There are two places in Bluffton that you can purchase sewing items and fabric. Walmart and
Quilts n Gifts.
Walmart: This is the least expensive place to purchase fabric, but buyer beware, you get what you pay for. Cheap fabric is less durable, shrinks more and often bleeds when washed. So if your item is going to be used and laundered, best to purchase a better quality fabric. However, sometimes your item is seasonal and not something that will get played with, washed or touched a lot, then you might consider purchasing some fabric from Walmart. One more thing to remember, if that item you are sewing takes six hours of your time, don't use cheap fabric. Your time is worth better quality ingredients. You can purchase both pre-cut and by the bolt fabric at Walmart.
Quilts n Gifts: You can peruse there website HERE. This is a shop that is dedicated to quilting cottons, though they have a really nice selection of high end wool and felting supplies. The fabric selection is varied, though when I want something modern and funky, I go elsewhere. Quilts n Gifts has a large amount of retro print fabrics, every solid color you could need and a lots of basics like polka dots or quilting plaids. Expect to pay almost twice what you will pay at Walmart, however, the quality is top-notch and you are supporting a small business. Just things to think about.
Outside of Bluffton, your options open up.
Engine House Quilts: This quilt shop is located in Berne and is next to some really cute shops (I am a big fan of Nora Gray), so it is a little more fun to shop here, but I rarely find anything that I can't live without. Engine House Quilts has an entirely different line up of fabric than Quilts n Gifts, but the curator and I don't seem to have the same taste. Most of the products are quilting cottons, but they have a good selection of Minky and other quilt back fabrics. However, the shop is lovely and they keep their fabrics in matching families, so it is easier to find coordinating fabrics. Also, the owner is really helpful. All of their fabric is top quality, so expect to pay $$$.
Joann Fabric: There is one in Marion and one in Fort Wayne, so it's a bit of drive, but the selections are really modern and classical, plus they have a good line of medium quality fabrics. Joann's also has a large selection of non-cotton fabrics. This is the place to purchase bag canvas, lawns, denim and jersey knit. Joann's quilting cotton is reasonably priced between $4-7 per yard. That lands right between Walmart and small quilting shops. So it is a good medium ground to start on. Plus there are always tons and tons of sales and coupons. You should never pay "full" price at Joann's.
The October classes are some of my favorite things to sew. The Make and Take classes, the rice bag and headbands, are simple, useful and fun to sew. Both the Everything tote bag and the Basic Apron are great fundamental sewing projects that get used often. Plus they make the very best kind of gift. Each class will introduce specific sewing skills and help build confidence.
The best part of each project is that you can customize with your fabric selection. The make and take classes only need two fat quarters, which means you had an endless supply of options. Plus you will have some fabric left over to take home and make a couple more!
Dates and Times for Classes are:
Wednesday, October 5th @10-11am Make and Take Rice Bags $6
Wednesday, October 12th @10-11am Make and Take Headbands $6
Tuesday, October 18th @10-1pm Basic Apron $18
Saturday, October 22nd @9-11:30am Everything Tote-bag $24
If you want to take a class, but find that the scheduling doesn't work for you, send me a message using my comment box which you can find in the upper right hand of the website and we can figure out a time that works for you!
I hope that you have found something that sparks your inner maker and will join us for one of these great classes. Send a registration form in and I will send you all the information that you need to know! Can't wait to see you in class.
I still have one slot open for Monday's class. This is a great beginner class for any child (or adult). This skirt is basically the same set up for the Lazy Summer Skirt class, but on a smaller scale. I know that one of my very first forays into sewing was making clothes for my dolls. It was usually a skirt or cape of some sort and I was always very proud of my creations.
Each student will learn the basics about their machine and then learn how to measure and cut out a simple pattern. Once the skirt is made, the students will make a headband that matches.
Not quite a complete outfit, but something new and fun to dress their dolls in! Also, I am not a professional doll photographer!
So join in on the fun and register today! There will be no regrets!
Monday: Chicken Ramen Salad
Tuesday: Cold Cut Sandwiches
Thursday: Rice Bowls
Friday: Dinner with friends!
Saturday: Celebration Dinner w/Family: My brother is done with Residency!
Sunday: Stir Fry
What are you making for dinner? Are you eating out of your garden yet? All we have is lettuce, but that is good enough for me!
Lou sewed this skirt. All by herself. I helped by showing her what to do, but ultimately it was all her. She picked out the casing once, had to re-iron the hem once and struggled getting the elastic through. Totally normal stuff for the first time. Even the first time that adults make this skirt, they have the same struggles.
