august gifts and too many buttons

three birthdays on two days in august, one day apart...

this was ben's birthday loot - i made this little bag out of a map of bar harbor using this tutorial.  this might be my favorite thing i made!

every year i try to make him a gift (except last year!  i couldn't think of anything!) but it's getting harder to think of things to make.  the first year i drew him pictures of three of his favorite musicians (one of which is in my first post) and the next year i made him this shirt, which was quite an undertaking for that point in my sewing timeline.  this year he kept talking about needing a wallet, so i made him one from [kids] wallet tutorial

i thought it looked a little too kid-ish and i was worried the slots weren't deep enough for the cards, but he says he likes it  i used leftover black wool and remnants from his birthday shirt two years ago!

for my brother's girlfriend i made this reversible, adjustable bag.  i like the size and shape, but this was the beginning of Too Many Buttons.  the tutorial actually calls for 20 buttons (5 on each end, on each side) so that you adjust the strap to varying lengths, but i just couldn't take that many.  i did 16 and that was excruciating enough.  ok, enough drama, but it was a little tedious because you're sewing two buttons at once each time (which, yes, i know is better than 16 individually).

and for my co-worker i made a little purple mug warmer.  i liked it so much that some of you loved ones out there may get these for christmas gifts...!  i made another one to get started on that.  and thus, more buttons. 

i used this pattern and made a dent in some stash yarn.  this is quick and easy and i love the smocking stitch pattern.  i thought it was genius - is this a stitch pattern that everyone knows about except me?  at first i got really excited and thought i would make some really cool hat with it and find my way to modification monday and then the next day i saw a pattern for a hat with the smocking pattern.  right.

anyways, i tried a tight gauge and two buttons to make this somewhat adjustable, although the brown is actually too big for the narrow mug it's on and both would not fit a super-big mug.  so the warmers need the right mug for the job.

and thank you pinterest because each and every one of these projects i found on that stinkin' website.  more pinterest love.


  1. ohhh, i would love a bag like the green one. i really need to learn how to use my sewing machine already. i have had one for over 3 years... i've yet to make something. pretty pathetic.

  2. this is a very do-able bag if you're just learning to sew, particularly if you just make a stable strap instead of the buttons. i'll give you pointers if you want them. not pathetic - just not an easy thing to self-teach! i had my mom to show me and bug with questions, that made it a lot easier.