AJ's Ramblings
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[13 Jul 2014 | 10:21pm]
Organizing the scraps

It’s been a while since I posted about organizing my fabric, supplies and sewing area. The last time I posted about this was back in 2012 (photos at bottom of the post)! I’m still using the same system of ” bins for everything”. We’ve moved since the last time I did a big sewing area re-org and I have less storage space now due to the lack of a crawlspace. I can only look with extreme envy at all the gorgeous sewing area pins I see on Pinterest. Maybe some day, I can have a dedicated sewing room too! =)

Last week, I finally decided I had to do something about the piles of scraps that have been building up on my sewing table. Scrap management was never much of an issue before I started quilting because anything smaller than 1/4 yard was probably never going to get used in a costume so I tended to just throw the scraps away. But now I find myself saving every tiny scrap because I can actually use it for something!

There’s nothing fancy about my system but it’s been working pretty well. I went to Daiso and bought a bunch of pretty containers. Really small scraps that were likely to be used in projects soon-ish went into bins on the table and pieces that weren’t as likely to get used got rolled up and chucked into the cabinet.

I also went through my fabric bins and cleared out some stuff. My rule is that I’m only allowed to have 4 bins of fabric and everything must fit in there. If I want to buy more fabric, something has to go to make room. It works pretty well at keeping my stash under control. =D

I finally admitted to myself that I was probably never going to use that 4 yards of blue lycra (and really why did I think I needed FOUR yards???) or the sky blue stretch vinyl. I usually donate my fabric to the Resource Area For Teachers so hopefully a teacher will get some use out of it!

Originally published at Confused Kitty Creations. You can comment here or there.

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[06 Jul 2014 | 11:05pm]
Using Up Scrap Fabrics – Mission Report #2

Now that my baby quilt is done, I’ve been sewing bags again. The two I just finished  are barrel pouches that are supposed to be pencil pouches, but could really be used for anything. I made 2 of them one right after the other and I’m afraid my first attempt (the green one) was definitely a trial run. I’ve been pawning off my trial runs on my friends so I hope Mi doesn’t mind that hers didn’t come out as nice as my second attempt. ^^;

I love how the the quilted diamond pattern came out, and I’m actually a bit sad that I decided to use pink for my second run instead of a color I like so that I could keep it. (I’m really not a fan of pink so that one is going on my Etsy shop.) This was the last of most of my Windsor Lane Bunny Hill quilting fabric so I guess I will have to find some other fabrics to make one for myself.

The pattern I was using had fabric yoyos for the endcaps but I didn’t have enough green fabric for that, so I tried a plain circular endcap. I could have done a better job putting in the endcaps and binding it, but the fabric yoyos are so much cuter that I’ll stick to using those the next time I make this bag.

And here are 2 other bags I made last week:

Technically the watermelon fabric was not scraps as I bought it specifically for this project, but I used it all up so that should count for something! I got the idea while looking at other people’s Sew Together Bags, and one lady had used this watermelon print fabric and it looked SO cute that I had to make one for myself.

The last bag is a simple tote. I was looking for a one night project so that I could justify putting off curtain hemming for yet another night. =D I’m especially proud of this bag because the trim used on it was purchased over 10 years ago in my first outing to the Los Angeles fabric distric. I bought it because I thought it was cute and could never figure out what to do with it. Since then, I’ve learned to be a little smarter about my fabric purchases but I still slip occasionally…

Originally published at fleur-de-lys.net. You can comment here or there.

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[28 Jun 2014 | 10:05am]
Baby Quilt for the Grub

I finally finished the Grub’s quilt! This one took a while because of all the scallop trim and because I decided I was going to attempt to step up my quilting skills. The scallop trim went fine. The attempt to do fancier quilting… the jury is still out on whether I accomplished that. =D

I didn’t use a pattern for this quilt so I did a lot of planning and math at the beginning, but apparently I can’t do math (please ignore my college degree that says I graduated in engineering), and my blocks didn’t quite come out the size I expected. It wasn’t a big deal as the quilt was very basic and I just worked around my faulty math, but I’m thinking I might just stick to using patterns in the future.

I also tried my hand at free motion quilting and all I can say is: wow, it’s HARD and I completely failed at it. I know practice makes perfect but I just didn’t have the time or patience to sort it out, so I put the walking foot back on and just wrestled the quilt through. It’s a little hard to see but there’s a simple quilted flower designs on all the snowball blocks.

