Thursday, October 21, 2010

What we did on Fall Vacation.

APP has been on vacation for the last two weeks. During my vacation I have had a very funny visitor from Washington... Ms Nadine ;) We have been having a blast together.. we have fabric shopped until we dropped several days, meals out, meals cooked in, watching videos/movies, and lots and lots of fun sewing.

Nadine and I even came out with the rules and ideas for the Christmas Swap on APP's Blog.
Speaking of swaps... below you will find items from the Halloween Tote bag swap, and the Little Dirt Lane Annie Swap. Note: Nadine snuck on the computer and added a few comments on some of the pictures below - she is so sneaky!

APP: My tote I received from Nadine.. isn't it awesome - it's a Witchy Tote with an Apron :) How adorable!!!

APP: Here is a view of the Witchie shoes.. they are loose and flap around.. I am so fascinated about them :) LOVE Love this idea!!

APP: Here is the matching Tea Towel.. made almost like the tote.. cute cute cute!

APP: Below is the Tote that CJ Received from me.... I had a good time making this one ;)

APP: This is the tote that I received from CJ. I love the Pumpkins aren't they fun. They are made out of wool ;)

Nadine: Shhhhh...when APP is not looking, I'm going to stick this in my suitcase and take it home to Washington...don't tell!!!!

APP: Frankie was one of my more favorite things to make.. I even made my partner Millie a tote using Frankie. Isn't it fun? I see while posting this I have forgotten to take a photo of Millie's tote.. I will try and have her tote posted by the end of the day today or tomorrow... depending on my time :)

APP: Next I was in a swap from Little Dirt Lane.. this is the Doll that I made for my partner ;)
I think she turned out so adorable ;) I love making Annies!!!

APP: Here is my Annie that I received from my partner Tammy.. I just love the fat black and orange hair. She has such a cute face. Her feet really make me smile!!

APP: Here we have a Pitty that is tired out from all the activity.. really Pitty is cold and if you look closely you will see the little red spotted puppy that heats up in the micro to help keep her warm. She was shivering so badly Ms Nadine said Mommie has to do something!! So I did!!

Pitty: All snuggly warm in my baby sling, bankie, and mico puppy warmer :)

Pitty: Me on the bed in Ok when when Mommie and Nadine dragged me there on Vacation!

APP: One day Nadine and I was going to the Fabric shop on the West side of Ta Town when I drove by the little farmers market and pulled in. There we found lots and lots of yummy canned foods and tons and tons of Pumpkins. The one that Nadine is holding is the one that we brought home :) It's very gnarly!

Nadine: APP looks like she's really up to something in this pic, don't you think???

APP: Nadine has been working on Shoop Shoop Bags, Totes, Baby Quilt, Butterfly Blocks and Mug Rugs. Nadine: Really, really, really - my strips ARE the same width and everything's even in the above Mug Rug - it was just the way the stupid camera took the picture :-)

Nadine: APP and I made two of the Frankie Mug Rugs. She did the applique and the embroidery and I did the shadow quilting and binding. We are quite a TEAM!

Nadine: Below is MY Frankie tote that APP made me. Ummm. Well. She was SUPPOSED to make it for me before I got here...but she was busy with so many other things. So I helped her finish it. Nothing like having to make your own tote, LOL!!! But I didn't mind :-)

Nadine: Below is a another tote that APP made for me. Well, she did the wonderful embroidery, and had some of the fabrics pieced...but then she had me do the sewing to put it together. I LOVE it!!!! I wish I could embroider like she does - maybe if I practice...

Nadine: I added a slanted pocket for a pencil on the inside. Now APP and I are TWINS because we both have these wonderful embroidered totes!

APP: Aunt Pitty Pat has been working on the following: Finished up the Halloween Blocks, Worked on Totes, Worked on Annies, Made fun Mug Rugs, Started Christmas Blocks, and other cuttings for more Mug Rugs.Nadine: Heeheehee - I think the Annies above look so silly with no faces...and did you notice that they are NAKIE!!!!!!!! You'd think APP would have a little more decorum :-) but I guess not :-) Oh, and I also helped her sew on some of the arms...uh, the first ones I sewed on, I sewed them sticking straight out! She's the one on the left...silly Annie-With-The-Sticky-Outy-Arms! I did better on other ones...

