Category Archives: Tutorials – D I Y

Efficiency + a marble

If I’m going to do something more than once, I usually like to find THE-MOST-EFFICIENT way of doing it any subsequent times.  I do not mind working a bit harder NOW to enable a speedier process later. No matter what means I employ or how many brain cells I utilize I’ll put the effort in…no problem!

I used to take things apart when I was a kid. Just to see if I could put them back together again. I like to know what makes things tick. I always want to know why. WHY?!

I sometimes wonder if I should have been an engineer.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post about the compass, I had to make another one with odd increments. The first one was even measurements. So, yah, I got the drill out and did it all myself. Self-proud.  But I was still having a slight issue with the pencil movement. The end of the stick that swivels and spins around can dip up or down and makes the pencil go wonky. I thought I should find a mini-caster wheel. Not going to happen. Hmmmmm. A-ha! I super glued a marble to the wonky end and now, no slipping!

Marble on the paint stick evens out stick and glides along fabric.Marble on the paint stick evens out stick and glides along fabric.

So I accomplished that today and I made a pattern for the poufs I make and placed holes where I can mark out the seam allowance. Instead of measuring and cutting and measuring the same things all the time. Oh, the time this will save!!

In making a compass

My first attempt at a homemade compass failed. But I mulled it over for a day or two and with a bit M’s help, I made one today with a nail, a paint stirrer sticky thing, a drill, hammer, pencil and a small piece of round cardboard. The paint stick was the first idea, as it is sturdy, slim enough and long enough for circle-making.

Then, I (M) drilled holes in the stick that would fit a pencil, measuring 2cm apart. And a smaller hole at the end for the nail. My new sewing setup was put together by M and consists of two small sawhorses and an old door. Perfect. Originally, this table setup was not for me, but I may have encroached on pretty much the whole space. It is an excellent workspace. Mine.

homemade compass

homemade compass

So, this is where the nail bit comes in: I drove the nail through the paint stick and into the table top. Took it all back out of the holes, put a small round, hollow cardboard tube over the hole on the table, and then re-pounded the nail back in with the stick on top of the cardboard tube. This gave it the height needed to hover the stick over the fabric and to have a good distance between pencil and fabric. Now, I just fold material in half and swoop a half circle with my new gadget, cut the half-circle out, unfold and voila! Circle.

compass sm2

Cardboard tube between paint stick and table surface, with nail through the middle.

Cardboard tube between paint stick and table surface, with nail through the middle.


I can also make a full circle with the compass if I replace the nail with a small-pointed tack that can poke through the fabric and then swoop the arm all the way around the circle. Sorted.