Reynolds High School

I hope you’ll all forgive this side-step from my usual craft and sewing posts today.  My heart is heavy and I’d like to talk about it a little.  Thank you for understanding.

I’ve shared with you the fact that my husband is in law enforcement.  He’s the lieutenant for an agency a couple of cities over from where we live.  It’s a lovely little community which sits on the Sandy River where it meets the Columbia.  It’s also the location of the school shooting yesterday at Reynolds High School.

This incident falls into the category of training that the police receive but hope they’ll never have to use.  They knew what to do, and they did it with calm precision.  Two lives were lost, but many were saved because of these men and women, coupled with the fact that students and staff behaved with bravery.  A teacher, struck by a bullet, made his way to the office to initiate lock down procedures. 

I spent the day yesterday watching the news, which was punctuated by the audio from the radio contact between the officers and dispatch.  One of those voices belonged to my husband.  I listened to him barking orders, and I hadn’t even been able to talk to him at all yet.  Tears fell, because I know this is one of those events that will stick with everyone involved forever.  Our police family is hurting.

I’m not here to talk about guns or mental health.  I don’t know why this person did what he did and I hope his name and face see as little air time as possible.  I’m thankful he can’t hurt anyone else.  I just want to ask for your prayers and good thoughts for a community dealing with something no one should ever have to.

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Embellished Kitchen Towels

Now that my daughter’s bridal shower is over, I can show you what I made for her!  It’s not too difficult to shop for someone who has never had her own kitchen before, but I really wanted to give her something homemade and personal.  She chose her kitchen colors based on the colors of three appliances owned that would be sitting on the counter, but I love them together.

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 1

I set out to find fabric based on her color scheme.  That proved to be more difficult than I expected, but I ended up finding a couple I liked together. 

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 2

I made the apron based on a pattern I came up with last year.  I’ve decided every bridal shower I go to from now on will include one of these in the gift from me.  I added an extra pocket this time, with a little embroidery for the bride.

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 3

And, of course, it’s reversible.

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 4

I love these cotton kitchen towels.  Also known as tea towels, they’re a good size, absorbent and fun to decorate.  For the first one, I decided to add a strip of fabric overlapping the top edge of some eyelet lace.  It reminds me of some of her outfits when she was a little girl.  Sigh.

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 5

For the next one, I just went with two simple pieces of fabric.  I wanted to make sure there was at least one that her fiancé might be willing to use.

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 6

For the last towel I went a little fancier.  I cut seven 4” squares, then folded each corner to corner and pressed.

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Then I folded again to create this shape.

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I pinned them in place on the towel, overlapping to spread them evenly across the space. 

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Next I cut a piece of fabric the width of the towel plus 1/4” on each end, and 4” wide.  I turned all the edges under 1/4” and pressed.

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I stitched the strip on, overlapping the top of the triangles. 

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The turquoise is my favorite of the three, but it wasn’t an easy choice.  Fortunately, the bride loved them all!

Embellished Kitchen Towels - Crafty Staci 12

Friday Favorites–Tea Party

I attended my daughter’s bridal shower last weekend, and it was an afternoon of girly fun.  This mother-of-the-bride job is pretty great!

Codi's Bridal Shower


Events like these always remind me that I have an ongoing wish to throw a mostly-grown-up tea party.  Not for any event…just because.  I’ve been collecting ideas for years now, and every time I mention it my daughter says “Do it!”  One of these days…

Tea Party Crafts and Recipes - Crafty Staci

If you’re going to throw a tea party, the first thing you need to do is invite some guests.  This Tea Party Invite from Seven Thirty Three would definitely convey the theme.

Tea Party Invitation by Seven Thirty Three

What’s a tea party without cute decorations?  This simple, printable paper chain from Allsorts seems perfect to me.

Paper Chains by Allsorts

I think these Paper Mache Tea Cups from Ann Wood would make beautiful centerpieces.

Paper Mache Tea Cups by Ann Wood

Sure, there’s tea at a tea party, but there’s also tasty snacks.  I couldn’t pass up these No Bake Teacup Treats from She Knows.

No Bake Teacup Treats from She Knows

Maybe you’d prefer something a little more traditional?  How about these Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze from Weelicious?

Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes by Weelicious

If you want to go all-in, try some of the 50 options for tea sandwiches offered by the Food Network.

50 Tea Sandwiches on Food Network

These Handsewn Tea Bags Tied to Yummy Cookies from Merriment Design could serve as both tea bag and dessert.

