Thursday, July 17, 2014

Presser Foot Series: Walking Foot

Hello all! It's time for another installment of our Presser Foot Series! Today we're talking about the Walking Foot. The walking foot looks a bit more complicated than most presser feet, but it couldn't be simpler to use.

This is not a snap on foot. If your machine has a snap on adapter, you will need to unscrew it to install the walking foot.

There is an arm that raises, and you will want to fit the bracket at the end of it onto the bar you see protruding to the right of your needle.

And of course you will need to attach the side bracket around the main post and secure it with the screw that was securing your snap on adapter.

The way a walking foot works is pretty simple. Basically the arm at the top operates the levers inside the casing and they move these little white plastic grips that fit inside the grooves in the front of the foot. 

This gives you a set of feed dogs on top that move at the same speed as the ones on the bottom, and together they all work together to move your two (or more) layers of fabric under the needle at the same speed without shifting.

This foot is AMAZING for sewing multiple layers, like you would do for quilting straight lines or making faux chenille. It's also amazing for sewing with slippery fabrics like minky.

For Christmas I made my month old nephew Lawrence a cuddle blanket from flannel and dot minky. I wish I could show you a better picture of it, but all those photos are on a hard drive that's out of reach for the moment, so you'll have to settle for this cell phone pic of Nick holding him wrapped in it just after the New Year.

Now he's almost 8 months old, and it's become the blankie, much to my delight. It was such a simple project that it doesn't really call for a tutorial, but I'll give you a basic point by point:

  • Wash and dry both fabrics to prevent uneven shrinking after sewing.
  • Cut both fabrics to the same size. Honestly I didn't measure, I just squared the edges of one fabric and cut the other to match, but I believe it was approximately 45" (width of the bolt) by 54" (yard and 1/2).
  • Place fabrics right side together and pin.
  • *Optional* Round your corners by using a plate as a template and cutting around it with scissors or a rotary cutter.
  • Sew almost all the way around, leaving approximately 3-4 inches open on one side for turning.
  • Clip your corners and turn your blanket right side out.
  • Make sure your corners (if you have them) are well turned.
  • Tuck in the seam allowance on the opening you left and pin closed.
  • Topstich around the entire blanket, closing your opening.
  • Done!
At the beginning of May we had another sweet little addition to the family, this one born to Nick's sister Rachael, who just so happens to be married to my brother Cary. :) Precious Adelaide joined us after a longish line of grandsons, and I was tickled uh, pink to get a girl to sew for! Not that boys aren't fun too, but hello ruffles and bows!

Anyway, I finally got a chance to make a blanket for her too. These are the fabrics I went with.

I made this blanket at night after the kids were in bed, and I had to deliver it the next day, so I didn't have a chance to take it outside and hang it up for pictures, but I was able to snap a few inside.

It's not perfect, but it's very soft and cuddly, and the minky was SO much easier to sew using the walking foot!

Cuddle fabrics are generally on the pricey side, so I snap them up when I find them in the remnant bins, which is where I scored the sweet pink and white polka dot I used here. It was a serious win to find a remnant this large, and I had so much fun picking out a coordinating flannel, because I knew right away what I wanted to do with it.

A few weeks ago I found a yard and 1/2 of this fluffy orange Ultra Cuddle, and I paired it with this fun robot flannel. I made a blanket for Sawyer from them, and now he has to have his "Wo-bot" before he goes to bed. :) Again, sorry for the night time kitchen photography.

I also made one for Taylor back at Christmas from orange and white chevron flannel backed with aqua cuddle fleece, but right now she's wrapped up in it asleep. :) I guess I'd better go back through my remnant bag to find something to make one for Lily too!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sizzix Gift Bow Bigz L Die by Stampin' Up

First of all, this is not a sponsored post. I purchased this die, and I just wanted to share how much I love it.

