Fun From Finland

Now that I am not working in an office, I spend most of my days crafting in my studio or blogging. It's a fairly solitary existence until my family gets home in the afternoons. Sometimes I really miss not being able to share the latest news and happenings over lunch with my office mates.

However, I am finding that blogging and running an Etsy shop have introduced me to a number of interesting artists and crafters. Even though I have only met a couple in real life, or at least by video chat, I have been lucky to interact with some incredible people from around the world.

My most recent interaction was with another Etsian. She contacted me and said she really liked a couple of the roll-up crochet hook and knitting needle cases in my shop. She also said she had some yarns that I may like and asked if I would be interested in doing a swap.

Hmm... You hear a lot of stories about wierdos on the internet. I was a little reluctant at first, but figured worst case scenario I would be out the two cases that I sent her and the cost of shipping.

Henna is a fiber arts enthusiast, like me. We exchanged a few e-mails and she sent me some pictures of her yarn stash so I could choose my favorites. We also shared a little bit about our interests, culture and where we live. It turns out that Henna is from Finland. That was pretty exciting to me because my great-grandparents came to the US from Finland.

So we each put together a little care package for the other.

My package included:
  • roll-up knitting needle case (made by me)
  • roll-up crochet hook case (made by me)
  • beaded knitting stitch markers (made by me)
  • a few vintage postcards and photos
  • a few new postcards featuring Arizona sights
  • Mexican cook book
  • Disneyland map and Mickey Mouse pin
  • Hershey Bar and M&Ms
We both shipped our packages on the same day. And then we waited... two weeks.

I was so thrilled the day my package arrived!
The envelope contained a shopping tote with a map of Joensuu, Henna's home town, on the outside.
Inside the tote I found five beautiful skeins of yarn. The colors are incredible!
Assorted cards and postcards - I especially liked the ones with the Moomins. They are sort of like the Disney characters of Finland.
A variety of teas - The Moomin characters are so popular you can even find them on the teas ;)
And a Kismet bar. Yum!
I shared the chocolate with my family. I'm still working on the teas. My favorite flavor so far was the Forest Fruit tea. And I recently finished a knit summer sweater with the two skeins of lightweight nylon yarn.



Now, Henna and I are collecting more items so we can do another swap in a few months and I can hardly wait!


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Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #16

There were a couple items from last week's link party that just made me smile when I saw them! They are so cute and creative!

Tin Can Mouse by CreativeFunny


Barcode Make-Up Bag by SewFlo


If you'd like to see all of the items that people have shared over the last few months, check out my Crafty Saturday Show and Sell Pinterest board.

I can hardly wait to see what fun, new items are added this week!


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Etsy Experience: Pinning Treasuries

If you sell on Etsy, chances are you have either been featured in a treasury or made a treasury of your own. It's also quite likely that you have pinned a treasury on Pinterest to promote it.

One thing that has always frustrated me about using the "Pin It" button to share treasuries is that only the first item of the collection is pictured. That first item may be beautiful, but it doesn't seem fair that the other 15 spectacular items aren't shown.

That's why I was so excited to discover Treasury Pin on the web.This handy site helps you pin a treasury and show 4, 8, 12, or all 16 of the treasury items in the pinned image.

Step 1: 

Enter the URL of the treasury you want to pin. Just copy and paste.


Step 2:

If you want to pin an image of the first 8 treasury items, just click the "Pin It" button.

Otherwise, click the "New Treasury Pin Editor" link.


Step 3:

Select how you want the images displayed. You can rearrange them and choose how many items to display.


Step 4:

After you select the size, just click the "Click Here" link.


Finally, you'll get to see your finished image and be able to select the "Pin It" button.

Yes, it takes a couple extra steps to pin a treasury like from this site. However, people are more likely to find something they may be interested in and repin or click through to the treasury. For me, it is well worth the extra minute or two it takes to use this tool because I want my treasuries to get all the exposure possible.

Who is behind Treasury Pin? According to the "Who" section on the site, we can thank Heidi from DaisiesChain. You can also find Heidi on Pinterest.

Happy treasury pinning!


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Sewing Tutorial: Dressy Cut-Off Capris

Sewing Tutorial: These dressy capris are not your daughter's cut-offsIt has been almost a year since I quit my job to build my craft business. My new daily dress code is Tucson casual, which is about as casual as you can get, especially when its 110 outside. Think, jeans, capris, shorts, and a short sleeved shirt or tank top. Sandals optional.

After making a pair of cut-off shorts for my daughter, it seemed like a good time to take an inventory of my own closet and look for unused office wear that I could re-purpose to suit my current fashion needs. I found a pair of dress pants that haven't been worn for months. It's quite likely that in their current condition they will linger in the depths of my closet until the slightly flared boot cut is no longer fashionable. So, I gave them a make-over into something I find more useful.

Materials


Directions

 

This pair of pants was one of my favorites when I worked in the office and I hope they'll be one of my favorites again after my redesign.
Use a quilters grid and disappearing fabric pen to mark a line parallel to the hem, on both pant legs, where you want to cut. Since I am making capris, I cut off 9 1/2 inches. You could modify that to create Bermuda or regular shorts.
Cut each pant leg across the marked line.
Use a zig zag style stitch around each hem to prevent fraying. The stitch I used was called an Elastic Overlock Stitch.
Turn the pants inside out. Use your quilter's grid and disappearing ink pen to mark a line 1 1/2 inches above the hem.
Fold the edge (wrong sides together) up to the line and press.
Fold the edge over one more time. Press, pin and stitch around the hem.
Now, my former favorite dress pants are my favorite summer capris and will actually get to see the light of day.

Sewing Tutorial: These dressy capris are not your daughter's cut-offs



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Sewing Tutorial: Classic Designer Cut-Off Shorts

Sewing Tutorial How to repurpose outgrown designer jeans into classic cut-off shortsThe temperatures are quickly on the rise here in Tucson. We've already had a few days in the 90's. So, it's officially shorts weather. Of course, the warmer weather prompted my daughter to head to the mall and buy herself a new pair of shorts from one of her favorite stores.

When I saw the classic cut off shorts she bought, I had to cringe a bit from sticker shock, especially since she had just gotten rid of a pair of jeans that were too short for her. When I asked her if she realized that I could make her an identical pair of shorts from her cast-off jeans she looked at me in complete surprise.

So, I grabbed a pair of scissors and her outgrown jeans from my fabric stash and set to work.

Materials



Directions


How to make cut-offs with a rolled hem Here are the brand new shorts my daughter purchased.
Now let's create the same thing, with an old pair of jeans.
The most important part of making cut-off jeans is ensuring that both sides are the same length. Use a ruler or quilter's grid and a disappearing fabric pen to mark the desired inseam on each leg. Remember to make your inseam a little longer if you are going to use a rolled cuff.

My inseam is six inches. That's a little longer than the original store shorts because I hate short shorts as much as I hate high prices.
Next, draw a line, perpendicular to the inseam, at the desired length on both legs.
Now, cut across the line.
Since the original shorts had stitching along the bottom edge, I decided to do the same to prevent the fabric from fraying. I used an elastic overlock stitch, but a basic zig zag or even a straight stitch would be fine.

If you don't want to roll the hem, it's fine to just leave the cut edge frayed. It will unravel a bit during the first few washes, so you may need to trim any long threads, but it creates it's own classic, relaxed, summer look.
Now, my nearly six foot tall daughter is searching her closet for other jeans and pants she may have outgrown and it's likely I'll be making a couple more pairs of these shorts!


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Crafty Saturday Show and Sell #15

I'm counting down the weeks until we head to the beach. Maybe that's why these beach-y items from last week's link party caught my eye.

Surf Tumbled Sea Glass Anklet by HollynSage on Etsy
Surf Tumbled Sea Glass Anklet by HollynSage
Seahorse Crocheted Barefoot Sandals Pattern by LassCrochet on Etsy
Seahorse Barefoot Sandals Pattern by LassCrochet

This week, let's share the newest "April Fresh" items from our shops!




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Sewing Tutorial: Custom Flared Skirt

Sewing Tutorial: How to create a custom skirt pattern that fit's almost anyoneI am always excited when somebody requests a custom project. It makes me extra happy when it's my own child. Her request, a superhero skirt with her favorite Marvel characters. Apparently she had seen the fabric on one of our recent trips to Jo-Ann.

The skirt hangs 17 1/2 inches from the waist and the pattern can be modified to fit just about anyone. I used 100% cotton quilting fabric. There are so many color and pattern choices available, you are sure to find the perfect print whether it's princesses, ponies or superheros.

Materials


  • 24 x 24 inch piece of paper
  • pen or pencil
  • ruler
  • sewing tape measure
  • 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 yards of fabric
  • 2 yds of 2-inch wide elastic
  • sewing supplies (scissors, pins, thread, sewing machine, iron)
  • disappearing ink fabric marker (optional)

Directions


To make my design, I reverse engineered one of my daughter's other skirts. Here's how...
We'll start by drawing the pattern. You can use pen or pencil. I used markers just so it would photograph better.

Fold your paper in half and then open it up again. The pattern piece is symmetrical, so this creates a nice center line.

Now you'll need to do a little math, but don't worry.
Measure the hips of the person you are making the skirt for and add one inch. (For me it was 39 + 1 = 40) That's the number you will be using for the hip dimension.

Draw a rectangle at the top of your pattern that’s 5 inches long and (1/8 x hip) + 1 inch wide.

(The one inch here is for 1/2 inch seam allowance for each side.)

Make sure your rectangle is centered on the fold. It will make things easier later.
Next, draw a 17 1/2 inch line from the bottom of the waist, down the center fold line.

At the bottom of that line, draw a perpendicular line that's twice as wide as the waist line at the top.
Draw in lines that connect the bottom edge to the bottom of the waist band.
If you want your skirt to flare a little bit, add a slight curve to the sides of the pattern between the bottom of the waist and the bottom of the skirt.

Fold your paper in half again and cut out the pattern piece.
Before you cut the fabric, make sure to wash, dry and iron it. Fold the fabric in half, lengthwise.

There are a couple different ways you can lay out your pattern pieces depending on the width of your pattern pieces.

For wider skirts, lay one pattern piece on the fabric and another folded in half along the fabric fold.
For thinner skirts you may be able to fit two pattern pieces side by side, slightly staggered.

Cut out 8 fabric pieces.
Once you have your 8 pieces cut, you can begin assembling the skirt.

Pin two pieces, right sides together, and stitch along the side using a 1/2 inch allowance. Repeat the process to attach the remaining six pieces.

Do not sew the first piece to the last piece yet.
You may also want to serge or do a zig zag stitch along the seams so the edges don't fray.

Press the seams to one side.
Next, you'll create the waistband. Press the waist edge of the skirt over 1/2 inch, wrong sides together.
Now fold over 2 1/2 inches, press and pin. Stitch around 1/4 inch from the bottom of the waistband.

Measure your skirt recipient's waist and cut the elastic one inch shorter that their measured waist.
Insert the elastic into the waistband so that 1/2 inch sticks out on either end. Pin the elastic in place.
Pin the first and last pieces of the skirt, right sides together, and stitch using a  1/2 inch allowance.

Try on the skirt to ensure that the waist fits properly. If the skirt is too tight or too loose, you can easily open up the seam along the waistband and make adjustments.

Trim the elastic and serge or zig zag stitch along the seam if desired.
All that's left is the hem. You may notice that there are little points at the bottom of each seam. Trim them off.

The skirt has a 3/4 inch hem.
The easiest way to do this is to draw a line 1 1/2 inches from the bottom edge of the fabric with disappearing ink.
Fold the edge of the fabric up to the line, wrong sides together, and press. Then fold the fabric one more time, press, pin, and stitch.

A customized skirt is sure to put a smile on any girl's face!

Sewing Tutorial: How to create a custom skirt pattern that fit's almost anyone



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