Itty Bitty Aprons

Hello there! Sorry I haven’t had many posts recently- not much sewing going on! But lately I’ve been easing myself back into stitching mode before holiday season commences (and I get super-busy).

One project I enjoyed was some little aprons for my niece. I have quite a collection of aprons myself, so I jumped at the opportunity to make her some in a Hello Kitty print. For the first one I used this pattern available on Etsy. The second one was cobbled together from various tutorials, but I found this one most helpful.

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For another short sewing project I made a fabric pumpkin to accompany my growing collection of pastel pumpkins. Here’s a great tutorial for fabric pumpkins in a variety of sizes.

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I’ve got my costume pretty much finished (Mary Poppins), as well as three other costumes I made this year. So I’m looking forward to Halloween. But most of all, I’m happy to have my creative spirit come out of hibernation.

Thanks for reading!

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easter baskets

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Even though I’m busy with two family birthdays this week, I still felt the urge to sew some little patchwork Easter baskets to send to my friends. Perhaps my main motivation was the fact that I bought too many Easter treats to fit into the little bunny pouches I made earlier. Oh well.

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I also wanted to try a new pattern. I thought this Etsy pattern was really cute, and I only had to tweak it slightly to match what I had in mind.  I didn’t have any fusible fleece, so my first basket was a bit soft and floppy. But after picking up some fleece at the fabric store, the next baskets were more upright (but still soft). I used fabrics and trim I had on hand.

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Rather than sew on bows, I decided to clip a hair bow to the front of the basket (I have a lot of those already made up). It was a fun project, but I think I would have enjoyed it even more if I wasn’t in a time crunch 🙂

 

 

 

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Every year, I seem to enjoy Easter more and more. It’s certainly something joyful and bright to look forward to after a long winter. I’ve also started some of my own spring traditions, such as assembling little bundles of Easter goodies to send to my friends.

Easter candies and sweets are so cute…It’s fun to assemble a little assortment and imagine my friends’ surprise. I love sending little parcels in the mail. Last year I made fabric baskets from this pattern–one of my all-time favorites. I also made some scrappy little bunnies for my niece and nephew. I didn’t have a pattern, just sort of made it up as I went along, so they are a bit wonky…

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So far this year, I’ve made some little treat bags from this cute pattern. I also adapted it slightly, (adding a lining and a different bunny design). They are really quick to sew, so I think I can make plenty before Easter.  I have some ideas for other Easter crafts that I hope to try soon. In the meantime, Happy Spring!

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for the love of roses

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March has been a difficult month for me, as I’ve been sick for most of it. But little by little, I’ve been feeling better and have gotten back to my old routines. After this very long winter, I am really looking forward to spring, and am anxious to get started on Easter sewing projects, spring cleaning, and new goals.

My mom recently had a birthday. I was sad I couldn’t do more to prepare, but I did make a few things for the rose theme she chose for her party.

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As it was a milestone birthday for my mom, my brother and I were able to carry on a little tradition of giving our mom her age in roses. It really makes the house smell heavenly!

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I made this paper-pieced rose mini-quilt as a gift. I don’t know why I attempted paper-piecing for the first time when I wasn’t feeling well… I was happy to have finished it, but I definitely need more practice. The pattern was very clear and helpful, though. It came from this etsy shop.

 

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A little rose banner to decorate the gift table.

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I found myself staying up late to make paper flowers and rosettes to decorate the photo collage. It was a soothing little project.

That’s all for now. Hope to be back soon with more signs of spring!

starbucks x sakura

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One of my favorite annual campaigns is Starbucks Japan’s Sakura Line. Around this time each year, they issue a new array of Sakura flavored drinks and desserts that are beautiful and delicately pink.

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Of course, Starbucks Japan also offer sakura tumblers, mugs, gift cards, and other goods for people to collect.

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I love how the cherry blossom theme has been interpreted in many different styles and evolves from year to year. Pictured below is 2014’s range. As you can see, mosaic tiles and falling petals adorn much of the drinkware.  I am not as keen on this line as I have been of other years’, but it is quite pretty. I was immediately drawn to the mugs (they look like they would feel nice to hold) and the water bottles, but I probably won’t try to hunt down any of these items this year.

