Monday, June 14, 2021

Girl Charlee Fabric haul and Summer Skirt plans

Hello! I live in Florida and it is getting HOT here. I'm usually just a girl who lives in jeans daily but I just can't do it in summer! I am in desperate need of some skirts so I ordered some knit fabric from Girl Charlee Fabrics and it came last week. Want to see my haul?

P.S.Have you checked out Girl Charlee Fabrics? You can't beat their prices (not sponsored)

READ ON TO SEE WHAT I PLAN ON MAKING! (And help hold me accountable)

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Pom Pom Pencil Tutorial

Have you tried making pom poms? A few years ago I went through a pom pom making craze and made ton of them. They are so fun and fast and colorful. Once you learn how to make them with out any tools but your hands and a pair of scissors you won't be able to stop making them. They are great fun to make with friends as a summer boredom buster. Here is a fun idea of what to do with all those pom poms you can't stop making. Put them on a pencil! 

These pencils are great as party favors, teachers gifts, etc. I used them as favors at a Journaling night that I was in charge of at my church at the time.   I used that night as a fun excuse to make more pom poms of course.  I was originally inspired by these cute Anthropologie pom pom pencils I pinned on my Pom Pom Love page.
I simplified them a bit and used washi tape instead of wrapping the yarn around the pencil.  Anyone know where you can buy shiny gold yarn? I might need to buy some of that.

Of course these are really so very easy to make you may not need the tutorial but I'll show you how I did it to save you a little thinking time. First wrap washi tape halfway down a pencil...

Now for the pom poms.

  Here's the fastest way I've found to make these little guys.  Just take some yarn and wrap it around 2 fingers until it's nice and thick.

Use the tip of your scissors to grasp a separate length of yarn and thread it between your fingers.

 Tie the yarn around the center.  I find that if I wrap my thread around twice when I'm making my first knot it will hold better when I cinch it.

  Slide your fingers out and cinch your knot tight and tie a double knot.  Then cut the loops.

...and trim your unruly pom pom to the right size.

You can roll it in your hands a bit to fluff it up. 

Add a dab of hot glue to the center of the pom pom and stick it to the top of your pencil....

and you've made one cute pom pom pencil.

I made 12 in about an hour, pom poms and all. Hope this way helpful If you make some I'd love to see them! Tag me on instagram @bluesusanmakes so I can see. 

Happy Making! 

#pompompencil #pompomtutorial #diypompom #putapompomonit

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Easy Paper Wedding Flag Tutorial

 This post may contain affiliate links

A few years ago I hosted a Wedding Open House at the end of summer for some dear friends. It was thrown together a bit at the last minute so I needed some simple decor that would make a statement.
I decided to decorate with some Downton Abbey inspired paper flags. Did you see the wedding episode (Season 6, Episode) where Carson and Mrs. Hughes were married? At their reception they had white flags decking the hall. Isn't this just the picture perfect wedding hall!

Downton Abbey Wedding of Carson and Mrs. Hughes

I thought this hall was so pretty and fun, I wanted to try and recreate it a little in my own house. Here are some pictures of how we used them inside. Excuse the ladder ;)

I also made them to decorate the back porch at my daughter's 16th Birthday party...

....and at my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary picnic. These paper flags are a great way to decorate for an outdoor party.  

I've made so many of these and have experimented with a few different ways to try to figure out the fastest way to crank them out. Today I thought I'd post a little tutorial to show you my method. With Covid upon us you may find yourself needing an inexpensive way to make and outdoor gathering look festive too.  

All you need to make these Wedding Flags is 
  • printer paper
  • white yarn
  • a glue gun with extra glue sticks
Start by figuring out how long each section of flags you want and cut your yarn length accordingly. Add a little extra length if you will be tying your flags around something an an extra foot or so for the swag.  Hanging Tips: To hang ours outside I used a staple gun and tied the string to itself after I stapled one end. For my ceiling inside I used a sewing pin to shove through the yarn and into the drywall. A sewing pin leaves such a small hole that you'll never find it again.  

Next cut your flags. You can get 2 flags out of every sheet of paper. Make a marking at 3 3/4 inches on one long side and at 7 1/4 inches on the opposite side. Connect the 2 marks using a straight edge and draw a line. Then draw a line from each mark to the opposite corner. Cut out 2-3 pages at a time with scissors and use a flag you already made for a template.  To make the cutting go faster you can use a large paper cutter OR do what I do and use an old rotary cutter with a mat to cut multiple papers at once. Paper will dull your blade so I save an old rotary blade that isn't sharp enough for fabric to use on paper. I find that I can cut 4-5 pages at a time this way and before too long I have all the flags I need. 

