Thursday, May 16, 2013
Many of you have enjoyed Kathreen Ricketson's creative voice through her popular blog, WhipUp.net, as well as her craft books and Action Packs. I had the pleasure of working with Kathreen on two Kids Crafternoon books two years ago.
I have just learned this morning through a kind reader that Kathreen and her husband have drowned in a tragic swimming accident off of Ningaloo reef in Western Australia.
My heart hurts for her two beautiful children, and I ask you to join me in praying for this family. There are many in the blog community who would like to help in some way. There's been mention of an education fund being set up for her kids, and I'm hoping to give an update about that.
There is a post on WhipUp for those of you who wish to express your sympathy:
When The Best of Times Ends in the Worst of Times
Posted by Larissa Holland at 10:25 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
For my lovely MIL, given along with her card. This is the applique design I settled on for the new pattern, which is pretty much completed except for making more samples and taking some photos.
Even after making as many needle books as I have, it's great for me to have a pattern to refer to. I like to watch Netflix while I sew them and can't tell you how many times I've made a doofus mistake in the order of construction because I was too busy focusing on why Mal can't just tell Inara he loves her.
Monday, May 13, 2013
The not-as-difficult-the-second-time-round MS flower card for my sweet MIL, Paula. You didn't think I forgot her, did you? I'm so blessed to have two lovely moms in my life! However, unlike my own mom, Michael's mom is computer savvy and connected to the interwebs, so I had to keep a lid on hers until now.
I sometimes wonder how much money I've saved Michael by making all our cards instead of buying them? Mmmmmprobably not as much money as I've spent on paper, felt and shoes, so let's change the subject.
Finished the card a bit differently this time by punching holes for a string tie, and so managed again to avoid making an envelope. (Patting self on shoulder.) Worked great!
I'm also thanking myself for buying that gift tag punch. Goodness, it's handy. I have two:
New one is the straightforward one and the fancypants scrolly punch I've had for a while. Different brands, same factory looks like. No more buying gift tags. Unless I want to.
Next post: Paula's needle book.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
The moment I saw this MS Mother's Day card project I fell in love. What's not to love? It's a gorgeous and clever design. Flowers are pretty. But pop up flowers? Shazam.
I finally got around to making one late last night, and it was a squidge harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it would be best not to attempt this after 11pm. But when it came together, it made me so happy. It's fascinating to watch the flowers pull in and collapse and then open again. I opened and closed the card a lot. Well, it was pretty late when I finished.
I watched this video about one thousand times to try and decipher the way you adhere the finished flowers together. I really like her voice! In the end, the written tutorial was the most helpful for that, so I recommend you use both their video and the written tutorial. Just keep in mind each flower will be tacked in three places, except for the middle flower which is tacked on every petal.
Helpful notes for you:
- Do not use heavy paper for the flowers. I didn't have any regular 20 lb stock in pretty colors, so I ended up using a smooth construction paper, which is slightly heavier than 20 lb. It worked OK, but a lightweight paper would work the best, since you will be cutting through 8 layers of paper to cut each flower. Origami or printer paper would be the right weight.
- Instead of double sided tape, I used small dots of my favorite paper glue Fabri-Tac because I didn't have any double sided tape, and it worked like a charm. (I know, technically that's a fabric glue, but I just love it for tacking paper because it dries almost instantly and doesn't pucker paper. However, I would never use it to spread over a large area.)
- If you want to add some vavoom to the center of the flowers like me, I used a soft colored pencil and added the centers while the flower was still flat.
- I added another layer to the outside of the card by adhering a darker ever-so-slightly-larger-than 10 x 6 inch piece on the outside. It gives it more body and adds some color.
- Be aware the finished size of the project is 5 x 6 inches, which does not fit a standard envelope. You can always whip up one of your own, because you are crafty like that.
- I added a faux tag in the back because I didn't want to write on the pretty pretty inside:
And I sent it with love along with her flowery needle book. Mother's Day just seems to call for flowers. (Don't worry, my mom doesn't have a computer so this post won't ruin her surprise. Yes, that's right. No computer. No smart phone. And she still manages to have a full and meaningful life.)
Happy Mother's Day to all my fellow moms out there who love, teach and nurture their children and grandchildren 24 hours a day, every day of the year. No better job in the universe.
Need other ideas?
Make a Momma Bird Card
More Scrap Cards. You Make One!
Make a Flower Card for Mom
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Test run No. 1 from the pattern, successfully completed. It's weird making the applique from a pattern. I usually just eyeball it, but I have to admit that this will streamline the process a vast deal (as Lucy Steele might say). The pattern is written, diagrams done. Mods being made, pieces being tweaked. Many, many words being deleted. I'm always too much with the wordy words on the first draft.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Nine years, eleven months, twenty-six days
to carefully think about it.
to carefully think about it.
Four days to make.
I love them. My tush loves them. The girls both said, 'Wow, Mom, our chairs feel so GOOD now.' Poor kids. Looking on the bright side, I guess sitting on hard chairs may have built some character along the way. The chairs were purchased about ten years ago from Crate & Barrel and they are, in fact, pretty booty-friendly, even without the cushions. But it was time.
I love that 'booty' is in my dictionary. 'Shake one's booty'. *snort*
Anyways, all the cushions have wild, patterned fabrics from my stash on one side,
and conservative black ticking on the other.
I guess that kind of makes them the mullet of chair cushions.
If you want to make some similar ones, first you'll need to make a pattern from your chair:
There's a glimpse of my messy studio. I haven't cleaned up from cushion construction. I fling leftovers across the room as I go to keep them out of my way and off the work surface, and I honestly try to aim for the trash can with scraps, but mostly I miss. It's a pay-the-piper situation.
As you can see, I find it helpful to make construction notes to myself on the pattern as I go. That way if I use the pattern again I can avoid all the really goofy mistakes I made the first go round.
I measured the width and depth of my chair seats, then added about an inch all round to compensate for the stuffing. I made a paper pattern from those measurements and added rounded corners. You'll also need to add the seam allowance (I used 3/8 inch, the same size as the flange on the piping to keep things simple).
I wish I had made the sides of my pattern a bit more curved, because after you stuff the cushion the sides pull inward a bit. So you will do a better job than me.
Adding the holes for the buttons makes it easy to mark the placement on the right sides of the fabric when you trace and cut. Don't use a disappearing marker because who knows how many
years days will go by before you actually finish the cushion, and you don't want the marks to vanish. I used a sharpie marker, which was fine because the marks are hidden under the buttons.
Plan to make a test cushion or two in order to work out the optimal size for the pattern and make adjustments. I like a chair cushion to be pretty much the same size as the chair bottom, not spilling over the edges or looking shrunken. Here's a test cushion I made that was pieced. (It used to be stuffed and have buttons but I robbed it all to use with the final cushions.) The final design is not pieced because I decided piecing + piping + 8 buttons x 6 cushions = Crazy Town.
You'll need to gather:
- Fabric for tops and bottoms (Decor weight works best, but I used quilting cotton on some of mine. You can always add fusible interfacing to beef it up.)
- Eight self-cover buttons for each cushion you make. I used 7/8 inch buttons on mine.
- One-inch wide cotton webbing or ribbon for the straps. I used about 20 inches per cushion (four 5-inch pieces), but that will vary for you because your chairs are different.
- Velcro for closures (if you buy the precut squares, you'll need two pairs for each cushion)
- One package of premade piping for each cushion (Jo-Ann had a nice selection of Wrights bias piping, which comes 2 1/2 yards per package. I had about 18 inches leftover from mine, so this should cover a variety of cushion sizes.)
- Scraps of fabric to match your piping for the self-covered buttons
- Bags o' stuffing. I used 2 1/2 large bags (32 oz) of Polyfil stuffing for six cushions, and I probably err on the understuffed side. I really hate to stuff things.
Cut lengths of cotton webbing or sturdy ribbon for the velcro straps. You'll need two pairs for each cushion. Use this formula for sizing:
Length needed to wrap around chair back and overlap opposite velcro
1/2 inch for finished edge
1/2 inch for seam allowance
*** Late Note *** After some real-life road testing, I've found it's probably better to use a longer piece of velcro (as opposed to a square) unless your house contains only placid adults who move with quiet grace, and do not squirm and fidget. Otherwise, a longer piece of velcro with more overlap will provide a more secure fastening.
To make the straps, press over 1/2 inch of one end. Tack with a dot of glue, then sew the velcro square so that it covers the cut edge.
Trace and cut out two pieces of fabric for each cushion from your pattern and mark the button placement on the right sides.
Glue baste the piping round the edges of one of the cushion halves (using the same method I used in my Four Leaf pillow tutorial) except if you used a 3/8" seam allowance you can glue the piping so it is flush with the raw edge of the material. Snipping the flange around the corners makes it easy to curve the piping.
Using a zipper foot, sew the piping down just a few inches along the back of the cushion half, so that when you hand sew the opening together later you won't be juggling loose piping as well as two layers of fabric. You can also take this opportunity to sew a corresponding line along the seam allowance on the other piece of fabric, so you can use that as a guide when you hand stitch it closed later. I highly recommend that.
Next glue baste the straps on with 1/2 inch overlapping the seam line, two straps per corner, one with fuzzy and one with prickly. Make sure that in each corner one strap is basted on with the velcro up and the other with the velcro down - learned that the hard way.
Glue-baste the other piece of fabric on top of that, right sides together, leaving an 4 inch opening in the center back so you can stuff it later. Pin for extra security. Using your zipper foot, sew as close to the piping as you can, all the way around except for the opening. Be sure to backstitch at beginning and end.
Notch the curved corners and turn it right side out through the opening. I always love that part.
Now set up your iPad on your work surface with Doctor Who Season 2 streaming (that last bit is optional) and stuff and stuff and stuff, until each cushion has a nice shape and is filled out but still pretty spongy. Add the buttons at this point. Thread a doll needle with a long piece of embroidery floss, doubled.
Go into the pillow at the mark you made, then out of the pillow at the corresponding mark on the other side. Thread on a button (which you have already covered in matching fabric). Go back through the pillow very close to where you came out, and come out on the other side very close to where you came in. Cut off your needle and tie a very tight square knot with the loose ends, pulling the floss as tight as you can to create a tuft. Tie an extra knot for security. Then thread on another button, tie another tight square knot and trim the ends so they are hidden behind the button. Repeat for the other three sets of marks.
The diagram shows a single strand going in and out of the pillow, but it will in reality be two strands since you've doubled your floss.
Now stuff more until the pillow is just the right shape and firmness all over. When you are done, pin the opening shut with your seam allowance tucked inside (aren't you glad you sewed the guideline there now?) and hand sew the opening closed. Finished!
Now go put them on your chairs and sit down a while.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
One chair cushion completed and installed. Oh, my. I just super duper love this one. Maybe because it is the one that is finished. Ha ha. Maybe because this AMH fabric is so gorgeous and I'm glad to finally find a use for it. I'm not sure I'm going to love the rest of the cushions and how they will all work together, but it's enough for now to just lovety love this one.
I finished the new black and white curtains (you can see them in the background there). They need...something. Like some black trim. Or colored trim. I am tired of thinking about it right now, so I'm making the cushions and then I'll look and ponder again. Do other people do this, I wonder? Stand in their kitchen and squint at their curtains?
The other five cushions will also have the black ticking on one side, and piping and buttons. The piping/button color will vary depending on the fabric. I think I will use the same black/white cotton webbing to make all of the loop attachments, which have velcro closures. I just couldn't like the bows. This looks cleaner.
The brightly colored and different patterned cushions are a deviation from the original plan, but that's because I now have black and white curtains and the dining area needs a splash of color. And they are all reversible, so I can flip them over to the ticking side if I want:
Progress is being made. And yes, I touched out the crumbs on my floor.