Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Grocery Bags...I'm sooo Green!

I cannot believe how exciting my life is! More grocery bags to show! Below are the three that are completed to date. I put ironing aids inside the one below to make it stand up.



Mr. Ozona made fun of me when we exited the store together the other day and I told him that I saved 15 cents by using my three bags. He said that for 15 cents he wouldn't be concerned, since he wouldn't be using any floral bags. Well...I'm sure he didn't use the word "floral." The bagger at the store was equally skeptic about my bags when I told him that he could pack the bags full and they would be fine. These suckers hold a LOT more than those plastic grocery bags, without the worry that they will fall apart, sending items flying everywhere.

Ha! Solved the problem with Mr. Ozona! Here are the two bags that are cut out and ready to sew.



Aren't they manly?! I don't care that he's really not a Cards fan, but I'm saving the Badger fabric to incorporate in a gift for him...which I was going to make last summer. This blogging thing really brings out the worst in me, doesn't it?!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sewing Basket







I need to rethink my desk area at work, since I had my teacher desk removed and replaced with a computer table. That saves floor space, but loses desk drawers for necessities. I had made one of these covered containers (Simplicity 4232) a while ago for a gift and decided that would solve my problem of little supplies that I constantly use. I wanted the pockets in vinyl, so I could easily see things. Not knowing how my skills would be on the vinyl, I opted to make a practice one first. I did it! I am pleased with the results and now cannot decide on what fabric to use for the one for work.

Of course, I really should be doing some things other than playing with fabric today.



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Flickr Favorites: Pledge of Allegiance



1. CTE053, 2. American Flag of the United States of America (USA Flag), 3. Old License plate Map, 4. Constitution of the United States of America, 5. * Independence Day July 4th *, 6. One Nation Under GOD, 7. Westwood 9/11 Memorial, 8. 4Th Of July Independence Day (United States Of America), 9. monument stage

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the republic
for which it stands
one nation under God
indivisible
with liberty and justice
for all

I chose these images because Independence Day is coming up. An added bonus is that I will be able to do something with this for my 3rd graders. As I was choosing images, creating the mosaic, and now coming up with the post, I have a rap version of the Pledge stuck in my head from a performance from my students.
For the past two years our wonderful music teacher has directed the 3rd graders in a patriotic presentation. All I can say is WOW! She's amazing what she can do with a group of 60+ mostly 8 and 9 year olds. Last month when the students performed for family, there were very few dry eyes in the house...teachers included.
Academically, this presentation aligns directly to our social studies curriculum. It is very powerful for the students when we can integrate learning into the arts. And very sad to think that the arts may be eliminated.

About two weeks ago the school board in my district held a study session to discuss contingency funding in the event that an upcoming override is not passed. For the elementary schools which service K-8 students:

  • Eliminate band
  • Limit music to 7th & 8th grade
  • Limit art to 7th & 8th grade

In addition, it was also suggested to limit PE to 7th & 8th graders, as well as eliminating all reading specialists. I understand the simple economics that if the money isn't there, cuts need to be made. Also, I believe that my district is not overly top-heavy, but reductions that could be made at the district level would be a drop in the bucket of the millions that may need to be cut.

Of course there were other cuts suggested, but I see these as the ones that would most impact the students. And teachers...continued more work and less money, but that's another story.

Art Mind Flickr Favorites for this week!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Calendar Quilt: January

Here's my start. January 1 fabric is for OSU winning the Rose Bowl! Go Bucks! January 4 with the paw prints is for Macy. Such a sad way to start the new year. There are some snowflakes and blue mid-month when there were storms all over the state.



Off to go finish a fun sewing project for my studio.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Calendar Quilt: February

February 2 is brown with little fur-ball type things, so that's Groundhog Day...such an important day for desert dwellers. Ha! We hope for 6 more weeks of our wonderful winters! Hearts on Valentine's Day. The rest are just random fabrics.



July's block is done, so it's time to start on August. I've got some fun school prints. Do I do the first week of school with those, or simply 5 black days in a row?!

