Sunday, August 31, 2008

One Yard Adventure: Towel Trimming Tutorial

I’m continuing my one-yard odyssey by trimming a towel set for my bathroom. There are a lot of things I want to make out of this single yard of fabric, so I’m being very careful about how I cut it—nothing will go to waste.


  • Fabric
  • Water-soluble pen
  • Scissors
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • Set of two each: large bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths

Step 1: Measure the width and length of the area where you wish to trim your towel set pieces; add 1” to each measurement. Cut out the pieces you need from the fabric.

Step 2: Turn the edges on the long sides in ¼” towards the wrong side of the fabric. Press.

Step 3: Carefully center your prepared trim piece over the section of the towel item you want to embellish, leaving a ¾” extra piece hanging off each end of the width of the item. Pin in place.

Step 4: Sew close to the edge on each long side.

Step 5: Turn under the end piece of your trim twice to meet the hemmed edge of your towel item on both ends. Slip stitch edge.

Step 6: Repeat the same steps for the other pieces in your towel set.

Tomorrow’s post will have another easy bathroom project.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

One Yard Adventure: Shower Cap Tutorial

I’m on an odyssey to see how many things I can make with one yard of fabric. This is the first of a series of tutorials I’m sharing—all utilizing the same one yard of fabric (and very judicious cutting). The first four are designed to imbue a bit of freshness to my bathroom d├ęcor and the last two are for getting out and enjoying nature.

For this experiment, I bought a yard of Moda’s Chez Moi Posh Painted Patch Paisley Sunshine fabric. I’ve used this same fabric before and liked it so much I chose it again for my one-yard adventure.



  • Fabric
  • Water-soluble pen
  • Super-thin vinyl (near the tablecloth fabrics at Jo-Ann’s)
  • Scissors
  • Needle and coordinating thread
  • ¼” wide elastic 2” shorter than the circumference of your head
Step 1: Draw a 24” circle with a water-soluble pen on the wrong side of my fabric and cut out. The size of the cap can be adjusted by adding or subtracting how many inches you need based on your size head. I consider my head to be of average size.

Step 2: Use the fabric circle as your template for cutting out the same-size circle from the vinyl.

Step 3: Place your vinyl piece on top of the wrong side of your fabric and baste to keep it from sliding as you work with it.

Step 4: Turn the edges of the fabric piece under ¼” towards the vinyl (and wrong side of the fabric) and press. Be careful not to use too hot an iron and stay along the rim of the fabric itself.

Step 5: Turn under the new edge an additional 1” and sew close to the inner edge (near the exposed vinyl), leaving a 2” opening.

Step 6: Sew ¼” around the circumference of the outer edge (no need to leave an opening for this part.

Step 7: Insert your elastic into the opening made earlier, place a pin to secure it in place while you work the elastic around the rest of the cap. When you reach the other opening, pull it out enough to overlap both ends of the elastic. Pin.

Step 8: Sew a small box on the overlapped elastic pieces to secure them, and then sew an “X” from corner-to-corner of the box.

Step 9: Slip-stitch the 2” opening closed.

You're done!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Blessings Friday: Cell Phones for Soldiers

Starting tomorrow and continuing through next Thursday, I will begin posting a series of tutorials I’ve written. I hope you’ll stop by to visit.

I found two old cell phones we’re not using and was wondering what to do with them when I learned about the Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cell Phones for Soldiers collects and sells old unused cell phones. This funds prepaid calling cards which given to soldiers for free so they can call home. For security reasons, I can’t just send my extra cell phones directly to a soldier in a war zone. Most cell phones are not GSM-enabled and won’t work in the Middle East, hence selling them to raise money.

My package was mailed yesterday. Somewhere out there, a soldier will be able to speak with family waiting anxiously at home. It could be a friend or beloved member of your family.

You can read about the program here and find a drop-off point near you or download a mailing label.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tasha Tudor Day

Clarice is celebrating Tasha Tudor’s birthday today at the Storybook Woods blog.

I’m sure everyone participating will offer their own take on what this remarkable woman meant to them. For me, it was her way of drilling down to the essence of life and doing what sustained her spiritually, physically, and intellectually—exactly what I was talking about yesterday.

If having the courage and fortitude to live life in accordance with your own values brings such peace as Tasha Tudor seemed to cherish, then it bears my heeding the lesson. And although Mrs. Tudor is no longer with us, what she’s left behind is a shining symbol of true and simple grace.

Deliberate simplicity was Mrs. Tudor’s choice. Everything in her life had a useful purpose. This remarkable hard-working woman did not allow things to own her. I’m paying attention to that and trying to rid my own life of an embarrassing amount of clutter—in a lot of ways.

The excellent
video The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard explains how “stuff” takes over our lives and the world, too. Mrs. Tudor never let superfluous things control her life or that of her family. I love that about her.

Happy birthday, Tasha Tudor—you are missed in our world.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gift from the Sea: A Few Shells

"For it is only framed in space that beauty blooms."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea ~

These are my thoughts about this week’s chapter from Gift from the Sea for Lesley's Summer Book Club at The Bower.

A Few Shells” considers the concept of selectivity. The author learns to cherish the simple beauty of just a few shells as opposed to collecting every one she finds on the beach. This leads to discovering how to be more discerning in other aspects of life.

