Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wow - MIA much or how the Scrap Stitcher does holidays!

Happy Christmas season everyone. As with every December, I've been busier than I care to admit. I had planned on coming in and doing oodles of Christmas sewing projects with you and tutorials about how to this and how to that, and lookie here... I didn't! Trust me, it would have been a blast. Okay, so maybe I stretch the truth a little bit there. But I have indeed been making Christmas stockings using my instructions, pot holders, placemats, and even a few items of clothing at the sewing machine. I've done very little sewing on the hexagon quilt, but I'll get to it. I refuse to allow it to be a UFO forever!

Today began the cooking/baking phase of Christmas. My tree is done and most of the ingredients for goodies are purchased. We have a nice steak dinner for Christmas and I went to the high end grocery today to pick the steaks themselves up. This week, I'll pick up the rest of the food and anything I've ordered from the gourmet shop. I have family coming Saturday, Sunday, and Monday next week! That means at least two meals, maybe more. It'll be great.

On a personal note, I'll be having a planned surgical procedure in January and may be a bit quiet again, but never fear, I'll definitely be back and will be sewing during my recuperation. Hexagon quilt anyone?

If you have any ideas for projects or something you'd like for which you'd like me to try a tutorial, just let me know by comment or mail.

For now, Happy Holidays to all. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate or if you celebrate none at all, we're all citizens of a wonderful planet. As the children's song goes, "we're all a family under one sky." Keep that in mind as you hang with family and friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

You don't have to sew to use your scraps!

This is step 1ish when it comes to making outlet covers. ModPodge, fabric, outlet covers, and some fun fabrics all ready to go. The Sponge Bob fabric had some nice images of Sponge Bob and Patrick on a rainbow and I had to cut it at odd angles, but it worked. The M&M fabric is an all over image, so it goes far with little or no waste.

At the stage in the photograph, I've already roughed up the outlet covers so the ModPodge would do the best job, cut the fabric and stretched it onto a ModPodge covered outlet cover, and applied a first coat of ModPodge over the fabric. (If you look to the top of the image, you'll see some Spnge Bob cutouts that I used to repair the top of the card table too! I don't ditch a card table just because I have tiny rips or tears; nope, I repair that top with what I have on hand - true scrapping!)

I have my work cut out for me, no pun intended, but in three days, there will be 9 outlet covers ready to sell on Etsy. Actually, one of the M&M ones is already sold. These are so fun to make. They take time and precision, but they're great when they're done. I have some Steelers fabric that will be used next. I sort of went nuts and bought 20 covers at Lowes! I better use them up.

On a side note, I saw a lot of outlet covers at yard sales when I was in Phoenix and wish now that I had purchased them and did the reuse/recycle concept, but that will have to be a next time thing!

These are not difficult, but they are time consuming. It's something everyone can do with the right tools. Mod Podge, Exacto knife, paint brushes, fabric, and then later on, some vinyl coating. Get to working!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Scrap Stitching - Free patterns found on the net

I'm not at home, as you know, so don't have my whole sewing room with me, just a wee bit of it, and I'm feeling like sewing. I've been looking around at free patterns on the web and thought I would share a few with you that would go well with scrap sewing.

Here's a tote bag/CD case/glasses case from that looks pretty simple. What a better way to use up your scraps than to make a bag?

From the same web site, I found a nice pillowcase pattern. Simple and easy, and you can make these as gifts or for holidays at home, or whenever you want for a custom look on your bed.

Here's a nifty apron pattern that includes a pocket. They call it a Funky Kitchen apron. I call it a great way to do a patchwork piece or use up a colorful remnant you have hanging around. This one is from the folks at

This apron is a bit different. It's got an assymetric halter feel to it. You could almost wear it with jeans for a hippie sewing look.

You can never have enough tote bags. This one looks like it could double as a grocery bag. Just be sure to reinforce those handles!

Here are some lovely pillows to make and some birds to go with them. I love the fabrics they used, but you could use any you like to make these elegant or funky.

Heffalumps and woozles. Okay, no woozles, but some cute elephant patterns for pillows.

Maybe you could use a woozle or two on this bib from!

Classy up your sewing area with a Prairie Flower Pincushion. So cute! It uses paper piecing and hexagons, two of my favorite ways to sew.

Another pincushion to consider is this Eight-Pointed Civil War Buckshot one from Marcus Fabrics.

