Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stash Bustin'

My stash:

A picture of my sewing/crafting supplies:

It's embarrassing. I know.

My defense (my husband is a public defense attorney...maybe I should get him to help me on this one before posting):

* I have an Etsy shop. There are supplies {even if it is just a fraction} I must have on hand for my business.

* I live in a small town. The only crafting supplies I have access to are those sold at Walmart. Limited. Oh, so very limited. When I do make it to the crafting mega stores or order something online, I sometimes over-do it. I {might} need that for a project.

* I have a 5 month old that still nurses {all night}. Well, every 3 hours or so. So thanks to my trusty iPad, I surf crafting blogs and tutorials all night. I get excited about making something...add the supplies to my list of things to get, then daylight appears and I realize I am the mother of 4 children under 5, run an Etsy shop, and therefore, I am limited on time. But I buy supplies anyway hoping for just a few extra minutes of nap-time, or an early bedtime and {stash} those supplies away (good thing I have an extra large closet and very few clothes) for that rainy day.

* You see two sewing machines on my table... uh, well, I do have daughters that will one day need a machine to work on. {Let's not talk about the other serger in the attic}. What if the one I use breaks down. I must have a back-up :)

{Not shown in the picture is my silhouette and my drawer full of vinyl and fabric interfacing.}

Are you convinced that I need such a loaded stash of fabric and crafting supplies???

No?? Me neither. That's why I've signed up for the Stash Bustin' Challenge going on for the next month over at The T-Shirt Diaries.
I am committing to abstaining from any craft supply purchase unless absolutely necessary for a period of 30 days. ***March 22nd through April 22nd to be exact***

I can do this. Coupons be gone! I will not use you. I will have to place a couple orders for fabric if I receive a custom order for a backpack (that's where the absolutely necessary part comes in), BUT I will only buy the fabric needed for the order...nothing else, even if I think I will save money on shipping. :) :) :) We've all been there, am I right???!!

Wish me luck!! Oh please, wish me luck. I can do this. I can do this!! Anyone want to join me???

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Guy Gift- Valet Tray Tutorial

Do you ever find it hard to make gifts for men?? Brothers, dads, husbands, father-in-laws etc....
Not anymore, people. I have found my 2011 guy gift.

My husband's boss went to New York. He brought gifts back for his faithful workers. My husband received this. A valet tray. It was the first time I had ever heard of one. Isn't it pretty :)
My husband keeps it on his night stand and uses it to hold his change, wallet, keys, chap-stick etc.
It's made out of leather and is handmade. I think the price tag was close to $75. Who wants to pay that when you can make something just as stylish and chic?

Want to make one?? Here's what you need.

1 10.5 x 12 piece of fabric (this will be your main piece that will fit on the inside of the tray).
1 10.5 x 12 piece of fabric (this will be for the outside of the tray...the gray piece on mine).
1 10.5x 12 piece of batting (I used warm and natural)
1 10.5 x 12 piece of interfacing (I used the heavy weight kind).
thread, sewing machine, fabric marker
1. Attach your interfacing to your outside fabric (in this case, the gray colored fabric). I have made one where I interfaced both sides, but it's really not necessary.

2. Layer your fabric pieces. Place the batting on the bottom. Then the outside piece, right side up, then the main piece right side facing the outside piece as shown.

3. Pin, pin, pin through all three layers.

4. Sew, sew, sew...leaving a 3 inch opening on one end or side. I used a 3/8 seam allowance.

I usually use a 2.3 or 2.4 stitch length.
5. Clip the corner. (Uh, don't use this method with the rotary cutter. Just use scissors. You don't have as much control this way and might mess up and clip more than you intend. Just sayin'.)

6. Turn it inside out.

7. Make all your seams flat by working them out with your fingers, smooth out the corners and press.

8. Next, measure 1.5 inches from the seams and mark. You are going to top stitch this line.
9. Top stitch 1/8 inch around the entire tray. (Before you do this step you could blind stitch the opening by hand...this is what my mom would do, but I just closed the opening with my 1/8 inch top stitch). I use a 3.0 stitch length for top stitching.