I quite liked the following paragraph in this chapter:

Simplicity of living, as much as possible, to retain a true awareness of life. Balance of physical, intellectual, and spiritual life. Work without pressure. Space for significance and beauty. Time for solitude and sharing. Closeness to nature to strengthen understanding and faith in the intermittency of life: life of the spirit, creative life, and the life of human relationships. A few shells.”

The notion of simplicity of living is important to me, especially at this time of year when I feel the need to reevaluate my life and determine where I need to go and what to do next. It is not at all my intent to settle for the mundane but to celebrate the exquisite.

Finding that balance Ms. Lindbergh writes about is an ongoing process of experiencing, thinking, learning, doing, and changing. I’m continually searching for my true “self” and trying to find a sense of simplicity in the very act of living. Living mindfully does not mean being stagnant. The quest will end, I believe, the moment I die. And how I conduct my life in the interim is the legacy I will leave behind.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Special Olympics World Winter Games Scarf Project

To continue from yesterday, each Stitch n’ Pitch attendee received a huge bag of goodies on Sunday.

In our new totes are yarn, patterns, kits, needles, needle protectors, knitting greeting cards, and lots of other things.

Because I photographed our adventures for Purls' newsletter and web site, they gave me a copy of the premier issue of Debbie Bliss’ new knitting magazine as a thank-you gift.

My knitting project during the baseball game was a scarf for the Special Olympics World Winter Games Scarf Project which I learned about at the Inspired Tokens blog. The goal is to provide each athlete with a scarf symbolizing our support (scarves must be received by no later than January 15, 2009). The games are scheduled for February 7–13, 2009.

This is what I made during the Stitch ‘n Pitch game. You can use whatever pattern you want; however, the Special Olympics Committee requires:

" ...that the scarves are knitted or crocheted by hand using delft blue (885) and white (311) Red Heart Super Saver yarn, because these colors perfectly match the Special Olympics logo and were chosen specifically by the World Winter Games organizers."

The pattern I used was created especially for the Special Olympics by Coats and Clarks, one of the sponsors. The only place I could find the specific yarns required was WalMart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stitch N’ Pitch

Fifty of us ventured forth from Tucson yesterday on a road trip to Phoenix to see the Arizona Diamondbacks–Florida Marlins baseball game at Chase Field in Phoenix.

We joined crafters from other cities as part of the National Needle Arts Association Stitch n’ Pitch Day. We were part of 31,518 baseball fans cheering on the two teams.

It was fun to see all the projects being worked on during the two hour bus ride to the game. The trip home again was much different, most everyone was too tired to do much other than nap.

When we arrived, each of the Stitch n’ Pitch attendees was issued fun t-shirts. The front says “D-backs” in a cross-stitch design.

We got to do a bit of crafty shopping at some of the various tables set up for us. This is the Purls of Tucson table.

I bought a pair of baseball knitting needles—perfect for using during the game.

There were a few demonstrations of skills such as basket weaving and spinning.

A number of members of the Society for Creative Anachronism came in costumes to show us their handiwork. This couple both made their own outfits.

This is a close-up of some of the detail. They put a lot of work into these creations.

Source: AP Photo by Mary Altaffer

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Misty May-Treanor. I hope I don’t get into trouble using AP photos, but I was so excited about them being at the game.

Source: AP
Photo by Ross D. Franklin

Misty May-Treanor threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her husband, Marlins catcher Matt Treanor. It seemed so strange seeing her at the baseball game since we watched her win gold in Beijing just the other night.

Then, of course, there was the actual game which is why we were all there.

The final score. Although I’m a Diamondbacks fan, I’m actually tickled the Marlins won because I thought it was a nice circle of success for Misty-May Treanor and her husband.

Stitch N' Pitch events are popping up all over the US and Canada, maybe there’s a game near you. Tomorrow I'll share the project I worked on at the game as well as the large bag of goodies we were each given.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blessings Friday: New Treasures

I love Fridays. There’s something inherently magical about this day with its promise of adventures ahead. Before I get caught up in the excitement of the weekend, I want to share some fun finds that arrived at my house this week.

This is Moda Home’s Sliced Bread Blackbird Sewing Roll. Isn’t the Blackbird Design sampler fabric wonderful? I found it at Bella Quiltworks here in Tucson. The item isn’t listed at the Moda web site, but you can buy it at Snowy River Quilts.

The Moda web site offers free quilting patterns and some excellent reference documents you can download—look in their Fun Stuff section.

This gorgeous fabric arrived from the fabulous Karen (Mrs. Kwitty’s Cottage blog). She sent a 2009 calendar refill for the adorable agenda/day planner she made and surprised me with this extra lovely gift wrapped around it—even her tag is charming. I’ve been using that agenda/day planner this whole year and just love it, now I’m ready for 2009. You can find them at her Etsy store.

These beautiful cartellas (Italian for portfolios), one for bills to pay and one for to-do items, were made by Lesley (Small Meadow Press store and The Bower blog). Lesley has elevated irksome tasks from the mundane to the celebratory. The inside of each cartella is as lovely as the exterior.

Lesley also made the card on the left, inside is a sweet note from her. Aren’t the index cards the prettiest you’ve ever seen? And just look at her adorable little tags.

Have a great weekend!