Tag Archives: christmas

Last minute Christmas gifts

A little while back, I had pinned this sewing project/tutorial for an electronic cable travel case (over on Pinterest). I had thought…hmm…maybe Christmas gifts for some of my work colleagues (I work for a large computer software company….so electronic cable case=perfect).

Finally, this weekend (2.5 days left of work for the year) I managed to get 3 done. I have to say, I had a blast sewing them,  mostly due to the great company on Sunday afternoon.
IMG_3087

A few friends (Sarah @ StitchingandBacon, Michelle @ UndiscoveredOptimist and Jenn pictured above; Daisy @ AntsToSugar and Becky pictured below) got together at Cary Quilting Company for a bit of last-minute Christmas sewing, sharing of fabric + Christmas baked goodies.

IMG_3089

The first pouch I made was using fabric from Frances Newcombe, Utopia (pictured below – Outside front, Outside back, Inside). I used a fantastic tutorial for these cases by LiveIt.LoveIt.MakeIt.

IMG_3082

I modified some aspects of the tutorial. First off, I needed to convert from cm to in. and here are the materials I used for my pouches (if in the US):

For the pouch pieces:  6″ (side) x 9″ (width) (4 pieces; 2 for the lining and 2 for the main)
For the Cable Tidy Section: 10″ (width) x 18″ (length) (2 pieces; one for the lining and one for the main)
Zipper: 9″ zipper was used for the pouch; purchased from Zipit
Elastic: 19″ length @ 0.5″ and 1″ wide (Joann’s)
Buckle: 2.5″ x 1″ Nickel Fashion Buckle (Joann’s)
Snaps: Size 2 Sew on Snaps (Joann’s)
Interfacing: Pellon Sf101 (fusible Shape flex) (from Joann’s – 30% off at the moment)

I replaced the felt with Fusible Fleece, specifically Pellon 987f Fusible Fleece (from Joann’s – 30% off at the moment).
IMG_3093
There are only a few construction pointers, I can provide extra to the provided tutorial.

  1. For sewing the zipper into the pouch, I added fabric tabs to the ends of my zipper for a nicer finish.
  2. I placed my elastic starting at 3″ from the top (0.5″ elastic) and 3″ from the bottom (1″ elastic).
  3. Pin, pin. pin the elastic, especially the smaller one on top. The smaller one tended to move more often when you sewing the straight lines and if you want a straight looking line of elastic you needed to pin.
  4. Draw and measure each line you are planning on sewing down through the elastic with a fabric marker. I used chalk pencil.
  5. I marked my lines starting with 2 x 2″ width and then alternated the 1.5″ and 1″ lines and finished off again with one or two 2″ segments. I recommend not placing two 1″ lines close to each other as it makes it difficult to fit items next to each other.

IMG_3094

The two on the left are for male colleagues and the one on the right was for a female colleague.

Lots of fun, and a project I would make again. It took me about 90 minutes for the first one, while I worked out all the steps. The other two, took 90 minutes combined, and I sewed more like a production line.

Fabrics for my pouches above were:

Your turn, you still have time to make those last-minute Christmas gifts!! Good Luck.

Tutorial: Coffee Cup Sleeves

My first year sewing, I decided to make coffee cup sleeves for Christmas gifts and a Christmas fair. They were so successful, and after making about 40 of these, I thought y’all would enjoy them too.
FinalSleeve_front

Materials:

  • 24 2.5″ x 1.5″ Scraps (I am using pink and purple scraps which could be any size)
  • 3 6.5″ x 1.5″ Linen strips
  • 1 6.5″ x 10″ Corduroy (for backing, you could also use felt)
  • 2 6.5″ x 10″ fusible fleece ( you could use one piece fleece, one piece insul fleece; I use both pieces of fleece, so that I can use it for cold drink sweat as well)
  • 1/4″ binding (Wrights double folded bias works well)
  • 1 Elastic hair tie
  • 1 button
  • 1 Paper Coffee cup sleeve (use as template)

    Scraps

  1. Sew the 2.5″ x 1.5″ pieces into 6.5″ x 2.5″ strips and trim. Layout the your sleeve. Sew the scrappy strips together with the 6.5″ x 1.5″ linen strips. This will make a block of ~10″ x 6.5″.

