Friday, January 29, 2010

More than a Hill of Beans: Eye Candy

For those of us who are blinder than bats (because they’re not actually blind!), I’m happy to think that glasses can be classified as ‘cool’ and ‘trendy.’ After buying my first pair of reading glasses this week, I decided that today’s “More than a Hill of Beans” should be all about some stylin’ frames, like the $195.00 Betsey Johnson's pictured above!!

I don’t need Tina Fey or Elton John to tell me that glasses are cool; I’ve been wearing glasses since third grade - of course they’re cool!  Unfortunately, my last visit to the eye doctor scored me some even thicker glasses…but at least I got new frames!

I also have been getting headaches for a while working at the computer…not very good when I sit in front of one practically 8 hours a my Eye Doctor told me to try out some reading glasses. Here's the cheap drugstore pair I picked up:
(I'm thinking Meg Ryan in Sleepless in Seattle.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch it. I know you'll love it.)

I shopped online for some cooler reading glasses, and I found the $195.00 glasses above, as well as these more affordable frames.  What do you think??  They're a lot smaller that I thought I would be and I can still return them...So your opinion counts!

Or what maybe these frames by Goo Goo Eyes  from

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Jones Soda

MrBeans turned the big '3-0' this month, and although he said he didn't want to do anything special, I knew that it wouldn't be a very special birthday if it went uncelebrated.  So I threw him a surprise birthday party at one of his favorite restaurants!

Maybe this isn't very crafty, but I really enjoyed "creating" the favors for his party.  At you can customize bottles of soda with your uploaded pictures.  I borrowed a couple of toddler pictures from his mom and ordered two cases of soda.  I was nervous about the quality of the scanned images, but they came out perfectly!  Everyone at the party raved.  I picked root beer and berry lemonade, which is now my favorite because it reminds me of eating blue freezer pops as a kid!  Although shipping was a little high (hey, none of the bottles broke!), these were totally worth the memories and mementos that they created!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Dog-gone Good Sleeve

I am loving my new book, One-Yard Wonders!  Although, I've decided to affectionately rename it One-Night Wonders, because with the simplicity of a project only needing one yard of fabric, it doesn't take long to make!

Tonight I did another switcher-oo, using a pattern from the book for a different purpose than intended.  With some inspiration from the Laptop Sleeve pattern I made a convenient sleeve to keep my new digital photo frame safe while taking it and storing it at work!  I followed the pattern instruction precisely, measuring for my photo frame instead of a laptop.   I even decided that the little dog on this sleeve was too cute to not include...I just have to be careful not to let the cats see it!

This pattern gets Four Spools of Thread!  It was easy to understand and follow, and I actually made it without any adaptation to the plans.  I may even think about doing this again for the next electronic device that needs a safe way to travel!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ah, the Smell of New Fabric in the Morning

Every fabric has its own new-fabric smell...and sometime it's a little off...but the point is that it's new fabric

A couple days ago I got a package from one of my favorite on-line fabric shops, Purl Soho.   The next time I'm in Soho, I'm stopping in the shop, but until then, it's blissful online shopping for me!  I chose some oilcloth for a potential new item in my shop, some beautiful Japanese fabrics I'm currently smitten over (although the do smell a little funky...), and a linen for a secret project I can't wait to make and then blog about!! 

Have a great day and make sure you get a wiff off some of your own new fabrics!

Friday, January 22, 2010

More Than a Hill of Beans: Basket Building

Ah, 4:30 on Friday and almost time to clock out...wait! It's Friday, and I haven't published (or authored for that matter) a Hill of Beans post. I'm certainly not starting my new trend out very well...hmm, something cool from this week...  Found it!

One of my co-workers sent me an email forward of the 15 Most Strange Buildings of the World. We chuckled over the overly-imaginative architecture, and I was surprised to find I actually been to one of the buildings! The one pictured above is Longaberger's Basket Building in the Middle of Nowhere, Ohio. I would know that it's in the Middle of Nowhere, because I've been there! But that's another story for another day!

Here's the list of other strange buildings from the email. Do some Google image searching and enjoy! You may even come across some stranger buildings!

