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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Hat Wreaths on: October 13, 2019 07:59:14 PM
Dollar Tree has wire wreath forms that are shaped like a witch's hat.  These can also be santa/gnome hats, Christmas trees, or turned upside-down for a cornucopia or umbrella.  I made a few for gifts and for a charity raffle.  A couple still need embellished, but I like the simpler style.  To save space, these can be made reversible from fall/autumn design on one side, to a Christmas/winter design on the flip side.

2  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / Crutch Clutch With Tutorial on: September 13, 2019 01:30:07 PM
The crutch clutch:  A small purse/pocket that attaches to full arm crutches, freeing the hands from holding items while using the crutches.  The interior is lined, and the exterior has a pocket.  To keep the crutch clutch from flopping about, there is a band securing it across the back.  

This helps people who rely on crutches by providing a place for keys, cell phone, wallet, etc.  

Tutorial - 1/4" seam allowance on all pieces.  RST = right sides together.  RSO = right side out.

Materials:  Preshrink and iron all pieces before cutting and sewing.
  Outer-- 2 pieces of fabric 7" wide x 10" long.  
  Lining-- 2 pieces 7" wide x 10" long.  
  Top straps-- 4 pieces 9" long x 1.5" wide
  Tab closure-- 2 pieces 4" long x 1.5" wide.  
  Velcro-- 3/4" wide-- 3 hook, 3 loop pieces 1" long.  
  *Optional interfacing-- 2 pieces 7" x 10"; plus 2 strap pieces 9" x 1.5"; plus 4" x 1.5" for tab

External pocket -- 1 outer piece 7" x 7"; 1 inner/facing piece 7" x 7"
  *Optional interfacing -- 7" x 7"
  *Optional trim, ricrac, cording -- 7" length

Shoelaces, ribbon, or fabric-- to keep the crutch clutch from flopping around.  (There are two options for this: Side ties using long strips/laces, or a fabric channel with elastic going across the back that is sewn into the sides.)
    If using side ties: 2 - 17" shoelaces/grosgrain ribbon folded in half..  These will be sewn to the outer front piece, right side, facing inward, 3" down from the top edge of the fabric, one on each side.
    If using a piece across the back:  2 - 10" x 2" rectangles.  RST, sew the two long sides.  Trim and clip edges.  Turn RSO; press; sew a seam down the center of the length.  This forms your two elastic channels.  Feed 1/4" wide elastic through a channel with a safety pin. Repeat with the second channel.  Sew the ends of the elastic at one end only, and sew the channels closed at that end.  Adjust the elastics and gather/stretch to desired tension (est. 9 inches of unstretched elastic).  Sew into place and close this end with a secure stitch.  Press and set aside.  This should hold the crutch clutch to the crutch without bunching or restricting the clutch's function.  

If using trim or cording, pin in place and sew to the outer piece.  Place the outer and the facing pieces RST.  Sew across the top edge, being careful of the cording/trim.  Turn RSO and press.  Cording should stick upward from the seam.  Topstitch close to the cording.  Put pocket on top of the outer front piece (pocket-facing against front outer/right side).  Match up the bottoms and align the sides.  Sew in place.
RST pin the front lining piece to the front outer piece with the pocket.  Sew across the top.  Open and press.

Straps and Tab
Place 2 strap pieces RST; sew both long sides and one short side.  Trim edges, clip corners.  Turn RSO and press.  Repeat with the remaining two strap pieces.
Repeat also with the two tab pieces.  Set aside.

Grab your large outer piece that will be the back side of the clutch (resting against the crutch).  On the right side, mark the midpoint of the top width.  Then mark two inches from the midpoint, in both directions.  There should be 3 dots - two 4" apart and one in the center.  This shows where the strap pieces (and tab) will be sewn.  
Position the straps against the right side of the fabric, with the strap edge outside of the outer dots, and with the unsewn strap edge against the upper edge of the clutch fabric.  There should be 4 inches between the straps.   Pin and sew in place.

