Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Torah Table Cover

Right before the High Holidays, I was commissioned by a temple to make a cover for the table the Torah sits on. They showed me the other cover they had and wanted me to make something similar and the rabbi asked me to add some words in Hebrew. So, armed with my mission I went to creating this cover. And let me tell you....argh!  This was a tough project. Its not that the construction or details were difficult to do, it was just the sheer volume of the project. You have to realize, this was 18 feet of fabric for the top and then another 18 feet of fabric to line it with!  My sewing room is not the size of a warehouse!  In fact, it is quite cramped because I keep a LOT of stuff in there. (I'll do a post on my sewing room later) So having all that fabric and piecing it together and lining it and everything needed a lot of space that I did not have. That is what made the project so difficult.  Also, I couldn't put the embroidery on the corners or in the center for the Hebrew words until it was pieced and I could see exactly where to place the wording so it would show according to the measurements of the table. You know what that means?!?!  I had to hoop the entire 18 feet of fabric multiple times! you can see why it was so much work. Furthermore, I had to hunt down the perfect fabric, the perfect trim, the perfect thread, etc and somehow measure out the perfect size to cut and piece the fabric even though I didn't have a lot of room to lay everything out!  But guess what?  In the end it turned out beautifully...the temple and all of its members LOVE the cover and everyone was so appreciative. It was also quite an experience for me and something I had never made before. Plus if you look online, these Torah table covers or table covers for a temple go for over $600! And that's the low end of the pricing. So the temple was grateful I was able to create something perfect for them, with their logo and words, that did not cost them $600.  Here is a close up of the embroidery--The rabbi says that it means, "The gates of prayer are always open."
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Professional Tote 2

I finished the Professional Tote I wrote about in an earlier blog. The pattern is amazing!  It is extremely clever and well put together. I did not have one issue with the instructions. Every time I was supposed to match another piece together, in my head I was like sure this is going to fit--and every time it did! It was amazing! There are so many must have taken a very long time to make this pattern. I am an intermediate sewer and believe any sewer who has a pattern or two under his/her belt could manage this pattern. Don't worry...I was not working on it the entire time since I last posted---other projects and deadlines got in the way. I have already started another Professional Tote to give to my mother for Christmas..I will be sure to post it when I finish. So I am sure you are all dying to see the pictures so here they are!

I also had a chance to get the coasters done for the table settings I posted about before. These coasters were as pleasurable to make as the place settings and the whole set together is going to look amazing on my mother's kitchen table. I highly recommend this pattern as well. It is by Deborah Vollbracht of Creative Folk Quilting. As you can see, they are reversible. I put three of them on the other side so you can see this. And guess what the best part is??  The coaster pattern is free! Click on the website link for Creative Folk Quilting I have above and check it out for yourself!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amity Originals on Etsy!

Today is just a short and sweet post. I have been working on opening my Etsy store over the past few days which is why I have not been able to blog. I added a few items I have now but nearly all my listed items are made to be customized to the buyers taste. So if you have special requests or tastes, my store is the place to satisfy them! The new shops link is Let me know if you have any ideas of things I can add or things you would like to see. I will be slowly adding more items over the next couple weeks so keep checking back. I also added the new subscribe button on the top left so you all can get my blog updates by email!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I went and visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter earlier this month and of course I had to try the Butterbeer. My mother became obsessed!  We even returned to the park the morning before we left purely to run up to the Three Broomsticks and get one last glass!  While I was perusing the internet after returning home from my awesome vacation (yes I bought a wand!), I found this extremely cool tutorial on how to make your own Butterbeer written by Chica and Jo. Needless to say, I followed the tutorial on the glass etching to make my own gift set to give to my mother for Chanukah/Christmas. So here I am sharing the results.

I bought the stencils and flavoring from Chica and Jo's store, and bought glass mugs, cream soda, and etching cream from online and I happened to already have a foam brush stashed away in my craft drawer, so after I received my items I was ready to go!

So here is what happened. I tried the first stencil as is, following the directions in their tutorial. It worked all right, but I couldn't get all the wrinkles out to make it perfectly smooth so some of the etching cream dripped down through the little bubbles...oops. But its hardly noticeable so it is nothing to worry about.  However, on the next three I had cut off the top and bottom of the stencil by about 3/8 of an inch so the stencil itself wasn't as long and therefore would not go so far to the base of the mug where it curved more and was harder to make the stencil flat and smooth.

