Thursday, October 27, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Easy Embellished Felt Tiara

My girls took a while to decide what they wanted to be for Halloween this year. So here I am, scrambling at the last minute! They finally decided to be a Princess and a Fairy. Last year, they were butterflies so Sarah (who will be the Fairy) will wear her wings again. But they did not want to wear the butterfly antenna tiaras that Mama slaved over last year! Time for some new tiaras.

Embellished Felt Crown

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amy Butler Cosmo Bag for My Mom

My mom’s birthday was today and she’d been asking me to make a bag for her. Her requirements: roomy with lots of pockets for her stuff. We are both notorious for having so much stuff in our purses that they become a bottomless pit (or as she says, “bottom of the pits”).

I showed her a picture of the Cosmo Bag from Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags and she liked that it was an unusual shape (and there was a picture in the book of the bag with yarn in it…she is an avid knitter). So I gave myself about 5 days to make it. I definitely needed more than that! Including the interfacing (5.5 yards…thank goodness for coupons!), I had to cut about 40 pieces, most of which were curved. It took me 3 mornings to cut out all the pieces, and an all-nighter plus a few hours the next afternoon to sew. So it was fitting that she would ask why I had bags under my eyes when she saw me the next day.


photo source 

She said she can’t wait to show it off to her knitting friends. Hope this helps with the bottom of the pits situation.

While this bag was super time-consuming, and there were parts of the instructions that weren’t too clear, it was fun to make this bag and I definitely learned a lot. It’s been a while (as in high school) since I sewed something with lots of pattern pieces so it was like learning all over again. And nowadays there are rotary cutters which I didn’t have as a kid (just like totally dated myself, I know). But it’s really important to cut the pieces as accurately as you can. For the ones where I didn’t cut the pieces so well, I had trouble later while sewing. Otherwise, the sewing itself wasn’t too bad.

My mom had the main floral fabric in her quilting stash, and I chose some accompanying fabrics. I wanted something more geometric for the strap to contrast with the floral. She also liked the green fabric, so I added that here and there. I chose a plain fabric for the lining to make it easier to find things inside (rather than a busy print). To be honest, I didn’t like working with that plain fabric very much…it was thin and wrinkled so easily.


The front. I love the straps on this bag!


The side pocket, with a little contrasting trim.


The inside. I added some bias tape from leftover fabric along the side pocket edges, plus an extra small pocket with sections for her cell phone, a little pair of scissors, pens, etc.


And the back:


I wanted some more Cosmo Bag eye candy and a Google search revealed a sew-along (also with sew-alongs with many of the other bags in the book) where you can see all the participants’ pretty takes on the bag. Plus a few people who wrote reviews on the pattern, if you plan on making the bag yourself! I liked this one from AlewivesGirl blog.

Oh! And I also came across an addendum for the Cosmo Bag pattern on the Amy Butler website, which should make sewing the bag a little easier.

Have you made this bag? If so, let me know in the comments, especially if you have a picture. I love all the possibilities of contrasting patterns and colors and would love to see how you made yours!

Disclosure: Affiliate link in effect.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Vintage Pyrex Fall Centerpiece

A recent visit to the farmer’s market and my vintage autumn-themed Pyrex inspired this Fall Centerpiece for our dining table. We don’t have much in terms of shelving or cabinets in our home, so I don’t have my Pyrex displayed all year. I was so excited to finally show off these finds!


The two bentwood trays are from cb2. I ordered one when it went on sale a few years ago, then it arrived with some wrinkles in the veneer. I called them and they sent a new one right away and was told to just dispose of the defective one. Obviously I kept it!


I had meant to use just one tray for the centerpiece but I was so excited to display all these bowls (there are more actually, but we’ll keep it like this).

And I didn’t mean to use this much fruit, but my girls, who were excited to help (and remembered picking out the fruits at the farmer’s market), kept piling it on!


They also helped me with the cinnamon sticks. I tied them together with long fabric scraps.


I made the rick rack-trimmed napkins, and the blue crochet-trimmed ones are a thrifty find.


Love this little pumpkin with the curly stem.


