, but it worked out.

Trim the remaining denim around the upper portion of the hoop to a couple of inches larger than the hoop and hot glue to the inside. If you want to cover it, you can cut a piece of felt or another piece of denim and glue it onto the back.

Cut three strips of denim from the remaining jeans that are each 15 x 1/2". Stack the three ends and sew together. Braid. Stitch the other end together. Feed the braid through the hole under the screw. Stitch both ends together and pull so the ends are at the back.

Midway through this one I wasn't sure it was going to work out, but I think the breezy summer thing its got going on makes it perfect for July!

Friday Favorites No. 340

My husband and I are going camping for a few days next week, and I'm ridiculously excited about it. I haven't been in four years, which is probably the longest span in my entire life. It will also be our first time tent camping without kids in 24 years, so yeah, it's a big deal. We just bought a new extra-thick air mattress, we're sorting through our gear this weekend and I'm working on a menu. The only question left is - what crafts should I bring to work on? :-D

This post contains affiliate links.

Summer always feels like a good time to start a quilt. It's a months-long project, for me at least, and it's nice to have a new quilt for the winter. This heart-patterned baby version from Free Patterns is actually made up of just squares and half-square triangles.

Something that takes less than an hour to make but will keep your kids entertained all day? That's a win. Check out this no-sew play tent from Making Lemonade.

In spite of the fact that there's already back-to-school and Halloween stuff popping up, there's still a lot of summer left. You might even have some travel yet to do, and these sewable packing cubes from Melly Sews would come in handy.

I'm going camping. Did I mention I'm going camping? I might make these campfire treats from Hip2Save as a warm up before I even leave home. Hey, I'm going camping!

I'm not sure how these braided crib bumpers from MaliaMuStudio on Etsy caught my attention, as we have no babies in our immediate circle right now, but aren't they adorable?

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

It's a Small World Felted Friends

This book was sent to me for my review from Tuttle Publishing. All opinions are all me.

I've been wanting to try needle felting for more years than I'd like to admit. I even have everything I need for a small project waiting in my sewing room. It's been collecting dust for way too long, and some of the cute options in It's a Small World Felted Friends by Sachiko Susa makes me wish I'd got on that sooner.

The book starts out with lots of colorful photos of the projects available. Each one represents a different country or part of the world. One of my favorites is the sweet mama and baby Australian koalas.

The photos precede a page titled "Before Starting Your Wool Felting Journey," which I thought was kind of odd, but I guess I get it. You need to be inspired by what's possible before you give a care about how it's done, right?

On a side note, I thought the little flag with "hello" in each country's native language was cute.

There are several countries represented here, but I was surprised there was nothing from Japan, given that seems to be the author's home country. There was a project from Palau, and I should probably be a little ashamed that I had to look up where that is. It was represented by another favorite though, this fish mobile.

I do have one beef with this book, so to speak. Can I just state for the record that the United States has more to offer than coffee, doughnuts and burgers? Well, that's what represents us in this book. I wouldn't mind that so much if it weren't for the fact that the description of the project starts with "Fast food is synonymous with American cuisine." Um, just no. There are so many better options they could have gone with here. Oh well.

While this is not a beginner's book, I did appreciate this description of the types of felt needed.

For some reason a few projects got color photo instructions. Those were nice to see.

The rest were covered by detailed drawings. Because of the crafting method used here, I would have preferred color for all of them.

Girl and Windmill.JPG

As I mentioned, this book doesn't seem to be intended for beginners, but not every book should be. We all need something to aspire to after we've had some practice at a craft. 

Maybe if I get started learning, I'll be there in time to make this jolly guy!

Friday Favorites No. 339

There's been lots of talk around here lately about the upcoming solar eclipse. There are parts of Oregon that are prime viewing areas. I'm not in one of those spots, but I'm just hoping we can see it. Those notorious Oregon clouds have definitely been know to show up in August, especially in the mornings. If that happens I'll be doubly glad I'm not one of those people paying a crazy amount of money for a hotel room or camping spot. My plan is to step outside, check it out, then back to making!

This post contains affiliate links.

If your kids are already bored this summer, help them make a new eight-legged buddy with this tutorial from While She Naps.

We went to an outdoor showing of one of my favorites movies, The Princess Bride, last summer. It was so fun! If you'd like to give it a try at home visit My Frugal Adventures to learn how to make this big screen.

We're probably not quite to that part of the year where everyone is trying to find takers for their crop of zucchini, but it's coming. Tuck this recipe away from Peas and Crayons for when that time arrives and you'll want to hang onto more of them than you give away.

Lemons are available year round, but they're extra special in the summer. This lemon curd from Your Homebased Mom looks perfect for a summer dessert.

In the interest of full disclosure, AdwoaDesign purchased a vendor apron from me recently, but after I had a look at her shop (and Instagram) I knew I had to feature her cute shop here. Everybody say it with me...awwwwww!

