Wedding Coozies

I am at the time in my life where all my friends are getting married and making babies. I’m at the tail end of weddings and engagement parties for the year. For 3 different couples I made these ‘his’ and ‘hers’ and ‘hers’ cozies for the engagement parties or welcome dinners.

Supplies:

  1. Black Quilt Fabric
  2. White Quilt Fabric
  3. Satin Fabric (I bought searching through the remnant bin, 1/2 off!)
  4. Lace Ribbon
  5. White Elastic
  6. Flowers
  7. Typical sewing supplies

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First determine dimensions. I cut the back side of each out of white and black; rectangles of 4-1/2 by 9-1/2 inches. The bride front was two white rectangles at 2-3/4 by 9-1/2. Then a skirt was cut at 3 -1/2 by 11.  The groom front were two panels, 4-1/2 by 5 and 4-1/2 by 5-1/2.

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To make the groom front I pinned the two panels together as shown below with a piece of white fabric as the “undershirt” – do not sew.

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For the bride front I first gave the skirt a hem on three sides by folding the edge over twice and sewing. Then I pinned the skirt between the two white panels giving it ruffles and make sure to keep it at least a half inch from the edge. These were sewn together with a 1/4 inch seam.              wpid-20150803_211146.jpg

For each the bride and groom the front was sewn to the back, right sides together. Be sure to pin in the skirt as shown below so it does not get caught up in the hem, and sew with a 1/4 inch seam leaving a 2-inch gap on one short side to be able to reverse the coozie.

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After the coozie is reversed, put the two elastic bands folded in half into the open section and pin. Then give it a hem around all 4 side, reinforce the elastic bands with another pass over that section. For the groom sew down the front along where it should still be pinned, the groom was done with black thread, it was the only time I had to switch thread. The final move is to sew buttons on the opposite side of the elastic.

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The veil was made with one zig-zag seam with the top of the ribbon folded over by a half inch. Then an elastic band was inserted in the loop, and sewn closed. Flowers were sewn along the front of the band. I also put a matching flower on the groom’s coozie in the pocket area.

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Final products shown on a bottle before flowers were sewn on.

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Final products shown on cans.

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Two of three couples that were recipients shown below. They loved it and that was the real purpose of making these!

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Fabric Coasters

I’ve been wanting to make coasters for some time now since the wooden coasters I got in Ecuador are falling apart.  You may think: “Can’t you just sew two pieces of fabric together and call it a day?” Well, no because then you still have condensation seepage through the fabric or heat transfer from a hot cup. I can do better than that.

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First I started with some 4 by 4 squares I had left over from various quilts or other projects. I had a few other small scraps of fabric that I cut into 4 by 4 squares. The fabric color choice was to have a set of multi colored coasters to use while gaming; each person in our group has their own game colors they use everytime. The colors are typically red, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, and black depending on the game. I didn’t have any black scraps ready so I used dark blue. My typical color is blue which is prevalent in every game, Kyle is always orange but will settle for yellow. The coasters will prevent our game pieces or cards from getting wet when we have drinks while we game! The owls are just cute extra fabric I wanted to use up.

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Next I needed some insulation. I used left over fabric batting. Remember – Never throw anything out! These were small and oddly shaped pieces that I was able to cut into 4 by 4 squares.

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Batting still doesn’t account for the condensation issue. I need plastic! I’ve made these before with painters plastic and I prefer to use that. However my stash was out and right now I’m not buying new supplies unless needed. Instead I can upcycle some plastic bags!

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I tried my rotary cutter first and it worked! Shown below are the bags cut into 4 by 4 inch squares.

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Time to make sandwiches! Put the two fabric squares right sides together. Then lay a plastic square, insulation square, then plastic square on top and pin.

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Next sew the square around leaving a gap along one edge for flipping. Then cut off the extra trimmings and thread.

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Next flip your squares so that the fabric is on the outside.

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Pin the mouth shut.

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Sew around the outside edge. (For a wedding present I made some for a friend and I added a 2-inch square seam and it really popped. I’ve also done some with a spiral square seam pattern and that also looks really good. I imagine you can do all sorts of seam patterns to add extra zest to the coasters and to make them lie flatter.)

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Finally a finished product! The coasters work on hot and cold beverages.

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Note: Since there is plastic inside, do not use these as mini oven mitts. They are machine washable, but I’d let them air dry.

