Saturday, March 29, 2008

Spacebots Landed....

Spacebots are number one with boys (& girls)! Super cute, retro robots, aliens, spaceships & more. We have charm squares, fat quarters and yardage. Check out our novelty fabrics too!

Okay, my son also landed on my cutting table, what do you do when they start to climb? He got the rotary cutter the other day, took it apart & lovingly brought it to me. Luckily he was extremely careful. That won't happen again. Have a great weekend! ~ Corrie

Friday, March 28, 2008

For the love of Jane

While the family is away, I took the opportunity to order something just for me on Netflix. Regency House Party. I'm still trying to debate whether I liked it or not. I think I did. It's so slow and most people would hate it but I love stuff like this. Unfortunately, I started watching it at 8:30pm and I knew if I didn't finish it last night, I never would. It was 5+ hours. "Mike" (i've decided to call my family Brady Bunch names, to protect the innocent), "Greg" and "Marsha" are extremely patient with me and my Jane Austen needs. But this goes a little overboard for them. I feel like I'm a Zombie today. I need to go be a good human and make bunny ears for our upcoming "Hunny Bunny Wednesdays". The Regency House Party would have had LOADS of time for making bunny ears. ~Des

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's Just An Honor To Post

We can't all be winners. So, in the immortal words of every actor that has lost his/her Oscar, "It's just an honor to be nominated" or in your case, "To have posted". Do you feel good about yourself? I hope so. I looked at all of your blogs and saw that Bree had done the whole random generator thing so I thought, "Okay, get with technology". But alas, I don't know an integer from a transformer. Yes, I resorted to calling my husband and after throwing everyone in there TWICE (post here, post in etsy forum) Dave picked number 37!! Tanya, Congratulations! *Said in cheesy Price is Right announcer voice* So for your freebie today, you can choose Door Number 1: A lovely package of vintage inspired little kids fabric from American Jane's Wee Play and Building Blocks. Tanya, with this package comes 3 fat quarters of Red, Blue and White with a panel of children's scenes. Would be perfect in a quiet book, I spy book or pillowcase! TANYA, let's take a look at Door # 2: Just in, hot off the UPS truck, Brights. (So new, I don't even have LINKS for them) Vibrant and colorful for these in like a Lion days of March. 4 fat quarters, with the signature piece being CIRCUS ANIMALS, by Felicity Miller. Who doesn't love the circus?" Tanya! *remember cheesy masculine, smooth talking game show announcer voice* you may be just a regular blog reader but today you are a Taffy Talk Winner! Congratulations!

Take a peek here each Thursday for a giveaway until Corrie is feeling 'scrooge-esque'. But for now, let the bolts fly................*okay, this is getting a bit thick. * Until next post, America.... ~Des

TaffyTalk Thursdays!

It's that time of the week again! Corrie's feeling generous. Maybe that's what we should call it! Well, we're up from 3 posts last week to FIVE!!! Five different posters, that is. Your odds are looking good gals! We'll just have to see what my husband's favorite number is between 1 - 5. :-) Hmmm, maybe you should get more chances if you post more.....Hmmm.....I will ponder that one. It's not too late to still leave a note. I'll draw later today and let you all know. All 5 of you. :-) Hey, if anyone knows of any other giveaways somewhere else, let me know. I want to be a winner!!! Good Luck! ~Des

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

For my Secret Friend....shhh

It's Secret Friend week at our house. My daughter whipped up this quick pillowcase for her "friend". He was thrilled last night. It's great sewing practice for kids; they get to sew lots of seams. Super easy - you need 2 half yard cuts, cut them into 6" strips, so you'll have 6 strips, sew them together, fold in half, serge or zig-zag your opening, then make a 1 inch fold and sew a nice little finishing stitch on top (did a double stitch) & then sew the two inside seams. Voila -surprise! We have the fabrics shown, if you want to whip one up. Check out the Goodie Bag to the right for the free pattern/instructions. ~Corrie

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Leftover Love

"It's Spring Break and all we get to do is spring clean." Yeah, whatever kids, pass the dust rag. After cleaning out the cobwebbies and dusty walls my dresser top needed some love. It's an old dresser.....clear back from the 80's. Can you remember the 80's? I had grandiose visions of painting it way back in the 80's. Never happened. So here is the lovely before and after. With a little leftover love from some Freshcut scraps, I whipped up this dresser topper, added some leftover love for the back from some old Girlfriend scraps and feels like spring. We were supposed to be painting but I felt too poor. I thought food on the table would be better. I know paint is cheap, well not cheap enough for me today. ~Des

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ketchup Time!

