Giveaway Time!

Update: the giveaway is now closed, and the winner is Beth! Beth, you’ll be getting an email from me shortly ūüėä. Thanks to everyone to participated!

Hello all! I’m knee deep in boxes over here (we bought our first house!) but I’m stopping in to take part in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day!

This time I’m giving away a set of 4 crane ornaments:

I’ve been trying to get organized to make some holiday decorations, and looking at some Christmas cards the other day, I was struck with inspiration. I loved a bunch of the designs, but you can only send so many cards, so I decided to use a few of the prettier ones to make some origami cranes. Add a bit of ribbon and they become beautiful ornaments (or just pretty things to hang if you don’t have a tree ūüėä).

You can win these little guys by leaving a comment on this post telling me about your favorite holiday decoration. I’ll pick a winner at random at 5 PM (PST) on Friday, 12/12, and it is open to international readers. And while you’re in a giveaway kinda mood, head on over to Sew Mama Sew and check out all the other awesome stuff!



New Pattern: Transenna Blanket!

Meet my newest pattern, Transenna!


Basically as soon as it started getting chilly and rainy around here, I was itching to start something with cables. I already had a bunch of sweaters in progress, and I’ve wanted a heavier, knit blanket to snuggle up on the couch with for a while now. I poked around for a week or so trying to find a pattern I liked, but nothing was grabbing me, so I made my own!


I kind of just experimented with cables until I found some I liked, so this blanket uses a combination that ends up looking like an old lead glass window (which is where the name came from!).


It’s knit with yarn held doubled in Cascade Yarns Cherub Aran, which¬†remains one of my favorite yarns. It’s so, so soft, but can be machine washed and dried (I don’t recommend drying it, as it can seriously shorten¬†the life of your knits, but the point is that you can). This made it not only crazy warm, but also gave it a gorgeous drape and weight.


I made this one in lavender (which was very quickly claimed by a friend), then immediately cast on to make one in green for a Christmas present, and I have plans to make another in blue for our new house!


It may look¬†really complicated, but I’ve tried my best to break it down into easy to read parts, and the pattern comes with both written and charted instructions. It’s available for download in my Ravelry store. I hope you have as much fun¬†making it as I did designing it, and as always, please let me know if you have any questions!




Nye Quilt

Now that the issue is out, I can finally write about the Nye quilt!


It’s been so hard to keep this one under wraps because I loved it so much, so keeping the secret for 3 months was really tough. It was also my first pattern to be published in a magazine, so of course I wanted to shout it from the roof tops!


I’ve had some people ask about the process and how this came about, so I thought I’d go over how it happened for this post.¬†I’ve followed Kristy over at Quiet Play for a long time now (I absolutely love her paper pieced patterns and tutorials), so when I saw that she was starting up an online magazine called Make Modern with Jane (of Where Jane Creates) and Lara¬†(no blog but check out her awesome instagram¬†to see her amazing projects), I decided to just see if I could come up with something worthy!


I’ve been using the Quiltography app¬†to play around with some designs, and this quilt came out of one of those. I might post a more in depth review of Quiltography at some point, but basically I feel it’s a worthwhile tool for the price; there are some shortcomings but it’s pretty helpful for $15! I sent in a sketch to their submissions page, and heard back from Kristy pretty quickly that they liked it, but wondered if I could play around with it and make it more modern. I took a few hours and reworked it, and came up with the final design, which they loved!


That first email was way back in late July, so I had two months to make the quilt and photograph it, not to mention write the pattern and make the template! There was a lot of trial and error for the size of the bow tie blocks; that’s one huge shortcoming with the app – there’s no measurement aspect to it, so you’re still on your own with the math – which is decidedly not my strong suit. I eventually got it worked out though and got to work. Things were going well, until I figured out halfway through that I had been using the wrong white as the background! It was just barely noticeable, but I couldn’t let it go, so I had to redo about half of my blocks. Luckily, it gave me lots of practice, so by the time I was done with this thing, I could whip out about 12 of them in a day.


I ended up fussy cutting my fabric so that each bow tie block had a bee and a little beehive included, and I’m so happy I took the extra time because it ended up looking really nice.

gray block

I’d been writing the pattern as I went along (I find it’s easier to do it as I go rather than trying to remember after the fact), so once the quilt was done, I just had to tweak the flow of it to make sure the instructions made sense. We were getting into the rainy season here in Seattle by then, but I managed to get photographs on a rare sunny day over at a nearby playground. I sent everything in (on time, I might add!), and then all that was left was final edits! The magazine did all the technical edits (thanks ladies!), so all I had to do was go over the proof, and the final template needed to be tweaked a bit. And then…I had to wait.


