Archives for December 2012

Fruity Potholders


I made these for Christmas presents for my mom and for my father-in-law’s girlfriend, but couldn’t post until now so I didn’t ruin the surprise.  They’re large potholders/hot pads.  I used Insul-bright and loosely followed this tutorial on moda bake shop, but I chose a different pattern for my top.  I love the idea of handmade potholders, but I’m not sure I’ll be using this method again.  It was a self-binding method, which was faster overall, but the finished look was definitely not as neat as hand-binding.  That might be my lack of skill with this method, though—the mitered corners just aren’t quite as sharp as they are when I hand-bind.

For one set of potholders, I used two pieces of batting and one layer of Insul-bright sandwiched in between.  This seemed a tad excessive, so for the other two sets I used one piece of batting and one layer of Insul-bright, and this seemed much better.  The hand quilting on top is just for looks since I knew I couldn’t get a needle easily through that many layers.  The fabric is a popular print by Alexander Henry, and I used it for the back as well.  I bought mine from Joann’s, and it’s just so bright and cheery.  I love the colors.


I made an extra set for myself while I was at it, but I think I’m going to end up giving them away as a kitchen-warming gift.  Some very good friends of ours have been remodeling their kitchen, and her potholders are very well used, and I’m sure she’d love these.  She is the BEST cook I know and also the one with the smallest kitchen (until now, that is!).

Another Scrappy Pillow


After the last scrappy pillow for Molly, I was so in love with making pillow covers that I decided to make a second one as a Christmas gift.  This is for Chelsea, a sweet teenager (14 or 15, I think) that we know from church.  She’s the daughter of one of my good friends, and she’s so nice about helping with our kids at church that I wanted to do something nice for her at Christmas.  Her room is bright pink and blue, so I added a few blues in with the fabrics I used for Molly’s pillow.

After the last pillow, this project was a breeze because I already had a bunch of 3.5” strips cut, so I just had to cut off a square and move along.  I hand-embroidered the name just like last time, and I think I’m getting better at writing the name on because it only took me one try this time (as opposed to four with Molly’s pillow, waiting for the water to dry after washing out the water-soluble ink each time).


For the back I used a hot pink zebra print.  She loves zebra print, and I think it makes the pillow more appropriate for a teenager, too.  The ten-year-old I babysit LOVED the zebra print, so maybe it’s just a girl thing in general.  After all, I bought it just because I liked it and without any clue what to do with it.


I love that this gift spans so many ages.  I made the first for a three-year-old and this one for a teenager.  I like the personalization for young girls, but it could probably even be tweaked a bit for older girls/women, too… or perhaps a monogrammed one for a wedding gift.  You could do the monogram of the new couple!  I may also have a new go-to bridal shower gift!

The only detraction to the pillow is that pillow forms, I found, are quite expensive, at least at Joann’s.  Even the cheapest one with a coupon would have been $10, but most were around $15-$20.  However, I noticed that the bag of stuffing was $2.50 on sale, so I bought that and made my own pillow form.  It only added about 15 minutes to the process anyway.That is probably the route I’ll go from now on as well.  Now I’m kicking myself for returning that extra bag of stuffing I bought on black Friday.  I’ve also thought about buying ugly clearance pillows in stores and just tossing the covers.  I’ve done that at TJ Maxx and gotten down toss pillows for less than $5.  I’ll just have to start keeping an eye out for pillows while shopping.

Christmas Placemats


This set of six Christmas placemats is a gift for my almost mother-in-law, Tammie.  Their family practically raised my husband from 8th grade on, and they’re just like family.  This year we all decided to draw names for Christmas gifts, and I was really excited to get Tammie.  Our spending limit is $50, and her main gift is a Canon Powershot camera that I found at Goodwill.  It was a brand new floor model from Target, and I happened to find it on a half-off Saturday, so it was $50 exactly!


However, she knows about the camera (she’s a Goodwill junkie, too), so I wanted to do something else for her so she’d have a surprise, too.  I had started these placemats for myself over the summer, but they just didn’t turn out like I had hoped.  I wanted something more modern for myself, but they’re just Tammie’s style, and we’re doing our Christmas get-together in mid-December this year, so it’s perfect since she’ll be able to use them before this year’s season is over.


The fabric I used for these is “Flurry” by Kate Spain.  I ran across some scraps last year after Christmas, and I liked the prints.   They’re nice and bright and cheery, and I added a wonky star in the middle and set it off with a little hand stitching.  I used a blue cross-hatch fabric for the back.  I got this in a scrap bag from (see my sidebar), and this was included, so I already had it on hand, and I was really excited that it matched so well.  I used it all but two inches—talk about cutting it close!



Just to make things fun, I rolled each placemat up and tied it with a bow.  She’s one of those ladies that would appreciate presentation, so I took some extra care in the wrapping, too.  I can’t wait to see her open these!


