Tips for Donating School Supplies (scissors, craft supplies, and more!)

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

My son started Kindergarten almost a month ago. It doesn’t seem possible. I’m now trying to juggle Mommy & Me events for my little one, and PTA meetings for my oldest’s new school. The school is fairly new – it has been around for 4 years – but much of the staff this year is new. Brand new. My son has a freshly-minted Kindergarten teacher. This man (yes, he’s got a male teacher), not only has to navigate a morning and afternoon class of 25 Kindergarteners each, but also 50 sets of parents!

Not only does he not come with years of experience, but he also doesn’t come with a classroom loaded with supplies collected across decades. It was important to me to let him know that I’m a parent who wants to support my child, and my child’s school. That’s why I was super excited to be selected to participate in this Fiskar’s Champions for Kids Campaign. Fiskars sent me money to buy school supplies that I could donate to my son’s new classroom!

tips for donating school supplies

From this experience, I want to share with you some tips for donating school supplies.

1. Ask – Ask the teacher what they need. For a new teacher like ours, the answer might be “everything!” Ask specific questions. Maybe the teacher has a project coming up that could use certain supplies? One of the things we picked out was a class set of Fiskars safety scissors. There are 25 kids in a class, so we picked out 28 pairs (you always need a few extras) of scissors. This will last our rookie teacher for years! We also picked some Fiskars wooden rulers that were both inexpensive and will stand up to a room full of Kindergarteners, year after year.

classroom set of scissors

2. Variety – Some things we know every teacher needs – pencils, paper, erasers. Think beyond the everyday. We chose a set of colorful dry erase markers. Our classrooms are equipped with large dry erase boards, and there is nothing as wonderful as having a nice, fresh, dry erase marker to write with!

bin of school supplies

3. Storage – Especially for a new teacher, storage is important! Though a teacher will never turn away a grocery bag filled with school supplies, it helps to think ahead. Once those 28 sets of scissors are taken out of their packages, where will they be stored? Giving the school supplies in plastic bins means the supplies will have a place to go after they are opened. Using clear bins means that it is very easy for the teacher to see what is inside, and find what he needs.


4. Duplicates – At the beginning of the school year, each student was sent home a list of basic supplies. Things like glue and crayons that they will need this year. If a student wasn’t able to bring these in, or if they run out, having duplicates on hand will help the teacher focus on the more important things – like the lesson he is teaching. I made sure to include extras of things like markers and crayons.

two bins of school supplies

5. Specialty Items – Do you remember being in school, and there was something special you couldn’t wait to play with? So you’d finish your work as fast as possible so that you could go play with that toy? Think of fun extras you can donate. I chose a giant set of 50 Crayola Pipsqueak markers that telescopes into a tower. The teacher can set these on a table for kids to color with after finishing their work, as a fun reward.

6. Get others involved – Do your part, but then encourage others to join in as well. Set an example for the community, and your family. I made sure my son was involved, so that he could see the impact these supplies have on his classroom.

get kids involved

7. Have fun! – Donating school supplies is giving a gift that will continue to have an impact in the lives of children, potentially for years. That makes it fun. But, I chose to have a little more fun, and I picked up a few things for myself to make a little fun something for my son to bring to school. I’ll share that with you here below.


When L goes to school, he misses us. It is only for 3 hours a day, but he’s still adjusting to the new building, the new kids, and the new routine. And it is hard. When I saw this little “lucky” book on the Fiskars website, I was inspired to make something similar to attach to my son’s backpack, so that he could bring a little reminder of his family to school each day.

supplies for photo tagsSupplies:

Fiskars Trimmer
Fiskars Scissors
Elmer’s Glue Stick
Elmer’s School Glue
Elmer’s Glitter Glue
Elmer’s Boarders
Metal Ring
Assorted Ribbons


Start by trimming your photos smaller than your tags. The original album uses chipboard, but I wanted something smaller and lighter to hang on my son’s bag, so I went with the tags. Put a border on each tag, trim off the excess with scissors, and then glue the photo in place with the glue stick.

