Thursday, August 13, 2015

Foxy Friend Printable

Old craft books are so fun to peruse. Whether they suggest making a train out of cardboard oatmeal containers or animals from wooden spools and pipe cleaners, it's fun to imagine my mom and dad working diligently on projects from the past. The colorful graphics are a great bonus, too. I'm planning to frame this dapper fox and hang him on my gallery wall. The original project suggests making a puppet with a painted paper plate for a head.

Thrift and antique stores are great places to find books like the "Do-It Book" from McCall and Golden shown below. I'm often surprised at the advanced level of crafts considered appropriate for young kids. Tools like carving knives, saws, sewing machines, etc. are shown as a perfectly normal thing for a kid to be using, but I don't know many parents who let their kids use sharp objects. I let my son carry a pocket knife and use saws around age 10 with supervision, and he was very responsible. We only had one injury, to a picnic table bench he was using as a saw horse. But that was a great opportunity to teach him about wood putty and paint!

What is a favorite craft from your childhood you passed on to kids in your life? We had a lot of fun with pipe cleaner animals around ages 5-6, which were a great road trip activity.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the cute life!

~Susie Qute

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Blown Glass Class

Karen and I recently took a class at Glass Axis in Columbus, OH. We've both wanted to try it for ages, and when they offered a Groupon I knew it was time. Plus I was looking for a fun activity to say thanks for being so supportive during finals. I recently graduated from nursing school and got my RN license!
Melting on the "grist" (small bits of colored glass).

I love how our pieces turned out. Since it was our first time working with glass we didn't really know what kind of techniques to use, so we just messed around. I think we got very lucky, but I'm sure part of that was because Jackie, the instructor, gave us great advice. We plan to return in the future to try out the class to make glass flowers or beads. So fun!

The hardest part was the heat! Even with water and fans we were dripping with sweat. This is definitely something for us to do in the winter when we can't take the cold. The next hardest part was waiting to pick up our glass. We were out of town so had to wait over a week! Normally they're ready a couple of days later.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!

~Susie Qute
Karen puffs some air into her ornament.
Shaping the paperweight.
Finished paperweight with deep purple and gray.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Meet Me in St. Louis (how do you craft while on vacation?) & small giveaway

 Karen and I had a fantastic trip to St. Louis last week. I'd never been and she didn't mind going back. We visited the Gateway Arch, Forest Park museums, and caught a Cardinals game, of course (she's a diehard baseball fan and I like to indulge her). We found the River City to be a friendly, welcoming city that was easy to tour by public transit, both bus and train.

We both love getting off the beaten track so we decided to check out Cherokee Station, a street that sounded a lot like the Short North in Columbus, OH. There are many antique stores, Mexican eateries, and bakeries. Elaine's sandwich shop was a delicious place to recharge after walking and shopping. I prefer the wraps to the sandwiches, which are made on delicious but very dense bread from a bakery down the street.

While in Cherokee Station we popped into a store called buttonmakers,
hoping to buy some souvenir pins for friends and family. They didn't have any ready-made, but Rob scrounged up some pre-printed art samples they'd planned to trash and let us make our own buttons for just $1 each! Using a button machine was very easy and this activity would be fun for anyone age 6 and up. If you aren't in the St. Louis area but want custom buttons, check out their website They are so nice! SMALL GIVEAWAY:  first person to comment on this post will get one of the pizza buttons, shown being made at the right!

I was delighted with the simple designs featuring classic St. Louis foods. Shown below are gooey buttercake, St. Louis style pizza, and toasted ravioli. We didn't get around to pizza, but did try the cake after dinner at Copia one night. It is one of the most delicious things I've ever tasted. The best way I can describe it is like cheesecake evolved to the next level. It's the X-men of richness. We tried the toasted ravioli at a restaurant near the stadium but at the risk of incurring the wrath of the locals, I didn't like it nearly as much as Olive Garden's. With so many great things to try in the city,  I can see why Tums created this funny ad campaign:

We found ourselves with way too many things to do on one trip, so will venture back in a year or two after the new park by the arch is complete. Here is a photo I took from the top of the arch and from the park near the Old Courthouse.

It's very interesting how my Nexus phone automatically makes photo albums from my travels, stitches together photos into panoramic views, and recognizes my itinerary. Super helpful, but a little creepy, too. What's a good word for that?

We bought a pair of earrings featuring the arch's keystone shape from the gift shop. We'll make these into matching pendants, a grown-up version of bff necklaces. :-) It's easy to do by removing the ear wires and adding a jump ring or two.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!

