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"Tips & Trix" Archive

Mobile Sewing Center

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Last October I brought Walt home and into my life - my little white (celery) 1964 Singer 221K Featherweight.
Since that time, I’ve been trying all kinds of storage and travel solutions for him. Plastic bins with handles. An Ikea cooler. Even a Trader Joe’s bag. Sigh, nothing was working as I wanted it to. I was like Goldilocks in search of finding Just The Right storage for old Walt. While my Featherweight fit in all those containers, there still wasn’t enough room for my tools, fabric and other accoutrements. Because just like that, I had become my grandmother (not a bad thing) with all her many totes and bags. Four, five, six bags… all for only a few hours away from the house.  No.  I need to lug ONE thing only.

Me with my shopping cart hauling ass down an aisle in Home Depot… I spotted It… Walt’s cherry new ride.  I Fred Flinstone’d my cart’s breaks, backed up, stood in front of It, and then I cried a little. A muffled whimper of glee.  I FOUND IT! By accident I discovered the Stanley-3-in-1-Rolling-Workshop. This has got to be too good to be true. For certain Walt was going to be a smidge too big to fit. I figured I could always take it back if it didn’t fit.
Mobile Sewing Center

Not too tall, just tall enough. Two cats high, to be exact.
Mobile Sewing Center

Nice big wheels on the side so no tipping over. Instead of a telescoping handle it’s got squeezy release action handle. LOVE that.  Best part, is when I have my handle down and the top is nice and flush/flat - I can put my pressing board right on top and I’ve got myself an awesome little pressing station.
Mobile Sewing Center

Oh hi, happy face.
Mobile Sewing Center

Not too many compartments, just comparmenty enough. Three perfect compartments meant for sewing.
Mobile Sewing Center

Bottom unit for Walt, small cutting mat, rulers.
Mobile Sewing Center

Middle unit for my tools.
Mobile Sewing Center

Top unit for my iron, water, Flatter, fabric, etc.
Mobile Sewing Center

Actually, my Featherweight fits in either the top or the bottom case. This is just so dreamy. All that’s left now is to decorate my mobile sewing center and make it cute. The wheels are turning. Literally.

On a side note, I devised a way to keep my thread spool from flying around while my machine is tripping the lights fantasic across the west coast - I pop the spool in a small yogurt container…
Spool cozy for traveling

… snap on the lid that has a small hole I cut in it and then jam the spool holder thing into it.
Spool cozy for traveling

The container kind of rests on top and pretty much stays put depending how close the lid of my storage is to it. But even should it fall, at least the spool is safe and not getting tangled on everything.  My spool cozy for traveling.
Spool cozy for traveling

Damn I love to sew.

- Amazon.com: info

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Oh hai, Bloglovin’

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Google Reader doomsday (Goopocalypse) is only a few days away, and the time to do something is now while you can still grab your subscriptions and import them into another reader. Like Bloglovin’.

At first I was despondent. What the fork - how could Google axe the beloved reader? And crap, I was finally over Bloglines and was feeling quite at home with my Google Reader boyfriend. And then I was mad. UGH, I was going to have to learn something new. I read all best articles on Gizmodo, Lifehacker, and weirdly even turning to Google for answers. UGH. Another ugh. What a pain in the ass.

I started playing around with different readers. Feeling a bit like Goldilocks, I sampled a handful of different readers. If anything, at least I got my subscriptions uploaded somewhere safe and snug. But ugh (again), not feeling the love for any of them. I hate you for breaking up with me, Google!

So today I set out with making one of these new readers my new boyfriend. No more speed-dating readers, it’s time to get serious.  The more I started playing with Bloglovin’, the more I fell in love with it. Wow, Bloglovin’, who knew you were so cute!

I discovered I like reading my feeds via the Manage page. I just like the neat and tidy way it looks. Once I got all my account squared away and my subscriptions re-categorized, I start to feel quite good about Bloglovin’. I’ve already been loving the daily email with blog post suggestions from my subscriptions, especially because I subscribe to so many blogs - it’s nice to get a sampling of posts from blogs I may not have visited in a while.

