Tuesday, December 30, 2008

File Cabinet

Here's one of my Christmas presents... a file cabinet... assembly required. ;) I'd never put together any furniture before, so this was really a learning experience! It came in the box with nothing attatched, just boards and bolts and hardware. This picture came after I figured out which were the top and bottom and right and left cabinet rails, and how to tell them from the top and bottom and right and left drawer slides, AND if the little wheels went toward the front or back of the drawer:

The directions were most unhelpful. And unhelpful in three languages, too, so what you see there in the little black rectangles on page 4 that look like sufficient information actually says things like:

Unfinished Surface.
Surface non finie.
Superficie sin acabado.

Of all the things I could have been told about how to put this together, the fact that the unfinished surfaces go on the INside of the cabinet, not the OUTside of the cabinet... well, if you didn't intuitively know that, you shouldn't even be starting something like this. My favorite quote from the whole booklet:

This hole should be located here.
Ce trou devrait etre situe ici.
Este agujero debe estar ubicado aqui.

In addition to these bits and pieces, there were 24 cam dowels and 24 hidden cams, 8 flat head phillips screws, and four support pins. Also not pictured, 4 non-swivel casters, three angle brackets, two drawer pulls, one designer medallion... And yes, I was singing that to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas... :D

But finally I got to page 15, and my lovely model Libby shows that it is together and sturdy enough to support a cat:

The only problem I have now is that it's ½ an inch too tall to put where I wanted to put it, under my computer desk. Now I've got to add 4 blocks under my computer desk to raise it ¾ of an inch so it'll fit.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Gift-Making

Anyone else being a busy little Santa's helper? Here's three pillows for someone who said they wanted 'just a couple of plain pillows.' Do you know how hard it was for a quilter to make PLAIN pillows? But I can agree with her, they're to go with a scrappy, busy quilt, remember this one?

I had a few brick sized scraps left from the border of the quilt, so in addition to the two 16 inch square pillows she requested, she's getting a bonus 12 inch square pillow, the little not-plain one in the front. :D

And here's some gifts for co-workers:

More notebook covers and a hotpad. I actually made several more of these, but they all look the same. It's all completely from stash, and I chained my way through the log cabin style blocks for the hotpads, then stitched around the edge (including the batting) and turned them inside out to avoid having to bind them. That ethnic Santa fabric was hard to find, but it's a really pretty glittery fabric. The candycane pens add a nice touch, I think.

Then some glasses cases for family. Betcha can't guess which one of the three is for my older brother!

I'm using fleece or flannel for the inside lining of them, I tried quilting weight fabric, and the glue from the Timtex made it feel scratchy. I'm learning some heirloom sewing techniques too - can you see on the right, below, my first try at pintucks? And on the front, above, an embroidered rose. It reminds me of the little rose I used to have on the middle of my bras, back in high school. :D

And just for those who didn't notice... did you see that the camouflage fabric isn't quite... the usual camo? If you look close, you see that the shapes are silhouettes of nekkid ladies:

I'm sure my brother will appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Presents and Totebag Story

Well, I took my two new totebags to the grocery yesterday, and asked the checker if they still gave discounts if you use your own bags. "Yes, Ma'am!" she replied, counted my totes, and punched in my discount. Then she put them on the conveyor belt to send to the bagger... who promptly folded them neatly into thirds and put them in a plastic bag for me. :D

In his defense, he said they looked new and he thought I was getting them as a gift for someone... lol They worked very well, though, and were especially nice for carrying the cans of soup and other heavy things.

I've also been making some Christmas gifts, totally from stash. First, a little crayon apron - I have pencils in the pockets now, but the slots will fit 16 crayons when fully loaded:

I'd been wondering what I could make with this big flower print FQ since I got it as part of a FQ exchange - and the apron worked great, one FQ made both front and lining. Add the crayons and a coloring book, and it's a perfect gift for a six year old girl.

And some little notebook covers, one from a bluejean leg, one in heavy cotton. The denim one has a fringed skinny pocket next to the seam for a pen (I'll put a pretty gel pen there for giving) and the black with stars one has three ribbon loops to thread a pencil through to 'lock' the memo book closed:

Here they are open - they were very quick to do, just zig zagged the raw edges, and the cover slot is made from a 1½ inch strip of the same fabric, no lining. For the locking pen on the black one, sew one loop of ribbon to the front of the book, and two loops to the back of the book, so when it's closed, you go thru the back top loop, the front loop, then the bottom back loop.

And last, but not least, If you haven't been following Lindsay's adventure of actually MAKING a block every day from her block-a-day calendar, now's the time to watch as the end draws near. 365 days worth of completely different blocks... go offer some encouragement as she completes one year's worth:

SCHNOODLE'S Block-a-Day Epic!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another Tote Done

Here's the second tote done, with a jungle themed print. Coated red canvassy stuff for the bottom and straps and pocket this time, don't know where I got it, but it's been in my fabric drawer forever. I'm doing these completely from stash, not buying a thing.

I quilt the top half of these before I sew the straps and pocket on. For batting, I'm using some flannel that started pilling the first time I washed it. I knew it wouldn't be good for a quilt border like I wanted, but for batting inside the tops of these totes, nobody will see it. Nothing fancy for the quilting either, I just lay down strips of masking tape in nice straight rows, and sew between the tape. You can barely see the lines of stitching if you click on the picture below.

My Siamese inspector is in just about the same position as last time. Predictable, isn't he? I hung both totes on the doorknob when I finished taking the picture above, and Toby was so sure I'd hidden something behind them, he had to check:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Autumn Totebag

In the interest of using less plastic bags, I've decided to use some of my excessive fabric stash and make some totes. Here's my first one, with a Fall theme:

The bottom, straps and pockets are an orangey denim, very stiff. I wanted something about the size of a standard paper grocery sack, but a little wider, with straps that I could hang on my shoulder. I also wanted it sturdy enough to carry cans, bottles of V-8 or fruit juice, etc.

I probably could have gotten this thing done faster if I'd had a pattern to follow, but all the patterns I saw weren't the right size, didn't have the heavyweight fabric on the bottom, or didn't go up the sides as far as I wanted. I'd hoped to have the straps meet at the bottom of the bag, maybe even go into the center bottom seam, but I wanted them long enough to go over my shoulder more than I wanted them to go all the way across the bottom.

My machine didn't like sewing on the thickness of the denim, especially when I made the straps and stitched them down over the sides of the pockets. I finished off the inside too, zig-zagging the edges of the denim so they wouldn't fray, and using bias tape to encase my two side seams.

Toby is the resident Siamese inspector you see in the picture. He has an oversize bump of curiosity and has to follow me from room to room wherever I go. He tells me I should have made it even bigger, to carry the LARGE size bag of MeowMix. :D
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