~Susie Qute

Thursday, July 16, 2015

German Owl Papercraft

My dad was in the military for over 30 years, and our family spent a fair amount of time overseas. Germany has a special place in our hearts. One of my sisters is also in the military, and whenever she goes to Germany keeps her eye out for little gifts. She gave me this owl paper craft a few years ago and I haven't had the heart to cut it out and assemble it. I'm sharing it here in hopes that I'll finally be able to put the little guy together if I tell you all about it.

I love paper crafting but don't have the knack for origami. Projects like this are very appealing to me since no delicate folding is required. There are many other projects available at the printer's website, and they do ship worldwide. Click here to visit the Bärenpresse site. The 3D tulip pot is wunderbar!

The kit she sent me included assembly directions and a little brass bell to hang from the bottom of the "eule." One of the best things about this is the eyes--look closely and you'll see they can be closed in sleep or wide awake.

Do you have favorite ethnic paper crafts? Share a link in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Summer Snacks

I'm always trying to find and think of healthy and healthy-ish snacks for work, travel, kids, etc. My current favorite is carrots and hummus. I love chip-sliced carrots for dipping. So much better than baby carrots for delivering hummus or veggie dips. I drop a couple of tablespoons of red pepper or pine nut humus on the bottom, then pack in as many carrots as I can. You'll quickly find the right ratio for you.

I don't always snack healthy as you can see from my favorite snack container, a repurposed ice cream cup with lid. If you want something more indulgent try UDF's Cookies 'n Cream ice cream. The ice cream tastes like Oreo filling. Uh-MAY-zing!

Like the rest of the country, I'm in the midst of an avocado craze that started for me about a year and a half ago. Try plain avocado with lime tortilla chips. Yum! If you are one of the ten people who hasn't tried avocado yet, they're ripe if they give just a bit when you squeeze them. If they're hard as a rock let sit for a few days and check again. And again. And again. The window of perfect ripeness
is small and hard to find, but so worth it. Pass over any that are very squishy. I like to use the spife from a pack of Mighties kiwis when I'm on the go. This knife and spoon in one makes it easy to enjoy my favorite snack.

For convenience I love Go Picnic packs, like Lunchables but so much better. We tried the salami and crackers with asiago cheese spread. Bonus--little puffy chocolate pillow cookies, sort of like Pirouettes filled with Nutella. My friend Kerri over at SkepticMaMa enlightened me about these. Thanks! I got mine on sale at Target. :-)

Share your favorite snacks in the comments. I have at least two road trips ahead of me this summer and need portable foods.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!

~Susie Qute

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Winging It

I've been on the hunt for a vintage or vintage-inspired gold evening bag for some time, but none I found were quite right. A friend gave me an awesome grab bag of yarn a while back and this gold S. Charles Collezione was perfect. I couldn't find the perfect pattern so decided to improvise my own.

I swatched several lace patterns, and decided on the second #6 pattern charted here. It was easy to adjust to working in the round.

I knew I wanted to do something like an antique reticule, but needed it to be very practical. I thought of a drawstring closure, but was afraid the delicate yarn would fray too quickly. I stumbled on the Leafy Knot Clutch's innovative slip over handles and adapted the idea for my project.

I crocheted a dense lining from a wool-acrylic blend, then sewed it to the purse at all edges.

I didn't write a pattern for this project since it was so easy. You can see more pictures at my Ravelry project page at If you're interested in a detailed pattern, let me know in the comments here or on Ravelry--if there's interest I'll be happy to write it out as I make a second one.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!

~Susie Qute

Thursday, July 2, 2015

T-shirt Makeover

I love getting free tees from work and special events, but they NEVER flatter me. I'd really love to wear this T-shirt to work, but it's a bit too big. Maybe I should mention I work in sexual health so it's totally suitable for work? It came in a swag bag at a safety seminar and sadly I didn't check the size before I left.

I've made this style of swing top from scratch before, and thought it would be perfect for a T-shirt makeover. There's minimal, easy sewing if you skip the pocket and use a ribbon for the bow.

