Twig and Tale Tour: An easy upcycle

I was invited to participate in the Twig and Tale Tour for upcycling, and of course, I said yes.  Then I remembered I had tweens, and not cute little people that didn’t voice their opinion.  I love their Wild Things add-ons.  Talk about adorable!  I so wish I could have done that with this tour, but alas…tweens.

So…onward to a very simple upcycle.  Yes, I made a cape with a blanket.  Too hard, right??


You do kind of need a blanket in order to upcycle this garment.  I had a specific garment in mind, though.

the assassins blade

My daughter is obsessed with these books.  They are young adult geared books.  If your girl likes strong female leads with adventure and butt kicking…she may like these, as well.  My daughter wants me to make cosplay outfits of several of the book covers.

I used the Traveler’s Cape (disclosure: given to me for free for the tour) as the base for this garment. I should have lowered it a bit, but I was at the limit for the width on this blanket.

The cloak was the easy part.  The embellishments…not so much.  I drew out a sort of copy of the design (I didn’t really like their design), and then cut it out from upcycled suede pants.  I have been upcycling that pair for few years, so not much left at this point.

Next was hand-stitching it on.  The cape took about an hour to make, if that.  The leather took several hours to hand-sew onto the cape.  Glutton for punishment, I am.


The cloak fasteners were purchased from Pacific Trimmings online.


I get quite a lot of my hardware there, since they have so much variety. Many times I purchase with no plan in mind.  This is why I have this box here, which is not all of the hardware I have:


Creating Magic

So, photos.  I love doing composite photography, however, I don’t have a lot of opportunity to do so.  I took this photo on my white backdrop, erased out the background, and made a new one with brushes.

Brush credit:

Clothes: Cape from Twig and Tale.  Shirt and leggings are self-drafted.

Decorative blades: From our collection.  We have several.


Different pose with more natural skin tone…





To follow along with the upcycling blog tour at Twig and Tale:

Blog tour overview at Twig and Tale

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Link up:

Day one: Sew Shelly SewHandmade BoyNap time CreationsBoevenbende
Day two: Stylin StacyThe CraftingfiendGaafmachineWhile she was sleeping
Day three: Huisje Boompje BoefjesLife in our busy householdThe Crazy TailorSew Sophie Lynn
Day four: Crafty like a RoxThe Wolf and the Tree NZ Green Buttons Vera Luna Paisley Roots

Summer wardrobe capsule plan…sittin’ at the ball fields

Summertime around these parts consists of many hours watching ball games – both softball and baseball.

This means I sit in the hot sun sweating and getting odd tan lines for hours at a time. I wanted to make a mix and match wardrobe capsule that would keep me cool, look awesome and be easy to change up the pieces.

This also matches some other pieces already in my wardrobe, so it should work well.

Here are two sodoku capsules that I made up. This is all subject to change on my frivolous whims.

summer soduko 1

summer soduko 2

I am going to make a pattern for a skort (’cause wind…) with a straight-front, flounce back with pockets on the legs underneath. Something like this:


We’ll see if it actually turns out that way. Whims…I tell ya.

The tops are going to be tank tops to try to minimize the farmers tan. Not that there is anything wrong with a farmer’s tan…had them aplenty growing up.

These are my tank top inspirations. I like the thought of putting stretch lace in there, so I think I will use that idea to try to keep cool.

tank top inspiration

Lots of fun things going on with those tops. The only issue, is the bra issue. I have yet to find a comfortable strapless bra, so I am thinking of making some fun straps with some existing bras.

Fabrics are next. I bought a few different types of athletic mesh in black and gray, some gray Nike sport fabric, and then I have some different cotton/lycra and poly/lycra knits. I also have some lace and should be getting a sample stretch mesh fabric soon that will fit in nicely.

The sodoku would not be complete without some accessories, amiright?? I have a lot of silver jewelry that I can pull out for these outfits, since I am a jewelry hoarder.

This is just the silver stuff…


I need new black sandals, since I threw away my pair that I have worn the last 5 years or so. The soles were breaking down. I bought these two new pairs of sandals. I might need one more black pair, more of a walking sandal, but I will see how these fit when I get them from Zulily. I also got a new pair of shades.

What glorious purse do I carry?

I thought you would never ask! It is this Zip-top Utility Tote by 31 Bags. Could I make this? Yes. Do I want to when this is only $35? No, no I do not. If you want one I can hook you up with my friend that is a consultant.

zip top organizing utility

This has 7 side pockets, yo. It fits all my crap that I bring with me, which includes this non-exhaustive list:

  • water bottle
  • purse stuff (phone, wallet, etc.)
  • kleenex (allergy season)
  • first aid kit (yes, I am that Mom)
  • Sunglasses for large and small people
  • Sunscreen
  • Visor
  • Bug spray
  • Camera and several lenses
  • Snacks
  • Art supplies and/or sewing to keep me busy
  • Hand warmers, and I can throw my blanket on top for early in the season

It is heavy, but holds all my crap.

I am going to be joining in on a contest on the Wardrobe Capsule Facebook group, but I really will be sewing it whenever I get the time. That gets more rare as the summer gets closer, so I need to work on it as soon as I can. Tryouts are next month!

Oh, just in case you are a fellow sports parent sewist person…RP Custom Fabric will be having a sport prints pre-order round on cotton-lycra in March. She will have all FOUR of my kids’ sports. I’m gonna be so poor.











Just call me Morticia

No, I am not feeling depressed.  Yes, I like to wear black.  I try not to wear all black, since that might beg the question of “whose funeral”.  To which, the obvious reply would be, “I haven’t decided yet.” 😉

This top is my Sneha tunic hack. I described how I drafted and changed the pattern here.


I made it long enough to cover my bum.  The fabric is a drapey black mystery knit.  It feels like it has a lot of poly in this one, and I think it is likely a ponte.  The patterned black is definitely a ponte.  Love how these two looked together.  The arms are a little tighter than I like, especially since ponte doesn’t have as much give as a regular knit.  That will be something to tweak for next time.


If I were a bit more risque, I could wear this tunic as a dress, too.   I think I am a bit long in the tooth to be wearing such a short dress, though!

I have colored my hair a bit darker here, too.  I am totally a box dye kit girl.  This is Natural Insticts Egyptian Plum.  I do the wash out color, so we will see how long this lasts.  I need 3 boxes of color, and could probably use one more for better coverage.  It would cost me a small fortune to dye my hair at a salon, and I have never had a bad experience in doing it myself.  My natural color is close to my son’s hair.  I started out life as a blond, which was helped by being outside a lot in my youth.  Once I got older and wasn’t outdoors as much, my hair turned more of a light brown.  Blah!  I, of course, didn’t start out subtle the first time I dyed my hair.  I chose red, and have kept it pretty consistently some version of red for awhile.  This is the darkest I have gone, though.


Outfit details (in case you care):


Blue on Black

Purse #2 is DONE!


Procrastination is a life skill that I am well acquainted with, so of course, I waited until the last minute to get this done.  I wanted to make sure it turned out nice, though, and I think I succeeded.


The leathers are both lambskin.  The royal blue is an embossed leather, so it has a design pressed into it.  The black is super soft.  So soft that I had to make sure I put some more industrious interfacing in the purse, so it didn’t collapse.  I added a foam interior so it would have some bulk to it.  The handle has webbing inside it, so it won’t stretch out.


I tried to pretty it up with some hardware choices on the rivets and gunmetal rings and snaps.


The interior is just a bottom-weight royal blue fabric.  I didn’t have anything fancy in my fabric stash.  The pocket is a sample I printed of one of my fabric designs, though.


A thoroughly one of a kind purse!  Hope it sells for a good price.



Do or do not, there is no try…

Yoda is wise.

“You are so good at that!  I can’t do that!”

I hear this from my daughter from time to time, and different versions from adult women around me when I am working on some project or other.  I have a hard time sitting idle, so I usually bring something to work on when I am at my children’s sports.


My bag consists of a drawing pad, various pens and sharpies, sometimes a loom knitting project, and maybe some hand-sewing.  I brought spur straps to hand sew to one volleyball tournament.

I tend to try many new types of mediums, and never does it enter my mind that I can’t do something.  This is not ego, but industry.  I know that if I try hard enough, and long enough, at something…I will figure out how to do it.  I have faith in my abilities that I can do something.  It’s not rocket science.  All it takes is effort.  Sometimes grand effort, but in the end I will learn how to do it.

I mean, damn, I learned how to make chainmail.


I can learn to paint, I know this, but I also know I may never be a Michelangelo or Botticelli.  I don’t need to be, though.  I enjoy what I make, and that is enough for me.

I have known some gifted artists, and while I may be temporarily jealous of their incredible abilities, I also know they did not naturally learn their skill from just being born.  They honed their abilities, which were augmented by some natural sight that comes through in their artwork.

The point of this, is that when my daughter tells me she “can’t” do something, I tell her that it takes work and effort to be good at anything.  If she wants to learn it enough, and puts in the time, she will also be good at it.

It’s not about “CAN’T”, rather “WILL” or “WILL NOT”.

If you really want to do something, DO IT!  What is the point of saying “CAN’T”, when you CAN if you WILL.

Start by believing in yourself, and your abilities.  Have faith that whatever you want to do in your life, or be as a person, you can achieve.  It just takes effort…and that first step.  You may stumble from time to time, but that is just part of the process call learning.  You will learn what not to do next time, and be able to take that next step forward.  Eventually you will reach that place where you are content with your achievements, and if not…take the next fork in the road and go down a new path.

Life is a journey, so enjoy it by doing things that give you joy.  The other alternative is to stay rooted in place, and you, my dears, are not a tree.

tree white background





Goals for February

Since January flew by in a blink of an eye, I am going to write down what I plan on making for this month.

#1 – Purse #2 for the charity auction.  It is cut out and in process. DONE


#2 – Possibly a new hip purse for when I am working at the charity auction.  I have a feeling this won’t get completed, but maybe I will have time… Not done – this one will have to wait

#3 – I want to do a Pinterest project a month, so two projects if I can.  I am thinking about these two as possibilities:

cardigan Not sure on the color of the cardigan yet, though.  This will also fit into the Self Love Sewing for February.

#4 – I have signed up to make an upcycled item for a blog tour.  I know what I want to make, so I just need to get it done!  DONE

#5 – I want to make a pair of red ponte leggings with a black leather tuxedo strip down the side. DONE

#6 – To match the leggings above I want to make a black top like this one, only with long sleeves, maybe a different hem line.  It will be longer, since this isn’t quite long enough to cover the bum: DONE20160227-DSC_0076#7 – Charity – I want to get through some fabrics I probably won’t use.  I have a stack of fleece pieces that would make great hats, scarves or cowls.  I could also make some baby sleep sacks.  Sewing for charity and reducing the stash of unused fabric would be a real win.  After the fleece is gone, I am going to start on making skirts or dresses for girls on the Pine Ridge Reservation with the woven fabrics I have.

So…that is the plan so far for this month.  Lofty goals, but hopefully I can reach them!



Go Pack, Go!

Here is the first bag for the benefit auction in a few weeks.  This is my bag pattern that I have been using to make most of my purses.  I should maybe make a tutorial or something on it, huh?


This one is made of the following:

  • Green pigskin leather
  • Gold lambskin leather
  • Green Bay Packers licensed woven
  • 2 zippers
  • Fusible Fleece to lining, iron on interfacing for pockets, and Peltex on base
  • Gold hardware – ring, swivel snaps, rivets and feet

I purchased the leather and interfacings locally, but I think I got most of the hardware from Pacific Trimmings.


I also made a tassel that I attached to the zipper, but it is just clipped on so whomever wins the auction can use it elsewhere.

20170130_3199  20170130_3209 20170130_3210

Now onto the next bag!

Denim Blues

I had hoped to make this outfit over the holidays, but I never quite got to it.  I did a lot of reading, and very little else.

So now I’m paying for that lack of industry.  I have two purses to get done in the next two weeks, so of course, I made myself something new to wear.



I did make a start on one of the purses, and cut out interfacing for both of them, so I can say that it is in process.

Comfort seems to be the key in my sewing lately.  I have been using, and altering, some patterns I drafted this summer to create some different looks for them.  Ponte is my fabric of choice.  It is a thicker knit, and feels nice.

There are many different types of ponte fabric, with different weights and lycra contents.  This one is a medium weight, and it feels like a heavier knit with a bit of drape in it.  My skirt in this post was a heavier weight, with not much drape.

The draped top is a long sleeved version of this top.  I made one in black first, for the funeral last weekend, and the shoulder was too far over.  I had to take an inch off the shoulder and size down the sleeve.  I like how this one turned out, though.


Next is my 4-gore skirt.  It has 4 pieces to get this hem shape.  One for the front, one for the back, and one for the sides.  I think the back could come up a bit, but I like it overall.  Maybe a bit more fullness on the bottom, though.  Always something to tweak!


The fabric is a ponte, so it doesn’t have as much stretch as a knit.  It has a nice drape, though.

Now that I have a nice comfy outfit to work…I guess I should work on those handbags!


Oh yeah.  I started a Facebook page for my blog in case you are a Facebooker and want to learn about stuff from there.



A new black purse

My old black pleather purse has seen better days.  As it is pleather, the handle piece tore off, and I had to resew it on.  It looks like crap, since the pleather now has a hole in it.  It was time for a new real leather purse.

This is black Mirabella cowhide with a black lambskin suede.


I have two other purses to make after this one, but I wanted to see if I could do a different interior and the zipper closure.


It all worked out!


The only issue I have with this is the floppiness.  It really does need more than just the fusible fleece on the lining.  I will put in the foam next time, so it will stand up.


This the side pocket, which fits a phone and sunglasses…or keys.  Whatever floats your boat!


I added a piece of suede to the middle of the handle, so it wouldn’t slip off my shoulder with the finished leather.


There are two inside pockets.  One is a zippered pocket and one is open.  I like both.  I put a pen pocket in the open one.

In order to keep the bulk down on the side seams, I split the piece underneath so it is the thinner lining.  I also added a piece of ribbon underneath the suede piece holding the round hardware.  It will keep the suede from stretching out.

So, there is my new purse.  I am going to make two purses for the benefit auction for Deb.  One will be a Green Bay Packers purse and one will be something like this one.  I was hoping we would get a celebratory purse for the Super Bowl, but as I am currently watching the Falcon’s kick their butts…it likely won’t be.

A few of his favorite things

The boy is into the Assassins’ Creed video game and movie, though he hasn’t actually played the game.  Dad has, and they are pretty cool games, with a bit of history involved in them.


The boy wanted some shirts with the AC logo on them, and yes, I know…copyright and all that.  We have bought almost all of the games, if that helps. 😉  I also wouldn’t sell these shirts either.

So…I made some shirts for him out of the new men’s raglan pattern by Wardrobe by Me.  These are in size Small for my 5’9″, 115 pound 13 year old.

Bram Raglan Men’s T-shirt


The length is about 1.5″ longer than the pattern, since some found the first version to be too long.  He’s growing about an inch every two months, so this length from V1 was better for him.

It lays better with the jersey (blue shirt) over the cotton lycra and french terry lycra (black, red shirt).

He loved the shirts!

On a photography related side note…I really need to figure out my new flash.  It is underexposing, so I end up having to do a lot of post processing work in Photoshop.  You can see the color is really off on the black shirt ones.  I set up a backdrop in the basement to get these pictures, and the wall are orange.  You can see that a bit with the color cast.  I miss taking pictures outside!