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4 posts from May 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Donuts, Flowers, Ribbons, and Curls


This past week I have been busy making a stacker toy of stuffed donuts for my granddaughter, Reagan. The sweetest little girl on earth if I may say so myself, and I finished it today. I was inspired by the stacker toys that babies love to play with and also Heather Bailey's stacker inspired me.   Here is a basic idea of what I did:


First thing I did was cut out a pattern for the donuts out of pattern paper and my fabric and interfacing.


I burned myself frequently with the iron.


I made a lot of little snips.


I sewed together little gussets like this.


And hand-stitched them into my donuts, sticking myself regularly with straight pins.


I decorated outer gussets with pretty ribbon.


and I stitched over pins even though I know I'm not supposed to do that if I want my machine needle to last more than a few hours.


I stitched and folded, clipped and scolded, and then I stuffed it heartily with cotton.


Then I started all over again, but this time the circle is smaller and so is my patience.  But, I decided to have some fun, so I added funny ribbon knots to this circle.


And I embroidered Reagan's name onto the outer gusset, because Reagan is special and I want her to know that.


When I was done with the first 2 donuts, I was so proud of myself that I wanted to play with them too.


But I had work to do.  So, I cut some ribbon...


Folded them in half and pinned them to the 3rd donut.


I sewed them on, reinforcing them with back and forth stitching so that Reagan won't be able to pull them out with her teeth.  Kids like to do that you know.


I can now say, with a grand degree of confidence, that I am a pro at making donuts - just not in the kitchen, ...


and that nothing makes me bite my bottom lip and stick out my tongue more than this.


And this ...


And this.  Do I look like I know what I'm doing?


I suppose so, because I ended up with this ...


and this cute little stacker.  Pretty cute ay?


Then I made this little sucker.


Of course, my life and Reagan's stacker was not yet complete - not without a flower somewhere.  We gotta have a flower!!  So I made these little flower petals, sewed them together and stitched them to the smallest and last little donut ...


until I had this little beauty.  My life was now complete.  Well, almost.  I still had a pole to assemble otherwise you can be sure that donuts would be all over Reagan's nursery.


So I made a pole.


And I stuck it in the large donut and smiled because it reminded me of Pinocchio with a big nose.


Of course, I added all the other donuts I had made and I admired my creation, because ...


nothing on earth is more important to me than the little things that make my children and my grandchildren smile and shriek with joy.  Because, well - that's easy! ...


There's no better feeling in the world than this - that smile - those bright, happy eyes - that button nose, and those pinchable cheeks.

I love you Reagan.

Love, Grandma



Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Fabric and Pattern Obsession


Do you know why I have so many unfinished projects in my art and sewing studios?  Because every time I see something new that looks like fun to make, I try and get it - well, some of the time.  I have a weakness for fabric and patterns, especially things for babies.  The colors are so bright and happy.  How can anyone walk in a baby store or baby isle and not smile.


I love Heather Bailey's talent for designing fabric and patterns and when I saw this "Happy Stacker," I had to get the pattern to make for my granddaughter, Reagan.  I think she may actually enjoy playing with this for a year or so before she gets tired of it.  What do you think?


I even went through my stash and found some fabric that I thought would be fun and soft.  And that's another obsession I have - fabric.  Whenever I'm in a fabric store, if I see some cotton fabric I like, I'll buy a yard and stick it in my stash.  The fabric above is a perfect example of fabric that I fell in love with in the fabric store and purchased on impulse.  I'm bad like that.  We all have our weaknesses I suppose, and mine is fabric.  Issues.  Impulses.  I can't help myself.  


And patterns.  I love patterns for dolls and baby clothes, especially baby girl dresses.  I must have made each of my girls a dozen or more dresses when they were babies and toddlers.  They looked so cute all dressed up in dresses I made them with eyelet trim or ribbons and pearl buttons.


I found these little gems online about 5 years ago.  Unfortunately, I've been too intimidated to actually try to make one.  I think I need to just jump in and try to make one, before I'm too old and arthritic to even get the pattern out of the plastic bag.


About 3 months ago, while walking through Michaels I ran across this in the yarn aisle.  Don't they look delicious?  Don't you just want to curl up with all 8 of them?  I do.  Of course, it would help if there was a baby stuck inside one for good measure.  I have a thing for babies.  I like the way they smell and look at you with that innocent look that says "I may be cute and cuddly now, but you just wait, I'm going to run laps around you one day and you'll forget how sweet and innocent I once was."  "Yeah, yeah, yeah - I hear ya, stop cooing and let me enjoy this while I'm still able."  


Back to reality - Oh my goodness, check out this French Roses quilt pattern.  I absolutely fell in love with this pattern the minute I saw it here:


Isn't it beautiful!  I love the way the quilter used vintage rose fabric for the roses in each block and around the border.  I think I'd like to do the same thing.



And I love this pattern from Alex Anderson too.  Classic Star flowers in such a beautiful array of colors and designs.  I think I might like to try to duplicate this pattern just like the cover and then hang it on my wall.

By the time I finish making everything that I have around here, Reagan will probably be going off to college.  I may not live that long.  I suppose there's no time like the present to start sewing up some memories.



