Tutorial Tuesday #8 - Sewn Silk Velvet Pumpkins

 

A few of you have asked how I made these silk velvet pumpkins so before I move on to Christmas (you know it's coming) I thought I'd do a really quick tutorial here.

First off you guys, I love this silk velvet from prismsilks.com! If you like the luxurious look of these I definitely think this fabric is worth the splurge. Look at their iridescent velvets. So yummy! You will need at least an 18" square of velvet for this size pumpkin so their fat quarters are perfect for a pumpkin like the one below with enough left over for acorns. Get 10% off your order with code "prism16".

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I've learned a lot this fall while making so many pumpkins and wanted to document it here.

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Any size works so use all your scraps and make various sizes. A seven inch round makes those tiny pumpkins like you find in the grocery store.

Using super heavy thread or dental floss, gather 1/4" from the raw edge of your circle. 

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You can fill it completely with pellets if you'd like. Experiment.

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Then finish off with fiberfill.

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Pull your thread tight and sew the opening closed. Knot thread and cut.

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I used a doll needle to sculpt my pumpkin - just pulling the stuffing up toward the top. This is optional since they are cute just as they are.


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Apply hot glue to the dried pumpkin stem and hold it while it dries.

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That's it! It takes about thirty minutes to make one and with the beautiful array of colors of silk velvet that's available, you can make them to match your decor. Because you're using real pumpkin stems, no two will look alike. So fun!

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Don't forget to save your pumpkin stems from this years jack-o-lanterns for next years elegant velvet pumpkins.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne


Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part Two - How to Make No Sew Velvet Pumpkins

Back in 2014 we made fabric covered pumpkins as a make-it take-it at Strawberry Patches during a fall shop hop. We went though cases of toilet paper (yup, that's the secret ingredient) and hundreds of fat quarters. To this day that was probably the most fun free project we ever did. 😍

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This year I decorated our main floor for fall using lots of velvet pumpkins

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but when I needed just a few more and our local gift shop had sold out, I remembered the cotton print pumpkins we made four years ago. Could I use that same technique using velvet?

The answer was yes! But I did learn a few things along the way that I wanted to share with you here just in case you want to make some.

Fabric:

Probably the single most important contributor to the success of your project is your choice of fabric. Because you will be building your pumpkin around a roll of toilet paper, and because you have to tuck the fabric into the opening of the cardboard roll, your fabric cannot be too heavy. If you are having trouble shaping your pumpkin or if you are struggling with getting all the raw edges into the paper core, your fabric is probably too heavy. You'll just need to experiment but go with the lightest weight fabric that you can.

Because I wanted my pumpkins to be in muted decorator colors (not fashion colors) I found the selection to be very limited. I found the pink blush velvet at Joann Fabric in the home decor section as well as the grey/dotted fabric shown in this post. They worked well but not as well as the white crushed velvet below.

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The white crushed velvet is called Panne by Glitterbug also from Joann. Real velvet is expensive and again, colors are limited so the search is on for next year for lightweight velvet with a slight stretch. For now, the Glitterbug Panne was the best choice. 

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Whatever fabric you decide on you will need about a 24" square of fabric (2/3 yard) to cover what I'm calling a large pumpkin. All the fabric that I used for this post was at least 58" wide so I could get two pumpkins from 2/3 yard. 

Stems:

I, by far, prefer natural dried pumpkin stems on my velvet pumpkins. The nice people at our local pumpkin patch just gave them to me. As I stated in the previous blog post I cut the stems from pumpkins that had been accidentally smashed in the field. You could also cut the stems from the pumpkins you purchase this year and store them for use next year. You must use dried stems only because green stems will mold and ruin your fabric. To dry the stems that I gathered this year I simply cut off all the flesh then baked them in a warm oven for a few days until they were totally dry. They will turn light brown and be very light and hollow sounding when tapped once the moisture is removed.

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I plan to store my left over stems for next year when I hopefully have a better selection of velvet to work with. One other good source for free natural stems is at the bottom of those big boxes that pumpkins are sold from. Usually merchants will give you broken off stems since they end up throwing them away.

If you don't have access to natural pumpkin stems you can use sticks, cinnamon sticks, twisted craft paper or sculpt stems from air dry paper clay.

