You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2011.

As if I didn’t have enough projects started around the house, I’ve embarked on a HUGE new endeavor– Learning how to make granny squares and creating a granny square blanket. I know– seems a little lofty for a such a novice like myself, but I’m really excited about it. Right now I’m practicing and I have to admit– I LOVE it. I’m playing around with two different styles of squares that seem pretty easy (I’m still learning how to read patterns) and different color combos.

In the meantime, here are some fabulous granny square tutorials for you to check out and try!

Granny Squares from the Purl Beepurl bee- granny squares

Summer Garden Granny Square from Attic 24 Summer Garden Granny Square from Attic 24

heart granny square :: Heart Granny Square from Lilley Stitches

Crochet School- how to make a crocket blanketCrochet School: How to Make a Granny Square from Meet me at Mikes

Granny Square Joining TutorialGranny Square Joining Tutrorial on Carina’s Craft Blog

How to Crochet a Blanket Part 1How to crochet a blanket from yvestown

If you’re working on a project or know of any other awesome tutorials out there– I’d love to see it! Post a link in the comment section!

Have a great day!


Dixie Kitchen
Dixie Kitchen, Evanston, IL

Check out the other participants in this week’s Photo Friday.
Do you participate? I’d love to check it out– leave me your link in the comments section
Don’t participate yet? You should!!!! 🙂

Hello!!! I am super excited to introduce you to Elizabeth from Betsyandbess. Elizabeth creates eco friendly purses, handbags, and accessories, made from repurposed, upcycled, and recycled materials, down to the zippers, buttons, and pockets. Nothing goes to waste!

Featured Handmade Artist- BetsyandbessI love this Red Floral Shoulder Bag!

Check out some of her other great bags and accesories:
Featured Handmade Artist- Bestyandbess
Hi Elizabeth! Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m Elizabeth, I live in Murfreesboro, TN, just south of Nashville with my husband, a cat, a chameleon, and two fabulous Dobermans. By day I am a teacher, but I would LOVE to spend all hours sewing, making upcycled bags for my shop and presents for my friends.

What is the first craft project you remember making?

It is absolutely impossible for me to answer this question. I grew up in a house where being artistic and creative was encouraged and expected. We had an art cabinet with every material and tool any child could ask for. We made the stars for our Christmas trees, painted portraits, you name it. And we did it all right on the kitchen table. My childhood was filled with crafts.

Where does your inspiration come from?

I love browsing the web looking at vintage bags. I am inspired by their details.

Can you please describe some of your creative process?

I go fabric hunting nearly every weekend. I sometimes come home with three giant garbage bags full of clothes, belts, or other nifty things to use.
Once I decide what kind of bag to make, I have to pick the perfect fabric. Especially with larger bags, I am sometimes limited as to which items of clothing I can use. I can’t simply just start cutting, but have to make sure all of the seams and other details of the clothing are laid out in an attractive way.
Finally, I always try to add a few details to the bags, some stripes, or rosettes, or other accent.

What is your most prized handmade possession?

A quilt that my great-grandmother made.

If you could give one piece of advice to a new etsy seller, what would it be?

My biggest piece of advice is READ. There is so much knowledge out there! Read, read, and read some more! If you have a question, it’s probably already been answered somewhere by someone.

What are some of the ways you promote yourself and your shop?

I have a Facebook Fan Page –
And of course, my shop –

Name three websites you couldn’t live without.

Of all the questions, for some reason this one makes me think the hardest.
I read the headlines on our local newspaper’s website several times a day. I don’t know why, but I love reading local news. (in case anyone is curious what’s going on my random city!)
I’m also hooked on I love the healthy recipes and the food news.
Lately I’ve also been hooked on the updates from this blog – There is absolutely no way I have the patience or stamina for quilting, but her quilts are so beautiful it makes me wish I did.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Ten years? I would say, a mom to several beautiful children, and happy wife, and a success story. In ten years I would like to have my goods in every local shop, and a prominent online presence.
In my dream world, I live on a farm in an old house, my children spend their days running barefoot in the mud, I have an apron that I wipe my hands on constantly, and wear it 24/7. I fall asleep with all the windows open and the doors unlocked in the summer. But I don’t milk cows.

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

I’m not sure if this is a super power or more like a fairy godmother kind of thing. I would like to bestow on people the ability to communicate. To talk without fear of being judged, to listen without getting defensive, and above all, to just be honest with each other. So many confrontations and tarnished relationships could be avoided if we could all be open and honest and embrace each other and our differences. Who knows, maybe we could even have world peace.

Thank you so much Elizabeth!!! Thanks for letting us get to know you and your shop!

Please be sure to stop by Betsyandbess and check out all of Elizabeth’s fabulous eco-friendly creations!

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Oh man, I am so ready for spring. Last week we were teased with near 60degree weather. That was so awesome! The mountains of snow were finally starting to melt… Fast forward one week– more snow. Okay, so yesterday was a mere dusting compared to the nearly two feet we received a few weeks ago, but seriously? I am so so so tired of the snow and cold weather. I did see a little robin outside my apartment last week so that gives me hope that spring is just around the corner…. I hope you enjoy some of the awesome robin-themed finds from across etsy! I hope spring is starting in your neck of the woods!