Fold the tab in half lengthwise to find its midpoint on the unsewn short edge.  Center the tab on the outer back piece, RST, matching the midpoints.  The tab should face downward.  Sew in place.  

BACK - Outer piece and lining, RST.  Sew together across the top, making sure that the tab and straps are extended.  Press open.  Position the elastic channel piece on the back outer piece.  This should be halfway down, about 3-4" from the top seam, and should rest slightly above the crutch's narrowing.  Sew one end of the channel to the right side of the back.  Stretch the channel directly across the width of the back piece, pin in place, and sew.  The outer back piece should resemble this:

FRONT TO BACK - Place the front (outer and lining) and back (outer and lining) RST, and pin in place.  The elastic area will look bunched.  Sew around all four sides, with attention to the elastic areas.  Leave an opening on the lining side for turning RSO.  Turn RSO.  Fold the turnhole seams inward and sew the hole closed.  Tuck the lining into the clutch.  Iron and topstitch.

Sew the hook pieces to the ends of the straps and the tab.  Put a softer loop piece on the bag front--  in the center above the pocket for the tab, an inch down from the upper edge of the clutch.  Sew in place.
The other two are sewn directly across from the clutch straps, 2" from the midpoint.  Decide if you want the loop patch on the outer front (visible) or on the lining (as in the photo).  Position them slightly below the top seam and sew in place.

Slip the bottom of the crutch in between the clutch and its backside elastic band.  Pull upward until the crutch clutch is slightly below the handle.  Wrap the straps around the crutch sides, matching up the hooks and loops.  Pinch the hook-and-loop tabs together.  

I hope this made sense.

3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Mystery Gadget on: August 09, 2019 04:08:20 PM
This gadget was at a local church rummage sale.  Since I have no idea what it is, what it goes to, or how it is supposed to "work," I refer to it as a crafter light sabre.  There was no cord, brochure, or other gizmo that looked like a possible companion contraption.  None of the sale workers knew anything about it.  My guess is something to do with scrapbooking.  Hopefully you good folk can enlighten me about it.

In the past, things that were unsold went to a couple organizations (missions, shelters) that would pick up the items.  However, they were/are picky on what they need and what they would take.  The church still had to contend with getting rid of unsold items.  This year to combat the issue, during the last day of the sale, the church charged a $3 entrance fee, and let folks take what they wanted with no limits or bag requirements.  It is my crafty Christian duty to support such a worthy cause.  A well tended sewing machine in a cabinet came home with me (priced $40 for the sale), along with the lighted contraption and a few other items.   I haven't had time to tinker with the sewing machine.  It has the original manual, which is worth the $3 itself lol.
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Graduation Party *PIC HEAVY* on: May 27, 2019 05:24:11 PM
Our son graduated from high school, and as is the tradition around here, we hosted a celebratory party in his honor.  We reserved an outdoor pavilion at a public park and prayed for good weather.  Mother Nature complied!
Since the venue was outdoor casual, we went with a simple menu of club sandwiches, tossed salad, raw baby carrots, cupcakes, and drinks.  There were also wrapped Twinkies, and pb cups wrapped in purple and gold foil  (pulled from bagged Easter candy and saved).

DD and her bestie (our "other daughter" who isn't related but is "family") recently acquired Cricut machines.  They made small graduation hats (mortar board and dangling tassel) that were made into cupcake picks.  


