Category Archives: Sewing Projects

Sweet Tweets Blocks and a Quilt Top

Yesterday I had the pleasure of introducing you to Kim Schaefer in my third Meet the Designer post. I hope you enjoyed getting to know her.  I have been playing with the fabrics in her Sweet Tweets line and have a few things to share with you.

First off, I have been making these cute stuffed blocks. I have shared a couple of photos on Instagram so you probably have seen these in process. I used a simple tutorial provided by Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps.

Cutting the panel into blocks, I used four critters and two black and white squares from the Cheerios fabric for each block. I experimented a bit with the blocks. I made two of them bigger, utilizing the full size of the critter block and for the third one, I cut it down a bit so the block would be smaller. Two of the blocks are lined with fusible interfacing. It was only because I forgot that I didn’t line the third one. As a result, it is a bit on the mushy side – I like the result much better when the fabric was fused to the interfacing to give it some body.

Also, I only put one noisemaker rattle in each block and now I wish I had put two. (Actually, as I type this, I realize it would be so simple to open up the block again and add another rattle. I will do this because I think they don’t make enough noise with just the one rattle.)

On one of the blocks, I lined one side with a clean piece of a potato chip bag. Abby had a list of suggestions for variations to try and I thought this sounded fun. It gives that block a crackly sound when it is manipulated. It was very simple to just wipe down the bag, cut a square and baste it to one of the sides. I did put the print side facing inward to the center of the block, just in case in might have shown through the fabric.

After making the blocks, I was on a tear and decided to make a baby quilt with some of the critter blocks from the panel. I started this on Tuesday afternoon this week and it came together quickly. I didn’t have a pattern in mind and decided to just put borders around each critter and sash them in one of the brighter prints from the Sweet Tweets line. I think it is just adorable! Panels can sometimes be difficult to utilize but this one lends itself to a number of projects.

Each critter block was cut to a 6″ square and I bordered it with the black and white Cheerio print. That brought the blocks up to 8″. Next I sashed them with the Hip to be Square print in Rainbow. Like I said in my previous post, I love the bright colors with the black and white print. With just the rainbow sashing, the quilt top is a bit too small for a baby quilt. It currently measures 24″ x 36″. Adding the rainbow sashing print around the outer edge of the quilt will help grow it just a bit.

I have a bolt of this adorable border print coming in. I didn’t buy it with the first shipment of the line and think it is a great addition to this collection. I am not sure how I will cut it up but it will make a cute border and then hopefully the quilt top will be big enough.

I think this line is great for kids. However the black and white prints and the rainbow prints are versatile in their own right.  Great stash builders, for sure.  Reminder that they are on sale in my shop through this Sunday, April 23rd.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Julia is finally getting her piglets this weekend. She is so excited. That is what we have planned, how about you??

Linking to my usual favorites, including Finish it Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Finishes

I have two little projects to share with you. These were both gifted at Christmas and I thought I would wait to post until after they had been given to their intended owners. First is a small, fabric book that I made for my soon-to-be-born grand daughter.

I have several of these panels, in two different flavors, that I purchased when a local fabric store was closing out, maybe four or five years ago? I thought it would be good to have them on hand as a fun gift to give. Then somehow I lost track of them or they went to the bottom of the pile in that closet of mine. After some digging, I found them.

I think it is a sweet way to introduce baby to books. The pages are thick and easily grasped, bright colors and not a whole lot in the way of a plot. Plus it is washable which might come in handy.  😉

If you haven’t made one of these before, it is basically a panel of rectangles. Once you cut them out, the panels are paired up to be sewn in a certain order so the pages are in the correct order. (This is crucial when the plot is as deep as these are!) The instructions said to fuse a mid-weight interfacing to one page of each pair. I chose to use fusible batting instead. It makes the book a bit softer. Each pair of pages is sewn, right sides together and then turned right side out. Press and sew up the little opening that was left to turn the book right sides out. Stack the pages and sew down the center to hold them together. Ta da! Your book is complete.

I didn’t put her name on the book because it hasn’t been shared yet. (Actually, I am not certain they have truly decided on one yet.)

