Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wine Coasters

I consider myself a pretty sharing person but I if I am outrageously territorial about one thing, besides my husband, it is my wine glass. Although I normally hold on to my glass of wine while socializing, I've been known to get into an animated conversation then forget which glass is mine, especially if I'm pulling hosting duties. Because of this, and because I hate those wine "charms" that clink against my glass, I make fabric wine coasters. These pair well with wine bags for a holiday or housewarming gift.

~ Sewing machine
~ 4 different fabric patterns
~ Batting

Note: I use different color/patterns for each coaster because making identical wine coasters defeats the purpose of keeping everyone's paws off my wine glass. I have made completely different colored/patterned coasters as well as coasters that are different but match each other (especially if I'm giving them as a gift with a wine bag).

Step 1: From each fabric cut 4 squares and one batting square, 4 1/2 inches each. *

* I've only had my wine coaster not fit a glass one time and that was because my cousin has ginormous wine glasses. Adjust the size to your needs but 4 1/2 inches seems to be average (for the base of a wine glass).

Step 2: From each of the four fabric squares take two, fold them in half, and iron them flat.

Here is what you should now have for each coaster: Two folded squares, two regular squares, and one batting square.

~ The following is how to layer for each coaster ~

Step 3: Place one fabric square right side facing down.

Step 4: Next place the batting square on top of the fabric square.

Step 5: Now place a fabric square right side up on top of the batting square.

Step 6: Finally, place the two squares that you folded and ironed on top of the whole "sandwich", folded parts touching. I sometimes overlap the folded parts at the fold a smidge for a tighter fit. Spell check just alerted me that "smidge" is not a word but I think everyone knows it's short for smidgen, jeez.

Step 7: Sew all around sandwiched square.

Tips: 1. I tend to double stitch (sew, then sew backwards, then continue sewing forwards) as I go over the folded parts, just to make it more durable. 2. As you get close to the end of one side stop, pick up your presser foot (with needle in fabric keeping it secure) and adjust it so you can sew up the next side.

~ Note: Even if you go slow and keep sides lined up, they can still shift. No need to worry if, at this point, the coaster doesn't look lined up perfectly, you will be turning it inside out and nobody will see it.

Step 8: Take your sewn square and turn it inside out, poking each corner out as much as possible.

Take care when turning fabric inside out, you don't want to pull on any of the stitching too much.

Once pulled inside out give it a press with an iron, it always looks a bit better.

Your finished coaster should look like this:

I usually make four coasters if giving as a gift with a wine bag, more if it's a dinner party and there will be 6 or so people there (6 is my limit, at some point people just need to keep an eye on their glass of wine).

Wine coasters are easy to make, and if the wine somehow misses your mouth (I'm not sure how this can happen but there are amateurs out there), you can toss it in the wash or just make another one with scrap fabric.


~ B

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quick Antibacterial Cleaning Spray

I have said it before and I'll say it again: It is amazing how much money you can save when you make your own cleaning products.  Most ingredients are already in your pantry. I use this cleaner to spray down my counter tops* & butcher block.

* Do not use on granite counter tops. While it won't hurt the granite, it could, over time, break down the seal that covers the granite. *

Spray Bottle
1 Cup Water
1 Cup White Vinegar
20 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

 I get my spray bottles from whatever "Dollar Store" is nearby and I usually double the recipe because the spray bottles tend to be on the large side and frankly I am a freak about germs so I spray a lot of surfaces.

Vinegar has a long list of benefits & uses. It is 
safe for the environment and an excellent all purpose cleaner. Although the smell can appear potent at first, it dissipates quickly.

Besides smelling pleasant, lavender essential oil has antibacterial components. Although essential oils can get expensive, a little goes a long way and many, such as lavender and tea tree oil have cleaning as well as health benefits.

I was never a big essential oils person but I have really begun to notice how beneficial they can be. This site has some useful information regarding essential oils.

After adding all ingredients to the spray bottle, give it a couple shakes and you are done.

~ B

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sweater Pillow

The other day I went to put on my favorite sweater and discovered a hole. To say I was devastated is an understatement. Just kidding, it's a sweater; but it's soft and my favorite color and I look cute in it (if I do say so myself). As I was balling it up to toss in the trash, I realized this did not have to be the end for my sweater. My sweater could live on as a pillow.

My trusty sewing machine, some pins, a pillow insert, and some needle & thread is all I needed for this project.

Step 1: Cut the material. First I cut off the material I did not need for the pillow (such as the sleeves). 

My pillow form was 12 x 16 inches. Normally when measuring to cut material for a pillow I will add a 1/2 inch (1/4 inch for seam allowance on each side) but because my sweater material was stretchy I just kept to the 12 x 16 inches measurement. Just see how much "give" your material has when trying to decide on measurements.

I cut it in a way so that I could utilize one of the sides still sewn on the sweater, yay for shortcuts!

Step 2: Once I had my measurements and had cut the material I then placed "right sides" together. Basically I put the material I wanted to show on the outside on the inside facing each other. 

Step 3: Sew sweater material together, leaving one short side open for the pillow form.

As previously noted, sweater material can be a bit stretchier than regular cotton sewing fabric. I held the material as I sewed to make sure it stayed lined up.

As I neared each corner I would stop, lift the presser foot, and reposition to go up the next side so each side of the pillow had 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Step 4: Now that I had 3 sides sewn together I turned the sweater material right side out and inserted the pillow form through the short side I left open.

Step 5: Next, take the material at the opening, fold it in a little bit, and pin closed. 

Step 6: Take a needle and thread (knotted at the bottom) and stitch open end closed. 

I use a ladder stitch for this. It is relatively easy and invisible because the stitches are done inside the little folds you've made.

With everything stuffed, pinned, and stitched. My sweater became a pillow.

~ B