Yesterday I posted about the rag quilt throw I made with these fabrics (upcycled flannel receiving blankets), and I had 12 squares leftover. They were too pretty to just throw in the scrap bin, so I had the idea to make doll quilts with them.
Sure enough, six of these (8") squares sewn together are the perfect size for a baby doll quilt! I gave one to my daughter for Christmas, and the other is going to another girl that loves her dolls, too.
While we were visiting family for Thanksgiving, I stumbled upon a whole collection of pink flannel receiving blankets at Goodwill. I'm not the greatest at mixing and matching patterns, but this was a no-brainer since it was done for me. I was so excited to make this rag quilt!
I used eight receiving blankets and a few scraps of off-white flannel (upcycled sheets) that I had on hand to make this. The squares are 8" before sewing and 7" after sewing (1/2" seams). This way, I was able to get two rag quilt throws out of those eight receiving blankets.
This is one of my favorite rag quilts to date, probably because it's so soft and feminine and full of patterns that somehow work together. :) Enjoy!
I've had this purse done for awhile now, but I just recently boxed it up to send to my Secret Sister for Christmas - and realized that I hadn't shared it on my blog yet.
Don't you just love the fun fabrics? They are from the Absolutely Cotton line at Hancock's. The lady at the fabric counter said that "everyone" was buying this fabric, so I guess I picked a winner! :)
This particular rag quilt throw is dear to my heart, though, because it's made from 100% reclaimed materials (i.e. materials that would otherwise have been thrown away). Not only that, but it turned out awesome ... and it can be used for a guy (which is terribly difficult for me) ... and it's all cotton.
For this throw, I used clothing that was ripped, stained and headed for the trash can. First I tore off all the buttons and separating zippers, then I cut 5" squares out of the remaining usable fabric. There are cotton canvas, (lightweight) corduroy, flannels and denims in this quilt. Since all the clothes I cut up for it were from guys, I figured it was a likely candidate for a nephew's gift.
I used 1/2" seams on this one, and I doubt I'll be doing anything else from now on. It's the perfect seam, since it's not so big that it blurs the fabrics.
I have enough squares leftover to do another one just like it (or at least similar)! I'll post that one, too, when I do it.
One word of caution: If you intend to try a similar project, keep in mind that denims (and apparently corduroys and flannels) shed like crazy when you wash and dry them. That's great, though, because that was the look I was after.
I cleaned out my lint trap on the dryer halfway through the drying cycle and at the end, and it was completely full each time. This is one that you don't want to just throw in the dryer the first time and walk away for a few hours. (After the first washing, it doesn't shed as bad.)
I've heard of people mentioning this about regular rag quilts, but this is the first one that shed that much for me. I hope that helps someone else!
I have a few more homemade Christmas gift ideas, but I wanted to wait to share them because my kids know how to access my blog through my computer. They love to scroll through it, and they've already stumbled across a few of their gifts that I posted (accidentally, because I forgot I posted about them).
So, beginning on Monday, I'll share a few more of my homemade Christmas ideas. I know it's a bit late for this year (unless you're doing a gift exchange after Christmas), but it will be a good reference for next year, or even for birthdays throughout the year.
In the meantime, enjoy your holiday weekend!
She is nine years old, but she's already wanting to learn to sew and cook and whatnot. To capitalize on that (and make things a little easier for my sister), I decided to put together some sewing kits for gifts.
This first kit is a doll quilt kit. The idea is to learn to hand quilt with this. In the package are a length of quilt-look fabric (no seams), the same size fleece (in place of batting), and the same size muslin (for the backing). I also included a 3x5" card with basic instructions, and there's a nice-sized hand quilting hoop that's going with it. (I got a good deal on four or five of them for $5 at Salvation Army awhile back. I needed the quilting stand, but the other ones were just sitting here as extras.)
My sister quilts, so there are lots of needles and hand quilting thread on hand. If you want to do something similar in a family that doesn't quilt, I would suggest you add a card of hand quilting needles and a spool of hand quilting thread.
She is getting two of these kits - one for her and one to give as a gift to her little sister. This niece loves to give gifts, almost more than she likes to receive them. (Yes, she's a gem!) :)
Here is a fairly simple beginning sewing project - a rag quilt purse kit. I pre-cut all the squares of fabric and fleece. She will follow the instructions I enclosed to sew it all together.
If you're using a strong color, you might consider adding a spool of matching thread to this gift. For the fabrics I chose, white will work just fine, so I didn't bother including any.
Lastly, here is a pillowcase apron kit. All I had to do for this one was print out a tutorial I found online and include a nice, bright pillowcase from my stash. That was easy!