Pitty: Well, this has been a fun two weeks! Mommie APP and Mommie Nadine have had a lot of fun shopping, sewing, and eating...and I've had Two Mommies! I'm so spoiled I think I need to be in someone's arms 24 x 7! Well, isn't that what good little doggies deserve? Yes, I think so, too! Now what am I gonna do when Mommie Nadine goes home and Mommie APP goes back to work! I guess I'll have to talk to Cappy the bird all darned day.....

APP and Nadine: Sooooo, this is what we've been doing - what have all of YOU been up to recently???????

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Crumb Catcher Christmas

Everyone knows Nadine and I have been on Vacation ;) We have chatted about a lot of awesome new sewing ideas.. one of the ideas is a new craze that is sweeping the Cyber world of blogs and we would like to share this with you in swap form... Mug Rugs.

Photo from Patchwork Pottery's Flickr Photostream.

APP's Christmas Swap will be .. make your partner a fun and exciting Christmas Mug Rug. What is a Mug Rug??? After looking on the internet.. we have discovered it is hard to find Christmas photos of mug rugs to share with you. But we have a link for other types of Mug Rugs. :)
The required size for our swap will be a 6”x10” or equivalent. It can be square, round, star, or any shape your creative brain comes up with. The Rug must be big enough for two Christmas Sugar Cookies, and a nice sized mug for a hot drink ;) (APP loves White Almond Hot Chocolate hint hint hint.)
Embellish your Mug Rug anyway you like.. but it must be coffee mug friendly. Must be able to sit without falling over from too much egg nog ;) Mug must sit flat on Rug… lol
Additional content for your swap will be:
One Christmas Coffee Mug (Micro safe)
One Hot Beverage packet (Cocoa, Spiced Cider, Gourmet Coffee, or Tea)
One Favorite Cookie Recipe
One Candy Cane (For stirring)

Sign ups start today and end on November 6th.. Partners will be assigned shortly thereafter.
Swaps must be at your partner's house no later than December 11th. Please start your project as soon as you sign up so they will be completed on time. You don't have to have an assigned partner to start your project. If you can't meet this dead line.. please please don't sign up... This is a very important fun swap this time of year.
NO ONE likes a Flaker.. Please be on time!!!
Santa is checking his naughty and nice list.. so be sure to get your swap out on time.. so your partner doesn't get coal ;)

Additional info:
Please package your swap in a box and wrap your mug in bubble wrap... so it will arrive safely ;)
International Swappers welcome but please be mindful of the cost for shipping!
E-mail APP the following Info:
Phone Number
International Yes/No

If you're a first time swapper please read the following: Swap Etiquette

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shoop-Shoop Bags - The Tutorial

Happy Sunday from Ta Town! I did a citizen ride-along with the Wichita Police yesterday and "we" (as in the Royal we) caught two bad guys and booked them into the Sedgwick County Jail. Boy, was that scary! Those big steel doors make a heck of a noise when they clank shut behind you! You don't have to tell me even ONCE to behave myself because I don't EVER wanna be in jail, except as an observer like I was yesterday :-) 

Well, enough of that stuff - today, as promised, Aunt Pitty Pat and I are going to show you how to make Shoop-Shoop Bags. What are Shoop-Shoop Bags and how did they get their name? 
Well, many, many years ago, I was making some wall-pockety things to hold Christmas cards. I made a LOT of them to give as gifts that year. The pattern called for a large strip of fashion fabric, backing fabric, and cotton batting, cut crosswise and then trimmed to an exact size. At the end of my wall-pocktey thing extravaganza, I found I had a REALLY BIG stack of leftover pieces, approximately 7 1/4" by 10 1/2" from those crosswise strips. What to do with them? I folded them in half...and thought about it...and thought some more. They were all Christmas fabrics, so that made their potential use a bit narrow as well. As it happened, I had purchased my first Christmas gift the day before and had the receipt sitting nearby. The wheels started turning (and smoke was coming off the top of my head!). Ah hah! I had a plan! 

I stacked the outer, backing, and batting fabrics right sides together and slipped in a couple pieces of folded heavy ribbon. I sewed around the edges, leaving an opening for turning. After clipping and turning, I applied some Velcro on each end, then folded the whole mess in half and sewed up the sides, which also closed the opening I had left for turning. I grabbed that receipt and stuck it inside! I tucked my new, cute little bag into my purse and thought "One gift down, and umpteen more to go...and if something doesn't work out and needs to be returned, I know EXACTLY where to find the receipt!"
Well, after I showed a coworker my clever plan, everyone wanted one. I cranked them out and gave them away. Christmas came and went, and I decided to make some non-holiday-themed wall-pockety things. The leftovers from those got made up into the little bags and were used to store my and my coworkers' cash, makeup, and other goodies. One coworker, upon receiving hers, sat there pulling on the ribbon tabs to open and close the bag several times. She said "The Velcro sounds like it's saying Shoop-Shoop!" After that, we all started calling them Shoop-Shoop Bags. Such a simple thing, and I've seen little bags that are similar, but none that have the "handles" which make them so easy to use. I love challenging projects, but sometimes you just want a project that is quick, easy, and useful that you can assembly-line produce, with no hand sewing. This fits the bill!

