Repurpose your hoodie

Add a device pocket to your hoodie

I discovered another old cross-stitch project that I’d finished and tossed into a storage bin years ago, so I thought I’d put it to good use.

I turned it into a device pocket for my favourite hoodie, so now I can carry my Kobo eReader around in it… if I can ever go out again in the near future 🙂

Carrying around an eReader with a good book on it can be a blessing when you’re stuck in a lineup or sitting in a waiting room… which I hope to be doing again someday…

Well, I’ll be prepared just in case, anyway.


So, what can you make with a big bag of buttons?

The last time I was out shopping, a bag of blue and green buttons caught my eye (most normal people would be excited about buying new shoes or bags—for me, it’s a bag of buttons for $1.25).
I bought it, thinking right away that the buttons would be perfect for embellishing a t-shirt in some capacity. The mix of blues and greens made me think of the sea, which made me think next of sea life. When I got home, I dug a plain white t-shirt out of my stash, peered at for a few moments until a picture of a button mosaic in the form of a big fish popped into my mind. Little did I know that this would be the only easy part of this project.

As I usually do, I made up the process as I went along, so bear with me.

(Note: I am a very impatient person, which makes it quite astounding that someone with my personality would even remotely enjoy doing artsy craftsy things. If anything takes too long or is too fiddly, I get super annoyed and start trying to take shortcuts and, I’ll tell you, I was almost constantly annoyed with this project. But I’m glad I stuck it out because (a) it was a great learning experience, and (b) the end result is really pretty cool!

1. Using a pencil, I lightly drew a rough outline of a fish on the front of the t-shirt.

2. Dumping my bag of buttons on my desk, I laid out the buttons on the t-shirt within the pencil sketch so that the different button sizes and colours were fairly evenly distributed, then I took a photo of my layout.

3. Next, I cleared all the buttons off the t-shirt and grabbed my can of temporary spray fabric adhesive. I sprayed the adhesive carefully within the fish pencil sketch. At this point, I had to move quickly before it dried, so looking at the photo I’d taken, I attempted to lay the buttons out on top of the fabric adhesive in approximately the same pattern as the photo. It worked. Everything stuck nicely into place. But then, the next part was more frantic—I had to sew each button down into place, since the fabric adhesive was only temporary. Why do I do these things to myself?

4. Grabbing some blue thread and a sewing needle, I laid the t-shirt out on my lap, rolled the bottom up so I could more easily get my hand in between the front and back layers, and began to sew down each and every button. What a helluva job!!! There was a lot of cursing going on!!! (…and bloodstains on the inside of the t-shirt where I kept sticking my fingers with the damn needle.)

5. Once the buttons were all sewn into place, I looked at it and thought, “Ok. I’ve got a big blue and green fish on my white t-shirt. What can I do to make it a little more exciting?” Sequins would work. I dug some green and blue sequins out of my sewing cupboard and began to sew them here and there, in between the buttons, along with using them to embellish the tail fin. So far, so good. So, what next?

6. I’m always up for a bit of whimsy in my crafts, so I thought a saying of some kind embroidered around the fish would add some interest. So I looked online and discovered a cute saying that reminded me of certain politicians and celebrities: “If the fish hadn’t opened its mouth… it wouldn’t have been caught.”
Loved it.

7. Using some lettering stencils, I wrote the saying out onto tissue paper in the size of lettering that I wanted. Next, I laid the tissue paper out in a way where the words would fall into the right spacing around the fish. Next, I thought to myself, “Ok. How do I transfer the lettering from the tissue paper onto the t-shirt?” When I craft, I have a habit of leaping into things feet first without doing any advance planning. I kind of let things flow as I go along, which we all know isn’t the smartest way to work on a project. But guess what? It always seems to pan out for me in the end. And I’m a firm believer in learning from your mistakes, which is a probably a good thing since I’m continuously learning from mistakes. J

8. Anyway, I had the idea to poke a fineliner pen through the tissue paper around each letter so that dots would outline the letters onto the t-shirt. It worked, and that’s how I transferred the lettering onto the t-shirt. I only did it that way because I knew I’d be embroidering over the dots, so they’d eventually be hidden.

