Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Notions – Happy New Year!

Wow, already the last day of 2012.  It’s unbelievable that another year has passed so quickly.   Of course, it didn’t seem all that quick while it was happening- it’s kind of like you just wake up one day and it’s over.

I spent the morning bringing stuff back in from the hallway.  I have to say, once that extra desk is dismantled and removed, it’s going to be really nice in here.  So, what to do?

I really wanted to get the last 2 changes purses made, but I couldn’t decide what fabrics to use.  I finally just reached into the zippers and pulled out 2 – figuring I would base the fabric choices on the zippers.  Here is what I pulled out-

Orange!  I LOVE orange!  Next to purple, orange is my favorite color!  And this made me think of a tiny piece of orange batik I couldn’t bear to throw away- this is a game changer – I need 2 more purses for gifts, but now I have to make the orange one for me! (Selfish, aren’t I? LOL)  So, I added another zipper-

At least I decided to make the one for me last!  J

The green one was first – found some pretty stylized flower fabric, along with a dark mottled green lining-

Then I had to stop changes purses for a few minutes to make something for the dog-

Okay, so what is it?  To explain, we have an almost 12 year old St. Bernard named Chloe.  She is definitely showing her age.  Last year, she developed a fatty tumor on her back near her neck.  My brother, Casey, took her to the vet and had it removed, but it has grown back, and bigger, plus the hair around it that was shaved to take it off previously has not grown back.  It is really icky looking.  She will be going back to the vet to have it removed again if the vet thinks she will survive another surgery (12 is pretty old for a St. Bernard), but in the meantime, Casey is trying to cover it up because it is just so gross- especially when she shows up at the dinner table begging for food, and she is at the right height for it to be the first thing you see when she comes up under your arm.  Casey is going to attach this to her collar.  He had made one before out of duct tape, but because she has no hair there, it was irritating her skin.  Here is the finished product-

It doesn’t look too bad and she seems happier than when it was duct tape! 

Okay, so back to the change purses!

Here is the blue one- the zipper looked like it matched a lot better before I put it together-

And finally the orange –

This orange batik is delicious – there is no other way to describe it!  It was a fat quarter I got at Jo-Ann’s and I will have to see if I can get more.

So with this being the end of the year, I started reflecting back.  I started this blog on November 16.  I wasn’t too sure when I started if I could keep it up, but this is post #46 – I haven’t missed a day since the first.  That is amazing- I have never kept on with something so well before in my life.  (I actually started it on a different blogging site and had to move it over a couple of days after I started- if I had stayed on that site, I wouldn’t still be doing it.)

I have never claimed to be great at crafting or sewing - I’m one of those people knowledgeable enough to be dangerous at many things.  But I do try to always be enthusiastic. 

These last 46 days have been more productive for me than the last 10 years.  20 years.  Heck, probably even farther back than that.  For the first time in my life, I have been setting goals and working toward achieving them.  I have finished more projects in 46 days than ever before.  The feeling you get when you finish something is incredible – a feeling I haven’t known all that often before.   I LIKE IT!

I want to feel this way all the time.  Since I started blogging, I have not been as depressed – I am cutting my anti-depressants in half and I feel great!  I wake up in the morning and feel I have a purpose in life, even if it is to feed my own ego writing about my own life.  I am excited to get on the sewing machine, have the camera ready, and the computer on.  The frustration is quite often still there, but I haven’t given up. 

Clearing out the sewing/computer room really helped me – I looked at so much stuff and honestly asked myself – am I REALLY ever going to do anything with that?  I’m talking about stuff I have had for a very long time that was causing massive guilt for letting it sit so long.  A lot of stuff went to a thrift store or the trash.

I hate to be cliché and come up with New Year’s resolutions, but there are a couple of things I would like to be able to say I have accomplished by the end of 2013: 
  • Finish at least 1 project per week - ambitious, but not impossible;
  • Use up fabric I already have and buy as little as possible this year (hahahahaha!);
  • Inspire at least 1 person to get off the couch, away from the TV and do something creative – and if I do inspire you, I hope you will let me know!

