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Finishing Old Projects – Lining Beach Totes

Isn’t it always true that we have a project laying around that needs to be finished. Oh I have lots of them. I get started on one thing and the next thing you know, I am pushing it aside and moving to something new. Well heck look at my blog, I’ve been posting a bunch of stuff lately.

Being bored and not wanting to watch tv with my spouse, I finally got up off the couch and wondered what to do. I couldn’t make any more of those pouches/bags from the other days because I need more batting and interfacing. Tomorrow a trip to JoAnn’s, they have interfacing on sale, plus a few other items.

I was going through my treasures last week and remembered the beach totes. I am planning on setting them up for sale and I better get them done. They only need to have the lining and handles put on. Shouldn’t take long. Remember – “shouldn’t”!

I look for that dang plastic container I put them in and almost ditched the idea, but I stuck to my guns. 3 containers later, found! I had started these totes a bit ago and they will definitely make great beach totes or even weekend traveler totes. These are comparatively small, in my eyes, as I’ve made even bigger ones.

So lets get to the lining. No matter what type of fabric purse or tote I make, I like to have pockets in them. Planning on just putting two on either side of the tote. These pockets are generic and easy. I don’t know if I have posted construction of pockets in the past, but I am going to anyways do it again. I will be posting another one in the near future as I have one more lining to complete and I want to cover how I do pockets in that one.

I cut my fabric for the lining 21 x 34. I don’t plan to have a seam at the bottom, just a box end. I cut a piece of fabric that was 9 inches in length, 44 width. I then cut the fabric in two. I folded them in half. Before doing anything else, I ironed and used some craft interfacing on one side of the pockets. To the sewing machine. I sewed the side and top of the pocket. Cutting the corners carefully, turning right side out, pinning, then ironing. The reason I pinned after the sewing, I want to make sure my seams are clean. I then quickly sew two lines of top stitch. Now ready to place on the lining.

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I find my middle on the lining fabric.  I then have to figure where the placement of the pocket will be. When I do my bags/totes I take and fold over the main fabric into the inside to give it a more clean finish. There is about 3 inches. I don’t want to go down too far, but then again, I don’t want it to be too high. I figured I will go 4 inches down from the raw edge of the top of the lining.I am figuring I have 6-7 inches from the top of the pocket and the height of the bag is around 17, the height of the pocket is 8, figuring the top seam and the bottom, so thats perfect. Hope I haven’t lost you yet, but if your a sewer you can visual.

Laying my ruler on the raw edge of the fabric, in the middle, I then place the pocket in line with the ruler. I still have that raw edge on the bottom of the pocket that I didn’t stitch up because I always like to take 1/2 inch and fold it up. What I do is I take that “1/2 tail” and sew it on the lining to form the bottom of the pocket, I previously ironed that edge. That closes up the pocket and keeps it straight. First I did a straight stitch, following behind that I then stitched a stitched zig-zag stitch. Now the pocket is secure to the lining.

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Now you fold the bottom of the pocket up pin on the top and bottom of each side of the pocket. When ready to sew, sew from the bottom to the top to ensure that it lays flat and there is no little gathering from extra fabric sewing from the top to the bottom. I used a two top stitches on both sides of the pocket. Eyeball the distance from the sides of the pockets. I can’t give you my dimensions because all machines are different.

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Here you see the top of the pocket with two lines of top stitching, the folded bottom and then the top stitching on the left side. Usually when I make pockets, I like to have the top of the pocket seamless and the bottom of the pocket <raw edge> turned over. The only noticeable seams would be on each side. I was not thinking when I cut the fabric. I like my purses to have clean edges. It looks more professional. Oh well I’m not perfect.

Now when I cut my lining I cut it to the width of the bag. the height was the whole length of the fabric, so I cut off some of the top because I was not planning on making a bottom seam in the lining. Does that create a problem when sewing the lining to the bag? No. But now I am ready to stitch both side seams and create my box side. Since the bags or totes have been sitting, I wasn’t sure what size the box corner was, so I merely measured the tote. It was 5 inches for depth. I ironed my lining to make sure I had a line to line up my side seam to the bottom crease (fake seam). Taking a ruler, I measured 5 inches from side to side and then marked with a marker that eventually disappears. Then I stitched down the line using a stretch stitch because it stitches the seam with 3 threads. This will hold the seam well. I then also did a stitched zig-zag next to the seam. I just have a thing about making sure particular seams are sewn securely.

