Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gatsby Inspired Gold Foil Printable

I have been experimenting with gold foil text and clipping masks in Photoshop. Combine shiny gold textures with my obsession for new fonts, and here is what you get: 

Free pretty things! 

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I hope all you lovelies have a dazzling weekend! I'm off to party hardy with my seven-year-old boy. We're having cake from a galaxy far, far away ...

Mucho love!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Birthday Letter

Dear Liam,

Today you're seven years old. My mind still has a difficult time coming to grips with this fact. How do I have a seven-year-old? How can it be that seven years has passed already? 

I want you to know I pray many things for you each and every day. I pray that you will grow into a righteous man, one whose greatest desire is to serve Christ. I pray that as you grow, you learn to have a meek and humble spirit. I pray you overcome your shortcomings and do not let fear consume you, but rather allow yourself to be washed in God's loving grace all the days of your life. I pray you always hold onto to that silliness you surprise me with, for it is what keeps your mind grounded.

Did you know you're exceptionally intelligent? At just five years old you were asking me what gravity was, how it worked, and why God created it. Not since you were six months old has your brain stopped turning, always eager to learn something new. I pray that God has a plan to keep your mind occupied, to use it to its fullest potential, and to share His great works. Intelligence is fruitless if it lacks the knowledge of the Lord.

I also pray the Lord has a great woman for you someday, a helpmeet steadfast in His ways. I pray you love her as God commands you to. 

For now, I will continue to raise you in His ways, for He commands me, your mother, this: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) Take heart, this seventh birthday, in knowing that I will train you up in the way of Lord. This is the greatest gift I will ever be able to give you.

All my love,
Your mother
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Uses for Old Sweaters

Winter is approaching, bells are beginning to sound. Soon snow will be falling soft. While I am not a fan of cold weather, I love feelings of winter. Cozy sweaters paired with your favorite boots. Curling up under a warm blanket with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Prepping for the holidays. Yes, I have already begun. I have started my list of handmade gifts. A hint: I made my kids take a bag outside yesterday and fill it with dirt for Snookums present.

Since I do love a cozy sweater, I have been perusing Goodwill for them. My endeavors have failed time and again, as they are almost never in my size and the ones that are always seem to be picked pretty bad. This is where my sweet little brain got to thinking, something ought to be done with all those pretty sweaters I keep seeing. 

Skip ... skip ... skip, off to Pinterest we go ... I scoured their pages for some of the neatest things to do with those old sweaters. As always, Pinterest did not disappoint. There was so much inspiration!
This is my idea of a cozy blanket! Make a patchwork quilt with old sweaters.
For those bitter chilling days, turn a sweater into a scarf.
I almost always wear socks in the winter time, so these would be perfect for me to make. Turning a sweater into a pair of slippers would also be a great money saver since I do tend wear them out. What can I say, I hate cold feet.
What a perfect way to reuse your kiddos old sweaters they've outgrown from last year. Make them some new slippers and present them under the tree this holiday.
Should've put a bow on it! A great idea if your sweater seems come unraveled: add an embellishment.
I recently accidentally dried my favorite wool sweater. Imagine my poor little heart sinking upon finding it, warm and cozy and ... toddler size as I extracted it from the drier. I was devastated. Thank you, Lana Red Studio, for lifting my spirits with your adorable sweater bag!
Okay, I have to admit. I kind of threw a hissy fit when I saw this. I mean, how ingenious is that? A section of knit placed inside a pump turns it into a bootie. You're welcome!
Thrifty and Chic really did me in with a couple of her ideas. I love the idea of adding temporary winter textures to the home. Designing your home is like designing a brand, you want it to have a certain feel. And I love the feeling of a cozy home when it's chilly out.

