The “read” necklace

You may remember I was on The Marilyn Denis Show a few weeks back. After many of you watched the online video, I had a tremendous number of comments on the necklace I was wearing, wondering where you could get one. If you didn’t see the video and are wondering about my necklace, here’s a picture:

If you’ve been following me long enough, you probably know I’m a huge fan of Etsy, so it’s probably no surprise that I bought this necklace (I actually bought several of them) on Etsy a few months back. The seller is sweetfairyboutique and she has a number of necklaces crafted of the same material, so you should check out her shop, but the READ necklace can be found specifically here for the seriously dirt cheap price of $8.50.

I mentioned I bought a few of these (I gifted them to friends) and the seller was kind enough to gift me a few more when I told her I had worn her necklace on the show and wanted to give her an opportunity to get them into her shop before I linked to them. I’ve now seen them in every color and they are all beautiful, but I think the blue is my new favorite. But I’m still glad I had the red to wear on the show, because I think it stood out and really sent my message along! Read more books! (especially Carina Press and Harlequin books, of course)

If you’re an author, an artist, or otherwise a creative person, you may also be interested in the necklaces that read CREATE. I have this one, in script, to give away in a future contest but you can also get them in the same block font as the READ necklace. They look beautiful in script and I can’t recommend these necklaces enough for the low price!

And I promise, should I ever be fortunate enough to appear on TV again, you’ll get to experience more of my reading-related Etsy jewelry. I have more!

Tutorial: American Girl Dog Bed

This tutorial was written by Jane of Dear Author.

Tot received an American Girl dog (Honey, if you were wondering) for Christmas. She really wanted the dog bed.

At $18, though, it wasn’t happening. I did think I could replicate it, or even improve upon it. What do you think?

Materials List:

  • Two ovals of fabric (one will be your lining)
  • Two ovals of heavyweight interfacing (I cut four but needed only two in the end).
  • One oval of batting
  • Two strips of fabric that is the diameter of your oval + 1″ for length SA and 1″ height SA
  • One strip of heavyweight interfacing that is the same length as the fabric strip
  • One strip of Peltex or Timtex that is the diameter of your oval and the height of the side of the dog bed (this will be 1/2″ smaller all the way around your fabric strip).


Step 1: Cut out the entry for the dog bed from the Peltex:

Step 2: Iron on the interfacing.

Step 3: Sew the top side of the dog bed following the edge of the Peltex and trim.

Step 4: Open out the strip and sew the side seams so it forms a loop:

Step 5: Sew down the batting on the bottom of the dog bed.

Step 6: Mark the side of the dog bed in quarters and mark the ovals in quarters. Match up the quarters.

Step 7: Sew one of the ovals to the side of the dog bed. It helps to fit the oval bottom if you sew a long gathering stitch around the edge.

Step 8: Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the interior of the dog bed. I will note that the lining was extra big so I would suggest to sew the interior of the dog bed with a slighter larger SA like 3/4″. IMPORTANT! Remember to leave a space of 3-4″ to turn the dog bed right side out.

Step 9: Turn right side out and sew your interior lining closed.

Step 10: Admire your work!

Tutorial: Boxy Pouch as Cord Carrier

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author


When I first saw the boxy pouch tutorial, I thought it would be a delight to make but I wanted it to be lined and have the handle like the one I saw at Burda Style. Further, I needed my boxy pouch to be larger. I didn’t know how a pouch 4.5 inches long, 3 inches high and 2 inches deep would have much application.

Figuring out the measurements:

I believe I have the right formula for dimensions. Here is my formula:

1. Figure out the three finished dimensions: length, width and depth.

2. Length of the fabric is FL (finished length) + FD (finished depth) + 1″ (SA)

3. Width of fabric is FW (finished width) + FD (finished depth) + .75″ (SA)

Cut List:

Once you have the dimensions for your boxy pouch, cut out as follows:

  • 2 pieces of face fabric
  • 2 pieces for lining
  • 2 pieces of heavyweight interfacing

You’ll need three additional pieces for the zipper tabs and the handle.

  • Zipper tabs: 3×4″, cut 2 of fabric
  • Handle: cut 1 8 x 1 3/8″ Peltex or Timtex (or two heavyweight interfacing) and enough fabric to cover the handle.

Sewing Instructions:

Step 1. top stitch the handle and the zipper tabs. I like to use the triple stitch.

Step 2. Attach zipper to the face fabric.

Step 3. IMPORTANT! Mark 1/2″ on each end of the face fabric zipper stitching.

