Monday, November 28, 2011

Some Thanksgiving sewing

Now that Hans and I have been displaced we were very thankful (no pun necessarily intended) to be invited for Thanksgiving dinner at the home of a former college friend of Hans' from some 30 years back and whom he hasn't seen in, well, nearly 30 years! Thirty years!!! It would appear we're getting to be pretty darned old wouldn't it?

We were informed that we didn't need to bring anything so I decided to make a couple of holiday pot holders and take along a bottle of wine and a pumpkin pie.

I have a pot holder tutorial but I decided that it might be a bit too big so I just decreased my pattern by an inch over all. Not such a big deal but I like it a little bit better. For added protection I also added Insul-brite to the pocket side.
I chose a snowman theme as it can be used all winter long unlike Santa and Christmas trees etc..

Hmm, Wilbur knows something's up and it's most likely not good.

And he was right. He stayed home Thanksgiving Day while we were out having a high old time.

But don't worry about the little man, he had many cushions to lie his tender pitty body on while we were gone.

I also made a couple of fabric covered buttons for decoration.

At the last minute I thought maybe I should make a wine bag and dug up this wine themed fabric and ripped that zipper out of a previously made garment and reused it for this project.

Here it is all zipped up.

And now with the top turned down. I also used a slice of wine cork threaded through a key chain jump ring for a zipper pull.

Actually, it was a bit amateurish and if I sew one again it will look a lot better, but it was kind of fun to make.

I'm now trying to come up with some fun (and cheap) Christmas decorating ideas for our slip here in the marina. And I need cheap since most anything I do will probably be vandalized and tossed into the water anyway.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Some 'friendly' sewing.

So today I actually loaded up my sewing machine, too many supplies, and my best company manners (or as good as my manners can be anyway) and headed off to Carolyn's house. I became acquainted with Carolyn through my blog, and shortly after Hans and I arrived here in Florida she and her husband graciously invited us to watch some boat races on the beautiful beaches of Clearwater. Ever since then we've kept in touch via email and today we were able to get together at her home for some sewing.

Carolyn had an idea for a very simple sewing project and I envisioned us sewing up a storm and churning out dozens of these little earbud cases. In fact I was positive we'd probably have to dig ourselves out from under of a mountain of these little buggers, not unlike toddlers who bury themselves in plastic ball bins at those obnoxiously noisy kiddie restaurants.

The reality?

Not so much.

I swear, you'd think neither of us had ever sewn a stitch in our lives. When I unpacked my gear I nearly didn't retrieve my seam ripper since I was smug in the fact that I was not going to need it but, I hadn't sewn more than a few stitches when out it came.

More than once, and in fact several times.

Halfway through the afternoon Carolyn triumphantly read one of the last steps out loud, "Since this piece is so small and simple you probably won't need to use pins, just place your pieces together and sew." She seemed very relieved at this news.

I grimly looked up yet once again from the crooked and frayed mess that I'd just yanked out from under my presser foot and stated, "You might want to use those pins anyway."

And that pretty much sums up our day.

So without further ado (drum roll please!!!) I present to you the results of two and a half hours of sewing!!!!!!!

Ta Da!!!!!!!!!!!!

The front.

The back.

Isn't it fabulous?

Here it is with my hot pink IPod.

Yessiree, I'm pretty sure this little baby would easily command about a $50.00 price tag for all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into it.

But then again it probably wouldn't.

I don't think anyone needs to worry about me being kidnapped and sent to China to work in a sweatshop anytime soon.

BTW, Carolyn does not have a blog but she really should!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

While the cat's away...

... (meaning Hans) the mice (meaning me and Wilbur) will play (and end up making a huge mess).

Hans was away on business for a few days and I took full advantage by never putting my sewing stuff away. Normally I'll get as much sewing done during the day that I can and then put everything away before Hans gets home in the evening. We only have a tiny table that we have to share (imagine dinner in addition to two computers!) and then there's the ironing board, and all my supplies etc... add to that mix, a pitty whom I seem to constantly be sidestepping or trying to shove aside on the settee so that I can have my own personal tiny space, and you can see why Wilbur and I turned into absolute pigs while Hans was away.

This is actually appears to be pretty neat.

No spools of thread, scissors, snippers, bobbins, fabric scraps...

Only that pesky little pitty.

My galley area taken over by a box of notions.

I doubt if Columbus ever envisioned a future navigation station being hampered with an iron and ironing board.

