Tuesday, August 31, 2010

USMC Retirement Card...

Recycling...again! I took Joe's retirement invite and re-purposed the EGA (eagle,globe, and anchor) for a nice dress blue's card.It's not all too often I make masculine cards, but after some thought, the EGA was a perfect fit and it had nice embossing as well. I used my nesty circles die to cut out the EGA and used a gold cs to matte.For added texture I broke out my dusty Cuttlebug diamond embossing folder. I didn't want to overshadow the design of the card (it resembles the dress blue Marine Corps pants) so along with the embossing folder I also used PTI's Woodgrain bg for the red pant stripe. A little stitching and jumbo eyelets (SU!) finish up this fun card.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cammie Purse Tutorial...picture heavy!

We recently had some dear friends retire from the Marine Corps after 29 years of service. I needed something special for my dear friend Donna, it couldn't just be "anything"...we share a love of papercrafting, but nothing paper-y was going to suit this special occasion. After some careful thought, I decided a cammie purse would be a fabulous idea! I'm no expert when it comes to sewing and I'd recently seen a presentation of the Accuquilt at Joann's. I love this machine, but with all the die cutting machines I own (see previous post!), I decided I could accomplish the same cuts, but for far less of the price of the love it, but with the price of the dies, I would have to work 3 jobs to support that habit! This post is very picture heavy, so I will be doing simple instructions!Joe and Donna Baes. Donna was the first person I met and became dear friends with when we were stationed here nearly 10 years ago (this is our 2nd tour in Jacksonville, NC). Our friendship made the move back here an easy transition :).There are a few prep instructions before cutting your cammie fabric:
1. Pre-wash (I did not do this as I used a recycled pair that had been washed many times!)
2. Heavy starch, then iron to make your fabric frays is what you want.
3. Choose your die size...Nestibilities-large classic scalloped will need 48 rectangles total, 24 for each side of the purse. You may have to crank your die through a few times depending on thickness. The scallops make it tremendously easy to line up your edges. I sewed scallop edge approx. 1/2 inch on the seams. This the back side......front side.After both sides were sewn, I went back and decided to add a quilted look in pink thread :).Next comes your pocket! Since I recycled this pocket, I needed to use a seam ripper to get the backing off the pocket.Use a seam ripper to rip off the backing.Center your pocket and sew.Now it's time to add your fun fabric on the inside. This is a Waverly pattern I chose here. You will need to your cammie fabric facing UP and your inside fabric facing DOWN for this sewing step.
Once your inside fabric is sewn on, fold it down 1 inch, starch and iron.To cover my fold-down, I added some polka dotted ribbon to hide my stitching. Keep the ribbon pinned until you do the top stitch, when sewing the bottom end of the ribbon, remove the pins BEFORE you stitch or it will cause ruffling...that is not the look we want!Ribbon is nice and flat!
Time to sew both sides together...sides are face to face...then sewn.When sewing both sides together, match up your seams with straight pins. This will ensure your seams will all match up when you turn it right side out.See!
Trim the corners before you turn it right side out...this creates less buldging in the corners.
Turn right side out. Check for any imperfections. If you have any trouble getting your corners to poke out nicely, you can use the back end of an ink pen and gently push them out.
Fold your purse back inside out and add the bias tape. I don't have the patience to make my own tape, so I purchased mine in the thread isle of Hancock Fabrics.

The bias tape gives a nice finished looked on the inside and also hides the raw edges.
Almost done! Add your nametapes and......voila! Your purse is now complete! You can leave it just as it is, or add a fun vintage flower as I did here!I did not take any shots of how I put together my flower...but you can find all the steps HERE and HERE if you'd like to give it a try! Check out Jen del Muro's flower as well...I love the scalloped edges!I cut some felt and added a pin so the flower is removable for washing. Over time, this flower will fray and look even more vintage! I'd love to see other fellow sewers recycle those cammies and see what you come up with. If you do, please link it back here and I will share it ;).

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Die Cutting Machine Info...

I'm working on a tutorial on how I made this bag for a dear friend. Would you believe all the fabric rectangles were cut with my Spellbinder Dies and Cuttlebug?!! Before I get to my next post on how to make this bag, I first had a request on which die cutting machines work best for fabric. I own several die cutting machines: some fantastic, some not so much, and one that advertises you can cut fabric like butter, but it really doesn't work (at least not for me!).

So for Ashley and anyone who would like some help, this is for you!

The die cutting machines I own are the Cuttlebug, Cricut Expressions, and the Wizard.

1. Cuttlebug- is probably my favorite and most inexpensive machine that is very versatile with fabric AND paper! I love this machine because it's compact and has a heavy duty suction pad on the bottom to sticks to your table. It's pretty self explanatory for cutting paper, but when it comes to cutting fabric there are a few things I've learned that help make the process easier.

