Thanks to the great response to my post about using recycled packing materials (and marking them with a cool stamp), I’ve decided to share a few reusing and recycling related links.
- Fairythreads has a very nice article about recycled packaging, with lots of suggestions for how to incorporated reused materials, or just more earth friendly materials, into your packaging.
- G2BGreen has an excellent post about taking reusable bags with you to the store, complete with statistics about the impact of plastic bags and a list of cities that are banning or thinking about banning plastic bags.
- Eco-Libris reminds us that every book we read used to be a tree, and thanks to them, we can now plant a tree for every book we read. (You buy Eco-Libris stickers to put on your book, they plant a tree for each one you buy.)
- While you’re at it, why buy a new book when you can find a gently loved copy at BookMooch or PaperBackSwap? Recycle books you’ve finished and get new books from someone else’s personal library. I’m already in the middle of reading my first BookMooch book. (Want to know more about why you may want to share books, instead of buying new? Check out Read More, Consume Less.)
- Did you know you can recycle the Tyvek envelopes you get from the post office? DuPont, the manufacturer, has a program to recycle them and provides instructions here.
Also, there were some great suggestions in the comments to my last post. Felicia shared that she uses a rubber stamp to put her return address on packages, which saves on labels. And Erin wrote that she uses pretty paper scraps from scrapbooking and other projects to re-cover used padded envelopes. She prints the recipient’s address on white paper and pastes this on top of the decorative paper. Great idea– I bet those envelopes are lovely! Plus, of course, reuse boxes, tissue paper, bubble wrap, and packing peanuts that find their way to you. Thanks for the great suggestions! I’d love to hear any more you may have.
The weekend is upon us! In what creative way will you spend this weekend? I plan to start mine with some delicious homemade pizza topped with basil, tomatoes, and slices of fresh mozzarella, a glass of wine, and an episode or two of Quantum Leap. (If you are a fan of Quantum Leap and Scott Bakula, check out this excellent song on YouTube.)
Alright, so this post was supposed to be about helping you get some inspirations to be crafty and creative this weekend, but I just went to YouTube to find the link to the Scott Bakula song, and I came across all these other great Scott Bakula clips. So what if this is a crafty blog? I need to stop for a moment and pay homage to Scott Bakula. My Quantum Leap watching buddy and I (we’re on Season 5 now, and sad about the impending end of the series) both have a special place in our hearts for that time when Scott Bakula sang Volare. (You’ll have to Google for a video…)
Ok, I realize most people don’t share my love of Quantum Leap and Scott Bakula. Even so, you have to give him kudos for doing his own singing (more singing here). I guess if your weekend plans don’t include watching Quantum Leap, you could try some of these crafty things instead:
Whether you try some of these suggestions or not, I’d like to hear what your creative plans are for this weekend! Even more, I’d love to hear that I’m not alone on this whole Scott Bakula/Quantum Leap thing.
I’ve been hard at work tonight, making up new card wallets for the shop. Ok, I’ve also been drinking wine. It only helps the sewing process! The wine is from an excellent local winery, Pheasant Hollow. If you’re in the area, I suggest you drop by and pick up a bottle of the Pink Lace. It’s wonderfully sweet. Of course, if sweet isn’t your thing, they make many other equally enjoyable wines.
Back to the sewing bit, I’m slowly working on adding new card wallets to my Etsy shop. I just added the one in the photo at left, so if you’d like to own a little piece of Anodyne Design blog history, you can pick it up. I’ve also been tossing around an idea for a new, cooler wristlet for the past few days. I’ll try to make one up over the weekend and see what you all think of it.
As the holidays fast approach, this blog seems to suffer a bit. My handmade holiday project list is long, and I’ve been working hard on it (and end-of-the-semester school tasks.) I’d love to share my entire list here, but I don’t want to give away all my secrets to possible recipients. I guess that’s the drawback to having family care about your blog. One thing I am working on is another quilted bag, for SciFi Man’s grandmother. I should have that done today. The quilt is still in progress, but it should be finished in time.
How is all your holiday crafting going? As if your plate wasn’t full enough, here are few more crafty holiday ideas I’ve seen lately:
- Chia over at Chia’s House of Stir Fry recently hosted a holiday cookie exchange, which included good food, tasty cookies, games, and prizes. And, I suspect, her delicious eggnog. This would be a great way to gather with friends this season. Who doesn’t love a plate full of handmade cookies?
- Heather Bailey suggests making a garland out of yo yo’s (and if you don’t know how to make yo yo’s, she’s got a tutorial for that, too.)
- Moonstitches has a great pattern for a holiday zakka owl pennant.
- Button Trees at Tutti Fruiti, Two Peas in a Bucket, and Ali Edwards.
- Felted Wool Star Ornaments at the Purl Bee.
As I pay more attention to design blogs, such as print & pattern and Design*Sponge, I keep noticing how my attention is drawn to modern design. I like the clean lines and the whimsical patterns I see in modern design. Today I stumbled across inmod Design Studio, where you can design your own modern bedding. They provide patterns, fabric choices, and options for embroidery colors. They have some beautiful pre-designed bedding, but it’s awfully fun to play around with all of the options to design something that’s just right for you.
I started working on a new tote bag tonight. I’ve been thinking about this particular bag for awhile, and I finally decided it was time to actually make it. I’ve still got to make the handle and put the pieces together, but most of the work is done. It’s a simple tote bag, but it does have a zippered pocket inside it. I know zippers can be scary, and zippered pockets daunting, but they really aren’t that difficult, as long as you’ve got a zipper foot for your sewing machine.