So Happy New Year to everyone!  I hope you will visit here often in 2013 - I am going to try a couple of giveaways in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Random Notions - Sewing!

I woke up to a beautiful overcast day, only to have the sun shining by 9.  Argh. 

I would like to start out today by sharing something I ran across while clearing things up:

This is a fiberglass drapery panel, cream colored with brown silk screened Joshua trees.  Along with this panel, there is a note typed up by my Aunt Frances (copied exactly as she typed it)-

FROM: article in the Review- Journal Newspaper, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sunday, March 11, 1956  page 30

pix of Mrs. Laura Dodd, left, displays her winning Joshua tree design for draperies in the new wing of Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital to hospital executive housekeeper, Mrs. Constance Cannon, and administrator, Russell Tucker.  Director esXX estimate a saving of more than $1,000 by use of the exclusive design.  Review-Journal photo head line reads: WINNING DRAPERY PAINTING
Dr. Ralph Hemington, chief of staff at Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital was guest speaker for the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary meeting held Wednesday morning in the recreation room of the hospital.
          Dr. Hemington stressed the progress made....... etc. on hospital....
.... rest of the info on hospital, etc.

Southern Nevada Memorial Hospital is now known as University Medical Center (UMC).  Mrs. Laura Dodd was my maternal grandmother that I was named after.  You can see that my desire to be creative is inherited; I just wish I was as talented.  She painted some lovely things and in the future I will try to add a picture here and there of some of it.  This drapery panel has been stored in a plastic grocery bag for a couple of years – I thought I should give it a more fitting place in an archival storage box.  Someday, I will get to the library and try to get a copy of the actual article with the picture.

Back to current events - I was so anxious to get back to sewing, I decided to take out anything that was not in its final resting place in the room, with the exception of the desk I can’t get out until my fantastic son-in-law returns from California to take it apart for me – and bring Athena back in and sew something!  Besides the UFO’s, I have a few things to do.  In addition to the last 2 change purses, I need to make 3 sewing machine covers – get rid of those crappy plastic things – and use that beautiful celestial material I posted a pic of yesterday to make a laptop cover.  Since that lovely material was staring me in the face, I needed to make the laptop cover first!

This is what I had done a while back with this-

I had cut it in 2 pieces so when sewn together, they would both be face up.

This is the fabric I chose for the lining:

So I got out some interfacing – I used the fusible fleece on the lining, and just a medium weight on the outside fabric.  Right off the bat, the medium weight didn’t want to stick to the celestial fabric.  I pulled it off and used a lighter weight, which stuck just fine. 

Then, I found a long dark blue plastic zipper that matched the outside fabric perfectly.  I tested it to make sure it was going to work.  I put it in perfectly.  I tried to close it- and it split.  Putting on my close cheaters, I took the blasted thing out.  Looking for another zipper, all I had was another exactly like the first.  I tested it several times before deciding that the first one was just defective, fingers crossed.

It worked!  Perhaps a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.  So I got the sides sewn up, and turned and pressed it- and it came out really nice.

I grabbed my little laptop to put into it- and it doesn’t fit - just the tiniest bit too small.  <sigh>  So downstairs I went, to show it to Mom.  She said she liked it – I asked if her tablet would fit into it.  It does – so it is hers.  Good thing I have some of this fabric left to try again.

It was so nice to sew again today.  However, as I walked through the hallway, where everything that needs to be put away is sitting temporarily, my joy is short lived, knowing I still have to take care of that.  <sigh>

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Notions - I don't remember signing on for this...

This has turned into a major redesign event.  This room is on the second floor with old windows that leak and our backyard is 10,000 square feet of dirt – we have three dogs that are constantly running out there.  I have raised so much dust in the room I can’t stop sneezing.  Furniture has been moved and removed – I have to take out a corner desk and a short shelf.  Problem with the desk is it has to be taken apart to get it out the door.  Not too sure at this point what I will do with the stuff that was on the shelf- so much stuff already has been thrown away – no one better ask me to do any spring cleaning in a couple of months. 

