Coffee Anyone?

Whats your favorite Java? To tell you the truth I don’t drink coffee, but there are times that I do grab one, just because the smell overcomes me. I am more of a flavor hot chocolate lover and tea lover. I am starting to try new teas, but I limit myself with how much I drink a day. Too much caffeine is not good for me. I also refrain from drinking too much sodas.

Last week I took a day making aprons and a day for huck towels. I am getting ready to set these up in a few weeks at Nickorbob’s Home Decor, where I have a booth. I’ve been trying to think of a form of staging. I actually found a old coffee or tea pot and shined it up really nice. Now I was looking for old tins of coffee but I think I won’t succeed. I’ve decided just to grab a couple different flavors of coffee with a coffee cup. Put them in a nice box and nicely place one of my towels by the box. A card saying, “A perfect pick me up or special treat for that coffee lover”. I mean how many friends do you have that LOVE coffee and is always carrying a cup from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or one of the many other coffee houses out there.

These designs on the aprons and towels are major thread count. Rule of thumb, when a design is stitch intense, the end result, item will be more expensive. No wonder it took me a day for the aprons and 2 for the towels. However, I will admit, it was worth the time to stitch these out. They are beautiful. I know I would “hate” to wear one of the aprons and worry about getting a stain on it, cause after washing them you definitely have to iron. And the towels, to good to use, better for show. I know there are lots of ladies out there that when they decorate their kitchens, there are towels for using daily and then there are those towels that “are not” to be TOUCHED. These are definitely display. I will add this side note, these coffee cups can be customized to your personal taste, to match your decor of your kitchen.

On both the aprons and towels the stabilizer I used was tear away, iron on. Just as a reminder, I used the iron on tear away mostly because it holds the fabric in place and is perfect for all types of projects. I know I’ve been out of the loop with embroidery stuff, such as new products, so I’m going to have to check out some of my past suppliers to see whats new in the embroidery world.

Take a peak at the aprons and towels. Most of my designs are purchased from EmbLibrary, unless I mention, the Roosters and Frogs were not from there, just a fyi if you ever go looking. At EmbLibrary any design I purchase I can embroider and sell my wares.

Embroidery Wall Art – Roosters

Sorry I didn’t post last night. Long day at work.

I don’t know how many people that read my blog go over the line on what they embroider on, but I have gone over the line and embroidered on paper, fabric and painting canvas. I have recently embroidered on a different fiber. It was almost like a weaved straw. It was actually a table runner, but I cut it down to size and put two different roosters on the fiber.

The roosters took forever to stitch, but that was because I had to reinvent the wheel with the thread colors. I also hate when I put colors in my machine that they are not true and it is hard to decipher what it will look like. Sometimes I’ve even made mistakes by putting the wrong thread color on the wrong spindle.

I will be creating more wall art as each day progresses, but for now here are my roosters and I think the frames I picked work well together.

Thanks for checking out my blog and hope to see you again soon. And if you have made items for wall hangings, feel free to share!

Walker Tote Bags

When I met Jak from Nickorbob’s Home Decor Craft Mall, she indicated to me that they have several customers coming into the place looking for a particular item. She asked me if it was at all possible to make walker tote bags, for those that use walkers. I said sure no problem.

I don’t work from patterns. I usually think it out and then start from there. As we have a walker from when my husband had hip surgery, I was able to construct a tote bag for the walker. I don’t often youtube either, but lately I check youtube out first. There were two youtube videos on walker tote bags, however I didn’t like either one. Yeah I get fussy.

One of the videos showed how to use velcro to attach the tote bag onto the walker, the other one used straps that tied to the side of the front of the walker. I went ahead and started to make one, however instead of using velcro I used heavy duty snaps. Both videos were good but I felt that a lot of fabric was wasted because they used the main fabric throughout the whole thing. My prototype I used one fabric throughout, but then again it was clearance fabric, so it didn’t matter.

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Once I got my prototype made, I was able to revisit the design. Since I purchased limited fabric (military, air force, navy) I only bought a yard and I wasn’t thinking, I need more than a yard. I also purchased some fabric that was 13.00 a yard. When I make items, I want the end result to look like a quality piece. To tell you the truth, I’m glad I used the fabric I did for the prototype, I don’t like the pattern. But I know there would be others that love it. Enough said.

So once the prototype was completed, I felt that it was not long enough and the pockets were not deep enough. The dimensions of the bag is 36 inches long and 18 inches wide. When I made the pockets I said to myself, why use the same fabric for the backside of the pocket. That is wasteful, especially if you are using a quality fabric that is expensive. So that is when I decided I would use a solid, inexpensive fabric for the backside. So another tote bag is completed. But then I ran into a issue where I only purchased a yard of fabric and I didn’t have enough fabric to make the outside pocket. Stumped no. Thinking cap back on.

Yes this new idea takes longer, however I will be able to make 2 tote bags with one yard. Cut the fabric at 18 inches, making sure the fabric is squared, then cut 36 inches from the 44 inches. You don’t have enough fabric to make two (2) pockets (one pocket is in the front, one pocket is on the other side towards the person). Lay the fabric out and cut 10 inches off from both top and bottom sides. Then you take a solid fabric and cut four (4) pieces 18 x 10. Two (2) of the solids will be for the backside of the pocket (lining) and the other two (2) of the solid fabric will be sewn to the middle of the tote bag. See Diagram.

