Monday, December 9, 2013

A Better Skater's Waltz Holiday Wreath

The more I looked at it, the Skater's Wreath I showed you in the previous post, the less I liked it. Back to the store for more greens plus a $10 wreath (originally $25). Now I'm truly happy with the results.
I call these "Good, Better, and Best."


Here's the one I showed you in the tutorial posted a few days. Scroll down to the previous post for the how-tos and a different version of this idea.


Here's the second version with more greens and another spray of poinsettia. Now it has better balance! I just tucked the pieces in behind the ones already "tied" to the skate and anchored the new ones to the old with a green twist tie. Much better!


And finally, I added the wreath behind the skate,  "tying" the skate to the wreath with another twist tie. I used another long twist tie to fashion a hanging loop on the back. I think this is the best--with lots more presence on our front door!

What do you think? Actually, I'm happy with either Better or Best!

Hope you're not too cold--it is frigid here in Washington state--unusually so. BRRR. Reminds me of living in Colorado, Wisconsin, and Maine. I'll take rain over this, to be sure!

Wishing you happy holiday preparations!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Skater's Waltz Holiday "Wreath"

Inspired by Pinterest

I've been collecting photos on Pinterest featuring wreaths and other door decorations for Christmas. Of all the ones I pinned, I most loved those featuring a vintage skate as the container for a winter "floral" arrangement. I pinned several and my Skater's Waltz combined ideas from several. I found a pair of skates in an antique mall in the summer, snatched them up, and tucked them away for Christmas crafting. I'm thinking about placing a green wreath behind it as a backdrop—but maybe I'll do that next year. Time is running out! I was surprised at how little time it took to complete not one, but two—one to give as gift. Directions below are for one skate. Have fun—there's still time to make one and enjoy it for the months of December and January!

Materials for One Skate

  • 1 vintage ice skate
  • 2-1/2 yards 3/8"-wide patterned Christmas ribbon for the "shoestrings"
  • Assorted floral or novelty sprays—you will need several so buy more than you think you will need; I used a spray of poinsettia, a large spray of greens and a smaller one, plus pieces from a second spray of poinsettia
  • Narrow ribbon for the hidden hanger

 Other Supplies and Tools

  • Tissue paper
  • Florist ties or green "twist ties"
  • Craft glue
  • Seam sealant such as Fray Check (not shown in photo below)
  • Scissors with sharp points; also an awl if you have one
  • Wire snips
  • Tapestry needle or other needle with a large eye
  • A piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard to hold the skates upright while you work is helpful, but I didn't have a piece and managed without. 


1. Cut the narrow ribbon for the ties into four even lengths. To create points that will be easier to insert through the eyelets, apply craft glue to the ends and roll to a point. Allow to dry.  

2. Remove the original shoestrings and stuff the toe of each skate with tissue paper.  

3. When the ribbon points are dry, lace the skates until you reach the eyelets. Add more tissue paper to fill in the heel area partially.

4. Arrange floral stems as you like them and test them in the skate. They will probably be too long and you will need to cut away the excess with wire cutters (or an old pair of scissors). You can also bend pieces of the spray to create a pleasing and balanced look. This step is very experimental. Play with stem placement until you are happy with it and how it looks in the skate.

5. Use a green twist tie to hold the pieces in place. Don't just wrap the tie around and around; weave it in and around the stems to secure it in the desired position. Tie off.

6. Tuck the floral arrangement into the skate, along with additional tissue paper to hold it in place. You will secure the spray to the skate in step 9.

7. Support the skate in your lap or in a piece of Styrofoam or heavy cardboard and complete the lacing, adding more tissue paper if needed. Tie in a bow. Treat the cut ends with seam sealant, saturating about 1/2" of each end. Allow to dry thoroughly.
 When the ribbon ends are dry, cut the ends at an angle, through the "sealed" area.

8. To attach a ribbon hanger, use the points of a sharp scissors (or an awl if you have one) to make a hole in the back of the skate at about the center.

9. Cut an 18" length of the narrow red ribbon and use the tapestry needle to thread it though the hole. Wrap one end around the floral stems to secure it and tie a square knot, snugging it to the skate. Depending on the position of the twist tie, you might be able to pull the ribbon through it too--experiment!