The other gift I made is a scrappy Christmas pillow. I had cut lots of rectangles from a bag of Christmas scraps and decided to use a few of them. I stitched the rows and then when I sewed the rows together I offset the seams. It makes things a little bit more interesting. I love some of the vintage Christmas scraps in this pillow (especially the candy cane fabric).

It looked too busy with the patchwork rows right next to each other so I took a solid khaki color scrap and cut some strips that were 1.5″ finished. At first I quilted the scrappy rows with my walking foot and a variegated Mettler thread in Christmas colors of red and green. That looked boring. I added the big stitch quilting on the solid rows and liked the way that was looking. (You may have seen some of this on Instagram – I shared a few pictures there along the way.

After doing the straight lines of big stitches (using Perle cotton thread) I added the phrasing. I think that finished it off nicely. A simple envelope backing and it was complete.

I didn’t give as many handmade gifts as I sometimes do. Time doesn’t always allow for these things! But these were very simple and fun to make.

I have been reading lots of great posts about everyone’s plans for the new year. I am hoping to get to that soon. I didn’t get it done ahead of time and now we are in the middle of lots of family time. Maybe next week when things settle down again. I do have some fun ideas for 2017 and am excited to share them. Stay tuned!

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all the best in 2017.

 

Linking to my usuals – find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups. Additionally, I linked to Frontier Dream’s linky party, Keep Calm and Craft On.

 

Stocking the Shop

It is all about Christmas prep this week. I feel like an elf in Santa’s workshop except rather than making toys, I have been creating items for my shop. This is the biggest shopping time of the year and I try to take full advantage of it with regard to my Etsy shop.

img_1546

A friend asked me to make a set of burp cloths to gift to a friend at her work. It gave me a push to add some new baby items to my shop. Sewing with these soft flannels is a blast. Putting on a little music and creating little cuties for babies makes for a lovely afternoon. If I had to pick a favorite, it might just be the duck and dots print. I love yellow and gray together.

picmonkey-collage

Here are a few of the Chemex Cozies I have recently listed. It is a challenge to be sure that I have lots of colors and choices available. The upcycled burlap pieces sell very quickly but they are a beast to create. There is always so much mess from cutting and stitching burlap; it just flies around the sewing room and fills my sewing machine with debris. As for colors, it feels like deep colors and basic patterns sell best. Also batiks – those are usually snapped up quite often.

picmonkey-collage-1

French press cozies are another strong seller in my shop. (Remember I wrote up a tutorial if you would like to make some for Christmas gifts – they are a fast project for the coffee lover in your family.)

I am also working on a baby quilt — I cut into a bundle of Maureen Cracknell’s Fleet & Flourish line. It is going to be adorable. I think I may soon share this as a finish. We will see. Our house has been passing this winter germ fest to anyone who enters. Julia had it and then I caught it and it turned into pneumonia. Now Ray has it. Ick.  Don’t come near Grass Valley or we might infect you! Hoping you all are staying healthy this season and enjoying whatever time you can find in your sewing room!

Remember, I am hosting a giveaway where one lucky person will win a copy of the 2017 Quilter’s Planner. Be sure you have entered as this is one very cool prize! The giveaway will remain open through Wednesday Evening (tomorrow). Good luck! I will post the winner on Thursday morning.

 

 

 

Holiday Scrappy Project

Thanksgiving was a wonderful day for our family. I hope it was the same for yours.  There is much to be grateful for, not the least of which is our on-line quilting community.  Now there will be the transition into the Christmas holiday season. I am hoping I can convince Ray to put up our outdoor lights this weekend. I think, of all the holiday decorations, the outdoor lights are my favorite. I like to get them up as early as possible so we can enjoy them for as long as possible.

I have a new toy to share with you! The back story is that my father-in-law shares my love of thrift stores. We both enjoy the hunt as one never really knows what might be found on any given day. In October, my father-in-law called me and said he was at a thrift store and was looking at a sewing machine. He said he didn’t really know what it did but it looked interesting and was in great shape. I asked a few questions and figured out it was a vintage Baby Lock EA-605 serger. I think the model was made in the late 1970’s. It is a heavy little guy, being made of metal rather than plastic. When he said the machine was priced at $25, I asked him to grab it for me. He brought it over a few weeks ago when we were celebrating my birthday. (This was a mighty fine quilty birthday!)

img_8129

Actually, the serger won’t be used for quilting. In case you aren’t familiar, sergers are used to create a finished seam. There is a blade and four lines of thread. There are threads entering from above and below, though there is no bobbin. As the seam is created, the blade trims the excess fabric close to the finished edge. It is oh-so-cool! Having never used one, I signed up for a basic serger class at a little fabric shop in town. That helped me figure out some of the basics but there is still much to be learned. This particular machine is designed for woven fabrics, not knit fabrics. However my serger class instructor thinks I might be able to get a decent result with knits, so I will have to give it a try.

