Friday, August 31, 2012

Hand-Stamped Cloth Napkins

Hey look what daughter Samantha has made! I love the way her napkins came out.... I am thinking you could also make a matching tablecloth with this technique. Remember stamping with potatoes? She has given it a modern twist:

I decided to take up where my mom left off on Tuesday and make my own kind of cloth napkins.  I love the idea of making your own stamps, so I tried it out with some metallic gold paint and loved the effect. 

Here's what you'll need:
potato/ small, sharp knife/ acrylic craft paint/ /paper plate/ paintbrush/ cloth napkins
(You could buy some cloth napkins at the dollar store, but I just whipped mine up really quckly with some leftover muslin.)
1. Cut a potato in half and carve your stamp with a paring knife. Obviously, this is the most fun/most daunting part.  My suggestion is to start with something really basic and add in more details as you go.  I started out with a big sunbeam-like shape, and then made the rays varying shapes and etched in triangles on the edges.  Keep your mind open to whatever can be made with your shape; don't just get stuck on one idea and then be disappointed when it doesn't look how you imagined.
2. When you are happy with the stamp, pour out a little bit of your paint onto a paper plate and brush a light layer onto your stamp.  You will have to reapply between every couple of imprints.
3.  Find the middle of your napkin and begin stamping! You can make a grid pattern or even overlap your stamps; they're your creation!  I did a grid, but turned my stamp different directions with each imprint, since it was an oblong shape.
Let the napkins dry, and you have your personal set of cloth napkins! I love the way mine turned out; I think they look as if they could have come from a department store, especially since I used the metalic paint.  I can't wait to try out some matching napkin rings and have everyone over for dinner!
What kind of shape would you like to stamp onto your napkins? What colors?
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fabric Giveaway & The Last First Day of School

Hey everybody! I wanted to share what some of my "peeps" (hey, I am a totally cool and happening chick, yes??) have been up to....

Kiera at It's Sew Kiki has just completed table topper and a candle mat using my Oh Holy Night fabric line for Henry Glass Fabrics. (Click here to see swatches). It is available in stores now and on my website.

Kiera isn't the only one who has been busy using my Oh Holy Night fabric. Look what Snoodles at LilyPad Quilting has been up to:

She promises to show us the entire finished project once it's finished. In the meantime, she is giving away fat quarter bundles of my Oh Holy Night fabric. Hop over now to enter!

In other news, yesterday was my youngest daughter's first day of her Senior year. Every year, since my oldest started Kindergarten, we have taken their photos on the first day of school. Yesterday, I took the last "First Day of School" photo ever. Sniff.

First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of Freshman Year

First Day of Senior Year

As a Senior, she will be driving herself to and from school everyday. Thus ends 17 years of shuttling children back and forth to school everyday. It's going to be quite an adjustment, probably requiring lots of chocolate and Lifetime movies...... As many of you know, our oldest daughter got married back in June. I am constantly fluctuating between excitement about this new season of our lives, and nostalgia for the "good old days" when the kids were little..... I am constantly amazed at how fast life seems to fly by, and the older I get, the more and more I realize how precious time is and that there is only so much you can put off  "til tomorrow." 

Finally, the September Newsletter will go out next week. If you're not already a subscriber, make sure you sign up on the upper right bar of this blog page. The September issue will offer a wonderful recipe, free projects, and more.....

Have a lovely day,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Quilted Place Mats and Matching Napkins

If you have stumbled across this tutorial from Craftsy (or some other place), make sure you visit my new blog to keep up with new projects, patterns, and recipes.
Also, I now have a very limited number of FABRIC KITS FOR THIS PROJECT! Click here.

Last week I shared a tutorial with you for making a quilted potholder.

Today we are going to make quilted place mats and matching cloth napkins. This project, like the potholder, uses my Fruitful Hands fabric line. Here are the basic instructions- refer to the Potholder Tutorial for making and attaching the binding.

My favorite part of this project is the yummy Pear Print, which will carry you from summer right into fall...

For each place mat you will need:

  • Pear Print- 9 1/2 x 17 1/2" 
  • Orange- 1 1/4 x 17 1/2" strip and a  1 3/4 x 17 1/2" strip
  • Green Dot- 1 1/2 x 17 1/2" strip
  • Stripe for Binding- 3 strips, each 2" x width of fabric (about 40-42"), selvedges cut off
  • Backing fabric (Green Floral)- 13 x 18"
  • Thin Batting- 13 x 18"

For each napkin you will need:
  • Green Dot- 10 1/2" square
  • Stripe- 10 1/2" square

To make the place mat, sew one of the Orange strips to the Green Dot strip along the long edge,then sew the other Orange strip to the other side of the Green Dot strip.

