Tuesday, January 29, 2013


There were so many good guesses in the previous post about what I was knitting, and the correct answer came from Gill:  yes indeed, it is a tiny shrug for my Blythe doll!!

Here again is the picture I showed you:

All you do is sew the corners of the long edge to the corners of the short edge, then roll the long edge back to form a collar:

It is a free pattern on Ravelry, called "Shrugs and Kisses" by Maggie Baird. I love it when designers share their patterns free of charge!  As a beginning knitter, I hesitate to buy a pattern that might turn out to be too complicated for me.

This shrug is the perfect little accessory with a sleeveless dress, and I'm making one for each of my dolls.  I'm also in a couple of Blythe swaps, and they are great for swap packages!

Gill, I have e-mailed you; your zippered pouch will be in the mail to you soon!!

THANK YOU to everyone who left a comment, I appreciate that you took the time to do so.  I thought waggonswest was going to figure it out, the way she was applying such logic to it!  And I need to give special recognition to Angie for the funniest guess:  she thought it looked a lot like a nose warmer!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

What Is It? Guess and Win! (Updated 1/29)

Tuesday Update:  Thanks for your great comments and guesses!  No one got it right yesterday, so feel free to keep guessing.  Also feel free to repeat someone else's guess if you are stumped, because everyone who leaves a comment will be entered in the drawing if there is no correct guess.

It's been a while since my last giveaway, so let's have another one!  To contrast with the gray weather we are having in Virginia today, I'm offering a bright, sunshiny-yellow zippered pouch! (Key not included!  It is for size comparison only!)

This is one of my very popular pouches that I created for the Master Craftster Series on Craftster last year.  It measures 5.5" x 8", it is fully lined, and it can be used for lots of things--I'm sure you will find it quite handy if you win it!

This time, the winner of the giveaway will be the first person to guess what I am going to make with the little knitted piece in the picture below. (I won't be adding anything else to the piece, but I will do something with those dangling yarn ends to finish it.)  Leave your best guess in the comment section, one guess per person, per day (that's right...go ahead and guess again tomorrow if there is no winner today.)  The giveaway will end when someone guesses correctly (and the winning guess has to be exactly correct...not just close! There are two particular words I will look for in the winning guess.)  If no one guesses it by Friday, February 1st, I will choose a random winner from everyone who left a comment.

Be sure I have a way to contact you if you win...if you are not a registered Blogger user (and your comment shows up as posted by "Anonymous"), leave your email address too.

And this is just a little side note--I know a lot of you dislike the "captcha" verification thingy that you have to complete before you can post your comment; I actually turned it off for a couple of weeks, and the flood of spam became so overwhelming I had to turn it back on.  If you have trouble leaving a comment, just send me a message (leslieandersen4@gmail.com) and I will post your comment for you.

Good luck to all!  I can't wait to read your guesses!!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Photo Backdrop

I've been working on a big project this week--actually, it's big time-wise, but not size-wise.  I turned this extra-large shoebox into a photo backdrop for my Blythe dolls.  The main thing I do with my dolls is make clothes for them and then take pictures of them in the clothes. Some Blythe owners are adventurous and go out in public to take pictures with all kinds of different scenery.  I tend to stay at home, so I have to get creative with my backgrounds.

On the inside of the box, I glued scrapbook paper to the sides, top, and bottom, to make it look like a pretty room.  The picture frames are actually pre-cut scrapbook paper embellishments, so I just printed some photos of my dolls to place in the openings, then glued them to the walls.  The bunting is also scrapbook paper, cut into triangles, and glued to baker's twine.

With the addition of a couple of props, it really looks like a house!

I want to live here!

For the outside of the box, I used more scrapbook paper to make a cartoon-y house on a hill.  You can see that I decorated the box lid too, to make a bigger area where the doll can stand.

I made 3-D grass, flowers and butterflies from polymer clay, to make the scene more interesting.  I glued them to little "islands" of the same green scrapbook paper, so I can re-position them in the scene.

It makes a great backdrop!

I covered the flip side of the lid is with this extremely realistic-looking wooden-plank paper.

It looks like Penny is standing next to an old barn!

