Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jumping the Gun Again

Have you ever seen a project that you had to do NOW!.. like this minute, no stoping go, no collecting the $200?  Well this was one for me... and it's adictive.. like crack for seamsters!  It's so easy.. it's pretty cheap and it uses up those fabrics that you must have been out of your mind when you bought not to mention the strips in that jelly roll pack that did not light your fire and you did not know what you were ever going to do with them!

There are 2 major techniques for doing this sort of thing floating out around the internet.. One is the It's  a Wrap series, and the other is the Mrs. Kings Galley Basket Technique.  Both require soft cotton ( or nylon) clothes line and strips of fabric.. and a machine that can zig-zag..thats it!  I have not bought either book or video and just sort of made it up as I went along from what I gleaned from posts that I read all over the  blogosphere.

I think my method is closer to the Mrs. King method since I am basically making tons of piping and then sewing it in a spiral.  I also made a small basket that I have on my desk to hold my keys and my cellphone.. it's was also pretty easy and way cute.  I got my clothes line at my local ACE but I hear tell that you can find it at Walmart for much cheaper and I am thinking you might be able to find it at the $store, but have not checked that out to be sure.  Just make sure it's the soft cotton or nylon kind.. use a sharp new needle and you are good!  When I make another project next week I promise more shots and some more tecnnique if anyone is intersted.  It's a great project to do while watching a movie.. very mellow sewing..and what more would you want during the summer?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Time for the Giveaway!

It's Friday... are you happy?  I know I am!
So lets get on with the show and pick a winner for the  How Does Your Garden Grown Clip holder and clip design pack!

 The Random Generator did all the hard work for me and the winner is!

Number 5!

Congratualtions to the Shelly at Patterns by Figgy's you are the winner!  (please contact me so that you can let me know if you want a design file on CD or an actual clip holder and clips ( for those that don't have embroidery machines!

For those who did not win remember that we have the files on sale in the Fresh Thread shop at a special price through the end of this month.

Also remember we are counting down to the begning of Summer Stitch and I invite you to come join the fun!

oh... and more on that  quilted camera strap later next week!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Stitch is Almost Here!

Summer Stitch- A hedonistic stitching/crafting/feathering of my nest free-for-all where I sew the things I want for myself and my home without a bit of guilt about things I could be making for other people. Three months of pampering myself with the sweet things that I usually give away to other people. Taking " me time" each day to recharge my creative batteries amid trips to the pool and the library, melted ice-pops and mosquito bites and I invite you to join me.

My start date is June 1st but I will admit to jumping the gun a little bit and making this swanky new quilted camera strap ( seen in the photo) for my daily-use Fuji and I have another one planned for my big mac daddy DSLR Cannon that I really should use more often!

So join me if this idea appeals to you. Swipe my button over there to the side and post it up on your own blog and then link back here so we can swap ideas and blog visits, inspiration and guilt free encouragement to put ourselves first for just a bit of time each day!

Heads up Thread Lovers!

Just a shout out to those who have a Hancock Fabrics in their area ( not to be confused with Handcocks of Paducah, which is much nicer but not near me!)  On Memorial Day and that day only they will be having 1/2 price on their ENTIRE stock of thread. Not just the Coats and Clark, but the Mettler and Gutermann and Sulky.  I just stocked up the other day but have already blown through 4 whole big spools with all the quilting I have been doing.  While not adverse to C&C which I often use for craft projects I tend to got for Mettler and Gutermann when it come to quilting or making good clothing, it just seems to run a bit beter in my machines.   As a note all the machince needles and quilting mats and cutters will also be 50% off so if you are in need now is time to crack open that piggy bank and go for it!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?...It's a Giveaway!

Last week I had the privilege to debut my newest collection to a great group of eager students at the Chattanooga Sewing shop in Chattanooga TN. They were a wonderful group of ladies and we had a great time playing with my new How Does Your Garden Grow Clip holder and Clip collection. Each class participant was given a full kit with all the things they needed to make 1 or more of the clip holders and a nice


Each clip holder is made with a sturdy piece of Easy-Felt, some ribbon, some craft felt and of course some great buttons for the clips.  The "button" in the center of the design is embroidered!  The entire project is done in the hoop with the excpetion of stitching the buttons onto the clips.

These make wonderful gifts and with just a change of color you can take them from sweet to wild!  Try some of the new tie-dye felts or how about an animal print to the pre-teen in your life?

This project comes with a full release to make these to sell at local craft fairs and such and with such a low supply cost these will have a nice profit margin.

Want to know more?... just pop over the the Fresh Thread Shop!  CLICK HERE

Now.. as always with a new collection we need to celebrate!... so leave a comment for your chance at one of the full supply kits and design CD!  ( to leave a comment just click on the word comment below and it will open up a drop window where you can leave your name and contact info so I can let you know if you won!)

Edit:  I will pick a winner from the comments on Friday!

Now All I Need Is Some Rain!

It really is amazing what you can find on the sale rack at Target sometimes!  Yesterday's adventure brought home a wonderful slate blue swing style rain coat for the reasonable sum of about $12.  As great as the coat was style wise it really called to me as a great canvas for some applique, but what fabric?  That was solved by a quick trip to my most beloved Sew Bee It  quilting store in North GA.

What I came home with was Kaffe Fassett's fabric Millefiore which is covered in the most wonderful circles that were just made for applique work!  I cut out the circles and then sat out on my front porch last night and sewed them on by hand with the needleturn method giving them a very tidy apperance ( you could also do this with a machine and the blind stitch..but sometimes I really like to hand stitch).  There are two full circles on the back as well as a 3/4 circle.  Another full circle and a 1/2 circle grace the front and as of last night I thought I was done.

But never to be one to leave well enough alone ( why stop at three kids when you can have 6?) this morning I woke with the idea that a bird on the back would be just right. So I freehand cut out a wonky  little bird and wing and went back out to my front porch with  a glass of juice and a needle and got to work on adding him to my coat.
Of course now there is no rain in our forcast for the forseeable future so I will just have to hang my new beauty up here in my studio to admire until the rain clouds come this way again!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Talking Dirty here at Fresh Thread

While I will admit that I am no "Swedish housekeeper" I do like to have clean laundry that is really clean so like everyone else on the planet I bought into the idea of the front loading washer. Well my dears.. let me say that my front loader is anything but clean and it seems that I am not alone!

It seems that these well touted wonderkids of the laundry world hide a dirty little secret... they harbor mold, dirt and grease under the rubber door gasket and each time you wash anything  that ooze is floating back over your clothing and your precious fabric that you took the time to prewash!

In fact this is how I first found this dirty little problem. I went to wash some white quilting fabric that come out much less white then when it went in!  It was dim.. and a bit sad looking and this had me perplexed since it was washed alone.

So with flashlight in hand I stuck my head in my dear front loader only to scream in horor... black mold and the creature from the black lagoon  icky slimy dirt were in good supply under that tidy and thick rubber gasket that keeps water from flowing back out of the machine.

A quick Google search later  ( what did we do before Google??..really I ask you..what?) and I found out that that I need not feel like the BIGGEST failure on earth since this has been reported THOUSANDS of times to the makers of these machines with no resolution from them in sight.

But fear not... if after your inspection of your washer gasket you too find yourself plagued with things unspeakable  it's icky but easy to get things back in shape.

  1,2, 3 Mr. Clean sponges later and you  will be on your way to cleaner laundry. After the wipe down  under the gasket and the door and the rim then run a GALLON of white vinegar in your machine on the hottest water you can get in there then run it with just plain water.. and then if you are a real wack job run some bleach  ( yes I know bleach is BADDDDD fact I even had to go buy a bottle since I don't keep it in the house but drastic times call for drastic measures!) 

I think I might just sleep better tonight and I wish the same for you!

