Puss in Boots and Button Bin Digging

So yesterday I was kitting up all kits for the workshop I am getting ready for.  I am helping a group of ladies make an iron caddy tote.  I have made many of these.  Number four is in the works.

The difference between the bags before and the bag now, I actually drew out the pattern on paper vs drawing my lines on the fabric.  My latest iron caddy tote, will now be called a purse or my lunch bag.

It has been more than a year since I made my last few bags.  I wanted to refresh and get re-acquainted in making this for a smoother teaching experience.  I also wanted to make sure the clean newsprint I used would not tear with the walking foot, and would tear off easily when you need to remove it.

I did learn that I had to make my bag sandwich with another layer.  I had to use tissue paper because I am using oil cloth.  For those of you who do not know what oil cloth is, it is an older technology that made cotton fabric water resistant.  Can water penetrate the cloth, you bet.  Many of you will think back to a family member who had a table cloth on their table that would wipe clean.  It had a shiny surface, and may have had a fuzzy back.  This also protected the table from rings from sweaty glasses and any messes made.

When sewing oil cloth, if you use a metal foot, it will stick to the cloth, grab it something fierce and not allow movement.  My walking foot is part plastic and part metal.  My base plate of my machine is metal.  So adding this layer of tissue prevented it from sticking.  I had a hard time cutting this fabric with my rotary cutter and ruler.  I could not just scoot the ruler on top as normal fabric, it would stick!

So I can now pass on even more info in case someone makes a lunch sack instead of the iron caddy tote.  I am re-familiarized,  Yesterday was a good sewing day.

I am to the point of installing the buttons.  On my previous caddy totes I opted for hook and eye closure so I will not have to iron over a large button under my pressing surface.  So yesterday me and the girls got out my 6 gallons of buttons.  Six gallons?  Yup that is right, six!  One can never have too many buttons.  I have not bought a button at the store in years.  I am amazed at the things I find in there.  One of my button bins was my Grandmothers.  Her being from the depression era she saved everything.  If a garment wore out, the buttons were cut off and then the garment was used as a rag or trashed.  It is possible the button bin that was hers came from another estate.  My Grandparents frequented auctions to snatch up unwanted items for dirt cheap. My Grandmother went to these sales because Grandpa went.  She would complain about going all the time.  And the stuff she brought home usually was a rug for the floor or other utilitarian items (I suppose I am like her in that regard).

So we were digging around in the bins, and I had my ipad handy and decided to look up buttons on the internet by searching a simple description of the button.  I found a very important button.  Is it hers or one from another estate?   That is the question.

My grandfather was in the Navy.  Shortly after WWII my father came into this world.  My grandmother took my grandfathers navy woolen coat and made a coat for my father.  I am now on the search for this photograph and will enjoy digging through old photos.  I will be in search of that particular photo.  I am looking for visual proof that beyond a reasonable doubt the button I found was once on my grandfathers jacket, and on my fathers jacket.  I hope I find my proof.  Regardless, this button will go onto my lunch bag.


Above is a navy pea-coat button made from Bakelite.  The red button is going on the opposite side.  I could not find a second black button that would match.  So scrappy and mismatched it will be!


I did find a GAR civil war button.  I cannot make out what the button says on the back.  I will be taking that to work and looking at it under a microscope to see if it is a reproduction or the real thing.  Either way it is probably worth the same.  When I read it was a civil war button, I thought I had struck it rich.  I only have one.  If I had many, perhaps, but right now the going price for this is $2.  To me, priceless, as many generations have handled this button.  Oh the stories it could tell, even if it is a reproduction.

And then I came across this button:


This button is heavy and untarnished.  Most buttons if brass is present will get dirty.  This one has not.  I looked up this in an internet search and came up with nothing.  I think it is a coronation button from the 50s.  I think it is a brittish commonwealth symbol.  Australia kept coming up in my searches, but no other button pictured was anything like it.  Perhaps it is my retirement.  Perhaps it is a conversation piece.  Perhaps it will rest in the tin for the rest of my life.  Perhaps someone will inherit my tin, and other generations will fondle my buttons.  Hmmmm that rather sounds perverse!  If you have any information on this button please leave a note in the comments section.

Lastly, there is puss in boots.  All of the kittens from this batch all have four white feet with some white on their bellies.  One is black and white, one is tabby, and three are mackrel tabby.  A hodge podge group.  Three of the kittens have a perfect M on their forehead which means they are tabby cats.  The one that is a true tabby has the prettiest facial markings, with lights and darks, mask, and whiskers.  This cat is very branded.  This is the first cat I have named in over 10 years….most just end up being called kitty.  So when you say kitty kitty at my house at feeding time, they all show up.  🙂

I thought long and hard on the name.  I used to watch the Simpsons on TV.  I grew up with them.  They have been on air for almost 30 years.  They epitomize the American way.  For those of you who watch, you are familiar with Cletus.  He is the slack jawed yokel.  Basically he is a hillbilly.  Thinking of his voice, it makes me smile.  Hank Azaria sounding like a hillbilly, he does an outstanding job.  Cletus is not married, but has a girlfriend who is the mother to all 16 of his kids.  Her name……BRANDEAN.

