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4 posts from April 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Thread Rack from my Big Bear


I had a problem in my sewing room.  Thread.  Everywhere.  I threw them all into a basket and tripped over it frequently.  I had about 40 spools on a small tabletop thread rack and fell over a number of times as well.  My hubby walked into the sunroom aka my "sewing studio" and said "You really need a thread rack on the wall."  I said "Really?  You think so?  How about you make me one."  I honestly didn't think he would bite on this one, but he did.  It took him over a month working on it in the evenings and on the weekends when he had time, but in a matter of weeks, he had made me a beautiful thread rack.



He used a set of 30 x 40 stretcher bars that I had in my art studio, made a frame, then made a lot of trips to Home Depot for various things until his creation looked like this.



He put a lot of thought into making this thread rack for me, making sure that the pegs were spaced for the largest spools of thread on top and then making 2 rows at the bottom to hold lots of embroidery thread on the smaller spools.  Oh, and he also mounted a rod for holding my ribbons across the top.  He's a great guy.  I think I'll keep him.



After he built it, he painted it the same as the moldings in the sunroom.  I couldn't wait to put my thread and ribbon on the rack.



I have since added about 10 more rolls of thread that I dug out of my drawers and the left over thread I put in a drawer that I cleaned out, but this wonderful rack hangs right behind my chair where I sew so that when I need some thread, all I have to do is turn around and grab what I need.  What could be easier?

When I think of all the things that my Big Bear has done for me in our 18 years together I can't help but smile and count my blessings.  He bought me a very nice sewing machine right after we got married and set me up with all the supplies I needed to make some quilts.  After I had Sarah, I got a lot of use from that machine.  I made crib bumpers and quilts, drapes, and baby clothes galore.  I even sold some of my quilts at the local craft fair.  Then we moved from our small townhouse to a home on 3 acres and he built me a quilting frame.  Then he set me up with a studio to paint.  He knew how much I always wanted to paint and he bought me an easel and paints, brushes and books.  He wanted me to follow my dreams, and I did.

After studying and painting for about 5 years, I began to sell my paintings to collectors around the world, I had exhibitions and won a number of competitions.  Bob has always been my biggest supporter, cheering me on and making sure I had everything I needed.  



So, to my sweetie, I just want to say "Thank you."  Thank you for loving me so much and supporting me through all my hobbies, projects, crafts, and more.  

Isn't this a great thread rack?  It looks great on the wall too.  I love all the colors of the threads against the creamy yellow walls.  Looks like I am going to be doing a lot more sewing now that I've cleaned up my sewing studio.



Friday, April 16, 2010

Snap and Tie Baby Bibs for a New Mother


Mother's day is just around the corner and I wanted to make something for my daughter, Kimberly, since this is her first Mother's Day.  So, I pulled out the ol' stash of colorful fabrics and remnants from her childhood that I had saved and started sewing them together to create a couple "Crazy-quilt" bibs for my new granddaughter, Reagan, who will be 8 months + 4 days old on Mother's Day. 



Have you ever made a crazy-quilt bib?  It's a lot of fun.  I save even the smallest scraps of fabric and then piece them together and press the seams to one side on the back until I have a large enough piece of fabric to use for my pattern. 



In this case, I took the tissue paper that had come with the vinyl I just recently purchased for another project and used it to draw my own patterns for 2 bibs - one with a tie that is easy to stash in your purse if you are going out with your baby to the grocer and just want something cute to tie around their collar to keep their clothes clean, and another that is a little larger for if you go out with your hubby and baby for a nice lunch or dinner together and you want something adorable that she can drool and dribble on.

First, I pieced together some remnants of fabric I had in my stash.  Then I pressed the seams on the back so that the fabric lies flat.  

Next, I pinned my pattern onto the fold of the fabric and cut it out.



Then I cut the pattern out of the backing fabric and the batting.  I placed the wrong side of the bib top onto the batting.  With right sides together, I then placed the right side of the backing on top of the right side of the bib top. (Sorry, I didn't take a picture of how it looked during that process).



Also, I personalized Reagan's bibs with her name using the embroidery feature on my sewing machine and creating it in the 4D Software.  If you embroider the top of the bib, it is best to do that before you quilt the bib, not after or the embroidery will be reversed on the back.  I like my bibs reversible, so I embroider them before I quilt them together.  Unfortunately, I figured that out after I embroidered the smaller bib and had already quilted it and before I made the second bib.  Live and learn.



