Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Big Chair Slipcover Part One

Oh, just about three years ago I wrote about slipcovering my BIG GREEN CHAIR. It never happened. I got around to slip covering the foot stool. Then I went on to slipcover my sofa.

Last week my friends and I headed to our favorite fabric store (Barn Fabric Center) - it's in Williamsport, PA. OK, this store is amazing. It's full of home dec and upholstery fabric...for $10 a yard. And if you time your visit, it's marked down! Last year we went right before the 4th of July weekend and it was $7 per yard! 

Experience taught me to shop with a purpose. I'm not one of those people who just buys fabric to buy fabric. I buy fabric when I need fabric. Although the store is small, it holds a lot of fabric, which can be overwhelming. I have no problem making decisions but I find that bolts and bolts of beautiful fabric paralyzes me! But I had a purpose...get that slipcover done!

In the spring, I decided to lighten up my living room. There was too much brown and gold; I found that it drained my energy. I ordered a new rug that served as inspiration. I found some paint (haven't painted yet...) and then decided that it was time for a chair re-do. Since I couldn't take my rug with me, I matched up the rug colors with paint sample colors.

OK, now back to the Barn Fabric Center. It didn't take long to find the fabric that I wanted - a blue/green linen (like?? I have no idea). It was plain and soft and beautiful. At $10 a yard, I couldn't pass it up. I needed about 10 yards. He measure it...there was 18 yards...he gave me a deal. I ended up paying $150 for 18 yards!

So here is my work in progress. I'll be writing more about what I did to get ready for it. 

Here's the before. It's a dark green chenille - that's already a slip cover. I love this chair. I love the title..."The Simple Slipcover." FYI...it was anything but simple!
Here's the work-in-progress. Yes, that fabric is SOFT!


Here's the back. This was the not-so-simple part. You can kind of see the velcro flap that I had to create so I could get it on and off the chair. 

My goal for today is to get this finished. We've had a lot of rain, so it's perfect weather to stay inside and sew!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Birth Day Cake...quilt

I just finished up a gift for my friend's new baby. I'm not much of a quilter - I maybe make one quilt a year. But when little Bo was born, I knew that he needed a quilt. I made his parents a quilt when they got married - it was the second quilt I ever made!

I looked around and decided on Elizabeth Hartman's Birthday Cake quilt. Her website is down, so I don't have the link...

But here's the finished quilt!

His mom and I looked at a lot of fabric online and decided on these. It's very wilderness! I made some pattern modifications: (1) I used yardage rather than fat quarters...only because that's all I could buy - so I used four brown and four blue (rather than five), (2) I made it (almost) crib sized - so it's 36" x 56" - there are fewer blocks, 3) I placed the blocks in a pattern, and (4) because of that, I had to cut a specific number of blocks out of each piece of fabric. 

I also had quite a bit left over, so I pieced the back.

The white fabric on the bottom is one yard of some extra fabric that I bought. It looked better on the back. I quilted it myself, so I really had to work to get the back even...and it was! I know a pieced back is a longarmer's worst nightmare!

I did a lot of straight stitching when I quilted it. I also used polyester batting - Warm and Bright. I learned that baby quilts take a lot of beating, so poly batting holds up better. I was worried about the draping, but after I washed it, it wasn't so stiff. 

Here's my assessment of the pattern. I love the design and it was really easy to modify. I hate cutting and there's a lot of cutting - you make the blocks then cut them to the correct size; this makes for an even quilt...but...cutting...ick.

Overall, I have to say that I enjoy baby quilts...they are small, easy to put together, and manageable to quilt! Plus, it's such fun fabric, who could resist!?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Teacher Gift Idea

The school year is winding down and it's time to think about teacher gifts. I'm a teacher...of sorts...I teach college. So my idea of a gift is a thank-you note from a student! But many of you are trying to come up with something to give a teacher for all of his/her work over the year. So here's some advice...don't give candy and/or cookies. We can't eat that much junk food. Smelly soaps are nice, but people like different scents and dislike others. A gift certificate for a nice restaurant would be great...or one for Target...or Staples...or something like that is much more useful. I'm partial to this Loopy Lanyard and I find that teachers love them! I know that I love mine - OK, I look like a college freshman wearing my keys, but I don't lose them!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Plush Pouf

I've seen poufs (floor cushions) popping up everywhere! Want to make one? I designed a pattern several years ago, then rewrote it for Shannon Fabrics (June 2013) - and made it out of their Cuddle fabric. It's about 17" tall with a 28" diameter and is filled with polystyrene beads.

What makes this pouf special? I created an inner pouf with a zippered closure so you can refill it with beads when it deflates a bit (which it will). And the outer pouf is more like a slip cover that you can change whenever you want!

I've written about it - part one, part two, and smaller foot stool

Here's my friend's cat on the smaller foot stool. I made this for her - her birthday is Flag Day!
And here's a smaller foot stool that is on my porch.

There are three zippers (one on the inner pouf and two on the outer pouf), so you need to be comfortable with sewing zippers. But they are worth every second it takes to make! BTW, I used some bean bag beans from Fairfield World. The smaller the diameter of the bead, the less they compress, so don't skimp.

Have fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I LOVE Sports Purses!

If you love sports, I've designed the perfect purse for you! 

These are about 8" x 2" and include two zippered pockets (one inside and one outside). I used my zippered gusset technique to make it easier to assemble. There are no raw edges! YAY! 

To make these, you'll need to know how to (1) insert an exposed zippered pocket, (2) make and sew double fold bias tape, and (3) make and sew a zippered gusset.

If you'd like to purchase the patterns, just head on over to my Crafsty store!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finally! Summer (for me)!

I turned my grades in and have begun my summer! What this means is that I work from home (at my convenience) and have time to sew and work on my house. Yesterday I started scraping old paint and carpet glue off the cement on my screened in porch. My back is killing me, and I only got about 5 sq. ft removed, but it's better than it was on Saturday. Today I mow the lawn and write a few letters of recommendation. And recuperate from grading and celebrating the graduation of my students.

My roles at work (Mansfield University of PA) have really evolved - and will be my priority this summer. I'll still be sewing and trying to get patterns published, but my main goal is to actively recruit more students to study communication at Mansfield University. We might be a small university, but what my colleagues and I offer is a lot of individual attention...and a lot of tough love! I run my department's social media platforms  - Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - and work with the university's social media team. It's fun and I get to be creative.

So here's a little taste of my life at work (that's me in the green jacket...wrapped up in a scarf...yes, it gets cold in northern PA!):

I won't stop blogging -  because I love to share what I'm doing - but I won't be able to keep up with it like I have in the past. I do have several projects that I've been working on...since last summer! Yikes! They all involve a zipper technique that I developed (I think?!)!

In the meantime, though, it's time to get mowing!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fabric Deer Head: The Mount

I finally had some time to work on the mount for my friend's fabric deer head. My brother was visiting so I took advantage of his wood working skills.

First thing I did was find a shield shape. I used the elegant design from this website. I enlarged it in Publisher, but you could do the same thing with a copy machine. We decided on 14" tall and 12" wide. I had to tile it to print it - four pieces of paper that I taped together. 

We went to Home Depot and, rather than buy a big piece of wood, I purchased a round table top for around $7. This is simply a bunch of pine boards glued together. Here's a tip...look at several and go for the one that has the most long strips of wood and the fewest knots; avoid the ones that have lots of end pieces. Why? It's easier to cut!


Here we are testing out the size. Looks great!

Here's our table top with the shield design on top. We used some temporary adhesive to glue it in place. BTW, play around with placement. I lined up the top and bottom points with the glued joint in the wood so it was even.

My brother cut it out and sanded all the edges. I drilled two sets of holes. The top set are for the wire that's stuffed into the softie. The bottom two are for embroidery floss that I'll sew to the bottom part of the deer head to stabilize it.

Next up...paint. I chose turquoise - it stands out and matches the nursery.

Once I sprayed a few coats of paint, I hammered a sawtooth picture hanger to the back/top.

I had to use pliers to bend the wire back once I got it through the holes. To hold the head in place, I threaded embroidery floss through the bottom hole, through the deer, and back through the other hole. I threaded the excess thread through a big button and tied it off. 

It looks so cute it Bo's room!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Fabric Deer Head!

Ok, before I start I need to be clear. I like my animals alive. I'm not into adorning my walls with deer heads and other animal parts. BUT...my friend and her hubby are. They are anglers and hunters, so when their baby was born, it's no surprise that they decorated his room with a "lodge" theme. 

My friend shared her Pinterest board and it gave me some ideas. Then I found this super cute fabric deer head by Charming Doodle. 

I pretty much followed the pattern, which is unusual for me...especially with a free pattern. But it's a goodie. I only made one change....and it's because I HATE PATTERN PIECES! Hate them. I think it's why I don't make clothes. Yuck. So rather than use pattern pieces to cut this out, I traced the designs on to a sheerweight fusible. 
I cut the pieces out a little larger than the design, then fused them on the back of my brown denim. Oh, and I didn't use felt for the ears - instead, I used double-sided fusible and fused the brown fabric to the antler fabric. Felt would work but I didn't have any!
Here they are all cut out and ready to go! I followed the directions and finished it up. 
You have to be a little patient to stuff it...the antlers are a bit of a pain - so just stuff little bits at a time.  
I plan on attaching this to an oval plaque (once I get it painted). The final size is about 22". I love it and can't wait to see it in little Bo's room!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Summer Squares Quilt

I am the youngest of five - and all five of us possess a variety of creative talents. It's a direct result of having parents who were excellent problem solvers and skilled designers. I thought I'd share a little bit of what my sibling can do! So today's quilt is a hand-quilted beauty that my sister made.

This quilt is called Summer Squares and appeared in a quilt book that I won at a Quilts of Valor event. 

This quilt is appliqued and pieced - and hand-quilted. It's beautiful - I love vintage feel of the colors and style!

And what's even more amazing is that my sister is new to quilting! She's an accomplished sewer who makes all sorts of things (slipcovers, curtains, clothing...) - much like my mother, so it's no surprise that a few years ago she started quilting. One of her treasures is a quilt that my mom started but never finished. 

It's wonderful to be a part of a family who inspire and motivate one another!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hip Klip Pocket Accessory Pattern

I’ve partnered with the ladies at Hip Klips to bring you the Hip Klip Pocket Accessory pattern! This is JUST the pattern. Klips sold separately—please visit their website for information on purchasing Hip Klips: http://hipklips.com/store/

This is a FAST project - once you figure out the folding and attaching (to the zippers), you'll be done in no time (like under an hour).

There are two lined zippered pockets (front) and a slip pocket (back). It's perfect for when you want to go hands-free!

I designed this pattern to replicate the LARGE Hip Klip Pocket Accessory. I first used caribiners, but FELL IN LOVE with the Hip Klips - genious...they clip right to a waistband!

You can get the pattern in my Craftsy Pattern Shop 
and you can purchase Hip Klips from the Hip Klip Store.
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