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I’m waffling

20 Apr

Although I’m slowly, but happily, progressing on my Filet Crochet Bunny Blanket, which I wrote about in my previous post, I have picked up yet another project! I know better…yes, but I can’t help myself. A coworker asked me to make something for her to gift to her friend who just had a baby girl – I mean what could I say? ¬†Certainly not “no!”

So, I am making a baby blanket! I am crocheting an easy pattern, but moving much slower than I’d like because the colors change every single row! Ugh.

Thankfully, the body of the blanket is pretty repetitive, alternating stitch patterns every other row. I love the texture of this blanket too! It is a waffle-like weave with little popcorn looking puffs. I have quite a ways to go but here’s my progress so far…

I admit, I feel a little guilty starting on something new when I have a project waiting to be completed, but so far I am really happy with this baby blanket.

I know I should stick to a single project at a time but I suppose I’d rather waffle over projects than have no projects at all!

The challenge is to be sure to FINISH every project I start. Not always easy but a great goal! ūüôā

What projects have you waffled over lately?

 

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Fabric: To Wash, or Not To Wash…that is the Question!

13 Feb

 


So this may seem like a silly question to those of you who have been sewing garments for any length of time, but for a novice like me who’s only made craft-type things and hasn’t sewn anything wearable – I found it to be my first question when I brought out my bright, crisp, and beautiful fabric in preparation for my first-ever clothes making project! Should I wash the fabric before cutting it…or is it really necessary to take that extra step?? Will it really make a difference one way or another?!

Okay, okay…so it’s not really clothes that I’m making..it’s an apron! : ) I’m excited about it though and I’m even attempting to follow a store bought pattern. Of course, I have used patterns before…but they were those easy templates printed from the internet that guided me to outline a shape, or I’d draw my own pattern to make a crafty project…but a real pattern on that flimsy, thin paper from an envelope for what seems to be a simple apron was…well – it was kind of intimidating when I laid it all out! Then, this fabric question popped into my head! Wash it? Don’t wash it?? What to do!?

As usual, I went surfing (on the internet of course) and found a great article about this exact subject at Makeit-Loveit.com and thought I should share it with all of you since you too may have had the same question! After all, if I have heard conflicting opinions, maybe you have too! Some quilters say NEVER to wash the fabric first, some crafters say it’s not necessary, and others say that washing fabric ahead of time may cause the colors to fade and only delay starting your project! Still, there are some who swear that washing beforehand is the only option, without exception.

Opinions on this subject may still vary but what I found img_8663to be the best choice was…(drum roll please…)….WASH, DRY and IRON….and always, always, ALWAYS iron after washing. I admit, I hate ironing. Ironing the freshly washed fabric, however,¬† ensures proper measuring and cutting, and makes the fabric easier to work with than a freshly washed and dried crumpled and twisted piece of fabric would be.

If you want to know more, click here for the ins-and-outs of why fabric should always be washed before sewing anything – yes even before sewing those crafts! You’ll also learn why we should wash our crisp new fabric as soon as we bring it home from the store!

Hopefully this little tidbit of info will help you get more out of your sewing experience and keep you happily sewing along!

If you have any sewing tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Sewing!!

Hiding Bunny Purse

22 Jan

IMG_3341Easter is just around the corner and if you are looking for that fun project for a little girl in your life, try this adorable Bunny Bag! The pattern is free here at AllFreeSewing.com! The purse is lined and so pretty!

I completed this purse in two days and I LOVE the way it turned out. The directions were specific and easy to follow, so even a novice like me had fun making it! My niece loved it too! She even collected Easter Eggs in it! The first thing she did when she saw the purse was look for that bunny hiding in the pocket!! Maybe as a variation, you could make a stuffed felt bunny for the pocket that’s removable?!

As you can see from the pic, the purse is pretty, patterned, colorful, playful and although small, fits a little girl perfectly. If you are planning to make it for an older child, you may want to amend the pattern a bit to increase the size.

ashlynnBUNNYbag

If you decide to make this adorable Bunny Bag for your Little Love, I’d enjoy seeing pictures of your creation! What ideas do you have to add a variation and your personal touch to this project?

 

 

Reversible Kitchen Aid Mixer Cover

19 Jan

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A while back ago, I morphed together some ideas from various blogs and made a Mixer Cover for my Kitchen Aid using double faced quilted fabric and bias tape. I figured that since it was going to be living on my counter, I should decorate it with a pretty cover and keep the dust off of it between uses!

I’m a huge fan of the double face quilted fabric, and here’s why…The pattern choices are plentiful, the coordinating colors are beautiful, and the quilting adds character and saves a lot of time – so fun projects like this can be whipped up quickly! Another perk…it’s reversible!

My mother-in-law loved this one so much, I gave it to her! Time to create another one for my kitchen! My toaster might just need a cover too! ūüôā

What have YOU made with double faced quilted fabric? I’d love to see the projects you’re Sew Giddy about!

