Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Disney Bags: t-shirt and fused plastic bags

My family and I are going to Disney World next week. I wanted to make a special purse to use while there. I have this Minnie Mouse t-shirt that just doesn't fit me right. I decided to use that to make the purse out of.

Materials: 1 t-shirt, scissors, ruler, marker, zipper, ribbon, fabric for lining, needle or sewing machine, and thread. I also used a Girl Scout badge.

Directions: Cut the sleeves off of the shirt. Cut them so that the attached sewn edge is still attached to the sleeves (where the sleeves were connected to the rest of the shirt).

You can sew something decorative on the sleeve. Here I have sewn the shirt label on. I sewed a Girl Scout badge on the other sleeve.

Turn the shirt inside out. Pin the shirt on the side edges so that everything is lined up just right. It will also help make sure nothing shifts while cutting and sewing.

Draw a line with the marker and ruler down each side of the t-shirt. Be sure to leave at least a fourth of an inch seam allowance. This line is so that you know where to stitch, and you will get a nice straight line . Its also so that the rounded sleeve holes are removed.

Now sew along that line. Then cut off any t-shirt material that is over a half of an inch from the sewn line.

Draw a line with the ruler along the top and bottom of the shirt (above the bottom hem and below the collar). Sew along the bottom line. Cut along the top line.

Turn the t-shirt right side out. Place and pin the sleeves where you want the outside pockets to be. On the back pocket of my bag, I attached velcro. I sewed one side of the velcro to the pocket before attaching it to the bag , and sewed the other piece of velcro while sewing the pocket on the bag. The sleeves were turned upside down to form the pockets. Carefully sew them in place. Remember to sew them only through one layer of the bag. It takes some maneuvering, but it can be done on the sewing machine.

Lay your bag over a folded piece of fabric (with the right sides of the fabric together). I chose a patriotic fabric to match the shirt. Trace a line around your t-shirt onto the fabric. Now sew a quarter to a half inch inside of that line on the two sides of the bag. The folded part is the bottom of your lining. Cut where your draw line was. Leave your sewn lining right sides together. Place it inside of your bag. Cut your ribbon to the size you want for your handle. Pin it in place on the sides of your bag, between the lining and the t-shirt. Fold the top edges of the t-shirt and lining towards each other so that you no longer see the raw edges. Pin the two layers together. Pin a zipper in place. It is easier to do this when the zipper is open. Tuck the end of the zipper inside of the bag (in the lining), but make sure not to tuck in the pull tab for the zipper. With the zipper open, sew the lining, the t-shirt, the ribbon handle, and the zipper in place. I like to use a zig zag stitch. This part is tricky. I actually left some of the lining showing above the t-shirt on the outside. I had sewed them together with the handle before sewing the zipper to the top edge of the lining.

Also here are the finished tote bags that I made out of fused plastic bags. To see how to steps on how to fuse plastic bags, please look at the older post from this month. The one that says "Disney Store" on it is 3 layers of bags. The Disney store bags are pretty thick to begin with. The Mickey Mouse one is 4 or 5 layers of bags. This includes a thin pink garbage bag for the inside on the tote bag.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"Its Easy Being Green" : Guest Bonnie Rankin

On June 19th Bonnie Rankin joined me on the show. We talked about the 4th R (reduce, reuse, recycle), re purpose. We both have inherited fabric items from loves ones. She brought on handkerchiefs and I had fabric wall calendars. You can view Bonnie's show notes on her handkerchief projects on her blog. You can also check back at a later date on my you tube channel to watch the show (if you missed it, want to watch it again, or you don't live in our area).

By re purposing inherited items, you are able to cherish the memory that those items have on a daily basis. Normally those items might just be put in a box or a drawer and only taken out after long periods of time. We talked about sewing fabric items on the show, but you can make a shadow box for your inherited items. Shadow boxes are also good to hold memories of vacations, family members, special occasions, childhood memories, etc. How does all of this fall into the "green" theme? You are finding a new use for something that would normally not get much use (through touch or through sight). It stops being useless clutter and becomes a part of your life.

