Monday, November 18, 2013

Passport Cover Tutorial

I got my nice new passport.  But I don't want it getting too scruffy, so I wanted to make a cover.  It wasn't too hard.  If you can sew a straight line, you've got the skills.
 I pulled out my scrap fabric boxes and found a heavier weight denim for the outside of the cover, and light weight cotton for the interior and sleeves to hold the book in the cover.  you also need some heavy fusible interfacing.
Cut 3: 8 1/4 inch by 5 3/4 inch rectangles from outside fabric, inside lining and fusible interfacing.  This is the body of the book cover.

Cut 2: 5 inch by 5 3/4 inch rectangles from inside lining fabric.

Assembly:  Iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the outside fabric.  Fold over the two sleeves to have two pieces 2 1/2 inches wide by 5 3/4 inches tall.
Top stitch the sleeves at the folded edge--just makes them lay flat and look finished. Sew the sleeve (right side to right side) to the lining fabric, raw edges to the outside edges of the lining fabric. Use a very narrow seam--1/8 or close. You can check for the fit, if concerned. You should have some room to spare.  
 Now pin the right side of the outside fabric to the right side of the lining. Leaving about 2 to 2 1/2 inches gap, stitch around the edges using a 1/4 inch seam.  You can curve the edges or leave them sharp--up to you.

Clip notches in the corners so that they will turn without the bulk of the fabric deforming that nice, clean corner. 

Now turn the cover right side out.  Just pick a corner and push it through the 2 1/2 inch opening you left when you sewed the layers together.  Don't worry about wrinkling--that's what irons are for.

Once you've got it all flattened out and the corners neat, you can topstitch around the edges--though you want to do one last fitting so you know how much of an edge to sew--1/8th or 1/4th.
Your passport book should fit, but not so snug that the book covers bend or the book will not fold closed.
Hurray!  Now you have sturdy passport cover.  Easy-peasy!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bleach Art Shirt

We've all had those horrible mishaps where we spill bleach on a favorite piece of clothing.  But what about doing it on purpose?

Inspired by other posts, notably a simple tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.   Here's one of my own.

Getting started, gather the following:

  • T-shirt--dark is better.  100% cotton is best.
  • Board to mount shirt
  • Clips or rubber bands
  • Chalk
  • Liquid bleach
  • Bowl for bleach, non-reactive
  • Cheap brush
  • Rag to mop up any spills
  • Disposable gloves     

1. Slide your board behind the part of the shirt you want to bleach--you don't want it going through the other side of the shirt.  Make the board secure with clips or rubber bands.

2. Take the chalk and map out your design.  I wanted it centered, so drew a center line and perpendicular lines for my text.  It's up to you how you do this.  I can't free hand anything & if I mess up, I just rub out the chalk line and start over.

3. Put on your gloves, pour bleach into a shallow bowl and have a rag handy for any unfortunate spills.  Use small, short strokes with the brush when painting on the bleach.  If you are not sure you got enough bleach on, error on the side of less rather than more.  You can always add more, but you can't take it away!

Be aware that bleach will soak into the fabric, spreading out further than you might want.  You can always stop, let the bleach do it's work and then judge whether you need to brush on more bleach or not.

4. When you are done painting, the bleach needs to dry and set.  I found putting it out in sunlight helped a lot.  If you still need to re-brush your design, you can touch it up and let it dry some more. 

5.  All dry and all done.  Do a simple wash cycle just to set the bleach and stop it from spreading further.  Depending on the color of the fabric, the bleach can end up any color from pink to orange to brown, and yes, white.

Be creative--you could bleach a small pattern or go crazy.  There are other bleaching techniques that incorporate resistance bleaching--splattered bleach makes the background, and a blocked off part of the fabric becomes the image.  A good example of this, using freezer paper to mark off the negative space is at My Graham Crackers

More bleach shirt tutorials:
Galaxy t-shirt at Wise Rabbit Says
Bleach Number shirt at Sugar Bee Crafts
Another spray bleach shirt at Six Sisters' Stuff 

If you hunt the laundry section at the grocery store, you can find a bleach pen.  These have a different feel, and in my experience, tend to bleed more. 

Tutorials for bleach pen shirt tutorials:
Halloween shirt at Pink and Green Mama
Cute flower shirt at Trendy Trinket
Very sophisticated henna design at Craftster

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Paper Flower Tutorial

There was a program a couple years ago at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference demonstration what could be done with old books, in terms of recycling them.  Last summer we had a teen craft program and paper flowers from old book pages was just one of the stations.  It is a pretty easy craft, so here's a quick tutorial.

Start with the following: 
1. An old book that has lived its life to the fullest.  Yes, you will be destroying it, but turning it into a thing of beauty.  However, a flower will have text visible, so be careful in your choice of books--that realistic language may be featured on your flower.
2. A template for a circle--anything will do.  I've just got the red cup here.
3. Pencil for drawing circles.  A pencil doesn't show up too horribly if you cut outside of the lines.
4. Decorative edge scissors--or you could free-hand some edge pattern for your flower pedals. 
5. A good stapler.

