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1  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Make your own pincushion and scrap bag for your sewing table - with tutorial on: December 12, 2011 06:00:09 PM
Sooo, back when I was in college, I had a work-study job in the theater department costume shop.  Our wonderful boss (from whom I gained an incredible amount of knowledge about crafting, sewing and where to buy the best pastries) had us make these ingenious little bags for our sewing stations. 

I recently got the inkling to try and make one again, this time for a swap that I am doing with friends. 

The result was not so bad!



The top part is used as a pin-cushion (hence the pins sticking out of it), while the bottom is used for throwing away scraps of fabric and thread that are trimmed off of items as you sew. 

I hope that some of you fellow crafty-types can find this idea useful.  At the time, I thought it was such an amazing invention - maybe I was just young and impressionable.  Or maybe it's really soooo fantastic.  You decide. 

Okay, enough chit-chat.  Tutorial, here we come.....

I started with some scrap fabric that I had sitting around - cotton gingham/calico for the lining (something soft, thin) and some old jeans for the outside (something sturdy). 

I cut out 2 squares of each fabric - about 9.5 inches X 9.5 inches. 



Then, you sew a small bag out of each of the pieces of fabric. 

Do this by putting the right sides of the fabric together and sewing along three edges, leaving one edge open. 



Then, box the corners to make the bottom of the bag more square and dimensional. 



I can't really explain very well how to do this, but if you're unsure, I bet YouTube has some amazing tutorials!   Wink

This is what it should look like when both corners are "boxed". 



Repeat this process for the liner bag with the cotton fabric. 

Now you should have two bags that look very similar. 



Now stop and admire the cute little bags you have made.  They're so little and adorable!!  And wow, that was really pretty easy.  Consider taking a short break, but really you are almost done, so just keep going......

Time to make the straps.  To make the straps, I cut 1.5 inches off the top of each bag, top-stitched the denim and cotton together, folded both edges in (the long edges) and sewed them down. 



It's not too pretty, but it works. 


Now, (flip the liner bag inside out, so that the right side is inside, wrong side is outside) and tuck the top raw edges of both bags down about 1/2 inch and pin them together.  Pin the straps between the liner and outside about 4 inches apart.  Sew together all along the top edge. 



Now to make the pincushion part.  You want to use a piece of fabric that is sturdy, but soft. You don't want the pins to destroy the fabric, but you also don't want the fabric to make your pins all dull.  Upholstery fabric or corduroy work pretty well.  I chose a piece of corduroy that I had sitting around that just happened to be the right size.  About 9.5 inches X 4.5 - 5 inches should work. 



Fold it in half lengthwise, with the right sides together, wrong side on the outside.  Now sew along the two short edges, and about 2 inches in on each side of the long open edge.  I left part open to attach the straps and to stuff the pin-cushion. 


Turn right side out. 



It's probably easiest if you pin the straps in now and sew them down (4 inches apart, again), and leave about 2 inches open between them to stuff in the rocks (to weight the pin-cushion down) and the batting.  I, however, am not that smart.   Undecided I stuffed the thing first, and then had a heck of a time trying to get the fluffy bundle to fit under the presser-foot of my sewing machine.  That is so typical of me, though I'm sure you're all a lot smarter, so....

Anyway, in the costume shop, we made little nylon bags filled with sand, but I am not that fancy (or well-equipped) at home, so I had to work with what I had at home.  So, I used rocks and wool batting to stuff the pin cushion.   






And, guess what??? TA-DA!!!



You're done!  And you have a functional little thing to place next to your sewing machine. 



Thanks for looking and hopefully someone will find this useful! Tongue




2  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Legwarmers from reclaimed felted sweaters on: October 04, 2011 07:29:10 PM
This is my first project in a couple of months - I tend to spend summer doing things outside and trying to make the most of our short warm-weather season.  But, I've been getting that itch again, so last night I busted out some of the scraps I have from chopping sweaters up for other projects, and decided to make some leg warmers. 




