Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fabric fabric and even more fabric....

I found a cool a cool way to organize my fabric - it totally makes sense too! It seems many quilters know of this trick to fabric organization but I would have never known and been cutting up uneven cardboard pieces forever!

Use comic book backboards - who woulda' thunk it eh? I saw the idea here and if you read reviews on amazon apparently I am behind the times - in case you are behind with me here is your update in to 21st century sewing....
(It's only fitting I store comic book fabric on comic book boards right?)
You just fold your fabric in half (like most come off the large bolt at the store already) and then fold in top fold to center of fabric then selvage to center also. The boards are roughly 7x10" - I measured my folded fabric to between 9" and 9 1/4" so you'd see to board's ends once rolled.
Storing 1 to 6 or 7 meters is your range for these boards (they are like a thicker card-stock), and lower that end number if its a thicker fabric - I only used this storage method for my thinner fabrics and my baby quilting flannels - it just seemed to work the best.

 Because I do should but don't have time my share of quilting also, I have many beautiful fabrics with 1/2 a meter or less (some fat quarters also) and I wanted to be able to store them all together, but less than a 3/4 meter just doesnt wrap around as well. I took my trusty quilting ruler and cut some in half lengthwise, it worked perfectly!

I then folded in the raw end and pinned in place as above. I stood my mini fabric bolts up on a shelf... if that's how you will be storing them I suggest poking the pin in to the card also, it keeps the fabric from sliding down the board and bunching.

Don't they look oh so pretty and organized, much better than before. My "super mini" bolts are at the top to the left - they could be organized better (colour wise) but some of them are in order of quilt projects.

.....and just to keep it real, here is the rest of the shelves, they are in need of a mass organization too... all in time - as my in-laws always say "Home wasn't built in a day".

Happy Organizing!
-Courtney Soleil

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baking Frenzy

I was on a baking frenzy last week - we don't have kids (yet), so baking is something I keep to a minimum or else Kevin insists I am trying to make him fat... he says he can't not eat baked goods because they are so tasty so if I don't make them then he doesn't have a dilemma... Last week I had 2 really good excuses to bake!

1. We had a work potluck so I got to bake a billion cupcakes:
The pink ones are Duncan Hines Confetti Cake Mix with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, I used the same recipe as the Lemon Frosting, but omitted the lemony things and added vanilla instead.
They were a hit at work!

2. Kevin's parents came over for "Tea and Cake" - being of English background I am VERY familiar with both tea and cake... I made Kevin's favorite, Banana nut muffins:

I have the recipe hand written on a piece of paper, and I have used it since I moved from home, so don't ask me where it came from originally... Here it is:
Banana Nut Muffins
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 large crushed old bananas
1/2 cup buttermilk or heavy whip cream
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (if desired)
1 cup chocolate chips (if desired)

Instructions: Mix first 6 ingredients then add in remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60mins if in cake form or  20-30mins for 12 muffins.

I also made a Lemon Cake

mmmmm... who doesn't love a nice cup of tea with a side of Lemon cake? This cake is a little dryer than expected, but it goes great with tea or coffee.

Happy Baking!
-Courtney Soleil

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chaise Lounge cover

Yesterday we talked about the Snazzy Dog Bed I made, now what to do about cleaning my couch and keeping it nice? The dogs love their bed but in getting used to it, they briefly sneak up on to the couch and most often the chaise lounge.
My initial solution was to steam clean my couch - well, I am cheap  economical, and paying 200$ to have my couch steam cleaned every so often was not an option. Then I thought I will just vacuum it really well and often - not happening, I work full time and I have a hard time keeping my house in order as it is. I DO vacuum my couch as often as I can though, Kevin bought me the most beautiful vacuum (I love my Dyson) which does make it easier. But vacuuming alone didn't get it thoroughly clean - since I love to live dangerously I actually removed my cushion covers and WASHED them, in the WASHING MACHINE - I know, I'm sure you are cringing this very moment - they came out like new, maybe better than new, and they smell soooo good.  Nearly all the cushion covers can be removed, except the chaise lounge bottom, so my solution:

A Cover!
I had a old vintage bed spread my Mum had given me ages ago, the very first one she ever bought actually. I love the texture and the cream colour - usually I have cream curtains so the match it perfect.

 ...unfortunately it had huge holes all along one end and was very frayed from time and use. I have always loved it and used it to cover another couch prior, but it really looked rough. I took the better side of the bed spread and laid it on my chaise lounge pinned where it need to be cut or stitched and made a custom cover - it doesn't shift and it is so soft and easy to wash. I made a couple throw pillows to tie it in and voila!
I am blogging from that very spot right now!

Happy Sewing!
-Courtney Soleil

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Snazziest Dog Bed... Ever

I have been trying to kick my pooches off our beautiful family room couch for eons, nothing seemed to work.  I tried putting throw pillows everywhere so they couldn't lay comfortably and would be forced to go to their beds in the basement - not happening - they figured out they could nose the pillows on to the floor or snuggle in between them (which they liked EVEN BETTER!).  I tried locking them in their basement room, dudley ate through the door.... seriously. We replaced the door with a new one, but they can still get out... I do like having them roam the house freely, I feel safer that way - They alert us to intruders and any passing sinister looking cats or squirrels (Dudley is convinced they are evil... who are we to disagree?). The  dogs have earned their "right" to roam the house - they never have accidents anymore, they let us know when they have to  go out, they don't chew or destroy anything and they don't make a sound (except Dudley does snore...), so why not let them protect the house? Well, my poor sanity couch is suffering.

I love my furry babies, I really really really do, but I really really really love my couch too. Kevin and I bought this couch when we moved in, and I still haven't seen one I like as much. It's over stuffed and soft and light coloured.... it's pretty much perfect in every way - except for the fact it's covered in dog hair the majority of the time and it shows the dirt. Clearly my pups like to be upstairs closer to us, and close to the front door so here was my last attempt at saving my couch for doggy destruction:

A Snazzy Dog Bed
I love the colour, it actually looks way more green in person, goes really well with the walls and the green from the throw pillows from my couch (see my couch subtly sneaking in the side of the picture?)

Fabricland had a sale on all their upholstery fabric, and this fabric was very similar feel to my couch (which the dogs love) and it doesn't show the fur - super easy to wash and vacuum. Here's a close up, both really super soft chenille, just different patterns: 
Couch                                            Dog Bed

To make the dog bed, you need about 4 meters of upholstery fabric (for those that work in yards, a meter is roughly 40" wide). I made this like a pillowcase (very very simple) and did a zipper closure at one end.

Finished mine ended up 40"x60" and it fits 2 large breed dogs perfectly (for me it filled a void of space beside my stairs too)

I bought a twin duvet from Walmart (included pillows) for 15$ on sale and used it as the soft center - you could use fiber fill or batting or foam, but this was cheap and available.  I actually forgot to buy a zipper so I took the zipper off the quilt bag:

Worked GREAT!
Hey I think I just took cheap to a new level - I even kept the clear vinyl bag to make I-spy bags in the future. 

The furry babies seem to really like their new bed! 

Now what to do about cleaning my couch?
More on that tomorrow!

Happy Sewing!
-Courtney Soleil