Aug 032011

You may have noticed that I have been sewing like crazy lately.  In fact I finished two more things last night, yet another garment and a home dec item I think you’ll love.  Tutorial coming soon.

It’s been fun, but I decided to take break and make a little paper gift box for a friend’s upcoming birthday.  The resulting mess is what you see here.2011-08-03-whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday

Below is my original plan, there definitely need to be some bits and bobs under the rose, and perhaps some trim around the box. The grunge paper roses are leftover from a Tim Holtz project.

The more I look, the more I’m thinking these  roses are just a tad too chunky for this little box, so I think I’ll try these sugarplum flowers instead. (I’ll post a pic when it’s all finished.) origami-gift-box

I used this kirigami box tutorial.  These boxes are super easy and too much fun to make, try just one and you’ll be hooked.  I cut a 6″ square for the lid and a 5.75″ square for the bottom.

I’ll bet she’s gonna like the box more than the gift, haha!

Oh, and just sent out this free totebag pattern.

Do I need yet another tote bag?


Will I make this one?


Happy creating!

P.S.  Why a photo of my workdesk, you ask?  Because it’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Join in the fun!



Aug 022011

These patterns were chosen for different details.  McCall’s 6199 was picked for the hemline.  (Honestly, if it wasn’t on sale at Joann’s for 99¢ I would have just drawn it up from a garment I already own.)


McCall’s 6287 was chosen for the cutwork edge.  Again, I knew it was probably something simple I could surely figure out on my own, but hey, 99¢ seemed worth not having to figure.


After reading reviews at, where one reviewer mentioned this top having shoulders so wide you got the Flashdance off-the-shoulder look , I decided to do some serious Frankenpatterning.

So the cutwork was transferred to the plain, but less wide neckline of 6199.

This resulted in a dress so casual and comfy I wear it all day feeling guilty because it seems like I’m still in my jammies.


I was going to wear it to church on Sunday, but it just felt too stinkin’ casual.  lol  When I lose a little more weight, I’ll wear it with a belt.

Here’s the review for 6287:
Pattern Description: Misses tunic, top and dress with cutwork embellishment. I did view B.

Pattern Sizing: xsm, sml, med

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Sort of, but I combined the cutwork detail with McCall’s 6199.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. The cutwork detail looks complicated, but is really quite simple.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Other pattern reviewers stated that the shoulders were too wide for comfort, so I transferred the cutwork detail to a pattern with a less wide neckline.

Fabric Used: Cotton rib knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After making the cutwork detail the shoulders were rather wonky. I used needle and thread to gather the shoulders so they wouldn’t be quite so rippled.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is something unique, so I probably won’t make it again.

Conclusion: A fun and unusual look. I think the tunic as drafted would be great for layering.

And the review for 6199:

Pattern Description: Misses dresses with handkerchief hem in three sleeve and two neckline variations.

Pattern Sizing:6,8,10,12,14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? The hem did, but I used the top from McCall’s 6287.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Super easy!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The hem detail is great.

Fabric Used: Cotton rib knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I used the neckline detail from McCall’s 6287. Also, I took out the bust dart and just left in the tuck.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Love it! Quick, comfy and very, very easy.

Conclusion: If you want to whip up a dress, this is a terrific pattern. Your choice of fabric will determine whether it’s casual or more formal.

Happy creating, ya’ll!

Aug 012011

***Review revised 8/15/2011***

Here’s yet another cute knit top for the summer.


I made view B in turquiose, and then made the long sleeve version A in raspberry for the fall.  I’m not so sure about the one-shoulder versions only because I’ve yet to find a strapless bra I enjoy wearing for more than 20 seconds. simplicity-2364-aqua

The most annoying thing about this pattern is the sizing. Even after cutting a 12 I still found there was too much fabric across the front.  This made it difficult to bend forward at all without flashing the world!  Read on below for how I altered the pattern to remove 2″ across the front.simplicity-2364-raspberry

The blue top above is actually a redo in size 12.  I’d first made it in a 14 and found it was just too big.  Even though according to my measurements I should have made an 18. Grrrr….

Below, size 14 and without pattern alterations.  This top actually does NOT fit even as well as it looks here.  I’ve got quite a bit of fabric pinned out under the shrug section.  simplicity-2364-blue-shrug-top

Here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses tops with faux shrug in short or long sleeves. One-shoulder tops in sleeveless or single flutter sleeve variation.

Pattern Sizing:6,8,10,12,14

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

Were the instructions easy to follow? They’re fine except for attaching the shrug section to the sleeves and top. Then it can be confusing. The best thing to do is carefully make all markings on your fabric and then read the directions slowly and carefully. (I sewed it all wrong once, then got it right the second time around.)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the cute, trendy look, but not the incorrect sizing.  I like how quickly the pattern goes together, but think there’s too much fabric across the front for modesty.

Fabric Used:  A cotton jersey knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut a 12 instead of the 18 my measurements called for. I also removed 2″ from across the front.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Now that I’ve got the fitting issues settled, I’ve made it again in the long sleeve version.  Two of this pattern is probably enough for me.