prepare tags

Put school glue on top of the photo, and brush an even coat with the paintbrush. This protects the photo, and seals everything in place.

coat in Elmer's School Glue

I did the same thing with glitter glue.

coat with glitter glue

Put everything aside to dry.

sealed with glue

Tie the ribbons onto the metal ring. To help keep the knots secure, add a couple drops of school glue to the knots.

glue knots in place

Then just hang it on your child’s bag, so they can take a little love with them to school each day!

backpack love tags

For more information, check out Champions for Kids and  Champions for Kids on Facebook.

#cfk  #Fiskars4Kids #shop

The Best Last Day of Summer EVER

We just celebrated my son’s very first last day of summer. He officially starts school on Monday, but with events going on this weekend, this was his true last day of “freedom” before he starts Kindergarten.

the best last day of summer ever

I thought that this was a fun milestone, and that celebrating the last day of summer in a blow-out fashion would be fun for the whole family. So I planned a day of fun, out-of-the-house activities for us to do. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some of the fun we were up to. I used the hashtag #FirstLastDayofSummer to keep track of all the photos.

We actually started the day off the night before. We set up the kiddie tent in L’s room so that he could spend the night in the tent. He’s been wanting to sleep in a tent all summer, so what better time to let him sleep in a tent than on the last day of Summer? This way, he got to wake up on his last day of summer in a tent!

wake up in a tent

We got in the car. There was a fair amount of driving, so I let L watch movies in the car as we drove around town. I don’t usually pull out the movies unless we’re on a long trip, so this was a special treat.

watching a movie in the car

We headed to our favorite pool. We call it “the Beach Pool” because it has a beach inlet on one side. Great for my youngest, because he can walk right in and play. And they both love the sand.

at the beach pool

After spending the whole morning at the pool, we grabbed lunch at McDonald’s. Like most kids, my son has a passion for chicken nuggets. This was not the McDonald’s close to our house, this one has a different playground that L caught a glimpse of through the windows one day and had asked to go. I had put it on our “someday” list, and this was the perfect day to go.

playing at the play place

Dad got off work right as we were finishing lunch, so we met up with him at mini golf. I got some work done on my phone (yay for smartphones!) while the big boys played a round of golf.

playing mini golf

The baby was asleep at this point (a big day at the pool will do that), so the boys hung out in the arcade for a little while.

playing at the arcade

Then, of course, we had to pick prizes. This was the hardest part. So many choices (and only so many tickets)!

pick a prize

We went by the bookstore so that L could pick a new book, and then went to the grocery store to grab a much-needed item for our next step in our blow-out last day of summer. While at the grocery store, we grabbed donuts. Yum!

getting a donut

We went home and filled the bath with as many bubbles as we could manage! Bubble baths are more fun when they are EXTREME bubble baths!

lots and lots of bubbles

We had L’s favorite dinner (Orange Chicken and Garlic Bread), and then sat down for popcorn and a movie. L was asleep before the movie ended… it was a great day!

I’m looking forward to celebrating the last day of summer every year… hopefully we’ll find some new things to add into the mix, but I’m sure that several of the things we did yesterday will stay part of the tradition.

New Simplicity Kids Backpack Pattern by The Sewing Loft

Tree backpack by The Sewing Loft and Simplicity

When my friend Heather from The Sewing Loft told me that Simplicity was printing her pattern and that it would be for sale at major retailers, I might’ve done a little happy dance! If you haven’t checked out Heather’s site, and seen her great designs, you really must. She does so many fun projects that I really wish we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country, because I want to do a sew-in weekend with Heather!

Later, Heather told me that she’d be able to share one of these cute patterns with me, and when it arrived in the mail… well… there was a second happy dance! Such a cute pattern, with so many fun variations, and inside I found all the great step-by-step instructions that Simplicity is known for.

