Author Archives: sewinator

Infinity Scarves and Bored Tweens

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I’ve made peace with my serger and we have been collaborating on some Christmas gifts.  I had to make an offering of 12 new spools of beautiful thread, but we finally came to terms.  It is the Christmas season and I have a LOT of gifts to make!  Sometimes we have to make concessions for those less cooperative just to get what we need.  🙂 scarves

My daughter asked me to make her some Infinity scarves this year.  Once I realized how simple they were to make I made 22 of them!  Of course, I had to take 5 for myself.

They werefive scarves just too cute to pass up! I may make more, depending on how well the pajama pants assembly line works.  🙂  I had an interesting learning experience making pajama pants a few years ago.

When the kids were all teens (10 years ago)  I thought I would be creative and make them all pajama pants.  I got an incredible deal on flannel fabric and set out to make 14 pairs of pajama pants. What a great idea!  About 5 dollars per kid, and everyone would get something they can and “would” wear!  Teenagers are a whole different species of humans than children or adults.  They eat, sleep, dress, and speak in a totally foreign manner.

Well,  I thought I knew what I was doing and cut out 28 left legs, and no right legs.  Realizing what I had done, I ran back to the fabric store to get more of the same fabric so I could cut the other halves.  Unfortunately, I had bought the last of the fabric in that color.  I did find it in another color, and thus, the creativity was born.  14 teenagers all had matching two colored pajama pants!  (My daughters and all my nieces and nephews).

To avoid laundry issues for siblings in the same house, I embroidered their names into the waistbands.  I know my kids do their own laundry, but some of my sisters were crazy enough to still do their kids laundry!  Really?  Who does their teenagers laundry?  There is NO WAY on EARTH I am touching teenagers socks!  Clean OR dirty.  I’m sure there are multiple diseases and creatures that live on the surface of socks worn by teenagers.

I digress,  back to the Infinity scarves.  Once I mastered the serger, I made these wonderfully simple and inexpensive scarves for all the women in my family.  twenty two scarves

I also had to include this embarrassing photo of my granddaughter who is currently grounded from any and all electronics, including T.V. because she was abusing her cell phone and downloaded apps her mother had forbidden. (she isn’t supposed to text her friends and she had an app that allowed it). She got out my paints and used her adorable face as a canvas.

bored kid

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My Serger and I are friends now

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Earlier I mentioned taking the Craftsy Beginning Serger class. After day 1 I was ready to throw the computer, the serger, and all the scraps through the window…
I took a day off, read some of the questions and comments on the class page, and decided to give it another go. Success! I figured out the tensions and completed 16 infinity scarves, 6 rice warmer bags, some quick little dresses for my grand nieces, and a few more bags.

boys rice bagsRicepins
I’ve only posted a picture of the rice warmers here, as I’m not sure if my family will be checking in here to see all the gifts I’ve been making. (of course, all they have to do is look in the bags under my sewing table and they would see everything, but I’m pretty sure they are afraid of my sewing area).
Thanksgiving was a perfect day! I kept it small. My girls, their significant others, one of my nieces, and one of my daughters’ friends who’s parents don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

turkey trot
We started the morning with the Turkey Trot. My two daughters and granddaughter jogged most of it and I walked it. Dinner was perfect, and the family commented on how good the Turkey was. They said it was the moistest (or most moist, not sure which is grammatically correct) Turkey I’ve made! I’ve been making Turkeys for over 30 years, so that is saying something. After dinner we had some delicious mulled wine and lots of cake and pies! (this is why we do the Turkey trot in the morning).
Saturday after Thanksgiving I had my sister, three nieces, my two daughters, and three grand-nieces over to bake and make holiday treats. What a great day it was! We made Hot Chocolate Reindeer, beaded candy canes, glitter filled ornaments, and lots and lots of cookies!holiday crafting Here are the nieces and Grand Nieces decorating cookies.cookie decorating
I was really ready to come back to work on Monday. That “vacation” was exhausting!
I caught the 75% off sale at JoAnn’s fabrics the day before Thanksgiving. The store opened at 6:00am and when I got there at 5:30 there were already 23 people in line! I bought enough fleece and fabric to last me at least six months. I’m so excited to start making pajama pants. I measured everyone’s waist and inseam while they were at my house on Thursday. I measured their waists “after” they ate dinner!  🙂fleece for jammiesThis is a small portion of what I bought.  (a very small portion).

Serger madness! Or… Be smarter than the machine

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So I bought a serger last year.  I set it up and used it to finish seams.  It took me over a week to get the settings right and get it working the way it was supposed to.  I never did figure out how to sew and serge at the same time!  I can only sew a seam on the machine, then take it to the serger and finish the edges.  If I actually tried to sew a seam and serge the edges in the same swipe,  I got the “ladder” effect.

Now that I am trying to have a “handmade Christmas” (mostly due to the fact that ex husband who is now “renting a room from me” is laid off and unable to pay rent and dear daughter and granddaughter also live with me and only help minimally with the bills, I have no extra money for gifts this year, but that’s a story for another day),  I thought I would get the serger figured out and use to to help zip through the mountain of gifts I plan to make.

Silly me,  decided to take a “Craftsy Serger Class”.  Well,  I’m only on the third lesson and am ready to throw the damned thing out the window!  (if there was a window in my dark little sewing space, I probably would have!)  I spent almost 6 hours yesterday fussing with it.  Trying to go through the lessons and learning the settings, threading, and needle placements.IMAG0227

My goal was to get it mastered so I could use the serger for quick seaming (like on the 6 pairs of pajama pants and 12 infinity scarves I intend to make).

At about hour six.. dear granddaughter came to me for help with her math homework.  I felt her “looming” behind me while I cursed and cut threads… and turned to see what she needed.  Her response was “I kind of needed help, but maybe you’re not the right person to ask right now”… poor baby!  I told her it’s exactly what I need to do right now,  help someone else because obviously I’m not doing very well with what I’m trying to learn!IMAG0222 (1)

Sixth grade math with fractions, solving for x, and converting decimals was exactly what I needed!  Math always works.  It’s logical, dependable, and predictible!   I spent an hour helping her with the most challenging parts of her math, then took a deep breath and went back in for a second try.  No luck.  Disaster!  Frustration, threads everywhere, and more cursing!  Finally at 8:30pm I walked away.  Left the fabric sitting in the machine, turned it off, brushed all the strings from my slacks and turned on the T.V.IMAG0221 (1)

As I walked past the machine this morning on my way to the kitchen I’m sure I heard it laugh at me!  Sitting there with it’s four spools of thread and all it’s dials and adjusters on it!  I just kept on walking, ignoring the feeling of defeat.

I’ve been on the Craftsy site all morning, reading the questions and issues others have had.  I think I’ve got it figured out… (she says with a very small voice full of fear)…  and I’m going to try again this afternoon!  If you don’t hear from me for a few weeks,  I’ll be curled up in the fetal position under my sewing table rocking back and forth while the Serger sits on top of the table gloating!IMAG0226

Getting ready for Christmas (or, sewing like a mad woman!)

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I got my JoAnn’s coupons in the mail on Friday, sat and made my list of who is getting what,  then headed out the door!

$127.00 later (that was after 50% off, a 40% off, and a $50.00 off coupon!)  Came home and pre-washed all the flannels and cottons and got busy cutting, clipping, sewing, and watching football.   (I really had no choice on the football watching thing,  the sewing room is in the family room, so I am stuck with whatever is on, unless I’m home alone). I will post the pajama fabrics and other gifts as I get them done.  Luckily none of my family reads this blog, so they won’t get a peek at what I’m making.

IMAG0212 I made some rice filled neck warmers (I’ve always got a sore neck and shoulders at the end of the day and I LOVE mine)  Just fill the pockets with rice, sew them closed and pop in the microwave for one minute,  instant heating pad.  Pro:  quick to make and no pattern necessary.  Con:  rice goes everywhere!  Oh… and the machine needle doesn’t like trying to go through uncooked rice!  I found if you put pins up against the rice that is in the bag and sew next to the pins without removing them it is much easier to control the rice while sewing!

I also got five bags made, but one has mysteriously disappeared!  I know a little 11 year old who was looking for a bag to put her “hair things” in for cheerleading the other night. She is also a huge Raiders fan… Hmmmmm   IMAG0214

I watched Sewing with Nancy the other day and her guest did a very interesting zipper inset that makes assembling these bags so much easier!   She sews the zipper to two pieces of fabric the same length as the bag, then attached the fabric sides to the bag opening.  It gives the bag more structure, AND is much easier to attach the zipper!  I’m having so much fun matching up the bag outsides with the insides. Going through my scraps box and finding so many fun fabrics!

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Next are the mens bags,  I want to do the monogram embroidery on them and make nice shaving bags.  For the girls, I bought lots of fun silky fabrics to make Infinity scarves.  My sewing table only holds one machine at a time, so the embroidery, serging, and sewing machines can’t all be set up at once.

Oh… my head is swimming with all the things I want to make… and my cutting table is drowning with all the piles on it!   I had to clean it up last night after I lost a zipper.  I folded, stacked, swept, and organized EVERYTHING in my little nook,  still no zipper!  Really?  I really can’t imagine what my granddaughter would do with a 7″ Orange zipper… but you never know!

Finished another baby quilt

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My Grand Nephew was born on July 1st this year.  It’s sooo close to the 4th of July, which would have been a perfect date for his birthday!  His mommy and daddy met, fell in love, and married while in the US Army.

Used a rail fence pattern.  Simple and sweet.

Used a rail fence pattern. Simple and sweet.

He is the happiest, chunkiest, and most adorable baby!  I started this quilt for him just before he was born.  Then came summer vacation,  and cheer season, and halloween… and finally, four months later, I finished it.   I made my own binding and it was such a breeze putting it on.

His mommy and daddy did his room in “sports” theme.  Since I’m such a baseball lover, I went with the baseballs.

I embroidered his name and date of birth onto the top corner, but forgot to sign it on the back.  Oh well,  his mommy and daddy will tell him if he ever wants to know.  Deans quilt 1

My lovely but very unkepmt granddaughter held it up for me to photograph.  She had her hair all tied up on top of her head. You can see her feet and her hair in some of the photos.  She made me promise not to identify her on FB if I posted it! Deans quilt 3 The backing fabric was so much fun!  It is the US Army logo.  I know it doesn’t match the front perfectly, but because they met in the army I had to back it with this fabric!   . Deans quilt

The day after

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We had an incredible party Saturday for my daughters’ 30th birthday!  I was so pleased with the turnout.  Family and friends all showed up for what turned out to be a fun filled day of eating, drinking, music playing, dancing, and all around good times.  I was soo busy, I wasn’t able to take pictures.  I started two days before the party getting ready.   Cleaning, setting up the patio, cooking, and shopping.  girls together

Seating was something we were concerned with.  I estimated around 40 guests, and we only had four “acceptable” chairs on the patio.  I found six of the old plastic stacking ones in the garage.  They were very ugly.    Also,  last year I found a really great iron bench.  Much larger than the standard “front porch” bench.. it was a full sized couch length.  I have been meaning to buy a piece of foam and some cushions for the back, but it never came to the front burner.  Some craftiness was in order!  After a trip to JoAnns fabrics, it was time to get started.  I upcycled some old curtains from the garage and an old bedspread a friend gave to me.  The bench and chairs were now respectable looking enough to come to the party.  couch

The next issue was table space!  I could put a few folding tables out for food and things, but we needed cocktail tables near the newly cutified chairs and bench.  I rescued an old milk crate and a few buckets from the shed, flipped them upside down and covered them with plastic table cloths.  (matching the ones I put on the folding tables).  Voila,  drink tables!   (you can almost see one of the buckets next to this photo of the bench)….

The first visitors started arriving around 2pm. Her Great Aunt and cousins who were visiting from Mexico coming by to visit. It was so nice to see them.  Her Great Aunt looks remarkably like her grandmother, whom we lost a few years ago.  Somehow, it’s like hugging grandma when you see her sister that looks so much like her!  I was forced to practice my Spanish, which I haven’t used in a few years.  I did o.k.

Later the other grandma and aunts started coming by,  then the cousins, and the alcohol and music started.  Lots of BBQing, food, music, and laughter.  Memories were shared, new friends were made, and old ones reunited.  cousins(this photo is my two daughters and two of my many nieces)

As the sun started setting and the older visitors left, the music got louder and the group got drunker. (I know it’s supposed to be “more drunk”, but it doesn’t flow as well).  Her dad got out his guitar and we sang some old favorites.  We moved the tables aside and the dance floor was created!  I had put lights up in the trees and the patio cover, so it was a perfect nighttime garden party.  The first dance was with her dad,  then others filled the floor.

After all the sober guests had gone home, and the intoxicated ones were put to bed in air mattresses and guest beds,  I started the clean up.  All morning long on Sunday I cleaned up!  Finally, it was time for a well deserved nap.

That bench on the patio was the perfect place to spend my Sunday afternoon!  The puppy and I curled up for a nice nap under the orange tree.  chewy

Pumpkin Painting

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My daughter came to me with a photo she found on Pinterest.

This is how many of our adventures start…  She asked if I thought we could do this.  That’s like daring a 10 year old boy to jump off the swings!   Of COURSE we can do it!  black pumpkin

We headed off to Michaels Arts and crafts and promptly spent over $80.00 !   Oh boy… these better be re-usable 🙂

We laid out the newspaper, got out the paints, cups of water, paper towels and foam pumpkins. (I guess that’s what they’re made of.. they are those hollow ones you can buy at the craft stores)  Oh… and glitter,  lots and lots of glitter!painted

My daughter, granddaughter and I got to work.  Squirting, tapping, sprinkling, painting, wiping off, giggling and ooohhhing and aaaahhhing…  When we were done,  here is what we were left with: glitter

So much fun!