9. Next, I dug out some blue and green embroidery floss and just did straight stitching from dot to dot around each letter. After finishing the outlining, I made lots of little straight stitches inside each letter to fill them in more solidly. Of course, as will happen to someone who neglects to plan ahead, I realized I wasn’t happy with where I’d placed the words “opened its mouth” (originally under the tail fin). Remember what I said earlier about learning from my mistakes?? It just didn’t look right.
I absolutely did not have any desire to pick out all of that stitching and after fuming for a day or so, I decided to try just covering it up with a piece of fabric. I found a nice piece of fabric in my stash with sparkly speckles on it that looked like it could have been bubbles in water. By the seat of my pants, I cut it out and stitched it down on top of the wording that I wanted to cover up. Then I found a silver fish charm to sew on top of it so it would look like there was another little fish swimming through the bubbly water. It ended up working out ok, as you can see in the picture.

10. Then, I used my pencil to just haphazardly write “opened its mouth” in the open space above the tail fin. I was getting sick of this project by now, and couldn’t be bothered to use the stencil and do it properly. That’s me in a nutshell. Impatient as all hell.

11. Last, I wanted to add one more bit of whimsy to my embellishment, so I invaded my husband’s workshop when he was out somewhere, digging through his old tackle box until I discovered an appropriate fishing lure that I could incorporate into my design. I used one of his pliers to break off the barbed end, then stitched it on in the area of the fish’s mouth, using my glue gun to affix the curved end to one of the “mouth” buttons.

12. Phew. I was finally done with this project. But I was also really happy with it! This summer, I will wear it with pride! (Now, how I’m going to wash it is another story. I supposed I’ll be stuck hand-washing it. Ugh.)

P.S. Later, I found a green googly eye in my other button stash and decided to glue-gun it to the collage, as you’ll see in the last photo.

And finally…

The moral of this story: Next time you see a bag of buttons in the store, keep walking! 🙂

You’ll feel Happy just looking at the pictures of the quilting projects in this book!

Although I’ve been hooked on crochet for ages, I also enjoy dabbling in other creative pursuits such as embroidery, fine arts, refashioning with fabric, and quilting.happy-quilts1

IMG_8719It’s been a while since I’ve made a quilt, but thanks to a delicious book I got ahold of last week, I’ll be beating a path to my fabric stash the first chance I get. The book is called Happy Quilts by Antonie Alexander, and it’s chock-full of the most vibrant and fun projects to make for kids, accompanied by easy instructions and a CD that contains all the project templates.IMG_8721


Here’s a link to Antonie’s site: where you can order a copy of her book, find a link to her blog, and also discover some lovely free projects to make. You can also order her book from Amazon and other bookseller sites.


IMG_8722Honestly, there are so many awesome projects in there, I don’t know which one to try first!

Forget the kids—I’m going to make them for myself!! 🙂IMG_8723IMG_8720


I can’t believe how easy this was to make!

top & skirt1I made this two-piece dress by crocheting the top first and then making a long, fabric skirt with an elastic waist to pair it with. I made this project up as I went along, but I swear to you, it was so easy that a beginner in both sewing and crocheting will find it a breeze. Because of my impatient nature, I am very clumsy with a sewing machine, so if I can produce these results, a chimpanzee could probaby do just as well!

As usual, I got so caught up in my project, I forgot to take photos of each step as I went along, so I did step-by-step drawings on paper. Hopefully, they’re clear enough to understand. As I describe the process, keep in mind that I’ve measured everything to my own size, which is medium. Take your measurements ahead, and make sure you try on the pieces as you go along to make sure you are custom fitting to your own measurements.

topAs is the case with many of my projects, I hadn’t intended on making a dress. It just sort of happened as things evolved. I began with the intention of crocheting a simple tank top. I decided to start with a plain, bandeau-style piece that I would later add two shoulder straps to. Really, a bandeau top is nothing more than a wide rectangle (along the same lines as a scarf).

Using a 6 mm hook and navy blue worsted weight yarn, I chained a row that measured approximately 10 inches. Then I chose a very simple stitch pattern that would produce a tight enough stitch to negate the need to wear a camisole underneath. As I said earlier, the finished top is a medium size. To make it smaller or larger, just measure around your chest and adjust the sizing so that it’s smaller or larger than 10 inches. Here is the stitch pattern I used to make a medium-sized top:

Chain (ch) an even number of stitches to make a 10-inch-long row, plus ch 2. Turn.

Row 1: (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into 3rd chain from hook. *Skip next ch, (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into next chain, repeat from * to the last chain; 1 sc into the last ch; ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: *(1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into ch-1 space, repeat from * to the end; 1 sc into last sc, ch 2 and turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length.

