Archive for ‘sewing’

January 19th, 2011

Salvation Army Fabric Sale

The Salvation Army of Western Pennsylvania has announced the date of this years annual fabric sale!  It will be April 2, 2011 at the South Park Home Economics Building from 9 am – 2 pm!  I’ve attended this sale a few times in the last few years and it is always a fun morning!  Lots of fabric, lots of patterns and LOTS of notions!  I think the notions are always my favorite part of the sale!  I love me some buttons!

This year, the Salvation Army has created a helpful pdf with details! And they recently added a Twitter account too, I’m following them a  @SalArmyPGH!

Check out posts from my past experiences and projects that I’ve made from fabric and goodies from the sales:

Fabric Sale Review 1 & Fabric Sale Review 2

Sewing Space Accessories

Smashing Smock

New Bag

To find photos of the goodies I acquired at the past Fabric sales I went to check out my Flickr!

December 9th, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things – Part 2

Do you have any favorites that only come out once a year around the holidays? Favorite decorations or favorite traditions? I’m going to write about a few of my Christmas favorites in a few posts in the upcoming weeks. See Part 1 here.

Part 2 of this session features two items. A small stuffed heart.

And a small table top tablecloth.

These two items were made by my crafty cousin Rhonda. Rhonda has an Etsy shop called Sunda Rose and wow does she have some mad skillz with a sewing machine! Anyways, you’ll notice the fabric is the same on both items…. the fabric she used was given to her by my mom. The holiday fabric with the pine cones and candelabras belonged to my grandmother and Rhonda’s plan was to make a few holiday items using the fabric so that we all could have a little bit of grandma’s holiday tablecloth.

This tablecloth was on my grandmothers kitchen table every.single.Christmas. OH god, i’m going to cry….. sorry mom… sure you are too.

When I was little, we used to travel to upstate New York to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of our family. My parents would stash wrapped Christmas gifts from Santa in the trunk along with luggage for the four of us and all our kid crap and then we would pile in the car for a 7 hour drive. We were babies and toddlers and it seemed to ALWAYS snow. We’re talking BAD snow… snow belt snow… white out snow… there were lots of white knuckles and no music and stress from my parents during those rides. But once we got there! Wow, that place really knew how to celebrate Christmas!

My memories are of a place that was snowy, Christmas lights were everywhere, Grandma Lena and Poppy Tony really decorated every inch of the place. It was idyllic really and looking back it probably wasn’t all that sparkly but when you’re six and your world consists of where you are that that very moment and that’s it, it was pretty darn awesome. There was family everywhere, cousins and card games and lots and lots of love. Their kitchen table always had this tablecloth on top of it. I remember the piles of pizzelles and thumb prints, rum balls and hard tack candy. Everything was always on a pretty dish and they had a permanent spot on this table during the holiday. The adults always played card games in the evenings, when they weren’t playing cards we all sat around the table and would chit chat. Even though I was a kid, I always wanted to be listening to the adults talk, I sat there too.

That’s why these two items are part of my favorite Christmas things. They bring back some special memories from a time where footy jammies, ribbons in my hair, Christmas dresses and trains under the tree were at the top of my favorites list.

April 30th, 2010

How to Make a Toddler Belt

This project was really seriously the easiest craft project that I’ve done in quite some time.  It’s almost not even blog worthy….  But to step back for a minute, I figured why not share it.  It might inspire someone else to make their kid a belt.  OR maybe even make one for yourself (which btw is on my list of things to do).

How to make a Toddler Belt.  I purchased 1 yard of belt material from Joann’s.  This particular print features turtles!  They had a few other prints, cute fish and something pink and of course the nostalgic rainbow flavor that it seems we all had as kids in the late 70′s/early 80′s! 

So with two little guys in the house, I decided 1 yard of belting and 1 pack of D rings (they come 4 in a pack) would be sufficient.  To make the belts I cut the yard in half, rolled one end and stitched it down.  placed the D rings on the other end, folded the end under and machine stitched it down.  Seriously folks, each belt was made in under 2 minutes. 

Both kids like them.  I will admit they are a little difficult for the boys to use and we had one bathroom accident occur because of the belt.  They do in fact hold up their pants so I’m happy about that!  And they love the little swimming turtles – you can see in this photo one of them is doing the back stroke – which just cracks me up!

