{sew inspiring - "sew can she"}

A new year, a new look to my Monday Morning Inspiration posts.  Calling it now "Sew Inspiring" where you can meet some of the very inspirational crafters, sewers and artists right in your own neighborhood.  Or in the next state.  Or across the ocean.  You get the idea.

Join me on Mondays to meet some inspiring artists.  Want to be featured?  Just send me an email...twopeasinapoddesigns at gmail dot com.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you today, the adorable Caroline from Sew Can She.

Sew can she{Since the feature is called Sew Inspiring, can you tell me what inspired you to sew all the time and then start SewCanShe.com?}

It’s funny how life leads you in ways you would never expect. I cannot remember ever not sewing, I guess my mom taught me that young. My sewing machine got packed away for college however, and then I loaned it to my sister for a while. It wasn’t until I had babies that I decided to start sewing again. But then, I might have cracked had I not had sewing to escape into for a while each day. It was like I could sit down at the machine and my worries would fall away. It saved me. Then I started making pdf patterns and a little company started. But eventually I knew what I really wanted to do, and that was make a site where people could be surprised, delighted, and excited each day by a new sewing tutorial. And, where I could help all those great tutorials out there get noticed!

{What continues to inspire you each day and how do you keep your art fresh? Inspiration each day}

My daughter Chloe is my inspiration. She’s only 6 but she has more creativity in her little finger than an entire Hobby Lobby store!  Really. I know you don’t believe me, you think it’s just the mom in me talking, but she blows me away. Someday she is going to really make something. I don’t know what yet, but you just wait and see.

{What 3 words best describe you?}

Dorky, creative, and stubborn. :)

{What could you not live without to get through each work day?  Your phone/computer, sewing machine or your coffee?}

I know I should say computer because I am on it so much, way too much. But I have such an emotional tie to my sewing that I think I would die without a sewing machine.  You’ll never catch me lovingly oiling and talking to my computer, but my sewing machine – all the time.

{What is the best part of your job as a designer?}

This is easy.  Being a part of the online sewing/blogging community.  All of the sewing, blogging moms and grandmas I have met have been so cool, so sharing, and so real.

{What advice would you offer to someone when it comes to living a creative life?}

Find what makes you happy. What makes the stress melt away. And what gives you a chance to share with others. Creative doesn’t have to be sewing or painting. It could be building robots.

{What can we expect to see from you in the coming year in terms of new projects and design?}

Funny, just today my sister said to me ‘the ideas you have next year will be completely different from the ideas you have today.” I hope that’s true. I don’t want to ever get stuck focusing on the same thing for too long. So, we’ll just have to see!

Thanks Caroline for a peek into your inspiring self!  Be sure to visit Caroline at Sew Can She for great sewing ideas everyday.

{Ho! Ho! Homemade!}

It's kinda nice when Christmas lasts more than just one day.  We have family here in town and elsewhere across the state and our "Christmas" lasts at least a week.  No complaints from the Peas or Sprout, for sure.

We visited with my Mom and Dad last week.  It was "Ho! Ho! Homemade Holidays!" for sure.  My parents are both in their late seventies and honestly, what the heck do you buy when truly, they either already have it or they don't want it.

I'm very blessed in that my parents take very good care of themselves.  My Mom will see some older person, shuffling along slowly, and she will lean over and say, "I don't ever want to be like that".  So my Mom and Dad, work out.  At least twice a week or more, they go to the gym and do the weight machines, walk the track, treadmill, etc.  And they don't skip for nothing!  When the peas were visiting with them, they packed them up and had them come along.  It's really important to them to keep it up and I'm so thankful for their good health at this stage of their life.

I digress.  Where was I?  Oh yeah, homemade holidays...can't buy them anything, yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, as I do for most celebrations with them, I make something.  Here's a few of the oddities and such I gifted them this year.

  • A pillow made from my Farmhouse Funk pillow pattern.
  • A quilted wall hanging.  I added family photos to it and some other tidbits like lace, yarn, buttons, etc to it as well.  I used that computer fabric paper stuff.  THIS is what I used.  My parents really loved it.  It was pretty quick to make too!  The photos were hard copies I put on our printer and made color copies of using that printable fabric.  Could not be easier!
  • Love the stuff Joel Dewberry has out right now.  I made this little travel pouch and a patchwork scarf for my Mum too!   I won't tell you EXACTLY how old my Mom is but does she look like she is in her very late seventies?!  Heck no!!  She looks fab!

I had a bunch of other things I gave her too like a cool paper garland, some mason jars covered with a felted sweater and appliqued, and a bag...you know when you're little and you make a picture, how exciting that was to give to your parents and they would tack it up on the refrigerator?  That feeling never grows old.  I love making stuff for my parents.

Remember me talking about the meltdown Sprout had about wanting a bike at our North Pole party?  Guess what?  The grandparents came through and man, was she one tickled little girl!  She wakes up and says, "Can we go out in the ga-rawg so I can wing my bell?".  Too cute!!  She had been eyeing this old fashioned display that was in the window of our local hardware store - 2 years running now - with all the retro Radio Flyer toys.  She's been dreaming of this little red bike for a long time.

We've enjoyed our time off from school and work.  Lots of fun sewing, hiking and visiting with family and friends.  It was actually pretty warm over the holiday and we enjoyed being outside.  Love hiking over at "Daddy's park" where he is a Park Ranger.  (Note my sewing assistant taking a break - normally, while I sew, she stands behind me and twirls MY hair while she sucks her thumb.  It's a pretty good system we've worked out)

As I sit here and type this morning, the snow is flying and we are all so glad to see it!  Hope it dumps on us and stays for a long time!  Hiking in the new snow is way amazing and I miss it.  AND...We are ready to pull out the sleds and cross country skis for sure!

Did you sew up anything for the holidays?  Do share!  Would love to see what you crafted up over the holidays!