The sweaters were felted before hand, and I used the sleeves to make the legwarmers - mostly because I'm lazy and sleeves are already the right shape for leg warmers.   Wink

Of course, I decided that they weren't fancy enough, so I got out the felting needles and cut some scraps into flower shapes - voila'! 



I am thinking about sewing buttons for the center of the flowers, but don't want to go overboard....Advice? Opinions?



And the final picture, just because I think the pose is super dorky, enhanced by the smoking HOT shorts/white legs look (donning shorts was easier than rolling up pant legs...)



It was a good, easy project to get me back into the spirit of winter creativity.  Thanks for looking!
3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Latch hooked rag rug - with tutorial on: June 18, 2011 12:35:11 PM
So, about 10 years ago (no exaggeration), I started making a rag rug.  About a year ago, my mom was cleaning out her craft room and came across a box of my crafting items labeled "rugs".  In the box was my unfinished project and the supplies to finish it.  It was only a fraction of the way done, but I figured I'd finish it.   Anything I can do while sitting on the couch, right? 

Anyway, 100+ hours later, here is the finished rug:



It turned out very nice, but it was seriously laborious.  I have to ask myself...what was I thinking when I started this in college?  Or perhaps a more accurate question would be:  what was I smoking?!  and how much??   The first rug I ever made like this was a smaller one, which I gave to my sister.  I guess I was feeling ambitious after that one.  Or something. 

The materials used are:

rug canvas
sharpie marker
an unholy amount of fabric scraps
latch hook
pinking shears or rotary cutter with pinking blade
patience and time
television (preferably a series that you can stream for hours at a time)
a comfortable couch

Start with the rug canvas, and cut it to the size you want your rug to be



I drew a rough design with sharpie marker on the rug canvas, leaving about an inch of squares on each side around the perimeter of the rug canvas that I did not draw on or latch hook. 



Then, with a rotary mat, ruler and rotary cutter with a pinking blade on it, I cut many, many, many strips of fabric.
The best size strips are 1/2 inch wide and 4 inches long.  If the fabric is stiffer, thinner strips work.  If it's floppier, then fatter strips work.   





The jagged edges made by the pinking shears prevents fraying (I think).  I only used 1 blade for the whole rug, but it was extremely dull by the time I finished.  I actually counted how many strips I used once the rug was all done.  It was over 10,000!  Insane.



Once I had a heaping pile of scraps cut, then I would bring them over to the couch and begin latch hooking. 

I hooked in horizontal rows.  Fabric is pretty bulky, so there is no need to hook a piece of fabric onto every side of the square. 
like so:
  __
xl__lx
xl__lx
xl__lx
 
the "x" marks where I would've hooked a piece of fabric.  You can see that the top and bottom rungs of the square are left empty. 



fold the scrap of fabric in half, stick the latch hook through and grab the piece of fabric in the folded center. 



Pull in half-way through, so that in one square is a loop of fabric (the folded center with the latch hook in it), and the two ends of the fabric are sticking through the adjacent square. 



Then, grab the loose ends with the latch hook and pull them through the loop. 



Essentially, tying the fabric in a knot around the rug canvas. 



If anyone's still paying attention at this point, I apologize for the boring and difficult explanation of how to latch hook.  I'm sure most of you know how to latch hook....and I'm beginning to develop a huge respect for people who write "how to" craft books.  It is very hard to articulate these things....

Anyway, you may need to pull up on the ends of the fabric strip to tighten the knot. 


Here's a row:



You can see the empty rows left on the edge of the rug canvas, left for finishing. 




Months later, once you have finished the top of the rug (and possibly have sworn never to undertake this project again in your life), it is time to put the back on the rug.
 


Now, I am by no means a pro rug maker, so there are probably better, fancier, prettier ways to do this.  Possibly, you should stop reading at this point and go check out a book from the library on how to finish a rug properly with canvas and webbing. 

I just sewed a slab of canvas onto the back of the rug, tucked it over the raw edges of the rug canvas and sewed it down. 






