Easy, Inexpensive thread identifying system

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I have mentioned before that I am a huge fan of Connecting Threads thread. It comes in many colors, is inexpensive (even more so when they run sales which they frequently do) and the quality is fantastic.
The problem is that as I acquire more of their thread in more colors, I needed an easy way to identify the color so that I would know what I had, and what I needed.

Connecting Threads thread is identifiable only by the outer plastic wrap. Once you remove that to use the thread there is no way to identify it. image

Some of the colors are obvious, like black, white, red. Then you get into colors like Calypso and Cerulean and it gets a little harder to remember which is which. Looking online was no help as the colors don’t look exactly the same in person VS. what’s on the screen.

I had the same trouble with my Kona cotton fabrics. You can buy a Kona swatch card, but it’s $20! I don’t need to see ALL the colors which the swatch book has, so I made my own using the Kona fabric I already have in my stash.

It not only helps me plan projects without dragging out all my fabric, it also helps me keep track of what colors I have. I definitely see the usefulness of a swatch book showing the full line. If it was less expensive I would probably even order one. For $20 I would rather spend that money on more fabric.

I decided to use a similar swatch method for my thread that I used for my Kona cotton since I still had some leftover supplies from my Kona swatch identifier project.

What I used was a set of embroidery thread bobbins. I prefer the plastic ones, but I had a bunch of the cardboard ones that came with an embroidery floss case. I also had a leftover embroidery thread bobbin ring. You can find a set with the bobbins and rings at most craft stores. I got mine at Michaels with a coupon. I don’t remember what I paid, but I think it was under $3.

A quick Google search turned up many free embroidery floss bobbin patterns online. I find having the ring to put them on convenient, but you could always make your own thread bobbins and put them on a piece of yarn or ribbon to make this project even less expensive.

I wound some of  the thread around each card, dabbed it with plain white glue front and back, and wrote the color on the card.  I’m not a tidy writer, and I also like them separated, but you could probably do several thread colors on one card.


I let them dry overnight, and then put them on the ring. I love that I can pull it out before I place a thread order. I can also carry it over to my fabrics to see if I have what I need, and I can bring it into the store with me if I need to.


Pillowcases made from flannel. Easy and fun to make. I use a pillowcase I already have as my size guide. Leave approximately 2″ more on the length and the width so that they are still the correct size after sewing. 2″ is much more than you need, but better to have a little extra you can trim off then to not have enough.


Pillowcase opening has been folded over and hemmed. The body is pinned and ready to be sewn.



Handmaid quilted dog bed

Brown wore out one of her dog beds recently, and I have been on a mission to either buy her one or make her one. I can easily sew a dog bed cover, the expensive part is finding a good filler for it. Sometimes it is less expensive to buy a dog bed. I can usually find really pretty ones in large sizes at TJMaxx/Homegoods which is where the last one came from. The last few times I have been in I have not seen anything that caught my eye or if it did catch my eye they cost more than I wanted to spend.

Last weekend we dropped off a bunch of stuff to a thriftshop and then went in to take a look around. I saw this:

At first I thought it was some kind of beanbag type thing. I poked it a little and to my delight discovered that it was filled with down. It seemed sort of deflated but appeared to be about full bed sized. The outer material looked intact and I figured maybe I could scrunch it up and use it to make a dog bed.

Back in October I bought a dark grey corduroy material that I thought would make a great dog bed cover. I took it out and while I love the fabric I wanted something a little more custom and interesting. I also realized that I was NOT in the mood to do any pieced quilting, applique or anything too fussy. I decided on using bright colored thread and quilting the grey material myself.

First I drew my lines on in chalk. Yeah I know I screwed up some of the lines.  That’s what happens when you have a small workroom and don’t feel like setting up the big table to work on. I did not use a pattern for the bed or the quilting. I cut out the bed pieces as large as I could make them from the grey fabric piece I had, then used a regular ruler to make guidelines for the quilting.


I did the first set of lines in a thread color called Aqua from www.connectingthreads.com.


I ended up choosing a different thread color for the second set of lines. This time the color was Calypso from www.connectingthreads.com


Yes, I know my lines aren’t straight/perfectly spaced.


Aqua and Calypso thread colors

Aqua and Calypso thread colors from connectingthreads.com

I made a huge, boneheaded mistake that resulted in having to do the bottom of the bed in this blue corduroy. I love it but grrrrr.(I cut the backing fabric for the sides instead of the piece I had for the sides which was smaller)


I made a velcro closure just in case I ever wanted to take it apart. I normally throw the entire dog bed in the wash without taking off the cover so the velcro wasn’t strictly necessary.


I was a little worried about squishing all that down into the cover I made which was about 1/4 of the size of the down blanket thing I started with. It squished in perfectly. Whew!


Brown hasn’t been on it yet, but the cats like it.


This project came in at approx. $20 for everything, which I think is pretty darn good for a large, down filled dog bed.

Vintage hanging lantern lit with solar lights

I bought this hanging lantern a few years ago at an auction we went to. It was wired to hang from the ceiling(I’m pretty sure this is an old restaurant lantern) the wiring was old and made me nervous so I removed it.
I love this lantern, but my ceilings are really low in the house so there isn’t anywhere for me to hang it up right now. I thought about using it as a table lamp downstairs but I think the cats would be a little too interested in trying to climb into it. The panels are glass, so it has to be someplace safe. Plus this sucker is big.
I’m not sure how I want to wire it yet, but I want to enjoy it lit up. While I think about what the final plan for my lantern is going to be I decided to put some solar lights in it. These are Solar net lights. I bought two sets on clearance after Christmas. Originally I was going to put them in the garden this summer. I put them in the lantern tonight. It’s not perfect, they don’t light up the entire light. My husband says it looks like there are fireflies in it which I thought was great.


Only one set of the lights is charged up so it’s not very bight right now, but I love that it is going to go off and on by itself. I put the solar charger panels in a nearby window and tucked the cords behind a picture frame.


Cinnamon applesauce ornaments

I made cinnamon applesauce ornaments for the first time this morning. I have never heard of these before and was intrigued. I decided to give them a try and make one for each person in my family. I used a recipe from McCormick.

Some recipes I saw used a little bit of glue in the mix. This recipe did not have glue and that appealed to me. I love the idea of just using Cinnamon and applesauce to make a dough that will harden.


Getting ready for the oven. 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours


They came out great, although some things I learned are:

Don’t roll these out on parchment paper or plastic wrap. I know the recipe says to use plastic wrap, but when I did if there was any little wrinkle in the parchment paper or the plastic wrap it transfers to the dough. It’s easy enough to see wrinkles on the top but it was really frustrating to roll out the dough, cut out the shapes and then see creases on the underside.

I decided to roll out the dough on my countertop. This went well except when I thought I put enough cinnamon down on the counter to keep the dough from sticking. Luckily this is easily fixed by sprinkling more cinnamon down on your work surface. Check to make sure the  ornaments will come up from your surface before you cut out all your ornaments.

Also, the cheapest place I found to get cinnamon was at Walmart. They had bottles for 64cents.