Friday, March 9, 2012

Tipsy Tutorials: Pieced Scripture Cover

This is a project that was born out of need.  I'm one of those mothers who feels like she carries sixteen different bags to church each week.  One for the kids, one for the calling, my scripture case, ... you get the idea.  The cargo area of our mini-van is literally half-filled with all that stuff that HAS to go to church with me.  I can hear those of you who side with my husband ... why don't you just use your iPhone scripture app, or Kindle, or whatever electronic iteration?  Last year for my birthday my husband got me two things--an Amazon Kindle and a sweet laptop bag that looks like an attache case.  His thought was that maybe I should consolidate a little.

Good thought ... but its taken me 6 more months to figure out exactly how I want it to work.  I kept getting frustrated about my scripture case.  I love my scripture case, but its an extra purse--no way around it.  Finally I decided I needed a smaller one, then after many internet tutorial searches, I realized I didn't really want a scripture case at all, I want a scripture cover.   You know, like the ones we used to make for our texts in high school.  That way, I can slide my scriptures into my new bag and thusly eliminate one more thing to carry.  Eureka!

Once I came to this inevitable conclusion, I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like:  my husband's missionary scriptures.  Only that meant figuring it out on my own.  I found a similar feel to what I wanted at this tutorial from Moda Bakeshop, .  I used this tutorial as a jumping board for my own design.  So here we go ...

Pieced Scripture Cover
The measurements I use here will fit a medium-sized LDS edition quad.

cover pieces:
28 (1-1/2" x 4") rectangles--I used 4 different coordinating fabrics
2 (3" x 26-1/4") strips--main color (black)
1 (8-3/4" x 26-1/4") fusible flannel (I cut it a little big then trimmed)

inside flap pieces:
4 (1-1/2" x 4") rectangles (as above)
2 (3" x 4") strips--main color (black)
1 (8-3/4" x 4") fusible flannel

1 (8-3/4" x 26-1/4") lining fabric (black)
1 or 2 (3" x 4-1/2") lining fabric (for pockets--OPTIONAL)
matching and contrasting threads
fabric scissors
1 thin pony-tail elastic

1.  We are going to start with the scrappy strip down the middle.  Take 4 of your rectangles for the inside flap and sew them together with a 1/4" seam.  Set these aside.  Then do the same for the 28 other pieces.  Pay careful attention to line up the top and bottom as best you can.  This will make matching edges a lot easier in just a bit.  You now have two strips.  Press all your seams to one side.

2.  Center your longer strip onto your corresponding piece of fusible flannel and carefully fuse to the bumpy side with your iron.  Repeat with the smaller inside flap pieces.  Now quilt along each seam (ditch) of each strip.  No need for backstitching since these ends will be sewn over in the next step.

3.  Line up the top and bottom strips right sides together with the top and bottom edges of the center strip.  Pin and sew with a 1/4" seam.  Press the seam open and iron these strips to the fusible flannel.  Using contrasting (red) thread, stitch in the ditch, then 1/4 inch away from the ditch, then two more lines parallel to the first one.  Repeat for the bottom strip.

4.  Double check here to make sure that everything is fitting OK.  Measure 3 inches in from each corner of the folded over flap (right side). Cut off each corner.  Use this as a pattern to do the same thing for the lining.    Take your pony tail elastic and pinch two sides together in half.  About 1/4 of the way from one end, twist a small length of thread around the the two sides of the elastic to hold them together, then baste them to the center of the lining flap in between where the corners were trimmed off.  Make sure that the larger loop that will go around the button is facing towards the middle.  Layer the lining and pieced cover right sides together and pin together.

5.  Leaving 3 to 4 inches open for turning, stitch around the remaining sides with a 3/8-inch seam.  Trim all corners and turn right-side-out.  I use a plastic chopstick to push out the corners and make them nice and crisp.  Give the whole thing a good ironing, making sure to turn the edges of the opening to the inside.

6.  Before topstitching, we need to take care of the inside flap.  First we need to finish the edge that will be on the left (open) side of the back flap.  Fold over about 1/4" and topstitch in place.  Now, use your book to determine placement of the flap.  Put a pin in the center to keep it from shifting.  Now fold over the top and bottom so they are flush with the top and bottom lines of the main cover; pin.  Fold the right side under 1/4" to 3/8" and pin into place.  After you pin, double check that your book will still fit.  Sewing as close to the right edge as possible, stitch that right side from top to bottom.

