Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays with Happy Recycling!

If you are like me, you may have a stash of fabrics in variety of sizes and colors. Many are too small to be made into a garment, or not even to a bag, yet we can't just toss them. Right?

So I decided to make a reusable gift wrap at the last minute. Cut a random but pretty fabric, large enough to wrap a gift. This one, about 9 x 13. Serged three sides. 

Made two quasi buttonholes. (Awg, don't pay close attention.  Was just trying to get to know my Rocketeer. )

Sew the top ribbon casing. 

It's basically done. 

Found just the right length pretty pink ribbon in my ribbon stash. Threaded it. Well, in retrospect, I could have done it with just one buttonhole. 

This ceramic microwaveable container is going inside the sack. It's filled with chocolate dipped homemade shortbread. My son chose the container. It's for a music lover. 

It's for someone who can't eat wheat, so I made it with almond meal and rice flour. Turned out pretty yummy. Half of them are Matcha (Japanese green tea powder) flavored. Here is the top layer. Just a little tease. 

That was quick and easy. I shall make more in the future. The recipient can reuse it to wrap a gift and give it away, or keep it and use it as a knitting bag, as a lunch sack, or whatever. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Aloha ~! Improv Bag for Pineapple Sam

Another improv bag.
This bag's dimensions were dictated by the picture pattern of the fabric. I usually have the colorful fabric part in the middle to be a lot narrower, but this one, I couldn't cut it any narrower than this for the obvious reason.

This fabric is a fat quarter (newly learned quilter lingo!) that I got from a quilter when I bought an Elna machine from her a few months ago (well, I promise to talk about the machine on another post).  I would have made the pocket on the other side a little bigger if I had more fabric.

This bag is for Pineapple Sam. Pineapple Sam is from Hawaii. He is a vintage Hawaiian and Pacific Islands  music collector.  His dad, Bill Akamuhou, was a renowned musician in the 40's~50's primarily performing in Honolulu. He recorded and cut some albums.  You can sample listen a couple of his songs here - these two songs are available on this mainstream site.

The interesting thing about all this is that no one really knows how many records are out there that contain his songs. Sometimes Pineapple Sam buys a record without even knowing that it contains Bill Akamuhou's song until he reads the liner notes. It's nice that his music continues to live on and be loved even though he is no longer with us on this planet. 

This is Bill.

Pineapple Sam knows a ton about Hawaiian music from the era. He said he also hung around the musicians who played with his dad as he went to rehearsals and performances with his dad. What a gift, growing up around musicians! So much fun. 

Here is another photo of Bill Akamuhou with his fellow musicians. 

Anyway, Pineapple Sam collects old vinyls. LPs. (Younglings out there, do you know what those are? I guess they are making a comeback these days.) The bag is wide enough to carry LPs. His records and CD collection habit is just as bad as my vintage sewing machine collection habit.

The applique for this bag, of course, is a pineapple!

I chose a lighter colored canvas for this bag to really accentuate the sky and ocean blue color of the fabric. The canvas fabric is from the Zero Landfil event. I made the bag simple and clean looking because the focal point of this bag really is the picture of the beautiful Diamond Head and the surrounding ocean and sky blue.

 Pineapple Sam and me in Hawaii.

 Pineapple Sam DJs a vintage Hawaiian music show once a month on the radio. The first Sunday of every month, 5-7pm Pacific Time, on KSER 90.7FM.

You can stream online at www.kser.org  from anywhere either live or you can even listen to the program now. It's on the archive tab on the website above. The program is called "Da Coconut Wireless". It is on every Sunday, but their DJs rotate, and play different types of Hawaiian music. If you want to listen to some nice vintage Hawaiian nostalgia, look for the first Sunday of the month program that is hosted by Pineapple Sam!


The Enlightened Message of Scrooge

  It snowed in Seattle today!

Do you like live recorded radio show? Like, Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion? 

Well, this show, The Enlightened Message of Scrooge, was recorded in front of a live audience, with much of the sound effects produced live on stage with real shoes for footsteps, real glasses and dishes for dinner sound, etc. My cool guy son, Sage, plays Peter Cratchit.  I really think this is well done, enjoyable, and heartwarming. 

You can listen online now here on KUOW website.  Turn it on while you work on your sewing projects, bake cookies, or wrap presents.

If you live in Seattle area, it will air on Monday, Dec. 23, at 9pm on KUOW 94.9FM.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Improv Bag with Zero Landfil Treasures

I love making bags. Well, I love bags, period. I have many for myself (ha ha), and I keep on making them. 

Remember the Zero Landfil event I went to? I came home with a ton of upholstery fabric samples. I have planned to make mostly bags with them. I pulled out a few pieces in greenish, brownish color scheme.

Then I went on making the bag. I had no plan in terms of designs except for the approximate size of the bag.  I love this process of improvising and watching the bag evolve. Many design bits come as I sew. Sometimes the idea comes after I've sewn some parts so that I have to either undo what I'd already done, or I have to sew it "the hard way." But it's fun. I just love the process of coming up with new ideas and design bits as I sew the bag.

This one has a big pocket here on the front. I was originally going to sew all four sides of both squares, just to use it as a giant square applique. But at the last second, I decided that the upper one  would be a pocket. I added a button and a button loop.

This bag is for my friend, Jillian.  I think she would like lots of pockets, so I added a pocket inside the bag, as well as on the other side of the bag.

A little birdie applique. The eye placement was a total coincidence. Isn't that perfect?!

I will fill the bag with some goodies and give to Jillian.

Well, I put my garment making on hold to make a few bags as holiday gifts. Some of my friends are getting these market bags!

By the way, I am LOVING my improv bag.
It's perfect for my knitting project!! It's the perfect size.  The bag goes everywhere with me. The more I use it, the more I'm loving it.  The size, the weight, the design, the color, the whole thing.  I'm very happy with it. Just the right thing!

Happy Sewing, everyone.

Singer 500 Rocketeer *Date*

A good friend and a quilter/fabric artist, Wadiyah called while back and said, "Singer 500, Slant-O-Matic sewing machine. Do you know anything about it? My daughter, Rachel, gave it to me. It was left in the house she just bought."

Do I know anything about it? I have one, I told her.

I actually found and bought one a while back at a thrift store. It came in a cabinet. The cabinet wasn't in the greatest condition, but I'm afraid they so totally mispriced this machine. (good for me)  So I bought it. It had a foot pedal mounted to be used with the knee lever, one presser foot, one cam, and nothing else.  Evrything moved, and the machine itself was in great cosmetic condition. It was good enough for me.

It sat in my sewing room all this time, until Wadiyah suggested we have a Rocketeer date. She wanted to learn how to clean and oil a vintage machine. (She has a 'modern' Pfaff as her main machine) What a great idea! I'll finally take the machine out and clean & oil it. I actually did exactly that two days before our Rocketeer date so I could show her how to use the machine.

 Singer 500 sewing machine is one of the Slant-O-Matic series machines.  There are also 301, 401, 403, and 503. The 500 has this space age looking design complete with the cool stitch selector knobs in front, thus got the nickname, "Rocketeer."

Pretty Singer "S" badge in pink and green.

Here is the view from the top. It says "Moms". So cute. I'm not peeling the label off.

The top lid opens up, and two spool pins pop up.

The inside of the lid shows all the built-in stitch patterns.

Wadiyah called it the "Jetsons" part.

It had just one cam inside. It's the #3 cam.

 I downloaded a free manual from Sew-Classic. Thanks, Jenny! After looking at the original manual booklet, I'm glad I have a larger size manual! I've also bought sewing machine supplies and parts from Jenny's Sew-Classic website. She has just the thing you need, and the prices are very good.
You can also download a free manual from the Singer website here.  In fact, many of the Singer sewing machines' instruction manuals are available as free download right here!

After a little cleaning and oiling, it sews beautifully. This machine is SO quiet, and so smooth!

Wadiyah working busily on her Rocketeer.

When she plugged in, it wouldn't move!  We figured out it was the foot pedal. Good thing, she could test the machine with my foot pedal. The machine itself is fine. She'll just have to buy a foot pedal.

Test driving. Sewing ever so smoothly!

Hers came with this nice case, a whole bunch of fancy feet, 5 or so cams, an automatic buttonholer, and extras.

She brought her daughter, Tran - Thien, with her. Tran - Thien had a new-to-her Singer Stylist 774 which she just got from her mother-in-law. We gave it a good spa treatment. Her machine was clean to begin with, so it was easy.

 I forgot to take a photo, but she even sewed a foot pedal pouch for her machine after thoroughly oiling the machine. She said, "I learned to sew on one of these!" when she saw my Singer 15-91.

It was such a fun day. Our Rocketeers brought us together.
We scheduled another Rocketter date to explore many different stitches and to really play with it! Oh, and Wadiyah gave me a little holiday present! Love that.

Do you have a Rocketeer or any other Slant machine? How do you like yours? How differently does it feel to you, slant and non-slant machines?