December 13, 2015

last minute gifts

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Have you recently discovered that there is going to be a gift exchange at your book club, or your “mommy” group? …or that your gift cards for the postman, newspaper delivery person, nail girl look kind of lame stuck on their cardboard backing? Here is an easy fabric ornament that you could whip up in fairly short time (if there’s any of that to spare!!). I have made these before and they really do go together quickly. I would follow Ami’s directions up to the handstitching part and then follow Kevin’s lead from there on out. I have not found it necessary to put in the firmer backer that Ami added, although it is nice if you want to have a place to write the year or a short message. I have never seen that sticky backed template plastic that she used. Has anyone of […]
December 11, 2015

it’s a new day

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Testing out my new blog making “stuff” at our guild’s new site and platform. Seems like it will be a quick learning curve, so hopefully we’ll be back to normal very soon. From my perspective it’s mostly just a matter of new log-in credentials, and a few new routine things for letting all of you know that an entry has been posted. I’m working on holiday gifts like crazy these days-the little things for mail deliverers, nail girls, hairdresser, etc. Soon I have to get busy in the kitchen-cookies, etc. I think that with our unusual weather my internal holiday countdown has not started yet. No wonder I’m a bit behind. Found a great recipe for fun hot chocolate stir sticks. The cook says you’ll never go back to powdered hot chocolate mix. We’ll see. (Didn’t you hate it as a kid when your mom […]
December 10, 2015

Hello! (testing new blog site)

Hi everyone, long time no see, right? Yes, it is me, Marija, the perpetual MIA blog writer… Nothing like a brand new web-site and blog to give me a kick in… (you know what) to get back on the wagon and be much better about writing – promise to be better, with all my might!! OK, enough about that! Hey – this is a test – I just got all the information and I am trying to see if this works, I hope it does! Please, please – re-subscribe (add your name and email, on the upper left side), if you didn’t so already, so that you continue to get notifications about new blog posts. It just wasn’t possible to transfer that from the old blog, so it will only take minute for you to re-subscribe – THANK YOU!! I will keep this post short, since it is a test, […]
December 8, 2015

factory stitching mode

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. As we are approaching the big deadline for our holiday crafting, it might help to switch into factory or assembly line mode for getting those crafty or quilty gifts done. Here are some suggestions from a crafter who not only works a full time job, but is a productive quilt artist as well. If you read and used a few tips for finding time to sew from quilt artist Pat Sloan that I wrote about in a previous post, maybe this one will help you make the most of your found time. Click here. Are any of you working on a batch of gifts for the holidays? Today I’m going to be working on pajama pants. The pattern has been traced out in the correct size. Now I’m off to layout the fabric, cut it out, and get to the serger. I don’t use the […]
December 6, 2015

Who knows where the time goes?

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. How are we going to find the time to get everything done that either needs to be done this season, or that we want to get done this busy holiday time? Did you have good intentions to make something for each person on your list? It might be time to pare down the scale of those projects, but you still have time to get a lot of sewing done between now and the big day if you plan it right. Pat Sloan (one of our seminar teachers from not too long ago) has some good ideas for finding time everyday to sew. Check out her no-nonsense suggestions! Right here. 945
December 4, 2015

paper footballs

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. If you have had middle school aged boys around you for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with paper footballs. The boys can be entertained for hours with a paper football and a willing opponent. I must admit there were times when monitoring a study hall before the holidays, when I would relent on my harsh study hall teacher persona and allow the boys to play paper football quietly. Who knew that it could solve a storage dilemma that many of us face? …the dilemma of storing all of those plastic bags that seem to multiply like loaves and fishes. In this link you will find how a quilter/crafter solved her dilemma by folding her bags football style and keeping them in a lovely “clothespin” bag. I think this could be a genius gift idea. Particularly if you would do the folding of the […]
December 3, 2015

an oldie but goodie

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Not a big fan of hand sewing. Too slow moving for me. I will hand stitch when it gives better results than the machine, or sometimes on “heirloom” projects that will be gifts. I enjoy embroidery now and then, but regular hand sewing is not for me. That said, I started my sewing journey learning to hand sew. My first non-doll clothing project was a hand sewn apron. Every stitch, including the gathers, was done by hand. That might be the root of my aversion to stitching by hand what could more easily be done by machine. This video tip was shared with me by our guild’s publication editor, Karen G. I knew the first bit about how to thread the needle from long ago, also taught to me by my grandmother. The second lip balm bit is new to me and will be handy […]
December 2, 2015

cute drawstring bag

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. Crafty Gemini has been around on the internet for a while now. Vanessa, a clever millenial, has been sharing fun projects to make for your family, friends and home. She now has partnered up with the Jenny Doan empire of Missouri Star Quilt Company, so will become much more familiar to an older audience. But none the less, her projects are cute and quick. In this video she will walk you through the steps of making a drawstring bag. She bills it as a gift bag, but I think it could be useful in many other ways as well. The little boys in my life have all sorts of soldiers and small characters with which they love to stage battles. When going to a restaurant, a few always come along for the wait before the meal is served. My nieces, now too old for dollies, […]
November 20, 2015

a very slick technique

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. I don’t know about you, but I hate binding a quilt. It’s like I’m almost to the finish line and then I have to stop in place for some boring work. I don’t enjoy the hand stitching process that so many quilters tell me is very relaxing for them. I have learned a few tricks along the way that make stitching the binding entirely by machine good enough for me, but this video and tutorial I found this morning are very intriguing. I might have to invest in this foot for my machine. I know I could use it for other applications as well. Click here. BTW the heirloom creations site that is referenced in this link is a very good resource for both Bernina owners and Husqvarna Viking owners. Great instructional videos on all sorts of aspects of those machines. I also have e-mailed […]
November 19, 2015

free dresden tree skirt or table topper

Hello all, Mary Ellen here. The dresden plate block is one of my favorites in quilting. I love traditional blocks made with modern fabrics. Here is a video, accompanying a free pattern, for a beautiful dresden style tree skirt or large round table topper. You may not take this on for this holiday season, but it’s definitely a keeper for another year. It would of course be lovely made in non-holiday fabrics as well. Making it with the tree skirt opening would allow you to use it on an umbrella table on your deck this summer. Lovely! Click here.