Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tip Post - Used Blades

This is another random little tip post, but you know this simple solution didn't occur to me until someone told me. So ... maybe you'll like the idea too!

Have you ever wondered what to do with / how to dispose of those used rotary cutter blades? You know they're still too sharp to just throw in the trash (ok, I have two toddlers in my house so this is of concern to me).

Someone once told me ... "oh, don't throw that away like that! Just mark 'used' on the dull blade with a Sharpie and store it back in the box until you have a box full of used ones!" Clever, right? Happy sewing :)

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Challenge No. 23 - The Beach - Submissions

Read more about the Reversible Beach Blanket here.
Read more about the Upcycled Towel Cover Up here.

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Reversible Beach Blanket - Challenge No. 23 Submission

For the Beach Challenge, I decided to make a Reversible Beach (or Picnic Blanket). It folds out to the size of a full sheet and rolls up nice & tight for carrying. This is a beach blanket made from:

  • Vinyl Tablecloth from Target ($5)
  • Old Sheet from the linen closet
  • Red Cotton Webbing (handle)
  • Fabric Scraps from the Quilt (straps)

I saw this idea a while back in blogland to use a vinyl tablecloth for a picnic or beach blanket. I think that's a brilliant idea since it provides a waterproof 'barrier' to the ground! So ... when I saw this red & white tablecloth for sale at Target, I snagged it right up.

I backed the tablecloth with an old sheet that is super soft. I wanted to be able to roll it up and carry it easily, so I used cotton webbing to craete a handle for it. I added two long straps that tie into a bow & hold it all together. 

Here's a little closer up shot of the handle & bow, and then what the blanket looks like all spread out.

After your beach trip (or picnic in the park) just roll it back up! (I fold it long ways into thirds so that it's all centered / in the middle ... then you just roll it up & tie it).

If you like picnic stuff, check out this cool page out on TipNut. It's full of DIY picnic assessories, including several options for a picnic or beach blanket. I think that the roll up flatware holders are pretty cute and would be handy for a picnic. Hmmm, I may revisit this page too! ;)

As for me, in less than 48 hours, I'll be on a beach in Cali with my new blanket in tow!

If you like it too, remember to vote for it in the Challenge. Voting ends Tuesday @ midnight.

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Upcycled Towel Coverup - Challenge Submission

I reached back into my childhood for my submission post.  I remember it was a big thing to make beach coverups out of towels back in the day.  So, I climbed in my way back machine and turned this:
$7 worth of towels from Target
into this:
My new swimsuit coverup!
I added a flower detail over the snap closure at the top:

I also made myself a coordinating pair of flip-flops with the leftover bias binding and this tutorial I found on The Mother Huddle:

With temperatures reaching 115+ here in the Phoenix area, I am so ready to spend some time at the pool!

Now, don't forget to vote for your favorite beach themed project!

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Little Girl Present - goof up & how to fix

As mentioned before, I am enjoying the twirl skirt pattern by Lil Blue Boo. And I really really love sewing with knits! Having two girls makes for a lot of fun sewing, but having three nieces (and no nephews) makes for extra fun sewing!

My little niece in Iowa just had a birthday and I decided to whip up a fun twirl skirt for her. I was just serging along happily and thought I had finished up the skirt ... I was feeling happy & excited about the skirt, when I noticed that I CUT IT! Oops! The fabric became folded under and I created a ripped which I serged over, and consequently 'cut' the fabric.

Yikes. Here's the thing(s). Sergers have blades and the seams are permanent (unless you're willing to whip out four separate threads - I am not.).

So, I decided to patch the goof up with a coordinating heart made from Bamboo felt. If you're a regular reader, you know we heart felt in these parts. I simply placed the heart over the extra seam / hole thing I created and zig zagged around the edges. Cute, no?

Word is that my niece loves this and I have a most adorable picture of her modeling it, on my cell phone. Unfortunately, I don't have the faintest idea how to get a cell phone picture onto this blog. :)

Fabric from Hobby Lobby, also used on these rompers
Black rib knit used for the waistband

Should you have a serger incident ... consider patching it with felt! Now that it's all said & done, I like this Twirl Skirt better with the heart! ;)

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Tip Post - Storing ePatterns

By now, I've realized that I'm an ePattern kind of girl. I love, love, love the instant gratification of purchasing an ePattern (especially from shops @ Big Cartel because the download is automatic vs. Etsy). At least half of my crafting is done on a whim and if I don't have the supplies on hand or available in oh, 5 minutes often times it doesn't happen. Enter the ePattern ... we are a great combination!