I had a whole file full of ideas for kits to give her, but I ran out of time. Perhaps I'll make them as kits for her birthday or next Christmas.
I ran across some baby long-sleeve t-shirts at Dollar Tree last week, just in time to make this gift for the cousins' gift exchange. I got the smallest size shirts I could find (6-9 months) and altered them to fit the dolls.
Basically, I took it in about 2" total around the neck and hemmed the sleeves and body 2", as well. It fits nicely that way.
I also added a decoration to each of the plain shirts. They were appliques I've had sitting around since my oldest nephew was a baby (and he's now 16). They worked perfectly with these shirts!
Let's face it - these aren't the best quality shirts and wouldn't hold up to a real baby wearing them. But 18" dolls tend to be pretty easy on their clothes, and my niece in particular is very careful with her dolls. They should have a nice, long life at her house.
But that's not the end of my gift ...
I also made a denim skirt (elastic waist) for the same dolls, out of the bottom of one of my husband's old jean legs. Since it's already hemmed at the bottom, all I had to do was cut it to the right length, sew a simple casing, and insert the elastic.
But I'm sure you've noticed the packaging, right?
How's this for a neat package? It doubles as a suitcase for the 18" doll! See how perfect it is size-wise:
(This is my model that I keep on hand to fit clothes to my niece's dolls.)
I got this cute suitcase at Goodwill a few months ago for $0.40. At the time, I didn't know exactly what I would do with it, but I like to collect cute gift containers like this. I always end up using them for something or other.
For some reason, I went looking through my stash of gift packaging and found this. That's when I realized how perfect it was for an 18" doll's suitcase.
Since I have no idea where this originally came from, you can always substitute smallish lunchbox-style tins they sell at Dollar Tree. They're about the same size and would give the same effect, even though they are made of tin.
My total cost for this project: $3.40 (plus a little bit of time and basic sewing supplies).
This first one is going to my mother-in-law for Christmas.
I think the decorative panels add the perfect finishing touch. I liked them before, but I love them now that I've added the panels.
This one is going to my sister-in-law, who has a birthday a few days after the new year. She loves to cook, so I hope she likes her apron. This panel says, "The rooster may crow, but the hen delivers the goods." :)
These aprons cost me less than $1 each to make them, so they're a great gift idea for someone whose finances are tight.
I'm collecting certain color families with specific projects in mind, so it's not just willy nilly buying, in case you're wondering.
Last week when I went to Salvation Army, there was one lone flat sheet. Today, someone had unloaded nearly a truckload of sheets! Things are just thrown on the shelves at this particular store, so I dug and dug ... and dug. But I did manage to find some treasures!
The white and red ruffly thing on top (I have no idea what it originally was) is going to become the ruffly skirt on an apron.
The two panels underneath that were originally valances, but they're a nice size and a great fabric, so I got them, too.
The sheet on the bottom also came from Salvation Army, and I was thrilled to find it. I love florals!
The other two sheets pictured here actually came from Goodwill, where they had a bunch of new sheets this week, too. (Who knew people donated that many sheets in one week?) The brighter, fun one is 100% cotton. There were two flat sheets like this, and I got them both. You can't argue with $2 each for that much yardage.
The small rosette sheet is a fitted sheet. I've been avoiding fitted sheets, but I got some tips on how to store them, so now I'm buying them if they're a print I really love. When I was little, I had a doll dress in small rosettes similar to this, and I've been in love with the fabric ever since. By the way, this one is also 100% cotton.
In case you're wondering about the tips I received regarding fitted sheets, let me explain. I am buying these to use for the fabric. I've been stacking them in color families until I get enough of one color for a project. Unfortunately, the elastic in fitted sheets makes them lumpy and the whole stack starts leaning. So the tip I received (and like the best) is to cut off the elastic and seam rip the seams that create the "box" where it hugs the bed. Then it will lay perfectly flat, just like a flat sheet. It works great!
Here are some in the yellow family. I'm not sure about the one in the middle, but the ones on the top and bottom are true "vintage" sheets (as in "old"). I've seen both of them on other vintage sheet blogs. The one in the middle is just as nice, though, since it's a tone-on-tone, which really comes in handy with quilts. I got all of these at Salvation Army, and they're all flat sheets.
I scored another great fabric buy at Goodwill this week. The blue gingham sheet is huge (I forget, but I think it's Queen size), and it's flannel! Not only that, but I found this cat toile flannel fabric in the sheet section, too. There was no price on it, so she gave it to me for the price of a sheet - $2! Guess how many yards are there? Oh, about four. :) Yep, I'm happy!
