Monthly Archives: April 2010

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Mid-Week Check-In

Hello out there!  How’s your week going?  It’s reeeaaalllly slow around here this week.  I think it’s the calm before the busy May storm.  I’ve mostly just been working, baking (cupcakes for our study buddies at work) and making plans for the next few weeks.  There was a bit of excitement in my mail today — Moda finally got their Bella swatch cards back in stock and I ordered one.  I’ve been fondling it off and on, since it arrived.

Bella Colors

The new card has been updated to contain the newer colors.  Like Cheddar and Azalea.

Bella Colors

I wish you could see it up close and personal.  Those colors are so delicious.  Super delicious.  Is it any wonder that I want a bolt in every color?

Speaking of wonder, I wondered if you’d like an update on sweet little Teddy Rose?  He’s growing like a weed.  Here he was at Christmas — just a new puppy.

Teddy

And here he was last weekend.  Yikes!

Teddy

He’s adorable and the name is just perfect.  He’s lovable and cuddly, just like a big teddy bear.  MyDadLovesMeBestSister reports that he’s a wonderful puppy.  There have been a few incidents of things that get eaten, but it’s mostly all good.  Isn’t he cute?

Teddy

So.  That’s it for me.  How ’bout you?  Anything exciting going on in your neck of the woods?

XOXO,
Anna

How I Made My Ruffley Camera Strap

I can’t believe the weekend is over already! I hope you all had a good weekend. It has rained and rained here in ThimbleannaLand — and from some of the blogs I’ve been reading, it looks like we’re not the only place. I love it — perfect weather for staying inside and sewing.

Camera Strap

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted a ruffley camera strap, so I made one yesterday. I’ve seen them  on blogs and there are even tutorials out there, but I thought I’d show you how I made mine.  It’s kind of hard to even see my ruffle in the picture above, but it’s there.

If you’d like to make a camera strap like mine, you’ll need a camera strap (I found a reasonably priced one here), and two pieces of fabric — one for the strap body and one for the ruffle.  I took this picture of the supplies and then decided to swap out the Paula Prass polka dots for my favorite black polka dots.  For pictures, I definitely wish I’d stayed with the lighter Paula Prass polka dots — they’re much easier to see.  On the other hand, black polka dots will show less dirt and they will match my backpack better  — if I ever get it finished.

Camera Strap

Remove enough of the stitches on the camera strap to separate the actual strap from the strap holder.  At this point, I was going to make the body of the strap out of a very heavy piece of interfacing, but I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good strap-piece, so I decided to use the old strap for the core of my new strap.

Camera Strap

Cut a piece of strap fabric the same length as the old strap and the width of the strap x 2 + 1 inch.  My strap was 1 1/2 inches wide, so I cut my fabric 4 inches wide.  Press one long side of the fabric under 1/4 inch.  (And please do notice that my authentic ironing board cover is staying pretty clean.  Before too long, we’ll look back fondly on these pictures!)

Camera Strap

Fold the strap fabric around the old strap and pin close to one edge.  Then sew this long edge down on your machine.  (Oops, forgot a picture — the stitching will run approximately where the pin is in the picture below.)

Camera Strap

Turn the strap over and place another line of stitching along the other long side of the camera strap, the same distance in from the edge.  Your camera strap will now look like this:

Camera Strap

Now you need to prepare a ruffle for your camera strap.  I cut mine two times the length of the camera strap and 1/4″ wider.  How wide you cut your ruffle fabric will depend on how you finish the edges of the ruffle.  I finished mine with the narrow hem edge on my serger.  Unfortunately, you can’t really see it in this picture.  ;-(

Camera Strap

If you don’t have a serger, you can turn the edges under 1/4 inch and stitch with a zigzag stitch.  You can also use a narrow-hem foot.  Before I got my serger, I used to use this foot quite a bit — it’s really a handy foot to add to your foot library.

Camera Strap

See the little curli-que in the foot?  It rolls the fabric over as it runs through the foot, and then the needle sews the rolled fabric down.  Very cool.  I chose to use a very narrow zigzag stitch, but a straight stitch works just as well.

Camera Strap

Back to the ruffle.  Press it in half to mark a crease down the middle of the ruffle.

Camera Strap

Adjust the stitch to a basting length on your machine, and then run a length of stitching just on either side of that middle crease, all the way down your ruffle.  You can gather fabric with just one line of stitching, but if you’ll just take the extra time to sew that second line whenever you need to make ruffles, your ruffles will be much prettier.

Camera Strap

Now, for my strap, I decided to place a monogram label in the middle of the strap.  To do this, you need to mark the middle of your strap and the middle of your label and line them up.  Then, mark the edges of the label.

Camera Strap

Cut the ruffle in half and place an edge of each half just to the label side of the pins that marked the edge of the label.  Then, stitch those raw edges down, across the width of the camera strap.  (Don’t forget to return your straight stitch to it’s normal length.)  You don’t have to worry about these raw edges, they’ll be covered up by the label later.