10.  Decide how long you want the hanger and hold both ends of the ribbon together. Tie an overhand knot. Cut the ribbon ends at an angle and treat with seam sealant (Fray Check). You can use a bit of craft glue on the knot and around the hole here if you like. I did because my spray wanted to stray from its desired location in the skate.

11. You may decide at this time to add more floral items in the area below the floral spray to fill in and cover the upper edge for a more finished look. I glued leaves and ferns together and used a bull nose clip to secure them while they dried. Then I glued the pieces to leaves in the floral spray—just in case I want to change the sprays at a later date. The final touch was a pine cone that I removed from extra spray. I always buy extra sprays (at the dollar store if possible) so I have more material for fill-in.

Ta da! It's finished and ready to hang. If necessary, you can bend portions of the floral sprays for the look you want.

Lesson Learned

Now that the skate is hanging on the door, it "lists" to the right, and to me it looks a little off balance with the heavier spay to the right. It would be in better balance if I had located the large spray to the left in the finished skate. So, crafter beware. Work to keep your floral sprays positioned in the skate, with good balance to offset the toe down position of the skate when it's hanging. The one I made for a gift (shown below) does a better job of that.

Great for A Gift

Now you can make another one with the remaining skate to give a friend. For a less traditional look, try brightly colored whimsical "floral" stems, like the glitzy ones I found on sale. I gave my dear friend, Sheryl, the option to choose either skate as her Christmas gift—early—so she could use it. I made the glitzy one for her and that's exactly what she chose. When I told her that it was the one I made for her, she said, "You nailed it!" I loved it too and would have been fine with the glitzy one if she had chosen the one I made for me. 
Notice that I made a glitzy bow to fill in at the lower edge of the arrangement and glued it in place on the floral stems at the upper edge of the skate. I used wire-edged ribbon so I could shape the bow and tail pieces on the finished skate.

Hope you enjoyed this project tutorial.

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!

And Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at my house and the North Pole. Mrs. Santa is planning some great holiday entertaining so she can show off her new apron. You can too if you use my newest pattern to make your own holiday apron.  You can purchase "A Holiday Apron for Mrs. Santa Claus" in my craftsy pattern store. Click above or on the photo to get there.

The apron is trimmed with knit fleece at the neckline and ruffle. I took advantage of the stripe and cut the bib and ruffle with stripes running horizontally. However, you can cut it as one piece instead of two, using the pattern pieces provided in the pattern. You can use a stripe, a solid, or other holiday print of your choice. You can also eliminate the ruffle if frilly isn't your style. Directions are included for both versions with clear step-by-step illustrations and photos Pretty pearl buttons and buckle (or gold or silver if you prefer) add the final finishing touches. The one-size pattern will fit most. Why not make two while you're sewing--one for you and one to give away.

Use it for Holiday Decorating

 I posed the finished apron on my antique dress form and decided it made a  great holiday decoration for my sewing room. I don't use my project photo  samples, so I'll tuck the apron away with my holiday decorations when I  "untrim" my tree. I hope to finish decorating today. It's taking me longer due  to my back injuries, but it's a labor of love. I just have to pace myself!

This year I am looking at every ornament before hanging it and if I don't truly "love it," I am setting it aside to share with my grandbabies (now 3 and 5 and not really babies). They will be here in a few days to help decorate the small tree I bought when Kendall was a year old. It will be fun to watch them put the ornaments in their just right place!

In case I don't get back to blogging until after the holidays, I hope yours are cheery and bright, filled with laughter and love! The New Year is just around the corner and I have lots of ideas waiting to stitch and share!

Until next time,
Keep on sewing, quilting, and crafting!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make a Jingle Trees Christmas Apron...

...just like this one my Grandma made! She made lots and lots of aprons in the 1950s for family and for her church bazaars. I can't remember ever seeing her without an apron. She loved to cook and she really loved sweets, so I could always count on cookies at her house. And when we moved a thousand miles away, we knew there would be a big box of grandma's sweet treats in the mail for Christmas! So, this pattern is a tribute to her. 

Not too long ago, my dear Mom called to ask if I wanted some of the linens from her hope chest. Of course I said yes, but I didn't know that Grandma's sweet Christmas apron would be in the box too. I just couldn't resist reviving the pattern for my readers at this special time of year. I don't have many of Grandma's things so it was a special surprise to receive it from Mom.

In tribute to Grandma's love for sweets, the pattern includes my favorite recipe for decorated sugar cookies. What fond memories this apron evokes of my loving and selfless Grandma!

There's still time to make one of these aprons for yourself to wear during the holidays. Like this and all of my patterns you'll find the PDF downloadable pattern in my pattern store at Craftsy.

Until next time,
Have fun stitching, quilting, and crafting!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another New Mug Rug Pattern

I just might be addicted--to mug rugs. During the past month, I've designed many and completed 11 patterns. They are such fun to design using Electric Quilt 7, and they're so fast to make--talk about a little piece of instant gratification! I'm pleased to announce that my Turkey Time Quilted Thanksgiving Mug Rug has just joined the holiday parade in my pattern shop at

Because mug rugs remind me of a nice cup of hot coffee, and coffee is always better with a sweet treat, this new pattern also includes two of my favorite harvest-time recipes: Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie and Easy Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. So grab your scrap box, search your fat quarters, and stitch up a batch of these fun mug rugs for your holiday table or to give as gifts. Then try one of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving-time treats. Enjoy!

Until next time,
Keep sewing, quilting, crafting, and smiling!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Trouble with Quilted Mug Rugs...

Just like you can't eat just one potato chip, you can't make just one mug rug. They're fun, cute, easy, and quick to make. I was a little late with Halloween so I bypassed Thanksgiving (for now) and skipped right on to Christmas. With over eight new designs from which to choose, I settled on making my three favorites and have grouped them together in a single pattern. Check out Santa and His Helpers at my craftsy store:

 Santa & His Helpers

If you prefer, the mug rugs can become oversize ornaments or package gift tags by adding a ribbon tie to the upper edge as shown in the photo of Rudy' Red Nose, above right. Or, if you use a muslin backing to cover the batting and the quilting stitches, you can write a holiday message on the back and add other "artsy" embellishments with stamping, doodling, etc. Pop them in envelopes to send to friends who will appreciate your handiwork.

Simply Santa is just that--really simple to stitch up in a hurry. Use poly felt for the beard, mustache, and hat trim and do free-motion quilting in the beard to simulate Santa's curls. For his hat, choose two red fabrics to help differentiate the two pieces. Add a white pompom to the tip of the hat.


Rudy's Red nose, as shown, is an applique enhanced with a flat button. When adding embellishments, make sure they won't interfere with your mug, if you're planning to use these as mug rugs.

Alfie the Elf looks like he's a little unhappy--maybe he's a little overworked! It's all in the shape of the mouth! Make it smaller and turn up the ends a little more when you stitch his mouth for a cheerier demeanor. Flat buttons replace appliques on Alfie's hat and shirt.

All three mug rugs are set up for fusible applique. The pattern includes full-size applique placement guides and reversed images for fusible applique. Use up scraps and cut into your fat quarters for these fun mini quilts. They are wonderful scrap buster projects and give almost instant gratification.

Set yourself up to sew multiples and you'll have a set or two done in no time. Check out the section on Assembly Line at a Glance in the pattern. 

No Time Like the Present...

to start your holiday sewing. And, speaking of presents, why not stitch up a set of my placemats, Presently Wrapped, too? The napkin is folded to form the bow on these easy-to-sew mats. Or, if you love Santa as much as I do, check out Santa's New Suit placemats with a napkin designed to look like his hat.


And, if you're looking for an easy Christmas wall hanging to deck your holiday halls, I think you'll love A Heartfelt Christmas. It features easy piecing in the background and fusible applique. You can add embellishments to the tree if you wish for a truly one-of-a-kind tree!

These projects will keep you busy with holiday sewing and they're easy so you're sure to get them done in plenty of time for Christmas...if you start now.

