Tag Archives: craft

What I’m into: Holidaze

You know it’s the Christmas season when the kitchen table is covered in fabric and I’m trying not to step on straight pins!


I have my sewing machine out to finish up Eileen’s stocking, which involves quilting Moda Winterberry charms in a coordinating design to hang alongside her brother’s. (Pattern is a riff on this one from Prudent Baby).

The majority of my Instagram feed is either babies, dogs or fabric designers, and when I came across a festive tablesetting project on the fatquartershop feed, I was inspired to make it for my forever friend, Regina:


(I made my own template, but you can purchase them here.)

Regina and I got to meet up at my hometown Breakfast with Santa this past weekend and had to get a special photo with our baby girls.


My mom’s side of the family also celebrated, and this snap captures the feels from our family party:


Emmett’s wearing a Super Why cape my mom sewed for him. Super Why is a PBS superhero with The Power…To..Read! – obviously my favorite super power of all time.


Joe and I brought this New York Times chocolate whiskey cake, which features a half a cup of Irish whiskey and a bunch of coffee and pinch of pepper/clove. It was intoxicating.

I still have some last-minute crafting, so I’m going to cross my fingers the kids keep napping and put MAIDS’ new holiday song, “All About Xmas” on repeat. Softly.

P.S. I’m obsessed with all things Aziz Ansari right now. Joe and I listened to “Modern Romance” on our drive to/from Chicago and we’ve bingewatched “Master of None” and I laughed out loud watching his Madison Square Garden special on Netflix. He’s got this refreshing sincerity and feminism going on in the midst of all that funny.


Filed under Cooking, Getting crafty, What I'm into

Sewathon and then some

This past weekend, Meredith Corporation hosted the American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge 24-hour sewathon as part of an effort to make a million pillowcases for charity.


Whenever my mom comes to town, we end up doing some epic crafting, so it was perfect timing to put some of that creative energy towards a good cause. We stopped into the sewathon in the evening and contributed four pillowcases each to the goal. It was a really cool setup (volunteers didn’t need to bring a single thing!) and we learned a brilliant, super-easy roll-it-up pillowcase technique. Watch a how-to video on the APQ site.


It was my first time using a serger and I fell in love. These instructions show you how to make the roll-it-up pillowcase using a regular sewing machine. Even if you couldn’t make it to the sewathon, you can participate in the challenge and whip up some pillowcases for charity. I’m thinking of making some as gifts for the kids in my life, too.

Speaking of kid crafts, after our pillowcases were complete, we worked on a few other projects. I made a fun felt pizza and cherry pie for my niece Norah’s second birthday. I got the idea when I saw that the lights for our closet came in what looked like mini pizza boxes.


I made a felt crust by blanket stitching some plate-sizes pieces of beige felt together for stability, and then just freestyled cutting sauce/toppings and berry filling/lattice topper. I decorated the box to look more like a pizza/pie box than something from the hardware store, and it was good to go. I love when a project that’s been in the back of my mind finally becomes a reality.

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Filed under Getting crafty, I love Des Moines

Stop scrolling

When I’m tired, it’s really easy for me to kill 45 minutes curled up on the couch, tapping away at my phone, re-checking Instagram or Facebook. I wish I had more time to read, or work on projects, and then I realize I do – I just threw away an hour mindlessly scrolling away. I think I’m going to just shut my phone down after 7 or so a couple nights a week to just completely eliminate the itch.

I’m almost finished with “The Most of Nora Ephron,” a collection of news stories, essays, a  novel, a play, screenplay and magazine pieces by the late writer.

The Most Of Nora Ephron

I appreciate her personal, chatty style, and have found it interesting to see how her life experiences recycle throughout her work. Certain themes – food, marriage, divorce, infidelity, Jewishness, etc. run throughout all of the pieces, and certain anecdotes show up multiple times in some form or other.

It’s a brick, but a quick read. It was a good book to bring on our road trip to Saint Louis – short chapters or at least easy spots to leave off and pick up. I’m sad I missed my book club’s discussion, though!

Last night I actually used the sewing machine that I had sitting in a corner of the dining room. It felt good to sew and accomplish something tactile after spending hours at the computer. I mean, these sweet fabrics are hard to resist.


What are your weekend plans? Joe got an invite to a Winefest event where he might meet Lynne Rossetto Kasper! Otherwise, we don’t have much on the docket aside from babysitting and maybe swinging by CelebrAsian.



Filed under Books, Getting crafty, What I'm into

Little things

Monday mornings rarely go smoothly unless I make time on Sunday night to organize and set out everything I’ll need to launch my week. Instead, this weekend we threw routine to the wind and Superbowled at our friends’ house.

