Happy Easter Bunny Pillow

Another craft I’ve taken up recently is punch needle. This is another easy project type for a beginner! There are also a lot of kits you can get for starter projects. This project is not from a kit, though. I just made it up as I went along!

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Back in February 2020, before we had a clue all of our lives were about to change dramatically, my kiddo and I took a punchneedle class at Wyldwood Creative with Andie Solar of Myra & Jean. Now I say it’s a fun easy craft project. Andie was a good teacher, but she does some amazing art that I haven’t been able to figure out and that does not look easy!

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After the class I had the punch needle tool I needed and a random stack of yarn. I ordered some monks cloth and set to work on my bunny project! I changed the length of the punch needle to be longer for the tail! One tip I learned in the class was to not go in straight lines, to get a more organic feel and to not see the ‘lines.’

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Once I was done, I finished the back with a layer of thin fusible interfacing.

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For the back I upcycled two pillowcases by using the contrasting hem of the pillowcases. And I added a hidden zipper! Surprise!

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When I was trying to figure out how to sew the front and back together, I found two schools of thought. Some tutorials said to use a zipper foot and sew right up to the punch needle edge. The other side said that you don’t need to do that and to just use a regular foot and to sew over the edge of the punch needle edge. I went with option 2. I got two perfect edges and two not so perfect edges… Next time, I’m using the zipper foot method to see if it helps get a better edge!

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Have you tried punch needle??? It’s really quite fun and relaxing!

A Bunny Embroidered Bag

And now for my third embroidery project!

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This project is a combo of two projects from The Love magazines! Since I’m still learning this embroidery thing, I’m enjoying following the directions from the Love Embroidery Magazine instructions.

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This pattern by Stacie Bloomfield aka Gingibear was featured in Issue 1 of the magazine, but it’s also online at Gathered. It was a pretty easy project, but the split stitch that I did to fill in the body took me forever! and it doesn’t have the same lovely texture as her project. Maybe I didn’t do it exactly right. Not sure!

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For the bag I followed the tutorial in Love Quilting Magazine for the Stitch and Stroll bag by Sotak Handmade. I forget the issue number, but it looks like her pattern is in now in her etsy shop, here. It’s called the Denver Tote in her shop. It’s a great little drawstring tote bag pattern. I’ve made it a couple of times now and it goes together quickly! In hindsight, I wish the bunny was higher up on the bag…. Oh, well!

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I choose to use some fun chicken fabric on the inside! I thought it was bright and fun and went well with the bunny!

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I gave this as a Christmas present, but maybe it should have been an Easter present! 🙂 ha!

My First Embroidery Projects

I started doing embroidery back in 2020! I started getting more and more enamored by embroidery watching amazing artists on instagram. Then I found the Love Embroidery Magazine and got hooked!

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For this project, I attempted the cover project from Issue 4 of Love Embroidery Magazine. Only I wasn’t about to attempt the whole thing! I tried the hummingbird, but not the flowers. The directions in the magazine are always quite through.

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It even looks like I almost know what I’m doing!

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Instead of doing the flowers as embroidery, I went back to something I knew a little better and that’s paper crafts and using my Cricut. I got the leaf and flower templates from the Designs by Miss Mandee blog. She makes AMAZING things from paper and a Cricut! I used her tutorial and SVG files for her Die Cut Tropical Leaves wreath project. I also added flowers from her Spring Animals with Flower Crowns project.

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I used to glue my backs and then learned that gathering back helps with fabric stretching over time. So now I finish the backs like this!

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I’m pretty happy with how this one turned out! This is actually my second ever embroidery project. Keep reading for my first project…

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My dad, husband, son and I love Ice Cream…. My son thinks my Dad’s night time ritual of a bowl of ice cream every night is what everyone should do. When I saw this little project, I knew it would be a great gift for my dad!

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This was a fun project to start my embroidery obsession. I just wish I had all the time in the world to sew, embroider and cross stitch!

Have you started any new crafts lately???

Disposable- An Upcycled Quilt

Or as they say on Project Runway, an Unconventional Challenge.

Not too long ago I saw a call for the UW Recycling Trash Art Contest. As soon as I saw the call, I knew what I wanted to do. I had to make a quilt from all the disposable masks.

