My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

A tiny, tiny tutorial January 24, 2015

Filed under: Broken/Repaired,Home improvement,Random thoughts — blankenmom @ 11:52 pm
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Tonight I’m going to divert from my usual… (I hear a collective sigh of relief that it’s not about “that house” this week…  Well pthththt to you!)  But instead it’s a tiny, tiny tutorial on something I was working on recently and could NOT find a single tutorial on!  In this day and age, how could there NOT  be a tutorial on everything?


I digress…


Last week I was taking all the baseboard’s off through the whole first floor.  To my delight, and slight frustration, the original homeowner did an excellent job of putting this house together, which means taking it apart has been a challenge.  Each baseboard came off nicely, but the nails stayed in the walls.  Too close to the floor to use the hammers claw and too small of a head to use the crow bar or nail remover.  The nails weren’t nearly strong enough to get pounded all the way into the wall, and I don’t want to have to worry about them back there when I put the new baseboard’s on if I just bend them.  On a search I went all over the webs to find out how I was supposed to get the silly things out!




I found several showing how to get them out of the back of the baseboard’s, but not one on how to get them out of the wall?  I’m not sure if they just figured we all knew this, or that no one else has ever had this problem?


My search did reveal one thing… I needed a new tool.  Nippers to be exact.  (The twelve-year-old boy in me giggles every time.)





So off to the local store I went!  I had every intention of using these to just “nip” off the end of the nail, and leave the remaining nail behind in the wall.  Can I just tell you here that nails are really hard!  No seriously, those suckers weren’t going to give in!  However, in my attempt, I did figure out a much easier way of using them.  You know, the way they were intended!  *GASP*


So here’s my very tiny tutorial on how to get the nails that were left behind, out.

Using a putty knife behind your nippers so that you don’t damage the wall (try it once without it and you’ll see what I mean) and holding the nail very firmly, roll the nippers up until the two handles meet.  It actually slips right out!



No you don’t need the board at the bottom, that was just the baseboard that was laying there.





That’s it… seriously, no one could post that anywhere?


I feel better now.


20 days fast January 10, 2014


Our church is doing a 21 day fast.  The fast is anything you feel you can’t live without.  If it’s your morning coffee – go without it.  If it’s having a drink – go without it.  If it’s sports – go without it.  If it’s shopping – go without it.  If it’s food, they suggested The Daniel Diet…. to which our family had a good laugh over when we discovered we’re essentially already on it.

Mine, mine is media.  I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a news junkie.  My daily routine starts off with news, continues with news and ends with news.  Websites, YouTube videos, talk radio, magazines…..  granted it can be a great teaching tool at times, but at a certain point it can become too much.  So – I can go without it.

I will admit however that the 21 days threw my bit of OCD off, so I’m going with 20 days…. yeah, I should probably have worked in an “anal retentive fast” also, but one thing at a time here.  So no FB, no news outlets, no websites, no talk radio and very limited t.v. only after the boy’s head to bed.  I’ll be catching up with the blogs I’m missing in a few more weeks.


.How am I doing you ask?

Don’t…. it’s pretty sad and pathetic.


However, on the bright side, I am getting quite a bit done.  I’m finally getting my sewing room put together and my dress started.

After watching the sales for several months and doing some major research, I managed to find an excellent deal on a new compound miter saw plus a stand – on sale (I love sales!).  Even after looking on Craigslist I couldn’t have found it cheaper, so I’m pretty pleased with myself!  Along with another new tool from several months ago to keep things looking clean when I put the tables together.  Granted the room won’t be done over night, but at least it’ll start to look like a sewing room again.













And tonight while my dentist man is off at reserve duty, I managed to get the curtains down.  *cough, cough, cough*  They may have been up there since the Carter administration?  The curtains are washing as I type and hopefully, not shrinking.  Wait…. is that a light switch?  I didn’t know that was there!











