Quick graduation gift

I knew a couple of young ladies that were graduating and needed a quick graduation gift.  I’ve made pouches for young ladies this age before and found they have been well received.  They seem to be useful for odds and end and all kinds of other things.  I made these a tad bigger so they could be used for charging cords.  I don’t know about you, but it seems like I am taking more of these with me when I travel places and it’s hard to find a convenient place to store them where you can find them again.  I hate to keep looking for my things and try to keep them all together and be consistent about where I put my belongings so this is important to me.  These young ladies will not have mothers with them to keep track of their things when they leave for college in a few weeks so I’m hopeful that these pouches will be useful.

graduation zip pouches

Big zip pouch

A big zip pouch has been created.  I’ve done many embroidered dish towels and this bag has been created specifically for that purpose.  It’s about 16″ across the top and with the boxed bottom stands about 10″ high.  It’s about 5″ across on the sides and will be perfect for holding embroidery floss, dish towels and assorted tools to create the embroidery.  These tools of course include a needle book, a pair of scissors, an embroidery hoop, a tape measure and the embroidery floss.  I do have some ribbons attached to the inside of the pouch and will attach the needle book and scissors but today isn’t the day.  I’m planning on taking this big zip pouch with me tomorrow when I leave for Portland and I just don’t have time to find the extra tools and attach them. That will be a later project. For now, I have these items in another smaller pouch that I have in a separate bag but I’m looking forward to having these items in one place so I can just pick it up and go.

zippered pouch

Remember the old hangers?

Remember the old hangers that used to be in everyone’s closet? You know the kind I mean.  The wire ones your mom got from the cleaners. Sometimes they were colored and I loved those.  I remember one turquoise one that I used to have.  Sometimes they were white but mostly they were gold or gray or just metal colored.  The other hangers that were special were the ones with the cardboard tube at the bottom that you could use for slacks.  We didn’t have too many of those and they were used only for the best pieces that you didn’t want creases in.  Well in my latest sewing project I kept wishing that I had a slacks hanger.  The kind I was thinking about was a wooden one that hubby had when we were first married.  I think they were from his wedding suit and it not only was sturdy wood but had a moveable bar on the bottom that you could unhook to slide the slacks on and then hook it back together and put it in the closet.  We have moved to mostly wash and wear and plastic hangers and I haven’t thought much about hangers until recently when I wanted to hang the latest sewing project.  The project was circles of fabric that I wanted to slide over something and hang.  I couldn’t justify taking the old wooden hanger that now holds other slacks of hubby but lo and behold when I opened the coat closet door, I found a secret stash in the far back.  There it was, the perfect hanger! It is wire with a sturdy cardboard tube.  Happy day!  Now my circles are hung waiting for delivery and I am remembering more good times and special hangers.

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Another little zipper pouch

Another little zipper pouch?  Yes indeed another little zipper pouch!  I’m having lots of fun sewing these little zippered pouches.  I keep working on the zippers to get them just the way I like.  This one is closer.  I love this chair fabric but it was too busy to use a big piece in anything so I decided to just use a section.  Then I had to decided on the size of the section and what other fabrics to pair it with.  Decisions, decisions.  This little pouch is a bit taller and not  as wide as some but I think it would be perfect for and iPod and some ear buds.  The thing I really love about these zippered pouches is that I can throw them in a bag and they don’t end up at the bottom.  It’s also so much easier to find the contents and the bag when they are all together in one place. I grew up with my mother telling me “put it back where you found it!”  I still try to do that because it makes my life so much easier and I’m less frustrated when I don’t have to hunt for my stuff.  Zippered pouches really help.

