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Banana Pants!

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I know…they don’t look like bananas.

There aren’t any bananas on any of the fabrics…

You can’t eat them…

But there’s a little monkey that goes inside of them!

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It’s hard to believe but my little niece (aka “The Banana”) turned one this summer. To help celebrate, I brought her an excessively large chocolate cake and whipped up a pair of Quick Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings.

Overall, I was very pleased with the pattern. Because they’re reversible, they are, by nature, fully lined. The finished product appeared to be of very good quality, so check plus for that. No problem following the instructions, and no errors in the pattern (which, unfortunately enough, has become so common in many craft books, that it needs to be called out as a plus!). It contained some nice details like topstitching, and well, the fun colorful butt patch, of course.
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Even better, no odd puckering of the crotch — hooray! (And seams that almost meet…)
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I’d say my only complaint is that they came out a bit small, particularly around the diapers (cloth diapers would not fit — no way, no how). I made the 12-18 mo size, and I’m guessing she’s already not fitting in them now at 15 mo. Another word to the wise is that because they are fully lined, they’re probably a bit heavy for summer pants. With fall upon us rather suddenly, I guess this just means I need to get cracking on a bigger pair!

Once they were all sewed up and the obligatory photo shoot done, I then wrapped them up in a tourist map of our old hometown, some leftover library cards from my wedding guest book, and a stamp of the Uncommon Fenwick from Mystic Forest Dwellers.
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But really. As much as I think the pants are pretty cute and the wrapping job spiffy, there is nothing cuter than the pants ON The Banana.

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Gah! She’s so cute, she just slays me.

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Bye, bye, Banana Butt!

Linking up to Craft Book Month at Craft Buds.

Craft Book Month at Craft Buds

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The good folks over at Quokka Quilts are running a fun contest in conjunction with Fat Quarter Shop. Check out the complete details here, but the long and short of it is that you create your own custom fabric bundle to include three solids and twelve prints, then the judges will pick their favorite to win a half yard bundle. I thought it sounded like a good challenge for the eye, and after spending several hours (yep, hours), had my suspicions confirmed. This was hard! What added to the challenge was the sheer volume of choices (Fat Quarter Shop’s inventory is huge). How do you start? Well, here’s what I did…

I started off by opening up a PowerPoint doc and pulling in images for a whole bunch of prints I liked from the shop’s modern fabrics section. That quickly got overwhelming, so I decided to pick a few key focus prints that I loved and knew I would want in the final selection:

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From there, in a new slide, I pulled in a bunch of solids to get the overall color scheme/proportions of major colors to accent colors that I was looking for:

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What followed was many hours of pulling in additional prints I liked, swapping out different solids and colors to get the appropriate balance of color, scale, value and design. I also made a concerted effort not to include multiple prints from any one given line. I won’t even tell you how many iterations I went through before ending up with my final contest entry. I mean, really, isn’t this enough to make your head spin? It’s like playing Where’s Waldo with fabric!

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Those of you who know me in real life will no doubt not be surprised at my final collection. I like to think of it as jewel-y, earthy, with a 70s influence. Which, in my ideal world, is how I like to dress. (Curious? Check out my Pinterest fashion board). Without further ado, here’s my final collection:

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  1. Kona Cotton Hibiscus
  2. Ruby Cotton Lime Dot
  3. Dazzle Clementine Shadow Stripe 
  4. Bespoken Aqua Stitchery
  5. Domestic Bliss Aqua Time For Tea 
  6. Stitch Organic Lagoon on Brown Loop Stripe
  7. Oval Elements Chocolate Cherry
  8. Outfoxed Brown Wild Vines
  9. Power Pop Coffee Confetti 
  10. So Sophie Purple Dot
  11. Kona Cotton Jade Green 
  12. Pam Kitty Morning Green Plaid
  13. Sophie Chocolate Houndstooth
  14. Pure Elements Verve Violet Solid 
  15. Pear Tree Cream and Orange Allover Eggs

There were many other prints that I toyed around with and also liked very much; here are some of the second place prints that came *this close* to making it into the pile:

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(edit…2 of the solids made it in after all! Took this shot while the espresso was still in the final running instead of the teal/purple…)

And for good measure, here are the true rejects (still prints I like, just not working with the theme I was going for):
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That’s all for today, but expect more posts soon — I have so many fun things to share…crafts, holiday food, the Boston to Austin food swap… Stay tuned!

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Happy Halloween, all! Pattern by The Green Hedgehog, sewn with love for Baby W by her Auntie, The Hungry Crafter.

