Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's a month of kitchen tutorials...look what Kathleen is serving up...

At my house there's almost always a pot of coffee brewing, that's what. My thanks to Madame Samm for inviting me back (I'm Kathleen Tracy, from A Sentimental Quilter), to show you how to make something cute for your kitchen. Or perhaps this one is more for your car, which can be almost like a kitchen some days - if you have kids and you're always on the go, LOL.

A cute Coffee Cup Cozy!

Coffee made at home is great and I have a special travel mug for that if I want to take it on the road. But when I'm out and about and just need to buy a cup of coffee at my favorite coffee shop or chain restaurant, ouch, I really don't want to burn my hands. Also, you have to admit, those cardboard sleeves are not really very attractive. Keep this one in your purse or car and whip it out when you need it.

First, however, you do have to go and buy a cup of coffee (or tea) to get the template. When you finish your hot drink, toss the cup but keep the cardboard piece that wraps around it.

Select two fabrics for your cozy, one for the outer wrap and one for the lining.

Cut 1 rectangle, 4 1/2" x 11" from each print (for 2 rectangles). Cut a piece of cotton batting the same size. Open your carbboard template and trace it on the wrong side of the rectangle for the outer part.

Layer your fabric rectangles, right sides together. Place the batting on the bottom.

Cut through all 3 layers about 1/4" around the drawn shape. (Doesn't matter if it's a little bigger, you will trim it later.)

To make the closure loop, take a small piece of elastic (a coated hair band works) and place it between the inner and outer layers with the loop that's going to show inside. After you sew the layers together, you can trim the loop that hangs outside the piece.

Pin your layers together. Stitch around on the drawn line, leaving a 2 1/2" opening on one long side. Stitch over the part with the elastic several times to make it sturdy. Now trim the seam allowance, clipping the corners a bit. Turn the layers right side out through the opening. Press, folding the seams of the opening inward.

Stitch about 1/8 inch around the piece, making sure to sew the opening closed. Add a cute button to the side opposite the loop and you're done!

This cozy fits most smaller cups perfectly and I carry mine in my purse for those days when I grab a cup while I'm out. If you find that you're spending way too much on those lattes, money that you could be spending on fabric instead, here's an easy one you can make at home -

Kathy's Low-cal Vanilla Latte

1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 cup of very strong, hot coffee
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 T Cool Whip
dash of cinnamon
sweetener of choice

I usually make a pot of regular coffee in the morning. If I'm home and need a little more in the afternoon and don't want to bother with the coffeemaker again, I use my little one-cup filter I've had for 20 years or so (when my kitchen was "country blue") to quickly make a vanilla latte for myself. I pour the milk and vanilla into the cup before I let the coffee drip through, add the sweetener and sprinkle the cinnamon on top of the Cool Whip.

Decaf for me if it's after 3 p.m.
Enjoy your coffee and cozy. If you have a little time and energy to quilt after all that caffeine, I've challenged some of my Yahoo group and blog followers to make one Small Quilt a Month this year from patterns in some of my books. At the end of the year they'll have 12 little quilts finished. Trust me, it's very doable if you take it in small steps - and also drink a cup of coffee, LOL. I'm giving everyone weekly reminders to keep going. And if you can't make 12 quilts, how about 6 or even 4? Stop by my blog A Sentimental Quilter to see what new little quilt we're making for April. This month's quilt is a free pattern and you can download it from my website Country Lane Quilts on the Free Pattern page.
A thousand thanks to Madame Samm for inviting me to blog for you again. The last time I guest blogged, you left me some pretty wonderful comments. To make it even easier for some of you to begin making some of your own little quilts, I'm giving away a copy of my newest book, The Civil War Sewing Circle (which contains quite a few patterns for cute doll quilts) to one lucky person who posts a comment. So be sure to say something really nice . . .

congrats Marilyn
sent you an email..please send
details for mailing..
all of your comments very appreciated...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's a month of kitchen tutorials...ohhhh look here is Sharon with her kitchen covers

Hello and thank you for sharing the day with me, Sharon of VroomansQuilts; thank you Madame Samm for inviting me back to share in this month's tutorials for the kitchen. I had to think as I don't cook or bake too often, my kitchen is rather minimal, and I don't like a lot of 'gadgets' out taking counter space. BUT one stands out, and rather ugly, the good old toaster!

You would think by now they could make these things pretty. So I am going to show how to make a cover that uses the technique of reverse applique - for a little pretty.

First you need to measure your appliance - and all toasters are different so I can't give specifics. Most are on the rectangle/boxy side and rather than fuss with making a few minor curves, I am just making a 'boxed' cover. I took the height, widest part of base, and length included the temp. button and lever.

You need your outer focus fabric - using your measurements cut two sides, a front and back, and one top. There will be no batt or stablizer used, so I recommend a heavier fabric. I had this lovely brushed sturdy flannel.

Cut the same pieces out of your lining. I used a scrap piece of backing fabric that had been trimmed - just enough and a bit of fabric used up.

Take one side of your focus fabric and one side of your lining, place right sides together and pin smooth. Use your favorite circle template - hey, it's the kitchen. Lots of circles available and my cookie jar lid was just what I needed. Trace around your template and add a few more pins to hold.

Now carefully stitch around on that tracing line - I set my stitch just a little smaller than my usual seam usage as this will give you a smoother turn and strength of edge. Go slow - even lift you presser foot (needle down) if you need to so you can work on the line rather than 'tugging' the fabric around.

Take a snip in the center and trim that inner circle away - I left a 1/2" to give me lots of room for the next step. Clip around that circle close to the stitch line - be careful not to clip your stitching!!

Once that is done - turn your piece around by pulling the lining thru the opening. This part was hard to photo, it is simply turning the piece inside out, you just have all open ends so it looks a little odd. Press. If you have a few crooked spots, turn back and clip a little more.

Cut your accent or fussy cut fabric as a square - much easier to work with - and place under your circle. Now carefully, and a little area at a time so you don't disturb your setting - pin along the clipped seam area to hold your accent fabric in place for sewing. Don't be afraid to take your time and use lots of pins, because we don't want our accent fabric to slip and we will be stitching slowly the next step.

Now we are going to stitch just a thread to the left of our previous stitched circle line - so yes, we are going slow. By stitching to the left side, you are sure to hide that previous thread line and reduce bulk in a seam. Remember - GO SLOW!

This is the back - now you can trim away any extra accent fabric - You do NOT have to clip this like your circle as it is just a flat piece! Give another press from the back and front for a nice smooth finish.

Match up your lining pieces with the focus fabric pieces. I found by pressing my lining to the piece, they stuck to each other. You can lightly spray baste or just pin together. Here are all the pieces laid out and if you have used a directional fabric (my flowers are growing up) check that you have everything going the right way.

Starting with the end pieces - mark a 1/4" from the top and a 1/4" from the bottom. Stitch from one 1/4" marker to the next. Press seams down, it will help with the 'boxed' fit in the end.

Mark you side pieces with your 1/4" start and stop points. Then sew the two sides to the top piece. Make sure you start and stop with your 1/4" markers. Again press seams down (away from the top).

Almost there. Now to sew the side seams. Match the TOP at the 1/4" markers - pin. It sounds hard, but when you put those seams together you can easily see your starting point. Just remember - start at the top and stitch down.

And we have our 'boxed' shape toaster cover. As you can see it stands pretty well by itself. Press side seams open - I attached the binding to the lining side and flipped to the front. Using one of my machine's fancy stitches and some light blue thread, I machine stitched the binding down.

And since first asked for a tutorial, I've added a crockpot to the kitchen. So I just had to make a cover for that. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, helped yourself to a cookie while the lid was off the jar, and come back through the month of April for more kitchen helpers and pretties.

Sewingly Yours, Sharon

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's a month of kitchen tuts and we begin with Jennifer and her Kitchen Organizer

Good morning!  I'm so happy to be back to share another tutorial.  For those who don't know me, my name is Jennifer and I blog over at That Girl... That Quilt.

Is your kitchen the busiest part of your home?  Mine definitely is.  Not only do we cook and eat in there but it's also the catch-all for mail, homework, flyers and nearly everything else that doesn't instantly have a proper place.  We also lose things in the shuffle like school papers, coupons, recipes and even gift cards.  I won't even tell you how many Starbucks gift cards I found in our old "organizer"...

So when I was deciding what kind of tutorial I wanted to design and share today, I decided that for me, a clean and organized kitchen is a happy one.  An organizer made good sense to me and I really liked the idea of using some of my favorite fabrics to make one!

Here's what you need:

1/2 yard of background fabric
1/2 yard for largest pocket
2 fat quarters {for your smaller pockets}
6 charm squares {5" squares} for card sized pockets
1/2 yard of backing fabric
1/4 yard for binding
coordinating thread
approx. 5" of ribbon
4 small metal curtain rings {I'll also talk about other alternatives}
3 grommets with the accompanying {and very important} grommet tool!
3 eye hooks
transfer paper made to transfer images to fabric
all your other usual sewing notions
Cut your fabric:

background fabric - 25"x30"
1/2 yard for large pocket - 26"x11"
1 fat quarter for medium pocket - 18"x10"
1 fat quarter for two small pockets - two pieces each measuring 13"x11"
cut 5" squares for smallest pockets if you don't have charm squares

Let's make the pockets! Fold your first one lengthwise.

With a 1/4" seam allowance, stitch around the perimeter.

Leave a 2" space at the bottom {opposite side to the fold}.  Don't worry about stitching across the top of the fold.

Staying of out the seam allowance, trim your corners to make them nice and pointy when you turn your pocket right side out.

Turn right side out through the 2" space, press, and then toptstitch across the top {where your fold is}.  Don't worry about the space at the bottom of the pocket, you will stitch this closed when you are stitching your pockets to your background fabric.

Repeat this process with each fabric piece including charm squares until you have your desired number of pockets.

To make your pockets to hold gift cards and coupons, arrange your smallest pockets how you would like and stitch them to the lager pocket.  This layout is up to you... I wanted small pockets to hold loose gift cards, coupons, etc...

Once all your pockets are done, lay them out on your background fabric and pin them in place.  Stitch them to the background fabric making sure that you back stitch a few times at the top of each pocket for a little extra strength.

If you choose to leave a blank space like me for clips to hang papers... just leave it blank for now. 

You are now ready to baste, quilt and bind just like you would do on any other quilt!  If you have questions about basting or binding, I have tutorials here & here. :)

Now it's time to attach the ribbon and rings to create a "clothesline" for extra papers!  Slide your rings onto your ribbon and pin it where you want it to be.  Stitch both ends and then stitch in the middle {I separated my rings to 2 on each side of this stitch}

You could also use clothespins or paperclips if you don't want or have the rings.
Ready for the scary part??  I love the way that grommets look and they are also strong.  But to get your grommets onto your quilt, you have to make some little holes in your quilt.  *gulp*

Measure 2" in from the sides and 1" down from the top on both sides of your quilt for your outside grommets.  Then measure to the center and 1" down.  Mark each spot and place your grommets at each spot.  I used large size grommets and followed the instructions on the package. 

It's very important to follow the instructions... the grommets and I did not get along yesterday!  ;)

If you wish, you can create iron-on transfer labels for your pockets.  I purchased my transfer sheets from my craft store and followed the instructions for printing and applying them.

Once you are done with your labels, you are ready to hang your organizer and stuff it full of all the coupons, recipes, etc that are cluttering your kitchen!!

Thanks for having me again today, it's always fun to be here!  I hope you will come visit me over at That Girl... That Quilt soon.

Jennifer :)

P.S... I have an awesome giveaway going on right now for a bundle of beautiful organic fabric.  It's not too late to enter!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Behind the Seams for our April Winners...

There is something about each month that goes by
that takes with it some sadness but also  replaced 
is some joy..
SAD because I hate to say goodbye to another banner and 
 joy to say hello to a new design..
Of course made up of YOUR quilts. 

Sew my dear LuAnn, Jess, Amanda and Borianna, thank
you for adding such JOY to our month of March...
Hope to see you all again someday!
there !that was no sew hard lol

To Sharon, Linda and Dawn
wellllll surprise....wink...

Each month I see a design in my head....
 and it usually flows on my first attempt.
But not this month...this was my 5th design..
I lost my mojo for a
( me ladies here saw at least 3 designs...I thought
I would stop sending and just surprise them 
when I finally came up with one that suited me lol)

But I think you all will agree, this one is a delight....
Sew ladies thanks for being part of it all
Again we had 183 submissions....and YOU 3 fit 
well under the umbrellas...
The rest of you...keep sending..
I do appreciate seeing your talent...
MAY we need PASTELS..
sew please send....

With Sharon..
This is Sharon from Vroomans Quilts my blog  and it is an honor to have my grandson's 'Broken Crayons' as a banner quilt.  Oh, I had to go back for this was the first quilt I made as a blogger.  Looking for a project idea for a Scrap Along and the Modern Project, I dumped my 32 gallon tote (now I have three of those) hoping to be inspired.  My daughter and grandson made a surprise visit and he immediately enjoyed jumping thru the pile of scraps.  Then started to pick pieces up and naming the colors.  Bad NaNa me, only a simple little baggy of broken crayons became the focus of matching fabric to a bit of crayon - and Broken Crayons was born.  I made blocks like crazy while my daughter kept widget finding color bits. 
I like to label all my special quilts being gifted - and made a fitting 'crayon box' label (insert picture of label).  Unfortunately when M. Samm notified me of being on the banner and getting some 'new' photos, I found out that 'Broken Crayons' had been lost in one of widget's travels.  No full alert is called for as there is a new opportunity (and NaNa still has that baggy of broken crayons and lots of scraps)  for there will be a Crayon II as there is now 'little widget' to teach colors to.  And widget has expressed he wants a 'colorful cars driving on the moon' quilt.  Hmm, wonder where the inspiration will come for that!

Now with Linda...

Madame Samm! I'm so excited and honoured to be chosen for this April banner - you did such a pretty, spring-like job! I LOVE my quilt! It was started in a class with Heather Stewart my blog as a colour study. What a challenge! Working from stash and lots of swapping with class mates, with 3/4" logs, each block needed a range from light to dark in one colour. Making this quilt certainly revealed where the gaps are in your stash. The chevrons took for-EVER but I am so pleased with the finished product. I'm still looking for the perfect place in my home to display it, there isn't a label on it (I know, I know!) but I am really bad at naming quilts so if anyone has any ideas!!!
Thanks again Madame Samm

and last but not least, 
here is Dawn

I am sew excited to have my quilt featured on the April banner at Sew We Quilt! It is such an honor to see my quilt along side these other beautiful creations. My quilt was created as a challenge after Madame Samm requested red, yellow and white quilts for the April banner. I thought, nope I don't have those colors. But I kept thinking of that color combination and thought why not? I do love the colors in the fabric line Charlevoix by Minnick and Simpson however it also included blues. So I dug through my stash to see what else I could find...only 2 fabrics with those colors. Do you know of a fabric line using only those colors? I'd love to know. 

I got out my graph paper and colored pencils and started drawing a couple of ideas. Then I remembered the chunky chevron tutorial that Amy Gibson taught on Craftsy in February that I wanted to try. I extended the chevrons to make it into a mini quilt. I really love the way it turned out. It finished at 16" square and will hang in my sewing room that will get a fresh coat of yellow paint soon! The label (yes, I label my quilts) has the name of the quilt, Rambling Roses, the words red, yellow; white challenge, the date completed, March 2012, and my name. You can read more about it at my blog: take a look here Thanks sew much!

Sew there you have it....another new banner for the month made up of stitches
by You. I love that every month the design is a reflection of what  I see in my inbox...
YOUR creations... Thanks April Ladies. you make us all  smile...

This month we will be featuring tutorials for the Kitchen...
Sew if you are passionate about anything in the kitchen...this may be your month..
I can see you giggling...I know...I would love to close my kitchen for a month and just stitch...

The month of May will be made up of PASTEL if you have
any please send along to me...May will also be about pillows....Mmmmm already coming
up with ideas for this one...

Sew visitors and friends alike, your comments will shower our winners with butterflies, there is no doubt!

YOU is kind, smart and important to me..