A little bit about me.

I love tutorials. If I follow a tutorial, even if I don't do it perfectly, I always link to theirs. All photographs are mine, are never taken from the original tutorial, and are never as good as the original.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Car Seat Canopy with Window

I bought this material a while ago to make the Carseat Cover I tried back in April. Needless to say, I didn't get around to making the second cover. And I'd been looking for a tutorial with a window.

And, TA DA! I found one! This comes courtesy of Kat's Out o'the Bag and is almost her tutorial for the Carseat Canopy with Peek-a-Boo Window that Kat made back in February.

I say almost, because she's obviously more talented with the sewing machine than I am, and that's one of the reasons I chose this tutorial. It's a simple project with some flair. I pieced fabric and for the first time did binding, which, following her instructions, was easier than I thought it would be.

Since I used fabric out of my stash, I used one yard of each fabric, so I had to cut out some of Kat's coolness. I used ribbons instead of sewing up those great straps. I think it turned out pretty well!

Items used:
2 coordinating fabrics, 1 yard each (G St. Fabrics)

Items already owned:
Sewing machine, velcro, ribbon, button

In retrospect, I'd have made the binding wider so to avoid those gaps. But I had run out of fabric, and used all of my fabric in those two colors. I think I'm going to put another button at the top of the window, so that I can pin the window open as well as closed. All said and done, this was a great project from a great tutorial. Thanks Kat!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Birthday Wreath

I found this project on a 'Great Ideas' post over at Tatertots and Jello - and it really is a fun idea. Since my oldest was about to turn 3, I hopped over to The Silly Pearl for instructions.

First I made the party blowers. Just a heads-up, the blowers have to sit rolled-up overnight. If if wasn't for this, it could have definitely been a 1-hour project. All of my paper was the same size, I have no idea why I got fewer blowers out of the middle paper.

I used a hot glue gun to affix the blowers. I know Silly Pearl says not to because of the stringiness, but... I tried a couple other methods of glueing, and they didn't work. Fabri-Tac worked for the ribbons but not for the paper. Double-sided tape and Elmer's glue didn't work at all. (DST worked for the printed 'Happy Birthday' and the '#3s', but promptly fell off when the door started to open and close, so I took them off, and I think it looks just as good without them.)

Happy Birthday Sophie!

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Items used:
1 fat ribbon and one skinny ribbon, Michaels - from the sale bin
3 sheets scrapbooking paper, Michaels - $0.55 each

Items already owned:
Cardboard circle (cut out of an Amazon box)
Straws (originally from the Dollar Store)
Happy Birthday Hat (Party City? From last year)
Fabri-Tac, hot glue gun, Elmer's glue, rubber bands

Verdict: This project was a lot of fun, and really quick! I wish I had used a prettier background ribbon instead of a sale one, because it didn't occur to me that it would show so much.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What to do with those outgrown rainboots?

Why, plant flowers in them of course!

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This idea comes via Pinterest, I tracked down the original poster Rosy Posy and added her to my favorites.

I took out the insoles and poked drainage holes with a screwdriver.

Boots: outgrown rainboots, originally from Target.
Flowers: impatiens, from Home Depot
Potting Soil: from Home Depot

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I don't think I've ever mentioned how much I like being told what to do. Seriously. I didn't used to be this way, but now I totally am. I look for crafts with tutorials. I use patterns for my knitting projects. I rely on book bloggers and my online book club members to tell me what to read. I don't have the time or the patience to screw up, or to read bad books. Except for Eat Pray Love which I forced myself to finish because a good friend told me it was AMAZING and the only thing I learned from that experience was to never read books she thinks are amazing.

And when shopping online, I always, always, always sort by rating. Sure, that's a great way to fall in love with things you can't afford, but nobody really needs to eat lunch EVERY day.

It all started when a blog I read linked to a tutorial of how to fold a fitted sheet. My first response? Now that's hilarious. Who cares! Then I went over to check it out. Then I tried it*. And I swear, angels sang. Then it dawned on me. If I'm going to take the time to do something, like fold a fitted sheet, I might as well do it well. And there really isn't any need to reinvent the wheel, is there?

So how excited was I to find http://www.theartofdoingstuff.com/? How to arrange a bookshelf! How to put flowers in a vase! How to appear to be a talented awesome person while putting forth only the minimum effort**!