I think the biggest thing I need to fix is how I’m making my quilt sandwhich. I am not getting the layers taut enough so I’m getting a lot of rumpling/crinkling. It gives the quilt a bit of a vintage look so it’s not like it’s a problem, but I think I prefer a smoother look. On my previous quilts, I used fusible batting but for this one, I tried a spray glue which works fine but I’m going to have to work on anchoring my layers better.

The scallop trim took the longest to do but I really like how it looks so I will definitely be doing it again. I used the Quick Points 1″ scallop rulers which I purchased from Fat Quarter Shop. I figured the scallops are kind of like the taggies on blankets that babies like to play with, and the Larva seemed to approve as she was pulling on the trim when I showed her the finished quilt.

For the scallop trim, you assemble long strips of fabric, trace the scallop design on, sew the scallops, trim the excess fabric, and flip the scallops inside out and press. It’s a time consuming process but once I got going, it went very smoothly and I found it to be a very zen-like activity. I also watched The Mummy and The Mummy Returns a few times while doing this. =D

And the finished quilt:

Originally published at Confused Kitty Creations. You can comment here or there.

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[19 Jun 2014 | 07:10pm]
Tea at Pemberley

2 weekends ago, the GBACG had a regency tea event in San Francisco. I never  pass up a chance at having tea, and being in costume always makes it that much more fun. The theme was “Tea at Pemberley” which is apparently a Pride and Prejudice reference. I only know that because Mi told me… it’s been way too long since I’ve read any Jane Austen.

I had planned to make a new regency: Judy and I purchased a gorgeous striped voile from India and got new patterns (the Fig Leaf Apron Front Dress) to try out, but she’s busy cramming her masquerade costume for SDCC, and I’ve been having fun quilting and making bags, and didn’t really want to stop to make a new costume. I decided to re-wear an old dress, and I hadn’t worn my blue saree open-robe dress to a GBACG event yet. Thankfully early regency dresses are something I can still wear comfortably. (Feeling very blimp-like these days…)

The tea was held at Dartealing, which I’ve never been to, and I really liked it! I wish it were closer so I could go more often. They had an amazing earl grey vanilla tea that I purchased  to drink at home. I also purchased some of their earl grey lavender which I haven’t tried yet. But it’s earl grey and lavender… how can you possibly go wrong?!

Here are some photos from the event!

Originally published at fleur-de-lys.net. You can comment here or there.

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[16 Jun 2014 | 08:29pm]
Achievement Unlocked: Etsy shop!

Opening an Etsy shop is one of those things I have noodled on and off for years and never made a decision about. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to sell and if I wanted to deal with running a shop. I ran a doll clothing and jewelry shop with Judy for a bit when we were really into ball-jointed-dolls, and I’m not sure I had a lot of fun doing it. After some thinking though, I realized that the problem with our previous shop was that I felt like I had to sell stuff so I spent a lot of time thinking about what would sell and making stuff that would cater to the market. And what people wanted to buy wasn’t  necessarily stuff that I enjoyed making.

What I would much rather be doing is making stuff that I want to make and if it sells, that’s just an added bonus.

“It’s the making not the having.”

Pretty by Hand, a blog I just started following and love, posted that last week and it’s so true. I love making bags but I need more bags like I need a hole in my head. (Marcus has this patented  ”ANOTHER ONE”? look when I tell him I’m making another bag. LOL) So that’s what my Etsy shop will be: a place for me to offload items I don’t have room for… which is pretty much anything craftsy I make these days. I barely have room for my costumes as it is.

So, I present to you the Confused Kitty Shop! Complete with my one lone product! (Isn’t the banner adorable? Lorelai made it for me.)

And here are some photos of the bag I’ve been working on for the last 2 weeks that I listed for sale.

This was supposed to be a fun fast bag using up scraps from my teacup quilt, but it ended up taking me way longer than I originally thought. I was making up the pattern as I went and some things didn’t quite turn out how I expected. Like I wasn’t able to flat fell the seams like I originally planned because of how thick the quilting batting made the bag, so I ended up using binding to finish the seams inside. The quilting step always takes longer than I think it will, and then I ended up doing more hand sewing than I originally planned because I didn’t like how the plain handles looked so I added the diamond appliques.

I feel like hand sewing is one of my more serious weaknesses, but I’m working on it! I have a bunch of applique projects in my future so I’m about to get lots of practice.

Originally published at fleur-de-lys.net. You can comment here or there.

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