Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for a Hurricane

We are bracing for Hurricane Irene.

image source

Connecticut is supposed to see the heaviest rain from midnight tonight through the afternoon tomorrow. The hurricane force winds are expected to start first thing tomorrow morning. We will hopefully be in the clear by Sunday night. I've never been through anything like this, so I'm pretty nervous. I've got 10 gallons of bottled water and enough non-perishable food to last a lifetime (I may have overdone the storm preparations :) The water aisles in the grocery stores are empty, and I don't think there's a D battery left in any store in the state (Believe me, I've looked).

I read in the newspaper yesterday that we could be without power for a week if things are as bad as they think they are going to be, so you may not hear anything from me for a little while. Fingers crossed that we come out on the other side of this smiling.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Point of View: Back to School

Welcome to this month's Point of View reveal! The theme for August is "back to school". I can't believe that summer is almost over and it's that time of year again. All of this month's projects are bright and fun...

Gwen from Gwenny Penny (Click HERE to find the tutorial for my Pencil Pouch)
Camilla from Rosy Red Buttons
Michelle from A Little Tipsy
Daune from Cottage in the Oaks (Our guest this month... Thanks for joining us, Daune!)

I am always amazed by how different all of the projects are from one another. As always, you can check out each of the tutorials by visiting each of the blogs listed above.

So, what do you think of my pencil pouch?

This turned out better than I ever expected. It looked good on paper, just wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull it off :) Want to make your own? Click HERE for the how-to.

Do you have a back to school project that you would like to share? We would like to invite you to join the Point of View Back to School Link Party over at A Little Tipsy. Any idea that you feel relates to the theme is welcome at the link party. It doesn't have to be a new project. If you have something in your archives that's back to school-related, link it up! We want to see any and all back to school ideas. And remember, by linking up you have the chance to be featured by one of the members of Point of View next week! Hope to see you there.

Pencil Pouch Tutorial

I love back to school time. The aisles of notebooks, folders, pens, glue sticks, boxes of brand new pencils. When I was a teacher, I had so much trouble with kids showing up to class day after day without anything to write with. That's how I came up with this project...

A pencil pouch is a great way to keep pencils and pens in one place. How cute would this be tucked in a backpack? I'm so happy with how this turned out. I had it all planned out, but I was doubting how the zipper would work at the pencil point end. Luckily, all went well. Want to make a few of your own? Here's the how-to...

  • scraps of black, cream, yellow, gray, and pink fabric
  • lining fabric
  • fusible fleece
  • 9" zipper
  • thread
  • water soluble fabric marking pencil
  • ruler
  • rotary cutter or scissors
  • zipper foot


Step 1: Start by cutting all of your fabric. You'll need two pieces of each of the following...
            Black - 1.25" x 3.5"
            Cream - 1.75" x 3.5"
            Yellow - 6" x 3.5"
            Gray - 1.5" x 3.5"
            Pink - 2" x 3.5"
            Lining - 10.25" x 3.5"
            Fusible Fleece - 10.25" x 3.5"

Step 2: Next, assemble the exterior pouch pieces. Lay out your pieces in this order...

Sew these pieces together using a 1/4" seam allowance. Do this for both sets of "pencil" pieces. When done, press the seams open on the back.

Step 3: Apply your fusible fleece to the wrong side of each "pencil" piece from Step 2 following the manufacturer's directions.

Step 4: You'll need to mark where you want the point of your pencil. Measure down 1.75" from the top edge of your "pencil" and make a mark on the outside edge of the black fabric. Line up your ruler from this point to the point on the bottom of the "pencil" where the cream fabric meets the yellow fabric. Cut along this line.

Repeat on the opposite edge to create your point.

Step 5: Repeat Step 4 for your second "pencil" piece.

Step 6: Add some topstitching to the gray fabric to make it look more like the little metal band around your pencil. I added two equally spaced rows to each of the "pencil" pieces.

Step 7: Next, you need to cut the pencil point on your lining fabric. Make sure that you cut the lining pieces in opposite directions if you are using fabric with a pattern on it. I used my "pencil" pieces as a template for cutting the angles on my lining pieces.

Step 8: Time to start assembling your pouch. Take one lining piece and lay it down right side up. Now set your zipper on top, lining up the top edge of your zipper with the top edge of your lining fabric. Center the zipper horizontally along the top straight edge of your lining fabric (since the zipper won't be attached to the angled portion).

Take one of your "pencil" pieces, and lay it right side down (fleece up) on top of the lining/zipper. Make sure the edges of the "pencil" piece line up with the edges of the lining.

Pin all of the layers together, and sew along the top edge using a zipper foot.