Pretty rough.  But finished!

The finished rug measures about 2 feet X 3 feet and it is very soft to sink your toes into!




Thanks for looking, everyone!  comments and crit are, of course, welcome



4  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Completed Projects / Needle felted rug - with tutorial on: June 14, 2011 07:17:36 PM



So, I saw a rug made from raw, un-dyed wool stuffing in a book called "Sweet Needle Felts", or something like that.  In the book, the wool stuffing is needle felted inside embroidery hoops to get uniform circle shapes for the rug.  The circles are then sewn together to make a rug. 



Being too lazy to go searching for raw wool batting, I instead decided to try the same concept with wool quilt batting.  Plus, the wool batting was on sale, soooo......

These are the materials I used:

1 yard wool batting
1 large piece of foam (like the kind you'd buy to make a cushion for a chair or sofa)
assorted roving wool
scraps of left-over yarn from my stash
1 felting needle
1 needle felting tool (the kind that holds 5 needles)
1 needle felting brush

I got about 1 yard of "sale" wool batting, folded it into fourths, and started cutting it into different shaped circles, using embroidery hoops at circle templates. 






After I had all the circles cut out, I arranged them vaguely how I wanted the rug shaped. 





Since each circle has four layers of wool batting, I stacked the layers in an alternating way

I don't have a picture of how I stacked them, but it was kind of like this:

layer
    layer
layer
    layer
layer

(I hope this makes sense...sometimes I fail big-time at explaining things.....)

I then  began loosely binding them together by punching with the felting tool.   

 




Sorry for the blurry picture   Sad


Then, I grabbed my colorful stash of roving wool and wool yarn



I tore off small chunks of one color at a time



And placed them on the wool batting and felted them down with the single needle, on top of the thick foam cushion. 





I found that the single needle penetrated better to get the wool tacked down solidly through all the layers of wool batting. 



After I had all design all felted onto the batting solidly, I used the multi-needle tool and the brush to re-felt the entire thing - to make the surface uniform and to ensure that everything was securely felted down. 



Ta-da!



This is a to-scale picture. 

It took about 1 week to make (probably 20 - 30 hours), and cost less then $20 (US) to make. 

Not too bad, but I am hoping to find some kind of spray to protect it from getting too stained, since I'd like it to be a functional rug. 
Suggestions?


It's interesting that the 4 layers of wool batting were so thick and fluffy - probably 4 inches before they were felted - and they actually felted down to a rug that is less than 1/2 inch thick.  Wow!

Comments and criticism welcome - this is my first felted rug and my first tutorial.  I apologize for any confusing explanations and all the fuzzy pictures!  I'm still getting used to my new camera   Tongue

Thanks for looking!

5  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / how to make lemongrass extract for a facial scrub? on: May 11, 2011 06:49:11 AM
So, there's this organic/natural facial exfoliant scrub that I really love, but of course it is incredibly expensive, so I want to try and make it at home rather than bankrupt myself.  The ingredients are: sugar, rice flour and lemongrass extract. 

My question is this: What's the best way of making the extract for this purpose?  A tincture-like extract using alcohol or vinegar?  Or just a water-based infusion (soaking the lemongrass to make a strong tea, basically)?

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Also, as far as the ratio of flour:sugar:extract would be helpful.  I was just planning on mixing things until it seems "right".  If any of you have wisdom as far as the process or proper ratios, I would be grateful. 

Thanks!
6  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Micturating unicorn t-shirt on: May 01, 2011 07:54:49 PM
So, my sister is a marathon runner as well as a a self-dubbed "sarcathalete".    She has a blog in which she writes about the trials and tribulations of being a lazy, sarcastic person training to run marathons.  It is safe to say that she can be rather vulgar in her humor, and she also happens to be obsessed with unicorns (a story to which I will not subject you all).  Suffice to say, her blog home page is plastered with unicorn/rainbow "wallpaper".  It's hideous and glorious, all at the same time.  Anyway.

