Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Idle hands!!!

OK - so technically not idle but I'm sitting on my butt a lot!!!

I am not making ANY progress towards getting those ten items done before midnight TONIGHT!!!   Nope - haven't even got one done!  I may force myself to do those on Mondays until they are done. But I did make progress on one of them.

I got more of the strips together. But I wasn't happy with this one so I ripped it out. There were about four others that I had to rip out as well. GRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!   But that's all good - just sucked it up and ripped.

Curvy strip

Straight strip

And now they were all sewn in fours

Now in groups of twelve. Oh crud - the top one was a bit too curvy for me

So another rip out and now it is better!!!!

OK - now time to cut!!!!

Well I did get more done, but I forgot to take a picture and now it is all tidied up to make some room for the embroidery group.  I will take a picture later.

Look who was here to help me!!!!

Then I had some errands to run and then off to see the movie "Wild" with Lynn.  The theatre was crazy busy. I read the book a while back.  Oh my gosh - what a movie.  Based on a true story - you just wonder how someone could be so messed up to do what she did. But she survived!!!!   She did NOT quit.  Obviously she had a lot of mental strength, but just didn't believe in herself.  Anyway - I thought it was a great movie.

Back home and time to get to work. But I didn't feel like sewing. I am determined to get my photos in shape. I am determined to learn Lightroom (for organizing) the photos and Photoshop (for editing) (note NOT Photoshop Elements - why not go all the way!!!!!!

If I can learn all that I did by reading the sewing machine manual - how hard can these programs be????
I started by getting a book from the library (of course). It is broken down into lessons - OK - I can do this. I downloaded all the files for the lessons. Program software are downloaded and ready to go as well.
Book on Lightroom and Photoshop
I started to read and got to Page 14 (about 6 pages into Chapter One).  This talks about setting up the catalogue into which you place your photos.  ACK!  I knew it - BEFORE I can do anything - the photos MUST MUST MUST be organized into some kind of file structure. Deep down I have known that for months and I've been avoiding the issue.  I can still go ahead and do the lessons, but seriously - I might as well bit the bullet and get this mess cleaned up.

My computer hidden amongst the sewing projects

On top of it - the computer is running Windows 8.1 which I am NOT familiar with.  OK - let's get a cup of tea and dive right in!!!!   I must say that in the couple of hours that I worked, I made GREAT progress.  I am really really happy with what I've got done.  There is a "bit" more work, but at least they seem to be (more or less) by year. So that is a huge start, but I had sub folders and sub sub folders and even sub sub sub folders with meaningless names, DUPLICATES like crazy and well - a total mess.

In case anyone wants to organize photos - I have everything on an external hard disk which is devoted to photos. I created a folder called Photographs. Within that folder, I created sub folders by year. Then within year - the photos are in folders - mostly by date taken, but some were already grouped by "vacation" or whatever and I left them that way. But if it was a vacation in the year 2005 - I called the sub folder 2005 - Saskatchewan - or something along those lines. NO sub sub folders.  Everything should be TWO clicks off the main branch.  I don't think I will run into issues with having those two different series of sub folders.  I will see how it goes for the rest of the organizing and see if I need to make any further changes.

Hard at work - but the fast computer, big screen makes it a snap to do!!!!!

Mary V "made" us sign up for some organizing thing. Every day, week, month for 2015 - there is a different topic. I did notice that one week - photos was the topic.  Yeah - like this mess could be cleaned up in one week!!!!   Well maybe - I am trying to push for a couple of days!!!   Bye bye sewing for a couple of days.  GOD - what happened to my focus?????   Well - all of these projects left to do can be done on Monday and Thursday sewing. I will just pack them up and put them in that basket. If I have NOTHING else to do at the church - I will have no choice but to work on those projects.   Oh shoot - I do have another bag that I need to get done for Monday. Oh well - there is always tomorrow!!!!!!!!

I am sure I will sew some more today - I can't see myself sitting in front of the computer all day.

On that note - I am out of here - we have embroidery this morning and I am ready to start my NEW project.

Have a great day!!!   (Hey - it is NEW YEAR'S EVE!!!!!)   Stay safe!!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another LONG day!

OK - so something has happened to me. Aliens have taken over my body or something. I had another long day in front of the sewing machine. While I try to sew a bit every day - I am never this focused.