Next apply a line of hot glue along the short edge of a flag and push the yarn down onto hit. Hold it in place until it cools. It is easier if you have an extra set of hands for this step. You can also use the eraser side of a pencil and save your fingers from the heat. Place the flags right next to each other or a couple of inches apart, which ever you think looks best.

This method is the fastest I've found.  I also find it interesting that I never had a flag fly off in the wind. The hot glue-paper-yarn combination seems to very durable as long as you are getting the yard pushed down before the glue cools.  When you are done with each length you can accordion fold them  and slide them into a gallon Ziploc bag so they travel to your destination easily.

These flags are so happy and fresh looking. We loved having them in our house so much that we left them up for a couple of months to enjoy. I think it would be fun to do this with snowflakes at Christmas time too. Hope you found this helpful. If you use this idea we'd love to see your event. You can tag us @bluesusanmakes or use #paperweddingflags so we can see  what you made.

Happy Making!

Friday, March 5, 2021

Grand Adventures quilt in CaliMod

Hey Hey Hey.....I'm back today to show you a quilt finish from this past summer. I am beyond excited that I got this finished because it has been a been a long time coming. I originally finished the top of this quilt about 2 years ago and there is whole crazy story that goes with it so read on if you are curious. 
I really don't make quilts all that often and I wanted to try out a new batting because my daughter wanted this quilt fluffy! I remember that I had heard so many things about wool batting and that a wool/poly blend was a good fluffy choice. I was excited to try it and picked up a package of Mountain Mist Wool/Poly Batting from Joann.  It quilted up so nicely and I had it ready to bind pretty quickly. My littlest was potty training at the time and I laid him on the quilt to take a nap on the couch. He peed on it, of course, and I had to wash it before I put the binding on (thankfully I had zig zagged around all the edges in preparation to bind it).

 Well as the quilt came out of the washer I noticed balls of batting clinging to every surface of the quilt. I threw it in the dryer hoping the fluff would be sucked out with the lint and thinking maybe it was because I hadn't bound the quilt fully.  NO LUCK! My lint trap was overflowing and the quilt still had balls of batting stuck all over it, like big obnoxious balls of lint, some being 1/4'' wide. As I pulled them off I saw that the fibers just kept on coming.  The quilt batting was oozing through the fabric. The fibers had wormed their way through and congregated on the outside. I have had this happen occasionally on solids if I use polyester batting but this was over the top. I was so mad! and I came to the conclusion that the only fix was to unpick the quilting and change the batting. So. Much. Work. So I shoved it in bag and threw it into a corner of the closet for a couple of years. But before I did that I took it to the store and showed them the quilt and thankfully they refunded my money in full. I read some reviews online after that fact where someone had the same experience as me. Ugh. I'm just glad that I was able to see it happen instead of sending my daughter off to college with a quilt that would be ruined after it's first washing. Anyway I did un pick it all and spent a LOT of time with a lint roller removing those fibers from the quilt top and bottom. And, YES, I did a victory dance when I finished it this past summer after such an ordeal. I hope your quilting adventures go much more smoothly than mine. 

P.S. For the fabric I used a layer cake of CaliMod by Joel Dewberry that I won from a IG giveaway and the Grand Adventures quilt block from Missouri Star Quilt co. I love this pattern!

P.S.S. Oh and there is a fun Quilt Festival going on over on Instagram you may want to check out. So many beautiful quilts to see there. Look under #igquilfest2021

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Got a ruler that slips? Fix it with TrueGrips!

Heads up: this post may contain affiliate links.
I've spend my extra time during covid this year mostly painting every bit of my house. But I have been able to carve out a little time to piece some quilts. I did an inventory as I moved my sewing space and found that I have FIVE quilt tops that I never quilted. Gotta get on that! But today I wanted to share a little something that has made cutting all those strips and blocks SOOOOO much easier.  Have you heard of TrueGrips?

They are a non slip little circle stickers that you can put on the back of any ruler to help it stay in place while you cut.  I've had mine on my ruler for over 5 years and they are still holding strong. I can't recommend this product from the Grace Company enough.

Honestly, in years past, I did most of my cutting with the mat on the floor so I can put my knee on one end of the ruler and my hand on the other end so the ruler doesn’t slide as I cut.  That changed when I started using TrueGrips. I’ve found that one hand is enough and I’ve actually been cutting with the mat on the table instead.  

After seeing how well they worked on my big ruler I stuck them on my my smaller rulers as well and I still have leftover.  Anyway they are pretty inexpensive and totally worth it.  You can use the leftover sticker bits for bumpers on your cabinets and drawers or stick them to the bottom of your presser foot to keep it from scooting away as you sew. 

