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) ¾” x 18 ½” 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 towel 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 about 20″-21″, enough to go around all four sides including 2″-3″ 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!

home decor, patterns, Uncategorized

Modern Stripes Placemat

If you’re in need of a quick project and love all things modern, I think you’re going to like my Modern Stripes Placemat. I designed this for my mom’s small kitchen table with the idea of using up some little scraps. It’s an easy make, and as a bonus you can finish it in just a few hours!

To put this together all you need is color fabric scraps as small as 1 ¼” wide by 2 ½” long, a fat quarter for the background, binding, backing and some quilt batting. It finishes at 14″ x 20″, the average size for a placemat. I used red to coordinate with my mom’s kitchen, but here are a few images to give you an idea of how other colors might look. I think a variety of colors would give it a whole new look!Screen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.23 AMScreen Shot 2018-12-13 at 9.22.05 AM.png

For easy reference, I made the Modern Stripes Placemat pattern as a FREE PDF download so you can save it and have it ready whenever you are.

I think I need to get busy and make a few of these for myself, I just need to decide on a color…