New pattern by the Sewing Loft

Here on the blog, I primarily do quilting-type projects when I sew, but my sewing background includes more than just quilting. I have done a fair amount of garment sewing, and the feel of a tissue paper pattern always brings back memories of making my prom dress. My mom and I made more than one of my dresses for Jr. High and High School dances, and I’ve made plenty of other garments, but for some reason, the crinkle of a tissue pattern makes me think of senior year.

I decided to make the cute tree design (bottom left on the pattern cover). I pulled out tree fabrics and got to work. This is a great pattern for a new sewist. I’ve taught beginning sewing classes and, with some supervision, a child as young as 12 should be able to tackle this pattern. It isn’t difficult, but has a great variety of basic techniques, like threading in the cords, creating the casing, applique, and cutting and marking a pattern.

applique on tree

I had fun with the applique on this project… especially after I replaced my needle. I find that when my sewing machine is giving me a hard time, replacing the needle goes a long way towards making us both happy.

Here is the finished backpack – I know my boys will love using it!

finished backpack

Once I finished, I carefully folded back up all the pattern pieces and tucked them back into the pattern envelope – there are many other backpack patterns and instructions in this pattern, and I’m looking forward to trying the others… I have some nieces that might like a set of cupcake packs!

tuck pattern pieces back in

This pattern is on sale now at JoAnns Fabric and Crafts Stores, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and Walmart. You can find it as Simplicity #1602. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun making it as I did!

Monsters University Count Down Blocks

I picked up the pre-order copy of the Disney Movie Monsters University as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias®. Yes, Monsters University is still in theaters, but you can reserve your BluRay Combo pack copy already! The movie won’t be available on your home screen until this fall, but you can buy it now and have it mailed to you when it is officially released. You can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Count Down Calendar

Before we count down the days to the movie release date, we’ll be counting down another special milestone in this house… my oldest is off to Kindergarten! I made a simple Monsters University Count Down Calendar that I can use with him to count down the days until he starts his first day of school… and then we can reuse it to count down to the movie release date – and lots of other special days!

count down block suppliesSuper simple to make, here is how you can make your own. You’ll need:
4 – 2″ wooden blocks
Small Wooden Plaque
Printed numbers (download my Monsters U numbers 1 through 6 and numbers 7 and up and print out.)
White Paint
Mod Podge


Paint the wooden pieces white. I painted each with 2-3 coats of paint. Allow the paint to dry.
Cut out all the numbered pieces. Use Mod Podge to adhere a number to each side of the blocks.

mod podge onto blocks

Add a coat of Mod Podge on top to make sure that the numbers stick well.

Use the numbers to count down to whatever special day you have coming up – school, vacation, a special trip… or the release of Monsters University on BluRay!

stacked blocks

Find out more about Monsters University on the Monsters U site or
Monsters U site or on the Disney Pixar Facebook Pagee.

How to Make a Wizard Costume

Wizard Costume

Ever have those days where you find out that you need to send your child to school in a Wizard Costume on Friday… and it is already Wednesday evening? I had one of those days last week. Being a mom who knows her way around a sewing machine, I decided we would make a Wizard Costume. Not just any wizard costume… we would make the most awesome Wizard Costume ever. According to my son, we achieved this goal. Make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well.

supplies for wizard costumeThursday, after a morning play date at the pool, we headed off to JoAnns to get our supplies. We got everything we needed to make a Wizard Robe (supplies listed are for a 4-year-old child), as well as the Wizard Wand and Wizard Hat.
For the Wizard Robe we used:
4 yards blue satin (some used on the hat, too)
1 yard green satin (some used on the hat, too)
2 spools copper ribbon (also used on the wand and hat – I would get 3 if I were to make this again)
Coordinating thread

You’ll also want a sewing machine, Iron, and pins.

I started by laying out the blue satin, along with a long-sleeved shirt that is a little big for my son.You can’t tell here, but the left side of the fabric is the fold, and there is a double layer of the fabric, so there are actually 4 layers of fabric right there, and I’m going to cut through all of them on the fold.

