Black Friday Weekend Sale Preview

Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow?  We’re going to celebrate twice.  I’m cooking dinner for my boys on Thursday, then my daughter and son-in-law are joining us for leftovers and some Christmas decorating on Friday.  I’m not sure I warned them about the decorating part, so that might be a little surprise.  They can work on assembling the Lego Christmas village.  That’s less like work and more like play.

After everyone has spent the day with family and friends on Thursday comes Black Friday and the official start of the shopping season.  Like every year, I’m having a four-day long sale in my Etsy shop.  What’s different about this year is that I’m including my custom items!  Here’s the deal:

Black Friday Weekend Sale - Crafty Staci

Shop Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday with FREE SHIPPING on any order over $10 within the United States using the code JOLLY2014 at checkout.  I haven’t forgotten my international customers, so use the code WORLD2014 for $4 off any order over $10.

2014-09-02 283

That means you sewists out there, or those of you encouraging others to sew, can get two of my new Coffee Cup Sleeve Sewing Kits for $10 shipped!

Make Your Own Coffee Cup Sleeve Kit - Crafty Staci

The coupon codes will be active at midnight on Thursday through Monday.  Have a great Thanksgiving and happy shopping!

Book Review: Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics

I’m here today to a book review courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.  They have provided me with the book in exchange for this review, but the opinions are all my own.

If you’re in the market for a unique gift for a friend who sews, or you’re looking for something a little different to try yourself, I have the book for you. 

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 1

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics by Emiko Takahashi might look a little ordinary at first glance.  It’s filled with 25 basic handbag designs, with variations to bring the impressive total to 60 different options.  The colors used throughout the book are fairly neutral, and the many of the shapes we’ve seen before.  Why is this book so unusual then?  All of the bags are meant to be sewn completely by hand.

Knowing that really changes the way you look at this book.  I’ve been doing a lot of hand embroidery recently, but I’m so tied to my sewing machines that I forget it’s possible to construct something without touching a machine at all.  Somehow, a simple bag is a little more beautiful when you know it was made entirely, and literally, by hand.

The projects are divided into three categories,  and the first is shopping bags.  My favorite here is the Checkout Basket Bag.  What a smart idea!

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 2

The next topic is everyday bags, with a selection of simple bags that could be used in a million different ways.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 3

The last group is fashion bags.  There are some nice shapes in this section.  And a hand-sewn zipper!

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 4

Following the projects, the book covers the construction techniques, equipment and materials used to make these bags.  Everything is explained in such a way that I wouldn’t be afraid to give this book to even the most novice sewist, with the recommendation that she read through the whole book before starting on her first project.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 5

The instructions for each project seem very thorough.  There are plenty of illustrations, which is a huge plus for me in both sewing and recipe books.  Apparently I’m more of a show, don’t tell kind of person.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 6

As I mentioned, I’ve been embroidering like crazy, so I really appreciate that the book doesn’t just say “put this sort of stitch here.”   There are diagrams showing what each stitch looks like and how it’s made so that even someone nervously clutching her first skein of floss knows what to do with it.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 7

Many of the bags are constructed using basic shapes, but there is a pattern sheet in the back of the book for the more oddly shaped.

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 8

Without a doubt, this is my favorite book I’ve reviewed for Tuttle Publishing so far.  There isn’t a single bag shown that I wouldn’t consider making, and I’m completely in love with the idea of sewing it with nothing but a needle and thread.  Maybe some pretty bag fabric will find its way into my Christmas stocking!

Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics - Book Review by Crafty Staci 9

About these ads

Friday Favorites–Thanksgiving

Okay, I swear it was just Halloween.  How did we get to Thanksgiving already?  I suppose next I’ll turn around and Christmas will be here.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself though – let’s take a little time to give this holiday its due.  Otherwise, I’ve got a 20 pound turkey in my fridge that I’ll need a new excuse to cook.

Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites - Thanksgiving

Speaking of turkeys, and it doesn’t seem like you can avoid it when it comes to Thanksgiving crafts, I think this Little Turkey No-Sew Thanksgiving Onesie from Creative Ramblings is adorable. 

