January 2008 Archives
January 31, 2008
Moniqa, the creative one, has made hearts in support of National Wear Red Day Give one to a friend. We used Donna Babylon's Here's My Heart PatternHeart disease is the #1 killer of women. One out of four women die from heart disease. Wear something red tomorrow- shirt, tie, dress, sweater, pin, etc.
Did you know that most heart attacks start slowly? Here are some signs of a heart attack:
- Discomfort in the chest
- Discomfort in other areas of the body. You may have pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This may occur along with chest pain
- You may experience nausea, lightheadedness, or breakout in a sweat.
If you experience these symptoms, call 911. If you cannot reach 911, have someone drive you to the emergency room for medical assistance. Drive yourself only if there is no other choice.
Go to the American Heart Association to learn all the information you need to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. The above information is from their website.
Keep healthy! Your family depends on you.
As you can see it is a little worse for wear. I stripped it to the bare frame. I measured the frame width and length and added 6 inches to those dimensions. I went to my stash and found some lovely fabric from the Freshcut collection by Heather Bailey. As you can see, I am working on reducing my stash.
Tools and Supplies:
- Staple remover
- Heavy duty staple gun
- Hot glue and hot gun (you may use Fabri-tac)
- Fabric cut to measure the dimensions of your board + 6 inches
- Low loft foam and batting
- Ribbon (I used 1" width)
- Small yo-yo maker
- Rectangle of stiff interfacing (this will cover the staples in the back of the frame)
- sawtooth hangers
I stripped it to the bare frame. I measured the frame width and length and added 6 inches to those dimensions. I positioned a layer of cotton batting over the existing foam and stapled it the frame. Staple the fabric to the center top back of the frame with a 3-inch overhang. Repeat the preceding step by stapling to the bottom frame back with 3-inch fabric overhang. Make sure the fabric is stretched tightly. Carefully staple all the fabric to the top and bottom frames working from the center of the frame. Repeat the same steps on the side frames. Create miter at the corner with remaining fabric. Fold to the back. Staple on the back, trimming any excess fabric. Cut ribbon pieces the length of the diagonal of the board plus enough to staple to the back of the frame. Begin by stretching the ribbon across the two diagonals. Staple the ribbons to back. The ribbons will intersect in the middle. Staple the intersection. Beginning at the center of the top frame to the center side frame, staple ribbon. Repeat step for the opposite side. Repeats steps from the bottom center frame to the sides. Staple ribbon to the intersections. This will create a diamond pattern. Instead of using covered buttons to cover the intersection staples, I created yo-yo's using the small yo-yo maker. I used Fabric-Tac to attach to the intersections. The last step is to cover the staples on the back. Glue the rectangle of stiff interfacing to the back to cover your staples. Attach the sawtooth hangers. You are finished! Appropriate fabrics are any Home Decor fabric such as Nigella twill or quilting fabric that are closely woven.
It is hard to believe this is the same board.
If you are not lucky enough to have "leftover" stuff from you adult children, I have the complete instructions for making a memo board from the HGTV website
Go create something beautiful!
January 29, 2008
As January draws to a close, it is time to organize. This is a prelude to Spring Cleaning.
There are two kinds of people in the world:
- The person who has everything in its proper place. (Their home looks like an operating room)
- The person who can't find anything when they look for it the first time. (Welcome to my house)
Of course, if it were not for these two kinds of people there would not be a market for organizing solutions.
One of the interesting things to do in January is to look at magazines for organizational tips. I selected three magazines at random-Country Living (January issue), Woman's Day (Feb. 1st issue) and Creative Home (Spring issue). I enjoyed all of the articles especially the "ABC's of Organizing" in Woman's Day.
Here are some general tips from the experts and personal thoughts from the Fabric Maverick:
- Start small. You will feel you have accomplished something when you are finished. You will feel encouraged to continue.
- Mark a date on your calendar for large projects such as cleaning a closet.
- Before you leave in the morning, spend 10 minutes putting things in their place.