Because the machine needed a few adjustments I took it to our local sewing repair genius. Deby was able to clean and adjust everything and it runs so smoothly now.

img_8128

I wanted to practice on something simple so I made some Christmas themed drawstring bags. I have made a few each year for the past two years and have quite a collection now. I love not having as much paper to throw out come Christmas morning. I had a stack of vintage Christmas fabrics to use as well as loads of ribbon for the drawstrings.

img_8123

I think the tiny ones are just adorable.

img_8126

I turned this one inside out to show you the finished seam from the serger. I didn’t use the serger for the casing that the ribbons threads through. I switched over to the regular machine for that. Check out the clean finish on that seam. So great! I will practice a bit more and then try something simple like pajama pants.

If by chance you also have a serger, I would love to hear about any resources, blogs or uTube videos you might have found helpful for learning to use a serger.  Leave details in the comments.

 

craftsy-black-friday

Finally – Craftsy has gone all out for Black Friday this year. Beginning on Thursday, 11/24/16 classes are $17.99 each. Fabric and notions are all on sale as well. I am quite curious about the Boundless line of solids. I took a look and the prices are amazing. Solids, in a rainbow of thirty different colors, are available in pre-cuts such as layer cakes and jelly rolls, as well as yardage.

This is an affiliate link, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking over from my blog, I will receive a stipend.

I am linking up with a few favorites this week, including the Elm Street Quilts ‘Bag It’ event. Find out all about them at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Tiny Baby Projects

A few posts back, I mentioned that our family will grow by three great-grandchildren in the first part of 2017? Guess what? One of those babies will be my first grandbaby. Does that make sense?? It sounds weird. Probably because I have been patiently waiting  for this for a long time. No, not really all that patiently. Sometimes Ray has to give me the stink-eye, reminding me to quit asking my kids about grandbabies. Finally, it’s going to happen– yahoo!! I get to be a Grandma, or Grammy. Probably Grammy, I like that better. My oldest and his wife are expecting their first baby, a sweet little girl, the first week of March!! Awesome news, this is.

I have sent a few little things to them for the baby. (They live in Vermont – Clearly, it’s not going to be all that convenient to play with my granddaughter.) Last weekend I really wanted to make something for her. It was raining like crazy though, making a trip to the store somewhat unappealing.  (Seriously, it was raining that hard.) I dug around in my closet of more-fabric-than-anyone-could-need and pulled some flannel scraps. These were scraps in every sense of the word. They didn’t really go with anything and were not very big. Certainly I could turn them into something. Babies start out small – these were small scraps, I didn’t need to make anything huge, right?

img_1497

I also found a reasonably sized piece of white flannel and a tiny piece of white terrycloth. After an afternoon of playing around, this is where I ended up.

img_7967

I squeaked one bib out of terrycloth and flannel and the other bib is backed with white flannel and trimmed with white rick-rack. I used velcro closures because I was out of the little gripper snaps and it was raining….. remember?

img_7960

Joy (baby girl’s other Grammy), if you are reading this, the “I Love Grandma” bib is for both of us. This girl is going to have two really cool grandmas.

img_7962I also made three burp cloths. These are definitely scrappy. The elephant fabric was just a few bits so I mixed it with white flannel strips to get a large enough rectangle.  The lime green stripe was a narrow rectangle so I sewed it to a larger rectangle of white flannel, causing the white to wrap around to the front and create a large enough rectangle. That pink polka dot is adorable and I even had coordinating ribbon to embellish with. Fancy schmancy burp cloths for my special girl.  I sent them off to the kids with a note telling them that three burp cloths was not nearly sufficient but this would at least get them started. 😉

When I first started blogging, I posted a tutorial for burp clothes that wrap the backing to the front, like the green one.  If you want to check it out, click here.

img_1487

I can’t wait for this baby’s arrival. My son and DIL are so good about keeping all of us posted with ultrasound pictures and baby bump photos. She is clearly adorable already. For my birthday last week they sent me a lovely frame that says granddaughter on it and this TGIF mug. It is the perfect mug for me – holds a huge cup of coffee and reminds me I am soon to be a Grammy.

