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Monthly Archives: August 2017

  • Know Your Seam Ripper

    Used to remove unwanted stitches and open buttonholes on sewing projects, the seam ripper is a must have in every sewist’s sewing basket. The earliest seam ripper patent dates back to 1871. It was a multipurpose tool with a slot that could be used as a wrench on one end and a protected blade for cutting through stitches on the other. Today’s current seam ripper design was patented in 1953 by Herman Ament for the Boyd Needle Company. Before the modern seam ripper many sewists would use a razor blade or needle to pick out stitches. Many names have been given to the trusty seam ripper, but did you know that it also has many uses?

    Anatomy of a Seam Ripper

    The basic seem ripper has remained unchanged since the mid-1970’s. However, there have been several upgrades that have taken place over the years. For instance, the Seam-Fix seam ripper added a silicone beehive head to pull out and “erase” loose threads from opened seams. Ergonomic handles aid in the comfort and use of the seam ripper. Curved blade seam rippers have an exposed blade for opening serged seams.

    Have this information close at hand and download the this handy guide!

  • 3 Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Starting a Hobby

    If you are busy and feel as though you don’t just need more hours in the day but need more days in the week, you probably laugh when people tell you that you need to slow down and pursue a hobby to improve your mental and physical health. How in the world can you make time for hobbies when you don’t have enough time to do all that you need to do for your family, your work, or yourself?

    In truth, engaging in a hobby can help you move through the rigors of your day more successfully. When your mental and physical health are at their best, you have the focus and energy you need to make better decisions, complete tasks, and handle the stresses of your day.

    1. Give Your Mind a Break

    When your mind races or you have so much to do that you constantly make plans and worry about everything, you’re not in the healthiest mental state. But, when you focus on a hobby, you clear your mind and give it the break it needs. If your hobby includes repetitive moves or rhythmic motion like knitting does, you enter a relaxing, meditative state, according to knitting therapist Betsan Corkhill. A hobby that challenges you forces you to concentrate so much that your mind cannot think about anything else, making it possible to shut out other things that you had been focusing on throughout the day.

    The goal is to choose a hobby that helps you enter what women’s health and success coach Jennifer Racioppi refers to as a flow state. A flow state is similar to meditation, putting you in a state of mind that combines action and awareness so you can stop worrying about everything other than the task (in this case, a hobby) before you. If you find a hobby that is so engaging and enjoyable that you lose track of time, you have achieved the flow state.

     

    1. Hobbies Bring Joy

    All too often, we become so busy that we forget to take the time to pursue activities that bring us joy. Doing something simply because you enjoy it promotes positive stress, or eustress. Eustress is healthy stress that benefits our bodies by increasing our brain power and improving our immune system. This positive stress drives us to be successful and happy and gives us the motivation we need to pursue activities that we find exciting and fun. That’s the benefit of finding a hobby that you love; it improve your mental and physical health through the excitement and joy it brings. Not sure what hobby is best for you? Check out this site, which helps you match your interests and skills to different hobbies.

     

    1. Hobbies Help You Challenge Yourself

    Challenging yourself is one way to keep life interesting and keep your brain active. Hobbies are ideal challenges because they give you the opportunity to try something new and experience new things without much risk or pressure. You will learn your new hobby as you go, and you will recognize that it is okay to be unsuccessful at first.

    However, a new hobby should not challenge you to the point of putting your health or safety at risk. The point of taking up a hobby is to improve your health rather than harm it, after all. If, for instance, you take up rock climbing, you should undergo some training and ensure you have the proper equipment and safety gear before your first climb.

    If you’re more interested in a trades-related hobby that requires the use of tools or special equipment, spend time learning about safety tips. Examples include wearing safety goggles, reading user manuals, and asking a friend who is familiar with power tools how to use them safely. More DIY safety tips are available online, such as this guide provided by Redfin.

    Pursuing a hobby improves your mental and physical health because it gives your mind a break, brings you joy and promotes eustress, challenges you, and keeps your brain active.

    Article submission by Maria Cannon of http://www.hobbyjr.org

  • 5 Tips for Designing Your Own Quilt Blocks

    AccuQuilt's 8th Annual 2017 Quilt Block Design Contest is under way and if you have been searching the internet for inspiration, you are probably overwhelmed by the thousands of images that appear. Don't worry, Ellen Schmidt, Meissner Sewing's resident Accuquilt expert has outlined five basic tips to help you design a quilt block that is uniquely you.

    Click here to view the contest rules.

    #1:  Use a Design Board to create your block. Wrap 100% cotton batting around white foam core board. Quilting fabrics stick and can be easily re-positioned while designing your block.

    #2: Work with fabrics that inspire you. When you love the fabrics, you will be more likely to love the results. Using fabrics and colors that inspire you will help your creativity bloom and make the design process more fun.

    #3: Modify an existing quilt block. Without a place to start, looking in books or online for ideas can be intimidating. Begin the process by creating a classic, existing quilt block pattern from your AccuQuilt dies. Then begin making adjustments one at a time.

    See Ellen Schmidt's Complete Schedule of Classes

    #4: Try out different shapes. Turn squares into half square triangles, or merge those squares into a larger rectangle. Changing the balance of the quilt block can have a big impact.

    $15,000 worth of Prizes up for grabs in AccuQuilt Contest

    #5: Turn up the volume on your inner critic. Don't be afraid to ask "What if I change something else?" Then work to answer the question to further the design process. Take photos along the way, so if you stumble, you can always go back to what you had before.

    So now that you are armed with how to start designing your quilt block, we can't wait to see what you come up with.  Good Luck!

    Enter Your Quilt Block Design by August 21st

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