Thanksgiving is done and now it’s holiday sewing!

Thanksgiving is done and now it’s holiday sewing.  I have made several items in the last couple of weeks but not had the time to blog about any of it.  I’m going to start with a really fast and easy project that I had fun with.  That would be pot holders.  We were invited to Aaron’s for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  That was a treat for me.  I usually cook all holiday meals.   He had help from his sisters and they cooked a delicious meal of salmon, stuffing, mashed potatoes and salad..  We had vegetables and dip while we were visiting before the meal.  It was great fun and I’m ready to do it again.  Today they will all be here for dinner.

I did decide I should take a hostess gift so I bought a few new dish towels, a new paring knife and made some pot holders.  I know that he doesn’t cook very much and I wasn’t sure what he really had.  Although it all got left in the gift bag, I imagine that he will use all the items.  I know they are having a holiday party at their apartment soon so I suspect they will all have future use.

The pot holders were fun to make.  I cut them 8″ square and put in a layer of warm and bright and a layer of insulbrite. I quilted a square pattern on the top and used rayon thread on one side and cotton on the other.  They are bright and cheerful and I think I’ll be doing more of these soon. square pot holders

Holidays are approaching!

Holidays are approaching!  Hard to believe it’s coming so quickly.  I have had so little time to sew in the last couple of months that now my head is swimming with ideas.  It’s so full of things that some days it’s hard to sort out what to do or even where to start.  I think the first thing to do will be to make a list.  I’ve had some random projects on my mind, pot holders, zip pouches, pj pants, ear bud cases, dish towels, Christmas stockings and pillows all rumbling around in my head.  I do have one more baby quilt to finish.  That should be completed by the weekend.  The top is pieced so it’s just a matter now of layering it and quilting and binding.  Probably just a few hours but not too complicated and I can start and stop.  I also have a couple of birthday presents to make.  I might even have to do some shopping.  The biggest outside time commitment now however is work and my  mother.  She is back at her home in the senior community after 3 weeks in the hospital and 3 weeks in rehab.  Sure seems like longer and I guess between all the doctor visits for the 6 weeks before surgery it has been longer.  We’re hoping for a stable winter but when you’re 85 it’s hard to tell what each day will bring.

I did have fun doing one quick project in all of this madness.  I made another burp rag from a diaper.  I was going to make this before the shower for my niece but ran out of time.  I do love applique however and I had fun with this applique cute and hot pink flower fabric.

cat applique

 

Patterns old and new

Patterns old and new. As I have been sewing baby gifts I’ve dug into boxes of old patterns that I had stored in the back of a cupboard.  This cupboard is difficult to reach so the patterns have just been sitting.  I’ve always known that one day I would be digging into these pattern boxes for old patterns I had used and not gotten rid of.  I really was looking for baby bonnet patterns.  I thought I had more that I found.  I liked my girls to have bonnets on their heads when they went out.  They looked cute and my mother told me it would help prevent ear infections!  Now I’m not sure that really helped but I did like bonnets and they were fun to make.  Now it’s fashionable to wear bonnets again although it’s more likely to keep the sun off of delicate skin. I suppose the looking cute still applies as well.

In spite of the lack of bonnet patterns I did find lots of PJ’s patterns and some bib patterns and special dress patterns.  After I had sorted through the boxes I pulled several patterns and then returned the boxes to the cupboard.  When I was finished I laid the patterns on my desk and started looking at the differences in pictures and in price.  I ended up with patterns old and new covering a 60 year span.  The picture on the right is a McCall’s night-shirt pattern from 1952. The price.. $.50. The middle pattern is also a McCall’s pattern but it’s dated 1982. This bib pattern was used to make some bibs for my little girls.  The cost $2.00. The third pattern is a Simplicity pattern that I just purchased. This makes it a 2012 pattern for a dress and bonnet  and it’s price is comparable to the McCall’s patterns and the cost…. $14.95. Now Joann’s regularly sells them for 40% off.  I guess the pattern companies want us to think we are getting a good buy!  Hmm… what do you think?  I always try to buy patterns on sale which you can do for  the big pattern companies like Simplicity, McCall’s and Buttrick.  Other patterns like Kwik Sew and independent pattern makers are usually not reduced in price so the cost is often $10-$20.  I know there are usually several views and several sizes in each envelope so maybe that’s ok.  Opinions?

patterns

 

A new little coaster

A new little coaster was made for a friend.  And it was good.  There is a  woman who I have worked with off and on for at least 15 years.  Our lives have changed over the course of the friendship and we are both interested in crafting.  She is very creative and has a great eye for papercrafts, decorating etc.  I love to sew.  Recently when she was in my office she saw one fo the over sized coasters that I was using and decided she really needed on and did I sell them?  This is on my list of things that I want to do but of course my head is swimming with ideas and more things that I would like to do than I realistically have time or energy for.  In the middle of the night however, all things seem possible and  I do have an Etsy store set up and have visions of filling it with all sorts of cute hand crafted items. For now however I had some tumbler shapes leftover for one of my frenzied cutting sessions with my AccuQuilt Go cutter.  Since I have cut these out I knew that’s how they were going to end up but it wasn’t at the top of the list until last weekend. I sewed them into a little coaster, took it to my friend and she squealed with glee at how perfect it was and how much she loved it. Oh, I do love those enthusiastic folks and I was filled with smiles at her pleasure.  Such a little thing but it made my day.

brown tumbler coaster

Multi-tasking..