Michael Miller Fabrics offers this free Christmas tree skirt pattern. It's pretty enough to wear! Use your imagination, though; you're not limited to the fabrics shown.

I've brought you placemat patterns before, but this one looks like fun. It's a chicken pattern! First a picture of it and then the pattern.

Ever wonder how to make these cute little roses?   Wonder no more, for here's a pattern for ruched roses from

For a long list and to do some exploring of your own, this was my starting point. It's amazing how many people are generous enough to share their ideas and work with us, isn't it? Of course, there's always Google and some tutorials here as well.

Happy hunting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Sorry to be gone for so long. I'm on vacation and thought I would take a quick minute to check in.

Before I left home, I cut out a Kwik Sew 3147 jacket/cardigan out of a light paisley denim and finally found enough time to get it together. There's a picture and a description of the pattern in my October 9 post.  It turned out really nice and fit really well. I'm so glad I added pockets. I did not use buttons and chose to leave the front open with no closures. I wore that and a brown V-neck tee along with beige capri pants for the flight, and my assistant after my last flight asked me if I was "a businesswoman." I told her that I wasn't really, and she commented on how "professional" I looked! What a great compliment, especially when you're wearing something you made. I thought it was a great looking outfit myself and the jacket pulled it all together. So keep sewing your stuff - you look great!

I also carried my Peter Max oversized tote as a carryon in lieu of a purse (my purse was actually in the bag!), and got unsolicited compliments and comments on that. Seeing as that was truly a scrap project, the fabric coming from a vintage curtain, I got another proud moment!

I'll be doing some hand sewing while I'm out of town. I always take my hexagon project with me. The flight attendant started a conversation with me about quilts when he saw me sewing. That led to conversation about tee shirt quilts and his grandmother and mother, and everyone else he had known who sewed. Let people see you sew! It makes for good chat openers and may encourage someone else to give it a try.

So enjoy your fall weather wherever you are, and I'll be here in Phoenix wasting away in their gorgeous climate.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sewing, sewing, sewing!

It's been a month or so of finishing projects, organizing fabrics after giving away about 20 pounds or more of fabrics that I sorted out as "stuff I just might not use." It's SO hard to do that! Every piece of fabric could be turned into something, right?

I realized that my hexagon quilt is going to take more than I thought to finish, so I have been basting fabric to paper seemingly endlessly. This is not something that will get done quickly, for sure. I love working with the English piecing and the hexagon shapes, but it has gotten to where I had to buy some charm fabric packets from a variety of people on eBay and Etsy. It turns out, a lot of people have just as much fabric as I do! By my last count, I'm about 1/3rd of the way done with the quilt top. What I thought would take about a year will probably take two years, and that's okay by me. I'm flying to Phoenix on Monday, and I will take the hexagon bag with me again to make rows while waiting in airports or just while doing a little bit of nothing else.

I'm on the lookout for more Peter Max fabric, and I have been working with my smaller Max scraps making potholders. What a great way to use up small pieces of fabric! I keep a small supply of heat resistant batting on hand so I can always fabricate a set. I had thought about decorating hand towels with scrappy bits of Peter Max fabric, but I'm not sure it would hold up to that much washing.

I also sold a few Halloween items. I made placemats and trick-or-treat bags and though they didn't all sell, some did and now I have a couple left for next season. Along the way, I cut squares of the Halloween fabrics and sold a few charm collections myself.

And just today, I finished a jacket I cut out some time ago, just in time to wear on my flight. I added pockets and did not add the buttons. I also redrew the hemline for the front pieces and made them into a wavy line rather than a straight one. The back is also straight. I used a light fabric with a brown and turquoise paisley pattern, and used a bias tape I made out of a complementary fabric (turquoise crystal type fabric) to bind the front, sleeve edges, and pocket edges. This gives it a bit of a retro look, but it also added a unique look to a very simple line. It was not a hard pattern to make, but it was a touch time consuming for me because I'm used to making smaller items. A full sized jacket was a bit bigger than I generally take on, but I loved making it. I love that it fits well and that I have the perfect tee shirt for wearing underneath it. I also love pockets and with the two pockets on the jacket and the several in my capris, I'll have plenty of  room! I'm flying from Virginia to Phoenix and this fabric is light enough that I can wear it for a bit of warmth on my side of the country, but not too much for the warmth of Arizona.

I have so many sewing projects in my head. Will I ever finish them all? Will you? Sew on, friends. Fall is here and it's time to sew clothes to keep you warm!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wow! Time has flown, hasn't it?