At this point, I have no idea what’s going on in the world around me, but I know there is a giant pot of Chili cooking, curtains washing, wood cut, dogs walked and three boys that have had their mom’s undivided attention for the last week, so maybe the outside world can wait two more weeks after all?





Designing my way out October 31, 2013

Filed under: Family,Home improvement,Hubby,Pets,Sewing — blankenmom @ 1:20 am
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You can only see part of the chaos in this room thank goodness!



Since I’ve been in such a funk lately, I have completely avoided neglected my sewing room for other projects around the house.  (You should see the work I’ve done on the pear trees we’re planting!)  Poor sewing – it always get’s the brunt of my moods.  But now the first-born is visiting with a project he needs sewn and a friend of his needs a snap put back on, so getting the sewing room at least partially set up is no longer an option.


So tonight I put it together with the bare minimum for when he get’s here for those projects.  But what about after he leaves?


Since I’m not exactly in the sewing mood, I’ve decided instead to get creative in another way… and get some of my frustrations out at the same time, by building my new sewing room; well, sort of.  I plan on building all new shelves, tables and cutting table (since mine is out cold from the move.)  And since we’re a bit tight on the budget after buying the house, I plan on using pallets.  I have a strange fascination with them?  Normally my dentist man would object, but since it’s relegated to my sewing room, he’ll just be happy I’m not spending any money and keeping busy.


Ok, I actually bought a new tool for the project.  Ssshhhh….






The main idea for my sewing room will be all standing or resting on a high stool.  My posture is getting very poor from sitting at the machine all the time.  Getting up constantly from sewing to press or cut was getting annoying and let’s be honest here…. sitting all the time is contorting my butt into a funny shape – not cool.

After a google search, I’m not the only person who does this.  So I’m only half-crazy.

Another thought, it needs to be easy to clean under when I vacuum.  The room is carpeted again, at least for now, which makes wheels on a chair tough to use and I’ll still have to vacuum instead of sweep.  Big bulky furniture is hard to clean around and once you move, leaves large spots on the floor from where you’ve been walking and not walking.  So having as little of a “footprint” from furniture as possible, makes for easier cleaning.

Since the sewing room is right next to the boys’ bedroom, I’ve had numerous complaints requests to sound proof the room a bit.  Seems my sewing machines tend to be a bit noisy?  Sheesh – I love the sound of a sewing machine humming, you’d think they would too?  I guess trying to sleep at 3 am with a serger battering next to your head doesn’t work very well?  Go figure!  So I’ll be attempting to sound-proof the room a bit on the adjoining wall and keep the machines on the opposite wall.  I wonder if that will work to keep little boy noises out of my sewing room?

My last thought was maximum storage without clutter.  Clutter drives me batty and my sewing room is the only place I can control it.  The rest of the house has monkey’s flying about, so I have to just learn to live with it.  My sewing room is under my control.   Bwahaha.. oh um, yeah.


This room is really a great one for business purposes if I choose to re-up here.  It’s got a door to the outside and a driveway right outside of it.  It’s got a door to the house, so when we do get dogs again, I won’t have to try to keep them out and I won’t have people walking in on a fitting by accident *awkward*.


Here is the design inspiration for the furniture ~






~ suggestions?


So for the next few weeks, or months (depending on how crazy things get around here), this will be my project.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress – good or bad – and hopefully by the time I’m done, I’ll have my sewing inspiration back!




Happy Trails – sewing on the go September 23, 2013



Since I’m sitting here bored, without any of my belongings, I figured I should probably do a quick “tutorial” on sewing while traveling. 




Because if I had taken my own advice, I’d at least have a bit of sewing with me – or even my machine and I wouldn’t be watching a Star Trek marathon (the original to Voyager)…. again.  


Ok, I probably would be, but with my sewing machine wirrrrring next to my laptop as it played.



First – is it actually possible to take your sewing with you?


Of course!  For just hand sewing, there are so many different types of sewing baskets available, you could be stylish AND have something to do.

You could have vintage to traditional to just your style.








hello kitty


Even a tackle box would work if you’re not picky about what it looks like.