Multi-tasking.. it seems like a good idea but I think but for me this is one that has gone gotten out of hand.  I have so many ideas, and have collected so may lovely fabrics and I want to sew all kinds of projects. This time, I have used my  AccuQuilt Go cutter and I have several new dies.  I want to try them all out so the cutter is sitting on my table and I have piles of fabric and piles of cut shapes and now I have a huge mess!  When I picked up the fabric for my nieces quilt and then used the wrong die to cut the fabric I decided I need to change my ways. I’ve taken a picture to remind myself of the disaster and started to pick things up and put them away.  I do have piles ready to cut for quilts but now it’s one at a time and it goes into a clear plastic box with the pattern. The leftover shapes are in another box along with the oops cuts and I’ve decided that I need to sew up what I have and then I can cut more.  Do you have a problem multi-tasking? If you do multi-task, what is your secret to stay organized?  I’m ready to try some new ideas.

messy table

New Projects

It’s nice to be at a point where I am starting on new projects.  It’s always fun and exciting to plan a new project, think about the fabric, the details and who will be receiving the end product.  Sometimes I make something just to make it but I do find that I’m more productive and apt to stick with it and finish it if there is a time line or a reason.  I’m not good at just sitting and playing.  I need a purpose.  I recently got a die for my AccuQuilt Go  cutter.  This cuts simple 5″ squares.  I love to cut the fabric with this die.  It’s fast and easy and accurate.  The package insert always has a pattern idea.  When I saw the pattern I knew I had the perfect fabric.  Last year when I first started to sew and quilt again one of the first fabrics that I fell in love with was the green fabric with the Swiss houses on it.  The pattern was big enough that I knew I needed a bigger block and I really didn’t have too much of the yardage.  I had enough other fabrics in my stash to make the rest of the blocks and I spent an hour or so happily cutting and placing this on my design wall.  It has been sitting in a box waiting for the day to sew it up and now the day is here.  I’m going to make this for a young friend who is having a baby girl and doesn’t like pink.  This quilt has flowers and butterflies and these darling little houses and I think it will be perfect.  Now I’m off to sew and already planning another new project in my head.

blue and green baby quilt

Rag blanket finish

A rag blanket finish happened this week.  It actually was fun to do and I’m pleased with the finished product.  When I first bought this die I thought this would be a great way to use the flannel remnants.  As it turns out, because you use two pieces of fabric in each block the remnants don’t go very far. I knew that I was making this blanket for a little boy and have since learned that the mom is already in the hospital waiting for this little one to appear.  It’s a bit early for his arrival however so they hope he will take his time! In the end, I was able to mostly use fabrics from my stash.  I did end up buying a small piece of yellow.  Hubby was a bit reserved about the project but was also impressed after it had been washed and dried.  Like he said, it almost makes a chenille type fabric after it’s been in the wash and I’m sure it will get softer with each wash.  I think I’m off to make another.

rag blocks

rag quilt before

Making Lanyards

Making lanyards for the girls was lots of fun.  I started with one of the Robert Kaufman Girl Scout roll ups and separated the strips into the Girl Scout prints and the coordinating prints.  For this project I knew that I wanted to the use the fabric that was specifically Girl Scout themed.  Becuase the strips were two and a half inches wide, I cut my light weight interfacing two inches wide and ironed it to the inside.  Then I folded and pressed the fabric so I could add the lanyard clip and finish the seam and do the top stitching.  This was a fairly quick project for one but of course did take a bit longer to make 24. That way we did a few extra for special staff and other gifts.  The girls were able to use their lanyard for their whistle and their schedules which they put in plastic name tag holders.  All in all, making lanyards was a very successful project!

roll up

zippers and lanyard clips

lanyards

lanyards

The Next Step

The next step in my adventure was to match up the strips and the zippers.  I knew that I wanted each of the zip pouches to be unique.  I wanted the strips in pairs of patterns and also didn’t want to be too random and stuck at the end with odd color combinations of strips and zippers.  I took the roll ups apart, matched two of the plain prints with a patterned print and then added a coordinating zipper.  I laid them out on the cutting table about 20 at a time and them clipped them together with a binder clip and put them in a basket.  My friend and co-director volunteered to sew the strips together and press the seams open.  That was a life saver for sure!  With a few strips isn’t not so bad but when you are talking in the neighborhood of 70 or so.. this accounts for some extras and several “test” pouches.

 

pairs of fabric strips

strips on the table

strips with zippers

When I got the strips back from Linda, I cut the strips in half and restacked them with a layer of batting.  At this point I could baste them and head for the sewing machine. Now it’s on to the next step.