Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Show-and-tell Tuesday: Plastic bag thingie

This odd, bumpy thing looks like a strange topic for a post, but it's really quite handy and very easy to make. I made it some months ago and it hangs in the stairwell headed down to the basement (a.k.a. litterbox-land). We use it to hold the plastic shopping bags that always seem to show up at home, despite our best efforts to the contrary. You just stuff the bags into the top and then pull them out of the bottom -- voila! -- as you need them for re-use.

I've seen the same sort of thing designed as a hard plastic tube that screws into the inside of a cabinet door. But why purchase that when it's so easy to make one? Just cut a strip of fabric about 18 inches long and 12 inches wide - a trimmed fat quarter works great. Sew the long edges together to form a tube, then hem both top and bottom to form a small casing. Slip enough narrow elastic into the bottom to pull the edge in a little bit, like it's a little cuff on a sleeve. On the other end, thread a cord, ribbon or old shoestring through the casing so you can open it all the way if you need to, and leave some excess for a hanging loop.

We're all trying to live green a little more these days. So when those plastic bags inevitably show up, keep them in a place where you know they'll be handy to use again!

Check out Show-and-tell Tuesday at Wisdom Has Two Parts, too -- adorable little doll quilts!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My seven random things

I'm still playing with the look of the blog. One of these days I'll stick to one design, but for now it feels like I'm looking for the perfect pair of shoes!

Everyone seems to be sharing "Seven Random Things" about themselves lately, so I guess it's my turn to play along now (thanks to being tagged by Knittymuggins.)

Here are the rules: Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves along with the rules of the game, as well as tagging seven others by listing their names as part of the blog post and leaving a blog comment for the tagged individuals to let them know that they've been tagged.

With that said, here are my seven random things -- not particularly interesting, but they are what they are!

1) Dan and I love to dance. We have taken a lot of classes for ballroom and swing dancing these past few years. We mostly dance on vacation, but we often bust a move at home while standing around in the kitchen, too. The cat has learned to stay out of the way. We just finished an Argentine Tango class, which I found to be the most difficult of any dance we've learned -- but Dan was great at it! He's very tall and cuts quite the dashing figure on the dance floor.

2) Speaking of dancing...my favorite movie of all time is Saturday Night Fever. I guess it takes me back to my college years, when disco was at its peak. The cheesy outfits, the platform shoes, the lighted dance floors...I don't yearn for their return, but damn, they were fun at the time!

3) I talk to my daughter almost every day. The cell phone is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

4) I am bugged by inappropriate uses of the apostrophe. I'm not talking about the occasional typo, but rather the repeated use of "it's" as a possessive, or "its" as a contraction. It just drives me nuts. And then there's the ever-popular use of the apostrophe to form a plural. Like fingers on a chalkboard. Years ago when my folks moved into their retirement condo, the nice wooden sign in front of the little complex read "Season's IV." (That's a Roman numeral 4, not "IV" as in intravenous.) Anyway...I'm pretty sure that apostrophe was not meant to indicate a possessive. Of course I was totally tactless in pointing this out. Later my mom quietly went out and put a piece of masking tape over the offending apostrophe. The sign had a tan background, so it blended pretty well and actually lasted for several years. And I felt kind of bad for making fun of the sign.

5) I am embarassingly knowledgeable about 60s and 70s TV shows, especially the Brady Bunch.
6) If I feel like a real treat when we're out, there's nothing better than a green apple martini. Ahhhh. And somehow, one of those always makes me a better dancer, too. Odd, isn't it?

7) Occasionally I bake things, but I seldom actually cook. Dan is the cook in the family. I'd love to sew one of those cute retro aprons everyone seems to be making, but really, what would be the point?

OK, that's it. And while I'm supposed to tag seven other folks, there are so many who have already done this that I'm only going to choose two. And they're two of my favorites, anyway.

Tracy and Candy, take it away!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Show-and-tell Tuesday: Scrappy skirt

My wonderful 25-year-old daughter and one of her friends are coming up from New York City for Memorial Day weekend. And that, of course, means: It’s time to make skirts, skirts and more skirts!

I have a couple of them already stitched up and just awaiting a final fitting this weekend. Then yesterday I ran across this link on Craft Leftovers for a patternless, easy-to-fit skirt made out of long fabric strips. I have a drawer full of 2 ½-inch strips from quilt guild swaps this past year. So with just a little adapting of the instructions, they’ve begun to go together into a really dandy cotton skirt.

Two strips joined and trimmed down to 26 inches make this:

Use the seam as a center axis and rotary-cut a symmetrical wedge like this:

Then, just join them. Here’s how it’s starting to look after less than an hour at the sewing machine:

This random combination of prints may be a little on the hippie-chick side, but I think it could look quite sophisticated in just two coordinated fabrics – or super-tailored in a solid, with only the seams adding the visual interest.

I’m really looking forward to the girls’ arrival and having them both dig through bins of fabric to pick out the makings for other fun cotton skirts. What a great way to start the summer!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mother's Day vest

So, I'm playing around with images on my Blogger template and have a lot of experimenting left to do with the header and layout -- so this might look like a work in progress until I figure it out. But I did want to post this photo of the vest I made earlier this month for Dan's mother for Mother's Day.

This was really a joy to knit. I used a cotton-acrylic blend called Tatamy Tweed, a great texture for summer wear. My friends at the yarn shop used the same yarn for some great-looking summer placemats, and I conveniently bought enough extra so I'd be able to do the same.

If you enjoyed the photos of Mary's quilt in the last post, check out the comment section - and thanks so much, Mary, for checking in! Great to hear from you, and we're all still wishing you the very best!

On another note, Knittymuggins tagged me to post seven random things about myself...which I will do later this week, as soon as I can think of that many...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Show-and-tell Tuesday: Mary's quilt

Good thing Tuesday rolls around once a week - at least it gives me a tiny bit of discipline for blogging!

Occasionally I run across a photo of something I made that has completely slipped my memory. Such was the case this week.

I really liked making this little quilt. I made it a couple of years ago as a comfort gift for Mary, an old high school friend of my daughter’s who was recovering from brain surgery at age 23. I think often of Mary, but had forgotten all about this quilt. I had lots of black and white fabric in my stash at the time, and decided to zing it up with some brights. It seemed to suit the sensibilities of this creative and vibrant young lady.

Come to think of it, this is also one of the few quilts I’ve ever labeled. One of my friends had given me some red fabric imprinted with the words “When this you see, remember me” – so that made an appropriate border for a muslin label, where Maureen and I both wrote our good wishes to Mary before we mailed it to her in Texas.

Mary wrote back that she loved the quilt, and said she sometimes even wore it around the house as a cape!

It’s been awhile since I’ve heard how Mary’s doing. Finding this photo makes me want to check in with her. I believe that’s exactly what I’ll do.