Category Archives: sewing

FABRIC THERAPY

My sister needed to clear her head last week. Unsure of where to go for peace and quiet, she ended up at the fabric store where she sat down and began browsing through pattern books.

She wasn’t alone. Another woman sat next to her turning page after page in search of a design similar to a picture of a dress she had ripped from a magazine. The woman’s head bobbed side to side comparing the photo in her hand to the different patterns in the books.

At about the same time, I was several states away surfing through bolts of fabric in a store lined floor to ceiling with rolls of discount decorator fabric and accessories. I was clearing my head, too.

Surfing through uncut fabric with all of its possibilities calmed me, like watching colorful fish swim in an aquarium or viewing the vivid colors of various petals in a garden.

The possibilities of making something beautiful or clever, functional or whimsical made me feel hopeful and happy. The feel of the fabric, the texture and weight ignited ideas through my fingertips.

After more than an hour of browsing, my sister came home with a pattern and fabric. I came home with fabric, too.

And we left our head clutter at the stores.

–cawk

HEARTS ON DISPLAY

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During the long holiday weekend, I was stuck at home while the rest of ChatterboxBeach met at the shore to make a collection of hearts together.

They sent me a picture of what they were making. For this project, they cut deep-red, velvet-like fabric into heart shapes, sewed the pieces together adding twine for hanging, and stuffed them plump. They made so many beautiful hearts.

Wanting to get involved, I dove into my home fabric stash and came up with a soft purple fabric and made my own his-and-her hearts in purple.

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Hearts become popular just before Valentine’s Day, but they have a forever message of love and friendship.

Here are some ideas ChatterboxBeach has for displaying hearts:

 Billie likes to string several hearts on a ribbon and display the garland at the Orange Blossom Shop in Hampstead, NC.
 Caroline suggests hanging hearts on cabinet knobs to add sparkle to the room.
 She also ties homemade hearts onto birthday, wedding, hostess and graduation gifts for added charm.
 Hearts left on a pillow make special valentines.
 Hearts in a bowl make a pleasing display.
 Mary suggests adding hearts to a wreath or vase.
 She also likes to strategically place them at table settings for added beauty.

No matter how you choose to display your hearts, ChatterboxBeach has enjoyed making them.

–Caroline at ChatterboxBeach

http://www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com
http://www.facebook.com/ChatterboxBeachGifts

THE ORANGE BLOSSOM RESALE

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ChatterboxBeach has found a home not only on Etsy, but also in an adorable shop called The Orange Blossom Resale in Hampstead, NC. Our handmade crafts fit right at home among the many vendor booths that feature an eclectic array of home décor, jewelry and fashion items. Located in a strip mall on Highway 17, the store is a convenient drive from Jacksonville, Wilmington and the Crystal Coast and Southern beaches. We love to browse each time we add more items to our booth.
The chef hats, scarves, pillows and dishcloths that we sell on Etsy also are featured in the store. Additional items are also available at The Orange Blossom, include paintings, aprons, pocket books, cup cozies, knitted necklaces, wine bags and mini quilts. ChatterboxBeach hopes to add new products each week.
Let the store owner know your favorite ChatterboxBeach items so we can keep them in stock. Let us know what you are looking for, too. We enjoy tackling new projects together.
Contact us anytime at chatterbox_gifts@yahoo.com and stop by The Orange Blossom Resale at 14884 Highway 17, Hampstead NC 28443, (910) 821-1544.
Store hours are:
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m.
Monday: Closed
http://www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com
http://www.facebook.com/ChatterboxBeachGifts

MOVING FORWARD IN 2015

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Last year, my quilting friend and I talked about getting together each month to sew, which rarely happened. But 2015 is a new year, and yesterday we met at her home resolved to sew.

She worked diligently with her rotary cutter to make pieces for a placemat. Her daughter, who was home from college on break, joined us needle in hand to sew a cross stitch picture. And I stared blankly at three unfinished quilt projects that I had sprawled out on their dining room table.

Each of my pieces had promise, but my creativity was stumped. I was ready to stick each project in a drawer never to be seen again, much less to be completed, when my friend rearranged some of the squares of the first project, offered her suggestions on the second and admired the third.

Seeing my work through her eyes breathed new life into the dormant quilts. I wrote down her suggestions and some of the ideas that they sparked within me. Now the projects are moving forward again.

Needle arts are more than the mechanics of stitching. They also involve the sharing and communicating of ideas.

http://www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com

COOKIES FROM SCRAPS

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I can’t resist eating cookies, and now I can’t stop making them.

But forget flour, sugar and chocolate chips. These cookies are made of fabric.

Fabric fortune cookies are lots of fun. They can be used as place card holders, a home decoration or a special gift. Just slip a note inside the fabric cookie for party favors, valentines or invitations.

The first time I made them was for my book club. We were meeting for an end-of-the-year party, and I slipped quotes from the different books we had read during the year inside a batch of my homemade fabric cookies. Because we all have different tastes, I made the cookies out of a variety of colors so the club members could select the ones they liked.

Then we each took turns reading the quotes and guessing which book they came from and which character said the words. I mixed the batch with serious and funny lines. We laughed so hard, we were the loudest table in the restaurant. But it was great revisiting our favorite characters and moments from the novels.

I made fortune cookies again for two friends who enjoy needlework. We get together about once a month for coffee or to visit quilt shows. I slipped quotes about friendship and sewing inside the cookies and shared them. My friends were delighted by the experience.

