Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The New Challenge: Handbag vs. Baby Quilt!

Sandra and I have another challenge!  In the next two weeks, I will make a new handbag--this one from Lisa Lam's The Bag Making Bible:
Picture it minus the tassel and the penguins.  I am not a tassel-kinda person and prefer to use my penguin fabric for my pjs. 
If I can just avoid making changes to the pattern, I have a chance of achieving my goal.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember a time when I have not changed a pattern to the point of making the project ten times more difficult.  I'm hoping the challenge aspect will keep me on pattern.

Sandra will be putting together a special baby quilt--batting and binding and quilting.

Next time I post, I shall be the proud owner--okay, maybe just the owner of a new handbag.  No point in setting expectations too high here.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Protesting CISPA on April 22

Tomorrow, April 22, 2013, I am joining with Anonymous in protesting against CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act by blacking out my Blogspot and dot com sites.

Why?  This act, passed by the U. S. House of Representatives on April 18th will allow corporations to share their users' personal information without the government needing a warrant beforehand.  CISPA will not only negate any privacy contract the companies have with users,  it will also directly counter the fourth amendment of our constitution which quite clearly states:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Many large companies have supported this act including AT&T, Comcast, EMC, IBM, Intel, McAfee, Oracle, Time Warner Cable, Hewlett Packard, and Verizon.  Of course, this act will give these companies complete liability protection when releasing information. 

Fortunately, many other groups fiercely oppose CISPA,  These include numbers of civil liberties organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union, library associations such as the American Library Association and the American Association of Law Libraries,  the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders, Reddit, Mozilla, as well as quite a few security experts,  and academic leaders. 

I hope you will join me in this venture.  Individually, we bloggers are a tiny fraction of the internet.  Together, however, we have the potential to make an impact.

Kindle Cover Completed!

After I admitted to Sandra of Sandra Sews that I have been wrapping my new Kindle in a piece of fabric when I take it out with me, she issued a challenge.  By this Friday, I would complete a Kindle cover.  Sandra will be making a baby dress.  I need to be challenged more often.

Okay, I did use the simplest design I could possible come up with.  If you are familiar with my blog, you should know by now that I am the queen of rectangle sewing.  This is two rectangles of fabric with a heavy interfacing between.  I sewed around the flap edge, then flipped the bottom up to form a pocket, and sewed those edges. 
I probably should have used a Velcro closure, but I just love these new snaps.  To get around the problem of pressing on the Kindle screen when closing the snap, I just need to put it in with the screen facing the back.
The pack of assorted snap colors hasn't failed me yet.  Look at that pretty yellow snap!

Sandra is trying out a new-to-her pattern for the dress.  Okay, Sandra, I'm all set to put the link to that new dress right "here"!

Those Squeezed In Projects

I sometimes feel as though I'm not getting much done.  Then I am reminded of all the squeezed-in projects that people spring on me.  They are always needed NOW and end up leaving the house before I can get decent pics if any at all.  (Consider that an excuse and apology for the crappy photos below.) 

This was the latest "save me" project.  It's just a simple quilt top, but it needed to be in the party "theme colors." The only one of those colors in the stash was the white!  I spent a day and a half coming up with a design, figuring out all the dimensions, shopping, cutting, sewing, and embroidering.  Non-sewers have no idea how long this stuff takes.
It will be a raffle item for a teacher appreciation party.  The blue lines across the white strip with the embroidered lettering are supposed to make it look like school paper. If I had more time, I would have preferred to do these line by hand with embroidery floss to give them more emphasis. 
On my "Thankful List" this week: someone else is being gifted with the quilting and binding. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What's That New Quilt Gonna Look Like?

As promised and on time!  So unlike me.  Okay maybe I promised more than one block when I posted yesterday.  Procrastinating is what I do best in life, so getting one done when I said I would is amazing progress.  If I had a therapist, s/he would be so pleased with me.

What do you think?  I added some of the stash to the Shades of Black charm pack I won from Quilt Taffy.  I cannot wait to get this one together.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Winning, Recycling, and a Free Online Tutorial all Rolled into One Post

First-- look what I won from Quilt Taffy!
 Lovely little squares of Moda's Shades of Black that will soon turn into a baby quilt with a splash of red.  (Thank you, Quilt Taffy, not just for the fabric but also the regular introduction to so many good sewing ideas.)

So the first thing you do when making a baby quilt is sew up the matching stuffie, right?  Is it just me?
This cute little black bunny was made using Betz White's cashmere bunny tutorial found here and an old lamb's wool sweater I felted.  After reading Pam's (of Threading My Way) post on felting old wool items, I finally got brave enough to actually cut into the sweaters I had felted.  It worked!  The sweater material didn't unravel. 
Tonight I am putting together the first blocks for the quilt.  Shall post them in the morning!  This is so much more fun than the housework I'm supposed to be getting done.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Shoes at the Door Issue

After tripping my way through someone's front hall recently, I thought I'd post my quick, cheap, and easy solution to  piles of shoes that accumulate at the front door.  It has worked well for a couple of years now.  We don't have a "take your shoes off at the door" policy here, mainly because I'm the one who wouldn't follow it.  Still, shoes pile up there.  So...
There you have it.  It's one of those closet organizers for sweaters and such sitting right in the middle of the front hall closet.  This one came from Target.  It's fairly substantial and has held up to my son's size 13 men's shoes.  There is room for six pairs and another underneath on the floor.  Can you tell there are a few joggers in the family?

While we're in the closet, I'll share our hats, gloves, and scarves solution, too.  The two drawer unit fits in neatly under the jackets.  Two drawers has provided plenty of room for all of us, and it serves as off-season storage, too. 
Now, as for the training required to get everyone to pick the shoes up off the floor and put them in the closet?  I'm still working on that part.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Continuing Saga of the Fake Veggies

After making the cabbages from coffee filters, I saw these twine-covered carrots on Rachel's  Holy Craft blog.  My cabbages needed some carrots.

I shaved off the sharp edges of the Styrofoam pieces which was messy but not too hard.  Just pressing in the foam a bit helped a lot with smoothing it all out.  I used straight pins with tiny heads to hold the jute in place.  Placing the pins close to Styrofoam so that they are covered by the next round of jute worked out well.

The jute got "dyed" with watered down orange paint.  I'd say that process was semi-successful.  Actual dye might have been brighter, but, I like this dull, mottled look. While I was dying the jute, I also spooned some of the watery paint on the Styrofoam forms, too.  Didn't want any white spots showing through!
This whole mess was left to dry overnight by a heater vent.

After stealing a couple of stems from one of my plastic plants for tops we have some lovely carrots to go with the cabbages. 

Linking to:
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The "I Forgot My Phone" Solution

According to my family, I am the only person who constantly leaves the house or car with my phone still sitting in the charger.  Just in case someone else has this annoying habit, I'm sharing my solution:

I used the lettering on my machine, but there are other ways of getting lettering onto fabric.  I thought about just going with a lightning bolt, but opted for what was easiest for me.

My finished circle is 4 1/2".  As you can see I used my new toy, the low on tech but high on awesomeness SnapSetter from Snapsource.  A button with loop/buttonhole or just Velcro would work in place of a snap. 
I used a medium-stiff iron-on interfacing on both circles of fabric and top stitched after turning it right-side out.  It pops in my purse when not being used.  I'm hoping to get started on making a new bag soon cuz I CANNOT find one that fits all my needs.  This "perfect" bag will a have place where I can just snap this to the lining.

Another project off the list!

Linking up with

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some New Bibs Finished

Lately my sewing muse, Sandra has been making bibs which reminded me that I was supposed to get some of those going, too.  Sandra's bibs are made from old jeans and have sweet designs with fabric appliques and trim.   I used old jeans but decided to let my machines do most of the decorative work by using some of the embroidery designs I had purchased from an Etsy shop and the Embroidery Library.

This first one is for the average, easy-going baby.
Etsy shop embroidery design.  Bib pattern is free from http://www.poopockets.com/free/bibs/bibs.htm

 This next one is for the feistier baby--you know mild to moderate mood swings.
Again, Etsy shop design

The last bib is for those babies that really need cautionary labeling--like a cigarette pack.  You know the ones that throw food and/or feces around at will.
Embroidery Library design.  Okay, I have to point out that I KNOW I put the snaps on the wrong sides on this one.  Hopefully the mom will be too busy to notice.
New parents who might be reading should not worry too much about these wild babies.  Most of them turn out fine.  Take my niece for instance.  During a short nap once, she decorated herself, the crib, and the wall behind it with the contents of her diaper.  Even though her mother was nauseated by the sight, there was a little maternal pride there, too.  The kid had made her own art supplies!  Today that girl is an art teacher.  There is hope!

There you have it!  Three bibs finished thanks to Sandra's inspiration.

Once last thing--I used my new SnapSetter from Snapsource. com.  It's a low tech one that requires a hammer.  I had one like this from Joann's that was totally worthless, but the reviews for the SnapSetter were great.  I am glad I decided to give this one a try.  It's easy to use and the snaps are nice and tight. 

 Linking up with

The Gunny Sack

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fauxing up the Cabbage

First Tina Lou made faux cabbage leaves.  Then Danni took a step further making entire cabbage heads.  As Danni says, go ahead and take a look.  I'll wait.  You have to see how great theirs turned out.

Mine came out looking like lettuce rather than cabbage, but that's okay!

This was a fun project!   

I actually started putting these together while the filters were still wet because I have no patience.  It was a bit messy, but not too bad--like working with papier mache.  Once I got a filter pinned on what would be the top of the cabbage, I turned it upside down on a drinking glass and started layering the rest of the filters on,  pinning them at what would be the bottom and lower sides.  I put one last filter over all the pins and just pressed that one in place--no pinning.  I didn't do anything with the tops of the "leaves" at this point.

I let this all dry which only took a couple of hours.  Once it was dry, I took off the that last, loose filter and ran an Elmer's Glue Dot Runner all around the edges and pressed it back in place.  Then I flipped the cabbage up and used the glue dots to press in and hold all the "leaves" closer to the form rather than pinning, and kind of bent them out to look like the real thing.  The glue dots worked great--no pins are showing!  (Danni managed to do hers without the pins showing.  I'm sure she might be able to give you some advice on how to do it.  I had the glue dots and gave that a try.) 

CraftBond™ Permanent Dot Runner

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shopping: The Good and the Bad

Shopping!  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.  This one was a winner.  I wrote a bit about it on my, "This is Me" post, and some people asked for a close-up. 
It's from an Etsy shop, M D Sparks.  The book opens and has two places for tiny photos.  I also liked the $35 price.

Now for the bad.  My son was so proud of these shorts he bought Saturday.
DKNY at a great price! 
Wait a minute.  Do you notice anything?
That pocket on the left?  It's not just folded up.  It is SEWN that way.  The mistake that every home sewer has made at one time or another--catching something in a seam.  When they reinforced the edge of the pocket at the factory, the inside pocket material wasn't folded out of the way. 

It's not a big deal in this house.  I have a seam ripper, and I know how to use it.  (I should embroider that saying on something.)  I'll rip it out and put in new reinforcement stitching on the pocket. It's probably not nice, but I kind of like seeing that even the pros mess up now and then.  It makes me feel better about my sewing failures.  I'd prefer that stores acknowledge the flaws rather than just sliding them onto the sale rack, though.

 Feel free to use this as a cautionary tale when trying to train the males in the family to try on the freakin' clothes before buying them.   Stop laughing!  As we approach our 30th anniversary, my husband almost always tries on clothes before buying as long as I'm there with him and insist.