Sunday, May 31, 2015

That Sinking Feeling...

The very sad before picture.

Our apartment has very few cabinets, so the area under the sink is prime storage space not to be wasted on cleaners. The warped bottom panel was replaced a while ago and I finally got around to tidying up.
A free paper towel holder and 25¢ organizer I found at a yard sale make the most of the inside door space. Contact paper spruces up the unfinished wood panel. You know how I love Contact paper! I'm in the market for some new patterns. Has anyone tried Fancy-Fix brand? I love the aqua polka dot pattern and for $6 I'll probably give it a shot.

Tool Tip:  one of the reasons it took me so long to do this is my drill was out of commission. The chuck jammed in the open position. I consulted the internet and when that failed me, Dad. He suggested standing it chuck up, filling with good 'ole WD-40, and hitting it gently inside with a hammer and screwdriver after 15 minutes to loosen the mechanism. Worked like a charm!
Huge improvement!
I hope you can find time to tackle a trouble area in your home this summer. My next big project will be some sort of entryway solution. My "system" of bags and piles is underwhelming.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Minecraft Creeper Free Pattern

My boys have logged hundreds of hours playing Minecraft over the years. As a recovering Sims player, I completely understand the allure of endless building and free play options. I whipped up this little guy over a weekend while watching TV.

My son describes Creepers as "tall, stealthy, plant-like, explosive quadrupeds. They kill you, but at least they look a little sad about it." They are apparently the bane of Minecraft players everywhere, since they can live both above and below ground, and don't have to hide from the sun. Additionally, if they get struck by lightning they become supercharged and do more damage.

With all of those interesting, deadly traits, why not make a cute toy version of this common Minecraft enemy? You can sew the head on or leave it detached to provide secret storage inside. For more geektastic Dr. Who, Harry Potter, and more plastic canvas patterns check out this post or just google.

If you've never done plastic canvas before, don't worry, it's super easy. This page has the basics and my project only uses two stitches-continental to fill the pieces and overcast to bind them together.

Nitty Gritty

  • One sheet of green or clear plastic canvas with 7 holes to an inch
  • Green yarn, about 1.25 ounces of worsted weight
  • Black yarn, just a little for the face and toes
  • Scissors
  • Blunt yarn/tapestry needle
  1. Cut out pieces according to pattern (see pictures below). Plastic canvas tip-the corners will be sharp and might poke out through the yarn. I like to VERY carefully trim a bit from the corners to round them off. Don't trim more than a little speck or the corner will be too weak.
  2. Using continental stitch (the basic stitch), fill each piece with solid green stitches (except for the face piece and two feet pieces as shown above and noted on the pattern. Don't stitch on the edges-leave the edges open so you can sew the pieces together.
  3. Assemble as shown above in photo.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life! But watch out for creepers....
~Susie Qute

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Summer Hats

I have a new everyday summer hat that's just perfect! I tried to thrift a straw hat for a couple of months, but they were always rather mangled and misshapen or somehow not quite right for me. Then Target had some for just $3 in the bargain bins by the entrance. The grosgrain ribbon trim was already falling off, but no matter. I had a couple of scarves I wanted to try, and this blue and white Ann Taylor neck scarf from my favorite consignment store, One More Time, fit the bill perfectly.

This jaunty fedora isn't completely impervious to UV, but it's saved me from some serious sun already. It's cool enough to wear on hot days and a bit loose so I can tuck my hair up for extra ventilation. In this picture Kay and I are about to head out to Detroit's Eastern Market.

How do you keep the sun at bay?

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Picnic in the Park

It's a gorgeous day, and what better way to enjoy it than a picnic in the park. Sandwiches from Block's Bagels, my favorite Columbus deli, a new Frisbee, and great company made for a splendid afternoon.
We're having the traditional cookout at a friend's on Monday, and I'll share my devilled egg recipe with you, so check back for an update to this post tomorrow night or Monday morning.
Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute
Susie Qute's Devilled Eggs
  • 10 large eggs
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Miracle Whip (adjust amount according to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Paprika garnish
  • Optional:  1/4 c. chopped black olives, 1/4 tsp. onion powder
Hardboil eggs, cool thoroughly, then cut each in half and pop yolks out into a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork to a fine, crumbly paste. Add Miracle Whip, relish, and mustard. Spoon into egg white halves. For fancier eggs, use a frosting bag with a large flower tip to pipe in filling. sprinkle with paprika.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tees to Tote Tutorial

I rarely wear T-shirts. In fact, a close friend first saw me in a tee after knowing me for over three years and commented on how surprised she was. I was in the midst of moving so a tee was definitely called for.