- When you come home at night, spend another 10 minutes putting things in their proper place.
- Beware of the "Just for Now" syndrome. It is easy to walk through the door and place our things in the first convenient place. It usually stays there for several days.
- Do not try to organize more than one area at a time.
- Sort mail immediately. Throw out the junk mail.
This was the most useful tip- Create a staging area by the front door. It can be a crate or desk top. As you get ready in the morning, place those things that you will need for the day by the door. As you walk out, you will have everything ready to go.
This was the most unexpected tip- Create a rolodex or file with all your passwords for different websites. I forget my passwords daily. I would suggest placing this in a secure place.
The Fabric Maverick suffers from Creeping Clutter. I confess all my projects run together. As I was writing this article, I took a good look at my cutting table. It was not a pretty sight! Leftover Christmas projects were crowding Valentine projects. All these projects covered up my block of the month project. Where is the Easter project I was working on? No wonder that sometimes I feel the creativity draining away. It can be overwhelming! I am sure that sometimes you also feel this way. Take back your space!
- Remove all projects. I placed a basket next to my work area and put all the UFO's in the basket. Do not let the basket overflow. When it reaches the top, you must finish several projects before starting a new project.
- Work on only one project at a time. Put your tools up when you are finished.
- Keep your pattern with the project. You cannot finish the project if you have lost the pattern.
In my sewing room, I have a peg board where I hang all my rulers and cutting tools. I use shoe organizers to store my fat quarters by color. I have seen CD towers used for the same purpose. Larger pieces of fabric go into baskets in an old bookcase I am not using. I have another bookcase filled with quilting magazines, sewing books and baskets of thread. When I walk into this room, I feel relaxed and ready to sew.
I hope that one of these ideas will be a cure for your "Creeping Clutter".
January 24, 2008
The Fabric Maverick asked me to come up with some decorating ideas for a Super Bowl party while she prepared her menu. I did not know that she really meant she was having it catered by Chef Bubba. Being a co-operative person, I have done some research into decorating ideas for Super Bowl parties. Jeanne Benedict from Celebrations.com knows how to throw a party. She has decorated using her team colors and we helped. She created a tablecloth using a bright gold and blue fabric with to add lots of glitzz. Think about re-creating this in your own team colors. Fabric suggestions might be tissue lame, metallic knits or dupioni silk. You might consider creating a tablecloth out of green felt marked off with duct tape to simulate a football field. Create goal posts at each end of the table. Create a football centerpiece. We have some great football themed fabrics. Consider using them for napkins, table covers and pillow wraps. I have my eye on BC-749. I would fold the fabric around my pillows and pin it for temporary use. After the party, that fabric will go into my stash. This would make a great fabric for a memory quilt for the young or not-so-young athlete in your life. Jeanne also has some great game ideas to keep the party exciting. After all this, I hope the Fabric Maverick is inviting me to her party.
This is a two-for-the-price-of-one day. If you were wondering how to cut costs and still have a great looking wardrobe this year, Fabric.com can help. We have just received our first order of Hot Patterns. This pattern line has something for everyone. There are patterns for casual wear, a night on the town or the office. If you are planning a vacation, there are some great patterns for cruising and casual wear. I am looking forward to making the Denim Diva Flirty Skirt Suit . Many of the patterns are appropriate for all body types. Suggested fabrics are denims, twills, sateens, jersey knits and interlock knits. Now is the time to get started to complete that Spring wardrobe. Fabric.com is having a Super Bowl sale to help you cut costs further. Fill up your shopping cart and-- Go create something beautiful!
