Thursday, February 15, 2018

Martelli Rotary Cutters

I mentioned a month or so ago that I'd gotten some new sewing tools I was going to show you, so here's one of them. A special friend had gifted me a new rotary cutter for Christmas. To be honest, I thought, "Gee, I already have two sets of rotary cutters in various sizes - I really don't need another one." Right. I didn't NEED another one. BUT... this is like being gifted the Cadillac of cutters! Here it is, below... the larger one in front.

It's a Martelli ERGO rotary cutter, as in 'ergonomic design'. It.Is.Awesome!! It is soooo comfortable to use, and cutting is effortless compared to using my older cutters!

Here you see it as I was cutting some fabric strips (which you may recognize as the straps from these bags) for size reference...

... and how it fits into my hand when in use - a very comfortable position.

You can read more details about the cutter and other Martelli products at their website here. There are also videos so you can learn more and see it in action. I happened to see a notice recently about everything on their website being 50% off for one day, which is why I now also have the smaller (28 mm) size cutter and some spare blades. ;) They can also be purchased from Amazon.

I was practicing with the smaller cutter one day, and it was so fun that I may have gotten carried away cutting out cord wraps. You may recognize the fabrics as some of Jess's earlier designs.

I ended up with quite a few.

It was great for using up scraps! They were rather fun to take photos of, too. :)

(Template for the cord wraps can be found here.)

Then for Valentine's Day, rather than give Courtney sweets, I gave her a new charging cord for her iPod, so I made another wrap for that.

I also thoroughly enjoyed using the larger cutter (45 mm) when I cut out the bags for her birthday. I used to hate cutting out sewing projects, but these cutters make it much more fun. I suppose the novelty will wear off someday, but for now I'll indulge and enjoy. The next project is already cut and waiting for the sewing machine!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Cats in the Library

Awhile back on Instagram I'd seen fabric someone had used that I thought was so adorable, and I instantly knew I wanted some, so I tracked it down and bought it!

Also, for quite some time, I'd had the Bigger on the Inside drawstring backpack pattern by Erin (Erickson) Gilbey, but I hadn't found a use for one so hadn't sewn it yet.

Then, with Miss Courtney about to turn eleven years old on February 1st, I knew what I wanted to make for her gift! 

So here it is. Now especially for you cat lovers out there, isn't this just the cutest fabric? And the backpack is nice and big to display it perfectly.

I fussy cut it carefully, so as not to harm any kitties in the making of the bag.

Here's what it looks like cinched. The front...

... and the back.

Before I had it finished, however, Miss C told me she could use a new little pouch to store her latest collection of tiny figures, Hatchimal Colleggtibles. For those of you who might not know what they are, here's a photo I took last Tuesday when she'd brought them all along to show to me. She's acquired quite a few more since then, thanks to her birthday!

She and I decided together that the Encore Clutch, another pattern by Erin Gilbey, would be just the right size. So here it is, and it displays the kitties nicely, too (again carefully fussy cut). Front...

(Did you notice the "Kitty Tails"?)

... and back.

The set together.

You maybe noticed the kitty paw prints on the straps. The bags are both lined with it, too, and you can see it here on the backpack.

Here she is with her new bags for a little size reference.

She's wearing the backpack below, to show its size again. The straps are somewhat too long right now, but I only knotted them at the bottom so they can easily be adjusted, and then they can be lengthened out again as she grows.

Here's one more photo of the birthday girl. (Yes, she had TWO cakes!) I didn't realize until I was looking at the photos after I got home that I'd caught her twice in this one. Funny. :)

I know someone's going to ask, so I'll tell you right now that the fabrics are by Timeless Treasures. They are called Cats in the Library and Paw Prints. I got mine from, but I'm sure you can find them other places, too.

The patterns can be purchased here. If you happen to read this yet tonight (Sunday, Feb. 4), Erin has a 30% off sale on all her patterns for the rest of the day. Use code WINTERFEST.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Another new model

Remember the little baby track suit I made for a new grandnephew a couple months ago? You can read the details about it here. I was delighted last week to receive these photos of him wearing it! It's still a bit big for him, as he's not quite 5 months old yet, but babies outgrow clothes so fast that it's good to start using them a little early.

So here he is! Forget the track suit... his adorableness steals the show! Those eyes!!! 

(Photos by his parents, used with their permission.)

