Wall Pocket Teacher Gifts

In my usual end of year Teacher Gift, I used my ‘I’m a Teacher, What’s your Superpower?’ fabric to make some sort of tote or pouch. This year ended up to be a Wall Pocket from SOTAK Handmade’s book That Handmade Touch.

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These turned out pretty cute. The pattern was super easy to follow and quick, too!

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I have these small rolls of leather that I love, but… Of course I know all school year when the last day of school was going to be, but I waited until the last couple of days before school got out to make these 6 teacher gifts, didn’t I? Yep! I did. And I just assumed I had all the materials, because I usually do. Low and behold, I only had enough of my favorite leather strap to make one! It’s the more orangey one in the top right of the picture. I knew I couldn’t get that leather (from Amazon) in enough time for me to be comfortable, so my dear husband stopped by our local leather store, MacPherson Leather, on his way home from work to pick some up… They didn’t have exactly what I needed, but they did have these purse straps and they worked quite nicely in a pinch!

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You can see they are all a little bit different! But that works, because the fabrics are all a little different as well! Four of them have outdoor or home dec fabric on the outside, but all the inside fabric is quilting cotton.

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The pocket is just the right size to include a gft card, a thank you note and command strip to hang the pocket on the wall.

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I added a little tiny label in each one, too.

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You can watch a timeline of the transformation that this fabric label has gone through in this blog post. I’m pretty happy with the wall pockets! I may just have to make these again!

Waves- A Mini Mini Quilt

As you probably know by now, I really enjoy quilting challenges! I love the Curated Quilts mini challenges because they are minis and a fun break between larger projects.

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This challenge was called Utilitarian and the challenge was to use ‘accessible fabric’. I had a little problem with the term Utilitarian because to me that means it needs to have a useful purpose. And Mini quilts, typically are not very utilitarian. I even googled it. ‘Utilitarian Art is art that has function as it’s priority and yet is still aesthetically pleasing’ according to my google search. I thought about making it a hot pad/trivet or an oversized pot holder, but I just ended up going with a plain ‘ole mini quilt!

My mini quilt has no real function…

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But! My mini quilt does incorporate ‘accessible fabric’ which is defined on the challenge page as scraps you have on hand, significant fabrics that you treasure, or thrift shop finds. My husband just happened to have cleaned his closet out and had this shirt as a throw away, so I grabbed it and headed to the sewing room! And the green is fabric from my stash.

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The challenge also had an inspiration fabric, Candlelight Woven in Ocean by Ruby Star Society. It was requested to use this fabric or let it inspire the color selection. I let it inspire my mini, because buying new fabric didn’t feel very accessible to me…

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I used the inspiration fabric for both the color and the design. I designed a little paper piecing sketch to mimic the zigzag pattern in the fabric. I didn’t actually paper piece it necessarily, but improv pieced based on the little pattern piece.

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I mimicked the wave shapes in the quilting, even in places where the waves aren’t there!

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I also added in some white contrast pops! I initially though the white should be grey, but I couldn’t quite find the right grey in my stash so I moved to the white. I actually like the brightness of the white.

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For the back I had this matching print fabric in my stash that I decided to use. The piece finished at 12.5×12.5 inches. A mini mini for sure!

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I submitted! We’ll see if it makes the cut… Either way, I enjoyed making it. Did you make one?

Up and Over

Up and Over is my quilt entry for the Quilt Improv Studio Primary Challenge. I love participating in these challenges with people from all over the world! For this challenge the ‘rules’ were to use primary colors and to use the graphic element of lines.

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Not only was this a Quilt Improv Studio Challenge, but it’s also a Quilt Design A Day to Reality quilt! I don’t do it as much as I used to, but I love doing the Quilt Design a Day challenges. This design came from one of my QDAD designs from years ago. 6 years ago, actually!

