Japanese Primer

During the last couple of months I added some Japanese sewing books to my collection. I love the clean designs of the dress styles and home accessories depicted therein. Although the instructions are often accompanied by detailed drawings that allow one to follow along without having to read the actual descriptions of the steps, I’ve decided that in order to make something like the dress above, I’d like to have a better idea of what I’m supposed to do. Luckily some very generous people have posted translations of Japanese sewing and knitting terms.
Moving Hands has an initial collection of terms and also refers those of you who read French to Japan Couture Addict’s. This blog documents its members’ Japanese sewing adventures. In the sidebar you can find an additional collection of links to sewing terms (including Batty...

Complete Embellishing by Kayte Terry

A few weeks ago, I received this gorgeous book from Kayte Terry. Kayte describes herself as a “stylist/writer/crafty lady from Brooklyn, NY”. She grew up in a household where the motto was not “Where do I buy it?” but “How do I make it?”


With her first book, Kayte shares a glimpse of her crafty life by introducing us to basic embellishing techniques and demonstrating how to apply them to enhance clothing, accessories, and home furnishings. The comprehensive Tools and Techniques section of the book is a great resource. Kayte covers embroidery, crochet, trims, felting, beads and sequins, applique, fabric printing, and painting and etching. This is followed by the Projects section where she seeks to inspire you to combine these techniques and create your own, unique style.


Fair Display

I’m participating in our local street fair this weekend and am playing around with some display ideas. What do you think about these:

To show off the earrings, I’m using cheapo champagne glasses filled with glass chips from the dollar store. They are positioned on a bed tray covered with a velvet remnant. I tried to follow the rainbow spectrum (Roy G. Biv) in lining up the earrings. The height of the bed tray lifts the display a little closer to the customer.

For this display I painted clothes pins and their holders, slipped the rings over these newly fashioned “ring holders,” added a doily, and lined them all up on a cake stand. I’m planning on putting little stickers with the ring size on the bottom of the pins. Not quite sure what Plan B will be if it’s a really windy day. Maybe I should bring a little basket with me in case the...

Kids’ Puppet Show Curtain

I am all about- what can you make with 1 yard, 1 skein, etc. And so in a pinch for a gift I used one yard of fun fabric to make a doorway puppet show curtain.


With a $4 tension rod and 1 yard of fabric we have already had hours of fun around our house playing with puppets and stuffed animals, having musical concerts, and using as a special door into my son’s room with a “doorbell” you have to ring.


Two of the sides of fabric didn’t even need hemming because they were the finished edge off the bolt and the other 2 ends I serged and turned over and hemmed across to make a casing for the rod. I have specialized curtains too by “monogramming” with a large felt letter sewn on and sequin ribbon stripe near the top, to make it more girly. There is so much you could...

Digital Scrapbook Paper: Things to Do

Digital Scrapbook Papers are not only for scrapbooking. You can use them for a a lot of different craft projects.
Where To Get Them

Digital Scrapbook Place: You must register to gain access to their freebies page, which offers a myriad of digital papers
Crafts Beautiful: this British DIY site provides a ton of tutorials. Every month Crafts Beautiful introduces a new set of “backing papers.”
Shabby Princess: Here you can find gorgeous sets of papers and embellishments. I used the 2005 holiday sampler for the projects on this post

What To Do With Them

Print on paper and make paper beads, paper boxes (Mirkwood Designs has nice templates), envelopes,...

Her Little Kingdom–Interview with Alexandra Rentz

Hamburg-Schnelsen is a sedate part of my childhood town where the butcher shop is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary and my brother’s kindergarten buddy took over the family pharmacy business.  So my mother was excited to tell me about a new shop on our main street. “The woman who runs it just reminds me so much of you,” she said. And that’s how I met Alexandra in her store Das Kleine Koenigreich. The little kingdom over which she presides is filled with pretty pink and blue linens, fabrics, and other treasures she crafts in her studio in the back of her shop. Of course I had to stop by for a chat to find out how she became our new-girl-in-town.

So how did you get here?

It all started five years ago when my mother gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. I had never sewn before and started to teach myself while...

Book Club Meeting: Lotta Prints & Giveaway

Stencil created using card stock and circle hole punch by pldover12

When I first got this book, I thought “Hmm, $19.95 (actually $11.61 from Amazon) not much to it for just seven techniques. ” I am now completely hooked on potato and leaf printing and have come to truly appreciate this little gem. This is the kind of crafting book I will pick up seeking inspiration and not necessarily instruction. It covers:

Rubber Stamping
Iron-on Printing
Leaf Printing
Potato Printing
Lino Block Printing, and
Screen Printing

In addition it is filled with gorgeous pictures of completed projects and inspiration tablets that give you a little insight in Lotta’s design process.

How To Use Hand Sewing Machine

A hand sewing machine is a small, handheld device. This is popular because it’s so portable, allowing you to pack it when traveling. You can use this resource to understand a little more about what a hand sewing machine is and what the pros and cons of purchasing one are. However, before we look in more detail at how to operate the device, you need to make sure that you’re getting a suitable model. This Tailoring device for amateurs analysis will tell you more about some of the most popular options on the market and tell you a little more about what you should be looking for when deciding which one to buy. Now, let’s look at some of the things you need to know once you’ve purchased your hand sewing machine....