Recent Commissioned Projects

Posted on September 21st, 2011 by admin in Projects | No Comments »

I’ve been working on a few projects over the past month or so and thought I’d post a few pictures here mainly to keep track of what I’ve gotten done.  
The the first project for this particular customer was the top of her porch swing that she wanted made.  There was an old one already on her swing structure, so I was able to use that as a pattern.  Of course the new fabric was six different colors that ran in stripes.  She wanted the stripes to run from top to bottom, which I was able to do and the valance around it had the stripes also running top to bottom.  She had already started making the seat cushion covers and had gotten about half way done.  She was happy with my work and wanted me to finish the cushion cover that she had already started. I was also able to finish the cushion cover and it fit perfectly.  
Her sister then commissioned me to make a comforter, pillow cases and a decorative pillow for her.  The comforter top was to be made out of a pink knit that had raised rows similar to corduroy and some pink satin sheets sewn on to look like ribbon and a bow and backed with black polka dots.  She wanted the pillow cases out of the same pink knit and a decorative pillow to match the comforter.  She wanted the final product to look like a her bed is a giant present.   Here are a couple pictures of the finished products except for the pillow cases.
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The next commissioned project was for a seat cushion for a window seat.  It was a little challenging because the back had a piece of wood on either end that prevented the cushion from sitting all the way back, so I had to form the back of the cushion to accommodate those areas.  But I got it done and took a quick picture of it in the car before I took it over to her.  
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I’ve also done a few alterations for a couple of different people. Sorry, no pictures.  Unfortunately, the sewing machines that I have are quite old and one of them died during the comforter project.  I was able to finish the projects I had left but not as smoothly as I would have liked.  So, I started a fund for a new machine but I think I have a ways to go before that happens.  


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Where Inspiration Comes From

Posted on August 7th, 2011 by admin in Projects | No Comments »


I’ve been making pin cushions to give as gifts and to add to my etsy account.  I get most of my inspiration from thinking of family members and what they have a soft spot for.  My daughter loves monkeys and I have a niece who is crazy for zombies and another one who has a thing for frogs.  So I came up with these.  
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I work on them whenever I get the chance and often times that is while I’m waiting while my daughter bowls on Saturday mornings. I guess it’s fitting that I made my first sales there. 
I must admit that I am a procrastinator.  So, it is not unusual for me to get around to thinking about what to do for someones birthday or anniversary the week of or even the night before their big day.  Lucky for me I also work well under pressure and some of my best designs have spawned from these last minute inspiration.  Just a few weeks ago my parents were going to visit my sister who was home for a few weeks from Brussels.  They were leaving on a Wednesday so true to form, on Tuesday I decided to make a space shuttle for my sister’s birthday and they could carry it up to her for me.  My dad worked in the space program for many years and we grew up watching the Apollo program and the Shuttle program launches many times and I think we all have a soft spot for rockets and shuttles.
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My latest creations I came up with for my parent’s anniversary, which is today.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!  Of course, I came up with these designs yesterday.  I’m wondering if I should call them decorative dolls instead because my dad certainly will not need a pin cushion but I do think he will get a kick out of the one I made for him.  He is an artist and I was inspired by a fellow etsy shop called House of Mouse.  They had made a Vincent Van Gogh mouse that was way too cute. So for my dad, I personalized a little guy to look a little like him with brown eyes and red hair, since he used to have red hair.  
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My mom was even easier since she collects angels.  I, of course, came up with this cutie with blue eyes and black hair because my mom is an angel.  
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My Intarsia Knitting Experience with Peter Penguin

Posted on June 22nd, 2011 by admin in Projects, Reviews - Books, Podcasts | No Comments »

da20bcde0fa0cbc My Intarsia Knitting Experience with Peter Penguin

Here’s my first attempt at intarsia knitting.  I made Peter Penguin from a knitting pattern from Knitted Toy Tales My Intarsia Knitting Experience with Peter PenguinStuffed Animals Craft Books) My Intarsia Knitting Experience with Peter Penguin .  Yes, this is the same book I used for the patterns for the mouse and elephants I’ve made in the past.  Do you see a pattern (I know bad pun) here?  I love this book.  The penguin was made in intarsia which was my first time using that technique.  I must say that I didn’t fully understand what I was doing until I was a ways into it and was actually doing the fair isle technique at first.  I actually went back and cut the yarn and finished the ends for a few rows instead of starting over.  So, I guess you could say I had a taste of both fair isle and intarsia.  

