Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tutu Cute.

No, I didn't make this. But I could! And I will! In trying to figure out what I want to be for Halloween, I decided on one thing: I want to wear a tutu. Nothing could be more perfectly girly for dress up!
I made one for my little niece so far, and it was very easy and fun! So now I want one. If you do too (or know any young ladies that might) let me know!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shiver Me Timbers!

I whipped up a little satchel and sash for almost three year old pirate I know and love. I hope it will hold a sweet haul of candy in a few weeks! I can't wait for Halloween! Not sure what I'll be yet, which is really stressing me out, as I usually decide months in advance, but maybe something will come to me soon...

My Contribution

Here is my contribution to the blanket drive for Project Night Night (info below)! My first attempt at a baby blanket - not too bad! I hope some little lady enjoys it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Creating for the Greater Good

If you are a crafter and want to use your skills to help out some kids in need, Project Night Night is a great organization that can use your help! Make a baby blanket for a homeless child this fall for their Baby Blanket Drive.
If you're not into crafting, you can also donate store bought blankets, books, and stuffed animals. This is a great national organization that helps kids who need it - and you can help too! DO IT!

Free Carvel today!

So, this goes under the banner of thrift related - I love to get good deals and free stuff! Like, LOVE. Even if it is something I wouldn't normally want, if it is free, I must have it.
Today is Carvel Customer Appreciation Day, which means that from 3-7pm you can get a free Oreo Lil Rounder - basically, a giant oreo with soft serve in between the cookies instead of cream. Check out the link to see if there is a carvel near you! Now, I don't like ice cream sandwiches or Oreos - but I may still go.
I know it is probably unamerican to not like Oreos and ice cream sandwiches, but I don't. I could spend another blog post or 10 on my weird food aversions, but that will be another day. For now, enjoy your free ice cream!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Even more added to the shop!
Now I have some sweet tote reversible bags that work great as a reusable grocery bag, OR just a nice roomy bag to toss your crap in and run out the door!

New stuff!

Hey! Just added a new item to my shop - check it out! A full apron - keeps you clean and stylish! Remember - if you want any item in a custom design, I will do special orders based on your ideas.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For the record...

In an effort to share my crafty development, here are some early projects I made:

These are my care bear ears! Oh, the memories of Halloween's past...

If you're ever in need of nontraditional animal ears, making them yourself is the way to go. All I did for these was buy a puffy headband, sew a tube of pink fleece slightly larger than it, and slip the headband in, sewing up the ends when all was in place.

To make the ears stick up, I cut up a plastic coffee can lid into two circles and sewed little pockets for them. I sewed them onto the fleece headband and glued a lighter colored fleece for the inside of the ears. I had plenty left over to make a pom pom tail (also useful to make for a nice soft baby toy), AND I even made three long unicorn tales the next year! Yes, I'm a hoarder. I don't like to throw stuff out if I can think of a potential use for it in the future. I REALLY like to recycle!
This actually used a similar sewing method! I bought one of those little airplane neck pillows without a cover, because all the covers at the store were yucky. I measured the total length and width of the pillow and made a tube to fit. I stuffed the pillow in and sewed up the ends. Done! Not as neat as those pre-made pillow covers, but way cooler.
Incidentally, I didn't like using it on the airplane - it made my neck stick forward too much, when combined with the headrest that was already there! It is delightful for car rides, though, if you have someone kind enough to drive you places and let you rest.
I hope to be able to track my improving skills by posting my creations - let me know what you think!

Lavender Loveliness

(before de-twigging)

I'm in a bit of a dither. I want to make a bunch of things to stock my Etsy Shop, but I also want to make things for people I love, especially for birthdays and the holidays. Christmas is still a few months away, but I like to be prepared, and give myself enough time to get everything done so I don't end up giving out paperclip necklaces.

My goal for now is to add at least one new thing to my Etsy per week, and alternate between personal projects and ones for sale. I'm on track so far...

Here is an item I am intending to give to someone in particular, but it came out well so maybe I can make some more for my shop! I used all ingredients I had on hand (bonus!) and it was quite simple - try it out! I found it via Sparkle Power, another hip blog I love!

(after detwigging)

I made a few adjustments. I didn't have a lot of rice, so I mixed half rice and half lentils. I did have a lot of lavender that was past its prime for display purposes, but still smelled delicious so I added that, after pulling the little pods off of the stems so the user wouldn't get poked in the eye. An important step, even if it did take some time, and some dust busting.
You could just buy lavender ready to go, but by buying a bouquet at Brooklyn Flea, I supported a local grower, and was able to enjoy the scent filling my apartment by putting it in a vase for a few weeks. You don't have to water it even!

