Saturday, April 28, 2007

Fabric Coasters

From this:To this:I spent the morning listing them on Etsy. I think these would make great end of year teacher gifts, don't you? (Go ahead, tell your friends and neighbors, I don't mind.)I have my first item for the give away finished. I am hoping to get the give away started within the week, so stay posted!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Organize what you have

After my frustration with the mini duffel, I took a look at my sewing room and realized how much of a disaster it was. I took everything out of the cabinets and reorganized. I went through my patterns and weeded out the ones I know I will never use. Finally I refolded and organized my fabric. I realized that I have quite enough to work with for a while. I took out all the small odds and ends and am currently working on lots and lots of coasters. When I get finished I'll post them all and then I'll do a give away.
I finally found the blog that inspired me to 'use what I have.' It is called simplesparrow and the reason I couldn't find the post right away is because it was from about a month ago. Anyway, tonight I was looking at some of the sites I like to visit and I discovered that she just finished organizing her fabric. Great minds think alike, I guess.
I want to personally thank Xia (see her blog here) for encouraging me to dig the mini duffel out of the trash. It isn't often that a three month old tells you to do something so I figured I'd better do it! I dug it out of the trash, ripped about 1/2 of the seams and resewed. I'll get a picture up soon. I still don't love it but hope that someone may. Thanks Xia!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Use What You Have, Day 9

I spent the last two days working on a mini duffel bag. Have you ever tried to follow a pattern and just couldn't do it? This bag was just about the end of my sewing career. I think part of the problem was that I downloaded the pattern off the web. The printed instructions were not terrific and I had to go to the computer to look at the pictures. On top of that, I was "using what I had" which did not include all the zippers required. So I was modifying the pattern as I sewed. Well, to make a long story short, I continually sewed things on incorrectly and ripped out about twelve times. Finally, when I realized I had sewed the straps on wrong (several steps before) I threw the whole thing in the trash! Maybe I'll fish it out today and rip, rip, rip. Maybe I won't.
Here are two things that I made properly. The first is a pair of oven mitts. If you remember this quilt you may notice some similarities in the fabric design. The second is this little halter for my next door neighbor, Tess. It is terrifically fun to sew for girls.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shenk's Ferry Wildflower Preserve

One of the many reasons I love homeschooling my sons is the opportunities for spur of the moment field trips. Another homeschooling mom from our group mentioned she was taking her sons to a wild flower preserve "walk." I had always wanted to see this preserve in the southern part of our county and we have been so excited that the weather has turned somewhat warm and sunny that I wanted every opportunity to enjoy nature. We truncated school ("you mean we don't have to do MATH today???") and drove the 30 minutes through some of the most lovely land in Lancaster County. It almost made me want to move out of the city. The "official" hike was way too boring for our tastes (my boys like to experience nature at their own pace, they don't much care about the names of the wild flowers, they just like to look at what is interesting and run and jump and climb and throw rocks into streams as much as possible). We can't wait to go back, picnic lunch in hand next time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Here's a new pincushion I whipped up the other evening. I remember when I learned how to cut hearts out of paper by folding the paper in half. I thought it was the most fantastic thing and proceeded to cut heart after heart after heart. It still sort of amazes me.

It is a beautiful day outside and we plan to get out there. Oh, how I love the flexibility of schooling at home!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Your Comments

Thank you for all the lovely comments. I have discovered that there is no way to directly answer your comments (unless I happen to know your email, which I do for most of you). I don't like that aspect of blogger. But, it is free so I shouldn't complain. I want to thank you all for commenting. I'm thinking of having a give-away in the near future just to see how many people are out there reading. What do you think? I have coasters and pin-cushions and maybe even some oven mitts! What to give away....(thoughts, suggestions?)Heather asked about making these coasters. Truly they are simple. I just pick the front fabric and the backing fabric, line them up right sides together and sew around leaving an inch or an inch and a half open. Clip the corners, turn (I use a chop stick to help) and then slip stitch the opening. Press and over stitch if you desire. I cut these out 5 inches square and sew with a 1/4 inch seam. The finished product is about 4 1/2 inches square.

Little Birds Handmade has a picture that I like. I may try something similar. I also want to try my hand at some oven mitts. I have a sick child today so
I don't know how much sewing I'll be doing. School will consist of read-alouds today. We are reading Heidi by Johanna Spyri to finish out the school year. We have this abridged tape that we have played in the car for a long time but it leaves out much about Heidi's faith in God and how she shares that faith and her simplicity with those she encounters. I wanted the kids to hear the whole story. We especially enjoy the parts where Heidi brings kittens into the Sesemann household. As you know, my kids love anything cat.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Flower Power

We have a very busy weekend ahead of us. I'm glad I was able to spend quite a bit of time sewing yesterday. Here are some of the other projects I completed. The flower pin cushion is for my friend Amy. I had to wrack my brain to remember how to make those embroidered flower petals. It came to me but I definitely could use some practice. The photo below is of some coasters I made using small bits of fabric that I just can never throw away. I have a large pile of fabric pieces on my blanket chest just waiting to be put into a project. I doubt I'll get to them until Monday and maybe not even then. Let me know if anyone out there is trying to "use what you have".

