sequin ball ornaments

I saw this idea for Christmas ornaments on Pinterest and immediately knew I wanted to try them out.


Lindsay gets “assistance” from Tyson

Lindsay and I bought the supplies (styrofoam balls, pins, and sequins) at Hobby Lobby for our Pinterest party. You also need a piece of ribbon or something to attach as a hanger on top.

Here’s Lindsay holding her finished ornament.


The sequin balls aren’t hard to make but they do take some time and a lot of pins. Make sure you get a big enough styrofoam ball so the pins won’t go all the way through the ball and out the other side.

I used dressmaker pins because that’s what was available at Hobby Lobby. There are also sequin pins available that are shorter. (If you are planning to make a whole tree of ornaments, you can get a half pound box of 6000 pins for just $12.50 here! *not an endorsement, just something interesting found during a Google search)

Here was my first one.


I used larger sequins than Lindsay and though I liked the look of hers, I think mine took less time to cover. My ornament was kind of heavy because of the weight of all the pins, and using larger sequins reduces the number of pins you’ll need.

I used a strip of glittery felt for the top bit on the white, silver, and pink one, which I gave to the director at my work along with the scarf I knitted for her.


After making the first ornament, I was still on a sequin kick. I made a second ornament using coppery sequins for my boyfriend’s mom. It just so happened that my cat Jackson broke an ornament (as he was jumping off the stairs very close to the tree) while we were at their house. Luckily, I already had a replacement as part of her Christmas present!

I forgot I even had this chiffony ribbon in my stash; it went perfectly with the ornament. When I was close to finishing the sequin ball, I attached the ribbon with a few strategically placed pins and sequins, then covered the rest of the ball making sure the pins I placed were securing the ribbon.

I really like the look of these ornaments and will be making them again for sure. The process is relaxing, even though it takes awhile.


pom pom garlands

It’s not to late to whip up a pom pom garland for your New Year’s Eve decorations. All you need is some yarn and a pom pom maker (or something else that you can use as a pom pom maker). This is one of the projects I made during my Christmas Pinterest Saturday with Lindsay. My inspiration came from here, but I think those pom poms are larger than mine.

I hadn’t used the Lion Brand pom pom makers I’d bought awhile ago; this garland was a perfect opportunity to give them a whirl. (My colors are reversed and yellow is the largest size.)multipompomgarland04A

I used leftover yarn from my bag projects to test out this garland. For the cord, I braided three strands of white yarn.


I made fifteen pom poms, five each in three colors, and tied them on to the braid because it was too thick to easily thread through the centers of the pom poms.


The finished project looks like this.


This garland is going to my cousin Elizabeth. She has five brothers, so I like giving her girly things.

After my first garland, I made a second one for my former roommate. She’s moving to start a new job in a couple weeks so I wanted to give her something fun for her new place.


Her favorite color is green and I liked the combo with the purple. I wanted a thicker base strand, so I just threaded two pieces of yarn together through the centers.


And here’s one of my Christmas present projects. I made this apron for my boyfriend’s mom for Christmas. He picked out the fabric and I put it together using view A of McCall’s Easy Stitch’n Save M5366. I sewed the apron ties by ironing the edges under instead of sewing them inside out and turning them to the right side. The ties are pretty skinny so it would have been hard to turn them.


I really like the fabric the boyfriend picked out. There were some issues with the second pocket so I only used the one pocket that turned out nicely. Here’s a close up so you can tell where the pocket is and see the fabric detail.


Christmas break has been great so far and I’ve still got more to go! We just got back from visiting my boyfriend’s parents and will be leaving for my parents’ house tomorrow.

deck the walls

These could be thrown together quickly for a last-minute Christmas present, or used to deck your walls at any time of the year. The first is an earring display and the second is a way to display prints.

I made this earring screen a couple years ago. (Sadly the screen and about 50% of these earrings were lost in the fire.) You need a picture frame and a piece of mesh screen slightly larger than the inside of your frame. Press the wire into the screen (careful, it’s pointy!) and then use a strong glue to keep the wire in the frame. Trimming the screen was the most challenging part because there were tiny bits of metal going everywhere; I’d advise working in an area that’s easy to sweep up. If your wire is fine, you can just use sharp scissors. You could attach a picture hanger if there isn’t one already on your frame, or use nails in the corners of the back of the frame. Add some pretty earrings and you have a piece of functional wall art!

