About Me

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Great Falls, Montana, United States
I love creating art. I love the Creator! And through that love, I find a little slice of heaven on earth and I give Him all the glory! It's a great adventure and I'm excited to see what's around the bend! Come join me, won't you?
Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tutorial. Show all posts

Saturday, April 19, 2014

kitchen towels ~ tutorial

weekend greetings to all ~ gosh, i think i've done about 30 of these towels now!  ... and i've so enjoyed it!

it's really a simple, straight-forward process, but here are tips and hints {as promised}, that {i think} make for a more relaxing process, and... a more professional finished look.

i begin with a purchased towel, but of course, you can buy your own cotton linen fabric and finish the edges yourself.  that type of fabric can be found by the bolt/yardage in quilt shops, too. 

first, choose  a 90/14 titanium topstitch needle, as this will pierce cleanly through all the thicknesses of towel, especially those thick hems on the sides, as well as the extra fabric and embellishments.  it also suits the thread i'm using, which is magnifico 40 wt by superior threads.  it produces beautiful looking stitches! and for the bobbin thread, i love a basic white color in superior's masterpiece cotton; a 50 wt thread.  

i also engage the dual feed on the bernina 830, but a walking foot would work well, or an open toe #20 foot {by bernina}.  i chose to use my patchwork #37... see why below.

then ~ one of the best tips:  press fabrics using mary ellen's "best press" starch.  by far, it's a top notch starch product, and so easily available.

 i buy it in the gallon size as it is more economical, and although it's a alot of money to spend, it's such a better value, as i use it in all  my quilting, pressing, and sewing. it just gives such a nice crisp edge, and you don't need alot of it. 
 after pressing, i cut my fabric in 3.5" strips.  usually, i can embellish two towels with this length, cut cross-grain.  this measurement is entirely arbitrary, though!  

nice, neat pressed edges make for easier placement on the towel.  generally, i turn the long edges up one quarter inch, and the short ends, about an half inch: 
and i add crochet trim, by turning under the short ends about one-half inch:
 my placement tip for aligning fabric, ribbons or any trim, is pretty simple.  line it up with the horizontal edge of the printed line or in this case, the checkered print/weave of this towel.  i also do my best to ensure the bottom edge of the trim, is parallel and aligned with the hemmed bottom edge of the towel.  generally, my rule of thumb is to put the bottom edge of the trim, right on the stitching line where the hem is.  

one thing i learned about crocheted-type trims... they tend to stretch quite a bit during sewing, so be on the look out to shorten, and tuck edges under, as you approach the towel edge. 
 auditioning the total look of this combo ~ and i love it! this combination of color and style on this checkered towel creates a romantic, classy country look!
 and to achieve flawless placement? my go-to, all-time favorite notion is 1/4" "steam-a-seam" tape.
i have it on hand in 1/4" and 1/2" sizes.
 one of my favorite tips to share for keeping the tape in place is making sure the fabric is warm... {recently pressed}, which helps it to stay in place. and once it's laid down, i burnish it with my finger.  i peel the paper back gently. i've found that if i rip off the paper backing too fast, the fusible tends to pull off as well, as it's a very thin layer of glue, and somewhat delicate and flimsy.  burnishing helps the fusible to stay in place when i flip the fabric over, until it's time to press for the permanent bond.   
 {peel the paper back gently... }
 before a final pressing, check to align the trim and secure with pins, making sure the overall placement looks good. {above}

i align trims such as rick rack by placing the lower edge of it right along the long edge of the printed weave, using the lines of the towel as a guide. in the photo below, you can see where i placed the fabric along the horizontal stripes of the weave of the towel, too:
the pin marks the stitch of the hemline of the towel for placement of the rick rack
and my favorite choice for topstitching?  the bernina #37 patchwork foot.  i keep my eye aligned with the inside edge of the right-side toe of the foot, even with the folded {and fused} edge of the fabric.  this makes it so easy to get perfectly pleasing  placement!  