Camera Strap

Now, from each outside end of the ruffle, pull on the bobbin threads of the two lines of basting stitches and gather, until each ruffle piece is the same length as it’s half of the camera strap.  Pin down the middle of the ruffle.

Camera Strap

Stitch down the middle of the ruffle.  You can remove the lines of basting stitches from the ruffles if you’d like — I chose to leave mine in, since my fabric is dark and they aren’t that visible.

Camera Strap

If you did a monogrammed or other label for the middle of the strap, stitch that down next. (Oops, another forgotten picture!) Place one end of the ruffley strap in between the ends of one of the strap holders.  Follow the old stitching lines and stitch the strap holder down.  Repeat for the other strap holder on the other end of the camera strap.

Camera Strap

And that’s it. You’re done. Attach it to your camera and you can go around announcing who YOU are, rather than who the camera is!

Camera Strap

I’m sorry my fabrics are so dark and hard to see, but hopefully, you get the idea.  Now, this week’s project is to try and get my backpack finished so the camera strap and backpack can match for a little while before that frilly ruffle wears out!

Have a good week everybody!

XOXO,
Anna

P.S.  Don’t forget — only a few days left of the Bella by the Bolt sale in the store — sale ends April 30th!

Spring Flowers

Hey – that was some serious fun — reading about all of YOUR recipe addictions.  It seems that MeMum isn’t alone in her little clipping obsession.  Thanks for all of the fun organizing ideas too.  You probably haven’t seen the last of those recipes.  ;-)

Crabapple

These are some pictures of the flowering crabapple in our backyard.  Isn’t she gorgeous?  I love this time of year when we get a pretty, but very brief burst of color from this tree.  I know she’s a she, because she smells like a girl.  I had our patio doors open tonight and the room smelled like it was full of fragrant flowers.  Yum!

Crabapple

We used to have a crabapple that had hot pink blooms in our front yard, but it was planted in the middle of an ivy bed and one spring, shortly after it bloomed, it died. Turns out, a nasty little rabbit hid in the ivy and ate a ring around the bark at the base of the tree and killed it. We keep the base of our pretty white tree in the backyard clear so that there will be NO hiding, bark eating bunnies.

Crabapple

Still on the subject of flowers, I made this little pair of flowered slippers this week. The pattern is Foot Prints by Timber Lane Press.  The caterpillars met with an untimely demise shortly after Christmas and my tootsies have been cold since then.  I’m a big slipper wearer — both for warm feet and to prolong the life of my handknit socks.

Slippers

Only problem is, these little sweeties are just a bit too snug.  (Dang it BrigetteNoBlog (you need to post, hint hint) – you should have saved that snarky big feet comment that you left on one of my old sock posts for this special occasion!)  They only took a few hours to make, so hopefully I’ll have their replacements done in no time.

Slippers

And one last thing.  I saw these cute little dollar bill shirts on How About Orange.  I’ve entertained myself during BOOOORING telecons this week by wowing the guys at work with little shirts.  They’re really fun and easy to make.  I googled dollar bill origami and this project was by far my favorite!

Dollar Bill Shirt

So, that’s it for tonight.  Have a wonderful weekend — see you again in a few days!

XOXO,
Anna

Houston, We Have … a Recipe

We’ve had a lovely, relaxing weekend here in ThimbleannaLand and I hope it’s been the same at your home!  On Saturday, I dropped in on MeMum and BigDaddy, and MeMum was sitting at her kitchen table,  attempting to weed out a few of the recipes from her out-of-control collection.  She was sorting them into piles — the various stages of “keep” and a throw-out pile.  The throw-out pile was pretty much empty, which prompted lots of laughing and joking about her little obsession.

We thought you might like to see the depths of the problem.  (Or, rather, you might like to see my inheritance.  The family joke is that MyDadLovesMeBestSister gets everything — but I get the recipes.)  Here’s the cupboard under the telephone desk.  Nice and neat and tidy — the two books contain recipes that MeMum has clipped and deemed good enough to keep and make again.  The box under the books contains clipped recipes.

Recipes

And, before we continue, you should just see the contents of the average dress box in the collection.  Full of clipped recipes.

Recipes

Here we have a drawer in the kitchen.   I think these are the most recent recipe clippings.

Recipes

This is the pile in the pantry.  The manilla envelopes are all full of clippings too.  The clear plastic box is typical of what’s inside all of the other boxes.

Recipes

In MeMum’s defense, she’s an amazing cook.  She tries new recipes ALL the time.  I’m typically stuck in a menu rut and I’m always amazed that when I talk to her, she’s trying a new recipe.  BigDaddy is a VERY lucky guy.

Back to the collection, here’s the pile on top of the microwave.  (Excuse the torn wallpaper, a kitchen re-do is in progress.)   I think these are recipes that MeMum currently has on audition.