Handsewn Teabags Tied to Yummy Cookies by Merriment Design

Someday, when I throw my tea party, all girls will be invited, no matter how small.  However, those little ones are going to want something to do, so I’m keeping my eye on this Mad Hatter Tea Set pattern by Super Pop on Craftsy.

Mad Hatter Tea Set by Super Pop on Craftsy

To go with that tea set, I’m going to need this Tea Box from Lil Blue Boo.  You might find I’ve wandered off during my party to join the little bits who are playing with these.

Tea Box by Lil Blue Boo

I want to send my guests off at the end of the party with a little something to take home.  I think this Tea Wallet from Sew It Girl would be a perfect tea party favor.

Tea Wallet by Sew It Girl

Book Review: Stylish Skirts

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, Tuttle Publishing contacted me and asked if I would review some of their sewing books here on my blog.  I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing Happy Homemade:  Sew Chic and Happy Homemade:  Sew Chic Kids already, and today I’m here with Stylish Skirts.  The books were given to me by Tuttle, but the opinions here are completely my own.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 1

I was really excited when Stylish Skirts by Sato Watanabe arrived in the mail.  I love skirts, and every year around this time I vow to wear more of them.  They also tend to be one of the easiest clothing items a seamstress can make, with so many options for variations.  This book arrived with 23 choices available, almost every one of them something I would wear. 

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 2

I like the unique touches to classic styles, like this Slub Denim Wrap-Style Panel Skirt, with its extra bit of extended hem.

Stylish Skirts  Book Review - Crafty Staci 3

Irregular hem skirts have been in style for a few years now, and this version just looks like someone should dance in it.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 4

The Tiered Look Frilled Skirt adds a twist to the usual tiered skirt by making the layers end at different lengths.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 5

I really like the white stripe coordinating with the white buttons on this one.

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There is quite a bit of embroidery in this book, which I’ve been loving lately.  Since this skirt is so easy to sew, the extra effort to add the embroidery isn’t much work.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 7

As far as the way the book is laid out, it’s very similar to the others I’ve reviewed from Tuttle.  It starts out with photos of each skirt on the same dress form, along with page numbers for the instructions.  I miss the personality of human models, but it did make me feel a bit less intimidated that I’m not the size 0 shown in the photos.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 8

The book includes several helpful pages for beginners or anyone needing a refresher, like this one that covers different closures.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 9

I really like the way they have diagramed the sewing instructions.  Like my cookbooks, my sewing books can’t have too many photos. 

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 12

The one issue I have with this book is that you have to draft your own patterns.  I understand this is necessary because there’s no way 23 skirt patterns in a variety of sizes are going to fit in an envelope.  However, I was disappointed to find no “How to Draft a Pattern” page, and even with my 40+ years of sewing experience and help from my husband I couldn’t figure out how to make my favorite skirt.

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 10

Granted, I don’t often draft clothing patterns, so this problem may be confined to me.  I did understand some of the other patterns.  My suggestion would be to make a muslin, especially for your first drafted pattern from this book.  I’m still hoping to figure it out, because I have a piece of fabric that would be perfect for that skirt.

The other thing I’d like to see is clearer fabric suggestions.  There are some, but if they were to add that and a page explaining pattern drafting, this book would be perfect.  Still, Stylish Skirts is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a skirt fan like I am!

Stylish Skirts Book Review - Crafty Staci 11

Father’s Day Tool Box Treats

My husband is difficult to shop for.  He’s a fix-it guy, so most of his wish list is tool related, but if he needs one he just buys it.  The other things he wants are generally out of my price range when it comes to Father’s Day.  I came up with a fun idea last year, but it was too close to the wire to share here so I had to save it.  Imagine how delighted I was when I remembered it before Father’s Day instead of after!

Fathers Day Tool Box Treats - Crafty Staci 1

To make this tool box full of treats, you’ll need a 4-pack of Starbucks Frappuccinos, these printables and Dad’s favorite candy.  If you want to put candy into the bottles, you’ll need to empty a couple of them.  My son and I took the hit on that one.

Fathers Day Tool Box Treats - Crafty Staci 2

Cut out all the pieces.  Glue the bottom on, folding and wrapping the tabs up the sides.

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Glue the tool box drawers onto the front.

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Add the blank red piece to the back.  You could use that area to write a personal note.

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Glue the ends with the words on over the tabs.

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Fold the handle and glue over the top.

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Wrap the bottle covers around the center and glue where it overlaps.

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Glue the screw tops to the bottle caps.

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In order to have the bottles sit a bit higher in the carrier, I added a layer of candy in the bottom.

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Carefully slide in the bottles so the labels don’t get torn.

