Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Even the foot of the tea cup has an elegant scallop
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
They are great for those times when you need ribbon or yarn to go through something, and also I am afraid that when I am in a hurry, I do not go hunting for my seam ripper, but just grab this needle and pull out a few stitches to clip. I also use it for helping fabric go under the presser foot, and it is handy for finding the lost thread in my sewing machine... I am always reaching for these needles!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Feeling a little relieved since I have so many things now to give, I embarked on another set of bags for a family I know. It seemed a more ambitious pattern, but it is not too far removed from the wall pockets I did yesterday. These little bags are for lunches, and the big bag for the mum, for mums always end up carrying everything anyway:)
Friday, December 19, 2008
Last night, after being so glum about the snow melting, I mentioned my doubts about more snow on this blog, then I shut down the computer. And shortly afterwards-- look outside!
BIG flakes! Bigger than last time! And look what we woke up to this morning! Winter wonderland. The light is wonderful when there is snow- almost like a summer light. It makes us more energetic and happy.
Here are some gifts with the gift cards on top instead of ribbons and bows. I was sending these away so it was better not to try to get a bow in the package just to be crushed.
Now for the big project of the day. I found a list on a blog for several different shopping bags. I wanted to do a bit of embellishment on them, or use up my scraps and do a patchwork outer edge and solid lining. I liked a lot of them, but I did not have the strong fabrics they called for.
Since time is short to sew, I chose this one, modeled after a plastic grocery sack. Yes, I know, it does not sound very special! And if you read the instructions, you can tell it was not meant to be. However, since I am using it as a Christmas gift, I wanted to make it look nice. Besides, I think that the newest trend will be shopping bags that reflect the individuality/personality/style/favorite colors of the owner. I also dislike the feeling of the shopping bags they are now selling at the stores. They are poly-something-or-other and I just cannot stand to hold one for long.
Here is my variation on the pattern I chose:
First, I made the bottom of the bag on the fold. I was too nervous about my seams ripping out on the bottom. I felt better if I did not have to make a stitch there. So I ended up with a long rectangle that was the same size as stated in the pattern. Before sewing the side seams up, though, I added a little strip pieced patchwork.
I ironed the sack then sewed the strip to the crease mark. I dislike pinning, so I try to get away without having to do it as often as I can!
After I sewed that, I flipped it over and had one nice clean edge that I did not have to fiddle with. I did not want to applique this piece on, and this way it stayed straight.
I turned the top edge under and top stitched it to the sack. I top stitched the bottom of the patchwork too, not because I had to secure it, but because it looked more consistent.
When I got to the step in the pattern where you are to make the pleat, I thought, "Uh oh! This is why they did not have a fold at the bottom of the bag." But then after fiddling with it, the light bulb went off in my head (or maybe that was the one in my room.... if someone slams a door in the house just right, that extra bulb on the light fixture comes on. Makes things much brighter!) and I figured I could just tuck and tack the pleat in.
Here you see the finished result! My serger was not cooperative, so I satin-stitched the top edges. I did four bags for two shoppers on my list! I hope they will tell me how long these bags stand up to wear and tear. I do not know the strength of these bags, since they are just made of muslin. I am sure it would not be wise to carry home a watermelon or a 25 pound frozen turkey in them. But for your average sack of lettuce and loaf of bread, they might just do!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A couple of packages and the bulk of the Christmas cards were mailed off this afternoon, and then it was on to the next thing. A request from my husband: something warm for his feet.
The other project I finished (all but the frames) today was something I started early this summer: silhouettes. My grandmother once did our silhouette the old-fashioned way (shadow tracing) and I thought that it could be even easier to do nowadays with the computer.
Then my Photoshop-handy husband found the edges for me (I think it was the magic wand tool?). Once that is done, you can fill in the profile or the background with whatever color you wish, as seen below:
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It snowed Sunday night. It stayed all day yesterday and today. The weather announcer on the radio said "highs 32 degrees" which I found amusing, as that is freezing. Wow, it will warm up to freezing today! The weather report this morning from our local forecaster Miss Staley, is "Tomorrow more snow.. today crystal clear and sunny with SNAPdragon cold!" (Just in case you are wondering, you are looking at a loaded tree branch here.)
I get happy when it snows! It is interesting to me how excited snow makes people. Folks call each other to talk about the snow in their yard. And bloggers all over the world will announce the first snowfall in their area on the Internet.
I like to see the cars slow way down on our road. Usually they are roaring around the corner at 55 mph. Now they go by so carefully and quietly. I wonder if that was what it was like to live out here in the really olden days, when automobiles were first out, or when the horses and wagons went by.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon sorting scraps and ironing them, folding them, and containing them in their box. It seemed like an awful waste of time when I had so much to do, but the scraps were spilling out of their box and running all over the place-- every time I turned around they were on the floor, on the chair, on the table, and lest they should end up in the kitchen crawling into my pot of soup, I had to take control. At least now it will be faster for me to use them in my crafting.
(A tip for Seamstresses: Before putting those scraps away after you have cut your pattern out of the material, make sure to trim them. One big scrap connected to another big scrap by a string of material makes for a big tangled mess! I am a scrap saver, and I tend to save every little bit, just in case I will make a charm quilt someday.)
When I finally got to my Christmas card project, I had a good start with them, but soon weariness and the late hour overcame me, and I had to stop, and begin again this morning. May I complain here a moment? Yes? No? I cannot hear you. Well, I have to say, making cards is a tiresome mess! That does not sound very nice, does it? But it seems like there is so much to get out to make a card (if you are putting several elements on it) and if I am going to go to all the trouble to find all the stuff and bring it out of the storage area, I may as well do two dozen cards instead of one. And the card crafting area is the dining room table, with the leaf in it, and would you believe those bits of paper take up nearly the whole surface! I did find delight and pleasure in these cards, it was just the huge quantity that got to me. I found this project hard to finish. But they are finally made! Now I want to keep them. And of course, I need two dozen more than I made.
I did something different this time. Usually I would glue and glitter a card, but this time, I stitched them. Stitching cards is sew much fun! I had a dull needle in the machine already, and the sewing machine seems to like paper better than fabric as it behaved itself very well! The other different thing I did was to use some glitter paper that came in a big pad at Walmart. It really sets off the cards and there no loose glitter mess.
Here you see the card that I would usually make and send off:
And above you see the card with the stitching!
I used a lot of the "heirloom" style stitches on my sewing machine, and changed thread color often for the different cards I made. I did make the mistake of sewing one card shut! I thought about sending it to someone to see if they found it amusing that I had sewed a card shut, but decided against it. I also did a card that had a thicker embroidery-type stitch on it, and it perforated it so finely that the card started to fall apart! I wondered how they would hold up or if they would be "punch out" cards, but the others did fine.
You notice I hardly did any of them the same. That is why my brain is so tired tonight. It would have been faster to do an assembly line method, but my goal is to use up as much of my stash as I can, so I was using little bits of this and that. At least I can say no two are alike! Next time, if I do not start earlier on cards, I may splurge and go and buy some store-bought.
I use the leftover tinier bits of paper to make gift tags. These are about 2-4 inches long:
Then I threw the rest of the paper scraps away. Yes, any more tiny scraps I just threw away. I thought I should tell you all that lest you are under the impression that I am insane! No, I did not make confetti out of them.
If I can get those cards in the mail tomorrow, they may arrive before Christmas to most of the States. I need to get up early in the morning to address cards and package up some things, then it is off to the post office.