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podcast // moths, mending, and making on a deadline

The Very Serious Crafts Podcast - Episode 3

This week, episode 3 of The Very Serious Crafts Podcast dropped. And as has been the case with each episode so far, I laughed through almost the whole thing. Well, except for when I was horrified. For that to make sense, all I can say is, give it a listen.

In "Moths, Mending, and Making on a Deadline", we chat about the things we're excited about and some tales of woe. And we invite you to grab of cup of coffee (maybe even a slice of cake) and join us. Oh, and be sure to check out the show notes, where you'll find more info and some fun and interesting links.

If you haven't listened to my new podcast with Red-Handled Scissors and Hands Occupied, episode 3 is a great place to jump in (and then maybe go back and listen to the first two episodes too!).

Subscribe to The Very Serious Crafts Podcast

Of course, we'd love it if you subscribed so you don't miss a single episode. New episodes release every other Monday, and you can listen with a whole bunch of podcasting apps and feeds. You'll find them all on our website.

pattern // an emerald birthstone for may

May Emerald Birthstone Embroidery Pattern

We're five months into 2018 and this free birthstone-themed stitching club. And it would seem that mid-month is when these patterns release, regardless of when I'd like the patterns to show up. But hey! You've had a free pattern every month so far, so let's call that a win.

This month we're stitching an emerald-cut emerald. Of course, with all these patterns, you could really make them any stone you want. You're really getting a total of 12 gemstone shapes!

I chose a blue-ish emerald green for my stitching (DMC 3850), which I love the look of. It's almost a dark teal. The tricky part was when I went looking for fabrics to match so I can add the EPP half hexagons around this, I realized that I have a severe lack of emerald fabrics. Typically my favorite greens have more yellow, and the rest are truly teal.

Not wanting to buy more fabric (pause: that's a lie...I almost always want to buy more fabric), I decided to make it work and found a few that I think give it an emerald feel.

May Emerald Birthstone Embroidery Pattern

I also managed to finally stitch a wonky April diamond! And none have their EPP surrounding them yet. But they will.

And remember, you can access all the #WildOliveStitchingClub birthstone patterns, including the layout for a special birthday placemat. I'll share more about how that goes together later in the year. I promise!

Happy Stitching!

process // the making of a sun hat

Reversible Linen Sun Hat

If you've ever wondered what it might be like to design a sewing pattern for a hat, you're in the right place. Or, if you'd simply like to laugh at what the process looks like, you're still in the right place. Because I drafted my own pattern for a sun hat, it was an experience, and I'd love to tell you all about it.

Now, I wouldn't have really been looking to make a sun hat, but several factors came together to make it happen. First, I had a bout of skin cancer last year. (Read about that here!) I was told that I really need to take extra precautions to protect my skin, and that includes wearing hats. So I started buying a couple, just so I could follow doctor's orders. Then, out of nowhere, I was asked to make a sun hat for The Spruce Crafts.

Was I planning on sewing my own hat? No. And I certainly hadn't considered creating my own pattern! But it kinda felt right. I would make a hat that I would be happy to wear, and I would get to share that with others.

To get ready, I looked at sun hats online and even checked out a few patterns. The construction options were all pretty much like those I had been picturing in my head. So I drew my first pattern pieces in Adobe Illustrator to give it a go.

Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting

For my first try, I simply assembled the paper pattern pieces to see how things fit together. This included lots of tape and even some stapling. I haven't watched much Project Runway, but I think this is how they do it, right?

What I got was something that looks like a doggy cone of shame. All things considered though, it went together better than expected and I found where I needed to make a few small adjustments.

Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting

After a ridiculous amount of trouble with fusible interfacing (a tale I share in Episode 2 of The Very Serious Crafts Podcast), I made a fabric prototype. Well, half of one.

Before making the lining piece, I tried this on and it was too small. Still, the shape was pretty good and things mostly fit together. The one change I decided NEEDED to happen, was that I had to reduce the number of pieces that made the brim. I had three on the crown and four on the brim, which just didn't look right.

Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting
Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting

I made my pattern alterations and made a new prototype. I could tell after the first half that my brim was different, but I thought maybe it would still work for me. In making the pattern pieces larger to compensate for having three instead of four, I apparently went a little overboard.

The crown also seemed to have changed, but I have no idea how. At any rate, I sewed the whole thing together and got this floppy hat version. It fits me, but it wasn't the look I was going for. At all. I haven't decided yet if I'll actually wear it. Perhaps in the backyard?

Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting

It was time to fix pattern pieces again! I trimmed some brim, which involved a bit of guesswork. Yes, there's math involved, but I had already exhausted my math skills to get this far. Which, I will say, I was still pretty close on.

At any rate, I felt confident enough to work with the actual fabric I was planning for the hat. It's my favorite linen to use for...well...nearly everything. I embroider on it, I sew with it, and in general I just love it.

The only thing about this linen is that sometimes some irregular bits work their way in. So when I noticed a chunk of something that wasn't so pretty, I decided to pull it out. I've done this before and it was fine. Well, this time it was a little close to the edge of the fabric, and I managed to just fray the thing. Ugh. What to do?

I'll tell you what. I wasn't remaking this thing again! So I just sewed that fraying edge right into the seam. There's interfacing fused to it, so hopefully it holds. I'm living on the edge here.

Making a Sun Hat: From Pattern to Posting

As I watched this version coming together, I knew this was the one. And not just because I didn't want to start over! No, I could see that it was right.

I convinced my sister to model for me, which you see above. We took so many photos and I used just one of her. After editing pics and writing up the instructions, this was officially finished.

Reversible Linen Sun Hat

And now I have a hat that I love, that's actually more like two hats because it's reversible. It's fun both ways, and the crocheted trim comes with a special memory of buying it while on a trip to NYC with my sister Anna and my friend Katie.

But even though I didn't want to have to start on making another version of the hat, I'd actually make more of these. I even have some bright fabric that looks very beachy and well-suited for this design.

So that's my tale of what it looks like to design a sewing pattern for a sun hat. If you'd like to skip the designing part and just start sewing, you can find my free pattern and tutorial at The Spruce Crafts!

calendar // an eager emerald wallpaper for may

Happy May! It's time for a new calendar wallpaper, this time with May's birthstone of an emerald!

The thing I love about this month is that it reminds me of Nanny, my grandma who passed away. Her birthday was in May, so when I see an emerald birthstone, she comes to mind. And isn't it nice that things like that keep special people close?

Plus, I do think that emeralds and emerald cut stones are pretty fantastic.

For this month, enjoy a wallpaper with an emerald-cut emerald! Download the size you want and add it to your desktop or lockscreen on your phone or tablet.

And just for a few fun peeks back at April...

Peapod Necklace

Keeping with the green theme, I made these peapod necklaces as a Mother's Day project for Handmade Charlotte. You can add one pea bead for each kid in the family!

Oh, and I got to design some Peter Rabbit I Spy game cards!

Mother's Day Locket Printable

Necklaces must have been on my brain because I also made a printable kid craft locket. It's a wearble card that you can fill with a photo or a hand-drawn self portrait.

Felt Tote Bag

Finally, among other things, I sewed up this felt tote bag for The Spruce Crafts. The bag itself was designed by Sherri Osborne, but then I updated it and added some extra felt decoration (Felt-Fetti from Benzie Felt!).

And now, it's time to get back to sewing, stitching, and oh so much crafting!

PS: Happy birthday to all the May birthday babies!

announcing the very serious crafts podcast

Folks, I started a crafting podcast. A Very Serious Crafts podcast, to be specific.

This wasn't really in my plan for this year, or even anytime really. But it happened, and here's how:

About six weeks ago, Haley from Red-Handled Scissors tweeted about her desire for a crafting podcast that was more conversational and not interview-focused. She said she wasn't really up for making said podcast though. I chimed in that her idea was actually something I could see myself doing (especially since my brother has been trying to get me to do a podcast for a while now).