Spicing Up Our Pillows

Our couch is old, it has old pillows. But until we buy a house we’re not going to replace it. While looking through the remnant section of Jo Anns, I found some upholstery fabric that i liked! And I decided that this is the time to spice up our old couch. I made two pillow covers out of the fabric.

First I measured the pillow, they are about 18 by 18, so i cut one 20×20 square, then two 20 x 15 rectangles.

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For the two rectangles, I did a double fold under for the hem on one 20-inch edge. I then overlapped those edges and put them right side in against the 20-inch square.

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I was able to sew one continuous seam around the outside edge of the square. Then I snipped the corners flat and flipped it right side out using the overlapped fabric gap.

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Finally I put the old pillows into the new cases and they look so good! It definitely brightens up the room. I don’t care that they do not match my couch mainly because nothing in my living room matches and secondly because nothing could match these old couches at this point.

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More Babies!

I’m at the age where all of my friends are making BABIES!!!! I made another quilt and a second set of hats.

The design is unisex because it was still too early to know the sex, but I have too many project to wait. I’ve had these two color schemes sitting around for just the right project and I think it fits the couple’s style very well. I didn’t except to use the color schemes together but there is no clashing as each is on a different side of the quit.

To finish the quilts I used the tying method with matching colors on the plain pattern side.  I hid the stitches on the gold side that they wouldn’t clash.

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As always Blue was a good boy to model the hats. (He got a treat afterwards.) The first was orange/blue reverse and it was sent along with the quilt. I used the ‘S’ size so the baby will have to wait until next summer to use it. If he/she is anything like the parents the hat will be welcomed for sun protection.

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The second hat is below. I sent this to another friend whose child is under one just because I hadn’t sent her anything in a while. I love to do nice things for people unexpectantly.

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Please ignore my messy sewing room.

Reusable “Paper” Towels

Paper towels are wasteful. They’re made of paper, not entirely absorbent and you seem to always have them on your shopping list. In an effort to be more green I’ve made reusable “paper” towels from older towels that were past their prime. I’ve been using them in the kitchen for a week now and it makes me feel much better. The main concern from the boyfriend was that we could no longer use a paper towel to grease our cast iron pan and that the towels would leave lint. However, I’ve been using these towels to grease the pan and since they’re older they have virtually no fuzz to leave behind.

You may be thinking, what’s the difference between these and normal kitchen towels? Well these are on the counter and easy to grab just one, they are intended for messes and other things you would use a paper towel for instead of a kitchen towel, and they are smaller – intended to be used once.

Supplies:

  • two old towels
  • a few fabric squares or fabric left overs
  • typical sewing supplies

Step 1: Cut off the edges of the towel.

Step 2: Cut the towel into roughly 10-12 inch squares. They absolutely do not have to be uniform.

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Step 3: Using the scraps or fabric squares, cut 2-1/2 inch wide strips.

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Step 4: Iron the strips in half.

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Step 5: Fold in both edges of the strip so that you are folding each half in half, right sides out. Iron.

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You will need a lot of strips of fabric.

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Step 6: Sew the strips around the edge of the towels, folding corners when needed and adding new strips when you run out.

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Here is a nice pile of finished towels. I originally was going to attach snaps to each towel so that you can roll the towels onto a paper towel holder and pull off a single sheet as you need it. My super smart boyfriend pointed out that the snaps might scratch our pots. I was head strong and started to sew on a few snaps. I then realized how tedious snaps could be and how many I’d need to create a whole roll. So I then pretended like his concerns were valid so that I wouldn’t have to sew on snaps. To be fair, the snaps were metal and I’m sure would have messed up a few pans (if used on pans.)

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I then rolled up the towels and stuck them on our paper towel roll, the towels stay just fine.

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Another view of the roll.

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We pile the “paper” towels in the corner of the kitchen as we use them along with our hand towels and other kitchen fabric to be washed when we do laundry. The impact for using reusable towels is minimal on our lives. Having an easy to “tear off” paper towel substitute definitely makes the difference over using the typical kitchen towel for ease in the kitchen.

Indoor Plant Makeover

This shelf offends me. It’s my succulent shelf. Until yesterday it looked like a clutter shelf where I just put things that didn’t match. In reality it was a great window to place a shelf under so that my indoor plants could see the sun. It was about time I did something about this shelf so that I don’t look like a crazy hoarder lady with knick knacks everywhere. Also, why is there a broken bulb in that pot? (Sorry for the poor quality photo, the sun didn’t want to cooperate with my lighting choices.)

An aside: Indoor plants not only make the room more green and vibrant but provide oxygen. Succulents are great because if you forget about them for a while, they will still be ok.

