Tag Archives: Embellish By Andrea

Unnecessary Distractions

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Hello Embellish Family,

Todays blog is about getting rid of “unnecessary distractions”.   I am making a summertime goal to remove them and to put more order into my life!!  It’s so easy for creative people to become overwhelmed with possibilities.  EVERYTHING we SEE becomes a potential project.  The problem with that mindset is getting ourselves involved with far too many projects and NEVER finishing any of them.

I’ve decided to regroup (AKA, discipline myself) and stay focused on finishing the unfinished.  Whenever we spread ourselves too thin, we become less and less able to accomplish what we’ve set out to do and we get stressed, overwhelmed and distracted!

Time to implement the “D” words Discipline, De-clutter, Delete unnecessary Distractions & De-stress!   Time to get focused!

A great way to begin doing this is to stick with one project.  I’ve been trying to de-clutter the house and staying focused on that task alone will help me to move forward in removing unnecessary distractions.  I need to remove the things that keep me from staying focused on my main projects.

First implementation of the ‘D’ words, Scrap booking stuff.  I used to do a bit of scrap booking but find that it’s not something that I really enjoy.  It takes up quite a bit of space and I get distracted when I see a particular sticker or paper and think, “Hmm, maybe I’ll make something awesome!”   Then I’ll start something and BAM, nothing gets finished.  It’s time to move it along to someone who does enjoy it and free up some storage space for the projects that I actually enjoy.  Discipline, remove Distraction, De-clutter, and De-stress.

While doing this I need to put on blinders, as in keep my eyes focused on the project at hand and not allow mental or physical roaming.  If I start looking at and thinking about what cool things I could make, I’m allowing myself to become distracted from my main project/goal and will not finish what needs to be done.   (This is SO HARD for me!)

Even though it’s hard, it must be done.  Good things come from hard work and discipline.  (I’ll be reminding myself of that very often while I plug along).

Once I’ve accomplished my scrap booking de-clutter, I will then be moving along to Jewelry de-cluttering.  While I enjoy making jewelry, I have far more things than I will ever use and I easily get distracted when looking at my overwhelming stash of goodies.

And finally, once my jewelry de-cluttering is complete, I will move on to fabric de-clutter, by far the most difficult of all my projects!!  I am a fabricaholic!!  I love fabric.  The possibilities are endless.  Unfortunately, I can become paralyzed by it!  I begin to think of all the ways to create with it and before I realize what I’m doing, I have 100 unfinished sewing projects under way.   (That’s not much of an exaggeration by the way!)

Summer of 2013 will be the summer of removing unnecessary distractions freeing up space, both physically and mentally.  Would you like to journey along with me?  Do you have some unnecessary distractions in your life??  Do you need to implement the “D” words as well?  Well what are you waiting for?  Let’s jump right in and do this together.

I hope you will share with me your journey as I share mine with you.  The good, the bad and sometimes the ugly!

As Larry the Cable guy says, Get er done!!

Hugs and Blessings

Andrea

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FREE EASTER BUNNY BAG PATTERN AND TUTORIAL!

Oh my goodness, I kept trying to share this on my facebook page www.facebook.com/embellishbyandrea and for the life of me, it simply won’t work.  Well, I’m going  to share it here instead!

I found this adorable pattern and tutorial this morning at Therm-o-web by Amy Friend and just had to share.  Isn’t this cute and easy peasy?  I’d love to see some of my wonderfully talented and creative Embellish By Andrea family make one of these.  Pretty please!!  AND post pictures for all of us to see.  I will try to get one whipped out this week for you all to see.  Who’s with me??  We only have a few days left before the BIG DAY!!

When do you find time to sew?

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ImageI was reading a recent blog post about how do others find the time to sew.  See this pretty, Easy Sew, “Quick” project in the picture above?  Well, I’ve had it for over a year and it’s still neatly folded and not sewn!

(If you like it, I have more for sale in my shop located in the link below)https://www.etsy.com/listing/115067353/do-it-yourself-sewing-kit-2-reversible?

My solution is my sewing buddy Kim, whom I fondly call Kimmers.  We schedule sewing “play dates” and work on our projects, one on one side of the table and the other on the other side.  It works!  I swear it does.  We both have machines that are portable so, “will travel with machine” is our motto.

You would be amazed at how much we get done working side by side, not to mention the amount of laughter (

Aside

Last week I touched upon Thread, is there really a difference??

The answer was YES!  Below is a guide to selecting thread and what to look for BEFORE you purchase.  

Keep in mind the type of item you will be sewing and the type of material you will be using.

Kids clothes with lots of wear and tear.  Perhaps a window treatment with little wear and tear but direct sunlight.  A “just for show” pillow cover.  A pillow cover that will be smashed and tossed and USED.  A quilt that will be washed many times over or a quilt that will be on the wall.   The type of use, amount of use and the elements do make a difference in not only your fabric choices, but also your thread choices.