10. Next, top stitch over the lines you drew. You will be sewing a square in the center 1.5 inches from the edge.

11. Fold one of the corners like this, and draw a line 1.5 inches from the tip. Repeat for all 4 corners.

12. Sew along those lines at each of the 4 corners.

13. Admire your work. Give as a gift or keep it for yourself. I have this one sitting on my sewing table filling up with some sewing notions, but it will be going to my brother for his birthday. He's an optometrist, so I think the fabric is very appropriate.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

handmade projects

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kids Lily Pad Tutorial

Once a week our little family formally gathers together to sing songs, plan, pray, play games and eat refreshments. Sounds lovely doesn't it. With 4 kids under the age of 5, doing this is no small feat. The first few times we tried to do this the kids were running everywhere, not paying attention, jumping up and down, fighting over the color pink (not something pink, just the color pink), you get the gist. Enough to drive anyone nuts. This started me thinking about carpet squares (you know, those smelly carpet samples that they use during library time and in preschools) and how the kids needed an assigned spot to sit during our family time together. The result, were these! Fast and easy to whip up and the kids LOVE them. They actually sat still for more than 30 seconds. Genius. So I thought I would share a little tutorial. My kids call them their "lily pads". (I guess I gave birth to tadpoles.) BUT, before I start, I had one criteria for this project. I had to use fabric that has been in my stash for at least a year. (I'm trying to use some of the oldies up). And taking pictures of my ironing board FORCED me to make a new cover. Which I did using this tutorial (so stinkin' easy). I like my new cover much better. But I digress...on to the tutorial!!

What you need for 1 Lily Pad:

2 15x15 pieces of fabric

1 15x15 piece of muslin (optional)

1 15x15 piece of warm and natural or other cotton quilt batting

1 Print 'n Press iron transfer sheet for light fabrics (completely optional) You could leave it blank or cut out a fabric letter to monogram. (optional)

sewing supplies (thread, sewing machine, iron)

1) I used this handy dandy compass that I got at Target on clearance, to draw a circle with the radius of about 7 inches. You could go larger if you wanted. I just made it as wide as it would go and used that as my radius. I then cut out a pattern piece using 15x15 square of muslin (gosh, I love that stuff).

Optional Step 1a) If you want to add a silhouette or monogram, you can add it now. For a great tutorial on printing out your silhouette click here. If you want to add a letter then you would trace your letter onto the back of a piece of wunder under or heat & bond (make sure you trace the mirror image), then transfer with an iron to the wrong side of your fabric, let it cool, then peel off the back and transfer with your iron onto the front of your fabric. Straight stitch or satin stitch around the letter. (Let me know if you want a more comprehensive tutorial on this. I do these a lot for the superhero backpacks in my Etsy shop.

2) Layer your two fabrics and your batting in this order: batting, 1st fabric right side up, 2nd fabric, right side down. Put the pattern piece on the very top of your "sandwich")and then cut to size. (I cut out more than one here & the batting isn't shown...oops)

3) Pin, pin, pin! Pin around the circle.

4) Sew, sew, sew! Sew all the way around using a 3/8 seam allowance and leaving an opening approximately 3 inches wide.

5) Turn your lily pad right side out and with your fingers work out the seam so the seams are nice and flat. Iron. Pin the opening.

6) Top stitch around the lily pad. My machine does decorative stitches, so I did a different stitch on the outside for each of the lily pads. The kids loved that touch. Even my older Janome Decor Excel 5018 has some decorative stitches.

Disclaimer: This is my first tutorial ever and I learned a lot about pictures and taking pictures of the steps etc. I hope you can still follow this :) :)

Baby is awake. Gotta jet. Stay tuned for more crazy stuff as I sew in-between everything else I'm doing!!


Weekend Bloggy Reading

Friday, February 11, 2011

Puffy Pouch and a Backpack Winner

Man, was that a crazy week! I got a lot of sewing done and somehow managed to keep up with the laundry, cleaning and keeping my kids fed and cuddled.

If you love patchwork sewing you have got to check out Ayumi at the Pink Penguin. She posted this tutorial over a year ago and it immediately went on my list of things to sew. I made 2 of these babies in December. Teacher gifts. Then I made 3 more last weekend. Gifts for sister-in-laws and one for me.

