Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thinking Thursday -or- My Summer Reading List

I am a voracious reader, but since I started my Etsy shop and my blog, I have been neglecting my reading. So I decided that I need an official summer reading list to keep me on track. And so that I'm held somewhat accountable (and love sharing book recommendations), I'm sharing my reading list here, in no particular order. If you've read any of these and liked/hated them, let me know in the comments.

Note: Each link will take you to a review of the book so you can learn more about it!

1. Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein
2. Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman
3. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
5. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
6. The Climbing Boy by Mark Lichterman

7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
8. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
9. What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg
10. The Unseen Guest by Maryrose Wood
11. Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark
12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

As you can see, I really like to read juvenile and young adult books, as well as mystery and suspense. And I set a goal for myself to read all of Charles Dickens' books by the time I turn 30 (I only have 18 months to go).

What's on your reading list this summer?

Rhinestone Beagle

{Linked on Life With the Crust Off, Rhinestone Beagle, Somewhat Simple, Seven Alive, The 36th Avenue, Joyful Homemaking, Easy Living Mom, The Crafty Blog Stalker, Artsy Fartsy Mama, The Girl Creative, The Thriftiness Miss, The Stitchin' Mommy, Happy and Blessed Home, Truly Lovely, One Artsy Mama, The Pink Momma, Live Laugh Rowe}

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quilt-Along: Finished!

I am happy to announce that I have finished my quilt! I am sure the rest of my family will be happy as well... Dave will be happy to not have fabric and batting shreds scattered throughout the house and the kids will be happy that I'm not sewing all day long. Not to mention that Violet will no longer have the temptation of the sewing machine in the living room. Yesterday I came in to find that she had unraveled the thread and wrapped it around the couch (along with several toys and her brother).

Quilting the quilt was a bit complicated on my little sewing machine, but I was able to do it. I don't think I could quilt anything bigger than a twin size on my machine. Binding the quilt was a struggle because I am not very precise... especially when I am that close to the end! I was just so excited to get finished, that I didn't really care to rip stitches out and make them look good. So I ended up doing a straight stitch around the binding, then finishing it with a zig zag so that it would lay flat.

It was a fun project to do and I am glad I did it. It turned out well enough that I am considering doing a second one for Eddie... but there's no rush. I am looking forward to a break from such a big project.

Thanks to Jill and Sarah for hosting the quilt-along. I couldn't have done it without the walk-throughs!

{Linked on Content in the Meantime, Mom On Timeout, See Vanessa Craft}

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Patchwork Pillowcase Tutorial

I ended up with a lot of extra fabric from the quilt I am making for my daughter, so I decided to whip up a pillowcase. Pretty simple project, right? Well, I wanted to be able to use a lot of different fabrics on the pillowcase and I can't let anything be too simple. So I made it up as I went and created a fun patchwork pillowcase.

In case anyone else wants to do something like this, I put together a tutorial (Disclaimer: measurements are approximate and based on a standard U.S. pillowcase size.)

Step 1:

Gather your fabrics and determine which you will be using for the body of the pillowcase, the band of the pillowcase, and for the patchwork band. Start with the patchwork band. For mine, I used solid orange pieces between the patterned pieces. Cut your solid strips 2 x 4 inches. Cut your patterned pieces 3 x 4 inches. You can vary the sizes of these strips depending on how you want the final product to look. Just be sure to include 1/2 inch extra for seam allowances on each side.

Sew your strips together with a 1/4 inch seam allowance, alternating patterned and solid. I didn't bother pinning since that would take longer than sewing. Just place your strips, right sides together, under your presser foot and let 'er rip! Sew all the strips together to form a long strip.

A standard U.S. pillowcase is 21" x 30", so make your strip 21.5 inches long. Press all your seams flat.

Step 2:

On to the band! You'll want the band fabric to be 21.5 inches long x 7.5 inches wide. Press your fabric in half long-wise, wrong sides together. (My fabric came from a left-over fat quarter, so it was not long enough. I ended up adding a bit of solid purple to make it the right length.)

