May 202013

If you enjoy sewing but haven’t yet checked out the Great British Sewing Bee, you really should.  It’s a lot of fun. I just finished watching all four episodes on YouTube.


Unlike most other reality TV shows, there is little drama.  Really, the only drama is to see how the folks will do up against the deadlines.  None of that interpersonal nonsense and bad behavior that permeates other “reality” shows.


Instead, it’s all about the sewing.  I had a lot fun imaging what I would do, given the  same challenges.  Dunno how my speed and quality would have stacked up, though. ;-)  The judges are a Saville Row tailor and a renown sewing teacher and their comments are meaningful and helpful.  Imagine that!

And the hostess is a hoot.  She doesn’t know much about sewing and many of her comments are priceless.

Wish I lived in the UK, so I could apply for season two!

Anyhow, if you’re looking for something fun and sewing related it’s a nice TV break. :-)

Happy creating!

May 152013

After many years of inking, painting, gluing and heat embossing on my poor rotary cutting mat, uses to which it was never intended to be subjected, it was so warped and grubby it needed to be retired. I was happy to have gotten a 60% off Joann’s coupon, so my new mat was only $20, rather than $50.  Yay for coupons. :-)


To keep my new mat pristine, I’m going to have the hubs glue a 15″ x 20″ section of the old mat to some thin plywood.  Then I can haul that out to work on when I want to paper craft.  That size will just fit my 15″ x 18″ Craft Sheet.

Still on the desk this week is Christi Friesen’s Flourish, which I still very much want to work through. There’s also a piece of sequined linen, which will be a skirt quite soon, and two pieces of knit, one blue, one brown, which will be made in this pattern I drafted a couple weeks ago. The floral appliques will be for the neckline of the brown one.

Also, I’ve been working through The Right-Brain Business Plan. This has been kind of fun, making my business overview in this method is rather like putting together a scrapbook, and boiling down all my ideas into a more focused business plan has been quite enlightening. If you need to work up a business plan, I highly recommend the exercises in this book.

Wondering why I bothered posting a pic of my workspace?  It’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  It’s a day when we all take a snoop at the workdesks of creative people from all over the world.  Take a little time to explore, you may just find yourself inspired. :-)

Happy creating!

May 112013

Just thought I’d let you know that Craftsy is having a 50% off sale this weekend on a whole bunch of classes.


I think this is a great idea for Mother’s Day.  Much better than another knick knack that has to be dusted. :-D

Also, if  you’ve been thinking about taking a class yourself, this would be a good time to give one a try.

Hope you all have a lovely and creative weekend!

May 092013

A while back I mentioned several Craftsy classes I’d taken. They have quite a variety of courses, including many that are free.

Don’t think for a minute because they’re free they aren’t worth bothering with, the quality of these classes is amazing.  The teaching is excellent and in depth, with much opportunity for continuing to learn within the community.

I finally found a little time to take two more of the courses.


Since we have sugar sensitivities in our household, it’s rare that I bake anymore, the but notion of The Hand-Painted Cake intrigued me. A few painting tips couldn’t hurt, either. :-)

Erin’s teaching was comprehensive, she gave so much detail in this free course that you felt like you really could go out and create a beautifully painted cake afterwards.  She was pleasant to listen to and it was a joy to watch her work.


The next class I tried was Know Your Wool.  I’m not much of a knitter, but figured it’s always interesting to learn more about the fibers we work with.

It. Was. Fascinating.  Deborah not only told us about the wools from different kinds of sheep, but she had samples illustrating the properties of the various types, explained which yarns work best in which projects, took us right to the sheep to see different kinds and gave great ideas for sourcing different yarns.  She also made a great case for WHY we would want to go out and find different yarns.

Again, remember, this was a free course.  

Also, the lovely thing about Craftsy classes it that you can watch them over and over, whenever you want.  I love that. :-)

Anyhow, if you’re at all interested in learning new things, be sure to check out some of the free courses over at Craftsy.

Happy creating!

May 082013

I can’t share too many details about what’s on my workdesk today because many of the items are gifts.  Much of the stuff that’s usually on the desk behind my sewing machine is piled on the table here because I needed to clear the decks to machine quilt a gift.


The E6000 is for gluing bails onto the back of polymer clay pendants.  (Also gifts.) The acetone is for cleaning up my gloppy mess of E6000. :(

The purple case is for readers, which those eyes are starting to need more and more. Boo.

The chocolate is an absolute necessity for any creative endeavors, but of course you knew that!  The tag on top of it is the beginning of the May Tim tag.

I’m looking longingly at Christi Friesen’s latest book, Flourish, which I’m really wanting to take the time to work through.  One of these days!