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While I was sewing for Baby W, I took the time to make a couple of paci clips that match her Mom’s diaper bag. Knowing nothing about babies (and therefore nothing about pacifiers), I was grateful to be forewarned that Baby W is partial to the “soothie” style pacifier and therefore needed a special loop to attach to it. A quick internet search turned up this tutorial, which did the job quite nicely. Super quick and easy — I see making plenty more of these in my future!

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Marcy's Calendar

Today we bring you a long overdue post regarding a CHRISTMAS craft — perhaps I need one of these fabulous handmade calendars of my own to keep me up to date? Oh wait… Is deeming it “fabulous” too self-congratulatory? Well, I picked a pattern and fabric that I personally loved, so perhaps not. (Not to get too philosophical, but really, how much creative credit can I take when using someone else’s pattern and fabric line? And the fabric and pattern are truly fabulous.)

The calendar was a gift for my friend Marcy, so I tried to pick colors that would go with her house. Let’s take a quick look, shall we? The pattern is from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s book, i {heart} patchwork, and the fabric is from the Paradise line by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics, which I ordered online from Pink Chalk Fabrics.

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I did sneak in a few fabrics from outside the Paradise line: a Heather Ross snail — hello, day 1! — and the blue checks from my stash.

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The linen was also from my stash (ordered from Japan by way of Etsy, I believe), and I used a kiwi colored thread for quilting that I happened to have on hand for the shirt that shall not be named (nor completed, to date).

Marcy's Calendar

I decided to add a tag made with a rubber stamp (also from Japan-upon-Etsy) and leftover linen twill tape from the month tags. The back side was lined with a single piece of the blue squares & dots print.

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Moving on to my thoughts on the pattern itself:

  • For the grommets, the book calls for 1 extra-large 7/8″ grommet. After searching in vain online for a somewhat unreasonable amount of time (as I tend to do when stubbornly fixated on one mission or another), I finally e-mailed Rashida herself as a last-ditch effort (concede? NEVER!!!). She was fantastic! She wrote me back right away, and clarified that it should be 7/16″. Phew. Now THAT size I could find no problem. Plus I got to feel like I had another run-in with sewing celebrity, so it was all good. Do check out her blog, aptly named i heart linen. (For that matter, go buy her book — while this project was my favorite, there are several other great patterns in there that I can’t wait to make.)
  • As a matter of personal preference, I found that 11″ of cording, once doubled over, was too short. So I eyeballed it to a length that appealed, and called it a day.
  • I should also add that, having visited said calendar this past weekend, the top corners are now starting to curl, which is a bummer. So I might consider doing 2 grommets on the corners instead and/or add some heavyweight interfacing.

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  • Another modification I made was in regard to the last few buttons. The calendar grid is set up to accommodate five Sunday-Saturday “weeks” in a month; however, as conveniently illustrated by the month of January 2011, there are months here and there that actually span six S-S weeks. What’s a girl to do? Get crafty. I calculated that there were really only three days that had the potential to be problematic — the 29th, 30th, and 31st. Not wanted to cause redundancies for months that didn’t span six S-S weeks, nor wanting to extend the calendar grid to accommodate another week, I simply made three extra buttons, so that in addition to the standalone 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, I also had optional 22/29, 23/30 and 24/31 buttons. Problem solved.

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  • And here we have an action shot (woo hoo!) of the Velcro buttons. Another pattern modification here: the pattern calls for 35 Velcro coins for the buttons. Which is all fine and dandy for the calendar base, which does in fact have 35 spaces and therefore 35 Velcro hooks to be sewn on, but you’re also making 7 small linen buttons and 31 larger print buttons: 7 + 31 = 38 Velcro loops. If you want to make the 3 dual-day buttons, you’re up to 41. In other words, play it safe and buy extra.

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  • To store the extra buttons and month labels, I simply grabbed an organza jewelry bag and tucked the extra pieces in.

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All in all, a very fun project to work on. I loved doing the covered buttons, and had fun playing with stamps and glue in addition to the standard sewing. It was hard to give this one away! Check out my Flickr set for more pictures.

