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Monday, July 30, 2012

More about the Candice Purse (Lazy Girl Designs)

This morning I transferred all my necessaries to my new purse and I discovered something I didn't realize until I used it.....keep reading :)

If you have not read my post from here...and you'll be caught up to speed.

Now everyone knows what I'm referring to :)  Yes, I made this purse using the Candice Purse Pattern and I was able to make the purse without frustrations because of the excellently written instructions and photos.  The pattern had no errors and it was written for those who like written instructions as well as those who prefer photos.

Today I left the house to take the boys to Legos Camp and that is when I became aware of a very important feature ....the angled front pocket.

No more fishing around for my keys.  I have made many purses and they've all had pockets...inside and out....but none of them made it so easy to find my keys.  I carry my purse on my left arm so I easily slide my right hand into the pocket and yep....keys without frustration.  The pocket is actually large enough to put my I-Phone in as well.  I made a pocket inside my purse for my I-Phone so I probably won't make a habit of putting it in the pocket....but I could :)

See how tidy the inside of my purse huge mess....and lots of nice pockets.  The pattern provides choices for your pocket construction so you can put an e-reader or i-pad in your purse if you like.

You know I'm in love with this purse!!  I could even make an angled pocket on the back if I wanted to....oh just think of the possibilities :)  That is another thing I really like about the Lazy Girl Designs Patterns....Joan writes her patterns so you can use them as a jumping off point.  You can individualize your purse using your own creativity.  I can now use the purse pattern and change things around ....add a zipper (instructions included in the pattern), make pleated pockets, pre-quilt my fabric or add embellishments.  

I gave this pattern a 4 star rating and Joan asked me what the scale was for the rating.  Good question Joan.  Honestly, I had not really thought about me it was a top rating.  Since giving it some thought, I'm changing my rating to a 5 STAR and I'm going to be adding that system to the IHAN website.  That way I can put my ratings right next to products and you can later read more about how I came to that rating.  Thanks Joan for the inspiration!

5 STARS....why?  Clearly written instructions.   Excellent photos for visual learners.  No errors in the pattern.  Several options provided: pocket variations, zipper or no zipper options and rectangle ring options as well.  

Now I'm working on getting someone to make a graphic for me so I can add the 5 star rating system to my website....look for it soon.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Candice Purse Pattern Review and Reveal

I have had the Candice Purse Pattern by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs for quite some time and I've been meaning to make a purse for myself.  My problem was...every time I pulled out my fabric to cut it out,  I didn't like the fabric I had chosen or purchased for the project.  So...I just figured the timing wasn't right and I'd wait for the right fabric.  I don't want to carry a purse around that I don't love....that is no fun.

I wanted to use everything Joan uses for her patterns so I used the Nancy Zieman Rectangle Rings by Clover and I also used a Bag-E-Bottoms by Lazy Girl Designs.  The reason I had chosen a Lazy Girl Design is because I wanted to see if I could follow her pattern instructions.  Most of you know that I can't understand patterns and I get so frustrated that frequently all I can think of is either:
A: I want my money back or
B: Why didn't they ask me to test the darn thing first....I know I'll make every possible mistake and I could save them tons of wasted paper
(I don't have time to test everyone's patterns by the way)

Suffice to say....I give the Candice Purse Pattern  4 stars for clarity of  written instructions and photos to help guide visual learners in being successful with a pattern.

Selecting fabric was a bit of a challenge for me.  I had purchased some Kaffe Fasset fabric that I loved but every time I got it out to make this purse I ended up putting it away.  It just didn't "feel" like a Kelly purse....know what I mean?

Then it hit me....the fabric that was left over from the Marketplace India Quilt that I made.  You can read about that by clicking HERE.  I was able to keep the left over fabrics and there wasn't a lot left that I could choose from so I had to be very careful....there would be no going to get more fabric later if I made a mistake.

Lazy Girl Design patterns are really more of an instruction booklet with step by step directions and photos to coordinate.  I labeled each piece of fabric so it would coordinate with the instructions.

I was not comfortable photographing full pages of Joan's patterns so I used just this one to show you how clear the instructions are organized. I was able to follow along to achieve great results.