Iron and starch all fabric before cutting. This allows for a stiffer fabric and also cuts your fabric like butter with NO FRAY ends! For heavier weight fabrics, you may have to run the plates thru a few times. For the cammie purse above, I ran each rectangle thru twice. I also like the handle on this machine much better than the toggle crank on the Wizard...much less stress on your hands!

2. Cricut Expressions-a wonderful die cutting machine for paper and not so much fabric. My first try with cutting fabric on the Cricut was disastrous. The blade would cut the general shape, but it did not cut the shape out in its entirety. I had to go back and cut around the shape with mustache scissors...already an added step I could have avoided! Also, when cutting fabric on your Cricut you have to iron on Underwonder to stiffen your fabric so it won't slip (it slips!) on the sticky cutting mat. Next!

3. The Wizard-much like the cuttlebug, but with a different handle ("wrench" like) and plates. This machine will cut paper AND fabric. When cranking the plates through this machine, it can become tedious with the crank handle and you insert the cutting plates from the back. I have used this machine for the last few years and it's been wonderful. The Wizard is used in conjunction with Spellbinder dies (which can ALSO be used on the Cuttlebug!) which are made of steel and compact. I love that you can use these dies on other machines, because if I don't feel like using the Wizard, I switch over to the Cuttlebug because I prefer that handle when cranking. The only downside, which does not effect cutting ability, is that the cutting plates flake after long uses...think of when your skin peels after a sunburn! It drives me crazy having flakes everywhere. I did have them replaced (free of charge) from the manufacturer, but my 2nd set of plates eventually did the same thing. Again, it never interfered with the ability to cut precisely, just annoyed me! Hobby Lobby carries the Spellbinder Dies...too bad I don't have one here;(

Bottom line...if you want to cut fabric in one easy step, use a pressurized die cutting machine (Cuttlebug, Wizard, etc.) not a blade (Cricut) machine. I'm not endorsed by any of these companies. I have learned my trial and error what works best for me! Before investing in any die cutting machine, you need to way the odds of how often your going to use it.

Before closing, here are a few more machines I thought I'd share with you...I have not tried them, but they are on my wish list!

1. Spellbinder's Grand Calibur---you could cut some nice sized appliques with this the video closely, I'm wondering how well that suction cup on the bottom really works...if anyone owns this, please let me know! Thank you to Kimberly Crawford for posting this!

2. Accuquilt---two machines for the "mac daddy" of quilting---GO! Fabric Cutter and the Studio Fabric Cutter. These machines are pricey, but if your a hardcore quilter, why not splurge? Just think, no more dragging out the ruler and rotary cutter! LOVE THESE!

I hope this has been helpful! Again, I'm no expert in the paper or fabric world, I just learn as I go!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mix and Match Kitchen Notebook...

Well, I just sent my 1st grader on her way to school. Although I don't think it gets any easier to let go, this year was much easier than last. I still get emotional just thinking how quickly they grow up and how I wish those days of staying close to me were still here!

Another quick notebook to share! I'm on a roll with the "grocery list" notebooks! We went home to Oklahoma this Summer and there is a quaint little scrapping store down the road from my parents. The store is not anywhere near the size or pizazz of Archiver's, but it always has a fun collection of kitchen paper. I used some more of the Moxxie (mixer and whisk) paper along with my new October Afternoon (yellow polka dot). The black and white check is from Graphic 45.Another new find I purchased over the Summer was a Fiskars Upper Crest Punch. I've been wanting to have this in my punch collection but it's a hard one to find! I finally found one at Joann's in VA. And of course, I used Take Note once again for "grocery list". This really is a cute can make any type of notebook...not just for groceries! The square eyelets are some oldies I had from Making Memories. I broke off the eyelet pegs on the back and adhered them with E6000...they aren't going ANYWHERE!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rooster Notebook...

Kraft card stock = my new addiction! I don't think there is a project I've done over the last year that I have NOT used kraft card stock on. It's a neutral color and I love using it as my base decor. Here is a fun rooster (my kitchen design!) notebook that can easily tag-a-long with you to the grocery store.The yellow polka dot paper is from October Afternoon and it compliments the Moxxie rooster paper allowing the roosters to really POP against the yellow. The borders are stitched to add a little more texture.This is my first chance to play with some new cork I purchased from My Favorite Things. The cork is thin, but pretty strong and cuts like butter with my Cuttlebug. I will definitely be playing with this cork A LOT! The "grocery list" is from PTI's-Take Note.We are off soon to school orientation...Summer has flown by and my baby girl is off to first grade...sniff, sniff!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Patriotic Notebook...

BOO! Oh, did I scare ya?!!! Its been a little quiet for too long on me ol' blog. It has been a very busy summer here in the House of Chau! I've done very little creating, but plenty of stocking up on new supplies etc. I must have cleaned my crafting space many times over, but never really sat down long enough to create, breathe, and enjoy! Soo, I knocked out 3 notebooks yesterday that I will be sharing this week! Since I'm just easing back into posting, I'm going to leave out the nitty, gritty details. Enjoy!