If you’re wondering why I’ve posted a photo of my workspace, it’s a little thing we call What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Folks from all around the globe take the time to check out what’s on the desks of other creative people.  Head over to Julia’s and join in the fun!

Happy creating. :-)

May 062013

These Chan Luu style bracelets are quite popular now.  I love the slightly earthy, hippie vibe you get from the cord wrapping. They’re also amazingly simple to put together.


The website has some gorgeous combinations, with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones, and if you can afford it, the prices are well worth it.

However, if like me, you’d prefer to make your own, here’s a video showing you a fun version. I’ve made a 5 wrap bracelet here, but I give directions so you can make a single, double, triple, quadruple or as many wraps as you like.


If you want the look of several different bracelets, just bead a wrist’s length of beads in each color before going on to the next.

This is another project where all the different color combination possibilities totally fire the imagination!

Happy creating and enjoy the video. I’m still waiting for WordPress to solve the video embedding problem so here’s the tutorial over at YouTube:  Multiple Wrap Beaded Bracelet

Quintuple/Multiple Wrap Beaded Bracelet

Difficulty: Medium


  • 1 mm Leather Cord, approximately 2.5 yards (see directions for more precise measurement)
  • 5-6 yards silk cord (see below for sources)
  • 7-8 inches each of five different kinds of beads
  • button for closure, 3/4-inch to-1 inch in diameter
  • 7mm-10 mm jump rings, 10-20 or so
  • needle & needle threader
  • super glue


To determine length of leather cord needed measure around your wrist for a comfortable bracelet size. Double this measurement. For a quintuple wrap bracelet, multiply this number by 5. Add 12 inches to get the length of leather cord you will need.

For example: Your wrist measures 7.5 inches. Double this to get 15 inches. Multiply 15 by 5 to get 75. Add 12 to get 87 inches. Feel free to cut a little extra for insurance.

  1. Slide button onto leather cord. If using a shank style button, just slide cord through shank. If using a button with holes, slide cord from the back through one hole and from the from the front through another hole. Center button on leather cord.
  2. Thread 2-3 yards of silk cord onto needle. Pinch end of silk cord between two leather cords, right next to button. Wrap silk cord around silk cord end and leather cords for about ¼ inch. Apply a drop or two of super glue and allow to dry. Trim any excess silk cord end.
  3. Tape button down to work surface. Keeping leather cords parallel, tape them down about 12 inches away from button.
  4. Slide threaded needle under top leather cord.
  5. Slide a bead onto needle and slide down silk cord until bead touches leather cord.
  6. Bring silk cord up over and then back under bottom leather cord, then back through bead, being careful not to split the silk cord.
  7. Bring silk cord over the top leather cord and repeat steps 4-6 with remaining beads, moving and retaping cords to work surface as you progress.
  8. To add a new piece of silk cord, first cut new length of cord. Pinch end of new cord and about ¼ inch of old cord between two leather cords below last bead added. Use remaining end of silk cord to wrap for about ¼ inch. Apply a drop or two of super glue and allow to dry. Trim any excess silk cord end.
  9. To cover this wrapped cord, slide jump rings onto two leather cords and new silk cord. Resume adding beads.
  10. Before finishing bracelet check to make sure it wraps comfortably around your wrist the number of times you want. Finish bracelet by pinching about ¼ inch of silk cord between two leather cords below last bead added. Use remaining end of silk cord to wrap for about ¼ inch. Apply a drop or two of super glue and allow to dry. Trim any excess silk cord end.
  11. Hold two leather cords together and tie into an overhand knot, including wrapped silk cord into knot. Make another overhand knot about 1 inch away. The space between the two knots should be just large enough for the button to go through. Make one more overhand knot the same distance away from the second knot. Trim any excess leather cord.

Sources for silk cord:

For 2 meter cards of silk cord with wire needles already attached (you’ll need 3 cards to make a quintuple wrap bracelet):  Silk cord No. 5

This spool is far more economical, since you get 115 yards, but you have to choose one color and stick with it. Also, you’ll have to thread your own needles.  Silk Beading Cord Size FF Black

May 022013

Have you ever bought a garment that turned out to be an absolute favorite, and then were heartbroken once it was too worn out to wear anymore?  Or maybe you wished you had it in a different color, different length, etc.


I got this top at Macy’s a few years back and just love it.  It’s a simple sleeveless knit top, but there’s something about it… it’s super comfortable, fits well and looks kinda classy.  Of course, all that sparkly stuff around the neckline is rather fun, too.

Anyhow, I decided I wanted to make a pattern from it so it can be made over and over.

Nancy Zieman did a series on her TV show a while back called Copy Cat patterns.  She showed how to use paper and a tracing wheel to copy the pattern right off a garment without taking it apart.

