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TDays Over Yet the Gravy Remains

This topic made the cut on my crafty blog because the subject is loosely related to fabric care. Specifically - tablecloth and napkin care. Although Thanksgiving had gone, the grease stains on my napkins were stubbornly sticking around, despite a number of washes. It was time to hit the web in search of answers . . .

And what I found was this incredible website - Mama's Laundry Talk. Before reading further, you should probably know I'm slightly OCD, especially when it comes to laundry. I was pretty much in heaven when I found a site devoted entirely to laundry. I mean, how awesome is that? Now, I'm not trying to go all June Cleaver on you, but I really do feel that in this high-tech world, doing laundry correctly really has become a lost art.

The site covers basics such as:
  • Size of Loads and Starting the Washer
  • Choosing Water Temperature
  • How to Choose the Washing Cycle
  • How to Sort Clothes
And the section on folding - be still my heart!

But back to the original problem - butter and gravy stains. MLT had the answer on that as well. A lovely post devoted to how to remove grease stains. Hello Dawn! I've copied the basic info below but follow the link to view the full post!

  1. Saturate the stain in Blue Dawn Dish Soap. While it has never happened to  me, I understand that some of the other scents of Dawn can stain clothes.  So I always stick with Dawn Original – the blue one. Place enough Dawn on the stain to cover it completely and then gently rub it in with your finger.
  2. Wash the garment as you usually would. If it can tolerate washing on a normal cycle, then do so.  The agitation of the washer will help eliminate the stain.  If it is a garment that can only be washed on a delicate setting, try using that setting first.
  3. Hang the garment to dry – do not dry in the dryer! This step is vitally important to removing grease.  Your eyes will play tricks on you.  While the item is wet, you’ll be certain you don’t see the grease stain any longer.  But once it’s dry, it can possibly ‘reappear’!  So please remember to hang dry.
  4. After the item is dry, examine the grease spot in a bright light. Is the stain gone?  Can you see any traces of it?  If not, great!  If you can still see the stain, go on to the next step.
  5. Re-wash the garment using these same steps all over again. I know this seems a little ‘high-maintenance’ but if you’ll hang with me, you can get rid of the stain! (hopefully).  If you washed the garment on the delicate cycle, try washing it on a ‘normal’ cycle this time.  If you washed it on ‘normal’ the first time, you can try increasing the agitation of the cycle, washing on a ‘heavy-duty’ cycle or whatever your washing machine offers.
  6. Continue this process until the stain comes out.


In a Pinch Pocket Tutorial

I'm in a gift making frenzy!

I made this media pocket for my Droid, which measures about 2.5" x 5", but figured it would be great for any of the other phones on the market as well. But . . . . after whipping it together and test driving it for a day, I can't say I was a huge fan. As lame as it sounds, I just couldn't be bothered with getting it in and out and in and out of the pocket whenever I needed to use it - which is all the time.

I do, however, think this would make a great pocket for a camera, or any other media device that could use a little extra padding but you don't use every waking moment. The dimensions could also be adjusted to make a super-easy laptop, iPad, or Kindle cover.

I'm determined to come up with something for the Droid, but that will have to wait until after the Holidays, stay tuned . . .


  • Primary fabric for outside of pocket
  • Coordinating fabric for lining and strap
  • Fusible batting
  • Coordinating thread
  • Turning tool

Cut your stuff! You'll need the following cuts:
  • Primary fabric: (1) 5x17 strip
  • Coordinating fabric: (1) 5x17 strip and (2) 2x6 strips
  • Fusible Batting: (1) 5x17 strip and (1) 2x6 strips

Admire your cutting skills then, using the manufacturers directions, attach the 5x17 fusible batting strip (I used Fusi-Boo) to the 5x17 lining piece. Put it aside for now.

Make the Strap! Again using the manufacturers directions, attach the 2x6 fusible batting strip to the back of one of the 2x6 lining pieces. Next, take the other 2x6 lining strip and put it RS together with the 2x6 piece to which you just attached the batting. Pin it all together.

So to recap, it's like this:
  1. Bottom = fusible batting
  2. Middle = lining strip #1 RS up (attached to fusible batting)
  3. Top = lining strip #2 RS down (so lining strips will be RS together)
Got it? Cool!

Pin and sew together, leaving an opening to turn. Turn it out, clip corners and press. Topstitch around the entire strap. The cool thing is that you don't have to worry about the raw edge you left open for turning because it will be hidden in the next step.

OK - you're halfway through! Get out the 5x17 lining piece you attached the batting to earlier. Orient the strip vertically - so 5" across and 17" down - RS up. Position the strap you just made 8 inches down from the top of the lining piece. Pin and sew in place. Don't forget to backstitch.

After the strap is attached, place the piece batting side down on your table. Get out the 5x17 primary fabric piece and put it RS down on top of the lining piece. The lining and primary pieces will be RS together. The strap will be in between the two. You now have your sandwich. Pin in place.

