Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ribbon Binding Bookmark + Bible Cover: Take 2

About a year and a half ago, I made my younger sister a cover for her Bible. It is now fairly faded and beat up, and she wanted me to make her a new one. I made her get home dec fabric instead of calico this time.

So this time, I wanted it to be a bit bigger so I could topstitch around the edges, because that always makes things look sharp. I had the old Bible cover to work from, and you'd think that I would have been able to add the right amount when I was cutting it out. I thought I had it figured out perfectly. WELL, there was way too much left for the... topstitching area. (Don't know what to call it.)

I couldn't get a good photo of it before she took it.

I ended up making a double row of top stitching around the edges, which looks pretty good, but I still wouldn't have made it so big on purpose.

I have made three of these "binding bookmarks." I don't know what to call them. They slide into the space between the binding of a book and the cover. Two of them have gone into Bibles that already had issues with failing/faulty binding. The other went into a book with good binding that I don't use all that often. I haven't noticed that the bindings of those books have been adversely effected by having this very thin bookmark. But they might have. I don't know. That's my disclaimer.

Anyway, I make them with a long scrap narrower than the book so it can slip in the gap. Fold your long, skinny scrap in half. Arrange the ribbons so that they are not twisted or overlapping, and stitch across with smaller stitches than you usually use. My machine is automatically set to a stitch length of 2.5-somethings, and I turned it down to 1.6-somethings. (Are they... millimeters? Picas? I don't know.)

These are 1/8" satin ribbons, probably the best for bookmarks.

Stitch around the outside so your scrap will stay flat in the book. Resist the urge to finish the edges, unless you want to snip around them with pinking sheers. Any other finish will add unnecessary bulk that you don't want stuck behind the binding of your book.

Open one cover of your book so you can see the cavity and stuff the bookmark in like so.

This would have been better if I had measured it, used a wider scrap and spaced the ribbons out. Whatever.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stanley Travel Mug Sleeve

I wanted a travel mug to carry hot tea around with me. I found that I could spend $24 on this Thermos one, or I could buy this Stanley one for $7 at Walmart with gift cards I already had. I went with the cheaper one of course. Plus the Stanley looks pretty slick if you ask me. (Mine has gray plastic on top instead of that silly green.) I've been really pleased with the performance. I will admit, however, that I'm a person that doesn't like to scald my tounge when I sip things, so the fact that my tea starts cooling off after an hour is a-okay with me.

Well, then the lack of a handle started getting to me, although the feature of handlelessness has been super awesome for the mug fitting perfectly in the side pocket of my trusty Overland Donner bag. But with tea in it, I have to tell you that the mug can get pretty hot on the outside.

If it was a normal mug, I would have gone straight to my good friend Ashley at OneInTheHand and stocked up on her stylin' coffee cozies. Alas, Stylin' Stan the coffee mug is perfectly cylindrical and required a sleeve instead of just a cozy.

I deemed that this application would be a good use of my most favoritest remnant purchase ever. (It's called "Willow Shroom Green" from the Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection, if you're interested.)

It took me about an hour to ease the bottom in. I need to work on my easing technique. Even after it was in, it looked really crappy, so I sewed a circle of fleece down there, which improved it slightly and might keep it from burning a table one day as well. I Fray Checked the raggety ends.

I also sewed some fleece around the grippy-area so hopefully it won't be so hot when there's tea in it. It would have looked better to have fleece all the way down. However, I really do want my tea to cool off in a timely fashion, which is why I left the fleece off the bottom part.

I needed the fleece at the top to stableize it a bit anyway. I don't know how kosher it is to use fleece as a stableizer, but I've done it many times. So here I go again, "just winging it" in my sewing techniques.

Note to self: Get one of those mini craft irons. The tiny and often round stuff I keep making would be way easier to press with a mini-iron.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Road Construction Play Set: Hazard Cones, Traffic Barrels & Felt Roads

My son is obsessed with all things construction-related. My dad is a civil engineer and gives him little leftover blueprint books. So my 3-year-old walks around in a hard hat with mini-blueprint book saying stuff like, "Ok! Dis is dee pwan! We got to get some of deeze supports for dis new bwidge so dee pavers can come and pave it!" So many exclaimation points! I probably have very boring Canadian kids' show Mighty Machines to thank for some of this obsession, but he does seem to have natural engineering inclinations.

In this vein, he is very interested in traffic cones and barrels and barracades and signage. And for some reason I'm encouraging it by making him another 5 dozen tiny things to go on my floor and get stepped on...

Enough about me. This would probably make a nice gift if you were strapped for cash. It cost about $6 for me to make, although I already had paint and Mod Podge. Also, I'm not sure how you would do it without a miter saw.

Easy. These were a pack of 25 wire nuts. ($2.20 at Lowe's.) Dip the tips in white paint. After they dry, dip the tips again in Mod Podge or some other sealer. Voila! Traffic cones! If you want to paint white stripes on each one, be my guest, but I think these get the point across.

The barrels were a bit more involved. They might have been a real pain if not for this miter saw of my husband's that has been junking up my craft room for two months now.

I bought a 3/4" dowel at Lowes for about $2.50.

I spent some condideration on the most efficient way to paint mini-traffic barrel. Orange first? White first? Painter's tape? I got tired of thinking about it and just went with white first. I should have given it a second coat before chopping it into 1" bits with the miter saw.

It was a good thing I went with white first, because I had to sand the edges of each one after I cut them because they splintered a bit. I would have had to repaint them entirely if I had painted the orange first.

For the orange, I tried dipping them in a pool of orange paint, but it was too drippy, so I just painted them with a brush. Pretty easy, though they turned out looking a bit like bouys. Whatever.

Of course, I Mod Podged them after painting both ends.

I got the idea for felt roads from this post from helpinglittlehands that I found on Pinterest. Incedentally, the same post and another helped spark my Valet Parking Ticket Game. These are strips of felt 3" wide by however long the felt sheets were. I used about $1.50 worth of felt sheets. I thought about sewing lines down them, but it was going to take forever.

Here, we have a paving operation underway.
Note the gravel and dirt sections.

Check it! I actually sewed something! All of this fits in a drawsting bag made from the fairly ugly Cars fabric I used for my sister's scrub top a couple of years ago. There's plenty of extra space for more felt road strips, which I think I will make when I get more felt.

Couldn't find any decent drawsting around the house, so I crocheted a chain. Which seems to be the only crocheting I'm able to do. The yarn is very junky and scratchy, so I don't think it's likely to pull out very easily.