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Weekly Pin Win

Good morning all! I was having trouble getting to sleep tonight, so instead of tossing about in bed I figured catching up on my blogging was a better use of this new found time than most. It’s giving me a chance to get up a post I’ve been meaning to do for some time now.

I’m starting a weekly feature called “Weekly Pin Win,” in which I will attempt something that I have pinned on Pinterest and show the results here. As you can probably guess based off the title of this post, I’m hoping most of these will go well.

OH, and the name is totally up for discussion. It was really this first thing I could come up with (it is 5 am and I haven’t slept yet afterall) but I’m totally open to suggestions.

I’m just hoping that a weekly feature will encourage me to try some of the cool things I’m constantly pinning. So each week I will pick one, link to the pin and then show my attempt at it. The types of pins will vary  from crafts, to hair to recipes to sewing. This first one is kind of cheating since this is actually the second time I’ve done this project and blogged about it, but I didn’t include the original pin before.

Pin: http://pinterest.com/pin/35325178297484679/

Results:

and

Ta-da! This pin is just as easy and cute and it looks and sounds. You simply take two old dishes and a candlestick holder – I thrifted mine from Goodwill – and glue them together. The pin suggests using craft glue made for ceramics, but I honestly just used some dollar store craft glue and it worked great. Just be sure and give everything a good 24 hours to dry and set. This one is smaller than the one I made previously. A shorter candlestick holder is placed between a salad plate and a saucer. It’s a super easy, super cute project that is also an attractive, space-saving storage item. I’m not sure where this guy will go yet – the show on here is clearly just for show – but I’m excited about it and will probably make more. My mom has already requested one 🙂

Has anyone else begun to tackle the Pinterest projects they’ve fallen in love with? Please share some that have (or haven’t) worked out for you!

This also gives me a chance to show off my latest Etsy creation!

This adorable wristlet is actually a phone case and wallet folded up into one. I was gifted something similar last year (and LOVE it) but they are waaaaay expensive. I made this (and am now selling it) for a fraction of the normally $80+ price tag and it’s just as cute and functional, I think. There are card slots and pockets for cash and whatnot on one side and then the other is for your phone (this one is made for the iPhone). Two elastic bands keep the phone in place and allow you full access to the touch screen and buttons without having to take it out. Handy, right?!

I’d love for you all to head on over to my shop and check it out!

And please feel free to follow me on both Etsy and Pinterest!

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Project in Progress: Simplicity 1886

Well I figured it was about time for an update on the project to which I’ve been mysteriously hinting at: Simplicity 1886!

I’m making view D/F essentially, but without any of the wonky shoulder ruffles or tabs. Mostly because I was very limited on the amount of fabric and also because I just don’t really like those details. I’m a big fan of the center ruffle (or flounce, as Simplicity calls it).

I bought this great fabric WAY on sale – I’m talking like less than $1.50/yd. And it was the last of it so I’m pretty sure all I had was 1 yd, but I can’t remember for certain. Either way, it was just enough to squeak the pattern out of. Then, as you may have seen in the last post, I burnt half the flounce. SO I had to recut that piece, but out of two separate scraps that are seamed together in the middle. I was pretty disappointed about it at first but you can’t really tell, which is nice.

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Obviously, there is still work to be done, as the sides are still open. I’ve skipped that shot for you all as it was a bit more risque than I like to get over here at CraftybyNight. I’ve since got the side seams sewn together, but I’m at a kind of standstill. I just totally don’t get one section of the directions…

So if anyone has made this pattern and can explain why there are two facings around the neckline and how to properly attach the front/back facing over the neck facing, I’d be forever grateful. I’m at a total loss. If I can’t figure it out, I’ll probably just skip it all together. I’m not sure why I need it to begin with and I’m pretty sure I can figure out how to finish the thing without that piece.

Sorry for the poor photo quality. I promise some better shots after it’s completed, which will hopefully be this weekend if I can get enough time away from covering the Hancock County 4-H Fair to get some sewing in.

What are you working on right now?!

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Crafty@Night is coming to a store new you…

…if you happen to live in or around Elkhart, Ind., that is.

That’s right! The Crafty@Night wallets and keychains will be sold at Innovations Hair Design in Elkhart starting tomorrow! I’m excited and nervous but we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Here’s a peek at the display I made for the items:

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As you can see, my collection of both wallets and keychains has grown considerably…

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Making the stand was actually incredibly easy. I found the idea on Pinterest (of course) but the original post is from Better Homes and Garden.

