Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tutorial - Cell Phone Mini Purse

A quick tutorial on how to make the cell phone/mini purse.  They would make a great gift for any young girl on your gift list or you could change it up and use cording or a shoestring to make an over-the-shoulder gift for the more mature girls you know!

Step 1.... start with two contrasting fabrics measuring 6 x 14

Step 2.... Cut a 5.5 x 13.5 piece of fusible interfacing (medium weight) and center on the back of one of the fabrics.  Follow product directions for fusing. 

Step 3....  Layer fabrics, right sides facing.  Cut a 5inch piece of ribbon, fold in half and pin so that the loop is inside your purse sandwich approximately 3.5 inches from the top ...  at this point you could substitute a shoestring or cording keeping the string inside and pin the ends facing out on each side of the purse sandwich.

Step 4.... Now it's time to stitch on your velcro dots.    I folded the lining fabric up to form the purse and placed and stitched the dots on. I later discovered that the dot on the left should have been  positioned on the printed fabric to properly close the purse...... Fold up the printed fabric right side out to determine where the closure dot should be placed.

Step 5.... Stitch the layers together leaving an opening to turn the purse.  I also did some extra backstitching where the ribbon is for extra security.

Step 6..... Turn the purse.  Fold up the bottom to just above whee the ribbon sticks out.  Starting on one side at the bottom of the all the way around the edge to the opposite bottom.  This will close up the opening you used for turning and finish your purse.  I did some extra backstitching for added strength when I reached the part near the ribbon and purse opening and also at the bottom of the purse.

I added little clasps so it can be hooked onto a belt loop or larger purse handle.

Hope this is clearer than mud for you and you can make your own.  Any questions, let me know!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sewing Day!

I have had a wonderfully relaxing afternoon.  No grandson to watch so I've been catching up on laundry and bill paying and sewing!

I completed the last of the nine blocks for the Quiltmakers Swap Party,  I like them so much laid out like this I almost hate to give them away.... but I look forward to seeing what I get in return.

The pattern is Birthday Girl by Bonnie Hunter in Quiltmakers 100 Blocks Volume 2 #174

I have also been working on Orca Bay as a leader/ender project.  I decided not to make the queen size quilt that the pattern calls for. I'm aiming for a smaller lap size quilt requiring far fewer components to make.  I  plan to make approximately half the number required for the original quilt and see what it looks like.  I can go back and make more of whatever is needed to make a nice size quilt.

As you can see, I'm doing a different color-way... instead of black and white I'm doing purple and gold.  These are the colors of the local college TN Tech.  My girls were attending when I started this and I thought maybe one of them would like it.   They both have dropped out for now but both are saying they want to go back someday. I guess whomever graduates first gets it!

Step one requires 224 2.5in hourglass blocks... I made 21/112 so far.

Step two requires 72 3.5in string blocks... I have made 20/36 so far.

Step 3 calls for 350 2in HSTs... Today I whipped up 120/175 quickly and easily!

When I started this project I did not have the specialty rulers that Bonnie suggests using... the Easy Angle Ruler and the Companion Ruler.  I now have both rulers and am amazed at how much faster it is to make these components.  I'm anxious to see what this will look like so I'm not making all the necessary components right now... just some of each step until I have everything to assemble the blocks and see what this colorway looks like. 

Next up is Step 4 requiring 64 5.5in string blocks.. but only 32 for me!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


After our Abex reunion, since we were already more than half-way there, we planned to head for the Jersey Shore for a mini-vacation.  Back when I worked in the Mahwah plant the guys convinced me and another secretary to join them on a blue fishing expedition.  I downed a box of drammamine for the experience but had a great time.  This time I didn't go out on the boat, but the kids and hubby did and had a blast.  The boat.. the Norma K left the dock at 7pm and drove out 20 miles before dropping anchor.  Most on the boat caught 5 fish before the storm blew in and broke off one of the anchors.   My guys came prepared with rain gear and kept fishing until it was time to head in a bit early, but many wore just t-shirts and shorts and got soaked.  There were some queasy stomachs, but all had fun.

on the way out to sea!

A good catch!

