I desperately want to design an amazing messenger bag for busy Mom’s.  As mother of three, I am always toting around water bottles, video players, diapers, my nook, and a whole slew of other things.  I am past the stage of diaper bags, or at least I like to think that I am, 🙂 but I still need a versatile bag to store all the many necessities of life.  Preferably one that would keep my hands free for my children.
I have not found the perfect messenger bag anywhere and have decided that if I design my own pattern, I will need to learn how to sew  pockets, add zippers, line bags, attach magnetic buttons, create slots for MP3 players, and slip in a few other accesories that are fun.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do many of these things. Sooo… I decided to start small and make this cute little Amy Butler Coin Purse pattern.  It seemed complicated at first, but now that I’ve made one, I think it would be easier to replicate.

It is a start, and that is really all that matters.  I think it turned out well!   YAY!

Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

This year my family and I went to Tahquamenon State Park for a summer camping vacation.  Because we were close to Sault Ste. Marie, we went for a day trip to ride the Soo Locks and drive over the bridge to Canada.

Since we were in Canada, we had to stop at a fabric store.  🙂  I picked up some lovely Canadian fabrics. This gorgeous royal blue twill coordinated perfectly with a matching cotton maple leaf fabric to make this newsboy hat.


In honor of the Canadian Maple Leafs and female Maple Leaf fans, I decided to create a fun and eye-catching hat.  It’s feminine yet splashes patriotism.  And I had enough fabric to make three hats.  Yay!  I will post these to Etsy in the next day or two.

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011

Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
Sweetheart by Janna © 2011
This Father’s Day, we not only celebrated the fathers in our extended family but also my sister-in-law Carol’s birthday.  Since gifts were abounding, I thought it would be fun to give her two children (my two nieces) their sweetheart hats.

Nicole, my almost six year old niece seemed to like her hat and wore it right away. She looked so stinkin cute! 🙂 Nicole is a true sweetheart She is beautiful, fun-loving, and has a tender heart.

Every girl LOVES shoes.  Right? 🙂  Nicole’s Flip-Flop Sweetheart (Newsboy) hat features a pair of charming summerflip flops.White twill fabric paired with teal blue bias binding makes for a fun splash of color

Vintage buttons are Nicole’s Great-Grandma’s which makes this hat extra special!
Worn with a favorite pair of jean or a lazy pair of sweats this hat is sure to be a blast.
And of course, hidden inside is a very important message that every little girl needs to hear – that she is worth far more than rubies.
Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

I love these little newsboy hats for children.  They are so whimsical! This flower hat was designed for my almost two-year old niece, Kate.  Made out of white twill fabric this hat features a large appliqued flower that features loads of pink, white, green and purple.  It is destined to snuggle a cute little noggin.

sIn the center of the appliqued flower is a large see through vintage button from Kate’s great-grandma.  Adding little Xtra’s are an added bonus when designing your own hats.  🙂

The inside of the hat holds a soft cotton jersey band in a deep purple.  The cotton fabric is the same as the appliqued flower on the outside and holds a very important message for Kate… that she is worth far more than rubies.
Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

After half a week of packing for camping, five days of camping, and then another half week of unpacking, I  finally found some time to do a little sewing.  Yeah!!!  And of course, I made a few newsboy hats for my Etsy page. 🙂 I decided to use some of the very best red crimson twill fabric for the body of my hats.  Made of all new fabrics, these hats are delicious!   Vibrant and bold colors in the lining and on the sides of the hat shout FUN!  These hats are available in three sizes 23 1/2″, 22 1/2″, and 21 1/2″.  I am very tempted to keep one for myself.  Since red is my FAVORITE color.

I am getting the itch to develop a new pattern.  Maybe work on a creating a custom designed messenger bag.  That will take a lot of research and learning new techniques I’m sure.
Love it!
Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna

Appliqued hats are adorable and so cute on little girls!!!  Featuring a multi-colored butterfly, this hat shouts FUN.   Made of all new materials, this hat is made up of white cotton twill, 100% cotton lining, and a soft cotton jersey band.  Deep plum bias binding completes the look for a finished touch.