zip pouch chairs

A Water Bottle Cozy

I need a water bottle cozy.  No ifs, ands, or buts about this one.  I know we are all encouraged to stay hydrated and use a water bottle but when I drink water my preference is for cold water.  Like cold with ice!  This can be a challenge when you’re using a water bottle.  I’ve tried partially freezing the water bottles.  This is successful but ultimately hard on the water bottles.  They bulge, they crack and leak..oops and they can melt too slowly or too quickly depending on the weather or the activity and the amount of frozen water.  I’ve tried partially freezing, tipping them on the side and freezing and even filling them halfway and freezing.  It really is an ok process but does seem to shorten the life of the water bottle.  I also don’t like it when they start to bulge on the bottom and then rock when they are set on a flat surface.  My solution has been to fill the water bottle with ice cubes.  The result of ice cubes and also of freezing is condensation.  The condensation can be a mess. You get water marks on tables on clothes and if you’re outside, you can even make mud!  I’ve tried various solutions.  Here again, all successful to a degree but not perfect.  The first one I tried was a sweat band like you would wear at the gym.  Sweat bands are functional but are not really good-looking so that is a solution but not my preferred one.  The next option I tried was a water bottle case.  I have one that is neoprene and looks like this one. That’s ok and is a nice color but when it’s sitting on a desk or traveling in the car it’s bulky and it doesn’t fit in the drink holder. I also have one that is similar to this one. Same things here.  It has a nice pattern but will not fit in the cup holder in my car. These are actually both good solutions for my straight sided water bottles.  My current favorite however is a stainless steel flip top bottle that is not straight sided.  It has an hourglass shape and it really doesn’t work well in any of the holders.  After a visit to Starbucks it occurred to me that I needed to make a wrap type cozy for my water bottle and I could start with the shape like they use for the cardboard wrappers for the coffee cups.  After several trials with paper patterns I finally decided to make a test one and see how it works.  It’s not really the shape I thought I would need but works surprisingly well.  I also used velcro for a closure but this helped accommodate the hourglass middle.  I was able to use a more curved shape to my pattern because I realized that the place I really needed the wrap was near the bottom of the bottle.  I’ve used this for several days now and am pleased with the result.  I love the colors. I just strip pieced some fabric leftovers until it was larger than my pattern piece and put a layer of warm and natural batting in the middle to soak up the condensation. It still fits in the cup holder in my car and doesn’t seem to leave any condensation around the bottom to make a mess.  This water bottle cozy will be useful for a long time.

water bottle cozy

water bottle cozy2

My keys, my keys..

My keys my keys. I don’t like to lose my keys!  I’m usually – that’s 99% of the time certain where I put my keys.  I do not ever allow time to search for them because I’m so consistent in the place they live.  There has been a time or two that they have been misplaced but it’s rare.  Well now I have one more key to keep track of.  It will need to be in my purse because it’s to a new door that will be part of my regular schedule for a while.  The dilemma is how to keep track of the key.  I don’t want to put it on the key chain with my car key and my house key.  I will not use the key more than a couple of times a week and it looks identical to my house key.  I didn’t want to add the weight of a big key ring or a bulky key chain to my purse because it feels like I carry around more than I need anyway.  The solution is a lanyard.  I have eyed these for a while and been anxious to make some more.  I think they would be a good sale item as well and they are fast and fun to make.  Well as fast as anything is that you have to cut and sew.  I interfaced it so there is a bit of substance to it yet it is light and flexible and should be easy to find in my purse.  It also is big enough that it will be easy to keep track of.  All these are important criteria in my world.   Problem solved and now it’s off to read for a bit before bed.

Cleaning up

Today I’ve decided that it’s time to start cleaning up the mess. There are piles and boxes of fabric all over the place and it’s starting to bother me. I still have some other work should do but soon this will be done and I can start organizing and doing some spring cleaning. My biggest challenge is logistics.  What is the best way to stack the fabric and store the supplies so that I can get to them easily.  I would like to have the fabric visible.  Right now it’s in several different boxes and stacks and I can’t always easily find the piece I’m looking for.  The other problem is forgetting what I have and accumulating more. In this year of intention I’m trying to use what I have before I buy anything else.  I’ve been thinking about this for several months and today I realized I have a possible solution.  I can move an unused desk that is now covered with clutter.  In the space where the desk is I can move in some shelves from the garage. This set of shelves is of the wire variety and is on wheels.  It has four shelves that will be perfect for my needs.  I can keep the large pieces of batting and fleece on either the bottom or the top, stack some clear boxes of works in progress on a shelf and still have room to create stacks of fabrics.  These pieces are all less than one yard and when stacked don’t take up much room.  I think I’ll sell the desk that’s in the corner although it may get moved to the garage for storage until I know that it really is an extra that I don’t need. Time to stop thinking and start cleaning up!
wire shelves