Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Swedish heart gift wrapper in felt

I made this traditional Swedish Heart to hold a tiny Christmas present. It measures almost 4.5-inches square and was made using two 2.5 x 8 inch pieces of felt -- one white, one red. I refreshed my memory of how to make the Swedish heart using the book Christmas Customs: Handcrafted Ornaments published by Creative Publishing International of Minnetonka, MN in 2001. The book appears to be out of print, but it is available for the cost of shipping from sellers on Amazon. There are also directions online as Woven Heart Basket on First Palette: Your step-by-step guide to kids' crafts. This site gives a good guide on the actual weaving process, which is a little tricky until you have practiced a few times.

To create your heart, you may use: paper; or fabric stiffened with iron-on interfacing, or two pieces of fabric adhered with a bonding medium like Stitch Witchery; or any kind of felt, as I did. Basically, you cut two rectangles in a three to one proportion, fold the rectangles in half and cut two or three evenly spaced slits in the rectangles about 2/3 of the way from the fold to the open ends. My 8-inch long rectangles had three slits spaced 5/8-inches apart and measuring 2.5 inches from the fold to the end of the cut. Weave the folded rectangles together (refer to the online guide at First Palette) and round the tops of the rectangles with scissors to form the shape of a heart. You may attach a handle of ribbon or cord to create a hanging ornament, or a basket.

Instead of attaching a handle, I wove a 30-inch piece of 1/4-inch wide ribbon through both sides of the heart and tied the open ends at the top where they emerged. I lined the basket with a small piece of gold mesh and trimmed the mesh to conform to the shape of the heart.

After Christmas, I will show you what was inside the heart!

UPDATE: January 6, 2014
Here is the Troll Bead sterling silver Swedish heart that was tucked inside my felt heart.

UPDATE Dec. 28, 2016: Instructions on "How to Make a Fabric Swedish Heart" on Bernina website We All Sew.

Creative Publishing International,
Handcrafted Ornaments/Amazon,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Merry makeover

Newly painted family room in Behr's Mojave Gold

I LOVE my new family room!

I had been using my family room as a working office for fifteen years and it was full of office equipment and files. After I retired, Alisa helped me get rid of a lot of the clutter and office equipment, but the room was still full of personal files, bills, junk, and one huge chaise longe. And lately, the chili pepper red walls had begun to wear on me.

So, on Thanksgiving Day when Ben said they were getting rid of a couch, I asked for it to use in my family room and I asked Alisa to help me paint. They both said yes, and the transformation of my family room began.

I took everything out of the room, and Sandy and Alisa and I painted with two coats of Behr's Primium Plus Ultra Interior Matte paint in the Mojave Gold color that weekend. We only needed one gallon. 

To try out colors, the sales lady at Home Depot suggested Sure Swatch tacky film that you paint and stick on the wall. They cost 99-cents each. I'd never seen these before and they worked like a charm. You can see a Sure Swatch in-use on the right in the pre-paint photo below.

I put the chair on the Livingston eCycle site, but nobody wanted it, so I called Alchin Disposal on Monday to haul it away. Alisa took a filebox of old files to shred as well as a SUV full of material to recycle. It took me two weeks to get all the remaining stuff sorted and stored, but it's all done now.

I put my much loved, but very old, very weary, 36-inch herbal wreath out on the porch and bought a fresh greens wreath at The Weed Lady on Fenton Road. It is glorious!

We took up the old rug and laid an oriental rug I bought years ago at Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor, and had cleaned and stored last year after using it on the front porch during the summer. I moved the leather chair and ottoman from the living room where no one ever sat on it, and Ben delivered my "new" couch. I bought a used slat-back chair for $28 at Trading Closets consignment shop in Brighton to replace a larger desk chair that no longer fit in the space.

I washed and repaired the drapes on the sliding glass doors. In a storage bin under the guest bed upstairs I found pillowcases and a duvet cover that match the drapes so I filled them with pillows and a duvet to keep cozy on the couch.

Fred Wark, the Olde England Chimney Sweep, came to inspect the fireplace and chimney, and Alisa bought me a 1500 watt Lasko ceramic tower heater on Amazon to keep the room warm when we don't have a fire in the fireplace.

