Sunday, September 14, 2014

New Music Room!

I took a new music job and it has been such a great adventure so far! Before I got there the school had only had part time music teachers and no music room. I have tried to create an awesome music space for our students. (I apologize for not writing recently but the time I spent working on this room was well spent.) I have made curtains, spray painted iron music notes, found music books and instruments all over the school and bought blue carpet! 
Yes, Blue!
 My dad and step mom donated three of these great big iron music staves. I spray painted them blue and put them on the back wall with commander hooks. 
The curtains look red in the sunlight. They also help with making the room dark enough to project on the board.
The blue carpet I found at Ollies for a good price! I had to buy two 6'X9' rugs to cover the floor. The kids love their new space and I hope we share wonderful memories in this new space!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to School with L.L. Bean Bags!

This school year is about to start and every year we buy a new book bag for the girls. It is fun to pick out but once you get to the check out and you see the amount everything costs, it can make your hair stand on end. That is why last year I bought L.L. Bean Book bags. They have a lifetime guarantee and are super durable. 
So once the new school year rolled around I took out the LLBean bags. Gross, yucky, marked up bags. It's great they have a warranty but I can't replace them just because they are dirty. What to do?
Then, I remembered the stain remover solution of 2 parts Hydrogen, 1 part Blue Dawn dish soap. Luckily, I had the two and mixed up a batch. I took a sponge and rubbed the solution all over the book bags. After letting them sit for a while I sprayed them with water. They were still a little soapy, so I placed them in the washer. Finally, I let them air dry and Ta Da! New beautiful looking book bags. The only part of the book bag that did not like getting wet was the reflector part. It is actually leather like in material. Even still they look great.
 Then for the monogramming! My littlest doesn't really care about monogramming so we went with a "K". My oldest is starting to like it, so we went a little fancier with the interlocking monogram.
 To monogram these bags it is best to open them up completely and embroider above the front zipper pocket. You only have 3" in height so keep your embroidery file 3" or smaller.
There is not a good way to hoop the bag, so place it on top and baste stitch or use adhesive spray on your interfacing. Overall my girls are super happy with their bags and I am ecstatic that I have saved our family money.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Monogram a College Duffle Bag

I recently embroidered this duffle bag and hat for my niece who is attending college this year. I hope she can use it to come home and visit. At first I had no idea how I would fit this large bag under my machine but I found a way and I wanted to share this will you!
First, you can find this type of duffle here at Sew for Less for only $12.99!! They have fifteen different colors and they are made from recycled materials. In order to get the bag under my machine, I flipped it inside out and placed the bag over the embroidery machine like the picture above. Centering the design was a little tricky and since the bag was turned to the side, I had to also turn the design. It worked out beautifully. 
Embrilliance Essentials is the program I am using on my Mac computer to merge and set my designs up for my embroidery machine. I love Embrilliance!! It is only $149 which is very cheap for a program that will allow you to do so much. I highly recommend it. If you click on the picture below it will take you directly to their site.
Enjoy every day!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Magic Pattern Book, Cecelia Dress

The Cecelia Dress is another sewing pattern from the Magic Pattern Book by Amy Barickman. You might be thinking I know that dress it is a peasant dress but you would be wrong! Amy takes you through a few different steps and before you know it you have a new lovely frock!

One of the wonders of this pattern is the scallop sleeve. It is the reason this dress is not your typical peasant dress pattern. The scallop sleeve was a new skill I learned today. I will probably use this technique over and over again.

I love pockets, so the large size pocket is great to house pens, markers and tissues for kids. The belt ties in an adorable bow on the front of the dress which makes me feel like I am wearing an apron. The belt also gathers the dress fabric around the waist and helps to give shape to your silhouette. The last fantastic feature of the Cecelia Dress is how versatile it is. I can wear this dress now in the summer with sandals or flats. I can also wear this dress in the fall with a cardigan and pair of boots. 
*More sewing reviews from this book; Blythe skirt and Charlotte shirt.
Best wishes and tons of stitches.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Magic Pattern Book, Charlotte Shirt