I was thinking about using a black and white stripe for the applique lines. Then I remembered this black and white fabric I have also had about 6 years as well! This is fabric from the Spring 2016 Modern Quilt Guild Fabric Challenge. Yep, 2016! It’s the Sashing Stash Fabric by Eleanor Dugan. I had grand plans for this fabric back in 2016, but they never came to fruition. I didn’t want my straight stripes to be just black or just white, so this fabric ended up being perfect for this challenge.

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I quilted the red, yellow and blue before adding the bias tape applique. After quilting I sent back and hand appliques the bias tape.

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This is my first experiment with using facing as the binding technique. I kept debating which color to use as my binding and nothing worked. I realized it was because the lines needed to be framed in. Perfect time to try the facing technique. I used the tutorial by Cotton and Bourbon and it went smoothly. A little slow since I kept changing my thread color, but I’m hoping next time will be quicker!

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I’m really happy with how it turned out! It’s not quite my usual improv style, but it was a fun experiment!

My First Applique Quilt

Way back in 2017 my guild did an applique BOM… I started it with everyone, but got a little behind. And I admit, I was so NOT excited about this one. I was like, seriously??? But I learned a new skill and I’m glad I played along. Even if it took me three years to finish and another one to blog about it!

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The quilt was designed by our guild friend Jonna, aka @bespokeoutlaw, and it was inspired by her Great Uncle Russel Day. He was an artist, designer, jeweler and professor. His work is really fantastic! Check out this video for more information.

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The first blocks we were tasked with were quarter ‘opals’. And if you follow along with me, I love a quarter circle. My first thought was why would you applique one when you can sew just as easily. Or in my mind, flat out easier! I was trying to do the needle turn applique, but as you can see from the pictures above, I used my fingers for more of the turning than I used the needle! ha! I did get better at it, trust me!

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Each month we made a different shape until we had a whole pile of them. Enough to make a quilt! Imagine that!

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I think my favorite block may have been the bias tape applique blocks! I love these! And if you saw my IG post today, you know I have them on my mind again!

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I liked to use the shapes of the applique pieces to inspire the quilting.

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Jonna gave us a suggested layout, but I didn’t really stick with it. Instead of using sashing I added a wider border. I also added a few stripes in the border. These were not appliques, but traditionally pieced.

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This little orange piece most reminds me of the inspiration art. And it was tricky for a newbie, but with her instructions, I made it through!

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The back isn’t too interesting on this one. It does show the quilting nicely, though!

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And the label… You’ll see I started it in 2017 with the guild. And honestly, I think I finished the blocks in 2017, as well. But I didn’t piece the quilt top until 2020. No excuses… And then I didn’t find the right place to photograph it until last fall… slow mo!

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The quilt holder behind the quilt! And those corners on the back were only added to help hold the quilt. I should have taken them off for the back pictures, but I didn’t…

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And here’s the whole mural! I should go back and get the artist’s name. It’s quite a beautiful work of art to be on the back of a building!

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A huge thanks to Jonna for getting me to try something new and teaching me (and the whole guild and possibly you too) how to do applique. It took the scary out! And I’m currently working on another applique quilt. Need to get back to that!

A Puppy Tray- AKA Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

Here’s another pretty quick Christmas gift idea that you don’t have to worry about shipping times! A foundation paper pieced tray!

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I like big noses and I can not lie! Apparently, between this project and the last, I seem to have a thing for animals with big noses! ha!

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The project was inspired by a fabric tray project in Love Quilting Magazine (Issue 65) by Susie Bellingham. She had two cute paper piecing patterns to go with it. I love them and want to make them for someone soon! But…. I made this last year for one of the kiddo’s teachers who loves dogs. The kiddo picked the pattern and the fabrics. And the pattern had to be a dog, not a bunny or mouse.

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Have you ever checked out Artisania patterns? They are so cute! I made her little fox years ago on a skirt for my niece. The kiddo loved the dog with the big nose! She also has a cute owl!

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The project is super easy. Basically, you place the top fabric (it can be foudnation paper pieced, traditionally pieced or not pieced at all) right sides together with the back fabric and a piece of batting on top. Sew it together leaving a hole to turn it right side out. Top stitch the edges. Then sew the corners. And you have a tray!

