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11  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / First Stamped Pennies = Bracelet on: October 13, 2013 03:09:47 PM

Inspired by all the cool metal stamping going on 'round these parts, I got an alphabet set for myself then raided my piggy bank. I gotta say it was quite therapeutic to come home after a stressful day at work (it's calmed down some now, thankfully!) and hammer pennies blank then stamp them with happy things. I think I'm hooked!

After a while, some trial and error and the purchase of some leather and jump rings I ended up with this:

A magic braid charm bracelet featuring nerdy words I like from Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Firefly and Doctor Who plus song lyrics and a few special dates. I won't go broke on new charms either! They're just a penny each!

Here it is off:

ETA: After catching the jump rings on various items, I switched over to split rings. Success!

12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Bird wants to sit on pins and needles on: September 29, 2013 10:13:34 AM
This little birdie flew off to my partner in the latest pincushion swap:

I don't have a lot of experience with stuffed things with shape- like a bird -but my partner was happy so phew!

Birdie herself is made out of some almost bottom-weight teal/turquoise fabric and osnaburg AKA poor man's linen. The latter probably wasn't the best choice with its looser weave, but since the bird is a little tied down to her nest and won't be handled much directly, I think it should hold up.

The nest started as a squat cylinder of felt. While stretching it into a more nest-y shape, with a yarn needle I sewed around and around it with twine then wove in more twine between the stitches to cover the felt except for a circle at the top. I stuffed it, sewed the opening closed, then went over it with more twine to hide the seam.

The bottom was ropy-poly after that so I added a button on the bottom and tied it to the top to shape it. Birdie is sewn on over the top of that. The whole thing is around 4" wide.

I was so happy to find the flower pins too! I thought they brightened Birdie's home nicely. I was very pleased (and relieved!) that they easily slid into place through the twine. Kinda the point of a pincushion, right?
Ooo, point! Get it? Haha!  Cheesy Okay, I am way too easily amused.  Smiley
13  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Huck weaving on: August 18, 2013 10:35:26 AM

Needlework is not really my forte, but I wanted to give huck weaving a go so I finally did for this towel.

This tutorial got me interested and this was very helpful too. I just winged the pattern.

The sides of the towel are the selvedges of the fabric. I hemmed the top and frayed the bottom. There're rows of machine stitching between the fraying and design so it won't come undone.

I really like how the pattern doesn't go through to the other side and there are no knots to contend with! Yay! Mistakes are easy to undo too. That made me happy  Smiley  It took  f o r e v e r, but I had a new series to watch so it was cool. Overall it was a pretty fun project. This type of needlework I may come back to willingly!

14  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / English Muffins on: August 07, 2013 09:13:14 AM

One thing Craftster means to me is going going for it. A while ago I saw this recipe for English muffins posted from King Arthur Flour. The directions were for use with a bread machine which I don't have. Instead of moaning about not having that piece of equipment- okay, after moaning - I went for it. With a few tweaks it worked!


Just mix all the ingredients together (oh, I didn't use bread flour either) and let rise until about doubled. Proceed as directed!

You can also make a Sherlock-themed tea box to go with your muffins. Smiley

15  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Happy Halloween! Reverse appliqué pillow + blind-hemmed lapped zipper tutorial on: August 07, 2013 08:28:09 AM
What's something Craftster means to me? Going for it! I can freeze up with fear of failure but this site has really helped me be okay (or more okay) with making mistakes and "never speak of this again" projects. I always learn something at least! Learning is awesome!

To represent this, I sewed up this pillow and put in a zipper.

I LOVE pillows (former swap partners, you know that Smiley ) and I LOVE Halloween (ditto last comment) and I LOVE zippers! Several pillow covers ago I went looking for tutorials on making deep laps (the fold of fabric hiding the zipper.) I found a mention of using a blind hem to do so. That sounded cool! There were no pics or directions or anything but I liked the idea and went for it! It's become 2nd only to invisible zippers for me!

Since this post is more about the pillow and how it's closed, not the Halloween theme, I thought it fit best here with home decor.

The front is done with reverse appliqué (here's a great tutorial on it.) I did the lettering and drew the pumpkin shape (eventually- so not an artist) on paper then traced it onto the press and seal. The brown fabric is on the bottom, orange in the middle and black on top. The colors are off in the pictures. I'm still working on photography.

