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1  CRAFTING FOR GOOD AND NOT EVIL / Crafty Charitable/Social Causes / Cases for Smiles on: November 22, 2015 10:41:03 AM
These pillowcases are for Ryan's Case for Smiles. I first heard about this organization when it was called ConKerr Cancer. They collect and donate pillowcases for kids in the hospital so they can have something to brighten their day. I'll be dropping off 9 pillowcases at a nearby quilt shop that acts as a donation center, and they'll deliver them to local hospitals (most likely in Boston). When I bought the fabrics a few years ago, I specifically tried not to get patterns that were too babyish. They need cases for older kids, too, so I tried to pick fabrics that would appeal to tweens and up.

There is a pattern on the website that uses something called the "hot dog method" which encases the seam for the accent strip.

Then, I used French seams to encase the side seams.

And, after a few years in the to-do pile, I finally have a stack of 9 completed pillowcases!

I washed them all in dye/perfume free detergent, and I just need to bag each one up and send them on the way.

Each pillowcase uses a yard of fabric (1/4 yard for the edge piece and 3/4 yard for the body), but you can also add in an extra little accent strip of fabric between those pieces. Next time, I might do that. It's definitely a good way for me to satisfy my "must buy this fun fabric" urge and put it to good use!
2  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Pear Cozies on: November 22, 2015 09:19:59 AM
At lunch the other day, a co-worker pulled a badly mangled pear out of her lunch bag, commenting,  "Pears don't travel well." To which I replied, "You need a pear cozy! I'll make you one!"

A search for patterns produced a couple of options and, while this one was free (and came with patterns for an apple and a banana cozy), I made a small donation for it. I decided to make 2 of them so I could have one to keep.

No more bruised pears for us!
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / CD Organizer Baskets for the Car on: November 21, 2015 12:08:10 PM

Even though I've been told it's "old fashioned," I still like to buy CDs, especially for playing in the car. I like the cover art, the booklets of lyrics or pictures of the bands (and sometimes even liner notes!) and streaming music chews through my data plan (and cuts out on me in several places along my commute). But, I have the bad habits of not putting the CD back in the case I took it out of and also of tossing them into the back seat, moving them from the pile on the front seat, whenever I have a passenger (not often, so the CD pile can get big). I end up with a jumbled mess of CDs with discs in the wrong cases.

I found a plastic storage bin that would hold 2 rows of CDs, but I wanted to make individual baskets. This will hopefully help me keep them more organized but I also tend to keep one disc in the player for days (or weeks), so I'm hoping that by having 2 separate baskets in the bin, I can use one, take it into the house to refill it, but still have one in the car (because I know I won't swap out the other ones right away).

To make the baskets, I measured the size of the bin plus the height and width of the CD. I made the lining the same way and nested them together. Instead of turning and top-stitching, I finished the raw edges with some coordinating bias binding tape that I had in my stash. The fabric was leftover fabric that my mom and I used to make wall art for her house in FL (we covered 9 or 12  1-foot square canvases with the fabric, and arranged them in a grid on the wall), and there was a lot of leftover fabric (we matched the print across the square panels, so the length of fabric I had contained a bunch of random cutouts.)

I do have to confess that somehow, and I still don't know what I did wrong, I made each basket twice as big as I needed. My math brain truly abandoned me and a project that should have taken an hour at most took me at least 4. I finally decided to just cut out the extra material in the middle and seamed the 2 halves back together. One of these days I'll figure out where I went wrong with my measurements. Smiley

4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Match Jars with Sandpaper on: November 21, 2015 11:37:23 AM
My friend and I both work at schools (she teaches elementary art and I teach middle school science) and when the holidays roll around, there are a number of people (office staff, classroom aides, custodians, teachers on the team, etc.) to give gifts to. To make things a little more affordable, we put together these little jars to hold matches, with sandpaper on the outside for striking. We used "strike anywhere" matches, which I couldn't find in the store, so I bought them online. The jars came in a box of 18 and were in the wedding section of Michael's.

We drew images of holly leaves and a gingerbread man and traced them onto the back of brown sandpaper, and then cut them out. We used a tiny hole punch to punch a face and buttons on the gingerbread man. From the red sandpaper, we cut little tiny bows for the gingerbread man, and punched out berries for the holly leaves. We glued the sandpaper onto the jars using tacky glue and we secured them with rubber bands until they were dry. Each jar contains 30 matches (but has room for more). We plan to gift them with small, holiday-scented candles.
5  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Steering Wheel Cozy on: November 21, 2015 11:27:56 AM
Several years ago, I saw this steering wheel cozy posted online (I thought it was on Craftster, but it must have been somewhere else), and bought the pattern (by Hook Candy). I finally decided to make it only to discover that the pattern had been lost when my computer (and backup hard drive) crashed. The pattern designer kindly sent me a new copy Smiley Cheesy

I had to play around with the gauge since my steering wheel was 2 inches smaller than the one in the pattern, plus I crochet on the tight side, but I finally managed to get the length right. The pattern is crocheted into a strip and then seamed together. It uses a long crocheted chain, woven between stitches, to secure it onto the wheel.

I needed to wait to put it on the car since I had to bring it in for service, and when I saw the black handprint left on the door by the technician, I was glad I waited Smiley  I did give the steering wheel a good cleaning before I put the cozy on. I made mine out of acrylic yarn, so I can easily take it off to wash when needed.

