Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Summer Skirts with Simplicity 2606

  Over a year ago, a friend proposed a trade. Jayne would take photos of our family and newborn son and I’d make her a couple skirts. Over a year…

Sew Easy Burp Cloth Tutorial

The other evening, I was trying to pull double duty. I held the baby on one hip while tossing some vegetables in the skillet. My husband walked in the kitchen…

Quick Quilting Tips: Pinning Alternatives

Welcome to readers of Amy Smart’s Fabulously Fast Quilts blog hop! I’m happy to visit today to share my favorite quick quilting tip, along with the other bloggers on the tour.…

Crafty Kitchen: Turkey Cookies

There are lots of turkey cookie recipes out there, but I wanted to come up with one that was easy and didn’t involve and baking so kids could easily be involved. To make these cute little guys, you’ll just need the following ingredients: Double Stuf Oreos, Nutter Butter cookies, candy corn, M&Ms, red jelly beans, white frosting, and a handful of chocolate chips (optional)

To get started, press 7 candy corns into the white filling around one side of an Oreo. Then pipe on white frosting on the Nutter Butter for the turkey face and a glob on the Oreo to attach the turkey body.

For the face, press 2 M&Ms in for the eyes, break a candy corn in half and press in with the pointy side up, then press in the red jelly belly below. Then place the Nutter Butter on top of the Oreo.

The turkeys have kind of a blank stare, so if you’d like you can melt a tablespoon of chocolate chips and use a toothpick to draw on the pupils of the eyes.

To finish them off, I piped on a tiny dot of white in each pupil (also optional). Now you have  more Thanksgiving turkeys to eat!

Additional notes: I used homemade buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a round tip, but you could use some of the ready to use frosting in a can or tube from the grocery store (the kind that comes with different tips like Betty Crocker decorating icing). Also, buttercream frosting can be frozen when wrapped tightly in plastic wrap so when you have some leftover, save it for projects like this!

 

Linked up to the Ladybird Ln Turkey Daze Showoff Party with lots of turkey inspired links!

Fresh Picks for Sunday, 11.6.11

There a chill in the air, and we’re loving these cool-weather crafts. Warm up with fall colors and cozy accessories for yourself and your home. Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaways!

Love Your Veggies: Who can resist this friendly fall scene? Download the free embroidery patterns at Wild Olive.

Cover Up: Jeni blogs a cute scarf tutorial at In Color Order. Warm your neck with some pom-pom fringe!

Candy Corn Bars

Fall Kitchen: Thank goodness not all candy disappears from stores after Halloween. Three cheers for these delicious-looking candy corn bars from Sweet Peas and Bumblebees.

Draft Catcher

Catch My Draft? The cover of this smart draft stopper is removeable and machine-washable. Get the tute at Mauby’s.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
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The Happy Couple Blanket

Like many couples, I find that my husband and I never want the same amount of blankets. So, every night there’s always rolled up blankets in the middle of the bed because one person is too hot. I finally decided to do something about it since that extra blanket is taking up too much room! Enter the Happy Couple Blanket. It’s easy to make and as a bonus you can make two finished blankets to give one as a gift this Christmas!

To get started, choose a sheet and a blanket based on how hot or cold you need and purchase one of each in the size of your bed. I purchased a queen size flat sheet and queen size blanket. A few other options you could choose would be a flannel sheet, down blanket, lightweight blanket, comforter, quilt, or whatever would be the perfect temperature for each of you. In this post I’ll be referring to the sheet and the blanket since that’s what I used. I was able to find a sheet and blanket that matched exactly in color at WalMart. You’ll start with a sheet and a blanket that fit the size of the bed the final product will be used on (example: start with a queen sized sheet and a queen sized blanket for a queen sized bed).

1. First, cut both the sheet and blanket in half lengthwise. Then, with right sides (the top sides) together line up the cut edges of one sheet half and one blanket half and sew the edges together with a 3/8″ seam allowance (for a thicker blanket you may need a larger seam allowance).

2. Flip the blanket and sheet around so the wrong sides (bottom sides) are together. Sew along your center seam leaving a 5/8″ seam allowance to trap the seam you created in step 1.

3. Looking at the top of the blanket, fold the seam you created in step 2 to one side, then topstitch along the open edge. This will be much easier if you have the sheet side going under the arm of your sewing machine and the blanket side off to the side of the sewing machine. You now have a very sturdy seam and the blanket is finished! Repeat with the other blanket half and sheet half for a unique gift that lots of couples would enjoy.

Because it’s hard to see the whole project in the photos above, I’ve also created this illustration that matches the steps above. This process is known as a French seam.

And because this post needed a more interesting photo to wrap it up, my dear husband agreed to show off our before and after, infomercial style!

 

Edit: My sheet and blanket were the same color so it’s a little difficult to see the difference in the “after” photo, but the sheet side is on the left and the blanket side with the quilting lines is on the right. You can click on the photo for a larger view.

