Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spoiled.....check. Rotten.........check.

I've been sewing (and learning to sew) on a BEAST of a machine. A 13 year old Kenmore purchased at *shudder* Walmart....where I believe everything in the world will ultimately be purchased from. I imagine that one day soon they will be selling houses and cars and lungs..........Oy.

My machine is very good to me even though I have neglected it and haven't oiled it or serviced it ONCE in it's long and joyous life.

Sorry faithful little machine. Really. I mean it.

When I sew on the Kenmore a few things happen. The bobbin likes to get all tangled up and wreak havoc on my fabric. Often. The needle LOVES to become un-threaded (did I just make up another word???) The foot gets loose from all the vibration and falls down on my project in the middle of a perfectly straight stitch ruining the entire project. The noise of the machine is so loud that I can't hear a conversation in the same room. Oh....and don't even get me started on the numerous times the bobbin runs out of thread and forgets to notify me so I am happily stitching away on an especially looooong and difficult seam and I get to the end only to find out that not ONE stitch has made it onto my project.

Yep. LOVE when that happens.

Well folks.....it ain't happening no more!

See, I came home a few weeks ago and my husband had a silly look on his face.

I can always tell when he is up to something by that silly look he gets.

After a bit of prodding he let it spill that he had researched and ordered me a brand new machine. It would be here in 2 or 3 days.

At first I rejected the new machine and told him I didn't need it....it was an unnecessary expense......he needed to take it back.

But then he started to tell me about it. It has fancy features. It can embroider. It threads the needle for you. It TELLS YOU when the bobbin is running out!!!

Oh the JOY!!!!

I've been sewing with my new toy for a few weeks and I have to say....it really is fabulous. I don't miss putting spittle on the end of my thread and trying to get it in that teeny tiny little hole on the end of the needle. I don't miss the bobbin tangles. And I sure as heck don't miss the noise (this thing is sooooo quiet!)

I think I'm in love.


Friday, June 26, 2009

A new purse

Made myself a cute new purse.

That has to be the best part of this whole sewing addiction......I can just whip out a new purse or whatnot whenever I darned well feel like it (or whenever the kids darn well feel like leaving me alone for about an hour.)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Custom order: childrens bags and drawstring pouches

A woman at my work has 2 granddaughters (ages 3 and 5) who don't live very close to her (I believe they live in a different state...but I could have just made that up. Not sure.) Any-hoo...... whenever she visits them she likes to bring them something extra special just from her, and during her visit in July she is bringing them handmade purses, drawstring pouches, and magnets with their names on them! What a great surprise! She hand picked all the fabrics especially for each girl and will put other "treasures" inside the pouches before she gives it to them.

How cool is that??!!

I love doing these custom orders and seeing the way people respond to something that is handmade. It's just so much more meaningful than buying something for someone off the shelf. Not to mention truly original! Just think.....none of their other friends will have anything like these!

The purses I've made before so they were a breeze, but the drawstring pouches were a first for me. I think I made 3 prototypes before I got it just right. The first one had only one string going through it, and while it was adorable it just didn't stay closed all that well. The second one had 2 strings going through it and stayed closed like a champ, but it wasn't lined and had raw edges. ICK. I don't like raw edges. My 4 year old Jennifer got that cast-off. She doesn't seem to mind raw edges.

Hmmmm....to each his/her own.

Here are the finished products. I hope her granddaughters love them and use them well!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hungry for a tiny cupcake??

I needed a little travel pin cushion to take with me when I want to do quick little projects while I'm in a waiting room, at a birthday party, or watching the kids play outside.

And since I was going to make one I figured I might as well make a CUTE one!

I've seen tons of adorable little cupcake "things" around lately so I decided that a cupcake is what I needed. A tiny little cupcake pin cushion.


Except that I have never tried anything even remotely like it and it requires hand stitching skills. I haven't fully developed my hand stitching skills yet, so lets just say I'm thankful that this is staying home with me and not going to someone else as a gift!!!

How it goes together:

I started out by cutting the bottom of the cupcake in a small circle which will dictate how large the cupcake will be (I just used plain old felt which you can find at any craft store). Large circle makes large cupcake, small circle makes....well....I think you get it. I then cut a strip of brown felt and started to attach it to the bottom circle piece. That part was easy peasy.

Then for the top I cut the dark pink icing in a scalloped manner and hand stitched some sprinkes on top (or jimmies as they call them here in PA). That part was also easy peasy.

