Thursday, December 1, 2011

My "Whatever Jars"

I am a helter skelter kinda crafter. I jump from craft to craft,before ever finishing any one thing. I can always go back and work on any craft that is unfinished,if I so desire. If I don't go back to it, then it's not my kind of craft anyway.If it doesn't hold my interest long enough to finish it, or at least come back to it, it's not worth my time to continue on with it.I'm off to something else.Some crafts keep me so interested, I wake up at 3 in the morning,dying to get to them. Those are the ones I really like. This one little project I have found, interests me to no end. I love,love,love it. As you can see by one of the above pictures, I have been working at a few different things. I love working with wood, fabric, paint,stenciling,and now making labels and tags from scraps of paper. The fact that they are so pretty and appealing to me, and cost nothing to make,really excites me.I am guilty of being extremely frugal or to put it plain and simple,a tight-wad, when it comes to spending on craft supplies. The label and name tag project has consumed me lately. I visit the consignment shops and find the Primitive decor to be more and more appealing,especially when it comes to my crafting.The grungy look,especially, seems to come easier for me to replicate.

For this particular project, I am using pretty little jars that would otherwise be recycled,at least, that's what I would do with them if I found no other use for them.Jars are a weakness of mine, too.Especially, little jars, and reusable jars. Some jars have those twist on lids, and even those can be used in gift giving. There are lots of dry mixes that do not require being sealed when given as a gift to be used right away. I have a few books on those types of gift mixes.Now back to my labels and tags for the cute little jars.(The little wooden plaque was replicated from a tea towel I purchased just for a pattern.)

I collect brown paper(and lots of other pretty papers)for use in my tag making. The brown paper that comes as packing in the mail,(Thanks,BJ)the lining of the sugar bag.There are many ways in which brown paper comes into my home.Then I gather up small pieces of pretty colored  fabric or paper that is too small to be used for anything else.I cut the brown paper label a bit larger than the colored piece of material being used. I cutesy up the two pieces by trimming the corners of both pieces(unless you prefer the plain squared off corners).Then I apply a drop or two of glue to secure the 2 pieces together.I use my hole punch to make the hole for the ribbon.When I am ready to apply the name or directions to the label, I go into WordPad and type up my wording in a cute font and color,and make the words as small as possible in order to fit on the label.You can usually make a whole page of usable wording for later use, so as not to waste too much paper by just printing out one word or two.
For the decorative band around the little jar,I cut a long narrow strip of brown paper, just long enough to fit around the jar and overlap about  1/2 inch so as to be glued later. I use my hole punch and punch holes along the brown paper strip for weaving a matching ribbon through. Once the ribbon is woven through the holes, and the label is assembled and attached, then tie the ribbon in a cute bow.Wallah! Your gift jar is ready to be filled with a goodie of your choice for a dear friend or a loved one for the next upcoming holiday that requires a gift. I hope you,too,are having a Happy Crafting experience, preparing for the Happy Holiday Season ahead!

Isn't it cute?And cost free,too.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mug Rugs

I love working with fabric,and I have accumulated lots of fabric over the years through various sources. I pick up single pieces here and there at yard sales. I cut up pieces of clothing that are no longer needed or wanted for other purposes.I don't cut up things that I feel are still usable. I pass them on to the family or the local Church Closets. Folks who know me well, save remnants of pretty fabric for me. One of my sisters, just this week, brought me a bags of things she no longer needed or could not use.They all just know. "Susy can use this."And I usually do find a way to utilize whatever it might be.

Most winters, I find a project that fascinates me,and I work with that one project over and over, all winter,for the most part. Lately, I have stumbled across a blog that spoke of Mug Rugs. I have always made pot holders or hot pads, and even coasters with bits of pretty fabric. But for some reason, these Mug Rugs have fascinated me. I get to use up small pieces of fabric. I get to mix and match my colors and fabrics. I get to crochet,embroider, or applique on each piece. I get to use several of the things I enjoy doing, yet the project is so small, I can see results quickly. Plus, it is small enough to carry with me, when I am bored while sitting and waiting for a doctor's appointment or the like. I got to where I carry some little project with me at all times. Especially if I am out with Pop. He wants to stay and talk and talk and talk, so if I get to bored, I can sew. We went to the local restaurant this past Friday evening, where they had a band set up on the porch for the community to enjoy, and I spent the entire time,sewing,only stopping long enough to applaud after each performance.I was visiting with friends while I sewed,too.So I enjoyed the entire evening much better. I don't smoke,and I don't drink that much coffee, so I sew.
The interior of the little rugs is merely small squares I have cut from an old blanket or a worn out towel. A blanket will make batting for lots of mug rugs.Regardless of what size I cut the batting square, I cut the two pieces of outer fabric, just a tad bigger so as to have enough edge to turn under on all four sides.

 Once I have turned the four edges under about 1/4 inch, I steam press it into place so that I can match up the three pieces perfectly.Then I pin or tack it shut all the way around.

Then I go around the edge using my regular crochet thread that matches  piece of fabric I am using.I use some what of a button hole or a blanket stitch, so as to go around again with my crocheting. I try to keep my blanket stitch as even as possible since it will be part of the trim.
Once I have blanket stitched all the way around the little rug, I continue on with my same thread,if I still have a little length left,and make an X through the middle to tack the three layers together securely. You could make any quilting design you like. I just prefer the X because it is so quick and easy.

Then I connect my thread,if I have any left, to the same spool of crochet thread,and proceed to crochet a simple edge all around the border. I crochet by sight, so I don't know the name of the stitches I use, but I think I am using the double crochet stitch.

 I crochet 5 stitches then slip stitch it to the base thread,repeat until you complete the entire rug,

then tie your thread off and weave the end between the layers to hide it, and clip it off.Thus, you have a finished Mug Rug. Now I'm off to make another, so I'll have a matched pair.I may need to make a few sets in order to send some to my special blogging friends. I have been making matching Snack Rugs,too. They are a little bigger. That is another idea I got from one of the blogs I follow.

So until my next post,Happy Sewing to All!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Using Old Tires for Planting

On Nancy's comment to my post on my Redneck Planter,she stated that she uses old tires for planting her herbs.I have known lots of folks who do use old tires, but I have never seen anyone who has cut away the side walls of their tires as I have done. Once you cut away the sidewall on both sides of the tire, it is much lighter to more around when you need to do so.This is not the greatest picture, but it best shows how I've cut away the tire walls to make way for easier access to my soil and plants.It keeps your best soil and additives confined,so as not to wash away with the rain or when watering. It keeps the water and fertilize where you need it.

It is costly to get rid of old tires nowadays. I haven't needed to get rid of any myself, but it seems at one time, it cost around $1. per inch of width.Unreal! I feel if more folks were aware of the way I,and many others are using these old tires, there would be more demand for keeping them.With the high cost of food anymore, raising your own food is getting more popular than ever.Many folks don't have access to a huge garden plot,but using an old tire or two,could offer a small space for planting a few vegetables.You would be surprised at how many tomatoes you can grow in one tire. With the tire being open, the roots can grow into the soil like any normal garden plot, and do much better than growing in a traditional planter.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Real Pumpkins Are Scarce

We attended the Clarkson Honeyfest Saturday, and I overheard some folks talking about how there was a shortage of pumpkins in our area,so the price of pumpkins was through the roof. Since I hardly ever buy a real pumpkin anyway, that didn't bother me one bit. I figure if I need a pumpkin to decorate with, I can usually whip one up in a snap.There are all sorts of usable mediums lying around our house or out buildings. I can usually take my pick. Today I was cleaning one of the garages AGAIN (the baby chicks and their Mother have been sleeping in there for a few weeks)and I ran across a piece of a 6X6 cedar post that Pop uses for chocking a wheel while he works on various things. He has so many, I doubted he would miss one,especially  if I snitched only a half a piece, so I took his saws-all, and whacked myself off a small block. I continued to whittle the corners of the block with the saws-all. That is such a handy tool when working with big pieces of wood,especially since I am afraid of using a chain saw. I whittled away until I felt it halfway resembled a pumpkin.Close enough anyway.When I got it to the house, I rummaged through my craft room to find some embellishments for it. I have everything, anyone could possibly need for creating any given project. I found a couple of brand new rolls of that bright orange raffia type twisted paper,so I unrolled enough to cover the entire block and adhered it with my hot glue gun.I keep a few of my wooden block pumpkin stems made up at all times,since I do make a lot of pumpkins this time of year.I don't know why,but I do.I think it's because they are so easy to make, and you can make them out of so many different things.Quaint and primitive is in, so it doesn't really matter how they look,as long as others can recognize them as pumpkins.I found a few other embellishments and hot glued them onto my pumpkin,and now I have a nice centerpiece for the Fall Season.I discovered another neat project while at the fest Saturday, that I wanted to try,so I worked on a that for a few minutes today. I'm hoping to get one assembled in time to show and tell during the Fall Season.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My First Appliqued Leaf