This worked a little better but I was still left with a not quite smooth stencil. And let me tell you, I worked like crazy to smooth that baby out...I even used a smoother tool (not sure what they are called but my father had one from when he puts the vinyl decal and stencils on his car) but alas, I still had a few drips.

Then I had a lightbulb moment!  Instead of leaving the glass standing up while the cream was soaking in (my brand said five minutes) I laid the glass flat. Tada! No more drips down the little gaps I had been unable to smooth out and now the glasses turned out perfectly!  Here it is laying flat and hanging out with the etching cream on.

Following the rest of the directions, I washed it off with hot water when done and removed the stencil. I made sure to alternate which side of the glass I was putting the etching on so that depending on whether the person is right handed or left handed it will either face them or face out when drinking. So I had two glasses with them on one side and did the other two opposite. This gives the user a choice!

Guess how they turned out?  Completely awesome! My mom will love this gift set.

I want to do more glass etching. I showed the mugs to my father and now he wants to make some stencils to etch some glasses for himself!

I had never heard of or thought of glass etching before this and its surprisingly simple.  I will definitely do this makes such a unique gift--especially if you make a personalized stencil before you begin!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Toddler Purse Tutorial

My good friend has the two cutest babies that I love making stuff for. The older one is turning 2 next week so I just had to make her a cute toddler sized purse to carry around the play makeup and hair items I got her.  I did not find any commercial patterns or tutorials I liked on making a bag for a toddler so I figured I would make my own. Now, if I was searching for this type of pattern and tutorial I figured there has to be others…why not turn what I make into a tutorial! So bear with me as this is my first tutorial and there were some parts where I forgot to take photos but I really think you can follow along with what I have. If you can't, feel free to ask and I will tell you!

First I laid out all the items I wanted to fit in the bag.

Then I drew a basic size shape on a plain piece of paper that would hold all those items.

This gave me the basic idea for my measurements since I wanted to piece the exterior of the purse together. You can use this size shape as your basic pattern for cutting your pieces into a square out of one whole fabric piece (adding an extra ½ inch for seam allowances),  or use it to decide how large your separate pieces should be to make the exterior the size of your pattern/drawn shape. The supplies listed below are if you want to piece the outside with multiple fabrics such as I did.


- 2 strips 1.75 x 9 for the top strip (pink)

- 2 strips 1.5 x 9 for the middle strip (purple)

- 2 strips 3.5 x 9 for the bottom strip (pink)

- 2 strips 2 x 16 for the straps (purple) -- to determine this measurement, I laid the tape measure out in a rounded shape above my drawn pattern piece to get an approximate measurement, then added an extra inch for seam allowances

- 2 rectangles of lining fabric (mutli colored hearts) cut the same size (or 1/8 inch smaller all around) as the pieced exterior (this means that after sewing the pink and purple strips together, you can put this rectangle on top of the lining fabric and cut around it the same size for the linings as well as the fusible fleece for the lining—I talk about this more after the exterior is pieced and we begin on the lining)

- 2 small squares of pocket fabric (purple) cut to the size of the pocket you want (I placed the item I wanted to be used in the pocket—the phone—on top of the fabric to determine the correct size to make the pocket…see picture below)

- 1 strip of fusible fleece 2 x 16 fused to wrong side of one fabric strap

- 2 rectangles of fusible fleece, same size as lining rectangles, fused to the wrong side of each lining rectangle

- 2 scraps of Velcro (I used small squares—I worried about the potential of zipping up a finger if I used a zipper closure—especially with the younger baby around)

- 1 15 inch length of ribbon to tie into a bow to embellish the outside

Here is a picture of my supplies (after I had pieced the exterior):

First you want to place your three strips for the exterior out in the order you want them. Then place right sides together of the top and middle fabrics and sew a ¼ inch seam. Then place that piece right sides together with the bottom strip and seam. Do the same for the other exterior piece. When you press the seams you have sewn, you want to make sure to press one set of seams towards the top fabric (up) and the seams on the other exterior piece should be pressed down. This will help when matching the seams later when sewing the pieces together.

If you look closely, you can see how each piece has seams that are pressed in opposite directions.

Now that you have both exteriors pieced, you can use these to measure out the size to cut the lining pieces and the fusible fleece for the lining. You can cut those now and also fuse the fleece to the back sides of both pieces.

