Category Archives: Crafty Gifts

I Can’t Bear the Cute


Another Oscar night.  Another weekend during which I got almost nothing done.  I blame my cat.

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How can you get up and fold fabric and organize scraps and patterns when this little guy is all snuggled in your lap?  I just noticed my way-underused Dyson in the background.  How adorable.

This week I actually have been making progress organizing patterns and fabric, making lists, feeling generally overwhelmed by everything I want to make, and shuddering at the amount of money I must have spent on all of this!   I think it’s going to be an amazing 2015 creativitywise–once my head stops spinning.

At some point yesterday I got off the couch and located my box o’ flannel, because I am way behind in making something for my brand-new, inordinately cute nephew, Gradyn.


The Gingercake Traveling Changing Pad is so precious and functional.  Such a cool idea to keep your baby’s tushie warm, clean, and dry (Clearly I am not a mother, because this changing pad thing is entirely new to me.).  The additional pockets, including the PUL-lined one suitable for wipes, really set this apart from any other changing pad I’ve seen out there.   I bought this pattern forever ago, but somehow never got off my butt to make it.  Now I’m kicking said butt, because it’s awesome.  The babies I probably originally bought this to make for are undoubtedly in kindergarten by now and probably wouldn’t want or need to be changed in public.


As with other Gingercake patterns, the instructions are very clear, with plenty of photos and tips.  I chose to be lazy (big surprise) and not finish with binding, but the pattern gives links for different binding techniques, which will prove useful in the future.  It is a beautiful look, and I promise I will try it next time.

Here are some shots of the finished product.  I’m really pleased with it.

This is how it looks all compact and bundled.  It would take up very little space in your diaper bag or hubby’s manpurse.

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Some shots in various states of folding and unfolding

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And all laid out

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Photo Feb 22, 4 21 51 PMDig those pockets!!
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Okay, Neil Patrick is singing.  Good timing.   Hooray for sewing and Hollywood!!

P.S.  The parents were kind enough to send a pic of the recipient with his new prezzie. 


Slightly Selfless


Anyone who knows me would absolutely never use the word selfless to describe me, and I’m totally okay with that. However, occasionally I do feel compelled to use my newfound ‘skills’ for the greater good; and I have amassed a little arsenal of go-to quickie gift tutorials that I’m more than happy to share with you.

Six Pocket Bag


You’ve no doubt seen this puppy on Pinterest. Sadly, I’m very rarely on Pinterest (don’t have the bandwidth at work, don’t have the time at home), but even I have caught this little number and been enchanted by it. It’s FREE, kids, brought to you by the folks at Better Homes & Gardens. It’s easy, cute, perfect for two or three complementing and/or contrasting fabrics, easy to size up or down. Etc! The finished product made with the BHG dimensions is small-ish, but the six pockets are all big enough for an iDevice of your choice, as the photo advertises. I have made it in the original size through a decent beach/gym appropriate size, and a few sizes in between.

Here’s my most recent make, with a matching guitar for the photo because Lenny is awesome and thinks of everything.


Here’s a detail of the groovy fabrics.

And a totally accidental side seam pattern matching. Squee!

Here’s one I sized up for my cutie patootie aunt in Florida, made out of a quilting cotton with a print of the college from which we both graduated, our beloved Marshall University.


Here’s the first one I made, in April of 2012, along with a few other TNT crafty gifts, the Perfect Wallet and Sew Spoiled Cosmetic Case (oh yeah, and a tissue holder I learned to make in my introductory sewing class 🙂 )


Sew Spoiled Cosmetic Case


Thank you, Sew Mama Sew!! I have made a jillion of these. It’s a perfect scrap-buster!! There are two in the Pez photo, one out of each print, and I have also made it in–among other fabrics–fuchsia zebra-print satin and a cotton Hello Kitty print.

Perfect Wallet


This pattern from Pattern Pile covers all of the bases–large cash pockets, zippered coin compartment, and credit card slots. I just love it!

I'm even working on an Elvis one. 😉

Little Girl’s Shirred Dress Tutorial

This was a gift for my great-niece. I had some perfect fabric and wanted to teach myself shirring, and wasn’t sure she would love the romper I made her (I was right 😦 ). This took about two seconds to make, a credit to the wonderful Spoonflower blog and her highly descriptive tutorial. Also helped that the child in the tutorial is my niece’s size, so I didn’t even have to measure, just used the exact dimensions given in the tutorial.

She even wore it for a newspaper article featuring her mommy. Sorry, but I’m so proud of the first non-blog internet appearance of one of my items


Here she is when I first gave it to her, along with another go-to crafty gift, her Dora purse, aka the Simple Reversible Tote Bag, which you can just see in the background


Which leads me to

Simple Reversible Tote Bag

Last Christmas I found myself in a state of regret for not having produced more handmade goodies. Thank goodness I found this tutorial, and was able to crank out a few totes for the little girls in the family. I have virtually no finished product photos other than the 1/8 of a Dora purse in the shirred dress picture above, but it is a fun and simple prezzie, great for medium-sized scraps.

Oh here’s one of my favorite ballerina, Serena, with her new ballerina purse at Christmas. Oops, I should have put something in it.


Okay, that's enough for now. I truly hope that these tutorials are as helpful to you as they have been to me, especially with the holidays fast approaching. Happiest of sewing and giving to you! And PLEASE, feel free to share any CrafTNTs in comments below. I’m sure they’ll be greatly appreciated!!!


My love affair with the Crayon Folio


When I started sewing a few months ago, I never imagined making gifty crafty things. They never appealed to me at all. But nowadays it seems that just about half of my creations have been quirky, hopefully somewhat useful gifts.

It all started with tea wallets, which I didn’t even know were a thing, that I found on Craftster while looking for easy beginner sewing projects. They’re way easy and fun, and I’ve made at least six people happy with these awesome things.

Tea Wallet Tutorial

And how great is Craftster?! How could you not love a site that declares No Tea Cozies Without Irony. 🙂

My favorite discovery, though, has been the crayon folio, designed by the wonderful Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns & Design

Gingercake Crayon Folio

My niece posted this wonderful creation on Pinterest, and I ended up buying the pattern and making one immediately for my great-niece.

I was borrowing a friend’s Husqvarna that embroiders letters, so I personalized it a bit for her.


And my niece was sweet enough to send a picture of the folio in action


I have made two more so far, one to a four-year-old neighbor and one to another niece. It’s SO fun to find ribbons and fabrics that reflect their interests and personalities. I particularly like the Rockstar ribbon.





There are infinite ways to personalize these puppies. I even make special stationery for the paper pocket with my greeting card designing program.

I hope this gives someone a good gift idea for the little girls in your life. The more I make, the more potential recipients I think of. Gingercake, you’ve created a monster!

Creative Kindness Beret


The bad news is that my latest dress isn’t going to be on any runway anytime soon. It’s almost like I’m getting worse at fitting, not better. See update under Dress #7. But setbacks are to be expected when you’re a baby seamstress. I just need patience. What’s that? I dunno. But I’m trying to find it.

The good news is I finally got to make a gift yesterday that I’ve been waiting for the right time to give. I have a dear friend starting chemotherapy, and she was told that she WILL lose her hair. I wanted to do something special and unique (like her) to show her that we’re rooting for her, and fortunately I found this website Brimming With Love. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has many free and purchasable patterns to make your loved ones something beautiful and functional during the shit sandwich that is chemotherapy. I made the Creative Kindness Beret, which was very easy, out of some totally groovy pink polar fleece with horses on it that I found on eBay. Suited her to a T. The horse on the fabric even looks like her horse. 🙂

I popped it on to make sure the thing would actually fit a human head.


And to keep it clean and portable, I made a little lined bag out of the same fabric.



I won’t go into the emotional Rest of the Story, as Paul Harvey would say, but it turns out that the timing was perfect and the gift was appreciated. Who could have known that sewing would bring out not only a creative side I never had before, but an urge to give that I DEFINITELY never had before.

Go make someone feel cute today. 😉

And make it out of something really silly like piggie fabric.