Little Turkey Thanksgiving Onesie from Creative Ramblings

Something about Thanksgiving particularly brings out the toilet paper roll projects.  These TP Tube Turkeys from A Girl and a Boy would be fun to make with the kids.

Thanksgiving TP Tube Turkeys from A Girl and A Boy

This recipe for Turkey and Stuffing Turnovers from A Family Feast is more day-after fare, but definitely sounds worth the wait.

Turkey and Stuffing Turnovers from A Family Feast

I’ve never seen Corn Husk Pom Poms, like these from Centsational Girl, but wouldn’t these be great Thanksgiving decorations?

Corn Husk Pom Pom from Centsational Girl

These sweet, printable Thanksgiving Utensil Holders from Craftaholics Anonymous are easy to make and would be a nice addition to the table.

Thanksgiving Printables from Craftaholics Anonymous

These Turkey Rod Pretzel Treats from Sugar Aunts (great blog name!) look fun to make and eat.

Turkey Pretzels from Sugar Aunts

The New York Times shared a collection of Thanksgiving Recipes representing each of the 50 states, plus D.C. and Puerto Rico, which is beautifully done and fun to read.  Pictured below is Cranberry Sauce with Pinot Noir from my home state of Oregon.  Thanks to Craft Gossip for the heads up on this one!

Thanksgiving Recipes Across the United States from The New York Times

These Printable Thanksgiving Placemats from Cheryl Style are just genius.

Printable Thanksgiving Placemats from Cheryl Style

Oh, you need some crayons for your placemat?  Just add these DIY Crayon Turkeys from Paging Supermom.

DIY Crayon Turkeys from Paging Supermom

This Kraft Paper Table Runner from Dawn Nicole is so simple, but the little bit of black calligraphy makes it look elegant.

Kraft Paper Table Runner from  Dawn Nicole

Easy Round Cushion Covers

I intended to share this with you on Monday, but I got knocked flat by a nasty bug that my husband tried REALLY hard not to share with me.  I’m finally vertical again, but the sooner this cough goes away the better.  Enough of my sickly whining, I want to show you a quick way to cover round chair cushions.

With the holidays upon us, doesn’t it seem like you’re always looking for an extra chair for company?  You can easily recover round patio chair cushions to fit in better with your indoor Thanksgiving or Christmas décor!

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 1

To create your pattern, measure the diameter of your cushion, add the height, then add 1”.  Cut a piece of string 3 or 4 inches longer than the number you just came up with.  Tie one end of the string around a pencil.  I found it helpful to use a pencil with a cushion on it so the string wouldn’t slide around.  Tie a knot in the other end at the distance from the pencil that matches your number.  Fold a large piece of paper in quarters.  Stick a pin through the knot on the string into the tip of the folds.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 2

Draw a curved line with the pencil by stretching the string as far as it will go.  Cut along that line.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 3

Unfold your pattern and pin it to the fabric.  I was making two, so I doubled my fabric to cut them both at once.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 4

Sew a buttonhole starting 1 1/8” from the edge.  Fold the fabric in 1” and stitch near the edge.  I didn’t fold the edge under because it will be on the inside, but if you’re worried about it fraying you can fold the edge under 1/4” before stitching.  Tie a knot in a piece of cord and attach a safety pin.  Feed it through the buttonhole, around the circle through the casing and back out the buttonhole.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 5

I cut a smaller circle and laid it in the center so none of the bare cushion would show.  You don’t necessarily need to do this, especially if your cover is temporary.  Lay the cushion in the center of the cover.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 6

Pull the cord to gather, then tie a bow.  You can either tuck the extra cord inside or cut it off.  I’d recommend tucking it so it can be reused.

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 7

Wouldn’t it be cute to make these with holiday fabrics?

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 8

This set lives on my daughter’s apartment deck now – maybe she needs Christmas chairs! Smile

Easy Round Cushion Covers - Crafty Staci 9

Friday Favorites–Gifts to Make for Makers

Do you have someone in your life who’s creative – besides yourself, of course?  Do you ever want to give them a handmade gift, but don’t want it to be something they could just make for themselves?  Give them something they can use while they’re being creative!  I’m here today with some ideas for people who sew, scrapbook, knit and crochet.  Don’t be afraid to craft for a crafter!