So I know this kitten will have many babies and never be married.  She will live up to this name nicely!  Say hi to Brandean.  This is her internet debut.


I am glad she does not have an “L” on her forehead, that would be messed up!

Happy Father’s Day!


The use of vintage sheets

I have been in a few vintage sheet swaps.  Scouring thrift stores and estate sales for beautiful sheets is an adventure.  Sometimes you score big and other times you leave with nothing.

The trouble with vintage sheets, they take up much space!  I used to keep these in a drawer with the rest of my fabrics.  Then it grew to taking the whole drawer, and then I had to take them out of the drawer, they are overflowing.  They now reside in a box.  It is great to be able to take one sheet, cut it into fat quarters, and then swap it for variety with others.  But then you are left with half a vintage sheet, that you can no longer swap with those same people.

Fat quarters are perfectly managable in their variety and I highly recommend buying them that way if you can afford it.  I refuse to pay an over inflated price for fat quarter sheets, knowing that one sheet probably only cost the seller $5 or less.  And they are making very good return on their investment, with people like me, who work all the time, and do not get to frequent estate sales, so they pick the sales clean, to pass on the cost of the whole sheet, plus a large finders fee.  Again I refuse, I would rather put that money towards something else.

So what do you do with the left over pieces?  May quilts can be made from them.  It would take me years to acheive that feat, and by then I will have acquired more.  So the other day while making a toothbrush rug from my stash, I realized it takes oodles of fabric for this project.  Why not use this same technique on the vintage sheets?  Same with grain rips, same amish knots, same modified toothbrush, different media of fabric.

I must say after working with fabric that had sizing in it vs working with vintage sheets, I opt for vintage sheet rug making hands down.  The sheets, even though most of them are 50/50 in fiber content, they have been washed many times and have a softness which is passed through every weaving stitch in the rug I made.  I will make more, but decided to make this one with some of my yellows.  My next one may be green, and then I will make a blue one, and my box will be then ready for the next thrift store find.

So instead of a rug costing $75 dollars to make with bargain fabrics (and quality cottons that would be better suited for a quilt), I can now weave a large rug, and my logic…..it will cost me less than $10 no matter what size I make it.  Logic equals cents!  HAHA


So a week ago, this was the start.


And this is at its full sized destiny!  Out of all the rugs I have made, this is a favorite, so soft.  The color also adds to the softness if that makes any sense.

If you would like to learn how to make a toothbrush rug, I have included the instructions and video tutorials I have come across on the world wide web.  Lots of great helps and aids out there on this.  Please visit my previous blog post for all those details if you are interested.

I would like to also talk about the jelly roll rug that I made, just briefly.  You know social media is a wonderful thing.  Ladies purchase the pattern and then talk about it, giving away all the hints in the pattern to make the rug easily done without the purchase of the pattern.  I came across a video that can help you make a rug like this.


The way she talks about it, it will be a tedious project that she finished in two days, or a weekend.  So perhaps I will make another one, with her tips that she left out of the bag.  If you are interested in the video I am talking about, click here.  I fathom that video may be taken down…..we shall see.  Here are some of my tips for jelly roll rug making.

Now it will be another weekend prepping for the workshop I am giving in July.  I worked all weekend drawing patterns by hand, and cutting insulbrite and aluminized cotton.  Today I will be cutting batting and it should not take long.  It will be an iron caddy workshop.  If you are interested in how to make one of these:


You can click here for more details and links to get you started.

I hope I will get to sew.  The last time I sewed was the jelly roll rug, which was two weeks ago.  I am finding kitting things up for a workshop, not only is a time succubus, but a space one as well.

Have a great weekend!


The Legendary Toothbrush Rug

Working with textiles as long as I have, the toothbrush rug is no stranger to many.  I recall these things being around when I was young, but did not know them by anything other than a rug.  This is a very easy concept that can use a huge range of supplies instead of cloth, although cloth is my go to (as I have so much of it!)

I have seen these made from bread wrappers and plastic shopping bags.  This is a great way to keep those out of the landfill.  For those you would make your strips from the plastic and that is called plarn (a play on words with plastic and yarn).

You can make this with rope, clothesline comes to mind.  Old tshirts or sheets upcycled to pretty your floor and pad your feet.

I have made one from the fabric balls you see at the header of every blog.  I finally used them!  I had made my strips for this before I started my blog with the intention that this would become a rug.  And finally that has happened.

There are some good notes out on the world wide web for direction on this.  I had made one of these about 5 years ago.  The cat had kittens and this 5 year old rug was used in the box.  I loosely wove this one and was afraid it would bite the dust after it had its first washing.  To my surprise, it did marvelously!

Toothbrush Rug

This one is. made from fabric that I had had in my stash and moved many times.  I was tired of looking at it, had no plans slated for the cloth so I tore them with the grain.  When showing a picture of this 5 year old rug to my coworker, she said it looked like I purposely put a foot print in the middle of it.  That was very unintentional, and now that image/idea is burned into my noggin, every time I look at the rug, I think of the footprint.  There is more than 10 yards of fabric in this one and was glad to put the fabric to use.

