Category Archives: home decor

Simple potholders or hotpads

I belong to a quilting group on Facebook and this project for pot holders was posted. Here is my own photo tutorial on the simple potholders.


template for batting

template for batting

Using dish covers, I traced circles on the cotton batting. I made both sizes, blue and orange. 😉 You can use cotton batting or batting that is made specifically for potholders.


Widows and orphans and crazy patch

These are some of the potholders I whipped up quickly.



scrap pile

I gathered my materials – scraps from other projects and box of bias tape bindings. I plan to use up much of what you see.


On to the tutorial. To start, I placed a leftover block on the cotton batting. I did not use a separate foundation (muslin); I simply sewed right onto the batting.DSCN0042

I topstitched the seam lines, because I like the quilted look.DSCN0043

I placed coordinating fabric along the edges so that fabric covers the batting completely.DSCN0044

DSCN0045 DSCN0046

Trim around the batting.

Then I found another green print and cut 3 circles. Place one circle on the back of the batting with the right side up. The other two circles should be folded in half with right sides facing. Place them on the back of the potholder so the fold lines are together.DSCN0047 DSCN0048

I sewed a narrow zigzag all around the edge to keep the layers together.DSCN0049

Add a binding and you are done. If you are making a circle, you must use bias binding. DSCN0050

The folded circles added to the back allow you to use the potholder as a pan or lid grabber.DSCN0051



Please vote!

I have entered a quilt in a weekly themed quilt contest at Quilting Gallery, and people may vote this weekend for up to 4 favorites in the running. Mine is called Family Tree, but there are two by that name. Of course, you can vote for both (and two others) , but mine is indicated by the blog name (Quilt in Progress) and my name, Donna.

I was so pleased with it when I finished it! In fact, in making the hanging tabs on the top, I had come up with a shortcut to more easily do rolled hems, which had frustrated me no end before that!

Please go vote here, and look at the lovely examples to fit the theme: Leaves, Trees & Flowers.

Mug rugs

At work, there are two hardworking secretaries, and I thought I would make some mug rugs for them as a token of appreciation. I started designing in my head beforehand, as I always do. I wanted to notice what they drink and how they might use the rugs.

They both get a large insulated glass of tea in the morning. One of the two also drinks hot coffee, and an occasional treat in the afternoons is a fast-food iced coffee drink brought in by her husband. That started the thoughts whirling.

I looked through some clipart to digitize as embroidery designs. I found four that I liked, and I happened to notice that two were coffee, two were tea, but they also represented hot and cold. I came up with the following design.

My embroidery machine is a small one, so I did the design as four small designs. It required a little shifting of the fabric, but I think I did well.

New home means new projects

our new home

My husband and I bought a new home in Michigan, where we will move next summer. We were fortunate enough to have time to stay in that house for a week and enjoy the lake and the cooler weather while here in Missouri the heat melted all our friends and family.

I had taken measurements, and wanted curtains over the windows in the sunny lakeside room. The previous owner had white walls and no window treatments. I’ve sewn before with sheer material, and I’ve sewn large pieces of fabric, but not large pieces of sheer fabric. It slips off the table so easily, I had to weigh it down with anything handy. I finally managed to get hems in the sides and bottoms of the panels, and they are fairly straight.

As a self-taught novice, I hadn’t known about drapery header. It is stiff like firm interfacing, the one I bought was 3 inches wide and comes on a roll. I used it at the top edge of the curtain panels so they wouldn’t droop between curtain rings. I do love the look of the room now!

windows before

windows after

The sheer fabric will allow plenty of light to come in. If they happen to be pulled across open windows, the slightest breeze will push them aside to allow for air movement. We plan to have them open mostly, and be a decorative element in the new house.

Cute little coasters

A recent project: embroidered coasters. I wanted to make a little something to thank someone who has helped me recently, and I figured these were too cute. I searched through some home embroidery files a friend had shared with me and found these two. I spent the evening yesterday loading, clipping, and changing threads on my machine. Today I cut cotton batting, backing, and a pale green dotted fabric for the binding.  Finished product, something useful, cute, and simple to do.

Time to design

I have more bonus quilting time, and rather than pull out another UFO, I wanted to start designing my next project.

I usually begin with a Google Image search. This time I searched “barn” and came up with photographs of unique and interesting barns. I wanted a variety of shapes, settings, and seasons. I printed off those that my husband and I agreed on. I have a good start, but I’m going to need a lot more. For fun and laughs, I included a photo of the Fallasburg Covered Bridge, near Lowell, MI, and I’ll probably include the Ada Covered Bridge as well. Both are old buildings, interesting shapes and settings, and both are buildings I have visited in person as a child.

Next, I taped the photographs, wrong side out, to the glass on my French doors to the back porch. With the nice white snow in the background, it’s very bright today and creates an eye-level light box. I traced the lines on the back side that I wanted to include in my blocks. Then, by taking the paper off the door, I could see how my block will look without the extra detail that I don’t plan to include. In some cases I will change part of the setting, and even some of the structural features of the building.

I managed to complete 5 tracings of barns. I plan to trace many more, but I got so weary of searching photographs on the internet yesterday that I don’t want to do any more of that.

Most of these will be applique, but I may try to design a paper-pieced barn or two, and there will be patchwork elements such as the doors. Some of the detail will be stitched in, probably free-motion. Before I can start to sew, however, I have to decide what size the blocks will be, what width the sashing will be, and how many I will need to complete a queen size quilted duvet cover. I’ll be busy today!

Figuring it out for myself

We have a comforter, and it needed a duvet cover. It turned out to be an odd size that I couldn’t find a ready-made cover in, so I had to make it myself. Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, and when it’s over I’m usually happy I attempted what seemed difficult at first.

I had to use an empty bedroom floor to lay out the fabric. I used the selvage edge for my first straight seam, used rulers to show me a 90 degree angle, and repeated for the third side. I also measured my width (93 inches) from the original seam to be sure at least those two would be parallel.

Another way to handle the massive amount of fabric was to use a folding table. I could shift it around easily and pin, measure, or mark where I needed to.

Now it gets tricky. I noticed at the top and bottom edges of the comforter there are loops, to keep it in place inside a duvet cover. I decided to use some scrap, make straps, and put a button and buttonhole in each strap. I can thread the strap through the loop and button it to itself.

We chose two mottled fabrics that came 108 inches wide. When it’s complete it can be reversible. I decided to have the lighter side (tan) fold over the brown side and button close. Here is a closer look at the top edge where it buttons closed.

Now that I have experience in making a duvet cover, I plan to piece one like a quilt. We’ve had a plan to eventually have a quilt with barns. Since we will not need a quilt, I’ll make a pieced side to a duvet cover.