Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

coastal cargos

coastal cargos

I can be kind of a tightwad. I can’t help it–it’s in my midwestern blood to pinch pennies. But maybe you already knew that, seeing as I make my kids’ clothes (and toys and sheets). And I learned to make all those thing from free tutorials on the internet.

coastal cargos

This little red flag pops up in my head when I see a price tag on a pattern or tutorial and my stubborn, Midwestern self thinks, “Well, I could do that.” So I won’t buy the pattern, but instead try to make the garment using what I already know and maybe a poorly lit you tube video or two.

lined pockets

Results vary. Sometimes I’m wildly successful: the garment fits, the details are just right, only a few mistakes are visible. A success like that produces a sewer’s high. I am a genius! I will never buy clothes again! I am completely self sufficient!

zipper fly, closed

Other times, it all goes to hell.  I don’t think I need to elaborate.

zipper fly, open

It has taken me a long time to realize that patterns are there to guide you through the entire process. Maybe I should revise that statement: well written patterns guide you through the entire process.

cargo pocket

Some of the commercial pattern makers out there tend to throw you to the wolves.  But all the indie pattern designers that have been popping up lately genuinely want to teach you how to make the lovely garment they designed.

costal cargos

It’s taken me a year, but when I see an awesome pattern for sale I don’t immediately think, “pshaw, I could do that.” Instead I try to think, “Give the lady a little money, she just wants to show you how to sew better.”

costal cargos

So who taught me to make these awesome pants?  Complete with lined pockets, tuxedo stripe, button tabs, cargo pockets, functioning zipper fly –let me say that a little louder, Functioning Zipper Fly!   Melissa from Melly Sews and Blank Slate Patterns, that’s who.

costal cargos

She and three other designers have come together to give you a group of spring patterns called The Sun & Surf Collection.  All the patterns are adorable and perfect for spring sewing. The collection is only for sale until March 24!

coastal cargos

So give the nice ladies your money, because they just want to teach you how to make awesome clothes!

Sun & Surf at Sew a Straight Line | Sun & Surf at It’s Always Autumn | Sun & Surf at Elsie Marley | Sun & Surf at A Girl and a Glue Gun | Sun & Surf at Mama Says Sew | Sun & Surf at Girl, Inspired | Sun & Surf at Groovybaby and Mama | Sun & Surf at The Cottage Home | Sun & Surf at Craftiness is Not Optional | Sun & Surf at Skirtastop | Sun & Surf at Straight Grain | Sun & Surf at Me Sew Crazy | Sun & Surf at Delia Creates | Sun & Surf at Max California



popcorn valentines

blog photos, feb1

We’ve been making this and that for valentine’s day this week: some hearts, some secret grandparent gifts, and some popcorn.

party popcorn!

This popcorn falls under the category, “ridiculous things pinterest makes me do.” Also in the category are watermelon stars and temporary tattoos on bananas. Party popcorn–awesome name by the way–is melted white chocolate poured over popcorn and then covered in sprinkles. I added a little crunchy salt too, because it’s aways delicious.

party popcorn valentines

My children were so unbelievably excited about making this and said many times, “this is the best thing you have ever made, ever.” I’m not a fan of popcorn or white chocolate, so I’m not the best judge, but I believe them. You can’t really go wrong when you pouring chocolate on something.  I found a few–printable!–pop-corny puns thanks again to pinterest.  A few staples later, Bob’s your uncle, and you’ve got 18 valentines ready to go!

pirate valentine tutorial

Did you already do your valentines? Or are you a last minute scrambler? I’ve got a tutorial for a super quick Me Hearty Eye Patch, if you are still searching for ideas. There are so many good ones out there. Got any favorites?


at the cabin

walk in the woods the chapel

Did you miss me? We went on a short notice, laid back, lovely vacation to my family’s cabin last week. There was not much to do (no internet!) except take walks in the woods and…

sjc bell banner sjp

look at funny shaped buildings,

kitchen table sewing

sit around the kitchen table, and maybe do a little sewing.

It was so quiet and so nice to be away for a bit. Sorry to all of you waiting for an email–it’s coming! And yay! for all of you who signed up for kcwc: 232 so far! I’ve got a list of what I want to make, but I need to edit it down to the things I can actually make. What about you? Do you have a list yet?

p.s. all these photos are from my instagram feed, but you can view (and comment and follow and favorite) them online at  Even more elsie marley, just what you wanted :)



things on the internet that are awesome

blocks as hooks

it’s been a while since my last installment of things on the internet that are awesome. So here you go, a few awesome things for spring.

blocks as hooks. It is a super simple diy and super chic but still perfect for a kids room.


cursive animals

cursive letters made into adorable animals. Just right for my little girl’s obsession with learning cursive.

wooden mp3 player

-a perfect wooden mp3 player. Too bad it’s pricey as hell.

wrapped, braided extention cords

wrapped, braided extension cords. This was a design sponge diy from a while back that I must have missed, but damn! isn’t it awesome? I love useful, sculptural, crazy art, but as my mother would say, “That’ll keep you busy.”

estonian kringle

estonian kringle.  Wouldn’t this be lovely on Easter morning?


zakka style winner

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201 because I didn’t count my own comments!


So the winner is Ginger from chazandginger! I’ll email you shortly, Ginger and soon you’ll have a towel for your kitchen and a book for your bookshelf. If you like, you can head on over to amazon (or your local bookstore) and pick up your very own copy of Zakka Style.


Thank you, everyone, for telling me how you get here and to other blogs. It seems it’s a pretty even spit between google reader and good ol’ bookmarks. If those of you in the bookmark camp have never tried google reader, I highly recommend it. My bookmarks were a hot mess until I signed up. In google reader you can organize the blogs you follow, mark them to read later, and search all read and unread posts. The next button is a nice browsing feature where you can go directly to the most recently updated blog. Pip introduced me to it a few years ago.


Now I might just go make myself a cup of coffee and do a bit of blog reading like so many of you said you do in the mornings. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?