If you are interested in making your own toothbrush rug, there are great instructions how to make the toothbrush tool as well as the rug.  Here is the link for both.

If you would like to learn how to make quick fabric strips for a rug as well as tying the amish knot, check this video tutorial out.

Now she tells you in the video to press your strips.  I refuse to do that.  In fact, I think the rug has more variety if you don’t.  It is a rug for pete’s sake, why iron 10 yards of fabric right?

Here is my second attempt at toothbrush rugging.  My stitches are tighter, I wanted a very dense rug.  There is more than 10 yards in this one, and this one is small.  Ooops, here it is again in the wee hours of Saturday morning and I failed to measure.  I think this turned out around 30 inches round give or take.


There are the three inner fabrics, all taken from fabric balls made too long ago.  Two more fabrics were used after the pink.  I like the scrappy look to this, and got to thinking, perhaps I should put my vintage sheet box in work, and make a rug.  I pulled a bunch of the sheets that were not very pretty and started tearing them.  This will certainly be scrappy, and I get to deplete part of that project box.  Here is the start of that one.  Since I have snapped this photo I have come a good ways on it and will probably come close to finishing sometime this weekend.


This week I had the dreaded jury duty.  I did my civic duty and showed up.  Was there 10 minutes.  The guy did not show up for court (it was a traffic ticket of some kind), collected my 10 bucks and left.  This was pretty good money….one dollar a minute.  This  left me a whole day to do as I wish.

So I went to the local SNAP Center to hang out.  SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  It helps those on a very tight budget to eat a a meal at no cost to them.  It might help an elderly person, or a homeless person.  This program in our area also helps with Meals On Wheels.

Our SNAP Center has hand quilters set up with their proddy frame and they stitch to benefit the snap center.  This group has a long list of people signed up for hand quilting services (me included).  The quilt I am about to show you is about queen size.  The ladies have been working on this one for three weeks, which is longer than usual.  This quilt, because of it’s size and stitch pattern is taking longer.  They will be charging less than $200 for hand quilting this, HOLY COW!  My pictures and the lighting do not do this quilt justice.


Each block is framed by quilting, as well as quilting around all the embroidery.  I think there was straight line quilting in the sashing too.  What a bargain!


Won’t this be beautiful when finished?!  If you are interested in contact information, leave a comment.  I will get you a phone number (which you can only call in the mornings) and you to can be put on the list for hand quilting services, all benefiting a good cause.  Once I put the comment up, I will only leave it up for so long and then it will come down.  There are too many BOTS out there that will spam the heck out of this number.  For subscribers, I have your email on file and can always email that info to you.  Just drop me a line!

I am off for the weekend, and hope to vegetate much, melding to the couch, binge watching Amazon Prime and Bonekickers.

Have a great weekend!



Cutting a Rug

When one hears this phrase, dance comes to mind.  This is probably becoming a phrase that is not used too much.  For those that have never heard of cutting a rug, you might think this is hairpiece making.  Neither of those things happened in making the tutorial for this blog.

If you have visited pinterest, you have seen Jelly Roll Rugs.  They show up usually when you are doing a jelly roll crafty search.  I decided to check this one off my list and delve into rug making happiness.

Usually when starting a craft project, you have either seen it done, or have a pattern to follow.  If you do not, crafty genius might end up with EPIC FAIL.

Yes, I salvaged this project not once, not twice, but three times!  I started on this a week ago, and as promised have a final result.  There was a huge learning curve and I am not sure I am 100% there, even though I am 100% done.

I started out with a 50 piece jelly roll.  The name of the jelly roll is called Shadow Blush.  This would make a beautiful quilt, which is why I purchased it in the first place.  But now, seeing it in another form, am glad I made a rug from its fibers.

First you sew your jelly roll ends together.  I just sewed mine straight across, other pictures out there sew a mitered joint.  Same end game, different pattern.  For every jelly roll strip you will need an equal piece of batting.  So if your strip is 2 1/2 by 45 you will need that measurement times the amount of strips in your jelly roll.

You will lay your jelly roll long strip wrong side up.  You then lay your batting strip on top.  Proceed to fold each raw edge to the middle, and then fold in half.  Sew a seam the length of your long strip.



You will need a walking foot for this project as well as a steady betty table or a nice large completely flat surface to sew on.  (More details about this later)

The tutorials out there tell you to sew down the middle of the folded strip.  I thought this might cause a raw edge to peek out so I stitched mine closer to one edge.  Perhaps, after all the problems I had, it would be a good idea to sew in the middle and not worry about a pinked raw edge (this is a rug after all).


Taking one end of your long strip you bring it parrallel with itself for about 12 inches and you zig zag the finished edges together.  It is extremely important you use a walking foot for this portion.  Make sure you set your stitch width as high as your machine will allow and make it a pretty dense stitch.  If you fail to do this important step, you will be seam ripping your rug.

The first failure I had, I did not use the steady betty table.  Because you do not have an extremely large flat surface, the rug becomes stretched and wonky.  After about 6 rounds of stitching out from the center, you will start getting a wave or hump in your rug.  Rip out and start over if that occurs.