Any color changes I had done in the past were always at the beginning of the row and I haven’t done many. As I said before, I didn’t really get what I was supposed to be doing at first.  For those of you that may be as nieve as I was, here’s an explaination of the difference between intarsia and fair isle knitting.

Intarsia knitting is when you have a separate ball for each color change.  For instance, when I was knitting Peter Penguin and the row was to knit so many stitches in black and then change to white, knit so many stitches and then change to black again, I needed to have a ball of black for the first set of black stitches, a ball of white for the white stitches, and another ball of black for the second set of black stitches.  

Fair Isle knitting is when you use the same ball for the color change.  The back will have a strands of yarn stretched between the changes.  I understand that this is usually used for complicated color changes or small repeating patterns, I think anyway.  For instance, if I were to use the Peter Penguin pattern as fair isle, I would have knitted so many stitches in black, changed to white and knitted so many stitches and then picked up the same ball of black to continue the second set of black stitches.  The problem I ran into when I did this by accident on that pattern was that I did not leave a long enough strand of black in back of the white stitches, (probably because the white stitching was too big of a space to stretch the yarn easily, or maybe just because of my inexperience).  What happened was that the white area was scrunched together so I had to cut the strands and end them to make the pattern work anyway.  

Okay, so I learned some lessons while making this little guy but I think he turned out pretty cute anyway.  I gave him to my son for his baby he’s expecting in November and he was very happy with it.

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My Latest Project – Pocket Book Slippers Pattern Review

Posted on May 3rd, 2011 by admin in Uncategorized | No Comments »

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My latest project was this pair of strange looking slippers.  When I started the pattern all I saw was the completed slipper, which I thought was a little different and pretty cute.  I couldn’t understand why they were called pocket book slippers until I finished the first one and it looked like a little pocket book or purse that transformed into looking like a real slipper when I put it on.  I was right it is a little different in a quirky kind of way.  The pattern was very easy to do and didn’t take me long to finish both of them.  I got it from here if you are interested in trying it yourself.  I did alter the pattern by knitting one row and purling the next instead of knitting each row and I’m pleased with how they came out.  I will probably put a button on the them but for now I’m still in a knitting kind of mood so I’m looking for my next project. 

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Easter Bunnies

Posted on April 24th, 2011 by admin in Projects | No Comments »

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My latest projects.  A pair of cute little amigurumi bunnies just in time for Easter.  No, really, I just finished the second one today.  I used the free pattern by Stephanie Jessica Lau that is posted on the craftzine website.   I ran out of time so mine are not as fancy as the ones posted but I think they turned out pretty cute anyway.  

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This was another bunny I made after using the pattern for craft night with my daughter’s friends who wanted to learn to knit.  You can find this free pattern here on Twins Knit’s blog.  Craft night was great fun and I’m looking forward to doing it again.  It was the first one I had ever done or even attended and I realized I didn’t plan very well.  In the future I will try out the pattern I use first.  Because I didn’t make the bunny beforehand, some the questions the girls had while making the pattern I had to think about and actually ended up over thinking on some of them.  For instance we were using the straight needle pattern and the directions said “Now knit left 13 sts”.  When the girl asked me how to knit left I was confused and actually did a search for how to “knit left”.  It took me a few times of reading the pattern to realize that she just had to knit the remaining 13 stitches.  You ever have one of those days when your brain just doesn’t kick in when it should.  I felt pretty silly when I realized what the pattern actually said.  But it was fun and I for one am looking forward to doing another craft night soon.

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Book and Magazine Reviews – CraftSanity Magazine, Nifty Knit Dishcloths & Knitted Toy Tales

Posted on April 11th, 2011 by admin in Reviews - Books, Podcasts | No Comments »

I mentioned a magazine and two books in my previous post  that I thought deserve more than a mention.  So I thought I would ad a Review section for book reviews and magazine reviews.


***** Craft Sanity Magazine Issue One $12.00 for print copy or $3.99 for PDF on  

If you haven’t guessed, I love Craft Sanity podcasts and Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood has extended what she does on her podcast and website and her etsy shop into a magazine.  She gives great interviews that inspire the reader to want to take action and then gives the instructions on how to do so.  She gives patterns for knitting, crocheting, embroidery, sewing and weaving as well as recipes and there is even a paper doll to cut out.  I got more out of this magazine than I have out of a lot of craft books that I own. 

