Crafty Ideas: Fall Crafts and Decorating

With fall fast approaching, I decided that I would scour the internet and some of my favorite blogs and websites looking for some great ideas for Halloween and fall decorating.  Here are a few that I found that I am thinking about doing myself:

 Love this sign!  Jump over to lil blue boo and view Ashley’s tutorial on how to make it.

How about this Jute Monogram Wreath over at the HGTV website?

Look at these cute little soft squash!  Great craft to do with the kids!

Look at this great fall wreath!  How-to’s over at MarthaStewart.com

Love this door arrangement, again over at MarthaStewart.com

Over at A Little Tipsy, Michelle has the cutest Halloween projects! Here are a couple of them, but stop by and check out the rest!

OK, I thought that I would look for some recipes to add.  I love fall baking!

The Bakery Spot has a list of 35 of yummy recipes, as you can see from the pictures above, for goodies to make using pumpkin, apples, and cinnamon.  All my favorites!

I think these crafting and baking ideas will get me started.  If you do any of these crafts, or bake any of these goodies, let me know and share pictures!  I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Fall!!

What’s Coming Up……

It’s getting to be that time of the year again! Busy, busy!  And my thoughts are constantly whirling around, thinking about what I can do that hasn’t already been done.  Coming up with new ideas can sometimes be easy, other times, not so.  Here are a couple of my new shop items  for the upcoming season:

An update on an old favorite, a grand Christmas wreath!  Made from Moda – Basic Grey- Fruitcake fabric line.  I love these fabrics!  And I think that the cranberry & ivory dotted grosgrain add that special touch.  This lovely wreath will add a big impact to any door, measuring 18″ across, and 17″ around the stuffed ring.  Watch for others, I have plans to make more from the same line of fabric, but different prints and colors.

I so fell in love with this fabric:

Also from Moda, this is a heavy weight cotton towelling.  I knew when I saw it that I had to think of something to make with it.  The organic feel and texture, and the natural look just drew me in.

So I came up with this simple red striped table runner  (since some don’t want ruffles), and this ruffled table runner.

Who can resist this wonderful nubby cotton runner, with ticking added to it?  I love it! Perfect for that natural look all year round, or just to add that touch of red for the upcoming holidays! You can find all of these items now listed in the shop.

Stay tuned, more goodies are coming! Thanks!

Sew Tip: Presser Feet that Measure

I recently talked about measuring your projects accurately before cutting them, but just as important is measuring while you’re sewing.  I found that purchasing a couple of feet that I can use to measure my seam allowance while I’m sewing has saved me hours of tearing seams out that don’t fit together correctly.  These are the ones that I use almost every time that I sew:

My first purchase was the foot on the far left, a 1/4″ presser foot.  This is perfect for those projects, like quilt blocks, that always use a 1/4″ seam allowance.  I often use this foot, even if I’m not sewing a 1/4″ seam.

The second foot, right next to it, is also a 1/4″ foot, but it is clear and has a guide on the right side.

This one was a recent purchase.  It’s great because it allows you to see what you are doing, and the guide actually keeps you in line with the fabric.

You notice that you can only do a straight stitch with the 1/4″ feet.  There is only a round hole for the needle to go down through.  If there are times that you are sewing something where you’re not on the edge of the fabric, I have found that using the foot without the guide works better, because the guide doesn’t slide over fabric well, and will bunch it up.

The third foot is for sewing a 5/8″ seam.  It is clear and has the edge guide.

This foot is great if you are sewing a pattern that has 5/8″ seams. It allows you to see where you are sewing, and still keep the seam width steady.  This one also allows you to do zig zag or other types of stitches rather than just a straight stitch.

I have found that these three presser feet have been well worth the investment.  They have saved me hours of tearing out uneven seams.

Thanks for coming by!

 

Crafty Idea: Baby Washcloths

Looking for a quick and easy gift idea for a baby shower, or just to add something special to a baby gift? How about some cute baby washcloths!

I don’t have time for too many projects that take too much time to do lately, so when I found a tutorial  over at Zaaberry, to make these sweet baby washcloths, I knew this was it.

I only made a couple, but it takes no time at all, following her tutorial, to make several of these sweet and soft washcloths.

There are a couple of things that I did differently, and that’s because I am always looking for a shortcut.  That’s what happens when you never have enough time in a day, lol!

Where she made a template to use for her sewing line (and a wonderful idea she has to use old file folders!), I used a 6″ square ruler to draw mine.

I use a water-soluble marking pen to draw my line. Don’t forget to leave yourself an opening….I almost did!

When I was done sewing around each one, I clipped the corners before turning. I didn’t clip my seams, because I thought that having the seam allowance larger would keep them from coming apart of a lot of use. After turning the cloth right side out, I pressed it with an iron.

I then edge-stitched about 1/4″ from the edge.  This also closes the opening.  That’s it!

So, so easy! 

I just used remnants of some chenille and flannel that I had on hand to make these.  What a great idea! I think that I will make some more with cotton on the top now.

Thanks for stopping by, and stop over at Zaaberry for tons more inspiration!

Sewing Tip: Making Ruffles

Ruffles are making a comeback.  I am seeing them added to pillows again, on top and along the sides, to bedding, shower curtains, window coverings, slip covers, just about anything in the house!  I have a tip that I have been using for many years, that has helped me gather material to make ruffles easier to handle.

