Tag Archives: crafting

Project Pinterest: Jacket to Vest Refashion

It’s officially Fall!  We’ve had some mildly chilly weather lately and I’m looking forward to more layers and more Fall weather to come!   My Style board on Pinterest is full of vests lately – here are a few of my favorites:
So I’ve been on the hunt for a vest, but my problem (as usual) is finding one that isn’t too big or bulky.  So far, no luck.  But when I stumbled on this jacket to vest refashion from one of my favorite style blogs Merrick’s Art, I pinned it right away and tucked it into the back of my mind:
Recently I’ve been trying to purge some of my clothes to get ready for Fall.  I started going through my jackets and realized I had the perfect candidate for a refashion:
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
I immediately thought of this pin and got started!
Jacket to Vest Refashion
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
Time: 30 minutes
Cost: Free
Supplies:
old jacket
sewing machine with matching thread
Instructions:
Follow this link to the tutorial from Merrick’s Art.  Her illustrations make everything seem really easy, although I definitely found the lack of specifics a bit tricky when I actually got started.  For one thing, I don’t really have any experience with alterations, so the very first mistake I made was sewing with a short stitch length.  My stitch settings are usually set for piecing a quilt, where you want short stitches for durability, but for a knit fabric like I was working with it’s better to lengthen the stitch.  Lesson learned!
Otherwise, it’s a pretty easy idea – use a seam ripper to remove the sleeves, then hem the new armholes.  My jacket had knit sleeves and back, with corduroy and a puffy vest in the front, so the different fabrics were a bit tricky to sew.  But it’s possible!
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
I really like how it turned out – and since it was an old jacket, I didn’t have to buy anything new and it already fit me… Win-win!
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
The Amateur Librarian // Jacket to Vest Refashion
Now I’m all ready for Fall fashion!  I’ve already worn this vest a couple times, as you’ll see in WIWW tomorrow. Once again, Pinterest to the rescue!

Finally Finished: Fractured Fish Quilt

Another finish from the WIP pile… woohoo!  Remember this quilt top?  It was one of my very first projects in 2011 when I first started blogging.  I hadn’t quite yet found the online quilting community, but I found this fractured nine patch pattern online and was determined to make a quilt all by myself.
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I was so proud of my completed top… but I had no idea how to go about quilting and finishing it.  So it sat in a pile for a couple years and moved across the country with us.  A few weeks ago JoAnn’s had a fabric sale so I decided to stock up on batting and fabric for quilt backs to finally work through my WIP pile.  When I pulled this one out, I have to admit I was pretty pleased with my past self for such flat seams!  I barely had to iron it at all.
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I quilted a cross hatch following the pattern – simple and easy straight line quilting.  One of these days I’ll get more creative with my quilting, but not this go around.  One step at a time… I’m just glad this is finally a finished quilt after so many years!
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I banged out this finish in record time one afternoon, when I was on a roll after finishing up my Flying North quilt.  It made me reflect on how much more confident I am when it comes to quilting now!  I read a lot of fantastic quilt blogs, which is great for inspiration, but sometimes it also makes me feel like I have so, so much to learn and improve.  But compared to a few years ago, I’ve made a lot of progress!
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I knew what materials to use and had them all on hand, basted it in about 15 minutes, came up with a (very simple) quilting plan pretty quickly, quilted with no snags or machine problems in about an hour, and finished up the binding that same afternoon (thank you, bias binding tape!).  It probably would’ve taken me many days to do the same steps a few years ago because I second guessed every single step along the way, but now I’m pretty comfortable with finishing up a small quilt in an afternoon.  So, three cheers for progress!
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I used my new favorite pre-made double fold binding in red to finish it up.  I didn’t really have a name for it at first, but it became “Fractured Fish” as a nod to the fractured nine patch block and the Odesea fabric line I used.  So happy to have another completed quilt… it earned a top spot on the ladder!
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Fractured Fish Nine Patch Quilt
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday!