January 22, 2008
Nobody celebrates football like Southerners! We embrace football from High School teams to Professional Teams. As I was growing up every Friday evening was spent in the bleachers under stadium lighting cheering my team to victory. The New England Patriots have won the AFC division playoff for their chance in the Super Bowl. Who will be their opponent? Regardless of who their opponent will be, there is a party to be planned
. A Super Bowl party is a no-fuss, no dress-up, down-to-earth party. Good planning will let the hostess enjoy the party too. Begin your planning two weeks in advance. Review your timeline. Plan your menu first. Men will enjoy hearty, uncomplicated foods. Forget Quiche Lorraine- think finger foods, soups and bite-size desserts. The hostess does not need to prepare all of the food from scratch. Chicken wings can be purchased. Make your own chili. Enlist friends to bring desserts. Vegetable trays and dips are great appetizers. You might select regional foods that are representative of the winning teams.
The day before the party clean thoroughly. Start your decorating so that you will not be too tired to enjoy the party. Consider decorating in your favored team's colors. Now if the Atlanta Falcons had won, this would be my menu:
- Southern Champagne (Very Sweet Tea)
- Black-eye pea salsa
- Warm turnip green dip with pita chips
Sit down or stand up part:
- Brunswick Stew
- Pork Barbecue with Chef Bubba's secret red sauce
- White bread
- Baked Beans
- From the Garden Cole Slaw
- Fried Pies
- Banana Pudding
All of the Fabric Maverick's catering is by The Redneck Cafe. Chef Bubba has graciously consented to give me his Black-Eye Pea Salsa recipe:
1 can of black-eye peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 Tbs lime juice with a smidgen of lime zest
1 seed jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
Cilantro to taste
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients. Chill for several hours to blend flavors. Serve with pita chips or tortilla chips
See Victoria's decorating tips on Thursday. I think she has some secrets to share.
January 17, 2008
My husband was never romantic about Valentine's Day. When our daughter, Samantha, was born, he was totally lost to this little girl. When she was around 10 years old, he started singing "I Fall to Pieces" by Patsy Cline to her every Valentine's Day! To a preteen, this sounds like fingernails screeching on a blackboard. One year, he carefully created paper hearts and wrote a message on each of them. He cut them into large pieces and mailed her a valentine card with the pieces of his heart inside. She carefully pieced them together to find her Daddy's message. I have recreated that feeling in fabric.
- Fat quarter or less of valentine-related fabric
- Wonder Under or Misty Fuse (If using Misty Fuse, you will need to use parchment paper)
- Paper heart shapes (several sizes)
Instructions: Create a heart shape in any size on paper. If you are using Wonder Under, draw your heart shape on the paper backing. This is your pattern. Place pattern on wrong side of fabric and press with an iron. This will adhere the Wonder Under to the fabric. Following the shape of the heart, cut your hearts out. Do not remove the paper backing. Cut heart into 3 to 4 pieces. You may make several hearts following the same process. You may create your own valentine card or purchase one. Enclose the pieces of your heart. Mail to your loved one. When they open it, they may piece the hearts together. This will become an applique which can be ironed to a sweatshirt, a towel, t-shirt, pillowcase or napkins. Finish with a zigzag stitch if you wish. Let your imagination go wild!
Our next project is great for children. This is a 30-minute or less project. All of my children's projects are kid-tested. My tester is Jade Abercrombie. She is 6 years old and the granddaughter of my heart. As you can see, she has given this a thumbs-up rating!
- Empty containers that held powdered drinks (example: Crystal Light)
- Mod Podge or Spray Adhesive
- Foam brush if using Mod Podge
- Disposable gloves if using Spray Adhesive
- 3-4 - 5" fabric squares - I used a charm pack with a Valentine theme
- Optional - Valentine embellishments
The containers I used measured approximately 6" around and 6" tall. I spread old newspaper on my work surface. My assistant can be a little free with the glue-children love sticky stuff. Apply Mod Podge with a small foam brush to the back of the 5" fabric square. Position the fabric on the can. Carefully wrap it around the top of the can and smooth out any wrinkles. Apply the next 5" fabric square around the bottom edge of the can. This will create 2 small rectangles at the bottom and top pf the can. You may then cut the 3rd and 4th fabric squares into 2 pieces. Apply Mod Podge to the pieces and then layer the pieces to fill in the open areas. Fabric will overlap slightly. You will have some pieces left over if you used 4 charm squares. I used 4 charm squares because I felt it gave more pattern interest. My assistant and I cut fabric heart shapes and applied to the can. Let your cans dry for 24 hours.
