June 30, 2013

Christmas in July

If you're like me and you love Christmas,
you are going to love what's coming up this month!

First off, we'll have fun with the
Across The Pond Sew Along.
Susie has selected the theme for
this month, and it is
"Christmas in July!"

{I can hardly wait to see what Susie and Amanda are dreaming up.}

Also, I invite you to join the blog hop over at
as Julie hosts a new Christmas project
every day between July 12 and 19.

{I'll have something new and special to share, too!}

Here is the schedule for The Crafty Quilter blog hop:

July 12:  Amy - Amy Made That 
July 13:  Amanda - The Patchsmith
July 14;  Elaine - Summercrafter
July 15:  Sarah - Sarah Rose Quilts
July 15 - Patricia - Quilting Lines
July 17:  Sheri - Sunshine in the Attic
July 18:  Julie - The Crafty Quilter
July 19:  Wrap Up and prizes

Now, if you've been reading my blog all year,
you already know that I've been making
at least one Christmas-y project
each month, all year long.

{Nothing like waiting until June 29th to start this month's project!}

I decided to make some Holiday Gift Tags,
using the free patterns and tutorials
from Pretty by Hand and Nana Company blogs.

{I've had my eye on these beauties for such a long time!}

Photo from Nana Company blog

I had all the stuff on hand,
and just needed to collect everything and print the templates.

This is a really quick and fun project.
I was able to stitch up the basic tags very quickly.
I used some Pellon Decor-Bond
for the fusible interfacing.
It was easy to trace the pattern and cut out the shapes.

I added a bit of trim before I stitched the layers together.

The top-stitching helped to define
the curves on the fancy shapes.

{TIP:  I shortened my stitch length juuuuust a tad to 2.0.}

I used a Darice kit for making little teeny eyelets.
How easy!

Here's the reverse side...also very pretty.

Hmm...don't you think they still needed
a little something "extra"?

I got my little buttons out,
to see if any of those would work.

 Oooooh.  That's much better!

Then I had a couple of bright ideas.
I made this little folded hexagon,
and added that pretty red button.

I made the tiniest yo-yo
and added another button
I'd saved from a favorite dress.

I can't wait to make some more!

Maybe I'll just add a sticker on the back
with the "to" and "from" names.

{See the comments below for BETTER ideas!!!}

I would love to be able to use these over and over
through the years.

All in all, not a bad finish, for the end of June.
Come back often in July for more great Christmas ideas!

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June 27, 2013

Polka Dot Cafe Apron - Zakka 2.0 Week #4

What's cookin' at your house?
Here at mine,
I've whipped up a little Polka Dot Cafe apron,

Grab a tall glass of sweet tea,
and get ready for a lot of pictures of my version of
the Polka Dot Cafe Apron.

In my humble opinion,
I used some of the cutest fabrics on earth,
from Lori Holts' Bake Sale for Riley Blake.

I decided to use the same print for the center squares on each block.

I love the way they look with my

{Do you see those tiny little spatulas on the green and blue block?}

Shall we "dish" about my likes and dislikes?
Dislikes are always first...

Okay...I haven't seen this mentioned
in anyone else's posts,
but the cutting instructions say to cut 4 of the 
large squares.

Um...there are 5.  The one in the center
is a different print, but the same size
as the four squares around it.

As much as I have joined in the lament that
this book lacks diagrams,
I found this project's piecing diagram to be very confusing.
The instructions said "Sew
in the order shown...," and referred to the figure,
but there were 5 #1's in the diagram.

{I did figure it out, but only because I'm an experienced sewist.}

The templates...oh, I didn't use those.
I measured them in the book and kind of rounded them up a bit
to the nearest 1/4" figuring I could trim them to size.

{I believe she meant to advise using freezer paper for templates, but it didn't come out and say it like that in the description.  Again, it was confusing.}

When I was finished making my blocks,
I barely had anything to trim off, as shown below.
I did not have 1/4" to spare, to preserve any points!!!

{My 1/4" seam can't be THAT far off!  How on earth did the template users manage, I wonder?}

This is one of those projects that looked like
it was going to be quick and easy,
but it took me almost all day to complete.

Maybe it was just because I kept stopping to look at how cute it was!

This is really a time-saving tip, rather than a "dislike"...
I pressed my binding in the same way as I made the apron ties.  
Rather than attach the binding as described,
I stitched it on "taco-style" in just one step,
enclosing the raw edges.

{How about that darling text print?}

I also added a 1 1/2" sashing between the blocks,
so I didn't have to try to line up all those "missing points" I had.

And now for some more of the "likes"...
the blocks themselves are just sooooo sweet!
I love that they are retro-style and allow the fabrics to shine.

I also like that the patchwork pocket
fit just right onto my plain turquoise tea towel!
What a nice shortcut for me!

My most favorite detail is just about the best "like" ever for me!
The sample has a little piece of fabric tape tucked into the side of the pocket.
I didn't have any decorative tape to coordinate,
so I just made a little fussy cut tab.

Would you like to see it really close up???

{I knew you would!}

Someday, I hope to adjust the measurements
to re-create this adorable little block,
points and all.

{If I figure it out, I promise to share!}

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June 25, 2013


One of the best things about summertime
is getting together for picnics, parties,
and reunions of all kinds.

This year our annual Love family reunion 
was extra-special in many ways.
Our aunt Lu and uncle Ralph just celebrated 
60 years of marriage,
so I decided to make them a signature pillow.

I received this great label from Sweetwater this month,
as a member of the Label Crew Club.
It gave me the bright idea for this sentimental gift.

I already had a charm pack from the perfect fabric line:
Reunion, also by Sweetwater for Moda.

{I had only used a little bit of it when I made these
sweet Cathedral Window pincushions
featured in my Blurb book.}

I pulled out the cute coordinating bunting print for the zipper cover
and a basic polka dot blender in gold for the back.

There is a great pillow pattern available from Sweetwater,
but I decided to use
Crazy Mom Quilts.

{I thought we needed a very big pillow...turns out we all have small handwriting in my family.}

I ironed and stitched the label to the center,
then took my pillow top to our family reunion.
Everyone was asked to sign it
with my permanent marker.

Even before the picnic, I had the backing all prepared,

{I used my own little label for my "extra" signature touch.}

The next morning, all I had to do was to
trim the backing to the same size as the top,
open the zipper at least halfway,
and stitch it all together around the outer edges.
Within a few minutes,
I had the pillow cover turned right-side out,
pressed and ready for the 
20" square pillow form.

{The happy couple was delighted to see it in its final form at their surprise anniversary party.}

I didn't quilt the pillow top,
because I didn't want to stitch over the signatures.
Instead I used Pellon ShapeFlex 101 to stabilize the pillow top.
That made it easier to write on, too.

My Friends and Family pillow
made a great sentimental gift for a very special couple
who holds family and friends dear in their hearts.

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June 12, 2013

Modern Mini Challenge Entry

I am always entering contests...
you've gotta play to win, right?

Here's one that almost anyone can enter!

Ellison Lane is hosting the
Modern Mini Challenge, for the second year in a row.

I know I enjoyed this challenge last year,
when my little mug rug
made it to the finals!

I really love making smaller projects,
like mug rugs...

I kind of had a tough time choosing
which project I wanted to submit.

{Only one entry per person, please.}

I would have definitely chosen my paper-pieced
made from the awesome tutorial

However, the entry has to have been made within the past 6 months.

That's when I decided to enter my From The Heart pillow.
For me, the challenge was to take some ideas
from others, add my own,
and end up with something that reflects my own
personal style and sense of design.

I used the tutorial found at Bijoux Lovely,
to create the herringbone block.
Then I made a pretty heart-shaped pattern
and cut out my applique.

I fused it to my background
and blanket-stitched it in place.
I quilted a casual stipple design all over the center...

then added straight-line stitching for the borders.

The back was finished using my own tutorial,
with a covered zipper.

Valentine's Day is only once a year,
but, maybe because my maiden name was Love,
I think this pillow works any day!

you'll leave with a smile on your face!
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