Tag Archives: black and white

Zebra in a grassy field

Another season of Project Run & Play has commenced.  It is something about sewing along with this competition that gets the creative juices flowing.  I was happy to jump on board for week 1.  The theme is “Put me in the zoo”, and we were to create a design inspired by a favorite animal.  Curly Cutie chose the zebra and after a quick search I found inspiration.


I took to my stash as this would be another refashioned garment.

zoo collage

The items used were either 100% linen or a linen blend, and I thought the colors captured the essence of the inspiration pic.  This dress has a nice fit and drape.  I think I can add linen to the list of my new faves.


I thought it would be neat to go with  stripes for this theme.  The black and white stripes give me the zebra feel.  The blue stripe represents the sky, and the bottom stripe is a light oatmeal color similar to the grassy field.  It’s so light it almost gets lost, but adds a nice touch in my opinion.

Pattern is self-drafted (modified Simplicity 3859), and 4″ or 5″ strips were pieced together to make fabric big enough to cut dress pieces.

pieced strips
dress front pieced fabric


For the back we went with a simple exposed metal zip, and I’m pleased with the results.  Easy on and off.

zoo5zoo5bThat’s a wrap.

Girl's striped dress refashion







My roots: Africa and America

I was super excited when the invite came from Heidi to participate in Roots: Sewing your heritage.  I just love it when art is meaningful.  Have you seen the other creations?  Just beautiful.

I am African-American.  Of African descent, yet born and raised in America.  Honestly, I still have questions about my roots, and almost allowed my lack of knowledge to keep me from participating.  One thing I am learning is that conditions don’t have to be perfect before I can put my “yes” on the table.  For now, I can celebrate what I do know: Those before me were born with purpose, and I am grateful for their strength and sacrifice.

*steps down from soap box*

I wanted to create an ensemble that reflects my appreciation for color found in African fashion and fit my 6 year old’s mature and hilarious personality.

When I think of modern African fashion, I think of bold and bright colors.  I think of energetic movement and strength.  The use of saturated solids, dazzling prints, geometric shapes and sophisticated silhouettes give a regal feel to garments and are breathtaking.  Muted palettes are also favored in African fashion.  There were several routes I could have taken when designing an outfit.  Color was my inspiration for Curly Cutie’s creation (say that 10 times – lol).  Feast your eyes on these beauties (pics will take you to source).


african vlisco2 African Vibrations

africa bk cross African Vibrations


See what I mean?  This was no easy task for a person with a go-to palette of black and white.  I appreciated the challenge though.  I feel a little more free now, like I could just about put anything together and say, “BAM, there it is!”

Here is my little one.


pics47 268

We thought it would be fun to add a baby wearing element to this ensemble.  I have a friend from Ghana that taught me how to tie a wrap so I could carry baby #2 when he was just a little something.  This wrap is just a yard of fabric.

African inspired girls' clothing


Pattern used for shirt is the Aspen Ruffle Dress by See Kate Sew.  As for modifications, I shortened it to make it shirt length.  I extended the height of the collar by an inch to make it more pronounced.  Decreased collar and elastic length.  I extended the sleeves to accommodate CC’s long arms.  Circle skirt is self-drafted with a contrasting waistband and back zipper.  I used a random pocket pattern to add pockets in side seams.  A pair of textured white tights and faux oxford shoes complete the look.  I know some of you are basking in warm sun, but it’s cold here.





Now, about this hair and these accessories.  I was totally in the moment with this hair.

I had the idea to pull CC’s hair up with a banana clip.  I remember these from my younger days. So fun.  The front part of her hair is simply left loose with a couple of hair pins to cinch some areas.

banana clip

*back up on soap box and clearing throat*

Can I just say that I love natural hair?  I’m talking just the way it grows from our scalp.  There was a time when I didn’t feel this way and would incessantly straighten my hair by chemical force (lol) because I thought it was ugly and hard to manage.  My eyes have been opened and I know these things are not true.

I do not believe there is anything wrong with chemically treated hair.  I just did not appreciate the beliefs that fueled my commitment to the practice.  It’s nice to have options: straight, curly, wavy, coily, etc.  The opportunity to teach my daughter to appreciate everything about the way God made her is truly priceless.

*steps down*

hair and earrings

The fabric flower and covered button earrings are both handmade.  I wanted to find another place to incorporate the bold yellow fabric from her skirt waistband, and I thought a pair of earrings would be the perfect place to do that.