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Fabric Pentagon Bowl

Remember the airplane-friendly sewing kit I showed you last month? Well, today I'd like to share the project I made it for in the first place!

Since I was on my way to visit my son, I wanted to bring something I could make to give to him. Easier said than done. What do you sew for an outdoorsy young man that's small and portable? The project, not the man. He's neither small nor portable.

We regularly send care packages to him in Italy, and they often contain candy. I think that's more about my sweet tooth than his, but whatever. I assumed I'd find some of that candy still in a plastic bag (I was right), so I thought a little dish he could put it in would be just the thing. It's big enough to do the job, but small enough he probably won't stash it away in a drawer somewhere. Especially considering I put his Christmas decorations (that I sent to him) away while I was visiting in April. Like I said, he's not an indoor guy.

Anyway, here's how to make this bowl. I used the English paper piecing method, so you'll need to print this sheet of pentagons onto cardstock and carefully and accurately cut them out. Cut a piece of fabric for each one that's at least 1/4" larger on all sides than the paper. It doesn't have to be exact.

Lay the paper into the center on the wrong side of the fabric. Using your favorite English paper piecing method, attach the two together. I love my Sewline glue pen for this. (affiliate link) You just rub a bit of glue along the edge of the paper and stick the fabric down. It stays put as long as you want it to and isn't messy.

Fold each flat side over, overlapping the corners, until all the raw edges are glued down.

Repeat until you have six pentagons for the inside and six for the outside.

Choose a pentagon for the bottom of your bowl. To sew, hold the bottom and one side piece right sides together.  Using a tiny whip stitch, sew two sides together. Repeat with the remaining sides until they're all attached to the bottom piece.

Pull two adjacent pieces together, right sides of the fabric touching, and stitch in the same manor. Repeat with all five sides until you have a bowl shape.

Repeat with the other six pentagons. When you're finished, you'll need to gently turn the outside of the bowl inside out. You'll have to bend the paper inside a bit to do it, but with the sturdy cardstock it should still be fine. Don't remove the cardstock, as that's what gives stability and structure to the bowl.

Put the inner bowl inside the outer. At this point, they should be wrong sides together. Line up the top edge and use a ladder stitch to sew them together. Hide the knots in the seam.

It does get a bit difficult to keep the edges lined up as you get toward the end because you're fighting the cardstock inside, but with patience and lining it up as you go it works out.

This one went to my pineapple-loving daughter.

See, what did I tell you? Perfect for candy! It's not full enough though...I think I need to send more...

Friday Favorites No. 338

I can almost guarantee that the whole Christmas in July thing was invented by a maker. I found myself in the fabric store last week, buying holiday prints. I mentioned how early it felt, but the store employee who was cutting it pointed out that if I waited even another couple of weeks all the cutest would be gone. And you can bet I've been in my sewing room this week, turning those same prints into holiday vendor aprons (coming to my shop soon!)

This post contains affiliate links.

This hot weather might not be very motivating when it comes to exercise, but this sports bra pattern from So Sew Easy might give you a little boost in that direction.

This heart shaped pin made from a necktie, as shown on Craft Stylish, would be the perfect accent to my favorite denim jacket.

Granted, anyone can get my attention by using the words "Pina Colada" but doesn't this trifle from the Oriental Trading blog look delicious?

For years I thought I didn't like beer. It turns out I'm just a beer snob and there are some really tasty options out there. One of my favorites is a good stout, so add cheesecake to it and freeze it into a fudgesicle like The Beeroness has done and I'm more than willing to give it a try.

I have fairly long hair, and in the summer I quickly run out of things to do with it. I usually default to a boring ponytail. I think it's time to up my hair accessory game with this cute wrap from VACATIONHOUSE on Etsy.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Friday Favorites No. 337

With Independence Day right around the corner, it only seems right that my favorites this week are all of the red, white and blue variety. Any big plans for the holiday? It's a little rough that it's on a Tuesday. Personally, I'll be doing a civilian ride-along with my husband, so I'm sure I'll see plenty of fireworks!

This post contains affiliate links.

Doesn't everyone end up with a few of those big red or blue plastic cups hanging around from the last party? Now you can literally hang them around with this tutorial from I Can Teach My Child.

Pineapples are everywhere right now, but I've never seen them used quite like they are in this cute quilt from Jedi Crafty Girl.

I love the idea of using these printable trivia cards from Yellow Bliss Road as an icebreaker at the party. The cute utensil holders are definitely a bonus.

Cupcakes are always welcome in my house, but what I really love about this version from Oh Nuts is the marshmallow firecracker on top.

As I've told you all a hundred times, I can't crochet, but if I could this afghan pattern from ambassadorcrochet on Etsy would be on my wishlist. Actually, it probably is anyway.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs

It's been a while since I've sat down with an actual craft book. I feel like I've been running since Christmas! Just to prove how much extra time I have on my hands, I wrote this entire review once already, but went ahead and deleted it, just for fun (for who, I don't know). But I'm too stubborn to walk away without showing you this cute book sent to me by Tuttle Publishing!