I was lucky that the width of fabric was enough for the top and sleeves. Otherwise, I’d have to cut different pieces for the sleeves and set them into the arm holes. Which would be a lot more work.

measure for costume size

I had my son lay next to the fabric so that I could determine the height.Yes, his pants are on backwards… that happens sometimes when he dresses himself…

You can see I marked it with a fabric pencil here. Then I cut.
I added a little bit of flare from the waist down to the bottom to try to give the robe a little extra fullness.

cut satin for wizard costume

I also added some extra fabric at the bottom of the sleeves. Having the bottom end in a point like this makes the sleeves have a nice big point at the bottom, which is one of the things I love about this costume. I also cut a little ways away from the shirt because I needed extra seam allowance for the french seams. More on that in a little bit.

The rest of these instructions are going to be picture-less, because it is pretty basic sewing. It takes a while, but it is pretty basic. I’ll warn you, the neckline bit is a little complicated… there might be a better way to do that part.

I separated the two layers, and then cut a V shape into the fold of the piece that was going to be the front, to give a more open neckline. Then I cut all the way up the fold on this piece, because the robe was going to be open.

I pinned the pieces wrong-sides together (WRONG sides, not right sides, because I’m doing french seams here). I stitched the shoulder/sleeve tops, and the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams all with a scant 1/4″ seam. I then flipped it wrong-side-out, clipped the seams at the armpit, and repeated all those seams with a generous 1/4″ seam. This keeps all the raw edges tucked inside so there is no fraying while the costume is worn. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to do the shoulder/sleeve top seams, add the green to the end of the sleeves, and then do the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams.

Next was adding the green satin to the collar. I put a piece of paper under the neckline and traced the curve from the back center of the neck, all the way down the V neckline in the front. I added a 2.5″ border to the outside, and a .25″ border on the inside and cut it out. This was my template for creating the green satin for the neckline.

I folded the green satin in half, and pinned on my template, with the bottom of the V touching the fold. I cut out the template, but at the bottom of the V cut all the way down the fold the height of the straight slit in the front of the robe.

Putting this neckline piece right-sides-together, I stitched that inner 1/4″ seam, and then turned right side out. I created a second neckline piece for the other side, and pinned them both to the robe, then pressed the raw edges under, folded it over the raw edge of the blue satin so that the blue satin raw edge sat right inside the green, touching the fold. I stitched it all down, then pinned the copper ribbon on top, and stitched that down as well. There might be an easier way to do this part, but I wanted a smooth neckline and it was already 11pm the night before he was supposed to wear the costume!

I cut 5″ strips out of the green satin, folded them in half, and pressed. I then opened up those seams, folded in the sides, so the raw edges touched that middle fold line, and pressed. Then folded it back in half and pressed yet again. This made all the trim for the bottom and the sleeves. I folded this over the sleeve and bottom edges just like before, with the raw edge of the blue inside the fold of the green. This time, when I got to an end, I trimmed off the green with about 1/2″ extra, then folded the extra under and stitched in place.

After sewing on the trim, I pinned the copper ribbon in place and stitched it down. You’ll notice that there is no copper ribbon along the bottom of the Wizard Robe. I ran out and had to choose between having it on the sleeves or on the bottom edge. The sleeves won.

That was it! It took several hours to stitch it all together, but my son was THRILLED when he woke up the next morning and saw his costume!

If you want to make a wizard costume, make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well!

wizard hat and wand

Simple Wizard Hat

wizard hat and wand

When I found out my son needed a Wizard Costume to wear to Summer School, I looked up pictures of Wizards online, and he and I studied them. We decided that what he needed was a hat, a wand, and a robe. We headed to JoAnns to get our supplies. I wasn’t quite sure what we would use, so I got a variety of things:

What I ended up using for the hat was:
supplies for wizard costumePellon Peltex 71F (fairly stiff, and fusible on one side – not shown in photo)
Satin in blue and green
Phoomph (a double-sided adhesive felt/foam)
Copper colored ribbon (this one was like a netting or lace)
Some Gear Embellishments (I wanted to make sure the hat looked more Wizard than Princess)
Large Bead
Glue Gun
Coordinating Felt
Copper Chain (optional)
Needle & thread