Christmas Quilt


I’ve had a Kate Spain “Flurry” panel hanging around ever since January.  I bought it on clearance after Christmas, pieced the top over the summer, and finally got around to finishing the actual quilt, just in time for Christmas!


I cut up each of the little prints/pictures within the panel, mapped it all out on paper so I would know what sizes to cut the sashing, and then went to work.  I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, but it’s not as cool as I’d hoped it would be.  I’m honestly not quite sure how to use a panel.  I suppose I could have left it whole in the middle of the quilt and then put a couple of borders around it.  It would have been more of a wall hanging size, though.


Still, I love the colors, and I’m happy to have a Christmas quilt to bring out every year.  I used some of the snowflake fabric on the back.  I also found that on clearance, and snowflakes are my favorite Christmas theme, so it was perfect!


I love Kate Spain’s “Joy” fabrics this year.  I already have two charm packs, and I’m hoping to pick up a little yardage after Christmas when everything goes on sale.  I wouldn’t mind having a second Christmas quilt for our family room or the sunroom.

December Bee Blocks

This December I have the month off from the 99 Bee.  However, next month is mine (yea!!) so I really should be choosing fabrics to send out and deciding on my block.  I did have two bee blocks to make, though, and here they are:


We Bee Learning

This was actually one of the more difficult blocks I’ve made for this bee.  It’s not really all that difficult to sew, but the instructions were kind of poor, so I had to look at the picture to figure it out.  She requested four different solids, all bright colors.  I think this will be an awesome quilt when it’s all sewn together with different colored blocks.  I hope she posts a picture of her finished product.


Stash Bee

This block was extremely easy, so I didn’t mind making two blocks, as she requested.  She wanted us all to use scraps with no repeating fabrics.  I love it when I’m able to use up a bunch of my scraps on bee blocks.  I think this quilt will be really cool, too.  You can rotate the blocks to make all different patterns.  If you put these with two more, you’d end up with a flower motif.  I like it so well that I might make a scrappy quilt like this myself one of these days.  The block uses 3.5” squares to finish at a 12” block, but you could also easily use 2.5” squares, which I tend to have more of, and the block would just be smaller…I’m adding this to my list of quilts for scraps.

2 Months




It definitely does not seem like I’ve had this little guy for two months already.  Things are mostly back to normal (hormones have run their course, I think!), and it’s starting to seem like he’s always been around.  He’s growing like a weed—much faster than his older brother did at this age.  I think he’s already two pounds ahead of where Damon was at 2 months.  Maybe we have a football player on our hands—it could happen.  His dad is 6’3”, I’m not little for a woman, and my dad is 6’7”, and my mother in law is almost 6 feet tall as well.  So, I’m interested to see what happens to both my boys once they hit adolescence.  We could be buying new pants every other week.  He really doesn’t look that much different from the first month picture, though, so maybe it’s all in my head.



I took lots of shots in his 2 month onesie so I’ll have plenty to choose from later when I’m making a big photo collage.  I have a onesie all the way up to 12 months, and when I have all the pictures, I’ll make one big print for his room.


He fell over a little partway through, and it looks like he’s cuddling the bear.  I just love this bear that my friend made from his bedding scraps.


And some outtakes, of course—there are more, but he was certainly favoring the eyes-wide-open look this morning!

Scrappy Monsters


For Christmas this year, I made my two boys some scrappy monsters.  I originally got the idea from Pinterest—where else?  However, the original link is broken, so I have no way to give credit to someone.  I basically copied her idea exactly, though.  One thing I did change is to make the bottom two squares pockets instead of just sewing them down.  Kids seem to love pockets, so I thought that would be a good idea—you know, so the boys can eventually hide bugs and snakes in there for Mommy to find.


This monster is a bit bigger, so I’m giving it to Damon, my 2 1/2 year old, and the other one is just going upstairs for my two month old.  He won’t be able to unwrap anything anyway.


My boys get so many toys for Christmas, so since my first was born, I make one gift and don’t buy anything else.  I’m sure that will change as they get older, but for now it works.  They’re only grandchildren on both sides, and my husbands’ parents are divorced, so that’s two households.  My husband also has an “adoptive” family with whom he basically grew up with from 8th grade on, and there are no grandkids there, either.  So, between everyone plus the adoptive aunts and uncles, we don’t lack for toys in our household!


A Bunch of Mini-Quilt Ornaments


I finally finished all of my ornaments.  One is going to the ornament party, three to Bible class teachers, three to school teachers, one for myself, and one for a very special friend.  That leaves one extra.  I’m not sure who I’ll give that one to.  I’d give it to my mom, but they only put birdhouses that my dad makes on their tree, so maybe I’ll give it to our neighbors.  We are pretty good friends with them, so it would be nice to do something small for them.  My other option is to give it to my husband’s aunt…maybe I should make another.


Anyhow, it’s nice to have them all finished.  They really were fast to make, despite all of the hand sewing involved.  I hand quilted it with perle cotton, stitched the binding to the back by hand, and hand tacked on the ribbons at the top.

Below is my ornament all wrapped up for the exchange party.  I wrapped it in a nice big box (for fake-out purposes) and put a little extra effort into the wrapping just for fun.  The little girl I babysit said it looked like a “commercial present.”  I think that means like one you’d see in a department store display, so I think that’s a good thing!


Molly’s Pillow


Late last night I finished the pillow for Molly’s birthday.  Actually, I missed a quilting line, but luckily the little girl I babysit has eagle eyes and noticed it, so I quickly added it this afternoon.  So, I guess I technically finished it today!

I just love how it turned out.  I was questioning it a bit during the cutting and piecing process, but I just love it in person.  I think my favorite parts are, of course the name, but also the little fussy cut bits.  There are three birds, one flower, and a fairy that are fussy cut—so cute for a little girl.  I hope she likes it!  We aren’t able to go to the party, so I’m giving it to her mom tonight so she’ll be able to open it at her party.


Again, the original pillow and basic instructions can be found on Crazy Mom Quilts, where I’ll also be linking up my Friday Finish.  Luckily, I thought of another special girl who could use a pillow like this for Christmas, so I get to make another right away!  I just love this pattern—looks so cute, so easy to make, and it’s so fun and scrappy!  This will probably be my go-to gift for girls for many years to come.  Of course, I have two boys, but I’m sure at some point they’ll attend a girl’s birthday party.  I would much rather whip up one of these babies than buy plastic stuff that is so prevalent at birthday parties.  I would appreciate something like this as a parent, too.  Although kids do need toys, it’s so easy for your house to be overrun with them at birthday and Christmas time.

Works in Progress


In the next couple of days I’ll be attending “The Second Annual Christmas Ornament Exchange Party” hosted by a very good friend of mine.   A bunch of people from my church are invited.  It’s played dirty Santa style where you can steal an ornament from someone who has already unwrapped one.  Last year was super fun (it helped that there were a couple of ornery guys who kept stealing ornaments just to get people stirred up!).  The idea is to bring a desirable ornament so lots of people will want to steal it.


I decided to make mine this year, and hopefully it’s desirable enough.  Last year I took a birdhouse ornament that my dad had made on his lathe.  I think they’re really cool, so I thought it would be stolen a lot, but it was unwrapped close to the end when there was  a lot of noise, so I’m not sure many people saw it, and if they did, I don’t think they knew it was homemade, one-of-a-kind, which is really what makes them cool.  The one above is mine.  I have three of them, all different, but this one is my favorite.  I like how the “roof” looks kind of Asian.



Anyway, I looked around on Pinterest for ideas for homemade fabric ones but didn’t really find anything I liked, so I came up with my own idea for once!  I’ve also been working on stockings for our adoptive college students from church, and I used some scraps from that to make a mini-quilt ornament.  I used the Thimble Blossoms pattern for the stockings.  We already have cute stockings that my mom has cross stitched, but I couldn’t resist buying the pattern this year after ogling it all of last Christmas.  I love how most pattern designer sell a PDF version—instant gratification and no waiting for a pattern to arrive in the mail!


Of course, once I finished one ornament, I liked it so well that I couldn’t stop at one, so I made ten.  I’m going to use them for teacher gifts this year and also keep one for myself.  If you follow my blog, you might remember that I thought I was getting ahead of the game by finishing my teacher gifts back in the summer.  I made fold up tote bags.  However, I like these better for a Christmas gift, so I’ll save the bags for an end-of-the year gift.  So, I guess was working farther ahead than I thought last summer!  I think these are cute as they are, and they’d make nice coasters, but I plan to hang them on-point and add a cute ribbon and maybe a button.  I’ll post a final picture when they’re finished.

My other project currently in the works is a pillow for my cousin’s little girl who’s turning three.  I saw this on Crazy Mom Quilts and completely copied her idea.  Her pillow can be seen here.  I actually like the colors of hers better, but Molly has pinks and purples in her room, so I chose fabrics with more of those colors instead of going very random as in the original. 


I absolutely LOVE this, and I’m especially happy with how the embroidered name is turning out.  After I finish the name, I just have to quilt it and then sew the cover all together.  I’m doing an envelope style back, so no zipper is needed.  I thought that would keep it nice and soft for a little girl’s bed with no metal poking her during the night in case she sleeps with it on her bed.


Whew—I have more going on than I had thought.  All of my Christmas shopping is finished, though, and most things are already wrapped, too, so I just have some baking, and most of that could be skipped if I decide I’m not in the mood.  I’m really enjoying my return to crafting after my break with the baby.  I really missed doing creative stuff, and I’m a lot happier and more relaxed when I get to sew or craft at some point during the day.