Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Save Money on Thread!



Isn't this card the truth?
And FUNNY too!

Well....you know me....

I was on one o my regular fabric store jaunts a couple of weeks ago and came out with a tip that is almost BETTER than new fabric!!!


The clerk in the store was helping a newbie sewer choose thread for her project....I couldn't help but join in the conversation.....it was all about how expensive single spools of thread are....


A spool like this runs around $3.00 and has 250 yards of thread on it.  Not too bad.....





BUT.....






This spool of serger thread costs about $5.00 and has 3000 yards of thread on it!




HMMMMM......



The problem is that most regular sewing machines do not have a way to hold the serger spool on the regular thread spooler....







I already have a lot of serger thread left over from the days long ago when I sewed lots of knits for the kids....






Do you remember Zubas....Remember Units/Multiples...? I made the poor Sweetwater Children wear my homemade versions of these fashions(?) so I bought lots and lots of serger thread!








I have been using my serger thread by filling a bobbin and putting that on the thread spooler.
This works okay, but it is an extra step to fill the bobbin and it has to be refilled pretty often!

The TIP I learned from the clerk that day was this:

Just put the serger thread in a cup behind the machine and thread the machine in the ordinary way!  The cup keeps the serger spool upright so that it can unwind without catching.....



INGENIOUS.....BRILLIANT.....SIMPLE....AND IT WORKS!


Now if someone could just figure out a simple way to thread the SERGER with the SERGER thread.....HMMMMM!






This diagram gives me a headache....every time I think about it!

So if you are like me....you will do almost anything to avoid rethreading that sucker!!!






I have been using this new tip for a couple of weeks now...I even made myself a new dress.....a post for a different day!!!!

Before I go....I thought you might like this little clipping of some advice that was published in the Singer Sewing Machine Manual in 1949:

Source

Oh My!!  I am afraid that I DO NOT follow almost any of this advice....in fact, had I read something like this when I started to learn to sew....I would have immediately returned that machine and never started!

Have a great day!

Link Parties
36th Avenue   Katherine's Corner  A Jennuine Life  Sewlicious Create With Joy 


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cut Flower Conditioning Tips

The trick to making cut flowers last as long as possible is conditioning, conditioning, conditioning!

I visited the local Farmer's Market on Thursday....I pledged to ONLY buy vegetables!!!!                                                                        

And then I spied these gorgeous bunches of Zinnias! Big bunches.....big flowers....and the lady in the stand kept nodding and telling me how freshly cut they were....and only $7....
What would you have done???  

With Zinnia's in arm...I headed home with a few vegetables too!
On the way a couple of ladies stopped me to ask if Zinnias were flowers that would last long in an arrangement!
So I dug in my memory.....and shared some tips for conditioning them to make them stay pretty.....mostly the basics of keeping the water fresh and cutting a new cut at an angle!!!

That made me realize that not everyone knows the importance of flower conditioning!
I thought to myself....this would make a perfect blog post!!!!

I did some good librarian research....and found you all some great links to teach you the ins and outs of conditioning YOUR flowers:

Conditioning Flowers to Boost Vase Life:  This is a nice overview article that gives the basics of flower conditioning.





The Garden Club of Brookfield Connecticut  has put this amazing alphabetical list of lots and lots of flowers and the "rules" for conditioning each one.
Somehow a group that has been in existence since the 1930's give me confidence in their advice!

Now that I am including it in this post....I will be able to stop back and refer to it often!!!
(maybe I will memorize some...so the next time strangers ask me for advice....I won't just be guessing!

Here are just a few of the tips from this site:
  • Artemisia: Split stems and place in boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in warm water.
  • Black-Eyed-Susan (rudbeckia): Dip stems in a small amount of boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in deep, cool water.
  • Gerbera: Dip stems in boiling water. Condition overnight in cold water.
  • Phlox: Cut when clusters are one-half open. Split stems. Condition overnight in deep, warm water.
  • Zinnia: Place stems in boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in tepid water. Zinnias last better if plants are watered before they are cut.   

Anyway.....here are the two arrangements that I did using my $7 bunch of Zinnias.....It is Saturday and they still look almost fresh from the garden!




Don't they almost look like fine art?
Almost...but not quite!
So here is a little eye candy for you!

Source
Wouldn't this be gorgeous in my Summer Powder Room?


Source
So pretty....


Source




How fun is this?

Source 
I really love this botanical....

Finally....whenever I think of Zinnias....I am reminded of one of my favorite alphabet books!




Alison's Zinnia is the most beautiful book....each letter has a gorgeous picture of a flower....and the words guide you to the next letter....and of course....the final letter is Z for Zinnia!!!
This would be a marvelous book for any flower lover to have on the shelf to teach a special young person about flowers.

Wishing you a Great Day filled with beautiful long lasting flowers!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fast No Upholstery Tricks to Update Your Couch!

Are you looking for ways to update your furniture with No Upholstery?
I can sew....but like a lot of people...I like NO SEW options too!

The couches at Sweetwater are in pretty good shape.
The rough and tumble wear from kids is not an issue in our house anymore...
Well....except for Marvin!

But through the years there have been times when a couch looked pretty shabby....
and...there was NO budget for a new one!

