mini kitchen makeover – new dishes and curtains

Last night I *finally* got the curtains done for our kitchen and I’m in LOVE!  So, so cute!   The fabric I chose looks ever better than I expected and the addition of the curtains gives this space some needed color and coziness.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains 2

The fabric I used is called Tutti Frutti Apples.  After two years of living here and never finding the perfect curtain fabric (not that I had looked that hard, mind you) I stumbled upon this last fall at a fabric shop in my hometown.  The fabric was $7 a yard and that was more than I wanted to pay so I left it even though I really loved the fabric.  Luckily, a few months later I was at my favorite local fabric store and discovered that they had this fabric in their $2.50 clearance bin!  Hooray!

I bought all that they had and it ended up being exactly what I needed.   I think I had maybe a half a yard leftover.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains 3I thought about doing a picture tutorial but honestly there are a million curtain tutorials on Pinterest and mine is nothing special.  But for what it’s worth, here is the quick Caitlin version:

For a nice, full, ruffly curtain I used 3 times the width of my window.  I didn’t even measure in feet or inches, just held the fabric up to the window three times to determine how much I needed.

I cut split the yardage in half by finding the middle, cutting in about an inch, and ripping.  It thrills me every time how fabric rips in a straight line.  It’s quite satisfying and makes me feel like I’m on Project Runway.  Each half became one valance.

Then I just hemmed around each rectangle, leaving room at the top to slide the curtain rod through.  Fold over twice, press it down, sew a straight line.  Easy peasy.  Really the ironing is the most tedious part.  I don’t even pin and then the sewing goes very quickly (as long as my junky machine doesn’t jam up a million times.  grr).

The sides I folded over 1/2 inch and then 1/2 inch again.  The bottom I think I did 1/2 inch and then 1 inch.  For the top I folded over 1/2 inch and then about 2.5 inches to allow for the curtain rod.

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains and plate wall

I like to follow The Nester‘s motto of “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”.  My edges are probably not perfectly straight and I know I didn’t sew in a straight line but I also know that if I don’t just get it done then I’ll never finish anything.  I used white thread to sew the short sides and then switched to a green that matched better for the top and bottom.  That’s one great thing about the fullness of these curtains (in addition to the fact that I prefer that look) because it hides the imperfections.  I’m just happy to have it done, mistakes and all!

corelle south beach

By coincidence (or probably because my subconscious is drawn to these colors) my new dishes match the curtains perfectly.  When we got married we registered for some dishes from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I hate them!  They are so heavy and all of them have gotten chipped over the years.  I grew up using Corelle dishes and I love how durable and light they are.  I fell in love with this new (at least, I think it’s new because I don’t remember seeing it when I’ve looked in the past) Corelle print called South Beach and knew I these were perfect to replace our old dishes.  I put them on my Christmas list this year and got enough to replace our old dishes – yay!  It was a fun bonus that they matched the curtains!

tutti frutti apple kitchen curtains

And lest you start to get jealous of my perfectly tidy kitchen with matching place settings displayed, let me assure you that is NOT real life.  This is what the kitchen table looked like about five minutes before I took those pictures.  All that mess on the table got relegated to the kitchen counters for a few minutes while I staged and took the pictures and then back to the table it went.

Just keeping it real for you.

What project, small or large, have you gotten done recently that make you feel accomplished?



DIY super quick Kindle case

e-reader cover tutorial

I recently switched purses from a rather small, structured purse to a large, black hole-type purse.  In my old purse, everything had its own little section and so my Kindle was sort of protected by the soft side of my purse and the soft cloth of my wallet.  However, in my current purse, everything is all tossed in there and jumbled up so I was afraid that my Kindle was going to get scratched up.

What’s a girl to do?  Why, sew a little protective case for it, of course!  And because I’m so nice (wink, wink) I created a tutorial for you so you can make one too.  This is such a fast little project – it takes maybe 30 minutes, probably less if you are an experienced seamstress (which I’m not).

Just a note before we start – this is NOT a padded protective case.  I just wanted a layer of fabric thick enough to keep my Kindle from getting scratched, but it will probably not protect it if you drop your Kindle.  That would require some extra padding that I didn’t use.

Also, I just make things up as I go along – there are probably much better ways to do some of these things but I just do what works for me.  Forgive my novice skills.

Supplies needed: 2 complimentary pieces of fabric (this is a great project for your scraps because you need such a small amount of fabric), a button, some elastic (I used a ponytail holder…it didn’t match but it was free so I didn’t really care)

From each pattern, cut a piece that is 6 inches wide by 14.5 inches tall.  This can easily be adjusted if your Kindle is a different size than mine, or if you are making this for a different type of e-reader.

Place your two pieces with the right sides together.  Stitch the two short ends together, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

You’ll end up with a large tube.  Once it is stitched, turn the tube inside out so the right sides are facing out and iron the seams.

You can start to see the pocket forming.

Fold the fabric in half opposite of how you want your pocket to look (I wanted the flowered fabric on the outside and the polka dot fabric as my lining, so I sewed it with the polka dot fabric out and the flower fabric inside).

Use your e-reader to estimate where you need to sew the sides.

Sew up each side of the fabric, making a pocket.

It should look something like this.  Flip it inside out and slide your Kindle down into the pocket to make sure it is tight or loose enough.  You can see on the left where I stitched a second time to make the pocket a little smaller.

Trim off the excess fabric on the outsides of each seam, then flip inside out.

It’s like a little sleeping bag for your Kindle :)

In the middle of the side that you’ve decided will be the back, sew your elastic on, about an inch down from the top.

Cut a long, skinny strip of your lining fabric (I think mine was about 2 inches by 15 inches). Set your machine to it’s longest stitch length and sew a long, loose seam up each side of the fabric (aka, baste it).

To turn that into a ruffle, pull on one of the threads from each seam – don’t pull both, just grab one thread and pull.  The fabric will start to ruffle up.  Then move to the other seam and pull once of those threads too.

Now here is where I stopped taking pictures because this next part was a little difficult and required my total concentration.  So bear with me and try to imagine these next few steps.

Once you’ve adjusted your ruffle to the ruffley-ness you desire, wrap it around the case about a half an inch from the top (make sure it will cover the spot where you sewed the elastic to the pouch).  Pin it into place.  Then sew the ruffle onto the pocket, on top of the basting stitches you used to create the ruffle.  My machine has a piece that removes and leaves a skinny place to put a sleeve or other small circular object.  This pocket just barely fit on there and because it was such a tight fit I had some real problems with turning it while I was sewing around the ruffle.  Next time I might see if there is a way to sew the ruffle on before trimming the pocket part down.

Anyway, once you’ve sewn the ruffle on, then sew the button on to the middle of the front of your case (no specific measurement, it just depends on how far down your elastic will come.

A note about the ruffle – I just left the raw edges on the ruffles.  I know they will fray a bit over time and I’m ok with that look.  If you don’t like that, you’ll need to fold the edges over and somehow sew them down before creating your ruffle.

And your Kindle case is done!

I was pretty pleased how it turned out, especially since I had all the things I needed at home and didn’t have to buy anything (although that resulted in an elastic and thread that didn’t quite match, but oh well).

The thread that goes on the ruffle should have matched the purple fabric.  I have a camera case with a similar ruffle on it – the thread holding the ruffle on is a contrasting color and it looks good, so I thought using the white would look ok on mine.  Turns out I was wrong.  It just highlights my crooked stitches and draws attention away from the cute ruffle.  Next time I will use thread that matches the ruffle fabric.

Also, the thread that I used to sew the button on was yet a different color.  It happened to match the goldish tan color of the flowers from the fabric, but it doesn’t look good right next to the white that I used for the ruffle.  Note to self: use the same thread for the ruffle and the button, and make sure the color will blend in.

Now that I know what to do differently, I could whip this up in a jiffy!  Too bad I don’t need another Kindle case.  Maybe someone I know will need one for Christmas…

Oh, and on a semi-related note: hopefully this will be the last sewing project I do where I have to haul out all my sewing stuff and drag it to the kitchen table (the only surface large enough in our apartment) to sew since my next project should be done from the comfort of the permanent sewing table/area/station in my craft area in OUR NEW HOUSE.  Yep, you read that right…after 4 months of searching and 30+ houses visited, we finally found one we loved and we got a contract on it yesterday.  SO EXCITING!

October block of the month

I’ve finished my October blocks of the month…which means I’m finished with all the blocks for my very first quilt!  I’m so proud!  This month we learned how to do paper piecing.  Once I’d done one section and got the hang of it, it turned out to be so easy!  I loved it!  Paper piecing with a template was so much easier for me then trying to cut out precise shapes and then make sure to sew the seam not too narrow and not too wide.  I’m definitely a fan.

