our new digs // my closet

seven years.
my clothes spent seven years in a closet the size of a matchbox. a matchbox that i split 75/25 with my dear husband.

but those days are over.

because now, i have a closet that’s about 25% larger and i don’t have to share it. in fact, matt’s closet is the same size and he doesn’t have to compete with skirts or ruffles. lucky him.

but seriously, let’s get back to my closet. it has mirrored doors, did i mention that?

here is the left half…
tops, organized by color. and shoes.


and here is the right half…
the green to blue tops, then dresses, then skirts, then pants. and yes, more shoes. these need to be weeded through. it’s something i just couldn’t do before the move.


a colorful little bunting adds the right funkiness to my accessory area, don’tcha think?


it’s made from fabric scraps and simple sewn together at the top. no hems, no bindings, just raw edges and push pins to hang them up.


a peg board holds earrings, necklaces, bracelets and belts.

two ribbons, attached to the wall at top and bottom, hold my hair clips and fabric flowers.


over the last few years, i have made so much of my own jewelry. but my tastes are changing and i have decided to toss or reuse some of the items i am not wearing anymore. only a select few made the cut and got to remain on the board.

this peg board has been magical. seriously. i need to see my stuff, or it will never get worn. i can easily select the right accessories and they have a permanent home. plus, it’s pretty, and that’s half the battle. 🙂


rings, stud earrings and chunkier bracelets live on my dresser. this is a clear plastic organizer that i bought at target. i think it’s meant for a drawer but it’s perfect for this.





do you struggle with a small space? how do you organize your closet? by sleeve length or by color? i’d love to know!

andrea_signature copy

laptop bag: diy

my laptop bag is Boring…with a capital B. matt bought it for me when i get my new job almost 4 years ago because i was fortunate enough to get a laptop. the strap fasteners have been wacky lately and one of them is even rubber banded on so it stays on.

i’ve toyed with the idea of buying a cute handmade one but then decided to try making my own. i have leftover fabric from a small project and it would be enough. but i needed to find the right style and the pattern. after i searched for a few days, i found this via pinterest.

Scalloped laptop bag.

the design was exactly what i was looking for. i didn’t want to deal with zippers and the flap was cute. the written instructions were so clear and easy to understand. then after scrolling down toward the end i noticed there was a video tutorial. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? this is exactly what i needed. i can make things better when i see it done versus reading written instructions or poorly executed drawings.

this chick’s tutorial was AMAZING! http://www.madebymarzipan.com/

i knew i’d be using this fabric and so i had to figure out which print i wanted on each part of the bag, since she used all one fabric on the outside. the bias tape and button are from my gram’s sewing stash. she certainly had good taste in color schemes!


after all the measuring and cutting, i had pretty thick layers. i was so nervous at this point.


but it turned out pretty amazing!!!!




there is room for the laptop and the charger. i never carry anything else in it but i could fit my iPad in one of the sections if i needed to.



* next time i make one, which i will, i will alter the following things.

1) i will double up on the fabric for the strap plus i will use useable-fuseable so that it’s stiffer and more sturdy.

2) i will make the bag wider inside. i’d really like it to be more like 3 inches wide so i can fit more in it. this pattern makes a slim bag and i have an older laptop that takes up more room.

3) i should have added the button and elastic tie to the front flap.

but other than these minor changes, this pattern and tutorial were the prefect combination.

whatcha think?


cherry mug rug

i’m super excited to share my first mug rug with you guys! my mom is gonna be so proud of me. i did this one all my myself, remembering all the little quilting tricks she taught me.

it was a birthday gift so a very special friend who loves red, and loves cherries.  and this was born.

if you like this design and want to make one using your own fabric, here’s what you’ll need:

fat quarters of 4 coordinating fabrics
1/4 yard of trim
8×8 piece of batting
8×8 piece of muslin backing

i’m gonna be real here, i am not gonna teach you how to quilt. if you know how to quilt, even the basics, you can put this together and should understand the instructions. you can probably even do the measurements on your own.

mine ended up being 8×8.

i found an image of cherries i liked on the internet and did my usual tracing and embroidered the cherries onto white muslin.
picked up coordinating fat quarters from and trim.

cut one stip of each fabric 1.5 inches wide and any height you wish. cut 1 inch strips of your border fabric and sew them together at the short ends (right sides together) so it’s a really long strip.

i cut my embroidered section a bit short on top and bottom so i could add a border.

arrange your strips and sew them with 1/4 inch seams

then sew the lace trim to the top of that strip section. i didn’t want the top trim to show so i stitched it upside down on both the top on the bottom of that section.

then i folded it down and did a simple zig-zag down the raw edge to keep it down. (it will get covered up in the seam so don’t worry about it now.)

sew the embroidered piece to the strip piece, right sides together.

see, nice and clean!

pin your sandwich of top, batting and backing at the corners. since i’m not a master quilter like my mom, i chose to ‘stitch in the ditch’  to quilt it together.

now you can square up your sides to get a nice clean edge for the binding.

attached the binding with a 1/4 inch seam for the first run, then flip it over and make two more quarter inch seams to fold over.  now that i’m typing this, i’m thinking it doesn’t end up equaling the 1 inch strip, but hey, if you’re attempting this…you know what you’re doing! again, not a professional here.

but my favorite part about handmade, is all the flaws. it has character!

this took me 90 minutes from the first cut to writing ‘HANDMADE WITH LOVE BY ANDREA’ on the back with fabric markers. it was so quick and simple that i will be making one similar for myself this weekend!

so i’m all linked up here.

