Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Many of You Remember the Old Days?

What an exciting age we live in! Back when I was a stay at home mom and I needed some inspiration or wanted to make some gifts or holiday decorations, I loaded up the kids and headed to the library. I would easily spend a whole morning there looking through books and magazines. I'd make copies of patterns and check out loads of books. I would do the same thing for recipes, nature photography, and decorating. I even went as far as bribing picking up the kids a Happy Meal on the way home since they were really good.

At the present time I've been posting quite a few tutorials on my Facebook page, as well as my Pinterst boards. Many of these, I actually plan to make. Some sooner than others. There are some brilliant and creative people out there and I thank them all for sharing these fun projects and ideas with us.

I also remember my old designing days. Back in 1993 when I had my first pattern published, I had to type it up on a typewriter, then ran to the library to make myself a copy before mailing it in a self addressed, stamped envelope. But not before I had to buy film, load it in my camera, take photos, hope they were great, and take them for developing. In the earlier days, they didn't even have 1 hour developing. Today, all my publishers accept emails and digital photos.
We are so lucky to live in an age where there are tutorials (free and to purchase) at our fingertips! Oh boy! I'm going to be busy!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Project 365 - Week 34

Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 232 - Look what arrived in my mail today! I've never used this before but looking forward to playing.

Day 233 - One of the best things about living in the Midwest is freshly picked produce from the local farmers. This corn was delicious!

Day 234 - Just added this candle jar tutorial on the blog! You can find it here.

Day 235 - Like my aura? Actually I went outside to photograph a tree that is turning red way too soon and all I got were foggy pictures. For fun I pointed my camera down at my foot and a fog was surrounding my leg!

Day 236 - One of the pictures I always keep on phone so that I'm sure to get the right bulbs when I need them. I use my tart burners everyday. You can read about this handy tip here.

Day 237 - Love this old fashioned twine holder! My daughter bought it for me a couple years ago as a gift. The scissors (shown at bottom of pic) slip inside the spindle on the holder for safe keeping.

Day 238 - I picked up some hours at the clinic on Tuesday. People are taking vacations so I'm helping out here and there. This kitten was there for routine surgery. What a cutie! We all had fun playing with her.

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Way to Use Your Cellphone

I'm sharing a handy trick that I have used for years, even before I had a smartphone. Whenever I would go shopping I always want to make sure that I'm getting the right size or style of what I need. Take for example the bulbs in the photo, they are used in my two tart warmers that I have in my house. Last time I went shopping for one, there were so many to choose from that I ended up not buying one because I wasn't sure which one I needed. When I got home I placed a towel on the counter (so the bulbs wouldn't roll off), then added a tape measure and placed my bulbs next to it. I also jotted down the wattage because it was close to impossible to read from the bulbs. I had to use a magnifying glass. I then took a picture, as you can see, and I keep it stored on my cellphone. I even went one step further and added it to my Evernote files so if my phone were to die and I lost my photos, I'd still have access to that picture. You can also use your online photo albums, google drive, your cloud backup, there are hundreds of options.

Even if you don't have a smartphone, as long as your phone has a camera, you can use this little trick. If you carry a camera in your purse, you can do this too, just don't delete these pictures.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Turotial - Baby Food Jar Candles for Halloween

Hand painted glassware is all the rage right now. I've come up with this super simple, quick, easy and cute craft. I'm so blessed to have a grand baby in my life so I use baby food jars. If you don't know anyone with a baby, any small jars will do. You can even purchase small, plain, votive candle cups very inexpensively at your local craft, sewing, or superstores. They make great gifts for family, friends, teachers, hostesses, or yourself as well!

Baby food jars, plain candle cups, or any small jar
ENAMEL paints, usually sold by the acrylic paints
~white, black, orange, yellow, green
Ribbon, twine, or raffia for the rim
Paint brushes
Palette, plastic lid, or paper plate
A couple (soft) paper napkins
Cookie sheet to hold jars while baking
Tea light candles or votive candles

Always start with a squeaky clean glass and keep it that way. Before you begin painting an area, be sure to wipe it down with alcohol and if you accidentally touch that area during painting, wipe that spot again with the alcohol. The oils from your hands can actually prevent your paint from permanently sticking to the glass. Sometimes it's easiest to hold the glass with your hands or fingers on the inside. At some places you may find that you want to add a second coat. It’s also very important to allow paint to completely dry between coats and color changes. Be sure to wash and dry your brushes thoroughly after each color or between coats.

