home ec

Home Ec {The Quilt}

Say what?!? Another Home Ec project? Heck yeah! I finally checked another one off the list. And this one was the Mother of all Projects - The Quilt!

A little backstory : You may or may not know that our house as been undergoing a huge renovation since last December. This huge project has forced me to look at our house with a critical eye and start cracking on some of the decor. 

We got new windows installed, which meant out with the old dark wood frames and in with fresh, new white windows! It's like every room has started over with a clean slate, a new canvas, ready to be decorated. For our bedroom we decided it was probably time to get a new, adult bed - meaning no more sleeping on a mattress on the floor. Once we had the new bed frame in place, along with the new windows, the old duvet was looking really sad. Since the bed was lifted off the floor, I was finally able to notice how saggy and uneven the comforter had been. I realized this was the sign I needed to finally start making our new quilt.

Yes, I decided to tackle a Queen-sized quilt for my first quilting project. And to add to the already daunting task, I decided to do it when our house was under construction. A.K.A., Dust City! Not to mention we have very small rooms in our 85+ year-old house - it would be next to impossible to lay out such a large quilt. 

So I decided to take an entire weekend off, travel to my parents' house, where they have a much larger space - perfect for piecing a queen-sized quilt - AND they could keep Stella busy while mommy sewed.

1) The fabric, all ready to be cut. 2) Cut squares.

I was really excited about the color scheme - sky blue, white, black, light pink, caramel and charcoal grey. I got started right away Friday night, cutting up all the pieces. This was definitely a true test of my measuring/squaring skillz.

1) Cut triangles - so pretty! 2) A close-up of all the pinned triangles.

It was lots of repetition, but sometimes it's kinda nice doing monotonous work - it's almost meditative.

It was all going pretty smoothly until it came time to lay it all out. Wow, a queen sized quilt is huge, when you take in the over hang! Even in my parents' very large Great Room, it barely fit. And the pets and Stella LOVED laying on it. Ugh!

1) Chloe preferred laying ON the pieces - I wasn't such a fan. 2) The quilt top all sewed up!
By the end of the weekend, I had finished machine-sewing the quilt top, and pinned it to the batting and the backing. I carefully folded it up and brought it home to be basted.

Photo taken by my mom from the loft (©2013 Paper Seedlings)

I had planned on hand-quilting it, which meant I had to hand baste it. THAT was a huge pain. The basting took me about 6 hours alone. The hand-quilting was fun, but super tedious. Stephen got a kick out of watching me with a huge heap of quilt sitting on my lap as I worked on small sections at a time. At least I was warm!

The hand-quilting ended up taking about 3 weeks, doing one row per night.

After binding it with the charcoal grey, it was finally finished! And I love it. Our room is so dreamy now.

Don't mind the unfinished painted wall in the above photo - that's the next project - painting the room a light grey.

Thanks for following along the process! Now hopefully I'll be able to finish Stella's quilt that I started last year with the Block of the Month club - and a Twin sized quilt doesn't seem nearly as bad, right?

Home Ec {Weekend Tote}

Can you believe your eyes? Yessiree. I have finally completed another Home Ec project! I think it has been about a year since the last, so it was LONG overdue. And what inspired me to tackle another project? Well, this upcoming weekend, I have a big illustration getaway planned, and I wanted a cute bag to carry all my stuff. Instead of buying one, I remembered the Home Ec tutorial for the Weekend Tote and decided to make it for the occasion!

Since this was one of the later projects, it would definitely be one of the more challenging. But I figured I've had some practice making various bags the last year (here and here), and I thought it wouldn't be too bad. Plus, this one called for some leather - how fun is that?!?

In lieu of buying some new leather online, where I wouldn't really know EXACTLY what I'm looking for, or what I was going to get for the money, I decided to scour the thrift stores for an old leather jacket that I could upcycle. But, I found an even COOLER option:

LEATHER CHAPS! Ohhhhh yeahhhhh!

They're XL, so I HAD to stand that way just to keep them up on my hips. :-D
But XL means lots of leather - exactly what I needed. The largest panel required for the bag was 18"x18". Unfortunately, there wasn't a section of leather from the chaps that didn't have a seam running through the middle. See how the legs were broken up into panels?

