Friday, May 27, 2016

Product Review: Babyville Boutique Snap Pliers

My most recent crafty purchase were the Babyville Boutique Snap Pliers, and I am so pleased with them so far I thought I would share with you guys. These pliers apply plastic snaps in sizes 16, 20, and 24. Babyville Boutique has a variety of cute snaps in these sizes, but the word on the Internet is that these pliers also work great with KAM snaps. 

I purchased my pliers at Joann Fabric and Crafts and, thanks to their fantastic coupons, I got a great deal. They are also available on Amazon for about $15.00.

What you get: pliers, screw driver, awl, and the components needed to apply sizes 16, 20, and 24 plastic snaps. 

 

Pros:
-Affordable: These pliers go for arould $15.00 on Amazon and $19.99 at Joann's. With a 60% off coupon I got mine for around $8.00!!
-Quality: While these pliers are light (another plus!), they definitely don't feel cheap.
-Easy to use: The pliers came with helpful directions, but in general are pretty straight forward to use. They are also easy to squeeze.
-Adjustable: One set of pliers can do 3 different sizes of snaps.

Cons: I have to say, I really don't have any complaints. I have used these pliers on three projects so far with no difficulty. I've had my eye on them for a while, and while they are definitely worth the deal I got on them, I would recommend them at regular price also. Since I just purchased them this week, I can't really speak to durability, so look for updates on that to come.

How it Works: Before you start, you will want to make sure that the pliers are set up for the size snap you are using. They come preset for size 20 and since I purchased that size snaps, I didn't have to change mine. The pliers come with directions detailing how to switch out the parts for the other sizes.
1. Determine where you want your plastic snap.
2. Use the awl to carefully poke a hole right where you want the snap.
3. Place the smooth "cap" portion of the snap on the visible or "right" side of your project with the post going through the hole you just poked.
4. Take the other side of the snap and place it over the post, on the other side of the fabric. {For one snap set there are 4 separate pieces. They should come in three separate bags, one for all of the "cap and post" pieces and then two others for the parts that actually snap together. I would recommend keeping them separated this was so that you can be sure that each side of your snap set is using the opposite/matching snap parts. (Some people call them "male" and "female".)}
5. Place the "cap" side of the snap in the black tray. The rubber stopper part will fit over the portion of the post that sticks out. Squeeze tightly together to set the snap.
6. Repeat for the other side of the snap set, making sure that the parts that snap together end up facing each other. Usually this means that one smooth "cap" part will be visible on the very front of the project and the other will be on the very back.

It's that simple!!


Project Ideas!

My first plastic snap project was this bib. How cute are those foxes?!?! The snaps applied so easily and hold well. I also have it on good authority (from my crafty friend and mother of two, soon to be three!) that snaps are much better than scratchy Velcro for baby bibs. Now I just want to put snaps on everything! Soon after making this bib I made a second bib and then added a snap feature to a diaper bag prototype that I'm working on (more info coming soon!).



I hope you found this review helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for other products to review!



Saturday, May 21, 2016

I've Got a Notion!- My Favorite Sewing/Quilting Notions

I've been sewing consistently for a couple of years now and, while I'm far from a pro, I have mostly figured out what I like in terms of basic supplies. So here, in no particular order, are 10 of my favorite sewing/quilting notions and tools.

Amazon.com
1. Olfa Rotary Cutter: It's comfortable, easy to change the blades, and colorfull- what more could you ask for??

 2. 8"x14" Ruler: I use this for the majority of my general cutting.

3. 3"x18" Ruler: This one is ideal for binding and cutting larger pieces of fabric.

4. Large cutting mat: Mine is a Fiskars 18"x24". It's held up well and has a good surface area for cutting larger pieces of fabric.

