Hand-Stitched Felt Doughnut Pincushions


Doughnuts are one of my favorite foods, and I don’t have a real pin cushion, so I thought some doughnut pincushions were in order!

They were really easy and fun to make. I haven’t hand-stitched many things, especially not since 7th grade, so the stitching on my very first doughnut wasn’t that great, but I soon got into the habit of creating more evenly-placed stitches. I’m quite proud, and I really like how they turned out.

Here’s how they look starting off. I just cut out three 4″ diameter circles (2 for the doughnut, 1 for the glaze) with holes about the size of a quarter. Then I began stitching all 3 layers together from the middle. Usually, I’ll have plenty of thread leftover and can finish stitching the outer perimeter of the glaze to the top layer of the doughnut.


Then, I stitch on the sprinkles in various colors. This is probably the most tedious part of this project!

Today, I worked on a doughnut with a light blue glaze.


After stitching the outer ends together with 2-3″ to spare, I like to place two pins at the “mouth” of the doughnut, to prevent the end stitches from getting distorted.


This is a good sized “mouth” for stuffing polyester fiberfill through. I like to pack the fiber in as much as possible. I was once a bit too enthusiastic in this task and ended up with a popped stitch in the middle of the doughnut. Nothing a couple stitches couldn’t fix, though! ;)

The formerly two-dimensional doughnut is now taking form!


Then, I just stitch it close and hide the knotted end inside.

And here’s the finished piece next to his sweet, felt companions!


I love how they all look together. And now I have enough pin cushions!

This chocolate one is my favorite, though. I love me a chocolate-glazed doughnut. Where can I get a job that pays me solely in doughnuts?


I’m looking forward to making these in purple and white as well. Can’t have enough doughnut pincushions, you know…

Is anyone else tired of having things?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been doing some thinking.

I’m tired of having things.

It’s so easy to think about minimizing and purging when feeling overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of things we’ve been accumulating, but it never seems that one can actually “win,” even while taking the minimalist approach to material things.

It costs a lot of money to have anything at all, really, no matter what it is.

You have to pay the initial sticker price

You have to maintain the thing. This can include a number of other things.

  • Buying a steamer or an iron to ward off unsightly wrinkles and folds.
  • Buying waxes or protective sprays, to keep your whites white, to keep your colors colorful, to keep your shoes waterproof, to repel dirt, etc.
  • Buying sweater shavers or sweater stones to remove fuzz and keep the thing looking generally unfuzzy, like when you first purchased the thing.
  • Buying and exhausting lint roller supplies and using them when you get dressed, before you leave the house, after you take a drive, etc. Especially if you are harboring any sort of furry creature in your home.
  • Taking it to the dry cleaners and make time to drive in your car to the cleaners, consuming fuel, and then paying to have it dropped off and then making the time to get into your car again and pick it up later.
  • Getting things zip-soled so that the things last longer, so you don’t have to buy the thing again so soon.
  • Buying things to ward off things that want to eat your things, like cedar blocks or moth balls… for moths.
  • Buying hangers, boxes, holders, display-ers, bags, furniture, etc. to house and hold your things.
  • Detergents to clean your things. Machines to clean the things. Machines to dry the things.  Which also costs energy.
  • Cases to protect your things (i.e. mobile-device things)

Okay, not everything on that list was a physical thing, but you get the point. It costs a lot of time and effort into keeping your things.

Because if you don’t, you’d have to buy new things to replace your old things.

When you have to buy things for your things, you know you have too many things.

I’m starting to feel that perhaps my home is not actually for me, but instead for my things.


So I got these lovely fabrics the other day, but I’m not quite sure what to do with them! The chevron and the polka dot are from the Michael Miller “Glitz” collection, and the birds are by Violet Craft from their “Brambleberry” collection.  I originally purchased them thinking they would coordinate well together as little cosmetics bags, but now I think I should try something new.

Perhaps one of my cats have a great idea for me?

Or maybe my fellow sewing enthusiasts might care to share an idea? :)

My Experience With ThredUP.com

Today marks the finalization of a transaction between ThredUP.com and me.  If you’ve never heard of ThredUP, it is one of many websites trending with the online-consignment-shop concept that you can send them your gently used clothing and have them buy these pieces off you for a fraction of the price they’re going to sell them for on the website – meaning that you can also shop a vast selection of clothing that their team has selected from other people like you.

I hadn’t heard anything about other users’ experience with the website before, so I decided to take a gamble and try their “closet clean-out service” since I had a lot of clothing – some of which I’d only worn less than a handful of times or not at all – that could be better off in a new home.  So, I requested their big green polka-dot bag, which they ship to you for free.  It is a giant bag that you use to stuff to the brim, and then drop off at Fed Ex (they’ve already got the shipping covered for you).  I dropped off my clothing early December of last year, and they sent me a notification saying that they received my bag on December 18, 2013.

That’s when I began to feel frustrated.  They send me a few e-mail notifications claiming that they had a large volume of bags to go through since the interest and use in their service had dramatically increased suddenly, but that I could still expect to receive a pay-out by January 22, 2014.  So, I shrugged it off – nothing much I could do about it.  I waited until January 23 to e-mail them when I did not see a payment in my account. I e-mailed customer service to inquire about the status of my bag.  The response was that there was an item delaying the process, but that they would try to push it into processing so that I could receive my payout, and that they would get back to me when they received an update.

I waited five days. By then, I was getting extremely frustrated and was becoming more and more convinced that the website was a scam, particularly since I had never heard anyone talk about it before and their customer service was not responding to my e-mails.  After some hassling and complaining on their Facebook page, I finally got my pay-out, and they told me I had a bag of the clothing pieces they did not take in the mail.  I was able to transfer the funds to my Paypal account, with a 2% transaction fee imposed by Paypal.  I ended up netting about $124 from the whole transaction.

So, would I recommend ThredUP?  Yes and no.

  • If you’ve got a bunch of clothing you’d like to get rid of quickly, doing this through ThredUP.com may not be the quickest.  Their processing time, as I’ve learned from my December-to-January experience, can vary depending on how many other bags they have to go through.  You can never really know when the “best” time to send your clean-out bag is.  Perhaps if they increased the staff that processed the bags, this would not be a problem in the future.
  • Not all your clothing will be accepted.  They are selective about brands and the condition of clothing.  Even though many of my items are name-brand (like BCBG Max Azria, Zara, etc.) in excellent condition – some with tags – they were sent back.  This isn’t necessarily a good or a bad thing, but it may be disappointing if you were hoping to “get rid” of all your unwanted clothing in one go while making some money in the process.
  • Their customer service is satisfactory.  They must have been swamped by e-mails from suddenly having so much interest in their clean-out service and whatever else they had to deal with, but they eventually respond to you and try to get things going.  While I was pretty upset and frustrated (I may have said they were afflicted by reading comprehension issues a couple times… *ahem* This is coming from a dyslexic individual, too), they were still courteous and was able to complete the transaction for me… even if it wasn’t exactly in a timely manner.  This proves that they are not operating a scam operation, but indeed are trying to run a business – even if they are a little short-staffed.

The bottom line:  Results may vary.  If you’re looking for a way to make some money and want to avoid the crazies that perpetually haunt the eBay community, using ThredUP may be a good route to go on, particularly if you’re not looking to do this within a two-week or less time frame.

By the way, there are other sites operating on the same basis, such as liketwice.com.  While I’ve never sent my clothes there to sell, I have purchased clothing from them, and I would definitely recommend shopping there!  With free returns and full refunds, you don’t have much to lose if you don’t end up liking what you bought.

Have you ever had any experience with similar websites? How did it go?

Updated to add: Here’s a screenshot of my final payout, in case you’re curious.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 12.06.00 PM

Cambodian garment workers die while demanding higher wages

So many things that can be said, but all I can come up with is, sad.

This is why I don’t want to shop “mainstream” anymore and want to be able to dress myself with things I’ve created by my own hands.


[ photo by Thomas Cristofoletti / Ruom ]

To read more about this in an article on Vice.com, click here.

“One buyer has taken some responsibility. H&M have chosen two factories in Bangladesh and one in Cambodia to pilot a scheme where they interview the management and staff to discover what is a living wage and supply the extra funds from their own profits. They have pledged to pay a living wage, but not until 2018.

What’s taking so long?

My first attempt at sewing an article of clothing: Part One

After pouting about how I felt like I wasn’t getting any better at sewing, I looked back on my list of “completed” projects and realized I really didn’t sew all that much, for a handful of reasons.  I decided that I should really try to commit more to sewing projects.

I’ve been pinning a lot on my Pinterest boards on DIY projects and sewing projects lately, and yesterday, I finally started on a dress pattern that I had since summer.  I can’t just keep pinning things and adding further things to my “to sew” list if I never even begin on what I already have on it, right?

Part of the reason why I held off from doing this dress for so long is because I was afraid I would mess up.  But what comforted me was the memory of meeting a wonderful lady who spent many years sewing and had worked on many more projects than I have.

She said, “It’s just fabric!

So true. It is, indeed, just fabric.  With that in mind, I set to work yesterday on a trial run of the Vogue Easy dress pattern designed by Rebecca Taylor. I already had gathered the fabric and notions… it was time to do it!

Naturally, since I had never sewn clothing before or even read a pattern, I was sure I would mess up, so I practiced on muslin to spare the that expensive Liberty of London blue-and-white floral fabric that I adore so much.

I’m glad I did the muslin first.  As it turns out, there are a lot of things I forgot to do, or just sort of messed up on, because admittedly, I am TERRIBLE at following instructions.

Also, some of the instructions (when I actually tried to read them instead of just interpreting pictures, hah) were confusing and unclear. Like, why would you pin the skirt to the bodice before you install an elastic waistband, huh? WHY?! I never figured out the solution to that, so I just didn’t sew it in, causing the dress to be much looser than intended.

The result, which is still very much a work in progress, is this:


You can see I’m pulling back the excess fabric.  Um, I think I at least I got the gist of the dress, right?  Here’s the goal dress for comparison (I’m still mad this pattern is only $18 at this site, whereas I paid $30+ at Joann’s!  REALLY?):


 I’m trying to figure out the waist band situation, and I forgot to sew in a couple darts in the bodice and finish the raw edges, but I think that once I figure out the waist band, I could probably start with the pretty fabric, which is Liberty of London Tana Lawn Josephine’s Garden.

Isn’t it lovely? And it’s soft, too.


 This is also the first time I’ve sewn pleats. They’re not that bad!  I was freaking out a bit when I first saw the directions, but once I started to crease the fabric, it kind of just fell into place… and then I sewed it down.


Note to self:  Buy flat-head pins!

I’m going to be avidly searching Google to gain a better understanding of how to install a waistband elastic now…