They had sheets of yellow that were cut with the tassels, and glittery purple that were cut without the tassels.    (**TIP! Glitter sheets are harder for the Cricut to cut, and they discovered that it cuts easier and better if the glitter sheet is inserted with the glitter side down.)  These purple and yellow bits were glued back to back, with a toothpick in the middle.  Gluing was my job.
Homemade cupcakes in various flavors with the picks inserted:

Balloons add a nice touch of color, but those little weight contraptions that keep the balloon from flying off can be pricey.  The weights themselves aren't that substantial, they tip easily.  Plus, what do you do with weights afterward?  My solution was to use canned goods.  I wrapped a bunch of cans (mostly soups) in purple giftwrap from the dollar store, and secured with curling ribbon.  These cans did double duty to hold tablecloths in place.  Helium balloons were tied to the curling ribbon and stayed in place throughout the party.  After the party, the cans were donated to a local food pantry.  The balloons were given to children as they left the party.  Win, win, win!

I spray painted a basket metallic gold, then wrapped purple fabric around the handle.  Inside the basket were displayed mason jars containing packets of condiments and salad dressings.  Little mouthwash cups were used for dressing/dip for baby carrots.  (The large gold grad hat on the basket handle is a sticker from Wal-Mart) My apologies - I don't have photos of the actual setup during the party.  This is a pseudo recreation afterward.

His card box has his graduation announcement glued to the front and a grad hat with tassel on top.  
The sunflower coursage was given to mothers of the senior football players during Senior Night of football season in the fall.  I kept mine in the fridge and was amazed that it stayed so vibrant 3 weeks later.  Then I realized that the flowers aren't real LOL!
2019 sticker is also a Wal-Mart find.

A special centerpiece was created using a clear acrylic photo frame from stash - 8 x 10 inch size.  Inserted into the frame is a letter to our son.  Simple, free, and priceless.  To spruce it up, the letter was backed with a solid color of copy paper.  His carnation boutonniere from the graduation ceremony a week before was taped to the corner.  It is wilted because it IS real lol.   Gold tassel is a keychain from the Mother's Day clearance items at Wal-Mart.  

The graduate:

Thanks for looking!  
5  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Pet Cremains on: May 10, 2019 08:18:33 AM
This afternoon we will be saying good-bye to our beloved dog, Zena.  She has endured worsening eye issues (IOP - blindness) and we don't want her to continue suffering.  Her pain meds no longer seem to work.  Although my heart is breaking and we will miss her terribly, we must think of her comfort and well being.  I hate that I could not cure her issues or be a better petmommy.  Zena deserves a long, happy life - as do all pets.  To those of you who have lost a furbaby,  my deepest sympathies.  They are truly family.

DH refuses to have Zena buried on our land, outside in the elements.  It's touching of my big beefy husband to insist that she be kept inside, safe and warm and dry.  Zena will be cremated.  My crafty question is about her cremains,  What sort of container?  I want to make something but mentally am mush and cannot think beyond Ziplock baggies and Tupperware.  Recently we've had trees come down and I'd love something from their wood, perhaps inscribed with a wood burner .... Tips and suggestions greatly appreciated.

6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Quick Port Protector- Seat Belt Cover on: March 10, 2019 02:04:41 PM
Recently a friend has been diagnosed with cancer and has had a chemo port installed.  Alas I am out of batting for making a port protector the usual way.  Most patterns for port protectors call for a 7-8 inch square of fabric or thereabouts.  Pot holders are usually that size, and are already quilted.  Eureka!  So I dug through my mini stash of pot holders and found some with inspirational quotes and cheerful designs.  These became port protectors to wrap around seat belts.  Pre sized, pre quilted, binding attached, cute patterns --win, win, win, win!   A five inch strip of velcro was added for closure.  

Conventional seat belts are three inches wide.  I positioned the pot holders  with this in mind.
The ones below show two different velcro closures.  One (blue- on the left in all photos) shows the velcro strips closing by directly facing each other, like a taco shell.  This makes the velcro part of the pot holder stick out to the side of the seat belt, and gives an extra inch of padding for those who have automatic seat belts that swing from the top of the car door.

