Friday, December 20, 2013

Owl gadget cozy

I first saw this cute little guy on a link to someone's Etsy shop where he was for sale.  Of course I surely thought I could make my own....and I finally did!  But I had help.  I was at the library and just about fell over when I saw him on the cover of a book! The Happy Stitch book of 30 Felt & Fabric Projects for Everyday! Page 18 and there he is! And now he's mine!  It was my first attempt at any sort of embroidery stitch, including the blanket stitch, but over all it went okay.  I skipped the liner on the back.  In the future, I think I would line the back, but also use interfacing on the back for increased support (something which the book does not suggest.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

microwavable rice bag monster

Greeeeeaaaaaat.....I just read a blog that says not to use felt on these microwaveable rice bag creations because much felt is made from polyester, and polyester will melt in the microwave. Of course the same blog suggests using fleece, which is also a type of polyester.  It melts when over-heated.  Ideally, you should use a 100% natural fabric like cotton.  Oh well.  

Anyway, here is the tutorial I used.  

Applique just bores me to death.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Perler- Hama Owls-- persistence pays off

I bought these plastic beads at a thrift store for some oddball project I was doing.  The project didn't work out and I was left with all these silly beads.  I saw some really cute owls on Pinterest using the beads, so I thought I would give it a shot.  Having never worked with these beads before, I didn't realize that there were different boards for different patterns. Sure, my thrift store find came with different boards- like a star and circle, but I just figured they were to help you make a star and circle.  I didn't realize that the little nubbies on the boards were actually set up difference.  Of course I found this out pretty quick when I tried to replicate the picture on Pinterest.   Frustration ensued.  First I tried to completely wing it with the first (large) owl. That's a blocky mess with a big head. Then I very closely followed the second smaller owl, which wasn't lining up correctly and hence turned out a big cock-eyed.  Finally, thank you LaRaLil!!! She had her owl photographed on the STAR board, so I was able to clearly follow her lead.  I'll tell ya, things are much less frustrating when you have a pattern to follow.  I was cursing those Hama beads, wondering why anyone would want to do anything so tedious and frustrating as trying to get those little plastic beads in just the right location.  But once I had a pattern and my owl turned out decently, I actually had a little bit of fun!

Side, explain this to me.........we are often so concerned about melting plastic and releasing toxic fumes and chemicals..........yet all over the world we are melting plastic Hama beads.  I've seen blogs where people are using take-out plastic to make their own shrinky dinks, and the naysayers are warning in the comments of "dangerous plastic fumes"......Or people are afraid of plastic water bottles and BPA.......Okay, we aren't drinking the Hama beads, so I'll give you that one.  But barely.  


I thought I would try my hand at applique again and dress up a boring shopping bag I had made earlier.  OMG, what a tedious task sewing an applique is.  I remember reading somewhere to go slow that you get bored.  Well, I got bored alright.  Ugh.  How do people do so much applique?  It's just so boring!  Cute results, but boring!

And no, I don't expect that tail to last very long.  I need to find something more permanent.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Latest bag

I have to admit, I just love how this bag turned out.  I found the bird embroidery at a thrift store...I think it was supposed to be a pillow?  Being two sided and all.  I cut it apart and attached it to a bag I made instead.  So cute!  I actually wish I knew who did the original embroidery so that I could give it to them!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CD holder & Portfolio

Where I live, internet options are limited.  I used to have HughesNet, which was about as quick as dial-up. Finally I upgraded to Verizon HomeFusion, which was sooooooo much faster.  I could actually watch YouTube videos!  Shocking!  It's really annoying how websites assume you have a fast internet connection.

