A Look Back at 2012 and On To 2013

Grab this FREE Subway Art Printable from the girls at eighteen25.

2012 Highlights

  • 1st post-grad job
  • Started working on my masters
  • 2 of my best friends got engaged
  • Interned and freelanced for ALIVE Magazine
  • Made it to final auditions for an NFL cheerleading squad

2013 Goals

  • Open an Etsy shop
  • Break 100 GFC/G+ followers
  • Get featured in a link party
  • Sew and/or DIY 3 times per week


Remembering the Little Ones

Read the Washington Post's memorial to all the victims here.

Like many of you, the events that occurred Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary have weighed very heavily on my heart. I just don't know how someone can take the life of another, let alone 6- and 7-year-olds. The news, the photos, the videos, it's all so overwhelming. Just sitting here thinking about it and typing this post brings tears to my eyes.

There is so much darkness surrounding this tragedy, yet the light has survived and surfaced in many ways. I am seeing so many people band together to bring comfort to those in Newtown, and it reminds me that humanity isn't all bad. It restores my faith that we are inherently good.

As you can tell from my Instagram feed, I absolutely adore my dog, Shanny. I adopted her two and a half years ago, and she has been such a blessing ever since. The love of a dog is unconditional and without judgement, a model for how we should love one another. They are always there when you're sad or upset to snuggle up with for comfort.

Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) run a ministry called K-9 Comfort Dogs. Basically, they take teams of golden retrievers to areas of tragedy, hospitals, schools and nursing homes to comfort those in need. In response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, LCC sent a team of 10 dogs to Newtown to provide comfort and distraction in this tough time.

Read more about the work the Comfort Dogs are doing here.

I was and still am so moved by this initiative and how simply brilliant it is. I don't know about you, but when I am sad, sometimes I don't want to talk or interact with other people, yet yearn for the solace that being around loved ones provides. This is the bridge between those two things. What a blessing.

Though I may not be able to donate my time to this initiative, I can donate financially. Dogs in general take a lot of maintenance, and these special dogs are no different. If you feel compelled, you can donate to the K-9 Comfort Dogs initiative here.

There are a lot of other great ways to donate to the relief efforts in Newtown. Click on the links below to learn more and put those DIY skills to good use!

  1. Sew a pillowcase for a student who attends Sandy Hook Elementary.
  2. Make a Giving Bunny with a special tag honoring a victim.
  3. Create a snowflake or two to help the Connecticut PTSA transform the school into a Winter Wonderland.
Be kind to each other. 


I l.o.v.e Getting Mail!

I received TWO, yes two!, packages in the mail yesterday. First, I opened the package from my Zipper Swap partner, Beth, and was so excited to see that she made an AWESOME wristlet!

My two favorite parts of the purse are the zipper pull and her custom label on the inside. Check out more of Beth's creations in her Etsy shop!

Second, I opened my #novemberthankful book!

The girls at eighteen25 hosted a month long Instagram challenge to encourage us to take pictures of what we are thankful. They also introduced us to Blurb books, so we could make a book of our IGs. I have a bad habit of NOT getting pictures printed, so I am glad to have a book full of photos that are near and dear to my heart!


Zipper Swap: Finished Product

My swap partner, Beth, received the pouch that I made her over the weekend, and she loved it! Here is what the finished product looks like:

Look at all that space in there! I used the Open Wide Zippered Pouch Tutorial from Noodlehead. The Open Wide Pouch had been on my "to-make" list for awhile, and I am so glad that I finally had the opportunity. It's a great tutorial, so check it out!

Want to see what everyone else made for the swap? Check out the Sweet Swap Flickr Group.


Zipper Swap Sneak Peek

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I participated in a zippered pouch swap hosted by Heather from The Sewing Loft, and I just couldn't wait to give a sneak peek into what I made for my partner Beth of Old Cedar Knoll Farm.

Beth mentioned that she liked rich purples, oranges and greens. As soon as mentioned the word "purple," I knew that I liked her already!

I picked up the butterfly fabric while I was at Quilt Festival in Houston, and I thought it was perfect for Beth! I will post more pictures and link to the tutorial I used to create her pouch after she gets it.

Yay for new friends and zippered pouches!


Oh Christmas Tree!

It's that time of year when the holiday decor goes up and Christmas movies and music are on, and I couldn't be more excited! I put my tree up over the weekend, and I couldn't help but share the holiday happiness with all of you.