My next failure was leaving my machine at 5.0 mm stitch width…..no no no, this causes another problem entirely.  It causes the rug to become a bowl.  No matter how you but your ends together, your rug slowly curves upward.

After setting the machine to 7.0 mm and keeping the stitch much denser, the bowling went away somewhat, I then learned that instead of butting up the two finshed edges, I needed to overlap one over the other in the curves.  This almost eliminated bowling, although some was still present at the end of my rug.

I failed to measure the rug….sorry.  There is a reason for this, which will be described a bit further into my blog post.


Due to some curving up or bowling at the very edges, I decided to fringe my rug.  I do not know the long lasting affects of this, don’t know how it will hold up.  I cut three strips in.  After cutting I re-zig zagged at the second and third strip to make sure I did not clip any threads.  This rug is very 70s looking, and I am now glad this became a rug and not a quilt.



This effort was a massive thread dump.  I used up a spool of 550 yds of sulky.  I also used up an entire spool of star thread.  So this rug is stitched together with varigated, gold, and brown thread.  But hey, it is a rug.  My logic on cutting the fringe, since jelly roll strips are against the grain, when you gut with the grain there is minimal shredding.  The raw edges will not cause issue later.  I did iron this rug for some of the poofy, not so flat areas.  This is a longarmer trick I have seen with a wavy border.  Steam can actually shrink fabric.  So if you make one of these, and have a few questionable areas, just iron it out.

I am a little hesitant to launder the rug.  Perhaps I will have it underfoot for a while before I wash it.  After all the complications, or learning curves (because I am too cheap to buy the pattern) I managed to make it work.  Will I make another rug from a jelly roll?  NOPE!  The time and effort I have in the rug plus costs…..It is a rug a $50 rug not including time, batting, and oodles of thread.  Nope, nevah again.

Will I make other rugs from scraps?  Absolutely!  In fact this rug would come together better if the strips were cut on the bias.  The bends would be more ply-able, and the whole thing would probably end up perfectly flat.

Normally when I wake up Sunday morning, I start my day out, just like I am doing now.  Editing photos, typing text, bringing you your dose of blog post.  This usually happens anywhere from 4:30 to 7:00 a.m.  Today, it is happening much earlier.  This is why the rug is unmeasured…..keeping quite as a mouse to keep the rest of the house asleep.  You see I was woken up this morning by a warm substance on my arm (no I did not drool or pee).  There was a kitten perched on my shoulder while I was laying on my side.  It had just got done eating cat food.  It decided the perfect place to barf was on a tranquil, sleeping human.  By the time I realized what just occurred, the kitten vanished.  Odd, I had wet spots on my arm, I guess the kitten ate all the chunky vomit and left.  So I got up and went to the bathroom, trying to put my mind in motion, on what had just happened.  Let the shower commence!  Showers tend to wake me up, so here I am bringing you this lovely rug story with highlights!

Next on the work table, another rug.  This one is a toothbrush rug with the fabric pictured in the fabric balls on the header of my blog post.  A long time coming, and am enjoying this process immensely!  Tune in next week for another dose of rug post.

Have a great day and thank you for reading my blog!

In Unrelated Quilting News…Cats in Tents

Lots of random things all tied themselves together transpiring as yesterday.  First I would like to share the photo for which this post is named.  We have kittens again.  Two that are spry and jumping around and full of life and troubles (troubles for us).  The other 5 kittens are just beginning to start playing with each other and are not quite there to have full run of the house, keeping to one room.

The kitten pictured here is a quiet kitten.  From birth till now, its personality is very like-able for a cat.  It likes people.  It likes sleeping with me.  It currently likes attention and just hanging around people.

This cat fell asleep on my daughters bed.  She was playing with her Tinkertoys and decided to use them as props while I snapped the photo.  Fun, funny, and clever that little girl is.  She amazed me when she called me to see this spectacle.


Glad the toys are actually being played with and put to good use!  Such randomness, better than any random a computer algorithm could ever compute.

I also managed to get my Vintage Domestic 69 up and running.  I am very impressed with its speed and ease of use.

I have before and after photos of the clean up of the machine (the wood is still in the same state).





Ok…so the before and after photos pretty much look the same.  The grime is gone.  It is nice to feel its cold cast iron surface with the old paint and the chips and imperfections with it’s age.  I will eventually play around with this and turn it into a quilting machine.  The feed dogs do not drop on this.  Perhaps there is a way to remove the feed dogs all together.  In the mean time I will be sewing the projects on this machine that are too heavy duty for the feather weight.  The Memory Craft 9000 will probably go into retirement, only coming out to make an embroidered label for the quilts I give away.  Out with the old, in with the older.  Doesn’t this machine look wise?  What kind of name will I come up with for this one?  Hmmmmm, still thinking about that one.

I did decide to start on making a rug late yesterday.  I have seen these rugs on the internet, and refuse to purchased a pattern.  Using a jelly roll of your choice, and batting strips cut 2 1/2 inch wide, you too can make a rug.


