Friday, December 30, 2011


I am excited to see what 2012 holds in store for Blue Betty and me as well.  In the past I always talk about my personal resolutions and this year I'm not really making any.  Let me rephrase this I am making goals for me and for Blue Betty and starting up something new in the process.

For Blue Betty I have a bunch of goals for the blog as well as designs that I want to publish in the year to come.   One of these goals is to have more tutorials and guest bloggers on the blog.  Along those lines I am excited to be bringing back Vintage Finds Friday and Fiber Friday to the blog.

Now for the new thing.  I am going to start dying yarn on a more regular basis and am splitting my Etsy shop into two separte shops. My patterns and finished items will still be found in BlueBettyShop while all my hand dyed yarn will be in my new shop Alchemy Hour.  You can pop over now and get a look at my banner and some other bits and bobs.  Alchemy Hour will be open in the new year.

On a personal note I am making just two goals.  I want to start getting up a tiny bit earlier, mostly so I can get more stuff accomplished before work and my second goal is to surf more.  I mean as soon as it's the weather for surfing.

What goals or resolutions do you have for 2012?
See you in the New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Back: Sewing the Steffi

This fall I attempted to sew my first tailored jacket.  It was a challenge that I was apprehensive about at first, but I am glad I took it on.  This project really added to my skills as a seamstress and the finished project was exactly what I wanted.

Here's the Links to Sewing the Steffi Jacket
Muslin and Fabric Choices
Finishing the Muslin
Fear Based Procrastination
Making Headway
Sleeves and Silk
The Lining
Final Touches 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Looking Back: Me Made June '11

This year I participated in my first Me Made event through So Zoe...What Do You Know?  Here are some of the photos that I wasn't able to post because of camera and internet issues.
One of my favorite refashion, my Cowboy tank and my paint jeans.  I had just finished a high ropes course at Camp Edge.
The same night we went bowling.  I wore my lavender pencil skirt that I made the day before I went to camp. 
It was cooler the next day and I wore my hand knit cotton nautical sweater and my comfy shorts.  Perfect for meetings in air conditioned spaces. 

One of my favorites! My melon striped tunic and my self stitched black  leggings.  My hair is perfectly tousled from a ride in the golf cart. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Back at 2011

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  I'm taking the next few days to look back at moments in 2011 either from this blog, my Etsy, or life in general.

One of the most exciting things that happened in 2011 was the publication of two of my patterns in Creative Knitting Magazine.
My I-cord cowl was published this summer in the September 2011 issue. 
This Modular Hexagon bag was knit during a heat wave in Philly ans was published in  the January 2012 issue that came out in November.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 12: The Jensen Family Christmas Playlist

My family has a lot of traditions and one is listening to Kenny Rogers Christmas in America as soon as Thanksgiving is over.  I remember listening to it almost non-stop in my mom's mini van for weeks on end.  In honor of our family (or my mom's) love of Christmas music here is the Jensen Family Christmas playlist.

1.) The First Noel, by Eve 6 (Amanda & Zach)
2.) Jingle Bell Rock, Bobby Helms (Simon)
3.) Christmas in America, Alan Jackson or Kenny Rogers (Mom)
4.) Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer, Elmo and Patsy (Dad)
5.) I'll Be Home For Christmas, Bing Crosby (Grandma J) 
6.) White Christmas, Bing Crosby (Jensen Family Favorite)
7.) Holly Jolly Christmas, Burl Ives (Amanda)

A few staples for Christmas:

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
Let It Snow
Winter Wonderland
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday this year!  Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 11: Traditions with Zach from Thoughts of a Nobody

