Saturday, January 30, 2010

Birthday Placemat Tutorial

We're doing something new at Quilt Guild this year. It's called "Make it Monthly". Every month we have a different idea for something guild members can make using their stash.... In February we are making Birthday Placemats. Here's the one I designed. I'll be sharing an instruction sheet for it at our February meeting, but in the meantime, here's a little tutorial: To make this placemat, you'll need 7 different fabrics from your stash, cut as follows:

focus fabric: piece 1, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches and back piece, 18 x 24 inches

green: pieces 3 & 5, each 3 x 11 inches

brown solid: piece 4, 3 1/2 inches x 11 1/2 inches and piece 6, 4 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches

stripe: piece 2, 2 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

candle stripe (cut on a diagonal): candle piece, 1 x 5 inches, backed with fusible web

yellow scrap: one flame piece backed with fusible web

pink: letters backed with fusible web (make sure you reverse them!)

a piece of batting 18 x 24 inches

here are the pieces all laid out:
I got the candle & letter templates from free clipart.... just do a google search! Trace them onto the fusible web, iron it onto your fabrics & cut them out.
Now you need to applique the candle & the letters onto the corresponding solid brown pieces (of course yours can be different colors! I'm just trying to make it easy for you by referring to the colors I used). I love to applique by hand with embroidery floss & a blanket stitch. Feel free to do your on the machine if you wish!
Now we're going to begin sewing it together. Lay your backing on a flat surface, right side down, & then your batting on top of it. Take piece one & place it right side up in the top right corner. Now lay piece 2 on top of piece one, face down, like this: Stitch a 1/4 inch seam across the bottom of piece 2. Flip piece 2 down, so it is face up, & press well. Continue to stitch & flip the pieces in numerical order. Here we add piece three....

and four....

and so on....

Until all of the pieces are stitched onto the backing/batting.

Trim the back & batting even with the edges and bind your placemat as desired! No need to quilt, you've already done that with the stitch & flip method.

I'd love to see your creations if you make one! Please add a picture to the ellyn's place flickr group...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

a blanket for Nikolas

This is my little friend Nikolas. His mom, Amy, & I have been email buddies for many years (she's one of the '96 moms gang I told you about here!) Amy is the mom to six awesome kiddos. Nikolas is #5.... & when he was born I made him a flannel baby blanket. Well apparently that blanket quickly became his favorite blankie. & recently, that blankie became too small! Nikolas wanted me to make him a bigger blankie.... so I did! I found some dinosaur flannel that was grown up just like him & made a longer blankie so he can be warm at night. Today he received it in the mail. He sure looks happy! I'm glad.

I love to make blankies for new babies. For those of you who want to know how I make them... here you go!

I buy 1 1/4 yards of 2 different flannels, one for the back & one for the front. Place the two pieces right sides together & trim them up so they are even lengthwise & widthwise. Round the corners (I usually use a small plate as a template, draw the curve on the flannel & cut the front & the back together). Now sew around the edges using a 5/8 inch seam. Leave a 6 inch opening to turn it right side out. Trim the curves & turn the blanket right side out. Press well, pressing the unstitched seam allowance in. Now topstitch all the way around about 1/4 inch in from the edge. Stitch again, 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

That's it! It makes a nice big blanket for the new baby to use for a long time (just ask Nikolas!). The blankets wash nicely & last a long time. They become too short before they wear out! Don't they Nikolas? & when they do, just make a new one, using 1 1/2 yards of fabric (or more!)

In case you are wondering, my camera is in China now! I had to borrow this picture from Amy's blog. I hear my camera (and my husband!) are having a great trip. But, I am ready for them to come home!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A trip around the world!

My new camera has gone on a trip around the world.Yes, you heard me right. My CAMERA is currently on an airplane headed for Singapore with hubby. Not me. Just my camera. I'm sure it will come back with some lovely images. And when it does, I will be happy to share them with you! Last time hubby went to Asia he did not take a camera! So this time, since I have a fun, new, lightweight camera, he decided it needed to go on a trip! Lucky camera.

Meanwhile, I can't take any lovely pictures to share with you. (insert sad face here!) Of course I could get out my old, bulky camera. And I assure you, if I get desperate, I will do that. But for now I cannot even take pictures of the lovely painted pegs I received in the mail from Shona. You really must go visit her blog. She is such a marvelous artist & I get so inspired by what I see there.

So Shona chose my name from among her many followers & I got to choose one of her beautiful projects to call my very own. Luckily, she posted a picture of the pretty pegs on her blog. I borrowed it so I could show them to you here (you didn't really think I was going to make you wait for that silly camera to come home now, did you?)
Aren't they beautiful? Now my brain is spinning with ways I might use them..... most likely they will be making an appearance in my sewing studio. After I get it cleaned up that is. Which is going to happen. Soon. I promise!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been working on something a little different than my usual style! I made these placemats as a wedding gift for a friend (I'm working on a table runner & coasters to match). I went to the fabric store with something else in mind. I knew I wanted to start with some natural linen, but I never imagined that my final product would be so contemporary! When I saw the big polka dot fabric I knew that was my jumping off point....
The placemats are 13x18 inches. I like them a lot! What do you think? Totally out of the box for me.

Tonight is our first sewing guild meeting of the new year. This year a couple friends of mine are heading up a new feature at guild meetings. Every month there will be a different small craft featured to help us use up our stash. This month we are making coffee cozies. We used this tutorial to make our samples. Here's mine:

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I think I'll be taking this with me to the coffee shop to use for my hot chocolate when we have Biblestudy there next week. It was fun & easy to make!

what have you been making?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

anybody want a taco?

You might remember the 13 colonies in felt. Well, the creative projects just keep on coming. Now Ally is making a taco from yarn for Spanish class. First she drew it onto a project board. Then began covering each section with yarn!
When she is done, you won't be able to see any of the board. Of course, I'll show you the finished project! For now Ally is down for the count. She has a bad sinus infection & strep throat. Poor kid.

Before sickness hit her, we went to the mall & she got her ears pierced!
Feel better Ally.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

goodies in the mail... and projects

The mailman has brought some wonderful goodies in the last few days! I told you about my swap with Chris. Here are the pretty little pouches she made for me! My new camera fits perfectly in the larger one, and my ID & debit card, etc, in the small one. I love them so much! Thanks Chris.

Then today the mailman brought these lovely fabrics that I ordered here....
The photo really doesn't do them justice. The colors are so bright & vivid (& what is it with me & birds lately? odd.) I ordered the whole line in fat quarters! I don't know what they will become, but it sure will be bright & cheerful.

And yes, I have been sewing. Lots of different projects going on. I had fun making coasters using this tutorial. They are so so easy & fun to make! I made this set of four from 2 fat quarters!

Look how cute they are all tied in a bundle with a little scrap of rick rack! I see lots of these in my gift giving future....
And I decorated some more towels. These with a few charms from a moda charm pack (Love U by Deb Strain)

and these, with a crochet border from Crochet Today, to match the kitchen scrubby I made last week!

So, you see, I have been very busy! What have you been making lately?

Friday, January 8, 2010


Last week I was admiring these pretty pouches on Chris's Flickr site. Chris was one of the testers for my last pattern & she makes some lovely things. & if you poke around her flickr, you'll see that she loves Mary Engelbreit fabrics as much as I do! Well I left a comment for Chris telling her how much I loved those little bags, & she said "let's have a swap!". You don't have to ask me twice! I went straight to my sewing room, dug out my newest charm pack of ME fabrics, & here's what I sent off to Chris this week...Some decorated kitchen towels and matching potholders. I put 2 layers of insulbright in the potholders so they can actually be used.all tucked in a matching fabric napkin basket (with a bonus crocheted dishcloth thrown in for fun!).Enjoy Chris! I had fun making them for you.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

little projects

I like to keep little projects on hand.... something I can crochet & finish during an episode of extreme home makeover on a Sunday night! or something I can stitch up quick while I listen to a podcast of two... you know the kind of projects I mean? Something like this: this little dish scrubbie crocheted up in about an hour. Fun! When I saw the pattern in an old issue of Crochet Today, I knew I needed to make at least one. & Now I am making crochet edging for the pretty blue kitchen towels behind it. Not my kitchen colors but they will make a lovely birthday gift for a friend later this year. Check that off the list! The pretty citrussy colors just made me smile.

Allyson will be having lots of physical therapy sessions coming up on her leg, which means I will have an hour or so several times a week to sit in the waiting room & work on little projects. More scrubbies maybe? Or some more hand stitched hexagons? Heart blocks for my Valentine quilt?

What little projects do you keep on hand?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the Thirteen Colonies in felt!

Now here's something I'll bet you've never seen before! The original 13 Colonies as a felt puzzle! An original Ally creation, of course..... She printed out a map, traced each colony onto fusible web, ironed it onto felt. Then the name abbreviations were embroidered on and a second layer of felt ironed onto the back! Genius. The assignment was to make a puzzle of the original 13 Colonies. I'll bet hers is the only felt rendition!
I've been working on goodies for a swap to go into the mail on Monday! I can't share those with you just yet, but I will, probably late this week. So far, 2010 has been a very productive year! & we're just getting started....