Monday, March 23, 2015

The Quest to Stop Cutting Corners--Or Embellishments in This Case

I am still working on my goal to do the extra embellishments on my sewing projects rather than rushing to get 'er done. I even got this mug to serve as a reminder.
 I'm getting better at this!  After finishing the first two pouches of this set, I thought, "I could have embroidered something on those."  These next two got some embroidery.
As I was finishing up these two, I remembered the box of lace and rickrack that I always mean to add to some project.  One more pouch to go.  It will have trim and embroidery and some kind of zipper pull.  Yes, I'm ashamed to say that I didn't even add zipper pulls until I started following Sandra, The Queen of Pouch Making's blog.  If you don't know Sandra, click on that link which will take you to one of her many, many pouch projects and note the glitzy little zipper pulls in particular.
Just in time!  I have to start packing for a cruise to someplace sunny and warm today.  Can't wait for some sunshine, warm temperatures, and someone else cooking and serving all my meals. 

I See Brown!


The river is still frozen, but look at that brown!  Mud season is just around the corner! We still have a lot of snow by our house, though.  It will take a while to melt down those snowbanks,
 but areas that didn't get that extra pile-up of snow are way down.  I am most interested to see how long it is going to take to melt that solid block of ice on top of the pool cover.
What a winter here!  It's been pretty sometimes,
 and it has been the best year for icicles EVER.
 The term "gripping cold" came to mind when I saw this one with it's two graspy little fingers.
Spring is, however, on the way!  Kyle, our son who lives five hours south of here in New York City, says they have some actual green there.   I held off on changing over the chalkboard from the St. Patrick's design to something for Easter as long as I could.  The deal was that I would remove the snowman if I saw even one crocus.  Didn't happen.  Unfortunately, with Easter arriving early this year and spring taking a particularly leisurely stroll northward, there is little chance that the snow will be gone for the big day. So here's the snowbunny wishing you a happy Easter from a still quite snowy northeastern New York!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Edgy Pouches and Bits of Bling

I finally got a bit of sewing done!  I had a hankering for some new pastel pouches for an upcoming trip.  Despite using a stabilizer on the lining and quilting batting to the top fabric, it was still looking a bit floppy.  I thought about top stitching the four corner edges for more stability. decided not to take the chance of ruining it, remembered my New Year's resolution to step out of my comfort zone, and ended up top stitching every single edge about 1/8th inch in.  I like it! 
Then I decided to try a square pouch. I only used a decorative stitch down the center for the batting on the top fabric which I regret.  I think more quilting would look better.  The pale thread for the decorative stitching was not a great choice since it's barely visible.  Won't do that again.  Love the edge stitching, though.
Also love the double bits of ribbon at the zip ends.

I tried out the new metal pieces I ordered for making ribbon key rings.
Yup, forgot to put the clip on the second one.  I was so busy lining up the extra piece of ribbon on top that I forgot the most important piece.  The metal crimps worked beautifully.  I need to find a little silvery charm for the hole at the top.  These key chains cannot, however, compare to the blingy key chains I ordered on eBay to use as zipper pulls for larger totes.  This first one is going on the bag I made with the Japanese fabric a couple of weeks ago.  Lucky Cat!
This batch arrived in today's mail.  OMG! I LOVE BLING.
This guy is my favorite.  I'm not sure of the meaning behind a frog with a lucky gold coin in its mouth,  but I find it particularly appealing. I shall let you know if he bring me any luck.
As for achieving the New Year's resolutions:
  • All the fabric, interfacing, and batting were from the stash ✔
  • used some of the  ribbon from my recent ribbon-buying binge✔   
  • tried some new things with the ribbon crimps, square pouch, and the edge stitching ✔

Monday, March 2, 2015

We've been Traveling--Wee Trips in the North Country

Amazon Local has been helping us get through this cold snowy winter with some great hotel rates to interesting places.  Our first trip was to Mystic, Connecticut.  It is the quintessential New England coastal town complete with appropriately steepled church.
On the right is Bartleby's Cafe with the best coffee ever served in a homey little cafe setting.  Across the street is the bookstore where I found Cherie Burns' book, The Great Hurricane:  1938.  If you want to really appreciate our modern weather forecasting and communication systems, read about a time before they existed.  Right up the street and before that perfect little church is Mystic Pizza!!! I have wanted to go there since seeing the movie by the same name.  Love the movie and figured it would be worth the trip even if the pizza wasn't that great.  The pizza turned out to be THAT great.

Now we've got quaint seaside town, great coffee shop, bookstore that you don't want to leave, great pizza, and lots of little shops,  but there is more, a whole 'nother district on the other end of town.  The local aquarium, however, was our favorite.  Look who we met there.

This is Juno, one of three beluga whales at the aquarium.  He really does seem to enjoy interacting with people.  You wave and he'll flap his flipper at you.  You nod your head and he'll nod back.  You stop paying attention to him and he will spit over the top of the tank.  We were warned about that last one and it happened! 
OMG!  Is he not adorable pressing his nose into the glass?

Okay, on to Hull, Massachusetts outside Boston.  Tide out--your typical New England beach.
When that tide comes in, it comes in!  Not much space between that concrete wall and the water.
Outside New York City, public transportation sucks in New York State.  Massachusetts, on the other hand, got it right.  We were able to easily get into Boston from Hull to visit the Fine Arts Museum.  "The T" as it is called is leaves you practically at the front door of this magnificent museum.  I wish we had scheduled an extra day to see all the good stuff. 

I know some people don't like museums, but I have to share some shots from one of the classic paintings.  On first glance, it looks a bit typical of the period and genre.  
But look at that baby's face and the hair and that hair line.  Maybe Donald Trump looked like this as a child.
And how about the little angel on the right.  Along with the adult face and hair, he's got those shifty, jealousy-filled eyes. 
I would not want to be leaving this baby alone with him.  There is probably some great symbolism going on here of which I am unaware.  It just made me laugh out loud. (Apologies to the serious art aficionados who were in attendance.) 

Home again to more snow and more below freezing weather.  Spring is just around the corner, though, and a nice cruise to some sunny islands to usher it in!  Yay!!! Can't wait for that trip.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Art Recycling Part 3 - Happy St. Pat's Day!


Yes, that is my Christmas snowperson turned into a Valentine snowperson, now turned into a St. Pat's Day snowman.  Brian wants to know if I will have a pile of white with a flag sticking out for Independence Day.  Maybe.  At the rate we keep getting snow and temperatures hovering way below freezing every single day, I may still rightfully have the snowperson for that particular day.  It will definitely be there for Easter.  I'm picturing a basket of colorful eggs hanging off that stick arm. 

Wish the Bungee Cords as Handles Had Worked But...

There were some glaring problems.  First, the cords just didn't look right with the fabrics I chose.
The fabric was just too...word to use...elegant, fancy or something like that.  The idea for the bungees came from a book where they used a more industrial kind of fabric.  Adding to the uglies, the silver metal and threads in the bungee fabric cover really clashed with the gold designs on the fabric. What was I thinking! Well, I was just focused on the fact that the black hooks and red in the bungees were perfect.  Yeah, dumb.
Last problem with the bungees--horrific odor!  It was migraine inducing bad odor that would not go away.  I first tried leaving them in a baggie filled with baking soda for days.  I realized a day into that experiment that the smell had permeated the bag and was wafting into the kitchen.  Then I left them outside for several days.  Didn't work.  They smelled just as bad as the day they arrived.  There are some beautiful solid black bungees with gold hooks online that I think might look great, but I fear they may also have the odor problem. 

To save this project, I decided to change to webbing tied through the loops created for the bungee cords.  Worked!
 
It's nylon webbing that I heat-sealed to prevent fraying. 

 Love the way the inset zipper worked out.  It's nice and snug.

I like it, but I really, really wanted a bungee cord bag.  Anyone know a source for bungees that don't make you gag when held within a few feet of the nose?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Belt Tips for Home-made Webbing Belts

Look what I found on eBay!  Belt tips to make your home-made belts look just a bit more like store-bought. 
These were quite inexpensive, just a few dollars for a packet of gunmetal black and silver ones, and they were easy to put on.  I'm going to test these out on zipper ends instead of sewing up the little squares of fabric, too.  Shall let you know how that goes.