Monday, November 25, 2013

Snowman Ornaments

I picked up my repaired Janome sewing machine a few days ago.  There was a one-day sale at Hancock’s on a sewing table the same day, at about half the regular price.  It has a cut-out for a machine that can be raised or lowered.  I was excited to have the table for my machines, as the folding table I’d been using was not heavy enough and it vibrated a lot when I sewed… especially when I was sewing pedal to the metal, which is my speed of choice!  We measured the machine, measured the opening, and there was plenty of space for my Janome.  The Opal is a few inches longer, so I was confident that would fit, as well.  I called my son to stop by on his way home from work to carry the heavy box in for me, which he did, and I anxiously unpacked it… no assembly required, the box promised.  Well, we had measured length and width, but did not measure depth!  My Janome sunk about an inch below the table top.  I looked around my house for something that could bring it up to the correct height, and spotted a cardboard bolt with fabric on it.  Perfect height!  Again, I measured and cut one end off so it would fit lengthwise.  But there is gap on the back side of the machine.  I think it will still work okay.   I plugged the machine in, turned it on, sewed the final seam on a quilt top… and it began to chirp.  It chirped just a bit at first, then worked itself into a frenzy, a constant barrage of chirping!  Clearly, it did not want to sew!  The machine is obviously not fixed.  I will return it to the shop and have them leave it turned on for a while so it can chirp its little tune for the repairman. 

So, the Opal was returned to service.  It wasn’t too long for the opening on the table… there was barely enough room lengthwise (I measured again!) but it would fit.  However, it is almost ½” too wide and will not fit in the opening. I tipped it one way, then the other (have you ever tried bringing a box spring up a narrow, curved staircase?)… and it just will not fit.  I am extremely disappointed, to say the least.  I can still use it with the cut-out portion up, but then it will be higher, which is one of the reasons I wanted the table with the recessed opening for the machines.  It is sturdier than the folding table I had been using, so I think I’ll like it better than what I had before.   Some days, it’s like taking one step forward and two back!

 I have told the saga of my iron and the sewing machine.  Now I have added my printer to the list of necessary equipment that has failed!  It flashes angrily at me, saying the printer’s ink pads have reached the end of their service life.  I contacted Epson, and they said it would not be cost-effective to replace them, as it isn’t something most people are able to do without a technician.  They also said that there is a preset number from the factory, and when a person has printed that many pages, they will get an error message… but they could send me a “fix” for that in an e-mail (how ridiculous is that… a preset stop point!).  I was told to follow the instructions and it would reset the count, but it would not fix the ink pad problem, and the quality of my printing would be affected until I replaced the pads.  I did as I was told, and when I tried to run the program to override the count, I got another error message!  An error message for an error message… so I bit the bullet and purchased another printer just like it so I can still use the ink cartridges I have purchased. 

I also got a new ironing board cover, and after more contortions of pulling and stretching, finally got it installed on the ironing board, so I can now press with better results.  While I was at Walmart getting the ironing board cover, I bought some infant crew socks to make these Snowman ornaments.  They are adorable, and easy to make… I have at least 20 to make, and I did seven of them tonight.  They are simple enough to make that even children can help, making it a fun family project. 

Snowman Ornament: 
Infant sock, size 6-18 month is the size I used.
Cut off sock at heel line, see photo.
This doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress out over it.  Thread a needle and double the thread with a good, big knot.  Hand stitch around the cut edge of the sock with a running stitch.  Pull stitches tightly and stitch across the gathered stitches a couple of times, to close opening completely.

Stuff the stocking with poly fill.  Using a sturdy string or strong cotton yarn, tie tightly about a third of the way down from the gathered edge.  This is the head of your snowman.  Stuff the body portion more fully.  Using a double thread again, stitch around the bottom “hem” of the stocking, using a running stitch.  Pull stitches tightly.  Again, stitch across several times to secure the gathers and completely close the opening.  Your snowman is finished and ready to be dressed and embellished. 

Take the part that you cut off and trim foot/toe portion of sock straight across
as shown where the line is drawn in the photo.  It doesn’t have to be perfect… the snowman will not mind! This portion will be the snowman’s hat.  Turn the cut edge up twice, so the raw edge is not exposed, and put it on your snowman’s head.  I tacked the hat around to secure it.  The hat also covers up the gathered edge at the top of your snowman, and folding it up creates a sort of cuff to the stocking cap. 
Cut a piece of fabric of your choice about ½” wide by about 8 or 9 inches long.  Tie this around the snowman’s neck.  I snipped about ¼” into the ends of the scarf to create a fringe effect.  As an alternative, you can use a bulky yarn for the scarf.  For some of the scarves, I braided 3 strands of worsted weight yarn and knotted the ends, and for others I used 2 strands of yarn and knotted the ends.  Glue on plastic eyes, or sew on beads for the eyes.  If you want to spend another minute on your little snowman, you can sew him a bead mouth and put an orange bead on to signify the traditional carrot nose.   Glue or sew on two or three buttons, beads, or glitter gems for buttons down his tummy.  Actually, they look cute without faces and tummy decorations, too.  Knot a length of metallic cord on the top of the hat to hang the ornament on your tree. 

These ornaments are simple to make, a fun family project for children to help with, and not very costly.  A package of 10 pairs of socks costs around $5.00, and makes 20 snowmen.  Here's another view of the snowmen on parade, at the right.  This snowman shown below, with the stars on his tummy is the one my great-grandson, Lucas, liked best!
We have no snow on the ground here in Cincinnati, although we’ve had two snowfalls.  The weather has remained warm enough to melt the snow quickly.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that making these snowmen ornaments will not cause the Universe to think I am desiring snow and gift me with a whole lot of the white stuff, which I am NOT desiring! 

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