Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, one and all!

I look back on this past year and count the many blessings God has given me - My grandparents living next door, the opportunity for our family to travel several times - and the smaller blessings, the ones I sometimes take for granted - opening my etsy shop in July and beginning this blog in November, the opportunity to revel in baby love again while babysitting a neighbor baby, friends and their encouraging words and emails at just the right time, the blessings go on... Most of all 'But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.'
2 Corinthians 2:14

Many blessings in Christ for the coming year,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Painted Ceramic Creations

As promised, here are more pictures of the ceramic ornaments I painted for my little brothers for Christmas. Not the best pictures, but they were taken at 4 in the morning and will have to suffice for now. Like the ones I posted about earlier, I painted them with acrylic craft paint and sprayed them with finish to keep the paint from scratching off. They really liked their ornaments and we'll see how long they last! :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fabric-Covered Boxes

This is one of several belated posts about a few Christmas gifts I made this year. Granted, I couldn't post them before Christmas because these certain gifts were for family members who read this blog. But, finally, after the family have left and Christmas celebrations have quieted down, I'm finding time to blog a little more consistently.

For some time, Mommy has been wanting to cover those cardboard boxes that pineapple chunks from Costco come in with pretty fabric and use them around the home for storage. After making sure that it was close enough to Christmas that she wouldn't have time to do it before then, I spirited away the boxes she had saved and, while at the fabric store, had her pick out some fabric she really loved and would like to see around the house.

Once I got the best method down for covering them, making the four went quickly. Though it should be fairly self-explanatory by the pictures, I'll explain, in an informal tutorial below, how I made them.

I started out with the four boxes, all the same size.

For the first fabric strip, I measured the length of the box, including the bottom, up the sides, and back down the sides into the box, leaving an extra inch for gluing it down.

Here's the finished piece so you can see what I mean.

After I glued down the ends of the first strip (you can see that in the box in this picture), I cut out another strip for the width, measuring the same way I did before. On this second strip, I had to fold all the raw edges under, gluing as I went.

Here's a close-up of how I glued the edges down inside.

After covering the box, I cut a rectangle out of cardboard just slightly smaller than the inside of the box for covering the bottom. I picked a coordinating fabric and cut out a piece to cover the cardboard rectangle, leaving about an inch on each side for gluing it down. Here is a close-up of folding in the corner of the fabric on the longer sides to make a neat corner. Once I had the fabric-covered cardboard done, I just glued it down to the base of the box's inside to add a neat finishing touch.

Here are the four boxes...

And Mommy after she opened her present! They are already employed around the house in holding various small articles that we accumulate, and I do have to admit they're quite pretty. I have more boxes...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Newest Crocheting Project

In the past, I've fiddled around a little with crocheting, making little doll purses and the like, but never got serious. Now, with something of a yarn stash and a desire to move up from being a 'beginning' beginner, I searched out some affordable patterns to try my beginners hand on in making a hat for Tiger. And of course, I couldn't resist a photo shoot with a baby! :)

I found a couple websites on Etsy devoted to knitting and crocheting patterns with the cutest baby hats and the like, and, with some trepidation, ordered patterns that appeared, from the pictures to be way above my skill level. But, both the ladies were so friendly, responding promptly and offering to help with any problems. I would highly recommend these two pattern shops!


I started with this cute girl's flower beanie pattern for the top of the hat, but, since Tiger is all boy, the flared, frilly bottom obviously would not work for him. Enter, my experiment. Since I had been doing double crochets, I stopped adding more each round as I had been and kept on working straight until the hat was long enough. Then, I used the earflaps and ties design from this handsome baby boy hat to finish off Tiger's, and single crocheted around the bottom before adding the ties and the stripe of white to hide where I began crocheting straight. I was about to pull out the book that explained making pom-poms when I remembered I had this white one in my stash from some other baby hat that would match perfectly. Voila! Isn't it cute? (Tiger's cuter, though!) I'll let you decide!