Linking to lots of fun places – check them out at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

Tutorial – French Press Cozy

Today I want to share a quick and easy project with you. I have a bit of an obsession with coffee. Currently I have five different methods of coffee brewing in my kitchen. I am always trying out some coffee gadget or method to look for the best cup. I have a Chemex pot, a Keurig, a regular drip coffee maker, a Pour-over, and a French Press. I like all of them and they each have a place in my very deep and sustaining relationship with coffee.

Is there such a thing as too much coffee??

Is there such a thing as too much coffee??

If you asked most coffee lovers, the problem with the French Press and the Chemex is the coffee tends to cool off quickly. I like my coffee near the boiling point, really hot, so I use a cozy wrapped around the pot to insulate it. I have been making cozies for both French Press pots and Chemex pots for a while now and selling them in my Etsy shop. I thought it would be fun to share a tutorial for making a cozy for a French Press with you today.  If you are a user of a French Press this will keep your coffee much warmer. Or, you could make one as a gift for the French Press lover in your family.

Let’s get started.

Materials List:

  • 1 Fat Quarter
  • 1 Batting scrap, at least 7″ x 13″
  • 1 Insul Bright scrap, at least 7″ x 13″
  • 1 scrap batting or Insul Bright, 3.5″ x 3″
  • Velcro, coordinating color, 1.5″ x 1″

Notes:

  • Use a 3/8″ seam allowance unless said otherwise.
  • Right sides together means to put the print part of the fabrics (the good side, the outside) against each other – so the you can see the wrong side of the fabric on the outside.

Cut three pieces from the fat quarters. Two at 7″ by 13″ and one piece that is 3″ x 7″.

img_7551

From your batting and Insul Bright scraps, cut one piece of each at 7″ x 13″ and one (you may use either batting or Insul Bright for this one) at 3″ x 3.5″.

If you aren’t familiar with Insul Bright, it is a batting made with polyester fibers that insulates items to stay warm. It is used for things like hot pads, trivets, cozies and can actually be used to line clothing. It is washable but is not microwave safe. There are strands of a metallic, mylar substance in it for the insulative properties.

img_7549

Let’s begin by making the tab.

img_7554

Take the smaller rectangle and fold it in half, right sides together. Then place your small rectangle of batting on top of this and pin.

img_7553

Stitch along both long sides, leaving the short end open. Trim the corners at the end where the fabric is folded – not the open end. This will make your corners less bulky when you turn it right side out.

img_7555

After turning it right side out, use a wooden chopstick or the round end of a pencil to poke the corners out – be gentle here so you don’t make a hole.  Top stitch around the edge at 1/4″ allowance.

img_7556

Use a fabric marker to make a tiny dot at the center of the short, open end of the tab. Set this aside for a moment.

Take a look at your piece of Insul Bright. You will see that there is one side that is a bit shinier than the other, where the metallic bits show – in the photo below, the shinier side is on the right. When using Insul Bright, that side should be placed so that it is touching the inside of the fabric. We will be layering fabric, batting and Insul Bright. For better insulation, the shiny side should be in contact with the fabric, not the cotton batting. This isn’t hugely important though. The manufacturer states that it will only provide slightly better insulation.

img_7552

Let’s assemble the layers for the cozy. Place the Insul Bright on the bottom side with the metallic, shiny side facing down on the mat. Next place your cotton batting on the Insul Bright. Finally place your two fabric rectangles, right sides together, on top of the cotton batting.

img_7561

Pin the edges tightly so the layers don’t shift. Next mark a small dot at one of the short ends center point. You will match that dot to the center dot on the tab.