I decided to go for it anyways. After ripping apart one leg, I thought it would be cool to incorporate the big zipper from the chaps as well. And thankfully, it was JUST long enough!

As far as the fabric upper portion went, I decided to finally use the cute  Echino bike fabric I bought at Purl SoHo almost 2 years ago. The black leather would look great with the colors of the fabric. And as for the lining, since this would be a pretty heavy-duty tote, I wanted to use some heavier fabric - I ended up using some red and white striped upholstery fabric from IKEA. I was all set and ready to start sewing!

The basic bag construction was pretty simple. The tedious part was making all of the little leather accessories - the handles...the zipper tabs, etc. Sewing leather means taking it slow - but it was SO worth it in the long run. I LOVE how it turned out!

You can see where there is a seam running through the bottom panel and the leather handles. I really don't mind it, especially when there is such a good story to go along with it. And doesn't that zipper look badass? If the biker dudes only knew how cute their leather chaps could look...

New Project {BOM Quilt}


As the windows are open and the warm breeze is flowing in to my studio, I am trying to focus on work. It is hard, considering it is mid-March in Wisconsin, when the average temps are about 45°F, and today the high is almost 80°F. It is absolutely lovely! And today is not a fluke - we are having about 10 days in a row of way-above normal temperatures. Ahhhhhhh!

But, the work still needs to be done, right? Today I want to share a fun project I started a few months ago. As you may know, I am about 2/3 done with my Home Ec project list. Progress has slowed to a halt, unfortunately, because the last projects are the most complex, therefore they take the longest to complete. And I just don't have time to work on them. The last project on the list was a quilt, and I am SO, SO excited to work on it! My goal was to finish it by Winter 2011...ha! That didn't happen.

So when I discovered the wonderful, colorful blog of fellow Madisonite, Jeni, I couldn't have been happier to see her introduce the Block of the Month quilting club with the start of 2012. I figured I don't have time for a WHOLE quilt, but I probably could handle one block a month, right?!?

This soon-to-be-made finished quilt will be a bit smaller, so I thought it would be perfect for Stella's new twin sized bed. I picked out some bright fabrics that would complement her current decor:

The yellow apple fabric second from the top was the inspiration for all of the others. And guess what - I had all of these fabrics already in my stash! (See, Stephen? THAT is why I need to have all of this fabric! I didn't even need to go shopping!!)

Jeni's instructions are fantastic. I have never quilted before, so I hadn't had experience with some of the basic steps. Thankfully, she breaks it down even further and links to those basic skills. Perfect! 

Here are my first two blocks: January and February:

According to Jeni, January's block is a variation of the Sawtooth Star. And February is called Flying Geese. For February, I decided to use a vintage Big Bird pillowcase with big yellow feathers in honor of the bird-theme...

So far, I'm really enjoying the project. I am discovering it is a absolute necessity to be EXACT, which is a true test of my measuring skills. And Stella is loving the fact that I am making a blanket for her. Though I wonder if she'll have the patience to wait around for almost a year until she can use it!

This post reminds me - I should probably start March one of these days!


Home Ec : Sewing Machine Cover


Once we moved into our new house and my sewing room and office were combined, I wanted my space to be as lovely and inspirational as possible. One of the first projects I tackled in my new space was a bonus project from Home Ec - a sewing machine cover.

I had been using the white plastic one that came with my machine, so a pretty handmade one would be MUCH better.

This was a pretty easy project, the only new skill I learned was mitering the corners of the bias tape. I added a Bluestar Star, and voila! 

Have a wonderful day. If you're in the Midwest, stay cool!

Home Ec : Fabric Cubby

Yes! I've finally completed a few more Home Ec projects. I figured I should probably get crackin', since the tutorials are only available for a couple more months.

I decided to skip the Ruffled Duvet Cover, since we only have one bed and I'm saving it for the quilt. I'm sure with my little Princess Stella, I'll have plenty of opportunities to hone my "ruffling" skills.

So here's the next project on the list - the Fabric Storage Cubby. I decided to make it fit my super duper Expedit bookcase from IKEA. I never realized just how big the compartments were until I made a box to fit them!