For little heads measuring 18 to 18 1/2 inches this hat is sure to become a favorite.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been working on a newsboy hat for a sweet little one-year old named Bella.  Her mother’s favorite color is teal which makes this hat extra special.

Sporting pink, lime green, red, and teal, the large flower splashes color against its white background.  Bella’s hat is made of all new materials, except for a vintage teal button.  Featuring white twill, pink cotton jersey, and a 100 percent cotton lining it is sure to brighten any day.  Love it!
Handmade by Sweetheart by Janna
Tulip Time is a festival in Holland Michigan where the Dutch culture is celebrated in all its glory.  Parents and children turn up in droves, wearing traditional Dutch costumes, wooden shoes, and a merry attitude.  Parades abound, street vendors sell sinfully delicious food, and tulips bloom everywhere. The city is gorgeous, full of sweet-smelling scents and an overall sense of comradery.
We cheered on the parades, waved at family marching by, and appreciated the beautiful music.
Since we do not own the traditional Dutch costumes, I decided to make my beautiful daughter a Tulip Time hat.
I rushed like crazy and completed it five minutes before we left.  She wore it most of the time, which was good since it protected her from the hot sun.  And of course, she looked oh so cute!
Perhaps, if I have some time in the next couple of weeks, I’ll make a few for my etsy store.  They are so fun!

Canadian Poppies


I love poppies.  They are magnificent and stunning in their glory.  My eye is drawn like a moth to a flame as I witness their scarlett blooms reaching to their Creator above.  Their message is as rich as their hue, encouraging all of us to remember the blood which was shed for our freedom.


And so we do.  We remember the blood of soldiers who fought and died for our freedom.  We remember the blood of the innocent, shed because of our transgressions.  And we remember the sacrifice of Christ, who died for our salvation, so we might live. 
Out of the ashes… incredible beauty.
Mother’s Day was a blast.  I spent the morning at church being serenaded by my two wonderful boys, dined out with family for lunch, and had some wonderful time to myself in the afternoon to work on a project.  
These hats can be worn alone or as a matching set with a younger child.  I used light yellow cotton twill and combined it with rich purple bias binding.  Nesled inside the hat is a multiculored floral fabric and a soft purple cotton jersey band.  This hat is sure to make a statement.  Buttons complete its playful and whimsical look. 

Oh Canada!

“Oh Canada, my home and native land…” literally!  For those of you that don’t know ne, I am a Canadian living in the United States with my husband and children.  I love both Canada and the US and consider it a privilige to be able to travel back and forth between countries when I visit with family and friends.  I, like many other Canadians, enjoy dressing up in my patriotic apparel, and do so with great pride. 🙂
Today I was inspired to make a Canadian Sweetheart hat using some fabulous Canadian fabric that I received from my mother-in-law.  Not only does this hat feature the Canadian maple leaf, but it also carries the name of my beloved country on its side.  I will pass this hat along to a family member and hopefully make a few more to sell over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, I will be working on a few children’s sized hats.  That is always so much fun!!!

I am SOOO excited!  My husband’s mathematical figurings paid off.  The body of this hat is so much more streamlined than all my previous hats.  I love having a GENIUS in the family.  Yay Bruce! 🙂 
This little hat reminds me of spring, new life, and all things wonderful.  The colors are fabulous and vibrant.  With a redesigned body, a tweeked brim, and a fantastic appliqued flower, it explodes with whimsy.  
Considering that this is the first time I’ve appliqued anything I think it turned out  pretty well  Practice will make it perfect… right?  LOL. Well, It’s time for me to go to bed.  I’m up WAY to late.  Sweet slumber everyone, Janna.