I started by cutting the Peltex to make a cone for my son’s head.

check hat for fit

Once I had my cone shape, I unpinned it and laid it flat. I ironed my blue satin to the fusible side of the Peltex. Follow the instructions on the Peltex to make sure you get a good fuse. Be careful not to melt your fabric if you are using a synthetic fabric like I did.

iron satin to wizard hat

Roll the cone back up and stitch in place. You could hot glue, but I thought that adding a few stitches would be more secure. I then ran the copper ribbon down the seam to cover it up, and secured it with a couple dabs of hot glue.

stitch up wizard hat

Then it is time to make the band at the base of the Wizard Hat. I cut the Phoomph into 2″ strips. I cut my green satin into 3″ strips – 4″ strips would be better, though. It took 3 strips of Phoomph (cut from one sheet), and two strips of fabric for a hat to fit my 4-year-old.

I started by joining up the Phoomph strips. I cut each end at an angle, and lifted up the paper on each section to attach them together. Putting the joints together in this way prevents a big crease or bulge in one section of the hat band by distributing the seam over a larger area. Measure and cut the Phoomph strip to size to fit around the bottom of the hat.

connect phoomph

Once I had the Phoomph in one long strip and cut to size, I started “ruffling” the fabric with my fingers. Pushing the ruffles down on the Phoomph was fast and easy, much easier than trying to ruffle it with a sewing machine or by doing a running stitch by hand.

ruffle fabric onto phoomph

Once I ruffled it all the way to the end, I flipped it over, pulled off the paper on the back side, and folded over the raw edges of the fabric to adhere them to the Phoomph on the backside. My strips were 3″, but because of the ruffling, 4″ strips would have been better.

I cut strips of coordinating felt in 1 3/4″ widths, and glued it down on ONE edge with hot glue, securing the raw edges of the satin between the Phoomph and the felt. Once I had the felt on, I wrapped the hat band around the Wizard Hat, putting the felt on the inside and the satin covered Phoomph on the other side. I then glued both sides in place with more hot glue.

inside of hat

I pushed in the top point of the hat in, and glued a bead in place.

Finish tip of Wizard hat

My finishing touchs – where the two pieces of fabric met on the hat band, my ruffling wasn’t so great. I made this the “front” of the hat, and glued on a couple gear embellishments. I wasn’t sure they would hold up to a day with a 4-year-old, so I added a few stitches for security. I added a little copper chain around the edge and tacked it in place as well.

gears on wizard hat

Paired with the Wizard Wand I made, these were some great accessories. Tomorrow I’ll show you how I made his Wizard Robe

Wizard Costume

Monsters University Craft – Juice Box Printables

I created these fun Monsters Inc Juice Juice box campus printables as part of a paid social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Monsters University Juice Box Campus - Free Coloring Printables

When I was asked to make a Monsters University Craft using Juicy Juice, a great healthy drink for my kids, I knew exactly what I was going to make! I loved watching the movie with my son (I made him a special Mike Wazowski shirt to wear to see the movie), and I loved the campus buildings. Most of the movie takes place at Monsters University – there are all kinds of buildings with great monster-y details – the dorms, library, and (my favorite) the Scaring School! This Monsters craft was fun for us to make – and I hope you’ll enjoy it too!

I designed Monsters University Campus printables that you can use with your kids to re-create the movie. These are specifically designed to go on the Juicy Juice products – the Scaring School printable fits perfectly on the 64-oz Juicy Juice bottle, and the archway pieces and building blocks wrap perfectly around Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice boxes. Use the 1″ Mini Monsters, Inc. Monsters University Toys to play with the buildings you created (only available at Walmart). I bought my supplies at Walmart, you can see my whole shopping trip here.