Just got to your local thrift or antique store and pick out a dinner plate, candlestick holder and either a salad plate or shallow bowl. I found a these two matching dishes and a TON of other pretty items at Goodwill for hella cheap.

Then, just glue them together! I used a dollar store craft glue and it worked beautifully. Just make sure and give it a good 24 hours to dry. For a grand total of less than $5, I think it’s pretty darn cute. This one will sit in the salon as the display for my items, but I’ll be making another for my apartment. I think it’ll be great jewelry, knick-knack or bathroom storage.

I’m itching for more ideas, so what are some of the clever Pinterest projects you have found?!

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Try this!

Quick tip for all the sewists out there:
When a project calls for you to press under a raw edge a certain distance, instead of painstakingly hovering over your ironing board balancing your iron and a ruler, simply use the guides on your machine to machine baste in a line of stitches at the distance it needs to be pressed under! Then just press at the basting line; no more measuring!

It’s as easy as…

1.
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3.
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B-E-A-UTIFUL!
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It could be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but I just learned it from Colette’s “Snippets” emails. If you don’t already get them, I highly recommend signing up! Tons of helpful tips and tricks like this one, which is both a time and sanity saver.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

So Francis and I are finally getting settled in from the move! He loves the new place because there’s SO much more space for him to roll around (he even has his own room!) and I love the new place because there’s so much more space for me to roll around! Ok, I don’t really roll around but coming from a studio to an apartment with doors and actual rooms and closets is pretty sweet.

But the best part: I have a sewing room! I no longer have to hunch over my coffee to work and I don’t even have to move all my furniture to lay out fabric larger than 1 yard. It’s really quite exciting.

That, combined with some new tools…

…got me all sorts of energized to get back to sewing. So sew I did for nights and nights, until I finally had enough completed projects to…

OPEN MY ETSY SHOP!

I’m so very excited about this.

The whole thing was born from the wallet I made my mom for Mother’s Day. She couldn’t stop raving about it and when she started showing it to her clients, neither could they. She suggested I make a few more and put them up for sale in the salon – which will start next week!

But it also got me thinking about Etsy and ways that I can help supplement my modest income…

-I’ll get real with you all for a minute –

I love my job.

I absolutely love it. I am a reporter at a daily community newspaper. It’s crazy; it’s stressful but it’s also wonderful. Every single day is different. Some days go exactly as planned and other days you’re rushing out early from an interview with the Lieutenant Governor of Indiana at a hog farm to a house fire and hugging a grieving mother who’s watching everything her family owns burn in front of her. I meet amazing people, learn something new every day.

Most importantly though, this job is literally a dream coming true. I decided I wanted to be a journalist when I was 12 years old; I even wrote my seventh grade final paper on it. So for the next 10 years I did everything I could to make that happen. I worked incredibly hard in high school to get into an outstanding journalism program. When I entered that program at Butler University, I took advantage of every single opportunity I could. I completed four internships and held three different positions on the school paper, including editor-in-chief my senior year. Then during finals week last May, I interviewed at the Greenfield Daily Reporter and was offered a job as a staff writer.

So here I am, loving every second of it and being so very grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded to get here. Some days I still can’t believe I get to do exactly what I want for a living.

But my love for journalism and my job has nothing to do with the money. I knew it would pay poorly going into and that was just fine with me. It still is.

But if there is a way to turn another one of my passions – sewing – into a way to a) be self-sustaining (it’s not a cheap hobby, am I right?) and b) afford a little extra income that will allow me to take some of the financial burden of my schooling off of my parents, then I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen too.

-So excuse all my realness if that’s not your thang-

Back to the sewing:

Check out my shop: Crafty@Night on Etsy.

Here’s just a taste:

And get excited for more sewing projects to come – both are clothing! Here’s a sneak peek of two: The first I just finished but cannot fully reveal until after Father’s Day. The second is still in the works!

Pour mon pere:

New fashion project, in the works:

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Spring cleaning

Even though it already feels like summer in Indy, spring is officially upon us. That means it is time for, you guessed it, spring cleaning!

The beautiful weather last night had me feeling particularly inspired so after a great zumba class I stopped by Target for a few essentials and came away with some cork board and masking tape to make a mini sewing table/station, inspired by this awesome project.
Now, I live in a studio so there would just be nowhere to put something like that. I’d have to get rid of my couch (which is actually only a loveseat because a real couch wouldn’t fit) and as much as I like sewing I also enjoy having somewhere to sit.

So instead I rearranged the furniture I had to make a cubby, shelf guy that was tucked up against the wall more accessible.

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I managed to clear out the top row of bins for sewing storage and whatnots.

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I attached the cork to the top of the unit, allowing me to pin patterns and fabric in place.

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I also topped it with, what else, blank newsprint. BTW – the end of a roll of blank newsprint is just a great thing to have around the house. The weight of it is somewhere in between brown craft paper and tracing paper. It’s very versatile and an “end roll” like mine costs $1 at our printer. So check your local newspaper/printing facility. The presses can’t use the ends of the rolls so they sell them dirt cheap and it will last forever.

And just a nifty little aside: I have found a chopstick (placed in a Ball jar here) makes the perfect bobbin holder. I was beginning to wonder what to do with these little guys when this idea popped up. I have an extensive collection of chopsticks, mostly jacked from PF Changs over the past five years or so, that I have never once used. I really only use them for sushi and I leave that up to the professionals.

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So after continuing the cleaning and rearranging rampage through the rest of my apartment, I am very happy with the result and ready to sew.

Here’s a peek at my next project:

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It is the Cynthia Rowley pattern I mentioned last week. I read a few reviews of the pattern after I cut out the pieces (stupid, I know) so I’m a little apprehensive now but we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully better than it did tonight when I started the project. First, it’s my own damn fault for choosing a plaid fabric. I bought extra, just like it says, to try and match and I thought I had it all figured out. That is until I started pinning the pieces together tonight. There is no matching whatsoever and I don’t know what I did wrong. I’m going to just make it anyway since it’s all cut out but we’ll see if it looks too stupid. Also, I’m going to have to take apart pretty much everything I did tonight – and I was being so careful to make pretty seams! – because I’m a moron and sewed the pockets in wrong. And this isn’t even my first experience with pockets!

Alas, I will try, try again.

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The moistest (and most delicious) brownies ever.

I’m not even sure if “moistest” is really a word, but either way it is appropriate here.

While finally spending a weekend home alone recently, I got plenty of time to learn just how awful weekend TV is when all you have is the moist basic cable Brighthouse offers. Truly, awful.

I quickly discovered that the only thing at all worth watching is a few random cooking shows (no Food Network here) and was lucky enough to catch this brownie recipe on an episode of “Food for Thought” with Claire Thomas. After some searching I was able to find her blog The Kitchy Kitchen and the following recipe. I forgot to take photos – hey, I’m still a blogging novice – but Claire’s blog has tons of gorgeous ones that would have put my to shame anyway.

Brown Butter Walnut Brownies

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Ingredients

3 ½ oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa and up)
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 eggs, at room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, loose, not packed
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup coffee, cold
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, halved and toasted lightly

Preheat oven to 350 and pop in the walnuts until just toasted, about 5 minutes. Sift together the flour, spices, and cocoa powder. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water, add the coffee and stir to combine, then let cool. In a small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter until browned, and add to the melted chocolate. Beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and shiny. Continue beating on low while adding flour mixture and wet ingredients alternatively. Finish with the vanilla. Do not over mix. Fold in the chips. Pour into a buttered and floured 9 x 13 pan and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Okay, a few deviations I made:

1) I did not include the walnuts. Pat doesn’t like nuts and neither do half of the people I work with. I have to pawn these off on other people, namely my coworkers, or else I’d eat them all myself. I’ve found that eating an entire pan of brownies is really self-defeating when it comes to one of the other thirds of my blogs… the whole working out/being healthy/getting in shape part.

2) The dark chocolate I used was only 60% cocoa because, again, the boyfriend doesn’t like dark chocolate. (Funny now, but not funny at the time, side note: He still hated them.)

3) I used an entire bag of semi-sweet chips instead of just one cup, because honestly can there be too many chocolate chips in anything? I think not.

Thoughts:

1) SO MOIST! Seriously, they are so moist. I made them last night, and they haven’t dried out at all. So fudgy.

2) If you don’t like dark chocolate, you will not like these. Is doesn’t matter how much sugar or anything else you put in them, they still taste like dark chocolate. That’s a great thing in my book but not so much for some others. Again, boyfriend hated them. One coworker commented “Wow, they’re really… cocoa-ey.” She did not go back for seconds.

3) You can really taste the cinnamon, and to a lesser extent the cayenne pepper. I thought it was a nice little twist… one of those “There’s something different about these that I just can’t put my finger on” type things.

4) The chocolate chips sunk. I may try tossing them with flour before I mix them in next time – I’ve heard that helps.

Conclusions:

I will definitely make this recipe again. I will probably use stronger coffee (I used a pretty weak French Vanilla variety this time around). I may try and make them with milk chocolate for Pat. I think they could still be good that way.

I wish I hadn’t made them on such a stressful day… it made it much easier to give in to temptation. As much as I love my job, the pressure can definitely rise out of nowhere. I’m still getting used to coming in expecting to do one thing and having a curve ball tossed my way first thing. Today and yesterday were those kinds of days. For example: yesterday I started my morning at a legislative breakfast (at 7:30 a.m., woof!) and came in to the office only to find out that I would not be writing a story about the issues our local legislators were currently pursuing, but instead about a high school sophomore who died unexpectedly. Today, I thought I’d be writing a story about the state’s apple crop which is in a particularly precarious spot right now but instead I went to Applebee’s and watched the Colts’ news conference releasing Peyton Manning and spent the afternoon mourning with fans.

Everyday is a little bit different and that’s what I love about it.

Now, it is way past my bedtime – I have ReadUp in the a.m., meaning I have to be in Greenfield by 7:30. Easier said than done, blogosphere.

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LET’S START WITH SOME INTRODUCTIONS…

This is my second attempt at blogging; let’s hope this goes better than the last.

I am a recent graduate of Butler University in Indianapolis. I got lucky; I interviewed for a job during finals week and got it. It’s just 20 minutes away from Indy, a city I know and love. And it’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old. There is something unbelievably satisfying about achieving something you have worked an entire 10 years for – nearly half of my life!

As accomplished as I feel, it also left me feeling a little bit lost. I’ve been working toward this for 10 years and I’m finally there, so now what? Obviously I still want to progress, learn and hone my craft. But I was still feeling a little bored. I had too much time on my hands.

I might add that I’ve also gone from living with 80+ girls for the past four years in my sorority to living alone.

So I got a chinchilla. His name is Francis and he pretty awesome.

But I also needed a hobby. Or hobbies.

I tried a few things. First I returned to things I used to do, like playing the violin and painting. Each had its own logistical problems that made them rather impractical.

Over the past few years, during the summers when living out of the sorority and during an internship to Washington, DC, I learned to love cooking.

That’s become one passion. Like anything, I’m still learning. I try new recipes all the time, which I hope to share and trade here!

I also tried cross-stitch. That was okay, but I didn’t quite get hooked. There was something satisfying about needlecraft.

Fast forward six months and my parents got me a sewing machine for Christmas! It’s a Brother LX2500 for you sewing buffs.

That’s become another passion. I got a little carried away at first, staying up way too late to sew. I’ve had to reel myself in a little, setting a midnight bedtime to be sure I get my eight hours 🙂

Lastly, I joined a gym. I was an athlete in high school; I played soccer all four years and swam for one. I kept up with soccer my first two years at Butler, playing club, but haven’t successfully kept up with any regular, long term exercise regimen since. Sure, I’d hit the gym on campus here and there. I even ran a few races, a 5k and a 5 mile, over the past two years. But none of it was regular.

In the last few months I have gotten into a pretty steady routine of going to the gym two to four times a week (five this week!). Over the past few weeks, I’ve become more dedicated. This is primarily because I’ve really seen (and felt) results lately. Never underestimate the motivation you get from actually seeing hard work pay off!

I’ve gotten kind of hooked on group fitness classes. Depending on my schedule, I got to zumba, pilates, yoga and cycling each week. At least twice a week I try and run. I’m up to four miles right now and still working.

So those are the basics – the things I love that I want to share. If all or any of these things interest you, feel free to stick around! And give feedback – I’m a journalist, I can handle. In fact, I appreciate it!

Now, to craft!

A

PS: Just a sneak peek of what’s to come, my current project is a silky “smoking jacket,” as requested by my boyfriend. All I’ll say for now is my materials are embossed black silk and red thread and my target is something “Hugh Hefner-esque.” If that’s not titillating, I don’t know what is.

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