Next, take your pocket pieces and place them right sides together and sew around the edges with a ¼ inch seam leaving an opening to turn the pocket to the right side.

Turn the pocket right side out and push out the corners and seams and press well.

Now pin the pressed pocket on top of a lining rectangle where you would like the pocket to be. (I placed mine towards the right). Sew all the way around the pocket at the very edge (topstitch) with a thread that matches the pocket fabric. 

Next place the rough piece(s) of Velcro on the lining where you would like it to be and stitch it down to the lining. Place the opposite lining piece on top of the piece with the Velcro and pocket and mark where the Velcro meets the lining piece. Now sew the soft Velcro piece to the spot you marked on the plain lining piece.
These are the steps where I forgot to take pictures! I took a picture of this that I will post here but it was after I sewed the lining pieces together so only look at the picture for placement purposes and know that the steps to sew the lining together are coming up soon!

Now you can also see not to make the same mistake I did and make your pocket as big as the purse is going to be! Keep that in mind when cutting your pocket pieces. I used a piece of Velcro on each side of the purse opening but you can just as easily use a larger piece in the center. It is up to you!

Back to the exterior pieces. Place the exterior pieces right sides together making sure to line up the seams. Remember how we pressed in opposite directions? This should enable you to butt the seams up to each other and pin them in preparation for sewing. We will be sewing down one side, across the bottom, and up the other side leaving the top open. Do not forget to backstitch at the beginning and end to lock those stitches!

It is hard to see in the picture above but I tried to take a picture of how I butted the seams together and pinned them before sewing. Now that the pieces are sewn together, we are going to square the bottom of the bag to give it some shape.

To do this, I match the side seam to the bottom seam where the sides end up folding out into a triangle at the bottom. It's hard to explain but do not worry I have tons of pictures of this part!

I have placed a pin there because I used my fingers to feel and make sure that the two seams matched up together and placed a pin so they would not move. Next I marked in 1 inch from the point with a line.

I drew a line and repeated this process for the other side. Then I took it to the sewing machine and stitched both sides on the marked line that I drew.  Then I trimmed the excess to make the seam about 1/4 inch.

After you have the exterior done, you want to do the same process for the lining of sewing the pieces together and squaring the bottom--with one major difference!  We need to leave an opening in the bottom of the lining. So when you first place your lining pieces right sides together to sew down the sides, across the bottom, and up the other side, you need to not sew the entire bottom together--leave an opening for turning like we did with the pocket. This picture will show you the opening I left.

You want to make yours more in the center. I made mine off center and then by the time I squared off the bottoms, it was too far over to make things easy. Make sure your opening is in the center to make things easy on yourself. 
Now place both the lining and the exterior aside because it is time to sew the straps. One strap should have fusible fleece fused to it. Place the straps right sides together and sew on each side with a 1/4 inch seam leaving the short ends open, essentially making a tube. Turn the tube right side out and press. Now your straps are done.

Almost done! Now we are going to put all the pieces together.   Make sure the lining is turned wrong side out so that the fleece sides are facing you, then place the long strap with one end on the inside of the lining (the fabric side) and pin making sure approximately 1/2 inch is above the lining and pin the other side of the strap to the other side leaving the same 1/2 inch above the lining. This means that the strap will be lying down inside on the bottom of the lining! I know it seems backwards but trust me. Next you want to take the exterior of the bag and make sure it is wrong side out as well so that you are placing the patterned fabric side down into the lining. This means that both pretty sides of the fabrics are facing each other. (right sides together!)  You can see this layering in the picture below. Note the straps poking out from the sides--the strap is lying down inside between the two layers! It is not pinned and hanging out the top. Make sure to match the side seams of the lining and the exterior together and pin around the outside as shown.

Sew around the top with a 1/4 inch seam.  Now turn the entire bag right side out through the hole we left in the bottom of the lining, like so.

When it is completely turned right side out it will look like this.
Now take this time to either stitch the opening in the lining by hand or by machine. I sewed mine by machine and here is a close up that also shows I sewed it a little crooked....oops. But I bet the birthday girl doesn't say one word about it!
Now tuck that lining into the purse and squish and pull the edges and straps right until it fits perfectly. Tada!
Wow the purse is basically finished. You can now add the bow on the outside or embellish however you want. Although, if you wanted to add embroidery, you should have done it way back after you pieced the exterior. Last step I did---I added the goodies!