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have hoop, will travel

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

and since i was in need of something i could hold my embroidery stuff in and tote around with me, i invented this:

what i love about embroidery is that it travels well. if i wanted to work on a project outside while the boys played i would turn the hoop upside down and toss my scissors and thread in and i would pin my needle into the edge and head wherever. i can embroider in any room in the house, in the car (if i’m not driving)…anywhere.


i have a very curious marshall.

he likes scissors and actually pulled my needle out while i was pulling weeds and tossed it on the grass. so obviously i haven’t found it and that kinda scares me. basically i just couldn’t have that stuff laying around.

as i’m preparing this tutorial + pattern + this post i’m thinking, you really could have just bought a cute makeup bag or something as used that. but that’s not me. that would have cost money. and this didn’t since i used all supplies i have in my stash. just making do…

it started out as a sketch, as most of my ideas do. if i don’t get the thought out of my head and onto paper, it’s gone. poof.

[insert pic of sketches]

then i thought that maybe i’d work on an actual pattern to share with all you lovelies! but it’s taking me a while to write it out and i’m way too excited to keep it in anymore!

are you ready?


i can put my scissors, threads and needles in here, fold it up and off i go!

and since i like you guys so much, i’m gonna give you a little sneak at a detail before i release the tutorial and pattern.

i folded up some quilting batting and wrapped the fabric around it to hold the needles safely.

this is kinda the coolest thing i’ve come up with myself as usually i am inspired by something someone else does.

i hope you’re as excited about this as i am!

so i’m all linked up here.

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stuffed fabric bird

It’s a gift for a friend. A good friend who loves birds. I hope she likes this.

You want to make one too? Awesome, here’s how!


2 coordinating fabrics (2 fat quarters could probably make you 3 or 4 birds)
This template from Lavender Blue Designs
Coordinating thread

Cut out the paper templates and pin them to your fabric.

Cut out the fabric along the outer line.

Zig-zag stitch the wings to the main body. You could use useable-fusable, but I liked the look of the stitching.
it’s messy but i kinda like that too. A little tip: use the needle down setting on your machine and sew around as best as you can until you feel you’re getting crooked. Stop, lift up your foot and readjust your foot position. Continue on and do that each time you need to.

Since Rebecca did such a great tutorial, I will let her tell you the details of how to put the pieces together. Basically, you stitch the bottom to one of the body sides, with right sides together. Being careful to match up the sides and curves. I pinned mine alot and took it real slow. Then do the other side, leaving the tail open.

Turn your bird right sides out, using a skewer or pencil to straighten out the corners. Here’s what you’ll end up with.

Now you can get your ‘stuff’ on!

Once your bird is stuffed enough, seal up the tail with either a straight stitch or some sort of invisible stitch. I just made a small hem by tucking the edges in and stitching straight across the edge.

So, the only thing I don’t like about this first one is the head. It should be rounder and I will make sure I focus on that more next time.

This took me about 30 minutes and can totally see myself making more. It was so much fun!

I am all linked up:

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dressmaking // i think i kinda hate you

But I was in love with this dress. So my awesome (in my opinion) master seamstress mommy and I attempted to make this from a pattern. She has made a million dresses in her younger days so she knows all about reading patterns, how to work around different troubles, measurements and all that stuff. Plus we LOVE to do fun projects together.

We made it through the crazy part of cutting out the pattern. It took FOREVER. And according to Simplicity, I’m a 12…but I’m really an 8. So if you make a dress, be sure to measure and use the size the pattern says you are.

After 3 hours and we still hadn’t finished the bodice…we were both getting crazy frustrated. We both tend to like projects that we can do quickly and enjoy the fruits of our labor right away. I left her house at 10pm with only the top sewn. Leaving the bottom, belt and pockets for another day.

Or another weekend. Like Mother’s Day. We worked hard while Marshall slept and finished the skirt and some alterations just in time for our lovely lady cousins to show up!

This is how I got through it. Cheez-its and Cherry Coke. I drank almost the entire 2-liter that day.

Here is the finished product.

Thanks to my awesome 9yo photographer, I shot these tonight. It was cold and please excuse the hair, I literally threw the dress on and tossed my bangs back down to snap a few photos so I could finish this post.

