Blog

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 7

Idea #7: Make a set of colorful place mats for the new householders

Do you have any newlyweds on your shopping list this year?  Or perhaps a recent graduate who is just setting up house in their first apartment?  A set of quilted place mats would make a nice handmade gift!

The “Easy Pieced X” place mats are a good choice for a quick gift!  I used a colorful leaf print and an array of coordinating solid fabrics to achieve a masculine look for my son’s dining table.  I had enough fabric left to add a pair of matching hot pads, so he won’t need to use a kitchen towel to get hot pans out of his oven.

Start by making four of the pieced X blocks, six if you are making hot pads too.  You’ll add the white band and the print triangles to frame the block.  The pieced bands on the side are made with strips that are cut into segments and joined to the side of the place mat.

When the piecing is complete, add a lightweight batting and backing and then quilt as desired.  Please note, if you are making hot pads, a layer of insul-brite will make them heat-proof!

Another fast and colorful option is a set of “Easy Pieced Leaves” place mats.  The pattern also includes instructions for the matching runner.  I used a set of 10″ batik squares (a layer cake), a beautiful harvest-themed print, and a beige blender with a burlap texture, along with a really dark brown blender for the binding and folded flanges.

Each place mat features a pieced leaf block, framed in bands of coordinating fabric and surrounded by a colorful print border.  I added folded fabric flanges to enhance the design, and did my quilting with metallic copper thread to make it sparkle.

I hope that you’re inspired to create something wonderful for your favorite people!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 6

Hi Fellow Quilters!

I hope that you’re having a lovely weekend.  Thanks for stopping by for our Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts series!  Today we’re going to make two fast & easy gifts.  I can’t take credit for either idea, but wanted to share them because they are easy, quick, and super-cute!

Idea #6: Coasters and Reindeer and Gift Certificates, Oh My!

  • Easy folded fabric coasters

Wouldn’t these make great gifts for neighbors or co-workers?  Wrap up a set to give, along with some yummy baked treats.

Finished

For a set of four coasters:

1. Cut four 4″ by 4″ squares each of three different fabrics and eight 4″ by 4″ squares of the fourth fabric.

2. Fold one square of each fabric in half diagonally and press. (Photo A)

triangles
Photo A

3. Layer the folded squares (triangles) as shown.  Place a flat fabric square under the layered triangles, matching the edges and pinning to keep the layers in place. (Photo B)

Pinned
Photo B

4. Sew with a 1/4″ seam, all around the edges of the square.  Turn right side out and press flat. (Photo C)

Seam
Photo C

6. Repeat steps 2-4 to make the rest of the coasters.

 

  • Reindeer wine cork ornaments

reindeer

Yes, I realize that these little guys aren’t quilted.  I didn’t use a single piece of fabric or take even one stitch to make them, but they are absolutely too ADORABLE and I just HAD to share them with you today!  I made several of these sweet little guys to give to my co-workers and neighbors,  along with some home-baked goodies.  (And I couldn’t resist making a small herd to keep for myself too.)  They look so festive, just standing around here & there in my family room.

These are really fun & easy to make too!  I found this great YouTube video that shows how, step by step.  I (mostly) followed the directions on the video, and I love the way my finished reindeer turned out.

  • Give the Give of Choice!

Here’s another last-minute gift idea, just for the quilter on your list!  (Or, perhaps, you could add this to your own wish list.  My dear husband has a hard time figuring out exactly what I’d like for Christmas, so he appreciates a wish list.)  We’re now offering printable gift certificates from our Etsy shop.  Click the picture below to read more about how this works.

gift card

I hope that you’re inspired to create something wonderful for your favorite people!  Thanks again for visiting.

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 5

Hi Fellow Quilters,

The countdown to Christmas continues!  Handmade gifts don’t have to take hours and hours to create; you still have plenty of time to stitch up a colorful new kitchen set for Mom or Grandma.  Wrap them up in a pretty package, maybe with a gift card from her favorite restaurant, and you’ve got a present that’s sure to please.