There was about a month between when I turned it in and when the pattern came out, and it felt like so long, especially after Kristy emailed to let me know that they had chosen my quilt for the cover! I was so thrilled, particularly since all the projects in the issue were so great.


So that’s the story! If you’d like to make this quilt for yourself, the pattern is in issue two of Make Modern Magazine, and you can buy it (or subscribe!) at their website. Or if you fancy buying the original, it’s up in my Etsy shop. And for my fellow quilters, if you’re thinking of submitting a design, the ladies at Make Modern are lovely to work with, so I encourage you to take a shot at it!



Issue 2 of Make Modern Magazine is here!

A quick end of the week check in to tell everyone that Issue 2 of Make Modern Magazine, featuring my quilt Nye on the cover (and pattern available inside, of course!) is on sale today! Go to http://www.makemodern.com.au/#!shop/c1cgf to get your copy!



A Few WIPs

I’ve had some trouble settling on just one project lately; I have Christmas presents to make, but I just can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long, so I don’t have any finished projects to show this week. Instead, you get a bunch of who-knows-when-they’ll-be-done projects!

First up, I’ve been making applesauce like crazy around here. I normally hate to cook and consider it more of an inconvenience than anything else, but for some reason I love to can and make jam. I got a brand new, giant canning pot, so now I can process a bunch at a time instead of trying to fit them into our little pressure cooker (there’s only 3 in this pot because it was the last of the batch, but I can fit up to 8 pint jars in here!).


In craft project news, I’ve been working on making a Super Grover costume for friends of ours (they have a dog named Grover, so it had to happen) and I’m fairly proud of this helmet I made:


Zoey is quite rakishly modeling it for me in this picture¬†(she is the WORST model, so she’s being bribed with a tennis ball here), but I’m hoping Grover’s Mom and Dad will send me some pictures when he dresses up for trick or treaters, so hopefully you’ll see the whole enchilada (there’s a cape too)¬†soon!

I’m also working on a birthday present for the husband – he is a notoriously difficult person to shop for, so when he really liked¬†the Warwick¬†sweater from my The Knitter magazine, I decided that would be the way to go. I can’t show the full thing because he reads my blog (hi babe!), but showing the backside is safe, and I’m actually pretty proud of it:


Of course the sweater he liked involves colorwork, which is not a thing I’m particularly good at. After completing the entire back and half of the front, though, I think I might finally be getting the hang of it; my floats are pretty uniform and not totally out of whack gauge-wise. The pattern is well written and fairly easy to follow, and the colorwork is pretty simple as far as it goes, so I recommend it if you like making sweaters and want a bit of a challenge. Now that I’m getting a bit more confident in my technique, I’m eyeing some of the more complicated patterns in that issue – like this adorable sweater vest. Maybe after the new year!

My youngest brother (age 11) has been asking for a hand knit sweater for years, and I always hesitated because 1) he grows SO FAST and 2) like most kids, he’s really hard on his clothes. But, I found this Red Heart “Team Spirit” yarn at Joann’s in red and black (his favorite colors because he’s a huge Manchester United fan), and decided it would be perfect.


This a great yarn for a kid sweater; it’s totally acrylic, comes in fun colors, and is really bulky. I don’t love knitting with it, but I found some tutorials online about softening up rough yarn, and since it’s inexpensive and quick to knit, it won’t matter super tons if he puts holes in it. I’m using the Flax pattern, with a little modification, and I’m loving how the top-down knitting makes the stripes different widths.

And because I don’t have enough fiber projects happening, I’m also working on a couple of blankets. I can’t show one of them, as it’s a Christmas present, but the other one is just-for-fun crocheted blankie. I started out with a hexagon pattern:


But as it grew, I just didn’t love it, so I frogged it and decided to try out a wave stitch, which I am now totally crazy about.


This is just a small sampling of what I have going on (there’s some other top secret stuff I can’t show yet), but I’m hoping to actually have something finished soon, so stay tuned!



Quilt in Make Modern Magazine!

Just a quick check in post today (I’m knee deep in packing!) to let everyone know that my quilt “Nye” will be in the next issue of Make Modern Magazine…and not only that, it’s going to be on the cover!


I’m so excited about this, I can’t even tell you! This will be in¬†Issue 2, out November 1st, which is available for download (or subscription) here. If you’re in to modern quilting, you should definitely check it out!



No Carve Pumpkin Decorating

Once a month, a group of us get together for a crafting day. We all really look forward to a few hours of girl time, and, of course, making cool things. This month we decided to go with decorating pumpkins, for obvious reasons :P. We trekked out to a local pumpkin patch and got a nice assortment of small to medium sized ones, plus some extra goodies:


We decided we didn’t want to mess around with carving, so we each brought stuff to decorate. There was glitter, paint, rhinestones, buttons, ribbon…all kinds of stuff! We used spray paint as a base for a few of them, which worked well as long as you weren’t messing around with them too much afterward (they spray paint didn’t adhere super well but definitely enough to work).


