erika_kern

Bakersfield, CA, US
contributor

My crafting career started in a dumpster scrounging gems with my amazingly creative grandfather. How creative, you ask? Well when I was only 4 he made me a working miniature Farris Wheel made solely from trash and a few screws, nuts, and bolts.

You name the craft, Ive probably tried it but my true craft love is embroidery. Ive been stitching since I was 8 (before if you count a fish I made for my mom in preschool) and 3 years ago discovered the fun of combining embroidery with wool felt. In 2005 I began my imaginary boyfriend, combining my love of classic crafts, laughter, and whimsy into my home decor, art, and personal accessories.

My work has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Daily News, Adorn, and Cutting Edge and in many blogs including Craft:,Boing Boing, and Design*Sponge.

craft interests: embroidery, holidays, quilting, sewing, fabric printing

my etsy page:
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=14938

Member Since: 08/06/2008

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How to Turn '80s Sweaters into Fashionable Floor Cushions

Honor your favorite television OB/GYN with a floor cushion any Huxtable would love! It's super easy with a few thrift store sweaters.

How to Make a Basic Sweater Something Special

Boutique sweaters are great but so expensive! Here's a way to make a bargain-store sweater shine using two simple stitches.

How to Embroider a Necktie

A little embroidery adds a personal touch to a store-bought tie. Add a colorful French tack and personalized tag and it makes the perfect gift for the dapper fella in your life.

How to Make Valentines for Your Puppy Pal!

A few dollars worth of fleece, stuffing, and a tennis ball are all you need to make the best valentines for your four-legged friend.

How to Make Your Own Valentine

No Valentine? No problem! Just make your own using an old wool sweater and some scraps from around your craft space. How romantic!

How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part One

This quilt is a great way to reuse the T-shirts you have that are too full of memories to throw away but too full of holes (or too small!) to wear.

How to Make a Clothespin Cake Topper

This easy-to-make, affordable, and adorable cake topper will add a touch of whimsy to any wedding celebration.

How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Vintage linens are a great source for fun fabrics! Here's a project to turn them into great reusable shopping bags for your next grocery outing.

How to Make Sweater Dog Toys

After all my sweater projects, I was left with one thing besides great crafts...sleeves! What to do? Why, make dog toys, of course! Soft, squeaky dog toys!

How to Make a Stuffed Buche de Noel (Part 1)

The yule log . . . the English burn it, the French eat it, now you can stuff it!

How to Make a Gingerbread House to Outlast Even the Sweetest of Sweet Tooths

This gingerbread house is a great Christmas Eve project for the whole family that will last until next Christmas and many Christmases after that!

Make It Pink! How to Embroider Your T-shirt

Embroidering on stretch fabric can be a pain, but with this tutorial and lovely "Make It Pink" pattern, you'll be on your way to wearing your embroidery in no time!

How to Make Fun Felt Favor Bags

Send your guests off with this sweet reminder of your special day. Filled with treats, this adorable felt bag is sure to be a memory maker.

How to Make a Fabulous Feather Fascinator

Top off your bridal ensemble with feathers with this beautiful and easy-to-make headdress.

How to Make a Beautiful Bridal Garter

Spring is here and the mind turns to weddings and love. This garter is an easy-to-make and personal gift that will make any bride smile.

How to Turn Recycling into a Nature-Inspired Shadow Box

Sometimes you find nature in the strangest places. This week I found it in my recycling bin.

How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part Two

Last week we covered blocking the quilt front using all the T-shirts you love but never wear; this week we turn that patchwork into a quilt!

How to Turn Recycling into a Beautiful Vase

Reuse yesterday's cast-offs by turning them into a striking and modern spring vase.

How to Make an Eco-Friendly Corsage

Crafting with care for Mother Earth needn't lack glamour! Organic bamboo jersey and broken costume jewelery combine to make a green corsage fit for your favorite fashionista.

How to Embellish a T-Shirt with Embroidery and Buttons

Here's a quick little project to punch up that plain T-shirt that's just hanging around your closet, turning it from least worn to most stylish!

