Monthly Archives: August 2011

Bridal Shower Gifts







On Saturday I attended a bridal shower for my niece Kristi.  She’s tying the knot next month, and I’ve never been more excited about attending a wedding!  Part of the reason for my enthusiasm is that Kristi is special to me, but I must admit, that most of my excitement stems from the wedding location.  Kristi and her fiance are getting married on the beach in Delaware.  And I love going to the beach!
But first things first.  Before the wedding is the bridal shower. 

And before the bridal shower is the agonizing decision about what gift to take. 

This decision is made even more difficult when both the bride and groom own their own fully stocked homes.  It’s not as if they need another toaster. 
Fortunately for me, bridal shower gift-giving has changed over the years.  It is now considered perfectly respectable to give the bride a personal gift at her shower.  Personal gifts are my specialty. 



Kristi, opening the gifts I made for her



Wristlet



This is a wristlet that I made for Kristi.  These handy purses are perfect for shopping because they are big enough to hold the necessities, but small enough to hang from the wrist without getting in the way.  The wristlet has a zippered pocket on the back and a magnetic closure on the flap.




Nook Color Cover

This is one of my favorite Nook covers ever!  I love this blue floral print.  I added an extra layer of thin batting to this cover for Kristi’s Nook Color. 

This Nook cover has that great large pocket on the inside where the Nook can be stored for carrying in a purse.  The large pocket protects the screen from scratches. 



Open Nook Cover (with my Nook template)

My cardboard Nook in large pocket

It was quite nice to take gifts that I knew Kristi would use and enjoy.  Sure beats opening up a toaster!

Diabetes and Low Carb Livin’



My husband Jack


Until now, all of my blog posts have been about sewing.  Not a surprise since the title of my blog is “Sew a Fine Seam”, but sewing is not my life, and this blog is about sewing and my life in general. 

Ever since December 9, 2010, one of my non-sewing activities has been counting carbohydrates.  I spend a fair amount of time counting carbohydrates now, for myself, but mainly for my husband who has Type 2 Diabetes.  Jack has had diabetes for over ten years, and for the most part, we pretended that he didn’t have diabetes.  That’s bad.  Very bad.

On December 9, Jack went to his doctor for a regular appointment and the obligatory lecture on controlling his blood sugars, but what he heard that day were two words that struck fear in his heart.  What two words, you ask?  NURSING HOME  Apparently, Jack told Dr. Z. that he feels good and doesn’t see the need to worry about a trifling issue like diabetes.  “What’s going to happen if I continue as I have been doing for these past ten years?”  Jack asked.  The answer was not what Jack wanted to hear.

Jack came home from the doctor that day, and he was determined to make a change.  He was ready to take charge of his health and beat his blood sugar level into submission.  How would he do that?  By dumping the responsibility for his health and well-being in my lap, of course.  That’s not entirely true, but seriously, at that point, my husband could not distinguish a carbohydrate from a darning needle.  That was all about to change. 

Equipped for this monumental task by a lifetime of reading about and experimenting with every diet known to man, I was ready to shave the carbohydrates from our diet and watch my husband’s blood glucose levels return to normal.  

I had a plan based on the advice in this book, The Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard Bernstein.  Dr. B himself has Type I diabetes, so he knows of what he speaks.  We followed Dr. B’s advice to strictly limit the carbohydrate intake in the diabetic’s diet, and guess what?  It worked!

Take a look at today’s dinner:  roasted chicken thighs, summer squash with bacon, and a fresh tomato. 

It’s difficult for most dieters to understand that the  foods on this plate that my husband has to weigh and measure are the squash and the tomatoes.  He can eat freely of the chicken and the bacon.  Believe me, it is not hardship for him to limit his squash intake, but homegrown tomatoes are a different story!  They are one of his favorite foods, but it is true that tomatoes are a fruit, and fruits are high in natural sugars and therefore carbohydrates.  I use my old Atkins carbohydrate counter to determine the number of carbohydrates in a serving of tomato and serve Jack accordingly. 

Overall, the change from indiscriminate eating to a lower carb lifestyle has been a positive change for us.  Jack’s blood glucose level is nearly always in the normal range now, and both of us have lost some weight.  It’s an adventure that we have been on for over eight months, and we have no plans to ever go back to our old ways!

A Few of My Favorite Things

I use my sewing studio nearly every day, so it is important to me to create a pleasant, well-organized room where I can be as productive as I need to be.

Today I’m going to highlight a few of my favorite things in my studio.  Some of these things are organizers while others are just things that make my space fun for me. 
First up is this tomato pincushion.  If you’ve done any sewing at all, chances are you have seen these tomato pincushions in stores or in drawers. This  particular tomato lives in the top drawer of the cabinet right beside my sewing machine.  I used a hint that I found in this book by Nancy Zieman. 

Using a permanent marker, I divided the sections of the tomato to correspond with the most popular sizes of sewing machine needles.  Now, when I use a certain size needle for just a short time, instead of replacing it in its case with brand new needles, I stick it in the appropriate section of this tomato.