Just below the ironing board is a bin full of dog food and on top of that; two baskets full of scissors, thread, and notions.

I'm finding the need to keep my brain occupied these days, so this morning I whipped up this little lunch bag.

I take Wilbur to the dog park quite frequently and I've met a ton of really nice people there. One of them is Michelle and she has the sweetest bull dog-pit bull mix (who wiggles like a worm and plays kissy face with every dog that enters the park). Michelle recently lost her office job and is making ends meet by cleaning houses.

Aha! Back when I was cleaning houses I chanced onto this Linda Spivey wash day fabric and made myself a work bag. When we moved onto the boat I brought the left over scraps and dug them out last night.

It looks like a simple bag here.

But emerging from its inside is this insert.

These black ties are for reference only. I ended up stopping at the fabric store on my way to the dog park and found a perfect creamy yellow shade of cording but forgot to take a picture of the end result.

A view from the top but imagine it without those black ties.

Oh, I forgot. The plaid material came from a fabulous woven Indian fabric I lucked onto at the Good Will a few years ago (for a couple of bucks) I still have tons of it left but I was very happy when I realized it worked so well with the wash day fabric.

This is Wilbur, after a wild day of sewing (check out the paw beneath his jowls).

His motto may be, 'Party On Dude!' but he's really just an innocent baby at heart.

I let him have his dreams.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A very fashionable diaper bag is finished.

At least I hope it's fashionable but since it's been 20 plus years since I've carried one of these buggers I could be way off base.

Anyway, I posted a few days ago that Hans' cousin is expecting her first baby and I wanted to make a diaper bag for her. After spending too many hours scouring the internet in an effort to find the ultimate diaper bag to mimic, I finally settled on my own idea. I started with Nicolle Mallalieu's Beach Bag Pattern and just went from there.

This is the front of the bag in its fully expanded mode.

The flowered overlay is a roomy outside pocket.

In its expanded mode this bag is very roomy and can hold a lot of baby stuff.

This is the front of the bag with the sides cinched in. It's still pretty roomy but perhaps a bit more stylish.

The back of the cinched in bag with a secure zippered pocket.

And now the back in its fully expanded mode.

So how does one cinch in the sides of this bag?

Sorry, but this is one very crappy picture.

In short, it consists of two 3 inch tabs stitched to the inside of the side seams of the bag. Velcro is then attached to the top of one tab and the bottom of the other.

They connect midstream and pull the sides of the bag inward!

The inside of the bag.

At the top is the facing with a magnetic snap in the middle of it.

The flowered fabric is the lining.

The striped fabric is a patch pocket with a Velcro closure.

This is mirrored on the other side of the interior.

And now the outside zippered pocket. I've installed tons of these over the years but for some reason this one gave me fits.

It was the batting I used for structure on the main bag that caused an issue. It was just a bit too thick and made for sloppy corners.

If I were to do this again, I'd trim the batting away from the zipper area long before hitting it with my hissing steam iron.

The bottom is a chocolate vinyl and is what had me concerned the most, and I was prepared to forgo this step if I didn't feel it was going to work. I ended up being very happy with the results and as far as I'm concerned this bag is finished!

I sincerely hope that Susie likes it!

And on a sad note, Nicolle has made the decision to end her online store by the end of 2011. This just makes me sick as she is the absolute guru of purse patterns and if it weren't for her I would have quit making purses a long time ago. I can see that I'm going to have to treat myself to a few last minute Christmas gifts and pick up a few things that I may never be able to find again!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quickie wallet update

Here is a small update to the wallet that I posted about yesterday. You can see where paper money can be kept behind the change pocket.
Here you can see a couple of quarters sticking up out of the change pocket, and below that are two credit card slots. You can always stick an extra card or two in there if you want.

And now the outside with a proper button.

Last but not least is Wilbur.

As soon as I got up, he stole my warm spot.

Tonight we're actually supposed to experience temperatures in the upper 40's believe it or not.

Well excuse me! I thought I was living in sunny Florida! Hans has some explaining to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A small stab at sewing

I managed (despite very limited space aboard our boat) to cut out my diaper bag. But sewing it is a whole different matter since I have to put absolutely everything away in order to do little things like cook dinner, and fishing it all out again is just not fun.

So I decided to use some left over scraps to make a small matching wallet.