Note: If you are recycling a glass food jar, if you soak the jar in hot soapy water, the label should peel right off. If you find that glue is left behind, the best thing to use is GooGone which can be purchased about anywhere. If you don't have any, or don't want to buy any, you can use a paste made up of cooking oil, baking soda, and salt. The GooGone is just so much easier and quicker.

1.  Now that your jar is squeaky clean and free from fingerprints, you can paint your first coat using the enamel paint. I find that it's best to place and hold the jar from the inside with my non painting hand. This way fingers stay off the glass. Paint first coat as follows:

Pumpkin - orange
Ghost - white
Monster - green
Candy Corn - I painted the bottom and top first, then the middle stripe after the others dried.

Hint #1 - If you want perfect lines on the candy corn jar, you can use painters tape. As you can see in the photos, I started out using it, but I found it difficult to use so I tossed it.

Hint #2 - If you aren't happy with your painting at any point in the painting process, just wash the jar and the paint will come right off, then start all over again. Once the jars are cured or baked, this will not work.

2.  After the first coat is dry you can paint the details, which are very simple if using the faces that I chose. If you want to add a second coat to the first coat you can do that, but I chose not to because I like to see more of the candle glow.

If you don't like my faces, search the Internet and find some you like. The ones I chose are so simple and I'm not the best painter, so I like simple details. It's just very important to let the coats completely dry before painting too close or on other colors.

3.  Once the glasses are completely dry, you will have to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for on the bottle of the paint brand you are using for finishing. For example, for the brand of paint I used, I was to allow my paint to dry for 48 hours. After that, I set them in a cool oven, I set the temperature to 325 degrees, bake 30 minutes, turn oven off, let them cool down in the oven before removing.

4.  After they have cooled off, you can add your ribbon, raffia, or twine to the rim. Pop in a candle and enjoy!

After they are baked, they can be washed. The bottle of paint I used said they are top shelf dishwasher safe, but I would still wash by hand.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Project 365 - Week 33

Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 225 - Babysat baby Paige. She has so much fun with her dog! They just adore each other.

Day 226 - Found these in one of my storage boxes. Notice the prices! One had a copyright date of 1966 on the back.

Day 227 - It has been a bad year for flies. They are bad everywhere. Glad these are on the outside!

Day 228 - Doing a little Halloween and Christmas in the studio this week.

Day 229 - Working on a tutorial which will be ready soon.

Day 230 - Baby Paige's mommy took this picture. She's now ten months old!

Day 231 - Christmas time at Hobby Lobby.

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sher's Blog Tutorials - Find Them Easily Now!

A few days ago I was looking through my tutorials and dawned on me that it was taking forever to find the ones that I was looking for without going through my search. This has got to be difficult for my readers, especially if they they just want to browse through them to see what all I have. So I fixed the problem!

You can now find all my tutorials at a glance! I put them all on a tutorial board on my Pinterest account. From now on, you can see all my tutorials by clicking the "Tutorials" tab at the top of my blog, or you can save the page in your favorites for later.

Next, I'm going to work on the recipes. I'm going to be busy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Magazine Subscriptions that will Trick You

I have to tell you, these magazine companies are getting so greedy the past several years. When they send you a subscription notice, you really need to investigate. At our house, we get a lot of magazine subscriptions. We get everything from cooking, to woodworking, to crafts, and general reading material. Above is one example. I've blocked out the name because we really like the magazine, and it really doesn't matter, because many of them are doing it.

Notice where it says "Subject to Expiration." At first glance it makes you think that is when your magazine expires. But no, it's when this special deal expires. About an inch below in much smaller print, you'll find the code to the actual expiration date of the magazine subscription. Just think if it were one that didn't post the expiration date. And what is with the free gift subscription? It confused me right off the bat! So tricky in so many ways, especially when people today are so busy and constantly multitasking, they don't always read every line. And doesn't "Customer Notice" make it sound like something you need to know? We have some magazines that send us renewal notices several times a year.

