Tag Archives: Sew Along

Babies for Brazil


Sorrow’s amazing addition to the sew-along. Love the Brazilian babe!

A while back I emailed a handful of crafty friends and asked if they’d be interested in a very special project. And then, after a deluge of positive email responses, I completely forgot about this little crafty event.


And so, I am now inviting the Internets to join along too. My friend Jessica, who has done amazing work in Brazil for years, recently brought toys to the children living in impoverished communities. The photos struck me; there were many gorgeous little Brazilian girls and boys carrying around very anglo baby dolls. They were tickled to have their own toy. But it got me thinking.

My favorite doll when I was a child was an African American Cabbage Patch doll named Elizabeth. (Second only to Aggie, the red-headed Irish version.) These two dolls were with me everywhere as a young girl. I adored them. Like little girls in countries around the world, my dolls were special. They had a tiny suitcase full of clothes and regularly were seat-belted into the car next to me. Thinking about it now, Elizabeth was a precursor to a life in love with Africa.

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I want to provide the children Jessica is working with in Brazil with dolls that look like they do. Specifically, these Brazilian babies would provide a bit of handmade love to little girls living in poverty. Call me sentimental, but it makes me smile to think of a handful of girls growing up with a handmade item, knowing a woman they’ve never met thought of them, saw their potential, wanted to know they were special and wanted to encourage them to be amazing.

This is what a doll — a tiny piece of folk art — can do. Do not underestimate the power of focused women, especially when they are artists.

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Duda wrapped her sweet doll in a homemade quilt.

Care to join this sew along? The rules are simple:

Make a handmade doll — knit, sew, whittle — in the spirit of Brazil. Include details in the doll that encourage your village girl. Photograph your creation and place it in the Flickr pool. Then, mail the doll, with a note if you’d like, to Jessica in New York by September 1.

It should also be said that I don’t know a thing about sewing dolls. I am going into this blind and simply hoping good fortune and patience will see this idea through.

Please leave a comment if you want to play along. I’ll email details to those who participate. This is an easy way for women internationally to provide a bit of handmade love to girls in a Brazilian village. It is simple, sincere and sweet. I hope you’ll join us!


One Yard Glory: February

Dear Finny,

You say you did a bit of fuzzy math to the tune of pi, and what I read was, “Pie? I want pie!!” The Homer J in me kept me from even trying the hat pattern, but I did rock the dressing. So, mission nearly accomplished for our January One Yard Wonder sew/cook along.

{Your hat is adorable.}

Congrats again to Lori, whose hat is pretty rad. Plus, it is recycled and plaid — two of my most favorite things. Preppy green!

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january 31 024

As for February, I was thinking we’d keep up the green theme and go with the folklore bag. I like the simplicity in this design and I go through fabric totes like you wouldn’t believe. They never seem to be quite big enough to get all my gear and my lunch to my desk without appearing like a ragamuffin in the process.

Instead, with this new bag in the works, and your yummy new recipe for spicy cauliflower with capers packed for lunch — I’ll be set!

Also, I’m sending you a Valentine — as I do every year!






May I just say, welcome home birthday girl! So glad you were able to get away to Maui to celebrate your anniversary and the big blowing out of candles. Your photos make me want time in a hammock with a very tan man and a pina colada. What? Too honest? Mahalo!

September Playlist glimpse

I love what you’ve selected for the September CRAFT projects. While I’ve yet to make the commitment to become a pet parent (after how many years of moaning that I want a dog), I love this project and have many friends in my life who’d appreciate one of these nifty little canine accessories. Also, who doesn’t have a bag full of annoying conference tote bags hanging around to be put to better use?

And dessert. Well. I think it is safe to say you know where I stand on dessert.

