Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Blueberry is up for adoption!

I just added Blueberry the Rhinoceros to my Etsy shop.  She needs to go to a loving new home.

You can check her out here: Blueberry

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I woke up to snow this morning.  I didn't quite believe it.  The light looked little fun as I pulled myself out of bed.  Without my glasses on I went to go check.  We have SNOW!  I'm so excited.  I don't care that it's spring.  I am a bit bummed because I might lose a lot of my flowers.  I have some fuchsias that might not survive.  One of my daffodils is starting to bloom but I don't know if it will make it.

The daffodil that might not make it.

 View out my sliding glass door.
 The dogwood outside my kitchen window.  I bundled up and went outside to take pics and to know snow off this tree.  It provides me with some privacy when it has leaves. 

I live in a fishbowl apartment.  Big sliding glass door and kitchen window look into the living/kitchen window on the ground floor. 
  Some more daffodils (I think).  I hope they survive.
 The blooming azalea bush.

A bush near my neighbor's door.  I don't know what it is, but it is normally standing up straight.  I knocked some snow off this one as well.  Not sure if I helped it much.

One of the trees.

My poor car, buried in snow.  You can get an idea of how much snow we got.  And this is also the main reason why I won't be going anywhere today.  I also have very little experience driving in snow.  Definitely best for everyone if I stay inside today and don't drive.  Definitely a great crafting-type day.

This is a huge amount for Eugene.  I think it's been 7+ years since I've seen this much snow.  The last time Eugene had a lot of snow, I wasn't living here and I only heard about it.  Unfortunately, it appears to be raining.  It's still pretty chilly, but it appears that our snow is melting.  :0(  It happens so rarely that I want it to stay for awhile.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mission: Secret Octopus Update

The secret octopus has been made!

I told A that I would sew the octopus for her and then she can work on the stuffing and finishing of the octopus.  She chose super fun polkadot fabric for the main fabric.

The belling is a pretty blue and the underside of the tentacles is a jade green.  Very fun. 

I can't wait to see the finished project.

The secret octopus was put in the mail yesterday.  Hopefully it survived being smooshed!

New Rhino for O

After a frustrating few hours of job hunting, I decided to take a break.  I babysit O one day a week.  He is turning 1 on Sunday.  The family knows that I'm crafty and I wanted to make something.  I had previously decided to make him a rhino.  I tried out the pattern and made Blueberry from my previous post.  Today I made O's rhino.

Check him out.  I think he turned out pretty cute.  It is definitely a boy rhino.  I hope that O has a lot of fun playing with him in the future.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Meet Blueberry!

I have the privilege of babysitting the cutest little munchkin one day a week.  He is going to be 1 in a couple of weeks and I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to make for him.  I wanted to make something for him.  So I decided to make him a rhino.  I got a cute rhino pattern from Funky Friends Factory.  This is the same person who made the octopus pattern.

I try to try patterns before  I make the one I'm giving away.  So I made Blueberry.  I had a pretty tie-dyed purple fleece and a light green for accents.  The pattern didn't call for accent colors, but I decided Blueberry needed some green feet and ears.

 Front view.  I tried out french knots for the eyes.  I'm trying to make the eyes ultra baby proof.  The munchkin is in major teething mode and I don't want to risk safety eyes.  I have had some issues with them falling out of polar fleece.
 The side view.
And as a friend just dubbed it:  "Rhiney Hiney"

 I took her on a little adventure outside to meet an azalea bush.  It was actually NOT raining for this picture. 

The other side.

Blueberry's head and hiney, chillin' on a dianthus plant.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mission: Secret Octopus

The plan was to make an octopus for G before the baby was born.  A wanted to make an octopus for her husband, G, but on the day we were supposed to get together for a sewing extravaganza, she was in labor.  But little R is here safe and sound.  I finally met her!  She has the softest little hair on her head.  I'm even going to show you a picture with me in it!  This might be the one and only time.

There I am with my niecelet.  (She will be a "niecelet" until she gets a bit bigger.)  I am honored to be adopted into their family.

Anyways, back to the octopus.  I made one for myself.  I had to try the pattern.  Her name is Ophelia.  And who doesn't need an octopus of their very own.

