This week's mug rug

Since it's almost Easter - I thought that this week I'd make a mug rug in that theme!

So I found a lovely tutorial from The Split Stitch

It was nice and easy to follow - and included the downloadable template for the egg shape.

I chose scrap fabric from my yellowish box today - to fit with the Easter theme!
The fleece I used for the batting wasn't wide enough -but I just joined 2 pieces together - knowing how much quilting seems to squish those seams down so they aren't noticeable.
So here's what I started with...

After quilting the top and batting together - I then cut out the egg shape...

And stitched the layers right sides together to the backing.  
This mug rug was made without binding - just joining the two pieces together, turning out through a gap, then topstitching.

Although this was nice and easy (to avoid the tricky binding) - I don't think I like the end result quite as much.

Here it is compared to last week's mug (a bit like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall)

I like the thicker feel when the quilting stitching runs through all the layers!  But, I also really like my new little egg mug rug - and can see that binding that shape wouldn't be much fun!!

There is another mug rug tutorial that doesn't use binding, and is made slightly differently again - over at Razzle Dazzle Quilter.
Very cleverly - she turns the mug rug out through a hole in the backing, then hides the hole with matching fabric and fusible webbing!  Another great idea to avoid that binding!

But next week - I shall be looking for another mug rug tutorial with binding - I really need the practice!

Learn to crochet - chain stitch, my first video tutorial

Well here it is!
My first video - on you tube! I'm very excited that I managed to get it done.  It's not slick, smooth and perfect - but I learnt a LOT!  Now that I know I can do it - I can work on making more videos that are better and better!

I've had fun making this and learning - and will be sharing what I learnt in some blog posts this week.
If there's anything particular you'd like to know how I did - please ask!

But for now - please take a look at my first ever video:

Anyone can crochet - starting out

Please please, let me know what you think. Don't be shy - any comments - what you liked and didn't - what I can improve on etc!

Go on - I can take it!

A Mug Rug - quilting practice

After recently finishing my second quilt, I decided I'd like to learn and practice more about quilting - but with smaller projects!

So I decided to look at mug rugs!  
A couple of years ago, I made myself a cute pink one:

And I thought that these mug rugs are the perfect thing to practice on because:

1. They are small and don't take long to make.
2. They are small and so are great stashbusters.
3. They are practical and useful and if I decide I have too many of them myself, they would be great gifts to friends!

I also want to follow more of other people's tutorials online, so I can learn more about what I find both good and not so good in the way things are explained or presented and so use that to improve my own tutorials!

So - yesterday I found a tutorial over at The Curious Quilter.

I chose to use scraps from my blue box to make this one..

And chose these:

I found straight away that I wished the measurements were in both cm and inches as my cutting board is in cm, but the tutorial measurements were only in inches!

I found early on when I was posting tutorials that people emailed and commented asking me to convert the measurements for them.  Any new tutorials I make now - I do put both measurements in, but some of my older ones don't.
So I've added a widget in my sidebar that you can use to convert cm to inches!!! (see - just look to your right and it should be there.)

But back to the tutorial I was using.
I found it reasonably straightforward to follow, and the photos - although small - can be clicked upon to make them full screen size which was great!

I used my trusty quilting arm on my little sewing machine:

Then came the binding.
Now so far, I'm not too hot on binding, so I was happy to see this tutorial showed a different way of binding - that did not involve mitred corners! (using one long strip of binding and having to carefully fold and stitch the corners neatly!)

For this tutorial you did the binding on each side of the mug rug separately!

I did my binding using just cut fabric strips, folded and ironed, as mentioned in the tutorial, and was pleased with how easy it was!

Here's the two long sides done (back view)

Then the smaller sides were done last - and the corners simply folded over to neaten!

I really liked this way of binding.  Mine came out reasonably neat..

But not perfect!! ooops!

So thanks to the Curious Quilter for this mug rug tutorial.  I've certainly learnt from it - and now have a cute new mug rug!! 