To improve the lighting, I replaced the burnt-out bulb in one of the ceiling spotlights that I couldn't get out for years, and brought in an unused desk lamp from my workroom.

This weekend, Paul and I picked up a beautiful seven-foot Frasir Fir at Bordines in Brighton. My friend Carolyn gave me some tree lights to replace old ones that were damaged, and I finished decorating the tree yesterday.

I hung the drum from Steve's first tree in 1944 near the top. 

Related posts/holiday stories:
"We Cut the Tree"
"Star Wizard"


Sure Swatch: the Color Decider

Weed Lady
9225 Fenton Road
Grand Blanc, Michigan 4843

The Treasure Mart
529 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
734 662 9887

Olde England Chimney Sweep Service, Fred Lasko
810 231 1189

Trading Closets
2120 Grand River Annex, Suite 600 Brighton, MI 48114
810 225 6130

6347 Grand River Ave., Brighton MI 48114
517 552 9300

Lasko 1500 watt ceramic tower heater

Friday, November 15, 2013

Phone pouch

I attended the American Sewing Expo, Inc. in Novi last month and one of the take-away projects was a very cute cell-phone pouch that uses a clever construction method that I found interesting. I’ve made several of the pouches for relatives and decided to make a few for holiday gifts for friends. The project was made at the Janome overlock site at the expo, but I have been unable to find the pattern online, so I have introduced my own ammendments, rewritten the instructions and taken photos of my own process for this post.

Since I’m going to make many pouches, the first thing I decided to do is make-up a kit for each pouch. Here are the contents of each kit. (Note: I will add more photos, but I decided to put up the directions with incomplete photos for now. LT)

Each kit includes:
  • Five (or six) pieces of fabric each 4.5 x 9 inches:
  • One pouch front (or two pieces to make two-tone front using back fabric, or another coordinate or contrast fabric
  • One pouch back (trimmed to 8 inches long)
  • One pouch-pocket interliner (trimmed to 8 inches long)
  • Two pouch lining (trimmed to 8 inches long)
  • Two 4-1/5 x 8 inch iron-on interfacing (I use Pellon Décor-Bond.) Plus, small pieces (about 4.5 x 2) of iron-on interfacing for magnet installation on lining
  • One piece cotton woven belting 8.5 inches long to coordinate or contrast with pouch back (I like cotton instead of polyester because cotton doesn’t melt when I press my project.)
  • One one-inch swivel clasp (from http:/ OR 1-1/4-inch D-ring to coordinate or contrast with pouch fabric (silver, gold, bronze, or black are available at fabric and craft stores.)
  • One 7-inch zipper to coordinate or contrast with pouch fabric (I used Coats polyester all purpose zippers.)
  • One carabiner to coordinate or contrast with pouch fabric if using a D-ring and not using a “swivel clasp” as indicated above
  • One small, magnet closure (or hook and loop tape, if preferred)
  • 3-inch piece very narrow grosgrain ribbon in contrasting or coordinating color for zipper pull, or purchased zipper pull
You will also need:
  • Coordinating thread
  • 1/4-inch double sided tape to secure zipper placement
  • Topstitching needle for sewing machine
  • Zipper foot
  • Even-feed foot
For optional wristlet handle:
  • 18 x 2 inch strip of coordinating fabric
  • 16 x 7/8-inch strip iron-on interfacing
  • ½-inch diameter metal ring to match swivel clasp or D-ring (silver, gold, bronze, black, etc)
  • 1/2-inch bias tape making tool

Cut and collate pouch kits.

Prepare outside of pouch

For two-toned pouch front, stack a front piece and a coordinating piece of fabric, right-sides up. Cut through both layers on a diagonal line beginning at two-inches down on the left side of the fabric and ending six inches down on the right side of the fabric. For single tone front, use only one layer of front fabric. 

With iron-on side facing up, make the same cut to a piece of iron-on interfacing.

For two-tone front, pair each cut with its opposite coordinating fabric. (Save one for another pouch.)

Press under one-half inch along diagonal for both pieces of fabric. (Cut off “ears” of fabric.)
Iron interfacing to wrong sides of both front pieces. (Trim away any excess interfacing.)
Put double-sided tape on hemmed edges to help secure zipper placement.

