An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

Sew Long… January 31, 2010

My Husband doesn’t call me his “busy bee” for nothing.  I am forever working on a project (or four or five!)  Well now I know why…I never have everything I need to finish it!  I scrimp and save and buy a piece here and there and figure, “I’ll buy that later when I need it and buy this pattern or this great fabric instead!”  Ha, ha, well my willy-nilly ways have come to bite me in the back of my tush!

I had big plans to spend the weekend sewing that “Schoolhouse Tunic” and thought I would have it finished and posted bright and early come Monday morning…I thought wrong.  I was sure I had enough thread on a dark linen (ish color) Gutermann spool but on closer inspection it wasn’t much at all.  I thought, “I’ll just order it online and use what I have until it comes.”  Great idea, unfortunately I did not have the sticker with the color number on it and apparently the number CA 20776 does not correspond to the color in any way?  Am I wrong here?  Wouldn’t you think Gutermann would put the color number on that spool somewhere so that nubes like me could reorder the same thread?  Hunh, who knew you had to save that dumb sticker?  When I searched online with the “code” (obviously put there by disgruntled Gutermann employees out for a good laugh) I came up with a dark brown color and it was definitely not the color of my thread.  Don’t think I didn’t consider driving to JoAnn Fabric’s…I did…but for one it is over an hour away and for twoD.’s car is in the shop and he is using mine for work (kind of more important than thread in his world…but of course not in mine ha, ha).  Long story short (well shorter anyway) I blindly ordered thread online for this and a few other projects (crossing my fingers and toes they are close enough in color to what I need!) and must wait to work on all of those fabulous projects for now.

So instead of spending my weekend merrily sewing, I spent it cutting (not exactly my most favorite part of sewing).  My tunic is cut and ready to go, as are two baby birthday gifts (I’ll tell you about those later), and I have a dining room table filled with half-finished projects eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next day’s mail in hopes of getting worn or used.

On the upside, I started cutting out the pieces for R.’s “Far Far Away” quilt for her birthday present.  I spent the entire afternoon “fussy cutting on the point” (a fancy way to say “cut by hand”) each of 16 six-inch squares from a template I made and cutting my charm squares on the diagonal into four equal parts.  That took all of the patience I have for today, but I have high hopes of finishing the cutting tomorrow.

D. says all of this waiting is the universe’s way of teaching me patience…that the good things in life take time and that I shouldn’t be all about “instant gratification” and blah, blah, blah.  Point taken…but can’t a girl dream of a small shop (something along the lines of Alewives Fabrics would be nice!) moving right into my sleepy little town?

PS – Have you heard that Heather Ross is coming out with a “Far Far Away, Part 2“?

Happy sewing,



Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic January 29, 2010

My Amy Butler Daisy Chain in pink/gray came and I am ready to start cutting into that gorgeous fabric!  I spent the afternoon yesterday tracing the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper and then cutting it out.  This is the first time I’ve ever used this type of tracing paper, and I have to say I really like it!  It feels like a fabric softener dryer sheet and gently grips the fabric while you are tracing it preventing it from slipping around (I still used a few pins to keep it in place) too much. I’ve even read reviews that you can sew the entire pattern up (basting) with the tracing paper to see how it fits (sorry, but I am a bit too impatient to try this) which would be great for making up your own patterns (someday?)

R. is totally in love with the Amy Butler fabric and the tunic itself, “Mommy will you please make me a matching one?”  Oh I just adore her and am so excited she wants to be just like me!  I found a pattern for a “Sophie Tunic” by Sis Boom on Sew, Mama, Sew! that looks almost the same as the Schoolhouse Tunic only tiny.  I love that the pattern size ranges from 6mos through 11/12 (how many of those can I make as gifts?)  The only drawback is that is in PDF form which will probably be a huge hassle!  I have to say, it is really nice that the Sew Liberated patterns come in full-size and don’t have to be enlarged or pieced together with multiple sheets and tape…who has time for that?  Oh the thing we do for our little lovies!

My afternoon will be spent cutting out the fabric and hopefully this weekend I will get to move onto sewing up the tunic.

Happy Sewing,



Gift Pouch January 28, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,January 2010 — The Threaded Nest @ 1:23 pm

Here is a lovely quick and inexpensive way to present your handmade goodies.  I finally gave Aimee her “sweets mats” (made from a pattern in Akiko Mano’s book “Linen, Wool, Cotton”) over the weekend and I wanted to dress them up a bit so I threw together this little gift pouch.  Aimee was very impressed with my wrap-up job and thought it too pretty to open ~ thanks Aimee!  Ha, ha D. laughed at me and said I must have spent way to much time wrapping it…but really I only spent a couple of minutes.

