…and keep it company


Anyone who lived through the 1970s in America probably remembers the coca-cola commercial with the theme song “I’d like to buy the World a Coke, and keep it company…”, originally aired in 1971 (when I was 2, but I remember it well so it obviously stuck around for a while– here’s a refresher of the Christmas version:

I kept humming this song while I made this mug rug for Jill, in October’s Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild Swap:

Jill doesn’t drink coffee or tea, Diet Coke is her liquid of choice.  And she happens to be a big fan of foundation paper piecing.  I started by sketching the Diet Coke logo, and then free-hand, hand embroidering it:

Then I drew up the bottle, transformed it into a paper pieced foundation and got to piecing.  I tweaked it as I went, it’s not perfect, but it looks pretty good.  Then I cut into a Munki Munki coca-cola nightshirt I’ve had stuffed in my closet for a few years, and started piecing patchwork around the fussy-cut double decker bus:

The back:

Giving this to Jill was such a joy.  She made me this fabulous pillow in our last Guild swap, so I wanted to really wow her with something made especially for her.

FREE PAPER PIECING & EMBROIDERY PATTERN for the Diet Coke bottle Coming Soon!!

Happiness, delivered.


Yesterday I showed you the wonderful happy I received from Mary. Today, I’ll show what I sent to Cindy in Fresno, CA. Cindy makes all manner of fun selvage items, her most recent came in SECOND in a recent online contest, Texting while Sewing:

I’ve started collecting my selvages, but I had yet to make anything with them.  I knew I had to include something with a selvage for Cindy… but what?   I had seen this pincushion and sewing kit on someone’s blog recently, as part of the Zakka Sew-Along–suddenly I knew this was the item to create for Cindy and just how I would use the selvage!  I don’t own a copy of the book, so I made this up as I went along, and modified it to make it work for me.

The pincushion is filled with walnut shells (why?  They are inexpensive and readily available… and the crushed shells work like emery, keeping your pin and needle points sharp!)

Yep, I buy it at a pet store, a giant bag is under $10.00.  Fill your pincushion with a funnel, and stitch up the opening.  Easy as that.

The pincushion fits nicely inside this roll-up sewing kit, which has small pockets to hold your package of needles, thread, your English paper piecing hexies(!), your scissors, your thimble, etc…

Most of Cindy’a kit came from my scrap bin, except for the green “tree” print used for the binding and one end of the pincushion.  I chose that fat quarter because I had purchased it at Grubers last year, the same weekend I met Cindy for the first time.  The entire kit rolls up and ties nicely, for a fun take along sewing kit:

The band is attached, it is another piece of selvage dots (from a Dr. Seuss fabric as it had the brightest colors I could find!) and satin ribbon for the tie.  Enjoy, Cindy, I had a lot of fun making this for you!

p.s  HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN to my beautiful Goddaughter, Leah!  

(My God, how did sixteen happen?!?)


Sewing Studio Up-Do

(originally posted August 23, 2011)
It’s not really a redo, that was done last year, but this month, it got a definite up-do, or upgrade, anyway, with two great projects!

Today: Project #1, Making a Recessed Sewing Table (a Project ANYONE could do!)

I started with this, my Ikea bookcase and table that I’ve used for sewing for almost two years.

A shot of my studio in June 2010

But when I needed to do any quilting, especially free-motion quilting, I would pull out a little drop center table from JoAnn’s to put my machine in.  However, the Janome was too large to fit into the table from JoAnn’s.  And quilting with the machine too high was just too hard on my neck and shoulders to quilt for very long.  So… I traced the footprint of my Janome onto the table top, and my sweetie got a jigsaw and drill out,

and cut a big hole in the table.  We figured the worse that could happen is that we would ruin a $55 Ikea table, and have to replace it.  The core of the table was a paper cardboard honeycomb core, with two 1x3s running lengthwise for added support…

Sweetie added some more 1×3 strips to enclose the exposed core, added wood filler, sanded, primed, painted and eventually we added this shelf, attached with 4″ L-brackets to the table.  Here it is without the machine sitting in it:

and voila– A recessed sewing table, custom fit for my Janome Horizon! As you can see, there is extra space to the right of machine, that I allowed for access to the power cord, feed dog switch and power switch.  Remember to take that into consideration when determining the footprint of your own machine:

I removed the feet from the plexiglas table that came with my machine and made sure the machine would sit just high enough above the surface of the Ikea table to accommodate it–a perfect fit! If your machine doesn’t have a plexiglas insert, you can have one custom cut at a local hardware store, or glass shop.  Just make sure they have a very accuratetracing of the bed of your machine.

We finished this project on Saturday afternoon, and I spent much of Sunday sewing, it was such a pleasure to have the machine at the correct height for a change!  I think I could sew an entire day without feeling any strain in my shoulders.  A very nice UPGRADE, indeed.

Of course, once we finished I needed to clean the shelves and rearrange everything (sawdust everywhere!) but they needed cleaning and reorganizing anyway.

DIY Tutorials for the other parts of my sewing studio:

Project #2; a sassy new cutting table with storage!

DIY Design Wall anyone can make!

Big Board Ironing Board Tutorial

Fabric Storage (Stash Management)

Tutorial: Ironing BIG Board

At our house, my sweetie irons. I do. not. iron. clothes. (unless I absolutely have to–say, when he is out of town). But, pressing fabric and seams is a part of quilting and sewing, and I have no problem with pressing. It’s ironing that I loathe. Who’s with me here?!?

Anyway, I’ve never particularly liked pressing fabric on a traditional ironing board; that tapered/pointed end is counter-productive. So I made myself a Big Board:

First, I bought a piece of MDF, and cut it to 17″ x 48″.

Then, I covered it with Bo-Nash Ironslide 2000 (if you don’t have this on your pressing station, do yourself a favor and get it!  You can thank me later).  This comes 19″ wide, hence why my board is cut to 17″.  The IronSlide 2000 was attached to the MDF with it’s self stick backing (you could reinforce it with double stick tape, if desired).

Finally, I wrapped it with a piece of 54″ wide “PURE” canvas, by Sweetwater for Moda.  This is then stapled into the MDF from the backside.  I posted in detail here how I do this “wrap and staple step” to get a nice clean edge and tight corners.

The BIG Board sits atop the traditional ironing board, and greatly increases your surface area for pressing.

Here’s the finished product, modeled by my sweetie pressing a fat quarter, ’cause sometimes he does that for me, too.  😉

Easy DIY Design Wall

In all my years of quilting, I’ve only ever used a design wall when sewing at a retreat or a friend’s home.  I’ve often referred to my floor as my “high-falootin’ design wall” here on the blog.  I decided it was about time I had something I could hang blocks and WIPs from to stand back and get a good look at…

To make your own, all you need is:

  • 1-4 pieces of 32″ x 40″ foam core (foamboard) depending on how much wall space you have.
  • 1 yard of white or pale grey cotton flannel (PRE-WASH) per foamboard
  • Duct tape
  • Sticky back velcro (approximately a half yard per board)
  • Kitty to help with the project (optional)

ImageStart by laying a yard of white cotton down on a flat surface, make sure all fuzzies and threads are removed.  Lay the foam core board face down (if one side is smoother or nicer than the other, use that as the face).  Start at two opposite sides, pulling taut and taping edges of flannel around the back side with duct tape, approximately 3″-4″ at a time.  Conitnue to tape these two opposing sides until you get about 2″ from each edge.  At that point, move to the other two opposing sides, and repeat the process. ImageThe corners are finished off by tucking the excess fabric in at a diagonal, just like you do when wrapping a present.  Secure corners well with duct tape.  Cut 9 pieces of sticky-back velcro approximately 2″-3″ long.  Place one at each corner, one at each side center, and one in the middle (use the white rectangles in photo as a placment guide)  When placed, remove the plastic that covers the sticky part, line it up where you want it on your wall or door, and press firmly in place.  (Don’t worry, the adhesive can easily be removed later when you take the boards down with Goo Gone).  Here is my first board finished, attached to a clost door in my studio:

ImageI decided pretty quickly that I was going to need more than one, that wall space to the left of the door is just the right size for a second board… so… before long I had a second board hung and was making good use of it:ImageIt filled fairly quickly with the scrap sewing I was doing last week, these strips are going together with a couple of different projects in mind:ImageI’m so happy to have a space I can just walk away from, leave what I’m working on there, and not have to worry about them being in anyone’s way, cats sleeping on them, etc…

Thanks for finding your way to my new website, I’m working to build the number of followers back up, the soone it gets back over 200, the better the giveaway celebration will be!  Just click “follow” up there at the top…

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