Bring your spring cardi to winter by adding some knit to the end. Knitted bliss has a tutorial on how she knitted them together.
Snookums was recently given a nice sweater, but he doesn't wear sweaters. He's hot natured. Therefore, the logical conclusion would be for me to confiscate it and turn it into a sweater for me. Goodwill doesn't need it anyway, right?
Add some pom poms to your life. Seriously. Poofy things are life changing. I swear! There's a reason cheerleaders use them: they're just fun!
This makes me really tempted to splurge on a pair of galoshes. Embellish them with some knitting. 
Nothing wins me over like beautiful embroidery. And floral prints. I am unfamiliar with felting in this manner. I must learn!
This is on my to-do list. Hands down. It's on! I'm thinking of giving some of these sweater rugs as gifts this year too.
Such an original scarf.

Another great use for your kiddos old sweaters. Turn it into a softie for Christmas. 
Update your daughters winter wardrobe with your old sweater. 
Or give yourself a new chic skirt to pair with those tights

Happy inspiration!
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Anthro hack: Rosette Pillow Shams

Now that we know how to use our ruffler foot, we're going to be making these darling pillow shams. 

Our inspiration
These Rosette Shams from Anthropologie. I fell in love with these and just knew I needed to make them. It gives that extra punch of femininity to my bed. I did consider painting polka dots on my fabric, but I have another pillow cover to make and that fabric has polka dots on it already, so I decided to keep mine a solid color. But if you want polka dots, by all means, paint some on with some fabric paint. Go hog wild! Have a blast!

You will need:
1.5 yards of fabric
Coordinating thread
Sewing machine
Standard presser foot
Ruffler foot
Seam allowances are included with the measurements
Back of sham - 36 x 21.75 inches (cut 1)
Front middle section - 15.5 x 21.75 inches (cut 1)
Front ruched section - 7.25 x 42 inches (cut 2) 

With your presser foot properly in place, adjust the ratchet gear feed plate to 6 and your machine's stitch length to 3. Weave your fabric through the cloth guide and begin sewing ruffles down the width of all the ruche sections. It will automatically sew a 1/4" seam. (Check out the Sewing 101 series or the tutorial on how to use the ruffler foot if you need more information.)
Here's a better idea of what you should have when you're done. You will ruffle the width of both sides on each cut you made. The sections will shrink considerably, about 1.5 times their original size, to about the same 21.75" width of your other pieces. Press all of your seams and ruffles, allowing them to lay as they will. You can see some of mine are a little haphazard. That's what you want.
Replace your ruffler foot with your standard presser foot and adjust your stitch length to 2. Right sides together, sew each of the ruche sections to either side of the the middle section with a 3/8" seam. Serge or zigzag (use the smallest stitch length possible) the edge of the seam to finish it off. I'm sorry I don't have a better picture of each section going together. Essentially, you should have the front of your pillow sham fully assembled.
Using a longer stitch length (I use 4), press the seam to the right (toward the ruche section) and straight stitch it down 1/8" from your seam line. This will give your panels more of a profesh look!
Now that we're talking about this being all professional and what not, remember perfection is not necessary in this next step. Find the middle of your ruche section and sew a straight line all the way down. Repeat this step on either side of the middle line you just sewed. We are trying to tame that poofy look you get with such large ruffled pieces, while keeping that professional appeal about it. That's the great thing about shabby chic styles, chic style without the clean boring lines. After all, Perfection is Never an Option!
Cut your back piece vertically down the center. (Remember: it's longer in length than width; cut down the width.)
Pin one half to the left side of the front of your sham and sew it in place with a 3/8" seam allowance. Repeat on the right side with the other half of the back.
Press the seams and serge/zigzag each hem to finish them off. You should now have one really long strip of fabric. We're going to close that off soon and shape our sham.
Fold the edge of the right side of the sham 1/2" and press. Fold it again, press again, then sew 1/4" inch from the edge of the hem.
Repeat the previous steps on the left side of the sham, but fold and press this side 1".
Now let's create our cases. Fold the left back piece over, right sides of the sham facing. This side should fall several inches to the right of the center of the sham. Then fold the right side of the back of the sham over. (Be sure you fold each side along the outside seam of each ruched section. I accidentally folded on the inside seam of one and couldn't quite figure out for a bit why my sham wasn't laying right.)
Pin all the away across the top and bottom and sew the seams into place with a 3/8" seam. Be sure the one inch hem is on the inside and the one half inch hem is on the outside before you do. This makes a difference when you go to turn it. Clip your corners, turn it right side out, and you're done. You've created beautiful shams. For a fraction of the cost. Congratulations!
Happy sewing!
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Monday, October 21, 2013

