Mini Pumpkin Patch

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend. I'm not sure how ours could have been any better! But with the very last hurrah of summer over, we are ready to roll up our sleeves, and seriously ponder autumn! And what could be more autumn than pumpkins? I crafted these little guys to go in our gnomes' pumpkin patch, but they could just as easily go in a dollhouse, or be tucked here and there around your house.

These little cuties can be made out of calico or felt. I've shown the completed pumpkins in both materials. The wool felt pumpkins will be slightly larger since you do not need to turn under a seam, but for the most realistic pumpkin patch, you'll want a variety of colors and fabrics. These range in size from 1 1/2" - 2" but you can enlarge the pattern and put them together in the same way. The technique is easy and suitable for a beginner crafter. So, if you'd like your own Mini Pumpkin Patch you can find it HERE or in our FREE Open Patterns. Enjoy! 
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The Gangs All Here!

Just letting everyone know Michelle and I will be "off" this weekend. All 5 of our children will be home, and there will be much merriment ensuing! Adam, from South Carolina, flew in last night, Drew and his wife Meghan will be driving in today, and our youngest, Mike, and his new girlfriend, Katie, who we'll be meeting for the first time (and we can't wait... Fairy wanted to know what she likes to play and if she has pierced ears? What more do you need to know about someone, right?) will be in tomorrow. We'll be having a big picnic here on Sunday with other family members joining us. (I will point out... instead of cleaning this week like I should have, I was busy crafting... not a surprise to my children, that grew up with a mom easily distracted by creative pursuits!) Anyway... we are looking forward to frolicking fun, and hope your families have an equally enjoyable and safe holiday weekend, and we'll be back on Tuesday.Read more

Easy Cotton Shawls

There's a misconception that you have to be highly skilled to make truly beautiful gifts. Not so! Even the "noviest" novice can make lovely gifts, if they chose the right project! Take these beautiful shawls. They  are gorgeous enough to be found in the nicest boutiques, yet, with just the tiniest bit of effort, anyone can make the shawls for themselves or as gifts... without sewing... in less than an hour! You couldn't ask for more, right?

Actually, these were an impulsive project. I was at the fabric store buying material for napkins. I saw these lovely wool plaids. I went over and felt them... they were oh so soft. I lust after wool. Being allergic, I sometimes pet them, drool over the lovely colors, and wonder who was the genetic weak link in our family that passed down a wool allergy! Honestly, in the whole survival of the fittest thing, what benefit can there possibly be to being allergic to something that can provide shelter and warmth! Anyway... force of habit had me check the fabric content. 100% cotton. Did I read that right? I checked 2 whole shelves of wool plaids that weren't wool at all... they...Read more

Wooden Apple Orchard

So, here's what happened... Michelle and I were talking about birthday gifts for Pixie... she'll be three next week. We were at a couple of our favorite natural toys sites. Michelle's children have many of the Ostheimer and Holztiger wooden figures but they need some accessory pieces... "We want a shubbery!" (Okay, I'll admit it, I watched Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail this past weekend!) Anyway, here's the thing... they are so pricey. And although I believe they are worth every penny, my rather naive nature (which is nicer than thinking about my delusions of grandeur - hmmm, Star Wars reference, do you see a pattern here? But I digress) anyway... my rather naive nature made me think... I could make those!

So, armed with more optimism than common sense, I set out to Lowe's Monday night and purchased a $114.00 Skil scroll saw. Given that wooden figures are $15.00 - $30.00 I figured I could pay off my investment in no time. I went to bed Monday night wearing a flannel nightgown (its gotten cool) and my scroll saw manual. Truly a sexy sight! Anyway, Tuesday morning, I was set to go. Tim, my beloved enabler, had set out a stack of pine scraps and his dremel. (Another power tool, which sells for...Read more

Straightening Fabric Grain

I took my first home economics class when I was in 7th grade. It was mandatory for all FEMALES. Boys couldn't even take the class. (Yes, back in the Dark Ages!) Eventually, I would earn a degree in Human Ecology from Michigan State University, but back in 7th grade, I got my first exposure to many domestic skills from this exceedingly old and old fashioned teacher... she was probably, oh, 50. Here name was Mrs. Milliche. Mrs. Milliche was a stickler for details. Before we could touch fabric, we spent a week (a full week... 5 hours, count them!!!) sewing the lines on loose-leaf paper, without thread, just to make sure we perfected the straight line.  

Then, before we could start our first sewing project, we had to learn how to straighten the grain of our fabric. What? You've never heard of straightening the grain of your fabric. Well, it's high time you learned grasshopper!  On woven fabrics, the warp threads in the lengthwise grain are stretched on a loom. The weft threads in the crosswise grain are then woven back and forth the length of the warp threads. In a perfect world, these should be perpendicular to one another. This is called...Read more

Oak Leaf Applique Block

Our pool came down this weekend... along with many leaves. Early for both. In many ways I have thoroughly enjoyed our summer... temps well below the norm, which suits me fine. But I'm afraid this unseasonably cooler summer has wreaked havoc on our gardens. We have never had a less bountiful garden. I hope our regional farmers fared better than we did!

But on a happier note... fall is in the air... and being my very "favoritest" season... I'm giddy with the anticipation of bonfires, hot cider, and leaf piles! Today I'm sharing another leaf. This is our Oak Leaf Applique Block. We have a treed yard, but unfortunately not a single oak tree. I had to wander over our property line to collect leaves off my next door neighbor's lawn so I could trace one. Fortunately, there's plenty of leaves to go around. As always, this pattern was designed for a 6" x 6" block, but can be enlarged or reduced to meet your needs. The pattern for the Oaf Leaf Applique Block can be found HERE or in our FREE Applique Patterns. Enjoy!
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