15 Most Strange Buildings of the World

1. The Crooked House (Sopot, Poland) This one's my favorite!!

2. Forest Spiral - Hundertwasser Building (Darmstadt, Germany)

3. The Torre Galatea Figueres (Spain)

4. Ferdinand Cheval Palace a.k.a Ideal Palace (France)

5. The Basket Building (Ohio, United States)

6. Kansas City Public Library (Missouri, United States)

7. Wonderworks (Orlando, Florida, United States)

8. Habitat 67 (Montreal, Canada)

9. Cubic Houses (Rotterdam, Netherlands)

10. Hang Nga Guesthouse a.k.a Crazy House (Vietnam)

11. The Ufo House (Sanjhih, Taiwan)

12. Nakagin Capsule Tower (Tokyo, Japan)

13. Erwin Wurm: House Attack (Viena, Austria)

14. Wooden Gagster House (Archangelsk, Russia)

15. Ripley's Building (Ontario, Canada)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Down in the Dumps

I'm sitting in bed blogging and feeling a little queasy...somebody (MrBeans) got me sick.  I guess it's good that he's on the upswing; now I can be the one nursed back to health.

I hate being sick.  I'd love to spend this time sewing away, but surprise surprise, I just don't feel up to it.  I did get my Hancocks of Paducah fabric catalog yesterday, so I know I'll be slowly perusing it over and over between my nibbles of saltines and sips of ginger ale.   Don't worry, you can't get sick reading someone's blog.

Here's a couple tings that have already caught my eye; I guess I'm ready for Valentine's Day:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Good Bias, Bad Bias!

It's official: I've thrown away my Dritz Quilting 1" Bias Tape Maker.  Last night, while making my coupon clutch, it was far easier folding and ironing fabric into bias tape than it was attempting to creating it with that hunk of metallic junk.  It's in the trash!  After previously using my Clover #18 Bias Tape Maker (for a different project because it produces a different sized tape,) I can officially claim that the Dritz brand is inferior in their bias tape makers....and a replacement 1" (Clover #25) bias maker is on my shopping list.  I feel great now that I've gotten rid of a little more junk in my life.  Right on!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No pockets? Make a Coupon Sleeve!

I'm an excited girl with the new purse I picked up over the weekend!  I traded the old one in for one with more room, so now I no longer have to separetly tote around my lunch bag and water bottle.  Though, like most things in life, you have to make compromises, so I lost some of the pocket space in my old bag that I was used to.  But I'm managing..especially now that I've made a cute clutch to store all my coupons in!

This evening, I grabbed my favorite crazy bunny fabric by Jay McCarroll and my new book, One-Yard Wonders.  I decided that the Planner Sleeve pattern would create the perfect solution to keep those coupons from swimming around my new bag.

I started the project with all intentions of following the design; however, my scrap of fabric was about 18"x20", far from the 1 yard of fabric the pattern called for. (What's in a name, really?)   I still managed to get the fabric cut the correct size, than fudged a little with the batting.  I basted the fabric and batting together, so when I sewed on the edging, all the layers would sit nicely together and there would be less frustration.  Always on the look out for my sanity!

I made my own "bias" tape out of a 2" straight cut of 44" fabric, and that worked really well to finish the edges.  Of course, my favorite embellishment to the pattern are the embroidered carrots on the front! 

This pattern gets 3 spools of soon as I find them.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Than a Hill of Beans: Where's My Rotary Cutter?

To start off the very first Friday blog feature, More Than a Hill of Beans, I’ve chosen to feature my very own blog, Where is My Rotary Cutter?!

Okay, so you probably think I'm a brat featuring my own blog, which I am, but seriously, it is a pretty cool blog about crafting, sewing, and the occasional yummy treat.   I love reading it; doesn’t everyone?!?

