mail and files

I’ve been getting some fun mail lately and wanted to share.

My mom made me a card to congratulate me on my new job. (You can check out the previous card she made me for my new place here.)


I used to work at a newspaper so this is a very appropriate theme. And I worked at a kids’ gymnastics place until recently, so the cartwheel instructor classified also fits in!

I like how she always puts little details on the envelope.


She’s been quite excited for me to find full-time employment (in a field I find interesting that is suited to my skills no less).

I also got a very nice thank you note for the pillowcase dresses that I made for Haiti. The dresses were set to ship mid-August so they should be in Haiti now!


And my friend sent me some new tea to try out. I’ve been in a tea phase this summer so if you have any favorites let me know. Check out that swanky wrapping paper and card!


I also got another new job congrats card (thanks Maureen!) and a Christmas card from my godmother because my extended family celebrates Christmas in July every year. She included a JoAnn’s gift card that will be going to the purchase of some curtain fabric for the craft room.


Thanks for all the mail, ladies!

Though it’s been a month and a half since the move, I’m still working on settling into the new place. The boyfriend and I have been cruising thrift stores and peddler’s malls looking for random furniture. I’d never considered a filing cabinet as something I wanted, but I’ve been seeing a lot out there lately and this piece with its $20 price tag pulled me in.


It was a little rough (note the large black spot)…


 but some elbow grease cleaned it right up.

I put a TV on top, and now have TV in the craft room!


I’d like to use it to house some patterns, but right now it’s full of random papers and computer stuff that needs organized.

I’m hoping to post about other recent thrift store purchases and home sewing projects soon, but I’m far busier at my new PR job than in any job I’ve had since leaving school. (No more crafting at nap time like I did at the preschool!) I enjoy what I’m doing, but it’s not making me want to hop on the blog when I get home since I’m on the computer most of the day. I have been sewing and thrifting though, so there are things to blog when I get in a posting mood.

In other blog news, my teal and gray backpack has been going viral on Pinterest.

pinterest backpack for me pinterest backpack for me 2

I’m excited because my yellow sweater bag has been my most popular post for far too long, and I’m quite proud of how that backpack turned out. Thanks to all the pinners for stopping by!

The other backpack I made this summer went along with my godson Anthony for his first day of kindergarten this morning. It was able to hold all the stuff he had to take on his first day, which was apparently a lot!



It looks pretty snazzy with his school uniform! He’s such a cutie.

Well, that’s all for now bloggers. I hope it won’t be too long before my next post, but this week is shaping up to be a busy one!

p.s. I’ve just signed up for round two of the Secret Tote Bag Swap. I had so much fun in round one!


jeans into cuffed shorts

I often give my friend Amanda and her mom dibs on my clothes when I’m ready to donate because they’re about the same size as me. Last week, Amanda returned the favor and gave me some of her mom’s clothes. They all fit (!) and I think I’ll be able to use all of them as is or with modifications.

My first project is with these jeans that were in the bag. I really liked the back pocket details, but there were issues below the knees.


shiny gold pockets!

I’m betting you can guess where I’m going with these from the placement of the pins. See the worn spots by the knees?


So I cut off the bottoms using this tip and had a pair of shorts.


They were a bit long for my taste, so I cut again.


Getting there.

I didn’t want to cut them too short because I knew I wanted cuffed shorts and that would take a couple more inches off the length.


I rolled them up to where I wanted (about a 1″ cuff), turned the tops 1/4″ under so no frayed bits were showing, and pressed and stitched. Tip: I stitched my side seams first so they weren’t flaring out, and then stitched around the top of the hem.


Bam! New shorts.


I think the gold embellished pockets are even more of a feature now.

The stretchiness of the fabric means these shorts are very comfortable for hanging out in. I’ve been wearing them around the house all weekend and, in fact, I’m wearing them right now!

I tried a pair of longer length, snug fit cutoffs a year or two ago that were very washed-out and fraying at the ends. The boyfriend said they were the most redneck thing he’d ever seen. Cute cuffs, a shorter length, a darker wash, awesome pocket details and no fraying ends keeps this pair away from redneck territory. (The boyfriend noted that he never would have thought these were jeans before.)