You may also glue some embellishment to the top of the plastic lid. This is optional. Fill with candy or other treats for children or it makes a nice teacher's present. This is a great way to recycle containers.
For the person who has more time and wants to create something beauftiful, go to our Valentine Shop. We have two great patterns designed by Sandy Gervais from Moda. The Flirtations Cake Walk pattern would be easy to sew in a weekend using the Flirtations fat quarter set. The Flirtations Truffles Pillow/Table Mat pattern uses yo-yos. Yo-Yo's are hot this year! The Fabric Maverick told me that she is seeing them everywhere. Start now to have these sweet projects ready for Valentine's Day.
January 15, 2008
Quilting is like golf. It can give you a great deal of pleasure or you will be stomping on your blocks. Once the quilting bug has bitten you, you will become a fabric-holic.
To derive the most pleasure, you must learn 3 skills:
- Accurate measuring and cutting
- Sewing an accurate 1/4" seam
- Learn to press- not iron (Pressing is an up and down motion)
It sounds so easy! More books and articles have been written about these 3 skills than the Fabric Maverick can count.
For new quilters, the Fabric Maverick recommends taking a beginning quilting class at a local quilt store. Sometimes classes are not available at a convenient time. There are classes now available online for beginning to advanced quilters: University Quilting College. You can even teach yourself how to quilt. The Fabric Maverick, for the most part, is self-taught. When I first began to quilt, "The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts" by Lynette Jensen and "Quick and Easy Quiltmaking" from That Patchwork Place were great sources of inspiration. The instructions in "The Thimbleberries Book of Quilts" were easy to follow and had many tips for success throughout the book. It,also, had many small projects perfect for the beginner.
The Fabric Maverick recommends the following list of tools for the beginning quilter:
- Rotary Cutter/Rotary Mat
- See Through Rulers: 6" x 24" and a square ruler (12" is a good size)
- 1/4" Presser Foot
- Machine Needles (80/12) and hand sewing needles if you plan to hand piece
- Seam Ripper
- Straight Pins ( I like the flower head pins)
Most of these can be found in our notions section.
List of Do's and Don'ts from the Fabric Maverick:
- Do practice sewing a 1/4" seam
- Do prewash your fabric ( the Fabric Maverick confesses she does not wash the light colors, only the dark fabrics)
- Do press your fabric (Best Press or Magic Sizing restores the fabric finishing before cutting)
- Do read all instructions carefully
- Do make a sample block before cutting all the fabric
- Don't move the fabric when cutting- move the ruler
- Don't try to make a bed-size quilt. Beginners will become quickly discouraged.
- Don't choose a quilt class that is above your skill level
Quilting is great fun! You can express your personality and beautify your home through your selection of colors.
January 10, 2008
Last week in Atlanta when temperatures dipped into the teens, I realized that winter was really here. I actually had to put on a couple of sweaters and a coat. I know our friends in the North are thinking "If I only had it so good." (I also know my sisters in the Midwest would give me a slap on the back of the head.) As my skin felt the effects of the winter wind, I vowed to use the sugar scrub recipe that the Fabric Maverick had in her last blog.
Leslie, in Customer Care, has sewn a lovely faux fur throw-great for cuddling under. I am sure that you will want to make one, too. This is the essence of pampering-when you cuddle under this throw on a cold winter's night. For her fabrics, she selected our yarn-dyed flannel (BE-007) which is currently in our Winter Blowout Sale and a faux fur from last year's selections. Every sewer has her stash. Her throw is approximately 60 inches x 60 inches, but a full 2 yard length will make a truly luxurious size throw. Both fabrics were prewashed fabrics and then she actually just sewed a very large pillowcase. Place right sides together. Sew, leaving about a 4-inch opening for turning. Turn right side out and finish by slipstitching the opening closed.
