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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Mother's Day / unusual mothers day gift question.... on: April 28, 2014 03:51:59 PM
I hope this is the right place to posts this since I don't have an actual project and I'm looking for advice.

To start with, my mum passes away several years ago from a rare brain cancer.   My dad has moved forward with his life after being depressed after the love of his life died.  He knew he needed to find a companion and has dated several ladies.  Well he has found the one, but they are not going to get married but just live together.  My dad is 74 and acts like he is 40, and physically he can do more than most 40 year olds.  But the point is, he is happy, but we absolutely adore the lady he has chosen.  They are both very active for their age.

I want to do something really nice for her for mothers day from our family.  But she isn't my mother, not even my step mother since they don't plan to marry, but she is living there now.  She is a mum herself and has grandkids, and she treats us as her family and my kids as her grandkids.  I absolutely adore her and she is beyond wonderful!!!! 

I see a whole new side to my dad that I never saw before because in some ways she held him back by the way she was raised and her beliefs.   When my mom was dying and her last weeks I stayed with them and helped care for my mom until her last breath, so my dad and I talked a LOT and I learned a lot about my dad that he never shared before.

But now that he has another special lady in his life I want her to know how special she is to us as well.   I am not in the least upset about him seeing someone and even though it hasn't been years and years I look at it from the side that the heart expands, he doesn't love my mom any less but he has a new lady to love now as well.  Just like when he went from one grandchild to two and then to six between my brother and I.  You don't love one grandchild less, your heart just grows more to love more.  The same applies to this.  I know my mom would want my dad to be happy, and being alone was not making him happy, and was depressing for him. 

 

What are some ideas to do for her.  I want her to know how special she is to our family.....

I am crafty and sew among other crafts.  I'm a soap maker but she has sensitive skin so it's not like a can make a dozen scents to keep things fun.... I have given her several unscented products already.

Any ideas.....
2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Burp Cloths on: February 19, 2014 11:46:45 AM
Burp Cloths are essential to any new mother.  So they make wonderful gifts or personal use.  My kids are long past that stage with my youngest being 10.  But I do need a gift every once in awhile.

This is how I make mine..... 

Fabric choices..... this is critical IMHO....  When an urp happens something absorbent is needed NOW!   Personally while cottons are cute and come in so many more cute prints, I don't use them for burp cloths or bibs.  While they are absorbent they just aren't absorbent enough for either IMHO because they don't hold much for liquids.    Instead for the  front I use good ol' flannel.   

The backing leaves a lot of choices, when my kids were little I use two layers of flannel and well I personally wasn't happy with them.  I wanted more absorbency.   So I don't do that anymore.  For some recent gifts I use cotton terry (the stuff bath towels are made out of but found on the bolt, but towels would also work) and they were beautiful.  But there are also some new great fabrics on the market that are still very absorbent but thinner, such as bamboo terry or bamboo fleece (not to be confused with polar fleece)   While polar fleece is plush and cushy it's just not absorbent, in fact polar fleece is actually water resistant and repels liquids. 

Then because I hate turning things inside out, and working hard to get my seams even and nice I cheat.  I sew wrong sides together and cover the raw edges with double fold bias tape.  You can buy this or make your own.  I make my own and have the bias tape maker made by simplicity.  Because I'm not going around any round edges I just cut strips with my rotary cutter, quilting ruler and cutting make.  I can make them matching in a solid or print super fast and easy. 
http://www.amazon.com/Simplicity-Creative-Group-Inc-881925/dp/B002CT3YX2

Honestly I like the plain rectangle ones.  My daughter when she was a baby had gurds so she spit up a LOT, and I wanted that extra neck protection.  While the curved ones look cool, they don't provide a lot of protection where you may need it the most.  I would rather not have spit up running down my neck and inside the collar of my top.

Last but not least.....  SIZE......
I started with buying my prints in 3/8 yard cuts.  Zigzag the raw edges before washing and fold as you would to make sure it's straight and even.   Then simply cut it in half, so your 45" long is now half that and still 3/8 yard wide.  I place my backing fabric on behind, wrong sides together and trim out as needed.  Grant your burp cloths won't be exactly the same size but close enough.   If your picky just cut them all out the same.  You can cut both layers at the same time to save time.  Pin sides together before lifting and I do a quick stitch around so they don't shift when I am sewing on the bias tape binding.   Sew on bias tape using your favorite method.  I like to sew it onto the back first (when I don't forget), and then onto the front so I make sure it looks really nice from the top.  Sometimes I may use clear thread for the top for a nicer look.