Until next time,
Happy Holiday Stitching

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sew Pretty Sew Easy Tote Bag--Great for Gifting

Sew Pretty Sew Easy Quilted Tote Bag
I wanted to design something pretty and practical and this little tote bag was the result. It's a great "scrap buster" project--each of the four fabrics required for the piecing and the lining require 1/2 yard or less. Add a bit of lace--three yards will be more than enough--and some polyester fleece and you have a finished bag in no time. It has simple square corners and two side seams that are bound for a neat finish inside and out. A hanging pocket inside is the perfect place for your phone, a pencil or other small items to keep close at hand.

The sewing is fast and easy. Polyester fleece between the two fabric layers adds just the right amount of body and requires only minimal quilting. I did a simple grid of squares in the center panel only, plus the stitching that holds the trim bands in place adds straight lines to anchor the pieced panel to the fleece and the lining. All pieces are cut across the width of the fabric so there is no bottom seam. It really couldn't get any easier to make it.

Sized at 15" tall and 13-1/2" wide, the tote is the perfect bag for book club meetings, quick errands--or even to hold a small knitting project. With Christmas coming, this is the perfect for anyone on your list who loves bags. You can make several in one sitting--and you might just have the makings for all of them in your fabric stash. I made mine in just a few hours, once I had the design finalized. While I love floral prints and lace, other fabrics will work too. Go bold with a bright modern print and eliminate the lace for an entirely different look.

Like all of my patterns, you'll find this one in my Craftsy pattern store at:

I'm headed back to the machine to whip up some Christmas-themed mug rugs. I had such fun making the ones for Halloween, that I just had to get back to designing them. I'm getting pretty good at designing appliques in Electric Quilt--I don't do well with pen and paper, but EQ has made an "artist" out of me! Read my previous posts to see my "ghoulishly easy" Halloween mug rugs.

Hope you're having fun getting ready for Christmas--my favorite Holiday. I'm ready to start sewing gifts--after I finish a set of mug rugs!

Have fun sewing, quilting, and crafting.
Until next time,
Keep on sewing and smiling!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mug Rugs...I'm Not Done Yet!

My sewing room is a mess, my sewing machine needs to go to the Dr. (the bobbin won't come out--maybe it's just too tired!), and I need to start a new tote bag pattern. I'm tidying up today, but there are more mug rug designs on the drawing board for sure!  I made two more this weekend and posted them to my And now I'm cleaning up the studio so I can begin another sewing "mess."

The Witch's Best Bonnet Mug Rug
First, I thought my first witch-themed mug rug needed a companion so here's her hat: The Witch's Best Bonnet. As you can see, the ribbon on her hat coordinates with the skirt in the companion, The Witch's Ruby Red Slippers. I think she needs a black cat (designed, but not stitched yet), and maybe a broom or a cauldron (yet to be designed).

The Witch's Ruby Red Slippers
"Owl" Always Love You!
I also made "Owl Always Love You!. He's a sweet little owl who wears his heart on his chest for all to see. Don't know why he looks so sad--maybe his sweetie left him? Change his eyes and his "look" will change, too

He's made in fall colors, but could be done in a multitude of color schemes.

I hope you will check out all my other mug rug patterns at
as well as my totes, accessories, and quilts.

Until next time,
Keep on sewing and quilting and crafting!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Calling All Gouls! A Pattern Set of Halloween Mug Rugs

I just spent the past few days combining four of my Halloween mug rug patterns into a set and creating a new pattern for it. Calling All Ghouls features Perky Pumpkin, A Ghoulish Scream, Frankly Frankenstein, and Dracula, My Darling into a 15-page pattern, complete with full-size templates for easy fusible applique and foundation piecing. Combining four in one pattern lowers the pattern price, too! Individual patterns for each of the designs are also available--check them out at my Craftsy online pattern store:

Four mug rug designs in my 15-page pattern.

I had such fun creating each of these designs. The stitching time is minimal and you may already have everything you need in your scrap and fat-quarter stash to make a set. While you're at, maximize your time and make two sets--one to keep and one to give away! 

Hope you'll have fun making one or more of these little "ghoulish delights!"

Check out all of my other Halloween projects by reading the previous blog entries that follow. I've been having such fun!