How to Embroider Your Own Buttons

A bit of embroidery turns simple fabric-covered buttons into adorable, wearable works of art.

How to Make a Beautiful Button Pillow

A bit of time, some contrasting thread, and a whole lot of vintage buttons come together to form a beautiful, modern home accessory.

How to Make a Pearly Box Fit for a Queen (or King!)

London's Pearlies inspire this box that's so easy to make you won't Adam and Eve it!

How to Make a Stylish Sofa Cover

Got a dog or cat who likes to sit on your couch? Here's a throw that allows you to protect your sofa AND cuddle with your friend.

How to Make a Cat Fascinator

A few feathers and a little bit of shine will entertain a cat for ages. Tie them to a stick, and you and your cat can play together safe from scratchy claws!

So CraftStylish at CHA

Sure, there were celebrities and products a plenty at this year's Craft & Hobby Association convention but, for me, the CraftStylish booth stole the show!

How to Recycle a Sweater into a Chair Cover

Sweaters are great and comfy, but sometimes even though you still love your sweater, you just don't want to wear it anymore. Here's a project to turn your favorite unworn sweater into your favorite seat in the house!

Get Organized in 2009! A Perfect Place for All Your Patterns

If you're anything like me, you have embroidery and sewing patterns all over your house, but with a quick trip to the office-supply store you'll be able to organize them all.

If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Stitched a Cake: How to Make Felt Food

Have a tiny would-be chef in your life? Well, with a few bucks you can make your future foodie some adorable treats, including this scrumptious felt cake.

How to Monogram a Sweater

A simple chain-stitched letter turns a store-bought sweater into a great personal statement for the little fashionista in your life!

Felt Club Recap: So Much Fun! So Many Crafts!

This year's Felt Club was chock full of amazing crafts and great people. Here are some pics of my favorites.

How to Make a Satin-Smooth Satin Stitch

The satin stitch intimidates many a beginning embroiderer, but it's really quite simple and all about tension.

To Do: Felt Club Holiday 2008, this weekend!

Hey! Are you gonna be in LA this weekend? You should come and visit me and nearly 150 other awesome crafters at this year's Felt Club!

How to Make a Felt Holiday-Mix CD Case

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the music. I have tons of it and love to share it with my friends. Here's an easy and clever way to package all your merry music for all your festive friends.

How to Print Fabric with Print Gocco

Print Gocco is great for making cards and art and other paper crafts, but with a minor alteration and some ingenuity you can print on fabric, too!

Turn Photos into Embroidered Portraits

Last week I showed you how to make your family portraits into embroidery patterns. This week I'll show you how with a little fabric paint, embroidery floss, and imagination you can turn those patterns into lovely works of art.

How to Turn Your Portraits into Patterns

What a great gift idea! Family portraits become beautiful embroidery patterns with just a few simple steps. No artistic ability? No problem! It's all about tracing!

How to Make a Stuffed Buche de Noel (Part 2)

Last week we made the Buche; this week we make it Noel with fun felt mushrooms and holly berries!

Crazy Creepy Cuteness Brought to You by Girlsavage

Girlsavage's "feltidermy" is 2 parts creepy and 8 parts adorable. Put those together and that's 10 kinds of awesome!

How to Use One Pattern, Three Ways!

This free downloadable pattern looks great whether you stitch it as a simple outline, use illustration-like shading, or go with a full-blown fill.

Traveling with Your Embroidery

Like knitting and crochet, embroidery is the perfect travel companion. Here's how to pack it up and go.

Organize Your Embroidery Floss

Once you start embroidering, your floss stash will multiply faster than gremlins in water. Here's how to keep it in control.

Hello, Craft Stylistas!

Just wanted to pop in and say "Hi!" now that I'm so CraftStylish.

How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches

The number of hand-embroidery stitches out there can be daunting when you first start, but you really only need a few basic stitches to finish any project.


recent comments

Re: How to Turn Recycling into a Nature-Inspired Shadow Box

Thanks so much!