Conclusion: A cute top, but runs very large.  Take your time with the directions and you’ll be fine!

Here’s how I altered the pattern to remove some of the width across the front.

First, fold down the facing section of pattern piece #1 (Front) and treat as one layer.  Around the center of the fold make two marks 1 inch apart.

Use a straight edge to mark a cut parallel to the center front along one of the marks.  Go about 3/4 of the way down the pattern.


Bring the cut edge to the 1 inch mark and adhere.  I like to use repositionable adhesive to do this, but you can just tape it in place.  Flip the pattern over to make the overlap on the facing section as well.


That’s it, you’ve taken 2″ out of the front of the top.  Hope you find this helpful.

Happy sewing!

Jul 302011

I originally bought this pattern because I thought the sleeveless version would make a nice nightgown.

Why is it all the nightgowns I see out there either, on one extreme, look like they’re made for somebody’s granny, or on the other, for ladies-of-the-evening?  Whatever happened to just a pretty, attractive, comfortable nightgown?  There doesn’t seem to be any happy medium, so I usually make my own.

Ok, rant over.

***sheepish grin***


Anyhow, after reading all the happy reviews at, I decided to make my first version in this raspberry stretch knit.



Immediately after finishing it I pulled out a leftover piece of tricot and squeezed out this nightie.


The dress fits perfectly, but the nightie is just a tad snug, which I attribute to the differences in crosswise stretch between the two fabrics.  This is okay, as I’m working on losing a bit more weight, anyhow.  😉  Call it incentive! (Sorry about the bra-strap in the photo.  Although I don’t generally wear a bra to bed, I wasn’t about to subject the public to pics without one! Nuh-uh.)

Annnnnyhow, here’s my review of the pattern:

Pattern Description: Misses Empire waist dress with side bodice ruching, sleeveless or with flutter sleeves in two lengths.

Pattern Sizing: 6,8,10,12,14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Exactly!

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were quite easy, as long as you follow them carefully. Although this garment goes together easily, its construction is a bit unusual. Don’t be like me and think you already know what to do, get ahead of the pattern and find yourself ripping out sections. Also, the sleeved and sleeveless versions are constructed quite differently, so pay attention to which directions you are reading.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that the bodice is fully lined. I love that it has a full back and doesn’t require a specialty bra. It’s very comfortable to wear and flattering to many figure types.

Fabric Used: The sleeved version is made of a cotton stretch knit. I also made a sleeveless nightgown out of a blue tricot knit.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: After reading other pattern reviews stating that the sizing was way too big, I made a 12 instead of the 18 my measurements would direct. The raspberry dress fits perfectly, but the tricot is a bit snug. I can only attribute this to a difference in the crosswise stretch in the two fabrics.

Several reviewers mentioned that the dress was too low cut, but I have to wonder if that is only because they were cutting out a size that was too big. I went ahead and raised the neckline on the dress an inch, but it wasn’t really necessary. The neckline on the blue nightgown is as the pattern is drafted and seems fine to me.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? If I were to make it again I might drop the waistline down a bit. I don’t know why I keep buying patterns with empire waists when that’s not my preference.

Conclusion: I really like this dress, with a fully lined bodice and no zippers or fastenings it’s easy to make and easy to wear.

P.S.  If you find a need to raise the neckline of a pattern, here’s how I do it.

  1. Continue the line of the center front up the amount you want to raise the neckline, (in this case 1″.)
  2. Use a french curve to draw in the new neckline edge, easing in to the existing edge.simplicity-2219-raise-the-neckline

Easy enough!

Happy creating, ya’ll.

Jul 292011

On the fourth of July I finished a review of Butterick 5402’s jeans jacket pattern.  You can find the original review here.

After looking at the photos I realized I had some redoing to do.  The button spacing wasn’t right, the waistband was just too long, and going the wrong way.   (This would be my usual left/right confusion setting in.  I’ve heard it said it’s only folks with strong right brain/left brain connections that have this problem, and I’m sticking with that explanation.  My husband does find it exasperating when trying to give me directions, though.)

butterick 5402 jeans jacket

After cutting out another waistband, I discovered that the length problem was not me, but yet another issue with the pattern.  If you sew on the waistband as marked you’ll have to do a fair amount of easing in of the jacket bottom edge and the flap will extend quite a bit over the center front. Instead, just ignore the markings and start sewing on the band from the left center front.  The pointed bit that is left extending past the right center front is just the amount shown on the pattern cover, about 1.25″.


I resewed the bottom few buttons to make more of a straight line and added the button that I’d missed.  If you choose to add buttons to the pockets you’ll need 11.  I’d purchased three cards of four buttons each, so I stitched the extra to the inside of the jacket as a spare.

My final step with this jacket was to take it down the basement and beat it up with a rubber mallet.  I pounded on all of the seamlines and edges as this will make them wear more quickly than the rest of the garment, giving it a nice, comfy, worn look and feel.  I plan to throw it into every load of laundry between now and next fall.  Hopefully by then it will be well-worn and broken-in.

Jul 282011

Since yesterday was my son’s last day in the Marines, it seems only fitting that today I share with you the last of the bootcamp scrapbook layouts.