When I hear someone mention Christmas I don’t think about snow, presents, or even sweet little baby Jesus in the manger. I think of family traditions. I see a family piling into a cramped car and heading out to purchase a Christmas tree. The whole family spending hours walking around a maze of Douglas Firs, Leyland Cypresses, and Blue Spruces searching for the perfect tree, and only accepting its perfection when everyone gives it their vote. I see the same family all together decorating the tree, and making sure no branch is left untouched, and the ever so familiar battle with tangled lights. I see a little boy and girl mesmerized each year by the story of Santa Claus, and the two leaving milk and cookies for good ole’ Saint Nick. The two young kids waking up Mom and Dad on Christmas morning even before the sun peaks above the horizon, and rushing them downstairs to see what Santa left them. Looking back into my own vault of Christmas memories I’d have to say I’ve had my fair share of experiences with traditions. I remember decorating the tree with handmade ornaments created by myself and my sister, and hers always being more perfect than mine. I loathed her for that, and still do, of course in a loving manner though. I remember always having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house, and having a spectacular dinner to end the night. I remember waking up on Christmas day, only to find my Mom and Dad already awake waiting for my sister and myself. I remember my sister’s meticulous procedure at opening presents while I sat next to her tearing away like some rabid animal. These all may seem splendid, but there is one tradition that I thrive off of, that seems to bounce around in my head. This tradition is baking Christmas cookies. I had to ask myself why this stuck out so dominantly in my mind and the answer is that it is what I considered the start of the Holiday. We always baked these cookies at my grandma’s house a few days before the 25th of December. My grandma would mix the recipe that she got from her mother the day before, so when my sister and I showed up it was ready to go. It never occurred to me when I was young that my grandma did this, In keeping with the Christmas spirit, it always seemed like magic. We would roll the cookie dough out and then choose our cookie cutting weapons. I always and still do reach for the Christmas tree shaped cutter first and I have no idea why it just seemed right. I remember how much fun the simple act of cutting shapes into the dough was, and always sneaking a taste of the sweet dough when no one was looking. It didn’t really matter though; everyone was doing the same thing. I remember my grandma always making “dirty” Christmas cookie men, and never understanding what it meant until years later. Decorating the cookies was always my favorite part. I always loved frosting a candy cane shaped cookie, shaking red sprinkles to form stripes like the iconic look everyone knows. We always finished decorating early and never ended up with the right amount of cookies, too many were lost to temptation along the way. I loved baking and decorating Christmas cookies during the holiday, and I someday hope to share tradition with my own kids and grandkids. While some traditions have faded away in our family due to loss of loved ones, steps towards a new life in a big city, or even just a simple move to college, we always manage to relive those memories through a simple act of baking and decorating with the Christmas spirit.

You can read more of Zach's musings on his blog Thoughts of a Nobody.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 10: Quick Yarn Embelished Picture Frames

These frames are easy and quick to make.  They are perfect for a last minuet gift and take only a few materials and only a few minuets to complete.

Frames (mine are some wooden frames from Ikea that I painted earlier)
Yarn (I had some recycled sari silk sitting around that I wanted to use up)
Hot Glue Gun

While your hot glue gun is heating up cut your yarn in the appropriate length and play around with the layout of the yarn on the frame. 

Once you find a layout you like best glue the yarn to the back of the frame.  Be careful not to block where the picture goes so that you can close up your frame. 

Continue gluing your yarn to your frame until you have used all your cuts of yarn or are satisfied with the overall look of the frame

Insert a fun and meaningful picture and you are set!  I chose one of my brother and me at my wedding.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 9: Guest Post with Jess from Upcountry Vintage

Hi there! Jess from Upcountry Vintage here. I love to share creative ways to upcycle items on my blog. On my last trip to see my family in California in September, I came across a lot of vintage brooches and broken jewelry that had been passed down to me. They were missing stones, backings, or other important parts to function as jewelry.

I think a great way to use vintage jewelry is incorporating it into your gift wrap as the centerpiece in lieu of a bow. I have tied up the following gifts with ribbon, accented them with squares of burlap, and then placed a broken trinket in the center.

You can usually find pretty things like this while thrifting or going to garage sales, and you can make a nice looking package for about the same cost as a box store bow or gift bag.

The centerpiece of this package is a ring I loved but it broke

The focal point of this gift is a brooch on a large piece of ribbon
Check out these other great links for ideas and inspiration for incorporating vintage baubles into your gift wrapping this Holiday!

 Susan Jane Jewels
 Confetti Style
 Design Sponge: Gift Toppers

Also, be sure to check out my blog for my 12 Days of Gift Wrapping for lots of ways to add special touches to
your gift giving this season!
Happy Holidays.
Love, Jess

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 8: A Project Bag for a Knitter

I have a lot of friends who knit, and every holiday season we have a Pollyanna and go out to dinner.  We usually wait till the new year, but I am getting a head start on my gift with this great project bag.  Here are the instructions so you can make one for the knitter or crocheter in your circle. 

Materials and Equipment
1/3 yard 45 inch fabric
1 yard cord or ribbon for drawstring
Sewing machine

First and mark your fabric for cutting your main piece.  You want your piece of fabric to be 12 1/2 inches by 22 inches.