This book is filled with small designs, most of which are quick to stitch. I love a project you can make quickly, so that got my attention. The first section, Little Scandanavian Sketches, includes these coffee cups that are near the top of my list.

The designs are made by different authors, so there's tons of variety in the style and complexity. This coffee serving dog is another favorite of mine.

I like the fact that they show every single design stitched up, instead of just a pattern. It's helpful when you're stitching, and it also gives you the opportunity to figure out ways to make it your own. I can think of lots of ways to use this pretty dress form.

The last couple of pages in the regular embroidery section are white thread on a black background. It's beautiful, but there's no instruction on how you would transfer the pattern. I wish that had been included because I'd love to try it.

Cross stitch is covered here as well, including this page of cats and dogs.

They could have stopped there, but there are also a few sewing projects included that are perfect for adding embroidery to. There are also suggestions for how to add it to some store bought items, and it's a little confusing which is which. Flipping to the pattern page in the back of the book clears that up.

I like the Embroidery Techniques page. It's clear enough for beginners to figure out how to get started. However, I do wish the stitches page would have used photos instead of drawings to show how they're done. As it is, I'm afraid it may be difficult for some to figure out. The cross stitch instructions are better, although they left out outlining, which is used in some of the designs.

Each design is laid out in black and white, along with the thread color and stitches used. After the sewing projects' patterns and instructions, there's a conversion chart on the inside of the back page for those wanting to use DMC floss, rather than the Cosmo suggested.

As you might imagine, I couldn't just look at all that embroidery without giving it a try! I chose the cute girl and one of the cups from the coffee cup page, then selected my own colors and stitched the tabletop line rather than piecing two fabrics together. She's definitely going on a coffee cup sleeve!

I love this book, and I'm excited to try more of the designs inside - sewing thread and scissors on page 52, I'm looking at you!

Friday Favorites No. 336

For some reason my post from yesterday didn't make it out to my email subscribers, so if you're looking for some DIY alternatives to fireworks (or you want to see my latest TV appearance on Afternoon Live), just click here!


Now that we're officially in a grip of summer, it sounds like we have a crazy-hot weekend to look forward to. However, hot here doesn't even come close to the 115+ I heard you Arizonians were dealing with this week. You win. Stay inside and make stuff.

This post contains affiliate links.

Craft Passion just keeps adding to her sock animal, with each cuter than the last. I think this kangaroo would make such a sweet baby shower gift.

Kids are home, right? Get them crafting with these bugs from Krokotak. They have to do something with all those popsicle sticks they're emptying.

I don't know which I love more, the fact that this pincushion is just super cute, or that Naehmarie calls it a "transporter."

I feel like it's been a really long time since I've had sorbet. This lovely pink version from Sugar and Soul Co. makes me think it's time to fix that.

I'm not sure I've ever met a red leather anything I didn't like. This pretty bracelet from RockBodyLeather on Handmade at Amazon is no exception.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

DIY Alternatives to Fireworks

I'm gearing up for my next appearance on Afternoon Live today. For those of you visiting from the link over there, welcome! (Here's the link to the video for those of you who missed it)

I had a conversation with my seven-year-old niece about it last weekend, and she asked if I was nervous. I told her I was a little, but that this will be my fourth time, and it keeps getting easier and less scary. She said that the fifth time will be when I stop being nervous. On one hand I thought that was cute, but on the other I'm kinda hoping she's right!

My topic today is fun things you can make for the little ones if you're trying to avoid fireworks. I found almost all of these on Pinterest, and added my own spin to a few. 

Marshmallow Poppers

I found the directions for these at Happiness is Homemade. I followed her directions on this one, but instead of confetti we're going to pop mini marshmallows, because I don't want the cleaning crew to lock me out next time I show up for the show.

Straw Rockets

This one is from Curious Kangaroos. I made them the same way, but used scrapbook paper and printer paper, as opposed to the thin paper recommended, and they seem to work fine. I found one of those fat smoothie straws is perfect for wrapping the paper around to tape. It makes the rocket just a bit larger than a regular straw.

Sparkler Wand

I thought these sparklers from Kids Craft Room were cute. I did use several more layers than recommended, with two pieces of foil and five cellophane. After I cut the strips, I taped a piece of curling ribbon inside every other one before I rolled it up. The only other thing I did differently was to use hot glue instead of tape to secure it, and that was really because I already had the thing warmed up.

Paper Pinwheels

Instructions for these are everywhere (I even made my own fabric version once upon a time) but the ones at Living the Swell Life were the first to catch my eye. For mine, I made a couple from two-sided scrapbook paper, then printed my own double sided paper for the other two. I used a pearl pin, but instead of bending it first as instructed, I pushed it through the papers, through a small round bead, then through the eraser. I clipped the pointy end off the pin, then bent the end down. They do spin, I tested them, but what do you want to bet they won't cooperate on camera? :-)

Mini Pinatas

I used the instructions on One Good Thing to make these. They came out a little wonky-looking, but they do work and I think kids would love them. How can you not like something full of candy?

