back-to-back marthas

we had craft night and we tried out some of martha stewart’s sewing projects.  and i have ever-so-many that i still want to do!

we tried this

and this

both are lots of fun and fairly easy to make.  i just wish i had 1 or 2 more sewing machines so there wouldn’t be so much waiting.  then again, it gave us another excuse to get together again!


nullifying death

But now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel     2 Timothy 1:10

nullify–1) to make null; especially : to make legally null and void, 2) to make of no value or consequence (Merriam-Webster)

null–1) having no legal or binding force, 2) amounting to nothing, 3) having no value, 4) a. having no elements, b. having zero as a limit, c. having all elements equal to zero (Merriam-Webster)

Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil     Hebrews 2:14

I saw Christ’s death in a new way from a recent message that was given at a Christian training conference (Message 8, “The Greater Jonah,” July 2012) on the minor prophets.  Christ’s death on the cross was not an act of defeat.  His death brought in His victory over death.  In the past I would think that it wasn’t until His resurrection that He defeated death.  But from the message, I discovered that His resurrection was actually the result of what He did during His stay in Hades.

While on the cross Christ was already “working” to destroy death.  Colossians 2:15 says that He stripped off the rulers and the authorities, shamed them openly, and triumphed over them.  Then Matthew 27: 51-53 describes the result of His death on the cross:

  • The moment He died “the veil of the temple was split in two from top to bottom” (v. 51a), signifying that there was no longer a separation between God and man.
  • “The earth was shaken and the rocks were split” (v. 51b, c) shows that the strongholds of Satan on earth were shaken and broken.
  • Tombs were opened and dead saints were raised (v. 52a, b) shows the releasing power of Christ’s death and that He conquered the power of death and Hades.

Then after Christ was buried, He as the Spirit went to the rebellious angels (the spirits in prison, 1 Peter 3:19) to proclaim God’s victory.  Satan’s scheme to derail God’s divine plan had failed!  While the Lord Jesus was being put to death in the flesh, His Spirit was being “made alive.”  While He was dying, He was living!  Death has no hold on Him.   I had always imagined His three days and nights in Hades (Matthew 12:40) was a bitter battle against the “bad guys,” as He tried to break out of the pits of hell.  I was so wrong!  When the Lord Jesus went into the heart of the earth He had already won the victory, and He was just there to be the evidence of God’s victory.  Christ showed death that He had already nullified death’s power, “I am living forever and ever; and I have the keys of death and of hades” (Revelation 1:18).

Death has lost his sting.  The Lord Jesus entered into death, but death could not hold Him, because He is resurrection.  And as a believer, I have this death-defying resurrection life in me!

stuffed bell pepper (pattern)

warning!  this is not a recipe post for stuffed bell pepper.  it’s a post on how to sew a stuffed bell pepper…this is useful for those of you that happen to have a child or know of one who likes to keep bell peppers as pets!  my previous post enlightens you on why i embarked on this quirky task to make a stuffed bell pepper.

even though i couldn’t find any bell pepper sewing patterns online, i did come across mqsquare’s pincushion tutorial that gave me instructions on how to create my own templates.  this, i tell you, isn’t just giving me a fish, it’s teaching me how to fish!

so i applied my newly learned template making techniques on a bell pepper.  i must say it went quite smoothly.  but there were 3 things i discovered while putting the bell pepper together.

  1. when sewing the panels together, to make a more bell pepper-y lumpy effect i would sew a more curved line into the straight part of the panel.  the curvier the line, the more cinched the “waist” of the  pepper.
  2. i wanted to make a bigger bell pepper.
  3. i needed to get a longer needle (doll needle).  i did manage to dimple the pepper with my regular sewing needle, but i had to squish the pepper down a lot before the pointy end poked through…and quite a few times i was almost certain i would lose the needle somewhere in the stuffing.   i would definitely need a longer needle if i was going to make a bigger pepper.

the following day i made another trip to jo-ann and got my doll needle and proceeded to make a bigger pepper.  i also decided to make a stuffed stem instead of a skinny rolled up stem (which was what i did on my first pepper).  bell peppers have thicker stems and my first pepper looks like it’s got a strawberry stem.

