Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a Green Thang - Repurposed Skirt

I love my google reader!

It helps me keep up with all the blogs I love.  One of my favorites is angry chicken with Amy.  The other day she had this video tutorial (you have to watch, if only for the "sound effects") for making fabric snack bags.  You know, like those old fashioned sandwich bags with a flap instead of a Ziploc?

Anyway, I thought they were so cute and would make up really fast.  But I don't have a burning desire to put food in them.  I was thinking of other things.

Like how Gracie's school has a purse ban due to the chronic illness rampant among middle school girls of not being able to put their cellphones (which are also banned) on the silent or off mode during Algebra.  This ban led to a huge brouhaha (yes, that's a word!) about where they were supposed to store their, um, personal items.  Which led to the policy that the girls could go to their lockers, then to the restroom, then back to their lockers, then back to class.

Gee, when I was in 7th grade, I cannot imagine the number of ways I would have taken advantage of that clause!

Anyway...back on topic...I started thinking that these little bags would be good for discreetly carrying those personal items.  And that, if they were made of the same fabric as the uniform skirts, it would be even more discreet.  (Either that or I've had an attack of the matchy-matchies...but I digress.)

Luckily I had an old hand-me-down skirt from before they switched to skorts, so I have no guilt cutting this up.

Would you believe that this little skirt made this much fabric?

After I ripped out the pleats, cut off the waistband, removed the zipper and button, I was left with a piece of fabric 18" wide and over 2 yards long!

I squared it up and cut it into 5" x 15" chunks.  The bottom was already hemmed, so I just used an overcast stitch on the other short end.  Then I followed Amy's easy instructions for making the bag, and voila!   

(Pssstt...when she says "don't think, just do it" she means it.  I watched the video while I was folding the first successful one because my brain kept trying to override the instructions.)

Luckily Gracie doesn't need this yet, but I plan to give them to a few friends with older daughters, and tuck one away for later.  I could alter the shape a bit for school supplies, and use other fabrics for anything from business cards to party favors.

There is something so satisfying about taking an old item that no one has a need for anymore and turning it into something useful again.  What is your favorite repurposing project?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Process - WannaBees Group Quilt

The WannaBees are working on a group quilt for our guild show in September. We chose an undersea theme, and Ben carefully cut up our beautiful background fabric so that the blocks would piece back together roughly along the colorwash of the fabric (i.e., the darker fabric is in the bottom of the quilt, or the "deeper" water).

Then we had our field trip to Intown Quilter, and chose a second fabric that we would all incorporate into our blocks.

Ben and I chose to do the deep water blocks. He is creating an incredible octopus and treasure chest. I chose jellyfish, although I have a sneaking suspicion that that's not really where they live.

I started with my background. There were several mistakes that made this block turn out the way it did, and the first one was forgetting to drop my feed dogs while I was stitching this seaweed-y plant. I kept getting the bottom thread pulled through, and finally figured out why. But then I decided I liked the more variegated look of the purple pulling through the green, and the slightly fuzzy or feathery look it created, so I left it. Either that or I'm just lazy, but let's go with that first one.

I machine appliqued the unifying fabric with a circle design to make a coral look. I used a similar technique for the green with a different filler design.

Next I made some plants out of Tyvek.  (This is what Priority Mail envelopes are made out of.  You can buy it, but I save them when I get them for use on small projects like this one.  It's a green thang!)  I painted it with a palette of green and yellow tempera. Then I cut my basic shapes out and put it under a little heat by hovering my iron over them to make them puff up and curl around the edges.  I appliqued these down with a leaf vein design.

Initially I was going to make my jellyfish out of the Tyvek as well.  I thought the rounded, bubbly surface would be beautiful.  I painted some pieces with orange and red.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the transparency and lightness that I needed.

Luckily Ben and Kristin from Fiber on a Whim suggested metallic organza for my jellyfish.

I decided to quilt before going any further.  My next mistake was doing some beautiful machine quilting that I really like with a gorgeous variegated thread...and then realizing I hadn't put the back on.  Arrrghhh!  When I put the back on and tried to add some more quilting, I started getting a lot of thread breakage and tension issues.  

Today my machine is going to camp with the service guy.  Hopefully when I get it back tomorrow I will be able to do some light quilting and finish adding my jellyfish and some beading.  It all has to be done by our next bee group meeting!  Hurry hurry hurry!

When was the last time you got your machine serviced?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Texts from my Teenager - 7/23/10

From Six Flags, in response to my instructions to "text me a couple times during the day so I know you're alright.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Little Help From Our Friends - Drain Caddy Belt

As you can see from my last post, I haven't been doing a lot of sewing or quilting this summer.  It has been super busy and too danged hot! 

But I did manage to accomplish one thing on my list - I found a pattern for and made these drain caddy belts for a friend who had to have a double mastectomy earlier this month.
I wanted to wait until she gave it the thumbs up before I shared it with you, and she says it worked great.  The only issue was that I cut the belt too short.  Since she is petite, I thought the 36" belt would be plenty.  What I didn't realize or account for is significant bloating and swelling the first several days.  Also, I didn't want to ask her waist size or make it too big - word to the wise, if you are making these for someone else, make them WAY too big and tell them to just cut it off at the right length AFTER the surgery.

Other than that, she said the belt worked great and she really liked the fabrics.  I really wanted to share this because I had a very hard time finding the pattern and it seemed to be a help.

When I gave her the belts, I also tucked in some little gifts for recovery.  Use your imagination!  I included some hard candies, a pack of minty gum (helps with nausea and freshens hospital breath for visitors), a deck of cards, two prayer cards (you could use poems or little notes for the non-Catholic), a lip balm, and some mildly scented hand lotion.  Not only did my friend say these were all helpful, but it was a little distraction the evening before her surgery to open and look through.  Luckily she is doing great and all of the test results came back with the best possible news!

If you are looking to make something for a friend having a mastectomy, I also found these pillows that are also a big help.  I didn't get them done before our trip, but the hospital had some that my friend liked a lot.

Hope you have some good news this week!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where Did Summer Go?

Where did summer go?
On our canyon trip out west..




Learning new skills...

Hope you get a moment for some quiet reflection this week.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Library Inspiration - Skydyes

A few weeks ago I was browsing in our local library for inspiration and came across this book:

Mickey Lawler
creates beautiful sky, sea, and earth fabrics with translucent fabric paints.  Then she teaches you how - and it is fun!  I started to say easy, because it isn't a hugely involved process, but I don't want to minimize her work.  Let's just say that I was easily able to find all of the required materials and get started on a primitive level in short order.

The book is out of print, but Amazon does have new and used copies right now.  Also, as I said, it is in our library system.  I wanted to "check it out" (pardon the pun) before buying, but I will be looking for my own copy.  It's a keeper!

Blick has a great video on using the Setacolor paints to make sunprints.  Mickey uses this technique and shares it as well.

Gracie and I, in our quest for cheap summer fun, tried it out on a few small pieces to start.  Here's what we ended up with:

This is what I did with one of the pieces:

I'm calling it Sand, Sea, Sky.  It was supposed to be for the Another Little Quilt Swap 4, but I didn't get it done by the deadline.

What new inspiration has hit you this summer?
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