Saturday, October 3, 2015

October Mug Rug Tutorial is Ready!

Here it is! The first monthly mug rug tutorial. You can find the tutorial over at So Sew Easy by clicking HERE.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Week in the Smokies

We just returned home from spending a week in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. Our family has had such a rough year that it was so nice to kick back and enjoy our surroundings. No work, no bills, no television, no daily humdrum. Of course our cabin had a TV, free WiFi, and cell service, but we really didn't use much of it. The only TV shows we had on were Mickey Mouse for my granddaughter, but even then, it was just a couple times. We spent the days doing touristy things, then we returned home to our cabin for quick and easy dinners, relaxation, hot tub fun, and lots of laughs. We even went for a celebration anniversary dinner on the last night there. There were a total of eight adults and my two year old granddaughter. What fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Scrap Buster - Earbud Case or Tiny Coin Purse Tutorial

There are a gazillion zipper bag tutorials out there and I have made many of them. When I wanted one to fit my earbuds, I couldn't quite find exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to be the perfect size to fit my earbuds. I don't like to over clutter my purse, I wanted something flat, and I wanted a ring attached so I could have the option to clip it to my purse, key ring, etc. This case is very small but you could also use it for a small coin purse, or as a place to hold your flash drives and extra SD cards. The nice thing about this pattern is that you can easily make it any size you want. Just remember that your zipper must extend at least an inch or an inch and a half past the edges on each side. The finishes size of mine is 3 X 4 inches, and the top stitching around the outer edges takes up some of the inside space, which can be omitted if you prefer. Let's begin!

Supplies to make one zipper bag
Scrap fabric for outside, lining, and optional tab
Scraps of fusible interfacing (I used fusible fleece interfacing)
Thread to match fabric
9 inch or larger zipper
1 inch metal ring (optional)
General sewing supplies such as cutting tools, scissors needles, pin, sewing machine, iron.

Note: If your fabrics will be pre-washed, do not use fabric softener. It can prevent your fusible interfacing from sticking.

1.  Make a paper template to measure 4 1/4" X 5". Remember that this is a tiny case so if you want yours bigger, this is the time to change the measurements. Just remember that your zipper must be bigger.

Fold the paper template into quarters and round off the corners. Using this template, cut two pieces from the outer fabric, two pieces from the lining fabric, and two pieces from the fusible interfacing. You are also going to cut a piece 2" X 2" fabric piece for the tab if you are going to add the ring.

2.  Take one of each of your fabric and interfacing pieces and fold in half lengthwise, then cut down the center. You will now have one whole piece and two half pieces of the outer fabric, the lining, and the interfacing.

3.  Iron the fusible interfacing to the backside of each of the outer bag pieces. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the interfacing you are using. If any of the interfacing extends beyond the fabric, just trim it away.

4.  Fold the optional tab fabric (2" X 2" square) in half, then fold the the two long edges in to meet the fold in the center and iron. Stitch along each folded edge.

5.  Sandwich your zipper between one of the outer half fabric pieces and the lining fabric pieces, meeting the long edges. The right sides of the fabric will be facing each other, and the right (top) side of the zipper will be facing the outer bag fabric. Make sure that the two fabric pieces match up evenly, and that the zipper is extending beyond each end. Also, your zipper slider is in the extended area and not between your two fabric pieces.

6.  Using your zipper foot, stitch the zipper and fabric pieces together 1/4 inch away from the edges. Flip the fabrics out and away from the zipper, lining them up so they match up, and press. Pin to secure. Take back to the machine and top stitch close to the fold. Repeat these steps with the remaining halves of the fabric by attaching them opposite of these two. Be sure to make them line up with the fabrics that are already stitched.

7.  Pull your zipper slider down so that it is a little more than halfway. You will need this opening to turn your case right side out. Trim the ends of the excess zipper pieces away.

8.  You will use your multi-purpose foot to stitch the the rest of the case. First, stitch the ends together so that the open ends of the zipper will meet each other. Keep your stitching within 1/4 inch from edge. You don't want the zipper teeth to overlap each other, you want them to meet. and remain flat.

9.  If you are using the tab and ring, you will attach that now. Fold the tab in half over the ring and stitch the ends together to secure. Place this piece at the edge that you just stitched closed. Stitch to the edge just under 1/4 inch from the edge.

10.  With the right sides facing out, and the interfacing on the inside, pin your large outer fabric piece to your lining fabric piece. Baste around the entire thing just under 1/4 inch from the outer edge.

11.  With the outer pieces facing each other, place this piece together with the zippered piece. You will notice that the fabric making up the bottom of the case is slightly bigger than the the zippered piece. That's OK, you'll be cutting it away later. With the zippered piece on the top, stitch around the case 1/4 inch away from the edge of the zippered piece. Make sure that your tab and ring are laying flat so they won't interfere with your stitching.

12.  Trim around the entire case about 1/8 inch away from stitching. Turn case right side out through the opened zipper, and iron. Top stitch all the way around the case. If you want this case to be a wee bit bigger, or you prefer the puffy look instead of the flat look, you can omit the top stitching. Enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Are We Reaching the End of The Shopping Mall?

Back in the day when my mom took us shopping for school clothes seemed to be the beginning of the mall's popularity. At that time we only had two choices. By the time I was a teenager, they seemed to pop up all over the place. The day after Thanksgiving was a special treat because all the ladies in the family would meet at my mom's house and we'd head to Woodfield Mall Illinois. It was a blast! We also thought it was a treat because the malls had extended hours for Christmas. Back when I was much, much younger, they opened at eight instead of nine or ten, and no one camped out in the freezing cold at two in the morning to get that camera for $85 instead of $200. Crazy! And there is no way you'd catch me near any store the day after Thanksgiving anymore! That is now my decorating day so I don't have to face the crowds.  

Now it seems like many are closing down while the big box stores and outlet stores are popping up all over the place. The area where I live is growing like crazy with stores and restaurants. Our poor mall only has two stores left, Carson's and Sears. Penney's just closed their doors there and I'm wondering how much longer the two remaining stores will be there. After all, they opened a Kohls, OfficeMax, Ross, Hobby Lobby, and many others just across the street and down the road. 

It seems like the malls and cute little shopping towns are sliding slowly into history. In the photos above you will see my latest trip to the mall. It was actually eerie. It's the mall I mentioned that has only two stores left. All my special shopping days will remain in my memory and my heart forever!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A New Spin on Fusible Applique

I actually owe credit for this idea to my husband. He took one of my Christmas towels to his work room without my knowledge and did some experimenting. He cut roughly around the applique and spray glued it to a piece of wood. He then took it to his scroll saw and cut it out as close as he could get to the outside stitching. When he showed it to me I couldn't believe what he did! It was so cute. Instead of getting mad at him for taking my Christmas hand towel and cutting it apart, I gave him a couple of my own appliques to cut out. He came back about 20 minutes later and I was in awe. My creative mind is now spinning!

They look so cute sitting up on a shelf. How cute would this be to drill a hole in the tops and make Christmas ornaments from your holiday appliques! Another cute idea is to make them up for all holidays and make pretty garlands. I've heard of people fusing them to card stock and making greeting cards from them, but this is another fun and creative way to use them. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I finally got around to cleaning out the home office, and that's when I came across these gems. When your kids write you notes, you save them forever. I have every note they ever wrote me when they were small, but these are when they were much, much older. When I first moved into an apartment after my divorce in 2006, both of my kids lived with me. My daughter was the first to move out a few months later, then my son moved out about a year after that. During the time they both lived with me, they would write me notes and in these notes, they argued over who loved me more and who was the better child. One would start the note, then the other would add to it, and so on. One note had about four additions to it. I will cherish these forever!

Along with the notes I came across this picture above. It was taken of me and a little friend about five years ago when I was working full time at the animal clinic. Back then we took in orphaned fawns. An animal control officer brought this one in when she took this picture. We still rehab wildlife but no longer take in deer. Between pets, humane societies, exotics, and wildlife, you never know what is going to come through that door. Do you see why I like to fill in occasionally now so my co-workers could get some time off?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Free Mug Rug Patterns for Everyone! Coming Soon!

I have great news for my mug rug lovers. Starting in early October, I'll be guest posting at So Sew Easy. Once a month I'll be posting a mug rug tutorial that will be appropriate for that month.

I was so excited when Deby approached me with the idea since I've been an admirer of her designs and her website for a long time. She's such a nice lady, I just know I'll enjoy working with her.

Each tutorial will be exclusively designed for So Sew Easy and you can only find them there. But don't worry, I'll make sure you know when they are published by posting an announcement on my Instagram, Google Plus, Sher's Creative Space Website, Pinterest, and right here on the blog. You can follow me on any of those, or you can sign up for my VIP Club, where you always get special deals and the latest news from my very own studio about twice a month. 

While you're waiting for the first one, why not stop by So Sew Easy and see all the great tutorials are waiting for you now.

Back to the studio! Working on my first one, a Halloween edition.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Midwest Scroll Saw Trade Show

Who knew that going to the Midwest Scroll Saw Trade Show would turn into a new passion! A few months back the hubster, who is an extremely talented woodworker, came across an ad in one of his magazines for a scroll saw show. He was so excited about it that he suggested we get on the Internet and find a hotel for the weekend. I'll admit that at first I was a little reluctant, all I could think of was rows and rows of scroll saws. Then I figured, why not, this could be fun and I've never been to Dubuque, besides, whenever I want to go somewhere for a weekend or vacation, the hubster is always willing to go. I couldn't have been more wrong. It wasn't just scroll saws at all. They had classes and a display of some of the most talented artists you'll ever see. They also sold patterns and woods. It was nothing like I had expected. I had a great time. I even bought two scroll saw patterns. I also bought some wood. My first project will be this intarsia sleeping kitty cat then this cute yorkie. The thought had crossed my mind to turn some of my own clipart and applique images into some Intarsia patterns. First things first, I have to practice, practice, and practice so I can make some nice samples.

The tiger in the photo above was my favorite piece from the show but it's quite complicated for a beginner.

While we were there we stayed at the Grand Harbor Resort and Water Park. In the bottom photo you will see what a beautiful view we had from our room. If you ever visit Dubuque this is a great place to stay. You can park your car and walk everywhere. There is a casino (we actually came out ahead for a change) across the street and a cute winery (where we bought a bottle of wine for the room) within a five minute walk down the river walk. 

It was a nice getaway but tomorrow is Monday so it's back to the studio for me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wedding Weekend

What an exciting weekend! On Saturday I got a new daughter. My son Bryan and his now wife Heidi, were married in a beautiful garden ceremony. Later a reception followed with good food, good friends, family, dancing, and of course spirits! I got an extra treat because I got to have Baby Paige for three nights!

Be sure to notice the bottom of the first photo. Somebody stole the show!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

FREE Poufy Jewelry Bag Tutorial with Eight Pockets!

Here is a super easy and quick tutorial to make this fun jewelry bag just in time for travel season. I made a bunch of these for all the ladies in the family about twenty years ago. Some of them, myself included, still use it today. It's a pretty simple drawstring bag with a twist. You'd be amazed at how much jewelry it holds! Inside there is a large, padded center and eight pockets. When you pull the drawstring to close it up, everything stays in it's place. Let's get started!

3/8 yard fabric "A" or two fat quarters  (outside of bag and pockets)
3/8 yard fabric "B" or two fat quarters (lining for bag and pockets)
2 yards of 1/4" wide ribbon or thin cording
2 1/2" round facial buff sponge (found in cosmetic dept)
--You can also cut out a 2 1/2" circle from batting if you prefer
Thread to match fabric

Facial sponges I used

General sewing supplies such as needles, pins, measuring tools, cutting tools, fabric marking pencils, sewing machine, iron

1.  Iron fabrics.

2.  Cut one 13" circle and one 11" circle from each fabric. Take the large circle made from fabric "B" and fold it in half. Mark the fold at each edge with a pin. With the right side facing up, measure 5/8" down and draw a 1/2" long line. Fold the circle in fourths and cut a tiny snip (about 1/4") at the corner. It is important that this is a tiny snip because it is only for turning your fabric right side out. When open, it shouldn't be any bigger than an inch opening. Repeat the snipped corner with fabric "B".
3.  Using a sewing machine make a buttonholes on the 1/2" line that you made on the large circle. I like to make my buttonholes using the manual method instead of the buttonhole foot because I feel like  I have more control. Using a seam ripper, make the slit in the buttonhole. I place a pin at the top so that I don't cut through the stitching at the end. The correct placement of the buttonhole should be 5/8" from the outer edge of the circle. 

4.  Place your large circles together with right sides together and stitch all the way around the circle, 1/2" from the edge. Trim away excess seam allowance about 1/8" from stitching. Turn right side out through the square and iron. Repeat this step with the smaller circles. Top stitch around each circle 1/8" from outer/seamed edge.
5.  Fold the smaller circle into fourths and mark the exact center on the side that matches the outside of the bag (fabric "A"). Lay the circle on a flat surface with that side up. Draw lines to make eight sections just like you would if you were cutting a pizza. Center this piece over the bigger circle with the bigger circles lining side facing up and secure with a couple of pins.
6.  Place the buff sponge on top in the exact center. Draw around the sponge then slip the sponge between the two circles and secure with a pin. Be sure to be using a disappearing or water soluble marking pin or a chalk that you can brush away. Take to the sewing machine and stitch on that circle. I found the zipper foot worked best for this part.
7.  Stitch on the straight lines from the edge of the sponge to the edge of the smaller circle. Remove all the markings when finished. You've just made your padded center and eight pockets.
8.  Thread the ribbon through the two buttonholes using a small safety pin. Insert the ribbon into the first buttonhole, then come out the second one. Pull out the excess ribbon leaving a loop sticking out where you started about three inches in size. Insert the ribbon back into the hole you just came out of and thread all the way around. Bring it back out through the hole that doesn't have the loop. You will have one buttonhole with the "loop" and the other hole will have two tails. Tie the two tails into a knot about four or five inches from the bag and cut away the excess. Pull the loop and the tails you just made to close the bag!

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