Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sewing Sites Like Ravelry

I'm pretty sure that I have been a member of for a couple of years now. It's a great site for crocheters and knitters. It allows you to keep track of your projects and your stash. You also can find patterns for sale or for free. And there is a very active forum where you can connect with other avid yarn lovers. You can find local crochet groups or just connect with others online.

Sewing Sites Like

Well, I sew and do a few other crafts as well. And being on Ravelry today got me to wondering if there was a sewing site similar to I was thrilled when I came across Carrie, the owner of the site, said that she was looking for a site like Ravelry and couldn't find one. So, she and her husband created one! Gotta love that.

I think they did a great job of capturing the things that make Ravelry so great. As far as I can tell, the site has all of the same features. But there are not nearly as many members, though. My Sewing Circle has only been around since February of 2010. I'm hoping that's part of the reason why it's not full of people yet.

So, I wanted to get the word out to other sewers who wanted a site like Ravelry. I just signed up there and looked at a few of the projects. The site definitely has a lot of potential. You can find me under username craftingwithcookie.

Another sewing site that is similar to Ravelry is Currently the site is in the beta phase. But it looks great already. Again, the set up is very similar to you-know-who.

Seamed Up looks like it has a lot more current activity on it from users and the owner. So, that's a good sign. Maybe this site will take off and become a great place for the sewing community to meet. I'm craftingwithcookie there as well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Homemade Craft Supplies for the Children

I have spent a lot of time on Pinterest over the past few days. One of the boards that I have focusing on is the one titled Homemade Fun for the Children. I could go on forever adding pins to it. But at some point, I actually need to start making some of the items that I have found.

So, that is what the children and I will be focusing on next week. By the end of the week I want to have the majority of our homemade crating supplies/materials made. So, this is my plan of action to help us (hopefully) be as productive as possible.

We'll Start with Dye


We will spend Monday making everything that involves food coloring, except paint. That means we'll dye pasta and rice. And we'll make the fun dough. We'll also make the modeling clay since we'll already have the flour out.

Liquid Tuesday

Source: on Pinterest

We'll make the paints on the second day. We're only making 3 types, so that may not take that long.

Weave It Wednesday


We'll make the looms on this day. I'm thinking that each of the younger children should get his/her own looms.

Beads Galore


Beads seem like they will be a bit time consuming. But hey, there's always time for art, right? So, we'll make as many beads as we care to on Thursday.

And that's the plan. By the end of the week we should be set for awhile with our homemade craft materials.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Making Cleaning Rags from Old Shirts

I consider myself to be a very frugal person. I avoid disposable products whenever possible. However, for sanitary reasons I will never give up toilet paper; and, I will probably never give up paper towels either. Sorry, I'm just not comfortable with cloth napkins. But I also use paper towel to do a lot of my cleaning and I'm trying to cut down on that.

So, I made some rags from my sons' old shirts. I have 3 sons so by the time my youngest has grown out of the clothes they are too thread bare to donate. I was throwing them away. But then it dawned on me that the t-shirts would make excellent cleaning rags. Here's how you do it.

Lay out the shirt on a flat surface.
I remember buying this little shirt from Goodwill when my oldest was 4 years old. He is now 13 and my youngest is 4 and just outgrew the shirt. How time flies!

Use pinking shears - if you have any - to cut the fabric. That way there is no hemming required. Well let's be honest. I wouldn't take the time to hem a rag anyway.

Put the pinking shears underneath one of the arms and cut straight across.
I discard the top part of the shirt. Maybe one day I'll figure out a use for it.

Then cut up one side.

And then up the other.

And voila! I got 2 reusable cleaning cloths from one toddler size 4 shirt.