Re: How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part Two

I never knew I was so brave! But really the jersey wasn't that hard to work with since I was using the annoying aspect of the fabric to my advantage, adding the rolled accent on the binding. And any proper quilter will let you know that the binding that I did was one of the easiest bindings to do since I binded all the sides individually.

Perhaps I lucked out, but I had no problem throughout the process with the jersey fabric. It felt like working with any other fabric. Perhaps I was just working in blissful ignorance. I do that a lot.

Re: How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part One

Like I said, I didn't use any interfacing and didn't run into any problems. I've already washed it once and it looks great.

Re: How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part One

I'll be covering the finishing the quilt in my 4/22 post!

I ran into no problems not using interfacing. To be honest the thought of using it never even entered my head. Since I knew that the edges of the fabric would roll I just made sure to give myself extra seam allowance and that seemed to work just fine.

Re: How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part One

beyondhalfcentury: It really doesn't matter what direction the grain is going, I have it going all sorts of directions on my quilt. Actually I found that the grain on most of the shirts I was working with was all wonky to begin with, so I quickly abandoned the idea of staying with the grain.

I really had no problem with stretching, just make sure not to pull at your fabric while sewing and you should be fine.

Re: How to Make an Out-of-the-Ordinary T-Shirt Quilt: Part One

Thanks all!

I just quilted it last night and it's soooo comfy cozy! All soft from years of washing. . . warm but not too warm. Like Jek said, great for summer! Oh and camping, this would be so good for that and so great for shirts and onsies that have sentimental value but that the kids have long outgrown.

Re: How to Turn Recycling into a Beautiful Vase

Thanks all! Having no kids of my own, I never even thought of this as a kid's craft but it would be great! I worked with fairly small pieces but if you use a bigger jar you could use bigger pieces for smaller hands. You could also skip the jar and make it into some sort of basket or bowl.

So happy you all like this! My mom wants me to mention that the flowers are from her yard. Giving credit where credit's due!

Re: Beautiful Disasters

Hee. I like to call these craftastrophies.

Re: How to Turn Recycling into a Beautiful Vase

aw gee! thanks!

Re: How to Make an Apple-Print Tote Bag

So much fun! I love how it just screams spring. Oh, and you're completely making me miss Brooklyn. Brooklyn!

Re: How to Make an Eco-Friendly Corsage

Thanks! Yeah, I do love the sparkle.

Re: How to Embellish a T-Shirt with Embroidery and Buttons

Thanks so much! So happy you like it.

Re: How to Embroider Your Own Buttons

Ha! I wish I could embroider on wood. That would be awesome!!!

Thank you all for all the kind words, you rock.

Re: How to Knit a Cool and Breezy Button Curtain

That is so lovely. It reminds me of the sea. . .

Re: How to Embroider Your Own Buttons

Hi all! Sorry I've been away. . . moving this week. Argh! Anyway . . .

Mscraftypants: I'll thrift with you any day!

Sister Diane: Making sure it's centered when you put your fabric in the button press is key. Once you put your button over the fabric, just keep an eye on the front through the press (it's white and thin, so your pattern will show through). If you're using the buttons with the teeth instead of the press, just keep an eye out while you pull your fabric taut, starting at the middle of your fabric. That should work but if it's a bit off center, that's okay! It adds to the charm.

Sparkletree: I've never tried it with my Badge-a-minit. . . it might work. Hum. . . Ideas!

Thanks all for your kind words! You've made my crazy week better!

Re: How to Make a Beautiful Button Pillow

ImaMes: Yeah, I usually do pillow backs like that so I thought I'd mix it up with the snaps. I love an envelope back pillow cover, though.

Re: How to Make a Covered-Button Cardigan

Man that's pretty, Kayte!

Re: How to Make a Beautiful Button Pillow

Great idea, Jen! I thought about doing it on the machine but I thought that the buttons might be too close together so I didn't even try. Silly me! Good to know for the future, though. . .

Yeah, I felt a bit crazy when I hit the halfway mark, but by that time I was in too deep! Funny thing about it is the weight. Since I used mostly shell and mother of pearl buttons, it's soooooo heavy!

Re: How to Make a Pearly Box Fit for a Queen (or King!)

blue and white sounds lovely!

Re: How to Make a Pearly Box Fit for a Queen (or King!)

Thanks! I, too, love the pearl button (can you tell?).

Re: How to Make a Stylish Sofa Cover

Thanks! It washes up great too.

Re: Never Stop Learning: Take a Craft Class

Where do you live?

Oh! Turns out the Embroidery class on the 27th is full but we've added a class on March 4th. Yea!

Re: How to Make Sweater Dog Toys

lizander: I found the squeaks at my local Petsmart. If you don't have one near you there's a link to their website in the materials section of the how-to.

Re: Etsy Hearts Erika Kern: We Know the Feeling

Aw!
You are welcome whenever you'd like, Jen. Bakersfield's a bit of a bore but the thrifting's great and the food is yummy. Bad for you but so yummy!

Re: How to Make Valentines for Your Puppy Pal!

Nope, just painted it freehand in block letters.

Re: Etsy Hearts Erika Kern: We Know the Feeling

oh you're making me blush!

Re: Crafting Your Personality

Oh, thanks for the kind words! You're the sweetest.

As for my crafting. . . I'm not sure if it defines me or if I define my craft. I've always been a sort of improvisational person who bores with rules given to her. The way I sew and stitch follows that improv style.

My embroidery patterns are just lines and then I fill them however I see fit. I even like to doodle stitch sometimes.

As for sewing, I have a hard time following commercial patterns but I can sew the most difficult items if I design them. My friend Nikki, an amazing seamstress, often teases me about this. I can't sew a Simplicity dress to save my life yet I can design and put together a robot plush with over 50 pieces! What can I say. . . I'm a nut.

Re: How to Make Your Own Valentine

I'm sure you could use rice. I suspect it'd be floppy like a beanie and it might be a bit messy to work with but I say go for it!

Re: How to Make Your Own Valentine

You should do it Vicky! The face is super easy, it's just a bit of fabric paint. The key is to add the bit of white in the eye to add that extra glimmer. The glasses are just a bit of felt I cut out and sewed on over the face.

Re: How to Make Your Own Valentine

Aw, right back at you, girly!

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Miba: No problem! I love a fan's passion!!!

Re: How to Make a Super-Simple Recycled Quilt

Yeah, this is sooo much fun! Great idea for reusing ugly linens.

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Miba: Yeah, I get what you're saying and if these were mint, I think I would have let them be. I appreciate the collectibility of mint items. But usually when people are using collectible linens in crafts these linens are not mint. . . far from it! Both the sheets I used had big stains on them. If watching Antiques Roadshow has taught me anything it's condition counts. If you have something that's, for lack of a better word, ruined why not make it into something, dare I say better?

Tina: I love reconstructed vintage! But I also completely get the "too precious" argument too. I've often bought things to reconstruct that end up left as is because I just can't cut into them. I find that if they're damaged in some way it makes it easier. I found this super cute 50's blouse the other day at the Salvation Army, the sleeves are all torn up but the front has the most amazing pleating! Now I just need to figure out what to make with it.

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Okay! I added more info on the bottom corners. Thanks again!

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Thanks for the heads up on the corners thing. I don't have another picture (since the bags are already made) but I'll try to explain the corner better.

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

One more thing. . . why is making money off something more important than making something cool and different from it?

This is just a question and in no way meant as an attack. It's just, I did pay good money (not a lot of money, but it was still as good as anything) and I used them in the best way I saw fit. I've seen clothes and bags and quilts made from these sheets all the time. I think it's a great thing to reuses something and make it one's own.

I guess I'd understand your point if I'd open a sealed up deadstock item but these were somewhat stained sheets from the thrift that were very well loved.

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Well, they weren't in perfect condition and were just the top sheets. Plus, I don't understand the point of having something just to have it, which is what would happen if I just kept the sheets as is. This way I can appreciate them more. And isn't appreciating the true idea of fandom?

