Monday, July 26, 2010

Envelope pillow cover/ Awesome sewing videos

This is an update on my adventures in sewing. I have accomplished a little bit in the sewing world so far. I read about a lot of skills in my Dummies guide but it wasn't really real for me. I realized about half way through the book that reading a book to teach me how to sew was going to work about as well as reading a book to learn how to crochet did. In a word it didn't. I was having the same problem as before. The flat drawing doesn't translate to anything tangible in my head. 

So once I figure out that the book wasn't going to help me as much as I thought it would I did the same thing I did when I wanted to learn how to crochet. I found a video on youtube. A series of videos actually. They are made by Vanessa at If you are a newbie like me I recommend you go to her channel on youtube and sort her videos by date added. Start at the beginning. She shares so much useful information from pressing -not ironing- to making cutting easier. I felt pretty confident just from watching her do it. She is a really good teacher. She doesn't just make it look easy. She so thoroughly and thoughtfully explains the steps that if you follow her and listen to all of her advice it becomes easy.

I have watched all of her videos and decided that her envelope pillow cover was going to be my first real project. I tried her bib one the minute I saw the video (before I watched them all) and I messed it up. I'll be making a new one soon though, now that I know a few things. 

So far I have made two of these covers. One for each of my two middle nieces, Erica and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was here spending the night when I made her pillow. She took off with it before I got a picture of it but I took a pic of a scrap of the fabric I used. Hers was a pink and black tiger print and Erica's is a purple (she calls it rockstar purple) leopard print. 

I am also going to make some Elvis Presly ones. I found some fabric in the $2 dollar bin that has Elvis in various poses from Jail House Rock on colored backgrounds. I'm going to get some plain black fabric to be the backs of these. My brother and my aunt are huge Elvis fans so they will be getting a set each.

I had to make the pillows that went with this project because I couldn't find any pillow forms. I cut two 13x13 inch pieces of fabric from some white cotton I had had forever. I stitched along all sides leaving an opening for stuffing. I stuffed then I hand sewed it shut. They aren't as flat and uniform as the ones you can buy ready made. I'm sure there is a way to make them flat and uniform but I dunno what it is. If anyone does leave me a comment please :D

Friday, July 16, 2010

Stick a pin in him cause he is done...

As promised I'm delivering a fast, cute and easy hand sewn pin cushion. He is really cute and I think I'm now addicted to felt and pin cushions because I have a ton of ideas for then now :) Without further ado I give you my Voodoo doll pin cushion:

He is made from plain old craft felt that you get in packs of 12 colorful sheets that are 8X11" I believe. An added bonus is that the brand I got is made from 100% post consumer recycled bottles. So not only is he cute and functional he is also environmentally conscious. Other materials you will need are heavy thread like crochet thread, a small amount of embroidery floss (optional) paper for a template and some stuffing of your choice. The thread I used is recycled from my cat's food bags. They are sewn shut with this red thread. I have been saving it for a while figuring I could use it eventually.

So to start off you need to make your template. I'm possibly going to be adding one here but if not free hand it or find a gingerbread man shape and print one out. It needs to fit onto a piece of felt folded in half. Trace it onto your felt with a sharpie. Be sure you aren't wasting felt you can use the scrap for other projects later.

Now you need to cut it out but to make it easier pin it first. This will keep the two sides from shifting causing unevenness in your cuts. Pin inside the lines like you would if sewing so that you don't have to re-pin later. Now cut it out using good sharp scissors. Cut on the inside of the marker line so it disappears.

Here is a shot of the thread I used.
Before you start sewing you need to put his face on him. I used plain black embroidery floss and sewed on x's for eyes and a stitched up mouth. You can get creative with the face if you want. I thought about google eyes and other embellishments or drawing the face on with markers but to me a voodoo doll is supposed to look primitive. With that in mind I went with simple stitching.

Once you have the face on you need to start sewing him up. I dunno if the stitch I used has a name or not but I did it that way to keep up the primitive look. As long as he is together and the stuffing is in no danger of falling out stitch it what ever way you like. Leave a small opening for stuffing. Fill him up pretty well. The sturdier he is the better he is gonna hold onto pins. Once you have him full stitch him up and clean up your threads. Now viola you have a voodoo doll pin cushion.

Here is the template. Print it with the dimensions 8 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cocoa Krispies Treats

I like baking cookies but in the summer when it is really hot no one wants to have the oven on long enough to bake 5 dozen cookies. So what's a girl to do when she wants some home made chocolaty goodness? Cocoa Pebbles (or their generic counterpart) and marshmallows came to mind today. The recipe I used is a standard Rice Krispies treat recipe. Since I'm a big Good Eats fan I'll do this AB style.

Hardware: One sauce pan in the two to four quart range. One large bowl, bigger than you think you need so that you have room to really move the cereal around when you are stirring. One silicone spatula that can take high heat. One 8X8 baking dish. And last but not least, because if you skip it you won't be getting your Cocoa Krispies Treats out of the pan, some non stick spray. Yes it is hardware since we are using it as a tool rather than an ingredient.

Software: Three cups of Cocoa Pebbles or any generic counterpart, 1 1/2 tablespoons of margarine and 2 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows.

Start off by pre-measuring everything, greasing your pan with the non stick spray and pouring your cereal into your mixing bowl. Oh and do yourself a favor and spray the nonstick stuff over the sink, it is really slick and you can slip on it easily. Then over very low heat melt the margarine completely. Next put the marshmallows in the pan and melt them completely stirring frequently. You will know that they are completely melted because it will look smooth like marshmallow fluff. Once that is done you will have to work quickly because the marshmallow will set up pretty fast. Pour the marshmallow into the cereal and mix it together well. Pour it into the greased baking dish and press it down flat and evenly with your spatula. You may need to use a clean greased spatula to get the job done if it sticks too much. Let it cool completely and then cut into 16 squares. Oh and then enjoy :D

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Adventures in Sewing

Anyone who has read my blog, if anyone has read my blog, knows that I am not trusted with sewing machines. I thought I knew how to sew. In fact I generally said "I know how to sew!" shortly before breaking the sewing machine every time I broke one (three.....or four times so far.) I did have a sort of sewing class in high school. We learned how to sew a seam and sew on buttons and basic stuff. I guess that wasn't enough though. So I recently decided that I don't wanna break sewing machines anymore and I want to be trusted with them. I picked up the book Sewing for Dummies 2nd Edition by Jan Saunders Maresh. So far I have learned a pretty good bit and I have some great ideas for very low sew projects to do to get my feet wet again. I also just came up with a neat idea for a hand sewn pin cushion which I'll be posting a tute for when I make it. My mom is going to let me sew on her machine while she watches eagle eyed over my shoulder to make sure I don't break another one. I'll be posting my progress as I learn along with my usual crafts.