When I got the urge to start this quilt, the fabric had been sitting on my sewing table for quite a while and I really had no plans for it, so a quilt seemed like a good choice. I wanted something simple and mindless. I wasn’t in the mood to think too hard about measurements and fabric placement. I just wanted to sew. I came up with a VERY simple quilt top, which I figured I’d try free motion quilting on. I wasn’t too excited about the free motion quilting part of that idea, so when I finished, the quilt tops sat there for about half of the year. Finally, I decided it was time to get these quilts out of the craft room and into the family room. While I was at it, I took pictures of the quilt binding process.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to bind a quilt, here’s the step by step tutorial. If you really don’t care, please don’t waste your time reading this, because it’s very picture heavy.
I use 2 1/2 inch strips when I make quilt bindings. I use a cutting mat, rotary cutter, and quilting ruler to make sure my strips are perfect.
Once the strips are cut, it’s time to join them together. I place two pieces (right sides together) and sew from corner to corner. I overlapped a little on the ends of each piece because I knew I’d cut that part off. You can draw a line to follow if you’d like, but I just eyeball it.
When you open in up, it looks like this. Press the seams to one side and then keep adding more strips in the same way.
Next, you need to iron your fabric. In the past I would fold my fabric, wrong sides together, finger press it down, and then iron it. It’s not hard and it’s not too time consuming, but then I spotted this cool contraption on a quilting show on PBS. (There I go again, admitting that I spend my spare time watching sewing shows on public television. Nerd alert!) This is a binding maker from Singer. It is so cool! It folds, presses, and spits out perfect quilt binding in about 2 minutes.
It comes out of the machine perfectly pressed. That little piece on the end is the iron. It has a little roller in it so everything is automatic. If you sew, you know how cool this is! It even makes piping, although I haven’t tried that yet. Ok, so if you don’t have this cool machine, just fold the fabric in half and iron. That’s the way I have made it for the past 15 years and it works just fine.
Ok, maybe just one more. See how it fold the fabric for you before going into the iron. You can get that tip in other sizes too. It’s “sew” much fun!
To start binding my quilts, I usually don’t start at a corner. I just pick somewhere in the middle, at the bottom, and line my binding fabric up. You’ll notice that I have the raw edge of my quilt lined up with the raw edge of my binding fabric. The over hanging fabric is my quilt batting, and you can’t see it but the backing fabric is there too.
Line the presser foot up along the edge of the fabric, backtack a few stitches and then start sewing a straight line.
When you get to the end, turn the fabric under again, like you did at the beginning. That gives it a nice clean edge.
Hey, look at that! Someone got a pretty new cutting mat! I really needed a new cutting mat and found this one in red. I’ve never seen a red cutting mat before, but I’m loving it!
I use my ruler and rotary cutter to remove the extra batting and backing fabric. I line the quilt ruler up along the edge of the binding fabric and cut. This still leaves that 1/4 inch seam allowance. Don’t cut that off, because it’s what makes the binding fluffly.
Flip the quilt to the back side, roll the fabric around the edge and pin. I really hate pinning, so I only do it when I really have to. The first couple of times you bind a quilt, you’ll want to pin. After that, just hold it with your fingers and go for it.
When you are sewing the binding down, you want to get REALLY close to the edge. See how my needle is right next to the edge of the binding fabric. I want to go right along that edge. It takes some practice.
It makes a nice mitered corner. When you get to the point, put the needle down into the fabric, and turn the quilt so you can keep sewing.
Here’s my finished quilt. I can’t say I’m in love with it. I love the fabrics, but I’m a little bored with the finished product.
I did get to try my hand at machine quilting. I made the swirly patterns in the big squares, which is something I’ve never done before.
I made two of these quilts and put them over the chairs in my family room. They add a little color and I’m happy about that. If you’re working on a quilt of your own, I’d love to see it. You can email me a picture at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, those vintage sheets sat in my cupboard for quite a long time. I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them and it was a ton of fabric. I was a bit overwhelmed. Then, one day, I decided that doing something (anything) was better than nothing, so I started cutting them up. (More on that later. I definitely learned a few things about how to tackle the cutting phase.) I decided to cut the sheets in fat quarters and then use the fabric to make a little quilt.
