Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 8.31

Here are this week’s fabulous Fresh Picks! Please stop by tomorrow for a HUGE announcement.

Vintage yarn basket

Catch All: Steph at The Silly Pearl shows off this incredibly cute upcycled yarn basket, decked out with Martha Stewart paints and stencils.

DIY Earrings @ DIY!

Ear Blings: Petra shows off her new earrings, made from cardboard, fabric and jewelry findings. Get the tutorial at her blog, DIY!

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza

Dinner & Dessert: We can still taste summer with this balsamic strawberry pizza with chicken, sweet onion and bacon. Get Jillian’s recipe over at Food, Folks & Fun.

Eye Candy Necklace @ A Creative Princess

Hey, Sugar: Interchangeable candy necklaces would make a sweet gift for a little girl. Get the quick and clever tutorial from Terri at A Creative Princess!

Alphabet Rocks @ Childhood 101

You Rock: Christie combined smooth stones plus paint pens to make these cute Alphabet Rocks at Childhood 101.

Pencil Pouch Tutorial @ Gwenny Penny

Colored Pencils: Learn how to make the pencil-shaped pencil pouch from Gwen at Gwenny Penny.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
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Fabric Covered Buttons

I’ve been making a lot of covered buttons lately, to turn into adoption fundraiser earrings. Today I wanted to share with you a basic tutorial on how to make fabric covered buttons. It’s so easy to do as long as you have the right tools!


Dritz and Maxant are two companies that specialize in cover button kits. When purchasing a kit, make sure you pay attention to the size of the buttons (size 18-60, typically). You’ll also want to buy a kit with the mold and pusher (the white and blue pieces), and not just refill buttons.

Dritz Cover Button Kit

The buttons I’m making here are size 20, and they are about a half inch in diameter. Sizes 24 through 45 are common in craft stores and quilt shops, but you will likely need to shop online for other sizes. Take note of the button style, as there are two main types: flat buttons and half-ball buttons, which are rounder like pearl buttons. I’m making flat buttons.

Gather some scraps of fabric. I’m using a thick linen/cotton blend, but you can also use regular quilting fabric to cover buttons. If you discover that your fabric is too thin, you may want to first iron on some fusible interfacing to the back side of the fabric so the shiny aluminum buttons don’t show through.

Button Cover Supplies

You’ll need a pair of scissors, which you may use to cut the pattern piece of the appropriate size from the cardboard back of the button kit. Don’t throw this away; I recommend storing all spare button parts along with your kit in separate baggies labeled with the size.

Covering Buttons

1. Cut a circle of fabric to the size of template on back of button kit box. You’ll want to choose a print that’s the right size for your button. 2. Place printed side of fabric face down on top of button mold. 3. Place button upside down on top of fabric circle. 4. Use blue pusher to move button and fabric deep into the mold, as far as possible.

5 and 6. Remove pusher and use your fingers to fold edges of fabric down. Make sure all sides are even. If not, fabric will poke out the edges of the finished button. If your fabric is uneven, just pop out the button and try again. 7. Once fabric is pressed to the center of the button, place button back on top of the button mold with the loop side facing up. 8. Use the pusher to secure button back to the button.

9. Use your fingers to bend the button mold, and your covered button should easily pop out. Repeat with the remaining buttons.

Covered Buttons Tutorial

You can use these fabric buttons to decorate clothing and accessories or change out the button backs to make jewelry, push pins, and lots more. If making jewelry, you’ll want to find buttons with flat backs, or else you’ll have to remove the button loop with pliers before gluing on your earring posts, bobby pins, push pins, and so forth. Have fun!

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Giveaway! Sewing Patterns from Pattern Patti

We’re happy to introduce Pattern Patti, a new shop featuring PDF sewing patterns in fun, accessible designs!

Pattern Patti

Cindy, any meaning behind the name of your shop?

Well, funny you asked. One Sunday evening, I was struck with the desire to open an Etsy shop selling sewing patterns. I was looking at all of the beautiful boutique sewing patterns and thought,”Why can’t I sell those”. Then I thought, “I will sell those. What should the shop name be? Well, my sister’s name is Patti, I could call it Pattern Patti.” That’s it. Nothing profound. I just thought of my sister and named the shop. I had no idea I would sell my own patterns. I didn’t even know for sure that I would sell any patterns at all.

Messenger Bag Style Purse

How did you get started sewing in the first place, and now making your own patterns?

My mother and both of my grandmothers sewed. One grandmother hand-sewed quilts and the other machine-sewed garments and crafty things. My first sewing project, that I can remember, was a skirt for 4-H. If I remember correctly, my grandma Audrey did more of the sewing than I did. I just stood next to her and watched. Since then, I have sewed in waves.  I sewed a little in high school, a little right after I got married, and then a little when my 2 oldest girls were tiny. Skip a few years. We moved across the country, had a couple more babies, and I started sewing again. I guess I’ve been sewing steadily now for the past 5 years, learning to use patterns and learning techniques. Google and YouTube are my friends.

About 2 years ago, I was introduced to the wide world of modern fabric designers. I fell in love with Heather Bailey’s Pop Garden, especially the reds. I like red. I bought 3 of the pieces and had to find a way to use them. I also needed a new bag. I decided to make a bag that could show all three pieces to fulfill both of my needs. Many of my friends loved it and asked me how I made it, so I wrote up the instructions for it. I taught a little workshop for ladies at church and passed out the instructions. At the time, Pattern Patti was selling only pre-printed patterns by other designers. I listed the tote on a whim and it sold, quickly. What a thrill. People liked what came from my mind and heart. I loved it. I loved the process from idea, to making, to writing and publishing. So, as the ideas came, I made, wrote, published and listed.  I eventually sold all of the designer patterns and now Pattern Patti is solely an expression of me. How cool is that?

Burp Cloth Sewing Pattern

What is your number one tip for others interested in opening an Etsy shop? Any wisdom you’ve picked up along the way?

I’ve learned a lot of things from selling on Etsy. But, my best advice is, Do what you love. Pattern Patti is my 4th Etsy shop. I’ve sold little crafty things I’ve made. I’ve sold custom, personalized photo mats and I even tried following the ‘green’ movement, selling eco-friendly, upcycled, handmade items for dolls and baby. These things never really did much, not because there was not room for them on Etsy, but because I was not in love with the work. It wasn’t really an expression of me. I was trying to do what I thought others would buy.  I love sewing and meeting my needs and my families needs by doing my craft. I’m also pretty crazy about technology. I’ve always been interested in desktop publishing and photo editing. Writing the patterns allows me to create, using all of my skills and interests. I get to do what I love and make a little income doing it.

What are your most essential sewing tools?

Sewing Tools from Pattern Patti

1. The sewing machine, obviously. I use a Janome DC2010. Nothing fancy, gets the job done.

2. A cutting mat and rotary cutter. I rarely use scissors.

3. My notebook. My companion. I grab it to sketch up ideas. Once I get around to pounding out the idea and sewing it up, I write all of my measurements and steps there. In fact, it’s sitting right next to me now.

4. My seam ripper. I’m only human.

5. A coke. It has to be from McD’s and in Styrofoam. Substitutes are unacceptable. Unless I’m desperate, of course. :)

6. My technology. I love my phone and my laptop. They are invaluable. I use them for writing, tweeting, research and the occasional chick flick.

The giveaway is now closed. Congrats to our winners:

#25: Mom C: “I like the patchwork tote bag pattern.  So many uses.”

#84 Jqluo:    “I like the Tote bag pattern.”

#66 Billie Kretzschmar: “I’m a Craft Buds follower.”


Leave a comment on this post and you could win your choice of sewing pattern from Pattern Patti! There will be 3 winners!

1. To enter, visit Pattern Patti and leave a comment telling us which of her sewing patterns you’d most like to try. (one entry)

2. For a second entry, be a Craft Buds follower and leave another comment. (one entry)

This giveaway will end on Friday, September 2, 2011 at 11:59pm (EST). Giveaway open worldwide!

Free Pattern Features: Totes + Winner

One of my first tutorials was for a tote. They’re incredibly useful in so many everyday activities! They also make great gifts and can be used in place of a disposable gift bag. And, some of the simpler patterns are great for a beginner. Here are some of my favorites but there are tons of tote tutorials out there!

Just like it’s name implies, The Market Tote from Bijou Lovely is a sturdy bag great for groceries or the farmer’s market.

Market Tote at Bijou Lovely

Market Tote at Bijou Lovely


The Knot Tote at Me Sew Crazy is a fast and cute project to whip up.

Knot Tote at Me Sew Crazy

Knot Tote at Me Sew Crazy


This Mini Market Tote from Chubby Hobby has some nice extra details on the handle and in the bottom corners.