Let's Hear it for the Boys!

Anyone with boys knows that much past toddler-hood it becomes very difficult to sew for them due to the lack of stylish patterns and fabrics available, but I am happy to say with the latest crop of terrific independant designers that trend is turning around!

I am currently planning on making my two younger boys this terrific pattern, Beach Bum Hoodie and Board Short by, Patterns by Figgy's and I am SO excited about it!  In fact I am so jazzed that I have been working on a mod-square embroidery pattern for it since not only are patterns and fabric for older boys hard to come by so is  trendy but not " cute" embroidery.  Need a ducky or a bunny? problem, but something for the over 8 set and things start getting a bit more difficult!

I will say that this pattern is not for beginners but it does feature sewing instructions for creating the pattern with alll encased seams making this  perfect for chidren with touch sensitivities. You can also just sew this the quick and easy way so it's perfect for lots of different kids!

Soon as it's done I promise to give you a peek! And the mod-square will soon be posted up as a freebie so keep a watch for that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gypsy Rainbow is Here!

I am just tickled pink, and yellow, and purple to give you a peek at my new table runner!  I am calling it Gypsy Rainbow and it makes me smile like a crazy woman each time I walk past the dinning room and catch a glimps of it.

This piece was inspired by a coin quilt that I saw over at Tallgrass Prarie Studio but then I took it in my own direction using cuts from my various jelly rolls plus some nice muslin from my stash. The back ( which I forgot to photograph) is done in the bird print from Tula Pink.

It is 62 inches long and 18 inches wide and while too long for a lot of tables it's just right from my super long table and thus the custom length :)  As an added bonus I used Insulbrite for the batting, in effect making the world largest soft trivet!  I can't say that I loved working with the Insulbrite but it will be an effective way to protect my table from hot pots of soup and family sized casserole dishes.

As for technique this was an exploration piece in that I gathered all my pink cuts in one bag.. greens in another... etc.. then I pulled them " blind" and sewed each color group together and then I stuffed all the color groups together and pulled in in random for the first strip and then mached up..sorta not really for the second strip.

Then came the quilting.. this is where I got stuck for a couple of days since I was looking for inspiration. I knew that I wanted to call it ~Gypsy Rainbow~ for it's free and spirited use of color but then I was totally at a loss!  So when at a loss I did what I normally do and set up a big brain map on paper ( yes, I am just that geeky).. in the center I put the quilt name and from there all the words I associated with it.  Believe me  I wrote down some pure drivel but one word group stuck in my head,  ~tea leaves~..  I played around with this for a while and created a repeating  leaf motif for the colored blocks and then a free motion line and leaf patern for the borders. ( You might ba able to see this if you click on the photos)

The edges are bound in a series of left over strips that I pieced together and then treated as binding ( so it was not bias but in the case that was fine). I machine sewed them to the front and then hand finished the binding since I like that so much more..don't you??

I have already had a few local request for my pattern and a few requests for kits and I think I am going to be doing a class on this..... is this something you might like?.. if so let me know and I will give it a deeper think and get right back to you :) In the mean time I think I will go gaze at my runner a bit more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happy Day!

Well I could not be more relieved pleased to bring you my newest pattern, Strawberry Fields 4-Ever. Honestly, I never thought I would get it done with everything that has been going on around here!  If you could see me now you would totally laugh. I am sitting at my computer while workmen are tearing apart some walls and putting up others all around me. The dogs ( Great Danes) and bunched up under my legs since they are getting skittish with all the action. There is drywall dust in my hair and something funky floating in my tea!  BUT!.. it's done.. and it' ready for you!

and now you will have to excuse me.. I need to find a broom and slap this place into some order!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Watch the Birdie~

Why is it that we put off some of the most simple projects for so long?  Case in point.. the cover for this bird cage.  For 2 years now.. yes, 2 years  this poor bird has been put to bed each night with all variety of bathtowels, sofa throws and the occasional piece of dirty laundry draped over her cage since I had not gotten around to making a cover.    But now she is living   sleeping in style with this new cover made from a length of  what I think is Amy Bulter fabric.. and think it's called Lotus. 

   To score more birdie-browine points I am even going to embroider her name on the front...perhaps then she will quite dumping her whole seed cup out onto the floor each day, since I am sure this was some form of protest having to due to the lack of a proper night cover!

For those wondering how I made it.. there is no rocket science involved ( good to know huh?).  I took a large piece of the fabric and draped it over the cage with the print side down. I then used straight pins to pin away the excess fabric following the contours of the cage.  I then trimmed away the excess fabric and  sewed up the seams. I then refined the fit a bit and and cut open a slit on the front panel which I then self lined with a bit of bias I made from the left over fabric. The strap has a small snap on it and that holds the flap closed at night Easy Peasy It was a 1 hour project start to finish and I now feel like a fool that I did not do it 2 years ago!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chattanooga Spring

There is already a whisper of Summer here in the Chattanooga air and that means some soul crushing heat is on it's way but there is not much you can really whine about after such a glorious Spring.  I swear that my garden has be a hypercharged wonderland of growth this year and what a nice surprise that has been!

Each morning I have been getting up and going out onto the front porch to have my tea.. I can hear the baby birds up in their nest calling to their mama and there are just a few Lilac blooms left on the bushes by the front door that the air is still rather a treat.  All of  this makes it a bit easier to take that the inside of my house is chaos as we are once again back remodeling our 100 year diamond in the rough. Dust, stray boards and a desk sitting in the middle of the kitchen are just just a few of the things that make the front porch the much nicer place to be right now! :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Favorite Sewing Tip - Scissors, Your Best Sewing Friend

When I read about the call out from the SewMamaSew gang looking for our tips tricks and "can't live withouts" of our sewing day I had to stop and think since my sewing room is just about busting at the seams with cool sewing stuff ( Yes I am a sewing freak... guilty as charged!)  but after a bit it became clear that the thing that is most important to me when it comes to my tools is my scissors.

Good scissors are a sewing gal's ( or guy's!) best friend and a bad pair.. well they are just like that girl in highschool who only pretended she was your friend in order to steal your boyfriend... they are just no good for anyone and will cause you many tears.

My scissor collection is large ( going on 10 pairs at last count) and my children live under the threat of a never-die curse if they use any of them since these are ~ mama's sewing tools~ and they are not to be used to cut open a bag of chips or help pry the top off a jar of pickels.  Woe is the child who would do such a thing!  ( But don't feel to bad for them I have tons of other scissors around the house for them to use!)

In my top 4 Scissor Hall of Fame are:

Pinking Shears -  These sawtoothed beauties are the workhorse of my sewing studio. Used mostly in clothing construction to deter fraying and remove builk from seams these darlings can be an expensive purchase for the new sewest. But never fear with a bit of hunting you can find a nice pair on sale so be saving your pennies since starting price (presale) is $30-$50 for a good pair!  ( You can see why I don't let my kid goof around with them!)  Of course Ginger is the holy grail when it comes to scissors and that is why mine are but I also have a pair of all metal Mundials that are very nice and I would not hesitate to get them again.

Micro-Toothed dressmaking shears - These not only have a bent handle making them much easier to use to cut out patterns and fabric they also have a tiny tiny little teeth on the blades and grab the fabric so it does not slip in the blades. This makes it really nice for slippery fabric.

Easy Grip Scissors - I know there must be a better name for these but they are made by Fiskers and they are spring loaded making them easier on your hands.  If you buy a pair ( and I think you should.. I personally cannot go on supporting the whole scissor industry by myself) go ahead and pick up a pack of the springs, in fact get two since if you found them you a one lucky pup!.. at some point the spring will ~spring~ off of your pair and shoot across the room never to be seen again. At this point you will love me with a deep purple  passion since you will have the little spring to fix your scissors since without the spring they are useless!

Wee Little Snips-  I can't even begin to tell you how many of these I own.  Sharp little scissors just right for getting into tiny places, little stitches and all the other places you big scissors will not go.  These tend to dull qicker than other scissors so when I see them I buy them and then don't feel bad and dumping others when they get dull.

BONUS - Duck Billed Applique Scissors-  You will not need these unless you do applique but when you do they are the only ones for the job.  With one blade larger and beveled in such a way as to protect your fabric these will save you a lot of heartache and snipped fabric.

To keep your fabric scissors in tip-top shape remember to NEVER use them on paper and to give them a small drop of oil on the screw if they start to get tight.  If your scissors do get damged consider sending them off to be resharpened, many fabric shops have this service and it can be well worth the $10ish dollars to have your best pair working again after an unfortunate incident where you were not paying attention and might have cut into a straight pin ( I'm just sayin....)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever...

Indeed.... with a nod ( or is that apologies?) to the Beatles it is indeed Strawberry Fields Forever, the newest release from Fresh Thread Studio's. This pin cushion duo is ready to make your life a bit easier and a lot cuter!
Easy to make with options for the 4 inch hoop and making the wrist strap in or out of the hoop there is nothing stopping you from making these for everyone in your sewing circle! ( Start now and think Christmas!)

Here I have used a most wonderful cotton velvet rescued from a lowley thrift shop dress but you could also use, velour, or even a nice wool felt if the spirit moved you.  But if you can do find the cotton velvet, it feels divine to wear about your wrist. I am ordering more from Denver Fabrics who seem to have a nice collection of colors including pink!... Pink stawberries..they will be divine!

 The second part of this dynamic duo is this strawberry dangle version which is just  right to tie on where ever you might need a place to park some pins.  As you see I have one tied right to the front of my machine and there is another tied to my sewing basket. Heck you could even stuff them with a bit of lavender and pop them in a drawer..they are just that cute.

The files will but up for sale at the end of this week and Linda Palmer please drop me a line since you were right on the money with your guess that I had a strawberry themed idea in mind.  You win one of the stawberry dangles to hang from your very own machine!

Good Morning Garden!

Good Morning from my garden to yours!.. This is the view from my it no wonder I keep getting distracted from my work?  But never fear.. this afternoon I will have a sneak peek for you of a ~tasty~ new design that is ~berry~ cute. (hint hint... If anyone can guess what it is before I get it posted you will win it!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

In a Stitch..

After a full afternoon of cleaning out my studio....I took the evening to do a bit of sewing!

First on the machine were some pillows for down by the pool.  This fabric is some outdoor fabric made from some sort of recycled plastic bottles so it's a bit stiff but seems that it will hold up well to being out by the pool.  Last year we got a really nice new set of chocolate colored "wicker" furniture.. it came with teal cushions. It's really very nice but the accent pillows were a stripe that have never really been my favorite so when I saw this fabric with just that touch of teal in it I knew it would be great for slipcovering those pillows!

The pillows are simple with an envelope back so I could just slip in the old pillows for a fast and easy project.  If I can find some more of this fabric I will do a table cloth with it for our outdoor dining room!

The next small poject was actually finishing up a small project that started it's life as a practise piece.  I am teaching myself how to free motion quilt with the new BSR on my Bernina 830... it's a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head... easier said than done for this girl!  So I am working on control and have been working on small projects that will suffer my learning and still be useable... thus POTHOLDERS!

Inspired by the dots I used free motion to create little flowers on this piece. Obviously nothing fancy... but with a bit of bindning ( a jelly roll strip!) and a few moments I new have a potholder that makes me smile each time I see it in my kitchen!

If you want to learn more about free motion quiliting check out this post on the SewMamaSew blog!

and  I want to take a quick moment to do a shout out to all the ladies and gents I met at the AEC... it's was so great to meet you... what fun... and see you next year! :)