To finish off the shoe box, I covered the sides with pages torn from an old dictionary (which I got at the library for $1.00!)  Then I added these wonky stick-on letters, spelling out "Blythe" on each side. I think I will give the sides a coat of mod podge to keep all the edges stuck down.

It happens that just as I was thinking about working on this project, Craftster announced a new craft challenge, "Shoebox Makeover." How's that for good timing?  I'm going to submit this box. The entry period is February 1-10, so if YOU want to enter too, there's still time!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bunny Pillow

One of the fun parts of being in a craft swap is "stalking" your partner; you look at everything you can find about her online, such as the pictures she has posted on the Craftster or flickr, and looking at her Pinterest or Wist.

When I was trying to come up with a small-ish extra item to send to my partner in the Junker Jane swap on Craftster recently, there were two things on her Wist that really caught my eye.  The first was a decorative pillow with a heart in the center, in shades of red and khaki.  I love hearts, and I have experience making pillows, so I knew I could make this for her pretty quickly.  I kept looking, though, and came across a picture of a t-shirt with a big heart on it, and inside the heart there was a bunny silhouette. That's when the light bulb came on over my head--I would do a bunny-silhouette heart on the pillow!  It was perfect because I was doing a bunny Junker Jane-style doll for her, so my package would have a theme! Yay!

The background of the pillow is linen, as is the silhouette. The heart is made from quilter's cotton that's been in my stash for many a long year.  I used my favorite product, Heat n Bond Lite, to adhere the bunny to the heart, and the heart to the pillow.  Using the Heat n Bond allowed me to leave the fabric edges raw; then I machine sewed around the edges to secure everything.

I added a line of red hand-embroidered running stitches for an accent along the sides.

My bunny-loving partner declared that this pillow was one of the most amazing things anyone has ever made for her!  (I KNEW she would like it!!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Craftster Best of 2012

This month I've been waiting impatiently for the annual Craftster Best of 2012 choices to be announced...hoping that one of my projects would be among them. The announcement came out this week, and WOO HOO, not one but TWO of my projects were recognized--and much to my surprise, two of the swaps I coorganized were recognized too!!

One Groovy Quilt is the project I was hoping would win, so I was very happy when I saw that it had. I made it for my partner, onegroovyday, in the Invite Your Partner swap last spring.  Since it was all hand-quilted it was very time consuming to make, but I knew she would appreciate it, and she did!  I love the colors and the log cabin pattern.

Then I discovered that two purses, A Rainbow and a Luna Moth, that I made for my partners in the Surprise Swap, were also winners!  They were both made using my standard zippered tote bag pattern, then I personalized them with the recipients' favorite themes.  These too were time consuming, but the results were really worth the effort.

I enjoyed looking at all the different projects that won "Best Of..." in the different categories--there are really a lot of winners!  It wasn't until I reached the very last category--swaps-- that I realized I had won again, for the Halloween/Autumn Ninni Swap (which I coorganized with Susan), and for the Craft This Tote Round 2 Swap (which I coorganized with Wendie). The interesting galleries are what made these two swaps notable (click on the name of each swap to visit the gallery).

All this excitement makes me want to get busy on some new projects (and potential winners!) Every project posted on Craftster this year will be considered for "Best Of 2013", so if you are crafty, YOU can put your projects in the running too!  If you are not a member of Craftster, don't worry, signing up is easy, and you can start posting your projects right away.  Craftster is a wonderfully encouraging community, and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hearts for Children of Chernobyl

I love making hearts, and I love it when I can help a worthy cause with my hearts!

 I was recently contacted by Cecilia, who runs a program in the state of Washington called Children of Chernobyl. They raise funds to bring children from the area of Russia that was affected by a nuclear accident over 20 years ago, to her city for a health respite and medical care.  Cecilia is putting together baskets for a silent auction during their annual fundraiser, and she wanted to include one of my Hope Hearts starter kits in a crafts basket.  She also had the idea of including a clear pitcher of hearts as a "visual" near the basket.  Of course I agreed to send the Hope Hearts starter kit (which I am still sending, free of charge, to anyone who asks--the information is at the top of this page), but I also wanted to help fill up the pitcher, so I am also sending the dozen hearts in this picture.

Good luck with your fundraiser, Cecilia, and God bless you for helping children!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Fluffy is a simple bunny who enjoys grooming her whiskers and playing with her doll.