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Embellishments:

This is where you can go just as crazy as you like. I've decorated some pumpkins for this post with milliners flowers

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as well as artificial flowers and berries purchased from places like Hobby Lobby and Joann Fabrics. (The stem below was made from air dried clay then painted).

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With the right stem I think they are beautiful just plain.

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One manufacturer sells 6" natural stem velvet pumpkins embellished with feathers for $80 each. Make no mistake about it, they are gorgeous, but way too expensive for my budget so making them myself was definitely the way to go for me.

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The photo above and below is of my mini pumpkin. (Directions below).

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Joann Fabrics has a wonderful selection of inexpensive feathers. My feathered velvet no-sew pumpkins cost less than $5 each to make and took only a few minutes to do.

Here's how:

Cut the corners off your 24" square of fabric. No need to make a circle since the edges will be stuffed into the cardboard core of the toilet paper. You just want to reduce the bulk a bit.

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Prepare your toilet paper roll by unwinding it a bit then re wrapping it loosely with the tissue you unwound. As I rewrapped the roll I twisted the paper every once in awhile to create volume. By adding the tissue back just to the very center of the roll you will be shaping it slightly, taking away the look of flat square sides. 

Sit the roll in the center on the wrong side of your fabric and add a few handfuls of fiberfill. I like to add a little to the bottom of the roll to create a nice round bottom. 😂

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Then add more fiberfill to the sides and top, leaving the hole open on top.

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At this point I fill the paper core with stuffing beads to add weight. You could also use rice or beans, but remember we are going to enjoy our velvet pumpkins for years and don't want any critters munching on their insides. 😱

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Now you just start bringing the sides up and into the core. If you pick the roll up just slightly, the stuffing beads will fall to the bottom of the soon to be pumpkin and give you more room to stuff the fabric into the core. Continue poking the fabric into the core, all the way around, shaping as you go.

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Use chop sticks (I used kitchen shears) to poke the fabric into the hole and to shape your pumpkin.

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Once you are happy with the shape add the stem and embellishments.

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Here's and idea for smaller pumpkins. Just cut the height from a nearly empty TP roll. (I won't tell you where I was when this idea came to me). 😂Then wrap it with more paper and some stuffing. It makes darling smaller pumpkins. 

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I'll thinking a paper towel roll would work too for a really huge pumpkin, you'll just need lots of fabric.

This technique is perfect for all ages and skill levels because there is absolutely no sewing involved and except for the embellishments, no gluing. I hope I've given you some fresh ideas and that you will share your creations and ideas with us here. Also I'd love for you to comment below if you know where I can find lightweight crushed velvet in home decor colors.

Until next time,

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #7 Part One - The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

The Tale of the Velveteen Pumpkin

There once was a farmer named Mister Johnson who planted a huge pumpkin patch in hopes that children would come from near and far with their families to pick the perfect fall pumpkin. He planted orange Jack-o-lantern pumpkins, pie pumpkins, some fancy ones called Fairy Tale and Rock Stars. There were white ones, spotted ones, ones with bumps, even black ones and some exotic ones called Heirlooms. Farmer Johnson faithfully watered his pumpkin crop and watched it grow. Soon there were thousands of big beautiful pumpkins and it was time to open the fields to the children. 

The pumpkins were all very competitive, each one thinking they were more beautiful than their neighbor.

Pick me, pick me they each thought.

"I'll make the most delicious pie," the pie pumpkins thought.

"Pick me." thought the big orange ones, "I'll make the scariest Jack-o-lantern."

"Pick me", said the Heirlooms," I'll decorate your front porch for the whole month of October". 

As the children ran through the field searching for the perfect pumpkin to cut and take home, some of the smaller pumpkins got kicked and stepped on. They began to split in the sun. Surely no one would want a pumpkin that was broken and spoiled. The other pumpkins made fun of the broken pumpkins. "Who will want you? Your seeds are showing. You stink!" The broken pumpkins were very sad, knowing what happens to pumpkins that don't find homes.

