Time to catch up!

I had a lot of fun participating in the Simple Treasures Boutique holiday show last week. They sure know how to put a lot under one roof! (well, two.) Thank you for the support! IMO everyone who goes has a great time. They have so much variety, that there literally is a "simple treasure" for everyone. I love their central checkout so I don't have to "man my booth". And that way I can have a booth and still take care of young kids. Of course BEING there might help to tell people about these amazing balloon balls! So they don't just say huh?? and keep walking! hahaha

These next few weeks I will be catching up on homework. I'm taking a knitwear college class! We're learning all about sewing/serging with knit fabric and basic pattern making for knit patterns. I love it. Once I am all caught up, I hope to accomplish the following blog-related goals:

  • Blog about what I learned in my knitwear class
  • Decide how much time I want to put into my Etsy shop: PostalThreads (Which btw will remain on vacation mode until I catch up with my homework!)
  • ...and maybe I should FINISH the "Sew Up a Storm" Alphabet Series!!! I was supposed to finish that before Baby #2 came in June, but I think I only got to the letter "T" or something!! "Nap time/Go, go Sew Time" seems to be getting shorter and shorter at our house, but it's all good!
One more random thing before I go:

I made French macarons again last night! And they turned out, again! 👏 Check out this post where I first blogged about my French macaron experience.



Thank you to all who are following PostalThreads on Instagram and who participated in PostalThreads balloon ball giveaway (Nov 4-5). If you are around, I hope you get a chance to make it to Simple Treasures Boutique this week, and look for Balloon Balls & More by PostalThreads.

PostalThreads Balloon Ball Love GIVEAWAY!

Hello! I am giving away one of my handmade balloon balls like the ones I will be selling at the upcoming Simple Treasures Boutique as well as on my Etsy shop: PostalThreads.

I have so much fun making these balloon balls, I even wrote a poem about them!

Ready! Get Set!
With the reusable fabric balloon ball, you are...
             ...Always ready on the GO!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rules & Details
Prize: One PostalThreads fabric balloon ball
Duration: Friday, Nov 4- Saturday, Nov 5, 2016

How to Enter: Follow PostalThreads on Instagram and verify that you have done so in the Rafflecopter display on this post (above). Good luck! The winner will be chosen at random, by Rafflecopter.

Please note, entrants must be over 18 years of age in the United States. Instagram is not affiliated with this giveaway. The winner will be announced in a new blog post here, as well as on @PostalThread 's Instagram page, on Monday, Nov 7, 2016. The winner has until 8AM (MST) Tuesday, Nov 8, 2016 to contact me (lillekenaLisa@gmail.com) so I can mail the winner the prize!

PostalThreads balloon balls are lightweight; bouncy; easy to pack in your purse, inflate or take down, or travel with, whenever and wherever you go; fun for all ages; a perfect gift to send in the mail; and great for indoor or outdoor use, and reusable!!!

"Over-the-Top" Party Decor

Every Carousel Needs a Ferris Wheel to Go With It

Inspired by a photo of the carousel cake my mother made for me on my 2nd birthday, I recently set out to make a carousel cake for our little girl's birthday! I started off in my head like, "All I need are some animal crackers or cookies, a few paper straws (which I already have), and a doily to go on top; we'll keep it simple." But, like most creative pursuits, this one just kept going...until it reached a bit "over--the-top".  Needless to say, we had a very fun birthday celebration, not to mention all the fun in the party prepping!

I decided to create this "new line" to sell at the local craft boutique, along with the balloon balls I keep putting off sewing! Every occasion unique gold decor. I can't wait to see how it goes!!! 

More Carousel Horses:

A Few More Carousel Horse Party Details....

Easy-to-store Halloween Decor: Butternut Squash Ghosts

Butternut Squash Ghosts--1) up-cycle white tights, 2) adhesive backed black felt scraps, 3) butternut squash

3 Butternut Squash Ghosts covered with leg pieces of white tights. Black felt for eyes. Easy storage decor. Displayed next to candy corn candy dish.
Bringing back an "oldie" but a "goodie" from last Halloween. I'm telling you! I can't get enough of these  butternut squash ghosts. Talk about the easiest decor ever! These should win a prize for best use of storage space! The "Easiest to Store Decor" award goes to....Butternut Squash Ghosts!!! All those ceramic jack-o-lanterns I keep seeing are super cute, but do you really have a place to store all of that?? okay..I'll back off because I am not one to question if there is space to store things or not... But go find some old tights, or sweater sleeve and give these fall friends a try!

[Originally posted on PostalThreads in Jan 2016]
What I Did: Inspired by a photo I saw in another library book (see below), I up-cycled an old, worn out pair of white tights by cutting the leg parts into into three sections and discarding the rest--three sections, since, at the time, I had 3 butternut squash on hand! Then I used sticky-backed black felt (found at most craft stores), to cut out "ghost eye" shapes. The templates in the back of the book were helpful in coming up with some of the eye shapes. Then I stretched a piece of stocking/tights over each butternut squash, stuck the eyes on, and set out my new decor! The stocking ghosts are so easy to store when the season is through. We love butternut squash in the fall so it's a given that we'll have some around.

Idea Inspiration: One day at the local public library, I came across Matthew Mead's Monster Book of HalloweenISBN: 9781603201056  Publication Information: New York, N.Y. : Time Home Entertainment, c2009. Physical Description: 256 p. : col. ill. ; 28 cm.
Cover image for Matthew Mead's monster book of Halloween.
This book is so fun. Every page is loaded with pictures, ideas, and brief descriptions. In the very back there is an entire section of templates from miniature jack-o'-lantern faces, bats, cats, ghost garland, a moon man, to candy corn, and more!

On page 129, I came across the "Gourd Warmer". It suggests embellishing, with black yarn stitches, an orange small, child-size knit hat to create a jack-o'-lantern face, and then to pull it over a gourd--looks to me like a butternut squash.

I thought, "I don't have an orange knit hat, but I have a pair of white tights I am about to throw out!" A few moments later I had three little butternut squash ghosts!

Try it! Your guests will be sure to comment on your clever gourd ghosts!

French Macaron Craze...Very cute in photos, but can anyone actually make these?

French Macaron Craze...

French macarons...very cute in photos, but can anyone actually make these?!?? toddler girl with yellow French macarons on green & white background

I am far from an "early adopter" when it comes to the latest trends in technology (my husband & I have yet to buy smart phones), decor, and design.  But when I see something I really like, I generally find a way to do it...eventually. Well, it has been driving me crazy now for months (years?) that I see pictures of French macarons everywhere---billboards, party & decor blogs, and storefront windows, to name a few.

Hey, this is not a food blog...but lately I have been feeling like sewing projects have sprawled and it's time to reel them in and get organized before I can move forward. How does this relate to food? Well, baking and experimenting with new recipes tend to be pretty high on the list when it comes to "distractions that keep me from accomplishing more important 'to do's'".

So back to macarons, I think it really put me over the edge when I noticed on the popular blog, Sugar & Cloth (that I generally really like; a nominee for the 2016 Bloglovin' Awards in the "Best Entertaining Blog" category) has an entire section dedicated to DIY Macaron posts, but disappointingly uses store bought macarons for these "DIY" designs. After another glance, I noticed the section is actually titled "viewing macarons" (a quiet disclaimer to my initial disappointing discovery). So all I see are lots of cute & pretty macarons, styled & edited for Pinterest-perfect viewing pleasure only...good ideas, but not really what I was hoping to find.

THEN! I watched sweetco0kiepie's updated version of her YouTube video on how to make French macarons, something I had never viewed before. Come to find out, this very young sounding girl's original macaron video received 1 million views, and on its 3 year anniversary she decided to post her remake. The updated video has only been out a relatively short time and already has nearly a half a million views. I watched both versions, for curiosity sake. The updated version is definitely what I recommend. I took notes while I watched, then followed every instruction, in the exact ordered she described & demonstrated....AND they turned out on my very first French macaron attempt EVER! Hip hip hooray!

Below is the link to the video.

How To Make French Macarons - UPDATED VERSION | sweetco0kiepie

Thank you, sweetco0kiepie!
I can't wait to try new flavors and colors.

By the way, one of my favorite "informative" articles on French macarons and their rise to popularity, that I came across is from the Wall Street Journal, here. (March 2010). And one of my favorite quotes from the article was this:

"'Macarons are not meant to be mainstream,' sniffs Laetitia Brock, a native of Paris who has been blogging about French culture from Washington for the past six years."

Well, like it or not, sweetco0kiepie's YouTube video on how to make French macarons, has given me the confidence and the know-how that a main-streamer like me can join in the fun of this fancy French dessert craze.

So if cupcakes are out, and French macarons are in, what's next?? HERE is a link to a fun little article from the Houston Press called, "Cupcakes are Out: 5 Treats That Are In". By the way, it was written clear back in 2013!! haha! Like I said, I am not an early adopter...anyone else feeling like they're still "catching up" like me??!?)

a random post by PostalThreads, homemade yellow French macarons

In a nutshell: This was about my experience with French macarons; the motivation behind my first attempt; making this fancy French dessert in my own kitchen was a success thanks to sweetco0kiepie's YouTube video. Now I can feel like an active, creative, mainstream, blogging participant, in my own kitchen, in the middle of the French macaron craze. [And take my own, not-so-perfect "Pinterest-perfect" photos of French macarons, haha!] (This little girl is sure cute!)

a random post by PostalThreads, homemade yellow French macarons

Win A PostalThreads Balloon Ball!

UPDATE: This giveaway is closed. Thank you for participating!

PostalThreads Balloon Ball Giveaway!

PostalThreads fabric balloon ball giveaway, #PostalThreads balloon ball giveaway
Hello! I am giving away one of the handmade balloon balls I sew & sell at my Etsy shop PostalThreads. These are so much fun! PostalThreads balloon balls are about the size of a soccer ball, or slightly larger than a volleyball; lightweight; bouncy; easy to pack in your purse, inflate or take down, or travel with, whenever and wherever you go; fun for all ages; a perfect gift to send in the mail; and great for indoor or outdoor use, or in the pool. I have so much fun making these balloon balls, I even wrote a poem about them!

Ready! Get Set!
With the reusable fabric balloon ball, you are
                                     Always ready on the GO!

I am excited to see how this summer sweepstakes giveaway goes, since this is in fact the first giveaway I have hosted! Thank you for your participation and for helping me spread PostalThreads balloon ball fun.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prize: One PostalThreads fabric balloon ball
Duration: July 26th-30th, 2016
How to enter--using the Rafflecopter display below, click on the button that takes you to the PostalThreads Etsy shop, then click to view at least one listing (item) in the shop. Once you have visited the shop, Rafflecopter will give you additional options to send a message on Twitter or comment on this blog post to receive more points (entries) for the sweepstakes price.
Good luck!

Please note, entrants must be over 18 years of age in the United States. The winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be announced in a new blog post here at PostalThreads.blogspot.com on Monday, August 1st. The winner has until Friday, August 5th to contact me so I can mail the winner the prize!

T is for... Teepee

T is for Teepee...DIY Kids Teepee, With a Little Help From Pythagoras.

T is for Teepee!
Kids teepees have been around for a long time, but it is never too late to make your own! However, just a heads-up, there are sooo many versions and styles and sizes of kids teepees, when you do a basic search, you may be overwhelmed in an instant. I can't say the purpose of this post is to give a perfect step-by-step tutorial, but hopefully something I learned along the way will help you get un-stuck if you're stuck, and hopefully you will feel inspired to carry out your own teepee project vision...or some other creative project you have been putting off.

I put this one off for a long time! But actually, before knowing what I would do with it all, I made a less-than-$10 purchase at a second hand store for a ton of this mint-chip green canvas material along with a huge bag of random trims, including a ginormous roll of curtain tape, and lots of lace trim. Ultimately the inspiration-motivation combo came from my sister-in-law's mother who made teepees one year for her grandchildren.

I followed her advice and just went for it:

  • Use the Pythagorean Theorem to figure out your triangle dimensions.  a2 + bc [The fabric I used for this teepee was 60" wide. I measured 5 feet of fabric and cut a straight line from the raw edge/selvage corner to the point on the fold, 5 feet up from the raw edge. I cut out 6 triangle panels. I cut a slit up the middle of the one that became the doorway, and finished the edges with homemade bias tape from the scraps.]
  • When cutting out the triangles, keep the fabric folded (just like it comes off the bolt--selvages together); trim off the point of the triangle--measure down how ever much you decide. [Note: the more you cut down from the tip, the bigger the hole at the top will be. You really don't need to cut off that much, because when you multiple the width you get by the number of panels you have, it adds up. I only cut off whatever amount that left each triangle "top" about 5" wide--which included seam allowance, by the way.]
  • Decide what kind of poles you will use and know how tall they are or will be. [PVC pipe & caps--many places will cut it for you, tall garden stakes--wooden or plastic coated metal, or dowels, or even bamboo--although I wonder about bugs with bamboo--seem to be most common. Some teepee tutorials suggest drilling a hole in your PVC or poles where you can thread paracord, or something similar, to keep the poles altogether and prevent them from slipping. I did not do that, but the knobby parts on the garden stakes I used seem to help the cording stay in place, once I initially slide it into place while setting it up. I used six 8 foot plastic coated metal garden stakes because 6 foot garden stakes would not have been tall enough, and those were my options at the time. Eight feet is a little tall, but it's all good.]
  • Sew casings for the poles(this was where my thrift store curtain tape came in) between each of the triangle panels as you sew them together. Note that a proper casing is 1/4" wider than what goes through (e.g. drawstring, cording, in this case, pole), but also remember to factor in seam allowance when determining the width of your casing material.]
As a side note: I sewed the lace trim and decorative details onto individual panels before sewing it all together. I measured & marked to be sure they would match once I did sew them together.

Teepees are great play places for children, and depending on the size, can be suitable indoors or outdoors. We store ours indoors, but use it outdoors because the poles are too tall to set up entirely with the ceilings we have.

Lastly, I kind of wish I had sewn a window...I guess I still can, but just haven't yet. If I sewed a window I would probably finish the cut-out with bias tape, and I would also consider constructing some kind of flap so you could have the window open or close. [I think I thought the decorative ruffle flower things would be like camouflage for little peep holes that I never actually cut out. haha!]

This was a really fun project; one that I had to just really dive-in and go for it. Thankfully it all worked out and we have enjoyed many backyard teepee adventures and look forward to more adventures to come!

If you have 9 1/3 yards of 60" wide material sitting around in your stash, might I suggest you make a teepee?!

T is for Teepee!

P is for...Play Parachute, DIY Play Parachute, Patriotic Backyard Summer Fun

P is for...Play Parachute in the "Sew Up A Storm Alphabet Series" by PostalThreads

DIY Play Parachute, Patriotic Backyard Summer Fun

One of the fun games we have tried with this play parachute is to toss and catch a fabric balloon ballFind more parachute game ideas here! or here!

Click here for PostalThreads tutorial to make your own!

[Now PostalThreads.blogspot.com]

S is for... Scrap Map

S is for Scrap Map USA

You have probably seen many versions of a scrap map by now.  A little over 5 years ago, Kate from See Kate Sew entered her scrap map project in Week 5's SYTYC (So You Think You're Crafty) "Upcycled Crafts" competition, and won! Her tutorial is straightforward, complete with photos. I found her instructions on how to print off a map template especially helpful. This was the project that introduced me to See Kate Sew's many wonderful and fun sewing tutorials.

S is for...Scrap Map, Different fabric scraps for each state to make a map of the USA
Scrap Map
I started my scrap map project, and then put it down, then picked it back up at least a couple times over several months before finally finishing it. Here it is!

Instead of doing an outline of each state, I decided to just zig-zag stitch along all the borders. It was pretty forgiving and worked out all right. I wrapped the muslin around a piece of foam core--probably the inexpensive kind from the dollar store. I attached some crochet lace trim to hang it.

I love that this truly is a "Scrap Map." But now I kind of want to coordinate the color-scheme and do another one!!...or wait until I have "cute scraps." I also think if I did this again I would use even more variety of fabric textures.

S is for... Scrap Map!

Q is for Quilt

Q is for Quilt! Crib Size Triangle Quilt for Baby Boy!

Inspired by See Kate Sew's triangle quilt tutorial and updated tips I successfully completed this simple nautical, lightweight, summer baby boy quilt!

triangle quilt with nautical colors--navy, red, ombre aquas/blues, grey & white stripes

Kate has all the tips and tricks you need. I found her updated version for sewing accurate triangle points most helpful. (See links above). She includes a link to her free pattern on craftsy.com, but I did not figure that out so I just made my own template based on dimensions she mentions: the top of the triangle is 5 3/4" and the sides are 8". I also made the corners blunt to match triangle points more accurately, as suggested in her updated post. As a side note, she suggests half a yard each of 6 different fabrics but I was a little surprised with the amount of scrap fabric I had after cutting out the triangles.You may be fine with just 15" (I guess it is just easier to say "half a yard" though).

The blanket is about crib size, so it sewed up pretty fast---18 triangles, plus two half-triangles (on the ends) for each row; six rows all together.

Choosing the color scheme was probably the most difficult thing about this project. I went for navy, red, a grey/white ¼” stripe, 2 different blues—a lighter one with very faint tiny white polka dots and a deeper medium grey-blue, and a greenish-blue that was more robin’s egg than mint-y, alone, but looks pretty green next to the rest of the colors. Now that I described them, can you find them all? :)

I used one layer of canvas fabric from my stash for the "batting" in the middle. I wanted to give the blanket some weight, but keep it cool and light for summer. To keep the layers together I machine stitched about 1/8" away from each of the two middle horizontal seams (left to right), as well as every two "diagonal rows" (top to bottom). Then I made a fake binding by rolling-up/folding the backing fabric a couple times, then machine stitched around, edge-stitching near the clean-finished edge. (I cannot claim to be a quilter...maybe someday I will learn how to sew a proper binding!)

I love how it turned out!

U is for Up-Cycle: Men's Shirt Onesie

U is for Up-Cycle! Daddy's Old Shirt Turned Baby Boy's Onesie

My husband works at a computer all day and tends to wear holes into his dress-shirts, around the elbow. Such was the case of this once-men's-shirt, but thanks to THIS free pattern & tutorial at Sew Mama Sew, featured by Sophie, I cut up all the essential dress-shirt pieces (visit tutorial & details below), made some double folded "bias" tape for an elastic casing, sewed a couple buttons & buttonholes for the closure and turned it into a onesie for Baby Boy!
...I know I am skipping to the end, jumping all the way to the letter "U" but I couldn't help it.
I did take in the sides and cut the sleeves shorter than what the pattern called for...the sleeve placket actually goes right up close to the armpit, haha, oh well! And instead of cutting out an entirely new collar, I used the original collar so I could keep the original points & top-stitching.  Hence the seam in center back of collar. Same thing with keeping the original cuff--so there is an extra seam down the arm that continues through the cuff. But I do not think it looks bad. I used the spare buttons that were on the inside of the center front placket for the onesie closure--removed them, then re-sewed them in place. They were different sizes, so I just matched them accordingly with the different sized button-holes that I sewed.

Pressing is key; it helps not to skip it!

Can't wait to see the actual fit on Baby Boy!

It is not hard to find even more ways to up-cycle men's dress shirts. This person's board has a fairly comprehensive collection of re-purpose projects using men's dress shirts, from quilts & decor, to accessories & clothes, including baby pants made out of the cuffs/sleeves, and little girl dresses!

For other featured sewing projects, continue to peruse the "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series here at PostalThreads! Thank you!

Mother's Day Little Something--Happy Sewing!

Click here for free pattern & tutorial for the Mini Fabric Purse Card Holder by PostalThreads.

Happy Sewing!

J is for... "J" Monogram Door Hanging

The "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series continues...

J is for "J" monogram door hanging.  I saw something like this on someone's front door and decided to give it a try. This is what I came up with:

Here's What I Did:
1. Acquire a huge embroidery hoop--sometimes you can find these at thrift stores, otherwise they may be found with quilting notions at a fabric store.
2. Acquire enough burlap or fabric of choice to frame inside the embroidery hoop--amount of fabric will depend on size of hoop. Frame your burlap or other fabric--try to get it nice an tight.
3. Decide what fabric you will cut a letter from, and find a font you really like for the letter or initials you will use; view it in "outline" form or free-hand it onto some paper--transfer your pattern onto fusible interfacing to stabilize your letter fabric.
4. Then use basting spray* to "stick" the letter onto the burlap.
5. Tear a strip of fabric from your letter fabric or fabric or ribbon of choice to attach and form a bow for the top of the hoop. Attach another strip/ribbon to use to loop over a door hanger.

*If you use Wonder-under, or something like it for the back of the letter, instead of basting spray to "stick" it onto the background fabric, I recommend ironing it on to your background fabric before you frame it in the hoop.

I is for... Ironing Board Cover

I is for...Ironing Board Cover. (Make-Over). When your ironing board cover appears to be on the way to becoming as old and stained as mine (left), consider re-covering with really cute fabric, OR fabric from your stash that you are probably never going to use (I chose the latter type of fabric).

Short instructions:
Cut your new cover fabric around your ironing board about 4"-6" away from the edge, sew a casing and fit it to your board by cinching and tying off a cord or drawstring.

Here is what I did:
1) Fold fabric, matching selvage edges, right sides facing out (so wrong sides together) & lay out across a flat surface---floor, table, counter).
2) With ironing board closed, lay over fabric with the board facing the fabric.
3) Taking fabric shears, about 4"-6" out from the edge of the ironing board, cut all the way around the board.
4) (Then I used a serger to serge around the entire edge, to keep the layers together, but you could skip this part or use a zig-zag stitch on your machine).
5) Create a 1/2"-1" casing around the entire fabric edge, leaving a 2"-4" opening along the straight, bottom edge of the ironing board--this is where you will cinch up your cording/drawstring and tie a bow or knot (see photo). By the way, fun fact: a "proper" casing is 1/4" wider than the width of your drawstring/elastic.
6) Thread your cording or drawstring (I just used about 2 1/2? yards of a double strand of some red yarn I had and it seemed to be strong enough) through the casing; even out where it gathers and make sure it fits tightly over your ironing board.
7) When you have your new cover all situated where you would like, tie it off, and you're done!

This is the third "re-cover" this board has experienced so I did not bother with re-padding it. However, that would work too! You would just sandwich it between your 2 layers of fabric.

Free Pattern & Tutorial For Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder

Free Pattern & Tutorial for "M" is for...Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder in the
PostalThreads "Sew Up A Storm Alphabet Series."

Just in time to make a stack of these pretty little things for Mother's Day. This might be a fun teacher appreciation gift as well. After you make one, you may be asking yourself why not make a dozen??! Mix and match your fabric scraps or coordinate with a special color scheme for seasonal purses or for a party favor or special occasion. The possibilities are seemingly endless and fun.
I broke it down into 8 parts, with instructions corresponding with photos below. You can apply the tutorial for making one mini fabric purse or many. Please comment below with questions or links to your finished Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holders. Thank you!

Free Pattern & Tutorial for Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder The "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series 

by PostalThreads.blogspot.com

Part 1: Pattern Prep: Click here to access the free pattern PDF file. Print on to card stock for easier tracing. When going to print, in printing properties, do not select "Fit to Page"--doing so will make the pattern pieces smaller than intended. The intended measurements are on the pattern pieces.
Free Pattern & Tutorial by PostalThreads.blogspot.com for Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder

Part 2: Cutting Out the Fabric: Using the pattern pieces (Main Purse, Pocket 1, Pocket 2, and Pocket 3) lay out your fabric right sides together, trace around pattern pieces, and cut out. Multiple pieces can be cut out by layering the fabric. Note that the grainline should be on the lengthwise grain, parallel to the selvage. If working with scraps and you do not have a selvage to go off of, note that the direction of the lengthwise grain has the least amount of stretch, the crosswise grain has some stretch, and the bias has the most stretch.
trace & cut out pattern pieces

Side Note: I cut out these Main Purse pieces
from 14" length of fabric.
If I would have had another 2 or 2 1/2"
I could have cut out another stack
to make 3 more purses!...oh well.
(See photos below).
You can see what I did with the
remaining larger scrap--I prepped it for
making 2 scrunchies. I really like
It's easy & fun. Talk about
another scrap buster winner!
Scrunchies are back!

Part 2: Cut Out the Fabric: (Optional: When cutting out multiple pocket pieces, I like to mark where the Velcro will go, on the top piece of each Pocket 3 stack. This helps me quickly distinguish between Pocket 3 and Pocket 2. However, to clarify, the Velcro will be sewn on the right side of the fabric.)

When you are through cutting out however many you decide to cut out, you will have something that looks like the bottom right photo below (all your pretty pieces, right sides together, ready to sew):

Part 3: Chain Stitch All the Pocket Pieces: Using a longer than regular straight stitch (1/4" seam allowance), chain stitch all the pocket pieces. Back stitch when you begin and end stitching each pocket seam, but don't take the time to lift your presser foot and cut the thread for every single one; just keep sewing!
straight stitch, longer than regular stitch length, 1/4" seam allowance, chain stitch pocket pieces

Part 4: Press All the Pocket Pieces: Take your long strand of pocket pieces to the ironing board, lay out about 5 at time: Flip open pocket pieces, wrong sides facing up; press seams down to one side; then flip so right sides are facing up, press again; repeat until you have prepped all your pocket pieces.
pressing pocket pieces

Note:  Do a nice job pressing the pocket seams. :)

Part 5: Mark & Stitch Velcro: Mark where Velcro goes on one right side of the Main Purse piece & one right side of Pocket 3. Cut Velcro pieces all the same length (I used 1/2" pieces). Center the soft side of the Velcro over the mark on the Main Purse piece, and stitch, pivoting at the corners. Back stitch when you come back to where you started. Do the same for the Pocket 3 piece, but with the rough side of the Velcro.

Part 6: Putting it all together! This is my favorite part. With right sides of Main Purse pieces facing up, stack the 3 pockets--one on top of the next, lining up bottom edges.  Stack the pockets on the Main Purse piece that has the soft Velcro sewn to it. Then with the other Main Purse piece, turn it over and place it on top, matching Main Purse piece edges (see photos below). 
Main purse pieces "right" sides together with pockets, stacked & enclosed

Time to Sew It Up! Okay, this is my favorite part! Using a regular stitch length, or shorter, straight stitch (1/4" seam allowance) through all the layers, around the purse, leaving an opening (shown on the pattern piece). Remember to back stitch at beginning & end to secure the seam.
stitch around purse, leaving opening

When stitching up the purse, you may want to use reinforcement stitching, on each side (left & right), at the tops of each of the pockets, see photo below--example of reinforcement stitching on left side of purse):

Part 7: Trim, Notch, Clip, Flip, Smooth Out Seams & Corners, and Press: Check your stitching and make sure you caught all the layers of fabric. Then trim, notch, and clip where needed. Flip right side out through the opening. Using a chopstick to smooth out seams, and work on corners a bit. Then take it to the ironing board. Make sure the seam allowances are evenly tucked in at the opening, and press in place. Also press all around the Mini Fabric Purse, working around the Velcro.

Trim, Notch, Clip, Flip, Smooth Out Seams & Corners, and Press

Part 8: Hand Stitch Opening & Final Press: Using matching thread, hand stitch (blind stitch or tunnel stitch) the opening closed. Then give the front and back and inside one final press. 

Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder by PostalThreads.blogspot.com

Ta-Da! You did it.
The possibilities are endless.
Mixing & matching fabrics is fun!

Please comment below with questions or link to your finished Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder.
Thank you!

M is for "Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder" in The "Sew Up A Storm" Alphabet Series by PostalThreads.blogspot.com

Best Sewing Blogs!

I just discovered this today. An amazing list of sewing blogs. Check out the Runners Up!!!...this list is soooo long! I can't wait to discover some new favorites.

Maybe PostalThreads can be on there somewhere next year, eh?


M is for Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder

New Favorite Stash Buster Project...

M is for Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder
------  UPDATE: Mini Fabric Purse/Card Holder free pattern by PostalThreads, click here.
A tip for printing: Do NOT select "Fit to Page" otherwise, the pattern pieces come out slightly smaller than intended.  Tutorial Is Here!

Years ago I was gifted one of these. I recently took it traveling so I could have a handy, flat, little something to carry some cash in my pocket. I searched and searched for a pattern, but found none, so I decided to have a go at designing a pattern myself, based off the mini purse I was gifted. These are so versatile & fun to make--completely lined! You end up sewing the "purse" pieces right sides together and then turning the whole thing right sides out, and hand-stitching the little opening closed, at the end. As far as the closure goes, I think a little snap closure might be cute too, but I personally do not mind the Velcro--it keeps it all soft and flat. "Press as you Sew!" should be the motto for putting together these little dainties. This is my new favorite fabric stash buster project!

M is for...mittens

Sew Sweater MITTENS!

Here's What I Did: This is the coolest pattern for mittens! You can go to Sandy's website Roman Cake Designs and scroll down to the bottom. She has a link to her YouTube video tutorial, as well as a pdf of the mitten pattern. She gives instructions on how you can print off her pattern to the correct size. I think what I ended up doing was just enlarging it a few different amounts on a copier machine.  Then I followed her instructions from her YouTube tutorial.

You do everything twice--sweater layer for the outside, and fleece layer for the soft and cozy inside--so by the time you finish sewing a pair, you will feel like a pro! [And they actually sew up really fast]. I can't wait to make more!

M is for...moccasins

 Sew Baby Moccasins!

M is for moccasins!
Gathering leather from thrift store finds was fun--I looked through sections with purses, planners, pants, and jackets. I have also heard of people purchasing scraps of leather by the pound, from furniture stores.When I started out I followed Kelly's free baby moccasin tutorial and free pattern, from Sewing In No Mans Land, here. After one or two pairs, I got the hang of it a little better and enjoyed trying new details with the fringe and other little details--hearts, bows, etc.

L is for..."Let It Snow" Banner

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!

L is for "Let It Snow" Banner
View my ALL TIME FAVORITE simple YouTube tutorial for pennant banners, here, from Hannah at Bride De Force.

I used stencils and acrylic paint for the letters, on the front pennants, and I used some lace trim in my stash for the detail below the DIY "double-folded bias tape" which I created with my bias tape maker and fabric cut on the crosswise grain.

K is for... Kitchen Aid Bowl Cover, but any bowl will do.

How to Sew a Reversible Bowl Cover...Works For Round Bar Stool Covers Too!

K is for Kitchen Aid Bowl Cover

Thanks to Lindsey's beautiful tutorial on her site The Cottage Mama, here, I learned how to make bowl covers. She sews hers with one layer of fabric, and then uses double folded bias tape to create the casing for the elastic. I like the clean look the bias tape gives, but I decided to sew two circles, right sides together, then turn it inside out, and create my own casing by sewing around the circle (now right sides facing out). This way the bowl cover is reversible!  And I did not have to try and coordinate double folded bias tape colors, nor purchase any of it, nor make any bias tape of my own!

The same principles for these fun reversible bowl covers can be applied to making round bar stool covers, as well. Simply place a layer or two of batting, for extra cushioning, and measure a little farther out for your circles, depending on the depth of the top of round bar stool piece.

Below I have written basic instructions for creating a reversible bowl cover, referring to the pictures in this post.

Reversible Bowl Cover:
Step 1: Create your bowl cover pattern--turn bowl upside down on paper; measure and mark 2 inches all the way around; cut out circle pattern piece

Step 2: Pin circle pattern piece to 2 layers of fabric for a reversible--they can be the coordinating fabric prints or two different looks; cut out your fabric.

Step 3: (not pictured above) With circle fabric pieces right sides together, stitch a 3/8" (1 cm) seam around the circle, leaving an opening (about 3" wide); turn fabric right sides out.

Step 4: (not pictured above) Press; Stitch all the way around top bowl cover. Casing is typically determined by stitching a seam 1/4" larger than the width of your elastic. (Ex. 3/8" elastic, stitch casing 5/8" from edge). Insert elastic through casing using a bodkin or safety pin.

Step 5: Stitch elastic together (for elastic to lay flat, lay one end on top of other end as shown in the photo).

Step 6: Hand- or machine-sew opening of casing.

You did it! Now try out your reversible bowl cover!

F is for...felt finger puppets!

To Sew or No-Sew?...

F is for felt finger puppets!
Felt finger puppets are fun! There are many ideas out there, so before you get too overwhelmed, try setting some expectations for a "finger puppet project". You might consider a few things before you begin:

  • How much are you willing to hand sew? machine sew?
  • Are you okay if the neighbor child (or your own child) tears apart every single "no-sew" finger puppet you have?
  • Do you want them to all coordinate, like characters in a storybook or fairy tale or nursery rhyme?
  • Do you have a finger play or song in mind? ex. "5 Little Monkeys..."
  • Do you need a pattern or are you making your own?
  • What colors do you need? Will your felt stash be sufficient, or do you still need a few colors or additional supplies---are you stitching eyes, etc. or gluing googly eyes, or pom-poms for a tail or nose, etc?
  • Are you trying to mass produce these, or just make a few?
These were created using a combination of machine sewing and hot gluing for the animal, airplane, & super-hero finger puppets, and hand sewing for the dinosaur ones.

For the dinosaurs, I searched for free dinosaur outlines to use as a pattern--I made them a little small--I guess they really are for kids!!

24+ Toddler Travel Activities

24+ Toddler Travel Activities by PostalThreads

 24+ Toddler Travel Activities For the Long, Long Flights

Here you will find 1-24 travel activity ideas, "...a few more things" and also view my "Quiet Book" progress!

We recently flew with our 16-month-old and baby-on-the-way, 4 hours, across the country, and then another 16 hours on a transatlantic flight, to visit family for 2 weeks. Then we traveled back home again.

We did it! We survived! Now I am ready to tell you that I really did have a lot of fun researching travel activities, all the while nervously wondering what our long flights would entail and how our Little One would do with it all. I ended up putting together way more activities and snacks than we actually "needed", but considering what it did for my peace-of-mind, every single one of these items was absolutely necessary!! :) Below is a list along with comments related to what we liked, and which things we never got to.

"Don't over-pack" is still sound advice, but do what you've gotta do!
Safe & Happy Travels!

1. First 100 Words Board Book by Priddy Books. ISBN 978-0-0312-51078-7
Pack a word or counting book with lots of pictures; mere page turning, identifying, verbal speaking skills.
2. "Who Loves Baby?" photo album--gifted to us. Clear covered pages to slip 4x6 prints of family. Practice identifying who you are about to visit, on the way there, and on the way home, who you saw.

3. Balloon Ball by PostalThreads. I left a deflated balloon in the fabric balloon ball cover so when we wanted to play with the ball, we found the balloon through the fabric slit, inflated it, twisted (instead of tie-off) the end, then tucked it under. The balloon stays inflated that way, so you can have a fun ball that bounces whenever and wherever you go, and you can take it down whenever you want! Never a dull moment!
4. TwistUp Crayons--less "messy" than regular crayons. Counting, in-and-out, and coloring, of course!

5. Doodle Board from the dollar store. I recommend only looking at a dollar store for one of these. Other places did not have one this simple. It was PERFECT though! She loved it!
6. Stacking cups. We took the entire set, since the place we were staying did not have a lot of toys for little people, and this is a very compact and versatile toy. However, we only took the smaller ones, from the set, with us in our carry-on. Move objects, in-and-out, "hide-and-seek" with items under the cups, or hold a few snacks, etc.

7. Fabric draw-string pouches. Conceals & organizes toys & activities.
8. Altoids tin magnetic fishing set (inspired by Doodlecraft): I used a sucker stick as the "fishing pole" instead of a wooden dowel, and I did opposite than tutorial in link--I put washers in the fish and a magnet on the string end. I would do it her way, if I did it over. I used some under-the-sea themed scrap fabric to sew a "pond".

