Face Mask Pattern

Face Mask Pattern

Never before in my lifetime or my parents, have we seen a global pandemic. While I appreciate being protected by staying inside, I know healthcare workers and first responders are the frontlines. I’m assuming since most of our country’s supply of protective wear such as gloves, masks, and sterilization wipes are mostly sourced from China, we have another infection control issue at hand. 

When I checked Pinterest for a mask pattern, I grabbed one I thought was suitable, and while I made 25 in my first batch, I wasn’t pleased with the fit of the mask. From having worked in our local operating room for two years wearing surgical masks daily, a well fit one to me means it includes most of my nose and mouth while still letting me breathe easily. These homemade masks are meant to protect ourselves from droplet precautions such as if someone coughs or sneezes near us. They are not meant to provide viral protection, but a pocket can be made so that additional barriers can be placed within the mask if needed. My mask design is easy to sew, fits well to the face, is comfortable and offers a design that prevents gaps around the nose and jawline, while still allowing you to breathe well.

Though there seems to be much misinformation on the internet, I’ve seen many masks made out of flannel, cotton (pillowcase), and jersey knit (T-shirt) materials. Corded elastic or ⅛” wide elastic can be used for the ear ties. Filtration can be increased by adding various layers within, such as vacuum cleaner bag, tea towel, but they also decrease breathability as well. Here’s a great article on what materials presented best for the DIY mask: https://smartairfilters.com/en/blog/best-materials-make-diy-face-mask-virus/


DIY Princess Crown

DIY Princess Crown


In the Fall of 2019, I was pleasured to get to assist the lead costumer at my local theatre with a few costume items for their featured Christmas play, How Hans Christian Anderson Defeated The Snow Princess. I was asked to combine a prom dress, wedding dress and silver vest into an ice princess look, and then to create her crown.


For the crown, I walked around several Christmas decor sections at my local craft and grocery store. Sometimes I don’t know what items to use until I am inspired by what I see is available. I came across this silver glitter snowflake placemat and two sets of icicle ornaments at Meijers, knowing these were the perfect items. I was also given a container of plastic diamond gemstones and some E6000 glue to work with from the theatre. 

I keep inventory of headbands of different widths and styles at home, as they provide a great costume base for any headdress. Over a wide headband, I wrapped 3” wide silver ribbon and used hot glue to secure it on. I then cut the snowflake placemat in half and wrapped it at the top of the headband. I then hot glued each icicle ornament to the front, making sure it stood out about ¾” from the snowflake. I usually work in odd numbers, as they look more pleasing to the eye. In this case, I added 7 icicles to the crown front with both hot glue and the E6000 glue.  I added additional gemstones to the snowflake placemat for extra bling. 

Usually to finish off a crown, I will sew or glue on hair combs to the side, but in this case, the crown stayed on beautifully without any extra structure. I was quite pleased with the result, and so was the costumer and director! This crown is certainly one any princess would be pleased to wear!

T-Shirt Quilt Project

T-Shirt Quilt Project


In the past I’ve seen some projects as mountains I was scared to attack. I didn’t even want to take baby steps towards a final result. I thought it would be easier to just leave the stack in a corner somewhere, like my other unfinished projects that grow dust. The t-shirt quilt was always a mountain for me. After a few quilts under my belt, and some bad business choices where I pretty much volunteered my time to create some, I learned valuable lessons that not only refined my process, but enabled me to create a better quality product in the least amount of time.


Here are some questions that I now ask my customers up front:

1.My price estimate is $250-$350 after you provide all the tshirts up front. Are you comfortable with that price? 

2.Would you like just the tshirt fronts or any of the tshirt backs included in the overall design?

3.Are you providing enough tshirts to create the quilt for your desired size?

   Twin: 25 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   Full: 25 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   Queen:30 tshirts at 15×15” squares

   King:35 tshirts at 15×15” squares

4.Do you want just the tshirts sewn together, or do you prefer a solid color spacing them all out?

5.What fabric do you want for backing material? A solid or a print?

6.What size overall were you hoping for? Twin? Queen? King?

7.What would your deadline be? I require 8-12weeks from receiving the tshirts to get started, and will need half the money up front for supplies. 