This tree has my name written ALL OVER IT! There are purse, dress, and shoe ornaments hung from top to bottom. But, don't worry, there are some sentimental ornaments too!

I love the Snow Couple! They were grandmother's, and I am so glad that they were passed on to me. And, it looks like the Edward, Bella and Jacob ornament snuck into the pic :)

Do you have your tree up yet? What are your favorite holiday decorations?


Christmas Tree Pillow Tutorial

**This post originally appeared on Totally Stitchin'.**

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to receive a ton of sewing stuff (books, trims, patterns, etc.) from my great aunt and a tackle box full of vintage buttons that once belonged to my great grandmother. The excitement of receiving this stuff was two fold: I got a ton of notions for my stash AND they have a sentimental value. I have been wanting to start using my goodies, but I hadn't found a project worthy of them yet. BUT, then I came across the Trim the Tree Pillow tutorial from Jamie of Three Scoops of Love, and I knew that this was the perfect opportunity.

My Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas decor uses turquoise, white, and silver, so I put on my thinking cap and brainstormed my own version of the "Trim the Tree Pillow." (Side Note: the trims, books, etc. came from my Grandma's sister and the buttons were my Grandpa's mother's, so this project is special to both Grandma and Grandpa)I mainly used the tutorial found on Three Scoops of Love for inspiration, so I am going to show you how I made mine. Let's get started!
  • 16"x16" pillow form
  • 1/4 yd felt or fleece (I used felt because Hobby Lobby didn't have the color I wanted in fleece.)
  • Eyelet trim
  • Hook and loop tape
  • Handful of buttons for the "ornaments"
  • Paint (if the buttons you have aren't the color you want them to be)
  • Some sort of button or piece of fabric for the star (I happened to find the orangish-yellow button in my stash of buttons, so that's what I used)
  • Basic sewing supplies
1. Prepare Supplies
Once all of the supplies are gathered, some prep work needs to be done before the sewing starts.

  • Iron your felt, so you have nice, pressed fabric to work with.
  • Cut one 17x17" square and a 17x22" rectangle from your felt yardage.
  • On the long sides of your 17x22" piece, make a mark at 17" and cut a 45 degree angle from the 17" mark to the top of fabric. This creates the allowance for a top flap where we will insert the pillow form, then velcro the cover closed.
  • Lay out your trim how you want it, creating a tree shape. I started at the bottom with the longest piece, then when up from there, cutting each piece a little shorter.
  • If you need to paint your buttons, lay them out on top of a piece of newspaper or craft paper. Using a tooth pick to keep them in place, paint the first layer on each button. In the end, I used 3 coats of the silver paint for a solid, streak-free cover.
2. Sewing

  •  Pin the trim in place, making sure to tuck under the ends, so the raw edges aren't showing. (I originally sewed the layers of trim down too far apart, so I added the second trim in between each layer to make a fuller-looking tree. It's just a matter of preference.) 
  • Thread your machine with the color of your choice. Since my trim was white, I used white thread.
  • Using a zigzag stitch, sew each piece of trim to the piece of felt with the top flap. Make sure to sew near the top edge of the trim, so that the ruffly part of the trim isn't tacked down. Don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end!
  • Once each layer of trim is sewn down, thread a hand needle in preparation for sewing on the buttons. Place your "star" above the tree and hand-sew it on.
  • Take your dry buttons (if you painted them) and place them randomly on the tree so that they look like ornaments. When you have the buttons arranged where you want them, pin them down by putting the pin through one of the holes in the button and into the fabric. Starting at the bottom right of the tree, hand-sew each "ornament" to your tree.

  • Place your two pieces of felt wrong-sides together, line up the left, bottom and right edges and pin. The top should be left open and the flap should extend past the 17x17" square. Starting at the 17" mark on one side, sew with 1/2" seam allowance along the left, bottom and right sides, leaving the top open.
  • Clip your corners, and trim the seam allowance. Doing these two things will ensure that the seams and corners lay flat when turned right-side-out.

  • Turn the pillow cover right-side-out and press.
  • Take one side of your hook and loop tape and pin it on the inside of your top flap, trimming the length if necessary. Sew around the edge of your hook and loop tape, securing it to the flap. Don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end!
  • Fold the flap down so that the raw edge of 17x17" is covered. This is how you determine where the other side of the hook and loop tape needs to be attached. See the photo below for clarification.