Light Stick Wands and Decorated Bubbles

This last one is my own, but it's ridiculously simple. The wands are just a light stick attached to a smoothie straw with fancy duct tape. The bubbles are also wrapped with the same tape. DIY doesn't always have to mean super complicated, and the kids will be just as happy.

And not a flame in sight!

June Hoop Art of the Month - Mini Hoop Jewelry

When you've planned a year-long series that requires at least one every month, you tend to jump at a sale on embroidery hoops. As I was standing there trying to choose sizes, I started to wonder exactly how small they could go. The store only carried down to 3 inch hoops, but I knew someone had to have pushed that particular envelope. They did, and I'm so excited to share them with you today!

This post contains affiliate links.

I found a couple of options, but the ones that I thought were the nicest came from Dandelyne on Etsy. She's located in Australia, but don't let that scare you away with fears of huge shipping costs. Seriously, we're talking under $2 to Oregon. 

I ordered the Hoop Pack that included up to four 1" hoops and the hardware to make a necklace, ring and earrings. I messaged Sonia, the owner, to let her know I'm allergic to earrings, so she could just leave those out. She did, but sent me lots of extras instead!

On top of all that, she has a sweet Facebook group where members can share their mini creations. The skill level there is pretty inspiring!

But first let's talk about my skill level. I've never done any tiny embroidery before. There's a bit of a learning curve, but the good news is that it's fairly quick and if you end up with a dud it didn't take a ton of time and materials. And there were some duds.  Fortunately though, I also ended up with keepers. Let me be clear - every single mistake I made was my own fault. Her directions were excellent.

The hoops I ordered were 1", so that gave me about 3/4" usable space. Unfortunately I originally thought it gave me 1", and that's were dud #1 came in. After I worked out that problem, I chose three designs I'd sketched. I cut a piece of fabric 4 1/2" square with a matching piece of medium weight fusible interfacing for each.  It was much larger than the design, but it made it possible to put it into a small hoop for embroidery.

In order to transfer the designs on the fabric, I traced each on the back with my favorite iron-on transfer pens from Sublime Stitching.

I applied the interfacing to the fabric, then ironed the design into the center. One of my designs had lines that were just too close together and turned into a blur. Dud #2.

One of my designs had lines that were just too close together and turned into a blur. Dud #2.

My favorite embroidery medium is a nice, thick craft floss, but that wouldn't do for something so small. Dud #3. Instead I used three strands of regular embroidery floss. In hindsight, two probably would have been better, but it worked out. I got so involved in stitching that I failed to take any photos of the process, but it was basically stitching the tiniest of lines until each was filled in. 

I couldn't bear to toss the one I couldn't stitch, so I added a pineapple in the corner and stitched it without a hoop.

Right here is where I'm going to tell you, and I can't stress this enough, watch her YouTube video that describes how these are put together. There are lots of instructions included in the package, but the video really helps make everything clear. I watched it after I was done. Ugh.

I cut my designs to a 1 1/4" circle, and next time I would go a little larger to make them easier to mount in the hoop.

I used a hot glue gun for the entire process of putting the designs into the hoops. It seemed to work well, but as I mentioned, the video shows some tips and tricks I wish I'd known ahead of time. My impatience bit me on that one.

I had a hard time deciding which jewelry hardware to try first, so I texted my pineapple-loving daughter to ask if she'd rather have a ring or necklace. She chose the ring, so I attached the hoop onto the ring form using E6000 glue. It's still curing, but it seems very secure already. I decided the ice cream cone would be a perfect summer ring for myself. This is definitely not something you see every day.

I wanted to try the necklaces next, so I went with one silver and one antique gold.

Can anyone tell me what the picture on the right is? It's a red bikini hanging on a clothesline with the sun overhead. Yeah, I probably aimed a little too high on that one. That other sunny guy with the shades is my favorite though.

These were SO much fun to make, even with a few fails sprinkled in. I have one hoop left, and I can't wait to try again. I'm thinking maybe a monogram this time.

 Be sure to check out all the sizes and options for ordering in Dandelyne's shop, and tell her Crafty Staci sent you! ;-)

Friday Favorites No. 335

If all goes well, we'll be celebrating Father's Day this weekend by finally seeing the new Wonder Woman movie. I can't believe it's been out this long already and we haven't been. As a lifelong fan, I hope it lives up to both the hype and my high expectations - especially for the sake of the guy spending his big day watching it!

This post contains affiliate links.

I think my husband would have had as much fun building this sprinkler relay from Lil' Luna as the kids would have had playing with it when they were little. In fact, all of that is probably still true, although we'd need to make sure it's a bit taller these days.