    ScrapsSewn_Layout
  2. You now have 4 pieces to make your quilt sandwich. Iron one piece of the fusible fleece to the corduroy, the other to the scrappy block (front). Pin the layers together and trim the top edge, so that you have a good guide for quilting. QuiltSandwich
  3. Quilt the sandwich. I used my foot edge for even distance between the straight-line quilting.
    Quilted
  4. Pin the template on the quilted sandwich. Cut out your coffee cup sleeve.
    CutFirstSleeve
  5. You may actually be able to get two out of your block. Line the template up with the arc of the previous cut.
    CutTwoSleeves
  6. You now have two sleeves.
    TwoSleevesCut
  7. Take one of the sleeves and the 1/4″ double folded bias. Open the bias folds, and iron the edge in about a 1/4″. This will be where you will fold the edges of the binding within itself.
  8. Use a machine binding technique with your sleeve,  that means, you will start sewing the binding to the back. Unfold one edge of the binding and use the fold as a guide to your sew line. Sew approximately 1″ at a time, making sure you line up the edge of the bias with the sleeve edge. Use mitered corners.
    SewingBinding_Back
  9. To finish up the binding on the back, overlap the edges of the binding about 1/4″ and sew. Unfold the bottom edge (leaving the 1/4″ “hem”),  and nest the other edge, refold.
  10. Turn over the coffee cup sleeve and fold over the binding. Stitch about a couple of mm from the edge all the way around. At the corners make sure you make the mitered corners fold the opposite way of the back.
    SewingBinding_Front
  11. Once the binding is on add the finishing details. On the slightly angled edge, pin the middle of the hair tie together, and pin it to the middle of the sleeve.
    PlacingElasticTie
  12. Turn the coffee cup sleeve over and sew along the top stitching of the binding to mask the stitching. Back stitch, back across the hair tie to add strength to the securing stitches.
  13. To finish off securing the hair tie, add about 10 stitches attaching the end of the hair tie to the back. Make sure your stitches do not go through the front. Use a thread color to match the corduroy.
    Finishings
  14. Last step, is attaching the button to the straighter edge of the coffee cup sleeve. I use a 4 hole button, as it is more stable than a 2 hole which is needed with the pull of from the hair tie.FinalSleeve_FlatView
  15. That’s it, the only thing left is to try it on your cup. It should fit a Starbuck’s cup and their $1 recycle cup and Caribou Cafe etc.
    FinalSleeve_back

I hope you enjoy, and I would love to see any you make up. If you have any questions let me know.

Small Giveaway

Now, for a small giveaway…I have an extra coffee cup sleeve of the one above and I will throw in some recent scraps as well, whatever I can fit in the envelope. Just leave a comment below on what handmade gifts you are making for Christmas. If you are a follower you get a second entry – just let me know below. I will randomly draw a winner next Sunday at 6pm EST.

Linking up with Sew Cute Tuesday and Let’s Bee Social (see buttons on the right).

December Scrap-bee-licious blocks finished

This month’s theme of anything Christmas, was very appropriately chosen by  Nicole @ Modern Handcraft. It also allowed me to use my scraps from the Christmas Stocking, use fabrics I have purchased but not used, and finally try out two block patterns I have on my pinterest site.

Block 1: Christmas Tree Block was inspired by this one by Katie’s Korner.

ChristmasTreeBlock

Block 2: Christmas Gift Tags is one of my favorite blocks I have made so far. I used the idea in this flickr image from Ayumi Takahashi. Aren’t they fantastic. I couldn’t find a pattern so I created a paper piecing pattern, where each of the blocks are 6 x 6 inches (finished so this block below is 12 x 12).
ChristmasPresentTagsBlock

If you would like the directions or the paper piecing of either of the two blocks,  let me know and I can share how I made these. ChristmasSrapbeeliciousBlocks

Linking up for Kristy’s Paper Piecing Party.

Paper Piecing Party

Hope everyone has a great New Year. See you tomorrow for Book Review Tuesday.
9403480642_e07d4f3438_m

Christmas Finishes

We had a wonderful Christmas, and we loved our great tree this year. I hope you all enjoyed your holidays as well.

Christmas_Tree

Guess what I got for Chritsmas!!! I got the Accuquilt Go Mix and Match starter kit. I spent 1/2 an hour trying it out, cutting 12 blocks at a time. I quickly had 90 3.5″ cut squares. I love it – this will make such a difference in my least favorite activity – cutting.

I had a busy time leading up to Christmas. I made 30 iPhone/iPad stands, two of which were gifts for the hubby and the little one. The VW stand below is one of the hubby’s Christmas presents. He is a huge VW van fan. The fabric is one I purchased a while back from Spoonflower, Rainbow peace campers by Sharon Turner.VW_iPad_Stand

I finally finished my Christmas Stocking, one day late, but perfect for next year. I fussy cut the Santa’s –  fabric is Santa Claus is Coming to Town by Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics.  I then used paper piecing improv blocks for the surrounding area. I loved how it turned out.Christmas_Stocking

One final picture of our three stockings all hanging in front of the fire place. The other two were made last year and blogged about here and here.3_Stockings_Completed

Linking up with Lorna @ Sew Fresh Quilts who is hosting:

Christmas baking, hamper goodies

In the last couple of days, I have had the opportunity to take it a little easy…..and in my usual style, that does not mean, I did nothing :-).  I decided to catch-up on Christmas baking for the family + hamper gifts (gift baskets) for our two neighbors.

