Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fabric Postcards for Christmas and More

I made a bunch of fabric postcards for Christmas and everyday, and if they sell well I'll make more, because they're a really fun way to feature pretty fabric. Here is one that I did for Christmas, and here is one of my favorite "everyday" cards that would also be great to send from a Hawaiian vacation:

I have a few different designs for both Christmastime and any time. They're for sale now in the shop,! They are $5.00 a piece plus shipping, and as of 11/1/15 cost about 71 cents to mail within the United States. Any questions, let me know!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

First Ornament of the Season

I found a picture of this somewhere online and spent a fun hour or so making myself a little donut. It's about four inches across and a great excuse to use up some beads and felt. I'm looking forward to making more ornaments this season!

What are your crafting plans this holiday season?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Holiday Crafting Plans

So it's getting to be that time again- thinking about Christmas crafts. Actually I was thinking about them in August when I bought a pillow pattern from Craftsy and got started cutting. Now it's the end of October and I have to get serious.

This past weekend I bought a copy of Better Homes and Gardens "Christmas Quilts and More," which is always fun. It was nice to see that this year there were no projects I recognized from other issues, as sometimes they do recycle projects from year to year. There is also a nice mix of modern and traditional patterns- a red and white shoofly alongside a modern Christmas tree, for example.

The issue also contains some ornaments, bags and purses and some woolfelt projects like the snowman pillow on the cover and a simple wreath made with felted squares.

My favorite ideas from this issue include the fabric gift tags and the "Happiness is Making Friends" stitchery.

In the mean time though I have a Pinterest board full of Christmas ideas and that pillow to finish! What are your crafting plans for this Christmas season?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ditty Bags!

I really love this bandana-style fabric I found last spring and I think it sewed up so cute into this "ditty bag" by I love this pattern for its ease and versatility; you can make so many different-looking bags from this simple pattern. is a great source of easy, fun bag patterns and I definitely recommend you check her out!

If you'd like to buy this, you can find the listing here.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Name Change!

In an effort to rebrand and start promoting my shop more vigorously, I've renamed everything Pandora's Purses.

So the shop is, and on Facebook, Pandora's Purses. I'm working on getting a Twitter account up and you can follow me on Pinterest at  That's my not-so-secret book blogger identity.

And you'll see me posting here more often.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

What Do You Do To Stay Inspired?

When I get in a crafting rut I can go more than a week without making or sewing anything. That may not seem like a long time, but when you are a creative person, and being at the sewing machine is just another part of your day, a week or two with no sewing can seem like forever. The longest I've ever gone is about two years- and that was because my family was going through an upheaval and I didn't want to spend anything on crafting. Of course I forgot that I already had so much stuff in my sewing room that I could complete numerous projects without spending a penny. It took a little girl looking at my stash and saying "You can make so many things with all this," that brought me out of my funk and lead to me to ask, "What can I make with all this?"

Usually I don't have any little girls around to set me straight though and I have to figure my own way through a dip in crafting. One way I do this is by organizing. There is always a drawer or box or pile to sort out and neaten up. As soon as I clear off a shelf, or rearrange a table top it's messy again with this and that I don't know what to do with. But what happens is I find things- unfinished projects, bits and bobs, random stuff that inspires me and gives ideas. For example earlier this week I reorganized my scrap basket, something I do periodically, and found a long strip of striped fabric I realized would be perfect for doll legs. Later I found a coordinate for a dress, and we're off to the races on a new project.

Then there's routine work. I make bookmarks that I sell to a bookstore in the Boston area; I do an order every few months or so, maybe four or five orders a year. Working on bookmarks is very routine and not the most exciting sewing, but it pays and I enjoy it, and doing it puts me in the mood to do more challenging work. I get through a few bookmarks and I'm like, "hey, let's do a purse".

That's when I realize those little tasks aren't so little, but are actually a really important part of being a creative person. Organizing my space gives me ideas as well as a sense of tidiness and responsibility. Doing easy work puts me in the mood for something harder. And since even more difficult projects become easier with practice, there will always be a reason for me to keep learning.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Blue Mermaid Snow Day Friend

I've been really busy sewing lately, just not posting.

