Evelyn Rose’s Nursery

As much as I might have had fun gathering inspirational images of the perfect nursery while I was pregnant, when it came down to it, I didn’t have the energy for much of any follow through. And since then? There’s always been something higher on the priority list. But that’s okay. Evie’s got a cute little nursery and while it may not make it into any magazines, it makes her happy, and that’s what matters. Of course it only took me a year to finish it. Ha! You’d think it wouldn’t take so long since the room is tiny. It’s actually just the second closet in our bedroom but it’s been perfect for use as a nursery. (Evie will move downstairs to an actual bedroom at some point in the future.) In my defense, the room has been essentially done since Evie was a couple of months old. There was …

Fancy Forest Pillows for a Reading Nook

I have a vision of a jewel tone rainbow forest for Evelyn’s bedroom and I’m slooowly working my way there. Evie sleeps in a nursery right now (which is a second closet in our bedroom and just big enough for a crib and a dresser) but she’ll need a bigger room eventually and it’s nice to have a playroom to contain messes because if she’s good at one thing, it’s pulling things out of bins and off of shelves. The first bit of decorating that I’ve done is to make pillows for a reading nook. The thistle and owl quilting patterns for the big pillows are from Elizabeth Hartman’s Fancy Forest quilt pattern (which I am also sloooowly working on for the room). The hedgehog pillow is a panel print intended for a baby quilt that I snagged from my mom’s stash. I sewed the log pillows out of brown …


Bird Bed Quilt

This quilt probably sat as a wip longer than any sewing project I’ve ever done. Years. Kinda ridiculous, but I’m pretty stoked to finally have it done, so let’s not get hung up on how long it took me! I bought the pattern when I went to Sew Expo in 2010 from the Metropolitan Quilt Company. The couple manning the booth was super friendly, the quilts on display were super cute, and even though I had little to no interest in quilting at the time, I simply had to make this quilt! Unfortunately , the awesomeness stopped there. As much as I hate to say this about a small, independent company, I would strongly discourage anyone else from buying the pattern (though it does look like the company is no longer in business). It was really frustrating to work with the pattern because 1) Some template pieces are printed on …


Franciscan Starburst Placemats

If I was to buy myself a(nother) set of vintage china, it would definitely be Franciscan Starburst (see a bunch of examples of what it looks like on Ebay). First made in 1954, it’s everything I love about mid-century modern design – space-age, bright colors, and starbursts. I actually already have a complete set of vintage china thanks to my grandmother – the Franciscan Heritage (here’s more of what it looks like) which is also mid-century, but a very traditional design – which I love to use, but which also means I’m not in the market to buy more china. However, there are other ways to bring more starbursts into my life! Adam knows how much I like the Franciscan Starbursts so he bought me a set of salt & pepper shakers for Christmas that live on the dining room table. Since it’s not practical to buy a second set of china, …


A Fully Armed Battalion Embroidery

When my husband is into something, he tends to get a bit obsessed. For example, the soundtrack to Hamilton has been on repeat on our stereo for months now. Adam’s 40th birthday was 2 months ago. I wanted to do something really special for him to celebrate, but I couldn’t take him to go see Hamilton in New York since I had our baby 2 days before his birthday and traveling across the country at 9 months pregnant isn’t really feasible. So, to commemorate his big birthday, I embroidered him a love letter in the form of lyrics from Hamilton. “Oceans rise. Empires fall. We have seen each through it all. And when push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” I think You’ll be Back is my favorite song from the musical and I thought it a more appropriate lyrical …


Vintage Pink Gooseberry Pyrex Inspired Tea Towels

While the the majority of our house is decorated around a mid-century modern style, I’ve opted for straight up mid-century with a nice dose of kitsch (e.g. my chicken tea cosy) for our kitchen. I think it adds quite a bit of needed cheer to what is otherwise a pretty gloomy room – the small windows don’t get much light, the countertops are dark, and there is dark wood floor, cabinets, and ceiling. Someday we’ll do a major remodel, but in the meantime I’m adding in things that are bright and happy (and by bright and happy I usually mean pink) and it’s already making a difference. My Aunt got me started on a collection of vintage pink gooseberry print pyrex bowls. I’ve kept my eye out at thrift stores and have added a couple more to my collection. They definitely fulfill my kitchen requirements of being cheerful and mid-century, and of …


Pillows & Our Mid-Century Living Room

Although our house was built in 1920 and is true to the craftsman style on the outside, it has undergone a bunch of remodels that have dramatically changed the inside. One of the things that we love about it is the wide open living room with tons of windows. The living room was at one point mostly a covered front porch that was the entrance to the house. It was closed in and the front door was moved to the side at some point in our house’s history. At some point in the 1970’s (which may or may not have been when the front door was moved), a built-in couch was added to the living room. I wasn’t totally sold on the built-in when we bought the house, although it’s true to the mid-century modern style that we decorate, but I must say that now that we have lived here …


Spaghetti Lace Crochet Runner

Little by little, I continue to add handmade touches to our home. My pace of decorating has dramatically slowed through this challenging pregnancy, but I am pretty delighted to have finished a crocheted rug to go at the foot of our bed. I think it strikes a pretty good balance between visually interesting and calming, which is what I have been trying to achieve in the bedroom. And it breaks up the vast expanse of beige rug… The runner is my own pattern – a modification of my Spaghetti Lace Rug pattern. (I detailed the changes I made to the pattern to turn it from a small rug to a runner on Ravelry.) I used Hoooked Zpagetti yarn (which is an extra-bulky yarn made from leftover textiles from ready-to-wear fashion) and a size 10mm crochet hook. For more photos and details on the project, check out my post on the Minerva Crafts blogger network.


How to Sew a Pillow with Piping and an Invisible Zipper

Part of getting settled into our new home has been sewing a seemingly endless parade of pillows. I’ve been keeping them pretty simple since a) I needed to make a ton of them and b) I can still go back and add fancy pillows later. However, I couldn’t quite content myself with just sewing squares, so my pillows all have piping around the edge and an invisible zipper so that the covers can easily be removed for washing. Since I instagrammed a finished pillow, folks asked how I sewed the piping, so here’s the answer! Start by cutting squares of fabric for your pillows. I’m using a luscious cotton I bought in Thailand, but it’s a pretty loose weave so I serged the edges. If your fabric doesn’t ravel much, finishing the edges isn’t necessary since they will be well hidden inside the pillow. Tip: cut the fabric 1-2″ smaller than …


Vintage Chicken Tea Cozy and Some Pot Holders

I really needed some oven mitts and pot holders for our new kitchen. I used the scraps from the strawberries and gingham dress I just made as well as some pink hand dyed fabric that was my grandmother’s. (The square potholders also got the scraps of the black floral lining from my first presidio purse demo).  The edges are finished with red bias tape from my stash and they are interlined with two layers of interfacing – some basic cotton batting and insul-bright insulated lining. Cute, easy, and functional. I was talking with my mom the other day and said “I don’t really like kitsch” and she laughed in my face. So I had to amend my statement. “I’m very selective about my kitsch.” This scrappy chicken tea cozy in pink and red and strawberries and gingham? My kind of kitsch. Since I was sewing up the potholders I kinda …


Re-Covered Sectional Couch

A while back, I recovered my mom’s sectional couch for her. I’ve recovered several pieces of furniture before, varying in complexity, from dining room chairs to tufted loveseats. Recovering this sectional was a high-impact project that was actually pretty simple since the couch is pretty square. I approached covering the couch like a would draping a garment. I didn’t have to start with precise measurements or worry about running out of fabric because my mom bought the whole bolt (that’s the way she rolls). I really enjoy the occasional home dec sewing project and find the problem solving around draping a dress very similar to draping a couch, and both are fun for me. But I know a lot of garment sewers (and quilters) hate home dec projects. Have you ever re-covered a couch? Would you ever re-cover a couch? One fun design bit was figuring out which direction to …


New Art from Jeremy Novy and Mark Lifvendahl

Before Adam and I moved in together, I lived in a studio apartment above the Orbit Room, and beautiful stenciled koi were painted all over the sidewalk below my window. In fact, these beautiful painted fish are on sidewalks all over San Francisco and their simple and elegant images, to me, will always be a striking reminder of my time in this vibrant city. Imagine my surprise when walking through the cute town of Guernville, CA (where I first wore and photographed my new paisley Anna dress) when I saw a series of the koi stenciled on the sidewalks. I didn’t know much about Guernville or the elusive koi artist at the time, but have since learned that it’s not as incongruous as my initial thoughts. Guernville is actually something of a vacation mecca for queer Bay Area folks and Jeremy Novy is himself an openly queer artist (with a mission …


Closet ReOrganization

I have a small closet in my bedroom. And I have to share it with my boyfriend. This has been a point of contention between us since we moved in together, 1 1/2 years ago. We’re both only-children, so sharing space isn’t a strong point for either of us. He thinks that he should get half the closet since it’s half his home. I think he should just get rid of the clothes he doesn’t wear and then there would be plenty of space for me to take over the closet. We had to agree to disagree for the sake of our relationship.


Fractal Crochet Tablecloth

My first ever crochet project. It’s Fractal doily pattern by Essi Varis, available on Ravelry. Being my first project, I decided to go for a larger hook than the pattern calls for so that I would easily be able to see the stitches. So, instead of petite doily, I ended up with a tablecloth. I’m happy with it, regardless!


How to Back an Embroidery Hoop for Framing

There are many ways to frame an embroidery. I really like how they look framed in wooden embroidery hoops. This is tutorial for how I permanently frame an embroidery in an embroidery hoop. You need: Wooden embroidery hoop. Available cheap at craft stores. Not recommended for use while embroidering, but pretty for framing purposes. Felt for backing. Synthetic craft felt works just fine, but if you have nice wool felt you can use that too. Other fabrics are possible, but it must be something that doesn’t ravel. Fine tip permanent marker. Shears. Regular shears (or scissors) are necessary. Also having pinking shears is suggested. Hot glue gun. Trace around the edge of the outer ring of the embroidery hoop with your permanent marker. Cut out the circle of felt just inside the marker line. Position your embroidery in the embroidery hoop. Use pinking shears to pink the fabric 3/4″ from the edge …


Cranberries and Coffee Beans

I like to change little bits of our decorating to reflect the season. This year I put together a simple centerpiece for our dining table with lots of differently sized candles. I filled a large vase with cranberries and floated them with water.


Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

This is one of my favorite projects. I have one of these blankets in my living room, my mom has one in her television room, and I gave one to my cousin for her wedding this summer. It’s certainly a bit more involved than the last several days of tutorial projects that I have shared, but it makes for such a lovely finished project and is so easy to customize for anyone on your gift list (or yourself!). You will need: 4 sweaters (see info below about selection) Backing fabric (I recommend a curtain panel. The amount of fabric you need will depend upon your finished size of the blanket) Thread Fabric scissors A sewing machine Sweater selection – Here’s where you can really make the project fit your unique aesthetic by the sweaters that you select. I’ve sewn blankets made from sweaters of just about every fiber content and …

Wool Tree Ring Coasters Tutorial

This is a tutorial for sewing coasters and a trivet out of wool felt to look like tree rings. Make them from a neutral color palette to fit in just about any decoration scheme, or go bright and play up the kitsch!

Mom Made Household Dec

Welcome to my mom’s house! This is just a tiny glimpse of some of the lovely handmade touches she has added to her house to make it a home. Here is a shelf in her TV room. The folded quilt is all made of fall fabrics and is displayed seasonally. The red white and blue quilt and begonia applique (design by Primitive Gatherings by Lisa Bongean), while designed to be overtly Fourth of July, become more subtle and year-round when part of a broader decorating scheme that includes other colors (yellow) and lots of pattern. Guests stay upstairs in a little cabin that mom built next to her house. Taking decorating inspiration from a quilter’s aesthetic, she combines lots of patterns into visually pleasing arrangements by keeping them within a set color palette. The pineapple embroidery (another pattern by Wooden Spool) reads ” Our Guestroom. We’re glad to have you as …

Sewing a New Picture for Our Dining Room

I just sewed us a new picture for our dining room. See it here above our beautiful credenza. The canvas has had a couple of different different lives. I painted it with a gigantic flower when I lived in my pink and green apartment. When Adam and I moved in together, he didn’t want our home to be painted pink and green (go figure!). So I painted over the canvas in a blown-up version of the purple twigged fabric. It looked okay, but it was pretty amateur and the black marker I had used to outline the flower leeched through the new layers of paint. I have grand ideas for a triptych that I want to embroider to go in that space, but it’s not at the top of my “To Make” list any time soon. I’m not sure where the inspiration struck me, but I realized that I could do …