Friday, December 23, 2011

Birthdays, Bitty Blocks and Hummingbird Ornaments...

My mother turned 91 yesterday!  She and my Dad live about 10 miles from our house, in a patio home at a retirement center.  It's close to a few stores and she can walk over and get groceries and prescriptions, hardware, sandwiches, etc, very convenient for them.  Anyway, I thought I would show her off a little, Mum is a fun lady and always good for some laughs.  Pops takes real good care of her, too, which is just great.  We took her a few presents but didn't stay long as she had an appt at the doctor's for a minor thing.  Isn't she CUTE?!  We call her The Mumster.

 My friend Gayla had her annual ornament party this past Tuesday, another fun successful swap of ornaments and stories and ideas, it was a great evening!  These are the ornaments from this year-

 They are all so cute and fun and different.  It's always fun to find out what your friends have been making and Gayla throws the best stinkin' parties!  All the food was delish and the girls were all so much fun, and you can see for yourself how cute the ornies are!  One can even be worn as a bracelet, the blue wire one, how cool is THAT?  And the ball of yarn with the needles, love that, too.  Actually, I'm thrilled with them all, what a nice assortment!

 While I was in TX recently, 2 of my friends (Jennifer and Lisa) and I made these little hummingbird ornaments.  They are made with peanuts and are from a Birds and Blooms pattern.  We think they came out even cuter than the pattern.  :)  We made lots of extras so we could all have some to hand out to our friends.  Because of the fun shapes of peanuts, they all turned out different, all 45 of them!  And we changed them a bit- We used red nail polish for their throats and then added some glitter to them, and used shiny ribbon for the wings instead of tulle or netting.  And black beaks.  They were fun and easy to make and everyone that has seen them, has liked them. 

Oh, look!  Bitty Blocks!  LOL  The theme was winter and I made icy thermometers and cardinals.  The red part of the thermometer is red plastic from a container lid. 

I forgot to get a group photo of the cardinals, rats! 

So that's what I've been doing- I hope you all are ready for the holidays and have a safe and happy one!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hardback Book Cover for E-Reader... a mini tute-

 So I have this e-reader and I really want to take good care of it.  The thing itself is a tiny bit slippery and I'm worried about dropping it or having a cat stand on it and break it.  I needed to make something that would protect it and also make it comfortable to use at the same time.  I love books.  I love holding books and turning pages, and I kind of missed that.  So I thought it would make it a book-like holder.  I went to the local thrift shop and browsed for an hour to find a hardback book that was in good shape, not too ugly, the right size all the way around and in thickness and one that wasn't TOO good to demolish.   I found the perfect book, and it's not fabric, which is good, it won't get dirty. 
I cut the pages completely out with an exacto knife, in 2 big cuts, the pages all lifted right out.  Then I put fabric over the spine area to give it a finished look and some additional strength.  I used tacky glue but a watery one would have been easier.  Then I made the pocket piece that will support the e-reader.  This was the fiddliest part.

I took a long piece of fabric, an inch wider and about 5" longer than twice the length of the book back, folded it WST and pressed the crease.  Then I put the reader on that and marked where I wanted the pocket to be, right below the little buttons.  I pinned that fold to one layer of the fabric. I then turned it RST and sewed one long seam, catching that fold in place.  Turned it out, tried it on the book and put the reader in it, determined where the other side seam needed to be, turned inside out again and sewed that other long seam.  I left the top open.  Turned it right side out, pressed it, and top stitched that pocket into place, after I was sure everything was fitting the way I wanted it to.  


 Then I put it on the book back, determined where I wanted the elastic to be, sewed that down and then tried it on again.  (See why you couldn't really make this for other people?  You'd have to have their e-reader in your hand to make this all fit right.) I adjusted the top, folded it down, pressed and top stitched again, all the way around and thru the middle so nothing can slip around later.  Be sure to try it on the reader before you sew down the elastic- you want it snug but not so tight that it wants to rip it off the book after it's glued down.

 I glued most of this piece down with more tacky glue but I didn't glue the pocket piece down.  In order to get a snug fit on the reader, this piece has to stay loose.  So the bottom inch or so is free. 

 I covered the left inside piece with the same fabric and more glue.  My stylus fits nicely in the spine. 

