Sunday, May 29, 2011

Draw String Bags Tutorial

A couple months ago, I wrote about making seasonal felt puzzles with my embroidery machine....the designs come from My Fair Lady.  Any how, a couple of them do not have pockets big enough to accommodate the puzzle pieces, party because I add an extra piece of felt on the back to make them heftier.  So I decided to make small draw string bags to keep part of the pieces hopefully they won't get lost.

These are so easy to make and have a ton of applications for use.  They can be made in any size too.

I selected two different novelty fabrics to go with their appropriate monthly puzzles and ribbons to match.  I like grosgrain for this application for sturdiness.  Cut out 2 pieces of fabric the size you want your bags to be plus 1/4" seam allowance around each piece.  Also allowing an extra 1 " at the top for the casing, if using 1/4" ribbon.

Press the top of each raw edge under, then press the edge down again a little larger than the width of your ribbon...probably about 1/2" .  Take some seam sealant and go over the drawstring openings.

Edge stitch along the casing edges on both the front and back of your bag.  Then stitch the bag together around the outside edge with right sides together.  Starting just below the drawstring opening and back stitching to secure, continue to the other side and back tack at that drawstring opening....otherwise you won't be able thread the ribbon through the casing.

  Then I did a zig-zag stitch around those seam allowances just to strengthen them and keep them from raveling, also starting below the casing and stopping before the next casing on the other side.

I have laid the ribbon out to show you how it needs to be threaded in both directions to make a drawstring.   To determine your length, just lay out some ribbon and allow for some extra to tie a knot in the end.

Turn the bags right side out and use a bodkin to thread the ribbon through and then tie a knot in both ends to keep them from being pulled out.

Here are the bags with each puzzle.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Czech Heritage

The "Silver Fox" a.k.a. hubby has been in school full-time toward a RN degree and working full-time for the past three years.  He has the summer off, so we are knee deep in 3 years worth of projects, but we are also going to have some fun this summer.  I suggested to him, that we have fun 1 day a week and he fired up for that as well.  We took off to Cedar Rapids and the Czech Village a few days ago.  We have never been there, but knew they had been heavily damaged in the flood of 2007, so really didn't know if there was anything left to see. 
They fixed this small building up as a temporary museum while they are in the process of moving the Czech museum just down the street. We were told they lost 20% of their collection, which is much less than I thought.  My great-grandmother came with her family from there when she was 3 years old. They settled in Chicago for a time before coming to the Traer/Toledo area. Although they were not a part of the Cedar Rapids settlement, as I looked at this model.....I am sure the women in my family looked very much like her.  Notice the gold stripe on the wall, that is how high the water was in this building during the flood.  I am including a link to the museum, especially if you are interested in watching them move the main museum, it is a HUGE building.  This is to happen very soon.

Rose Fisher Weaver, my Great-Grandmother..... seated with her classmates in Chicago, 1894.  I remember my Grandma K. telling me about members of Rose's family getting training to sell sewing machines while they lived there for their income.  I always thought that was very interesting and loved that story.

We were encouraged to stop at the Sykora Bakery, which has been in business for many years in the Czech Village.  This shows the 80 year old ovens from the bakery that were destroyed in the flood.  What beautiful ovens, I can't imagine how much they produced over 80 years.  Sadly, only the fronts of these appliances remain after the flood.  They had to replace their ovens, but saved the face of the old ones for display.

We had to partake of the kolaches.   I had a strawberry one and Jeff enjoyed the cherry.  I remember my Great-Grandma W. making them when I was a kid.  And yes they were as good as they looked and they had a numerous fillings to chose from. 

Here is a recipe I found among my grandma's collection:


2 c. milk
3 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. yeast
5 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. shortening
1 t. salt

Warm milk to luke warm; add to beaten eggs and sugar.  Stir in yeast.  Add half of the flour.  Add shortening and salt; stir well.  Sift in remaining flour and beat till smooth and bubbles form on top.  The more you beat, the better the dough.  Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Take out and form balls the size of a walnut.  Put on greased pan.  Let rise for about an hour in a warm place.  Make indentations and fill with your favorite filling.  Let rise again and about 1/2 hour.  Bake in oven at 400 for 10 minutes.

Poppy Seed Filling
1/2 c. poppy seed
1 T butter
2 T honey
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. chopped almonds

Mix everything but the almonds in a small sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly 5 minutes.  Cool.  Add almonds.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Photo Memory Quilt

The last two weeks have been spent working on a memory quilt for our niece's high school graduation.  The first plan was a t-shirt quilt, but bless her niece could not let go of her t-shirt collection quite yet.  So Aunt Sheri had to come up with Plan B. 
This is the back.....I used my t-shirt from the state BB tournament as a big chuck of the backing....just added some additional fabric to make it large enough.  I included a photo type label on the back, a yellow pocket that I included some newspaper clippings from some of the games and a fabric sleeve across the top to hang it.


I wanted to divide the body of the quilt from the border, so added some rick-rack just to define the star points a bit and not have them all run into the border.  The stars and photos I stitched in the ditch with clear monofiliment thread and the outside borders I stitched an easy free motion loop design.

I did a couple layout designs in Electric Quilt before deciding on this one.  I love that program!!!  Especially on this type of project, you don't want any major surprises when you get it part way finished.  I added some machine embroidered titles in each border and her name and that pretty much finished it off.  It was a fun project to work on and thankfully because I was on a short deadline, I had no hiccups printing the photos and lining up the embroidery.....which does not always happen.  :)

I have done several of these photo type projects and I have loved everyone of them that I have done.  I will have to post some of the other pictures another day for some inspiration.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Scrap Buster Log Cabin

I have been working on this scrap quilt for a LONG time.  I started it while working at a local quilt shop, when I would have my work done, between customers.  These blocks are made with 1-1/2" strips in the traditional style starting in the center with a square and going around and around.

This top is not quite sewn together, but I have sections of it done into blocks that are 2 x 2.  I have been putting tops together lately in this manner, instead of doing them in rows.  I feel like I get less distortion that way and it seems like it is less bulky to handle.

I did the layout in Electric Quilt 7 and did several variations before choosing this one.  I have included my EQ file to share with those that have EQ7.  You are free to use this for your own personal use, but not for pattern resale.  If you want to share this on your blog, please link and give credit to this site.  I enjoy sharing my work, but ask that you respect my copyright. 

NOTE:  This link will only work for those that own Electric Quilt 7, if you have Electric Quilt 7 and this link does not work, please let me know.  If you do not own the computer program Electric Quilt 7, this file will not open for you.  As this is the first time I have linked to a file....I am hoping this link works correctly. Another learning curve in the land of blogsville.