Then one day a lady came to the pumpkin patch, not looking for big beautiful, colorful pumpkins but for unusual stems. You see she was making velvet pumpkins that would last for years and wanted real pumpkin stems for her unique creations. As she walked through the field she realized that the stems from the pumpkins that had been kicked and stepped on were perfect for her special velvet pumpkins. She didn't care if their seeds were showing because she was going to use the stems for something much more beautiful and lasting than a Jack-o-lantern or porch decoration. Of all the thousands of pumpkins in the field, she chose only the less than perfect ones because they were perfect to her.

 

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The moral of the story is: We don't have to be perfect to be beautiful.

Next time I'll share all I've learned over the years in making no sew fabric pumpkins.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #6 - Playing with Paper

If you've been following me on Instagram (suzanne_zingg) you've probably noticed that I've been a bit obsessed with decoupage as of late.

It started with apples

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moved on to pumpkins

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then graduated to ice cream cups.

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My inspiration for these projects was from my favorite Halloween decorations by Nicol Sayre. I have cherished these two boxes for years and always look forward to displaying them at Halloween.

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So I picked up some plain paper mache boxes at Hobby Lobby and tried decoupaging them in Bethany's style.

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(The boxes are on sale this week at Hobby Lobby).

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I cut circles slightly larger than the boxes from chipboard (Michael's) for the bases

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and covered all the surfaces with paper by Tim Holtz (Michael's) using Mod Podge.

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I found the toppers at Hobby Lobby for $6.99 each. They only had two styles and they were intended to be ornaments so I pulled off all the ribbons and gave them new fancier, more vintage looking collars and hats.

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I think they make fun treat boxes for my Halloween table.

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The added paper appliques are also from Tim Holtz and found at Michael's (on sale this week). Of course I added vintage mismatched buttons and some doodads that I had in my stash.

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I used my sewing machine to gather the tulle and crepe paper streamers to make the ruffles.

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When  I found this witches hat at Hobby Lobby

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I thought, why not? So I covered it the same way

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and added ric rac, more buttons, black feathers, ribbon and tulle.

Did you know that witches sew? 

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Yup, they do and this one is a milliner. 

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Here's the back

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and a look at the inside. This one is just for decoration since unlike the boxes it doesn't hold anything.

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 Here are a few more shots of my ice cream cups. So fun.

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Instead of a base I cut a ring to go at the top of the cup.

Here's what the ice cream cup looked like before I started.

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After the top ring was glued in place, I decoupaged the whole thing inside and out (love this tissue paper from Hobby Lobby), added a crepe paper ruffle along with some vintage tinsel, then filled it with vintage looking mini ornaments.

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Once you've gathered the supplies, these are simple to make and take very little time to put together. You can bet I'll be on the lookout for toppers for Christmas treat boxes. In fact, my next project is to make the toppers myself using paper clay. I'll let you know how that goes.

I hope this inspires you to dig out the Mod Podge and give these a try.

Until next time... Hearts

...love you more than Mod Podge,

Suzanne


Fall Home Tour Part 1 - The Basement

I've been busy decorating our basement for fall and thought it would be fun to take you on a bit of a tour to see what I've been up to. As much as I love decorating for fall, I love decorating for Halloween too. I have such great memories of Halloween as a kid. We dressed up in cheap dime store costumes and ran from door to door, covering a two block radius of our neighborhood without the accompaniment of parents. As we passed groups of our friends we would share the locations of the houses that gave out the best candy. I can still remember our next door neighbor inviting my friends and me in for homemade white cake with chocolate frosting. Halloween in the fifties was such a different time.

Back in late July I was wandering around Michael's one afternoon looking for Halloween inspiration when I spotted this.

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When I first saw it I literally gasped out loud. Not because it was well made or well priced, because it was neither, but because of that text ribbon! I immediately went on a hunt for craft ribbon with text. (It's harder to find than you'd think but I did find some on Etsy).

 I knew I wanted to carry out the text theme in areas beyond my ribbon so I decoupaged a few cheap garish orange pumpkins.

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I used tissue paper from Hobby Lobby for this one along with a French stamp from some old documents I purchased several years ago on our travels

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and used pages from old brochures and magazines for a bolder, more creepy look on this one. 