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The supplies:

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The basic idea was to cover the outside of the pots with leftover burlap that I had lying around from another project and a strip of ribbon. I choose natural colored ribbons to keep a low key look. Super glue was the adhesive of choice and worked really well with the burlap.  I was going for a uniform minimalist look and I think I got it. The white pot was left alone to provide a little contrast.

The finished product is below. I replanted the other pot with some flowers. Will update once they grow.

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Some crafting tips for on-the-fly projects:

  • Always keep hot glue around, you should have a variety of adhesives on hand. I have Elmer’s glue, gorilla wood glue, super glue, glue stick, hot glue and goop.
  • Never ever throw away ribbons unless they’re beyond repair. Remember that basket of soaps you got? Save the ribbon. Those flowers he bought you last week? Usually good quality ribbon. I keep mine in the stein you see and it looks like a decoration accent for my sewing room.
  • While we’re on the subject, never throw out anything. Jeans can provide backing to fabrics, plus you can reuse the zipper. Metal hangers also can provide stiffening and are easy to bend. Old frames can be repainted and reused. Cardboard is always handy: I used it above to place the hot glue gun down, my craft table was currently occupied with another project.
  • Stay organized! Keep like items together so when you’re ready to create you don’t have to go far for inspiration.
  • Buy on sale. What is hot right now? Burlap and mason jars, old spoons, unique paper, small trinkets. When you see something on sale that you know you will use in the future, but it. My typical sale buys are yarn, ribbons, fabric remnants and unique items.

And don’t worry about the gnomes, it was about time they went back outside! They’re shown here in my beet pots.

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Kubb Set: A Fun New Lawn Game DIY

Kubb is a fun game we just learned from a friend. After watching a Youtube rules overview and constructing a very basic set for ourselves we were hooked. Kubb is similar to horseshoes, corn hole, ladder golf and many other popular lawn games. It involves throwing wood at other wood with the intention to knock the larger wood down. Kubb is described on Wikipedia and a great explanation is on Youtube.

My boyfriend’s Dad and Uncle had birthdays this past weekend and we wanted to share our new love of Kubb with them by making two full sets. Both sets were delivered on Sunday and his Uncle is already hooked. The set we made ourselves was made with 12 inch Kubbs, 12 inch throwing batons and a firewood log as our king. Hereafter I will refer to them as kubbs/skulls, femurs and the king. After many rounds playing the game we determined that our skulls/kubbs were likely too tall. In addition the original set was made with a camp saw because the 4by4 would not fit under the smaller circular saw we had.

Kubb Supplies

  • 10 kubbs, five on each side
  • 6 femurs
  • 1 king

Craft Supplies

  • 2 lengths of 4 by 4
  • 2 lengths of 1- 1/4 inch circular dowels
  • saw
  • thin cardboard
  • acrylic paint
  • sponge paint brushes (various sizes)
  • clear poly finish

Step 1. Cut the 4by4s into ten 10-inch lengths using a hand saw or circular saw. Cut the 12 inch long king from the 4by4. Cut six 18-inch lengths of the dowel. We were able to achieve the desired flatness with our new hand saw.

Step 2. Sand the wood. My boyfriend used an electric sander, but regular sand paper and elbow grease will do fine. Make sure to wipe the wood down after sanding, so the saw dust doesn’t mix in with the paint.

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3. Make your stencils. I used the cardboard rectangle that is placed into quilt squares at jo-anns. Remember never throw anything away! I cut into the stencil from the outside, so I used masking tape to cover any unwanted cuts in the stencil.

4. Paint. I used a 3-hole puncher to keep the wood at an angle. This way I could paint the top of all 4 sides of the 4by4 without smudging any paint.

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For the first set I did the five kubbs of the Tapped logo on the front and back, which is a bar he owns. Then five Virginia Tech kubbs, which is his alma matter. The logos are on front and back only.

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On the two remaining sides of the kubbs I alternated randomly between three skull shapes I made. I’ve named them metal skull, punk skull, and voodoo skull.

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Here are the kubbs with a finished paint job.

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For the second set I did five George Mason kubbs, his alma matter.

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The other five kubbs had a blue single blade battle ax on the front and a double blade battle ax on the back. Blue is his favorite color. I learned that with small lines in my stencils it was better to sponge on the paint instead of typical brush strokes which I had been doing for the other stencils. The paint still bleeds a bit, but I think it adds to the roughness of the Viking look.

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For the King pieces I used 4 different colors and 4 different style crowns. Purple and red in the left image and you can see the blue and green in the upper portion of the right image.

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Step 5. Using a larger sponge brush apply the poly finish. We only used poly over the painted images. The kubb sets will get banged up quickly so I didn’t really see the need in a full poly job. If we made kubb sets for sale, we would definitely poly the whole thing. Full disclosure, we were in a rush to have these finished.

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Below are all the kubbs drying in the utility room. The poly we used is in front. Side note – The femurs do not need additional work after they’re cut. We briefly considered painting an actual femur bone on the femur pieces, but if you look at our original set you can see how dirty and banged up those pieces can get in a matter of only four  weeks. The paint would likely have come off very quickly even with a poly coat.

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The guys love their sets. This was a really great gift idea.

Upcycle Grocery Bags into a Macramé Potted Plant Holder

This is a recycle, upcycle, and craft DIY for all of those bags you have in your cupboard. Lets not lie, we all have a time or three where we forget to bring our cloth bags to the grocery store. Then the bagger tells you they’re out of paper bags so you cave and get plastic.  Next you are left with a multitude of plastic bags.

Aside from using them to pick up dog poo and to line your bathroom waste bin, there are a few craft options for you. My favorite is to make rope from the bags. In addition a lot of images of macramé potted plant holders have been floating around the internet which gave me the idea to make this item.  If you follow my instructions you will be able to upcycle 36 plastic bags. I do not provide macramé instructions in this post, your macramé will need to match the pot you want to use.

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Step 1. Lay the bag flat as shown below. Cut the bag in half.

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Step 2.  Align the bag-half on it’s side as shown below. Cut down from the handle to the seam at the base, but do not cut all the way through. The desired result is a circle. To make thicker rope, skip step one and lay the bag shown in the right image below and cut down from both handles at the same time until you get to the seam at the bottom.

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Step 3. Count them! I have 18 loops cut from 9 bags, you want a number divisible by 3 so you can braid evenly.

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Step 4. Knot the bags together. You need three strands that are two bags long to start. Add additional bags as you go, do not tie all the bags together to start, it is HARDER that way.

This is one way to tie the bags. Lay them end to end and grab as I’ve shown in the 3rd and 4th images below. Pull with both hands. (I had to hold the camera with the other hand, so bare with me)

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Pull until the knot is tight, but do not pull so hard you stretch the plastic. You may have to work the bags a bit with your hands. Mine usually get stuck at the point below and I have to work the knot tighter; this is because the plastic bags have friction!

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The other way to do the knot, and the way I do all subsequent knots after the first, is shown below. Grab and pull. Once again work the knot when you get near the end so that it is tight. The desired knot is shown in the right image below.

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Step 5. Tie three of the strands in a knot and begin to braid. DO NOT attach all the bags together first and then begin to braid. Only attach two bags for each strand in the braid, when you get to the end, attach the next bag to each strand. I’ve done this before where I’ve had huge lines of bags tied together, braiding that is a nightmare.

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Once the braid is long enough I highly recommend tying it to a nearby post/table/chair so that the braiding becomes easier.  The second image below shows what the knots look like in the braid: there is a slight budge but it is really not noticeable. Usually the knots will be at different points along each strand so that you will never have a point where all three knots come together at once.

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Step 6. Macramé time. After you have all of your strands then it is time to macramé them together to form your potted plant holder. I used 4 strands made up of 9 bags each. The second image below shows the somewhat finished product. I hadn’t noticed that the knot was off center until much later, so that has been adjusted since this image was taken.

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This is what it looks like in my garden.

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Lessons: I need to macramé better and next time I may try to color coordinate the bags. Other than that I’ve made rope before from bags and each time I get better. This time I had much thinner rope because I cut the bags in half first. A thicker rope will look like the image below from last year. The rope was intended as a dog deterrent and it worked!

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Winnie the Poo Baby Quilt

My best friend from college is having a baby! As soon as I heard the news my next question was “What is the theme of the nursery?” and she answered with yellow, green, and Winnie the Poo. This quilt was made back in the fall and finally shipped in December. I started planning as soon as I could.

One of my favorite Winnie the Poo stories is the ‘Little Black Rain Cloud’ episode where Poo pretends to be a rain cloud in order to steal some honey from a tree.  The basic concept is a semi-pixelated tree with a cross stitch Winnie. The second image below shows the type of squares I will need. When picking out fabric I found the most wonderful Winnie the Poo print of the little black raincloud episode, the main colors were yellow and gray. Instead of having a brown tree I decided to match the fabric and found the right shade of gray.

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A few of the images below show how I made the triangular blocks.

  1. Place the two colors right side together and fold in half point to point.
  2. Iron to make a sewing guide.
  3. Sew just to one side of the crease.
  4. Cut about 1/4 from the seam on the opposite side of the crease.
  5. Iron flat.

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To make the other squares the process is similar; iron the fabric to create guides and sew to the opposite side of the crease. Then, cut off excess fabric and iron flat.

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A few different blocks are shown below. A lot more planning went into the squares than usual as I wanted all the Winnie the Poo fabric to lay the same way, upright in reference to the tree.

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After all the squares were made it was time to layout the design and see where I made mistakes! Once again, all the Winnie the Poo fabric was to lay upright. The main issue I found was that I didn’t cut enough solid blocks of green, gray and white. I missed about 3-7 blocks of each color. This is an easy fix as all I had to do was cut more.

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Here are some images of the quilt top laid out. I think these photos do a great job of illustrating the small size of my workroom.

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What is missing? Winnie the Poo!  I choose where I wanted Winnie to be placed which was over three vertical squares. The squares were sewn together which left me with the hard part, the cross stitch.

1. I found the image on the internet and printed it out. I then traced over all the solid lines on a separate paper.

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2. I traced over my original with a dark permanent marker so that the lines would be visible.

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3. In order to keep the cross-stitch bold and bright, I affixes a solid white piece of fabric behind the three verticle squares. This was to stiffen up the fabric and add a white background so that when cross stitching I had more meat to hold onto.

Now, how do I get this image onto fabric?

4. Initially I held the image behind the fabric and then tried to hold it up to the window to be able to trace. But I’m smarter than that. I have lights! The first image shows the headlamp on my leg so I could trace the image onto the fabric. The second image shows what I was able to see using this method. The light had to be moved around a few times. The third image shows the tracing complete.

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Then begins the arduous journey that is cross stitch.

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Back to the sewing! I always sew columns first. Here they are completed and laid out in order:

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Half way done and then complete!

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Almost done . . . . The front is laid on the batting which is laid on the back. I used the Winnie the Poo print on the back.  Since this was a baby quilt I used 3 layers of batting. Then pin it everywhere!

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Blue is helping me cut the binding. I decided to go with gray across the top and bottom since most of those blocks were green and green down the sides since the gray trunk ran down the middle of the quilt. It turned out to provide great contrast. Iron the binding!

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Always make sure to have wine in hand when pinning, it makes the process go smoother. Here, I’m having a Chardonnay as it was still quite warm outside.

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Me with the final product! I really like how it turned out. This is easily my best quilt to date and the one of which I’m most proud. The soon-to-be parents LOVED the quilt when it arrived and said “we might share it with the baby too.”

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Glasses Case DIY

I do actually need glasses, but not to function, just to keep the headaches at bay.  After getting new glasses I wanted a way to hold them at work when I needed to put my safety glasses on. This is a DIY fabric glasses case tutorial.

What is the number one rule of DIY? Never throw anything away. Here I use an old felt/fleece blanket as the inner layer and a fabric square to create the outer design.

1. Cut a 7 by 7 square from the fleece and fabric square.

2. Cut a 2inch by 5 inch (approx) section from the fabric square for a strap.

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Step 3. Sew the strap right sides together lengthwide.

Step 4. Sew the fabric square on three sides giving approx 1/4 inch seam.

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Step 5. Invert both the fabric square and the strap, iron flat.

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Step 6. Fold the free end inward by 1/2 inch and sew the the free edge giving approx 1/4 inch seam.  Start the seam about 1/4 inch from the edge, and end it the same way.

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Step 7. Fold the square so that the fleece is inwards. Fold inwards both ends of the strap so that the free edges to not show. Then place the strap on the upper end of the fabric square “hotdog” as shown below so the ends are at least 1/2 inch into the square. The upper end will be the sewn edge in step 6.

Step 8. Sew along the two free ends (two edge without a seam), sewing the strap into the square as you go.

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Step 9. Always use seam sealer when you are done!

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The finished product:

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Lessons learned: I would probably have used a rectangle about 7 inches by 8-1/2 inches because my glasses fit in this case, but there is no excess room at all. I would rather have my glasses have 1/2 inch or so of free fabric at the end for better protection.

I’ve attached this glasses case to my badge at work and have used it for the exact purpose describe above. When I get on the work site I need safety glasses on and normal glasses safe.