Tuesday, March 29, 2011

a gifted quilt

Remember this quilt?  I love this one.  I made it in February, just a couple months ago, and I had so much fun with it.  I love the fabric and pattern, and it might even be my favorite quilt that I have made.

I gave it to my best friend Vanesa last month.  I didn't start this with that in mind, I originally wanted to make it for my couch.  But as I was working on it, she kept coming to mind.  Purple is her favorite color, and I knew that she would love this quilt.   We've been best friends since we were 10 years old and in the fourth grade.  We've helped each other through the best and worst times.  She doesn't sew, and I knew it would be extra special to her.

So I gave it to her, and I'm so happy that I did.  She took these lovely pictures of it, and I just had to share them with you.   It is funny, though.  As I was quilting it, I kept thinking that maybe I should keep it for myself, because I really do like it.  But that day, she left a comment on a blog post I had written about the quilt.  I had shared some pictures of the finished quilt top, and she wrote that while she always loves the quilts I make, this was her favorite one by far.  How funny is that?!  So that day, I decided that it was her quilt for sure, and I quilted her named into the quilt.  Do you see it?  It is right under the peachy starburst fabric in the photo below.  I took this shot before I gave it to her, but couldn't share it until now.

Hope you don't mind me sharing my little story.  What about you?  What is your favorite handmade gift that you've given away?  I'd love to hear about it.

xo Ang

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

tutorial - selvedge mug rug

Hi there!  I'm happy to share with you a mug rug tutorial and a giveaway.  This mug rug features two things I love - selvedges and rounded corners.  This is a fun method of sewing that allows you to quilt as you go.  Let's get to work! 

- Gather your fabrics.  I used an 8 inch square of batting, a fabric scrap that is larger than the batting  (mine is from Timeless Treasures), Kona Aqua for the binding, and a bunch of selvedges.

- Iron your backing fabric and place it right side down on your work surface.  Spray baste the wrong side of this fabric, and layer your 8" square batting over top.  Gently smooth out the batting.  Trim off the extra fabric so that you end up with an 8" square.

- Place a small scrap fabric in the bottom right corner of your mug rug (approx 2 inches wide).  Do not use a selvedge here because you will not see it later on!

- Working your way from the right to left, audition your selvedges.  Arrange them with the selvedge end on the right.  Allow the selvedges to overlap the cut ends of the fabric by at least a 1/4" - 3/8".

- Once you are happy with your arrangement, trim off excessive overhang (anything over a couple inches).  This allows your selvedges to be more managable while sewing.

- Transfer your selvedges to your ironing board in order and give them a good starch and press.  Stack them up in the order you will sew them.  The top of your pile should be the first scrap piece you started with (mine is the blue and green argyle print), and the bottom should be the last selvedge in the opposite corner (which is the red/white stripe in my case).  Transfer to sewing machine.

- Pin your first scrap piece (which should be on top of your pile) onto the bottom right corner of your mug rug.  Layer your first selvedge over top.  It should overlap your scrap piece by at least a 1/4" - 3/8".

- Top stitch this selvedge.  Keep in mind, you will be stitching through your selvedge piece, your scrap piece that is underneath it, your batting, and your backing fabric.  Hence, you are quilting as you go!

- Grab the next selvedge from the top of your pile (selvedge is always on right, cut fabric edge on the left), layer it over the previous piece by at least 1/4"-3/8", and sew it down in the same manner.  Continue doing this all the way across your mug rug.

- When you are finished sewing down your selvedges, this is what your mug rug should look like from the back.  Use the outline of the backing and your ruler to trim off the extra selvedges.

You now have an 8" square, quilted mug rug!

- To create your rounded corners, flip your mug rug over so the back is facing up.  Using a cup/glass as your outline and a marker (mine is water soluble), trace a curve onto each corner.  Cut along those marked lines with your scissors. 

Now your mug rug is ready for binding!  Using fabric cut on the BIAS, sew your binding onto your mini quilt in your preferred method.  I like to machine sew mine to the front of the quilt and handsew it down on the back.   

