Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sewing and Quick Gifts

Sewing and Quick Gifts
8.5 x 8.5 Squares

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart."~ Helen Keller.
A gift created with one's talents and creativity, and given with love is one of those times when the gift given is "felt with the heart."

Talented artists who sew certainly can sew elaborate gifts for those they know well but at times we want to give a small gift to friends as an acknowledgement of our friendship, and our pleasure at having them in our life.
Here are a few gifts a person who sews might consider creating for those friends: birthdays, holidays, new year, special occasion, or just because.  Each of these gifts have at its beginning a magic square - 8.5 inches x 8.5 inches.


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Omnigrip by Omnigrid - The Quilt Department
 
Fiskar Ruler - Rakuten.com.
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Invest in a template to enable you to quickly cut the 8.5 inch squares from remnant fabric, scraps, or purchased especially for the project.  This Omnigrip quilter's acrylic ruler template (with neon colored line markings) may be purchased from most major fabric / craft sellers such as Jo-Ann's, even Walmart and K Mart, and online at The Quilt Department.  Fiskar also offers an 8.5 x 8.5 quilters ruler which is available from sources such as Dick Blick's and others on the web such as Rakuten.com.  Price for either will be approximately $12.00 - $15.00 depending on source.

An Eye Glass Case

THREE magic squares
1. Some type of inner fabric that is soft and which will protect the lenses of the glasses - flannel or minky fabric, or anything soft to the touch. 
2. Bondable batting - Batting with an adhesive on one side seems to work best.
3. Top fabric - choose something fun and unique for the recipient.  Sports fabric for a preschool boy; a vibrant purple for a special friend who loves purple.

Most cases can be made as a slip in model, but for young children you may wish to sew in an elastic tab to go over a button.  (A tab with a button hole makes the case more elegant but it is also more cumbersome to open.  I much prefer the elastic loop and button closure.


 Step 1:
The construction is simple: First fuse the bondable batting to the top fabric.

Step 2:
Wrong sides together - sew the top seam and turn down the sides about 3/4 to 1 inch.  (If you are going to use the elastic or tab enclosure this is the time to sew that into the seam. Place between the layers and sew into the seam.) Turn the fabrics to conceal the seam. Press and top stitch.







Step 3:
Add any embellishments desired to the outside of the case.  (This is also the time to sew on the button if you have decided to create a closure to the eye glass case.)

Step 4:
Fold square in half, right side (or top fabric) inside and seam the bottom edge and side up to the point where the top seam has been sewn.  Turn case right side out.







Caution: If the glasses are wide you may wish to use a wider piece of fabric so the finished product is ample for the glasses.  For example: One toddler had a wide head and needed an adult width in glasses.  Those would have fit but since the bows were very long, and the child didn't need the length the bows were adjusted downward and necessitated a wider case to accommodate the bend of the bows.








Making these cases personal is as simple as selecting fabric that reflects the personality or interests of the recipient.  For the quilter you might even quilt fabric to create the 8.5 inch square, others might be simply a selection of fabric from your scrap stash that might be just the perfect selection.


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Travel Sewing Kit 

Every traveler needs an emergency travel kit and this one is simple to put together and serves the need to fix those simple tears, lost buttons, a hem pulled loose, and so forth.  The case is small enough to fit into a purse or a cosmetic or toiletry bag.



The fabric will reflect the personality of the recipient.  A more masculine fabric would make this a suitable gift that would fit easily into a toiletry bag.
 











Materials Needed:
  • Two Magic Squares - same or contrasting fabric.
  • 1/2 Magic Square - fusible bonding (4.25 in. x 8.5 in)
  • Button and either elastic tie, or tab w/button hold made from fabric.
Step 1:
Cut off a strip of 3 inches from one Magic Square (Piece A).

Step 2: Using the 3 inch strip, cut off 2.5 inches from the length making the piece 3 in. x 6 in. - fold with right sides together, sew side seams (leave bottom unseamed) to make a 3 x 3 inch pocket.
Step 3: The remaining piece is 5.5 x 8.5 (Piece B) - fold and press.



Step 4: Sew the 3 inch pocket to the longer folded Piece B.















Step 5:
  • Iron the fusible batting to the inside of one-half of the fabric.
  • Line up the Piece B pocket to the front of the bottom of the full magic square (the 1/2 that has the fused batting.)
  • Fold the right side of the unfused portion over and line up the bottom edges. 
  • Before sewing the three sides, place the elastic or the tab for closure in the center of the end furthest away from the small 3 inch pocket.
  • Sew the three sides leaving an opening us use to turn the kit right side out.
 


Step 6:
  • Top stitch all around
  • Sew vertically to help the item fold 1.5 inches from the elastic tab; and 3 inches from the other end.  
  • Making two stitching lines (for each vertical stitching) with only a fraction of a space between will help the kit to fold neatly.
Contents to be added:
  1. Scissors
  2. Sewing needles (could thread some of them with a light and a dark thread)
  3. Selection of thread
  4. Safety pins 
  5. Buttons
If you are making several kits you may wish to purchase the mini-scissors, thread packets, pins, buttons, etc. in bulk. 

Otherwise select inexpensive items that will fit into the kit. Make your own thread packets by cutting notches into a piece of cardboard - and wrap various basic threads around the cardboard.
If you are making your own it is always nice to thread some of the sewing needles to make the use handier.
The fusible batting that was included in the kit helps to simply stick the needles to the kit, pin the safety pins to the kit etc.  The scissors will fit nicely into the 3 inch pocket.  Loose buttons can be wrapped into a waxed paper "envelope" and tucked into a pocket.