8.Does the person the quilt is intended for have any allergies? We can get interior batting that is either a natural cotton or a polyester blend. 


I. The first step is collecting materials:

You will need the customer to give you agreed upon number of tshirts, and their arrangement preference if they have one. 

Internal batting.

Kona cotton for the sections between the t-shirt panels, 3-4 yards. I used black.

108” backing material in a solid color, 3 yards. I used black.

Edging material. I used an additional 2 yards of the black Kona cotton for the binding. 

3-4 skeins of purl cotton for the hand quilting and a wide eyed tapestry needle. 

Large safety pins to tack layers together. 

8 yards lightweight interfacing. I use Pellon iron on stabilizer.

II. I cut up the sides of each T-shirt, and around the collar and sleeves, separating the fronts and backs. I put in a pile T-shirt sides that should be included in the top design.
III. I measure all the designs from the tshirts I have and see which square size all of the designs will fit into. I typically end up using a 15”x15” square. 

IV. I cut out a square template to use out of that square size from paper. If you have a rotary cutter and clear grids, you can just use that. 

V.I then cut the same number of squares I’m placing on the top quilt, out of the thin, iron on interfacing, the same 15×15” squares. 

VI.Taking one interfacing square, I lay it on top of a t-shirt front and line up the design underneath. I can see through the interfacing to the design, which allows me to line it up straight. I then cut the T-shirt front out to match the size of the interfacing. 

VII.I iron each interfacing piece to the back of the t-shirt fronts I’ve cut out. If you have both cotton and polyester t-shirts in the mix, please remember to adjust your iron settings to each material to avoid any burning. 

VIII.Once you have your pile of square tops that are backed with interfacing, you need to square them up with the rotary cutter and mat, because they probably stretched out a bit when interfaced. Make them all perfect, 15×15” squares.

IX.You could either sew these T-shirt squares directly together, one row at a time, OR, you can add rows of a solid color between them all. To do this, out of cotton material, cut rectangles, 4” wide by 15” tall. Cut as many rectangles as you have squares. 

X.Lay out quilt arrangement on table or floor. Assemble one row at a time, horizontally. Sew one T-shirt to one rectangle, then repeat. Then repeat, sewing each row together. 

XI. You need to now cut lengths of cotton to divide each row up. I cut continuous lengths of 4” strips from the cotton. I placed that 4” solid piece right sides together at the lower edge of the first assembled row, and stitched it on. Then I placed the 2nd assembled row below that divider strip. I repeated that until all the rows were assembled.
XII. I added additional 4” strips to the outer sides of the quilt as well, followed by strips at the top and bottom, enclosing all the t-shirts in the grid. 
XIII.I then made a sandwich, placing the quilt top face down, followed by whatever batting you purchased for the center, then the quilt backing. I place large safety pins across the entire quilt to hold all the layers together. I try to maintain flatness all the way across, occasionally flipping it over to make sure it’s not pulling from the front side. 
XIV. Using purl cotton and a tapestry needle, I use a super long piece of thread to hand stitch (a running stitch) between the rows on the solid color. I typically sew two rows between each section. I do not try to be perfect. It’s my hand stitching that gives it a personal touch. Alternatively, you could take your quilt at this point to a long arm and have it quilted professionally, OR even stitching wide rows over the entire thing with a basic machine. 

XV.I then cut additional strips of 3” width of cotton to do a edge binding with. I sew these strips together to create a length that will reach all the way around the quilt edge. I start by placing the binding strip on the top side of the quilt (you can start it anywhere, just not on a corner) at the edge, folding over the starting point by ½”, and sewing down one side at a time. When you get to a corner, you will need to take it out of your machine, create a 45degree angle with the fabric strip and then continue sewing down the next side. This will create a nice, mitred corner. 

XVI.Once you’ve made it all the way around, you will turn the binding strip towards the back of the quilt, and tuck under the edge and secure with pins, exactly like bias tape is used. If you’re talented, you could stitch in the ditch from the front of the binding, or if you’re not that confident like me, you can just hand stitch the binding down on the backside, being sure to mitre those corners.