She refuses to visit the dentist, because she's happy with her teeth just the way they are.

I love Fluffy!

One of my favorite details is her name-tag necklace, which is made from a piece of an old damaged quilt.

I used my Craftster user-name initials on the back (LHH stands for Leslieshappyheart).  Note the ironic cute bunny fabric that appears on both her front and back.

I made Fluffy for the Junker Jane Style Doll Swap on Craftster; she now lives with my partner,  WingsOfClay, who is an amazing artist--just look at the doll she made for me:

Our dolls are both similar in size and shape (the body is about 11" tall), but WingsOfClay and I went about constructing them in completely different ways.  She sewed the doll, then painted on all the details, while I used fabric and stitching for the details on mine.

Look at this face!  The eyes are polymer clay, but they look like metal.  This is such an amazing art doll!

If you haven't participated in a craft swap before, this is what you are missing!  I strongly encourage everyone to give it a try!  Craftster is just a click away!

Monday, January 7, 2013

An Interview with CraftyMamaBee

I have come to know some very interesting and talented people in the two years that I have been a member of Craftster.org; Rebecca, aka CraftyMamaBee, is one of my favorites! She recently created this amazing prayer flag, below, for her partner in the Prayer Flag Swap Round 2, and I asked her to tell me more about it, and about her life in general. Here is that interview.

Leslie:   Can you tell me how the prayer flag came together—what gave you the idea to use a fragile butterfly to illustrate the word “strength”? How did you make the butterfly image? What technique did you use to add the word “strength”? 

Rebecca:  Well, I wish I could take credit for the butterfly idea, but it was truly my partner’s. She wanted something to show “new life” that included a butterfly. I started googling butterfly images and found this one and it looked like a butterfly that had recently emerged from its cocoon. I noticed one of the words she had chosen to be a possibility for her flag was “Strength.” I saw the strength it must take for a small butterfly with wet wings to break out of that cocoon and decided that a butterfly really encompasses that “strength.”

So I had an image at this point but didn’t know how I was ever going to incorporate it on a flag! I was aimlessly walking around Joann’s just looking at everything and my 2 year old wanted to look at the “pretty papers” (scrapbook paper). There I noticed all the natural and handmade style papers, and I just thought I would print the butterfly on the paper… easy enough right?! Well when I got home I sat on it for a while and then thought I would draw the image onto the paper using pens instead. Little did I realize that the felt tip markers would just bleed into the paper enough to create this beautiful blending effect! Shading hasn’t always been a strong suit of mine, but it was just amazing how perfectly it came out!

With the cocoon, I just cut an almond shaped piece out of paper and snipped into the top and folded it over to create a kind of 3D effect. I sewed it on very carefully and then placed the butterfly on top of it and stitched him down. I saw that the cocoon needed “something” and went into the few fabric paints I have and there was this golden glitter paint. I simply sponged it on the cocoon.

The word “Strength” was actually the last thing I did. I had finished the flag and had nowhere to put this bead-embroidered version without it covering up a lot of the butterfly! Panic set in… I didn’t know what to do! I came into my fabric remnant stash and there all rolled up was a small piece of vinyl. I simply picked a font and size I liked for the lettering, printed it, and put the vinyl over it and painted over the lettering with puffy paint. Then I  cut it down and stitched it on by hand very last. This way everything underneath could still be seen.

Leslie:  Did you run into any problems or challenges as you put the flag together?

Rebecca:  I think the biggest challenge was attaching the paper to the flag. I was using just a standard needle in my machine and a mistake could be costly. I had to restart a couple of times, and had to be sure my needle went through the holes I had already made in the paper so it wouldn’t shred. Also I couldn’t use a foot of any kind because it could snag the paper and start tearing it. I used my machine with no foot and went really slow… I sweated quite a bit because I didn’t have very much of the paper left to start over with.

Leslie:   Did you learn any new skills or lessons from making this flag that will be useful on other projects in the future?
Rebecca:  I did learn a lot about fabric dying! I used an ivory piece of burlap for the background and actually coffee and tea dyed it. Then I started using some distressed inks on it… It gave it this rustic look… of course it’s in the background and you can’t tell how much I did to it really, but it really taught be about how to get a desired effect from those mediums. I also learned from burning the edges of the frayed burlap that maybe I shouldn’t do that again! The burlap was hard to blow the flame out with! The embers would still burn! My piece of advice would be to do it over a sink! 