Corrie is going to be lovin' seeing this guy at the top of the blog!! But this is all I could think of when I wanted to add something new. Sheesh, it's been a whole week since we last chatted! So it's KETCHUP TIME. He might just become a new mascot. I might even buy this outfit for halloween. Mike could be mustard, the kids could be BBQ sauce and relish! I've got my theme going now! Last year our costumes were "Things on a rearview mirror". Mike and I were fuzzy dice, Greg was an air freshner and we just couldn't talk Marsha into being a graduation tassle. She wanted to be a kitty. okay. Anywho.....back to ketchup!

I spent a long weekend at Corrie's. We finished up the newest pattern and quilt. Knotty Baby! I think it would make the Super Nanny proud. I just love to say "Knotty Baby" with my english accent. Say it with me, "Have a seat on the Naughty Mat". I've finished the pdf pattern for it, as well as you can get a kit with all the necessary parts and pieces to make one yourself. We have a darling girl version and a cute retro boy version. I like it because you don't have to wait for a machine quilter. You can tie it yourself with these cute little fabric knots. Hence, the name, KNOTTY BABY. And if you're lucky, you can just buy the pre-made sample for the SAME PRICE as the kit. We want to get these samples moving out the door!

Last but not least in our Ketchup Department, since we're new and basically Corrie and I are the only ones reading this, we did still want to give out a prize. So on Thursday, we drew from the large number posts, we recieved (3) and the quilting nurse is a winner!!!! She is receiving a lovely charm pack of Urban Indigo. In order to be a lucky winner next Thursday, start posting to us!! Post through next Thursday. Tell us something interesting! Well, I now need to "ketchup" with my housework. I think I'll wear red. ~Des

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Freshcut for Spring & Summer!

More bolts of Freshcut arrived today...makes me want to make everything out of it! Have you seen the April/May 2008 issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion? The cover is Heather Bailey's Freshcut fabric. Inside, she hosts a mother-daughter book-exchange party. The photos are gorgeous....children's clothing, great tablecloths, adorable book bags hanging from the chairs, & more. It just sings Spring! Speaking of ME, her Friends & Flowers fabrics arrived. Cute! ~Corrie
Heather Bailey picture used with permission.

All this talk of Freshcut made me think of one of my favorite quilts from last year. (If i could only take pictures like Heather, sigh)It was the annual "Bill's Babe's" (don't ask) retreat and our block exchange was inspired by a Denyse Schmidt quilt. Brilliant Betsy came up with a great pattern and tutorial and we were off! As I was making my blocks I was feeling greedy and didn't use near enough Freshcut in my blocks. I just couldn't bear to part with it. Do you have a hard time cutting into some of your fabric? Is it just me? I have the same problem with some of my Amy Butler pieces. So I repented and threw 4 of my favorite Amy Butler pieces on the back. Now, I can love both the front and the back.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Speedy Baby Free Pattern

Check out the Goodie Bag to the right for this free pattern. It's super easy, fun and if you've got some of these soft flannels, well, then it's just a pleasure to sew! I'm not a big flannel fan, but this Giggles line is soft, soft. Sometimes working with flannels, you just want big pieces, not intricate piecing. No worries, no intricate piecing here. :) We have a kit already to go for you. Make it for baby tonight! This is also a speedy pattern for any charity projects you might have, and you should all have at least THREE charity quilts/toys/projects going on at a time. Watch for upcoming fabric giveaways if you're willing to make toys/quilts for kids. Start thinking...............~Des

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Triangle Love Pattern

There is just something about the folds of a quilt. This pattern started out being "Geese Gone Wild" because it's not your traditional take on the Flying Geese theme. I am so in love with all these stripes and dots and pinks. I just put the pdf pattern in the Taffy Jane store. You don't even have to drive to the quilt store. You'll probably be seeing a lot of this. It's my newest baby and I want to talk about it....ALOT. I'm working on a little 'wall-baby' that's made with the leftovers. Aaahhhh....(that's a calm aaahhh, not a wild screaming aaahhhh)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fat Quarter Pack Thursdays!