5.   CLOVER WONDER CLIPS: If you have not tried these you are absolutely missing out. They make almost every project like 5 times easier!
Amazon.com




6. Tailor Quilt Basting Spray: I never used to use basting spray because of the expense (pins you buy one time and basting spray just keeps running out). Once I tried it though, I understood. It's so much faster and easier that I've determined its worth it. And if you don't go overboard you can get several projects out of one can.
 






7. Oliso TG1050 1600 Watts Smart Iron: Arguably you *can* iron with any halfway decent iron, but once you've tried this one there's no going back! I had my eye on this for a while, but my husband and I are pretty frugal and I couldn't justify randomly dropping that kind of money on an iron pretty much just based on the fact that so many YouTube quilters I watch use it. That being said, my husband surprised me with mine for Christmas this year and it was pretty exciting! He did get a little talking-to from one of the guys on his bowling team who was pretty concerned about the effect him giving me an iron for Christmas would have on our relationship, but he stood his ground and explained that this is not "just any iron". I could probably do an entire post on this alone but I'll stick to the basics. This iron is awesome because:
  • It irons and steams better than any other iron I've ever used. (I felt like I should put this first since this is its actual job.)
  • It moves when you touch it! And because of that...
  • You don't have to set it up on its end!
So far its been pretty fantastic. Don't get me wrong, I know you don't *need* this iron but it certainly doesn't disappoint!
 
8. Mary Ellen's Best Press: I don't use this on every project but it really comes in handing for stubborn wrinkles and small or very precise piecing. It really helps prevent warping and stretching and I've never had any trouble with it staining fabric or harming my iron. It's not too expensive either, and a little goes a long way in my opinion.

9. Clover Seam Ripper: I wish I could say I never use this, but that would be a boldface lie. It really makes a difference to have a larger seam wripper like this one, compared to the teeny cheap ones you can buy or that may come with a machine. It's frustrating enough to have to rip out seams in the first place so at least do your hands a favor and make it a little less awful by investing in a nice seam ripper.   

10. Machingers Gloves: These gloves are very helpful for free motion quilting and quilting large or heavy projects. They really help you grip the fabric with your finger tips so you aren't tempted to pinch or tug the fabric too much. They also seem to lessen the tension in your neck and shoulders as you try to move your project through the sewing machine. 

So there you have it- my top 10 notions. What helpful tools would you add??

  

Friday, May 13, 2016

A Fresh Start and a Recap

Well, to say I'm a little behind on blogging would be an understatement. It's rather embarrassing to look back on previous posts in which I made goals on how frequently I would post and to know how much I failed at even taking a step toward those goals! But, what better time to start fresh than in the spring? So here we go with a recap of what I've been doing all this time [while I haven't been blogging]. So, without further ado and in no particular order, here it is...

1. Doing a craft show with my sewing bestie!



This show was hosted by a high school dance team and it turned out to be pretty successful for both of us. It was definitely the most fun I've had doing a show because I got to do it with a friend. We combined our goods to make a pretty large display and it was nice to sell some items and make some money before Christmas. 

 











2. Making Christmas gifts/celebrating Christmas with my family.

This was a quilt I made for my dad and his siblings to give to my grandmother for Christmas. They gave me some general color/style ideas and I love the way it turned out! It was my first layer cake project and the first quilt I backed in flannel. I liked both of these features so much I've already used them both again in other quilts!

 
Mema making mashed potatoes in her new mashed potato bowl!
Matching Christmas Eve Pajamas!

3. Spending time with friends. We have met some wonderful people here in Muscatine and have also maintained relationships with some of our favorite people from home and college :)

4. Bible Study: I don't have any photo evidence of this, but for the past several months I have been a part of a ladies Bible Study that came out of our 20 Somethings group at church. It has been such a blessing to me to have these group of ladies in my life!

5. Keeping up with the pup
 
She seems pretty pleased with her little mess!

6. Being crazy with the hubs!
We tried to go for the cool jumping in the snow
 pic...not really sure how successful that was...