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These glasses, one the other hand, would be a real treat. Upon the addition of cold water, the petals turn pink! Unfortunately these sold out fast.

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The sakura line has expanded to other Asian countries, but I don’t know of any plans to make it a worldwide campaign 😦 That being said, sakura season represents the promise of spring and the contemplation of beauty, and that is something to celebrate no matter where you are.

So to get in the spirit, I decided to make some cherry blossom sewing projects, bake some green tea cookies, and get out my collection of Starbucks Sakura items.

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I have this gift card from last year’s line. It is one of my favorite designs.

I also kept this bag because of the falling cherry blossoms.

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Here’s my tumbler collection. One aspect of the Japanese range that I appreciate is the option of smaller sized to-go mugs. The two on the right are just perfect for one cup of tea.

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Speaking of tea, I recently made this little tea bag wallet. The pattern is from the book Patchwork Please by Ayumi Takahashi. I’d been hoping for this book since its release, and happily, I got it for Christmas. This is my first project from the book, but I can’t wait to make more.

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I also made a sakura tea mat (just an excuse to bake tiny cookies).

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Even if you can’t get a sakura latte, you can still make your own coffee sleeve out of a favorite cherry blossom fabric. I adapted the pattern found here.

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I would love to try the sakura chiffon cake or sakura macaron, but like hanami, that will have to remain a dream for now.

Thanks for visiting and have a lovely day!

in a valentine’s mood

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I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. When all the Christmas lights are down and the ornaments are packed away, I comfort myself that another holiday is on the way, bringing hearts and roses, little cards and chocolate. I think of February, not as the coldest month, but as a month of sweetness and love.

In elementary school the Valentine party was always my favorite. I loved making a tiny mailbox and preparing my cards with ribbons and seals.

I also have a weakness for anything heart-shaped. And frilly, lacy things. And chocolate. (You get the idea).

I made this Heart Wreath last year for my door, following this tutorial. It’s a breezy project–you can put on your favorite romance movie and pin away. However, in retrospect, I wish I would have used a thimble or bandaids as I pricked myself many, many times.

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When I’m bored I find myself making little heart softies. They’re nice to tuck into a Valentine care package or to decorate a small space.

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I have a tiny collection of vintage Valentines. I use them for decoration, but I also love when I find just the right card to give to someone.

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My dad’s childhood Valentine box. It is a little tattered, but it actually won a prize in his kindergarten: the Little Red Riding Hood book pictured.

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Each year I make up little boxes to give to friends- nothing much just some chocolates and hair pins, and a Valentine of course!

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I love to type out little notes for handmade Valentines.

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I made some more heart-shaped potholders from this tutorial.

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Some Valentine handkerchiefs. Some old, some new.

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Found these little mail bags at Pottery Barn Kids a few years ago. I thought they were so cute, but now I might try to make one myself.

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February is so cold and snowy here– you have to have lots of desserts!

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Here’s a VERY simple craft- if you’re like me, and have an abundance of red and pink shopping bags.

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I used a heart-shaped gift card as a template and just traced hearts onto the bags (avoiding any text or folds). Punch two dots per heart, string up, and enjoy!

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Thanks for your visit! Have a lovely day!

tutu day

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Groundhog’s Day was a couple of days ago, and while that is a fine holiday, it occurred to me that February 2nd could also be “Tutu Day.” After all, we can always use an excuse to celebrate our favorite ballets, and I know I appreciate any reason to wear a tutu skirt…
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I have a couple of these long tulle skirts. I love them for special occasions.
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and I wear these shorter skirts practically every day with leggings and boots.
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Some vintage tutu prints I have around my house.
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The glorious tutus at Repetto Paris. I would love to get there one day.
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Some background information on tutus and the making of Swan Lake costumes.
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My tutu love pin board
I ended my Tutu Day by listening to my Coppelia record about four times and sewing little tutu costumes for Rapunzel and Elsa.
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Have a lovely day!

my melody

I have been a fan of My Melody for as long as I can remember. Her world is so sweet and magical. IMG_4356

One of my favorite Japanese brands, Liz Lisa, has a special collaboration mook (magazine/book) with My Melody. It always comes with a cute tote. llquilt

