Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas makings

Now that Christmas is over and the gifts have been given I can share some of the hand made gifts I gave this year.

For my son and daughter in law I wanted to make a tree ornament that said something special about 2008. So what better than to remember the campaign and election of Barak Obama? I snagged a photo of the Obama symbol from the campaign web site and proceeded to copy the shape for a round ornament. It was fun to do and turned out pretty nice. Andrew and Sarah really enjoyed receiving it and agreed that it will be a good remembrance of 2008.

For my each of my two sons I wanted to make a boxy shaped bag with a zipper. I followed the tutorial here, well I tried to anyway. The first time I got the width and length of the body transposed and ended up with a rectangle instead of a box.
It was amazing to me that I got almost all the way done before I realized that this object was not short and wide but long and narrow. Oh well. Andrew liked it and does feel he has a use for it. It actually is a good size for tools.

For my musician son I wanted to make a boxy bag that would hold CD's. This time I carefully thought out what the dimensions needed to be and actually measured a CD case. (how clever) I used a piece of fabric that Nathan had given me quite awhile ago, something that spoke to him while visiting JoAnn's with a girlfriend. I did not get a sewing room photo, so here you can see Nathan with it on our sunny Christmas afternoon.

Last but not least, the big ta da. I decided about 2 weeks before Christmas to make a quilt for Andrew and Sarah. My husband is making them a very nice blanket chest/coffee table and it occurred to me that a lap size quilt for the inside would be very useful. I selected a pattern with very large pieces and enlarged the lap size so that it is basically almost twin size. I went with a black and white colorway so that it will not show the dog hair of their black dog too badly. Needless to say I did not finish this before Christmas. It is pieced and pinned together, and that's how it was wrapped and given to them. They really liked it, here they are holding it up for a work in process photo. Since I knew they would not be going home with the quilt, I did whip up a set of 6 cloth coasters out of the black and white fabrics. No photo of those, sorry.

One more item to share. While Andrew and Sarah were visiting Sarah mentioned that she wanted to make a dog bed for their dog out of an old egg shell mattress pad, folded to a 36 x 46ish size. So, we went to Joann and found a really nice piece of purplish fur on sale. Sarah also wanted to line the bed with mylar insulated batting so that it would feel nice and warm to the dog. Sarah and I worked on this yesterday. We had to add a strip of black duck so that the piece was wide enough, since the edge of the fur had a very loosely woven selvedge. Here you can see Sirius quite contented with the results.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting ready

Just a quick post to show one more wristlet, on its way now to a certain little girl who likes pink.

Also, some gifts for David under the tree, wrapped in fabric gift bags.

That's all I can share now. A surprise is in the making...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Early Solstice gifts

I made up this bag to share at the gift exchange of my circle sisters. I "stole" the design inspiration from the Pink Lemonade Boutique web site. She has made some really nice bags with colorful fabric combos. What inspired me were the circles connected by lines and the use of rick rack. I made a basic fabric bag to wrap the gift in.
After making the bag I decided to make a wristlet to match it and then to make a wristlet for each of the other women in the circle.

Actually the bottom one, the spider fabric, is for me. Aren't they sweet? I loved making these and imagining who would get each one. Here's how it came down. Barbara got the circle rick rack bag with it's matching wristlet. (note the witch accessory fabric used for the lining and the and wristelt) Margaret and Merrill each got a dragonfly one. Molly got the greenish one with peace doves. Cathy got the one made out of the Japanese fabric that I made a blouse out of. Judi got the one made out of the Chinese girl fabric. Emily will be getting the blue fern one via the mail. Very fun work, and I am proud to say that every zipper was a thrifted or hand me down one. Some of these old zippers have waited a long time to be put to use.

Here's to making something to give away, I hope you find time to share your creativity with those you love.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm off to my sister's house for a family Thanksgiving. My contribution is seen here. Pies: apple, pecan and cherry. The apple is very large, deep dish and made with Granny Smith apples. The cherry pie was made with Splenda, for those who much watch sugar. This is my first sugar free pie, hope is tastes good.