Fabric is in the air and we're ready for our first official Fat Quarter Thursday giveaway. Using the ever scientific way of drawing for a prize, I wrote down all the names of the comments, gave you each a number, called my hubby and told him to pick a number between 1-25. I love science. I know, some people take cute pictures of some cute child or stuffed goodie drawing the name out of a hat. That won't be happening here, people. Without any further adieu, 4 lucky fat quarters are on their way to Number 11........................Pieces!! Congratulations!! Cute little easter eggs!! You go girl!
So, I'm thinking next Thursday, we'll do the same thing. I'll watch for your posts, write them down, call my hubby and VOILA, Fat Quarters could be on their way to you. All in the name of science.
One word of advice: If you don't have an acct. with blogger, we will need some way of contacting you, somehow. How sad, if you're a winner and we can't find you. Then I'll just have to keep them and make some coasters. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Animal Friend Tutorial

Here's my attempt at "How to make a Stuffed Something". This is for you, Vanessa and any of my little non-sewer friends. You can do this!! If tutorials can have dedications, then this one is dedicated to you! I've created this little elephant, who I'm not sure isn't an anteater, but we'll just go with it. :) I'll be putting the instructions, below each picture.


2 ~ 9" squares of fabric for body

(doesn't have to be exactly 9", can be a scrap of whatever. Just needs to be big enough to draw pattern and have some extra room on the edges.)

4 Coordinating scraps for ears

6 strands of crochet thread for tail

Poly-fil stuffing

Freezer Paper to make pattern

Squeaker (optional sound :)
Download Pattern Under Goodies and Tutorials

Des Definitions: Right Side= pretty side of fabric

Wrong side=ugly side of fabric

I use Reynolds Freezer Paper to make a pattern that I can trace over and over. I use it for all of my applique and I like it for these little patterns, as well. You can find it at the grocery store, I believe by the Ziploc-type bag section. Pull out about 9 inches and rip across. Place on top of the pattern, shiny side down. You'll be tracing on the dull side. If pattern isn't showing through, you might trace over the lines on the pattern with a darker black pen.

Trace around your shape with pen.

Be sure to trace out ear as well.

Now, you will fold the freezer paper in half, shiny sides touching.

Take to the ironing board. Freezer paper is adhesive with heat. So by pressing the two shiny sides together, you are creating a thicker pattern. Just move your iron around the drawn lines and hold it there a bit. It doesn't take long for it to adhere. Don't iron on the shiny part. It won't ruin your iron but it's probably not great for it???

Cut out the patterns on the pen line. It's not in the picture, but I will often write on the pattern, "Cut 2" or "Cut 4". These will hold up to many, many tracings. If you think your pattern is starting to get a little smaller, just make a new one! Put your cut out elephant back on top of the pattern and mark a straight line for the ear placement.
Poke a pin in the bottom and top of the line. Trust me, it's very helpful.

On the wrong side of one of your 9" squares, trace around the pattern. I prefer pencil, just didn't have a sharp one at the moment. :)

Cute! Be sure to mark the opening spots on the right.Helpful hint coming up: With a blue water soluable marker OR pencil, lightly mark through the pin holes onto the wrong side of fabric on the pattern you just traced. Now just hang here with me for a minute. This isn't complicated but I'm going to find someway to make it very confusing.

Your little pen markings are going to show through to the other side so that you'll know where to line up your ear on the RIGHT side of the fabric.

See? They came through beautifully. Now, hold that thought.

Now, on your other square of fabric that DOES NOT have the elephant traced on it, kind of eyeball (i know, it's not an exact science, can do it!) on the RIGHT side of fabric where you would place the pattern of the elephant on. I did NOT use a big enough piece of material for mine, so you, be smart and FOLLOW my 9" suggestion of a square of fabric. Mark again with blue pen for ear placement. Now let's make some ears.

For the ear, I traced it on the RIGHT side of the fabric so that I could see where my flowers went. I did this twice, once for each ear that would be showing. Are you with me?? So in the picture above, I have just folded my material in half,(wrong sides together) and then I will cut on that line and be ready for the next step. Do that twice.

Cut out just a smidge inside the drawn line. You don't want to see that line once it's cut out. There are 4 ears layered here.

I'm giving Charlotte here, a little raggy ear. Why not. Place 2 ears WRONG sides together. Sew around the edge of the ear with a zigzag stitch. Be sure at the beginning and end of stitching that you backstitch OR tack a few stitches in place so that your zigzags don't come undone. Just a friendly tip!

With the blue dot markings you made earlier, line up the straight edge of your ear with the dots. Make sure your ear is going in the right direction. Curved part should be AWAY from the nose part. Forgot to take a picture of this, but now you are going to sew a zigzag along the straight line. You are now sewing the ear to the polka dot fabric. Again, tack your first zigzags down or backstitch.