1I repeated rows until the bandeau was long enough to wrap around my chest with both ends meeting. Then I used a yarn needle to seam both ends together so that the piece became a tube top shape.

2Next, I carefully measured and used stitch markers to mark where I wanted the two straps to be. I wanted wide straps, so I made each one a 3 inch width, using the same stitch pattern as above.

Once the top was completed, I single-crocheted around all the top 3edges, including the straps, just to give the entire thing an evenly finished look. I chose a scalloped edge for the bottom (any 5 sc shell pattern will work), and it was done.

For the skirt, I measured the widest part of my hips, and bought a square of silky fabric that would wrap around my hips, also allowing for a quarter-inch seam. At the top (which is the waist), I 4folded over a “hem” a little wider than the elastic that I’d be using for the waist. (Keep in mind that all sewing is done on the wrong side.) Then I just straight stitched the hemmed section across on my machine. What you end up with looks just like the sort of “pocket” you would have at the top of a curtain, with both ends open where the rod slides in.

5Next, I pinned the back seam of the skirt together and sewed it with a ¼ inch seam from just below the waist openings where the elastic will run through, right down to the bottom of the skirt. The hem will be the last thing you focus on.

Cut your piece of elastic just a smidge smaller than your waist. Hook a safety pin onto one end of your elastic, and use the safety pin to push it along through the waist 6“pocket.” The skirt waist will gather as you run the elastic through, and that’s how it should work.

7Once you have both ends of the elastic poking out of either end of the pocket, sew the elastic ends together. Once secure, you can sew together the rest of the back seam of your skirt.8

All you have left is to trim the bottom of the skirt to whatever length you desire (I elastic waistwanted a long, ankle-length skirt) and then hem it.

When you put the top and skirt on together, the top edging will cover the elastic waist of the skirt and it appears as if it’s one piece.skirt with elastic waist

The skirt took me all of 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. I made the crocheted top within a week of on/off crocheting at night in front of the TV. Easy peasy.

I can’t wait to make another one!top & skirt2

Make yourself a delicious ice-cream sundae with ZERO calories!

pincushion_icecream sundae vanilla copyToo good to be true? Not if it’s made of fabric. 🙂

Whether or not you have a sweet tooth, you’ll find that these sundaes are highly addictive!

They make great pincushions or pretend food for kids to play with.

You can make one in less than an hour. Here’s how:

Materialspincushion_icecream sundae chocolate copy

✔ a cupcake-size dish purchased at the local dollar store

✔ a 7” x 7” square of white (or other colour) fabric for the ice cream

✔ a 3” x 3” piece of brown felt for the chocolate sauce

✔ a small piece of white felt for the whipped cream

✔ a small piece of red felt for the cherry

✔ some seed beads for the “sprinkles” on the chocolate sauce

✔ some fiberfill stuffing

✔ matching thread; sewing needle; scissors

1. Starting with the ice-cream fabric square, trim the square into a circle as close to the size of the square as you can trim it. (See my step-by-step strawberry ice cream photos below.)

2. Thread a needle, knot the end, and run a straight basting stitch around the circle, about a ¼” from the edge. Pull the thread a bit so that the edges of the circle begin to gather, then stuff it with fiberfill while pulling the thread to close up the circle. Secure the closure and knot the thread. Now you have your ice-cream ball.

3. Next, take your brown felt (I just used a brown patterned fabric in my photo sample below, but felt is the easiest material to work with and turns out the best results) and cut out a curvy shape. Then use small straight stitches to sew it onto the top of your ice-cream ball.

4. Next, take your white felt, cut a small circle, then cut it into a bit of a spiral. Set it on top of the sauce, nudge it into a whipped cream shape and gently sew it down so that it doesn’t completely flatten out and there’s still some volume to it.

5. For the cherry, cut a small circle and stitch around it exactly as you did with the ice cream. Fill it with a tiny bit of fiberfill, close and secure it into a ball shape. Then nestle it in the center of the whipped cream and stitch it down.

If you want to decorate the sauce with seed bead sprinkles, just sew them on randomly.

Now, make as many flavours as you like and I guarantee that you won’t gain an ounce! 🙂

Step-by-step photos:
Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.54.01 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.54.07 AM

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 9.54.13 AM

Sock-It-To-Me-Sam is my new cuddly boyfriend!

I’ve always yearned to make one of those sock monkey dolls—but I have yet to make an attempt since any how-to instructions I’ve found bring back memories of assembling something from IKEA.toy_sock-it-to-me sam1

If it looks like too much work, my lazy ass just isn’t interested.

