Amanda’s projects, mishaps, rants etc..

What I’ve been up to

A little snapshot of what’s been going on around here.


  1. Blackberry-Blueberry Sauce






2. Growing Zucchinni’s





3. Growing a few other things in a mostly finished raised bed.



4. Killing my second (!) lavender plant of the season. I can’t seem to keep these damn things alive….sigh



That’s been most of what’s going on at our house in the last little bit.

More excitement will be coming our way here soon. We have a double digit birthday coming up soon! The oldest zombie is almost a whole decade old.  I can hardly believe it!  School starts soon, thanks be to all the powers of the universe!  Seriously, it’s been a looooooooong summer… and I am ready for a little bit of peace during the day. Bye for now!

So, it’s been a while

Yeah so it’s been over a year since I posted anything.  Jeez…major blog fail.  It was the usual suspects. Selling a house, moving into an apartment that felt like a cave, buying a house long distance, moving again…. you know how it goes.  It’s been tricky but I’m glad its settling down again.  And I have a new house that is twice the size of our last one, and boy is that a good change!  I would post pictures but we haven’t done much more than unpack boxes, paint one room and cut down the out of control landscape out front.  Still, I’ll give you a peek at my sewing space.




It’s still in our bedroom but it’s off to the side and all the fabric and supplies get stored in my closet so it is not so much in the way.

I will try to post a bit more often now that things are settling in. Maybe even a tutorial or something.  Maybe don’t hold your breath though, wouldn’t want anyone to suffocate ;)….


Quick Fix for a Messy Stencil Job

Hello!  I survived the winter!  Yay!

As I believe I’ve said before, I have a bit of back log of quilts for new family members but I’m happy to say I’m approaching a finish on one.  She’s not quite a year old so not it’s not too late.

Anyway, the initials I made for the quilt didn’t come out exactly as I wanted.

I took a font (can’t find the name of the one I used or I would credit it) that was mostly right and then fixed what was wrong (for this project) in Illustrator, brought it over to my Silhouette and cut them out in freezer paper.





This is what they should look like. Nice sharp lines.



I used Martha Stewart paint in Rose Chrome (lovely color) .




I mixed a fabric medium with it but the thing about that paint is it really doesn’t need it, so I ended up with a runny paint that seeped a lot under the stencil.  I redid it without mixing in the fabric medium so I could get the coverage I needed and pulled the stencil off.  I touched it up the best I could but still had lots of paint out of the stencil shape.  So I let it dry and heat set it the next day.


You can see in these pictures the seepage.  It looks much worse in person.  The color of the paint doesn’t show true online, it’s more lavender on the quilt.


Then I went to the fabric store and bought a spool of Gutterman thread in the right color and satin stitched the edges of the letters to sharpen it up and it really did help quite a bit.




Sorry there are not so many pictures on this post but if you find yourself in the same pickle this is a quick way to clean up a messy stencil job.  When I get it finished and gifted I will do a post on the whole thing. There also might be a Pirate birthday for a baby zombie coming up soon so stay tuned for some birthday madness. Happy Spring everybody!

Netflix is sucking my will to live… aka Snowed in all week with children



I managed to make it out of my bed today and sit at the computer and write this, so today is already a win in my opinion.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR SPRING.SERIOUSLY..I  C A N’ T  W A I T…..  We’ve been snowed in for a solid week now and I’m all done.  You think I would be using this time productively somehow, since almost all crafting I do is an indoor sport kind of thing, but no…  the white blanket of snow has smothered all ambition and frozen my creative spark until all I want to do all day is lay in bed and watch Netflix.  I need to interact with the world to draw inspiration and although snow looks like a blank canvas it doesn’t do a thing for inspiration.


I haven’t even been able to enjoy my new (to us) car.  This is the newest car we’ve ever owned and I would like to get used to driving it but not in the snow ( I haven’t even made one payment yet and I’m not wrecking it until it’s at least half paid for thank you very much).   Sigh…. So I’m forcing myself out of bed and into crafting something (anything at all) in the hopes that the momentum will carry me forward and spring will arrive more quickly.

Speaking of spring. I’ve been plotting out my garden already.  This year’s garden will likely be a limited affair.  I suspect home improvement projects will take up most of my time so I’m planning with that in mind.  The girl zombie wants sunflowers and I have to grow some basil.  My sage, oregano and (perhaps) thyme will be coming back and hopefully the lavender I stored under the house will pull through all right.  Might grow some lettuce, no zucchini this year though.  I still have 24 bags in the freezer.  No tomatoes or peppers this year either.  Low maintenance herbs and pretty flowers will do just fine I think.  I can’t wait for the first tender leaves of spring, hands buried in sun warmed earth, the smell of it as it wakes from it’s long sleep.  The winds that pick up and blow just a little chill and though they aren’t any warmer than fall you can tell the difference just by feeling it on your face.

