CHA News & Fresh Picks for 7.13.11

CHA: Craft and Hobby Association Guess what? Mary and I are heading to Chicago next week for the Craft and Hobby Association’s (CHA) summer trade show! This is the first time either of us will attend, and we’re excited to learn about lots of new craft products and developments.

I’m particularly happy to stop by all the booths for my favorite products and see what’s coming soon, like this die-cut machine that cuts without a mat. Or how to use this electronic fabric cutter for applique.

We’ll try out new products and snap photos along the way, so look for a special Fresh Picks: CHA Edition next week! In the meantime, here are this week’s Fresh Picks: little gifts you can whip up in no time!

French Press Cozy

French Press: You’ve seen coffee cup cozies. But have you considered a French Press warmer? We love this patchwork version from Malka Dubrawsky at A Stitch in Dye!

Mini Photo Album Tutorial

Memory Maker: This week at Sol de Eira, Liliana shows us how to make something crafty to store memories. And no, they’re not just paper “W”s.

Resin Craft Molds

Resin Nation: Have you ever worked with resin? Carmi gives a great tutorial (part 1 and part 2) showing you how to get started working with resin molds and tiny objects from around the house. The results are stunning!

Needle Case Tutorial

Sharp and Silver: Store your needles in this handmade needle book made with just a few fabric scraps! Crafty Mummy shows you how in her quick and easy tutorial.

Featured Giveaways

Win Handmade Bag Win this Bag: Enter here by this Friday for a chance to win this gorgeous handmade bag from A Winding Road.

Bust My Stash: Accuquilt is hosting a fun giveaway challenge. Upload a photo of your fabric stash for a chance to win a GO! 12″ Mix & Match Started Set ($581 value). Enter here!

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
Weekly Giveaways Linky
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Sewing Hope: Missional Crafts by Jessica K.

Some people craft for their business, and others just create for fun. Jessica Kenenske has paired both her love for crafts and running a business with a mission: to help raise money for those in need. Read on for a great and inspiring story! (There’s also a giveaway at the end of this post.)

1) Tell me a little bit about your handmade shop and how/when you got started?

I’ve been selling my handmade stuff for probably about 6 years now. I started out creating and selling handmade dolls, softies, pillows & etc., using all vintage materials. I did that for a while and even had a couple segments on HGTV that aired about a year ago.

In 2008, I had my first (long awaited) child and then 22 months later I got pregnant with my second, so I was a little pre-occupied for a few years there! When I finally started getting back into crafting again I wasn’t that interested in making dolls anymore and found myself designing and making handbags….over an over again. I never get tired of them because, well, because I’m a girl and the possibilities are endless with bags!

It allows me the creative outlet to do something I love and to raise money for a mission that is close to my heart.

2) What is the overall purpose or vision behind your shop?

One of my best friends spent 5 years as a missionary in Haiti. Being able to see the people and their needs through her eyes has really given me a heart for that country. During her time in Haiti she met Roberteau Desilhomme who grew up in a village in the Mountains of Haiti called Fond Baptiste. Roberteau and his wife Carolyn have taken first aid and cultural development and amazingly were given an unfinished building to be used as a medical clinic. They are now in need of supplies to make the building usable. They have a doctor, and a few nurses willing to give of their time. Together they will help to care for physical and spiritual needs of those who come through the clinic.

My friend will be visiting Haiti again this summer, along with some others from my church who went last summer constructing a roof for the clinic, and will bring any funds raised to be sure they are used to help with this clinic. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Roberteau this year, his passion for his ministry is very inspiring and I wish to do whatever I can to help.

I have found that I am WAY more productive and inspired to keep creating product to sell when I know it can help someone in need. It feels much more purposeful.

Kids from Haiti

3) Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to raise money for a charitable organization through their craft or handmade store?

I have participated in fundraising events like auctions and live music shows. It is a lot of work and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get people to donate items and/or their time but it’s definitely worth it. Fundraising events are a great way to raise money if you’re willing to do the work.

The only advice I have at this point (I’m pretty new at this) for someone interested in crafting for a cause is, please just do it. There are so many people in need in this world. What we spend a week for coffee could save someone’s life, so even if you sold one thing, that could change someone’s world. It seems like a selfless act, but really, it will totally bless you too.