another tip? use the straight-stitch plate, too. *{if you do, engage the safety feature on the machine so you don't accidentally break a needle, because you forgot the straight-stitch plate was on!} this combo of tools really makes achieving a beautiful look... effortless!
 i took the time to switch thread color to match the ecru colored crocheted trim... i just think it looks better.

another vip tip?  lengthen your stitch length!  the default length of a straight stitch on my machine is 2.5, and i adjust it up to a 3.0, but you could go a bit longer, too.  that choice is yours! but it does really make a big difference in how the stitches lay on the top, and... it just looks so good!

and one very important technique, that makes all the difference in finishing? before you start stitching, remember to... pull... that bobbin thread to the top when you begin!  that way you won't have any ugly thread nests on the bottom!
tying off when you start, makes it's much smoother to finish up the "loose ends" when making the final connection to the beginning line of stitching. i'm cautious about how much i reverse stitch, too, so i backstitch only about 2-3 stitches, then stitch in place about 2-3 times, {or use the knotting function if you have one}, and after clipping threads... all is well!
an extra securing function i like to do, is to stitch down the edge of the rick rack trim, too.  this keeps it all nice and tidy, and will prevent any unravelling, as i like to fold the raw edge under the trim itself.  and i also take a couple extra stitches in reverse, on each of the corners, just to reinforce them.

when i attach rick rack {and this is the super-giant size!} {so fun}, i tuck the bottom half of the trim under the fabric, and generally, i don't fuse this, but i do make sure to pin, and stop often when sewing to make sure everything is "on course!"

one of the other things to keep in mind, is that depending on the weight of your fabric banding... some fabrics stretch more than others, so while sewing, it can inch forward, to be prepared to adjust the length of the fabric banding towards the towel edges, and you may have to shorten it a bit to make it align with the edge of the towel.  you could wrap it around the back, too... but i felt it was easier and more professional to turn it under and have it meet the edges, the best i could!

 and the back... look at how nice and tidy it looks when you take the time to pull up the bobbin thread before beginning to stitch!  {and the reverse stitches are in the same place as the beginning stitches}  no need to overdo it with backstitching!
 here's a bit of the rick rack raw edge showing underneath so you can see what it looks like.  if you want, just trim it down a little more, so when it's washed, it doesn't leave a bunch of threads unravelling.
and of course, i lightly press everything again when i'm finished!

and how much time do these take?  well, barring time choosing fabric and trims, {ahem!} ... i can usually get one done in about 30 minutes, give or take.  they really make nice christmas gifts, and so lovely to have on hand for weddings, hostess gifts, and house warmings, too!

and the most important tip?

keep the main thing... the main thing!  

and that is simply... to have fun! i love pulling fabrics and trims, and get alot of enjoyment mixing and matching all the different styles.

sure hope you found my process a little bit helpful!

xo

leslie

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

at your request ~ applying microbeads ~ tutorial

hi friends and blog readers ~

today's post is by special request of rike... who recently wrote this comment in response to my watercolor cards, and my microbeading "frenzy!" she said: "no, i'm not really tired by your postcards, and paintings.  they are so beautiful and full of power!  can you please show us how you apply the microbeads?  I cannot find any of them here in germany.  that would be really great! :) have a nice sunday!"

well, i'm happy to oblige! so here's my best shot at a tutorial using those little darling beads ~ and i appreciate all of you who have emailed, asking me "how to."   

first, let's talk about glues.  as you will see in the first photo, below, i have quite a variety, don't i?!  the selection in the craft world, is, well... endless. i recommend trying whatever you have on hand; from elmer's glue to modpodge, to gel medium, & craft glues. there are two things to be said about glues {in my opinion}.