  • Once you determine where the other side of the hook and loop tape needs to be attached, pin it in place and sew around the edge. Don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end!
3. Finishing Up
  • Did you notice that we didn't need to do anything to the raw edges at the top of our pillow cover? That's the nice thing about felt and fleece: it won't fray!
  • Insert your pillow form into the pillow cover, making sure that the side seams match up (this helps the cover to lay evenly over the pillow).
  • Velcro that baby up and you're done!


Silhouette Letter to Santa Contest

I L.O.V.E. anything and everything that has to do with crafting and sewing, and I have had my eye on a Silhouette Cameo for awhile now. There are SO MANY things you can do and make with it: scrapbook pages, vinyl decor, custom apparel, etched glass, and more. So, when I came across their "Letter to Santa" contest, I got REALLY EXCITED! Here's my letter to the Silhouette Santa:

Want to enter the contest too? Head here for details!


Zippered Pouch Swap

Over the next couple of weeks, I am participating in my first sewing swap! Heather from The Sewing Loft is hosting a zippered pouch swap, and I received an email from my partner last night. It's time to get sewing for my partner, Beth of Old Cedar Knoll Farm.

The first step is to decide on the pouch design, then pick out the fabric for the project. Once I get all of my supplies and get sewing, I will keep you all posted with the progress. Happy sewing :)


My Journey


Over the past couple of years, I have tried out to be an NFL cheerleader twice. I made it to the final round of auditions twice. But, I haven't made the squad. Yet. 

I am trying out ONE MORE TIME! I started what I like to call "my journey to the field" last week and so far so good. Although tryouts aren't until the spring, the process really starts long before the dates are even announced. It's an all-consuming process filled with work outs, dance classes, healthy eating, and a lot of emotions. 

I have grown so much over the last couple years as I have not only prepared myself for try-outs, but also graduated from college, landed my first post-grad job, and so much more. I am in such a great place mentally, emotionally and professionally, and I feel like this is my time to follow my dreams and not give up.

Throughout the next five months, I am sure there will be more posts about "my journey to the field," but for now, wish me luck as I pursue this goal!



Motography Day 1

You may have noticed the button over in the side bar, but if you haven't, I am taking a 1-week online class called Motography. It's all about using your camera on your smartphone and how to enhance them, use them, share them, etc. Last night was just the introduction, but I am already learning and am SO EXCITED for what's to come. Here are the first three photos that I have taken for the class:

1. Screen shot of the live class on USTREAM 2. Self portrait to introduce ourselves (wasn't quite ready for a photo shoot)
3. A photo that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to take if we hadn't had our phones


I am absolutely LOVING the new "Secret Boards" feature on Pinterest. They came just in time for the holidays ;)


Festival Photo Collage

As I mentioned, I went to International Quilt Festival last week in Houston, TX. Here is a little collage of three of my favorite pictures I snapped while I was there.

1. A new favorite quote sewn onto a quilt 2. Wooden embroidery hoops with cute fabric as decor 3. Yep, that's a quilt! Can you believe it?
Want to learn how to make a photo collage in Photoshop Elements? I used this super awesome tutorial to learn how to do it.


What I Wore: Halloween Edition

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love getting to play dress up. Here's what I wore to celebrate the spooktacular holiday:

On the actual day of Halloween, I wore my candy corn skirt that I told you about in this post.

Luckily, Kyra and his band were playing at a Halloween party this weekend, so I got to dress up in my real costume, a flapper. 

Usually, I loathe the bathroom picture shot, but I was getting ready by myself and didn't have another option at the time. 


Thankful Book

The girls over at eighteen25 are doing an awesome month-long Instagram project in November. Here's the scoop:

Everyday in November, snap a photo of something you are thankful for, then at the end of the month head to Blurb to make an Instagram book out of the pics. If you want to participate, use the hashtag #novemberthankful so everyone can follow along.

Read the original post about this awesome project here.

The eighteen25 girls are even providing a super cute cover for the books. Download the "Today I am Thankful" image here.

I am going to participate, will you?


Work In Progress

Ever heard of International Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival? Combined, it is the world's largest quilt show. Market is for people in the industry (fabric designers, machine companies, retailers, etc.), and Festival is for consumers. And, since I work for a company that sells sewing machines, sewing furniture and notions, I get to go to Festival next week! I am beyond excited, and I have a feeling that I will come home with an unhealthy amount of fabric for my stash. 

