Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quickie Video on Sewing Machine Essentials

You can also find this on YouTube --

I'm also in the process of doing one for hand sewing -- 



p.s.  Be sure and enter the giveaway below . . . 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oooooh! Presents!

I thought a giveaway was in order.  I love presents, especially giving them!  My greatest joy at Christmastime and birthdays is watching the faces of those to whom I give.  It's such fun planning and scheming and plotting to put together just the right thing that would delight them.

Here's the big prize package to delight you!  It's just a few things I had around, so nothing too spectactular.  But I hope it will be a treasure for one of you:

There are three pieces of polished cotton fabric (each is the better part of a yard), quite a bit of lace, a generous heap of buttons, and the latest issue of Sew Somerset magazine.

(the buttons are on the blue fabric -- that's actually not a big white flower in the print.  My photography skills are sorely lacking!)

In order to win, just leave me a comment below telling me how you'd make something creative and fabulous from these humble pieces.

I'll choose a winner on August 7.  Be sure to leave me your email address in your comment so I can let you know if you win.

Sadly, I cannot send this package outside the US -- but for my readers abroad, I'd be happy to send it to a friend you might have here who can forward it on to you.

I can't wait to read your ideas!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrift Store Haul for the 50+ Crowd

All over YouTube there are these people doing "haul" videos.  Basically, they just go over what they bought -- kind of like chatting with your girlfriend about what you got when you went shopping.

Sometimes, here at our house, we call it "The Fashion Show" when it involves trying on clothing.

So to adjust this sort of thing to the 50+ crowd (of which I am an active member), I changed it up.  I'm calling it "The Thrift Store Score."

After this many years, I get (admittedly) cheaper by the year, tighter than a tick, and stingier than Scrooge.  I can, as did my grandmother, get at least 3 more sandwiches out of that empty jar of peanut butter.  And I seriously have had to make myself throw away things and say out loud to myself "Jen, this isn't the depression!  It's gone!  Throw it away!"

The rubber spatula was invented for obsessive-compulsives like me.

Well anyway, I digress.  I found a whole bunch 'o cool stuff on my last Mental Health Day --  and here it is!

(You may not be able to see the entire frame here because of the size of the video.  If you can't, please go to Thrift Store Score July 2010 to view it on YouTube)

Enjoy --


Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Amazing Find

OK, how's this for a God-directed incident?

I attended Cincinnati Christian University during the early 1980's, and my husband's parents both graduated from there.  So I get the alumni magazine regularly.  I try to regularly check out the "alumni updates" section just to see what's up with friends.

So today I'm reading through the CCU 514 magazine, checking out the Alumni News, and I come across this:  

          Emily Hill (Att’d 99-2000) has started an online 
          boutique, Stop Traffick Fashion, combining her
          interest in fashion and her passion for fighting 
          human trafficking. Stop Traffick Fashion exists 
          to raise awareness of human trafficking, 
          empower survivors and support organizations 
          that are rescuing and providing rehabilitation 
          for survivors. Visit
          to find out more.

This girl is making a significant difference in the world, in a way I can appreciate!  

Here are a few of my favorites from StopTraffick, along with information about the company that makes them:

The Diana Purse, $59.99: 

STOPStart (Formerly Hagar Design) employs women from Hagar International in Cambodia.  Hagar works with women and children from devastating backgrounds of violence, abuse, and trafficking and supports them in their recovery, rehabilitation, job readiness, and community reintegration. Hagar is committed to individualized and long-term assistance for its beneficiaries, advocating the strategic use of the social enterprise model as a tool for social rehabilitation and economic empowerment.

The Freedom Tee, $21.99:

They’re here! Freeset tees are made by women in Kolkata, India who were once marginalized and trapped by poverty and prostitution. Freeset has given them a way to find freedom. They have learned new skills and now earn a respectable, shame-free living making tees for you! A Freeset Tee sustainably pulls people out of poverty, children and pesticides out of fields, and women out of the sex trade. Make your money count!

The Blushing Necklace, $74.99:

Wonderfully Made’s model of social entrepreneurship hopes to provide an alternative income for girls and boys leaving trafficking situations. Sustainable jobs are created through producing high quality products desired by Western markets. The jewelry is made in Chiang Mai, Thailand and helps to provide hope and new life for survivors of human trafficking.

and The Blue Butterfly Bag, $18.99:

The Emancipation Network helps survivors of slavery rebuild their lives, earn sustainable income, acquire education, and reintegrate into society. They work to prevent slavery in high risk communities, such as red light and refugee communities, by creating jobs for adults, organizing volunteer trips, and making donations to shelter partners for rescue, school fees, emergency needs, and reintegration.  The whimsical purses in our kids collection are from Made by Survivors. They are handmade from wool felt by survivors in Nepal.

It looks like shipping runs about $10, and there is tax if you live in Ohio.  Checkout is handled through Google, so if you have a Google account, it's easy.

Seriously, I am STUNNED.  I never would have imagined finding something like this in my Bible college alumni magazine!  But what I find absolutely wonderful about it is simply this:  Emily Hill had a talent and love for something that might seem completely out of place in terms of Christian service.  But she took that and combined it with a need to illuminate the tragedy and injustice of human slavery, and an ability to aid those either trapped in it or escaping it.  

While I see this all the time with many secular organizations, I've never seen it in the place I should have always expected to see it: the Christian university I attended.  Things are changing, and not just for the better -- but to God's glory.  

Well done, Emily!  For those of you who are Christians, please keep Emily and her organisation in prayer as God brings them to mind.  And for all of us, please add this online shop to your list of go-to places for cute tees and accessories.  You'll get something really cute for a great deal, and you'll be making a difference in the world!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Hobby Lobby Annual Haul

I just got back from vacation.  We always go to see family in Ohio and Indiana, and I always try and hit Hobby Lobby while I'm there. It just wouldn't be a vacation without that and a thrift store . . .

So here's what I got!

Love the black floral.  The owl print will probably be for my daughter Rose.

Closeup of the black floral.  It's really pretty -- 

And another closeup of the owls.  Very cute.

This is probably my favourite.  I love the grey with the turquoise.  This photo really doesn't do it justice.

The green and pink floral on the left is REALLY soft.  The others were on sale; the brown floral on the right is almost a twill weight.  It will make a nice jumper.

The blue is a close second for my favourite.  Although, I don't know, maybe it's my favourite.  Can I have two favourites?

The keys print was a novelty I got for Bug, who loves keys.  Not sure what I'll do with that yet.

A couple of t-shirt knits

This is one of those already-ruffled knits that's super easy to make into a little skirt.  I'll probably do that for JB.

What I got here was the gingham in the middle.  Interestingly, though, I realised that the black Chinese character print (that I've run out of) actually came from Hobby Lobby!  They had the two companion prints, but not this one.  So the gingham it was.  Anybody seen this print or know where I can get more?

This is the sundress I made for Bug that didn't fit.  I'll post photos when I get it done.

Interfacing and zips

And that was it for the haul.  

Today, I played mechanic to my two vintage machines.  The Singer, although it's been oiled and cleaned, will need a trip to the hospital.  I just can't get the bobbin shuttle to grab the needle thread.  I think the thing needs some surgery.

But the Pfaff just hums right along.  I oiled her up and set the tension.  I also played with the adjustable zig-zag.  And I remembered just how much I love this machine!  I previously had her in a carrying case.  So I switched out the Singer into the case and put the Pfaff into the cabinet.  I really need to paint that cabinet -- but for now, the Pfaff is all set up and will alleviate me having to change threads during projects.  

If you can ever get your hands on one of these, jump at it.  It will be worth it.

Tutorials in the works!


For My Wonderful Chinese Readers . . . 我的精彩中文读者

I have some Chinese blog readers.  But their comments are always in Chinese, and I would like for everyone to read them.


So I humbly request that they first translate the comments into English, so everyone who reads English can share in them.


I never imagined I would reach such a wide audience.  Thank you to all my readers who speak Chinese.  I love you!



Thursday, July 1, 2010