Pocket Advent Calendars

I’m so excited to share with you my new Pocket Advent Calendar Pattern! There are so many things I love about Christmas, and Advent Calendars are absolutely one of them! A little gift every day as we lead up to the big day? Count me in!! I’ve designed two different versions of this Pocket Advent, and included instructions for both in the same pattern. The Wall Hanging Pocket Advent is 22 1/2″ x 28″, with 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ gusseted pockets. The Mini Pocket Advent is 12″ x 12″ and has 3″ x 3″ gusseted pockets. The gussets make the pockets so much roomier to fit in fabulous gifts!

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To make the Pocket Advent Calendar, you’ll need the Creative Grids Strippy Star Tool. This is one of my absolute favorite rulers. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and makes stars in so many sizes – and so easily! The Pocket Advent is at least the fourth time I’ve used the Strippy Star Tool. Get your Strippy Star Tool at the Fat Quarter Shop.

Learn how easy it is to use the Strippy Star Tool in this video:

You can add numbers to your Pocket Advent however you like. You can put tags on the gifts with numbers on them, you can embroider numbers on the pockets, you can cut vinyl numbers with your cutting machine to add them… I chose to use these Tim Holtz Number Charms to add the numbers to my Advent. They already have holes in the top, and were super quick and easy to stitch on.

The 12″ x 12″ Mini Pocket Advent fits perfectly on this 12″ wire frame. This allows you to stand the Mini Pocket Advent on a side table or on the mantel.

My versions of the Pocket Advent Calendar were made using Maureen Cracknell’s “Cozy and Joyful” fabric for Art Gallery Fabrics.

You can purchase the Pocket Advent Calendar here:

The Mini Pocket Advent, it turns out, is perfect for tucking in leftover Halloween Chocolates!

Custom Fabric Letterboard

Have you ever wanted a letterboard that fit your decor perfectly? One that wasn’t just made from plain felt? Do you have a favorite fabric that would make a perfect letterboard but no idea how to make it happen? Well, here you go! Step-by-step on how to make your a custom fabric letterboard out of your favorite fabric!

I do want to mention that it is the texture of the felt that helps keeps plastic letters in place. Using a quilting cotton like I have here makes them more likely to slip out if the board is hanging up. But it is still perfect for flat-lay photos.

To make your custom fabric letterboard, you’ll need:

1/2 yard of main fabric
1/2 yard of fusible fleece
1/4 yard of border fabric
Cheap or old letterboard
Hot glue and hot glue gun
Rotary cutter and ruler
Marking tool
Plastic cards such as gift cards or hotel key cards

Start by taking apart the old/cheap felt board. Usually they are just glued together, so it is pretty simple to do.

Once you have removed the frame and felt, you’ll have a wooden board with grooves on it. If you have access to a woodshop (or access to someone who has access to a woodshop) they could probably make one of these base boards for you. But, for most of us, just buying a cheap letterboard and taking it apart is easier.

Cut your chosen fabric 1-2″ wider than your board. You want to give yourself a little room. Keep the length of the fabric, don’t trim this down. You can trim it down at the end.

Then back the fabric with fusible fleece.

Then, start tucking the fabric into the grooves. I found this was easiest to do with a plastic card – you could use a gift card or a hotel key card or a store loyalty card. Just something sturdy that will help press the fabric down into the crease.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into each crease. I found that holding the previous crease in place with one card while pushing in the next crease was most successful.

Keep going, inserting the fabric into all the creases.

You may find, if you always start from one side, that the fabric starts to “creep” in that direction. To prevent the creeping, alternate the directions in which you make the creases. Crease one from right to left, and the next from left to right.

When you’re done, trim off the excess around all four sides.

Glue down the edges with hot glue.

Use a fabric marking tool to mark a border around the letterboard. I went with a 1/2″ border, but you can choose what feels right for you.

Measure from this border line all the way to the back, with a 1/2″ overlap. Then double your measurement. This is the width you need to cut for your border strips. Cut a strip this width. Fold the strip in half so that it is just as long, but half as wide (as you would for quilt binding).

Cut a length of this strip as long as the side. Glue this strip to one side of the felt board, with the fabric fold right on the line you drew marking the edge of the border.

Wait for the glue to set, then wrap the strip around to the back. Glue in place. You’ll need to glue down both layers. You can trim the corners on the back to reduce the bulk.