Yes, I could have folded the seam in the middle however I didn’t. I have no reason to give. I then cut the extra fabric from the corner. Then I placed both pieces together. The outside of the tote to the inside of the lining (pockets to the main fabric). Stitched the top, leaving enough room to turn. The open area of the lining to main fabric, I stitched closely together and did not hand stitch closed, my preference as long as I do it closely and its not noticeable. I then measured the main fabric around the top, giving the dimension I want for the main fabric to be inside the tote. Ironed the top to from a crease, then did two top stitches. Ready to put the straps on. I didn’t measure how long the straps were. I had them pre-cut when I first started these 3 tote bags.

NOTE: Did you know when using binding trim for handles on tote bags, you use a lighter to melt the fibers together so they don’t fray. This is for the strapping trim that is not cotton!  And if you are ironing out creases make sure you use the lowest setting on your iron. Dang stuff melts to your iron, yeah I did it.

When I put the straps on I measured 4 inches from the side seams. I eyeballed how far I wanted them to be from the top of the tote. I had 3 tote bags to do. As I grabbed the green striped one, to check where I had calculated placement of the straps, I looked and again – – SURPRISE – it was already lined. Now why couldn’t the blue and white striped one have been done too. I would have had only the white and yellow stripe to do. Always something. So here are the two finished beach tote bags (the green one just needed straps, go figure). And these totes were ironed nicely, prior to putting on the straps, who’d of thunk they would get all wrinkled after I put them on. I was tired and just wanted to get snaps of them both. You will see the yellow one is a longer tote, so more room to stuff more stuff! I like both of them. When I do the blue one.. I’ll do the lining similar to the green one and post it. The green one actually has a zipper pocket, omg how did I do that – I HATE ZIPPERS!

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

Valentine Wreath

I’ve shown you some of the wreaths I’ve made, but why stop at the tulle wreaths at Christmas? Heck I’m not going to stop there as at the end of the Christmas season I was able to grab a few rolls of pink tulle on clearance. See I told you I’m a sucker for savings. I said to myself what holds me back from making a Valentine’s Wreath. Right? You got it.

Yes there are heart shape floral wire forms. The only thing is they come in one size. BUT you can also purchase heart shape wire forms for Deco Mesh Wreaths. They have additional wire strands in order to wrap the deco mesh on the wreaths, but I told you I am oblivious of deco mesh, rolls eyes.

Again, cutting the tulle in smaller strips, due to the size of the floral wire forms, I tied two pieces on two areas of the wire form. Since this was my first heart shaped wreath, I noticed that in order to fill the center of the heart, you should use longer strips in the middle. Its always a trial and error when creating the first wreath. Also at the top of the heart form you have that dip creating a heart. So you have to use less tulle and pull the tulle towards the center. I know I’m sounding confused, however it is hard to explain when writing. I can’t explain it clearer. But if you create one you would totally understand my point.

When I originally wanted to make this wreath, I wanted to take candy hearts with the saying and put them on the wreath as an embellishment. Sounds cute, right. But depending on where you put the wreath you have to consider a few things. If you put it outside in the elements of the weather, those candy saying hearts will well melt to nothing from rain, snow, etc. Also the lettering of the sayings will fade or go away. So I “thought” why not using modge podge <spelling> on them. WHAT A MESS! I had more of that stuff on my fingers than on the candy hearts. Also the dang sayings disappeared adding the liquid on them. Anyways I was able to get a few good candy hearts covered. I then took the hearts and BEFORE glueing them onto the tulle, I just placed them to see how it looked. Cute idea, ugly results. I was really disappointed but, plan two, just put some antique pearls on it as well as lights. Perfect. I thought it was done….

Went to the Dollar Tree for some junk and OMG what is right there at the register. Little pink, white and red monkeys. OMG! Wouldn’t that look cute a monkey hanging on my Valentine Wreath! Grabbed one. Put it on and dang what a cutie. I went back to get a couple more just for the heck of it, they were too cute. I tried to put a different colored monkey on the opposite side of the other one (and if I succeeded I was going to put a card in his hand saying “Be Mine”) well it didn’t work, but I know if I got the glue gun out it would have.

End results…. Wait til Halloween and Thanksgiving!

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Wreaths

Okay I know I am working backwards and we are in January and these wreaths are for Christmas, but I’ve got to say I really did enjoy making these wreaths because of their beauty.

Working at Hobby Lobby you get lots of interaction with customers. I work in the fabric department, of course, lol, however I am not afraid to ask customers questions like what are you using this or that for. I mean I am a all around gal who loves to do all sorts of crafting. Oh btw I will be showing a couple other wreaths as well.