Bonnie first washed her handkerchiefs in the washing machine to make sure that they would hold up before she sewed them. She arrange them in groups according to color. She picked out 2 sets of 3 handkerchiefs that went well together to make window valences out of. She folded them in half, over lapped them, and sewed them together in a way so that they could be hung up over her window. They turned out beautifully.

Next Bonnie wanted to make a quilt using her aunt's handkerchiefs. The problem was that they were different sizes, some were shear, and some had beautiful scalloped edges that would be nice to show. The solution was to sew them on a larger piece of fabric (an old light colored sheet). Bonnie measured the largest handkerchief and added 2 inches for each of the 4 sides to figure out what size to cut her fabric squares. This way she doesn't need to worry about how shear a handkerchief is, if it has some holes in it, what size it is, and she can still show off its beautiful scalloped edges. The next set of questions are: how big should she make it? What handkerchiefs should she put together? How should she arrange the squares? Checkerboard, on point, or a combination? Does she place fabric between the squares (framing each square)? What color to use? What color fabric to use for the border of the quilt?

Take a picture of the different arrangements so that you can view them easily. You can more easily see if you like the placement of the squares that way or not. Take a few of the handkerchiefs or a good picture of the group to the fabric store with you. This way you can place it next to the fabric to see what would look the best with it. Think about the color wheel if you are having problems. Look at the color combination with in the handkerchiefs for help choosing fabric as well.

Bonnie then showed us the table cloth that she had made by sewing her Papa's handkerchiefs together. She chose a checkerboard pattern using the white on white handkerchiefs placed in every other spot. Please visit her blog in the link above to see this beautiful yet masculine table cloth.

One thing that Bonnie did not make but that she brought was a little bag that was made from a handkerchief. It looked super easy to make. You just folded it like an envelope, then whip stitch the sides together. The part that folds down had some beautiful printed flowers on it. You could make a clutch or a change purse this way.

I then showed the Swiss fabric wall calendars that once belonged to my grandmother before she passed. When I was ironing them, the room began to small like my grandma. It was wonderful. I showed the fabric that I had picked out and cut to frame the calendars. I also talked about why I chose that fabric. I want to make a quilted wall hanging out of these, because I don't want to risk damaging them by putting them on my bed. I am only going to put together 4 of them, because that will make a pretty large wall hanging. I'll get 3 wall hangings out of all the calendars. To practice, I bought some Christmas themed Irish linens. They are about the same size as the calendars. I then proceeded to sew them together the same way that I would sew the calendars. The problem that I ran into was the edge and the corners of the liens. You could take the time and rip out all the seams so that you don't run into any problems while sewing them. I just sewed just inside all of those seams, paying careful attention when going around the corners. I then machine quilted (in the ditch) the Christmas one. I am going to go back and rip out all of the stitches and do it again by hand. I also want to hand stitch around some of the imagery to show case it. When attaching the binding, I am also going to be attaching a fabric loop to the top back so that a rod can go through it. This makes it easier to hang it on the wall. After finishing all 4 wall hangings, I can change them out on the same area of my home.

This show will air sometime in July. You can check the telemedia website for show times.

You Tube - "Its Easy Being Green"

My husband has put the 1st episode of "It's Easy Being Green" on you tube. This way everyone who does not live in my area can still see the show. It is a 30 minute show, so he had to break it down into 3 video clips for you tube (they only allow 10 minute videos). You can also check back to see if other shows have been posted. So far 3 shows have been taped. No more shows will be taped until mid August due to my vacation, the studio being closed for a few weeks, and the director's vacation. For any show notes or links, please see past posts. They will start with "Its Easy Being Green" so that they are easy to locate.

Here is a quick link to the 1st episode's show notes.

