Thursday, November 21, 2019

DIY Cloth Napkins

The next project in my month of "3D sewing" was to make some cloth napkins. I have had all these fabrics set aside for exactly this project for years!
I followed a tutorial by Lindsay Conner, because I know that she writes clear and easy-to-follow patterns. I found it here:

My goal was to make sets of six. Each napkin requires an 18" square, and I only had enough of the cute yellow toaster print to make two napkins. But then I remembered this awesome fabric by Cosmo Cricket, which is so funny because of the phrase "if we were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters." And I had enough for four napkins, so I was able to make the set of six. Win-win.

The selvage on this cute bird print says "don't let the birds do the dishes." You better believe I'll be saving that selvage for some special project.
PATTERN: DIY napkin tutorial by Lindsay Conner.

REVIEW: This tutorial is very well illustrated and well written. Highly recommended if you want to make some napkins for yourself or as holiday gifts. The only change I made was to trim some fabric from the mitered corner so it was not quite so bulky. Easy peasy, and it made a big difference for me.




Really Random Thursday, 11/21/19

I didn't have enough to write a Really Random post last week, even though it seems like a lot has been going on. This one will be short as well.

A couple of weeks ago I presented my trunk show "From Start to Finish" at the quilt guild in Dinuba, about 45 minutes away. They were the nicest group of women. I don't have any pictures of me, or Mark (who likes to go along as the quilt holder). This is all I've got...
Sometimes I still can't believe I'm getting up in front of a group and actually speaking!

Last week was Levi's last soccer game. He is in sixth grade and next year he could only play if he went into club soccer. He has improved so much over the last couple of years and it is really fun to watch him play. But as he told me, his true love is baseball, which is just around the corner.
Mark and I went to see Charlotte (who played one of the leads) in her 8th grade production of Guys and Dolls. I know I'm biased when it comes to my grandkids, but believe me when I say she was the star of the show. Her voice was strong and always on pitch, and she was confident with her lines. She is considering going to the local high school that has an emphasis on performing arts--I hope she does as she really is super talented.
Haha, number 1.
Tuesday night was Levi's choir concert.
Haha, number 2. I probably need this t shirt:
I tried to get a picture of Gabe and Gramps. It's a challenge, as the only pictures Gabriel wants to pose for consist of funny faces...but I want to remember this phase too.


Can you believe Thanksgiving is a week from today?? Just in case....

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Really Random Thursday, 11/7/19

Happy November 2019! This is a print I ordered from my favorite graphic artist, Molly (@tokodots) (minus the "November 2019"). I loved the enclosed thank you card--it shows a set of notecards based on my Delta Breeze quilt  (lower left corner)
Janice and I went out for lunch to celebrate her birthday on Thursday (Halloween). I took her to Seasons Bistro in Shaver Lake. Lunch was sooo good!
 The last time Mark and I were there, the waitress had recommended ordering the bananas foster, which turned out to be a superb recommendation.

Halloween 2019:



Good friend, Jane, had invited me to a craft and cocktails night. I've heard of these before, but had never attended one. It was such fun--the perfect combination of friends...
food...

and a great craft to enjoy.
 This was trickier than I thought it would be.
 Karen and I have known each other for nearly 40 years, since our kids were babies.
Jane, Karen, me, Kristen, Christa and Jill
Haha, number 1.
On Sunday, we went to Palm Village to celebrate my father's 92nd birthday, although he insisted he is now 93.  He probably doesn't even remember that we were there so he can be 93 if he wants to be 93. Even though the delicious pineapple upside down cake we brought clearly came from a bakery, he later told my brother that Mark had baked him a delicious cake. 

Charlotte has one of the lead parts in her school's upcoming performance of Guys and Dolls. There she is in the bottom right. We are really looking forward to seeing it.
I've been wanting to see Downton Abbey before it's no longer on the big screen. So Monday night, Mark said, "Let's go to the 9:55 p.m. showing," even though he never really kept up with the series. 

There were only three of us in the theater. And about 45 minutes into the showing I started to feel sick and we had to leave. Stomach virus. Super ugh. We are going to give it another shot tonight.
Haha, number 2.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Break Dance Bag

In July while at my annual quilting retreat at Gruber's, I purchased a kit for the Break Dance Bag. The first thing that caught my eye was the luscious hand dyed orange wool. And the cute ribbon with the sheep. And the awesome black and white striped zipper.

The pattern shows three cute wool applique' sheep, but I decided just to use the ribbon as embellishment.