  



7. Placing my first Craftsy order
(how had I not done that before?!)















8. Getting rhabdomyolysis (unrelated to sewing). As unpleasant as the overall experience was, my friends and family were amazing. I was truly blessed by all their prayers and visits to the hospital. I was also placed on the OB floor as overflow and met some wonderful nurses who helped me make the best of my stay.

Some people get "swole". I got swollen.
I don't recommend it...it's uncomfortable, and
dangerous,
and expensive; none of which are good things.

Check out this cute table runner Whit (check out her blog here!) made to brighten up my hotel room! :)

Well, there you have it. It's been an interesting time of it, but it looks like we are pretty much caught up. We shall see where it goes from here! Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My New Space :)

So a few weeks ago my husband texted me with the idea to build a shelving unit for our office/craft room. Soon after we moved into our apartment he (somewhat we) built this cool shelf...



...and it really did help with storage and provide a place for decorations. Well, being a very crafty guy, he now was now imagining bigger and better plans. Needless to say, I was sold at the mention of a space for my desk and pegboard! I have to say, the whole thing turned out better than I could have imagined! Check it out for yourself:



Let me highlight some of the crafting area specifics:
1) Shop Light: No matter what time it is, it's daylight at my desk! At one point I thought the light bulb on my sewing machine had burned out because I could barely see it over the brightness of the shop light!

2) Pegboard & Hooks: I mean, just look at the scissors, rotary cutters, rulers, and embroidery hoops!

3) After the picture above was taken we added this thread rack: Gotta love that rainbow of thread!


4) Space to mount the iPad: Sometimes I like to watch Netflix while I'm piecing. 

5) Outlets & Light Switch: I didn't fully appreciate the convenience of this when my husband suggested it, but it really is handy. I don't have to crawl under my desk to mess with cords and, as long as I remember to turn off the light at the switch (which is easier with it being so bright), I don't have those all too frequent panic moments when I think I left the iron on.

6) And finally, more desk space for actual sewing!

So there it is- I have to say it's pretty great. I mean, what could be more inspiring than gazing at all of your pretty crafting supplies?! And more good news: due to the construction, we can disassemble it and take it with us when we move someday. A big thank you to my husband Zach for putting so much thought into how to combine practical storage with such an amazing crafting space for me!


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Photo Shoot & Other Firsts!

Well...it would be an understatement to say that I got rather sidetracked from blogging. Unfortunately I also wasn't doing much sewing/quilting for a while there either; but, the drought is over! I have recently finished a few projects that I am very excited about, and am in the process of finishing up a fun project requested by my mom. (Aren't moms the best supporters, customers, cheerleaders?!)

Several of my recent projects/ideas have been firsts for me. Here is the rundown:

1. I made a triangle quilt!
I have always liked the look of triangle quilts but they always seemed so intimidating. I wish I could say that my experience with this one taught me that that was not true, but that was not the case. It was hard! They stretch, and there are so many points, and you have to cut and sew them a certain way (which I did not do at first and, thus, made good friends with my seam ripper). But I really do like the finished product. This was actually my first quilt with a border also, and I like that as well. It's a quick way to add to the size and it sort of frames the piecing. I also quilted this one more densely than I usually do and I love they way the tighter quilting makes it crinkle after you wash/dry it.

2. I did my first quilt photo shoot! (hence the picture above).

I don't know why I have been putting this off for so long; time, I guess. Though it did take me a little while, it was really fun to pack up my recent quilts and go to the park to take the pictures. I went on a beautiful day and the Arboretum at Discovery Park is always so lovely. (shout out below)

I looked into some free photo editing apps for the iPad, but I really do like them how they are: simple and unedited; so I will stick with that for now. Here are some of my favorites:

















I have zero experience in photography but it's amazing what natural lighting and a quality camera can do. Plus, when you spend so much time creating a project it's a shame not to document it in pictures the best you can.

