Driving Cap

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I love the look of old fashioned driving caps on little boys and toddlers. Honestly I think they look good on just about any one. My son has one that he loves dearly. So I decided to make him another one. I scourged the internet for such a pattern and was unable to find any.

There are 2 or 3 out of print patterns by the some of the major pattern companies. If you are lucky to find one, you'll fork over about $14. So I decided to make my own pattern (which I am considering putting up for sale.) There are still a few things I need to tweak to make this work perfectly.

Here is my first prototype. Not to shabby, if I do say so myself!

Organize your Fabric Stash!

Friday, October 10, 2008
As promised here is (the first installment) my Fabric Folding Tutorial so that you can get your fabric stash under control! Part one is has instructions for folding cuts of fabrics of 1 yard or more of 42"-44" wide fabric.

You will need:
  • Your fabric
  • Magazine sized (8.5"x11") backer boards - found at your local comic book shop
  • Pins
  • Small scraps of paper for making notes
The backer boards (a.k.a. backing boards, comic storage boards) are typically found in a pack of 100 for about $10-$12. They are usually archival quality and acid free. However they are generally only coated on one side.

Now you might not care as to whether your fabric is protected from touching a non acid free surface, but it will extend the life of your fabric. So will keeping your fabric dust free. There have been arguments to both sides of this dilemma, which I won't go into. I figure that fabric is a pretty expensive hobby at prices of up to $9 a yard or even $15 yard for imported Japanese prints (which I love.) Therefore I choose to use 2 one-sided boards back to back so that my fabric is touching an acid free surface. If you can find, and splurge, the boards that are coated on 2 sides then only use one board. If you don't care about your fabric touching regular card board, then by all means go ahead and use one board. I promise I won't send the fashion police after you!

This is a great way to store fabric on a book shelf, in boxes, or file crates. I love to use the plastic file crates because you can stack them on top of each other, but you can also stack them sideways on top of each other (as long as you use the same brand they'll interlock)

All right, enough chit chat. Here is the tutorial in PDF format. If you choose to print this out make sure your printer is set to "fit to page" or something similar. Let me know if you have any questions (or find any typos.)

Part 2 will be coming soon and will cover folding fabric shorter than 1 yard and fat quarters.

Works for Me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008
I want to introduce a new "section" of useful tips, little tricks and product reviews that, well, work for me and make my life (or crafting) easier. Hopefully you'll find something useful as well!

Works for me #1:

Want your whole house to smell great? Forget the candles, oil diffusers, and other expensive knick knacks that only work in one room.

My solution: Essential oils! Sprinkle a couple of drops (easy, a little goes a long way!) of your favorite fragrance on your HVAC filter. You know that pleated thing that looks like this: (Which by the way, did you know you are supposed to change it out every 3 months, more often if you have pets or have an unusually dusty house.) Anyway back to the point! The fragrance will waft into every room of your house every time your ac or heater kicks on. The fragrance usually last 2-3 days depending on how often your ac kicks on.

While I have only done this in the summer, when the ac kicks on, in theory you should use less in the winter, when the heater kicks on, because heat will make the essential oils seem stronger.

My favorite oil to use right now is Bath and Body Works Midnight Pomegranate. By the way these are on sale right now for $4 a bottle, way cheaper than a candle! Try some of their holiday inspired scents for the upcoming holidays. Of course you can always mix your own essential oils, my favorite combination when we are sick with a cold: eucalyptus and peppermint - clears your sinuses right up and relieves stress.

Organized Closet

Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I mentioned in my last post that I spent last weekend cleaning and organizing my sewing room. Well here is a peek at my crafting space, well the closet anyway! I will be showing you in an upcoming post, how to organize your fabric stash.

Well here is the anatomy of the organization (you can click on the picture to see it super sized):

All are listed left to right

Top shelf: Extra Lamps, empty boxes, patterns (in that brown box), hairbow/ponies supplies, misc tools in the toolbox, some batting and fiberfill, my less often used fabrics like upholstery and felt.

Middle shelf: batting scraps, those 2 white boxes have some notions, then come my large binder clips, behind that are my paints and modpodge, random little notions in that USPS box (all inside individual baby food jars)

Hanging: you see my completed items and works in progress.