Step 4. Pin lining to zipper. Attach lining to zipper by sewing over face fabric zipper stitching.

OPTIONAL but helpful: Sew an edgestitch along the lining to the zipper SA. This ensures that the lining doesn’t get caught in the zipper. If you don’t, you might have to handsew the lining away which is a pain, trust me.

Step 5. Sew the bottom of the face fabric all the way across.

Step 6. IMPORTANT! Sew the bottom of the lining fabric leaving a 4″ or so opening for turning the project inside out.

Step 7. Sew the side seams of the lining, pulling away the face fabric, zipper and zipper tabs. You may want to use a height compensation tool. Otherwise, leave a gap and come back to sew the gap closed with a zipper foot. It’s easier to do this step before you sew up the side seams of the face fabric.

Step 8. Baste the zipper tabs to the zipper ends on the face fabric.

Step 9. Sew the side seams of the face fabric, making sure the lining is out of the way.

Step 10. Pinch out the corners and mark the finished depth of your project. (See part about dimensions above. In this example, my corner seam is 2″).

Step 11. IMPORTANT but optional. If you are adding a handle, mark 1/2″ from the original pencil line on the side of the box where the zipper starts. Cut at the 1/2″ mark. Feed your handle through and hold closed with a binder clip, fusible web or glue.

Step 12. Sew the depth seams together. Trim.

Step 13. Pinch out the corners of the lining fabric and mark and sew similar to what you did with the face fabric. This isn’t the easiest and I don’t have a good solution for this other than trial and error.

Step 14. Iron your seams, trim your threads and turn inside out.

Step 15. Admire your finished project. Sew the lining closed either by hand or by machine.



Tips for the boxy pouch:

  • To reduce sewing time, I eliminated the bottom seam. Cutting out my face fabric to be FW+ FD + .5 (SA) but if you have a distinct design, you’ll need to have a bottom seam or one side of the box will have an upside down pattern repeat.
  • Other helpful tutorials: Boxy Pouch with French Seams tutorial and Boxy Pouch with corners exposed

Teacher Gifts

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author.

This year, I made teacher’s gifts using some cute craft tutorials. First up is the journal cover.

I used this tutorial from Bloom. While the tutorial doesn’t say this explicitly, there is no lining inside the pocket panels. You can add a lining, but it makes it terribly difficult to turn inside out. I don’t recommend it. I added a magnetic clasp for closure.

Edited to add a picture of the interior for Angie:

Next up is the boxy pouch. I followed this tutorial but added a lining, zipper tabs, and a handle. I’m going to post a tutorial next week on how to make these boxy pouches along with the formula for making a boxy pouch of any dimension. The larger pouch is 9″ long x 3.5″ W x 3″ D. It fits computer cords perfectly. The smaller pouch is about 5″ x 2.5″ x 2″. It’s better suited to makeup (like a compact, lipstick and a couple of other items). I love these pouches!

Tutorial: American Girl Mattress

This post was written by Jane of Dear Author:

Tot got a new 18″ doll from American Girl but we had only one doll bed. So Ned made another doll bed and I set about making a mattress for it. This is the new bed with the doll and the old mattress.

IMG_5019 (Small)

IMG_5021 (Small) I found a piece of 1″ foam but wanted to make a 2″ deep mattress. Luckily I had some batting lying around (okay, I have a whole roll of it) and adhered this to the foam.
IMG_5022 (Small) I used a spray adhesive and a drop cloth to prevent the overspray from getting on the floor.
IMG_5025 (Small) Then I stuffed the batting covered foam into the mattress covering. It fought me, but foam is no match for me.
IMG_5027 (Small) I made a mattress covering out of some curtain interlining because it’s soft and cheap.
IMG_5028 (Small) And ta da – mattress created. Now just some handsewing and the doll can sleep on a brand new mattress.

I’m not being quiet!

I’m just blogging at other places recently. With my new job at Carina came a new responsibility: keeper of the blog. So for the near future, I’ll be blogging there at least on Mondays and Fridays. Visit me there!


We are finally ready to reveal the new cooking and crafting blog, Whipped Out. It’s a collaborative project between Jane, Sarah and I and we’ll be taking turns blogging different things related to food (and booze) and crafts. And we’re looking for guest bloggers who might want to talk about those topics (especially crafty things like knitting, scrapbooking, woodworking and others). I’ll be blogging over there several times a week.

So you see, I’m actually blogging almost a full week’s worth of content. Just not here. So carry yourself on over to the Carina Press blog and Whipped Out and check out what I’m up to!

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