Summer break is almost half over. I can't believe how fast it is flying by. But, all academic lesson plans are finished for the first week of school, as well as math for a month. This coming week my goal is to pump out 6 weeks of reading instruction. That alone will help to ease the first month of school with all of its craziness.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled SUMMER!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Homemade Laundry Products

Over a year ago, one woman at work made her own laundry detergent and brought in a sample for us to see. We ooh'd and ahh'd over the gelanous mixture, sniffing and testing the texture with our fingers. I guess that many of us are of at least a certain age where things like that excite us. Just imagine the stimulating work conversation:

What are you doing this weekend?
I'm making laundry detergent.
Oh! What kind of soap do you use in your recipe?
I use Zote, because pink is my favorite color!

(Heidi, if you ever come across my blog, yes that's you bolded!)

Now, many of us make our own. I then had to try my own fabric softener. I put mine in a Downey ball and it has the added benefit of keeping the inside of the washing machine sparkly.

Here are the recipes that I've been using. And yes, it is time this weekend to make both recipes. Fun times to be had!

Homemade Laundry Soap
1/3 bar Fels Naptha soap
½ c washing soda
½ c borax

Grate the soap and put in a saucepan with 6 c water. Heat until soap melts. Add soda and borax. Stir until dissolved. Remove from heat.
Pour 4 c hot water into a bucket. Add the soap mix and stir.
Now, add 1 gallon plus 6 c water. Stir.
Let sit for 24 hours and it will gel.
Use ½ c per load.


Fabric Softener
1 c baking soda
6 c distilled white vinegar
8 c water

Put the baking soda in a bucket. Add 1 c water. Slowly add the vinegar…it will fizz. Let fizz for a few minutes to dissolve the baking soda. Add the rest of the water. You can also add 10-15 drops of essential oil. Add 1 c to the final rinse, shaking first if you use essential oils. Or, put into a Downey ball.

Calendar Quilt: March

The only fabrics that have any significance for this month are:
1. March 2 Dick & Jane fabric for Dr. Seuss' birthday
2. March 13 Tape measure fabric representing play time during spring break
3. March 17 A strip of pretty green for St. Patrick's Day



What I notice as I look at this block again is that there are fabrics that I bought for purses. That are not made yet. Four different coordinating fabrics to be exact. Well, one is started, but my design idea had a flaw so I put that project aside. About two years ago. Maybe it's time to revisit what I've done on that because it is a good idea (in theory), plus the design actually fits in with the ruffling craze I've been seeing lately. Do you think I can make it work?!

As I look closer, there are actually four purses/bags started in various degrees of completion. That sounded a bit better than figuring out the number of UFOs I have. Oh, and now I recognize another fabric for a potential bag. I'm going to stop looking. Now that my studio is almost in order, I actually have room to play around with more that bits of fabrics and have room around my machine to do some serious sewing...heavy interfacings, bulky bags, etc.

In my defense, I did complete two more grocery bags this week. I saved a whooping 15 cents yesterday at the store by using my own three bags! And two more are cut out and waiting patiently to be sewn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Calendar Quilt: April

When we first got Jacie, we didn't have an exact birthday for her but knew it was sometime in April. So, we declared her an April Fool. About a month later, I received an email stating that her microchip had been transfered to me and that paperwork had her birthday on it...April 13. Didn't know until then that she had a microchip. She's still an April Fool, sometimes more often than not! April's block has big paw prints for her birthday.



I goofed on the placement of Easter. I meant to put the pastel colored polka dots for that date. I didn't notice my mistake until the block was completed. Easter now has skull and cross bones. Oops.

The rest of the fabrics are just randomly placed. I just realized that I have most of a fat quarter left of a print with coins on it that I could have used for April 15. Oh well. The IRS takes enough of my money...guess I don't need to commemorate them for that!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Calendar Quilt: May

Since yesterday I showed the completed June block, I figure I'll just work backwards. Maybe by the time I backtrack to January, my July block will be done.



On May 1 we brought home Jacie, so I started the month with a dog novelty fabric with "WOOF" all over it. We didn't hear her bark for about 3 days and commented on what a quiet girl she was. Notice the past tense: was! Honeymoon's over...now she's fairly vocal, among having other annoying habits that need to be broken! There's chili peppers for Cinco de Mayo, Crayola fabric for my students' last day of school, and then tape measure fabric representing my playtime during summer break. That's followed by some fun cocktail and watermelon fabrics. Happy summer! I ended the block with black & white for the Indy 500 race and one with red, white, & blue for Memorial Day.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Calendar Quilt: June

In January I came across Pat Sloan's Calendar Quilt Along. I jumped in with both feet, coming up with a plan to make 12 blocks. Not only am I up-to-date, as of this morning I'm officially ahead by finishing June's block.



A big thanks to Kay for sending me some fabric scraps for this! They really helped to blend in with the fabrics that I was using to make it look summery. Plus, one of the yellows that she sent had circles on it that looked like the sun, so I used that for the first day of summer. I happened to have some soccer fabric, so I added that in for June 11, when the World Cup started. No other days have any real significance with fabric choices, other than just trying to make it look somewhat summery. But I guess that the beginning of the block sort of matches the mild spring we've had, while the end brings in the yellows and the desert heat.

This quilt top really is a lot of fun to do!

Flickr Favorites: Green

Within Flickr, I searched "green fabric." I cannot even begin to say how many images I had favorited by the time I stopped looking. Then, it took me a while to narrow down the choices and I still ended up with a lot. This does put me in a creative mood...off to create something! (If Jacie will let me so early in the morning, since it's normally play time...or wild-girl time!)


1. White Fabric Flower, 2. Green, 3. Peaceful Green Japanese Brooch, 4. Green Felt, 5. Soft Blues and Greens Small Cloth Balls, 6. green floral fabric magnets, 7. Green Daisies - Fabric Button Ring, 8. Shabby Roses Necklace In Serene, 9. Blue and Green Stripe Fabric and Resin Pendant, 10. Sage green fabric rose, 11. Apple Fabric Pincushions, 12. green stones (embroidery), 13. green stripes fabric buttons, 14. Green Scarf Tassles, 15. Beautiful Cotton Fabric Buttons-Light Green With White Sakura 22mm, 16. Sweet Potted Fabric Plant - Green Damask Aloe by Jane Joss

Be sure to check out the other mosaics at Art Mind. I'm always amazed at some of the finds!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Modern Siggy Swap 2

Last week I finished these blocks for this Siggy Swap. I have 101 blocks to send out and will receive 100 blocks in return, each from a different quilter. Everyone sends in an extra block, which will be made into a charity quilt. These were quick and easy to do. There are some very cool fabrics that others are using! The deadline to mail is July 1, so it will be a while before I get my new toys to play with.



The fabric that I used is Clementine by Me & My Sister Designs for Moda. ;-) Appropriate, since "me & my sister" are both participating in this siggy swap. Don't worry (Susie especially!)...if it weren't for the name of the fabric, I would have said "my sister and I."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Going Green

For quite some time I've looked online at various shopping bags to made and just had not been pleased with what I saw. I also could not think of anything to design, so I've just continued using plastic. Then one day I happened to come across these instructions. I told Kay about the bag, and she made a few right away. Finally I made one, using her recommendation to use a Target bag for the pattern. It's very easy and the resulting bag holds a lot! I opted not to put the pocket on, but the plain bag easily folds up into itself and is small enough to slip into my purse.

Here's the full bag.


Fold into thirds.


Fold the handles over.


With the remaining length, fold over the third that has the handles.


Tuck in the remaining third into the opening from the top of the bag.


Tuck into your purse and be ready for those impromptu grocery stops for a few items. I need to make more to have them available for bigger shopping. I'm also thinking about options for lining the bags that could hold meat and other possibly messy items.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Flickr Favorites: Cobalt



1. cobalt blue sea glass, 2. Cobalt, Pink, and Purple Glass Bracelet, 3. Cobalt Bottles, 4. Cobalt Glass Rays

Would LOVE to have some pretty pieces for my house...or my wrist, neck, or ears. But no, not the bottles. That picture made me laugh, though!

Mitsy's mosaic this week at Art Mind is fun...a craft party! A girl after my own heart.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flickr Favorites: Border Collies



None of these are Jacie, but found them as I'm learning more about the breed. I especially like the one with the tip of the tongue hanging out, since Jacie does that a lot...always during times when it's impossible to get the camera. Boot camp, um...I mean charm school, was supposed to start last Saturday, but that session was cancelled. Now we need to wait until June 23. This week's home schooling is centered around the command of "leave it." Maybe that will save some yarn, fabric, socks, and birds. The bird wasn't rescued on time last Sunday morning. Ewwww.

Head on over to Art Mind for more mosaics this week!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fun Machine Embroidery!



The blue skull and crossbones (needles & thread) is the logo for Urban Threads. It's one of their free designs and stitches up beautifully! Using Embird, I digitized the circle background with the applique. I love how it looks on this Michael Miller fabric.

I'm hoping that the resulting item turns into something exciting. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stash Reorganization ~ Mini-Bolts

A while back I started to fold up my fabrics into pretty little squares using a quilter's ruler. It looked great, but quickly became messy again when I would pull out more than a couple to use. There was no way to keep up with it staying nice without spending a lot of time. I'd also seen some of the commercial items available, which are waayyy out of my budget.

Yesterday Crazy Domestic's topic was organization, including a great idea at The Little Green Bean. I ran to Michael's and picked up four sheets of foam board. After checking the size of my fabric storage baskets, I decided to cut the pieces 10" x 4", getting 14 mini-bolts out of one sheet. Here's the start, with this basket holding 38 cute little mini-bolts.



This will work! I can pull out several, and it's quick rolling the fabric back onto the mini-bolts. Then, they are easy to slip back into the basket. This is just the push I needed to get into the swing of making a big dent into reorganizing my studio. Woohoo!! What time does Michael's open? I need more foam boards. Until then, maybe I'll just dig out more messy fabrics, cut off the selvages, and get them ready to roll.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kitchen Items for Me!

I feel like I've just given myself a bridal shower. Or is this simply a case remedying "the cobbler's son has no shoes?" Don't get me wrong. I love making gifts for others, but tend not to do the fun little things for myself.

Below are the four square pot holders I made while practicing Sharon Schamber's (the Elmer's School Glue) method of binding. Although I'm getting better, I over-compensated for all of the layers of batting. It's OK...they're just pot holders to be used! For all of them, I simply sewed pieces of scraps together until I got to the size needed, then trimmed into a square and binded them. Or should that be "bound" them?



Next are the towels. The one on the left is from selvage edges, and it is by far my favorite. The third from the left is self-explanatory ~ a ruffle. There are so many ruffled items out there now, but I'm really not a ruffley kind of girl. I almost didn't make it because of that, but now I'm glad ~ it's my second favorite towel. The other two have simple edged borders of fabric, plus cut-outs of two of the fabrics. Right now I'm not that thrilled with either one, but had to make two just in case I fell in love with them after some trips through the washer and dryer.



And I finished my dish cloth yesterday. The colors match everything perfectly and there's nothing like a knitted dish cloth when hand washing those silly items that will not fit into the dishwasher. Under the dishcloth is a dish drainer towel that I made earlier. It's both functional and pretty. What more can a girl ask for?!



Next on my list for the kitchen is to use some of these fabrics to recover a lampshade. I'm not sure how I want to do it yet, but I'm thinking about playing around with French seams so that it might add to the character of the lampshade at night, rather than simply looking stupid with seam allowances showing through these lighter fabrics. The illumination at night might add to the striped thing I have going on in my kitchen. Or, I'd be more than happy to take suggestions!

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