Pinterest Picks–Vol. 2

I’ve been in the car a lot this summer, and since I’ve mostly been a rider rather than a driver, I’ve had a lot of time to spend on Pinterest.  Here are some of my finds!

How to Tie a Scarf

My aunt loved scarves, and I’ve started wearing them more.  They’re very trendy right now, and this is a good chart showing how to tie a scarf several different ways.


Mod Podge Glass Tray

This is a nice way to customize a glass tray.  Keep an eye out at yard sales and thrift stores for inexpensive trays.  I would probably use maps like in the photo.


Painted Vases

This is another good way to use thrift store finds.  Just paint the inside of a glass vase!


Mod Podge Leaf Jars

The leaves will be changing colors soon (some have started already!) and this is a cute way to bring the pretty fall colors inside.


Placemat Purse Organizer

This is a purse organizer made from a fabric placemat that has been folded and stitched to make pockets.  My purse is the size of a small suitcase, so I will be trying this pattern out soon!


What’s Next?

I made some more jewelry for lupus awareness.  I have a very easy pattern for teardrop chandelier earrings.

Beaded Earrings

I’ve been making a lot of jewelry recently for lupus awareness.  I have several friends who have lupus, but this jewelry could be made with any color of beads or charms.  I chose purple, butterflies, and ribbons because I’m making jewelry for my friends to use as prizes as they fundraise for the Walk to End Lupus Now in Indianapolis in September.

Lupus Awareness Earrings

These earrings are similar to a pair I’ve made before, only bigger.


4 eye pins

8 seed beads

2 small beads

2 larger beads

2 charms

Round-nosed jewelry pliers

Wire cutters (I have a pair of 2-in-1 round-nosed/wire cutter pliers)

Two earring bases (I chose fishhook earrings)


Getting Started

Start by choosing which beads and charms you would like to use.  I’ve always heard that odd numbers are pleasing to the eye, so I chose three items for my earrings–one bead, one butterfly charm, and one ribbon charm for each earring for a total of six items.  The butterfly charm is more like a bead, which is why this earring can be made with two charms.  Do not choose two charms that only have one ring to attach it to the jewelry.

I think it’s easiest to start with the bottom of the earring.

Open the eye pinStep One

With the jewelry pliers, gently pull the eye of the pin open a small amount.  Slide the charm into the opening of the pin.  Using the pliers, gently close the pin again so the charm is firmly attached.

Step Two

SCreate an eyelide a seed bead, the middle bead, and another seed bead onto the straight part of the pin attached to the charm.  Cut off any excess, leaving enough to make an eye at the end.  Slide a new eye pin onto the pin with beads and use the round-nosed pliers to create an eye around the eye of the next pin.  The two pins should now be attached.

Finished earringStep Three

Slide a seed bead, the final bead, and another seed bead onto the straight part of the pin, and cut off any excess.  Slide the eye of the earring onto the final pin, and use the pliers to create an eye around the eye of the earring.  All of the pieces should now be firmly attached.

All you have to do now is wear your finished earrings!


What’s next?

I’ll be making a couple bracelets and some more earrings, all for lupus awareness!

Pinterest Picks–Vol. 1

I’ve been on the road a lot this past month, and haven’t had much time outside of the car for crafting.  Time in the car can be a great time for crafting…but it’s also a great time for napping!  I had planned to crochet, but instead I spent most of the time on Pinterest.  Here are some of my favorite crochet pins I found.


One of my trips this month was to wine country up in the Finger Lakes of New York.  So what better way to start this list than with a free crochet pattern for a wine tote?  This is a great way to give a bottle of wine as a gift.

I’ve been driving my mom’s old car recently, and the seat belt is itchy and scratches my neck.  I’ve adjusted it as much as I can, but I’m going to make this seat belt cover to make it more comfortable.

This scarf looks really easy.  There’s no pattern with the link, but all you need to do is crochet circles and stitch them together.  Then stitch an M on them all.  This looks like a good way to use up scraps.

Another way to use up scraps–a reusable Swiffer!  I have some leftover Pipsqueak yarn from a baby blanket that I think would catch dust well.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t start your Christmas crafts until it’s too late to finish them by December.  Now is the time to start thinking about Christmas crafts if you want to finish them before you have to start thinking about all the shopping, baking, and decorating.

Happy pinning!

How to Sew a Tanning Organizer

When I go outside to soak up the sun, I never know what to do with all the stuff I want to have with me.  My cat likes to tan with me, and she also likes to chew on corners of things (like my phone), so I want to keep things out of her reach.  I used three towels to make an organizer that can drape over a chair.getting a tan

Materials Needed:

1 bath towel

2 hand towels

matching thread


sewing machine

What To Do:

Buy towels with edges that match or nearly match.  My hand towels were about 2 inches shorter than the bath towel was wide.  I decided that was close enough, and just made sure to center the hand towels as I pinned them on.  Another thing to keep in mind as you purchase the towels:  Kohl’s had some very nice plush towels on sale, so I bought those.  In hindsight, such thick towels were hard for my sewing machine to handle.  Using thin towels will make this project much easier.  You could also buy some terry cloth at a fabric store and cut the right size pieces, but if you use towels you won’t have to hem anything!towels

Pin one hand towel at each end, then sew along the bottom (the short side of the bath towel matched to the long side of the hand towel).  Remove the pins as you go.  Some machines have a pressure foot that can be raised a bit more than the standard “up” position, but mine is not one of those machines.  If you have a machine like mine, carefully wiggle the fabric into place as close to the edges of the towel as you can get.  You may not be able to sew all the way to an edge or into a corner, but don’t worry–your seams will hold.

After you sew along the bottom, sew up the short sides of the hand towels.  Again, just get as close to the edges as your machine allows.  Sew bottom and sides

I had to adjust the length on mine a little.  When I laid it out on the chair, the part that went over the seat was the perfect size, but the sides hung too low.  I pinned up the edges to the right length and created a row of small pockets in front of the main pockets.Front pocket

Next, sew the seams that will divide the hand towels into pockets.  I put two pockets on one side by sewing one seam down the middle.  On the other side, I sewed two seams to create three pockets.  If you are folding up the edges like I did, sew these seams with the edge folded up.  I sewed from the top of the pocket down, because that was the way my machine fed the fabric through the feed dogs the best.  Sew from the middle

Finally, sew up the sides of the short row of pockets in front, and trim any loose threads.

Load up the pockets with all your essentials, and catch some rays!Tanning Organizer

What’s Next?

I’m going on a long car ride, and I’m taking my yarn with me.  You never know what might happen!

4th of July Tablecloth


I found this pin on Pinterest, and thought I’d modify it a bit to make it my own.  Instead of bandanas, I bought pre-cut packages of patriotic fabric.  There were five pieces of fabric in each package.  The benefit to using regular fabric is that you can tailor the tablecloth to any occasion.  The benefit to using bandanas is that you don’t have to hem it.folded fabric

How to Make the Tablecoth

I ironed all of the fabric pieces first.  They were deeply creased from the packaging, and smooth fabric is so much easier to work with.  If the fabric is wrinkled when you start sewing, the finished product will probably always be a little wrinkled or lopsided.Iron the fabric

Then I laid out the pieces in the order I wanted and pinned them together to make two strips.Pin the pieces together

I used red thread and a 5/8 seam.5/8 seam

When you have the two strips sewn together, iron the seams so they are all going in the same direction.iron the seams

Pin the two strips together and sew them using a 5/8 seam.  Then iron the seam to one two strips together

If you’re not using bandanas, you will need to hem the edges.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to press the edge over a certain amount (using a hem gauge if you like) then double the pressed edge over on itself.  This creates a double-fold hem with no raw edges.hem gauge

I pressed and sewed the long sides first, then pressed and sewed the short sides.  I didn’t use pins because I like to live dangerously.  Seriously, if you have a nice crisp line from the iron, you can probably manage without pins.  However, if this is your first sewing project ever, use pins!double fold hem


Now all you have to do is throw a party to show off your creation!finished tablecloth

What’s Next?

Kohl’s had towels on sale, so I bought some supplies to make a tanning organizer.

Tips for Crocheting and Blocking Doilies

Craft BookMy great-grandmother crocheted a couple hundred doilies in her lifetime.  My family inherited several, and I’ve been feeling inspired to try making one myself.  My mom found a book she had bought years ago (for 29 cents!) that had a simple doily pattern that I decided to make.  Choose something with a lot of open spaces for your first project–it will go faster that way! This is a good pattern to start with.

Choosing Your Thread and Hook

I bought Coats and Clark size 10 thread and a size 6 hook.  Hooks for crocheting with thread are sized differently than hooks for yarn, so don’t use a size 6 yarn hook and expect the desired result.  With hooks for crocheting with thread (for lace or doilies) the hooks get larger as the numbers get smaller.  A size 6 hook was the largest of this type of hook that I could find at my local craft store.  I recommend choosing a light color of thread.  I’ve said before that lighter colors make it easier to see your work, which is particularly helpful as you’re just learning a new technique.  I chose a variegated pastel thread, because there’s no rule that a doily has to be white!

Getting StartedFirst few rounds

Thread for lace or doilies is much harder to hold than yarn is, and my tension was sort of hit or miss for the first couple of rounds.  But don’t give up! It gets easier as you go!  Another thing I noticed is that the thread would often slip off the hook as I would try to draw up a loop.  If this happens to you, remember that even if you wrap the thread all the way around the hook, you’ll still only draw up one loop.  Also, switching from yarn to thread takes patience.

Finishing Off

I didn’t weave in my ends as aggressively as I do for a hat or blanket because this doily will not be worn, stretched, or washed often.  I just sort of worked the ends.  A yarn needle would have been too large, so I used an embroidery needle.  It worked beautifully!

BlockingMy doily!

The instructions in the book said to starch and lightly press the doily when it was finished.  I don’t have any starch, and all that seemed unnecessary.  It was a little curled, but not too bad.  I just filled a clean spray bottle with some water and placed the doily on a towel.  I spritzed the entire thing lightly and pressed out the curls.  Then I worked my way around the border, spritzing a little each time, and reshaping the edging into nice round  curves with my fingers.  Keep the doily flat and laid out in the right shape until it’s dry and it will keep its shape.

What’s Next?

I found some cute patriotic fabric at the craft store that I hope to turn into something for the 4th of July!

Quilting vs. Piecing

Double Wedding Ring QuiltsThis weekend I went to the annual quilt show in Greenville, IL, sponsored by the Bond County Historical Society. My mother’s family farm is in Greenville, and my family has 40 or so quilts, so this weekend was a perfect fit!





Featured QuilterSunbonnet Sue

Oleta Schaufelberger was this year’s featured quilter, and she had quite a display! Every item in her exhibit was pieced and quilted by hand. She had several large “Double Wedding Ring” quilts. My favorite of her quilts was a variation of a “Sunbonnet Sue” pattern, made with fabric from dresses worn by three generations of women in her family. Each of the dresses in the pattern was different.

Basic Quilting Terminology

There were four categories of quilts at this show: hand quilted, machine quilted, antique, and wall/display and baby quilts. Within these categories, a quilt can either be embroidered or pieced.

  • Piecing is the art of cutting shapes from fabric and stitching them together to form a pattern. Often, a quilter pieces the pattern into smaller blocks, then stitches the blocks together.
  • Quilting is the process of sewing the pieced quilt top to the backing fabric, with quilt batting sandwiched in between. Many quilters like to incorporate designs into the quilting stitches.
  • A hand quilt is one that has been pieced and quilted using hand sewing. I once read that women used to strive for 12 stitches per inch when they were hand quilting.
  • A machine quilt is one that has been pieced and quilted using a sewing machine. When looked at closely, hand and machine quilts look very different. Machine quilts have tighter, smaller, more uniform stitches.
  • An embroidered quilt uses blocks of fabric that have been embroidered rather than pieced with intricate designs. Embroidered quilts can have some piecework, as the blocks are pieced together and there is often a pieced border, but some embroidered quilts are made from one large piece of fabric.

Hoiles-Davis Historical MuseumOther Historical Greenville Locations

Hoiles-Davis Historical Museum:  See a couch Abraham Lincoln sat on, as well as some other Greenville history.

One-Room School Museum: A beautifully restored one-room school house that has been moved to the middle of Greenville from its original country location.

American Farm Heritage Museum:  Home to farming artifacts and festivals, this museum is also working on reconstructing a War of 1812 era fort.

What’s Next?

I might try my hand at the tiny crochet my great-grandmother liked.  I bought a very old book of crochet patterns of doilies and edgings from a vendor at the quilt show, and my mom has a box of Great-Grandma’s old hooks and thread somewhere.