Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Friday, January 1, 2016

giving (or: holiday sewin' 2015)

Oh hi!

Thing I just learned: Blogger is shit on Safari but works fine on Chrome.

Anyway, figured I'd recap my holiday make-o-thon. Lots of little sewing projects (and one big non-sewing project).

Here we go!

Project 1: Kitty fleecy blankets!


I make catnip fleecy blankets for the shelter kitties every Christmas. They're super-easy and inexpensive, made with fleece remnants from JoAnn's. Each piece makes 2-3 blankets, depending on the size of the remnant. I buy whatever they have (the kitties don't care), but occasionally I find something really cute, like the hedgehog fabric above.

How to make:

1) Cut remnant into 2, 4, or 6 pieces. (Honestly, I don't even measure. I just flip the thing around until it's an even number of pieces.)
2) With 2 right sides together, sew around edges (any seam allowance you want -- I usually do 1/2 inch), leaving small opening at one end.
3) Trim excess and corners. Flip right side out, using point turner or pencil to square the corners.
4) Add 1 tsp - 1 tbsp of dried catnip inside, depending on the side of the remnant.
5) Topstitch opening closed.

(You could topstitch all the way around, but I prefer to leave as few stitches accessible to kitty as possible.)

That's it. It's easy to knock out a bunch in an hour. Our cats love them -- I put them down on pillows, the bedspread, and the sofa, and use them to line the built-in bookcases in our bedroom. Funnily enough, they work well wherever we don't want any cat fur, because kitty will just hunker down on the fleece blanket and go to sleep.

This year I spent about $35 at JoAnn and made around 20 shelter kitty blankets, plus a couple for gifts. Harley commandeered the groovy flower fabric:

I guess you can have that one, buddy.

I donated them to PALS (where we adopted Harley) and the Marblehead Animal Shelter, both excellent places to give your money should you happen to have any extra. (We also gave them food and supplies and a small cash donation.)

Project 2: Dishwasher thing!



Tom's been wanting a clean/dirty magnetic thing for our dishwasher, so I made him this as a stocking stuffer out of Ikea fabric from my New Look 6352 dress, some plain black fabric and batting from my stash, and, uh, the magnets from our shower curtain liner. Sorry/not sorry.

I made the mistake of centering the bird on the front, so then I didn't know where to position the "clean" tag. Still not thrilled with it and I may just pick it off. So it's a dirty bird, you see.

Project 3: Star Wars pillowcase!


For Tom, from Star Wars fabric purchased at the Sewing & Quilt Expo in Worcester. I didn't quite have enough fabric, so I had to finagle the back.

Wrinkled from the laundry, sry.

Finally, the non-sewing project:

Project 4: Bookcase!


This has a bit of family history. A neighbor gave it to us in the '80s -- it dates back, I'm guessing, to the '50s or '60s, and I think it went with his Encyclopedia Britannica set. And then, in 1992, I decided to take it to college, and then... 

(drumroll)

....painted with it TWO LAYERS OF WHITE HOUSEPAINT and then SPONGE-PAINTED IT PURPLE.

(Which seemed like a good idea in 1992. What can I say? We sponge-painted everything, right?)

Anyway, at the time, my brother was p.o.'ed because HE wanted to refinish it and take it to college. I actually didn't even know he wanted it until I'd finished painting the thing.

It's made a bunch of moves with us over the years and held all sorts of things: cookbooks, office supplies, you name it. Last year I started trying to get the paint off, and this year I decided, hell or high water, to finish it and give it to him for Christmas.

I used Citristrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel and afterwash and then two layers of an oil-based varnish, all recommended by Waters & Brown in Salem. (Yes, this post is all about linking to business and/or products I really like.)

I missed a few spots -- which, of course, I only saw after my brother opened it on Christmas morning -- but on the whole, I'm really happy with the way it came out. I'll miss you, little bookcase!

Happy holidays, y'all.

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