Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Mother's Day Again

I don't mean "It's Mother's Day Again" in a derogatory way, lol, but in a celebratory way. I decided to make each of my three moms a make-up, small clutch, a whatever they want bag. I like to make them something different and creative each year. 
I chose to make them a bag from a placemat.  I belong to a FB group at .  She has made so many different bags from the Pioneer Women's placemats at Walmart. A great idea since I can purchase them for little to nothing, add a zipper, construct the bag, and voila! 

For Mother's Day, I decided to try them and add an extra special embellishment of embroidery. This was a challenge. You'll see why later in the post. 

The placemats are truly easy to use. On the first one, I did not trim the outside of the mat. It was very bulky when sewing the seams and the zipper.
For the second, I trimmed all the sides and serged them. This made it so much easier.  If you don't have a serger you can just zig-zag to finish the four edges. 

Add a zipper to each side of the bag and you are basically done. 
If you want to embroider, it must be done before you sew up the sides. 
When you eventually sew the sides, you'll have to sew across the bottom and seem to create a box style bag.
I didn't know this, but when I returned to Walmart for a second, third, or maybe fourth time, I checked the placemat section each time I went there.  I found a set of napkins that matched the bags I was making. Whoo Hooo..... Can you say a fun strap to coordinate with the bag? 

I cut 2 in strips from the napkins I thought would match the bags I've made.

I folded them on each side to meet the middle. 
Sewed each with a 1/8 seam.

Added a round and hooked it to the zipper for a coordinating zipper pull.

I gave my Mom's their gifts at our annual breakfast downtown. I think they really liked them as I judged  their faces. I added a gift certificate for a local farm/restaurant. I hope they enjoy it. 

Lessons Learned: 
1. Can you see the difference in the embroidery designs? In the first picture, the dashed stitch placement is not covered. This is because the screws on my hoop were not tight. 

This second design is much crisper because I tightened the screws to the embroidery hoop.I changed the color too. 
2. I already mentioned you should cut off the edges of the placemats and serge or zig zag the edges before you embroider or add a zipper. 

Have you made something out of a placemat? I would love to see what you have done. 

Enjoy the day,  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

An Apple A Day

I wish I had my camera for the look on the recipients face when she opened my Thank You gift to her. She was sooooo happy, especially since she purchased a Cricut Explore for her daughter. The "oooos", "ahhhhs", and "I love it", were a sure sign to me that she really loved this gift.

The colleague I made this for is a true saint. I admire her caring nature. She is one of the most hard-working and loved member of our staff. She enjoys things that are created and made with a special intent in mind.

So here goes.....
This is the Thank You card in a box from Dreaming Tree.  The basic bottom and top of a box for notes is below.
The box design comes together with a red and green accent  shown below. 

The envelopes were my favorite.
Here are the cards. What a perfect gift for a soul that really appreciates everything done for her? She always writes thank you cards to everyone who does something for her, so I wanted to give her some special cards.
A gift box of cards to send to her special someone(s).
And here is the extra special touch of bling.  The self-adhesive jewels gave this project that "umph" it needed to really stand out.

It took me a couple of tries and an email to Dreaming Tree to get this project right. I love it, because my friend loved it. 

I can't wait to try more projects from the Dreaming Tree site. 

Lessons Learned: 

1. When making paper projects, it is really important to create folds perfectly. 
2. If something seems"off", question it. Find a solution to make it right. 

The original tutorial had the red of the apple on the part of the card that people write their sentiment on. I changed that. I put the red part of the apple on the same side as the cut of the apple was made. I wrote to the company and they were very receptive to my constructive criticism.

3. Do your own thing. When using a commercial file, add your own touches and make it your own.

What paper projects have you done for a special friend? How did they come out? 

Have a great day, 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Strawberry Fields Forever (Not)

I love strawberries (and apparently, so does Charlie).

This year, I've decided to grow just a few plants in a container on the deck and see what happens. If they die, the cost isn't that much.  I might be crazy, but I love to see any kind of plant produce its' riches, even if it's just a few.

I've tried for a couple of years now to grow them, but alas, I just don't have a green thumb to tend to and harvest the amount I would like.

The past years have proven to be experimental, to say the least. In 2015 we planted them in a makeshift gutter; one of the great Pinterest ideas I found. LOL We live in such a small house, on a small plot, I thought this would be the perfect solution. Although we had a number of nice berries during the summer, they didn't last until the next year. (Even though we followed the directions on Pinterest about how to store them over the winter.)
In 2016, we invested in a large above ground container and planted 8 plants. These lasted 2 years, but after such a hard winter last year, they didn't make it to this summer. :(
So here we are in the spring of 2018 and I've decided just to grow a few plants in a container. If they don't come back next year, it's not a great loss. By the way, since we purchased the plants 2 weeks ago, I've harvested 6 sweet, delicious berries from these plants (and they are still young.) 
This was a fun project. I started with a metal bin (yes, Mom, my research says strawberries can be planted in metal containers.) This year Walmart has a wonderful selection of metal containers designed for many uses.
I have no idea what this container is intended for, but it was not that expensive and I liked it. Isn't that what counts? 

I decided to jazz it up just a bit with a strawberry design from Apex Cuttables at  I used my Cricut Maker machine to cut the vinyl and attach it to the container. 


The finished project was completed when my hubby, Rich, drilled a few holes in for drainage. He also added the potting soil and planted the plants. 

The container has been out on our deck for a couple of days now. Our, ever curious, Charlie, goes out each day and checks on the plants. He licks them to see if they are good enough for us. 
Recently, Charlie has been getting a little to close to the fruit. Just yesterday, according to vet guidelines, we gave Charlie just a little piece of strawberry to see if he liked it. Of course, he gobbled it down as if he was me, who just loves the berries. 
We now have to watch him whenever he goes out on the deck to be sure he does not snatch the berries while we are not looking.  

I'm sure glad we have a fruit farm very close to us so we can get many more strawberries than my plants will produce. 

Lessons learned: 
1. Contact Cornell Cooperative Extention before any "plant growing" project. Don't rely on Pinterest. 
2. Start with just a few Everbearing Strawberry Plants and see what happens over the seasons. Don't invest a ton of money because a website says so.  ( LOL Live and Learn) 
3. The great northeast is temperamental. Be careful. 

Do you have a favorite fruit plant you would like to grow successfully? I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to comment below. 

Enjoy the summer harvest,