Monday, May 17, 2010

Never Slip your Rotary Ruler Again


Boring subject I know, but let me tell ya - when you quilt and cut fabric as much as I do, nothing can tick you off more than when the rotary ruler slips a little on the fabric while you're cutting, and you end up messing up the cut having to start over and go through the entire slippage mess all over again.  I know - I've had it happen a hundred times.  Well, I decided enough was enough and I solved this problem for good.



I shuffled out to my garage and found a piece of sandpaper.  Then I looked in a dozen drawers to find a glue stick and a pencil.  I was all set.  Into the sewing room I went and I measured out 1/2" by 3" and marked the back of the sandpaper with a pencil.  Then I cut them out.  Don't use your rotary cutter to cut out the sandpaper or you will dull the blade.  Better to use scissors.


After I cut out the pieces, I turned them over and put glue on the back of the sandpaper, then placed them on the WRONG side of the rotary ruler.  Notice that the lettering on the ruler is upside-down.  When the ruler is upside-down, the lettering is backwards and so are the numbers.  Place the strip of sandpaper to the WRONG side - see the picture below.


Let me tell you why always using your ruler with the WRONG side against your fabric is important.  Because, if you place your ruler upside-down on your fabric (like the picture above) and use it to measure your fabric before you cut, your measurement will be off about 1/16" to 1/8".  The reason for this is because the measurements are printed on the WRONG side of the ruler, and that is the side that should be up against your fabric. When you look through the transparent ruler, you should see the lettering and measurements correctly, not backwards.  That is how you will know you are using the RIGHT side of the ruler to make your measurement before you cut.



When your ruler is upside down, your measurement changes by the angle you are looking at your fabric through the ruler.  So, the next time you place your rotary ruler up against your fabric, make sure you are able to read the name and measurements correctly from the top, then you'll know the ruler is WRONG side down (RIGHT side up), Just thought I'd throw in that important tip for all of you out there making bad cuts and wondering why your projects aren't coming out right.



So, today I started to cut out the pieces for a handbag I am making for my mother and decided there must be a way to prevent my ruler from sliding every time I cut with the rotary cutter.  That's when I had the idea for the sandpaper strips on the back and sure enough they work like a charm.  Oh, and here's another tip - label your cut pattern pieces (what it is, the dimensions, and how many pieces you cut) on a piece of paper and pin it to the fabric piece.  That way, you will know immediately what piece is what and it will save you from messing up.  I have messed up a lot - until I got organized.



Glue the 1/2" strips on the top and bottom of your rotary ruler, then cut four - 1/4" strips and place them in the middle (North, South, East, West) of your ruler.  Wait a few minutes and you are ready to cut.  Mine didn't slip at all and I was so pleased with myself I just had to share.



Then, I placed sandpaper strips on all of my rotary rulers - making it easy for me to know that the ruler is WRONG side down and up against my fabric correctly for perfect cutting too.  

Happy cutting!



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Snappy Scrappy Bibs


I've started something here. Because I love to make baby bibs, burp cloths, embroidered onesies, baby quilts, clothes, and a list of other things for baby, I decided to start a baby brand of my own - "Buttercups Baby."



I used to have my own baby boutique.  For 2 years I owned and operated "La Bonne Vie Bebe," however, when I passed it on to a devoted customer 4 years ago, the lady who took over the boutique let it go.  She didn't market it like I had hoped and she didn't advertise.  She, no doubt had other priorities that took precedent.  I know how that goes.  It happens to me all the time.  I had put so much of myself into creating a successful boutique that I am sad I ever let it go.



I recall that when I had my boutique I wanted to add some of my own creations to the products that I sold, and I did for a while. I sold Coo-Chee-Coos baby quilts and bibs and t-shirts too.  It was fun.

Well, I may not have La Bonne Vie Bebe anymore, but I do have a small Etsy shoppe now that I call "Buttercups Baby" where I am going to make all kinds of neat things for babies and toddlers - as time permits of course.  It'll be fun.



I am having a great time making bibs out of my scrap pile of fabric.  I sew piece after piece together to form a piece of fabric large enough for my home-made bib pattern.  Then I cut it out and start sewing.



Today I made a snappy-scrappy bib.  I think that is what I will call them "Snappy Scrappy Bibs."  You like that?  I wanted a name for my little business of making and selling baby clothes, bibs, burp cloths, blankies, and baby quilts, so I decided to call them "Buttercups."  When I was a kid I loved buttercups.  I used to pick them in our back yard and put them in a small cup of water.  They made my mom happy, and me too.



Do you remember putting the buttercups under your friend's chin to see if it turned yellow?  Of course that meant that you loved butter.  I wonder who thought that one up.



On this bib I embroidered "Cutie Pie."  Get it?  Wear bib - eat pie - cutie pie?  



Then I embroidered a "Buttercups" label.  I think I might change where I put it on the bibs going forward.  I haven't decided yet. 

I am taking orders.  Each snappy bib is $22.00, and you can find them as I make them in my Etsy shoppe.  If you would like one personalized, just shoot me an email at [email protected]



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