Because crafts are like crack.

A Stache and A Stash February 20, 2012

Filed under: Crochet,Sewing — Casey @ 8:57 pm

My weekend was a nice relaxing, crafting weekend. Nothing beats three day weekends… a day for cleaning, a day for errands and a whole day for knitting!

I started my weekend on Friday with a text message that one of my favorite fabric stores was having a sale. What budget?

I don’t have anything in mind for most of it, but I couldn’t resist the fun spring colors.

The plaid is part of the Happy Campers by American Jane line. Adorable! Fortunately, I picked up a bunch of it last summer. Can’t wait to make some reversible sun hats.

My finished project for the weekend was a beard hat. Not a hat made from beards fortunately, but this crocheted hat with an attached crocheted beard. Slightly less creepy, I think.

My aunt found a picture of this on the internet a couple months ago and needed one for her grandson. Unfortunately, she doesn’t crochet. Fortunately, she made 180 mini-jars of jam for my wedding so she has a crocheter forever in her debt.

Sizing the hat was a little tricky. It is always fun to try to guess the head size of babies, and this kid is particularly difficult. He is 7 months old and off the charts in head circumference. I ended up doing the 2T and making it a little shorter. It seems to fit fine for now, but I will probably have to make another for next fall.


Little boy gifts are my FORTe December 23, 2011

Filed under: General Crafting,Sewing — Casey @ 10:47 am

It is so difficult to find a gift for a four year old boy that does not include lights, sirens or laser repeating action. For the sake of parents, I usually try to give gifts that run on imagination instead of batteries.

This Fort Kit might be the most adorable thing I have ever seen. What a great way to encourage a budding engineer. A thriftier, more resourceful person could make one of these out of things around the house. A poor planner like myself ends up buying a lot of the supplies. And finishes a few hours before giving it thanks to the help of my mother, father and husband. Hence the poorly lit photo.

I found some great flat sheets at Target that could be purchased separately from the fitted sheets and come in a little bag that could be re-purposed. Most everything else came from Lowe’s.

I hope this will bring fort-building fun for years to come.


The Dress that Turned Out to be a Bit of a Zoo July 17, 2011

Filed under: Sewing — Casey @ 10:59 am

Every little girl needs a cute pinafore in the summer and the pattern at Smashed Peas and Carrots is absolutely timeless. In fact my mom is pretty convinced I once wore something similar as a toddler. The bonus of this particular pattern is that it is reversible! Perfect for summer activities like rolling in the grass or eating ice cream. The little girl I wanted to make this for is about 18 months old, but she is a tiny little peanut. I would be concerned about making anything much bigger than this for her, but she definitely needs some matching bloomers for decency’s sake.

The mama of the little girl who would be getting this is obsessed with giraffes so it was quite an intense internet search to track down the perfect fabric. So many circus/zoo themed prints were not funky enough for this stylish baby. Not surprisingly, the design I picked was called “urban circus”. I love the geometric giraffes!

Overall this pattern was simple to complete but difficult to make look professional.  I think the top-stitching was probably a bit above my skill level. I had to make it super difficult by choosing a contrasting thread color. I think my bobbin might have wound improperly too. I was not a happy sewer.

Sewing around the tabs also took quite a bit of patience. One tip I read that was extremely helpful was to decrease the length of the stitch for the tight turns. At my normal stitch length, one or two errant stitches could completely throw off the curve, but the smaller stitches allowed for a more precision. This was also my first attempt at button holes in a while. I would love to find a tutorial or some tips on mastering the placement of buttons and button holes. My eye-balling always feels a little wonky.

But with all the frustrations, it was still a cute and fun project. And I am sure people will be too busy looking at the cute baby in the outfit and not the outfit itself!



The official start of the Christmas crafting season June 26, 2011

Filed under: Quilting — Casey @ 2:23 pm

I am aware that there are some non-crafty types out there who think the Christmas season begins with Black Friday sales. I strongly suspect they are the same folks who complain about stores putting up decorations before Halloween. For them,Christmas falls neatly into December during which there is more than enough time to decorate, purchase a few gifts and maybe even throw a batch of cookies into the oven.

Those of us who are craft-obsessed know Christmas is a holiday designed to show off our talents and requires months of preparation. And even a six month early start won’t prevent us from staying up all night on Christmas Eve to finish one or two gifts. But June 24th seems as good a time as any to start Christmas crafting, especially since Mom is in town to cut, press, pin and complete other less fun parts of quilting.

