July 2012Occasionally Crafty: July 2012

Monday, July 30

Peek a Boo Patterns Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway!  The winner is announced below:

Congratulations Carla- check your email for further instructions!

The blog will be light on posts this week.  My sister and co-author Laura is coming to visit!  Her husband is in the Army, and they've been in Korea for the past few years.  They just moved back to the states and are heading here to Phoenix for a visit!  I'm really excited to see her and her family!

Have a wonderful week!


Friday, July 27

Felt Flower Burst

Last week I showed you how to make Felt Flower Rosettes.

Here is another simple felt flower that packs a punch! I call it a flower burst.

First cut a strip of felt.
The longer the strip, the
thicker your flower will be.
The thicker the strip, the
longer your petals will be.

Cut slices into your strip almost
down to the bottom. If you want
more of a base for your flower,
don't cut as far down. If you want
bigger petals, make your cuts

Then begin rolling your strip keeping the
uncut side down. Place a little bead of
hot glue every 1/2 inch or so to help
keep it in place. This is what the bottom
of your flower will look like.

Turn over and fluff your flower burst
to your liking! Isn't it easy and pretty?

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Tuesday, July 24

The Evelyn Dress/Top: Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Tour

Welcome!  I'm thrilled to be the next stop of the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop tour today! Today I've got a cute pattern review, on sale today for $5, plus the opportunity to win 3 patterns of your choice!

 There are so many cute patterns in the shop that I had a hard time choosing one to review.  After much hemming and hawing, I finally chose the Evelyn Dress/Swing Top.

Image of Evelyn Dress and Swing Top: Sizes 18 mos.-8 Years

I just love, love, love the ruffle down the middle!  Now, my girl is a little older--7 going on 8, so I was thrilled to find a cute pattern that went up to her size 7!  So many cute patterns stop in the toddler years.  

The pattern is in PDF format, mailed right to you.  It was easy to print out and put together, and the directions were very clear and easy to follow, with plenty of photos.  There were even tips on making your own bias tape, which I chose to use so to unify my finished product a little more.

The best part is that this pattern is convertible- it can be a cute A-line dress or an adorable swing top.  I initially cut this as a dress, but my daughter was less than thrilled.  She's going through a shorts and t-shirt phase right now and wasn't excited about having another dress.  So I chopped it and made it into a swing top.  Here's how mine turned out:

Here's a view from the back.  It has a fun keyhole back with a tie closure, which makes this a great pattern for more novice sewers like myself (no buttons or zippers!)

The only thing I had trouble with was the sleeves.  Making the cuff was easy, and inserting the sleeve into the shoulder seam was no problem.  But when I sewed the top together, the fit of the sleeve was just not right.  I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I just kind of played around with it until it looked decent.  It was probably "user error" though, not the pattern.

If you'd like to try this pattern out, it's on sale here TODAY ONLY for $5!  What a great deal!  In addition, Amy, the shop owner, is generously giving away a Pattern 3-pack of your choice!  If you'd like to win some cute patterns, use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter.  Good luck, and happy sewing!

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Monday, July 23

Find Me at The CSI Project

Hi everyone- just a quick note to let you know I'm over at The CSI Project today, sharing my Back to School Teacher Gift for the Hardware Challenge.

Visit thecsiproject.com

I'd love it if you stopped by to check it out!  You can click here for the full tutorial.

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Thursday, July 19

Felt Flower Rosette

I will be the first to admit that I am not up on the trends. I know felt flowers have been popular for awhile, and may have even had their 15 minutes already, but I just love them and finally found some awesome felt to start creating with. Check out these beautiful colors!

The best part about felt is that it is a very forgiving material. You don't have to be precise and it still looks great! That's my kind of project.

I thought I'd put together a quick rosette tutorial, as this is probably the simplest flower to create and has a great end result.