::sew sew sew along::

A couple of fun finds I had to share... Come over to Sew Sweetness for an Ava Bag Sew Along...Quilthome.com is even offering a nice discount for participants on fabric and the pattern(s).   Later this summer, they will be doing the Madison Bag.  I have some goodies planned for those who participate (which may or may not be some finished bags...)

Sarah B Designs is leading a sew along of the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress.  So adorable...loads of fun!  What are you sewing up right now?  Or special projects coming up?  Wanna share some fun links of your own?  Post them in the comments section so we can check them out!



A Two Peas Spring Challenge

{the voting is now closed}

Are you up to the challenge?  Well, a few weeks ago I asked that question and a few of you said "YES!".

I just thought it would be a good idea to get our brains thinking towards sunshine, green grass, and blooming flowers after months of knee deep snow and slush that has covered most of the US.  Am I right?  Are you ready for Spring?!?

Here's the challenge::  Set a handmade Spring scene.  Anything.  Handmade.  Bright.  Cheery.  Fun.  Handmade.

YOU - the readers, get to choose the "Springy-est".  Now, I must warn you, they are all kinds of cute and thoughtful and wonderfully crafted.  It will be hard to pick just one but just one is all you can pick!

Leave a comment with your pick (please one vote per person).  The "Springy-est" will be rewarded with some bright and cheery two peas store credit in the amount of $50!  Woot! Woot!

Here they are:

#1) Jenny Jo

Jenny Jo of Nebraska submitted this lovely little number she just stitched up!  Her six year old daughter is loving her new Feliz dress designed by Studio Tantrum and made from the Pop Garden fabric collection by Heather Bailey.  She looks a wee bit cold out there Mom!  And absolutely adorable!

#2) Ann W

Looks like these American Girls are getting ready to start their gardens!

Ann W.  shares, "My daughter made the seed stand out of boxes covered with fabric.  She printed the little seed packets and I made most of the little bags.  When I read your post about a spring set up, I thought we could do something with our dolls.  I mentioned it to my daughter and we eventually came up with the seed stand idea."

Check out all the detail - and the seed signs!  And, what's this?  Cute farmers market totes?  Great job!  You can follow Ann on her blog Winters Edge Home.

#3) Ms. Muffin

Ms. Muffin shared, "I made this adorable apron skirt from a pattern from Little Lizard King for my daughter as a Christmas present. I think the colors look so lovely together and was so happy with how it turned out. And my daughter loved it, too. And she did love to be allowed to jump on her bed for the photo shoot, too." I think the photo below is the pre "Mom can I jump on the bed?" shot.  Fabulous! Connect with Ms. Muffin on her blog muffins n more .

#4) Sara U.

This rainbow brought to you by Sara U.

"Here's my little rainbow sitting in the clouds enjoying the rain with a splash of sunshine in her hair.  :) This dress was my own design.  It's a band of fabric like a choker that buttons around the neck, a fitted bodice that gathers at the "choker" on the front and back.  The skirt is bands of fabric sewn together in a tube and gathered at the top to attach to the bodice.  I took the lace at the bottom from a dress I had but didn't wear and added the ric-rac and flower for extra fun."

She's just looking like a perfect pot of gold!  Follow Sara on her blog The Pretty Pickle.
That's it gang!  Our 4 entries...tweet, facebook, blog away and encourage others to come see the challenge and vote for their favorite!  Best of luck - they are ALL FABULOUS!  Thank you so much for crafting away and making Spring seem a wee bit closer!
{Grab a button girls and add it to your blogs if you'd like! Here's the code to paste with it!
<a target=”_blank” href=”http://twopeasinapoddesigns.com/2011/01/25/a-two-peas-spring-challenge/”><br><br><img border=”0″ width=”125″ alt=”Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs” src=”http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr225/2peasinapoddesigns/springchallenge-2-1.jpg”></a>

From trash to treasure

I am not ashamed to admit...I will stop the car on a dime, make my husband go back, come to a screeching halt...for a good trash find.  Is there a better way to furnish than reclaimed trash finds?  I think not! Over the summer, I got SUPER lucky in that a friend was moving and her trash - MY TREASURE!

Here's a lovely little chair I got that day.  Trash?  Look at those beautiful bones?  I couldn't wait to work on it...but a few other things were going on at the time and it has been sitting in my garage until last week.

I pulled her out.  Sanded her down.  Ripped that nasty seat down to the bare wood.  Then down in our basement, after the kids were gone and after I dropped Sprout at a sitters for the afternoon, I painted this little beauty.  I had been dreaming of a pretty little turquoise color or an apple green.  But with the seat fabric I chose, had to go with the apple green.  And I LOVE IT!


Used an old bed pillow I had (cuz I keep our old pillows...and make cute covers for them for our outdoor furniture).  I cut the bed pillow in half to get it to fit the seat (do you know how expensive foam is?  Yikes!  I say reuse - repurpose!!)  I used a gorgeous LOVE fabric from the Amy Butler collection to cover the seat.

Add to it a folding table from a discount store for $10, an old bed sheet I cut up and added ruffles to cover the table and viola!  A new little office desk space for me in my sewing room!

Are you a trash to treasure hunter too?





a little sewing room inspiration

I'm prepping this evening for my sewing class I'm teaching tomorrow.   I typically try to bring a little something for my students.  Candy and treats or a little sewing something or other.

And since I spent all day packaging sewing pattern orders during our snow day {oh yes, I think half the US had a snow day today, right? The two peas LOVE to bag patterns...I don't know why but I am thankful} I was feeling craft-deprived.  Haven't had my hands in any glue lately or threads on my clothes in days!

So, I crafted up these little jars for my girls coming to my class tomorrow.  You could fill them with buttons, hold your scissors, bobbins, tags...all kinds of things!

Wanna make one too for your sewing room?  Super easy...here's the 411.


