Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring at Last!

Can you believe it's already Spring? We haven't even had winter here in South Texas yet! (Well, it got down to 30 one night back in December.) It was 95 degrees here two days ago, but that is a record breaker. It is a nice 79 outside right now. 
My flowers have been blooming for weeks now and my loquat trees are full of fruit that is slowly ripening. My roses have bloomed continuously since I planted them last spring. 
The wall hanging above is one of my pattern designs. I often find myself inspired by the changing seasons, although they don't really change much around here
How is your spring starting out? Snow? Sunshine? Rain? (We certainly need some of that! Send it our way!)
Here's hoping you have a wonderful weekend!
Until next time.....     Bee Blessed!   

Monday, March 18, 2013

Travel Clutch Tutorial

I'm going on an overnight trip this weekend and decided to make a little clutch that will hold my allergy medication. It will also be perfect for other things.....
reading glasses ,costume jewelry, socks or hose,chocolate, sewing supplies, keys,cell phone,underwear...use your imagination.
For the basic clutch (without the gathers or trim) you will need to make a pattern (I used paper) for one half circle and a second half circle with 2" added at the top for a flap. (Instructions for gathering the side are near the bottom of the post.)
Place your fabric (outer fabric and lining fabric) right sides together and cut your half circle using the pattern. Sew across the straight top, turn right sides out and press. Also cut two pieces for the half circle with added flap. Do not sew this piece as you did the one above.
  Place the first half circle piece INSIDE the two half circle with flap pieces, which you will have right sides together. Fold the flap over and trim so that it has the same curve as the top of the inner piece. (In the photo you can see that it is not straight out from the edge, but follows a line as thought it were continuing the circle.)
Sew all around the edge and across the top, leaving about one and a half inches unsewn so you can turn the piece right sides out. If you want to add trim, place it inside the top of the flap before sewing. The part you want to show will be hidden inside the flap at this point.
  After turning, sew the opening closed either by hand or by sewing across the entire top.
 Turn the flap back over itself (don't turn it over to the other side).
 Sew very close to the edge to attach it to the sides.
 To close the clutch, just turn the top back over the opening.
This is the basic clutch. You can make it fancier by adding gathers and trim. Make one fabric of the half circles wider to accomodate the gathers. (Mine was about 8" wider, but you can vary that. You can also choose to gather only the top edge, in which case you would leave the bottom curve the same, but add width at the top only.)
  Find the center of each piece and place a pin to mark it.
Sew a basting stitch across the top. Also sew a basting stitch around the bottom curve. Gather the top and pin in place, matching the center pins to help distribute the gathers evenly. Sew across the top with your 1/4" seam. Turn right sides out and press well. 
I chose to pin across the top edge to keep it in place. Now gather the bottom curve and pin in place. Sew a basting stitch to keep the gathers in place without pins.
 Now sew in between the two pieces with the flap just as shown for the plain clutch. When you turn the piece right sides out, you will be able to turn it so that the gathers show and are not on the inside piece. 
Continue as for the plain bag.
You can add a loop for a button if you want, but it should stay closed pretty well unless you really stuff it! 
Now you're ready to pack! This little clutch will make the contents easy to find when you are ready for them. You can make it the size you want by varying the size of your pattern. 
I hope you have fun with this!    
 Until next time..... Bee Blessed!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Snack Tray or Basket Tutorial

These little snack trays are simple to make, fast to make, and best of all, they save on paper plates for snacks and sandwiches. You can coordinate your trays to your tablecloth or picnic spread, or use them for popcorn for movie night at home. (One has an iron-on laminate, so it can be wiped out and reused easily!)

You don't need a pattern and you can make these as small or large as you want. You control the depth of the sides, so you can have a tray or a basket. (Easter basket anyone?) Large scraps or fat quarters are perfect for these!

 I've filled the basket with 6 little mini-trays - just right for a serving of chips, popcorn, apple slices, baby carrots, .....use your imagination! Even cookies will work in these! Of course, they don't have to be for food. You can use these little trays to hold jewelry, mail, make-up, sewing notions, socks in a drawer, fat quarters, Legos, dry cereal snacks for toddlers, etc. etc.
 Here's how they're made:
 First decide on a size. If you want a tray that is 7" x 9" with 1 1/2" sides, you will cut your fabric and batting 10" x 12" (7 + 1.5 + 1.5 = 10), (9 + 1.5 + 1.5 =12) You will need a fabric for the inside, one for the outside, and a batting for the inside to give it body. (Yes, you could use interfacing, but most of us have scraps of batting around and it works well.) NOTE: If you want a laminate inside, you can buy an iron-on type that is very easy to use. You just press it on, using the paper it comes on, and treat it as a piece of fabric. Be sure and follow the directions on the brand that you buy!
 Layer the batting between the inside and outside fabrics, right sides showing! Using a glue stick or a little spray basting will help it all stay together while you work. Even spray starching will help
Different set here, but you can see on this piece that you will then mark 1 1/2" (or whatever depth you want for your sides) around the sides and sew along the mark. I use a Frixion pen that disappears when I iron the piece. I also zig-zag along the edge. 
Use your ruler to make a mark that is a continuation of the stitch line you made. Do this at both ends. (It doesn't matter which two sides you choose.) This will give you a guide for the next step. At this point, you may want to make some simple quilting lines in the area that will be the bottom of your tray. I made an X on the small ones, and parallel lines on the larger ones.
 Fold on the diagonal at each corner and sew across the line you have just made. You will be stitching from the corner of the stitches in the middle to the edge.
 You will have a box now with sides that poke out!
 Fold the sides in as shown (I chose to fold them in on the shorter sides, but that is up to you.) Sew across the top to hold them in place. If you have laminate on the inside be careful to not touch the laminate with an iron, but press these in place. (You can sew the flap down along the diagonal fold if you wish. It is a little hard to do on the small ones with laminate, but easy on the larger ones.)
Cut a strip to use for binding. 2 1/4" wide will work unless you've made your tray really thick! Fold it in half lengthwise and press.
 Before sewing it on, turn one end under 1/4" so that the raw edge is hidden. Leaving the first 1 1/2" free, sew it on as you would a quilt binding - raw edge to raw edge, sew 1/4" from the raw edge, and when you come to the end.....
 ...slip the end inside the end that is turned under. Sew the remainder on. You will be stitching this closed by hand.

 Press the binding open. Remember to use the paper over any piece with laminate!!! Turn the binding to the other side to just cover the stitching and sew down either by hand....

                                         or machine.

Here is a basket (deep sides) and here are the trays (shallower sides).....

If you want sharper corner edges, just topstitch them! You can add a handle, or handles, to make a basket  Simply cut a strip about 3" wide, put a 1" wide strip of batting in the center, turn one edge in about 1/4", overlap the edges with the turned under edge on top, and topstitch. A glue stitck makes all of this much easier!
                                      Give it a try!
Until next time......

Friday, March 1, 2013

We Have a Winner!

The Random Number Generator chose Martina of Sunshine Quilting as my winner from the It's All About Me Blog Hop! I thank every one of you for leaving comments and also helping me reach and pass my goal of 700 followers! Martina has been contacted and won the pattern for the Miss Bumble Pin Cushion that is available in my Craftsy shop.

I have been having a lot of internet issues (I live out in the country in the midst of an astounding amount of growth! We are in the Eagle Ford Shale area that many of you have been hearing about lately. Our little town has just about quadrupled in growth overnight and along with that come many issues with cell towers and other forms of technology.) so I have not been posting as often as I like, but I think the problems are being fixed now and I am working on a tutorial for you. Stay tuned! 

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