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 Then I incorporated them into a tired tray, along with pumpkins, black crows from Michael's and some creepy Spanish moss.

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My crow plates are two years old from Nell Hills and I like how the twig placemats (World Market) and slices of wood add to the texture and rustic woodsy feel of the table setting. 

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I carried out the text theme in my table linens from Pier1.

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Originally I thought I'd do our mantel with skeletons but when I found this sign at Hobby Lobby I felt it was more me

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and I love how my Mackenzie-Childs canisters look with the muted colors and black and cream ribbon.

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Speaking of muted colors, I wanted to show you some before and after photos of the mantel garland.

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I purchased the garland last year at Crate and Barrel and loved it, but this year I wanted a softer look so I just scrubbed the leaves with a super dry brush of off white paint. I love how it looks more like crispy fall leaves. I think this is a cool technique for those inexpensive leaves from the dollar stores. For some reason they always seem so garish and orange.

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I also antiqued my Hobby Lobby sunflowers just slightly with brown wax from Annie Sloan and glued in some additional petals cut from the tissue and old papers that I used on my pumpkins.

Before

After

I added some off white gauze cloth for a bit of creepiness and added texture.

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The coffee table got an arrangement with a skeleton hand popping out of it along with a beaker of candy corn.

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Another tiered tray...yes I do seem to have a tiered tray problem.

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I found this cool Styrofoam skull at Michaels along with the beakers that I filled with snacks and added to our bar.

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Notice that the regular candy corn has been picked out from the chocolate ones. (Me no likey chocolate candy corn).

Here's the same vignette  with some mood lighting.

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 This next spot is our little low table with yet another tiered tray.

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This is a perfect spot for some of my Lori Mitchell Halloween figurines.

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Even the swym got a touch of the spookies

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Well, I hope this tour has given you some ideas and perhaps has inspired you to try something new. Next time we'll go upstairs for a fall tour of the mantel, tables and kitchen area.

Love you more than candy corn,  Candycorn

Encourage one another.

Suzanne

Please let me know if you have questions. I'd love to hear about your holiday décor in the comments below.


Welcome to My Swym and a Few Things I've Figured Out Along the Way

When we moved to Kansas two years ago I doubted I'd ever want to sew again. My entire life had been surrounded by creativity but I thought that was all behind me. I was ready for a change.

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The small room at the bottom of the stairs in our new home would make a wonderful sewing room but I had no desire for it to be anything other than the gym that the previous owners had designed it to be. So before we moved we sold my sewing room furniture and loaded up the treadmill. Goodbye California, hello a whole new life in Kansas City.

Umm...ya...well, not exactly.

Many of you know that my progressive idiopathic peripheral neuropathy is the reason we relocated to KC. Not knowing where this medical condition would lead, we felt it best to be near our son and his family. I am so thankful for that nudge. I'm sure Bill and I would still be working if it hadn't been for my health issues. I mention this only to explain the importance of that beast of a treadmill.

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It has become an important part of my wellbeing. Although doctors can't tell us why I have neuropathy, I have figured out on my own that I feel better when I eat "clean" and move. I also have figured out that I truly enjoy the comforts that air conditioning and heat can bring, so the treadmill needs to stay right here, in the house.

One morning while walking on the treadmill I got to thinking that perhaps I could incorporate a sewing room into the gym, a "Swym", if you will. It wouldn't be perfect - there were no windows or natural light. There was carpet instead of my preferred hardwood floor and no storage in this oddly shaped, mirror lined room. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I could make it work. 


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I started researching sewing cabinets but couldn't find anything that I thought would work. About that time I received a catalog from Ballard Designs. I knew their office furniture because I had used it in my office at Strawberry Patches.  I loved it because I could configure it however I wanted, they offered the corner unit that I was looking for, it came preassembled and it was all 25% off.

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After running my ideas by Bill I ordered it and it arrived five days later.

Welcome to my swym...

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The wooden Cathedral arches are from Kirkland's and helped break up the mirrored wall. 

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Both of the inexpensive lamps are also from Kirkland's and help a lot with the lack of light.


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My comfy adjustable chair is from Pottery Barn

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and I found that cute Fall pillow at Kirkland's too.

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There was a small closet in this room that housed a radon detector (?) and the electrical panels for the house. After relocating Bill's golf clubs I had room for a storage cart to hold most of my fabric boxes

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and over the door storage units for my doodads - all from The Container Store.

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Is it perfect?

No.

But, you know what?

It's perfect for me, right now. It's organized, cozy and most of my stuff is right here at the ready.

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One more thing I've figured out along the way. It's important for me to stay positive and to look to the future with excitement, enthusiasm and optimism.

As my sign says, nobody said it would be easy. I think sometimes what is easy is to sit back and wring our hands and say, "Why me"?

I prefer to ask, "Why me? - how did I get so stink'n blessed"? 

Now, except for that one hour a day on the treadmill I have all day to do what I have always loved to do in a fabulous redesigned space - 

Create

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 *Please feel free to ask questions about any of the items mentioned in this post. I was able to find discounts above the discounts advertised in the current Ballard Catalog and Kirkland's offers daily discounts through their app for regularly priced merchandise. Hey, all the more money to spend on new fabric. Right?

 


Tutorial Tuesday #5 - Cheaters DO Prosper and A Tale of Two Needles

Don't let all of these tiny, postage stamp sized squares fool you

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These projects are deceivingly fast and easy to do

 

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with no piecing or quilting experience required.

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All you need is cute "cheater" fabric with uniformly printed "patches", twin needles and the ability to sew a straight line.

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I had these two cheater fabrics and wanted to make them look like I'd meticulously pieced them, so working from the wrong side of the fabric, I simply finger pressed the fabric on the line formed by the print of the squares and sewed along the fold with a 1/16" seam. I did all the vertical lines then

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pressed them in one direction

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then sewed the horizontal lines and pressed them in one direction.

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When all the lines were sewn and pressed it looked like this on the front.

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Doesn't it look like I pieced all those little squares together?

Now to quilt it. I layered a thin piece of baby flannel on the back and started sewing just to the left and right of each seam, but as I was machine quilting this, going up and back, sewing on each side of the seams, I got to thinking; I wonder if a twin needle would work?

Could I sew one stitching line that looked like I had sewn two?

Cover twice the ground in half the time?

The answer was YES!

So, you know me, I just had to share, but first a little history:

Back in the day, when I used to sell sewing machines, I often started the conversation with the prospective machine buyer by asking her what she was looking for in a new sewing machine. Surprisingly, many times the reply would be, "I want to be able to use twin needles".

Well, that was an easy one because almost every sewing machine can accommodate twin or double needles.

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A twin needle is actually just two needles joined on one shank that's inserted into the machine as you would a single needle. The two needles create rows of parallel stitching lines and can be used in almost any machine with zigzag sewing capabilities.

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You will need two spools of thread, one for each needle and of course just one bobbin. (The black fuzz is optional).

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Be sure your machine has a zigzag foot and a needle plate with a horizontal hole large enough to accommodate the width of the two needles so as to avoid needle breakage. Check your owners manual for threading guidelines.

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The stitches are formed by the bobbin thread doing a slight zig zag stitch on the back side of your fabric so as to catch the two top parallel stiches. All you have to do is thread the two needles and your machine will magically know what to do. They're smart like that.

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I think some of the mystery in knowing which twin needles to purchase is understanding the sizing.  I admit, at first, it can be confusing. When shopping for twin needles, look at the two number designations, such as 3.0/90. The first number indicates the spacing between the two needles in millimeters (in this case the needles are 3 millimeters apart), and the second number indicates the actual size of the needles (90/14 - perfect for cottons with a thin batting). Needles come spaced from 1.6 to 8 millimeters, but note that not all widths can be used on all machines; check your owner's manual for width limitations.

Just like regular single needles, twin needles also come in various types like metallic, universal, denim and stretch.

For the projects I am showing here I used universal twin needles in size 3.0/90.

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I used foot #10 on my BERNINA (an edgestitch foot) and simply sewed with the center guide of the foot following along the seam of the squares. The twin needles created a double line of straight stitches, one on each side of the seam. I quilted my fabric in half the time! I want to add here that the twin needles made for a neater looking topstitch than the conventional method. I'm not sure why but it looked neater. 

After your fabric is quilted, you'll cut out your project. Your squares will shrink in both directions by about 1/4" due to the tiny tucks you created to make the print look like patchwork so you'll want to do the "piecing" and quilting before you cut out your project.

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 Doesn't it look like I meticulously pieced the fabric for this sweet little pouch?

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Such fun projects made to look like they were lots more complicated and time consuming than they actually were!

I'll list the websites below where I found the two fabrics that I used for these projects. I know that they are older fabrics and can be really hard to find. Hopefully you'll have something in your stash that you can try these techniques on.

Please feel free to ask questions, I'd love to hear from you!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

Blue patchwork fabric and other Pam Kitty Garden fabrics - www.keepsakecottagefabrics.com

Pink patchwork fabric and red Jelly Clip (size medium) for pouch - www.daisycottagegoods.etsy.com


How I Store My Stuff

When we started shopping for a new home in Kansas we noticed something about the homes here that we weren't used to seeing in California.

Basements.

Some homes had completely unfinished basements that were just big open areas, as big as the house above, with concrete walls and floors and exposed pipes and support beams. Others had beautifully finished basements with bedrooms, bathrooms, media rooms, fireplaces, gyms, game rooms, wet bars and wine cellars. Then others were a combination of both, partially finished but with large open unfinished areas for storage. The common thread was that all the houses we looked at had some kind of basement and some kind of a storage area.

The house we ended up purchasing was perfect for our needs; a finished basement with just the right amount of unfinished storage. My philosophy has always been that your stash should not exceed  your given storage space, so not having a huge storage room would hopefully help keep my stash in check.

I must add here that in our home in California, Bill and I shared the massive built-ins that lined the walls of the garage. I kept extra dishes and seasonal decorations out there along side his lawn chemicals, car wax and whatever else men think they need. Smiley
When we bought this house we agreed that Bill would take the little storage there was in the garage and I could have the small storage room in the basement. Knowing that I needed to be able to fit the entire contents of my previous sewing room plus overflow dishes and seasonal decor into that small space forced me to carefully evaluate what was making the move. I purged heavily before moving, bringing with me only the things I loved. Once we got moved in we purchased six industrial shelving units to line the walls of the storage room and I started organizing.

My hope with this blog post is that you might get an idea or two that will help simplify how you store the things that you don't use everyday. I am by no means an expert. This is just what has worked for me.

Just off the main media room in the basement is a door leading to my storage area. I kinda think of it as my girl cave because it's mostly mine although I do share it with two AC/heating units, a hot water heater, media equipment and a few fishing poles.

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I love that it's tucked away behind the bar and under the stairwell because I can shut the door and nobody knows that it's there and that it sometimes looks like this (insert scary music here)

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This is how it often looks after a party or major decorating spree - or both.

So the other day, while tackling this room I decided to snap a few photos and show you how I store my stuff.

Below is a photo of the wall to the left as you walk past the heating units and water heater. On this side I keep all my extra dishes and linen. Across the top shelf are clear storage bins with Christmas decorations.

Tip #1: Buy MATCHING CLEAR storage bins when possible. It looks neater. Although most of my bins are labeled, being able to see at a glance what's inside is so helpful.

Tip #2: Measure depth, height and width of your shelves and space before purchasing storage bins to maximize storage space.

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My shelves are not arranged neatly but I do try and keep like things together.

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Mason Vista dish collection

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Valentines and Easter dishes

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Place mats and table linens.

On the opposite wall I store my fabric, again in mostly matching, labeled bins.

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I put like fabrics together, stripes, solids, dots, etc and label each box.

Tip #3: Label the boxes

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This really helps me keep organized and helps since I sew upstairs so it's easy to grab a box of fabric I think I might need and take it up to the machine.

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Across the top of the sewing and craft supplies are more big bins with seasonal decor. More Christmas, fall, spring and patriotic. Since I tend not to decorate the same each year I don't label the bins for areas (mantel, kitchen island etc). I just label and store them for the season and recreate each year.

Here's a view of the area under the stairwell. I keep luggage and oversized items in here - small fully decorated trees, a couple of big Santas, my big tiered tray from the kitchen island. It's dark and the ceiling is low so big things that we don't use often go in there.