Let's see - an earthquake and a hurricane, no power for a period of a few days, several sewing projects  being worked on, then on hold, then being worked on, and a busy life in general! That's no excuse for ignoring the blog, now is it? Time for some good karma!

I have a store-bought quilt that is falling apart on the patchwork side, but the back is in great condition. I decided to rescue it and repurpose it and make it a loved member of our winter warming blankie collection. I gave away lots and lots of my stash, but I held onto the browns I have. I cut those all into 8" squares, saving the smaller pieces to make binding. I've been spending time at the machine sewing the squares into strips. It looks like it will be 10 squares by 12 squares to cover the queen quilt top. A true scrap stitching project, I'm using threads that are left over from other projects and garments. I have so many that are gold/brown/off white! After I get the top completely sewn, all the strips combined into one piece, then I will tie the patchwork onto the old quilt, trim up the edges, and bind it anew. I'm very close to finishing the quilt top!

I've also decided to make some clothes for myself. In making this decision (and knowing I'm losing weight), I went through my patterns and have decided to put all the oversized ones on Etsy for sale. As things tend to happen, I found a bunch of 18" doll clothes patterns that I had in duplicate or were collecting dust, not to be used, and am also selling those on Etsy. Soon, I will put together the unlined paisley shirt jacket and the aquamarine top to wear under it, and thus will have a new outfit for flying in October.

Lastly, I have been looking into purchasing more Peter Max fabric for bags and other items to sell. I get so many comments on my Peter Max bag. Every woman should have one!

Happy sewing and look for pictures soon of the browns quilt. It's coming along. Happy Labor Day and enjoy the end of summer. Think good karma!

P.S. Here are a couple pillows I made on contract:

and their backs:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Max, Peter Max, Calling Peter Max!

Here I go again. I'm not done with my Peter Max fabric. I've made potholders, a tote bag, and tonight, made another lined tote bag to sell on Etsy. I've got enough fabric to make at least one more. We'll see how this one sells. the Peter Max/M&M potholders sold today. They were fun to make too. But tonight, the house was quiet and I hit the sewing room, taking apart some more of the curtain that I have, and came up with this lovely item.

It's about 15 x 13 and is lined with a cotton blend fabric rather than the Peter Max fabric I used on its larger counterpart. I have some turquoise fabric that matches the turquoise thread and designs on the Max print, so I went with that.

I made the handles out of the hem of the curtain. I cut it off and folded over a hem, then folded the whole thing in half again and stitched three rows of stitching to provide stability and long life of the handles.

I always try to make sure there's a signature showing somewhere on the bag, and in this case, it was front and center on one side and to the left of center on the other. I'll be sorry to be done with this fabric as I've so enjoyed working with it! How can you not love those hippie dippie colors? My bedroom was filled with this stuff when I was a young teen.

The top of the curtain was used to make a large pocket for inside the bag and I cut a small bit of Velcro to use as a closure for that. You can see the lining fabric with this photo of the inside of the bag.

The bottom line is I got some sewing in today. It's been a whacky week and I was hoping to get to the machine for a little while. My next project is a Smurfs dress for a little girl somewhere. I think it's a size 5, but will know for sure the next time I mention it. A friend on the Hippie Sewing email list sent me a white zipper to use to finish it up, so there's no reason for me to not get started on it.

Buh bye Mr. Max.... for now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stash busting - UFOs - Hand Sewing

We've talked before about half finished projects or items that merely need that last bit of hand sewing done, right? For instance, when I make placemats or pot holders, I apply the binding with machine on one side and by hand on the other. I have a really bad habit of finishing them up to the point of the hand sewing. I bet I am not alone on this!

The latest is a set of Peter Max and M&M potholders. I finally finished the hand stitching on the binding on the one bound in green last night. It's been sitting around for about a week or so just waiting for me! I still have remnants of the Peter Max and of the M&M fabric and who knows what comes next for them. For now, I have one more placemat to bind! 

I had a bag that I put all my hand sewing in and took it to the living room with threads, needles, and all the other items I'd need to finish them up. Every night while we hang out, I work on a different piece. I've made a deal with myself not to start something new till these are done. That includes no machine stitching on the Peter Max tote bags I have cut out. It feels good to finally be using those fabrics that I've been sitting on for so long!

One last stash busting note - I sent out five boxes to people from my email group and have three more to fill when I get the postage together. It sure feels good knowing that fabric has found a good home. It has also been an eye opener for me, reminding me what I have on hand and what I don't need to keep. Bust away fellow sewing people!