7. **optional** I added a pocket for pencils/pens at this point just to the right side of the flap.  I had a 3" x 4-1/2" square of the lining fabric.  I folded the top over 1/2" and then a second time so that the inside hem was about 1/4".  I sewed across the top to finish it off.  I folded and pressed the remaining three sides to the inside 1/4" to 3/8"--I just eyeballed it.  Finally I sewed around the three sides and once up the middle.

8.  Fold over the left flap and pin into place.  Topstitch as close as you can all the way around the cover--I did about 1/8".  I started at the bottom so the joining wouldn't be as obvious.  I also backstitched over each of the places where the flaps were joined down to add a little durability.  Put your book in the cover and find placement for the button--sew it on and you're done!

     Fun Stuff Fridays     


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This-is-so-COOL: I won something!

So, a couple of weeks ago, I got this e-mail from Green Fairy Quilts saying that I'd won a $25 gift certificate.  I was so excited.  I've been stalking a lot of quilting sites lately and leaving lots of comments.  Apparently, somewhere along the line, this totally *paid* off.  A big Thanks! to Mellissa at Happy Quilting and her Valentine's Day Charm Blog Hop series!

Even though Rhett was skeptical, I went ahead on the assumption that I wasn't being spammed--I mean the shop is in St. George, UT, and being the trusting soul I am, I went shopping!  I had so much fun browsing through all her choices online, then I went over to check out the blog--AMAZING!!  She makes machine quilting look like child's play.  I love the trapunto look she achieves by combining small motifs with larger ones.

I finally settled on a new jelly roll from Jenn Ski and Moda fabrics called Ten Little Things.  It's a really cute collection with a little boy feel.  I wasn't sure what I'd do with it since my boy is just about twelve, but I fell in love.  I couldn't resist--and the best part--it was almost free.  So I ordered and waited, stalked (I mean tracked) it online every day and opened it right up when I got it on Monday.

In the meantime--over last weekend--I found out why inspiration had struck in such an odd way for me.  A few weeks ago, my nephew's friend fell out of a second-story window and was very seriously injured.  I've been following my sister's updates and my heart pours out to this family.  Well, last Saturday, my sister posted that she's hosting a benefit for the family to help defray medical costs.  I now know why I have that darling little boy fabric.  Here's a quick sneak peek at what I'm working on--hopefully it will bring in a nice bid for the family at the silent auction.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Half-Baked: Sugar Cookie Bars

This link came up recently on Pinterest and I can't believe I never though of it--we've all had that happen with the myriad ideas that circulate there, right?  I LOVE sugar cookies but I HATE making them.  I think the cakey ones you can buy at the supermarket are gross so won't touch them either (much to my family's frustration.)  Now, I love making a quick batch of chocolate chip cookies as bars, so I have absolutely no excuse for never putting two and two together and coming up with something like this myself.

Soo, with Nicholas's birthday coming up this week, and knowing I have a bit of baking to do, I decided to compare this recipe with my own favorite sugar cookie recipe.  I clipped this recipe years ago from a Taste of Home magazine and have used it ever since.

Smooth Sailing Sugar Cookies Recipe

I've never used the icing recipe, however.  I prefer Betty Crocker whipped icings.  BUT, I can't use that now since Samantha is on her restricted diet.  Truth be told, she probably shouldn't eat any of the cookies, either, but that's another reality.  So I'm using the standard buttercream icing recipe from Wilton.  My mom made this growing up and I used it when I took my cake decorating classes.  It's simple, its yummy and I can make it any color I want :)

There was an obvious difference in the doughs.  The Lofthouse recipe was softer and gooier.  When I put it in the pan, there was also a little more.  When I do this again, I will double the Taste of home recipe and see if that works better.
The Lofthouse recipe said to spray the pan.  I did even though I had a non-stick jelly roll pan.  I didn't need to.  It would have spread better without it.  I didn't spray the pan for the second recipe, and it spread just fine.  Neither one stuck to the pan in the least when I cut them and removed them from the pan.
As you can see, the bars turned out pretty different.  The Lofthouse recipe is thicker and cakier.  The Taste of home was thinner and more cumbly.  My girls liked the Lofthouse recipe best, my guys didn't care either way.  I prefer the taste of the Taste of Home cookie recipe and the Lofthouse icing recipe--sooo, I will double the first and use the second on the next go around.

As with all good things, more experimentation is required :)  Here's to finding a version your family comes back to again and again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Adagio: Change is the Only Constant

Today we had stake conference.  This one has been much anticipated for two reasons announced weeks ago:  1.  Our Stake Presidency was to be reorganized, and 2.  Elder Holland was coming to preside.  Wow!  Each week in Sacrament Meeting, we've been gently reminded to prepare to fully participate and take advantage of having a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visit our stake.

Many times I've been in the congregation when a visiting authority presided--but as near as I can remember that was always in quite a large arena, convention center, stadium, what have you.  In Moses Lake, Elder Scott came for a Regional Conference when Sam was a baby.  Here in Eugene, Elder Maxwell did the same when we'd only been here a short time.  I don't remember ever sitting in a chapel with a visiting Apostle of the Lord--visiting Area Seventy, sure, but not an Apostle.  Anyway, it was a very spiritual, personal experience for me despite the large numbers.  Elder Holland shares that spirit with President Monson--you know the one where he reaches out to the one even in the crowd.  I don't know how else to explain it.

Our ward did lose our Bishop today, too.  He's the new Stake President.  I'm happy for them ... that doesn't come across right, but hopefully you know what I mean.  He has been such a blessing in our family, especially recently.  It would be selfish not to realize what a blessing he could be to the hundreds more in our stake.  When I got home from the meeting and told Sam, she was first so excited, then frustrated.  "He's still going to be our Bishop, right?"  Well, no, can you imagine?  We talked about how this would mean a new Bishopric in our ward REALLY soon, and probably a new presiding authority over the youth on both a ward and stake level.  Sam has had some real connections with her priesthood leaders and this is a somewhat difficult change since it is probably the first one that she can remember feeling.

As we were talking, I said something like, "You know what lesson to learn from this, right?"  Rhett piped in with, "Change is the only constant?"  To which we all laughed and I said, "Well, yes, BUT also you'd best be careful what you pray for ..."  One small change, like a new Stake President that may seem remote for her personally, has quite a ripple effect.  It is a lesson to me that the Lord must know all of us and what is best for us for it all to run so smoothly.  Although small ripples may be seen for a couple of weeks or months, there will certainly be no waves that rock the boat.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

S.W.A.K.: Here's to More ... of the GOOD stuff

I think I can characterize this week as a smoothing out week.  Still have ups and downs, but a couple of things seems to have fallen into some kind of rhythm.  Now I just need to learn the steps and go with it ...

Samantha officially started a 2-period school day.  She continues to be in great pain most of the time.  Everything she was missing at school was so overwhelming, plus she's having more difficulty with focusing and short-term memory.  I can only imagine the incessant foggy feeling.  Anyway, hopefully this will help her focus some and relieve some of that stress.  She had her 3rd MRI come up normal again.  This time it was focusing on her neck and shoulder area.  Very frustrating.  We're ready for answers, or better yet, a miracle.

Sarah and Nicholas had their second TAG group meeting at school this week and they're excited about their respective projects.  Nicholas is learning about cryptography and DaVinci's mirror code and Sarah is working on a nature diary.  She and her friend are re-binding a couple of blank books, then will be going on excursions to press flowers, do rubbings and collect all kinds of as-yet-unknown goodies.  I'm so proud to see the initiative they're taking.
Here's a couple pics of Nicholas.  One of the things my mom sent me in her care packages was a pair of my dad's old (dare I say vintage) Boy Scout pants.  They're a touch too short, but otherwise fit great.  (Out that hem comes this week--wonder how it'll look after so many years ...)  I liked the pocket detailing--sure don't see that anymore.  He was so proud to put them on and go.
 I'm spending a good portion of today with Nicholas and his Battle of the Books team, The Medieval Rattlesnakes, at the regional battle.  They came in first in the school-wide competition and now they get to compete with the other elementary schools in the area.  He's nervous and excited--I guess I am, too.
I threw in a couple of last- minute projects this week, so other things got pushed back.  Sarah had a birthday party tonight so I made a little wallet for a gift card.  It turned out really cute--and it was fast (  Definitely a quick keeper.  I also made a small pair of drapes for one of Rhett's friends at work.  Long story short, he shared a story with me about how he made some crack about covering up a small peep-hole window with cardboard.  I looked at him and said, "I can do better than that!"  Four hours later, I was putting the finishing touches on the "cardboard".  Don't have pictures, but it wasn't anything complicated.  Just two 30" square panels with casing for a tension rod and matching ties.  The fabric was sweet, though--I'll definitely have to use the scraps--maybe for some gift card wallets ...