(I used Wonder Clips by Clover throughout this project and they were really wonderful :)

Before I go any further, I think it is really important to tell you that if you were to follow the exact  directions in the Candice Purse Pattern you would be successful in completing a lovely purse.  That is not to say that I followed the directions exactly.  Surprise anyone?  Probably not ay?   And I had  success with one deviation and the other deviation was a disaster.

The successful deviation?  The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing and batting in the purse handles.  I choose to use RocLon Multi-Purpose Cloth because I like the way it wears.  I used the Multi-Purpose Cloth in my camera strap and I wanted to achieve the same wearable results.  That is not to say my variation is is only to say I wanted to achieve similar results as a previous project.
The Multi-purpose Cloth is easy to stitch through and I just cut a 1" strip the same length and width  as the finished strap.

No where in the pattern did it say to label your fabrics...I just decided I might be more successful so I didn't get confused.  Most people would remember to remove the label before ironing on their fusible batting...not me....I had to go back and remove it afterwards.....sheepish smiles.

I was careful to lay out all my pattern pieces just like the photos in the Candice Purse Pattern.  Here you can see that I noticed another "small" error I had made.  The first step in the pattern is to make the back of the bag.  The directions are very clear and well written.  That didn't stop me from goofing up....I'm sorry to say.  What I didn't notice was that I cut the small squares from the side of the back of the bag instead of the bottom....oops!

Now, remember I didn't have lots of fabric so I had a decision to make.  I decided to cut off that section and add another piece of fabric there. is yet another example of operator error.  I still can't believe I did this.  By now you may be wondering why on earth I would be telling everyone about all the mistakes I made....right?  I'm sharing my mistakes because I want to make it clear these were "MY" errors....not the errors in the pattern.  I have frequently found that the pattern has the errors and no matter how I execute the instructions....the pattern doesn't make sense.  Everything in the Candice Pattern made perfect sense and was very clear.  The other reason I'm sharing my mistakes is let others know they aren't alone in silly mistakes...we all do it....even my friends who have 50 plus years of sewing experience :)  

TA DAH!!!!  Even with all my own mis-steps...I still ended up with a beautiful new Candice Purse and I absolutely love it.  Without the suggestion to use Nancy Zieman's Rectangle Rings and the Bag-E-Bottoms (bottom of purse support) I don't think I would have even thought to use them.  Thanks Joan for the suggestion because I think the Rectangle Rings are a lovely addition to my purse and the Bag-E-Bottom template has provided a sturdy bottom that gives my purse a professional finish. 

You may be interested to know that Joan Hawley has a blog and you can find it HERE.  She also provides free tutorials and those can be found HERE.  Like video demos as much as I do?  Joan also provides those and you can find them HERE.

I give this pattern 4 was a breath of fresh air to have excellent photos to illuminate the very well  written instructions.  Excellent job Joan! 


Friday, July 27, 2012

Running Out of Time...AGAIN

Here I am writing my blog post...the one I want published today...and the time has come that I now need to pick up my co-workers.  ZZZXXXRRRQQQ and other obscenities!

Suffice to say that if I can get a bit of a break when Mr. McSteamy arrives home, I'll finish up my post and get it out tonight.  Until then...enjoy some pix I have taken recently.
 A rainbow over the baseball field.  It was actually a double rainbow...but the one to the right didn't photograph as well.
Look closely at this pix....yes.that is a mother duck with her babies in the city pool.  The ducks actually live there and if any of the folks in the pool bother them....the life guards reprimand them or ask them to leave.  Isn't it wonderful when wildlife gets some much deserved respect?  LOL

Aaron's baseball team won first place in the city tournament.

Some sand sculptures that were done in town last weekend....thought folks might enjoy seeing the talent some folks have.

Wish me luck in getting my "real" blog post finished when I get back.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Surfing USA

Imagine the Beach Boy's song....Surfin USA and then check out these Flamingos today:
They are styling' with that there surf board!  Then later this morning, while driving my nephews to Cedar Point (an amusement park here in OH) I saw this:

Are these people having fun or what?  They turned an old tree stump into a work of art.  I am always thrilled to see what people are creating (well....most all of the time

Then a little while later I saw this:

I did a double take....this looks like a palm tree....but it certainly can't be because it would not survive here in Ohio.  So, either it was a mirage OR it is a different type of plant!!!

It took me 3 hours, round trip, drop those boys off so they could scare the tar out of themselves by riding those nasty roller coasters....the one's where you are certain you are going to die....yep those!!!  I arrived home at lunch time and saw this:
Mr. McSteamy resting after eating his lunch.  Look closely.....towards the feet....
It must run in the family and come from his gene pool....yep...two different shoes.  He had not realized this morning when he got dressed.  At least all they guys in the house are consistent right?

Typically I don't have such an entertaining day....but today was one of those...followed by making everyone's yearly medical appointments...yawn...yawn.  I have been working on a review of a purse pattern and I have messed it at almost the very last step.  As soon as I get my boo boo repaired...I'll share my review and photos.

Hope you are all staying cool....or warm....depending on what side of this earth you are on...and are smiling too!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Pounce on the Excess...Go Ahead

Most of us have it is sewing notions, fabric, books, magazines....what ever is your "thing" you probably have too much.  I know I do and I work very hard and either giving things away or using what it is that I do have.  Can you believe I actually have some notions I've never used?  It's I decided to use them.

Before I get into my post....I know many of you are in love with the here is your update:
Enjoying a bit of shade....and....

sunglasses for those who prefer to enjoy the sun shine.
A wading pool for those who need to cool off.
And a new addition to the Flamingo Family.  She/He looks innocent enough....however, once hooked up to a hose it's arms flap up and down spraying water on everything that comes near.

Ok....back to the "Excess"....LOL
I bought this Quilt Pounce in Lancaster, PA at a show years ago.  At the time, I had never quilted a bed quilt and had no idea really what I should do with it....but the sales person sure made it sound like I really should have one if I was going to be a quilter.  

Then I saw a stencil with a screen on it and I thought to myself...."self.....perhaps this is what that Pounce thing is for."  Naturally I bought the stencil and I decided to give it a try. (The Pounce works with all stencils...not just the screen stencils....I just had to give it a try...curiosity and all.)
 The pad on the Pounce has a terry cloth texture and I think there is powdered chalk on the inside.  Since it said "Pounce" I have it a pounce on top of the stencil screen. 
Not a good least not in my case.  I had powdered chalk billowing out of the thing.  I'd say it was "overkill" for sure. I'm guessing wiping it across the screen would work much better.....but you know me....if it says "Pounce" then that's what I'll do.
Very nice and defined chalk outline for quilting for sure.  I wondered if the chalk would just brush off and finding my quilting line would become difficult.  
So, I brushed the outline very hard with my hand and then a light cloth...and guess what?  I could still make out where the quilt lines were.  Not bad ay?  Then of course I read the directions....always read those last....if you are like most of us :)  The directions say to "wipe the pad over the stencil."  See...I could have saved my lungs and all my chalk if I had just read the directions.  I also read that a heated iron removes the marks after quilting.  Now I can say I'm ed-u-ma-cated! :)

Another item that I've had hanging on my wall for quite some time is this Clamp and Bird Set by Clover. They only have the bird part of this now....I'm guessing mine is old/old.   I bought it at a Guild Garage Sale for a dollar.  I know there are absolutely beautiful antique sewing birds but this is probably as close to owning a sewing bird as I'll ever get.  They are highly collectable....not this one....the antique ones...LOL.
I decided to do some research and found this Brass Sewing Bird and now it is available at IHAN.   I may not have an antique one but I'll be sure to get one of these Brass Birds and it will be antique some day.

The sewing birds act as a third hand.  You can clamp your fabric into the bird and that leaves both hands available for sewing....and un-sewing too. 
I have those days where I feel like I do more un-sewing than I do sewing....does that happen to you too?  I just put the fabric into the bird and perhaps you can see I used my Famore Seam Rip....just moving along the seam and all the threads were cut....some might say they melted like buttah!  Those who have a Famore Seam Rip typically love it....I know I do.

Sew....if by chance you are still reading....I'm impressed!  With my energy ebbing and flowing with this "change of life"....I have to write everything at one time when I have the energy...otherwise I may not write again for a few days.  Ya just never know.  I think the  "Change of Life" process has been mislabeled and I'm going to petition to have the name changed to "BS" instead.  Oops...did I just say that?  Yep...I guess I did.