Craftsy block of the month October - friendship circle

Craftsy block of the month for October - circle of geeseI just love how crisp and neat each block looks, thanks to the wonders of paper piecing!

Now that I’ve finished all 20 quilt blocks, I laid them all out to get a feel for how they will look once they are put together.  I’ve just had them in a stack and this is the first time I’ve laid them all out side by side…seeing them all at once makes me so excited to finish the quilt!

(Pardon the bad picture – our bed was the only place big enough in our tiny apartment to lay the blocks all out at once…and it’s hard to get up high enough to get a good angle!)

Craftsy block of the month quilt blocks

I laid them out by month for this picture (starting in the upper left hand corner, the first two are January, then the next two are February; on the second row we have March and then April, and so on).  I like the idea of grouping them together by month since this was a Block of the Month quilt, but I don’t think I’m going to end up leaving them in this order because there are clumps of similar colors that need to be spaced out, like the five blocks toward the bottom right that are predominately pink and turquoise.

Next month we will learn bordering and sandwiching, and then in December we finish it off with binding and quilting.  I am a mere two months away from completing my very first quilt!  Hooray!

Wanna make your own quilt?  It’s not too late – the class is free, all the past videos are still available, and they will continue to be available even after the class ends.  Check it out here:

September blocks of the month

Another month, another set of quilt blocks.  This month in my Craftsy Block of the Month class we learned how to do curved piecing using the Drunkard’s Path templates.  When I first started trying to pin and sew these pieces together, I got super frustrated.  In fact, after I botched the first one, I had to just set it aside, go to bed, and try again the next day.  After a little bit of practice the next day, though, I finally got the hang of it.  They weren’t all perfect, and this was definitely more time-consuming than many of the other methods we’ve used, but I’m so proud of myself for conquering my fear of curved pieces.

September Craftsy Block of the Month - Chain Block

I really like this chain block – I thought it turned out really cool.

September Craftsy Block of the Month - Cleopatra's PuzzleThe Cleopatra’s Puzzle block wasn’t my favorite we’ve ever done, but I still liked the end result.

I can’t believe it is already September – that means that I only have one more method and two more quilt blocks to make in October!  Then I’ll have all 20 blocks done and it will be time to learn how to bind and quilt my very first quilt in November and December.  I’m so excited!

August block of the month

After a weekend full of canning tomatoes, tomato sauce, and green beans, I had a bit of a break yesterday and got to spend my Sunday afternoon working on my quilt.  I completed my August quilt blocks and, as with every month, I’m already wishing I knew what September’s would be so I could get to work on them!  This month we learned how to do two different star blocks.

Ohio Star

not my favorite – pretty plain jane, and I couldn’t get all my corners to match up nicely

Double Star

I was a little skeptical about this one at first, but I ended up really liking it and it wasn’t nearly as hard to do as I expected

I just can’t wait until December when I’ll have my very first quilt completely done!  I’m so excited to see how it turns out!

(in case you’re new around here, I’m taking a free online quilting class: Craftsy Block of the Month…feel free to join at any time if you want to make a quilt, too)

July block of the month

The July blocks were so fun and so easy to do!  I love how they turned out.  This month we learned how to do Dresden blocks and made a traditional block and a modern block (although I think the traditional one looked more modern and the modern one looked more traditional…)

This was pretty fun to make.  I liked using all the different fabrics, although I think if you wanted it to look more like a flower, you could just use one fabric or several prints that were all in the same color scheme.  Michael and I both thought this looked like a bunch of neckties.

I really liked this modern Dresden wheel.  It was very quick and easy to make.  I think if you used an orange/yellow color and made the middle circle a coordinating color (rather than the same as the background) it would look just like a sunshine.  I can totally picture a whole quilt done with bunches of sunshines!

The only thing that I didn’t like about this block was all the layers – there was the background fabric, then two layers for the big circle and two layers for the little circle, so when they were all seen together there were five layers of fabric in the middle of the circle!  My needle did not like trying to sew through all that.  But I love the final product so it was totally worth it.

As always, these blocks are part of Craftsy’s {free!} Block of the Month class that I’m taking this year.  I think we just have three more types of blocks left to learn (August, September, and October).  After that we learn how to put our whole quilt together.  I can’t wait!