I got to work with some stiff stabilizer for this one, which wasn't too bad until I had to sew up the final sides - it really didn't want to fit around the arm of my sewing machine. But I ended up prevailing in the end! And now I have a nifty floral box to prove it.


Home Ec - Pillow Covers

Though I haven't been working on Home Ec projects at all (boo), I had completely forgotten to post about this project I did back in October. The lesson was making a pillow cover with piping, and I decided to make a new dog bed for our hound, Chloe. For the past year she has been sleeping on an old comforter, so a nice, attractive pillow would be a welcome addition to our living room's decor.

I folded the comforter up and used its dimensions to determine the size of the pillow. The bottom of the pillow is a chartreuse duck cloth, which I figured would be tough enough to handle the abuse of our 60-pound dog. Though, unfortunately, it's light color shows off Chloe's dark fur balls.  

I had no problems with this one - even the piping was pretty easy. I hate to say this, in fear of jinxing myself, but I think I'm figuring out the whole sewing thing! And I'm sure Chloe would agree...


Trick or Tweet!

Howdy! I hope ya'll had a wonderful Halloween. Ours was great - it was full of zombies, butternut squash soup, apple cider, pumpkin carving, Rocky Horror Picture Show, pumpkin pancakes, a little Michael Myers, trick or treating and of course, candy!

This is my Halloween post, but there is a bit of Home Ec mixed in. Because I utilized one of the last projects on our list, Drafting a Pattern, to construct Stella's Halloween costume! Woot!

I know I skipped ahead in the Project List, but I didn't really have a choice! I have to say, this was a fun, but challenging one. This year, we weren't sure if Stella really understood the concept of "What do you want to be for Halloween", so when we found this cute photo on the internet we decided to run with it:

Super cute, right? Now I had to figure out how to translate that photo to a tangible costume pattern. Utilizing the Drafting a Pattern tutorial from Home Ec, I ended up buying a hoodie sweatshirt and sweatpants from the thrift store to cut up and reconstruct.
I have to say, I was a little nervous ripping out the seams. I noted the order of how I deconstructed, so I could [hopefully] put it back together with some lovely pink fur. I modified the original patterns slightly, because I didn't need the costume to have pockets or some of the unnecessary panels that were added for visual appeal. I just pared it down to the basic pieces.

I got to incorporate my knowledge of installing elastic (from the Ironing Board project) to the waistband, ankles and wrists. And I put in a zipper! After I bought a regular zipper for this project, I realized it had to open (because it's a jacket), so I had to go back and buy a Separating Zipper (duh!). Oh, the things I learned along the way. Needless to say, the separating zipper was much easier to install - just go up one side and down the other!

After I had the basic pink furry outfit constructed, I started adding the details. I sewed a pink boa on the sleeves for wings, around the waistband, and around the ankles. I added some hot pink ostrich feathers to the back for the tail. I made big pom pom eyes and sewed an orange foam visor into the hood to represent the beak. The "Big Bird" feet were the hardest. I really liked how the inspiration photo incorporated the child's feet as the center "toe", so I thought I could essentially make an orange sock and sew a stuffed toe on either side of it. But I was trying to sew it all as one piece, and I really messed them up. After I got the first one to [sort of] work, I had no idea how I did it and made the second one completely different. From afar, they look pretty good, but up close, you'll see my marker lines, seams from the wrong side and small gaps. Oh well.

After about 12 hours of work on this project, Stella's birdie debut came on Thursday, when she wore it to the sitter. She was NOT a happy camper.  For a little girl who LOVES to dress up, she had absolutely no interest in wearing this. She tried desperately to rip the feathers off and remove the beak. Maybe it was because it wasn't on her terms. Whatever the reason, it made me very sad. Needless to say, I was nervous that she wouldn't wear it for Trick or Treating. But guess what? She wore it! And I think she actually kinda liked it.

Here's the kiddo in all her glory:

I gotta say, after all that, I'm a pretty proud Mama. Yes, it sheds pink feathers everywhere, but I MADE THAT! Can you believe it?

Next up, Christmas projects. Oy.

