Friday, September 5, 2008

Where Mermaids Stand

Wednesday was the one year anniversary of my blog. I posted my blog’s purpose the very first day as shown in the picture below.

Source: Mermaid and the Moon II by David
Delamare, 2001, text added by me

She intended to take her place wherever mermaids fit into the scheme of things. “Where do the mermaids stand? All of those who are different, those who do not fit the boxes and the pigeonholes?” “Answer that question,” wrote Fulghum, “And you can build a school, a nation, or a whole world.” As [a] very wise young woman said, “Diversity, like anything worth having, requires effort — effort to learn about and respect difference, to be compassionate with one another, to cherish our own identity, and to accept unconditionally the same in others.”

Source: Barbara Pierce Bush, Commencement Address at Wellesley College, October 22, 2007

I’ve spent the year doing just what I set out to do—celebrating life in a creative way. My blog year began with a tutorial offering and ends with the tutorial series posted this week. They are my gifts to those of you who’ve kindly taken the time to leave encouraging comments over this year.

Source: © June Scroggin, watercolor painted by me with text added

Now it’s time to say goodbye. I’m slipping off my sandals and assuming my mermaid persona to seek new adventures in life. Thank you for everything.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

“V” for Victory

This is my second post today as I didn’t want to interrupt my series of one-yard fabric adventures.

I’ve knitted a scarf to donate to The National World War II
Museum for its Knit Your Bit campaign. They distribute scarves to individual veterans through V.A. hospitals and other veteran’s organizations.

I used the 2007 “V for Victory” scarf pattern available free at their web site. They have other free patterns, but I like this one. My offering was dropped off at the post office on my way to paint at the botanical gardens this morning.

One Yard Adventure: Plein Air Paintbrush Case Tutorial

Now that my plein air painting basket is done, I have a small piece of fabric still left to use. A paintbrush case to roll up and put in my basket seems just the right thing.

Plein Air Paintbrush Case

  • Fabric
  • Sewing scissors
  • Zig-zag or scallop-edge scissors (optional)
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • Piece of wool felt 8“ by 11”
Step 1: Fold up the bottom of your felt towards the top 5” and pin in place. This forms a pocket. Beginning at the top of the pocket on the right, sew a ¼” seam down that side, across the bottom, and up the other side to where the other side meets the main body of the pocket—backstitching at each end. Do not stitch across the top of the pocket as this is where you’ll insert your paintbrushes later.

Step 2: Using masking tape, mark where you want to sew individual pockets for your brushes.

Step 3: Beginning at the bottom of the pocket edge, and using the tape as a guide, stitch up to the top of the pocket for each section you want to create. Backstitch at each end. Then trim around the edges of the entire piece with either zig-zag scissors or scalloped-edged scissors like I used.

Step 4: Depending on your fabric scraps, do one of the following to make the piece that will form a tie around your paintbrush case: (a) cut one piece 18” by 1½” or (b) cut 2 pieces 9½” by 1½”. If you need to do (b) like I did, then place the short ends of the right sides of the two strips together and stitch a ¼” seam and press open.

Step 5: Turn the short edges under ¼” towards the wrong side of the fabric; press. Fold each strip in half (wrong sides together) so the long edges meet and press lightly. Open and fold in each of the long sides in to meet at the middle crease. Press.

Step 6: Now fold this in the middle so the long edges meet and press again. Stitch close to the edge along all four sides.

Step 7: Find the middle of your prepared tie piece. Pin it to the back of your paintbrush case so that the middle of the tie piece is over the stitching you did around the edge of the entire case and where the top of the far right pocket begins.

Step 8: Now measure down 3” from the top of your case and stitch across. You’re not stitching this piece to anything else. You’ll fold this section over the tops of your brushes.

You now have a new paintbrush case to put in your plein air painting basket. Tuck in your brushes, roll it up, secure the little tie, and you’re ready to go.

The following are the miniaturized versions of everything I take for my little painting adventures.

