Making a Stuffed Germ!

Some of you may recall that my son and I worked together on Perry the Paramecium over two years ago!  This was a fun project that basically involved him telling me what he wanted and me making it.  Now that he is older, he is a lot more involved in the collaborative process.

Last week I gave him a pile of fabric and told him to think about what he wanted to make with it.  The next day he showed me the pattern he created for a a stuffed germ that he dubbed “Blanketitis” (since it was made with blanket material, get it?).

Pattern for Stuffed Germ
Pattern for Stuffed Germ

This was another fun and easy softie to make.  I did the sewing, he did the stuffing and made all the creative decisions.  He wants to make a whole line of stuffed germs, so we’ll have to see what he comes up with next!

Stuffed Germ - Blanketitis
Stuffed Germ – Blanketitis

Keep it thimble.

Still Here!

It’s been awhile, but I haven’t forgotten about you!  Hopefully, I can get back to a more regular posting schedule.  I am doing plenty of projects, just haven’t had the time to show them off.

IMG_0774

This is a little pin cushion and a needle case made from selvages.  I must admit,this is kind of addicting and the possibilities are endless once you have the basic selvage blocks completed.  The needle case pattern from a book called Save the Selvages.  The book contains all kinds of small projects you can make in just  few hours.

IMG_0775

Here’s a pattern for what the book called a tea bag holder, but I used it for a wallet and check book cover.

Start saving your selvages and see what you can make!  Keep it Thimble!

 

Drop and Give Me 20!

Drop and Give me 20!

Quilting Hottie Haven is hosting a fun event on her blog called “Drop and Give Me 20!

Dagmtfixed

The goal is to quilt for at least 20 minutes a day in the month of February. I am pleased to announce I will be joining her and her merry band in this commitment and hereby post my official statement:

I, Heather Chandler, who is drowning in UFOs am joining Quilting Hottie Haven’s second annual DaGMT event, and pledge to quilt for 20 minutes every day of the month of February, 2013. In doing so I hope to clear out my sewing room so I can start another round of unfinished projects. I also want to thank Beth Helfter (THE Quilting Hottie) for coming up with this brilliant concept and inspiring me to join.

I’ve already put together a list of what I hope to finish. It is very ambitious, but if I complete at least four things on this list, I will consider it a HUGE success. I will tyr to post regular progress reports each week.  In no particular order, the projects are:

*Note that this has been a UFO since Jan 2011!

If you’re interested in joining us, head over to Quilting Hottie Haven’s blog for more information. She has some fabulous giveaways!

Keep it thimble!

Wool Duck Ornament by Jen

My friend Jen just sent me photos of this adorable duck ornament she made for her child’s teacher.

Wool Duck Ornament by Jen
Wool Duck Ornament by Jen

I asked Jen to tell me about her process:

“Sure!  I made it from this pattern http://noseynest.blogspot.com/2008/06/lucky-ducky-freebie.html but I turned it inside out to hide the seams.  I like the look of hidden seams better, but it made his head so small!  Wasn’t thinking about that when I changed it though.  It’s just on regular wool felt, and before sewing it together I used embroidery thread to stitch on the decorative stitches.

Detail of Wing on Wool Duck Ornament
Detail of Wing on Wool Duck Ornament

I used a straight stitch for the downy body, fly stitches for the feathers on the wings, buttonhole stiches to outline the wings and  french knots, outline stich and backstitch for the beak.  Oh and fly stitch, laisy daisy and outline and french knot for the heart patch.

Detail on Wool Duck Ornament
Detail on Wool Duck Ornament

Then I turned it inside out, stitched it, and stuffed it.  It turned out a little wonky, to be honest, but I like the stitching effect and the cute little heart with holly berries. ”

Thanks for sharing, Jen! Keep it Thimble!

Before and After – Chair Pincushion

September is National Sewing Month.  Let the sewing begin!  I hope to get back on a more regular schedule with my posts.  Things are calming down to a dull roar around here, so I should be able to post more often.

Here’s a little before and after project I did this week.  What do you think?  I found this chair at the thrift store for 50 cents.  It seemed so sad sitting on the shelf, so I rescued it.

Pincushion Chair – Before

I painted it and made new cushions with the same fabric I used on my sewing machine cover.  I think it turned out pretty cute!  Now I just need to load it up with sewing notions.

Pincushion Chair – After!

Keep it Thimble!

 

A Little Inspiration….

Wow, the summer is almost gone and I still have so much I wanted to accomplish.   However, I had a great summer so I’m not complaining.  I promise to get back to more regular posts this fall.  Everyone deserves a summer break, don’t they?

In order to get inspired for writing up some new patterns and tutorials, I decided I needed a little inspiration.  The sewing room is looking a bit drab because I haven’t made the curtains yet (which will be in a very vintage and cheery looking Minnick and Simpson fabric).  So I decided to create a sewing machine cozy!

Sewing Machine Cozy

The tutorial is from Strawberry Patches and I figured this would be the best way to bring in a dash of cheer and inspiration to the room.  Once the cover was completed, it seemed like it was missing something, so I decided to applique my favorite sewing slogan on it – and voila! –  a constant and fun reminder of how to approach life.

For the applique, I used Steam a Seam 2, which is double-sided fusible web.  I cut out the letters, fused them on, and then did a basic zigzag stitch around the edges to hold them in place.   I love how it turned out!

Keep it Thimble!

A Tale of Three Professional Totes

June has been a busy month for me, so the blogging has taken a backseat to my real world job.  However, I have been busy sewing – which is great!  Regular readers will know how much I love the Professional Tote pattern by Creative Thimble.  I have made a lot of these totes and I truly consider it to be the perfect bag!

Professional Tote – California Girl Fabrics

My son finished school about two weeks ago and I wanted to make a special gift for his teachers.  The Professional Tote immediately came to mind.  I knew that one teacher liked green and the other blue, and that they seemed to favor more modern prints, which lead me to select fabrics from California Girl (designed by Fig Tree) and Ruby (designed by Bonnie and Camillle) for their bags.

Professional Tote – Ruby Fabrics

I loved the fabrics so much, I decided to make one for myself too.  Even though I have made this pattern a ton, I only have one professional tote that I use (for the beach).  and it would be nice to have one for work purposes.  The center zippered divider is the perfect size for carrying my iPad.

Professional Tote – Ruby Fabrics

Needless to say, while I did have all the supplies bought well in advance, I didn’t actually cut them out and sew them together until two days before.  However, the sewing goes pretty fast since I am so familiar with the pattern.  Of course, mine (the gray one) was put on hold until the following weekend so that I could get finish the ones for the teachers.  I took them in at lunch on the last day, and I could tell the teachers were thrilled with them – and that always feel good when people like your work!

What gifts have you made that really hit the mark?

Keep it Thimble!

Tutorial – A Triple Threat – Teacher Gift, Tissue Holder, Stashbuster

School will be out in 15 days (!), and it’s time to think about end of the year teacher gifts.    Teachers always appreciate a gift card, but it’s also nice to make them a little something just so the gift is more personal.  I was trying to think of something fun and easy, since my son has lots of teachers, and then I remembered the good old travel tissue holder!  You can tuck the gift card in the opening, tie a pretty bow around it, and it is the perfect teacher gift.

Tissue Covers

There are a lot of tutorials online on how to make these, so I figured it would be fun to share some of them with you and show you my finished results.  For mine, I used a tutorial posted at Melinda’s Quilts, ETC (http://melinful.blogspot.com/2010/01/travel-tissue-cover-tutorial.html).  The reason I liked this one is because it just uses two pieces of fabric (exterior and lining) and is sewn in a way that makes its own trim on the edges of the opening.  It literally took me 10 minutes to cut out the fabric and sew it together.

