Pinwheel Shortcut Tutorial – Using Charm Packs

For this, you’ll use 5″ precut squares.  The print I used is a Riley Blake flutter pack and the white is Moda.  Here is a great source for charm packs.  I will be using a jelly roll for the fabric between the squares.

Click here, to see the images for this post in an imgur gallery.

1 Line up fabric

I’m not a fan of the quarter inch foot, so I choose to measure and adjust the needle position to where I want it.  I also use a post it to guide the 1/4″ mark in front of the needle.  This helps me to turn the corner at the right time.

2-1 measure needle

2-3 sew edge

2-5 sew edge

You’ll sew all the way around the outside of the square, with right sides facing each other.  Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

2-6 check square

Cut the sewn squares on the two diagonals.

3-1 cut diagonal

Be sure to cut directly corner to corner of the square.

3-2 cut diagonal

Here’s a set with the cutting complete.

3-4 cxheck diagonal

It’s remarkably easy to mess the cutting step up, so be careful.  Take your time.

9-2 error

Take each triangle and iron open, iron the seam allowance toward the print or darker fabric.  A wooden iron can speed this process and save you from lots of getting up and down.

4-1 open squares

Finish all four.

4-2 open squares

If you plan to put this away and pick it up later, be sure to group corresponding pieces together.  Keep the sets of four organized.  They might not fit together if you mix them up.  These Wonder Clips are great for long term storage, where a needle would stretch and distort the fabric over time.

4-3 store squares

When you are ready to make your square, set out your pieces in the order you want them to be sewn together.  I suggest drawing a template or making a practice square so they all match in the end.  In my example, I forgot to do this.

9-1 error

When you sew them together, you will want to nestle the seam allowance together and make them fit together with the right sides facing each other.  Sew the top two as a pair, then sew the bottom two.

When you pull up a corner, you should see a straight line.

5-1 open squares

What to do:5-2 line up and sew

What not to do:5-3 line up and sew

Iron the seam allowance toward the dark side.

5-4 iron check rectangles

Once both rectangles are sewn and ironed, you’re ready to put the square together.  You’ll see where the seam allowance will be on the bottom of the top rectangle and the top of the bottom rectangle.

5-5 check rectangles

You’ll use the nestle method again to put the rectangles together.  You want to make sure that all of the lines are lined up, so that the points will meet in the center of the square and the lines will be straight.  This is more easily demonstrated than explained.

I like to pin the bottom two corners in place.  When you sew the rectangles together, watch where the point is.  If you’ve lined everything up, you can sew right next to the point and when you open it, the points will line up.

6-1 line up and sew

Check out the front and make sure you like what you see, if you need to seam rip, do it now.  The back of the square will look somewhat like this.  Keep in mind, iron the seam allowance to the darker fabric or the print in this case.

7-1 open and iron

when you open the seam it will make a mini-pinwheel in the center.  Iron this down first, then press the seam allowance down in the right directions with your fingers.  turn the square over and press with a hot iron.

pinwheel6

Here’s what the center should look like.

7-2 open and iron

And, here’s my work in progress shot…  It’s a big improvement from two days ago!

10 work in progress

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Update!

So sorry guys, I’ve flaked out on this blog for a while.  I’ve had a lot going on in my personal life and blogging didn’t seem as important.  I have been working on some fun stuff lately.  I made a surprise gift for my bro and sister in law.  I can’t wait to give it to them when they come visit.  Then, I can share it with you.  (I’m not sure, but I think family might be the only people that read this). 🙂  I have another couple things in mind to make.

In the mean time, I adopted a dog.

Image

Said dog has destroyed more than a few things, while still being cute and sweet.  I think I love her.

I have an awesome patio now, just in time for 1000 degree weather.  🙂  I’ll have to have a separate post to show the whole process.Image

I also had eye surgery, but I don’t think you want to see those pictures.  🙂

Well, here’s a before:

In the mean time, I’ve bought a fancy shmancy new serger and a used embroidery machine.

Think of a serger that threads itself, switched to rolled hem without any tools and does a cover stitch, and countless things I also don’t know how to do yet and you have my Baby Lock Evolution.  I made the gift for Caleb and Thalia pretty much completely with it.

The embroidery machine, which is all packed up and ready to go for its checkup (two weeks is too long, what will I do?) is the Brother Innovis 4000D.  I think I’m really going to like it.  Also, I got a LOT of thread for a great deal and made a new friend from Craigslist.  I have so much to learn!

I’m excited about things to come and what these new tools will mean for my little business.

I finally posted some ready to ship items of etsy, let me know if there’s anything you like!  The prices just might be negotiable.

I will be more present in the future.  🙂

Joanna

My Craft Room (in all its glory)!

