Friday, May 30, 2008

Blessings Friday: Tunes 4 the Troops

My sister Connie, my niece Shauna, and I are collecting CDs and DVDs to send to deployed soldiers overseas.

We learned about the Tunes 4 the Troops program via CNN news last week.

Kaylee Marie Radzyminski organized this effort—and she’s only 16 years old. I’m very impressed by her generous service to others.

If you’d like to help, you can find more information here. They provide a list of collection points, but you can mail your offerings to their address as follows:

Tunes 4 the Troops
P.O. Box 2008

Cleveland, TN 37320

Speaking of the troops, I forgot to share the cupcakes we made for our neighbors for Memorial Day. Each family received a blue plate of white cupcakes flecked inside with red and blue candy bits mixed in the batter as well as sprinkled on top of the white frosting.

The cupcake papers are festooned with red and blue stars and fun “fireworks” picks finished the presentation.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rick-Rack Houses Apron

Apronista members are stitching away on the group’s first apron swap as the deadline is the end of the month. We’re to incorporate rick-rack into our project. My project is done and ready for its new owner. I’ve emailed a request for her mailing address but haven’t heard back yet—maybe she’s enjoying a lovely vacation.

I used Amy Butler’s pleated apron pattern from her book In Stitches. There is a pocket as well as a towel-loop. I bought a nice red dish towel for her to hang through the loop.

The fabric is fun (found at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics). The eaves on the little houses are scalloped and echo the rick-rack theme. Because of the busy print design, I used rick-rack only along the waistband and the pocket trim edgings.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pamper Your Toes

It’s time to pamper our toes for wearing sandals, going barefoot, or just for the pure bliss of it. Marmalade Kiss has an easy tutorial for making toe separators. They’re so cute that I had to make some, too.

You don’t need much fabric. I used bits of another one of my Japanese-print fabrics and made quite a number of these little cuties. They make great gifts.

I figured cardstock printed with a foot and then cut out would be a fun way to present little gifts. My idea was to wind the separators around each toe, much as we would in using them for a pedicure, but they kept falling off. In the end, I merely tied them around the card.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Amy Butler Birdie Sling

When ordering Amy Butler’s laptop and iPOD pattern, I also ordered her new Birdie Sling pattern and gave it a try. For once I didn’t say any bad words when making one of Amy’s projects. There wasn’t any Timtex to fight and everything was pretty straightforward.

This bag is huge and will probably be the one I use most all summer.

These are the fabrics I used.

I noticed that Amy’s new patterns do not call for Timtex and thought maybe she decided against using it as the air turns blue for those working with her patterns—a bio-hazard, I’m sure. But no, the real reason is because Timtex is no longer being made. So, for those of us with a lot of Amy Butler patterns in our stash, there’s an excellent review about potential substitutions to consider on the Craft Apple blog.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Today we honor those men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives for America.

Source: U.S. Army

On Memorial Day, a U.S. flag is placed on each grave at Arlington National Cemetery in remembrance. Dad and Mom are buried there as well as my husband’s father. Flags also grace their graves.

I also honor and thank those women and men currently serving the U.S. military and their families who worry about them.

This is a day of respect.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blessings Friday: Memorial Weekend

Every year on the Sunday night before Memorial Day, we take a picnic dinner to Reid Park to hear the Tucson Symphony Orchestra concert honoring this special holiday.

For this year’s picnic, I made a quilt large enough for four people to sit on. I used an already pieced red, white, and blue patchwork fabric for the top. A plain navy quilted fabric worked for the backing. I bound the edges with red and tied the center of each navy patchwork square with red embroidery floss. Nothing hard, just nice and easy—my version of a patriotic picnic blanket.

Naturally, we need patriotic napkins, too. I made four and edged them in red binding. There’s enough fabric left that I’ll probably make more napkins for future use.

I made two flower arrangements for Memorial Day, one for each side of the front of our garage.

Memorial Day is about remembering and honoring those U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. I am humbled by their sacrifice. There is a certain point in the concert program where you stand as representative for each branch of the military in which you or a family member has served. My husband and I can stand for each one of the different military branches.

We remember and are grateful.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sewing Machine Mat

Using terry-cloth hand towels under my sewing machine has become tiresome, especially since the fabric catches little snippets of thread and makes a mess. I whipped up a simple sewing machine mat to resolve this.

One corner is flipped over so you can see the flannel lining/backing. Some non-slip rubber shelf-liner material underneath the mat keeps the whole thing from sliding around.

I just measured out a rectangular piece and got busy sewing. A quick Google search last night yielded a couple of free projects.


  • Sewing Machine Mat Tutorial at Carina’s Craftblog
  • Sewing Machine Pad with Pockets Tutorial at With Heart and Hands

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recycled Ironing Board Cover: Buffet Hot Pad Tutorial

Many of us have made or are making our own ironing board covers. Want to recycle your old one? I used mine over the weekend to make a giant buffet hot pad for our annual summer pool party. I run out of pads to put under the hot dishes people bring for the party.

The fabric is a summer-themed cotton, perfect for a pool party. It’s the same I used for my covered-button magnets project.