Aren't these A-DORA-BLE (why does Dora infiltrate my life in every way???!!)
The grey one is mine. I love grey. Everything about grey. We just painted our master bedroom Glidden Dolphin Grey. Love it.

A couple things about the tutorial. I love it because Ayumi always uses a 1/4 inch seam allowance. The tutorial is flawless. Make sure when you sew your casing for the flex frame onto the panels there is at least a 1/4 inch on both sides. (It won't be a problem if your cutting is accurate), but you need at least 1/4 inch so you don't sew over the casing. Just make sure when you sew the panels together that you don't sew over the casing!! You may just have to do a little seam ripping... not that I'm speaking from experience ;)

Now onto the winner......
Thank-you to everyone who participated. Be sure to check back often, because I love giving!

The winner of the Holly 2D Zoo Backpack is.....

comment #15
True Random Number Generator 15 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

sarsosari said...

The backpacks are so cute!! I love the fabric!! I'm a follower :)

Please email me your info and I'll send it out to you ASAP!!
Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Backpack Giveaway!


This week's giveaway is a backpack!! I originally found this pattern back in May 2009. As soon as I saw it, I had to have it. Rae at is super talented at making patterns. I have all of her patterns and have used all of them. She also gives permission for you to sell items that you make from her patterns. In June 2009, I invited my sewing buddy (we currently live in completely different parts of the country sad) over and we made cute backpacks for our little girls who are 3 weeks apart in age.

Then in August, an Etsy customer contacted me to see if I could make her girls some backpacks. Thus, started my journey to now having nearly made 300 of these puppies.

So here's the backpack I'm giving away. It's made with Holly 2D Zoo by Alexander Henry. I love this fabric. Love it!!
I do sell kits if anyone would like to buy one. Just email me: etsyteachermom at gmail dot com
That way you can try one out without spending the time and money to chase down all the materials. I use real strap adjusters (not d rings) and I even cut out all the fabric, interfacing, and twill for you as well. You will have to purchase the pattern separately from Rae.

To enter the giveaway just become a follower and leave me a comment letting me know that you are now a follower or already are one :) I will be choosing a winner on Friday, February 12th.
I will also have "a boy option" if you are the winner, but prefer a backpack for a boy.
Tell all your friends!!

I'm a Nicey Jane Noodlehead!!

If you have not checked out Noodlehead's blog you are missing out!!! She has fabulous tutorials. I also have sooooooooo much Nicey Jane Fabric that I've been hording and decided to use some of it.

Last July, I used this tutorial to make these gathered clutches. I made them into wristlets by adding a little handle.

Aren't these perfect. I remember making them so vividly because my Etsy shop had been really busy and after getting caught up I had a couple free nights, so I made these. One for my mom, for her birthday (here's a post on what I made for her the previous year). I also sent one to my best friend and sewing buddy. One of those, "just because" gifts.

Okay, but here's what I made this morning. I am so happy with it. Although I can not find a nail and hammer to hang husband cleaned out the garage and I can't find anything!! ;)

It's a great tutorial, but I do want to add a few notes.
It took me quite a while to figure out how to print the pattern piece. She has it set as a 12x14 document, however my printer only prints 8.5x11. So, I just played around with the printer settings and eventually printed out 3 or 4 sections of the pattern and then put them together.

So as I started I realized the only stapler I have is this one.

Luckily, I did find this bad boy in the garage!

Ahhh... much better! Here are some pointers for the tutorial:

1) You don't really need 4 inches extra around the edges. 3 inches would be plenty.

2) Also, as you can probably tell by my pictures, I didn't get the brackets quite centered. This could be remedied by sewing them on at the very end.

3) Before I glued the pockets on, I would sew around the edges of the pocket pieces. This will make gluing to the canvas much easier. I also sewed the raw edges that would be on the inside like this.

I folded it over a 1/4 inch, pressed, then another 1/4 inch. Pressed. Then sewed it. It just makes the inside a little neater.

That's it folks! I can't wait to hang it in my butler's pantry which is where I take care of all my mail, papers etc. I know it sounds fancy, but it's really just part of my kitchen, next to the pantry.

Okay...stay tuned for a giveaway!