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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cardinal Pillow


Quite a few years ago I tried my hand at Needle Punch Embroidery. I've had this cardinal laying around finished (along with tons of other projects) deciding what I was going to do with it. At first my initial idea was to frame it. I have a mat cutter but to be honest I have no idea how to use the darn thing. When I was on a sewing/crafting binge it finally came to me just to make a pillow. I have enough cross-stitch pictures hanging and even some that need to be hung and finished.


The hard part was already done. I had already blanket stitched the Cardinal to the red felt. I had in my stash of fabric that nice green fleece that just happened to match perfectly. I made the pillow into an envelope style so when the holidays were over I can go back to the original pillow that matches the chairs.

I love this pillow! I really think I need to make 2012 the year of finishing up all my projects that I have started, framing all the cross-stitch pictures that I've taken the time to stitch and to learn new skills and become a better crafter/sewer. I think I'm on to something. I need to make a list.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Wishing everyone a

Prosperous New Year

and a

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Stockings Were Hung

It all started with my 14 year old son stating the fact that our dog Bailey and everyone else for that matter had a bigger stocking than him and how much he'd like a new one for Christmas.

I found a pattern on Embroidery Library's Project page for a Rag Quilt Stocking. I really didn't want to go that route but I did want the pattern piece to trace my fabric onto. I went through all my fabric stash that I've bought including 4 yards of neutral canvas I got at a thrift store, various other Christmas fabrics that I've had for years, and remnants that I've purchased.
I used the canvas for the cuff and lining because I wanted the stockings to be stiff without using interfacing. I used my embroidery machine and embroidered all our names before I did any stitching. Can you tell which one is our dog's? My daughter loved that fabric and actually wanted it for her stocking but she got the red printed snowman instead. The boys got the army print.

It's so nice to have all our stockings in uniform size. I learned a lot on this journey of making our own stockings without technically having a pattern. The hardest part for me was adding the cuff, which was a separate piece to the base and then adding a lining.


So what started out as making Justin a larger stocking turned into
everyone getting new stockings!

Merry Christmas!


Friday, November 11, 2011

Green Fairy Quilts

I love browsing the internet and all the fabulous blogs out there. It seems my RSS Feed and my Favorites bar are growing by the day from all the talented people out there. I love to look at all the handiwork and creativeness that these people are able to do and wish that I could do something just as beautiful. So this post brings me to a giveaway that one of the blogs that I certainly like to read is doing. Green Fairy Quilts is one of the many talented bloggers out there. Judi has some gorgeous quilts that she has machine quilted with her long-arm business. Did I tell you she also designs patterns? I've had my eye on Dahlia for awhile now. Then on top of all that she (and her husband) sell fabric in their store! Talk about busy. So go have a visit and give a comment on a chance to win some beautiful fabric.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Embroidery

I almost forgot how much I loved turning plain, boring items into beautiful, personalized objects with my embroidery machine. Three years ago I was on the internet dreaming of making money and doing what I love to do - sewing. Then of course I got called into sub as a paraprofessional long term and life just happened. I was working everyday, taking care of my family, watching the economy tumble and turning my interests into other things that would help my family save money. Soon I also found the world of blogging and all the interesting things that people do with a sewing machine and the embroidery attachment to my machine ended up getting packed up in a box. Fast forward 3 years later and all of a sudden people found out about my hidden embroidery attachment.


I'm now getting requests to embroider names on small suitcases, purses, backbacks and towels. These bags are for a teacher at the school I work at for her bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer. Love how they turned out. The light isn't the greatest since I have no clue how to really take pictures well but you get the jest!

Her wedding is in April and her wedding party have the perfect gift that they will be able to use for a long time. Love these!

For another teacher at school she wanted to do towels for Christmas. This has become my signature item. I've done 7 for her already with word of mouth spreading like a wildfire it looks like I'll have more in the next few weeks. Yes I'm still working full time, taking care of my house and family, managing a stricter budget by couponing with smart shopping strategies and now the sewing/embroidery that I've really always loved to do is starting to make a comeback. Hopefully I'll be back sooner than the last time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Graduation Flag

My oldest daughter is graduating soon. Her school was selling cardboard signs to place in your yard that said "Proud Parent . . . " but I proscratinated so long that they sold out of them before I could buy one. I really wanted people to know how proud we were of her so I thought of what I could do so the neighbors knew she was finally graduating. I finally decided to sew a flag. I used an old flag as my baseline for the width and height of the new flag. The school colors are blue and white and decided that a white flag with blue letters would be perfect. I started with a graduation cap that my husband enlarged at work. It wasn't large enough so I had to extend the measurements and redraw it. I decided I really wanted it to show on both sides so I cut out the black nylon. I then regular stitched all around the cap and cut out the white nylon on the other side. With that done I was able to satin stitch all around the cap.
For the blue lettering I wanted to go with the same concept but after looking at the size of the letters I knew that was not going to happen. I then decided to just place the letters on both sides and then satin stitch around without cutting out the white nylon. After 3 letters it just did not look good at all. I was stumped on what I wanted to do. I finally decided that I would just regular stitch all around the letters and be done with it.
I'm really pleased with the end result. My 2 other children are already putting in their requests for theirs! The only thing I would do different is make sure my letters are exactly the same. When the sun shines exactly right and you're staring at the flag you can see the other side where the letters are alittle off. I decided that small problem wasn't going to deter me. I love how it turned out and my graduate is so excited to have anyone driving by see her great accomplishment.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Outside Chair Redo

First of all it's been month's since I've posted anything. I've been working alot more than I usually do and haven't had the time. It doesn't mean I haven't been busy doing things because I have - it's just that I've been scattered all over the map on projects and it's time I started to focus. So . . . . .

We've been going to the thrift stores in our neighborhood on Saturdays looking for some sort of something, anything! A few months ago my eye caught 2 ugly looking outside chairs.
My husband walked right by these and I had to lure him back. He didn't see anything special about these two! Finally he gave in saw my vision and for $3 each we brought 2 chairs home.
The finish was more of a moldy gray, green color with a rough finish. I took them out on our back porch and gave them a really good scrubbing. We went to the local Home Depot and decided that we wanted to spray them black.

I then ran drove to my favorite Kohl's to finish off my vision of the chairs. I really wanted red cushions and found exactly what I was looking for at Kohl's. They were 50% off and I had Kohl's cash so they were only $10 each. Our weather in the Midwest was not cooperating and they stayed in their bags for months. Everyone thought I was nuts not putting them out but I wanted them to stay nice for as long as possible.

We had white wicker chairs with a table between them for a long time and removed them from the porch except for the table. The table just wasn't doing it all white next to my black and red. So that got a new coat of paint as well.

Put them all together and you get a porch that looks inviting and ready to sit and visit.
I love the look and added some pillows that I made, but that will have to wait for another post. It's so nice to finally see warmer weather!

Getting out of my element and linking up with Our Creative Spaces. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pincushion

Mark another new thing off of my to-do list - a yo-yo! I wonder who thought of such a funny name for a piece of fabric shaped in a circle, loosely stitched, and then pulled tight? They really are quite easy that I should think of something to put a lot of yo-yo's on. Love the button in the middle - it pulls it all together. I used scrap squares from my pillow that I made. I don't know why I've never attempted to make pincushions before? They look so much better than the magnet ones.



Spring has officially arrived but it looks like our weather isn't going to cooperate by the end of the week. I'm glad I finished up quite a few projects that I'll post in the near future.
Have a great week!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Pillow

Well I attempted another pillow with the same squares as the first one. This time I alternated with squares and rectangles. I even have the pieces going on an angle.
I really love how this pillow turned out. I basically used the same pattern as my previous pillow but made this one a tad smaller so the pillow form fit better. I have the envelope style on the back so it is easier to wash and change to new pillows. I really need to get out of my comfort zone and insert a zipper but why spend money on a zipper - right? The purpose is to save money with the scraps that I have not spend money.

 Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Purple Bag

The story behind this bag is this. We went to the North American Auto Show this year and I grabbed some free bags from a foreign auto company. (On my behalf I tried to get some American bags but they didn't have any left.) We won't name the company on this bag because my husband wasn't to happy that I would be parading this bag in public. As a matter of fact when he did go to the store with me those bags did not leave the back of my van. In my blog hopping and saving of patterns I found this bag by Denyse Schmidt. Hope means alot to us in the "Motor City". Hope for a recovery for the auto industry and Hope for our Michigan and it's record job loss. The bag design is my own using handy dandy newspapers as my pattern pieces. The only thing I took from the other bag is the letters. Of course I had some Sew.Rip.Repeat. moments on this bag. The most obvious is the top. When it came time to put the handles on the bag I had no room. They went right into the letters which isn't a good thing. I had to add another piece of fabric to the top so my lettering wouldn't be covered.
Since I was putting something on the front I decided I needed a pocket on the other side. I took scraps from the fabric on the front and ruffled some strips to put on the pocket.

