Snuggly Owl Blanky

Sewing for me is an absolute joy. I LOVE it. Mostly because you turn bits and pieces of fabric into something functional, beautiful, enjoyable. It’s a hobby that you can get increasingly better at, there’s always something new to learn and try.

I’ve been working on a lot of fun projects lately. One of my most favorite, was plucked out of my vivid, ever-changing imagination. Without a pattern, you are challenged to think through dimension and get creative with what you’ve got. My new little niece Sayla had a party coming up, and I knew that was the perfect opportunity to make something altogether new.

I’ve had a yard of pink paisley minky lying around my house, which I thought would be perfect for a blanky project. But how to make it original and fun? I sketched out some ideas, and ultimately created a snuggly owl blanky.

The inside of this little owl here is made from a precious old daisy pillowcase, which belonged to Sayla’s recently passed Great Grandma. IMG_9111Loops of textured ribbon are great for babies self soothing skills. They love to play with them.
IMG_9119 IMG_9117 Layered pieces of felt create dimensional sleepy eyes that look like they need a snuggle. IMG_9118 IMG_9115 The blanky is big enough to wrap a little one up nice and tight. IMG_9128If you’d like to know how to make your own snuggly blanky, just say so and I’ll put a tutorial together! In the meantime, what from your inspired imagination are you going to make reality this week?

Cozy Flowers

Trust me. I know about the vintage sheet craze. I’ve been suckered in a time or two. I do love it. I’ve got this weird IKEA/cottage/1950’s/shabbychic/pop/antique style going on. I’m not sure what to do with all that except that I’ve found elements all those styles have in common and I just go with it. If you’re confident about it, then who gives a sheet?! (Yes that was a pun). Live with what you love and keep it simple.

I was at a thrift store (surprise) and stumbled upon several beautifully colored vintage-looking sheets for 2 bucks a pop. I got to thinking about all the wonderful things I could make. Bags, pillows, shirts, quilts, aprons, hand towels, scarves, pj pants, pot holders….the list is practically endless.

Then I had a crazy thought, “What if I just use these as…sheets?”

So I did.

IMG_6117IMG_6111 IMG_6103 IMG_6437 IMG_6451

IMG_6430Yeah, that’s right. There’s not a single picture of my bed actually made. The only time it’s made is when I change the sheets and a couple of days after that. And with cute sheets like this it actually looks better messy.

Perhaps to no ones surprise, I still did a little sewing. I took two king sheets, cut them down to size and, sewing right sides together with a 2 foot opening at the end, made a double-sided duvet cover. You just can’t get enough mismatched little flowers if you ask me.

Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

Fabric Clips = Heaven.

I’ve discovered my new favorite sewing gadget. If you love sewing, or know someone who loves sewing, buy these.

Fabric clips…seriously the best thing ever. I really don’t know why they don’t get more hype! You can use the clips to hold several layers together, very firmly. Instead of jamming/bending a needle into it.

IMG_3901 IMG_3905When you sew with fabric like oil clothe or laminated cotton, pins leave holes. Enter, the fabric clip.IMG_3908If you’ve got a project that is a bit dainty, where the hem is delicate and it’s hard to pin it in place without the fabric moving all over the place…these are wondrous!
IMG_3944You can find these bad boys over in the quilting section of Joann’s Fabrics. But go prepared with a coupon to save $$. They’re spending without one.

Purging and Purses

I FINALLY created a bag pattern that I can call my very own. Soon they’ll be available in my shop. I’ve got just a few things to change. I’m going to make the bag itself slightly deeper and possibly add a snap of some kind. I’ve been using this one to test it out and it gets a Homespun Haley stamp of approval!

IMG_3765 IMG_3769 IMG_3774I also deep cleaned my craft room this week. I had a whole dresser filled with old decor, frames, and old crafting items that I emptied. We’ve gone through every room in the house and have purged what we can. We’re having a yard sale on Saturday!

IMG_3764Any advice? This is the first yard sale that we’ve had…

Mitered Corner Tutorial

I’ve often wondered how to get a beautifully sewn mitered corner. Not the kind you just fold, but the kind that are sewn closed with no thread showing. I would grab a dinner napkin and study its seams…thinking it would magically speak to me, telling me exactly how to create it. Well that didn’t happen. So I Googled it. It’s pretty simple and looks fantastic! Here’s how:007For this particular project, I wanted a 1 1/2″ hem total. So I started by folding my first hem in 3/4″, pressing, then folding my second hem in 3/4″. Whatever your measurements are, press well.

IMG_3067IMG_7078Press again. And press some more. You’ll use your creases as a measurement tool, so iron well. Hem all sides of your project like this.

When you’ve done that, unfold your second hem.

IMG_6203Fold one side back to second hem and mark where the outside corner meets the other fabric. (See the “X” below)

IMG_1851Do this with both sides. You’ll end up with something like this, with marks on both sides:


Still in first hem position fold the fabric, right sides together, matching up the dots.

IMG_4716Draw a line, from the dots you’ve made, to the corner of the crease made by the second hem. This is easier to see if your first hem is short than your second, but if they are the same size like mine, it’s also where your first hem ends and hits the corner of the fabric.

IMG_1531Pin and sew across that line.

IMG_4044Trim off excess and turn right side out. If needed use a turning tool or the blunt end of a skewer to turn properly.

IMG_1769Press and sew down to complete. 002

It looks sew nice.

Color Removal Magic.

Last year, I went with my friend Lisby to a “clothing swap”. It’s the best concept on the planet. You gather all the clothes you don’t want/wear/need/like anymore and swap them for other people’s clothes which they don’t want/wear/need/like anymore. It’s brilliant.

I got a dress (which I don’t have a “before” picture of) at the swap. At the time I tried it on, I loved the fit. Light weight and summery. I didn’t so much like the bright yellow-ombre effect, but I couldn’t pass on the free dress. I figured I’d like it eventually.

This picture I found online, while a different dress, has the exact same coloring as my dress:

Yellow Dress

The summer came and went and the dress never left my closet. What I really wanted was this dress without the yellow. So I looked up my options. Welcome, RIT color removal. I totally assumed this stuff wouldn’t work. I figured I would end up with a urine colored dress or one that was just off-white enough to look dirty.

RIT color removal

I went for it anyway. Since I was treating just one small dress, I decided to try the stove top option. You basically heat the water, add the RIT powder and then throw your clothing in there. You stir and stir and stir until you reach the desired effect.

RIT color removal

After only a few moments, two things became astonishingly clear. Firstly, I had underestimated the absolutely intense odor that would be wafting through my house. Since it’s freezing outside I hesitate to open doors, but after the perm-smelling solution began to give me a headache, I decided to play it safe. So shivering and smelly, I stirred the dress for about 25 minutes. Secondly, I noticed that it was working. Within moments the yellow was fading quickly.

After an intensely smelly clean up, (you MUST wear gloves and carefully clean out your pot and everything the magic water touched) this is what resulted:

RIT color removal RIT color removalA perfectly perfect white dress. Well, if you look closely, the thread never did fade. Which I thought was very strange.
RIT color removal

So why should you care about this? Not only will RIT take out unwanted color, but you know those white sheets that have yellowed slightly? Those dish towels or bath towels that have lost their fresh white look? When bleach doesn’t do the job anymore, you can use the RIT wash machine application to make whites look new again! Technically this prepares items to be dyed with color, but I like white…a lot. Maybe someday I’ll try to color things up.

Any other RIT experiences out there?