January 21, 2011

Baby Harriet is here!

Baby Harriet (Hattie) is here!  

She was welcomed into the world at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, January 19th.  She weighed in at 7 lbs 4 oz and measured 20.5 inches long.  
The labor and delivery went well and our entire family is getting to know to our newest member.  

There will likely be much less time for sewing projects over the next couple of weeks - sleeping will trump sewing for now.  Although I'm already aching to sew again! 

Thanks so much again to my sister who has been keeping up the Owly Baby etsy store.
(does that count as a smile?)

January 17, 2011

Extreme nesting

I'm now a few days overdue and I'm quite impatiently for baby to come.  The house has been kept clean, the dishes done, laundry folded, meals have been made and frozen....

There is nothing left to do but sew!  Keeping my hands busy has been a blessing and has kept my mind off of the sleepless nights to come...

Here is what I have been up to in the last few days. 

Completed Projects

Stacked Strip Quilt Pillow
I just got a walking foot and thought I should try my hand at quilting....so here is my attempt at a stacked strip pillow with cording.

The colors make me happy.

I had fun playing with my scrap pile - and rearranging the colors over and over...

It was also my first time making cording.  
I think the red and white stripes make the pillow quite playful.

Burp Cloths
I made a few new burp cloths for the baby (and a few for the shop)

Nursing Cover
I embroidered the bottom corner of my new nursing cover to give it some pizazz.  It's also fitting for Valentine's day coming up!

I stumbled upon some beautiful quilts while looking for inspiration for my stacked strip quilt pillow.  A few of the quilts were made of hexagons that had been hand pieced.  I thought I would give the hexagons a try and now I'm hooked! 

The hand sewing involved in paper piecing is very therapeutic and almost addictive.  I know it will be a work in progress for quite a while - but piecing hexagons is great for using up scraps AND it's a great on-the-go projects (think car rides, waiting rooms, etc..).
Travel Sewing Case
So I HAD to make a little travel sewing case for my hexagon sewing supplies.  I'm so proud of this little zipper case I spent about 10 minutes just opening and closing it last night for my husband.  He was still trying to be impressed after the 15th time...so nice of him!

It holds just the bare necessities for paper piecing hexagons or other small sewing projects.

Do you see the hexagons peeking out?  They're calling my name...sew me...

Paper Pieced Hexagons

My small stack of finished hexagons.  So fun!

 Works in progress

Embroidered Artwork
I started another embroidery project - this one will hang in the kitchen.  I'm fairly new at reverse applique, but I like how it turned out.  
It's not perfect but I think there is a certain kind of beauty in the imperfections.

I think I'm reaching maximum nesting potential.  This was all accomplished within the last 4 days.  Come on out, baby!

January 14, 2011

HOW TO: Clean your Sewing Machine and Serger

I love my serger.  To make sure that it loves me back (and doesn't tangle threads and eat fabric) I try to keep it happy be cleaning it once a month.  

Can you see all that yucky lint and dust buildup?
How often should I clean my sewing machine or serger?
I've read and heard many different opinions on how often to clean and oil your machines, but once a month seems to work for me.  Mind you, I sew almost every day.  
Anytime your machine sounds loud, rough or thump-y means that you have waited to long.  I think it all depends on the newness of your machine and how much you use it.  If you're questioning whether or not to clean it - it's time.

How do I clean it? 
First, make sure you're not wearing black clothing...I learned this one the hard way.
The dinky little brush (on the far left) that came with my machine is only fit for house gnomes!  
I quickly learned that I needed a bigger brush if I wanted to finish the task in less than a day.  You can use an old makeup brush (wash the makeup off), or you can find larger brushes in the notions aisle of Joann Fabrics.  I've also used the spiral brushes made for cleaning baby bottles and nipples.  

Remove the throat plate on your sewing machine (don't forget to dust the underside of the plate) or open the front door of your serger.  Don't be afraid to use that little screwdriver to get access to all those nooks and crannies.
I happen to have a drop-in bobbin on my brother sewing machine.  Your sewing machine might look different, but clean is clean on any machine!  Just make sure to remember how things were arranged before you take them apart - take photos if necessary.

My throat plate and screwdriver.  

Can you see the fuzzies and lint?  You can also remove the bobbin and the race (bobbin holder) to dust and oil the machine. 

My dirty serger - BEFORE
Gently brush away ALL visible lint and build up.  I tend to stab at the dust and it clings to the brush - then I lift it out and use my hands to clean the brush before gathering more lint and dust. 
The tweezers are great for the big globs of lint and fabric that might get pushed back into the corners.
After I've brushed away all the visible lint and dust, I take my vacuum cleaner and gently suck out any lint or dust that is hiding out of view.  Just hold the nozzle attachment close to openings or hard to reach areas.  Again, work gently.

AFTER - In this photo the race has been removed and oiled. 

Ah - the clean machine looks so much BETTER!

Try to avoid blowing the dust away with your breath or a canister of compressed air. It will blow the dirt and dust deeper into the machine - usually to places you cannot reach.
How do I oil it?
Take out that dreaded manual.  It should have a little diagram of your sewing machine or serger pointing to the spots you need to oil.  Both of my machines take very little oil.  I've labeled the spots I need to oil with a red sharpie and that seems to have taken out the guess-work.  It usually takes just a small dab (1 drop) of oil.  Use sewing machine oil only. 

-This is also a great time to change your needles or serger blades.  I like to write the date I changed my serger blades in sharpie marker right on the blades.
-Listen to your machine as you sew - it should sound quieter and smoother after a cleaning.
-It is recommended that you unplug your machine from the power supply before doing any maintenance.

If you have any tips or tricks you use to clean your machines - please let me know!


January 13, 2011

Looking back...

I know most people tend to reflect on the past year during the month of December.  I must have missed the memo, or been too wrapped up...wrapping presents.

But as I wait impatiently for this baby to arrive it's been fun to look back on the past year.  

Here are a few of my favorite moments...in no specific order.

toothless grins
gateway arch
baby bumps
baseball games
 craft fairs
 fiery birthdays
 freestyle walking
 Holden Village
 more hiking
 mothers day
race buddies
 spoiled little girls
 Wrigley field

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...