I'm thinking of combining these two on a rag quilt for my niece who loves cat. Her birthday is coming up in February. If I add in some white flannel, it should look pretty nice.
I had to laugh when I saw these camo-print valances. I thought for sure they were homemade, but there is a commercial tag on them! I'm not sure what kind of decor they'd go with, but my son loves hunting and camo, so I picked them up for a project for him. There's quite a bit of yardage on the two valances.
I have no idea what this dark green print was originally. It was hemmed, but there were no pockets where you could insert a curtain rod, and it wasn't big enough to be a sheet. It, too, had commercial tags on it. I loved the fabric, so I picked it up, too.
I've been passing up pillowcases, but when I find them in flannels (like the two on the bottom) or pretty prints (like the ones on top), I just can't say no! I've seen some really cute pillowcase projects lately, so I'll tackle a few of those soon, too.
Last but not least, I found a few fleece blankets for a great price. They were $1 (for the pink one) and $0.30 (for the blue one), and they're a nice quality and size.
My husband was very gracious when I walked in the door with all of this glorious fabric. Since I made that yellow quilt, his eyes have been opened to the possibilities. And just as soon as we get our Christmas busyness out of the way, I have some projects I'm itching to make with these!
This first project is one you might recognize:
I made this as a thank you gift for the lady who was my Secret Sister from church. It's pretty tall, about 18". The best part? I paid about $2.25 for everything to make it, except the E6000 glue which goes a very long way. (I had it on hand already.)
I got the base at my favorite thrift store for $0.25, the glass part at a yard sale for $0.50, the candle on clearance at Michaels for $1, and the river rocks at Dollar Tree for $0.50 (I used half a package). I've had the ribbon for awhile now and already used a bunch of it, but I do know that it originally came from Dollar Tree.
The concept is simple: combine a candlestick (or other footed pedestal) with a glass candleholder to make an elegant candlestick/hurricane holder. There is a great video tutorial on Dollar Store Crafts, if you need a visual.
... my first completed, full-size quilt!
I can't tell you how proud I am of myself to have finally finished a project this big. :) I'm a little too impatient (I'm working on that!), and over the years have started too many "big" projects only to have them fizzle out halfway through because they were so much harder than I thought they were going to be.
I love quilts, but I don't have the patience to hand quilt. It takes too long, and I lose interest over the span of one month on one project. So once I discovered machine quilting (especially rag quilting), I knew I had found something I could enjoy. It's quick and easy, and it involves a sewing machine instead of a thimble. (I've been sewing for years, but I just cannot get used to a thimble, so my fingers get raw when I try to hand quilt.)
Making the leap to a bed-sized quilt was a major one for me, and I researched it thoroughly. I really wanted a pieced quilt, but I wasn't sure if it would work with rag quilting. So I searched all over the Internet and found out that you can rag quilt about anything you want to ... so I did.
The nine-patch design is one of my all-time favorites, even though it's one of the simplest. Each block is 12" before sewing the blocks together, and it took 28 of each square - pieced and regular - for a queen-size quilt.
I pieced and quilted the blocks first, since I knew I could fit a 12" block through my machine without a lot of frustration. (I know you can quilt an entire quilt when it's put together on a machine, but I don't like wrestling with the weight of such a big quilt and having to rearrange it every time you turn around.)
Then I quilted the "plain" blocks. I was pretty proud of how they turned out, too, since I don't have a walking foot for my machine (yet), and those hearts turned out pretty good. :) For my heart pattern, I used my Creative Memories CCS hearts to cut a piece of paper as big as I wanted the hearts. Then I added Aleene's Tack It Over and Over to the back. Once it was dry, I just stuck it down on the block where I wanted it and then stitched around it.
I will be getting a walking foot/even feed foot for my machine, though, as soon as I hear back from the Ebay seller about which one will fit my machine. I ended up with some uneven feeding on the top and bottom, but it all worked out once it was sewn together.
Of course, I sewed the squares together in the rag style, leaving exposed edges on top. It turned out surprisingly well! Not only that, but it was super-easy to clip the seams. It was even easier than the purses I've made, probably because the fabric is a little thinner.
I had another idea in mind for the outside edges of the quilt, but it just didn't look right. When my friend saw it, she suggested I turn it in on itself again to create a traditional-looking binding. What a great idea!! It worked wonderfully.
I don't remember exactly which day last week I started working on this, so I can't say for certain how long it took me. But I do know it was less than five days, from cutting out to washing the completed quilt. That's not bad for a week that was pretty busy for us!