(the final product)

I mixed it all together and pretty much followed the directions from there - it comes out quite large so I took off a couple of inches by folding over the ends of the interior piece before sewing it up, which I hope will also help keep the magic mixture inside more secure.

This is bigger than a standard eye pillow, but you could use it for that. If you want an actual eye pillow with its own slipcover and carrying case, Amy Butler has a free template. Or you can just use the pattern I did and cut it down to the size you prefer.
(in action)

I think this thing will be handy for winter - you can microwave it and it will heat you up, or relax a sore muscle. You can stick it in the freezer too. And it smells SO GOOD. I wish I could blog a smell. Oh well, I'll have to wait for technology to catch up. In the meantime, you can enjoy this picture of me and it.
I realize that if I post things here that I will be giving to loved ones in the near future, they may get a glimpse ahead of time and it won't be a surprise. But, I do want to share my work and get input, and maybe this way my friends and family will see stuff they like and tell me, so I'll know what to give each person, or swap one intended recipient for another. Or hopefully they will just forget.

My first tutorial! Make your own gift bag box!

Doot doo dooo DOOOT!

(That is my trumpet noise.)

I decided to show you how to make a craft of your own! Its my first attempt at a tutorial so bear with me - and if anything is confusing or you have any suggestions, please do let me know so I can fix it and make future ones tip top!

I like to make crafts, I like reusing/repurposing/recycling, and I like free stuff, so if I can do incorporate all of these things into one new thing, its AWESOME! Not only does it keep the original ingredients out of the garbage, it prevents you from having to purchase new gift bags or wrapping paper, keeping that out of the landfill of the future! I know that trying to change the future is a risky endeavor - I've seen Terminator 1,2, and 3 - but I think this one is for the good of the planet so I think its ok.
This craft uses stuff you have, so its pretty much free, unless you've run out of glue or something, but they you can use it again so its really not too bad.

These directions are pretty loose - you can customize it based on whatever decorative materials you have, so this is just a basic outline, but feel free to go crazy and make it your own!


  • Empty paperboard box (like a cereal box or similar, depending on the size of the item you are packaging)
  • Glue - (I use a combo of rubber cement, mod podge, and a hot glue gun, but you can work with what you have/like)
  • Paper - leftover construction paper, magazines, wrapping paper, or whatever you like!
  • Ribbon or a long strip of fabric
  • Embellishments: glitter, buttons, sequins, fabric, photos, paper, paint, etc! Check this out for inspiration, or to print out and add to your creation!
  • Single hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Pinking schears, if you are using fabric (optional)
Here we go!

Clip the tabs off the open end of your box with your scissors. If you want to make it shorter, you can cut down some of the top too.

The hardest part: decide what you want your bag to look like.

I choose a focal point or color scheme and go from there. If you are painting your box, go for it. If you want to make a collage from magazines, gather your cuttings and trim them to your liking. If you'll have a larger item like a photo or picture, trim it down to size. I like to cut it a little longer than the box so I can tuck the ends inside, but you can use a raw edge or decorative scissors to make it funky too. If its a cool box you can reveal parts of it too if you would like.

Select how you'd like to decorate your background and do that first. Paint it, or glue down one or more pieces of paper, followed by any larger flat decorations. Let the glue dry. If you need to hold the paper in place while it dries, use paper clips.

I like to mod podge the outside to seal everything in - this makes the final product last longer, so it can be used again, and it smooths down any edges that might stick up if you've attached multiple pieces of paper to your box. Its not mandatory though.

(Oh, I did try to mod podge a box after painting it with tempera paint, and then attaching clippings on top - not a good move. The paint leaked through the paper, onto the ribbon I'd attached, and everything. Don't do this.)
Let everything dry. I'm always impatient and try to move ahead before its done, but the end result will be so much nicer if you just give it time. You can add another coat of mod podge if you like, and let that dry too.

If you want, you can trim the top of the box in a zig zag or wavy design with your scissors. If you do, make sure the skinny ends are relatively even for the next step.

Punch one hole on each skinny side of the box. Measure a length of ribbon or a long strip of fabric to the length you'd like the handle to be, add a couple of inches, and cut. (If you're using fabric you can cut with pinking shears so it doesn't fray). Knot one end of the ribbon (or fabric) and feed the unknotted end through the hole, from the inside of the box to the outside, right side up (if there is a difference). Pull gently until the knot hits the inside of the box.

