Birthdays and more birthdays

It seems like I have lots of friend with birthdays in the next few weeks.  I’m having fun sewing up some new things and each friend will receive something different.  It’s a great way for me to try new things and fun to think of something each friend might use.  I really hate the idea of giving a gift that is not useful in some way.  Then it’s just clutter and something to pass along as a white elephant gift.  Well, I guess the holidays are coming if they want to get rid of these things…  Today I’ve created a dishtowel with some decoration at the bottom.  I had some Huck towelling yardage and that works great for towels.  It’s soft and absorbent and you can bleach it when it becomes dingy.  I also made a rice bag that can either be frozen or heated.  This friend is having a knee replacement the day before her birthday so I was trying to think of something she might find useful in the next few weeks.  This surgery event also made it difficult to choose a birthday card.  Was kind of hard to pick on that said to have a great day or some such thought.  It will soon be a good day but I suspect that may not be her happiest birthday in recent years.  She will be happy with the end result however and that is good.

 

A couple of birthday gifts

Middle daughter was home this weekend to celebrate her birthday.  The actual date was almost a month ago but with her work travel schedule she wasn’t able to come home until this weekend.  It’s always good to have her home and the other kids came and joined us for dinner.  We had great conversations about jobs, activities and QR codes.  If you don’t know what a QR code is, it’s the little box with squares that you find on advertising that can be read with a smart phone.  This link will give you more information about a product or take you to a web site with more information.  After a yummy dinner she opened her gifts.  I had to do some sewing of course so she got this little snap pouch and a covered pillow for her bed.  After looking at the pictures I wish I had thought about design placement on the fabric before I cut it but I only had a small piece and not much flexibility as to where the pattern was on the fabric. It is cute however and because she is a transportation planner it seemed appropriate.  She also lives in a studio apartment so her bed is a focal point and she has started a pillow collection on her bed.  This one I used some really soft cuddle fabric and made a slip cover for it so she could use it as a decorative element or it could be used for guests and still look not so bed like when it’s not being used for sleeping.  All in all,  another successful weekend.

Testing…

I’m working on a new table runner.  I decided to do a split rail pattern with fall colors.  This is not my usual color choice but I’m liking it and think it will be good.  I want to put a border on it before I bind it but not sure of the color.  These were the fist choices.  Not sure either one is quite right so will continue to think about it.  Any thoughts?

Coaster number 3

My first attempt at coasters was ok because they were cute.  Yes, they are also functional but still didn’t really meet my needs as far as dealing with the condensation on the glass with all the ice cubes. Especially if it had been sitting for a while.  Now I didn’t write about try number 2 bust basically what I did was use the apple squares and add a layer of microfiber dishtowel to the batting layer.  This was a better solution but still not adequate.  Here is try number three.  I started not really knowing how big I was going to make this but I had been using a hot pad that was ok so I decided that a bigger version would work.  My kitchen table is formica so getting the table wet wasn’t the problem so much as leaving water on the table so other items got wet.  When I sit at the table, particularly for lunch or a break, I like to read.  The condensation on the glass would get my book or magazine wet.  After I got a Kindle it was suddenly more than just an annoyance but now was deemed a necessity to control the water.  This time I started with a fan pattern.  I’ve been thinking about trying one of these to see how I liked it.  I also knew that I wanted to use some olive fabric that I had so I pulled some fabrics that would look good together and got started.  These are colors that are a bit out of my comfort zone but it turned out fine and I think it will work. I used a layer of insulbrite which has a layer of foil between the batting and also a layer of microfiber kitchen towel.  Because of the larger size and the different layers I’m thinking this should give me an all day solution to wet spots at the table.