**** Nifty Knit Dischcloths by Leisure Arts Book and Magazine Reviews   CraftSanity Magazine, Nifty Knit Dishcloths & Knitted Toy Tales $5.50 at Hobby Lobby (currently $4.25 at

There are 16 designs in this 9 paged book.  The designs are made using not only the basic knit and purl stitches but also uses a few other stitches that are shown with clear written instructions in the front with diagrams and also at the top of the patterns that use those designs, it gives written instructions on how to do those stitches again.  I would consider myself a beginning knitter and found some of the patterns a little challenging and frustrating but in the end I was able to figure out the stitches and complete each dishcloth that I tried.  I have done about half of the designs and plan on trying all of them at least once.  I have a very large family and we try to get together for the holidays.  I like to try to make something every year and this year it may just be these dishcloths.

*****Knitted Toy Tales Book and Magazine Reviews   CraftSanity Magazine, Nifty Knit Dishcloths & Knitted Toy Tales $22.99 at Hobby Lobby ( currently $15.63 at

I love this book.  Not only does Laura Long give easy to follow instructions for each stuffed toy but she also tells a little story with each one.  So far I have only tried the mouse and elephant patterns which use the basic knit, purl, increase and descrease stitches but I have plans to do some others that seem a little more complicated.  I can’t wait to expand my knitting knowlege of how to add color using two different methods, Intarsia and Fair Isle and feel confident that I will be able to do so using her instructions.  



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Creatures and Knitting Obsessions Collide

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by admin in Projects | 1 Comment »


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As I mentioned in my last post, every since I listened to the CraftSanity interview with Anna Hrachovec I have been obsessed with creating creatures.  Anna contributed a pattern for knitted Teeny Tiny Mochimochi Snowmen in the first issue of CraftSanity Magazine, which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on.  When it arrived, I quickly borrowed some double pointed knitting needles from my mom and I already had some sock yarn in my stash and went to work on following the pattern to create one of her adorable snowmen.  In truth, I am a fairly inexperienced knitter.  I tried knitting a few times over the years and have gotten frustrated when I make a mistake.  I am not really able to count my rows to keep track of where I am when I pull things out to fix the mistake, so I ended up pulling everything out and starting over.  But since these snowmen are so small, I decided I would give it a go.  Even though the instructions are clear I had a hard time trying to figure out the increases and decreases at first.  But I went online and found videos of how to do those stitches and called my mom for more clairification when I needed it and was able to finish this cute little colorful snowman.  I adore the little guy and have him hanging from the strap of my knitting bag that I carry with me. 

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still wanted to make more but by this time it was late February and snowmen are a little out of season here in Florida.  Also, I decided I really needed to get more practice knitting and fixing mistakes before I felt comfortable moving on to more complicated patterns.  So I picked up a pattern book of knitted dish cloths called Nifty Knit Dischcloths by Leisure Arts Creatures and Knitting Obsessions Collide  The book has 16 different designs which I decided would help me learn how to knit better and even if I made mistakes that I couldn’t fix, it wouldn’t really matter.  Besides my sister-in-law loves knitted and crocheted dishcloths and her birthday was coming up.  I was able to finish three for her birthday and have made a few more since then.  My knitting obsession is now in full swing.


I took my daughter to see a movie and wouldn’t you know it but a Michael’s was just across the street and I happened to find a Michael’s gift card that I had forgotten about in my wallet recently.  My daughter needed some black DMC thread and I could always use some more cotton yarn so we went in.  My daughter found a book for knitted stuffed toys that she was interested in.  I told her if I had enough left on the card, she could get the book.  We ended up having enough on the card to get the book and some yarn to make one of the projects she wanted to try.  


Another birthday was coming up, this time for my neice who loves dolls and stuffed toys.  I was looking through the book we bought, Knitted Toy Tales Creatures and Knitting Obsessions Collide by Laura Long and found a cute little mouse pattern that looked doable in the small amount of time I had to make it.  So I knitted a mouse for her birthday, put it in a shoe box and told her to be careful when she opened it.  Of course I had to gasp when she opened it, scaring her that the contents might be some sort of live animal.  My brother and sister-in-law were much relieved it wasn’t real, although my niece was posibly a little disapointed.  But she quickly got over that and the next time I saw her she told me  that she was sleeping with her mouse.  The first one worked up so quickly and easily that I had to make a minature one for her, using sock yarn and smaller needles.  She loved that one too and asked if I’d make her a papa mouse to complete her mouse family, of course, I happily obliged.  Here’s the gray papa mouse she requested.


