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a new handbag blog to visit...

For those of you who don't already know, this is my son Michael's girlfriend, Laura. Hopefully, someday she will be my daughter-in-law, but she already seems like a daughter to me now

Last year, I taught her to sew and she was a natural at it. She caught on very quickly and has been at her machine ever since! Now she sews more than I do and I am so pleased that she loves it as much as she does.

Recently she created her own blog - where she has started selling her creations.

The best part is that she shows you, on her site, several different styles and lets you customize it the way you want it. You decide your own colors, style, how many pockets, etc. and she will work with you to create a bag just how you want it to be! Isn't that a cool concept? It really is a one of a kind - just for you... And I have to say her prices are really reasonable.

So if you need something special for a gift or just want to treat yourself to a new spring bag, please be sure to visit her. She really is a sweetheartand makes everything from large totes to cute little clutches. And she sews the neatest wallets I've ever seen.

If you click on her banner below, it will take you to her site. By the way, you may be asking why she named it Loora's
Handbags instead of Laura's - well, Loora is a silly little nickname my son calls her. And why the x-ray hand? She's going to college to be an X-Ray technician and is getting ready to graduate in May. Way to go Laura - we're all proud of you!

this little piggy goes to market...

shhh...I've got a secret... someone very dear to me is going to have her first baby. I can't give away any details, but I am thrilled for her and her husband! They tried for a long time to get pregnant and it finally happened. I believe God's timing is always right

Thinking about their happiness and remembering the joy I felt with my three makes me want to create soft tiny things...

So, my inspiration for today's post is this photo I found on Flickr. Amazing isn't it? You can count each little toe. It reminds me of my oldest son Matt. He used to do this and there were times when I thought he was just going to kick his way out! I was sure I had a NFL player on the way :) And it also reminds me of the sheer miracle of having a child growing inside you.

And with tiny feet in mind, here are some adorable patterns I found...

Little shoes from Stardust's Shoes. Don't you just love babies little toes....and little hands....and little noses...I could go on and on.

While Stardust's shoes are made with fabric scraps, Heather Bailey's Bitty Booties uses felt.

Another style using felt is from Martha Stewart. These remind me of those Mary Jane strap shoes I used to wear...

For you knitters, here's one from Saartje Knits

A clever tutorial from Bare Maked shows you how to make reversible ones. Two different looks from one shoe!

Aimee Larsen from Homespun Threads has a pdf pattern for kimono shoes. I've made these before - easy to do!

This style comes from OHelene. Don't they look so soft and warm? When your baby starts walking, she shows you how to make them in leather too.

Although I love all these ideas, I think this one is my favorite. Firefly shoes made with tiny led lights that light up when baby walks. How adorable is that? I could see these for boys too - maybe fire engines with lights on top? The tutorial made by Ana Pires and Joao Silva is on Craftzine.

Lastly, I wanted to show you this pattern from Precious Patterns available for purchase on Etsy. Aren't these sweet? They have several other pdf patterns - bears, monkeys, etc. and they're prices are very reasonable. Enjoy!

Tell me, what is half so sweet, as a baby's tiny feet,
Pink and dainty as can be, like a coral from the sea?
Talk of jewels strung in rows, gaze upon those little toes,

Fairer than a diadem, with the mother kissing them!

It is morning and she lies, uttering her happy cries,
While her little hands reach out, for the feet that fly about.
Then I go to her and blow, laughter out of every toe;
Hold her high and let her place, tiny footprints on my face.

Little feet that do not know, where the winding roadways go,
Little feet that never tire, feel the stones or trudge the mire,
Still too pink and still too small, to do anything but crawl,
Thinking all their wanderings fair, filled with wonders everywhere.

Little feet, so rich with charm, may you never come to harm.
As I bend and proudly blow, laughter out of every toe,
This pray, that God above, shall protect you with His love,
And shall guide those little feet, safely down life's broader street.
-"Baby Feet" from the book "Rhymes Of Childhood" by Edgar Guest ©1924

a perfect day...

Last Saturday was pretty close to what I would consider a perfect day. For one thing, it was close to 70 degrees and here in Virginia, we haven't felt that warm in quite a while. With all of that sunshine beaming down on us, all of us girls decided to go...hmm...hiking?...bird watching? playing?

Oh please, if you only knew us, you would know any of those choices would be out of the question. No, no, on the first beautiful spring day since...well, since last spring, we all jumped (hey, jumping is exercising, right?) in Sandy's SUV, drove to Staunton, met with Tina and Bella and went fabric shopping.

Yup, shopping...hey, it's what we do best :)

Our first stop was Rachel's Quilt Shop and when I walked through the front door and saw this...

...I knew some serious money was about to be spent.

Let me tell you a little about their shop...

Inside of an old train depot is more eye candy than you can imagine with every spot filled with fabric juicyness.

In fact, I took so many pictures that I decided to create a little Smilebox for you.
Click to play this Smilebox photobook:
Create your own photobook - Powered by Smilebox

They're open Monday thru Saturday from 8 till 5 and on Tuesdays and Thursdays till 8. So if you're in Virginia, stop by their shop, it's well worth the trip :) Or visit them online here and check out their class schedule. Here's what I found there:

Mary Engelbreit's "Recipe for Friendship" for my new quilt that I'm starting with my sister Sandy

Windham's "Feed Sack III" for a new purse.

And some Red Rooster "Paisley Party" which is going to be a special surprise for someone I love

After a scrumptious lunch of Seafood Quiche at the Depot Grille with Tasha and Sandy and a few stops at some "girl shops", it was time to head home with our treasures. By the way, the Grille is right beside Rachel's and the food is fabulous!

On the way home, I saw a few license plates I wanted to share with you.

I wonder if this car belongs to Rachel...