Sew this unit to the Pear print, with the wide Orange strip adjacent to the Pear print.

Place Green Floral backing fabric on table WRONG SIDE UP. Place batting on top of backing fabric, then place Pear print unit RIGHT SIDE UP on top of batting. Pin or spray baste layers together.

Quilt as desired. I did a stipple in the area with the Pears, then quilted a diagonal grid on the Orange and Green Dot strip area.

Trim away excess batting and backing fabric.

Sew binding strips together at short ends, to form one long strip. Bind place mat.

To make the napkins, place the squares right sides together. Sew together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave a 6" opening along one side for turning. Turn napkin right side out and press, folding raw edges of opening in toward each other. Top stitch along edges of napkin, 1/8" from edge.

That's it! Pretty easy, right? I will have the fabric on my website shortly- I have been having "technical difficulties" with my site- I have not been able to upload new item to it for over a week now, and going back and forth with the web host has not yielded any results yet. It's getting kind of frustrating.... So please, if you think of it, say a little prayer that it gets fixed soon! In the meantime, Fat Quarter Shop is also carrying this fabric line. Click here to find it.

In other news, we (my daughters and my husband and I- it's a family project- it kind of takes a village, you know?) have been getting the September Newsletter ready. It will be going out next week (yes, next week REALLY IS September!) If you don't get the newsletter yet, you can sign up at the top right bar of this blog. Later this week I will show you a peek at a little of what we have been working on.

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY Personalized Coaster Set

My daughter Samantha is making simple inexpensive coasters today. You could get really creative with these: 

I don't think it's an understatement to say that I LOVE these coasters.  I never used to be a coaster kind of girl.  Probably because the ones we had at home were these wooden ones with cats painted on them from 1989.  But now, I see the beauty of coasters because these, well, they have beauty.  Like little works of  art. And I made them all in a couple of hours and it costs about $3 to make a set.

Here's what you'll need:
ceramic tiles/ scrapbook paper/ Modgepodge/ scissors/ ruler/ felt stickers
First, I decided on my design and cut out my pieces.  For the quilt one, I started with a 1 1/4" square and arranged the rest of the "quilt" around it, seeing what I could fit onto the tile.  You can do this with any kind of quilt block or pattern; just make sure you arrange everything on the tile and you like the way it looks.
Next, I spread a thick layer of Modgepodge on my tile.  It should be thick enough that the Modgepodge doesn't dry before you set your pieces, but thin enough that your pieces won't be totally submerged/soaked.
Arrange your pieces on the tile.  Be quick! They need to be in place before the modge podge starts to dry.
Let the tile dry for a little while.  Then, begin spreading thin layers of Modgepodge over top of your paper.  Watch out for any bubbles or bumps and smooth them out as best you can.  Spread about 5 layers of Modgepodge, letting them dry for about half an hour in between each coat. (Be careful, because I found out the hard way that while the paper is damp with ModPodge, it can tear and scratch easily....)
When the tile is dry and you like the way it looks, attach your felt stickers to the bottom so they won't scratch your tables.  I found these pretty easily at Wal-Mart. You could also just glue on scraps of wool or felt.
And you're done!  Aren't they adorable?  You can do them in any kind of pattern or print, and I think they make a very sweet housewarming present! I can't wait to make more to add to my collection. 
What kind of patterns would you put on your coasters?
Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to make a Quilted Potholder (i.e.: A Tutorial)

Today we are going to make a potholder! I will show you how to make this particular block, but you can use this method to make a potholder out of any of your favorite blocks (Hint- this is a great way to use up orphan blocks or test blocks that you may have laying around. Because seriously, do you really need another  pillow? Me neither....)

Click here for a PDF of this tutorial.

For this project, I used my fabric line Fruitful Hands (Henry Glass Fabrics). The fabric line will (not quite so coincidentally) be in quilt shops this month.