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When the pandemic hit, I made a ton of masks. I HATE the nature of the disposable masks. I’m that person that also hates to buy anything that is individually wrapped. No single servings pre-packaged for our lunches. And the same with the masks, no one time use in this house. Then I went to work in a hospital and the disposal masks are required as a way to slow the spread of Covid. But honestly, it makes me cringe to see all these disposable masks strewn about the streets. In addition to the disposable masks I also used a neighbor’s worn out scrubs and disposable gloves. Not a single bit of new fabric was harmed in the making of this quilt!

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For the round blocks I used my used masks and my neighbor’s scrubs. I cut the masks in half and made a quick template for the outer piece. The problem I realized with these materials is that the masks melt if you try to iron them. So, no ironing the seam allowances!

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I made this block out of my husband’s masks, the neighbor’s scrubs and a disposable glove. I love the secondary shapes the masks make. In the end, as much as I love this block, I didn’t love it as part of the quilt, so it ended up being left out of the quilt.

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And the half square triangle blocks made with disposable masks and disposable gloves. I sewed together two masks and cut out about a 5.5″ square and sewed the two together around the edge. Then cut down the middle to get 4 HSTs. Or course, no ironing here either!

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The quilting inside these masks represents the germs bouncing around inside the masks, but not being shared with those around me. The circular quilting around the masks represents the germs staying on the outside, another reason we wear the masks. I quilted the circular blocks first, then the mask blocks. It was a pure, happy accident how this quilting came together in the corner.

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One of the questions for the Trash Art contest was to explain how this art piece is relevant to my personal and/or UW campus waste? 

This quilt is relevant to my personal experience in so many ways!  For the last 10 years I have worked as an architect in the healthcare industry in local hospitals, including UWMC and Harborview. I have always grappled with the irony of all the disposable items used in healthcare to keep our patients safe and healthy versus the amount waste these same items make in order to also keep our patients safe and healthy. When I transitioned to an employee at UWMC last year, I had to give up my handmade, washable face masks for the disposable one time use masks. Every day on my walk to work, I pass mask after mask disposed of on the ground of the UW campus. This quilt is literally made of my own personal, disposable trash being upcycled into a work of art.

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And the back….

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I used the last ‘larger’ piece of the scrubs on the back. And in good upcycling fashion, I just happened to have these blue and white striped sheets in my stash waiting to be used.

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ok, maybe I didn’t tell the truth… I did use one small piece of new fabric. The label is new. The binding is, again, worn out scrubs.

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I had this idea to take these pictures hanging on the side of a building next to a dumpster. That situation didn’t exist where I thought it did. But my husband spotted this recycling dumpster and it was perfect for my photo shoot. It did make it a little hard to get the color perfect in the pictures though.

A Piebald Pouch for the Kiddo

I made the kiddo a toiletry bag years ago. Well, I actually made it for my husband, but the kiddo took it over. But it’s too big for what he needs.

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I’m a sucker for the Sew Sweetness Minikins patterns. When I saw the patterns in the Minikens Season 3 and saw the Piebald Pouch, I knew it was perfect for a smaller toiletry bag for the kiddo!

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The pattern comes in three sizes, but the only problem was that they weren’t tall enough to hold his toothbrush. I guess it wasn’t really a problem, necessarily! I just added a couple of inches to the bottom.

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For the inside I used the same cleanable fabric I used in the last toiletry. I honestly don’t remember what it is, but I do not recommend it for this pattern! Ha! It frays really easily and there were a few tricky spots with sewing this together that I didn’t know if I’d make it through without it completely fraying apart… I made it, but by the skin of my teeth and a few bad words!

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I love that it opens out! And look, tall enough for the toothbrush.

It is all made from my stash! I had been holding onto the great bunny fabric for YEARS! And he picked it out. Of course, I had the matching solid fabric. I had the interior fabric and the zipper. And I also just happened to have all the interfacing required by the pattern (even though it didn’t work great with my lining fabric….) Perfect! I love it when a project comes together like that!

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The detail of the hook on the back is really nice as well. If you do make the bag taller, don’t forget to make this piece taller too. I made the size M, but made it 2″ taller. This meant the hook needed to be 4″ inches longer than the pattern called for.

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I just happened to have this fun blue leather that matched perfectly for a little leather pull detail!

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And it works! We took it camping and it worked! He takes it on sleepovers. Perfect!

Red and White Quilt

It’s almost perfect for this holiday weekend! It’s just missing that Blue part….

This one was started way back in 2018 and finished last year. It is a paper pieced pattern that I did with my do.Good Stitches group back in the day.

