Jul 8, 2018

A Girl's Work

... is never done...

Finally the humidity and high temperatures broke and the weekend brought beautiful weather in which I could actually do some much needed yard work.

On Friday, I mowed the yard.  Then I started to trim the weeds until the weedeater battery died.  The downside to having battery powered tools is the battery only lasts 20-30 minutes before needing a charge and it takes about 4 hours to recharge.  Yes, I know I could buy another battery but at $50 a pop, I have not.  The upside to having battery powered tools is that it forces me to stop and rest my arms and shoulders... otherwise I'd just keep going like I'm the energizer bunny or something.  Then pay for it later.

In the summer, I'm usually up before 6am and wish I could mow or do yard work, LOL.  However, the grass is usually too wet and my neighbors wouldn't appreciate it.  On Saturday, I was up and at 'em at 7:30am trimming more weeds until the battery died.  Back on the charger it went.  I spent most of Saturday making the Thread Keeper and writing the tutorial in my previous post.  Intermission was when the battery was recharged and I went back out to trim more weeds.

I had to put to rest one of my favorite pairs of stitching scissors.   These were given to me many, many years ago by CJ at Tea and Stitches, and have been my favorites. They have traveled with me all over the U.S. and have seen many places. I'm sad to see them go.  Thankfully, I have many more pairs to replace them.  Goodbye my friend... you have served me well.  ::sniffle::

On Sunday, I slept until 9am.  I can't remember the last time I slept so late.  Got up and hit the ground running.  Finished weed trimming the yard. 

Removed a humongous thistle from my flower bed. I bet that thing was 4 ft tall with 3/4" stem.  Note to self:  Do NOT let thistles get that tall... ever!  

It was not an easy task to remove even with gloves on. Sprayed other weedy areas. Pulled weeds out of the flower bed. Trimmed the burning bush until the battery died on the hedge trimmer.  It looks really stupid only half trimmed, but whateva! I also winterized the snowblower aka "Little Blow" and put it away. Swept the garage, did laundry, and repotted my Mom's Christmas cactus.

Silly me then decided to wash the car.  Hey, there were a LOT of splatted bugs on the front and it really needed it.  So, I lugged my pressure washer from the basement and went to work.

Nothing beats a good hand washed car!

Several months ago, I noticed a rub mark on my rear passenger side bumper.  I believe it was done by a coworker because I saw a scrape on her car, but at the time I didn't realize mine had been scraped.  Humph!  Anyway, I digress.

Even though auto parts stores carry rubbing compound just for this purpose, I didn't want to have buy a container of it just for a couple scrapes.  Eureka!  It hit me...

Magic Eraser!  It cleans stuff off paint in the house, so why wouldn't it work on a car?!  I use the Erase and Clean from Family Dollar. They are way cheaper than the name brand and work just as well.  I tore off a small chunk (no reason to waste the entire eraser), wet it, and rubbed the scuff marks right off the car.

Before and After.  The only spot left is a where paint is chipped off.
How's that for a weekend?!  Now, I can gear up for more hot, humid weather. Yippee! (Not)

Until next time...

Jul 7, 2018

Thread Keeper Tutorial

Designer:  Little House Needleworks LHNPC-91
Fabric:  28ct Silkweavers Evenweave
Floss:  WDW, GAST, and Crescent Colors
Embellishments:  Crochet Lace, Buttons

Linked to: Stitching Lotus Smalls SAL

I have yet another stitchy finish!  I'm so thrilled with how this turned out!  I didn't have the colors called for in the stitched design so I substituted from my stash on hand.  I had enough foresight to write down the steps and take photos in order to write up a tutorial.  I combined ideas from my mailart tutorial (Hard to believe it was 2009 when I taught that class!), several YouTube videos, and sewing tutorials in order to present to you:

(aka Floss Pocket)

 I do not have specific cutting sizes because depending on the size of the stitched piece and your preferences, the sizes could be different.