For the bias tape binding I would suggest a cotton because you don't want the extra bulk of the flannel for the binding.   You can use prints or cottons, however personally I usually use cheaper solid prints just to keep the cost down a tad since I am using the more expensive cotton terry for the backing and a nice flannel print for the front.

But either way they make nice burp cloths and after the baby is grown can be used as cleaning rags or whatever rags and will last a very long time because they are made well and very durable.    There are so many cute flannel prints these days to take advantage of. 

I've gotten a lot of compliments on these from the new mom's i have given them to.








3  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Discussion and Questions / Reusable Grocery or Shopping Bags/Totes OPINIONS WANTED on: February 07, 2014 12:52:45 PM
I am tired of the plastic bags from grocery stores and super stores (target, k-mart, walmart) and I want to make myself some fabric ones.   I live in a rural community and I have never seen anyone use them anywhere local to me before, although I have seen them for sale in stores.

But I want to sew myself some pretty ones.... Although I buy most of my meat in the butcher shop, I plan on using animal print fabric for bags that will be used with meat exclusively.  Most of the meat bought at the grocery store is for my dogs, (two eat a raw diet) so I want separate bags just for meat.  That way I can make sure I don't have cross contamination with meat and non-meat items and they are washed more frequently.  


But my question is this, does anyone have a style or size they like the best?  I have seen various styles posted on sites like pinterest and blogs.  But I thought I would get some feedback from those that already use them.

I don't want them too big so they aren't overfilled and get too heavy.  I have bad fibromyalgia and often my hands hurt badly so I don't want to encourage store staff to overfill them.  But also so my kids can lift them when I get home to bring the shopping in as well.  

I'm thinking they need to be lined so there are two layers of fabric to make them more durable, as I can imagine a single layer of fabric ripping easily.   Because I want pretty bags I plan on using quilters fabric on the outside but keeping costs down a tad by using a regular solid fabric on the inside.  

I've made simple bags before that are rectangles and added matching fabric straps or is the single cut better that is shaped more like store plastic bags?

I googled these images and put them side by side in one pict in case you weren't sure what I was talking about.  I've made plenty of simple bags like #2 with cutting out rectangles for the sides and sewing them all together and adding handles.  (they make great trick-or-treat bags)
  

Thoughts?
Other Options?
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Baby Showers And Gifts For New Babies / Baby Quilts & Other Stuff on: November 14, 2013 07:34:46 AM
I have two friends who are having babies, one this month in November and one due just before Christmas.

The one friend doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl as they chose not to know the sex of the baby during their ultrasound.  They are going with browns and neutral colors for the nursery.  So I am going to make several items after the baby is born to be more gender specific.  But for her shower I made some unisex items.

I call these quilts my quick and easy strip quilts.  I made it start to finish in a day, but I worked pretty much non-stop.  It is machine quilted along all the borders.   I also don't use batting, and prefer to just make the top piece and back with it polar fleece.  This way it's a nice year round quilt the child can snuggle up with later when he/she is older.





More picts of the quilt close up can be found here on photobucket.  I use albums for different projects.
http://s271.photobucket.com/user/iiapco2/library/Anderson%20Baby%202013?sort=4&page=1

Then I also made her a matching diaper changing pad to shove in her diaper bag or to use at home on the changing table.   It has the giraffe print on the back.



Plus some burp cloths.  I used flannel for the top and cotton terry for the back.  She really likes them and wants me to make more for her.
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj142/iiapco2/Anderson%20Baby%202013/AndersonBaby7.jpg
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj142/iiapco2/Anderson%20Baby%202013/AndersonBaby8.jpg
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj142/iiapco2/Anderson%20Baby%202013/AndersonBaby9.jpg
http://i271.photobucket.com/albums/jj142/iiapco2/Anderson%20Baby%202013/AndersonBaby10.jpg



Then the wife of my son's taekwondo teacher although she helps out with class when she isn't at the hospital delivering babies herself is having a baby this month.   So I made a quilt for them.  I chose this fabric because taekwondo is a big part of their life and I know their son will be taking classes as soon as he is old enough!  

This is just a quick cell phone pict as I haven't had the time to lay it out to take the pictures I normally take.