The computer had to be moved to the right by about 3 feet, which meant the Internet was down for the rest of the house for half an hour but I got it all back together.  The printer is finally plugged back in – it’s been down a few days.  My poor little goddess, my Singer Athena, has spent the entire day outside the room and I still have to figure out how to get her back in, along with Layla’s machine.  It’s only 630 pm and I am so tired and hungry, and feeling a little frustrated.  But what I have gotten done looks and feels right – the center of the room is feeling more open and comfortable and I think I will be able to work in here a lot easier. 

I do have to say that as much as I miss Layla and Harry, this has been easier to get through without them here.  They will both be very surprised when they return and see this room!

Of course, the whole time I am dusting and moving things about, all I can think about is when is my machine going to be back in here so I can sew!  As I was taking stuff off the shelf, I found some material I had cut and started to sew together over a year ago to make a small laptop cover- I just love this material –

I didn’t get very far with it because I wasn’t really sure how to go about what I wanted.  Now I am wondering if I can just do the same thing as with the change purse, just making it bigger.  Hopefully tomorrow Athena will be back in business.  J

Friday, December 28, 2012

Random Notions - Getting Organized?

After many, many episodes of Frasier, I think I am done with the white shelves.  I mostly removed stuff that didn’t have anything to do with sewing, and will box it all up to set aside elsewhere. <Hahaha - like I have an “elsewhere” to put it!>  This is the after picture- it doesn’t look that much different from the before, but I am pretty happy with it-

The stuff I need most often is now at arm’s reach.  By clearing out most of the non-sewing related stuff, I was able to put in my beading stuff – I love beads for embellishments and I was really tired of hauling stuff out of the closet every time I needed something.  I still have room for more beading stuff, which I have stuffed in a box, so I can put it all in one place.  Wow, I got a lotta stuff.

So that’s the good news – the bad news is the room is so torn apart, I’m not sure how long it will take to get it together so I can sew again!  I have 4 children-free days as the kids go to California to celebrate New Year’s, and I was hoping to be able to sew in peace while they were gone.  I guess tomorrow will be spent trying to get it together.

If anyone is really out there and has suggestions on organizing interfacing, I could really use some help with it!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Random Notions - Unexpected Projects

Okay, so you know how small projects often suck you into BIG projects?  That is just what happened today.  I found a 6’ buffet table in the garage to switch out some of the furniture in my sewing/computer room so I could make room for Layla’s sewing machine.  It is wider across than the sewing table I have my Athena on, so getting to the shelves behind it would be much harder.  Then I took a long look at the shelves and realized, they are a mess and need reorganizing.  You can see what I was dealing with-

I collect sewing/craft books and magazines, along with a couple of other things.  (I’m actually close to being a hoarder)  I had just been shoving stuff into available spaces – I had no idea what I had.  In fact, after pulling all the books down, I found I had a couple of duplicates!

I’m nowhere near done, but I am close with those white shelves!  I moved the short black one to the left out and I think I will have a spot for it elsewhere.  I look forward to more work tomorrow....

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Random Notions - The Day After Christmas

Today Layla started learning how to use her machine.  I had her sewing straight lines on paper without thread and I was amazed how straight she was sewing- she is doing terrific for a 6 ½ year old!  

The machine I got for her is the Singer 1507WC- an awesome basic little machine! If you are looking for a great machine to learn on, or for general repairs and light sewing, around $80, this is the one!  When she was done with her practice stitching, I just had to play with it!  Lightweight and small, eight stitches, a 4-step button-hole feature, a super smooth sewing experience and not noisy at all- rated pretty high on Amazon.  Heck, I was super impressed with the cover they include – much better than the cheap plastic one I got with my Singer Athena!  This is so much better than the Brother I bought years ago for almost 3 times as much that had no features.  I have included a link to this machine through Amazon to the right in the ads and remember – a portion of anything I receive from your purchase through my ads goes to Dementia Research! 