Sewing 101: Ruffler Foot Guide

It's Monday! You know Monday's never meant anything to me until my kids started school. Now they are known as the day I No Longer Get To Sleep In. Huh ...? Have I digressed? I'm fairly certain I did my time. All 13 years of it.

On a blog related note, Ucreate posted a funny thing on Facebook this morning: determine your sewing name. Mine is Sassy Machine Master! I dig it. Why is this blog related? Because we're talking about sewing today. I'm sure the pinnable image was a dead giveaway. If you recall our Presser Feet Guide, you may remember discussing the Ruffler Foot, a presser foot designed to create perfectly pleated ruffles. It is hands down one of my favorite sewing attachments, and I thought it would be great to give you instructions on how to use it. 

I wanted to do a video tutorial, but it appears my camera bag, which contained my video camera, has gone missing. Err... At first I thought, No big deal, I can record on the laptop. Then the hard drive on that crashed. Well now! So ... we needed to settle for pictures. My apologies. But I will do my best to describe everything. The ruffler foot looks a little intimidating, but it's really not. In fact, it's fascinating to see it work. And I promise it will make your life so much easier.

Note, when purchasing a ruffler foot, it is best to buy one that is by the same brand as your sewing machine. Some say they're universal, but that is not always true.

Remove any current presser foot you may have in place and unscrew your shank.

Angle your foot so that the fork arm hooks under your needle holder, hook it around your shank holder, then screw it in. Be careful to hold it in place while you screw it in, as it will give a small amount. 

To ensure it is properly installed, slowly hand crank your needle. It should go directly down into the small hole designated for it. If it doesn't go smoothly, or feels like it sticks somewhat, unscrew it and readjust. If you try sewing immediately and it is off ever the slightest mm, your needle will snap. 

There are three main parts to this foot you are going to be working with in order to create your ruffles: the ratchet gear feed plate, the cloth guide, and the depth adjustment screw. You may also use your machine's stitch length.

In the picture to the left, we have the ratchet gear feed plate. This determines the number of ruffles you get. The star on the far left gives a straight stitch (no gather), the "12" gathers once every 12 stitches, the "6" every 6 stitches, and the "1" will gather with every stitch. For ruffles I like mine set at "6" and for gathering I use the "1" setting. 

In the right photo we have the cloth guide (the snake-like piece) and the depth adjustment screw. The cloth guide guides your fabric, holding it securely to create those perfect pleats. The adjustment screw works in sync with the ratchet gear feed plate to create custom pleats. The depth screw will determine the depth of your pleat, smaller taking small bits of fabric and larger taking bigger sections of fabric.

There are two cloth guides, one on the right and one in the front. We're going to work with the larger one on the front. This step is very important to ensuring your fabric is pulled properly through the ruffling blade. Place your fabric over the first part of the cloth guide as shown in the second photo, under the middle piece (photo 3), then up and through to the needle. You are basically just weaving it through the cloth guide, starting on top. It is a little difficult to get down at first. I use my screw driver to help guide and push it through.

As I mentioned before your stitch length will also determine the size of your ruffles. The shorter your stitch length is the tighter your ruffle will be  and vice versa. In this photo I have my stitch length set to "3" and am gathering every 6 stitches. (Before pressing your pedal, be sure your top and bobbin thread are pulled to the back. Also, do let the loose threads get caught in your sewing or they will cause the ruffles to curl considerably.) Begin sewing and watch the magic happen as that ruffling blade (the piece with the teeth on the front) pulls and tucks your fabric!

Now that we know how to use the ruffler foot, this Anthro-hack will be coming soon!
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