So when I recently stumbled upon a pattern on Pinterest for a sock doll that appeared super easy to make, my fingers began to twitch. I had to try it.

The pattern calls for just one sock, which is usually all that comes out of the wash after you’ve put a pair in, right? Perfect!

As a result…(drum roll)…I would like to introduce to you…my first sock doll…Sock-It-To-Me Sam!toy_sock-it-to-me sam2 & oats

I have no idea if Sam is a bear or a bunny or an alien creature but he sure is cute so I think I’ll keep him.

Want to try making one of your own? The photo tutorial is so easy, if I can do it, you can do it too.

Here’s the link:

You can also find the photo tutorial below (once you get past Sam’s unruly behaviour).toy_sock-it-to-me sam4 mwahh

toy_sock-it-to-me sam3 mooning








Meet Lavender Teddy! (And a dead princess)

My inner child was crying out for a new toy, so I decided to crochet a teddy bear. I used the sweet P.J. Teddy pattern by Stephanie at All About Ami. You’ll find the free pattern at this link: 

I wanted a larger toy, so I used a 4.50 hook. Results were approx. 9 inches tall.

I also just used cheapie cotton yarn: a ball of lavender and a ball of variegated cream with bits of lavender, turquoise, and pink in it.

For the face details, I gathered a bit of lavender, black, and white felt; a bit of black floss for stitching the mouth detail; some lavender thread for sewing on the felt parts; a bit of ribbon to adorn the top of her head; and four tiny heart-shaped buttons for the tummy.

Below are some photos in case you want to try making your own.

violet bear1violet bear2










violet bear3











Cute isn’t she?

Her rounded tummy reminded me of a poem a wrote a few years ago about the dangers of carbs (tongue in cheek):

An Ode To Bread

Once upon a time,
There lived a princess in distress,
Her amply padded body
Couldn’t fit a single dress.

No matter how the seams were stitched,
The straining threads would burst,
The tailor’s ears blushed crimson
While the princess shrieked and cursed.

She’d wander ‘round the castle,
Emitting moo-like moans,
Swathed in velvet draperies
And spitting chicken bones.

No matter how she struggled,
No matter how she tried,
Her tummy always triumphed,
Whether baked or boiled or fried.

One fine day, she noticed,
As she passed the pantry door,
A freshly baked assortment
Of cakes and breads galore!

With eyes as wide as pie pans,
She quickly tiptoed in,
Saliva dribbled o’er her chin,
Her taste buds were a-spin.

She gulped and gorged and gobbled,
And as she wolfed a loaf of bread,
It caught within her windpipe.
She choked till she was dead.

The moral of this verse is:
If fresh-baked bread’s your vice,
It’s wise to just avoid it,
Unless the damn thing’s sliced!


Turn a black and white photo into a fabric portrait

My father’s 80th birthday was fast approaching and I wanted to give him something a little more special than a tie and socks.

I had some monochrome fabric remnants collecting dust in my craft cupboard and after admiring some impressive applique projects by other crafters on the Web, I decided to try making a fabric portrait of my dad. I found the perfect shot to replicate—his passport photo when he was 21 years old.

How did I make it?

In Photoshop, I just pixelated the photo a bit so the shadows would stand out more. Then I printed the photo to fit a piece of 11” x 17” bond paper.

Next, I made my pattern pieces by placing tissue paper over the printout and tracing all the various parts that I would need to cut from fabric.

Then I selected my fabric: light grey for the main face, medium grey for the shadows, charcoal for the hair and eyebrows, white and light grey for the shirt, and actual grey suit fabric for the jacket. Then to add a bit of interest, I used a deep crimson fabric for the tie.

I chose a plain white fabric with a bit of texture for the background and penciled the basic outline and main features of the picture onto the fabric for placement. Then I cut out all the pieces, allowing for overlap in some places, and basically just laid the pieces out on top of the background, layering them as they would appear naturally in the photo.

Initially, I used straight pins to fasten the pieces to the background, then carefully hand-basted everything in place.

Last, I used a small zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to stitch it all together.

Believe it or not, the bulk of this project was finished in a day! Once all the pieces were cut out and pinned down, the rest was a piece of cake.

Now, wasn’t my father a handsome fellow? (And yes, you still are, dad!)

(Below, left to right, my dad’s passport picture that I worked from; my finished and framed fabric portrait; an 80th birthday card/book I made for him as well.)

quilt_applique karl1

%d bloggers like this: