Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crafting ADD

I can't ever seem to work on one single project until it is completely done. I currently have a huge mess in my office/sewing room. I can count 4 projects in progress, as they are all in different little piles throughout the room. But instead of getting one of those out of the way I have now taken on a 5th project! Really I should just clean up in here before I get started but I tend to just work around the mess!

Anyone else with suffer from crafting ADD?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A new endeavor.

My husband and I have been attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University classes. We've learned everything from how to budget properly, how to invest, how to switch over to cash only, how to save for the kids college and so much more. It has been the best $100 we ever spent. We finally have a financial plan for the rest of our lives and it feels great! I highly recommend the class but you can learn a lot by listening to his show and reading any of his books.

So last night's class was all about how to increase your income, long term, by finding the job that is right for you. A job where you will excel because you love it and will give it your all every day. The following questions were posed: "If money were not an option what would you do?" and "What are you doing to make that dream come true?" (or something along those lines.)

My answer to the first question was: be a stay at home mom, which I already get to do thanks to my wonderful husband. But then I got to thinking well what about when the kids start school what do I really want to do(not that I don't really want to be a mom - does that make sense?!) My answer was "sew." More precisely I want to design quilts and quilt patterns.

My answer to the second question was: well I have an Etsy Store and I've written 2 e-books and I finally set up my quilting frame. So I realized I now have the set up to start working on that dream. As of this morning I have started to design my first ever Petit Debutant quilt pattern!

So are you ready for a sneak peak? Here it is:
Sneak Peek

Any guesses as to what it is? Leaves room for the imagination doesn't it!

I'm sure it will be a couple of weeks before you see the finished product.

Friday, January 16, 2009

DIY Sewing Machine Extension Table

I've been looking around for the best price on a sewing machine extension table. I have come to realize there is no "economical" commercially made version of any table. They range from $50 and up - that's if you can find one to fit your make and model of machine. Or you can have one custom made for about $70

So I thought to myself there must be a way to make one myself. I drove to Lowe's and checked out their selection of acrylic sheets. For about $13 you can get a 1/4" thick acrylic sheet that is about 24"x 24" in size. You can then cut out the opening for your machine using a scroll saw. I didn't check but they might even be able to cut it for you there. Then you'd have to sand your cut edges smooth to prevent the fabric from getting caught. Some masking tape or blue painters tape on the edges would add some additional smoothness. Alternately you could look in the phone book and have a glass cutting place cut out the opening for you.

Then you would have to use something for the legs that would raise the table to the correct height of your sewing machine. My husband suggests wooden dowels cut to size and counter sunk into the under side of the table. Attached with? glue, screws? - I don't know

I have yet to try this theory out but will let you know when I do. Probably sometime in February since the budget for this month has already been set and did not include a "sewing machine extension table."

I also found this DIY version online:
I might just end up doing it this way. I don't really see an advantage to a "clear" table. Another option would be to use wood shelving so that you can router your edges so they would be curved and smooth.

Etsy Sale:

All iron on ties are on sale for $4 through Saturday 1/24/09.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bird Pillow

I'm so excited to share this finished project with you. I found the tutorial on Kellie's website: Don't Look Now. I fell in love with her style the moment I laid eyes on her site. How awesome is it that she shared the pattern and tutorial for free? Well the moment she posted the tutorial I knew I had to make one. In fact I went out and bought the material when she announced she would be sharing the pattern.

I started on Jan 5th and finished yesterday evening (Jan 13th.) So it took me little over a week to finish this project. It would have been done sooner if it wasn't for little things like sleeping, cleaning, cooking, and toddlers to get in the way! Actually I'm surprised I was able to finish so quickly. I had a few set backs such as not having the right free motion foot for my machine. I ended up using my brother 270d because I was able to get the tension set up better than on my Kenmore. However when I started practicing I realized I would have to go and get a clear free motion foot as opposed to the metal one that came with the machine for the embroidery function.

I'm actually surprised I finished it so quickly. I love the way it turned out, and more importantly my daughter loves it. Over all not too shabby for many firsts: first free motion project, first time sewing on the binding completely by machine, first applique "quilt", first time using my blanket stitch, and first pillow! (unless you count the quillow I made for my son.)

So here are the progress pics and don't forget to go over to Kellie's site so you can make your own pillow. One note, the tutorial is for a 20x20 pillow, I made mine 18x18 since I already had a pillow lying around. So I cut my panels 18.5"x18.5"

The front panel after I fused all my shapes to it:

The front panel after I blanket stitched around all the flower stems, and free motioned around the flowers and bird (no background quilting at this point.)

Here is the front panel all squared up after I completed all the free motion quilting. Everything but the stems was done free motion.
Here is a picture of the back front panel. As you can see my free motion skills are very "sketchy" at this point.

Here is a picture of the finished front:

And the finished back:

  • Wear snug fitting gardening gloves with the no slip palms and fingers (the little white dots)
  • Use a clear free motion foot
  • Practice first on a scrap quilt sandwich
  • It helps to have a larger area than just the machine throat to work on. So either get an extension table for your machine or use some flat hardback books behind and to the left of the machine.
  • Use light fusible web otherwise your needle will not got through the heavy stuff.
  • I used this method by Sharon Schamber for doing the binding by machine. The video shows bias binding but I used straight grain binding. It seems tedious but I got perfect results and I was done in 1 afternoon, otherwise I'd still be slip stitching the binding on as we speak!