img_7557

Fold back the top layer of fabric a few inches and insert the tab between the two fabric layers matching the center points on the large rectangle and the tab.Once you slip the tab between the layers of fabric, make sure you have that raw edge of the tab aligned with the short side of the cozy, NOT the finished end. You will stitch the tab to the bottom layers (which would be both battings and one fabric layer). Stitch it with 1/4″ seam allowance so this seam won’t show later on.

img_7559

Unfold that top layer so it is now covering the tab. Pin securely.

img_7561

Starting on one of the long edges, stitch all layers together, around all four edges with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Leave one 3″ opening on one of the long sides. Remember when you are beginning and ending this seam to stop at the opening with your needle down, pivot the fabric and sew off the edge. Reverse stitch about three stitches so that your seam holds while you turn your project right side out.

img_7562

Very carefully, take your scissors and make a small cut in the Insul Bright. It should be only as deep at those stitches you just made. Clip each side and then trim that piece off. This will remove some of the bulk from that seam when you close it up. You will also need to trim each of the four corners, just like we did with the tab, taking care not to snip too closely to the stitching.

img_7563

Now turn everything right side out by gently pulling the piece through that opening. It takes some patience but just work it through the opening.  Then use your fingers to slide the batting layers into place and flatten them. Sometimes they get a wave or lumpy feel from turning it right side out but you can just massage everything flat.  To have nice crisp corners, use your chopstick, or the round end of a pencil, and push the corners out.  I roll the finished edges between my fingers a bit to get a nice flat edge. Then press everything with steam. Carefully fold in the opening seam and hand stitch it closed. Use a hidden stitch, such as the ladder stitch. (If you need a tutorial on the ladder stitch, click here.)

Using your walking foot, quilt a few lines through all layers to hold everything in place. The quilting can be as you like; this piece was quilted with three seams across the rectangle.

img_7565

Finally – last thing to be done is to add that small piece of velcro to the tab and the body of the cozy. You will see the velcro is on one side of the tab and the opposite side of the body. The velcro cannot be on the same sides or the closure won’t work! Usually, I sew the piece to the tab first and then line up the body to mark where the second piece goes.

img_7569

See how the two pieces line up correctly?

That’s it – easy, peasy. I hope I covered each step without going into too much detail. The finished cozy should measure about 6″ x 12″ (without the tab) depending on your seam allowance. I sized this to fit the 8 cup Bodum French Press. If you have a different model, you will need to measure the height of your carafe to get the height of the cozy. Then measure the circumference of the carafe to get the finished length of the rectangle. (This is easily done by using a cloth measuring tape and measuring around the body of the carafe.) If you carafe is narrower, or skinnier, than the Bodum, adjust accordingly.

img_4003

Should you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I will help you figure it out. If you get a chance to make one, I would love to see it. Post it on IG with #needleandfootcozies. Enjoy your coffee hot, as it is meant to be enjoyed!

Linking to my usuals – see the list of linky parties at the top of the page, under Link Ups!

 

 

Mini Charm Pack Finish

I have a quick finish to share with you today. It also means I can check one thing off of my aforementioned Q4 FAL list! Yahoo for checking things off the list. (I derive great satisfaction from such things.)

I made a zip pouch with a packet of mini charms. These were the Chic Neutral charms by Amy Ellis. I showed a peek at this project in an earlier post. My sister and I have birthdays that are just three days apart. Actually, three years and three days but who’s keeping track? Um, I am, she’s older. 😉  She sent me the Nani Iro scarf for my birthday and I sent her the zip pouch. It was really simple to make. I used this tutorial by Julie Hirt, published on Moda Bake Shop.

img_7876

The pattern is clear and quite easy. I lined it with a deep yellow print that was in the yellow stack in my closet. I used a neutral, tan zipper because I had one available.

img_7873This is the first time I finished off the ends of the zipper with a fabric covering. It adds a nice touch but the resulting thickness made it a challenge to turn it tight side out.

img_7880

It is such a cute finish. Hopefully Cathy will finds all sorts of really important things to keep in it!

img_7895

Also, I wanted to tell you that today I received Vinegar Girl, the Summer Book Share, back. This was the first, of many I hope, book that I shared with Needle and Foot readers. I sent it off to Tami in Wisconsin in July. From there, this little book traveled from to Idaho to West Virginia to Durham in the UK, to South Carolina and back to California! That makes me smile. Each person to read the book added a few fat quarters for the next person when the book was sent on. We tried to related the FQ’s to the story. Barbara chose the floral print because the main characters receive a Peony plant for a wedding gift. The print with the city on it represents Baltimore, where the story takes place. What a lovely selection of fat quarters. I will really enjoy using these pieces of fabric! Thanks Barbara! I enjoyed these notes that we left each other on the inside cover of the book.