Then I cut the light pink felt in a circle about the size that I thought would fit nicely over the top of the brown felt. I guessed wrong. It was wayyyyyyy big, but by the time I figured that out I had already hand stitched it half way and I didn't want to start over again. I made a few pleats which at the end kinda looks like icing schmears....so I guess it worked out.

Leave a hole about an inch wide and stuff the heck out of it (I used poly-fil). Stitch your hole closed and your done!

WAA-LAA! Ca-ute little traveling pin cushion. And she's all mine.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Teacher gifts

The end of the school year is upon us and I can't believe that my little girl will be a second grader soon! Where oh where has the time gone........

This year I decided that I needed to get crafty and make the teachers some cute little gifts instead of buying the same old-same old. Here is what I came up with:

To start off I found some adorable little apple ribbon and made each teacher a key chain. I figured they could either use it for their keys or put the hall pass on it for the kids at school to use.

Then I came across this perfect apple fabric and made each one a tissue holder for their purses. Love these and have already made more for future gifts!

I found this tutorial online for coffe/tea cozy's at one of my favorite blogs, House on Hill Road, and decided they were the perfect addition to the teacher's gifts. Easy peasy and so fun to make!

Last but not least I took some fabric remnants and whipped up these seriously cute magnets. I'm addicted and have made TONS more for some ladies at work who requested them.

So there you have it, I hope the teachers enjoy them!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

&*$!@ minky dot

Newbies, we need to talk. I need you to pay very close attention to this post so I can save your sanity. It's too late for me....but maybe not for you.

Let's start at the beginning.

Remember in a previous post I mentioned all the baby bellies at work right now? Right. So I had the bright idea that I would make a baby blanket. Easy enough...right? I mean, how hard could it be to sew 4 straight lines? Not hard at all. Nope, not hard at all.......

I went shopping. I found the fabric I wanted to use for the front. Reminded me of a man's dress shirt, which I thought the "little man" could use well past his infant years and not be embarassed that there were baby duckies or giraffes on his blanket. Good thinking Andrea. Good thinking......

Then I shopped for what would be the back of the blanket. It needed to be totally soft and cuddly, and I found it! It's called minky dot and it was glorious. Upon first touch of this ultra soft fabric and I was hooked. What made it even better was the fact that it has all these *adorable* little dots all over it. Oh my. I bought 2 yards even though I only needed 1 for this project because I just KNEW I would need it to make another blanket. Yep, I just knew it.......

I went home, put the kids to bed, and got working on the blanket. In only a few minutes I had the front fabric and the batting cut to the right size and I started working on the minky. This should take 45 minutes TOPS. I was feeling all proud and accomplished. Yay me.

Hmmmmm. Why can't I get this soft and *glorious* minky fabric to cut straight? I fiddled and fiddled and tried every trick in the book to get it straight. Nope. Nothing was working. I thought "Well.....I'll just pin the HECK out of it before I cut it so that I know it's straight." Nope. That didn't work either. I started on one straight edge and just slowly worked my way around with hundreds of pins in place. When I got done it STILL wasn't a very good square, so I trimmed it a bit. And trimmed a bit more.....

Frustrated that this was taking so long (a good 45 minutes just to cut!) I decided to start sewing and trim the minky when I was done.

OK. Off to the sewing machine to whip this baby out.

I sewed three sides together and turned to the 4th side when I noticed something had gone terribly wrong.

Uh-oh. The dang minky STRETCHED. Yep. Stretched so much that if I would have continued sewing the 4th side it would have been completely bunched and gathered and would have looked horrible.


I tried to rip a few stitches out to see if I could fenagle it somehow but that wasn't working. I ended up ripping out 2 entire sides and cutting 4 inches off either side of the minky so that it wouldn't happen again. Except that it DID happen again. UGH.

Fast forward.

I finally get the dang thing all sewed up and looking half way decent. Yeah, there are a few tiny bunches but holy cow, they couldn't be helped! I was OK with the final product and was glad to be done. Here it is:

Except that in all the moving and pinning and cutting the top fabric had gotten all wrinkled. No problem, I'll iron it real quick and get to bed only half an hour late.

Any expert sewers out there already know what's coming.

I ironed one spot and turned it over and THE DOTS WERE GONE! The freakin' dots were freakin' gone.

I quickly googled "minky dots dissapeared" and found out that you CAN'T IRON MINKY DOTS BECAUSE THE DOTS GO AWAY. Forever. They go away FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't like to say this but in this case I think it's appropriate.

I HATE minky dot.

Minky dot is evil.

Straight from hell evil.

Minky dot is now dead to me.