I bought the fabric for my tree skirt right after Christmas. A single day of work and it is now all pieced together. I might have the skirt completed by September at this rate!


We had quite the quilting bee going on in my dining room.

The best part of crafting with someone else may be the freedom to take lots of pictures, especially action shots.

Now I just have to decide whether I attempt the quilting on my own or send it home with Mom.


Do you think I can call in “crafty” to work tomorrow? June 1, 2011

Filed under: Sewing — Casey @ 6:41 pm

Look what the mailman brought today!

I predict a couple little girls will be getting new summer dresses!


Having a ball with Mom January 8, 2011

Filed under: Sewing — Casey @ 12:50 pm

One of the best parts of the holidays is once all the presents are opened there is lots of family downtime. No really, I mean that! My family is great! Coming from a crafty family, downtime can mean getting out the sewing machine. (We really know how to party.) And a couple of days after Christmas, I got to work with my mom on making baby balls for some of the new arrivals in my life.

I am not sure who first discovered the pattern for these balls, but I know my grandmother made them for many years before passing on the secret. I watched Mom make them for years, so it was so much fun to make one with her.

These colorful toys are perfect for grabbing with tiny fingers and mouths, but are fairly cheap and simple to make once you get the hang of it.

To print the pattern or learn how to create your own, go here.

Begin by tracing and cutting out 24 triangles and 12 ovals from your fabric.

These are my mother’s lovely hands. One of the best things about crafting with others is picking up tips and tricks, along with what should be some obvious techniques. This time I learned that it is much easier to trace onto the light-colored back of the fabric than the patterned front. I guess that is probably obvious to most people, but it never occurred to me. Thanks, Mom!

With a little careful placement, a seven inch ball can be made out of a fat quarter. I would suggest using contrasting fabrics to make the ball more visually interesting, so two fat quarters could make two complementary balls with the tops and sides interchanged.

Cut out the triangles and ovals.

With right sides together, align the rounded edges of a triangle and an oval and sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Repeat for all 12 ovals.

Align a second triangle along the rounded ends and straight sides and pin. Folding the oval in half can help.

With a quarter inch seam allowance, sew along all three sides to create a pyramid. Leave about a half inch open near the point.

Repeat for all twelve triangles.

Confession: Sewing these triangles together requires quite a bit more fudging than the above pictures make it seem. Most of my triangles look more like this.

And I use this a lot.

And this a little.

Once all twelve triangles are sewn, turn them right side out and stuff.

Sew the stuffed triangles closed with a whipstitch. This can be a messy process… no worries about Frankenstein seams. We will hide them all later.

Once all 12 triangles are stuffed and sewn together, it is time to start connecting them.

Begin by sewing two triangles together at the point of the oval shapes. Be sure to stitch neatly and firmly.

Attach a third triangle point-to-point to create a line of three triangles. Fold the string of triangles, and attach the two end points together. This creates the first of four cones.

Roughly tack the loose tips of the triangles (the orange ends for my ball). Once again, these won’t be visible when the ball is fully assembled so there are no points for neatness.

Complete all four cones. Sew two cones together at a their intersecting points.

Tack the back (orange) ends again. Repeat for the other two cones. This gives you two X-like shapes.

With the two inside faces (in this case the orange sides) together, rotate one of the X’s 90 degrees. Match up the remaining triangle intersections so that four ovals create an X at all points.

If you are a really together crafter, you can secure these corners with a safety pin. But if you are me, you can’t find safety pins anywhere and you can use bobby pins to hold the points together.

Secure those corners to complete the ball!


Making the Rounds December 28, 2010

Filed under: Sewing — Casey @ 6:40 pm

This is the pattern for the baby ball that is famous in my family. My friend’s daughter calls it the Casey-ball.

Click here to download the PDF of the pattern.

However, a simple pattern can be created for any size ball. I have done this demonstration with a nine-inch cake pan, but keep in mind that will make a ball with a nine-inch diameter… about the size of a basketball. I think that is a little large for a baby to easily manipulate. Ideally the ball would be between about 5 and 7 inches. I think my grandmother might have used the lid of a Cool Whip container as a template sometimes.

Begin by tracing and cutting out a circle.

Fold and cut the circle in fourths. Alternatively, you could cut the circle into fourths using a mat to divide the circle equally.

For the top pattern piece, draw or imagine a line from point to point of one of the quarter circles. Fold along this line.

Cut out the pointed oval/eye shape. You may want to use this as a template to create a pattern form that lies flat.