This project has been years in the making and in recent past, months in the making.  I’ve always wanted a space that it easy to use and maintain where everything has a place.  Not much to ask, right?  Well, my dad is awesome and it’s done!
Before:
Craft Room Before

First, I emptied out the entire room, which was FULL to the gills.  I ended up with piles of stuff all over the house and a giant horde in my guest room.
Don’t judge me please!
MESS

Then we did some measuring and all that good stuff and dad got to work.  I was outside building a lean to for my mower.  I wasn’t much help to him on this project. 
Craft Room Before
desk building

Then, once it was built it became my huge project.  I had to do the wood putty/caulk/sanding/painting.
desk building
Caulk is trickier to use than you’d think.
desk building

I first painted it with wall paint, then I thought that’s probably not going to last very well, so then I put a couple of extra coats of Porch and Deck paint on it.  Then I learned that you can’t use polyurethane on white paint.  Or on latex paint.  It was yellow and made the paint bubble in places.  Very disappointing.  I was hoping for something with a harder finish, because paint gets scuffed so easily.  I never did find a great solution, so I painted over the topcoat I used and I’m left with a scuffed desk.  Oh well.
Desk Finishing

Also, he broke his cardinal rule and built me drawers! They are great!
Desk Finishing

Once it was painted and deemed finished, then I realized how icky and dark the closet was, so I emptied it out too and painted it white.
Closet paint
Closet paint

Then I spray painted my dresser for this room blue.  Valspar has some awesome colors, thought I wasn’t entirely impressed with the quality of the paint/sprayer.  It’s finished nonetheless, and I LOVE the color. I’ll post some tips for painting this dresser next time! Tape and trash bags is a good hint of what I’ll have to share.
Dresser Before
Craft Room After

Then my mom came over and helped me get my house back in order.  We got the room all clean and beautiful.  I am donating a bunch of stuff and I threw away so much stuff.

Ta-da!

Craft Room After
Craft Room After
Craft Room After
Love the storage for my buttons!
Craft Room After

Oh, and here’s the guest room to prove I really cleaned! 🙂
Clean Room After

Seven Essential Sewing Skills, from Sew, Mama, Sew!

I am planning on leaving Pinterest.  I read their Terms and Conditions and I found I am not comfortable with them and the potential lawsuits they could cause.  So instead, I’ll be blogging more!  This post from Sew, Mama, Sew! is awesome!  There are a lot of tricks I’d like to have up my sleeve or improve on what I can already do.  For her comments, please go to:  Seven Essential Sewing Skills  I have also included the links she posted.  Next up, is my craft room remodel.  hopefully it will be pretty much done tonight!  It seems like it’s been forever!  I can’t wait to share!

1. Prewashing your fabric
Pre-Washing Your FabricThe PrewashPreshrinking Fabrics: Methods and Mishaps

2. Taking Your Measurements – I’m going to read this one particularly, because my top half is much smaller than my bottom half and I almost need to wear petites.  AKA… Patterns never work for me.
How to Take Measurements
Measuring and Choosing your Size

3.  Pressing your fabric
The Art of PressingPressing FabricPressing Tools

4. Seam Finishing
Seam Finishes Simplified
How to Sew a French SeamSeam Finishes: Turned and StitchedSeam Finished: Bound Edges

5. Sewing Zippers – another great resource for this is How to Sew a Zipper Pocket from Makebabystuff.com
Guide to ZippersInstalling a ZipperInstalling an Invisible ZipperInserting an Invisible ZipSewing a Vintage-Style Lapped ZipInserting a Hand-Picked Zipper

6. Buttons and Buttonholes
How to Make a ButtonholeHow to Make Hand Worked ButtonholesBound Buttonholes: My Favourite MethodHow To Sew On A ButtonHow to Make a Buttonhole on a Baby Lock, Bernina, Brother, Janome, Pfaff or Viking + a Bartack Buttonhole

7. Hemming
Tips + Techniques for HemsSerging a Rolled HemHemming with Seam BindingLace-Trimmed Lining: A Pretty TouchHemming a Skirt

Knit Look Ribbed Hat

I am terrible at knitting.  I love the look of knitted things though.  So what’s a girl to do?  Find a new pattern and give it a try.  I tried Knit-Look Ribbed Hat by Amy Depew. I was a little worried about trying it and one of the rows was super tricky for me.  Normally I can zone out and follow a pattern.  Row 3 of this pattern had me tearing out stitches 3 or 4 times.  I finally drew a diagram that helped.  🙂  I am super happy with the results!  Here it is!  And now it is off the a Breast Cancer Treatment Center in honor of Kayla at Fussy Gussy‘s mom.  So glad she is cancer free!  If you ever want to donate a hat to breast cancer fighters, contact Kayla!

Knit Look Ribbed Hat

Homemade Laundry Soap!

