Sunday, January 24, 2016

More Fabric Travel Trays

As promised here are the photos of the other fabric trays I made for Christmas gifts this past December.  Check the previous post for complete directions.IMG_7063
It was fun to choose the fabrics for each person as I tried to pick fabrics that I thought they would like and fit their personalities.  I loved them all - the bright and the pastel ones!


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fabric Travel Tray Tutorial

When traveling and staying at a hotel I always try to place my key, phone and jewelry in a secure area where it won’t get knocked off and lost on the floor or behind the furniture.  It is always a worry that something will fall behind the furniture so I am always double checking that I have everything from the night before.2016-01-20-09.11.00My sister Jeannine solved that problem by giving me this very practical and useful travel tray, plus it is pretty too.  It is basically a quilted, rounded off square with Velcro in the corners to make it close up to make a shallow tray.  When I am ready to head home I pull the Velcro apart on the corners to make it lie flat again and slip it into my suitcase.  2016-01-20-09.09I decided to make these for my friends, daughters and granddaughters for Christmas.  (when my grandson’s get older I will make them each one to pack but right now at ages 10 and 13 they are a bit young and wouldn’t know what to do with them.)IMG_7048I cut 2 squares at 9 1/2” and one piece of thinner batting about 10 1/2”square.  I chose prints for the outside fabric and a lighter more solid fabric for the inside of the tray.  Left over pieces of batting work great for this project.IMG_7050Round off the corners for ease of construction.  You can use a template, old CD or DVD or any other round object to trace around on the wrong side of the lighter fabric to round it off.  Mark all 4 corners.IMG_7051Layer the two pieces of fabric right sides together then place the fabric on the batting and pin to secure.  As you can see the batting peeks out around the two fabrics.  Easy to stitch so you don’t have to worry about it creeping away from the seam lines when stitching.IMG_7052Stitch 1/4” around the rounded square leaving an opening on one side.  Back stitch at the beginning and the end.  Trim the excess batting away from the seam line leaving just a bit caught in the stitching line.  This will eliminate some of the bulk at the seams.IMG_7053Turn it right side out and use your finger or blunted object to push out the corners.  Press flat keeping the seam line on the edge of the square.  Turn under the fabric at the opening and press then pin the opening closed.  Top stitch around the entire edge pretty close so it catches the area you left open for turning.IMG_7054Mark a line 2” across each side with something that can be removed or not show after stitching.  Stitch on those markings and also a diagonal line in to the 2” lines  from each corner like the example below.IMG_7055At this point you don’t really have to do any more stitching if you don’t want to but I like to machine quilt the entire piece to make it more dense and a little stiffer.  Cut Velcro pieces about 3/4” long and stitch the small pairs of Velcro to each corner.  (Tip – make sure you have one loopy side and one hooky side for each corner!) IMG_7056As you can see the outside (below) is a blue print and quite busy but the inside (above) is a light color so items placed in it will show up.  A busy print for the inside would make it hard to see small items placed in the tray – keep inside light and more solid looking.IMG_7057This is what it looks like with the Velcro corners pinched together and with some jewelry inside.IMG_7059These are very quick to make and wonderful gifts to give to friends and family.IMG_7060Check the next post for more photos of all the finished travel trays I made for Christmas gifts. 

Until Later,

Friday, January 15, 2016

Majestic Bird–Bald Eagle

We feel so very lucky to live in an area that has bald eagles sightings, especially in the winter time.IMG_6902One lucky day mid December my husband called as he was on his way to help a neighbor move his cows to another stock field.  He excitedly told me he had seen a couple of bald eagles about a quarter of a mile from our house.  I was rushing to get dressed to go see them when the phone rang again.  (Have to admit I was still in my nightgown but had also put on a sweat shirt and sweat pants to pad around the house that morning.)IMG_6905My neighbor asked if I was home and to go outside and look in the tree on the north side of the house as a bald eagle just landed in it.  Grabbed my camera and went out the front door and sure enough there it was. (By the way I was dressed by this time.) This was a mature eagle and it sat there for quite sometime as I clicked away with my camera but eventually had enough of the paparazzi and flew away.  I am thinking it was one of the two John saw earlier.IMG_6920
Later that morning I had to run to town to get groceries and noticed two large shapes (eagles of course) across the road from our house in the field.  They don’t look that big when you see them from farther away but they are huge birds.  There was one adult and one juvenile, probably the same adult that was in our tree earlier and the pair John saw too.
Here are some zoomed and cropped photos of those two birds.  I think there were several more bald eagles in the area that day too as John said they spotted several more that morning.  The migrating geese were flying overhead quite a bit that day and we do know they follow them at least partway to their winter quarter and pick off the weak and dying.  Whenever the geese migrate we are more apt to see more bald eagles then too.  The next day we didn’t see any or few geese and no bald eagles either.

We do have one or two resident bald eagles in the area all winter long though.  I see one almost every time I cross our river sitting on a dead tree that has partially fallen into the water.  No matter how often we see them them it is still a thrill.

Until Later
PS - here is a webpage with bald eagle facts and information about the mighty birds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Husker Bag–Displaying My College Pride

John and I have season tickets to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln Women’s Basketball games.  We enjoy going and to show our pride we wear our school colors as much as we can. (I can say our because we both graduated from the University of Nebraska, although it was many years ago.)2015-12-06 13.52.28I decided since we were going to so many games I needed to make a purse/bag to go with my Husker red clothes.  By the way UNL’s mascot is the Cornhuskers…shortened to Huskers. I used the Barbados Bag pattern designed by Nancy Green from Pink Sand Beach Designs for the basic pattern. yhst-128744317015268_2266_3616581 This is both sides of the outside of the bag.  I used two red/black/white prints plus some of the black leather from one of the thrift store leather coats I took apart for the bottom.   IMG_6884It is hard to tell where the pockets are located so these photos below show a white card placed in the pockets.  I like lots of pockets in my bags so if a pattern doesn’t have what I want I add them.IMG_6886IMG_6887I used a white fabric with small black printed design for the lining of my bag.  I always choose a light colored lining as I made the mistake of making one bag with a black lining and I never can see anything inside!  I always put one zippered pocket and patch pockets on the opposite side of the lining in most bags I make.  There is a bit of a change to one of the patch pockets though.  Scroll down to look at the detail photo. 
IMG_6888I do want to point out the that the bottom is left open on one half of the patch pocket.  My sister showed me this trick a few years ago.  The reason is that you can stand your wallet or checkbook up and it will peek out the top for easy retrieval and the bottom will rest on the bottom of the bag.  Keeps the pocket from tipping forward when something heavier is placed inside. IMG_6890IMG_6891All finished!  I love it and have carried it quite a few times already.  You can see front and back views below.comboAs a final touch I make zipper pulls for ease of opening and closing. For this bag I have one special one I originally purchased as a piece of jewelry but added a lobster clip and Ta-Da a fantastic zipper pull..  In case you can't read it, it says “once a Husker, always a Husker”.IMG_6900Also dressed up the bag with a bit more bling.  This was also part of a necklace but I did find that it was a bit heavy to wear as a necklace but is perfect hanging on to the base of my bag strap.  It could be a great key ring as well.2016-01-10-19.44.37I love the size of the bag, love the fabrics plus the leather on the bottom as it helps to keep it clean at the ball games, and love the subtle tribute (red and white colors) to my beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers.


Saturday, January 9, 2016


It snowed and granted the roads and highways were a mess but look how beautiful my back yard looked the next morning.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Ready, Set, Go…….

Happy New Year and a belated Merry Christmas!  It is hard to believe it is 2016 already as I finally got used to writing 2015.

Like the title says ready, set go!  This isn’t a news year’s resolution as such but more as the start of a new year and a challenge to myself to hopefully write more posts.  It is all habit and I have just gotten out of the habit of writing for my blog and I intend to do better.  As a start I plan to post as often as I can and to not make myself write long posts but short, hopefully interesting posts to get me started.

We had a lovely Christmas with our family and a fun tradition we have with the grandchildren is to have a scavenger hunt and games or search for items around the house to get their gifts.  Now that they are a bit older we tried a couple new things that they had fun doing.  First one they had to do to get a gift was to make up their mothers as Santa.  They worked on their aunt rather than their own mother and used toilet paper and scotch tape.  Think they did a pretty good job, don’t you think?  It really got silly and they had fun making the two different kinds of beards and topping them off with the two Santa hats. 
Another fun activity they did used a paper plate and different colored crayons.  They had to put the paper plate on their head and draw what I told them to, not seeing what they were drawing of course.  I had them use a green crayon to draw a tree, a brown crayon for the trunk, yellow crayon for a star on top and red for ornaments on the branches.  To make it more fun for the kids the adults did it too.  They all had a giggle over their creations and to be honest they were pretty good pieces of art.  Every year I ask them if they are tired of doing all the things we have then do to get their gifts and the unanimous vote is to keep doing it so we do.  It does take a bit of time to come up with all the clues for the scavenger hunt for all four of them but John and I enjoy trying to make the clues more obscure the older the child.  The 15 yr. old had to really do some thinking to figure out some of her clues.  The rule is if you find all your clues you have to help the ones not done.  We send them upstairs, downstairs, and in the garage to find the clues.

The kids and adults played board games the 2 days they were here and everyone had fun from the 10 year old to John and I the oldies in the group.  We all had lots of laughs at John playing Pictionary as he can not draw well at all and our guesses of what he drew were even funnier.  It is nice to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.

Until Later,


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