I also loved the bright striped lining that was included.
Although I sewed countless zippers into garments when I used to make my own clothes in high school and college, for some reason zippers in pouches intimidate me. Which is weird because they are pretty easy to install. Also, I have a love-hate relationship with my zipper foot. Let's be honest--mostly I hate it. I never feel like it has enough pressure to keep the fabric from slipping, and also I don't like that one side of the needle is exposed. So when I saw someone rave about a Juki zipper foot I ordered it immediately from Amazon.
Life changing! At least when it comes to zipper installation--ha!
PATTERN: Break Dance Bag by Tracy Trevethan.
The zipper (which was included in the kit as well) is from Studio Kat Designs (12" separating zipper), and for sure I want to purchase a few more of them.

REVIEW: The construction was easy and straightforward, although when it came to boxing the corners, I felt like you needed some previous experience. You cut a piece out of each corner, and there is a photograph showing that. However, there was no dimension given, so I kind of eyeballed it and cut a 1" square out of each corner.
 Also, I wish I had added some fusible interfacing to the lining to give it a bit more structure.
And now I'm off to order some more of those amazing black and white striped zippers. :)

Mini Maker Station

I'm embarking on a new project for the month of November--something my friend Rene' calls "3D sewing"--anything not flat like a quilt. I follow incredibly creative people on Instagram and   routinely purchase patterns for pouches, pincushions, tote bags, drawstring bags, etc. The problem is that the patterns get filed away and most often never get made.

A couple of weeks ago, aproaching my one-year anniversary of a breast cancer diagnosis, I suddenly realized that I felt great! My energy level seems to have returned to normal and overall I am feeling really good. It renewed my excitement to sew.

I am hoping that the projects this month will be low stress, fun, and bust through some of my excessive fabric stash--all that super cute fabric that I've been reluctant to cut into needs to be made into something fun.

I begin my journey with the Mini Maker Station, designed by Nicole of Lillyella Stitchery. It is a free download, and a project I've been wanting to make since she first released the pattern.

There are four parts to the Mini Maker Station: the main body, which drapes over the arm of your chair, the pincushion, the fabric basket, and the thread catcher.
I was making this for my friend, Janice, who had a birthday in October. She loves both Tula Pink and Kaffe Fasset, so I jokingly said if Tula and Kaffe had a love child, it would be this Mini Maker Station. :)

For the main fabric of the mat, I used my all-time favorite Kaffe print, Guinea Flowers. It comes in lots of gorgeous colorways, and my favorite (no surprise) is a luscious orange. But this was not for me, so I chose the Cobalt. Then I added another Kaffe fabric in the same colors, and three Tula Pink fabrics from her All Stars line--two polka dots and a stripe.

The main body has pockets on each side--great for storing your scissors and seam ripper. My friend, Stephanie, made one for me, and I also have wonder clips clipped along the top of one of the pockets. In the center portion, you insert a thin piece of sheet metal (hardware kits available from Nicole's etsy shop.lillyellastitchery.etsy.com

Next up is the pincushion. The hardware set includes four round disc magnets, one for the pincushion, and three for the fabric basket. When I took them off the sheet metal, they immediately stuck to each other. When I say they are strong, that is no joke. For awhile I wasn't sure if I would be able to separate them from each other! One goes in the bottom of the pincushion (I didn't take a good picture of it, but you can see the top of it resting in the fabric basket).

The fabric basket uses Peltex 71F fusible interfacing to give it some good structure. Three magnets go in the bottom of the basket. And I added this adorable label from Kylie and the Machine (who has a lot of really cute labels--I think I may need to stock up on more of this particular label).
The last item is the thread catcher, an easy make. Or should have been, but by now I was kind of tired. I had cute twill tape and wanted the words "create" and "believe" to show. But I sewed it to the thread catcher wrong side out. I get confused sometimes because you have to think ahead about how things will be facing when you turn the lining to the inside of the completed project. Also, the fabric sizes are cut at 4.75" by 4.25" for both the outer fabric and the lining. I wasn't paying close enough attention so which way I oriented the dimensions, and ended up with a thread catcher that was long and skinny.  But since I had messed up on the twill tape, I needed to remake it anyway. :)
I found the most perfect iridescent button to attach to the mat.
I also added a Live a Colorful Life label on the inside (also upside down, but I wasn't inclined to make it for a third time. Good grief...)
PATTERN: Mini Maker Station, by Lillyella Stitchery (free download here).

REVIEW: This is a well-written pattern and I wouldn't hesitate to make it again.