One customer came into the store purchasing fabric to make cloth wreaths. I know the kind she is referring to however I didn’t get into it because I really liked the look of tulle wreaths. One of our customers came in purchasing tulle and showed me how simple it is to make one of these wreaths. She explained to me that she uses a plain wire hanger to make them. She indicated that all she does is she takes the hanger and forms it into a circle and then the hook of the hanger is used to hang on the door or wall. She was needing more tulle in a particular color, but I showed her we had larger rolls of tulle for the holiday so that brought her cost down.

On my wreaths that I’ve made, I have used over 150 yards of tulle to create these amazing and beautiful wreaths. They are very time consuming, however when you are sitting watching tv, you can sit and relax and cut all your tulle to tie onto a form. I do not use a wire hanger, I purchase a floral wire form. This allows me to have a fuller wreath making it more elegant.

I usually take a envelope from a greeting card I received and wrap the tulle around the envelope (and card inside) up to 30 times, then cutting each side. I put them aside until I have a lot cut up to then tie onto the form. The customer indicated to me that she takes 4 pieces of cut tulle and wrap it on the hanger, however since I am using a floral wire form, I only use 2 cuts of tulle. I am wrapping the tulle on two of the four wires on the form. I only use 2 of the 4 because it is not necessary to do all four and it would be way to hard to work as I found this out with my first wreath I created. I use the two inside wires, leaving the inner and outer wires empty. The wreath is so full those two wires won’t be noticed and I add led lights to mine and I secure the lights to those wires at times.

Whispers, shhh I haven’t blogged in so long I have to see how to add a picture, so hold on, let me look and figure this out – – – THANKS!

wire wreath

YAY! I did it. As in the picture you can see the 4 wires on the form and you can see how full the wreath is already using only 2 middle wires.

When you make a tulle wreath all you do is like I mentioned earlier, two pieces of 5×8 cut tulle, twist a few times in the center, then tie on the wire. You then pull tight and fluff the pieces. You keep adding the tulle on each section of the floral wire form until it is completely full. You don’t want to leave any spaces because the fuller the wreath the more elegant.

Yes you can embellish the wreath adding a bow and look at all the different types of picks they offer at Christmas time in the floral section. But don’t over do it, you can take away the beauty. I’ve even made wreaths without picks and just glued on antique beads that I received from my mom. Even adding beads you only put enough to make it pop, too much can ruin the effect. What I have done to increase the beauty of these wreaths, as stated above is add lighting. I usually look for lights that use double A batteries as the box is small and is hidden on the back side of the wreath. Sorry no picture of that.

The end results…

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Red one is lights and white antique beads. Green one has green lights that I accidentally ran into at a 5 Below Store. The red one with pine cones and plaid ribbon has multi color lights. It is best when using ribbon to use ribbon with wire edges and best if the ribbon is same on both sides because it is easier to make the bow as I can’t make one for the life of me but on these I did good.

These are great as gifts. And well I do sell them. I enjoyed making these so much, we had a girl scout troop leader come in for suggestions for a Christmas project. I told her and showed her them, she bought 20 rolls of 100 yard tulle for her girls to make! Hope theirs turned out as nice as mine.

 

I’m Back!

I’ve been away for quite some time and I’m back. Where have I been, no where special just getting myself reorganized. Ha reorganized you should see my sewing/craft room, its a MESS! But sometimes it just gets that way, right. At least I know where to find things!

In the years I’ve been gone, I’ve tried over and over again to try and get back into the sewing/crafting arena, however things just held me back. I’ll admit I was going through some depression as well as dealing with family matters. But I’ve pulled myself through and finally decided I want to do what I’ve always wanted to do. Create my embroidery items and sewing projects to sell. But before I continue to tell you what I’ve been creating,  a few announcements that have happened throughout the years.

I gained another husky german shepard, CJ. He is adorable and lovable. He gets along with my older husky shepard mix, Maggie. Maggie is still with us being at least 15 years old. She has her good days and bad days. I feel soon I will have to put her to rest, but until that time comes, we all enjoy her and cuddle her as much as we can. That is as long as CJ doesn’t hog all the attention.

My daughter, Michelle, received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago. She produced some great pieces of pottery. In this world however, it is hard to continue a skill when you are limited with money and supplies. I would love to see her set aside time to get a wheel and kiln in order to produce some more pieces. But for now she spends most of her time working to pay those student loans.

My son got married, YAY! We have a fantastic daughter in law. I love her and she loves us. We accepted her into our family October 4, 2014. It was a great blessing. Now we are awaiting that first grandchild. They finally found a house of their dreams, however its not as close to mom and dad as they wished, but the most important thing is they got what they wished for.

My husband has been going through some health issues and hopefully as of last December, 2015, he will be all done with any surgery in the future. I just have to get him to realize he is good as gold.