A "friend" (and I am using that word loosely now that I have made this pattern) made a beautiful bag. The pattern is called The Weekender by Amy Butler.

The Weekender  travel bag by Amy Butler

Maria and I were admiring the bag and decided that we wanted to make the bag.  Our mutual "friend" who shall remain nameless (right Claudette!!!) had in fact made several of the bags. Yes - she had said that it was a challenge to make but NEVER said that it was a REAL CHALLENGE to make.

She even gave me some pieces of fabric that had been cut out that she ended up not using!  

I went shopping for some similar fabric. OK - what was I THINKING???????   Obviously I was NOT thinking because I ended up with not so good fabric. While the colour was amazing, after getting into the sewing of the bag - I realize that it was TOTALLY wrong for the bag. A bit too heavy, almost canvas and this bag was a challenge without the extra challenge of that fabric type. 
Here is the fabric that I choose - nice and bright BUT not the right type at all!!!

However at one point during the day, Maria pulled out a fabric that she thought she would make her next bag out of and YES - that is a much better fabric. Slightly heavier than quilting fabric, but NOT canvas.   What a dolt!!!!   This just shows you my inexperience as a bag maker!!!!   I should have known better, but without having made the bag - who would have thought it would be that hard?????

I have to say that it was easier to make this bag with someone and thanks to Maria for being my sewing buddy for the day!  It was great fun and we read and reread that pattern to make sure that we were doing it right!!!!

 I went with absolutely everything prepped which is NOT me so I was able to get sewing right away. 

Here is my piping that I made the day before. 

Prepared (by me) piping

So I made the pockets, and the handles.  The edges of those pockets are piped. I HATE piping but I was determined to do a good job. Let's just say that the secret with piping is stitch once, stitch twice and on the third time - just cram that sucker in and stitch. And it worked!!!!!!  

The handles and the outer pockets

I got the two sides made with the handles and the pockets attached.  Now it was time to insert the zipper and I had a bit of a panic attack when I thought I didn't have the right zipper. But nope - all was good. 

Let's just say that pins are not good enough to pin this bag - I had to use clips. Fortunately - I had picked up some the other day and threw them in my project bag. 

Ready to sew

Keep in mind that this edge is PIPED. Oh yes - let's just make the entire thing a HUGE challenge.  The pieces are interfaced some with PELTEX which is stiff as a board!!!   STIFF - STIFF - STIFF!!!!!   Did I say that PELTEX is stiff????

I think this is the first time in my life where I have been physically fighting what I was sewing.  Yes - I had to push that bag so hard into the presser foot to sew that my arm was tired.  It was not fun!!!  Then I decided that was all the work I wanted to do for the day.

Here is the one seam sewed into the bag and the other part is ready to clip in

Well - when I got home - I decided to just keep going. See - something is wrong with me. I am possessed or obsessed!!!

I resewed the first seam at least once more - pushed the piping even closer to the presser foot to get a nice clean edge on that piping.  A very difficult task.

OK - so that wasn't so bad - the second time around is easier than the first. Hmmm - let's just keep going. So I clipped the other side of the bag in place.

See what I mean by stiff?????

The bag pieces all clipped and ready to go
 Hmmmmm - now how exactly am I going to get this under the needle to sew????  Oh yes - that was a bit of a puzzle, but finally I mashed the bag around a bit and finally got it close enough to sew.

Ready to sew
Oh - let's just say that it wasn't pretty!!!!
 Yes - there were are a few tucks but I am just happy that it is together!!!!!   If anyone sees those tucks - they are too close. BACK AWAY from the bag!!!!

Then I attempted to stitch around that second seam trying to get even closer with the piping. No one ever said that when you sew piping, you NEED to be agressive. I am serious - you can't just push that piping up to the edge of the foot - you have to SHOVE it up against the foot like a cop pushes a crook against the wall. Slam that seam into the foot and keep shoving!  It is a tough job!!!!   I broke THREE needles and the sewing machine wasn't happy!!!!

Then the biggest challenge? Trying to turn the bag inside out. Even though there is a big opening through the zipper - it was trying to turn a card board box inside out!!!!!    You think that is easy? Just try it sometime!!!