So a quick simple refashion got these jeans off the shelf of the sewing room and into wearing rotation. Hope you all are having a productive weekend!

romper from an upcycled pillowcase for Emma

I knew when I bought this strawberry printed pillowcase that I wanted to make it into a romper for Emma. I didn’t realize that it would take me almost a year to find a pattern that looked like what I wanted to make.


these pillowcases are now an apron, a romper, an a-line dress, and another apron. (left to right)

When Elegance and Elephants came out with their Pleated Playsuit pattern, I knew I had not been waiting in vain.

I cut out the pieces in May and finished all the sewing a week or two ago. If I sat down and worked on it continuously, I’m sure it would have gone along fairly easily but a lot happened between May and August.

My pillowcase wasn’t as vibrant as I remembered it. It is a bit worn, but I still like the cute strawberry print. I used red broadcloth for the lining since the pillowcase was a bit sheer with wear.


I briefly considered making the whole thing reversible, but I couldn’t wrap my brain around it and preferred to get the project done and finally send Emma everything I’ve been making for her this summer (shorts, apron, hat, romper, doll quilt – yet to be blogged, and some found GAP jean jackets).

This was my first time buying broadcloth that wasn’t at Hobby Lobby. I bought whatever was on the shelf and cheap at Hancock Fabrics and I got a surprise when I put the iron to it.


I have never had that happen with Hobby Lobby broadcloth and I’ve worked with it a LOT. But the stuff I bought at Hancock Fabrics straight up melted. (Both fabrics are a poly-cotton blend.) I was more careful while working with the rest of the fabric and didn’t have another incident but I won’t buy this kind of broadcloth again.

The pieces had sat in a pile for a while after I cut them so it was fun to see the playsuit start to take shape.


I didn’t need to make a lot of adjustments to add the lining; I cut one strawberry and one red for all of the bodice and pants pieces, including the back pocket linings and even the leg cuffs. The only pieces I didn’t cut one red and one white of were the front pocket linings and the straps. Then I just sewed the pillowcase and red pieces at the same time like they were one piece and it all worked out.

I pinked the inside seams that weren’t finished, which were all the seams on the bottom and the joining seam.


And it turned out to be a decent little romper!


I like the pattern enough to make it again in a different fabric, especially after seeing the people who have linked up their awesome versions with the pattern. I don’t know if I will actually be making another version anytime soon, but the pattern is definitely a keeper. Oh, and did I mention it’s free??

There are great details included, like the pocket lining peeking out…


and the pleat in the front bodice.


I also like the little tie spaghetti straps.

Emma should be getting her package in the next few days and I hope she and her parents like it as much as I do! I’ll do a write-up on the doll quilt soon, and there might be another tote in the near future. 😉

yellow striped tote

Yes, it’s another tote. (I can’t help it! They are the perfect quick gift.)

I’m a big fan of this one that I made for Barret’s mom. (Barret is the boyfriend’s real name.) It’s made from yard sale fabric (of course) and the colors are great for summer.


The fabric I had wasn’t wide enough to make the tote as wide as I wanted, so I took a horizontal striped piece and flipped it to add some extra width with vertical stripes. I like how the stripes run perpendicular to each other.

For the lining I used a pale yellow thrift store sheet. I added a colorful pocket made from a couple of Alegria Bouquet charm squares that I had left over from my sewing machine mat project.


I used white cotton webbing from Hobby Lobby for the handles. It gave it the clean summery look I was going for.

This tote has been adorning a doorknob in my craft room for the last few weeks. I finished the tote shortly after Sherry’s birthday, but didn’t get a chance to give it to her until the other day. She’s in town watching HD (a.k.a. the nephew) for the week while his mom transitions back to work. That kid is going to be three months old before long! And I think he will need a three-month-old birthday present. 🙂

Up next: I took a break from totes and finished that romper for Emma!

shirts to bags

Bringing home a guest post from Magda’s Refashion July over at House of Estrela. I finished Emma’s romper and made a curtain over the weekend. Photos to come soon!