Idea #5: Make a set of hot pads and a tea towel for Mom or Grandma

 

Wouldn’t these chicken hot pads and barn tea towel look great in Grandma’s country kitchen!  Susan made this cute & colorful set for Mom’s birthday last year.  Mom’s kitchen has lot of red and tan, and it is decorated with CHICKENS!

One more time

The hot pads are made by adding the hen & chicks and the rooster appliques to 9″ squares of the background fabric.  Finish the appliques, and then layer with thin batting, heat-proof insul-brite®, and your the backing fabric.  If you wish, you could quilt the hot pads but it isn’t really necessary.  Add a contrasting binding and hanging loop to finish.  The tea towel features our big red barn pattern, with a happy yellow sun.  Susan lined the tea towel after adding the applique, for a neat finished appearance.  Don’t they make a beautiful set!

If Grandma doesn’t care much for chickens, we have dozens of other applique patterns available in our pattern shop.  Mix & match as you please to come up with something that she’ll love.

I hope that you’re inspired to create something wonderful for that special someone on your gift list!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog · Blog Hop Events

Cookie Day!!!

We so excited to be part of the “Virtual Cookie Exchange” blog hop, sponsored by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt!  You’ll find the schedule at the end of this post, with links to all of the participating bloggers.

Traditions!  Every family has their own, and this is one of our  favorites.  We call it…. Cookie Day!  (I know; not very original, but we like it anyway.)  The photos below are from Cookie Days of Christmas past.

 

 

 

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The family gathers together on a Saturday afternoon during December.  We bring home-baked cookies, lots of sprinkles, and supplies to make several colors of icing.   Our kids have been a major part of Cookie Day since they were old enough to sit up in a chair and hold a cookie!  We spread colored icing on the baked cookies, and then decorate them with sprinkles.  When the cookies are decorated, we eat taco soup for dinner.

There are a few “rules” for cookie day:

  1. We absolutely must listen to Christmas music.  You can sing along if you want to sing.  Dancing is permitted, as long as you don’t step on the dog.
  2. You might will get a little messy.  Festive Christmas aprons are provided, if you like.
  3. You must share the bowls of colored icing with others.  Sharing is caring, don’t you know!  No hogging the green icing; other people may want to make some trees too.  Just sayin’.
  4. If you break a cookie, you have to eat it.  Right away.  Compliance with this rule is generally not a problem, although I strongly suspect that more than a few cookies are deliberately broken.  ;o)
  5. You can decorate as many cookies as you like.  Take home the cookies that you decorate, and enjoy them later.Recipe

Surprise!  We’re sponsoring our very first blog giveaway!  Please click on our logo below to enter for a chance to win.  The prize is a free downloadable quilt pattern of your choice, up to $15 value, from Ms P Designs USA.

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Edited:  Congratulations to MaryBeth L, who chose our “Zoo Animals Quilt” pattern for her giveaway prize!  Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway contest, and made this event so much fun.

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Zoo Animals Quilt

Thanks so much for stopping by today! We appreciate your visit and hope that you’ll have a wonderful Christmas, filled with family, fun, and (of course) traditions!

Happy quilting,

Sharon & Susan


Here’s the 2017 Virtual Cookie Exchange blog hop schedule.  Check out the rest of the bloggers on this list for more traditions, great cookie recipes, and some very nice surprises.

December 5 
Blog · Christmas Quilting

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 4

Hi fellow quilters,

We hope that you’re having a wonderful weekend!  Today’s gift idea is especially fun if you have a brand-new family member this Christmas.

Idea #4: Make a bib for the new baby!

