Craft Shows in the Hill Country: 2nd Stop

Way back in March of this year, back when it was not yet Summer and definitely not Fall, we headed to the tiny little town of Gruene, Texas. I have been so busy with kids and the running of a household and my little shop, that I am so terribly late on telling y’all all about our 2nd stop on our Hill Country Craft Show tour. Nearly 7 months and two seasons late! I think my favorite phrase of 2017 is “better late than never.”

Gruene, Texas! Such a little gem of Texas German Immigrant history. Gruene was a thriving cotton farming town back in 1845. Check out more history facts on their website: The town is listed on the National Register of the Historic Places. If you get the chance to visit, you’ll see why. After hitting up the craft show, we stayed to walk around and check out so many great little shops that have taken the place of once a cotton gin or the first mercantile. And you can’t miss the great music coming from Gruene Hall. A historical marker outside reads that it may have been one of the very first saloons! The town is so small, you can easily park and just walk. It’s located on the Guadalupe River, which is always refreshing.

So the craft show! Tons of creative Texans packed into one little spot. It was also packed with shoppers. Each booth had something so unique and different and it always amazes me how many artists call Texas their home! And it is always awesome to see something for all ages. We tasted samples of Texas grown honey and spices. I snapped a few pics for the blog of shops that really impressed me with their uniqueness and artistry. Check out the one with my little man, Mason. This shop owner makes guitars out of cigar boxes and adds some Texas flair! And I loved the shop that makes the coolest custom hats. She had one for every occasion. (Just a little FYI, many booths had signs requesting no pics to be taken. Which is kind of a bummer because I can’t showcase them, but I completely understand)

Next stop, Bandera, Texas! Feel free to leave me a comment if you love Texas!

New online store!

Good rainy afternoon y’all! It has been raining all week and I’m so over it. It’s dark and dreary and I’m stuck indoors all day. I truly miss the warm sun.

So my little shop, NorahJane Boutique, just launched online! For awhile I have been doing business with my close friends and finally got a minute to get myself out there.

I love how it turned out and it was so easy to build. I’ve got a tiny handful of products, but that’s how I like it! If you get a second, check it out and leave me a comment on what you think.

NorahJane Boutique is rocking the 1970s look for Fall 2017

A Little Girl’s Vintage Apron

I was hoping to post my new blog post sooner, but I have been so busy with my first collaboration! My handmade biz, NorahJane Boutique is gearing up for a Spring collaboration with some really creative moms. It’s a lot of work but has been exciting and I will definitely be blogging about it (soon?)!

This year, I’ve really been putting a lot of focus on how I can repurpose beautiful vintage linens.  I came across some inexpensive table linens in an antique store right outside the city. There’s something about a store filled with beautiful and old treasures that makes the creative part of my brain kick in.

There was a time when the lady of the house would sit at her lovely dressing table and get herself ready for the day. I’d like to imagine she had a bunch of kids and a husband bothering her the whole time, but at least she had a pretty table. And on it, she’d have pretty dresser scarves to show off all her beautiful brushes and jewelry boxes.

And that’s when I thought, “This would make a cute apron! In fact, if I cut it in half, it’d make two!” Today’s little sewing adventure is a really simple one. It takes just the basic sewing skills and not too many supplies. It is a quick project, too. You’ll probably be able to make two aprons in an hour. Etsy and EBay are also great places to find dresser scarves. You can also use doilies! They come in lots of different styles and sizes. The smaller ones work great for a toddler.

Here’s what you’ll also need : scissors, pins, fabric, and a pattern piece to make the apron band and tie (pic 1). I took one of the pattern pieces from one of my patterns, but if you’re good at cutting straight lines, you can easily make your own pattern piece. The fabric should measure about 40 inches in length and at least 3.5 inches in width. This is the perfect size for my babe, but you’ll need to adjust if you’d like the ties to be longer for a big kid. Or maybe you just like the look of a wide ban, so just add some width.

First, you’ll place your pattern piece on your fabric and pin it. And then cut it out. Fold the fabric in half, length wise. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are now facing each other. Now pin it. You’ll want to leave a space in the middle open so that later you can turn the apron band and ties right side out. I tried to show this in pic 2. The amount of space you’ll leave open is the width of the apron (or dresser scarf).

Now it’s time to sew. Make sure you start at one end of the tie end (pic 3). Stitch close to the edge. You’ll need to stop when you get to that opening (pic 4) and then pull out your fabric and go to the other end of the tie and repeat.

Next, you’ll want to cut the corners off of each end (pic 5). This helps make your corners look nice when you turn it right side out. Now, you’ll turn your fabric right side out. Here’s a little tip: I use a chop stick to help me get right into the corners. Just be careful and not jab your chop stick in there too hard (yes, I have torn fabric this way and yes, I wanted to bang my head on my sewing table).

I’m not a big fan of ironing and I know all the sewing books tell you to use your iron and use it often. Um, no thank you. But, this next step requires an iron and you’ll actually have to use it. With your band and tie ends turned right side out, you’ll need to tuck in the “raw” edges (that’s the part you left unsewn) so you can’t see them. Now press the whole band and tie ends nice an flat.

Now you’ll sandwich your apron into the opening and pin it (pic 6). Back at your sewing machine, start at the end again and stitch all the around until you get back to where you started. This ensures that the opening is now closed (pic 7).

You’re all done! Super easy, right! Feel free to leave me a comment if you tried this project.