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Fun day

I was determined to spend some time in the sewing room today. My immediate project was this pillow (and another one just like it).
We bought a couch and love seat with this pattern (blah) about 12 years ago. The couch isn't in our house any longer and the love seat has a hole in it so large that sometimes we lose the kids inside. It works for the school room. I have hated these pillows for eons but never got around to making them look nice. So, today, I made them look nice. In the spirit of 'use what I have', I took the zipper off the old pillows and used them on the new. I must say I am darn pleased with myself. Aren't I just simple!

use what you have upside down

I found this pattern for a groovy bag. I printed it off, found some fabric that I thought might look ok together (from the stash, of course) and cut everything out. I then read through the directions. I already knew I wasn't going to make the weaved fabric before I started so I didn't really bother to read the rest of the instructions. I sewed the lining to the outer pieces of fabric and then went on to read how to attach the panels together. To my great dismay, I discovered that it was all hand sewing. Sew the inside lining of piece A and B, then sew the outer edges of pieces A and B. That is a lot more time than I wanted to spend on this bag. However, I don't actually mind hand sewing and I do spend a lot of time sitting at the school table (where I can't machine sew). So, I spent the next two days hand sewing.

We have been learning about prepositional phrases and how they are sometimes used as adjectives and sometimes used as adverbs. This is tricky stuff. Frankly, I am only understanding it now. I didn't get it as a kid. So, why am I telling you about grammar in a sewing post? Because I was sewing the bottom piece of the bag while trying to explain grammar. Guess what happened? Maybe you already figured it out by looking at the picture. I sewed the bottom on to the top of the bag. This wouldn't be a problem except that I used Toile fabric and so now all my pictures are upside down.

I guess factories call this type of mistake a "second." Welcome to simplysewn seconds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

use what you have

I know when I've been looking at too many blogs when I want to find something I saw and just can't do it. Someone out there in blog-land posted that she was not going to buy anything new in April. She would just use what she had. What a grand idea.I finished my quilt and will take a picture of it as soon as the sun shines enough to get a good shot. I am in the mood to sew things that aren't quilts for some reason. I also want to try to use fabric that has been sitting in my house (and the last house) for years and years. My style has changed over the years and so has my sewing. I have fabric that I don't love anymore but I want to use it anyway. I may try to make some bags to sell with it. Just because it isn't my style doesn't mean it won't be just perfect for another person.
I made this little dress yesterday. It has heart pockets but you can't really see them because they are made of the same fabric. I don't really have any trim to add to the dress since I've not sewn a whole lot for girls (having only boys myself). But I loved the fabric and couldn't resist buying it. I still have about a yard of the fabric and may try to make something for myself with it. I'm not sure what yet.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quilters' Heritage Celebration

I attended my first quilt show yesterday. It was completely overwhelming. There were so many quilts to look at that after awhile my eyes went buggy. We were there on a rainy, rainy day and so there weren't many others in attendance. This was bad for the show but good for us (my quilting friend, Paulette, went with me) because we did not have to deal with the hustle and bustle.

The quilt that amazed me is in the picture. If you can believe it, this is only the THIRD quilt she made. The quilt is called Mother Earth and Her Children and was made by Sieglinde Smith. She was inspired by a book from her childhood (she is from Germany but lives in Carlisle, PA now) called Etwas von den Wurzelkindern (Something About the Root Children). The entire quilt was hand sewn and embroidered. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

Here are some close-ups of the bugs and Root Children. There was so much to see in this quilt that I could have looked at it all day. We spoke with Mrs. Smith's husband. He told us that she started quilting after their son died several years ago to help her with her grief. He also told us that she was approached about making a book from her quilts. I can understand why.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Innocence Mission

I don't think you can call this shameless self promotion since I am not promoting myself but my husband. I guess you call it shameless husband promotion. Who else should you promote but your closest loved ones, right?

Anyhoo, my darling husband of 14+ years and his good friends Don and Karen are in this lovely little band called The Innocence Mission. They have been recording music together since before time began and are just the most amazing musicians you've ever heard (no bias here). Did I mention they are also really nice people? Well, they are, take my word on it. Mike of course is a saint just for putting up with me all these years.
I want you all to take a look at this website and if at all possible buy their new, absolutely fabulous album (oops, I guess they call them CD's now). Well, come to think of it, this CD was released on vinyl too and we have a copy (but don't have a working turntable to play it on). While you are checking out the web site (I must get Don to teach me how to do all of that Web design stuff), you should buy all their old CD's as well. They are all super fabulous and I loved the band before I loved Mike, but that's a whole different story.
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