Yeah, I heart pink too :)

So even though spring doesn't officially start until the 20th of March, it sure felt like our first perfect spring day to me, but then again, anyday spent with my girls is perfect for me...

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu

P.S. If you've never tried Smilebox, it's easy, fun and free! You can choose lots of albums, upload your pictures and print it out for a scrapbook or share online.

the simple yo-yo...

... is there anything else that reminds you more of grandma's house? Those summer throws on her big comfy bed with a colorful garden of fabric blooming all over it. Running your finger over each one and reminiscing where all the little circles came from...this one a dress she made for you last summer and that one an old pillowcase you used to sleep on. I've said before that I love their old-fashioned quaintness.

Makes you remember quieter days, doesn't it?

Although when you say yo-yo, my mind always pictures a quilt, there are many talented sewers who have come up with all kinds of ways to use them. But first, we have to learn how to make one. Follow step by step with Heather Bailey...

...then start with a simple flower pin from Michaels. These have needlefelted centers.

Make some more and stitch them on a handtowel from Creative Needle. The pdf file is here. I love how the yo-yo flowers match the flowers in the fabric.

Embellish with some beads and ribbons, add a little quilting and you have the sweetest little wall hanging. From Quamut.

Soule Mama shows you how to add some rick-rack and create a festive garland. This one reminds me of Christmas...

...while Debbie Mumm made pumpkins for fall!

Or just hang them from ribbon to make breezy summer curtains. This pdf file from Clover shows you how to let the sunshine in! They have more patterns from wine sacks to little trees to hair ornaments. After all, they are the creators of the yo-yo maker.

Penny Sanford makes tiny hearts...

...while Family Corner makes tiny angels.

Take a peek at all the inspiration from Clover in Japan. It's written in Japanese but there's pdf files for all the projects and I'm sure you can figure it out from those. I love this tea cozy .

There are dozens of quilt patterns that use yo-yo's, but I couldn't close this post without sharing one of my favorites. Oodles of Poodles created by Elizabeth Creed can be purchased at Sew Thankful. How cute is this? Enjoy!

"I loved Grandma's home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma had baked itself into the furniture." ~Susan Strasberg

a tisket a tasket...

For those of you who love to quilt, Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs has started a free Block of the Month with a basket theme.

This is the January block...

...and February's

...and the newest one...March!

She posts them on her blog on the 5th of every month and at the end of the year - you'll have a new quilt! Read the instructions and download the pdf files here.

You may be interested in knowing that Anne also designs fabric for Henry Glass Fabrics. She currently has three lines: Angel Houses (my favorite, it has polka dots :), Chelsea Manor and Lollipop Lane.

needles and ribbons and packets of pins...

"Needles and ribbons and packets of pins,
Prints and chintz and odd bod-a-kins
They'd never mind whether
You laid them together
Or one from the other in packets and tins.
But packets of pins and ribbons and needles,
And odd bod-a-kins, and chintz and prints,

Being birds of a feather
Would huddle together
Like minnows on billows or pennies in mints."

Odd little English nursery rhyme isn't it? But ribbons make me think in an old fashioned way. From baby bonnets to victorian tussie mussies, ribbons have been used for embellishment for many years. Anything made with ribbons has a feminine feel. Admit it, don't you feel prettier with just a simple ribbon tied in your hair? So using old techniques and some new ones too, here are projects made with ribbons...

If you'd like to try the ribbon roses pictured above, Save-On-Crafts has the instructions. Or these tiny rosebuds from Instructables.

Learn how to make a woven ribbon headband at Hair-Hardware. They have lots of projects and videos to make all kinds of ribbon hair accessories.

How adorable are these Little Bug Bows from The Ribbon Retreat? I love the dragonflies! Wish I had a little girl to make these for...hmmm my chihuahua is a girl...wonder how she would look with a ladybug on her head? Available to download on a pdf file.

Woven ribbon bracelets from Cut Out & Keep. I bet a teenager would like to learn how to do these. Reminds me of those friendship bracelets
made from embroidery floss.

Speaking of embroidery, have you ever wanted to try it using ribbons? Wonder How-To has 16 videos showing you various stitches.

Need something really unique for a special occasion? Martha Stewart shows you how to emboss velvet ribbon using an iron and rubber stamps and then how to apply it to a photo album or scrapbook. Wouldn't this be perfect for newlyweds? Especially if you used the colors from their wedding...

I was thrilled when I came across this idea from Ink Sell. They show you how to personalize your own ribbon using your computer. Think of all the possibilities with this one... Me personally, I want to print my business name on mine for packaging. I looked into having this professionally made a while back and it's quite expensive to have done. And now I can do it myself!

If you're like me, you have stacks of ribbon spools sitting on shelves. Not a very attractive way to keep them and lots of them end up getting smooshed. Another project from Martha Stewart is this ribbon organizer. Using card files and grommets, find the instructions here. Oh how I love that Martha...she thinks of everything, doesn't she?

Or how about storing them in mason jars like WJTrout did on Flickr? What a wonderful way to display them for sale at craft shows...couldn't you see a row of them with all those juicy colors inside lined up on a table or shelf?

So what do you do with your empty ribbon spools? I usually just toss them out but I'm going to start saving them for this idea from Polly McMillan's photostream on Flickr. Who would've thought to stack them and make a birthday cake...or a bridal shower cake...or any other occasion that I can think of. A perfect centerpiece.

I realized as I was proofreading this post that I may have dated myself talking about tussie mussies. For those of you who are not quite as dusty as me :) tussie mussies or nosegays, as some call them, are cones made of fabric or paper to hold small bouquets of flowers. Created in the Victorian era, find directions to make your own from Seasonal Delights. They are beautiful with embroidered ribbon posies on them. Enjoy!

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