Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Puffy Quilts...

Puffy/Biscuit I come!!!

I have two quilts for two special babies....but I cannot name them because they just might be peeking...

I need to get a move on, though!

I have had the fabrics since before we left for our vacation in July.

And I am determined to do more puffy quilts like this ONE.

I was trying to create a plan with my new EQ7 program.  So far, this is all I have.  It has taken me considerable time to upload this from the program to save on my Mac files to upload here.  So please be nice!

The puffy quilt requires 64 total 4 inch blocks.
  Of course. 

Not those fabrics above...these:

Quilt One:

Quilt Two:

 The "fabrics" on the program just don't work for me.

  I was feeling defeated.

Until I found out that I can scan the actual fabrics to EQ7!!!  So excited!  

I have scanned them (examples):

Shhh!!!!  I need to clean the screen on my scanner you see the white sticky mark.  It is on all the images!!!

Fun, right?

Now I need to spend the afternoon trying to figure out how to 
upload them to EQ7

And then design.

I promise...If I get the design figured out.  

I will start cutting tonight!!!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Blind Hem Tutorial

The title sounds so exciting doesn't it?!?!?

It's okay if it doesn't flutter your heart.  You won't hurt my feelings.

But since I have been in the Back to School mode, I thought I would share something that most sewing machines have as an option and not many know what it is for, or how to use it. 


Every school year, I am faced with a dilemma.  Mr. Bean boy has very short legs.  His torso is as long as his older brother.  Therefore, I have to buy pants that fit the waist, but drag underneath his feet.  Usually, I don't have to do this until the winter time.  However, this year, he is in middle school and he is required to wear pants on Friday's for School Mass.

So I torture him by having him let me mark his new hemline.  Heaven forbid he stand still for a few minutes, right?

The difficult part of hemming a pair of pants is that you don't always want the stitching to show on the outside of the pant leg.
 It is also certainly EASY to buy some hem tape, but I can promise you it won't last long if your children are like my boys!  Or you could torture yourself by whip stitching by hand.

OR you could just use a 


Again, I can't promise every sewing machine has this feature, but most will!  And if not..there is an alternative.  The sewing part is actually the easiest, but the preparation can get a little confusing for some!

Looks good, right?

Except for the crease...I hadn't washed the pants yet to get rid of all that sizing they put in clothes these days.
The crease came out nicely in the wash.


I was remiss on taking pictures of the marking process, but there are two easy ways to mark where you would like our hem.

One way is to just grab a pair of pants that are the right length and lay them on top of the pair that need hemming. Just mark with a pin or chalk.
The second way is to have your subject put them on.  Then you simply fold the bottoms up until the fold lands where you would like.


Figure 1

I went a little crazy with the labeling but I wanted to make sure you had a place to reference back to if you get a little lost!  As you can see, I took off a tremendous amount off the bottom!  I told you he had some short legs!

The yellow pin marks the hemline I found by having him wear them.   I made an allowance for an 1.5 in hem with the excess of 1.5in for a total of 3 in.  He needs to wear them for the entire school year, and I would prefer not to have to buy new pants.  If I wasn't anticipating for the next 10 months, I would have only had a 2 in hem ( 1 1/2 in hem with a 1/2 in fold).

Step Three:  FOLD and IRON hem

Figure 2

Measure the first 1 1/2 inches and press with iron well.

I wanted to show you that you can use ANY type of measuring tool to find your 1 1/2 inches.  Seriously, grab anything.

I personally like my EZ Hem Gauge, but with these small width leg pants, it isn't very practical, so I use my hem gauge (the one on the top of the photo).

Figure 3
Fold and press the next 1 1/2 inches.  You will now have a hem line and what I call the fold line. 

Step Four:  Prepare the hemline and fold line.

  Getting this right is probably the hardest thing to explain, but I am going to give it my best. If it doesn't seem to be explained well, I may hire the boys to videotape this step!
Figure 4

Figure 5
You are going to grab the hemline and turn in into the "hole".  You are going to have have the fold line (figure 3) meet your stitch line (figure 1 and 3).  It will look like a double fold.  

You will then push the fold line about 1/4-1/2 inch away from the stitch line. Can you see that in Figure 6?

Step Five:  Prepare Sewing Machine

Figure 6

Prepare you sewing machine so you can access your arm.  You simply slip the pant legs over the arm. 
I never start the stitch on the seam.  It is too bulky.  I start about 3-4 inches before the seam..depending on the width of the pants.

Figure 7

 Find the Utility Stitch selection on your machine.  The stitch is usually indicated by the open triangles and straight stitches.

My machine comes with a special foot, but you can very well use a standard/satin foot.  I actually forgot to change mine for this tutorial and had no difficulties.  Would the foot have helped?

 Step Six:  SEW

Figure 8

Whenever I start this stitch it always begins on the RIGHT side of the stitch line (which is actually your fold line portion).  The needle will do the straight stitches on this portion of the fabric.

 (error on Figure 8 and 9.  The hemline should be fold line.)

Figure 9
After a few straight stitches, the needle will go to the left side capturing a small portion of the stitch line.  Then it will return to the fold line and take a few straight stitches.
It will continue to grab the stitch line.
Figure 10


I highlighted the stitch in the white to show you the movement.

I also marked the times I was not paying attention and took too large of a stitch to the left.  If you grab too much, it doesn't look "blind" on the front.

You want more of the smaller stitches for a cleaner look.

NOTE:  If you do not have a blind hem setting, you could use your straight stitch and then every 4th stitch switch it to a larger zig-zag stitch then return to a straight stitch.  It would be a bit tedious, but I did have to do that with one of my basic machines when I was in a jamb a while back this year.

Step Seven:  Fold out your hem and press!

You can see the backside of your stitches on the fold line when you fold the hemline out of the pant "hole".

And you can see where you took very small stitches for a beautiful finish?

Or you took NOT so small stitches!

If you did take large stitches, it isn't the end of the world!
I examined the work that was done on the hem lines of both the pants and shorts I bought and I have to say that there was many a pair with some large "blind" stitches!!

Good luck and feel free to ask can get confusing!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

School Memorabilia


You've collected art.  You've collected math tests.  Spelling tests with "GREAT JOB".  Projects you stayed up late nights with your kiddo.   The winning essay for a contest (and no, none of mine have, just projecting my hopes!).

  Hopefully, in a portfolio envelope like I suggested.

Just add a sheet of paper that you can slip in to "label" your portfolio like this:

If not, you could go "old school" like I used to!

 I simply folded a posterboard in half and taped 3 sides with packing tape.  Punched a hole on each side at the top and tied with a ribbon.

Old School!

Better yet, I used to just to label them with marker!

  Once the portfolio is all set, you first find storage bins that work for you!

I bought these about 8 years ago, so I am not so sure you could find these.  They are my favorite because they are actually the exact width of a normal/average shelf in a closet. They stack up on top of each other on the highest shelf.

However, I suggest you find something that works for you.

Decide if you want some under the bed storage, closet storage, attic storage, or garage storage.  Just remember the glues and glitter can only take so much extreme temperature.   Make sure that it will store all you want to store!

  I am not a huge Walmart shopper, but they are ALWAYS my go-to store for plastic storage bins.

Have your bin?  Time to fill it!!!

I just set the pre-bound books/binders loose in there.  They generally are already marked by the school year.

Recorder anyone?

I even throw in some things that I have stored like his birthday newspaper.  I still can't believe we bought this!  And no, we didn't buy any for the other ones.  We can just google it, right?

Portfolios in?
Think you are all set now?

One more step.

This is Butter's.  Since he is in high school this year his is getting quite full.

It is time to assess the older portfolios.

The one on the right is just not going to work for the long haul.  
What do you do?

You do just one more sort through the old portfolio.  You will be surprised about how much trash you kept last year.  TOSS it.  So it looks like the one on the left.

Any questions?

I am sure the last two posts for this series don't excite everyone , but they have to be done to keep your sanity and keep memories!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to School

The last few weeks, I have spent my time gearing up for the school year.
As I have been organizing, sewing, and preparing....I realized that I have been doing this for 12 years (including preschool) now!  I figured I could share some of my own habits to keep this family organized and do the little things that make sure they are completely ready!

Today, I thought I would share what I do to keep the paper flood that begins on the first day under control!  So far, I have been on the ball....but in May, I wasn't so much!  The backpacks were stored away in their home in the garage cabinet and I discovered I had a bit of work ahead of me!

So I thought I would take the moment of sorting through it all to share how I handle it!

PLEASE NOTE:  This is not about "looks" for me, it is all about function. 
Someday I will pretty all of it up! 


The key?

Start the moment the kiddos open their backpacks!

The wad of papers:


Sort the papers right away.  Granted, if they hand the papers to you while you are cooking dinner, like mine do, stack the pile knowing you will be sorting before you go to bed.  This is NOT fun in the morning.  Trust me!

There are three categories....Return, Trash, and File.

Return:  IMMEDIATELY return any forms that need to be filled.  Write the checks/attach the cash.  Sign the graded paper and test.  Make decisions about buying the newest Spirit shirt, yearbook order, or the Libary book club as soon as you receive the form.  DO NOT hold on to them. Give them back.  I have made the mistake of holding something to "think" on it and have missed deadlines!

Trash: This is really difficult for parents.  But I am going to be honest.  The first year my oldest went to Kindergarten, I kept EVERYTHING.  I had a whole Rubbermaid tub full.  It wasn't pretty.  Can you imagine if I continued the madness?  I calculated that I would have 27 tubs.  Yes.  27!!!  

So be smart.  Keep the special things like handprints, art (but not every single thing in preschool), projects, and papers that are great examples of handwriting. If they struggled with a concept and finally got it and the teacher wrote "YOU DID IT". It's a keeper. I usually gauge it based on how much the child covets it. Keep it!  All else...trash (or recycle in my house!).   

File:  So you saved all of the items...NOW WHAT?



  Short term:  This is where you sort your items by child.  I keep all the items in this for the week.  Ex. Graded items, field trip info, artwork and paperwork to be saved, study guides, spelling lists.

Hubby and I agreed recently that I would use nicknames only on my FYI the labels look so much better than photoshop text!! 

Long Term:  At the end of the weekend when I have a quiet moment, I file the items to clear out the wall file boxes so they are empty for the next week. They get placed in a three different places.

    • School Binder:  Items that include future dates (field trip).  Reference items (teachers syllabus), lunch menu, PTO events, Photo order forms with the check number and amount written on it (I am missing last years class photos, I promise...comes in handy) etc.  Basically anything that I might need throughout the year. 

    I like the dividers that have pockets, but I also have a punch holder that stays inside the binder.

    I have separate sections for various items. A section each for the two different schools they go to.  A section for each child specifically (class papers).

    • File:  A regular file folder for report cards, awards, conference reports, modifications/IEPs, etc.  Anything we will need if we ever had to transfer schools or had to reference in a meeting with school officials.

    Portfolio: For the memorabilia.  Remember all the artwork, papers, projects?  They go in here for the long term storage at the end of the school year.   I love these envelopes.  I buy a big pack from Office Depot.

    I keep all three items in a deep drawer in the kitchen. That way the are easy to pull out Sunday afternoon.

    I hope this helps.  But if not, no hurt feelings!


    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    WIP Wednesday

    I have finally decided to join WIP Wednesday.

    I have followed and have seen many of my fellow quilters post their WIP (works in progress for those non-quilting friends).   
    I think it terrified me because it would make me accountable once a week for all of the projects floating around my studio.  

    Since the boys returned to school, there seems to be just a bit of time to sew. That is, when Button allows!
    So ACCOUNTABILITY here I come.

    Officially today, Wednesday's are for QUILTS ONLY!!! 

    My works in progress, you say? 

    My Hawaiian quilt throw is in the works.  
    A teeny-tiny peek...because I really want to follow kapu.  Remember?

    Button's bedding is in planning stage.
      The crib set already came with a quilt.  But I am planning a quilted duvet for the twin bed in his room.  I am not sure how exactly I will make that work OR what pattern I will use.
    But at least I have fabric.

    Good thing I bought EQ7 recently and it arrived on my doorstep!

      I can plan it out now!! 
    Hopefully I can give a review of what I think.  
    My review right now? 
    I am a wee bit overwhelmed, to say the least!

    Bean's Eyeglass Case needs to be done ASAP.
     It is a wreck after the complete mess he made of his old one in his backpack last year!
      I plan to use green fabric, but maybe add a quirky embroidered applique too?

    And I just realized that I have an enormous amount of GREEN!
    I have been trying to use other colors, but I always go back to my faithful green.



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