Home Ec - Resized Dress

My next fun Home Ec project was resizing a dress. Some of the other girls in my class found the cutest muumuus and dresses to alter, but I didn't have much luck. So I settled for this striped number. I figured I could practice on this one, then when I finally find a real gem at the thrift store, I'll be more experienced when I fix that one.

One challenge I had while shopping was determining the potential of the dress. I've never done anything like this before, so I wasn't sure of the qualities to look for (beyond the obvious color / print). Since I am still a relatively new sewer (is that a word?) I can't take on anything too difficult, but what's difficult? I wish I had a list of things to look for that would guide me in finding a dress with the most potential.

The original dress was HUGE and it had shoulder pads. Yuck. I really like the style of shirt dresses, so I found a few styles on the internet and used those as my inspiration. I ended up hemming it up about 7 inches (maybe a wee bit short, considering it rides up a lot when I'm sitting. Note to self, always have a spare sweater or jacket I can lay over my lap when I'm feeling especially drafty...). I took in the sides a couple inches and the sleeves about an inch.

The alteration went smoothly. I rolled up the sleeves, added a little belt to give it more shape and voila! A cute little dress! Though it's still a bit wide in the shoulders, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Now I feel I'll have a lot more options when I go shopping, knowing I am capable of making it fit my shape better.

Back to work. Have a happy day!

Zip, Zip Zip

The next project in the Home Ec lineup was hemming a pair of jeans. Stephen had gotten a steal on a nice pair of jeans, but they were REALLY long. (Which is probably why they were so cheap). He asked if I could hem them, and I said I should be able to, with the help of Home Ec. I practiced first on a pair of his old jeans, just in case I messed up, and I'm glad I did. Though the process itself was pretty easy, I learned I HATE, I mean LOATHE invisible thread. At least the stuff I bought. It was like fishing line, and it had a mind of its own. It wouldn't stay wound tight around the spool, so it kept getting knotted around the peg the spool sits on. After all those frustrations, I figured for future hemming jobs, I'd forgo the invisible thread and just use regular thread that matches the color of the pants.

So when I did Stephen's real pair of jeans, I used a navy thread and it worked great! You can barely see the stitches. And he looks awful handsome... I figured y'all could probably envision hemmed pants, so I didn't need to post photos.

The above Home Ec project is the zippered pouch. I can now say I have successfully installed a zipper! Of course, my color scheme involved red and turquoise again, and I used some super cool striped thrifted fabric for the outside. There's not a lot to say about this project - I thought it was pretty easy - I used my zipper foot which helped a lot. I think I'm going to make more of these in different sizes for all my stuff. You can never have too many pouches!


Home Ec - Bib (and Purl SoHo!)

Hello! I'm back from fabulous New York City, but unfortunately my to-do list is miles long and the blog posts aren't taking priority. I figured I'd do a quick Home Ec update to prove I'm still alive.

Here's the next project on the Home Ec list - the quilted bib. This was a quick one, but I really enjoyed it. These will make nice baby gifts, because they're fast and make good use of fabric scraps. The new skill we learned was applying bias tape. I love how the tape finishes the edges and gives another hit of color. I think the tape was supposed to be wider than what I ended up buying, but I like the proportion of it to the relatively small bib. Though it was quite the challenge keeping it even on both sides and only having a 1/8" seam allowance! 

A quick note about NYC - I ended up visiting Purl SoHo, and it definitely lived up to the hype! I didn't have a plan before I went, so I just got really overwhelmed and wanted everything. The yarns were gorgeous, but it was the fabric selection that blew my mind. They had a whole wall of Liberty of London fabric! I don't think I've ever actually seen any real LoL fabric, and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was so soft, and the level of detail in the patterns was crazy! Someday, I'll do a project with LoL fabric. I will. I did buy a whole bunch of amazing fat quarters and fabric scraps, and a fun piece of bike-themed Kokka Fabric for my laptop case Home Ec project. I think I have a new love...FABRIC!

Purl SoHo fabric (Liberty of London is on the right)

The Kokka fabric I bought for a future project
Everyone have a great weekend! I'm hoping to play a little catch up with my L-O-N-G to-do list.



Home Ec - Curtains


I hope everyone had a nice weekend. Surprisingly, we had NOTHING going on, so we were able to relax and chill with the family. The weather was kinda dreary, so it made for a cozy weekend. It was wonderful.

