Friday, November 29, 2013

Fire Pit

It's that sad time of year where we have to put away the garden ornaments, trim back the berry bushes and cover the fire pit for the season

We built our own fire pit a few years ago and it's the best part of summer nights.  When we first got it I also purchased a cover at the cost of $40+ to keep it from filling with water when it rained.  Since it was basically a plastic cover with a fabric lining it has since cracked and is not doing its job.

I decided it looked easy enough, needs to be round, at least 46" and 12" tall, Easy peazy! So I used a pencil and string to make my perfect circle with a 12" strip long enough to go around the circle.  

I used rubberized fabric (used to protect children's bed sheets in my case puppy when she was sick) nylon fabric and a parachute clip.  Since I already had the rubberized fabric the whole thing cost about $9 and an hour of my time.

Ready to sew

The only step that doesn't show is I added 4"  to the side, the top fit the top even and angeled out, this makes it easy to put on.  (Picture adding a piece the shape of a triangle). The parachute clip clinches in this extra fabric and keeps it from blowing off.  Any sewing I did on the nylon I backed that area with fabric to make it stronger.  

Parachute Clip 
Since we like to keep the cooled ashes in the pit during the season for a hotter fire bed I also drape a layer of used plastic from my garden to make sure it stays dry.

I think it looks good and certainly does the job!

Fire Pit Covered

Thursday, November 21, 2013

WSS What?

That would be Water Soluble Stabilizer, one of the materials used in machine embroidery that can NOT be omitted if the item has no opening to remove it once complete.

As posted last week I am working on zipper pouches, several of them. The problem is the most appropriate hoop is much too big and would waste expensive WSS.  So I came up with this solution

Using fabric I cut an opening an inch larger than the design and marked horizontal and vertical lines, these lines match the ones on my hoop.  A few pins and I sewed the stabilizer in with large stitches.

With this method the surface was strong, taking the piece on and off the machine after each step adding materials as needed.

The last step prior to turning the pouch right side out is cutting off all the excess 1/4" all the way around.   On the hoop WSS easily tears away removing all but the stitches, after doing 10 pouches the build up from sewing in the WSS was too much so I used a seam ripper on my template to make a couple breaks in the stitches and removed them.  I was back in business to make more

Before this method the size WSS piece needed to cover the hoop and stay secure was 12" x 14"  Now that I can sew it in, I cut the WSS 6" x 8" for this 3" x 4" zipper pouch.  The savings transfers to the cost I need to charge on etsy.  Win Win!

(All my pouches finish without exposed seams thanks to Embroidery Gardens digital pattern ( are washable on cold and dry on a low setting.  This removes the WSS and any spray used)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Recently my computer died when infected with a Trojan virus, my son was able to kill it and restore my files.  While it was gone I realized all the embroidery files I would have lost if he wasn't so good at his job.  

Upon its return the first thing I did was copy them to a CD and started printing all my patterns I had purchased.  To do this double sided I purchased a light card stock and several binders on sale for $1.

Once printed I organized them in each binder by the type of file.  The new post-it label tabs worked perfectly separating the files

 I decided to use the clear label maker instead of handwriting the tabs

When I stitch embroidery 
patterns with multiple pieces and steps I make paper strips with the size fabric needed and alphabetize them by step.  This way I can cut my pieces while watching TV, keep them organized and cut the same pattern several times.  

 I pin them to the fabric and save them with the pattern by using pocket folder inserts.

This pattern I printed in 4 colors so I could make them one after another while my machine was in embroidery mode.

Do you do something similar?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bring on Fall

My favorite time of year is the Fall, not too warm, not too cool and the changing leaves in Western New York are amazing. After reading my daughters blog today Wilde in the Kitchen she feels the same way, it's a family thing.  

I loved the fall weather so much I planned my wedding for October.  Picking the day was tricky because my childhood home had a maple tree that had the best colors on the street for a few weeks each fall.  My goal was to pick a day that showed the tree at its peak of color.  We picked the third weekend, I decided on Friday so my wedding didn't land on Sweetest Day a  ~ Hallmark Holiday.

My niece Lisa and I
I knew I wanted to make my wedding gown and what I wanted it to look like, keep in mind this was the 70's and this style was very popular.  I also made my little sisters gown and several items for that special day.  I loved sewing and made the time to create exactly what I wanted even then.   

Patty Sue, Pam, Kathy, Me, Linda, Aileen & Lisa
All of the fabric for the girls dresses are exactly the same, the color change was possible by changing the dress lining color, kinda fun huh. I searched all over for fabric finding it in Buffalo at a little in home shop.

I still have my veil, gown and the bouquet.  I don't expect my daughter to wear it, to begin with she is 2-3 sizes smaller than this dress and the fabric was satin and chiffon.  When Miss V was born I used the extra fabric from my dress for her christening gown, this fulfilled my wish for her to wear my wedding dress and I loved making it.  I spent a week before this posting to try and find pictures of her christening dress, it seems I need to check with my sisters as I have no pictures from that day.

The weekend before my wedding the tree was just starting to turn, still mostly green.  The weekend after all the leaves had fallen after a strong night of windy weather.  I think we picked the perfect weekend, what do you think?