Slip the unknotted end of the ribbon through the other hole from the outside of the box to the inside, making sure your ribbon isn't twisted, and pull it most of the way through. Knot the end that is now inside the box, and pull the ribbon until both knots are against the inside of the box.
Tuck this handle inside your box to keep it out of the way for the next bit.

Now, we can add some 3-D embellishments! I use a hot glue gun and add ribbon around the box, but you could also glue on fabric, buttons, sequins, glitter or any other light decorative element that sparks your fancy. Let it dry, and you're gift bag is ready to be filled with fun! What a great way to give your handmade crafts the presentation they deserve.

There are a million ways you could adapt this for to any occasion - it would be fun to have kids decorate their own for a goody bag for a birthday party, or make something special for Halloween trick or treating. You could make up a bunch of smaller ones for a baby or bridal shower using mini cereal boxes - the options are endless! Have fun and happy crafting.

sending some love, as in days of yore

One of my favorite crafty things to do is make my own greeting cards, for birthdays, get well wishes, weddings, or just to say hello. Some of my efforts are better than others, as I do tend to go overboard with the glue gun from time to time, but I thought I'd share some fun sites that have some ideas you can incorporate yourself, even if you don't have a lot a craft paraphernalia lying around!
This free template is perfect for fall - its apple-iscious! You can print it out on heavy paper or card stock and be on your way to the lost art of letter writing, in style! Creature Comforts is a great design blog to check out in general too!

Another amazing resource to check out is Feed Your Soul. Every week they post two new free down loadable pieces of artwork that you can print out yourself to decorate your house or any crafty projects that need something more - tack some on gift bags or wrapping paper, attach one to a blank journal, or whatever else you fancy! For greeting cards, just resize them when you print them out - although if you wanted to make them larger in order to frame them and put them up in your home you could do that too! Its so cool to see what these artists come up with, and I'm thrilled that they are willing to share their lovely work!

To wrap it all up I like to make my own envelopes - this is so easy, and basically free, especially if you use magazine pages (bonus recycling, too!). I usually just fold the paper to fit my card and use rubber cement to glue the edges together, but here is a video to show you how to do it with just paper and tape. You can select a page that suits the occasion or recipient, or even make a little collage! (I'm definitely not the first to say that Angry Chicken is one of the best craft blogs out there, but I will gladly add myself to the pack.)
Next time you have a special occasion, or just want to say hi there friend!, think about making your own card. You can use stuff you have (magazines, pretty paper, fabric scraps, buttons, nail polish, ribbon, etc) and glue it to any stiff paper you might have, or use an old manila folder, or even a cut down cereal box to make your own personal design.
So fun, SO simple, and you can recycle stuff you have AND save some cash at Hallmark. Seriously, for the tiny amount of effort that goes into this, people will be amazed at your creativity and thoughtfulness! Try it out! DO IT! Or, don't, and I'll look so much better when I do :)

CocoaDreams Aprons Gift Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

CocoaDreams Aprons Gift Card GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

I'm just starting out my little blog but I continue to find inspiration and ideas from all of the really cool crafty blogs out there! Soon I'll put together a list of my favorites to check out, because that's how I continue to find new cool ones - by visiting the ones I already like, and seeing which ones they do that I haven't been to yet!
I like Grosgrain because it has so many giveaways of lovely handmade items - I hope to make some giveaways of my own soon but for now I'll just try entering theirs. They have fun tutorials to try - their 20 minute skirt is such a great project for a beginner. I made one to wear to my friend Matt's birthday dinner two weeks ago and it was a hit! I hope this doesn't feel too much like an ad - I would only recommend something I actually dig!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bonjour, Mes Amis!

Check out the cool new apron in my shop! I call this creation
"Bonjour Poulet." Bon Appetit, chickadees!
I scored the French Market fabric at a tag sale, used scraps of the lovely African fabric Matt got for me in his travels (thanks!), and some leftover blue star fabric for the ruffle. My first go at gathering - not too shabby!
I came across this neat trick on how to gather using dental floss! Stronger and thicker than regular thread, this made the job much easier on my second excursion into Ruffletown - more on that later!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Crafty Cyclers

I do hope I can come up with some inspired cycling costumes like these ladies.

How did you get here? Oh, I biked.

My latest lifelong dream come true! I got a new beautiful bike and I love it so so much. As you can see it is a super hip Raleigh English bicycle from the 1980s and it rides like a dream - I took it out for my first real spin this morning with Brian and it was delightful! I almost hit a bird but escaped in time to avoid disaster.
My mom found it for me and I brought it home last weekend, managing to fit it in the Civic (thanks Brian!). It was an birthday present a few months early but now I can ride it all fall instead of having to wait until the winter is over, like I would have to if I'd gotten it in December.