  • glass jar
  • glue gun
  • ribbon
  • scrap fabric
  • small piece of batting
  • computer printer fabric (I'll explain more about this)
  • your computer and printer
  • cute tiny little clothes pins
  • seed beads

I found the computer printer fabric at my local JoAnn's.  Very simple to use.  Just load it into your printer like regular paper.  It has a paper back that you peel off after the ink dries.

I found the wreath design at The Graphics Fairy.  If you have never been to her site before...oh, are you in for a treat.  Fabulous graphics for you to use.  She's a REAL fairy...I love her.  I then typed the word sew and placed it in the center of the wreath design and then printed it on the fabric.

Once you have your image on the fabric, cut it out and set it aside.  Next, cut some scrap fabric a little bit larger than your image fabric.  Cut TWO (2) per jar - we are going to make these dimensional.

Use some stitch witchery or fusible something or other to fuse your image to one of the scrap fabric pieces.

Next, cut a disc of batting to fit in between the scrap fabric - one with the image on it and a piece for the back.  Make a sandwich.  Layer these up with the scrap fabric pieces wrong sides facing and the batting in the middle.

Now, stitch.  I started from the outer edge and went all the around in a spiral until I reached the center.

Next, use your hot glue gun and adorn the printed fabric with beads.  Hot glue the ribbon around the top of the jar.  Use your teeny tiny little bitty itsy bitsy clothes pins to clip your fabric to the ribbon and add a bit of glue here and there to be sure it all stays together.

How cute is this?  Wouldn't this be cute as a gift for a sewer and fill it up with fun bling bling buttons and and ribbons and other fun trims?  I'd love it!

If you make one - we'd love to see it!  Share it over on my Facebook page.

Don't forget!!!  Get crafting this weekend - you have until January 24th to submit your entry for my Spring Challenge.  Click on the icon to read more about - including the $50 shop credit you could win!!  



Life. Is. Good.

Life is what you make of it.  I truly believe that.  It's all about choices.  Following your passion.  Being true to your values.  Not being afraid to admit your mistakes.  Rising to the occasion.  Being faithful.  Offering and accepting forgiveness.  Having hope.  Trusting in a higher power.  Laughing out loud often.  Giving lots of hugs.  Celebrating friendships.  And successes. And with each passing year of my life, I learn these lessons a little more deeply.  Understand them more clearly.  Find peace in who God created me to be.  And not worrying about what I'm not.  Just loving what I am.

2011 is going to be an exciting year.  I'm finding my feet.  Enjoying the journey.  Celebrating the successes.  Small and all.

There are handful of exciting things that I have dreamed about for years.  Watching dreams come to reality is an amazing, amazing thing.  I'm so excited to share with you one of these exciting things coming on the horizon for our family.

I'm going to be working on a new show for PBS called It's Sew Easy. {insert joyous laughter and hugs here!}

In December, I went for a screen test and had so much fun!  I'm really looking forward to working with the crew and the other experts on the show.  I have NEVER done anything like this in my life - and it is SO much fun thinking about doing something new!  Meeting new people, finding new challenges, learning and sharing.

How cool is this?  YOU could be on the show!  BurdaStyle members can enter the competition to be chosen to do a guest spot on the show!  Go check it out and read all about how you can hook up with Burda and join in on the contest!

The show will be broadcast nationally across the US on PBS.  We begin taping in March and I'll have many more details to come with great links for the show and projects and more from It's Sew Easy. {eeeee!!! so excited!}



{a spring time challenge and reward}

Around these parts of the Midwest currently, the snow has melted for the moment and the grass is brown and it's cold.  It's kinda gray and we are missing our snowman and sledding.

And although I LOVE snow (I seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE snow!) and I'm anxious for more yet this Winter...my mind is starting to drift towards Spring.  How about you?

So...let's think SPRING together!

Over on my Facebook page I asked for everyone to share some of what they had been crafting up for the holidays and it was really fun to see what some of you were stitching away.  I thought it might be fun to do the same thing here on the blog.

{Here's my Spring time challenge:  Set a spring scene.}

Fun little tea party scene.  Your living room with a new throw and pillows.  Your little one dolled up in a new outfit for her and her doll. Something colorful, fun, bright and SPRING like!  Use your own creations, use a pattern...you decide.  But just make it something that shouts SPRING!  Really, the sky is the limit.  Just something that when we look at it makes you go, "Ahh, how sweet!" and makes you smile because it's just so darn, well, bright and cheery!

Then, once you have your fun bright spring creation all set up - take a photo and email it to me.  I'll post them all on my blog and let all of you vote on your favorites.  The winner will receive a $50 shop credit for Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs.

Deadline to enter is January 24th and I'll post all of the entries up on January 26th.  I'll leave it up for one week for voting.  Sound like a fun challenge?  I hope so!  Can't wait to see what you come up with!  You all are awesome!

(And to help you out with a little inspiration - use the coupon code "springfling" in my etsy shop and receive 25% off any of my sewing patterns now through January 15th.  Funky, ruffly, button covered, applique pillows, quilts, bag, dresses, aprons, flower banners...lots of fun things for Spring - just to get you ready for Easter and all!)

Oh look!  A cute little button you can grab if you're playing along!  (I'll fix the url to the post with all of your entries later...I'll post a new code so you can adjust.) But for now, try this:

<a target="_blank" href="http://twopeasinapoddesigns.com"><br><br><img border="0" width="125" alt="Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs" src="http://i486.photobucket.com/albums/rr225/2peasinapoddesigns/springchallenge-2-1.jpg"></a>

Have fun!