Thread Terminology and what to look for:

Good tensile strength   The tension at which a thread breaks, expressed in grams or kilograms (force).   Holds the stitched seam securely during wash and wear.

Unwind a bit of thread and give it a tug.  Ok, so you can’t really do this in the store, especially if the store manager is lurking about, but most of us have thread lying around the house and probably various brands, so test them out.  I’ve had some cotton threads that seem to break quickly and others that hold their own.  Polyester won’t even budge and any heavy-duty thread is the Iron Man of threads.  Cotton threads are soft and are most commonly used in quilting as they do not stretch and cause puckering.  Polyester is the go to thread for most sewing of crafts, kids clothing,  and Heavy Duty stands up to Home Dec, Denim and the hard to get through fabrics.

Smooth surface and absence of faults ensures less friction between the needle and the material during high-speed sewing. The thread must be well lubricated to increase its sewability and resistance to abrasion.

Uniform thickness / diameter results in an even sewing thread, which moves smoothly and quickly through the needle eye and the fabric. It also affects the thread’s tensile strength, resistance to abrasion and its twist construction. An uneven thread may twist into short knots and jam at the eye of the needle.

Good elasticity  The property that enables thread to recover its original length immediately after the tension has been released. The elasticity of sewing thread affects the strength and the finished quality of a stitched seam.  (Are you sewing knit or woven fabric?  This makes a difference in your thread choice).

Good colour fastness provides immunity to the different agents the thread is exposed to during manufacture and washing. The thread must be uniformly dyed.

Low shrinkage of the thread being used on the fabric material with higher shrinkage reduces the chances of seam puckering.

Good resistance to chemical attack is a desirable property for thread used in garments which may undergo washing, bleaching or dry-cleaning.

Good abrasion resistance ensures a good sewing performance and makes the thread more durable.

SO WHAT THE HECK IS THREAD ANYWAY???

THREAD

A thin, continuous cord made by either spinning STAPLE fibers into single strands—or yarns—and then twisting two or more of them into a plied sewing thread, or by an extrusion process that forms one or more long, continuous FILAMENTS.

WHAT ARE STAPLE FIBERS?

Natural fibers, which vary in length from 1 to 2 inches, or synthetic fibers, cut to definite lengths of 4 to 5 inches, which are spun together to form yarns.   Longer staple fiber lengths increase the quality and strength of the thread.

WHAT ARE FILAMENTS?  (There are 3 types)

1. Monofilament thread is made from a single continuous fibre with a specified thickness. Though monofilament is strong, uniform and inexpensive to make, it lacks flexibility and is stiff and scratchy in feel. As a result, usage is normally restricted to hems, draperies, and upholstered furniture.

2. Smooth multifilament thread is usually made from nylon or polyester and is used where high strength is a primary requirement. It consists of two or more continuous filaments twisted together. It is commonly used to sew shoes, leather garments, and industrial products.

3. Textured filament thread is usually made from polyester and is used primarily as the looper thread for cover stitches. Texturing filaments gives the yarn more cover and high extensibility, but makes the thread more subject to snagging.

WHAT IS THREAD PLY:

Ply and cord – Yarns with many components are twisted together to form ply thread. Most commonly used are 2, 3 or 4 ply threads. Threads are twisted together to give corded thread. Most commonly used are 4, 6 or 9 cord threads.

WHAT IS SPUN THREAD:

Spinning is the process by which staple fibers are twisted into single yarns, which are then plied together to form thread.  Spun thread is made using natural or synthetic fibres.

Spun polyester is one of the most versatile threads available. You can use it for sewing light weight garments such as shirts, blouses, and dresses to heavy weight items such jeans, gloves, and even mattresses. It is stronger than cotton but slightly weaker than other core spun threads. Like all spun threads it has a soft, fuzzy look and feel and natural lubrication to make machine sewing easy.

BASIC THREAD CONSTRUCTION:

All conventional sewing threads begin their production cycle as simple yarns. These basic yarns are produced by twisting together relatively short fibres or fine continuous filaments. Some terms used in the context of thread construction are:

Twist – The ‘twist’ of a thread refers to the number of turns per unit length required to hold the fibres / plies together to give the yarn / thread substance the required strength and flexibility. A thread with an excessive twist is also likely to give trouble while sewing due to ‘twist liveliness’, which can cause snarling, loops, knots and possible spillage that prohibit stitch formation.

Twist direction – Direction of twist is identified as ‘S’ for left twist and ‘Z’ for right twist. Most single needle lock stitch and other machines are designed for ‘Z’ twist threads. ‘S’ twist thread untwists during stitch formation.

