Book Review: Pretty Little Patchwork

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Saturday 8 March 2014 at 3:05 pm

Pretty Little Patchwork (Pretty Little Series) is published by Lark and retails for $9.95 in the US and $10.95 in Canada. The last time I check, it was a few dollars less than the publisher’s retails price. The 32 projects were created by 18 different designers.

Interestingly enough, I took a look at some of the reviews for this title on Amazon, and people seem to either love it or hate it. There were some complaints that there are not enough unique projects in it. While that may be the case, I still liked this book. It has a good range of projects that will appeal to both beginning and more advanced sewers. For example, some easy projects are the cute coasters, simple square sachets, and a few types of totes. More advanced projects include the Yoga to Go project, which is a yoga mat bag, and the laptop cover, which is another project that is a little more involved than something like making a simple coaster because the instructions explain that your dimensions (of course) will vary depending on the size of your computer.

While many of the projects are not overly difficult, this book still comes off to me as a book for someone with at least some sewing experience. The whole premise of the book is to create patchwork material from fabric scraps and then use this to create a functional or decorative item. Who but a seasoned sewer is going to have lots of fabric scraps to pick from? Plus, patchwork (as the book explains clearly) requires both knowledge of how to use a sewing machine and how to do some basic hand-stitches. My own experience with creating anything similar to the patchwork technique is that you have to be pretty exact when it comes to cutting and stitching the pieces together or you will have gaps and odd seams that don’t look right.

There is a basics section that covers areas like the “how to” of hand-stitchery and patchwork assembly. It also explains the type of hand tools needed and various types of fabric you may want to use. Templates in the back of the book are used for the projects that are sandwiched in between these two parts of the book.

I liked a lot of the projects in this book, and a few favorites are the Starlet Pin Cushion, Outside the Box, and the Sew Pretty Ornaments. The project instructions explain how to create the patterns needed (again, some use templates provided in the back of the book) and then there are step-by-step instructions for assembly and sewing. The photos clearly show the finished projects, and in come cases there are illustrations to help with the instructions.

So for those who don’t like the book, maybe they were expecting something very different. The projects are very much on the side of function: totes, potholders, coasters, a scarf, hat, headband, coffee cozy, crochet hook holder, etc. But you can add your own style by selecting your own scraps to incorporate into each one, and there are tons of small gift-giving possibilities here.

Durathon Iron Winner Announced!

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Saturday 8 March 2014 at 10:46 am

Paula Rosenow is the winner of the Durathon (#Durathon) Iron Giveaway! Woot! This is a wonderful products, so I know she will get a lot of use out of it. Congratulations Paula! And thank you to Hamilton Beach for offering this wonderful prize.

Wooden Flower Necklace and Earrings

Blogged under Free Craft Projects,Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Thursday 6 March 2014 at 4:04 pm

When I received this wooden flower pendant from Prima Beads, the design for this necklace and earring set popped into my head. While the pendant is fairly good sized (40mm), it is not heavy at all since it is made of wood.

The other supplies I used were as follows:

2 – 19gauge 5/32 inch silver colored jump ring

1 – 9mm silver colored lobster claw clasp

22 inches of .015 beading wire

6 – 11 x 8mm clear twisted oval crystal beads

2 silver colored ear hooks

2 silver colored headpins

38 – 3mm aqua colored crystal beads

30 – 6mm aqua colored crystal beads

72 size 11 black seed beads

2 silver crimp beads

The tools you need are a pair of round-nose pliers, chain-nose pliers, wire cutters, and crimping pliers.

Start first by making the earrings. In fact, one little tip for totally newbie jewelry makers is to set aside a few beads before you make a necklace or bracelet so that you have enough to make matching earrings in case you want a pair later. Not everyone is into matching jewelry pieces, but if decide later and have already used up all your beads, then you may be out of luck if you change your mind later.

1. Slip on one 3mm aqua bead, one black seed bead, one oval bead, one black seed bead, and another 3mm aqua bead onto a headpin.

2. Using a pair of chain-nose pliers, about 1/4 inch past the last bead bend the headpin into a 90 degree angle.

3. Grasp the bent part of the headpin with round-nose pliers, grasp the end of the bent part, and wrap it around the nose of the round-nose pliers in order to form a loop.

4. Stick the nose of the round-nose pliers through the loop, and grasp the headpin with the chain-nose pliers as you wrap the excess headpin around itself to wrap the loop closed.

5. Slip on ear hooks. (I made the ones shown using some wire, but you can buy prefabricated ear hooks).

Now for the necklace….

1. Attach the jump ring to the center loop at the top of the flower pendant, and use chain-nose pliers to close up the jump ring.

2. Insert the beading wire through the jump ring, and start stringing on beads onto it in this order: one black seed bead, one 6mm crystal bead, one black seed bead, one 3mm crystal bead, one black bead, one oval bead, one black bead, one 3mm crystal bead, one 6mm crystal bead, one black bead, one 6mm crystal bead, one black bead, one 3mm crystal bead, one black bead, and one oval bead.