And then I discovered the Popular Posts tab. I don’t know what the criteria is for what makes something popular - but what I saw I liked. Kinda Pinterest-ishy cascade of blog posts from different categories - from blogs everywhere and not just the ones I follow. In DIY & Crafts category (oh hai, Heidi!)

Checking out the Home Decor category. Oh ooh. I fear my subscription list may grow from out-of-control to slow-down-cowgirl-or-you’ll-break-the-internet.

I love that I can see what’s blog-hot in other countries, too. Checkin’ out DIY & Crafts in Germany was especially fun because I spotted a blog post with a quilt made from Mo’s fabric!

Even though at first Bloglovin’s felt like a blind date, I have completely fallen head-over-heels in love. Bloglovin’ is my seriously cute new boyfriend.  Google Reader who?

Edited in:
I’ve gotten great feedback about The Old Reader (which is new to me) and Feedly (which I’ve already given a go and doesn’t float my kayak). Playing around with Old Reader today, I too find it be most like Google Reader. While the Old Reader is great if you need to wean off Google Reader or want to stick to what you love… I really love the Pinterest style of Bloglovin’, the fast speed of Bloglovin’, the crisp and happy look of Bloglovin’ and being introduced to new-to-me blogs and giving some freshie lovin’ to blogs I haven’t visited in a while.

Yeah, I was ticked when Google Reader broke up with me - but now I wish it had done it sooner!

my feed on Bloglovin’
– Bloglovin’ Help
The Old Reader


Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Sewing machine & gear: naked
Sew 2 go

Large blue cooler: Trader Joe’s in Portland.
Sew 2 go

Helper:  comes with slobber
Sew 2 go

Helper:  seeking approval
Sew 2 go

Bam: $6.99 sewing machine travel bag
Sew 2 go

The goods + fold up hand truck: Bam, insta-butler
Sew 2 go Sew 2 go
Sew 2 go

Me: felling pretty dang happy over my $6.99 mobile sewing-2-go travel bag!  Thank you, Trader Joe’s!

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Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Why did I not think of this before?
Staring at my mammoth pile of empty floss bobbins… stretching and warming up my winding arm - and queuing up a season 1 of Breaking Bad marathon.  Floss-a-thon.

- Cosmo floss
- DMC plastic floss bobbins

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The Magic Button

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

I’ve been saying forever that cameras should come with an “Oregon button”. A magic button that turns dark Pacific Northwest daylight (that murky damp Twilight-ishy gray)… into happy pretty sunshiny brightness. Thanks to the Pioneer Woman - she wrote about the aperture button on a DSLR camera. Aperture… aka The Oregon Button. And the OB was staring me in the face all this time.

I had to test it out asap. I went a little extreme and over exposed myself a little too much (THAT’S gonna garner me some unwanted spam). Because I’m a PCP photographer (point-click-pray), I have no +/- numbers or metered levels to recite. I just watched my little aperture bar move up and down as I fiddled with the button. I did make this sound as the meter bar increased… [low pitch] blooooooooop [high pitch]. Decrease on the meter bar… [high pitch] bloooooooop [low pitch].

My before and afters.  Because I had the aperture set to steroid levels… reality is somewhere in the middle of the before and afters.

My kitchen and front entry:
Before & After
Before & After

My morning joe:
Before & After
Before & After

My phone I never answer (I hate talking on the phone):
Before & After
Before & After

Throne cam:
Before & After
Before & After
Edited in: I was on the throne… not *on* the throne.

I’m sooo happy to have learned about aperture.  Thank you Pioneer Woman - I can now make every day a happy pretty sunshiny day in Oregon.

Quilt As You Go (QAYG) - part 2

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I don’t know who the genius is who thought up the QAYG method and I learned this second, maybe even third hand - but this is how I do my QAYG. Previous post about the stitchery is here.