The red dish is the classic fresh cranberry-orange relish.

I always make pumpkin pies, and will make those on Sunday when we will have company here at our home. It seems odd not to have pumpkin today.


The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.'
The harvest all is gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain,
So open wide the doorway~
Thanksgiving comes again!


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

If it's Halloween then it must be time to celebrate spiders! I love spiders and have been known to look for spider motifs in home decoration and fabric. I found this fabric when our local Hancock went out of business a couple of years ago. It's a Michael Miller print called "Webmaster". Perfect.

I thought that the Butterick 5223 jacket pattern would suit this fabric well. The hanging ties on the sleeves and back seem very spider web like.

And then, I found a perfect button at Joann's. These big black buttons look very web like.

So, I go off into the world today feeling very festive and ready to celebrate everything spidery! Hope you have a Happy Halloween too.

More on spiders...

Native American Spider Woman mythology here and here. Spiders, good for the garden here. And spiders in the home here. As the last site says: "Next time you see a spider just repeat this sentence: Spiders are good guys. Spiders are good guys."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sewing with Bamboo

I purchased some textured bamboo fabric at the sewing expo. This is the print. I washed it in cool water and dried it on a low setting. It came out very soft and with a very nice drape. I wanted a shell with sleeves that I could were tucked in or out. I am pleased to say I found that New Look 6483 is perfect. I did make one change to the pattern, I wanted a more open neckline, so I make View A top with the neckline of view E. The pattern has a short slit at the center back and a button closure. With the wider neckline I can get the top on without opening the button, but I do like the detail of the button closure.

Sewing with the bamboo was a pleasure. It had such a soft hand, but still has nice body. The edges did fray quite easily, so I serged every single seam.

I am sure I will use this pattern again, it has a good fit for me. I like the versatility of this top.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Alternative to plastic produce bags

Just a quick post to share what I have come up with as an alternative to using plastic when purchasing produce. I purchased a square of green netting from the Joann's 70% off bin and made up several rectangle shaped bags. I sewed all seams with a zig zag stitch. I turned over the top to make a casing and then threaded some kite string through for the top closure. They are super light weight and durable. I went to the Farmer's market last Saturday and came home without any plastic bags!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yoga mat

I have resumed Yoga classes after a break of a couple of years. So, I now need a yoga mat bag. Now here is a bag that I have not yet made. Yea! I found these instructions on line and followed them, pretty much. My goal was not to purchase anything to make this bag. So I used some upholstery material that I purchased at a discount decorator store in Columbus, Ohio, a shoe string in my stash, and a chincher (? I am not sure what these are called) that I also had in my stash.

Since the fabric is an upholstery weight I figure it will be somewhat rain resistant, if I have to dash from my car to class in the rain.

As they say in Sanskrit, Namaste.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sewing with Katy & Maggie

My friends Katy and Maggie visited up north (with their folks) and we took some time to do some sewing. I forgot to get pictures while we sewed, but in the photo you can see the bag that Katy made. Katy's bag is red on one side and purple on the other, with one red and one purple handle. These were fabrics that she choose, she did add a polka dot pocket, which I highly approved of. : ) Don't you love the gold fringe? Katy did most of the sewing herself, she is a natural at the sewing machine, which I love to see. Gives me hope for the next generation. Maggie made a curtain/drape kind of thing to put over a house that she has made for her cat. I did not get a picture of it, but was told that it fit very nicely over the cat's abode.

For each of them I made a change purse/wristlet. They both chose to add a little fringe trim to the wristlet bag, very cute indeed. Here is a photo of the 2 writstlets with one more that I made that will go to a friend who really likes snakes. I love making these, they are super simple and a great use for scrap fabric.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Polka Dots for Mikayla

We had another beautiful week up north, the week before Labor Day. At the beginning of our vacation we were visited by Mikayla and her folks. Since Mikayla is too young to sew for herself I had her pick some buttons and polka dot fabric for a bag. I love her pink and green color combo.

She choose a blue polka dot for the inside pocket, she is showing it in this picture.

She was very pleased with the bag, and proceeded to fill it up with her books and toys.

I made her a little change purse / wristlet to match the purse. I used the tutorial here to make the pouch with a zipper top. Adding the little strap makes it a "wristlet".

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tablecloth and the American Lotus

I didn't get very much sewing done this weekend. I did manage to whip up this table cloth. The fabric is from curtains that hung in our bedroom for about 20 years. It is a Waverly cotton, I washed the curtains after taking them down and the fabric is still in very good shape. I used my serger to add a narrow rolled hem, using red thread. I think it took more time to thread the machine than to do the sewing. I still have a lot of this fabric, perhaps I should make some table napkins?

My sewing plans for Sunday were sacrificed for a trip to see the American Lotus in bloom at Lake Erie state park. What a beautiful plant, large leaves and a gorgeous bloom. A native lotus, very special. Check out the size of those leaves.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Table runner and insomnia pot holder

We had a neighborhood party this weekend and I decided I needed a table runner that matched our decor a little better. I had a little bit of the fabric left from my apron and kitchen curtains and had fun deciding which colors to add. Of course I incorporated a polka dot from the stash. The greenish strip is a scrap from my mother's stash. Any reminder of Mom is always good for me. It feels like it really belongs in my home.

The evening after I made the runner I had insomnia and decided to stop fighting it and got up to do so simple sewing. I made the pot holder with the scraps that were still laying about in the studio.

Now I have curtains, an apron, a table runner and a pot holder that all coordinate. Martha Stewart has nothing on me!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Up north sewing extravanganza

While up north at our cottage I had 4 teen or pre-teen girls visiting who all wanted to "sew something". My two sisters were also there, so we had plenty of coaches. I used my standard grocery bag pattern, made it a bit narrower and and instructed them in making a lined bag. They were all quick learners and very handy. I also had this tutorial printed out and a selection of zippers. I had my polka dot stash on hand and my sister brought a collection of cottons as well. Between the four girls they made 10 bags. At one point I noticed a lot of pins flying around, so I showed them how to make simple pin cushions. What fun we had! The girls really enjoyed making the tote bags, they made ones for themselves, for other family members and for friends.
I have heard that there was a trip to Joann fabric after getting home, more fabric purchased and more bags made!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sewing with Mackenzie

I made a top from Simplicity 2962 with my grand niece Mackenzie. She did the cutting out and got the garment done through the pockets. I added the yoke, as that was pretty advanced for her. I love her choice of fabric and colors. Isn't she darling?

I posted a pattern review for this top on Pattern Review.

Mackenzie also made two tote bags entirely on her own. Here she is at the machine. It is such a pleasure to share my love of sewing with the younger generation. More on the tote bag making extravaganza in the next post.

Rally co-driver accessory

I made a paper and pencil holder for my son's co-driver awhile ago. See post here. My son's previous co-driver didn't actually strap it to his leg, but Ryan, the new co-driver, found it very useful. It is made of denim and has Velcro on the straps that go around the back of the leg. I attended the Rally West Virginia race on Aug 1-2 and got to see the item in use. This allows the co-driver to get to his pencil or pen easily during the race, and the pocket holds a small notebook or papers as needed.
Ryan was very pleased with this item and said that several other co-drivers would be interested in getting one. I am not sure if I will make more, I did not save any notes on the dimensions or the design. I will see if any requests come my way.

Here's a shot of my son Andrew and Ryan just before heading out for the start of a rally stage.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Smaller groocery bag

I have noticed that the baggers at the grocery store will fill up my cloth bags to the max. This makes the bags quite heavy to lug in and out of the car and then into the house. I have made a bag pattern that is wider and shorter than the ones I have been making, see my tutorial. You can see the size comparison in these two pictures.
The pattern is 18 1/4 inches wide and 16 1/4 tall. I cut out a 2 1/4 inch square at each side for the bottom. The handles were cut 4 inches wide and 26 inches long. Since the bag is wider I spaced the handles 6 1/2 inches apart. The assembly of the bag is the same as in the tutorial. For the one in this picture I added a 6 inch band at the bottom to give it more strength.