Whether you wear tees or not, everyone has a few novelty T-shirts that don't see the light of day often enough. So what's a Qutie to do? Turn tees into totes, of course.

There are many ways to make a bag from a tee, but I created this style to preserve the graphic and show it off when the bag is being carried. Some shortcut options are offered below to make this project faster.

Other fun ways to personalize this project are to use a button down shirt or jacket instead of T-shirts, and a belt or wide ribbon instead of the sewn strap extension. You're only limited by what's in your wardrobe (or the local thrift store)!

I'm an intermediate-advanced sewer and this took me 2 1/2 hours. Click here to help you if you have no idea where to start, or just Google for help. My seam allowances were about 3/8-1/2".
Sewing knits can be tricky, especially for a beginner sewer. Use a ballpoint needle (or universal if you don't have a ballpoint). Practice on scraps of fabric, like the cut off arms. Use stitches that allow some stretch. There's a good article

Nitty Gritty
  • Two T-shirts of  the same or close to the same size
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine & bobbin (you can hand sew, of course, but this will be quite tedious)
  • Ball point pins and pin cushion
  • Scissors
  • Optional:  rotary cutting mat, guide, and cutter to make long cuts easier and cleaner and ironing board and iron for pressing seams.
  1. Cut the arms and neck off your tees.
  2. Turn one tee inside out and slip over the other tee so that one is inside the other (right sides facing each other).
  3. Trim arm and neck holes as shown.
  4. Pin tees together at the neck hole. I'm not sure if this is self-explanatory; you will be sewing through two layers of fabric, not all four. If it doesn't make sense just ask questions in the comments or email me at :-)
  5. Sew around the neck hole, removing pins. Use an edge binding and seaming stretch stitch.
  6. Turn tees right side out and press around new neck hole seam. Pressing will give your finished project a much crisper, more professional look.
  7. Choose which side you think will be the outside the most often. This bag is reversible, but one side will be more "deconstructed" looking.
  8. Fold under about 1 cm around armholes and pin. Another option is to skip folding and just stitch around the edge. You could also use bias tape if you like, but I didn't want to buy any extra supplies for this project.
  9. Sew around armholes. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  10. Turn inside out (the "lining" inside is now on the outside).
  11. Cut off the bottoms of your shirts. I cut off about 5 inches,
    but this will vary depending on how long your shirts are. If you're going on to step 15, be sure to leave yourself enough fabric for the strap extension. Mine was three inches wide.
  12. Pin and sew across the bottom of the shirts through all four layers. Use a straight stretch stitch. If this bag will see heavy use, you may want to sew a second seam 1/4" up.
  13. Trim a bit off the corners in the seam allowance, being careful not to cut into your stitches.
  14. Turn and press. YOU CAN STOP HERE! Yay, you have a cute shoulder tote! If, like me, you want to show off the graphic more, keep going.
  15. Take the cut off strips from step 11. Cut each piece in one place
    (at the seam if your shirts have side seams) so you have two long strips.
  16. Lay strips right side together, and line up the hemmed edges neatly.
  17. Cut so the strips are 3" wide.
  18. Pin and sew along the unhemmed edge. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  19. Open and press.
  20. Fold along the hem you just sewed, wrong sides together. Press.
  21. Pin along the prehemmed edges, lining them up neatly.
  22. Sew along the prehemmed edges. Use a straight stretch stitch.
  23. You're ready to add your strap extension to the bag. Thread it through the armholes and pin ends together, being careful not to twist the strap.
  24. Sew strap extension ends together using a regular straight stitch. Press the seam allowance to one side and stitch down.
  25. The strap is reversible at the point, but very loose and twisty. I sewed it together in the middle.
  27. I wanted to add a bit of reinforcement to the bottom, so I folded
    up the corners and stitched them down with a triangle shaped seam. Stitch through the folded up bit and the sides, not the bottom.
  28. Now you are REALLY done with all steps. Stand back and admire, or better yet, head out to the farmer's market.
A few more pics are available here to help you out.

Thanks for stopping by and keep living the qute life!
~Susie Qute

It's reversible!