I know some people fear zippers so I made up this little tutorial as well. Don't fear the zipper!

Decide what size pillow you want. Generally your pillow cover should end up the same size to 1" smaller than your pillow form. This helps the stuffing fill the corners and such better making for a nice, plump pillow with minimal limp "wings" at the corners.
Plan for a 1/2" seam allowance. If you do reverse appliqué or piecing or something else fiddly, leave lots of extra material for squaring later.

Get a zipper at least a couple inches longer than what your pillow will end up being. It makes life so much easier.

Make your front. Have fun!

Now cut 2 pieces of fabric for the back leaving extra for squaring, positioning and cutting if using a serger to finish.

I have them marked with blue-headed pins so I can tell the right side from the wrong (blue=b=back. Yeah, even plain fabric can have a right and wrong side.)
They should be the same width (or height, depending on if you want the zipper running from top to bottom or side to side) of your pillow front. On this 16" pillow planned to finish at 15" the lapped side ended up using about 10 and 3/4" and the other about 11 and 1/2" not including the bit shaved off by the serger knife in the next step. Having the lap fall before the middle of the pillow helps avoid gaping.

Edge finish sides where the zipper will be attached. That's 1 side finish per back piece. There are tons of options for finishes out there. I'm fortunate to have a serger so I used it.

Okay, now pin the zipper to one of the back pieces (top or bottom, doesn't matter unless you absolutely want the zipper pull to end up on a certain side and are using 1-way fabric.)

Right sides together, remember. And line up the long edge of the zipper with the finished edge of the fabric.

Slap a zipper foot on your sewing machine and stitch away.

Don't have a zipper foot? You can still do this method of insertion. See next steps.

As you can kind of see (the little arrow is helping to point it out) there is a space between the stitching and the zipper teeth. The fabric can pull away and reveal that zipper tape! Noooo! This will probably be an even bigger gap if you didn't use a zipper foot! Double nooooo!

But no worries.

Roll the fabric up to close the gap.

Sew! If you don't have a zipper foot, you might want to do this step by hand using some sort of unnoticeable-from-the-outside stitch.

Yay!!!! All closed up!

Now repeat for side #2.

Remember to close the gap as well.

Onto the blind hemming bit.

Fold down your side to be lapped so the fold is even with your edge finish. Press. (you've been pressing all this time, right?)

Then fold the fabric back up about 2 and 1/4" below the last fold. This is the lap part of the lapped zipper!

Roll back to give yourself room to sew beside this roll. Don't press! Really!

Go over to your machine and change your presser foot to a regular one. Flip the stitch type to blind hem.

It looks like "C". The straight stitches will go along on the fabric beside the roll while the zig-zags will get the roll. You'll want to test this out on some scraps first to get the hang of it and/or to make sure your fabric will unroll (see below.) If you look up blind hem, it's the same thing. The only difference here is the zipper.

Blind hem away!

When you get all done, roll out the rolled part so it lays flat.

Cool, huh? I LOVE this stitch. Works great for curvy hems and all sorts of other stuff too.

Remember to iron. Smiley

Now you've got your zipper inserted! Your back pieces have joined as one. Pin it to your pillow's front (right sides together) and square up!

You'll need to unzip your zipper a few inches to turn your pillow right side out. To keep the unzipped part close together for sewing (and future zipping) I pin the sides down then sneak my hand inside the front and back and unzip. Don't cut the zipper even with the rest yet to avoid any possible headaches.

Now sew around the whole thing. Twice if you weren't paying quite enough attention  Tongue Backstitch over the zipper to really secure it. Stitch and backstitch zipper again 1/8" away (on seam allowance) to really, really secure it.

Reduce stitch length as you come to the corners. This gives it extra strength. If I was never going to see the inside of this again (like for a lined bag) I would trim the corners differently, but since I'm not going to be closing this pillow forever (that's why I'm putting in a zipper!) and will be serging to finish, I just cut off a triangle.

Trim the zipper to right next to the on-the-seam-allowance stitching so you keep both lines. You don't want that zipper coming loose but you also don't want the bulk and, if you're serging, you don't want to go serging over those teeth (creates lumps and your knife will be disgruntled.)

Finish the edges. Serge/zig-zag/whatever down each side.