Destiny did an awesome drip on one of hers:


She eventually added some cobwebs and hot glue/glitter spiders (this is a genius idea and I may steal it to do a tutorial one of these days!):


Meanwhile, I started rhinestoning my littlest pumpkin, which was super time consuming, so if you decide to try this…use a really small pumpkin! I actually didn’t end up finishing it that day, so I need to do the bottom half at some point this week.


Britney decided to decorate a few of hers with buttons, and I think you’ll agree that they turned out so cute:


That baby pumpkin with the pacifier is the best, seriously. The rest of hers (she was making some to give to family) were also pretty adorable:


Like the rhinestones, the ribbon was pretty time consuming, so give plenty of time for that one too. I think it’s cute enough to be worth it, but if your time is limited, glitter is always a good option! I used painters tape to section one of mine and took the opportunity to put tons of orange glitter on it.


D found this bigger green pumpkin at the patch and turned it into a grinning witch with a glittery hat:


And for my last two, I went with glitter polka dots, bows, and flowers (affixed with a hot glue gun):


And black with pink polka dots (painted with my Martha Stewart craft paint). The dots on both of these were made with the end of one of the glue sticks that goes in a hot glue gun.


These were really fun and easy alternative to carving (and should last longer), and they look great on our porch!





DIY Dryer Balls

Hello! Apologies for the absence of posts around here lately; I’ve been working on a top secret project that I can’t wait to share with all of you, so I’ve been deep in finishing and editing mode. I’m finally all done¬†though (hopefully!), so I’m back with an easy laundry project.

A few months ago I started using dryer balls instead of fabric softener. I had been¬†using one of those Bounce bar things, which I actually liked, but after reading a few things about the residue fabric softeners leave behind, I switched. I’m really happy with the change; things seem to dry faster, they’re nice and soft without feeling gummy, and you can add a couple of drops of essential oil to make your clothes¬†smell good. I ordered these from Amazon, but it is super easy to make your own! And if you happen to have some wool yarn hanging around like I did, they’ll be free, which is always great :).

So! To make your own, you will need:

wool yarn

old pantyhose

scraps of synthetic (non-felting) yarn or string

washer and dryer

It’s really important that the yarn you use is all wool (it¬†could have a little bit of some other natural fiber, like mohair or alpaca, but absolutely nothing synthetic or it won’t felt). This pile of yarn was given to me at some point or another, and I was probably never going to use it, so it was the perfect candidate. I wouldn’t use really expensive yarn for this – it’s going to sit in the dryer all the time, after all! Secondhand stores are a great place to find supplies for this project, but if you don’t have luck with that, just go with the cheapest you can find that’s all wool.

9:30 - 7

Wind the yarn into balls, somewhere between the size of a baseball and a grapefruit. The larger the balls, the faster your clothes will dry, but they’ll also be louder banging around in the dryer, and might be harder to store, depending on your space. Also remember that the balls will shrink a bit after felting. I made mine about the size of a baseball and they came out to be just under tennis ball sized in the end. Make sure the end of the yarn is very secure – stuff¬†the last 6 – 12 inches into the middle of the ball.¬†I tried a crochet hook for this, but it was a lot of work, so¬†I just used the sharp end of my scissors to push it in.

9:30 - 6

Next, put the balls into an old pair of pantyhose (the older the better; do not use your nice nylons or tights for this! They won’t come out of this still useable, trust me on this). Tie off the top of the pantyhose, then fasten small pieces of acrylic yarn or string (rubber bands aren’t a good idea, as they may not take the heat of the dryer all that well) between each ball, like so:

9:30 - 4

You want the balls to be fairly tightly packed so they don’t move around a whole bunch. Then, run them through the washer and dryer on the hottest cycle possible for both. I’d recommend doing this at least twice, but I did mine three times just to be sure. Then, just slice open the pantyhose and behold your new dryer balls!

9:30 - 3

If you’d like¬†them to smell nice, add a couple of drops of essential oil to each (I’d wait 15-20 minutes for the oil to dry before tossing them in – I got a few spots the first time I used them). The smell does tend to dissipate after a few cycles, so if you really like your clothes to have a strong scent, you’ll have to redo this step as needed.

9:30 - 2

And one final warning…watch your furry friends, because they might¬†try to steal your hard work!