Oh shoot - I realize I don't have a picture - oh it is on my phone. Let me e-mail it to my computer so I can show you what it looks like.

The almost completed bag - but look at that PIPING!!!!

I have pressed the lining and it is now inserted into the bag. I have to figure out how to hand stitch this canvas type lining to the zipper. Yikes - my fingers are aching at the thought of that one. I might try stitching by machine along the stitching that is holding the zipper in place. I think that might work for the top part. And then by luck????   I used a double sided PELTEX for the bottom of the bag. That means I will be able to fuse the lining to the bottom of the bag so that should help to hold it all together.

OK - so I would like to try this bag again, but I want to try different fabric and different stabilizers. We were discussing the stabilizers at Fabricland the other day and I bought a new product on their recommendation that I didn't use. Now I wish that I had of.  OK - live and learn!!!!!   But for the next bag - I will.  Hmmmm - I wonder if I have any MEDIUM weight stuff around here that I can use????

I didn't sew too late last night - I was exhausted. I am having NO TROUBLE getting to sleep these days.

This morning I was back at it. Remember my poor Chubby Charmer????
Looks pretty sad - BUT
 Look what a bit of pressing and top stitching can do. It has BODY!!!!!!

The finished Chubby Charmer

Oh shoot - then I realized that I haven't made the bottom yet with the election sign material!!!!!    Ooopsy!!!   That is one of the most important parts!!!!   And I think you will be seeing a bit more of this bag next week. Can't tell you why but there is a secret about this bag.

On that note - I am out of here to try and get my TEN things done by midnight tomorrow.

OK - BAD NEWS. Margaret just sent me a message about this web site called SwoonPatterns.  It is all about bag patterns with tutorials for all kinds of bag stuff.  Oh no - HOLD ME BACK!!!!!!!     Some of the bags look amazing - and Margaret wouldn't recommend it on a whim. Hmmm - I need to check out some of the tutorials and see how she makes stuff - then maybe get some of the patterns. My biggest issue with patterns is that so many people design these bags without a LOT of thought to the finished project or the process to get to the finished project. I am always making changes to the patterns.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, December 29, 2014


So often I hear this statement (and I often make it myself) about how much people enjoy getting away from their house to sew because there are so many interruptions at home.  Oh yes - you know how it is - the dogs, the kids, the phone, the husband - everyone wants to interrupt.

Well yesterday was MY day. I started to sew around 5:00 AM - OK - maybe it was more like 5:30 AM and I went upstairs around 9 PM. However - that doesn't mean that I never surfaced!  Nope - the dogs went for not one, but TWO nice long walks, I made a big pot of squash soup, and I got a few chapters read in my book. The rest of the time - I was in the studio - dedicated - working, not puttering around. Oh my  - it was an awesome day and I got loads done.  Nothing completely finished but big steps forward on a few projects.   Oh yes - I never even got out of my PJs the entire day!!!!!

Have a look.................

Here are my tubes!   They are all in pairs at this point. Now the pairs of pairs need to be sewing together, but since this is a play project, I figured that was enough for today.  I will sew the pairs together later today!!! The nice thing - each round will take less time as there are less pieces!!!!

Although today is Monday, we don't have sewing. But that doesn't mean that I won't be sewing. Nope - going to have a play date with Maria. We both decided there was a bag that we wanted to make and it would probably be better to make it together. We would be more motivated - I hope so!!!

Had to start by cutting out the pattern.  I found some pattern paper - not much, but it was enough to trace the three paper pieces. And this is all that was left.

Mere scraps of pattern paper left. Yes - I really need to buy that lottery ticket!!!!!

Then I started to cut. Got all the pieces cut out for the exterior and the lining. 

I am using a medium weight decorator fabric as the pattern called for.  Hmmmmm - I am not liking this fabric. It is very stiff and hard to work with - almost like canvas. Maybe this is heavy weight fabric? Oh well - too late now. It is all cut out and ready to sew.

The pattern is a bit convoluted.  Oh my - they have you cutting copious layers of interfacing. Then taking a NON-fusible heavy interfacing - cutting the edges away and then taking a lighter weight fusible to layer over the top of the NON-fusible to fuse the two layers to the bag pieces. Doesn't that sound stupid????    Anyway - I searched through my stuff and found interfacings and I made up what we are supposed to do.   It is possible that the fusible products did not exist when the pattern was made - it is about 9 years old or perhaps there is some other mysterious reason why they did it that way. But I changed it up and well - we'll see today if it works or not!!!!

