Friday, April 20, 2018

'Car Under the Birches' Wall Hanging is Finished.

Its taken me a bit of time since I kept putting it off, but my Cat Under the Birches is finally finished today.
I adore Birch Trees and we have some in our back yard.  I also love all animals, cats included and miss my own that I've lost in the past few years.
This is a tortoiseshell kitty playing under the trees, trying to capture the elusive butterflies among the pretty flowers.
It measures 15 1/2 inches long by 17 1/2 inches wide.  A nice size to place on my front door.

Here is a closer view of the kitty and the butterflies.  It says "Spring" to me and that's what I'm hopng to see around here in Maine soon.

Have a good day.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Measurements For Small Big Pocket Tote

I already showed you how I made it, but here are the measurements I used in case you want them.


Here it is and the finished numbers are:
Tote Bag:
12 inches Wide
10 inches Long
3 inches Deep
Outside Pockets 10 inches Wide
by 8 inches Long

Note, the big pocket piece (honey bees) wraps around from front to back giving you a more solid bottom.

Finished Inside pockets made from doubled fabric are:
9 1/2" Wide
8" Long
This wraps across the bottom as well.

Note:   I cut all my pieces just a bit larger than the desired measures so I can layer them together and cut them all at the same time to get an even cut all around on all of them.
The first step is to layer them batting down first, backing fabric on top of batting right side up, and main fabric right side down and then cut them to the proper sizes given.

Alternate Fabric for the body of the Tote:
Cut 17" Wide by 25" long.  You have to layer your batting, the alternate fabric, and your backing together and cut them to this size.
You will need 2 pieces of fabric (Alternate fabric and Backing fabrics) and the batting.

Big Pocket Fabric in your Main fabric choice:
Cut 11" Wide by 20" Long
Repeat with the 3 layers once again as you did with the Alternate trio.

Inside Pocket fabric can be any choice you like, from a muslin to the main fabric to the alternate or anything in between.  It is, after all, inside the tote.
You need only two pieces the same cut since no batting is used in these inside pockets.
Cut 2 pcs. 10" Wide by 17" Long

Handle Fabric you need four strips (2 fabrics for each of the 2 handles) and 2 pieces of batting.
Cut 19" Long by 2 1/2" Wide
Note:  I cut them all a bit wider and longer and then cut them to the size I wanted.

In all cases where there is batting involved in the piece, you layer them:
Batting down on the table first
Backing fabric right side up.
Main fabric or Alternate fabrics (for Big Pocket or Tote itself) right side down.
Pin them together and sew a quarter inch seam all around, leaving about a 4" opening along the sides for turning..
Turn right-side out thru the opening, and press.  Stitch the openings closed.
Note:  I do NOT cut the points off my corners before turning.  I find that for me my points are sharper when uncut.

Remember when you have all your pieces and layers sewn together and turned right side out, (as above) you need to quilt your  2 layered pieces (the tote bag and the big pockets pieces).

I do not quilt the handles. I just stay stitch all around about a quarter inch from the outsides to reinforce the handles and give them strength, being sure to sew over the open end on both handles.

Gussets:   Are what make the depth of the bag.  You can make them any width you prefer and they are sewn after you sew the side seams of the tote bag together.

I hope the instructions are clear and some of you can use them.  I did this one in 2 days.  I could have finished it in one in my younger days but I can't sit at my sewing machine for more than a few of hours a day.

Have a good day.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Finished My Small Big Pocket Tote

I just needed to get working on this once the idea was planted in my head.  So I did.
Here are all my pieces.  The blues, both of them, are layered with batting and backing and sewn right sides together, then turned.  The inner pockets are doubled tea pot blue and white fabric, (no batting) and sewn the same way.   The handles are layered with batting and turned like the other 3-layer pieces.
Here all the layered bits are quilted before I start putting them together.

The inner pockets are marked with pencil for registration marks so I know where to sew my center line to attach it in the right place inside my bag and where to sew my pocket seams after I decide which sizes I want, depending on their purpose.

I place the handles on the bag and sew them in place BEFORE I sew down the outside pocket (the honey bee fabric).

After the outside big pocket is sewn in place, its time to fold the bag right sides together so I can stitch the outside seams on the bag.