As promised, nothing will get wasted with the one yard of fabric I used for all my projects. The teeny snippets of scrap leftovers are going to a quilter’s group for use as filler in the comfort blankets they make for animal shelters.

My plein air kit is packed and I’m going out for a lovely day of painting at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Thus ends my adventures with one yard of fabric. I hope you enjoyed my series of tutorials.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Yard Adventure: Plein Air Painting Basket Tutorial

Every now and then, I like to take a small portable set of my painting supplies and go outside to paint. I decided to treat myself to a plein air painting outing but need something to hold my painting supplies. Since I still have scraps of the same yardage used in my bathroom, I’m using it for this fun project.

There are 3 parts to this project; I’m taking it one at a time:

  • Carrying Strap
  • Strap Connectors
  • Basket Liner

Plein Air Painting Basket


  • Small basket with lid
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • 53” length of 1”-wide cotton belting or webbing
  • 2 D-rings

Carrying Strap

Step 1: Cut a fabric strip 53¼” by 2½”

Step 2: Turn each short edge under ¼” towards the wrong side of the fabric; press. Then fold each strip in half (wrong sides together) so the long edges meet and press lightly. Open and fold one long edge in ½” and press. Repeat for the other long edge.

Step 3: Open the fabric strap piece and insert the cotton belting or webbing so one edge abuts to one of the folded edges of your fabric but fits under the folded ½” folded piece and the other edge meets near your center crease. Fold up the other side of your fabric strip until the edges meet, pin securely. Sew close to the edge on all four sides.

Step 4: Fold one of the short ends around one of the D-rings, enough that you can sew a box with an "X" in it to secure it. Repeat this step for the other end of your strap and the second D-ring. Set aside for now.

Strap Connectors

Step 1: Cut two pieces of fabric 5” by ¾”.

Step 2: Turn the short edges of one piece under ¼” towards the wrong side of the fabric; press. Then fold each strip in half (wrong sides together) so the long edges meet and press lightly. Open and fold each long edge in ¼” towards the center and press. Pin and sew close to the edge on all four sides. Repeat this for the other strap connector piece.

Step 3: On one side of your basket, weave both ends of your prepared strap connector through the basket from the inside. On the outside of the basket, pin the strap connector ends together to hold it temporarily. Repeat for the other end of your basket.

Step 4: Remove one of the strap connector pins and slip it through one of the D-rings on your completed carrying strap. Pin and hand stitch securely. Repeat for the other end of you basket and strap D-ring, being careful not to get your strap twisted. Turn the two strap connectors so the stitched part is on the inside of your basket. It will be covered with the lining in the next stage of this project. Your strap connectors should now look like that in the following picture.

Basket Liner

Step 1: Measure the inside of your basket, including the front and back panels, both end panels, and the bottom. Add ½” to all measurements. Cut out your fabric accordingly; you should now have a total of 5 fabric panels: 2 for the front and back, 2 side end pieces, and 1 bottom piece.

Step 2: Sew together in this order. Take the back panel piece and place right-side facing up on your worktable. Place one of the end panels right-side facing down on top of the back panel, lining up the right-hand edges, pin, and sew a ¼“ seam. Press seam open.

Step 3: Open the panel piece you just stitched so the right-side of the fabric is facing up and the end panel is now on your right. Now add one end of the front panel piece right-side facing down on top of the right-side of the unstitched side of the section you made in Step 6. Line up the right-hand edges, pin, and sew a ¼“ seam. Press seam open. Repeat this to add the other two side panel sections. You now have a topless and bottomless fabric box.

Step 4: Turn under the top edge ¼” toward the wrong side of your fabric and press. Now turn this under another ¼” and press. Pin and sew close to the edge around your lining top to make a finished top seam.

Step 5: Pin your bottom lining section to the finished sides and stitch a ¼” seam. If you carefully cut a bit of your corners on an angle (without cutting into where you’ll stitch), corners can be easily turned for continuing your sewing.

Step 6: Make sure your finished basket liner is wrong side out and insert it into the basket. Line up the seams with the basket corners. Hand-stitch the liner to the basket by weaving in and out of the basket, catching your fabric as you sew.

Believe it or not, there are still bits of fabric left from my original one yardage. Another project will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One Yard Adventure: Bathroom Scales Tutorial

My bathroom scales were boring, so I’ve done something to rectify that problem. This is an easy project, but it can’t be done in one day. I’m still using bits of the same piece of fabric.



  • Fabric
  • Paper
  • Paper scissors
  • Sewing scissors
  • Double-sided lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Dritz FrayCheck
  • Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre
  • Clear acrylic sealer
  • Disposable foam paintbrushes
  • Wax paper
  • Bathroom scales

There are too many different types of bathroom scales for me to provide accurate measurements for you. But here’s how you can easily jazz up your scales.

Step 1: Make sure your scales are clean and dust-free.

Step 2: Trace the section(s) you want to cover and cut out the pattern template. I simply ran my nail around the edge of area to be covered and it made a nice, sharp crease on the paper.

Step 3: Cut out your paper pattern piece(s). By flipping over my pattern, I had my template for the other side, too.

Step 4: Pin the pattern to your fabric and cut out the fabric piece you need. Repeat for the interfacing. Attach the interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric as directed by the manufacturer.

Step 5: Place each piece of prepared fabric right-side up on the wax paper (right side facing up). Go around the edges with Dritz FrayCheck and let dry.

Step 6: Using your paintbrush, apply a coat of Mod Podge. Let to dry completely.

Step 7: Apply a second coat of Mod Podge. Again, let this second coat dry completely.

Step 8: Turn your fabric over and apply a coat of Mod Podge. Immediately apply a coat of Mod Podge to the actual section(s) on your scales you wish to cover. Quickly place the still-wet fabric piece(s) right-side up in place on your scales. Press firmly in place and let dry overnight.

Step 9: Coat the top of your fabric section(s) and around the edges where it meets the scale with two more layers of Mod Podge, drying between layers. Let dry completely.

Step 10: Now do a final coat with your acrylic sealer. Let dry completely, and your scales are ready to use.

This was my final bathroom project. Now I want to make something completely different with the rest of my fabric. More tomorrow.

Monday, September 1, 2008

One Yard Adventure: Curtain Tiebacks Tutorial

Happy Labor Day! I’m still “laboring” on using up my one yard of fabric. Now I’m making curtain tiebacks. This project is super easy but adds a nice bit of interesting detail to my bathroom. You could also make some for your shower curtains (my shower is glassed in and doesn’t have a curtain).


  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • Four 2” bamboo rings (I found them in the knit/crochet area at Jo-Ann’s)

Step 1: Cut two fabric strips 18”-x3½”.

Step 2: Turn the short edges under ¼” towards the wrong side of the fabric; press. Turn again another ¼“, press. Stitch close to each edge.

Step 3: Fold the long sides, right-sides together, so the edges meet. Pin in place. Starting at one short edge, stitch a ¼“ seam, turn and stitch ¼“ down the long side, leaving the other short end open for turning. Trim the corners (don’t cut into your stitching) and the two seams you made. Turn right-side out and press. Slip stitch the open short end to finish.

Step 4: Fold one end of your tieback over a ring. Pin and hand stitch to complete. Repeat for the other tieback ends.


You could also use strips of fabric to tie your shower curtain to the rod. And maybe trim a pair of bathroom slippers with a little yo-yo or flower made from your fabric scraps.

Other ideas include cutting a strip of fabric (you can trim with your zig-zag scissors if you like) and tie a pretty bow around a big bar of soap. I just folded the edges on mine in nice and neat.

Cut small strips of fabric to tie around your cosmetic brushes…

…or even the handle of your scrub brush.


There’s still fabric left with which to play. I have a good use for it and will post another tutorial tomorrow.