Re: How to Turn Old Sheets into Shopping Totes

Aw, thanks! I got mad props at the grocery store too.

Re: How to Turn '80s Sweaters into Fashionable Floor Cushions

lindesign53: Oh. . . sorry, I don't mean like an actual envelope, I just mean it as a style of pillow cover closure. The kind that doesn't need a zip or buttons.

So your back will be made of 2 pieces of material, a larger piece and a smaller one. When you're pinning the front to back you'll place the large backing piece down on your front fabric and then the smaller piece. There should be an overlap, I usually overlap about 5". You should be able to see what I mean in the pictures, especially the shot of the pinned cover and the shots of the backs of the pillows.

Re: How to Turn '80s Sweaters into Fashionable Floor Cushions

SandieSews: I found mine at a local thrift where they always have green ticket or white ticket or pink ticket days. On the what ever color day you go in anything with that color ticket is half off. A lot of the smaller, non-chain, type thrifts have those days. Also lots of Salvation Army stores will mark down anything that's there a long time, and most of these sweaters are in the thrifts a LONG time.

Re: How to Recycle a Sweater into a Chair Cover

Thanks! It was much easier than I thought it would be when I first had the idea. Took me no time at all!

Re: How to Sew a Fabric Bowl

Add me to the lovers! I'm a huge fan of this and have so many scraps! This is great!

Re: How to Embroider a Necktie

That's wonderful!

Re: How to Turn '80s Sweaters into Fashionable Floor Cushions

They are way comfy too!
I like to sit on the floor to work and it's getting harder now that I'm getting older. These cushions are just the boost my aging rump needs. AND since the sweaters I used are old acrylic ones they are completely machine washable!

Re: Get Organized in 2009! A Perfect Place for All Your Patterns

I like the zip lock idea! That's great!
I used to keep my patterns in boxes, but then I just had too many! But I'm a bit of an organizational nut...

Re: CraftStylish RoundTable: Crafty Resolutions for 2009

So. . . things happen, as they do. . . and I haven't gotten to start the robots. It's still in the works but might have to wait a month or two to get going. . . sometimes life gets in the way of crafts, darn life. . .

Re: If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Stitched a Cake: How to Make Felt Food

Oh, don't worry, I made veggies too.
Velcro would be great but I just found the snaps a better fit for how I wanted it to look but I could see velcro working splendidly!

Re: How to Make a Gingerbread House to Outlast Even the Sweetest of Sweet Tooths

Seriously.

Re: Marie Claire Has a Craft Magazine?

You can find it at most Barnes & Noble newsstands. They even have it in my less than cosmopolitan town. You can also subscribe to it via Amazon.

Re: If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Stitched a Cake: How to Make Felt Food

About magnets: Yeah. . . if I were to use them I'd sew them into the the inside of the toy.

Re: If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd Have Stitched a Cake: How to Make Felt Food

OOOHHHH Magnets!!!! I love the magnet idea. I wish I'd thought of that!

Yeah, felt treats are great but every time I look at them I want the real thing so I'm a goner either way!

Re: How to Make a Basic Sweater Something Special

Thanks! It's so easy to do too.

Re: How to Make a Satin-Smooth Satin Stitch

Well, keeping a nice tension on the floss as you're stitching helps a lot but if you are trying to fill a larger shape and you're planning on using it and not stretching it I would strongly recommend not using this stitch. I would only use a satin stitch on spots that are 1" or less across. Instead of a satin stitch for what you're talking about, I would use another fill like a split stitch. It takes a lot longer to stitch but it's worth it. The split stitch locks each stitch down and makes it super durable, but you still get a pretty smooth look to the finished piece.

Hope this helps!

Re: How to Make a Felt Holiday-Mix CD Case

Great ideas! I love it when I have an idea and then you all make it even better.

Re: How to Make a Stuffed Buche de Noel (Part 2)

Thanks so much!
You'll have to post a pic if you make one, I'd love to see it!