Step 3 (no photo):

Place your folded band and your patchwork right sides together and pin. Stitch them together with a 1/4 inch allowance. Turn wrong-side out and press seams flat. Stitch ends together to form a circle.

Step 4:

Cut your pillowcase body to size: (60.5" x 21.5"). Fold it in half (right sides together) to make it 30.25" x 21.5" and press the fold flat. Stitch both sides from the fold to the edge. Flip it right-side out. (Test this portion to make sure it fit on your pillow. This way you can alter it if you need to before you sew the band on.) 

Pin the patchwork & band to the open end of the pillowcase body, right sides together. Sew all the way around. Press all seams flat.

Step 5:

Top-stitch along the long seams for a nicely finished look. 

Put it on your pillow and enjoy!

Link Up Tuesdays Blog Hop

Welcome to the second week of Link Up Tuesday's Blog Hop! Be sure to come back and join us every Tuesday to link up your Blog, Bloglovin', Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Interested in co-hosting? Contact me at crazycraftiness [at] gmail [dot] [com]. For the time being co-host spots are free so be sure to take advantage of it!

This is a great way to find other blogs to follow and find exposure for yours. 


1. Follow your host and co-hosts
2. Grab the blog hop button and post on your sidebar or blog hop page to help promote this hop. The more people who join the better!
Crafty Craziness & Living the Hooah Life
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3. If you're new leave a comment and we will return the favor :)
4. Tweet, Facebook, Pin about this hop. The more people who know the more exposure your blog gets! <not required but would be nice :)

Meet your lovely co-hosts!

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Personal History Printables, Part 3

Just in time for Memorial Day, here is the third part of my Personal History Printable series:

This installment is for the elementary school years. Space is provided to list school information and teachers' names, then blank pages are provided to include photos and memories. Print as many pages out as you need to collect all your memories from kindergarten through sixth grade!

{Linked on Uncommon Designs, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Craft-O-Maniac, Serendipity and Spice, Rain on a Tin Roof, Keeping It Simple, DIY Home Sweet Home, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Funky Polka-dot Giraffe, Adventures of a DIY Mom, Today's Creative Blog, VMG206, Ladybug Blessings, Nap-Time Creations, Inside Bru Crew Life, Cedar Hill Ranch, Love Bakes Good Cakes}

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was always a big holiday for me growing up. My grandma would have a big gathering for a BBQ, then everyone would visit the cemetery to place flowers on the graves of my grandpa, my great-grandparents, and my great-great-grandparents. Since I got married, I think we may have only spent one Memorial Day with my family, generally opting instead to finish projects and visit the closer graves of my husband's grandfathers.

Ever since reading my grandma's personal history (detailed here), I have spent a lot of time thinking about my grandpa, who passed away when I was seven. So this year, I decided that I will be going to visit his grave and I wanted something that I could place on his headstone.

This is what I came up with. I had some extruded foam wreath forms that got broken during shipment, so I used a half-circle for this project. The half-circle was perfect for adding a bunting, which is made of fabric, with the letters traced on with a marker. I love the way it turned out.

What kind of Memorial Day traditions do you have?

{Linked on Truly Lovely, Tatertots and Jello, The Wondering Brain, A Little Claireification, Be Different...Act Normal, I Heart Nap Time, Flamingo Toes, I Should Be Mopping the Floor}

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dining Table Makeover - The Reveal

(If you missed the initial dining table post, find it here.)

Since my hubby gave us a deadline on this project by inviting some coworkers over for lunch yesterday, the dining table project has been occupying most of my time. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it! Check out this transformation:



Obviously, I painted it all black. The arm chairs (in the top photo) will have a white accent around the seats, but I haven't finished those yet, so they're not in the second photo. I ordered the fabric from It is Premier Prints Nicole Twill. Not specifically upholstery fabric, but Dave and I both loved it, so we went for it. After upholstering the seats, I applied two coats of ScotchGard so that we can (hopefully) avoid stains. I plan to ScotchGard the cushions regularly since we have small children (who love Nutella, so it ends up on everything in our house). The cushions themselves are recycled from our old chair-top cushions. They were still in decent shape, so I removed the fabric cover from them and reused the foam. I got an insider tip from a lady at the craft store who told me that if I need to buy more foam, to buy it from a home improvement store where it doesn't cost $33/yard. Good advice! I only had to buy foam for two of the six chairs, so I didn't spend too much on them.

If you're thinking of doing your own furniture makeover, I have a few tips:
  1. Sand thoroughly! By this, I mean to sand and sand and sand, no matter how many sheets of sandpaper you go through. The better your sanding, the better your painting.
  2. Buy a lot of cheesecloth or tack cloth to get the saw dust off the furniture before painting.
  3. Turn everything upside down before your first coat of paint. This way, you paint all the bottom surfaces first. Do two coats of paint on the bottom, let it dry, then flip everything right-side-up and paint.
  4. Plan to do at least two full coats of paint. After it dries, find some really good light to inspect your paint job. I was amazed how many touch-ups I had to do once I saw my chairs in the sunlight. 
  5. Be extremely careful with your polyurethane finish. I used an old brush and ended up with some bubbles in my finish on the table top. Being inexperienced, I thought I could scrape them off and touch up that one spot. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. So use a NEW foam brush for each coat and sand between coats. I now have more work to do to get my table top smooth since I didn't know this in advance!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Custom Kids' Tote Bags

My kids are five and two, so keeping them occupied and reasonably quiet at church is a chore. After this past Sunday, I concluded that they each need their own bag to carry their stuff in so that I don't have to lug so much junk around for three hours every week.

While I was wandering around JoAnn the other day, I came across these great tote bags (for $1)! I picked up a blue and pink one, along with a pre-made embroidered letter to put on each. I knew I could make them cute and wanted to personalize them. If you are interested in customizing your own tote bag, here is what I did:

I raided my fabric stash and picked out a few coordinates. My son, Eddie, is a self-declared skeleton expert, so I searched for fabrics that would tie together the blue tote with the yellow skull fabric, so his ended up with polka dots and stripes. My daughter, Violet, seems to prefer pink. I found this grey and pink cherry blossom print and fell in love with it. Her tote ended up ultra-feminine since I couldn't find a good coordinate in my stash, so I used lace instead.

After selecting my fabrics, I cut them just larger than the width or height of the tote. For my son's tote, I started at the bottom and used horizontal strips. I hand-sewed because I wanted chunky, uneven stitches so that it looked hand-sewn. I sewed the edges of the striped fabric down first, whip-stitching it to the edging on the bag. Next, I sewed one end of the polka dot fabric to the bag edging, then whip-stitched it to the striped piece across the bag and then finished the other end.

My embroidered letters were stick on or iron on, so I ironed the "E" onto the skull fabric before attaching it to the tote. This type of tote melts, so it's important to attach the letter before adding it to the bag! I also stitched around the letter to give it a more finished look. I attached the skull fabric the same as I did the others and Eddie's tote was finished. Violet's tote was done the same way, except the strips were vertically placed.

This was a pretty quick and easy project and turned out better than I expected. Every time I see these totes, they make me smile.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Compiling a Personal History, Part 2

If you missed the first installment, find it here.

For the second part of my Personal History series, I created printables to document preschool years.

