Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Olfa Cutter

It was a great Independence Day weekend here at the Susie Can Stitch house. I even got a little bit of sewing in! I had a Craft Critique deadline to meet and I got my article in on Saturday just barely on time.

I got to test out the Olfa Quick Change Rotary Cutter. Which is an indispensable tool for any sewer.

I used my rotary cutter to make a set of reusable shopping bags:

And I used specialty blades to make this frilly felt flower:

Comment on any of the Craft Critique Olfa posts running today and tomorrow, July 5-6, for a chance at our Olfa giveaway. I don't know how I could sew or quilt without one!

I love comments on my blog, but to qualify for the giveaway, you have to go over to Craft Critique!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Silhouette Giveaway

Dreaming about one of those fancy electronic paper cutting machines? Craft Critique is giving away a Silhouette SD. With this printing and cutting machine, you can use their downloadable designs or you can design on your own using their computer software.

Papercrafters are very enthusiastic about this versatile cutting machine. Head on over to Craft Critique and check it out. Leave a comment there before July 2, 2011 to qualify.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Practical Guide To Patchwork Review

My review of Elizabeth Hartman's book The Practical Guide to Patchwork is up over at Craft Critique.

It is an excellent book with very good modern quilt patterns. I had fun choosing some modern prints for the quilt top I made.

She always presses her seams open which is.. um.. not a technique I prefer, but it was necessary for the pattern I chose to make. I started this project way back before Christmas but I had to set it aside to host the holiday and only finished it this spring.

Check it out at Craft Critique!

Baby Boy Bibs

There were a couple of baby boys born to friends recently. I have trouble crafting for boys, but bibs and receiving blankets are easy as there are lots of good novelty prints suitable for small boys.

These receiving blankets are a soft flannel on one side and a cotton print on the other and bound with packaged double fold binding. Fabrics are all prewashed and dried in the dryer. I make these blanket about 42 inches square, so they are larger than the little receiving blankets you purchase at the department store. At least they were larger than what was available a decade ago when I had babies!

Baby Receiving Blanket

I also made these baby bibs. Each is a layer of prewashed flannel and a fun novelty print. These bibs are more absorbent with two layers of flannel, but I forgot about that little tip until after the bibs were finished and packaged.

Bibs for Baby Boy

Honestly, I woke with a start in the middle of the night thinking, "TWO layers of flannel!" In any case, they are still absorbent and cute! I found a simple pattern free on the internet. They snap in the back.

Bibs for Baby Boy

One set of these were given at a shower to a mom who is an anthropologist/environmental scientist, so decorated the package with this elephant from the Martha Stewart website using fusible web backed fabric that I ironed on to brown paper. Have you tried finding something on the Martha Stewart website? Good grief... I'll keep looking for the elephant pattern and link to it if I find it.

Baby gift for a boy

My spring project this year was to organize my whole fabric stash in the basement. I'd say that I have needed to do that for about 4 years or more, but I finally got to it after rewiring some extra lighting down there and installing a television that runs Netflix Instant. I have a lot of fabric. In fact, I started to feel guilty, like I haven't sewn enough or something, but then I remembered all the quilts and pouches and bags and pillowcases I've sewn and I realized I've sewn plenty and I should not feel guilty about my hoard. I even used up some of the stash of red fabrics my grandmother started collecting for a Craft Critique review that will run soon. Here is a sneak peek at that project:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Catching Up

In February, Craft Critique ran my review of Arterro Kits. These kits are really high quality, great for kids, and there was a giveaway.

I hope you add Craft Critique to your blog reader because there are so many giveaways, I can't keep up!

This month, I reviewed the Slice Fabrique. It was really fun to test! We are giving some away, so just answer the question at the bottom of the article to qualify for the drawing. Remember, the giveaway is at Craft Critique, not here.

Look what I made with it! I did this happy banner (or is it a bunting?):

I added these applique to a couple of felt bowls I already had made. These are those kinds of things that have snaps at each corner so they store flat, but easily snap into a useful little cloth bowl:
I also make this monogrammed bag for a little girl I know who has a new baby brother. Inside the bag is a little bunny doll, but I totally forgot to photograph the doll. It was a mini-moopy which I downloaded years ago when she offered it as a free pattern.

Her little brother got some bibs and a blanket, but I will wait to share those until they are received.

Happy Spring! I'm sorry I rarely post anymore, I still get site stats, but I wonder if anyone still has me on their blog readers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowtorious 2011, SNOMG, Snopocalypse

It was a blizzard alright! Just a little bit south of us toward downtown Chicago, they even got thundersnow. I think instead of that, judging by the photos I'm seeing online, we got a couple extra inches of the fluffy stuff. School is cancelled for the next couple of days and everyone is out shoveling and plowing.

That's the snow drift blocking the second story window in my foyer. Here are my neighbors across the street plowing it all away with their monster snow blowers. On my side of the street we have good old fashioned shovels. You can see the snow at the street covers the mailboxes.