Recipes

But wait!  Just like the ginsu knives, there’s more.

Recipes

There are probably more boxes in the basement, but you get the idea.  Am I lucky or what?  Do you think this is a problem?  Hoarding?  OCD???  We think it’s pretty funny. And, at least it’s kept us all well fed over the years.  While we were sitting at the table laughing about this “problem” I happened to notice a recipe for Almond Bars that caught my eye.  I had some raspberry jam and almonds left over from the macaron experiments, and I needed to use them, so I brought the recipe home to try.

Almond Bars

Hey — did you notice the date on the recipe?

Almond Bars

June 27th, 1966.  We were living in Lancaster, California and I wonder if it all started with the LA Times.  I’ll bet there are hundreds of SOS and My Best Recipes in the collection.  At any rate, the obsession runs long and deep.  Back to the Almond-Raspberry Bars, this recipe is a keeper.  Thank you Mrs. John De Groot, wherever you are.

Almond Bars

You can click on the recipe to make it more readable.  Just in case you’d like to try Mrs. De Groot’s recipe too.

Almond Bars

I’m glad I could do my part and save this recipe from the dark depths of a cardboard dress box.  Every little bit helps.  If you have any suggestions or organizing tips for MeMum’s collection — we’re all ears!

XOXO,
Anna

I’m a Lucky Girl

It’s been gift central around here this week and I’ve been very, very lucky!  First up was a wonderful package from SweetiePie.  I couldn’t figure out why she would be sending me a little surprise.  I mean, a BIG surprise — just look at the fabulousness:

Gifties

A super cute cupcake decorating kit with cupcake cups and little birdy picks.  Aren’t they sweeeeet?  And LOOK at that necklace.  Do you know what it is?

Gifties

It’s a Brighton Lanyard!  A clip for my I.D. badge at work.  Isn’t it gorgeous?  I Love, Love, LOVE it!  Once again — SweetiePie has lived up to her name — all these goodies as a Thank You to me for the wedding quilt.  My goodness, I never expected this.  A MIL couldn’t ask for a better DIL!  Thank you so much SweetiePie — You. Are. The. BEST!!!   Smoochies!

And then, if that wasn’t enough, we arrived home one night to find a package all the way from Australia on the doorstep.  I had no idea what it could be.   I squealed with delight when I opened it and TheManoftheHouse came over to see what was going on as I was unwrapping the first gift.  “Boy, someone sure took a lot of time to make all those packages look so pretty” he said.  Ooops!  He was right, so I ran and grabbed the camera.  Sorry, the picture is blurry and the pretty packages are a bit disheveled, but I was in a hurry!

Gifties

When all was said and done, I’d unwrapped a treasure trove of goodies from Emma of Ballarat Patchwork.   And then it dawned on me — this was my package from the spring swap.  Oh. My. Gosh — how lucky could I be?  LOOK!  My picture isn’t the best — I’ve sadly cut off the head of the orange screen printed birdy, but trust me, he’s cute.  And the colors!  They’re all just fantastic!  I’ve been on a lime green and orange kick lately so I really love this package.  Can you see it all?

Gifties

A yoyo maker, 2 screen-printed pieces, 4 pieces of fabric, 4 reels of ribbon, 1 spool of super delicious lime green pearl cotton, 4 lime green buttons, 3 beautiful postcards from Ballarat (I so love those — now I want to visit) and the pièce de résistance:

Gifties

{Squeal!}  Look at that adorable little turtle pin cushion.  Oh, how I love it!  Thank you so very much for everything Emma — you hit the nail on the head.  Scored a home run.  It’s the perfect swap package and I love it all!  And thank you so very much Trashy for hosting the spring swap — what a fun time!

Now, Emma, you must cover your eyes, ’cause you won’t want to read this next part.  Late in the middle of the night that I received the package, I awoke to thumpy noises from the cats.  I got up to check, but didn’t find anything amiss, so I went back to bed.  The next morning, I found that beautiful spool of green thread unwrapped all over the house — through stairway spindles, under chairs, wrapped around piano legs and on and on.  Unwrapped to the very end.  Fortunately, the thread is just fine and I’ll still enjoy using it — it’s just not in a pretty spool anymore.  Bad, bad Kitties!  Rest assured — they’ve been punished.  They’re in the corner in timeout — hoping to be allowed out by the weekend!

Gifties

Thank you SweetiePie and Emma for my wonderful gifts. You’ve both made my week!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

XOXO,
Anna

P.S. A few tidbits for you:

  • How gorgeous is this Easter party? Makes me want children around again. (Thanks JunieQuiltyPeep for telling me about that blog years ago.)
  • Via Peabody, this interesting blog about the Top 1000 Awesome Things.  Wouldn’t it be fun to start a list and write one awesome thing every day?