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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floss-wrapped push pins: a tutorial

floss wrapped push pins tutorial

In chilly January, there’s nothing I like more than throwing on multiple sweatshirts and committing to a stay-in-and-craft day. My yearnings for hues beyond those to be found in the bleak January landscape lead me to appreciate the tiniest pops of color in unexpected places.

For those of you who share this urge to create something small and bright to complement the gray skies, I thought I’d share this little tutorial for floss-wrapped push pins. It’s a small craft that lends itself well to a cozy hour wrapped in a blanket. These thread spool lookalikes are perfect for a sewing room pin board, or tacking big inspirations straight to the wall!

floss wrapped push pins tutorial

For this tutorial you will need:

  • push pins: I found these darling wooden ones at Walmart, but plastic works too (there are plastic thread spools!)
  • Q-tips
  • Standard glue: Elmer’s or Elmer’s school glue, nothing fancy
  • A soda cap or a piece of scrap paper to hold your glue
  • A corkboard or a piece of corrugated cardboard to hold your pins while they dry

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Start by squirting out a small dish of glue to work with. Use a Q-tip to dab a dot onto the push pin.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Cut a piece of floss: 12-14″ should suffice, but be generous since you can always trim off excess when you’re done.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Press the end of the floss onto the push pin at an angle, as shown, so it will be locked in by the wrapping layers. Press it flat with the q-tip, and feel free to add glue on top.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Apply glue to the entire center section of the push pin, then start winding your floss. Work carefully to try and line up each row without overlapping.

    For this step, I held the push pin in my hand, using the pointy end as my handle. It’s much easier to work that way than with it stuck into the corkboard. Don’t stab yourself!

    Wind all the way down the push pin, then wind all the way back up to the top.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    When you’ve made it back to the top, hold the thread at a downward angle, as shown, and apply a dot of glue to the angled section of thread.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Trim the thread tail…

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    …then use a fresh end of a Q-tip to press the floss flat.

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    That’s it! Soon, you’ll have a whole army of tiny thread spools!

    floss wrapped push pins tutorial

    Tiny, bright things for holding tiny, bright things! A winning combination.

    Please share pictures if you make some mini thread spool push pins of your own!

wiwo wednesday: around the house

I’m joining Marie for wiwo wednesday (What I’m Working On). I always love to see what my favorite crafters are up to, and in-progress shots often tell an even better story than the finished product.

Winding down from the holidays, for me, means spending some time on my own and working on the just-for-fun projects that got put off in favor of gifts, cookies, or decorating. January and February aren’t my favorite months creatively since they’re so dark, but the cold does keep me inside, and inside is where the crafts are. So I’ve had a few little projects going.

wiwo: copycat t-shirt in progress

I’m working on a copy of a favorite t-shirt of mine. The stripes were printed, not woven in, so they faded quickly. But I love the silhouette of this tee, with its wide neckline and roll-up 3/4 sleeves, so I’m hoping I can recreate it at least seven times so I can wear it every day. (haha)

wiwo: copycat t-shirt in progress

This gray is looking to be a questionable color choice, but it will serve as a muslin more than anything. I’m hoping the fit will be perfect from the start, since I loved the fit of the original shirt.

wiwo: sewing blackout curtains

I’m working on new curtains for my bedroom: my first time sewing with blackout curtain fabric. Here’s a hint: teflon foot required! The wrong side of that stuff will stick to everything! It’s also very heavy, so if you’re looking to get a workout out of your sewing project, this is the stuff.

wiwo: sewing blackout curtains

I’m thrilled to see that these are a huge improvement over the white curtains I had made earlier. The white ones didn’t block any light at night, and their texture, while cute up close, had quite the “hospital” feel once they were hanging in my all-white room. The new curtains will be a welcome change.

wiwo: painted kitchen island - an HGTV surprise

And here’s more of a “What I Worked On”… my family has been swept up with HGTV marathons recently (i mean, the entire channel is an endless marathon), so I thought I’d pull an HGTV stunt and paint the kitchen island while they were out for the weekend! It used to be white, so this olive shade is a huge upgrade. It was so fun to do a little surprise: something small that made such a big difference in my parents’ kitchen. Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like surprise paint!