P.S. for an easy how-to for potholders, I have a generic potholder project/instructional/tutorial for you on the Scrapstitching project page. These are easy, use up all sorts of scrap fabrics, and require very little in the way of buying. The only thing you really need to buy is Insul-Bright Mylar/Poly Batting. The rest of the parts, you already have. If you don't have Fiberfill, use an old towel.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2nd UPDATE - Want some free fabric?

2nd Update - The fabric is gonesville for now. I'll let y'all know when I have gone through and cleaned out my stash once more.

Update - This offer is for folks in the US. Turns out postage to international addresses is way too expensive, unfortunately. 

I posted this to the two email groups in which I participate and now am offering it here:

I have more fabric than I'll ever use. I want to fill up like 5 or more boxes of cotton/cotton blend fabrics and mail them to people who will use it (one box per person would be great if there are any takers). I have a lot of Christmas fabrics and other "theme" type stuff. I have some Halloween, strawberry fabric, and other stuff. Who wants a box of fabric? You'd be doing me a huge favor - I really need to de-stash my stash. Free by the way. I'm not looking to make money, just gift the fabric.

Leave a comment and we'll figure out how to contact one another off the blog.

Thanks ahead of time!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Oh the sewing we can sew

I've got a really fun stash of fabrics, from M&Ms to Peter Max to strawberries, Star Wars, Elvis, German Shepherd Dogs, the Smurfs, Harley Davidson, various NFL teams, and all sorts of designs in between. The last few days have seen the M&M fabric and the Peter Max fabric come out to play. First same these:

Everyone needs an M&M light switch cover, right? I made a few of each and put them up on Etsy. 

Then I made these two pot holders: 
The log cabin one is on Etsy too. 
I love them both, but am particularly fond of the Peter Max one, also available on Etsy. I made sure to capture a signature piece for the strip quilting:

I had some fun sewing these. I suggest if you have a spare couple of hours this holiday weekend, grab up some batting, Thinsulate and some of your fabric bits and make some pot holders. Keep or sell. It's up to you!

That's my fun for today. What's yours?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Zen and the art of sewing

I have owned the domain for some years now. I don't maintain the site any longer and, in fact, it redirects to the ScrapStitching blog. Interestingly, one of the reasons I began this blog was to put all of my online sewing articles, projects, thoughts, ideas, etc. in one place, to simplify. They say that the only word you need to understand Zen is "is." Simple, but ever so deep. I wrote a piece about zen and the art of sewing for the ZenSewing site, and thought I'd share it with you here. The reason I'm doing this now is related to some lightswitch covers I'm working on. I spent a quiet hour with fabric, ModPodge, paint brushes, and other tools working toward a focused goal. I was reminded of this article and wondered if I still had a copy. I didn't. I had to go to the Wayback Machine on line to find a copy! (A lot of my writing is missing due to a recent burglary.) So, without further ado, here you go - Zen and the Art of Sewing.

Zen Sewing is sewing what you need to sew as well as what you want to sew, using items and fabrics you have on hand whenever possible, seeing the full potential in the process and in the materials. Making something out of what was once potentially nothing. Or turning a pile of yuck into a gorgeous garment or craft item. It's quilt making. It's sewing for children and for their children, garments of your choice or in the design of the late 70s and early 80s, as well as boutique items and fancy clothes or accessories. It's designing and creating clothing for 18" dolls or making the dolls themselves. It's making a set of placemats or embellishing a pair of pillowcases. It's recycling denim and making all sorts of things out it. It's stitching up something for donation to a local nursing home or hospital. Zen Sewing is something you get lost in, are directed to, and need to do to satisfy not only your receiver/customer, but yourself. Something that you do for you. Something you do because it is there to be done.

Zen also includes giving. To give is to receive. One of our community project ideas is dolls for donation. We collect 18" dolls, clean them up if they're used, give them a haircut if they need one, and then make clothing for them. These dolls and an outfit or two are then donated to a child at the battered women's shelter or the Child Protective Services Department. You can also contact your fire department or police department and see if they would be willing to give them to a child in crisis. Work on a local level and encourage others to do the same. If you have 18" dolls (like American Girl Dolls, Tolly Tots, Our Generation, and many other manufacturers), fix it up and donate it to someone in need.