If you do live in or around Chelmsford, MA. show will begin airing on Monday June 22, 2009. It is on channel 8. You can check show times at the telemedia website.
Monday 6/22 8:30 pm
Wednesday 6/24 9am
Saturday 6/27 6pm

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How to make large juice pouch notebooks

Since I needed to make large juice pouch notebooks for the teachers of the classrooms that recycle for me, I thought I would take pictures of the steps involved in making them.
Cleaning: 1. Cut a hole where the bottom of the pouch expands. Then proceed to clean it in the sink or in the top rack of the dishwasher. Let it air dry for at least 2 days (until it is completely dry on the inside).

2. Take the plastic straw holder off of the pouch. Remove any remaining plastic from where the straw was attached. Spray some Goo Gone on the pouch where the straw was attached. Let it set for a minute. Then wipe off the stickiness.

Materials need to make a large juice pouch notebook:
- Scissors
- paper (10 to 20 pages per notebook)
- exact o knife
- ruler
- surface to cut on
- 8 juice pouches that have been precleaned as instructed above
- sewing machine with a denim needle and thread (gray works great)

This is what I have my sewing machine set at. I find that the straight stitch seems to tear the pouches easily. I prefer to use the multi-hole zig zag stitch.

I use the lines that are already on the pouches as a guide so that I am always overlapping them the same every time. I like to sew 2 pouches side by side first.

Sew four sets of these to make one notebook.

Then over lap the bottom of one set with the top of another set. I use the top line of the pouch (where it is sealed and still one layer) as a guide when overlapping.

Next you sew the bottom of the 2 sets of 4 (the bottom of the front and back of the notebook).

The sewn group of juice pouches equals 7 inches by 10 inches.

You need to cut your paper so that it is 7" x 10". Cut up to 20 pages per notebook.

Sandwich the pages between the 2 sewn juice pouch panels.

Sew the layers together. I don't like to sew more than 20 pages with my machine, because I have had my needle break a few times on me in the past.

Now you have made yourself a 7 1/2" x 10 1/2" notebook made from recycled materials. You can sew this by hand. I recommend using a small hole punch to make the holes. Then you can use a tapestry needle and embroider thread to sew the layers together. I teach kids how to make the small notebooks that way (it uses only 2 juice pouches).

What I'm working on...

I've been cutting plastic bags and making yarn out of it. I'm trying to drastically decrease the amount of plastic bags that I have in my home right now. They are not all mine. People that I know give me their plastic bags to recycle. Some bags I am saving for fusing projects though. You can find directions in a previous post form this month.

My to-go project is the crochet soda tab flowers. I carry it in the craft bag that I made out of my son's pant legs. You can see an image of that bag in an earlier post. I think I made it earlier this year.

I have also been working on the Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt that is made out of t-shirts. I also made some t-shirt yarn as well.

The telemedia studio is going to be closed for 4 weeks this summer. It just happens that it closes when I come back from vacation. So after this week I will not be taping any new shows until August (if life permits). However I will have taped 3 shows this month, which is enough to last until August as far as airing goes. One show will be aired 3 times a week for 2 weeks. That gives 6 weeks of running show time before a new needs to be made.

I have also been making juice pouch notebooks as a thank you to the 5 classrooms that recycle them for me. I now know that 5 classrooms is too much for me to handle by myself. Four classrooms is my limit.

Projects to finish before the end of the month:
- Fused Disney plastic bags. I am 75% finished with this. I would have finished, but I wanted to wait until after the plastic bag show just in case I needed to show how to steps.
- Disney t-shirt purse. I have a red Minnie Mouse t-shirt that no longer fits right. I want to turn it into a purse before our trip.
- Quilt my grandmother's quilt. I can quickly sew on the binding and work on it on the road. It needs to be finished by July 7th. All my other projects caught up with me and it got put on hold.
-Make 132 juice pouch notebooks for 5 classrooms as a thank you for recycling them for me. I have made 110 so far. I should be finished with that today.