Project Pinterest: Flatbread with Grapes, Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onions

When we spent a night at Opryland, one of the appetizer specials listed at dinner was a flatbread with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and grapes.  We almost never order appetizers when we eat out, but it stuck in my mind… so when we got home, I went straight to Pinterest!
I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, but this one was pretty close so I used it as a starting point:
Below is my adapted recipe using store-bought flat breads.  Next time it would be fun to make my own dough, since flatbread is basically just a smaller, thinner pizza.  These would be great as an appetizer… but let’s be honest, I just ate them all by myself for dinner!
Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes & Caramelized Onions
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions
Yields: 4-6 flatbreads
Time: About 1 hour
Ingredients:
4-6 small flat breads
1 onion, cut into slices
4 oz. goat cheese
1 cup grapes, cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt, pepper, & sugar to taste
Directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on low-medium heat, then cut the onion into half moon slices and add to the pan. Per the original recipe, you want them to sizzle quietly and brown very slowly.  Sauté the onions for 15-20 minutes. While the onions are browning, cut the grapes in half.
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions
Add a teaspoon of sugar (optional) to the onions and let them caramelize for another 15-20 minutes until they look golden brown (a total of 30-45 minutes at this point). Add a splash of water and continue to sauté until the water evaporates, about 5 minutes.
Lay the flat breads on a cookie tray (I also used a sheet of aluminum foil underneath) and brush with a small amount of olive oil. Layer the caramelized onions on top, then the goat cheese and grapes.
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions
Cook for about 8 minutes in the oven until the cheese starts to melt.
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions
Ta da!  That’s it… all done.
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions
These tasted pretty good!  The crispy flatbread was a great vehicle for the mix of tangy goat cheese, sweet grapes, and savory onions.  They’d be great as an appetizer cut into slices, or everyone could have their own.  The onions take a while to caramelize, but I read in another recipe that you can make them ahead of time and just layer all the components at once and go straight to the oven – that would make it a super quick 8 minutes total!  I’ve never used flatbreads before, but there are definitely endless possibilities…
The Amateur Librarian // Flatbread with Goat Cheese, Grapes, & Caramelized Onions

Once again, hooray for Pinterest!

Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler: August

I’m a bit late with August’s update… I didn’t finish it up on time but now I’m back on track.  It’s been so much fun to see the months pass by while keeping up with the Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  Each month features a different fairy tale, and it’s so fun to find out what story will be revealed next!

I do most of my stitching on the weekend, and we went on so many mini-trips during August that I think that’s why I was scrambling to finish.  The Musicians of Bremen sure are cute… love the little animals all stacked up!  This month I decided to start collecting the Little Golden Book stories to go along with each month’s story… I need to fill in a few holes, but it’s a fun collection!

And now onto the progress pics:

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

And here are all the blocks completed so far:

The Amateur Librarian // OUAT Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler

The September block is out of course… Rapunzel!  I’ll try to keep up each month, so stay tuned for monthly updates…

Finally Finished: Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt

Happy Labor Day!  We humans are taking it easy today and the cats are taking a break from their regularly scheduled napping for… more naps.  So instead of a cat update, I’m sharing another finish.  And actually, Cora makes quite a few appearances as you shall see…
Remember this quilt top?
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
I worked on it when I first moved to San Francisco, after the fuss of moving and resection surgery had settled down and I was unemployed with a brand new ostomy bag to take care of all day.  I was just starting to discover the online quilting community and the Crazy Mom Quilts blog was a favorite, so I chose her Movin’ On Up tutorial as a jumping off point.  I remember how energizing it felt to have a project to concentrate on during those hot fall months in a new city, trotting back and forth between the bedroom and the living room because the bed was the only space I had to lay out all the little squares.  I made a few quilts from start to finish while we lived in SF, but this one remained in the WIP pile for a few years since 2011 and moved to TN still unfinished.  A few weeks ago JoAnn’s had a fabric sale so I decided to stock up on batting and fabric for quilt backs to finally work through my WIP pile.
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The size was pretty weird so I thought about adding borders and maybe some off-center negative space to make a bigger quilt, but then I realized it was the perfect size for the empty wall in the dining room… so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
I quilted a simple straight-line grid using the pattern as a guide, then added diagonal lines as well.  I’d like to start practicing Free Motion Quilting one of these days… but not quite yet.  One step at a time!  I used my new favorite pre-made double fold binding in green to finish it up with matching thread.
Hubby helped with another quick photo shoot… I promise he’s wearing shorts under there, ha!  Cora helped too, of course.
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
So happy to have another completed quilt… and it’s the perfect fit for the dining room.  I’m well on my way to a quilt in every room!
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Moving Up Piece by Piece Quilt
I’m linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts (my inspiration!) for Finish Friday!