Anyway, back to crafting.  I’ve been trying to puzzle out how (and even if) one can make a quilt that looks like a vector drawing.  All smooth lines and shades.  The google machine is not turning up much that is helpful at the moment.  I feel like if there is any medium you could recreate one of those in it would be fabric.  Suggestions are welcome, naturally.

Other things on the crafting agenda are getting better at drawing. To that end my sweet husband bought me this for our anniversary:

intuosIt’s Wacom Tablet  Intuos pen and touch small.  It’s been pretty fun to play with and I think it will be useful in the long run.  For those who haven’t seen it before it’s a system for drawing digitally.  Useful for converting my own patterns into usable files.   It definitely reminds me that drawing is not a strong suit of mine, and that’s okay.  Practice will not make me perfect but it certainly will improve my skills.

I’m falling a bit behind in making quilts for the new babies of the family.  Sorry Ruby and Gemma.  I promise I’ll be working on it soon.  Really.  As long as they get them before they are 2 I figure it counts..right?

Well, that’s the news for now.  I’m off to attempt something (anything at all) to kickstart my art. See ya!

The Fruits of January are Shallots

Hi there!  Been busy, yada yada yada.  You know the drill.  Anyway,  I’m back with a tutorial!


I made some of these little things for a certain adorable 3yr old I happen to know whose birthday it was recently.  They are super fast to make and very customizable.


So here we go.


Shallot Pattern:     Alltogethershallot


Print and cut out the pattern pieces


DSC02366DSC02368I used a tan heather craft felt I had on hand and I did the Fat Shallot first.  Transfer the circle marks to the felt pieces.



Grab an embroidery needle with some thread.  I used pearlized cotton in white but you can use whatever floats your boat.


Knot the end of your thread and poke your needle through from the backside of the piece so the knot is on the back side.  Bring it through and take a small stitch that doesn’t go through the fabric.  You can do this in felt but not so much in other materials.


Continue in this way till you get to the top.


End at the level of the dots you marked on your piece.  Move over 1/4 to 1/2 an inch and run down the front the same way you went up.  Keep going till you finish the front in stitched lines.



Now for the eyes.   On the shallots I made for the little one I made the eyes out of felt and stitched them on.  For these I used safety eyes because they go faster and look a bit neater.  Here is how I make felt eyes so you can try it both ways.


Start with a squarish piece of your chosen color and cut in a spiral until you get the size circle you want.  Do the same in a contrast color and put them together.  Stitch them on with matching color thread.


Safety eyes go like this.  I started with a background of white circle and poked the safety eye through that and the main piece.  It can be tricky to get through the felt sometimes so I poke a hole with a seam ripper and widen it a bit with some hemostats or something similar.



Once you have your eyes on you get to make a mouth for it.  I didn’t like the first one I tried so I changed it.  Stitch it down with matching thread and now he looks surprised.



Put your pieces together, matching tops and bottom points.  I don’t bother with pins when I’m sewing them because these are small and easy to manipulate by hand.  Sew with a scant seam (less than 1/2 inch) from marked dots down to the bottom point and stop.  Sew all pieces the same way.  When you get to the last seam, flatten out the piece as much as possible and follow the curve of the bottom past the end point over top of one of the seams that are already sewn.



You should end up with a bottom that looks like this.  No holes for the stuffing to escape.  You can clip the curves on the inside if you feel like it.  These are so small they don’t seem to need it.




Front view.


Now you stuff him.  Stuff him like you would any toy.  I used regular polyfill and stuffed him medium firm.

After that grab an embroidery needle threaded with a matching color thread and knot the end.  Poke your needle from the inside to the outside and leave a good 4-5 inch tail not pulled tight.


The idea here is to take tiny stitches so they are not visible on the outside of the toy.  Like this:



Run the stitch on the inside of the toy about 1/2 inch and bring needle back out.  Continue in as straight a line as you can till you get back to where you started.



Tie the ends together and cinch down the top.  Tie a square knot and clip your thread ends.  I cut the extra at the top into “frondy” things.

I was slightly disappointed with how this one turned out.  The eyes were set too close to the top of the toy and the mouth too low.  Lesson learned.  Next time place them more in the middle.


Up next is the Tall Shallot which ended up fatter than the Fat Shallot. Figures.  I used a bigger size of safety eye on these and placed them more to the middle.  I think it helped for sure.