Until next time,
Have fun sewing, and quilting, and crafting!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Witch's Ruby Red Slippers--Another Halloween Mug Rug

It's all about those red slippers!

This little mug rug is super fast to make! Just piece a simple background (wall and floor) and then fuse the appliques  in place (complete with a hole in the wall for a mouse). Layer it for quilting and then zigzag the appliques in place. Add more quilting as desired. It just doesn't get much easier. 

These are so much fun! Like eating potato chips--I'll bet you can't make just one! Make in sets and choose lots of different fabrics for the skirt, stockings, and ruffle. Sets are more fun if every witch is different--just don't touch those ruby reds!

For even more fun, check out my other Halloween Mug Rug patterns in my Craftsy Store at

Look for: 
Dracula, My Darling Mug Rug
Perky Pumpkin Mug Rug

A Ghostly Scream Mug Rug
Frankly Frankenstein Mug Rug

If you've never made mug rugs, try one of mine--but be careful, you might get hooked! I'm ready to design and make some for Christmas!
Until next time,
Keep sewing and quilting and crafting!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It's All About the TuTu--A Witch's Wreath for Halloween

In my last post, I shared my newest creation-The Witch's Wardrobe Wreath. 

What I didn't share was that making Halloween wreaths was a cooperative project with my dear friend Sheryl. I was so excited to have mine finished, I couldn't wait to share it. And Sheryl's wasn't finished until today. While we started with and used many of the same components, Sheryl used "deco-mesh" to create her witch's handkerchief skirt.

 And, the legs were made from costume "tails" from Dollar Tree--plus felt shoes trimmed with a little ribbon. I alluded to making these legs in my last post. This is the basic shoe shape I used, enlarging it as needed to fit around the tails (which had a bit of fake fur, that I removed). After cutting from felt and stitching together 1/8" from the raw edges, I stuffed the shoes with a bit of fiberfill. I used a bamboo skewer to push the fiberfill into the stuffed toe. Note: When you use felt for the shoes, there's no need to turn the shoes so the seams are inside! Then I just used a square knot to tie narrow ribbon in place at the "ankles."

Well, we had such fun making this "witch with an attitude" and I thought you would enjoy seeing it. Not much sewing on this one, other than some stitching to "tame" the tutu a bit. This wiry mesh just didn't want to stay in place, so I stitched the lower layer to the ribbon-wrapped wreath--done with 10 feet of glitzy orange wire-edge ribbon. Only a bit of it shows in the final product, but it was a necessary component.

I'm tickled pink with both wreaths. How about you? We had such fun dreaming them up and completing them!

Until next time, 
Have fun sewing, and quilting, and crafting!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Witch and Her Wardrobe, A Wreath for Halloween

Well, most of it! Her dress is missing, but she's hung up her hat, shoes and stocking, broom, and gloves for the night! I had such fun designing and making this wreath. My original vision was entirely different, but this is what evolved and I love it! A one-of-a-kind!

Here's what I did in a nutshell. I started with a metal wreath—about $3.99 at the local craft store.

I found the lace witch hat at Dollar Tree, and the flowers, too—maybe $3.00 total! The glitzy spiders on the gloves were on sale—these are just two from a package of 8—maybe $1.00 total.

The cute little kids' gloves—in the perfect colors—were on sale for $2.00 at the local grocery store. And, the legs with shoes came from Pier One too, on sale for $8.00 total.

I wrapped the wreath first in two different colors of wire-edged ribbon, leaving a small section uncovered so I would have a place to attach a hanger made from a black twist tie I kept from some packaging to recycle. Ribbon cost—approximately $3.00.

Other than the bit of flowers and ribbon, the broom was free—a stick cut from the butterfly bush in the back yard and some orange plastic fruit netting, saved from groceries for recycling.

So let's see, that's about $21.00—and lots of fun!

Want to make your own?

