Noel Paper-Pieced Quilt Block

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Blog Giveaways: Questions to ask before you host one

Jessika Hepburn at ohmy!handmade ran an article this week called Giveaway Guidelines, to Give or not to Give.

Basically, she brings up the idea that bloggers should be cautious before agreeing to host every giveaway under the sun for free. While some say that a blog’s editorial space is valuable and the blogger should be paid to host giveaways, others think that the craftsperson or Etsystore owner donating product for the giveaway should in fact be paid for contributing.

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Should you host giveaways for free on your blog?

So who’s right? Jessika agrees that every situation is different, but some key questions to ask are:

  • Who contacted whom?
  • What has been the result and traffic pattern of past giveaways on the blog?
  • What are the giveaway policies?

“If you are a blogger wanting to do giveaways wait until you have built your traffic up enough to have people contacting you or try pitching a giveaway idea to a major company with a big marketing budget,” she suggests.

Coming up later this month, Jessika says we can expect another post on her favorite types of giveaways with examples of fabulous & ethical giveaways that are great for everyone. Check out the full post here at ohmy!handmade.

Mod Mosaic Quilting and my love affair with hand-carved stamps

I made these blocks using Elizabeth Hartman’s Mod Mosaic Floor Pillow tutorial, and I have to say that it was just so much fun!

 

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I had some white fabric strips leftover from a previous quilt squares swap, so I trimmed them down to 1-inch strips. Also dug out some new and old fabric scraps that I was dying to use. Even the fabric bits that looked drab and boring in my scrap pile seemed to take on new life when bordered with that crisp, white “caulking.”

 

 

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Each of these blocks is about 10×10 inches, and it’s not necessary to be exactly square. Elizabeth suggests making 9 blocks and turning into the front of floor pillow, but I’m thinking I’ll save enough blocks to make a quilt of some size (crib or lap blanket maybe) and bind them together with a much wider sashing.

 

 

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I also got a surprise in the mail the other day, from Australia! The hand-carved stamps I won in the Queensland Flood Appeal auctions arrived, and I’m so excited to use them on some handmade notecards. Aren’t they extremely fun?!

 

Check out Chantal Vincent Art on Etsy or follow her blog for some cool tutorials on hand-carving your own stamps. (Someday, I’ll try.)

 

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Tutorial: A Pillow for Remote Controls

Like many other Americans, by living room has been taken over by remote controls. Some I know how to use, and others I do not. It happens once per night that my husband asks, “Linds, have you seen the _____ remote?” It’s not long ’til I’m bending over, digging in between couch cushions or looking under the shaggy rug for one of the remotes.

Enter, the remote control pillow.
Remote Control Pillow

It prefers to live indoors rather than outside.
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This was a design I hoped would curtail the nightly hunt for remote controls. Each one lives in its own diagonal pocket. The pillow can be flipped around and used as a headrest. You don’t even feel the remotes (or “clickers” as we called them growing up).
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I installed a zipper in the bottom and used Sew Mama Sew’s piping tutorial for the black cord edging. The fabrics I used are a canary linen lookalike and a houndstooth home dec print.

For the lettering, I used freezer paper stencils and fabric paint.
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Apply the paint in a thin layer, and let dry.
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Peel off paper, and trim fabric words. Adhere to pillow front using Steam a Seam 2 and an iron.
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Cut ribbon strips and iron on to top and bottom of words, using Steam a Seam 2.
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Ta-da! My ultimate geeky home accessory, just in time for Oscars night. I’m linking up to amylouwho’s Sew & Tell.

P.S. Please take a look at my friend Mary’s ruffled pillow, which she’s also entering in the Sew Mama Sew pillow contest. It’s fantastic!

 

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Tutorial: Diaper Pouch + Changing Pad

Before we get started, here’s a bit of my thought process on creating this design. I wanted something to help organize the diapers/wipes/changing pad in a diaper bag. I wanted it to be something that could be easily taken out of the diaper bag to go on a walk or just to take into the bathroom. And I wanted to be able to get to either the wipes, the diapers, or the changing pad without having to open up the entire pouch. I looked for existing tutorials but everything I found was either just a pouch for diapers and no changing pad, or the changing pad was the pouch so it had to be opened up to get anything out. So I came up with this design that has a large pocket for a few diapers and a wipes package/case with a small outer pocket for a changing pad. This changing pad has a waterproof side that can be easily wiped up.

Changing Pad

Cut a rectangle 24 x 14 out of your top and bottom fabrics, and a slightly smaller rectangle out of fusible web (I used Wonder-Under which I’ll refer to as WU), about 1/8″ smaller on all sides. In this photo I originally used fusible fleece so there would be a little padding. But I discovered that when it’s folded up it’s just too bulky so halfway through I changed over to the Wonder-Under fusible web. I used a home-dec weight fabric (the elephants) and a blue flexible wipeable fabric (technically called PUL-polyurethane laminated fabric). The blue PUL is soft on one side and plastic-ey wipeable on the other side. I like that it’s really flexible and easily folds up without getting crinkly or sticky like vinyl.

 

Next I ironed the WU to the elephant fabric then peeled of the backing. Then I placed these 2 layers on top of the PUL and ironed the elephant side again. I couldn’t iron from the PUL side since it would melt but doing it this way worked fine.

Once my 3 layers were fused together I traced the curve of a bowl in each corner for rounded corners.

After cutting out the rounded corners I stitched 1/2″ bias tape around the whole thing and that was it! One cute, custom, changing mat. If you’re worried the fabric layers aren’t going to stay together when adding the bias tape you may want to stitch around the outer edges first.

Diaper Pouch

We’ll begin with prepping the pocket. Cut out a square 9 1/4″ x 9 1/4″. Fold all 4 edges under twice, 3/8″ per fold. Iron the folds down so they stay in place. For now we’ll just finish the top edge of the pocket so stitch along the top of the rectangle 3/16″ in from the edge.

Now put that aside for a moment while we work on the pouch. Cut two strips of fabric 21 x 8.5. Put right sides together and sew down the sides with a 3/8″ seam allowance.

Turn right side out, fold the ends inside 1/2″ and stitch them closed about 3/16″ from the edge.
Next, fold the strip in half and crease or mark with a pin so you can see the center. Pin your pocket into place. Then stitch along the bottom edge of the pocket 3/16″ from the edge. The sides of your pocket are still the folded edge that hasn’t been stitched.
Next, fold the strip in half with right sides together. As you’re looking at the photo above, you would be folding the left side over top of the right so your pocket is on the inside. Stitch along the two sides 3/16″ from the edge. Then turn right side out and you have your diaper pouch with changing pad pocket! Here’s a view of both sides. This is a forgiving pattern so if you’re a little off on any of the seam allowances it shouldn’t be a problem.
And here it is filled with diapers and wipes and the changing pad in the outside pocket. I folded the changing pad into thirds horizontally (like the top photo) then into thirds again to fit into the pocket.
And if you need more ideas, you can find my instructions for matching appliqued onesies here!

Tutorial: Appliqued Baby Onesies

A friend had a baby shower last weekend and I was so excited to make something for her and her little boy! I decided to do a set of embroidered baby onesides along with a combination changing pad and diaper pouch.

I found this great set of onesies at Old Navy just a couple weeks ago. They were available in blues, pinks and neutrals. I liked that they had a little bit of a design and contrasting piping around the edges without having so much going on that they’d distract from my applique. The fabric is from the Dwell Studio line at JoAnns and is a heavier home decor weight.

Check out my other post on how to make an applique if you need some guidance.

Basically I followed those instructions and then finished off the design by stitching around each image. I couldn’t decide on a straight stitch or a zig zag and actually ended up doing both. For some of the trickier turns I had to turn the sewing maching wheel by hand or go very slowly. I also had to put the needle down and raise the foot to turn the fabric around quite a bit. If you click on the photo below you can see a larger version of it where you can see the stitches better.
And they’re ready for the baby shower. Now they just need a chubby little baby in them!
And if you need more ideas, you can find my instructions for a matching diaper pouch and changing pad here!

Tutorial: Plum Peachy Ruffled Pillow

I’ve had the idea for this pillow for a few months and the pillow contest at Sew Mama Sew was the motivation I needed to get me going. The inspiration was Anthropologie’s Smoldering Hues Shower Curtain.

The ruffles in this pillow are all knit fabrics. I thought this would be a fast and easy project and whenever I think that, I’m nearly always wrong. I had to visit 3 fabric stores to find enough shades in the orange/red/purple range to make this work. Once I finally found all my fabrics the sewing part wasn’t too difficult. I used an 18″ pillow form and a cotton fabric for the pillow case.

So, here’s how we get started. For the front of the pillow you’ll cut 7 strips of fabric for the ruffles. Using a rotary cutter, cutting mat and T square will make this a lot easier than scissors. The top ruffle will be 3 3/4″ x 36″ and the rest of the ruffles will be 3 3/8″ x 36″. For any of these photos you should be able to click on them for a larger view.
Cut a 20″ square for the backing fabric. You can also cut it larger and hem in the sides to 20″ if you want to avoid any fraying. Even though your final pillow case needs to be 18″, starting with 20″ gives you a little extra room in case the fabric scrunches up a bit when you add your ruffles.

To make the ruffles put your sewing maching on the largest stitch setting. If you can reduce the tension without causing problems stitching do that as well. Stitch along the length of each strip of fabric twice, once  1/2″ down from the top and again 3/4″ down from the top. You will be removing these threads later in the process so you don’t have to be too precise. Tightly hold only the top or bottom threads (whichever works more smoothly for you) and start scrunching your fabric toward the center. Do this from both sides and scrunch until the length is 20″. Repeat for all 7 strips.

Next, mark the backing of your pillow where each ruffle will be stitched down. The first ruffle is stitched 3/4″ down from the top of the fabric. Every other ruffle is down 2 9/16″ from there but I was nice and did the math for you so see the diagram below. The ruffles should all be lined up along the left side, I just moved them over in the diagram to make it easier to see. The darker border is the seam allowance area. If you’re having trouble seeing the measurements, measuring from the top down you’ll mark a seam at 3/4″, 3 5/16″, 5 7/8″, 8 7/16″, 11″, 13 9/16″, 16 1/8″ and you’ll have about 1/4″ of the ruffle below the seam:

You’ll start with the top ruffle (the orange in my case) and work your way down. To have a nice finished top so you don’t see the stitching you’ll actually be sewing along the bottom of each ruffle. Then you’ll fold them all down so the rows of stitches are hidden under each ruffle. I found it easiest to first sew one direction as close to the top of each ruffle as possible even if I missed a little of the fabric. Then I stitched the other direction 1/8″ below my first seam. Here you can see how the stitches looked on one of the purple ruffles and then the finished edge when it was folded over.

 

Below is how the back of the fabric looked like after all the ruffles were added. You’ll see that the fabric did scrunch a little so I was glad I gave myself 20″ to work with!

After stitching down each ruffle pull out your loose stitches that you used to make the ruffles. For me some pulled out easily and some took more effort. Just don’t pull too hard and damage your fabric!

For the back I did an envelope opening hidden by two ruffles. I cut two rectangles, 19″ wide x 12.5″ tall for the top piece and 19″ wide x 10″ for the bottom. I hemmed the edge that would be showing (1/2″ folded twice) and added a ruffle using the same method I used for the top. If you’re having difficult seeing the diagram below, the top orange ruffle is stitched 3/4″ up from the bottom of the hem. The bottom purple ruffle is stitched 2″ down from the top of the hem.

To finish it off, lay the pillow front down with the ruffles facing up and make sure that the bottom of the lowest ruffle is at least an inch away from the bottom so it doesn’t get sewn in. On top of that place the top of the back (with the ruffles facing down). Lastly, place on top the bottom of the back so that it overlaps the top piece by 1 1/2″. Then measure and mark if necessary an 18″ square. Finally, smooth out all the edges of the ruffles and stitch around all 4 sides.

Then trim off any excess, flip it right side out and put the pillow in!

 

Here’s the finished back:
If anyone makes this pillow using my tutorial I’d love to hear any feedback you have. And don’t forget to send me a link to your finished project!
PS. Also check out my friend Lindsays’s pillow. It’s a great idea to help you keep track of those constantly disappearing remotes!

 

Remote Control Pillow
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