You can probably see the yellow head of a straight pin.  I use that to mark the size of needle that is currently in my sewing machine.  This one hint has saved me countless sewing machine needles over the years, and has made it easy to always use the correct needle for the project on which I am working.

Here’s a handy item for anyone who uses an iron.  (And I do hope your iron is more presentable than mine is in this photo!)  This iron caddy has saved me a lot of money over the years.  Before strapping this onto my ironing board, I broke two or three irons by knocking them off of the ironing board onto the basement floor.
This is also great for those who iron with children around.  I don’t know many people who iron besides those of us who sew, but if you do use an iron, you should have one of these!


Plastic Shoeboxes!  What’s not to love about this multifunctional marvel?  I use plastic shoeboxes for storing all of my fabric scraps.  You can see them in the photo above on the left.  These containers cost just $1, and I have enough to conveniently sort my fabric scraps by color.  I don’t do a lot of scrappy projects, so when these containers get full, I toss some of the scraps that are least likely to get used. 
In the photo on the right, I have some deluxe plastic shoeboxes which cost a bit more than $2 each.  I use these babies with the locking lids to hold cut out sewing projects.  I can fit the fabric, batting, pattern instructions, and any notions in one of those boxes, and that helps me to stay organized.  This is a tip I got from the same Nancy Zieman book that I linked earlier. 
Enough about organization ….. I want to show you some of the fun things in my studio that make me smile.  On the shelf, you can see one of the latest photos of my mother who is no longer with us, and a small pitcher that was a gift from a friend who lost her battle with cancer.  Hanging from the shelf is a special fingertip towel cross-stitched for me by my sister-in-law Pam with the words “So many projects, so little time.” 
The sewing basket that you see there was a gift from my oldest sister Joyce when I was just a child.  I’m not terribly sentimental, and this old basket doesn’t hold much, but I just can’t part with it!  I remember when all of my sewing equipment fit into that small basket.  
The light beside the basket has been fashioned from a large butter jar.  I won that baby at TOPS one summer when I lost more weight in three months than any other TOPS member.  Fortunately for me, the jar was not repossessed when I regained that weight. It was originally filled with potpourri which gives me a sinus headache.  I tossed the potpourri and filled it with old sewing notions.  I love the way it coordinates with the other sewing items in my studio.  
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my workspace.  If you have any questions or comments, please respond below.   

Organizing Your Craft or Sewing Space

This is my favorite mug!

If you are a crafter, you know that there is never time enough to complete all the projects that beckon you to your craft room or area. 

Nothing eats up our precious sewing and crafting time like a lack of organization.  I’ve got a few tips today to help you get your space in great working order.

Here’s a shot of my sewing area, and I will show you my organization techniques in detail.  I have three tips today to help you get the most from your craft space, though these tips will work equally as well in any kind of work space, even a kitchen.

TIPS FOR A TIP-TOP WORKSPACE:

  1. Like with like
  2. Label, label, label
  3. Location  matters
Allow me to explain all these “L” words.
On the right is a small set of drawers that sits to the right of my main sewing machine.  That is prime location since everything in and on that stand is at my fingertips. 
On top of the stand, I have a pad and pencil to make note of sewing notions that I need to purchase, my drink with a LID, my thread snips, and my pin box. 
In the cabinet drawers, I have my most used sewing supplies and all of my thread.  I like to keep like items with like items.  I never have to guess the location of my thread, my bobbins, my sewing machine needles, or my machine accessories.  All of those things are contained in this one cabinet.
All three lower drawers in this cabinet hold thread that is sorted by color and use. 
When it comes to storing and using other sewing and craft supplies, labeling is vital.  I used to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for my supplies when I was sewing.  Not anymore!

Check out this small bookshelf.  These shelves contain items that I use often, but not every time I sew.  This bookshelf is directly behind me when I am sewing, and I can easily get to these items by wheeling around on my office chair.  Notice how the items are grouped in containers like items with like items, and they are clearly labeled, and in a convenient location.   Here’s a couple close ups of some of the storage containers on the shelves.
Zippers are sorted by length into small drawers.
Even my magazines and sewing books are sorted and labeled.
The bookshelf houses zippers, buttons, serger and secondary sewing machine supplies all sorted like items with like items and clearly labeled for easy access.
Being organized will save more time than you can imagine though it does take some time to actually get organized.  Organizing a craft or sewing space can be fun, and the rewards are so worth the time investment. 
An organized space does not have to cost a lot.  I have completely organized my sewing room on a shoestring budget.  I have repurposed furniture to make room for my sewing supplies.

Here, an old dresser holds a myriad of sewing notions.  The dresser is so old, that I was free to attach sticky labels to each drawer so that in a few seconds, I can have in hand whatever I need. 
I have used plastic baskets, cardboard boxes, thrift store finds, and inexpensive containers to keep my sewing room in Tip-Top order … just the way I like it!   
Stay tuned for more organizing ideas that will help you gain control of your time and your crafting space.
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