You know, I’m not always so self-centered. My blog isn’t always all about me. I’ve enjoyed posting entries that have shared my greater interest in the field of craft and crafts, and I've lovingly given recognition to others when it’s deserved! …oh. I get it. That’s what this “Friday Feature” post should be about…

Take a gander at my sidebar to the right. See the listing of websites entitled “Other place to go when you lose your rotary cutter??” Well, I’ve realized that the world of crafting is a lot more than those popular blogs sitting in my side bar (you know, the ones we all like to read and aspire to); the world of crafting is about you and me, making what we can in our spare time, between work and choir practice, walking the dog and taking the kids to the park; (or is it taking the kids for a walk and the dog to the park?) and our devotion to the handmade and, dare I say it, homemade world that keeps the spirit of craft alive.  We love being our own artists and artisans, not always purchasing items that are mass marketed and off an assembly line. It's us, and our little blogs and little internet shops, that are the most loyal and closest to the heart of the art form.  Where would those other blogs be if we weren't so devoted to reading them during our precious lunch breaks?!? 

So to my fellow crafters, soak this all up, and become a part of my blog!  I’m inviting anyone with a crafty blog, and, of course, a loyal follower of this blog, to be added to my sidebar.  Just leave me a comment with your blog site. I can’t wait to make this blog feature a little more of all of us! 

*** This year, to make my life a little easier and yours a little more interesting, I've decided to provide my own rendition of the ever-so-popular "Friday Feature." Not only is it a chance for me to take a little break at the end of the week, after all, it is Friday, but also a chance to for me to share something “cool” I’ve seen during the week.  In the spirit of SewBeans, this More Than a Hill of Beans blog post will appear usually on Fridays and spotlight something or someone in the arts, crafts and/or design worlds. *** 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another Camera Strap Cover?!


So, it turns out that I'm still not done making camera strap covers...I scored a custom order for one over the weekend!  The buyer found my last remaining camera strap cover on Etsy, and noticed that I am able to personalize them.   With a little bit of back-and-forth,  I agreed to create the camera strap cover he was looking for, which was nothing like the one in the listing!  We found fabric he liked by viewing other items in my shop (and I still happen to have enough of), then he added the personalized embroidery and padding to the design of the strap.

The fabrics in this camera strap are two of my favorites!  I also enjoy adding the  fancy stitching to my camera strap covers; the detailing gives them a nice, finished look.  However, a little secret, I hate adding the padding.  I think it makes the straps look bulky.  I guess it's the price you pay for comfort.

 So I'm thinking about adding a listing for customized camera strap covers...but I'm not sure.  I currently have some other ideas brewing that I hope to work on soon!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chewing on Eyeballs!

While reading through one of the many Etsy emails that pop into my inbox, a pair of eyeballs caught my own eyes!  I clicked on the image to find hannpt's irresistible cat toys peering back at me.  The price was right and my poor kitties didn't get much for Christmas, so I decided to add to my growing collection of Etsy finds!

An odd shape for a cat toy, Catnip Eyeballs are filled with organic catnip and made from recycled sweatshirt material.  As soon as the mail came in the door, my two cats were swarming!  They could smell the sweet catnip seeping out of the sealed envelope.   Within seconds of opening the package, they each claimed their own eyeball and frantically chased, bit and licked their new toy.  Unfortunately, one of them is already MIA.  It will be a good day when it's finally found!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Furniture!

Ah, hog heaven! I'm a neat freak, and today, I finally got all my ribbon out of piles on the bookshelf and organized!

With some extra Christmas money quickly burning holes in my pockets, I jumped at the end of holiday sales and picked up a swell Making Memories Embellishment Center!  With minimal expletives, my husband hung my new shelving unit on the wall, and before he had a chance to put the tools away, I'd hung my ribbon and filled the coordinating jars with spools of thread.

I've still got a couple more shelves to fill up, but I'm sure that won't be difficult.  Overall, I would recommend this shelving unit if you're looking for a place to store your craft goodies and ribbon.  It has a clean, sophisticated look and is decently constructed.  Unfortunately, it was difficult to hang because the holes on the back weren't even and the dowel rods holding the ribbon are slightly warped.  The jars, purchased separately, are made of thin plastic, but I love that they're super clear to peer through and perfectly fit into the cubbyholes.  (Because they were designed to!)   I'm a happier and better organized little piggy with my new Embellishment Center!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Onion Cookies

Unlike some of my friends who have somehow recently managed to eat too many cookies, I'm going through cookie withdrawal.  I only made two kinds of cookies this holiday season, and since I love to bake, I've desperate just to make more.