Butt edges to zipper and topstitch zipper in place using a zipper foot. Open zip where necessary to get close installation.
Cut pocket facing to 8 inches long. Lay completed front of the pouch right side up on the right side up pocket facing. Baste along both long edges and top. Leave bottom open.

Trim back piece to 8-inches long. Iron interfacing to wrong side of pouch back piece.

Stay-stitch belting to center of top back, raw edges together.

Thread swivel clasp or D-ring onto belting and pin bottom of belting flush to the center of the back, with raw edges even. (There will be a bulge in the belting which will not lay flat against the back; this is correct.) Sew across bottom to hold belting in place. 

Place a pin four inches from the bottom of the back, smoothing belting to lay flat on pouch back, leaving bulge in belting free above pin. Sew across belting at the four-inch mark and sew from there to bottom to secure belting all along the edges. Sew a square with an “X” inside at four inch mark to further secure belting.

Align front and back of pouch with right sides together. Seam along one long edge using 3/8-inch seam allowance.
Press seam to one side.

Prepare lining:
Trim two lining pieces to 8-inches long.
Iron on two-inch long by 4.5-inch wide piece of interfacing to the wrong side, top of lining to support closure.
Install magnetic closure or Velcro fastener according to package directions to the right side middle of each lining piece, about 1.5-inches from the top of the lining.

With right sides together seam lining along one long edge with 3/8-inch seam allowance.
Press seam to one side.

With right sides together, and top edges aligned (and swivel clasp or D-ring pushed down, out of the way), seam outer pouch and lining together along the top of the pouch, using a 3/8-inch seam allowance.

Open bag flat and push D-ring to top of the belting which will form a little pocket for the D-ring to sit in.

Using even-feed foot, securely stitch belting to back of pouch just below the top of the pouch so that the swivel clasp will be held in place above the top of the pouch back.

Unzip zipper to center of pouch.

With right sides together, fold pouch into log tube and stitch remaining long edge with 3/8 inch seam allowance.

Trim zipper ends even with seam allowances on both sides of pouch.
Turn pouch right side out. Tuck lining into pouch. Straighten seams and press.

For optional wristlet handle:
Using ½-inch bias tape tool, make 18 inches of fabric binding (not necessarily bias) or fold long edges of fabric to center. 

Position 7/8-inch by 16-inch iron-on interfacing in center of fabric.

Fold up one end of the fabric to form a hem, and press.

Slip metal ring over one end of the belt. Enclose the other end of the fabric piece to form a circle of fabric. Press. 

Fold entire circle in half along long edge, and stitch along both long edges to secure.

Slide ring to area where ring was stitched together and stitch to secure about one inch above the ring position.

Clip wristlet handle onto swivel clasp (or carabiner) by slipping the metal ring over the opened end of the clasp, or carabiner.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Pyramid Pouch II

Pyramid Pouch
I recently wanted to make a gift bag for some Troll beads I gave to Alisa for her birthday and thought of the Pyramid Pouch I posted in this blog several years ago. When I went to the post I discovered that I had linked to a source for the description of how to make the pouch, but the directions were not very clear, so I thought I’d do the how-to with photos for this blog to make assembly easier.

You can make the pouch in whatever size you like, as long as you begin with a piece of fabric twice as long as it is wide and with a zipper that is as long as your fabric width. For example, if your fabric measures 8 x 4 inches, you need a zipper that is 4 inches long.

The seaming is very simple, but hard to describe. The pouch has only three seams: bottom, side, and zipper installation.  I’ve done my best to describe the process below, but you may wish to practice with a piece of paper and tape a few times to get the overall picture before beginning to seam your pouch.

The pouch shown in the directions finishes at 5.5-inches on a side from fabric pieces that are cut 6-inches by 12-inches.  Note: The larger your bag, the easier it will be to handle and create. For very large bags, or very small bags, purchase zipper by the yard. In a large bag using zipper by the yard, you may wish to put two pulls on your zipper so that it may be unzipped from either direction.