Partners in Crime

I have an amazing husband!  He may not enjoy sewing and may occasionally roll his eyes at my excited rants, but he definitely is my partner in crime.  Tonight, he’s working on developing a revised body for my hats.  The mathematical side to creating patterns is not easy for those of us who are not mathmatically inclined.  So I’ve been blessed to have a partner who makes up for my deficiencies.  I just had to take a picture of him.  🙂  He does not consider himself a sewist, but I secretly disagree.  The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree afterall.  He he…

Green Egg and Ham

Contrary to what you may be thinking, I’m not actually referring to Dr. Seuss, nor am I referring to food.  🙂 Instead, I am speaking of two very important sewing accessories in my home… my green egg and my ham. 

Green Egg

As a mother of three and a homeschooling mom, I’ve found that my time to sew is very limited. I’ve discovered stolen moments during homeschooling breaks and the occasional hour during my daughter’s afternoon nap.  A sewing nook tucked away in the corner of my kitchen has helped to facilitate these moments.  However, its placement has also attracted a lot of attention from my two year old, who thinks all “no’s” are “yes’s” and my sewing things are a free for all.   
My green egg has thus proven to be a lifesaver!  The highly magnetic, lime-green dome, attracts and contains many of my sewing needles and pins.  When I hover the egg over the floor and table, stray pins literally jump to its surface and stick.  This little contraption has prevented countless tears from subverted finger pricks and jabbed toes.   
My ham on the other hand, is a remarkable piece of art.  The small, compact, and very “ham” like object is in fact, a wonderful and strange-looking ironing board.  Useful for ironing many rounded items, it has become an essential piece of equipment for my hat making enterprises. 
Which brings me to my latest endeavor.  This blue corduroy hat took many hours to make, with several reworkings along the way.  I tried a few new techniques (thank-you Marsha – they worked!!!) and noticed a few more things that need to change for future hats.  Several more tweeks and hopefully, my hat pattern will be completed.

In the meantime, I’m dreaming of new variations for this hat.  I’ve a couple exciting ideas, which may end up looking better in my head than on it.  LOL.  But that remains to be seen.  Lots of love, Janna.

Proverbs 31:10 – A wife of noble character, who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.

This Bible verse in Proverbs has had an enormous positive impact on my life.  In a society where we as women often struggle to find self-worth by measuring ourselves against the standards of the world, we instead find ourselves lacking in both self-esteem and confidence.  But the Bible teaches us that our worth is far more than rubies, that true beauty is found within, and that our identity is found in Christ.

One summer day, while I was contemplating my wounds, the hurts of my past, and the faulty logic that colored my present day beliefs regarding my value as a person, I stumbled across a post on my news feed on Facebook.  Dee Kasberger had posted a picture of her artwork, “She is worth far more than rubies,” with a link to her Red Letter Words business, http://www.redletterwords.com/.

It was as if God was whispering these words in my ear, his voice soft and gentle.  I marvelled at his timing and the balm of healing his word provided.  I savored its meaning. Revelled in how it lit the dark corners of my heart with its sweet message.  For in God’s eyes, we all are worth far more than rubies.

In that moment, I was convicted that every woman needs to hear this message.  I decided that I would display it in my house so that every woman who entered might read it and walk away feeling touched by God’s love.  But… purchasing it was not an immediate option.  I would need to wait until my next birthday.

God works in mysterious ways. 🙂 That same night, as I attended our church’s music ministry summer picnic, a friend flagged me down to tell me that she’d talked to Dee Kasberger (the owner of Red Letter Words) who’d told her that she wanted to gift me with one piece of her artwork.  She encouraged me to check out Dee’s website and pick out anything that I liked.  I was floored.  My friend had no idea that I’d stumbled across Dee’s page earlier that afternoon and had no clue of the thoughts I’d been working through.  God was stirring the waters of my heart like the pool of Bethesda.

My eyes welled with tears and I was filled with an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  To this day, I wonder if God was watching my friend and I with great mirth…. if maybe, just maybe he let loose a hearty guffaw… for my heart abounded with joy. The knowledge that God actively reached out to touch my heart, and used two of my friends to do so, is awe-inspiring.  I love that!

Today, this message holds a place of honor in my kitchen.  I want everyone that my life touches to know that they are worth far more than rubies to God.  That nothing can separate us from His love.