As for the shoes, they started out plain white.  I know people paint shoes all the time, but I wasn’t necessarily trying to do that.  I whipped out a blue Sharpie and white fabric paint marker and went to town coloring.  I was going for an oxford look.  Something simple that could be worn with other things. I removed the shoestrings so they could be worn free.  There is a piece of elastic inside that keeps the tongue from shifting.


roots finalLol!

There are still a couple of days left, if you are feeling adventurous, to add a culturally inspired outfit to the link up.  The prizes look amazing.

Thanks for visiting!  Any questions or comments?  Drop them below.

Counting quilt

For a while now I have been trying to figure out a decor solution for the children’s bathroom.  I really like black and white, so I chose that for the color scheme.  I was feeling so uninspired until I ran across this number quilt.

counting quilt

I thought this would make a perfect wall hanging for the bathroom.  It’s cute and can be used as a learning tool.  As a matter of fact, I have already begun using it while baby boy sits on the potty.  He goes right into counting before I can even think that it’s hanging on the wall behind me.

I went through my stash to find black and white fabric to make this project.  I used fabric from yardage as well as…………curtain remnants of course!

I think it turned out great!  I had a little more wall space I wanted to cover so I added a polka dot border around the quilt.  I also made it to the end and decided not to actually quilt the project.  It was a turn and top-stitch only type of situation.  There is a layer of batting in the middle, and it helps to give it a little weight.  It is backed with a simple gray cotton.


DSC00298And a close up.


There is a wall adjacent to this one that is still empty.  I am thinking about putting the alphabet on it in a fun and creative way.  I just don’t know what that will look like yet.  If you have any suggestions let me know.

I took a short break from sewing clothes to do this project, but it was still made from a free downloadable pattern and instructions.  I think this would be really neat as an even bigger wall hanging in a children’s space or an actual quilt you can use.  I also like the original version in color.

And the sewing fun continues……


And who is that off in the distance?

baby in mirror

None other than baby boy with toothbrush in one hand and car in the other.  Gotta love it!

Purse party of sorts

I guess that is what it’s turned into over here.  One request has sent me diving head first into the beautiful world of purses/handbags….whatever you want to call them.  I have come up for a breath long enough to share my craftings.

So, my first challenge was to make a purse to be given to a mom as a gift.  No frills and thrills, just a basic bag.  I searched around for purse tutorials as I had absolutely no clue how to make one.  There are a plethora of wonderful purse tutorials out there.  I settled on this one over at warehousefabricsinc.com.


The instructions were pretty easy to follow.  I decided to omit the piping they included in their bag.

Finished product

inside of purse
inside of purse

One cool thing about this purse is that the fabrics used were upcycled curtain remnants (They were never used as curtains, fabric was pretty much new and unused when given to me).  The pleats are just so adorable to me.  I later added the flower for visual interest.  It has one snap closure and two pockets on the inside.

After the bag was done, I was all excited and like, “Yay, I made my first purse.”  I was just hoping my friend’s mom would like it.  A day later I decided to make another purse.  Not that I thought anything was wrong with the first, I just wanted to give my friend a second potential bag to choose for her mom.  I knew I wanted to make it a little more jazzy, and of course it had to have black and white in it.  I know, some would think that color combo gets old after a while.  Well, for me, NEVER….ha, ha, ha.

I used an actual pattern (the kind in the envelope) for this second bag.  I have no for real clue how to read these commercial patterns, but am determined to learn that my skills may increase.  The pattern used was Butterick B5766 bag D

Butterick bag 5766-D

One thing I like about both of these bags is how roomy they are inside.

Here’s my take on it.


I had to ask my friend to snap a pick and send it to me because, for some reason, I often make things and they leave my hands before I capture them on film.  My husband goes on and on about how my ways need to change.  Lol.  I agree.  How will I know what I’ve done without a record?  I’m trying to do better.  My friend so graciously sent this one to me.  I’m so glad because I absolutely loved this one.  And it goes without saying that she decided on this one for her mom as opposed to the first purse.  So glad I went with my thoughts to make a second purse.

The party doesn’t end there folks.  I figured, why let the momentum die?  I went on to make a third purse.  Recipient = my 12 yr old niece-y-pooh.  I had another paper pattern on hand, and thought it was a great time to give it a go.  I used Butterick B5505 bag B.

pyramid bagVery reminiscent of a pyramid in my opinion.  I was glad to have successfully completed the bags above, because they gave me the confidence I needed to tackle this one. Lots of intricate details went into making this bag.  It is such a fun bag.  Hopefully my niece likes it.  She’s into black and white too.

