Freezing Bubbles

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It was -14° F at my house this morning, so naturally I went out on the porch to blow bubbles.  Bubbles don’t pop when it’s that cold, they either land and deflate or shatter in the air.

Frozen Bubbles

Frozen Bubbles

Frozen Bubbles

Oddly enough, I also finished my “On the Bubble” quilt.  (Tutorial can be found here.)

On the Bubble Quilt

On the Bubble Quilt

Stay warm, my friends!

sarahsigres

On the Bubble Quilt Tutorial

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On the Bubble Quilt Tutorial Title

Making an On the Bubble quilt is a lot of fun because you get to combine solids and scrappiness all in one visually interesting quilt.  I named it “On the Bubble” because of the appliqued circles, but also because the placement of the color values of the squares builds an illusion of a curve where none exists.  I made mine with shades of gray, but you could easily convert this to an ombre selection of fabrics, or for a different look you could switch the solids and prints to have a layer of solid bubbles floating over colorful scrappy squares.  This will make a lap sized quilt about 67.5″ square.

I purchased a yard each of Robert Kaufman’s Kona cotton solids as listed below.  Beside them I’ll list the number of five inch squares you’ll need of each:

  1.  White  13
  2.  Silver  24
  3.  Shadow  28
  4.  Medium Gray  36
  5.  Coal  44
  6.  Charcoal  52
  7. Pepper  28

You’ll also need 225 circles cut from various scraps.

On the Bubble Quilt: Cutting Circles and Squares

I used a 2.75″ diameter circle template.  I’ve made a circle template and a placement template that you can download and print on cardstock: On The Bubble Templates from CoopCrafts_20150206_0001.  I traced 225 circles onto the paper side of Heat n Bond Light.  (Numbering the circles as you trace will help you keep track.)  Then roughly cut them out, leaving a little space around the edge of each circle.  Follow package directions to attach the circles to the back side of your fabric scraps, then trim carefully around each circle.  You can use the placement template provided (cut out the center square) to help you center the circles, or if you have one, you can add washi tape to your five inch square ruler as I did below.  Then, following package directions, attach the circles to your squares.

On the Bubble Quilt: Circle Placement

The next step is to stitch around your circles.  If you want to keep your edges neat and free from fraying, use a zigzag stitch that encloses the edge of the circle.  For my quilt, I’ve used a vintage hand crank machine that only makes straight stitches (and doesn’t stitch in reverse), so the edges of my circles will lift over time to give ruffly, textural interest.  For whichever method you choose, I recommend this trick to keep your applique from unraveling.  If using straight stitches, complete about three rounds, as seen below.  Try not to stitch over the edges if you’re going to let them ravel, but let the circles “drift” a bit as you sew, kind of like the first few rounds of a Spirograph drawing.

On the Bubble Quilt: Detail of Top Stitching

The backs will look like this, with the thread ends neatly tied:

On the Bubble Quilt: Back of Stitching

Once all your circles have been appliqued, it’s time to lay out your squares.  Here’s the fancy grid I used, direct from my sketchbook, with the color numbers from above to help with placement.

On the Bubble Quilt Layout Guide

It may help to start in one corner.  Once you approach the middle, it’ll be easier to see and follow the pattern.

On the Bubble Quilt: Laying Out the Blocks

Mine looked like this, with a couple squares needing to be remade because my hand crank machine gets grouchy as her bobbin runs low.

On the Bubble Quilt in Progress

Begin stitching your rows together, taking time to admire your favorite fabrics as you go.  This was a gift from a friend and I love it!

On the Bubble Quilt in Progress

And although it’s not even quilted yet, I’m sharing the tutorial because several Instagram friends are eager to start bubble quilts of their own.

On the Bubble Quilt Top A

On the Bubble Quilt Top B

If you make one, I’d love to see it!

On the Bubble Quilt

sarahsigres

Ways I Kept Myself Busy in 2014

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2014 CoopCrafts Projects

Looking forward to a creative and productive 2015!

sarahsigres

Cherry Pit Hand Warmers Tutorial

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Cherry Pit Hand Warmers

This beginner level sewing project is quick, easy and low cost and would be great for craft sales or little gifts.

Cherry pits are wonderful to use in hand warmers or heat packs because they naturally retain heat and release it slowly.  Their small, round shape helps them to comfortably conform to the shape of your body, and they have a very pleasant light cherry scent.  They can be purchased in bulk, cleaned, dried and ready to use from many sources online.  (I found mine at The Next Door Down on Etsy.)

To make hand warmers:

  • Stack two charm squares (or scraps of fabric cut to 5″ square) right sides together and cut them in half, so that you have two pieces of fabric 2.5″ x 5″.
  • Sew with a quarter inch seam allowance around the outside of the rectangles, leaving an opening along one long side.  (Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches to lock them in place.)
  • Turn right side out and press with a steamy iron.
  • Lightly fill with cherry pits.
  • Sew the opening closed very close to the edge of the fabric.  If you find it’s hard to maneuver under the presser foot, remove a few cherry pits and try again.  You’ll want the cherry pits to be able to move around a little when finished, so don’t over fill.

Cherry Pit Hand Warmers

Mix and match all kinds of fabrics, or make matching sets and tie them up with a little ribbon.  To use, pop them in a microwave for 20-30 seconds.  (Don’t overdo it, scorched cherry pits don’t smell nice.)

The packs are small enough so that they can stay in coat pockets all day without being much in the way, so kids are likely to bring them back home to heat up again before the bus stop wait tomorrow.  If your kids are fidgety like mine (and me!) they’ll probably enjoy the soothing feel of the warm cherry pits rolling around inside the warmers.

Make larger packs with the same method to use as a heating pad, or chill in the freezer to use as an ice pack.

sarahsigres

Restoring a Singer 66 Sewing Machine

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Before I painted the Singer treadle sewing machine table, it looked like this.

The Singer Treadle Table in Original ConditionAnd it contained this sewing machine.

First Picture, Original Singer 66 Treadle in TableI’d already purchased a Singer 66 sewing machine head that I wanted to use in the table, so now there are two.

UntitledThe original machine is pretty rough looking, but runs very smoothly.

Singer 66 Treadle Table BeforeShe’s beautiful, even with the worn decals and rust, and I think she could be useful again.  The first step was cleaning her inside and out, then trying to get rid of as much of the rust as possible.  The chrome parts started out like this:

Chrome Singer 66 Parts BeforeAnd after a soak and scrub in hot water and Oxy-clean, they look like this.  Better.

Chrome Singer 66 Parts AfterSo at this point, she looks like this.

Singer 66 After Clean UpMy Mom, who happens to have amazing carpentry skills, is going to build a base for it following the directions I found at TreadleOn.net.  (That site is a wonderful resource for working with these machines!) Treadle sewing machines don’t sit flat unless they’re in a table or a base, so this part is a must.  I’m going to try to add a hand crank so this will still be a non-electric, but completely useable, sewing machine.

Hopefully I’ll have more to share with you soon!

sarahsigres

Painted Singer Treadle Sewing Machine Table

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Mildred Nell's Mermaid Horse Cabinet

Mildred Nell Mermaid Horse Cabinet

Mildred Nell in Family Room

Mildred Nell in Cabinet A

Mildred Nell Dragon Cabinet

Mildred Nell Back Plate

My Helper, OliveThe Singer treadle sewing machine table is finished and I was able to find room for it in our family room/kitchen.  Love this placement because I can see it all the time, and I can sew in the very heart of our house.  The machine is still a little sluggish, but I’ve been oiling it well and as the oil soaks in, it’s improving.  I’ve read that Liquid Wrench is wonderful for “stuck” vintage sewing machines, so I’m going to try that, too.  As pretty as it is just sitting there, I do want it to be useable.  You can see the Before pictures here.

In case you missed it in the previous post, the paint is Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in the gorgeous aqua color Eulalie’s Sky. The designs were painted in a dark gray from a random leftover tester pot.  I didn’t sand much between paint coats to keep the finish a little chunky, and I didn’t fill in imperfections in the wood.  In the picture above with Olive’s paws, you can see the little chalky bits in the milk paint.  Really rough areas were smoothed down and the veneer was glued in place where needed, so fabric wouldn’t catch on anything while sewing.  After sanding and scuffing the edges a little to enhance the vintage look, I used two coats of the new Tough Coat from Miss Mustard Seed to seal it all.

The graphics for the mermaid horse and dragon were found at The Graphics Fairy and are free to use.  (If you search the site for the mermaid horse, it’s called a mythical seahorse, if I remember correctly.  Beware, once you enter that site you’ll be browsing for hours!Block Posters resized the images to two pages wide to fit well on the table top.  This process was so enjoyable that I think I might need to makeover my nightstand/coffee table/dresser/all the things!

The machine itself needed just two parts, a treadle belt and the little rubber tire on the bobbin winder, which was really showing its age.  I found both items at Sew Classic, total cost including surprisingly speedy shipping under $10.  With my 1950 Singer Featherweight and now with the treadle, I’ve been surprised how easy it is to find parts.

In case you’re interested, the machine is a Singer 66 Red Eye, and it was made in 1911.  (I originally read the model number wrong and dated it to 1923.  She could totally pass for a 1923!)  I named her Mildred Nell, after my Grandma who also had a treadle Singer sewing machine.  Vintage sewing machines like this are still fairly easy to find through sites like eBay and Etsy, but the tables are a little more rare, and shipping is ridiculous for just a table or a complete set.  Local flea markets, garage sales and antique shops are great places to try, too.  This machine head alone was shipped for $30, and my friend Lisa at In the Boon Docks sold me the table, complete with another machine.  She even gave us fresh eggs from her hens and colorful peppers straight from her garden!  Thank you, Lisa, for everything!  If you buy them separately, as long as you match the brand of machine and table, they will likely fit.  Measuring wouldn’t hurt anything, though.

I got much wordier than I expected, so I’ll leave you to it now.  Let me know if you have any questions, I’ll try to help!

sarahsigres

WIP: Treadle Sewing Machine Table Makeover

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Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

Transferring a Design from The Graphics Fairy with Carbon Paper

Tracing Graphics Fairy Design

WIP: Treadle Sewing Machine Table Makeover

WIP: Letting the Paint Cure

It’s still a work in progress, but I love it already!  I’m waiting for the paint to cure so that I can seal it and begin getting to know the treadle sewing machine.  (I’ve named her Mildred Nell, after my Grandma who used a treadle machine.)

The paint color is Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Eulalie’s Sky.  As you can see, in different lighting the color can look like a pale blue or more of a mint green.  It’s a lovely vintage shade that looks right at home with the spools of green and blue thread found in one of the drawers.  Don’t hate me for painting an antique!  For much of it’s life, this table wasn’t stored in ideal conditions.  It was a perfect candidate for paint.

The graphics are from The Graphics Fairy.  Check out her section on Transfer Methods for tips on resizing and getting your design on your surface.

I’ll share more photos once it’s done!

sarahsigres