a pretty cool life.: April 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How cool is this?

Corey selected me to be one of her inspirational interviews!  Check it out for yourself here.

Strap cover tutorial

Here's the how-to for my banjo/guitar strap cover for SYTYC.

I used:

guitar strap (since I don't actually play an instrument, I bought mine here)
48" x 5.5" strip of fabric for inside of strap
multiple squares of fabric of varying lengths, each 5.5" wide
48" x 5.5" strip of fusible fleece or batting

::My measurements are based off my own strap.  Since this is a cover that should be able to slip on and off of your strap, double check the measurements of yours before you start!

::And if you're like me and don't actually play the guitar, you could always adjust the measurements and cover a camera strap or belt.

Start by piecing and sewing your patchwork squares together into a strip 5.5" x 48" long (as I said, adjust these measurements if you need to).  Press the seams flat.

Fuse fleece/batting to the wrong side of the patchwork strip.

For a quilted look, sew straight lines parallel to the edge of the patchwork strip.  Sew the first line 1/2" from the edge, and the rest 1/4" from the previous line of stitching. 

An easy way to make the 1/4" lines is to just line up your presser foot with the previous line and use it as a guide.

Hem all four short sides of your strips.

Pin your two strips, right sides together, on the long sides and sew.

Turn the strap right side out, press, and slip the strap inside. 

That's it!  Now you can rock in style.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Go rock that vote again!

The theme for week 2 of SYTYC is bathtime and it's time to vote.  Can you tell which project is mine??  Head on over now!

One other thing: please vote honestly and responsibly.  The contest is supposed to be fun! :)

Did you guess?

This was my "folksy" submission for SYTYC week #1...

and I won!!!  Can you believe it?

Tutorial coming soon...

This strap cover is for the girl who has to look cool when she's being all folksy and rockin' out on her banjo.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Freezer paper stencil tutorial

I've been up to my elbows in beanbags lately, and I've gotten a few questions about freezer stenciling on them.  I usually point people to this tutorial, and I've even talked about it here before. 

At any rate, here's a full tutorial of my own on how I freezer stencil.

I buy my freezer paper at WalMart.  Target and our grocery stores never seem to have any.

I also like Tulip matte fabric paint.  When it dries, it's not too stiff and only costs about a buck at Michael's.

I start by tracing my stencils onto the dull (not waxy) side of the freezer paper.  You can also trim it down into 8.5" x 11" sheets and feed it through your printer. 

I carefully trim each shape with an X-acto knife.  Be sure to set aside and save any inner pieces.

Then I iron, waxy side down, my freezer paper stencil to my fabric.  A few seconds is all it takes for it to adhere.

After my stencils are cool, I apply 2-3 THIN coats of fabric paint, allowing them to dry in between.  If the paper gets too wet with paint, it will start to release from the fabric and the paint will bleed outside of  the stencil.

Be sure to either iron another piece of freezer paper to the back of your fabric or paint on top of newspaper or cardboard so your paint doesn't bleed through and you end up with an 8 on your granite countertops. 

ps. A Mr. Clean magic eraser takes it right off!

When your final coat of paint has completely dried, carefully pull the paper away from your fabric.

Iron over your paint to set it, and you're done! 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Laptop case

I'm a lucky duck and got my Mother's Day gift early. 

Of course I wanted to pretty it up and make a case.

So to make the case, I followed the same directions I posted here, just adjusting the measurements to make it larger to accomodate my computer. 

This would have worked perfectly, had I taken the gigantic extended life battery into consideration. 


Another craft fail for the books.

So back to the drawing board. 

It's okay, I think I like the second fabric even better :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So You Think You're Crafty Week 1: Folksy

Somehow I forgot to post a reminder to vote yesterday.  Yikes.  Anywho, voting for this week's theme, folksy, is going on now.  Click here to cast your vote.

Can you guess which project is mine??

Monday, April 19, 2010


I got a lot of really great feedback last week when I posted the basic ruffle tutorial, so I thought I'd go over some other basics.  And today is really basic...

My sewing tools that I use every day:

These aren't in any order of importance, just the way I laid them out in the photo.

1.  Cutting mat.  This protects your table and makes cutting easier with a rotary cutter (#10).

2.  Iron.  Pressing seams flat is important for a nice, finished look.  (And I am a total starch addict...I love a crisp finish!)

3.  Pinking shears/pinking rotary blade.  If you don't serge or do any sort of overcast stitch, these will keep fabrics from unraveling.  The pinked edge also is a pretty detail on felt.

4.  Pins.  I'll admit I rarely pin anything, and when I do I sew right over them.  Don't tell my 7th grade Home Ec teacher!

5.  Hem guage.  Just adjust the ruler to the proper width, and seams and hems are easy to keep uniform.

6.  Chalk pencil.  I use this to mark fabric, and it comes off easily with a little bit of water.

7. Seam ripper.  Ah, my best friend!  It makes ripping out stitches easier, but be careful not to rip through your fabric. 

8.  Tweezers. When I'm done ripping out all kinds of stitches,picking them out with tweezers makes it faster.  They're also helpful if I need to pull something tiny out of my machine. 

9.  Detail scissors.  I use these when I'm cutting out appliques and trimming threads off finished projects.  They're itty bitty and super sharp, so tiny cutting is much easier.

10.  Rotary cutter.  This makes cutting fast and easy.  Instead of scissors, the pizza cutter-like tool cuts fabric in a snap.  Make sure to always use it on a cutting mat (#1), though, and not your dining room table.  Not that I would know...

11.  Tailor's chalk.  I use this when I'm working with a really light or sheer fabric and don't want to use a chalk pencil (#6) to mark it. 

12.  Fabric scissors.  These are super sharp and only for fabric.  Cutting paper will dull the blade...my husband and sons are not allowed to even look at them!

13.  Knitting needle.  I think I've mentioned it a million times in my tutorials...a knitting needle is perfect for pushing out turned corners.

14.  Quilter's ruler.  This helps to mark straight lines on fabric and makes cutting with a rotary cutter a breeze. 

Naturally, all of these are in addition to a sewing machine with thread, bobbin, and needles. :)

And if you haven't noticed, I've added a FAQ tab to the top of my page.  I'll continue to add sewing/crafty questions up there, so ask away!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

More onesies

I guess I've been on a onesie kick lately.  This time, they're for two little ladies joining our extended family.


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