Yellow, Aqua & Gray Charm Swap!

We’ve been chatting with the lovely Anna at Crafty Girls Workshop and had a great idea for a color-themed fabric swap, and we hope you join us!

For this fabric swap, you will choose one yard of modern fabric that’s yellow, aqua, gray or a combination of those colors. After the yard of fabric is cut into 5-inch charm squares (see this tutorial for details), you will have 56 charm squares which you will then mail to a central location to be sorted and swapped with others. In return, you’ll receive 2 charms each of 28 prints. What a great stash builder!

Please read through all rules first, then click the link at the bottom to sign up! This swap will be first come, first served. It is limited to 28 spots. (U.S. and International swappers welcome, but postage is at your own expense.)

Mosaic Aqua Yellow Gray

Fabrics 1, 2, 3, 5, & 7 Crafty Girls Workshop; Fabric stack: Flickr/JenniferLGB; Whirligig block: Flickr/SewCraftyJess; Fabric 8 Hawthorne Threads; Fabric 9 Sew Fresh Fabrics.



1. We will be swapping modern, quilt-store quality fabric only. (No JoAnn’s, please.) If you have any questions about what would be considered modern fabrics, we’re happy to make suggestions! Prints or Solids are both okay for this round as long as there are no duplicates.

2. Once you’ve been accepted into the swap, we’ll send you confirmation and you can claim your choice of fabric. We’ll post a linky here so you can see the fabrics we have so far and choose a coordinating print.

3. There is a generous 15% discount on your order through Crafty Girl’s Workshop with the coupon code CRAFTBUDSWAP. In fact, Anna has graciously volunteered to do all of the hard work for swappers purchasing fabric from her shop. When you place your order, you’ll “add to your cart” a nominal $2.50 cutting fee (also covers PayPal’s transaction fee) and she’ll cut it up for you right there at the shop, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for your lovely assortment of pre-cut fabric to arrive in the mail! This is actually the same cost as shipping your fabric to her within the U.S. (but less work!), and a cheaper option for International swappers. (Deadline for orders will be November 2, 2011.)

*Normal shipping charges for a yard’s worth of fabric also run about $2.50 within the U.S. ($4.81 Canada & Mexico and $6.77 everywhere else), so your fabric will be 15% off, plus shipping and the cutting fee if you choose this option.

4. If you already have one yard of fabric in these colors, you are welcome to cut the charms yourself and mail them to Anna for sorting. (Crafty Girls Workshop, 1100 Broadway Suite #311, San Antonio, TX 78215.) For this option, make sure you include a self-addressed-stamped envelope marked with the same postage for shipping back to you. You’ll want to put your fabric in a plastic zip bag and envelope and have it weighed at the post office before sealing it with your SASE inside. If you don’t wish to do Option #3, please have your 56 charm squares mailed to Anna by November 9, 2011, mailing early for international shipments.

Join Us!

Only the first 28 people will get to join this swap, so please fill fill out the form here with your contact info to join.

This swap is now full! If you signed up, please look for an e-mail with more info on selecting your fabrics, and please share a link to your fabric in the linky below!

  • If you are ordering from Crafty Girl’s Workshop, please select your fabric, then include a link to it here so no one orders the same kind. You can find a selection of color-appropriate fabrics on the front page.
  • You are now free to place your order for one yard of fabric with the 15% discount code CRAFTBUDSWAP.
  • Be sure to add the $2.50 cutting fee to your cart before checkout, so she knows you are  a swap participant!
  • If you are cutting your own yard of fabric, please also link up a photo of your fabric choice here, from somewhere online, to avoid duplicates!

Fall Crafts: Fresh Picks for Sunday, 10.9.11

Have you been enjoying the changing of leaves? Here are this week’s Fresh Picks, inspired by the sights and tastes of fall.

Monster Cookies

Creepy Cute: Learn how to make eyeballs from royal icing quickly and easily. Then transform regular cookies into edible artwork, with tips from Somewhat Simple.

Crayon Bats Craft

Going Batty: Old crayons, wax paper and an irons are the supplies for these spooky, crafty bats. You can get the tutorial at Honest to Nod.

Cheesecake Caramel Pumpkin Cups

Sweet on You: Hungry yet? Get the recipe for these fall-inspired treats at Something Swanky.

10 Costumes for Boys

Dwight K. Schrute: If you have a little guy in your life, be inspired by this round-up of ten creative costume ideas for boys at Babble.

Pumpkin Game @ A Little Tipsy

Fall Festival: Have a fall festival or trick-or-treat event coming up? Get instructions for this no-sew pumpkin toss game at A Little Tipsy. This could be a great idea to modify for different seasons!

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
Weekly Giveaways Linky
| Submit Your Project

Free Pattern Features: Halloween Printables + Winner

There are so many great designers and generous people out there who are willing to share their talent for free. Here are some of my favorite free Halloween printables!


This Snow White inspired poison apple is from less cake {more frosting}.

Poison Apples from less cake more frosting


Tatertots and Jello shares this fun chevron eye chart.

Halloween Eye Chart from Tatertots and Jello


From Eye Candy is this colorful subway art.

Subway Art from Eye Candy


At DLTK’s you can find a list of printable Halloween activites and coloring pages for kids.

DLTK's Halloween Printables


And at We Love to Illustrate, SIX different cupcake topper designs to choose from.

Halloween Cupcake Toppers at We Love to Illustrate


The winner of Sew Serendipity Bags was #51 chosen by, Joyce who said “I have been sewing for years, but my newest and most fun thing to do is making bags.  The possibilities are endless and the fabrics are SO fun.  Kay Whitt has become a real inspiration to me with her unique, feminine style and colorful use of fabrics.  I am still chicken to sew without a pattern though, so the new bag book looks very fun to me!”. Congratulations Joyce, I’ve sent you an e-mail with more information!


Halloween Printables

Now that Craft Book Month is over we’re starting to think about all of the upcoming holidays! For Halloween, I’ve designed a couple printables to get you and your house into the Halloween spirit.

Above you’ll see the Halloween Subway art. The Halloween Subway Art PDF is sized for an 8″ x 10″ frame opening but you can use your printer settings to scale it down if necessary.

I’ve also put together a “Happy Halloween” bunting. To assemble, print out the 2-page Halloween Bunting PDF. Then cut along the center of each orange line/border around each triangle. Besides the letters there are a few images to use if you choose. Below you can see what the PDF pages will look like.

After cutting out the triangles I used rubber cement to glue each one to orange scrapbook paper that I cut slightly larger than the printouts (I needed 2 sheets of scrapbook paper). Then I used a hot glue gun to glue each triangle to a piece of ribbon and that was it! This could also be a fun craft to do with a child.

Note: The links to the PDFs will take you to Google Docs. If you are having problems getting it to print properly, use your mouse to click on File (left side of screen), then choose “download original.” Open the downloaded document and try printing again.

Etsy Tips: Products, Promotion & the Holiday Rush

Rachel Gillet of Rachel's KnitKnacks Etc.

Photo: Dan Bracaglia

Please welcome Rachel Gillett, owner of the Etsy shop Rachel’s Knit Knacks to Craft Buds! Rachel works in publishing by day and is a knitting queen by night. I had fun chatting with Rachel about her handmade shop, promotion and getting her store ready for the holidays. She’s got some excellent advice about running your handmade business, so you will definitely want to soak it in.

Rachel, many knitters I know take their craft with them everywhere from work, to the movie theater to the car (for working on projects at a red light). What’s your favorite non-traditional place to knit?

Knitting isn’t just your grandma’s craft anymore. Knitters today come from all walks of life, with varied time commitments. So for many modern-day knitters, I feel that the craft is not always something we can allot a set time and place for, but rather we fit it in when and where we can. True, it’s great to make time for one’s self to sit down to a movie and knit away, or to gather with fellow knitters in the local coffee shop. But for so many 9 to 5ers, or 5 to 12ers, or whatever the schedule may be, it’s about stealing those precious moments of peace and using them to create something wonderful.

I like to take advantage of any time I’m in transit to squeeze in a little (or a lot of) knitting. Road trips are the absolute jackpot when it comes to finding some quality knitting time. This summer I took a trip with my boyfriend to Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN, which was about a 14 hour car ride either way. Needless to say, I returned with a bounty of knitted items to boot – as well as a new-found appreciation of hot showers!

Chunky Slouch Hat Slouchy Green Beret Pixie Hood Brown

I see you started your Etsy shop a few years ago. What have you learned about being an Etsy store owner that you wish you would have known when you got started?

I could easily run down a list of things I wish I had known when I got started – skills that would have been great to have up front – but then again, half the fun of owning an Etsy shop is learning new things along the way. If you had asked me three years ago what SEO tactics I planned on using, I would have probably stared blankly for a while and then muttered something about needing to check Wikipedia.

These days, I can confidently say I know the value of acquiring photography and editing skills, using networking to your fullest advantage – word of mouth is still a viable option in this technology-driven age – and using descriptive language to bring alive your product for shoppers. But I feel that all of these skills come with time – unless you are already an expert in these areas – and that’s perfectly ok!

However, there is one little nugget of wisdom I feel is vital for any shop owner to have from the get go. When you are creating something and putting it out there for the world to see, it is absolutely necessary to be proud of what you are creating. When I first had the idea of starting my shop, the concept was met with a lot of doubt. “Do I really expect to make a profit from knitting?” “Do I feel confident enough in my product for people to spend their hard-earned dollars on it?” Even thoughts of, “I hope people don’t think this is juvenile,” slipped in. Still, after I shrugged off some of this doubt and opened Rachel’s Knit Knacks, it was a struggle to keep the faith in the beginning. Only after my first few customers and positive ratings did I truly begin to appreciate what I was doing here, and my only regret now is not having been able to see that sooner. In an age of monopolized mass-consumerism, during months of low sales, you can always take comfort in knowing that what you do and what you create is special, and you should be proud of all your accomplishments.

Bow Headband by Rachel's Knit Knacks

How do you come up with inspiration for new products?

Whenever I come up with a new design concept, it is usually driven by my desire to clothe someone close to me – myself, my friends, my boyfriend, or family members. That is always the starting point for me. I’ve been told that perhaps this is not always in the best interest of my business, since there are so many other markets out there. But for me, inspiration is the key to a great design. Maybe one day I’ll keep a pooch in my purse and have a baby strapped to my back, in which case, you can look forward to all sorts of Shih Tzu sweaters and baby bonnets!

I also like to push the envelope in what can actually be feasibly created through knitting. Essentially, anything that is generally created with traditional fabric can also be knit. Once you realize this, the options are limitless. Sure, silk woven ties are more common place, but there is also something to be said about a retro-inspired, knit necktie. Some people make the mistake of thinking that knitting is reserved for the colder months, but societal conventions are fickle, so here’s hoping knit earrings and hair bows become the next big thing!

What has been the most helpful tool in terms of promoting your Etsy shop?

I have to say, my most faithful client is my best friend, Michelle. She contributes a lot to the brand in that she gives me honest critiques of my beta designs, inspiration for the sort of items she would want, and she is also one of my lovely models. For example, since she currently sports a natural afro, she has a lot of great know-how as to what other women with naturally curly hair look for in accessories. It’s actually because of her that my flower clips came to be! And in return, she sports these clips, bows, and headbands on an almost daily basis. It’s a win-win situation!

Blue Flower Headband

Why do you like to support handmade shops during the holiday season?

I love knitting special gifts for my loved ones during the holiday season. It’s a great way to show that I went out of my way to make something special just for them. In that same vein, shopping handmade shares these ideals. There are so many crafters out there just waiting to create something that suits exactly what you are looking for. Also, using Etsy is just as easy as shopping on Amazon or other online retail venues. Certainly, your wait time to receive your item may be a bit longer, but the benefits of shopping handmade far out-weigh any perceivable down-sides. For one, there’s that extra level of customer service, where shoppers can know that when they reach out with questions or special requests, they are talking to the creative minds behind their purchases.

Are doing anything special to prepare for the holiday shopping rush?

When the holiday shopping rush pops up its head, I go into overtime in an effort to bulk up my inventory. It’s vital to preempt the rush, and oftentimes you can see me knitting winter hats in the summer months. (It’s quite a sight to see someone soaking up some rays and toying with chunky yarn and oversized needles!)

Knit Leaf Earrings

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Rachel! Aren’t these knit leaf earrings adorable? If you like what you see here, why not visit Rachel’s Knit Knacks and add it to your Etsy favorites?

Rachels Knit Knacks logo

For more tips on preparing your Etsy shop or handmade business for the holidays, check out the Etsy Holiday Bootcamp, which brings inspiration, checklists and tips to your inbox.

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Book Review: Sew Serendipity Bags

Yesterday we were lucky enough to interview pattern designer and author Kay Whitt (and there’s a giveaway of the book at the end of the interview!). Her first book was Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear and she just recently released Sew Serendipity Bags. I had the pleasure of receiving a copy to review and make a project from!

The layout of the book is nicely divided up into skill level so you can choose between Simple, Intermediate, and Challenging. It was fun to look through all the projects but I appreciated knowing what I was getting into based on the skill level rating. The book is spiral bound so it easily lays flat and has a nice sturdy envelope of full size pattern pieces in the back. There is a wide variety of patterns and styles so you may not love everything in the book but you’ll definitely find some favorites. Projects include a lunch bucket bag, cross-body purses, duffel bag, ruffle hobo bag, backpack, diaper bag, laptop messenger bag and many more.

The introduction of the book includes techniques  on sewing, working with hardware, and working with stabilizers so you’ll have all the knowledge you need as you make the patterns. There are a total of 12 patterns. Many of the patterns offer different size options.

Once you choose a pattern, the instructions clearly tell you what fabric you’ll need along with any other materials (marking pencil, safety pin, etc.). There’s also a handy list for each pattern telling you the finished dimensions of the bag. Each pattern shows you Kay’s initial hand drawn sketch on the first page. Then in the following pages there are hand drawn illustrations for many of the steps. For example, the Green Grocery Bag (you can see my version below) has a total of 22 illustrations.


My Project

I chose to make the Green Grocery Bag in small. I liked that even though it was in the “simple” category it had some nice details. The bottom of the bag is finished with a French seam and is completely lined (including the pocket) so the final product looks great and is durable. The bag can be folded up into the pocket for easy storage and has a loop to put around your wrist. The sides of the bag have pleats so it’s nice and roomy.

I found the many illustrations extremely helpful so I always had a visual reference as I was making the bag. The instructions are very detailed. I did have to re-read each step of the instructions a few times to make sure I completely understood what to do next. All in all, I think my bag turned out well and I look forward to using it! (And if you’re wondering, the exterior floral fabric is from a vintage sheet and although you can’t see it, the interior is a green fabric with white polka dots.)


Free Pattern

Want to check out more of the book AND get a free pattern? Head on over to Sew Mama Sew where they’re offering PDF pattern and instructions for the Lunch Bucket Bag!

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