Buffet Hot Pad Tutorial

  1. Cut off the extraneous materials around your old ironing board cover, keeping the padding materials in the large middle section. You can always buy the insulated fabric used for ironing boards if you haven’t a spare cover.
  2. Cut out a 14-by-36-inch rectangle from the ironing board padding materials, set aside for now.
  3. Cut two 15-by 37-inch pieces from your choice of fabric.
  4. Place right sides of the front and back together and sew around the edges using a ½-inch seam allowance, leaving about an 8-inch or larger opening in the middle of one long side.
  5. Turn right-side out through the opening. Press.
  6. Now take the padding material you set aside in Step 2 and insert it into the new casing. Smooth out.
  7. Slip-stitch the opening closed.
I opted to tie sections of the mat with red embroidery floss so I can wash it when needed and not worry about the padding bunching up.

It would be fun to make buffet hot pads in more sophisticated or seasonal fabrics (e.g., Halloween or Christmas), too. I’ll probably do that later in the year.

If you prefer a PDF version of my tutorial, you can download it
here. Note: there’s a linkable list of my tutorials in the right-hand column of my blog.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Amy Butler Business Card Keeper

Yesterday afternoon, I received Amy Butler’s email announcement about her new Spring patterns which is funny since I posted about her iPOD project yesterday morning. Also in her email was a notice about a free pattern she’s offering for her Business Card Keeper.

I decided to give it a try.

I used leftover scraps of Amy Butler fabrics; you don’t need much for this project. I’ll have to remake it today as I sewed the little card pocket in the wrong place. That’s what I get for being distracted by the doorbell, phone, husband, and so on. Focus, June, focus!

Here’s the link to the free pattern for the Business Card Keeper which also gives you an opportunity to download her other free patterns.

Thank you, Amy Butler!

Monday, May 19, 2008

iPOD Case and Headphones Bag

Over the weekend, I tried one of Amy Butler’s Spring 2008 patterns to make a new iPOD case.

The fabrics are Jason Yenter’s Bohemian Manor Coral/Green Floral and Tonal Coral Circular Leaf.

Instead of the pleated pocket for the ear buds on the outside, I put one (non-pleated) on the inside. Ear buds irritate my ears, so I use headphones instead.

Should you decide to make an iPOD case, you’ll need to know which generation iPOD you have so as to choose the correct-size pattern pieces. I looked online and found that Apple provides a guide to help with this (see Resources below).

The black drawstring bag that came with my Bose headphones seemed boring after making the iPOD case, so I used leftover fabric to make a new drawstring bag. I didn’t use a pattern for this as I knew what I wanted.

Two grommets, a leather cord, and a Dritz 2-cord stop work for the drawstring segment. Flannel interfacing keeps the bag nice and soft. There’s enough room in the bag for both the headphones and iPOD case.


  • Amy Butler’s web site
  • Amy Butler Laptop Cover and MP3 Case pattern from My Shabby Chic Cottage Etsy
  • Identifying iPOD Models article

Friday, May 16, 2008

Blessings Friday: Lucky 13

Oh my, your comments about the Japanese Knot Bag have given me such joy. I’m still smiling. I plan to make one for myself and hope you try Helen’s tutorial, too.

To determine who wins the bag, I used Custom Random Number
Generator. The winning number is 13—isn’t that a twist on the old adage of it being unlucky? It’s the lucky number today for …

Congratulations, Diana! Please email me with your mailing address (email link in the sidebar of my blog).

I met Diana of Knit This Too
blog when she participated in the Junie Moon Bandage Brigade project to help leprosy patients in Africa and Viet Nam. She knits the most beautiful things and has such a good heart.

And because I want to thank all of you for visiting my blog, I’ve made a printable recipe card that you can save to your computer and print.

Thank you all so much and have a very blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Japanese Knot Bag

I just love tutorials, don’t you? They’re great for trying fun new projects and learning new skills. Helen at Show Your Workings blog has a tutorial for making a Japanese Knot Bag.

The bag only requires two fabric quarters. I chose two different versions of Bethany Reynolds Stack-N-Whack's "Ascot" by Blank Quilting.

The bag is reversible, a feature I like a lot.

And guess what? It’s for you—at least one of you anyway. Tomorrow morning when I get up, I’m going to draw a name from all the comments left on this particular post and let you know who gets the Japanese Knot Bag.

Why am I doing this? This is my 200th blog post. The Japanese Knot Bag is my little thank you for the encouragement, friendship, tolerance for my sense of humor, and inspiration with which you’ve blessed me during my nascent blog life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Summer Clothes Continued

This little cotton top was made using the same Simplicity pattern as used for the sundress (yesterday’s post).

I decided to embroider around the collar Sashiko style (well, my interpretation of it anyway) with black, light blue, and light khaki colors.

My Junie Moon logo works fine as labels which I print on fabric. Rounding the corners helps keep them from fraying and looks nice and neat to me.