See how the serger caught the zipper end but the knife didn't have to cut it? You can't? Well, trust me, that's what happened. The lighting in my crafting area is not the best as you picked up in the other in progress pics.

If serging, I like to leave nice, long tails of serge then tie them so the corners come together all nice and pointy.

Go ahead and turn it right side out, slip in a pillow form...

...zip it up...

...And there's your lovely, neat and tidy back!

Happy, happy!
16  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Shirred sundress with flared skirt on: July 09, 2013 03:12:28 PM
This started out as a test piece but then I got into it and voila:

Instant blurred face! No, kidding. A shirred sundress. Smiley

The skirt is flared and sewn onto the shirred bodice.

I didn't have enough red thread and since this was just going to be a "I wonder what would happen if..." piece I tossed some black thread and black thread elastic on the machine and away I went. Twenty rows later I added a piece of thin, knit elastic to the top and one on the seam allowance under the bust so it keep it's shape. This was no longer going to be just a test piece if I could help it.

So, I added a ruffle at the bottom and fancy patch pockets. Well, not that fancy. I was petering out a bit (this wasn't going to be a lengthy project, remember.) The $3 sheet I chopped up for the endeavor was the perfect length for the ruffle: cut top to bottom for front ruffle and top to bottom for back ruffle. Sweet!

And it pairs nicely with my black cardi for other seasons. Yay!

Thanks for reading about my little sewing adventure!
17  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Disco ball-esque macaroon on: June 25, 2013 09:25:12 AM
Yep, I still love macaroon coin purses! Here's my seventh one, with a bit of a twist:

It's a macaroon compact!

Outside shiny, disco-ball-y, mirror-y fabric, inside real mirrors. I used that plastic mirror stuff and cut it to fit the small (less than 1.5") interior. It reflects great and wasn't too bad to cut either!

I used a metallic metal zipper and metallic ribbon to hold the silver clip. It didn't turn out as disco ball-ish as I'd hoped, but it is quite reflective  Cheesy

As I mentioned above, this guy is my 7th design. I just love all the things one can do with a circle! It's been so much fun. You should totally try it!
18  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Beaded Braille Choker/Wrap Bracelet on: June 12, 2013 07:08:47 PM
Heavily utilizing the library, encyclopedia and internet in order to take a crash course in Braille I (hopefully) beaded "it's always darkest before the dawn" into this choker/wrap bracelet.

Braille is pretty special for me personally so, though it took quite a few IYP swaps, I finally did something with it for the most recent round.  Smiley

(awful mirror shot)
I used a calm-looking "green sea" mix as the background for the wood-colored Braille dots. They're not raised or textured, sadly, but I think they kinda look textured.  Undecided

Since this was for a swap partner and I wasn't sure if she'd need more length to wear it as a choker, I left the strings long.

Before starting I laid out the top row to make sure it wasn't too long a saying to wear. It's about 14". Each cell is separated by a column of green and each word by 2 cells of green. It took all but a dozen of the full tube of greens I began with! I think it was worth it, though.

Oh! And the button got the closure job because it reminded me of the early morning sun. Smiley

I've got a lot to learn, but I'm really liking beading!
19  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Scrappy mug rug: piping included! on: June 10, 2013 04:38:29 PM
I made my very first mug rug! Well, it's not mine anymore, I made it for my buddy, StickerChic, in the most recent IYP.

I'm not a very good quilter, as you can see  Tongue

The quilting thread matches the binding, though!

I really like piping and I happened to have some that went well so on it went. I think it adds something...besides a bit of fabric and cord  Wink

Mug rugs never interested me much before but I'm a fan now. This one turned out a bit big I guess (7"x11" or so, if I remember right) but I can see where they could come in handy: like, for setting down the mini muffins and bottle of cream soda I just finished!
20  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Corset Bag on: June 09, 2013 05:51:36 PM

It's a corset bag!

I took a corset pattern, leveled the bottom, and sewed the opening closed...

Then I put a bottom on it (note: ovals are eeeeevil to draft) and bound the edge with bias tape. I slipped a length of polyester boning through the binding so the base stands open. The boning in the body helps it stand up!

The back laces with grommet tape. It doesn't open, though.

The "lingerie straps" are removable and can be reconfigured: Crossed, uncrossed, off...

This was my first time working with boning but definitely not the last. I think it could come in handy for way more than corsets and corset bags!

Thanks for looking!
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