Here are the supplies I used:
•  Stitched Piece
•  Outside Finishing Fabric
•  Inside Lining Fabric
•  Lightweight Fusible Interfacing
•  Zipper
•  Coordinating Thread
•  Decorative Trim (optional)
•  Fusible Fleece
•  Fastener (Snaps, Ribbon, Buttons, etc)
•  Rotary Cutter
•  Quilting Ruler
•  Iron
•  Sewing Needle
•  Straight Pins
•  Sewing Machine
•  Zipper Foot
•  Zig Zag Foot

Step 1:
Iron your stitched piece, the finishing fabric, and the lining fabric.  I ironed quite a bit throughout assembly of the Thread Keeper.  Ironing keeps all the pieces nice and flat.

Step 2:
Trim your stitched piece to desired size.  I left a border of 3/4" on the sides and 1" on top and bottom.  Set aside.

Step 3:
Cut two strips of your finishing fabric 2 1/4" x the height of the sides of the stitched piece.  You can be approximate on the height of the strips as we'll square it up later.

Step 4:
Right sides together, pin the strips to the stitched piece. 

Step 5:
Using 1/4" seam allowance, sew strips to stitched piece.  Press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 6:
If necessary, square up the top and bottom edges so the fabric strips are even with the stitched piece.

See!  All pretty.

Step 7:
Cut one strip 2 1/4" x the width of the top, and one strip 1 3/4" x width of bottom.  The reason I made the top strip taller is to accommodate for my flap. Pin and sew the strips to the stitched piece.  Again, press the seams toward the outside edge.

Step 8:
Cut piece of lightweight fusible interfacing and iron it on the back of your newly sewn block.  I don't know what kind of interfacing I used as it was a huge piece I picked up at a thrift store really inexpensively.

Step 9:
Cut four strips of finishing fabric 2" tall x width of interfaced block.  Press 1/2" edges toward center.

Step 10:
Place one strip with pressed edge on top of zipper and one strip on bottom, wrong sides facing, and making sure the strips line up evenly with zipper teeth.  Pin together.  Using zipper foot on sewing machine, sew the strips to the zipper.  Repeat for opposite side of zipper teeth.

Step 11:
Decide how high from the bottom of the Floss Keeper you want the zipper pocket.  I decided on 6".

Cut one piece of finishing fabric 6" tall x width of interfaced block.  Mine ended up being 6" x 9 1/2".

With zipper still in place (see first photo in this step), measure from zipper teeth to top of interfaced block.  Add to this measurement the height you want your front flap to be.  Add 1/4" more for the seam allowance.  For instance, from my zipper to the top was 3 1/4".  Add 3 1/4" + 9 1/2" (width of interfaced block) + 1/4" (seam allowance) = 5 1/4".  I needed to cut a piece 5 1/4" x 9 1/2".

Cut two pieces of interfacing for the the finishing fabric strips you've just cut.  Iron interfacing onto back side of fabric strips.

At this point you should have four pieces:  The stitched piece, the zipper with the plackets sewn on, and the top fabric piece for the zipper pocket, and the bottom fabric piece for the zipper pocket.

Step 12:
Lay the zipper so that the pull is on your left side.  Slide the 6" tall fabric between the placket making sure it lays straight.  Pin in place and top stitch.

Step 13:
Repeat with top piece.  This will be the back side of the Floss Keeper.

Step 14:
Right sides facing each other, pin and sew the stitched piece to the back side at the bottom edge.  Press the seam toward the back side piece.

You should have one long piece.

Step 15:
If you want to add trim along the zipper edge, now is the time!  Pin and sew in place.  This step is totally optional.  I used decorative crochet lace from my stash and wove 12 strands of the cranberry floss used in the stitched piece.

Step 16:
Measure the rectangle you just created and cut a lining fabric the same size.  Mine ended up being 9 3/4" x 21".  Don't worry if your rectangle isn't squared.  This will be done in another step.

Step 17:
Cut a piece of fusible fleece the size of the lining fabric.  I actually bought the fleece for a paint brush roll project.  Hope I have enough left for it!  Iron fleece onto wrong side of lining fabric.

Step 18:
With right sides facing, lay your finishing fabric piece on top of the lining fabric piece.  Pin together.  Take a few minutes to square up your edges and cut off the excess zipper.  Incidentally, I've had this zipper for decades.  Matches perfectly with the purple stitching on the front.  I didn't plan it that way, it just happened! 