Anyway, my point is, and I do have one, HomeFusion is much faster, but I am limited on my data usage. 10 GB a month.  Which apparently went quick this month.  So off went the internet and off went my connection to the web and all it's great tutorials.  Instead, I became reacquainted with the library, somewhere around the section.  These projects- a portfolio and archaic CD holder (I messed up a bit on the latter, of course)- are from books checked out at the library.  Unfortunately I've since returned them and hence don't remember the names of the books!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Slouchy book bag

Look at this!  Buttons and pockets, oh my!  I even had to do some measuring!  Though in the end, I don't think the measuring was necessary.  I think perhaps the tutorial was a little more involved than it needed to me.  I had to use a ruler (shocker!) to measure and mark the bottom of the bag, just so that I could accurately make the box corners.  Just seemed a bit overkill, but I suppose some people like to be very precise.  You might have figured this out, but when it comes to sewing, I'm not precise at all!  LOL!  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Toiletry bag

Typical Kathy behavior-- I get over-confident in my abilities and skip ahead to the advanced projects. Not, I repeat NOT, a good idea!!  I was so incredibly frustrated trying to make this toiletry bag that I was just about in tears.  Tears, I tell ya.  I thought the Reader's Digest sewing book was a pretty good book until I got to this project....those happy thoughts of it being a good book rapidly then disappeared.  I just could barely figure out what the heck was going on.  I guess I like picture books, because there just were not enough pictures to help me!  And then!!!  For some odd reason, this bag is only half lined on the inside!!!  The inside is just embarrassing!  No, of course I'm not going to post a photo of that!  I don't know what the book's authors were thinking, not fully lining the inside of the bag.  Unless of course, I somehow messed that up.  I admit, usually that's highly highly likely, but I just don't think that's the case this time. 

Oddly enough, despite my frustration and tears, as soon as this project was done, I wanted to start on the next.  During the process, if you'd seen my frustration, you'd think for sure that I was ready to pack up my sewing machine and return it.  But nope.  I don't feel any more skilled, but I'm also not ready to throw in the towel (or the toiletry bag, as the case may be).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Owl back into a pillow

This owl that I made into a bag was annoying me so much that I turned it back into a pillow.  I still don't care for it much, but at least it's less irritating to me this way.

Log cabin pillow

Project number two- log cabin pillow! Look at me go!

Well, my great plans of doing every project in the book came to an abrupt halt.  I just don't have much need or desire for much of whats in there.  Table cloths, roman shades, more curtains.  Already I'm picking and choosing the projects I want to make.  The book is great, don't get me wrong. It's easy to follow and doesn't overwhelm. It's just mostly home furnishings. Stuff I'm not too interested in.   

Mini curtain

I went to the library and checked out just about all the books they had on sewing (it's a small library). One is Reader's Digest Step-by-Step Sewing Course.  I figured I could work my way through this book and learn a thing or two.  First project- mini curtain!  Actually the first project is a curtain, but I don't really need another curtain, so I made it mini so that I could at least learn the techniques. It went fairly well, though the hems seem quite thick/big to me.  That could just be because I didn't scale them down to match the smaller size of the curtain.  So look at me! I measured, cut, and even pinned! I might turn into a decent seamstress after all!

On a side note, seamstress is a much better word than sewer, don't you think? Sewer just makes me think of septic tanks, not needles and thread.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Easy Pocket Pouch

A return to the easy stuff!  And I got to try out some more decorative stitches!  I can see why they recommend that you do a trial run on a scrap piece of fabric.  I first chose a clover stitch and stitched about three clovers, when I decided it was not close enough to the edge.  Out came my stitch ripper.  News to me, but removing decorative stitches is not easy or quick.  At all. So when I discovered I had made the same mistake with the stitch below (on the right), I just left it.

And look! My first snap! A no-sew snap!  No-sew does also NOT mean easy or quick! Not a fan!  Maybe it's because I was trying to push the prongs through three layers (two of fabric and one of interfacing). Ugh. I actually damaged a few of the prongs whacking it in frustration with the hammer, so I'm not even sure how long it's going to hold up now.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Owl keychain

The phrase "comedy of errors" makes all the more sense to me.  I swear, it's one thing after another.  I can't even show you my first failed attempt with the new machine.  I was apparently feeling very over-confident and decided to attempt an "easy tank dress."  Not so easy for me.  It was the "gathering" that got me.  Well, that and bad measuring.  I think I've mentioned before that I don't like to measure.  This became painfully obvious when I attempted to put the dress on.  I heard stitches rip and what was supposed to be a relaxed dress turned into a "hug my ass and show all the lumps and bumps" dress.  My stitches could be heard ripping when I struggled to take it off.  Yes.  Very discouraging.  One should really make sure they understand how their new machine functions first. 

