Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You

Happy Memorial Day

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Binding and Bias Tape

Until now, my favorite way to finish both bindings and bias tape edges on all items had been to sew them on, flip, and hand sew. I’ve tried machine finishing them both but have never liked the results. The back side always was too messy. Hand sewing was worth the time invested. Plus, I’ve learned to enjoy the hand sewing because of how it turns out, and for the challenge of working on my stitches so that they do not show.

A while back, while looking for sewing tips online, I came across some video tutorials by Sharon Schamber. I watched the ones on how she does her binding with glue. It looked simple, so I brought some glue home.

My new favorite new sewing tool…

…Elmer’s School Glue!

Earlier this week I was talking to Kay and told her about those videos. A couple of days later I got a text from her stating, “OMG, you have to try the glue binding!” She had used it on a quilt (sofa protector) for her grand-puppy. So yes, I took my big sister’s advice and tried. I made two square pot holders. (These are for a friend.) I’ve got some kinks to work out on my corners, but the technique itself is wonderful!

Then I made two oven mitts for myself, following the tutorial from The Idea Room. Instead of ribbon edging the front pockets, I used the binding method. Those little strips are great for practicing how to figure out the seam allowance for when you want to machine stitch the binding instead of hand sewing. Next I made my own bias tape. I sewed it around the edges of the potholders as I normally would and used the glue on the back before stitching it down with the machine. They came out great!

I’m going to practice some more with square pot holders for myself, then trash my old, icky ones! There are still more towels to embellish, and the resident thief recently found a stray ball of cotton yarn that would made a pretty matching dish cloth. Looks like some knitting during the race tomorrow.

Here's a link to Show & Tell Fridays.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Play With Beads, Too!

My father had a silver dollar, given to him by his parents before he went to the South Pacific to serve the Army in WWII. He carried that silver dollar in his pocket every single day that he served our country, as well as every single day afterwards…more than 50 years. It became so worn, that the images on the coin were rubbed smooth. He often stated that he would be buried with his silver dollar in his pocket. He was.

I have a silver dollar that he gave to me. (I’m assuming that he gave all of my siblings one as well. If not, I sure will hear about it!)

A few years ago I decided that it would make a great necklace. So in a true DIY mode, decided that I would take a basic beading class, then learn more, and come up with something for the silver dollar. I did take a great class at the Bead Museum, did learn some new techniques, but have done nothing with the silver dollar. I’ve long since realized that it’s beyond my capabilities to ever be able to come up with something that I would want for my silver dollar necklace. One of these days I will contact a local artisan, DR Designs to come up with something for my silver dollar. I have two bracelets and a pair of earrings from her, and she does beautiful work!

As for my jewelry, I make it for myself and it's pretty basic. Some of the most fun pieces that I wear a lot come from beads in the "digger bin" at a local bead shop. Here's one of the few photos that I've taken. The bracelet was my first attempt using memory wire.

Now, what shall I create before thinking about what to make for dinner?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flickr Hats

Living in Phoenix, hats are a summer necessity. While I have a few nice straw/straw type ones in different colors, my go-to choice seems to be a denim baseball cap. I've got some ideas running around in my head for some easy embellishments on baseball caps, so stay tuned. Maybe the first idea yet this week?

1. hats looking for heads, 2. A girl with a hat full of stars and flowers, 3. 1950s Pink Silk Platter Hat, 4. For the Red Hat Society

More photo mosaics at Art Mind.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lazy Days of Summer

Today was a lazy day. The weather was unseasonably cool for Phoenix, not even getting up to 80 degrees. My dog and I both loved it!

This morning I took Jacie to school so that the office staff could meet her. When we got home, Jacie emailed her 'Aunt Darby.'

As you can see, they are both little thieves! Although biologically unrelated, Darby and Jacie have very similar markings on their pretty little faces. Here's what Jacie wrote:

My mom took me on a field trip this morning to her school to show me off. I started out by making things difficult for her, by me wanting to drive. I even honked the horn! She then made me get out of the car so she could block off the space between the front seats. It’s OK being in the back, but I really can’t wait until I’m old enough to drive.

I walked into the front of the school and there were a few women who were “awwwwing” over me. I sat pretty and wagged my tail like a mad woman while they petted me and said what a good girl I am! Then I just laid down and looked pretty! When my mom tried to get me to leave, I stayed put. The principal said that it looked like the school may have a new mascot. That would be fun…almost 700 kids to herd! Then one of the women asked Mom if she watched Dog Whisperer. That woman was able to get me standing easily with the leash & now Mom knows how to do it. I wonder what other kinds of lessons I’ll learn this summer. I did overhear her saying that she’s going to take me to a Petsmart class. Ha! She’s got to get me to walk on the tile in there first. The one time she took me, it was so slippery in my enthusiasm that I gave up and just laid down.

