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 B√§renpresse 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