It was so much fun to create this centerpiece. It didn’t take long at all, and I love using edible elements. I also loved getting my girls involved.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Linking: Apron Thrift Girl :: The Thrifty Groove :: The Frugal Girls :: Petite Hermine :: Tip Junkie :: Sassy Sites :: Rook No. 17 :: The Trendy Treehouse :: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique :: Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: Her Library Adventures


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Banana Sushi on Multiples in the Kitchen

For those of you who are new to The Silly Pearl, I write the Multiples in the Kitchen series once a month on the Multiples and More Blog Network (I have 4 year old twin girls). Since I started writing this series this past Spring, I’ve been able to have a lot of fun with my girls in the kitchen while teaching them some basic cooking skills. They haven’t cooked on the stovetop yet but they’ve learned to do things like use a rolling pin, food processor, and a crock pot, for example.

This month, we made Banana Sushi. Thanks to Candi @ Scrapbooks Etc. (via The Brave Girls Club) for this fun and yummy idea.


This time, the girls learned how to use a knife for cooking. I used plastic knives and had them cut the bread and bananas. They also practiced spreading peanut butter and Nutella on bread. Now you girls can make your own lunch, right?

Please visit the Multiples and More Blog Network today to see how we made Banana Sushi!


And click here for my other Multiples in the Kitchen posts from the last few months. As you can see, we’ve tried a mix of cute kiddie recipes (like ice cream cake) and more grown-up recipes (like quiche). 

I feel like my girls don’t have to always make cute kiddie dishes just because they’re kids. Of course, colorful candy and fun shapes are attractive to the little ones, but I also think learning skills and making something grown-up can be fun, interesting and rewarding for kids too. But this can definitely vary by personality/food preferences/mood/positions of the moon/etc. But with my girls, so far so good (knock on wood).

Have you cooked with your kids? Do you do it often? Can you share any tips? Let me know if you have any suggestions for recipes!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Butterfly Costume Antenna Tiara

These were the antenna I made for my girls’ butterfly costumes last Halloween. A pic of our two tentative butterflies trick-or-treating at a local mall.:


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Craft Tutorial: Vintage Inspired Knit Fall Wreath

Weren’t we just wearing sundresses last week? It’s been raining here in the Bay Area, and I’m in the mood for something cozy. Time for a new wreath to welcome the fall season.

I’m also in the mood for something serene as well as vintage-inspired. How did I combine fall, warm, peaceful, and vintage? The result was this wreath:

vintage inspired fall knitted wreath

I finger-knitted the body of the wreath, and stenciled a fall-looking motif on top of some sheet music (I chose Autumn from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, one of my favorite pieces). Then to finish, I added some vintage button accents.


Here’s how I made my Vintage Inspired Knit Fall Wreath.


For the Body of the Wreath:


  • A chunky yarn (I used Red Heart Light n Lofty in Cape Cod)
  • A wreath form that you can purchase, make from a piece of cardboard (like I did for this birthday wreath or this summer wreath), or in this case I used the inside of a thrifted embroidery hoop.
  • Your fingers. Use your own. Don’t get on the bus and start weaving yarn on someone else’s fingers. They might not like it. And, who knows where their fingers have been. Eew.

For the Sheet Music Medallion:


  • A piece of sheet music (I printed out mine from here)
  • Martha Stewart Paints stencil set (large size, in Tapestry)
  • Martha Stewart Paints in Gold (Metallic) and Chestnut Brown (Satin)
  • Martha Stewart Paints Pouncer Sponge Brushes
  • Brewed tea, cooled (optional…see directions*)
  • Thin cardboard (like from a cereal box)
  • Mod Podge (I used matte)
  • Foam brush
  • Bias tape
  • Jute twine
  • Strong tape (I used packing tape)

For the Vintage Button Accent:


  • Vintage buttons
  • Needle and thread
  • Scrap of fabric
  • Glue
  • Thin cardboard
  • Jute twine
  • Strong tape


Body of the Wreath

I chose a chunky yarn to make my finger-knitted strip for the body of the wreath. I had this yarn on hand from a scarf my mom was trying to teach me to make (with actual knitting needles). Trying to teach me=I’m not too good at “real” knitting. So I’m finger-knitting, something I did a lot as a kid. To refresh my memory, I found this finger knitting video that I pinned on Pinterest. I also finger-knitted this necklace. You can see the difference between that (using thin cord) and this thick, chunky yarn.