First, was my Pineapple Fruit Cake (my version of Christmas Fruit Cake, since I am not a fan).
IMG_0674

Second, Orange Lightening Cake (as muffins).
IMG_7017

Thirdly, Star Wars Sugar Cookies, with green and red sugar sprinkles for a Christmas flare. The forms, we purchased at Williams and Sonoma, while they were on special for $4.95. For these, I used this recipe, but found I had to add 1 additional egg, and 1/2 stick of additional butter as it was very dry.
IMG_9049

Lastly, something for my husband to remind him of home, German Christmas Cookies (made with almond meal)….recipe below. IMG_9069

German Christmas Cookies

Ingredients
1 egg (separate egg yolk and white)
60 g (1/2 cup)  Almond meal
180 g (1 1/2 cups) All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
pinch salt
80 g + 40 g (1 cup) icing sugar (confectionary sugar)
80 g (3/4 stick) butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp water

Mix the yolk, almond meal, flour, baking powder, salt, 80g icing sugar, butter, vanilla and milk in a large bowl. NOTE: I start mixing with a fork and then use my hands as the dough starts to form). Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C). Once dough has chilled, place it between two layers of plastic wrap and roll out the dough. Cut out your cookies using your forms and place on a tray that is covered with baking paper (cookie sheets).

Mix the rest of the icing sugar (40g), egg white and water in a bowl and whisk to dissolve the icing sugar. With a brush thinly coat the top of the cookies with the glaze-mixture. Bake cookies for ~12 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven, leave on tray to cool for 5-10 minutes. Place on cooling rack thereafter until completely cooled.

What have you been baking for Christmas? I would love to hear.

For the boys blog hop



I was so thrilled when I found out I could participate in the “For the boys” Blog hop.

I loved making things for my 6-year-old son. It is so exciting when I see him loving the things I made for him….its the best reward I can receive. I hope these inspire some ideas for the boy/s in your life. These are some of the things you can find in my son’s bedroom.

Dr. Seuss growth chart:
Sam I am

Painted square wall:
Sean's room

Wonky Universe Pillow:
IMG_7245

Chair Bags for Storage:
ChairBag_ScienceExperiment

Finally, how about an idea for Christmas…Christmas stockings for the boys.
BlueGreenOrangeChristmasStocking

IMG_0658
Go and take a look at the other “For the Boys” blog posts for November 13th

Finally don’t forget to check out the yesterday’s book review + giveaway here.

Book Review Tuesday {11.12.2013}

Welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday. Just some initial details in case you missed last week’s introduction…

When: Book Review Tuesday will be hosted here every second week (initially for 1 year).
Content of the Post: A book review and a project will be made from the week’s selected book.
Give-away: Each post will include a give-away of that book, winners will be announced the following week ~8pm.

Review

Title: “The Practical Guide to Patchwork” – New Basics for the Modern Quiltmaker
Author: Elizabeth Hartman
Publisher: Stash Books
ISBN: 978-1-60705-008-7

This was the first book I purchased, last year, when I first started to be interested in Modern Quilting. I was looking for a good reference book, basics for quilting techniques and really just a place to get started.

9781607050087_p0_v1_s260x420

The Practical Guide to Patchwork definitely provided the basic information I was looking  when starting out, such as:

  • How to choose machine needles
  • Basic quilting techniques
  • How to make and sew binding

The book project layout is well done. It starts off with beginner projects, and moves projects for confident beginners to intermediate projects. There are several projects I am interested in making from this book, but not all as quilts; Small Plates, Valentine, Kitchen Window and lastly Sunspot.  My favorite part of each project is the last section, which provides alternate ideas and additional fabric options. It offers just that little more inspiration by saying “Hey, what about this or that” and gets you thinking about the possibilities of the blocks provided.

This book focused mostly on quilt designs, that use a single block repetitively. I would have liked to have one or two of the projects, in the book focus on non-repetitive block quilts. As a beginner, this would have provided more introduction options into modern patchwork.

This book is great book, if you are looking for a good reference book for quilting techniques or looking for easy to medium quilting projects. It would be a great Christmas gift for a new quilter or a great donation to a school/local community library.

My rating out of 5 is:
images-9 images-8 images-7 images-4

Project

The project I chose, from the book, was the Sunspot block. I actually started this project last year. It was my first patchwork block for what I was planning to be, a Christmas table runner. The instructions were easy to follow. I enjoyed the idea of making the angles within the block. I really liked how the block turned out.
Rectangle Christmas Block

For this review, I decided to go with my original plan. I re-purposed that block, and cut it in 1/2 to make Christmas place mats for this year. Here are the completed place mat tops, using that one block.

ChristmasPlacemats_Red ChristmasPlacemats_Olive

Fabric: Dear Mr. Claus, Robert Kaufman’s Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Red/Olive, White Kona Skinny sashing.
Size: 14″ x 18″

Do you have projects made from this book? If you have a project link it up.

Give-away

One brand new copy of this book will be given away next Tuesday. All you need to do is leave a comment on why you would like the book. A second chance to win if you are a follower, just leave a second comment indicating you follow. A winner will be chosen at random and posted next Tuesday around 8 pm.

Next Book Review: “Brave New Quilts”.
Upcoming books will include: 500 quilt blocks, Quilting Happiness, Modern One-Block Quilts, Urban Views, Modern Bee.

A disclaimer, all reviews and opinions of the books reviewed will be mine, unless otherwise stated.