Thursday 22 March 2012

A rose would smell (nearly) as sweet.....

......but wouldn't come in a cute handbag sized 'roll on' perfume bottle! 

These items are the result of a crafty night in with three of my girl friends - a small bottle of perfume each (bottles courtesy of eBay - what would I do without it?) and a brooch.

 I recently saw an easy recipe for perfume, and this quantity is about right for the 6ml bottles that I bought: 12ish drops of essential oils (choose your favourites or create an exciting new blend) and a teaspoon of vodka (or in my case water - who knew that ME would have so many odd side effects? intolerance of alcohol is just another one of mine). 

 Next we made a simple 'friendly plastic' brooch.  I love felt and hand sewing in concept, although I still don't like the 'squeaky' feel of felt!  I don't use it often enough to stop me from using it when I think that it's the best material for the job, though.  The brooches were quite easy to make.  Friendly plastic cut to length, heated (we used a heat gun, I'm told that you can use hot water), and then a wooden block pressed into it.  When it had cooled slightly we peeled it off the block, punched holes into the corners and sewed it onto a double mount of felt.  Difficult to show the lovely metallic turquoise colour on a photo.....

My other sewing (on the machine this time) was this pair of bags.  Very simple and fast to make, they are ideal for 'changing kits' - you know, baby wipes, bags, nappies or pants - but also jolly useful for keeping other bits and bobs together neatly.  I do like the button and 'hair bobble' closure too - more chance to stuff a bag and keep it closed than when I use Velcro!

Hope that you are enjoying your crafting this week too.

Friday 16 March 2012

Look at this!

Do you remember me showing this on my blog last year?  I've given you a nice big photo so that you can appreciate the detail.  Then I'm going to tell you that in real life it is an ATC, so just 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" and you can be even more impressed!

So why am I showing you this again?  Because on Monday night we had a talk from a Certified Quilt Judge, and it turned out to be none other than the sender of this card, Tracey Pereira!  What an interesting quilter and quilt judge.  Even without the benefit of her projector (which decided not to play nicely about half way through her talk, unfortunately) she kept us entertained.  Lovely to see some of her quilts in real life, too.

She made this card by quilting first, then colouring the feathers with Inktense pencils.  I've heard (if it's on line, can you see a conversation rather then hear it?) a number of people talking about them, but have previously pulled up a listing for them, sucked my teeth at the price, and left it.  This week, not only have I seen what else Tracey has done with them, but I'm also looking at colour as part of my C&G course - which has made me look at the colouring media that I already have..... so this time, looked for the cheapest source I could find and treated myself, just in time for Mothering Sunday!  What a nice present to myself!

Of course, in the same post came some textured threads in various different colours that I'd bought myself (second hand?  does that count?) and I've also ordered some Mylar templates and a couple of quilting stencils (quite cheap, and free P&P so that can hardly count either, can it?).  It's a bumper Mothering Sunday for me, and the rest of the family don't even know that yet!

Time to go and play!  Hope you are able to enjoy some playtime too.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Snap Bag Tutorial

I did promise this last week, didn't I?  So now I'm making good on my promise.

Start with two fabric rectangles, one outside fabric, one lining fabric - mine are about 7" x 14". Your finished bag will be roughly 6 1/2" square from these measurements.

Think about any directional prints that you use - no one likes to see an upside down bird on a bag!

Put the fabrics right sides together, and sew around them using a 1/4" seam, and leaving a gap of about 4" at the bottom IN THE CENTRE (yes, that is important, and remember to check which way the bottom is,  no birds with headaches, please!).

This is to show you the gap - and you can see that when I'm about to turn something 'right way out' I like to reinforce the stitching near the hole with a brief forward and backward run.

Now snip the corners off, turn the fabrics right side out, and iron (or at least finger press)  all around the edges including the gap area where you can turn the seam allowance under ready for later.

Fold the fabrics in half, and run a line of sewing down that line.  You should have two equal sections, both with small openings near the bottom of that stitched line.

Now cut some metal measuring tape to size.  You need to cut each of them to the same size, and be aiming for 1/4" to 1/2" smaller than the width of each section.  To be honest, I started cutting them 1/4" shorter, but finished cutting them a scant 1/2" smaller as otherwise it was making later steps more difficult!

 I cut my tape with (very) sharp kitchen scissors.  If you find that someone 'helps' you by pushing the lock off the tape that you have stuck out from your metal measuring tape, so that the end disappears into the tape cover, don't worry.  There is usually just one screw to undo in order to expose the rest of the tape and the spring.......go on, guess how I know!
Now cover the ends of the tape with duck tape - this will help protect the fabric from those sharp corners of the metal tape.  You can choose whether to aim for a 'tight' end, or whether to make a 'tag' at the end of 1/8" which is just tape sticking to tape - then you can sew through this to anchor the tape into the bag in a later stage if you wish to.  I prefer not to do this, as the glue on the tape I was using made the needle a bit too gunky for comfort.

Whichever you choose, you will want your smoothest side to be on the plain side of the tape, the least smooth side on the numbers (concave) side to get the best finish later on.
Time to poke the tape into the two 'pockets' now.  They are shown in the right position above, but you need to make sure that the numbers (concave) side is facing the lining side for the snap to work properly.  When you've manipulated them into the right place, run a line of stitching along under them to hold them in place.  I like to make this fairly right, without being so close that I sew through the metal tape......

Finally you can fold your fabric into it's finished shape and sew all around it.  I haven't got a photo that show it well, but you need to make sure that the outside seams from the top to the bottom of the tape 'pockets' that you have just sewn are really strong.  Although I thought that Zig-zag was quite nice, straight stitch would work just as well.

As you sew around the square you will sew over the two openings at the bottom - just make sure that you seam allowances are folded in properly when you are sewing them.

Ta-da!  You have a finished snap bag!

I hope that you enjoy anything that you make.  I think that smaller would be successful, but if you were making an opening that was bigger than this you might want to use a double thickness of tape to make a stronger 'snap'.  Just make sure that you get the pieces facing the same way so that they work properly still.

Of course, if you are Gill, you are the lucky winner of this example, so you don't even have to raid your tool box to get a snap bag, I'll be sending this one to you!

I hope that the rest of you enjoy the tutorial.  Happy snapping!