Pull all of the layers to one side of the zipper and press, being careful not to set the iron on the zipper teeth.

Step 9: Take your other lining piece and lay it down right side up. Now set your zipper on top, lining up the top edge of your zipper with the top edge of your lining fabric. Make sure that the left and right edges of all the layers line up.

Take your other "pencil" piece and lay it on top of all your other pieces right side down (fleece up), lining up the top edge with the top edge of your zipper. Make sure that the left and right edges of all the layers line up.

Pin all of the layers together.

Sew along the top edge using a zipper foot.

Step 10: Pull the layers from Step 9 to one side and press. It should now look like this...

Unzip your zipper to about 2" from the end.

Take your lining pieces and bring them together, right sides facing. Take your "pencil" pieces and bring them together, right sides facing.

Pin together, making sure that the teeth of your zipper are pointed toward the lining.

Sew all the way around using a 1/4" seam allowance and leaving a 2" opening along the bottom of the lining. Go over the zipper a couple of times to reinforce it.

Step 11: Clip your corners, and cut off the excess zipper on either side (even with the edges of the fabric). Turn the pouch right side out through the opening in the lining. Press. Sew the opening in the lining closed, and tuck the lining into the pouch. Press again.

You now have a cute pencil pouch, perfect for back to school!

You can also personalize your pencil pouch by adding a name, initials, embellishments. Try hand stamping, embroidery, applique. Lots of options. And it doesn't hurt that this pouch goes together pretty quickly, too. Have fun with it!

Updated 7/28/2014: A Limited Commercial License is now available for this tutorial. If you have a home sewing business and purchase this license, you are entitled to make and sell these pouches for profit. The license is good for as many pencil pouches as you are capable of making by hand, and all items must be handmade by the purchaser. Factory or mass production is strictly prohibited. The fee for the license is $10. I am asking sellers to agree to follow a few specific guidelines. If you are interested, please read the complete terms and conditions, found HERE. Thank you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Back! (and Point of View Reminder)

I'm back, but you didn't even know I was gone, did you? We were away on vacation last week, camping in Maine for the first half of the week (just like last summer) and then in Vermont visiting family for the second half. It was a nice break from everything. I'm glad to be home, but there's a part of me that misses being away from the day-to-day stuff. I'd rather be at the beach than doing laundry right now, wouldn't you? It was nice to be away from the computer, too, even though I did steal my husband's phone a couple of times to check my email and read a few blogs. I've come to the realization recently that I've been spending way more time on the computer than I would like to. I'm trying out a new schedule around the house starting today that will hopefully keep me off the computer during most of the day, and I'll be blogging more at night. We'll see how it works out. Please be patient with me as I fumble my way through this :)

I really appreciate all of the comments I received on the posts I had scheduled to go up while I was away last week. It will take me a few days to get back to everyone who had questions and to catch up on all the email and blog reading, but I'll get there.

Since I can't write a post without a picture... I haven't shared the MADE beach robes that I sewed for the girls, so here's a peek at my oldest's. I'll share more pics of these soon.

I also want to remind everyone that this month's Point of View reveal is this Friday, August 26th.

The theme is "Back to School", so dust off those old back to school posts or make something new and get ready to join the Point of View Back to School Link Party on Friday. Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another Birth Announcement Embroidery Hoop

Remember my Central Park baby quilt that I made back in April as a baby shower gift for my brother and my sister-in-law? Well, my new niece finally arrived on July 1st. After making my first birth announcement embroidery hoop for a friend a couple months ago, I just had to make another one for my niece...

The blue fabric was a leftover from the quilt binding. I didn't think that I had any scraps left from the quilt backing (but I have since discovered that I was wrong), so I dug through my scrap drawer looking for colors that matched the Central Park line. I must have done a pretty good job because my sister-in-law thought that it was made up of fabrics from the quilt.

I also made a set of burp cloths...

Just a quick sew of some fabric onto cloth diapers. Very girly collection of fabrics here. Sorry, bro... you won't look very manly burping the baby :)

These are definitely my new go-to baby gift. Both of these projects are so quick and easy, and everyone loves them. The only problem is that now we are in a baby lull... no one is pregnant and I can't think of anyone who will be anytime soon. I'll be ready for the next one, though.

I'm linking up...

monogramSomewhat Simple

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pin It Wednesday: Plus Quilts

Back in March I set a goal for myself to complete two little Sherbet Pips couch quilts for the girls by October 1st. Although I thought I'd have plenty of time to get them done, I didn't have high hopes of making it, and now I know for sure that it's not going to happen by October 1st. However, I have started planning and prepping. In fact, I've invested way too many numerous hours trying to decide on just the right quilt pattern for each and how to lay it out. I need to stop wasting time and start sewing if these quilts are going to be ready for winter.