Yesterday, I wrote about the Blythe Skirt from the book the Magic Pattern Book. I just finished another fabulous project and had to share! You know it is a fantastic book when you can make many of the projects quickly.
This is the Charlotte shirt from the Magic Pattern Book written by Amy Barickman. This shirt is a great fall shirt to wear. In the Magic Pattern Book Amy shows you how to repurpose an old mens shirt to make something new for yourself. My husband over the pass year and a half has lost 100 pounds and he let me cut up one of his XXL button down shirts. WooHoo!! I am truly proud of him. 
I took the easy way out. I left the bottom hem intact and the sleeve cuffs. I also left the buttons and sewed the center together. Leaving all of that still put together left less for me to sew. The sewing pattern calls for bias tape as a casing, I chose to fold the casing back so you would not see it to create the casing.
The Charlotte shirt is comfortable to wear and looks great with leggings and boots. I think I might have to get a navy vest for the fall! That would complete the look.
Or A large leather belt would look good around the middle with a comfy scarf. 
What do you think?
Of course what makes this shirt fun to wear is how open and loose it is. It is not a dressy shirt to wear to work, it is a stay at home reading my book and drinking hot tea shirt.
You've got to try this book!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Magic Pattern Book; Skirt Review

If Amy Barickman's name doesn't ring a bell, how about Indygo Junction? Amy Barickman founded Indygo Junction in 1990 and over the past 20 years she has sold 2 million sewing patterns! When I found out she recently authored another sewing book, I had to give it a try. Her new book is called The Magic Pattern Book and it has a wonderful concept. 
In The Magic Pattern Book Amy take 6 patterns (tank top, skirt, dress, cardigan, coat and accessories) and creates 36 designs from these 6 patterns!!  For example, the cardigan, has 6 versions you can create. 
The Cardigan Family
That's not all, Amy doesn't just give you the instructions and tell you how to manipulate the pattern templates but she has given you all 36 designs with full templates on a CD in the back of the book. Many times a sewing book will suggest extra designs but when you go to create it you have to draft the new design by yourself. Amy has constructed it all for you! I Love That!
You will have to print and cut out your templates but I rather have a digital version of the sewing pattern for my digital library. This makes organizing a breeze and if I loose a piece I can simply print what I need. 
She also gives you 6 fabric options for all 36 designs. I enjoyed this too because so many times it is hard to imagine if a certain print would look good. The models are also wearing the finished products and Amy tells you their height! This is wonderful information because I am not 5'9", I am 5'1" therefore will have to cut everything to adapt for my petite size.
These are posh patterns! My Blythe Skirt from the Magic Pattern Book is on the left. J. Crew's Front Pleated skirt for $110 is on the right. Ok, now I might have to make an orange one too. It is constructed differently I have front pockets and I used a elastic casing in the back vs. J. Crew has no pockets and used a back zipper. The front of the skirt has the same great front pleat look.
By the way, I paid only $4.99 for my chevron fabric at JoAnn's!  That is two yards of Chevron for $4.99 because I had a 50% off coupon!! I did have to line the skirt because the fabric is lightweight. 
I am currently working on the Cecelia dress pattern from the Magic Pattern Book. It is a dress that looks adorable with boots! I think I will make the Charlotte shirt first to test the bust size a little. See that is another fantastic point to make about this book you can make one piece from the family of patterns and when you get the sizing adjusted perfectly for one you have actually adjusted the sizing for all 6 family patterns. 
Ok, I am off to sew more from this great book!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Longchamp Monogram Bag

I love my embroidery machine, it is a Brother PE 770 and it is perfect for all of my projects. In the picture below, I am monogramming a Longchamp style bag. With the new Essentials software, it is simple to save my personal monogram as a embroidery file with basting stitch. Once the embroidery machine is loaded with the correct stitch file from Embrillance, Essentials, I line everything up and set it to work. 
This bag is made from nylon and it's texture is silky smooth. This is not a real Longchamp bag, I just can't swing a $150-$200 bag on a teacher budget but it is very nice. For instance, we were caught in the rain at church, I mean torrential downpour, and this bag is waterproof. I wiped the water right off and it was like the rain never happened. I looked like a drowned rat but my bag looked great!
 As you can see my machine stitched this up for me in a matter of minutes. I used a polyester thread that had the same silky shine to it. These bags come in all sorts of colors and since my handmade wardrobe can be a little colorful this is a great accessory!!
I like being organized and this bag has no exerior pockets and only one zipper pocket after I monogrammed the outside. That is not enough for a multi-tasker, so I turned to my purse organizer. However because this bag is so large my purse organizer just rolled around in the bottom of the bag. So I made this organizer especially for this bag...
As you can see in the above picture there are eight gathered pockets around the edges of the bag. I love this because the center of the bag can still be used for all of my larger items; cosmetic bag, iPad, book, wallet, etc.. If you would like this total package especially customized for you visit me at Sew Spoiled Etsy and place an order.