The only problem with getting Layla the sewing machine is now I have to figure out where I can set her up in my tiny room already containing 2 sewing machines on tables, a computer and printer, and numerous shelves and tubs holding fabric and stuff.  I also have an old serger that I just took to a local place to get serviced that will need space once it’s home.  Dummy me, I got there and the guy took my info and got the serial number off the machine, and then says, “You have the foot control?”  Duh!  I’m so glad they aren’t far from home.

So there was no sewing for me today – I’m sad.  But I did get a couple of things done that I was hoping I would during my break from school.  Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Random Notions – Merry Christmas to All!

I hope Santa has been good to everyone!  He was to us- we had a wonderful Christmas in our house- and I hope the kids won’t expect us to top it next year.  Layla was so happy to get her sewing machine, Harry got a drum set that he amazed us by sitting on the little stool and using the sticks right, and they got a trampoline in the backyard that is huge!  I got a bottle of Angel perfume, which I have wanted for years but couldn’t bring myself to pay for it! 

One of my greatest gifts today has been free time!  I finally got to make a change purse for myself, and I tried to put a pocket on the back.  I just cut a piece of material and folded it (wrong sides together) and sewed it in when I stitched up the sides of the purse.

The only problem with my pocket is I did not put a heavy interfacing inside of it – I thought having the material doubled over would be enough.  Wrong!  When I do another with a pocket, I will definitely use a bit of interfacing.  Right now, it is a bit loose, but it would be good for putting receipts into.

I put the flower material on the inside.

My online classes just ended yesterday for the 2 week holiday break – I have to keep reminding myself to not feel guilty that I am not working on schoolwork.  So when I thought I would make a couple more gifts, I didn’t feel so bad about how I was using my time. I used colors and fabrics that reminded me of certain people-

(that is a spool of thread in there to hold it open!)

A cute little “Save the Planet” version with a pretty green batik inside-

And a celestial version – probably my favorite so far-

Some pretty little stars inside-

I have two more to make and then I think I will be done with them for awhile – maybe. 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Random Notions – The Day Before Christmas

As promised, I can unveil two of the zippered change purses I made as gifts yesterday.  First up – for my 87 year old Aunt Frances, who loves to garden, a purse of pansies-

This is a beautiful fabric and the little spots on the background are gold – the picture just does not do it justice.  For the lining, I had a tiny leftover of purple batik that matched the purple pansies perfectly-

You know, I never thought I would have enough projects to go through that huge bag of over 100 zippers I sorted a couple of weeks ago- I sure am glad I found this pattern!

The other one I made as a gift was for my cousin Frances, the elephant collector in the family.  Another Laurel Burch designed fabric – I didn’t have much of it, and this was the best I could fit the elephants on-

You see more elephants on the back-

For these wild elephants, I figured they needed a wild lining fabric-

I love that pink cheetah print!  That was a remnant I found at Joann’s, and it was very small.  I think I used a bit of it in a quilt for Layla - another UFO waiting to be finished.

Today Mom and I took the kids to see Frances and Frances while their Christmas gift was being set up in the back yard – a trampoline.  We had the kids for about four and a half hours and now, at 5 pm, we are finally home and worn out.  I don’t know how I am going to get through this evening – I have quite a bit of wrapping to do and I can’t do it until after the kids are in bed.  To keep myself awake, I will probably get to sewing my own change purses.  I want them to match the Hippie Bag and the Rooster Bag.  I am already thinking of ways to change the zippered purse – I would like to make an open pocket on the outside for receipts or ID.  Tomorrow I will share whatever I have cooked up!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Random Notions - Somebody Stop Me!