My son had no oven mitts in his kitchen when we visited, so you can imagine the first thing I made when I got home. He has giant paws, so I searched for a pattern in an extra-large size. Hopeful Threads saved the day with this one.

Not only does this cold cut sub made in a bundt pan from 4 Sons 'R Us seem like it would be great for a group, but it's essentially a giant doughnut sandwich. What dad wouldn't love that?

The idea behind these taco shells is to avoid carbs, but it's taco shells made of CHEESE! This has got to be delicious. Thanks to Hip2Save for the recipe!

If you're looking for a last minute gift for Dad, and he happens to be a workshop kind of guy, this downloadable design from LighthousePaperCoNC on Etsy is a great idea. You can cut it with a Silhouette or a Cricut and make him a handmade sign in no time.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Blackberry Horchata Smoothie

What do you do when the sun's out and you're craving a frosty, blended smoothie, but the fresh berries aren't quite ripe? Go frozen! Oregon is well known for our amazing berries, and fortunately you can get them year round in the freezer aisle because my daughter and I were in the mood to experiment. Yes, sometimes that's as dangerous as it sounds, but this one turned out to be a winner.

This post is sponsored by the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission.  I received a gift card as reimbursement for ingredients and time.

We played around with some ingredients and I think for the first time ever, I had to rinse a smoothie down the kitchen sink drain. I'll spare you the details on that one, but when it came to this one, we drank every bit. The other drink was much more complicated too, which just goes to show sometimes simple is better.

The not-so-secret ingredient in this magical potion is horchata. You can make your own, but I cheated and went with ready-made. The only other things you need are those frozen Oregon blackberries and Greek yogurt.

Blackberry Horchata Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups horchata
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, frozen into cubes

Blend all the ingredients in a blender. If your smoothie is too thick, add a little more horchata.

We felt like this was sweet enough with the berries and horchata, but if you really want to baby your sweet tooth you could always add a little honey or use vanilla yogurt. A little whipped cream on top with a light dusting of cinnamon would be fun too.

My daughter took one sip of this and said it tasted like a blended blackberry cobbler. The flavor of the cinnamon in the horchata really comes through, but without overpowering the blackberries.

I realized the next day that you could also pour this into popsicle molds and it would be an amazing treat on a stick. We'll save that for our next smoothie day!

Friday Favorites No. 334

I'm the membership chair for my local quilt guild. We had our monthly board meeting this week, where one of our biggest topics was our upcoming quilt show. Being a newer guild, it's our first one and it got me wondering what the statistics are when it comes to these. Have you been to a quilt show? If not, why? What are you looking for when you attend? I'd love to hear your feedback on this topic (if you're not comfortable leaving a public comment, feel free to email me at email@craftystaci.com). It's mostly for my own curiosity, but it might help us out with our planning!

This post contains affiliate links.

My husband and son have both purchased new vehicles in the last year. I've never seen either of them so careful with a car. The attention to detail is unprecedented. Maybe they each need this car washing kit from Crafting Chicks. That is, if they weren't fully stocked on car care products already.

Okay, I'll admit this one is a little too high on the woodworking skills scale for most of us, but I'm just amazed that it's possible to make a wooden tape measure. Let ClenseYourPallet on Instructables walk you through the steps.

I had to share this recipe for french onion soup from Food Network today because I actually made it a few days ago. It was delicious! The only things I did differently is that I used white wine instead of red and dried thyme instead of fresh, both because it was what I had on hand. We ate some the day it was made, but it was even better when we finished it off two days later!

Nothing says summer like ice cream, and I love the idea of making these ice cream bars from Leite's Culinaria with any toppings your heart desires.

This is called a Wrist Ruler and they're made right here in Oregon by I Love Handles. It's a leather bracelet accurately marked with both inches and centimeters. I don't know how many times I've tracked down a quilting ruler in the fabric or craft store because I needed to measure something. I just need to choose a color and this will be on its way to me!

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

Airplane-Friendly Mini Sewing Kit

I've never taken a sewing project on an airplane before, but each direction of my recent trip was about 20 hours so I was looking for ways to keep myself entertained. I was worried about getting bored, but it turns out trying to sleep takes up a bunch of time. Yeah, trying. Anyway, I set out to figure out what it would take to be able to hand stitch on board and ended up with this cute little kit I'm going to share with you today!

To make this you'll need:

  • empty dental floss container (you'll need one you can open without destroying)
  • thread
  • cotton fabric
  • fusible fleece
  • felt
  • elastic cord
  • button
  • 3/4" wide elastic

The question of whether you can carry even tiny scissors on a plane is a big one, and seems to vary by country. One stitcher even talked about her necklace that had a shielded blade being confiscated. (affiliate link)

Are you scratching your head over that dental floss container? It's a brilliant idea (which I can say because it wasn't mine) that I read about in several places. Instead of taking my chances with the scissors, I used the tiny blade that's ordinarily used to cut the floss! 

