Well, it’s a new year and I’m on to new projects. I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted updates and although the intention is good, somehow I don’t seem to update as often as I would like. I’m just going to start small with one of the fun projects that I did for the holidays. These paper pieced Santa’s were my holiday ornaments this year. I had so much fun doing them that I was sad to think I can’t do them and give them again next year. So I’m on the hunt. I still have a couple of months to think about it.
Well, it’s no secret that I like to make all kinds of bags.
The other thing I like to do is to experiment with different techniques and fabrics.
The most recent experiment has been with cork leather. This is a leather type fabric made out of cork. Cork leather is vegan and eco-friendly. It it made from cork that has been left to dry for 6 months after harvest and then boiled, steamed and pressed into blocks for slicing. It’s very lightweight and water resistant. There are a number of suppliers on the web as well as Etsy and Ebay. I found an offer on Massdrop and decided this was the time to try it out. It comes in a sheet and was shipped in a tube. I have the remaining piece rolled up and stored on a shelf.
it was fun to sew with. It’s very much like other fabrics. I did use a walking foot but I’m not sure that would really be necessary. One thing that I didn’t think about was if I used it at the bottom of a bag, it is bulkier and not as easy to turn the bag right side out of to push the corners out. The little glasses case was more difficult that the zipper pouch due to the smaller design.
This is the first experiment that I made for myself. A glasses case with a pinch type opening.
This was my second try. A graduation gift for a my cousins daughter. Their last name is Campbell so that’s why I used Campbell soup fabric for the inside.
The last was for the son’s fiance. I think she was surprised and pleased. It’s too bad I forgot to take a picture of the inside because she really loved that. It was fabric with little lobsters on it.
Can’t everyone can use a zip pouch of two?
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.
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.
A new hat has arrived at our house! Middle daughter is a knitter. She made her dad a new hat for Christmas. Yes, I know that Christmas is long gone but due to distance and life etc. this hat has just recently made an appearance. It’s a good fit, matches the coats just fine and is very comfy. Or so I’ve been told. It will have a season or two of rest now as spring is finally arriving in our neck of the woods. All too soon however it will be hat season again the hat will live in an esteemed place!
It’s an Edmonds kind of day. The sun is shining, there is a bit of breeze and the spring air is fresh. What a great event for a Saturday. It makes everyone smile and rejoice in the beauty of spring.
Yard work, washing and sewing are all on the agenda today but I did make a stop by the beach to celebrate. Oh how I love the spring.
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.
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.
I’ve made it through Christmas. Tomorrow is Aaron’s birthday so dinner again but I love to have the kids around and don’t mind cooking if they will come and visit for a while.
Part of the bigger family Christmas celebration this year was a handmade gift exchange. We each had the name of a family member. The only guideline was something you made. I enjoyed seeing what everyone created for their giftee. I had Kim’s name. The item that I had planned on making didn’t happen. I ran out of time when my mother became ill and ended up with a 5 day hospital stay from the 15th to the 20th. I had finished most of the other projects and knew that I would have plenty of time to create this gift. I’m not going to mention what the gift is. She will probably get this for another occasion because now I have the pattern and all the supplies. My second idea came together quickly. Kim is a knitter and last fall I traded a friend some market bags for yarn that she had spun into a beautiful skein just right for knitting. I passed this on to Kim with a bag that I made for her to carry her knitting in. It’s easy to tuck in a bag or a suitcase. I had also included a little pair of scissors. After the gift opening, I told her that I almost put a ribbon on the scissors and attached it to the bag so they would not be so easily misplaced. She said that she would love that. I ended up opening the side of the bag and attaching a D ring. This D ring is now hard at work holding a clip that has the scissors, a tape measure and a needle book attached. They are all long enough to leave attached to the bag and still be used but the clip can also be unhooked and the tools used. It’s big enough that it will be noticed if the bundle is set down and yet small and light enough to easily live in the bag until they are needed.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve had a problem with a trigger thumb. As strange as that sounds, I think it’s more common that people realize although there are more instances of trigger fingers than trigger thumbs. This thumb is stuck open rather than closed. It’s actually a bit of a challenge when you try to pick up an object. I had no idea how often I used my thumb or what a challenge it can be to lack strength in your thumb. Who knew? I’ve had a cortisone shot and it’s getting better but I’ve also found that it’s better when I can ice it. The freezer packs work ok but they always seem a bit awkward and they are really cold unless you cover them. I know many people use the rice bags and freeze them as well as heat them so I made an articulated rice bag specifically for the freezer. It’s great. I used some cotton fabric so that it would be comfortable. I really didn’t want flannel for this one. I poured a little rice in, and sewed it shut and kept filling until I had made several pockets. I like the result. I think that next time I’m going to mark the size of the pockets so they are equal. I was also careful not to overfill the pockets so they would bend easily. All in all, a successful project.