Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Craft Room

Sewing Craft Room
We recently moved my sewing and crocheting materials to a spare bedroom in our home. These two photos are of my crafting area in that room. The other side, not pictures, is where my husband has his computer table.

We purchased the cool cubby shelving at Target along with the fabric cubes. I used the bottom of the fabric cubes as a way of folding my fabric to fit into the cubbies in the closet. You can't see it in the picture, but I have more cubes that hold all my yarn in the closet.

We added the white wire shelving previously. But it works well for storing the larger bits of fabric that are to bulky to fold into the cubbies. To the left in the closet I use the clothes hanger bars to hang the fabric I just washed but haven't be able to iron and fold into the cubbies yet. It works pretty well.

Sewing Craft RoomWe purchased the wall shelves and magazine holders from IKEA (love that store). The taller white table was purchased from Sam's Club. It is adjustable. A friend of mine mentioned that her cutting table was more at the height that a kitchen counter is so that it is easier on your back while cutting fabric. I couldn't agree more now that I have a surface at that height. I plan on making all my work tables in my clay studio that height as well.

My sewing table and computer table were also purchased from Sam's, but I have wooden tables being finished by my wonderful husband that will be replacing them. Plastic tables build up quite the static electric charge and tend not to be good on electronics, EEEK! Also the table is pretty light, so when I am sewing something the is a little thick the sewing machine moves across the surface of the table. Not fun! I end up having to hold the machine while trying help the feed dogs move the material though the sewing machine.

I love my cork board too. I have all my projects pinned to it so I can look at the steps, but it is off my table surface. I don't have to keep moving it out of the way :)

The chair in the corner is where my husband and I rest and do stuff while the other is working in the room. I often sit here while crocheting, since I don't need a table necessarily to crochet. It works out well, since we can be in the same area and feel like we are having together time while still doing our own thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Crib Quilt

My First Machine Quilt
I finished my first quilt. Yeah! We had a surprise baby shower for my division head. I wanted to make something instead of purchasing, so I decided to make a quilt. This also allowed me to test drive making a smaller quilt before I made full sized ones for my nieces.

Quilt Planning on Graph PaperAnyhow, I used Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" Easy Lap Quilt pattern on page 86 in the book. The quilt is made up of Quilters Flannel material. I took the time to plan out the placement of the patterns on graph paper (picture later) before I started to sew. This worked out really well since I don't have much floor or table space in my sewing room to layout the quilt pieces all at once.

I used my rotary cutter, t-square and cutting mat to try and get all the pieces as squared as possible. (Don't even get me started on WHY I never owned a rotary cutter before this year...) It seemed to work well, until I started actually sewing the long strips (rows) for the quilt. The ends didn't match up. I will have to be more careful when I do the larger quilts. I will probably use a cardboard template for the pieces instead.

Another sticky point for me was sewing the backer fabric. I tried to baste the layers together using safety pins, but the backer fabric still slipped a little when I machine quilted the layers together. I recently purchased some curved "basting" pins; maybe these will work better.

I think the quilting turned out well for the first time. I used a decorative stitch along side a straight stitch to get long running lines across the quilt. Every 6th row I just did straight stitches.



My inspiration came from a bed cover I purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (I know, purchased, but I wasn't sewing much at the time and I have a king sized bed. Not something I was willing to attempt at the time ;)

The final hurdle was the edging. I either didn't cut the edging wide enough or I sewed it on wrong. It still looks good, but next time, I think I will make it slightly larger just in case.

P.S. The stuffed toy is for size, my husband won it for me at an amusement park ;)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Its been a while...

Okay, so I haven't kept up with my blogging. But I have been good about finishing some projects.

Fleece Baby Blanket

Baby Blanket
I have a new nephew as of Saturday. I made a fleece blanket with crocheted edging for him. Hopefully it won't seem too "girly" for him. Purple was the only non-girl color of fleece I had laying around :)

Purse for Mom

Mother's Day has come and gone. I unfortunately was not on the ball to get my mother her gift on the actual day, but I did call. I am hoping to get the purse I made out to her sometime this week in the mail. I purchased some books for her too. She is a huge history buff. The purse was crocheted using Paton's Classic Merino yarn. This is my first attempt at felting and needle felting. I washed the crocheted piece only once in hot water with a pair of jeans in Tide with Bleach detergent. I had to block the felted fabric after washing in order to square it off again; the sides dipped in. The silver buttons were something I had saved from a blanket cover several years back. The liner fabric is a beautiful black, gray and white Asian designs on satin.

