Monday, February 28, 2011

The white jacket again

Here's the white jacket with the trimming all done. As you can see, I only did the binding up to the princess seam. The rest of the hem is topstitched in a fancy stitch that also covers the raw edge inside.

I still have to do the sleeve hems, but this is mostly done. I might try to see if I can find a red belt for it. I think it would look nice with either blue or white jeans.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Crafter's Wish

You know how there are recipe sites out there where you plug in what you have on hand (tomatoes, cheese, tortillas) and get back recipes (enchiladas)?

I wish there were craft sites like that. You plug in: wooden beads, Styrofoam egg, lace, and get back...whatever.

After cleaning and organizing my closet, I realize I have some things to play with but don't know what to do with them. Most of the crafting sites out there are geared towards children. I'm no artisan, but I don't want to make anything kiddish either. At least, not until years down the road when I have grandchildren to play with.

Friday, February 25, 2011


The wind outside is nuts and the rain is pouring. I think most of the snow will be gone soon.

Just to prove there is hope for the future (that is, spring really is coming), I heard birdsong this morning. The birds flock to eat the seeds we throw to them, but they don't sing. At least, I never hear them sing in the winter.

But this morning, despite the rain, I heard a beautiful call. I think it was a cardinal although I couldn't seem him. My guess is that he's calling to a lady friend. Maybe it's nest-building time!

Since I found my socks book yesterday, I was able to do the heels on the socks I'm making this morning, while watching "Bones." Next will be the instep, then it's smooth sailing until I'm done.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Organizing today

I'm so tired of having to plow through the closet in my office/crafts room to find anything that I decided to take out anything and everything to do with crochet and knitting. I have one of those 3-drawer plastic things that was in the closet. Now it's out where I can get at my yarn more easily. I labeled the drawers: pastels, darker colors, neutrals.

I found out I have more pastel yarn than I can put in one drawer, so I may have to rethink that whole arrangement.

I also gathered up all the crochet hooks (in a jam jar) and knitting needles I could find, as well as books and magazines. Odds and ends like motifs are in candy/cookie tins. The picnic basket has granny squares I made forever ago that I might actually put together someday, and the box has hats for charity (for next winter).

So now it's all pretty much in the same area in my crafts room.

There's a drawer full of WIPs in my dining room which I also reorganized. I took out some things to work on today that I haven't worked on in ages.

The biggest reason I did this is because I'm up to the heel part of a new pair of socks. I can do the calf/ankle part from memory but still have to practice heel-turning a few times. I couldn't find my booklet, but did locate it after cleaning.

A bonus to all this is that I found a bunch of pens on the floor of the closet. I couldn't figure out where all the pens on my desk had gone. I think the ferret had stolen them to hide in there! So now I also have a bunch of pens again.

I think I've made more of a mess than was there at first (I do have to finish the closet another day) but at least I can find a few things!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finished wallets

Here are two little finished wallets. Please scroll down two previous posts to see how these were made.

If you already read them, then at this point all you do is sew on the button and sew up the sides of the 'pocket.' I used the topstitching as a guide so I wouldn't accidentally sew over a button.

I hope you have enjoyed this simple little tutorial! We will return to our regularly scheduled programming (ie, my 17,000 unfinished crochet projects) shortly!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cute wallet, PT. 2

First, sorry these posts are backwards. I don't know how to rearrange them.

Last time around you folded the wallet in thirds and marked the folds with pins.

Use these pins as a guide to how large you want your applique to be.

I used a regular stitch to sew this down before decorating it. Can you guess what it's going to be?

A Bee! She is friendly and doesn't even have a stinger. Hmmm...looking at the photo, I might add another black stripe.

I leave it up to you how to make your appliques. You could use safety eyes but I happened to have googly eyes on hand. They are simply glued in place but everything else is sewn.

Sorry to do this, but I can't do any more on this until the glue dries. I shall return...

Super Cute, Super Easy Kid Wallet PT. 1

I'm designing some wallets for a friend's little girls. I'm all for easy, and want to share how I'm making them with you. This would be a great beginner's project!

First, you need 2 strips of material (one lining, one outer) measuring about 3.5" by 8.5". Fudge it--this ain't rocket science.

Then you need something to give the wallet 'body,' so you can use iron-in interfacing or maybe even a piece of felt the same size as the fabric pieces.

Iron in the interfacing if using it.

Now put the pieces wrong sides together. Yes, I said wrong sides. If you're using felt, sandwich it in between.

Now sew all four sides about 1/4" from the edge. Then use your pinking shears (you do have pinking shears, right?) to trim away the excess.

If you have a serger, knock yourself out.

Okay, see? Cute finished edges and no turning inside out!

Next, find a cute button and make a button hole.

Fold the wallet in 3rds, and mark the top and bottom folds with pins.

Please come back again for part two. Trying to cut and paste photos between my text is a pain.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jacket binding

Turns out I had enough of the stripe fabric to make some bias binding. Here it is pinned to the inside of the jacket. I have to head to work in a few minutes but this is the next thing I'll sew when I sit down at the machine again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Jacket

Here's the almost-finished jacket over the top I made. (The Target bag matches nicely, don't you think?)

I have to do the hems and decide what to do with the binding. I'd use leftover fabric from the top but I'm not sure I have enough. Either that or just plain white. We'll see.

BTW...Shadow had his stitches out today. He is all done, at least until his next regular yearly checkup!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Latest Sewing Project

This is New Look 6947. I actually bought it last year and have already made the sleeveless top in a white with red stripe shirting material. It has some tucks at the neckline and a simple hook and eye closure at the back.

