HomeMade Bias Tape

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Bias tape is simply folded fabric strips cut on the “bias”, which means diagonally to the grain of the fabric. This allows the fabric strips to bend and stretch effortlessly around curved seams and edges, making it a great way to finish garments or other sewing projects. It’s inexpensive to buy, however the color and fabric choices can be pretty limited.
Making your own bias tape for your sewing projects not only means you know it will match perfectly, but it also helps use up your leftover fabric which means it’s practically free. It is also much easier than you might think, and you don’t need one of those fancy electric machines to do it. Are you ready to learn how? Here’s what you’re going to need:

Fabric
Ruler
Straightedge
Scissors or rotary cutter
Iron
Sewing Machine
seam ripper or very long pin
tape folder

First, iron your fabric and then lay it out on a large flat surface. Line the selvage edge up with the edge of your table or cutting mat.

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If your mat has bias markings on it, and you can see thru your fabric, all you need to do is cut along those diagonal lines, making strips about an inch and a half wide. (for wider tape, cut strips about 2.5 inches)
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If you aren’t using a mat or you have opaque fabric, take the cut side and bring it across to the selvage side, making a triangle. Iron the fold, then open the fabric back flat. This fold mark will serve as your bias line, and you will cut your strips parallel with it.

Cut your strips. (a quilter’s square and rotary cutter make quick work of this part!)
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Line up the ends of your strips, with right sides together, so they form a right angle. Stitch a very narrow seam along the outside edge.

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Straighten the fabric and iron down the seam. Make sure you iron all your seams in the same direction as you go down the length of your tape. This will be important later.
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Feed one end of your tape into the backside of the tape folder, and use a seam ripper or long pin to feed the fabric thru the slot until it begins to come out the other end. Make sure all your ironed seams are facing away from the end you start through the folder so they don’t get caught up in it.
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As the fabric starts to pop out the front of the folder, have your iron ready. Use the hottest setting you can with steam, to make sure that your new folds stay put.
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voila! bias tape in any fabric you need, and fewer fabric scraps for the bin.
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Now just fold it around the edges of your project and stitch. Perfect, finished edges are yours in no time.
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this post was originally written for the EcoEtsy team blog. you can check it out as well as the rest of their 14 days of crafting series right here

How do I Recycle??

So a friend just posted a link to a LA times feature where they pick an object each week and tell you where and how to recycle it. I think that’s pretty amazing, since it can be hard to figure out how to recycle some stuff, and there are a lot of things people don’t realize you CAN recycle (as we found out during the Earth Day festival…)

I have just been inspired to create a new blog feature! I guess it will have to focus on City of Atlanta and maybe Fulton and Dekalb counties if I can get enough info. It would also be kind of fun to post things made from those objects that can be re-used in addition to recycled.

yay inspiration! I’ll start on Wednesday…

Still snowed in.

Well, actually we’re iced in. Today I’ll be digging out my skates and going to find an unmolested parking lot to bust my arse skate in. Whee!

Luckily our power hasn’t gone out, which means a lot of internet time since there isn’t much else to do but clean. (Oh how I wish I’d made a sewing-supplies run before this storm hit!) In all that I ran across this genius idea for re-using your tuna cans on Makezine. I don’t much eat canned tuna, but oh boy do I go thru a lot of steel cat food cans, so I LOVE this. I expect squee!s from fellow bento lunch lovers:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Tiffin-Box-from-Tuna-Cans/

And something a little happier!

Another awesome holiday tutorial, this time from The Crafty Crow

via the Crafty Crow

She says: They are darling for ornaments but they’d make a wonderful garland as well. Put one on your wrist to add a little jingle to your step or tie one on a package to make it extra special.

I also think you could adapt these to cover fairy lights… Plus, they’re made totally from recycled materials! Check out the tutorial here.

It’s that time of year again…

The day we were scheduled to leave town for Thanksgiving, a group of young “gentlemen” cased our home. For those who are lucky enough not to be familiar with this term, it is one which is used to describe the behavior of thieves in deciding which houses to burglarize. Luckily, we were home, and even luckier, I was sick for the holiday week and decided to stay in the house while my husband was gone. I say luckier because the would-be thieves came back on Friday when the driveway was empty and clearly expected to be able to kick our door right in and help themselves to our belongings.


(that is not our house, but one nearby which was hit last year)
In the past two weeks, there have been 5 successful burglaries in two blocks of my street alone, and had I not been here, we might have been the 6th. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who don’t want their neighbors to have a happy and safe holiday season.

