LIFE Gallery Wall

Have you seen the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty?”  

Walter’s life is part of the famed LIFE magazine. He lives through the photos of others.

His gallery wall was a magazine.

We loved that movie. It was so inspiring! Mostly because, we feel like Walter Mitty much of the time.

We get to go lots of places in our gallery wall imagination, but when it comes right down to it, we have never really been anywhere. I am sure there are probably many people who feel that way.

We have lived LIFE to it’s fullest, though. 

I was captivated by the movie, and decided to make “LIFE” a part of our basement gallery wall to share with others.

I started with some plain canvases from Walmart that I painted with red craft paint. The letters are chip board, painted with white craft paint, then glued on to the canvases.

I am looking forward to hanging all of our pictures on this wall.

Our “LIFE”: photos of friends, family, football, soccer games, the crew team, you name it.

Basically, this gallery will be LIFE as we see it.

I may even add a photo of our recently deceased chicken. Something ate her in the night and we awoke to a pile of feathers in her place this morning.

It’s part of our chicken’s life too, being eaten. Sigh.

The no-sew pillow is one I made recently with fabric from the Online Fabric Store, I will have a separate post with a tutorial coming soon!

Easter Egg 101


Have you chosen your egg decor for this year? Are you going with neon, foil wrapped, beaded, yarned or naked eggs?

I personally, can’t seem to make up my mind. I love the brown eggs that our beautiful Delaware chickens lay. They are so lovely just as they are. Sometimes they even have brown spots. Bonus!

Last year, before we had fresh eggs, I dyed our eggs with coffee, among other things. Click here for the link and tutorial.

Today, I am in the mood for bling. I bought a bag of plastic eggs from the craft store and a big bucket of fake jewels. A glue gun and some elbow grease made these eggs worthy of display.

I love them with this white table setting.

I have yet to decide what to put inside the eggs, however. It most likely will involve chocolate. I am sure this does not surprise you.

My last option are eggs covered with Washi tape. It’s fast and easy. The only downside is you may end up with a few wrinkles in the design due to the shape of the eggs. This may annoy some people, I am not that picky so it doesn’t bother me.

The upside, is that the Washi tape comes in tons of great Easter colors. This would also be a good project for kids.

I favor natural materials for egg display such as spaghnum moss and spanish moss from the Dollar Store. I also love the little rustic nests I got on sale after Easter last year, they are perfect egg holders. The butterfly adds an extra touch of color.

Of course, you can keep your eggs plain, after all there is nothing wrong with that. I also love using the wire napkin holders I made last year as egg holders. You can never do too much in the way of re-purposing!

What are your favorite egg decorating traditions?

Renaissance Chemise Tutorial, from the Archives

Hello again! Welcome to the Renaissance Chemise tutorial! Here’s what the costume looks like with out the corset.
This is the completed costume. Are you ready for the Renn. Faire? Tickets are on sale now! Can’t wait!
I am Featuring Simplicity Pattern # 3809
This is part two of a four part post on how to make an entire Renaissance Costume. For info on what pattern I am using and a few costume tips, check out yesterday’s post. The skirt and corset are yet to come, so be sure and stop back cause you won’t want to miss them!

At this point you should have your chemise cut out. Let me tell you that this is not a real fitted pattern which makes it rather easy to work with. On the down side, the sleeve is just GARGANTUAN! I ended up tapering my sleeve at the wrist because it was way too large for me. I will explain more on this later in this tutorial.
The pattern has only three pieces, front, back and sleeves. I will show you how to make this garment in less than two hours with a few minor adjustments to how it is sewn. I do not use the pattern instructions.
  Why does this matter? Well, it’s like driving a stick shift car. If you learn to drive on a stick shift with a clutch, you think that’s how all cars are made. Until, one day, someone comes along and says “Why don’t you drive an automatic? It’s so much easier?” Then you drive the automatic without the stick shift and you wonder why no one ever told you how much easier it was. That’s how I feel about pattern directions. They are not helpful, but make each project longer and more complicated than it needs to be in my professional opinion.
My methods are professional, simple and quick. You decide what kind of car you want to drive.
I recommend this method of construction:

Step one:
Begin with the sleeves. Make a rolled hem 1/4″ wide at the bottom of the sleeve. Use the width of your presser foot as a guide. Turn the fabric over 1/4″ one time, stitch. Then turn it again, 1/4″ and stitch on top of your first row of stitching. You will have a beautiful flat, even seam. No one will know that you stitched it twice. Also, do not be tempted to use pins to hold the fabric in place. Pins slow you down and break needles. You will be a better sewer without them. Trust me on this.
Step Two:
Mark the placement of the elastic on the sleeves by notching the sleeve on either side where it is marked on the pattern. Cut 1/8″ elastic according to your upper arm measurement plus 1″. Place the end of the elastic on the notch, directly under your sewing needle. Back tack in place with a single needle stitch.

Pull the elastic taught all the way over to the other side of the sleeve. Using a zig zag stitch, or decorative stretch stitch, stitch on top of the elastic while pulling it taught. Ease the extra fabric evenly under the needle as you go. It will naturally create perfectly spaced gathers.
This is how it looks when you have done all the rows of stitching. One word of caution, my sleeve was far wider than the elastic was capable of stretching. Most elastics can stretch a maximum of about a 2:1 ratio. If your sleeve is 24″ wide, you may use 12″ of elastic and this method will still work. I ended up tapering the sleeve so it was narrower at the wrist. According to my pattern, I would have had 36″ of fabric gathered up at my wrist which only measures 8″. This is a ridiculous 4:1 ratio, so I altered my pattern to be a 2:1 ratio at the wrist.
Step Three:
Attach the sleeves to the garment front and back at the armhole seam. Do not sew the under sleeve seam, leave it open as well as the garment side seams.
At this point I suggest trying on your garment, make sure it fits through the upper arm, elbow and wrist areas. Also check the fit across the bust. Don’t worry about the large neckline, we will get to that next!
Step Four:
Now for the neck. Open 1/2″ single fold bias tape. With right sides together, sew a single needle stitch in the narrow fold closest to the raw edge of the neck. When finished, turn the tape to the inside of the garment.
Make a single needle topstitch catching the seam allowance underneath to the body of the chemise. Sew as close to the seam as you can. This is called under-stitching. It will keep your tape from twisting and showing on the front of your finished garment. It also makes a professional looking, flat seam. It will not be visible on the finished garment.

Fold the tape over to the back of the garment, completely encasing the raw edges. Top stitch the other edge of the bias tape, 1/8″ from the edge. This stitching will be visible on the outside of the garment. It should be easy to sew if you have already under- stitched the tape. The fabric will remain flat and even, giving you a smooth surface to stitch upon. When you get to the point where the ends over lap, tuck the top one under and tack in place. Be sure to leave a slight opening for your elastic. Using a safety pin, insert the elastic that you have cut to size according to the pattern directions. Then hand sew the casing closed, and arrange the gathers evenly around the neckline.

Step Five:
Sew one sleeve and side seam closed. Generally, it should be the left side of the garment. Over cast the seam if desired. Then make another rolled hem at the bottom of the entire chemise (hemming back, and front) as in step one.
Step Six:
Close the remaining sleeve and side seam making sure all elastic ends and rolled hems properly line up. Overcast if you choose. You are now done sewing the garment. You may press the hems and side seams at this point if you have not already done so. A well constructed garment should require very little pressing, and only at the end of the construction.
How does that feel? Pretty easy, huh?
On to the trims!
Step Seven:
The pattern calls for bows where the gathering is on the sleeve. I made my own decorative trim by layering two ribbons on top of each other and stitching them together with a decorative vine topstitch. (I am playing with my new sewing machine, LOVE it!) This is optional of course, but it has a very rich look to it and it didn’t take me long to do. Then I tied the ribbon into bows and pinned them in place for effect before I hand stitched them.
Here are some other tips on sewing the chemise. I chose to keep mine rather short, some patterns have a long chemise that is as long as the over skirt. I wanted mine short for comfort, however if you want a long style it’s easy to just continue the side seams to the desired length (you may need to add a bit more room for walking at the side seams, about 2″ on each side should do the trick).

I really like how this turned out. I may even wear it with a pair of jeans and cowboy boots around town! Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if you have any questions!
Tomorrow, it’s on to the skirt!

Art Supply Carrier


I have a little problem with art supplies. I collect tons and tons of them.

My problem is that I am not good at organizing them.

This may not be a surprise to you. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am not much of an organizer. It’s just not in my genetic makeup.

In the far corner of our living room, behind the sofa, the coat rack and the fish tank, lies a pretty useless half wall. Why there is a half wall I do not know, but when we moved into this rental, I decided to claim the big gaping hole in the top of the wall for my art supplies.

I filled it with mason jars full of brushes, markers, colored pencils, paints and various other items.

I am now faced with the fact that we will be moving from this location this summer, and I will no longer have my previous storage.

This is a full blown crisis to me.

I found this great tool carrier at the thrift store for $2.00. It is rather rustic, and not very well made. That’s okay, it reminds me of the little projects my kids used to build out of wood at the Home Depot workshops. I love things that are simple and rustic.

I used two different size stencils that I had to create the graphic label on the side of the box. Rather than painting the letters, I used a Sharpie Marker. I am far too impatient to properly paint today.

Then I made a wash with water and craft paint to stain the wood.

Mason jars are excellent for painting, by the way. I applied two coats of the wash, right over the stencil and all. It is a bit messy working with watery paint, so be sure to put some plastic under your project if you try this technique. I use the bottom of a plastic bakery box. It is my favorite for messy projects, and I won’t feel guilty when I finally throw it away.

I filled my box with all my little jars of supplies, plus a few extras. Granted it doesn’t hold everything my previous storage space did, but I love that it’s mobile. I can pick it up and take it around the house where ever I am working.

The cherries are a recent art project of my son’s, they remind me of summer!

And the flowers, well, they are there just because.

That’s my organizational tip of the day!

Enjoy your Sunday!

DIY Woolly Sheep

It’s spring here this week. Yup, it is. Regardless of the temperatures and weather forecasts, to me it is SPRING.

There are some woolly sheep that live down the road from us. They are absolutely adorable especially at the end of the winter when their coats get big and thick.

Have you ever been to a spring sheep shearing? It’s so much fun to watch. I would highly recommend it.

I found these adorable little sheep at an antique sale recently. They looked out of place and had to come home with me.

I purchased the three sheep on the left, the one on the right I made to go with the others. Here’s how I did it:


White and Black Wool Roving (you can purchase this from craft stores in the knitting department)

felting needle

Cinnamon sticks or twigs for legs

small piece of floral foam

I began by winding the white wool roving tightly around the palm of my hand to make a ball. After I started this I realized I wasn’t going to have enough wool, so I ended up using a piece of floral foam in the middle of my sheep body and winding the wool around it to save on materials. You can do it either way. You could also use a cheaper wool yarn in the middle of the ball/body and put the white wool roving around the outside.

After a time, I slipped my palm out of the wool, and began winding in the opposite direction. Continue winding as before changing directions until desired body shape is formed.

After I formed my body (remember mine has foam in the middle, I forgot to take a picture of it), I used the black roving to make a head.

I just bunched up the wool and used the felting needle to secure it into the wool. It takes a bit of stabbing, but it does work.

After the face, came the ears. I used more wool and draped it across the top of the head, then secured again with the felting needle. Sorry for the poor picture, I don’t have a tripod yet, it’s hard to shoot and use the needle at the same time.

I used cinnamon stick legs, and secured them into the foam body with hot glue. Make sure your sheep will stand up before gluing.

Then the last step was to “fluff” the sheep out by adding scraps of wool around the body to give a curly effect. I had bits of leftover roving about 2-3″ long, and worked great for this process. I applied them randomly in a curly pattern all over the sheep body.

I did not felt my sheep, but you certainly could. If you decide to felt, be sure to use 100 percent wool yarn, and do not use the foam. Make your yarn ball/body, then put it through the wash cycle and dryer cycles to felt it before adding the head, ears and legs.

Be sure to come back March 3 for the Mega Spring Linky Party!


Baaaaa, Baaaaa