Gifts to Make for Makers - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

No seamstress goes without somewhere to put her pins.  Make her this cute Mini Cupcake Pincushion Ring from Obsessively Stitching with an equally tiny number of supplies.

Mini Cupcake Pincushion Ring from Obsessively Stitching

I love the fact that this Pincushion and Thread Catcher from Sew Mama Sew could be used by the sewing machine or draped over a couch arm.

Pincushion and Thread Catcher from Sew Mama Sew

I have two sewing machines, and neither of them has anything prettier than their plastic travel cases to cover them.  Any sewing machine driver would appreciate this Sewing Machine Cozy from Notes from the Patch.

Sewing Machine Cozy from Notes from the Patch

I love the colorful look of displayed thread spools.  Why not go all the way and make them into art, like this project from Grey Luster Girl.

Framed Thread Holder from Grey Luster Girl

I only recently remembered how handy pattern weights can be.  Remind someone in your life remember with this tutorial from Tea Rose Home.

Pattern Weights from Tea Rose Home

This Needle Book from Domestic Doozie would be helpful for someone who sews, an embroiderer or a cross-stitcher.

Needle Book from Domestic Doozie

The Stir is calling this a growth chart, but wouldn’t this make a great craft studio decoration?

DIY Growth Chart from The Stir

Thistlewood Farms used this Pegboard Box for gift wrapping supplies, but I think this could be a great organizer for a scrapbooking fan.

Peg Board Box from Thistlewood Farms

This Crochet Hook Holder from Future Girl is not only functional, but would be cute hanging in a craft room.

Crochet Hook Holder from Future Girl

With a little wood skill, this Bamboo Yarn Bowl from Instructables user dtextor would be a great gift for a knitter or crochetist.

Bamboo Yarn Bowl from dtextor on Instructables

DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Sewing Kits

I’m excited to announce I’ve added a new item to my Etsy shop – DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Sewing Kits!

2014-11-11 201

Everything you’ll need to make your own reversible coffee cup sleeve is included, except a sewing machine and some thread.  Even the sewing machine is optional, as these could be sewn by hand.  I’ve even included a blank tag, which can be personalized with a fine tip permanent marker!

2014-11-11 197

I just listed these, so there are lots of fabric options to choose from.  At only $5 each, they’ll make great stocking stuffers or small gifts.

2014-11-11 199

To celebrate this fun new addition to my shop, when you buy two kits you’ll get a third FREE!  Just add three kits to your cart, click “Apply Shop Coupon Code” and enter the code BTGOKITS and click “Apply.”  It will deduct $6 from your order – $5 for the kit and $1 for shipping.  The code is good through Sunday, November 16, 2014.

These have already hit the Kits and Tutorials page in Gift Ideas on Etsy, so don’t wait – they might not last long!

2014-11-11 194

How I Prepared for my First Craft Show in 12 Days

I’ve had a goal for the last couple of years to participate in a local craft show.  I really wanted to interact with people, get some feedback on the products I sell and meet other vendors.  With all the wedding chaos, I didn’t think it would happen this year.  But I found myself with extra time, and used much of it to increase my inventory level.  I felt like I had plenty of product to fill a booth, but had missed the application dates for some of the shows already.

I decided since I had inventory, but no plan, I would just apply to two shows.  They happened to be two very popular shows, so I didn’t think I had any hope of getting in.  At first, I was right.  I received my rejectograms, but one said I had been added to the wait list.  Not knowing where I was on that list, or whether everyone was added to it, I let the whole idea go. 

Twelve days before the Siren Nation show, I received an email letting me know a space had opened up and asking if I was interested in it.  I waited for my husband to come home and talk me out of the craziness of accepting, but instead he said he thought I should go for it.  With not even two weeks to prepare, I jumped in.  Today I’d like to share a few of the tips that helped me make it in time!