Here's a little blue mermaid I made from a pattern by Bit of Whimsy Prims. She came from my scrap pile but now she sits on my reading chair.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Little Mermaid and a Matching Quilt

Another little doll, this one a mermaid baby, made from a pattern by Bit of Whimsy Dolls. I made the matching doll quilt a long time ago, from scraps from a larger quilt, and have been wanting to make a little doll for it since then. The license on the pattern allows me to sell dolls I make from it as long as I credit the designer, so you may see some show up in Pandora's Craft Room sooner or later.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Makeup Bags

I love making these makeup/cosmetic bags. I've probably made close to a dozen by now. They take me about a half hour after I'm done cutting (2 each of outer fabric, lining, two kinds of interfacing, so it's like 8 pieces).

It's such a versatile pattern and can have so many different looks and uses. Use a fabric with sewing supplies on it and it's a craft pouch. Use flowers and it's girly. Use fabric depicting the New York subway system, and it's got some cool.

You can find the pattern I used here. is a great sewing blog. You should follow it and you should make this bag. Once you make one, you'll want to make a million. Two fat quarters, interfacing and a 9 inch zipper is all you need.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New! Key Fobs Added to the Shop

I added a half dozen or so fabric key fobs to the shop today, in cute fabrics with cats, bees, ants and more. They're $6.50 a piece plus shipping.

Check them out!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bookish Shoulder Bag

I made this shoulder bag this week. I cut out the pieces a long time ago, and finally got around to finishing it. It has some issues- darts not perfectly aligned, no closure and handle is inside-out-but on the whole I'm happy with it. I'm definitely going to make some seasonal bags from this pattern in the future.

Speaking of which, you can find the pattern on Craftsy. It's called the Phoebe Bag. I used Alexander Henry's Fulham Road for the exterior and the lining on the handle. The bag lining is a plain pink.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

100 Things Every Quilter Should Do

I found this list on the blog Quilty Pleasures, run by The Quiltmaker magazine. The ones I've done are in bold. Which ones have you completed?

  1. Visit a quilt shop. I go to quilt shops as often as I can. My favorite near me is The City Quilter, in Manhattan.
  2. Make a Nine Patch.
  3. Make a Log Cabin.
  4. Label a quilt. I used to use pre-printed labels but these days I like to get creative with labels even if it takes a little more time.
  5. Figure yardage for a quilt.
  6. Learn about warp and weft.
  7. Use a rotary cutter. Don't know how I'd live without it!
  8. Use templates. I used to sew miniature quilts by hand and always used templates for my pieces.
  9. Paper piece a quilt block. I love paper piecing!
  10. Hand applique a quilt block. I have appliqued but I am not a big fan of applique.
  11. Make a yo-yo.
  12. Embellish a quilt.
  13. Try free motion quilting. Ugh.
  14. Stitch in the ditch.
  15. Try hand quilting. I prefer hand quilting over machine quilting.
  16. Bind a quilt.
  17. Miter the corners of quilt binding.
  18. Join the ends of quilt binding.
  19. Sew diagonal seams.
  20. Use a walking foot.
  21. Attend a guild meeting.
  22. Visit Houston for International Quilt Festival. I would love to attend this festival!
  23. Have a quilt appraised.
  24. Visit a quilt museum. I've been to the Quilt Museum in Lowell, Mass. It's very nice.
  25. Go on a quilt retreat.
  26. Try curved piecing.
  27. Miter the borders.
  28. Learn to do blanket stitch by hand.
  29. See a local quilt show. Not since I moved to New York, but I loved going to quilt shows in the Boston area. Always so much fun to see the quilts, and you get to shop too!
  30. Put your quilt in a local quilt show.
  31. Sell raffle tickets on a quilt.
  32. Take a road trip with quilt friends.
  33. Create a Pinterest board with quilts. Yup.
  34. Make a 3-D quilt block.
  35. Donate a quilt to a good cause.
  36. Make a sampler quilt. My first quilt was a sampler quilt, which I made for the class in which I learned basic hand piecing.
  37. Make an art quilt.
  38. Try bobbin work.
  39. Learn to maintain your sewing machine.
  40. Add rickrack to a quilt.
  41. Design a quilt. (Remember, you don’t necessarily have to make the quilt!)
  42. Change/tweak/alter a pattern to make it your own.
  43. Make a color wheel with fabric swatches.
  44. Chat about quilting with a stranger.
  45. Go on a blog tour.
  46. Give a quilt as a wedding/graduation/retirement gift.
  47. Visit Paducah during the AQS Show.
  48. Take a class with a nationally known teacher.
  49. Use some fabric you dislike.
  50. Participate in Show & Tell. One of the funnest times I had at my old favorite quilt shop was a show-and-tell night in which the owners had turned the cutting table into a "runway" and we had to climb up and show off our quilts.
  51. Volunteer for a job in a quilt group.
  52. Use a color you detest.
  53. Make a quilt inspired by nature.
  54. Get up early to quilt or stay up late to quilt.
  55. Make a scrap quilt.
  56. Make a tote bag.
  57. Make a postcard quilt.
  58. Make a baby quilt and gift it to a newborn.
  59. Understand the basics of caring for quilts.
  60. Borrow a quilting book from the public library.
  61. Teach someone else to quilt.
  62. Creatively piece a backing for one of your quilts.
  63. Apply a piped binding, or some variation of it.
  64. Post quilt pics to Facebook.
  65. Install quilty wallpaper on your computer.
  66. Put a quilty bumper sticker on your car.
  67. Cuss mildly when you realize you’ve been sewing air (because you ran out of bobbin thread). Well, I wouldn't say mildly.
  68. Read your sewing machine manual cover to cover.
  69. Learn to thread baste.
  70. Learn to pin baste.
  71. Use basting spray.
  72. Help a friend make a quilt.
  73. Make a quilt for a special child.
  74. Make a quilt for a spouse or partner.
  75. Make a quilt for a friend.
  76. Include your quilts in your will (i.e. who gets them).
  77. Determine your favorite thread for piecing.
  78. Understand the concept of value.
  79. Understand the mathematics of quilt blocks.
  80. Apply a bias binding.
  81. Take a guild speaker to dinner.
  82. Comment on a quilt-related blog post.
  83. Make a mystery quilt.
  84. Take part in a block exchange.
  85. Write how-to instructions for making a quilt block.
  86. Watch a quilting video.
  87. Know the difference between lengthwise and crosswise grain.
  88. Know the parts of a sewing machine needle and why they matter.
  89. Organize your stash. I've done this a few times! It's an ongoing process, really.
  90. Know the names of hand sewing needles used for different tasks.
  91. Finish a UFO.
  92. Purchase fabric on impulse.
  93. Try sewing with precuts.
  94. Trade fabrics with quilt friends.
  95. Identify your ancestors who quilted.
  96. Visit a quilt shop while on vacation. I often visit quilt shops on vacation. I've been to quilt shops on trips to Hawaii (Maui, Oahu, and Kauai), Austin, California, and London (if Liberty counts).
  97. Sew on a treadle for old time’s sake.
  98. Subscribe to a quilting magazine. I used to get Better Homes & Gardens American Patchwork & Quilting.
  99. Become a regular reader of a quilting blog.
  100. Go on a Shop Hop. Fun!