I’m adding TrueGrips to the list of my favorite notions. You can find them for sale through the TrueCut Site and Amazon I bet they are at your local quilt shop as well.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Christmas Crafting: DIY Candy Cane present topper

 Just under two weeks until Christmas! December always flies by, doesn't it? I was looking back through my Christmas posts over the years and I found this cute DIY Felt Candy Cane tutorial my sister Rachel did a few years back. I always think its fun to make a little ornament as a gift topper and this one is just so cute with a green tag sitting next to it and some simple twine.

If you want to make a candy cane you can find the tutorial HERE

Big kids can even make this craft if you help them with the hot glue gun. You could also use it as a little teacher gift or tie it around a napkin for your Christmas table. Anyway, just thought I'd share. I'm off to make some zipper pouches and then Christmas PJs. Hoping to have them all done by the time my big kids return and take over my workroom, which is only a couple of days away. What are you making for Christmas this year?

Happy Making!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Halloween Bat Pillow Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links!

Hello sewing friends! Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. I have had a lot fun decorating for it this year. It has been especially nice to have something to look forward to this year even though I'm still not quite sure how we will be celebrating it. My mom as sister made the cutest little Halloween decoration the other day. It is a cute little bat shaped pillow! I couldn’t let them have all the fun so I got my hands on their pattern and made one too. Isn’t the design so cute?!! I love the shape of it. It’s a great little shape to sit on the couch and add a little fun to the Halloween season. Your little one will love to cuddle it and fly it around the room too. Want to make one? Mom and Sis were kind enough to let me share it here with you so you can make one too! Keep scrolling for the full tutorial

You’ll need…

 2/3 yard of cotton fabric (you can get away with 1/2 yard but you have to get real creative with the layout) 

2 rectangles of cotton batting 33” x 12” each (This is a great way to use up some scraps if you are a quilter)

Polyester stuffing

Needle and thread

Fabric Marker or Hera Marker

Printed Bat pillow pattern. CLICK HERE to download and print the PDF from Google Drive

Cutting instructions...

1. Print the pattern, tape the 2 sheets together overlapping at the designated markings, and cut out the bat shape. 

2. Fold the fabric to the width of the bat and position the pattern piece so it is aligned with the fold line of the pattern. Cut 2 Bat Pillow pieces. 

3. Using one Bat Pillow piece as a pattern cut 2 Bat pillow pieces from the cotton batting. Alternatively you can pin your bat shapes, with right sides together, directly to the rectangles of batting and sew around the shape before you cut it out. You will see later on in the photos that I only included batting on the wings. This was a big mistake and made it harder to stuff. ***You will have a better result if you use batting across the whole bat.

4. If you've cut your batting out already, place the 2 fabric Bat pieces together with the Right sides facing each other. Place the 2 batting bat pieces on top of the stack and pin all around the shape as seen below.


4. Starting at the bottom center of the body, sew with a 3/8” seam allowance all the way around the shape. Yes, I like to sew the shape closed. It will mark the stitch lines for when you stitch it up later.

5. Using sharp pointed scissors, clip into each curve down to about 1/8 inch away from the stitch line. Be careful not to clip the stitches. Trim the excess fabric away from each point. Unpick 3 - 4 inches across the bottom of the Bat body.

6. Turn the Bat right side out. Use a chopstick or a BLUNT to pencil push out the corners. Make sure you have trimmed and clipped the curves enough so that they lay flat and smooth. You can give each curve a little stretch to help it lay flat. Iron around the edges of the bat. 


7. Using a your fingernail or a Hera marker, press and draw a crease on the fabric where the wing and body stitch lines should go. You could also use a fabric marker or a white colored pencil to mark the line. Use the printed pattern as a reference. You will see that each wing is divided into 3 sections.

8. Starting with the wing tips, stuff the outermost section of the wing. Increase the stitch length of your sewing machine to 3.5 - 4.5mm and sew along the first stitch line while holding down the stuffing with your hands. As you sew, stop every couple of inches with your needle in the 'down position' and use a chopstick to stuff a little more stuffing into that area in needed before you sew all the way to the point. 

9. Continue to stuff and sew each wing section.

10. Mark and sew the body stitch lines.

11. Once the final lines are sewn around the body, stuff it firmly. Using a needle and thread sew the opening closed with a ladder stitch using the previously stitched lines as your guide to help maintain the original seam allowance. Add a little more stuffing if needed as you close it up.

12. And you are done!! Isn’t it sooo cute!

Make one for yourself or give it to a friend who needs a little Halloween Happiness.

For more Halloween fun join me on Instagram @bluesusanmakes

Happy Sewing!