Repeat for the other side. Then repeat for the top and bottom. If you like, you can fold the edges of the top and bottom in to create more finished corners.

That’s it! Your custom fabric letterboard is complete!

Make a custom fabric letterboard in whichever fabrics suit your mood! Once you know how to make it for yourself, it will be hard to make just one!

Pizza Pillow

If you’re looking for some fun and whimsical decor, whip up this fun pizza pillow! It is super fun to make, and super comfortable to lay on!

These steps will give you the basics of how this pizza pillow comes together, but you’ll need some basic sewing skills (or a friend with some basic sewing skills).

You’ll also need a giant circle pillow, fabric for your crust, cheese, and pepperonis, matching thread, some plain white fabric, and fusible web.

Use a water soluble pen to draw a slice on your pillow.

Cut into the pillow. Once you’ve cut the lines on the top, you can remove the stuffing and cut the bottom layer to match.

Use the wedge and remainder of the circle as templates to cut the crust pieces.

Measure the edges of the wedge to determine how large your strips need to be. Cut two from the white and two from the crust. These create the depth on your wedge and circle pieces.

Re-create the casing piece for your wedge. Make it 1/2″ larger than the original wedge. This makes up for the seam allowance that will get used up on both the wedge and the main pie.

You can use a can lid to curve the edges to prevent sharp corners.

Put fusible web on the back of the pepperoni colored fabric. Draw circles, and cut out.

Cut the cheese the same size as the top crust, then measure in and trim off the extra.

Fuse the cheese to the crust.

Fuse on the pepperoni, Make sure to fuse them onto the slice as well.

Overlap the slice (which is a 1/2″ larger to make up for the lost seam allowance, and place the pepperonis accordingly.

Applique stitch on the cheese and pepperoni.

Now add the strips to create the depth for the wedge and main pie.

Finish up the casing as well. Fill the casing. The outer layer you can either stitch up by hand or add a zipper to make it easy to remove and wash.

Cricut Embroidery Hoop

When I first started playing with my Cricut Maker, I was super excited that I could use it to cut fabric. But then I learned that when they added the rotary blade, they also added another tool to the Cricut arsenal – the water-soluble pen! This pen can be used with any of the Cricut machines with a pen adapter (so the Explore and Explore Air certainly qualify), and is perfect for drawing lines to make your own embroidery designs!

I used this Jen Goode Butterfly design that I thought would be perfect, but you can use whatever line-art style art you like.

Use the water soluble marker to have the Cricut machine draw on your fabric.

Then you can stitch on your design.

When you’re done, just rinse of the ink under the sink and let the fabric dry.

Super simple, and super cute!

Quilting made easy with Riley Blake and Cricut – Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the 3rd part of this video and quilting series! Over the past weeks I have been working on making a Christmas Quilt using Riley Blake Fabrics and the Cricut Maker. In Part One I showed you how I selected the fabric and pattern. In Part Two I showed you how all the pieces were cut. And today… today we are piecing the Half Log Cabin Throw quilt top!

Quilting Made Easy with Riley Blake and Cricut PArt 3 - Learn how to piece the quarter log cabin quilt pattern!

 

To finish up this series I’ve created another video. This video is long, but oh-so-comprehensive! I’ll be holding your hand and taking you step-by-step through how to make this quilt. It is always more fun to make a project with a friend, and I hope you’ll stitch along side me as we make this quilt together!

We’ll make the units, put together the blocks, build the rows, and stitch up this quilt top. When we get to adding the borders, I’ll give you some tips on how to get a nice smooth border with no ruffles!


If you’d rather read along, I’ll lay out the basics of making the quilt here. Remember that a full set of PDF instructions is in Design Space that will also help you in making the quilt.

We’re going to start by laying out all of our fabrics. The inner border, outer border, and binding fabric can be put aside. Label the other fabrics by fabric number to make it easier to grab the right fabric as you lay out the block units.

label your fabrics when quilting

Using the PDF instructions, grab a square of fabric one and the smallest rectangle in fabric 8. Place them right sides together and stitch.

