Posts Tagged With: crafts

This or That: Buy or DIY?

Are you the type that sees something in a store or online and says, “I could make that!”  Or do you buy it and save yourself the time and effort?

I’ve looked online at quiet books for kids, and I love the idea, but I thought, “I could totally do that!”

I may be in over my head.

We’ll see.  I know I won’t get the whole thing done, but I hope to have some pages for our next vacation in a couple of months, something to keep Baby J busy on the plane.

What about you – Are you a Buyer or a DIYer?  Let me know in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win some poppyseed soap made by yours truly! (Scent TBD – I have to see what scents I have available.) I made poppyseed soap as wedding favors when we got married, and I’ve had quite a few requests for more from family and friends since then. Time to make a new batch!

Photo by Nicki Thatcher,

Everyone who comments on This or That Thursday in the month of July will be registered to win homemade poppyseed soap. Winner will be announced in August.


Categories: This or That? | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blanket to Pillow – IkeaHack

When I was in my early teens, we had this blanket that folded into a pillow.  I loved this thing.  It was late 80’s floral, not quite Laura Ashley, but close, and had lacy fringe.  Not something I would want now – I didn’t even like the look of it then.  But it was awesome.  And here’s why:

Not only did this blanket fold into itself to form a small pillow (hello easy storage), the part the blanket folded into made a fabulous pocket for my feet.  No tucking the blanket around your feet, trying to keep them warm, you just tuck them into this little pocket and your feet and ankles stay warm.

I’ve been asking my mother for years for a new one of these…not really sure why I haven’t gotten one yet.  Then I started sewing, and figured this would be a fairly simple thing to do.  So I decided to try it myself.

I picked up a fleece blanket from Ikea (for about 3€, I think?) for another project I was working on, so I went ahead and picked up a second one in a complimentary color.  Here’s a brief, simple tutorial on how I did it.

Two fleece blankets from Ikea

Two fleece blankets from Ikea

Cut out a square from one blanket and pin it at the bottom of the other blanket, centered.

Cut out a square from one blanket and pin it at the bottom of the other blanket, centered.

You can make it pretty much whatever size you want.  I chose 16″x16″, but you could make it a rectangle, too, if you wanted.  Be sure to cut the piece to include extra material for seam allowance (this piece of blue was probably 17.5×17 (you don’t need seam allowance at the top, since you won’t be sewing that bit)).

Sew down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side, leaving the top of the square open.  Cut excess fabric as close to seam as possible.

Sew down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side, leaving the top of the square open. After sewing, cut excess fabric as close to seam as possible.

Fleece doesn’t unravel, so you don’t have to worry about a neat hem…unless you want to.

Finished blanket (with pocket on the underside)

Finished blanket (with pocket on the underside)

Finished underside of blanket

Finished underside of blanket

Fold blanket lengthwise into thirds (or to where it hits the edge of the pocket) then fold down to the size of the pocket.

Fold blanket lengthwise into thirds (or to where it hits the edge of the pocket) then fold down to the size of the pocket.

And flip the pocket inside out, so that the rest of the blanket goes inside.

And flip the pocket inside out, so that the rest of the blanket goes inside.

Finished Pillow

Finished Pillow

Finished Pillow

Finished Pillow

Apparently, this is called a “Quillow.”  There are a bunch of other tutorials (perhaps more helpful than mine) online, if you do a search, but here‘s one, and here‘s another.  You can also buy them ready-made, of course – etsy‘s always a good choice.  They’re especially great for traveling – a long road trip with a couple of these, and I’d be a happy camper.

So that’s it!  I finally did a little IkeaHack!  And I finally have my blanket with a foot pocket that folds into a pillow!  I love that I’ve learned how to sew.  🙂

Categories: Sewing and Crafts | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Look what I made!!

A few years ago, I decided I wanted to try to sew.  A friend had recently bought a sewing machine and was learning how to sew, so I went over to her house to try it out.  I made napkins, which I thought would be fairly easy.  Wow, they were even easier than I thought they would be!

For my birthday this year, I got a sewing machine.  I had decided I wanted to sew a bedspread, but I knew I probably had to work up to that.  I sewed some more napkins, then a couple of placemats.  I sewed a cute little travel purse, then decided not to use it.  I was actually able to mend one of Stephen’s shirts, which had a hole in the armpit – if you look really closely you can tell, but if you don’t, it looks fine.

Then I decided I wanted to sew curtains for my kitchen.  I wanted one panel only, not two, but the material I had wasn’t long enough or wide enough, so I needed to do something to make it into one panel and make it pretty.  I finally decided to just add a solid panel to the bottom.  And you know what?  My curtains look AWESOME!

My next project, the one I just finished, I am quite in awe of.  Really.  I needed a bag for my yoga mat.  I wanted one big and roomy, so that the mat and the yogitoes and another towel and maybe a water bottle would fit inside.  My current one was only big enough for my mat – if rolled super tightly and perfectly.

In general, the bag was easy.  Take a piece of material, fold it, sew it.  There’s the tube.  I put a liner in as well.  I wanted a drawstring closure, with the drawstrings forming the straps.  So for straps I decided to use some material from the liner.  Then I decided to make the top of the bag out of the same material.  And it looks great.  Then I had to do the bottom of the bag.

Oy.  sewing a circle onto the bottom of a tube.  I was really pressing my knowledge at this point.  I read a couple of tutorials online, but nothing really made sense.  So I decided to wing it.  I pinned, then basted the bottom on, figuring it would look awful and I would need to adjust it.  But you know what?  It looked okay, at least okay enough for my purposes.  So I fully sewed the bottom on.

The end result?

It looks FREAKING AWESOME, and I am so bloody proud of myself!  🙂

Categories: Sewing and Crafts | Tags: , , , | 12 Comments

Retail Therapy

I was a little down in the dumps yesterday, so today (my husband will love reading this) I did a little retail therapy.

It’s Lace Week (Pitsiviikolla) here in Rauma, and today there were a ton of booths set up around town.  I bought a few gifts, and I bought some more Lappi Hunaja (honey), and then I bought some stuff “just because.”

First up, this cute purse from Aanmaa.  My current small-across-the-chest purse is literally falling apart, and this one was so cute – plus it had a handy pocket for the cell phone and a hook for the keys.

Anne told us she designs and makes these bags, and they are water-resistant (big plus).  She lives in the Archipelago by Turku.

Next up, this little glass dish.  I thought it would be a good catch-all, maybe for my earrings next to the bed, or for Stephen’s keys by the front door.

Then there’s this throat syrup.  The woman told me that this syrup comes from pine trees, and Finnish women have been using it for centuries to help with sore throats in the winter. Well, knowing what the cough drops taste like around here, and hearing that the cough syrup from the pharmacy isn’t any better, I thought it would be a good idea to buy this stuff for future use.  Centuries of Finnish women can’t be wrong, right?

I also bought a little something from Anna Pusu (website in Finnish, you’ll need to use a translator), but it’s a gift for someone so I can’t post the photo here.  But I wanted to share this beautiful jewelry.  From my understanding (from talking to the artist’s dad for a bit, and reading the website), the jewelry is made using an image (like a photo) and a particular kind of crystal.  The crystal gives the image a 3D quality.  You can see examples on their Facebook page:  Below is the artist’s Dad, who I had seen a few weeks ago in the town square, and I was glad to see him again because I was kicking myself for not buying anything last time!

Next up – this planter.  A little story first.  You see, I saw this planter yesterday and loved it, but didn’t buy it.  Later in the day yesterday, I went by it again, but still didn’t buy it.  Today, I saw it for a third time, but the planter was pretty heavy (I think it’s made out of concrete), so I didn’t want to carry it around with me all day.  So I didn’t buy it.  I went buy a 4th time, but still wasn’t ready to lug it around.  So finally, when I was about to go home, I stopped and bought it.  I mean, seriously, after lusting after it so much, I had to buy it.  The guy selling it probably thought I was casing his booth, I was there so much!!

I mentioned that it’s Lace Week, and tonight is the *big* night, called Black Lace Night.  Evidently everyone dons their black lace apparel and there’s a big party in town.  So, to fit in, I bought a black lace scarf and some arm thingies (what are those called?).  I’ll post pictures of me dressed up later, mm-kay?

During Lace Week, in addition to the markets and the black lace and the obvious drinking that goes along with any Finnish holiday, they also have all kind of events, including lace making demonstrations, flea markets, and weaving instructions.  A few months ago my friend Pam and I stumbled into what we thought was a stained glass store, and it ended up having a bunch of weaving looms in it.  We were fascinated, and we both took the opportunity this week to try our hands at it.  Pam did it the other day, and it was my turn today.  Who would have ever thought, me, working a loom.  And you know what?  I can’t wait to try it again!  My final product turned into essentially a placemat.

Categories: Finland, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Things I wish I had more time for

  1. Working out
  2. Writing
  3. Reading
  4. Crafting
  5. Blogging

Everyone knows that you should get some exercise every day, but finding time to do it is difficult.  That’s one of the issues every contestant on The Biggest Loser complains about.  What time do you cut into to make the time?  Time with the family?  Work?  Sleep?  There is only a finite amount of time in each day.

I do pretty well with daily exercise, and sometimes I even work out twice a day.  But I rarely read daily, or craft daily, and I sure don’t blog daily (my last blog was…2 weeks ago?!)

I should write daily.  Every piece of writing advice says this.  But I don’t.  Actually, right now, I can’t remember the last time I wrote something creative.  Within the last two weeks, certainly, but within the last week?  I don’t think so.

I recently thought, you know, I want to do each of these things daily.  Surely there’s time for that somewhere, right?

But where?

Where does my time go, and when can I carve out some time to do the things I’m supposed to do?  Maybe if I stopped showering, or cut my sleeping down to four hours a night, maybe then I’d have time.  A teleporting device would sure come in handy, I could easily get an extra 3-4 hours a week by not having to drive. 

What’s sad is, I don’t even have kids I can blame it on.  I can’t say, “I have to pick the kids up from soccer practice, make them a snack, help them with their homework, get them bathed and put to bed.”

So how is it they can do it, and I can’t?

Is it that I have to choose?  I only get one thing of those five?  Then what’s it to be?  Write?  Or work out?  Read, or blog?

I don’t want to choose – I want to do it all.

Categories: Five Things Friday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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