Doesn’t this look yummy?  This is a huge 50 piece jelly roll.  All colors in this roll are different.  None are too white to put into a rug that will reside on the floor to get dirty.  Perfect earth tones, that will match the dirt it catches.

First you join your ends of fabric together, sewing end to end, making one very long strip of 2 1/2 inch fabric.  Next using batting, place batting on the wrong side of the fabric.  Finding the center of the 2 1/2 inch strip fold ends in to the center over batting.  Then fold ends in again to hide the raw edges.  Stitch for the long run of this fabric strip.


This is a perfect opportunity to utilize your batting scraps.  I took the pile of batting scraps I had and I was amazed how many strips I had very quickly.


I am not usually a connoisseur of Bentarex fabrics.  I was pleasantly surprised with the rich colors and beautiful bulky feel of the fabric.

And here is the strip folded in twice on itself stitched down with the Vintage Domestic with not a skipped stitch or hiccup.  This looks like fat, flat cording.  This machine likes this heavy duty project.


My plan is to work on this all day today, and definately have it done within the week.  The process of pinning and folding, is time consuming.  Once I get all of the batting stitched, I will then move to my newer Vintage Domestic sewing machine for the zig zag of putting the rug together.

I have met my goals for this long weekend.  I look forward to the randomness of the week ahead.  Have a great week and thanks for reading my blog!

Flying Geese and Leaving the Nest

I have been able to scoot-ch in some sewing time this week.  After the last few weeks of nose to the grindstone at work with overtime to boot, alas…a THREE day weekend!  I am practically a hamster left out of it’s cage, running amuck!

So my week wrapped up right on time Friday with a b-line to the house.  Make supper, get changed out of work clothes and into a nicer outfit.  Hitch a ride 35 min east, and attend a graduation.  My son’s girlfriend graduated high school.

I must give my son credit.  While off to college, he managed to get tremendously good grades, now taking summer classes, all the whilst juggling a relationship.  It is working for him, but he is having to work at it.  A wonderful life lesson.

I was surprised to find out at graduation, his girlfriend had taken enough accredited courses for college to graduate with an associates in Dec.  She is becoming a pharmacist tech.  She will continue fourth earning her bachelor’s degree.

As a mother, attending anyone graduation, wells up moments of your youth, watching all these snap shots of time, like time flashing before your eyes.  You see them as they are small and then all of a sudden they are young adults.  For me, this brings the floodgates of tears.  Everything is before them.  They have only school as a notch on their belts with so much knowledge to acquire in the next 20 years.  Their youth is now gone.

I cried through much of the ceremony.  Remembering only a year ago, when my own son graduated, welling up all those emotions, vicariously in this moment, about ready to leave the nest.  Much to learn, gathering wisdom along the way, with happy times behind, and happy time ahead.

I deemed it appropriate to work on my fanciful flight flying geese (oh say that three times fast!)  I have shuffled all my sewing stuff around so much lately I am afraid I will loose parts of this kit.  I want to keep focused on this, and get this to a manageable level and keep it all together one stitch at a time.

fanciful flying geese

I think I have managed to sew nine of these this week.  Here is a snippet.  I now have a whole stack and am eager to work onto the next step which I think is a mariners compass sort of paper piecing pattern.  I am anxious for the next step!

a whole stack

A new leather belt was ordered this week for my vintage machine and is supposed to arrive today.  HIP HIP HOORAY!  I will be making a trip to the hardware store to finalize my sewing machine wire upgrade and start sewing on it soon.

I also got all the vintage sheets mailed off as I was involved in a vintage sheet swap.  I have a new lovely assortment to add variety to my accumulation.  I have so many scraps of sheets.  I am thinking I should make rugs out of the pieces I have left.  There is certainly a gob of fabric to make it any size.  And since it is poly cotton, it should last and last.  If I only had two more hands and 40 more hours a week.  Perhaps I should be careful what I wish for. 😉



I hope to have the Domestic 69 machine in my next post, humming along.  Thanks for reading my blog and have a wonderful weekend!

Tatting and Tote

Recently I learned how to tat.  I continue to learn from my mistakes and youtube is wonderful as a reference when you mess up and need help figuring out how and why.  After many exhausting days of overtime, I am too pooped to do much of anything.  They say quilting is relaxing…..and it is.  But when you are really tired, you only have enough energy to relax (not relax and multitask with your hobby).

The great thing about tatting is, once you learn it, it only amounts to counting over and over.  You can set it down with life’s interuptions and pick right back up without missing a stitch.  You can take it anywhere as it is very small.

Sew, once again……no sewing happened this week.  Of the last three weeks all I have managed to do is trim and press some already sewn HSTs and sew a pet screen tote.  The pet screen tote was a couple of hour job.  My instructions were not that good, so improv sewing it was.  It turned out alright.  I guess you learn what not to do.


The contents of the bag I cannot show you, but will show you in the upcoming weeks.  I was involved in a small vintage sheet swap.  Some lovely sheets are hiding themselves inside.  And here is said tote, with stray threads NOT trimmed (oh the horror of noticing this after you have snapped the photo and are too tired to take another)!  The idea behind this tote is going to the beach and having wet things inside. This somewhat would let it dry.  Most of the ones I have seen have pockets all over the place which would deter the drying power of this craft….ah well.  Logically, I have no intention of getting anything wet at a beach….so it will haul my stuff around when needed.