Bottom shelf: my Kenmore sewing machine, my Brother SE-270D embroidery machine, my Kenmore serger, ribbons, magazine files (handy for sorting magazines, craft books, and sewing machine manuals). Behind the hanging clothes is my iron, which I love - thanks mom! - a Rowenta Advancer! Also my starch, my "air in a can" useful for cleaning your machines and my machine oil.

The dresser (top to bottom):
1st Drawer: work in progress quilt tops, and embroidery attachment for my Brother machine.
2nd Drawer: pattern pieces that I don't want to crease, various "rolls" - freezer paper, tear away stabilizer, wash away stabilizer, wonder under, and such
3rd drawer: crochet/knitting stuff, blanks, some finished projects.
4th drawer: socks! yes socks! for making my baby leg warmers!

The bookshelf: All of my fabric yardage! The top shelf has all of my less than 1 yard fabrics. The remainder shelves hold anywhere from 1 to, I think, 8 yards. Like I said I will be teaching you how to accomplish this shortly.

I also keep my ironing board stored in here in front of the fabric. Oh and next to the dresser I left a space wide enough to fit my cutting boards, rulers, and newsprint (used for making pattern templates)

Halloween Workshop

Monday, October 6, 2008
This past weekend I spent some time cleaning up my sewing room and working on a few projects. One of these projects was my daughter's Halloween costume. I generally like to dress up my kids as a theme. Last year they were Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. This year they will go as Buzz Lightyear and Jesse the yodeling cowgirl. Luckily I don't have to make a Buzz costume. The grandparents gave my son a great Buzz costume for his birthday back in March, it even has blinking wings!

I decided to go ahead and make my daughter's costume. Especially since the authentic looking Jesse Costume has been replaced with this:

C'mon we all know that this costume will not fly with a 2 year old. It's not even the right colors! I looked for the old costume but they are going for ridiculous prices on eBay, upwards of $20 but closer to $30 plus shipping! Even the smallest size is too big for my tiny petite 2 year old.

I think I will save my self some trouble and order the hat and wig:It's on sale for $7.99, but shipping is $8 GRRRR!! I hate paying excessive shipping. I looked all over the internet, and while many places have this available, Disney is still the cheapest price.

So I got my daughter a pair of blue jeans, made some cow print chaps for her this weekend and I found some cute boots for her costume and coming winter (two birds with one stone! Yeah!)

Here are the chaps, I really like the way they turned out. Now I just have to figure out the shirt portion of the costume.

I used McCalls #2851 for the chaps pattern. Here is my review of the pattern:
The pattern is labeled "Easy 2 hour" Which it is easy if you use felt or fleece or some other fabric which won't fray and you won't have to finish the edges of your costume.

There are minimal instructions on actual "sewing" and the instructions are mostly for how to use fabric glue. The Chaps pattern did not include any seam allowances to really turn under the edges. Even though the back of the envelope gives "canvas" as a suggested fabric (which is what I used) their methods for sewing and gluing would not work on canvas because canvas frays!!!

With a little ingenuity I was able to crank out the chaps any way.

So I would recommend this pattern only if you will be using a fabric that doesn't fray. *Remember I only made the chaps.

How to get a spiffy looking blog

Saturday, October 4, 2008
I owe all of my blog spiffy-ness to The Cutest Blog On the Block

You can find amazing backgrounds for your blog free of charge. Plus they have lots of other nifty features. My favorite being this tutorial on how to make your own blog backgrounds! If only I didn't have a "to do" list a mile long! *sigh* That's ok I'll just settle for the already made beautiful backgrounds! Thanks Cutest Blog!

Hello, My Name Is...

Hello, My name is Norma, and I am a slacker.

There, I said it. Phew!! That's a load of my chest!

I can't believe that my last post was on October of LAST year. I have recommitted myself to the upkeep and maintenance of this Blog. My mission is to bring you at a minimum a spankin' new post each and every week. These post will update you on a few things including (but not limited to): my latest creations, how to's, crafty inspirations, spotlights of other blogs and crafters, and some life musings from me!

So here's to a new year of blogging! *raises glass of water for a toast*
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