Please ignore the huge button. It's a total fake and used only as a guide, and anyway I ended up buying a much more suitable one after I took these pictures. I'll update tomorrow.

The front (remember, please ignore the button).

I'm not a huge fan of Velcro, but when you're in line at the store and in a hurry, it works better than trying to line up snaps.

The top part of the wallet is where you keep your change (Velcro once again! but I promise it's secure), and that very same change pocket has space behind it to hold bills.

I guess I'll have to add a demo to tomorrows update.

The lower part is for credit cards.

I guess there'll be yet another update.

Apparently I'm not very prepared.

The unfolded outside (ignore that damn button!).

And the back.

This is really a quick little wallet that took way too long to make as I only had one small remaining scrap of fabric left over and I didn't want to make a stupid mistake and have to buy more.

I apologize for no parting pic of Wilbur (but no worries there, I have plenty to choose from and will include that tomorrow also)!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A fashionable diaper bag

We recently found out that Hans' cousin is expecting her first baby in January. This is pretty exciting since Hans is the oldest first cousin, and Susie is the youngest. I told Hans I want to make something and I decided on a diaper bag. I'm going to use Nicole Mallalieu's beach bag and then build on it from there.
The tough part was picking out the fabric. I originally found some really sweet co-ordinating fabric that consisted of #1: a minty solid, #2: a chocolaty background with cute faux feather stitched hearts, and #3: a bamboo kind of striped print with mint, chocolate, and butter yellow stripes. But I didn't want to buy it on impulse and held off.
I then asked some ladies at Wilbur's dog park what they thought. One of the women is a pediatric nurse and she said that from what she's seen lately, diaper bags no longer look like the diaper bags we used to carry and are more designer like.
I looked on line and found a ton of ready made designer diaper bags (all at the tune of around $170) and decided that I would keep the beach bag pattern but would need to come up with a new fabric combo.

Today I woke up and said to myself, 'This is it, go buy the damn fabric and be done with it', and since I try not to argue with myself too often, I did.

So this is what I came up with.
The small print at the right will make up the body of the bag.
The large flower print will be the outside pockets.
And the striped fabric will be handles and maybe a couple of inside pockets. It just depends on how far I can stretch it.

Here's another view.

Tomorrow I hope to at least start cutting it out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Still afloat and trying to sew

I must be the laziest person on the face of the earth. That's the only excuse I have for not posting in so long. Anyway, we're still living aboard our boat here in Florida and now that our air conditioner isn't battling 90 something temps I've managed to do a bit of sewing.

A long time ago I printed some nautical charts onto fabric and these prints actually made the trek from PA to FL with us. And as I've been itching to sew I didn't think I really needed to buy 'new' when I should be using up 'old'.

On the spur of the moment I grabbed my Nicole Mallalieu Belle Bag Pattern and came up with this.

It's actually pretty cute and one of the charts I used was of Tangier Island in Virginia (if you've never been there, you're missing out on a good time, but BYOB since alcohol isn't sold there).

Here's a side view. The solid fabric is a brushed denim of some sort that my mother gave me out of her ancient stash a couple of years ago.

I learned a valuable lesson though.

I purposely decided to use Velcro instead of a magnetic snap on the inner tabs that pull this purse 'inward', and that worked out fine, BUT, since I've made this bag many times before and didn't bother to re-read the directions, I totally forgot about the snap that needs to be installed in the facing.
Too late.
So I thought, oh what the heck, just use another piece of Velcro.

Word of advice. Don't do it.

Using Velcro on the tabs appears to be okay, but unfortunately, Velcro in the facing of this bag won't hold any kind of weight. Really. I'm just thankful I wasn't making this for someone other than myself or I might not have figured this out.

What I'm saying is, don't use anything other than a magnetic snap on the facing.

Now that we no longer feel like we're living in a pressure cooker, we actually use some light blankets in the evening.

Whose legs do you suppose are peeking out from underneath this blanket?

Well, they're certainly not mine!

We're settling into a nice routine here in our marina and enjoying life on our boat. I'm now able to ride my bike one mile in order to get to the Gulf so I can then get in an hour walk along the shore. This is a hell of a lot better than fighting snow and living daily with dreary gray skies, and yesterday we finally broke free from our dock lines and went out in the bay for a sail.

And even though someone stole my newly purchased potted plants and tossed my cheerful Halloween pumpkins into the marina, I still plan on decorating our dock box for Thanksgiving.