I did add a little extra step. I also quilted a rectangle the size I wanted the tray to be. Then folded up the corners at that line. Does that make sense? It helped the sides of the tray be a little more straight.

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And there you have it! A fabric tray! Perfect for gifting. Or keeping for yourself! 🙂

The Evolution of The Superhero Teacher Gifts!

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have a standard theme to the gifts I give my kids teachers.

I made this fabric YEARS ago! And after these gifts for Christmas, I have run out of fabric. I started this when my kiddo was in pre-school. He’s in 7th grade now. I made the design and had it printed via Spoonflower.

For 6 years I made tote bags, with the superhero label as a pocket. Then in 4th grade the kiddo had a male teacher and I thought he might want something different! And maybe I was just ready to make something different! I made a one hour basket for that teacher. Then I made some more totes. And last year I switched to quilted pouches.

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And to keep things exciting, this year I made Scrappy Make-up Pouches from the Noodlehead tutorial. (Don’t tell his male teachers they are make-up pouches!)

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The backs are just solid pieces of fabric. No quilting this year. They could be, but I didn’t.

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I lined them in fun fabrics and added a label. For both the outside and inside, I tried to use large scraps from my stash. And of course, I had plenty to choose from!

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Now, here’s where I have a problem! You’d think I would have figured this out by now. I never have the right size zipper, but I have a bunch of zippers that I can use. So, I always cut mine. But, I cut them at the end and then I end up with too much bulk at the corners and can’t pull it out and make a nice corner. Something I need to work on! Suggestions?

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Despite my issue with zipper ends, I think they turned out cute!

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I also used to make these as end of year gifts, not Christmas gifts. The last two years I started making them as Christmas gifts. I think I want to make something different for holiday gifts and keep these as summer gifts. I don’t know why! ha! What do you think? Do you think these feel more like holiday gifts or summer gifts? Do you make teacher gifts for the holidays? What is your favorite holiday teacher gift to make?

More Pillowcases!

Like I mentioned in my last post, I love making pillowcases as Christmas presents… And since Christmas is coming up soon, I thought I’d share some I made last year.

I can’t post the pictures of gifts before Christmas then I forget to post them after, so here they are!

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I just love this mix of fabrics! All Cotton and Steel. I even got to throw in some of my most favorite ‘sprinkles’!

I made these using the Burrito Method using The Seasoned Homemaker‘s tutorial. This is the same way I made the Harry Potter pillowcases a while back.

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As I mentioned in that post, the burrito pillowcase tutorials don’t make their pillowcases using directional prints. Yet, once again, I chose a directional print. The burrito method uses one long piece of fabric for the edge of the pillow, one long piece for the trim and another piece for the main pillowcase. To use a directional print, you have to piece two pieces together to make the main fabric piece.

The tutorial I used uses a 27″ by 40″ piece for the main fabric. For directional fabric you need to cut (2) 27″ by 20 3/4″ pieces. Then sew these together using a French seam tutorial. I made mine with a 1/4 inch seam and then a 1/2″ seam. Then I have a 40″ long piece of fabric for the main fabric.

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You can see that I now have penguins with their heads up on both sides of the pillow!

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And they blend great with the kiddo’s sheets! These are a great way to use up large pieces of your stash. I found some fabric last night in my stash that I bought for pillowcases ages ago. This Christmas, it’s being used and removed from my stash!

What’s your favorite pillow case tutorial?

Loons Here and There

This doesn’t happen often! A quilt that I started this year, finished this year, photographed this year and am blogging about this year!

This one I’m calling, Loons Here and There. If you are a fan of Maria Shell, you may recognize it as a play on one of her quilts.

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I took Maria’s class, Improv Triangles: Perfectly Pointless, at Quiltcon From Home in February. I love a good improv triangle quilt and found the class very inspiring! I also have a bad habit of starting quilts at QuiltCon and never finishing them. (But thanks to the WIPs Be Gone Challenge, I’m going to change that soon!) But this class inspired me to get out of bed despite my broken leg and sew for a little while each day! I fell in love with Maria’s Break Up quilt and wanted to give it a go!