I wouldn’t use a bigger frame than this one, which I believe was around 11×17″. If you went bigger, the screen wouldn’t have enough support in the middle.

Here’s another project. I bought these prints from the Dreamery Studio a few years ago and wasn’t sure how to display them due to their irregular size. I went to my scrapbook paper stash and got four different shades of green paper.

Simple. I’d bought these four prints to represent different interests: camera- photography, palm tree- beach/study abroad in Costa Rica, sewing machine- duh!, Aztec calendar- study abroad/speaking Spanish. I liked how the colors made each one unique but also tied them all together. Here’s how they looked on the wall at my old place.

There wasn’t a good place for these prints in my new place, but in my current place I backed this print with paper. It’s my favorite print that I own (bought from The Wheatfield Etsy shop). I just love the colors and the phrase. I trimmed the print a little on top and bottom and added bright blue art paper to display it in this silver frame. Matting just seems overly complicated and costly to me, and the colors at my local stores were more limited than the colors of paper available.



As the rest of my gifts are distributed, there will be more posts. I’ll try to get pictures of my many pairs of fingerless gloves with matching hat and/or scarf up soon too. It just hasn’t been very cold lately, so they’ve been sitting in boxes waiting for real winter weather.

add some sparkle to your holidays

My last day of work was last Friday. After a busy, fun-filled weekend, I’ve devoted this week to working on projects for my friends and family and myself. I can’t share most of them yet since they’re going to be Christmas presents and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. (This includes the projects I promised in my last post from mine and Lindsay’s Pinterest Christmas get-together.) But here’s one project I finished last night for myself and another I already gave in a gift exchange.


Project One: Sequin and Bead Embellished Shirt

I’ve been on a sequin kick since I found a plastic container full of all different colors and sizes at last month’s yard sale. The idea for this shirt came from my newly developed sequin addiction and an overwhelming number of plain shirts. I had to take in the shirt anyway, so I went ahead and added some sequins and beads on the shoulders to make it more exciting.


I sewed tiny clear beads into the center of each sequin to secure it and used an embroidery hoop to stabilize the shirt while I was hand-sewing.


I don’t consider myself a glitzy person, but this embellishment appeals to me. Maybe it’s just that time of year.


Project Two: Angora Merino Lace Scarf

This next project follows the color trend I set above. I knit this scarf for the gift exchange at work. It took me longer than expected, but I felt a nice sense of accomplishment when it was done. I used this angora lace scarf pattern from Lion Brand and ordered the recommended yarn for the pattern (angora merino yarn in Sangria) when they had free shipping on Black Friday. I used the uncorrected version of the pattern because I’d printed it out a year or two ago.marilynscarf01A

This scarf didn’t look that great when I was working on it. It kept curling up so I couldn’t tell if the pattern looked like it was supposed to and I kept screwing it up and having to rip out rows. This is the first thing I’ve blocked and I was nervous about it. I soaked it, wrapped it in a towel, and then steamed it with a press cloth since it still wasn’t dry the next day. In the end, it laid flat and looked as good as I could have had hoped.


The original pattern called for a 42″ scarf. I ended up with 80 inches. It kept looking too short, but in the end it might have been a bit on the long side. Oh well.

I picked the director out of the hat for our gift exchange and was a bit intimidated with having to get her a present since I’ve only been working there a few months. I shouldn’t have worried; she really liked her gift!

In the gift exchange I got a skein of yarn, a new crochet hook (miraculously, in a size I didn’t have already!), and a gift card to Hancock Fabrics. I’m getting a reputation as a crafter at work. My handmade scarves and fingerless gloves on the playground give me away, as well as my knitting and crocheting at nap time. One of my co-workers even said she wished I’d picked her in the gift exchange because she wanted something I’d made!

I hope everyone’s having luck finishing up their handmade gifts! For my next post I’m digging into the archives to share a couple of projects/gifts that can be hung on the wall.

early Christmas with Lindsay

My friend Lindsay and I got together yesterday and had a Pinterest Christmas decoration party of sorts. It was kind of like a craft invasion since I suggested it and then took over her apartment with my craft supplies. 🙂 She’s more athletic than crafty, but I think she had a good time at our marathon session. We got quite a few finished projects out of it that I’ll be sharing in my next post (after I finish them up!).