(look below for directions for your rosette)
1.  These are all the materials you need! Felt, scissors and a hot glue gun!
2.  Cut a circle out of your felt.   No need to be perfect. The bigger the circle, the bigger the rosette. Then begin on the outside of your circle and cut a spiral inwards to the center. Experiment with how thick and thin you like your spiral, and you can even scallop as you go to create a more petal-ed look.
3.  After cutting you should have one long spiral piece. To create your rosette take your end (not the center) and start rolling along the spiral. It won't be long before you start to see your rosette begin to form.
4.  When you get to the end you'll have a little flap left over which will be perfect for some hot glue. Apply hot glue to your flap and the inside of your rosette to hold it together. Fluff your flower to what fits your fancy!
Now you might wonder what to do with it. I've seen people make headbands, belts, rings, and hair clips out of them. Below is a sweet little rosette I attached to a clip that will be perfect for any little girl.

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Tuesday, July 17

Lots of Buttons- A Review

Recently I was contacted by the owners of a new website, Lots of Buttons.  They asked if they could feature my Button Clock, and I was thrilled to be asked!  They also asked if I would review their website and product.  You know, readers, that I don't do this a lot these days.  However, I love using buttons in crafting.  There are so many things you can do with them.  A lot of people ask where to find cute or unique buttons, and I thought this website would be a great source.

So, I did receive some free product in return for a review, but I promise, everything I say here is my own opinion!

The Website:
I think it's really attractive, and I love how the buttons are sorted into categories by material type.  You can also search by color, which I found really helpful.  They have a size chart so you make sure to get the right size for your project, too.  I also like that they have pages for craft ideas, and even sewing tutorials for using buttons.

They have so many buttons.  I really can't say how it compares to other sites, but it sure seems like you can find any type of button you need.  There are all price points too- from cheap plain buttons to more expensive decorative buttons carved out of wood or bone.  I would've liked to see a "grab bag" option available, since I love using random buttons as embellishments for crafts.  Maybe that's not their focus, but I know I would've bought one.

The Ordering Process:
If you shop online, then you know what to do.  Choose your buttons, add them to your cart, then checkout.  The only thing that was slightly confusing was that there are only two options, sign in, or continue as guest.  If you want to create an account, there is no indication that you can do that until the  END of the checkout process.  I would love to have that as an option at the beginning, or at least let us know it is coming later.

A note- you save a significant amount by buying in bulk, so save up your button needs to buy all at once.  You also get free shipping when you purchase $25 or more.

Shipping- and the product
Unfortunately, I can't say exactly how long it took, since the buttons came while I was away on vacation.  The website states 1-3 weeks, depending on location.  Mine took somewhere between 1 1/2-2 weeks to come.  It did come from overseas (I'm in Phoenix), so that will make a difference in delivery time.

I am really happy with the buttons.  I chose all red buttons, as I have some holiday projects stirring in my head.

Honestly, these caught my eye first anyway:

Then I saw these peppermint swirls and had to get them.

These polka-dot ones were just too cute to pass up.

Honestly I could've gotten a lot more.  They came in great condition, and they are good quality buttons- exactly what I was expecting.

So, if you need some buttons, I highly recommend Lots of Buttons as a source to check out.  If you do, use this link to get $5 off your $20 purchase!  

Let me know how you like it!  


Thursday, July 12

The Spring Striped Sundress

I was honored to be asked by Melissa of Melly Sews to be part of her Summer Sundress Series.  There were so many awesome dresses, and I am in full sewing mode this month!
This post is my contribution to the series.

When I sew, I find I am more inspired by fabric then by a pattern or tutorial.  I see a fabric (or fabrics) I like, and think "that would make a great_____________".  Is that weird?  (Don't tell me if I'm a freak).  Anyway, I was in the fabric store when i saw this beautiful bundle of pastel fabrics, and I immediately thought "that would make a great strip-pieced skirt or dress!"  I made this one last year for my daughter, but I wanted something a little more fitted, and the spring-y colors perfectly fit the vision that was forming in my head.  So,without further ado, I present: 

Materials needed: (This is for a size 5/6 girl.  You will only need to adjust the length of your strips for whatever size you make).
Fabric- bear with me here:  I used a fat quarter bundle (found in fabric stores or online).  You could also use a jelly roll (also found in stores or online) if you like narrrower strips, or simply buy 1/4 yard of each fabric you want to use.  So, your yardage will vary depending on how wide you want your strips and how many different fabrics you want.  
1 old (or cheap) tank top- a great way to recycle a too-short top or something with a stain on the lower part.
1-2 yards of trim- optional again, this will vary depending on the size of your dress.
Sewing supplies- sewing machine, coordinating thread, scissors or rotary cutter and board, pins, etc.

