Thursday, January 31, 2013

Taking Mistakes in Stride

When I finished the second sewing machine cover today with this lovely design from The Embroidery Library
and set it on the machine next to the first one, something was definitely wrong:
Yup, that first bird, on the right, was heading in the wrong direction.  The good thing about my easy cover design is that I could just flip it to the other side and redo the embroidery design there.  I did own up to being on the lazy side yesterday, so I'm sure you knew I was NOT gonna start over from the beginning.
Much better this way, and no one but my blog readers and me will know about the little mistake on the back.

Another plus about the easy cover design is that it sits nicely on the back of my chair when I'm using the machine.

 Two covers down and two more to go.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This is how lazy I am

First, despite having had sewing machines for over 30 years, I'm just making my first machine cover.  I've thought about it FOREVER, but always found excuses.  I finally decided that something simple was better than nothing.  This is the result.
Yup.  It's just a rectangle of fabric--not even little ties on the sides.  It's made of duck cloth which is pretty stiff, but I added the two lines of top stitching to make the sides stand out. It hangs more evenly with the extra stitching.

I found the embroidery design at the Embroidery Library.
 See--here's the little Project Runway underneath.

I'm feeling a bit guilty about copping out with such a simple piece.  The embroidery machine did the hardest part with very little help from me.  Frankly, though, I finally realized that it was going to have to be simple or I'd never get around to making covers for the machines.  I have a saying that I use all the time that definitely applies here--it's so much better than nothing.

One down.  Three more to go!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Finished Window!

Thanks for the advice on the window, ladies.  I went with the cornice and panels.  Here's the before:
And the after:
I love it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Another Window Cornice in the Almost Finished Room

I'm finally finishing this little room.  It was once my sewing room, then a study for the kids.  Now it's my meditation room! 

The last part needing to be finished is the window.  I thought I might leave it but, it was just too bare for me.

I decided on a wood cornice like the one my husband made for our living room.
This one was a massive beast!
Turns out that men buying molding are much like a woman buying clothes.  What do you think of this?  How about this combination?  Is this too short?  Does this make my ass look fat?  Okay not the last one, but Brian was driving me nuts with the many kinds of and possible positionings for molding.  Here is what he decided on.  Brian is the woodworker and I'm the painter.

He's getting fancy here with 3 pieces of molding at the top!
The finished product!

And here is where I'm was open to opinions.  Originally I was thinking of doing curtain panels, too.  I made them from this fabric.  After holding them up to the window, though, I thought they might be too much.

 What do you think?  Just the cornice or the panels under the cornice? UPDATE:  Finished product!

Linking to: 

More the Merrier Monday

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Look What I Made!

A sewer!  My daughter, Keegan, is finally REALLY sewing.  I waited for a few projects just be be sure it would stick.  She sewed curtains for her living room with assistance and her bedroom all herself.  This time she designed a valance complete with company logos embroidered across the top for her employer.  I helped with the embroidery.

Keegan is fortunate to have a job at a great company, and she wanted to show her appreciation by making a window valance for the new office.  She took it in to test out the width before finishing up the sides.  I'll post a pic once the valance is up.

UPDATE!  Here's the valance.  Keegan works in the regional Orkin office--hence, the diamond Orkin logo. 

Keegan has to come to my house to sew because she doesn't have a machine.  I'm torn on the idea of gifting her with a machine of her own.  I like having her come here for hours on end of sewing, coffee drinking, and a bit of gossip.  I think I'll wait until she asks for a machine;-}

Friday, January 11, 2013

Turning the Day Around in the Kitchen

This was the start of my day yesterday.
 Only bloggers and paparazzi would grab a camera fast enough to catch the action still in progress.
 As part of my effort to find the good in situations this year, I pondered what gift this situation was presenting me.  Did I need to wash the floor anyway?  Nope, did that the day before.   Did I need to wash a load of towel?  No, put a load in the washer just prior to making coffee.  It was, in fact, in the washer spinning.
 Was it that my lack of paid employment meant I didn't feel rushed in cleaning this up?  Eh,  that was okay but not THAT good really.  Those thoughts took all of a half minute, while the clean up went on and on.  Thoughts wandered off to dinner.  I don't like to cook and hate coming up with menus.  More often than not, I start thinking about dinner fifteen minutes before it should be on the table.  What to do that the three of us all might like crossed my mind while cleaning, and I came up with this:
There are black beans, corn, romaine, spinach, ribbons of carrots, scallions, and a few other treasures under that chicken.  Fairly quick and easy to make--huge hit with the three of us.  Now I don't want to spill coffee everyday, but this spill did have a silver lining.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Made Fish But Not For Dinner

These lovely batik fish are from a pattern Shaz of Odd Sox sent me along with a Christmas order after I told her I loved, loved, loved, her fish stuffies but couldn't afford them because I had so very many ideas for using the finished products.  You can see here what I mean.   (Sadly for rest of you, she's not selling the pattern in her Folksy shop.  Maybe with some encouragement...)