The Market Tote at Chubby Hobby

The Market Tote at Chubby Hobby


Gardening season may be wrapping up this year, but get started on this great Garden Tote featured on Sew Mama Sew for next year!

Quilted Garden Tote at Sew Mama Sew

Quilted Garden Tote at Sew Mama Sew


And at think liz. is this Diana Hobo with pretty pleat details.

Diana Tote at think liz.

Diana Tote at think liz.


And lastly, our winner of the $25 Crafty Girls Workshop giveaway chosen by is the lucky Ariane! Ariane, I’ve sent you an e-mail with more information.

Photography Tips for Bloggers: The Basics

Today, I’m happy to welcome Kelley to Craft Buds. Kelley is a both a blog friend and a real-life friend of mine, and I was lucky enough to score her as my wedding photographer five years ago!

Kelley has established herself as a go-to products photographer, shooting inspiring images for many Etsy shops and food photos for magazines. She shoots weddings in and around the Indianapolis area and blogs at Kelley Jordan Photography. Without further ado, here are Kelley’s four top photography tips for bloggers.

Copyright Kelley Jordan Photography

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting.

Not only is this key to a good photography, but when it’s done right, the viewer will know exactly what you’re trying to say with your image. The best part is, you don’t need fancy lights to create an interesting image.

First, pay attention to your light source. Compelling lighting is usually angled and not directly from above or front.

Forget about using a flash. This will flatten the image and take away the interesting details of your subject. Instead, put your subject near a window or larger light source. Even professionals take advantage of available natural light.

Copyright Kelley Jordan Photography

2. The composition of your image.

The composition of your image will either draw attention to or away from the subject. Don’t clutter the space with too many props or a busy background. Think simple.

Also, move around the subject to get every angle. Don’t be afraid to take lots and lots of pictures. You never know- the last one when you are standing on the table above your subject may be the perfect one! Get in close, take a step away- explore all of the possibilities.

Also, pay attention to the steadiness of your hand. If you don’t have a tripod, set the camera on a table, pile of books, etc. to get a straight image.

copyright Kelley Jordan Photography

3. Pay attention to color.

Complement the subject with an appropriately colored background or props. For example, if you are photographing a red book, don’t use a red background. Instead, consider green or blue to make the book pop. Remember learning about complement colors in elementary school? Red to green, orange to purple, and yellow to blue. Use this as a guideline.

Another element of color is white balance. Notice how much the color changes when you use a 60-watt light bulb or natural light. Even basic editing programs like Picassa have white balance correction capabilities that will improve the feel of your image and make the subject more true to life.

copyright Kelley Jordan Photography

4. Study photos that catch your eye.

Take note of the lighting, composition, color, styling, etc. As you observe the images around you, you’ll see elements that you can experiment implementing in your own photography. Have fun with it!

Copyright Kelley Jordan Photography

If you’re in the market for a digital SLR camera, check out these tips on choosing a basic DSLRs (comparing Canon and Nikon) and understanding lenses from Jessica over at Somewhat Simple.

Thanks for joining us Kelley!

Kelley Jordan Heneveld
Click on the photo to be whisked away to her awesome photo blog.

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Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 8.24.11

Have your kids gone back to school? With orange buses back on the road, here are some crafts to make for kids or things to try with them after school. You may even learn something new.

Don’t forget to visit the giveaways page for lots of crafting supplies and handmade giveaways, including a gift certificate to Crafty Girls Workshop!

Tissue Box to Tattle Monster

Tattle Monster: Mariah turned a tissue box into a tattle monster to teach kids not to tattle on their classmates. Now all the teachers are using them! Get the tutorial at Giggle Galore.

100 Quilts for Kids

A Hundred Strong: Today’s assignment: Quilting for a cause! Check out the 100 Quilts for Kids Project. While you are there, spread the word and you can enter this fabric giveaway!

Back to School Sandwich Wraps Printables

Free Printables: Little Lovely shares a free download for these cute first-day-of-school sandwich wraps!

Dying Fabric with the Sun

Sun-Drenched: How about a science experiment? Jessica shows off how to use Inkodye, some common household objects and the sun to make custom fabric prints. You can see the results at her blog, How About Orange. Neat!

Coconut Banana Pancakes

Island Living: It’s back-to-school time, but that doesn’t have to mean going back to the typical. Brittany puts a twist on the morning routine with these delicious-looking banana coconut pancakes. Get the recipe at Bebe a la Mode Designs.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
Weekly Giveaways Linky
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