Monsters University Toys

Start by printing out the pages. Print one of the Scaring School, one of the Monsters University Gateway, and as many as you want of the Building Blocks. The building blocks can be used to make the library, dorms, or whatever other buildings you would like.

Let your kids color the pages, or color them yourself.

coloring Monsters U printables

While your kids are coloring, rinse out your empty juice boxes and juice containers. Moms know that dried juice is sticky, so stop the mess before it starts! The bottle is easy to rinse out – just take off the cap, fill with warm soapy water, put the lid on, shake, empty, and rinse. Do the same with the Fruitifuls juice boxes, but since there is no lid to take off, lift up one flap, and cut off a corner to give yourself a large enough opening to rinse out the box.

trim off flap

After the pages have been colored, cut them out. The Scaring school can be attached to the Juicy Juice 64-oz bottle with double sided tape. You can take the label off the bottle first, if you like so that you can get the instant win code from the underside of the bottle. Go to to redeem the code and you could win a $5,000 scholarship AND a family trip to Pixar Studios! I redeemed mine… it was super simple. I won’t tell you what I won, but it WASN’T the trip and the scholarship, so those are probably still up for grabs… You can find the sweepstakes details here.

Scaring School Juice Bottle Printable

The other pieces need to be folded. You’ll see dots at the top and bottom of each piece that indicate where the folds go. Fold down these lines to fold into 5 segments.

fold at dots

Using double-sided tape, attach the smallest flap (on the right) to one of the short sides of the Juicy Juice Fruitifuls juice box.

Tape printable to box

Then fold the paper all the way around the juice box, and attach the last flap in place with double stick tape. Repeat this process with all the pieces to make the campus!

For the archway, cut out the archway piece, fold on the lines so that the flaps are facing to the back, put double-stick tape on the flaps, and attach to the two pillar juice boxes.

Monsters University Juice Setup

Stack your building pieces up to make the dorms, library, or other campus buildings.

Monsters University Juice Library

My son loved playing with his juice box campus and Monsters University Toys!

Paying with Monsters University

Did you love Monsters, Inc? Then you’ll LOVE the new Monsters University movie! Get the details about the movie on the Disney/Pixar Facebook page, and about Juicy Juice on the Nestle Facebook Page.

Mod Melts Butterfly Decor

This post was sponsored by Plaid.

Mod Melts Butterflies hang from ceiling

Like most boys, my son loves bugs. But thankfully, he’s not very into spiders. Instead, he loves ladybugs and butterflies. If we’re at the park, he’ll find the only ladybug poking through the grass. And he has had a fascination with Butterflies lately. The ladybugs land on him – why won’t the butterflies?

I decided to make him his own butterflies that could hang from his ceiling. That way he could enjoy them, even if he can’t catch them! The Mod Melts made this very easy to do.

Plaid sent me some paint, a spouncer, the Mod Melts, and Mod Melts molds. To this I added some orange paint so that I could make the butterflies Monarchs, and some string to hang them with.

Mod Melts are easy to use – just insert them into a high-temp glue gun, and squeeze into the mold from the center out.

put melts into mold

I filled the mold about halfway, then added a string with a knot in it (so that it won’t pull out easily), and then filled up the mold the rest of the way.

insert string

After 10 minutes, I could pop out the butterfly, and he was ready to paint.

I tried painting him black, then adding the orange accents, but it worked better the other way around. First, I painted the butterflies orange, and let the paint dry.

paint base coat on butterflies

Then I added a thin layer of black paint to the spouncer and lightly tapped the black paint on. This painted the raised area, but kept the back area orange. Much easier than trying to get that detail with a paintbrush.

paint butterflies

I tied a thumbtack to the other end of the string, and hung the butterflies. My son loves it!

mod melts butterflies

I also made some simple paperclips! How will you use Mod Melts?

You can learn more about this fun new product if you catch up with Plaid on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on the Paint Me Plaid Blog.

Check out these other fun ways you can use Plaid’s Mod Melts!

Fabric Fest and a Rolie Polie Giveaway!