Cozy Casserole Carrier

16 Jan

One of my first sewing projects was quite an ambitious one, to say the least. I had decided the best way to get to know my sewing machine and learn to sew straighter lines was to make Christmas presents for my family and friends. Here’s what I made…

A Cozy Casserole Carrier!

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Yes, I could certainly point out all of the flaws in every cozy carrier, but overall I was happy with the results. The first one I made, I decided I would quilt myself. Yes, I was VERY ambitious!

Let me tell you…all that sandwiching of fabric and insulated batting, then sewing the lines to quilt it together was A LOT of work for a newbie like me! Whew!!

So, after I completed the first carrier, I decided I was going to use¬†my coupons and get Double Face Quilt Fabric!¬†Yes, the double faced quilted fabric is a little more expensive, but it’s already quilted! Also, each side has a different pattern with¬†coordinating colors! Perfect for this project in my opinion, because I wanted¬†the inside pattern to be different from the outside pattern.

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Here’s how they¬†turned out! Below, the Cozy Casserole Carrier on¬†left was¬†my first ever casserole cozy. Yep! The one I quilted myself with¬†insulated (Insul-Bright) batting between the coordinating fabrics.¬†The one on the right however, was made with the double face quilt fabric. The pre-quilted fabric saved a ton of time and overall, even cost a little less (after couponing of course!).

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I used a huge serving bowl to trace the circles for the top and bottom. The bottom circle can be slightly bigger, but I made mine the same size. Then, I used a cereal bowl as a pattern for the top hole. I sewed bias tape around the inside hole, leaving room for a string so the top could be cinched closed and pulled open. For the handles, I did add interfacing for a little more strength and reinforcement.

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Since I had them handy, I used round shoe laces as the cinch-strings for the top hole and finished the string ends with colorful beads! I made 11 Cozy Casserole Carriers in all!!

Here are few of them!

These colorful carriers have held warm casseroles, tins of cookies, plates of brownies, and cold salads! They have even carried pies and cupcakes! Although these pretty little things are round, they can easily hold square, rectangle, oval, and circular dishes and they are strong, durable, and WASHABLE! I can certainly say I was Sew Giddy about these gifts that year!

What was your first big sewing project? I’d “sew” love to hear about it!

 

Sew Snuggly

6 Jan

image2 The weather is changing as Old Man Winter is settling in and I suppose that’s my motivation for suddenly wanting to make blankets! Besides, they are portable, versatile, and practical…plus, they make great gifts!

While I do love to make (and receive) comfy, homemade, no-sew fleece blankets – I really wanted to actually SEW a blanket…a big, soft, SNUGGLY one with no bumpy knots in it!

I am a fan of Silky Furry Fleece so decided to combine my fleece favorites into a single deliciously cozy blanket and loved it so much…I made more and gifted them! The Silky Furry Fleece is a little pricey if bought at regular price, so watch for those coupons from your favorite fabric store!

image4If you decide to try making one of these beauties, BEWARE- the Silky Furry Fleece is MESSY when cut and depending on your machine, it can sometimes get tangled…BUT, if you take your time, it’s really pretty easy to work with and the messy furry fleece fibers are a quick cleanup with a vacuum! (Although your clothes may need a good lint roller!)

This blanket was simple and turned out lovely…I encourage you to try it!

Here’s how ya do it: Determine the size blanket you want to make and buy the appropriate amount of Silky Furry Fleece and coordinating PRINT or SOLID color fleece. Since fleece is generally sold as 60″ wide, you really only need to determine the length. Lay the fabric out with right-sides facing and pin around the edges, IMG_7926cutting any uneven edges so the fabric edges line up nicely. Sew together (I¬† used a 1/2″ seam allowance)¬† and leave a small area not sewn for room to turn the blanket right side out.

I clipped the excess fabric from the corners at an angle for cleaner angled corners when turned, and then turn it right-side out and sew together the last section . I tacked a few inconspicuous spots by hand here and there around the blanket to keep it from turning and shifting while washing, but that was it! DONE!

If you make one, I’d love to see a picture of your finished product!

Creativity Rules!

11 Dec

My son and his girlfriend have an¬†agreement that¬†gift giving means including a personal, handmade gift. I absolutely LOVE¬†this idea! In my humble opinion, there is no better way to say, “you are worthy of my time” then by spending your precious¬†time making a gift¬†for that person!

Recently¬†my son¬†asked me to teach him how to use the sewing machine to sew a simple but comfy blanket. Last year he made a photo album with personal, hand written notes of shared memories! My son’s¬†girlfriend is a master brownie baker, and¬†also has made him a no-sew blanket and even painted a pretty¬†sunset on canvass for him! The idea here is that more of us should do¬†something creative when giving a gift,¬†for¬†that personal touch! It’s not about whether you think you have talent, it’s about finding creativity within yourself, and sharing it with others!