*Step 1: Turn the sheet inside out.
2: Hold the sheet up longwise, putting your hands INTO the fitted pockets (I know this sounds weird but you gotta try it.)
3: Bring your hands together, and fold one pocket over the other pocket. You now have one hand inside 2 pockets.
4: Repeat step 3 for the other side. You now have both hands inside 2 pockets.
5: Bring your hands together, and fold the pockets from one hand over the pockets on the other hand. All your pockets are together now, and your sheet should be in a rectangle.
6: Fold over as needed to fit in your storage space.
7: Give yourself a gold star, because they're shiny.

**Seriously, some days I'm just excited if I get to leave the house without spit-up on my shirt and play-dough in my hair.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

French Braids, done in Hearts.

I can't remember where I saw this idea, but I just loved it. To start, divide the hair into 2 sections like you would for pig-tails. Pick up your first section a couple inches in, and braid forward, turning the braid at the forehead and low past the ear. After you finish both sides, join them up to complete the heart.
After a little trial and error, I figured out that the shape stands out much better with an inside-out braid, pulling the section of hair up instead of down - essentially braiding backwards.

And there you have a heart in your hair!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Husband Scarf

This scarf comes from a free Ravelry pattern. I was having a hard time finding a good pattern that was, well, manly. It seems like all of the nice patterns are a tad feminine. This pattern was kind of difficult to start, but once I got used to the pattern of counting everything just fell into place.

I used Sublime Yarn, Organic Merino Wool DK in a light gray, purchased at the Yarn Barn in Burke, VA. I cannot tell you how divinely soft this scarf is. But expensive. At $13 each ball, this is the most I have ever spent on yarn. But at $40, I'd have spent a lot more buying a merino scarf, so there is that.

Modeled by me. Even after blocking, this pattern gives a short scarf. I used 3 balls of yarn for this guy, if I ever make it again in the future I'll use 4.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter centerpiece: flowers from the garden

With the exception of the Easter lily in the middle, all flowers were cut from the front garden bed.

I think this is a ranunculus? But it doesn't really look like one and the ones I planted were white?

I have no idea what this is, but I can tell you with certainty that I did not buy any yellow bulbs.

Misty Glenn daffodil and pink jewel late tulip. At least these were right. There's a Salome daffodil and a star flower in the background.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Baby Burp Cloths

Another sewing machine project. These burp cloths are two-sided, with quilting cotton on one side and super soft flannel on the other. I got 1/4 yard of most quilting fabrics, and picked up a couple fat quarters to round out the selection. I got baby blue and light pink flannel, a yard each. A 1/4 of fabric gave me two burp cloths of each fabric.

Simply cut 18" of each cloth, sew together inside out leaving a hole for turning, trim the edges, flip right side out, and topstitch, making sure to sew closed the turning hole.

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This post will be linked at:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kitchen nursery and more bulbs

The kitchen nursery has sprouted. My husband can't wait to get this off of the countertop! I'm growing the following from seed:

  • nasturtium (Target)

  • marigold (Target)

  • cucumber (Home Depot, all seeds are saved from last year)

  • various herbs (Home Depot, Target and Bountiful Gardens)

  • poblano peppers (Bountiful Gardens)

  • jalepeno peppers (Bountiful Gardens)

  • tomatillo (Bountiful Gardens)

  • beefsteak tomatoes (American Meadows, free with the purchase of bulbs from last fall)

Greenhouse light and seed starting mat are from Amazon.com. The seeds are living in plastic nursery containers I've saved containers saved and thouroughly washed from yogurt and pudding. I also used Pringles single-serve containers and chopped off plastic water bottles, but those aren't pictured. Now for the bulbs a-blooming in my front bed! I am so very happy with all that planning and work done last fall. There's been a consistent bloom, it's beautiful and smells wonderful! Carnegie Hyacinth

More Joan of Arc Crocuses. These are dying quickly though.

Friday, April 8, 2011

For Baby: Carseat Cover

It gets pretty cold around these parts, and I know that spring is here, but it's still pretty chilly and rainy. Throwing a blanket over the carseat wasn't cutting it - more than half the time the blanket blew away in the wind. So I picked up some flannel on sale from G Street and followed this tutorial from A Wednesday Afternoon. I used two coordinating pink polka dot flannel fabrics.

Straps made out of ribbon with velcro.

Happy baby!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is springing!

You remember all of those bulbs I planted last fall, right? Here's what's going on in my front bed right now!

Giant ruby specie crocus. I think these were the first to bloom. I thought they would be less purple and more red.

Blue pearl crocus.

Snowdrops had a poor showing this year. Maybe it was the couple of warm snaps that we had this year, or because I took the straw covering off too late for their liking.

This one is absolutely beautiful. And was a mistake. I bought White Excelsior Dutch Iris, and while this is definitely an iris, it's the wrong one. And I love it.

Joan of Arc crocus.

Prins Claus crocus. These are breathtaking. I love them.

I've got my herb pots started on the back deck, a strawberry pot full of baby strawberry plants, and some veggies under my greenhouse lamp in the kitchen. It's my first year for the greenhouse lamp, I'll take pictures and post updates.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

5 (uh, 11) Hour (ahem, week) Boy (er, girl) Sweater (cough, cardigan)

On or around the middle of December, I started on the Baby Boy Five Hour Sweater. And I just finished it. I chose the boy sweater instead of the girl sweater because I didn't like the filligrie holes and whatnot in the girl sweater. But I used a nice lavender yarn with bunny rabbit buttons, so nobody's mistaking my baby girl for a boy. The yarn I bought as part of my Black Friday haul from Michael's, but I threw away the label and I can't find the extra ball I purchased right now. I'll update when it turns up. The buttons are from JoAnn's.

The verdict? This really was an easy sweater. I just didn't have a whole lot of motivation, and kept starting other projects and not finishing anything. Twice I came to points where I put the needles down for extended periods of time, once when I reached a stitch I didn't know and once when I had to look up how to seam the arms closed using a crochet slip stitch.
And because I slacked off, the sweater is just a tad too small. It won't close. Oh well. I think I'll give this one to my toddler for one of her baby dolls.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rosette Tree

In this post, I talked about my Rosette Pomeander and how much I loved it. Well, after cleaning up all of the holiday-ness around the house, I decided to use Betz White's rosettes for another project - two Rosette Trees for my dining room table.

I started out with five colors of felt. I only used four colors for the pomeander. Really, the more colors you have, the better the final project will look. It bugged me a little when two rosettes of the same color were too close together. For the two trees, I used two sheets of felt in each color, and cut out ten two-inch circles from each sheet.

Spiral cuts!

And the rosette... easy peasy!

Fabric glue and a pretty pin in the middle...

Going up the tree...

Voila! Two perfect Rosette Trees.

Items purchased:
2 sheets of five colors of felt (Michael's and JoAnn's. Michael's had the ruby, but did not have any of the pinks. JoAnn's had all of the pinks but not the ruby. Go figure.)
Package of 2 styrofoam trees (JoAnn's)

Items owned:
Fabric glue, pins, scissors. The pins and glue were left over from the pomeander.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Just in case you were wondering, I'm still here! We welcomed a new addition into our family on 12/29, a 8lb, 7oz baby girl. I haven't had much time for crafting lately, although I am experiencing some knitting ADD. I've got 3 projects cast on right now, and don't see an end in sight for any one of them.
Stay tuned!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Winter Book Challenge Update #3

As you all know, I'm participating in the Winter Book Challenge. Every Monday, we report what we've read the past week and how many points we now have. I'm keeping a running spreadsheet here as well. New entries are in red.

5 points
Read a book while drinking something warm - Masquerade (Melissa de la Cruz)
Book I bought on sale - Breaking Dawn (Stephenie Meyer)
Library book - Revelations (Melissa de la Cruz)

10 points
Book set somewhere warm - The Sky is Everywhere (Jandy Nelson)
Book by an author I've never read before - Blue Bloods (Melissa de la Cruz)

15 points
2010 Bestseller - Medium Raw (Anthony Bourdain)
Book you first heard about on the Nest Book Club - Ella Minnow Pea (Mark Dunn)

25 points

Running Total: 65/425 points

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Wrap-Up

I read a lot of books in 2010, and kept track of them using Goodreads. I didn't write a review for every book, but I did give each one a rating - between 1 and 5 stars. To further confuse things, my ratings are biased and unprofessional. After all, I'm an amateur reader who reads for pleasure. The bias part comes into play when I have expectations. I expect certain beloved authors books to be better, and judge them more harshly when they fall short. I expect to enjoy certain genres more than others, so when I really adore a chick lit book, I'm pretty shocked and rate it highly. I rate non-fiction not only by how much I learned about the topic, but also by how the author kept me interested in the subject.

Some of these books were Advanced Readers Copies. All ARCs I received as part of a giveaway on another blog, as part of an 'ARC Tour' organized by another blog or a Goodreads ARC winner, or that I won myself on Goodreads. None of these books were recieved from publishers or compensation for any ratings/reviews were received.

So here goes, listed arbitrarily by rating.

5 Star Books read in 2010:

1. Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourret - general fiction
2. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn - young adult
3. The Girl who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson - mystery
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - science fiction and fantasy
5. Generation Kill: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America and the New Face of American War by Evan Wright - nonfiction
6. The First Counsel by Brad Meltzer - thriller
7. Dracula by Brahm Stoker - classic
8. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane - thriller
9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - young adult
10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - young adult
11. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - young adult
12. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - young adult
13. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - general fiction
14. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain - memoir
15. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - dystopian
16. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami - young adult
17. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - general fiction
18. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green - young adult
19. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - general fiction
20. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - general fiction
21. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness - young adult
22. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach - nonfiction
23. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - young adult
24. Stardust by Neil Gaiman - science fiction and fantasy

4 Star Books read in 2010:
25. The Passage by Justin Cronin - dystopian
26. Marked by P.C. Cast - young adult
27. Betrayed by P.C. Cast - young adult
28. Hunted by P.C. Cast - young adult
29. Bag of Bones by Stephen King - horror
30. The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones by Anthony Bourdain - memoir
31. The Hand that First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell - general fiction
32. A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon - romance
33. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare - young adult
34. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare - young adult
35. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare - young adult
36. Four Past Midnight by Stephen King - horror
37. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - young adult
38. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater - young adult
39. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - classic
40. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn - thriller
41. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - young adult
42. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia - young adult
43. Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier - historical fiction
44. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway - classic
45. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery - children's
46. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding - chick lit
47. One For the Money by Janet Evanovich - mystery
48. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordian - children's
49. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordian - children's
50. The Last Olympian by Rick Riordian - children's
51. The Girl who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen - general fiction
52. Watchmen by Alan Moore - graphic novel
53. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - historical fiction
54. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - young adult
55. Frostbite by Richelle Mead - young adult
56. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead - young adult
57. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead - young adult
58. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - young adult
59. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton - classic
60. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - historical fiction
61. The Giver by Lois Lowry - dystopian
62. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - young adult
63. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty - young adult
64. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - general fiction
65. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson - thriller
66. Uglies by Scott Westerfield - young adult
67. Pretties by Scott Westerfield - young adult
68. Specials by Scott Weterfield - young adult
69. Extras by Scott Westerfield - young adult
70. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - horror
71. It by Stephen King - horror

3 Star Books read in 2010:
72. Chosen by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - young adult
73. Untamed by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - young adult
74. Burned by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast - young adult
75. Invisible Energy by David Goldstein - nonfiction
76. Lament by Maggie Stiefvater - young adult
77. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich - mystery
78. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich - mystery
79. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich - mystery
80. Lisey's Story by Stephen King - horror
81. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer - young adult
82. Last Time Out: Big League Farewells of Baseball's Greatest by John Nogowski - nonfiction
83. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters - G&L fiction
84. Persuasion by Jane Austen - classic
85. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel - general fiction
86. Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte - nonfiction
87. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer - nonfiction
88. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - general fiction
89. Rides a Hero by Heather Graham Pozzessere - romance
90. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - classic
91. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems by Samuel Taylor Coleridge - poetry
92. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordian - children's
93. The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordian - children's
94. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty - young adult
95. The Shack by William P. Young - religious fiction
96. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice - horror
97. Truly Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson - romance
98. Hunter Fear by Kay Hooper - mystery
99. Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster - memoir
100. The Science of Fear by Dan Gardner - nonfiction
101. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy by Robert Dallek - nonfiction

2 Star Books Read in 2010:
102. Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen - young adult
103. The Bread of Angels by Stephanie Saldana - memoir
104. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson - memoir
105. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak - classic
106. Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger - nonfiction
107. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty - young adult
108. The City and The City by China Mieville - thriller
109. In the Woods by Tana French - thriller

Genre Breakdown:
General Fiction = 10/109 = 9%
Young Adult = 38/109 = 35%
Mystery = 6/109 = 6%
Science Fiction and Fantasy = 2/109 = 2%
Nonfiction = 9/109 = 8%
Thriller = 6/109 = 6%
Classic = 7/109 = 6%
Memoir = 5/109 = 5%
Dystopian = 3/109 = 3%
Religious Fiction = 1/109 = 1%
Horror = 6/109 = 6%
Poetry = 1/109 = 1%
Romance = 3/109 = 3%
Graphic Novel = 1-109 = 1%
Historical Fiction = 3/109 = 3%
Children's = 6/109 = 6%
G&L Fiction = 1/109 = 1%
Chick Lit = 1/109 = 1%

And now on to the next challenges!
I'll be taking part in the Winter Book Challenge through my online book club.

I've also set a new goal for 2011, hope I can keep up!