1.  they should dry clear {and i prefer a matte finish, not gloss}
2.  a thicker glue is preferable, as it doesn't warp the paper; specifically watercolor paper, which is what i am working with.
3.  my favorite qualities of glue?  a thicker glitter glue, and bottles with a fine tip. i do also really like decopauge medium ~ matte finish, and i just apply it with a small, finer brush.

let's talk about microbeads.  i found mine at michaels craft store here in great falls.  and i've only been able to find two brands there; one is the michael's brand, called "recollections" and the other is a martha stewart brand. i prefer the recollections brand, myself. they seem to be a little more 'weighty' and most important... richer in color and shinier!!  :) would be interesting to see what hobby lobby carries, perhaps online, as we don't have a store here.

can't find microbeads?  well... any tiny kind of tiny seed bead and/or smaller types of beads will work really well, i think.  the thing about microbeads, is that they are solid; no holes in the middle, and do well in the glue ~ in other words, you cannot see the glue, only the beads... which is the whole point for my taste.  
various type of glitter glue, mod podge, elmers gel glue, tacky glue! 
i do {now} lay out a white towel {it doesn't have to be white}, and a dedicated manilla folder, specifically used for glueing beads.  i bend up the upper and lower edges, and even the sides, just a bit.  don't get crazy about it... hopefully you'll see why, in the pictures, below, it's kind of like a corral, or in other words... "organized chaos!"  i also keep a paint palette handy, where i squeeze a bit of mod podge medium into one of the wells, when i want to apply it with a brush:
and my brush?  hmm.  funny thing.  i forgot to clean this one, so guess what?  it's a permanent "glue brush" now!  that's okay.  it works... and i use it to push glue around to where i want it, rather than pour straight from a bottle.  
here's one of my favorite glues, from art glitter.  i purchased this glue for using their super fine glitter, and applying it to clothing i had embellished.  it's a great product, but it's ridiculously expensive. but...what i really love about it is the tip, as I get a really fine line of glue, and can place it exactly where i want it.  and this is true for the martha stewart brand as well. it's nice if the glue has "just the right" texture, so it isn't so thick that i can't squeeze it out easily {hand strength issues} and with some accuracy as well! 
here's the fine line of glue i got using the art glitter brand of glue: 
i'm generous with the glue, but also very generous with the pouring of beads.  it helps to make a better bond, but since they are all a bit of an unruly bunch to deal with, it's better to work with a large quantity to begin with. which also makes it easier to manipulate in getting them back into the original package, whether it's a teaspoonful or a cupful!  and more importantly, because i want good coverage, this is not the time to be stingy with the beads.
sometimes i smudge the beads into the glue... sometimes i don't!  this is the deal.  if you want a super fine, thin line... like the spine of the feathers, don't smudge.  it will spread the glue and the beads out.  but if you want to... then go for it!
 glues dry quickly, so get your beads on quickly  {but slowly}. just not so fast, they fly everywhere... and get all the glue covered  well, as you pour the beads on top. if you wait too long to apply the beads, or don't have enough glue down in the thinner spots, you may find that your beads will start to fall off, once the whole project is dried.  {yup ~ i know this for real}.  
once the beads are down, you probably only need to wait 10-30 seconds, and then, {very important}  gently slide the beads off the card, onto the manilla folder.  i then turn my card over, and tap gently from the back to remove any excess.  don't tap too hard, or you can tap blobs of glue off too {yes I know this to be true!}:  
so there's my pile of excess beads, the ones leftover, now laying on the folder.  time to get them back in the container... 

meanwhile, this is what the finished feather looks like, with that thinner line of now embellished, microbead embellishment now looks like:
to put the beads back, i now fold up the manilla file folder, encapsulating the microbeads inside, and carefully {and hopefully accurately} ... tap them in the container.  {this was a little tricky holding it with my left hand while i took a picture with a heavy camera in my right hand!} but i think you get it, {hopefully right?}
 below, i used my "dedicated" brush to add "artisticly applied" glue onto this feathered card:
 pour the beads:
 tap gently and/or slide them off onto the folder:
the glue isn't dry yet, {you can see some white spots, below}... but it will dry very quickly, so place your art in a "safe" place {preferrably not on the floor where you can roll over it with your chair!} lol  --- how DO i know this?! yes, i did just that... {sigh}.  so it goes.
 here's the martha stewart brand of glitter glue.  although it does tend to get a cloggy tip {therefore the pearl head pin comes in handy} and i love it for it's precise application.  but I have noticed the glue has thickened up over time, and this does cause me a bit of difficulty in squeezing it out {hand strength issues}.


 i learned very quickly, {when the beads went bouncing everywhere}, that i needed to keep the chaos at a minimum, so the edge of the file folder helps to keep them trapped onto the folder's surface.  any unruly ones that bounce over that folder's edge, end up on the towel surface, trapped into the terry cloth of the towel.  and i'll take care of them... {later!}
gathering up the wayward beauties that escaped onto the towel, can actually result in creating your own "custom" mix! and in my mix, i have glitter, and all kinds of colors in this "upscale" {lol} beautiful mixture of beads:

this is the only method i can think of, {short of shaking the towel outside and sparkling the lawn}, which is to gather up the towel, wrap into a loose kind of cylinder... and then shake the little darlings into a container...which happens to be a leftover aluminum food tray.  i can bend the lip of the tray in one of the corners, to make a spout, in order to pour them out and this works great.  i usually have to pour them onto the manilla folder, however.  i don't have that accurate of an aim into that small little round opening of the container the beads originally come in, unless you buy them in the bulk sizes... and in that case, it's much easier.
that's the scoop!  and i do mean scoop... {especially if you spill them!}  so... i've learned it is better to STOP ... and take a second or two to put that CAP back on the microbead container, when I am changing from color to color. I've needed to be mindful {and patient} of those tipsy little containers... because when I am not, they get knocked over!  
one last note, if you choose to apply different colors ...  wait for the glue to DRY in between those color  choices.  otherwise you will have the colors mixing... which is also fine. just so ya know that is likely to happen.  and... sometimes it's very appealing, too! 


what i really love about microbeads, is the texture, dimension and of course, the tiny shiny little bits they provide to a simple card.  and i have other larger works in progress... we shall see how they turn out, and i'll show you more of my results.


thanks for reading.  for asking!  and always, for your encouragement!  i'm grateful.  blessing on your day!
xo
leslie

Sunday, December 1, 2013

crafty goodness ~ christmas snow doodled glass ~

hi y'all!  

here's a little crafty tutorial that is sooo dang simple to do.  it does require a bit of a steady hand, perhaps... {perhaps not!}  that is to say, no matter what you do ~ this white painty pen and glass doodling tutorial is a fun project, wavy lines... or not!

even younger kids {supervised} will love this too, if all they do is scribble on the glass.  just have some fun with it! it's easily wiped away, and you can start again!
these are the simple, and inexpensive supplies you'll need: glass cleaner, clean towel, glass votive {or larger one if you like} and white pens.
 i like the decoArt glass paint marker and the sharpie poster paint markers the best.  i tested the zig painty pen too, and it works great, even though it is oil-based.  but for the odor.  {knock ya over!}  and all of these that i used and tested will wipe clean after the season if you don't want to keep them 'snowflake-like' after the holidays.  just clean the glass surface with your window spray.
so i wiped most of my votives clean, that i crafted last year.  just because.  {because it's so fun!}  and had a good time just doing simple lines, wavy and straight, or circles, dots and little scallops.  once the glass was clean, i like to hold it with the towel, to keep my fingerprints from marring it again, plus this gives you a little added control, too.
 what is one of truly one of the most effective and charming doodles?  the "the simple dot."  nothing says snowflake better than that!
 and i loved putting those simple dots on the bottom of the glass, too:

 so pretty in the evening, too:
because this project is glass-friendly, it was fun to try some of the antique dessert goblets i had.  the one below even had a bit of a carved design in it, and i just followed that leaf shape... love how it turned out!
doodle some simple snowflakes~!  {dare ya!}
just add a bit of cursive writing {it doesn't have to be perfeect!}
little dots all over the glass petals of this one, and just a simple swirly pattern on the petals below:
of course, a steady hand is always beneficial.  but mostly, just keep it smooth, and don't go too slow when drawing with these pens on glass.  it's a smooth surface, so a little speed is slightly to your advantage rather than proceeding too carefully. 


i lined all mine up on our little christmas runner on the coffee table, and i love how they light up our room with pretty light, and a wonderful fragrance.
happy december!
God bless us everyone. 
~enJoy~
xo
leslie





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