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. And although Haley said she didn't want to start something like this, I kept talking with her about it. She said she would consider participating, and before long, we decided that this was officially going to be a thing...with the two of us working together.

But we also knew that it would be helpful and more fun to have another voice in the mix. Independently, we each thought of Heidi from Hands Occupied. And when we asked if she'd be interested, she said yes!

And thus, the Very Serious Crafts Podcast was born.

Haley, Heidi, and I are all very serious about crafting because it's our hobby. It's our work. It's pretty much our life (you know, with family, pets, and a few other things thrown in!).

Podcasting Setup

You can tell how serious this podcast is because I wear pink cat ear headphones when we record. It's very serious. But while we're serious about crafting and podcasting, we're also a little sarcastic and we like to laugh.

In each episode, we talk about what we're currently making or some of our favorite crafting stories and obsessions. We hope that when people listen, it feels a little like joining your friends for a crafting session at the local coffee shop.

The first episode is available now, and new episodes will drop every other Monday.

We hope you'll give it a listen and consider subscribing (we're on iTunes, Google Play, PodBean, SoundCloud, Spreaker, and Stitcher (if only because it has a crafty name!)

I really didn't see this podcast coming, but I can say with full confidence that I'm seriously excited about where this adventure is heading!

pattern // a diamond birthstone for april

April Diamond Embroidery Plans

Every month so far this year, I've planned on sharing the birthstone embroidery pattern earlier in the month. And then it takes me longer to stitch and post it. This time it's so bad that I didn't even stitch it yet.

But I did choose the fabrics I'm going to use for my EPP! And I picked out the color I'm planning to use to stitch my diamond! Rather than make you wait any longer, I'm just going to make you imagine how it looks stitched, and then hopefully I'll catch up for next month.

I'm stitching mine in DMC 955. It has the minty color I chose to represent the diamond (because I didn't want to go with gray or try to use white on a white background). And a little color is nice. But if you're stitching on a darker color (which, ironically, I am!), you could go with white floss. Or even DMC E5200, which is their metallic white.

Now, let's see how many of you stitch this up before I do!

NOTE: This is part of the free Birthstone Wild Olive Stitching Club. Find the previous posts and patterns here. With this club, you can embroider the 12 birthstones and combine them with English paper piecing to make a birthday placemat!

We'd love to see your stitching progress along the way. Share on Instagram and tag your photos #wildolivestitchingclub

calendar // a sweet diamond for april

Welcome to April! A month that is apparently so special that it gets a diamond for its birthstone, and a sweet smiling one if you're shopping for Wild Olive diamonds!

Since it was released in November, I've been obsessed with the Animal Crossing Pocket Camp app. It harkens back to the days when I would stay up until the wee hours playing Animal Crossing on Game Cube. What does that have to do with this month's birthstone calendars?

Well, sometimes the characters in the game look at the ocean and say something like "It looks like a sea of diamonds! Wouldn't it be wonderful to dive in? No, you're right...that does sound painful." Or they'll say that "seashells are like nature's diamonds! Wait, I guess diamonds are nature's diamonds!"

Anyway, I can't help but think of these silly quotes now when a diamond is mentioned! Download your own calendar wallpaper with one of nature's diamonds below. Save what you need to your devices and set them as your background wallpapers or lock screens.

At the start of each month, I also like to do a little recap of a few things that happened in the previous month. Things that may have been shared elsewhere, but not here.

For starters, April 1 was the end of my World Vision Care Kits project, and although shop sales didn't quite meet my goal, it was close and I have a plan to fill in the gap and finish the project. In fact, supplies are ordered and a wonderful group of girls will be helping me assemble them next week! More info on that coming soon.

Friendly Fast Food Printables

These kawaii fast food printable packages are a freebie at Handmade Charlotte, and they're fun for play or to wrap small gifts!

Ribbon Tag Blanket
Catnip Mouse Cat Toy

I sewed this ribbon tag blanket and a catnip-filled mouse for The Spruce. I also drafted a pattern for sewing a sun hat, which I think I need to write an entire post about. Because it was the first wearable with a shaped pattern that I've ever made on my own. It was a learning experience, and I'm really happy with the results!