I have also been doing a lot of improv tatting.  I have no patterns for these, just made a loop here and a stitches with hitches there.  Today I practiced a thrown ring.  I have made a bunch of spool pin doily’s for people I know with vintage machines.  A couple of these I will keep.  I am not sure what I will do with the rest.  Some of my practice pieces with long tails not tied off, became cookbook book marks.


Today I have the day off, tomorrow I dread (work stuff in my queue…..aaaarrrrggggghhhh.  Not looking forward to it, but my big girl pants are on and Monday will be behind me before I know it!)  My plan is to taper off the overtime and hopefully have a three day weekend.  Today will be laundry and vacuuming catch up as well as quality time with my children, in other words, working on my day off!  My children have been missing their momma.  Not even 7:30 and one is already up (who is usually a late riser past 9).  Perhaps I will get out one of my sewing machines and sew a little.  I am certainly tired, but my energy reserves may be high enough to tacking some cloth cutting or sewing.

I want to end by saying:  Come on holiday weekend hurry up, but that would be wishing my life away.  I am refraining.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog.  Have a fantastic week!

A Goose Egg Week Here

Finally the weekend!  WHEW!

The week has been crazy.  I am ready for the crazy algorithm in life to come to a close.  Due to unrealistic timing at work with a gob of deadlines, and working oodles of overtime, I was too pooped to do anything crafty and relaxing.  I only had enough effort to relax.

I have really nothing to show crafty for the week, goose eggs here.  I did make a pet screen beach bag tote yesterday, but forgot to capture an image.  Easy project for an evening, but because I was tired made too many mistakes.  The relaxation of it all became a little more tense due to being tired and making all those silly mistakes.

I do have some sewing news though.  I have temporarily rewired my old domestic 69 sewing machine.  IT SEWS when energized with electricity.


After ohming out the existing electric cord (which needed to be replaced anyway), I found there was a no connection between terminals.  I did take apart the foot control to see what was inside.  I will not be using this foot pedal either.  It will be retired to the parts to keep with the machine and restore if I can.


I will be inquiring about a new round ferrite contraption to someone who knows a good deal about this stuff.  I am hoping he can point me to a smaller one that will fit inside the pedal so it can be used, but be electrically safe for my house.  This one is a dinosaur and probably about 80 years old.  I think it is a potentiameter or a fancy resistor.  I did break this trying to put it back together.  The ferrite was all crumbled around the screw head so when I applied a bit of torque to the nut, it broke the ferrite.  Probably can be glued back together with epoxy but I am not sure if it will then work.  For now I have a generic foot pedal on order and will wire that all up when I get.


In the midst of trying out the machine and trying to wind a bobbin with out a foot control, I broke the belt.  The way this machine works, the bobbin adds tension to the belt, spinning the bobbin filling with thread.  Without speed regulation from the foot, it was wide open bobbin filling, breaking the leather belt, and created an unsuccessful bobbin winding attempt.

I did manage to clean the machine using lamp oil, and some Dawn dishwasing liquid.  Now when you use the machine, there is not grime.  I even gave it a wax job.  Not sure if you can tell a difference.  I did not snap a photo of that yet either.  I will do a before an after comparison soon.

I found out that treadlers use leather belts on their machines, and so I can get a replacement belt.  I have to remember to keep the fastener and not throw that away, so I can join the ends of the belt.  Look for more on this machine soon, as right now I have taken it as far as I can.

I realized yet again, after tidying up a couple of weeks ago, I still had too much junk laying about, making sewing impossible.  SOOOOO……I have purged, rearranged, and come up with a plan.  What ever was laying on my table needs to be finished before I can go on.

I finished the one fastener on Tilda 2.  She now resides in the toybox.

I had a slew of hst’s that needed to be trimmed.  So now I am using my folded corners ruler and using it a bit differently than planned.  I saw how the Booty Ruler works, and am applying that to this ruler.

You make sure the line is just above your seam on both ends of the triangle like so…


The seam allowance does not matter.  Notice the x’s are right above the stitch line, that is perfect alignment.  I then trim the edges, and voila, end up with a perfect square without having to trim 4 sides.  I also snip the dog ears.



Not sure if I will get to sew again any time soon.  My table right now is cleaned up without a machine on it.  Perfect for trimming, sorting, and more cleaning.

I am starch blocking my two small tatting projects.  Hopefully they will be ready to give to Mom for mothers day and hopefully she does not read this blog today!  SSSHHHHHH don’t tell her.

Have a great weekend!  And Happy Mother’s Day too!

Cleaning up with a Reveal!

Gosh, it seems like every time I visit my sewing area, I just pile things up/on.  Never cleaning as I go.  It gets to the point where work is impossible.  I am not a neat freak.  Neatness is a downer for productivity for me.  I am somewhat of a slob.  Guilty as charged!