Project Pinterest: Flying North Quilt

I go through phases of obsession with different quilt designs… remember my ode to Half Square Triangles?  Lately I’ve been all about flying geese.  I guess I’ve experimented before – remember my wonky tree ornaments?  (I still love those little things.)  I’ve been pinning all sorts of flying geese quilts, and here are some of my favorites:

 

Eventually I stumbled on this flying geese block on a blog and had to pin it… and then I couldn’t rest until I got started!

Flying North Quilt 

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

Finished Size: 40″ x 48″

I decided to go with a cool palette of greens, blues, and purples with grey as my neutral.  Each block calls for six 2×3 geese and eight 4×6 geese.  Sometimes (most of the time) I don’t feel like bothering with the math part, so I just pulled some fabric and started cutting.  I really like this tutorial for making flying geese – all four different techniques in one place, with lots of measurements already worked out for you.  I still like the Four-at-a-time method the best, the same one I learned a couple years ago.
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
My ironing station… works better than an ironing board!
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
I made a whole bunch of flying geese, then counted to see how many I had… and I made way too many.  More is always a happy mistake, though – I’m sure I’ll use them up eventually!
I used my dinky “design wall” to play around with the arrangement.  (Air quotes necessary until I put up something more legit… But really, even though I make fun of my poor piece of batting thumb tacked to the wall, it’s so helpful for taking a step back and looking at a project in progress.)
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
I made a pieced back with some leftover geese and a few panels of fabric used in the quilt top.  The blocks are pretty big at 16″ so I only made four, and decided to add borders.  First a narrow strip of navy, then a wider strip of grey.  I added a few leftover geese to the grey border, which I really like.  (Reminds me of the borders on my Modern Wedding Quilt.)
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
I used the geese in the borders as a guide for a loose grid.  I’m trying to experiment a bit more with my straight line quilting, so I like that it’s not the same grid I do all the time and a bit off-center.
I’m still working on getting better at binding.  This time I used pre-made double folded binding tape… love it!  It’s so much quicker and turned out perfectly.  I don’t mind making binding, but it was nice to skip a step and it worked out really well.  I liked this Youtube tutorial, if you’ve never used it before (like me!).
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt
I like these flying geese so much that I switched out my Hillside Houses in the living room so my geese can have their day in the sun.  Still loving the no-sew quilt hanger!  I’ve been calling this quilt “Flying North” in my head all along, I guess because of the cool colors, so that’s the name!
The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

Hubby helped me out with a photo shoot on the porch – not the best lighting with the sun behind him, but better than what I could get inside.

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

 

The Amateur Librarian // Flying North Quilt

Three cheers for Pinterest, once again!   I’m  also linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday… it’s been a while!

Project Pinterest: Sticker Mandala

I’ve had this DIY Sticker Mandala pinned for quite a while now, and I finally tried it at home.  I just love it!  I really like how it looks colorful and symmetrical from far away, and then the closer you get you notice the random mix of stickers – footballs and butterflies and giraffes, oh my!

The stars aligned this past weekend to do this project because of two events: (1) a sale on stickers at JoAnn’s when I already needed to stop by for some fabric and (2) a rainy Sunday with nothing else to do.  This is the perfect meditative indoor activity to kill some time and make some fun art!

Sticker Mandala

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

Time: half an hour

Cost: About $15

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

Supplies:

  • 12 x 12 cardstock ($0.79)
  • stickers ($10 for several sets)
  • compass and protractor ($5)
  • pencil
  • eraser
  • ruler

Instructions:

Follow this link for a more in-depth tutorial. But basically, use a compass and protractor to draw concentric circles that fill up the cardstock.  Use a ruler to draw straight lines at every 30 degrees.  Use the guidelines for sticker placement to create a mandala shape.

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

Then start arranging stickers symmetrically.  Just keep adding stickers round after round until you reach the edges, keeping to the marked lines to form a mandala.  But really, you can make any shape you want instead of a circle.

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

Joann’s had a big sale on stickers with most sets marked down to $0.50 or $0.99, so I limited myself to $10 and just picked interesting shapes and colors.  One tip from the original tutorial is to look for mirrored stickers, so you can place them facing each other to be symmetrical.  They also had 5/$1 sheets of cardstock, so I picked up this shimmery blue.