Difficulty level: Beginner
Time to complete:  2-3 hours, more if you have small children that interrupt your sewing time :)
** Note**- use 1/2 inch seams unless otherwise noted.

Let's get started!

1.  Choose your fabric.  Make sure it is prewashed and ironed.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  If you don't prewash it, it will shrink, and your strips of fabric will pull apart at the seams.  Trust me.  I know.

2.  Lay out your tank top and determine how much of it you want to keep.  I wanted the "skirt" portion of the dress to fall right about at my daughter's natural waist, but you could do an empire waist, too.  I measured 4 inches from the armpit on each side, then added 1/2 inch for seam allowance.  Do this for each side, then cut your shirt to desired length.


3.  Set the shirt aside.  Now, take some time to determine how wide and long you want your strips to be (mine are 4 inches wide and 18 1/2 inches long), how full you want your skirt to be (mine will be only slighly fuller than a straight skirt), and the order you want your pieces to fall.   This is all personal preference.  You really can do it however you want.

I decided to use 5 fabrics, and because I wanted a narrower, almost straight dress, I used each fabric twice.
If you want a fuller skirt, you will either need to use more fabrics or repeat them more.

As far as length, the fat quarters were the perfect length for what I wanted.  (about 18  inches).  This will make the strips fall from my daughter's natural waist to just around her knee.  Find your length (from "waist" of dress to desired length), add 1/2 inch for seam allowance (and 1/2 inch for a hem, if you won't be using trim on the bottom), then trim your strips as needed.

4.  Now comes the easy part-- sewing strips together.  Place first two fabrics right sides together, pin along the long edge, and sew.  I didn't do this because I am lazy, but you can finish off your seams with pinking shears or with an overlock stitch to avoid fraying or uncomfortable rubbing.

here are my first two pieces, right sides together.

5.  Add the next fabric, again, placing right sides together, pin and sew the long edge together.  Press your seam allowance to the same side as your previous one and finish if desired.

Continue until you have your first set of fabrics sewn together.

7.  I find it easiest to manage all the stripes by sewing them in separate panels.  Since I chose five fabrics and wanted to repeat them once, I sewed two panels of five strips each.  I hope that makes sense.  If you want a fuller skirt, you might have three panels, each with five strips.

Once you have all your panels sewn, it's time to join them together.  Since I only had two panels, I laid one on top of the other, right sides together.  I then pinned and sewed up each long side.
 If you have more than two panels, you will only sew along one side.  
Open it up, press flat, and get ready to add your next panel.
Place the third panel on top of your second panel, right sides together.  Pin and sew.
Open it up and press flat.You should now have a long row of three panels sewn together.
Make it into a circle by bringing the long sides together, right sides together.  Pin and sew.  You should now have a big circle.

8.  I thought the dress needed a little something more, so I purchased some trim-by-the-yard and cut it to fit the circumference of my skirt.  I needed about a yard.  If you don't want to add trim, simply hem the bottom of your skirt by pressing the raw edge up 1/4 inch, then rolling over another 1/4 inch and sewing in place.

If you are adding trim, simply insert the raw edge at the bottom of the dress in between the folds of the trim, kind of like bias tape.  Pin in place.

Sew in place.  I placed one seam right along the edge of the trim, then sewed another seam 1/4 inch to the side.  This simply reinforces the seam so your fabric stays put.

9.  I'm so sorry I didn't take pictures of this, but the final step is to sew the skirt to your tank top.  To do this, you will have to gather your skirt- either a little or a lot, depending on how full your skirt is.
Sew a basting stitch along the top of your skirt at a 3/8 inch seam, leaving the ends long.
Pin your skirt to the bottom of your tank top, right sides together, at the side seams.
 Pull gathering threads until your skirt fits into the tank top.  Even out gathers and pin in place.
Sew the skirt and top together at 1/2 inch, then turn right side out.
For more help in gathering, go here.

10.  You can be done right here and have a really cute dress!  I wanted to add a few details (after the fact).  I added a band at the waistline to cover the warped stretching that sometimes occurs when you sew knits on a regular sewing machine.