It feels perfect in my hand!  Reading in bed is so much easier now, I can just prop this on my blanket and read like I used to do.  I don't worry so much about dropping it either, if I nod off while reading.  I usually feel it when the book slips out of my hand.  And I always feel it when it hits me in the head!  lol

 Nosey Parker supervised the entire project, which didn't take too long, except for the glue drying time.  :)

 I made a closure with more black elastic and a cat collar clasp.  I punched 2 tiny holes thru the back of the book where the elastic was going to be and sewed thru it to keep the little belt in place, I can't lose it that way.  I used a hammer and small nail to do that.  A drill might have worked, too, but I have had drill bits grab onto fabric before and twist and wreck it, so I thought the nail was the better plan.

Parker is giving it 2 thumbs up!  Well, she would if she had thumbs!  :)

I'm going to make myself a few more of these so I can change them around for the seasons.  I hope I can find something while I'm in TX, next week.  I would love to find a funny title.  Then I could read the book AND tear it apart.  :)  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Mug Rugs- Sent and Received!

Monday, I went to the PO to send the following 2 mug rugs to Ruthie-

When I was a kid, we lived on the Milwaukee River, in Thiensville, right on the end of the park. We could put on our skates, walk thru the snow to the river and skate on the bumpy stuff down to the area where the city shaved a couple acres worth of ice and maintained a warming hut. I purely loved that part of my life, it was so fun to skate at night and see the big fluffy snowflakes drifting down thru the lights they erected so we could see to skate. We would bury bottles of Coke in the snow to stay icy cold, I remember when twist off tops were brand new, that was so convenient for us! Yeah, I just told you my age, didn't I? lol  I had the cutest skates, too.  They were very white and kind of chunky, which was the style in shoes at that time.  Most of the skates you saw were slender and very pointy, but not mine, they were rounded off and looked very different.  I loved them.  I remember my mom scowling at me when I insisted that I had to have them, she wanted to get me some used skates (there was a big market in used skates) but somehow I managed to convince her that I really had to have those rounded ones and I remember wearing them long after they were waaaaay too tight because I knew I'd never con her out of another cool pair. 

See the binding? That it what it looked like when it would snow at night and we were skating. We weren't usually allowed out after dinner on school nights, but when the river was frozen, we were allowed to skate. So we LOVED winter! Now, I would freeze to death and die.

The ice fabric started out a bright blue and silver metallic, but I bleached it out to this dark aqua color, so it would look more like ice.  A piece of fabric gave me the perfect selvage for the title of this little mug rug.  It says "Tidings of Great Joy" and I thought it was just right on this, plus that big expanse of sky really needed something.  Jim kept telling me to leave well enough alone because he knows I can crap something up in a flash.  :)  I think the selvage title is just right, though.

I also sent her this one-

"Merry Christmas" was modeled after a painting designed by Sandi Strecker, I found it as a free
download at Artist's Club.  The holly leaves are the label, as shown in a previous blog post. I got the candy cane binding fabric from uberstitch. Like in the painting pattern, it seems just right on this.  I stitched each letter down in matching thread and then I went around each letter with black, to make them stand out a bit more on the piece.  You can't really see it in the photo, but it was very effective.  Some more straight line quilting and it was done!  It needed something in a corner and I needed a label, so the holly leaves were just perfect.  The red bells/berries came off of cat collars, I have about 50 of them from back when I used to buy cat collars at Wal-Mart, before I started making our own.

And when I got home, look what I found in my mailbox, waiting for ME!  Made by Ruthie, one of the very best quilters I know....

"Reindeer Pausing" (we're sure they are up to no good!) Isn't this the cutest thing?  The doors open, there is snow on the roof, candy cane poles by the door, an adorable Santa Elf inside the door, buttons, snowflakes, 2 rascally reindeer, and the coolest tree that ever was!  The amount of amazing quilting and all the details really make this a special mug rug/wall quilt.  I purely love it!

 And lucky, lucky me- she also sent me this one- "NP Elfementary"! Nosey Parker thinks the NP is her initials so she thinks this is for her, but she's wrong, it stands for North Pole.  In each window is a little elf hard at work, making gifts and toys for good little girls and boys.  It's another work of art, sheer perfection, MAYBE I'll bring myself to use it, but it's awfully precious and fun.  I love everything about it, just like the other one.

So another swap is done, over, finished..... it was a huge success as far as I am concerned!  I had a wonderful partner and she sent me 2 fabulous mug rugs and I think she liked the ones I sent her, too.  Thanks again, Ruthie, for making me 2 little works of art!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Color me flattered- sort of a mention on Pink Chalk Studio's blog-

Pink Chalk Studio did a little blog post round up of the little wallets of Valori Wells and one of mine is in there, amongst many really pretty ones.  It's in the top row, middle.  It even got called out in one of the comments by a lady who really liked the fabrics I used.  All Kaffe Fassett fabrics, of course, that's why she liked them, because they all work so well together. 

The little wallet was an extra I included along with a mug rug for one our swaps.  It's a great little pattern, I've made many of them and given all of them away as gifts, except for the one I use myself.  I like to add a little loop on the side and a lobster clasp so it can be clipped on to something if need be. I use mine to hold all my credit cards and store cards, library card, ID, etc.  I don't carry an actual wallet, just this little one.  My money is in a zipper compartment in my purse so this is just perfect for me. 

This is the mug rug I sent that time- one of my all time favorites.... My partner liked circles a lot. 
Anyway, I just wanted to toot my own horn a little.  Please forgive me!

And I'm going to draft up instructions for the e-reader prop/stand one of these days, for those of you who wanted it.  I just need to get some ducks in a row and get organized, having my husband home everyday, all day, is seriously messing up my sewing schedule.  It's NICE, don't get me wrong, but it's weird.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey, E-Reader Stand and a Peek for Ruthie...

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!  Jim was sort of laid out on the sofa trying to recuperate from a nasty bout of sciatica, so I spent most of the day in the kitchen cooking and we watched some shows about Alaska at the same time.  I can see him from the sofa so it's like being together without having him underfoot.  It's OK, though, his dogs more than made up for it, if I said "get out of the kitchen" once, I said it, loudly, a thousand times.  Dogs, argggg!  Anyway, the bird came out nice, didn't it?  I love that rack/pan combo, too, got it several years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a mere $20, and got a rebate which made it end up costing about $7.  Gotta love that and the fact that it's non-stick, clean up was a breeze!

 I got an e-reader a couple of weeks ago since our local library is now loaning e-books which will save me trips to the actual library.  I got a Sony PRS-T1, the new wi-fi version with a touch screen.  I like it a lot, it does a lot of cool things and the librarian was very impressed with it.  She's seen a lot more e-readers than I have and said this one was super user-friendly.  Yay, I need that!    Anyway, this is what I was doing when I was eating lunch, propping it against books and Jim's rubbery glasses case.  Not terribly convenient, ya know?

 I decided it deserved better and since I had made a pouch from some fabric selvages and then decided I didn't like it, I had taken it apart and kept the pieces for something.  THIS project was perfect for those pieces!  I added a little more to the top, adjust the angles on the fabric and sewed up a pyramid shaped base which I then filled with ground-up walnut shells for weight.  I made a little bumper for the bottom to hold the bottom of the reader and voilá!  A perfect little stand!

 I actually had to remake the bumper thing twice to get it to hold the reader at the right angle for me to sit and read, but still, it was a quick and very satisfying project. 

And here's a little sneak peek of the label for Ruthie's mug rug.  I had to photograph it now because it'll be hard to see once it's attached to it. 

Can you believe it?  A blog post with no mention of bitt........ well, you know!   Next time, for sure. 
Consider yourselves warned.  :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mug Rug Received, bitties made and how to track an errant cat...

 This is the cute Halloween mug rug I received from Jeanette/scrapnchick, I just love it and I'm still using it even though it's almost the middle of November.  I do love bats!

And one of November's Bitty Block Swap themes was science/biology.  I decided on dissected frogs.  


 And we're doing a side swap of calendar blocks- I was assigned April, so I went with Easter bunnies. I found an image by Googling and thought this was adorable.  I had some perfect fabric for the background and so I made these.  I added blush to the ears and noses for some color.  This is not my artwork, but can't find it again to give the proper credit. 