Finished product

pyramid bag front
bag front
pyramid bag back
bag back
bag inside
bag inside
bag zipper opening
bag side zipper opening
bag front flap
bag front flap with hidden smaller zipper pocket and magnetic snap

I was happy with the way this bag turned out.  Other suggested fabrics were synthetic suede or synthetic leather.  I’d like to make another one out of suede or leather in the future.

I’ll stop here for now.  There are a few more to share.  It’s like I started and did not stop.  Time really does fly by when you are having fun.  I am so glad I did not continue on in fear when it comes to sewing.  I would not be experiencing the beauty of creating in this manner if I had.  It took me so long to jump in because sewing seemed so intimidating.  I am amazed with the completion of each project.

If there is something you have been longing to do (I’m not talking about the silly stuff we long to do that would bring no true benefit to ourselves and others), you might just have to jump in…..fear and all.  Fear is only successful when it prevents us from jumping in.  Even if you don’t think you have all the resources you need.  There is something special about starting where you are and with what you have in front of you.  It seems that additional resources come when they are needed.

A holiday gift

There is a special woman in my life that has encouraged me from the first day we met.  She’s the kind of person that sees things in people that they might not see in themselves, and continues to talk about those things until she sees fruit from it.  She adores my family, and cannot keep herself from bringing our children gifts at least once a month.  Seriously.

One day she was telling me about her recent trip to a craft fair and all the goodies she saw.  There were beautiful Christmas-themed table dressings she had her eyes on.  She mentioned her desire for a holiday table runner.

My wheels began turning, and I decided I would make one for her.  Her style is very different than my own, so I did a lot of praying while I walked through the fabric store.  If I had my way, it probably would have been black and white.  I really hoped she would like my selection.  Only time would tell.

When I got home, this is what I had to work with…..



I forgot to mention my project inspiration came from a lovely lady over at the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  They are pretty much amazing.



It was very helpful to have a tutorial to follow since I had never attempted a project like this before.

For the finished project….





With the leftover fabric, I decided to get a little jazzy and make a drawstring bag for the gift.



Last but not least, I wanted to sneak in a set of matching quilted coasters.



I was pretty happy with how things turned out.  I definitely took note of the areas I need to give special attention to if I make another project like this.  Sometimes I get so excited when working on projects that I just want to get it done.  I am learning that patience is my friend.  The project will get done.

Are you creating anything special to give this season?




Oatmeal containers for storage

I’m often trying to find ways to organize things around the home, especially in the kids’ room.  No matter how many times I straighten up their storage bins, things just don’t end up back where they belong.  I was thinking that maybe if they had some labeled storage containers, certain items might make it back to their home.
Enter oatmeal containers

(This is not a tutorial.  There are may wonderful people out there that have provided instructions on doing similar projects.  I am just sharing a little about my process.)

I started saving these guys for the purpose of turning them into storage containers.  I even had them on one of the kids’ shelves for some time now.  I knew one day I would get around to covering them as they are not that easy on the eyes in the beautification department.

Enter scrapbooking paper

And in my fave duo, black and white.  This particular paper was nice and thin, so I thought I would give it a go.  I cut the paper down to size and began to carefully wrap it around the container while applying Mod Podge as I went along.

Pretty simple process that didn’t take much time.  I tried to keep the paper flat to prevent air pockets.

How is that for a face lift?  Next, I wanted to create labels for the containers.  I used colors that coordinated with what’s already going on in the room.  I used solid cardstock to complete this step.  I didn’t have the right color green I was looking for, so I just used an old envelope from a card that was sent to me a while ago.  See, you can use just about anything.

I opened up MS Word to print the labels in black and white, and used a strong clear tape to make them appear laminated.

I used a sticky-back velcro to secure the labels to the containers.  Labels can be removed and replaced by other ones just in case I decide to change the containers’ contents.

And here they are on the shelf.

I’m so happy with how they turned out.  This has really worked well in keeping like items together.  Baby boy has no concept of cleaning up after himself just yet, so he pulls everything off the shelves and leaves it there.  Curly Cutie seems to enjoy being able to go to the shelf and pick out a container to play with.  I enjoy seeing her put it back where it belongs after she’s done.  Lol.

This is definitely a project I will do again.

Have you done anything with the sticky-goodness that is Mod Podge?

To my surprise

Something interesting happened.