What do you think? Not bad for a bunch of old sheets! I used a combination of 5 inch squares from sheets and 5 inch plain white fabric squares. I wanted to make a small quilt because I think it’s a good example of a simple quilt that even a beginner could do. I did my own quilting on this one. I’ve always enjoyed taking my quilts to my quilt lady to finish up for me. I know how to do my own quilting, but it’s my least favorite part of the whole process. I figured if I made a quilt that was small enough, I could tackle quilting it myself. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate the process and I didn’t even hate the finished product. (Usually, when I try to do it on my own, I end up cringing every time I look at it.) This time, I think it turned out ok! I think the quilting pattern adds to the overall look too.
My daughter’s eyes lit up when she saw the finished quilt. I think she almost had a bit of panic when she asked who this was for, probably afraid I was going to give it away. I told her I was going to use it as a sample, but that she could have it when I was done taking pictures of it. In her very calm voice she sighed and said, “I really love that one.”
So, friends, I have several of these vintage sheet fat quarter bundles all packaged up. I have also written up the pattern for this quilt with super-easy instructions. This is a great beginner quilt. The vintage sheet bundles are available for purchase. Feel free to email me and I can hook you up. (email@example.com) The bundles will be selling for $12 per pack of 7 fat quarters. For those of you who are unfamiliar with fat quarters, it is an 18″x22″ rectangle.
the first Christmas cookies of the season at our house!
Recipe for Spritz Cookies
1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
Mix butter and powdered sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Mix in flour and salt.
Use a cookie press to shape cookie dough on a lined baking sheet. (I use a Silpat liner.)
Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes.
Frost with a powdered sugar and milk glaze.
Let the Christmas baking begin!!!
This is my favorite cookie press. I’ve owned several cookie presses over the years and the Cuisinart Electric is the one I’ve had the best luck with.
I also highly suggest using a Silpat baking mat when you bake cookies. It makes the cookies just slide ride off the pan and have the perfect golden brown tint on the bottom.
Happy baking, Friends!
In addition to homemade bread, it was also a chocolate chip cookie kind of day. Luckily, one kiddo was napping and the other was at a friends house, so I just ate all of the cookies myself and hid the evidence. Ok, just kidding on that one. Actually, after baking the cookies, I put them all into individual baggies and into a freezer container. That way, as the kids are making their lunches, they can pull out a bag of 2 cookies and put it into their lunches. By the time lunch rolls around, the cookies have thawed and are ready to eat.
Here’s the recipe:
1 Cup Crisco shortening (original, not butter flavor)
3/4 Cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup white sugar
Mix until soft and fluffy.
1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix just until blended.
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Mix it up and add 8-12 oz of chocolate chips.
Bake for 10 minutes (or less) at 350 degrees. My oven is a standard oven, not convection, and this is what I do.
I didn’t check a bunch of items off of my To Do list on Veteran’s Day, but I did get to spend time with my kids, rest, and do a little baking. All in all, I’d say that’s a productive day.
For the past 10 years, we’ve hosted friends and family and created the most adorable graham cracker houses. Lining the table with butcher paper or wrapping paper is a MUST! It makes clean up super easy. You just fold all of the garbage right into to paper that is on the table and clean up is done!
I had a lot of fun with my bokeh pictures too. (Bokeh is the blurry background that produces the pretty lights from the tree.)
I ask every family to bring a candy item to share. My favorite candies for gingerbread house decorating are Lifesavers, Neccos, small candy canes, red hots, red and green M&M’s, Twizzlers Pull Apart licorice, gumdrops, and pretzel twists. (Pretzel twists make great fences.)
When the kids were little, I prepared the house bases ahead of time, so all they had to do was add the roof and candy. I still prepare the houses ahead of time for Kindergarten. (Actually, my parent volunteers prepare them.) Since my kids at home are bigger, we just build and create! Sometimes the candy houses turn into candy fortresses.