Then its time to determine what width you want your bag which means you make gussets on both bottom ends.  For mine I liked 3 inches.  I sew them twice.

The bottom looks like this when the gussets are sewn and the bag is turned right side out.

I filled my small tote with the necessities I take when I go shopping from water thermos to tissue to sunglasses, etc.  Whatever I need to bring, it can fit in this new tote.


Here is my finished tote with a paperback book tucked into one of the outside big pockets.  I even have some shopping totes folded in my bag.  I'm ready to shop tomorrow.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"Cat Under the Birches" WH is Satin-Stitched at This Point

I am making inroads with this wall hanging.  
I designed a smaller quilted tote that will fit my needs when I go shopping on the senior bus, and was going to work on that.
Instead, I thought I should get back to the "Cat" and get this finished first.
When I think of a new project, I get so Gung Ho about it and start drawing, designing, planning and put other things aside.  That makes for too many UFOs, Unfinished Objects.  I want to lessen my pile.
I changed my method a little.  Instead of outlining the objects with black satin-stitching, I chose other colors in this one; light gray for the birches, green for the leaves on the tree.  I still outlined the cat and the butterflies in black so they would stand out more.
I may go this route with future projects as well.
Now its decision time on choosing the border for this wall hanging.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

It Was a Lazy Day for Me Today

I did something to my left hip probably sitting wrong while sewing yesterday.  Anyway, it hurts.  Made walking a bit difficult today so dog and I had shorter walks and came indoors faster than usual.  Nice and sunny out today, in the low 40sF but those winds sure are gusty and cold.

I made myself some pepper steak sandwiches (with enough for another meal), and had defrosted pizza dough but didn't feel like bothering to make pizza so opted for pizzals (Italian fried dough) instead.


 I cut the pizza dough into 18 pretty even pieces after shaping the dough into a long narrow loaf and letting it rest for a half hour.  Pressed them down on my cutting board with my fingers and let them sit and rise for an hour.

After the hour they had risen a little but enough.

Dropped them gently into about an inch of hot veggie oil to cook.  They rose quite a bit more with the heat from the oil.   When they turned brown around the outside edges, I turned them over to cook on the other side.

Removed them to layers of paper towels to drain off the excess oil.

Sprinkled some with cinnamon sugar and others with granulated sugar.  Powdered sugar works well, also.  Shook off the excess granulated sugar to allow some on the reverse side.

These fried dough rolls are a lot lighter than those one gets at carnivals and county fairs.  They puff up light as a feather.   Mmmmm good!

Have a nice Day.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Cat Under the Birches" New Name New Color Tacked Down

Decisions, Decisions are always tough for me but I finally made what I consider the right one.
I found some fabric that reads a bit like tortoiseshell for cats.
I think this fabric works well for a cat.  Sort of like a tortoiseshell coloring for my feline.  This way you can see the facial features clearer. I added small limbs and some leaves to the birches.  And butterflies the cat can check out.

Here's a closer view of the cat and the butterflies.

There's still lots of stitching to be done but this shows what the wall hanging will look like generally.

Now I'm aching from sitting at my sewing machine so I will take a break and watch the Red Sox game that I recorded today.  Last I checked, they were winning.

Its 46*F and sunny.  A nice day except for the winds that can get quite gusty.

Have a nice Day.

Friday, April 6, 2018

"Kitten Under the Birches" is Presenting Some Problems

I felt really good today so I sat at my sewing machine and worked on a wall hanging, one I really like.
Then the problem arrived.   The Kitten.
I liked the black fabric I chose but it doesn't seem to work for this subject  The more I look at it.....

.......the more it looks like a species of skunk, instead of cat.

I have three other choices I can use.  This is number one which is a gray on gray.

Number two is dark gray patches on light gray, though getting the dark patches in the right places may be too complicated.   The kitten isn't very large.    Mmmmmm.

Number three is black on black and I think would look good in this space.
The contrast of a dark cat would work better than a lighter one, as in white or yellow I think.

Decisions, Decisions have to be made before I continue this wall hanging.

While I ponder this decision, I think I'll read a bit and plan to watch the Red Sox.  They won again last night, their opening home game.  Hooray!

Have a nice day.