Nitty Gritty

  • Oversized tee (loose fitting in the hips)
  • Matching thread
  • Ribbon or very long, narrow scarf
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Chalk
  • Extra trim for pocket(s) (optional)

  1. Cut off sleeves and straight across the neck. Save sleeves if you plan to add a pocket or two.
  2. Cut off another inch or two in the front.
  3. You can either fold a 1/2 inch hem along the underarms as shown below or cut, pin and sew along the red dotted lines as shown above.
    Cut in slightly along the curves so the folded hem won't pucker.
  4. Sew with stretch stitch of your choice. If you need help with sewing knits, there's some great advice here.
  5. Fold over the front and back 1 1/4" and pin. Press seam.
  6. Sew straight across front and back with a 1" seam allowance.
  7. Thread your scarf or ribbon through the front and back seams you just sewed. Sewing tip:  when threading a ribbon or elastic through a seam casing, fold one end in half and put a safety pin through it. The pin is much easier to guide through the seam casing than a plan ribbon
    A safety pin makes it easier to add the ribbon.
  8. Try on your top! Tie the ends in a jaunty bow on one side. You can be done here, OR you can add pockets. I chose to add one pocket to help balance the visual impact of the bow. Mark you pocket locatoin(s) with white chalk.
  9. Use this pocket template. Size up the picture until it measures about 5 1/2" on your monitor and trace, or copy the picture into another program and resize until it measures 5 1/2".
  10. Line up the already hemmed edge of the sleeve with the top straight edge of pattern. Cut out pockets.
  11. Make three pleats and pin.
  12. Sew down with a basting stitch 3/8" from edge.
  13. Turn a 1/2" hem under and pin. Sew hem down.
  14. If you'd like to add a decorative trim to the top of your
    pocket, fold over top of pocket, pin in place and sew down. You may need to change to a different needle depending on your trim fabric. I used a sharps 80/12 needle suitable for fine fabrics. 
  15. Pin pocket to top and sew in place.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Berry Brim Hat Crochet Pattern

My friend Shannon made me a jar of her special Korean dipping sauce, and as a thank you I gave her a certificate for a small knitted item. She chose a hat, and asked for a replica of her favorite.
I made a very similar style with a bit of extra slouch. I love the Candy Cover stitch but it was a lot trickier than it appeared at first glance. I normally throw caution to the wind, but I highly recommend viewing the video tutorial before starting and then making a swatch or two.
I loved Shannon's hat so much I immediately made another for myself. It kept my ears toasty while exploring along Detroit's River walk. She is pictured below wearing the first version, with only a single thickness brim. We both agreed it needed more oomph so I added a second layer--see photos in the pattern pdf.
Use a worsted weight yarn for an adult sized hat. These are shown in wool and a wool blend but would look cute in cotton, too, for warmer weather.

For now this pattern is available free to you! I need test hookers to report any errata. Later on it will be available through my Ravelry store.

Download the pattern by clicking here

See the project page on Ravelry:
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute
This hat's texture reminds me of wild strawberries.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Makeshift Medicine Cabinet & Display Shelf

My girlfriend needed additional storage in her tiny bathroom, and due to the compact layout there wasn't enough room for an étagère over the commode. My Dad found a cool old cabinet at the transfer station (a place people drop things off for recycling or going to the dump). It was originally a special cabinet for holding various liquor decanters. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be a perfect piece for Karen's daily essentials.

I don't have a before pic because after I mentioned it might be great painted red, Dad surprised me by taking the whole thing apart, sanding it, and giving it two good coats of spray paint. He even cut a piece of wood to add a shelf in the middle. He's so awesome that way. I added some Contact paper, reassembled it, and got it safely back to Ohio.

Karen was thrilled and we hung it up right away. She also recently scored another one of Dad's finds, a shelf we made from an old beehive section that became the perfect home for her bobblehead collection. Can you tell she's a Reds fan?

Little cabinets, shelves, and tables are my favorite home décor projects. They're so versatile and easy to make.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Movie Quote Cards

Random quotes from movies and TV stick in my head. I never remember the big lines, the ones that make it into the previews, but minor comments resonate with me. Brains can be weird that way.

I've started taking my favorites, some more recognizable than others, and hand-lettering them on cardstock with simple drawings. Looking at different fonts is so fun! I like choosing fonts that capture the essence of the moment or the character.

Anyone else doing quote projects? I'd love to see links to your work. Feel free to print and share the two posted here. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the one with butterfly and flowers.* It's pretty obscure, even for me.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

*Bonus points are not legal tender and have no value beyond bestowing extra coolness upon the bearer.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tee to Pillow Slipcover Tutorial

I've been helping my girlfriend learn to sew. We started with some simple hand stitches and she recently progressed to using the machine, much to her delight! An old T-shirt was renewed as a throw pillow slipcover.

