Monday, July 19, 2010

Blog Addict

I'm a blog addict. I heart blogs. A zillion of them. Thank God and all that is holy that each one isn't updated daily or I'd never sleep. Wanna see what I read? Here's the GIANT list of arts and crafts blogs that feed my brain.

Did I miss a good one? Please, if I did, turn me on. Mamma needs a fix.

My absolute favorite? So glad you asked. Dottie Angel. That girl melts my heart. Her pictures are so yummy I could eat them. I love the way she mixes new and old, colorful and subdued, and it always looks crisp, tidy and fabulous. I'm also smitten with her pup who is often nearby in photos.

2nd runner up? Really, it's probably a tie. Color Me Katie. This girl radiates nothing but positive energy. Her photography is amazing and pure inspiration. This is a lady who loves life and isn't afraid to show it. She also has the 2nd cutest cat, Moo. Mr. Wobbles is still first. Duh.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tutorial: Rice Pack + Bonus Pix of Cute Campground Critters

Rice packs are da bomb. We fight over them at my house. They are SUPER easy to make. If you buy them at a body shop or a salon you'll pay an arm and leg for them. That's just silly because they are a quick project and you can make them with fabric you have lying around, a retired towel/washcloth, cut up an old shirt or just snap up a fat quarter on your next trip to the fabric store.

I have several of these in various sizes. They reside in the freezer next to the vegetable medley nobody eats, but we insist on keeping. They are great for aches and pains and are heaven on a hot day if you need to cool down quick. Post-lawn mowing, I whine about my lack of a gardner, the heat, and sometimes I grunt and cuss. Straight to the freezer I go. All is well within a few short minutes and I return to my usual perky self. I also love to take a quickie rest with one across my face covering my irritated eyes when my allergies are kicking.

If you need heated relief you can pop them in the microwave and heat them up. I start with a minute and keep adding time in 15 second chunks. I know 15 seconds doesn't sound like much, but it is. Move in slow before you snatch it up and give it a little poke to test the temp. And for cripes sake, if it's too hot for your hand, it's too hot to put anywhere else on your person. (***If you are a dummy and cook yours for 10 minutes and get burned, I am not responsible for your tom foolery. Heat them up at your own risk). Keep in mind too that microwaves vary in wattage, and mine isn't super-powered, so if yours is fancy and can boil water in an instant, maybe start small with 30 seconds and add on from there.

Stuff you need:

100% Cotton fabric
White Rice
Ruler or something to measure with
Sewing machine

Disclaimer: If you're one of those people who loves precision and can't imagine sewing without a pattern, just stop now and look away, this tutorial is going to hurt your feelers, I'm a "wing it" gal and my methods for measuring will make you even crazier.

First, determine the size you want to make. I don't normally use a pattern for this and will just approximate the size I need. Usually, I do something really scientific like measure my face with whatever is handy - a pencil, a book, my hand, then I lay the object on my fabric to get the width. Essentially you'll be making a rectangle that is the width you want plus an inch for seam allowance. So if my face is 8 1/2" from temple to temple, then I want it 9 1/2" wide.

Use your handy-dandy measuring tool (or measuring tape) and determine the height. I want my rice pouch to be about 3" tall, so I'll double the height (since I need the height for front and back) and add 1/2" for seam allowance. Lookie, I'm using a measuring tape! That's just for show. I don't really do that.

The piece of fabric I want to cut is going to be about 9 1/2" wide and 6 1/2" tall. Once it's cut, I'll fold it in half, right sides together to sew leaving a 1" opening on one end. On the open end, fold back the end of the fabric 1/2" before sewing. Iron if you must or finger press then flip it so it's right-side out. Easy-peasy.

I cut this fabric with pinking shears, which is probably not necessary, but was the closest pair of scissors to where I was sitting. I also used a zig zag stitch, which I don't really have any explanation for, other than I think it looks cute. A straight stitch is just fine. Clip your corners.

Now, grab a funnel or make a paper cone and pour the rice in to your pouch. You'll want to put enough in to give it some weight, but not fill it so full that it's completely taut and brick-like. Think of it like a pillow, do you want it soft or firm? Something in the middle? Again, I use very scientific methods to make this determination...I pour some rice in, pinch the opening closed and lay it on my face. Lather, rinse, repeat until you like the way it feels.

Once you've put in the magical amount of rice in your pouch, hand stitch the opening closed with a needle and thread. If you want it pretty, use my favorite, the invisible stitch to close. Thanks Taffy Talk for making a tutorial on this stitch so I don't have to.

All done! Now go put that baby in the freezer, then give it a test run in a couple hours. You'll be hooked. Which means you should either a) make a bunch more for everyone in the family to enjoy or b) hide it behind the vegetable medley where no one will find it.

Also, just because it's fun, here's a couple pictures of one of the raccoons that heisted about $20 worth of groceries from our most recent camping trip. We're no longer speaking.

*Note - raccoons have dexterous and nimble little hands, are MUCH stronger than they look, and they work well as a team. Zippers and velcro are NOT a challenge. If you have a soft-sided cooler like me, just put that bad boy in the car. If you have a hard one, same thing or bungee the dang thing shut - unless you want raccoons to steal your food. I hear that campground raccoons have seminars on the off-season. Day 1 - opening lids. Day 2 - velcro. Day 3 - zippers. Day 4 - teamwork. Day 5 - How to eat enormous quantities of food and not barf.

Since my raccoon love was squashed, I needed a new crush. Meet Phillip. I loves him. His groundhog fatty booty wiggles when he runs. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Happy 4th of July everybody and have a wonderful, SAFE, weekend!