A Continuation of Sorts

When announcing the end of Project Remnant Redo, I may have mentioned that we were going off of another similar tangent. Here’s the link for our new blog Crafting in the 21st Century, if you’d care to check us out and see what we’re up to.

We’re still crafting, but with a different slant, and with a different WordPress platform that will allow more creativity (and also a bigger learning curve than the eminent WordPress.com, that figures out all the code for you behind the scenes!)

Shifting into Holiday Awareness Gear

Labor Day Weekend is practically upon us. And you know what that means, don’t you?

holiday fabric

holiday fabric stash


Time to plan some sewing projects for gifts.
Tricia, in our knitting group, has been bringing it up for weeks now, and I’m just now getting on the bandwagon.

Hopefully I’ll get to some of the things I’ve intended to make for years. Hopefully the sewing machine doesn’t go on the fritz and put a kibosh on all my sewing for the holidays. I’ll just do what I can do and see where it goes from there.

Meanwhile, I’m almost at the end of week 2 of the new diet and exercise regime, and so far I haven’t blogged about any of the results.

diet book

TYT for short


The diet has definitely sent me into a culture shock. Actually, the whole program, which I joined at the urging of one of my yoga buddies, has made a major difference in day-to-day living.

1) We had to pay to join it, so I feel some accountability to make it work
2) On the first day, they took a 3D image of us that “knows” our measurements. I looked at the image of me in the email they sent and said, “No, that’s not me, that’s some middle-aged fat lady.” But it was exactly me, unfortunately.
3) For the first 2 weeks it’s a 1000 calorie-a-day eating plan.
4) The meal plan is very exact. You don’t make choices out of millions of things that could add up to the allotted amount of calories per meal; the percentage amount of carbs, proteins, etc. are factored in and you don’t tweak that. You eat what’s on the list. Every day. Day after day.
5) I’m drinking WAAAY more water per day than I’ve ever done before.
6) Exercise sessions twice a week for 30 minutes each are intense.

So far the outcome is that I don’t spend a third of my time, energy, and brain power interacting with food. Truly, before, I was planning meals, shopping for food, cooking, cleaning up, thinking about eating, going out to eat, trying to decide which restaurant, and on and on. Now, there’s a noticeable void.

I went on Pinterest and “unfollowed” all the food blogs that are broadcasting to me those scrumptious images of peach cobbler, enchilada casserole buried under pounds of melted cheese, chocolate-covered crispy bacon.

I guess with all the diets I’ve followed in the past, I really don’t know how I’m supposed to eat to keep from gaining weight. I’ve tried low-carb and been half-dead with no energy but still not losing weight, and low-carb is contraindicated by the friendly neighborhood urologist. This plan doesn’t sap my energy as much. I have lost a bit of weight. The plan is for 6 weeks. We will see how it goes: so far, so good.

An Easy Little Remnant Quilt

Of all kinds of quilting, I like the easy ones the best. You might not win the prize at the county fair for making one, but little quilts can be memorable, and provide hours of comfy relaxation.

I had this patchwork remnant from JoAnn’s in the stash for a long time. Whenever I see a patchwork remnant, I get it, because it represents added work, and therefore value. So the retail price of this sort of pieced-together fabric is about $25 per yard. Half-price as a remnant, the finished product makes it look like you did a lot of measuring and ironing and seam-clipping, but we know the truth. And if the truth doesn’t set you free, at least it gives you a reduced price for using a remnant.

lap quilt

lap quilt

I used a plain piece of flannel as a near-match in color. And I happened to have a small bit of batting in the stash that was pretty close to the exact size (ended up trimming off about an inch, what are the odds of that?) I chose to “channel-quilt” the top, backing, and batting sandwich. Why? By channel-quilting, I mean I stitched in the ditch from the top one way, so that I traced the patchwork squares by either their tops and bottoms, or their sides, not both, to outline rows rather than squares. I figured if I tried to outline all the individual squares there was more possibility for puckers. As it was, I only had to rip out a few feet of stitching and re-do it, and that’s a pretty good result for me.

I had one package of brown quilt binding in the stash, but I knew that wouldn’t be enough. So when I went to the store to get another one, I saw this luscious chocolate brown satin blanket binding, and I splurged for that. At $7.49 per 4.75 yard package (of course, I applied a 40 or 50% off coupon to that), it’s not cheap but one whole package was exactly enough. What are the odds?

I was thinking it would make a nice baby gift, but it seems to have a more sophisticated look to it. And I also messed up a bit on sewing down the corners of the binding, and added several rows of visible brown stitching at that corner (which would horrify my mom, no doubt) where it shouldn’t have had to be seen if I’d placed the entire binding on correctly to begin with. So I reasoned, not good enough for a gift, but good enough for us. The cats like it.

Zig-zag Weekly Photo Challenge

zig-zag building

Cary Quilting Co. (Cary, NC)

For more WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Zig-zag look here.

Things that make you go “MMMMMM…made in America…mmmmm”

I got an email from the Gainesville Handweavers Guild to be on the lookout for a new, made-in-America quilting cotton fabric. AMB’s web site said that the fabric could be found at a couple of shops in the NC – SC area where I happened to be for a few days, visiting while a family member attended Evolution2014 in Raleigh. IMG_1841

Cary NC Quilt Shop

Quilt Shop in Cary, NC

I stopped by here and snagged some fat quarters of the American Made Brand fabric, which my email said is from cotton grown in Arkansas, milled in SC…and then apparently marketed out of Seattle.

While in the vicinity of Raleigh, I was by no means subject to any sort of sensory deprivation. The beautiful sights, flavors, and atmosphere had me swooning with summer joy!

Raleigh Convention Center

View of our hotel from inside the Raleigh Convention Center

Convention Center artwork

Convention Center artwork

For more art on display at the center, click here.
Raleigh Convention Center

Raleigh Convention Center

One regret: the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo is coming to Raleigh, right here at the Convention Center, this weekend, and I will be long gone by then! If only…woulda, coulda, shoulda….sniffle…

We got take-out from The Pit, a famous North Carolina Barbecue place that has been featured on Man V. Food and Bobby Flay’s Throwdown. My favorite: the mashed potatoes with spicy gravy. Another: Soul Rolls, a deep-fried egg roll stuffed with smooth, piquant, mellow-seasoned chopped pork and collard greens and tender-crisp shredded carrots. We sampled a lot of delicious food in this town.

So what do you think about AMB: American-Made Brand fabric? Everyone I’ve spoken to about it is excited that there’s an American-made cotton quilting fabric on the market now. Is anyone up to their Farm-to-Fabric challenge? Hurry, there’s a deadline to register.

Remnants With Heart

I wanted to treat my new rubbery yoga mat better than the old one, so it will last longer. The insert with it suggested keeping it in a bag when not in use, not out in the car in extreme heat or cold, with the sun bearing down on it through the windshield.

 

I thought I remembered seeing an article in a recent Easy Quilts mag for a quilted yoga bag. Ah, yes! There it is.

Oh, wait a minute, I think I have a Sewing for Dummies pattern for a yoga bag. Here it is.

Easy Quilts yoga bag pattern

Easy Quilts bag

Sewing for Dummies yoga bag pattern

Dummies bags pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So which one should I make? And what remnants should I use to make it?

fabric

possibility for the mag bag

outdoor fabric

I like this outdoor fabric

pre-quilted fabric remnant

this quilted remnant is just what the Dummies ordered

pre-quilted fabric

other pre-quilted possibilities

 

 

I could have used the lavender and blue and quilted my own, like the magazine pattern showed….or I could use some pre-quilted fabric and save time and effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had 3 remnants to choose from: the blue and yellow patterned piece looked just like the Dummies pattern, and rather passé if you ask me. I spent at least a day mulling it over. Could I actually show up anywhere in public with that? Er, no.