Monday, January 5, 2015

What I'm Working On Now

I started my next doll, a stuffed cat I'm making from a pattern purchased at City Quilter in Manhattan.

I'm using gray linen for the body and limbs, and Liberty scraps for her clothes. She's going to be a ballerina.

This picture was taken on Saturday and right now her body and arms are basted together and sitting at my sewing machine for the next step. I'll probably sew her up and later today.

I've been learning some new techniques and approaches from this pattern that I think will improve my work considerably!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Crafting Books

After my first attempt at doll-making went so great, I decided to get a couple of books to help me learn how to do it properly.

Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love, by Hillary Lang (2010, Abrams, ISBN 9781584798583)  looks great. It contains a bunch of patterns for different kinds of dolls and toys, and simple accessories. There are lots of things here I want to try- an inchworm in wool felt and lots of dolls.

The Making of a Rag Doll, by Jess Brown (2014, Chronicle Books, ISBN 9781452119519) shows and tells how to make a single doll and her accessories. Her style is more primitive versus Lang's, which is more modern. I'm looking forward to going step by step through these projects.

Both books together form a little course on dollmaking.  So much fun!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Craft Fail

Here's the first doll I made. She did not come out very good. Some people who've seen her don't realize she's a girl.

The best part was when my husband asked me if the embroidery on "her" face was on the pattern, and seeing him facepalm when I told him I drew the face myself.

The pattern came from this tutorial from Simple Simon and Company. My doll is pretty special, as you can see.

I will be trying this other doll patterns in the future. And working on better faces!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Log Cabin Quilt- Completed

I finished this quilt in July but gave it to family for Christmas this year.

I embroidered the label with a combination of chain stitches and back stitches.

The quilt was made with the family summer home on the island of Nantucket in mind. I used a jelly roll of pastels mixed in with some of my scraps. The binding is scrappy, made from leftover jelly roll strips and additional scraps from my stash.