Back when I made the leather hair bows for Taylor's 13th birthday party, I cut them all by hand. And it wasn't hard, just time consuming. And there were some slight variations in each bow because scissors + my cutting by hand skills. At the time I looked for a Sizzix die to use, because I love my Sizzix Big Kick like a small child, but I couldn't find one that I liked and that would cut leather.

Then my friend Shawna started selling Stampin' Up products, and they had the perfect die! This is a Stampin' Up exclusive, so you can only get it through a demonstrator. And I don't get anything for referring you, but if you're looking for a demonstrator, I would highly recommend Shawna. She's kind of awesome. :) You can shop with her here.

You'll have to excuse these pictures because some of them were quick cellphone shots before heading out the door with a birthday gift. I have found that if you fold a standard piece of craft felt in half it will fit over the die perfectly and make exactly enough pieces for one regular bow and one double bow. I actually cut out a longer center strip from the felt remnant for the double bow just because the strip cut by the die is not long enough to wrap around all the layers. Of course if you are working with paper or cardstock it will be plenty long enough.

These were for the daughter of one of Nick's friends.

The other little flowers and bows were pre-made embellishments I got on clearance at Michael's and stuck on lined clips. Easy peasy!

These are so fun!

I added this one to a headband for my precious new niece Adelaide. Since I have no tiny baby girls in my house anymore, my lampshade got to be my model. Um, I need to dust.

This one is for my friend Amy's little girl Abi. 

I recently got to pass down to her a little pillowcase dress I made for Lily when she was itty bitty, and this bow matches it. Gratuitous (old) pictures of baby Lily that sort of show off the dress:

I'm dying a little from the cuteness. Those eyes! And those cheeks! Nom, nom, nom...

This one I added to a headband for big, grown up, already has a second loose tooth (sob!) Lily.

Oh my goodness, those giant Disney princess eyes...

You can of course use this die for paper gift bows too. I also made one from some yummy green leather, but Taylor confiscated it before I could snap a pic. :) I can see a lot more of these in my future!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tooth Fairy Surprise

My Lily girl lost her first tooth Wednesday! On our way to the store she told me her tooth was hurting and moving, so when we got where we were going, I checked it out, and it was ready to fall out, which was crazy since it hadn't been loose at all the day before!

I took a few shots of the wiggly stage.

That night at dinner it came out, and she declared it the best day of her life. :) Then she misplaced the tooth. She actually thinks she might have swallowed it, which I suppose is possible since she was in the other room when it happened and may have been too busy touching the empty socket to pay attention to where the actual tooth went. Anyway, this devastated her, because she was sure that the Tooth Fairy wouldn't visit if she couldn't pony up a baby tooth for her. I assured her that I had a picture of her smiling without the tooth, and the Tooth Fairy would certainly accept that as proof.

When I was a kid we got a quarter under our pillow, or maybe a dollar if we were lucky. But Lily is not yet at a stage where money means much to her, and I knew she would much rather have a girly accessory as a prize. But I wanted her to have the choice, so I asked her, if I happened to see the Tooth Fairy when she came, if I should tell her she wanted money or a present, and she assured me that she would much prefer a gift!

After she went to bed I got busy making a card and a bracelet for her. The card I made using my Marvy Uchida Border Punch System, which has been so much fun!

I made the envelope using my Envelope Punch Board and this fun heart motif vellum. The other day I found a little Xyron Sticker Maker I've had in my craft stash for years, so I used my questionable scissor skills to cut her name and a heart out of pink cardstock, then turned them into stickers and stuck them to the front of the envelope.