Now, when winter finally arrives, my hands won't be so cold in the morning. And, if I leave it on for the summer months, they won't get burned by the hot steering wheel.
6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Bionic Gear Bag on: November 21, 2015 11:09:35 AM
My aunt has been finding projects to make on crafting days with my mom and I. She came across the Bionic Gear Bag pattern (I bought it on Craftsy, but it might be available elsewhere), and we gave it a shot. It took all day for me to make mine, but I did stop to help my mom and aunt multiple times. The pattern also comes with instructions for a snap-in zipper pouch/dish, but I haven't made it yet (and I didn't put the magnetic snap into the main bag, so mine won't snap in).

Here's the bag opened up. The front of the bag opens all the way so you can use it as a little platform to hold supplies (as soon as I locate my magnetic pin dish, it'll take the place of the pin box, and as soon as I make the little zipper dish, it'll go on the right).

It has 4 zippered pouches (I lined each pouch with a fabric that matches the zipper color), and 4 pockets created by the spaces between the zippered pouches. This bag holds a lot (there is a video online posted by the creator that shows all of the stuff that she packs into her bag- it's like a clown car- she just keeps taking more stuff out!), and it easily held the contents of my little box of sewing supplies. I need to organize it properly, my aunt's granddaughter (my cousin's daughter), who is 6 or 7, couldn't wait to see one finished (she stayed up way past her bedtime), so I let her load it up and stuff is in random places.

The bag zips up with one long zipper, which also forms the handles, and doesn't take up much space once it's closed (which is amazing considering how much stuff is tucked inside). The outside layer is quilted (I just used straight lines) to give the whole thing a bit of padding.

I was able to make the entire thing with supplies I had in my stash. I was surprised (and a wee bit impressed... or maybe I should say embarrassed Smiley ) that I had zippers in the right sizes and in colors that went with my fabrics. The only piece I didn't use from my stash was the yellow lining for the zipper pouch with the yellow zipper. I thought the green zipper was going to go inside and the yellow zipper was going to outside, but I mixed up the sizes. I didn't realize until I was at my mom's, an hour and a half from my own stash, but mom had some scrap yellow in her stash, so I was able to use some.

While it took a long time to make, I think it'd go faster the next time. It'd make a great travel make-up/toiletry bag!

7  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Cooking with Yoda on: September 29, 2015 06:55:17 PM
After my recent attempt at free-motion quilting, I decided to jump right in to something a little more challenging. A couple of years ago, I gave my brother and sister-in-law a Star Wars apron for Christmas. I figured they needed a potholder to match. I finally had the courage to try it!

I found a stencil of Yoda (it's a pumpkin carving stencil from stencilry.org), and printed it to the size I needed. I used a layer of black fabric and batting backed by a piece of muslin, and pinned the stencil image to the top. Then, I stitched away! I stitched each section separately, and pulled the threads to the back to keep it looking nice and tidy.

I used my Silhouette to cut the words from the fabric (backed by Wonder Under) and ironed them on. Sadly, the 'U' shifted, but it was ironed on and I couldn't move it. It's a little irritating (and my brother will surely notice and comment), but I didn't have the time (or patience) to cut the letters again. I also didn't have more Wonder Under, now that I think of it. I messed up the cutting on the first try (I forgot a step), and had to start it a second time, so there was no way I was doing it for a third time! I then used a small zig-zag stitch to secure the letters. The back is also a "sandwich" of the top, batting, and muslin. Stitching inside the B and R was a bit of a challenge, but you can only see the wonkiness if you look closely.

I had intended to bind it with black bias tape, but I couldn't find the package I bought, which turned out to be okay because I realized (when I found a package of yellow) that it wasn't 100% cotton, and may have burned or melted. So, I stitched, turned, and topstitched in the green thread.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with the results, and I think my brother and SIL will really like it!
8  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Free Motion Quilting Practice Potholder on: September 29, 2015 06:42:26 PM
I've wanted to give free-motion quilting a try for a while now, but was very intimidated by it. To get over my fear, I attempted to free-motion quilt a potholder. I figured if it didn't come out well that it was only going to get used in my kitchen, so it didn't matter. It turned out that my friend wanted it, so I had to make sure it didn't come out too badly Smiley  It's not perfect, but it isn't bad for a first attempt!

First, I pieced together a bunch of scrap pieces of fabric leftover from when I made a set of kitchen towels (the plan was to have a potholder to match, but I'm happy my friend liked it enough to want it, because I missed her birthday, so it became her gift Grin ).

Then, I drew on some random squiggles with a pencil. Next, I pinned and clipped the heck out of it so the layers wouldn't shift. I also learned how to use my bias tape foot (which I didn't even realize I had until about 2 weeks ago... amazing what you find when you clean out the sewing box!). You can see the quilting better on the "back" side of the potholder and I definitely got better as I went. I even managed to make a decent mitered corner!

I might still have some very small scraps of the printed fabrics, and if I get some more solid orange, I can make another one for myself!
9  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Ongoing Yet Another TM Patch Swap R2 on: September 24, 2015 08:25:01 AM

Swap Claim Thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=440600.0
Discussion Thread: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=439961.0

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10  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Jelly Roll Quilt-As-You-Go Baby Quilt on: September 14, 2015 03:23:18 PM
My aunt recently came across a YouTube video for a quilt-as-you-go strip quilt, so on Saturday, we got together at my mom's house to give it a try. My mom and aunt cut their own strips, but I was short on time, and needed a baby gift for Tuesday, so I bought a baby flannel jelly roll. The finished quilt is about 36" X 44".

I don't know if they're having a boy or a girl, so I backed it in "leaf green" flannel (it's super snuggly!).

And, a close up of the fabric, just because it's so cute (it has giraffes on it, and I love giraffes Smiley ).

Instead of bias binding, since I didn't have a lot of time, I just folded over the backing fabric and machine stitched it down.

ETA: Here's the link to the tutorial we used: http://www.nationalquilterscircle.com/video/quilt-as-you-go-strip-quilt-003601/
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