Little Robin Zipper PouchLittle Robin Zipper Pouch

Wednesday Inspiration- Robin

1. French Script Pillow Cover “Robin” from Gathered Comforts

2. Mod Bird and Silver Nest with Turquoise Eggs

3. Robins on a Branch Brass Filigree Bird Necklace Vintage Style Altered Art

4. Our Nest – The Perfect Little Sign to Help You Feather Your Nest in Robins Egg Blue

5. Round Robin – 8×10 Art Print of my Original Watercolor Painting

6. Fine Art Print. Nesting In Numbers. Sepia Photograph

7. Red Robin Bird Felt Clippie

8. Gray Autumn- rustic fall inspired soft gray and burgundy with a pop of crimson red photograph of a robin in the woodlands of Chicago- Fine Art Nature Photograph- 8×8

9. Robin Birds Garland Handmade of Muslin Fabric

Thanks for checking out all these great etsy shops!!! Have a great day!

Hi! (I’m back!) Welcome to this weeks Crafty Connections! Each and every week I scour the interwebs and gather the best tutorials, tips, and informative links to help with your handmade craft business. In addition, I’ll post links to cool crafty DIY projects, and blogs I think are worth following. I hope you enjoy this weeks links!

  • DIY- Crafty Spring Bouquet

    a cute homemade gift idea for Mother’s Day – or an adorable addition to girlie birthday parties, baby showers, or bridal showers!

If you know of any good handmade craft marketing resources I should include in the next Crafty Connections post please don’t hesitate to email me, or leave the link(s) in the comments section! I would love to be able to share these great resources with everyone! Also, are these links helpful to you? Let me know! I appreciate the feedback!!!! Thanks!

Bonbon Cookies

I was feeling a little domestic this weekend! Since yesterday was so cold, rainy and gray, we busted out a 1979 Betty Crocker recipe book and decided to give these little beauties a try. They were super quick, easy, and quite tasty! Next time, I may have to chocolate them up a bit… 😉

Bonbon cookies
recipe taken (and slightly modified) from Betty Crocker: Baking Classics (1979)

    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    dates, buts, semisweet chocolate chips, candied or maraschino cherries (i used reeses peanut butter cups, hersheys kisses, and rolos)
    Glaze (see below)

Heat oven to 350degress. Mixed powered sugar, butter, vanilla. Work in flour and salt until the dough holds together. (If dough is dry, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.)

For each cookie, shape dough by tablespoon around date, nuts, or chosen candy to form a ball. Place each ball about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until set, but not brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

Cool; dip tops of cookies into glaze. Decorate with coconut, nuts, colored sugar, chocolate chips, or sprinkles if desired.

    yields about two dozen cookies (though the recipe said it was supposed to yield 24 cookies, I made two batches that consistently yielded 19… I suppose batch size may vary depending on the size of the candy you add inside…)


Beat 1 cup powered sugar, 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth and of desired consistency. Tint with a few drops of food coloring if desired.

    *do not use self-rising four in the recipe 

These little cookies are so versatile and depending on how you decorate them, would make great gifts!

If you get a chance, try out this recipe and let me know what you think of it!


Doctor Mouse

Mom update: Mom is doing better! (So far…) She goes back to the doctor for a check up next week to make sure she’s no longer bleeding internally, and to check out the pneumonia. I gotta be honest, it was an emotional few weeks. Moms aren’t supposed to get sick, you know?

Thank you so much to everyone for all your thoughts and prayers!! We totally appreciated it!

Take care!

Maori head, taken at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago

Check out some of the other Photo Friday entries

Hope you have a wonderful Friday!

It’s been another hectic week– this time, it was my mom rushed to the hospital! She has pnuemonia (we had no idea!) and a tear in her bowel that was causing her to lose (lots of!) blood. She had the tear repaired and is recovering now. Positive thoughts, prayers, good vibes and any extra good karma you may have lying around would still be very much appreciated! I hope to be back to my regular blogging schedule next week!!! Until then, take care!!

It’s been a little less than 24 hrs. since the historic blizzard of 2011 has ended. My car is finally shoveled out and the roads are fairly passable yet still kinda rough. It’s been a doozy of a few days. While I wasn’t brave enough to go outside in the snow and take pictures (hello! I’m only 5’2″– i would have been in snow up to my neck!) I do want to share some images from folks around Chicagoland and how they captured the blizzard on film…

Frozen Lake Shore Drive
Frozen Lake Shore Drive via extinction blues

Chicago Blizzard 2011
via mg33_chicago

Lake Shore Drive in the Blizzard
via metroblossom

Snowmageddon - Feb 2, 2011.
via Brandon

32/365 - 2/1/2011 - Title: Snowmageddon - Location: Chicago
via Ken Bocchino

via hedgehog3457

the cleanup begins...
via cb804

Hope you’ve all had a chance to shovel out and are staying warm and cozy!

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