Step 19:
Fold the Floss Keeper at the bottom edge and the flap to make sure the flap will lay where you want it.  If it's a bit too tall, cut to size you'd like.

Step 20:
If you'd like curved corners on your flap, make them now at the bottom edge.  I used a square glass to curve my flap.

Step 21:
Since I wanted matching trim around my flap on the front, I machine basted 1/4" around the edge of the finishing fabric.  

Then I hand basted the trim in place on the right side making sure it was facing away from the cut edge.

Step 22:
At this point add your fastener to keep your flap closed.  I used invisible snaps and added decorative buttons.

Tip:  When you want to hold a decorative button in place until you can secure it, use double sided tape!  After securing the button, carefully cut the tape out from under the button.  Works like a charm!

Step 23:
Starting a couple inches off center on top edge of stitched piece, sew around perimeter of fabric (finishing fabric should be facing lining fabric) using 1/4" seam allowance.  Make sure previously sewn seams lay flat before stitching over them.  Leave 3-4" gap so you can turn it inside out.

Step 24:
Clip corners and notch the curved edge.

Step 25:
Turn right side out and press flat.  Whip stitch the opening closed.

Step 26:
Using the sewing machine, sew "in the ditch" (i.e. in the seam allowance) at the bottom of the Floss Keeper.  This forms the bottom of the zipper pocket on the back.

Step 27:
Sew in the ditch of the placket above the zipper.  Sew a line where the flap folds over.

Step 28:
Lastly, fold the Thread Keeper at the bottom seam with lining fabric facing together.  Pin left and right sides.  Top stitch 1/8-1/4" in from edges.

There you have it.  Thread Keeper is complete!

 If I were to do this over, the one thing I'd do differently is to add a lining fabric over top of the fusible fleece where the zipper pocket is.

The dimensions of my finished Thread Keeper ended up being 8 3/4" wide x 9" tall.

If you make one, I'd love to see it!

Until next time...

Jul 2, 2018

Marvelous Monday Update 7/2/2018


Whew, this past weekend was a scorcher!  Heat index temperatures were 110-115F.  The air conditioner in the house and vehicles could hardly keep up.  Thankfully, on Sunday a cold front came through and the temperatures dropped considerably.  At least for a few days...  Dog days of summer!

I almost had a fiasco on my hands.  Last month, I bought tickets to Of Mice and Men at a local community theatre for June 30th.  The local college was putting on Wizard of Oz so I bought tickets on June 22nd for the production on the 23rd... or, so I thought.

Arrived at the theatre on the 23rd all dressed up to find there were people in my seats.  There were 20 people in line at the box office and the lights were flickering to tell people to take their seats.  I figured part of the show would be missed if I had to wait until the line was cleared, so I went home.  On Monday, I called to see if I could exchange the tickets for the last showing of Oz on July 1st.  Instead of sitting front center, the only seats were in the last three rows a little off center.  Better than losing the cost of the tickets, I got those.  The production, like all the college's productions, was fantastic!  I'm always amazed at how talented the actors/actresses are and the special effects are always so good.

Of Mice and Men was also very good.  It's based on a novel by John Steinbeck.  I've never read the book or seen the 1993 movie.  The ending was compassionate and disturbing at the same time.  I was sitting third row center so I experienced the ending up close and personal!

Happy Dance!  I finished Ode to the Ort Basket.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Ode to the Ort Basket
Designer:  Brenda Gervais/With Thy Needle and Thread
Fabric:  40ct Vintage Pecan by Lakeside Linens
Fibers:  GAST, WDW, DMC, and Classic Colorworks threads
Basket is 2.75"W x 2.5"H x 1.5"D

Soap box time!  The designs calls over-dyed threads so I bought them all.  I was very irritated that one color used only three stitches.  Since the design is stitched one thread over two, that means I used 1/2" of one strand of thread.  With the little amount of thread needed to stitch this project, the designer could've put in the small amount of threads needed and bumped the price up a couple dollars.  Okay, off my soapbox now.

Until next time...