What this photo has to do with anything is beyond me.  I found this powder at the drugstore today and I could not believe my eyes.  Naturally I had to take a photo of it....Anti Monkey Butt Powder.....what next?  I hope this leaves you smiling or giggeling.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Metamaterial ....a Quilter's Dream Fabric

Metamaterial is at the top of my shopping list.  I understand it is very small and that's ok because I'll only need a wee bit.  Don't know what Metamaterial is?  Click here :)

I'm sorry but I could not help myself...ROFL.  I'm going to add some to my wardrobe as well.  Metamaterial cloaking could be the answer to all my fashion problems too!

Got to run the boys to the Dr's and I'll be back later today to see how many more of you want some Metamaterial too!

Giggles and Smiles,

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hoop The Unhoopable? Floriani Perfect Stick to the Rescue :)

I'd like to introduce everyone to one of my dear friends, Karin.  Karin has done machine embroidery for many years and is much more knowledgable than I am currently about the subject.  She has agreed to be my Embroidery Consultant and write guest posts for IHAN blog readers.  So without further ado....Karin...take it away :)  

Hoop the unhoopable?  Yup, it can be done!  You just have to have the right tools to do the job, and Floriani has ‘em!  The other day, I wanted to embroider along the edge of some pillowcases.  But how was I gonna hoop them so they’d stay where I wanted them and the embroidery would still be aligned properly?

Not a problem -- Perfect Stick to the rescue!  

I hooped my regular tear-away stabilizer, then I added a strip of Perfect Stick right down the middle.  How come Perfect Stick doesn’t stick to my hoop?  Because it’s got a layer of paper over the sticky part (which keeps it from accidentally collecting those loose threads, too!).  Here I’ve scored it with a pin & I’m ready to remove the protective paper from my stitching area. 

Because my design was so large, I had to rotate the design so that it stitched from the top of the hoop to the bottom of the hoop, and that made the design read from right to left when the pillowcase was removed from the hoop.  Clear as mud, right?  It’s lots easier to understand by looking at the picture:
That little blue dot is my center (left to right & top to bottom – a lot of people use lines & crosshairs, but I like to live dangerously and just wing it!), and the pillowcase is rolled up in the throat of the machine, to the right of the hoop.  And the checkerboard?  That’s the sun coming through the window & casting a shadow of my rubber shelving; sorry about that.  But, you can see how my pillowcase isn’t really hooped, right?  See the edge of it, about 2 inches from the hoop on the left?  Couldn’t do *that* with just regular stabilizer…not without puckers, you couldn’t! 
OK, now we’re ready to press Start & go get ourselves a cuppa.  ROFL!  I don’t know about YOU, but I *never* go get a cuppa!  I’m the world’s biggest klutz, and I’m married to the world’s next biggest klutz (don’t believe me?  ha – I have stories, and from 500 miles away, I can see Kelly nodding her head in agreement!) so I don’t bring drinks into my sewing room, and I really don’t ever leave the machine untended.  Seems that every time I turn my back on him, I hear ca-chink, thunk, klunk, and brrrrrrrmp….and when I come back, I see the screen that tells me to check upper thread (it’s usually broken, just like the needle, at that point).  So, I just sit & watch it work, or at least stay really, really close by.  Besides, even after all this time, I am still fascinated by the fact that a machine is doing all the work & I get all the credit.
So, we’ve got our pillowcase hooped & sewn, what do we do now?  Because Perfect Stick is tear-away, that’s what we do!  We carefully remove the hoop from the machine, trim the jump stitches & begin tearing the stabilizer away from our project.

See how easily it comes off?  If you’re really careful (and cheap, like me), you can patch those holes with another piece and re-use the larger one.  I can get about 3 uses out of the bottom layer before it begins to lose its stick.
You may notice a layer of stabilizer fused to the pillowcase – that’s Floriani No-Show Fusible Mesh, just to give a little more stability to the pillowcase…I really don’t like puckers in my finished products.  And speaking of puckers, I bet you’ve also noticed that rubber-shelving stuff I have on my hoops….that’s what I use to really secure the fabric in my hoops (when I bother to hoop the fabric!).  That stuff is just like Super Glue, only better, because there’s no glue residue and it lets go easily when I want to remove the fabric.