Festival events start on Halloween, so I started thinking about what I should wear. Obviously, since I am working, I am not going to wear a full on costume, but I still wanted to show some Halloween spirit. Luckily, I stumbled across this tutorial for a candy corn skirt!

The tutorial from Nike of Thrive is for her elementary-aged daughter, so I am in the process of making size adjustments. And, I don't have a ruffling or gathering foot, so I am doing the old-school way. Ya know, baste each piece and pull the bobbin threads, which TAKES FOREVER. Disclaimer: it doesn't take THAT long I guess, but too long for my taste.

Look for a post about my completed project in the next few days. Until then, happy DIYing!


Zig Zag Bag Pattern Review

The Riley Blake Zig Zag Bag kit came home with me from Sewing Summit a couple of weeks ago, and I finally had time to sit down and work on the project. I LOVE how it turned out, especially the Black and Gold-ness of it. I will be headed back to Mizzou for Homecoming this weekend, and my Zig Zag Bag will be making an appearance also!

The kit included all of the fabric, interfacing and hardware I needed to complete the bag. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. I made a couple tweaks to the pattern, and I am proud to say that no seams had to be ripped or redone!

Read my full pattern review here on Totally Stitchin'.


More About Me Mondays #6

This isn't a typical MAMM post, but more of an insight into how I feel sometimes...

Today feels like a typical gloomy Monday. The weather isn't gloomy, but I am waaaay tired from a busy weekend. All I want to do is cuddle under the covers and nap all day. BUT, duty calls and so does my pesky final that is coming up on Wednesday.

Besides my accounting test, I am going to the first night of Saint Louis Fashion Week Tuesday and leaving for the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City on Thursday. I am in for one busy, and hopefully, exciting week. 

And, for your viewing pleasure: a video of a surprise homecoming. Grab the kleenex...


Halloween Wreath

Yarn wrapped wreaths are all over Pinterest right now, and I just couldn't resist testing my hand at it. I got all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby and was able to complete this project in under 2 hours.

Peace, love and Halloween!


Ready For Fall

Image sources: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Fall Outfit, Pumpkin FroYo, Boots, Bonfire

With the cooler temperatures, I am SO ready for everything that fall brings each year. What are you most looking forward to this season?


More About Me Mondays #5

Sorry for the crickets taking over the last couple of weeks. Between starting grad school and a conference for work, I have been one busy lady. I am getting things back under control, and I'm back with another More About Me Mondays post. And, yes I know it is Tuesday, but I would rather post this today than have to wait a week.

1. My worst habits are procrastination and unpunctuality. (Yes, unpunctual is actually a word. I looked it up). I was the queen of cramming for tests in college. I guess its the pressure of having no choice but to get it done that makes me feel like I do my best work. I always get everything done...it's just ALWAYS last minute.

2. I could spend all day watching the various marathons on USA, including but certainly not limited to Law & Order: SVU and NCIS.

3. I L.O.V.E. Elm Street Life. It's an amazing and inspiring blog. Whitney, the lovely lady behind it all,  is really pretty and full of sunshine. I wish I knew her in real life and that she was my friend. My favorite posts are the ones where she has documented her and her husband's love story. I'm not gonna lie, they make me tear up when I read them.

4. I have been dying my hair since 8th grade. It has been highlighted every color under the sun, but now I just dye it dark brown (close to my natural color). My color comes from an $8 box from Walgreens, and I love it!

5. I have had my ears pierced 8 times, and I have had my nose and belly button pierced. Now, I only have one hole in each ear. I decided that having 10 unnatural holes in my body wasn't quite professional. BUT, I do kinda miss having my nose pierced.


Chevron Mug Rug

Big news in Tori-land... I just finished my very first in-depth sewing tutorial! I created a Chevron Mug Rug, and I love how it turned out. Head over to Totally Stitchin' to see my tutorial.

And, I picked up some Riley Blake Chevron fabric yesterday, and it is absolutely fabulous. I am using it in a project for Kyra. He's graduating Saturday with a degree in diagnostic medical sonography, so presents are in order!

I will post about the project after I give it to him, so keep your eyes open :)


More About Me Mondays #4

My birthday was this past Friday, and I have been reflecting on the past 12 months and how wonderful it has been. So, for this edition of More About Me Mondays, I am bringing you the top 5 highlights of the last year.