What are you working on this Wednesday? Feel free to send me a link in the comments!

wiwo wednesday: the narwhal factory is open

I’m joining Marie for wiwo wednesday (What I’m Working On). I always love to see what my favorite crafters are up to, and in-progress shots often tell an even better story than the finished product.

narwhal making in progress

Narwhal season is ramping up, and my coffee table is the current Narwhal Factory HQ. I’m churning out the standard gray-and-gray cuties, but also experimenting with some new things. We’ll see where this goes… I’m of the opinion that all narwhal experiments end adorably.

(in case you’re new, here’s where to order the plush narwhals.)

diy duvet cover

diy duvet cover: so cozy

Recently, I converted to the European style of bed covering: a fitted sheet, but no top sheet, just a duvet with a duvet cover. There’s nothing cozier than rolling up in a fluffy comforter while you sleep. I sleep like a caterpillar in a cocoon, and it’s the happiest sleep in the world.

diy duvet cover: sewing away

For my new apartment and new bed, I made my own duvet cover. Two thrifted, mint-condition flat sheets: print on the front, white on the back. Both sheets are incredibly soft, which is crucial. I used king-size sheets for my full-size duvet. I utilized the sheets’ big hem for my button placket, and I only had to trim one edge: the rest I left in their hemmed state. After stitching all the buttons and button holes, the assembly was just a lot of long, straight edges. My Adler breezed through the fabric – its weight makes it ideal for pulling heavy projects like this one.

It’s incredibly warm and comfortable, yet the floral print looks like a spring breeze. When I’m going to bed at 9 every night, it’s nice to be able to look forward to the coziness of such a soft blanket rather than dreading the early bedtime.

The verdict: sew your own duvet cover! It’s a large project, but a super simple one. And it will keep you happy and warm forever.

wiwo wednesday: tearing apart a chair

I’m joining Marie for wiwo wednesday (What I’m Working On). I always love to see what my favorite crafters are up to, and in-progress shots often tell an even better story than the finished product.

reupholstered-chreupholstered chair - before

Last week, it was actually warm on the balcony. Instead of “warm with a blanket and mocassins”, it was “warm enough to tear apart a chair in shorts and a t-shirt”. It was the last of these warm days, and I had to take advantage of it.

I bought the chair, above, for $20 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I think it’s cute, and it will be really cute once it’s covered in a good fabric, rather than this particular shade of “ugliest fabric known to man”. Plus, it’s very wide, so it will be perfect for sitting sideways and reading. Finally, fingers crossed, it looks like it won’t be very difficult to recover.

reupholstered chair - tearing it apart

I dragged the chair onto my balcony in anticipation of the 30-year-old dust that was about to pour out of this thing. That was an excellent decision. The piping was hot-glued on. I started to take the staples out, one by one, but after seeing the number of staples involved, I resorted to tearing the fabric away from the frame. This loosened the staples, and I can pull them all out later – but I wanted to get all the foam and dust out of the chair while I still had a warm balcony to work from. I made sure to pull the fabric carefully so it would retain the pattern shape… but it wasn’t a very gentle process.

diy dust mask: cow bandana

robbing a train… or tearing a chair apart?

The dust was unbelievable. I resorted to tying a sweet bull bandana around my nose and mouth to avoid breathing in 30-year-old foam dust. My mini shop vac was a big help here.

reupholstered chair - tearing it apart

I stripped away the fabric, and then the cotton, and then the burlap (ugh, old burlap!), and then the cardboard. I think this chair was built by an amateur – but I may also be considered an amateur, so it will work out.

Before the sun had gone down on that warm evening, I had the chair to bare bones. I saved the fabric pieces to use as a pattern, and everything else – cotton, foam, that nasty burlap, and even the penny I found inside the cushion – went straight to the trash.

vintage pyrex: cinderella salad bowl

What else have I been working on? Salads from my Pyrex salad bowl, curtains and a sewing lesson for my friend Claire, perfecting pork chops (hint: mojo criollo), and generally adjusting to the current weather that is ANYTHING BUT “warm balcony weather”.

What are you working on this week?