Camp and a Girl Scout 100th birthday celebration. What do they have in common? Well of course, this is a Girl Scout camp so we have to celebrate the birthday. As a co-director my thoughts deal with staffing as much as girl activities. The adults spend many hours planning and preparing for camp and then volunteer to spend a week of their summer as camp counselors so 160 girls can spend a week out doors cooking, canoeing, swimming doing crafts, archery and nature activities. Of course there is singing and learing to work in a team environment as well. We are an all volunteer run camp so money that is collected from the camp fee is used for the camp rental, food and camp program. At the end of the week we like to celebrate with an all camp campfire and thank the adults who helped with a small token of our appreciation. It’s always a challenge to think of something that might be fun, meaningful, useful and not just a trinket. Last year I realized that the Robert Kaufman company had produced a wonderful line of Girl Scout fabric. I knew it would be fun to make something for the staff and for the high school girls who worked as program aids. The dilemma was as we are a non-profit organization and volunteer run camp we did not have much money for thank you gifts and buying fabric to make gifts for 80 people was in our budget. I also was concerned about sewing 80 items in enough time for camp. My original thought was pillow cases. I knew from experience that I could make pillow cases in an assembly line fashion and with several months lead time I could probably make 80. The Robert Kaufman company agreed to donate Girl Scout roll ups. If you are not a quilter you may not have figured out that pillow cases were not happening with roll ups. Roll ups consist of 40 2 .5″ strips of fabric. I was thrilled with the donation but knew I would have to come up with a different plan.
The thinking cap went on and now I was to plan #2. After a bit of experimentation and discussion with my co-director we decided that zip pouches for the adults and lanyards for the girls would be perfect for the fabric available. The adults would love the Girl Scout fabric in the zip pouches and the girls would find the lanyards useful for their schedules and their whistles.
The next project was to order supplies and make a few trial versions.
All was ready for step number two.
August already? I just looked at the date of the last post. I can’t believe it’s been two months to the day! I’m back to more regular posting. The big Girl Scout project has been finished and I’ll do several posts about that in the next week. I have to go back and gather all the photos so I can document the project. For now, camp is finished, birthdays have been celebrated and we’re into August. I think the next few months will be many baby posts. I know of at least 4 babies in the next 4 months. They will all need different levels of acknowledgment which means a large variety of projects for me. I’m excited. I have soo many ideas and love the excuse to try them out.
The first project was just a couple of baby bibs. I love to make these bib. I had some like them when my kids were little and loved the extra coverage. I made one in the size the pattern suggested and then put the pattern in the copy machine and enlarged it 129%. So pleased with they way they turned out. I often times buy remnants and this is the perfect pattern for a remnant. I can see how the fabric looks made up, the parents get a bib that’s unique and I have lots of fun. Win win for all!
Bobbins! I mean bobbins and more bobbins. With this big project I’ve been working on I’ve been winding and using bobbins at an amazing rate. I’ve never wound so many bobbins in such a short amount of time. Jim gave me a “Singer Sidewinder” for Christmas and I thought it might be a nice addition to my sewing
junk equipment but I didn’t realize how much I would really appreciate it when I was using bobbins at an alarming rate. I’ve just wound an additional 9 bobbins. I’m estimating that this brings the bobbin total to about 40 so far. It also takes a huge amount of thread. I have used almost two entire 100m spools of thread. Amazing! Funny thing about this however is that I’m not really tired of project. It will be nice to have it finished because then I will feel that I can make some other items but for now I can see the finish line and I’m satisfied with that.
Oldest daughter is going on a trip at the end of the week. Off to Minnesota where it might be warmer that the Pacific Northwest! I thought I would make her a new sleeveless top to take with her. Now this is not always a successful action when you don’t have approval of the pattern or fabric. It’s also been many years since I have made her any clothing so it was an educated guess on many accounts. So this is a good news, bad news story. The good news is that I enjoyed the clothing sewing. The patterns have certainly improved in the 10 plus years that have passed since I intentionally purchased a pattern for a garment other than pj pants. The other good news was that I only spent $5 on fabric so it wasn’t a complete loss. The bad news was that a) She didn’t like it and b) it was a little snug. It’s too bad too because I serged the seams so they didn’t ravel, I made my own bias tape for the armholes and everything went together exactly as it should. Oh well, I knew it was a long shot but thought I had made good guess on the size and style so there was some room for error but I guess not quite enough. Maybe daughter #2 will like it and it will fit her of I can cut it apart and use it in a quilt or even find another person to give it to.
A tag blanket for baby is a popular gift. When I first saw them I thought it was kind of silly but as I thought about it I realized it was actually a smart gift and something a baby would enjoy. It’s small enough to put in a diaper bag or use in a car seat or stroller and might even be good in a crib at nap time. I know that when my kids were babies they liked to rub things between their fingers and it helped to sooth them. This blanket has something for every mood. It has lots of color and many textures. When I was making it I did wonder if there were too many tags or too many colors. I opted for many textures and many colors. I think this will make the blanket useful for a longer period and should appeal to every childs fascination with color and texture. The front of the tag blanket is a piece of fabric that has cute little bunnies. The back of the blanket is a piece of fabric I purchased that has alternating squares of flannel and chenille. Lots of interesting things for baby to look at. I’m also going to enclose a couple of link toys so mama can attach toys to the ribbon tags or even attach it to the side of a stroller or car seat. When baby gets tired of it and throws it, this tag blanket for baby will not go very far!
Oh baby baby gift… I love to make baby gifts but it’s so hard to make a decision. There are so many useful little things for babies like blankets, hooded towels, clothes, booties, bags, spit rags and more. I had to narrow my list this time because there wasn’t too much time. Just a few days in fact. This time I decided to make some bibs and a tag blanket. Of course this certainly involves come choices as well. What size bibs, what kind of fabric, what type of bib and what should I put on the back. These were all for a little girl with a modern mama. I decided that really, these bibs would get spilled on and slobbered on and were really for protecting the clothes so although I wanted them to look cute function was the primary purpose and even a modern mama would know that. This allowed me to do some experimenting. This is the first bib. A small bib for a little girl with a bunny on the front. The small size could be used for a small child and would be cute and functional.
The next bib is a larger bib with a wider front. This bib I backed with minky which is a polyester fabric and should allow some moisture protection for the clothing underneath. I’ve never thought of using minky for the back of a bib. It actually worked better than I expected and is quite soft. I wonder how mama will like this one?
This last bib is cute in an entirely different sort of way. It’s more like a baby apron. I know that mama likes gray and it also lets me use a bit of color so this one too is cute and should be quite functional because it covers the baby lower front and lap. I lined this one with flannel so it is soft and shapes easily to the baby shape. Oh this was a fun baby baby gift!
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.
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.
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.
Just a little thank you seems appropriate when someone does something nice for you. Recently my sister-in-law referred me some business. Now I really appreciate that and wanted to thank her. It didn’t seem right to just give her a gift card. She probably would like that but she is a little more down to earth and I think would really appreciate something that I made. I’ve struggled with this for a while now. What color, what kind of fabric, what project. I’ve gone over the list so many times. Along with my “just do it” theme for the year I finally just pulled some fabrics and decided this would be fine. I cut and sewed and made a cute little zippered pouch that I think she will like. I think it turned out very nicely. She is a gardener and she loves purple so this fabric was a good marriage of both. I’m also including a photo of the inside before I put them together because I knew it would hard to snap a picture when it was finished. So here it is. Lovely I think.