how to make a 4″ tall bell pepper (pincushion):


the pepper…

  1. cut out 7 pepper sides.
  2. pin two of the pepper pieces together, right sides together, and sew up the long side from top to bottom with 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping 1/4″ from the top end.
  3. when sewing through the straight middle part of the pepper piece curve the sewing line in so the allowance is 1/2-3/4″ in the curviest section.  the more you take in the more cinched the “waist” of the bell pepper will be.  depending on how much you vary the curves the pepper will be more lumpy, bumpy, wonky and or lopsided…like a real bell pepper.
  4. sew the next panel onto an unsewn edge of a previous piece (right sides facing each other).
  5. continue until all the pepper pieces are attached all together.  then sew the last unsewn edged of the first and last panel together (right sides facing each other).  this time leave a 1″ opening from top for turning and stuffing.
  6. don’t forget to clip curves!
  7. turn the pepper right side out and stuff with polyfill.  close the 1″ opening with a slip stitch, and proceed to close the opening on top with a tight running stitch.

the stem and cap…

  1. cut out 2 stems and a cap.
  2. sew the stem panels together (right sides facing each other), leaving the bottom open.
  3. turn stem right side out and stuff with polyfill, and sew the bottom close.
  4. make a small slit the size of the width of the stem in the middle of the cap piece.  insert stem into the slit and slip stitch the stem and cap together.
  5. then sew the cap onto the top of the pepper.  after securing the cap on with a few stitches, i like to  blanket stitch the edges.  but any kind of stitching will work as long as the cap is secured on.

final touch, dimpling the pepper…we’re almost there!

  1. this next part is what makes the bell pepper look like a bell pepper.  and i highly suggest using a doll needle for this step.
  2. use a stronger thread or double your thread (make sure the thread length is about double the length of your pepper so you can pull it through multiple times), tie off the end with a big knot (small-ish knots will slip through the fabric–i’m speaking from experience here).  push your doll needle through the bottom all the way to the top somewhere near the base of the stem.  then poke the needle through another part around the base of the stem and push through to the bottom.
  3. tighten the thread so it creates a dimple at the top and bottom of the bell pepper.
  4. follow steps 2 and 3 one or two more times for better security.
  5. voila!  you now have your very own stuffed bell pepper to squeeze and hug! if you don’t know any tiny tots that keep bell peppers as pets you can use it as a pincushion.  (just don’t use it as both.)

p.s. i put a little sand bag at the bottom of my bell pepper before stuffing and sewing it up for it to stand better on its own.

(9 sep 2012:  ikatbag gives great step-by-step instructions on how to attach they stem.)

stuffed pear and apple

my friend’s daughter has bell peppers as pets.  real bell peppers.  they buy her a new one every week, and then eat the previous “pet.”  to prove it she sent me a picture.  how adorable is that?  bell pepper, tutu and all. 

so her story has inspired my latest sewing project.  instead of a stuffed animal i want to make her a stuffed bell pepper as a belated birthday present!  my search for stuffed bell pepper patterns came up empty (no bell peppers, but you can buy a pattern for an aardvark).  but i did find these kinds of stuffed bell peppers though (i like to put in chopped onions instead of onion powder–the recipe is definitely worth a try, and not as complicated as one may imagine it to be).

i’ve never sewn a stuffed anything before.  my sewing resume consists mainly of hot pads, owl coin purses, curtains, one pillow case, and occasional hemming.  now that i want to make a stuffed bell pepper there’s no help to be found on the world wide web.  i did come across a load of patterns for pin cushion apples, pumpkins, strawberries, pears, chickens, hedge hogs…!  i want to make them all!  but first i have to make that bell pepper.

well actually, i needed a practice run.   yesterday i tried making a stuffed pear.  i obtained my free pear (and partridge) pattern from connecting threads.  the pear turned out to be very easy to make.  i think i finished it in about an hour, if you don’t count the time that i had to go to jo-ann to buy polyfill.

but today, i realized i needed another practice run because a bell pepper has more facets than a pear, and has that scrunched look.  so i needed to find out how to do all that.  it turns out a stuffed apple had all the new components i needed to learn.  i used the apple template from u.k. lass in u.s.  the instructions on the site called for 6 panels, but then after stuffing my apple it looked more like a pumpkin…hmmm, maybe my seam allowance was off.  i removed one panel and re-stuffed the apple only to discover that my apple looked better turned upside down (with the narrower end as the bottom).  then i found the idea for the leaves from the wool food mama.  so the apple took a tad longer to finish.  lucky for me miss e decided to take a 3 hour nap today.

hopefully the stuffed pepper will make its appearance tomorrow.

night owl making owls

didn’t realize how much sewing and crafting i had done from may to june until i put the collage together.  now that miss e is taking two-solid-hour naps and going to bed at 7:30-8pm i’ve found time to start crafting again!  these were projects for mom & dad, grads, and the soon-to-be-wed.


the curvy clutch purses and different kinds of owl coin purses were adapted from patterns i got from “michellepatterns” on etsy.