In this case, try not to stretch the strip as you knit. I know that’s what you usually do when you finger-knit. But you want to be able to cover your wreath form, so I kept it wide.

Keep knitting until it’s the length of your wreath form’s circumference.


To attach the knitting to my embroidery hoop, I just tied it with strips of the same yarn. They blend in and you can barely see it. You’ll have a tail at the beginning and end of your knitting, which you can use to tie the ends to the wreath as well.



Note: At first, I was going to make a rounder, larger medallion. But in the end, the scale was way off so I went with a slimmer, smaller one. The following pictures are with the original, larger medallion. I didn’t retake pics making the skinnier one. Sorry if this causes any confusion!

First I printed out my sheet music. It was free, and easy to find just by googling the music I wanted.Then I centered the stencil on the music sheet. I used the metallic paint as the main paint, and used accent colors to lightly cover the edges of the stencil. In this stencil, there were some leaves on the side which i thought would be nice for fall (one of the reasons why I originally chose this stencil).


Note: For the stencil I ended up using, I used the same metallic paint, plus the chestnut brown satin paint along the edges.

Now here’s where the brewed tea comes in. I printed my music onto a piece of white paper but I wanted to make it vintage-y. So I brushed the brewed tea onto the paper after the stencil paint dried. Then you can use a hair dryer to speed up the drying…this also makes the paper a little crinkly which is fun. *You can skip this step if you’re using actual vintage sheet music, or if you print it on some parchment-like paper.

vintagefallwreath9 vintagefallwreath10

Then I cut out around the stencil, leaving about 1/2 an inch from the widest parts. Cut a piece of thin cardboard as a backing. If you didn’t cut the stencil big enough (as I did) cut the cardboard a little bit bigger. This will give you room for the bias tape trim. Use Mod Podge to adhere the sheet music to the cardboard.



For the original medallion, I used two colors of bias tape that I ruffled on my sewing machine. This was the point where I didn’t like the medallion anymore for this wreath. It was moving away from the serene, peaceful feeling I wanted. I will probably save this for something else, because it is still pretty and fun.


So now I’m making the new, smaller medallion. Here I’m working on the back of the new medallion. I Mod Podged some paper on the back of the medallion so you don’t see “Cheerios” on the back, and then wrapped a single color of bias tape around the edges. Then to attach it to the wreath, I simply taped some jute twine to the back and tied it on.



Muuuuuch better, but it still needs a little something more.


Vintage button accents

So I poured out my jar of vintage buttons and found some of these shiny pearly ones, plus some gold ones. I sewed them into a rosette formation onto a piece of scrap fabric.


Then I trimmed off the fabric and cut out a little piece of thin cardboard on the back so the buttons don’t flop around.


And again, used tape and jute to tie it onto the wreath on either side of the medallion.

vintagefallwreath20 vintagefallwreath21

All done.


I’m ready for a comfy cozy fall.


Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and hope you are having a nice fall season so far!

PS I was inspired by this book page wreath by Jenn @ Rook No. 17 to use the music sheet on my wreath. I chose Vivaldi’s Autumn from The Four Seasons because I wanted this music played at our end-of-August wedding, but it couldn’t be played on an organ (the church had one of those huge, beautiful pipe organs). Glad to include this piece of music in my wreath.

Linking: Tip Junkie :: Rook No. 17 :: Tea Rose Home :: The Trendy Treehouse :: The Frugal Girls :: Tidy Mom :: Fingerprints on the Fridge :: WhipperBerry :: Creation Corner :: Tatertots and Jello :: Lolly Jane Boutique ::  Homemaker on a Dime :: The Gunny Sack :: born again crafter :: Centsational Girl


Disclosure: I received the Martha Stewart paints, stencils and tools to write this post. Click there for details.


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