Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Conversations from a public restroom

Me (in one of two stalls) (hovering over the WET toilet seat): "Lukey, can you hand me some toilet paper? I don't have any."
Sounds of rustling from other of two stalls. Very LONG pause.
Luke: "Here."
Hands me a wet piece of toilet paper about the size of my fingernail... ok, I'm exaggerating. It was probably the size of my big toenail.
Me: "Uh, Bud, that's not big enough. Can you get me a bigger one?"
Rustling noises commence. Long pause.
Luke: "I have to pee. BAD."
Me: "Ok. Ok. Go pee."
Pee sounds.
Flushing sounds.
(I am still hovering. Almost air dry by this point.)
Me: "Ok, Luke, can you get me a bigger piece?"
Rustling sounds.
Luke: "Auugh!"
Me: "Take your gloves off, Bud."
I see the gloves fall on the floor.
Many rustling noises. I start to worry that he is unwinding the whole industrial roll.
Luke: "Here you go."
Hands me a damp piece of toilet paper about the size of my hand.
I give in and use it, figuring I will just wash my hands REALLY good. And take a Clorox bath tonight.
We exit the stalls at the same time.
Luke: "That was YOU in there?!"

Seriously people, I couldn't make this stuff up.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Conversations from little kids

Brady: (storming out of bedroom) "I am not playing anymore if you're going to be invisible!"
Luke: (coming out also) "I don't want to be invisible!"
Olivia: (From bedroom-????) :"How about we ALL be invisible?"
Brady: "No!!! How can we play if we can't see each other?"
Luke: "We could all be invisible."
Olivia: "How about we can only be invisible 10 times?"
Luke: "We can all be invisible 10 times."
Brady: (very upset) "NO!!! I'M NOT PLAYING!!"
Olivia: "How about we can each be invisible ONE time?"
Brady: "You're invisible NOW."
Luke: "No one should be invisible."
Brady: "I'm not playing."
Me: "I have to go downstairs."

I think I'll let them work this one out on their own. I can't see them anyway.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kindergartener Tote Bag 2010

(Some of you might remember this- at the time my children were suffering from the common childhood ailment "Koolaid Moustache". We are having another fairly serious bout of it this year.) 

The bag was so big and sturdy that you could put a kindergartner in it so I named it the Kindergartner Bag. All of my teacher friends/family loved it and wanted one, so I decided it would be my go-to gift for all teachers- even non-kindergarten teachers. 
(You never know when you'll have to carry around a little kid in a giant tote bag.)

Here is this year's "kindergartner bag":

The teacher has this butterfly print in her classroom as a curtain and a pillow so I know she likes it.
Her favorite color is yellow. The lining on this is a vintage sheet.
Added yellow rick rack too- fun! And it helps stabilize the interfacing where I had to piece it. These bags are so big that I have to piece the interfacing before I can use it.
This bag has 3 pen pockets and a cell phone sized pocket on top of a book/folder pocket. There is also a book/folder pocket on the other side. Brady chose a "Where's Waldo?" book at the used book store to put inside the pocket.
28" wide on top
20" tall
20" wide on bottom
8" deep

I feel like I am a bag lady instead of a quilter lately. I have gone through two BOLTS of interfacing since Thanksgiving. I'm gonna have to see about getting that stuff wholesale!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Conversations from a Fierce Jungle Cat

"I am a Fierce Jungle Cat! I must HUNT my prey- the lowly thread.. I mean STRINGSNAKE!"

"HA! Gotcha!"

"And you thought you could escape by slithering down here... There is no escape! I will BITE you!"


"I will pull it out of the machine and BITE it and EAT it. I must protect my Human! The Stringsnake could hurt her!"

("Look close- you can see my tongue sticking out.")

("This is what I am trying to stop from being finished.")
("Drat! She managed to get this far. I must step up my efforts.")

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pants Leg Bread Bag Tutorial- WARNING!! PICTURE HEAVY!!

 Pants Leg Bread Bag Tutorial
A tutorial in which one cat is helpful 
and one is very lazy. 

I don't know about other people's husbands, but mine has a thing for squished bread. He LOVES it. At least, I think he does because he always makes sure to put ours beneath lots of heavy things in the grocery cart or, failing that, he will sit on it in the van on the way home. His sons seem to have inherited this proclivity. (Maybe it's genetically passed down on the male side?)

A while back I saw this awesome tutorial, but I am way too lazy to do all that work when I can find a faster easier way. So here is my Not-As-Cute-But-Useful-Nonetheless-And-Also-Very-Quick-To-Make-Plus-Uses-Stuff-That-Would-Be-Thrown-Out-In-The-Trash-Including-Pants-Legs-And-Empty-Coke-Boxes Bread Bag. Hereafter referred to as "Pants Leg Bread Bag" for short.

You will need a pair of old pants, which should be at least a size 12 or so and preferably have boot cut bottoms. I used a 16 or 18 and had plenty of extra room. These were straight leg pants- I don't think this would work with a pair that was not fairly even. You're going to be using the bottom of the leg of the pants, so if the hem is nice, that's a bonus. Mine had some fraying so I covered the bottom with a cute bit of leftover fabric at the end.
You'll also need a cardboard box like this- I used the one from a fridge pack of Coke for these ones, but any flavor will work- even (makes face) Pepsi. Make sure that your box fits inside the leg of the pants. If it doesn't, find some fatter pants at a thrift store, you skinny freak.
 Trim the box to 13 inches- this works out to be right where the perforation is so half of it's done for you! 
(See? I told you I was lazy...)
 Then cut the bottom of your pants leg off. 

I cut it at 15" the first time but should have cut it longer. I think 17"-18" would be perfect. If you cut it too short, no worries- you can add a band around the top later to make it longer.
 You will end up with a fairly squared off, oblong tube of fabric. See how one end has a hem? Oh, yeah, baby- there's that lazy thing again.
 Now, stitch along the unhemmed end of the rectangle. I used contrasting thread so it would show in the pictures. You can use whatever color thread you want! Most people match it, but honestly, I would use whatever's loaded on the machine.
 Now we are going to make a fancy little ruler. You need a piece of duct tape about 8 inches long or so.
Line it up with a ruler or your cutting mat and make a mark at the inches.
 Now, take your little measuring tape and lightly stick it to the edge of your box base. See how we are at about 4.5"? You can just remember the size or mark it with a dot. Leave that tape there for right now.
 Now, take the sewed edge of your pants leg and make a "bird beak" out of it. You want your seam to run down the middle of the beak. Try to get your top and bottom seams lined up just a bit off from each other so you don't end up with a really thick seam for your sewing machine to break a needle on.
 Now, get your tape and find the spot on the bird beak where your beginning and end marks coincide with the edge of the beak.
 Now sew a seam on the fatter part of the beak, just to the side of the tape. DON'T sew through the tape. That will give you headaches trying to pull it off.
 After you do one side, go to the opposite bird beak and stitch that down, too.
 Pull the tape off and cut the tips of both beaks off.
Unless someone can think of something clever to do with that teeny piece, you can throw it away.
 Turn your leg inside out. You should have a nice square bottom now. Don't worry if your seams don't line up- the front of my pants were narrower than the back so that's how it worked out. We aren't making fine art here- just a grocery sack.
 Now, put your box inside. Uh, oh! This is the leg I cut at 15" so it's too short. But we'll fix that later.
 Allow helper cat to rub his face on the box...
 ...and try to see what's inside...
 .. and then push him down on the floor. "Get down, Mooch!"

At this point I made up the other leg and we will go forward with that one. I will show you how to fix the too-short one at the end.
This hem had a quite a bit of fraying so I cut it off and will show you how to put your own hem on it. If your leg bottom looks good, or if it's frayed and you just don't care, skip ahead to the picture with the pink stitching.
Fold the edge down and pin it so that it's even or just a little longer than the box.

After it's all pinned you will have this.
 Take the box out and set it aside.
You don't want a raw edge showing on the inside of the hem, so fold it in half and tuck it under like so.
 Do that all the way around.
 Stitch your hem down. I just use a straight stitch.
 Ok, everyone who skipped the hem part- start here.
We are going to make the strap. If you have an old cloth belt or a section of store-bought handle stuff, by all means, use it! Save yourself some effort!

What I used was a scrap of leftover fabric from another project. It was about 8 or 9 inches wide (I didn't measure), but really you can get away with just about any size, depending how wide you want your strap. Trim it so it's a rectangle. You want it as long as you desire your strap, plus an inch or two to tuck under on the ends.
 Fold and press the raw edges of the long sides in. I fold mine in half and press to get a line and then open it back up and press each raw side to the center. I had a little extra here so I ended up with some tucked under which is fine. It will just make your strap thicker.
 Fold the end up an inch or so and kind of bend in the corners a tad. This will give you a nice clean end to your strap so that you can sew it to the outside of your bag if you want.
 Now fold the strap in half so that the raw edge is inside and the two folded sides are lined up alongside each other. By folding those little bits in the previous step you won't have anything hanging out on your ends. You do this to both ends and pin along the length of the strap.
Stitch very close to the edge. I try to  stay about an 1/8" in. This is going to show so keep it as neat as you can. Unless you don't care. In that case just make sure to get the whole thing sewed shut along the long edge and both ends.
 This next step is optional- you can use it to make your bag all pretty or to lengthen it or you don't even have to do it. We are going to use sort of the same process we used to make the strap.

Make a rectangle of fabric and fold the raw edges to the middle the same way you did on the strap. We aren't going to stitch this one closed, though.
 (Push nosy cat onto floor for the 500th time.)
 Now, take your trim and put one half on each side of the hem at the top of the bag. Make sure it's even all the way around.

 When you get to where the ends meet, trim so that you have about 2 or 3 extra inches. Both ends are raw at this point.
Yell at cat who is getting VERY annoying at this point:
(And you were wondering where I got the name for my blog...)
 Take one of your ends, open it up and finger press it in about an inch.
 "Ok, fine, Mooch, if you won't get down at least give me a hand... er, paw."
After you have it finger pressed, fold the edges back to the center
 Now put it back over the hem. Take the other end of the trim- the raw edged one- and tuck it inside the finger pressed edge. You will open it up to do that. You're going to end up with the raw edge tucked completely inside the folded one.
I took several pictures of this because it's kind of hard to explain.

Pin through all the layers.
 This is the inside of the bag.
 This is the outside.
 Now stitch down the trim piece. Once again, I just used a regular old straight stitch.
You want to start and end near your tucked in end so that you can make any adjusting that you have to at the very end.
 Almost done!! Now we're going to sew the strap to the bag. For this one I sewed the strap to the inside, but you can put it on the outside if you want. I didn't pin it, but you could.
 Maybe you SHOULD. I sewed my bag shut.
Seam ripper= my friend.
I sewed a box shape along the handle where it met the bag. This is pretty and also nice for reinforcement, although you probably won't need it (unless you buy whole grain bread. HAHA!). Sew both ends of the strap to the bag.
  And you're done! Put the box inside and go buy some bread!!

 This is a cheapo loaf of bread so it's a little small. If you normally buy the whole grain loaves which are shorter and wider, you can still fit it in here, but to give yourself plenty of room you might want to look for a different box, and maybe get a pair of pants that belonged to a very short, very wide person.

 It holds up under bananas!
 It holds up under sugar!
 (Also, since when did a 5 lb bag of sugar become a 4 lb bag? AND IT COSTS MORE NOW! Stupid inflation.)
This next picture is for Andrea
Q. What kind of pants do you use for baguettes?
A. Skinny jeans!!! Ahahahaha!

I hope this is useful and fun for everyone! I am making some with four soda boxes taped together because we get our bread at an outlet and I tend to buy 4 loaves at a time. I will post pictures of variations on Flickr. If you make a bag or have an improvement please join and post pictures!

The finished bags would be great to sell at craft shows so go ahead. And let me know how it goes! Feel free to hand out printed copies of the tutorial, but please don't sell them. I would like this to remain a FREE project!! Thank you!!

Oops! I almost forgot to show you how to make the too-short bag longer.
It's almost exactly the same as how we added the pink check trim, but instead of butting the ironed edge to the hem, we are going to pull it outward.

So here is the too-short bag. I forgot to take some of the pictures the first go-round so I kind of cheated and used the leftovers to demonstrate.
I had a scrap end from a vintage sheet laying around so that's what I used, but any chunk of fabric that is large enough will work. You will need a rectangle big enough to make your bag longer. In this case about I needed about 3 inches. I doubled that so I could fold it in half and then added an inch or two for overlap.

Fold the raw edges of your fabric in to the center just as you did above with the pink check and iron it.

Instead of sewing it with the fold up tight to the edge of the pants hem, you are going to have it extend out to elongate the bag. Only the bottom of the new fabric is going to be over the pants fabric.
 Pin it down all the way around, making sure to keep it even.
 Now topstitch next to the edge, making sure that you are catching the pants leg fabric and both edges of the sheet/fabric.
There you go!
I attached the handle to the outside of this bag.

Hopefully that made sense. If anyone gets stuck, message me and I will try to help you and then I can fix whatever it is that is confusing.