Liz Lisa also has a My Melody collection of goods and clothing, and this year it came out right around my birthday, so I was able to pick up a few cute items. melody trioThis plush sits on my dresser. I really like her flower crown. IMG_8077

And the mini bag charm has a beautiful plate that reminds me of stained glass. tiny melody

Even my Line Play character has been decorating with a My Melody theme. IMG_9603

My first project of 2014 was a tiny tote bag for my little niece. I was pleased to use a bit of this fabric I’d been saving for awhile.melody bag

Happy the heart shaped marshmallows are back in the stores…melodymarsh

And with so many snow days and chilly evenings, I’ve been baking away. IMG_9042

Now I’m gearing up for Valentine’s Day, getting my papers, punches, seals and stamps in order.

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Stay warm and thanks for visiting!

 

a new year

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I hope you had a merry Christmas and are enjoying this beautiful New Year. I had a bit of a rough December. I was sick for most of the month, and then got especially sick on Christmas Eve. My family actually had to postpone Christmas on my behalf. That made me so sad. But I am doing better now, and I discovered that there are some definite perks to prolonging the Christmas season.

I am still in a New Year’s mindset, as I’ve had to go at a slower pace than usual. So before I get started on my projects for 2014, I thought I’d look back on some of the things I made last year.

2013 was really a return to sewing for me. I dusted off my sewing machine and set up a little craft room in my attic. This was definitely a learning year for me. There were lots of bumps along the road (and unpicked stitches), but I rediscovered the thrill of making something new from fabric and thread.

To that end, I decided to create a couple collages of some of the sewing projects I made in 2013. 2013 collage

Before I got started on any sewing for the new year, I had to finish my traditional first project of the year- a new calendar.

A few years ago, I started printing off some of my photos from the year with a calendar template to give to family and friends. This year, I only gave a very few and decided to make things easier on myself and got them printed at Walgreens.

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And here are some of the calendars from years gone by.

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Wishing you happiness in 2014!

it’s christmastime

Wow. December is really flying by! It really makes me feel grown-up to say that, because as a kid it took forever to finally light all those advent candles and make it to Christmas Day.

Last weekend I had a nice trip to see The Nutcracker, go to the German Christmas market, and get a little frozen! But now I’m back in my warm cozy home, working away on Christmas projects.

Such as sending out Christmas cards

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Trimming the tree

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And having lots of sweets!

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I thought I’d share a few Christmas projects that I’ve enjoyed making. Two are actually from last year and one from this year (so far).

First off, a ruffled tree skirt. Last year was my first year having a real full-sized tree in my own home. Up till then I’d only had my tabletop “apartment tree.” So I wanted to commemorate the occasion with a new skirt that really matched my style. I had seen quite a few tutorials on making a ruffled skirt and decided to give it a go. As usual, I blended ideas from different sets of instructions and came up with what worked for me.

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My skirt is actually not sewn at all. I didn’t sew much at all last year and therefore didn’t think my machine (or I) could handle all those ruffles, so I took the glue gun approach. Normally I always opt for a more lasting (i.e. tedious) approach, but I would really recommend the glue gun over trying to sew something of this scope. Sure, it eats up a lot of glue sticks, and you should take breaks, but it’s a satisfying and low-stress project– I watched Miracle on 34th Street while I ruffled away.

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Advent Calendar!

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I love advent calendars, and have fond memories of them from when I was a kid. I was inspired by this lovely tutorial, but after searching for a long time for a wooden house style, I eventually gave up and bought a brown paper craft advent calendar from the craft store. I painted it white, covered the drawers with fabric paper and made little hang tags with my number rubber stamps. Inside are little chocolates and typed messages of Christmas activities.

I’m quite tempted to try a cross-stitch advent calendar, as I just found I nice pattern in my new Japanese sweets cross-stitch book. So there might be a new calendar next year…

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Lastly, fabric trees. These are a pretty common Christmas sewing project, but my first time making them. I liked being able to use some of my Rachel Ashwell fabric in a new way. I’m working on some pink trees now.

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I got the pattern from this Japanese site, but there are several tutorials and variations out there.

We had quite a snowstorm yesterday, so I’m cuddled under a quilt with some cocoa, nursing a bit of a cold. Hope to get my shopping done soon, but I may have to do it from my sofa!