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And you’ve got the perfect set of tools for Dad!

Fathers Day Tool Box Treats - Crafty Staci 12

Friday Favorites–Grad Cash

There are many things kids need (or want) when they’re finishing up high school and getting ready to head out into the world.  That opens up lots of possibilities for great graduation gifts.  But for those hard to shop for or saving up for something big, like a first car, cash is king.  Just because you’re giving cash doesn’t mean it has to be impersonal or boring though.

Graduation Cash Gifts - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

What’s better than a box of chocolates?  A chocolate box full of cash, like this one from Life as Mom.  I’d probably end up spending it on chocolate anyway.  And coffee.

Box of Chocolates by LIfe As a Mom

Pizza and teens go together like…well, like pizza and teens.  Give your college-bound student the gift of survival with this Money Pizza from kleone2u on Hubpages.

Money Pizza by kleone2u on HubPages

If you’re mailing a graduation gift, consider these money-filled balloons from She’s Crafty.  Tell them you’ll be expecting to see a Vine of the popping.

Cash Balloons by She's Crafty

If you give this Money Lei from Lil’ Luna to a kid at graduation, you better make sure he’s fast.

Money Leis by Lil Luna

This card holder serving as gift packaging, as shown on Start Up GF, does dual duty.  After the money is spent they can use it to hold the business cards related to all those job leads they’ll be accumulating.

Card Holder with Cash by Start Up GF

Who knew dollar bills could be so pretty?  Visit Kylyssa on Squidoo to learn how to make this Money Rose.

Money Rose by Kylyssa on Squidoo

This Cold Hard Cash idea from Lovezilla would require a little planning ahead.  Make sure you don’t store it near the Hot Pockets, so the graduate doesn’t accidentally find it.

Cold Hard Cash by Lovezilla

Spruce up his graduation day wardrobe with this Money Tie from Honey I’m Home (formerly known as Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust – just to explain the watermark).

Money Tie by Honey I'm Home

So many “Bread” and “Dough” jokes to be made here, I can’t even pick one.  Just check out this cash gift idea from Style Baggage.

Loaf of Dough by Style Baggage

I think this umbrella raining cash from The Seasonal Home would be such a fun gift.  Imagine handing this over closed and the recipient opening it to find all that money!

Raining Money by The Seasonal Home

Next Thursday I’ll be in the stands, probably holding a Kleenex or two, watching my son receive his high school diploma!

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts–3 Methods

Thanks to the good weather, I recently pulled my shorts out of their winter exile.  I have three pairs I bought several years ago that are all pretty much the same, and longer – more skimmer than shorts.  They’ve been around long enough they aren’t really something I wear out of the house, but I decided to give them a little update by shortening them to above my knee. 

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 1

Since I couldn’t really ruin these I decided to play around a little while I did all that hemming.  As a result, I’m here to share three different methods of adding a side slit, or vent, while hemming.

Wide Cut-Out Slit

Cut the legs the length you ultimately want them to be, plus 2 1/2”.  Turn the edge under 1/2” and press.  Turn to the outside 2” and pin at the outer leg seam.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 2

Measure 1/4” from the seam on each side and draw a line.  Draw across the top at the turned under edge to form a rectangle.  Stitch along the line.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 3

Cut the center of the rectangle, stopping about 1/4” from the top.  Cut out the seam.  Clip from the cut to each corner.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 4

Turn the seam right side out, pushing out the corners.  Press well.

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Press the remainder of the seam up.  Stitch close to the fold.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 6

Pointed Slit

Repeat the same as above, except instead of drawing a rectangle, draw angles.  Measure 1/4” from each side of the seam, then draw the line up to meet the seam just below the turned-under edge.  Cut straight up the center.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 7

Turn, press and stitch near fold.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 8

Lapped Slit

Cut off the length plus 1 1/2”.  Measure up 3” on the side seam and make a mark.  Stitch over the mark, perpendicular to the seam, which is known as a bar tack.  Using a seam ripper, open the seam below the stitching.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 9

Turn the edge of the bottom side under and stitch as close to the bar tack as possible.  Stitch along the removed stitching line on the upper side.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 10

Turn the bottom edge up 1 1/2”, then turn 1/2” to the inside.  Stitch near the fold.  I added a second row of stitching near the first.

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I’m pretty happy with all of these, but my favorite is the triangle shape on the grey shorts.

Adding a Side Slit to Shorts - Crafty Staci 12

These just might see the other side of my front door now!

