Category Archives: Gifts

Mesh Beach Bags

Ready for the beach!

Ready for the beach!

I made these 3 mesh beach bags recently for my nephew’s 3 little boys (ages 2 – 6). I thought they would be the perfect thing to carry their beach toys in. When they were done playing with them, they could throw the toys back in the bag and just give it a little shake to get rid of the sand.

I bought the colored mesh at a local quilt store.

Colored mesh comes in a roll that is 18" x 36" for about $5.25.

Colored mesh comes in a roll that is 18″ x 36″ for about $5.50.

Don’t you love the bug fabric? It was perfect to use with all 3 colors of the mesh.

This was a very simple project. I folded the mesh in half and sewed down the sides. Luckily my friend, Jan, had previously made a similar bag and suggested I sew the side seam with a french seam. This creates a smooth edge to the inside seam instead of something jagged that would possibly hurt little hands or catch on the toys or towel that you’re trying to get into or out of the bag.

Inside french seam

Inside french seam

Next was to box the bottom corners. This had to be done as a regular seam.

Boxed bottom corners.

Boxed bottom corners.

I sewed across the bottom corners and then cut the excess mesh. I did do a zig zag stitch over the seam edge to give it some extra strength.

The bug fabric was cut into 2 inch strips x WOF. I sewed 2 strips together lengthwise and then ironed the opposite raw edges under about 1/2 inch. I laid this right over the top of the mesh, marked exactly where the fabric should be joined to form a circle the width of the bag and then removed it and sewed this seam in the fabric. I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of this step. I think I got so excited about finishing up the bags so quickly, that I forgot to take more pictures!

Top of bag

Top of bag

The fabric was placed back on the top of the bag so that the mesh is right up against the top of it. I edge stitched around both the top and the bottom of the fabric strip.

Black webbing was used for the handles and secured onto the inside of the bag with both a square and an X in machine stitching.

Finished bags

Finished bags

That’s it!

The boys loved them!

The boys loved them!

Heading to the beach.

Heading to the beach.

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Filed under Family, Gifts, Purses and Bags, Tutorials

Happy Fourth of July!

Flag quilt top

My flag quilt top

The Fourth of July is a fun holiday for me. I spend it in NH on Lake Winnisquam with my brother and sister and as many of our kids as can come. My brother has 3 grandsons that live nearby and they definitely add to the fun and excitement. This year about 2 weeks prior to traveling I was on a road trip (by bus) with the Needlechasers of Chevy Chase to a quilt shop called Patches in Mt. Airy, MD.

Patches - quilt shop in Mt. Airy, MD

Patches – quilt shop in Mt. Airy, MD (Picture from their website)

There was a quilt laying near the cutting table that was essentially a flag. I really loved how it was pieced together in different shades of red and white and had a star fabric for the blue canton. I immediately wanted to make one and figured, as I often do, how easy it would be to make up fast! So despite the fact that the store staff was busy cutting fabric for our 40 or so members on the trip, I was able to ask if they had the star fabric, and luckily they did.

Needlechasers shopping at Patches

Needlechasers shopping at Patches

Patches flag quilt.

Patches flag quilt.

I took this picture of their quilt because I liked the easy wavy quilting that was done on it. (Are you catching on to what was important to me?) I chose fat quarters and took them home, washed them and cut them into 3″ squares.

On the following weekend, the DC Modern Quilt Guild had a sewing retreat for 3 days. I had a serger there for a different project and decided it might be quicker to use that to sew all these squares together. Since completing it, I’m really not sure that it made ANY difference at all in the time it took, but I did love how tidy the back was when I was done.

Serged back to the quilt

Serged back to the quilt

I got the quilt top done at the retreat but didn’t have any backing fabric so the final backing, quilting and binding was done at home.

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Working on the wavy quilting.

Quilting this way with a walking foot was very easy. I used matching thread and did a wavy line on each of the red and white stripes. I did a diagonal straight line through the star fabric.

Diagonal quilting

Diagonal quilting

Finished quilt is 60 x 32.5"

Finished quilt is 60 x 32.5″

I originally thought that this quilt would be a table topper but the size may be a little awkward for that. I think that we will display it off the deck as though it were a flag. Surely no one will get close enough to count the stars. Although the size of the stars look about right for the size of the flag, there are actually 70 stars!

Added later:

I gave the flag quilt to my brother and sister-in-law while cruising Lake Winnisquam in a pontoon (party!) boat from Winnisquam Marine which my brother owns and operates.  It turns out that it’s actually a pretty good quilt for keeping warm.

Sunset on Lake Winnisquam

Sunset on Lake Winnisquam

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Filed under DC Modern Quilt Guild, Family, Gifts, NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase, Quilt Shops

Teabag Pouch – Zakka 2.0 Week 3

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3 teabag pouches

This week the Zakka 2.0 sew along has us sewing a tea cozy and/or teabag pouch. I thought long and hard about making the cozy because I do have a small 2 cup ceramic teapot that I could use a cozy for, but in the end I decided to make only the pouch. My 3 daughters all drink tea and I thought a pouch would be handy for them to take their favorite tea to work or keep in their purse – so I made 3.

