Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monkeys, Masks, & Bags - Oh My!

Have you ever grown so accustomed to a storage holder that when it's time to replace it (for whatever reason) and you haven't had time to, you start feeling like pulling your hair out?  Tragic I know!  I've just experienced this "small" annoyance, and, unfortunately, it was all about a silly little grocery bag holder that I keep in my kitchen!  In fact, I had used my holder so much that the elastic openings were worn out at both ends and would no longer hold the bags.  Consequently the bags would end up on the floor.  And, silly as it may sound, I have developed this habit of keeping the plastic bags you get from the grocery store because I use them for various purposes around the house.  For example, I use them to line the small trash container under my kitchen sink; I use them for fruit rinds that I don't put through the garbage disposal; and I use them to wrap (cushion) cans and jars before placing them in the trash.  The list goes on and on.  Anyway to make matters worse, I don't want just ANY type of holder; it has to coordinate with my kitchen decor.  I know--how girlie or picky am I?  I've come to the realization-- PRETTY girlie and PRETTY picky!

A few years back, I was fortunate to have spotted one that happened to go with my decor.  My kitchen has an African Island theme so some items are easy to find and some are not so easy.  Well I figured my chances of finding something similar this time around would be a little slim--and certainly wasn't worth the store-to-store hunt--after all it's a holder for recycling grocery bags!  So you probably know what's next?  Yes, I decided to make one. 

Yesterday morning I took a look around the kitchen and thought:  no--no palm trees.  Besides, that was the motif on my old holder and I have a few trees in my kitchen already, such as the print on the wall.

Then I decided:  no--no monkeys.  I already have a few scattered here and there.

Then I thought-- how about a mask?  As of now, I only have one and it's hiding just above the frig, along with some earthenware.

So I made the decision and here's my holder!

Quite tribal looking wouldn't you say?  To maintain the shape of the mask even when I have a low supply of bags, I inserted an empty oatmeal container in which I had taken off the lid and cut off the bottom.  So now I am back to collecting bags for everyday use!  Hooray!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mug Rug Swap

I signed up to participate in a Mug Rug Swap through back in January.  Each participant was a assigned a partner to swap two mug rugs based on a design provided by the facilitator.  The deadline for mailing mug rugs to assigned partners is this month, mid-March.  I mailed out my mug rugs on Saturday, so I'm a little ahead of schedule-yeah!   The mug rugs have a bird theme and were designed by Amanda Weatherill from The Patchsmith.  (Check out her blog: for ideas and tutorials).  Anyway, here is what my partner will receive in the mail in the next few days.

The first entitled:  Two Owls 

 The second entitled:  Winter Birdhouse

While these were fun to make, I probably wouldn't have chosen these designs for myself.  I love nature and birds, particularly owls, but am more inclined to make things geared toward interior aesthetics, such as coffee pots and cups, teapots--that sort of thing.  I chose to participate, however, because I wanted to stretch beyond what I would normally do and connect with more quilters.  I do believe I've accomplished that, and I've now made another friend to share quilting and sewing ideas.  

If you've ever contemplated participating in a Swap - be it mug rugs, mini quilts, pincushions or whatever- yet haven't actually done so, it is a great way to connect with others while learning new skills or keeping your skills in tact.  Give it a try!

Have you participated in a Swap?  If so, what kind?  What was your experience?  Did you enjoy it or not and why? 

Now on to my next project.  I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pasta Bibs - Take 2!

As some of you know, a couple months ago, I made pasta bibs for a spaghetti dinner I hosted for Bunko Night at my house.  I received such positive reactions that I thought I would provide a tutorial.  By the way, my Bunko group is having our monthly get-together at another member's house tonight and I want to mention that from time to time we also do other social activities together as well as contribute to charities.  Tonight, in addition to playing Bunko, all of the members are bringing items for gift baskets we're making for an upcoming Parkinson's Foundation Fundraiser.  One of the baskets we're making is a Pasta Basket.  My contribution will be two pasta bibs and a few other items, so I'm also taking advantage of the time put into making these by sharing with you how I made them.  These bibs are a little more refined than the initial set of 12 I made.  My initial set was nice but due to time constraints, I didn't add the touches I would have liked, and another factor is I only had to make two of them this time.