Today's post is about my latest Home Ec project - the curtains! We had a choice of either the more traditional ruffled curtains or a more modern grommetted curtain. I went with the grommets because I really liked the clean look of them.

I purchased this retro-inspired pear Robert Kaufman fabric, since the curtains were going to hang in our kitchen. The colors would complement the red walls perfectly! For the most part, I thought this project was pretty easy, though I made some major mistakes along the way.

First of all, even though I had intentions of making only a valiance (not full curtains), I still split the fabric into two panels. And the funny thing is, I never even noticed my mistake until I was hanging them and realized there was no need to "open" them. Ugh!

Then I somehow miscalculated the folds, because the ends are supposed to point towards the wall, and mine point out. Though, I don't really mind this mistake because the cupboards sandwich the curtains and you can't really see behind them anyways. But what really confuses me, is that even when I went back and read the instructions several times I still can't figure out where I went wrong. Oh well.

And lastly, I think the pattern is upside down! I remember consciously thinking about the orientation of the fabric but I saw the pears went both ways. So I thought it was multi-directional. Then after it was hanging, I saw that MOST of the pears are upside down. Only the orange pears are right-side-up! Oy.

Despite all of this, I still really love how they turned out. They bring some color into our kitchen and they help cover up the unsightly hole that's in the ceiling above the sink. And, I had enough fabric left over to make 8 napkins to match!




Home Ec - Potholder

Since we've been pretty busy of late, I haven't gotten a lot of time to sew. Or draw. Or screen print. But that's okay, because life needs to happen, too!

Though I haven't had a LOT of time, I have had a little time for personal stuff, and today I'll show ya the next Home Ec project - the potholder. I thought this one was going to be easy! But I wasn't entirely happy with how it turned out. After quilting it, the edges all looked kinda mangled, and now I can totally understand why many of my classmates finished it with some bias tape to hide them. Though the bias tape idea was tempting, I figured I would just follow the instructions and learn from the process. The one thing I didn't like was how the bottom side of the potholder (the red gingham) started making it's way over to the top side. Apparently it's because I always started my quilting on the same side, so it caused the fabric and the batting inside to shift and eventually flip over to the top. So now I know that when I quilt it will help to alternate sides to avoid the shifting. Ah, well. That's why I'm in class - to learn - right?

The fabrics are thrifted, and of course, I had to use the turquoise contrast stitching, since it's my favorite!

These next drawings are a bit random, but I still wanted to share. Lately, Stella has become quite the artist. She is very fond of coloring, and holds the pen/crayon/marker like such a big girl! Of course, my heart just melts whenever we color together, because I not-so-secretly hope she grows to love art as much as I do. And oddly enough, I really enjoy coloring with her stash! There's something about those Crayola markers and crayons that I find really pleasing. If only she'd learn to put the caps back on after she's done...


Home Ec - Ironing Board Cover

The next project in Home Ec was the ironing board cover. I believe I've mentioned this before, but I really dislike ironing. I can count on one hand how many times I've ironed in the last 5 years, since we got a fancy iron for our wedding. But as I'm discovering, ironing goes hand-in-hand with sewing. 

I guess it makes sense. Trying to square up wrinkly fabric will throw the measurements off. Ironing makes that more accurate. "Ironing is the glue of sewing", says our wise instructor, Leigh Ann. She's right - it makes hemming a whole lot easier when we press the hems first. So I guess I have no choice to accept the fact: I will be ironing a lot more from here on out.

Though I wasn't ultra excited for this project, I am doing my best to complete the projects in order. I picked up this pretty fabric to replace the boring striped cover on my board and set to work. This project was a quick one. I learned to finish edges with a zigzag stitch (similar to what a serger would do), and learned how to work with elastic. It was actually fun! And I feel elastic is one of those materials that is incorporated a lot into sewing projects, so this was a good skill to have. 

I clipped up the cover and, voila! A pretty new ironing board. And I have to say, since I completed this, I've been actually enjoying ironing a wee bit more.

It's funny how bringing a little "pretty" in can make an otherwise mundane task that much more satisfying.


Home Ec - Supplies Roll-Up

Yay - Another Home Ec project! 

I was very excited for Project #5, the Supplies Roll-Up, because I'm constantly throwing a fistful of drawing pens in my purse or bag when I go out, then end up eventually losing all of them. Now, with my nifty new supplies roll-up, I can just fill it up with all my drawing instruments and be good to go!

I was also looking forward to using this super-cool oil cloth that I had bought at the Home Ec Workshop in Iowa. From what I've found, oil cloth isn't the easiest to come by, so when I found some as cute as this, I had to snatch it up before I wouldn't see it again. The inside fabric is some recycled cotton from a friend, and I thought it complemented the polka dots quite well. 

The project was pretty straightforward, but the most challenging part was the nature of the oil cloth itself. Since the good side is so sticky, it was next to impossible to move through the sewing machine as I sewed it. I finally ended up laying it face-down on a piece of tissue paper and sewed it together. The tissue didn't cause any friction, and I was able to tear it all off fairly easily when I was all done. Here are a few photos of that process:

What's interesting about my problem is when I emailed one of the instructors about the issue, she had never heard of such a thing. Weird! Maybe I just have extra-sticky oilcloth, but I don't know how people DIDN'T experience it. There was no way I was going to be able to sew the oil cloth without the tissue. So if there are any Home-Ec'ers out there having the same problem, this worked great!

I'm trying to finish up a logo project for another client, so I should probably get back to my "real" work. Take care!


Home Ec - Bunting


Today I have Home Ec Project #4 : Bunting to show y'all. I thought this would be the perfect decoration for Stella's room. It's funny, her walls are pretty bare for having an artist for a mommy. I have a painting about 25% complete down in my studio, and lots of prints that need to be framed, but unfortunately other projects always trump Stella's decor.

If I wouldn't be so darned insistent on making everything myself, there would probably be more decorations in her room. But every time I see something that has good Stella potential, I think to myself, "Why would I buy that when I can just make it myself?". And then I never end up making anything. Does anyone else have that problem? Geesh.

So when I saw this bunting project for class, I figured this would be a great opportunity to actually MAKE something for Stella's room. And since it was an "assignment", I had to do it, right?

Of course, I made it in my favorite color combo (red and turquoise), but it actually matches her room really well. Her walls are a lime green, but all the accents are turquoise or red. And I went with a classic polka dot fabric to match her red polka dot pillow and comforter. Even though the red circles aren't perfect circles, I think they give it some character.

And Stella likes it, too! Her exact word: "Ooo!" with her mouth in a cute little "O" shape.

Today I'm feeling next to perfect. Therefore, I'm actually having a productive day! It feels so good to get some work done. And guess what? I have lots more to do, so I'm gonna fly.


Home Ec - Tote Bag!

Finally I've gotten to the Home Ec project I was really looking forward to: the Tote Bag! I know, it's really not that exciting, but if you know me at all, you know I really like bags. And I am a sucker for a cute tote bag. 

The fabric for this project is pretty wild. When I saw it at the thrift store I knew immediately it would be perfect for the tote - it's a heavy canvas - great for carrying big loads. Once I started working with the fabric, I realized there is a LOT of it, so I'll probably be making several totes in this pattern. Oh well, it's fun. And it wouldn't it look awesome with this little jacket?


I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days. My mysterious allergies that I've had the last month have turned into a full-blown head cold. Though I've been slogging along through my work, it hasn't been pretty. And I haven't been going too crazy with my extracurricular projects; trying to take it easy. I hate taking it easy - there's way too much to get done!

Happy weekend!

Home Ec - 3rd Project

Home Ec Project #2 - Drawstring Gift Bag is now in the books. To be honest, I wasn't overly excited for this one...though the projects immediately following it were piquing my interest, so I figured in order to get to those, I had to plow through this one.

The main panel of the bag utilized some vintage fabric. I have no idea what it is, but it is super soft and smooth - and it resists ironing! No matter how much I ironed, it still maintained those stupid pleats down the middle. Grrr! Regardless of the wrinkles, though, I thought the floral pattern was quite striking.

The project was moving along smoothly until it came time to hand-stitch the "strong slit", in which the ribbon would flow through. The hand-stitching didn't worry me, because I do plenty of that on my Fuzzies, but somehow I really confused myself. I had no idea what to do with the ribbons to avoid stitching them, so I pushed them off to the sides, but then when it came time to feed them through the hole, there was a lot of tension. I didn't sew them, but I think I sewed them into the space between the channel and the strong slit and kinda pinned them there. The bag DOES close, but it's not happy when I do so. Oh well.

Today is Stephen's birthday, so we're going to go CELEBRATE! Woot!

Home Ec - 2nd Project

Well, I finally finished Home Ec project #1 : Single-sided Napkins and Double-Sided Napkins. For being an environmentally-aware family, I am embarrassed to admit we still use paper napkins at meals. So seeing that project number 1 was cloth napkins, I was stoked - this could be the motivation I need to "green" up our lifestyle even more. 

I got a whole bunch of fabric from local thrift stores that I figured would be great for these Home Ec projects, but unfortunately, none of them would work well with our red kitchen. So even though these napkins are cute in their own way, they really don't match our decor. Such is life, right? Anyways, the yellow napkins are from vintage pillowcases and the purple ones are just thrifted fabric.

There were two types of napkins - single-sided, with just a simple stitched edge, and the double-sided with the added ric rac. Since I'm behind in my projects already, I had gotten wind through the rest of my classmates that the ric rac proved to be quite challenging. Boy, were they right. It involved some tedious sewing! But in the end, I think they are pretty cool.

The double-sided napkins are a bit thick, so I think I'll end up using the technique to make place mats or table runners. When I make more napkins for our "green" lifestyle, I'll make the single-sided ones, because I think they're better suited for our needs.

One thing I've discovered about sewing since this class has begun is that there is A LOT of ironing involved! For someone who doesn't iron much (who me?!?), this is a big adjustment. My iron is probably wondering what's going on, considering it hasn't gotten much use since it was lifted out of the box on our wedding day. Not sure I like all the ironing, but if it's a necessary part of the process, I'll have to learn to love it!

Hope y'all are having a splendid weekend. My In-laws are in town, so I don't think I'll get much creative time. That's okay, though - I haven't been getting a lot of sleep lately because I've been working hard, so this will be a well-deserved break.


Home Ec - First Project

Class is now in session!

As you probably know, (since I've been mentioning it non-stop for the last few weeks) I am enrolled in an online Home Ec course taught by Courtney, Leigh Ann and Rachel. On Tuesday, class officially started with projects being posted daily. The first project (actually a bonus project!) was a pincushion. 

It utilized a simple quilting technique that made good use of scrap fabric. I actually had some scraps in some awesome prints that I've been saving for the perfect project, and they were too small to use for Fuzzies. This pincushion project gave me the perfect opportunity to use them up!

The actual dimensions were supposed to be 6" x 6", but since one of my scraps was still too small, I decided to alter it a bit to suite my needs, hence the rectangular shape. But I still think it turned out pretty good!

Considering it's Thursday, obviously I'm already behind on the daily projects. But that's okay, since we have a full year to finish them. Though I'm so excited, I'd like to churn them out fairly quickly.

Oh, and I should note: The above photos were altered using a great Photoshop action from Rita over at her CoffeeShop blog. She has so many great actions/tutorials on her site, most of which create a vintage-looking effect on photos. I've been playing around with some of them, and they really create some interesting looks. Check it out!


Fabric Score!

In preparation for our upcoming Home Ec class, I needed to stock up on some vintage fabric. My favorite thrift store is about 50 miles away, so needless to say, I don't get there very often. This week I decided the trek was worth my while. And boy, was I right! Look at this score:

 The motherload

I don't know if you heard it, but there was a "da da-da dum" when the photo was revealed. 

I thought I hit the jackpot. In fact, I actually felt guilty for practically cleaning them out of fabric. Everywhere I looked there was potential. I was a kid in a candy shop.

Unfortunately, as I unloaded my cartful of fabric onto the checkout counter, their register decided to break. Bad timing. But I didn't care. I would have waited all day for these treasures. (Though I'm not sure the ever-lengthening line behind me would have been so understanding).

Here are some close-ups:

Now, all I need is the supplies list and I'll be able to start sorting these into potential projects.