Here are the materials all cut for one pouch.

Here are the materials all cut for one pouch.

Pockets ready to be sewn in place.

Pockets ready to be sewn in place.

Once the pockets are in place, sewing up this project is just a matter of placing the outside piece and the pocket piece right sides together and sewing around the edge except for a small opening to turn it right side out.

Outside

Outside

Inside

Inside

Teabags places within pockets and pouch folded up and button sewn in place.

Teabags placed within pockets and pouch folded up. Button sewn in place.

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Another quick and easy project done.

Take a look at the Flickr group here to see what other sewers have done this week. Everyone is doing such a great job of personalizing these projects to fit their own use and style. Instead of a tea cozy with the word TEA pieced on it, Lindsey of LR Stitched made a toaster cover with the word EAT on it and . . .

Toaster cover by Lindsey Rhodes

Toaster cover by Lindsey Rhodes

Diane of Random thoughts. . do or “di” made a mixer cover for her Mixmaster.

Mixer cover by Diane Stanley

Mixer cover by Diane Stanley

Such clever sewers!

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review

Sunglasses case

Here is a quick and easy gift to make for summer – a sunglasses case!

Padded sunglasses case

Padded sunglasses case

I found the free pattern here at Riley Blake Designs. It was written by Melissa of Polka Dot Chair.

There is a download for the pattern piece (which comes in two sizes). At first I thought I could print it from the “preview” but it wouldn’t size right.  Once I actually downloaded it, there was no problem with the sizing. Duh!

Materials gathered together

Materials needed.

The directions call for a 7″ zipper which I did not have. Mine was 14″. I added a fabric covering to each end of the zipper leaving only 6-1/2″ in between and cut off the excess zipper.

In progress

Outside piece and foam treated as one piece.

I used ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable for the padding. This is a product that I have enjoyed using in a variety of bags I’ve made recently and I had scraps that were big enough for this little project.

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One outside and one lining piece sewn on to one side of zipper.

I used the leftover zipper pieces for the zipper pull and a tab coming out of the side that I will put a clip on.

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Zipper fun – tab and pull.

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Glasses inside!

I made the larger size because the niece I’m gifting this to has large sunglasses. I’m pretty sure that most adult sunglasses would fit into this size case – whether the glasses are large or small.

Now for some fun in the sun!

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review

Sew South – Swaps!

One of the many things that made the Sew South Retreat so much fun were the swaps. Anyone who wanted to participate in the “Sample” Swap, made up 4 of one thing they wanted to swap. At the retreat, we were divided into random groups of 5 and we each gave one of our 4 samples to the other 4 people in our group. Here is a sampling of what participants gave and received:

I made up these chicken pincushions and was able to swap for a few more than 4 things because I had 6 of them!

My pincushions

My chicken pincushions

Handmade fun!

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Filed under Pincushions, Sew South Modern Sewing Retreat, Uncategorized

Happy Valentine’s Day

Mug Rug for daughter M who loves elephants.

Mug Rug for daughter M who loves elephants.

A few weeks ago, I had big plans to make my 3 daughters and my special girl friends a mug rug for Valentine’s Day.  Unfortunately, this is the only one I actually made. I came down with the flu and couldn’t get myself motivated to work on them while not feeling well. I purchased this pattern from Craftsy. The designer is Amanda from The Patchsmith. She has many adorable mug rug patterns for sale for a small price.

Back of mug rug.

Back of mug rug.

A mug rug is a cross between a coaster and a placemat. It’s just big enough for a mug and a muffin.

While I was sick, I did do a bit of heart embroidery. I’ve always had a fondness for hearts because my husband is a pediatric cardiologist and this is also the field I’ve worked in as a registered nurse.

Embroidered hearts.

Embroidered hearts.

1. Chain Stitch  2.Blanket Stitch  3. Lazy Daisy Stitch  4. French Knots  5. Cross Stitch  6. Whipped Running Stitch

I was inspired by this book.

I was inspired by this book.

I have so many special woman in my life (and men but I don’t think they would use a mug rug). Sorry I didn’t get to send you a pretty little goodie this year! Love you and happy Valentine’s Day.

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Table runner made from Moda Comma

IMG_1650During the December DC Modern Quilt guild meeting, there was a drawing for some Moda fabric charms and I won a  pack of “Comma”.

Moda Comma charm pack - all 42 fabrics.

Moda Comma charm pack – all 42 fabrics!

I immediately thought of my middle daughter who’s birthday is in February and who loves punctuation. She normally likes a more vintage color palette, but this will certainly look cheerful in her condo. I went to the Moda Bakeshop website and looked for a pattern using a charm pack and found this pattern by Erin Davis of Sew at Home Mummy.

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120 Minute Gift – Drunkards Path Table Runner

It looked like the perfect pattern to use as sort of an oversized placemat.

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The pattern included templates for cutting the curves. I haven’t done a lot of curved piecing but this was not hard to do. I had to mark the centers of the curves in order to make sure they were lined up during the stitching. Instead of using a marking pen/pencil, I used the presser that my woodworking friend made for me.

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Marking the middle of the curve with a “presser”.

See how well it works!

See how well it works!

The trick of sewing the pieces seemed to be to put the smaller piece on the bottom instead of on the top.

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Hexagon detail

After cutting the curved pieces, there was quite a bit of each fabric left over. This is why I decided to make the hexagons – which is also a favorite of my daughter. I made the hexagons in a typical English Paper Piecing way, starch and ironed them with the papers in, and then removed the paper and sewed them all by hand on to the top.

IMG_1615I quilted this by stitching in the ditch on the sewing machine around the squares. Then I used a running stitch in gray embroidery thread around the circles and in straight lines on each side of the hexagons. I had a few hexagons left over and put them on the back.

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Back of table runner

Here it is in her condo.

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Happy Birthday Sandy!

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Filed under Gifts, Uncategorized

Chess anyone?

Fabric Chess Board

Fabric Chess Board

My nephew (who is 10 years old today!) visited us for Christmas. Before he came, his dad asked me if we had a checkerboard because he was going to give his son a chess set for Christmas but the board was too big and heavy to travel with. We don’t have a chess or checker board so I told him I’d make one. How hard could it be?

I picked out 2 fabrics that I thought he’d like.  One was a dark brown wood grain fabric and the other was a national park map fabric. I cut it into 2 1/2″ strips and started sewing.

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2 and then 4 strips sewn together

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Cut in half lengthwise

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Sewn together and pressed towards the dark fabric

A chess board is 8 squares by 8 squares. So now I cut these into 2 1/2″ strips.

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Eight 2 1/2″ strips

Rearranged!

Rearranged!

These were sewn together, sandwiched with batting and batting, quilted in the ditch, and a 1/4′ binding put on.

Finished chess board

Finished chess board

His new chess pieces are really cool. They are stone African animals.

Chess anyone?

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Filed under Family, Gifts

Madrona Road Fabric Challenge

Flexi-frame coin purse

Flexi-frame coin purse

The Modern Quilt Guild announced a Winter 2012 Fabric Challenge running from Dec. 1 through Jan 31. Each “local” Modern Quilt Guild that wished to participate was given fat eighth fabric bundles of Madrona Road by Violet Craft for Michael Miller. The DC Modern Quilt Guild received 12 bundles and handed them out at their Dec. meeting. The challenge was simply to make something from these fabrics and the rules stated that you could use other fabrics in this fabric line other than the 6 that were given or add solids. (Other prints were not to be used).

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Since I am currently trying to use the fabric I already have rather than buy more, I picked a project that I could make using only the fabric that was given. I picked this little flex frame pouch.  It is a free tutorial by Leila of Where the Orchids Grow.

1/2 inch hexagons - sigh!

1/2 inch hexagons – sigh!

The pattern calls for 1/2 inch hexagons which I printed out on card stock and cut them out. 1/2 inch hexagons are extremely small! However, to make this pouch, you only have to piece 55 hexagons into 5 rows of 11. This group of hexagons is trimmed and cut into a front and back for the pouch. I played with how to arrange them.

Random?

Random?

Flower?

Flower?

Rows?

Rows?

Obviously, I decided on the later. Here they are all sewn together.

Notice that each hexagon is about the size of a quarter.

Notice that each hexagon is about the size of a quarter.

The sewing of the pouch was very quick and easy. I probably spent the better part of 2 days fiddling with piecing the hexagons (by hand) and less than 40 minutes sewing the pouch together (by machine). The mechanism for opening the pouch is stiff enough that if you really did use it for coins, I’m sure they would not fall out!

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Finished pouch

I used a 3 1/2 inch hinged frame from Ghee’s. They come in a package of 2 frames for $6. The description on their website says “Frames can be used to make an eyeglass case, coin purse, or a tote for your scissors, curling iron, or cell phone.” Perhaps I will make one of these other things with the other frame!

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Filed under Gifts, Pattern review, Uncategorized

Circular Knitting Needle Holder

 

Holder for circular knitting needles

Holder for circular knitting needles

This knitting needle holder works by sliding each needle into a fabric “tunnel” marked with the size of the needle on it. This has made a huge difference in keeping track of my own knitting needles. Instead of searching through my knitting supplies for the right packet holding the needle size and length I need, I just go to my closet and find this holder and I can immediately see what I have available.  As you can see – I have quite a few circular needles!  I basically don’t use straight needles anymore.  The curve of the circular needle just feels better in my hands and I use them even if I am not knitting “in the round”.

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I made 2 of these for gifts – one for my oldest daughter and one for my sister-in-law. I hope that they have them filled with their needles by now!

I evidently didn’t take a picture of it (rats!), but I put a pocket in the back that holds a tool that sizes knitting needles. It has different size holes in it which you can poke your needle through to see what size the needle is if it isn’t marked. That way you can slide it into the correct slot of the holder. This was a fun project to make up and I hope to write up an actual tutorial soon.

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