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My group was usually not fans of my paper piecing obsession! But they played along nicely anyway. Well, some of them did. I bowed out of the group not long after designing this one and presenting it to the group. A few members never sent me their blocks… Oh, well..

There are actually 3 different blocks in the quilt and I had assigned different blocks to different people. The original quilt design was intended to be a little larger, but I think the size it ended up is just right.

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One thing I do love about bee quilts is the variation in colors of fabric. I love how this is a red and white quilt, but when you look closely each block is just a little different.

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And the back. I had a few blocks that were a little smaller than the rest so they went to the back. That is a typical problem when doing paper piecing. Be sure to always print your pattern with no scaling. If you don’t, different programs treat PDF’s differently and some scale up or down the image.

Anyway, they ended up being perfect for the back, so it all worked out in the end.

The little triangles in the top corners are not part of the quilt. I basted them on to make it easier to hold for photographs! And it seemed to help.

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I just really love this one! I did have a little trouble quilting it due to the bulk in the corners. I need to figure that out before I attempt this one again.

I’m also considering publishing the pattern one day soon. Yes, no?

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And my quilt holder fighting with the wind. You can see how he used the corners. Not my idea. I got the idea from my friend Debbie, aquilterstable, who got the idea from Zak Foster Quilts.

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It’s quite Red, White and Blue for the holiday weekend, but it’s as close as I could get! I hope everyone in the US has a great 4th of July weekend and stay safe!

A Graduation Gift Set for a Drummer

I may have mentioned this, but I’m really bad about giving graduation gifts on time. It takes me a while to figure out just the right thing!

My cousin’s son graduated high school during the pandemic and started college at Troy University playing drums. I’m just a year late on this one!

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I had the bright idea to make him a drum stick bag. My original idea was much more simple than I ended up making! I mentioned it and was introduced to the world of drum stick bags on Amazon. No drawstring bags here… But I was up for the challenge. Pockets and straps and handles, oh my!

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I also took a while to figure out how I wanted to make it special. Then the idea of cork came to mind. I ended up ordering some black and grey cork from Sew Sweetness and it’s just perfect. The school colors are black, grey and burgundy, so I stitched the outline in burgundy thread.

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The biggest detail on the outside is the T. I love how it turned out. But I also added handles and a key fob and a little cork detail to finish off the double zipper.

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The inside has 4 pockets and a long adjustable strap. The strap can hook onto the side of a drum and hang there for easy access to the drum sticks.

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I also made a bucket. For the drum stick bag, I just made up the pattern as I went. But for the bucket, I used the free Faithwell Storage Bin pattern by Sew Sweetness. I’ve used this pattern before with my cross stitch koala and love it. I have never included the handle, though.

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The storage bin actually came out of a mistake I made on the drum stick bag. I originally sewed in the T in the wrong orientation. So then I was was like what do I do with this extra Troy T? I make a bucket! Perfect!

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I followed the directions, but changed it up some with the cork. The directions call to use fusible foam and fuse it to the exterior fabric. I was hesitant to add to the cork, so I flipped it and added the fusible foam to the lining. I was also concerned about the seams in the cork, but they turned out great!

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I also made a key chain with the scraps from the cork pieces. I used my own tutorial for that!

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Then I filled it with fun goodies. Seattle Chocolates, a WA state flag, a Troy pin, some Legos, and a stress ball thingy! I was super excited about how it turned out. and I’m pretty sure the kiddo liked it as well.

Do you have a favorite Graduation Gift you like to make?

Improv Stars Quilt Block Tutorial

This one is long overdue! I made the tutorial WAY back in 2017 for my group in the do. Good Stitches group. A long time ago!

I asked my group to make a few of these stars each and send me some navy squares as well. The stars and navy squares turned into this lovely quilt I call, Falling Stars.

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You may recognize it as I’ve posted it on the blog before when I was honored to have it featured in the Curated Quilts Curves Edition. The magazine is fantastic and this issue is full of great talent (if I do say so myself!)

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I even had some left over the quilt back. I think a random scrappy placement would make a really cool quilt, too!

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You can take this block tutorial to make all sorts of fun things! So let’s jump into it! They are curves, but they are super simple! Trust me on this! Let’s go!

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1. Stack the background and star fabrics, right sides up with the star fabric on top of the background fabric. 

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2. Trim off each corner with a quarter circle shape. No rulers! Start your curves at approximately the center of each side of the background fabric and finish on the adjacent side of your square, in approximately the center of the background fabric block.

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3. You want to keep the corners in the same location as they were cut! Discard the star fabric corners and the background fabric star. (I keep all my scraps, so you can keep them and use them to make an inverse color Falling Stars quilt!) Then stack your star and corners and move to your sewing machine.

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4. Line up your star fabric with a quarter circle of the background fabric. Right sides together. You will want the background fabric to overlap the corners of the star fabric by about a half inch. Do not line up the corners of the background and star fabrics!

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5. Now sew it together. No pinning! This is all about moving the pieces slowly through your machine and continually aligning the two pieces. You want to hold the top fabric in your left hand and very slowly, move the star fabric with your right hand. As you sew, continually move the blue and yellow fabric towards each other so that the edges align with each other as you continue from one end to the other. If you need to stop and adjust, that’s fine. At the end, the bottom fabric is going to try to stick out and it’s ok if it does! 

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6. Iron each quarter circle as you go. Iron towards the background fabric. You’ll see that the fabric will guide you to ironing towards the background fabric! 

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7. Sew on the next quarter circle. Make sure you overlap so that you have at least 1/4″ before the yellow, preferably more.

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8. You’ll end up with a pretty funky shaped block! Use a 6 ½” square template if you have one to square up your blocks. Try to keep at least ¼” of background fabric at each corner of the star. 

Once you get it, you’ll have plenty of stars in no time! Enjoy! 

My son started a new quilt this week and he wanted stars, so I didn’t teach him any old star. I taught him an Improv Star. He made tester block for his first attempt and it wasn’t very good. (Mostly because I cut the fabric the wrong size since I thought it was just a test.) He kept trying to convince himself that it would work because he didn’t think he wanted to make three of these. But by the time he finished the second one, he realized how easy it was and continued on to make the third! If he can do it, so can you!

Can’t wait to see what you make with the Improv Star Quilt Block!

A Buffalo Cushion

This is an oldie project that I never shared, but since I’m broken and confined to elevating my broken leg, I’m pullin’ out the oldies to share!

I’m an architect and at our firm at least once a year a vendor will ask us to participate in a design fundraiser. They usually supply a piece of furniture and we have to make it something else or embellish it or something! Then we give the piece back when we’re done and they have a party and silent auction to raise money for something. For this project, I contributed my quilting skills.

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The firm I work for is called Buffalo Design, so we decided to make a Buffalo seat cushion for part of the transformation.

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This is what we started with. A plain blank white chair that’s way heavier than it looks! A co-worker drilled the holes in the back of the seat. (more to come on that…)

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The name of our firm comes from the building where the firm actually began, but our logo is an actual buffalo. Everyone has different colored business cards and we each have a few different angles of the buffalo. The colors of our business cards became the colors of our cushion.

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I sketched out how the pattern would go together and put it in CAD. Which is how I make all my paper pieced patterns!

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Then I just started paper piecing it together until I had our colorful buffalo!

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The cushion fit perfectly in the curved seat.

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My co-workers took on the yarn embellishments! I love the pattern on the front and the pompoms on the back. And again, we stuck with all the colors of our business cards.

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The great thing is, my bosses went to the party and were the high bidder on our chair! So it’s still in our office for us to enjoy! I keep saying I’m going to make the office a buffalo pillow for our couch in the waiting area, but I haven’t yet. One day soon!

Cross Stitch Keychain

I do love a fun little cross stitch project, do you? I mentioned before that I have a little addiction to quilting and cross stitch magazines. I get these and always find a project in them that I want to make for someone else. So I am always thinking of a way to turn cross stitch projects into something usable.

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When I saw this cute little golf design in Cross Stitch Crazy Issue 243, I knew I wanted to make it for my Dad. But what would he do with it? I decided to make it into a key chain. He could use it on his keys or attach it to his golf bag.

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Super easy! I made the little key fob bit, then layered it with the front and back of the key chain, right sides together. Sew around the edges, leaving a small hole to pull it all through. Pull it through so the right sides are facing out, trim the corners and iron. Lastly top stitch around the edges to close the hole.

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This is a great little gift idea for a small cross stitch design. If the design is really small, it could even be made for a zipper pull on a purse or large pouch!

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What do you like to do with little projects like these? Any other gift suggestions?