All seam allowances are 1/4". Here is what you will need:

  • 4 1/4" square of focal print (keep in mind that if it is directional, like mine, the square should be cut on the bias)
  • 1 - 3 7/8" square- green polka dot
  • 2 - 3 7/8" squares- orange
  • 4 - 3 1/8" squares- yellow
  • 2" wide by approximately 42" long strip of striped fabric for binding
  • 1 1/2" x 4" green polka dot (for loop)
  • 9" square backing fabric (I used the focal print)
  • 9" square insulated batting (from The Warm Company, see photo below)

Start by cutting the green square into quarters diagonally, then repeat with the orange squares:

Sew an orange triangle to each yellow square:

Then sew another orange triangle to the other side. Cut off those little "dog ears":

Sew 2 of these units to opposite sides of your focal print square:

Sew a green triangle to opposite sides of the remaining 2 yellow square units:

 Sew the large triangle units to opposite sides of the focal print unit to make a block (approximately 8 1/2"):

Layer the backing (right side down), the batting, and the block together:

Your backing and batting will be slightly larger than the block. Pin or spray baste layers together.
Quilt as desired. I just "stitched in the ditch", in other words, right along the seam lines. Trim away excess batting and backing:

To make the loop, press the piece of fabric in half lengthwise, then open up and press the raw edges toward the center fold (right sides out):

Fold in half lengthwise again and top stitch along edge:

Fold in half and sew to top edge of front of potholder (I forgot to take a photo before I started sewing on the binding, so you can see the binding there. Just ignore that for now. Just sew that loop on. So sorry...)

Now we are going to talk about the binding. Fold the strip in half lengthwise with right sides out and press. Fold in one of the short ends diagonally and press:

Pin binding to one edge of potholder and sew as shown below:

Fold the strip up:

Then fold it down, like this, and pin. Stitch along edge, starting and stopping 1/4" from corners:

(Remember the photo of the loop from above? Here it is again. Just sew the binding right over the raw end of the loop, being careful not to catch the folded end of the loop in your binding.)

Continue sewing binding all the around the potholder. When you come back to the first side, trim the binding so that it fits inside the folded starting end of the binding. Sew along edge to finish binding.

Fold the binding to the back of the potholder and pin in place. Machine stitch "in the ditch" along the seam. (You can also hand stitch the binding on the back, but machine stitching will hold up better to repeated washings. It's also faster- and we like that.)

Ta-da! Potholder completed. Now go make 100 more. Christmas is coming......

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summer's Blueberry Buttermilk Smoothie

Daughter Samantha's guest post. She's been busy in the kitchen again:

The fruit harvest is one of my very favorite things about summer.  All of the berries, you guys.  So sweet and scrumptious.  In my opinion, the best thing made with fresh berries is gelato, but if you can't get to my favorite place in Philadelphia- Capogiro (amazing!)- the next best thing is to make a tangy delicious smoothie.
Using buttermilk adds a big tang to this smoothie, which I really love.  If you like yogurt, you are sure to love this.

Blueberry Buttermilk Smoothie

2 c blueberries
1/4 c milk
3/4 c buttermilk
2 tbsp honey

Toss all of your ingredients into a blender and pulse until smoothie is frothy, sweet, and so very blueberry.

(Fun fact: Did you know that blueberries were originally called purpleberries? That's quite a mouthful!)

We had some leftover buttermilk, so my sister made buttermilk biscuits. She added 1 cup of shredded cheese to a basic biscuit recipe, and then also sprinkled the biscuits with cheese halfway through the baking time.

Happy weekend, everyone! Enjoy these last sweet days of summer!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's Happenin'?

So.... there's lots going on here- but mostly boring administrative stuff. I don't think you want to see a photo of filing cabinet, do you? Nah, I didn't think so....

I wanted to show you these gorgeous photos I received from Deborah at Woolen Sails Blog. A couple of weeks ago we got to talking when I showed you my oh-so-simple ring bearer's pillow, made by wrapping a vintage embroidered table runner around a pillow form. Deborah sent me photos of the one she had just made for her son and daughter-in-law- gorgeous! Look at all the hand embroidery that she did- I love the white on white, so elegant, and surely a keepsake. She discusses the details here.

This is the pillow that I made for my daughter's wedding back in June, using a linen that my grandmother had hand embroidered over 60 years ago....

Also today I wanted to say Congratulations to Husei all the way in Malaysia who won my Christmas in July giveaway a few weeks ago. Your prize is on its way, Husei.  By the way, I have another giveaway coming up soon so check back.

Finally, I was feeling a bit down last week... but there is nothing like RED to cheer me up when I am blue.
Look what I bought for myself (a bargain at Marshall's- and they had my size- I took that as a sign that they were meant to be mine....) They make me want to click my heels three times.... I will be wearing them when I go out for my birthday dinner tomorrow night:

(Photo taken with iPad, edited with PicStitch)

What's happenin' with you this week?


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