2016 makes

I hadn’t posted a lot there toward the end of the year, huh? I was in the midst of a tough semester, to sugar coat it. I survived, so there is that! 2017 is going great. I hope that with my new teaching schedule and perspective on life that I’ll post more often because, well, I hope to have more creations! In fact, I’ve been a busy little bee – I even signed up for my first Craftsy classes (January is buy one get one free so I bit the bullet!).

First up, I made Boy a bag for his blood sugar stuff. He doesn’t have any blood sugar problems, but the dude gets a bit crazy about health sometimes and thought it would be worth buying a lot of stuff to test it. And it is fun to check every now and then, the science-y part of me will admit. He chose the fabrics out of my stash. I adore his choice for the inside: it reminds him of his grandma. I think it’s a cute little zippered pouch – it’s got little sloping shoulders (the tabs) which, of course, is an oops, but I think they are fun! I followed the same techniques outlined here.

I learned my very first paper-piecing project! I was so excited, since I love English paper piecing, but I was a bit scared with it being on my machine rather than by hand. It was so much more work than I imagined! The two methods are not related at all, in my opinion. I really didn’t care for it, but then the end product was something I was pretty proud of, so heck, maybe I do like it! (My inner crafting self is a bit schizoid I sometimes think.)

I followed lillyella’s Undercover Maker Mat pattern which was very easy to understand. I made a huge mistake (of course!) but left it. Do you see it? (The main fabric pattern is upside down! Ack!) I added my own little touch of a felt tab to stash a couple of needles and pins (it can be tucked back into the pocket). I also used twill measuring tape to have a ruler handy at any given time! And, with the way I sew (on a coffee table!), I do not have the space for a mat – instead I toss the cover over the edge of my couch. So, on the back, I could add one of my favorite buttons!

I also learned you can print directly to fabric! With a normal printer! What!! I came across NeedlenThread’s post and just had to try it. Transferring patterns is one of the reasons, I feel, that I do not do a lot of embroidery. But now…. now the world is opened up to me! I tested it out with this Knotty Dicken’s pattern, the first pattern I ever purchased from etsy. I’m moving up! I completed it in 2017, so I’ll include that in a later post. I was scared about making those roses – what kind of complicated stitch must that be?! How time consuming?! But, you know what? That is easier than a stinking back stitch, that is! Holy cow!

I also attempted to make a compass. I found the image as a random google image search and I tried to chase it back to the original owner, but since I don’t have pinterest, I couldn’t. I am dissatisfied with it as far as my intent (I want to make a set of hoops with a travel theme for my guest bedroom) but I did a great job, considering, so I think I will turn it into something for a travel-y friend of mine.

Well, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet. May your 2017 be a creative one!

#pixiecup

Fabric Mutt has a tutorial on making what she calls The Pixie Cup. It caught my eye for something handy that I could store my wonderclips in, so I set out to make the small version. Only …  something happened, and I went off the directions and had to kind of make it up as I went. I blame an engrossing episode of TV. Normally, I craft to what I consider B-rate shows so I can focus, but something about that episode of Once Upon a Time distracted me I guess.

Well, anyway, I was excited to embark on my first patchwork project. I had purchased a mini charm pack of Moda’s Into the Woods during my 2016 Illiana Shop Hop. The squares are 2.5×2.5 inches which seemed really tiny so I wasn’t sure what exactly I would do with them. But then I found the Pixie Cup!

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So, I was suppose to only need eight small rectangles, but I ended up needing 12 because I sewed them on both their short and long edges rather than just on their long edges. And so I had no idea how big to make the circle, but as luck would have it, my “cuff” (since I went ahead and sewed the edges together rather than following the pattern) fit perfectly around a candle jar I had, so I used the jar as the measurement rather than messing around with math. Phew! (And, I can put the finished basket onto the candle jar to iron it – absolutely awesome accident!) A tweak in measurements for the batting and liner, and I was set.

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Rather than using fusible interfacing and linen, I used a very stiff canvas or duck cloth material (sorry, I don’t know exactly what it is – I just had some in my stash). This helps hold the shape wonderfully and it doesn’t look all loose whilst empty (not that I expect it to really ever be empty).

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It is the perfect size – somehow it is still just about 4 inches in diameter, but mine turned out to be about 3 inches tall. I love the leather handles. I only had some pretty thick leather on hand, but thanks to my recently acquired and magical walking foot, there were zero issues!

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I was so eager to make another, I kept showing Boy and talking about my awesome little basket. Finally he says “can you make me one for my dice?” and of course, I said yes! Then he says “can you make me two, one for dice and one for poker chips?” Absolutely! I knew I married him for a reason.

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I had two more (free!) mini-charm packs from the shop hop loot (Moda’s Alice’s Scrapbag and Moda’s Petite Prints Deux), and he requested some patterns that were alluding to a Japanese theme. This is the best we could do. Rather than quilting in an X-pattern, I zigzag stitched the ditch, deciding that would be more “masculine”. He approved.

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And would you look at how sturdy they are? They neatly stack – whatever that stiff canvas stuff is I used is awesome for this type of project!

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I can’t wait to make another… though for what purpose, I don’t know! Thanks, Fabric Mutt:D

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Zippered pouches

I got on a roll making things with zippers. I began with the Fancy Stitched Quilted Zipper Pouch tutorial I snagged from Joanns last time I stopped in. Obviously, I couldn’t just follow the instructions – I don’t know why I am like that but I just have to change something to make it my own, you know? So, I added a bottom panel with piping. and I made it out of canvas material for almost all of them so that they would have added durability.