She ran a marathon in our home town this weekend, and I really wanted to make her a special "good luck shirt".  I was going to stencil or use paint markers and craft her a t-shirt with a prancing, urinating unicorn.  However, being a bad and forgetful sister, I completely forgot.   Sad

Not to worry!  The day before the race, we were talking about how she should dress for the race (the weather was crappy), and we decided that she absolutely NEEDED said unicorn shirt. 

But how to make a sharp, poignant image with less than 12 hours until the start of the race?   Huh

Being short on time (and motivation), we took the easy way out.  We simply went to the craft store, got some transfer paper and fabric paint markers, and voila'.....A lucky race shirt for my sis. 




She was happy with the end product.   Some of you may notice that the unicorn is peeing on a person (a politician).  I assure you that unicorn urine has magical properties of protection - this is in no way meant to be rude or demeaning to that person, rather it is magical and wonderful for those doused in its glorious, golden stream. 



Morning of the race



Running down the road, showing off her fab new T. 



Thanks for lookin' everyone!
7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Apron from old terry cloth towels on: March 27, 2011 02:41:47 PM
So, one of my sisters has been into baking artisan breads lately.  She'd been admiring my zest for sewing lately, and so I asked her if there was anything she wanted.  She said she wanted an apron. 

I've got tons of terry cloth towels that I've been hoarding for craft projects, so I thought they'd make a pretty stellar apron. 

Cut it out and sewed in about an hour and a half.  Very gratifying!

The top and bottom are made from two different towels, and I just zig-zagged around the edges to prevent fraying. 





It doesn't fit the best, but rather I'm too lazy to take it apart and reconstruct.   Tongue   Plus, if she's half as messy as I am in the kitchen, the more it covers, the better!

The belt is from an old bathrobe and the part that goes around the neck is from two t-shirt neckbands. 





The pockets are made from these little kids wash cloths I got at the dollar store - each one has information on different sea creatures.  I chose the sharks and whales ones for this apron (mostly because the colors matched the towels best).





I think I'm hooked on making aprons. 
8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Artist apron from denim bib overalls on: March 27, 2011 02:33:51 PM
This is a fairly gaudy apron I made for a 2011 pay it forward swap I'm doing with some of my friends. 

The intended receiver of the apron is an artist - mostly a painter, but I think she and her husband have a letter press, too. 
I don't even know if she wears an apron when she paints, and I think this apron could be regarded as either cute  or hideous, so I don't know whether I should give it to her....




Anyway, this is how it turned out. 


I pulled out all the stops - tie died t-shirts, fringe, burlap, rick-rack, pocket from old corduroy pants and even a little bell that tinkles when you move.  The bell is hanging off the front chest part. 




The pockets are decorated with strips of burlap from old coffee bags, and then have cut-out letters from t-shirts that read "ARS LONGA".  Long live art!



Here's a close up of one pocket. 

I should have taken more close ups of the details....

It was fun to make, I have to say.  And it always feels good to use things that I've got laying around taking up space.

Thanks for looking!
9  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Matching set - wool mittens and hat from chopped sweater on: March 13, 2011 08:18:31 AM
Wool hat made from a felted, chopped up sweater. The band was made from the original ribbed neck of the sweater with strands of needle felted wool for decoration.





The mittens are made from the sleeves, with a little extra needle felted wool around the seams.






Thanks for looking!
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Funky chunky legwarmers from upcycled sweater sleeves on: March 13, 2011 08:15:40 AM
I recently finished making a bag from a felted, repurposed sweater.  The sleeves were left, so I thought I should make some legwarmers out of them. 



I made the fringe from scraps of yarn. 




And then I couldn't get my boyfriend to take them off!!  haha, he kept saying "They're so warm, I want these..."  Pretty cute. 


Here's a link to the matching tote bag from the same sweater. 
http://www.craftster.org/pictures/showphoto.php?photo=434569&ppuser=250595

Thanks for looking.  Smiley
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