For today’s post, I’m sharing what I made Lindsay for Christmas. I’ve been working like an elf to make all my Christmas gifts, but I can’t post the ones I’ve finished here since my friends and family are blog readers. Lindsay and I just exchanged gifts, so here’s what she got. (She got me a gift certificate to a local craft store that I’ve been meaning to check out. Thanks Lindsay!)

I started off with a blanket for her adorable Papillon, Tyson. To start, I made a larger version of my cat blankets. (Fun fact: her dog weighs less than either of my cats.) I decided to add some detail by quilting diagonal lines across the whole thing using the handy measurement guide for my walking foot.


I toyed with the idea of just doing a handful of diagonal lines from corner to corner, but worried that it looked unfinished. I might try this look on something else.


I ended up stitching diagonal lines across the whole blanket. I want to try intersecting diagonal lines that cover the whole thing with diamonds, but I didn’t think it would work out on this piece.


Fleece doesn’t quilt very easily since it likes to move and stretch, but I think it turned out okay.


Tyson on his new blanket

A few weeks ago we were at a friend’s house together and Lindsay said she liked the shape of my zig-zag sling tote. I decided to make her a bag of her own using the same basic pattern.

I’ve been holding on to the idea of using this home dec weight fabric for a bag with a black satin lining. Here’s how it turned out.


The black canvas at the top was a detail that originated in problem-solving, but I think it grounded the candy-like pattern and made it a slightly more serious bag. I tried out a different pleat configuration and it didn’t look as good so I went back to the original. When I looked for a pattern for my last bag I stayed away from the ones with pleats. Now I like the look of pleats; I think they make a simple tote look more like a purse.


pleat close-up

I did use the alternate pleat configuration for the lining. I’m not crazy about having pleats on the inside, but they needed to be there because of how I cut out the pieces.


Lindsay really liked her bag! I’m excited to give out the rest of the gifts I’ve been making (though I still have quite a few to finish before Christmas…).

I’m considering making pattern pieces and a tutorial for this bag at some point in the future. (It would be my first!) I can see this being a pattern I go back to over and over again, and I mangled my psuedo-pattern making this last bag.

goodwill refashions

I haven’t been thrifting very much since the move, but I did take advantage of a Friday off a few weeks ago and made a Goodwill expedition. The store was crazy that day for some reason. Everyone in the long lines was asking each other what was going on. (It was Veterans Day, but there weren’t any sales or specials.)

My goal for the trip was to find some items with long sleeves. I have lots of half or three-quarter sleeves, but few tops with sleeves that go all the way to the wrist. (Though I did get swayed by a few items with shorter sleeves…) I was also looking for items that didn’t need a lot of work to make them wearable. I have so many materials for projects I want to do that I don’t need to add anything involved to the queue. I got a few fixer-uppers and a few items I can wear as is. I’m just sharing the fixer-uppers today.

First, the quickest fix. This shirt had navy polka dots, piping, lots of detail, and the tag was still on it. The only flaw: a missing button.

shiny gray plastic buttons with a shank. no thanks.

Cue the button stash. I didn’t like the buttons anyway, so I tore them all off and replaced them with the navy buttons originally on this shirt. It’s funny how the buttons looked matronly on the navy shirt, but on this shirt with navy polka dots they looked perfect.

I only had five buttons, so for the sleeves so I used these shiny blue buttons with a shank. You can’t see the front and back of the shirt at the same time anyway.

The next item didn’t have long sleeves, but I was drawn to the colors. They remind me of summer fruits and honeydews, but the shirt started off way too big. Baggy chic doesn’t work on my frame.

I took in the arms and sides, and then a little bit around the armholes to bring the shoulders in. I also got my hair cut, so no looking baggy or shaggy!


I’m wearing this shirt right now and it’s quite comfy. I like the boatneck.

This last piece was also too roomy. (I got tired of taking before pictures.) It looked baggy, I took it in along the sleeves and the sides with both straight and zig-zag stitches to prevent unraveling, and now it’s smaller and fits well. It hits at a good length too.

I could tell it was a quality sweater with thought-out details and almost passed it by because it was a few sizes too big. I’m glad I scooped it up for $3; it’s nice and toasty. I also like the navy color, though it’s not coming across well in this photo.

I’m getting a new camera with higher ISO and hopefully better white balance coming for Christmas. So excited! My D200 has been with me through oodles of life experiences, but a lot has happened with digital camera technology in the last six years.