Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spring cleaning- Not so Bad!

I am looking out my window at a big fat robin sitting in the tree.  He looks cold.  Did I fail to mention that we got 6" of snow overnight?  Really?!  The weather is supposed to improve this week and I am ever optimistic that spring really will come.  One of the things that I love about spring don't freak!  I love to throw open the windows and really do some deep cleaning.  I am not a housekeeping fanatic but there is something about spring cleaning that gets me going.  You can imagine how excited I was to find these neat cleaning and organizing tools that you can make using stuff that you already have!  Hmmm...if I save $$$ on cleaning supplies, I will have more for fabric!  It's a win-win!
Here's a DIY washable duster:

You make it using fleece scraps and dryer sheets.  Click HERE for the free pattern and say good-bye to those cobwebs!
And I also found these washable flip mop covers made from dishtowels.
My flip mop is a different brand and size but I think these should be pretty easy to size to whatever mop you have.  For the directions click HERE.
And how about getting organized this spring?  It's a never ending task for me but I am always encouraged when I find some snazzy containers to make.  Check these out:

As you can see, this cutie is made from an outgrown pair of jeans.  So can clean out your closet and make some storage baskets! Click HERE for the tutorial for this one and several other clever containers.
I love this roomy fabric box.  Wouldn't these be great for kids stuff, sewing supplies or even mittens, hats, etc. on a closet shelf.  Want to make some?  Click HERE.
I could go on for ages with these boxes and baskets....could it be an obsession?  I have one more to show you and then I will stop....for now. (No guarantees that this topic will not be revisited!)
These little scrap boxes are just adorable!  They are 5.5"x 5.5" and can be made in about an hour.  Just the right project for when you need a little break from cleaning.  I am planning to downsize this pattern and make some tiny ones for my desk more searching for the elusive paper clip or rubber band.  I will show you them when I get them done.  In the meantime, click HERE for the instructions.
Happy spring and good luck with that cleaning!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Susan Rooney- Designs to Love!

Yesterday I took advantage of some morning sunshine and drove over to Rochester, NY to visit with Susan Rooney and Ruthann Stilwell of Susan Rooney Patterns.  Susan and Ruthann work together to produce beautiful and interesting patterns.  Here are some of my favorites:

As you can see, these talented ladies turn out quite a variety of patterns, from purses to wallhangings, quilts and home decor items.  The reason for my visit to Susan's studio yesterday was to get a sneak peak at her new fabric line from Bernartex which will be debuting at Quiltmarket in May. Susan's designs are all about color and after this loooong winter, seeing her fabrics was like a breath of spring.  I think that you are going to love, love, love them!  Here's a sneak peak- 
Glass beads in Susan's studio window- Inspiration for her designs?

Design wall with previews of the new fabric line.
I can't wait to get my hands on this fabric!  Susan's attention to detail is amazing.  The flowers look like they were just picked from the garden and the plaids and blenders are fabulous.  Keep your eyes peeled for these lovelies coming soon!  And if you haven't tried one of Susan and Ruthann's patterns, you will want to click HERE and get sewing!  You will not be disappointed in these beautifully written and illustrated patterns.  They are among the best that I have seen.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pleats are a Plus!

When I was learning to sew as a girl, pleats were a very scary thing.  All of that measuring was enough to make anyone say..."I'll go with the straight skirt!"  I never did get around to making a pleated skirt but lately I have been doing some pleating.  I started with this Amy Butler clutch from her book Style Stitches.

She gives great directions for pleating along with patterns for 25 other bags.  That's my kind of book!
What I really liked about this purse was the fact that you didn't have to measure the pleats.  They were random widths.  It was easy to make because you pleat the fabric first and then cut out the clutch.  Fun!  And as if that wasn't can make this cutey in three different sizes.

To say that I was enthusiastic about this pleating process was an understatement!  What else could I pleat?  How about a pillow?  (Sorry about the poor photo quality- it is a gloomy 1st day of spring here in Western New York- no natural light!)

I am thinking about making some pleated inserts for bag patterns that I already have...or maybe a neat pleated table runner for spring or if I get very ambitious- some pleated valences for the guest room...
The possibilities are endless!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Napa Valley Picnic Tote- Just Right for Summer Picnics

I'm happy to announce that my new pattern is finally finished!  This one took awhile to design because I kept changing my mind.  I am quite happy with the results and hope that you will like it.

I call it the Napa Valley Picnic Tote because it has adjustable end pockets that can hold wine or water bottles.  As you can see it also has outside side pockets to hold plates, napkins, flatware, etc.  