As for future use of this project.  “I” happen to need a belt too.  I however do not need rainbows and turtles in my wardrobe so I’m planning on purchasing some plain cotton webbing and enough ribbon to stitch onto side one and up the tail end (inside) by about 6-8 inches.  So that when the belt is on the inside part of the tail that folds over and is now exposed has some fancy ribbon on it too.  Look for photos of that project in a few weeks.

Do you have a diy project to share? Share it at A Soft Place to Land to win!

March 24th, 2010

Sewing Space Accessories

I have been coveting a few things for my sewing space for a while.  Each time I take a trip to Joann’s I say to myself or to Chris, or to whoever is in ear shot…  ‘Someday, I will have one of those for MY lovely spools of thread to be displayed upon.  Someday….’

Well, that someday has arrived!  Please welcome my new thread stand:

I know most of us have a strange affinity to office organizational items and office supplies (right? we all get a little giddy when we get to organize  our paper clips and pencils… right?  Oh just me? ok, never mind…) well this crosses the streams of Office organizational item for CRAFTY stuffs!  As my 3 year old would say, “How COOL! Mama!  How COOL!!!”  My overall assessment of the stand is, well, I need more thread. LOL  But really, isn’t it pretty?

Also, if you look at the photo, you’ll see another organizational item, that would be a brand new button case!  Yes, I HAVE a button case!

You have no idea how much fun I had organizing my thread and my buttons by color of course! A friend joked if they were sorted by “Alpha” or by “Rainbow”.  The thread is by rainbow, the buttons aren’t.  I think I’ll have more button organizing to do after the Salvation Army Fabric Sale in April!  Can’t WAIT to check out the notions table this year!

March 22nd, 2010

Spring Craft Projects

With the new Spring season arriving this past weekend, I wanted to share a few craft projects that I’ve done in for Spring in the past! 

Knit Easter Chicks were a big hit last year, they are very easy to knit up too! Even though Easter is less than two weeks way, you still have time to knit some of these adorable finger puppets up!

If you’re more into sewing (like I have been recently….) take a look at another set of finger puppets!  This link just came across my desk this morning and they are just too cute not to share.  Again, courtesy of the PurlBee.com.

Thinking about sewing a cute summery shirt for yourself? Check out Smashing by Anna Marie Horner and found in her book Seams to Me.  Here is my post about her pattern for Smashing. I’m going to attempt this shirt again soon.

Are you looking for a new bag to carry for the Spring?  Or do you need a gift for a mother in your life? Check out the free pattern for Buttercup bag by Made by Rae.  Here is my post about the Buttercup bag that I made for my sister in law’s birthday. 

Happy Spring Everyone!

February 16th, 2010

Salvation Army Annual Fabric Sale

I am pleased to announced the details for the Annual Salvation Army Greater Pittsburgh Women’s Auxiliary Fabric Sale!  As usual, they will have fabric, yarn, notions and books.  As in years past, they will provide each attendee with a large bag for your new found stash! Join me on Saturday, April 10, 2010 from 9am – 2pm in the Home Economics Building in South Park.

In preparation for the sale they are of course taking donations for the sale.  They accept those at their Greentree facility Monday – Friday from 10am – 3pm. There are also individual auxiliary members in all areas of the region who are more than happy to receive your donations. Contact the Salvation Army by calling 412.466.1500 they are more than happy to direct you to one of those lovely ladies.  I learned that if you donate fabric to a Salvation Army Thrift Stores in the area, those donations are not set aside for the Annual Fabric Sale but instead they are sold in that particular store.

Are you interested in volunteering for the Fabric Sale? Volunteers from the women’s auxiliary meet every Wednesday from 9am – 1:30pm at their facility in Greentree (Map to the volunteer center: it is directly across the street from the Salvation Army emergency vehicle depot).  The volunteers are there to sort, fold and price all donated items.  Volunteers are of course welcome to join!

In case you wish to read more, here is my post about the 21st Annual Fabric Sale.

See you at the Fabric Fair!

