Monday, November 14, 2016

Up-cycling a Vintage Suitcase

Found this sturdy little suitcase in need of some work.  The plan is for it to become a sort of "go bag" for supplies. This should be able to accommodate everything I could need when sewing away from home.

It did not start out looking like this. First it really needed a serious cleaning.  The outer shell was covered in these black marks that cleaners would not remove....BUT did you know that hairspray is a secret weapon for these sorts of marks? cleaned up great! (as you can see in that first photo)

Next I had to tackle the was rough....real rough.

I tore it all out and tossed it away.

now, I needed to rebuild the interior. Wanting create some structure, I used buckram (I had a roll of it left over from my costume building days)

Next, I created  fabric covers for the bits I had fashioned

Covered buckram was also used to create the "hinge"

Wanting to make sure that the top's interior would not pull away, I placed the elastic that runs through that shirred pocket all the way around. I added an extra piece of elastic to help hold things in place and created some loops of sorts that I may want to clip small items to.

This is how the back of this piece looked, wrapped around a piece of foam core and made so that it fits very, very tightly in its spot to help keep it secure

everything was firmly adhered using doubled sided carpet tape.

I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  All that remains to be done is to gather up the variety of supplies I want to live in this case.....ready to go at a moments notice.

Monday, November 7, 2016


I have been intrigued by some short videos floating about in cyberspace showing a very interesting app that allows one to draw wonderful symmetries. I found it in the app store (currently only available for ios devices)  It is called "Amaziograph"  While it likely would not be considered a serious drawing program, it sure is a FUN way to play with design ideas......maybe just a wee bit TOO much fun.

I downloaded it late last week and I must say, I found it to be pretty user is a look at a few of my drawings, keeping in mind, with this app, I need only draw one portion of the design, the app repeats each stroke for me as I go along.  Guess I can put away my mirrors that I have used for so long to create symmetrical design.

these are just examples where I am creating Kaleidoscopic type images, this app allows you to do so much more.

I found lots of videos showing the app in use... but not much in the way of a basic tutorial showing what to expect....the tools, options, how to make copies, save, export and all that sort of made one.  I have only touched on the basics to get one started, there is much more to explore....and yes...for those who love to play with colour, you can pull up a pallet, mix colours, add colour with varying degrees of opacity, and well....if you have an iPad and like to experiment with just may want to give this a look. But don't say I did not warn is addictive!

here is a link to the video tutorial I is not slick, but it will certainly help get you started if you are unfamiliar with this sort of program

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Repair & Repurpose (ing)

I have a thing about sewing drawers, you know the ones that once belonged to sewing machine cabinets from days long past?  They are a great decorative way to store small items in my sewing space. I found this poor lonely thing in need of attention.  Not only was it missing it's top, but one of  drawer pulls as well.

It was a fairly simple fix. To create a new top, a piece of MDF board was wrapped with batting and fabric

stitched neatly in place

a few screws holds the top on firmly

New hardware and its ready to be filled. This set of drawers will live beside my computer to hold flash drives, chargers, cords and all that sort of attractive way to keep clutter at a minimum.


On the subject of re purposing, a friend showed me mittens she made from old sweaters which we thought would make an excellent contribution for an upcoming church bazaar ( each year we donate hand crafted items as this church allows the use of their facilities for our sewing group)
When I came across this was game on. So many possibilities!

my first mitten.

led to many more....I used 3 different sweaters, mixing and matching bits, no two are the same. They are lined with  thick, double sided polar fleece.....super soft and warm.

Wanna make some too? A quick You Tube search will lead you to several excellent tutorials.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Selecting Fabrics

Have you ever found yourself at a workshop, class or simply a sewing day with friends when you realized that the fabric you brought, is not right for the project you are working on?
Obviously we cant travel with our entire these situations require a little bit of planning.

A few of us are to meeting up soon to spend a day putting together some blocks for CQA's Big Quilt Bee. Here is how I decided what I would take.
1st up, fabrics that were created to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday ( a required element in each block)

These fabrics have blacks, beige/yellows, greys, browns, & reds.  So, next I looked to see if I had a print that had all or most of those colours and dug out this floral.

then, I began pulling fabric scraps containing similar colours with a variety of texture and different sized prints. (many of these fabrics are oddly shaped, leftover bits from previous projects)

it is hard to see from this pile, but I have pulled from fairly light to fairly dark in each grouping.. Below, you can get the idea of how they look when they are sent off to play with each other

Since the blocks are created using a free pieced, sort of liberated technique, I figure if all the fabrics play nice together in the pile......the finished block should be cohesive and have eye least...that is my hope   :-)

A short video of how to make these "slab" blocks can be viewed here

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Bookmark design

In August, I came across a call for entries into a bookmark design competition. The competition would see 5 favorite entries chosen and another 60 shortlisted to be voted on (for another 5) to determine the top ten "winners"

well......I did not even crack the top 65...oh well...that is how it goes.