What you need:  a sewing machine (that will do a zig zag stitch), your material for your ruffle, thread and a crochet cotton or similar thread.

First I cut my material for my ruffle.  I double the width of the ruffle that I want to end up with, and add another 1″.  So for my ruffle, I am cutting a 5″ length of fabric so that I end up with a 2″ ruffle.

Fold your material in half, right sides together.

Press with your iron, so that the material stays in place and lies flat.

Take your crochet cotton (or whatever thread you are using) and lay it along the raw edge (what will be the upper edge) of your fabric.  Have it overhang the end about 1″.

Center the fabric and thread under the middle of your presser foot.  I make sure the outside edge of the presser foot lines up with the edge of my fabric.  The folded edge of the fabric should be on your left, and the edge where the fabric raw edges meet is on the right. Set your machine on a zig zag stitch.

Zig zag stitch over the cotton thread, continuing until you reach the end of your ruffle material.  Note:  Make sure that you don’t catch the larger thread with your needle thread.

Leave about 1″ of the crochet cotton overhanging at the end, so that you can hold it in your fingers.  Do not back-stitch at the beginning and the end of your sewing.

Grab onto the thread on either end, and using your other hand, start to pull the fabric back so that it gathers together.  I push the gathers toward the center, then take the thread on the opposite end and do the same until the entire length of the ruffle is gathered.

Now your ruffle is ready to use on any project.  It stays ruffled because the crochet cotton holds it in place.  It makes it easy to adjust without your threads breaking as well, and holds well when you are attaching it to your project.

This method works especially well when you are making long ruffles or are using heavy fabrics.

I hope this helps you!  Thanks for stopping by!

Crafty Idea: Chalkboard Lids

I am always looking for creative ways to keep myself organized, that don’t take a lot of my time.  I love to collect jars that I can use anywhere in the house.  Since it’s canning season here, when I was looking at all of the jars I have collected, I decided that I would take some of my quilted jelly jars, and make good use of them.

One way I came up with is to use them to store some of the items that I need to get to quickly, in my sewing room.  I decided to make chalkboard lids to put on them.  This way, if I stacked them away in a box or drawer, I could write on the tops and see immediately what I have in them.

First locate the size of jars you want to put lids on.  If you are using canning jars and they are wide mouth, you will need wide mouth lids and bands, these are regular, so I used regular size lids and bands..  You can generally pick these up in grocery stores, and any stores that carry canning supplies. If you are using other jars that have lids already, use those.

I used Krylon chalkboard spray paint, which I found at my local Wal-Mart.

I set my bands (or you may call them rings) on a small 2 x 4 piece of wood to raise them up and make them easier to spray.  Please use a well ventilated room.  This was in my garage. I just laid the lids on a piece of newspaper.

Quick and easy storage!  These jars with the chalkboard lids are also great for use in the office, bathroom, or anywhere you can use some organization.

Leave me a comment and tell me where you would use them………

Sewing Tips: Measure Twice, Cut Once

I thought that I will start posting a series of sewing tip posts, hoping that some of the sewing techniques that I have developed over the last 30 years or so may be helpful someone who is just learning how to sew, or may be a reminder for those of you who have been sewing for some time.  Some of the tips will only be a few lines, other times a story (lol!).

I am sure that you have heard the saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” Nothing can be more true when it comes to sewing, and saving yourself the possibility of many hours of frustration and tearing things apart.

I don’t use patterns too often to make most of the things that I sew.  I have learned that in order to save myself a lot of frustration and time tearing apart seams, I measure, pin and measure again, and then cut.

These are the tools that I use the most.  An extra long tape measure, my rulers for rotary cutting (I have many, many shapes and sizes.  This one I use nearly daily), my water-soluble marker, pins, my small rotary cutter (again, I have several different sizes) and my cutting mat.

My example will be my table runners, since I am currently making quite a few. Depending upon the size of the runner, the cutting mat and the tape measure are both crucial for measuring.  I use the mats to get a general idea of my length and width, and I generally add a couple of inches on my original cut.  Because I know that ticking doesn’t always cut nice and even and can distort a slight bit, I’ll add on a couple of extra inches. Since I need to make sure that the stripes are even, this has saved me from having to abandon a piece of fabric and start over again. After my initial cut, I measure again with the tape measure. I sew one end, measure, then sew the other end.

It’s hard to measure a length very long without my extra long tape measure.  Sometimes I also use two cutting mats, but I am always verifying the measurement with my long tape measure.  This is where I also use my water-soluble marking pen. I only pin and sew one side at a time, always stopping to measure the width after sewing each side.  This helps me keep the stripes straight and consistent.  I use the same process when I am sewing each end.

When I am getting down to the basics, the small ruler with the sliding adjustment is indispensable for me.  It really keeps me on track, making sure I am consistent and evenly hemming the sides.

And although I haven’t mentioned it yet, the plate on my sewing machine is also a valuable measuring tool, making sure that when I am hemming and doing topstitching, I am keeping my sewing lines even.

Using these tools, and double-checking my measurements before I sew, and during sewing, keeps me from having to start over or getting frustrated because my project isn’t coming out as planned. It make take a little longer to get my project sewn, but this process is a time saver in the long run.

I hope this helps you too.