Friday, July 30, 2010

Placemat Tutorial

You will need:
4  - 16 1/2" x 12 1/2" pieces of main fabric
4 - 12 1/2" x 4" pieces of coordinating fabric
4 - 20 1/2" x 16 1/2" pieces of interfacing and of backing fabric
50" of trim
Regular sewing supplies.

To begin:
Choose your fabric and cut to size.
If you happen to be using fabric samples as I was, cut of the paper backing.
Cut the coordinating fabric.
I waited to cut the backing and the interfacing.  I then laid the main fabric on top of the interfacing and backing and used my ruler and cut it 2 inches bigger the whole way around. 
(As a note, I had stiffener that I bought at a local upholstery shop and it worked great for interfacing and saves $$$, however you could use any stiff interfacing)

Your stack should look like this.

Zig zag the edge of the coordinating fabric, sewing through all layers.

Next, sew the trim on through all layers.

Take the entire stack to the ironing board, put on some great music or your favorite TV program and iron away!  This is actually the part that I like least, hence the music or TV.  Iron under 1/2 inch on the top and bottom and then turn up another 3/4" on top and bottom.  Do the same on the sides.  OK, I don't actually measure this, I eyeball it, depends on how particular you are.   Make sure the you give the corners a really good press.

This is what they should all look like at this point.
Now for the fun, mathematical/geometrical part of the lesson.
You are going to open up that corner.  See the squares it made when you pressed it?

You are going to fold it back right sides together from the corner to make a 45 degree angle and you will see this square.  Yours, of course, will not have this nice pen mark to guide you as mine does.  Feel free to get out that pen and draw it in though.
Sew diagonally across that square.  Make sure that you knot both ends and don't sew out of the square.
Trim as shown.
Finger press the seam open. 
Repeat these steps 15 more times.

Now you should have something that looks like this!

Take them back to the ironing board and turn and press them.  This pressing is not as bad as the last one.
Top-stitch the binding down. 
Repeat 3 more times.

Voila!  You have a new set of place mats. 

These are very easy to make, if you happen to make a set, please send a pic to me, I would love to see them!  I actually made this set in 1 1/2 hours. 

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Big Plans, Gone Awry

You see, I had these big plans to post a nice tutorial on these lovely placemats this morning, well actually yesterday morning and then the day happened so you are going to get a play by play of my exhausting day yesterday instead.  Not interested, that's ok, just stop here and check back tomorrow to learn how to make these.
That being said and I see you are still with me so get ready, take a deep breath and help me remember one exhausting day.

4:30 AM -  WAAAAUUUUGHHHH!  Some classic rock station with a lot of static blares me into a semi awake, heart thumping state.  I really like to wake up BEFORE the alarm and turn it off and then nicely get out of bed and start my day.  I must have dozed after that
5:00 AM  - Oh my gosh, I have to go, make the coffee, stretch, pills, water, exercise clothes, shoes, open the house up, fresh air, get to boot camp.
5:30 AM  - Boot camp and my FIRST sweat of the day.  Not the greatest workout, trying to figure what I ate the night before, stomach upset, coffee too close to boot camp, I decide NOT to run the steps of the grandstands this morning, 
6:30 AM - Home, coffee to dear hubby, in bed.  He is not feeling well, hip problems still, and now sore throat and upset stomach. (Did I mention that there is a lot of work that needs done at the shop and we really can't have him sick?) 
7:30 AM -  At work and trying to get things done before Jenn and the boys show up for work
9:00 AM - At least 10 phone calls made, work work work,   very productive so far.  Jenn and one boy arrive.
12:00 PM -  Lunch and ready to fire up the press and print, dear hubby still not feeling well.  The morning has consisted of, as well as work, arranging a doctor's appointment in Pittsburgh for his Mom on Friday.
1:00 PM -  Press ready and we are printing.  Burnt index finger on my left hand pressing words on cheering uniforms on he hot press and SECOND sweat of the day.
1:30 PM - Dear hubby goes down, sick, sick, SICK!  Some funky stomach virus that we would find out later is going around.   I take him home, get him settled, back to work and the afternoon is more work, what we can do without hubby to set up the press, signs, phone calls.
2:00 PM -  "Tyler, if you clean up all of your toys you can go to the fairgrounds with me to deliver."  Honestly, they were like the magic words that turned him into the Tazmanian Devil of toy cleaning. 
2:15 PM -  Truck loaded and off to the fairgrounds.  We deliver, go in empty buildings that he remembers from last year and wonders where all the stuff is, talks to fair managers, that are giving him blue ribbon stickers, inspects all the trophies (he loves trophies) for the fair, places signs, sings on the empty free stage with only me as the audience, pets race horses, chases a barn cat, watches the harness racing practice, climbs to the top of the grandstands and looks over the top and THIS is where the highlight of my day comes in.  There are people there mowing and they stop to marvel at his energy and we chat for a few minutes.  Tyler is looking over the top of the grandstands and I say "Come down now, we have to go, Grandma has to get back to work!" and the people mowing say "Grandma? We thought he was your son!"  I love them!  I forgot to get their names and have them sign that quote, but then maybe they didn't have their glasses on.  Anyway, I an hanging on to that one.
5:00 PM - Day over? Not quite.  Now I have two vehicles at work, what to do?  I take my car home, get my MIL's mail and paper, check on hubby, take the mail and paper to MIL, dig out the pedal bike, begin he THIRD sweat of the day,  ride the bike back to the shop, load the bike in the back of the truck and drive it home.  Is this for real?
5:25 PM -  Woof in five leftover chicken wings and a yogurt, change into dirtier work clothes. check on dear hubby again.  He is not in good shape.
6:00 PM  -  Off to Step-Daughter #2's house to strip wallpaper off the baby's room and begin the FOURTH and longest sweat of the day.  Cut my pinkie finger on my left hand with the wallpaper scraper.  Room stripped.
8:00 PM -  On my way home with mending from Step-Daughter #2's house from wild puppy chewing escapades.  Drive home slowly because 1.) They oiled and chipped the road and 2.) Driving is really my only rest in this day.  Check on my MIL again and then check on dear hubby again, still very sick, shower off wallpaper bits, change into pajamas. 
9:00 PM - Dear hubby stumbles downstairs and wants two soft boiled eggs on burnt toast and coffee.  Not my choice if I had been sick all day.  I call my MIL to see how long to cook a soft boiled egg so it is not snotty like I like them.  Eggs cooked I burn the ring and middle finger on my left hand on the pan lid and proceed to begin the FIFTH and final sweat of the day.
10:00 PM -  I drop into bed and sleep like a log. starts again. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Security Issues