Once your piece is cut give is a good pressing and fold it in half width way.  (Or hamberger way if you ever had a kindergarten teacher like mine.)

On the folded edge mark 1 1/2 inches in and over to form a square.  Do this on both corners of the folded edge.

Cut these square bits of and set aside your main bag piece

Now with the remaining fabric cut a piece of fabric that is 10 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.  Fold this piece of fabric in half so that the right sides are touching.  Pin along the edge and sew into a 5 inch by 12 1/2 inch tube.

Turn the 5 by 12 1/2" piece right side out and press so that the seam is at the bottom of the piece.  This is your pocket piece.

Pin your pocket piece to the right side of your main bag piece making sure that there is a 3/4 inch space between the pocket and the cut out corners.  Top stitch along the bottom and up the middle of your pocket piece.  use a zig zag stitch to attach it to the sides of the main fabric piece.

Lay your main bag piece with right sides facing and pin your side seams together leaving about 1 1/2 inches open at the top of the bag.  Sew two straight side seams.  Press your seams open.

With a straight stitch sew your seam allowance at the top of your bag down on either side.

When you have done this it will look like the picture above.  This is where your drawstring will hang out of the casing.

Give the top edge of your bag a quick zig zag stitch on either side to prevent fraying and fold it over and press.

Sew the casing for the drawstring with a straight stitch.

Pin the side edge of the cut out sections to the bottom of the bag.  When you pin them they will look like this. This is how you will get a box bottom on your project bag.

Here is the bag all sewn up standing mostly by itself with its two pockets in the front.

Next feed the cord threw the drawstring casings with a safety pin and tie the ends.  There you have it a project bag perfect for socks or a hat or whatever you want to carry along.  Put some yummy yarn and new needles inside for a great gift for a knitter. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 7: Yarn Covered Bangles with Alli from OPB

Hello, Blue Betty readers!  Today I'd like to share a quick and easy tutorial that makes a great gift.  Plus, it's the perfect way to use up extra scraps of yarn.  I hope you like it!

bangles title

What you'll need: a bangle blank (pick one up at the craft store, or use an old bangle that needs a facelift), yarn, hot glue gun.
bangles 1

Step 1: secure the yarn to the inside of the bangle with a spot of hot glue.  Begin wrapping, being sure that there's no space between the loops.
bangles 2

Step 2: continue wrapping, adding a spot of glue to the inside every quarter or half inch.  Be careful not to burn yourself - pull the yarn across the glue, instead of pressing it with your fingers. You can either make your bracelet a solid color, or add stripes by changing yarns.
bangles 3

That's all there is to it - enjoy your new bracelets!
bangles 4 small

Thank you for having me, Amanda, and happy holidays, everyone!  Stop by and see me sometime at One Pearl Button!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 6: Dutch Spice Cookies

One of my favorite baked goods this time of year is Dutch Spice Cookies.  We only seem to make them at Christmas time and I haven't made them in years.  They are similar to a ginger snap, but have cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves that give them their spiciness and their deep brown color.  (They are really good dipped in your morning coffee.)  Here is my recipe for this fragrant and tasty treat. 

Dutch Spice Cookies (makes about 2 to 3 dozen)

3/4 Cup Butter (1 1/2 sticks) at room temperature
1 Cup Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1 Egg
2 Tablespoons Milk (I used Unsweetened Soy Milk)
1 3/4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1. Combine flour, baking powder and spices in a bowl and set aside

2. Cream together the Sugar and the butter.  If you have a mixer this is super easy, but if you don't, like me, cut the butter up into smaller pieces and let them soften a bit over low heat, but not melt.Remove from heat add the sugar and cream butter together with a spatula. (This is a great arm exerciser by the way.)

3.  Add in the egg and milk to the butter and sugar mixture, beat till smooth.
4. Slowly add in the flour and spice mixture folding it into the butter and sugary a little bit at a time. 
 Once the dough has been made cover it and place it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

After an hour or when the dough is firm, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and remove the dough from the fridge and roll the dough into 1 inch balls.  I like to roll mine in a bit of regular sugar so that after they have baked they have a pretty sparkle to them. 

 Place on a cookie sheet and either flatten the dough balls with a cookie press or a fork. 

Bake for about 8 to 10 minuets.  If you want a soft center back for 8min if you want your cookies to be crispy bake for longer.  I like mine crispy for coffee dipping.

Let cookies cool and enjoy!