book-notes

The Fall Book Share has already made it’s way from California to Minnesota to North Carolina to Wisconsin. From there it goes to Missouri and New York before coming back to me. Looking at the upcoming season of holidays, I think the next book share will begin in January.  It would be all too easy for the book to be set aside as busy at this time of year gets. So, look for a new book in January.

autumn-abundance-resized

Linking to my usuals. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.  Outside of the usually, I am linking up with Elm Street’s Bag It event! Have you checked this out yet? Also checking this project off of my Q4-FAL list for the event over at She Can Quilt!

See you all on Monday for the start of the Autumn Abundance Blog Hop!!

Halloween Linky Party

Welcome to Handmade Halloween!  This is the first time I have hosted a link up and I am really excited about it. When I approached sponsors for prizes for this event, I was thrilled with the generosity of the gifts they provided! You are invited to link up your blog posts, be they brand new or from prior Halloweens, to this post. Each time you link a post, you will be entered into the drawing for prizes. You can link up one post or multiple posts, it is up to you! I invite you to read posts that are linked up. Surely there will be fun projects, costumes, and decorations to inspire you as we move into Autumn.
With fall weather approaching thoughts of all things autumn have begun in earnest. We have picked apples at my in-laws, harvested our mini pumpkins and three billion decorative gourds from the garden, and (finally) have weather chilly enough to wear a sweater. My parents came for dinner on Sunday and by the time they got home, there was a light snow falling. Certainly not enough to accumulate but I think this is the first time I have heard of snow here on October 2nd!

This is the time of year when children begin to plan their Halloween costumes. Julia has always been very independent. She is a person who very much knows her own mind. When it comes to Halloween, she usually comes up with an idea and there is no changing her mind. I thought it would be fun to share a few of the costumes she has picked over the years. While she comes up with the idea, it is up to me to figure out how to make it. She has only once wanted to be something with an easily purchased costume. That was the year she wanted to be a witch, “a pretty and kind witch, not a mean and scary one.” That was the year I got off easy and we picked out a costume at Target. I think she was in first grade?

Her first time trick or treating was at the age of two. I made her a set of ladybug wings. She wore black pants and shirt with the wings. Using pipe cleaners and two styrofoam balls, I made little antennae that I attached to a plastic headband. She was adorable. She didn’t actually trick or treat but I did take her to my husband’s office.


She also had a Halloween party at her daycare.


One of my favorites was in Kindergarten when she wanted to be…. Wait for it…. A pencil. What five year old decides to be a pencil? It was so funny. Off I went to buy felt in yellow and green.

This was made mostly with glue sticks and simple stitching. I believe the back of it was fastened with Velcro. I stitched rectangles of green felt over the yellow to make the green stripes at the top of the Ticonderoga and made two little yellow should straps. I even made a little pink felt cap so it would look like she had an eraser on the top. At the last minute, she nixed the eraser hat.  When she got to school dressed as a brand new Ticonderoga, the kids would look at her quizzically and ask her what she was.

img_7341
I am certain she thought they were all ridiculous not to see that she was a pencil. Ah, she was quite proud of that costume. She had such a fantastic teacher in Kindergarten. She had each child stand up and talk about their costume, making each one feel very special.

In 2nd grade she wanted to be a bat. I decided this would be a simple one. I made wings with black and silver sparkly fabric and hand stitched the wings to the inside seam of her sleeve and down the side seam of a black long-sleeved shirt.


This was so cute. When she lifted her arms, the wings appeared. She also had little bat ears that I hot glued to a plastic headband.

Julia chose to be a jellyfish when she was in 3rd grade. For this she wore blue sparkly leggings and skirt. We took an old sombrero and covered it with fabric and tulle over the top (lots of hot glue went into this costume!) Then we cut many lengths of ribbon and Rick-rack and glued them all around the brim of her jellyfish/sombrero hat.


