Tag 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



Quick and simple quilt idea

Simple to make, this quilt can be whipped up in a few hours and make a child happy all winter long.

quick lap quilt

I made these in snuggle-quilt size for a child, but the same steps apply if you want to make it adult size or large enough for a bed. No batting needed.

My husband and I couldn’t resist the monkey and frog fabrics we found in flannel one day. I had already made lap quilts for the two of us using cotton for the front (not pieced, whole cloth) and batting with flannel backing. I wondered how it would work to use fleece for the backing. It would be soft, and warm and heavy enough to replace the batting as well.

For each quilt I purchased 1 1/2 yards of flannel fabric and 1 1/2 yards of a coordinating color of fleece. I knew there would be some leftover, but it’s never wasted.

I prewashed the flannel and trimmed it. Then I laid it out on my cutting table with one corner of the flannel matching a corner of the fleece. I cut the fleece with 2 inches overlap on the other two sides.

Then I repositioned the flannel so there was 1 inch of fleece overlap on all sides. Turn the fleece from the back to the front and pin to the flannel. No need to finish the edge of the fleece, as it won’t ravel.

I made mitered corners by first folding over the point at the corner, then folding down the two sides of the miter. Pin very well.

Because the fleece may tend to get caught between the toes of a presser foot, I used a teflon foot with a flat bottom, and the left position for my needle. I simply topstitched around.

teflon presser foot with roller

Then comes the fun part! I used the darning/embroidery foot and machine quilting thread, and hopped all over the quilt. No need to baste or pin, the flannel grabs the fleece and holds tight, and in doing both quilts I had only one instance of a wrinkle being stitched in place. I blame being distracted, and a careful person wouldn’t have that happen.

darning foot

I moved all around the frogs, sometimes even twice, to secure the layers of fabric together. I could have added shapes, or hearts, or even the grandson’s name, but I left it as a meander stitch.

I wrote down the times as I did the steps. I was very surprised I went from pre-washed fabric in the first photo, to the finished product in only 1 hour 50 minutes. Perception is odd, isn’t it? I was thinking it took so much longer than that.

Here’s the breakdown:

30 minutes to press the prewashed flannel, trim off the selvage, make sure it’s square, trim the fleece to 2″ larger each direction, reposition to 1″ overlap all around, and pin the fleece as a self-binding.

15 minutes to stitch the binding along 4 edges.

65 minutes to change the presser foot on the machine and meander-stitch the body of the quilt. The timing on this part depends on how densely you stitch.

Very quick and very easy to make. Finished size on these is 41 1/2″ by 53″. The fleece backing is so snuggly I really don’t want to give up the quilts, but I’m going to force myself to wrap them and put them under the tree so I don’t change my mind. I can just see two little boys watching TV with these quilts, or sitting in their mother’s lap under the quilt to hear a story.

Odd critters

I had to laugh out loud when I saw these.

Some clever someone had converted old sewing machines into tractors. Add a few bits like gears, wheels, shafts, paint a bright color, even add a decal.

We were at an old gas tractor show in Scottville, MI last July and came across these.

How Fun!

Update on Mug Rug

I decided to join the 4 small designs into one and sell in my Etsy store.

embroidery design

I think it came out great. I adjusted the proportions so they look a little more life-like. The finished design is 3.82 x 4.76, which is larger than my little embroidery machine will handle, but others will appreciate having the complete design in one file.

So, click on over to my Etsy store and make a one-of-a-kind gift for someone special. Quilt it any way you want, backing fabric that fits the personality of the recipient.

Also, for a limited time, anything in my Etsy store is 25% off with cash transfer from PayPal. Use the coupon code IUSECASH to take advantage. This even applies to special requests where possible.

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.

Where has the month gone?

I’m finally feeling better, but this post isn’t about my health issues. I’ve found a few minutes here and there in which to sew, and I finally have something to show (you) for it.

crescent Santa tree skirt

crescent Santa tree skirt

Since the beard was the last thing I did, besides stitching down the various parts, and it was freehand and spontaneous, it took me a while to plan out the spontaneous part. Yes, I’m that much of a planner. The final part was to place the stars. The book suggested painting small wooden stars with gold paint, drilling two holes, and stitching them on like buttons. I chose to use 3 different colors of yellow and embroider them. I did few, so they didn’t overpower Santa, and none on the back side because it wouldn’t show.

doll quilt

doll quilt

I also worked on another doll quilt. This one used scraps from this wall quilt I made for signatures at a 50th wedding anniversary party.  I found 4 matching half-square triangles and arranged them as a pinwheel, then sewed the pinwheels together. This will go into the Etsy store for sale, and I plan to make more. I found a doll that could model the quilts for me, but still am lacking a bed for more polished-looking pictures. Of course, since the doll needed a nightgown, I made that for her, too.

I worked a bit on the circle quilt, but I’ve found that I’ve done too much unnecessary work. I will have a future tutorial to explain the shortcuts I’ve found. Since I have at least 3 more to complete, I don’t feel like I’ve learned these things too late.

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.