Also Dorian gave away the surprise within one minute of seeing me, "Emmie you got a bike!" So the jig would have been up on that anyway.

I am still a little scared of driving on busy streets with cars - back in the day when I had a bike gang in Connecticut the traffic wasn't really a huge issue - but I'm learning. Cruising through Prospect Park was a perfect start. I have a helmet, now I just need a little basket and maybe a bell. I will be just like Angela Lansbury in the opening credits of Murder, She Wrote! SO HIP!

My goal this season is to ride over the Brooklyn Bridge to Julie's house -let's hope I can do it before the snow starts! Thanks Brian for taking such fabulous pictures AND for riding with me today! Hopefully the first of many biking adventures!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A bang up job.

Oh man my hair has been driving me nuts! My bangs are way too long so I either have to put them up in an insane bobby pin and bumpits concoction (as in the fancy picture at a lovely wedding last weekend):
or I try and brush it to the side and it just ends up in my eyes, as in the picture with the cute young gentleman below (not to be confused with the other cute slightly older gentleman above).
Finally I decided I had had enough and did something I've never done before: cut my own bangs! Now, my mom used to trim my bangs when I was young (I've gone with the bangs and medium length hairdo for most of my life), but I've always been too scared to do it on my own. As such, I'm always left in limbo for a month or so before I want to get a haircut but after my bangs are too long. I've heard that you can get a free bangs trim from your hairdresser, but that seems like a hassle, and I'm a little bit scared of hairdressers too. Irrationally so, but they wield so much power over you head! Literally!
I don't want to go to some random cheepo place because I know it would be crooked, and I'm very particular about my fringe. (They call bangs fringe in the UK! So continental.)
I came across this post about how to save money doing little things you might pay someone to do, that you can do yourself, and it included trimming your own bangs! Ta da! I used my sewing shears instead of getting a pair of haircutting ones, which would make sense over the long haul but seemed like an unnecessary expense when I had a perfectly good pair of sharp scissors at my disposal. At least I wasn't using something like this: !

Anyway, the key is to do it with dry hair so as not to be surprised with micro bangs, my worst enemy.

I started by holding the comb parallel to the floor around my eyebrows and cutting vertically, and then tried the twisting small chunks method but both were annoying so I just free styled it. I would say they came out OK - not perfect, but honestly, I am never 100% happy with any haircut until a week or so afterwords. I need time for it to grow in a smidge and get used to the missing chunk when I shampoo.
They aren't totally even but since I don't wear them flat on my head you can't really notice. (Or so I tell myself). This will definitely last me until my next appointment in a few weeks- I can't wait for my day of beauty with Julie in October! I guess we shall see what the stylist thinks of my DIY 'do when I get there.
So what do you think?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Neverending Overdose

Oh man - a championship dinner at Olive Garden last night. Its neverending pasta bowl season, kids! This is my second battle of the year, and it was a triumphant one. Not sure I have another one in me before time runs out, but man I love Olive Garden! Its amazing how polarizing this restaurant is - people LOVE LOVE LOVE it (me) or would rather eat glass marinara than enter its doors. But come on, its fun, cheap (especially now!), and its pretty hard to mess up Italian food, even if its mass produced. Some fun tidbits: Did you know you can get different flavor salad dressing on your unlimited salad? (Soup is for suckers! Or people who don't like vegetables) Its true, just ask! And if you go for your bday (as I have done) they give you a whole chocolate cake!
What do you guys think - is OG a no go, or a yes please? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ha tricked you! Here is my favorite DC activity! Made you wait a bit, didn't I? Or, not, if you're reading this all at one time. Either way - The Flea Market at Eastern Market was so awesome! They have tons of food, crafts, antiques, art, junk - everything under the sun, plus a farmer's market and the newly renovated Eastern Market which has meats and cheese and produce and all sorts of good stuff. I got some really cute kitchen implements from the 60s, I think? A sifter and some baking molds - and most of the items in all of the booths were very reasonable. (I love Brooklyn Flea but some of that stuff is just ridiculously expensive!!)

Plus, its in a beautiful part of DC with lovely old homes that is just mesmerizing, especially in the summer with all of the greenery! This would be my #1 recommendation for anyone going to DC - which it was, for a friend of mine to me! Magical!
It was just a lovely way to spend a summer day, strolling around. Highly recommended. Did I tell you go enough? GO!
It was a long drive back, with Sunday traffic but overall a fantastic weekend. And made even more so because of my delightful traveling companion :) I like little road trips, and checking out America! Will have to do more. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Ta da!

So much better! Human sized, even. Thanks for the order, D!