How I Prepared for my First Craft Show in 12 Days - Crafty Staci

1.  Order a credit card device (Square, PayPal, Etsy, etc.) the moment you apply for your first show.  They’re free, and if you get accepted you’re going to need one.  I actually ordered a Square and PayPal and brought them both, in case I had trouble getting one of them to work.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 2

2.  Make sure you already have enough stock on hand, or at least enough you can fill any holes in your inventory in the time remaining until the show.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 1

3.  Enlist help.  Whether it’s assigning the kids to make dinner a couple of times, asking your significant other to run some of your errands, or getting someone to help at the show, don’t be afraid to ask for some assistance.

My lovely assistant - Crafty Staci

4.  Make a list of the things you need to accomplish before the show.  It’s much less stressful for me to take a few minutes to write down my tasks and work from that list than to find myself bouncing from one thing to the next, trying to remember what I might be leaving out. 

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 7

5.  If you have the space, set up a table with the area you’ll have available marked off.  Since this was my first show, I didn’t have a plan in place so I found it easier to have it there where I could fill it and tweak it as I went.  This is my table in my studio, with blue tape on the right to mark my area.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 3

6.  Use as many items you already own as possible for your display.  I used mason jars for my business cards and pens, and repurposed a small clipboard to hold my mailing list sign-up sheet.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 4

7.  Make a list of items you think you might need at the show.  I felt better taking everything I could possibly need and maybe not having to use it.  This is what I brought for our indoor setting.  I would add to it for an outdoor show.

Craft Show Checklist - Crafty Staci

8.  Take photos of your booth set-up with your phone so it’s easy to replicate once you arrive.  I had planned for a 30” deep table, but once we arrived we found it was deeper, so we had to adjust.  It was helpful to be able to look at how it was laid out and home to decide where we could make changes.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 5

9.  Which leads me to my next tip – be flexible.  If you find something isn’t working don’t be afraid to change it.  We found that customers weren’t really seeing the coffee sleeves in the crate, so we spread them on the table later in the day.  Also, I hadn’t planned to display a wrist strap on a camera, but since we had extra space I added it and it really helped to show customers how it works.

Crafty Staci Booth at Siren Nation 6

10.  After the show is over, write down what worked and what didn’t for next time.  I’d also recommend sending a thank you to the organizers.  The organizers at Siren Nation never stopped to take a breath while I was there!

I won’t say everything went perfectly, but considering the short time I had to get ready, I was pretty happy with the way everything turned out.  Do you craft sale veterans out there have any advice to add?

Friday Favorites–Gifts to Make for Families

I’ve been following the annual Sew Mama Sew Handmade Holidays series for years now.  I’ve had my projects featured and I’ve donated one of the prizes in the form of a gift certificate to my Etsy shop.  But this year I am actually one of the curators!  My selections are things you can make for those times you need to give a gift a whole family can use.  After sending the projects for Sew Mama Sew to feature, I found myself with lots of great ones still left in my file, so we’re going to have a little crossover episode today.  Check out these fabulous projects you can make to give a family, then click on over to Sew Mama Sew for more!

Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites - Gifts to Make for Families

One of our favorite activities to do as a family is play games.  I’ve never heard of this one, but I’m intrigued.  We might need to try out this DIY Koob game from Let’s Get Together.

DIY Koob Game from Lets Get Together

What better gift for a whole family than a big Striped Stash Buster Blanket, like this one from Simply Collectible, that everyone can cuddle under together?

Striped Stash Buster Blanket from Simply Collectible Crochet

Make everyone in the family their own personalized ornament, with these Felt Monogram Ornaments from Say Yes.  These would also make cute gift toppers.

Felt Monogram Ornaments from Say Yes

Bread mixes make great family gifts, and I love that Wicked Good Kitchen went with the slightly less common Homemade Cornbread Mix, complete with a gluten-free option.

Homemade Cornbread Mix from Wicked Good Kitchen

Get the whole family in on the fun (or their photos at least) with this Go Fish Game on Infarrantly Creative.

This refurbished picture frame from Goodwillionaire would be a great place to display family photos and art.