I got the idea of sewing together two pieces of tissue paper from the book “Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts” by Joelle Hoverson.  I just used the basic zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to go around the sweets mats ~ but not too close because you don’t want to sew the tissue paper to the gift.  I added some ric rac from my ribbon stash, a basic card tag that I hand stamped with a small cupcake and “wishes” was taped down on top of the tissue paper, and then I taped that fantastic newspaper flower on top of it all.

The instant recycled paper ((newspaper) flower was super easy to make using hand shredder scissors.  For a quick tutorial please visit one of my favorite blogs Maya*Made.  The $10 scissors are easily worth the investment ~ think how many beautiful present toppers you can make and recycle at the same time?  In her tutorial she stapled her flowers at the base…my stapler wasn’t up to the job so I ended up just wrapping clear tape around the base and it worked fine.

Happy Sewing,



Skirts!!! January 27, 2010

Filed under: January 2010,Sewing — The Threaded Nest @ 2:11 pm

With the January “thaw” we’ve had here in Upstate NY, R. and I have been going on lots of walks up our lazy winding road.  Yesterday the creek wash rushing like an angry river from all of the melting snow and it brought us a glimpse of spring!  Isn’t it just like Mother Nature, when we are blanketed in several feet of snow and the temperatures are so cold we can’t stand to go outside and think we can’t stand Winter any longer, to give us a bit of a preview, some hope, that spring will be coming soon?

In that spirit, I am looking forward, ahead to the many delights spring will bring us…wellies and mud, Irish daffodils, long walks and still longer days, Easter and R.’s birthday, and our trip to Washington D.C. where we will get to meet up with my Mom (she lives on the other side of the country in California!) and my niece (R.’s age) whom she is bringing on the plane with her as a present for R.  And skirts!  R. has shot up this winter and will be in desperate need of some new skirts.

I came across Sasikirana Handmade (a great blog!) yesterday that had some lovely pics of the Oliver + S “Lazy Days Skirt” (free pattern here!) all sewn up .  It looks like a really quick and easy pattern and even has a cute little ribbon hem at the bottom…I do love ribbon!  Her blog also has a link to her Etsy shop where she sells the most beautiful fabric covered button hair pins and pony holders  for only $4.50 with free shipping until January 31!  How can you pass that up?  I got a set of “Woodland Pals” ponytail holders (so cute with a squirrel on one and a hedgehog on the other) to stick in R.’s fox and friends themed Easter basket (I told you I am in a spring mood!)

Leaving you with a picture of my wellies…just waiting for the arrival of mud season!

Happy sewing,



Twirly Girl January 26, 2010

I have almost completely finished the Sew Liberated reading pillow for R. and I am completely in love with it!  I just have to stuff it and ladder stitch the opening (I got plenty of practice with this stitch on those sweets mats!) and she can use it.  My organic cotton fiberfil should be here any day…I ordered it in bulk from Modern Organic Fabrics Etsy Shop, as I will need it for R.’s Semi-Fantastic Mr Fox doll (btw…the kit from birdandlittlebird showed up and the fabric is so lovely!)

Why is it I am so amazed every time my project turns out like it is supposed to?  I think it is from years of frustrated sewing with horrible patterns and directions!  I really can’t tell you enough how much I love Meg’s Sew Liberated patterns!  The “Reading Pillow” is the second pattern of hers I have tried, the first was the “Twirly Skirt”.

I had originally bought the skirt pattern and the fancy fabric (which was a pain in the tush and I will NEVER work with again!!!) in October to make R. a skirt to wear in her (former) schools strings ensemble concert, because they had to wear black skirts and white blouses.  Poor thing though, when we pulled her out to homeschool they wouldn’t allow her to play violin in the concert (and she was doing a duet!) and so the pattern and fabric were just waiting in my craft armoire for an ocassion to be sewn up.

Fast forward to December…for homeschooling we were reading “Little House in the Big Woods”…the night before my friend Aimee’s annual Christmas party R. remembers the pattern and fabric and asks me to please “whip up” the skirt for her to wear.  “Uhm, excuse me love, but I cannot possibly whip it up for you in just one day.”  “But Ma (in Little House in the Big Woods) made Laura a dress in one night AND she hand-sewed it…I think you can whip one up with a machine!”  It was on, ha ha, “Ma” was certainly not going to one up me (my daughter so knows how to work me!)