Hello, itunes

Another not so secret to be revealed — mixed CDs are pretty much my favorite gift to give and receive. I love new tunes, especially a random selection of artists I more than likely wouldn’t have other known. My friend Adam is incredibly good at this. He gives me new music regularly. So, sharing the love this month with a sweet few. I’ll post one to you soon. Nothing like spending the afternoon with dessert baking in the kitchen, the sewing machine humming in the living room and the tunes shaking hips through the entire house.




Recycling curtains

Recycling curtains

Dear Fin,

Remember when I sewed new curtains for my craft studio before it became my guest room before it became Matt’s room? And then those curtains were changed out again because really? The green didn’t work for me. There was too much other stuff going on color-wise and African/Aussie is a very simple man.  Well, I still had those curtains tucked in my scrap box and in preparing for this month’s CRAFT challenge, I wondered if I could put this fabric to use?

Indeed. I now have 8 placemat backings.

Scrappy fabrics


As for the scrappy tops? They are in process. Have you ever noticed how this sort of project takes considerable time to simply prep? I’ve got at least four hours into washing, pressing and cutting the pieces for these, although I am loving the repurposing angle. Also, it is incredibly satisfying to use what I have and to be cleaning up the scrap box too.

How is your project going?


Now with Antlers!


A wolf shirt not on amazon

Remember when you took this pic in Yellowstone after we read that now famous wolf t-shirt review on Amazon? I should have bought the shirt. I totally could be grocery shopping on a scooter, riding sideways.  I am not going to lie, I really wish we were back in the park right now. I’d love to have a handful of Red Vines, a telephoto lens on my lap and a herd of buffalo headed our way (in the form of delicious burgers.) Instead, I’ve got a handful of thank you cards to write for this weekend’s fundraiser, a stack of grant applications on my lap and a herd of appointments headed this way (in the form of a busy week.) Then again, without this job I love, I wouldn’t be able to get away for such hilarity.

So, let me just reminisce the fun for one more second before I dive back into non-vacation life:

Might not be entirely sober in this photo

Why am I laughing this hard? Because the waitress, as sweet as she was, asked me if I wanted Chardooooonay or Chablish. Of course, when chablish is offered, you must order the pink wine.  Thankfully, I had the manners to wait until she was out of earshot before this wave of laughter crashed. And Shelley had the manners not to push me off of her, although I think her look is telling.

The girls

Lumberjills in the morning.

What a great May this was! We had some excellent entries to the sew along as well, and I’m a sucker for adorable children. I’m pretty sure we have three winners because I love all of these. Zarah — your Russian doll fabric was a perfect choice for this project and I want one of those shirts. Lori, the embroidery? Are you kidding me? Wow. And Alevin, your daughter is about as cute as I’ve ever seen. Love the outfit you made her!

Winner, winner chicken dinners. Brava!



For June, I was thinking we’d get crazy with three projects again. As you know, I’m a fan of cake and these carrot cake cookies look divine. I’ll have to break my “no oven until September” rule, or perhaps I could just put the cookie sheet outside at about 4 pm and watch Mother Nature do her thing. You know, that could work… In the meantime, I’ve got lots of cereal boxes in the recycling because oatmeal first thing after my morning run makes me so hot I can’t blow dry my hair for an hour. Seriously. And what better way to put those boxes to recycled use than these great containers? And while we are at it, a bit of a sewing challenge for us all: stenciling. I love these Lotta projects and thought it would be fun to see what everyone could sew and create with fabrics they have stenciled.

So, carrot cake cookies, cereal box bins and stenciled sewing projects. This shall fuel the creative fires for June. What do you think Finny? If you were crazy crafty, and let’s be honest — I think we’re 500 miles past sanity — you could stencil fabric to cover the box to be filled with cookies. Just a thought.



Finny/Donk Sew Along: May

Dear Finny McFinberg,

So, remember last weekend when I was bugging you to help me with some freezer paper/stencil/paint ideas for our embellished t-shirt May sew along project? You looked at me from the moon and responded, “Um, I just cut out some fabric and kinda glued it on the shirt.”

Ah. Right.

And so, while you are out with Bubba, enjoying your envy-inducing sabbatical, fly fishing and backpacking with friends this weekend, I’m sitting in Phoenix sewing.*  Yes, you can feel sorry for me. When sewing induces sweat, it’s time to start looking at real estate. And yes, this is the same conversation we’ve been having every summer for the last 10 years (literally) and no, I don’t actually plan on doing anything about it anytime soon. That’s the way I roll. Me + summer in AZ = unneccessary bouts of extreme grouchiness. Amazing how that green-tinged mood crops up when I think of you standing in waders in some beautiful zenful river, sweet talking fish.

Okay, just cranked up the AC and poured myself an icy drink. Phew. Back to the topic at hand, shall we?

You know what? This may be the simplest craft project ever. For those who don’t have a sewing machine and regularly lament, bitch and moan that they can’t play along — guess what? This project takes 10 minutes, a pair of scissors and very little craft talent. And yet the result is damn cute. I present my new hippie badge tank:

Take two tank tops

Two tanks from Costco

You need about 2 inches of this

Plus one package of this Stitch Witchery glue stuff

A hippie badge

Plus a little VW van fabric

Little hippie van

et, voila:

Finny/Donk sew along May project


Good choice, Finny. Honestly, the hardest part of this project was finding fabric I wanted to wear on an already cute tank. The VW Heather Bailey print has been hanging around for a bit and worked perfectly. In cleaning out the art studio (turned roommate’s headquarters) this weekend, I found a stack of T-shirts someone gave me. And so, if you’d like a VW hippie badge T-shirt — leave a comment. The first three will have one mailed out this week.

As for you, I hope the fish, the backpacking and the sabbatical are going swimmingly. Miss you!



* In all seriousness, I think my next sport/outdoorsy adventuring will be fly fishing. I’m considering trading in the tri bike for some waders and a rod. Hmm…

Finny & Donk Adventure, part III

Dear Fin,

Did you ever think two years ago when we both fell head over seam ripper for Amy Butler’s In Stitches that we’d be here, organizing our third sew-along? Me either. But here we are and while there have been some bummer projects, for the most part I am still having a great time.

Thank you for being my partner in crime.

So, I understand Denver Brunette pretty much ran away with the competition for the best project of the year. Seriously, the girl knows how to work the wrap skirt. I think that skirt was my favorite project this year. I’m going to make a couple more for spring. Bravo DB! You rock. And now you’ll also rock a subscription to CRAFT.

For those sewers, bakers, knitters and other folk who love to be creative or just want to learn, consider jumping on the Finny & Donk Adventure wagon and coming along for the 2009 ride. This year you don’t have to buy a book. !! We appreciate the crap economy. We also appreciate the hotness soon to take the White House who we hope will make buying a book next year no big deal. Anyway, enough politicking: the 2009 Finny & Donk sew-along is as easy as it gets to play along. Finny and I will select two projects from CRAFT magazine’s website each month.

Finny, you were so smart to select the January projects and give us all some variety. I love your idea of the Men’s Hoodie and the Lemon Drop cookies. Woo hoo! Plus, now we don’t have to hear about all those lovely folk who: have a sewing machine but are frightened to use it, don’t have a sewing machine but want one and can’t play along, don’t have a sewing machine and think we are dumb. Okay, we might still hear from that last group, but obviously they are wrong.

So, to again review the 2009 rules for the Finny & Donk sew-along: We’ll pick two or more projects from CRAFT each month and you’ll decide to do one or both, take a photo of your project and post them to the new CRAFT flickr pool. We’ll then select winners and of course send a fabulous prize.

Sound good? Yeah. I thought so. Now would be the time to add CRAFT to your reader if you haven’t already. Me loves free.

Also sounds like a pretty great way to rock 2009, ifyouaskme.



P.S. Finny, way to rock the badge!