That's when I learned a few tricks to do a couch update on a budget!
In fact these tricks might even be able to salvage this couch.....

well....maybe not....but I bet I got your attention!

People think I know how to upholster furniture....I do....sort of!
I do a combo of slip covering and upholstery!
And It works pretty well....
remember the couch we recovered in Polar Fleece?

Well....that one wasn't shredded....but it was pretty out of date!

This was a case of ALMOST reupholstering because we actually took the old fabric off and did some more detailed stapling and sewing.... worth it but a LOT of work!  It was great that I had an awesome and fun partner to work with!!  That made the process worth a laugh or two along the way!

I know....I know....I promised you NO UPHOLSTERY tricks....



The cushions on the bench are an example.

I get a real giggle whenever I look at the stats for my blog...


This post 
ALMOST NO SEW BOX CUSHIONS  has gotten over 15,000 hits if you can believe it!!!



I guess the idea of
NO SEW is pretty popular!









Those box cushions aren't the only ALMOST NO SEWing tricks up my sleeve!  

A couple of years ago I sewed some slipcovers out of sheets to make the dark colored couch feel a little more summery!

This project involved quite a bit of sewing....

When I got the slipcovers out this year, they looked a little shabby and I just wasn't in the mood to SEW...or not so much anyway!

My solution.....
  • I bought 10 yards of some nice Khaki colored stretch twill...
  • I cut pieces to fit around each cushion with lots to spare.
  • I stretched the fabric tightly around each cushion and sewed ONE seam in the back for each.
  • On the bottom cushions....the fabric just tucks in tightly to make a smooth "slipcover".
  • On the back cushions...the same technique as the box cushions...just wrapped like a package and slip stitched closed.

They turned out great....super cool and comfy to sit on....and the stretchy fabric is great for getting a tight fit!  All in the space of about 2 hours worth of work....not including the hours I spent browsing in the fabric store!

I especially like the fact that they are easy to remove to wash....just in case!!

I used the leftover fabric to make some cooler feeling pillow covers for the chairs in the living room too!


I used the "pillow sham" Technique for these!


Which like in the kid's book...If you Give A Mouse a Cookie....
leads me to....

If I tell you about one project....

I will probably need to tell you about another one that fits the 
NO SEW theme....

Since I always buy WAY too much fabric....
the extra blue and white fabric from the box cushion project resulted in a summery look for the basement family room couch cushions last summer.


The covers are on the couch right now....
BUT...
that project led to the Winter Warm Up Look using some yummy red print...
using the same
ALMOST NO SEW technique....


The box cushions and couch cushions for $35 and a couple hours of work!
And when the weather turns cooler....
they are on the shelf ready for a 10 minute swap out!

So if your couch needs some sprucing up.....or if you just like changing things up once in awhile....

You don't need to spend much money....
You don't need to spend much time....
You don't need to wait...

All you need to do is ALMOST NO SEW something!

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Seven Sweet Things Saturday at Sweetwater

How wonderful to wake up to much cooler weather.
We turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house!
Now I suppose I need to get out and pull some weeds....

Before I head out to the garden, I wanted to share



The Sweetwater Daughter's Law Partner had her baby this past week.

A trip to GW and I scored this box of birth announcements for $1.99






 A little time with the word processor and the printer.....






The results are some pretty cute personalized stationery for the new arrival!


I used the box that came with them.....

A little ribbon from the "ribbon stash"

A little bit of cellophane and raffia....


Fun and thrifty Baby Gift!

This little gadget is called a Garlic Twist.  
We got ours as a gift....but you can find one at any Kitchen store or Amazon.
You just put the garlic clove in the bottom....put the top on and twist!
Perfectly minced garlic!
I discovered that it works to mince ginger...
AND
I used it to mince lemon peel for a garnish!

A quick summer look for the back cushions on the living room chairs...


The dark red...."hot" looking and feeling pillows weren't looking very summery!










Using the "pillow sham" technique and some khaki colored stretch twill from my "fabric stash" made this a fast 30 minute project.

Somehow....leaning against this cooler fabric just feels better during these dog days of Summer.


The Hosta leaves in this planter (a glass container inside holds the water)  almost look like a house plant!

A variety of different leaves from the different Hostas are interesting to look at....


They last for more than a week!



Z is for Zinnia!  I love this flower....
When they start blooming....I can't wait to start making bouquets!



 In fact....I love them so much....
I actually buy (gasp) bouquets of them at the Farmer's Market!
Somehow....their plants never get the icky brown spots that will inevitably attack MINE!


Oooh....I wish you had "Smell-a-vision" on your computer!
This Lemon Verbena plant is thriving in the hot weather!
I have been doing a little research about this herb....
I want to try making lemon verbena water!
Do any of you have any suggestions for ways to use it?
I would love to hear about them!


This last "sweet thing" is actually not so sweet!
Remember the cute french printed burlap that I put on the baker's rack?
Well....the backing I used....DID NOT WORK!
It got all wrinkled and puckery....not Sweetwater Style in the least!
So I made simple "Shelf mats" with a double thickness of plain burlap!
Then I reglued the rope from the old ones on....
I guess this will have to do!!!



The garden full of weeds is calling my name!
Hope you all have a "sweet" day!