~Happy, smiley boy!~

~The more sober side of Tiger~

~"Oh, not more pictures, pleeease?"~

Here's a better view of the hat. The other pictures were more for the cuteness of Tiger than the hat. :) I really enjoyed working with these patterns, am pleased overall with the quality of the patterns and the results, and have a couple more which I'm sure you'll be seeing pictures of soon!

P.S. If you're wondering who Tiger is by the end of this post, see this post on our family blog where I introduced him!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cinnamon and Applesauce Christmas Ornaments

These are one of our favorite holiday crafts; they're so easy to make and so cheap! They smell so good, but don't eat them. If your family likes to hang gingerbread on the Christmas tree as our does, don't hang these on the tree as well. We have several stories of various family members nearly eating these ornaments instead of the gingerbread! :)

What You'll Need:

-Applesauce (get the cheapest stuff at the grocery store)
-Cinnamon (again, get it cheap; it's just for ornaments)
-A tablespoon or two of glue for helping the ornaments hold together better (optional)
-Your choice of holiday cookie cutters
-Baking sheet, measuring cup, mixing bowl, and fork or hand mixer

Decide how many ornaments you need. A cup of dough makes about ten or twelve medium sized ornaments, but it will differ based on the size of your cookie cutters and how thick you make the ornaments. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Measure out your cinnamon and applesauce in equal amounts and mix. Add glue if using. I usually use a half cup each of cinnamon and applesauce which makes a cup of dough. If you have a hand mixer, you can use that as I did. Otherwise, use a fork.

Your batter should be sticky, but shouldn't stick to your fingers. If it does, add a little more cinnamon. Roll out the dough on a cookie sheet and cut out the shapes. Try to make them about a half-inch thick. Use a butter knife to scrape away the excess dough from the edges of the ornament to give it a clean look. If you would like to run a string through to hang the ornaments, use a straw to poke holes in the top. Otherwise, you can glue the ribbon on the back.

Bake your ornaments for 2 1/2 hours or until hardened. Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven so that the top or bottom don't get burnt. If the insides are still not fully hardened, that is fine as they will harden as they cool.

When they come out of the oven, lay them on a rack to cool completely before stringing and hanging. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Decorating a Wreath

As we began our Christmas decorating a few days late, we realized we didn't have a second one for next door. Thanks to Goodwill, we picked up a beautiful, new, but very plain green wreath this morning. Below are pictures and a written tutorial.

Beautiful, but rather plain.

Listening to my favorite Christmas music this afternoon, I sat down with a pile of wire, ribbons, and other crafting miscellani.

And the decorated wreath! For my first attempt decorating a wreath, I don't think it came out that badly. Next time, I probably wouldn't use the squashed silver pine cone, but we've had it floating around for years and my little brothers, each Christmas, adore it so much they squish it. So I thought I'd save it and put it on the wreath. :)

A closeup of the pine cones and cinnamon sticks.

You Will Need:

1 plain, undecorated green wreath of your choice
About a dozen cinnamon sticks
Four or five craft pine cones (If you don't have any, get a few clean ones from the woods)
Holiday wired ribbon, thin velvet ribbon, or any pretty ribbon you may have on hand
Thick wire

First, decide on the "feel" of your wreath by laying your pine cones, ribbon, and such over and rearranging it as you see fit. Of course, since everything is simply fastened on with wire, you can change things around later if you like.

Please keep in mind that there are so many different creative options with a wreath like this that you do not have to follow strictly to my list. Some other ideas for decorating include: fake holiday fruit, jingle bells, and holly branches and berries.

Once you've arranged the wreath to your satisfaction, begin fastening your decorations on with the wire. For pine cones, I found it easiest to wrap the wire a few wraps around the base and then around the wreath under the branches. If you prefer, you can use quick-drying glue.

*A helpful hint for tying on the cinnamon sticks: arrange two or three into a bundle that you like and wrap them up tightly with a small bit of wire to keep them together so you have both hands for tying the ribbon. Tie the ribbon on right above the wire and then slide the wire off and use it for tying the bundle to the wreath. Sliding it under the ribbon on the underside works the easiest.

When you're done, use some wire to make a hook on the back for hanging. You'll notice I used a bit of green and gold wire-edged ribbon. To add a bit of glittery color the the wreath. I'm still not sure if I like it the way it is, though, and may end up moving it around some more. An easy way to keep ribbons like that on is to slide it around and under the wire frame of the wreath, if yours has one.

These wreaths are so forgiving, so play around with it until you get a look you like! Following the basic guidelines, there's no "wrong" way to decorate it.

Enjoy your new creation and have a blessed advent season! It's snowing at our place right now and I'm off to take some pictures of my little brothers enjoying it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Thrift Store Findings

Mommy and I were able to spend some time at our local thrift store yesterday afternoon. We're not able to go that often, so it's a real treat when we are. As much as I enjoy the three Goodwill stores we have in our area, I really, really like the North Raleigh Christian Ministries thrift store because of its quiet, 'quaint' atmosphere, and the wonderful vintage finds there!

I was able to pick out six brand, new children's patterns, some vintage and some not, for my etsy shop and its burgeoning pattern sales. Those really nice designer children's patterns sell really well, especially when they're out-of-print patterns at a good price.

Besides the sewing patterns, I also found a few other cross stitch and plastic canvas needlework patterns for the shop. The price was just right to be able to try them and see how much of a demand there is for these. If for nothing else, they're just plain ol' cute!

And a few treasures for myself...this was a great find. You can't beat the books for 75 cents and I can't afford to buy books like this new to look through for the inspiration.

 And some yummy fabric finds. As of this afternoon, they're all washed and ideas for these fabrics swarming through my head. I snatched up the soft, brown fleece as a perfect choice for making one of these cute creatures for a friend at church due with her first baby in January. I don't have any specific ideas for the bag of classic red and green gingham fabric yet, but it's sure to come in handy for something. The blue muslins I have ideas for turning into doll clothes for my etsy shop as I'm in the process of designing several patterns right now. The pumpkin pinwale corduroy was a fantastic find and I'm turning over several ideas for cute toddler pumpkin hats or autumn decor.

And the best part of the afternoon at the thrift store? All this (plus another piece of fabric which didn't make it into the pictures due to being soaked for stains) cost only $12. That's my favorite way to shop! How about you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

An Etsy Banner and Avatar

To advertise my etsy shop holiday sale, I designed a matching banner and avatar this afternoon to capture a light, wintry atmosphere. They're nothing fancy, but, a simple photo editing website, did a great job. Because I have a difficult time with gimp and photoshop, I really appreciate an easy, straightforward program and design. The main disadvantage is that the free version of picnik that I use doesn't have a lot of nice font choices, but I'm happy with it nonetheless and would recommend it for any quick photo touch-up or design task.

After all this, when you have a moment, would you take a look at my shop home page and let me know what you think? Do leave a comment with your thoughts! I would love to hear from you.

And now, after a cup of warm vanilla tea, I am off to write up the listings for several more items and work on a couple patterns I'm designing. What are you doing today?

Blessings and Joy,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What I've Been Painting...

I've been painting some much larger projects than these which I'll share about on our family blog as soon as I get some pictures, but I made these as some birthday presents for three dear friends a few weeks ago. I just haven't posted these sooner because these are friends who also read this blog. :)

Unfortunately, the pictures didn't come out well so they don't do the ornaments full justice. These started out as plain white plaster ornaments that a neighbor who was cleaning out her crafting closet gave me. As our collection only had a few basic colors, I used regular acrylic craft paint from another neighbor's yard sale for the brown, shimmery blue, silver, and gold. Finally, after the paint had dried, I sprayed them with this clear paint finish to keep the paint from scratching off and to give them a glossy finish. The spray smells just awful, but the finished effect is well worth the momentary unpleasantness. :)

It's hard to tell in this one, but I painted the hearts in this shimmery blue paint that was really beautiful once dried. And with the spray on, the wreath looked like a rich chocolate wreath!

