There are a few holidays that are a little difficult to know what to do with once you're empty nesters like we are, but not grandparents yet. Halloween comes to mind. Easter is another. I have zero excuse to dye eggs or make Easter baskets. I don't mean for that to sound so sad, because I know one day there will be little ones around again. The real issue is, what do we do then? We're actually thinking about some yard work, and maybe catching up on a couple of movies. I might even squeeze in a little time on a special quilt I'm making. My new Easter tradition = sewing...Read More
It's spring, it's spring, it's spring!!! I mean, oh, hey, it's spring or whatever. I can't pretend I'm not excited. It's been a weird winter, and I'm done with it. One of the first signs of the end is the hawks cruising through the valley behind our house, and since I spotted the first one a few days ago I'm calling it. What's the thing that means spring is here for you (besides the calendar)...Read More
In a couple of days I'm heading out for a mini road trip with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and the two dogs. We're starting out from our home here in Oregon and driving to Montana. The kids are hoping to move there soon, and it's on our radar too, so we want to go check out some properties we've had our eye on. My husband lived there as a kid, but I've only been once. It was summer then, so I'm curious to find out what Montana-cold really feels like...Read More
This week, I started making quilts for my kids. I realized the last ones I made for them are about 20 years old, and figured they were due. I'm still in the middle of cutting the pieces, and I've already warned my daughter it might be quite a while before I'm finished. Like, probably 2019. I'm excited to make them, but I'm also realistic and self-aware. I'll post some details when I'm further along...Read More
I've spent a lot of time in front of the computer making travel plans lately. We're taking a trip to visit our son in Italy again next month, which I'm very excited about, and we're also taking a side trip for a week (taking the boy with us) to Ireland, Scotland and England. We're also taking a weekend trip to another country we have yet to choose. Before all that, we're visiting Montana for a few days to scope out some potential houses for our daughter and her husband, who are hoping to move there soon. Time to hit my sewing room and choose a travel project or two...Read More
This month's hoop art was inspired by a photo I shared on my Instagram last spring.
We have a tall Japanese maple near our garage, and a Robin build her nest on a branch that was very close to it. I couldn't believe she wasn't scared away, since that's where we come and go, but she stuck with it until those blue eggs hatched into these hungry babies.
All four eggs hatched and were cared for by their mom until they learned how to use their wings and left the nest. If that's not a reason the commonly used term "Mama Bear" should instead be "Mama Robin" I don't know what is. Her persistence was admirable.
Speaking of persistence, let's talk about the hoop art. This one has been on the list since the beginning, I just didn't know what I would use to make it. This is the first one that hasn't involved sewing or fabric, and I wanted to keep it that way. I considered several options, even going as far as buying supplies at the craft store, then returning them once I realized I hadn't hit the nail on the head. I couldn't be happier with the final result though, and can't wait to show you how it was made!
To make this one you'll need:
6" embroidery hoop
cardboard, larger than the hoop
decorative eggs or painted wood eggs
jute rope (1/4" in diameter, 4 ply)
ribbon (for hanging)
hot glue gun
Trace the outside of the hoop onto the cardboard. Cut out just inside the line.. You can use recycled cardboard, but make sure the area facing up doesn't have print on it in case it shows through the rope. Tighten the hardware on the hoop that holds the inner ring in. Glue the cardboard onto the back of the hoop.
Starting from the outside of the circle, glue the rope to the cardboard, spiraling toward the center. The reason I didn't give you a quantity for the rope is because it can vary wildly, depending on how tightly you glue it together.
Make sure the center is filled in with rope.
Spiral from the center back to the outside edge, gluing a new row of rope on top of the previous, so your rope is two layers thick. You can see how I didn't worry too much about making sure the first go-round was tight or twisted correctly, because I knew it would be covered. I was more careful on the second row.
Glue rope to the front of the hoop, which should fit two rows wide. Add another row on top of those, centered on the first two, to build up the height.
Wrap the rope around the outer edge of the hoop to cover, continuing to glue as you go. Cut the rope and tuck the end between layers and glue.
Glue the feathers in place. I know, these are not robin feathers. I just couldn't find that section at the craft store.
I intended to buy wooden eggs and paint them myself, but when I saw eggs that looked exactly like I pictured, I took the out. They aren't quite as pretty as wood would be, but they are lighter, so probably less likely to drag my hoop down.
Glue the eggs on so they cover the ends of the feathers.
Tie some ribbon around the top to hang, or if you prefer, lay it on a flat surface.
I don't think this will fool Mama Bird, but maybe she'll see it as a welcome sign. There's no better way to celebrate spring than to wait for new babies!
I’m an Oregon girl, born and raised. I generally take the seasons in stride, waiting patiently for the sun to peek out when it’s good and ready. This year is a little different. Granted, we didn’t have the relentless winter they had back east, but it still felt long and cold. I am beyond ready for spring. If it won’t come to me, I’m going to try summoning it with my wardrobe. Yes, my toes are a little chilly in my sandals today, but I’m optimistic. Maybe this tank will do the trick.
This started as a simple, unembellished pink tank from Old Navy and a piece of lightweight knit fabric.
