Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Handmade Christmas Gifts - Part 1

University of Texas Longhorn Pillowcase - Part 1 of my handmade Christmas gifts for this year.

My husband graduated from UT Austin which is a big deal in Texas.  There are two major college systems in Texas - UT and Texas A & M.  The Longhorns and the Aggies.  There is a branch of one of those, and sometimes both, in just about every mid-sized/large city in Texas.  So, I wanted to make him a Longhorn pillowcase for his stocking this year - especially after I found this fabric on clearance at Hobby Lobby ;).

I used the million pillowcase tutorial.  This was the first time I had ever made a pillowcase but this tutorial was amazing and the pillowcase is super easy to make.  I don't think it will be the last time I use this tutorial.  I see pillowcases in the futures of everyone I know!  LOL
 Isn't it cute all rolled up?  He was surprised and impressed that I made it.  Yay!

For this tutorial, there are 2 pieces of fabric to cut.  The one problem that I had with this tutorial is that it didn't tell you which way to turn the outer band of fabric if it is a directional print.  So, of course, I turned mine the wrong way the first time I sewed it and had to rip it out.  I wanted the outer band to go in the same direction as the main fabric.
 So, if you have a directional piece of fabric for your band, it needs to go this way.  The band fabric goes upside down and the main fabric is right side up.  If you check out the tutorial, you'll see what I mean about placing the fabric this way.  It has lots of pictures and is so easy to follow.
 Here is my pillowcase all rolled up and I'm sewing it into the "tube".
 And tada!  I got it right!
 The tutorial explains how to do french seams so that there are no raw fabric edges.  It looks very professional.
 A perfect pillowcase.
 With fabric all going the right way.
I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas.  Ours was quiet but nice.  Very low key.  There were only 5 of us and we had our traditional sandwiches - I'm not kidding, it really is a tradition.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Day Wrap Up and My Newly Organized Fabric

I just had to show a couple of pics of my Thanksgiving table. 

 I don't usually have Thanksgiving at my house but since we did this year, I had to go out and buy a tablecloth and I also made some napkins.  Just quick and easy napkins - nothing fancy.  You can tell I should have put the tablecloth in the dryer or something to get the wrinkles out but I didn't.  It was made of some funky cheap fabric and I was afraid it would melt if I ironed it.
 Anyhoo, here are my napkins.  I used a cheapy fabric from the "quilting" fabric wall at Hobby Lobby so I made sure to wash it before hand because I knew it would shrink quite a bit.  The backs are a natural muslin.  I top stitched them with brown thread and tied them with some orange zig zag.  I thought they turned out very cute. 
Also, surprisingly, I had some pretty decent sales on etsy this past weekend.  NOT on CyberMonday but on Thanksgiving and the day after.  My sales - and so many other handmade shops sales have really tanked on etsy the past year or so.  Especially since Chinese/Asian factories are allowed to sell there out in the open now.  Before, etsy tried to pretend they were all co-ops but now they are all completely allowed.  

Etsy - your placed to buy made in China crap at a considerable markup than Walmart.

Anyway, the sales were a nice surprise.  I appreciate all my customers and I hope they all enjoy the items they buy from my shop.  I know some of these were gifts so I hope they are loved by all the recipients.

Ok, now for my reorganized fabric shelves.  This is the fabric I think of as my quilting fabric.  (I keep my fabric I use to make aprons for my etsy shop on different shelves in the closet)  I'm still building my stash but I'm getting there.  LOL  After I got home from the Houston Quilt Festival, I didn't want to mix in my beautiful new fabric with all the fabric that was such a mess on my shelves.  It was all just sort of jumbled together, not folded neatly, stacks here and stacks there.  Ug!  So, I set about organizing for that I could add the new stuff and be able to find it.
So  here is the BEFORE of my shelves:
And here is the after:

 I turned them long ways up then folded each piece of fabric the same way so they would be the same size.  I separated by color.
 My larger pieces of yardage - 1 yard or more - I wrapped around pieces of foam core board that you can get at the dollar store for $1.  I just cut the foam board up - unfortunately I didn't cut it all to be the same size.  That would have looked more uniform.  I may redo that in the future. 
My precut fabrics.  The top right shelf is my batik collection.  Top left are my solids.  Bottom left are leftovers from past projects that I don't know what to do with.  Bottom right is my etsy store project box.  Unfinished, half done things and fabric pulled for aprons.

It's much easier to find things now and it looks neater.  I'm trying to not buy anymore fabric until after the first of the year.  I'm thinking February.  Which is really not easy because, pink castle fabrics, stash modern, etc are all having wonderful sales right now.  I think they're trying to kill me.  But I'm determined.  I have all the fabric I need for the projects I've started and need to finish by either Christmas or February (for the local quilt show).  So, I'm going to be strong and work on finishing - not starting.  

Help keep me honest you guys.  I really need to get some of this stuff finished.  

Thanks for reading my blog and stay warm wherever you are.  We are in an icy/freeze state in Texas right now and I know some places have it a lot worse.

**Linking up with My Quilt Infatuation**