If you don’t want to use a tear-away product to hoop your unhoopables, Floriani has a sticky wash-away product, as well.  It’s called Wet n Gone Tacky, and it works pretty much the same way….just cut a piece big enough for your project, hoop it up (I won’t object if you whoop it up too!), remove the paper, stick your project to it & sew!  Only difference is when you go to remove the project, you need to cut it off the stabilizer with scissors (not your good shears – use a pair from the Dollar Store!).  You’ll be left with this:
Now, to be honest, I ran my pillowcase under some cold water, and let it dry in the sun.  That didn’t take long; I believe it was about 105* that day!  But, apparently, I didn’t get all the stabilizer washed out, because I was left with a hard & scratchy pillowcase edge.  Not at all suitable for the little punkin-heads I was sewing for!  So, I threw just threw all 6 pillowcases into the wash, dried ‘em, and then pressed them.  After that, the No-Show Mesh was still in place (that stuff is wonderful!) and all the tear-away & wash-away was gone.  I fused another layer of No-Show Mesh over the stitching to hold it all in place and give it a little nicer finish, gave them all another quick press, and I was done!
Not bad for a day’s work, if I do say so myself!  Couldn’t have done it without Floriani’s Perfect Stick tho!
Want to see some more unhoopables?  Check out the lunchboxes I got for my grandkids:

Cute, huh?  Well that little flap is about the ONLY thing that lays flat, and all the rest of it is insulated, too, so if I had stitched there, I’d be putting holes in the insulation…not so smart.
Here’s how I hooped ‘em:

And here’s how they look now:

OK, I lied.  That’s how they looked about an hour ago.  Now they’re all boxed up and ready to ship out!!   Perfect results, with Perfect Stick, every time!

Best Regards,

Thank you Karin!!!  If you would like to contribute to the IHAN blog, just e-mail me at and we'll discuss it .


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Catching Up- Raegen's Purse & Camp Gosip

I know I'm days behind in my I'm going to do my best to catch everyone up quickly.

Raegen, my friend and neighbor, had a project due for 4 H last week and she had selected this pattern:

Raegen is 17 and some sewing experience but not a lot. She had no problems understanding the pattern and I thought it was a great pattern as patterns go.
 She wanted her purse quilted. Here she is drawing the lines to sew on.  I giggled because Raegen was concerned the Sewline Air Erasable Pen  would not disappear.  Much to her amazement, the lines did disappear (these are the times I'm so glad I know which products are the best for particular projects :).

 It is fun to see a young person sewing at my machine.

After two sessions over two days....her Madison bag was finished.  It's not an overstatement to say she loved it and was tickled pink.
As a matter of fact, she was jumping for joy!

Raegen didn't want an embellishment on the front of her purse.  I thought she might like to see what one would look like so I made a flower from the Blooming Possibilities book by Abbey Lane Quilts.  You may remember when I blogged about it HERE. 
I thought the flower looked excellent.  Apparently my taste is not the same as that of a 17 year old, so now I wear the flower on my green blouse :)

I know some of you may appreciate the "normal" activities of the IHAN clan.  You may recall last year when the boys went to camp at the Toledo Zoo.  I posted about it here.

This is a picture from that post.  Yes, this is Zachary and I had learned to "let go" you might say.  I actually have this photo hanging in my kitchen to remind me to just "let go."  

This year all is well, I pull up in front of the Zoo to drop off the boys and Aaron gets out of the van.  I wanted to take a picture of each one of them in front of the Zoo sign.

Little did I know how LUCKY I was last year.  At least Zach had shoes!!!!  How a 9 1/2 year old gets into the van without shoes is beyond me....but apparently it is not beyond Aaron.  You know the camp director had not forgotten us and when I told him about Aaron's perdiciment, all he could do is laugh.  Mr. McSteamy to the rescue!
"Family Emergency" he claimed as he raced to meet us at the Zoo to deliver Aaron not one pair of shoes, but two!  I was sooooo grateful....not only that McSteamy brought the shoes, but also that Aaron chose to wear two of the same shoes :)

 The rest of the day went VERY WELL! 
 I'm so glad they are still young enough to pose for these fun photos.
I sware this was not a posed photo.  Aaron loves the aquarium and he loves the fish.  He walked right up to the tank and the fish swam up to his face and he leaned forward to give that big ole fish a smooch.  Precious times indeed.



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