 And one of our cats, Beeswax, has been scaring us to death, going off for 2.5 days at a time, worrying us sick.  He finally showed up one morning and then disappeared again that night for another 2.5 days.  This time, I was ready for him!  I got some surveyor tape and wrote our phone number on it in case he's going to someone's house or barn.  I don't think he'd let anyone touch him, so I wrote it big so maybe they'll call us if he is going to their place.  Our nearest neighbors are a long walk from here, though, so there's no real telling where he's going or what he's doing.  Beez is 8.5 years old and has been neutered since he was very young, so it's not girl-trouble.  Anyway, he stayed home for a solid week, so we thought he was over this meandering thing, but then last night, I guess he took off again, he didn't come home for breakfast.  It's a very full moon, I guess the lure was too much, whatever it is.  I just hope he's careful and comes home soon.  We love our Beeswax so much, he's the coolest cat and LOVES to sit on Jim for hours.  The other 4 cats are being very good and hanging around in the house, because it's chilly outside and quite wet, we got almost 5" of rain last week. (Updated to add- he's home again, he was gone 3.5 days that time and then again for just 2, now it's cold and wet and he's staying in, yay!)

That's all that's happening here, except for a new Christmas mug rug swap that I'm trying to decide on what to make.  I can't tell you any of my ideas because it's not a secret swap this time, my partner is Ruthiequilts and I don't know if she ever looks at my little blog.  She's an amazing quilter/crafter though so I am feeling some pressure!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Bitties, mug rugs, Halloween and a rabbit in the kitchen?

 A while back, we made modern/solid bitties.  This one on the left was my contribution but I wasn't happy with how it fit in with all the others, so I looked for ways to change it so it looked better with its friends.  :)  I know, it's a cute block, but trust me- it stood out from the others which were more free-pieced and subtlety colored.  So I added black fabric to 2 corners, which eliminated the yellow and green and it really helped. 

 Then I added more to the other corners and thought that was really cool, too.  Striking. 

 Then- I tried using the original block and just adding strips around the sides, I like this one, too.  So it's amazing what you can do to an existing block if you're not happy with it.  Don't pitch it, change it!

 Our current swap is themed Doors/Windows.  This is what I made for my windows- damsels in a castle window.  Each one is different, either the dress or the hair or the background, no 2 are alike. 

 And for doors- I did cat doors.  You may not be able to tell, but there is a plastic flap over each cat, that is the cat door.  :)  Jim and I had fun coming up with names for them. 

I made a few extra ones for private swaps- this is my favorite- the Outhouse.  OK, I hate outhouses, in real life, but this one is pretty enough to like.  :)


 My mother's favorite site in the early morning- the school bus leaving.   With us on board, of course! 

And I used some cute caveman fabric to make these- 

They crack me up.  You can pivot the rock to block off the cave entrance.  :)

 Halloween Mug Rug Swap time!  I made 2 for my partner- a round one that is functional and a rectangular, reversible one that is more decorative, but she can do whatever she likes with it, I'll never know.  :)  Also a bat/moon pin she can wear or leave on the mug rug or put it on her purse.  Some fabric scraps, too.

The backs-

And for weird crap I can do without- our Price Pfister Pfaucet sprung a leak.  Part is here- Jim is not.  He'll get to it soon, I'm sure.  Anyway, I wrapped it up to control the drippage and it looked like a bunny, it made me laugh.   Or an elephant with a toothache, you decide.  :)

Hope everyone is having a nice autumn, we are having the NICEST weather and I've been outside more in the last week than I was ALL summer long.  Too bad the mosquitoes are huge and eating me alive out there.


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Been Sewing- Just a Bit(ty)!

While in Louisiana recently, I picked up some fabric to make a man's apron for our friend Lisa's husband, Richard.  We all picked out the fabric together, Jen, Lisa and I, so we're pretty sure he'll like this.  He does a lot of the cooking so it ought to get some use if it's not too hot in So. LA to wear it!  This side, modeled by my husband, is shrimp and crawfish and onions and peppers and all things spicy/Cajun, it's pretty fabric.  Has a nice big pocket for guy stuff, too.

 And the reverse is alligators!  Lisa and Richard live right on the bayou, so a gator in the yard would not be unheard of!  Eeeek.  I like her ducks, better!  :)  Richard is a wonderful host, as is Lisa, and Jen and I hope he likes his pinnie!  Enjoy it, Boo!

 I got all my bitties finished up, too.  A dozen toasters....

A dozen citrus juicers....

 ....and a dozen luna moths.

 Just for fun, I paper-pieced a blue lady bug, too.  This bug measures 1 5/8" wide x 1 7/8" long.


Now it's time to make some things for the Etsy shop, ugh.  I would rather sew for fun, ya know?  Making a dozen sewing organizers and a dozen crap caddies isn't all that much fun.  But, ya do what you have to do.