Every time I need to buy laundry soap, I just cringe! Tide is so expensive, yesterday I checked and it was $14 for 52 loads. So, I have several friends that are making their own, but I’ve never gotten recipes from them. I found a recipe that sounded good on Pinterest. The White Silk Purse Laundry Soap
I decided to try it out.  I had never heard of Fels Naptha, but apparently it is very easy to find.  The Washing Soda, Borax, and Fels Naptha were all on the top shelf in a row at Reasor’s.  Here’s the recipe if you don’t want to link back to it.  I followed her instructions, but took pictures as I went.  I am a visual person, so instructions without pictures worry me a bit.  🙂  Here you go.  (Text is from White Silk Purse, pictures from Sew Lucky)

White Silk Purse Laundry Soap
~ makes 4 quarts {one gallon} of concentrate ~
~  that’s 256 loads of laundry! ~
Homemade-Laundry-Soap-(3)
2 bars Fels Naptha
2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
6 cups of hot water (+ more water as needed)

Homemade-Laundry-Soap-(4)

Put 6 cups of water on to heat. It will almost boil by the time you are done.  While the water is heating, grate the Fels Naptha.  I cut the bars in half the long way and run them through my food processor with the grater attachment, but it could be grated by hand. Add the soap to the water that is heating, and stir frequently.  This part takes 10 – 15 minutes.  Keep stirring until the soap is completely melted. Don’t let this boil or you’ll have soap all over the place. (Don’t ask!)
When the soap has melted turn off the heat and add the Borax and the Washing Soda. (Do not confuse Washing Soda with baking soda.  They are NOT the same.  Washing Soda is in the laundry aisle.) Stir and stir and stir. You will stir for about three minutes.  The powders will dissolve into the liquid.

Homemade-Laundry-Soap-(5)

Pour the liquid equally into 4 quart jars. Now, add just enough water to bring the contents up to the “shoulders” of the jar.  This will leave about 1 ½ inches of headspace.  Put lids on the jars and let them sit overnight (about 8 hours).
The soap in the jars will separate while it is standing. This is OK. There will be firm soap on top and kind of gel-like soap on the bottom. Sometimes “crystals” form at the bottom of the jar, don’t worry.

Homemade-Laundry-Soap-(7)

This next part is really quite fun.  Take one of the jars and cut up the firm soap.  I just stick a knife down into the jar and cut it up like a pie. Next, pour all of this into your blender of mixing bowl I have a BOSCH. Now, because I am frugal I pour about 3 tablespoons of water into the quart jar and swish it around to get all the rest of the soap out.  If there are crystals, I use HOT water and stir a bit. I add this to the blender too.
 Start on the lowest speed of your blender or mixer and increase  the speed gradually.  Your result will be something that looks like really thick, pale yellow whipped cream. You may need to scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times to get it all the way blended/mixed. It’s like creaming the butter, sugar and eggs when you make cookies. (I can blend/mix two jars at a time in my Bosch bowl.)

Homemade-Laundry-Soap-(1)

Pour/spoon the now blended soap back into the quart jar(s).  Your jar(s) will be all the way full now and you may even have a little more for another jar. Pop a lid onto the jar(s) and your soap will keep indefinitely. It gets a little firmer in the jar when it sits, but it stays spoonable.
Just a few notes: The following makes 12 quart jars of laundry soap–
•  6 bars of Fels Naptha (.99 each), 1 box of 20 Mule Team Borax ($4.15), and 1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda ($2.79) {then there was a little tax – .86 cents}
• I made 12 quarts of concentrate for $13.74.  That means it costs 1.7cents per load J. That also nearly uses up the above ingredients. (Sometimes I find the products on sale for even less, then I buy more!)
• I had a little Borax left over… It’s good for lots of stuff. Read the box.
• 12 quarts of soap would do just over 14 loads of wash a week for a year!
• I thought I’d need about 18 quarts for a year’s supply at my house.  
• The supplies for the soap are easy to store.  I don’t feel compelled to make it all at once. • I use a Bounce Bar in my dryer.  I think it is the best anti-static and smell good invention of all time.
Dry Laundry Soap Recipe

June, 2011 — I’ve tried the recipe dry this summer and have been happy with the result; especially happy that it only takes about 5 minutes to make and then does the job just as well.  Here is the recipe: Grate two bars of Fels Naptha, then run the blade in your food processor that turns it into “powder.”  It won’t be quite as fine as real powdered soap, but very close.  Then add two cups of Borax and two cups of washing soda.  It only take TWO TEASPOONS to do a large load.  I have a soup spoon that holds two teaspoons that I use to measure. — The hardest part is thinking that two teaspoons will do the job, but it does! — I do keep a jar of the paste kind on hand to rub into tough stains.  I live in a farming area and have a friend who says it even gets ground in cow plop out of her husbands jeans (apparently that is her toughest stain to conquer).