Thursday, December 12, 2019

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop: Day 1

The Christmas countdown is on … and we (Benartex Fabrics) are here to help you with fun, festive and fast projects that you can finish before the holidays! Join us on our Facebook page and Instagram account December 12th through the 23rd for our “12 Days of Christmas – Quick Gift Project Hop”.

Today I'm the first designer out of the box and am featuring the Toadily Cute fabric collection. We all are looking for some quick ideas for last minute gifts. I will be sharing two today. This blog post is photo heavy, but I think you'll enjoy seeing all the Toadily Cute things I made!

The first one is something you've seen here before:

Tissue holders using the Toadily Cute fabrics
Tissue Holders! I have made dozens of these in the past 20 years. I tweaked the original pattern so the little tissue packs fit better (I added 1/2" or so). But you want to see the pictures, don't you?!!

First, the fabrics. The one on the bottom is a border print that is just the sweetest. And the one on the right is a set of panels. You can see all of them here at the Benartex web site.

Toadily Cute fabrics
Now, how to make these little handy, dandy tissue holders!

Step 1: Fabric Requirements (**Good contrast between the fabrics is recommended)
  • One 6” x 7” rectangle for OUTSIDE
  • One 6 x 8-1/4” rectangle for INSIDE
  • Yes: the inside fabric rectangle is larger than the outside. That's what forms the little "binding" overlap.
Paired fabrics cut into two sizes of rectangles
 Step 2:
  • Place rectangles right sides together. Sew the 6” sides together. Yes, one is larger than the other and they donʼt lie flat. You are sewing a tube with one piece larger, but they are connected with two short, side seams.
Yes, we're inside out but we can still see you!
Step 3:
  • Turn seamed rectangles right side out and press the overlaps of the larger rectangle (1/4” seam allowance size) so that your rectangles now lay flat on each other, wrong sides together.
  • The frog print is the OUTSIDE of the holder; the green dotted print is the inside.
Turned right side out the lining overlaps the outer print
Let's see more of these, ok?

Four sets with the prints turned right side out
Step 4:
  • Fold this unit in half along the length (bringing the two finished edges together) and finger-press the center mark at the two raw edge sides. Remember the pins in the picture above? Those finished edges overlap 1/4". Pin in place
  • Itʼs a little bulky; a normal sewing machine stitch is possible.
Showing the inside of the tissue holder
Step 5:
  • Sew 1/4” seam on both raw edges. Trim away tiny triangle at ends of seams to reduce bulk when turning. Zigzag or otherwise overcast the raw edges to keep them from fraying.

Stitching the short sides together; then zigzag.
Step 6:
  • Turn the unit right sides out to form your tissue holder. Add one of those little packs of tissue. See how happy I've made that froggy!
Single tissue holder.
Now for a second quick project that works year round. I call these my Kids' Busy Books. I have made them from hexagons. Today, I'm using those sweet panels from the Toadily Cute collection.

Hardly anyone writes on paper anymore, but if you can find these in the stationery section of your local stores, grab them. They are a great fit for the busy books!
This is the paper size I will use for the inside
 I cut two of the panels and then removed the spacing strip because of the fit of the paper. I left 1/4" all around each of the two panels
Two panels trimmed
I stitched them together, making sure that the front of the book is in the correct position when it's turned right side out!
Two panels stitched together
 Then I cut a piece of light batting and a lining (the one with the words) and layered them.

3 layers
Lining is placed right side together with the book front. The batting is on the bottom. Stitch around all 4 sides with 1/4", leaving a space for turning (see where the two straight pins are at the bottom.)

Stitching and leaving opening for turning
Turned right side out and top stitched around all sides, closing that opening. The frog will be the FRONT of the book; the turtle will be the back.
Outside of book
I pulled 10 pieces of paper from that tablet and drew a line down the center. I will stitch these together with my sewing machine (yes, I will!)

10 pieces of paper stacked and ready for stitching along that center pencil line
I placed this stitched paper in the center of my book, but it won't be permanently attached as I have done in previous books. I'm making a spine that this stack can slip into using elastic.

Auditioning the stack
 I only had black elastic. You work with what you have, right?!

1/4" elastic stitched to the ends
 The stack of paper can slip in and out (when it's been totally scribbled on).
Paper slips in under the elastic. Easy to remove for another replacement!
 And this is how it looks when finished!

Kids' Busy Book
I actually made four of these busy books so that I can gift them to my granddaughter's little friends in her kindergarten class. I am going to stitch a few more replacement insides and include them.

Click to see the schedule of this fun hop!
Each day you will find a new designer with new ideas. Here are the links below. They will also be posted at the Benartex Facebook page.