I got some cheapo fabric to make a 'muslin' of the jacket but it is actually turning out nice enough to use. I'm making it without the collar in a white pique, only on the reverse side so it is smooth instead of bumpy. Somehow, the bumpy side made me think too much of a tennis outfit.

So I'll bind it around the edges. It is light weight and will make a nice sort of cardigan for the spring.

I'm actually up to the sleeves already so this will be finished pretty soon. I'll take a picture of the finished project and post it.

Oh, and I'm not making the pants. I'm only 5'2" and chubby and I would look ridiculous in big pants like that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rice Heat Pad Tip

I made Shadow a heat pad, but he didn't want to use it with his 'cone.' He seemed afraid of anything I put in there.
His cone is off today and he's been a very good boy. I supposed by now the stitches don't bother him. Later on, I'll heat up the heat pad and let him lay on it as he loves to do with other heat pads.

I have a book called "One Yard Wonders," in which there is a pattern for one of these. What they have done differently than others I've made is to make 'channel's for the rice. I like this because it helps the pad to 'conform' a little better to the body part in question.

But that means filling little openings with rice. I used a spoon at first but still ended up with a mess. Looking around my kitchen for a make-shift funnel (with a wide enough mouth), I thought at first of using a paper cup with the bottom cut out. Of course, the way things work, I didn't have any.

Then I spotted my set of biscuit cutters. Eureka! They come in different widths so it was very easy to find one that fit the opening. I inserted it handle-side down. Now I could fill the channel with minimal mess!

I hope, if you make anything you need to fill with rice or beans or whatever, you will be able to use this biscuit cutter trick.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My pup is home!

Here is Shadow, home at last. NOT happy with this cone, but at least this one will keep him from licking out his stitches again!

I made him a flannel blanket and a heat pad, but he is not interested in resting like he is supposed to do. He's too busy checking around the house. I guess he wants to make double sure he's really home!

Good News

Shadow is coming home this afternoon! Woohoo! I miss my little guy and can't wait to have him home again!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not feeling very creative

My dog Shadow has been at the vet since Monday. He had surgery last week to remove an abnormal anal gland. He managed to bend back the cloth cone they had on him and licked out his stitches. The wound got infected. So they had to redo the stitches and now he has a tube in him for a drain.

We also had him fixed, since it's all in the same area. This will help to prevent him from getting this problem again. It's also supposed to add years to his life. He's only five and I want him to live forever.

Actually, I'm still keeping up with some of my work, especially crochet. It is very soothing and relaxing to me. With crochet, you have some control over what you are doing. You don't have much control over a sick dog's needs.

And I don't even want to know what this will cost after 4 nights there (he has to stay again tonight). The alternative, though, is unthinkable.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Handmade Coupon Storage

I change out my style of coupon keeping as my needs change. Until recently, I had such a good stockpile that I only used a very small binder for the few coupons I was using.
I'm back to restocking again and needed a better way to keep my coupons. I don't like accordian folders or big binders. (Although I did have a method where I kept the circulars intact in a binder. Now I take what I need and give the remaining circular pages to a friend.)
You could go out and buy baseball card holders that will pretty much achieve the same results as my little project here, but any time I can make a substitute I go for it.

So, basically, my pages are made with leftover cardstock and scrapbook paper. (Yes, that's Christmas paper in the first photo.) Sorry these are out of order, btw. I'm going 98% digital with my scrapbooking so won't be using up any of the paper I still have except in non-SB projects.

I cut 3 strips of paper 2.5" x 8.5 inches. I lined them up on the full paper, keeping the lowest one at the bottom edge. and the top one about 2 inches from the top edge. Then I sewed them up.

In the bottom picture, you might be able to see that I borrowed a quilter's trick and railroaded the papers together to sew one continuous line. Then you just clip the pages apart.

When you have the sides and bottom done (see middle photo), fold the paper in thirds. This will give you a guideline to sew between the pockets. BTW, if anyone knows a good way to fold in 3rds, LMK! I never get it just right!

Jot the category on each pocket. I did this as I went along until I'd finished resorting.

So...what do I do with the pages? I keep them in a leftover plastic envelope with a velcro closure. It's nice and flat so it isn't bulky, and it's clear so I can see what's in there! For my own purposes I ended up with 6 pages, or 36 pockets. I still have a few blank ones 'just in case.'

All-in-all a 'free' project!

Oh, and btw? Yesterday I got $50 worth of groceries for $24. My new method now is to search the supermarket's website using the coupons I have so I can match coupons to sales.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Where the sewing bug comes from

That's me on the left, my mom and my sister Martha (with the gorgeous long, red curls) getting ready for a prom in the mid-70s. I'm guessing about 1972. I would have been 16 and my sister almost 15. My mother made my gown. I think she made my sister's gown, too.

Mine was eyelet with tiny blue hearts running in vertical stripes. My mother did beautiful work, so now you know where I got my influence.

Then again, maybe there is something to be said for heredity since my father's mother (my grandma, of course) was a seamstress. Although I never actually saw her working, I remember being fascinated by her sewing room. In fact, I actually have some of her vintage laces!

My mother has also always been good with plants. Her mother worked as a florist (that would be about 100 years ago) and my own daughter managed (until recently) the floral department of a supermarket. That is a talent I definitely did NOT inherit. I have a purple thumb, I say--I touch plants and they turn radioactive. But at least I can sew!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Marie Claire Idees

Did you know you can download a copy of this magazine? I'm not sure why--maybe it's a free sample? But I just did and o.m.g. the awesome stuff in there!

It is in French, alas, but the pictures are inspirational by themselves.