Friday, September 30, 2011

New mug rug

Sorry about the crappy picture.  I took it with my phone because I was too lazy to get my camera out.  I've been admiring a bunch of mug rugs on Flickr and felt to urge to whip one up today.  This 6" x 9" mug rug was made of a bunch of "firsts" for me:  first applique, first dresden plate, first echo quilting, first single fold binding.  Since I've never done a dresden plate before, I didn't have a template so I just made my own.  It was a rather large size but it was okay.  I think I made it 1 1/2" at the bottom x 3" at the top x 5" tall.  Now I know that most dresden templates are usually much narrower but I don't think I did so bad on my first try.  I really wanted to try my hand at echo quilting and had read about using a single fold binding because it is less bulky on such a small project.  I will definitely do the echo quilting again but I felt that this type of binding was more fiddly than a double fold binding and wasn't any easier to do.  In fact, I felt it was a bit harder and I wasn't happy with the corners on the back.  Oh yeah, I tried a new end joining technique on the binding which worked well.  I'll have to try it again!  I should have put a little pocket on the mug rug for either a spoon or a tea bag.  Next time!  I love using up scraps this way.  I used hardly anything at all. 

Not sure if I'll keep this one or save it for a gift or swap.  I really am proud of it even though it's not very much of anything...except a bunch of firsts.  Dang it!  I'll probably keep it now!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wool dryer balls

I didn't even know about wool dryer balls until the other night.  Apparently, they're supposed to replace fabric softener sheets in the dryer, speed up drying time, and fluff up your laundry.  They might even reduce static cling unless you live in a dry climate (like Las Vegas!) and don't mix synthetic and natural fibers.  There are a few sellers on Etsy that offer them.  I was looking to join a swap on and kept seeing these pop up in the swap packages.  My curiosity was piqued.  I got out a skein of good old Red Heart acrylic for the core and 100% wool for the outer balls and started winding.  I wrapped the core to 7" in diameter, cut that yarn and then started winding the 100% wool until each ball was 9" in diameter.  I then took the yarn end, attached a yarn needle and buried the end deep inside the ball.  I managed to get 6 balls out of my wool.  I put the first ball into the toe of a knee high stocking and tied a knot close to the ball.  I continued like this until I got all 6 balls into that stocking.  They went into the washer with a load of laundry on a hot/cold cycle with some detergent.  It took 3 cycles for them to felt to my satisfaction but now the yarn is completely felted and won't unravel at all. 

How are they in action?  I think they're neat!  I think they've cut my drying time by 20 minutes.  They made my towels and blanket fluffy.  They may even help get wrinkles out but I'll have to test this theory some more.  I don't know if I'm 100% sold on not using fabric softener.  I miss the smell.  I did try one load of clothes without fabric softener and it came out just fine.  I also read that you can add essential oil to the balls and I may try that sometime.  I know for sure that I'll be making these as Christmas gifts!

Unpaper towels


Have you heard of unpaper towels?  I had but didn't pay much attention until joining a frugal living swap this weekend on Craftster.  Some of the swappers in previous swaps gave these as part of their packages.  I don't think we go through a large amount of paper towels but I have been giving some thought to cutting back and have been using my dish towels to clean more things where I would have grabbed a paper towel in the past.  There are some things I refuse to use cloth to clean up (pet poop).  I did a Google search and was amazed at how many people are into this!  I just ordered some birdseye cotton from a seller on Etsy so that I can make a bunch of these. 

I made a few of these last night using cotton flannel on one side and unbleached cotton muslin on the other.  I just wanted to try out the concept.  I am even thinking that these will make great casual, everyday napkins!  The only downside?  They're so cute that I don't want to get them dirty!  I already have more cut out and ready to sew in a brown/cream/black batik and black flannel.  Can't wait to get started on those!

DIY Plastic bag dryer rack.

I've been coveting one of these for a little while since I saw it on Amazon.comGaiam Countertop Plastic Bag Dryer
I even asked my husband to make one of these for me. Bottle and Plastic Bag Drying Rack - Hardwood
I couldn't wait.  I'm baking a loaf of bread and wanted to reuse a plastic baggie to store my bread in.  I knew my husband had some dowels in his workshop and I just helped myself to two of them.  I don't know what their diameter is (they're about the same diameter as pencils) but they were 3 feet long.  I knew I needed them on the long side to stick into a vase I got as a gift so I cut them in half.  Voila!  A plastic bag dryer that didn't cost me a dime! 2011-09-26_11-12-18_332  My husband said that because they're coming into contact with food containers, I should finish the dowels with a foodsafe wax or oil.  I'll let him do that for me.  He is the woodworker in this house, after all. 

I's not rocket science but I love it when I can get what I want without spending anything, or very little.  It's like a game.  Wanna play?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So much to show, but I can't :(

I've been busy crocheting potholders for my Christmas stash, knitting cable cup cosies for my Etsy shop, sewing lavender filled dryer sachets and recycled t shirt shopping bags for myself, doggie poo bag holders for my sister, singed edge satin & organza flowers for an upcoming wedding, and a few more things I can't remember.  Only problem is that I haven't taken pictures of any of them yet.

Yesterday, after sewing and filling 10 lavender dryer sachets, I noticed a twinge in my left shoulder/rotator cuff that turned into much more than a twinge by the end of the night.  It's very painful and I type this very slowly while wearing an ice pack.

I'll try to get pictures of these goodies up as soon as I can.