New Beginnings



Notice anything different about the ol’ blog? Yep, a different look (a little bit more straight-from-the-box to make life easier for me) — and I removed almost all the old posts. By next month, I’ll have been blogging for fifteen years. But I haven’t been ‘feeling it’ lately. A large part of that is because my life (the interesting bits of it, anyway) is 95% all-M-all-the-time, and I’m not comfortable sharing all the stories that really belong to her. Which leaves me at a loss for what to write here. At the same time, I’m not convinced I want to stop, either.

I realize that ‘the internet never forgets’, but there’s still a refreshing feeling about taking down all the old stuff (except for what people visit for most often: my zipper tutorial and the paper houses) and giving myself the freedom to post whatever without thinking about what’s come before. And it was nice to clear out a load of old files from the files on the server — it’s all backed up, of course!

Anyway, I don’t know how this change will affect how or what I post; I just wanted to give it a try.

In other new beginnings, our chickens FINALLY started laying eggs last week. It was later than I expected, and I’d given up on them laying at all this year, since it’s cold out now, and the days are getting shorter and shorter. But now we have eggs… some eggs. Every so often. They’re very good eggs, though!

Winter-Time Paper Farm

Winter-Time Paper Farm! Ahh! Finally, after almost two years of intending to create another paper house pattern download, I’ve done it. I knew I didn’t want to just make more houses, so I decided on a farm. So cute!

The download includes the patterns and instructions to create a barn, a silo, and a pasture with some horses and chickens milling around. I thought the silo was a great idea until I actually started drawing it, and then I was suddenly messing around with pi and circumference and sides of hexagons. You don’t expect there to be so much math when you’re drawing! Luckily, I paid attention in geometry class.

I think the paper farm would look really cute with the original free download as the farmhouse — or, my favorite, the log cabin from the Winter-Time House Pack. I want to really thank everybody who has bought that house pack over the past couple of years, both for supporting this creative endeavor and for sending me such nice comments about the patterns (and photos of the finished houses — I love seeing those!).

The Winter-Time Paper Farm PDF can be bought for $5, via e-junkie. Once you pay, you’ll be sent a one-time download link, and then all you have to do is print the patterns on some cardstock and get crafting! So enjoy — and thank you once again!

Buy Now

Winter-Time Paper House Pack!

They’re here! I’ve finished! Finally! You can now buy the patterns and instructions (although they’re not too complicated) for the three buildings above. Turn your winter-time paper house into a winter-time paper village!

Included in this pack: the grocery store, the little log cabin, the rambler, and several trees and shrubs to add extra interest to your village. Once you’ve paid your $5.00 and downloaded the file, you can print out the patterns as many times as you like and create an entire log cabin community or a pair of fierce rival grocers!

Thanks to some helpful comments, I’ve set up payment and download through E-junkie. Once you pay with PayPal, you’ll be given a link to the file. Easy peasy! So buy now! Tell yer friends!

Buy Now

(Hey, did you know there’s also a Paper Farm? With horses and a barn and everything!)

Winter-Time Paper House Freebie

[If you enjoy this freebie, also check out the paper house pack I have for sale here]!

So, the other day I was sitting around, trying to decide what to do after dinner. It’s that time of the day when I don’t really feel like starting any big projects, but it’s too early to watch something on Hulu. I have absolutely no recollection of my thought process on this evening, but I grabbed a piece of white card and drew a house. The next day, I cut it out and assembled it, and I made a second one the day after that.

I guess part of the reason I had houses on the brain was because my gingerbread houses didn’t live up to last year’s. The instructions called for too much water in the icing mix, and all my nice details wound up slowly migrating downwards before they dried. Disappointing.

But I’m totally, immodestly in love with my little paper houses, and I can see making quite a few more in the near future. In fact, while I was in the process of drawing the third house, I stopped before I cut it out and scanned it in — so I could share it with you!

Continue reading “Winter-Time Paper House Freebie”

Zipper Tutorial

Once upon a time, somebody asked how I do my zippers. Because I like to share knowledge, I decided I’d write up a little tutorial for my method (and probably the method of others, too). Because I am lazy busy, it’s taken me a long time, but I finally got round to it.
Some things: This is a tutorial for a zipped pouch, but you can use the same method on larger projects. If you put little ‘end caps’ on the ends of the zipper before sewing it into your project, you can have a zip that doesn’t go all the way across, as with this purse. Doing that can take some jiggery pokery to get it to work, but it’s not so difficult, really.
[Just a note: I’ve had to close the comments on this post, because it was starting to get pretty heavily spammed. Thank you to everybody who has used and enjoyed this tutorial!]
Right! With one piece of your lining fabric right-side-up, place the zipper, also right-side-up, like so:

Take one piece of your outer fabric and lay it down on top, right-side-down, creating a delicious zipper sandwich. Baste or pin everything together if you like, but I live on the edge and just go for it! Don’t be afraid — what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll repeatedly mess up and tear out the stitches until you’re left with a threadbare pile of scraps that you have to throw away? Pshaw! . . .Okay, maybe you should pin it.
Anyway, now that your pieces are laid out like the photo below, sew them all together. Go down the left edge (to the left of the zipper teeth) using a zipper foot. You really do need a zipper foot. Find one, use one, and then you’ll say, ‘No wonder I had so much trouble before!’

With your sewn zipper sandwich, fold back the two pieces of fabric so the wrong sides are together, like so:

Again, you can pin your pieces together or iron it flat, but I just can’t be bothered. Flatten everything out and topstitch about 1/8″ from the edge, where the fabric meets the zipper. You should catch all three layers (outside, ziper, lining) and squash everything right down. It will look like this (you may need to click to see the detail):

Repeat for the other side of the zipper, and you’ll wind up with something like the photo below. At this point, I took a moment to square everything up again — not pinning can take its toll! I’m not afraid.

Flip some fabric around until you’ve got both pieces of outer fabric on one side of the zipper and both pieces of lining fabric on the other. It’ll look like this:

Carefully line up the top edges of the outer fabric as in the photo below. Note how the zipper goes toward the lining. Now’s a good time for pinning.

Starting at the seam where everything meets (see below), sew straight down to the bottom. Flip the pouch over and repeat for the other side of outer fabric. With both sides sewn up, reach in through the bottom and unzip the zipper. Oooh, you’ll be so mad if you forget that part!

Line up the edges of the lining and sew down the sides, as you did with the outer fabric. Now you should be catching the ends of the zipper in the first few stitches.

Once you’ve finished both sides, you’ll have something resembling the photo below. I left the bottom of the lining completely open, because my outer fabric has interfacing on it (it makes it stiffer and more difficult to turn). If you’re using a lighter, friendlier fabric, you can sew up part of the bottom, leaving a smaller hole to turn the piece through.

Snip the excess fabric from the corners of the outer fabric. Then go ahead and turn the whole thing right-side-out. Turn under about 1/2″ of the bottom of the lining, press it flat, and sew it closed. No more raw edges!

Tuck the lining into the pouch, and it’s practically finished!

All you have to do is iron out any wrinkles and then admire your lovely new pouch with its perfect zip. Hooray!