So there it is. It took nearly 6 hours. We bought another pattern that I’m dying to make (a cool 50’s retro style) and Mom says that one will be sooooo much easier than this one.
I am so linked up:

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flares to skinnies

I do not own a pair of skinny jeans. I am worried that I would look uneven, you know…too skinny on the bottom. I always buck the trends until I have no choice.
So I have these jeans that are just a little too short and they fit just right up top. Hmmm, they are just right for an upcycle.

Here’s how to turn your pair of flares into skinnies:

Start with a pair of jeans.

Turn them inside out. You like my fashion statement?

Grabbing along the sides, pin them where they’re comfortable. I wanted mine to be straight and skinny, not skin tight and bunchy.

Sew a basting stitch along the pins. Make sure to back stictch your beginning and ending stiches.

Here’s what you’ll end up with.

Trim the extra material off, but not too close to the stitch. I cut mine about 3/4 of an inch away. You’ll get closer later on.
(you can see in this pic that I failed to do my bottom hem first. if you plan to hem the bottom, do it first, then stitch up the sides.)

Here’s the difference. Sorry about the dirty carpet. My craft space is in the garage and I have a huge carpet area but I still have kids out there. It’s no sanctuary. =)

Once the legs are even and the hems are done, you can clean up the inside hem. Cut about 1/4 inch from the seam.

Set your stitch to a zig-zag and run it along the very edge of the seam. This will prevent fraying. In addition, I adjusted my stitch to a shorter length and ran a second stitch (in a dark blue color) along the length of each leg for added strength. I simply failed to take a pic of that step. It’s really important. Then when you turn the pants right-side out, you can trim any white threads you see and the seam is still intact.

Here’s the final fitting. The legs are really both the same width even though it doesn’t look like it in this pic. I had to bend forward to take this pic so they got a little weird.

I sure hope you can think of something cool to upcycle for yourself. For me, I’m super happy with my first pair of skinnies!

I’m all linked up:

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HAPPY:) tote upcycle

remember this? didn’t mean to tease you too much. well, maybe i did…a little. 😉

here’s what it resulted in.

you like?


here’s how i did it:

green tote: free from a work vendor (it had their logo on the one side)
flower print shirt: i bought it at Kohl’s last summer for $4. i wore it a few times but my hubby says i look like Naomi from Mama’s Family. maybe he’s right…but i figured i could still enjoy the print and not have the hubs crackin’ jokes.
 another piece of coordinating scrap fabric
matching thread
cricut or other laser cutting machine
use-able fuse-able: suggested but not used in this tutorial

here’s the original tote

measure how tall you want your letters

cut the letters out

you still with me? good!
these are your letter templates.

pin the letter templates to your fabric. i was working with knit…it’s tough so take it slow and easy when you cut the letters out.

ahhhh, finally done! here is where you’d use the use-able fuse-able but i didn’t have any so i used a glue stick to secure them down while i sewed them on.

i stitched right down the center of the letters and kinda enjoyed the messiness of it. it wasn’t intended to be perfect so i even went off the letters at some of the ends.

what a mess! then i trimmed all the random strings from the inside.

i cut the elastic collar and bottom from the shirt and sewed it to the top of the bag to cover the black edge.

then i broke my needle by going a little too fast over the thick seams.

but after a quick replacement, i finished up.

now time for the straps.
i used the coordinating fabric to cover the existing straps.
cut the strips 2 1/2 times the width of the strap to allow for enough coverage. i stitched a simple zig-zag to seal the raw edges.

sew the straps to the inside and here you have it. HAPPY 🙂 and between you and me, i actually clapped with myself after i took this picture!

i made a small pocket and a couple stars to cover the logo on the backside. i think i’ll be able to find my keys now!

so that’s it! i am one HAPPY 🙂 girl!

I’m all linked up:

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fabric flower sash

Right now, I have NO MONEY for new clothes. Paying off debt and trying to keep what we have is preventing me from having much needed shopping money. This means I have to spice up the clothes I have so I don’t feel like I’m wearing the same old things.

So when I saw this beautiful flower sash by The Pleated Poppy I knew I had to try it for myself.

So here’s my version:

I picked up 5 coordinating fat quarters from Walmart for $1.25 each.  I used buttons and black felt from my own stash. Oh and hot glue. I was a hot {glue} mess this weekend!


I cut out all the fabrics in various sized circles and then just started making flowers: big, small, scrunchy, layered. When I figured it was enough I laid it out and decided where I wanted each piece. Contemplating what color was missing on this end and if that flower needed a button center.

I was quite pleased so I cut a strip of black felt and began hot gluing each flower piece to it.

Then I flipped it over and secured a few of the corners and edges and snipped away any flet that was exposed.

Since there are at least 2 items I currently plan to wear this with, I decided to add hair clips to the back so I can easily attach and detach it from this sash or any other belt.

I’m all linked up:

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