That’s it! Your quilt should be complete! 


Twain and Lewis Homemade Costumes

Twain and Lewis Homemade Costumes

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When my boys were little, I was invited  by a friend to participate in a project for book site.

I was challenged to show my boys (at the time 1 and 3) love for the written word. My boys love being read to, and I was so excited to see what I could create!

I grew up reading C.S. Lewis’ The Complete Chronicles of Narnia ( Boxed Set 7 Books )Chronicles of Narnia series and the The Screwtape Letters. The passion and creativity he wrote with captivated me and drew me into his books.

I made my one year old into C.S. Lewis by sewing a Sunday best bow tie. The dinner jacket was given to me by a friend.

DIY C.S. Lewis Costume
DIY C.S. Lewis Costume

I made a pair of round spectacles out of pipe cleaners and black electrical tape. We had so much fun (even though he wouldn’t wear the spectacles)!

DIY C.S. Lewis costume

Mark Twain has also been one of my beloved authors.  I love his adventurous writings of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. His look in old age reminds me of Albert Einstein. I wanted to make my 3 year old a full white fur hair cover, but due to time I just made a turned down mustache

DIY Mark Twain Costume
DIY Mark Twain Costume

Read to your kids often! Teach them about the authors who wrote the books you are reading. I bet you already have everything you need to create something amazing!!

A Fireplace Mantle

A Fireplace Mantle

We have been so extremely blessed to be able to live in this house. November 24th will mark one year here in our new home. We can’t believe it’s almost been a year already, but we are so, so thankful! During the past year we had a baby, worked full time (Steven), has been in school (Steven), served in the Army Reserves (Steven), and completed 5 patterns (Joy) this last year, we haven’t stopped making our house a home. We have used any little spare moments (and late nights) that we could squeeze in.. mainly to repaint and redecorate to bring our style. We have enjoyed every moment! Though I haven’t had the time to blog about everything yet, except my sewing room re-do, I’ll start sharing more of our fun soon.  
When I painted this main part of the house in August I had a huge mishap. For the first time EVER in my vast history of re-painting and making over our homes (we’ve moved 6 times in 10 years), I spilled paint. Not just a little paint, mind you…I spilled HALF A GALLON of paint! I found myself up on a ladder, painting on little sleep, and not thinking too clearly. I left the paint can on top of the ladder and got down to get something. I then moved the ladder. Yep, you fill in the rest. It was quite a panicked moment! In a literal instant, paint was dripping down my arms, all over the wood floor, our furniture…and my kids just awoke from nap time. Ahhhh! The electric fireplace got the brunt of the mess, and I quickly whisked it outside and doused it off with a hose. I still have yet to finish cleaning it up 2 months later. I called my mom for reinforcement with my kids, while I used a credit card to scrape the paint off of the floor. It took me 3 hours. Oh yeah. 
And that’s my story. But, back to the real reason I wrote this….
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
So, what to do with this awesome space??!! Blueprint wise, this space is designed for a formal dining room. It’s right inside the front entrance and near the kitchen. But, since we moved here, we’ve envisioned another plan for this space. 
We really got attached to the fireplace in our last home and felt it created such a cozy ambiance to our living room, that after moving here, we thought about wanting another one. 
And…my amazing husband ended up building a fireplace in just a few hours about two weeks ago! 
He came up with a few days off (which is amazing!) from work, school, and the Army and declared on a Tuesday that he was going to “build us a fireplace”! That afternoon he did some research, found plans, and reworked the design to fit our space. Wednesday he headed to Lowe’s to buy wood for it at 1pm, and we had a built fireplace mantle by 7pm! He’s really amazing that way!
 Here he was working out a final layout for the fireplace front in our basement. 
 He built it in two sections, quite similar to the original design by the Mann family which we loved, but changed some of the dimensions and math to fit around our electric fireplace. He brought it up in two pieces and finished assembling it, using wood filler to cover nail holes, and priming it.
He did it all. He let me put the finishing coats of white on it though, and when I came home from trick or treating last Friday, he had the space all cleaned up, paint and tools put away, and set up so special! 
Now I think there has been talk about extending that fireplace to include a faux chimney….