After accumulating a couple of these patterns, I pondered how to store them. I came up with the idea to use these rings (purchased at the craft store):

I punch holes in the top corner of my Master Pattern Piece as well as any copies I've made of the pattern. I loop all the pieces onto this ring and then clip it onto a clothes hanger. I have successfully taken over our entire office, including the closet ... so that is where I "hang" all my ePattern pieces.

How I print & trace ePatterns (basically I make a master copy on card stock and make copies for the sizes I need on freezer paper):
  • Print pattern on regular paper, but print pattern pieces on card stock. I recommend using light colors of card stock because it's easier to trace. (That red up there ^^ is not traceable - boo!).
  • Align pattern pieces as instructed. I tape mine together with packing tape. This becomes your 'master' pattern copy. Do not cut any size out from this Master ... It's just for tracing now.
  • Now you're set up to trace the master pattern to make 'copies' for each size you intend to make. I use Freezer Paper for this. I go ahead and write on the Freezer Paper the Pattern name & Size. Then, when I want to make another Twirl Skirt in the 7/8 size, I'm ready to go!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Mini-Notebooks from Playing Cards

I was at work the other day when I was struck by a thunderbolt of inspiration. Why not use playing cards for miniature book covers?

Once home (and may I say, this fulltime job really gets in the way of my crafting), I went straight for my Zutter binder.

Have you heard of this gizmo? It makes spiral bound notebooks. It’s awesome! For example, here’s my special Sara vs. Sarah notebook I made using a Doris Day album cover:

I decided to use this deck of reproduction Animal Rummy cards I found at a thrift store. Great minds think alike, apparently, because the very next day I was on the internet and came across a post on Craftster where someone did something similar with this deck of cards.

Well, presto-gizmo! 30 minutes later I had 3 of the cutest mini-notebooks you have ever seen! They are so cute I don’t even want to use them.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

What's Up Next (No. 23)

In the spirit of the rising temperatures, we are crafting up something for  ...

Our projects are due on Wednesday when voting starts all over again! As always, THANKS READERS for following along with us! Sara & Sarah

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And the Winner of the Embroidery Challenge is....


After a running a close race all week, Sara pulled ahead in the final hours to take the tiara.

You can read more about Sara's project, Audrey's Magic Pillow, here.
You can read more about Sarah's project, Retro Table Runner, here.

We also have another winner this week.  "Jil" is the winner of the Stitcher's Revolution pattern and Aunt Martha's tea towels.  Once again, thank you so much to for sponsoring this great giveaway.  Be sure to check out all their great stuff!

Check back tomorrow to find out what Sara and Sarah will be up to next.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's in Your Sewing Box?

I was bouncing around the blogosphere Monday and ran across a post on Prudent Baby called Start Sewing: What You Need in Your Beginner Sewing Kit. It got me thinking about what I think is important to have in my basic sewing box. The truth is, it hasn’t changed much over the years. There are a million gadgets out there, but as long as you have these essentials, you are ready for just about anything.

-Thread – black, white, grey and cream will do just about everything you need
-Needles – I keep straw needles and embroidery needles as that’s what I like for hand sewing
-Good, sharp thread scissors with a pointed tip that cuts all the way to the end of the blade
-Good, sharp fabric shears (these will never be used on paper)
-Good, sharp paper scissors

-Rotary cutter with extra blades
-Fabric marker (non-permanent) – I love the Sewline pencil
-Pens, pencils, a Sharpie, and an eraser
-Scotch tape
-Glue stick
-Measuring tape (Sara recommends a retractable tape measure)
-1x6 clear acrylic ruler
-Good quality seam ripper – you want the blade to be flat and sharp

-Magnetic pin cushion
-Pins – I like a longer pin with a glass head
-Binder clips for things that can't be pinned, or mini clothes pins
-Knitting needle for turning corners
-Lotion – that fabric will dry your hands out
-Reading glasses – I only had to add this one in the last year!