If you want to give zippered pockets a try on your own, I’ve found a few great tutorials to gently guide you through the process. Sew, Mama, Sew! has a great tutorial for zippered pockets (with bonus slip pocket and magnetic snap tutorials at the end). There’s also a very nice zippered pocket tutorial on Craftster, and this is actually the one I followed the first time I tried one of these pockets. Both of these tutorials involve cutting a slit into your lining fabric and having the actual pocket dangle between the lining and exterior of your bag. Another clever take on the zippered pocket, also available Craftster, involves attaching the pocket to the inside of the lining and then hiding the edges with strips of fabric, bias tape, or ribbon. I haven’t tried this method yet, but it definitely looks nice and I’ll probably give it a try soon.
Good luck installing your zippered pockets! I will probably finish up my new tote today, so I’ll be sharing it soon.
Now that it’s November, I’m seeing holiday decorations and talk of holiday preparation everywhere. I even walked into one store that had Christmas carols playing on November first! A bit early for Christmas music, in my opinion, but I don’t think planning ahead for the holidays is a bad idea, especially if you plan to make some of your gifts. If you don’t regularly read Sew, Mama, Sew! I suggest you check it out. For the month of November, each day will be dedicated to different types of handmade gifts you can make, with links to great tutorials. Even if you aren’t planning to make your holiday gifts, this will be a great crafty resource.
And while we’re talking about handmade and the holidays, have you seen the Buy Handmade pledge yet? Sponsored by a bunch of crafty, handmade-oriented web sites, like Etsy and Craftster, Buy Handmade is a promise to buy handmade for the holidays and request that others do the same for you. If you wonder why you should bother to do that, you can read up on “why buy handmade?” Even if you don’t want to make the pledge, you may want to think about incorporating something handmade into your holidays, simply because of the extra care and love that goes into it. Especially if you’ve made it yourself. I know that not all of my holiday gifts will be handmade, but I will be making some and those will probably be some of the best gifts I give.
Back around Labor Day, I got myself a rotary cutter and self-healing mat (how does it do that?). I’ve been cutting up all sorts of things lately, and I love using the rotary cutter! It’s so much faster, and I’m able to cut much straighter lines. And straight lines for me is a pretty big deal, because I’ve never been so good with the fine motor skills. Just ask my mom. So I’ve been happily cutting away, but I’ve discovered that even rotary cutting takes a little skill. It’s easy for me to stop focusing and have the cutter roll away from the straightedge. So, of course, I did a little internet research on rotary cutting, and here are the fruits of my labor:
Quilt.com has come basic rotary cutting how-to’s, with tips on how to prepare your fabric for rotary cutting, how to cut basic shapes, and how not to cut your finger off. McCall’s Quilting also provides some basic rotary cutting steps, with a particular emphasis on getting your fabric straight (which it never is after being cut at the store, washed, and pressed).
Rotary cutting blades are sharp! Given my clumsiness, I live in fear of the day I roll that wheel of pain over my finger. Which is why I really appreciate About.com’s Top 10 Rotary Cutting Tips for Quilters. Sure, I probably could have figured them out by myself, but now I don’t have to, and hopefully I’ve decreased my odds of injury at least a little bit.
QuiltUniversity.com addressed my specific problem of rolling away from the ruler while I’m cutting. They say, “Keep the rotary cutter’s blade vertical against the edge of the ruler. If the cutter’s blade is tilted either right or left, you’ll get an inaccurate cut. The width of the strip will vary, and the pieced segment will not be the correct size.” Their tips also address how to hold your ruler in place on long strips of fabric (which is useful if you’re like me, and you keep accidentally sliding the ruler around on the fabric!)
I think these links will help me to keep my lines straighter and my fingers attached. I hope they are helpful to you!
Last night I got started on putting together a tote bag. A friend of mine bought a kit to make the tote and, not being a seamstress, had some trouble with the directions. I think the finished product is going to be very cute. It’s a patchwork design with some large interior pockets and a cute envelope-style pocket on the outside. The finished tote is quilted, and since quilting is still new for me, I thought some research on machine quilting was in order.
Machine Quilting: Tips and Designs
AllPeopleQuilt.com has all sorts of clear tips to take you through the entire quilting process. In the article Machine Quilting Like a Pro, they provide direct suggestions for the best needle to use when quilting and ways to make the actual work of quilting go more smoothly. While tips are great, I wanted to know more about different quilting designs. Being a general quilting resource, AllPeopleQuilt also listed the common quilting designs:
- Stitching in the Ditch: This involves stitching just inside the seam line, and results in stitches that are less noticeable.
- Outline Quilting (also called echo quilting): stitching 1/4″ from a seam line, this type results in more visible stitches.
- Stipple Quilting: Stitching in a random pattern. Specific shapes, such as flowers or stars, can be added into a stipple design.
Stipple quilting is most appealing to me, as it seems like the most “artistic” approach to quilting. I know many of the quilts I have admired have been stipple quilted. Of course, it also seems like the most challenging quilt design, as there’s no safe straight lines to rely on. Since this tote isn’t for me, I think I’ll resist my urge to experiment with stipple quilting and stick with outline quilting. With a patchwork design, it should be fairly easy to outline the squares.
Helpful Basic Quilting Links
I sold my last two card wallets yesterday. Talk about exciting! It’s the first time I’ve sold out of anything, and it puts me one sale away from that nice round number 20. So while I whip up a fresh batch of card wallets today, check out these cool, crafty blogs I’ve stumbled across to get your daily blog fix: