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. 
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