If you'd like to make one, here's what I did.
Meausure the circumference of the dress where you want your band to be.  Cut a fabric strip to that size, plus 1/2 inch for hemming.
Determine the width you'd like and add 1/2 inch.
Fold over long edges  (top and bottom of band)1/4 inch and press in place. Repeat with short edges.
Pin to dress with right side of fabric facing up and sew as close to the top and bottom of the band as possible.  

11.  I also wanted a little something at the neckline, so I added this little bow.

Here's how I made it:
Cut off a strip of fabric from the unwanted part of your tank top. 
Grasp each end of your strip and pull until it starts to stretch and roll.
Tie it in a bow.
Attach it to the front of your dress with a needle and thread.

Okay, now we're really done.  I promise.  Here's your sweet little sundress!

 Can you tell it was cold outside when I made her take these pictures?

Well, it was cold for Phoenix.  I think it was in the 60's and windy.  We're thin-blooded around here.

 The things we do for blogs......but she sure loves her dress!

I hope directions are clear.  If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me!
 Have a great weekend!


Monday, July 9

Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Tour

Today marks the start of the Peek a. Boo Pattern Shop tour! Amy has gathered together some great sew it's and bloggers to review a pattern and share it with you. I am so excited to be participating! Each day, the pattern reviewed will be on sale for $5! And, each blog will also host a giveaway! Here's the schedule so you won't miss a thing:

Week 1:
7/9     Nap Time Crafters (Waikiki Swimsuit)   
7/10   Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom (Sweetheart Halter)
7/11    Crazy Little Projects (Jack & Jill Shortalls)
7/12    Melly Sews (Pier 49 Convertible Pants)
7/13    mama says sew (Sea Breeze Dress)

Week 2:
7/16    Elegance & Elephants (Jackie Dress)
7/17    2 Little Hooligans (Isabella Dress)
/18    A Little Gray (Retro Romper)
7/19    Sew a Straight Line (Sailor Shorts)
7/20    Lily Bloom Studio (Jasmine Dress)

Week 3:   
7/23    Shwin&Shwin (Natalie Dress)
7/24    Occasionally Crafty (Evelyn Dress/Swing Top)
7/25    Sumo's Sweet Stuff (Clara Tiered Twirl Dress)
7/26    Girl. Inspired. (Bubble Shorts)
7/27    Sew country chick (Santa Monica Sweetheart Tankini)

Cute DIY Pedicure

This is a post from July 2010 (hence the poor photo quality!)  I still use this pedicure when I want some cheap, cute toes, so I thought I'd share it again for those of you who missed it the first time.  Enjoy!

If you're looking for something cute to adorn your feet this summer, look no further!  I got this pedicure done a few years ago.


I'm not really good at the whole flower art thing, so to knock off my professional pedicure, I came up with this DIY version.

Ready for the how to?  Here goes:

By the way, sorry for the poor images.  Our digital camera broke, so I am using my HD video camera in the meantime and I CAN NOT figure out how to turn the flash off and otherwise adjust the settings!  Grrr....

Anyway, start with a base coat.  I use NYC base coat/top coat double.

Take your color and, following the natural line of your toenail, paint down about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  I usually extend mine just below the line to allow for some growth.  Don't worry about being too precise- you'll clean it up in the next step.

Before it's evened out....

Next, dip a cotton swab or tiny paintbrush in some nail polish remover, and carefully even out the bottom line of your polish.  Also remove any polish that may have gotten on your skin.

I have to admit, this tutorial is done on my 5 year old daughter, and I wasn't as precise as I was on myself since I know she'll just have it scraped off in a few hours.

Next, take some white craft paint.  You could use white nail polish, but I find it easier to work with craft paint.  Load a toothpick with a small amount of paint, and lightly press to apply polka dots on the painted toenail.  I varied mine top to bottom, but you could be random, and even do different size polka dots.

Let it dry for a few minutes.  While drying, apply flower nail stickers underneath the painted toenail.  I only do it on the big toe, but whatever suits your fancy works.

Finish with a double topcoat to seal in the sticker and the nail polish.

It's pretty easy, it's cute, and you'll get lots of compliments.  Enjoy!

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