Then I made 5 yards of piping!!!!   I hate making pipping and with this thick fabric - well - it was "fun". Let's leave it at that.

Five yards of piping

Hmmm - then I did something else. Oh yes - I can't show you what I did until next week. Sorry - it's for QUILTSocial and they get exclusive first digs!!!!!

Once I as done that little job, I decided it was time to get my Chubby Charmer finished. By this time, I am getting tired, but I couldn't stop!!!!!  Nope - I kept saying - OK - one more seam and then I'll stop. But I kept going!!!!!  

Chubby Charmer

It just needs a GOOD pressing and all the top stitching. Then it will look amazing!!!!   I put pockets inside - two pockets and as per Susan - I put velcro on the pockets to keep them closed. I was going to put the key holder that Susan also put on hers, but decided that I would never use it.

I am not sure why I was so focused yesterday, but it was awesome. It was a great day - no interruptions - well no major ones. But more importantly when the interruptions happened, I was able to get back to work with little effort. I am thrilled - As the year winds down - I need THREE more days like that so I can get some of these silly little jobs finished. That would be awesome if all of them could be done before the end of the year.

Hmmm - let me make a list so I can see how I make out. There are TEN things on that list.  Three days - that means - three things per day and one day will have four.   That is doable since all of them are fairly small - top stitch a shirt, put buttons on a jacket - that kind of thing. But oh my - if I could get them done - that would be awesome!!!!

On that note - I am out of here. Can't wait to get started on the day.  I will copy that Bonnie Hunter article for you tomorrow.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, December 28, 2014


Nope - not enough snow to go tubing outside and too cold to tube on the water - BUT nice and toasty in my studio to make tubes!!!

You saw some of my prep work yesterday and some of the tubes.

This was the bag of scrap ends of batting before I started

And this is the bag when I was done. It is considerably smaller even though it doesn't look like it. There was JUST enough batting to do what I wanted!!!!   Now all the pieces in here are at least three inches wide.  Yes - they can be joined to make placemats or bag linings or other small items. I usually keep that on hand and when the guild asks me for scraps - I give them this bag. 

My over flowing scrap bowl on the cutting table 

I used to throw this stuff out, but NOT any more.  I will show you tomorrow what I do with it.  I know - I am pathetic!!!!   Can't throw anything away!!!   Well - I would like to share an article with you about Bonnie Hunter.   Oh shoot - my scanner isn't working and I have rebooted both the printer and the computer.  I am going to be late!   Scanner still not working - will scan it later today and post. It is very interesting!!!!

I have separated out these narrower than 2 1/2" scraps of batting. I know - it is an addiction - can't throw anything away!  But wait - I have a purpose for them.

Narrower than 2 1/2" batting scraps

Guess what I got for Christmas????   M found this basket at Value Village!!!!   It is beautifully lined with sewing themed fabric! Got three pockets in it and even a label. It was made in Alberta by The Country Quilter - whoever that is. The workmanship is impeccable!!!!

Hand work sewing basket

Made in Alberta label!!!!

I am going to load it up with my current hand work - embroidery, binding and maybe my knitting????   Then I know where all the hand stuff is and I can easily transport it around the house!!!   Thanks M - I love it!!!!!

So what did I get done yesterday????   I finished all the tubes that are necessary (I think) for my project.

Lots and lots of tubes

I had various lengths and here I have sewn all the short ones together to get a "block".
My "block" of tubes

Yes - I know - I should have been working on something else. Anything else but this, but what the heck - I had fun and I got a LOT done.