There are other projects that I would like to work on, but these are the projects that have a deadline.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Valentine's Fused Bag

I want to have a whole episode of the show be on how to make a fused plastic bag. First I needed to see if I could fill a 30 minute show with this project. So I set my timer to 30 minutes and went about making this bag. The 30 minute timer went off before I was even finished ironing the bags together. So now I know that I need to have the ironing finished before taping the show. I will show how to iron / fuse a bag, but not the same bag that I will be sewing at the time.

For this bag I fused this purple bag to 2 layers of white plastic shopping bags and two layers of a very thin pink garbage bag. I also fused 2 layers of the pink garbage bag and 2 layers of a red bag. I then cut out hearts from these two colors. I then fused the hearts into place on the purple bag. I cut the handles for the bag from two ends of the unsewn fused bag. I folded about an inch of the pink side over onto the purple side and sewed it down. Then I folded the purple sides together and stitched the three sides. I also stitched a 2" triangle at the bottom 2 corners. I flipped it right side out. I folded the 2" handle strips into 3rds and stitched the fold down. I pinned them 2" in from the sides of the bag and then stitched all the way around the bag.

I noticed that this heart was not fully fused. I took it back to the ironing board, placed the parchment paper inside the bag so that I did not fuse the fromt to the back of the bag. I did not pay attention to my iron setting, and I had set it to cotton. It was way to hot and burned holes through my bag. I cut some left over purple plastic and placed it inside the bag under the heart as a patch. I then made sure my iron was set to wool / silk, then I ironed / fused the patch to the back of the heart.

Crochet Soda Tab Flowers

Last night I learned how to crochet soda tab flowers. I followed the instructions found in this link. The first one that I made, the purple and yellow one, has ridges in on the front center. After that I crochet the center on the back side instead. I would love to crochet or knit a purse and stitch these on it. They would also make nice broaches. I also want to try and crochet plyarn with the soda tabs. *Note: I made 7 crochet stitched on each of the soda tabs to begin the center of the flower.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Christmas quilted wall hanging

I am trying to get ready for next week's show. I will be talking about quilting my grandma's Swiss fabric calendars. Because I did not want to dive into quilting something so valuable to me, I bought some Christmas pieces that are similar to the calendars. I pieced them a few years ago. I started quilting them today. I'm not to happy with the results. I have puckers on the front because I machine quilted it. I prefer to hand quilt for this reason. However I did not have time. I might go back and rip out those stitches at a later date. Either way, I will be hand quilting the center of each panel.

Its Easy Being Green: Plastic Bag Crafts & Frances Killam. Show Notes.

The first episode of "Its Easy Being Green" was taped on Friday, June 12, 2009. The topic was crafting with plastic bags. My guest was Frances Killam.

Making plastic bag wreaths.
Skill level: easy (no special skills required).
Materials: 1. a wreath fra
me (I used a wire wreath frame that I purchased from a craft store).
2. Scissors
3. A twist tie, like from a bread bag
4. About 150 grocery store sized bags. The bags need to be about the same size in length, not width.
5. Embellishments and ways to attach them (glue, twist ties, etc).
Directions: 1. Cut the handles and the bottom seam of the plastic bag off. I save these and use them instead of packing peanuts when mailing items.
2. Take the bag and tie it around the wreath frame in a knot.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, scrunch up the tied bags together on the fram
e so there is no open spaces left.
4. When the frame is completed co
vered in tied plastic bags, flip over to the back. Attach the twist tie through / around one of the ties bags, and secure. Make a loop out of the twist tie. This is so that you can hang your wreath up.
5. Flip the wreath back over. Now fluff up the bags. This will hide the knots and make a full looking wreath.
6. Attach your embellishments. You can attach a bow with a hot glue gun or a twist tie. For the Christmas one, I attached red Coke bottle caps with a hot glue gun. They resembled berries to me. You can make embellishments out of cardboard and scrap wood as well. Use your imagination. This looks great on a door, and it is pretty weather resistant.

Making plastic Bag Yarn or Plyarn.
Skill level: easy
Materials: plastic bags & scissors
Directions: A video from The Carol Duvall Show.
Notes: You do not need to know how to be a knitter or a
crocheter in order to make plyarn. It would be a great gift to make a ball of plyarn for someone that you know who does knit, crochet, weave, etc.
Patterns: Anything that you can make out of yarn, you can make using plyarn.
For a sim
ple yet very sturdy tote bag, knit or crochet a large rectangle. When folded in half, that will be the size of your bag. Gage: Just figure out how wide you want your bag to be and add 2 to 4 stitches to that (for seam allowance). The bigger the needle or hook, the bigger the holes and the faster the project goes. My prefered knitting needle size for this project is a US15, and I like to use a size J crochet hook. It takes about 15 hours to make (including making the plyarn).
When you have the size rectangle that you want, then attach the handles. You can make your own handles or use ribbon. If knitting the handles, prestretch them before attaching them to the bag. You can also place holes in the bag in the beginning and end to use as handles instead. I attach the ribbon handles by sewing the end to the middle of the rectangle on one side (like the right). Then I sew it in place to on end. Measure out how big you want your handles to be. Then stitch the ribbon down on the other size. Measure out the handle again. Then finish sewing down the other side. You can do this by hand or by sewing machine. Then fold the bag right sides together. Crochet or whip stitch the two sides closed. Turn the bag right side out. Now you have a tote bag that cost you little to no money that can hold a lot of stuff.

My favorite online pattern website is lionbrand.com. You can find all kinds of free knitting and crochet patterns there. You might also want to join Ravelry.com. Its an online knitting and crocheting community where you can find patterns and join groups that like to make things out of plyarn (among other things).

My guest: Frances Killam.

You can visit Frances Killam's website at http://www.digmuse.com/. She is a fiber and metal artist. She came on the show to talk about the brain coral that she had made using mylar, a heavy plastic material. She was inspired by Margaret Wertheim and
Christine Wertheim. The link attached to Margaret Wertheim's name will take you to a video where she talks about recreating coral reefs out of fiber. The link attached to Christine Wertheim's name will take you to website that talks about the toxic reef. This is where plyarn and other recycled materials were used to make a reef. This is what inspired France's brain coral that she brought on the show. Frances also showed us how to spin plyarn using a Navajo spindle. She also added some tinsel to the plyarn while spinning.

Future plastic bag craft topics:
-Fusing plastic bags to make smaller yet sturdier bags.
-Crocheting soda pull tabs with plyarn.

Up Coming Shows:
-Guest Bonnie Rankin will join me and we will be making quilts, window valences, and other things out of handkerchiefs and fabric wall calendars that we have inherited from loved ones.
-Quilting, how it had been a source for reusing / re purposing fabric for years. We will be focusing on the pattern Grandma's Flower Garden. We will be making templates from recycled materials, using left over fabric, and old t-shirts.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Winter & Disney Fused bags

Last night inspiration hit me. I wanted to design my own fused plastic bag tote. I have some beautiful blue bags, and I was trying to think of how to be more artistic with fusing them. That's when the idea hit me. Snowflakes!!! I fused a single white plastic bag to itself (2 layers). I then dye-cut small snowflakes out of it. It was easier than dye-cutting paper. I had about 8 layers dye-cut at the same time. I then used 2 blue plastic bags together (4 layers). I arranged the snowflakes on it, then I fused them down. After that I sewed up my bag. This probably took me about an hour today. I love it! Since it was so easy, I might just make a bunch to use as gift bags for Christmas.

Here is what my Micky Mouse bag looks like so far. I still need to attach the handles. I left them off so that I can show steps in my show tonight. I just love this bag. The inside is fused pink garbage bags that I bought at the dollar store.

This bag came from my local quilt show. I love the design. It is just a flat fused panel right now. It is one of my steps for the show tonight. I might not be able to show how to fuse plastic bags tonight. My 1st project will be making plastic bag wreaths, followed by making plyarn (plastic bag yarn). Then Frances Killam will come on and show her plyarn brain coral. She will also demonstrate how to spin with plastic bags. If I have time, the fused bags will be next. If I run out of time, then I'll just make a part two to this episode.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Half Square Triangle Quilt

Here is a drawing that I did on graph paper so that I have an idea of the quilt design that I want to do. I used 3 different colors of blue so that I can see each triangle, and so it would look like a scrap quilt.