Friday Favorites–Graduation

The year I graduated from kindergarten, one of my older cousins was also graduating from high school.  There was a big party at my aunt’s house.  Someone involved decided that rather than just celebrating the graduation from high school, everyone would party it up over my kindergarten accomplishment as well.  There were gifts, some of them things that made me feel quite grown up, food and tons of family.  As a six-year-old, it was overwhelming and kind of awesome.  From that moment on, I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school so I could repeat it.  Hey, everybody has to have some motivation to get through it, right?

Graduation DIYs - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

I love this Letters to my Future Self from Uncommon Goods.  How great would it be to find a reminder, years later, of exactly what you were thinking when you graduated?

Letters to my Future Self - Uncommon Goods

Knowing how to make a tassel allows you to turn just about anything into a graduation-themed gift.  This DIY Tassel Necklace from Style Inked teaches you just that, and would make a great gift all by itself.

DIY Tassel Necklace - Style Inked

This laundry basket full of inspiration from Create It Go would be great to share with a college-bound graduate.  Each item is labeled with the significance to the graduate’s next step in life.

Graduation Gift to Inspire - Create It Go

I’m pretty sure security would toss me right out of the coliseum if I try to throw anything when my son graduates, but these Graduation Confetti Throwers from Evite would be perfect for a home party.

Graduation Confetti Throwers - Evite

This Giant Diploma Graduation Gift from Oh Happy Day is filled with lucky charms, but you could use it to wrap all kinds of gifts.

Giant Diploma Graduation Gift - Oh Happy Day

Right at Home has a bunch of graduation party ideas, but I particularly like these frozen grad year number skewers.

Graduation Year Fruit Skewers - Right At Home

If you’re looking for a quick and easy dessert to serve your graduate, Taste of Home has you covered with these Brownie Graduation Caps.

Brownie Graduation Caps - Taste of Home

This photo display from Kodak is so simple, but what a great idea to use as decoration at a graduation party!

Clothespin School Days - Kodak

I think the tassel in their school colors is the perfect extra touch on this Graduation Cap Pop-Up Card from Extreme Cards and Papercrafting.

Graduation Cap Pop Up Card - Extreme Cards and Papercrafting

After graduation, there is still the tassel.  This simple Graduation Tassel Ornament from Sew Many Ways is a fun way to display it for years to come.

Graduation Tassel Ornament - Sew Many Ways

Join me next Friday for lots of fun ways to give the gift of cash!

DIY Teacher Gifts

My baby is graduating from high school this year, so the days of apologizing to appreciating his teachers with a gift at the end of the year are pretty much over.  Actually, he’s one of those kids whose report cards always said “A pleasure to have in class”, so the gift was more about thanks for being on Team Where-Is-Tucker’s-Homework-This-Week.  If you have a teacher in your life that deserves a little something (don’t they all?), I have a few ideas for you.

DIY Teacher Gifts by Crafty Staci

I originally made this Money Gift Tea Bag as a birthday gift, but I think it would be great for a teacher with a gift card inside and maybe a few calming real tea bags thrown in with it.

Money Gift Tea Bag by Crafty Staci

What teacher doesn’t find him or herself carrying books?  This Ruffled Tote Bag is the perfect size for hauling homework to and from school.  If an actual grown-up book gets slipped in there once in a while, all the better.

Ruffled Tote Bag by Crafty Staci

I think there must be a lot of teachers out there with a Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve.  Not only is it one of my most popular projects on this blog, but I’ve made dozens of them for my Etsy customers.  You can even buy an embroidery pattern for them from FindingPinsNeedles on Etsy and add the teacher’s name!

Pencil Coffee Cup Sleeve by Crafty Staci

I’ve noticed lots of teachers brown bag it when it comes to lunch.  A Snap Lunch Bag would be a great gift to brighten up their midday break.

Snap Lunch Bag by Crafty Staci

Even if a teacher doesn’t bring an entire lunch, there’s probably a snack on the desk most days.  Make her a Reusable Snack Bag and she won’t have to explain why she can’t share her fishy crackers with the rest of the class.

Reusable Snack Bag by Crafty Staci

If you’d prefer something with a little more flexibility for multiple uses, try this Lined Zippered Bag.  A teacher could put just about anything in here, except for an unruly student.  Or parent.

Lined Zippered Bag by Crafty Staci

The options for colors for this Floral Infinity Scarf are as endless as the bolts of knit fabric in your favorite fabric store.  School colors?  Her favorites?  Your kid’s favorites?  Something to match whatever they’re painting next week so it will go with her outfit?

Floral Infinity Scarf

I didn’t notice until I was done here that all of these projects involve sewing.  Time to break out the machine!