Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sewing Rule #3...

think outside the box. Everything has more than one use...just be creative. Here Polly decided my tote bag made a great napping spot!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fabric Bowl

While my photo taking skills aren't that great, this is my fabric bowl I made in my latest sewing class. It was a long tedious process and luckily the photo hides my multitude of mistakes. Although this project was hard and probably wasn't the best choice for my second major sewing project, I learned a lot of lessons and I think if I get the gumption to give this another try it will go much smoother.

In fact, I learned that you don't need three assistants! These guys and gals were having too much fun trying to get the end of the rope as I shaped the bowl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wall Decor

My husband and I added this wall decor from Stampin' Up to our bedroom wall. I don't see this particular pattern on their website any longer, but they have many more options under the Home Decor section. In addition, you can find similar items at Joann's. This is definitely a two person job and takes a lot of patience. These bigger patterns come in multiple pieces and need to be lined up. You will need to have something to rub the pattern onto the wall with...Stampin' Up sells the applicator, but you can also find them at dollar stores sometimes for a cheaper price. This is a wonderful accent to a wall, but it does take time and patience and a lot of teamwork.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My sewing machine

This is my sewing machine. I inherited it from MiMi Mitstifer...a very crafty lady. It is a Kenmore from I think the mid-70's; although, not sure about the exact year.

If you are looking to get into sewing, don't rush out and buy the latest and greatest machine. You can find these old machines at yard sales, thrift shops, your aunt's attic, in the garbage (that's where one of my sewing classmates found hers and it works like a charm), etc. These old machines do the basics and work great for a beginner sewer. You can see what you like and dislike and then if you want to invest in a newer, more expensive machine and get all the bells and whistles you know you want and will use.

Also, sewing repair stores also sell used machines. My sewing teacher warned against buying the $99 models that are often sold at the big box stores...they break quickly and cannot be repaired.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday Wreath

Everyone gets tons of Christmas cards that they end up throwing away (or hopefully putting in the recycling bin). Well this project is an easy way to reuse all those cards. Just make a template of a holly leaf on husband just drew one for me freehand but I'm sure there are lots out on the web. Cut out the leaves from your cards, then hot glue toothpicks to the back of the cards, leaving enough toothpick to push into a Styrofoam wreath (these can be found at Joann's). Arrange the leaves to have a coherent look and then when finished, attach a festive ribbon to the top and hang indoors to spread holiday cheer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sewing Rule #2...

be able to laugh at yourself. Even those that are pro sewers make mistakes and get frustrated, so don't give us just because sometimes a new hobby gets frustrating or a bit difficult. This is my second assistant Batman "Big Boy" Francini. He definitely knows how to laugh at himself when things don't go his way! Here he is modeling his Halloween costume from a few years ago. I bought this costume but one could easily make it with a little forethought on how to go about it. This one has velcro to adjust it for the size of your cat's head.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Meow Motel

Do you have little kitties you would like to make a cheap and easy toy for? Then construct your very own Meow Motel. It is very inexpensive and easy to make and provides tons of fun for your little kitties.

To construct, do the following:
 1. Find a box large enough for your cat to sit in comfortably. I chose to flip it inside out so there was no lettering or advertising on the exterior walls. Then taped and stapled it back into place.
2. Then I drew windows and a door and just used a sharp knife to make the cut outs.
3. Then I used a hot glue gun to glue the fabric to the windows to make curtains.
4. Then I used construction paper to make flowers and signs for the can do as little or as much as you see fit. I just made a motel sign, a no vacancy sign, and a sign that indicates no dogs are allowed.
5. In the inside, I tied strings to some of their favorite toys (which I put in a fresh bag of catnip to entice them to go in) and hung the toys from the ceiling.

As you can see, my first customer seems pleased!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Easy Dish Towel

Are you looking for a really quick and easy beginner sewing project? If so, this hand towel is super easy and easy to make. It took about an hour. All you need to do is get some fabric, decide what size you want your towel, make a 1/4 inch hem, sew around all four sides, then sew a little hook on the corner I just used a piece of scrap from the same fabric. I made this with some scrap fabric and will give it to my mom as they will fit into her country decor.

Remember to iron your fabric before sewing and to iron your folds for the hem too...that makes it easier to work with.

While I modified this a bit to suit my own taste, I got the idea and how-to from Lotta Jansdotter's Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects

The pattern called for cotton fabric; however, I'm not sure how absorbent that will be. I'll let you know once my mom uses it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sewing Rule #1...

hire an assistant! Mine has recently started...her skills include biting thread as the machine moves and laying on fabric that I'm trying to use. I don't know if Fluffy aka as Mademoiselle Fluff Fluff will ever make it to head seamstress, but she is sure fun to have around.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Birds of a Feather

This craft was made using On Board So Tweet cardboard cut outs from Stampin Up!

I used the cardboard cutouts to trace the images on the paper, then cut out paper and attached it by using Stampin Up!'s SNAIL adhesive, then used hot glue to assemble the three parts of the birds (beaks, bodies, tails).

My husband and I gathered real twigs from the local park to make the tree and I just added coordinating ribbons so the birds appear to by flying through the tree. I also made coordinating flowers to decorate the vase.

The vase is filled with bags tightly pushed into the vase to hold the twigs in place. There are light green rocks on top of the vase to hide the bags and give the illusion of grass.

We have the birds on a little table and it is the first thing people see when they walk in the door. It's hard to see in the picture, but it coordinates well with the yellow walls of our living room.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My first sewing project

This is my first sewing project. The bag is a little longer than I like, but I was actually pretty easy. I took a beginning sewing class at Thorton Sewing Co. The sewing instructor Edith is awesome. The pattern was hers so I can't really share it without her permission. However, there are tons of tote bag patterns out on the Internet. I'm going to try and recreate it and make it shorter and with pockets inside...when I do that, I'll post step by step how I do everything. I do recommend using home decor is sturdier than normal cotton. I also want to add something to the bottom of the bag so it isn't so shapeless.

If you live in the Pittsburgh area and want to learn to sew, definitely go to one of Edith's classes...she is super helpful and easy to learn from.

Halloween 2010

A very easy Halloween treat bag. I bought Halloween fabric and black ribbon and cut the fabric into about 10 inch squares, put the candy in the middle, gathered them up and tied with black ribbon. If you buy Halloween fabric now for next year, it isn't too expensive. It's a cute, simple way to make your Halloween bag stand out.


These were my Halloween bags last year. They are witch's brooms filled with candy! I go the idea from Martha Stewart's website:

I did mine a bit different...I used black pipe cleaners for the sticks and the ties instead of wood. I also found a witch template on the Internet and cut out witches and attached them to the brooms. I also used alphabet stamps to stamp out little tags that say Happy Halloween.

They didn't turn out as cute as Martha's, but the kids seemed to like them.


Hi everyone. I am just learning how to sew and am really loving it. I thought it would be fun to write about my sewing and other craft experiences. I have so many interests and love being inspired by other people's ideas. I want to utilize this space to inspire others and share what I learn about sewing and other creative pursuits.

Stay tuned for some of the projects I've already completed....