Make sure you’ve got everything you think you might need.  But usually you can find it in a smaller scale.  You probably won’t be cutting out any dresses on your hotel room floor, so large scissors probably won’t be necessary.  Do remember your thimble for hand sewing.  Unless you enjoy pain, or have no feeling left in your fingertips, you’ll want something for those hand needles.





This is probably a bit more then you’ll actually need – but you get the idea.


For those of us who like to bring their sewing machine with them, for say… classes, moves, long vacations, a craft night at your friend’s house or sewing with the other parents for a school function – what ever your reason, there is a way to safely and conveniently move your sewing machine AND your serger if you have one.

Several companies make varying styles of bags, roller bags, totes and luggage to carry your not-so-little precious all over and back.  As always, it comes down to price and style.

Whether your going for the quick and easy Joann’s at 50% off or the “matchy-matchy” whole darn set.  There is a right one for you.

One of my personal favorites, due to the functionality and color choices is Tutto.  How can you go wrong with that many color choices after all!


Now that we have most of our tools and gadgets with us, let’s answer our second question.


Why would we want to sew while we’re traveling?


If sewing is only for when you absolutely have to – then you don’t really need much of these.  A mini-kit in your luggage will suffice for emergencies.  

If sewing is a passion, then a small sewing basket and your latest work to practice a little hand sewing, will do great.  After all, once you’ve seen one corn field on your move…. you’ve seen them all.  

If sewing is a little more of an addiction than say, crack – than you’ll want the luggage.  And as the ReFashionista shows us, there’s always time to whip-up a dress!


And for those of you, who are seriously, seriously addicted, there are, in fact, sewing, knitting and crocheting cruises and vacation destinations.  


Happy Trails!





1/4″ at a time March 23, 2013

Filed under: Sewing,Sewing lessons — blankenmom @ 9:11 pm
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Not so much a sewing lesson I guess, but sometimes getting to know a new tool that can save you time – thus money is nice too.






This little tool is called a 1/4″ hem roller (you can actually buy them in different sizes I believe, but not by much).  You would use this for napkins, sheer fabric hems, some curtains.  Places you’d see both sides of the fabric so you want as little hem showing as possible or as light weight as possible.


You can do these hems by hand, but trust me, as someone who has done this by hand on yards-and-yards of a hem – get the foot!


You need to start out by doing a quick, very close to the edge straight stitch.  This keeps the fabric from stretching as you sew with the roller foot and give the fabric something to roll around so to speak.  You’ll want to leave the thread tails for something to hold onto to pull the fabric through in the beginning since it won’t want to feed by itself.  It’s also useful at the end so you can keep the fabric feeding through the foot and won’t pop out.






Attach your nifty little foot, set the needle to just barely catch the fabric curl (it’s about a 3 on my machine) and feed the long threads you left through first.  If you just set it under there, it sort of self feeds itself into the foot.  Do make sure that the thread from the needle and bobbin are fed through the bar AFTER the curl or the fabric won’t go anywhere.  You’ll have a lot of thread coming out the back of the foot – it’s ok, you’ll cut it off when you’re done.  Set the foot down right before the fabric and start the fabric through.  You’ll want to start slightly before the fabric, but not much.  Pulling gently letting the fabric curl through the foot.





You can see it curling itself here.

It works best for me to pull (very gently) with my left hand and guide with my right for this.  You’ll want to play around to find the “sweet spot” for guiding the fabric in that get’s the best roll.  It’s usually slightly to the left for me.  If it’s a long enough piece of fabric you can just hold your hand in one spot letting the fabric slide through.


This is what will come out of the other side.


Sorry for the bad photo.  Odd angle.

It ends up being very neat and clean if you do it right.  You may end up with a few spots where it didn’t tuck the fabric all the way up and you’re left with a slight raw edge.  You can go back through with small scissors and cut those spots off – being careful NOT to clip the folded edge of the sewn fabric.

This does take practice, but’s well worth the time and it’s well worth the $20 for the foot!