How often have you gotten lost in your sewing projects? I do it all the time. I may start out with an end result in mind, but there are times when I am not exactly sure of every step I took from start to finish. Think about those times you have driven home or somewhere else and you looked up and wondered, "How did I get here so quickly?" (Or even "How did I get here?" at all!) Though your safety could be an issue on the highway, I look at the act of sewing in the same manner - how'd I get that done? Let's start from the beginning.

Life is fairly chaotic for most of us these days. We live in a hurry up world and have many deadlines for ourselves, our children, our pets, our jobs, our everything! We have to make time to sew. And when we do, there is a process that should be followed in order to get the project done. Say it's a garment - pick out a pattern (contemplate the books or the internet for choices), choose a fabric (with sight, touch, whimsical fancy), prepare the fabric (wash, dry, fold, press), lay out the pattern (order, planning, or even a mish-mosh of pieces here and there), pin it or weight it (taking control of the fabric and the pattern), cut it out (slowly, methodically reshaping the fabric to your will), and then sit down and put the pieces together to create a whole. You may or may not refer to your pattern, you may or may not pin the pieces, but you will put thread to needle (either by hand or machine) and begin to sew at some point. The sewing by machine - that's where the meditation can come in. The sound, annoying to some, is music to my ears. The hum of the machine as it makes stitch after stitch, controlled by my foot on the pedal, and the fabric controlled by my hands. I don't hear the sound after some time. I get lost in the project, putting one piece here, another piece there, stopping to press seams or serge them finished, and using a life's experience of sewing how-to in one setting. I think back to days when my children were young and I made smaller items of clothing, back to Christmases past when I would make gifts from fabric or hand embroider items. I find myself being calm when I sew. Whether it be the hum and lull of the machine that takes me down a meditative path or the constant movement of my hand as I take stitch after stitch with a hand quilting project.

I take refuge in the sewing, I "become one" with the machine. The act of sewing takes me away, brings me some sanity and peace when I need it most. Isn't that the enlightenment we all need from time to time? No wonder I come back time and again to my machine and my hand sewing. I need it as much as I need the item I am producing.

Who knew sewing could be this deep?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Stash busting motivation

Hoarders is on all day on A&E today. If that show doesn't make you want to get into your stash of fabric and sew something, nothing will. I have literally cleaned my sewing room twice in the time I've watched this show. By cleaning, I mean, the three piles - keep, donate, dispose. Rarely is there an item in the dispose pile. I just can't do it, but I have been known to donate quite a few pieces of theme fabric. '

Thankfully, I do not have the hoarding issue that the folks on this show do and am able to make sense of what I own and what I have to work with. If you're remotely crazy, though, and most of us who sew are a wee bit on the nutty side, go through that stash today! Or at least make a path so you can get to all of it ;)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Critters and the things we make

I made some denim pillows for a friend recently. She sent me a picture of her cat enjoying one of the pillows:

This picture reminded me of a picture I took a couple of years ago of my dog on my old couch with a bunch of pillows I had made:
Both animals are in critter heaven. You can't see it well, but the dog has pillows at the back of her body as well, one made from a ham bag and another made from some patchwork of days gone by.

So what if the pillows were made for people. It's fine with me if our furry family members get to enjoy our artsy fartsy ways too, right? Yup, right! Sleep well little munchkins!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Monday, June 6, 2011

New project - fabric covered light switch and outlet plates

I've been asked to make a set of M&M fabric covered light switch covers and thought it was time to put up the tutorial so you can make them yourselves. I finally coded the project page and it's up for you to use as we speak - You can also get to it by clicking on the Projects/Tutorials link over there on the right side of the blog.

That's a picture of some of the covers I've made over the years. I'm eager to make more and I think making the M&M ones in the next day or so will get me started on another set and another set and another set.... you know how it goes!

Nope, it's not sewing, per se, but it is using up scraps of fabric to make something beautiful so it fits the scrap stitching way.

Have fun!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day - Scrap Sewing Can Help

It's Memorial Day. This is a day when we consider the fallen soldier, giving thanks in our personal way. It's also a time when we send our thoughts to the families of fallen servicemen and women. I saw a story on the ABC news and then again on our local news about a woman (Marcia Bonifas) who makes teddy bears for children of the fallen. She herself is a military widow.. Ms. Bonifas' story was told on the web at Coastal Point (Delaware) you can read it here. I've also provided a link to the video of the ABC story as shown on my local ABC affiliate. 