The Colette Sewing Handbook Q&A + Giveaway

Sarai Mitnick Headshot

Today I’m excited to share this inspiring interview with a woman who left her corporate job to carve out a niche for herself in the creative marketplace.  Please welcome Sarai Mitnick to Craft Buds!

Sarai runs a successful sewing pattern business working out of her beautiful studio in Portland. Just take a gander at the lovely sewing studio photos she shared below! She also blogs at The Coletterie and recently authored The Colette Sewing Handbook (F+W Media).

Sarai Mitnick Studio - Fabric Scraps
Sarai, can you tell me a bit about your transition from a corporate job to owning your own creative business?

The biggest challenge was uncertainty. I had a pretty great job in the corporate tech world, and it can feel like you’re a little crazy for wanting to leave a stable, prestigious, well-paying career for something that’s basically a huge question mark.

But when it came right down to it, I knew I wasn’t happy. I felt bored and tired, and a worst of all, like I was wasting my time and creative abilities. It’s not a good feeling to be stuck in a pointless meeting and realizing that your life is passing by. I liked my job in theory, but in practice working for a big company was really not what I was suited to.

I’m pretty careful about money, so I spent some time saving up so I could fund the business myself. That really helped. But there were other things I would miss, like proper health insurance and tons of other perks. My employer gave us free meals, for goodness sake! But we made a go of it and I must say, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I love being in charge, I love the creative flexibility, and I love the people I get to work with. It’s hard work, but the freedom is such an amazing gift. I am very grateful that it’s worked out.

Sarai Mitnick Sewing Studio
What’s your process for writing a new pattern?

We start with some basic ideas about an overall look, combined with requirements about what kinds of patterns we need in the overall collection. I factor in things like skill level, separates vs. dresses, and season.

Once we have several sketches and ideas, Caitlin and I discuss them and narrow it down to the few we’ll finally release. We then draft the pattern digitally, and make up many samples and muslins. The number really depends on the type of garments, with pants taking the most test runs. I think Caitlin sewed over 10 muslins to get the fit exactly right for our new pants pattern! I’d say that more typically, there are 3 or 4 muslins. Often times, little design changes have to be made as well as fitting changes, since things do look different when made up much of the time.

At this point, there is the grading and instructions to do, which is another very long process, and finally the photo shoot. It’s fun, but it takes a long, long time.

Sarai Mitnick - studio sofa
I’m excited about your new book, The Colette Sewing Handbook. So, how did it come to be?

I had a vague idea that I wanted to write a sewing book when the publisher approached me. My original concept was quite different and more specific, but my wonderful editor encouraged me to think a little more broadly and write more of a teaching manual of sorts.

My concept was to build on the sewing fundamentals that are so often overlooked. I think experienced sewists will tell you that things like understanding fabric and getting a nice fit are the keys to making the sorts of garments you daydream about. But no one seems to emphasize this when we’re starting out! So many of us just learn as we go, which is fantastic, but sometimes it takes us a long time to realize that we should pay attention to things like fabric quality. I know it was this way for me.

So my book focuses on five things: planning your sewing, using patterns, understanding fabric, getting a good fit, and finishing techniques. I suppose I wished that someone had come along years ago and said, “hey, slow down, enjoy the process more, and pay attention to this stuff and you’ll make some really cool things.”

I did enjoy the book writing process, because I truly love BIG projects. I’m a planner. And I like figuring out the best ways to communicate ideas, be it an anecdote or a tutorial. So writing a book was a lot of fun for me. It was a ton of work though. Like a lot of things worth doing, it wasn’t easy, but it was still an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade.

Sarai Mitnick Sewing Desk
Do you have any tips for someone who is looking to launch a creative business?

Don’t be afraid to do something different! There are a lot of mediocre products out there that try to appeal to the masses. Instead, look for the niche of people that you can really do amazing things for.

My other advice is just to be kind. If you are generous, helpful, and thoughtful towards others, it’ll make you a happier person and it will come back to you in spades. I guess it sounds like a cliche, but the more you think about how you can help other people, the more help will come your way when you need it.

Sarai Mitnick Studio Thread
What’s next for you, Sarai?

Some time off! We’ve got new patterns in the works for the Spring, of course, but I’m planning to make next year a little easier. I do have some ideas up my sleeve for some crafty stuff that’s not purely sewing pattern related, but it’s just an idea at this stage. In the meantime, I’m taking a little trip to Argentina and slowing down to think!

Sarai Mitnick Bookshelf

This is the first stop on Sarai’s blog tour for this book. Check out the full list of participants, so you can follow along!