Later that night I cut my fabric pieces and then the next morning sewed them together and voila, R. had her fancy twirly skirt to wear to the party.  She looked so pretty and kept twirling all night (and got lots of compliments on her skirt!)

I love this Twirly Skirt pattern and will definitely make several this spring (when it ever warms up around here) and this time use either cotton voile, double gauze, or maybe (most definitely) a Heather Ross cotton print.  I do have to say, I think this pattern runs a bit big.  I made the size 8 (after debating between the 6 and 8 ~ guess I should have gone with measurements instead of size) and fortunately tried the elastic around her waist before sewing and was able to cut off quite a bit.  As you can see, it was also a bit too long.  This spring I will first try sewing up a size 6.  Other than the sizing issue I had (on my part I am sure), the pattern worked up perfectly.

So my next pattern of hers to work up will be the “Schoolhouse Tunic”.  Just saving up to get the Amy Butler Fabric I want…I need 3 yards!  And of course, I want to make so many projects from Meg’s new book!  I am thinking I need a new duvet cover this spring and she has the sweetest one in it!

Happy sewing,



I Do Believe in Fairies! January 25, 2010

Filed under: January 2010 — The Threaded Nest @ 12:01 pm

As I was sewing away yesterday, R decided to make a few gifts of her own…a tiny little dwelling for the fairies.  I have to laugh because she is soooo my Husband’s daughter out there in her pj’s and a sweatshirt!  “But it’s warm out Mom!”  It was in the 40’s for crying out loud!  But she was only out there for a few minutes and as great parenting Guru Alfie Kohn always says, “Pick your battles”.

She gathered scraps from our wood pile (for our wood burning stove), little trinkets from her art stuff (including acorns from last fall that became fairy cups and bowls), leftover sand from one of her homeschooling science projects, the little iron chair leftover from our fairy garden last summer, and put together this fab fairy dwelling complete with loft!  She really let her imagination run wild…she even concocted some fairy juice to leave in one of the acorns and sprinkled green fairy dust (glitter) over the sand in hopes of attracting them to it.

All was so creative, but my most favorite part of her fairy dwelling had to be the ingenious “mail box”.  A little note was tucked safely into it (it poured rain last night and wasn’t wet this morning!) that said, “I hope you enjoy your cup of fruit smoothie fairy family!  You can stay in this how ever long you want!  I will be giving you presents and letters a lot.  Please write back in the mail box.  XOXO R”.  And the fairies did indeed write back a tiny little “Thank You”.

Last night when I was putting her to bed, she was dreaming up new ways to improve the fairy house and said, “Tomorrow I am going to add a bathroom.  What can I make a toilet out of?  I know a small sea shell!”  Ha, ha she is so practical.

Don’t forget to leave a little love for your fairies today!


Making Piping January 24, 2010

Do you have any sewing techniques that you are terrified to try?  For me, the big one was making piping.  Why was I so afraid of making piping do you ask?  Well it involved the scary task of cutting strips on the bias and using the zipper foot attachment for my sewing machine (the instructions in my Viking manual look so complicated) and I have never ever ever done either before.  Not to fear my friends, it was a piece of cake!  Ha, ha can you tell I was nervous by all of the pins in my fabric?

I am making a “Reading Pillow” (from a Sew Liberated pattern) for my daughter R.  I can picture her now…curled up on her purple bean bag in her book nook, using her reading pillow to hold that big heavy Hans Christian Anderson fairytale book, and reading away for hours…all the while I merrily sew away on my machine (undisturbed of course!) the two gifts I need to make next week.  A Mom is allowed to dream isn’t she?

We picked out two beautiful Heather Ross coordinating fabrics from her Medocino collection and purchased it from fabricworm‘s Etsy shop.  The fabric (pictured above) is “swim class” in sunset and will be used for the piping and accent pockets, and the main pillow fabric (below) is “underwater sisters” in fuchsia.  I can’t tell you how much I love her fabrics.  Not only are they colorful and whimsical, but they are incredibly soft, wash well, and are actually printed straight!

Also pictured here is my new Clover mini iron!  I’ve had my eye on it for a while (especially since I keep burning myself with my big iron!) but have been waiting for my $10 rewards certificate from A.C. Moore to purchase it.  It was $32.99 and I used a 40% off coupon on top of the $10 certificate so it ended up costing only $10.  I love a great deal!  I am going to be doing some appliqued gifts next week and thought it would be quite a luxury to use the mini iron on them.

Back to sewing … I will post a picture when the reading pillow is finished.

Happy crafting!