Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cozy Mysteries & Novels

Knowing I like reading cozy mysteries and novels related to crafts for fun, my hubbin and I visited two new-to-us mystery bookstores located in the metro Kansas City area this last weekend. The first one, “I Love A Mystery,”  was hosting a book signing with author Clare O’Donohue She’s a freelance television writer/producer and has worked worldwide on a variety of shows for the Food Network, the History Channel, and truTV, among others. An avid quilter, she also was a producer for HGTV’s Simply Quilts and is a very nice lady! I jumped in and finished reading her first cozy mystery in the Someday Quilts Mystery series called “The Lover’s Knot” last night although she was signing a book for her second series, a Kate Conway book.

Then we visited a Salvation Army thrift store just across and down the street from “I Love a Mystery” (one has to make the most of opportunities *smile*) where I found The Quilter’s Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini and another Mary Engelbreit teacup minus the saucer plus 4 bottles of Stampendous embossing powder at a dollar each and a sandwich baggie each of wooden buttons, spools and other goodies.

Next we drove our new-to-us PT Cruiser (we love our car!) four miles away to the Mysteryscape Bookstore . They have a big selection of Cozy Mysteries.
And one just never knows what’s in the neighborhood, because we passed a rubber stamping store and a yarn store on our way to Mysteryscape Bookstore before they closed. Of course, I twisted my hubby’s arm and we went back down the street to visit “Ink, Paper, Rubber”, but didn’t make it to the yarn store before they turned their sign around to CLOSED. I asked the clerk at Ink Paper Rubber if they have any clubs and yes, they have an beginning ATC club which I may have to go check out! And yes, I did buy a stamp – a front and back Art Impressions Unmounted (#UMT1518) which I will have to ink up soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Faux ME Apron & Pattern

I’m so into making aprons now! I just had to make this apron with some other material I picked up here and there at charity shops. I brought it home and washed and ironed it and piled it in a stack, all prepared for the day I should take it and sew it up into something nice for my kitchen. All of it is cotton and reminded me of Mary Engelbreit. The only real Mary Engelbreit item on it is a shank button I found somewhere and was saving for the right project, since I only had one (see closeup photo, click on any photo to enlarge).

And you ask, what pattern did I use to make this simple apron and Mr. Helper’s apron in the article below? Well, I made my own and have used it for over and over for several years. Most of the apron patterns out there are one-size-fits-all, which is a nice way of saying – it ain’t gonna fit you, Dolores, ‘cause you ain’t Twiggy! I even store it all nicely folded up in its own zippy bag.

It could have been cut out of a brown grocery bag just as nicely, but the newspaper pages were probably all I had on hand at the moment. To get the right length, I decided to use the edge of the newspaper as the middle fold line of the apron and started measuring on my bod at the top center of my chest (put a safety pin at this north point) where I wanted the bib part to start, then dropped the measuring tape down (south) to where I wanted the bottom hem and added 2 inches for a seam allowance. Next I marked a straight line at one end of the paper for the apron hem after I measured from the corner of the newspaper page (I had to tape on a piece to get it the right length.).

To figure out the width of the apron pattern and to make the waist where the ties would be attached, I measured again from the top of my chest at the safety pin, but this time only down to my waist (your waist is where you bendy, safety pin it). My waistline just so happens to be at my belly-button. So then, I measured from my belly-button around (east/west) on my waistline to a spot on the side where the side seam of my blouses are generally at. Add one inch for seam allowance and put that measurement mark on the paper pattern.

To get the arm curve between the bib and waistline, I had to measure from the safety pin in the middle of my chest again over (east/west) to my bra strap plus 1 inch to get the top corner point of the bib and measured that out on the newspaper. Next, I drew a rectangle with rulers on the paper down (south) from that top bib point to the waistline and in (east/west) from the side seam to intersect. I used either a dinner plate or round serving tray, I can’t remember which, lining its edge up against the two lines of the rectangle lines you just intersected (corner) to draw around to get the curve.

From the outside waistline corner, I drew against a yardstick straight down (south) to the bottom hem edge. Then I went over the cutting lines in black sharpie and wrote notes to myself about how long to make the ties for the top and bottom. Usually one yard of material is all I need to make one apron including matching ties and neckband. I cut the neckband and ties from the opposite open side of the material, three inches wide twice lengthwise, cutting through both layers of material. The apron ties remain the length of the material, but the neckband was wrapped around my neck, pinned on top of the bib, adjusted as needed and then measured lengthwise. Remember to add 2 inches to that last measurement for a seam allowance. I sew all the ties (3 = 1 neckband + 2 waist) at the same time, turning them inside out with a safety pin, iron and fold one end over and attach to the apron at the same time I’m finishing the edges of the apron with a sewn rolled hem. The very ends of the waist ties I generally tie a knot and let the ends of the material fray slightly.

If I can make this simple pattern, then anybody else can too! Love to see what you make!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pillowcase Aprons

Dear Girlfriend,
Guess what I made? Last Sunday, our craft in Sunday School was fingerpainting with chocolate pudding. The kids had a blast and no, there was no dripped pudding on their good clothes, because I made aprons out of pillowcases for all of them! I found the idea online, but since that website has disappeared into cyberspace, this 2 part video shows a similar way of making the basic apron also.

You know our room is decorated with Veggie Tales, so I hit several thrift stores in advance looking for pillowcases in the colors of the characters – I found lime green ones, pretty yellow ones with daisies (thot the girls would like those), deep dark purple and a bright red and green plaid which the boys liked best – you know, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber look swell in those colors!

Since I have 8-10 children, ages 3-6, in our preschool and kindergarten class, I didn’t know how long to make each neckband to go over their heads, so decided to just make ties instead (Update: see the above video about sewing one long tie). The girls didn’t mind lifting their hair to be tied into their aprons and hubby helped the boys with theirs.

While I was looking for the pillowcases, I also found about a 1 ¼ yard of bright yellow Veggie-Tale party material that was just enough material for teacher to have an apron too and I made Mr. Helper his own as well from the leftover bits and pieces from the ten pillowcases. I backed his apron with white fabric and topstitched it down the front. I didn’t whipstitch the ends of the ties, but just tied them in simple knots.

After painting their pictures, pudding goatees around their mouths came next! LOL! Remind me next time to bring spoons. One little boy nearly dipped his whole fist in the pudding cup to get enough to lick off! My sweet hubby came to the rescue with spoons he dug up somewhere and the kids happily sucked their pudding down. They had a rip-snorting good time!

Will write again soon.