So tonight, I'm making my favorite: Onion Cookies.  Well, they're actually Hershey's Toffee Bits Cookies, but they've been affectionately named "Onion Cookies" by my sister who once was making them and renamed them to prevent me from indulging.  Although I hate onions, the name failed to detour me.  I know better than to think my fellow onion-hating sister would add the foul vegetable into cookies!  Now they're my favorite!

Here's a cookie baking tip:  I always use parchment paper.  It helps the cookies keep their shape and makes cleaning the cookie sheets a cinch!

Also, I've recently stopped eating dairy because of an allergy, so I substituted the butter with Crisco butter flavored shortening.  The cookies still tasted great!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hang Your Artwork on Dad's Shirt!

Last month, I was really exciting to learn that a blog post of mine inspired one of my readers to be crafty!  With the mention of my collection of clothing waiting to be craftily recycled, a friend found a great way to up-cycle her husband's old shirts!   And wouldn't you know, that mischievous Martha has yet again popped up in one of my blog posts!

A simple project, my friend, Polly, found a  Bulletin Board How-To on Martha Stewart's website and made this adorable bulletin board out of Homasote (a fibrous board used in building and found at your local hardware store) and old shirts.  She wrapped the board in the shirts, making sure to show off the buttons and pockets.  Now hanging in her three-year-old son's room, it's the perfect place to hand artwork and tuck in knickknacks!

Here's a picture she shared with me of the bulletin board hanging in his room:

What have you up-cycled recently??

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Creating Your Custom Onesie

Every SewBeans Customized Onesie starts with a new Gerber Brand Onesie.

With an overwhelming spectrum of colored thread to choose from, I've narrowed down the perfect palette that gives a sweet whimsical look to your custom onesie.  Of course, I'm happy to swap around any colors!

Stabilizer is the key to machine embroidery and helps keep the threads in place and prevent holes in delicate fabrics.  Every SewBeans Onesie is made with 3 different kinds of stabilizer!  One gets torn away, one is removed with heat, and the last one stays with the garment to  keep the embroidery secure.  Don't worry, it's nice and soft and can be carefully cut away if you don't like it.

Because of CPSIA laws, each Onesie gets a tag with my shop name, the place of manufacturing, and the date of manufacturing.  The tag is tucked away where you'll never see it, and baby's diaper makes a nice cushion between the tag and his skin!

I have special software that lets me create any text!  Just remember, it has to fit on one of those little onesies!

I love making these adorable onesies!  They all look so cute when they're finished, and it warms my heart to think about all those couples anxiously awaiting their little "me."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Seeing More then Before

Did you get a pocket camera for Christmas?   Well, I didn't, because we already have one in my household! (We're such obedient little consumers.)  And today, my husband posted his first ever tutorial on on how to add a wide angle lens to our little camera. 

I should probably be proud of him for staying out of trouble, but between blogging and tutorials, I'm starting to get concerned about our "dork status."  If there was a competition for the dorkiest couple on the block, I'd think we would win...and we might even be proud of that!

How to convert your pocket camcorder to wide angle

Friday, January 1, 2010

5 Spools of Thread

A new year means new rules!  Where is my rotary cutter? moves into the next decade, and it's important to set standards.  I love to sew, and with all the beautiful patterns and books on the subject, I end up following a lot of them.  (Of course, it's easier to purchase fabric and follow someone's design than come up with your own!)

So, I want to introduce my new rating system, a way to track and compare all of the projects I've made from patterns. After rating the last movie I watched from Netflicks, I decided that the Netflick's star rating system would be perfect! Though, instead of stars, I thought it would be more appropriate to rate with spools of thread!
So here it is: 5 Spools of Thread, SewBean's rating system.

One Spool 
Hated It: The pattern maker should fire their editor for letting them publish this botched mess.  I started making a dress but ended up with a quilt?  Where did I go wrong?  (I hope I don't have to ever use this rating!)

Two Spools
Didn't Like It:  Did someone bother to check this pattern?  I didn't want to be the one to do it, but at least it looks the way it should.

Three Spools
Liked It: A decent pattern, and everything came out the way it should.  I was even able to make improvements.

Four Spools
Really Liked It:  This was a fun project! I'll keep it around in case I have a reason to make another one.

Five Spools
Loved It:  I'm not putting this pattern away; I'm making another one tomorrow!