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1  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing Machines: Discussion and Questions / Sewing machine maintenance on: May 18, 2010 11:32:47 PM
I'm fairly new to sewing, and was wondering if someone of you expert seamstresses could give some tips and hints on sewing machine maintenance.  I just, for the first time ever, cleaned out my machine and oiled it, and since I don;t have a manual, did a whole lot of guessing and hoping.


So....how often should a it be oiled?  Cleaned?  What kind of tools would be good to have on hand for cleaning?  What kinds of oil work? What kinds of things extend machine life?  What shortens machine life? Or... do you have any other bit of machine advice you might have picked up along the way?

I  I know that all machines are slightly different, but surely there must be some ideas or care techniques that are shared by all machines.

Any kind of information would be greatly appreciated!
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Re: Rasturbated dog poster (and my grinning kid!) on: May 17, 2010 01:30:28 PM
Thanks!  It's way easier than you'd think, given the size.  Just print it out and tape it together!  We figured that if it got ruined (nine year olds are not generally known for taking excellent care of things) or if her tastes changed,  it wouldn't be a huge loss, money-wise.

3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: 50 Projects 2010 on: May 17, 2010 01:25:20 PM
Aww thank you! *blush*

The kiddo wanted something enormous in her room, and that upside down silly dog was her choice.  For 25 sheets of paper and a roll of scotch tape, who can argue with that?

I think I'll be doing some ATCs tonight, and will post photos when I'm done.  I tend to "save" little projects for when I'm done the big stuff -- after awhile, I grow to loathe sewing/crocheting/cutting/whatever, and what starts as a labor of love just turns into labor.  The little projects really help recharge my craftiness, and I think I'm about due to make a few fun things.
4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: 50 Projects 2010 on: May 17, 2010 01:07:34 PM
I've completed a few things... mostly outside of my list, oops!

Works in Progress
-New robe for hubby- WIP. Actually sewing it now, hooray!  But I made it way too big-- where on earth did I get the idea that he was 9 feet tall and 600 lbs?
-T-shirt for swap x 2 WIP
-Chuck recon WIP
-T-shirt quilt

Haven't bothered to start (grumble grumble)
5 ATCs
DD's decent-but-still-cute shorts- got materials
Monogram X-stitch for oma - got materials, and will start tonight.
Repaint and stencil the patio table- got materials
Freezer stencil shirt for hubs

Finished
-Rasturbated poster for DD's room


-Painted rice/lentil bag for hub's neck


-I made another 10 rice bags too, because I had knee surgery and a friend had surgery three days before me. Didn't take photos of those because they were more about function than beauty, but I assure you, I did do them!

-Pillowcase with TMBG lyrics


-A sock stuffy of a cat for DD.  No photos because she scooped it up the second I was finished.

So I'm at what... 5/50 now, with another few scheduled to be finished in the next few days.

This thread really keeps me going, and you are all so inspiring and talented.  This is exactly the kick in the pants that I need to not only finish my work, but to do as best I can on each project. Smiley  Thank you all.
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Rasturbated dog poster (and my grinning kid!) on: May 17, 2010 12:39:32 PM
We were in need of some high impact wall art for the kiddos' rooms, and decided to rasturbate random images found online.  Not much more to say than that really, but the response was overwhelmingly positive-- score another one for crafty parents!

6  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Re: Hmm, how to recreate this anthropologie chair-hammock thing..? on: May 15, 2010 12:10:58 PM
It says it's made out of polyester, which confuses me to no end.  I assume it must be a thick type of boning, like for tight laced corsets?  I really don't know. 

But yes.  I need that chair!! NEED NEED NEED it!
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: "Manly" tentacle heating pad/ice pack/bed warmer (with small text tutorial!) on: May 14, 2010 12:57:55 PM
I don't think I have ever seen buckwheat hulls but I'm sure I could find flax seeds.  It's almost worth going to the local co-op/feed store and seeing what kinds of grain I can come up with.  Thank goodness for living in a rural area-- there's got to be something good in all the different varieties of feed, and I'm sure it will be much cheaper than going to the local health food store!
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: "Manly" tentacle heating pad/ice pack/bed warmer (with small text tutorial!) on: May 14, 2010 11:50:55 AM
Thanks! I thought it was a little creepy too, and would probably be nervous each time I saw it out of the corner of my eye (if it was around my neck, that is) but he loves it.  I think most men never completely outgrow the gross=cool phase, and he's no exception. Smiley

The lentils maintain the heat as well as rice does, but not as well as larger filler like kidney beans or feed corn.  I figured that because his skin gets very sensitive when he gets migraines, it would be worthwhile to have a softer bag with no bumps than it would be to have a bag that stayed hot a little longer.  If he needs more heat, he can always stick it in the microwave for another minute.

I'd like to experiment with different bean mixtures and see if I can find something that is soft but stays hot for a longer time.  I'm thinking maybe 1/2 kidney beans and 1/2 lentils.... I'll post the results when I finally get around to it.
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / "Manly" tentacle heating pad/ice pack/bed warmer (with small text tutorial!) on: May 14, 2010 07:52:02 AM
I'm not sure if this post belongs in this category-- if not, please feel free to move it. Smiley

Hubs has the tendency to get migraines, and finds that a heating pad wrapped around his neck really helps alleviate the pain.  We used to have one of those rice bags a long time ago, but it was 1) not shaped quite right, and 2) really ugly.

They are really easy to make-- definitely a project suited for a beginner with the sewing machine.  Also well suited for people like me, who tend to hold on to those little odd shaped bits of fabric because "I might be able to make something with them someday".

I made this with a scrap of grey floral cotton, fabric paint, Sharpie, and used lentils as the filling, because they are a lot less pokey than rice is. I know that fabric paint and permanent marker probably arent supposed to be used in the microwave, but it's been fine so far-- no smoke, fire, or heinous hot-chemical stink.  I figure it's an "at your own risk" kind of thing. Smiley






Materials needed:

Fabric (scraps are fine! Yay for stashbusting!)
Sewing machine
Lentils/rice/beans/feed corn

Optional:
Embellishments (embroidery, fabric paint and permanent marker seem to be fine for heat or cold, you could add things like buttons or glitter or sequins if it was strictly used for cold)
Essential oils or dried scented plants (lavender or sage are popular)


Instructions:

1) Figure out how big you want the heating pad, and what shape you want it.  Long thin ones are good for around the neck, a triangular one is good for the lower belly, and chubby rectangles are good for knees, for example.  I even tried to make a small star shaped one for hand and thumb injuries, but it needs a little more planning than I gave it... oops.

2) Cut two pieces of fabric a little bigger than the dimensions you figured out.  You need to leave a little room for seam allowance, and also for the filling of the bag.

3) Embellish the fabric if you'd like, and allow to dry thoroughly (if you used paint). Be careful on this though and make sure that what you use will be okay for the person with the injury-- I really doubt glitter would be a good thing to put on a fresh incision, you know?  Up to you.

4) If you're planning on using scent-- I didn't on this one, but have done before on others-- put your lentils/beans/rice/dried corn into a bowl, and mix with a few drops of essential oil or with the dried plants.  Set aside.
 
5) Sew the cut pieces, wrong sides together, with a zigzag stitch.  You'll want to leave one small side open for filling.

6)Flip the little bag right side out, and sew the sides you've already stitched on the right side this time.  I used a straight stitch, but I'm sure a decorative stitch would work nicely too.  The point is to simply add strength (you do NOT want one of these to break on you-- dried foodstuffs get EVERYWHERE) and to make the edges look pretty.

7) Take those lentils/beans/rice you set aside and fill the bag with them.  You'll want the bag to be about 2/3- 3/4 full to allow for it to shape to the body.  Using a paper bag or a funnel to guide them into the bag makes things much, much easier.

Cool Pin just about where the lentils/rice/beans/feed corn ends (to keep them from falling into the line where you're sewing-- really messes things up), flip the ends closed, and stich closed. I used a double row of straight stitching on this one, but again, up to you.

9) Done! Hooray for you, and the lucky recipient of this practical-yet-awesome gift! Throw it in the freezer as an ice pack, or pop it into the microwave for about 90 seconds for a heat pack. Obviously, this will not last forever, but if you treat it right (ie, DONT GET IT WET), it should last a few years.

Other uses:
These also work really well in cold climates-- heat them up in the microwave, throw them at the foot of the bed, go take off your makeup and brush your teeth, and by the time you're done, the foot of your bed is nice and toasty warm.

For animal rescue folks, little bags like these (unembellished, of course) are great for rescued kittens or pups that are still too young to be on their own or elderly arthritic critters.  Don't heat them up past "warm"-- we don't want to burn the poor little guys!-- but they seem to like to snuggle up to these warm little bags to sleep.

Anyways, thanks for looking, and comments/questions/friendly criticism is welcome!
10  NEWS AND DISCUSSION ABOUT CRAFTSTER / Latest News / Re: 05/11/10 - We have 200,000 members! on: May 11, 2010 08:18:33 PM
Wowee!  Congratulations, Craftster!!! (And thank you, to all the mods and admin folks who keep this such a wonderful place to be!)
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