I wondered how difficult that top might be to get on him. His grandma reported that it was "not the easiest to get over his head, but it was doable". So I don't know if I'd use that pattern again, unless I had some super stretchy fabric. Babies don't usually like getting things put over their heads anyway, much less something that's a bit snug. So we shall see......

Friday, January 12, 2018

Something different and beautiful

This is a different sort of post from the usual sewing stuff. I mention in my last post that we have something beautiful. Here it is!

Isn't he gorgeous? He's a stallion. We're temporarily boarding him for someone, just until he gets sold. In the meantime, we enjoy seeing him every day.

He is a shire, thus he is a very big horse! His owner said he's close to 18 hands, which equals about 6 feet from the ground to the top of his withers above his front legs. They're measured there because that's the only place his height doesn't shift when he stands. I learned that recently.

He prances a little when he walks, really lifting those front feet. Look how fluffy those huge feet are!

Here are a few more photos for your viewing pleasure.

And maybe for a chuckle.

See that white patch down below his flank? That's the main reason he's being sold. The owner doesn't want that white to show up down his breeding line.

Last Tuesday my favorite photography assistant came after school. Here she is giving a little size reference.

Yes, Ethan is very friendly. Shires are noted for their calm temperaments. Someone recently referred to them as "gentle giants".

Giant, indeed. My assistant got a shot of me to show you how big Ethan is, too!

He loves his grain, which he gets a scoop of once a day. When he's particularly impatient, he will rear up and/or kick up his heels. I've tried getting a photo or video of him doing that, but of course he won't do it when I have the camera along. Stinker.

This is the scene I often see when I go out to feed the cats. He's waiting for me.

He doesn't mind the cold or snow, although he doesn't care much for the arctic winds we've had lately (nor do I!), and he'll go into the cattle shed when it's too nasty. Otherwise he's outside, even if it's well below zero, which it has been a lot lately. Brrr!

All in all, he's very pleasant to have around, not to mention very photogenic, and I don't mind if he doesn't get sold for a long time!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Christmas Sewing 2017

In case anybody reads here anymore... Happy New Year!! ;)

Okay... so it's been an entire month since I last posted. Exactly. It's not that I've been idle! Christmas happened in there, y'know. That takes time. Plus, I did some sewing but I couldn't post about it because there were gifts involved and I didn't want to spoil any surprises!

I'll just do a quick summary instead of writing individual posts for each item. First off, I made a pair of oven mitts for Jess and Alex. They're made from an older line of Jess's canvas fabrics.

They were requested over a year ago but I didn't have time to make them for Christmas then. They were much-needed, though, to replace these...

... which were well-used, as you can see. I'd made them over 7 years ago. You can read about them here.

Here they are, each happy with their new mitt.

Next, I made a little backpack.

A VERY LITTLE backpack! See?

That also was from some of Jess's older canvas fabric which had been laminated. I made it from a tutorial you can find here. It calls for laminated fabric, likely because the inside isn't lined, so the laminate would prevent fraying of the unfinished seams. I wouldn't recommend using canvas like I did, though, because it was too stiff and thick, which made it very challenging to sew. I almost tossed it out, but then ripped off the outer part and redid it, and I'm glad I did. It turned out pretty cute, even if a bit wonky in places (which you can't see in that pic).

I also made a couple of coasters, just for fun, and as a test for what I'll show you in a bit. They were easy and very fun to make. I followed a video found here. These fabrics are from Jess's Typography line of quilting cotton from a while back.

Last but not least (because they're very handy)... but definitely the quickest and easiest, I made a couple of cord wraps.

They're made following a tutorial found here. There are two different sizes in the tutorial, and these are the small ones. The larger size would be good for appliance cords or computer cables. I used snaps instead of velcro on mine, because they're cute and just fun to install, even though the wraps are not adjustable as they would be with velcro. I also made these as a test.

The reason I was testing the coasters and cord wraps was that Courtney wanted to make some as Christmas gifts, so I wanted to make sure they were doable for her. She made all of these below. She did a great job, didn't she?

That's my wrap-up of sewing projects. I have a long list of other things I want to sew now, and I received some Christmas gifts to enable my sewing. Yay! I'll show you them soon. Plus there's something else new around here that I want to show you, too. Something beautiful! So do check back. But not too soon... you know how slow I am! LOL