Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 6.1.11

It’s June, and we are more than ready for summer! Father’s Day is just around the corner, so those working on a handmade gift have a few more weeks to gather inspiration. We’re also excited by the kids crafts tutorial to keep young ones occupied during those lazy summer months!

But let’s not forget about some crafting that’s just for you. Enjoy this week’s Fresh Picks!

Mini Cards @ Humblechan

You’re Tweet: Chan shows off these cute felt-embellished mini cards at her blog, Humble Chan. Love them!

Sheep(ish) Yarn by Vickie Howell

Craft.Rock.Love: Knitting super star Vickie Howell talks about the retro inspiration for new line of yarn Sheep(ish), now on sale at JoAnn’s! [Video here] Craftypreneurs will also love to hear her business tips (like how she got her name on a fabulous product or has written so many books!) over at Diary of a Crafty Chica.

		Handmade Gift Exchange
		Postage 101 @ Fabric Fascination

If you’ve checked out our article on Craft Swaps, you’ll be interested to know that sign ups for the Handmade Gift Exchange are currently going on at Craftaholics Anoynmous (through June 6). And before mailing out your package, you’ll want to read Postage 101 at Fabric Fascination. Thanks for the info, ladies!

Add watermark to photos

Look, Don’t Touch: Ever wondered how to get your blog name to show up on your photographs? Jenna at Sew Happy Geek shares some great tips this week on protecting your photos by adding a watermark.

Giveaways Roundup
Visit the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with 30 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

If you’d like to be considered for a future spotlight here at Craft Buds, we invite you to submit your project, business tips or craft tutorials here.

Upcycle: Shirt to Purse

I love all the details you find in clothes: the little buttons, pleats and seams. I wanted to come up with a way to use those details to give some thrifted shirts new life. So I designed two purse patterns that use those fun details to their advantage.

In this tutorial, I’ll be featuring the instructions and pattern for the pink shirt and the tote bag. You can find the instructions and pattern for the brown/green shirt over at my other blog, Bugglebee Handmade.

The shirt I’m using in my pattern is a petite XL. Depending on the shirt you’re using, you may need to scale down the pattern a bit.


  1. One long-sleeved shirt
  2. 1/2 yard fusible fleece
  3. 1/2 yard fabric for lining (I used a heavier weight home dec fabric)
  4. 82″ canvas strap

First you’ll cut out all the pieces. The following two photos show all the pieces together and also where each piece came from. The numbers correspond to the list below.

  1. Using the free PDF pattern from Google Docs here, cut two each from the shirt (top and bottom of the back side of shirt), fusible web, and lining fabric for the main body of the tote. The pattern is 2 pages. You’ll want to print both pages out, line up the dots and tape them together. In your browser the PDF preview may show the pages are cropped. If you are having problems printing the whole pattern through Google Docs, use your mouse to click on File (left side of screen), then choose “download original.” Open the downloaded document and try printing again.
  2. but once you download it, it  will show correctly.
  3. Cut one 9 3/8″ x 4″ rectangle from the shirt, fusible web, and lining fabric for the tote bottom.
  4. Cut two 13.5″ x 4″ rectangles from the shirt and fusible web, and four from the lining fabric for the sides. I cut the shirt fabric horizontally from the front of the shirt with the button 1/3 of the way in. This piece will become a pocket.
  5. Cut off the bottom 8.5″ sleeves including the cuff. Use the slit in the cuff and cut it open into a rectangle and remove any buttons. Mine is 10.5″ wide but it will vary by shirt. Also cut a 8.75″x10.5″ rectangle from the liner fabric.

Now that you’ve got all your pieces ready, let’s prep the outer pocket. For the front pocket, fold over the top 1/4″ of the liner fabric and iron it down.  then with wrong sides together, stitch the tops together. Then, flip the fabric so right sides are together. Line up the bottom of the two fabrics and stitch them together. Then turn it right side out.

Next, you’ll stitch together the strips for the sides and bottom of the tote. Line up the strips from the shirt face side down (side, bottom, side). Place the liner strips on top of the two side strips (these will line the side pockets seen in the photos at the bottom of the post) and sew them all together with right sides together.

Then with right sides together, sew the side/bottom strip to one of the main body pieces. I found it easier to line up the center and sew from the center out to the top. Then I went back and did the other side. Then sew on the other main body piece (not pictured) and turn it right side out.

Stitch the pocket on along the bottom seam. The pocket will still have raw edges.

Iron the fusible fleece to the liner strips for the sides and to the main body pieces. Line up the side strips (side, bottom, side) and sew them together. Then sew that strip to the main body pieces using the same method as the exterior. Trim off any excess material around the seam allowance.

Now nestle the liner inside the exterior of the bag. Fold the tops inside 1″ and stitch around the top with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

You’re almost done and just need to add the strap! Make sure the strap isn’t twisted and overlap the edges by 1/8″. Zig zag stitch back and forth over the strap until the raw edges are secured. The strap will now be one big loop.

Line up strap with the raw edges of the front pocket. Start by pinning down the zig zagged seam on your strap to the bottom of the bag. Then pin down the sides. Stitch along both sides of each canvas strap and make an X at the top of each strap. (Before I stitched down the straps, my husband pointed out that the front pocket didn’t stand out so I went back and added the pink strip to the top.)

And you’ve made a shirt into a tote! I really like the pleats from the sleeve on the front pocket and the side pockets from the front of the shirt. The side pockets are mostly just for show. In my pattern they’re too narrow to fit much. If you want them to be more functional make the side/bottom strips wider.

Online Sewing Class

Giveaway winners

Out of a whopping 602 comments, the four winners of Giveaway Day here at Craft Buds are:

Giveaway Day

Handmade Tote and Charm Pack

#479, LeAndrea
Handmade Tote Bag and Just Wing It Charm Pack! Thank you for the giveaway!

$25 Crafty Girl’s Workshop Gift Certificate

#216, Trisha Too
VERY nice!  I’d really like that awesome tote and charm pack, or the gift certificate to choose some other fabric!  Following you . . .

Rotary Cutter and fat quarters

#485, domestic diva
I’d like the tote or rotary cutter pack.

Girl’s World book

#73, Kelly
What beautiful choices!!  Do I really have to choose??  I think I’d like the gift certificate for fabric!

Winners have been contacted via e-mail.

In case you missed out on some fabric goodness, the wonderful Crafty Girl’s Workshop is offering 10 percent off with the coupon code CRAFTBUDS. There’s also a $25 sale happening on Jelly Rolls, and lots of last-chance deals starting at $5 a yard.

Jelly Rolls on sale
And as always, check out our giveaway roundup for fun handmade and craft supplies giveaways happening this week!

Craft Retail: Running a Business to Have More Family Time

We’ll announce the Giveaway Day winners later tonight! Until then, check out this great crafty business advice from Marla of Memory Miser.

Marla Gibson
In 2005, Marla Gibson decided to get out of her career as a special ed teacher and start her own craft retail business. Today, she runs Memory Miser, a store selling Provo Craft (Cricut) products and the AccuQuilt line. I got the chance to ask Marla a bit about her journey from full-time employee to business owner, and you’ll love what she has to say!

1) When and how did you get started with your Memory Miser business?

I  started when my youngest was a year old, in December of 2005. My husband had started a new job that required long hours and a lot of time away from home. I was teaching special education and had so many after school meetings. My babies were at daycare way too many hours. I told my mom that I wanted to stay home and needed to come up with a plan. She said, “Sell that machine you like so much.” Within 2 weeks, I had become a Provo Craft retailer, sold through my first order on eBay, and had the website running. We grew quickly thanks to some very kind customers who spread the word. Until this past spring, we didn’t advertise, so it has always been based on customers referrals. I am proud of that.

2) What does a typical day look like for you?

My day starts with getting the girls ready for school, taking them, and then helping out there for an hour or two some days. Other days, I drop them off and go straight to work. My days are usually taken up with team meetings, email/phone calls, eBay/website promotions and book keeping. I usually work until 1pm, then go home for lunch and start “mom” duties. I then pick my girls up from school and hang out with them and whatever friends happen to come over. Once they are occupied, I pick up where I left off with work from home, cook dinner, and throw in more laundry. After we eat, I run to whatever practice they have. (I’m currently coaching Elise’s softball team and teaching Abigail to pitch, so its a little crazy right now.) We usually have about 30 minutes of quiet family time before they go to bed, then its time with hubby (often with my laptop, too.) Some days are a little nutty and I always work several hours on the weekend, but its really great to have the flexibility to work in chunks. I never miss an honor’s assembly or event at their school!

Memory Miser logo

3) What are the biggest challenges with owning and managing your business?

The stress! There is such a low profit margin on the majority of what we sell, every dollar has to be watched carefully which takes a lot of time. If I slack off, I always see it in the bottom line. The other big stressor occurs when something goes wrong. It doesn’t matter what plans or commitments I had, I’m the one who has to fix it.

4) What do you love most about your business?

Each day is different. I enjoy being in the office as much as in the warehouse. I actually had to unload a freight truck full of pallets this winter with a forklift- twice! I was scared to death, but it was also fun to learn. I’m doubtful that this will be a skill I’ll have cause to use again, but who knows! I love seeing all the new products and getting to play with them. I love when I get to answer the phones and talk to our customers. Each day is like hanging out with friends. There is so much joking and laughing throughout the building… I just think I am very lucky.

5) Do you have tips for others who are interested in getting into craft retail?

Don’t get overwhelmed. Take it in chunks and keep plowing through your to-do list. That line on your grade school report card, “Uses time wisely,” will never be more applicable than when you own your business.


Memory Miser is generously giving away a Cricut Cartridge to one lucky reader! One winner will receive the Cricut Give a Hoot cartridge (one of Lindsay’s favorites), pictured below.

Cricut Give a Hoot cartridge

Giveaway now closed. The winner of the Give a Hoot cartridge is Niki!

To enter:

1) Follow Craft Buds (this blog) and leave a comment, or tell us if you already follow. (one entry)

2) Subscribe to the Memory Miser mailing list, and leave a comment here saying you did! (one entry)

3) Facebook or Tweet about this giveaway, and leave another comment. (one entry each) You may copy and paste the tweet below:

#Win a #Cricut Cartridge! #Giveaway now at @CraftBuds thanks to @MemoryMiser and @provocraft!

Three chances to win! Giveaway open in the U.S. and Canada, and one winner will be chosen via on Wednesday, June 1 at 8pm (EST).

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Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 5.25.11

Wow! We’ve been pretty busy with Giveaway Day! (Entries open through Friday.) Between approving comments and entering giveaways ourselves, there’s been little time for leisurely blog reading. Amazingly, we’ve managed to scope out some inspiration for this week’s Fresh Picks!

Kids' Dress at Real Photography

Sweet Prints: Traci blogs about Kid’s Sewing at her blog Stolen Moments, with a pattern review and excellent photography!

Spool Toy @ A Little Gray

Upcylced Spools: What to do with old spools? Play with them, of course! Jessica shares her tutorial for a spool stacker toy at her blog, A Little Gray.

Butterfly Bookpage Wreath

Flutter By: We couldn’t help but notice this butterfly and book pages wreath at Mama Says Sew. Brilliant!

Plant Labels @ FW&MP

Let’s Ketchup: Katie at Food, Wine and Mod Podge shows off adhesive vinyl plant labels she made using the Silhouette. Check it out!

Vendor Applications

Host a Craft Show: We’ve found some more great tips at DFW Craft Shows! This time, it’s an explanation of how to promote your craft fair to vendors, and all about vendor applications!


If you’d like to be considered for a future spotlight here at Craft Buds, we invite you to submit your project, business tips or craft tutorials here.
Giveaways Roundup
Visit the Craft Buds Giveaway Roundup, with more than 40 current giveaways to enter! It’s updated each week, and you are always welcome to link up your craft supplies or handmade giveaways.

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