1. I met the love of my life.

2. My sweet-as-pie nephew was born.

3. I moved into my first adult apartment.

4. I got a job that puts both my major (advertising/PR) and minor (textile and apparel management) to use.

5. My best friend got engaged to the love of her life and had a precious baby boy.
The past year has been beyond-words amazing, and here's to another year of awesomeness!


Fabric Stash Printable

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I am the community manager for a sewing blog called Totally Stitchin'. It's a great community of modern sewists, and I love that I am  able to contribute to the conversation. I recently posted a free Stash Guide printable, and I wanted to share with you all as well. 

Want some awesome fabric organization for yourself? Read my post and download the printable here.


More About Me Mondays #3

1. I am notorious for ordering really odd food combinations when out to eat, like a side of mashed potatoes and a caesar salad. 

2. I have 4 stars tattooed on my body: a blue one on the top of my right foot, a green one on the side of my left foot, and 2 star outlines behind my left ear. My mom turned 50 and I turned 18 in the same summer, so my mom, sister and I went and each got a star on the top of our right foot. Eventually, we all went back and got 2 more stars, so we each have a star to represent one another. When my niece was born 3 years ago, I got the green one to represent her. 
3. I am deathly afraid of snakes. I have had nightmares about them since I was a little girl. I have never had a bad experience with a snake, so it is completely irrational that I have this fear. Just typing this right now and thinking about snakes freaks me out.

4. I am rarely on time. If you want me to be somewhere at a specific time, you should probably tell me to be there 15-20 minutes before you actually need me.

5. I am fiercely loyal. I dedicate myself 100% to things I care about, whether it is a person, project, or cause.


Create to Give: Shelter Blankets

I made these blankets to donate to a local animal shelter. This was a quick and easy project that had such a positive outcome in more ways than one. Make your own with my step-by-step instructions found over at Totally Stitchin'.


More About Me Mondays #2

1. My favorite color is purple. It has been since I was a little girl. My 3-year-old niece’s favorite color is also purple, so we have lots of conversations about how much we love it.

2. I have a dog named Shanny. She is a white schnauzer, and she is the sweetest thing ever. I adopted her 2 years ago, which was a complete blessing.

3. I wear my socks inside out. Weird, I know.

4. I have tried out to be an NFL cheerleader twice. I haven’t made it yet, but I am going to keep trying.

5. I have an affinity for bad reality TV (which reminds me, Bachelor Pad starts tonight…). I don’t know what it is that seems appealing about it, but I easily get sucked in.


50 Shades of Pink

Ok, so not 50, more like 4. I just couldn't resist the play on Fifty Shades of Grey. I am currently participating in the Lovely Package Exchange hosted by oh, hello friend, and I made this bracelet for my partner. I used this tutorial to learn how to weave the thread. I then added my own little touch with the charm.

I will post the rest of the things I made and, of course, the lovely packaging after my partner receives it. I don't want to ruin the surprise for her because I LOVE SURPRISES!


DIY Clipboards

One of my many philosophies is that you are at work the same amount of time you are at home, so your office/cubicle should be a warm and welcoming place. Staying true to this mantra, I added a little personality to some clipboards I bought at Wal Mart.

I bought clipboards for $7.50, used 12″x12″ scrapbook paper that I already had, and put them together with rubber cement. As soon as I brought them to work, my cube was instantly a happier place.

*And, in classic Tori fashion, I used the same color scheme for my Dry-Erase Calendar and clipboards. Of course, future projects for my cubicle will match as well.


More About Me Mondays

1. Although I am a self-proclaimed "Domestic Diva," I HATE doing the dishes. I prefer the "trying new recipes and DIY projects" side of domesticity (is that even a word?). Thankfully, my saint of a boyfriend helps in the dirty dishes department.

2. Speaking of my saint of a boyfriend... His name is Kyra, and he is a true Renaissance Man. He is a talented singer and songwriter. He is an amazing cook, a personal trainer, and is going to school for ultrasound. I honestly think he is good at anything he tries (I also may be a little biased :)). 

3. I graduated from the University of Missouri. I will forever be a Tiger fan and proud supporter of the Black & Gold. MIZ!

4. Moths freak me out, but butterflies are beautiful.

5. I am starting grad school in August. You will probably hear lots about this journey over the next couple years.

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