Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monkey 7 was sick -- croup -- last week. Now, little Owen (Monkey 8) has had a nasty cold since last Friday. He ran a low grade fever on Sunday, but none since then. However, he will not sleep in his bed. I think the congestion really bothers him when he's lying down flat. Soooo, I have been holding him, for many hours, night and day, all week. I love my sweet little guy, but enough snuggling already! Anyone want to come over and fill in for a couple of hours so I can take a nap??
I do want to thank Amy at Mia Sophia's Day for her very sweet write-up on my sachets and wool dryer balls. I'm very happy that they worked for you! (Go check out her lovely, and I mean lovely, felt hair accessories and pendants! Her stained glass panels have been a favorite of mine for a long time.)
Also, how about a super-crazy-awesome mention on Montreal's CBC website?
Seriously, I do miss you, and I will be back soon (hopefully) to catch up on all of your amazing posts and stories, and maybe have a post and pictures to share as well. Now, I'm off to bed. . . . Owen is sleeping for the moment.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I wanted to share my tutorial for making wallets out of old paperback books (or any paper media, really.)
This basic wallet was not my idea... the original link does not work (but here it is anyway.) The original design was flawed, and the wallets ripped the first time you opened them. I changed the design, and made them much, much stronger. My own wallet is over 1 1/2 years in use now, and still going strong. Not bad, huh? I don't mind if anyone sells wallets made from this design, just please don't sell my tutorial. If you have any questions, you can post them in the comments below, and I'll try to answer any you may have.
- paperback (or other paper media) that measures at least 4 inches wide, and 7 inches long
- scrap paper for template (cut to 4" X 7")
- cardstock for interior
- packing tape (or other strong tape)
- glue (optional)
- pen or pencil
- snaps (I prefer these heavy-duty ones)
- snap fastening tool (optional -- many snaps contain the tool)
- clear vinyl -- available on the bolt and in many remnant bins at fabric stores or even Wal-Mart
- tissue paper (optional, but recommended)
- sewing machine (recommended, but not necessary if you like to hand sew)
**Cut a template measuring 4" X 7" from scrap paper.
**Fold template in half across the middle. You will now have 3.5" on each side.
**Fold ends of template in 1" on each end... these will be the pockets. When those ends are folded in, the wallet should measure 2.5". See pic above for help.... I know I don't explain that part very well.
**Using your template, cut out your cardstock interior piece.
**Fold cardstock interior the same way you folded the template. Set aside.
**Now, cut a piece of vinyl slightly larger than the template. Set aside.
**Using your template, place it on your paperback bookcover where you think you will want to cut. Make sure a crease does not cover a face, or major design element. If it does, don't worry. There are ways around that, as I'll explain in the next step.......
Adjusting for creases or too-short covers
**I don't have an action shot of this step, but I do have a finished example. It's easy to figure out, and I'll try to explain.....
**In this picture, the center crease would have been right across Jack London's face, ruining the design. I needed to shift the design down a bit, but the cover would then be about 1.5 inches too short. You'll need to basically extend the cover a bit with some extra cardstock!
**I just took a piece of scrap cardstock about 2" long, and 4" wide. Place that scrap piece on the back of the book cover on the too-short end. Glue the scrap piece to the bookcover, and then reinforce that part with a small bit of packing tape. (Elmer's purple glue stick works great!) Let it dry a few minutes.
**Now, you can cut out your cover using the template.
**Fold cover just like the template.
Place cardstock interior inside cover:
**Make some folding adjustments to the interior if you need to to get them to fit. It's OK (and normal) if the interior doesn't fit exactly inside the cover. Don't worry -- that will be trimmed later.
**Place a small piece of packing tape (about 1" square) in the center of each end of cardstock and paperback cover. Make sure you put the tape on the back side of the cover! ;)
**Place the vinyl on the cover and interior. Place paperclips on each end, on both sides. Don't use pins.
**Using your pen or pencil, lightly press/mark the spot for the snaps on each pocket. It will be in the center of each pocket... 1/2" from the cut edge, and 2" from either side as in the picture above.
**UNFOLD the wallet, but keep the clips in place, and lay the wallet flat. Don't shift the papers and vinyl around, or it won't fold back up like you had it.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Today, I received a convo from Funky Finds about a Spring Fling they've put together in Ft. Worth. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to give it a try. It seems like a good fit for me -- cool sponsors (Dallas Craft Mafia and Sublime Stitching,) other neat and reputable vendors, a low entry fee, good venue, and not very far from my home. It's also the first year for this event. Some vendors may be turned off by that -- not enough traffic. But this suits me fine for my first try, and to see if I like this sort of thing.
Oh, what about sitting alone in my booth? Problem solved! I invited my sisters to join me in this endeavor, and they accepted. Even if I didn't make any sales, I know I would have a ridiculously fun time with my crazy sisters.
And a cool mention. . . .