She looked adorable, though again,many kids didn’t really get what she was dressed as.

In fifth grade Julia asked to be a black widow spider. I love this costume; it is definitely one of my favorites.


We used a black shirt and pants as the base. I made a large oval for the front and back and attached shoulder straps to each piece. Then I made ‘legs’ with black fabric, stuffed with poly stuffing. At the end of each ‘leg’ was one of those little black knit gloves that you can find in a bargain basket at Target. I stitched one hand to the next so that when she lifted her (real) arm, all of the legs came up with her.  We bought some flashy red, sequined fabric to make the tell-tale spot on her belly, signifying that she was a black widow.  This year the kids knew what she was.

In seventh grade Julia went to a Halloween party. She dressed up as Wednesday Addams, from the old tv show, The Addams Family.

20141031_2032

We found the black dress at a thrift store. It was a heavy knit dress and was far too long. I cut the bottom off and didn’t even finish off the hem. She put a white collared shirt under it, added black tights and boots that she already had. In my opinion, the long braids are what really turned her into Wednesday Addams.

Last year she went to a Halloween Dance held by her high school. She had planned to use her Wednesday Addams outfit since she still had all of the pieces and this was a new group of friends who hadn’t seen it when she first wore it. However, the afternoon of the dance she changed her mind. She decided to go with a more macabre idea and became a pedestrian who had been run over.


The process for making this tshirt was hysterical. Remember, this is the afternoon of the dance so we were working fast. She needed to make the shirt and have time for it to dry. We thought about it and quickly decided to literally run over the tshirt with my car to get the tire track marks. We took black acrylic paint and painted my tire and then strategically place the tshirt on the ground and slowly drove over it. We took a few test runs over pieces of cardboard first so we could see how much paint we needed to put on the tire. She, very wisely, put a fresh piece of cardboard inside the shirt so the paint wouldn’t bleed through to the back side of the shirt. Once she was happy with the tire tracks, she ran into the house with it and dried it with a hair dryer. She added the fake blood and off she went. I thought it was hysterical and it was the fastest costume ever.

Here we are, in the first week of October and she hasn’t decided what she will be this year. Hopefully she will come up with something before the day of the dance!

Halloween doesn’t have to be too fussy or expensive. These costumes were easy to make and didn’t break the bank. If you have any questions on the process for any of them, leave them in the comments.

Now for the real fun – let’s talk about the giveaway prizes! There are some really fun gifts for you!

Lorna McMahon, of Sew Fresh Quilts, has provided a gift of $15.00 to her shop. If, by some very small chance, you aren’t familiar with Lorna’s patterns, click here and take a look. Lorna has some of the cutest quilt patterns, many of which feature little critters- raccoons, farm animals, fish, chickens, and squirrels for example. Lorna has so many fun and creative ideas.

Craftsy has donated five free classes! You know how I feel about the classes over at Craftsy. There are so many to choose from!

C&T Publishing has donated five $20.00 gift certificates. C&T publish many of the amazing craft, sewing, knitting and quilting books that are widely sold in bookstores and online.

img_20150828_3743

Finally, I made two Halloween buntings to give as prizes. They are similar to the one pictured above.

Each post you link up counts as one entry into the giveaway.

You are welcome to link up from your Instagram or Flickr accounts if you aren’t a blogger or prefer that media.

Please take a moment and enjoy some of the other link ups. Leave a little comment love as you go.

Have fun and thanks for coming to the party!! Link ups will remain open through Saturday night so if you haven’t finished your post, you can still link up over the next couple of days. Drawings for prizes will happen Saturday evening and winners will be posted first thing Sunday morning. (I will also email the winners.)

 


Reusable Lunch Bags – A Tutorial

I am all about reusing and recycling.  We try to minimize our garbage by recycling everything, composting all that we can and feeding many of our kitchen scraps to our chickens. As for single use plastic (e.g. zip lok bags), I really try to avoid them and when I do use them, I wash them and re-use them again and again because plastic just doesn’t break down or biodegrade. To that end, we have been using reusable bags for packing school and work lunches for the past several years. At this point they are looking pretty grungy.  As usual, I hopped on Amazon to order some. Looking at the price ($25.90 for only three bags) and the simplicity of the bags, I decided to make them.