THREAD CORE:

A central polyester or nylon filament around which staple fibers or micro metallic ribbons are wound to form a thread.  Example, Polyester wrapped in Cotton.

TEXTURED/TEXTURIZED THREAD:

Texture is added to continuous multifilaments by crimping them to entangle the parallel filaments and create softness, bulk, and elasticity.

WATER SOLUBLE THREAD:

Handy for temporarily basting hems and positioning pockets, pleats, etc.

METALLIC THREAD:

Has a foil-like appearance and is used for decorative stitching and embroidery.  It is known to separate, so stitch slowly, loosen the tension, use a larger needle, and pair with all-purpose thread in the bobbin. (Clever) Some newer wrapped-core versions have a veneer type finish that keep them from separating.

PHEW!!  And here you thought you could just walk right into that fabric store, pick up a spool of thread and check out.  Well, you could do that, and we probably all have, but you more than likely were disappointed with the results.  Oh, you probably didn’t realize it was your poor choice of thread that kept causing your machine to skip stitches, thread to break, and ALL THAT NASTY FUZZ, but more than likely, it was due to either CHEAP THREAD or the WRONG THREAD for your fabric.

Next week I will continue discussing THREAD and introduce NEEDLE KNOWLEDGE.  (Another VERY IMPORTANT but commonly overlooked sewing mistake made by most new sewers and even a few “experienced” sewers).

Please feel free to comment, ask a question, or simply take away what you might have gleaned from this information and have a wonderful and creative day!

Hugs, Andrea 🙂

Sewing Thread 101, Part II

Sunday Fun Day!!

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Hi all!  I love Sundays!  I do try to make it a day to rest, relax, and mentally recharge.

After Mass this morning, hubs and I ate a yummy lunch at a local pub.  They have these ‘to die for’ Albacore Tuna Wraps, and of course we had to have a beer, mine a Shocktop cause I love the orange flavor, and his a Genius, on tap.  I even grabbed a nap.  🙂

Sundays are a great day to re-coop and fill the creative tank.  That being said, I’ve been thinking about whipping up a fun project, Pillow Covers.  I watched a neat tutorial on how easy they are to make and it really inspired me to use some of my deliciously fabulous fabrics to create some fun pillows.  You can find the tutorial here http://thefrugalhomemaker.com/2012/10/17/diy-easy-envelope-pillow-cover-tutorial-day-17-of-31-days-of-pinterest-pinned-to-done/

I hope to whip up a couple this week and post my creations here.  I own a serger, bought it well over a year ago and was scared to death to open it for months.  Finally brave enough, I called a friend and she came over to show me the ropes.  (Thank you Joy!)  I still feel that I have miles to sew on the serger before I become “pro”, but I LOVE MY SERGER.  I will definitely be using it with this pillow cover project.

Wishing you a restful, peace filled and fully recharged evening!

Hugs,

Andrea 🙂

 

FABRIC SALE AND CLEARANCE

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Good morning and Happy Wednesday! 

Yesterday I shared that awesome tutorial on creating ruffles on your machine the FAST and EASY way.

Today I have been busy doing markdowns in my shop as I’ve added a new section, ‘SALE AND CLEARANCE”. 

Don’t you just love the word “SALE”!   Seriously, I hardly ever buy non sale items.  Exceptions to that rule include food, wine, and anything at TJ Max, as it won’t be there the next time you stop if you don’t buy it that day!  Oh, and I do break my rule occasionally at my favorite craft stores if I see something that is limited and probably not going to be restocked. 

Yesterday was a prime example of “breaking the rules”.  I stopped at Michael’s after my workout.  I was trying to buy the ribbon I had seen on clearance that matched my wrapping paper used for my Etsy packaging and wouldn’t you know it, it was GONE!  Urgh.  So, when I happened to see a couple of AWESOME metal trinket thingys that immediately got my creative juices flowing, I hesitantly put them in my cart.  Well, actually, first I whipped out my Iphone and snapped some pics, but then decided that just wouldn’t do!

As you know, I’m in the process of creating and designing my own fabrics and these little trinket thingys just sparked ideas for designs.  🙂  Now I’m impatiently waiting for a SALE on scrapbooking paper.  I am going to be creating some of my fabric designs using solid color scrapbook paper and I’m not about to spend the 69 to 79 cents per sheet!  I need like 45 colors and that really adds up.   So in the meantime, I’m working on clearancing some of  my own stash of supplies that I no longer want or need.

I invite you to stop on over and check out my “SALE AND CLEARANCE” section located in my shop here http://www.etsy.com/shop/EmbellishByAndrea?section_id=12949893  Pehaps you will find something that sparks a creative idea for you and I would be thrilled to supply the materials.  Remember, anything you create from my supplies can/will be featured in my Customer Brag Album located here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.373483419402722.90108.195968973820835&type=3