13-Dec  Rachel Rossi -
14-Dec  Ann Lauer -
16-Dec  Carol Swift -
17-Dec  Pat Sloan -
18-Dec  Julie Cefalu -
19-Dec  Shelly Cavanna -
21-Dec  Charisma Horton -
22-Dec  Cherry Guidry -

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sweet Baby Logs (again)

I received a request for this pattern the other day. It used to be in my Craftsy shop (along with 120+ others), but it was hastily taken down before Craftsy annihilated it. (Remember the restructuring of Craftsy last December when they closed down 10,000 shops like mine with about a week's notice?!!)

Sweet Baby Logs from 2015. 10" blocks; 44" x 44" quilt
Each of these quilts were made using fat quarters (you have some of those, don't you?) This is a great scrap buster quilt (as seen with my gray and white one below). Anything goes with this quilt.

I remade it in some Kaffe Fassett fabrics using blues and white, with hints of green and lavender. I added wider border strips to this one. It was quilted by Lee Taylor of White Stone, VA. She is the owner of the Sew Lovelee Quilt shop. I have since put binding on it.

I got creative with the border (as I did with the one above). I didn't want to use a single fabric. And, again, I was working with FAT QUARTERS, so I cut strips from those and used a positive/negative arrangement.

My Baby Logs Have the Blues
This is an Off-Center Log Cabin using thick and thin strips. Am I a genius? Hardly.

Take a look at this vintage quilt from the 1920s and tell me "what's old is new again!" All I did was tweak the size of the logs so it really makes your eyes swing back and forth, right?

Vintage Log Cabin Quilt from the 1920s
I made this in grays:

Baby Logs in Grays
I stitched 20 blocks and put them together into an asymmetrical assembly. Needs a border. Unfortunately, the lighting in my hallway is poor, but it's raining outside (and getting ready to snow!)

20 Block Gray and White print
And just recently in black and white. My plan for this is to use a thin red inner border and then a black and white outer border.

16 blocks without borders
Ha, ha. Plans don't always happen when you start auditioning fabric. I went for a black striped inner border and a beautiful red and black print outer. This is 56" x 56" as a 16 block quilt.

16 Block Baby Logs
The pattern is available on my Etsy site. Just click the links above to get more info. I'm sure you'll agree that the Log Cabin block is a real favorite - whether old or new. I've made many, many more in my 25 years of quilting. How about you?

Monday, December 9, 2019

More Coffee Mug Rugs

Last week I was looking for something else entirely when I came across my 4 paper pieced Coffee Cups from 2016! Yes, sometimes it takes awhile for me to finish what I start. I quickly realized that the hard work was done and all I needed to do was quilt these! I used simple, straight line quilting and my Bernina walking foot to finish them.

Four Paper Pieced Coffee Cups
Here's what the block looks like after the paper is removed. Because I trim my fabric BEFORE I add the next patch (using an Add-a-Quarter ruler), this leaves a neat 1/4" seam and if you didn't know any better, you'd think I used pre-cut patches! My Etsy pattern has several pages in color with process steps and accurate cutting for the patches.

Back of paper pieced coffee cup, after paper is removed
You've seen a variety of these patterns before and I've shared the vintage pattern I used to convert these to paper piecing. Here's a pic of that vintage pattern from the Kansas City Star. Yes. Those are all TEMPLATES!

A page from the Kansas City Star
Here's the first quilt I made using my converted pattern. It was published in Quilt Magazine in the late 1990s.  I gave it to a friend in Atlanta 20 years ago!

Nine 7" paper pieced Coffee Cups
Now I have some more small holiday gifts ready to share. Like I said last week, sometimes it's just taking a UFO and giving it the finishing touches. I still have 10 more of these that are begging to be finished! Yes, they really were made in 2015. As you can see, I'm not in a hurry.

10 more of those Coffee Cups from 2015
I made a Tea Pot (again, from a vintage pattern) to go with them. I'm considering making some sort of Tea Themed quilt using it and those coffee cups (which now would be tea cups, right?)

10" vintage tea pot pattern
I'll keep you posted. If you missed any of my posts from the 2018 Tea Party BOM, you can still see them by using the search box on the right.

Friday, December 6, 2019

(Not so) Quick Gifts: Day 5

I wanted to save some of my very favorites for Day 5. Festive Season by Jackie Robinson for Benartex Fabrics was a collection I squeezed the life out of. I don't have ANY of these fabrics leftover (OK. maybe a few scraps). Let me show you what I made. Yes, this was NOT quick, but it wasn't hard (no y-seams) because it was all straight seam sewing.

Festive Season table topper
You can see a lot of blocks and steps for making a lot of these by clicking that link above. This is how I got the cardinal centered inside the hexagon shape, using a freezer paper "window."

Freezer paper "window" for fussy cutting my cardinal motif
I centered another cardinal and then made a Twisted Hexagon from that. And then another round of elongated hexagons (basically a strip with 60 degree cut angles on each side).

Two rounds of beautiful fabrics
I have since quilted this using some gold thread in some of the patches.

Festive Season Table Topper: 18" x 21"
I also cut a whole lot of half-hexagons, not thinking of how I would use them. They sat for a year (or two). Aren't they pretty?

Dozens of half-hexagons (3" cut height)
I had some of the cardinal border print that I wanted to be the focus of some sort of quilt. Can I combine the two? (The leftover blocks and the border print?
Border print with cream background from Festive Season
I took two of the vertical panels and used them for side borders with two Twisted Hexagon blocks. These are LARGE blocks (15" high by 18" wide). I used a second print for the top and bottom borders. I made the blocks in 2017. I finished them into this quilt just recently. Orphans find a home!

2 Twisted Hexagon blocks
What I want to emphasize in this post is that I used ORPHAN blocks from one year and added borders this year to finish something a bit quicker than if I started from scratch.

I have one more thing using that awesome border print and those dozens of half-hexagons. But it will have to wait until next week because I can't get a good pic of it (it's still a top).

Lastly, more of those fun holiday cards using Festive Season.

Card #1 using photo cards from a Dollar Store
 And another . . .
Card #2 using photo cards from a Dollar Store
One last one. I mailed all of these last year to some very delighted recipients (people who appreciate things quilted). I bet they weren't tossed but made their way into the Christmas box of decorations!
Card #3 using photo cards from a Dollar Store
Grab your wallet, get in the car, and find a Dollar Store! There may be some of these photo cards waiting for you. So easy and quick to make. Remember, you can slip cash into a card like this and it will be the perfect gift!

Hope you enjoyed the week of fun ideas!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

(Almost) Quick Gifts: Day 4

We still have 3 weeks until Christmas. You're not shopping or baking 24 hours a day, are you? Can you spare a little fabric and time to make some Lone Star quilts? LONE STAR - are you nuts, Debby?

Holiday Lone Star: 29" Block
I posted a tutorial of how to make this 29" Lone Star a few years ago for a Christmas in July blog hop. I since quilted it. NO y-seams; all rotary cut. Check it out! You will also see the small quilt I made using the leftovers. You can find the pattern with several variations in my Etsy store.

Here's another Holiday Lone Star quilt I made in 2014. Again, no y-seams. One star and you're done! There are only 8 large diamonds, eight small triangles and eight large triangles. That's all it takes to make this block.

Very large Lone Star block with some fun borders
Now for some hexagons. Easy to cut with that 60 degree ruler you have gathering dust in your sewing room. Now pull it out and check out my pattern for making these Twisted Hexagon blocks. One block can be a table mat! I fussy cut this flower motif so it is the star of the block.

Single hexagon with dark center
 And then I fussy cut for a white center.

Single hexagon with light center
I actually put several together for a table runner. Can I show it to you? There are no y-seams; all straight seam sewing. I leave this unquilted because I use it when I teach my Twisted Hexagons classes. My students like to see how the seams are from the wrong side.

3 Twisted Hexagon Blocks make a lovely table runner (or wall banner)
Just some ideas. I will be back with more!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

More Quick Gifts: Day 3

I like to English Paper Piece (EPP) and I especially love capturing a lovely motif as the center of a hexagon. While these aren't exactly quick, you may have some little projects waiting to morph into a useful item. These may help you figure out how to do that!

2" hexagons and diamonds make a lovely table mat. I stitched these together by hand and then machine appliquéd them to some pre-quilted fabric (I bought this at a local Joann's). Binding; it's finished!

Grandmother's Flower Garden table mat
 Here's a variation that I have used many times in my EPP classes: Center 2" hexagon, 2" triangles and diamonds. Stitched to that same pre-quilted fabric.

Wild Woods fabrics make for a fun table mat.
One more Christmas hexagon variation. I loved fussy cutting that center motif.

Holiday hexagon
And using some more of that fox and bear novelty print and a pattern I found online (several years ago; can't remember where), I made placemats for two of my grandkids.

Kids' placemat
 And one more:
Don't you love these foxes?!
And I backed these with some fun bear fabric:

Placemat back
And just a few more from a LONG time ago. You can always make placemats out of just about any fabric. These are very snowman specific (which my grandkids love).

2" hexagons hand stitched. Then appliquéd to a rectangle (blue snowflakes) and then a red border. Just chillin' with my Christmas mug and Frosty himself!

Just chillin' with Frosty
 And there is Mr. Snowman in the center of another placemat!
Getting ready for the grandkids to visit
As you can see, I've been digging deep in the quilt vault, but these are tried and true fun projects to decorate my home.