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

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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” →

My House: Favorite Corners

favorite corners in my house

Meet House. That’s my house’s name. I bought it a year ago, and after a lot of major updates and maintenance work, it’s finally feeling like the wonderful haven that it is.

As a brief introduction, I wanted to share a few of my favorite corners. Decorating the house as a whole is a slow, methodical process – House will never be “done” – but it’s fun to have a few corners that feel just right.

My kitchen is bright, with lots of yellow gadgets and supplies – and, of course, lemon-shaped things.

favorite corners in my house

My dining room hutch houses my around-the-world beer glass collection, and the top holds an assortment of treasures: Hornsea cream and sugar vessels from a UK boot sale; my vintage N√§hkaste (sewing box) from Hamburg; and the incredible Disneyland It’s a Small World trashcan salt/pepper shaker.

favorite corners in my house

My bedroom has an awkward vent that ends halfway up the wall, but I added a wooden board to transform it into a deliberate shelf for displaying happy things (and catching my never-ending pile of hairties).

favorite corners in my house

Of course, my (new!!) sewing machine lives in one of the happiest corners, replete with a window and old-lady lace curtains.

So far home ownership is all about the little things, like the gray sewing room walls I’ve always wanted or the late-night picture hanging without worrying about waking the neighbors.

Do you have any favorite corners in your home? Happy collections or cozy reading nooks?

fabric shopping in japan

fabric shopping in japan - japanese fabric haul

Japan has always been at the top of my travel wishlist. It started at age 10, when I was obsessed with Hello Kitty, and my 10-year-old self pictured the entire country as one giant Sanrio store. When I finally made it to Japan this past October, 15 years later, it wasn’t quite the Sanrio paradise of my dreams, but the fabric stores certainly filled me with childlike delight.

I see any trip as an excuse to bring home a suitcase full of fabric, as the archives of this blog will easily attest. But this wasn’t just any trip – this was Japan, home of ubiquitous kawaii. So when I say “suitcase full of fabric”, it’s not hyperbole. My rolling carry-on bag was bulging with nothing but fabric on the flight home.

I posted a teaser picture months ago on my Instagram, but haven’t shared more details until now. How cruel of me! Hopefully these were worth the wait. I love them all.

orange birdies - fabric from japan

This teal fabric with the orange animals is my favorite from the entire haul. The colors are perfect. I bought it as a pre-cut, so it was folded very small, and I couldn’t see many of the details. When I unfolded it to lay it in my suitcase, I couldn’t believe all of the funny animals: orange rabbits, squirrels, and of course those darling owls that appear to have seal tails! It was the first fabric of the haul to be cut into: I paired it with a scrap of teal leather (from Belgium!) to make a little wallet.

rainbow hedgehogs and lots of sheep - fabric from japan

As I combed through the animal-print fabrics at each store, I was always questing for sheep to give to Marie. I found tons of sheep fabrics, each one better than the last! I kept a few small cuts for myself, and of course I’m obsessed with the neon rainbow hedgehogs in the photo above.

alpacas with bowties - fabric from japan

The best part of so many of these fabrics is the random deviation from the standard patterned animal. With these alpacas, it’s, “alpaca… alpaca… alpaca… alpaca with bow tie!” It’s a subtle surprise in each one, but it makes them so much more fun. The blue sheep print above also has some great surprise sheep.

pandas with donuts - fabric from japan

Panda fabrics were everywhere. It was impossible to pass up the pandas in teacups/driving cars/flying airplanes… and don’t get me started on the donut pandas. And this cow print is fun and subtle, if a bit dizzying.

japanese fabric - tiny snails, parakeets, and vw vans

The Minny Muu tiny snails and parakeets were irresistible. And, even better: tiny, tiny VW vans.

onions and lemons - fabric from japan

I even brought Lemon Tree some fabric! I’m working on a pair of napkins made out of the lemon print, and the onions are destined for a pair of tea towels. There was also a lot of Scandinavian influence in the fabrics I saw, like this blue print, including some Marimekko lookalikes and lots of fun graphic flowers.

scandinavia party - fabric from japan

This “Scandinavia Party” was the only block-printed fabric I came home with (it’s a common, and beautiful, fabric-printing style in Japan), and I love it dearly. I might even just hang a section on the wall. I’ve always wanted to add the Lecien tear drop print to my stash, and the green apartment print is destined to become a darling tote bag or purse lining.

sumo wrestlers and mount fuji - fabric from japan

And I couldn’t pass up these fabrics celebrating Japanese culture. The sumo wrestlers are just plain awesome, Mount Fuji is the cutest mountain ever, and the little mountaintop owls are a testament to Japan’s incredibly hilly terrain.

It’ll take me awhile to use up all this fabric, for sure, but luckily I’ve already started cutting into a few. It’s always so hard to cut into fabrics this loved, especially when they can’t be easily replaced! But I figure it will be a long time before I’m back in Japan, so this stash will serve me well.

Going to Japan?

Most of these came from:

  • Yuzawaya in Yokohama (but it’s a chain with multiple locations throughout the country)
  • Swany in Kamakura
  • Tomato in the Nippori Textile Town district of Tokyo. All of Nippori was awesome, but Tomato was basically heaven.

Tokyo Craft Guide’s Nippori Fabric Town map was very helpful for getting around Nippori. These maps are also available at many of the shops, but it can be hard to find the English map. Take a backpack… all that fabric gets heavy!