Here are some tips recommended by Threads magazine for working with faux fur. These steps will help ensure your success:
- Cut in a single layer.
- Use long pins with visible heads.
- If you need to cut the fur, use a razor or craft knife to cut through backing only. Cut at a slight angle. This will reduce shedding.
- Use a 1/2 inch seam.
- Use a walking foot. Fur is very bulky. It will help if you hold the fabric layers up in the front of the machine to reduce the weight of the fabric.
- Use a size 14 or 16 machine needle and a longer stitch length. If the faux fur has a knitted back, you will want to use a ballpoint needle.
- Release fur fibers with a small plastic comb if they are caught in the seam.
- Sew seams in the same direction the fur runs.
We have several spa patterns for pampering yourself: FT-054- Favorite Things Spa Gift Set pattern includes a scented neck roll. Or try FT-053- Favorite Things Spa Slip on Slippers. Both can be warmed in the microwave to keep the chill off. Chenille is an excellent choice of fabric.
Now if I can talk Leslie out of her throw and make myself some toasty warm slippers, I will never be cold again.
January 8, 2008
No, The Fabric Maverick is not jealous, envious perhaps. Fabric.com ,for the first time, is offering bamboo fabric. This is a very ecology friendly fabric. Move over cotton, silk, wool and linen- bamboo is here!
What is bamboo fabric? It is a natural textile made from the pulp of the bamboo grass. This a 20th century development.
What are it's properties?:
- Extremely soft
- Strong fiber
- Excellent wicking properties
- Has antibacterial properties
- Can be woven or knitted
- Insulating properties- cooler in summer and warmer in winter
- Machine washable
- 100% biodegradeable in its natural form
Care of fabric:
Machine washable, delicate cycle. Dries very fast.
The bamboo plant grows rapidly. It does not generally require the use of pesticides or herbicides making it attractive to companies for easy availability. A crop of bamboo grows within 80 to 90 days. The fiber resembles cotton in its unspun form. In its natural form, it can be combined with other fabrics and dyed. Since the fibers are not naturally white, the fibers must be bleached extensively to achieve a white fiber for white fabric.
This is the month of 'Taking Care of Yourself" so I know that everyone is busy exercising and eating wisely. Now is the time to nourish our soul. The feel of bamboo fabric against the skin cannot be imagined; it must be felt. It is a very silky, smooth fabric. It is very suitable for undergarments, shirts, etc. If a person has allergy issues with other natural fibers, they will not with bamboo. Babies are particulary sensitive to fabric additives. Check out our items # BF-155, BF-156, BF-157. I see bamboo in my future.
While we are taking care of ourselves by exercising and eating right, let's make our skin feel good, too. After all we are not eating sugar anymore, so let's put it on our body. Let's make a sugar scrub
- 50 percent white cane sugar (note that organic sucanat, while the best choice for food, doesn't work as well for this recipe)
- 50 percent vegetable glycerin to moisten the sugar (I used avocado oil since I was out of vegetable glycerin and it proved to be a successful substitute)
- Small amounts of aloe vera gel, vitamin C crystals, or anything healing that dissolves in water
- 1 or 2 drops of essential oil if desired (Larry recommends combining orange and lavender)
- Enough ground hibiscus powder for pink color (if desired)
Combine the ingredients in a bowl. Scoop some of the scrub onto your hand and massage gently onto your skin for a minute (the scrub will actually tighten onto your skin like a masque). Leave on for 3 to 4 minutes before rinsing Great for the whole body, but watch out it can be slippery. This recipe is from http://www.care2.com/greenliving/homemade-sugar-scrub.html. This website has many green living ideas if you wish to check it out.
Until next time, Fabric Maverick
Fabric Maverick Says... Don't Be a Knit Wit! A few tips on sewing with Knits - Extreme Home Makeovers Home Edition And We Helped!