After 3 hours of sewing a 45 minute blanket together I had in 10 seconds ruined the entire thing. I nearly broke out in tears and decided there was only one thing to do.

I spent the next hour ironing out the rest of the minky dots. Yep...they're gone forever and the blanket is now on it's way to Boston where it will live with it's new family and I will never have to see it again.

Here is what minky dots are supposed to look like:

Here is what mine looks like:

&*$!@ minky dot.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just stuff

As I've made painfully clear I am totally and completely addicted to this sewing thing. I want to do it every waking moment. I know others feel that way too.....right!!????

Just a quick post to share some little projects that I have been working on lately.

Some more key chains:

More *adorable* tissue holders:

Some covered buttons, yo-yo's, and hair clips:

A patchwork zippered pouch with matching yo-yo and covered button:

And some checkbook covers:

Hoping I get a little sewing time in today......


Monday, June 8, 2009

Custom order: bridal shower

One of my friends at work has a daughter who is getting married this year and her bridal shower is in just a few weeks. She asked me to make her a tote bag, zipper pouch, and matching tissue holder as one of her gifts. Since her daughter is going to a tropical island somewhere (lucky duck!) for her honeymoon she wanted it to have a "beachy" feel. Her plan is to put a beach towel, some sunscreen, some spending money, and some flip-flops inside of the bag. What a cute gift idea!!!!

For the tote I gave it a boxed bottom so that it would hold more and I put a large pocket inside. I also made the handles a bit longer since she will have a large towel hanging out of it.

The zippered pouch has a matching yo-yo and covered button on it. I am so loving covered buttons, they are just too fun and a perfect way to customize your project! The yo-yo's are easy to do, my 7 year old even made one all by herself.

Then there is the tissue holder. I really like the way it turned out, it is just so stinkin' cute!

I hope she likes her gifts!


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baby shower gifts

There seems to be an explosion of pregnant women at work these days and they all seem to be due right around the same time. I decided that handmade gifts are in order!!! We're having a baby shower on Thursday and mama is having a sweet little boy, so I made her a reversible bib and matching burp cloth. The back of the burp cloth is terry cloth which will absorb any and all spills that come it's way!

I even tried my hand at applique for the very first time and I think I'm in love.


For any newbies out there don't let the fancy word "applique" scare you. All it really means is cutting fabric into a shape and sewing it onto another fabric.

A tip: Using some sort of fabric bonding spray adhesive helps to keep your little shape in place while you sew so that you don't have to pin it. I purchased mine for a few dollars at JoAnn's and it's called Spray Adhesive (imagine that!) by Dritz. Yellow cap. Very handy. All you do is spray a little on the back of your shape, place it where you want it to go, then sew very close to the edge to keep it in place. You can also do a fancy stitch that covers the edges of your shape so that they don't fray in the wash, but I think it looks cool when the edges get a little worn. Shows that it is used and loved.

Another tip: Did you know that you can have your top thread be one color and the bottom be another!!!??? I didn't! I read it somewhere online and gave it a try on this project. You thread the needle with whatever color you want the top color to be, and put a bobbin in for whatever color you want the bottom color to be. I wanted the star pattern to show through on the backside of the bib so I made the bobbin color red and the top color white. I must remember this for future projects......


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome to FunSize Creations!

I created this blog to document the successes and more importantly, the complete failures of my entry into the world of sewing.

I am Andrea and I am a newbie. Nice to meet you.

I have owned a sewing machine for about 13 years and have only used it a handful of times. My poor machine mostly sat alone, in her box, in the basement all these years. I think the main reason for this is because it was just a pain in the neck to find it in the mess, dig it out of it's pile, set it up on the kitchen table, thread it (UGH), do the project, then have to turn around and put it away again.

Whew.....I'm a little winded just typing all of that.

It is also well known by many that I wasn't even able to insert the bobbin on my own.....I always had to ask my husband how to do it. Not knowing how to use my machine was bad moo-joo and I'm sure it caused many of the sewing failures I've had in my past.

All of this sadness recently ended when I dragged her out of the darkness and set her up in a space all her own in my little craft closet. She was happy and decided it would be OK to finally let me make a cute little bag. And cute it was!!!!

From there I was hooked.

I started sewing quite a bit at night after the kids went to bed and just couldn't stop.

That brings us here. I hope to help other newbies avoid some of the pitfalls of starting out in this cool hobby, while at the same time share some of my very own creations with the sewing world (as terrible or wonky as they may be).

Thanks for stopping by.......I'm off to play with my fabric!


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