Welcome to my Crafty Blog!

an overjoyed sam at the statue of a giant thimble and buttons in toronto

I'm Samantha (Sam), a mechanical engineer, seamstress, crafter, & entrepreneur. Enjoy perusing photos of my sewing and craft-related adventures. I hope my blog brings inspiration and happiness to your day!

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Tiny Thread Spool Pushpins Tutorial X-Stitch Throw Pillow Tutorial
Starburst Wrapper Bracelet Tutorial Vintage Hassock Reupholstery DIY
Safety Eye Installation Tutorial for Plush a guide to sewing in your dorm room
Sewing Basket Essentials for Beginners a gift guide for the seamstress who has everything

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Handmade Wool Alpaca Plush Tiny Handmade Plush Cactus
Annual Ladies' Board Rummage Sale orange sewing machine from germany
Marietta Big Chicken custom plush tiny narwhal graduation gift

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a flag of independency

a flag of independency

This post is quite the throwback for me. Hello old apartment! Hello old sewing machine! It’s good to see you again.

A common question I get from visitors to my sewing room is: what is the meaning of INDEPENDENCY?

a flag of independency

The story begins, as you might expect, with little Sam finding her independence. I had lived with my parents for a year after starting my full-time job, and I had saved up a good chunk of money: it was time to find my own place. I did some Craigslist research and began apartment hunting.

a flag of independency

One of the places I visited was a condo belonging to a woman in her mid-thirties. I quickly realized it wasn’t right for me: it was on the ground floor with a giant sliding glass door in the back, so I knew I wouldn’t feel safe enough by myself. But she and her father walked me through, and I made mental notes to fine-tune what I was looking for in a place of my own.

a flag of independency

While the place wasn’t quite right, they were an incredibly kind family and her father was absolutely charming. He was an older man of Middle Eastern descent and spoke with an accent. He was so proud of me, this little bird finally leaving the nest. They both told me, “call us if you ever need anything! Even if you don’t take this apartment! We live right nearby, call us any time.”

a flag of independency

And, as we made our separate ways, the old man wished me good luck, and said, “You’ll have a new flag on your head!”

a flag of independency

I cocked my head, puzzled.

“You’ll have a new flag on your head!” he repeated, and mimed a flag pole rising from the crown of his head.

“A flag of Independency!”

a flag of independency

I drove home grinning. I didn’t know what it meant to have a new flag on my head, but I knew he was right. Moving out, finding my first solo apartment: this was a big step in my life. And it felt so good to have someone agree, saying “yes, it’s true, this is a big deal!”

a flag of independency

So I made a goal: once I found my apartment, I would sew myself a flag to celebrate. My new flag: a flag of Independency.

a flag of independency

I found my beloved apartment, I set up my sewing room (sewing room tour 2014, sewing room tour 2015), and I made my celebration flag. I used wool, vintage pennant-style. I made a template for the letters in Illustrator to get the right angles and sizing. I used Heat-n-Bond to fuse the letters – one of these photos shows how I ruined my (old, decrepit) ironing board cover in the process! I then sewed around each letter, and used the same gold wool to bind the edges of the triangle.

a flag of independency

In my new House, the flag still has a place of honor in the sewing room, reminding me of that special time and honoring all the other new flags I continue to acquire.

Happy New Year! Can’t wait to see what flags 2018 has in store.

blue birdie shirt on the brooklyn bridge

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

I made this little tee last summer, and it’s one of the simplest shirts I’ve ever made. No sleeves to set, just two pattern pieces to stitch together and then hem. Despite this shirt’s simplicity – or possibly because of it – it is my #1 most worn me-made garment, hands down.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

The ultimate test of wearability for me-mades is simple: does it make it into my suitcase? This shirt passed with flying colors, and has traveled as far as Thailand! But these pictures are from another one of its journeys, when I met my favorite Marie in New York for a weekend of fabric shopping, dessert eating, and general exploring.

What’s extra special is that I bought the fabric on another Marie adventure, at the T├╝rkenmarkt in Berlin. The fabric was cheap, and it’s not great quality, but somehow it became an extremely comfortable shirt with the perfect amount of drape and stretch. After a year of nonstop wear, it’s starting to thin out, especially where the shirt ends up rubbing on my belt buckle, but I think I have enough fabric left for a clone.

handmade shirt: blue birdy fabric on the brooklyn bridge

Trips with Marie always include blog photos for us both, like these where we crossed the Brooklyn bridge and I said things like, “am I walking too fast? is it blurry? how’s this?” and she patiently snapped shot after shot.

NYC garment district - fabric bolts

Of course, I can’t neglect to mention the fabric. Mood was the queen of eye candy, as always (and winner of both our wallets…), but there were plenty of stores, like the one above, that provided loads of inspiration. Finding fabric is a joy in itself, but the best part of this trip was discussing future projects with a fellow crafter. One of us would spot a fabric similar to one already in the stash, and we’d talk through a planned shirt, skirt, or bag… so many ideas, so little time!

For Marie’s much more timely documentation of our New York trip, check out her blog posts: Day 1, Day 2.

DIY Bridesmaid T-Shirts: Sparkle Hens

diy bachelorette t-shirts: hen party

My best friend and roommate-for-life just got married, so, as I’ve been saying, “my life is changed forever!”. I mean, her life changed more, but her wedding is still a pretty big marker on the map of Sam’s Life Events. My roommate-for-life has another roommate-for-life now!

It’s exciting and wonderful. We kicked off the celebration with a bachelorette party for lovely Hannah, the bride-to-be, a few weeks before the wedding, and I decided to make matching shirts for the crew.

My first big decision was shirt color. The wedding colors were dusty blue and cranberry, and since we were visiting a winery as part of the festivities, Cranberry was the obvious choice.

diy bachelorette t-shirts: hen party

For the design, I went simple. I’ve always considered the term “hen party” to be silly and quaint, and I figured Hannah would agree. So the backs of the shirts got “hannah’s hens” in script – all except Hannah’s, whose shirt was emblazoned with her title of “bride-to-be”. The front of each shirt got two small hens, one at the heart and one at the hem.

diy bachelorette t-shirts: hen party

I used my Silhouette cutting machine to cut the heat transfer material. I have the original Silhouette, but the Silhouette Portrait is today’s comparable model. The post for the shirts I made for Katie’s bachelorette has my tips and tricks for working with Silhouette heat transfer, but here’s the big one: don’t forget to make your lettering a mirror image before you start cutting! The heat transfer is cut adhesive-side up.

I used Cricut’s iron-on material for this project because I liked their glitter better – this glitter is silver but has flecks of lots of different colors (Amazon link). I used the same settings I would use with Silhouette heat transfer material and it worked just fine.

silhouette nesting of hen party t-shirts

I was so proud of the nesting on this!

It was a fun surprise for Hannah and my “fellow hens”. One of the girls said, “these are the classiest bachelorette shirts ever!” and – while there’s not much competition, because there’s some really trashy stuff out there these days – I was pretty pleased.

diy hen party shirt - hen detail

diy bachelorette t-shirts: hen party

The bachelorette party was fun and low-key, and the wedding was absolutely perfect. Congratulations again, roommate-for-life – you’re the best!

Tiny Lemon Art

framed tissue tiny art - lemons

I framed a tissue, so now it’s art.

My boyfriend bought me this pack of tiny lemon-printed tissues in Japan, and there are few things I love more than tiny lemons. I wish it were a fabric print… the life of a tissue is far too fleeting for this cuteness! So I matted one and framed it for some tiny art.

framed tissue tiny art - lemons

Continue reading “Tiny Lemon Art” →