And then there were two!


Last one is the Small Shallot.  This one is so small that I decided to just stitch a mouth on instead of stitching on a piece of black felt.  Play around with it and see what expression feels right for your shallot.

All the little blue dots on the shallots are easy to remove.  They just need a drop of water and they disappear.



And here they all are in their natural habitat!



Cheers for Shallots!

It’s a marathon, not a sprint


Not that I actually run or anything


So, it’s Christmas Day and I may or may not have been drinking wine already but I have some thoughts I wanted to get out.

I’ve been realizing lately how I approach life can be a teensy bit helter skelter.  New project?  Head first, go!  Next holiday to plan? Head first, go!  Run, run, run, it’s a race my mind whispers.  Well, it might indeed be a race but it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

I’ve been trying to remind myself of this and believe me, it hasn’t been easy.  Especially when I see other lovely blog ladies who can hammer out projects in record time and I’m still re-threading my sewing machine.

But I’ve been feeling the need to plan things more carefully, not down to every tiny thing but just actually have a general plan in mind when I start, a cohesive vision. Maybe a goal or two, hell, why not?  So that’s my mantra for the time ahead   “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”    This isn’t to say I don’t want to pour my heart and soul into my craft, because I do.  I just want to have something to show for it at the end.  Enjoy the race, peeps. Just remember it isn’t a sprint it’s a goddamn marathon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year




Flogging my stuff, cause I can

Hey there!  I had lots of plans for posts this month. Tutorials, projects, pictures…yeah…well, life happens.  I happen to be somewhat busy these days.  My Etsy shop is doing a small and steady business that keeps me at my sewing machine and away from the computer,  kids are keeping me from developing some new ideas and Christmas is keeping me from losing weight…yeah, we can blame that on Christmas.  Anyway, I make no promises but I will try to do a few picture tutorials here soon on some easy tips that make sewing things easier.

So in the shop, I’ve got some new things listed for Christmas. Some awesome pillows, pot holders and ornaments as well as some new sizes of old favorite aprons. As always, I’m happy to do custom work.  If something strikes your fancy but you’d like it in a different color or you want to add a ruffle or personalize it, just send me a conversation on Etsy and we can work on it together to make it perfect.  I’ll close with some pictures of shop items and things we’re working on around here at house Craft.  Enjoy!




And this one isn’t for sale….yet.  For those unversed in the ways of the Force, these are the robes that Obi-Wan Kenobi wears.  Our oldest zombie is a confirmed and dedicated nerd, much to our delight.



That’s the news for now.  Go buy some Craft Envy stuff.



p.s.  I’m unsure why the little images are blurry but if you click on them they come up at a nicer resolution.

Thankful for…

Greetings!  Thanksgiving is done and the Christmas season is well and truly upon us.  I can tell by the fact that I have no shopping done and a big order to get out the door.  This is just a quick hello to share a picture my oldest zombie child drew at our second Thanksgiving.  I especially enjoy the spelling and the projectile falling on the turkey. Happy busy season to you all!




And on the back side….


Frozen Birthday Wrap-Up

Well, the madness is finally over.  Now I just have 1 more Halloween costume to sew and a craft show in November and one in December to get ready for,  and a baby gift for a dear friend and a long promised baby gift for a new niece and laundry and cooking and school work and…you get the idea.  It never really ends but I’m feeling a little less stress now that the birthday is done.  Yay!


So, the birthday went like this.  I went up on the Friday before and decorated the party room at my parent’s house (thanks mom!)






I found some ballerina shapes online and cut them out on my Silhouette machine (I love my Silhouette).  The skirts of the dancers are napkins stripped down to 1-ply and taped on, thread through the head and hung in the ceiling with a pin.  I did some skirts with doily’s but I was unimpressed with them. They didn’t drape like I wanted.  I also did some Anna and Elsa outlines you can see in the picture below.



The snowflakes are, surprise, doily’s!  I just folded them up like you do paper that you make into snowflakes and cut designs into them by hand.  Voila! Easy snowflake.





The stage I made in September out of an old pallet my dad had.  We cut it to give it shape and screwed some plywood to the top and I painted it a blinding white so it looked like snow.  It worked out pretty well actually.    The scenery behind it was hand painted by me (with a new kitten and a 2 yr old running around, I might add)  Although I’m not an artist, I feel like I did okay representing what I had in mind.



The first picture is the ballroom filled with snow, the second is Elsa’s Ice Castle and the third scene is Arendelle Castle all happy again.  I used a combination of water colors and acrylics on bulletin board paper.  I taped the scenery to two pvc pipes and  slid those over top two poles fastened to bases.  My dad added a railing to the top of the poles for stability but it was still pretty wobbly.  Oh well, live and learn.




Our lovely cake table ready for deliciousness.  I made the tree decorations.  One is doily’s (you guessed that didn’t you?) I cut a hole in middle and slid them over a spray painted cardboard cone. Just cut bigger holes at the bottom layers and smaller as you go up. One of the trees was my attempt at a feather tree and the other is just modge podge and white glitter and sprayed with sealer.  I did a blue one the same way and it turned out nice




The cones were bought at Michael’s for cheap, like 2.50 a cone.  Much better priced than styrofoam ones.






We did a couple of practice runs on the play and fitted costumes that I had hand drafted and sewn.  The only alteration needed was on Anna’s skirt, it was a bit large in the waist.  Easy to fix.  Fixed that on Saturday while sewing up and shipping out two aprons.  I’m a multi-tasker.



Anna’s bodice is hand drafted by moi, I was shocked it fit even slightly.  I did the embroidery on the velvet with my machine, not heirloom quality but enough to get by.



Her skirt is a really cut down adult skirt pattern that still wasn’t small enough for her tiny waist.

Olaf was a tshirt with black circles painted on and a fleece carrot nose stuffed with fiber fill.

Kristoff was a grey fleece vest with burgundy binding at the neck.

Elsa’s dress was made from the Simplicity pattern a few months ago.

The queen and king got sashes with a Q and K on them and wore borrowed finery under them.


Saturday night we loaded up everything we had left and trekked back up to the parents.  My lovely sister-in-law Sarah helped to frost the box-mix cakes I had made earlier in the day.  I am absolutely awful at frosting cakes.  I just don’t have that skill. That’s why I’m Craft and not Bake..






Speaking of Bake, she made some of the most amazingly delicious cupcakes I’ve ever had.  Chocolate with chocolate ganache icing and strawberry (with strawberry mousse filling, omg!) and cream cheese icing. They both were topped with delicate snowflakes made from candy melts and brushed with pearl dust,  and she made melt in your mouth sugar cookies with mint icing.  Ridiculously good, people.  The most amazing thing she made was a marshmallow fondant version of Elsa’s crown, complete with melted candy jewel….blown away..












p.s. Stay tuned for a tutorial on the Elsa Crown!


Anyway, (wipes drool from mouth) the play went well despite some minor scenery malfunctions.  All the kids were excited to be in it and I kept the lines they needed to remember to one or two each.  After the play we ate and did presents and cake and snow cones!  All together a smashing birthday party.  A big thank you to everyone for helping set up and tear down and for all the presents!



It’s feeling a little chilly in here….



No, really.

It’s feeling a little chilly

….Hmm…wonder if the air conditioning is set too low.

Oh…that’s the problem..



I have an Elsa in my house..



I hear you can’t keep those things out this time of year…



And this one has





Ice Powers!


I’ve been looking around for a way to represent Ice Powers (safely) and this was the solution I came up with.  Tutorial Incoming!


Step 1.  Get some balls!


ballsThese were just perfect for the job.  I found them in the sports aisle at Target for $4.99 for 12 (or 24, I can’t remember)


Step 2.  Get some pretty Elsa fabric!





I have TONS of this kind of stuff right now.  I’ve been buying bunches of different ones trying to find ones that are Elsa enough so I have a lot to choose from.


Step 3.  Cut some squares!

I made mine 7 x 7 because I had a handy template that size.    Place a ball in the middle of your square.





Step 4. Gather up the material around the ball and twist it slightly.  I did a blue layer and a silver layer on the outside.  Like this




Step 5.  Thread a needle and poke it through the center of your twist, bring it out the other side and wrap it around the outside 4 or 5 times, then sew through the middle 2 or 3 times and break thread.




Step 6.  Cut some ribbons however long you want them to be.  Tie around gathered fabric and knot a couple of times.




Step 7.  Give them to Elsa and watch out!






I may have mentioned previously that we are doing a Frozen birthday party for the Zombie girl this year so this is just the first of the madness that is coming up.  I can’t wait to watch the kids play Freeze Tag with these!

If you aren’t a sewer/sewist, hot glue should work just as well for this project.  After I made the first one I experimented with different things.  I stuffed the rest of the balls with scraps of the silver material and tied ribbons into the holes and then fabric around the outside, twisted and sewn so they would be weighted ever so slightly more.  The only complaint I have is how visible the balls are, if I made them again I would use a non-sheer square in the middle and then sheers over top.  Happy Ice Power making to you!