This project is very suitable for beginners. See my previous post on upcycling tees into a tote bag for tips on sewing with knits.

Nitty Gritty
  • T-shirt
  • Thread, scissors, pins, sewing machine, bobbin

Sewing tip:  when you turn corners of sewing projects inside out, use something narrow and pointed, like a knitting needle, to push the fabric into the corner and make nice, sharp corners.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

p.s. I'm not taking a side in favor of the White Sox. I'm not much of a sports fan, but if I had to pick, I suppose I'd say GO REDS!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

The very sad before picture.

Our apartment has very few cabinets, so the area under the sink is prime storage space not to be wasted on cleaners. The warped bottom panel was replaced a while ago and I finally got around to tidying up.
A free paper towel holder and 25¢ organizer I found at a yard sale make the most of the inside door space. Contact paper spruces up the unfinished wood panel. You know how I love Contact paper! I'm in the market for some new patterns. Has anyone tried Fancy-Fix brand? I love the aqua polka dot pattern and for $6 I'll probably give it a shot.

Tool Tip:  one of the reasons it took me so long to do this is my drill was out of commission. The chuck jammed in the open position. I consulted the internet and when that failed me, Dad. He suggested standing it chuck up, filling with good 'ole WD-40, and hitting it gently inside with a hammer and screwdriver after 15 minutes to loosen the mechanism. Worked like a charm!
Huge improvement!
I hope you can find time to tackle a trouble area in your home this summer. My next big project will be some sort of entryway solution. My "system" of bags and piles is underwhelming.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minecraft Creeper Free Pattern

My boys have logged hundreds of hours playing Minecraft over the years. As a recovering Sims player, I completely understand the allure of endless building and free play options. I whipped up this little guy over a weekend while watching TV.

My son describes Creepers as "tall, stealthy, plant-like, explosive quadrupeds. They kill you, but at least they look a little sad about it." They are apparently the bane of Minecraft players everywhere, since they can live both above and below ground, and don't have to hide from the sun. Additionally, if they get struck by lightning they become supercharged and do more damage.

With all of those interesting, deadly traits, why not make a cute toy version of this common Minecraft enemy? You can sew the head on or leave it detached to provide secret storage inside. For more geektastic Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and more plastic canvas patterns check out this post or just google.

If you've never done plastic canvas before, don't worry, it's super easy. This page has the basics and my project only uses two stitches-continental to fill the pieces and overcast to bind them together.

Nitty Gritty

  • One sheet of green or clear plastic canvas with 7 holes to an inch
  • Green yarn, about 1.25 ounces of worsted weight
  • Black yarn, just a little for the face and toes
  • Scissors
  • Blunt yarn/tapestry needle
  1. Cut out pieces according to pattern (see pictures below). Plastic canvas tip-the corners will be sharp and might poke out through the yarn. I like to VERY carefully trim a bit from the corners to round them off. Don't trim more than a little speck or the corner will be too weak.
  2. Using continental stitch (the basic stitch), fill each piece with solid green stitches (except for the face piece and two feet pieces as shown above and noted on the pattern. Don't stitch on the edges-leave the edges open so you can sew the pieces together.
  3. Assemble as shown above in photo.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life! But watch out for creepers....
~Susie Qute

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer Hats

I have a new everyday summer hat that's just perfect! I tried to thrift a straw hat for a couple of months, but they were always rather mangled and misshapen or somehow not quite right for me. Then Target had some for just $3 in the bargain bins by the entrance. The grosgrain ribbon trim was already falling off, but no matter. I had a couple of scarves I wanted to try, and this blue and white Ann Taylor neck scarf from my favorite consignment store, One More Time, fit the bill perfectly.

This jaunty fedora isn't completely impervious to UV, but it's saved me from some serious sun already. It's cool enough to wear on hot days and a bit loose so I can tuck my hair up for extra ventilation. In this picture Kay and I are about to head out to Detroit's Eastern Market.

How do you keep the sun at bay?

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Picnic in the Park

It's a gorgeous day, and what better way to enjoy it than a picnic in the park. Sandwiches from Block's Bagels, my favorite Columbus deli, a new Frisbee, and great company made for a splendid afternoon.
We're having the traditional cookout at a friend's on Monday, and I'll share my devilled egg recipe with you, so check back for an update to this post tomorrow night or Monday morning.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute
Susie Qute's Devilled Eggs
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Miracle Whip (adjust amount according to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Paprika garnish
  • Optional:  1/4 c. chopped black olives, 1/4 tsp. onion powder
Hardboil eggs, cool thoroughly, then cut each in half and pop yolks out into a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork to a fine, crumbly paste. Add Miracle Whip, relish, and mustard. Spoon into egg white halves. For fancier eggs, use a frosting bag with a large flower tip to pipe in filling. sprinkle with paprika.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tees to Tote Tutorial

I rarely wear T-shirts. In fact, a close friend first saw me in a tee after knowing me for over three years and commented on how surprised she was. I was in the midst of moving so a tee was definitely called for.

Whether you wear tees or not, everyone has a few novelty T-shirts that don't see the light of day often enough. So what's a Qutie to do? Turn tees into totes, of course.

There are many ways to make a bag from a tee, but I created this style to preserve the graphic and show it off when the bag is being carried. Some shortcut options are offered below to make this project faster.

Other fun ways to personalize this project are to use a button down shirt or jacket instead of T-shirts, and a belt or wide ribbon instead of the sewn strap extension. You're only limited by what's in your wardrobe (or the local thrift store)!

I'm an intermediate-advanced sewer and this took me 2 1/2 hours. Click here to help you if you have no idea where to start, or just Google for help. My seam allowances were about 3/8-1/2".
Sewing knits can be tricky, especially for a beginner sewer. Use a ballpoint needle (or universal if you don't have a ballpoint). Practice on scraps of fabric, like the cut off arms. Use stitches that allow some stretch. There's a good article

Nitty Gritty
  • Two T-shirts of  the same or close to the same size
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine & bobbin (you can hand sew, of course, but this will be quite tedious)
  • Ball point pins and pin cushion
  • Scissors
  • Optional:  rotary cutting mat, guide, and cutter to make long cuts easier and cleaner and ironing board and iron for pressing seams.
  1. Cut the arms and neck off your tees.
  2. Turn one tee inside out and slip over the other tee so that one is inside the other (right sides facing each other).
  3. Trim arm and neck holes as shown.
  4. Pin tees together at the neck hole. I'm not sure if this is self-explanatory; you will be sewing through two layers of fabric, not all four. If it doesn't make sense just ask questions in the comments or email me at :-)
  5. Sew around the neck hole, removing pins. Use an edge binding and seaming stretch stitch.
  6. Turn tees right side out and press around new neck hole seam. Pressing will give your finished project a much crisper, more professional look.
  7. Choose which side you think will be the outside the most often. This bag is reversible, but one side will be more "deconstructed" looking.
  8. Fold under about 1 cm around armholes and pin. Another option is to skip folding and just stitch around the edge. You could also use bias tape if you like, but I didn't want to buy any extra supplies for this project.
  9. Sew around armholes. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  10. Turn inside out (the "lining" inside is now on the outside).
  11. Cut off the bottoms of your shirts. I cut off about 5 inches,
    but this will vary depending on how long your shirts are. If you're going on to step 15, be sure to leave yourself enough fabric for the strap extension. Mine was three inches wide.
  12. Pin and sew across the bottom of the shirts through all four layers. Use a straight stretch stitch. If this bag will see heavy use, you may want to sew a second seam 1/4" up.
  13. Trim a bit off the corners in the seam allowance, being careful not to cut into your stitches.
  14. Turn and press. YOU CAN STOP HERE! Yay, you have a cute shoulder tote! If, like me, you want to show off the graphic more, keep going.
  15. Take the cut off strips from step 11. Cut each piece in one place
    (at the seam if your shirts have side seams) so you have two long strips.
  16. Lay strips right side together, and line up the hemmed edges neatly.
  17. Cut so the strips are 3" wide.
  18. Pin and sew along the unhemmed edge. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  19. Open and press.
  20. Fold along the hem you just sewed, wrong sides together. Press.
  21. Pin along the prehemmed edges, lining them up neatly.
  22. Sew along the prehemmed edges. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  23. You're ready to add your strap extension to the bag. Thread it through the armholes and pin ends together, being careful not to twist the strap.
  24. Sew strap extension ends together using a regular straight stitch. Press the seam allowance to one side and stitch down.
  25. The strap is reversible at the point, but very loose and twisty. I sewed it together in the middle.
  27. I wanted to add a bit of reinforcement to the bottom, so I folded
    up the corners and stitched them down with a triangle shaped seam. Stitch through the folded up bit and the sides, not the bottom.
  28. Now you are REALLY done with all steps. Stand back and admire, or better yet, head out to the farmer's market.
A few more pics are available here to help you out.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

It's reversible!