Mike mentioned my eco-friendly dryer sachets and wool balls in his recent post, Toss Those Harmful Dryer Sheets in the Trash. I learned a lot in the article -- very informative! Please drop by and pay him a visit. (Thanks for the shout-out, Mike!)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
And his photo album chronicled some fun adventures:
We are happy to have him home again, at least for a few weeks, before he roams again!
And a blog feature:
This lovely blog featured my sachets! This blog is bookmark-worthy, as she features a lot of really cute Etsy finds! (Thanks, Annemari!)
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
We carefully unravelled the sweaters (don't flame me, my lovely knitter friends!) and then wound a small, tight core.
We tested a batch of dryer balls in our own laundry, and I have to say that they are effective in reducing static! They are the most effective with cotton and cotton blend fabrics, and the least effective on 100% polyester items. (But then again, commercial dryer sheets aren't that effective on polyester, either.) We used one ball in our laundry, and had positive results. Some people use two or more, and claim even better static reduction.
(Thanks, vintagedchic, for including my sachets in your lovely treasury!)
And a contest:
Singer is sponsoring a Sewing With Nature Contest. The main rules state that the item must be sewn with a sewing machine and be "organic." The "organic" part is open to interpretation, so I submitted my Gathering... Everything tote:
The tote is very roomy. While I worked on it, I envisioned family picnics, trips to the farmers market or library, apple-picking. These are all activities that gather loved ones together, while gathering necessities and treasures. Practical and beautiful.
The deadline for entering the contest is February 4th. Oh, did I mention one of the prizes is a new, fancy SINGER sewing machine?!? And be sure to check out the Flickr pool for the entries!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Two of the things I posted on FreeCycle were sewing machines -- now on to my dilemma:
I was blessed to have 3 sewing machines: a basic Singer, which was my college graduation present over a decade ago:
and two Brothers, that my sister rescued from the garbage this past summer.
The Singer was my everyday machine. It wasn't the best -- the stitches weren't quite even or perfect (or professional-looking) but it was simple and worked hard. The Brothers, of unknown history or age, miraculously, worked fine as backup machines: I suppose my workload was too much for two of them. My handy-dandy Singer died, just before Christmas, when I had aaallll those sachet orders to fill. Nice timing. One of the Brothers died shortly before that (pictured above.) I prayed that my last back-up machine would last me through Christmas (it did.)
I called our local sewing machine repair shop to ask about service fees. I felt sick when he told me it would be $90, per machine, just to look at them. I'm not sure my Singer cost that much new! So, I offered them through FreeCycle. . . . maybe someone can fix them and get several more years out of them.
Now, what to do? I was going to save up my birthday money, and some Etsy sales, and invest in a new, heavy-duty machine. I don't want a fancy computerized machine -- that's just not what I would use. I want a work horse.
My seamstress sister recommended the Singer HD110, with a commercial grade motor (and 1100 stitches per minute! woo-hooo!) I researched that model, read the reviews, and decided that that was the machine for me. I had asked my father if he could repair my other machines, and he said it just wasn't worth it. . . . and then bought me the Singer HD for my birthday!!!! (I'm excited -- this warrants 4 exclamation marks!)
It arrived just a few days ago, and I finally got to try it out yesterday. Looooove it. LOVE it! It's so fast, and the stitches are just beautiful. It's supposed to be able to sew heavy fabrics like denim, canvas and leather with no problems, so I can't wait to make some new totes with it. Thank you so much, Dad! It's perfect.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009
My thoughtful friend, Milly, made this for me. So incredibly soft, and really long -- it's double-wrapped in the photo. I just love it! Owen loves it, too. He kept petting and snuggling it all day! We're expecting another cold front tomorrow -- perfect timing!
Milly is also our Etsy Texas Crafters street team leader, and works tirelessly to manage (corral?) over 600 members. I don't know how she does it! And this is in addition to running her own lovely shop, Thistlecraft. Please drop by her shop sometime and see her unique recycled CD cards (and so much more!) Thanks so much, Milly!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
And speaking of Craftster, did I tell you I've caught the swap bug again? "Oh, no," you say. Oh, yes. I'm organizing (and swapping in) Another Pin Cushion Swap and helping organize the Embroidered Valentine Tea Towel Swap -- my first tea towel swap! And I've also joined the Tiny House Swap -- how fun! (I'll pass along some pics and links to the galleries as soon as they're available.)
And about those pincushions:
I just made this pincushion for a custom order last weekend:
I love how it turned out! (I'm really loving the light blue and red together.)
I was inspired by the Katamari game my kids and I used to play!
I'll catch up with you tomorrow or Thursday with some more goodies! I'm planning a tutorial on my paperback wallets very soon. . . . .
Sunday, January 4, 2009
I also think I may make myself an apron from this fabric. And, if I can dig up any, I may use some of that flat crocheted-type "lace" as a trim. I can never find anything to do with lace, much less the crocheted kind (so I hope I haven't given it all away,) but I think the handmade-look of it, and its texture, would be perfect for this project!