Of all these things, it’s the three pairs of scissors that I consider the most important. This is where I would advise spending some money. I love my Fiskars shears and wouldn’t trade them for the world. We’ll have to have a seriously talk if I ever catch you cutting paper with them.

I use a tackle box to carry all this around in. You can read about that here.  Sara has a more traditional sewing basket seen here:

Here's a peek inside at some of what she has accumulated:

So what’s in your sewing box?

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Twirl Skirts & The Crafterhours Skirt Competition (and my serger)

Longest blog post title, ever? I guess I'm trying to cover a lot here! :)

So, I did it ... I bought a serger. I ordered 'her' online ... I counted the days until she arrived. She thrilled me by arriving a day early ... and we are in love. Love I tell you! As soon as my kids went down for a nap, I plugged her in and watched the DVD that came with. Oh, I got a Brother 1034d serger - it appears that most of my favorite bloggers also use this particular model. I did serious research! :)

As soon as I thought I could turn it on and serge without breaking it, I whipped up a skirt. Then another, and then another. I told you, I love her.

These adorable Twirl Skirts were made with the Lil Blue Boo pattern. I made a 24m/2t for my youngest, a 3t/4t for my oldest, and a large for myself. I've never worn a large anything in my life, but this is clearly the size I need :) Our skirts fit perfectly. This pattern is easy to follow and this skirt is ridiculously easy to sew. Like so ridiculous I made all three in less than 2 hours.

I entered my skirt into the Crafterhours 2011 Skirt Week Competition. Clearly, I like a little competition as Sara vs. Sarah is all about the bi-weekly competition! Have you voted for the Embroidery Challenge? Do so here! Back to Crafterhours ... This is another blog I am so happy to have found; I feel like I must've been living under a rock to have missed it before, but it's full of funny writing, pretty pictures & clearly written tutorials. 

bracelets close up

Do you notice the cute bracelets we are all wearing (I went a little overboard on the matchy-matching'ness)? So fun! I made them using this tutorial for a jersey knit bracelet from V and Co (I love this blog - pretty stuff all the time). The bracelets are made from the same fabric as the skirt - the red peeks out in some parts and hides in others. For the girls, I made the 2-strand bracelet and only had to use one strip of fabric; for mine, I made a 3-strand from two long strips attached together (as explained in the tutorial I used).

The girls LOVE their skirts and love to spin in them! (ok, so we all like to spin!)

Fabric I Used:
Red / White stripe 100% cotton from eBay
Black Ribbed Knit for the waistbands

Now, I am definitely in love with my serger, but we have some tension issues to work out. You see, she does perfect work (I learned this is called a 'balanced stitch') when sewing through multiple layers - 3 layers? Gathered ruffles? No problem. BUT, I am having issues with serging a single layer. I need to tweak all the fancy tension knobs and get this working.

I've labeled my serger (she needs a name) in a couple of places to help me. Yes, the labels are color coded. Yes, I am a nerd.

I HAD to write this one down ... increase tension  = lower number; decrease tension = higher number. Sounds backwards, right? I think so too ...

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another Furniture Makeover

The Cake Stand isn’t the only piece of furniture I’ve refinished this year. I finished this gem of a dresser back in March.
My beautiful green dresser with faux Jadeite drawer pulls.
When I found it, it looked liked this:
One of the worst paint jobs in furniture history.
Poor old dresser. That paint job is crime! I guess that’s why I was able to pick it up for a mere $24.

When I saw it at the thrift store, I knew immediately that it was a great piece of furniture. It still has its label from the Davis Cabinet Company of Tennessee. There’s also a stamp indicating that it is 100% beech.

I was able to thoroughly strip away that felony paint job so I decided to stain it instead of repainting it. Just for fun, I went for a colored stain with a waxed finish. I love the waxed finish! That was a “new-to-me” technique and I’m sold on it.
A view of my faux Jadeite drawer pulls made from resin.
The final conundrum was the drawer pulls. The dresser had no pulls whatsoever when I bought it and I was finding nothing I liked at local hardware stores. What else is a crafty girl to do, but make her own?! I bought a drawer pull mold and hardware, and cast my own using resin colored to look like Jadeite. I think they look great. Yet another thing you can do with resin!
Closeup of the "Jadeite" pull.
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