Nov. 1: The ColetterieIntro and giveaway
Nov 2: Craft Buds – Interview and giveaway
Nov. 3: Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing – Lace insertion tutorial for the Licorice dress
Nov. 4: Sewaholic – Book excerpt
Nov. 7: COLOURlovers – Sarai’s favorite prints and patterns
Nov. 8: Flossie Teacakes – Interview with Sarai and book review
Nov. 8: A Fashionable Stitch – Book excerpt and review
Nov. 9: Pink Chalk Studio – Book review
Nov. 10: Craft Gossip – Interview with Sarai and giveaway
Nov. 11: Bolt Fabric – Book review
Nov. 14: True Up – Fabric Fives with Sarai
Nov. 15: Frolic! – On styling the book’s photos
Nov. 16: Whipstitch – Book review
Nov. 16: Honeykennedy – Styling ideas
Nov. 17: A Dress a Day – Interview with Sarai
Nov. 18: Not Martha – Book review
(break for Thanksgiving week)
Nov. 28: Casey’s Elegant Musings – Project Planning, book excerpt and Casey’s thoughts
Nov. 29: MADE – Giveaway
Nov. 30: Sew Weekly – Book review
Nov. 30: Oh! Fransson - Elizabeth’s version of the Taffy pattern
Dec. 1: Sew Mama Sew – Guest post from Sarai on grainlines

Free Webinar: Sarai is also hosting a free webinar on November 10, and she’ll teach you how fabric is made, how to speak the language of textiles, how to choose appropriate fabrics for your sewing projects, and more. Register today, because seating is limited. There’s also a book discount for all webinar attendees.

Giveaway!

Giveaway now closed. Congrats Margie! F+W Media is generously giving one reader the chance to win a copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook by Sarai Mitnick! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post telling us one thing you’ve learned from this interview. (U.S. entries only.)

We’ll announce one winner on Wednesday, November 9.

The Colette Sewing Handbook


Epic Letterpress, It Kits + Giveaway!

Lifestyle Craft’s Epic is an extremely versatile crafting tool. It functions as a die cutter, embosser and a letterpress. For whatever purpose you use the Epic, there’s a wide variety of shapes and styles for holidays, occasion or every day use. Right now in the Lifestyle shop there are over 500 different items to use with the Epic!

Some of my favorite dies are the ones that fold up into boxes and treat bags like these Halloween cracker boxes featured on the Lifestyle Crafts L Blog.

Lifestyle Crafts has just released their new “It Kits”, including a Clip It Kit, Tag It Kit and an Edge It Kit. I was sent the Edge It Kit that includes 7 border dies perfect for making cards. Here’s the complete set of dies that are 6″ across and a variety of widths.

 

Using the Epic

The Epic is very easy to use. From bottom to top, just stack up the cutting board, the die, your paper, and the cutting mat. Then use the handle to run that through the Epic and your paper is die cut!

Sometimes I’ve had a little trouble with my paper shifting as I’ve run it through so I’ve just used a post-it note to help hold it in place.

After running the sandwich of cutting board, die, paper, and cutting mat through the Epic, just peel your paper carefully away from the die. You can see that there’s white spongy areas in the die that press out any closed areas so you don’t have to spend any time pulling out all those little pieces. The little pieces just stick to the cutting mat (right side of the photo below) and are easily brushed off.

My Project

With the It Kit, I decided to make a paper wreath. I cut forty 4 1/4″ squares and used the border dies to cut one side of each square. Below is a sample of the six dies I used. After all my squares had a border, I folded them into cones and used a hot glue gun to secure the cone.

Next I hot glued an outer ring of cones to a cardboard circle. The circle has an 8″ diameter and a 3″ hole in the center. Then I glued on an inner ring of cones and smashed down the point of each cone so it stood up more.

Once all the cones were glued on, I glued an orange ribbon around the center of the wreath and it was ready to hang!

Discount

You can find more great information on the L Blog including demos and tutorials and see a variety of completed projects. And if you’re in the market to buy any Lifestyle Crafts products, check out our button on the sidebar for a code for 20% off your order!

Giveaway

Lifestyle has generously given us an Epic Combo Kit (a $170 value) to give away to one of our lucky readers! The combo kit comes with everything you need to get started die cutting and embossing.

To enter: This giveaway is now closed.

  1. Just leave us a comment telling us what you would use the Epic for.
  2. For a bonus entry, leave one comment letting us know if you’re a follower of Craft Buds through Google Friend Connect, RSS feed or e-mail.

Contest is open to US residents only through Tuesday, November 8 at midnight EST. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced the next day.

Bonus Giveaway! Lifestyle Crafts is currently hosting a giveaway on their site for an incredible Canon 60D camera and aqua Jo Totes bag. Just create an account to enter through midnight on Monday, November 7.

Last Minute Halloween Costume Inspiration

If you waited until today to start working on Halloween costumes, you’re in luck! There are some great resources out there with inspiration and instruction for easy costumes.

Disney Family Fun has a huge list of costumes and accessories with easy to follow instructions for many of the ideas.

Martha Stewart has over 50 Halloween Costumes and instructions (some are more time intensive than others).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doggie Stylish has a list of ideas for your dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for more ideas, a search on Google image search or Pinterest brings up tutorials for individual costumes on many craft and sewing blogs.

 

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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