Back to notebooks

I’ve been putting together some sample mini composition book covers with professional “crests” on them, with the notion that they’d make good gift card holders for holiday tipping and whatnot. These will go into the shop tomorrow, with options for made-to-order ones.

I’ve been kind of tempted to mix them up: engine block with Framing hammers. Running shoe with shovels. Hair dryer with wrenches. Probably the most adventurous I’ll get is replacing the hair dryer with a barber pole.

Water Bottle Carriers

It was an unseasonably warm Halloween here, so among other treats I gave out chilled mini water bottles and juice packs. It was recycling day so there were plenty of carts at the curb to drop empties into, but I also made it easy to hang onto the water bottles by making little snap-tab carriers for them.

I kept things super-simple: each file of eight carriers (the 4×4 version only has two) was just a little over 3,000 stitches. The designs are from The Noun Project, specifically Saeful Muslim’s Line Animals. I copied them into the blank fob design and just used Path->Dynamic Offset to bring the two sides of the line closer together. I broke the paths apart and trimmed out any superfluous pieces to minimize jump threads. I made three different sheets, and did each one on four different colors so there are no two exactly alike and siblings (or classmates) won’t get their bottles mixed up.

There is a Lite version of each size with simple outline stitching, both to cut down on stitch count and to keep the outline from overwhelming the design since except for the two sheets of black designs I stitched everything in white to keep it streamlined. If you want the outline thread to show up more, the non-Lite version uses a bean stitch.

Cutting them out is labor-intensive, but the supplies are fairly cheap in bulk. They’d make good booth filler (especially at a hot outdoor fair), classroom gifts, or freebie items to throw in with your Etsy orders. If you’re not giving them with a water bottle, loop a label around the O-ring that says “let me hold your water bottle!” or the like so people can figure it out.

I got most of my colored vinyl from Designs By Little Bee, and the snaps from KAMsnaps.com. The hardware came from Amazon: a 100-pack of O-rings 📦 and a 100-pack of tiny carabiners 📦. You could also use swivel hooks 📦 which are nicer but considerably more expensive, or split rings instead of O-rings to make keychains.

Note that those carabiners have very narrow ends. It’s a bit hard to tell in the picture above, but the design file includes notches to accommodate them. If you’re using swivel hooks, you may want to edit the design to remove the notches (pretty easy) or use smaller swivel hooks.

Enjoy!

Aldi is selling fabric now?

(Totally not a sponsored post; I just found it interesting.)

I have liked Aldi since I lived in Wichita; they’ve been making inroads in South Jersey and there’s now one five minutes from my house. If you aren’t an Aldi regular, know this: they are tiny stores with limited selections, but they have a couple of aisles of changes-on-a-weekly-basis specials so if you wait long enough, everything you might ever need will pass through. Usually there’s a theme, often seasonal.

This batch was sewing, which I think they’ve had before. A $15 house-brand sewing machine. The Single Simple 3232 (I think) for $80 which beats the Amazon and Walmart prices. This is pretty typical when Aldi gets a name-brand item; they’ll sell out fast, and although these are listed in “Upcoming” on the Aldi site, stores get things at varying times. My store usually has new things out on Wednesdays and Sundays, which is to say most of the “Upcoming” items are out the day they turn up on the website, and the rest come out a few days later.

I have more than enough sewing machines though, so I was curious about the fat quarters. They’re about what I expect at $5 for 6 quarters (so, a yard and a half): a little thin, a little coarse, and will probably shrink so pre-wash them. But I don’t have much in the way of coordinated cottons, so I picked up a pack just for the novelty value. There are five more colorways, all of them somewhat retro-feeling.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to make with them. Maybe a fat quarter wallet, since my existing wallet doesn’t fit in the interchangeable-flap purse (yes, working on that tutorial). We’ll see.

South Jersey represent!

I made a Lots of Pockets crossbody purse awhile back, with some KAMsnaps to let me put on different flaps. I decided I needed to make one for my upcoming Disney trip. I have plenty of ways to rep Philly, but I’m actually over on the South Jersey side and, it turns out, Philadelphians are particular about whether you’re really from Philly. New Jersey is emphatically not Philly. New Jersey is, I have been informed, “what you drive through to get to NYC.” Well alrighty then.

Nobody agrees enough on what the Jersey Devil looks like to use that, so pork roll it is.

5×7 Snap Tray

This week has been a bit disjointed – the above is the only shop stuff I’ve gotten finished – but here’s a little bitty freebie. I realized I made a large conventionally-sewn snap tray and a square 5×5 one, but no fill-the-hoop 5×7 one. I also realized that size will hold all the designs I’ve been putting on notebook covers.

It’s a pretty simple process: first color is a placement mark, second is the inner outline, third is the outer topstitching. There is a fourth layer in the SVG, called “Design,” which is where you’d import your design file (an Urban Threads Shadow Dragon in the above case). Sometime before the last thread color (before or after the inner outline; I prefer before), put a second piece of vinyl on the back of the hoop. That last color also marks your snap placement points. If you don’t ever want to unfold the tray, you can rivet them instead, or simply fold the corner across and sew it – remove the placement circles in the latter case. I rounded the corners with the smaller side of a Crop-A-Dile corner rounder 📦.

Pre-Halloween is the best time for novelty fabric remnants

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the purple is a dancewear related to the blue-and-green that I use for beanie dragon eyes. It’ll make fun shiny purple beanie dragons, probably fleece-interlined as I talked about last week. The other one is a black velvet with purple sparkles which, you will note, has already accumulated cat hair. Le sigh.

Never visit a fabric store without hitting the remnant bin.