1.  For my 4-block quilt, I used two 1¾” strips (then folded) and two 1⅛” strips - the length of the backed and quilted block to make my rows.  To join my rows, I have one long 1¾” strip (then folded) and one 1⅛” strip.   After I measure my completed rows I will cut the strips to that length.
BIrdie a go-go

2.  Join a 1⅛” strip, rights sides together on top of the block and the 1¾” folded strip the back of the block (raw edge to raw edge). Join by stitching a ¼” seam.
BIrdie a go-go

3.  Flip top strip over. Press.
BIrdie a go-go

4.  With right sides together, I join the next block to the top strip.
BIrdie a go-go

5.  Raw edges together, join by stitching a ¼” seam.  Flip block over and press.
BIrdie a go-go

6.  On back side of row, flip over folded strip and stitch with a slip-stitch.  If you love stitching binding down… you will love this.  The technique is the same.
BIrdie a go-go

7.  Join your rows in the same manner as joining the blocks into rows.
BIrdie a go-go

8.  Press front.
BIrdie a go-go

9.  Flip back over and repeat step 6.
BIrdie a go-go

Bind it and it’s done!
BIrdie a go-go

Quilt As You Go (QAYG) - part 1

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I’ve been to do a Quilt As You Go demo at a quilt retreat this weekend and decided to embellish my little QAYG project with some stitchery.
Cracking the WIP
Natalie of Cinderberry Stitches has some ADORABLE free projects on her blog (check out her sidebar), and I used her Sweet & Spotty Needle Wallet birdie (ie, I only used partial of the drawing for the sake of time).  So cute are Natalie’s drawings I couldn’t make just one.  No… I had to make four and use them for my blocks on my QAYG demo/tutorial in my next post here.
Cracking the WIP

Strawberries & Cream

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

My second attempt at the Sweet Slice cake was a little naked, so I decided to make a fabric “blue plate special” plate… and then some strawberries.  All I needed were some dollops of whipped cream.
Strawberries & Cream

Of course, I always find myself chanting, “I just need some whipped cream”.
Strawberries & Cream

I scoured blogland and flickr for tutorials on how to make whipped cream out of wool felt. I found a few, but they required sewing teeny tiny stitches on pee wee pieces of felt.  I have teeny tiny pee wee patience for that.
Strawberries & Cream

I was looking for something quick and simple - and for a way to use some of my pearl beads (my latest obsession).
Strawberries & Cream

So I came up with my own version.  After many prototype go-arounds with scissors, pencil and felt… I went to my trusty ruler rack and found just the ticket.  Darlene Zimmerman’s HEXAGON ruler by EZ Quilting by Wrights.  Maybe I’m not the only one who’s inner voice (or voices) keeps chanting, “I just need some whipped cream”?  Super easy, super fast, super not fussy.

1.  Ruler, wool felt.
2.  Cut into hexagon of desired size.
3.  Snip from points to about ⅓ of the way from the center to make little “pies”.  Just eyeball.  Inconsistency adds character.
4.  Trim each pie as shown.
5.  Result is one of those ninja flying disc looking things.  But not as sharp.  Or as deadly.
Whipped Cream

6. With matching thread (I used red for visual effect), pull a stitch through the sharp corner of each “pie”. Continue.
7. End where you started, and through the other side.
8. Tug/gather. Gently.  You now have a dollop.  Sort of.
Whipped Cream

9. Make a few tacking stitches.
10. Make a knot on the bottom of your dollop, but do not cut your thread.
11. Enter off center. Add pearl bead. Exit off center. Knot off on the bottom.
Whipped Cream

Sew/tack into place on what ever you’re going to dollop with whipped cream.
Strawberries & Cream

And now I must think about tonight’s dinner… and I think I know just what to have - and where to get it at!

Seein’ Stars

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Idol chatter… I gotta talk about American Idol. Just gotta. I see stars! What an amazing group this year (and some not so amazing to me - Cruella de Rocker). I adore David, though last night’s performance wasn’t his best I thought, bummer - but I trust he’ll bounce back. I also think Brooke was amazing and I think she’s got a pure and true love for singing. I had leaky-eye listening and watching her (and I loved how she took a shoe off to play the piano… just like most of us do when we sew on the sewing machine!). Loved Chikezie’s performance, song and style! Plus, I have a fantasy he’ll make it really big and will take on a duet partner named Macaroni. My other faves are Carley, Michael and Jason. I like Syesha too, and think she’s as cute as a button. She’s Hello Kitty come to life (you’re shakin’ your head agreeing with me).