But I am currently doing the Junker Jane Style Doll Swap you started on Craftster as well, and that dying and staining will definitely come in handy while making my “aged” doll.
Also I know better how to attached paper to my work. I found through a little trial and error on this project that a sharper, finer needle would be better next time.

Leslie:   Tell me a bit about your crafty background—what are your primary crafts? How long have you been doing them, and how did you learn them?
Rebecca:  I don’t remember a time in my  life when I wasn’t trying some type of craft! I remember cross-stitching with my friends in grade school and trying everything from perler beads to watercolor painting. But it really came together when I started getting into beading. I had a little loom and made strung items but I remember walking through Borders (when it still existed… a sore spot for me… ha, ha) and I saw this magazine with a French beaded orchid plant on the cover. It was an issue of Bead & Button magazine and from then on I was a bead weaver! From there I decided I wanted to learn to sew and by the end of high school I was a self-taught sewer as well. 

Crafts took a bit of a back burner in college, but after college I lived on Maui for a year and that is where my beading really got to the next level. I came home from there and decided I had to find a way to start selling and learning more! Thank goodness for the Internet!

Then right after I had our daughter, Abigail (just over two year ago) I decided I wanted to crochet baby blankets. I had received one and it was the most special gift. I wanted to pass that on. And, well, quilting followed a year later!

I am a 100% self-taught crafter. My family is not a crafty bunch but they appreciate my love of it! I am adopted and sometimes wonder if my birth mother might be crafty as well! I know this desire to create has to come from somewhere!  

*** Big Exciting Update--Shortly after this interview, Rebecca received her orginal birth certificate (which she had petitioned for in December.)  Using that information, she found and contacted her birth mother on Facebook!!  They have been chatting constantly, and Rebecca  has learned that her birth mother and her youngest daughter both are avid sewers.  So yes, it seems that her creativity was inherited! ***

Leslie:  Which of your other projects are you especially proud of?

Rebecca:   I am really proud of a couple of beaded projects I have made. I actually had entered a necklace entitled, “Midnight in the Garden” on a Craftster monthly challenge last January and won! I was so confident I also entered it into the San Diego County Fair in 2012 and took Honorable Mention! I felt like I was good at something I taught myself for the first time. I am just now starting something even bigger for my entry this year...you’ll have to keep an eye out on my blog!

Also this Christmas I finished a necklace I started about 10 years ago for my mom! She so graciously bought about a hundred dollars worth of beads for this necklace and I just now finished it! I wasn’t ever really inspired by it … wasn’t my color choice and style. But now that it’s finished, and I saw her wearing it the day after Christmas, I was standing a little taller, proud that it was something I had created! It was jade and a lot of reds… not my colors but man, I would wear it now! Ha ha!

Leslie:  How did you find Craftster? How does it fit into your crafty life?

Rebecca:  I found Craftster completely by accident! I was using Google to search crochet items, and there was this link for Craftster. I signed up and loved seeing what all was there! At the time I had become a stay at home mom and was actually feeling a little bit of the baby blues. I found this to be a great way to just dive in and make friends that were there around my schedule!  And Leslie, the swaps you organize are so much fun and challenge me to just the right point--so thank you! 

Craftster really pushes me to try new things. Today I was using distress inks for only the second time and thinking, “Wow if I had never gotten on Craftster I wouldn’t be doing this right now!” Honestly, Craftster helped me find my niche here in my own community. I found a quilting guild and have made friends who enjoy crafting too, which is something I didn’t have before. Craftster is a place for me to talk about what I love without boring my husband to death!

Leslie:  I enjoy reading your blog, Crafty Mama Beads.  How's that going?

Rebecca:   It’s funny you should ask about my blog, because I just put up a post saying I may not have as many entries all the time, but promising that when I do they will be worth the wait! Yet as I posted it, I had a couple more saved to post at a later time!

I didn’t think it was going to be hard to do. I thought blogging was just so random and easy, but I am learning that it isn’t. You have to make time for that too! Between being a mom, wife, cook, cleaner, crafter, and TV watcher, I have to actually make time to blog! Ha, ha.