I have made several of these to keep underneath the bathroom sinks. The children or I use them to clean the sink, the tub, and finally the toilet. Then we toss them in the laundry. Hopefully, I'll see a drop in the amount of paper towels I use in month.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Ten Minute Dolman Top: My Version

I recently lost some weight and now I am on a mission to make myself some new clothes. I want to make clothes that are cute, fast to make, and that don't require a pattern. From what I've gleamed so far from the internet, that appears to be mostly tops and skirts. I am posting all of my finds on Pinterest so that they are all in one convenient location for future reference. I really like that site! But that's for another post.

The first item that I made was a dolman top. I had seen a really cute one on Ross's website on sale for $12. The design looked like it couldn't be that complicated so I did a bit of searching and found Hungry Hippie's Poppy Top. Hello! The top fit all of my criteria. A 10 minute top with only 2 seams that required no hemming? How could I not make it?

I pulled out a yard of fabric that I'd gotten on clearance from When I purchased it I didn't have a clue what I would do with it. But who can turn down a yard of jersey knit for only $1.95? OK, maybe you can. But buying fabric on sale is one of my favorite things. Anyway, I immediately got to work following Hungy Hippie's tutorial to the "t".

This was the result.

I kind of liked it but I wasn't wild about the neckline. It was just too big for my taste. I had traced the neckline of a stretchy shirt that I already owned, thinking that the size would come out just right. But for whatever reason that didn't work out like I thought it would. I almost gave up on the top, figuring it was only  about $2.00 and a little bit of time that I had just spent.

But then I remembered my friend shirring. I have used the technique a few times and it is beyond easy. So I added one row of shirring about 1/2 an inch from the neckline.

It took less than a minute to do but the shirring made a huge difference! I went from wanting to abandon the top to wanting to wear it as soon as possible.Which I did, since we had company over for  dinner that night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cleanliness is Next to Craftiness

Seemingly, my dirty bathroom has nothing to do with my crafting.
But here’s the thing. Once my house reaches a certain point of messiness, I lose all desire to be creative. I feel like it’s wrong to crochet or sew when my bathroom is dirty or my laundry is piled up or or my sinks need to be scrubbed.

I can thank my mom for this. And I do sincerely thank her. She taught me to never do anything fun if my work isn't done first. That has probably helped me to keep a fairly clean house for most of my adult life. But sometimes life happens and the the messiness creeps in.

And the guilt is multiplied if the craft storage area in my closet is dirty. And it had been since my Christmas sewing began. As you can see from the pic, mess happens - especially in my closet.

Believe it or not, my closet doubles as the place where I store all of my craft supplies. Really, seriously!

Here is a view of where I keep my yarn. It's down there on the floor among the heaps of clothes and other items.

I had been living in this condition since the beginning of December. But then that desire to make something struck me. I wanted to make myself an earwarmer headband and sew some Barbie clothes for my daughter. But I couldn’t bare to pull out the sewing machine or a crochet hook until I fixed all of the wrongs in those rooms. It was wrong to make my ears suffer the cold or to deprive Barb of a new outfit just because I wouldn't get my act together.
So, I had no choice but to put some sparkle back in my bathroom.
Things were starting to look better.

So, I straightened out the shelf where I store my sewing supplies and I hung up all of my yards of fabric. Thanks to my Christmas sewing my stash is not much of a stash anymore.

I also put all of the fabric scraps in shoe boxes and arranged those on some shelves. I put all like things together - ribbons with ribbon, buttons with buttons, etc.

I cleared the floor so that I can actually see my yarn now, and my cookie cutters.

And there is my floor. I can actually walk in that space again!

Sewing machine and crochet hooks, here I come!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Handmade Christmas Update

Well, I am happy to report that we will wind up having a handmade/store bought Christmas. I did  make a few things. And my husband decided to divert a little of our budget towards some gifts from Amazon. Also, a wonderful relative sent several gifts for the children as well.

Anyway, here are the gifts I made by hand for my children this year.

Handmade Pillow Pet Pal Friends

I made these adorable little animals using this pillow pet tutorial from Twelve Crafts Till Christmas.

A Dress for My Daughter

I used  Simplicity pattern 5226.

Denim Fox (First Name "Denim", last name "Fox")

I made this handsome fella using a couple of cut off portions of my son's jeans. When the children's pants get too short, I turn them into shorts. I now have a ridiculous number of "denim cut offs" in my stash. So, when I saw the fox and raccoon tutorial from Ruffles and Stuff, I knew immediately that I had the perfect material on hand.

Juggling Balls 

[pic  coming soon]

It was very challenging to find items to make for my 13 year old. So, I was glad that when I came across this crocheted  hacky sack ball tutorial. I filled each one with garbanzo beans (they're what I had on hand) inside of taped up sandwich baggies. That way the beans won't start to sprout if the balls ever wind up in water.

House Shoes for Everyone

Believe it or not, these were NOT HARD at all to make! The pattern I used is Foot Prints #702. The pattern includes slippers for sizes 18 months - adults for boys, girls, women, and men. I rarely buy patterns; but, this one was an excellent investment.

Fashion Doll Clothing

My daughter's Barbie-ish doll recently lost her head during a very intense hair styling. She is the model in the above pic, which explains why this is a headless shot. Hey, I try to reuse as much as I can. So this doll is now my Barbie dress form.

Anyway, so I got my daughter a new doll for Christmas. But the doll was dressed like "We Be Clubbin" Barbie. So, I quickly whipped up a more modest outfit for her.

I could definitely get used to making items to supplement Barbie's wardrobe. I used the Barbie skirt tutorial and the Barbie shirt tutorial found at Craftiness is Not Optional. (What a fabulous name for a blog.)

How Much I Spent
The only material that I purchased was about $15 worth of poly-fil. I used the 40% off coupons at Hobby Lobby to save a little. And everything else was materials that I already had on hand. Of course, I also used several free patterns I found on the internet. But, you know what? I still barely made a dent in my various craft stashes.

So really, the biggest investment was time. Which wasn't much of an issue because I did the majority of my sewing after the children went to bed.

I am very grateful to God for helping me accomplish what I did.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Handmade Christmas - 2011

The year before last we had a "homemade" Christmas. I made almost all of the children's presents. Because of this, it wasn't a very lavish Christmas. I made the childen pajamas, fun dough, a doll or stuffed toy, and coloring books printed from the internet. And my  husband and I supplemented the gifts with necessities that we purchased (socks, undies).

Mind you, I didn't start until after December. But I was able to make about a dozen gifts in that short time frame. So that got me thinking, what could I accomplish in 3 months time? Maybe gifts that my children will find very special? Well, that is a question that I just cannot leave unanswered. That's just me. So, I started my handmade Christmas on Sept 24th and I will be working, almost daily, to finish by December 20th.

Use it Up
But there is a catch to all of this. I have been accumulating sewing and craft supplies since we moved into our house 3 years ago. Let's just say that I tend to shop more than I create. So, I am challenging myself to use only (well, almost) the materials that I already have in my closet sewing/crafting nook.

I don't anticipate that challenge being much of an issue. It will actually be a help. If you could see my various stashes then you would understand. And to keep myself accountable on track, I will share each project (with pics) once it's completed; and, I'll list any items and the prices that I purchased in the making of it. My goal is to keep the total under $15.

So Far...
I have already written down all of the gifts that I want to make and matched up materials in my stash. Whenever possible, I will work on multiple projects at once. For example, I can make all of the pajamas at once by working in stages - cutting out all of the pieces, and then sewing, and pressing in mass. That's how I was able to complete 4 pairs last year in a little under a week.

I also started on a project on the 24th of September that I plan on finishing up today.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season
I know that is true. I want my children to be thankful for God and for everything that they have. I don't want them to obsess over presents, ever. They are very sweet children and usually ask for very little. So, I think that it will be great for them to receive a some nice things that they weren't expecting.

Plus, I see this as an opportunity to use the talents that God has given me to benefit my family to the fullest. I told my husband awhile back, that has become more and more of a desire of mine. And with God's help, I will make it.