When you cut the pattern fabric into 3 pieces, you will take two of the solids and sew them to the middle main fabric pattern. Then the pockets will be sewn to the other solid fabrics. You turn the fabric so the seam is in the inside on the pockets, iron and then stitch on the top of the pocket a top stitch. You will need a solid piece of fabric 18 x 36 for the inside lining or back side of the tote. You place the pockets accordingly on the solid areas making sure that pattern is on the outside. I run into another issue….

Both videos I watched just either had the velcro or the straps. Well and she roll her eyes. Someone who will remain nameless cause “he” doesn’t sew, said what if something heavy is put in the pocket, the bag will collapse. Yeah it did. The sides of the totes gathered into the middle of the walker. So I had to add the straps right about even with the top of the pockets. I used a grosgrain ribbon on each side of the front pockets, on the back pockets I adhered velcro. The velcro is also adhered to the end of the ribbon. Now we can go back to sewing.

Place the ribbon at the top of the pockets, pin in place and make sure you have them laying correctly so when you turn the fabric right side the ribbon is not inside the finished product, don’t look at me, I didn’t do it. Yeah I did, rolls eyes. Then lay your solid 18 x 36 on top of everything and then sew all edges leaving enough open area to turn the whole thing. Make sure you cut the corners in order to make a square corner. Then the small open area, turn it in, pin and then do a top stitch all the way around. You will then make a topstitch to make two (2) pockets. Then add your snaps right below the front bar of the walker. I believe I placed my snaps 4 inches from the middle of the tote bag, but don’t take my word for it, use a walker for proper placement.

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NOTE: If your fabric you are using runs one way in one direction, you will have to also make a cut in the middle of the main piece of fabric, so everything goes in the same direction on both sides. You will notice in the examples above, most of the designs have a one directional design and I had to cut the middle.

Hope I was successful in my explanation and diagram. Its only 1:30 in the morning.

Herbs & Spices

Last week I spent the day making some kitchen huck towels. LOL I almost said hunk. What am I thinking! I ran out of huck towels a few weeks ago and had to put in a order to get more and once they were received, up in the sewing room stitchin’.

On these particular towels, the designs are toile and you have to use the right stabilizer. You don’t want to use a stabilizer that you cut around the design because it will show on the backside of the towel. You don’t want to use a tear away, because the stitches might pull through when removing the paper backing. So with these towels I used the type that washes away. I use vilene.

Vilene is a water soluble stabilizer that allows your stitches from not sinking into a high pile fabric, such as bathroom towels. I also use vilene when I do free standing lace designs. I have used other water soluble stabilizers but my choice is the vilene. Since I bought it years ago I bought it by the roll and egads I have a big roll of the stuff. I find it was more cost efficient that getting sheets. Its 59 inches wide and if you are a embroiderer and use the stuff a lot, I googled vilene sold by the yard. You can purchase it Pointe to Pointe, 3 yard minimum at 6.50 a yard, http://www.pointetopointe.com/site/525331/product/QO102

I hooped my towels then placed a single layer of vilene on top then stitched my designs. I cut away the excess when done and I washed the towels to remove the remaining stabilizer. Now if time was not essential… I would have air dried the towels, but I put them in the dryer.

Did you know…
– Your dryer machine will toss the clothes around causing wear, which is not the case with air drying. Air drying is a lot easier on your clothing.
– Air drying REDUCES WRINKLES. If your clothes are properly hanged for air drying, they will dry wrinkle-free in the right shape.
– Air drying also eliminates static cling. Air-dried clothes might feel stiff at first, but by adding a liquid fabric softener, your clothes will receive great softness and gentle smell.

Here is the results of my herbs/spice designs

 

Greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions!

Embroidered Aprons

I started embroidering a bunch of aprons awhile back, as well as other items and I was just not feeling it. Still dwelling and getting over my mom’s passing from years ago. I just couldn’t get myself to continue. But with this new venture I had too. I know my mom was always watching me in the sewing room and I know she is looking down, smiling and happy that I am doing something I’ve wanted to do for so many years. She was around when I was at the Coomers Craft Mall and she was happy for me selling my wares. So now mom this is for you, me continuing and being creative.

I had purchased gobs of designs from this one designer when I attended a quilting show years ago. Two years later I attended another show and told the digitizer that I had put some of her designs on aprons. I indicated to her if I could sell them and she said why of course, however no large quantities. I said to her heck I don’t believe in doing large quantities I want my customers to have unique items. Ones not sold in stores and I would rather have a customer having their own design to themselves. She likes that.

Once I got my craft booth I was like OMG start stitching! So I went through all my items I already made and chose what additional aprons I’d make. I still have ideas floating in my head for apron designs, however I just needed some to get me started. I love these aprons and if ever interested in something you can always contact me for a sale. You can even contact me for a special request. I can see if I have a design your looking for or even check the place I buy most of my designs from.