 Please note - if you do rounded corners, bias binding is a must!  It creates a lot of stretch that allows the binding to give when you sew around those curves.  If you don't use bias binding, your quilt will not lay flat.

So there ya go!  A cute mug rug.

Now for a giveaway!  If you would like a chance to WIN this selvedge mug rug or one of the others that are featured during Mug Rug Madness, head on over to Erin's giveaway post and leave a comment there.  Good luck!!

xoxo Angela

Monday, March 21, 2011

mug rug madness

FMF mug rug!
Mug Rug Madness is kicking off today over on Erin's blog, and I hope that you will be following along!  She will be featuring projects and tutorials by some talented bloggers for the next week and a half, and I'm so happy to be included in the party.  I thought I'd share a few mug rugs that I have made for you on this (rainy) spring morning.

Christmas Tree
So what is a mug rug?  I like to think of it as an oversized, quilted coaster for your cup.  They are big enough to hold a cup of your favorite drink plus a little snack.  They are a fun way to dress up your desk or coffee table, and I think they make great gifts.  People are really into mug rugs, and there is a swap group over on flickr that has 600+ members.
another one.
I love making these mini quilts.  They are a quick, satisfying project that can be made in a day and a perfect way to try out new colors schemes and techniques.
a scrappy mug rug
 Be sure to check back in tomorrow!  I'll be sharing my latest mug rug along with a fun tutorial so that you can make your own.  See ya then. :)

xo A

Friday, March 18, 2011

selvedge zipper bag

In case you haven't noticed, I am a very big fan of selvedges.  Apparently you all are too!  I've gotten a ton of emails about this selvedge zipper bag I shared over at the Fat Quarterly blog.

This zippered pouch is something I whipped up one afternoon a couple months ago.  I think it is a fantastic way to display pretty selvedges, and it is super handy.  I take it with me everywhere.  Last weekend I used it to haul my rotary cutter, scissors, needlebook and thread when I went to sew with my friends.  Right now, it is full of my current cross stitching project (pattern from The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery- they are they cutest!)

I'm hoping to write this up in pattern form and sell it in my etsy shop.  I have quite a long list of sewing deadlines coming up, but as soon as I can manage, I will get to work on it.  I just wanted to let you know.  To those of you who are waiting for the pattern, I promise I didn't forget!  If you don't see a post about this soon, feel free to hold me accountable to it. :)

xo Ang

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Have I mentioned how much I love to read?  I love it, it is one of my favorite things to do.  When both boys are in school and Finley is a little older, I plan to get my Master's degree in reading (I have a Bachelors' in elementary education).  Once I get that, I will have the option of  several diffent positions when I go back to work someday: I can teach a regular elementary class, work as a reading specialist, or my favorite option- be an elementary school librarian.  That is my dream job.  Being surrounded by books and teaching about something I enjoy so much sounds pretty perfect to me. 

My current book obsession is the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins.  I just started the second book today, and I am totally hooked.  They are very well written and suspenseful.  Definitely edge-of-your-seat kinda writing.  I feel like I'm one of the last people in the world to read this series, but that is what happens when you have a baby in the house I guess!  Have you read these books?  What did you think? 
*no spoilers, please!!*

Besides reading, I managed to squeeze in a little sewing yesterday afternoon.  Erin from two more seconds (and one of the brilliant minds behind the Sewing Summit) asked me to contribute to the Mug Rug Madness over on her blog.  It kicks off on Monday, March 21, so be sure to check it out!  I will be sharing a fun tutorial and giveaway on Tuesday the 22nd.  Here is a little sneak peak of my project...

As always, this giveaway will be open a follower of this blog.  If you don't already, please go click on the "follow" button over on my sidebar.  :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
xoxo Angela

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

weekend sewing

Hey friends, how are you?  I hope that you all had a nice weekend.  Mine was really great.  I got to spend the weekend sewing with two of my favorite friends from bloggy world, Jessica and Jeni!!  We had the best time.  Lots of sewing, chatting, eating, and shopping.

Jessica made both Jeni and I two beautiful gifts- a needlebook (a la Jaime's pattern) and this sweet pear pincushion.  They are extra special because her daughter helped make them, too.