I wrote a tutorial for these bags a few months ago but had purchased the wrong fabric and found out it wasn’t food safe. I asked readers if anyone knew of a food safe fabric and lucky for me, Gayle of Pedal Sew Lightly, responded right away with a link to Wazoodle.

I quickly purchased a piece of PUL from  that measured 18 x 60 inches (one half yard) and a strip of velcro for less than $15.00. Thus far, I have made three reusable bags (sandwich size) and I have plenty of fabric to make a few more. Yay for knowing how to sew, right?

These are extremely quick and easy to stitch up. Here are the instructions.

Materials required for one bag:

  • PUL fabric:  8 inches x 17.5 inches
  • Thread
  • Velcro: 8 inch strip that is one inch wide

Note: PUL is very slippery fabric. I used a walking foot when sewing because having the extra traction of the walking foot made it so much easier to stitch. Maintain a light hold on the back side of the fabric, as though you are guiding it through the machine. Hold it but don’t pull on it.

 

  1. Cut your rectangle of fabric.

IMG_7244

 

2. Finish one short edge.IMG_7245

3. Fold right sides together, leaving about 3 inches extending above the opposite side. Stitch sides together with a 3/8″ seam, catching each edge of the velcro in the side seam. Then turn the bag right side out.

IMG_7264

 

4.Finish the each side of the flap by folding over 1/4″ to the inside and stitching.

IMG_7257

5. Fold over the top of the flap, bringing it to the inside. Sew the velcro to the inside of the flap, on top of the part you folded in. You may choose to pin this but I just stitched slowly and held it on top of the folded piece. It is a bit tricky because  the PUL is slick so take your time and stitch slowly.

IMG_7259

 

Finished! Not so hard, right? The first one took a few minutes as I got used to working with the PUL.  The following two took less than 20 minutes each to make – these bags are that simple.

IMG_7260

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions. Hope you will make a few of these and reduce the need for zip lok bags, thus reducing the amount of plastic in our landfills.

Linking up to my favorites. For more info, click on Link Ups at the top of the page.

241 Tote, Version 3

Recently a friend of mine had a birthday. We used to work together for the same company. Since I retired (maybe five years ago?) we try to get together every so often for lunch or coffee. Sometimes we are good about it and set a time each month or so. Other times, we get busy and months pass. But we always find time when either of us celebrates a birthday.

I wanted to make something for her this year. Having recently made two versions of Noodlehead’s 241 Tote, I decided to go a third round with the pattern. You might want to read about the first two bags I made – to do so, click here or here. Making this tote a third time was quite easy. I decided to use a basic palette of mocha and denim blue.

To change things up a tiny bit, I bought a magnetic closure for the bag. Prior to this one, I used a toggle button and a loop of fabric. The magnetic snaps are a breeze to install. (If you have not done this before, here is a great tutorial from Craftsy.)  While the snap installed without issue, I did have a bit of a hiccup. I didn’t think two steps ahead when I placed the snaps. They were a tad too high and this made it really difficult to topstitch around the opening of the bag. When I realized what I had done, I tried using a zipper foot to enable me to stitch close to the snap. It helped but the stitching was a little bit herky jerky. It wasn’t nearly as smooth as I would have liked. Thankfully, my friend is tolerant of my less than perfect topstitching!

IMG_7163

As I did before, I added a loop for a keychain clasp so she won’t have to dig at the bottom of her purse for her keys. I love this little feature.

IMG_7164

On the opposite side is a patch pocket with a velcro closure.

On the exterior I placed a pocket as well.  It was supposed to be a zip pocket but somehow when I cut the opening for it I made it way too wide and I couldn’t install the zipper. This was so irritating. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a solution. Rather than a zipper, there is just a pouch type of pocket. Dang it. You’ll see in the picture below how wide that opening is. On the upside, it shows a peek of the fabric used for the pocket and I think that is sort of sweet.

IMG_7158

And for a shot of the back side of the purse.

IMG_7161

It is really pretty and the brown fabric should be great for hiding dirt that seems to appear after setting the purse on the ground or the floor of the car. Hopefully my sweet friend will enjoy the tote for a long time to come!

I will link this post to all sorts of fun places. For more info, click on the Link Ups tab at the top of the page.