3. Then alternate beads in this pattern 6 times: one black bead, one 3mm crystal bead, one black bead, one 6mm crystal bead, one black bead, and one 6mm crystal bead.

4. Finish the end of one side of the necklace strap by alternating one black bead and one 3mm crystal bead 8 times.

5. Repeat the beading pattern described in steps 2 through 4 for the other side of the necklace. (Tip: When I am stringing a necklace like this, I like to use a bead stopper on each end of my beading wire so my beads don’t fall off. )

6. Finish off each end of the beading wire with crimp beads, and attach a lobster claw clasp to one end and a jump ring to the other. My clasp already had a smaller jump ring attached to it, but if yours doesn’t, you may want to add one yourself so that the clasp does not twist around a bunch.

The finished strap of this necklace is about 18 inches long. Black pants tend to be part of my “teacher uniform,” so this is a great combination. I love wearing it!

Ah Paris Ceramic and Pearl Necklace

Blogged under Free Craft Projects,Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Sunday 2 March 2014 at 1:36 pm

When I ordered this ceramic Eiffel Tower pendant from Blu Mudd, I already had this design pictured in my head. Originally, I was going to string it on brown wax cord, but I could not find it. I still can’t find that thing! I dug around in my fiber and found some leftover Superlon Size 18 cord I had received in the Trade Route Necklace kit sent to me by That necklace turned out super cool, by the way, and I had some of this cord left over. I can’t remember what the color was that was in the kit, sorry! Beadshop has a ton of colors too, but I’m guessing it might be the dark teal color cord.

So other than the ceramic pendant and cord, you will also need the following if you’d like to make this necklace:

44 – 5mm Large hole pearls (I got mine at

1 – 10mm Lampwork bead (I got mine from DD Hess and actually used 2 extra beads to make a pair of earrings too.)

2 – 3mm Silver colored Czech crystal beads

12mm Silver toned toggle clasp

Clear drying glue


Corsage pin (or awl)

1. Cut off about 4 feet of cord, fold it in half, and insert the folded end through the hole at the top of the pendant.

2. Insert the two ends of the cord through the folded part, and pull on the two strands so that you end up securing the cord to the pendant.

3. Make an additional overhand knot right past the anchor knot made in step 2.

4. Slip on a pearl bead, and push it up against the knot you just made.

5. Using a corsage pin or awl, make an overhand knot on the cord, insert the pin through it, and push the knot up against the pearl. Repeat this two more times so that you have 3 pearls knotted on the cord.

6. Add a crystal bead, the lampwork bead, and another crystal bead into the cord, push these down up against the last knot before making another knot on the cord just past the last crystal bead you added.

7. Continue to add pearls and knot between them until you have a total of 21 pearls on that side of the necklace.

8. Add pearls and knot between them on the other side of the necklace strap for a total of 23 pearls. (Note: Since natural pearls can vary in size a little, sometimes it is a good idea to knot a few on each side of the necklace strap as you go. This way, you can try to make sure both sides of the strap are as close the same length as possible.)

9. Insert the cord through the loops on each side of the toggle clasp, knot a few times, trim off excess cord, and add a dab of glue on the knot. Allow to dry before you wear your necklace.

The beaded strap on this necklace is about 18 inches long, and the pendant is 2 inches, for a total of 20 inches. I made some earrings to go with, so I will be showing those soon too. I have worn this a few times already and have gotten lots of compliments. I love how it turned out….can’t go wrong with pearls and Paris!

Quilts and Beads

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 2 March 2014 at 11:57 am

Art Bead Scene
It’s February’s Monthly Challenge Recap! Come and see what our amazing readers created based on Paul Klee’s The Rose Garden.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosted a Design Challenge on his blog! “Radiant Orchid” was the theme! Come check out what all the participants made in the blog hop!

Resin Crafts Blog
How to make a mold with a half doll body.

Anniversary Quilt: Middles and Ends
Cherie continues working on her quilt project.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
How to turn a group of brooches into a necklace!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean writes a poem about (what else?) jewelry making as she participates in a fun 30 word blog hop created by Erin Prais-Hintz

A Bead A Day
Ever been to sunny Beadland? Lisa shares details of her recent trip…Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?

Cinnabar Chinese Lantern Earrings & Necklace
Eileen set out to make a set of jewelry for Valentine’s Day. When she went to her red bead stash, her eyes locked on some beautiful red carved cinnabar beads just perfect for the design she had in mind anyway!

Mixed Media Artist
Check out how you can use dryer sheets to “paint” a quilt!

Beading Arts
Cyndi is struggling to keep up with the Bead Journal Project this year, but that’s probably because she decided to do much bigger pieces!

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