Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, friends! I can't believe it's been 3 weeks since I last posted. Life has been very unscripted and I have been unmotivated to craft until a few days ago, when I realized in a panic, that I was ever so unprepared for Mother's day.

Since my last post, Nana Bear recovered from her bout of Strep, Dare Bear developed pneumonia, I had to train my replacement at work in 1 one and I just finished my first week at my new job. Dare Bear's pneumonia was particularly challenging for us as there was a moment of uncertainty about whether he needed to be hospitalized. Luckily, he responded well to antibiotics and was practically his normal self by Easter. So crafting took a back burner to life. Then came Wednesday night when I realized the only gift I had planned on was for my mother-in-law: a version of the make-up bag with a beautiful French themed upholstery fabric. But I had no clue what I was going to do for her mother, Tiger Daddy's paternal grandmother, my mother or my grandmother. By that time I knew we would have very, very little time to shop between Thursday and weekend.

Luckily I had some left over Avery photo fabric (printable fabric) and of course, an ever growing stash of fabric. I envisioned a quilt bookmark with family pictures for the squares.  I perused our library of digital pictures of the Bears and other close family members.  I cropped the pictures and re-sized them to 1.5 inch squares. I made 4 sets of 3.  In Adobe Photoshop, I arranged the squares on a 8.5 in x 11 in canvas (the size of the photo fabric).

I had intended to sew the photo fabric to the border fabric, but when arranging in Photoshop, I forgot to leave a quarter inch around each square.  But the photo fabric is iron-on, so it was ok and actually was for the best because these bookmarks ended up being no-sew.  I found some light fusible web that I planned to use for another WIP.  I took the scraps from some fat quarters, that I used for my placemat project detailed below, and cut two rectangles about 3 inches wide and 7 inches long.  I cut the fusible web the same size and place between the two pieces of wrong-facing fabric.  I ironed the fabric together and arranged my photo fabric squares on the rectangle fabric and iron those on two.  I cleaned up the edges (ie cut about 1/4 inch off each side) and voila!  a no-sew photo fabric bookmark.

Things I would change about this project:  Considering I was using 3 in by 7 in fabric, I probably would have made the photo squares a bit bigger, maybe 1.75 or 2 inches.  Given more time, I would have taken the time to center each photo. And finally, I need to invest in a pair of pinking shears to make the edges less pedestrian.  Hopefully, I will do a tute and post some pictures at a later date.  I was rushing through what ended up being three projects that I neglected to take pictures and was too exhausted to take pictures of the finished products. :(

Thursday, I had a second idea to make placemats with family pictures for Tiger Daddy's maternal grandmother.  Seemed like a simple enough idea and it only took me about two hours from start to finish.  Because of the time constraint, I only used one picture per placement and sized them to about 5 in x 8 in.  I printed the pictures on the photo fabric as well.  I took 4 coordinating fat quarters (same pattern, different colors), cut them down to 17 inch x 13 inch.  I chose 17 inches because my iron-on vinyl comes 17 inches wide and I wanted to minimize wasting the vinyl.

I first ironed the picture the fabric, centering by eye, and then ironed on the vinyl.  I then sewed the vinylized fabric to some white broadcloth that I had in my stash (also cut to 17 x 13), right sides facing. Note: sewed just three sides around. Then I turned it right-side out and sewed the 4th end and top stitched around.  I ironed the back of the placemats again and also iron the front, using a fat quarter on top to avoid melting the vinyl.

Things I would change about this project:  I would make the pictures bigger and all the same dimensions or I would do a collage of pictures per placemat.  I would coordinate the backing with the color of the front fabric... Either use the same fabric for front and back, or a coordinating color. Basically, I would have planned this further in advance.  I might use a heavier weight fabric next time, either for the backing or the front or both.  The vinyl helps to stiffen the placemats, but they aren't as stiff as I would like.  Not that they have to be, just a personal preference.

The make-up bag:  My mother-in-law loved the fabric and even offered to put a couple in her antique booth.  I was 95% happy with the final product.  I accidentally left on side of the zipper showing on the inside and I forgot to add the handle this time.  I was going to attach it differently than last and completely spaced making the handle as I was rushing.  I liked the upholstery weight fabric and how it made the make-up bag more substantial.

Again and again, I never seem to learn that rushing is the root of all mistakes.  But everything turned out beautifully and was appreciated.

Happy Mother's Day to All!!!

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