I love love love the very first one I made. The bird panel and fancy zipper were things I picked up from the 2016 Illiana Shop Hop. The piping and canvas were things I had laying around. I love it when I can puzzle out things that go together from my stash! I quilted after I pieced them together, so I just left some extra tails of thread and used a needle to tie them off at the piping.

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The second one I made, I gifted to an old colleague of mine. I forgot (as usual, gah!) to take photos of it so these are just with my phone at the office before I left it for her. I had all these parts laying around (except for the zipper that came in a huge bundle of colors I ordered online). The panel is from a scarf that I inherited from Boy’s grandmother.

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I made a third pouch as a birthday present – I was invited to a quinceañera (a Hispanic tradition for a girl’s 15th birthday) which was awesome in and of itself. I really really liked how this one came together!

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I had to put everything a way for a while because the semester began again, but curiously enough, I have had a wee bit of “free-time” and had the pleasure of digging it back out. This fourth pouch went to a friend of mine from my grad school/teaching days.

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Surprisingly, I got a spot of even more free-time so I made one for my sister-in-law. Did I mention how I just love it when things come together straight from my stash? I couldn’t have had so much fun with all these if I had to go buy materials – I don’t have that much free time!

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Then, lo and behold, another spot of free-time appeared and I made a bag for myself! Sadly, I did not have any heavy weight fabric for the bottom, but I think standard quilting cotton will do for now. I mean, it matched so who can really complain? I also recently received some fabric from my grandmother’s stash and pulled it out here – the mint and coral are hers. And you see that mint piping? I made that! I can make piping now! [Oh, and I must shout out to the creator of the Walking Foot! I finally swallowed the purchase and got one. This was my first project with it, and I feel like a HERO of sewing now. I can take on any task. Bernadette (my machine, aka Berni) and I are now unstoppable!]

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In the process of making them, I experimented with a few different ways to do the lining. The original pattern ends with raw seams (zigzagged stitched) on the inside. I also tried making the lining bag separate, then sewing them together. And, i tried using the original pattern but then binding the raw seams.

I liked the first way, because the liner was also quilted and stayed put – but the seams were raw. I liked the second way because the seams were hidden – but the liner was loose. I liked the third way – but it added quite a bit of bulk and was hard for me to do (before I got the walking foot, that is!). I experimented more with the second approach, hand quilting after I put the pouch together. Then, one other attempt, to quilt the exterior and to quilt the interior, separately. That is my favorite way, and it makes the pouch much more sturdy – something I could not have done without that magical foot! I am using it for my new camera storage bag. You see, Boy upgraded to a Fuji XT2 so he gifted me the Fuji X100 (I hope that means you will see a remarkable difference in photo quality!). It is bigger and bulkier than my my little Canon S95 so having the extra padding by quilting the inside and outside of the pouch is perfect.

You may also have noticed that I experimented with a few ways to add the tabs. My favorite is from the very first bag, so I might just go back to that method. I also experimented with the zippers – that first one just wasn’t long enough, and the rest needed something to top them off so I added a little band of fabric.

In addition to the Joann’s tutorial, I consulted Melly Sews’ How to Sew a Zipper Pouch Tutorial and The Sewing Chick’s Zippered Pouch Tutorial.

I had great fun experimenting with these, and I wish I knew more people who need pouches so I could make them with a purpose!

TV tray ironing board

My father-in-law had a set of four nice wooden TV dinner tables that he no longer used so I offered to take them off his hands.

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This was a super easy, super quick project. There are a million tutorials online, and I went with this one: Tv Tray Pressing Table.

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I had some pink decor-weight fabric on hand that kind of matched my craft room, but I had to buy some other fabric that would work well for the people who were about to receive an ironing board from me (lucky for me, they all have similar taste in colors).

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It is super nice that the table folds up so easily. It works great for small projects and when I don’t feel like busting out the big table. And, of course, it still duos as a TV tray (or, in my house, a cat perch). Get out your staple gun and have at it!

Watercolor and acrylics

My sister-in-law brought over some paints and water coloring books recently. Since I was little, I’ve always found watercoloring frustrating. The paper never holds up; the colors never mix right. Needless to say, it is not my forte. But, it is a fun way to pass the time, so I tried my hand at it. These came out of these two books:

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Katie made these. I especially like the splattered look!

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I made these two:

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My favorite were these watercolor feathers. Outside of the lines got rather messy, so I decided to cut them out. Now, they look great on my craft wall!

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She then invited me to a Wine and Canvas event. It was very much like I expected on a cultural level except that it went too fast for me! I thought for sure that three hours would be enough but I was rushed the whole time. That’s ok – I did learn some things and had fun doing it. And I was one of the few in the slower crowd. Here’s what it was suppose to look like:

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And here is me hating on my grass:

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And the final (awful) result, below. I had a smear of blue along the water line, so I made a whale tail (well, I tried to). I was afraid to add birds and I didn’t quite get what she was saying about them, so I just made the little hump birds from childhood. I had more fun doing the little lighthouse and fence posts (which are my favorite) than anything else. I don’t think impressionistic is my style. I got pretty frustrated being rushed at the end (for the clouds) and time ran out so ta-da, I guess. At any rate, it’s hanging at Boy’s office now! I’d do it again, don’t let me fool you:)

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