Grocery Bag

Reduce, Reuse
This was my prototype for a reusable grocery bag. My husband and I want to stop using the plastic ones. It is a little small and hard to load with stuff, so I am going to have to go back to the drawing board. I purchased a reusable bag from Wegman's and will try to replicate it. It has nice metal rings in the top of it so the checkout person can place the fabric bag easily on the rack where they already have the plastic ones.

Pointy Kitty

Pointy Kitty
Wee Wonderfuls has a great kitty softie pattern for free download. This kitty is my second attempt at the pattern. I increased the size of the pattern by 25% on my computer before printing it out. I am a beginner sewer, so it made constructing the kitty a lot easier for me. This kitty is for my niece. I am making another one for my other niece. Hopefully that will get done before I venture back to Illinois for my parents' 60th birthday party.

Monday, April 9, 2007

What a Weekend!

It started on Friday. I was cleaning up the garage of old furniture and taking it to a local charity drop off point. Cleaning the van for our trip to Pittsburgh's IKEA to get some stuff for the new hobby room where I plan to do my needle craft and sewing projects. Everything started great, got the cleaning tasks done. Got the cats to the vet for their shots. I even was able to slip in a few loads of laundry and get my current sewing room tidy for the move to the new room.

Justin returned home from California on Friday evening. We had a nice relaxing dinner. We went to bed early so we could get up and eat breakfast before hitting the road to Pittsburgh.

Saturday morning the forecast was for flurries, yes it is April, but nothing to be concerned about. We made it to Johnstown and picked up some friends that were going with us to IKEA. The trip to Pittsburgh was uneventful. We arrived at IKEA around 11 AM. After about two hours of wondering through the displays, I was ready to sit down with my graph paper floor plan to decide what I needed to purchase.

BTW, I love IKEA. Their ideas about storage and making very utilitarian furniture is awesome. I also like that the furniture has a contemporary flare to it as well. When I remodel my kitchen in the near future, I will be seriously considering using the kitchen designs from there. They had new displays that were geared toward commercial applications, like a dress shop. It got me thinking about my indoor booth design for the craft shows I eventually want to participate in.

Back to our day at IKEA, we were sitting down in the cafeteria to have a little snack and drink so I could overlook the floor plan. We were looking out the windows across the parking lot and noticed that the snow was getting a little steadier. It almost looked like it does when it is gearing up for white out conditions. I didn't really think anything of the snow since the after checking the forecast again, it was still stating that there would not be much accumulation.

We trudged on with our snack and making our decisions. After we loaded up our stuff and moved though the checkout, we went to a guitar store with our friends from Johnstown. I don't think I have ever seen so many guitars in one place before. By this time, it was just flurries still. We decide to have dinner at El Campesino in Monroeville. Excellent Mexican food; great margaritas. By the time we exited dinner the weather still seemed okay. We then tried to go to another guitar store, but it was closed for the day.

We start to head out of Pittsburgh on Route 22 and the snow starts to get worse. To top it off there is construction all along the way. By the time we hit Johnstown to drop off our friends, it was not looking good. There was just enough snow on the ground to make it slippery. The flurries had picked up and started to make vision difficult. That on top of it being dark, the time was about 9:30ish - two hours of driving from Pittsburgh, made for a bad situation. Johnstown is also notorious for having bad winter conditions even if other areas in central Pennsylvania are fine.

Our friends graciously offered their spare bedroom. We accepted. We were glad to not have to drive more that evening. We returned Sunday morning to our home. Well rested and safe. I found out this morning from a co-worker that there was squalls all across central Pennsylvania on Saturday that were dropping 1-3 inches of snow in a short amount of time. I will be glad when the snow is done.

Sunday, Justin and I spent part of the day putting together our new furniture and placing in our new light above our pool table. We remeasured the room and are going to do some planning in Google Sketchup. We will be continuing to add some storage items and move around stuff in our house to clear up some clutter.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Odds -n- Ends

Did you know that marshmallows expand when placed in a vacuum? I did an experiment on those lovely Easter favorites Peeps. You know, the colored sugar covered marshmallow treats in the shape of chicks and rabbits.

We just returned from Knoxville, Tennessee where we met up with some of our friends to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We had a wonderful, though muggy, walk to a waterfall. Justin and I also visited an airplane museum in the area. I have some great shots of the museum over on Flickr.

Project Update
I was able to start on the fleece blanket for my newest nephew. I have it sewn together and about three rows of crochet stitches on the edge. Now I just need to sit my bottom down and finish it.

I also have all the pieces cut out for Pointy Kitty from WeeWonderfuls. I found this great old sheet at my local Goodwill that I am going to transform into Kitties as well. I also took the pattern and enlarged it since I am a beginner at softies and had a difficult time with sewing up the first Pointy Kitty. Those darn feet and tail were a pain to push out :) I posted some pics on Flickr of my progress.