Never mind that I went out for a couple of hours to do errands. You know how we always complain about stuff. Well I could not complain yesterday. Went to exchange some paints (Oil for acrylic) and there was ONE acrylic set left. Now it is mine. Went to PetSmart to get canned food for Sammy. It was buy one, get one free. Took the last two cases off the shelf. And they took my $10 in coupons to boot. Went to ValueVillage and found SIX plain pillow cases (not for me, but for a project). Then onto Staples where they had the head phones that I wanted in orange colour no less, the chair mat I need and I still had just enough money left on my COPY card to get the three photocopies I needed. Then off to Fabricland where they had my thread and the really nice fabric I had my eye on was on sale for $5 a meter. (Is is just me or are they becoming very chatty at Fabricland these days?) Then to the library where I picked up my books that I just put on hold and I was number 63 - but somehow got bumped to the front of the line!   Oh yes - It was a great day! I should have purchased a lottery ticket!!!!

On that note - I am off to get more work done today. I think it is about time I get back to "work".

Have a great day!!!!!!!!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

A LAZY day!!

I don't know why - but I was EXHAUSTED yesterday.  Once I finally got the blog up - I had no ambition. YES - it happens even to me!!!!  So I got a book, a quilt and just lazed around the entire day!  It was great!!!!   I finished the book last night. Oh - if you are looking for another awesome thriller - check out "The 9th Girl" by Tami Hoag.  Very creepy - a bit gruesome - a bit too real. It is part of a series (but works as a stand alone) and I already have the sequel ordered from the library.  Wow - great book.  Already started another book. Oh yes - I am crazy when I get into reading mode!!!

The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag - very creepy and very disturbing especially if you have teenagers.

But I did manage to get some stuff done. Oh yes - I would be totally bored if I lounged around the entire day!

As I was working yesterday (and not on anything I am supposed to be working on), I realized that I am frugal.  Here I am cutting scraps, using up stuff that most people would throw away!!  I don't have to - I have loads of new stuff to use, but it makes me happy to use up these scraps. That is so weird!!!!   I wonder what would happen if I put a call out there that I would take everything that people threw away?  Oh yes - I could keep myself amused forever and never run out of stuff to sew!!!!   By the way - I am NOT putting a call out there for scraps - I have already received so much stuff from people that I can't possibly use it up in my life time.

Anyway - have a look at what I did do yesterday...............

I have this bucket of quarter square triangles that need to be trimmed

Here is the story on the quarter square triangles.  When I make borders for quilts, I make the join on the diagonal. That leaves these big triangles. What to do with them???   Well - I joined them together to get quarter square triangles. God forbid that we throw out those big hunks of fabric!!!!

Some of them looked a bit odd as the triangles were not always the same size

Trimmed them to the biggest size I could get from each one

Here is a tin of trimmed and sorted by size quarter square triangles

These are the last of the quarter square triangles (yes - these have been sitting around for a couple of years!!)

I did make good progress on the trimming (although that pile is still BIG and I hope to continue on as I really really want to make something from these.  I have loads of ideas, but I need to see how many of each size I have before I commit myself to a design. I do NOT want to make more of these - I will make them from scraps - but not making "new" ones.

Then when I was looking for something in the closet, I came across another partially completed project that was just thrown in there.  Hmmm - let's see what that is all about.

It requires the use of batting strips. OK - so I got a big bag of those...........

My bag of batting strips. 

Sorting them and trimming to 2 1/2"

Strips trimmed to 2 1/2"

I dumped the bag on the floor and this is what I still have to process

I needed some 2 1/2" strips of fabric - after going through my little stash of 2 1/2" strips - I realized I was going to need way more! Trying to coordinate this in the brown family

And I am making tubes!!!!!   I need LOTS and LOTS of tubes!!!!

As I was digging through the closet - I also found a whole bunch of this.......

Clothesline - packages and packages of clothesline. 
 I have a feeling that there is a bit more in there somewhere. But at least it is all contained in ONE bag now. I will not be making anything with that at the moment.  I am not supposed to be touching either of the two projects above - well the quarter square triangles has a purpose - the other is just for fun. But I think I deserve a fun day from time to time.

Actually that is one of my problems - I seem to work around the clock and not always on the stuff that I want. That is a classic case of work invading all my time. I really need to set aside time each day where I get to sew for me - and the rest of the time - I sew for samples or others or whatever!!!!   Oh yes - try to be more organized this year!!!!

Here is one more picture of my Sparky that I found this morning.

Sparky "hiding" in the bushes

She was definitely intrigued by that bush yesterday.

Anyway - on that note - I am pumped up and ready to work today.

Have an AWESOME day!!!!!!!!!!!!