i make things

Some crazy number of years ago I started this blog. It was mostly craft stuff, because that’s what I did.

Then I made a couple of babies, and now that’s pretty much what I do. Babies and toddlers are less compatible with crafting than I originally thought, mostly because of the pins and needles and grabby hands.

Except babies really are great to make stuff for. So sometimes I still manage it during naptimes, after bedtime, in stolen moments where I should be vacuuming the living room.


Like this little “lovey” quilt. I finished it during today’s double nap. It’s just a tiny thing, basically just big enough to teach myself to quilt, which is also just big enough for Ellie to play with.


I just used a pack of pre-cuts I got from the fabric store, but I’m going to (hopefully, probably) do another, bigger quilt, with fabric I picked out aaaall by myself, like a real quilter.


I think she likes it.




If you’ve ever made a quilt, please look at the above photo. Those are 1″ and 2″ squares. I’m not a quilter by any means, and I fear I’ve gotten far too ambitious with this project.

It’s not for me, so I can’t divulge too much, but let’s just say it’s intricate, and that I may have lost my mind thinking this is the sort of thing that I can tackle. Heck, I have a sweater from December 2011 that still needs sleeves.

I guess what I’m getting at is this question: is there a patron saint of people who get in over their heads?

How-Tuesday: Wrist Pincushion

Welcome to how-Tuesday, wherein your humble host documents a crafty project or activity, with photos and instructions to hone and expand your repertoire of crafty activities, tasty treats, and handmade delights.

Today is the first of what I hope will be many installments. We are going to start off pretty simply, by making something every craftress needs: a handy-dandy wrist pincushion.

First, a confession: I have a weakness for things that I can attach to my person. This stems from a weakness I have for losing everything, always. I make little clutch purses that clip on my belt loop because occasionally I go to some type of bar or club-type establishment, and I will either lose my purse, or hit someone with it while I’m trying to dance around. Or both.

I also lose things when they are right beside me. I will set my scissors down on the couch, and they will slide in between the cushions and then I will spend twenty minutes trying to remember where I put them. I will set down a knitting needle momentarily, and I will never see it again. Sometimes I do this with a sewing needle that I have threaded, and I don’t know if I stuck it on my own clothes, or the garment I am sewing, or if it just fell on the floor. Five days later, my husband will find the missing needle, usually with his bare foot. He does not care for this even a little bit. And I don’t blame him. So, to help with that, I recently made this little gem

It’s a little pincushion, and it velcroes to my wrist. Now, I am certainly not the first person to think of this. And they are commercially available. But this one is cuter, and you can make one in the charming fabric of your choice through the following process

Fabric of your choosing (I recommend calico or other cotton fabric)
Fiber-fil or other stuffing/batting
Medium-weight Interfacing (I always use fusible)
¾” or 1” wide Velcro

Needle (or sewing machine)
Chalk or dressmakers pencil
Ruler & measuring tape

You’ll see that I used a fat quarter I bought from a craft store for $1.99. I used less than half of it. You can use scraps from other projects to make this–all of the materials are used in small amounts.

Step 1: Mark wrist band

let’s take out or fabric, and lay it right side-down on a flat surface so we can mark our measurements. Get out your chalk (or pencil) & ruler here.

First, measure the wrist band. My wrist is approximately 7” around. I’m going to need extra for both seam allowance, and for overlap from the Velcro, so  10″ is what I used. If you have extremely skinny or fat wrists, adjust accordingly.

Then measure down 3” and make a line there. Make sure you have two straight lines that intersect at right angles. You have the start to a 10″ by 3″ rectangle. Go on now and finish marking the rectangle off.

There you have your cut lines for the wrist band.

Step 2: Mark pin cushion
For this one, we’re going to make a big circle. Circles are hard to make properly, so I just traced a cereal bowl. I’m sure you have one of those.

Step 3: Cut out

Now go on and cut out your pincushion & wrist band!

Step 4: Lining the wristband

Using the same measurements as the wrist band (or just using the wrist band itself as a pattern) cut out a piece of fusible interfacing. Following the interfacing’s instructions, iron the wristband & lining together.

Step 5: Sew wristband

Then fold the wristband in half longways, now you have a skinny rectangle. Sew it up the long end, then turn it right side-out.

Here’s how I turn straps and other long, skinny things: first, take a safety pin and stick it in one of the corners

Then push the pin down the center “tunnel” with your thumb. It will take the strap with it, and help turn it right side-out.

It’s a little finicky at first, but once you’ve pushed the pin through the other end, you can just give it a pull, and the whole thing should be right.

Next, give it a press. I like to do so with the seam in the center bottom, so it doesn’t show.

While you’ve got the iron out, turn the ends under, and press them that way.

Step 6: add Velcro

Cut an inch to two inches of Velcro, and separate the hook side from the loop side. Pin the hook to the outside of one end, and the loop to the underside of the other end.
We’re going to sew close the raw edges on the end  of the wrist strap at the same time as we attache the velcro, so make sure your stitch runs through all the layers of fabric/velcro.

Step 7: Sew Pincushion

To make your round circle of fabric into a cushion, first, you’ll need to stitch along the outer edge of the whole circle. I just use a needle & thread, because sewing circles on a sewing machine is kind of a pain, and because this part will just be gathered up underneath the wrist strap.

Tighten your thread a bit, and the flat circle will start to close up into a little pocket. At this point, you will want to stuff it full of fiber-fill or cotton batting or whatever stuffing material you have procured. When it is full, just tighten the thread all the way, and you’ll have this:

Stitch over the center closure a few times to make sure that it stays closed.

Step 8: sew wristband to pincushion

Pin the cushion to the wristband center. Then, using a needle & thread, run a whipstich around the edges to hold it tight.

Hey, we’re done! Put on that pincushion and sew something (else)!