3. My third "first" isn't so much a "first" as it is a "finally". I FINALLY figured out how to get my zipper pouches to consistently turn out they way I like them. I was watching a YouTube video on how to make zipper tabs and make the ends of the zippers pop out (not unlike a million other video tutorials I've watched) and all of a sudden it just made sense. I tried it and, with a few adjustments, I got the first one to work. I took a moment to write down the measurements in my notebook and then I made another one and guess what- it also worked! Needless to say I made 8 in the span of 24 hours so I'm hoping someone out there likes them as much as I do.





I think they are pretty cute if I do say so myself. I know it seems like everybody and their brother that sews are making some kind of zipper pouch, but I got the idea for the bottoms of these from my best quilty friend Whitney Clark who quilts/crafts/blogs on http://therunningstitchwhit.blogspot.com/. (You should check her out because she is awesome!) She first brought up the idea of adding faux leather or vinyl to zipper pouches and she has made some beautiful ones! I thought about it and gazed at this "woven" vinyl at Joann Fabric for weeks, and yesterday I finally bought some and I am so pleased with the results. So thank you Whit for the inspiration. As I was getting it cut at the store another lady asked me what I was going to do with it. When I explained what it was for she decided to get some too. I wish I could see how she chooses to use hers! Soon after, in the check out line, I found out she was a lady after my own heart; recognizable by the staff at Joann's and packing a ton of coupons!

Anyways, this was rather long but there was a lot of catching up to do. My goal is to become more consistent with my blogging, so I hope to shoot for a post a week. We'll see how that goes :-/ Until next time....

Rach





Friday, May 15, 2015

Pre-Sale Jitters & Last Minute Projects

Well, weather permitting as I don't have a tent, tomorrow is my first farmers' market. Hoping I have all my ducks in a row as they say. Last night the key fob hardware I ordered arrived and, needless to say, I think I have a new favorite project. 


After I made these I actually ended up making 4 more! They are cute, quick, and a great way to show off my machine's fancy stitches. Also it's fun to use some of my favorite scraps in a new way. This is the hardware I ordered: 



They seem to be really good quality and the price was good. I foresee the purchase of a larger package of these in the near future. There was also a cool blurb on the back about how the company grew from a small business inspired by the need for cost-efficient craft supplies. 

As I wrapped up the last few projects this evening I set up a mock display in the living room. My table is fairly small but it helps keep my first round of items from looking sparse. There's quite a variety, and I made a suggestions list to get an idea of what people are most interested in. 



The fabric covering the table needs ironing and I made some other adjustments after taking this picture, but you get the idea. Now, I really should get to sleep...about two hours ago... Farmers' Market pictures coming soon!







Monday, May 11, 2015

Beginnings

Writing my first post is like writing on the first page of a brand new journal. I always got so excited about fresh new journals but I was so intimidated by the thought of writing on that first page and not being happy with it. It's like when you have a beautiful piece of fabric that you're afraid to cut. Like this adorable bicycle print from a friend.


I gaze at it and imagine things to  make with it, then I put it back in my fabric stash bin. I have a few pieces of fabric like that- and I know I'm not alone! I am so worried I won't find the perfect project for it. Or if the project is perfect, my attempt to carry it out won't be. Hello! That's pretty much a guarantee. It. Won't. Be. Perfect. But does that mean I need to keep this little piece of fabric my whole life, never make anything with it, and take it to my grave? Of course not. What a waste!

So I guess that's kind of like this blog, and so many other things in life. I've thought about wanting to do this for a while but I put it off. Why? I don't know about y'all but I'm not going to lose sleep tonight wondering if my first post should have been about something else. That's as silly as getting all in a fit over a little notebook or a gorgeous fat quarter of fabric. Why do we put so much pressure on beginnings? I mean honestly, what's the worst that could happen? So if anyone else is out there doing this same thing, do not be intimidated by the beginning- start something new with me today!