This wreath I painted with sterling silver craft paint and the spray helped highlight its glossy finish. The red ribbon was also done in the same red shimmery paint as the blue hearts above. I left the goose the plain, plaster white and just sprayed it so the white wouldn't look so flat.

This one was just a plain, heart wreath. I just painted it all gold, and then added purple "ribbons" in the same shimmery purple as the red and blue above. When the paint was dry, I glued on tiny light purple, lime green, and crystal white seed beads and sprayed the whole thing.

Fun Tag

Ashley at Bramblewood Fashion tagged anyone who reads her blog, and as it looked fun and took only a couple minutes to type up (plus distractions from little brothers, cleaning up a living room that looked like a tornadoe just swept through, and preparing for Thanksgiving baking), I thought I'd participate.
It's easy. Just answer the seven questions at the bottom, come up with seven of your own, and tag seven other people. I love the number seven too; It seems to be one of God's favorite numbers in the Bible. :) When He emphasizes something like that, you know it's important!

1. What did you want to be growing up?
When I was much younger, I had this obsession with being a plumber when I grew up. Now, I just look back and laugh at it.

2. What is your favorite color? 
My favorite color is definitely red.I love the deep, rich hues of crimson. I’m so glad God gave us colors!

3. What was/is your favorite subject in School?
Latin (or any foreign language) and writing always have been my favorite subjects in school. They probably always will be. I wish I could classify sewing and crafting as a school subject…

4. What is your favorite Christmas song/ album?
It would be hard for me to pick one particular favorite in this area, but a couple would probably be Handel’s Messiah and Josh Groban’s O Holy Night. I’ve never tired of listening to Handel’s Messiah. I also Enjoy Steve Green's Christmas Album, Joy to the World.

5. If you could live in any era for week, what era would it be?

Hmm…this one’s hard; I definitely appreciate living in the era I do. :)

6. What countries have you been too? And what are your dream countries to visit?
I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S., but I’ve always thought it would be beautiful to travel to Switzerland and the Alps after seeing the stunning mountains and plains in The Sound of Music. I think it would be lovely to visit there some day.

7. What was your favorite toy growing up?

My favorite toy growing up was definitely my stuffed lamb, Baba. I still have him and sleep with him some nights. :)

My Seven Questions:

1. In light of Thanksgiving, what two things are you most thankful for this past year?

2. Do you prefer apples or oranges?

3. Which state have you traveled to the most?

4. What is your favorite song, hymn or otherwise?

5. What is your favorite aspect of autumn?

6. Which part/tradition of Christmas do you most look forward to?

7. What is your favorite part about having siblings, younger or otherwise?

 And I tag:

Anyone who reads this blog and would like to participate. You can leave yours in a comment or post it on your blog. If you do post it on your blog, please do share a link as I would love to read it!

Blessings on your day!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Doll Dress E-Pattern Giveaway

I've just entered a giveaway for a vintage-inspired, 1930's doll dress pattern. As I'm sewing historical doll dresses for my etsy shop, I'm interested in collecting patterns and this one looks fun!

Check it out on the Hint of History website and do enter if you're interested! (scroll up to read about the pattern and giveaway if you end up at the bottom of the page; my blog is doing that when I open the link and I'm not sure how to fix it)

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Etsy Shop PDF Catalog Creator

While following the etsy forums the other day, I happened upon a website which one seller brought to our attention. I found it fascinating!

Etsy Catalog is an amazing website connects to your etsy shop and creates a free pdf catalog of all the items in your etsy shop. All you do is enter the name of your shop and hit 'Create Catalog'.

It took some fiddling around with the final product to get it to include all the items in my shop because it automatically includes only the first six, but it wasn't difficult, and I soon had the finished product! You can look at my finished catalog HERE.

