Christmas, home decor, quilting, sewing, Uncategorized

Microwave Bowl Cozies

Once spring arrived and I’d completed my 8th quilt for the year, it was time to make something else. Not that long ago microwave cozies were really popular and I was seeing them everywhere, so I figured now was a good time to try them out. I’m always in favor of making practical things people can actually use, and stashing down is always a plus.

There are plenty of tutorials available on how to make these and they’re pretty much all the same. I followed a YouTube video by The Sewing Room. To make one bowl cozy you need 10″ squares for everything—the inside and outside fabric and the cotton batting in between.

The process is pretty basic: you quilt the squares, sandwich the pieces, sew them together adding darts, turn it inside out and top stitch. After making five, I discovered a few tips and compiled them for those of you who decide to make your own.

Instructions have you quilt an X from corner to corner. For accuracy, I marked my lines with a hera marker. I chain quilted the X on all five to save some time. Is chain quilting actually a thing? Carrying on…I used my walking foot guide for the rest of the quilting. Don’t forget to pin!

I quilted mine 2″ apart, a bit closer than in the video.

By doing so, the quilting helped shape the bottom of the cozies. I didn’t expect that but it turned out nicely.

And I certainly didn’t expect the lines on my fabric to line up either! 🙂

Since you’re going through two layers of fabric and batting, take it nice and slow when top stitching.

I spent a few hours making all five of these. I kept one for myself and gave the rest to my family.

Because I didn’t have 100% cotton batting, we don’t use ours in the microwave, but we do use them to keep food warm. They work great and all the bowl sizes we tried fit just fine.

You can also make them for decoration. I made this one for displaying pine cones around Christmas. The beautiful metallic fabric and 1″ quilted lines give a festive holiday feel.

If you’re on your umpteenth quilt for the year and need a change of pace, you can quickly make a few bowl cozies to mix it up.

Christmas, fall decor, home decor, how to, mini quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilt blocks, quilting, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

2019 Project Recap

Every year I like to write a blog post recapping all the projects I’ve made. I mainly do this to have a quick reference should I ever need to know when something in particular was made. And it’s fun to see how I’ve spent my time sewing. So here goes…

First up is my Petite Hearts quilt that I made on a whim. It has a funny story to go along with it…I thought I was onto an original pattern, but while looking for a name I found it had been published before as baby quilt. Still a top favorite.

I started making a Swoon quilt by Thimble Blossoms in the spring and got it back from longarming late September. I haven’t written a blog post on it yet because I haven’t gotten any good photos, so these two blocks will have to do for now. 🙂

I started my Maple Charm quilt before we moved in April and had it finished just in time for fall. I enjoyed it the entire season.

This Five Squared throw quilt is a Monday Morning Designs pattern (available for purchase in my Etsy shop; see sidebar). I made it out of fabrics I had on hand and I love that all the colors of the rainbow are included.

Also while trying to use what I had on hand, I made a Four Patch Charm quilt. I’m hoping somebody has a special event this year so I can gift it.

Lastly, I made my son a Picnic Play quilt designed by Michelle Bartholomew. While this quilt looks innocent, it was a tough one! It was a huge project, too. My son enjoys finally having a quilt large enough to use on his queen size bed.

I made quite a few mini quilts, too. This one was completed early 2019. I’ve also written a tutorial on how to make a Scrappy Heart mini. It’s a fun and quick one to make.

What can I say about this cute crab pattern by Ellis and Higgs? The big crab was a gift for my daughter, the other one is mine.

This Radiant mini is also a Monday Morning Designs. I was fortunate to have it featured in the July/August edition of Quiltmaker. It surely brightens up my space! I plan to release the pattern this summer.

I made quite a few Little Quilted Star ornaments for gifts for Christmas. Very festive.

My pattern Wee Three Trees became available for purchase in time for the holiday sewing rush. I made two, one for myself and one as a gift for my niece.

Here’s the last of my projects. I made the microwave bowl cozy for myself as a holiday bowl for pine cones. The little holders are for gift cards; gifted as party favors, and the bottom photo shows my process on a mini Christmas tree skirt.

These pillows were also gifts…

And a pillow case for my bird-loving husband.

Lastly, towels with cute toppers made for my mom. You can download my free PDF tutorial How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel. It’s easy-to-follow, complete with photos, a template and lots of tips!

Well, that sums up last year, and I’m well into making for 2020!

home decor, how to, PDF dowload, sewing, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel

I’m always looking for a new sewing project to make—something easy and fun with a fairly quick finish. I thought I’d enjoy making hanging kitchen towels since they’re decorative and useful. While scrolling through Pinterest I found several examples with a variety of toppers, but I couldn’t find any tutorials I liked so I designed my own.

I also wrote a tutorial while making mine, and for an easy way to share it’s available as a PDF download. That way it’s convenient for you to keep it on your device while working on your project. Here’s the link to download my How to Make a Hanging Kitchen Towel tutorial.

I’d rate this project as ‘easy’ and it’s great for both new and experienced sewing enthusiasts. The tutorial is chock-full of colorful photos, helpful tips and a printable template—all there to guide you while making your own!

home decor, how to, quilt blocks, tutorials, Uncategorized

How to Make an Envelope Pillow Cover

Sometimes when working on a quilt that’s taking a lot of time, I feel I need a break to make something with a fast finish. Over the summer I received a free sailboat pattern from Ellis and Higgs and I thought it would make a nice pillow as a gift for my sister since she lives on the bay and has a nautical theme throughout her house.

I’d been wanting to learn how to make an envelope pillow because I think they look better than a zipper, so what better time to try it out? I found a few tutorials and combined the best of them and came up with one to pass along. It’s really easy and can be made in less than an hour!

For mine, I pieced the front and used interfacing to keep everything in place, but you can make the front easily with a cut of fabric. Here’s how to make a cover for a pillow insert, and also what you’ll need:

MATERIALS: Either a pieced block with interfacing fused on OR fabric for the front, fabric for the back, pillow insert, hot ruler (optional), bluntly pointed stick, sewing machine, iron, general sewing supplies.

For the pillow FRONT: Make your block to measure the same size as your pillow form. If you choose to make a fabric front, the same measurement applies, cut your fabric to the pillow form size.

For the pillow BACK: You will need one piece of fabric to be cut into two (or two pieces). The width will be the same as your pillow form, but the length will be the size of the pillow form plus 6″.

Examples:

If you’re using a quilt block and it’s too small, just add borders. For example, I added 2″ borders to my sailboat block to get it to measure 16″ x 16″.

Once the pieces are cut to size, fold under one edge of each back piece 1/4″ and then again 1/4″ to form a small hem for the flaps. A hot ruler works great here.

Sew the hem for the flaps, stitching close to the edge. Press the seam.

Next; sewing everything together. Pin the front and back pieces right sides together with the two back pieces overlapping in the middle. It will look upside down and backwards, but it ends up as it should once you turn it right side out.

Sew around all four sides of the pillow cover using a 1/2″ seam allowance. If you want to keep the raw edges from fraying, add a zigzag stitch around all the edges.

Once sewn, trim away the corners and turn the cover right side out, making sure to push out the corners. Using a bluntly pointed object helps get the corners sharp.

Lastly, give it one final press and insert the pillow form. And you’re done!

Not only are these pillows easy and fun, they’re an inexpensive way to add a splash of color and style to your living space.

home decor, how to, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Classic Little Quilted Star Ornaments

Christmas is almost here but there’s still time to make these pretty ornaments! Whether you’re looking for last minute gifts or decor, they’re quick, fun and easy.

Last month I posted a tutorial on little quilted star ornaments I made using metallic fabrics.

After seeing these, my daughter wanted a few in traditional Christmas colors, red and white. I made her three using a rich red for the star in Moda’s Rustic Weave and a pure white background with wintry swirls from a Bee Sturgis Quilting Treasures holiday collection.

And I just love the contrast.

She wanted them quilted all the same, with straight line quilting in each corner section.

She also chose Kona Cotton White for the binding which really made the red stars pop.

Either traditional colors or modern, I think these ornaments are a great holiday addition.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas, home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, patterns, PDF pattern, quilting, Uncategorized

Wee Three Trees Mini Quilt Pattern

With holiday sewing in full swing, I’ve decided to release a Christmas tree mini quilt pattern that’s fun and fast to make, and most of all, it’s festive!

I call this little mini Wee Three Trees. The pattern is made up of three little trees; perfect for 2 1/2″ precut strips or scraps, and the background requires just one fat quarter so there’s not a lot of fabric needed. And it’s a suitable project for both beginner and experienced quilters alike. Wee Three Trees is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

I’ve made a few of these for gifts, and one for myself. For mine, I used Greetings by Kaye England for Wilmington Prints. I also used this fabric for my Christmas Irish Chain quilt last year. I love the nostalgic holiday feel of this wonderful collection.

I also did some experimenting with a variety of prints and colors for a non-traditional look. I think this pattern lends itself to so many possibilities! 🙂

If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to see what you create. Happy holiday sewing!

home decor, modern quilts, quilt blocks, Uncategorized

Mitered Borders on Pillows

This year for Christmas I made my son a queen size quilt for his bed. Somehow, while in the process of making blocks, I ended up with a few extra. So I had to ask myself, ‘what’s the best thing to do with extra blocks?’ Make pillows! What a perfect solution. 🙂

The quilt pattern, Picnic Play by Michelle Bartholomew, is made up of large blocks approximately 15″ square untrimmed, making it relatively easy to turn the blocks into 18″ pillows by adding borders. I say ‘relatively’ easy because I couldn’t just add the traditional squared borders due to the nature of the block construction.

Since the quadrants are triangles, I had to add mitered borders…and I’d never done that before, but I was up for the challenge.

To keep the triangles a consistent width, I cut off approximately 1″ all the way around and added 4 ½” mitered borders. Once attached and pressed (½” seam allowance), I trimmed about 3/8″ off each side to square the block. I ended up with a final measurement of 18″. They’re not bad for a first try. 😉

While adding mitered corners wasn’t particularly difficult, it was a bit tricky due to all the conjoining seams, but it got easier with each corner. I followed this informative video on how to make mitered borders from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Once the blocks were cut to size, I ironed on a light fusible fleece to help them hold shape and to secure the seams and threads.

And, instead of making a zippered pillow, I decided on an envelope back. I’ve wanted to try this method for quite some time, and not only did I learn a new and easy way to make a pillow back, I love the results. I used the same backing fabric as the quilt.

Eliana Medallion in Sunshine by Wilmington Fabrics

My son opted for a non-quilted front and we both agree that the crisp blocks look fresh and modern as is.

Here’s the finished pair.

I really enjoy learning and trying new methods, and I accomplished learning two in one project! I’m hoping my son will enjoy the toss pillow and quilt ensemble once he finally receives his gifts.

Christmas, home decor, mini quilts, quilt blocks, quilting, tutorials, Uncategorized

Little Quilted Star Ornament Tutorial

Lately I’ve been going through my fabric trying to find a good use for leftovers. So far I’ve made my colorful, controlled scrappy Five Squared Quilt and my Four Patch Charm quilt, made with a ray of lovely golden yellows.

Even with those two completed, I still have fabric left from other projects. Three years ago I made my son a tree skirt for Christmas using a mix of beautiful metallic fabrics by Marcus Brothers, RJR and Andover Fabrics. And…

while scrolling through Pinterest I found a great idea for using smaller scraps, little quilted star ornaments. Right away I knew these metallics would be a perfect choice for this project.

Since I only saw a photo and the dimensions weren’t given, I experimented until I had made one small enough without using exceptionally tiny pieces. I also decided to make a tutorial because other quilters may be looking for a fun way to use up little scraps, and just in time for the holidays. So here it is…

Materials needed to make one 4 ½” x 4 ½” star ornament:

For Star: Gold fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14 ½” strip
Subcut (1) 2 ½” x 2 ½” square and (8) 1 ½” x 1 ½” squares


For Star: White fabric – (1) 2 ½” x 14″ strip
Subcut (4) 1 ¾” x 2 ½” rectangles and (4) 1 ¾” x 1 ¾” squares


For Backing: Gold fabric – (1) 5 ½” x 5 ½” square


For Interfacing: Pellon Fusible Fleece – (1) 4 ½” x 4 ½” square


For ¾” Bias tape binding: Gold fabric – (1) 1 ¼” x 20″ strip (approximate)


For Hanger: White ribbon – (1) 7″ piece (or material of your choice)


Once the fabric is cut, draw a diagonal line on the back of all the gold 1 ½” squares. As though making a flying geese unit, sew two 1 ½” x 1 ½” gold squares to the top corners of a 1 ¾” x 2 ½” white rectangle, attaching them to the 2 ½” side. Make 4.

Next, lay out squares and sewn units with the 2 ½” sides facing toward the center, as shown below. Sew together to make rows. Press the top and bottom row seams toward the outer squares. Press the middle row seam toward the center square.

Sew the rows together to complete the star; seams will nest. Press seams open. Trim block to 4 ½” x 4 ½” square making sure to leave a ¼” all the way around.

Trim any threads off the back to prevent them from showing through to the front. This is always a good rule to follow. 🙂 Next, adhering the interfacing. I used 987F Pellon fusible fleece because of the low loft, yet there’s enough to give some depth when quilted.

I always put a scrap piece of fabric over my projects to prevent any adhesive from getting on my iron.

Once the fusible fleece is adhered, sandwich the star unit to the backing. The backing square will be a bit bigger to allow for shifting when quilting.

With a hera marker, I marked the first two lines to be quilted then I used straight pins to hold the pieces together. After the first lines were finished, I removed the pins.

I chose a different quilting pattern for each one. I really like how they turned out!

Once your blocks are quilted, it’s time for binding. Since the ornaments are small, and to reduce bulk, I made bias tape using a ¾” bias tape maker. (If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most sewing stores inexpensively or you can buy bias tape already made). You’ll need enough to go around all four sides including a few inches extra.

Once made, press the bias tape in half lengthwise before sewing it on; that’ll help to keep it even on each side. I sewed mine on by hand (each side, one at a time) which was easier than trying to line everything up and sew through all the layers at once.

One the binding is attached, the last thing to do is add a hanger. There are a lot of options here…you can use jute, ribbon, cording—whatever you like. I used a lovely white ribbon I had on hand. I looped it and tacked the ends together before stitching it on.

1/4″ double face satin ribbon

And done! Easy to make and fun, too, plus I think they’ll make great gifts!

Enjoy your holiday sewing!

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

Tiny Crab Mini Quilt

Every year for Christmas I make my family members something handmade. Sometimes it’s a quilt, sometimes it’s something as simple as a pillowcase. I like to start my holiday sewing early after learning my lesson two years ago when I was finishing gifts at the last minute due to a late start.

Last year I made my daughter a quilt for her bed so this year I planned to make something quite a bit smaller. Since she loves whimsical crabs, I’d been looking for a cute pattern and recently found one by EIlis and Higgs, bought it upon release and started immediately!

The pattern offers two sizes: 6″ square and 12″ square. She wanted the larger one but I thought I’d practice by making the smaller one. I decided on a blue crab and after searching through my scraps I chose two prints from Allison Glass’s Sun Print collection. To set off the vibrant blues, I used a white background.

I’ve got to say—this pattern was so fun! I enjoyed it so much that I made three more crabs and created a little mini quilt for my sewing room door.

A few things to mention about the process—first of all, the fabric pieces are really small, some as small as 1″ x 1″ square and some were as skinny as ¾” wide.

Working with pieces this tiny along with striving to get everything to line up challenged me and I enjoyed the challenge! 🙂

But in all that fun there were a few bumps along the way…for example, when working with such little pieces and keeping them labeled, things got a little heated…

I found my alphabittie melted to my iron! Dang. After that I was a lot more careful. If you make this or any project with small pieces, I have a few recommendations:

I also found that trimming units after sewing made assemby go easier. The pattern gives sizes each sewn unit should measure and having trimmed pieces helps when lining everything up. Plus it eliminates annoying threads along the edges.

I made three tiny crabs using primary colors and green for the fourth. I added a 1 ½” border and my finished mini measures 15 ½” square. I chose a horizontal serpentine stitch for quilting to represent ocean waves. Every time I walk past my sewing room door I smile at their cuteness!

This little project was a great scrap buster, too. While going through my fabric I decided I have too much so I’m now making a controlled scrappy quilt using 2 ½” squares in every variety of color I own. And as far as the Christmas crab mini goes, I can’t post it until after it’s gifted!

home decor, mini quilts, modern quilts, quilting, Uncategorized

Radiant Mini Quilt Published in Quiltmaker

To kick off the summer season, I have a newly published mini quilt pattern that gives off a summery vibe. It’s entitled Radiant because, well, the sun just radiates!

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I sketched this idea a while back but didn’t get a chance to write the pattern and make it until early spring last year. Right after finishing it, Modern Patchwork put out a call for ‘small’ projects. The timing was perfect so I submitted it for publication consideration. After being accepted, Modern Patchwork was no longer going to be published (sadly) so my mini was moved to the July/August issue of Quiltmaker.

I received my magazine copies yesterday and I have to say I love their layout, it definitely says summer to me! I’m very happy with it. 🙂

As seen in July/August issue of Quiltmaker

There were two things that inspired this design: 1. the sheer heat of the sun 2. fabric. I had purchased a Kona Cotton Citrus Bundle with something else in mind, but it ended being up exactly what I needed for this pattern. I wanted to create an ombre effect using solids ranging from dark to light giving the feeling of warmth radiating from the sun, and it worked. I think any combination of reds, oranges and yellows would do just as well.

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Kona Cotton Citrus Burst

I wanted to quilt circles from the sun outward, but before starting I tested my idea. On paper, I drew a circle (from a coaster) in the corner where the sun was on the quilt. I knew that the further out I’d have to sew, the larger the circles would get, and I had to make sure they’d stay round. It looked like it was going to work so I continued on.

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Testing showed I needed to start my lines off the quilt edge onto the excess batting area so I would have enough lead into the quilt top in order to keep my circles round. It was a bit of extra quilting but it was necessary to get the results I wanted. I used the edge of my walking foot for distancing apart lines, that way I didn’t have to make any markings.

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For quilting, I used Aurifil 2135, giving a nice warm finish.

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This little mini is a quick and easy make; consisting of mostly half square triangles. It measures 15″ W x 12″ H, and it would be a nice bright addition to anyone’s space! It’s also a great skill builder for a beginner quilter.

If you don’t subscribe to Quiltmaker, get your copy today and give it a try! If you like oranges and yellows you’re all set…or if you’re feeling adventurous try it out in your favorite color palette.

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So now that summer’s here, enjoy it!