I’m so excited to share more of my Jelly Roll Race Quilts here today! Those of you who follow my blog know that I made a Jelly Roll Race Quilt in less than 24 hours from start to finish earlier this year, I called it my “#Instaquilt” because I Instagrammed the process of cutting fabric, stitching, getting it to the quilter, and binding it. Since then, I’ve been busy coming up with fresh ways to revise this new classic so that I can share them all with you at Riley Blake Fabric Fest here in Las Vegas.

three jelly roll race quilts

I first learned about this quilt when I was working at Quiltique, an awesome quilt shop in Henderson, just outside of Las Vegas. One of our customers shared it with me, and it was love at first stitch. I have 2 nieces and 3 nephews all born in the last 3 years (3 of them in the last 12 months), so having a fast “go to” quilt pattern is a must!

I’m going to be teaching the Jelly Roll Race Quilt at Riley Blake Fabric Fest this fall. BUT – not just the plain jelly roll race quilt. I’ve deconstructed, re-constructed, and updated the jelly roll race quilt. These variations add 10-30 minutes to the time it takes to make a regular jelly roll race quilt – and give you so much more variety! If you’ve never made a Jelly Roll Race quilt before, I’ll show you the basics. Then we’ll take it up a notch with fun ways to make the quilt your own. Let me take you through some of these new quilts I’ve stitched up…

Christmas Jelly Roll Race Quilt

This first is a Standard Jelly Roll Race quilt. If you’ve seen or done one, you can tell by the mitered seams, and the random placement of the fabric. I used 42 strips from Riley Blake’s new Christmas Fabric “A Merry Little Christmas“. Don’t you love how cheery it looks? This quilt is the perfect Christmas gift! I love giving quilts as Christmas presents, and these quilts are the best for making as gifts. They don’t take weeks to make, they look cute in any fabric, and there is very little waste. After piecing your quilt top, the only waste you have is one piece 2.5″x18”, and the little bit you trim off to square your quilt top.


This second one is so much fun! I used Riley Blake’s “Pirate Mateys” and added squares between half-strips of fabric. There are some secrets to putting this top together, but it is a lot easier than it looks, and the result is darling! I’d love to do more of these with bright colored squares that really pop against the fabric.

Pirate Jelly Roll Race Quilt

I’ve been enjoying this quilt a lot, it sits on my livingroom floor and my kids play on it all the time. My friend Nichol of A Desert Quilter quilted all of these for me, and she quilted some darling pirate motifs into this quilt top!

Appliqued Jelly Roll Race Quilt

This last one, made out of Riley Blake “Cruiser Blvd”  has me completely tickled. A Jelly Roll Race Quilt is like a deck of cards. You shuffle up the strips, stitch them together, and there is no telling where they will show up. For this quilt, I “stacked the deck.” I’ve mapped out the final locations of the strips, and I put them in the order I wanted them to give me a beautiful “solid” space to applique in. This technique is so much fun for anyone who likes to applique, who wants to super-customize a quilt, for machine embroiderers who like to have large areas to embroider on, or machine quilters who like to have space in which to stitch up quilts and really have their quilting stand out… really, just about anyone will love the options that stacking the deck gives you! Here is the whole quilt all laid out:

Applique Jelly Roll Race Quilt

My son is 4 and a half, and he loves this quilt. It is “his” quilt and he loves reading his name on it. Once you’ve deconstructed the placement of the strips in a Jelly Roll Race quilt, there are so many new possibilities that open up to you!

I still have at least one more idea up my sleeve … but I’ll wait to share that one at Fabric Fest. You’ll have to come to my class so that I can share it with you!


The base to make these quick quilts are Rolie Polies from Riley Blake. So, I’m giving away TWO Rolie Polies to one lucky winner! Just leave a comment at the end of this post letting me know which of these fast quilts you’d most like to learn more about! Make sure to include your contact information so that I can get in touch with you if you win.

