Archive for the ‘Go GREEN’ Category

SewThankful Crew Rail Runner Field Trip to Santa Fe

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Jeff and I recently took the boys up to Santa Fe on the Rail Runner Express Train.¬† It was a wonderful afternoon and a delightful experience with the boys.¬† I’ve included some pictures below. If you click the image, it should open to a larger image in your internet browser window.

We thoroughly enjoyed riding on the upper level of the train, watching the New Mexico landscape whiz by.
Jared, age 13, contemplates the train ride and the day about to unfold…

 

Upon arriving at the Santa Fe Depot, we got off the train and walked to the Plaza.
Santa Fe – The Plaza
We walked through some shops and galleries, then decided to take a quick tour of the New Mexico History Museum where they allowed photography, but no flash.
Museum Courtyard Fountain
Museum Courtyard – Corner View
Here are just a few of the really spectacular pieces we enjoyed:

Junk Mail Fan Dress (Wrap Skirt) by Nancy Judd

This piece was made in 2000 from catalogs, solicitations and newspaper ads sewn on to a skirt made from canvas scraps.

Eco Flamenco Dress by Nancy Judd was made in 2011.

Cereal boxes painted with recycled paint became cascades of ruffles that contain over 5,000 eco-pledges–commitments of actions that people will take to help the environment. Ruffles cover a dress made from parachute scraps.

On the left – Escavada Black-on-White Jar, maker unknown. Circa 925- 1125 CE
On the right: Tularosa Black-on-white Jar, Circa 1100-1200 CE.

Both jars are clay and pigment.
Tile Chairs — Jared & Jacob enjoy a little break. Notice the kitty on the side of Jacob’s chair.

I hope you enjoyed sharing part of our excursion.

How does our garden grow?

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I have not put in a garden for several years, but decided to do one this year.

I really missed the taste of home grown veggies.¬† Caring for a garden in the high desert is a little more challenging than other locations, in my opinion.¬† The intense sun and often brutal wind can decimate plants before they even take hold if you don’t pay close attention. Watering is essential–sometimes twice a day–if you hope to have a healthy garden.

This year we decided to put in raised beds using landscaping rock/brick.¬† Working on a budget, we did all the work ourselves.¬† It wasn’t easy, but it has been very rewarding and the garden is doing pretty well so far.

Here are a few pics:

Left Corner Bed - Zucchini & Pole Beans

Left Corner Bed - Zucchini & Pole Beans

Main/Center Garden along the back wall.

Main/Center Garden along the back wall.

The main/center garden runs along our back wall.¬† It is approximately 30′ x 4′.¬† From left to about the center section of this bed, we have more zucchini, green bell peppers, a jungle of tomato plants (beefsteak, early girl, super sweet cherry and yellow taxi), and a few strawberry plants.

Center Garden bed, right end view.

Center Garden bed, right end view.

At this end of the main/center garden bed we have cucumbers (spilling over the sides), carrots, green onion and Chinese Sweet red peppers.  Zinnia and Multi-Color mini sunflowers form a backdrop across the length of the bed.

Right Corner Bed.

Right Corner Bed.

In the right corner bed we have Pablano Peppers.

I love shopping for veggies in the backyard and the boys are loving how fresh they taste–much better than the store!¬† Yes, I love gardening.¬† It is a fair amount of work, but the harvest and sharing the abundance with neighbors and friends is very rewarding.

Handy Dandy Double-Sided Wrap-Napkins

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

©Tracy L. Chapman & Sew Thankful Inc. May 2009.  All rights reserved.

Permission to copy and distribute this complimentary project at no charge to others, for personal or NON-PROFIT use, for guild and non-profit group projects is granted provided all copyright information and references to Sew Thankful are kept in tact on each and every copy printed/distributed. Permission is also granted to individual crafters making small quantities of finished items to sell at craft fairs, boutiques, etc.

Tracy Chapman and Sew Thankful Inc. grant permission for this pattern to be used for classes, kits, and teaching as long as the pattern itself remains free of charge to the end user.  Shops may charge for the other tangible items in the kit (fabric and other related materials), but there is to be no charge for the pattern itself AND all copyright information must remain in tact and legible on each and every copy printed.

Tracy L. Chapman & Sew Thankful Inc. shall have no liability with respect to loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this project.  SEW THANKFUL and the SEW THANKFUL logo are a federally registered Trademark/Service Mark of Sew Thankful Inc.