Honestly, just reading the instruction manual for this fancy newfangled computerized sewing machine (my old one was a classic mechanical singer) was intimidating.  Then I watched the included DVD and thought, "wow, I can handle this! No problem!"  Haha.  Hence the dress debacle.  So I reverted back to owls.

Oh, the owls.  The instructions don't call for applique.  That was me using the wrong fusible webbing. So I got to try out the applique stitch on my machine. I clearly had no idea what I was doing.  See the eyes?  Yea. A mess.  Thankfully by the time I got to the red belly, I have a better grip on things.  I also got to attempt not one but two buttons!  We'll see how long they last, as I of course had some big issues with those as well.

Someday I hope I can look back on all this and just laugh.  

Trying out my new sewing machine!!

I noticed during my last post that my sewing machine was very tight.  It was getting very hard to turn the hand crank. So I asked the other half to take a look at it. I left the room while he took it apart.  I heard a lot of banging and a request for a hammer. He asked if the machine had ever been dropped.  He dusted off all the lint and got out the oil.  In the end, yes, he fixed the tight hand crank with a touch of oil. That was all it took!  He put it back together and I was good to go!  For about five minutes. Then the needle hit something hard.  I reverse cranked it just a touch and it was good to go again.  For a few more minutes.  I jiggled it again and off we went.  And then I bent the needle.  I have never bent a needle. Oh, I've broken plenty, but never bent one.  While all this was happening, I'll also noticed that the knobs to adjust the length and width were no longer working,nor was the upper tension knob. So....... 

Here is the result.  I was all prepared to get a Brother Walmart cheapie, but they were out of stock, and this was the next best deal.  I do have my concerns about the innards being plastic instead of metal, not to mention made in China! It's appalling that I would buy something made in China, but I really did not want to spend a lot for a machine.  I've heard that the classic vintage machines are often times preferred..........but okay, I was lured in by the numerous decorative stitches! So bad!  That monogramming is really going to come in handy, lol.....not!  (:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

More bags

You can't go wrong with Disney.  I just hope I reinforced the handles superbly. I needed some grocery bags big enough for pizza boxes, but you never know when a clerk might load it up with canned goods instead.  Totes like this are super simple to make. Skip To My Lou has the tutorial I essentially used. 

My zippered pouch (tutorial thanks to Noodlehead) was supposed to have bigger box corners and I had issues with the zipper as well.  The box corners are my own fault- I just didn't make them big enough.  Box corners, by the way, are super easy.  I was scared to do them for a long time for absolutely no good reason. As for the zipper.....hmmmmmm.......months ago I went on a quest for a zipper foot.  I didn't think I could put on a zipper without a zipper foot.  Good way to put off trying something new and scary.  I was in Joann Fabrics thinking for sure they'd have a zipper foot.  After all, they are a fabric store, right?  Well, they didn't.  Maybe they were just sold out, I don't remember, but it was the sales associate who told me that you don't really need one.  And you know what? You don't.  I still don't have one.  I'm certainly not a master zipper layer, and someday I hope to still get one, cheap, but until then, I won't use it as an excuse not to put in a zipper.  A regular sewing foot works just fine. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Owl bag 2

I like this bag loads better than that goofy round one.  I don't know what the heck I"m going to do with that thing (the round one).  Guess I should have left it as a pillow! 

But back to the current bag.  This applique business is a pain in the butt.   I think that's what I'm attempting to do on the wings, eyes and beak anyway.  Maybe I should actually look into the proper way to do it, and then it won't be such a pain in the behind. 