I could not find the original TV series anywhere online, but these two videos give you the general idea.

I used the last little bit of raspberry knit (also used in this draped top, this faux shrug top, this skirt and this dress.) Phew, got my money’s worth out of that fabric!

It had to be quite a bit shorter than the original as it was the very last of that fabric, but it’s long enough.


Do you think I should add some sparklies around the neckline like in the original?

The trickiest part was figuring which steps to sew first. Once that was  sorted, I made sure to write down the directions for next time.

So, my challenge to you is to try copying a favorite garment from your closet.  You’ll be glad you did.  :-)

Happy creating, ya’ll!

May 012013

Phew, got Tim Holtz’s tag for April 2013 done just in time!


Here’s how my desk looked whilst in progress.


I probably should have put away all the polymer clay stuff, but we all know how to work in that remaining 12 inches of space, right?  ;-)

(Pssst, just to let you know, those pearls and that spool of black thread will be showing up in a jewelry video real soon.)


It would have been great to have tried Tim’s techniques for using the new Distress Paints, but none of my local stores have them yet.  So instead, I used a panel made ages ago when experimenting with alcohol inks and Gold and Silver Metallic Mixatives.

The collage stamping was done with a variety of stamps I had on hand and Jet Black StazOn Ink.

Did you know that instead of using the “clearly for art” plastic, you can just use scraps of plastic packaging?  Worked great for me.  Stamp with StazOn and then color the back with Snow Cap mixative (alcohol ink.) After doing that I then added Lettuce and Meadow alcohol inks.


Instead of using Distress Paints to get a faux patina, I used Ranger’s Vintaj Patinas in Clay, Cinnabar, RustVictorian Gold and Nouveau Silver.  My Lettuce Paint Dabber is rather dried up, but was still soft enough to rub into the crevices.


Finishing details: washi tape, Tissue Tape, a coil of craft wire for the butterfly body, a Word Band and a bit of silk ribbon colored with Distress Stains.

Oh, and if you’re wondering why I posted a pic of my workdesk, it’s because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  The link will whisk you away to a world of creativity via the desks of crafty people from all over.  Have fun!

Apr 292013

The great thing about taking the time to make fitting adjustments to a pattern is that you can go back to it time and again, confident of good results.


This tropical print fabric wanted to become a summer top.


No, it did NOT want to be pants, like Threads magazine did here.  ===shudder===

I was thinking of a simple button-down Hawaiian shirt, but all the button down shirt patterns in my collection have princess seams.  I didn’t think chopping up this large scaled print would do it any favors, and so decided to make another version of Butterick 5218, (this link brings you to a review of the pattern) which I had just completed in a different fabric.


Since I’d just made it, and did all the fitting work, it went super quick.  


The only change was to make it a tad bit shorter, as the rayon is more drapey that the linen I used in the other tunic.

Count another project down and onward to the next!

Happy sewing. :-)

Apr 262013

I’ve been sewing like crazy lately, really wanting to finish up several projects that have been hanging around undone for way too long.  It was over two years ago that I bought the fabric to make this dress.


This is another in Simplicity’s line of Amazing Fit patterns.  They are great for those who are learning how to fit patterns as they give tips and instructions throughout telling you where to baste, then check for fit and what you should be looking for.  Also, key fitting areas have 1-inch seam allowances.


Today I sewed the last stitch on this dress.  If I’d realized how light the fabric was before I got started, I may have underlined it for a bit of support.

Time to get some strappy black sandals so I can wear this to a wedding next month. :-)

Simplicity 2174 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: Dress in 2 lengths, with short, three-quarter sleeves or sleeveless, two shaped neckline options and in-panel pockets.

Pattern Sizing: My pattern envelope only went up to a 14, but I needed a few more inches. I was very thankful for the 1-inch seam allowances!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it’s cute.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions are great for those learning how to get a good fit in garments.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I Love, LOVE patterns that have different pattern pieces for A,B, C & D cups; this saves so much aggravation. I wasn’t sure about the pockets, but they turned out surprisingly flattering and very practical.

All that basting and trying on for fit is tedious, but worth it. :-)

The short sleeves are quite short. I debated about making the longer sleeves and wish I had (but I was thinking about this being a summer weight dress.)

Fabric Used: A 100% rayon challis from It’s a bit flimsy, and could have stood an underlining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used much narrower seam allowances in order to get a good fit (probably could have started with a size 16.)

I used an invisible zipper, so didn’t sew the bottom of the center back seam until the zip was installed.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don’t wear dresses very often, so I probably won’t. Also, after looking at this one, I think I prefer princess seam dresses without a waistline seam.

I would recommend lining at least the bodice if you use a lightweight fabric.

Conclusion: A cute and easy dress with helpful fitting tips in the pattern.