Monday, April 20, 2009

Not again!

I wasn’t kidding when I said that I have a problem folks! I had to make a trip down to Jo-Ann’s. Why? Because I ran out of Gutermann’s color 506 thread.

Here is how it all happened. I have been wanting a new bag see, because anytime we go somewhere as a family my purse gets filled to the brim, spare diapers, water bottle, first aid kit, Swiss army knife . . .the things you really need as a Mommy right? Anyway, I have wanting to make a new bag with lots of pockets, but I wasn’t sure were to start. I’m not ready to read a published pattern yet so when I saw this pattern at J Caroline Creative I knew it was just the thing. I found this great Moda fabric at a fabric store in my hometown, I bought it in twill but they didn’t have any fabric that the Woodland pattern that matched. I looked online and saw some that I thought would work, but I decided to try the pattern out on a different fabric before I ordered online to make sure that it was what I wanted to use it on. So I went to my nearest local fabric shop . . . Walmart. They. Had. Nothing. I mean nothing. I shouldn’t have been surprised after I couldn’t find anything to use for fabric Easter eggs. They did have some natural webbing so I got it, even though it was 1.5 inches wide instead of 1.25. Oh well, I could use it for something right?

I decided to try the next closest fabric shop, Hobby Lobby. The selection here was A LOT better. I found some really cute fabric! There was also a really helpful associate there who answered a ton of questions for me. She makes bags herself and she told me that she used the plastic mesh stuff that you find in the embroidery thread section to put in the bottom of her bags. She talked interfacing with me. I think I am starting to get the hang of it. Ok not really but I have a little better understanding. After my long talk with the lady at Hobby Lobby I was ready to make the bag except they didn’t carry black 1 1/4th inch webbing like the pattern called for. The only size they carried was an inch. No problem I will just go back to Wal-Mart and get some of the 1.5 like I had purchased earlier but in black.

Well guess what! That’s right, Wal-Mart doesn’t carry anything but the 1.5 in neutral. They also have webbing at 1 inch but I don’t think any of it is cotton. That’s right. I had already made three different stops to try and make this bag. That’s when it hit me. What have I gotten myself into? I decided to give up and go to my stash to try to find alternate fabric that I could use that would go with the natural webbing that I already had. I decided on ticking material and unbleached cotton. I had to cut it out the main body part twice because I couldn’t get the lines to work. And then it still wasn’t the right size. But I kept moving on. Then my bobbin ran out of thread. No problem. I’ll just wind some more. Then click. What was that that? That’s right I had put all my thread on the bobbin . . . and I didn’t have anymore in that color!

So today I decided to go to Jo-Ann’s. It was a trip, but I had to have thread and hopefully they would have the right size and color of webbing that I needed for my first test bag. My first stop was the thread department. Guess what . . . I forgot to put the empty spool in my bag. I stood there for probably 15 minutes trying to decide on the right shade of neutral. I chose two. Onto the webbing. They have it in 1.25! Yeppieeeee . . . oh wait . . .no black! What is going on here?

And even better still I bought white and neutral 1.25 webbing, two spools of ribbon (incase I make any more pincushions), buttons (to finish off my first pincushion), 4 remnants (one of which in a pattern that I already had), Kona cotton in light brown, four spools of thread (two large spools each of the neutrals and one extra large white), Pellon Peltex 70 interfacing, and two Heidi Grace fabrics . . . way too much. But I used a coupon . . . this is what happens when you have to go to 4 different shops to get what you need.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh my!

Another trip to the craft store. I think I have a problem . . .
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Love, Hate, and some Easter eggs

I have been feeling pretty good lately. I think it’s because I have actually ‘made’ the time to craft things. I say made because really I have just been not doing other things . . . like the dishes. I saw these cute little eggs over at Retro Mama, and thought they were so cute. They are not unlike the balls that I attempted and kind of failed. Mine turned out to look like footballs and not, well balls. I really wanted to retry it, but I’m just not one of those people that will rip out stitches when I make a mistake. I just keep going. That and my sewing machine and I had a little tift, but more on that later.

Since these eggs were supposed to be long shaped and not round I thought it would be perfect. So I started going through my fabric stash and came up empted handed. So after going to Wal-Mart and spending $30 on assorted fabric, I put together these! Not quite as lovely as Retro Mama’s but they look pretty good. At least my tops come together well and all meet and don’t look wonky. The first couple I stuffed wasn’t really working right either so I am going to have to pull out the stuffing and redo it. Yes, I will re-stuff. Ok so here are the lessons I have finally learned.

1. If the pattern is small and needs to be outlined, print it out on cardstock (Retro Mama said to do this and it works great!)
2. If you need to make little tick dotes on the pattern, punch out the hole with a seam ripper and then widen it with a pencil.
3. You do need those tick marks so follow directions
4. At the tops make sure you lay the fabric in opposite directions so you don’t have to sew through so much fabric.
5. Poly-fil needs to puffed up before you stuff or you will get lumps.

I still need to finish stuffing and then close up the seams, but I am pretty happy with the project so far.