 

 

 

 

 

The others: ho-hum solid brown and ho-hum solid off-white. The off-white would certainly get dog-dirty in a little while. So I guess I’ll go with the brown.

yoga bag fabrics

the chosen fabrics

 

Just to make it a little matchy-matchy with the green mat, I added a green remnant fabric strap (the pattern wants you to use 1 1/8 yards of webbing for the strap) and some green embroidery. This is a heart chakra symbol, traditionally in the color green. Embroidery from Urban Threads.

yoga mat bag

a little length of brown twill tape made a great tie

yoga bag

finished yoga bag

Now for the Zero to Hero Day 18 post, about connecting with social networks. I do connect with a few of them, but I must confess that I’m not comfortable connecting with them all. For instance, Twitter. I found that I’d been hacked in some fashion and the connection may have possibly been facilitated through a Twitter encounter. Facebook friends are alerted on FB when I post, but I prefer that unscreened people who view my blog through search terms don’t have access to my FB page. I think I’m as connected as I want to be. 🙂

Walker Tote Bag from Remnants

I visited a relative recently, who is living in an assisted living apartment building. She lives on a way upper floor, and I noticed that when she goes down to get the mail, she would hold the letters in one hand while trying to maneuver her walker at the same time. After I got home, a subsequent search of the Internet revealed that lots of creative sewists have posted many awesome free patterns for “walker bags;” I had plenty of designs to choose from!

I picked this one from Debbie Colgrove at About.com. I liked it because it has pockets, looks like it holds its shape, and has sturdy straps to attach it. I snagged some collegiate sports fabric while I was in the vicinity, knowing that it’s football season and boy, does she love football! Of course, in my remnant bin I happened to have some pre-quilted fabric for the body of the tote, which the pattern called for, in a relatively decent color match! I thought personalizing it would be a nice touch, and I love the script lettering in bold crimson red (I didn’t say Crimson Tide, here, slow down, buddy.)

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

machine embroidery on the pre-quilted remnant

The bag’s wide top straps button over the upper bar of the walker. It also has two bottom straps that can be fastened to the walker legs by lacing through D-rings. Hmmm, I just might have some D-rings in the old button box here—wait, here are some! Just the right size, too (1-inch)!

D-rings

D-rings

The best way to sew those D-rings to the straps was with a narrow zipper foot. That foot is a trouper!
Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Narrow Zipper Foot to the rescue

Er, pay no attention to the fact that you only see one D-ring in this pic: I had to rip out the seam because I forgot to insert TWO D-rings onto each strap. No biggie: I also have a LOVELY seam ripper that gets more use than any other attachment!

finished bag

finished bag

I had buttons galore to choose from, stashed.

Thank you so much, Ms. Colgrove of About.com, for the wonderful free pattern. The changes to the original pattern that I made were the embroidery and the center button: I sewed a velcro strip inside rather than adding another button right over the embroidered name. Why? Because I thought the button might detract from the embroidery and make it look even more off-center than it is. Plus, I don’t have the greatest button-hole making capability with my machine and my teeth were already grinding plenty enough enamel after making two buttonholes and having to trim bird nests off the underside of the buttonholes and repair with a satin stitch. 🙂

The only other little quirks I noticed with the pattern were that it directs you to do something with one side of the body: if you personalize it with a name, it does make a difference which side you do some things to, like attaching the straps. And in attaching the top straps, it directs you to place them 2″ away from the seam but the picture shows 2 1/2″ from the seam. I chose the 2 1/2″ distance. I thought the collegiate fabric added a nice touch, what do you think? An elderly person has seen lots of purty flowers in their lifetime, but what’s not to love about a touchdown? Northern Illinois University actually played the Florida State Seminoles last year in the Orange Bowl. At the time, we were all saying “NIU who?” But it looks like a pretty good little football team!

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