I appreciate what Ms. Bonifas is doing. I wrote to her this evening asking if her pattern were still available as it was not found on the site pointed to from the Coastal Point story. I love that she is providing "something to hold" for youngsters whose parents are not coming home. The mechanics of the teddy bear are simple - they'd be very easy to make and you most definitely can make them with scraps or remnants or patchwork that you have on hand. Hers is an easy, jointless, 2-piece pattern that is sewn around the edges, turned, and stuffed. She embroiders a simple face on them, and if you decided to make one or a bunch, this could be optional. The only expense I can see is the cost of the fiberfil, and even that is something most of us have in our sewing rooms already!

I hope Ms. Bonifas writes back and shares her pattern. If she does not, run with the idea on your own. Get in touch with a local military base or one of the many organizations on the web for children of fallen soldiers. Create a pattern of a bear or a cat or a whatever and get those scraps out and start sewing. There are so many things we can do for our military families; this one speaks to me, though - it's truly needed, wanted, and falls under the scrap stitching definitely of making do. Love isn't expensive. Let's all show some to the folks who put their lives on the line for our freedoms every single day.

NOTE 05/31/11: Ms. Bonifas did reply to my email and provided the following links for instructions and pattern for the teddy bear she makes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sewing on vacation and now I'm home!

Hexagons. I see them in my waking hours and in my sleep. I took my hexagon quilt pieces with me and worked on them in the airport, in Phoenix, in Los Angeles, on planes, in a hotel room, and now am working on it again at home. It became evident while I was in Phoenix that I'd need new fabrics, so hunting on the internet I did go. I found a few charm collections that were personal and not, say, Miller or Kaufmann collections. I ordered a few and was tickled to open packages of squares when I arrived back home on Monday night.

My sewing plan is to set up the cutting table in the former dining room and do some pattern cutting. I have two Halloween bags that need to be completed. I believe I have one more set of Halloween placemats that need to be finished. Then I can start sewing the items that I cut! Did I mention (or did I post photos?) while hunting for charm fabrics on line that I found three pieces of fabric for myself? Oh, I am such a fabriholic!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Want to make some placemats?

Over on the right side of the page is a link to projects I've created over the years. Today, I posted a project for placemats. I worked for for a while and part of what I did was make "stuff" and photograph the steps along the way. I have made placemats like these a bazillion times and decided it was a perfect fit for an online tutorial.

So, while I continue to be on vacation, I'm still playing with some of the sewing projects I've done online. Feel free to make the idea your own!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Peter Max and Hexagons

The Peter Max tote worked perfectly for my flight from Virginia to Arizona. Besides the fact that it was the most beautiful bag in the airports and on the planes, it held what I needed, fit under the seat and on my lap. I noticed a few folks taking a gander. How could they not? Okay, the arrogance is a little fake, but my pride in the piece is real.

Inside the bag, along with a lot of personal items, were some pieces to be sewn for my ongoing hexagon quilt. I read recently that it will take about two years to finish a quilt like this, so I'm taking my time, enjoying the process, and loving collecting charm fabrics without duplicates. I am working in lengths of 11 hexagons now instead of 10. I made an error early on and had some 11-hexagon rows, so I decided that was my new unit size. I can pull 11 hexagons out of my bag and stitch away at my leisure, and that's exactly what I'm doing. I highly recommend a small hand sewing project for everyone who sews. It's always there and willing to be utilized. Take your time, enjoy the process, and relax a bit. Beach time is coming and a hand sewing project, to me, is as important as a good book to pack!

And, while I have you, Happy Mother's Day to everyone.
My mother passed away several years ago, but she is still fondly remembered. My children all contacted me and we had fun phone conversations (I'm out of town). Overall, it was a beautiful day. That's my mother with the dark hair in the photo and her mother with the white hair, sitting on a bench in Austria, her home.

On a dinner outing Saturday, we saw many, many teenagers in formal gowns. I am thinking it's prom season! Here's hoping your prom experience this year was a fun one and that many of you made those dresses!

Enjoy your day! keep sewing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Peter Max Tote

I've had a vintage curtain panel, genuine Peter Max, for some time now. I've been waiting for it to speak to me. The fabric is too heavy for a garment. It's too precious for a pot holder. I wanted to make something that would last for a while and show off the fabric. I'm traveling Wednesday. I had a light bulb moment - tote bag! I need a bag with shoulder straps that I can use instead of a purse, and there you have it, the planning began.