Measure the distance you’d like the fabric to overlap onto the front. In my case, that was 1/2”. Multiply that number by 3, then add 1/2”. You’ll also need to measure the arm and neck holes, adding about 3 or 4” to each. In my case, I cut two pieces that were 2 by 24” for the arms and one 2 by 35” for the neck.
Fold one end of a strip about 1/4” to the wrong side, then line up the edge with the arm hole. Stitch away from the edge the distance of your original measurement, 1/2” for me. Be sure to use a stretch or knit stitch so your openings will still stretch. Continue all the way around until you cover the fold where you started. Cut off the excess strip. Repeat for the other arm.
Press the trim away from the tank.
Fold the trim over the edge to the inside of the tank. Make sure it covers the stitching line.
From the front, stitch all the way around close to the fold as shown below.
Repeat the process for the neck.
Doesn’t this top doesn’t look like spring?
Join me again on Wednesday and I’ll show you what else I made from this pretty floral fabric!
I noticed late last week that a few daffodils had bloomed in front of the house. Not unusual most places, even up the hill from my house, but where I live they tend to be later. It’s especially strange since it hasn’t been very warm. I thought about cutting them and bringing them inside, but I liked the pop of color outside. Yesterday morning I woke up to find them buried in snow. This one is trying to come back now that it’s melted a bit.
We only see snow on the ground a few times a year, so it was even weirder than the blooming daffodils. It made me REALLY wish I had cut the poor things. I decided to make some out of fabric for the indoors, sure to be safe from this crazy weather.
I’m going to walk you through my three experiments, saving my favorite for last. I like all of them for different reasons, so I’ll let you choose for yourself.
To make one of these, you’ll need five 4” squares and one 1 1/2 x 20” strip of fabric and a small circle of felt, about 1” across. For this first version, you’ll also need a 2” square of fabric. In the photo above, the first one is on the far right.
Fold a square in half with wrong sides together. The fold is at the top.
Fold one upper corner down to the center bottom.
Fold the other upper corner down to the center to create a triangle.
Pin in place. Repeat with the other four squares. Fold the long strip in half and lay on top of the triangle with the raw edges together. With knotted thread and needle, start on one end and take long stitches near the edge through all layers.
Add the next triangle and continue stitching, repeating until all triangles are attached to the strip.
If the strip is longer than your triangles, cut off the excess. Gather tightly. Stitch ends together and knot thread.
Holding the petals, pull up on the gathered strip in the center so it stands up from the flower.
Turn the flower over and glue a felt circle on the bottom with hot glue.
Stitch large stitches around the 2” square. Gather and knot. Glue into center of flower with the gathered side down.
For the second version, far left in the photo above, you’ll need the same cuts of fabric, excluding the 2” square. Prepare the triangles the same way, but instead of sewing the triangles and strip together, just sew the triangles together by themselves. Stitch a long running stitch near the raw edge of the folded strip. Gather.
Stitch the ends together. Stitch through some of the folds on the outside to keep them standing upright.
Prepare flower with the felt circle on the back, then sew or stitch the center to the flower.
For the last, and my favorite, prepare the flower the same way as the second one above, including gluing the felt circle to the back. For the center, cut the strip down to 12”. Stitch the ends with right sides together.
Fold in half with wrong sides together and stitch near edge.
Pull the thread to gather. Knot thread.
Glue into the center of the flower.
You can glue a ribbon loop to the back to hang these. I knew I wanted to put them in a little vase, so I covered a wood skewer with floral tape and glued it to the back.
It’s amazing how a few bright flowers can make March snow a little more bearable.
Apparently, there’s this local craft sale that goes on near the holidays and in the spring. I don’t know how long it’s been going on, but what really baffles me is that I didn’t know about it. Well, it’s definitely on my radar now.
The sale in question is called Crafty Wonderland, and it takes place at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. I wanted to check out the spring version last Saturday, so I invited my mom, two sisters and two of my nieces along. We arrived just as it was opening, behind a line of at least a couple hundred people, and in front of that many more. Note to self: next time, arrive fashionably late.
I realized after we started looking around that I forgot my cell phone, which is also the camera I intended to use to share a little of my experience with you. Luckily, my iPhone-carrying sister volunteered to snap some shots, which cleverly excludes her from any of the following photos. I’m a little suspicious about that part.
The organizers of this sale did a great job choosing vendors, many of which can be found online or on Etsy. In fact, here’s a list from their website. The merchandise all appeared to be excellent quality, and there was a lot of variety in the types and styles of items available. Between us, we went home with our arms full.
It was also clear that the vendors had thought out their booths well. Some were really beautiful.
We found moss to be a theme throughout many of the displays. Could that be because we’re in Oregon?
Mustaches and owls still abound, but we also discovered octopus (octopi?) and repurposed children’s books are having their moment. In fact, repurposing in general was a recurring theme we were all happy to see.
I really liked the fact that this didn’t mirror the typical church-bazaar style craft fair. I’m not knocking those at all, I enjoy visiting them around the holidays, although they do get harder to find as the years go by. But this sale was populated with vendors who clearly do this for a living. This sale might be once or twice a year, but they are creating and selling their art and crafts year-round. It just lends a different feel to the experience.
If you’re in the Portland area, I highly recommend attending. You’ll see me visiting the holiday sale. I’ll be the one walking really slowing and bumping into everyone in front of me because I can’t take my eyes off the pretty.