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!

Tutorials & Free Projects

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

popular posts

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

Archives

Categories

sponsored by

travel tuesday: fabric shopping in liege, belgium

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

As I’ve said before, traveling is often just an excuse to find new fabric stores. My most recent trip to Belgium and the Les Tissus du Chien Vert store in Liège was no exception.

Brad flew to Belgium for a business trip, and I was eager to tag along. Belgium’s promises of frites, waffles, and beer were enough to get me excited… but they also have this fabric store with a giant boat in the center of it. You can climb up to the boat, and spin the steering wheel and everything. It’s very effective marketing, since it gets your significant other excited about a fabric store (especially valuable when said significant other may or may not be the only one authorized to drive the business-use rental car).

There may have been a conversation like this:
Sam: Do you mind if we stop at this fabric store on the way to Bruges? It looks really good and there’s a giant boat in the middle of the store!
Brad: Okay!
Sam: I mean, we don’t have to do it if we don’t have time or if you don’t want to…
Brad: But there’s a giant boat in the middle of the store!

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

I loved this store. It was an absolute delight.

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

Not only was there a boat in the middle of the store, but the cutting tables were fashioned on top of the beds of old trucks. The place was filled with natural light, and the decor was just right: creative but not kitschy, fun but not flashy. And the place was huge, especially by European standards, and filled with fabrics of all varieties. They had a great selection and good prices, plus a sale during my visit.

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

The oilcloth corner boasted its kid-friendliness with a vintage ride-on toy and hopscotch floor. The oilcloth selection was impressive, as were the selections of wools, durable outdoor nylons, and faux furs/velvets.

They had a high pile velvet that felt like heaven. Brad and I each wanted to buy enough to line every pocket of every coat, for life. We were only stopped by the fact that it was only available in red and pink. If that had been green, or orange, or blue, or yellow, we would have had to devote a suitcase (and perhaps a bank account) to the stuff.

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

On the upper deck, there were swings draped in leathers and suedes.

fabric shopping in liege, belgium: tissus du chien vert

I ended up with one meter of fabric: a gorgeously textured green wool that’s destined for a new project chair. I managed to escape with just that, for now.

This was the Liège (Hognoul) location, but they have additional stores in the Brussels area. Don’t quote me, but it looks like the others may have boats as well… or at least something nearly as cool. This felt like the kind of store I could return to again and again, and I’ll definitely make another stop if I end up in Belgium sometime.

Travel Tuesday is a semi-weekly feature that allows me to recap the many trips I’ve failed to formally document. I’ll be sharing photos and fuzzy (but fond) memories from recent and not-so-recent adventures.

wiwo wednesday: quilting 8 years later

an 8-year-old quilt in progress

This is one of a handful of projects that could become an eternal “what i’m working on”. I’ve been dragging this quilt around in a rubbermaid shoe box for 8 years now. I still love almost all of the fabrics, but that almost is a kicker. I’m planning to do a bit of surgery this week and swap out one of the fabrics… nothing a little bit of seamripping can’t fix.

an 8-year-old quilt in progress

And, while we’re at it, I’m making a very minor change to my planned quilt pattern. As my first quilt, I started with all squares and rectangles in a self-made pattern. I’m not saying I’m changing to triangles or anything (oh i wish!) but the 5″ squares are too basic.

an 8-year-old quilt in progress

Here I am, complaining about this neverending quilt, then planning all sorts of changes that will guarantee it’s never finished. Do you have any projects like this? Any success stories you’d like to share to give me some extra motivation?

Marie started wiwo wednesday: What I’m Working On. I try to join her as often as I can to give you a peek into my creative process and my works-in-progress. Feel free to join in! Comment with what you’re working on, or blog it and leave me a link! See all my wiwo wednesday posts here.

handmade gray button-sleeve tee

handmade heather gray tee with button sleeves (at the Full House house!)

Happy Friday!