Next extract some pages from the book you've selected.  You will need 8 circles.  And don't be afraid of what's in your circles--just text, or a photo or graphic, or whatever. 

Now use those craft-edged scissors--can buy these just about anywhere. Pick an edge pattern you might like.  Different edges do give the finished flower a certain look.  Cut out your 8 circles, staying within the penciled lines.

Take your 8 circles and start stacking them.  Make sure that the text does not all line up the same way--it looks much better when you've got them varied. 
Get that good stapler, even if you have to snatch it off someone else's desk.  Staple twice to an "X" in the center of your flower circles.  No, it doesn't have to be perfect. 
Starting with the top layer, scrunch it up as illustrated above. This is no time to be delicate--be mean to that paper--really scrunch it, but don't tear or pull out the staples. 

Continue scrunching up the layers, one at a time.  By the time you're finished, your flower should look something like the illustration above.  If not, you haven't scrunched hard enough! 

Now peel your flower appart, starting with the bottom layer, and then one layer at the time up towards the top.  The idea is not to completey flatten each layer, and in fact the closer to the top layer, the more they should remain scrunched up.  It should look something like the illustrated flower above. 

 Hurray!  You have a paper flower from a recycled book page.  Now you know the technique, there's nothing stopping you from making this flower in different sizes, or out of different types of paper.  An old recycled map makes a fantastic paper flower.  You need to stay away from glossy paper--it isn't too forgiving when you scrunch your layers. You can also make a flower pin or apply your paper flower to anything else. 

 To make the flower pin pictured above--get some appropriately colored craft felt, cut it out for leaves.  Hot glue the felt to the bottom of the paper flower.  Next, find a pin back and hot glue that to the felt.  Best to let the glue cool between applications.

Now go forth and create!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

But it's in the catalog!

Recently on the Central Texas Library System listserv, there was a thread on what unually collections public libraries had.  Cake pans seemed to be predominent--Georgetown Public Library and Liberty Hill Library had them.  Really, how many times are you going to use that Big Bird cake pan? Years ago at Harris County Public Library in the Houston area, I was at a branch library that had a cataloged set of car jumper cables.  They were mostly used in the library's parking lot.

MsRuby's Flickr
So, what else is out there?  Ohio libraries have some unique holdings.  There's a educational toy collection at the Champaign County Library in Ohio, and also at the Cuyahoga County Public Library.  Another cake pan collection is available at Montpelier Public Library, and at the Hubbard Public Library. Canal Fulton Library has some equipment for check out--typical gaming stuff, but then there are the humane animal traps, binoculars, short wave radio and sewing machine. 

There's more out there--I just know it. But I just have to find it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dusting off the blog

From Wisconsin Historical Images
As part of ever-necessary continuing education, we're tackling this blog with a bit more ernest.  That means re-learning some things and starting fresh.  But hey, we're all about education and self improvement. 

So, I'll be doing some blog housekeeping and getting everything spick and span and shiny. 

"Spick and span" refers to an old sailing term, where a spick and span ship had all new nails or a spike/spick and all new wooden chips or spans.  Altogether, it means something is all brand new.
(Facts on File Dictionary of Cliches, 2nd edition.)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Future of Texas Library Systems

Flickr: Kat.
Thanks to the Texas State legislature and the incredibly shortsighted budget cuts that shortly be felt by all, the 10 public library systems that support public libraries in Texas will dissolve.  The systems have been in place for decades, serving as a midwife to the birth of new, small public libraries.  The systems would also assist their member libraries with continuing education, consulting, resources and grants.  This hand-holding and networking was vital to both the libraries and the communities they serve.

However, the 10 systems are extensions of the Texas State Library.  To balance the state budget the Texas State Library was told they must revert back to their original purpose--to be an archive, nothing more.

So what is the future of public libraries in Texas, without the help and assistance of the systems?  For the bigger public libraries, they already have a large talent base.  But for the smaller & isolated libraries, they are to be left on their own.  They will struggle, they may eventually close or be stripped bare of usefulness.  For many communities, a public library is a benchmark of success, of local pride.

Can we survive without the regional systems?  Maybe.  But it's not going to be pretty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All about the Old Stuff

Flickr image from Super Furry Librarian
Nothing like a class to discover how little you actually know on a topic.  Thanks to staff at the Texas State Library & Archives Collection, a class was offered on Archival Basics presented by David Gracy, professor emeritus in archives at UT School of Information.  A very engaging speaker, Dr. Gracy was the Director of the Texas State Archives.

Archivists have a different point of view and orientation to the retention and organization of materials.  Librarians are all about access--making sure people find things they want, organized to that end.  Archivists are more focused on the material, keeping collections intact.  So if Bob Smith's family donated Bob's letters, diaries and scapebooks on Bob's hobbies, it is important to an archive to keep all of Bob's stuff together. If Bob's stuff went to a public library, more than likely, it would all be split up according to topic and arranged by subject. 

It's like there are cat people and there are dog people.  They both like four legged furry friends, but then things split.