Oilcloth market bag

One project I always keep material on hand for is oilcloth bags.  I love sewing with oilcloth.  The bright colors, the pliability of the fabric and it never ravels.  I have learned a few tricks when I sew with it however.  I always use a walking foot and I like to use painters tape for holding things in place.  I also use big vinyl coated paperclips.  One of my current favorites is making market bags.  This pattern is the same size as a paper grocery bag and is perfect for so many things.  I use it at the library, at the store and just for carrying stuff.  They fold easily when I’m done with them and make a satisfying pile  when I have finished making them.  I think I’m going to make a bunch up and sell them.  I have both laminated fabric and oilcloth.  Maybe that will be my next project.

 

The foot foot quilt

One of the first quilts I made was from necessity.  We had just moved daughter #2 into a big girl bed and didn’t have a bedspread or anything that would fit.  We bought an imported bed, these were pre Ikea days, and it was a bit narrower and longer than a conventional twin bed.  It was also closer to the floor.  Perfect for a toddler and a fitted bottom sheet but I couldn’t find anything that was toddler friendly for the top.  I can remember putting the sewing machine on the dining room table and spending the day sewing. This was after shopping for a pattern and fabric.  At that time we had a wonderful quilt store here in downtown Edmonds.  I loved to go in there and just look at all the fabrics.  It was housed in cute little older home in the downtown area.  I picked out a sunbonnet Sue pattern and a few fabrics, came home, cut them out and sewed them together.  Those were in the early days of fusible web so I think I cut them all out, layered them and appliqued the pieces by machine and then layered the quilt all with straight pins and tried to stitch it all together. I used a white flat sheet for the back so that dictated the size for the front.  Kim loved it and loved playing with the feet which were not stitched down but were loose, hence the name the foot foot quilt. It was used for many years but actually still looks good even with all the daily use.  I’m thinking about putting it back on the bed and remembering all those fun years of little girls.

 

No more dripping glasses

I love cold water with lots of ice but it makes a mess on the table. so I guess glasses will still drip but they won’t leave a mess on the table any more.  It finally occurred to me that I didn’t have to keep using napkins or towels to clean up the mess but I could make coasters.  When I was walking through the fabric store today I saw this print with apples. They were about 4″ squares and I knew I could cut them apart and they would make great coasters so I took a few minutes tonight and made a couple and now I’m off to try them out.

Quilting in progress!

I’ve made it this far.  It’s in the machine being quilted.  It’s a bit bulky to fit through the machine but so far so good and I think (hope) it will go quickly and without too many problems.  I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok if it’s not perfect.  I’m not entering it in a contest to be judged, it’s just going to be used to cuddle on the couch with and that will be fine!

My seam ripper is my friend!

My friend the seam ripper (unfortunately)  has been used several times in the last few days. First it was the iron spitting brown stuff on one of the sashing strips.  I was able to sponge most of it off but after a good night sleep, I decided it really did need to be replaced.  First thing this morning that’s what I did.  I also started some clothes washing, washed the sheet that I am going to use for the backing, cut all the sashing strips for the rows and cut all of the binding strips. That is after I checked my measurements many times.  I’ve now started to sew all the rows together and guess what I discovered.  I sewed the nine patch square to the wrong side.  In other words upside down which meant that I ended up with two squares of the same fabric together.  I was going to start ripping off the sashing and flip it around when I realized that if I chose a different seam, I would only have to rip or unsew as some say, one seam rather than two.  So I’m sitting here ripping seams and ripping a book CD to my computer so I can put it on my iPod and listen to a story while I sew.  I do have a tv in my sewing room and do watch that but when I’m sewing it’s really more about listening rather than watching.  So hard to watch the seams and the TV.  Now I’ve finished the seam and ready to head back to the machine before I have to go and help my mother.  She’s then going to come here for dinner.  Ribs and corn on the cob.  Should be yummy!

Another WIP (work in progress)

I’m on to another project before I finish my own lap quilt.  I have another wedding gift to make.  I almost have the top pieced and then I can add the batting and quilt.  I think it will look fine once I have the sashing on and the binding but as with all projects… time will tell.