When I mentioned this to my husband, he suggested I take it a step further and wind my thread around the spool inside. Even better, and saved me space elsewhere! He did mention a winding technique that involved a power drill, but he wasn't around when I made this so I ended up winding it by hand. I'm kind of curious what that would have looked like.

I put the spool back in place inside the container and fed the thread through the hole and across the blade, just like the floss. And it works great!

Now that I had a handy thread dispenser, I couldn't just leave it at that. I needed something to carry it in. After a couple of too-complicated sketches, I settled on this simpler design.

Cut your pieces in the following sizes:

  • outer fabric - 6 x 3"
  • inner fabric - 6 x 3"
  • fusible fleece - 6 x 3"
  • felt - 5 x 2"
  • elastic cord - 3"
  • 3/4" wide elastic - 6"

Apply the fusible fleece to the wrong side of the inner fabric. Lay it down, right side up. Add the wide elastic, centered. Tie or stitch the two ends of the elastic cord, then lay that loop in the middle of the wide elastic on the right. The loop should be to the inside and the ends even with the edge.

Add the outer fabric on top, right side down. Pin well and stitch 1/4" from the edge, leaving 1 1/2" open at the bottom.

Clip the corners and turn right side out. Press, turning in the edges of the opening. Stitch around, close to the edge.

Lay it down with the elastic side up. Center the felt on top. Stitch down the center.

Fold closed along the stitching line. Pull the elastic loop over the front and mark the spot it reaches. Sew the button on that spot.

Open and stitch from top to bottom 1" from the right edge.

Now comes the fun part - loading it up! Slip the dental floss container under the elastic in front, weave a needle or two into the felt and add a threader in the back. You can even slip in a small spool of thread if you need a second color.  Keep in mind, you may run into someone who doesn't let those needles though, although that seems to be pretty rare.

You can click on the photo below to scroll through each of the sections:

I made my kit its own zipper bag so I could carry the English paper piecing project I was bringing with it. 

I never did actually sew on any of our flights. You forget how much elbow room it requires when you're doing it at home. However, I did use my kit at my son's home! I repaired one of his pillows and made him a little project that I'll be sharing with you soon.  

No one batted an eye at my needles or thread holder in any of the security areas we went through, so I'm going to call this a success!

Friday Favorites No. 333

I need to vent for just a second. I didn't notice until we were packing up to come home, but I'm fairly certain someone stole my luggage tags (the Superhero Luggage Tags I made years ago). The reason I think they were swiped, rather than just lost, is that there was one on each bag and they were BOTH missing. They had very sturdy hardware holding them on, and they've been through lots of trips with no issues. Well, I hope whoever has them now enjoys them. I'd be more angry if it weren't for the fact that gives me an excuse to make new ones!

This post contains affiliate links.

This sunburn prevention bracelet from Budget 101 might be a genius way to keep track of when it's time to add more sunscreen. It's worth a try!

Did you know you can crochet your own set of reusable water balloons? Let Left in Knots show you how.

Chocolate chip cookie ice cream cones, where have you been all my life? Thanks to Ashlee Marie for the next few pounds.

If you give a mouse a cookie cone, he's going to want some ice cream to go in it. This mermaid version from Home Made Interest looks like a good option.

The gelato in Italy is smooth and just the right amount of sweet. In fact, there's a flavor called zuppa inglese that I don't know how to not have in my life. It tastes like eggnog, with pieces of dark chocolate. Of course, my first reaction to realizing that was to come home and search for recipes. In my search I came across this book by Morgan Morano that looks like it's full of good recipes. I don't have it yet, but it's sitting in my Amazon cart.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

May Hoop Art of the Month - Fabric Flower Wreath

My vacation kind of waylaid this project, but technically it's still May for another minute! I'm glad I was able to squeeze this in because it was actually inspired by my time away.

When we left home most of the plants were still waiting to do their thing, so we didn't have many flowers or even leaves yet. When we returned, spring had exploded. Everything is bright green, and the flowers are popping up everywhere. We were gone so long we completely missed the lilac and bleeding hearts! I can't even think about all the weeding that needs to be done, but I'm thrilled to see so much color everywhere. So much so, I decided to add some of my own.

To make this, you'll need:

  • 12" embroidery hoop
  • cotton fabric (for flowers, centers, leaves and hoop wrap)
  • batting
  • buttons, or cardboard cut in circles (I used one 2", two 1 1/2" and two 1", but if you want a little less effort to cover the centers go with about 1/2" larger on each)
  • green wire, or wire wrapped with floral tape (I used about 65")

For the fabric to wrap the hoop, cut 2" wide strips. I used a total length of about 80", but this can vary depending on how tightly you wrap and with how much overlap so I'd go a little longer to be sure there's enough.

For the flowers and leaves cut the following:

Large flower (1)

  • five 8" squares for the petals
  • two 10" squares for the leaves

Medium flowers (2)

  • ten 6" squares for the petals
  • four 8" squares for the leaves

Small flowers (2)

  • ten 4" squares for the petals
  • four 6" squares for the leaves


  • Cut fabric circles at least 1/2" larger than the button or cardboard
  • Cut batting to match button or cardboard

We'll start by making the flower centers. Hand stitch around the fabric circle with a long stitch and doubled thread. Don't knot or cut thread. Lay the batting circle in the center on the wrong side.

Add the cardboard or button on top. Carefully pull the thread to gather. Knot and clip thread. Set the centers aside.

Next up are the flowers. This is a good TV or movie-watching project. Fold one petal square in half diagonally, with wrong sides together. Fold in half again so you have a triangle. As tempting as it is, do not press with an iron. You want these to keep some dimension.

Using doubled thread, stitch a long running stitch about 1/4" from the raw edge.

At this point you can either pull the thread to gather this one petal or continue stringing them on and gather all five at once. I usually gather all at once, but this time I tried doing it individually. I think I prefer the look and smoothness of gathering them all at once.  

Either way, don't knot or clip the thread from the first petal, just begin stitching the second onto the same thread, repeating until you've completed all five.

Stitch the two end petals together. Repeat the process for the remaining four flowers. Make the leaves in the same way, but using only the two squares for each rather than five.

Looks colorful already, huh?

This is where you want to fire up the glue gun. Start assembling the wreath by gluing the centers into the flowers. I had to squeeze and coax the petal edges under the center, which is why I recommend using slightly larger than I did (as I mentioned above).  I wasn't completely successful with all of them, but I still like the way they turned out.

Next, glue the leaves onto the back.

There are a couple of options when it comes to covering the hoop with fabric. You can either leave the raw edges exposed or, as I did, fold both edges into the middle and press.

Start by gluing one end of the strip to the back of the hoop at an angle.

Wrap the fabric around the hoop, being sure to overlap so all the wood is covered. When you come back to where you started, glue the fabric to the back of the hoop and cut off the excess.

Before you begin gluing the flowers to the hoop, take a minute to arrange them the way you'd like so you know where each will go. Once you've done that, glue on the largest flower first.

Add on remaining flowers until all are attached to the hoop.

Cut the wire into random lengths for the tendrils. I cut them longer for the two ends so I could wrap around the hoop.

To attach them, I twisted the end around a bit so the glue had more to hang onto and glued that to the inside of the hoop.

Use a pencil or larger item to wrap the tendrils around to curl. I found something tapered (like my handy Kwik Klip [affiliate link]) looked the best.

I used the leftover wire to make a hanger for the top, and now this little beauty looks right at home on my front door next to all the other flowers!

Friday Favorites No. 332

Summer seems to have arrived while we were gone. We're still having some cloudy days, but it looks like the deluge of rain we've been suffering through has passed. I'm so ready for nice weather. We have a camping trip booked for July, and I'm so excited because I haven't been in about 4 years! Bring on the s'mores and mosquitoes!

This post contains affiliate links.

If you have the woodworking skill to pull it off, this old recliner turned into an amazing outdoor chair would make a great Father's Day gift. Find out how it's done from buck2217 on Instructables.

Skater skirts, like this one from Fleece Fun, are everywhere now, and work well on just about any body type. 

I have this weird thing about walking around my house barefoot. Can't do it. It's tough to find something to wear in summer if I don't feel like full-on shoes, but if I could crochet these sandals from Crafts by Amanda would be a great solution.

Nothing says summer like apple pie. Step it up even more with these churro apple pie cookies from Jo Cooks.

Wedding season is upon us, and there are so many lovely, handmade options out there now for brides and grooms. This wedding ring box from MissVintageWedding on Etsy is pretty, and I love the bit of moss for padding inside. 

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!

My Trip to Italy

I’m back! Actually, I’ve been back for a few days, but jetlag is real. It wasn’t as bad for me coming home as it was going there, but it still smacked me down a bit. Fortunately I suspected that would be the case and left myself a cushion to readjust…except for the doctor and dentist appointments I foolishly made for myself for the beginning of this week. But that’s all under the bridge, and I’m ready to dive back into my craft room. First though, I’d like to share a little of my trip with you!

We left home on April 24th and took a series of LONG flights to Italy. In our airport here in Portland you leave the secured area, and can greet whoever is picking you up, before you pick up your luggage. In Naples, we had to wait for our luggage first. Which nearly drove me crazy, and my husband kept saying “Just go hug your boy. I’ll get the bags.” I finally took him up on it. A year is too long to wait for a hug from your kid.

Our son lives in a small town just inland from Gaeta, where he works, and he drove down to Naples to pick us up. The first thing I learned about Italy is that the driving situation is insane. A one lane road is turned to three, cars will pass each other with traffic in the oncoming lane, and it feels like everyone’s bumpers are touching because they drive so close together. Fortunately, the cars are tiny. If I lived there I would have to take public transportation everywhere!