Thanks Jessica, for sharing your story!

Etsy store

Be sure to check out Jessica’s website, blog, and Etsy shop, where 100% of the proceeds go to help the clinic in Fond Baptiste, Haiti.

Giveaway!

Craft Buds is so impressed with Jessica’s mission and quality handcrafted bags that we are giving away this adorable bag from her shop to one lucky reader!

Handmade Bag

To enter:

1. Visit A Winding Road on Etsy. Leave a comment telling us your favorite bag! (1 entry)

2. For a bonus entry, follow Jessica’s blog and leave another comment. (1 entry)

3. If you make a purchase from Jessica’s shop, come back here and leave 2 comments! (2 bonus entries, and a huge warm/fuzzy feeling)

That’s 4 possible entries! This giveaway closes on Friday, July 15 at 11:59pm (EST). Giveaway open worldwide; one winner will be chosen via Random.org.

Reversible Sewing Machine Cover

You sewing machine does so much for you. Why not give it a little present?

I made a reversible sewing machine cover in some of my favorite fabrics, including Japanese Echino (the bicycles print) and Momo’s Wonderland (the scissors print), plus some Kona solids. The front incorporates improvisation piecing, and the back is a bold plus-sign design. This is an intermediate to advanced sewing project which incorporates techniques such as machine quilting and working with fusible fleece and bias tape.

Want to make a little jacket for your sewing machine?

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Supplies:

  • Fabric Scraps
  • Fusible Fleece (1 yard, or 30 inches if you’re buying from the bolt). You can also use regular quilt batting, but you’ll need more pins to hold it in place.
  • Rotary Cutter, mat and ruler
  • 1 package of Extra-Wide Bias Tape (3 yards) or make your own bias tape
  • Matching Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Sewing pins

Choose coordinating fabrics. You’ll want a couple pieces that are a quarter-yard or a little larger, and some scraps to liven up the design.

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For the plus-sign design, cut your pieces as follows:

Fabric A (off-white): 10 (3.5″ x 3.5″), 8 (6.5″ x 3.5″), 4 (9.5″ x 3.5″)
Fabric B (bicycles print): 2 (9.5″ x 3.5″), 4 (3.5″ x 3.5″)
Fabric C (scissors print): 2 (9.5″ x 3.5″), 4 (3.5″ x 3.5″)
Fabric D (purple): 1 (9.5″ x 3.5″), 2 (3.5″ x 3.5″)

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Arrange your pieces with the purple plus-sign in the middle, and the other plus-signs to each corner. Fill in the blank spots with solid white.

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Start sewing together each long row on your machine. Once the rows are joined, pin together and sew each row side by side, starting at the center (purple plus-sign). Trim your edges.

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Your finished block should look like this.

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You’ve finished one side! Now on to the other side, which uses a technique of improvisational piecing.

Start piecing a few blocks together, and machine stitch right sides together along one edge. Use your rotary cutter to trim off rough edges, and add another piece. It’s okay to make diagonal cuts, which increases the wonkiness of the design. (Here, I pieced the scissors and purple prints, then added the white to one edge before trimming.

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Next, I added a large green block. Then I added white along an entire side and trimmed.

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Keep adding pieces until your block is the same size (or a little larger) than the plus-sign piece.

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To make the design more interesting, you can slice right through some of the blocks you’ve sewn together. Add in a strip of another color (I chose purple), stitch along both sides, and trim edges.

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Eventually, you’ll end up with something like this:

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Test it out on your sewing machine and see how it fits. (When you quilt the layers together, it will naturally “shrink” just a bit, so start out with a piece that’s a few inches longer than the machine.)

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Here are both pieces after I trimmed the edges to make them the same size.

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Next, you’ll want to cut a piece of fusible fleece to the size of one patchwork rectangle. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to iron on the fleece to the back (wrong) side of the plus-sign piece, making sure no stray threads are sandwiched between the layers (these may be visible through the white on the finished product if you leave them in). Repeat with the improv pieces side.

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Once you’ve iron the fleece to both patchwork pieces (wrong sides), stack the two pieces with fleece sides together, like this. Trim sides to match.

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Pin together the two sides and begin to machine quilt long, straight lines down the seams of the plus-sign side.