I sewed all three layers together 1/4" from the edge, leaving a 7" opening at the bottom of the bib so that I could turn it right side out.  Make sure you tie off the beginning and the end of your seam or it will not come apart when you turn your bib right side out.

Press your bib and make sure that all the seams are pushed out and smooth.

Next, sew a 1/8" to 1/4" seam around the entire edge of the bib, making sure to tuck in and pin the 7" area on the bottom of the bib that is open.  This will add a nice edge around your bib.



For the small bib, I added a tie around the top of the bib.  Now that's a real pain to turn right side out after you sew a clean seam down the long edge.  A neat trick is to put a safety pin on one end and work it little by little through the inside until you can turn it right side out.  



For the larger bib, I opted for a nice snap closure.  When I made the pattern I used the largest mug I could find in our kitchen cabinet for the template of the neck opening then I made it a tad bit larger for baby's comfort. 

As soon as I figure out how to convert my pattern from the tissue paper to the computer in Adobe Illustrator I'll post the bib pattern here for you too.

In the meantime, give it a whirl and don't forget to create some crazy fabric of your own by piecing together those scraps you have lying around your sewing room.

Note: Another great use of baby clothes that are outgrown that you would normally give to the goodwill is to take them apart and cut out the larger sections of fabric and use the pieces to make a memory quilt. That is always fun and when you look at your quilt you will remember that special dress, or that fun spring day when your little girl ran around the yard looking for Easter eggs.  Scraps can hold special memories so hold on to them!

As a matter of fact, some of the fabric I used for these bibs that I made today for my granddaughter were from fabric I had saved from when Kimberly was a baby.  I have a cedar chest filled with memories from my little girl's baby, toddler, and childhood years and I thought "what a special way to carry on these fabrics for baby Reagan McKenzie by using some of the fabrics from her mother's toddler years."



While I sewed, Sarah worked on her laptop, turned on her iTunes, and did her French homework with me in the sewing room. Tomorrow, Sarah is running in the "Event to Honor" run sponsored by her high school in honor of someone who has cancer.  Sarah is running for her grandmother - my mother, Mary - who was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2005.

Have a great weekend everyone!



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Quilted Ava Bag


Today I tried something a little different.  I made an Ava Bag and quilted the exterior of the bag.  I really like the Vera Bradley bags and there is no reason why I can't make similar bags myself.  So, I took the Ava Bag pattern and created a quilted bag using Amy Butler "Charm" fabric.


See the quilting I did on the bag?  I made 1 inch blocks across each pattern piece for the exterior of the bag.


I did not quilt the interior.  I thought it looked nicer that way.

You like it?  It's in my Etsy shoppe! 




Monday, April 05, 2010

Another Two Bags

Did you enjoy the holiday?  We planned our Easter Dinner, Big Bear ran some errands, and I stayed home, cleaned up the house, painted, and made a handbag and an eyeglass case. Easter Sunday we went to church, went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel, came home got comfortable, Sarah had her boyfriend over, the boys played outside, and I made another handbag.



If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I made an Ava Bag for my sister-in-law, Marcela.  She loved it and showed it to her friends at Lexus of Palm Beach - where my brother, Mike works.  Next thing I knew I had 2 orders to make 2 more bags with an eyeglass case.  So, I told Janessa and Lauren to go to their favorite fabric store, purchase some fabric and send it to me.  They couldn't wait, so they went to JoAnns, bought some great fabric, and 2 days later I was making their handbags.

And here they are...



Janessa chose a black & white floral fabric with green iridescent interior and trim.  She also opted for the eyeglass case with a pink ribbon trim.



Lauren opted for a lovely Florida floral for both the interior and exterior of her bag. Tomorrow they will be shipped to Florida.  I hope they like their new bags and enjoy them too!  

So, I've got a good thing going on here.  Would you like me to make you this lovely bag too?  If so, email me at [email protected]

April 9, 2010:

Nothing makes me happier than to know that something I have created, whether it be a painting or a purse, has made someone happy.  In this case, 2 great ladies that work with my brother, Mike, at Lexus of Palm Beach - Janessa and Lauren.  They received their purses today and sent me this picture:


I think they look great!  Enjoy!  



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