This pack includes a page to document siblings' names and birth dates, the subject's favorite things up to age 5, photo pages, and lined pages for writing memories of the preschool years.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Project Ideas

Here is what I want to make this summer:

  1. Quilted placemats for our freshly painted table - from Sew4Home
  2. The perfect picnic blanket - from Mom It Forward
  3. A kid-proof table cloth - from Creatively Christy
  4. The ultimate menu planner - from The Thinking Closet
What projects are on your summer to-do list?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quilt Along - Piecing

This past week in the Quilt Along, I started piecing my quilt together. I've been a bit distracted by my dining table makeover (post on that next week), so I haven't quite finished sewing it all together. I have a few more rows to go. Nevertheless, here is a poor photo to give you an idea of what the quilt top will look like:

Next week, I'm supposed to start the actual quilting. Once our table is finished (and it needs to be finished before Wednesday), I will be able to dedicate most of my time to getting caught up with the rest of the quilting group.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Compiling a Personal History, Part 1

On a recent trip to visit my parents, I happened upon a personal history written by my grandmother. She had compiled it as a scrapbook, complete with photos, what she knew of her parents and grandparents, and memories of her life. She is still living, so it is not complete, but reading through it opened my eyes to how little we really know people -- even those closest to us. I grew up living 30 minutes away from my grandparents and visited at least twice a month. Since my parents have moved from my childhood home, I really feel like visiting my grandma is "going home" for me. I spent countless weekends playing and working on my grandparents' farm, but as I read through what my grandmother had written about herself, I learned so much that I never knew.

As I contemplated the concept of a personal history and harassed my parents about writing their own, I decided that it would be much easier to begin with a template. So I decided to design one. Part 1 of the Personal History Printable Template includes a page for recording the subject's name, birth information, parents' information, and a few lined pages for writing out memories of the subject's parents. I plan to design and provide more templates in the future, including sections on various life stages, major events, work, etc.

Click the button below to download the PDF for Pack 1.

{Linked on Someday Crafts, Daisy Cottage Designs, We Like to Learn as We Go, Trendy Treehouse, Content in the Meantime, Lil' Luna, Sugar and Dots, Sew Much Ado, My Girlish Whims, Mom On Timeout, Life With the Crust Cut Off, Seven Alive, The 36th Avenue, The Thriftiness Miss, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Liz Marie Blog, Life We Live 4, One Artsy Mama, Happy and Blessed Home, VMG206}

Monday, May 13, 2013

Frilly Flower Pots

I have been seeing fabric covered flower pots all over the crafty blogs lately. I love anything and everything covered in fabric, so I had to try it out for myself. Luckily, I recently acquired a bunch of flowers that needed pots. Now this is what my front porch looks like, happy and colorful:

I did one fabric covered pot, then added rick rack to another pot to coordinate. To those of you who have covered flower pots in fabric, I have a question: How do you keep the fabric from getting really dirty? Dirty or not, I still think it is cute!

{Linked on My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Adventures of a DIY Mom, Today's Creative Blog, Ladybug Blessings, Nap-Time Creations, Inside BruCrew Life, Cedar Hill Ranch, Coastal Charm}

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all! I got to spend the weekend with my mom, so it was great! Here is the gift I gave her:

A photo board to display the most current photos of her six grandkids! I also included photos of all the kids, but forgot to take a picture after I added them. Oops!

What did you give your mom for Mother's Day? And what did your kids get for you?

{Linked on A Little Claireification, Flamingo Toes, I Heart Nap Time, DIY Home Sweet Home, Uncommon Designs, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Keeping It Simple}

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thinking Thursday #2 -or- Get Lost in a Book

Today I have compiled a list of some of my favorite books in various genres. If you're looking for a good read to get lost in, check out one of these and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This middle-reader fantasy is based on Chinese fairy tales. It took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, I was hooked. It is unlike anything I have ever read before and I loved it! Great for kids and adults alike.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Another middle-reader, this one is science fiction. Throughout most of this book, you are not really sure what is going on, but it all comes together at the poignant end. I can't wait to read it again!

Austenland by Shannon Hale

If you're a fan of Jane Austen or just fun chick lit, this is a great read. It is light and funny fiction with a little romance thrown in for good measure.

Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson

I love a good mystery. I have really enjoyed reading Imogen Robertson's Crowther & Westerman series, of which this is the first installment. Historical fiction meets murder mystery. Right up my alley!

Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story by Sue Monk Kidd & Ann Kidd Taylor

This mother-daughter memoir is a wonderful read for anyone who is trying to discover (or re-discover) their place in the world. It seems I'm always doing that, so I really enjoyed this book.

{Linked on Somewhat Simple, Be Different...Act Normal, The Wondering Brain, I Should Be Mopping the Floor}

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Quilt Along - Cutting

As previously mentioned, I am participating in a Quilt Along organized by Jill at Create.Craft.Love and Sarah at Becoming Martha. If you're interested in the details, click here:

This week, we started cutting. I have never been so grateful for a rotary cutter than I was as I cut the pieces for this quilt. I sure hope people are being honest when they say that cutting is the worst part. It took a lot of time to cut all the pieces, but once they were cut, I got to have a bit of fun figuring out what order I want them sewn in. Here they are, laid out how they will be sewn together (except I had to fold them and overlap them to get them all to fit on my table):

My borders and sashing are green. The patterned blocks are from Riley Blake's Dress Up Days collection. There is a small orange piece between each block and the back will be purple. Next week, we start sewing, so wish me luck!

{Linked on Content in the Meantime}

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Wired Headband Tutorial

I have a confession to make: My head is oddly shaped. I have never been able to wear headbands because of this. Hard headbands are too round for my square noggin. Elastic headbands will never stay in place.

This is bad because for most of my life I have been a short-haired gal. I love having my hair short, but not being able to wear headbands severely limits my styling options. I go through bobby pins like nobody's business.

Then I discovered wired headbands. In my opinion, these are the best things since sliced bread… or remnant bins… or hot glue guns. And for those like me walking around with a wonky head, these are a life saver! I got my first wired headband from Mod Cloth and since then, I have been working on replicating this fantastic invention. And now you can, too!


Fabric of your choice
Floral wire, nice and bendy
Needle & thread (or sewing machine)


Step 1 - Measure & Cut

Measure your head where you want the headband to lay. Ask for an extra pair of hands to help you make sure your measurement is accurate. Add six inches to your measurement and cut your fabric length. Test it out on your head to make sure it is long enough, but not way too long. Remember to allow for seams on the ends that will shorten it 1/2 inch or so.

The width will depend on how wide you want the headband to end up. I like my final product to be 1.5-2.5 inches wide, so cut the fabric twice as wide as you want the headband to be.

Step 2 - Iron & Sew

Fold your fabric in half, right sides together, and iron the fold flat. Stitch the long edge.

Step 3 - Prepare Your Wire

Cut your wire approximately 4 inches longer than your fabric strip. Loop the end and wrap the cut end of the wire around so that no sharp parts are poking out. Do this to both ends.

Step 4 - Flip & Iron

Flip your fabric tube right side out. Iron it flat with the seam centered on the back. Place your wire into the fabric tube, making sure the length is right. Remember to leave some space for a seam allowance on the ends.

Step 5 - Final Stitches

Make sure your wire is as straight as possible inside the fabric tube. Place a few small stitches to secure the wire loop on each end. Fold each end of the fabric into the tube and stitch across, closing the tube on both ends. Embellish as you like.

I added small rick rack along the edge of my headband. I did the stitches by hand so they wouldn't show.

Step 6 - Style and Rock It!

The best thing about wired headbands is their versatility. You can wear them many different ways. This is my current favorite:

Place the middle of the headband at the base of your head, then bring the ends up to the top. Wrap them around each other a couple of times, tuck in the ends, and you're ready to go! This is my favorite way to wear my hair ever since I got my blunt bangs.

nap-time creations 

{Linked on Coastal Charm, Cedar Hill Ranch, Ladybug Blessings, Naptime Creations, Adventures of a DIY Mom, Inside BruCrew Life, Ducks 'n a Row, Today's Creative Blog, The DIY Dreamer, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Daisy Cottage Designs, Lil' Luna, My Girlish Whims, Someday Crafts, We Like to Learn as We Go, Life With the Crust Cut Off, Crafty Blog Stalker, Easy Living Mom, The 36th Avenue, Seven Alive}