Here’s how I build the bases when young kids (first grade and under) are decorating with us. The only reason I do the base for the kids is that it is very frustrating when you are 4 years old and your house falls apart every time you try to add candy. Royal icing needs time to dry and harden. Patience is hard when you’re 4. Building the house bases is really easy. I start with foil covered cardboard. They make simple platforms for the kids to create their “yard”. I cut the graham crackers with a bread knife and assemble the house base with royal icing. I always use the royal icing to “glue” the house base to the platform. This is what an assembled house base looks like when it is ready for the party to start.. I make one for each child and a few extras in case we have an accident.
I let the kids add the two pieces for the roof and all of the decorations. Royal icing is best for assembling houses and decorating. I usually make several batches of Royal icing and put it into individual quart sized freezer bags. (Don’t use sandwich bags because they pop.) When it’s time for decorating, I just snip off a small corner of the bag.
The recipe for Royal Icing is included in the package of Wilton Meringue Powder. I buy my meringue powder at Michael’s. If you can’t find meringue powder, I’m sure you can google a recipe for a similar icing that calls for egg whites. I’ve always used the meringue powder recipe because raw eggs freak me out. (Unless, of course, I’m eating cookie dough.)
3 Tbsp Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
5 or 6 Tbsp warm water
Beat all ingredients, with heavy duty mixer, until icing forms peaks. (7-10 minutes)
These bins are set aside for lunch making items.
This picture is horribly dark, but I’m thrilled to have my spices all alphabetized again.
I’m discovering that I may have a problem with the amount of sprinkles and cookie cutters I have.
All of my appliances are back in their places and ready for the next cooking/baking project.
One thing I can’t stand is the water bottle mess that we always have. I now have two bins that store all of the water bottles in the house. Now, hopefully, the water bottles won’t be falling out of the cupboard onto our heads.
Hopefully we can keep up the organization now! I think I shall spend the next few weeks baking, to celebrate the fact that I can find everything again!
I love filling my home with things that have history. I don’t spend a lot of time shopping antique and thrift stores. (Although I wish I had the time and money to browse antique stores.) Most of my treasures come from family members, so I really appreciate the history behind these pieces.
The pocket watches belonged to my step-dad and grandpa. I love holding something in my hand that they held onto for so many years.
This sewing machine was in a corner of my parents’ garage for years, before it found a home in my craft room.
There is nothing more meaningful than holding your great-grandmother’s Bible. There are even handwritten notes inside from church services and Bible studies.
When we were going through my grandma’s old suitcases, we opened one and found her wedding dress and my grandpa’s WWII army uniform. Many years before, she told us she had thrown them away because they were tattered. It was amazing to find them in perfect condition inside a suitcase in her garage.
The flower garden quilt is from my husband’s side of the family. His grandma sent it home with me after a visit to her house. It is very tattered, but I just have the good part of the quilt poking out of the basket. The star quilt was made my great grandmother and the picnic basket belonged to my grandma and grandpa.
This one was made my great grandmother and my great, great grandmother as a wedding gift for my grandparents. The patterned fabric was made from old shirts and dresses. They didn’t have a lot of money and they used the scraps they had available.
I can’t say I purposefully fill my home with antiques. I don’t seek them out, scour thrift shops, or shop ebay for a great deal. I fill my home with these treasures because each piece has a story.
What story does your home tell?
My husband calls it old junk, but I love home decor that has some sort of history. I think he may be coming around a bit. Recently, when we went away for the weekend, I convinced him to wander the antique mall for a few minutes. He actually said that it wasn’t the worst part of the weekend. That’s improvement!
I love treasures that tell a story. Even more special is a treasure that tells part of my own story, and reveals a little bit about where I’m from. I love the look of old books in home decor, but I really love that my old books came from my grandparents.
Here’s my favorite. This is a bible that was on my grandma’s bookshelf. Inside, it says, “For Our Dear Mother. From, Edith and Chester. August, 1927.” Edith and Chester were my grandmother’s parents. So, this bible belonged to Edith or Chester’s mother, my great-great-grandmother. How cool is that… just to know that I’m holding the same bible that my great-great-grandmother held.
If you look around my house, you’ll see that I decorate with lots of old books. To most people, that’s all they are… just old books. To me, they’re part of my history and it’s amazing to hold a little piece of history in my hands.