If you want to purchase in bulk - follow these links:

Mini-scissors (50 in a pack) - Amazon $18.99

Contains: thread, needles, buttons, threader 



















Travel Sewing Kit 

Every traveler needs an emergency travel kit and this one is simple to put together and serves the need to fix those simple tears, lost buttons, a hem pulled loose, and so forth.  The case is small enough to fit into a purse or a cosmetic or toiletry bag.
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Button Button - Who has the Button




Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 

Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

 


Friday, June 23, 2017

It's Peach Season - Peach Cobbler

Here in Iowa the fresh peaches are just arriving from Georgia and Colorado.  It's time to make some fresh peach goodness.  This recipe for peach crisp is one of my favorites.

Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sewing Tips & Ideas: Storing Sewing Machine Presser Feet

At a recent meeting of our local Cedar Rapids Area American Sewing Guild several members demonstrated the tricks and uses of various pressure feet for the sewing machine.  I have a Husqvarna Viking® - the 140th Anniversary limited edition - The Tribute 140C.  The special offer included many accessories including extra presser feet.  The storage section that fits on the back of the machine platform is not handy, in my opinion.  However, during the demonstration of the pressure feet one of the demonstrators showed how she stored her pressure feet and kept them organized.  While most of them have a "letter" on the foot - that letter is difficult to read.  Other specialty feet do not have any markings, only a small folded paper that shows the foot and give the use in VERY fine print.  So this storage solution seemed to fit the need.

At the Dollar Tree I found these storage containers with lids. Online one has to purchase in bulk but most Dollar Tree Stores in our area have the square containers.

On the tops of each one I marked the letter of the foot, and an indication of the intended use.  My sewing machine guide book provides extended notes about the use of the pressure feet.


The most difficult part was finding a storage spot for the containers once the feet were in them etc. But they fit nicely in the corner of the Fat Quarter drawer in the sewing room.  They will be handy - won't fall over.

The demonstration of pressure feet was excellent - but appreciated this side sewing tip and idea as well.
Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Beyond Chocolate: bananas and butterscotch

St. Patrick's Day is a day for chocolate and mint - don't ask me why but that seems just right for St. Patrick's Day but when one doesn't like chocolate (can you imagine how boring life could be), I wanted to bake something special so here is today's muffin recipe - Banana and Butterscotch Muffins -- makes 18 muffins.


Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Green Mint Chocolate Cake

Green Mint Chocolate Cake

Green Frog Gifts loves anything green -- and this green mint chocolate cake is a great dessert to serve for any holiday get-together or St. Patrick's Day pot luck.  Simple as pie - well simple as cake.

Prepare cake mix as directed.  Substitute 1/4 cup of Creme de Menthe for 1/4 cup of the required water.   Add the oil and eggs as directed.


Optional: If you like a chocolately chunk component (and I do).  Take 3 Hershey's chocolate bars and chop them up.  Put into the batter and stir.

Bake and cool the cake.

Now for the topping - once the cake has cooled you will want to spread on the hot fudge layer.  Since the fudge is so thick I usually warm it in the microwave before spreading on the cake.
It'll still be warm on the cake so I stick the entire cake with the fudge layer into the freezer while I flavor the whipped topping.









I add a tablespoon or so of Creme deMenthe to the whipped topping and stir.  Add green food coloring if you want a deeper shade of green.










Cut the Andes mints into random chunks.
Spread the green Creme deMenthe flavored whipped topping on the cake over the fudge layer.  Randomly drop the Andes mints onto the top of the cake.




Share at your potluck or holiday meal.


Enjoy every crumb.

Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Secret Pockets -- and Aprons, Books, and Connections

A Is for Apron -- ABCs: Aprons, Books, and Connections

Everyone likes a secret and including a secret pocket in a garment is a fun thing to do.  This green apron has a secret pocket -- with a treasure inside.
And another secret as well...  All is revealed in A Is for Apron -- ABCs: Aprons, Books, and Connections
A unique presentation featuring the history of aprons, connections to books, and myriad of ideas for reading, sewing, creating, and building a literacy environment in your community.  A great keynote or luncheon presentation at functions which might include tradesmen, parents, educators, sewing enthusiasts. Sewing guilds.

 
McBookwords has a dozen or more authors that speak with young readers.  If you would like to investigate having this presentation for your organization  --  please contact us at McBookwords. A presentation for  all types of groups that are interested in literacy and  books, and arts such as sewing and creativity with fabric.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Aprons for the Smallest Cooks

Aprons - a Touch of Whimsy.
Just finishing adding the buttons to the latest aprons -- Check them out at Greenfroggifts on Etsy.  
Take a look here!













1 each of designs #1 - #2 - #3
Child's aprons approximately 18 in. x 22 in.
#1 - Fish with pocket and ruffle version: Fish motif, gold wave background. Adjustable neck - three buttons purple, green, and yellow. String ties can be tied in front or back. Pocket. Pleated ruffle at the bottom of the apron body.
Apron is double fabric - fish motif on the front, gold with orange wave on the reverse and as accent.
#2 - Gold fish pocket and full pocket of porthole blue fabric. Pocket same as background. Adjustable neck - with buttons. String ties can be tied in front or back.
Apron is double fabric - tumbling fish motif on the front, porthole fish fabric on the reverse and as a pocket with gold accent.
#3 - Porthole Fish in ocean apron with full pocket with fish in ocean motif across the bottom of the apron (tumbling fish motif fabric is also the apron backing).  White trim.




Do you have a book package that you'd like to order -- suggest something special just for you...  Visit Greenfroggifts on Etsy for the latest choices. 
Order cookie cutters, aprons, and baker's cloths from Green Frog Gifts -- unique gifts -- many $10.00 or under.