A Little Piece of Daddy or Mommy...close to my heart

For many families...they will be celebrating the 4th of July as a single parent.  They have a spouse who is serving our country and find that while we are all enjoying our freedoms that make America great - they are juggling everyday to take care of the house, the kids, work and worry and wait until their soldier comes home. Last week, my cousin Annette mentioned that my "Little Piece of Daddy" post from Earth Day would be a great project for those families.  What a perfect way to keep Daddy close then for a little girl to wear one of her Daddy's shirts.  My girls loved this project when we made these for just that reason.  It was a way to be close to their Daddy.

I thought it was worth repeating the first project I shared plus a new one with a t-shirt I made up last week.  These are both really quick.  Really easy.  And your kids will love more than anything that they get to wear something of Daddy's.

This camo t-shirt actually belonged to one of the Peas.  To make it into a dress for Sprout, here's what I did.  First, I cut the sleeves off and followed the outline from one of her tank tops to give the armholes a correct curve and size.

That will help you get the sizing down to a fit for your little one.  I saved the sleeves.  I cut the sleeves into strips, sewed a gathering stitch in hunter orange across the top (I say hunter orange like I meant to use that thread...I actually just didn't feel like changing the thread colors plus I like a little pop of color on the camo) of each strip and pulled / gathered it to fit on the front of the shirt.  I made 4 total strips.

You can see the top two strips I used the part of the sleeve that had the hem.  The next two were left raw.  It's knit, it won't fray much so it's ok to leave as is.  (and I'm a lazy sewer...I was going for the "a dress in 20 minute" look)  I layered each row just under the last row until all 4 rows were sewn on.

Then I wanted to add a couple of little roses.From the sleeves I cut off, I cut a couple of strips about 1/2" wide.  Starting in the center of my rose, I stitched right down the middle of that strip, slowly, and kept pulling and turning into a circle.  As I sewed, I kept moving my last row out of the way so as not to stitch it down or over it.  With my stitches down the center of the strip, you pull up the two sides to create your "petals" of the rose...make sense?

Then, with right sides together, I serged the dress from the bottom of the armhole down the cuts I had made to pull the dress back together.  I left the armholes raw meaning I did not hem them or anything - just cut and left them.  They roll in a bit on their own and it looks just fine.  That's it.  A new dress in minutes...

Now, what dress is not complete without a cute pair of boots, right?  Sprout has great fashion sense.Now, another method is to use a buttondown shirt of Daddy's and make it a sleeveless dress.  Here, I added ruffles and some additional fabric to the bottom to make a skirt.  {click on the photo and you'll find the 411 from the original post on this shirt dress}Thank you to all the wonderful men and women who serve our country in the military.  Thank you to your families for the sacrifices they have made so that you can serve to keep us all safe.  Freedom isn't free and everyday, our family thanks you for giving us our freedom.  May God bless you and hold you in the palm of His hand and carry you safely home.




{a recipe for fun...}

Mix well and add two very busy little swimmers on swim team plus a toddler in tow and you have a summer that is whirling around us as fast as can be...promise I'll be back to share much more about all these little snippets soon!

Enjoy these lazy days of summer!  {stop in over at Etsy it Up...you might find a birthday giveaway or 19! that you want to enter including something from Two Peas...}



Da-da-da-dum {otherwise known as "the wedding song"}

I was commissioned to sew up some little bridesmaid dresses for a wedding in New Orleans this June.  It sounded like a fun task to take on. It was.  And it wasn't.

First, they gave me plenty of time.  I procrastinated to the very last moment.  I was so overwhelmed about the prospect of sewing, not a little Sunday's best kind of dress, but for a gulp, wedding.  Every time I thought about the project, I got a nervous stomach.

Well, I got smart.  I called "Super Nova".  Nova is the mother of my dear friend Barb and she is the seamstress queen.  She spent 4 whole long days with me while we cut, recalculated patterns for custom fits and custom details, stitched, sewed, enjoyed lovely lunches in our sunroom with Sophie and chatted about sewing successes and failures.  

We had 4 machines going.  Lots of thread.  14 yards of fabric. And 4 beautiful sunny days with the most perfect breeze blowing through the house.

I learned a lot from Nova.  She had so many great ideas about how to make things look nicer, changing up the pattern so that the seams were nicer, adding details like a hem that has a faux underskirt look.  We added a nice sash to the dress.  My girls loved them and want one for themselves.  We used both the Lydia and Sophia pattern from Pink Fig Patterns.  (Her patterns are so simple - simple does not necessarily mean short and easy.  We spent around 32 hours making these 4 dresses plus a tie for a little boy.  55+ rows of shirring, 11 tiers of gathering on the skirts...it exhausts me even to type it out)

Best part, the bride was thrilled with them.  Phew!  Ask me if I'll ever sew for another wedding again?  Um, no.  Never.



Felting a who with what?

My sentiments exactly.

Being snowed in like we were last week...and over the weekend, and again this week...with the snow and the big flakes that won't seem to stop (I think we are a little over 22" for the week or so) encouraged me to actually try a few new projects like the crib sheet and necklace...and oh, yes, those boxes.  (hopefully some directions for you this Friday?  Don't hold your breath though, right?)

I've been hearing little snippets or seeing little things here and there about felting. What is that I wondered?  Do I have to have special tools?  Well, it's pretty simple.

Wool sweater.  Hot water wash.  Tumble dry.  That's felting.

So, the peas, little sprout and I...

made one of our trips over to see what's cool at the goodwill store.  I've had some pretty good scores there before.

We found some great sweaters.  The quality of wool makes a difference.  One sweater felted much nicer than the other.  One didn't seem to change the weave very much.  Felting should make it really tight.  After completing my project, and thinking about writing this post...I found this very helpful link.

Found many good sweaters.  I cut into a beautiful Ralph Lauren cashmere blend sweater today for the wrist cuffs in a yummy grape color.  And I'm  in the process of making more of these...which sell like crazy in town at the coffeehouse.And I felted some.  Now what?  What do you do with this stuff?  Well, I did what I do and that is make a bag.  With an owl.  Love my owls.