OMG, I got a part time job , rolls eyes. I have tried and tried for years to get a job just to get out of the house and being relied upon to keep the place going. I got tired of hearing from my daughter you need to get out and hubby saying pretty much the same. I felt I did my time working for over 30 years and it was my time just to relax. But I landed a job at Hobby Lobby back in 2014. It gets me out and gives me some play money. And well now with my new venture, it helps out on my spending. Do I plan to work there forever, NOT!

Now I can move on and get the ball rolling. BTW my ETSY Clickety Clak site has been closed. I felt that since the economy went bad and I wasn’t creating I stopped posting. But stay tuned, I might create a website instead. Keep your ears and eyes opened.

We have an addition

We’ve been thinking for a long period of time if we should get a playmate for our 10 year old husky shepherd mix Maggie. Maggie been feeling sluggish and well with her tendon issue in her paw, we weren’t sure if it would help or hinder.

Our kids felt the same way I did that it would be good therapy. After Christmas I started searching web-sites for huskies and german shepherds in our area. There were several out there to choose from but do I want an older dog or a pup. Decisions, decisions. There were two older dogs that were shepherds, they were sisters, they didn’t want to split them up, but then again could we take on two more? Or if we did take just one, where they bigger than our Maggie? I ran into one husky however the pictures didn’t show his face. It appeared to be a nice dog, however this one was a puppy. I know how puppies are but was it worth a try?

We contacted the Romeoville Humane Society in Illinois. We filled out the necessary paperwork and emailed. The next day we got a call we would get to see Prince on Tuesday. The Romeoville Humane Society doesn’t have a faculty for their animals, instead they have people that keep the animals at their houses until there is a potential adoption. The person brings the animal to the house and well with Prince they had to make sure that we had a fenced in yard with no way for him to escape. Price is known to run away and oh my gawd what a jumper!

Well we were approved, but would Maggie approve? They indicated to us that we could keep Prince for a day to see how the two got along. Whew that was neat, a trial period. Things where okay the first evening, however Prince likes to sleep in bed. Uh oh that’s gonna be a big issue. We accepted it the first night, however the next we had to close the doors to the bedrooms, sorry Maggie you’ll have to sleep in the hall just one night.

As you can tell we still have Prince, but his name is not Prince anymore, its now CJ. How has things been with the two. Well they get along, and yeah CJ likes to get Maggie to jump around, but we limit it due to her tendon issue, but they get along just great. There are some issues, like if I go to take CJ for a walk Maggie gets upset, dang one day I ended up having both of them. Maggie can’t handle long walks. Oh the toy issue, OMG, laughs, I have more torn up toys than I ever had (oh I got two free teddy bears buying greeting cards, they had beads in them, uhm yeah CJ ripped it open, stuffing and beans all over the place). And if Maggie has one of her favorite toys, CJ comes and grabs it, yeah there is growling at times, but we try to teach CJ no its Maggies’. Oh but wait Maggie is no angel herself….

One morning I was getting ready to do some chores. I decided that I would not put CJ in the cage (yes I put the cage up so CJ sleeps in it at night or when I will be out for a period of time – at night he doesn’t fight it but during the day I am running around the house trying to get him) . So I told CJ no, no walk, so CJ walked away and then Maggie came to the door. I said no Maggie, not now, I have to go out, as my arms where filled with packages. Well I tried to squeeze through the door and what does Maggie do, she takes a run for it and out the door she is. CRAP! and then who sees Maggie is out CJ. There he goes too! OMG OMG OMG. I try carefully to get them to come back to me but HELL NO – their making their Great Escape. I had to yell to our daughter as she came, I was already down the block. Yeah it took over an hour to get CJ, we got Maggie but no leash but a coat belt does wonders. CJ ended up running all over but we got him cornered in a fenced in yard and the lady who lived there – had a dog so we got a leash from her.

Yeah its nice to have CJ, but like hubby says, its like having kids again. Training CJ is a task, however Maggie is a good teacher. She has already showed CJ that when you come into the house with dirty paws, you lay on the sheet and let them get cleaned. We must say one thing about CJ, for being a 10 month old puppy, he is trained and listens well. CJ has taken over Maggie’s corner of the couch, but we let Maggie get up first and then CJ can then scoot next to her. Maggie is such a good dog, will be a mommy for CJ and well CJ, he will be good too as time goes on. Isn’t he a beautiful dog! We really got lucky with a great find! Now we are still wondering, will CJ grow into his paws or his ears? When our son comes over to visit he keeps asking CJ are you like Dumbo the Elephant, look at those ears!