In light of that, I thought I might make a little post with a few very basic tips for making it a little more difficult for any merry bands of thieves to liberate you from your holiday goodies.

First of all, don’t advertise. As I drive through my neighborhood, I often see people with their blinds and curtains wide open at night, giant flat screen TVs clearly visible to anyone who happens to look. While I admit that I used to love walking the streets of midtown at night seeing how other people decorated, the truth is that that is no longer a practical thing to allow. Get window coverings and use them, especially at night. Test them after dark by closing them, turning on your lights and tv and then going outside to see what might still be visible.

If you buy any new electronics or other items of value, do NOT just place your empty boxes on the street with your trash. Break them down, turn them inside out, remove any labels that might have your address on them and take them to a recycling facility. Or, if you garden, save the larger boxes to line your raised beds.

This might sound really obvious, but lock your doors, even when you are home.

Speaking of doors, take a good look at yours. How sturdy is it? How sturdy is your door frame? Video from neighbors’ cameras has shown that many doors will give way after just two or three kicks.

Get a solid core door and make sure your hinges are installed with screws that are at least 3 inches in length. For the entry side, devices such as the StrikeMaster can drastically improve your door’s chances of surviving a kick assault. If you have a glass door, make sure your locks require a key on both sides, instead of a simple turnbolt. This way if someone breaks the glass, they still can’t get the door unlocked. (but keep a key nearby in case of fire!) For French doors, consider installing sliding bolts in the floor and ceiling of one door, thereby stabilizing one side and making it more difficult for them to be kicked in.

Consider getting security pins for your windows, or simply screw very long screws through the sash of windows you won’t be regularly opening. (the screws are a cheap diy fix, but make sure you’re not screwing yourself (haha) in case of fire. You need another way out of the room if you go this route because chances are, there’s not going to be a screwdriver nearby if you really need to get out in a hurry)

Be aware of open pet doors, and don’t rely on your dogs to keep your house safe:

If you are leaving town, here are a few simple tips to making your home look occupied.
1. Have your mail and papers stopped, or get someone to come by and pick them up.
2. Put your exterior lights on sensors so they come on at dusk, and put interior lights on timers.
3. Leave a radio or television on loudly enough that it can be heard outside. Possibly put a couple of these on timers as well so that the sound moves around.
4. If you do have a house-sitter, make sure they aren’t just leaving the key under your mat. If you must leave a key outside, do what some smart friends of ours did and get a realtor’s lockbox to store the key in.
5. Consider getting a fake dog. This combined with a “beware of dog” sign should make many people think twice about trying to get in.
6. If you’ve got a friend with a spare car, parking one in your driveway can make it look like someone is there.

The best tip of all? Get to know your neighbors. Get their phone numbers in case of emergency. Talk amongst yourselves about what’s really going on on your street. Form a neighborhood watch if possible. Go online and form a message board or simple yahoo group to share safety information. Use twitter to alert your neighbors to immediate threats. Even the most secure home can be vulnerable if people nearby don’t bother to investigate odd noises or alarms sounding.

And with that, I wish YOU a happy and safer holiday season.

Rose Hips, another garden treat.

I’m collecting an unusual harvest today. You see, all spring and summer, this delightful rosebush provides bouquet after bouquet of tea roses, and I keep the fading blossoms cut back to encourage more.

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However, towards the end of the summer, I stop pruning the dead blossoms and let them go to seed so that right around now I get these:

Rose hips are an old-fashioned thing to collect, but boy are they good for you. You can make teas, jellies, puree, or just dry them to eat like candy. They are incredibly high in vitamin c and depending on your variety have a slightly spicy or nutty flavor. It’s best to collect them after the first frost, when the hips are a vibrant red and still slightly soft. You’ll want to let them dry a little bit and then open them up to remove the seeds inside. Once you have the seeds out, let them dry the rest of the way if you want to keep them for tea, or you can boil them down and strain them to make jelly, syrup or puree.
I’m going to make jelly after mine dry a bit, so I’ll post a recipe next week!

mini tiny recycled tin bbq grill!

I realize that the time for making posts about grilling is usually before the long holiday weekend, but omg! this is so clever and cute I just can’t resist. Maybe I’ll make one for Alchemy this year, I could roast one marshmallow at a time!


Yes, that is a teensy tiny BBQ grill made out of an Altoids Sours tin and computer fan guards. Genius!

(seen via Apartment Therapy, tutorial is over here) on Instructables.