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This is what the quilted cover looks like now. Next, you’ll add bias tape to finish the edges. Make sure you buy the extra wide, double fold type.

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Begin to pin the bias tape to edges of cover, sandwiching all raw edges inside bias tape.

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I rounded the corners of my cover by using a drinking glass and my rotary cutter. Machine stitch the binding around the edges. I used my fingers to hold the bias tape taut, and didn’t rely solely on the pins to hold it in place. This is especially true around the corners, where you’ll want to stitch slowly.

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When you get to the end, fold under one edge of the bias tape, and hold tightly to sew a smooth finished edge. Turn the project and sew a perpendicular stitch to fasten down the flap all the way to the edge.

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Next, you’ll want to make the ties. With the remaining bias tape (several inches), open and cut in half length-wise, then cut both in half width-wise. You should now have four pieces of the same length.

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Sew a wide zig-sag stitch on these single-folded ties to keep them from unraveling.

Place the cover on your sewing machine, and mark the strap placement with pins. Fold under the edge and sew ties in place with a forward and backward stitch.

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You’re done! Here’s the plus-sign design facing out.

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Here’s the back of the improv pieced side. I like how the detail in white looks like a mod sewing machine.

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Here’s the front of the improv pieced side. This is my favorite overall look, and yours can be totally personalized and unique if you follow my basic steps of improv piecing detailed above.

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Side view:
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The great thing about this sewing machine cover is that you can change the look with your mood. Simply slip off the cover and fold it inside-out!

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If you use this tutorial, please share a link to your project in the comments or add to our Flickr group. We’d love to see it!

Fresh Picks for Wednesday, 7.6.11

Lavender Sachets

Sachet, Shante: Aren’t they gorgeous? You’ll never guess what Lisa whips up out of these colorful dyed doilies and bright gingham fabric. Check out the tutorial at A Spoonful of Sugar.

everything etsy directory

The Best Things in Life… Are free, like listing your Etsy store or supplies shop at the Everything Etsy directory. Upgrade to a premium listing or check out the sites blog hosting options for a one-stop solution for your crafty business!

Dressed Up: Midwestern Sewing Girl Jackie really knows how to set a table! Just look at these transportation-themed place mats she stenciled with her kids. Get the tutorial here.

Accuquilt Giveaway Ruffle Pillow Tutorial

Round and Round: If you didn’t win the Accuquilt, check out another GO! Baby Giveaway at Bugglebee! Also, check out Mary’s darling Rosette Ruffle Pillow Tutorial while you’re there.

Thanks for checking out this week’s Fresh Picks!
Weekly Giveaways Linky
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Free Pattern Features: For the Car

Time in the car can be stressful enough with children, wildlife, construction and crazy drivers. It’s the last place you want to feel stressed out or disorganized! Here’s a few items to keep your car in order and add some personality to that neutral interior. All these items could be customized for sports fans, guys, moms, etc.! 

Sew 4 Home shares the pattern/tutorial for making this fun looking car seat caddy. You can attach it to the front or back of a car seat and the straps easily adjust to fit to any seat.

Car Seat Caddy from Sew 4 Home

 

This trash container from A Spoonful of Sugar uses a margarine tub to keep the top open and holds a plastic bag in place.

Car Trash Bag from A Spoonful of Sugar

 

MeganT on Instructables shares her pattern for make this customized visor CD organizer.

CD Organizer at Instructables

Accuquilt Giveaway Winner!

Accuquilt GO! Baby fabric cutter Out of 357 valid entries, the winner of the Accuquilt Giveaway is none other than:

#296 Jennifer H., who said “I’m a new follower via Google Reader!  Thanks for the chance to win.”

Congrats Jennifer! I saw that your blog is called “Confessions of a Serial Starter,” so hopefully this tool will help you finish up some projects more quickly!

But there’s good news if you didn’t win. First of all, check out the giveaways page for 3 more chances to win a GO! Baby. Also, we’ll let you know when the GO! Baby giveaways are posted on our personal blogs, Bugglebee and Lindsay Sews, so that’s two more chances to win!

22 Free Patterns - Download Now

Finally, if you haven’t signed up yet, sign up for Accuquilt e-mails and and you can get 22 free patterns. Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and welcome to our new followers! We hope you enjoy this week’s projects, tips and features.

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