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At this point my knitting and creature creating obsessions colided into my knitted creatures obsession.  My other niece’s birthday was a few weeks away, so I decided to try a more complicated project.  I really liked the elephant in the Knitted Toy Tales book and decided I would give that a try.  He turned out so cute and my other niece loved it as well.  My daughter made her a friendship bracelet that was tied around it’s trunk.

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I’m making another elephant at this time for a first baby and am almost done with it, did I mention I’m obsessed with knitting stuffed creatures.

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My Bottle Cap Pincushion Obsession

Posted on April 5th, 2011 by admin in Projects | 1 Comment »

420dafcc93880dc My Bottle Cap Pincushion Obsession


Here are some pictures of some fun I had not too long ago.  I found instructions on how to make these cute minature bottlecap pincushions at Craftstylish’s website from a post they put on facebook and I couldn’t resist making my own.  I love making things from recycled materials and these use recycled soda bottle caps. I made one 

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and then had to try a different embroidery design (I haven’t done much embroidery before this).
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Around this time I listened to a podcast by CraftSanity’s Jenifer Ackerman-Haywood.  Jennifer interviewed Anna Hrachovec who is the creator of Knitting Mochimochi My Bottle Cap Pincushion Obsession(super cute be sure to check it out).  I had never heard of Anna or her Mochimochi Land and their serious cute-ness but was inspired to create my own minature creatures.  I am not a very experienced knitter and since I had recently created these felted minature bottle cap pincusions, I decided I needed to experiment some.  Also around that time I was trying to come up with a handmade gift idea for my niece’s boyfriend.  She had given me some ideas of things he liked, one of which was that he liked fantasy games.  What I pictured was dragons and mythical creatures.  I thought I’d try my hand at creating a minature felt dragon.  It came out cute even though his head was pretty wonky. 
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During the creation of my dragon he looked like an alligator before his wings were put on.  So of course, I had to make a little gator.  I think he will go to the first one in the water at our annual Polar Gator splash that we do every New Year’s Day. 
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Unfortunately, I became a little distracted while I was working on my gator and my obsession began to wain with the pincusions. Be sure to check back to see what I come up with next.  


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Podcast Review – Craft Sanity by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

Posted on August 24th, 2010 by admin in Reviews - Books, Podcasts | 3 Comments »

I’m fortunate that I am able to listen to podcasts and audio books while I work throughout the day.  So, I’m always on the lookout for interesting ones.  Crafting type podcasts were a great discovery for me and iTunes is a great source for finding and easily downloading them to my iPhone.  One that was recommended by another podcaster, Allison Rosen from the “Within a Quarter Inch” podcast, was Craft Sanity by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood. 

I love the name alone because there have been many a time I have crafted my way through my own sanity, but that’s another story.  At first I listened to the most recent podcast but that was all it took for me to go back to the beginning of Jennifer’s podcasting of Craft Sanity.  I started with her first one released in iTunes on January 23, 2006 and listened to every one at least once and some more than once or twice.  

Jennifer interviews crafters, authors and artists and has a background in newspaper journalism.  I would describe her style as laid back and personable.  She asks great questions and gets the people she interviews talking about all kinds of things related to crafting.  She has helped me pass the time in an educational and quite enjoyable way.  I often find myself making notes of books, websites, and inspired ideas while listening to Jennifer’s interviews and then actually getting the book or going to the websites of the people she interviews.  In fact the first book I will be reviewing will be one that Jennifer interviewed the author, Hardware by Hanna Rogge, so check back to soon.  

To find out more about the Craft Sanity podcasts go to or you can download any, or all, of them from iTunes.


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Welcome to Stuff From Barb

Posted on August 18th, 2010 by admin in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I sell my handmade gifts at craft fairs and in my online shop. I can never decide which type of crafting I like to do best so I do a little bit of everything. I’ve made lots of handmade purses, bags and totes. Some I have sold at craft fairs or in my shop on, some I have given as gifts for special occasions or even just because. I set up this site to blog about my latest crafting obsession. I will be adding pictures so check back often to see my latest creations. I will be reviewing craft books that will be based on at least one project that I did from the book I am reviewing. Please visit my Etsy shop at to see what’s for sale. Soon, I will be setting up a gallery to show off things I have made that sold at craft fairs or given away to friends and family.


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