Thanks so much to Magda for letting me be a part of Refashion July!

A few years ago I never thought about buying clothes at a thrift store, but now I’m a thrifting and refashioning convert!

One of the things I seem to make the most of is bags. Some of my first “refashions” were taking button down shirts and turning them into totes.


This blue and white striped one is one of my favorites. I took a “loud” button down that I loved the color of and converted it into a beachy tote bag.

I sewed the button placket closed, added a couple of yellow buttons, and just cut out the fabric according to the pattern I was using.

I used one of the cuffs to make a little pouch to throw inside.


I made this tote bag from another striped thrift store shirt.


I took the pocket and cuffs and sewed them to the lining for extra storage!


I’ve also used sweaters to make several bags.

sweater totesA

Clockwise from top left: green sweater tote with vintage sheet lining, purple sweater tote, yellow sweater bag with pockets, pink sweater clutch, sweater vest and satin bag

My most recent refashion project on my blog, Photosarah Crafts, was taking a denim shirt and adding some patriotic plaid.


I hope you’ll stop by and visit me! (Obviously you already have, so thanks!) I’ve got many more refashions, plus lots of sewing, crochet, and knitting going on!

There are lots of great refashioners out there, and I’ve found even more through this series! Thanks again to Magda for getting everyone together!

birthday tote for Leah

My friend Leah was in town this week. Her husband just got his doctorate (congrats Tim!) so they were back in town visiting family and had a small get-together to celebrate. It also happened to be Leah’s birthday so I knew I wanted to bring something over and decided this around mid-afternoon the day of the party. Luckily I had time to pull together this tote bag for a birthday present.


This bag used to be a striped button down midi skirt from the thrift store. It was terribly unflattering and remained so despite my attempts to refashion it. I chopped it up into fabric at some point when I still lived in Alabama and it’s been resting in pieces ever since.

I thought the striped fabric would make a cute summer tote and here it is!

blueandwhite_stripedtote03AI had some grander plans, like putting a pocket on the inside and doing something cool featuring the button down portion of the skirt, but they were scrapped due to time constraints since I decided to bake brownies for the party and make them a card too (did I mention it was also their anniversary several weeks ago?). More than anything, I wanted the tote to be done when it was time to head over there but I managed to pull it off and make all three!

I used two layers of white broadcloth for the lining, and regular fabric for the straps.

There are tiny pleats on the outside of the straps because my lining came out slightly smaller than my outer fabric. I decided to make it a mini design feature since time didn’t allow for seam ripping or resewing. I do like how it breaks up the solidness of the stripes a little.


Leah liked it and said it would work out well for holding her knitting 🙂 I have such crafty friends!


I wish I got to see Leah and Tim more but they live in Oklahoma at present. It was nice to spend an evening with them and other friends though and I wish them safe travels for the rest of their journey.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented on the blue cardigan! I really appreciate having some additional insights.

blue summer cardigan

This summer cardigan pattern was so easy and quick.

I knew it wanted to try it, but I wasn’t sure about the style so I made the pattern pieces fit onto a piece of thrift store knit.


I quite like the color, but the quality of the fabric wasn’t great so it worked to try out this pattern.



Finished results: front view. What do you think? I skipped the sleeve bands because I ran out of fabric but I might prefer the sweater without them. I don’t want something that gives me T-rex arms.



Here’s the side view. (I need to press that shoulder seam and have since pressed the back hem so it lies flat.) It would probably help if I modeled it with a shirt that wasn’t a graphic tee as I like the side view better. I do think the fit is good and it’s very comfortable.

But other than that, what are your thoughts readers? I have mixed feelings on it, so I’m going to let it sit in the closet while I decide. If I like it enough I might make one up in a fabric that I like more than this one. Maybe a fun gray and white chevron print?

Editor’s note: This cardigan was modeled at the old place. I’m still working on organizing and cleaning the new place and then photos will be forthcoming. 🙂 I’m looking forward to have more places to take pictures at the new place! I just have to finish some projects…