Not BIG security issues, just little baby/toddler security issues.  My older daughter had a blanket, well actually two blankets, but I am not sure that she knew that.  You see, she carried one of those white thermal receiving blankets everywhere she went.  I kept one hidden so that we could always have a Clean Leave the House Blanket on hand.  My younger daughter was much easier, she had her thumb, always available and always with her.  A little harder to break than the blanket security.  It was somewhere in the first month of kindergarten when she was trying to hold her pencil and write with her thumb still in her mouth, right handed, right-thumbed, picture it? 

Now for the grand kids:  Tyler had a Binky, a certain Binky that he had to have.  I had about six of them at my house, never wanting to be out of one and not be able to find one.  He hasn't used it in two years, I recently found one in my nightstand.  See how often I clean drawers? 
Logan has a blue blanket.  He loves the silky edge and loves the corners of it.  I like it, he reminds me of Linus with it. 
Gracelyn has three Binky's, one that she has to have in her mouth and one for each hand.  She plays with them,she clinks them together and that is how she goes to sleep.  Her mom does not allow her to have them in public, sometimes she cries for them..."Binky, Binky, Binky"  Her mom was the thumb sucker, sometimes God just gives you these little things, I choose to think it is His form of motherly justification.  Same with when she sasses her mom, I just laugh! (behind my hand that is)
And then Kendall, no Binky, no blankie, but another B word....Blueberries.  She can be screaming, whip out those blueberries and she starts eating them and she goes into a trance like state.  Maybe somebody should do a study on that....hmmm.

Mom and I took a purse class at Sew Elegant in Clarion on Saturday.  If you are local and have never been in that shop, stop by.  The ladies who work there are so nice and so helpful and special thanks to Pam, our teacher!  Can't wait to take another class.

This was the purse that I made and although we didn't finish it in class, I had to rush home and get it done on Saturday night.  Dear hubby and I did have plans for Saturday night but Saturday morning in the first mile of a 5K, dear hubby went down...hip issues and he spent the rest of the weekend in the recliner with an ice pack. 
Mom gave me these books of sample fabrics on Saturday  and I started these place mats on Saturday evening.  I also have enough to make a red set and a blue set and an orange set and ....well you get the picture, I'll see what I get done.   I really liked the fabric though and I happened to have the backing piece in my stash so it was a true reduce, reuse, recycle project.  Gotta love those!

And one more towel for the Open House Inventory Stash.  
Hope that everyone has a great week.  It is a little cooler here this morning.  Hope that this is a preview of the coming week. 