Well with all the traveling, I haven't had the time or energy to get moving on my pottery studio. I am still waiting to hear back from my kiln manufacturer about the proper way to disassemble my kiln in order to get it through my basement door. Then it will be on to making some shelving for the kiln room. After that it will be deciding whether or not to do something with the throwing room floor since my attempt at painting the concrete didn't work out as well as expected.

I am contemplating putting recycled rubber flooring down. But it may end up that I put down ceramic tile in the room like I did in the kiln room, but we will see.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Who Ordered Snow!

Shopping Carts
I just thought I would share with you all the lovely snow storm we are being pummeled by right now. Shortly after shoveling my driveway, AGAIN, it was already covered with about 1/4 inch of snow. We are expected to get between 6-12 inches of snow. I shouldn't complain to much though. I know that New York and other states north of me are getting hit even harder.

So, I thought I would share some pictures of the pretty white stuff...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Recent Projects

As promised, I photographed my first Project Linus blanket. This was made using the 'No Sew Fleece' pattern on the Project Linus site. My husband Justin picked out the fabric. I think the choice was heavily influenced by the fact that he loves planes. He is currently studying to get his license and is very excited about it. But I digress...

Here is a picture of my sewing space. It is currently under renovations, so its a bit disorganized. As you can see I am still not finished with ironing my backing fabric for the next round of blankets. I am hoping to do some applique, mainly cartoon characters I have sketched, for two of the blankets. Some of the others I have the fabric for are going to be a little more 'artsy.' I do these sketches that look like Asian language characters that I want to incorporate as applique on one of the blankets. But I figured I would get my feet wet by doing the cartoons first.

Crochet with Beads

I recently started to crochet with beads making some beginner jewelry items. I used the pattern from the March 2007 issue of Crochet! called Crocheted & Braided Necklace by Jackie Guerra, Sterling Publishing CO., Inc. 2006. It was actually really fun. If only I could figure out how to keep my cats from trying to play with the wire while I am moving the beads into place for the chain stitch. I have ventured a little further into beading, but only some rudimentary stuff. I am not completely happy with the ends and finishing it up with the claps at the end.

I LOVE Hello Kitty!

Well, maybe not love, but she is adorable. Justin purchased a Hello Kitty! hat for me two years ago. I loved wearing it, even though I am in my thirties. But you are only as young as you feel, right! I mostly wore it on the really cold winter days when I was shoveling my two car wide and three car deep driveway. Don't even get me started on that topic... I like the original so much that I wanted to make a kitty like crochet hat. I found this pattern in Lion Brand Just Hats. It is the pattern where you crochet a rectangle and then sew up the first and last rows together and then one of the other ends. The final step is making the ears. You just stitch across one of the corners made by sewing the top edge together and presto-chango you have ears. I added the bow by crocheting another small rectangle and then wrapping the yarn around the middle. The yarn I used was Lion Brand Homespun Baby Powder Blue. I also used Sensations Margherita, the fuzzy blue and green yarns, and Sensations Petalo, the fuzzy pink and yellow yarns.

More projects to come....

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Project Linus

I have temporarily laid down my crocheting hooks to make some blankets for Project Linus. On a rare occasion that I was watching the evening news a news brief featuring the Project Linus organization was highlighted. Now, I know, you all are thinking that there are a lot of charities out there that crafters can make things for, but this particular charity donates blankets to kids newborn to eighteen that are in the hospital. They are not necessarily terminally ill children. Just kids that are sick.

Having spent some time in the hospital as a kid, I though that this was a great idea. I remember feeling so much better when my relatives would stop in with a coloring book. My parents were keen on bringing me stuffed animals. The items made the cold, stark, unfriendly hospital room feel a little bit more like home.

So I thought, hey, I can make a blanket. I crochet, a little, at least. Though the thought of making a blanket in crochet was a bit daunting. (I just started to crochet last September.) So, I went to the Project Linus site and low and behold they have a pattern for a 'no sew' fleece blanket. Yeah!

I immediately went out and purchased some printed fleece. Oh, and one of those cool roller cutters. Within 3 hours I had my first blanket. My husband even helped pick out the fabric! (He's been really supportive of all my craft endeavors, by the way.)

I have continued my blanket-making quest and purchased some more fabric. I spent most of my Sunday afternoon pre-washing and ironing the fabric. Last night I made some sketches of how I want to organize the fabric. I will post some pictures of my progress soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Getting on the blog band wagon

I hope that this can be a spot to post my artistic endeavors. Maybe I can provide some inspiration for fellow artists like the wonderful community of artistic bloggers I have encountered over the last couple of months.