Time for a cup of tea I think....

Does anyone have any other mug rug tutorials to recommend?
I'm aiming to try one each week!

Hanging Pockets!

I really like hanging pockets!

I like that they keep things up off various surfaces, benches and tables - and you can make them to whatever size you need!

Bed pockets for my girls to keep their books in:

Pockets for notebooks:

My girls desks do get rather cluttered...

So I decided to try and provide spaces for all those little trinkets that girls just can't do without - but try to get them up off their desks so they have space to draw, do homework etc!

Hopefully this will help my daughter keep her desk tidy... Now I need to make another set of pockets for my younger daughter too!!

Do you have any hanging pockets in your house??
Tell me I'm not the only one.....

Crochet practice continues!

I'm still persisting with learning to crochet.  I haven't done any for a couple of weeks - and maybe the break did me good as I found it much easier than I remember!

First I tried a magic loop using a you tube video which I found nice and clear.

Then I tried again to understand granny squares - looked at various tutorials and tried bits - but still don't quite get it!

Oh well - I'm sure I'll get there in the end - but for today while I was practising I made a coaster:
I was listening to an Anthony Robbins CD while I was crocheting - so kept forgetting what my counting was up to, or not concentrating properly on which loop I was hooking into next!

But it was a nice relaxing thing to do - and it's a functional, if not perfect drinks coaster!!

If you crochet, knit or sew, what was the first thing you ever made?

Giant fabric message envelopes - a tutorial

I got this gorgeous fabric recently and it was perfect for a project I had in mind for my girls; large fabric envelopes which I can use to leave notes, messages or small gifts for them on the kitchen table for them to find in the morning, or when they come in after school.

They were fairly simple to make, and the girls love them!

This fabric suits perfectly because of the envelope print on it, but any fabric would do.  You could always print onto fabric for the front a name and address or your own envelope design. 
 (I posted here about printing on fabric using your regular computer printer)

Here's how to make the envelopes.  

You will need approx half a yard of each fabric - for the inner and outer envelope.
1 large button
Templates - part A and part B (click to go to the download links) - note each pattern piece needs to be placed on a fold and then cut

Outer fabric
Cut a rectangle for the main envelope piece  
34 x 26cm (13.5 x 10") 
Then using the templates, from the outer fabric cut:
2 side flaps, 1 top flap and 1 bottom flap.

Inner Fabric
Then cut the same for the inner fabric as for the outer fabric

To add a name to the front of the envelope - just write the name on in pencil:

Then using the applique setting on your sewing machine - or just a very tight zigzag stitch - sew over the letters.  I run a double row of stitching over the letters to make them nice and thick:

Now you're ready to put the envelope pieces together.
Pin the top, side and bottom flaps right sides together to the main envelope piece:

Then stitch all around the outside.  Make sure when you come to the corners of the bottom flap, to pull the corner like this:

Repeat this with the inner fabric pieces, then place both envelope pieces right sides together:

Pin all around the outside of the pieces, leaving a 20cm (4") gap somewhere along the edge to allow you to turn the fabric out at the end.

Stitch all around the edge - remembering to leave the gap.
Then clip the corners and turn out.

Iron the whole envelope - including the opening..

Then top-stitch around the outer edges and the 4 sides of the main rectangle piece too.

Press the 4 flaps in towards the centre:

Then pull back all but the last flap from the centre and stitch the button to the last flap:

Then using a pencil, fold each flap back in turn and mark a line where you need to make button holes on each piece for this button to fasten through when the envelope is closed:

Stitch the buttonholes - 3 in total.
Then fasten up your envelope:

And you're all ready to fill it up with messages, notes, cards, small gifts etc!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

The first thing I used these envelopes for was some English practice for my girls for an upcoming test they have.  The excitement of getting 'mail' in their new envelopes meant that they thought the 'worksheet' itself was fun too! Bonus!

If you liked this tutorial - there are many more on