Here is what it looks like from the back. Those little knots are where I 'tacked' my stitches. My machine has a locking stitch. Vanessa, Oma's machine probably doesn't have that, so just do a little backstitch/reverse. Look it up in the manual. :) xxoo Now we need to think about the tail.I chose to go with a little braided tail made out of some fine cotton crochet thread. I also think a little piece of RickRack would be cute or you could use embroidery floss. I used 6 strands and they measure about 7". Working with the square that has the elephant traced on it, line up your strands where you think his tail should be. You're going to eyeball where to place the strands on the RIGHT side of the fabric. Then pin them into place from the WRONG side of the fabric. Also, curl the strands in so that they will not be sewn over when you are sewing on your drawn lines. Hello? You okay?

With the tail attached and ears sewn on, you are ready to put Charlotte together. Place your two squares right sides together. Match up your ears so that they are lined up and touching so that your elephant doesn't have a lopsided head. But you know, if he does, it's okay. Because not all stuffed creatures are created equal. They need to be different and unique. So don't panic. Remember your tail should be inbetween the two layers and it should be inside the elephant shape. Whew, that was a lot of work.....Now we're going to sew!

Set your machine to a smaller stitch than usual. We're talking the length of the actual stitch. I like mine around 1 or 1.5. The bigger the number on your machine the larger the stitch. See my tiny stitches. Tiny stitches for tiny projects. :) You have marked where you'll be stuffing the elephant, so don't sew between the 2 markings. Starting at the 'bottom opening', backstitch, and then sew directly on the line. Sew nice and slow and make pivots at the corners and smooth curves. Just go slow and reposition a lot if you need to. Friendly tip: I go back and forth over the area where her tail is. I just want it to be super secure. I use my backstitch/reverse ALOT.
Once you've gone all the way around, backstitch again at the end opening. Trim around, leaving a small seam allowance. At the feet corners, I try to trim away the corners so they don't get bulky. Also, where the opening is, I leave a bigger seam allowance and it allows for easier turning when finshing up.
Also, clip your inside curves. This will allow the fabric to mold nicely once it's stuffed. (I have no idea what that means, but it sounds lovely)
Now, I stick my index finger in the opening and go straight for her nose so I can start the 'turning inside out' process. It might be a bit uncomfortable....for Charlotte.
Ta-Da. Isn't she attractive?
This is where a nice blunt object comes in handy. I love to use a wooden knitting needle. Get creative and find something that will do the job. You don't want anything sharp that will actually poke through and rip fabric. That's a no-no. This needle will get into all the nooks and crannys without ripping and tearing. Stick it in the opening (this is where it gets uncomfortable) and work on the nose first and then move to the legs. Smooth out her back by rubbing the seam between your fingers.

She's all tuckered out. You did a great job. Press her.
I decided to go for the braided tail look. So with 6 stands I braided and then knotted off at the end. Trim off any excess tail so it doesn't drag through the African mud.

Because Charlotte has some small spaces to stuff, you want to start with those tough places first. I go straight for the nose. Take just a pinch of stuffing and head for the nose and very gently yet firmly shove the stuffing down into the nose with your blunt object. :) For the nose and legs, continue using small pinches of stuffing until those parts are filled. Then you can use bigger pieces for the rest of the body. You think it won't take much stuffing to fill these, but it does. I prefer mine kind of tight. Some might like their friends, softer. Just a personal preference here. But just keep stuffing until your satisfied. I use my knitting needle a lot to shove and adjust stuffing. GENTLY, and LOVINGLY, of course. Charlotte has feelings.

Sometime when you're in the ear area, I will place a squeaker in there as a little suprise. I find the squeakers here under 'dog toys'. Who knew?? Hide under the ear area so it doesn't protrude and look like a cancerous growth in there.

Now for a little touch up. Fray Check is my friend. I would put a little bit around the raw edges of her ears to keep from fraying. But if you don't have any, she will still live a long and properous life, just like Spock.
Let's close her up. Pin the opening, if that helps, and you can whip stitch by hand, or I like to do an invisible stitch so that you can't see my stitches. That's by hand also. But that's for another tutorial. I have the pictures, just need to get it downloaded.
I will show you that after I have finished sewing up the closing, I make a double knot and then to hide the bulk of the knot, I place my needle in right next to the knot, shove (ouch part, again) it into the middle of the elephant and hide the thread in the middle. Pull tightly and snip.

She's a beauty! This tutorial is the basic idea. For most of my 2D animals, I like to draw the pattern directly on the fabric and sew on that line. It works for most but there are definately other ways to do it as well. Just one crazy woman's way. Good Luck!