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Ahem. If I can draw your attention away from that beautiful photo for a minute, I’d like to take a minute to express my gratitude. On February 16, my little blog turned one year old. Time indeed flies. A year ago, I really knew nothing of blogging. Oftentimes, I suspect I still don’t…

In typical fashion, I threw myself into my new interest in a — dare I say? — obsessive manner. I spent the grand majority of the past year learning as much as I could about blogging, bloggers, social media, online networking and the like. I currently follow 128 blogs, of which about 90 are sewing related, 20 food, 10 wedding, and the rest philosophy/art. I’ve learned quite a bit with this daily reading (and yes, I read each post!), but as you can imagine it takes up a good chunk of time. At the same time that I was stashing away information, collecting recipes, tutorials, and inspiration, I also began working on building my own little fabric stash. Point being, I have been preparing. For a year. I think I can quite safely move out of “data collection” mode and into action, yes? My goal for the upcoming year, then, is to read less, do more.

Before I can turn the page on last year, however, I have two orders of business to take care of. First, back to that beautiful box of fabrics…do you know what that is? Those are, quite literally, the spoils of reading 128 blogs! As any of you who follow craft blogs regularly are well aware, a perk of reading craft blogs is the phenomenon of the giveaway. Giveaways, giveaways, giveaways. They’re everywhere! And I’m grateful to report that everything in that picture was won on various blog giveaways over the course of the past year. I wasn’t able to bring myself to cut into them until I had them properly documented, thanks were given, and I spent enough time just sitting around looking at them. So let’s do that so I can use them! Wanna look at them too?

The first giveaway I ever won was this charm pack of Punctuation by Sandy Klop for American Jane. Many thanks to Heather from Mountain Home Quilts.

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Shortly thereafter, I won the following fat quarter by my favorite fabric designer ever, Anna Maria Horner, in home deco weight from her Drawing Room collection. Thanks to Jenny from Stumbles & Stitches. Jenny, I may need your expertise, as I’ve been commissioned to make a Dad Bag myself for my brother-in-law!

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In a fun giveaway from Sarah at Stash Resolution, I got to pick my own selection of 6 fat quarters from Sarah’s new Etsy shop, Swell Cloth. It was hard to narrow down the choice, but I ended up with the following gorgeous mix of fabrics, including some Joel Dewberry, Heather Bailey, and Bliss by Bonnie & Camille. Thanks, Sarah!

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Back before the holidays, Kelly at Stitch-n-Lounge gave away this great collection of green and pink fabrics from the Sweet Broderie collection — perfect for a mod holiday project. Now that the holidays are a distant memory, I’m starting to reconsider, and am thinking of how cute these would be in a project for my baby niece due in June, thanks to Kelly.

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Food blogs do in fact do giveaways as well, if a little less frequently. The way I look at it, most food blogs are doing giveaways in the form of a recipe on a daily basis! I won a whole collection of recipes from Lara over at Good Cook Doris, another local Boston blog. Now, the intent is for Mr. Manly to use this to book to cook food for me, but… well, I think we’ll both be happier if I hoard the cookbooks and he sticks to eating all the leftovers. Many thanks, Lara!

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During the December Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day, I was super excited to find out I had won a bundle of fat quarters from Mo Bedell’s Party Dress line…from Mo Bedell herself! My goodness. I’m still slightly awed by my run in with fabric celebrity. Thank goodness my sister is having a girl, because these are gonna make some darling baby things. Much gratitude to Mo.

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Most recently, during Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitch Along hosted by Lark Books, I won a copy of Aimee’s latest book, Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection, along with a pair of embroidered napkins that were photographed for one of the projects in the book. Those will most definitely be staying on display for a while! Scroll down a couple of posts to see some of the pieces I embroidered using her patterns — there’s an entire woodland motif section, so I can’t wait to do more! Thanks to Aimee, and be sure to check out her gorgeous blog, little dear tracks, for more embroidery fun.

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(As an aside, please feel free to compliment me on my artistic use of the blur feature on Piknik to fade out the massive cat hair that was ruining my otherwise nice picture of those oh-so-white napkins. Jo: 1, Zoe: 0)

Finally, I won a $5 credit to the Yummi Designs store on Etsy, which I’m putting towards this awesome little clutch. Thanks Alycia, and thanks to Kirsten and Jordan at kojodesigns for hosting the giveaway!

And in the spirit of giveaways, just wanted to say hello to Kim of Pokeytown Kim, the winner of the apron, fabric, and buttons giveaway I did back in December. A former South Shore gal like myself, Kim is now in snowy New York and is a very talented quilter and sweet lady.