June block of the month

After the super fun Wonky Log Cabin block from last month, the June blocks just weren’t quite as exciting.  However, they were easy and pretty cute. This month’s “theme” was to learn 9-patch blocks…which are basically just 9 squares sewn together to make the quilt block.  We really didn’t learn anything new, though, we just used our knowledge of half-square triangles and sewing multiple square blocks together (by nesting the seams) from February‘s lesson.  I will have to say that I’ve gotten much better at making more precise squares and even seams since then, because the edges of this block matched up much better than the ones I did in February! I think it would be pretty easy to whip up a whole quilt out of either of these blocks, but especially the octagon.

Greek Cross


 I think I say this every month, but I’m still loving Crafty’s Block of the Month (which is free) and it has really helped me learn lots of quilting techniques.

Pinteresting Tuesday: quilt edition

Now that I’ve started doing this block of the month, I’ve been bitten by the quilting bug.  I have no idea if/when I’ll ever get around to making all the quilts that I’d like to make, but here are some beauties that I’ve seen on Pinterest that are on my to-do list.


I adore this stack of books quilt!  How perfect is this to keep on your favorite reading chair to wrap up in while curled up with a good book?  It doesn’t look all that difficult either, so I’d say this one is definitely going to get made!

Source: via Caitlin on Pinterest


Stars are one of my favorite shapes, and kind of the “theme” of my living room, so these starflower quilts make me so happy.


And I found this really great tutorial to help get me started.


chevron quilt


supposedly you can make this quilt all in one night


I for realz want some quilted stockings some day

Source: via Caitlin on Pinterest


different but cool

Are you inspired yet?

May block of the month

Another month, another two quilt blocks.  I am LOVING this block of the month class!  The only problem is that each month when we learn a new technique, I want to make a whole quilt just out of that type of block…and now I have several quilts floating around in my mind that I want to make!  Not to mention all the beautiful quilts I’ve found on Pinterest that are on my to-do list.

So this month we learned two versions of the log cabin block: the modern log cabin and the wonky log cabin.

This modern log cabin block is one of my least favorite blocks that we’ve learned.  I think it’s just boring.  Although, I think the main reason I don’t like it is because of how much white space there is; I think if it was more colorful it would be better.  Also, it’s supposed to be very improvisational and uneven, but it kind of bugs me and I wish I had made the squares more uniform.

Now this one I love!  I had so much fun with the wonky log cabin!  I adore all the color and it was just a really fun block to make because it didn’t require precision.  This was also a good way to use up almost all of the scraps of fabric that I’ve been saving from the previous months’ blocks.  I think this is just so so cute!

It’s hard to believe I’m already halfway through all my blocks (we only do 10 months of blocks then the last two months we learn how to bind and quilt).

I can’t wait for June to see what we learn next!

If you want to check out the other months: January, February, March, April

If you want to check out the class (which is free), go here

I made clothes today!

Today this sewing novice tried something new: making clothes!  I’ve had this DIY maxi dress tutorial pinned on Pinterest for a while now so today I decided to finally get down to making it.


I decided to use a t-shirt that I already had rather than a tank top.  Fabric happened to be 30% off at Hobby Lobby this week – I ended up spending about $9.00 on fabric and $1.00 for the elastic thread, so this dress cost me $10.00 (not counting the t-shirt since I’ve had it for years).

It was not quite as easy as I expected, but really the only part I had problems with was getting the elastic thread to work right so the dress gathered around my waist.  The comments left on the tutorial I used sounded like a lot of people had the same problem as me.  Other than the thread giving me some fits, it wasn’t too hard.

Here’s what I ended up with:

 What do you think?  It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m pretty pleased since it was my first clothes-making attempt.  It’s actually too big, but fortunately the belt helps cinch it in.  I think that it’s too big at the waist since I used a lot of fabric so that it would be wide enough at the bottom for me to easily take a step.  Even though the elastic thread ruffled it up some at the top so the waist was smaller, it was still bigger than what I would normally wear.  I want to make another one that is shorter (like the second dress from LeAna’s tutorial) and I think that since I won’t have to make it so wide at the bottom, I can use less fabric and then it will fit better at the waist.

I also didn’t hem it because it was just long enough and I was afraid hemming it would make it too short, but hopefully that part isn’t too noticeable.

Anyway, so that was my Friday project.  I’m pretty proud and I feel much more confident about making clothes now!  I’m looking forward to making another dress similar to this one, and I’m also working on some other clothes ideas in my head right now so hopefully I’ll have some fun projects to share with you soon.