Craft Shows in the Hill Country: 1st Stop.

So, this weeks post isn’t about sewing, but something just as fun. I wanted to share with you our little trip to Fredericksburg, Texas. Living in San Antonio, we are very close to many small towns, so it’s not a long trip that our two little ones can’t handle. Although, my six year old still manages to ask before we’ve even left the city, “Are we there yet?” (At least five times)

If you haven’t visited the Texas Hill County, you need to add it to your to-do list! It really is like no other. Plan on getting gas before you leave because you won’t find many places to fill up along the way. Take your time driving down I-10, you don’t want to miss the views!

Fredericksburg is a lovely, little town. It was founded in 1846 by German immigrants (source: your Texas History textbook 😁). The houses are so quaint and you’ll find many bed and breakfast and vacation cottages. Downtown is thriving with many shops, wine bars, biergarten’s (beer garden) and of course, German food!

Every third weekend of the month,  the town holds their craft show and trade days. It’s a three day event. I read up a little about it on their website before heading out there.

First of all, this place is huge! Be a little more prepared than I was, and wear walking shoes. Don’t try to look cute because your feet will hate you. When you first walk in, you’ll see the cutest cottages with shops inside. There are also many canopies with shops set up under the Texas sun. Keep walking and you’ll find more and more of these delightful cottages with shop owners smiling and greeting you. And then there are the barns. There are seven massive barns throughout the property. Each barn holds at least twenty craft booths.

We discovered lots of antiques, vintage toys, repurposed items and so many wonderfully hand crafted items made by some really creative Texans. You will literally find anything you’re looking for or didn’t know you were looking for.

And then there’s the food and beer! Yes, we drink a lot of beer in Texas (no shocker) and it is absolutely appropriate to drink a beer at a craft show. Take a seat at the picnic tables and enjoy the biergarten and sausage on a stick with lots of mustard. They are also apparently famous for their jalapeño creamed corn, which I promise to try next time we go out. And just when you thought this is the best craft show ever, there’s live music! This was really the only part my kids liked. They aren’t big on shopping antiques and fun finds.

The best thing I took away from this event was the people. Many booths had people just gathering to chat with one another. We had fun talking with shop owners and it makes you want to come back just for the atmosphere. This is first stop of a handful of craft shows we’ll be visiting, so please stay tuned for more! And more “Are we there yet?” From my son!

An adorable girl’s skirt made from a vintage pillowcase

I love Pinterest! I probably spend a little too much time pinning new favorite recipes, craft ideas and projects for the kids. Recently, I came across a post by Craftaholics Anonymous for a pillowcase skirt. I’ve seen tons of pillowcase dresses, which are pretty but also pretty much everyone knows how to make one by now.

Having a handful of skirts for your little girl is the perfect clothing piece when she just doesn’t want to wear a dress. Luckily, my three year old will wear just about anything I put on her. I love the idea of being able to throw a t-shirt and skirt on her and we’re off to the fabric store, grocery shopping or lunch with Daddy. You can even put some leggings under, if it’s a bit cooler. Or dress it up with a nice blouse and tights!

In this blog post, I’ll show you how I made my first pillowcase skirt. I’ve included step by step pictures and easy instructions. You should have basic sewing skills, because I pretty much only use basic skills. I promise this will be a very simple project, and with basic skills, it will probably take you an hour to complete one skirt. Well, it took me an hour at least, because I have a crazy house full of kids. The best thing about this project is that you can make it in almost any size. If my nine year old wore whatever I put on her, she’d have a handful of them, too.

First, I went to Ebay, Etsy and antique stores to find some vintage pillowcases. You can buy really expensive ones, but you don’t have to. Do a little window shopping and find a price you like. The one featured today cost me $7 including the shipping.

I’m in love with ones that feature cross stitching. They are usually done by hand, which is just amazing in itself. Some even have hand crocheted edges which not only is ready to go trim for you, but also really beautiful. After you pick out your pillowcase, you’ll need scissors, sewing machine, measuring tape and elastic. The size of the elastic depends on how wide you want the waist band to be. I like half an inch. You can add coordinating buttons and ribbon, if you’d like.

Now that you have all your supplies ready (pic 1), you’ll want to lay your pillowcase down lengthwise. The roses are conveniently placed at the opening part of the case, which will be the bottom of the skirt. And, it’s already hemmed for you!  Next, you’ll need to do a quick measure of your baby. This will depend on how long you’d like her to wear the skirt. I prefer just below the knee. I also wanted to make sure I left enough room at the top of the skirt for my decorative buttons (pic 2).

Now that you know the length, add 1.5 inches. This is what you’ll need for the casing of the elastic. If you’re using a smaller width elastic, you can adjust how much you use for the casing. Mark your length with a fabric marker. Now you can cut a straight line across the width of the pillowcase. I’m saving the part I cut off for another project.

Next, fold the pillowcase inside out and make your casing. I like to place my elastic close by to make sure I’m leaving a wide enough casing for it to fit (pic 3). Now you’ll take your skirt to the sewing machine (pic 4). Stitch your casing and make sure to leave an opening for the elastic. Run your elastic through the casing and finish stitching up the casing. I won’t go into how to do this because it’s pretty basic and I’m sure you already know how to do that.

Finally, flip your skirt right side out and add a bow and buttons if you’d like. I also added some lace to the bottom, which is super easy and geez how cute and vintage! Let me know how you liked this project. I’d love to hear your feedback.