Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label storage. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2012

Storing the Christmas Tree

Do you know how many years I spent sorting all the tree branches into piles according to the color on the tips before I could set up the tree?  I'd tell you but it would be embarrassing.  Now I do this:
When I take the tree down, each color set of branches is tied together with twine.
All the red branches are together, all the blue, and on and on.
So much easier to set up the next year.  Tie it with a bow so that it is easy
to undo next year.

So get out the supplies:
You all do have your string in a nice little plastic container with a hole in the
top already, right?  If you're smarter than me, you will only need to
do this once.  You will store the string  in the empty box for reuse
when taking down the tree rather than misplacing it.
Press all those branches together so they store compactly. (You are going to have to fluff them out next year anyway).

Make sure to fill the sides of the container not just the middle!  Push the set in there to the side and squeeze in the next set.
See all that wasted space?  Press this one to the side and put the next one in
that space.  They will hold each other in place.  

Let's talk tree storage container now.  We used the original box for our first artificial tree for a couple of years before it fell apart.  Then the hubster built a beautiful scrap wood and particle board box.  That was great until the pipe broke and flooded the basement.  Wood and water are not a good mix.   Now we use two large plastic boxes.  You need to be sure at least one of the boxes (if you need more than one) is long enough for the longest piece of center pole.  Remember, though, that the pole pieces can go in diagonally up and down with the branches stuffed in around it.  Measure the inside of the box inside diagonally before buying it.

If you have a minute, let me know when you take down your tree in the comment section.  I've been accused on doing it too soon.  I try to have it down by the first.  Too soon???

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Storing Christmas Lights

Often Christmas light come crammed in little boxes that will never again hold them.  I bought more lights this year, so I thought I would show you my solution for keeping them tangle free:
Take one of those many corrugated boxes that are left from the holidays and
cut out a nice square that is strong and not bending.  You want it to be pretty
 solid.  Mine are about 15x10 but they can be a little longer or shorter.  Be sure
they are  not so long that they bend, though.  Then cut two slits about
2-1/2 inches long on each end.

Now fold those center flaps you made under on each side.  I don't cut them off
because I don't want to chance weakening the edge pieces.
The edges will keep the lights from falling off the board.  You certainly
could cut them if you prefer it.

Cut a small slit into one of the uncut long sides, and slide the beginning of the
light string in it.
Now start rolling in that center cut section.  Just walk around the tree and roll as
you go.  You can fit quite a bit on.  
Once it's full, make another small cut in the side and slide in the end piece.  I
have it marked with"start" to make it easier to know where to begin unwinding when hanging
lights the next year.

They may look bulky, but they unroll easily.  When I'm putting the lights on the tree,
I unroll  a bit and stick the cardboard piece between the branches until I'm ready for more.
Hopefully this will make the "undecorating" just a bit easier for you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fabric Box Prototype #2 With Tutorial



No, it is not like the last one!  I've made some significant changes in the way it is constructed.  This one is so NOT like the Joel Dewberry version that I am creating a tutorial.  This is my first fully fledged tutorial.  Let me know if it is not clear.  I'm putting in a number of pictures that will hopefully make things clearer.  I will apologize now if these are too simple for some people.  I so suck at following patterns that I want to be sure it is understandable.

Changes I've made from Dewberry's and my original box:
  • Joel's version has small triangles of fabrics in the corners that would keep things from falling out of the finished box.  This one has two-inch flaps from top to bottom at the corners.  This keeps things in AND  eliminates the side openings showing.
  • I used Velcro on this one rather than buttons and added ribbon with blue stripes because the room it will be in will have blue walls (and I have a tendency to put ribbon on anything that does not run away.)
  • The finished size is 10x10 inches all around.
  • This is made from one long rectangle of fabric and two smaller rectangles for the sides rather than 5 squares
Materials you will need:
  1. One 31x11" rectangle from both the main fabric and lining
  2. Two 15x11" rectangles from both the main fabric and lining
  3. Four 31"  long pieces of ribbon  and one 52" piece (or not if you don't want ribbon)
  4. Five 9 1/2x9 1/2" squares of Pellon Peltex70 Ultra Firm Stabilizer (or anything else you want to make it a bit rigid.)
  5. Four pieces of 7 1/2" Velcro (This length was purely because I bought a prepacked 30" strip of Velcro.  Six to eight inches would work.)  Other options for closing the sides:
    • Velcro circles
    • snaps
    • hooks and eyes
    • fabric ties
    • button with loops as I did with the first box.  Look here.
    • buttons sewn through so that the box cannot be collapsed.  I'm somehow taken by the fact that I can collapse the boxes if I want.  There's really no need not to put them together permanently.
    • button with button holes! 

You will be using a 1/2" seam allowance.

The 31" long fabric is the bottom of the box and two of the sides.  (Hence 10" for the bottom, 10" for each side, and 1" for the half inch seam allowance on each end equaling 31.  Eleven inches is to get a 10 square plus 1/2" seam allowances)

On the two other rectangles, the 11" side has 10" for the height plus 1" for the 1/2" seam allowance on each end.  The other side has 10" for the center width, 4" for the 2" inch flaps that will be on each side, and 1" for the 1/2 seam allowance on each end equaling 15.

First, place the rectangles of 31x11 fabric and lining with right sides together.  If you want ribbons, place the ribbons between the two pieces of fabric.  My ribbons are 3 1/2 inches apart from the inside edges of the ribbon.  (Find the center on the 11" side, go out 1 3/4" from the center on each side.)  Here they are sandwiched between my brown flannel lining and brown tweed wool fabric.


On each 31" side, mark 10 inches in the middle of the strip (see pic below).  For those of us who are spatially challenged:  fold to find the center and go out 5" on each side of that.   These two area are where you will attach each of the other two squares for your box.  

Sew around the 31" long piece leaving the center 10" sections OPEN on each side.
(If you can't read this, click on it to bring up a larger version.)

Too bad this picture has the long piece on the bottom,  Just image it is at the top, and the top pieces that I am going to talk about now are on the bottom. 

On the 15x11" pieces, use the 1/2 seam and sew around the edges leaving a 10" opening on one of the 15 inch sides.  That means that you will sew in 2" on each side of the 10" opening there as you can see above. Just be be clear here: when you get to the end, turn and sew in 2".  There is a half inch seam, 2" sewing, 10" opening, and the same on the other side.  Just where the sewing ends on the edge of the 10" opening, clip the 1/2" seam allowance.

Don't forget to clip your corners, too.

If you are using ribbon, they need to be sandwiched between these two side pieces as well and sewn on opposite ends of the ribbon pieces as the first tutorial picture shows.  I didn't write on both pieces in the photo.  They are both the same.  This can seem a bit tricky.  DON'T LET THE RIBBONS GET TWISTED.  Check and then check again to be sure they have not twisted before sewing them in.  I used ribbon that is the same on both sides.  If you are challenged in this area of critical thinking, I'd suggest you do the same.  If your ribbons have a front and back, you need to make sure that the good side will face OUTWARD on top of the outside fabric.  It's not that difficult, but you need to pay attention.

Now, turn it all right side out!

Go press them.  If you use wool fabric, use a pressing cloth.

Roll the Pellon and slide it in place as in the pic below.  Three pieces go in the long rectangle--right, middle, left--and one in  the center of each of the end pieces.  There will be 2 inch "flaps" on the sides of these two end piece that will make sense soon.  If the Pellon pieces are not laying flat, take them out and trim a little off the sides until they fit. 


Now you will insert the two end pieces into the larger piece.  If you have ribbons, lay the edge pieces right side down.  Then center the longer piece right side down across the middle.  The 10" openings in each piece will meet like this.

The 10" opening you clipped on the side pieces fits right into the 10" opening you left on each side of the longer piece.  If you pressed your pieces LIKE I TOLD YOU TO, you have a nice pressed-in 1/2 seam allowance to slide that into.  Now pin it in place without pinning the ribbons.  GET THE RIBBONS OUT OF THE WAY, and sew across the opening.  You will have the 2" flaps loose on each side. Once the other side is finished the outside will look like this.  Okay, I should have taken the pins out for the picture. 

You can see in this next picture how the flaps go inside the box.

 It's Velcro time! (or button, or snap, or hook and eye, etc.)  Pin the side so that they look even and boxy to get an idea of where you want to put the Velcro.  I put in light colored Velcro,  so it was particularly important that it not show--not that you want it to show at all.  I placed it a bit inside where the seam allowance ended.  (Lesson learned:  dark fabric, dark Velcro.)  When you are happy with the corner, slide the flat side of the Velcro inside and pin it in place.  The top of the Velcro is 1" down from the top.  It will be on the long rectangle as in the picture below.
(Click on it if you can't read the writing.)

The hooked Velcro pieces go on the outside edge of the flaps.  A good way to line them up is to hold the side pieces together  with the flat side pinned in place.  Place pins where the top of the flat Velcro hits on the flap and where the outside edge of the Velcro hits.
Top pin

Side pin


Now line the hooked side of the Velcro up inside that angle.

Pin in all the Velcro pieces and sew them in place.

If, after you put the box together, you find the the ribbon is a bit loose on the sides, take a tuck at the bottom edge and sew it in like this.
I tacked the ribbon in place 2" down and 7 1/2" down on each side.  Then the 52" ribbon is threaded behind the ribbon just above the 2" tacks.  And.....
 
That's it.