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Monday, February 25, 2008

Laptop Sleeve success!

We had been looking at laptop sleeves out in internet-land & at a couple of local computer shops---mostly boring black, often the wrong size for our laptop, so I thought: "I could make one!" A normal thought for some---but considering my sewing talents are often on the weak side, a bit ambitious for me really. The thought isn't that abnormal for me tho---I often think I can create something I see but usually when it comes to sewing, my vision never reaches reality! Brad knows this well---and was really not that encouraging when this became my latest obsession.

A lot of laptop sleeves are made from neoprene which I looked into at our local outdoor fabric supplier. When I saw their price was $48/yard I yelped! Then on a visit to our local JoAnn fabric store I discovered some fabric with foam attached & since it was only 9.99/yard, & I figured I just needed 1/2 a yard (+ on sale w/coupon!) I bought some & brought it home. From there I started sketching out the design, how to sew it, made a little prototype and headed to our local quilt fabric shop with Brad. He became a little more enthused after spying some fabric he loved, but since I didn't love it as much as him, I figured I'd buy my favorite & make two---throwing out the idea of possibly making an interchangeable cover that slipped on & off the foam insert.

Back home I began refining my design---no pattern to work from, just what I'd sketched out ahead of time. My youngest daughter has been designing outfits to wear for dances these last couple of years---since she's never had a sewing class she doesn't understand the need for a pattern! We've had semi-success with a few costumes/dance outfits, but nothing outstanding. Just something that works for that night, rarely worn a second time. I peeked at a couple of patterns while at the fabric store but just didn't think I needed to spend the $ on something that I thought I could figure out myself. My daughter is rubbing off on me...

First thing, I made two foam "envelopes" to fit the laptop. One for us, the 2nd for my youngest daughter's computer. I measured several times all directions to make sure I had enough to fit, then cut it out. I then set the laptop inside the foam I cut out & immediately saw I had measured the width wrong!!! Considering how I often have trouble wrapping packages needing to add more paper to compensate for my mistakes, I wasn't too surprised this issue arose! I was a bit mad tho, since I thought I'd measured everything so carefully, even remembering to add seam allowances! What I'd forgotten to do tho was add the width of the laptop to the width of the foam---I did on the length but not the width. It was a snug fit but I thought I'd just sew it up as close to the edge and hope it wouldn't be too tight. Amazingly it fit! I sewed multiple times up that edge to make sure it was strong after trying it on the laptop. I then flipped it so the foam was on the outside, the fabric on the inside (along with the seam).

Next it was time to cut the fabric to go over the foam insert. This time I took into consideration the width of the machine---all around, not just in length. I even made sure to cut a bit wider to so I wouldn’t end up tight again.

The idea of having removable fabric that could be changed went out the window at this point. I realized to make a good fit I’d need to sew the fabric to the foam. This came together fairly easily---I slipped the laptop into the foam, then wrapped the fabric around this package, pinning along the sides to get a snug fit. I then removed the foam & laptop & sewed the side seams. I slipped them back inside once the fabric was turned right side out & was happy to see they fit well. I then designed the flap, cutting in from the edges, sewing under the fabric, eventually sewing it onto the foam at the flap & open edge. Last I sewed on velcro to hold it shut. Because of some issues with my bobbin thread being a different color, I didn’t sew the first one as perfectly as I wanted, so I ended up doing some hand sewing to clean up a few floppy edges.

The second one was easier & more controlled since I was smart and made sure my bobbin thread matched the top (duh!). (I really need to find some more bobbins for this machine…). Both Brad & I were amazed how nice, light and well fitting these turned out! He especially so, since he’d seen a lot of my sewing attempts in the past! I was just happy for once my vision became a reality.

A side note---the cover above was the first I made, the purple one the second.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Valentine Pizza!

For Valentine's day, two local pizza shops were advertising they were making heart shaped pizzas to celebrate the day. I decided to run with that idea and do our own homemade version! I made the dough in the bread machine, then shopped for all our favorite pizza toppings. We invited my oldest daughter over for dinner (youngest daughter was not able to join us, since it was the middle of the week & she's off at college), and after she compiled a valentine playlist in itunes on my computer we went to work in the kitchen. I cut the dough into 3 pieces and we each shaped our own crust, then created tasty individual pizzas! This might become a new tradition!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Once a month blog? Hope not...

Well, I'm not doing very good with keeping up here---last time I wrote was Jan. 6th, now it's February! We've enjoyed several snowy mornings and days in January---unusual for our area. I had to go out and capture some snow images before it melted away. Even took my honey out for some fun snow pics---gearing up for Valentine's day. Had a weird bug last week---mostly brain fog and headache... really squelched my enthusiasm for productivity, but it's gone now & I feel way more perky! Without further discussion, here are some favorite pics from the past month:

This first one we saw the night before when we took a midnight snowy walk around the block. I was happy to see it was still preserved the next day! Says it all....

I saw the water drip when I shot this photo, but wasn't sure if my camera caught it too---I was so happy to see it later on my computer!

And last but not least, a little valentine's love to share! Happy Valentine's week!