Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gearing UP for the Holiday Season....

making key chains
Whew! It's tough when you have ADHD with project deadlines looming. I have been really really busy making all kinds of things for a craft show that was just held last weekend. I did ok, but you never know what's going to sell, or the age range of your sellers and what will appeal to them. My shop on Etsy, JeanBeanGifts, is designed to have a lot of different things that make cute little gifts. Most are towards the inexpensive end, but some are priced into the moderate range, depending on the materials being used. I don't have a good enough attention span or the patience to make a lot of any one thing. In the past year, I have knitted, crocheted, done punch needle embroidery, and focused on making lots of ornaments that are mini knitted items.....I'm probably hurting my shop's success by being so random, but it's fun, and I am making some sales there. Just recently, I got an order for 150 key chains inspired by the movie, "Up." I just thought it would make a cute key chain, so I posted one and they continue to sell here and there besides the big order I got.

So when people started coming through the door at the craft show and stopping by, I waited to see what they were looking for....presents for grandchildren? Something for themselves? (A lot of older ladies stopped by)....Some were looking for both. I sold a beaded leather wrap bracelet, and a shawlette within a matter of just a few minutes. I was happy as the day had just started! And my 25.00 table was paid for. A little of everything sold....

A couple of ornaments....some are stamped, (Peace, Love, Hope, Joy) and some are wood burned...tree and snowflakes...I didn't tell my better half that I laid my wood burning tool down on my portable ironing "blanket"...unplugged no less, and it was so hot, it caught the portable ironing pad on fire! What a smell! He didn't see me rush the pad into the kitchen and run it under the water, nor did he smell the burned foam and pad cover. Yikes!

A cork key chain.....

Two mini sweater ornaments....

A mini sock......

A lady next to my table was selling fabric purses...she had a TON of interest in her purses, made with novelty fabrics, and there were totes for the beach as well as medium sized shoulder bags, or just regular sized fabric purses. Lots of time and fabric goes into the making of those. I've contemplated making some, but just don't have a ton of time and room to store the fabric in my little craft room. She said she had brought over 140 purses to the show! Wow! What an inventory! On the other side of me, was a jewelry person, selling beaded jewelry. I sold two bracelets as well....Here's my favorite one that went, a pattern adapted from

The day passed by quickly. I really enjoy talking to other crafters....They are just the nicest people, I have found. There is just something nice about people who like to make things with their hands and appreciate the work that goes into other's creations, that makes them usually patient, caring and enjoyable to talk to. I have found RVers to be the same way. People who love to travel and "camp" and love nature are wonderful to be around and get to know....

After the show was over, I headed home, tired but happy. I had a little extra "pin" money to fund my next crafting endeavor---metal stamping! That is going to take a whole lot more than pin money. Metal stamps are quite expensive. So I will have to be careful about investing in the supplies. Need to see what might be selling out there and do a little research. Usually, I jump in, gung ho with a new craft and start gathering LOTS of supplies to do the craft. When I was doing punch needle embroidery, of course I had to have the wonderful variegated Valdani threads to do it, lots of patterns and weaver's cloth. When I tole painted, I had to have MOST of the colors in the acrylics so I wouldn't have to run out and buy a certain shade. That was years ago, so I am now in the process of collecting yarn, beads, leather, and now metal stamps. It's a good thing my better half doesn't read my craft blog, he might get alarmed! :-) Not really, he's very supportive. I am lucky that he doesn't ever complain about the messy craft room that is overflowing or what I spend. He knows it makes me very happy.

So what am I making now? For the upcoming holiday season? Fabric gift bags that hold cookie mix....I'm going to stick a little bamboo wooden spoon in the tie on part to add a little charm...
Bought some Krusteaz cookie mixes and thought these would make a really cute hostess gift--invested in peanut butter, Meyer Lemon Cookie mix, oatmeal raisin and triple chocolate chunk. Mmmmmm, I might save one of those for myself if they don't sell. But I have to watch my sugar, so I hope they DO sell! 

