Up for a Ride

Last spring, I had an idea to create a hot air balloon on canvas. Instead of taking the easy route and using paint, I decided I wanted to embroider the entire thing. Goodness, if only I knew then how long this project would take me.


Nine month later, I am happy to say the project is finally complete.


For the balloon, I did not use a special technique. I simply threaded a needle and took in and out, over and over again. I choose the colors one layer at a time. The selection was completely random, and if you notice, some colors repeat often and some are only used once.



I love how the wrong side of the canvas really shows off all of the work put into the piece. It took a lot of thread.


The final touch was stitching the basket. I was nervous about this detail, worried that would take away from the overall look of the ballon, but I am happy with how it turned out. I wanted to basket to have more of a textured look, so I used a darning stitch to make it look weaved.




From Napkins to Pillows

Everyone brings an unique perspective to an antique shop. My roommate has an eye for furniture. Another friends has a thing for vintage jewelry. I tend to fall in love with fabric. The other day I was wandering through the rows at an antique store in Homewood, and a set of napkins caught my eye. Naturally, I bought them and a matching handkerchief nearby.

Once I took out the napkins’ seams, I cut them into perfect squares. When removing the seams, I usually lose fabric due to unraveling. I decided to not work with a pillow form, which meant I could make the pillow any size I wanted.

I ironed out the handkerchief, and pinned it in place on my designated “front” side of the pillow. With the lace edges, I didn’t want to compromise the look by using my sewing machine, so I hand-stitched the handkerchief to the napkin.

Once the handkerchief is sewed down, time to make the finishing touches. Take the two napkins and put the two “right” sides together. I used a 1/2 inch seam, leaving a small hole to stuff the pillow. Once the pillow was full, I hand-stitched the hole closed.

Super easy and quick to make.

Another school project

Junior year of college brought about another “creative” project. This time around it was for a grammar class. The basic idea was to pick a medium (book, song lyrics, magazine, etc) and find different types of sentences or sentence transformations in it. I picked my favorite book of the summer, Water for Elephants. And though the “creative” side of the project only counted 10 points towards the total, I couldn’t help but go all out.

I call it a banner. The main character in the book first realizes he has joined the circus when he sees a sign reading, “Benzini Bros Most Spectacular Show on Earth.” I found a font at dafont.com and used it as a template to cut the letters out of felt.


The rest was made with scrap fabric. I hand stitched the felt letters to my main piece of white cotton. Then I used fabric to make little pockets. I somehow had to incorporate the different sentences into my creative project, so I made put each sentence on a card – the pockets hold the cards.


And since I love having details, each pocket contains cards with a certain theme. Like above, popcorn bag = snacks. (Others = animals, performers, freaks and trains)


The good news, I got all ten of those points. If only you could major in arts and crafts.

Urban Outfitters-Inspired Felt Wall Art

They say copying someone is the greatest form of flattery. In this case, it’s to show that an item can be wildly over priced. I found this wall art on urbanoutfitters.com. Their price was $59 – I was able to reproduce it for only $6.

All I needed was a 1/2 yard of fabric, 3 sheets of felt and some embroidery thread. First, I cut out the letters using paper to act as a template (so I don’t waste any fabric).


Next, I simply attached the felt letters to the back fabric using a blanket stitch.

Sewing a simple bag

Even after making my quilt, I still had a lot of extra fabric lying around from earlier projects. With work, I haven’t had much spare time to drive to the fabric store, so I started thinking about different projects I could do with the scraps.
A pencil pouch seemed like something I could easily do. I didn’t really have a plan going in to it (so at times I had to take out stitches and try again) But once I figured it out, I realized this project is so easy, it could be mass produced.

I started off with the fabric. I cut two 10×5.5 inch rectangles of two different fabrics (the blue fabric acting as an lining. I also bought a 9 inch zipper.

Even though the goal was to make a simple pencil pouch, I still wanted it to be something special. So I pull out some embroidery thread to add a 3D element!


With that finished, I began the sewing! Lining up the two fabrics and arranging the zipper on top (right sides facing in), I attached the zipper to the fabric.

Rearranged it and did the same for the other two pieces of fabric (again, with the right sides always facing in. In the end, the zipper should be attached and look like this…

I sewed two more seams on either side of the zipper(using a 1/4 inch allowance), and then, placing the right sides together again, I sewed along the rectangle, creating the pouch.

Flip everything around, and it turns out like this. My sewing skills were far from perfect on this project, but the fact is, the project turned out functional (so it’s a successful one). And I love the embroidery detail. It really makes it something special!

Style Your Sole

As a part of Spring Fling, SAC hosted a Toms Style Your Sole party. An event where people could pre-order a pair of white, canvas Toms, and then pick them up and decorate them on the night of the event. It was a huge success. We sold 150 pairs of shoes, and on the night of the event, people were creating some pretty amazing, customized shoes. Of course, I ordered a pair, but being way too busy, I simply let them sit on my desk… until tonight.

Ta da! I feel like it would be no surprise that I chose a stars/constellation theme. And I am so excited in how they turned out.

Step one – get rid of all the white. And how appropriate that the color was called “Midnight Blue.”

Step two – splatter paint. I used this to create the effect of the millions of stars that are out there in the universe. For the color, I chose a silver, metallic paint.

Step three – embroider the stars. On the left shoe, I keep it simple by adding stars here and there (with a shooting star, of course). And then the right shoe highlighted the Orion constellation (one of my favorites).


I am simply obsessed with them!

Embroidery from the Heart

I stumbled across this quote in a conversation one day with my Mom. I naturally wrote it down, saving it for a raining day, and then 2 weeks ago, I found myself during a lazy evening picking out fabric and embroidery floss. The whole thing is really simple. I uses an embroidery ring, but as you can see, I made the mistake of not having the fabric tight enough. And I added some simple felt hearts to bring it all together.

And then, to mount the finished piece, I took a canvas that had been lying around for awhile and stapled it all in place.

And there, you did it!

For your Sweetheart: A Valentine’s Garland

I simply adore Valentine’s Day! Not for the romantic element, but for the fact that it is socially acceptable to go over the top with heart-inspired decorations. This project is the first dorm room project of the spring semester, and I am completely obsessed with it!

I gathered my supplies – red, pink and white fleece squares (I know, I’m usually all about felt, but I thought the fleece had softer colors), embroidery floss, some leftover quilt backing and a heart stencil I cut out myself.

The whole thing is pretty simple. I first cut out the backing using the paper stencil I made. Then using the backing, I cut out the fleece, making the hearts slightly larger.

Once the hearts were cut out, I used the floss to embroider on the cute saying one would find in a Sweetheart candy box. I stuck to the more classic sayings. Though I did find one on google images that said “Tweet Me,” I held back and stuck with the ones I could remember from my childhood. “U R GR8” might be my favorite!

After that, I placed the backing inside the hearts. I chose to use yarn as my string that would holds the garland together, and once everything was in place, I pinned it all together.

And as you can see, the sewing machine was pulled out to stitch it all in place. The final result is simply adorable, and adds an element of cuteness that our common room needed.

For a Cozier Bed: Knitted Pillows

Returning to my dorm room this past weekend was a little bittersweet. The holidays are officially over, and as you can see by my lack of posts, the busyiness of school has begun. Though one of the many positives, like reuniting with friends and the start of Step Sing, is returning to a room full of finished projects I can show off during the busy times.

Take for example the knitted pillows on my bed.

This was the project that made me fall in love with knitting all over again. The pillow is basically a rectangle knitted in garter stitch, and then stitched together with a white ribbon.

Since this was before I had a sewing machine, I bought a basic pillow from a craft store, and I was able to use the pillow as the mold for the size of my knitting. And as a final touch, I embroidered (in a kind-of made up style) a flower onto the pink pillow.

For you super fast knitters, this project could be completed in a weekend, but for me, this took me about 2 and a half weeks. But its simplicity makes it the perfect project for watching a movie on a lazy afternoon.

Look to the Stars: Constellations Embroidery

I worked at a camp this summer that opened my eyes to the different, cultural stories about the constellations in the night’s sky, and I quickly became obsessed. This idea of embroidering a constellation has been floating around my  head for awhile now, and it took a simple swatch of navy blue fabric in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby to put my thoughts into action.

Gemini (The Twins)

Orion (The Warrior)

Pegasus (The Winged Horse)

I cut out navy blue felt to cover the back side of the embroidery and added the name to the constellation for any clarification that might be needed. I love how simple this project was, and after I get some nails in the wall, it’s going to look adorable in my green bedroom.