Doncha just love that bottom left pic with my younger son?  “Yes, I’m in the photo, but I don’t know those people.”  He was 16 at the time and SO acting his age.  ===sigh===


When my husband and I were in DC a couple of years before this some how we missed seeing the actual Iwo Jima Memorial sculpture.  We were glad to get the opportunity to see Parris Island’s (smaller) replica.


There’s lots of stamping and inking on these papers to grunge them up.  The pocket on the right page is just a square of cardstock with pop dots on three sides.  The title on the left side is made up of grungy alpha stickers over vellum.  The helmet and dog tags are Jolee’s stickers.

Jul 272011

Today’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday photo catches me in the midst of sewing dresses.  Last night I finished my second version of Simplicity 2219.  I made the sleeveless version in blue tricot for a nightgown.  The magenta pile you see is the version with flutter sleeves that I cannot wait to wear to church on Sunday.

Although a more detailed review is forthcoming, I have to say that I LOVE this pattern.  (I was planning to write the review today, but got invited to hang out at a friend’s pool this afternoon.  Um, yeah… see ya tomorrow!)

2011 07 27 what's on your workdesk wednesday-sewing dresses

The next dress I make will be McCalls 5838 out of that sweet white fabric with the hearts for my granddaughter’s third birthday.  The light blue will be the sash and sleeves.  Can you say adorable?

Although I haven’t been blogging much lately, I have been busy sewing.  I’ve got several reviews and crafty projects planned for ya’ll over the next few weeks, so keep watching this space!

If you’re wondering why in the world I’m posting a photo of my workdesk, go here to learn all about What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday and travel the world via the desks of creative folks from all over.

Happy creating!

Jul 222011

This scrapbook layout is one I return to over and over.  As much as I admire the fluffy, frouffy, artsy pages that are so popular today, I find I’m more drawn to a clean, uncluttered look in my own scrabooks.  On this page you can fit one full size 4″ x 6″ photo with several mats, add three smaller pics cropped to 3.5″ square and still have plenty of room for journaling and embellishments.


One of the best pieces of journaling advice I ever got was to take your photos and pretend someone was looking at them with you.  What would you tell them about these pictures?

Write that.

In fact, I often say the words aloud (preferably with no one else home!) and then type out what I said.

Here’s your sketch.  Don’t forget that you can rotate it in any direction, even flip it upside down, for a different look.


The journaling from this page:

After Josh’s graduation he was free to go.  He had three week’s leave before he had to report to Camp LeJeune for Marine Combat Training. (Something we hope he’ll never have to use!)

The day before graduation, when he had some liberty, we thought to give him a treat and take him to a buffet on base.  We found out when we got there that they were serving the same stuff the guys got all the time!  So, on our way home we stopped for Pizza Hut . . . that was more like it.

As he never would let me teach him how to properly iron a shirt before, I found Josh’s newly acquired ironing skills to be quite “impressive.”



Jul 202011

Today’s desk shows what it’s like while I’m in the midst of making a card.  Yikes.

2011 07 20 what's on your workdesk wednesday

All this for one itty bitty card?  Yup.

masculine card vintage truck

The first step in making this card was to do some stamping and embossing.

masculine card step 1 embossing

I used Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Collection Stampers Anonymous Clear Stamps – The Journey, Darice Clear Stamp Set, Travel Phrases, Clear Embossing Ink and Clear Embossing Powder to make a background.

masculine card step 2 inking

Then I inked over the embossing with Vintage Photo, Broken China, Faded jeans and Peeled Paint Distress Inks.  Use a baby wipe to lightly wipe the excess ink off the embossing.

masculine card step 3 make tags

Next I made some tags by first covering cardstock with Tim Holtz’s Symphony Tissue Tape. I used my Big Kick (a Sizzix Big Shot would work just as well) to cut out the Sizzix Tag Set – Large Red Die.

masculine card step 4 emboss tags

The tags were embossed with the vintage truck from the Tim Holtz Visual Artistry Collection Stampers Anonymous Clear Stamps – The Journey and the “Happy Birthday” from the Fiskars Quote Clear Stamps: Make A Wish set.  I like to use Ranger’s Super Fine Detail Embossing Powder, black.

The tags were finished up with Broken China and Peeled Paint Distress inks and some hemp twine.

The card was finished with a strip of MemoryStor patterned paper and American Crafts ribbon.

masculine card vintage truck

Sorry about the poor lighting in the photos, this was a tough color to get to look right.

To see what other folks around the world are creating on this Wednesday, check out Julia’s What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

Happy creating and Happy Woyww!


Jul 152011

Do you tend to go back and forth between different kinds of crafts?  If so, which ones?

I’ve been doing so much sewing lately, that now I’m dying to get back to my scrapbooks and other papercrafts. 

Two Peas in a Bucket is having a Pre CHA Product Sale, you can get 15%-75% off select products. The sale runs July 14-22, 2011. 

It’s not like I need anything new, but hey, 75% off!  I’m heading over there now to do some shopping.  Having new supplies is always motivational!