Re: How to Embroider a Leather and Ribbon Belt

How Glamorous! Everytime you post a project it makes me wish I had an embroidery machine. . . one other than my own hands. . . but yeah, that belt is fab!

Re: How to Make Button Cards . . . with Removable Buttons!

Okay. . . that is the cuteness! So pretty and useful and thoughtful. I'll have to tuck that away in my mind for gifties.

Re: How to Print Fabric with Print Gocco

You sure can stamp fabric!
I've done linoleum block prints using the Jaquard paint and it worked really well. I do find that the transfer off a block or stamp isn't as clear as it is off a screen (since a Print Gocco is basically a small table top screen printer) but it can give your work a cool slightly distressed work. If you use a stamp, I'd recommend something with little detail so that you don't have to worry about blury fine lines.

Re: Turn Photos into Embroidered Portraits

That does sound gorge' kiliki! Me, I go all crosseyed with the beads. . . but I'd love to see your work.

Re: Turn Photos into Embroidered Portraits

thanks so much!

Re: How to Turn Your Portraits into Patterns

That sounds great! I'd love to see what you do.

Re: Shopping for Fuzzy Bear Hats with My New Friend Bill Murray

Jealous doesn't begin to describe how jealous I am!

Re: Make It Pink! How to Embroider Your T-shirt

Hi Luluvision! The stabilizer I use is Sulky's Solvy. It's the bomb! I swear they should sponsor me I use so many of their products!
And thanks bunches Cathy and Michaela! I feel the love!!!

Re: Make It Pink! How to Embroider Your T-shirt

Thanks! Yeah, it was hard coming up with something since there are SO many awareness motifs out there.

Re: How to Make a Stuffed Buche de Noel (Part 1)

Yeah. . . I'm a BIG felt fan. I love how forgiving it is and I also love how people have this expectation of it and how easy it is to do something unexpected with it because those expectations are so low.

I love the idea of this as a mother daughter project. Warms the heart!

Re: How to Make a Stuffed Buche de Noel (Part 1)

Thanks! Oh! I loved your log too Kayte, I remember seeing it and swooning.

Re: How to Use One Pattern, Three Ways!

Well. . . I have been accused of being an embroidery machine. Hee hee.

Re: How to Use One Pattern, Three Ways!

You're more than welcome!
The only hint I can give you about the satin stitch is tension, close stitches, and patience. Also, though it uses a lot of floss, I like to have the back match the front on my satin stitch because it helps with that all important tension.

Re: Traveling with Your Embroidery

Yeah. . . I once tried stitching on a long car ride and, though I'm not usually one for motion sickness, I thought I was gonna be sick. Lesson learned!

Re: How to Make a Felted Bird Mobile

That's 10 kinds of cute! I know a little baby boy who might be getting one of those for his birthday!

Re: How to Dress Up Your Curtain with a Crochet Tieback

Okay. . . that is seriously, stupidly cute! I want! You're gonna get me crocheting yet, Ms. Linda!

Re: Hello, Craft Stylistas!

Thanks guys! Yeah I love Martha almost as much as I love robots. Yea robots!

Re: How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches

Fixed! Thanks normasews, you're a lifesaver!

Re: How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches

I stand corrected! Sorry about that, I've always know that as a running stitch. . . makes sense though, since you have to go back to do the stitch. Duh, Erika! Thanks for the info, I'll go back and fix it!

Re: How to Make an Impression: Extraordinary Thank-You Notes

So lovely! What a wonderfully thoughtful idea.

Re: Organize Your Embroidery Floss

Exactly! Plus, I've found my floss always gets more tangled when I store it on the cardboard. Yeah. . . I ALWAYS loose the bands, I have a few bags with ? on them because I didn't make a bag in time. Those are my mystery floss!

Re: How To: Five Handy Embroidery Stitches

Thanks! Yeah, the chain stitch is the bomb! I always admire the cross stitcher. . . especially the counted cross stitcher. . . I always miscount and then have to rip it out and stitch it all over again!