Perhaps I will stitch this very verse into the fabric of my creations, in the hopes that someday God might use me to speak into the fabric of someone else’s life.

Thank-you Dee for blessing me and for following your heart!
With all of mine,

Vintage Treasure Box

Today I spent a long day organizing and planning for our neighborhood garage sale.  The garage is full, our basement is a little less full, and my feet are sore.  LOL.  All I have left to do is price EVERYTHING!  There’s only one day left before the big event – but I’ll get everything done.  🙂  As I cleaned house, I found myself contemplating the reality of how one person’s hand-me-overs can be another person’s treasure. Since I am selling some items on behalf of my family I discovered a delightful treasure amidst all the mounds of stuff.  This fantastic red vintage box has become my new sewing companion, storing all my goodies and favorite sewing contraptions. Beneath the bag of thread are all my sewing feet. Ha ha… that sounds funny.   Love it!!!  Hopefully soon I will be able to create some more hats… but probably not until after the garage sale is completed.  Praying that the forecasted 70% chance of rain doesn’t come true and that we are innundated with eager garagesalers!


There definitely is an art to sewing as I’ve discovered over the last several months.  Having plunged myself into the craft and immersed myself amidst colorful threads and fabrics, I’ve found myself treading in a vast ocean of amazing possibilities.  Who knew that so many things could be created by one small machine?  Of course, I’m still a newbie so my prospects are fairly limited, but my vision and goals are not.  🙂  And so, I enjoying splashing around as I kick about new ideas, patterns, and projects.
And what a blast it’s been!  Well… apart from the many times I’ve ripped out foiled stitches and thrown out completely botched projects.  🙂  But beneath the bad experiences I’ve discovered a very wonderful silver lining – a renewed ambition and determination not to repeat my past mistakes and an insatiable desire to grow and learn. The accomplishment of seeing a finished product, in all it’s unique and not yet perfect glory, has been spectacular.
And so an idea was birthed and “sweetheart” was born, named for the four sweethearts in my life; my three children and husband.   🙂
The name “sweetheart” is fun-loving and whimsical in its definition.  It is an endearing expression of love and affection.  But for me it also represents an even deeper message.
I believe that above all things, the greatest gift we can give to another person is the gift of God’s love.  If only we could see each other as God sees us, as worth far more than rubies and as being more precious than jewels.  And yet, as I think that thought, I have a blossoming awareness of the irony behind His expression of love.  For the ruby droplets of blood that He shed for us are to us a living river of life and representative of the greatest love story of all times.   Afterall, greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Deep within your hallowed heart,
Beats blood of truest red.
Poured out for me, you gave your life,
Whispering words of love instead.

You won my heart with great aplomb,
Ransomed my very soul.
Repaired the very heart of me.
Jesus you made me whole.

This is a delicious coffee cake that I would highly recommend by the Smitten Kitchen.  I found it at http://www.smittenkitchen.com/.  I made a few adjustments to the recipe and made it easier to read… but you can find the original at the link.  Enjoy!
Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Cranberry layer

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (6 oz)

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

Top Layer
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 375 with rack in middle.  Generously buter a 9-by 2-inch round cake pan.  Line bottom with round of parchment paper and butter parchment.

Pulse cranberries in a food processor with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Beat together 1 stick butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addtion.  Scrape down side and bottom of bowl.  Reduce speed to low and mix in flour mixture and 1/2 cup milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour, until just combined.

Spread half of batter in pan, then spoon cranberries over it, leaving a 1/2 inch  border around edge.  Spoon small bits of the reamining batter over the top of the cranberries and smooth them with as gentle a hand as possible.

Blend remaining 1/4 cup vanilla sugar with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp flour using your fingertips.  Crumble over top of cake.
Bake until a wooden pick inserted int cake (not into cranberry filling) comes out clean and side begins to pull away from pan, 45 to 50 minutes.  Cool in pan 30 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely, crumb side up.
DO AHEAD: Coffee cake can be made 1 day ahead and kept, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
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