Bunny Balloon Printables

Leading into Easter, I made these printable accessories to create a wacky, wobbling bunny balloon. And you know what? It doesn't have to only be an Easter Bunny! Grab the printable at Hello Bee.

That's a just a smattering of things. There was also work behind the scenes on things that will come along in the next couple weeks, the next couple months, and even further down the road. They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend, but I'd say that craft supplies and new projects might just be this girl's best friends!

PS: Right now it feels more like chilly February where I live, but I'm going to trust that April weather will come soon. So for all ou April birthdays, happy birthday and I hope you're experiencing happy weather!

project // needle minder keeper

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Do you use and collect needle minders? They're such a fun and useful embroidery accessory, and now you can store and display them on your wall!

As I've designed enamel needle minders with Nicole at Cloud Craft, I've also had a growing stack of stitching and sewing items that like to stick to these magnets. What an ugly mess! So I decided it was time to make something to hold them, while showing off my favorites. This project was inspired by the banners and boards that people make to hold their enamel pin collections. I needed my own version!

And so the needle minder minder was born!

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Since a needle minder goes on an embroidery hoop, I went with an embroidery hoop design. And to show off these pretty collaborations, Cloud Craft provided materials to make it. Oh, and maybe you've noticed that there's a new design on there? Yes? It's a brand new tomato pin cushion needle minder!

Find all three of these at Cloud Craft (the newest one is coming very soon!).

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

You will need:

Wool Felt (I used 20x20cm sheets of Spearmint and Chai)
Freezer Paper
Paper-backed Fusible Web
Embroidery Floss
Cotton Ribbon
Peel-n-Stick Fabric Fuse (or more fusible web!)
Wooden Skewer or Dowel Rod
Ric Rac Trim or Other Thin Ribbon


Note: Each of the links above will take you to Cloud Craft, where you can purchase the exact items that they provided for this project.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Trace the double circle template (page 1) onto the non-shiny side of the freezer paper and trace the single circle template (page 2) onto the paper side of the fusible web.

Iron the freezer paper onto the Chai-colored felt and the fusible web onto the linen.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Cut out the two circle pieces. On the felt circle, cut out the center of the ring. I'm a big fan of "waste not, want not" so I carefully cut near the line to start, preserving as much of the middle as possible.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

If you're using Cloud Craft felt, it comes as a 20x20cm square, which is the perfect size. If you're working with other felt, cut it to 20x20cm or about 8in square.

Peel the backing paper off the fusible web on the linen and iron the circle to the Spearmint-colored felt square. Place it near the bottom so there's extra room at the top.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Peel the freezer paper off the felt ring and center it on the linen circle. Stitch around the circle with running stitch and all six strands of embroidery floss.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Use fabric fuse tape or a strip of fusible web to attach a piece of cotton ribbon to the top of the felt square...

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

...and trim the ends to make them even with the edge of the felt.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Embroider the hardware at the top of the felt embroidery hoop. These lines are pretty simple, so you can freehand stitch them if you'd like, or use the pattern on page 2 of the PDF. Use back stitch and satin stitch with all six strands of embroidery thread.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Cut the skewer or dowel to match the width of the banner. Hold it in place over the ribbon trim and stitch it with embroidery floss at the center and two ends.

I should warn you, stitching through the adhesive tape made the needle gummy, but it wipes off. I'd imagine that using fusible web would be easier...but this still wasn't bad.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Cut a 12-inch piece of ric rac trim and fold an end around the skewer near the end. Stitch it with a few straight stitches to secure it, then repeat at the other end.

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

Now you can load up this needle minder minder with your favorite needle minders so you can find them easily and display them when they aren't attached to a project!

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

I have a growing collection of needle minders, and I've made many of them. But these three are my favorites!

Even though my needle minders are frequently in use, sometimes they need a place to rest, and this is a much better (and prettier!) solution to a magnetic clump of safety pins, scissors, WonderClips and needle minders. I no longer have to pry things apart!