I cut the hem off the panel and made two shoulder straps, each about 39" long. I folded them toward the center and stitched, reinforcing with a few more rows. I chose orange thread to keep with the Max and 70s theme.

I used the fabric from the curtain header to make pockets for the inside. I cut four pieces of fabric, about 40" x 40", and made a lined basic tote, adding the pockets to the lining and the Velcro closure for the bag itself after I completed construction of the bag and lining.

I have a large piece of the fabric left and am not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I'm very happy with phase one - the travel tote with shoulder straps.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Unfinished projects - UFOs

It's been a sewing few days:
  • I'm getting ready to travel, so I got a small Cathedral Window quilt cut out and all the machine work done. That's ready to go with me for hand sewing on the road.
  • There was a set of prequilted placemats waiting to be bound in my placemats container. I got out the strawberry fabric today, made bias binding, bound the strawberry quilted placemats  by machine, and they now are on the table, adding some much needed color and love to the room.
  • I have a stack of 4" square Halloween fabrics. I've wanted to make trick-or-treat bags, so I started stitching the squares together and cut some 2" strips to go with them, made handles, and made a prototype lined bag. I didn't like the size, so I redesigned and made another one - perfect! I now have a design for trick-or-treat bags that I can work with and made one more. Those will make a nice sale item. I have models in mind and will take some photos when I get back from AZ. 
  • Though this is not sewing, per se; I've rounded up all the denim pieces and jeans I have around the house and have been dissecting them to beat the band. I've got a nice stack of 5" squares to work with when I return from vacation. I want to make another Smurf quilt. 
So there you have it - my sewing room has not been sitting quiet. I've been a busy beaver. I have a lot of projects left to finish and many more to begin, but it's all going to have to wait. I have another trick-or-treat bag to finish first!

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    Smurf quilt done and in its new home

    The Smurf quilt is done. Not only is it done, I put it on Etsy and it was gone within days. It now lives with a young man in Virginia who loves Smurfs. I'm going to make a Smurf pillow for him as well. It will be a simple square pillow stuffed with Polyfil, but he should love it. It makes me smile to think of him with these items!

    Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Updated an older post - Christmas Stockings (teachers and otherwise)

    Hey - lookie here - I updated the Christmas Stocking post with teacher's stockings and a link to how to make strip quilted stockings. Never to early to start making this year's batch!

    Getting Smurfier!

    The Smurfs quilt is almost done. All the fabric's been cut and every day, I've done a little something.

    Patchwork - done.

    Backing - done.

    Machine "quilting" - done.

    Binding made - done.

    Binding applied - working on it! I suck at quilt binding. I have to do it by hand because I can't get the hang of doing it by machine. 

    I should have the binding done in another couple days. It will take a while.

    Sewing may not be on the top of the priority list here soon. I'm going to be traveling in May, so I want to work really hard in April to get my knee up to snuff so I can walk as much as I want to. That's a lofty goal, but I can make it at least halfway to there, I'm sure! I definitely will continue to hand sew the hexagon quilt (it's going to take a year to finish) and will start a small project to take with me on the plane in May. It might be a small Cathedral Window again. I have one almost done using M&M fabric that is doll sized.

    I also have two ideas for items to make and sell. More about them as the ideas develop. Wouldn't it be great to make my whole 'paycheck' with sewing and Amazon, Etsy, and eBay? Well yes, it would!

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Smurf day!

    Twas Smurf day in the sewing room. I know, it's supposed to be Friday and I should be planning the weekend. But I am not. I am relaxing after having cut and sewn and Smurf'd my way through the day.

    I cut the remainder of the 5" squares for the Smurf quilt. That didn't take long, but I used an "I spy" technique so that I could utilize the fabric in the best way possible and get a good image on each square.

    I also cut out a little girl's twirl dress using the Smurf fabric. I will be putting a white Peter Pan collar on it and using some white decorative ribbon to fem it up. I have to get that fabric and the zipper for the back, but other than that, it's cut and ready to sew.

    With the remaining pieces on the floor, I cut bias strips and made the binding for the Smurf quilt.

    Okay, so I did cut a few denim squares and it wasn't 100% Smurf fabric day, but it almost was! Happy Smurf Day!

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Working on unfinished projects!

    Recently, I spent some time cleaning my sewing area and during that time, I organized my unfinished projects in such a way that I'm able to get to them and work on them easily. I don't have oodles of things to complete, but I do want to get them done. As I was sewing today, I thought of several more projects to begin! It's never-ending, isn't it?