I have not sewn in a week.  I have visited the craft store and gotten some more shuttles for my practicing of tatting.  I made a shuttle, but fumbled with it so much decided to spend a whole 3 dollars for another.  Most of this is trash, opening items from the craft store, utterly excited about my tatting practice with NEW colors of pretty thread!

tatting practice

One butterfly practice is a whole lot better than the second butterfly practice.  I know what I did wrong and will refrain from doing it that way again.  The flower was pretty good execution until I ended my threads.  It came undone, and finishing will require more practice.  I also made a snowflake, in the upper left corner.  That also had issues with knots coming undone after cutting my threads.  I will get it, I am in no hurry and enjoying my passes and fails.

I have quickly cut out a picot gauge as my picots are never the same size.  I thought about marking my finger with a permanent marker for the distance as a gauge.  But better yet, I had some of this plastic grid, and easily cut one out of the thin plastic sheet.

cleaned up picot gauge

The main reason I have cleaned up a bit is to make room for this.


I bought a vintage machine!  Look at this crude case.  Believe or not this case is approaching 100 years old.

machine handle

The leather handle will be discontinued in use.  I have seat belt strap I will run through the tie downs and leave the leather handle.  Not sure how I will sew the handle in now that I think about it.  Hmmmmm…..I will figure something out.

And voila the machine is revealed!


It is a rotary Domestic High Speed 69 sewing machine.  It still has the original leather belt!


That wooden compartment on the side is the precursor to the featherweight style of bed fold down, only difference is, this machine is made from wood, compartment….GENIUS!


And that little hinged side is a hide-e-hole for sewing notions.  I was shocked when I opened that compartment and found the original manual, as well as all the original attachments.  This machine has a walking foot!

hidden gems

domestic greist attachments

This box contained an attachment for my scissors.  It is for cutting a straight edge from a straight edge.  I noticed it in the manual, and dug through the attachments in total awe that I actually have this…YIPEE!scissor attachment

Unfortunately something in the wiring of the machine is not working.  I can re-terminate all wiring and figure that out.  I am hoping the motor is good.  The motor will only turn one way.

Here is the antique foot control, gosh, I almost do not want to use it.  Look at that old contraption!


This machine, for 1920 is state of the art.  You can regulate the stitch, small….medium—–, or _______ ________ _______ large, with reverse goodness.  I could not get the reverse to work, but have oiled the machine.  After oiling the hand wheel turned very easily, and it all felt right.

If I cannot get the motor to work, I will figure out a way to make this a hand crank.  I am very excited and pleased.

The amount of grime on this is outrageous!  Just handling and figuring things out, my hands got filthy.  Not sure if I need to wipe this down with lamp oil, but I think I will try a spot and see if it does get the grime off as well as not damaging its old surface.

Well, I will probably sew something this week.  I received a kit to make a Pet Screen tote.  This is like a tote you can put your wet clothes in at the beach.  It will be a quick project that will probably make a huge mess.  Will I be going to the beach anytime soon?  Probably not.  But one never knows what the future holds.  😉


Well, this wraps up all my excitement for the week.  What are you excited about?  Please post your excitement in the comments section, I would love to hear all about it!

Have a great weekend!



TOGA – Treadle On Gathering Academy Continued

I am still feeling the wondrous day I had last Saturday at TOGA.  I have posted once about this and in case you missed that post you can catch up with more details by clicking here.

I have stitched a gob on my little featherweight.  And I must say my expensive embroidery machine is now being retired for only FMQ as I am THAT impressed with the stitching on this 70 year old machine!  It is the perfect piecing machine.  I have North East Texas TOGA to thank for that.  I purchased this machine on Valentines day and did not want to sew on it until I was sure it was oiled/greased.  I am glad I waited.  It is true perfection.  Thank you TOGA for giving me the courage and the right information for this job.  I am a hands on kind of girl and I am still reeling from this a week later.  Total awe readers, I am still in total awe.

Where to begin?  How about with more of last weeks adventure in Lone Oak, Tx?  I will delve a bit into the classes I attended.  All of these classes gave away freebies.  For instance, in Dorise’s class you could make a sewing neck caddy, Brilliant!

doriseThis is a handy thing, especially if your set up goes from room to room like mine.  Always extra footsteps because you forgot the blasted scissors in the other room.  This would solve that problem with scissors snapping to one end and a pin and pincushion built into the other.  A tape measure with a clear vinyl window around the neck….you will never have to hunt down the cloth measuring tape again.

And Anna gave a class on making block boards.  What is a block boards you might ask?  They are pieces of foam board you purchase at the dollar store cut to various sizes with batting glued to the surface with a pretty fabric edge, a small design wall.  She also figured out you can use washi tape.  If you are doing blocks with lots of pieces like dear jane, you probably need to craft one of these up.  I had seen these before but never understood why……Anna made me understand.  I feel so in the know now!  Thank you Anna!


Incidentally this board is almost standing straight up.  None of my wrinkly fabrics are falling off…..GENIUS!

Dianne gave a class showing how to make a quick bag.  This bag can be put on a potted plant to dress it up and give as a gift.  Cute little tute.


Dianne is centrally located in this picture wearing black.  Janet was wise cracking sitting next to her, slapping her hand on the table.  Janet decided this bag would make a perfect goofy hat.  She was right.  Janet you are such a goof!


This was probably the funnest class as everyone had high energy and was in playful mood.  Dianne also gave a tutorial on making continuous bias binding as well and making the magic eight half square triangle method.

Just look what Dianne made with hers!  A Scrappy beautiful star!


Seated on the other side of Dianne is Kay.  Kay reminded me of someone, but I can’t put my finger on it.  I either know her from somewhere, or I know someone with the same awnry glint in her eye.  She was a hoot, and a valuable asset to TOGA.  I suspect Kay did a lot behind the scenes that I know nothing about.  I did not know one person could have sew much personality.  I liked her instantly!

I attended a skrinky dink class, do you remember these from the 70s and 80s?  Well guess what they are totally customize-able today.  You can purchase the sheets either clear or white at the craft store.  Using a rubber stamp and ink with permanent sharpies, you can write, color, stamp, anything you want on a piece of plastic and shrink it down to dog tag size.  These were the examples she showed us.  Something I would not necessarily be interested in on my own, but am glad for the experience because this would be a great craft for a rainy day with the kiddos.  Thank you sew much for re-introducing an old technology with new customize-able goodness!



I saw this machine while at TOGA.  I am not sure if this is a 99k or a 15.  Not a sewing machine expert (it is a hand crank!).  Someone made a wooden extension and a nice little pin cushion.  This machine stood out from the others, too neat!

There was a parade with float goodness, yeah can you believe it at a sewing machine retreat?!  This year there were only two entries.  Both winners!  The way the parade works, the machines are decorated like floats and moved to an area so that you can parade by them.  You would then vote on your favorite float.


This parade float was decorated like a cake with the 100 year old hand crank sewing machine at the top, and all the notions around.  I was in awe I got to stand that close to a celebrity.  You are probably wondering who the celebrity is?  Why, the sewing machine of course.  This sewing machine was used probably before electricity was delivered to homes.  This machine has seen the great depression, and still stitches on.  Pretty damn amazing if you ask me!  (By the way, this float won the competition)

And second runner up went to the toy machine.  The set up is too cute!


There was a toy doll along with the sewing machine in the pull toy.  Very playful!


The dinner line!  Chow is ready!  We had a marvelous smoked beef brisket, potato salad, catalina salad, rolls, chicken, barbecue sauce, cole slaw, and cookies.  I was stuffed.  (Pssst….they fed us and it was free if you attended, that is what I call hospitality!)

And then on to the raffle of garage sale items.  Everyone attending brought in their stuff from around the house they did not want any more.  I gave a quilters pounce and some patterns.  If there was something you saw you liked, you purchased tickets and put your name on the back of the tickets.  Tickets were drawn out of the bowl.  If your name was called you went up and helped yourself to one item.  When it got down to hardly anything left but utter junk, my name was called and I didn’t have any tickets in the bowl!  A couple of gals saw me standing empty handed and went up to the tables and grabbed a scarecrow and a needle point loom.  The needle point loom has facinated my oldest daughter and is no in her arsenal of the toy box.  (one man’s trash is another man’s treasure eh?)

And at the very end, they raffled off the quilt.  Beautiful!  This was all stitched by the Crankies of Greenville Texas on old treadles.  And here seated in front of the quilt is Vonnie.  She has easter egg hair!  Her egg hair represents her colorful personality.   I enjoyed sitting and chatting with her.  Another person I will not forget, there seemed to be alot of those here.  Normally I am really bad with remembering names.  But these people were so memorable!


The quilt was won! …..not by me 😦

The woman who won the quilt, cried, which turned my eye faucets on too.  It was going to the perfect home.  She was so happy she won, I was so happy for her.  Yet more visible love!  I can’t wait for the next TOGA!

After attending TOGA, I kind of got the fever…..the fever to own another vintage machine!  So I purchased one.  It is being shipped now.  If I cannot get it to power on and make the plugs and cords work, I will figure out a way to make it a hand crank and show up next year with something extra special.  I can’t wait to show it to you!

In the meantime, I have been practicing with my tatting shuttle.  I had a hard time with allowing the cord to be able to adjust last weekend.  I figured out what I was doing wrong.  After making a picot, I was not closing the stitch properly.  I visited Gina Butlers channel on you tube and slowly but surely and making progress with a bunch of practice.  I have almost used up all of my shuttle thread and will be seeking out more because sitting down and doing this is very relaxing after a hard days work.  (Even more relaxing than quilting—whoa I would never have guessed I would even type those words).

I have also been working on more TOGA blocks that I modified two corners of.  I almost have all of my rows done.  I still need to incorporate the swap blocks and will probably not alter those and make those around the outer perimeter of the quilt.  I have also been trimming down HSTs left over from using the folded corners ruler.  I am linking up with quiltingismorefunthanhousework.blogspot.com for the oh scrap linky party!


Jeez, have I left anything out?  Probably, but then you would not have any thing to look forward too in my next post!  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!