Then this week yet or weekend I will be using a infant layette pattern and using white flannel but redrafting the top a bit on the pattern.  I want to make it a bit more similar to the style of the taekwondo dobok they wear.   White flannel so it will be soft and perfect for a newborn.  But because it's a gift and not something I would ever sell because of copyright legal issues, I'm going to scan my son's patches and print them on iron on transfer paper to make it look a bit more like an ATA dobok.  I don't want to sew on patches because that takes away the comfort issue for a newborn.  I want it to be soft and flexible.  But it's a gift.   The one thing their Master always tells the kids as my son is in the first beginners class for youth (he tests for camo belt saturday) but he tells the other white belts that everyone including himself once started as a white belt, and that it takes practice to achieve goals.  Any goals, black belt included.  He's 7th degree black belt.  So I haven't decided if I'm going to make it with a white belt or a baby blue belt because it's going to be for a little boy.....  But it shouldn't take me long to whip that out once I have time to sew.  

Okay off to the kitchen to work on my orders for the day from my customers for the items I do make and sell......  

Oh and both new mama's and baby get their own bath and body products that I did make myself.   Plus some wonderful bastile soap for the new baby that is unscented, made with coconut milk and coconut water with only olive oil, shea butter and castor oil for the oils.  Unscented and aged about 2 1/2 years now, so it will be wonderful stuff for the baby's skin!  Castile and bastile soaps are best when they are over a year old otherwise the lather is more slimy when it's too fresh!

5  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Super Fast & Simple Mug Rug on: October 14, 2013 03:55:55 PM

Ive got a set of coasters that were given to me as a gift for the living room.  But I wanted a rug mug to use on my night stand.  I usually dont use ice in my beverages, but lately Ive been adding ice.   I really dislike cup sweat..  Is that even a term?

But I didnt want to take the time to quilt a pretty square for it nor did I want to take the time to use binding around the edges.  So this is what I came up with on a spur while I was sitting at my sewing machine.   But I actually like the outcome. 

I think I may make up a few for my SIL for Christmas using different fabric of course....  It's not fancy, but it is quick and easy.   But for hers I believe I will add a layer of PUL between the absorbent core and the bottom fabric.  If I did that I would make the bottoms a matching solid fabric so there is a difference between the top and bottom layer so a person knows which side goes up.   That way if there is a lot of glass sweat it won't seep through to the furniture below.   Just in case as she does have a few antiques. 

For my project I used what materials I had around and to be honest they were scraps since it was just for my bedside.  I didnt care what the fabric was.   


I used my quilters ruler and rotary cutter to cut out two squares of fabric that measure 4.5 by 4.5 square.   I didnt worry about cutting on or off the bias, I just cut the square out so it was square by the ruler.

I wanted something in the core that had a little cushion but not too much, and would be absorbent for that cup sweat!  That ruled out polar fleece.   Next I thought about using cotton terry cloth, and while it would work, it was a tad thicker than what I wanted.  I didnt want a cup to be tippy because of the loft.   But it wasnt so thick that it wouldnt work, but I also had some bamboo fleece and I used that because its a tad thicker than the bamboo terry.  The bamboo terry would also work nicely as well.   The bamboo terry/fleece is more absorbent than the cotton terry while being a thinner product.  I love that fact about bamboo terry/fleece now that I bought some to try out.  Ill be buying more of it in the future. 

I used 4 pins and pined the three layers together just as the item would be used.  I put the wrong sides together with the core layer between the two outer fabrics.   I used one pin on each corner but if you prefer to use more go ahead.  I sewed a 1/4 inch seam around the entire square.  I didnt stop and clip threads when I turned the square; I just turned the fabric and kept on sewing. 

This came to me on a whim as to what to do with the raw edges for the fabric.  Ive started making all my own bias tape and just had some pre-bought super narrow bias in white and I didnt want to use that.  Not just because it was super narrow but it was also white and that would stick out like a sore thumb with this print.  LOL and me who didn't change my thread to black from the white I had in my machine of course.   And for such a small project I didnt want to make up some quick just for this project.   Although I did have the black cotton to work with had I wanted to go that route. 

So instead I just zigzagged around the raw edges.  I put the center line of my foot on the raw edge of the fabric and went around.   But once I went around once it seemed kind of sparse, so I just went around the border again with the zigzag stich and it looked much better.  This way the edges won't unravel when it's laundered.   I didnt adjust anything for the zigzag just factory preset when you make that selection.  A person could even go around a third time if one wanted.  Decide how many times you want to go around when your making it depending on how it looks.


*cough*cough* I also didnt change thread to black because it was a super simple quick project that was for my own personal use. Okay I was lazy and just didnt want to take the time to change the thread..    But I would recommend changing the thread to one that matched the print or contrast which would also look nice.  But given my example in showing it with the white gives you an idea of what the edge looks like because of the contract which wouldnt have shown up well had I changed the thread to black.




6  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Boxy Bags on: September 27, 2013 02:03:56 PM
I just thought I would share.  I had seen these bags for a long time and I've been wanting to make one forever it seems like.  But just didn't.

While having some down time with a bad fibro flair up I spent some time in bed with my kindle fire HD.... on youtube and pinterest looking at tutorials found on blogs.  I decided that when I felt better I was going to give it a try and I did.  Now I have made SEVERAL of them.

My goal was to make some for specific teachers and admin at the school my kids attend.  My daughter in HS has a favorite teacher that is her choir/band teacher so a music print for her.  My son is special needs and has a para for some of the day.  She has been with my son for 8 years now and she is big into sports, so a basketball print for her.  They tried switching to someone else years ago and that didn't work out as my son doesn't deal with change well.   The principle because I know she had extra work in dealing with my son when he was in elementary school....  There for awhile she had to take time out when he needed it to calm him down so he could go back to class and function the rest of the day so I have been very appreciative of everything she has done for my son.  My youngest daughter has a new to the school teacher so she is unaware of my crafting talents.....  I often give homemade gifts to teachers that I make myself.   Inside the bags I am going to include a small travel size 2.5 oz bottle of lotion that I make myself (from scratch if you do this yourself PLEASE make sure you use the proper preservative for safety reasons) some lip balm and some hand sanitizer.    But that's another story.....  I make it for personal use but I don't mind giving it as gifts and it's labeled properly of course.  With with a pack of gum and a container of mints.  Then tied to the top with a matching ribbon a larger bottle of lotion they can put on their desk.  The principle has told me how much she loves my triple coconut lotion. (made with coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil and coconut milk)

But I add decorative stitching to the top rather than plain stitching.  I also just ordered 10 yards of zipper off the bay with 20 pulls to save myself in buying single zippers at walmart.......  Now to begin playing with that as I want to make some bigger bags than these.  

I do sew them with seams at the bottom so if it's a pattern that has direction you don't have one side that is the right way and the other side upside down!   I also use stiff fusible interfacing on the lining side and on the outer fabric side I use fusible fleece to give it some softness.  I don't want them to be soft saggy bags that don't keep their shape.

I cut the fabric 5.5" wide by 11" long.  The corner seams are 1.5" on the angle.  I do use a quilters ruler and mark my sewing lines for the corners for it's the same on all four corners.  Then I zig-zag over the cut seams on those corners after trimming them for a professional looking finish.  (I should dig out my serger someday)   I do have my zipper longer than needed so that way I don't have to deal with sewing over the pull for a smoother look on the edge.  That makes a big difference!!!

Oh this one is made for the gal that grooms our dogs and boards them when we got out of town.  By daughter also babysits her kids when she needs a sitter and they adore my daughter!  






This is one of my favorites.  I love the black and white with the red inside.  Of course my favorite color is red.....






If you haven't tried making one of these types of bags do give it a go.  They are a lot of fun to make and quite functional.  They have 1001 uses.   There are a lot of tutorials on blogs (easily found on pinterest or google) and video's on youtube to help you figure out how to make them.  I had to re-read blogs and re-watch video's till I got it right.  My first bag wasn't half bad but I learned what I could do better the more that I made. So my first few bags were made from cheap fabric because I was learning.  So I suggest you do the same.  Don't expect perfect on the first try but use cheap fabric but with some practice you can have some pretty cool bags for yourself or give as gifts..... or if your a seller to add to your line up of bags to offer your customers.
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Using Pattern For Knits with Flannel.... not typical shirt pattern on: September 19, 2013 11:43:06 AM
There is a pattern I am thinking of ordering but it's a pattern for knits only.

This is the pattern.It's McCalls 4280


I want to make the top piece C and the pants.  The top is the main item that the baby is wearing in the pict but shorter for a top instead of a gown.   But I have another pattern I could also use the pants.  But instead of knit I want to use flannel.  

I thought it might work because the top has ties to close on the front/side, but I wanted to get some "expert" opinions.   It doesn't go over the head and it's fairly loose fitting.  I've sewed clothing items before but they were patterns for broadcloth and I used broadcloth (cotton) or flannel to sew them.
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