Press Seam Open

After sewing the tube, I used my point presser and centered the seam on the top part so that the seam could be pressed open (see above).

Pinked Raw Edges

In addition, the raw edges were cut with pinking shears to prevent them from raveling.  This gives nice finished edge and you don’t have to mess with bias tape.

Back of Tissue Holder – Fussy Cut

Lastly, on one of the covers I fussy cut the fabric so that the floral motif was centered on the back of the tissue holder.   Also, these are great stashbusters – you only need 2 scraps of fabric less than 8″ square for each one (and a packet of travel tissues from Target).

Here are some links to some other tutorials:

  1. Sew Much 2 Luv has a fun tutorial that uses 4 scraps of fabrics.
  2. The Distracted Domestic has a tutorial that is a variant on the method Sew Much 2 Luv uses – but it uses just one strip of fabric.
  3. Whimwham at Craftstylish posted a tutorial that shows you how to add some fancy machine embroidery on the front.  This is a great way to personalize the gift.
  4. Craftapalooza at Whipup discusses her LAB technique for making these.  She uses trim around the opening for a nice contrast.

What are your ideas for teacher gifts?  I’m always on the hunt for more fun and easy projects.

Keep it Thimble!

The Straight Stitch – Which Sewing Machine Should I Buy?

Dear Heather,

Please help! Sewing machines…I keep thinking about buying one. Any suggestions on a good beginner one? It’s hard to know where to start!

Signed,
On Pins and Needles

I know just the machine you want – the Bernette by Bernina. Check out www.mybernette.com for a full list of the machines in this line (and just for the record, I am not affiliated with Bernina in any way). For my first machine, I had the Bernette 55 – a very basic machine that had 15 or so stitches, a buttonholer, and the basic feet and accessories.

My First Professional Tote

I knew my Bernette was made of sturdy stuff when I was able to sew through 4 layers of fabric + 4 layers of interfacing + cotton webbing when I made my first Professional Tote! The Bernette is not made in Switzerland (I think it is manufactured in China), but Bernina selected it for their beginner’s line since it meets their quality standards.

The differences between the models comes down to how many stitch choices you have, how the buttonhole function works (automatic or manual), and if everything is computerized or manual (such as changing the stitch length, needle position, etc). The more expensive ones might have a few more features such as being able to drop the feeddogs (only important if you are going to do free motion quilting). They range in price from $249 – $799. Many times you can even find a special deal for the basic machine for $199.

I definitely feel it is better to spend about $250 on a Bernette instead of buying something at a large retail chain store. In my experience, the machines at these stores are not as sturdy, powerful, or smooth as the Bernette. The one thing about Bernette is that you have to buy one at an authorized Bernina dealer. You can check on their website to find a dealer near you. The nice thing about this is that the dealer will teach you the basics of using the machine (ie, how to thread it, wind the bobbin, change stitches, and use the buttonhole).

My Bernette is a work horse and I love sewing on it. I use this machine for my classes since it more portable than my “fancy” machine. It’s also good for children and I plan to let my son use it when he wants to learn how to use the machine :).

Keep it Thimble!

The Easter Bunny Came Early!

Last week, my husband discovered a nest of baby rabbits in our back yard!  They grow pretty quickly and recently were big enough to leave the nest.   It was hard to get a good picture of them since we didn’t want to disturb them.  The mama rabbit would come by in the evenings to check on and feed her two little bunnies.  They are so cute and we were sad to see them go, but maybe they will come back to say “hello” on Easter.

Baby Rabbits!

Speaking of Easter, you probably have everything you need for your baskets, but if you are looking for a fun and quick project, click HERE for my tutorial on how to make a Sock Bunny!  I made these last year was very pleased with the results.  If you have time, you can also make a colorful vest, dress, or bonnet for your rabbit.

Sock Rabbit (aka Bunny)

Keep it Thimble!