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

So much fun!  I made another one using alphabet stickers too.

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

The Amateur Librarian // DIY Sticker Mandala

 

Great rainy day activity – sometimes it’s fun just to make something without any purpose.  I’m hanging up these two above my sewing machine until some other crafty whim tickles my fancy.  Three cheers for Pinterest!

Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler: July

I’m still keeping up with the Once Upon a Time cross stitch sampler from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  Each month features a different fairy tale, and it’s so fun to find out what story will be revealed next!

Another adorable month… Thumbelina in her walnut boat!  I got a late start this month and wasn’t sure I’d finish in time, but it was still manageable before the end of the month rolled around. My favorite details this month were the extra little animals – the mouse on the sidelines, fish in the lake, and butterfly overhead. You know I love teeny tiny things, so this was fun to stitch up for sure.  Lots of couch time this month spent watching the World Cup and hanging out with my stitching buddies the cats.

Below are a few progress pics…

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

And here are all the blocks completed so far:

The Amateur Librarian // OUAT Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch Sampler

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time Cross Stitch

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

 

 

 

 

The Amateur Librarian // Once Upon a Time sampler

The August block will be revealed tomorrow… can’t wait to see what fairy tale it will be!  I’ll try to keep up each month, so stay tuned for monthly updates…

Project Pinterest: Little Houses Mini Quilt

Remember my Hillside Houses quilt?  I found the Esch House pattern via Pinterest… here it is again!

The source link takes you to the Esch House Quilts pattern called Third Street neighborhood.  I loved the pattern so much that I made a mini version too!

I made a navy+white version first but liked it enough to make a mini version with the original black+white color combo too.
Little Houses Mini Quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
Pattern: Third Street Neighborhood by Esch House Quilts
Finished Size: 24″ x 28″
Below are a few progress pics:
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
I used this tutorial for the houses, but then I used the placement order from the Third Street Neighborhood pattern.
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
I quilted with an organic grid.  “Organic” just means I didn’t mark anything so the lines are wonky.  I need to pick up some painters tape or a hera tool so I can actually mark some straight lines one of these days…
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt
I’m still determined to work on my binding.  The biggest problem I have is joining the two ends.  I’ve used the binding tool a couple times and it works fine, but if every little detail isn’t right then it doesn’t work at all.  So I’m still trying to figure out the easiest technique… and so far it hasn’t clicked, but I’m trying!
I’ve started using Stitched in Color’s zigzag binding tutorial because I also have a problem with the binding fraying and pulling apart after washing.  So far the zigzag holds up better, so that’s one step in the right direction!
The Amateur Librarian // Little Houses mini quilt

I didn’t have any plans for this mini quilt, but when my parents were visiting Mama reminded me that it would make a good wedding present, so that’s what it is!  We’re all traveling to a dear family friend’s wedding this weekend, so it was perfect timing… plus it’s fun giving something handmade.  I added a label to the back and now it’s making the journey with us!

Three cheers for Pinterest, once again!   I’m  also linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish Friday… it’s been a while!

Michael Miller Fabric Challenge

The Music City Modern Quilt Guild is participating in the Michael Miller fabric challenge, so I got a fat-eighths pack of the Petal Pinwheels fabric line to play with.  Solid colors and other fabrics from Michael Miller lines are allowed, but I decided to just make a mini quilt so I didn’t need to buy anything extra.

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

Here are a few progress pics:

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

I thought of making tiny patchwork at first, but I gave up on that idea and just used the little strips instead.  I made a little sketch but it changed a lot by the end.

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

I improv-pieced as I went along and added scraps to each row of borders.

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

 

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

 

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

 

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

I quilted a double cross hatch with “organic lines” which just means I didn’t mark anything so they’re a bit wonky.

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

I hate binding and I usually try to cheat with cheater binding or a pillowcase finish, but I’m determined to get better this year so I’m forcing myself to practice on small projects.  I bought a Binding Tool a while back but it’s pretty confusing, so I had to watch a Youtube tutorial about fifty million times to get it right. But once I did it correctly it actually helped, woohoo!

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

 

 

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

On the back I pieced scraps from the fat-eighths, making the final size 16 x 18.

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

 

Another card added to the project box!

The Amateur Librarian // Michael Miller Challenge

Fun stuff!

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday!

 

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