So, how much money is wrapped up in this quilt? How about $9, not including the thread (which was less than $3, since I still have plenty leftover). That's the beauty of using thrifted sheets and a thrifted blanket (in place of batting)!
Here's another view of the back:
I was a little more careful in tying this one, so hopefully you can see the details of how it's tied a little better.
Again, I got three of these out of one queen-size bedsheet. I'm keeping one of these for myself, too, and I think the rest will be going into my gift stash.
I searched on Etsy to see what kinds of aprons were out there, just to get an idea of how I wanted to make mine ... and I found the exact apron I was looking for. It was even made from a sheet, too!
The only problem was that I didn't have the pattern, and it didn't list one as being used (obviously). So I sat down with a calculator and my brain and figured it out. :)
Here is the finished product:
It's a bib-style apron with a full skirt, pockets, and a tie closure. But take a look at this closure:
Isn't it cool? No D-rings, no bias tape, nothing of the sort. It's 60" long ties that get threaded through loops on the waistband to make it custom-fitted to almost any size.
I say "almost any size" because the size of the waistband does make a difference. I made the first waistband 28", and there was just no adjusting it to my petite figure. It would fit my mother or mother-in-law perfectly, though, so I'm setting that one aside for my mother-in-law for Christmas. On the second apron, I adjusted the waist to 25" (before sewing, so it's smaller than that finished), and it worked perfectly.
All together, I was able to make three of these aprons from one queen-size flat sheet. I was pretty happy!
I have appliques to add to the bibs, but I haven't gotten them added just yet. (I'm knee-deep in another sheet project that I want to make sure gets finished first.) I'll share pictures of the decorated bibs when I finish them!
I hope this has inspired you to take a fresh look at sheets ... and to try your hand at designing a few patterns. If it doesn't have sleeves or armholes, every pattern is just a matter of squares and rectangles and a healthy dose of math. :)
As soon as she told me the challenge, I started thinking about what I would make. This is the first idea that came to me:
Supplies: paper (GP); ink (BIC Mark-Its); Martha Stewart daisy chipboard coaster; iridescent Stickles; Nestabilities Scallop Circle Large.
This card base uses the largest of the Nestabilities Scallop Circles Large. It comes out around 4" all around.
I've had these chipboard daisy coasters for over a year now. I really love them, but they're pretty big so they don't fit a lot of the projects I make. However, this was the perfect way to show one off. I simply outlined the petal details with my Ultra Fine Yellow Blaze BIC Mark-It and added iridescent Stickles to the center.
To jazz up the inside a little bit, I added a smaller scallop circle in a coordinating yellow. I haven't stamped a sentiment yet, simply because this could be used for a get well, thinking of you, or birthday card. I'll stamp the sentiment when I know what I need it for.
Supplies: paper (ATG print, GP cardstock); Nestabilities Scallop Circle Large; silk flowers.
This one is similar, and I only thought of it because I have the daisy coasters stored with my large silk flowers that I've taken apart for cards.
Again, these large daisies are so large that they don't always work for a lot of my projects. This, however, is a perfect way to showcase those lovely large daisies. I've used components from two different silk flowers on this one - a yellow and a pink.
I added the background print so that the card base didn't look so stark, and I like the fun feel the polka dots give to it.
This one is plain on the inside, but here you can see the shape of the card base. Again, I'll be adding a sentiment when I use the card.
That's all for me this week. Now you can go see what my friend came up with. Enjoy!
I think I already mentioned that we were on vacation last week. Our idea of vacation is to get a condo and lounge around doing "nothing" all week or hit the local thrift shops. We did a little of both this time, which amounted to the perfect vacation for us.
Here are some of our best finds of the week ...
First of all, this Brighton purse that I picked up at Salvation Army for $1.49.
See? It even has the name intact, which means whoever bought it didn't get it at a closeout store or when it was discontinued.
And here are some cute charms that were attached to the front of the purse. Are you familiar with Brighton purses? If not, do a search and find out what these bags go for. This was a steal! (And yes, it has the signature Brighton heart charm attached to the handle. I just didn't take a picture of it.)
At the same Salvation Army, I spied this adorable picnic-basket-style purse. I just had to have it. Imagine my surprise to open it up and find this label:
... Etienne Aigner, with a price tag of $1.99. I didn't have to think twice about that one, either. I'm already using it.
On a side note, I was never that enamored with purses until recently. Now I love to collect (and use) cute purses, but only if I get them at thrift stores. :)
That same Salvation Army had this Stampin Up musical score background stamp and sentiment for $5.99. It took me all of five seconds to grab it. I'm not sure how much it costed originally because I can't seem to find it online anywhere. But I know for sure that it was a LOT more than $5.99. The funny thing is I've been admiring musical note backgrounds lately and had my eye on a set of clear (much smaller) ones at Michaels.
