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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travel tuesday: münchen mit marie

schliersee: a beautiful alpen lake

This year has been a whirlwind of plane rides and delightful trips. I always feel bad leaving Lemontree at home alone, but there’s just so much world out there to be explored!

I had been looking forward to this particular trip for what felt like forever. Marie, my incredibly talented blogging, sewing, knitting, and baking friend, scored an internship with BMW in Munich from March through August. When she first shared the news, she said, “if you happen to come to Germany this summer, you should come visit me in Munich.” What’s summer without a trip to Germany? I penciled it in for late August and dreamed about the trip for months.

germany as seen from the plane window

We had the most wonderful visit. We visited flea markets and fabric stores. We took the train into the Alps, with day trips to Salzburg and gorgeous Schliersee.

tiny colorful cars at the deutsches verkehrsmuseum

We went to museums: BMW Museum, Deutsches Museum, Deutsches Verkehrszentrum. At the BMW factory tour, we saw the car assembly from start to finish, including a detailed – and fascinating! – description and walkthrough of the 6-step exterior painting and powdercoating process.

eiskaffee at a biergarten

We had ice creams and Eiskaffee. I had Bier and Schnitzel, Marie had Apfelschorle and veg. I filled my suitcase with MAOAM for Brad and flea market treasures for me.

untersberg in the clouds

We took a cable car to the top of Untersberg in Austria, where the view was all too similar to my view from Mt. Snowdon on last year’s hike in Wales. That is to say, we were embraced by a giant, opaque cloud. But the tufts of mist nestled in the nooks of the mountain couldn’t be beat.

church steeple through a window, salzburg

I loved the chance to visit Munich for more than the day or two that I had spent there on previous trips. There’s a big difference between sightseeing and experiencing a city, and this trip was the perfect blend.

sam and marie by the lake in munich

The best thing about having a creative friend is the chance to discuss techniques, problems, and current projects without any sort of explanation. While riding the train, walking our tens of thousands of steps, or sitting by the lake making friends with ducks, we’d chat about things we were working on or dreaming of working on. Blogs we’ve read, quilts we want to try, the difficulties in trying to keep a fabric stash to a manageable size. We even debated appropriate stitch lengths! Sorry, Marie – I just hate sewing at under 3.0.

sam and marie at the schliersbergalm

On our last day, we visited the lake town of Schliersee and hiked to the Schliersbergalm and then to the top of Rohnberg. It was a perfect day, and there are few sights more gorgeous than that lake surrounded by mountains on all sides.

schliersee rodelbahn: an alpine roller coaster

My favorite part of the whole trip, though, was the ride down the mountain on the Schliersee Rodelbahn. You just sit in a little cart with a brake and careen down the mountain in a winding plastic chute. What could be a more perfect end to a wonderful day, and a wonderful holiday?

schliersee rodelbahn: an alpine roller coaster

Thanks, Marie, for the perfect summer adventure! I can’t wait until next time!

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.

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 coin-op 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!