In the card I wrote:

Dear Lily,

        Congratulations on losing your first tooth! You are such a big girl! I heard you might have swallowed it, but that's okay. I saw the pretty picture of you smiling without it, so I can still leave you a present. I hope you like it!
                                                                       The Tooth Fairy

I made the bracelet out of a little pre-made chain of blanks I got ages ago at Hobby Lobby on clearance and some mini bottle caps and cabochons I found at Tuesday Morning. I took a couple of links out of the bracelet, and it made it just the right size. I flattened the bottle caps using my Sizzix Big Kick. The Big Kick/Big Shot works very well flattening full size bottle caps, but I ran into some problems on some of the little ones. I'm not sure why, but some of them folded under, and I wasted probably 4 or 5 trying to get a good one of each color. I used a 1/2 inch circle punch to cut circles from scrapbook paper, then glued them to the backs of the cabochons. I just used my hot glue gun on high heat to attach the cabochons to the bottle caps and the bottle caps to the blank trays. If I'd had more time I probably would have used E6000, but I was trying to get it done so I could leave it for her and go to bed. I think this will hold up well enough, and she's not the sort to put things other than food in her mouth, but if you're making one for a child, make sure that they can be trusted not to put things they shouldn't in their mouth or use a stronger glue.

She LOVED both the card and the bracelet, although she woke up upset because she couldn't find them on the bed at first and was sure the Tooth Fairy had passed by because of the misplaced tooth. As if the Tooth Fairy could resist this face!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Birthday Gifts with We R Memory Keepers Punch Boards

Guys, I've been playing with the Envelope Punch Board (and a few others!) by We R Memory Keepers, and I've been having so much fun! Nick’s grandmother Gail’s birthday fell the week we were at camp, so we missed the party, but we got to see her on July 4th, and I gave her the birthday gifts I made for her then.

Last year, for Mother’s Day I think, I made Gail some blank note cards. I punched out butterflies and flowers from scrapbook paper and sewed them to the fronts of the cards, and she loved them! I sure wish I had thought to snap a picture before I gave them to her. Anyway, I thought she would enjoy some smaller note cards for her birthday, and okay, I really wanted to make her something using my punch boards!

I actually made her two different kinds. One set of ten were little gift card sized cards, and each one had a different image or pattern embossed on the front. I just made these with stamps and embossing powder. These will be perfect for slipping a gift card into or attaching to a package or gift bag.

The others were a bit larger at 4 x 3.25 inches and suitable for mailing if she chooses. These were my favorite! Each card and envelope was unique in pattern.

I used fun cardstock for the cards from 4.5 x 6.5 inch stacks that I trimmed to 4 x 6.5 and folded in half. Then I used a Marvey Uchida Clever Lever Border Punch System that I got for crazy cheap at Tuesday Morning ($7.99 - score!) to punch a decorative border along the front edge.

This border punch system is ah-may-zing! You can get different cartridges, which are normally about $11.99 each, but Tuesday Morning had them for $1.99! The punch cuts exactly 2 inches in each punch, which was why I trimmed the cards to 4 inches wide. There’s no guesswork with where to line up the punch for the next cut, because the guide has little slots where the punch fits, and there’s a pretty strong magnetic bar that keeps your paper from slipping out of place.

I made the envelopes from different patterned 6 x 6 sheets, and I LOVE how they turned out! I also punched a little flower out of sticker paper so she can seal them if she wants to mail them, and also a label for each so that she can write an address. I just included those in each envelope.

The labels were a little larger than I wanted them to be, but that was the size paper punch I had.

I also used all three of my other boards in making her gift, although I forgot to get a picture of the cute little gift bag I made with the Gift Bag Punch Board. First of all, I made her up some adorable little pillow boxes using the Pillow Box Punch Board.

Some of these I made using 4.5 inch length cardstock, and some using 6 inch length cardstock. The smaller ones are perfect for something small like candy or earrings, and the bigger ones fit a gift card perfectly.

I also made her a couple of pairs of earrings, and I put them in this sweet little box I made using the Candy Box Punch Board. She had already untied the baker’s twine from one end to open it when I took this picture.

I’ll go into a little more on how to use each of the punch boards in my upcoming posts, but for now I’ll just say that they are all just the best thing ever, ever, ever! None of the links in this post are affiliate links, and these products were not provided to me for review.