Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thrifty find

I love this fabric. And I'm very lucky to actually have some of this fabric.

And lookie what I found at my local Goodwill for a cool 2 bucks:

It's an awesome little recipe box, which has a new home in my kitchen.

Gotta love a good thrift store score!

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Progress

A little something that's keeping me busy these days....

What are you working on?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

World's Biggest Cozy

Yep. That's our fireplace. With a cozy.

When we don't have a fire going there's no way to really close it off. There's a glass window/door thing but it doesn't close airtight and this type of fireplace doesn't have a damper. Weird, but true. What's a girl to do other than create a fireplace cozy to keep all the cold air out and the warm air in?

I'm calling the Guinness Book.....

Monday, January 17, 2011


Can't. Stop. Making. Snack. Mats.

This one is a simple patchwork of 2" squares (finishing at 1.5"). Simple grid quilting.

A little tiny Hello Kitty tag on the back.

And this elephant is seriously my favorite. This little guy (or girl) is going to be showing up in many more projects, I think.

Tried Kerry's tutorial for single fold binding on this one and LOVED it. Really keeps the bulk down on a smaller project like this. Go check it out and then sew one of these cuties up for yourself!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Cutie

We have entered that point in childhood when birthday parties are often found on the calendar and this weekend is no exception. The birthday girl is quite fond of penguins, so this is what she's getting:

My kids have already put in their orders for their own little penguins. To give you an idea of size and scale, here I am holding the wee one.

Cute, right?

Now I'm off to make (what else?) a little gift bag for the birthday girl.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tutorial: tab top bag

It's a sad state of affairs when the army guys have to live in the dishwasher of the play kitchen. Poor fellas. Let's make them a bag!

For this bag, I used:
Four 11"x11" fabric (you can make yours any size you like, adjust other measurements as needed)
2 for outer bag (camo print chosen by my son - nice work!)
2 for lining
One 10" strip of velcro
Two 3" pieces of wide twill tape (you could also use ribbon or make fabric tabs to match your bag)
sewing machine, thread

*Note: all instructions assume a 1/4" seam allowance unless otherwise noted.

Start by finding the center of the top edge of your outer bag fabric (I just do this by folding it in half and doing a light finger press).

Fold your twill tape (or ribbon, whatever will be your tabs) in half like this:

(Nice picture, eh? That's what I get for creating a tutorial at night with no natural light.)

Center tab at top edge of outer bag and pin.

Lay your lining fabric on top (right sides together) and pin along top edge.

Do this again for the other outer fabric, tab, and lining fabric. You should now have two squares that are an outer/tab/lining sandwich. Sew along that top edge of each one.

Open and press everything (wrong sides together and you'll have something like this:

Center and pin your velcro to the top edge and sew to attach.

With both pieces of velcro attached, place your bag pieces right sides together.

I pinned all along the center of the bag because I'm going to serge my edges. This way all the layers are held securely together but I don't have to remove pins as I sew. If you don't have a serger you should get one. It will change your life!

Flip the bag right side out and press. I like to do a final topstitching around the entire top edge because it finishes everything off nicely. And that's it!

What I love about this bag is that my kiddos can easily open it using the tabs.

Hopefully, this will help give those poor little army guys a decent place to rest at night. You know, other than the dishwasher.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tutorial: reversible drawstring bag

Owen got this puzzle at Christmas. It's pretty cool. The puzzle pieces are actually the shapes of the states. Good for the budding geographer. Not so good for states like Delaware or Rhode Island when there are two kiddos and two cats in the house! We needed a way to make sure none of state pieces went rogue and left to form their own country (no doubt with all of the lost socks from the dryer).

A puzzle bag was what we needed! If you want to make a fun reversible drawstring bag too, here's what you'll need:

fabric for bag (outside and inside - both cute if you want your bag reversible!) - size will depend on how big you want your bag
*Note: my fabric measured 26"x18", which will fold in half to make a bag that is 13"x18")

one 1.5" strip of fabric for casing (should be double the width of the top of your bag, minus two inches)
* my casing strip measured 24"x1.5"

cording/drawstring (the width of your bag plus about 10 inches)

two small pieces of fusible hem tape (optional)

one spring cord lock

sewing machine, thread

*Note: all directions assume a 1/4" seam unless otherwise noted.
If you've never seen one before, this is a small spring cord lock. At my local fabric store, they have them with the trims, webbing and cording for about 50 cents.
If you're like me and you cut your casing strip the same width as your bag fabric, be sure to trim those two inches off so that when you lay them out there's a one inch difference at each end like this:
Take your casing strip and lay one of your small pieces of fusible hem tape at one end like this:
Fold the end over again and press in place. If you don't have any fusible hem tape you can just do a small double fold and stitch it, but I (often) have issues when trying to sew teeny tiny pieces like this because my machine like to suck them down into the stitch plate and get them all mangled. So yay! for fusible hem tape!

Now your casing should look like this:
Fold it in half and press.
Now lay out your outer fabric and find the center (I do this by simply folding it in half and doing a slight finger press). Find the center of your casing strip as well. Match the center points so that the raw edge of the casing is lined up with the top edge of the outer fabric.

It will look like this at each end:

Next, take your inner fabric and lay it face down (so that you have right sides of the two bag fabrics facing each other) and pin in place. You should have a nice little sandwich of outer fabric, casing, and inner fabric. Stitch along the top securing all three layers.

When you're done stitching you should have something that looks like this if you open it up and lay it out flat:
With everything all laid out flat, fold it in half like this (right sides together):
Be sure to line up the seam where the casing is stitched because this will be the top of your bag. I always start pinning there because I know that's where matching the seam is most important. Pin all the way around and stitch, leaving a small opening in the inner fabric for turning.

Clip the corners.
Turn right side out so you now have something that looks like this:

And tuck in whichever side is your lining. Press the top edge all the way around taking care to keep the inner and outer fabrics from creeping up around the casing.

Topstitch all around the top of the bag. Hand stitch the opening you left for turning. I use a ladder stitch but you can use whatever you like. Just remember to keep it pretty! If you ever want to reverse your bag, this stitching will be visible.

On to the drawstring (you're almost done!) I put masking tape around the ends of the drawstring to stop fraying and make it easier to handle.

Thread one end through your spring cord lock by pinching it and threading the string through the hole.
Attach a safety pin through the other end and thread it through the casing.

When you get all the way through, remove the safety pin and thread this end through the spring lock. Again, you'll need to pinch the cord lock open and guide the drawstring through the hole in the clasp.
Tie a knot in each end of the drawstring cord and clip off the tape tails.

You did it!

Here's one side of our new puzzle bag:

And here's the bag turned inside out:

The moment of truth:

Yay - it fits!

I hope everything was clear. If you have any questions, just let me know. As always, if you make anything from this tutorial I'd love to know about it!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snack mat :: take two (or three, or four)

Here are the snack mats that started it all:

I made seven of these over the holidays to give away. Easy strip piecing and simple straight line quilting in a variety of patterns. The back is a fun Michael Miller monkey print:

And here's the latest:

I had to make up for the weird wonk-effect of the gingham binding on the other one.

I can't get over some of these sweet Japanese prints:

And here's the back:


This mat is now happy in it's new home beside my computer where I can enjoy it every single day.