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Yes, we have a skeleton in our closet. I'm pretty sure every family does.

Skeleton

Probably the best thing that I did was

Tip #4: Hang wreaths and garlands

 

Wreaths

I had Bill insert long screws into the studs so I can hang my wreaths and garlands - four deep. This keeps them from getting crushed, I can see what I have at a glance, and they are up out of the way. If I had to put them into tubs I never would have had enough room to store them all. Also because they are in the basement there is relatively little dust.

Looking back toward the way you walk in is my eight foot Christmas tree, seasonal door mats to the right and two more wreaths hanging up out of the way on the rafters. Yes, that's fishing gear above the sound system equipment - I'm a generous wife. Smileyface


Storage4

It's certainly not pretty by any stretch of the imagination but it's functional and I know where everything is. I love that I don't have to bug Bill to get something down for me when I need it and I get my exercise running up and down the stairs. It's all good.

I hope you got an idea or two on organizing bigger storage areas. I'd love to hear about how you organize your stuff and what works for you.

Until next time - love you more than labeled matching clear boxes.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 

 

 

 


ADORNit Montage

 

If you have the patience to download this two minute video, you're awesome. Please disregard the annoying music and the sound of my voice at the end. I just wanted to gather some of the fun I've had over the past three months showcasing some of the adorable ADORNit fabrics that I  had the pleasure to create with over the past three months.

 

Your friend and amateur film maker,

Suzanne


Tutorial Tuesday #4 - Mug Rugs & Bless You Mats - Part One

When I closed Strawberry Patches and moved to Kansas I doubted that I'd ever sew again. I had absolutely no interest in setting up a sewing room here and regrettably I closed my Typepad blog account that contained the more than 70 tutorials and years of wonderful memories.

About two years after the move the strangest thing happened. I think my heart had finally healed enough after the closing of the store because once we were settled and rested I slowly started to think about sewing again.

That's about the time ADORNit put out a call on social media for ambassadors who were willing to exchange product for projects made with their merchandise. Feeling the nudge to share again I applied, not as a sewist but as a paper crafter (ha...really?? I guess I still wasn't healed enough to want to get out my machine). After I was miraculously accepted, I wrote ADORNit to tell them that I knew how to sew and that I thought maybe my friends on social media would enjoy seeing their cute fabric made up into some simple projects.

You guys, I was scared, but decided to show up, put myself out there and share.

Well, we can blame thank ADORNit for the inspiration, motivation and the push I needed for all this sharing. I'm a show off at heart - I know that and I own it. Thank you ADORNit for awakening that part of my personality that was dormant for so long.

There is just one thing more I want to say before we get started with the tutorial. At this point in my life I want to focus on being open to opportunities that come along and to discover how I might best use my gift to bless others. I can't say I've always felt this way since my sewing in the past had a motive; it was mostly intended to sell product. My goal now is to hopefully inspire and encourage others to be creative and find the joy that being creative can bring. I also hope to occasionally gift my friends with little things that I make along the way so they know that they are loved. My projects are simple and can be completed in little time. That's what I like, so that's what I do. If that's what you like then welcome, I'd like to think that you feel like you are at the right place.

Anyway, a blog reader asked me to repost my years old tutorial for Mug Rugs but since it was long gone I had to rack my brain on how I did it. Yikes, you guys. It took me three days to get it right. Let's just say I may need a new seam ripper, but thankfully I think the instructions are better than ever. So without further ado...here's my tutorial...

These first three photos are from my original post (I fortunately had them saved on my computer). 

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I had fun making these for holidays. They were just big enough for a hot drink and a small snack.

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I used mine at my computer or next to my favorite chair.

 

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Somehow a hot beverage on fun fabrics just makes me so happy.

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Most of you probably saw this Christmas one recently on my social media accounts. For those that missed it the fabrics can be found here and that cute vintage label here.

During the humid summer months here in the Midwest condensation on glasses is a real problem so I wanted to show you that Rug Mugs don't have to be just for hot drinks. I was racking my brain for a clever name for them. You know like, Moisture Mat or Sweat Catcher when I learned of some difficulties a friend was having. So with the help of ADORNits Sunshine Girls fabric I added some inspirational words to some mats and I'm calling them my Bless You Mats. 

Murug

I said a prayer for my friend as I tied each of the little French knots and my hope is that it will cheer her and remind her that she is loved and in my prayers.

Buttons

You know me and my buttons...just keep them to the side so they don't cause your glass to tip.

I'll show you how to machine or hand stitch the words and embellishments before you sew the mat together in part two. It can be tricky - kind of like rubbing your stomach while patting your head. The placement of those words and that rick rack is what caused me all the trouble, but the problems are worked out. You'll be good to go. You are welcome. Smiley

Smile

The pockets that are created with the overlapping fabrics are the perfect places for a word of encouragement or a treat.

Rug

This Sunshine Girl fabric can be found here. I just cut out the inspirational words and raw edge appliqued them before constructing the mat. * more about that in part two

Here's what you will need to get started:

6  - 10" squares of fabric. They can be all different or you can used two of each of three different fabrics (left over layer cakes are perfect for this)

1 - 10" square of needle punch batting or what I used, Soft and Stable found here

1 yard of medium ric rac

A nine inch plate or Lori Holt's round circular template (it measures 9" across and is perfect for 10" squares) found here

Sewing machine, thread and optional embellishments

Cut:

6 - 10" squares or use precut Layer Cakes

Stack

Fold and press four of the squares in half, right side out. These will be the top of you mat. The additional two squares will be the lining (won't show) and back side of your mat.

You will also need one 10" square of low loft batting or Soft and Stable (preferred)

Mugrug2

Place one of the unfolded squares face down (this will be your lining), then put the batting or Soft and Stable on top of that and top it with the other unfolded square (backing), right side up as shown below. Match raw edges and set aside.

Mugrug3


Place one of the folded pieces on your cutting board, folded edge toward the center.

F1

Place the second folded fabric at a ninety degree angle as shown below - fold toward the center.

F2

The third folded piece

Fold3

 and the fourth. Tuck in the lower half of the last piece so it looks like so...

2f

Now pin all the four folded pieces all the way around.

Pinwrong

You are now looking at the WRONG SIDE of your mat top. None of this will show so don't put labels or words on this side 'cause nobody ain't gonna see em. More on that in part two.

TURN YOUR PINNED MAT OVER.

Circle ruler

With your plate or this handy dandy template mark a circle on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat.

This template is great because:

a. you can see through it

b. you can easily line it up with the center of the folds

c. you can check the folds to make sure they are straight by lining them up to the marked lines

d. helps with placement of embellishments

Circle

Take your fabric to the machine and sew the rick rack on top of the drawn line. You will be sewing on the RIGHT SIDE of your mat fabrics. You will not be sewing through the lining, batting or backing at this time - just the four folded top fabrics.

Rickrack

Stitch

Notice I've sewn to the outside edge of the rick rack (not down the middle) with matching thread to the rick rack. 

I just overlaped the two ends slightly and ran the raw ends off the edge of the stitching line as shown below.

End

Turn this top piece over and pin it to the stack of lining, batting and backing. Your rick rack stitching line will show you where to sew next.

Rm4

Now sew through all layers just to the inside of the previously sewn circle. Sew all the way around. Do not leave an opening.

Rm3

Trim seam allowance 1/4" around the sewn circle then turn inside out through that little hole in the center of your folded fabrics.

If you've layered everything correctly, you will see your rick rack peaking out from the edge of the circle. (It's always a relief when I see that).

Rma

Reach through the center opening and run your fingers around the inside seam to poke out the  rick rack. Press and topstitch 1/4" from the edge (I like to using light colored matching thread for the topstitching so as not to call attention to my stitches 'cause they aren't always perfect).

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I added the buttons and label by hand on this one after the mat was completely done but next time I'll show you how to do the sewing before constructing the Mug Rug. I prefer doing the embellishing first, but that's the stomach rubbing - head patting part and since I'm sure I've probably lost most of you by now I'll save it for later. If you are one of my blog readers that bought a circular attachment for your machine I'll show you how that can work for this project next time too.

Until then,

Love you more than vintage labels and Halloween candy.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne