Thursday, November 8, 2012

More stash-busting

After I finished up the last two quilts for Quilts for Kids and all those napkins, I had all these bits left over that I organized into three kits.  Each one of those bags holds all the squares (no two alike, if possible) and the borders for another charity quilt.  I'll be working on these when I get a little free time.  Since I'm back at work, I don't know when that will be, but I'll be prepared for that odd hour or so after work.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A quilt is a hug that lasts and lasts...

This is the quilt I cut when I went to hang out with the great ladies at the Annapolis Quilts for Kids.  I managed to finish it up last week.
I also did some stash busting and put some of my many 6.5" squares to good use.  I cut this one and my friend sewed it up.  I finished it with the quilting and the binding.
Here is another that we made together.  I don't know when I'll get these off to Quilts for Kids, but I hope it will be soon.
Here they are, all rolled up and ready to go!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

More Napkins

This is just a quick napkin update.  I made these, along with a couple more stacks (which I failed to photograph) as a hostess gift for dinner with friends.  I love making these.  So simple, so quick and they are well received.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cloth Napkins

I have entirely too much fabric and I've recently found that everyone needs some cloth napkins.  Go ahead and do your own research on how many napkins you and your family use.  The numbers are frightening.

First, I picked out two fabrics that sort of match.  They don't have to be exact matches, since they will become opposite sides of the same napkin.  I want to keep this post short, so I've added the full tutorial to the tutorial section.  
After you've sewn them up, you have a nice little stack of coordinating napkins to use or give away.  Two yards of fabric will yield six to eight napkins, depending on size.  These are approximately 12.5" square.
Here is the stack that I made.  I bundled all of these up together, all 22 of them, and gave them as a hostess gift.  Sure, they don't match, but she is a busy mom of two and doesn't mind the fact that they don't match.  They fit her style.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Red Velvet Bag

I have been terrible at taking pictures this week.  I'll try to take some tomorrow.  Until then, you'll have to be satisfied with this picture of the custom character bags I made for plastic monsters.  Sure, it's silly, but don't you think it's nicer than a plastic zip bag?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plastic Monsters at Play

Last night, we got together for a little fun with the Wrath of Ashardalon. I figured it was time to take some pictures so you could see how this thing actually helps with game-play.   In the lower left corner, you can see the Cleric's cards just under the edge of the play surface.
 I know, the flash lit up the foreground too much.  The point is, the party is those little blue figures over there.  Everything else is a monster.  We were really on a roll at this point.
Here is a shot of my character and the stack of defeated monsters.  Oh, and it appears the Paladin was suffering from poison at that point in the game.  I wonder if I ever remembered to make my saving throw.

I have been doing some actual sewing, too.  I should go back to that and remember to take some pictures.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Undead Poncho

As the days grow colder, I start looking at fleece, and all the things you can make with it, with longing.  Last Christmas, I gave away some fleece scarves and arm warmers to a bunch of the girls at work.  I didn't want anything in return, I just enjoy making things and thought it would keep them warm during winter.  In return, they purchased me a gift card for Joann Fabrics

I knew I wanted some fleece, so I picked up some fun fabric with winged skulls and roses.  Somewhere along the line, I'd picked up Buttericks' 5715 to make myself a poncho.  This fabric fit perfectly into that "eventually" plan.
I had some plain, black fleece for the contrast hood and yoke.  Sure, the pattern didn't call for it, but this is my poncho and I'll take any liberty I want with construction.
The new sewing machine sews like a champ.  I am still totally in love with the one step button hole, which is even easier with the on-screen set up for size.  I'll admit the poncho isn't perfect, but the first time I construct something I always learn ways to do it better the next time.  It may not be the warmest thing in my wardrobe, but it is fun and easy to wear.

If I make this again (which is likely) I think the yoke screams to be embroidered.  Maybe on my next holiday, if I don't get bogged down trying to figure out what to make for All Hallows.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Plastic Monsters

We have been having friends over to play what we lovingly refer to as "plastic monsters."  Sure, that isn't what Wizards of the Coast calls it, but we are taking liberties with our entertainment titles.  Wizards of the Coast makes a fun little game called Wrath of Ashardalon.

During play, we would run out of table space for the continually expanding game board.  Honey, because he is so smart, said we needed a pedestal or small table to put the game board on during play, which would free up space on the table proper for our character cards, magic items and all those plastic monsters.
We poked around IKEA's website until we found what we thought were the proper components. 
To build this simple table we picked up the following from IKEA:
  • Vika Amon table top, $5.99
  • Capita 4" legs, $10.00
  • Dioder LED kit (includes four LED lights), $29.99 (they also have one that you can change the colors for $39.99)
I tried to capture the little reflections from the LEDs on the underside of the table.  I think it will work.  We have rather poor lighting in our dining room, so we couldn't just go with the table.

This post isn't meant as a tutorial, just to show what we put together.  I'll try to update with pictures of the table in-use during our next game.  The legs seem rather short, so we may have to pick up new legs, but that will be figured out during play.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sewing & Quilt Expo

Last weekend, I managed to make it to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo in Chantilly, VA. I had to juggle some stuff at work to be able to attend it, but I did manage to make it.  Since I used my phone to navigate there, it was mostly dead by the time I arrived, so I got very few pictures of all the shops, vendors and the amazing quilt displays.  I'm rather sad about the quilts, they really were amazing.
I managed to get this picture of a shop filled to overflowing (this is the back of the shop) with fiber.  Yarn, wool batts and all kinds of stuff for felting and knitting and so on.
I wandered until I found the Pfaff dealer and this wonder.  Yes, I found my embroidery machine, complete with my name on it.  Literally.  If that wasn't a sign it should come home with me, I don't know what is. 
I got the demonstration (where she made it actually write my name) from the great staff from SunSewVac in Alexandria, VA.  I then, wandered around the expo, shopped and basically fought with myself about my need for an embroidery machine.  Sure, I wanted one, but I don't really need one.  Life isn't all about need, thankfully.  I consulted with Honey.  I consulted my bank account.  I waffled.  In consulted a friend.  I waffled.  Finally, I purchased.  The most upsetting part was that they didn't have one at the show.  I had to return the following day to pick it up.  It isn't a horribly long way from my house (1 hour 20 minutes, assuming no traffic around D.C.) but I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.  I didn't want to sleep, I wanted to stay up all night, I was so terribly excited.  It was pure torture.  I was there about fifteen minutes after they opened the next day.  Ready to grab my machine and run home.  I was forced to do a little shopping.  I still had to find some embroidery thread.

Here we have the boxes before I got the shipping cardboard pulled off.  The embroidery attachment box is huge.  Since it includes a nice bag to carry all the embroidery attachments in, I'll forgive them.  I really splurged and picked up the embroidery software suite, which is pretty awesome.  It lets me put together embroidery designs from images in a multitude of formats.  I'm still learning the software, but I think I'll be able to make it do really amazing things.
In case you're worried, that I will lose my ability to sew, this machine does everything my previous Pfaff does and embroidery.  I love my Pfaff, and knew that I'd buy again.  Maybe not this soon, or this high up the line, but it was going to happen sooner or later.  (Besides, who says I can't set the embroidery machine up to do some embroidery and use my other machine for assembly at the same time?  Truthfully, no one that is my friend.)
Here it is, mostly set up.  I say mostly, because I was still trying to figure out how to properly attach the embroidery unit (the little plastic bit that keeps it from sliding around during shipping was not immediately evident).

Oh, yeah, and when I stopped at the thread booth, to pick up that rainbow of embroidery thread, I mentioned that I'd bought a new embroidery machine.  The nice shop-keep said "you've got the brush, now you've got the paint."  I like that.  I'm going to go paint.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Recycling Makes Me Feel Good!

I've been playing around with turning thrift store shirts into t-shirt dresses.  I've got all the pictures taken for a tutorial, but I don't have the time to write the tutorial.
Let's just agree that I will tell you how to turn two t-shirts into one t-shirt dress that will make you feel good about saving money and the environment.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Thrift store finds

About a week ago, I went out looking for thrift store finds.  I hit the mother load!  Not every day is like this at the thrift store.  Some days, you'll walk out empty handed.  This time, I was pleasantly surprised by all the great things.

I saw this box sitting quietly, waiting for me, I think.  I carefully stepped up and opened the box, wondering what I would find.  You can never be sure in a thrift store.  I was very pleased when I opened it up, too!
That's right, inside that pattern box 12 patterns were hiding.  I'm not too worried about them being horribly out-of-date.  They're mostly just the basic pattern waiting for the sewer's details to make them really pop, anyway.  Besides, when has a basic t-shirt ever gone out of style?

Total cost:  $6.25
Equals:  Awesome!

Friday, September 28, 2012


I was in Key West when I saw a girl with a hoodie shrug.  I thought to myself "I can make that."  That was months ago.  Today, I got the urge to make it reality.  I picked up this hooded sweatshirt at the thrift store a while back to create this shrug.  Here it is before I started to chop it up.
First, I cut off the bottom ribbing and made a cut about two inches below the bottom of the sleeves and opened up the front, being careful to leave room for the ribbing.
I pinned and stretched the ribbing to fit my new, shaped edge.  It gathers a little more than I like, but it does the job.
Here its, all finished up.  Of course, today the weather is too warm for it, but I'll be set when the cooler evenings start coming around more often.  Project cost:  $5 thrift store sweatshirt + 1 hour cutting and sewing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pedal Pushers

It's National Sewing Month and I feel I've accomplished so little.  A quick post about my latest project.
I found a pair of jeans at the thrift store and thought they'd make a great pair of carpi-length pants.  I got out my scissors and took a whack at them.
The prior owner had hemmed the pants using stitch-witch so I used the top line of that as my cutting mark.
Then, I pinned up a short 1/2 inch hem and put in the about 2 inch fold I wanted.  I didn't just want to fold and hem, I wanted to make them look like they were rolled up.
You might look at this and think "hey, aren't those pins pointing the wrong way?"  As in, shouldn't you turn them around so you can easily remove them while stitching?  Of course I should have.  I realized it once I tried to put it onto the machine.  A couple minutes later I was on my way.
It isn't easy taking a picture of your own lower legs.  I tried, and this is the best I could come up with.  Not a great picture, but you do get the idea.  Although, now that the weather is starting to cool down, I should go back to working in fleece.  Gosh, I love how forgiving fleece can be.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Wild Ones

I'm sure I mentioned at some point that I've created another quilt-maker.  It was mostly by accident.  Well, not really.  More like she wanted to learn and I just can't turn up a chance to teach.
I gave her the basic tools for piecing and she's run off and gone quilt-crazy.  (I think she's made... no less than five quilt tops and that's just this year.) That's right, she's my kind of gal!  She made this warm and wild quilt for her sister and left the quilting to me. 
I decided that a nice sharp stipple would best.  It almost echos the animal prints in this quilt.  That flannel leopard-print back makes it so snuggly.
She also put together this beauty for her mother.  The feel of the ocean is amazing.  
The pinwheels just pop out of the water.
I was a little torn about how to quilt this one, but I think I managed it without overdoing it or hiding the pinwheels.  The pattern is akin to gently lapping water.  No big waves here.
The back is light and this quilt practically floats.  Now that I've finished all the "work" I had to do, I can figure out what I'm going to do to relax.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Adventures at the Turtle Farm

While I was away, I had an opportunity to visit the Cayman Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman.

It was a wonderful experience.  We got to see the turtles at several stages of their life-cycle.

The Genesis pond is where they house the adult turtles.  You really don't appreciate their size in pictures.  These turtles are huge!
There are small pools where the young turtles live.  It doesn't seem like much room for them, but I'm not a turtle farmer.
The last stop is the room where they store the turtle eggs that are still incubating and there wasn't much to see. The best part was the pool were the yearlings were.  People were encouraged to touch them and pick them up.  This little guy is a little stressed about being picked up, but Kat got the hang of holding him safely pretty quickly.