Finishing projects

A while ago, I made some posh pillowcases, using this tutorial Posh Pillowcases   Easy basic sewing, which produces a very fun pillowcase. And the tutorial then proceeds to show you how to add a crocheted edge – also very nice and easy crochet.

This summer, I finally dug them out of my WIP bin, and added the crochet edge to all 8 of them. Now, I am no longer storing them in the wire project bins in my sewing room, but can actually put them in rotation on my bed. And there is something yummy about using them on my bed. I just adore laying my head down for a rest on my own handmade with love pillowcases.

Here is a photo of some of them – I used different edgings than the ones in the tutorial, just for fun. And I am showing the front and back of the pillowcases here so you can see the combinations of fabrics that were used for the inner pocket and outer case. I love that pocket feature because the pillows no longer fall out of their cases.

Crochet trims… So many to patterns to choose from, so little time.#finishingwips #crochet #handmade #summer2016

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So. Much. Fun. to mark these off my to-do list and enjoy them.

Summer days drawing to close

  • Attended a week long professional development session concerning the new Common Core curriculum. Unpaid, during my “vacation”, trying to better myself.
  • Attended the Moral Monday for Education to protest a state government that seems determined to undermine education. Here are some links if you are interested:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/30/3070787/on-moral-monday-teaching-with.html  or http://www.wral.com/-moral-monday-organizers-want-meeting-with-mccrory-plan-future-protests/12716757/ or http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/29/4199729/largest-moral-monday-crowd-yet.html

  • Back to school shopping on last tax free weekend for NC. Saving $7 on every $100 doesn’t mean much to some, but when buying shoes and clothes and school supplies times 3 boys, it is helpful. So we gather a list all summer and take advantage of sales and tax free on that first weekend in August.

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  • Some knitting – down to the sleeves on my Moonshine sweater.

P1100930Raveled here.

Here is the crowd of baby owl gifts. Each one a bit different.
Here is the crowd of baby owl gifts. Each one a bit different.
The back side is minky fabric, and I put a little owl pocket on it with the flannel scraps.
The back side is minky fabric, and I put a little owl pocket on it with the flannel scraps.

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Each face was created with some wool felt leftover from my Waldorf mom crafting days.
Each face was created with some wool felt leftover from my Waldorf mom crafting days.
Because I was using scraps, each face is a bit different. And I like them all.
Because I was using scraps, each face is a bit different. And I like them all.
I am including some plastic links with each one.
I am including some plastic links with each one.
I used a satiny ribbon and a grosgrain ribbon for different textures - and quadrupled stitched the loops hoping they will hold up to use.
I used a satiny ribbon and a grosgrain ribbon for different textures – and quadrupled stitched the loops hoping they will hold up to use.
These are flannel, batting and minky - nothing crinkly. But hopefully the new babies will find them snuggly, and the new moms will find them a useful distraction for restless babes.
These are flannel, batting and minky – nothing crinkly. But hopefully the new babies will find them snuggly, and the new moms will find them a useful distraction for restless babes.
  • PT continues for my frozen shoulder. I am getting a bigger range of motion, but progress is so slow, and working at it takes so much time, and always leaves my arm sore and aching. Ugggh.

Next week I do more curriculum writing, have a son turning 20 and a son turning 17. The following week the youngest son starts school, I return to work, we celebrate our 23rd anniversary, and by the 26th we are all back in school. So blogging returns to its intermittent posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another finished quilt project

Once again, I cannot believe how long it takes me to finish things up. During the school year, there is only room for work, and housework, and boy activities…. and precious little other time. I started this table runner in Jan 2012. It has been hanging over a door and folded up in a box since then, needing quilting and binding. You can see the beginnings of it here: https://willowcaroline.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/january-2nd-acck-the-holiday-is-over/

P1100174I love the wonky stripes. I chose to play with my machine and tried a different machine quilting pattern in each stripe. Considering I did no practice, and am a total newbie, I was very pleased with the results. Yes, the stitches have varying lengths and the patterns show I wasn’t completely used to how to make it flow – but I jumped right in and now have a fun springy quilted table runner.

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I chose the colors to go with the crazy green wall color of my kitchen. The light we get in the kitchen is so perfect for this green at all times of day and in all seasons. I just love this green.

P1100179The runner matches some ‘mug rugs’ I made.

P1100173I had bought some binder clips a while back, and finally tried them out. I really liked using them, although at least one immediately sprang apart and had to be thrown away. Hopefully the others will hold up better, as I can see myself using these frequently.

P1100177You might be able to see some of the patterns I tried. In the solid sections, I played with designs – flowers, ferns, etc. In the polka dot sections I tried to play off the circles – some more successfully than others.

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P1100172And here are some views of the back side.

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P1100169Probably the biggest issue at this point is keeping all the layers together and smooth to prevent bunching as I move the piece about under my machine. I did no basting on this – of any kind – and it shows. It is in the washing machine as I type, so hopefully the bunching will disappear a bit as the layers do their thing with the batting. Not that it matters terribly for this project – as the back isn’t really going to be seen.

All in all, a pretty good first attempt!

 

 

 

 

 

Simple sewing….

Leftover fabric + A need for toilet roll storage in the guest bathroom + pinterest = 

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Small ties to tie it to the toilet roll holder…

P1100147Slip in a couple of spare rolls….

P1100145-001Voila – a quick and easy way to make some storage…

Here is the original inspiration that I had pinned on Pinterest: http://www.etsy.com/listing/47223267/2-roll-toilet-paper-holder-modern

A UFO is now finished….

Back in January I started this small wall hanging and blogged about my progress. https://willowcaroline.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/small-quilting-project/

And now, it is finished.