Here is a picture of my latest version:

Now for the Tutorial!  Note:  Instructions are for making one bib - so duplicate actions when making two.  Fabric amounts listed below are for at least two bibs--dining for two that is.   Consider additional fabrics and supplies when making more.  

Supplies Needed:

- Large Cutting Mat

- Rotary Cutter - 45 mm

- small scissors

- seam ripper (just in case)

- 6" x 24" ruler

- Round the Corner Template by June Tailor or round dessert plate

- Fabric 1 - Bottom panel - 1 1/2 yds. of 44"/45" 100% cotton fabric - your color choice (I used gold  background Italian themed novelty print.)

- Fabric 2 - Top panel - 2/3 yd. 44"/45" 100% cotton fabric - your color choice (I used abstract plaid -   matching colors to bottom panel)

- 1 1/2 yds. Cotton lanyard - white or color of your choice

- 1 Sew-In Color Fast Fabric Sheet for InkJet Printers (I used June Tailor Brand - 8 1/2" x 11") 100% cotton and washable

- Image or graphic selected from your computer to go with pasta theme.  See example:


- Sewing machine (and serger if available but not necessary)

- iron and ironing board

- fabric safe marking pen

- See sewing supplies:

Instructions - (Note: sew fabric pieces using 3/8" seam allowance)

1) Using a cutting mat and a rotary cutter - cut the following fabric pieces:

 - 18 3/4" x width of fabric (44"/45" wide) for bottom panel-Fabric 1
 -   7 3/4" x width of fabric (44"/45" wide) for top panel-Fabric 2
 -   2" x width of fabric (44"/45" wide) strip for facing at top panel-Fabric 2
 -   1 1/2" yds. lanyard cut in half - (reserve other piece for a second bib)

2)  Take bottom panel and fold right sides together length-wise meeting raw edges.  Place Round the Corner Template (large side) or dessert plate at one end at raw edges and mark round edge.  Rotary cut around template or use scissors and follow marking if using plate to round edge.

3)  Open bottom panel and place top panel fabric and bottom panel fabric right sides together - sew together at opposite side of curved bottom panel.  Then either serge (using three threads), zigzag, or overcast seam to finish.

4)   At raw edge of top panel place markings approximately 5 to 6 1/2" in from both sides at top and place lanyard (which is now 18") in horseshoe fashion (curve toward you) and raw edges meeting top raw edge of  fabric -with each end at markings and secure.  Then place the 2" facing piece wrong side up on top.  (Layers should be:  top panel facing up, lanyard next, then facing wrong side up - all pinned and ready for stitching.  Now take layers over to the sewing machine and stitch all layers together.  Note:  back stitch 1 or 2 times over sections where lanyard was placed and continue stitching entire seam straight across - no need to back stitch at either end of seam at this point.

5)  Turn facing over to back of top panel and press.  Next top stitch front panel and facing (which is now behind front panel) in place.  Lanyard should be free and dangling.  Pick up bib by lanyard and determine its center position and cut with scissors at center point.  Knot both ends of lanyard - you now have ties for the bib.

6)  Print computer image onto Sew-In Fabric Sheet according to manufacturer's directions.  Fold bib in half  lengthwise and finger press to determine center position.  Cut label to 3" to 4" square or size appropriate   for image you've selected and place image label on top panel at center, center position and machine applique or hand applique in place.  (I did machine applique.)

7)  Now you're at the final stretch!   Three-thread serge or overcast stitch around the sides and bottom of entire bib.  Dot Fray Check at beginning and end of serged/overcast stitching.  (Final stitching around the perimeter will reinforce all previous stitching where no back stitching was required.)

Your bib(s) is/are ready to use during a wonderful pasta dinner!  Enjoy!!!


This bib is simple to make so don't let the length of the instructions make you think twice about making it.  I just wanted to be as clear and as detailed as possible.  Any feedback or comments regarding this tutorial are welcome.  Please post whether you choose to make the bib or not--I'd love to hear from you.