Click here for a printable document file (PDF).  A RECENT version of Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.  You may upgrade or download it for FREE at www.adobe.com.
Handy Dandy Double-Sided Nappy Wrappies
Handy Dandy Double-Sided Wrap-Napkins

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for quick & easy, useful projects that can make great gifts or brighten up your own living space.¬† In an effort to pretty up our table and keep paper out of the landfill, I started making fabric napkins for our family (and as gifts) a year or so ago.¬† I had been using the single side, hemmed edge method, as shown here on this page (click here).

This year I decided to kick it up a notch and make double sided napkins.¬† When I showed my double-sided napkins to Cindy (one of our employees), she told me about some fabric napkins she had once been given that had ties sewn into one edge so they could be used to wrap silverware for each place setting.¬† That sparked an idea in my mind…and a new use for Handy Tabs by LazyGirl.

Double-sided napkins require more fabric than the single-sided version, but this method is actually faster and easier than the single fabric method, in my opinion.¬† It’s also very handy to be able to wrap, roll & tie your silverware ahead of setting the table or preparing a buffet. Or…make them without the ties if you prefer.¬† They¬† make wonderful basket or box liners and would make lovely, simple vase or centerpiece mat. Once you learn the technique, it’s easy to make them any size you want to serve a variety of purposes.

I’ve made table napkins anywhere from 12 inches square to 20 inches square.¬† Vase or centerpiece mats could be much smaller…or larger…depending on your vase/centerpiece size.

Materials required:

–>Two pieces of fabric.¬† My favorite size table napkin is 18″ square, finished.¬† That means for each napkin I want to make I start with 2 pieces of fabric cut 18 1/2″¬† x 18 1/2″.¬† Using contrasting colors for each side makes for really fun nappies. Whatever finished size you want, simply cut your fabric 1/2 inch larger¬† in each direction (both height & width).

–>If making the with ties version, you’ll need 2 Handy Tabs for each napkin you wish to make.¬† Keep in mind that Handy Tabs are polyester.¬† Set your heat (iron or drier) accordingly.

NOTE: If you wish to make napkins larger than 18″ finished, we recommend you make your own tabs/ties¬† measuring 3/4″ x 5″.

–>Good quality coordinating thread for construction.

–>Decorative threads, if desired, for topstitching.

Instructions:

Cut fabric as specified above.

Press both pieces of fabric.

Lay one fabric piece on top of the other, with RIGHT sides together (wrong side facing you).

If putting ties on your napkins, open each Handy Tab and press so that they are open and flat as shown–remember to check your iron temperature and adjust to POLYESTER setting so you do not damage the Handy Tabs.¬† If you are not putting ties on, skip to the next step.

Press Handy Tabs open so they lay flat and measure 3/4" x 4"
Press Handy Tabs open so they lay flat and measure 3/4″ x 4″

Place your two Handy Tabs (layered one on top of the other) between the layers of fabric approximately 4 1/2 inches from the bottom of one corner as shown in the picture below.¬† Place Handy Tabs so that ends extend 1/16 to 1/8 ” past the raw edges of your fabric…just a tiny smidge so you can see them. Pin in place as shown.

NOTE:¬† If you are making napkins other than an 18″ finished size, calculate placement of the Handy Tabs as follow:¬† Finished size divided by 4.¬† Measure up that distance from one corner and place Handy Tabs.

Once Handy Tabs are pinned in place or if you are not putting ties in… Use a 1/4″ (.25) seam allowance and start sewing approximately 6″ from any corner.¬† Stitch a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around each side, stopping and pivoting at each corner until you come to the final side where you started.¬† STOP sewing approximately 4″ – 6″ BEFORE your beginning point…leave this open so you can turn your napkin right side out.

Press napkin completely flat while still wrong-side-out to set the seam.

At the 4″ – 6″ open edge, fold and press the un-sewn 1/4″ seam allowance open/back toward napkin center.

The 4" - 6" open area is pressed open/toward center of napkin, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

The 4" - 6" open area is pressed open/toward center of napkin, using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Clip corners carefully, do not cut into stitching

Clip corners carefully, do not cut into stitching

Reach through opening.  Turn napkin right side out.  Push corners out using a tapestry needle or awl to make corners crisp and pointed.

Press napkin well, making certain it is completely flat and wrinkle free on both sides as well as making sure the turned in edges of the opening area are aligned and even.

Topstitch napkin approximately 1/8th” from edge — begin sewing at the opening and topstitch all the way around napkin.¬† You may choose to use a straight stitch or you may wish to select a fancy stitch on your machine and/or use fancy decorative threads.

How to wrap your utensils:

Fold napkin in half so that ties are on the bottom most layer on one side or the other.  Place utensils on the opposite end from the ties.  Wrap and roll toward ties.

Wrap and roll utensils.
Wrap and roll utensils.

Separate ties as shown in the picture below, pulling firmly to the other side.  It may seem like the ties are too short, but they will be perfect.

Use firm, steady pressure and pull around in a single tie (NOT a knot).¬† Pull the tie nice and snug so it doesn’t slip until you’re ready to open.

Now you're ready to tie.
Now you’re ready to tie. NOTE…this pic shows the napkin rolled with the other fabric side out as compared to the previous picture.
Finished!

Finished!

Finished -- same napkin as above, but shown with the other fabric side out.

Finished -- same napkin as above, but shown with the other fabric side out.

I have tested washing and drying the “tie” napkins. The Handy Tabs hold up brilliantly…no problems at all.¬† Keep in mind, the Handy Tabs are polyester and set your heat (iron or dryer) accordingly.

Fold double-sided napkins without ties as desired to compliment and dress your table.

Enjoy!

Click here for a printable document file (PDF).  A RECENT version of Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.  You may upgrade or download it for FREE at www.adobe.com.

©Tracy L. Chapman & Sew Thankful Inc. May 2009.  All rights reserved.

Permission to copy and distribute this complimentary project at no charge to others, for personal or NON-PROFIT use, for guild and non-profit group projects is granted provided all copyright information and references to Sew Thankful are kept in tact on each and every copy printed/distributed. Permission is also granted to individual crafters making small quantities of finished items to sell at craft fairs, boutiques, etc.

Tracy Chapman and Sew Thankful Inc. grant permission for this pattern to be used for classes, kits, and teaching as long as the pattern itself remains free of charge to the end user.  Shops may charge for the other tangible items in the kit (fabric and other related materials), but there is to be no charge for the pattern itself AND all copyright information must remain in tact and legible on each and every copy printed.

Tracy L. Chapman & Sew Thankful Inc. shall have no liability with respect to loss or damage caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this project.  SEW THANKFUL and the SEW THANKFUL logo are a federally registered Trademark/Service Mark of Sew Thankful Inc.

My new orange mesh & chili pepper Tote It Bag

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I enjoyed a fun evening of sewing into the wee hours yesterday.   I made this cool vinyl mesh tote bag from the Nancy Ota Tote It pattern.

My new Tote It bag!

My new Tote It bag!

My vinyl mesh wasn’t quite as wide as the dimensions provided in the pattern, so I “fudged” it and just adjusted spacing and placement so everything still lined up evenly.¬† Even though my bag width is a little smaller than the pattern specifies, I find it still offers plenty of room for all my goodies and it is comfortable to carry.¬† The 6 exterior pockets are FABULOUS.

I used cotton webbing for the straps on this bag.  I could have chosen nylon webbing, but I prefer the softer feel of cotton webbing in my hands.  I gotta say, NOT having to make straps certainly sped up the process and I LOVE how they look and feel on this casual tote.

This bag just exudes an energetic summery feel.¬† She is SEW bright and cheerful.¬† I love how she turned out and I’m looking forward to taking her on shopping trips…or to the pool.

This is a great gift making idea–just customize the fabrics to suit the recipient.¬† To make it extra special, you might even fill it with goodies suited to the occasions such as: vacation, baby, animal/pet stuff bag, sport, even a tail-gating tote. The sky is the limit–just use your imagination.

I enjoyed sewing my chili Tote It bag so much I’m planning to make another one tomorrow.

Nancy Ota offers several other mesh bag patterns.  Click here to check out the selection.

Looking for a great beach or pool tote bag pattern?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Check out these popular patterns by Nancy Ota — they’re fabulous in vinyl mesh.

Mesh bags are perfect for the beach or pool.¬† They’re also great for groceries.¬† Keep one or more in your car so it’s ready and waiting when you go to the store.

Tote It Bag Pattern

Screen Play Pattern

Click here for cotton webbing.

Click here for nylon webbing.

Click here to see more fabulous Nancy Ota patterns.