I’ve been meaning to post about my quilt in the latest issue of Quilts & More, but have been under the weather with that cold that’s going around. You’ve either had it, are having it or you’re about to have it. It’s a doooooozie! Luckily I have my very own publicist and cheerleader who cheered me on even before I got an issue myself (how does Pam always get things first???!). Giant mahalos to my other cheerleaders on the squad too. Thank you Nanna Jamma, Cyndi, Connie, Lisa, Wendy, Anna, Vickie and Amy!

I see stars… do you? Maybe if you click on my graph drawing you can see them. Q&M has named my quilt Spice is Nice (which I think is a great name), but I’ve named my quilt Peek-a-Boo Stars. I love the fabs I used, but kinda hard to see the stars hiding in there. Olly olly oxen free!

Peek-a-Boo Stars aka Spice is NicePeek-a-Boo Stars aka Spice is Nice

Another change made for the issue was going from row construction instruction to block construction instruction (makes me wanna sing Conjunction Junction, what’s your function after typing that). For this quilt I set it using row construction. Much easier to get the stars where they belong and still keep all the hair on your head. If you look at my graph drawing, you can see my row setting. E-z cheezy, macaroni and chikezie.

Life imitating ArtAnd other stars… some hometown loggers are starring in AxMen on the History Channel. I’ve been obessed watching the loggers log the storm damaged forest across the street from me, and now I can watch on tv some other parts of Clatsop County being logged too. Who knew loggers would be tv stars! Well, I did, actually.

Hmmm… interesting epiphany of mine. Thom Beers the creator of Deadliest Catch and AxMen… features many of our local fishermen and loggers - just like our local high school mascots… Astoria Fishermen, Ilwaco Fishermen and Knappa Loggers. Are the Seaside Gulls next? Sorry Mr. Beers… I beat you to the punch. Ga-head, the Tillamook Cheesemakers are all yours.

Feeling a little Perez Hiltonishy with this post.  And now I must nap.

Bag Rehab

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

My friend Lisa is a bag enabler, and I love the awesome rockem’ sockem’ little bag she made me!. Lisa has mad sewing skills and the inside is just as amazing as the outside (I have to wait for better weather to take an interior pic). I love pink and green too… how did she know!?! Psychic abilities must be another one of her many amazing talents. Lisa also put inside the some delicious Aloha fabric for me. Mmmm! Have you met Lisa? She’s awesome. We met over a strawberry, and now I’m addicted to her blog as well. Lisa’s blog is so much fun, and her field trips are the bomb. Edited in: Here is a link to Lisa’s post about the box bag.

Dorky Love

Speaking of bags - I’m makin’ a bag and as I get to the “threading” the drawstring part, I thought I would share my tip. I wrestle with sharing tips because I always feel like everyone knows it already and I’m the last to discover it and then I feel like a doof for posting it. Necessity was the mother of my invention, so if you already know this tip - humor me and pretend you didn’t learn it already via your grandmother’s great aunt who’s been doing this since before the bread slicer was invented.

E-z cheezy… here’s whatcha do. Get an el-cheapo letter opener with a puka on the end. I got mine at my local Safeway for 99¢ (which means it’s probably about 49¢ elsewhere). Thread and knot a ribbon to the end of the letter opener. I suppose if you’re not lazy like me, you could actually tack or sew it down instead of knotting it. Attach a safety pin to the other end of the ribbon.

Thread this

Attach your drawstring or strapping to the safety pinned end. Your letter opener is now one gianormous Land of the Giants sewing needle… and you can thread your drawstring through the tube/channel with speedy ease.

Thread this

Before you know it… you’re done and doner with that pesky drawstring.

Farting around with needle & thread and then blogging about it.

Monica Solorio-Snow
Happy Zombie

Pacific Wonderland
Astoria, Oregon

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