The tote is insulated with Insul-Bright batting which is a great product for insulating bags, oven mitts or anything that you want to keep warm or cold.  The inside of the bag is lined with Ripstop nylon so if your dip leaks, it can be wiped clean.  I also included directions for making a 40"x 40" tablecloth so your picnic can be classy.  

The bag is roomy, 17"x 13", so you can haul quite a feast.  After showing it to some sewing friends, it was suggested that this would also make a great diaper bag or even a beach bag because the wipe out lining would keep those damp bathing suits in check!

If you are a bit intimidated, thinking that this looks like a complicated pattern, don't worry!  Each piece, the sides, ends, and zipper unit, are made flat so it goes together quite simply.  

Wouldn't this be great for an outdoor concert, play or movie this summer?


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fabric Worm Inventory Reduction Sale- Ends soon!

I don't know about you, but when I hear the words "Inventory Reduction Sale"  my heart skips a beat!  I love visiting fabric shops because there is something about touching the fabric that makes me happy, but it is also nice to sit on your couch in comfy PJ's and check out the newest stuff.  You can imagine how excited I was today when I discovered this:

Fabric Worm
 is one of my favorite spots to peruse because they have some of my favorite designers like:
Joel Newberry
Art Gallery

Jessica Swift

Dear Stella
If you want to take advantage of this great sale, you will need to act quickly--it ends on 3/13!  Click HERE to start shopping.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pattern Overload- Let's Get Organized!

Are you drowning in patterns?  Are you tired of searching through boxes, baskets and drawers..or in my case..more boxes, baskets and drawers...for a pattern that you know you own?  My January goal was to get my patterns into some sort of an organized state.  Here it is, the beginning of March, and I have yet to start.  Well, I am no quitter so I have spent the last few days searching the internet for tips.  I even found some apps that intrigued me but they looked way more involved than what I wanted.  Some of the girls out there in blog land had some interesting systems too but I decided that I wanted something that was pretty index!
Here's what I was starting with....arrrg!

At first, I thought that I would just categorize the patterns and make a list of them by name.  The problem with that idea was that I can't always remember the name of a particular pattern and with the mess of patterns that I currently own, there are some that I don't even remember that I have!  You do know what I am talking about, don't you?

I decided that I needed a photo reference so...and here's the challenging part...I made up my mind to photograph each pattern cover.  I know that you are probably thinking, "that's impossible!" It really isn't as bad as it sounds.  Let me show you.

I started by categorizing my patterns: purses and bags, home decor, adult garments, child garments, quilts, quilted gifts, etc. You could choose whatever categories work best for you.
My organized patterns with my not so helpful assistant.

I also "weeded" out any patterns that I thought I would not use again.

Once I had my stash organized into categories, I numbered each pattern by putting a small sticker on the envelope.  I numbered each category separately.  In other words, in the purse category I had patterns numbering 1- 84 (I love purses!) and in the clothing category, I had numbers 1-40, etc.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself by this time but I have to admit that I thought the photographing of each pattern envelope might take forever.  I decided that since this was just going to be a reference for me that I would take the pictures quickly and not worry too much about quality.  I am happy to report that I was able to finish all 340 patterns in about an hour...not bad!

Next step was to load the pictures on my computer and resize them.  I made them about 2"x 3" and fit as many on a page as I could. I didn't worry if they weren't all exactly the same size.  I cut them apart and sorted them into the same categories as my patterns.  This was easy because my patterns were still in
 neat (?) piles on my work table.  I numbered the picture tiles to match the patterns.

I mounted the tiles on cardstock and lettered the boxes that I already owned.  I arranged the patterns in the boxes with dividers and lettered the pages to correspond with the boxes.   I bought a pretty binder and tabs along with some page protectors and arranged the pages.

I'm happy with the results and think that it will be fairly manageable as long as I return the patterns to their proper place.   I will also be easy to add new patterns because I will only have to photograph one or two at a time...that is, unless I find a great pattern sale!  How about you?  Are you ready to get those patterns organized?




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lined Pleated Pouch- so cute!

As I have mentioned in the past, Renaissance Ribbons, is a favorite of mine.  They sell ribbons designed by some of the most popular fabric designers.  Today I found this adorable pouch with a pleat on the Renaissance site.  I decided that I needed to make it up ASAP.

How adorable is this little cutie?  I just love the Kaffe Fasset ribbon accent.  I knew that you would want to make a few of these so you can find the tutorial here.  I think that I will line mine with Ripstop nylon or PUL.  PUL is a great product for lining cosmetic or diaper bags because it is water resistant and easy to clean.  It comes in loads of colors so you are sure to find one that compliments your outer fabric.  For more info, check out Eco-PUL.  I'm thinking that these sweet bags would be great favors for a shower or even a nice way to give a gift card.  Enjoy!