If you have an etsy shop and decide to try it, let me know in the comments what you think!

Blessings on your day!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Sewing Repetoire Page...

Hello All,

I'm currently working on a new page here, my sewing and crafting repertoire, which is basically a photograph album of the projects I've done. I would need it as my credentials for anyone who would like to see how 'qualified' I am to tackle a larger sewing job.

I have my sewing page up and I am working on getting that filled out. I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at it and let me know what you think, what needs to be added, and what could use some fixing. Please note that the descriptions under each pic are not done yet; I just have them up so you're not looking at a bunch of pictures. I'll be filling out the page over the next few weeks (I still have to get pictures of bridesmaid dresses and a medieval gown :)

I'd appreciate your thoughts...and yes, please be honest, and brutal! :) The page is on my sidebar...
(Yes, I know my blog name on that page is purple! Anne Shirley would have found that embarrassing, but I'm just regarding it as another technical 'kink' that needs to be fixed. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Recent Acqusitions... first post! We're still working out some kinks with the design and template html, but for the most part I'm 'up and running.'

We made a trip to Mill Outlet Village recently. If you have never been to this delightful store, let me tell you that it is a veritable treasure-house of everything and anything sewing and crafting. They sell the going-out-of-stocks and leftovers from other fabric and crafting stores. Their prices can't be beat either. I could easily spend an afternoon browsing the fabrics alone.

While Mommy was choosing fabric to re-upholster several of our chairs, I went in search of some fabric for several new sewing ideas I have. And I simply couldn't resist their great price of $3.50/yd. for muslin and quilters cottons.

I pounced upon these bright and juicy hawaiian-batik styled prints. Remembering a simple but very customizable tote bag pattern we had purchased years ago, I thought these would make the cutest tote bags for my etsy shop.

They had several stacks of bolts of these fabrics. It made it so hard to choose just six!

These country prints caught my eye immediately as the cutest prints for a little girl's ruffled country apron.

I had this pattern in mind - perhaps one of the rightmost two with ruffled straps and hem and heart pockets? I love the versatility of a simple apron pattern!

These two prints were so sweet and I had to snatch them up, although I don't currently have anything to match them.

And, something I have been wanting to sew for a long time - darling little girl's dresses. I don't have a little sister and don't know anyone with little girls who needs dresses, so I haven't made any before now. But now, my etsy shop gives me an excuse to sew all those frilly, ruffly, girly things!

And my progress in turning these fabrics into goods? None currently.
I just finished a whirlwind round of sewing bridesmaid dresses for a delightful wedding at our church (which I will post in more detail about later) that took place on Saturday. And in the process of sewing said bridesmaid dresses, in the flurry of the last couple days of preparation before the wedding, I sewed my finger.
So, on Sunday evening, after a full weekend of being out of the house, I put the cover on the machine (which, by the way, has not been on in months) and made a resolution not to sew for a week. I have four more days to go, but I am less and less confident I'll be able to make it through the week without a little quality time with the sewing machine. After all, I've been on it nearly every day these past few weeks...
And in the meantime? Catching up on belated schoolwork, emailing, housework, and blogging, preparing some of my other sewing projects these past few months for photography and posting, and, of course, starting this blog!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Welcome to my new blog, The Legend of a Seamstress. I blog at our Hellwig Family Blog, but I wanted a venue in which to blog in detail about my numerous crafty projects and sewing adventures. Yes, I mainly sew, but I also knit, crochet, scrapbook, and many other well known handcrafts. Proverbs 31 marks the virtuous woman as one who works with her hands in delight.
   Thus, The Legend of a Seamstress was conceived; a place where I can share with you a glimpse of the delight I experience in working with my hands. I’ll be posting in detail about my sewing projects, forays in to the worlds of knitting and crocheting, and many other ‘crafty’ glimpses into my everyday life.
   Please enjoy, and leave a comment or follow my blog if you like. I love to hear from you!