Lou picked the fabric out and I was really hesitant at the choice. Fabric with a one way direction can be a beast at lining up right. We talked a lot about keeping close watch over how she pinned. She did a great job. That hem looks great and you don't go crazy over trying to figure out what is wrong with the fabric.
In order to make this skirt, Lou had to measure her own body and make the skirt to her specifications. She had to measure the fullest part of her bottom half, which happened to be her hips. She then took that measurement and her outer seam measurement and make two rectangles of fabric. Sewed a big tube. Made the waistband. Hemmed the skirt and bam! An adorable-wear-every-where skirt. Its a great jumping off point on how to create clothes that work for your own body. While this particular exercise wouldn't work great for adult, because we have hips and a bunch of other inhibitions, it works great for the budding sewer.
What I love about this sewing project is how simple, quick and fun it is. Not to mention all the bonding time right!
For those living in the Fort Wayne Area, I am teaching a class on how to make this skirt in July. Just check out the home page for all the info!
Prior to purchasing our house, we put all of our "extra" expenses on hold. Buying a house is full of unforeseen costs and we wanted to be prepared should we feel nickeled and dimed to death. But that time has passed and each month I have been slowly replacing or updating items that we use everyday. Last month was bento boxes and the month before everyone got new sheets! (West Elm sheets are heavenly!) This month was towels. Because we have four children, I heavily considered the idea of purchasing different colored towels for each one. The idea seems to hold merit and I know a lot of people who use this technique to keep the towel situation stable. But I ultimately decided to go with all white because I really DON'T LIKE COLORED TOWELS. Isn't that a weird quirk? I guess it boils down to two things, laundry and aesthetic. I like doing large loads of towels, but hate having to separate them and white goes with so many things. I never even have to think about it. Shallow, perhaps, but I just like the look of white. And since all my current towels are a hodgepodge mess of chaos, gross and old, all white sounds lovely. (Who has just one orange towel?)
I looked at a couple of online options, but decided I really wanted to feel the towels. Costco had a great price/quality combo and since these towels are for the kiddos, I wasn't ready to invest in $25 dollars per towel. I bought two packs so that I could give each kid two towels, and then have four left over. The left over towels will be guest towels unless I decide that the kids really needed three a piece.
I then raided my ribbon. This project is a great way to get rid of all the bits and pieces. I used two ribbons from my vintage stash. There are a lot of really cool notions out there. So check out Etsy if you are looking for something eclectic.
I first tried using 7 inch pieces, but that proved too long, so I took off an inch and that worked perfect. I then cut all the rest of the ribbons to 6 inches long. Since I am making two towels per kid that made for a total of eight ribbons cut at six inch lengths.
I then sewed each ribbon, right sides (or pretty sides) together, with an approximate 1/2 inch seam allowance. It is important to stitch them right sides together, so that when you stitch the tag onto the towel, you cover and reinforce the "raw" ends. This helps to mitigate any fraying from the ribbon end, which will occur when you wash the towels.
I then turned them pretty sides out and trimmed any excess thread.
I pinned the ribbon to the middle of one of the long sides of the towel, not on one of the corners. If you sew the tab to the corner, the towel will hang too long and drag on the floor. So instead, just measure the middle of the longest side of the towel and pin the ribbon there. You can see how the towel had a fold indent already there!
I sewed the ribbon to the towel in two places. Once on the edge of the ribbon and once on the edge of the towel. The picture really shows what I am talking about. These two stitch lines also help to "seal" the raw ribbon edges in!
The two sets of stitches also adds strength to the ribbon as there will be much tugging. Kids can be really tough on this kind of stuff, so I heavily stitched those tags down.
It's that easy, that fast. Our kids keep their towels in the rooms because they like to shower in both bathrooms (it's totally weird, but having two options is still amazing to my kids...).
This is just one way to get a little more organized! The old towels will be downgraded to canning towels, which I store in the canning cabinet. That means they get used for all the messy stuff, like canning, animal cleaning, car cleaning and other stuff I don't want to cross contaminate with my body drying towels.
Other then driving to Costco to purchase the towels, the whole thing took only 45 minutes to complete. Which makes this project fast and easy way to add some order to your towels!
I have been thinking about this for years. Do I, Don't I? I almost did it twice when we lived in Cincinnati. I have made excuses, decided I was too busy or couldn't muster up the nerve. But things are changing at our house...and I need to know. I need to know some things about Bluffton. You could say that I am gathering intel. Because I have me some grand plans. So summer camps it is.