All in all I'm very pleased with my new bag. I have some light blue duck cloth to make another one. This time I'll make the bag taller so I don't have the same problem as this one. Since I have an embroidery machine it's high time I put an embroidery on the front. The biggest praise you can get from something you made is when your 15 year old daughter wants something that you made! Will she get it - I don't know yet - we'll see.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shamrock Towels

I was scheduled to work today but we received an unexpected day off of school because of road conditions and ice. Since I knew I was supposed to work, I had all my errands and cleaning already done. So what does one do when she has an unexpected day off? She sews! I still had the Valentine Towels hanging in my little half bath and those just needed to be put away. We needed a pickup around here from all the snow we've had and the long, cold winter. We are all ready for spring to peek its head out and let the sun shine on all of this dreariness. To start I had plain, white Martex towels, and scraps of green fabric that I've also had stashed away in drawers. To start I cut out my heart pattern shamrock pattern and ironed it on my towel.
I had purchased 2 different size binding tools that I really wanted to try so I cut my fabric and put it through the tool. Way to cool! Just push the fabric through and iron in place. Not much thinking involved. I ended up making 2 large strips. I sewed them to the towel and added a strip of ruffle. One strip is with the smaller binding tool and the other strip is just a piece of fabric with the edges frayed. I'm not quite sure I like the frayed one, thats alot of threads that will probably need to be cut to make it neat looking.

Overall I'm pretty impressed with this easy project. My seam ripper is used to being used at least once for a project and this time I didn't even need to grab it. Yahoo for me! The Shamrock Towels are now in our little half bath getting ready for St. Patricks Day!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My First Quilt/Pillow

I can't believe it! I spent more time staring at those little squares than I did sewing and cutting. I never would have realized how much time can be spent arranging and rearranging those squares. I even changed my mind on the pattern I was going to use.
Did I learn anything? You bet I did. For one thing if I'm going to have 2 white items together just make it one large item. I don't like how you can see the seam allowance in the white squares. Another tip I learned  is to write down a plan. I did this without a specific plan in mind. I had this jelly roll that I bought at Joann's just sitting around. I also took 1 large pillow that we didn't think was cushy enough for our heads and split it into 2 pillows. I sort of knew what size I wanted to go with but again not planning didn't make the sewing much easier.
Another great tip I learned is to walk away when you have your strips laid out. I looked at these strips until I was blue in the face and I still ended up with 2 patterns right next to each other. When did I notice this - not until 2 hours later - ugh!
This picture has nothing to do with a learning curve except this is the fabric I used for the back.
Now since I had no plan and I was practicing per say - I just did plain borders around the pillow. I wanted to try my hand at mitering the corners but since I was using scrap fabrics I didn't have enough nor did I cut enough to miter the corners. Next time for sure when I have my plan. I have the other half of the pillow and more of these little squares so we'll just try again. They say practice makes perfect and I'm pretty happy with my end result. Now I just need to find these colors in my house! 

Monday, February 21, 2011

A New Machine

I got a new machine! It is a Husqvarna/Viking Huskylock s15 Overlock/Serger.
My reasoning behind this major purchase is so it will make reupholstering our livingroom sofa so much easier. We already reupholstered our two chairs in that room and the fabric threads were all over the place. They were in the diningroom where I cut the fabric, in the livingroom where I measured and then all over the garage where the real work began. I zig zag stitched a lot of it but what a pain that was. To be honest I really know nothing about sergers. I know what kind of stitches that they use but I have no clue as to how to thread, sew and just plain use the darn thing. After I made room for this baby, I studied and read the manual. I finally had to get a piece of paper out just to take notes. I have no clue as to what a stitch finger, thread unreeling disks, thread overlock converter, differential speed and even upper/lower loopers are. Loopers – is that a word?
At least I do know where all these things are that came with my Husky and even where they are on the machine. What I really wanted was to jump right in and sew something so I started to thread. I didn’t know there was an order to threading a serger. What I thought was a complete success considering I followed the directions exactly, didn't turn out to good. Where were my loops? It was time to insert the disk that came with the machine. I reworked my green, blue, red and yellow threads. Same thing – sugar! Off to the sewing store I go in the newly released Weather Advisory. “Blue goes over green” she says, “that’s why it’s not looping”.
Come home, look at my machine, look at the video once more and try it. Halleluiah Success! Time to serge!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Naked Couch