(BTW – all seams in this quilt are 1/4″.)

stitch first two pieces

Then press your seam towards the dark.

press first stitch

Add the next size up of fabric 8. Stitch and press. Repeat with the same size of fabric 1, and then the largest strip of fabric 1. You’ll have your first block unit complete!

finished first block

Repeat the process for all the block units – you’ll be making 6 of each. Check the PDF for all the fabric combinations. If you watch the video, I’ll show you how you can save time making these units by strip piecing.

next block

Once you have all your block units, lay out block A. Stitch the top and bottom units together. Press the seam to the right. Repeat with the bottom two units, pressing the seam in the opposite direction. Then stitch the top and bottom together. You can press the middle seam up, down, or spin the seam (watch the video and I’ll show you this technique)! Make 6 of this block (Block A).

putting it together

Now you’ll follow the same steps as Block A, but to make Block B. Which is the same, but with different fabrics.

Block B

Once your blocks are done, stitch them into rows! You’ll have 4 rows, each with 3 blocks. 2 of the rows have a block A flanked by block B on either side. The other 2 rows are block B flanked by Block A on either side. Press the seams of the first row in one direction, and the seams on the other row in the other direction.stitch the rowsThen stitch your rows together (alternating the A row with the B row), and press all the seams in one direction. Your blocks are all together! Now it is time to add the borders! I want to share my special border-adding tip with you.

First we’ll be adding the side borders. Measure both sides of your quilt, then measure the center of your quilt from top to bottom. This tells you the height of your quilt on both sides and in the middle. Add these 3 numbers together then divide by 3. That is the size you should cut your side borders. This will keep you from having wavy borders.

Pin the border in place. First by pinning each end. Then pinning the middle. Then pinning along each half so that the border is smoothly in place. Once it is pinned, you can stitch.

pin on border

Repeat the process of measuring the top, bottom, and middle to cut the top and bottom borders to size. Pin them the same way, then stitch. Repeat all these steps to cut, pin, and stitch on your outer borders. Once your borders are on, your quilt is done!

stitch on borders

This quilt has been so much fun to put together – I hope you enjoyed it, too! I’m considering putting together a bonus video to show you how to quilt this lap sized quilt on a domestic sewing machine. But if you prefer, you can absolutely have a long-arm quilter do the quilting, and then you just have to bind it. You can search this site for lots of tips on quilting your quilt, and binding it!

Thanks to Cricut and Riley Blake for asking me to put together this series! I can’t wait to show you more quilting and crafting fun!

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut Maker Block of the Week Quilt: Block 5 – Economy Patch

Today for Week 5 of our Cricut Maker Block of the Week, we’re going to be making the Economy Patch block! And, I have a surprise for you! I’m showing you two different ways that you can make this same block! I love teaching new quilters. To me, teaching new quilters means breaking down the process of quilting into manageable steps while introducing new quilters to tips and techniques. You don’t have to know how to execute every quilting technique to be successful. But knowing about the different techniques out there will help you explore new projects you might want to try next. And knowing which technique to use, and why, is always helpful!

That’s why I’m showing you how to make the Economy Patch Quilt Block with both traditional piecing as well as using Foundation Piecing (also known as Foundation Paper Piecing, but NOT to be confused with English Paper Piecing, which is a whole different technique). I have two videos that will take you through each step-by-step process, as well as step by step photos below for the traditional pieced method for the Economy Patch Block.

Cricut Maker Block of the Week - Week 5 - Economy Patch Block

This post contains affiliate links. These links help support this site at no extra cost to you.

If you’re just joining in, make sure you check out the Cricut Maker Block of the Week Reference Page. You can start from the very beginning and follow along there.

If you would like to learn the traditional way to piece this block, you can watch this video, or follow the steps below.

 

If you would like to learn about foundation piecing this block, you can watch this week’s bonus video.

 

The new products in the video include Thermoweb Foundation Papers or Traditional Foundation Paper, the Cricut Bright Pad (buy it on the Cricut site or on Amazon), the Fabric Glue Stick, and the Finger Presser or Finger Iron.

To make the block, start by cutting out all the pieces on the Maker, just as we have in the past weeks. Use the Cricut Maker Economy Patch Design Space File. If you’re making the Foundation Pieced block, you’ll also want the Cricut Maker Economy Patch Foundation Paper Design Space File.

Lay out the pieces.

lay out pieces

This block might look a little like the diamond in a square. That’s because it is! The size is different, and it has an extra border of triangles around the outside. So this is a square in a diamond in a square! And we’ll be making it the same way we made the diamond in a square.

Start with your middle piece. Stitch on the two opposite sides.

add sides

Press. Then add the other two sides.

Cut off the dog ears.

cut dog ears

Press.

finished first layer

Fold the second layer triangles in half to make sure the placement is correct.

fold to find center

Stitch in place.

add sefond layer

Add the triangle on the opposite side. Press.