After looking over lots of different quilts, I am really digging the plus quilt. I had originally planned on just making regular patchwork quilts, and a plus quilt is basically just a patchwork quilt with a little more prep work :)  I have found some gorgeous plus quilts that I can't wait for you to see. Here are this week's pins...

1. Castle Peeps Plus Quilt from ann-marie s.
I love the colors on this. It just looks so inviting.
I want to curl up in it. With cocoa. And cookies.
(Ann-Marie was inspired by this quilt by Jeni from In Color Order.)

2. Red Letter Day Plus Quilt from you know what i love?
This is such a fun quilt. It was made for a little boy, and I think the colors are perfect.
I really like the quilting on this.

3. Summer Sherbet Plus Quilt from Film in the Fridge
I think the green is really unexpected on this quilt, and I love that. And if you look closely,
the quilt is mainly made up of solids with only a few prints thrown in. So pretty.

This quilt is stunning. And I love that Emily went with voile fabrics, so it's super soft.
I never would have thought to do that. Such a clever idea.

So as of right now, my plan is to make a plus quilt for my youngest, but I still need to decide which direction I'm going to go for my oldest. As for my deadline, I have a revised goal of Thanksgiving... we'll see if I get there :)

If you're interested in seeing my other quilt pins, click HERE. Interested in seeing ALL of my Pinterest boards? Click HERE. No clue what Pinterest is? Click HERE.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Simple Custom Gift Box Tutorial

This project was a guest post that I did over at Scissors and Spatulas a couple weeks ago...

Today I'm going to show you how to make a simple custom gift box. Shouldn't you wrap a handmade gift in a handmade box? Yes! I was searching high and low for a little gift box in my basement a few weeks ago, but all I could find were enormous gift bags. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and make a cute little gift box of my own...

Adorable, no? These are so easy... I used to make this style box when I was a kid. And you can customize the gift box for the recipient by choosing the right rubber stamps, colors, and embellishments. Now you really want to make one, right? Here's the how-to...

  • 2 pieces of 8.5" x 11" cardstock
  • rubber stamp(s)
  • ink
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • butter knife
  • scissors
  • glue
  • embellishments


Step 1: Chose a piece of cardstock to use for the top of your gift box. We are going to stamp the paper first. You can stamp however you like, but I like to use the following method so that I don't end up with any gaps. Lay your ruler out from one corner of your paper to the opposite corner. Start stamping along the ruler every couple of inches (depending on the size of your stamp).

When you get to the edge of your paper, place a piece of scrap paper along the edge and continue to stamp so that you get the partial pieces of your pattern on your cardstock.

Step 2: Once you complete the first row, move the ruler down a few inches, keeping the same angle along the paper. Start stamping the next row, staggering your stamps between the stamped images in the row above.

Continue until you've filled the paper above and below that first row that your created in Step 1. Let the ink dry before moving on to Step 3.

Step 3: Now it's time to assemble your box top. Flip your paper over so that the stamped images are facing down. My finished box is 7" x 4.5" x 2", so these measurements will result in a box of that size, but you can make any size you want. You need to start by creating four lines on your paper. Each line will be 2" long and will be located 2" from the adjacent edge of the paper. The lines drawn from the short edges of the paper will be horizontal. The lines drawn from the long edges of the paper will be vertical.

Please see the picture below for more detailed information...

Using scissors, cut along each of these four lines.

Step 4: You will need to score your paper to make it easier to fold. With your stamped images still facing down and using the blunt edge of a butter knife (upside down), score the entire length and width of your cardstock, 2" from each edge. See the picture below for more detailed information...

Step 5: Time to start folding. With your stamped images still facing down, fold along the score lines on all four sides, folding the edges toward the center of your paper.

Take the four small squares formed by your cuts and score lines and fold them into the middle of the box top.

Glue these squares to the inside of the box at all four corners.

When you are done, it should look like this on the inside...

Step 6: Take your second piece of cardstock and trim 1/8" from one short side and one long side. This will make it easier to fit the top piece over the bottom piece when you are done. Repeat Steps 3, 4 and 5 to create the bottom for your box. When you are done, you will have a cute little gift box!

But what is a handmade gift box without embellishments? Time to decorate!

I took a piece of fabric bias tape and looped it around one end of my box, securing it with glue. I made a little bow with the bias tape and glued that on top, followed by a small white button.

This is a quick and cute project that really adds a nice touch to a gift. There are so many options here. You could stamp the recipient's name somewhere on the box, stamp the cardstock used for the bottom piece of the box, wrap it up with some ric rac or baker's twine... the possibilities are endless. Use your imagination and creativity :)
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