I've finally taken all the fabric off the couch. Luckily there really aren't as many pieces that I thought there would be so I'm hoping the construction will go pretty smoothly. There were so many staples that I think the people who constructed this couch had bets on shooting staples into the different couches that they built to see who would win. I think mine won hands down!
I started with the cushions first knowing that this would take the longest and be the hardest part. I learned from experience after doing the chairs that this was really going to be a sew. rip. repeat. process. I'm glad I planned on doing this because I didn't get as frustrated moving the pins around. I also wanted to make sure that I was going to like the color of the new couch. I purchased this fabric from a friend who's daughter works for a design house in Chicago and got it for a steal. I consider it a steal because I purchased 27 yards of fabric for $32.00! WOW! So my theory was that I could use this fabric somewhere else if I didn't love it on my couch.
I think I'm going to love it! (Notice how I even had to dress up the naked couch with a throw pillow from the chairs.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Coupons = Money

I've been trying to save some moulah for the last year. Trust me I love spending money on all my craftiness projects but since I work part time there are more important things I should be spending money on. I discovered coupons and who'd a thought that I would become addicted. Yesterday I needed wanted to make a fast trip to Riteaid and Meijer. I knew they were both advertising specials that if you bought this item they would return the favor and give you the same amount back. So in my morning of bargains I spent $106 worth of merchandise, I paid $15 in cash out of pocket and then they paid me in their money for use at their store $27. Woolah! I wish I thought of taking a picture but obviously I didn't. Some highlights of what I bought were: 6 Gain Fabric Softeners, 3 Dove Deodorants, 2 Dixie Plates, Shampoo, Hot Dogs, CFL Light Bulbs and more odds and ends. If I didn't save this much money I never would have believed it - do you coupon? Have a great day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Sidetrack

I've been seeing all these amazing towels that great bloggers have done. They've added ruffles and even appliqued on them. It was time I got out of my comfort zone and just tried it. My ruffles are only 4 inches wide and then folded in half making them 2 inches. I used whatever length of fabric I had available and hoped that I had enough to ruffle with. The lace of hearts was something extra that I didn't even know I had. I have a bag (I mean literally a Ziploc bag) full of extra notions. I was so happy when I saw the lace in the bag. To cover the edge I just place a 1/4" grosgrain ribbon on top of it and stitched it down.
You can't see the lace very well at all but it has hearts all over it. Quite Valentiney (is that a word?). Now the applique. I cheated. I've never really done applique so I just embroidered it on there. I wish I could remember where I got the applique heart because when I first got my embroidery machine I was a mean, lean, downloading queen. I downloaded so many designs that now I'm embarrassed to say I didn't right down where I got it from. If it's you, feel free to email me. Here's a close-up:

So I now have Valentine towels and can throw away these ugly, gray, put your finger through the hole towels. Enjoy Valentine's Day with the one you love!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bailey and the Couch

Bailey is our 9 (soon to be 10) year old Golden Retriever. She's spoiled - there isn't no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The only furniture Bailey is allowed to sleep on is the couch in the livingroom. Well I have finally started to reupholster the couch since the chairs are finally finished. But . . .
Bailey doesn't care!

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2 Chairs

Isn't she a beaut? We actually had 2 of these wonderful ladies. Let's face it, times are tough in this economy and these chairs were in some dire need to be redone or donated. The confidence level in my husband was way ahead of mine. So one day I got out the screwdriver, needlenose pliers and started.

No going back now! I wish I would have taken pictures of our process of putting the fabric back on her but we didn't. We ran into one hitch and ran out of our 13 yards of fabric when it was time to do the last cushion. Hence the name sew.rip.repeat. Our first project was not only a difficult challenge but we had to put a pattern on the fabric just to spice it up a little. So after 2 months of hemming and hawing, sewing and ripping we accomplished our end goal. Two beautiful chairs to sit in our livingroom.

I could have flattend out the cushion before I took the picture but oh well. Now time to start a couch!

I'm going out of my comfort zone and actually putting these 2 chairs in "The CSI Project" Upholstery Challenge. Since these 2 chairs were my very first project at upholstering I'm excited to let the world see my new chairs. If I knew now that I'd be doing this and even starting a blog I would have made sure I took more pictures. I guess people are just going to have to wait for the couch to be done to see more pictures (fyi ... almost done with that project). Thanks for stopping by!
Visit thecsiproject.com
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