And from Jeni, this lovely piece of vintage Pyrex!  How pretty is this?  I love the color, it is the perfect shade of pink.  I think I'm going to put it on Finley's dresser.

It was nice to spend time with the girls, and just as nice to come home to the family.  This was my first time away from Finley, and she was a champ of course.  This is what I came home to (I love it, isn't it the best?) 

Back to the weekend sewing... I finished up my Single Girl quilt top and I'm so excited about it! 

Now that it is all done, I will be waiting impatiently patiently for the Sherbet Pips yardage to come out.  I'm looking forward to buying some of my favorite prints for the backing.

xoxo Angela

Thursday, March 10, 2011

tutorial - pom pom trim pillow

Hey friends!  Today I'm sharing with you how to add pom pom trim (aka ball trim) to your pillows.  I adore this stuff.  It adds a fun, happy touch to one of my favorite things to make - pillows!

To get started, you need:
- a squared up pillow top that has already been layered with batting and quilted
- enough pom pom trim to frame your pillow
- scissors
- pins

To determine the amount of trim needed, measure the length of each side and add them all together.  Be sure to give yourself a few extra inches to spare.

Begin by pinning your trim on the upper left corner or your pillowtop.  Be sure to leave a half inch overhang, and start working your way across the top in a clockwise direction.  Warning - This trim is very stretchy, so carefully lay it flat with out pulling.  If you stretch it, your pillow will pucker.

Cut off any pom poms that are in the half inch overhang.  I pin every couple inches with my pins pointing in a counter clockwise.  This makes them easy to remove later.

When you reach the end of the top, leave a half inch overhang and then cut your trim off.

Layer your trim over the previously pinned piece leaving a half inch overhang.  Trim off any pom poms in the overhang trim. Continue pinning down the right side of your pillow top. 

Keep going!  Pin the trim all the way around the pillow, and do each corner the same way.  Don't forget to keep your pins pointing in a counter clockwise direction.  And don't stretch that trim! :)

Now it is time to sew your trim onto your pillow top!  I use a 2.5 length stitch approximately 1/8" away from the edging.


Pull out your pins as you approach them, and remember to backstitch a couple times at each corner, in both directions.  This is what your corners should look like:

Cut the extra trim back so they are flush with the edges of the pillow top.

Time to layer up your pillow!  I used an envelope enclosure for this pillow. 

I have 4 layers to sew together.  Starting at the bottom of the pile:

1- the pillow liner cut to the same size as the pillow top
2- the pillow top right side UP
3- the hemmed outside envelope piece (the part you want to see on the back of the pillow) right side DOWN
4- hemmed inside evelope piece right side DOWN

Carefully pin your layers together with your pins once again pointing in a counter clockwise direction.  This step can be confusing.  Your top 2 layers (the backing pieces) will not lay flat due to the pom poms.  Try your best to keep the edges and corners flat.  It helps to use a lot of pins!  Another tip - pin as far away from the edges as you comfortably can.  This helps push back the pom poms and keeps them out of the way while sewing.

Time to sew the layers together!  You have two options here: use either a walking foot or a zipper foot.  I've used both, and they worked equally well for me.  The walking foot is the perfect width, and you will be sewing right over those little strings that attach the balls to the trim.  If you use it, this part is a little tricky because you may have to push the pom poms (which are hidden at this point) away from the walking foot while you sew.  If you use the zipper foot, use a 3/8 in allowance, and sew right up close to the pom poms.  Be sure to pull out those pins as you get to them.

Almost finished!  Trim off the corners, sew a quick zig zag stitch around the edges of the pillows.... and that is it!  Turn your pillow inside out, and there you go!  A beautifully trimmed pillow.

When your pillow cover is right-side out, make sure you check your trim.  You should only see the pom poms and a little bit of the string.  If you see the rest of the trim, no biggie!  Just turn it inside out again, and sew farther away from the edge of the pillow.

The inside looks so pretty too!  I love lining this my pillows this way

Good luck!  Feel free to email if you have any questions.  xo Angela :)