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Your machine is your best friend, your companion on late night binges, and your go-to when you’re craving something new to wear or want to amp up a tired couch.

Ever feel that your machine is out to get you though? Maybe it’s needing you to just be KIND and give it a KISS, a Keep It Simple Strategy for daily maintenance. With a four little tips, you’ll be loving your machine once again!

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If there were such a thing as the Griswold Family Sewing Room, I’m certain this monstrosity would be there.

Yes, it’s a Velcro knot. And no, this will NOT be a tutorial on how to unknot it. I have no magic solution. There is none. You’ll have to fight this Leviathan on your own pardner. So cowgirl up.

No. This was an inspiration because once I conquered the beast, I was rewarded with all the loose threads on the floor embedded in the hook side. And it got me thinking…

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I am a quiet sleeper. My husband, on the other hand, slumbers like a tsunami, wave after wave rolling in wreaking havoc on my territory in spite of a king sized bed. He takes up 35% of it. Of course, then there are the dogs who take up the other 60% leaving me with a sparse 5%. I wish this were my family…

This isn’t my family, but it’s not too far fetched. Short sheets are the bane of my existence. They are also a nightly occurrence. I don’t understand how anyone can sleep that way. It’s like a mosquito in my ear. Maybe worse!

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Valentine’s Day French Baker’s Apron

Skill Level: Beginner (basic sewing skills required)

Approximate Cost: Under $30 depending on fabric selection

My family will concur that I am a messy cook, and a messy eater. When I sit down to enjoy a meal at the table, al fresco, dashboard diner, TV Takeout, or on the run, I know better than to go sans napkin. I’ve also been known to don a cooking apron or an old shirt replete with stains. 

No shame.

No apologies.

Most times it’s just a tea towel. I even keep one on hand across the arm of my easy chair in the family room. I think of it as an adult bib.

And yes, they make those. I’ve been tempted to buy one. Perhaps a blog for another day…

But to be honest, when I cook, I don’t wear an apron. I keep a tea towel over my shoulder as my dad did, but I don’t protect my clothes. I just know better than to cook in my nice shirt!

My kitchen aprons are old, dated, and in need of a purge. I’m always making stuff for others. So with Valentine’s Day approaching, I decided to create a new one just for me (I doubt my husband will wear this one…or maybe he will), something colorful, slightly whimsical but with an elegant twist. That way, when company comes over, I can look adorable in my outfit and still cook safely behind the shelter of my apron!

This apron project was a surprise to me when I finished it. I chose a longer, French baker’s style. I really love the complementary pattern and color contrast; and the idea of making something not just functional, but fashionable appealed to my practical side. While it’s not a low-sew project, it’s well within reach if you have some basic sewing skills and maybe an eye for design!

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Let’s face it. Your sewing machine is your best friend…when it’s working or sitting in the cabinet. But true to Murphy’s Law, the minute you want to finish or even start a project, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong.

Nine times out of ten, it’s just a simple thing. It’s unlikely you’ll experience a major shutdown (except me, of course, when I’m on a deadline…). While most of these time stealers are quick fixes, they can come with a hassle factor of 10+, enough to bring your progress to a grinding halt if you aren’t equipped with some basic know-how. Read the rest of this entry »

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed:

Sweater of your choice, large enough to fit desired stocking size

Optional – Low-temp hot glue if you choose no-sew

3 inch piece of coordinating ribbon for each stocking

Fray-stop clear nail polish (glue stick will also work)

Parchment or wax paper

I have a weakness for sweaters; like an Achilles Heel kind of weakness. I like anything sweaterish, and not just sweaters. I like blankets, hoodies, scarves, socks, mittens, pillows and yes, sweaters. Living in the Midwest, sweater weather is looked forward to after a hot summer. Even as Indian Summer prolongs the warm weather, we pull out our sweaters in anticipation of cooler days.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

During this blog, I will demonstrate how to make this lovely Christmas apron!

 

 

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Doo-Doo Bag How-To

Skill Level: Easy – minimal to no sewing

Materials Required

1 fat quarter (1/4 yd) lightweight fabric of your choice

12 inches elastic string or 1/8 inch elastic

1 empty toilet paper tube or paper towel tube cut to 3 inches

Low Temp Hot Glue and Glue Gun

1 small snap clip with swivel ring – lobster clip, lanyard clip, any type will do. You can even use a tiny carabiner.

4 inch piece of coordinating 1/4″ ribbon

Disposable animal waste bags or plastic grocery bags (See video below for how to fold)

You get up early and let Friend out. She does her duty so off you go for a walk. A block from home, she’s scoping out the parkway for a spot to squat. Now, you’re left holding the bag as the neighbors look on. Problem is, you don’t have any bags, so the duty remains, and the neighbors scowl as you walk on shaking your head shrugging silent apologies.

Really?

It’s inevitable. You’re going to need to do your civic duty with the dooty. Sure, you could buy a bag dispenser, but you know I’m going to show you a better way.

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From Sidewalk Showdown to Showstopper

Difficulty Level: Moderate (some sewing experience necessary)

Seam Nipper or straight edge razor

25 yards outdoor use cording (optional if you are unable to salvage welting from your cushions)

6 yards outdoor fabric

4 double fold outdoor cushions with old covering removed and cushions cleaned/sanitized (see Part 1)

24 5/8″ matching plain buttons of your choice

24 matching decorative buttons of your choice

4 yds. sew-on 1/2 ” Velcro (optional)

Leather sewing awl with waxed thread (optional)

Clear nail polish or Fray Stop (optional)


 

Welcome back!

I trust you had no difficulty cleaning those cushions up.  About that…

Funny story…I went to bring the last cushion in from the back porch, all sparkling white and ready to go. How should I delicately put this…

This is Taco.

Do not allow his sublime expression distract you.

He is a fiend.

And he has no shame.

Said cushion was replaced. End of story. I am NOT cleaning that.

So you’ve measured twice and ordered; and your amazing fabric from BFS has arrived! We’re ready to cut out those new covers.

Step one: Relax.

The first cut is the deepest. Baby, I know, the first cut is the deepest.

… Sorry

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Project: Outdoor Cushion Makeover Part 1 of 2
Difficulty Level: Moderate (Some basic sewing experience necessary)

You’ve seen them on the curb. You’ve probably got a set in your garage covered in bugs, grime, the lawn furniture. They’re serving no purpose and you’d trash them were it not for the pile on top and the spiders underneath.

I hear you. Toss them! Spend a couple hundred on a new set, right? Frankly, they’d be better used for the dog’s bed (of course, that’s not such a bad idea). 

Don’t ditch those cushions! I know, DIY can be a lot of work. But in the end, it’s worth it. Glove up and brave the spiders. You can do this and the payoff is going to be huge! You’re doing a good thing.

Trust me.

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