I know, most of us do¬†not have a whole heck of a lot of free time these days but that makes a handmade gift all the more special!¬†I have found that when I make time to read blogs about sewing, cooking or even cute and simple crafts, I am¬†motivated and inspired to create something and then….give it away! I sometimes¬†make multiples and keep one for myself too!

Look, I certainly would not classify myself as the¬†naturally creative type, (nope, that would be my sister actually!) but I am the curious type and I enjoy the challenge of learning new techniques and creating new things with my own two hands. I love¬†reading about other people’s creative concoctions and I always insert my spin on an¬†idea, whether I actually make something from it or not! I mean, what better way to kick-start a creative idea then by blending a bit¬†of other people’s¬†creativity¬†with your own – and then trying to physically build the idea into a thing!…like a blanket, a craft of some sort, or even a new dinner recipe!

Whatever you do, don’t let the project intimidate you! After all, YOU picked the project so you’re the boss! You call the shots and you get to decide if want to follow the instructions or if you want to meander off into unknown territory and try something new! You don’t even have to gift your creations if you don’t want to. ūüôā Keep it and display it, and be proud of your efforts!

Bottom line; there are techniques for sewing, photography, and cooking but there are NO RULES!

BE CREATIVE and release your inner talent! You just might be pleasantly surprised¬†at what you are capable of making and better yet, you may make someone’s day brighter by sharing your creation!

Here’s to being Sew Giddy about sharing our creativity with the ones we¬†love!!

 

Sew Personalized!

2 Nov

I bought a bottle of wine as a gift for one of my best friends, and although it was her favorite wine, I felt it was just a too impersonal to simply hand over a bottle of wine. SEW….I decided to dress it up a bit with a personal touch!

Using two pieces of double-faced quilted fabric for the sides (that measure tall enough to hide the bottle inside) and a round piece of the same quilted fabric for the bottom (that’s larger than the base of the bottle and allowing for seam allowance), I whipped this wine bottle bag together, finishing it off with scrap bias tape to cover the top of the handle. Bias tape the seams on the inside and it’s reversible!¬†I cut a heart out for the handle and hand-sewed around the heart’s edge to give it that homemade touch.

I filled this pretty bag with the bottle of wine surrounded by delicious chocolates and even added a gift card to a restaurant my friend is known to frequent! I love the way it turned out! Since the inside has coordinating fabric, it is pretty to look inside of it as well!

I love how this bag is not only cute, but reusable too!

Sew…what have YOU created to give that ordinary gift a personal touch of love?

Sew Great to Read About It!!

25 Oct
Cover of "New Complete Guide to Sewing (R...

Cover via Amazon

 

If you are like me and have a desire to broaden your sewing knowledge as well as try your hand at new projects all the time, you may want to invest in a good book!

 

I have found a lot of helpful information on the internet by following sewing blogs (both novice and expert) and learning about different techniques I can apply to my projects. While free information on the internet is fun and a wonderful resource for learning, I also found the book New Complete Guide to Sewing by Reader’s Digest to be an abundance of information! Not only does it explain the basics of what is needed to get started as a newbie to the sewing world, but it also has illustrations and step-by-step techniques for home projects and for making clothes! My friend who is a pro (nearly 60 years of experience!) at sewing everything from clothes and stuffed animals, to everything in between, was so impressed with this book she purchased one for herself after reading mine!

 

I know there are a ton of good sewing books and guides out there. This one seems to cover it all in a user-friendly, easy-to-follow way, and because of that – I thought I would share the news!

 

Do you have a favorite sewing guide?

 

Hot Handle Pot Sleeve

13 Oct

Although I love cooking, I can sometimes be a bit clumsy in the kitchen…which is what inspired me to create this Hot Handle Pot Sleeve! Easy to make and it matches the tortilla cozy I made last year!

Here’s how I did it!
First I measured the handles on my pots and pans for which I will be using the “sleeve” for, so it will fit on all of them.¬† I made a dome-like pattern that measured 3.5″x7.5″. Then, using that pattern I cut out 2 pieces of fabric and 2 pieces of Insul-Bright and sandwiched them together so the fabric connected to the Insul-Bright was facing down and the wrong-side of the patterned fabric was against the batting of the Insul-Bright.

I then basted around the edges to keep the fabric and the Insul-Bright together.

Then I folded down 1/2″ of the straight edge on the short side of the basted piece and zig-zag stitched it down, folding the fabric in to make a soft edge. (Of course using scrap bias tape would also work if you prefer that look instead.)

Now take both finished pieces and place the patterned fabric sides together and zig-zag stitch around the edges, careful not to sew the short, straight side which will be the opening.

Trim the edges so they are even, then turn inside out.

And that’s it!

Sew Easy, even a novice like me can do it!!

 

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