This post is part of an awesome blog hop with the rest of the teachers who will be sharing all their amazing talents at Riley Blake Fabric Fest. Check out the rest of these great teachers!

During the blog hop, these great sites will be blogging all about Fabric Fest and the wonderful classes they are teaching. They will also be giving away some great prizes, so you’ll want to keep this list close by!
Trust us.
You CAN’T miss a single day! 
Wednesday, June 5
Jina Barney of Riley Blake Designs
Thursday, June 6 Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet
 Friday, June 7
Elizabeth and Liz Evans of Simply Simon & Co
Saturday, June 8
Nancy Zieman/Deanna Springer of Nancy
Monday, June 10
Melissa Mortenson of The Polka Dot Chair 
Tuesday, June 11
Carolina Moore of Always Expect Moore
Wednesday, June 12
Paige Hill of Riley Blake Designs, Jennifer of Tatertots and Jello,
Becky & Kari of U-Create
Thursday, June 13
Amanda Herring of The Quilted Fish
Friday, June 14
Kim Christopherson & Kris Thurgood of My Girlfriends Quilt Shoppe
Saturday, June 15
Bonnie Bailey on Riley Blake Designs
 Monday, June 17
Lila Tueller of Lila Tueller Designs
Tuesday, June 18
Amy Smart of Diary of a Quilter
Wednesday, June 19
Lindsay Wilkes of The Cottage Mama
Thursday, June 20
Sue Daley of Sue Daley Designs
Friday, June 21
Eleanor Burns/ Sue Bouchard of Quilt in a Day
Saturday, June 22
Jenny, Natalie, & Sarah of Missouri Star Quilt Company
 Monday, June 24
Andrea Goddard of And I Sew
Tuesday, June 25
Becky, Brooke, Jamie, Kirsten, & Nikkala of The Crafting Chicks
Wednesday, June 26
Deonn Stott of Quiltscapes 
 Thursday, June 27
Sandy Workman of Pine Mountain Designs
Friday, June 28
Sydney Haglund of Memory Quilt Maker

Ever-changing Wood, Nail, and Rubber Band Maze

My son is a maze savant. Yes, I’m his mom and I’ll brag about him even if nobody is listening, but at not quite 5 years old, he totally rocks mazes. And he loves doing them. We’ve gotten him maze books, which he loves, but I wanted to do one better. I wanted a maze that could be fully customized, changed, and never get boring. So I came up with the idea to make a maze board out of wood and nails. Now he has a maze that can be changed in a nearly infinite number of ways! And, it was super simple and easy to make. It took us less than an hour. Totally my kind of craft!

First, we started with our supplies:
18″x18″ square of 3/4 inch plywood
Box of nails
Quilting ruler
Cordless Drill
Rubber Bands

I picked up the plywood at The Home Depot, and had them cut it to size. Having them cut it on their giant saw is so much easier than trying to cut it at home.

Using my quilting ruler, I marked a grid on the board, spacing the lines 1.5″ apart. Once I had my grid marked, it was time to drill pilot holes into my wood. I made sure that the drill bit I was using was a couple sizes smaller than my nails.

The idea is to drill a guide hole, but you still want the nail to be super snug when it gets hammered in. I made sure not to drill all the way through the wood.

Then it was time to hammer in my nails. As I hammered them in, I tried to keep them about the same height. This isn’t essential, it just looks nicer.

I hammered…

And hammered…

It took a while.

Once all the nails were in, I double-checked that they were all pretty much the same height.

Then it was time to add the rubber bands! We stretched the rubber bands along the nails to make the “walls” of the maze. We were so excited about this part, we didn’t bother washing all the black from the nails off of our fingers… we just went for it!

Then my son got to find his way through the maze. Once he figured it out, I adjusted a few of the pathways by moving around rubber bands, and he got to do it again. I kept switching them to give him new routes through the maze. He LOVED it.

I know we’ll be using this toy a lot this summer – such a fun boredom buster!

I might still give it a coat of paint… I haven’t decided yet. But for now, it is getting plenty of use!