I love these little change purses from SewMeHappy!  I spent about 2 hours making a few today!  First, because my mother can never find her debit card in her purse, I found one of the brightest batiks I have to make her one:

I used the same fabric for the inside of this one.  I just hope that Mom will put her card into here after she uses it, rather than just dropping it into one of the bazillion zippered sections of her purse!

Then I made one for a friend of Mom’s who like birds- I have had a fat quarter of this Laurel Burch design for years and never knew what to do with it.  I had to fussy cut the outside pieces to take advantage of the gorgeous print so it came out a bit bigger:



For the inside of this one, I had to find something extremely bright:

I love it and hope Mom’s friend will, too!

I made a couple more, but I can’t reveal them yet – they are gifts and I am afraid one of the recipients will see them, but tomorrow night I can show them – they came out really cute too!  I can’t wait to make a couple for me!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Random Notions - Love these change purses!

After Alexis saw the cute change purse for Layla, she wanted one.  So I revisited the Alexis Bag for a few minutes to make one.

The lining is the same hand dyed fabric as the body of the handbag.  I just love this easy change purse- I am going to make one for me and one for my mom in the next few days.

I also found a tutorial for the lip balm holder at another great blog - The Rush of Life.  I am going to do that tomorrow.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Sidetracked - back to the Butterfly Bag!

I took a little sidetrack back to the Butterfly Bag for Layla today.  I found the easiest zippered change purse tutorial at SewMeHappy’s blog- what a great blog!  I won’t go into the details of the change purse since you can find it at that link, but here is my finished product, and it only took about 20 minutes to do!

Here it is open – you can hardly tell, but it has the same lining as the purse.

And since Layla is getting a sewing machine for Christmas – a real one this time, because the toy ones are just crap - I thought it would be a great idea to stick a little something in there-

It’s not much, and I will put a couple of dollar bills in there to cover her tax.  I think she is going to be so excited!

I saw a tutorial to make a chap stick holder somewhere - I may have to go back and find that one!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Random Notions - UFOs - Top is ready to quilt

While Harry slept this morning, I got the rest of the border on, along with the 4-patch blocks in the corners.

I tried turning the 4 patches in different ways, but I liked having the red on the inside the best.

After digging through boxes, I found a piece of batting that is large enough, and I have some plain old muslin for the backing.  Tomorrow I will get them all basted together.

This evening we went out to the Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  It was really cool and watching the kids’ expressions was priceless.  Highly recommended holiday fun!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Random Notions - UFO Wall Hanging

As I was starting today, I noticed that I had apparently tried to put a border on this wall hanging all those years ago- there were stitch holes from where something was removed.  My first thought was I hope I am not doing the same thing I tried all those years ago and wound up hating it and getting frustrated.  After all, that is what I used to do!

I hung the top up on my wall to look it over and decide what it needed.  First off, I wanted to harness in all the white background.  Since I had followed an order with the colors of the blocks, I decided to go with that, putting narrow strips on each side (they will be ½” finished), using the color that was on that side of the blocks- does that make sense?   You can see what I mean in the pictures.  I also left the strips long and only sewed to ¼” of the white edges, so I could miter the corners.

(What looks black on the right side is actually a very pretty deep purple.)

It has been a very long time since I mitered a corner, so it took some time to figure it out.  I finally got there, only having to take one out and re-do, and I don’t think they look too bad.

Now it is time to make the piano keys.  I have never done this before, so I’m not too sure about the mathematics of them.  The top is currently approximately 27 ½” square.  Sewing 1 ½” strips of the colors together in the same clockwise order of color, I got a 4 ½” wide strip. 

I then cut it into 4 ½” increments, which I laid against the top in a couple of ways to see what I liked best-

Even though I like all three, I think I will go with plain old piano keys, the first one.

Because of the math involved, I will have to take a couple of keys out here and there to make it fit proper, and in the corners, I am going to make 4-patch cornerstones.  I have to get the top and bottom “keyboards” on before I can attach the sides with the cornerstones.  Here is how the first one looks:

So I will just spend some time putting these together.  Tomorrow, I will figure out the cornerstones.