My 10-year-old niece is getting into crafts and sewing and such, and her mother wanted to give her a sewing machine of her own for Christmas this year. The only catch: she wanted something less than $20. Hmmm ... none of the thrift stores around here seem to sell them for those prices, at least not with a presser foot and confirmation that it actually works.
In fact, our Goodwill has knowingly put out a Janome sewing machine with no presser foot that they knew didn't work and marked it "as is" for $40. (I don't mind them marking it "as is," but if they know it doesn't work they really should note it. All electronics are marked "as is," but we assume they work.) Good thing the employees like me and were kind enough to clue me in! I shop with caution at that store, trust me!
Anyway, I found this older Kenmore that works and has a presser foot for only $8 at Salvation Army. My sister was thrilled. It's a bit dirty, but dirt can always be cleaned up. For that savings, we're willing to do some cleaning.
At the same Salvation Army, I found this very nice sturdy rolling suitcase for $4. Since we travel a fair amount, our kids each have one of their own, but they are falling apart. I've been scouting for reasonably-priced replacements, and I was thrilled to find this one for less than we originally paid for the ones they have now.
Remember the Goodwill with the broken Janome sewing machine? Well, things have a way of working out. I really don't like that they pulled those shenanigans with the Janome, but check out this fabric I found in the sheet section. Are you familiar with quilting cottons? This is a Michael Miller design called Pretty Poppy. It's 44" wide, and there were 7-1/4 yards of it. Guess what I paid for it ... How about $4.00! This very same material is going for $7+ a yard online. Thanks, Goodwill! That reminds me of the saying, "What goes around, comes around." :)
I mentioned that I've been collecting sheets for the fabric, right? Well, here we go with my sheet finds. I already shared my first haul last week. This is what I've collected since then. I got all the above yellows at the same store for $2 each, and they're all Twin size. I'm thinking they'd make a lovely quilt.
I found these sheets at a lovely Hospice thrift shop. Don't you just love it when thrift stores take the time to organize and package things in a pleasing manner? It doesn't hurt that the prices weren't affected by the packaging, either. I paid $3 for each bundle that included a Twin flat sheet and pillowcase. This is such a versatile fabric and could go with reds/pinks or yellow.
I hit the jackpot at a Salvation Army store that was crammed full with sheets and such. I don't know for sure, but I think this was originally a curtain panel in someone's kitchen. Whoever had sewn it must have been a beginner (from the looks of the sewing), but there are plenty of cute designs for me to cut apart and use as appliques on my homemade aprons. (They're a lot bigger than they look.) I only paid $1 for this panel, which includes over 10 of the blocks.
I got all of these at that same Salvation Army store. The top two are flannel sheets (both Twin size), and I'm thinking of making a rag quilt out of them. The small floral (Full size) is another very versatile filler-style fabric, and I was thrilled to get it for $3. I got the blue stripe (XL Twin for $2) to pair with the sewing-themed fabric I had bought earlier. I'm planning to make my niece's sewing bag from it.
I got this Queen-size fitted sheet because I love the fabric so much, but my husband decided to steal it for our bed. I guess I'll still get to enjoy it there ...
I got a fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcase of this lovely bluish/purplish rose from an SPCA thrift shop for $5/set (Twin size). I was pretty happy with that price since I love roses so much.
A Salvation Army store yielded this Twin-size sheet for $2.
And I found this beach-themed fitted sheet (Double size) at Goodwill for $2. My sister-in-law's room is done in a beach theme, and I'd love to make something for her bed.
My daughter loves Hello Kitty, so I couldn't pass up this Twin-size sheet and pillowcase for $2.75 at Goodwill.
I don't know what to make of this fabric, since it has no label on it. I'm not even sure it started out as a sheet, although it appears to have been one. It feels like a 100% cotton, but it's sized really funny - something like 52 x 90". That's okay, though. I'm happy to have gotten that much pretty fabric for $2 each (there were two of them).
And lastly, I picked up these flannel baby receiving blankets for $0.10 each. A friend of ours is having a baby, and I'm hoping to make something with them.
That's a lot of fabric, isn't it? My son just walked into my room and said as much. My husband asked if I was going to work through all of this before I went to the nursing home. Ah, the doubters. Wait until they see what all of this can make! :)
Tomorrow is our "I Challenge You Wednesday," but I'll have a sheet project to show you on Thursday ... and probably a few more days after that, too.
And just in case you're interested in what people are making with sheets, here's a great blog for you.