Boot Camp Update. 
This morning started our fourth week of Boot Camp and although I have only lost 4 pounds so far, I am really feeling better and stronger and "things" seem to be firming up, although dear hubby in one of his diarrhea of the mouth moments told me the other day that perhaps I should lighten up on the weights because, "those arms of yours are not getting any smaller!"  He better watch, he is injured and I could hurt him worse!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finished orders

Everything but the milk can was an order that needed to be finished.  The wheelbarrows were leftovers from VBS that somehow ended up in my possession to paint and the boxes needed a quick little spruce up for a shop in Smicksburg. 
Still painting away, trying to get ready for our Open House that is three months from today. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Honest Doc, it went like this...

You see, it was raining, and I am not talking a mild summer rain, I am talking monsoon rains.  You know, the sound like a freight train and you are looking around for the funnel cloud rain.  The rain that manages to come down our chimney, wetting the carpet in the living room and dripping through to the basement and splatter all over the varnished items on the top of the freezer rain.  Get the picture?  So I call dear hubby down to look at the splattered items sitting on top of the freezer otherwise doubling as a varnishing counter and show him the water issue.  Apparently, all the other times that this has happened I have just TOLD him about the issue and he has not heard me TELL him about it.   In defense of the poor guy, he does not venture into my area very often for fear of his life, however this time he SAW the problem and starts to insist that the problem is with the window behind the freezer.  I tell him repeatedly that it is the chimney and in true male form the look I read on his face is "What do you know, you're just a woman!"  Mind you, that was his look, not his words, one thing about it at 50+ they know when to hold their tongue MOST of the time.  And this is the turning point of the story...

Dear Hubby says. "So Miss Exercise Woman, just jump up on that freezer and check that window"  As I turn to find a chair, a stool, a coffee can he proceeds to push my butt (literally) right up onto the freezer.  As my left thigh goes past the 1950's chrome handle on the freezer it make one heck of a red lump on the front of my leg and as my right ankle...the one that I have been having trouble with, TWISTS...I let out a combination yell, scream, moan sound that sounded strange even to my ears.  The pain was unbelievable!  At that point dear hubby tries to lift me off the freezer and I grab his ear and twist it screaming, "GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU HAVE DONE ENOUGH DAMAGE!"  Not one of the happier marriage moments that I have had.  Amazingly enough, whatever twisted in my ankle actually seemed to help it. 

All would have been fine UNTIL...after everything had calmed down, he says to me, "So, how much are you scaling in at these days, you are heavier than I thought!"  And that doc is where HIS injuries came from!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

You know that you have had a good weekend...

1.  When you finally manage to empty the dishwasher on Tuesday morning and every sippy cup and ice cream bowl is in it.
2. The garbage can is full of pull-ups, swimming diapers and baby wipes.
3.  Your carpet has a nice colorful tone to it from all the sprinkles from the banana splits spilled on it.
4. Every extra bed in your house is dirty and needs the sheets stripped.
5.  When you walk sleepily through the living room to open the front door in the morning before your coffee, you step on a matchbox car and say bad words.
6. The yard sale items that you bought on Friday morning are still in the bags and you have forgotten what you even bought.
7.  Your arms are itchy from what seems like another bout of poisen ivy after searching for blackberries on the hike to the water tower.
8.  You find lost underwear and socks in the dryer that are way too small for either of us.
9.  All of the stuff that you put "up" on top of things is now coming down little by little.
10.  Exhaustion is the word of the week and going back to work on Monday morning feels like rest.

Managed to paint a few things this morning.  This was a yard sale find on Friday and I think that I am going to make a pillow out of it. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Another week of summer!

GONE!!!  Where is it going?  This weekend I have this little girl (she doesn't arrive until tomorrow) and these little boys, who are tucked in for the night and sleeping for the beginning of their weekend at Grandma's house.  John escaped to camp for the weekend.  Too much confusion for him. Tomorrow we are going swimming and then supper and then hiking to the water tower and then we are making banana splits.  Helps to have a plan, although most of the time Flexibility is the Key to Success.
These chairs are my yard sale find for the day!  They were $5 for each set and barely fit in the back of the Equinox, but they made it.  They are perfect for the patio by the fire.  They are also surprisingly comfortable.
Not sure whether to paint them or not...opinions?
Finished these items this week, or should I say ALMOST finished them.  The painted items still need varnished and embellished.  The towel, at least is done.  I have more of these cut out, all different designs, now to get them stitched.  I needed a break from the I Spy quilt. 

Hope that everyone has a great weekend.  Sunday will find me with me feet propped up, passed out in the recliner, I am sure.  Three children, ages 4, 3 and 2 will be the cause of my demise!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sweat shop closed!

My half of the favors are FINISHED!  These were started about a week ago and I have 33 of them.  Mom is making the other half.  I passed her up on finishing them.  I made them on an assembly line and she is more precise and makes them one at a time.
Thank goodness for my very short, long ago career in the sewing factory.  They things that you learn.
Had to share these cuties with you.  They actually sat still enough for a picture all together.  How nice that was and sure beats the trauma and hives of taking them to a photographer.  It is me that has the trauma and hives...not them. 