It’s naptime now and I hear the cool kitchen floor calling my name.

So later, while Jacie napped, I lazed. Finally, I decided that I needed to accomplish one thing, so I embellished a towel for the kitchen.

I've got more of these fabrics and plan on doing other fun things for my kitchen. But, for today, at least I did something.

A Gift of Thyme

And time! Last Thursday I waved goodbye (with tears) to all of my now 4th graders. Today is my first "real" day of summer vacation. In between rescuing pinecones, chewed off bougainvilla branches, a dirty sock or two, and an empty 5 gallon plastic container from the little thief Jacie, I spent my first morning of vacation leisurely sightseeing in Blogville. One attraction was at Somewhat Simple.

This idea is not mine and I didn't make it, but as a teacher, I sure loved receiving it! It's simple, inexpensive, and thoughtful. This was from one of my darling little girls. I know there's a lot of creativity in her household from the adorable ribbons, bows, jewelry, and other embellishments she would sport at school.

Isn't this great?! I've often thought about starting some kind of an herb garden, and this just may be my motivator. I'll just need to get creative on where to put the pots to protect them from the desert sun and the Sun Devil dog who loves to chew plants.

I do have another idea for clay pots, too. Years ago one of my parents had her own plant business. Early that May, she came into my class and did a presentation for my kiddos. Each student received a clay pot and a plant to give to their moms on Mother's Day. I had the students ModPodge colored tissue paper onto the pots, then they potted their plants. They turned out adorable! I made one for myself, and while it lasted nicely for a few years out in the summer sun, it's now gone.

We also had a few extra plants and pots, so the kids that year made a pot for the office staff for Secretary's Day. If I recall right, I remember seeing that pot still up on a shelf in the supply room at school. I might just go in to school and see if I can rescue that ModPodge'd pot and get a picture. I'll do that during my lunch break at a workshop that I'm going to tomorrow...

...whoever said that teachers have the summers off lied!

I'm linking to:

SYS Teachers

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Professional Tote 2

Here is one of the Professional Totes that Joy ordered to give to a kindergarten teacher the year that I had the cottage license from Laura Martell of The Creative Thimble. The fabric is Tidings and Tales by Janet Wecker-Frisch for Wilmington Prints.

This fabric was also very fun to play with the placement on this Professional Tote! Here's the front:

I do not remember what font I used for the machine embroidery, but I love how it looks on the fabric. Here's the back:

And the two sides:

Inside views:

This last inside photo shows both the included message required under the cottage license, as well as how I modified the business card holder. That took some fiddling to do with the clear vinyl, but I'm really happy with the result.

I can't say enough how much I love these bags!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Studio Reorganization

In my last big reorganization, I opted to take off the hallway door and the closet doors. That really opened up my small space. The tiny room was packed full, but very efficient for working. Even when my sister Kay was out here and the two of us spent a lot of time in there playing, we had enough room to work.

Now, it's a mess. I refuse to do any 'before' pictures at this point: I'm so embarrassed! I've started some simple things that will be both useful and pretty, one of which is rolling my ribbon on clothespins and putting them in glass jars. Ummm, I bought a package of 50 clothespins, and will need to buy more to finish. I had no idea I had that many spools of ribbon! I also find it a boring task, so I'm only about half finished. On the bright side, I'm using pins that I do not like to sew with to anchor the ribbons, so at least those pins are finding a good use.

The biggest issue in completing my cleanup and reorganization will be Jacie.

She's such a happy little thief! Although she's starting to learn the command of "drop," it takes a doggie treat and a few laps around the house or yard for us humans to retrieve the stolen goods.

The weekend after we got her, we put up a kiddie gate on my studio entrance. That's working well, but we're figuring that she could easily jump it, so now if I'm in there, I leave the gate open. So far so good, but where do I put all the piles of sewing items as I'm reorganizing??? I'm sure I'll come up with something out of necessity.

I really, really, really NEED to clean up my studio, since I can only sew small items now. My work space is cluttered, as is even the floor. I think I'm in for a real challenge next week, so that my fabric does not end up like my yarn, compliments of my furry little girl.

Yes, I woke up to this one morning at about 2:00 am when I went to check on her during the first week she was home. My little herding dog must have really been excited that she came to a home where dog toys were made out of SHEEP!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Flickr Favorites: Summer's Coming!

Here are some images that are really getting me in the mood for summer break! I have a LOT of things I want to accomplish, but there must be some relaxation after a fabulous, yet long, school year.

1. Summer's Here, 2. Best wishes for the summer season !!, 3. The summer wind came blowing in..., 4. day 141_summer sundays, 5. Minestrone of summer fruit and basil sorbet, 6. Summer Feet, 7. summer greens 11712, 8. ~ Summer Sweetness ~, 9. Summer summer summertime,

My students made me cry yesterday. In art, the teacher had them make cards for me, which I read when we got back to our classroom. Then today, as I was dismissing them, I commented on how fast this week was flying by, and I got teary again. This will be one of those years that dismissal on the last day will be extremely emotional. I will really miss seeing these kiddos every day.

Now, go check out some of the other cool mosaics at ArtMind!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Professional Tote

Posting about the oven mitts and the fabrics that I used reminded me of the most fun thing I've ever made.

About 2 1/2 years ago I bought the pattern for the Professional Tote, by Laura Martell of The Creative Thimble. Having seen the Dick & Jane fabric line by Michael Miller Fabrics, I knew I HAD to make a teacher tote. In playing around with the fabrics, it evolved into a gift for my co-worker. I think I started in January and was planning on giving it to her for her birthday in May. That in itself was a joke...I seem to never get gifts done early. Shortly after I started making the Professional Tote, Joy's step-father passed away. I finished it up quickly and sat it on her desk the morning she was back to work after the funeral. When she saw it, from my adjoining classroom I heard, "OH MY GOD!"

In two of the following photos, I've blacked out the embroidery showing her last name.

She loves it. She carries to work every day. She shows it off to colleages at workshops/meetings. She became my customer. I purchased a one year cottage license from Laura and made teacher Professional Totes for Joy's sons' teachers for end-of-the-year gifts. We joked that I was going to have to make my own end-of-the-year gift last year when I had one of her sons in my classroom.

No matter how hard I try lately, my thoughts keep coming back to my day job and all that needs to get done. Guess it's time to do some dreaded paperwork and gear up for the exhausing last week of school.

Oven Mitts and Towel

Early this year I discovered The Idea Room. I probably spent the better part of a Saturday going through posts. Amy has wonderful ideas! From her tutorial, here is my spin on her oven mitts, using Michael Miller Fabrics.

I machine quilted the pieces before binding the edges. LOVE them! These were a gift for a co-worker, and at the last moment I decided to add a towel.

It was dark, but I managed to remember to take a picture that morning before heading to work.

Since then, I've made new kitchen curtains and have a bunch of fabric to play around with making pretty kitchen things for myself.

Summer...bring it on!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Toys for My Studio

Between dogs, I've actually gotten quite a few things done. My sister Kay and I both loved these Stack & Nest Quilted Blocks and talked about making them. One Saturday I made one, and have most of two more cut bigger and one smaller.

I LOVE how this turned out and can't wait for summer to have more time to play. One more week!

Back to Blogging...AGAIN!

It’s been almost a year…a long, yet short, year of ups and downs. I guess that’s called life.

Shortly after my previous post, our 14 year old lab/pointer mix, Macy, had a stroke. While she could still get around well in her old-girl way, she seemed depressed for a couple of weeks. Then, she seemed to snap out of it, accepting herself as she was, and life went on. I pretty much quit sewing, because she would either get agitated when I was in my small sewing room, or lay at my feet where there was no room for me to move. I humored her and gave her no reason for me to say ‘no.’ She made it past her 15th birthday in November, and I then spent my last winter break with her. On Sunday, the day before I went back to school, she climbed up in bed and enthusiastically licked me awake. Shortly after that, she had what appeared to be a seizure, which we’ve lived with for many years, so we didn’t think too much about it. After a nap, it was clear that the end was near. We kept her as comfortable as we could that day and she slept in her own bed all throughout the night. The next morning we took that one-way trip to the vet.

Here’s a picture that was taken about a week before that. She really was a smiley-girl! As the meds kicked in on that sunny Monday morning, we saw her smile for the last time.

After a couple of months, we talked about the possibility of getting another furry girl when I was home for the summer. I’d periodically look at puppy ads online, as I did one fateful Friday evening after work. The next day, May 1, we went to look at a specific girl and brought her home…

Jacie! (JC for Jan & Conrad) Good thing it rhymes with Macy, for all of the times that we’ve called her that in that past two weeks. She’s a 13 month old border collie mix. She has a LOT of wonderful qualities and she is adapting well to her new home. And adapting to new rules! She’s smart, sassy, and a perfect fit for us.

Welcome home, Jacie!