Holiday Place Mats

Well, I started these sometime in early December, but got side-tracked by Christmas and was not able to finish them before the holidays.  I am trying to finish up my works-in-progress from last year before I get too engrossed in new things.  (Hard to do with my short crafting-attention span.)  One down!  37 to go!  No, just kidding, what I would like to finish before moving on to other things are my Amy Butler Daisy Chain quilt for our bedroom, the house appliqued tree skirt (from Fat Quarterly’s Holiday edition) which is sitting on my ironing board and ready to be quilted, the knit Nature Walk pants from the Liesl Gibson workshop last November (1 of 4 pairs completed), and the Doodle Stitch-Along stitching and quilt (2 of 4 blocks complete).

For these place mats, I just cut out the various shapes, stitched them together.  I didn’t bind them traditionally, instead just put down the batting rectangle, then the backing right side up, then the top right side down.  Stitch around, leaving about 4 inches to turn it.  Turn, poke out the corners with a chop stick.  Press well.  Stitched along the bottom rectangle, close to the seam on each side (2 rows of stitching).  Then the same along the seam between the two top rectangles.  Then, top-stitch all the way around the outside, closing up the open hole from turning it as you go.  Easy-peasy!  And now to put these away until next December when I will seeing my new place mats!

Up close picture of my basic quilting

In the meantime, of course since I can’t resist, I have started/completed a few other projects.  I made two Kidlet wall pockets from JCasa’s free pattern using some burlap with the Echino bicycle fabric.  For my friend who loves her bike!  The inside is lined with some Kona cotton in a teal color.  Super cute!


And made an absolutely lovely visit to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine (AMAZING place!) and picked up some gorgeous yarn to make their Family Favorite hats for the boys.  My first knitting project!  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m on row 5 and doing alright so far.

And that’s not even everything!  I had better get my little crafting fingers working!

Craft Hope Project 11

I host a monthly crafty group of friends here at my house.  Usually we just hang out and work on whatever projects we have going.  It’s great for getting together, getting feedback on what you are working on, learning new skills, etc.  And of course, there is always yummy food to be served!!  Well, I saw the latest Craft Hope Project 11 announced awhile back, and ran it by everyone as to whether we’d like to spend one of our monthly nights working on the Craft Hope project.  Everyone was very Gung-Ho!  So, all supplies were purchased, I did a few prototypes of the drawstring bag and owl plush stuffie, and plans were set into motion.

Craft Hope’s Project 11 was for Konbit Sante, a Haitian aid organization headquartered here in Maine. They run a health partnership on the north side of the island in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city. Health statistics in Haiti are pretty scary.  1 in 8 children will not live to the age of five.  5…  Maternal mortality rate is 1,400 for every 100,000. Only 1 in 10,000 Haitians has access to a physician.  Project 11 centered upon birth delivery kits that trained birth attendants will have on hand to use in their deliveries.  The kits contain the most basic of supplies – alcohol wipes, soap, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, string, and plastic sheeting.  Then for our special Craft Hope kits, we were also including a handmade flannel receiving blanket, an infant-appropriate stuffed toy, and all wrapped up in a handmade drawstring bag.

We met last night, and had a great time making up 10 kits for Konbit Sante to deliver to Haiti. We were up late, but they all got done because of some amazing work by my awesome crafty friends!  (And even those who claim that they are not so crafty were definitely up to the task.)

Working hard, after eating a yummy, fortifying dinner, of course. (Our friend Hilary had to leave early but did great work on the blankets!)

The medical supplies were easily obtained at the dollar store and the grocery store, and the hubby picked up the plastic sheeting from our local hardware store in the paint section (4mil was requested).  The sheets had to be 4′ x 3′, so we bought a 3′ wide roll and just had to cut off the 4′ lengths.

I have a serger (that I will admit to only using about 3 times, and I really had no clue how to thread it).  My friend brought hers as well, and I took the opportunity to learn how to thread my serger!  The sergers made quick work on our 10 receiving blankets.  They were just made with two layers of flannel, serged together.  We used a bowl to make rounded corners to follow when serging which made things easier.

Flannel receiving blankets

For the drawstring bags, I looked up a few different tutorials and combined them into something quick, practical, but durable.  The edges of the drawstring casing are folded over and sewn so they won’t fray.  And we made french seams on the inside, both durable and attractive.  I used a piece of 16″ by 32″ cotton, folded in half to 16″x18″, which was plenty big for the items we were placing inside.  Make sure the casing is wide enough to fit the two layers of string that go through (in opposite directions).  If it’s too tight, then the drawstring doesn’t open and close as well.  We used 1/2″ cotton twill tape (totally cleaned out Joann’s supply, should pre-order it online next time since Joanns doesn’t stock more than one reel at a time) and made the casing somewhere between 1″ and 1.25″ (we eye-balled).

For the owls, I saw a picture on the Craft Hope website of some owls that someone else had made.  They looked like a rather easy shape, so I just created my own drawing of an owl shape to use as a template.  We cut them out of fleece in different colors.  Sewed on the eyes and nose first with a small zig zag stitch, then with right sides together, sew around, leaving a space to turn.  Turn it inside out, added some ribbons for feet, and stuffed and sewed closed.  The ribbon feet were a bit difficult to add because I forgot to tell my friend the little trick that I had figured out.  Oops!  Things were a bit hectic with everything going on.  You fold the ribbon loops and sew them to the seam in the open area where you are stuffing, on just one side of the seam.  Then, stuff the owl.  And then sew the opening closed (we just did it on the outside for quickness, but you could also hand-sew it closed).  It’s easier to sew the hole closed if the ribbons are already securely attached, and it also gives them extra security as well.  I would say that the owls are very easy to make. The fleece is a little harder to manipulate than the flannel that I used initially in my prototype since it’s kind of stretchy.

I am very excited to mail out our 10 kits tomorrow!

All boxed up!

Little zipper pouches

I have never put a zipper into anything in my life and decided that I should remedy that situation.  So, I decided to make some cute little pouches for my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day.  Now, I’ve made a few things (all bags, no clothing), and it’s not hard at all!  Once again, one of those sewing things that sound a lot harder than they really are.

Little zipper pouch

Aren’t the little pleats adorable?  I used the pleated pouch tutorial at Skip to my Lou, and it was super easy!  Took about half an hour, at the most, I think.  I had mother in law come with me to the store, and had her pick out two fabrics but wouldn’t tell her what it was for.  I made the one above, as well as one using the opposite fabrics for the top and bottom (which I neglected to get a picture of).  It’s even lined!  Super-cute and highly recommended as a quick, little gift or for yourself.

I have not been doing much crafting lately, hence the no posts in May!  I have been busy gardening.  Expanding our garden once again.  I bought 11 perennials for our front bed from a local perennial nursery, and did a day of back-breaking work to put them all in.  There are three maples in the middle of the bed and they cause some problems in trying to plant other things.  My whole vegetable garden is planted, except I have to plant a few more container tomatoes.  I’ve already harvested my first salad!  Yummy!!!

And check out our “puppy”!  No longer so little.  Now he’s over 80 pounds.  At least he didn’t turn out to be the 100 pounds that the vet was expecting.

Cute puppy shot