The sunflower/green one closes more like a burrito.  The pot holder folds into thirds with the edges and velcro overlapping.  A strip of male or hard velcro is sewn to the floral side, and the soft female velcro is sewn to the sold green back side.  It is important to sew the velcro pieces so that the harder velcro is facing upward and away from the person's body when in use.

They were made with slight differences in the velcro placement to take into accout all the "P" points:  personal preference, port placement, pectoral muscles, parables, point and parcel (any other factors).   There is removable fleece padding for extra comfort.

Front of potholders:

Back view:

I added a small removable cushion, made of 4 layers of charcoal plaid blanket fleece, for extra protection.  It does not have velcro on it but has stayed in place when tested.

Taco (left) and burrito (right)

Flip sides:

I hope this all made sense.  It is a fast project made from stash and can be used by folks on kidney dialysis as well as those on chemo:  anything with a port, surgical issue, trauma or injury to the area of the body affected by seat belts, including the lap belt for abdominal issues.  Those with skin sensitivities (elderly with tissue paper thin skin) or who simply like not having the seat belt digging into them would also benefit from protection.

7  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Cricut Mats on: February 09, 2019 07:12:26 AM
DD bought a Cricut.  She is tremendously pleased at finding a bundle special and has taken a class on how to use it.  The mats are rather pricey and have a stickiness, which raises some questions.  Can a non-Cricut specific cutting mat be used, perhaps a run of the mill fabric cutting mat, with spray adhesive?  What are the pros and cons of the various mat types and what are the rules/guidelines for choosing a mat?  There were some small non-C mats on clearance at WalMart that were left at the store.  Sad

I have not had the pleasure of using a Cricut or similar machine.  They sound awesome.  I don't know which Cricut DD has, but "It's lavender!"  and doesn't cut fabric.
8  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / What is this please? on: January 22, 2019 02:06:54 PM
Would anyone happen to know what this is?  DD found two of them at a thrift store.  What is it used for?



DD says the rulers don't move.  Her first inkling was something sewing related.  Everything is solid, and they are too good for scaling fish.  The site on the label directs to pictures of bird houses and feed planks, but we don't see a similar piece. 
Thanks in advance.
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Potthucke: German Potato Cake Loaf on: January 13, 2019 07:56:30 AM
Has anyone made potthucke?  I can't pronounce it but this recipe looks amazing and I can't wait to try it. 

The recipe comes in both US and Metric units.
Interesting twist on meatloaves and hashbrown casserole, and easily substitutable.  Scraps in my freezer now have a new purpose.   The closest I've come to this is fried potato cake patties from leftover hash browns so this is exciting.

Ingredients (4 servings unless you have teenagers)
2 1/2 lbs potatoes
2 onions
3 1/2 oz smoked bacon diced
9 oz whipping cream
4 eggs
pinch ground rosemary or thyme

Peel 14 oz of the potatoes (about 7/8 cup) and boil them in salted water for approximately 20 minutes or until soft. Grease the loaf baking pan or line with parchment paper, leaving excess paper hanging over the sides for easy removal of the finished cake. Preheat the oven to 200C (175C fan oven) or about 390F.
Meanwhile, peel and dice the onions. In a pan, render down the bacon and lightly braise the onions with it.
Let the cooked potatoes cool down a bit. Pass through a potato ricer to mash them.
Peel, wash and roughly grate the remaining potatoes.
Knead the grated and cooked potatoes together with the onion-bacon mixture, cream, eggs and a few generous pinches of salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Add the dough to the prepared baking tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool before removing from the pan, either by turning it over or carefully taking it out with the parchment paper. Then cut into slices.
You can either eat it straight away, or reheat slices by frying them in a pan until brown and crispy on both sides.
10  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Templates/Patterns for Boxes and Cards on: December 08, 2018 04:43:19 AM
Templates for cards and boxes.  Some are unusual shapes, and I found these helpful for 'wrapping' gifts in creative ways.

https://tipjunkie.com/free-printable-templates-gift-boxes/  (Shoes!)

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