9:31 - 1




Wine Cork Bulletin Board

A while ago my friend Destiny gave me a bunch of wine corks, which she had been saving but didn’t have a reason to keep. I looked around for things to make from them, and we both really liked the idea of a bulletin board. You’ll see about a thousand of these if you type it¬†into Pinterest; I didn’t use any particular tutorial as it’s easy enough to wing on your own, but if decide to do this and you want some concrete steps, that’s where I’d look!

I started out with some thrifted frames (there are two of them because I’m making another one for a different friend of ours, but ran out of corks, so you’ll only see one!), and some paint.


Now, I’m going to recommend that if you do this step, you spray paint it. I used regular craft paint and a paint brush, and while they turned out okay in the end, it was a lot more work than I’d been intending and took forever to dry. They also turned out a bit brighter than I wanted, but I think it still works.


Now, on to the corks!¬†I knew starting out that I wanted to cut the them¬†in half lengthwise, but it turns out that’s a lot more difficult to do than I had assumed. After some false starts and a round of Googling, I decided to steam them to soften them up, so I filled a pot with a few inches of boiling water and set a strainer on top, with the lid over it (the lid is off for the purposes of the picture, but you’ll need it, trust me).


I found that about 5 minutes was long enough¬†to soften them; you should be able to cut them with a regular old kitchen knife at this point. Be careful, though! They’ll be slippery after this step and you’ll want to watch where your fingers are in relation to the knife. This pile was just enough for one cork board.


You’ll also want to try to weed out the corks that are too short or too tall, since they’ll make spacing more difficult. You can use the discarded ones to fill in any gaps at the end.

After all the corks were cut, I glued the back of the picture frame back on the front, arranged the corks in a pattern I liked, and glued them down with my hot glue gun. I’d advise arranging the pattern before you glue anything down, both for the sake of spacing and making sure you have enough corks. My pattern was really simple – I tried a bunch of fancier ones but they didn’t fit as well, so I ended up just doing single lines all the way across. They didn’t quite fit with whole corks all the way across, so I filled those gaps in with ones I’d cut in half (they should be¬†very easy to cut with scissors after they’ve already been cut lengthwise). I think it turned out pretty well!


I tried to make sure all the corks were facing the same direction, because it bothers me otherwise, but it doesn’t particularly matter. It will be seen from a distance¬†most of the time, and hopefully will have things pinned to it anyway. I would watch the amount of glue you squeeze out though – too much and you’ll have a bunch of visible spots between the corks. This one will be going to it’s new home this weekend, but I think I might just have to make another one for me!




Side Table Update

We have a very small living room. Like, can’t comfortably fit a couch small (we’ve tried). Our house is old, and the space we’re using for a living room was meant to be a sort of parlor, as far as we can tell. In any case, we decided a while ago to just have two chairs with a table in between, and I’ve been searching for the perfect side table since. Turns out, tables are crazy expensive, and none of them were exactly what I was looking for, so I decided I’d just have to redo an existing one. You can see where this is going, right? Off to Goodwill, where we found this lovely Ethan Allen table for $10:


It was pretty dirty and kind of beat up, and those pulls are just icky, but I had plans! I shanghaied my lovely husband into taking off the handles and the hinges holding on the doors, and then got to painting.


I used Rustoleum 2x spray paint in color Satin Lagoon. It has the primer and paint all in one, so no sanding or separate primer required. This picture is after the first coat, so you can see it provides pretty good cover right off, but I did three coats just to be sure everything was even and bright. I would definitely recommend waiting 24 hours between each coat; I only waited¬†a few hours in between and while it mostly turned out okay, I had some crackling on the back. It was easy enough to fix by sanding it down and repainting, but it was a pain. I also sprayed a layer of clear acrylic on top to protect the paint…it probably would have been totally fine without it, but I wanted something between the paint and all the things that could ruin it!

We couldn’t just stick those old handles back on my beautiful new paint job, so I found some adorable brass owls (at World Market) to use instead.

Pulls Close Up 1

Our house has closets in the living room that have brass pulls with different animals on them, so I was pretty thrilled to find some that matched the style almost exactly (this is the little bee; there’s also a turtle, a dragonfly, and a frog).


We had to put wood putty in the holes for the old handles and drill new holes for the owls, but after painting you can barely tell.

Pulls Close Up

It turned out the perfect color (we have a large painting on the wall that is my loose inspiration for decorating), and fits in great with our chairs!

Coffee table full

I love that it has some storage in the bottom, as my crafting supplies inevitably make their way out to the living room, and this way I can hide them and pretend I’m not a total mess.

Side View

It’s just the right size to hold drinks, my bowls of yet more supplies, and whatever else ends up on it. I’m quite happy with it, especially since all the supplies, including the table itself, ended up being less than $30!


Now, on to fixing that chair…