Another trick some of the use is they don't put the expiration date on your issue. This can be confusing. I'm on to them now! I keep a file in my Evernote notebooks (you can use a spreadsheet, word document, or anything you like) so I can keep track of all my payments that I make to renew. I note if it's a digital issue or a paper issue, the payment method, the date I paid it, how many issues, and the new expiration date. When you get as many as we do, that's the only way to keep track.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Project 365 - Week 32

Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 218 - Saw these beautiful flowers in a neighbor's yard. The white flowers are about six inches across, maybe bigger. I have no idea what they are called because I'm a horrible gardener.

Day 219 - I saw this guy on our walk today. We have so many deer where we live. 

Day 220 - Stopped by the hospital for routine blood work. I was starving because I had to fast.

Day 221 - Bought some more reusable grocery bags so I can help make a little dent in helping the environment. Going to pick up some more today while I'm out.

Day 222 - I'm sure that all my blogging buddies recognize this precious face by now. Yes, it's baby Paige! Can you believe she's going to be a year old in two months?

Day 223 - The carpets got cleaned today and the dining room chairs were on the table so of course Punkie had to investigate!

Day 224 - A new project in the works! This one will be a gift.

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Monday, August 11, 2014

Recycling - Doing My Part

I was listening to my favorite talk radio station (WGN-Chicago) several days back and they were talking about plastic grocery bags. They are trying to pass something (or maybe they already did) so that within the next couple of years, they will be done away with. I thought it sounded like a great idea! They do so much more harm to the environment, as well as the wildlife than people can even imagine.

So, I've decided that every grocery shopping trip I'm going to pick up a few reusable ones and use those from now on. If I would have known that they were only 50 cents, I would have bought more last time. I also have a bunch of fabric tote bags I can use. I'm planning on keeping several in all my vehicles, and in the house.

Gotta run, heading to the doctor, then running errands. Gotta grab my bags!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cellphone Case or Tablet Sleeve Tutorial

I love my daily walks! If I'm going it alone I always take my cellphone so I can listen to audio books. They sure do make that 45 minutes fly by! I created this very quick and easy cellphone case so I can have my hands free. It even has a little pocket on the outside so you can stash your ear-buds (headphones), ID, house key, or even your charging cable. I also used this same exact pattern to create a sleeve for my e-reader (aka tablet PC). I made two of them in an afternoon, about 3 1/2 hours. You customize it to fit your device, and it's so easy!

1/4 yard light to med weight fabric for outside, strap, tab, pocket (strap is optional)
Scraps of fabric for lining
Scraps of fusible fleece     
Scraps of med weight fusible interfacing
3/4" piece of 3/4" wide, sew-in velcro (or a large snap if you prefer)
     can cut a bigger piece of velcro if making a bigger flap for an e-reader or tablet
Thread to match fabric

General sewing supplies will also be needed such as pins, needles, cutting tools, marking pens, sewing machine, and iron.

*If you aren't making the strap, you can use a fat quarter or scraps instead of the 1/4 yard.

*In place of the fleece, you can use 100% cotton quilt batting, but you're going to want to put in a few rows of machine quilting stitches to keep the layers from shifting during use or cleaning. Be sure to use the 100% cotton batting because a thicker quilt batting will cause too much bulk and your device may not fit inside properly. I also used a walking foot when I used the cotton batting. If you are worried about the batting causing too much bulk, causing a tighter fit, you can always add 1/4 inch to the cutting dimensions. When making my tablet sleeve, I used the cotton batting, and I used the instructions described in the tutorial, and it turned out perfect.

*The strap rests about mid-chest, like a necklace, which I think is perfect. If you want a longer strap, you will want to use 3/8 yard of fabric instead of 1/4 yard for the outside pieces, pocket, tab. If you are not making a strap, you can use a fat quarter, or even be able to use up some scraps to complete your project.

1.  Measure the width of your device, plus the depth. Mine measured 3 3/8 inches. I rounded this number up to the next quarter inch, so I'll go with 3 1/2. Next measure the length, plus the depth. Mine came to 6 inches. If you want your case/sleeve to fit nicely, it's important to take accurate measurements and keep your seam allowances as directed in the instructions. (Image 1 & 2)

***IMPORTANT - If you keep your cellphone in a protective case, be sure to have it on the cellphone when taking your measurements. You can use this sleeve without the protective case on your phone, if you choose, but I personally like the protective case on my phone even in the fabric case.

2.  Before cutting the pieces for the case/sleeve, pocket, and tabs, you'll want to cut your strap out first because you'll need the entire length of the fabric. Begin by cutting a strip that measures 3 inches by 44 inches from the 1/4 yard of fabric. You'll want to snip away the selvages at each end of the strap fabric piece.

Strap variations: You can choose to make just the case without the strap, or you can make your strap longer by piecing two pieces of fabric together. The best way to do this would be to stitch them together at an angle just as if you were making quilt binding. For the sleeve that I made for my tablet (Nexus 7), I didn't want the strap. I also made a cellphone case without the strap to use in the purses that do not have a pocket that fits my phone.

3.  Using the measurements that you took of your phone or tablet, you are going to add 1 1/2 inches to the width, and 1 1/4 inches to the length. 

Since my cellphone measured 3 1/2 x 6 inches, my fabric cuts for the outer case/sleeve and lining will be 5 x 7 1/4 inches. This additional amount will be for the seams and the excess bulk.

4. Cut the fabric as follows (Image 3):

From the new measurements above, cut out 2 outside pieces, 2 lining pieces, and 2 pieces of fusible fleece. 

For the pocket, you will cut a piece of fabric and medium weight fusible interfacing the same width that you cut for your case/sleeve, but an inch shorter for the length.

For the tab, you will cut a piece of fabric, lining, and medium weight fusible interfacing 3 x 2 inches.

Note: For the case/sleeve I made for my Nexus 7 tablet, I wanted a bigger tab, so I just adjusted my measurements to accommodate this. I cut my tab for this sleeve 3 x 4 inches so that after it was finished, my tab was 3 inches wide. I also used the medium weight interfacing for the inside pocket. I just stitched the wavy lines (same method I used for machine quilting the outside case/sleeve) for appearances sake. I didn't want to use the cotton batting on the back of the pocket like I did for the case/sleeve, because I was worried it would cause too much bulk.

Assembling your case/sleeve:
1.  Fuse the fusible fleece to the backside of each outer case/tablet piece. Fuse the medium weight fusible interfacing to the backside of the tab, and the other piece to the backside of the pocket.

Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for the fusible products you are using.

2.  For the upper edge of your pocket (one of the short edges), turn under 1/2 inch and press, then turn under 1/2 inch again and press. Stitch close to the fold. (Image 4)

3.  Place this pocket piece on the right side of one of your outer pieces so that the wrong side (side with the interfacing) is facing the outer fabric. All the raw (un-stitched) edges will line up. Machine baste around these three edges 3/8 inch from the edges. Set aside for now. (Image 5)

4.  Create your tab by placing the two outer tab fabric on the lining tab fabric with right sides together. Stitch around the two long edges and one of the short edges, leaving the remaining short edge open for turning. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then trim away excess after stitching. Cut away the corners at an angle. Turn right side out and press. Stitch one of the velcro pieces to the lining side of the tab, close to the edge that is stitched. If you are choosing to use large snaps instead, you can stitch them on at the very end. (Image 6)

Note: If you are making a larger tab for a e-reader or tablet, you will want to cut your velcro larger to accommodate the larger tab. For the tablet sleeve, I also top stitched around the three finished edges of the tab to give it a more finished look as well as making it more stable.

5.  Place this tab on the upper edge of the piece that you basted the pocket piece to. The upper edge is the edge where the pocket has the finished edge. The velcro will be facing up, and the raw edge of the tab will be lined up with the raw edge of the outer fabric piece. Before you secure it in place with a pin, you will want to lay your cellphone on top of these pieces and mark where the hole for your ear-buds (headphones) will be. You will not want to cover it. Once you have done this, move your tab either to the right or left (which ever allows more room) so that it allows clearance for your ear-buds (headphones). Now secure with a pin and machine baste 3/8 inch from upper edge. (Image 7)

6.  Now you are going to stitch the other half of the velcro piece to the right side of the remaining fabric piece near the upper edge. The best way I have found to do this so that it lines up perfectly, is to fold the upper edge 1/2 inch to the inside on both outer pieces since this is the amount of your seam allowance. Pin or clip to secure the upper edge as if it were stitched down. Hold the two pieces outer together with wrong sides facing each other. You can even clip or pin them in place temporarily. Now fold over your tab, and place the remaining piece of velcro where it lines up with it's other half, pin velcro piece in place to secure. Remember to add a little "slack" for the depth of the phone.  (Image 8)

This technique is especially helpful if you are placing your tab off center like mine is. 

7.  Now remove the pins or clips and stitch your other half of velcro to the outer case/sleeve piece in the exact spot where it lined up with the one on the tab.

8.  Place the two outer pieces together with right sides together and secure with clips or pins. Stitch around the sides and bottom using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving the upper edge open. Trim away excess seam allowance and clip corners. Turn right side out and press. You might have to un-stick your velcro. It is important not to exceed the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Set aside. (Image 9)

9.  Stitch your lining pieces along the sides and bottom, with right sides together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will leave the upper edge open. It's also important to leave about a 1 1/2 to 2 inch opening in the center of the bottom for turning right side out when you are finished. Cut away excess seam allowance and clip corners. Do not turn right side out. (Image 10)

10. Slip the outer part of the case/sleeve inside this lining piece. The right sides will be together and the upper edges will line up with each other. Pin along the upper edges to hold in place for now. Set aside while you are making the strap. If you are not using a strap, skip the next two steps. (Image 11)

11. To make the strap, fold your 3 x 44 inch strip in half with wrong sides together and press. Fold each of the long edges to the inside meeting at the center fold, press. Secure with pins and stitch along the edge where the two folds meet. To give it a more finished look, and to make it more secure, stitch along the other long edge next to that fold. (Image 12)

12. Using the opening at the bottom of the lining, slip the ends of the strap, between the lining and the outer pieces until they reach the upper edge of the case/sleeve. Secure the ends of the strap to the sides of the case/sleeve, with the raw edges of the strap lined up with the raw edges of the case/sleeve. Pin to secure. Repeat this step with the remaining end of the strap. It is important to make sure that your strap does not twist while you are doing this, or you will have a twisted strap. (Image 13)

13.  Stitch all around the upper edge, catching the strap ends in the stitching using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. If you are not using a strap, just stitch around the upper edge. (Image 14)

14. Turn right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining, then stitch the opening in the lining closed. Place the lining inside the case/sleeve and smooth out. Press. Top stitch along about 1/4 inch away from the upper edge. (Image 15)

*If you are using large snaps instead of velcro for the tab, you can stitch them on now.

If you want the PDF version of this tutorial, you can download it for FREE from my Craftsy Shop HERE.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Project 365 - Week 31

Project 365 - One photo a day for a year. Kind of like a photographic journal of my entire year!

Day 211 - Putting the finished touches on the Halloween and Christmas jar cozies which are finally finished and listed at my Craftsy and Etsy shops.

Day 212 - The eve before August. Can you believe it's already here?

Day 213 - Worked at the animal hospital today. Got this picture of Doc's youngest rhea. These silly birds think they own the place!

Day 214 - Baby Paige spent the night at Nana's! She was such a good girl and slept all night long. She was all smiles and standing up in her crib when she woke up in the morning. She just lights up my life!!!

Day 215 - Baby Paige was trying to grab Grandpa's hand but it was under the glass. She was fascinated by this!

Day 216 - Elyse bought me this teddy bear several years ago. I think he's waiting for Baby Paige to grow up a little so she can snuggle him.

Day 217 - Just finished these cellphone cases and tablet sleeves. They are going to be a tutorial on my blog. It's almost ready, and should be up by the end of the week.

For more of my Project 365 - Click HERE

Friday, August 1, 2014

Introducing - Jar Cozies!

We are so excited to be introducing a new pattern line at Sher's Creative Space! We have several more in the works but we'll start you off with Halloween and Christmas. These little cozies make the best gifts! You can fill them with anything from candies and cookies, to candles, teas, or soaps. You can even wrap them around a jar candle, or cover an empty soup can and use it as a pencil container. They will also look cute on your counter holding your cooking utensils.

Each pattern has instructions that show you exactly how to customize the cozy to fit your jars, so easy. You'll be using fusible fleece interfacing so they will be speedy quick to make, and they are finished off with a simple binding. You also get all four applique templates for each pattern. Each applique template comes in two sizes (3 & 5 inches high) so that you can choose the size that fits your needs. You can even use the applique templates for other fun things as well like mug rugs, gift bags, and aprons.

The Christmas and Halloween patterns are now available for download at my Craftsy shop and my Etsy shop.

I also have a tutorial for a much simpler one right here on my blog.
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