Yep, a fun project.  And I love upcycling and reusing stuff.  Have you made any cool green projects lately?  Do share!  Send me a link and I'll share them all in another post soon!



Happy Valentines Day!

Loads of snow dumped on us this week gave us just the excuse and time to do some sewing with the Two Peas.  They love it although one of them is a bit afraid of it.  She frequently reminds me of the scene in one of the American Girl movies where a child is sewing in a factory and sews over their finger.  Hence her fear.

Anyway, last year we made Valentines card boxes for their class party by covering a cereal box with fabrics.  This year, I had the great idea to make one of those fabric organizer boxes.  Only I didn't have a pattern - like usual.  And I searched some tutorials and I couldn't actually find one that was any good.  I only spent like 4 minutes looking - I was sure I could figure it out on my own.  If you know of one, please share!  (I did find this one which would be great for a baby gift but way more complicated than I was looking for this project.  I needed quick!)

I should mention here I don't do math in my head.  Or on paper.  Very well.  Not my strong point.

And these tutorials never specified any sizes just a choose your size then do this...blah, blah.  I need EXACT details...left up to me, um, you could be asking for disaster.  When it comes to numbers.

So, with that in mind, I mismeasured on the first box.  Duh?!  It was a rectangle, not square.  But, it's still super cute.   I have to say, I just stand over the top of the peas and help them not sew over their fingers.  They do the rest.  Getting better everyday.

Do you want to know how we did it?  Me too.  I'm gonna make one more and make sure I get my measurements correct on all the parts and pieces and then I'll share it with you.  And I'll have exact measurements for you so there will be no confusion!  These boxes would be great for all kinds of things where you need some storage!

For now, our family wishes you love and peace and all the happy hugs you can stand on this Valentines Day.  Snuggle with your sweeties, eat chocolate and have a really great day.

Valentines Day 2010 is my 12th wedding anniversary.

I have the greatest guy on earth.  In many ways but I love it when he spoils me.  Did I tell you?  This week after dinner I commented that I had printed off a Dairy Queen blizzard coupon to use sometime.  I went up to take a bath after dinner and when I came back down he said he had to run out...and came back with blizzards for all.   He's sweet that way.  We don't actually have any plans just yet because with all this snow we can't really get any of the grandparents over to help watch kids for us to get away but I hope to at least sneak off for a nice dinner sometime soon with my hubby of 12 years.

sew it up sunday {love on a limb}

Sew it up Sunday (formerly known as Make It Monday - a little name change to make the google searching easier for my projects) kits are available HERE. Each month, I feature a different tutorial and invite you to sew along with me and make something new.  Our February feature - a bit early - is inspired by Valentines Day.

For February, I made a table topper for our dining room table.  You can adapt this to make a doll quilt or a table runner by adjusting the size.  You can also do this in all kinds of bright colors for a spring /Easter table top.

Materials besides the usual sewing machine and other doo-dads:

Doll blanket : 6 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1/4 yard of flannel, 1/4 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique.  (assemble square to lay 2 x 3).  You can increase the size as needed.

Table Runner: 15 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1/2 of yard of flannel, 1/2 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique. (assemble squares to lay 3 x 5)  You can increase the size as needed.

Table Topper: 36 qty of 6.5" squares of varying fabric, 1 yard of flannel, 1 yard of backing fabric, scraps for applique  (assemble squares to lay 6 x 6)  You can increase the size as needed.

If you are quilter, forgive me for what you are about to read.  I fudge all the way through this project.  I'm a mother of 3, a baby who is on the go and my sewing time is limited.  I make no promises with this tutorial...give it your best shot.  I'm just sharing how I do it to get the look without all the work.  Sew at your own risk.

The directions are the same essentially for each item - the doll blanket, table runner or table topper.  You can expect the table topper to take roughly two nap times to complete.  What?  You need that in real time you say?  Sorry...about 4 hours or less.  You can expect the other two to take substantially less time than that.

  1. Cut your squares.  {my sample shown here has used mostly Moda's french general fabrics with a few others thrown in - I think they are perfect for this "season of love" we are in}
  2. Lay out all your squares until you get them in the design order you like.  If you've never "quilted" before...we are going to sew these in rows.
  3. With right sides together sew the square from your top row, far left to the neighboring square with 1/4" seams.  Press your seams open.

  4. With right sides together using 1/4" seams, sew the next square on and continue until your entire top row has been sewn together with all of your seams pressed open.
  5. Repeat for the rest of your rows.

6.  Take your top row of squares and with right sides together, pin your second row to the top row.  You                 see where we are going with this?

7.  Sew each row to the next and so on until your top is completely assembled.

{applying your applique}

Once your top is complete, you are going to sew on your applique picture of the birds with their heart on a limb.  Click here to download a pdf of the applique pattern pieces  Love on a Limb

For the doll blanket, you will cut out 2 birds, 2 beaks, 2 wings, one limb, and 3 hearts of varying sizes.  You can place the scene in the center of your blanket.

For the table runner, cut out 4 birds, 4 beaks, 4 wings, 2 limbs, and 6 hearts - 2 large, 2 medium, 2 small.  You can place them at either end of the runner.

For the table topper, cut out 8 birds, 8 beaks, 4 limbs, and 12 hearts - 4 large, 4 medium, 4 small.

I didn't really give you the heart pattern - remember from elementary school how you fold your paper (fabric) in half, draw your half a heart and cut?  You can figure out that part, right?

You will also need to cut some ribbon.  One that will loop over your limb and one to tie into a bow.

I use a little stitch witchery to "glue" my applique pieces all down so they don't move while I'm stitching.  Place your bird beaks a little under your bird to hold them on better.  Place your wing on your bird, birds on their limb and your hearts all together.

Take your one piece of ribbon and BEFORE you "glue" or stitch your limb down, run your ribbon behind the limb.  Stitch all your applique pieces on.  I used both a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch and leave all my edges raw for that vintage look.  I looped my ribbon over the limb, sewed it down and then put a few stitches through the center of the ribbon bow to hold it together.

That's it.  Be patient.  I found that applying all of these appliques to the table topper took as much time as piecing the top.  If you have any questions - zip me a note!  But, be creative.  This is just the basic idea.

8.  Next, lay your completed top on top of your flannel.  Typically, in quilting, you use quilt batting.  Since I was using this on my table I didn't actually want all the loft that quilting creates.  I wanted to have some heft to it and lay flat on my table and so I choose to use flannel.  

9.  You want to make sure you have both layers pulled taut and everything smooth.  Pin your layers together and cut your flannel the same size as your top.

10.  Quilters - close your eyes.  You won't like this a bit.  I didn't quilt the top at all.  Instead, being lazy and needing to finish quickly, I simply did some decorative random stitching around the top to hold the layers of flannel and the top together.  You will see my random stitches in some of the photos.

11.  Next, the backing.  Being cheap and thrifty - I had a new bed sheet that I bought on clearance for pennies.  I used that for my backing.  This isn't a blanket (well, for the table top / runner at least) where          you will see both sides because it's flat on your table so if you can use some inexpensive plain fabric -               that works great for your budget!)  Lay your top onto your backing fabric and cut to size.

12.  Pin all 3 layers right sides together and sew around all sides using a 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave an opening about 8" long for turning.  I know, I know...this is not how to quilt.  We are cheating -                         remember?!   Who has time for a binding?  The baby is waking up soon!

13.  Turn your table top right side out.  Press and make your edges all nice and crisp.

14.  Now, our "binding" is really just a top stitched border.  I go around twice.  It'll do.  Be sure you have your opening securely closed.

Well, there you have it.  A doll blanket, table runner or table topper with some sweet little applique.  Pretty and nobody will know you totally fudged the whole quilting process - well, except for quilters who are cursing my name I imagine after reading this (tee! hee!)

Next month's {sew it up sunday} project will be some softies.  They are so much fun - I've been collecting some great beaded necklaces to adorn mine....you'll love this little project!

Hope you enjoyed this one - please share and link back to me.  Leave me a comment and let me know so I can come visit you too!  Don't forget, I do have a few kits available in my etsy shop for this project.

AND when you've finished your project - go click over there =>>> in the sidebar on my Flickr page.  I have a group for Sew It Up Sunday projects.  I'd love to see what you come up with!

And check out all the other goodies at Get Your Craft on on Today's Creative Blog



So in Sew withdrawl...

I'm experiencing a little bit of "sewing withdrawl". See, I'm used to working under intense pressure, too many orders, deadlines and have heaping amounts of anxiety to get it all done.

But in my New Year's resolutions - I'm "scheduling" my work better.  Being more careful about the work I take on.  Trying NOT to drive my family crazy with my um, craziness.

SO, without all of that pressure - I'm kind of sewing at a slow steady pace.  Churning a little bit out at a time.  This.  That.  The other.  I'm even making myself...a jacket.  It might not be done until it snows again next year but at least I'm doing a few "me" projects that don't involve marketing, advertising and sales.  Ahhh...that feels nice.

Wanna see what I have been casually stitching on?

See?  That's like nothing.  I've got a few more things in the works...

Just gonna enjoy the slow ride while I can...oh yeah.  You got anything interesting going on in your sewing room?



make it monday {patchwork wristlet}

Make it Monday - Trish Preston - Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs

The Patchwork Wristlet - January 2010

Are you ready?  Here we go...

New for 2010, I will be hosting "make it monday" "sew it up sunday" (I'll explain the change later!) at the top of every month. Make it Monday Sew it Up Sunday is your opportunity to make something with me.  I'll have the complete instructions for you here on my blog.

In addition, if you're feeling pressed for time and want to sew along with us but don't have the time to put it all together, I'll have a limited number of kits prepared for you.  HERE in my etsy shop, you will find a handful of these projects all cut and ready to be sewn for you under the make it monday sew it sunday category.  Neatly packaged and ready to ship but only available for a very limited time.

Let's sew!

To start off the new year, a patchwork wristlet. You can adorn the front with a brooch, a buckle, a button, a yo-yo - be creative!   Read through all of the instructions first before beginning.

Here's what you'll need fabric wise besides all the typical sewing do-dads:

  • 5 strips of fabric cut 2" x 6.5"
  • a piece of fabric cut roughly 8.25" x 6.5" for the rear exterior.  I usually wait to cut this - using my top panel as my pattern.
  • 2 pieces of heavy fusible fleece interfacing cut 7.5" x 5.25" give or take.  You just want this to be about 1/2" smaller than the piece you are fusing it to.
  • a strap cut 2" x 14" in length
  • a piece of ribbon for the front of the wristlet
  • prequilted cotton, corduroy or heavy home dec fabric for the interior OR you can choose a quilting cotton.  Cut 2 approximately 8.25" x 6.5" (I usually do not cut my interior until I get my top pieced - then I use that top as my pattern to cut the exterior back and the interior pieces.  If you use a heavy fabric, you don't need to interface it.  If you choose to use a quilting cotton, you will want to interface it.
  • your embellishment for the front
  • 7" or 9" zipper

  1. Using 1/4" seams, sew your 5 strips of fabric together to construct the front.

3.  Use the top you have just assembled as your pattern.  Lay it on the fabric you chose for the rear exterior and cut out the rear panel.  Then cut out your interior pieces as well.

4.  Fuse the interfacing to the front and rear exterior panels following manufacturers instructions.

5.  Press your strap.  Press the fabric in half.  Open up.  Then press each half in half to the center.  Press in half again.  Stitch down both side of strap.

6.  Topstitch the front panel 1/8" from the edge of each seam / patch.  You can skip this if you want but it looks nice to topstitch.

7.  Stitch on your ribbon to the front panel.

8.  Make a loop with your strip and lay your wrist strap about an inch or so down from the top along the side - matching up raw edges and stitch.

9.  Sewing on your zipper.  I used a 7" zipper however, it is exactly the same size and can be a bit tricky to work with.  If you want a little wiggle room, use a 9" zipper.

10.  With right side up, lay your front panel down on your table.  Take your zipper and lay it right side down.  Take one of your lining pieces and line it up with the front panel and zipper and pin all 3 layers together - making sure everything is even.  Refer to the photo here for this step.

11.  Now flip these out so that your wrong sides are facing together and give it a little press.  Topstitch.

12.  Repeat for the rear panel.  If you're not sure if you have it correct - pin in place and then flip around while pinned so you can check before you sew.  Oh, you knew that!

13.  Don't forget to topstitch again!  When you are all done attaching your zipper it will look like...

14.  NOW...put your right sides together for the exterior panels, pin, and sew all 3 sides using a 1/2" seam allowance.  You'll need to fidget with it a bit, line up your seams along the zipper, push the zipper up a bit...you'll get it.  You want it to come together all nice and neat.

15.  Once you've sewn around those 3 edges, open up your zipper almost all the way.  Now pin the lining panels together, right sides together.  Stitch around all 3 sides and leave an opening in the bottom.  Clip the corners.

16.  Turn your bag.  You'll be pulling it all through the lining opening.  Sew the lining closed and tuck it inside the bag.

You're done.  How's it look?  I added a little ribbon to my zipper for a pull.

Everytime I do something new - it never turns out that great the first go 'round so practice and in a time or two of making these - you'll be a pro!

Do you have any suggestions?  Did you like it?  Did I screw anything up?  (I wouldn't be surprised :>) ) I'd love to hear from you so please - leave me a comment and let me hear from you.

Of course, post your make it monday projects on my Flickr page so we can all take a look at the gems you are creating.

Next months Make it Monday Sew it up Sunday project is full of Valentine sweetness - a doll blanket OR table topper.  I'll be posting the kits for this project in about a week give or take a few days so you can have them shipped in time for the project post when it comes up (I'm actually posting the Make it Monday Sew it up Sunday February project on January 25th) and you can whip it out straight away for the holiday.

{and just an extra note...I hope you enjoy the ideas and photos on my blog but please note that the content here including photos and text are the property of Trish Preston and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Trish Preston.  For any inquiries, please email me at twopeasinapoddesigns@gmail.com.  Thanks!}



When I feel afraid or think I've lost my way...

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"  Psalm 119: 105

You may remember me mentioning a little boy nearby that is the same age as my twins who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  His Mom is friends with a friend of mine from church and I follow their updates on their CaringBridge site.

His Mom posted this today on their site:

Part of me wishes I can get a glimpse into 2010....that I could see the future and what God has planned for Sam this year. I was reading in a devotional today called Everyday Blessings by Max Lucado. This was the devotional for today- December 31st "God isn't going to let you see  the distant scene. So you might as well quit looking for it. He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future. We do not need to know what will happen tomorrow. We only need to know He leads us and we will find grace to help us when we need it." Psalm 119:105- Your word is like a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.

What resonated with me and in particular, on this New Year's Eve is that 2010 is a year full of possibilities.  I have no idea where it will take me but I do know that this Psalm is something that I frequently say as I prepare for communion.  I always ask for God to light my path and lead me to where He needs me to be.  For all of us - that we have eyes wide open to see what is before us and follow the path.

And as I think about this for 2010 - I have no idea where on earth that path will lead.  I wish I did.  As she mentioned, I wish I too had a crystal ball.

We have had a particularly rough year financially - as have many people.  I don't want to go into personal finance details but the decision for me to work part time so I can be home with our kids all those years ago - well, we felt it more this year than we ever have before.  And it's a real bummer at times.  That decision simply means that we can't do a whole lot of extra things and trying to explain that to our kids can be heartbreaking.  And there are times I feel afraid or think I'm totally lost at where I'm supposed to be going.  Did we make the right decisions?  Faith shines and I know that we have...

This Christmas, I paid for all of it out of my craft money.  Every single gift, which wasn't a lot but it was special to them, paid cash from my craft shows and local sales.  And sales - were dismal.  Everyone is hurting right now.  And all those days I told them to quit bugging me for just a few hours in the afternoon after spending all morning with them so I could sew because I was prepping for holiday shows...well, they finally got it.  They understood how hard I worked and why.  Christmas day, they were almost in tears when they realized that the gifts they were so excited about came from us  - from all that hard work.  It clicked.

But being broke sometimes can be a blessing.  And really, we aren't "broke".  We just don't have the "extras" and what is that anyway?

I think we all learn valuable lessons about what we value.  And stuff isn't it.  It just isn't.  We craft more.  Garden more.  Window shop.  Splurge on dollar shakes at Arbys.  Go to kids eat free nights at Skyline.  We go to the park where they Dad is a Ranger.  We visit with friends.  We bake.  We go to the thrift store to look for treasures.  I'm a major bargain shopper when it comes to clothing and shoes.  We find ways to spoil them but in meaningful ways and ways to do it that make it special - and we love them a whole bunch and they know it, feel it and return it to us and everyone around them.  They make me a better person every day.  Them.  Not because of me as a parent to them.  Because they are amazing little people with a faith of their own and they inspire me to love and live better each day.

I guess, my point is - this Psalm, asking God to guide us, to trust that we will be provided for and to trust the journey we are on is not one that we know where it's going but one that we are meant to be on and will be exactly what we need.  I shouldn't need to know what will happen tomorrow but live for today.

It makes me feel very hopeful for 2010.

I hope you feel that hope and excitement that  a New Year brings and may you be blessed more than you ever could imagine.

Happy New Year!

xoxo, Trish

Etsy schmetsy!

Spent the better part of um, all day, loading new stuff in to the etsy shop.  Wanna sneak peek?

Hmmm...and did I happen to mention that if you find something you can't live without over in my etsy shop and you just happen to be a blog subscriber (it's easy to do - just look over in the sidebar =>) that you'll get a little something extra in your package?  What is it you say?  That's a "new year's surprise" but I promise - you'll love it!  ok...I'll give you a little hint...Gotta get back to making dinner - the hubs has already started without me and the baby is crying because she wants more "cawk-late" - chocolate milk.  I gave her Ovaltine yesterday - wow!  I've created a monster!  She comes in, pointing at the cabinets - "cawk-late! cawk-late!".  What have I done!?

Next post - a zip top wristlet tutorial!



...and all through the garden

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the garden Not a pea was stirring, Oh, I do beg your pardon.

The tools were all hung in the barn with care,

In hopes that a new harvest soon would be there.

Our little peas were napping all snug in their beds

while visions of tomatoes, beets and pumpkins danced in their heads.

And Mama in her apron and I in my straw hat,

had just settled down with an iced tea and sat,

When out in the garden there arose such a thud,

We both sprang to our feet and ran through the mud.

Away to the barn I flew like a flash,

Tore open the doors and made a mad dash.

The sun danced upon the glistening leaves,

we looked at each other and rolled up our sleeves.

When what to our wondering eyes should appear,

But a buck and doe and two twin deer.

With a hush and wink, we stopped in our tracks,

knelt down low and and admired the bucks rack.

They were quiet and sweet

and walked softly on their feet.

They munched on some apples from the tree up above,

then the Mama gave each twin a nudge with such love.

We watched them disappear back to the forest,

and listened as the peepers sing a lovely chorus.

Our harvest has been grand, your friendship so bright,

We've been blessed beyond measure and give thanks this Christmas night.

For each of you, our dear friends far and near,

You've made 2009 such a wonderful year.

We wish you health


and much love

in the New Year!

From your friends at Two Peas in a Pod Homegrown Designs!

The Gardener and Trish and all the little peas!

Loving the Liverpool

Have I ever told you about my girls and their "twinspeak"?

Having identical twins - my first born(s) - I was clueless to language development.  What should be occurring when, etc.  They were communicating.  I understood them.  I thought all was fine.

But one day, while at a doctors appointment for me, my doc said, "Hey, you should have them evaluated.  They have a speech delay."  Huh?  What the heck!  There's nothing wrong with my kids.  Well, come to find out, they had actually developed their own language - twins speak - it was so intense that it began to interfere with their academic development.  It has hindered their ability to read and comprehend.  Their articulation has been very poor.  And still, in the 3rd grade, we are working so very hard, to get them where they need to be.  I mean, they would turn to each other, say something we couldn't began to understand, the other would run upstairs and bring her sister a pair of socks.  What?!  They look at me and go, "yeah, sissy asked me to get her socks".  Seriously, crazy.  Cute at first.  Now that we have baby number 3, her language development is a night and day difference.  Way more advanced than the twins.  Who knew?  We didn't.

We have been incredibly blessed - incredibly blessed this year, with a wonderful teacher who has made more strides with our girls than any teacher ever has.  She has reached out to them and to us in a way no other teacher has.  And we are so grateful for her.

Guess what?  She sews.

Yep.  I mean, am I little biased over my enthusiasm for her because she's a fellow "seamstress"?

OK, maybe just a little (tee hee!).  But she is the most dedicated, hands on, exciting, loving teacher my kids have ever had (and we've had some wonderful teachers).

She makes loads of cute things to wear to school.  Recently she sewed up the Liverpool shirt which is a new pattern from Amy Butler (our "neighbor" here in the next town over).  I asked if she would share her experiences with the pattern with you all and she took on the challenge.  So...if you've thought about sewing this up - here's her experience with it!  Enjoy!

I recently sewed the Liverpool by Amy Butler, and I was asked to write a quick review on the pattern for this blog.  Although I have enjoyed sewing since middle school, I still consider myself at a mid-beginner’s level and the amount of projects I have done with sleeves is very limited, so the Liverpool was a definite challenge.  I tried this project because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.  :>)

There are several different options to the Liverpool, and I chose to sew the tunic with ¾ length sleeves.  I had a friend help me modify the pattern to ensure the proper fit, using two different sizes at different places on the tunic based on the measurements of my hips and chest.


Most of the directions were clear, but I did have to read some of the steps through several times before I felt comfortable enough to execute that step.  For example, step 7 tells you to sew the two back panels together with a French seam.  It was the first time I had done a French seam and there were no pictures illustrating this step at all.  However, I proceeded with this step even though I was very unsure.  Despite my misgivings, I found the French seam to be quite lovely when I was finished!  I will try this seam again.

Most of the difficulties that I did have would have been easier had there been a few more illustrations.  The illustrations that are in the pattern are excellent – with labels indicating sides of fabric and more.

Amount of Time

This project was definitely time consuming for me, but this may not be the case for more experienced seamstresses.  I spent about 4 days on it – working when I could on the weekends and in the evenings after work.

Fabric Choice

Upon completing my project, I was not happy with my choice of fabric. I had chosen a solid color of relatively cheap fabric for the simple fact that I wasn’t sure I would be able to complete the project.  I did not want to spend the money on designer fabric when I wasn’t sure if it would turn out.  Next time, I will chose a nicer more colorful print, which would have led a little excitement to the piece, which has simple lines and a loose fit.

Finishing Touches

Finally, I want to point out that this pattern, like other Amy Butler patterns, included some finishing touches that I have not seen in other patterns, such as the French seam mentioned earlier, and sewing the edges of the darts.  I like these additions, as I feel they make the garment more stylish and more complete.

Thanks so much Mrs. R for the review!  I love it!