{Copy-Cat} Capelet

Sometimes I don't even know I want to make something until I find irresistible yarn.  In the case of this capelet, I pinned it as a project idea but never intended to actually make it because, well, my style is a lot more plain.  Enter Paton's Lace yarn in Dove Grey.  I was walking down the aisle of Hobby Lobby when my eye caught this lovely little skein of soft, delicate, delicious mohair-blend yarn.  It was irresistible.  And it was on sale.  I paid somewhere in the $4 range for one skein, which was enough to make a classy little capelet.  Something I'd never have dreamed I'd wear, but I totally do.  

The idea came from this pin, and here's a picture of mine next to the Pinspiration:

The website is written in German, but the author has a diagram on graph paper, and whenever graph paper is used, I know that someone's speaking my language.  It's really not hard to decipher the concept from her diagram.  MY only advice is when making your inital chain, you may want to make it smaller than you may think.  Mine is a little drapier around that shoulders than I'd prefer because my foundation chain was a little long.  No biggie, though--nothing gaining a few pounds won't solve.  And I am totally up for that challenge.  

Just kidding.

Lessons learned by a first-time quilter.

A million years ago, when I shared my first quilt I promised a "lessons learned" post. Well, here it is. Let's jump in...

Lessons Learned:

Quilts can be expensive. Maybe the quilts of the pioneer days made use of fabric from old clothing and such, but the typical modern quilt is expensive.  It's been a while since I did the math, but my first quilt cost somewhere between $150 and $200 (but a fraction of the supplies, like bent safety pins and extra bobbins can be reused).  It's funny because I was planning on getting Elliott a duvet from Pottery Barn for her bed, but I thought it would be too expensive by the time I purchased the duvet cover and a reasonably priced duvet (from Ikea).  I'd have been better off with that purchase, especially when you consider the unknowns of making your first quilt (i.e. Will it even be usable?).  However, no mass produced duvet cover, no matter how classy it may be, can compare to even the most humble of homemade quilts. That's a fact, Jack.

Move fearlessly forward.  Go ahead, bite off more than you can chew--you are smarter than fabric, after all. Go big or go home, y'all.  And get acquainted with your seam ripper, if need be.  No biggie.

You don't need a whole lot of special supplies. You may want to make sure that your sewing machine is serviced and in great working order and that you have the necessary feet to make quilting easier, but other than that, I'd try to make the best of what you have.  I am still feeling silly for buying a million bent safety pins when oddly enough the large-sized plain ones I already had were actually easier to use and yielded great results. (One reader has said that this safety pin thing was not true in her case and that the bent ones were worth using.  So, take my thoughts with a grain of salt!  I am a total noon after all, sharing only lessons from my first quilts.)

Learn the capabilities of your machine and be prepared to buy a new foot or two. If you plan to free-motion quilt, you'll need to make sure your machine is capable of it and that you have a proper foot.  For my vintage machine (Singer 401A) I had to buy the darning/embroidery foot which, including shipping, was under $3. Straight line quilting would also be awesome for a first-timer (in fact, that's probably a better route to take) and a walking foot makes it a cinch.  But fancy quilting gloves, specialized cutting rulers, etc. can hold off be purchased if your passion grows (and don't be surprised if it does).

Take time to think about what {you} value in a quilt.  I wish I'd know that patchwork is more my style, not so much the route that I took with my first quilt.  In fact, I'm currently saving all of my girls' cotton clothing (not knit cotton, more like the stiff quilting-type fabrics) to make a quilt with once girl #2 has grown out of the clothing.  Laura Ingalls Wilder-style.  I think it'll be super-cool to make a quilt from clothing that both of my girls have spent their first few years wearing. Live and learn, right?

Read about Leah Day and be confident.  In a few short years, this young woman has revolutionized free motion quilting.  Certainly us newbies can figure this out too, at least to a small degree.  She's amazing, and I'll bet she doesn't even have a gray hair yet.  Lucky.

{Wavy Line Whole Cloth Quilt}

Consider whole-cloth if you want some fun practice but you're not ready to tackle something massive. Whole cloth quilting is basically sandwiching two pieces of uncut, un-pieced, unharmed fabric and quilting away.  I found it to be good practice for the actual quilting process, as well as binding practice. Goodness knows I need more binding practice before I tackle another massive quilt.  I've now made two whole cloth quilts as baby gifts, and I'll definitely make more in the future. Whole cloth quilting is significantly less expensive than traditional quilting because there's no waste--so it's a smart choice if you're on a budget and don't have access to scraps.

{Intersecting Lines Whole Cloth Quilt}

So, those are my thoughts. Hopefully it's been helpful if you're considering starting a quilt.  If you're an old pro, maybe you disagree.  Feel free to lovingly share in the comments!  Gone are the days of the quilting bees where us can learn under the wing of the pros, so the Internet proves useful in connecting novices and seasoned professionals.

Go forth and quilt!

{Gray & Rainbow} Granny Poncho

With as much creating as I do (seriously, my hands always stay busy with something) you'd think I'd be better about sharing what I've done.  I don't always think my projects are worthy of being shared or perhaps the effort of documenting is more than I'm willing to put forth at the time.  This granny poncho, however, is one worth sharing.  Almost anywhere it goes, it receives attention and granny-love.  There's something about muted grays and vibrant rainbow stripes that is just oh-so-appealing!

The method of making this poncho came entirely from Le Monde de Sucrette. Don't let the name intimidate you; it's a blog that's written in plain English.  Does anyone else ever feel like the majority of the awesome free patterns you find on Pinterest are written in another language?  Oh, the huge problems we face.  ; )  With the "pattern" you can make a poncho of any size to suit any age.  Pretty dern awesome.

I used yarn entirely from my stash.  The colors are all Lion Brand Vanna's Choice (it's my go-to budget  friendly yarn) and the gray is almost an entire skein of Red Heart Super Saver (one of my least favorite yarns, purchased a few years ago when I was just a wee grasshopper, learning the ancient ways of crochet).  Unlike the first poncho I made for Elliott several years ago, she LOVES this one.

And now I kinda want one, too.


Insta-Update 2

I've been doing a pantry clean-out over the last few weeks and it has proven to be very profitable--as in my pantry is finally looking less like it belongs to a food hoarder and more like a place for storing staple items.  In speaking with my friends about the large amount of food I've amassed, I was elated to know I'm not the only one who fills my pantry to the gills.  It has been a fun challenge and though our meals have been different than usual, it has been a good learning experience for me.  

In the midst of the pantry/freezer clean-out, I have still grocery shopped for fresh produce and milk.  I mean, some things are hard to substitute!  I tried a new recipe for roasted sugar snaps and I fell in love!  Sugar snaps have never been a favorite of mine but I acknowledge their existence by adding them to stir-fries and the like.  I definitely see more sugar snaps in my future.  Even the kiddos enjoyed them--in fact, I served them as an accompaniment to some delicious Pad Thai (since discovering this popular Pinterest recipe, I've been addicted to making it) and Elliott ate her sugar snaps before eating the Pad Thai that she loves.  What?!

Speaking of my firstborn, she's a crazy one.  I snapped a pic of Elliott wearing her red cowboy boots, handed down from a swimming lesson classmate.  Initially she loved them, but later decided to hate them with the fury of a thousand swarming hornets.  I kid you not.  And now she adores them again.  

And for some reason, another thing I feel compelled to share is delicious carrot souffle.  It's perhaps a bit time consuming for a weeknight side dish, but totally worth the effort.  I mean, who doesn't want sugar-dusted veggies on the table?  Your kids will love you for making this recipe.  

I also got to work on my slowly-improving quilting skills last week.  I was invited to a baby shower and wanted to make a fun quilt.  My decision may or may not be based on the fact that in addition to my food-hoarding, I've amassed quite a fabric collection that needs to be thinned out.  I ended up making a mini-quilt that's the perfect size for diaper changes, keeping warm in the car seat, lining the crib in case of blow-outs, tummy-time, etc.  I like to think it'll prove useful.  

I'm liking the concept of whole-cloth quilting as it really makes for an impressive end product without the labor involved in piecing a quilt top with perfect quarter-inch seams.  With my limited time these days, whole cloth tops just prove to be a more practical use of my time.  The binding however, has become the bane of my quilting existence.  The mitered corners, the need for perfect seam allowances, the narrow's just more perfection than I'm cut out for!  

I'm considering trying the "cheater binding" method for my next quilt.  Does anyone have any experience with that or helpful tips for better quilt binding?  This was quilt number three, and I fear my skills are diminishing, not improving...


DIY House Number Plaque

Hey!  Today I have for you the simplest of crafts that adds a fun touch to the exterior of your home.  I bought an old Lenox platter from a thrift store and hung it inside my home for a while.  The only problem was that it was exactly the color of the interior walls of my house (I know, white walls, we're SO boring) so I never loved it.  

Since it already had a plate hanger on it, I decided to try it outdoors.  Cool, but it needed something.  So, natually I went to Hobby Lobby, grabbed some of their numbers (and paid for them, I might add) , glued 'em on with E-6000 and the rest is history.  And I literally mean history--I actually did this project two (TWO!) years ago and I'm just now sharing it.  But hey, now you know the glue lasts outdoors--I have proof!

Thrifted platter
Numbers (or letters could be cool, too)
Strong adhesive (E-6000 should be in every crafter's arsenal.)
Plate hanger

Glue the numbers on your platter/plate/tray and let cure according to adhesive directions.  Then hang it. Pretty straightforward stuff, right?  Really, it's just a good jumping board--imagine the possibilities of what yours could be!

My total project cost was around $5-6, because I can't quite recall how much I paid for the platter but it was inexpensive.  And you guys know I love cheap crafts.

Much love,


Worst blogger ever?  Sure.  But hello and happy new year anyhow!

I freely admit that I am pretty slow in the world of technology--and it's mostly by choice.  I won't get on my soapbox, but I am happy being ignorant and perhaps even slightly disconnected.  It works for me.  But I just inherited a hand-me-down smart phone (I'm really moving up in the world!) from my husband and before he gave it to me, he added the Instagram App.

And I'm in love.

Like a million years ago, I wrote this post there I asked "why all the rage" about Instagram.  Well, I've been sucked in to the vortex.  So, here are a few of my firsts.  So far, I'm keeping my account for private use--but we'll see if I change my mind down the road.

Since technically I should be posting crafts, here's one of my latest finished projects--a spare tire cozy for my Rav4.  Because every car needs a bit of crochet, right?!  Believe it or not, I put this on my car early in November and it's been on ever since (with the exception of the time my husband ran it through the auto car wash--and I in turn gave it a wash in the machine and it came out just fine).  In other words, it's far more durable than I'd expected!

I've also finally knitted my first afghan, but here's an even newer project--a rug I'm making from t shirt yarn.  My husband gave me a stack of old t shirts that I turned into yarn after hoarding them in the back of my closet for a few years.  What, you don't hoard your husband's crusty old tees?

My girls are growing by leaps and bounds (well, okay, in reality they're growing slowly but surely--both are quite tiny for their ages) and of course that means lots of bumps and bruises.  I otherwise might not have documented such un-earth shattering news, but Instagram made this petty little thing seem very beautiful and artistic.  Actually, I'm kind of in love with this pic of scabby knees.

Also, look at that little rascal.  I left them to go put on mascara and chapstick (I clearly aim high in my cosmetic routine) and this is what I walked in to.  Bennett is quite the climber, and in all fairness to her, she's pretty dern good at it. ; )

I've made Gina's Pumpkin Banana Bread a handful of times now, and it's a hit with everyone around here.  Though it's not often that we have bananas that get overripe, this week I specifically set some aside to ripen for this bread. It keeps the whiners from being so...well, whiny... at breakfast.

And here's my first ever Instagram.  My husband points out this sign every time we pass it, so it seemed worthy its own moment in the spotlight.

Anything?  That's pretty generous for a used car lot.
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