And the second week of boot camp starts tomorrow.  I have done something to my ankle.  Today will be spent on the recliner after church, resting and icing!

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Second day of boot camp.

As I have hobbled, limped and dragged myself through the last 48 hours, I am thinking "Was I NUTS?" Every inch of my body is hurting, or so it seems.  I am pretty sure my fingertips are OK, although I cut one at work yesterday with an Xacto knife, so that one is a little tender.  Nine fingertips that feel pretty good and the toes aren't bad either, everything else is screaming! 
This morning I just hoped that that the sheets were tucked in tight at the bottom as I grabbed the top of the sheet with those nine fingertips and tried to pull myself to a sitting position so that I could wince as I swung my legs to the floor and hope that they held me up to stand. 
It is a great workout though and I am going back for more this morning. 

I managed to finish a few things the last couple of days.  This picnic cooler has been hanging around the basement for a few months, just needed the tag and the handle wrapped and off to the attic to add to the Open House inventory.
A few more change purses to add to the shower favor stash.  Mom is way ahead of me on these, thank goodness.
A couple of bowls, some snowmen that were in a box of stuff from a thrift shop, and a few more of the snowmen ornaments that I have been making. 

The weekend was full of kids and family and heat!  There are always funny stories when the kids are around.  They say and do the cutest things.  Gracelyn spent the night Saturday night and Sunday morning, I asked John to keep an eye on her while I ran upstairs and got a shower.  Men...shouldn't I know better by now?  I sensed a stirring outside the shower door and I opened the door and there was Gracelyn holding my flip-flops and her words?, "Here are your flip-flops Mamaw, let's go outside!"  Apparently she didn't think that I needed clothes!

And now it is 5:09....only a mere 21 minutes before the pain begins anew!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Saga of the Sewing Machines

or How many sewing machines have I owned...and wore out?   First there was my mother's machine.  I gave it quite a work out and it is still my favorite to date.  An old brown Singer that was quite the workhorse, sewing through blue jeans and wedding gowns with ease.  Next came the JC Penney machine that my Mom and Dad bought for me for graduation, nice machine, lots of fancy stitches, great buttonholer, would not sew through a pair of jeans though.

That machine wore out somewhere in the late 80's.  It finally was not going to sew any more play clothes, Easter dresses, or Halloween costumes. 
Then came another Singer, not a very expensive one, times were a little tougher and a basic machine was all I could afford.  That one finally gave up a few years ago and dear hubby bought a nice Brother machine for me.  Lots of fancy digital stitches, a really easy buttonholer and of course, it would not sew through denim.

And then the killer, my Mom gave away her machine!!!!  That old brown Singer went to someone that needed a machine.  I know it is selfish, but I really could have used that machine...and so the quest began.  Find a nice old brown Singer. 
A couple of years ago, I found this one.  It was at a yard sale.  John found it.  He pointed at it and mentioned across several rows of tables, "Is this the sewing machine that you are looking for?"  He claims that I would have got a better deal if I had not leaped across the tables for it.   It is hard to negotiate a price when you are fist bumping everyone and yelling "WOOHOO!"

Now it did not get to this state easily.  The machine was $20.  It sat in the closet only to be brought out when my muscles needed a workout.  Then, a few weeks ago I went on a sewing machine buying spree.  I bought the machine at the bottom of this post for $10 stand and all with a guarantee that it worked....NOT!  It did not even come close to working, then in the middle of some night, I woke up and thought that maybe, just maybe the old brown singer would fit in that stand....and voila!  After two screwdrivers and some pinched fingers, here it is!

Now for the next dilemma, these two pics are of my sewing room.  Ok, it takes a lot of guts to even show this room.  It looks really bad and actually looks like an episode of hoarders.  John keeps telling me that I am only one bump on the head away from being one of "those" people and much as I hate to admit it...he is probably more right than he even knows.
So I worked and cleaned and organized and purged until I had this.  It looks so much better!
And now for the story of this machine.  I found this on the same day as the Singer in the stand.  This is an old Kenmore machine.  It has everything with it and is in great shape.  It sews perfect and while putting the cams in and out is a bit of a hassle for the fancy stitches, it is heavy and will sew through anything.  It is going to a young girl that I know that just started sewing.  I hope that she can put it to good use. 
One final note, today started our six week boot camp.  I sometimes get these hair brained notions and this might have been one of them.  I mentioned the thought of this to a few friends and they mentioned it to a few friends and so on and so on and we hired a trainer and this morning at 5:30, eleven brave women (three did not show up) from the ages of 30-70 met at the fairgrounds to begin a six week exercise program. 
It was a good workout and I think it is going to be fun but really when the soreness sets in, my tune might change on all this!