The first camp is all about Tie-Dye. Who doesn't love a good throwback? Plus kids eat this stuff up. I wanted one of the camps to be gender neutral since most people think sewing is for girls. Seriously, it's not. Boys should totally do this summer camp. Anyhow. So this camp starts with the kids getting to color their own fabric and then they get to make stuff with it!
And then there is the tote bag. Perfect for library books, pool toys or sleepover supplies. There are so many ways to use this bag. It is the perfect size for kids and we all know they like having their own stuff to carry around!
Just one more shot in the pool house!
So far all of my children's art teachers have been really good. Their classes are about art history and cool techniques. Last year their art teacher had their projects showcased at FAME, but Bluffton is a bit far from that venue, so it's just easier to have an art fair in the school. Mrs. Gerber, the teacher, did an amazing job of making the small gym all arty and cool. Every wall was covered in artwork and every class was showcasing a different style or genre of art. It was really fun to walk around and see what all of the classes had been working on all year.
Lou took home the golden paintbrush for her class. Apparently that means her pieces was the best in show! Very exciting! Her piece is an African string technique.
Mr. E is standing in front of his classes contributions. He did not win the golden paintbrush. He was slightly sad about that. However, his cat was pretty cool and is now hanging up in my house. So regardless, my walls won.
Jay, being in preschool and all, didn't have any artwork to show, but demanded that I take his picture in front of some kind of artwork. Bah hah. Eiffel tower anyone?
Monday: In car all afternoon and at the laundromat this evening: Eating out!
Tuesday: Leftover French Onion Soup and Sub Sandwiches
Wednesday: Broccoli Corn Chowder
Friday: Date night with the Moons, Kid's eating homemade pizza
Saturday: Kale and Sausage Soup
Mother's Day: Spiral sliced ham, asparagus, chopped salad and whatever dessert Lou wants to make!
I am sort of glad that the weather turned cool again, I hadn't quite gotten my love of soups out of my system!
What are you eating this week?
April, you have been wonderful. In so many ways. We have planted, tended, weeded, feed, served and loved so much in this month that I might just burst. April, you have been full. Mr. E received his Tiger Cub-scout award, as did the rest of our sweet den! Lou discovered better books and kicked everyone's trash in AR points, she also is moving up from Tenderheart in AHG as well as earning the Sacagawea Award. Jay was screened for Kindergarten and nailed it. Bug advanced in Boy scouts and is now working on his Second Class. He also went on his first over-night campout with out a parent and you should know that I did fine, though even thinking about it makes me want to vomit alittle. The PTO carnival I was in charge of is over and finished. It went well and I need a vacation now. Dustin sold some "insert whatever it is that he does here" and was really stoked about it.
And lastly, our tree has lemons, so many lemons. It's a beautiful thing.
We ordered our seeds, but it should be noted that Dustin and I cannot be trusted to be prudent in this area. We ordered way too many seeds and way too many plants. But the joy comes in knowing that we have all the space needed for these beauties and extra to spare. We also planted six root stock fruit trees and nine raspberry starters. I have asked the universe for three five year trees for my birthday. Sigh, it is happening.
We finally installed the desk. This is the second top I made, the first was not quite what I wanted. It is beautiful, perfect and messy. Just the way a desk should be. And those hairpin legs make me squeal with delight. I love them so much. But not as much as I love Jay...
We also got around to making the shelves that go above the desk. We originally wanted just two, but have since determined to add a third. The wall is just so tall. We went ahead and replaced all the outlets and installed a usb outlet as well. If you get a chance, install one. It is just brilliant.
I got suckered into these, I swear. We went to get four bantams and came home with ten chickens and five ducks and no bantams. The chicks were adorable and sweet, but they are now teenagers and stinking and big. What was I thinking? However, it was a good thing that we got so many, because we think a coyote has been stalking our birds. We have lost ten in the last three weeks. The birds have been on lock down ever since. We are now considering a dog, meh.
This is the front yard, with snow, in April. Can I say how much I love those trees. So much that I can't get great internet and I am good with that. But back to the snow, just a fleeting reminder of all the things we leave behind for spring.
Just my reading for the month of April. The Landscaping with Fruits and Vegetables was an amazing book about gardening and plants. It is on my Amazon wish list. Also, I read Little Women when I was ten and remembered nothing. Which has made this time around wonderful, absolutely wonderful. Steinbeck is for my Mother's Day Talk.
Spent so much time with these kids. Who are amazing and everything I am proud of. An adventure not to be missed if if can be helped.
Bug is behind the camera, his skills can only get better, right?
It should be documented that we have also been training for a 5k, which is to be run this Saturday. And when I say we, I mean all of us. The children included. This might prove to be one of my better ideas!