(This is not the interesting thing, but I must set the scene)  It was probably a couple of months ago when I changed my blog header.  I followed a wonderful tutorial posted by the ever so sweet Donah.  It was so simple to follow.  I had a no-fuss design I played around with in my head for a while.  If you know me, you know I like to keep things simple.  I definitely had to go with my fave color scheme: black & white.  I came up with what you see above.  It didn’t take much time, and I was able to get it done one evening after the kids were in bed.  One of my fave times of the day by the way.

(Interesting thing)  So, the very next day after I created this header, my daughter draws a neat little picture and presents it to me.  Feast your eyes on this paying attention to its components..

I said, “hmm…really?”  Did my baby just give me a different version of the new header I created for my blog?  I think she did.  Interesting and pretty cool.

I mean, what do you say to that?

5 days, 5 gifts – Day 5

Start with Day 1 if you missed it.

Well, tis the final day in this series.  The love for handmade items is growing, and I’m glad to be apart of the movement.  This last gift was made for a person I am fond of.  Curly Cutie of course.  When I came across this item, I knew immediately it had to be done.  She would just be so cute lugging it around.  And I knew it was the perfect item to make with the fabric that was given to me at my first rummage sale.  Well actually, a gal saw a necklace I was selling and we decided to do an even exchange.

The fabric was pre-quilted with coordinating fabrics.  Cute girly colors and everything.  No, it didn’t match the black and white set  I made for her big sister gift.  I didn’t care though.  I used a tutorial over at Twelve Crafts Till Christmas for this project.  It took some tweaking since my fabric was already quilted.  Actually, it just made the project that much simpler. 

The Doll Bassinet

You can see the two sides of the fabric.  I’m thinking the inside should have really been the outside.  It is such a fun print.  But I like the dots too.

Here are a couple of pics with her baby in the bassinet.

Never mind that she doesn’t have any bottoms on.  We were doing great for her to have a shirt on in the second pic.  I don’t know what the fascination is with some kids stripping the dolls down and leaving them that way.  Guess who has not recieved a request for doll clothes?  That would be me.  Am I complaining?  That’s a “no”.

It’s so fun to watch Curly Cutie in action.  So glad I was able to make this item for her.

That’s a wrap folks!  Another peek into my beautiful handmade life.

Out of the 5 days, do you have a favorite?  I love them all so, I don’t even think I can pick a fav.  If I had to chose, I would probably go with Day 4.  I wonder what this year has in store.

5 days, 5 gifts – Day 4

Start with Day 1 if you missed it.

I have been having a little too much fun with these gifts.  Some of the simplest things can be so beautiful, especially when they are made with love.  Next up is an item made for a lovely lady that adores makeup.  Actually, this particular item was like a trial run that I think turned out pretty well.  I still may try my hand at another as there are some things I would like to fine tune.

The makeup brush roll-up

I used this tutorial as a guide just using my own choice of fabrics.

  The inside called for a prelaminated fabric giving it an easy wipeable surface.  I did not have access to this type of fabric at my local craft shop, so I set out to laminate my own fabric.  While in the store one day, I ran across iron-on vinyl as I was searching for another item.  I had no clue how to use it , but found the directions to be very simple.  It was a success, and I was a happy girl.

Lots of space to store all kinds and sizes of brushes.

Rolls up nice and cute.  Notice the white.  I’m telling you, just about every item I make has an element of black and/or white.  Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes I do it without thinking.

Nice and slim, so it tucks neatly into a purse or bag.

Well, that’s it for Day 4.  Go to Day 5.

5 days, 5 gifts – Day 2

Start with Day 1 if you missed it.

A couple of years ago I read a story about a woman that started a business making one simple item.  I had no clue that one day I’d make one too.  After some encouragement from a loved one, I decided to jump right in.  She said they make really nice gifts. 

Presenting the beloved Heating Pad

Can also be used as a cold pack.  This particular pad is filled with rice.  The woman I mentioned above filled hers with corn.  The outside is a damask print flannel fabric.  Staying true to my love of B & W.  Very easily heated for 1-3 min depending on microwave.  Easily chilled by placing in a plastic bag and put in the freezer.

 Pockets were created down the length of the pad for an even distribution of the rice and heat.

The heating pad was scented with lavendar essential oil for its soothing and relaxing properties.

Heating pad scented with lavendar made for a very dear friend whose favorite color is purple. I made a coordinating card to accompany the gift.

Go to Day 3.