Photo Frame from Goodwillionaire

You could make one of these Dress Up Activity Magnets from Minted Strawberry for every member of the family.

Dress-up Activity Magnets from Minted Strawberry

Everyone needs a place to set their drink, and if you’re making these Reversible Drink Coasters from The Stitching Scientist you could use different fabrics for each member of the family.

Reversible Drink Coasters from The Stitching Scientist

I know ours isn’t the only family with a plan for when the walkers try to take over, so this Zombie Apocalypse Kit from Comic Con Family is a great idea.  I’d add a few items from this list of Useful Stocking Stuffers to Help Survive the End of the World from DoDo.

If the family you make these English Toffee Bites from Shugary Sweets for doesn’t like them, go ahead and send them my way.

English Toffee from Shugary Sweets

For more family gift ideas, come see me over at Sew Mama Sew!

HH2014Button2

Siren Nation and Disney Coffee Sleeves

I was a vendor at my first craft show in about 20 years last Sunday.  It was called Siren Nation, and was held at McMenamin’s Kennedy School in Portland.  For those of you from the area, you know the look that the McMenamin brothers are famous for, and this was no exception.  They are masters at making quirky and weird seem like the natural order of things.  We were at a table just inside one of the doors, and spent the day chatting with customers and vendors, while beating the sales goal I had set for myself.  I had a few friends and family members come to visit (thank you all!) and my daughter stuck with me all day. 

Codi and Staci at Siren Nation

Remember how I promised a DIY Coffee Cup Sleeve Kit to anyone who visited me and told me they read my blog?  One of my first customers took me up on it!  I was so excited I failed to make a note of her name, but she was here visiting from Pennsylvania (I think?) and decided to come by.  It made my whole day!

Look for a recap of my booth setup and some tips for getting ready for a show in a hurry coming soon.  I’ll also be sharing my tutorial for the cute vendor aprons my daughter and I wore.

Vendor Apron by Crafty Staci

In other news, it’s time for a new Disney project at Undercover Tourist!  I wrapped up a whole series on coffee cup sleeves last year, and made no promise you’d never see new ones from me again.  Turns out, I hadn’t covered my Disneyland obsession yet, so I made these before our trip in September.

Mickey and Minnie Coffee Cup Sleeves - Crafty Staci

To get the pattern and instructions, just visit me at Undercover Tourist.  These would make a great stocking stuffer for the Disney fan in your life!

My last bit of business involves Wedding Wednesdays.  I have a few more things I’d like to show you, but I’ve decided to suspend that series until after the holidays.  There’s just too much going on.  Look for the last few installments in February.

Join me this Friday for some make-able holiday gifts for the family – both here and on Sew Mama Sew’s Handmade Holidays!

Friday Favorites–Halloween Party Food

Happy Halloween!  Since I’m still frantically trying to get ready for Siren Nation this weekend, I hope you don’t mind if I keep this short and sweet.  Enjoy!

Halloween Party Food - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

Dracula’s Dentures from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Dracula's Dentures from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Brains in a Jar Cake from Living Locurto

Brains in a Jar Cake from Living Locurto

Thai Spiced Deviled Eggs from Foodista

Thai Spiced Deviled Eggs

Halloween Eyeball Punch from Happiness is Homemade

Eyeball Punch from Happiness is Homemade

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats from Essentially Eclectic

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats from Essentially Eclectic

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats from Cincy Shopper – Combine this recipe and that last one – pumpkin flavored, pumpkin shaped rice krispie treats!

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats from Cincy Shopper

Homemade Candy Corn from Hoosier Homemade

Homemade Candy Corn from Hoosier Homemade

Candy Corn Pudding Pops from No. 2 Pencil

Candy Corn Pudding Pops - Number 2 Pencil

Halloween Pretzel Spider Web Treats from One Little Project at a Time

Halloween Pretzel Spider Web Treats from One Little Project

Sugar and Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from The Baking Beauties

Sugar and Spice Roasted Pumpkin Seeds from The Baking Beauties

Have a safe and happy Halloween tonight!