But....actually, I am not all that disappointed, because I really, REALLY like my design. Now, I am considering various ways I might use it. I had originally left it fairly "uncluttered" as it was to be a bookmark aimed at the adult colouring book plan is to develop the design a little further and add those extra details that are more "me"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Making a "Slab" block

In an earlier post, I talked about having had the privilege of designing a "Bee" for The Canadian Quilter's Association to use in promoting The Big Quilt Bee ( an initiative with a goal of creating 1,000 quilts for kids at Ronald MacDonald Houses across Canada)

The quilts will be made up of slab blocks.....having never made one myself, I thought I should give it a go.  oh my.....they are quick and fun to do....and yes...perhaps even a little addictive as well.

I decided to document the process of one of them and create a short video showing just how quick, fun and easy these block are to it is a great way to use up bits and pieces in your stash!

 Learn more, join in and become a part of The Big Quilt Bee here

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

New additions to my TSM collection

I have added 2 more little machines to my Toy Sewing Machine Collection. The one in the back may look like a Singer....but it is actually a "Peter Pan".
The one in front is a mystery, it has no markings at all and so far I have been unable to find any machine with that same decoration

I just now noticed that all of my "galleries" ( those buttons in my side bar.....all my Quilts, Doodles, TSM, and papercuts are gone!!!!)  aaaack! guess I have to go try to find out where they all went

Edit:  Okay, so I guess Picasa is no more :-(  
I have found the location my photos now reside and have fixed the links clicking on those buttons on my side bar, you should be taken to those galleries once again. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Big Quilt Bee

Recently, I was asked if I would be interested in creating a design specifically for an upcoming event. Of course, I eagerly said yes and got straight to work.  The Canadian Quilters' Association will be holding a Big Quilt Bee at their national conference in 2017. You can find out more about it here

This bee will appear on posters at quilt shops, web pages and a variety social media sites and who knows where else.  When I design something for a specific purpose I always keep quiet about it until the end user sets it free......I saw it land a few places last evening so I thought I should be safe to show it here.

I did a few different versions for the organization to use (wanted to give them options....turned out they liked them all)     :-)

CQA designed a poster to feature him on (this is just the top of it)

You will see a black and yellow version winging its way through cyberspace

And, because the Big Quilt Bee initiative involves quilts made up of "slab" blocks that will be sent in by quilters across the country, I designed these blocks to accompany the bee.

I am excited to play a small part in this project.

A quick note about the design process......this was hand drawn on my iPad mini using the Concepts app and my Pencil by Paper 53

Monday, August 15, 2016

Backing, Batting and Stitch

This quilt has been a completed top for a number of months now.
The first obstacle to getting on with the process was my batting. You see, the quilt measures 106" x 92" roll of batting is only 63" wide.
So I rolled out 2 twelve foot long pieces and carefully joined them together

for the backing, I used a duvet cover I found in a clearance bin ..... it washed and dried at $10, this 100% cotton duvet was "re-engineered" and turned into a perfect backing piece  ( in order to achieve the necessary size, I needed to deconstruct and incorporate the pillow sham as well)

here are the 3 layers ready to be combined.....trouble is, I do not have a large enough space anywhere in my home to fully lay this thing out. Luckily, I did have the opportunity to use a room in a church basement

Batting  (this piece is roughly 12' x 13')

the backing ......would you have guessed it was a transformed duvet and pillow sham?
once the layers were all assembled, trimmed and basted, I next wanted to create clean edges for the large amount of handling that will happen as I work on this project

This was done by turning the backing edge over, folded to the front to create a sort of wide "temporary" binding

rolled once
rolled twice
pinned and ready to long baste

Yeah, this does take a little extra time, BUT, it encases the batting and gives me a nice clean working edge......since I am hand quilting this thing I don't want to be constantly dealing with stuff sticking to the exposed batting and vice versa

here it is all ready for the the left of this set up I have a TV, DVD and Media box.....I can binge watch some shows as I stitch along

Since my goal in making this quilt was to try to use supplies I already had, I am stitching with the 12 wt variegated Aurifil thread I won a few years ago. It is perfect for doing this "Big Stitch" quilting.

An earlier post about this particular project can be found here

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

National Colouring Book Day?

Apparently (according to the Internet) it is National Colouring Book Day.....who knew?  So I thought I would join in by sharing this as a free colouring page
If you would like to colour this image, you can grab the printable PDF file here 

Copyright Jill Buckley