Here are a few of the half square triangle blocks that I have made for this quilt. Some fabrics, not shown, are more white than black. I just randomly used fat quarters that were blue and black & white. I am really excited about this quilt. It is truly a quilt for me.

Fused Plastic Bags

I was able to fuse my 2 Disney store plastic bags today. First you lay down parchment paper on your ironing board. You want your iron to be on a silk / wool setting. You cut off the bottom seam and handles of your plastic bag. Then you cut one side of the bag so it lays flat in one layer. You want to layer 4 bags together.

Then you want to place some parchment paper over your plastic bags. This is so you don't ruin your iron or ironing board.

Then you have to slowly iron the surface on both sides. After ironing both sides, check and see if there are areas that did not fuse completely, and iron some more.

When you are finished, you should have a wrinkled and stiff piece of plastic. You'll want to square up the edges with scissors or a rotary cutter. Then you can take it to your sewing machine and sew up a new bag. In one of mine, I have carried 2 water bottles and 4 magazines. It may seam like it will tear easily, but it won't.

Grandma's Flower Garden out of t-shirts

The last time that I was at my parents' house, my mom gave me 2 bags full of t-shirts that she no longer wanted. When making t-shirt yarn, I use from the armpit down, and only the non-printed t-shirt parts. So what to do with the top halves? The show that I am taping next week has to do with quilting and how that can be "green." I am focusing on the Grandma's Flower Garden pattern. I make my templates from food boxes. I have used scrap fabric from other projects, but I wanted to use "recycled" fabric as well. So why not use t-shits? Normally you wouldn't want to quilt with such stretchy fabric, but using a template and hand stitching with it works great. For this t-shirt quilt I am using large hexagon templates. I have been saving all of my cereal boxes to make the templates out of. Using the larger templates will make this project come along much faster. Plus the material will make a soft quilt. A lot of these shirts bring back memories. In the picture you can see how I fussy cut the Hilton logo to show. I remember helping my mom out at the Hilton during their summer parties (she use to work there). That was also during the 80's when neon colors were in. I'm going to really enjoy making this quilt and then using it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fused plastic bags & a new quilt

I tape my first show in a week. The topic is making things out of plastic bags. I need to have different steps pre-made for the show. I also have been wanting to make special Disney bags for our up coming vacation. I have 2 plastic Disney store bags that I want to fuse, and turn into 2 sturdier bags for our trip. So why not make the steps I need for the show and make the bags for my trip at the same time? I started the fusing process yesterday. The one Disney bag I have is HUGE. It is taking a while to fuse it.

I have really been wanting to start a new quilt using half square triangles. I kept telling myself that I couldn't start it until other things were finished. I have had a rough 2 weeks. I don't want to go into to it, because this blog for me is all about being creative and not about what is going on in my personal life. I figured that I needed to treat myself by doing something that I really wanted to do. So I started working on the new quilt last night. I cut several 3 1/2" squares from blue fat quarters and black & white print fat quarters. I really like working with black and white prints. I made a log cabin crib quilt using red fabric with the black & white prints. I also used black & white scraps left over from other projects, and then accented it with some green fabric to make another crib quilt. My favorite color is blue, which is easy to see when looking at my fabric stash. While watching tv last night, I marked the back of the blue squares with a pencil. I am hoping to start sewing some of the half square triangles together (using the trick where you sew 2 squares together twice and then cut down the center) sometime today. I want to make an off center large diamond pattern out of the half square triangles. It should be interesting. This quilt will be for myself, so it does need to be large.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Birthday Goodie Bags

Today is my son's 10th birthday. His party is on Saturday. I just finished making the rest of the goodie bags for his party.