The next morning I met up with an online quilting friend and spent the day antiquing and hanging out before a nice seafood dinner.

Seafood dinner with Sharon.... SLOANIE MEET UP
 My gang spent the morning getting their land legs back and stomachs settled before heading to the beach.  The water was still pretty rough and the undertow strong.  They had to be careful not to get knocked down or dragged out.

 Too soon it was time to start back to Tennessee.  But first a stop in Maryland to see my in-laws and their backyard visitors!
Visiting Nanny Goat and mama cat with 10 kittens!

And of course, no visit to Maryland would be complete with out a crab dinner.... and some to take home!

We, of course, ran into some accidents and road construction causing delays!

This jam was  on the beltway... an accident tying up the two left lanes just after the road narrowed down to three lanes!

We passed a few quilt barns along the way.... but hubby was not stopping for pictures saying the ride was long enough!
I managed to capture this one during one of our many traffic delays
We also ran into some much needed rain. 
I was driving so couldn't take pictures of the rain, but this couple on the motorcyle that I took last year when Mom was driving show you the type of rain I was driving in.  UGH!  Glad they had their rain gear on!

Apparently we had rain at home too.  The grass and garden are green again and here are just some of the tomatoes I picked last night.  I'll be busy canning today!.

Friday, July 20, 2012


My first job was working as a secretary in the legal department of Singer at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on the 63rd floor.  I loved the fast paced city life.  I rode on the train with my Dad for about 18 months before deciding working with lawyers wasn't what I thought... they weren't interested in my becoming the next Della Street!  plus,  I decided I wanted to go back to school.  My second job, closer to home and school,  was working as a secretary in the automotive testing center for  Abex. The original company was American Brake Shoe located in Mahwah, NJ begun in 1901 as a brake block foundry for railroad wheels and brakes.  As the automotive industry developed, the company grew and expanded branching out into many different divisions.  At some point it became part of IC Industries and Pepsi Co.  I worked there about 5 years, going to school at night and earning dual degrees in business and criminal justice.  I met my future husband there. After 5 years, I left Abex and worked several other jobs before marrying and raising a family, but my husband continues to work for the company.  I'm not sure what year the Mahwah plant was closed and property sold off, but there it is no longer there.

In 1989 we were transferred to Winchester, VA.  After living my life less than an hour from the big city (NY) and all its influences, I thought I had died and moved to Mayberry RFD!  Lots of open fields, orchards and farms around.  I think the town's population was somewhere around 15k.  It boasted Shenandoah College, which started out as a seminary in 1875 and became a university in 1991... The Apple Blossom Mall was built in 1982..... and the town and businesses would shut down for a long weekend for the Apple Blossom Festival parade and races in May.  This was still a small town but growing as workers from DC moved out of the city looking for the good life.  Martins, Lowes, Kmart and WalMart, McDonalds all came to town while we were there. I quickly adjusted and it was a nice place to raise our family.

Abex was been bought and sold several more times... for a time we were part of Cooper Industries and now we are a division of Federal Mogul and in 2002 we were transferred to Cookeville TN.  When we moved here 10 years ago I stepped back in time again.... this was Mayberry RFD! LOL!!  There were 32 churches listed in the phone book of this small bible belt town! This was a dry county back then and you could only get a drink by the glass in the chain restaurants that were just beginning to pop up on what is now referred to as restaurant row.  Downtown is closed off each fall for FunFest and a bar-b-que contest.  The Christmas parade is always held on the first Monday in December.  The County Fair is held in August... the week after school starts... creating sleepy kids in the classroom after staying up all night with 4H competitions and pagents.... But that's the way it has always been done so the tradition continues.  Again, this is a college town... It was Dixie College in 1909 then became Tennessee PolyTech in 1915 and is currently know as Tennessee Tech. The college has been ranked as one of the best since 2007 with strong engineering and nursing programs and currently enrolls approximately 12,000 students who help to grow this town and businesses throughout the year.  The last 10 years have seen many changes here.  City population has doubled in size and we are listed as the biggest of the 20 micropolitan areas in TN, and at least 4 liquor stores opened up in January with the passing of new laws.  This town is growing fast with an influx of retirees tired of the Florida hurricanes or the Michigan winters. 

My reason for all this history?  Time is marching on and, unfortunately,  Federal Mogul has now joined the list of companies closing their doors on American soil and American workers and are moving to open a plant in Juarez, Mexico in 2013 for its cheap labor.  The Winchester plant is scheduled to close in January 2013.  I also heard that in the near future they will open a plant in India too, which may also mean the end of the nearby plants in Smithville, TN and/or Glasgow, KY where my husband works.  Lucky for us, after 40+ years with the company, we are close to retirement age, but I feel bad for the younger workers and their families.

The Winchester closing has prompted a reunion and this past weekend we drove north to Winchester and met with 58 of us "old timers" to  review old times and catch up on current happenings. We shared pictures and stories of growing children and grandchildren.  Some, like my husband, transferred to other locations, some retired, some found employment with other companies and some hire out as consultants.  One races cars and another is starting up a new business in the field.  As for the hundreds of laborers from the plant, I can only hope that they have been able to find employment elsewhere.  It was good seeing the old gang and there is talk of a gathering again next year! The Winchester area has grown a lot.  Orchards and farmland are now consumed by homes and town houses.  Mini strip malls of shops, a huge shopping center and a second Walmart cover what was once open fields.  As I looked around I imagine that Cookeville TN will grow to look like this in another 10 years.  By then we will be retired and hopefully moved on to find green pastures once again.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beaded Bracelet Tutorial

I was asked to do a tutorial on how to make the beaded bracelet from my last post. I will give this a try, but I warn you, I am not a crocheter. Of the ten or so ladies that were taking this class, one gal had the proper spiral look and seemed to really know what she was doing.  Two of us finished our bracelets in our own creative style...unpatterned and bumpy... but complete.  To the best of my memory below are the directions she gave us to make this.  I made a second bracelet and took pictures as I went along, but my camera doesn't want to focus clearly on close shots and I can't hold everything and take pictures so I'm not sure if these directions will be helpful to you or not.  Hopefully you can crochet and make some sense of this and  make your own bracelet. 

First, what you need:

#10 Crochet thread
Size 3 2.1mm crochet hook
3pkgs of glass beads...
.....she told us you always buy 3 pkgs so that you have enough for matching bracelet and at least a necklace
a beading needle
2-3 clasps

1.  For the bracelet we had to string 40-50 inches of beads.. She said we probably wouldn't use all of them, but it is better to string extra as it is difficult to add more later on.

2.  Remove the beading needle and leaving a long tail (about 20 inches) chain 4  then join into a circle.

3.  Stick the hook into the first chain.  Slide two beads up close.    Hook the string and pull a loop through the chain and the loop on the hook pushing the beads to the back keeping as snug as possible.  Repeat four times until you have eight beads on your circle

4.  For the second and all successive rows you will be repeating the same motions... sticking the hook in next to each set of two beads sliding two new beads up close and pulling the loop through, always pushing the beads to the back... until you have the length bracelet you need (mine was 7.5 inches)

If you can figure out how to do this correctly, you should have a little "spiderweb" of string in the center with the beads joining nicely and smoothly on the outside.

Honestly, I have no idea where I was supposed to be sticking the hook most of the time... and I never did see the spiderweb on mine that she formed on hers.  I just stuck the hook between two beads, added two more and pulled the loop through.  In theory, as you add each row you are pulling the previous row of beads tightly into a nice patterned string of beads.  Sometimes mine looked smooth and like I might be doing it right and then it suddenly got "blobby" looking and I had no what I was doing differently.  I would just reach down between two that looked looser to add two beads and pull tight as I could.  In the end, it worked for me and I ended up with my own unique bracelet.

5.  When you have a length bracelet you want (be sure to allow for the added length from the clasp and not make it too long).  Cut yourself about 20 inches of string and thread it through the needle.  Weave the string though the beads pulling the end closed and tight.  Sew on the clasp and weave thread back down through the beads pulling any beads that stick out oddly into the bracelet.  Cut off excess string.  Repeat at the other end using the long tail you started with.