She is ready to go!  All that play makeup looks like so much fun. Did I mention I met her mother when we both worked at makeup counters at a department store?  It's impossible to get started on makeup too early! So I hope you enjoyed my tutorial..I know it is pretty detailed but I was trying to write it for the extreme novice sewer. Please send me pics or post comments about the bags you make. I love seeing them!! Enjoy!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Professional Tote Bag

I finished cutting my materials for  The Professional Tote by The Creative Thimble. The fabric and embroidery I am using is so exciting and different! I cannot wait to get started and let you know how it goes. It seems to be a pretty involved bag (check out the description here to see all the cool things the Professional Tote can do) so I will keep you posted on how hard certain steps are or if the going is easy. I can say right now that the cutting went quickly--the layout diagrams were extremely easy to follow and the labels for which pattern piece you are cutting are very helpful. I also added embroidery to key places—you can see I am really personalizing this to my crazy tastes!  The monogram embroidery will be the front pocket. (I digitized this design myself using a font called Moonstar) The vampyr embroidery is for the travel strap that you can use to put the bag over the handle of wheeling luggage.(This design came from Urban Threads, but I tweaked it by removing the leaves and the E and the end of Vampyr...there is no E!)

The skull damask design is for the back pocket. (This design is from Embroidery Library)

I’m so excited to see how this bag will turn out! I started this bag last night at my Sewing Circle and my friend started cutting her bag out. She is using Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabrics in the most gorgeous lavender and purple!  So beautiful...if I make another of this bag I'm definitely going with Fairy Frost fabrics. Probably in yellows and corals.  (I used Fairy Frost fabrics on the table settings I showed you on an earlier blog, the green and the gold, but I chose the few Fairy Frost's that have glitter overlaid on them. Most of the Fairy Frost's just have the beautiful sheen without the actual glitter on them.)

So as a result of last nights sewing circle, I have included pictures of the front and backs of the bag which is as far as I got. It seems to be going along pretty quickly, and I haven't had a single tough spot in the directions so far. I am pleased as punch!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wedding Throw

Two good friends of mine got married recently and I did not quite get the wedding quilt/throw done I was making for them. But good news! I at least finished the quilt top finally! The top was very involved appliqué that took me forever!! The quilt pattern is called Fun in the Sun and it was actually the pattern I acquired while doing the Southern California Area Quilt Run in June. There were 37 stores this year and I visited all of them! At each store you would get a block pattern and here is the result of that. I did not use some blocks I did not like and instead exchanged two photos of the couple, repeated some of the other blocks, and made a block tailored to them. In order to understand that embroidered block, you have to understand that I am obsessed with Halloween! Everyone knows my cute skull collection and my love of vampire and skull related merchandise. This is why I chose the cute skull kitties to represent their kitties and the skull bride and groom to represent them. I don't know if you can tell, but next to that block there is Halloween Hello Kitty fabric where the kitty is a mummy! It's awesome! I made them a cat bed out of that fabric because she LOVES hello kitty so much and I love Halloween! Here is Sasha (one of their cats) in the bed! (sorry about the light but it's the only photo I have—isn't she cute?) They will definitely never forget where it came from! These two will love the throw and the fun in the sun pattern was perfect. Now all I need to do is sandwich this quilt and quilt it. Like how I said "all" I need to do? Ha! But I will get it done! (and you all will get to see how long it takes me haha)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I thought I would welcome everyone to my blog with a posting of my latest project.  I spend a lot of time looking on the internet for interesting tutorials and things to make so there will always be something new and exciting going on here. Plus, I am obsessed with knowing and understanding everything about what I buy or make so I will always have good information and I can also continue to learn from all of you! First off, I just finished the table settings I will be giving my mother for Christmas.  She LOVES bulldogs and everything dark green and everything sparkly. I know the picture is not the greatest but I am still getting the hang of taking good pictures of the items I make...keep watching..I know I will get better. So for those of you who are interested...this table setting pattern is by Deborah Vollbracht of Creative Folk Quilting. I have not yet finished the coasters (the coaster pattern is free! look for the link on the right hand side of her blog) but you can see these settings will work great on my mothers round table.  They are also reversible! I turned every other one over so you could see the other side. I hope you enjoy the blog and feel free to email me with comments or items of interest you would like to see!