Keep going, adding the third and then the last piece.

third piece

Press one last time – you’re done!

add last sides

finished economy patch

Come back next week to make week 6 of our Cricut Maker Block of the Week!

 

R2D2 Quilt

My kids are crazy for Star Wars, and their favorite droid is R2D2. Which is why I made them this fun R2D2 quilt to hang on their wall. It is very simple to make – no curved piecing, no fancy quilting – just straight stitching and quilting using a walking foot.

Star Wars R2D2 Mini Quilt - easy to make in an afternoon!

To make this mini quilt you’ll need:

Fat Quarter Grey Fabric
Fat Quarter White Fabric
1/2 yard backing fabric
Thermoweb DecoFoil Hot Melt Adhesive
Thermoweb Decofoil in Blue, Red, Black, and Pewter
Fairfield Cotton Batting
Thermoweb Basting Spray
Iron and Ironing Board
Sewing Machine with Walking foot and grey thread
Rotary Cutter and Ruler
Needle to Bury Threads

Cut your fabric. You’ll need a 12×12″ piece of the white fabric and a 12×10″ piece of the grey fabric. Put the rest of the fabric aside for the backing and binding.

Sew the two pieces of fabric together along the 12″ side.

Press seam towards the dark side (see what I did there? The “Dark Side”? hahaha!)

Measure 6″ in on the seam, and 1.5″ up. Mark this point. Use this as the center to mark a half-circle along the top. supplies for R2D2 mini quilt

Cut the Hotmelt adhesive. You’ll need:
2 – 1″x2″
2 – 3/4″x2″
2 – 1″x1″
1 – 1″x6″
2 – 1″x4.5″
1 – 2″x4″ with 1.5″ boxes cut out of the middle
1 – 2″x3″
1 – 3″x4″ cut into a trapezoid
1 – 2″ circle

Place the HotMelt pieces onto the fabric according to the photo. Fuse in place. Allow to cool, then remove the paper backing.

If you’d like your R2D2 Quilt fully quilted, base the mini, and quilt around all the hotmelt adhesive now, before adding the foil. This will ensure that the foil isn’t scratched by the walking foot later. I skipped this step, because a wall hanging doesn’t need a lot of quilting.

Cut a 2″ circle from the black Decofoil and a 1″ circle from the red DecoFoil. Place on top of the HotMelt. DO NOT FUSE YET. This is my layered foil technique.

Cut a square large enough to cover the 2″ circle out of the Pewter, and put in place. Cut the blue DecoFoil to cover all the other pieces.

cover with foil
Fuse the DecoFoil in place according to the instructions on the package.

Allow the adhesive to cool COMPLETELY before peeling off the DecoFoil, removing early or not fusing completely will result in incomplete coverage.

Baste the batting, backing, and top together with the basting spray, or your preferred method of basting.

Using the chalk marking pencil, draw the additional un-foiled panels on R2D2, using the placement of the foil pieces as your guides.

With your walking foot, stitch around the additional side panels to define them. Tie off the threads, and bury them.

Trim the curve along the top with scissors.

Bind, using two-colored binding if you prefer. Make sure to use bias-cut binding along the curve.

My boys were absolutely thrilled with their mini R2D2 Quilt, and couldn’t wait to hang it in their room! It goes great with the BB8 Pouf that I made for them as well. You can whip up this R2D2 quilt in an afternoon – the Star Wars fan in your life will love you for it!

this R2D2 Quilt really shines - and is super easy to make!

Working with Multiple Colors of DecoFoil

As a member of the Thermoweb Design Team, I’ve been working with the iCraft Decofoils since before they were available to consumers. I’ve had lots of opportunities to play with them, test them, and try out different techniques.

How to work with Multiple Colors of iCraft Decofoil

With many of the different projects I made, I wanted the iCraft Decofoils to be right next to each other. There are lots of projects where you don’t need this, but for projects like the Modern America Foiled quilt, and the R2D2 Mini Quilt I’ll be sharing later this week, two different foils touch one another.

The reason this is a challenge is because when you apply the foil, you melt the adhesive. As the adhesive cools, it bonds with the foil. When you apply a second foil next to the first, the first melts as well, which makes the foil lose its shiny surface. This isn’t the end of the world – the twice-foiled area looks a little more vinrtage-y, but it IS possible to get multiple colors next to one another, and still have a mirror-shiny surface!