The same Simplicity pattern offers pants and shorts options—my money was well spent on this pattern (and it was on sale). I made khaki-colored cotton Bermuda shorts yesterday to go with my top. We’re having really strange weather for Tucson, very cloudy with rain, so photographing the shorts outside won’t work. They’re just shorts and nothing fancy anyway, although I will say that I really like the non-binding waistband and using twill to reinforce it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Summer Clothes

I’ve been sewing a few summer clothes in between and betwixt my other projects. First, here are some strange but true secrets about me relative to clothing.

Source: Dover Publications (I think—dang, I can’t remember, but that’s the file in which I placed the graphic)

  • I don’t care squat about sewing clothing during winter when you actually need them to keep warm.
  • Pajamas are my daily attire. I have been known to ride thusly clad to the Dairy Queen with my husband (who is appropriately dressed) to get ice cream. My neighbors and friends (as well as Dairy Queen workers) are well aware of this habit of mine.
  • I do not sleep in pajamas; they’re just for cleaning house, surprise visitors, or ice cream runs.
  • In summer, I usually live in pareos (sarongs) that I wrap around myself in various ways, so much cooler.
  • I don’t like wearing clothes in general, makes me feel confined.
  • Do not EVER look over the fence around my backyard in the summer months! I can’t bear swimsuits either. All neighbors have been duly trained—and since I reward them with a constant barrage of food and they are essentially kind people, they comply.
  • I do wear a swimsuit in the pool if we have guests and therefore have a collection of these necessary items—no need to frighten folks so their eyeballs fall out and roll down the street, thus needlessly scaring neighborhood kids.
  • I like the “idea” of summer clothes.
  • If forced to wear clothes, my choices are generally very conservative and boring.
I do realize this is weird on a number of levels, but there you are. And here is one of the things I’ve made.

This sundress was made using Simplicity pattern 2975.

I decided to be brave and pick a wild print. Here’s a closer view of the collar section.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hostess Gifts

We are back from our weekend trip to attend a house party in the hills of Los Angeles. We gave two gifts to our hostess Patt.

This is a set of 15 cards featuring different photos my husband has taken of scenes in Arizona. I printed a description of each on the back and left the inside blank for her to use as greeting cards.

Part of the purpose of this weekend was a mini-reunion of some of my husband’s classmates from Balboa High School (class of 1966) in the Panama Canal Zone where their military or civilian service parents were posted. I scanned their alumni patch, printed it on fabric, and sewed it to a linen dish towel. Their school colors are red and white.

Occasions like this weekend help ground us as not many of us have a place we really can call home or have friends we’ve known before our senior year of high school. Reunions such as this provide us an anchor in our otherwise nomadic pasts.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Blessings Friday: Mother Nature’s Decorations

My husband and I are leaving in a few minutes to catch a flight to Los Angeles for the weekend. Before I leave, I want to share a few photos I took of Mother Nature’s decorations here in Tucson.

Prickly Pear cactus (Case Natural Resource Park)

Cholla cactus (Case Natural Resource Park)

Butterfly Iris (my backyard)

There are tiny fruit babies growing on mama plants in my backyard--what wonderful symbols to honor Mother’s Day.


Thompson Seedless Grapes

Have a very blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Summer Magnets

Summer is my favorite time and magnets to hold all our activity reminders are much needed.

There was some fabric in my stash with little pictures of summer activities which worked for my purpose. I used this tutorial and Dritz flat cover buttons, size 215-45.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Furnace Glass Vases

Connie and I spent Saturday afternoon trying out a new furnace glass project at Sonoran Glass Art Academy. We made two vases each.

Our mission was to try this adventure and see whether it would fit in with our annual Blow Your Own Ball

Although making vases turned out to be too time-intensive for our large group in November, Connie and I had a grand time. I picked up my vases yesterday and am so tickled with the results.

Photo by Dub Scroggin

I chose a classic shape with a twisted spiral for the first vase. Although you could choose a variety of different colors, I opted for green for both projects.

Photo by Dub Scroggin

My second vase was a simple cylindrical shape.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Aphrodite Affirmation

When I turned 50 some years back, I considered how to handle my own aging process. Be afraid of the changes transporting me to my end-time or embrace those changes and accept myself as is?

I decided creative self-acceptance would be the best thing and came up with an annual celebration to remind myself of this. No matter my appearance or age, as long as I do my best in this world, then I am a beautiful worthwhile woman.

Source: Section of "The Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli,: University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

This summer my friend Donna and her husband are joining us on our vacation. Donna and I plan to do the Aphrodite Affirmation by the lake which simply involves saying good things about ourselves, without any apologies. Aphrodite represents love and beauty—loving self-approval is our goal.

I made costumes for us over the weekend just for fun (Butterick 4572). My neighbor volunteered her daughter to model one of the costumes—I’ve cropped the photo to protect her privacy.

The cape buttons to one shoulder with a gold upholstery button. I used ribbon with a Greek key design for the trim detail and belt. We’ll wear a gold headband around our foreheads instead of on top of our heads. Gold flip-flops complete the outfit.

The costumes were enjoyable projects but are merely stage props. The real acceptance of self-worth originates inside us at our core.