I want my blog to improve, I do know that! I want to get more of my ideas out there! I want to inspire! Today while I was out I took pictures of random things that would make great art quilts or beaded projects… My blog is just that place to unwind and see that maybe we don’t always have it together… So in summation it’s my work in progress this year.

Leslie:   I know you sell your work through etsy (that shop is also called Crafty Mama Beads); have you sold anywhere else, such as craft shows?

Rebecca:  I started out selling by word of mouth and primarily to my mom. This year I am trying to spend more time building up my store with more sculptural beadwork and crocheted items so that I will have enough for a craft fair this summer here in San Diego.

Leslie:  What are your crafty plans or goals for the future?

Rebecca:  Well I plan on staying crafty! Ha, ha. I would like to really improve and expand my beadwork and my quilting. I want to learn from the experts! So I am hoping to find some time to take some classes when Daddy can watch Abby.

Goals… well I have a lot of those! But for the immediate future I want to win Best in Show at the San Diego County Fair this year. I am working on a piece, which I have said will probably use a good portion of my beading stash. Also I would like to be published for something I’ve created! I think that’s always been the goal, even as a child I wanted to see something I created in a book or magazine!

In conclusion, I found crafting to just “complete” me. I always wanted to be a wife and a mom, but with crafting included it really made me feel like I was a part of something bigger than myself. I am proud of what I create! I know I can look down on it at times because I see so many amazing creators out there, but that’s when I remind myself that the “One True Creator” made me just as I am! Then I look at what I’ve done and appreciate being given the talent just to be able to do it. I love being able to create so many things! I love using my hands and hope I will be able to for many more years to come!

 Leslie:  Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, Rebecca.  I love your enthusiasm for what you do, it's contagious!  I feel like I need to go to my sewing room now!  I wish you much success with all your crafty endeavors this year.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fabric Yo-yos

I needed a little embellishment for a project recently, so I decided to try adding fabric yo-yos.  I had never made them before, but I found them to be so quick and easy that I want to share them with you. They add a nice detail to an item than might otherwise be a little plain.

 I made these 5" x 3.5" pouches that close with Velcro and added a yo-yo to each one, with a special "something" in the center of each yo-yo.  Read on to learn how I made the yo-yos. If you would like to make a pouch like these, go to my Snappy Scrappy Pouch Tutorial and use a single fabric in place of the scrappy pieced fabric..

To make a yo-yo, you start with a circle of fabric. The finished yo-yo will be slightly less than half the diameter of the circle you start with, so cut your circle to the size that will work best on your project.  This red polka dot fabric is 4.25" in diameter, which gave me a 2" yo-yo.

Using coordinating thread (I'm using contrasting thread for clarity in the photos), turn under a 1/4' hem and hand-stitch it in place. The stitches won't show in the finished product, so don't worry about making them perfectly straight and even.

Pull the two ends of the thread tight to gather the circle, then knot the thread and trim the ends.  I tied my knot on the outside of the yo-yo because I will be covering it in the next step.  If you want to use the yo-yo without anything in the center, hide your knot on the inside.

Flatten the fabric so the gathered edge is in the center, and your yo-yo is complete.

You can add any relatively flat item to the center of your yo-yo; I used a felt badge for this black, white, and red pouch...

...and a pin-back button for this pink and black pouch...

...and a matching button from my button jar for this blue pouch.  You can either sew the yo-yos and center embellishments in place, or, if you are in a hurry, glue them with fabric glue.

These pouches make a nice little gift, and can easily be customized for the recipient.

I plan to keep yo-yos in mind for future projects.  I can imagine them gracing a journal cover, looking cute on a knit hat or mittens, jazzing up a tote bag...it's great to add something new to my repertoire of embellishments!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hope for the New Year

I hope for 
for all
 in the new year.

This is the second prayer flag I made for the current Prayer Flag Swap on Craftster.  It was inspired by something I saw on my partner's Pinterest.

To add some interest to the bottom, I left the threads long and dangling after sewing the flower stems, and tied beads to the threads at random intervals. If this flag is hung outdoors, it will have a lot of movement. The word "hope" was done just the same way I did the word "love" on the prayer flag in the previous post.

My partner, Jen Sews, is very pleased with it--and that pleases me!

I wish everyone a very happy and blessed 2013!