This is my first leaf on my reversible mini quilt.I do love working on it, but I'm not real sure of what I am doing. I still need to get some advice from someone who has appliqued a little more than myself.

First. I'd like to know if it is better to use iron-on Pellon on the leaf before stitching it onto my background. It seems to me, the raw edges would fray when laundered. The Pellon might fuse it together, to where that would not happen.

Second. Is it necessary to turn the raw edges under before stitching it to the background. That would have been hard to do on these leaves, with all the little crooks and turns of the edges.

I suppose I will figure these things out as I go, but I just hate the thought of putting all the time into the project, and having it end up all frayed around the edges.

Even though I have worries,I am still pleased with the results of my first leaf for now.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Orange Peels! Who Knew?

I am so glad I found this little tidbit on Marth Stewart's blog.

While orange peels aren't all that great for eating, they still come in great use around the house. Here are three simple ways to use leftover orange peel:
  • Because of its high content of flammable oil, dried peel makes a great fire starter.
  • Cats don't like the smell of orange peel, so you can place it around plants where you don't want cats digging.
  • Use dried orange peel to remove musty smells by placing it in a cloth bag and storing it in closets and cupboards.
  • Orange zest can be dried overnight and then stored in airtight bottles for future use.

Learning the Hard Way-As I Go

Sometime in the past, I posted about my 2 sided mini quilt. This side has an Americana theme, and the other was blank.

So I decided I would put something on the back side and use it as a double duty wall hanging.

Here I have stitched my lone place mat,that I found at a yard sale for 25 cents,into the mini quilt. 
Now I need to add a few more embellishments to make it more Fallish!(I know,that's not a real word!)

I'm 63 and this is my first time, trying to applique.It looks so simple,I figured, surely, I can do that.
Wrong! I went to the store thinking I was getting iron-on Pellon. It seems I had heard that's the way it's done. I bring it home, and it's not the iron-on type. I went back to the store, a week later, and asked the lady to help me find IRON-ON Pellon. She picks up a roll that looks just like the roll I had bought from last week, so I told her the story. It wasn't iron-on that I had purchased last week.Well, she proceeded to tell me to feel each side. One side was smooth and the other would be a wee bit rougher. That was the side with the stickem on it.Then I got worried that I might have tried to iron the wrong side onto the fabric. Dummy me, I didn't think that the stickem side would have fused to my iron,if that be the case, but I went on home to check it out. By this time I was thoroughly disgusted with the entire project.I laid it aside for another week, then I figured I'd try it again.WITHOUT any Pellon.I pinned the leaf to the mini quilt, to hold it in place, and began to do,what I think is the Blanket or the Buttonhole stitch, around the edge of my leaf fabric.My thread kept getting tangled in the pins. I thought about replacing the straight pins with safety pins,at first, but came up with a better plan. I'd tack the leaf in place with a white basting thread all around the edges, then I can pull it out when I'm done. The new plan seems to be working much better for me now.It will take me awhile,since I have 7 more leaves to go.Now, my only concern is:What if I have to wash the mini quilt, down the road. Will my hand appliqueing hold up in  the wash.Hopefully,some more experienced appliqueing folks will read my post and give me a few pointers.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wooden Alphabet Letters

My Grand daughter,Leah,is ten,as I write this, and is beginning to take interest in personalizing her bedroom a bit.It is an upstairs room in an old house, and none of the family have ever been enthused over the two kids sleeping up there, especially since the parents have remodeled one of the ground level rooms for their own bedroom.The thought is always there,what if there was a fire. A few years ago,we purchased them a set of those special fire alarms that call out the child's name over and over,until they awaken,but to this day, I am not sure they were ever installed.Go figure.Nevertheless, the children have continued to sleep in the same big room on the ground floor,where the parent sleep.With their jobs as they are, and the kids both in school now,there is some one sleeping at all times, so the remodeled bedroom was a must.

With Leah growing into a young lady faster than we would like,she is taking interest in having her own space, more and more.I feel that is" a good thing."She picked out the fabric for new curtains for her room, and I had  them finished in a day or two.A few stumbling blocks kept me from putting them up before the next weekend, so I had time to make her a throw pillow to match the curtains, and if all goes well, and she likes the curtains, she wants a quilt to match.I love seeing her so excited about decorating her room. I hope this crafting thing rubs off on her, a little.anyway. I,myself, love doing these kinds of things.

When I finished the curtains, the tie backs, and the pillow, I was so excited over it all, I was on a roll. I ran across a wooden letter L,among my wood pieces, and decided this would make a great piece to hang on her wall.I rummaged through my craft room and came up with a few items to dress it up. Paint,glitter,butter fly and flower stick-ons. I could just see it in my mind.The above picture does not do it justice, but I am so pleased with the finished product.So much so, I have decided to make more letters in this way.You never know when you might run across a little girl who would like to have their own initial on their wall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Americana Mini Quilt Revisited

Remember this little mini quilt I worked on last winter? I had spoke about making it reversible, but never got back to it until now. I went on line and found a couple of patterns for appliqued leaves. Then I rummaged through my fabric stash and found a couple of pieces of fall colored fabric.I don't mess with this sort of thing that much, but thought I would give it a try. Not sure if I'll be able to pull it off, but this will be my project over the next few weeks. I'm sure it won't be my only project going, since I get bored with trying to do something that does not come easy for me, and this definitely,falls under that category

The blue back ground is not  the best choice for a Fall mini quilt, so I may play with that a bit,too. It was handy at the time, and matched the color in the place mat which I was using for the center piece,so I used it. Now that it's time to hang it up, I am not happy with it. Hopefully, I will find something a little more Fallish to put in it's place.

I'll make a few tabs along the top of my mini quilt, to hang it from my recycled curtain rod,which I posted on my other blog just this week, but I may paint the rod a different color for the Fall season.If all goes well, I'll get this project finished and post it before Fall ends.

Pincushions Revisited

Every now and then, I fall back into my pincushion obsession. It seems whenever I am at a time and place where I must be confined for any length of time, I pull out my trusted pin cushion supply box and I am content.I keep lots of pretty swatches of fabric,numerous colors of thread,straight pins,needles,and trimmings of all sorts in the supply box.Oh yes, the stuffing material. I don't like to waste anything, as you may have heard me say once or twice before, so the stuffing I use is woolen fabric. I have plenty of that, and who uses wool any more? Not me, that's for sure.I inherited a huge supply of it, so I cut it in narrow strips, and roll it up to fit the pin cushion I will be making.I collect bottle caps of all sizes. Usually from milk jugs,medicine bottles, drink bottles.Most any size cap will do.I use caps for other things,too, but first and foremost, for my pin cushion bases. 

I roll up the woolen fabric strip,really tight, then I place it in the cap. I cut a circle of my pretty fabric,just large enough to cover the woolen fabric with enough edge left, to cram down into the cap with my scissor point.Some times I use the hot glue gun to secure it into the cap, but that's not always necessary.

 I cut a similar circle of fabric,the same color or something that matches the original piece I just used .I proceed to hem that circle of fabric and pull it with the thread like a drawstring bag(yo-yo style)then I set the cap, down into the little draw string bag and begin to draw it up tight,pinning it in place until I can tack it shut with coordinating thread.I use to glue a magnet onto the bottom of the cap,before this step, but not always, since many sewing machines are computer driven, and magnets and computers don't mix.Now I am applying Velcro to the bottom of the finished pincushion.Not always,but occasionally.

After the two fabrics have been secured to suit me, I rummage through my stash of pretty ribbons and lace,etc.,and find something suitable to cutesy it up a bit. I love making these cute but simple little pincushions out of materials that others most likely would throw away.
Now how's that for an hours work, or shall I say pleasure.
The pincushions that I am making lately, are so small at times, they need to be secured to something,so as not to get lost. Usually the sewing machine is a great place to stick one,although I have one stuck in every room.You never know when you'll need a quick needle and thread.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hummingbird feeder

The hummingbirds make such a mess on the railing of the porch, I decided I would put their feeders out in the yard. I have a mimosa tree not too far from the porch, so I put the new feeder pole under it. I felt they would like that, since it would not be out in the hot summer sun.We love to watch them in the early mornings while we are sitting on the porch drinking our first cup of coffee.
We have been "scrapping" this last two weeks,gathering up all the scrap metal that had accumulated for the past 32 years.The prices they pay for metals have been up really good lately. While helping Pop with that project, I ran across several tines from an old time hay rake. Pop had used several of the tines years ago to make me a similar plant hanger,but since it was so hard to keep the plants watered and thriving in the heat of the summer, I decided I didn't want to mess with them, and gave the hanger to his cousin's wife.I should have tried it in partial shade,but since I was still working at the time, I simply didn't think about an alternative plan. I just gave it away. I think that hurt Pop's feelings a bit, but he never let on.When we ran across the remaining tines,I thought about using them for a bird feeder rack.It works perfectly. The mimosa tree has not leaved out yet, but the hummingbirds are using the feeder already.It's been cool and rainy here lately,so the sun is no problem yet.
I took a piece of a small metal pipe and drove it into the ground till it felt firm, leaving about a foot above the ground, then placed a larger piece of pipe,about 5 feet long, over the metal stake.Then I poked the pointed end of four tines into the top opening of the larger pipe.They wanted to wiggle a bit, so I drove a wooden stake in the middle of the four tines to hold them snug.Then I painted the entire thing, and hung my four new feeders.I probably should have taken the time to make my own feeders, but that will be a project for another day. These will have to do for now. I paid less than $4. each for the feeders,but they usually last for several years.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

From Rags to Riches,From Curtains to Rugs!

From curtain to rug
I have no idea as to how I came into possession of the material I am using to make this little rug, since I get fabric from everywhere. Most usually it has come from a family member, but then I collect things from consignment stores and yard sales and the like. I doubt I would have bought it new, since I hardly ever buy anything new. If I do, it is rare and for something extra special.My family all know that I love fabric, so whenever they have anything they want to part with, they think of me.Then I go through their goody bags and save out the things I want to wear or use in my crafts, then the rest goes to Mom's where the other family members do the same. Whatever is not needed, goes to the church store for folks who have gone through sometime type of crisis and need clothing or linens, etc.
The fabric I am using for my little rug in the picture above, was once a set of home made curtains. I ripped out all the seams, and tore the fabric up into narrow strips.Then I proceeded to crochet my rug. This particular fabric is in several muted shades of pastels and I think it is turning out nicely.Not exactly sure just yet, where I will use it, but it is a bit larger than my usual rugs. I have made  many of these little rugs and have given them away as gifts,but I did fall in love with two in particular and kept them for my own use. I think the colors I used was what prompted me to hold on to those two.They are so nice to have at the entrance doors, and in front of the sink or stove.When they are soiled, just toss them in the laundry with the towels and wash cloths, then lay them flat to dry. They are such a simple little easy to make and care for rug,(if you can crochet any at all,no great knowledge of crocheting necessary).  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Love Punching!

I have finally recieved a few of the punches I had ordered through the mail. I mentioned before, I don't go out and shop in the Big Stores a lot, so I am so happy when I learn to do some little thing like this. If I had to visit Michael's often, I would go broke. I ordered a few tiny punches off of E-bay,just so I wouldn't have to be tempted to buy,buy,buy, while in the store. I love working with my little punches. The possibilities are endless as to what I can do with there cute little things. So far, I have a heart, a shamrock, a maple leaf, a star, and I have made a few rubber stamps myself with a kit I bought at Micheal's,so I am off and running with my card making and blog posts. I can't express enough how much fun I am having with just these few small pieces. I hope to be able to incorporate many more of my ideas into my blog posts using these few small tools.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dual Purpose Wall Hanging

I love to work with fabric, but my patience or nerves or whatever it is,I haven't figured out exactly what, just yet, won't let me tackle a large quilt,although I have done just that on a few occasions.I think it's possibly my lack of will power or a short attention span,but that's OK. I've lived with it for 63 years, so as long as I can work with it,around it,and through it, I'm satisfied. I think I am dealing with it about as well as possible without seeking medical treatment or therapy of some kind.  It's not something that keeps me from functioning on a day to day basis.It only rears it's ugly head when it comes to dieting and finishing certain tasks.Like washing the last few dishes or pots and pans,after a big meal..Nevertheless, I started on a small quilt,of sorts.I think they are called snibbles on some of the blogs.The spelling may not be right,since I could not find it in the dictionary,but I think that's the word I've seen,used for these tiny quilted pieces.
The front has an Americana look,the back has a Fall image in the center. I have done some more work on the Americana side since these pictures were taken, and I hope to add more to the Fall side before I call it finished.I am working on a frame for the piece so I can display it on the wall or on an easel.I am playing it by ear as usual, so there's no telling what I'll end up with. 

    I 've hung it on the wall in the basement, just for now, to see how it might look later. Hopefully,I will be making the frame for it soon.(I'll post an up-to-date picture at that time.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Apple Hot Pad

This is just one example of the way I recycle fabric.Several years ago, my niece dressed up for Halloween using a dark grey sheet as a floor length hooded cape in part of her costume. When she was finished with the costume, I inherited the grey fabric to use as I saw fit.The fabric was a little older than I cared to use in a quilt, so I decided to use it up as a crocheted rug. Not caring for the color, I talked myself out of that idea,but when I had crocheted several rounds with the fabric,I thought about using that as a base for a hot pad.I added 2 worn out wash cloths,one on either side, for additional thickness.I rummaged through my small fabric remnants, and found an appealing piece and began to cover the crocheted base,along with it's 2 wash cloth.When I finished stitching the cover on the base(I had a little help from my Granddaughter)it looked more like the shape of an apple than a circle,as I had expected it to be.But,what the heck!I'll just make it into an Apple Hot Pad.The fabric had apples on it anyway.So that's what I did. I appliqued a stem from brown fabric, and 2 leaves from green fabric. Hence my Apple Hot Pad!
What have you recycled today?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Home made Black boards

This little project seems to be a simple one, but then if you don't have the proper tools, it might not be so simple. I do have many tools, since wood crafts are some of my favorites.I collect all sorts of wood scraps, and all my friends and neighbors who know that, keep their scraps for me. My son in law brought me a bag of wood scraps here lately, that were left over from building his daughter a little shelter for her nativity scene that sits in their yard through the holidays.He knows I like to use bits of wood in my crafts. Nevertheless, I used luan which is a very lightweight wood,left over from the construction of our floor, in our new house, 3 years ago. I have to keep most of my nicest pieces hid from Pop. We have a wood burning stove,you know,to supplement our heat in the winter months.
I cut the wood into small pieces,whatever size I choose.Then sand them really good all over on both sides.I dust them good, and paint a coat of paint of my choice on one side, and paint the other side with regular blackboard paint. I had never used that type of paint before, so I was shocked to see a quart was nearly $10,but I will,no doubt, get many black boards from that one quart,thus bringing down the cost of making each board.I put two coats of paint on each side.The back side of the blackboard could be used to display anything of your choosing,for when the blackboard is not in use. I like for things I make to be as useful as possible.We all have so many pretty collectibles that serve no purpose.The back of the board could hold a calendar,for example.You can pick up those small calendars anywhere, and attach one to the other side. You may find other ways of displaying something on the other side that is special to you.Perhaps a collage of your grandchildren on a calendar.That is just one example.The possibilities are endless.