Here's what you need:
  • 7 1/4" x 10 1/2" pieces of outer fabric, lining, and cotton batting such as Warm & Natural or Warm & White (or a couple layers of cotton flannel)
  • 5" piece of 3/4" wide hook-and-loop tape, such as Velcro
  • 5" piece of 1" or wider grosgrain ribbon, or a 1" x 5" piece of Ultrasuede, cut in half to make two 1" x 2 1/2" pieces
  • Thread, sewing machine, pins and basic sewing supplies
I prefer the Ultrasuede for the tabs, but didn't bring any with me to Ta Town, so I'm showing the grosgrain ribbon for this tutorial. I'd advise not using other ribbon because it just won't hold up. The Ultrasuede is really ideal, but not nearly as widely available as the grosgrain, which you can find almost anyplace ribbon is sold.

Here are the lining and batting pieces, cut and ready for sewing. I think the outer piece was hiding under the lining in this pic...
Find the center of each short end of either the outer or lining fabric and mark with a pin. Fold the ribbon pieces in half (remember, you cut them in half to make two 1" x 2 1/2" pieces) and pin them on the short ends, raw edges together - use two pins for each to keep them in place so they don't skew sideways. (Also, you may notice in the pic below that in this case, I've used a "one-way design" fabric, so I cut two pieces, 7 1/4" x 5 1/2" and seamed them to make a 7 1/4" x 10 1/2" piece with the design going in opposite directions.)
 Sandwich the batting on the back, and the lining on top, right sides together, and pin everything together to hold in place.
Starting near a corner, on a long side, sew all the way around with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2" opening.
Clip the corners - clip across the corner, then again at a steeper angle for best results:
Turn the bag out through the opening and use your favorite device to pull the corners out nicely. I love a Bamboo Point Turner and Creaser for this job.  You'll want nice, sharp corners on your bags. Here are a few I assembly-line sewed, ready for the next step:

On the inside, center the hook and the loop pieces of Velcro on each short end, close to the edge, and stitch all around, being careful not to catch/shred your thread when sewing the hook part.
Fold the bag in half, insides together. The Velcro will hold it closed and in place for sewing the sides. I always sew more than one at this point - it's much easier to butt one up against the previous one, since the bags are slightly thick - sewing from one to the next helps keep the presser foot level and moving smoothly. Backstitch on both ends to make the bag secure, since it will get a lot of stress when pulling it open. The opening you left will be closed automagically during this step - no handsewing!!!
It's that easy - you're done! You can add embellishments such as fabric flowers, fabric yo-yos, hot-fix crystals, etc. Now get thee to thy sewing machines and start making Shoop-Shoop Bags! Give them to your friends and say "Use this bag as THE ONE PLACE for all your receipts when buying your Christmas gifts! They'll all be in one place if you need to return something!" But don't forget to keep one for yourself! Then, make some more in non-Christmas fabrics to give and use for other stuff. Personally, I keep my cash - both bills and change - in one, and makeup in another. I recently had a friend pull one out of her purse to pay her lunch tab...I about gagged! It was so old and nasty looking! I told her "That's just soooooo WRONG! I shall make you a new one!" And the next time we had lunch, I had a pretty new one for her, but she wouldn't give up the old one - ugh...I wanted to burn it! So, give them a try and let me know how you like them :-) This really is my original design from about 20 years ago - as I said above, I've seen some similar, but not with both the Velcro and the tabs for easier opening. But I like to spread the joy, so feel free to make as many as you want :-)

Also, you may notice the very cool "fabric Ric-Rac" embellishment on some of the bags - here's the link to the tutorial for that - REALLY easy to do and it's just fabulous! I made some at the size recommended, then experimented with narrower versions. Zig-Zag Pillow