I was inspired by "Rocking the Owls" by Gingercake, but I certainly wasn't going to buy a pattern.  Oh no, I'm way too frugal for that. Especially since she claims the bags are must mean easy, right?  Actually, they were fairly easy, minus the pain in the butt applique.  For the most part, I just dressed up a standard tote bag (tutorial here)!

Jiffy cornbread mix

The secret to fantastic corn bread made from this mix, is to make it according to directions but to also add 1/3 cup of sour cream or plain/vanilla yogurt. Doing so will keep it from turning into a rock. You can also add corn and honey, but I think sour cream is the real trick.

Owl bag

Well,,,,,,,,,I like owls.  I used to think I was unique in liking owls but then discovered that this was hardly the case.  I don't like that I'm not unique, but at least that means patterns are available for owl crafts.  Of course I chose the one without a pattern.  Because it seemed easy enough.  And it relatively was.  So much so that I decided to get creative. I should really stop doing that.  This "Give a Hoot" owl project was for a pillow, but I didn't figure that I needed another pillow.  But I love a good bag.  The result is not a good bag, lol.  It's an oddball bag and I forgot the ears.  Oh well.  For trying to figure it out myself, it turned out okay.

Sewing Case

There is so much wrong with this "quick and easy sewing case" that I attempted that I'm almost embarrased to post it.  It was not "quick and easy" for me.  I had problems with making the tassel, for pete's sake! And then I had to keep redoing parts of the stitching, because I missed the edge of both fabrics (ie sewing only one fabric, so when I turned it right side out there was a hole).  Originally I wanted the yellow fabric on the outside, but I messed up sewing it together, and when I used the stitch ripper to remove the thread, huge holes remained in the fabric.  At this point I really considered just tossing it.  But I didn't.  Why?  Because I hate wasting material and interfacing, and I hate to put all that work into something for naught. Don't get me wrong, it still might get tossed, but at least I followed it through to the end.  And now I can chalk it up to a learning experience.  I'm sure I learned something, though I'm not really sure what.

What is my point?  The point is, I suck at sewing.  But I still try.  I have a friend who won't even attempt to sew because she's "afraid her finger will get pierced by the sewing machine needle." I kinda really doubt that will happen, but it's really sad to not even see her try because of her fears.  Look at me. I suck at sewing. I've broken needles. I've wasted countless time and energy and fabric and supplies.  But at least I try.  I give myself kudos for that. 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Just got back from a trip to Utah!  Check out some photos here!

Sewing again!

I am a notoriously lazy sewer. I don't like to measure or cut or pin. Needless to say, sewing clothes is not a good idea for me. I like to sew bags and even then, I'm bound to do at least one thing wrong. The stitch ripper is my best friend and worse enemy, lol.

Anyway, I haven't sewed in about a year, so I'm trying to get back into it. First project was a reversible messenger bag from crazy little projects.  Of course I had issues right off, namely, I couldn't get my printer to print the pattern.  It looked simple enough so I guessed at it.  Hmmmmm.......You might not be able to tell from the photo, but the flap is a bit too short-- it doesn't want to stay flopped over the opening of the bag.  But of course I didn't discover this until the very end (since I don't like to measure anything).  I cut my pieces and then started sewing...........and of course quickly discovered that I had sewed the wrong two pieces together.  Out comes the stitch ripper.  Then I had an issue with the long just didn't tuck very nicely into the bag.   I think that's more of a pattern error than a Kathy error though.  Overall I think it turned out pretty good for my first return attempt.

I think learning to make use of the iron really helps. 

UPDATE:  I never really liked how the straps attached to this bag, so I took them off.  And then I just turned the whole thing into a pocket-- that is I attached the entire bag to a larger bag that I had.  I just knew I would never use it as it was.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our weed bucket

Threw a bunch of leftover seed packs (ie, those that have been in the bottom of the crisper drawer in the frig for years)into the whiskey barrel this year with fantastic results!

Monday, September 23, 2013