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She recommended pulling 8 to 12 fabrics for the fabric pull. I pulled 17, plus I added in brown later. I didn’t think much about the pallet, actually. I pulled a bunch of leftover fabric. Fabric that I had about a fat quarter’s worth of or so. Then got to cutting the squares.

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Once I had the squares, I cut them in stacks into triangles and then sewed them back together. The rule I made was that the sides of the triangles couldn’t be the same color. In keeping with improv, I only used the ruler to eyeball the size of my blocks. I did use it to get a straight cut on the triangles, but not to measure anything. Once I sewed all the pieces back together, I do trim the blocks, but just to give me straight edges, not a particular size. And I repeat this every time I sew blocks together.

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Then I just laid them out and played with contrast to place the blocks.

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I would sew them into smaller blocks and then added a few straight pieces as needed to get all the blocks to fit together. I love the quilting pattern I used. Again, using improv a bit. I laid out the diagonals first using a guide, but then went back in between adding the diamonds ‘freehand’ with the walking foot! I did have a little problem with the quilting and the fabric not staying put. I spray baste and I think it was a combo between the actual brand I was using and also with the the fact I sprayed and then it sat without being quilted. Anyway, once it washes, I think it will be just fine for a potential baby quilt for a friend.

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I did piece this back. I love how the orange block is reflected in the rock formation behind the quilt! You may also recognize this backing fabric from a few other quilts… The Spark and Tic Tac TIgerlily and Scatterlilies. I still have more so you may see it again!

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And my label shot. This also gives a nice view of the quilting pattern.

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And the cutest quilt holder…

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And that’s a wrap for this one! In case you’re wondering where this awesome ‘quilts in the wild’ photoshoot took place, I’ll tell ya! It was at Steamboat Rock State park in Eastern Washington. One of my most favorite places in WA!!! If you haven’t been, you should go!

The Spark- A Mini Quilt

If you follow me on IG, you know I have a to do list this year to get my WIP completed and my sewing area purged. I also have a list of exceptions and one of those exceptions is to participate in the Quilt Improv Studio’s quilt challenges!

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This challenge is Monochrome Dreams!

“Monochrome dreams” is our new improv patchwork game, aimed to let you play with one hue in many shades.

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Originally, I had a plan for a pink quilt. I’m on a bit of a pink kick right now. Not that you’d know if from what I’m sewing, but you would if you saw what I’m buying! 🙂

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Then, I was sorting through scraps I had pulled for an ongoing scrap project I’m working on, I found all these orange scraps that were already pieced…. I couldn’t resist! They are the leftovers from the Improv Flower Pillow I made a while back.

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I didn’t have quite enough to hit the 24″x24″ size requirement, so I also pulled more orange scraps to get me to the right size. I also cut way more squares than I needed for another quilt I just finished and will tell you about soon. So I pulled those orange squares and started cutting into them too, making flying loons.

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I was going to cut out the yellow (or the very, very light orange hehehe) pieces, but in the end I decided to keep them in. They are what give the quilt it’s name. The Spark!

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I usually am not very creative with my quilting thread. This year I participated in the monthly Aurifil 2021 Color Builder program. Mostly to get the awesome wildlife paper piece patterns by Cassandra Beaver. But the ones I just recieved happened to be orange, so I used them!

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Some detail shots….

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The back was almost just one piece of fabric. Which isn’t really my style, but for the smaller ones, I don’t piece as much. This one I cut the back wrong, so I had to add the orange anyway. And you know me, I always like to throw in a picture of the label!

I know there are a bunch of pictures, but I also wanted to share a few behind the scenes…

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My kiddo did the quilt holding. We did 4 photo shoots. Two just didn’t turn out quite right. Then we found these fields! The pup looked happy to stop and smell the fresh air!

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And that’s my Spark for the Monochrome Dreams Challenge! Are you participating? What color would you use?

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?