As part of the discussion on sewing for your style, I wanted to share this little t-shirt I finished a few months back. It’s neutral, it’s comfy, and the little sleeve buttons make it a little bit exciting. It fits all my “wearable” criteria, and I wear it all the time.

handmade heather gray tee with button sleeves

The pattern was simple: I had a t-shirt that I loved, a simple 3/4-sleeve tee with little button tabs at the end of each sleeve. It had seen years of constant wear and was on its way out of my wardrobe. But since it was such a favorite, it skipped the Goodwill pile, and I chopped it apart to create a new pattern.

handmade heather gray tee with button sleeves (at the golden gate bridge!)

I love using an existing article of clothing as my pattern, because I know that, if I sew it correctly, it will fit. And this little tee was no exception.

You can see here the best proof of its wearability: I packed it on my trip to San Francisco! Any handmade shirt that makes it into a suitcase is a winner, for sure.

handmade gray button tee - gold button detail

The buttons… can you guess? They came from my stash of Aunt Jeanie’s buttons. That little green Stride Rite box is my go-to, and it sure didn’t fail me this time: I love these buttons. They’re thicker than a standard button, with a gold edge and an opalescent center. They’re perfect for classing up this plain gray tee.

And do you see that cover stitch around the neck? My serger is my favorite thing in the whole world.

handmade gray button tee

The pattern’s all ready for my next attempt, and I think I’m going to strive for something closer to the original: stripes!

Have a great weekend!

wiwo wednesday: storm photography

lightning storm photography

Here in DC, our classic humid summer has started to peek through in spurts, and I’m not looking forward to the muggy mornings, the muggy afternoons, and the muggy nights. But yesterday, I had something to carry me through the day: the promise of a big summer storm.

I got home safely from work, cooked dinner, shut down my desktop computer just-in-case, then waited. Without even looking outside, I could feel it in the air: an electric tingling, a tense anticipation.

pre-thunderstorm gray

The sky, and the world, darkened rapidly as the clouds moved in. Then, the rain began.

I stopped everything I was doing and sat on the balcony, living in the storm. I sat, and watched, and thought, with lemon tree safely at my side.

When the world calmed down, and cooled down wonderfully, I went back to my projects. Not long after, I realized that my apartment, and, again, the world, was bathed in yellow. Not the golden yellow of sunsets, but a nearly neon, turmeric yellow. I can’t remember seeing anything like it in my lifetime. I felt like I was looking at the world through filtered glasses (or, you know, instagram). It was delightfully and beautifully absurd.

post-storm yellow glow in the sewing room

Above, an unmodified shot of my sewing room. The world was glowing.

For the second time this year, I was compelled to set up my tripod on the balcony and shoot storm photos. In the shot below, I was lucky enough to catch myself and some of the prolific post-storm lightning – see the bright white in the low center? The sky was pink, the world was yellow, and the clouds were constantly flashing.

post-storm magenta sky

Yesterday’s magical storm held a downpour, but these other photos are from a storm in April that was nothing but lightning. No rain, no thunder, just lightning shooting across the sky every minute for an hour.

lightning storm photography

It was magical to watch, but even more magical to capture. I snapped away with the camera, blindly hoping for the chance to keep a few of those lightning streaks forever.

lightning storm photography

It was with this last photo that I said to myself, “okay, Sam, you can go to sleep now. you caught them.”

This week’s “what i’m working on” isn’t so much about the impromptu storm photography as it is about my mindset. There are many things that I love, and many things that I get excited about. It’s easy to try and shrug these things off in an effort to be more serious, more grown-up. But what I’m working on is rejecting that urge. I love thunderstorms. I’m often amazed at the beauty of the sky. I’ll grin at every fresh, cool summer morning.

It’s easy to stop being excited; it’s harder to realize that these things, no matter how common, are special.

I’m working on cherishing the small moments that bring me joy.

see the rest of the wiwo wednesday posts here.