Making little metal stamped charms for gifts....AHA! Here comes the stamping craze I've lots of ideas....shoe tags, wedding gift tags, stay tuned...I'll catch up with my blog one of these days and get a few more entries going! But I will leave with this necklace I made today....Made with Impress Art's alkeme alloy....a nice substitute and less expensive than silver. It's wonderful to stamp on! More about stamping on metal later.....
Bye for now......

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Making a Quiet Book Part II

I'm making a quiet book for my little grandson..He's now three...I've got the cover done and on to the actual interactive pages themselves! I'm mainly sticking with Imagine Our Life pages....she's my favorite designer....As far as I know, she has done a whole series of quiet pages for the years 2012 and 2013. She has some AMAZING other quiet page activities that aren't necessarily a book. One is a laptop quiet activity book...ALL MADE OF FELT and FELT PIECES. She's a graphic designer, so her designs are just above and beyond the usual simple quiet page. Her pages are mostly hand sewn, I am machine sewing as much as possible to save time.....

Despite the machine sewing, each page takes HOURS to make....tracing patterns, cutting the felt, little hand stitches here and there, details to make the pages more "real"...Lots of attention to details in her patterns. 

My first page for Barron was a sandcastle page......
Each piece is separate from the other except for the roof which is attached to each piece. Each piece is double layered. The waves on the seashore are tulle and rick rack. Under the castle door is a little crab that I hand drew. She stitched hers.  Clever lady, that Stephanie is! The sandcastle page is actually a two page spread and the other side looks like this:
The bucket holds all the sandcastle pieces when you are not using them! I used a real skinny cotton rope handle for my bucket.

The next page I tackled was the mailbox page. I just love this one! 
I used stiff Peltex interfacing for the mailbox flag. It moves up and down. The mailbox can be closed with the elastic loop button closure. When you open it, "You've got mail!"

And each of the little felt letters opens like a real envelope. The pattern calls for velcro to stick and unstick, but I thought I would just leave the envelopes plain. I am going to stick a little note inside each letter for my little grandson from his grandma. Awwwwwwwwww........ I used real stamps and zigzagged stitched them down. I wanted to "date" this activity book so later on, he could remember what year his grandma made it for him!
My third activity page was from Imagine Our Life, and it's a nod to Starbucks as Barron and his mom LOVE to go to Starbucks. 
Although he can count to 20 and count individual items very well, this page will still be fun for him with the tea bag that comes in and out and snaps on the page, the strawberries can be added to the pink frappucino (there's velcro behind the ruffly ribbon "whipped cream". And under cup number 2, there are two coffee beans hiding in the cup cozy! Well, for Pete's sake! I just notice I forgot to blanket stick the right side of the cozy! 

Off to a great start....Next up is a pirate page with a treasure chest, an authentic looking pirate map and treasure booty AND a message to Barron in a bottle!

Thanks to Imagine Our Life, this is going to be a really really cool quiet book, if I do say so myself!

See you later....Gotta get back to my sewing!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SH-H-H-H! A Quiet Book for a Little Grandson Part I

I've changed gears again in my crafting room. Never a dull moment....Decided to make a quiet book for my little grandson, who is now three years old. I WAS going to make an ABC book, but since I procrastinated, he already knows his letters of his alphabet and most of the sounds that each letter makes! He's one smart cookie and he is growing so fast, and gaining knowledge so fast, I need to hurry up and make this little book before he outgrows it! So, here's how I got started....

I researched Pinterest, a fantastic place for ideas. But I'm terrible at thinking up my own designs, so I have to go looking at other people's ideas or patterns and get permission to make them if I'm going to sell them. I found a favorite designer, Stephanie, who has a blog and has done a TON of quiet book pages. She sells commercial licenses and posts freebie pages for quiet books and activities on her blog, Imagine Our Life, if you want to just make one book for yourself. I'm definitely going to purchase some commercial licenses, should I decide to make a quiet book and put it in my shop on Etsy, JeanBeanGifts.

Making a quiet book is a BIG undertaking, and it's not cheap! My first quiet book I made in the seventies for my little girls. It was an ABC book made from thin muslin pages. It was called 26 Lively Letters and it came out in 1977, right around the time my girls were babies and in the terrible twos. It had a velcro banana that you peeled back, it had a guitar with elastic cord strings, it had a vinyl shoe with really grommets and shoelaces... A lot of felt, a lot of supplies, a LOT of time went into that. I actually found the original book on Etsy and bought it, thinking I would duplicate it for my grandson. Kerry, my youngest, said she played with the book for YEARS! I don't remember that, but so happy that it provided many many hours of enjoyment.

When I got it in the mail, I was so disappointed at how dated all the pages looked. Did I really want to make a book that looked old from the start? I wasn't sure. There were still some wonderful ideas for interactive pages, so I kept it, if nothing more than for a memory blast to the past for my daughters. But I may incorporate a couple ideas, we'll see....

But--I really wanted to do something much more current so I turned to the internet. Now, THIS is what I'm talking about! Check out Pinterest and type in "Quiet Books" and WOW! So many great ideas! Here's a link....

So I got started on the cover.....Two pieces of complementary fabric cut about 28 1/2" long by 12" deep. I sandwiched fusible interfacing between the two layers of fabric, wrong sides to the fusible interfacing, then applied the fabric binding all around the edges. I didn't use bias binding just to make it easier on myself. I could have made things a LOT easier by sandwiching the layers so that I could have turned them inside out and had seamed edges but I forgot to do that after fusing the interfacing! But I love doing binding, I really do, so I didn't mind putting a binding on the edges like a quilt. I folded the cover in half and then inserted grommets on the front and back. The finished cover measures 14" X 12" after being bound. I love this lizard fabric! It was left over from another project.

I sewed a 1" webbing strap onto the cover, leaving enough extra webbing hanging out of the buckle so that the thick felt pages can still be contained. I measured extra webbing to add a little loop to the webbing for a carrying handle. Hope you can see that in the photos. I stitched the carrying handle down on the two sides, at the "binding seam" reinforcing with extra stitching to make it very sturdy.  There isn't really a binding seam on this cover as it is just one long piece of fabric folded in half, but that's where I put the handle. 

I did not realize that there is a right side and a long side to the plastic buckle. When I inserted the webbing strap through the side of the buckle, I didn't check to make sure that the OTHER end would go through the buckle and pull snug to a stop on the teeth of the buckle. I merrily sewed the buckle strap several times in two different places to make SURE that this buckle would never detach from the cover. THEN I pulled the strap around to buckle it and discovered the attaching buckle strap just pulled right through the buckle hole and right on out. WHAT THE HECK? The buckle was upside down. I had to patiently rip out all my double and triple stitching on the buckle strap and boy, was that difficult to see on the webbing! So test your buckle strap before sewing down and make sure the loose end strap doesn't pull right out of the buckle.....Sigh.....

My inside pages are double layered felt, a 9 X 12 backing piece and a 9X 12" front piece. Each layout is 9" X 9". After I make the layout, then I zigzag it to one piece of 9 X 12 felt, and then layer ANOTHER 9 X 12 piece of felt behind the layout. This makes the grommet section very sturdy. I suppose that's overkill, but if you are using less expensive felt like me, then the double layer is going to make the book last longer. I got my background cream felt at JoAnn Fabrics. It's 60" wide, so you get a lot of felt for your money. If you are using high quality felt such as 80% wool, 20% nylon, it's so thick, you could probably use just one layer to appliqué or zig zag your 9 X 9" design to it.

The grommet/large eyelet holes are tough to do. I don't have any kind of punch to punch holes in fabric. A 1/4" hole paper punch is the perfect size for the large eyelets, but mine doesn't reach far enough into the "spine" to make the hole. It does punch nicely on scrap felt so if it just had a longer reach into the fabric, it would work! So I've been using an awl to push through the two felt fabric layers, then very very carefully using fine tip micro blade scissors to enlarge the hole by cutting little snips around the hole made by the awl. And then I work and work to get the eyelets through the fabric and scrunched down so they can get a bite on the fabric when I use the little tool that comes with them. I bet someone could think up an easier way or knows of a tool that will punch through two thick felt layers. Crop-a-Dile punch, maybe? I'd love to hear from someone. I actually bought a leather punch tool kit with multiple hole sizes that is supposed to punch through fabric too, but it doesn't. Grrrrrrrr.......

That's enough for today....I will be sharing my actual completed pages in the next couple of posts.....Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It's a Super Bracelet! A Super Duper Bracelet No, It's a Superduo!

I have discovered Super Duo beads....They are a unique oval shape with two holes. They are quite small. They've been around for a bit, but after seeing a gorgeous bracelet using Super Duos on, called the Seashore-Kelp bracelet, I had to make one just like it. But instead of a five wrap, I made a double wrap so the cost would be less expensive. If you bought all your supplies from for this bracelet, it would cost about 27.00. Granted, for all those supplies, you might have enough for a second bracelet, if you cut down the number of wraps like I did. For a double wrap, I used way less super duos, which are 2.25 for a very small tube per color. I figured my costs for a double wrap were about 14.00 for the double wrap bracelet for the leather and the beads. The button was 6.50 just for one! I think this button could be found on Etsy or the internet more cheaply, but I didn't take the time to look. I will say the pattern was quite easy to follow and easy to make, if you have done laddering before.
The only problem I had was with the long lengths of Tuff cord, they sometimes would get tangled around themselves, and I had a dickens of a time straightening them out! At once point, the beading needles they suggest you use, looked like they shredded one of the thread strands passing the needles in and out of the beads. You have to be careful that the needle does not catch the first strand of thread on your second pass through the beads as you ladder them on the leather. I had to add thread WAY before I needed to because of that. Luckily, offers a really nice tutorial worksheet on how to add thread to laddering projects and I was able to continue with very little problem once I added more thread. If you look at the photo closely, you can see where I added the thread. They have some new tips out for laddering, so I am going to go take a look at them. I've got another bracelet I'm going to make with metallic pearl leather, and shades of blue superduos. I'll post it when I'm done.

I'm working on making lots of different things for a fall craft show, as Etsy seems to be hard to get views and sell on, or else I am not hitting the right things to market. SOMETHING is not quite right there after a nice little flurry of activity at Christmas! But, I LOVE making things, so I will just keep going with whatever strikes my fancy! My girls will have lots of things to give as gifts when I'm gone, that's for sure!

I've been making facecloths---LOTS of them! I'm coupling them with little handmade bars of soap from the Green Daffodil Company on Etsy and putting them in my shop. This pattern is from Simply Notable, a blog on the internet. The yarn I used is Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme, and Crafter's Secret Cotton from Hobby Lobby (not pictured). These are made with a size 7 needle, and measure about 9" across.
They look so cheery! You can use them as dishcloths if you'd rather. Simply Notable also has little mini makeup remover cloths, a smaller version of the facecloth petal cloth. They look like this--
photo courtesy of Simply Notable
Aren't they cute?  Simply Notable blog also has cute little heart shaped make up cloths knitted from 100% cotton, called Tawashis. Check them out! All these cloths are made from dishcloth yarn....Peaches and Creme, Sugar and Creme...etc.
Photo courtesy of Simply Notable

Now, I am making little bags from Atkinson Designs "Stowaways" pattern. The first one I made turned out great!

The second one I made was a disaster and I don't know why. Well, I think I may have an answer....I tried making a smaller bag using the same pattern. The bags are quite thick with the "In Control" body liner by the time you pinch in the corners and make the little boxy wedges on them and sew through about six thicknesses of fabric, lining, and body stabilizer. Somehow, my corners didn't line up properly, and not until I was completely done with binding the inside seams and it got time to turn the little pouch inside out, did I find out everything was off, a bit wonky as they say....Couldn't salvage any of it. I was so disgusted with myself after all that work and hand sewing the binding on the inside, I thought well, maybe I will offer it for 1.00 at the craft sale as a "second", or donate it to Goodwill. It's still usable, it just looks off kilter. It's an embarrassing end result for me, (I'm such a perfectionist!) so I think I'll just rethink what I'm going to do with it. A LOT of work went into this little bag....Sigh.....

When a mistake like that happens, I try very hard to say, "Oh, well, you haven't screwed up a project in a very long time, so move on, Jeannie! Come back to the pattern another day and try again with a different fabric and a little more care and see if you can get it right next time." What bothers me the most is, you can't buy this fabric locally from a fabric store, at least not where I am. It's a special fat quarter bundle, and I already screwed up another two fat quarters when I cut THEM the wrong way when I first started the pattern! But I really love these little bags, so I AM going to try another one. The pattern has several different sizes, but they are all small, making for some detailed work and bulky layers. 

One cute trick I learned from the pattern is for a zipper pull for these bags. Take a piece of old nylon zipper that complements your zipper or fabric and cut off the sides right up next to the coil. Cut a piece of coil about 7". Thread that skinny little piece of coil through the zipper tab hole, tie an overhand knot in  it, and you have a custom nylon little zipper pull!

Until next time......

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What the Heck is Locker Hooking?

I saw this book in Hobby Lobby one day, and it was calling my name.....
It had a gorgeous hooked canvas journal book cover on the front...I waited and waited for awhile, then I caved in and bought it....Theresa Pulido is the rug hooking artist/ author, and she has a website devoted to locker hooking with videos, free patterns and gorgeous fabric strips.

Locker hooking is a vintage method of rug hooking, where after you pull up 4-5 loops on a special long crochet hook with the hook at one end and a large needle eye at the other, you pull yarn through your loops and the loops are "locked" down to the canvas. They can't pull out. Here's what the needle looks like...Hobby Lobby has them....

For the "yarn" for hooking loops, you use fabric--you can use cotton fabric strips, you can use wool, and/or you can use a combination of fabric strips with specialty fibers, the possibilities are many. There are two sizes of rug canvas---5 mesh, and 3.75 mesh. The larger number mesh means that the holes to pull your loops through are smaller to the inch than the 3.75 canvas which has slightly larger holes. If you are wanting detail in your project, you would choose the smaller holed mesh, but honestly, I counted the squares per inch for both, and there's only one square difference between the two sizes. Hobby Lobby carries the larger, more common 3.75 mesh.

You cut or tear fabric strips...1/2" width is the usual size used if you are using batik fabrics, and 3/4" is the size for all other fabrics. Batiks are wonderful because the print is the same on both sides. Here I've torn my fabric strips and wound them on little scraps of cardboard so I don't have to stop as much during my project, I've got lots of choices ready to use.

If you use regular fabrics, then you will need to fold your strips in half because the print is only on one side of the fabric. There are several great YouTube videos that teach you how to join strips and tie up your loose ends as you work your way through a project, so a video is a better way to learn, I found for me. Theresa Pulido's website, Color Crazy, is another great way to learn how. Here is a basic idea of how to do it with still photos. My first project was a hot pad/trivet....This is what it's going to look like when I'm all done.

You cut your size canvas to be about 3/4" bigger all the way around than what you want the finished size to be. Next, you fold each of the four sides over, about two to three squares and crease it down. You whip stitch the edges with fabric strips, not using any twine or yarn just yet, you are just binding the raw edges down so they don't unravel. They still might do a little unraveling as you start hooking.

Next, you take a strip of fabric and hold it behind the rug canvas like this, ready to pull thru a hole with your special long crochet hook/needle eye. This is the back side. At the eye end of the crochet hook needle, you thread the eye with your locking yarn/cotton/twine, like a threaded needle. It just dangles off the back end of the crochet hook till you are ready to use it.
Now, you reach through the rug canvas hole, and pull up a loop on your hook, leaving it on the needle...

Then, you pull another loop with your crochet hook and leave it on the needle....Each time you pull up a loop, give a little tug with your finger on the back side, to keep the loops consistently the same height. You want them to be about a quarter inch tall. I find a tug from the back of the canvas with my finger holding the strip of fabric, keeps the loops about as tall as the width of the crochet hook, which is just perfect. The loops need to be tall enough so your locking yarn/cotton/twine can be pulled through, which is usually no problem as it's a lot skinnier than your fabric strips! I've pulled my locking medium through the last set of loops, so it's sitting there waiting, dangling off the back end of my crochet hook till I get my next cluster of loops on the hook.
I usually pull up about 4-6 loops, then it's time to slide the crochet hook to the left, like you are "threading" the loops, leaving the loops standing up in the canvas. Your locking medium, which is threaded at the right end of the hook, now slides through those standing loops, following the crochet hook path. Here, I just need to pull a little more with my crochet hook to tighten up the black yarn so it disappears between the loops. Sometimes you can see the locking medium and that's no big deal. The loops will close up a little more once the trivet/hotpad is done and the loops get a little "squished" from pots or dishes or candles sitting on them. I picked a black yarn since there are so many colors on this trivet. White might have been better, but white would show the rug canvas threads a little more, so I picked black. You could use any color yarn, as long as it's worsted weight or thicker. Hobby Lobby sells a stringy twine for locker hooking. I have some of that but have not tried it yet. The bulkier yarn helps "fill" the little loops, I think.

I chose to go back and forth for a linear look for my first one. Then, I decided to do a "spiral" design. I started around the outside edges and went round and round. After my sister saw my first one, she said, " I want FOUR!" so I was off and running....
Here is the second one, almost done.....
And, my set of four for my sis. Thanks, sis, for your order!

And that's the very basics of locker hooking! Let me know if you decide to try this....It's fun, but I will say it's hard on the hands and fingers...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Crafting the Days Away...Just Not Reporting Them!

I really am crafting up a storm...It's just the time gets away from me before I think about sitting down and writing about what I'm doing....But here's the latest...A patriotic beaded barrette just in time for July 4th! I won't be wearing it, my hair's too short, but it will be in my shop, JeanBeanGifts.
It took a long time to make! The first one usually does. I plan to make more, however, as it turned out so nicely! The pattern/tutorial is from Beadiful Nights online--"Beaded Hair Barrette". In her materials list, she had slightly smaller numbers on some of the supplies. Again, the size of the bead and how tightly you wrap will change things just a tad, perhaps. The supplies I used for this patriotic barrette were:

31-- round red beads, approximate size 6mm, with a decent size hole for multiple passes of wire. This is your base. 
40-- bicone beads, 4 mm  Swarovski would be terrific to use, but that would really shoot up the cost of materials, so I just used crystal acrylic bicone beads. These are your flower petals along the  middle.
10-- small seed beads, royal blue, size 11/0....These are the centers for the "flowers" in the middle
1-- three inch barrette for an adult, for a child, a two inch one would work well, I would think
4-5 feet of stringing wire, size .012...nylon coated stainless steel beading wire
22-- size 6/0 royal blue seed beads--these are used to fill in the spaces of your base around the outside edges. In hindsight, I might try 8/0, a slightly smaller size for fitting in between the bases on the outside edge. It was a little tight getting wire through in wrapping the outside 6/0's between the base beads.
4-- size #1 crimps

The cost will depend on the quality of the beads you use. The materials for this project were approximately $10.00, with using acrylic and artificial beads, wire and barrette.

The tutorial is terrific...It goes very slowly, and you can pause or speed it up, depending on how fast you catch on. Some tips about this project--I ran out of wire even though four feet was the recommended amount. I'm not sure what happened, but my beads might have been a tiny bit larger, I didn't pull the wire tight enough, who knows? I suggest using 5 feet of wire for wrapping. You have to have a LOT of patience, as at first the long length of wire wants to kink as you wrap, so you have to go slowly. A pair of jewelry tweezers is really handy for the last part of the wrapping, on the outside edge. I really liked using the crimp beads to contain the wires at each end, and they "pop" down into the barrette holes away from your hair so no snags!

My next project I have finished is a tee shirt quilt for my oldest daughter. She wanted a tee shirt quilt made from all her running shirts. She's quite the runner! I had made one previously for a friend of hers, but my skills are lacking in some departments of quilting, so with some trepidation, I tackled another tee shirt quilt, especially since it was for her! There are books on how to make tee shirt quilts and instructions online, but when you have a different size logos and numbers of shirts going on, then you are kind of on your own. I must have a problem with 1) measuring, 2) cutting accurately, or 3) sewing accurately, as my blocks did not match up perfectly when I assembled them. Phooey!  Here are the fabrics I chose for Kelly's borders and backing. Very Floridian! :-)

In the big photo, you can't tell easily that the squares don't match up, but in person, it's pretty obvious. This is only my third quilt I've ever made in my lifetime of 65 years, so I really don't know how or where I goofed! How do you make one of these? You have to cut the arms and sleeves and back off a tee shirt, interface it with lightweight iron on interfacing, then attach strips and piece it together. It's a miracle I managed to not waste a lot of fabric figuring out how to piece the three section back with two different fabrics, as I am severely math challenged! But here's the front:

My second problem was quilting the top. I don't have a long arm quilting machine. I made this quilt on a little Brother Runway machine and it was a challenge with this relatively big quilt (55 X 66") and my little Brother machine. I was going to have the local shop quilt the top for me, (.20? per inch), but they have to have a LARGE 4-6" margin around the edges for their machine to get a good grip on the quilt. Wouldn't you know, I trimmed my edges WAY too much and didn't have enough surface for them to work with my quilt. Phooey! I even knew what stitch pattern I wanted them to do--a bunch of different sized circles all over the quilt. You know, like when you are "running around in circles"? Thought that was a cute idea. But, nope! Plan B. So-o-o-o, I stitched in the ditch of all the squares' border strips instead. 

BUT--I am terrific at doing bindings, and my binding turned out awesomely on this quilt! You don't have to be so precise on binding, you just have to have enough inches made up to wrap around the quilt. I found a tip online, for bringing the two binding strips together as you come to the finish. 

Sew your binding strips all the way around leaving about a 10" tail loose at each end. Take the quilt off the machine and overlap your two ending strips the exact measurement of the width of your binding, as you lay the remaining unsewn part of your binding flat against your quilt. If your binding is 2 1/2" wide, like mine was, then you overlap one end over the other by 2 1/2". Then cut away the excess from one end. Then the strips are pulled up away from the quilt, crossed in a cross pattern and you sew the diagonal seam to join them. You lay them flat back down on the quilt, and the binding lays flat with no bulky tell tale finish seam. For a great tutorial on this, check out the Missouri Quilt Company on YouTube for the "Ultimate Quilt Binding Tutorial." Nice, eh? If I do say so myself! :-)

I chose to hand sew my binding to the back. Hem hand stitching is very relaxing to me and it just turns out better than sewing the binding on the back, wrapping it around to the front and machine stitching. My machine stitching NEVER even all the way around, and it usually ends up not catching part of the binding in the final machine sew, so that's why I like a machine sewn seam on one side and then hand hem my binding on the other.

On to some more projects! Lately, I've been ladder hooking, a very vintage rug hooking method that I recently discovered and thought was really cool...I will share that with you next time...If you'd like a sneak peek of my first locker hooking project, check out my "Fiesta" trivet in my Etsy shop-- Until next time.....Happy crafting!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Has It Really Been That Long?

Unbelievable how time got away from me....I have definitely been crafting, but still tremendously busy with life! Company came and went a couple of times, my cousin and his wife, and Kristi and her son (Eldy's daughter and little grandson). I traveled to Houston to visit my little grandson, then battled my way through three major sinus/cold infections this past winter...PLUS, a diagnosis of diabetes which I am currently trying very very hard to bring down my numbers without going on medication. So far I've lost ten pounds, but my numbers are all over the place! 

At any rate, here's what I have been doing as far as crafting...I WAS going to do a craft fair in March, but that's when I got sick, so postponed doing that and will gear up for a craft show this November...Looking at ideas for Mother's Day right now....

First, I decided to make some projects with painted and distressed mason jars....In shades of blues and melon colors. These were time chalk painted as a first coat, then two coats of acrylic on top of that, (hand painted) then sand and distress the jars, then finally, seal with polyurethane. I decided to add charms and scrapbook paper lid inserts to make mine a little different from all the other ones you see out there. I'm selling them with the option of having flowers with them or as a little bank jar. You can see them here.

I think I like the melon shades better...What do you think?
Then I saw a cute idea for a teacher gift for the end of the year using Ball mason jars. I might add a curled felt leaf to the lid top for this, I haven't decided yet.
I made a spring ruffled scarf from really pretty Red Heart Sashay yarn. Although these scarves were wildly popular for awhile, interest seems to have waned just a tad, but I still like this teal and shades of ocean blues for one.
I sold some earrings on a new Facebook site called, "Spectacular Earrings Auction" which I was happy about. Etsy is so hard to sell on! You have to constantly keep adding items and renewing existing items and costs mount up. Very hard to get views on there, but I'm still trying. These tulip end cap earrings sold quickly on the Facebook earrings site.
As Easter approached, I plopped a couple of knitted egg cozies into my Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts.
Both of these egg cozies go over those ugly plastic eggs that most parents end up buying or receiving at one time or another to fill Easter baskets.
I made the little bunnies with ears out of Red Heart Gumdrop line, which comes in wonderful confectionary colors of grape, raspberry, lime, turquoise and more. And they have wonderful flecks of random, eye popping colors that make the bunnies really fun to knit. The bunny pattern was free, and you can either leave the bottoms open to insert the plastic eggs, or you can stuff the bunnies with fiberfill and stitch the bottom closed.

I made some glammed up bobby pins for fun....I thought they would be pretty for a bride, and for bridesmaids, I would offer them in pretty pearl pastels to match dresses.....These are made with Swarovski pearls.
Then I decided to go a little mod and sewed a purple, black and white polka dotted pencil case. It went into my store as well.....
I added a pewter butterfly charm as a zipper pull. (not pictured)

One of my favorite projects of all during this time frame were fabric cookie bags. I made a couple of bags with contrasting lining, inserted a ready made cookie mix inside (Krusteaz) and attached a bamboo wooden spoon with it for decoration. I added a little hand stamped birdie tag to tell what flavor the cookie  mix is. The instructions are inside the bag. They haven't sold in the store, but when I take several of these to a show, when you see them in person, I think they will sell! You have a beautiful recyclable gift bag after you use the cookie mix!
One last project.....I saw a very talented lady on Etsy, Larissa Holland, selling beautiful felt work Christmas ornaments. Her shop is called MmmCrafts. I fell in love with this beautiful needle book, so I made one. It's all hand sewn and embroidered except for the zig zag finished page edges. I guess old crafts like hand sewing are going out of style, but this needle book will last a long time and it certainly is useful! It's in my shop, too...Even if things don't sell in my shop, they will eventually be used by me or my family will love to get something I've made....So I will send these things along eventually to someone who will appreciate them....
Until next time.....Might be awhile, but I'm still loving my crafts and making different things as I'm working hard at adding items to my little shop.....check back after awhile to see what I've been up to! Thanks for stopping by......