January 26th, 2010

A New Job for an Old Wool Sweater

Sometime during the early to mid 1990′s my brother purchased a kelly green wool sweater for me for my birthday.  It was from the Gap, and was a basic crew neck sweater.  I wore it a LOT… and LOVED the color.  Soon it became quite sloppy and just not very stylish due to it’s large size.  It followed me all the way through college, to my apartments, our first home and now here.  Along the way, it made friends with a few moths and they loved it so much that they did a little munching damage… mostly just a few little holes large enough to squeeze my pinky finger through it if I felt the need… I saved it knowing that someday I would find a use for it again. 

Enter: Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials by Betz White.

This book is fantastically inspirational, the photos are bright and vibrant and really help to kick-start your creative juices.  I’ve made a few other items from this book, the Easy, Breezy Skirt was my first project. 

My most recent crafting project involved the above mentioned kelly green sweater and was also my first attempt at machine felting.  HOW FUN!  I cut up the sweater as per the instructions in the book, and tossed it into my washer.  Two cycles later, and a spin in the dry and I had the softest wool felt to work with.  I followed the instructions completely and even used the optional extra sole and the gripping material for the bottoms.  I did stitch the extra sole directly with the outer sole for stability and I used left over micro suede from a head board that I made a few years ago for the grippers.  The micro suede doesn’t act like real suede or leather would but it does cut down on the slippage. 

I’m quite happy with how these turned out. They were easy to sew together, are very warm, and they breathe with my feet.  I also love that they are made from a favorite old sweater. Tricky parts were maneuvering three layers of felt under the presser foot.  But we managed and I think they look pretty alright!  I also opted to do the “finishing touches” blanket stitch detail on the outside seams.  I felt that without this, they looked unfinished. I used a little bit of left over yarn from these.  More photos of my new slipper friends can be found here.

* I received no compensation for mentioning the author or the book.

December 27th, 2009

New Space

One of our err Chris’s big projects to accomplish over Christmas break was to rearrange the 3rd floor office space. It’s been over three years since we’ve last organized it, probably closer to four actually. Since that last organization, a LOT has changed with our companies and our family. Read: our needs have changed. He spent two days cleaning and moving and reorganizing this space.

It was quite cramped with too much furniture and our desks were facing each other in the middle of the room. There wasn’t much room to spread out and work or play. It was very unfriendly to the kids too with lots of accessible cords and plugs.

This floor is quite functional, it’s where our photo editing happens and is also used for equipment storage. I also have my craft area up there.

To help us gain more usable space, we moved things to the outer walls and ditched a huge couch. We now have the creative side and the storage side. This leaves the majority of the room open. There is enough room to have two little boys run in two separate circles at the same time and not have them collide. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes! Another permanent fixture is the kids’ easel with crayons. Also, a small square ikea end table which doubles as a perfect kid-sized table.

Tonight we decided to move ‘after dinner family time’ to the 3rd floor. Each kid brought up a few toys. They played, we all played, Chris had some photos processing while he built a tent, the kids played together, he blogged, I chatted with a friend, I played. And just like that, it was kiddo bedtime! It was beautiful.

We are happy to have a new space to play and live in.

Here’s a view of my new ginormous working/crafting area. In this photo, I am sewing the capes I last blogged about.

December 23rd, 2009

Super Heros

Hello and Merry Christmas Everyone! The semester is complete! I’ve passed my classes and I am satisfied with the outcome! I’ve baked all that I can manage to bake this year, including a new cookie called Orange Slice Cookies that include little cut up pieces of orange slice candies. They are different, tasty, but quite sweet… even for a cookie. I also made my usual Reese’ Peanut butter cup mini cups, Peanut Butter Cranberry Cereal Bars and two loaves of Orange Cranberry Bread that were specifically for Max’s pre-school teachers. I also bought the ingredients for my Macaroon recipe with the mini chocolate chips… but I have run out of baking motivation…. I’ll be baking off some of these in the near future though because upon announcing to Chris that we would not be having any for Christmas, I got quite the showing of the pouty bottom lip… and something was muttered about them being HIS favorite cookies… blah blah blah…. Guess I’ll need to rectify that in a few weeks.