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These roosters are great. Putting two different roosters on the aprons makes the appearance that they are cackling back and forth to each other. Using different shades of color in the feathers make it more interesting as well. I believe there are a total of 9 different roosters in the set, so I could really mix them up and coming up with a great combo.

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These frogs are they not to die for. OMG I mean look at their expressions and positions. Just like frogs near a pond, jumping and playing around just like on these aprons. Using a different selection of thread choices on each apron for the group of frogs works as well. I mean there are all different color frogs around.

I made a bunch of white huck towels that have different designs of one rooster and frog, so they can compliment the aprons.

I also whipped up some fast designs, including ones for Valentine’s Day. Made a few aprons with red and pink XO’s, Kiss the cook with a cook’s hat and did a few aprons that say Live, Love, Laugh. OH! My DIVA aprons…. dang I didn’t take any pictures, but they are great. Not only is the word embroidered, but I put bling on them with those rhinestones you glue on. They are great!

Hope you like my aprons and I love feedback of other ideas from readers!

Nickorbobs Home Decor Craft Mall

I’ve been antiquing for quite a few years and during one of my weekend travels ran into a place called Nickorbobs Home Decor Craft Mall http://nickorbobs.com/index.html . Its a great place and has lots to offer. There are lots of vendors and booths of all sorts. I did notice that there are many crafters in this place. When I first discovered Nickorbobs I felt my wares were not worthy.

As my work became more worthy, I finally thought, what the heck, give it a try, see if I can get a booth. I did a craft mall back in the early 2000. It was a nearby shop in my hometown of Downers Grove. I did pretty good at sales, however the traffic was low and the cost was rather high. Coomers Craft Mall eventually closed down in February 2005.

So last year I said to my husband I wanted to take a trip down towards South Springfield. He didn’t know what I was up to. He thought we were antiquing. There is a antique shop just across the way from Nickorbob’s. I indicated to him when we got there I wanted to see if it was possible to get a booth. I don’t think he was ready for this, but he was willing to let me give it a try.

Went inside and spoke to Cyndi one of the managers. I indicated to her that I do machine embroidery and sew. She indicated that they did not have anyone that does machine embroidery and asked what types of sewing I did. I said that I can do all sorts of sewing but my specialty is making fabric purses. She indicated to me that they have a 85 yr old lady that makes quilted purses and I would not be able to sell. Well shucks. She said she could put me on the waiting list. I said great and that I would send pictures. Well the pictures never happened, but another trip a few months later would take place.

My next trip down to Divernon, Illinois took place in early fall. This time when I went I took a bunch of stuff to show. And I took a purse! So I again spoke to Cyndi and showed her some of my embroidery items, aprons, towels and what not. I indicated to her I could do baby oneies items, however I was turned down on that as they have a vendor who specializes in baby items, but not embroidery, but appliqué . Oh well, I’m okay with that because there is so much more I can do. Cyndi and another crafter really liked my items. Then she saw my fabric purse. When Cyndi saw my purse she said to me, “oh you can definitely sell these here, they are totally different than the ones the 85 yr old makes”. YAY! So she checked the waiting list and it hadn’t changed, I still had 3 people in front of me. I can wait. And as I wait I can continue to be creative.

Sometime before Christmas there was a call on the answering machine. It was Cyndi indicating that there would be about 6 booths opening up in January and if I would be interested. Of course I would be and called her instantly. She remembered the items I brought and indicated to me that someone was checking out a booth on the 2nd of January. I told her I would be more interested in checking out booths that were available around the 15th. See I was suppose to make items the first week of December, but that never happened, so I had to increase my inventory before the 15th.

The weekend of the 2nd I was off of work, drove down to the craft mall and spoke with Jak. Another manager of the mall. I asked her if it was possible to see what booths would be opening up and if I could pick it and hold it. Sure enough I was able to do so. So I put a hold on the spot. Two weeks later I was back in Divernon, Illinois setting up my booth. I had enough time to make aprons and towels. I already had done a load of baby blankets and purses, so I didn’t have to rush. I also made and had some embroidered wall hangings that would also go in the booth. The biggest mad rush was pricing and labeling everything. What a task.

I’m still awaiting for the first sale and I was down there a couple of weeks ago, as Jak and Cyndi indicated that they have customers coming in looking for a particular item and they don’t have anyone that made them. Well between the two week, I had some of these items made. This will be another blog shortly. But here is my booth. I’m already ready to update the booth because I need different ways to showcase items.

 

ClicketyClak versus Clickety Clack

I just found out that there is a ETSY site called Clickety Clack Collectables. Currently my shop is closed, however I need to contact ETSY to see how to reopen it.

I named my store ClicketyClak because it is the sound of a sewing machine, especially the Singer Treadle machines. You worked the pedal with your feet in order for the needle to go up and down. You had to keep the rhythm going as you stitched and if you lost the rhythm your thread would break.

I had an old Singer. I loved that machine and it made my son’s infant clothing as well as other baby items.

Wish I held on to that piece. It was all intact and the wood was either a cherry or mahogany.

Even today’s machines still make that humming noise of clickety clak, clickety clak.

SUPRISE… lol