Like you did with the strap, sew the sandwich together, leaving an opening to turn on the bottom short end as it will be hidden. Turn it out, clip corners and press. Topstitch close the opening you left for turning.

Ta-Da! So this is the fun part. Pull the bottom of the rectangle up through the strap. Put your media device in the pocket and adjust the pocket height to your liking.

Remove media, pin pocket in place, and topstitch around the whole enchilada. I had to switch to a more heavy duty needle at this point - just saying . . .

Pull the top flap down through the strap to close and you're done!


The Scary Hall Closet

The Scary Hall Closet - we've all had one, right? My closet had actually gotten to the point where clutter had totally overrun the entryway and hall tree. With the Holidays (and hence, visitors) rapidly approaching, I decided to put away the craft pursuits for a day and take on this project. 
My entryway before - yikes. That's a hall tree hiding behind all the, err, stuff. It's intended use was for TEMPORARILY hanging items.

The best first step in any organizational project - get everything out and do a quick cleanup!

Our closet is only 3 feet wide and is located under a stairwell. As a result, the back wall juts out about midway up leaving me with only 5ft of vertical wall space. Translation - I'm totally jipped spacewise. The shelf was originally anchored as high up as possible, but because of the slant, it was impossible to put any storage bins on top of the shelf.
I chose to lower the shelf about 12 inches so I could place three storage bins on top. This means that my husbands lone, full length coat that he wears to the xmas party each year will have to move to the guest BDRM, but we can live with that! Yes, the bins are blah, so I'll probably end up appliqueing a scarf, hat, and mitten to each one. You know, in all my spare time.

I didn't want anything loose in the closet so I put two storage bins in the bottom. One for lone shoes and one for stuff to be returned, etc.

Again, keeping with getting everything up and off the floor, I hung peg racks up as high as possible - one on the left for diaper bags . . .

. . . and one on the right for my purses and camera, which always seems to be upstairs when I need it, you  know?

Finally, I added a shoe bag on the door. I agree, chic it is not, but I love having a space for all the little stuff one has in the hallway. Especially little kid things! The plan is to teach the little ones to put their hats and mittens away by themselves.

Ta-Da! The hall tree is visible and the entry navigable!



Wellness Gift Bags 3

Generally speaking, when tasked with making a number of the same items, I follow the directions on the first one then improvise a bit more with each take. Let's face it  - you have way more fun this way and who doesn't love a challenge? Going into bag number three of six and I've thrown all caution to the wind.

 This is about mid-way through the creation of the smaller pouch. I pieced together three 2" x 12" patterned strips and three 3" x 12" linen pieces. Why those sizes? Just because that was what I happened to have on hand. After piecing, I cut them into six strips and arranged in a random order.
I then pieced those six strips together.
At this point I realized the size was too big for one bag and too small for two. See - this is where it gets fun. To remedy, I grabbed two red strips that were hanging around and tacked one onto each end.

Tada! I now have a square big enough to make two bags!
 This is the view from the back.
 Press top and bottom edges down 1/4" then 1".
 Sew on hook and loop velcro.
Stitch around the sides and across the top. And here is my smaller bag!


Wellness Gift Bags 2

I'm just getting around to posting pics of the Rice Heat Therapy Bags. Being lazy at heart and not wanting to break out the 'nice' camera and all it involves, I decided to see what quality pics I could get using a combination of the Droid, Picasa, and Picnik. I have to say I am totally happy with the results! Enjoy the pics - I'm loving being able to use up all of these scraps! 



Wellness Gift Bags I

What? Early November and I'm already falling behind on all of my Christmas projects! To date, I've identified gifts for all six of the critter and critter-ettes teachers, two SIL's, and the MIL. Actually, the MIL gift is just something she asked me to do that I've let fall through the cracks - does that still count? Thank goodness for SMS's Handmade Holiday Guide! You must check it out - I challenge you to not find the perfect gift.

I've decided to go with a Wellness/Relaxation theme for the teachers (god knows they deserve it), using the "Rice Heat Therapy Bag" tutorial. Not only is it super cute, its a great way to use up all of your leftover scraps. The printable tags are a really nice extra touch!

So far, I've made two of the larger, hot packs and two of the smaller, cold packs. For the filling, I lugged home a 25lb bag of rice but am still on the hunt for bulk quantities of flax or buckwheat and essential oils. If I can't find any I'll just substitute rice. The tutorial is for the hot pack only so I've been winging the pattern on the cold pack. So far, mine look more like pencil cases - but I still love them! I'm up in the air about the mask. Not sure if I'm willing to make the time investment to fashion removable buckwheat inserts (did I really just type that). We'll see where I am time- and scrap-wise once the packs are completed. The plan is to put everything into really cute bags with maybe a few froo-froo things (candle, loofah, etc) from Aveda.