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It’s truly what’s inside the cookie that counts. Messages can be simple such as “Get Well Soon” or “Happy Birthday.” They also can be more heart-felt. I’ve thought of slipping one in my son’s lunch box with a “good luck on your test” message or putting one on his pillow to say “thanks for making your bed this morning.”

I’m planning to make several sets for stocking stuffers this year. I’m hoping the personalized messages will be a hit, especially for two difficult names on my list. A similar gift should work for my neighbors, a favorite aunt, my teen-aged nephews and teachers, too.

I also plan to pair my fabric cookies with a restaurant gift card delivered in a to-go box to celebrate my good friend’s birthday.

Fabric cookies don’t add calories, but they can be served for almost all occasions.

www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com

HEAVY PATCH

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Way back in November, my son asked me to sew a national competition badge on his favorite marching band sweatshirt. This morning, as I pulled the often-worn hoodie once again out of my clothes dryer with a load of wash that needed to be folded, I realized that two months have passed, and I still have not honored his request.

When he asked me to add the patch to his shirt, I told him to put the badge next to my sewing machine so I wouldn’t forget. The patch is still there. I haven’t forgotten. I just haven’t done the work.

Each time I sit down to sew, I see the patch and slip it underneath other sewing projects only to see it rise and reappear at the top of the to-do list. When I see it surface once again, I casually slip it back underneath another new mound of work. This could go on for years.

Why can’t I get started on that patch? All I need is a needle and thread, a pair of scissors and 10 minutes in a 24-hour day. I cringe every time I see that patch, not because the work is difficult, but because the work hasn’t been done.

This morning, the weight finally became too heavy. The irrational burden of hand sewing a tiny 3-inch patch onto a shirt had to go. I did the task, checked it off my list, and I’m all smiles.

The feeling of accomplishment is wonderful! The happiness on my son’s face when he sees that the patch finally has been sewn onto his sleeve will be even better.

Worrying two months over something that took five minutes to complete makes no sense. From now on, Monday will be my anti-procrastination day — a chance to get started or finish simple sewing projects that I have been avoiding. I’m marking the new routine on my calendar.

I’m ready to sew.

www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com

 

WARMING UP WITH DISHCLOTHS

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Similar to the person who hasn’t exercised in a while and wants to start a new fitness routine without overdoing it, I’m easing into this year of crafting by knitting dishcloths.

Some people think this is a waste of time. The owner of an upscale yarn shop near my sister’s house sure did.

My sister stopped there for convenience instead of driving across town to a national craft store retailer.

A group of retirement-aged ladies sat comfortably knitting sweaters in intricate patterns in the center of the pleasant shop. They were surrounded by shelves from floor to ceiling stocked with beautiful, colorful and expensive yarns.

When my sister asked the owner to show her the 100 percent cotton yarn that was for sale, the shop owner asked my sister what she was planning to make.

When my sister answered, “Dishcloths,” the owner dropped the reading glasses from her face and let them dangle on their beaded chain next to her shirt.

“If you’re going to invest money and spend all of that time knitting, you should make something better than a dishcloth,” she said.

My sister left without a purchase.

Most people who have used hand-knitted dishcloths will agree that their benefits are plenty. Not only are they strong, soft and durable, but they also are a great tool for washing dishes and wiping up spills in the kitchen.

Their usefulness is versatile throughout the home and office.

I keep a set in my car to wipe the morning dew off my windows when I have to drive somewhere early in the morning.

In the bathroom, the gentle cloths can be used as baby washcloths or facecloths.

They also can be used to wipe the ink off of white boards or when cleaning mirrors and glass doors.

As a sewing project, knitting dishcloths is a good way to practice or try out new stitches. Novices can work on their basic knits and purls. More advanced knitters can experiment with some of the new patterns they’d like to try – from basket weaves to cables. For knitters attempting a new stitch, it’s better to mess up on a small dishcloth than a whole sweater.

Dishcloths also make useful and thoughtful hostess gifts, teacher gifts and presents for graduates, moms, aunts, teens, neighbors, seniors and friends.

The yarn comes in a variety of mix and match colors and goes on sale at various times throughout the year. One ball usually makes two regular-sized cloths.

So this January, I’m getting back on the knitting treadmill and experimenting with styles and stitches in a variety of dishcloth patterns. By February, I’m hoping to be in good enough shape to try knitting some drink cozies.

I’m ready to sew.

www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com

TIME TO THAW

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Similar to the arctic vortex that dipped over the nation this week, my crafty side took a deep plunge over the past six months.

Glancing around my sewing room, I see that most of my projects have remained frozen in place while my attention has been elsewhere with the duties of daily life. Sadly, half a year of prime crafting time has been wasted.

My New Year’s resolution is to remedy this imbalance in 2014.

One of the best gifts I received at Christmas was a 2-year pocket planner from my sister, who knows that organization is the key for me to stay on track with my projects.

The cover of the calendar features a bouquet of colorful flowers. They will be my inspiration.

So let the crafting thaw begin. I’m ready to sew.

www.ChatterboxBeach.etsy.com

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    WALK AWAY FROM THE SEWING MACHINE It was one of those mornings. I spent way too much time searching for fusible interfacing in my closet. The right color thread wasn’t right at all. The ends of my fabric … Continue reading

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SWEEPING AWAY THE SEWING DUST BUNNIES My children are entertaining themselves this week, so I’m having my own stitching retreat at home. The first day, I finished putting the binding on a table runner that I began about three Halloweens … Continue reading