If I can manage to get to bed soon… (I had plans to hit the sack 2 hours ago in hopes of not seeing the clocks change to the next day AGAIN…) we will have two nights until our visit from the jolly old elf himself. I’m feeling pretty relaxed about that after axing a few things from the MUST DO list (sorry Max, no hand knit stocking this year :( But you and your brother will both have them for next year.) All that is left on my to do list is wrap gifts and I also have an early morning trip planned to Market District for some yummy anti pasta makings for Christmas Eve. Chris and I will share wrapping duties Wednesday night together with some wine. There isn’t anything to assemble so it should be pretty easy.

Today, I finally found the time to sew up some adorable gifts for my little guys… I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve never sewn anything for them *gasp* I really do feel terrible about this… Needless to say, come Friday morning they will be the proud new owners of two ADORABLE little super hero capes! I’m very happy with how they turned out. I did a google search for cape sewing pattern and this was one of the first few links to pop up: http://pukingpastilles.com/?p=57

After looking through her post and directions I quickly realized that her pattern was basically just an enlarged baby bib. Using her measurements I drew my own cape patterns out and went to work. I cut the pieces out during nap. Drew out the letters and cut those, and began attaching the letters to the circles and the circles to the outer cape layer. I got one cape sewn together and ready to be top stitched before it was time to put all projects on hold until after bedtime again. After the boys went to bed, I think I spent another hour finishing the two capes. I want to say the total time spent on TWO capes was 3 hours. It was VERY easy and I’m more than pleased with how they came out.


Again, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year! (oh and happy birthday to me lol).

November 18th, 2009

Experimenting with Color: Kool-Aid and Yarn Dyeing


A few months ago, I was in my local St. Vincent DePaul. While there, I checked the craft section for some sewing notions but instead of finding zippers and buttons I scored a HUGE lot of undyed 100% wool, each skein was $.79 and there were seven skeins ! HUGE yarn score!  I knew right away that I would attempt to hand dye some wool and Kool-Aid would be my dye of choice.

I next had to figure out what I was going to do with this yarn, I knew I would dye it but what knitting pattern would I use?  I finally decided to knit Christmas stockings for my family. I found this pattern (http://home.howstuffworks.com/free-knitting-patterns-for-beginners11.htm#). Here’s the Ravelry.com link too.

Next I needed to start thinking about color since the yarn was undyed. I did a quick google search for “how to dye yarn” and this was the first link I came to (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEfall02/FEATdyedwool.html). I’m a big fan of bright colors and I’m not going for a traditional stocking look. I want something a bit different. So I decided to use regular everyday colors instead of the usual green and red.

Based on the chart provided in the Knitty.com directions, I chose a few colors (flavors) and headed to the store in search of Kool-Aid. I came away with packets to make orange, pink, teal and red.

Tuesday night was then deemed Kool-Aid party night. A few of my knitting friends came over to see the process and to keep me company.

Before the dying started, the yarn needed to be soaked, I gave it a bath in a big bowl with a few drops of laundry detergent and let it sit for a good twenty to thirty minutes. This process rinsed the fibers and got rid of a LOT of dirt and oils.


I then rinsed the yarn with room temperature tap water and I gently squeezed the excess water from the yarn. It was now time to dye! I started with orange since Max requested that his stocking be his favorite color. Preparing the dye is quite easy, basically 1 packet of Kool-Aid to each ounce of wool. My skeins were three oz skeins. I emptied the contents of three packets into a Pyrex dish, added some water to dissolve the Kool-Aid, placed my yarn into the dish and added a bit more water to cover the yarn. Following the directions, I microwaved my yarn in the dye for two minutes, let the yarn rest, swished it around a bit and cooked it for 2 more minutes and let it cool. I let all the yarn hang out in their Pyrex dishes until the end. As you can see in the photos below, the dye is QUITE bright prior to submerging the yarn. The dye is then absorbed by the fibers leaving a semi-clear water behind.

The dye is then absorbed by the fibers leaving a semi-clear water behind.

I then rinsed and gently squeezed the excess water out again and hung them to dry in the basement.


I’m happy with how each of the colors turned out. The red is QUITE bright! It took two extra cooking sessions to secure the dye in the yarn and the water never quite cleared like the others. Overall, it was a really fun project although slightly messy… I’ve come away with some awesome colors of yarn and two bright red hands.

More photos of the process can be found here (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cararolinson/).