Red Fish

Purple Fish
Schools of Fish!
 And I'm just getting started here.  The red ones are in a basket for my dining room.

 The purple set below will be hanging from a picture frame by fishing line that will have this quote printed on a lovely piece of card stock:
Give a man a fish
and he has food for a day;
teach him how to fish
and you can get rid of him
for the entire weekend.
                                                                                                 from Zenna Shaffer
Can't you just picture these hanging from the frame with the quote above?

 I also want to make a mobile for my sun room from some bright multicolor prints--polka dots and stripes.  Those are going to be flat--using thin batting in the center so that they will float in the breeze.  Then there is the baby mobile in black and white prints.

New idea:  Forgot to mention the idea of using these for one of those magnetic fishing games for kids. Yet another use for those large long-handled paint brushes that I used to make the sewing room button and needle plaque.    My husband will be thrilled to find that he now needs to drill holes into small magnets so I can attach them to the "fishing poles" with a line AND holes in the small end of the wood handle.  I think a set of these would be a great gift idea. 

Can you see why I really needed a pattern?  If you don't have my obsession  need for an excessive amount  many of these amazing little creatures, you can contact Shaz to get some.  If you are lucky enough to live in her area of Britain, her blog will let you know where her craft booth will be set up next.  Lucky you.  Should I ever get a chance to visit Britain, I'll be working that trip around those craft shows.

Linking to:

More the Merrier Monday

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Toy For the Sewing Room

Look what I found at B. J.'s Wholesale Club today! 
Oh, no!  It is not just an ironing board.  It's a wider, shorter, STABLE ironing board that doesn't constantly threaten to send my iron tumbling to the floor.  After losing my faithful (and expensive) Rowenta iron due to a shaky ironing board last year, I've been hunting for a decent board.

The new board is almost 19 inches wide.  While it's shorter than usual by about five inches, it has a sturdy pull-out section for the iron that makes up for the length.  My last board had a skimpy metal piece to hold the iron that broke off within a month.  Note the lovely ripply hanging bars on each side for ironed things.  Also, you can see there is a shelf underneath in the top photo.  The padding is nice and thick, too.
The metal piece for hold the iron cord actually works, too.   I've never had one of those before.
Price of the new toy:  $49.  Considering that the last board cost around $30 and needed extra padding immediately, this seems like a bargain.

I ironed a couple of shirts to see if the extra width would make smaller areas more difficult but didn't notice any difference.  Well, actually I noticed that I could move the shirts around without the iron shimmying even when I left it upright on the board.  Those extra inches of width should also make ironing large pieces of fabric easier, too. 

(As I was writing this, I was thinking that getting this excited over an ironing board may mean that I need to get out more.  That was quickly followed by the thought that I could go to the fabric store!  You know you're addicted to fabric when...)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Have You Made Yarn Dryer Balls?

 Update: Making these with more expensive yarn that supposedly had longer fibers did not eliminate the pilling at all.  I tried removing the pills as they formed on the balls, but they came back quickly.  I tried not taking the pills off which worked for a time.  At about the nine-month mark, however, the pills started coming off and sticking to my clothes.   What a pain having to pick these off a load of laundry!  Had I not been doing the "de-pilling" early on, that would probably have happened sooner. I don't think these are work the expense, time, and effort in the long run. 

You know the ones that you make from rolling a ball of wool yarn and felting it in the washer and dryer? I did and I like them because they:
  •  Really do eliminate static cling--unless you really over-dry the clothing
  •  Keep the wrinkling down
  •  Save money.  (There is the initial cost of the yarn, but these have got to last a really long time.  What can happen to them?  With dryer sheets you have the ongoing expense and contribute to the "we are making too much garbage" problem.)
  • Make less noise than the rubber balls.  The rubber dryer balls you find in the detergent section made too much noise for me.  Five minutes and they hit the garbage can. These yarn balls make some noise, but it's well within my range of acceptable.
The one downside for me can be seen in this photo.  They pilled. 
I was expecting to have this gorgeous bowl of felted yarn balls on my dryer--decorative AND useful.  These stay in the dryer instead.  It could be the yarn I used which was the only fully wool one available at Joann's.  After this happened, I read up on wool yarn and found that some wool yarns are made from shorter fibers.  Shorter fiber wool yarn may pill. Supposedly this stops after a while.  I've been picking the pilled material off these balls for a month, but they continue to form new ones.  All things considered, this is a small downside.

Some people said the balls decreased their drying time.  I have not found this to be true for me at all. I found no change at all for anything from lightweight items to towels.

After seeing another blog post with this bowl of pristine felted yarn balls, though, I have dryer ball envy.  I'm going to try this again.  I LOVED that bowl of beautiful felted yarn balls in muted matching hues!  I've been looking online for wool with longer fibers that doesn't cost a fortune.  Turns out wool yarn is not cheap!  I'm also going to try rolling the yarn more loosely.  I didn't roll my yarn tight, but it was definitely not loose at all.  Now I'm wondering if the looser rolling might increase felting and cause the balls to be even less noisy.     I'll let you know.