And here is my sewing machine. Let me just say that although my mom is one of the craftiest, creative, DIY’ers out there, a good teacher she is not. I was never really allowed to mess with her sewing machines (yes machines) because she was afraid that I would change all her settings. So after much procrastination (and pushing from my dear mother-in-law) I purchased this machine. It has been a love hate relationship ever since. I love the fact that it is digital so if I start playing around and decide I probably shouldn’t be doing whatever it is that I am doing I can just shut it off and back on and it resets. So Mom probably was right. The problem is that I have trouble with the bobbin. For some reason the bobbin case holder thing slips out sometimes or thread raps around it or I get big knots on the underside of what I’m sewing. I decided to take it to Jo-Ann’s so they could watch me and see what ever it was that I was doing wrong. The answer. Nothing. And it hasn’t really happened since. So I decided today that I think it needs a name. I don’t know what. What do you name something that you have a love/hate relationship with? I’m kind of thinking that it should be male, well cause you know why, but then again it does make pretty things . . . . so any suggestions? Has anybody else named their sewing machine?
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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Moon Sand

I have been trying to make some moon sand, and so far it isn’t turning out. We got to play with some recently and it was really fun. It held its shape, was slightly moist, but didn’t feel messy. The stuff that we got to play with was selling for $19.99 for a 5 lbs. bucket! I just couldn’t do it. So I came straight home and started looking up recipes. I found this one online. In fact, I saw this same recipe repeated on a couple of different sites, so I thought I would get it a try. I bought a 50 lbs. bag at the local hardware store, bought seven 16 oz boxes of corn starch for $1.18 at Wal-Mart (the recipe said for 50 lbs of sand you would need 24 boxes but the store didn’t have that many), and a 34 quart tub. I decided to start with one batch first and then to multiply the recipe up to the seven boxes of starch. Well, it didn’t work. Instead of coming out moon sand I got sandy yak, like the corn starch slime that you make in science class. I looked it up (because although I remember making it I didn’t remember the science) and apparently corn starch and water really don’t mix. They are in suspension together acting like a solid and a liquid at the same time. So if you press on it, the starch feels solid.
Without pressure the substance acts like a liquid and becomes fluid. I tried to fill a little crab mold to see if it would hold shape, and although it filled the shape well it was so hard it wouldn’t release. I thought it was because I had added to much water, so I added 6 more cups of sand. Then it just felt like sand so I added more corn starch. Then it got really hard, so I just mixed it up for a while. I finally decided on a total of 24 cups of sand to a box and a half of starch with about 2 cups of water. It still feels really moist. I think I am going to see if it gets better when it dries out more. If feels like what I want, but it sticks to my hand. And you can see starch residue.

Not like the $19.99 version, but still better for the price. But look I can for it into balls and it holds its shape! I don’t ever remember being able to do that with plan sand. Anybody else ever tried this or have any recommendations?

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Monday, April 6, 2009

A little adventure, an introduction, and loads of fabric

Let me start out by explaining the little adventure part. I have wanted to try my hand at making these cute little eggs, but after a look at my small fabric stash (I say small because it’s only about a foot high and after seeing some pictures of other’s stashes recently I say its small) I decided that I didn’t have bright enough colors. It was also about the end of the week and I had yet to do my weekly grocery shop. I had heard rumor (actually had tried to track one down online) of a fabric shop of some sort near by. My Tom-Tom said that it was only four miles away, so I should have plenty of time to stop by before going to the grocery. Well, an two hours later I pulled into the Ingles parking lot to discover that I had left my coupons on the floor by the door on my way out. Although I saved an Eastern Box Turtle and enjoyed some very beautiful views, I never actually made it into the fabric shop. I think I got there but it was way out of town next to someone’s house on a dirt road and there was no business sign out front. And there was a dog barking in the drive way. No, I am not that brave. So, I had no fabric and no groceries.
I went back to the grocery store that evening with coupons, but today I finally decided to give up on my dreams of fabric as far as the eye can see and just go to Wal-Mart. While I was there trying to figure out if I should get the cute little red fabric from the quarter’s section, a nice lady walked up and asked if I was a quilter. I thought ‘oh no, is she going to ask me a question I don’t know the answer too.’ I have been amazed at how many people have stopped me in stores to ask advice like where the lemon juice is and when should I start feeding my baby solid food (both of which I knew the answer too) . . . so I replied that I don’t really know enough to be. She told me about a local quilting bee that meets once a week and invited me to join them! How cool is that? I don’t know if I will actually get to go, but it would be lots of fun.
I ended up getting quite a lot of fabric. I also picked up some strap stuff, and batting. I’m especially excited about getting this pattern. It’s Simplicity Pattern # 2617 from Creative Little Daisy! I love her bags and the fabrics she chooses. You should stop by and tell her congratulations! And by the way there was only one left so you better hurry and pick up yours!
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Door Curtain

I finally figured out how to cover the french doors in the kitchen. I bought some sheers at Wal-Mart and then hemmed a pocked at the bottom. They aren’t perfect but they work.
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