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Repost from APP's Blog


Oh my girls we had a lovely fabric shopping day yesterday! Nadine was in cotton heaven. That lady can power shop for fabric. We went to Grandmas Cupboard.. she sells more traditional quilting fabrics. Nadine shopped so much she carry out a big garbage bag.  Grandmas didn't have a regular shopping bag big enough for all of her wonderful fun fabrics. Nadine had to carry them out of the store in a large trash sack. Next we went to JoAnn's now let me tell you I had already spent my fabric allowance at Grandma's. So I helped Nadine spend her money :) We picked out some very fun Christmas fabrics to make her famous Shoop-Shoop Bags. Tutorial with pictures to be coming soon on this project. Next we went to old Delano District for shopping at the the Material Girls.. and we found a very fun Japanese Print on the the sale rack.. for $5.00 a yard.. I could not pass up a yard of this wonderful material nor could Nadine. Of course Nadine was so excited because this little shop sells more of the modern type fabrics... Amy Butler, Moda, Alexander Henry and so on...... not just calico type quilting prints. LOL I had to convince Nadine to go to one last fabric shop before we went home. The Picket Fence has a wonderful mix of fabrics. There we found some very fun patterns for wallets, bags, and other fun sewing projects... Yes Nadine also found some wonder fabric they she had thought about purchasing on line prior to vacation.. I am so excited she found it here in Ta Town.
Speaking of Ta Town.. Nadine was not here in time for Shop Hop but she was able to get a Shop Hop button along with a custom made yard of Kansas Fabric. She really likes the Wheat Design on that very lovely yard of material.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday in Ta Town

Well, the lasagna didn't get made yesterday because APP didn't have the right size pan AND she wasn't feeling well. So we just vegged out yesterday -  napping, yakking and watching quilting shows on TIVO and we ate sandwiches for both lunch and dinner. But today is another day and we are starting it out by hitting Crackerbarrel - we don't have those in Washington State, so I'm looking forward to that. After that, we'll be shop-hopping from fabric store to quilt shop. Because. We. Both. Need. MORE. Fabric. Of course, we do! Don't we? Yes...I think we do! Oh, and we WILL pick up a lasagna pan - and I'll make it for dinner tonight - so recipe and pics tomorrow :-) Have a great Monday - I know WE will!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Off to Ta Town!

I'm off to "Ta Town!" At least, that's what Aunt Pitty Pat calls it - "Ta" because it's WichiTa" I guess :-) At any rate, I'm taking a loooonnnnggggg vacation with APP, and Pitty Pat, of course - 23 days of fun and sewing and shopping and eating! Did I mention sewing?

APP and I met online a couple of years ago when we both became involved in what I like to call "Apron World" - that fateful day when I was on Pattern Review and clicked on a reviewer's link to their blog. Oh my! What a world I discovered! And my very first apron swap (Sassy Apron Swap) and I was hooked! I've met so many wonderful people, all over the world, just by apron swapping (and the occasional potholder, tote bag, Christmas stocking, etc.). And one of them was APP. As it turned out, she and I were both vacationing in northern California last fall and we were able to spend a couple of days yakking and shopping for fabric - what fun! Now, we're trying it for 23 daysl Now, I DID mention to her about that saying that goes something like "fish and houseguests start to smell after a few days" but she was undeterred - she wanted me to stay a whole month, but I was afraid my doggies wouldn't recognize me if I stayed away too long! Here's a pic of me with her darling Pitty Pat from our visit last fall.

Of course, what's a sewing getaway without fabric? I did slip a Honey Bun and some Fat Quarters in my checked bag, along with my favorite basic sewing supplies. But I also placed an order from The Quilted Castle, to be shipped directly to Ta Town so it would be ready and waiting for me to fondle and pet when I get there :-) And we will be shopping - did I mention that? I brought along a flash drive with all my saved sewing projects - mostly tutorials from my blog-hopping - as well as all my recipes for my favorite foods, even my secret pizza recipe and my secret apple pie recipe. APP will pick me up at the airport tonight, but she is off to work tomorrow, so I said I would make my fabulous Lasagna for Sunday dinner. I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

Oh, and we will be "guest posting" on each others' blogs while I'm there. Look for my tutorial on "Shoop-Shoop Bags" on her blog in the next few days - a very quick and simple project, but you'll be excited about what they can be used for, especially with Christmas coming up - you'll want to make dozens right away to give to your special friends well before Christmas!

Well, I'd better get off this computer and finish the carry-on bag I started last night - nothing like waiting until the last minute! Next stop - Ta Town!