9. Snap closure mini change purse from the dollar store, with a few rings and quarters in it. In-and-out, open-shut, over and over again!
10. Card holder from an old wallet with expired/used gift cards. More page turning, in-and-out, etc.
11. Fabric napkins. This was more for me than for Baby. Sometimes you just want your lap tray table to look fun and pretty, right? We ended up using one of these for the Button Container Fun.

12. Button Container Fun Assortment of buttons--colors, sizes, shapes, in a small plastic container with lid. In-and-out. [Yes, a choking hazard, but I can't tell you how many minutes were occupied with these! Many! And did we lose any?....perhaps one or two, but I actually do not believe we did.]

13. Sticky notes--we actually never opened these! I had another, even smaller pad already open and we played with those, for more in-and-out things with the snap closure mini change purse. Possibilities with sticky notes are numberless!
14. Blue Painters Tape--I kept reading recommendations for traveling with blue painters tape because it is easy to remove and won't damage various surfaces. I thought how silly to take the ENTIRE roll, so I wrapped an empty thread spool with several inches. (I don't think we ever got to this, though!)
15. Printer paper page filled with toddler fingerplay lyrics I gathered from an online search. You have your standard Itsy-Bitsy Spider songs on file, in your head, but I am always up for adding more to my sing-song mommy repertoire! I wish I would have pulled this out---it's not like we didn't have enough time!!

16. Stop Watch--Indiglo and a faint "beep" that gets drowned out by the airplane noise anyway; too fun!

17. Ribbon of colorful wooden beads & empty spools. I just used what I had in my stash. I made sure the ribbon was longer than the amount of beads so there was room to move beads back and forth; use wider ribbon so beads don't slip around all the time.

18. Foam Stickers & Regular Stickers---foam stickers generally come off more surfaces, easier than regular stickers. Busy time and texture.

19. Baby Lotion & lip balm-- airplane air dries out your skin. Feel slightly rejuvenated every once in a while.

20. Feathers in a resealable bag.

21. Finger Puppets!

22. Lacing cards--foam, shoe lace, and 1/8" hole punch (works best if you hole punch the foam with card stock up against it).

23. Pipe Cleaners
24. Pom-Pom Creatures--pom-poms with googly eyes. These were surprisingly a big hit.
Well, there you have it. 1-24.

Read on for "...a few more things" we liked:
24+ Toddler Travel Activities by PostalThreads

1. Kidz Gear headphones--received a lot better reviews than other, "flashier" kid headphones. Found that Target carries these.
2. SmartWool socks---I actually wore compression socks for the long flights, but I love these ankle SmartWool socks so much, I wore them over the long, compression socks. Super comfy & breathable for travel.
3. You see these neck/head pillows EVERYWHERE! Airports charge $15-$20 for a plushy pillow. However, I found this inflatable (compact) version with a soft, comfy cover from Walmart for much less.

"Quiet Book" Progress

Nothing like the prospects of a loooonnnnng flight motivated me to actually finish some quiet book pages. Anyone that has ventured into this realm knows it is time-consuming, can be addicting, usually rewarding, you should not get into it unless you really want to, and it is at least a little ridiculous--you start thinking how eVeRyThInG can turn into a quiet book page, and then you start gathering seemingly needless scraps & notions for the "someday"quiet book pages!

Here's to "Quiet Book" Progress:
"Quiet Book" Progress
Quiet Book Progress!
Quiet Book Cover--I made this up based off of the size of the two sided muslin fabric pages. I backed the inside cover blue fabric with fusible interfacing to give the cover more stability, and stitched all over with contrasting thread, on the inside layer, for decorative sake. After I had sewn the inside cover and outer cover, right sides together and turn it, I added a "spine" to the inside cover where I wanted to "center" the pages, and added two fabric loops made with a bias tape maker. I used book rings and sewed 2 buttonholes in corresponding places to match the rings so the pages stay together, but are also interchangeable. I added another "spine" for the outside of the cover. I attached the book handles under the outside "spine". (I guess I didn't actually put the rings in until I finished the sewing).

Turkey with feathers & buttons--There is an opening for a pocket on the turkey body, behind the green and blue feathers, to store or "hide" removed feathers.

Alphabet--I found these iron-on letters, on clearance for a dollar at a craft store.

Barn & Rolling Hills--I used Jocelyn's free templates from Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows for these pages. She also has free templates for the barn animal finger puppets--super helpful!

Counting Page--the safari animal beads were "irresistible". This page "is what it is." I still want to add actual numbers to one side...  I used pipe cleaners and opted for counting left to right rather than top to bottom because I thought they would sag less. As cute as they are, all these beads, together, are noisier than I thought--take caution.

Zipper page--I probably should have chosen zippers that are easier going than these, but she'll grow into it!

Fruit Sack--matching. Also the brown felt "paper bag" is a pocket to store the fruit. I used velcro, but just know that velcro snags felt.

Cupcake, Flower Vase, and Box of Chocolates Valentine pages, as well as the weaving heart, were inspired by ImagineOurLife's Valentine Mini Quiet Book.

Articles of Faith page--I used the 1995 Primary theme poster: "We Believe the Articles of Faith" which you can find a pdf version from lds.org by clicking here. I cut it up and created pockets with clear plastic from my stash, probably from the packaging from a new set of sheets or something. I attached laminated words of each Article of Faith to a ribbon and matched it to the row. Another one for her to grow into!