The first place we spent some time was Gaeta. Apparently it’s not a big tourist area for people from outside the country, but it is for Italians. The weather was good, and being from Oregon anything over about 65 degrees is shorts and tanks weather. We were the ONLY ones. Everyone else was wearing muted colors, heavy coats and boots. Me and my white, flowery, sleeveless top and my pasty white arms stuck out like a sore thumb.

Of course one of the first things we did was sample some gelato and cappuccino. It’s probably good I don’t live there, or that’s what I would have every day.

In the afternoon, we stopped at an outdoor bar for drinks. We were sitting at a little table, when suddenly car after car started pulling up, filled with people clearly dressed for a wedding, including the bride and groom themselves. The bar was ready for them with champagne and snacks. We just sat at our little table while an entire wedding reception was happening around us!

There’s a castle next door to my son’s apartment building (!), so we spent part of a day exploring that. We were on our way to figure out how to get in, when an Italian man that works with my son happened to drive by. We asked him where to enter, so he hopped out of his car and gave us a mini tour. He grew up in the area, and talked about playing hide and seek in the castle as a kid.

Tucker had to work during much of our visit, but he was able to get about a week off, so we planned a trip. We decided to take the train, which made for a much more relaxing trek than I think driving would have been. Our first stop was Rome, where we stayed for a couple of days.

We visited most of the things you’d expect in Rome, like the Forum, the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain, etc. Being from the United States, and specifically the West coast, we just don’t have buildings anywhere near as old as almost everything there. It was surreal to me to be walking down the street and realize you’re walking by something that’s been there for thousands of years.

In addition to all the sites, you can find a café and gelato shop on nearly every corner. That wasn’t completely surprising, but what was is the number of Irish pubs. Who would have guessed?

When we left Rome we stopped in Pisa, long enough to see the Leaning Tower. I wish I would have taken a photo of all the tourists there, with about 75% of them taking the “Hey look, I’m holding up the tower with one hand” pic.

From Pisa, we continued on to a town called La Spezia. We had an airbnb there for a couple of nights so we could visit an area called Cinque Terre.  You know those photos you see of Italy with the colorful buildings climbing up a steep hillside? That’s Cinque Terre.

We took the train between each of the five villages, and each one had its own personality. They all sit on the side of a hill, so there is a lot of walking and climbing stairs. I think I understand how the Italians can eat so much pasta, gelato and bread and still be thin and fit.

 The views were absolutely amazing everywhere you looked. You can look to the hillside with all the colorful buildings, grapevines and lemon trees with the biggest lemons I’ve ever seen.

Then you can turn around and see an expansive view of the ocean. Beautiful in every direction.

We stayed in La Spezia because we’d heard it was easier than trying to find lodging in Cinque Terre, but it turned out to be a fun place to spend time also. Our airbnb was across the street from a music conservatory, so we were treated to amazing music most of the time we were there. We also visited an Italian Navy Museum and walking through the shopping and along the waterfront.

After our travels, we returned to our son’s apartment where we celebrated my birthday and Mother’s Day. He had to go back to work, but my husband and I were still able to have some mini adventures, like figuring out how to shop in an Italian grocery store, visit our favorite café for our daily cappuccino and try to decide exactly which shop had the best gelato.

On Tucker’s last day off before we left, he drove us up into the hills to a monastery. You could see all the way past Gaeta to the ocean. It was a perfect way to top off our trip.

We had an amazing time, not only visiting the tourist areas, but getting the opportunity to really experience living in Italy, if only for a short time. We were there for about four days when we decided we are definitely going back next spring!

Friday Favorites No. 331

If all went as planned, we arrived back home from Italy last night. I wrote this post before I left, because I'm fairly certain I have a major case of jet lag right now, and wouldn't even begin to make sense. Even more than usual. Once I've had a chance to adjust and unpack, I'll be back to tell you all about it!

This post contains affiliate links.

Have you seen Zootopia? We don't catch many animated movies anymore, but we were told it was a must-see. We loved it, and my husband STILL can't stop talking about the sloths at the DMV. Thanks to Craft Passion, I can make him one of his very own.

Not only is this woven basket from Atkinson Designs pretty, but it looks like it would be really fun to make. I've been wanting to try some sort of weaving, and this seems right up my alley.

Since we're approaching that time of year when you can find both fresh lavender and blackberries, this scone recipe from Half Baked Harvest is a must-try.  Imagine how these smell when they're cooking. Mmmm...

I'll admit this recipe from Unlikely Martha is a bit unusual, unless you ordinarily make your guacamole with watermelon. But after I read the ingredients I realized it actually sounds pretty delicious!

When I was young I went through a phase where I was obsessed with horses. In later years it became more of a situation where I like to admire them, but don't need one of my own. This horseshoe heart from Lucky Nail Blacksmith on Handmade at Amazon though? This I do need.

You can find these, and my previous Friday Favorites, on my Crafty Staci’s Friday Favorites Pinterest board!