Exterior fabric twice as long as it is wide
Matching or coordinating lining fabric of the same size
Interfacing of iron-on batting or Pellon Décor Bond of the same size
Coordinating zipper as long as the width of your fabric plus about one inch for ease of installation
5-inches coordinating grosgrain ribbon for loop
Matching thread

Zipper foot

Install zipper along both short edges of exterior fabric, creating a tube connected by the zipper. 

(At top, unzip zipper to finish installing tape at end of zipper, and leave unzipped to install second side of zipper. Zipper tape should be even with fabric edges on both sides.)

Zip zipper and flatten tube with zipper centered in the middle of the tube and bottom of zipper at the bottom of the flattened tube.

Turn tube inside out, and position the zipper in the middle of the tube as described above.

Sew 3/8 - inch seam across bottom of the tube.

Trim end of zipper.

Grab top of pouch at the top of the zipper and refold pouch along long edge of the top of the pouch with the zipper now on the side of the pouch.

Unzip zipper about two inches and pin fabric edges to secure.
Flatten the rest of the edge and pin.

Fold ribbon in half and place raw edges even with edge of fabric near the edge of zipper. Pin in place.

Sew 3/8 – inch seam along this edge. Double stitch over ribbon ends to secure.

Trim corners, unzip zipper the rest of the way, turn right-side-out, push out corners, and press. You may need a steamer to get all the creases out of your pouch.
Here is the pouch after pressing.

To make the lining, fold back a 3/8-inch hem on both short edges of lining fabric and press.

Fold tube right-sides-together with pressed edges of lining fabric hem in center of the tube.
Stitch 3/8-inch seam along bottom of tube.

 Refold tube so that the pressed edges are on the side of the seam.

Grab the top of pouch at the top of the opening and refold pouch along long edge of the top of the pouch with the opening now on the side of the pouch.

Open out folded edges and stitch 3/8-inch seam along edges of fabric.

Fold hem back, and press. Do not turn.

Unzip pouch and insert lining inside with hemmed edges along zipper tape.

Pin in place and hand-stitch lining to bag along zipper.


Handi-book for giftcard presentation

There are lots of cute paper books that you can make, but here is one that is fast and easy to fold without needing a lot of knowledge about paper folding. This one uses clear or decorative tape to form the book and hook and loop dots to keep it closed. I got the inspiration for this folded paper book from Whimsey Square Quilts’ Tea Book directions for making a fabric envelope of pockets to hold tea. I thought the little book of four pockets would be perfect for gift-card presentation to include a card or two, a handwritten note or poem, and a small item that coordinates with the gift card, such as a teabag with a card from a tea shop, or a book of needles with a card from a fabric store. You can choose paper or decorate your paper to coordinate with the gift idea. Note: typing paper or butcher paper works better than wrapping paper which tends to be too flimsy.

Paper 11 x 17 inches
Clear or decorative tape to coordinate with paper
Stick on hook and loop dots for use with paper
Staples and staple gun

Cut paper 11 x 17 inches.

Place paper on surface with long edge of paper along surface edge and the right side of paper facing down. Secure top edge of paper with clear tape or decorative tape.
Measure 1-3/4 inches from top of long edge of paper, mark, and fold up bottom edge to meet the mark. Your paper now has the right-side showing on the bottom and the wrong side showing above the 1-3/4 inch mark.

Turn paper over.

Fold down at 1-3/4 inch mark.

Take that flap and fold it under, over the top of the other side of the paper.
Turn paper over with flap on outside of paper.

Fold paper in half, making it half as wide.

Measure 3-1/4 inches from center fold line on both sides of line, mark, and fold each side back along this line.

Accordian fold along fold lines to create a pocket inside two longer outside flaps.

Tape along top and bottom edges of central page.
Open out book and tape along “spine”.

Fold outside flap back, along edge of inside pocket on both front and back outside flaps.

Fold all four corners of outside flaps up along the diagonal.

Fold both flaps down.
Tape or staple the flaps down.
Add hook and loop dots to inside flaps to secure.

Fill pockets with giftcards OR teabags and sweeteners OR adhesive bandages, ointment packages, and handiwipes OR pins, needles, buttons and thread OR other mini-necessities.