You will need:

16"-diameter wire florist's wreath

1 child-size witches' hat (dollar store)

9 feet of wide ribbon; I like wire-edge for this because it's easy to shape around the wreath; ditto for the second ribbon. (fabric store on sale)
A second ribbon in your color choice; you'll have ribbon left over if you buy a spool of 9 feet. (fabric store on sale)

Polyester fiberfill  (had on hand)

14" piece of felt; color doesn't matter as it won't show (had on hand)

Optional: 18" square of cotton fabric to match or contrast with the hat color, only if the brim is lace like it was on mine. (from my fabric stash)

Assorted sprays of "silk" flowers in your choice of colors (dollar store)
1 pair child-size gloves (grocery store, on sale)

Optional: Small spider ornaments for gloves (on sale at Pier One)

Stick for the broom (from the garden)

Plastic fruit netting (saved from groceries), or other material such as twigs from the garden, or natural materials from the craft store for the broom 

Pair of witch's legs with shoes(on sale at Pier One. You may have to make your own if you can't find any in your favorite stores. Hint for Making Legs and Shoes: Buy two animal tails at the dollar store—they have Velcro tabs to connect them to a costume. They are already stuffed. Just cut out a pair of shoes from felt, stitch together and then slip over the "tails" and sew in place.

Sharp Scissors
Glue gun and glue sticks
Tacky craft glue
Seam Sealant such as Fray-Check

Prepare the Wreath and the Hat

1. Wrap the wreath in your choice of ribbons, leaving a section of the wire wreath unwrapped for attaching the hanger. The hat will cover this area. Use glue gun to attach the ribbon ends to the back side of the wreath.

2. Put a few handfuls of fiberfill inside the hat to add shape. Don't stuff too firmly—just enough to give it shape.

3. Cut a circle of felt that will cover the fiberfill and hand sew to the seam allowance.

4. Optional: If the brim is lace, place the hat on the 18" square of fabric and trace around the perimeter.

Cut out the circle 1/2" larger all around than the drawn line. 

Apply some tacky craft glue to the felt circle as shown in the photo. Also, apply to the outer edge of the brim. With the right side of the fabric showing through the lace, glue the circle to the hat brim with tacky craft glue. Use small bullnose clips to hold it in place as you work around the brim and leave them in place until the glue is dry. Use a small, sharp scissors to trim the excess next to the edge and treat the raw edges with seam sealant to prevent raveling.

5. Decorate the brim with flowers as desired. (See the photo of the finished wreath.) First, I added green ribbon and hand-stitched the lower edge in place. Then I drew up the wire in the upper edge to gather it a bit to fit around the "cone." I turned under one end of the ribbon and hand sewed it in place to cover the raw end. Plan the flower positioning before using the glue gun to secure each one.

Make the Broom

1. Cut a sturdy piece from a plant or tree—about 13" long. Secure whatever you are using for the broom sticks to the stick with hot glue. Embellish with flowers and ribbon as desired and glue in place.

Assemble the Wreath

 1. Make a loop with a twist tie and attach it to the wreath in the uncovered section. Hang the wreath somewhere on a wall or door and thenPosition the hat on the wreath at angle, over the area without ribbon. Pin to the ribbon, remove from the wall and use buttonhole twist or a doubled sewing thread to hand tack it to the wreath on each side of the brim. The upper portion of the brim should not cover the wreath.

2. Attach spider ornaments to the gloves if desired. I used hot glue for this. Hang the wreath, position the gloves and pin in place. Use hand stitching to secure them to the ribbon on the wreath. Make sure the stitches are through the underside of the gloves so they won't show from the right side. 

3. Position the broom across the wreath at an angle and use hot glue to secure. (See photo.)

4. Re-hang the wreath and position the legs. Mark the position with pins through the ribbon. The legs I used were attached to wooden skewers when I bought them. I cut them so they wouldn't show above the inner edge of the wreath, then tucked them behind the wreath at the marked locations and hot-glued the skewers to the wreath. I also hand-stitched them to the ribbon on the back of the wreath. You will probably have to sew your legs in place if you make them.

Ta Da--it's ready to hang and enjoy!

Although this isn't technically a sewing project, it did require hand sewing to secure some of the items to the wreath. It was really fun and easy to make. It took longer to shop for all the things I needed than it did to put it together--after a few false starts with the design. The next challenge? How/where to store it when the "witching season" is finished for another year.

Until next time, 
Keep sewing and quilting and crafting and smiling!