    Today, I pulled out a lap quilt I started - Smurfs! I use junk jeans for a lot of things. One of the items in my box of fun things to finish is a Smurf lap quilt. I'm using 5" squares of Smurfs fabric (a vintage sheet I purchased on eBay) alternating with recycled denim. It's a nice look! I put together three rows today and attached them one to the other, for a total of four. The end result will be nine rows by eight squares, and the binding will be smurf fabric that I will piece together from bits of the sheet. I am backing this particular lap quilt with minkie that I have which was purchased for another project and not used. It will make for a wonderfully soft backing and warm too! I like to use fleece when I can with denim quilts because the denim is so heavy that it's often difficult to work with a traditional backing and batting.

    It felt great getting this one to about the halfway stage. I'll be making at least one more row tomorrow and then it's time to cut more squares. Before I know it, my unfinished projects box will be empty!

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    Sunday, March 13, 2011


    I took a day off from sewing and decided it was time to clean up all my sewing project mess. Every time I make something, I have a pile of fabric scraps, thread, and sundry other items on my sewing table. Recently, I've made Valentine's Day hearts for my tree, placemats for sale, and did some mending. That left behind fabric with hearts and flowers in various shades of red, the backing fabric and the strip quilting fabrics for the placemats, and the things I haven't mended yet.

    It's amazing how much stuff you can collect! As I cleaned and organized, I also went through my spare buttons (some purchased wholesale for sale on line and which have seemed to collect en mass in a box under my sewing machine table) and project containers. I have containers with placemat projects in various states of completion; another one with potholder patterns, fabrics, and partially completed items; containers with like fabrics in shades of brown, rainbow Michael Miller Krystal fabrics; containers with batting and bags of polyfil next to those; and oh gosh, containers of all sorts of stuff. Even just talking about it makes me tired!

    I had a couple pair of jeans that needed to be taken apart, so go that done and put the resultant fabric in its container along with the pockets. I might use them someday, right?

    I "found" my container that I take with me to the theater to do mending on costumes and restocked that, putting away older items in the container that I may never use again. And next to this was a small metal container that I use for hand sewing items. So that's where all my hand sewing needles "went!" And under another pile of fabric was my bobbin winder. Darn, been wondering where that was. I also learned that the small screwdriver that goes with my trusty Bernina isn't in its container; I'll find that on the floor someday when I bend down to find a button that falls.

    Overall, it was a great adventure in sewing land. I now have things all tidied up and ready to mess up once more. What's next?

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    St. Patrick's Day is coming!

    Just a quick reminder that St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner.

    I have my tree decorated and have some placemats planned to make (but not even close to made!). I'm using a strip quilted method to make shamrocks to applique onto denim patchwork placemats. I'll post photos as I get them started.

    I know that everyone is Irish on SPD, but I really am. Or at least my father was. Will I drink a green beer? Probably not, but I will definitely enjoy my tree. I have some green stone ornaments to come, but other than that, it's about done for this season!

    Are you sewing for St. Patrick's Day?

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    A couple of things

    The artwork is changing, in case you haven't noticed. I've hired a kickass graphic artist to do a professional piece rather than the artwork I had one. Even the first iteration that you see here today is better than anything I could have ever done. She's going to work on it some more, so keep an eye out.

    The second thing is that I'm resting my hands today. I've been sewing like a demon lately and today, my hands said "no mas, no mas!"  Therefore, today, I don't touch the thread. I don't touch the needle. I leave the hexagon quilt right where it is, in its own little bag, waiting for a time when my hands aren't on strike.

    I did do some machine sewing yesterday to sort of make up for what I knew were soon-to-be sore hands. I sort of always know.

    Tomorrow, I sew.

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Thinking about cutting, sewing, and stuff

    I have patterns galore. I have an overflowing stash. What I don't have is the desire to cut stuff out. The only motivation I can see for cutting is the sewing that will follow! But oh, how I hate to cut out a pattern.

    I was cruising some blogs and saw this pattern, though:

    It almost makes me want to break out the fabric and the scissors. I love the collar on the cardigan/top. I have similar patterns and could easily fashion a Peter Pan type collar for any of them. I just never thought of it before. Now there's some inspiration. I love the no collar look, but I really like view A here with the collar. My sewing fingers are just a'twitchin'. Could seeing this pattern be the catalyst I need? Might I set up the table and lay out some fabric? I might. If not today, maybe tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow.