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And the Winner Is . . .

According to the random number generator at, the lucky winner of my Scrappy Notebook Cover is:

Kristen at K*D Quilts! You have to check out the gorgeous runner she made!

In her comment Kristen wrote "I would use it as a daily journal/to do list...with a little one on the way this week I will have a lot that I will need to write down and remember."

I hear that! Double Congratulations Kristen - that's great news!

Thanks to everyone for all of your comments! I'm totally flattered to have had such a great response and loved reading all the unique ways you came up with using something as simple as this cover. This was a blast and I'll definitely be participating in the next giveaway as well.

Also, due to numerous requests I WILL BE DOING A TUTORIAL as soon as the holidays are past so  be sure to Follow Me if you were interested.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


It's Giveaway Day!

Big News Everyone! I'm participating in Sew Mama Sew's  Holiday Giveaway Day! What's Giveaway Day, you ask? It's a chance to win FREE COOL STUFF! Here's how it works - I make something, you comment, I select a winner, and winner gets the prize!

I won't keep you in suspense - I'm giving away a handmade Scrappy Composition Cover. With two little ones, I have many sitters and teachers deserving much props this Holiday Season so I have been hard at work making these covers. Here are the deets:

Sized to fit your standard 100 sheet, 9.75 x 7.5 inch, composition notebook - one composition notebook included.

Two interior pockets for pens, pencils, etc

Cover is made from pieced quilters cotton strips and interior lining is of muslin. Yo-yo flower embelishment not shown here (see pic below) but will be around top right corner-ish. Ribbon closure.
Simple monogram on top of inner left pocket with the letter of your choosing.

Yo Yo Button embelishment on front of cover.

Giveaway Day Rules
One random winner will be selected on December 17th. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me how you intend to use the notebook cover - daily record, journal, sketchbook, to-do list, etc! Also, let me know if you'd be interested in a tutorial. If I get enough of a response, I'll get to work on one asap. Play nice, follow the rules below, and GOOD LUCK!
  • One entry per person please
  • US participants only please (sorry!)
  • Make sure I can contact you or check back on the 18th to see if you've won
The window to enter Giveaway Day will close at 11:59 pm on Friday, December 17th. I will announce the winner on December 18th and ship the cover by December 20th.

More Cool Stuff
And after commenting here, don't forget to check out all the wonderful items offered by my crafty comrades here!


Brrr . . . Bring on the Pocket Furnaces!

OK - Richmond - is it cold enough for you? So a week ago I viewed these Pocket Furnaces I whipped up as more cute than utilitarian, but after the last few days, I've totally changed my tune. If you're not familiar with the concept, a Pocket Furnace (at least my version) is a pocket-sized pouch that you zap in the microwave for about a minute then put in your coat pocket. It stays warm - and in turn - keeps you warm for about an hour. It's basically like those butt-warmers that come with your car - but totally portable.

I used rice as my heating element - making it reusable and very environ-friendly - but there are an array of products with similar results out there. Many are one shot deals and are made of plastic and chemicals though - ick! Knowing that rice is the worst thing my three year old will get in his mouth when he attempts to eat them gives me major comfort!

So here is the cool part. Should you really want some Pocket Furnaces for your very own, you can pick some up at my fabulous friend Steph's new gallery Kiefer Clayworks. I made a ton for stocking stuffers and also to give to those folks you just want to say "hey, thanks" to - like the mailman, neighbor, sitter, etc. Tell her that you heard about it here and get %20 off!

And even ifyou're totally not wanting a Pocket Furnace, you should still try to make it to Kiefer Clayworks Open House on the 11th and 12th from 11am to 6pm. In addition to her own work, a number of Richmond artists (such as Joan Holland - aka my Mom) will have their wares on display for the Holiday season.


Joy, Peace, Love Holiday Pillow Tutorial

I saw these Sentiment Pillows at Pottery Barn the other day and really liked them. I wasn't too excited about the $29 tag though -- especially as you can really only use them a month or so out of the year. They were also teensy-tiny. Sooo . . . even though I have about a zillion other things I really should be doing, the next thing I know, I'm making knock-off PB pillows . . .

And you can too.

Materials Needed:

  • Pillow form(s)
  • Linen fabric
  • Thread
  • Embroidery floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Turning tool
Wash and Iron Your Fabric
I know, totally tedious, but it must be done!

Cut Your Front Piece
The amount of fabric you'll need is dependent on the size of your pillow form. To determine the size of the front piece, measure your pillow form and add 1/2" on all sides. My pillow form was 18" square, so my front piece was 18.5 x 18.5.

Cut Your Back Pieces
Cut two identical pieces for the back. Each piece will be the same height and half the width, plus 4 extra inches as your front piece. So . . .

H = Height of front piece = 18.5
W = (Width of front piece / 2) + 4
     = (18.5 / 2) + 4
     = 13.25

Cut Your Patch Piece
Now this size is totally up to you. My finished square measured about 5 x 5, but my initial cut measured 6 x 8 as this is the minimum size I can use with my embroidery hoop. Whichever size you choose, just be sure to add an inch all around to allow for finishing off the edges. We'll get to that later . . .

Monogram or Stencil the Patch Piece
Ok - I'll admit it. I'm lazy and let my machine do my monogramming for me. Don't despair though - you don't need to monogram one stitch to make these cute pillows. You can employ the uber-cool freezer paper stencil technique. Click here to see an awesome tutorial. The cool thing about this technique is you're not constrained to just a few fonts or sizes, as I am when monogramming by machine. To make your phrase stencil, just design it in any word processing software. So Easy!

Here's a few pics of monogramming with the machine.

Mark center of piece.

Using mark you made and centering insert, center in hoop.

Attach hoop and let the machine do its thing!


Moving On . . .
Ok. So at this point you should have your three cut pieces, plus your patch piece. Let's keep working on the patch.

Trim and Finish Patch Edges
It's now time to tighten up that patch piece! First, use a ruler to center your phrase horizontally and vertically. Then, trim your piece to 1" bigger than you want the finished size. I was shooting for a finished size of 5 x 5 so I trimmed my patch to 6 x 6.

Now get out your iron and fold and press 1/2 inch in towards the wrong side of the fabric on each of the four sides.

Pin Patch to Pillow Front
So this is probably the only time I'm glad that linen is so wrinkly. Get the front pillow piece and fold it in half. Now fold it in half again. Finger press the folds. Open and viola - you have the middle. Align the center of the phrase patch with the center of the pillow and pin in place.

Select Stitch and Sew On Patch
Woot-woot - I can finally use one of the decorative stitches that came with my machine! After trying out a few on a piece of scrap, I opted for the snowflake-y one, of course.

Sew on patch, using 1/4" seam allowance.

Hem Back Pieces
We are so almost done! Get out your two back pieces and your iron. Make a double hem on the back of each. How? Easy - fold and press one of the long sides in 1/2". Repeat.

Now sew in place along the folded edge with the WS facing up. I used red thread throughout this project because its a Christmas project - just kidding - again lazy!

Attach Back Pieces to Front Piece
Lay the pillow front RS up. Place one of the back pieces on top RS down. So RS's are together and the folded hem is facing up. Align raw edges and pin in place. Ok? Cool.

Place the other back piece RS down (folded hem up) on top. Align edges and pin in place. Sew around the whole pillow using an 1/2" seam allowance.

Trim Corners and Turn Out!

Finishing Touches
At this point, you could call it a day and sleep with a clear conscience. Or . . . you could take it to the next level and add some embellishments. I stared at the pillow a day or so and finally decided that it really could use some snowflakes. I whipped up the following basic designs below. Feel free to print them out and use them!
Trace Design onto Pillows
Get out some transfer paper and a pen. Place the transfer paper face down onto the pillow front. Arrange the snowflake stencils as you like on top. Take a pencil and - pressing firmly - trace the design on the snowflake stencil, being careful not to move the snowflake around too much. Remove the transfer paper and admire your handiwork.

Embroider Snowflakes on Pillow
Hand embroidery - my thoughts? Time-consuming, yet really rewarding. It's this kind of work that makes a project a passer-downer. I'm not going to go into the intricacies of hand embroidery in this tutorial, but if you're interested in taking a stab at it yourself, then please check out this incredible embroidery primer at the Purl Bee. They rock!

You're done! Put your pillows somewhere nice and enjoy them until its time to pack up all the Christmas goodies for the year . . .


TDays Over Yet the Gravy Remains

This topic made the cut on my crafty blog because the subject is loosely related to fabric care. Specifically - tablecloth and napkin care. Although Thanksgiving had gone, the grease stains on my napkins were stubbornly sticking around, despite a number of washes. It was time to hit the web in search of answers . . .

And what I found was this incredible website - Mama's Laundry Talk. Before reading further, you should probably know I'm slightly OCD, especially when it comes to laundry. I was pretty much in heaven when I found a site devoted entirely to laundry. I mean, how awesome is that? Now, I'm not trying to go all June Cleaver on you, but I really do feel that in this high-tech world, doing laundry correctly really has become a lost art.

The site covers basics such as:
  • Size of Loads and Starting the Washer
  • Choosing Water Temperature
  • How to Choose the Washing Cycle
  • How to Sort Clothes
And the section on folding - be still my heart!

But back to the original problem - butter and gravy stains. MLT had the answer on that as well. A lovely post devoted to how to remove grease stains. Hello Dawn! I've copied the basic info below but follow the link to view the full post!

  1. Saturate the stain in Blue Dawn Dish Soap. While it has never happened to  me, I understand that some of the other scents of Dawn can stain clothes.  So I always stick with Dawn Original – the blue one. Place enough Dawn on the stain to cover it completely and then gently rub it in with your finger.
  2. Wash the garment as you usually would. If it can tolerate washing on a normal cycle, then do so.  The agitation of the washer will help eliminate the stain.  If it is a garment that can only be washed on a delicate setting, try using that setting first.
  3. Hang the garment to dry – do not dry in the dryer! This step is vitally important to removing grease.  Your eyes will play tricks on you.  While the item is wet, you’ll be certain you don’t see the grease stain any longer.  But once it’s dry, it can possibly ‘reappear’!  So please remember to hang dry.
  4. After the item is dry, examine the grease spot in a bright light. Is the stain gone?  Can you see any traces of it?  If not, great!  If you can still see the stain, go on to the next step.
  5. Re-wash the garment using these same steps all over again. I know this seems a little ‘high-maintenance’ but if you’ll hang with me, you can get rid of the stain! (hopefully).  If you washed the garment on the delicate cycle, try washing it on a ‘normal’ cycle this time.  If you washed it on ‘normal’ the first time, you can try increasing the agitation of the cycle, washing on a ‘heavy-duty’ cycle or whatever your washing machine offers.
  6. Continue this process until the stain comes out.


In a Pinch Pocket Tutorial

I'm in a gift making frenzy!

I made this media pocket for my Droid, which measures about 2.5" x 5", but figured it would be great for any of the other phones on the market as well. But . . . . after whipping it together and test driving it for a day, I can't say I was a huge fan. As lame as it sounds, I just couldn't be bothered with getting it in and out and in and out of the pocket whenever I needed to use it - which is all the time.

I do, however, think this would make a great pocket for a camera, or any other media device that could use a little extra padding but you don't use every waking moment. The dimensions could also be adjusted to make a super-easy laptop, iPad, or Kindle cover.

I'm determined to come up with something for the Droid, but that will have to wait until after the Holidays, stay tuned . . .


  • Primary fabric for outside of pocket
  • Coordinating fabric for lining and strap
  • Fusible batting
  • Coordinating thread
  • Turning tool

Cut your stuff! You'll need the following cuts:
  • Primary fabric: (1) 5x17 strip
  • Coordinating fabric: (1) 5x17 strip and (2) 2x6 strips
  • Fusible Batting: (1) 5x17 strip and (1) 2x6 strips

Admire your cutting skills then, using the manufacturers directions, attach the 5x17 fusible batting strip (I used Fusi-Boo) to the 5x17 lining piece. Put it aside for now.

Make the Strap! Again using the manufacturers directions, attach the 2x6 fusible batting strip to the back of one of the 2x6 lining pieces. Next, take the other 2x6 lining strip and put it RS together with the 2x6 piece to which you just attached the batting. Pin it all together.

So to recap, it's like this:
  1. Bottom = fusible batting
  2. Middle = lining strip #1 RS up (attached to fusible batting)
  3. Top = lining strip #2 RS down (so lining strips will be RS together)
Got it? Cool!

Pin and sew together, leaving an opening to turn. Turn it out, clip corners and press. Topstitch around the entire strap. The cool thing is that you don't have to worry about the raw edge you left open for turning because it will be hidden in the next step.

OK - you're halfway through! Get out the 5x17 lining piece you attached the batting to earlier. Orient the strip vertically - so 5" across and 17" down - RS up. Position the strap you just made 8 inches down from the top of the lining piece. Pin and sew in place. Don't forget to backstitch.

After the strap is attached, place the piece batting side down on your table. Get out the 5x17 primary fabric piece and put it RS down on top of the lining piece. The lining and primary pieces will be RS together. The strap will be in between the two. You now have your sandwich. Pin in place.

Like you did with the strap, sew the sandwich together, leaving an opening to turn on the bottom short end as it will be hidden. Turn it out, clip corners and press. Topstitch close the opening you left for turning.

Ta-Da! So this is the fun part. Pull the bottom of the rectangle up through the strap. Put your media device in the pocket and adjust the pocket height to your liking.

Remove media, pin pocket in place, and topstitch around the whole enchilada. I had to switch to a more heavy duty needle at this point - just saying . . .

Pull the top flap down through the strap to close and you're done!


The Scary Hall Closet

The Scary Hall Closet - we've all had one, right? My closet had actually gotten to the point where clutter had totally overrun the entryway and hall tree. With the Holidays (and hence, visitors) rapidly approaching, I decided to put away the craft pursuits for a day and take on this project. 
My entryway before - yikes. That's a hall tree hiding behind all the, err, stuff. It's intended use was for TEMPORARILY hanging items.

The best first step in any organizational project - get everything out and do a quick cleanup!

Our closet is only 3 feet wide and is located under a stairwell. As a result, the back wall juts out about midway up leaving me with only 5ft of vertical wall space. Translation - I'm totally jipped spacewise. The shelf was originally anchored as high up as possible, but because of the slant, it was impossible to put any storage bins on top of the shelf.
I chose to lower the shelf about 12 inches so I could place three storage bins on top. This means that my husbands lone, full length coat that he wears to the xmas party each year will have to move to the guest BDRM, but we can live with that! Yes, the bins are blah, so I'll probably end up appliqueing a scarf, hat, and mitten to each one. You know, in all my spare time.

I didn't want anything loose in the closet so I put two storage bins in the bottom. One for lone shoes and one for stuff to be returned, etc.

Again, keeping with getting everything up and off the floor, I hung peg racks up as high as possible - one on the left for diaper bags . . .

. . . and one on the right for my purses and camera, which always seems to be upstairs when I need it, you  know?

Finally, I added a shoe bag on the door. I agree, chic it is not, but I love having a space for all the little stuff one has in the hallway. Especially little kid things! The plan is to teach the little ones to put their hats and mittens away by themselves.

Ta-Da! The hall tree is visible and the entry navigable!