Finished wall hanging
Finished wall hanging

 

I machine quilted this – I received some new specialty feet for my sewing machine at Christmas time – 2 different types of open toe quilting feet. So I am teaching myself to machine quilt. The first time I did some machine quilting was on a table runner – which is now waiting for a binding. When it is done, I will show that completed project. So this was my second go at machine quilting.

P1100135I love meandering. Not sure why, but maybe it is the organic, curvy nature of it, or the geometry of fitting it all in. In any case, that is what I chose.

P1100137-001I still have a lot to learn about managing the layers under the machine. The best quilting is in the outside border, but because I chose a pale green thread, which showed up nicely on the white, the border is less exciting as the pale green blends in too much.

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I chose not to quilt every space.

P1100138 I love the idea of the scallop border, but need help with applying the binding. Getting the binding smooth in the inner curve area is a puzzle to me. Once again, the pattern was a very primitive pattern – no hints or guidelines for making the curves smooth – barely a mention of the binding at all.

All in all though, I love this little quilt. And I am glad to have it off my “to do” list.

 

 

 

On being green…..

In this family, we believe we should walk lightly on the earth. This was easier for me when I was a stay at home mom. When I returned to work, things like hanging washing on the line, and making everything from scratch became harder and harder to accomplish. We still keep our temps set high (summer) and low (winter) and recycle. But convenience and speed win the day throughout most of the year.

Summertime, however, is the time to return to slower ways. I had pinned a couple of reusable paper towel tutorials on pinterest this past year, and kept getting drawn to them.

Out of towels once again.
Out of towels once again.

Here they are:
http://thatshortgirlsblog.blogspot.com/2012/04/reusable-paper-towel-tutorial.html

http://www.sewastraightline.com/2010/04/rolled-kitchen-towels-tutorial-and.html

And here are some ready made: http://www.etsy.com/listing/95598071/tree-saver-towels-reusable-eco-friendly

I dearly wanted to make some – not sure why – just felt the urge. They are very attractive – see the ones with the green lambs in the etsy shop – would have ordered those right away but no longer saw the green lambs as a fabric choice – bummer. We do go through a lot of paper towels, and I have begun to rely on the Clorox wipes quite a bit. So easy to quickly wash down a counter with the wipes.

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I wondered how useful these would really be – I would still want paper toweling for draining bacon, or cleaning up spilled grease. And for general counter spills, why not just use the cotton kitchen towels I already had?

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But I saw some terry cloth on sale and went for it. I made 9 towels from each of 2 fabrics – I bought a yard of each. The towels were cut 12 x 13 inches.

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Some reflections:

PROS:

  • Easy to make – a beginner sewist could do this.
  • Can coordinate with your kitchen – fun.

CONS:

  • Terry toweling and good quality cotton is not cheap. ( I wondered about using double fold diapers instead of terry cloth. I love using the old ones we have for cleaning – they are so wonderful and absorbent…)
  • A tool for the snaps is expensive – this could be an expensive set of towels, meaning you would need to use them until they were shreds – which is another habit we should return to. Use them until they begin to fall apart – then refashion them into smaller cloths or rag clothes for messy jobs, until they finally do just fall to threads.
  • They will never be as pretty as they are today again – stains, wear and tear will soon have them looking a bit ragged.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

  • Fork out for the high quality cotton and terrycloth. You don’t want to go to all the work just to have it all fall apart in 6 months.
  • Consider using a serger – I don’t have one, but think the serged ones look very nice and finished – and of course, would be faster.
  • Consider alternative ways to store – I decided not to get a snap setter – I don’t see my guys snapping them back together after each wash. I can change my mind and add them later, but for now, I am experimenting with different ways to store them on the counter. This round container was one option – but again, rolling them to put away would probably not happen except by me. Folding them in fourths in a basket is the way I am going for now.

 

 

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P1100127P1100116So, we shall give it a go. I almost hate to start using them. I made 18 all together, and am considering setting aside 5 or so for “company” days – but really, who am I kidding. We need to use these. Whether they will be better than grabbing a tea towel, or will hold up to kitchen cleaner on the counter (whether vinegar based homemade or Spic N Span or an organic brand) or if the stains will come out (mustard, ketchup, meat juices, beet juice?) – who knows? And in the end, is washing them better for the environment than buying paper towels – I guess, if I air dry them, that will cut down on the carbon footprint.

But at least I got the urge out of my system. Now, onto other pinterest items on my list!

 

Summer sewing

A year ago,  I made myself a lunch bag – and have enjoyed it very much. You can see the lunch bag here.

During the past year, I decided to make one for a fundraising Gala because so many people at work had liked mine. See that one here. At that time, I decided the lunch bag would be better a little bigger, and I found someone on the interwebs who had worked out all the measurements. I really liked how the bigger one turned out, and the person that bought it at auction has really enjoyed using it.

So, I decided to make myself another one, but the bigger size. SO here is lunch bag 3.

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P1100088Old bag and new bag side by side size comparison… the new one will hold the water bottles, the bento box, or any number of things all at once!

P1100092I love the top cover that cinches everything inside.P1100090I did add a pocket on the outside of the front – for chapstick, kleenex, utensils –

Pocket detail
Pocket detail

P1100093The added pocket does make the front of the bag a bit “busy” – but I can live with that. The back of the bag is a little more coordinated looking.

Here is the original online tutorial for the small size bag – http://ayumills.blogspot.com/2010/08/tutorial-lunch-bag.html

And here is the blog where the large bag measurements are listed:http://thedomesticgroove.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-lunch-bag-adapted-from-pink-penguin.html

I still plan to make some coordinating reusable lunch baggies and napkins for the new bag.. like I did for the Gala bag. But that is for next week.