I have to give a shout out the pattern designer.  Funky Friends Factory has absolutely amazing animal patterns!  Her patterns are just elegant.  That's the only way I can describe them. She is the same person who created the platypus pattern.  (You can adopt your very own platypus in my Etsy shop.)  Please check out her other patterns at Funky Friends Factory!  Her patterns are great for beginners.  Her site talks about 7 year olds sewing her patterns. 

On the same trip where I got to visit the niecelet, I was able to pick up the secret octopus fabric.  The main color is going to be the brown with orange spots.  This will be a collaboration between myself and A.  I'm going to do most of the sewing.  The octopus will the be mailed flat (and they don't like that!) to A so she can do the stuffing and finishing.  I'm excited to get started on the octopus!

Stay tuned for Mission: Secret Octopus updates.

P.S.  I am hopefully NOT spoiling the surprise.  Otherwise, I've made a big woops!

Dad's Socks

So here it is, the middle of March, and I just finished my dad's socks.  I made him socks for Christmas.  Well, to be more specific, I made one sock.  I gave him a voucher for the other sock.  That's the problem with socks.  You're so excited about getting started and making the first one and then you to make the second.  Hello, second sock syndrome.  I know you too well.  But here they are finally finished.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hexipuff bag tutorial!

So here goes.  My first tutorial.  I just took what seems like millions of pictures while I was making this bag.

 Here is the final product:

1 fat quarter of outside fabric*
1 fat quarter for inside lining*
1 fat quarter for inside pocket and pocket lining*
decor bond (or heavy interfacing)
nylon zipper (at least 12")
basic sewing supplies

*I had 3 coordinating 1/2 yard cuts for the bag in my tutorial.  You need enough fabric to cut out the pieces.  This is a great project to use up largish scraps.  If you want to use 1/2 yard cuts, feel free, but you will have some fabric left over.  If you DO NOT use 1/2 yard cuts, the pocket outside and lining will be from the same fabric.  I like to have the coordinating tones.  Look at the pictures below to see what I mean.

For the bag:
from outside fabric: cut two 10" x 11" pieces (if you're using a directional fabric the long side will be the top an bottom of the bag.)
                                cut a 1" strip that is at least 6" long (for zipper)

from lining fabric: cut two 10" x 11" pieces

from decor bond:  cut two 9 3/4" x 11" pieces

For the Pocket:                              
from fat quarter or lining fabric: cut one 9 3/4" x 11" piece (outside of pocket)

from pocket lining fabric:  cut one 8 1/2" x 11" piece (inside of pocket/coordinating edge)
                                           cut on 2 1/2" x 12" strip (for optional wrist strap)

Last bit of cutting before the sewing begins!  From the outside, lining, and decor bond pieces, measure and cut out a 1 1/2 squares from the bottom corners.  I measure, mark, and then use scissors to cut these out, not the rotary cutter.
 Measure 1/2" squares.
 Cut them out.

Here's all three sets with corners cut out.  I keep the two layers together and just mark the top layer.  This is pretty easy with the fabric.  The decor bond can be a bit slippery.

LET'S SEW! (use 1/4" seams)
Step 1: Prepare your zipper. 
Measure and mark on the zipper 0" and 9 1/2" inches.  If you use a longer zipper you don't have to be near the little metal end that can get in the way.  You should have something that looks like this:
 Next take the 1" strip and cut it into two pieces.  I like them longer rather than shorter.  you'll trim them later on so don't worry too much about the length.  The should be at least 3" long to make your life easier.
Next, you'll pin the two 1" pieces to the zipper.  Line up the edge of the fabric strip with the marking you made earlier. Pin in place. 
 Hint:  make sure that the zipper tab is in between the two pieces you just pinned on.  If you don't, you'll never be able to pen your bag.

Here's both pieces pinned in place.  Note that the nonpinned side of the strip sticks into the middle of your zipper, not the other way around.
Using a 1/4" seam sew the two strips down.
Fold them back so you can see the right side of the fabric.
Top stitch in place.
Trim the ends of the it is even with the seam.  This will reduce the amount of bulk you'll be sewing later.  Somehow, I missed taking pictures of this step.
Set zipper aside

Step 2: Make a pocket.
 Take your two pocket pieces (outside and lining)
 Line them up and sew along a LONG end of the pocket using a 1/4" seam.

 Iron open. 
 Fold the lining fabric back behind the main pocket fabric.  These two pieces will now be WRONG sides together.  You should see a 1/4" strip of the lining fabric on the top edge of the pocket.