They came over later in the morning and plowed us out, so I'll be baking cookies for them this afternoon. The kids are having a blast!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hoopla Swap 3

Check out my Craft Critique review of the terrific book Scandinavian Stitches by Kasja Wikman. The article ran a few weeks ago and I did all the crafting in a flurry before Christmas.The book is full of terrific seasonal projects. I highly recommend it.

I also recently did another Hoopla swap on Craftster. For this one, we needed to exchange a tiny 2 to 3 inch hoop motif. Because if the small size and because my partner, pugwash, mentioned him in her sign up information, I stitched up a little Mario:

Mario Cross stitch

Mario Cross stitch

A few days later the hoop she stitched for me arrived. We were completely on the same wavelength because she did a piranha plant for me:
Piranha Plant Crosstitch
Piranha Plant Crosstitch

Swapping is really fun. Thanks, Pugwash!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Amy Sedaris

Have you seen Amy Sedaris' new craft book, Simple Times, Crafts for Poor People?

Judging by the wildly varied reviews on Amazon, Amy Sedaris is not for everyone. I am not offended by her tongue-in-cheek suggestions to refashion household items into useless silly crafts like rope dolls, marshmallow stars, and fake hot plates.

Here she shows how to make pom poms (she calls them pompons) using big scary scissors that don't cut well at all. I bet you have several pairs of bad scissors in your house you simply can't throw away:

I received this book twice for Christmas. I took some time to go through it and came upon this layout in the "Crafting for Jesus" chapter:

These are "Jesus Coins"
Cut a circle pattern out of cardboard. Use this pattern to cut felt pieces of the same size. Glue the felt pieces over the cardboard coin. This represents "sticking with Jesus." Any image you remember from the Bible can be recreated and placed on your coin.
These, hilariously, look quite similar to the felt disks I stitched up for my advent calendar. I made these in 2007, but only blogged about them this winter.

Felt Ornaments

See my glowing cross in the center? That's the one we hang Christmas Eve. Here is Amy's from the book:

Too funny. I love this video too. Especially when none of the 5 bottles of glue she has works:

Friday, January 14, 2011

The various things I made for Christmas

I am really behind sharing my projects! I made things for Christmas, but as usual, I didn't get to photograph them. My favorite items were the crochet edged pillowcases. I made 3 sets for 6 pillowcases in all. They looked great! How could I have neglected to photograph them?

I used THIS BOOK and the edges looked even better than those in the article...

Also for Christmas gifts, I made some reusable shopping bags from my fabric stash. I saw this pattern for a fabric produce bag online at Daisey Janie. That was an excellent pattern and I made 6 bags from it as gifts for an early holiday gathering we had a few weeks before Christmas. Alas.. I really craft in a rush for Christmas and I didn't photograph those either. The pattern conveniently uses a fat quarter and ends up quite narrow. Perfect for a produce bag, but I thought I could try modifying it to achieve a more useful size.

Fabric Bags

I used a full half yard and got this perfectly sized bag that measures 15 inches high by about 17 inches wide. I love that these bags roll up neatly when not in use. I also love the way the sales clerks respond when I pull these out to use them: "Nice bag!" "You made it?!" Sure! It was easy! You could do it too!

I've made a lot of reusable bags, but this is by far my favorite pattern. I made these two for me and another set of 4 for my mother-in-law. The fabric I used for hers was quite nice, but you'll just have to imagine it.

Fabric Bags

Take a look at this beautiful Queen Anne's Lace Scarf by fantasticmio on Craftster. When I saw that, I simply had to make one EXACTLY like it for my mom. I also got another colorway of the Bernat Mosaic yarn to make one for my Mother-in-law. They turned out terrific and that is a really nice yarn. This is the one by fantasticmio, but the one for my mom looked pretty much exactly the same:

My mom understands my crafty urges and she got me some cool yarns for Christmas. I've been playing around with them. First I made this Worm Scarf from a pattern by Julie Weisenberger using Lumpy Bumpy Yarn by Charlene.

Worm Scarf

I think there is a smudge on my camera... This yarn is really funky and squishy and I love the way this scarf turned out. I've been wearing it a lot since it is really wintery where I live.

Mom and I were really on the same wavelength in our yarn choices because she also got me this rainbow colorway of Mochi Plus yarn which is very much like the yarn I used for her scarf except Mochi Plus is wool and Bernat Mosaic is acrylic.


Since I already made two Queen Anne's Lace scarves, I decided to try playing with some of the motifs in my crochet books. This is my first try. It is maybe a little too lacy, I am not sure..

Once I started playing with crochet motifs, I pulled some stuff out of my stash to try this little clover pattern:


Here is the center:
Clover Crochet

And four motifs crocheted together:

Green and White Crochet

Pretty cute, but my daughter turned up her nose and declared, "I don't like it, Mom." I like crafting for the seasons and holidays, but this may be just a little bit overboard to make a scarf like this for St. Patrick's Day.

I did even
more crafting for some articles at Craft Critique. More on those later.