I’ll take you through the step-by-step in this video. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.

BB8 Pouf

Is your family Star Wars Crazy? With a house full of boys, you can bet mine is! My 3 and 7 year old boys love Star Wars. And the adorable Droids in it. R2D2, Chopper, and BB8 are their favorite! So, when Fairfield offered to send me a foam Pouf to design with, I knew what I would make with it! It HAD to become a BB8 Pouf!!

DIY BB8 Pouf

Adorable, right? And really simple to make – I whipped this out in an evening – from sewing the cover to painting it. When my kiddos woke up in the morning, this BB8 was waiting for them!

You’ll need:
Fairfield 6″ tall foam Pouf (leave the plastic packaging on)
Pencil
Fabric – I used 1.5 yards of Robert Kaufman Outback Canvas
24″ white zipper
DecoArt Multisurface paint in Dolphin and Orange Sherbet
Paintbrush
Sewing Machine and thread

If you read that supply list and the word “zipper” scared you, don’t be afraid! Zippers are not hard, and I’m going to show you a very basic way to insert the zipper that doesn’t take crazy sewing skills. Also, you’ll be glad you have the zipper because white fabric in a boys’ room is going to need to be washed fairly often!

Start by cutting your fabric. Trace the pouf onto a double layer of the fabric with a pencil.

Then cut two strips of fabric – one 4″ and one 6.5″, both the entire Width of the Fabric.

cut strips

Cut the 4″ strip in half. Lay one on top of the zipper, and with your zipper foot on, stitch all the way down the zipper. If the zipper pull gets in the way, stop with your needle down, move the zipper pull, then keep stitching.

stitch on zipper

Flip the fabric over to expose the zipper, then top-stitch down to secure.

top stitch zipper

Repeat with the other side, then trim the fabric to the length of the usable portion of the zipper, plus 1/4″ on each side for seam allowance.

Trim the width to 6.5″

trim up

Stitch the two strips together on the short ends, to make one long strip.

attach side to zipper

Pin the side to one of the circles, then stitch on using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

attach sides to bottom

Stop stitching about 2″ from the end. Match up the two ends, trim, and stitch closed.

stitch closed side

Lay the top circle on the bottom, and draw registration points to line up.

draw points for matching

Use these registration points as guides to pin the circle to the edge of the side. This will prevent puckers.

pin top to sides

OPEN THE ZIPPER. Don’t forget to do this!! You’ll want to open the zipper partway before you continue, so you can turn it right side out in the next step. Then, stitch all the way around the circle.

Turn the cover right-side-out, and insert the Pouf with the plastic packaging still on.

insert foam pouf

Using a dinner plate, draw circles onto your pouf lightly, with a pencil.

draw circles

Paint them in. I looked up images of BB8, then free-handed the design based on what I saw, but you can use a ruler and pencil to sketch in your designs before painting.

paint circles

Allow the paint to dry. After it is completely dry, you can pull out the pouf, remove the plastic, and re-insert it. You’ll see that the plastic protected the foam from any paint that seeped through the fabric.

colors of paint

Your kids (of any age) will be so excited!

stitched-pouf-cover-painted

finished-pouf

DecoFoil Projects

I’m on the Thermoweb design team, which means I get paid to work with the fun products that Thermoweb carries, and create all kinds of stuff… and hopefully inspire some of you with my creations! I’ve been working on quite a few things, and though I’ve shared some of them on Instagram, I don’t think I’ve shared many here… so I thought I’d share some of them…

 

The coloring book craze is alive and well! This quilt was made with Coloring Book fabric that I used Decofoil liquid adhesive, and foils on. I quilted with black thread on the lines in the foiled squares, and did free-motion quilting in the white space with white thread. Quilting this one was a LOT of work, but had a fun effect!

tow-coloring-book-quilt

This quilt was made for QuiltMarket, and was the showpiece in the Thermoweb booth at fall market. It is about 4’x5′, and was a labor of love. So much time went into this (and more than a few tears). It was a technique that nobody had tried before, so I jumped in with two feet (is there any other way to jump in?), and did my best. I’m really, really proud of the finished result! The pattern is based on “Modern America” by Indygo Junction, and you can make it using traditional applique if you don’t want to do foil.

tow-foil-USA

If you love the foil look, and want a fun project, but these big quilts intimidate you… check out these foiled birthday seals. I have a printable and all the instructions over on my 30 Minute Crafts site.

finished seals