How cute is this little appliqued bib for baby!!!  A real, live baby would probably be cuter for my picture, but I don’t have access to a real baby.  Luckily for me, Olaf didn’t object to posing with my “Gifted Raccoon” bib.

raccoon (5)

Start with a basic bib pattern or trace a ready-made bib onto paper to make your own pattern.  There are lots of free patterns available online if you don’t have a favorite yet.  Add a cute applique to the bib after you cut it out, centering the design on the fabric.  Ms P Designs’ applique patterns are designed to fit a 7″ square block, which is just the right size to embellish a baby’s bib.  Pick your favorites and have fun choosing fabric to coordinate with the applique design.

raccoon (4)

I decided to use our “Gifted Raccoon Christmas Elf” applique pattern to decorate this cute bib.  The bright colors that I used to make my raccoon applique contrast well with the green and white snowflake print on the bib background.  The applique edges are finished with a machine blanket stitch, so it should hold up well through multiple washings.

I lined my bib with a layer of soft, absorbent flannel and used contrasting fabric on the reverse side.  If you want to embellish your bib, you could choose to add lace, fabric piping, or rick-rack to the bib edges before finishing.  I went for a simple and gender-neutral look, and just edge-stitched around the finished bib to help it lay flat, even after laundering, and then finished the bib with an easy hook and loop closure.

Now all that I need is a real baby!  (Just kidding!  I love babies, but I really don’t need one this year.)

I hope that you’re inspired to create something colorful (and absorbent) for your favorite little person!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 3

Hi Fellow Quilters,

I hope that you’re having a fabulous day!  Rowdy & I are back with another quick quilted Christmas gift idea.  Rowdy is especially excited about this idea, since he LOVES to assist the cook with tasty morsels of food that might fall on the floor, LOL!

Idea #3: Make an apron for the cook and/ or her helper!

Create an adorable (and fashionable) appliqued apron for your favorite hostess or kitchen “helper”.   The colorful Christmas prints work together to make a festive apron, and the Christmas bear elf applique on the pocket is extra fun.

bear (5)

You can use your favorite apron pattern, or you can purchase our apron pattern to make one just like this.  Our “Christmas Holiday Applique Apron” is sized for adults, and includes the Christmas stocking bear pattern.  A full apron would work great too, if you prefer that style.  If the chef has a young helper, a set of matching aprons would be such fun.

Cut out the apron pieces, and then decide where you want to put the applique.  You can place the applique on the apron pocket, as I did, or just add the applique to the apron itself.  Finish the applique before sewing the apron, since it is much easier to applique with fabric that lays flat as you work.  You could choose a different applique to decorate your apron, if there is one that you like better than the Christmas stocking bear.  Any of Ms P’s 7″ applique block patterns would work well on an apron.

After the applique is finished, complete your apron as shown in the pattern instructions.  If your applique will be visible on the back side of the apron, you might consider lining it with a lightweight fabric to conceal the back side of the stitching for a more durable and clean finish.

I hope that you’re inspired to create something wonderful for your favorite people!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog

Quick Christmas Gifts, Part 2

Hi fellow quilters,

I’m back again today with another fun idea for some quick quilted Christmas gifts, so here we go…

Idea #2: Make a cool tote bag!

Personalized tote bags make wonderful Christmas gifts.  You can wrap another present inside the bag, or the bag can BE the gift.  Tote bags are appropriate for people of all ages, and are useful too.  Tote bags are easy to sew; it takes just a few hours to make one, depending upon how fancy you go with the embellishments.  You can personalize it for the recipient by using their favorite colors, as well as decorate the bag with a fun applique on the front.

This cute tote bag was made to show off our “Merry Christmas Giraffe Elf” applique pattern.  I chose four contrasting Christmas prints for the bag: a light green snowflake print for the front panel, a bright red solid for the sides, a cheerful stripe for the lining and cuff, and a pretty green for the handles.  I added the giraffe elf applique to make the tote super cute!  I might go ahead and apply a few heat-set crystals to make the string of lights sparkle and shine, but I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet.  Wouldn’t you feel festive, carrying this adorable tote out for an afternoon of Christmas shopping!

girelf (2)

This tote bag was a birthday gift for my Mom.  Isn’t it precious!!  Mom just loved all of our animal ballerinas, but her favorite is the pig ballerina.  She looks as if she’s saying “I’m all dressed up for the ballet recital, but now what do I do?”  Mom’s favorite color is blue, but she likes purple too. so that’s why I chose this combination of fabrics for her bag.  The front panel is a water-color print that features blue and purple, the side panels and handles are blue with purple dots, and the lining is a sweet purple print with hearts. The piggy dancer’s dress coordinates with the colors of the bag, and was made with fabrics from my extensive private textile collection (a.k.a. fabric stash).  I added some heat-set crystals to enhance the ballerina’s tiara and her ballet costume.  This bag is just the right size for Mom’s knitting projects, and she loves it!

DSCN1274

I’m a proud Montana State University alumni (Go Cats!).  I’ve always loved our Bobcat applique design, and had thought about making something special with it to show my college spirit.  When I found this great MSU batik while I was on vacation in Bozeman, MT,  I decided that I HAD to have some of it, and that it would become a bag.  I found two coordinating fabrics, a swirly blue and gold print for the lining and a gold blender for the front panel and straps.  I think that my choices look great with the batik!  I’m keeping this one as a gift to myself.

Bobcat bag

I used the “3-Fabric, 10-Step Lined Tote” by The Inspired Wren, a free downloadable pattern that I discovered on Craftsy, to make the bags that you’ve seen in this post.  If you have another bag pattern that you like, make sure that you have an area at least 7″ by 7″ square for the applique design.

I modified the original pattern by adding a 7″ finished-size panel in the center of the bag’s body, with the rest of the bag’s width divided equally to make the side panels.  (Be sure to add seam allowances when cutting, if you decide to do this as well!)  This design modification makes the applique stand out from the rest of the bag.  If you don’t want to alter the pattern, make sure that you choose a base fabric that contrasts well with your applique so it doesn’t blend in.  You’ll want to be able to see the applique on your finished tote.  :o)

Create, apply, and finish your applique before sewing your bag, since it is easiest to stitch when the fabric can be laid out flat.  I used a machine blanket stitch and black machine embroidery thread to finish my appliques, but you can use any applique method that you like.

After the applique is finished, just follow the pattern instructions to complete your tote bag.  Easy to do, and sew much fun!

Thank you for stopping by today!  We’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment to let us know what you think about tote bags as Christmas gifts.  I hope that you’ll be inspired to create a fun tote bag for someone you love!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog · New Designs

Farm Baby Quilt and Final Update on Elephant Quilt

Saturday was the baby shower for my friend’s first grandbaby.  The pink and yellow elephant quilt is finished and the expectant mother was thrilled!  She tells me that the quilt will be hung on the wall in the nursery as its centerpiece.  I love giving quilts to people who understand the love and patience that go into making a gift like this.

Here is a picture of the finished quilt!  Isn’t it precious!

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As part of the gift, we were asked to bring a copy of our favorite kid’s book instead of a card.  I chose “Mother Bruce” by Ryan T. Higgins!  It is a delightful story about a grumpy bear who loves to cook and inadvertently becomes the “Mother” of four goslings.  Mr. Higgins’ creative illustrations and hilarious story line make this book a fun read for kids and adults too!  If you are looking for a special Christmas gift for an awesome kid, I strongly recommend any of the Ryan T. Higgins books!

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Now on to the Farm Quilt for my first-cousin, once removed (yup, he is my cousin’s kid).  Since I was out of town this past weekend, I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped; however, I did cut the fabric for the pieced offset blocks and I finished the rest of the applique blocks.

As you may recall, I have already shared the Rooster, Goat, Hen, Pig, Lamb and Turkey.  Here are the newest members of the farm crew:

cow
Madame Cow

Madame Cow, how lovely you look with your cute pink nose and spotty body!  A perfect addition to any farm!

duck
Ducky

What a cute little ducky!  My what big feet you have!  You really quack me up!  Why don’t you waddle on over to the pond and go for a paddle?

barn
Big Red Barn

A big red barn is an absolute must-have on the farm!  The animals and tractors all “sleep” in the barn at night, and it provides a wonderful venue for the animals’ secret barn dances (after the farmer goes to sleep)!

dog
Fido the Farm Dog

Fido is better than man’s best friend, he is also in charge of guarding the farm and helping to herd the cattle as well as chasing chickens!

I have three more blocks ready for the quilt, however, since they are all new designs, I won’t be sharing them until the quilt is finished!  That’s just how I roll!  We are hoping to have the new quilt finished by Christmas, but no sneak peaks until then!

I hope you have enjoyed this update of our works in progress and thanks for joining us!

For now, happy quilting!

Susan

 

Blog · Christmas Quilting

Quick Quilted Christmas Gifts, Part 1

Christmas is just around the corner!  Rowdy (shown above) is all dressed up and excited to help me get ready, with his Santa hat and reindeer antlers.  I can’t believe how quickly the time passes between July and November.  In spite of my well-meant plans, the time slips away and I’m scrambling to find ideas for handmade Christmas gifts to fill my list.  Shhhh…  Don’t tell!  You don’t want to spoil the surprises!

Idea #1: Make a stocking for the kids to hang by the chimney with care!

 

Start a Holiday tradition with a one-of-a-kind appliqued Christmas stocking with Santa Elephant applique.  I love this Santa elephant, who looks like he should have cut back a bit on the milk and cookies!  If you want to make a whole set of stockings for the family, just substitute another of our adorable appliques for Santa Elephant.  I made a set of stockings similar to this one for my husband, our two sons, and our family dog several years ago.  We like this stocking pattern because it provides LOTS of room for goodies on Christmas morning.

elephant (3)

To make your stocking, choose your fabric in a variety of colorful Christmas prints.  I used three prints that are mostly green and three that are mostly red, but you can use any color combination that you like.  The fabric yardage requirements are included in the pattern packet.

The first step, after you’ve chosen your fabrics, is to cut a strip of each fabric, and then sew the strips together.  The pieced strips are cut into segments that are re-sewn to make the patchwork “fabric” for the stocking front.  Using your stocking pattern, you’ll cut out one stocking piece, and then add the applique before you sew the rest of the stocking together.

Prepare the applique of your choice, making sure that the colors contrast well with the pieced background.  You’ll want the applique to stand out from the background.  Finish the applique with your favorite method, by machine or by hand if you prefer.  I used a machine blanket stitch with black machine embroidery thread for my stocking.  If you’re making a set of stockings, it would be fun to use a different applique design on each of them.  You can see the rest of our Christmas applique patterns in our pattern shop if you need some inspiration.

Finish the stocking, following the instructions on your pattern.  This stocking is lined with a colorful Christmas print, and the cuff is embellished with small silver jingle bells for festive charm.  The bells will also alert you to the presence of any extra-early stocking snoopers who just can’t wait to have a peek at the loot that Santa brought for them!

Thanks for stopping by today!  We’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to comment.  I hope that you’re inspired to create something wonderful for your favorite people, just in time for Christmas!

Happy quilting,

Sharon

 

Blog · New Designs

The Jungle is Jumpin’!

Our “Jumpin’ Jungle” quilt features thirteen unique and colorful animals who all live in the Amazon rain forest!  I really enjoyed sewing this quilt, with the colorful animals and pieced jungle flowers.  Please don’t ask which of these animals is my favorite; I love all of them!

Here’s my finished quilt, and the animals’ stories:

Full

The anteater stays busy all day long!  He uses his two-foot-long tongue to pick up delicious ants and other bugs from the forest floor.  A full-grown anteater eats thousands of insects every day.  I think that I’d like to have my own personal anteater in my yard to help with pest control, LOL.  This anteater is ready for her favorite snack- ants on a log.  Sounds yummy, doesn’t it!

Anteater

The toucan is famous for his large and colorful bill!  When compared with the rest of his body, the toucan’s bill is larger than any other type of bird in the world.  You might think that the toucan’s brilliant colors would be a disadvantage, but they actually help to camouflage him in the colorful rain forest canopy.  He eats mainly fruit, but will enjoy the occasional small reptile or bug as well.  I prefer fruit, thank you very much.

Toucan

The capybara is the largest rodent on Earth!  Ms. Capybara can hide herself underwater for up to five minutes, and spends most of her time hanging out with her family in the undergrowth near the river.  She eats the tender plants the grow in and near the river; her own personal salad bar!

Capybara

The Emperor tamarin looks as if he’s celebrating Movember, with that beautiful white moustache.  He spends most of his life in the rain forest treetops, rarely venturing down to the ground.  Doesn’t he look like a wise little old man!

Tamarin

The rainbow boa is a colorful reptile from the Amazon rain forest.  This beautiful creature’s colorful scales are iridescent!  She hunts at night, using pits on her face to detect her food’s body temperature, consuming mostly rodents.  What a gorgeous animal, but I wouldn’t want her to give ME a hug!

boa

The playful Amazon River dolphin is very intelligent and curious.  Her skin can be pink, blue, or even white.  She uses echolocation, emitting sounds that reflect from solid objects (like tasty fish!), for hunting.  Isn’t she pretty in pink!

Amazon River dolpin

You can’t touch this!  Or at least you shouldn’t touch this poison dart frog.  Even though he has brilliantly colored skin that makes you want to pick him up for a closer look, one touch might deliver enough poison to cause death.  Yikes!!!  The smart rain forest animals avoid eating poison dart frogs, since his bright colors are a warning of danger.

Poison Dart Frog

This caiman is enjoying a sunny afternoon, floating down the river.  He looks very relaxed, doesn’t he!  I’d guess that he is totally oblivious to the piranha who are underwater, examining his toes, trying to decide whether or not they should “tickle” him.

Caiman

The noisy and colorful macaw is the largest of the parrot family!  He loves to eat fruit, and can crack nuts with his strong & sturdy beak.  Isn’t he gorgeous!  I chose to make him into a macaw, but his body shape is similar to a cockatiel so you could change the fabric choices if you’d rather make her instead.  Both of these colorful bird species are native to the Amazon rain forest!

Macaw

This monkey shines!  Playful, intelligent, and gregarious, she lives with her family in the rain forest canopy.  She can use her tail to hang from tree branches too!  She reminds me (at least a little bit) of my younger son, who wanted to live in one of our backyard trees when he was 9 years old.  But that is another story, for another time!  :o)

Monkey

The tapir is a really cool animal!  She has a flexible snout that is used to pick up food, to smell or taste food, or to use as a snorkel when she walks around underwater.  Yes, that’s right- she can walk around underwater.  Now that’s very cool!

Tapir

This sloth is moving at lightning speed, for a sloth!  He spends most of his time in the trees, and sometimes can look green because of algae that grows on his fur.  The sloth likes to eat leaves, and is more active at night than in the daytime.  I just love this adorable sloth!

Sloth

The jaguar is the king of the rain forest!  Her speckled fur pattern, called “rosettes”,  works as a camouflage to help her hide from prey until she’s ready to pounce.  She can climb trees and swim pretty well (yes, a cat who likes to swim!), so she really gets around her territory!

Jaguar

Thanks for stopping in at our blog today, and for reading about our “Jumpin’ Jungle” animals!  I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about these unique and wonderful rain forest creatures!  Each of them serves a purpose within their environment, and they make a fabulous contribution to the diversity of life on Earth.  If you’re interested in making any (or all!) of these amazing animal appliques, you can click their images to go to our pattern shop.

We won’t be posting again until the weekend, due to the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US.  We hope that you’ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration, filled with family, friends, and fabulous food!  Thanks again for being our online quilting friend!  :o)

Happy quilting,

Sharon