January 3, 2008
The Fabric Maverick says "Do not be afraid to work with knits" Once you have mastered the basics, you are on your way to a lovely garment. Let's get started.
A knit is a fabric made from interlocking looped stitches. The lenghwise ribs are called wales. The crosswise is called courses. Knits are wrinkle resistant and do not ravel. They stretch.
- Needle type- Ballpoint machine needle
- Thread: Fine polyester or poly/cotton thread for lightweight knits. Use an all purpose polyester or poly/cotton thread for medium to heavvy weight knits.
- Elastic- No-Roll elastic is good for waistbamds. Braided elastic is not good for knits. Check out the specialty elastics for swimwear and lingerie.
- Interfacing: If your pattern requires interfacing, a good choice is Fusi-Knit. This is a fusible tricot.
Fabric preparation checklist:
- Check to make sure the knit fabric has the proper stretch for the garment you are sewing. The pattern will indicate the amount of stretchibility.
- Check your knit for memory- the knit should return to original position after it is stretched.
- If the knit is washable, wash it to remove excess sizing. If there is too much sizing, you may have skipped stitches when you sew.
- Check to see if the knit is on grain. The wales and courses should be right-angled to each other. If they are not, the knit will need to be blocked.
You are well on your way to making a great garment! Choose the pattern layout for fabric with nap. When cutting your fabric, do not let it hang off the cutting table. It may distort the grain. If there is a permanent fold line which will not steam out, create another fold line to cut from. You may use a straight stitch or a small zig-zag stitch. when sewing your garment.When you press your fabric, use a pressing cloth. Press the fabric, do not iron it. When you finish the garment, let it hang for 24 hours, before marking the hem.
Many books and articles have been written about working with knit fabrics. This is just the basics to get you started. The Fabric Maverick always keeps a basic sewing book available to which she refers frequently. Go create something beautiful.
A note about this Sunday's Extreme Home Makeover Edition- many fabrics from Fabric.com were used in this episode. If you would like to know which fabrics-, the Fabric Maverick will tell you.
UR-932 Maggie Pink and Kelso Brown
UB-732 Black and White Globes
UR-093 European Linen Black
UR-217 European Linen White
AY-631 Oriental Brocade
AY-632 Oriental Brocade Dragonflies
AY-636 Oriental Flowering Vines
I am looking forward to seeing how they used these fabrics.
January 1, 2008
About this time, you are being bombarded with information on exercising, losing weight and organizing your life. You have probably made New Year's Resolutions about these and more. I know I have plans to do all three. My biggest challenge will be putting exercise into my life. My former thoughts on exercising were to lie down on the couch until the feeling went away. You will note I do not use that four-letter word "diet". Diet implies that this is a short term plan. I have faced the bitter reality that this should be a life plan and found a program that works for my life. This is the only way that diets and exercise plans will work for anyone. Find something that works for your lifestyle.
Walking continues to be one of the most beneficial exercises. I continue to be amazed at how many ways you can walk. There is interval walking. Now there is Nordic walking. In the Feb.12th issue of Woman's Day magazine, Nordic walking looks like cross-country skiing with no snow or footgear, but with poles. Interesting. Your exercise choice may be aerobics, Pilates, yoga, etc.
Now the question is, what kind of clothes do you need to exercise? Most of my reading suggests clothes that stretch with the body for maximum range of movement. We have many suitable fabrics for exercise wear: stretch knits. These include interlock knits, jersey knits, velour, sweatshirt fabrics, etc. Jalie patterns is a Canadian company which specializes in active wear clothing. One of our most popular patterns is JP-2676. This is a jogging suit. We may not be the most graceful or flexible, but we will look good while we are doing it. If yoga is your bag, we have found a free pattern at Amy Butler's web site for a yoga bag: http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/NigellaYogaBag.pdf. It is made from her collection of Nigella fabrics.
Whatever you do, we encourage you to find an activity that works for your lifestyle. There is an activity out there for everyone no matter their age or fitness level. January should be the month of TAKING CARE OF YOU.