Subsequently, I had to bolt my green monster and dash out the door with wet hair Monday morning in order to make a meeting on time. Lucky for me, the appointment was with an empathetic person who has a toddler and 5-week-old, and took place at Mars Cafe, the best coffee shop ever. And THIS happened:


A potentially manic Monday morphed into a manatee Monday with some custom mocha art by Daniel Bosman, an all-star barista who has a knack for turning my frown upside down. Day made. It’s the little things.


Special thanks to my friend Alexander who asked Daniel to learn manatee latte art for me!

This weekend, I also paused to appreciate the ‘little things’ by taking a sewing class at Stitch. It was so great to sit at a workspace that wasn’t my cluttered dining room table, and they had fresh coffee and bagels for us.


We made little elephant pincushions from this pattern. I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge. I told our instructor, Veronica, up front that I was pretty sure my finished elephant would only balance on three legs and I was totally OK with that.


Not exactly a soothing sewing experience, but my elephant ended up actually looking like an elephant, and it had all four of its legs. I’ll call that a success.


Ephemera was having a little Valentine-making party down the street, so I popped in there and beasted a cupcake/made a card before heading home.

Other little highlights of the past week:

Starting a short story collection for book club. We’re reading Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” by Alice Munro, who just won the Nobel prize in literature. I’ve never read her work, and I’m enjoying it doubly because I’m looking forward to the discussion with a bunch of awesome ladies.

Making a special batch of chocolate chip cookies for a friend. I used coconut oil and “enjoy life” chocolates because she’s currently dairy-free and they actually turned out delicious. I was reminded that it doesn’t take very long to whip up a batch. There may be some in the oven this second. OK, I may be eating raw dough this second.

Sending a bunch of home-designed Emmett Valentines via snail mail. They’re starting to hit mailboxes and make other little ones smile! I was pretty bummed that we didn’t get Christmas cards out this year, so I may have gone a little crazy. Seeing this photo from a friend made me so happy. Who doesn’t love fun mail? (It’s not too late! XO-LP has a cute set of color-your-own, itty-bitty Valentines like you used to give in school.)



Filed under Books, Getting crafty, I love Des Moines, What I'm into

Honey lovers

I finally finished a wedding gift I dreamed up for my cousin Kelley and her husband Paul — almost six months after they tied the knot. You have a year to give a gift, right? Also, the ferns in her hair and the pearl-studded pins? So incredibly gorgeous.


Theirs was the amazing Hood River wedding (read about our adventures that week here) and I knew I wanted to create something special for them. Kelley and Paul raise honeybees and love the outdoors, so I decided to make them a quilted table runner meant to look like their initials carved in a birch tree, with some honeycomb-style hexagons pieced and quilted on top.


With a newborn, I haven’t had a ton of hands-free time. Joe gave me the girl-you’re-crazy look when I started this, but I was possessed by the idea.  I’m so happy it turned out like I envisioned!


I freehanded most of it, but for the letters inside I printed a font I liked and copied it onto the fabric with disappearing ink that I stitched over. I also traced a heart design and then stitched over that. 


The hexagons were all cut after being traced from a quilting template. Sewing hexagons together is kind of tricky!


My heart is full of joy for this dynamic duo!


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Filed under Getting crafty, Travel

Super simple DIY Pom-Pom mobile

Pom-poms! My friend Sarah just published a book that gives these whimsical crafts from childhood a cheerful & cheeky spin with grownup projects like a pom-pom cowl, pom hedgehog paperweights and other quirky crafts.

sarah pom

Sarah is the talented lady behind Craft-a-Day, and when she asked if I’d give a pom-pom project a whirl, I gladly agreed. These are the perfect craft-while-the-baby-sleeps, yarn-stash-busting ideas.

I imagined colorful poms would add a fun touch in Emmett’s nursery, dangling from the mobile. I previously had clipped Alphabeasties to a Kikkerland Hanging Photoclip Mobile. Although the cards are gorgeous, they’re not so much fun to look at upside down! Enter, fuzzy-wonderful pom-poms.


I worked on the pom-poms on the couch while Joe was watching football and Emmett was sleeping and was able to make enough for the mobile before Notre Dame lost. I used to make hundreds of yard dolls when I was a kid (a friend and I used to donate the proceeds to the local historical society), and so I opted for the finger wrapping method. Here’s my own dorky tutorial. (Click to enlarge.)


I made the same size of pom in a bunch of different colors and then just clipped them onto the gallery mobile. Emmett seemed to really like watching the fuzzy shapes. They’re so lightweight I’m not at all worried about them falling. In fact, I cam totally see us playing a game where I unclip them and he catches them as they fall. Free entertainment!


Merging the hedgehog pom-paperweight and pom-mobile ideas, I could see white sheep poms being totally sweet. (As in, counting sheep to fall asleep.) They’d just need little felt heads and feet.


Congratulations on a great book, Sarah! Check it out here.

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Filed under Getting crafty