Double Giveaway Alert

That’s right there are TWO chances to win something from my etsy shop, Stitches by Sara, on the same day!

You can enter to win at Pennies & Blessings or at The Southern Institute. Go enter both to double your chances! You know you’ve been crushing on a coffee cozy….

Stitches By Sara Collage

Both of these blogs are run by friends that I met through the blogging world, but have also met in real life last year at Relevant. Since then, our friendships have grown and we talk often, even collaborating on a few online projects. (You’ll see more from Jenny at The Southern Institute here at the Happy Brown House sometime soon…she’ll be sharing a tutorial for me whenever little brother arrives to give me a few days to relax and get settled in after childbirth. Yay!)

So, what are you waiting for? Go enter!

Tutorial: How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine

Ok, so I know that I have an embroidery machine to make most of my cute appliques for my Etsy Shop. However, I know not everyone has a fancy embroidery machine to do all the hard work. Fear not, my friends, you too can add a cute applique to clothing, pillows, or anything else you can think of that needs some extra cuteness without an embroidery machine!

How to applique without an embroidery machine

How to Applique Without an Embroidery Machine:


  • Shirt (or item you are adding an applique to)
  • Fabric for applique
  • Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive (says “sewable” on the package)
  • Pattern for Applique (mine is an outline of Africa straight off the internet)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Thread


1.  Gather your materials (Forgive me, I switched shirt colors after I took this picture)

2. Iron the Heat-N-Bond Lite on the wrong side of the fabric. Make sure you are ironing the side with adhesive to the fabric…if not, you’ll have a mess on your iron! The smooth paper side should be the part you are ironing. (A word about Heat-N-Bond Lite: There are different kinds. You want to make sure you get the kind that is sewable. If you don’t, it will be really stiff and will get your needle all “gunked” up. Make sure it is the LITE version.) Read the directions if it’s the first time you’ve used Heat-N-Bond.


3.  Cut out your pattern (if you haven’t already).  Flip your pattern and trace your pattern BACKWARDS on the paper of the Heat-N-Bond. If you trace your pattern right side up, your pattern will be backwards when it is time to place it on your clothing. Trust me.

4.  Cut out your applique. Flip it over…see, told you it would look right in the end. :)

5.  Peel the paper backing off the fabric. There will be a “sheen” from the adhesive that transferred to the fabric. Find the proper placing for your applique.

6.  Using the proper heat settings (refer to the packaging), iron the applique in place.

**Oops! I missed this picture….imagine an iron :)

7. In order to make it easier to maneuver my shirt, I removed the bottom portion of my sewing machine. Now I can slide my shirt over the arm of the sewing machine.

8.  Topstich around the applique. Go slowly and stop as needed to turn your needle or adjust your shirt. I did a simple straight stitch, but you can get fancy if you’d like depending upon the stitches you have on your machine. Zig-zag is always fun, but might be hard to control the first time using this technique or if your applique is curvy…like my Africa shape.

9.  Voila!

Love For Africa Ribbon Ruffle Shirt

See, it is easy to applique without an embroidery machine!

Any questions? Ask it in the comments!

Stitches by Sara {Coupon Code Alert}







Show me more!!

Aww, come on…Is that all you’ve got?

Stitches By Sara Collage

This is just to let you know that my Etsy Shop (Stitches By Sara) is open again!

I’ve been working very hard behind the scenes trying to get everything ready to go and it’s time to sell. I’ve still got a few more things that I’m hoping to load in the next few days, but for the most part, the shop is stocked and waiting for customers!

ALL proceeds from the shop go towards our adoption. Thank you in advance for your part in bringing our little one home!

Since I love my blog readers and the support you’ve been giving us, how about a coupon code? Use the code “HBHblog15” to receive 15% off during checkout! (Coupon code expires: 7-20-11 at 11:oo PM so act fast!)

Thanks for subscribing!

The Kindness Of Friends

When I went to Relevant, I scrimped and saved to get there. Now,  I’m not usually much of a “girly-girl”, but I realized that I would be seeing my online friends in real-life for the first time. A sense of panic rose from somewhere deep inside and insecurity bubbled to the surface for various reasons. My mind transported me back to middle school when my insecurities were at their worst.

So I asked a friend from church with impeccable style if I could come play dress up in her closet and borrow a few things. I figured a few of her accessories paired with my basics would be good enough to get me through the weekend without having to buy a new wardrobe. But then a funny thing happened…she brought me a box.

Wrapped in paper and topped with a bow

I tried to refuse it–say it was “too much.” She knowingly smiled and extended her hand to give it to me anyway. When I opened the gift, I was immediately moved to tears. It was a perfect outfit for me–she even guessed my size correctly! I put it on and immediately stood taller, my insecurities melting away. She gave me exactly what I needed—encouragement and self confidence in a new place meeting new people.

How blessed I am by the kindness of friends!

Relevant friends

Meeting new friends at Relevant

I’m always amazed at this online community I’m a part of. People rallying–using a blog post, Facebook status, or tweet to spread the word. Until now, it’s always been about someone else in another state that I wouldn’t recognize on the street. But recently, I’ve found myself the recipient of some fabulous linky love from other bloggers helping to spread the word about our adoption fundraising….handing me a gift wrapped in paper and topped with a bow.

Here is a list of some kind online friends that have blessed us with a blog post:

Tara at Mommy Missions (met her at Relevant–you’ll hear more about her soon!)

Kelly at Domestic By Design (a college friend of mine that I reunited with online)

Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations (met her at Relevant–you’ll hear more soon!)

Marci at Overcoming Busy (met her at Relevant–she’s so sweet!)

Eryn at Mama Hall (met her at Relevant. God made our paths cross for a reason that is still playing out)

Debbie at Happy Clippings (PURCHASED from my shop and gave them away to her blog readers!!)

Crystal at Domestic But Not Martha (Sweet Twitter Friend–never met her, but could hug her for all of the extra tweets!)

Tracy at Sweet Harper (Never met her, but am so thankful for her kindness! We’re twitter friends now!)

How blessed I am by the kindness of friends!

**If I have left anyone out, PLEASE leave a comment and I’ll add your link to the list! We appreciate all of the help and want to link to you!**

Don’t just take my word for it…

I’m a firm believer of putting things in my shop that I LOVE and use myself. Nothing goes in my shop without passing my personal test…

  1. Is it something I would use?
  2. Do I absolutely LOVE it?
  3. Is it useful?
  4. Does it make me smile?
  5. Would people like to get this as a gift?
Even though I’ve already told you how much I love using Monogrammed Market Totes as my standard wedding gift, it’s always nice to hear from someone else that they love it just as much as I do. I thought I’d share what Meghan had to say about the Monogrammed Market Tote that she recently received.
Want one of your own? You can find them in my Etsy Shop!

Cute Crab Applique Ribbon Ruffle Shirts x 3

I had a custom order this week that was absolutely adorable! (I know I say that about every order, but seriously, this one is my favorite to date.) The set of cousins will look adorable at the beach when they go eat crab!

Doesn’t it make you want to head to the beach and soak up some sun? I love how little Sophia’s onsie looks like a skirt! No need to put any shorts on that little one if they don’t want to!
Want to order your own? Head over to my Etsy shop!

A Happy Customer…

Look at the video that Sweetie posted about my Etsy shop! It cracks me up! What a fun way to advertise for me.

Pretty Petite Pincushions!

…because they are so much cuter than the regular old tomato pincushion.

Petite pincushions measure 3 inches square. They may be be small, but the designer fabric used packs a big punch! The other side of the pincusion is white chenille. Use either side–they’re reversible! A perfect gift for the sewing fanatic in your life…or for you, because you need a little cuteness while you create!

My pincushion was featured in this Etsy treasury. Yippee!
Want to purchase a pincushion? Visit my Etsy shop!

$10 DIY Mannequin Tutorial

When I set up a craft table at a Breast Cancer Walk/Fundraiser to benefit my friend Candice a couple of weeks ago, I needed a way to showcase the Ribbon Ruffle Applique Shirts  and some other things that I make, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the solution. As I was walking the aisles of Hobby Lobby, inspiration hit. Within 10 minutes and under $10, I had 2 “mannequins” to model my creations! I will also use these in the future for taking product pictures of clothing for my Etsy shop.
Want to make your own? Let’s get started!
You will need:
Large diameter dowel rod (I used the biggest one I could find)
Small diameter dowel rod (I “eyeballed” it–real technical, I know.)
Wooden Plaques
Since the dowel rods are long, I had my “lovely assistant and hand model” cut them in half on his saw. We measured around 2 inches down from the top on the large diameter dowel rod and marked.
According to my “assistant,” the best tool for the next step would be a drill press, but we don’t have one of those sitting around in our garage. We decided to drill holes starting with a small drill bit and gradually work our way up to a large drill bit. We did this so we wouldn’t split the dowel rod.

When the hole is large enough to fit the small dowel rod through, set this aside.
Find the middle point of the wooden plaque. Since our wooden plaque was a square, we drew diagonal lines on the bottom of the plaque to make an “X” and find the middle point. We’re very scientific and precise around here :)

Drill pilot holes in the bottom of the plaque & the large dowel rod. Use your drill to attach the plaque to the large dowel rod.  

Stand back and admire your “mannequin.” Glam it up to your liking. I am thinking about adding a finial to the top and a coat of paint to dress it up a little. (I’ll add an updated picture when I do.)

Now I can display my creations and add a little height to my craft table! Wasn’t that easy?


Appliqued Name Pillows

Look what I’ve been working on…