Wasn’t that fun? On a related note, I really enjoy sharing fun finds, blogs, tutorials and the like with people who will appreciate them. Translation: I annoyingly spam my friends’ and family’s inboxes with hyperlinks on a regular basis. I recently got an invite to join Pinterest, and am totally hooked! Basically, Pinterest works like a virtual pinboard, where you can store all your bookmarks, but see them as photos. For a visual person like myself (who generally operates under the “out of sight, out of mind” principle), this thing is genius. I already have my recipes covered with Recipe Nut, and will stick with that for food, but Pinterest is already fantastic for tutorials and wedding inspiration. You can find me on Pinterest here; joining is by invite only, so if you’d like to join, just drop me a line and I’ll be happy to send you an invite. Here’s a sample of what one of my pinboards looks like:

Now for that second and last order of business before I can move into my second year of blogging. You didn’t think I’d just gloat about all the giveaways I’ve won without giving a little something back to the universe, did you? See, I’ve had the hankering to make cookies. Like many a soon-to-be-bride, however, I’ve unfortunately found myself on a diet for the past few months (SHHHH! The Hungry Crafter on a diet? Say it ain’t so!?!?) So, my question is: is there anyone out there who might like to help me eat cookies? In celebration of one year of blogging?

Leave me a comment below, and I’ll figure out some random way of fairly picking a winner to get cookies made by me. In fact, the winner can even take their pick of any cookie/bar in my recipe box over on Recipe Nut. Or roll the dice on “chef’s choice.” It’s up to you. You deserve cookies. And I deserve to eat one or two before packing them all away and shipping them off to you to ensure no further cookie temptation remains in my house. Sound like a plan? Oh, let’s put an end date on this — I’ll pick a winner on Sunday, March 6th. Happy new blog year, y’all. I’m looking forward to it.

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Winner!

Guys, I am FLOORED by the number of you who stopped by last week for Giveaway Day! The sincerest of thanks to each of you for leaving a comment, and a thrilled welcome to my new readers. Out of 343 entries, Mr. Random Number Generator picked….#209, Kim from Pokeytown Kim. Kim, you’ve been emailed and I will get your package in the mail as soon as you send me your address.

And because I can’t have a post without a photo, here’s a sneak peek at my latest completed project. Full review forthcoming in the next post. Thanks again to all, and congratulations Kim!

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Giveaway Day!

I’m very excited to be doing my first ever blog giveaway — and I can’t think of a better inaugural event than this! After launching The Hungry Crafter in February 2010 and bumbling my way through the first few months of blogging, I ran across May Giveaway Day at Sew, Mama, Sew!. After compulsively working my way through the giveaway blog list, I found myself launched headfirst into the wide world of craft blogs, and a new obsession began. A Google Reader account, Flickr Pro account, new URL, Facebook page and a (brand-spanking-new for you this week!) Feedburner feed later, I can honestly say that I have learned more than I ever could have imagined from all my fellow bloggers in the past ten months. I’ve loved blogland so much that I’ve been waiting ever since then for the opportunity to participate in Giveaway Day myself. For more info on Giveaway Day (and to find the master list of participating blogs), visit Sew, Mama, Sew!

For new readers, a warm welcome to you! My name is Jo, aka “The Hungry Crafter,” and this is where I work on building an idyllic world of all things handmade — both crafty and tasty — and explore related Boston-area events. For more about the philosophy behind this blog, read this entry. For links to some of my favorite tutorials and ongoing project lists, check out the “To Make” and “No, Really, To Make” tabs up at the top. I hope you like what you see on this blog — if so, please subscribe. Tools for e-mail, Facebook, and/or RSS subscription are over there on the top right.

You may notice that this has morphed into much more of a food blog than a craft blog over the past six months or so…to which I can only shrug my shoulders and say, “Hey! I never promised to be a *prolific* crafter…just a hungry one!” And hungry I am! The good news for all you crafty folks is that I’ll definitely have a couple of new crafting posts up just as soon as the holidays are over. And I bet a couple of you are hungry too… 😉

But enough chatter — let’s have a giveaway!

It seemed only proper that I should give away the first craft to grace the pages of this blog — the linen patchwork apron. You can check out the original post here for more pictures.

And just for fun, I wanted to share a little extra something for your own crafty pleasure: a fat quarter of Heather Ross‘s blue unicorn from the original Far, Far Away collection, and three hand-covered buttons featuring some critters from my Japanese linen stash.

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To enter, just leave a comment below — that’s it! One entry per person, and the giveaway will close at 12pm EST on Friday, December 17th. I’ll be away on the 18th, so will draw and announce the winner on Sunday. Good luck, and thanks so much for stopping by!

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