Top stitch along the upper edge.

Cut out 1 1/2" squares from the bottom corners like you did before.
Line up the pocket with one of the lining pieces.

If you'd like to have pockets on both sides of the bag, feel free to repeat the process to make a second pocket for the other side.

I hate it when items slip down into the bottom of the bag. To prevent this, I measure from corner to corner from the squares I cut out previously. I mark this line and then top stitch in place.  This also helps hold the pocket and lining together.

Hint: I would baste along the edges of the pocket as well.  Then they will be held in place while you complete the rest of the sewing on the bag.  I just used pins, but I wish I had taken the time to baste them.

Step 3: Time to put in the zipper!
Mark the middles of the zipper, lining and outside fabric of the bag.  I just use pins.

Layer the pieces of your bag: lining, zipper, outiside.  The WRONG side of the zipper will be against the lining of the bag, while the right side of the zipper will face the right side of the outside fabric.

 Pin in place, using the middles you marked earlier.  Next, sew in place using a zipper foot on your machine.  I use my fingers to feel where the zipper is and line up the foot.  I like pins.  Definitely use them for zippers.

Repeat for the other side.

Hint: If you have the option of using a needle-down on your machine, use it!  Zippers are fiddly.  I sew part of the zipper and then I unzip/rezip the zipper as needed to get it out of the way of my needle and then finish sewing the zipper.

When you've completed your zipper seams, it opens up to look like something like this.  You can see how the outside fabric has the right side of the zipper.  The little zipper fabric strips are sticking off and it's almost time to trim them.

Here is the reverse side with the pocket and the wrong side of the zipper.

 Iron the zipper seams open.  Take some time to do this.  Make sure the fabric is far enough away from the zipper that it opens and closes freely.

A good trick is to line up the corners that you cout out previously.

 Now it's time to add the decor bond.  Zippers are so fiddly that I decided I didn't want to have to sew through decor bond in the initial zipper seam.

The decor bond is going to be ironed against the WRONG side of the outside fabric. Try to line up the corners that have been cut out.

I lay just one side flat on my ironing board, with the three other pieces sticking off the back.  I take the decor bond and slide it up snug to the zipper seam.  The decor bond sits under that seam allowance.

Iron in place.  Follow the instructions that come with the decor bond or heavy interfacing.

Repeat on the other side.

Now, place the layers back in place so that you can see the zipper.

Top stitch the zipper in place.  This will catch the decor bond you just ironed on.

Step 4: Make a strap.  This is optional.  If you don't wan the strap, just skip to the next step.

 Take the 2 1/2" x 12" strip and iron in half.
 Open it up, and then fold the two raw edges into the middle.
 Here you can see them both ironed to the middle
 Iron flat.

Top stitch along both long edges.

 Place the strap on the size of the bag where the zipper tab is when it's closed.I measured about an inch down and pinned my strap in place

Step 5: Time to sew the bag together!  Let the fun begin!

If you haven't trimmed the fabric strips from the end of the zipper, do that now.  Trim them so they are even with the side of the bag.

You're going to pin the lining pieces together and the outside pieces together. 

HINT: make sure you leave the zipper at least half way open.  If you don't, you won't be able to turn your bag right side out!
 Lots of pins.  Pin all four sides.  Leave a portion open on the bottom of the LINING of the bag.  You need  this so you can turn your bag right side out.
 Sew around the edges.  DON'T sew the corners you cut out.  You'll sew those in the next step to create a bottom for your bag.
 Here you can see the section that I left open to turn the bag.

Step 6: Create the bottom of your bag.

 Open the seams up and match them in the middle.  This is creating a squared bottom to the bag.

Using 1/4" seams sew along all four corners.
Here you can see the bottom of the outside of the bag. (inside out)  This is a better picture to show how the seams come together and you sew the edges together.

Step 7: Turn the bag right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining.

Use your fingers to push out the corners of the bag.
Open up the zipper all the way and push the edges of it out as well.
 I iron 1/4" seams on the opening.
 Pin it and sew it shut with a blind hem stitch or whip stitch.  You could also just use a straight stitch on the machine and close the opening if you wish.
 Push the lining into the bag.  You're done!
 Here's a picture of the pocket.

Thought: you could create multiple pockets by adding some top stitching on the pocket.

Step 9: Enjoy your new hexipuff bag!
Please use this tutorial for personal use only.