DIY Needle Minder Keeper

So far, I haven't tested how much weight this banner will really hold, but I'd say we're safe with nearly filling the space. Besides, how many will you really have on there at once...we have too many projects going!

pattern // aquamarine birthstone embroidery and epp

March Aquamarine Birthstone Embroidery Pattern

When it comes to birthstones, aquamarine is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest colors. And while it might not sparkle the same as a gem, this aquamarine embroidery pattern is set to be some truly stunning (and cute!) stitching.

Last month, I determined that I would post the next pattern earlier in the month, and while that didn't work out quite as I hoped, it's still the first half of March. Close enough.

In this PDF you'll find the mini pattern and the larger pattern, along with the templates for making English paper piecing blocks like you see here. And you can find all the 2018 mini birthstone embroidery patterns here.

March Aquamarine Birthstone Embroidery Pattern

I love seeing these come together, as well as seeing them as a group. This club started without a definite plan for how the twelve blocks would join up to become something, but I made a decision! I'll share more instructions (and of course patterns!) through the rest of the year, but here's a look at the birthday birthstone placemat!

Right now my plan is to place these gem embroidered blocks in color order, rather than calendar order. But that may change, and of course, you can do as you wish if you make this project.

The four hexagons in the center will get some extra embroidery, with patterns still to come. And all those triangles (which you could do as diamonds)? I don't want them to be white. But I don't know what they'll be yet on my quilty mat. Maybe a scattering of the colors from the other blocks? We'll see.

But if you'd like to get a jump on those pieces, you can download the EPP templates for the triangles (which, again, you can leave joined into diamonds) and hexagons. Just remember that you won't want to make the center hexagons until you get those embroidery patterns.

Kawaii Unicorn Dreams Pattern

And just in case you haven't seen this yet, I have a new pattern in my Etsy shop! It's called Kawaii Unicorn Dreams, and it's all about a Lisa Frank childhood. I hope you love it as much as I do! (It's hard to tell in the photo, but I used sparkly magic metallic linen for my sample. Be sure to check it out for yours!)

project // vintage-style pipe cleaner leprechauns

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Kitschy, vintage-style holiday decorations are so cute (and okay...sometimes a little creepy). But I love them. And I love making them! These pipe-cleaner leprechauns are a variation on the pipe-cleaner Santas I made a few years ago. They were modeled after a vintage decoration, and I couldn't resist making a new version.

These little guys are simple and silly, and lots of fun to tuck in around on shelves. You could even use them as a little St. Patrick's Day greeting or hide them as a game!

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

You will need:

Green "Bumpy" Pipe Cleaners
Craft Glue

Printable Leprechaun Faces PDF

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Fold a bumpy pipe cleaner in half. At the skinny section, twist the pieces together a couple times. The "bumps" sticking out will be the arms.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Take a second pipe cleaner and fold it in half as you twist it around the skinny section of the first pipe cleaner.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Here's where it starts to get interesting. Fold the head toward the back, then up and around through the two loose stems.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Odds are, the arms will look extra long, so wrap each one across the front to shorten them a bit. Twist the two lower stems at the skinny point, to form the torso and legs.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

The legs and lower body look a little strange if you leave them, so let's fix that.

Fold the legs toward the back, then through the torso and back into the correct position. Sometimes it helps to repeat this step twice to get the legs looking right, but you can look at your leprechaun and decide.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

We're down to the final details now!

If you want, pinch the fold a little to form the top of the hat. Fold the tips of the arms and legs to make hands and feet. Then, cut a single "bump" to fill in the torso.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Fold the ends of the single "bump" through around the torso so his belly isn't open.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Cut out a printed leprechaun face and have it handy. Dab a bit of glue on the lower part of the pipe cleaner head (this works better than putting the glue on the paper face).

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

Attach the face and let the glue dry.

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

These leprechaun friends are ready to create some mischief!

Pipe Cleaner Leprechauns

I'm tempted to try making some Easter Bunnies like this too...what do you think?