Spring Productivity

I rarely go into a weekend without a list. Do you do that? It seems like those two full days I have away from work can get filled up so quickly. But I really like to be able to savor those two days, so I jot down a weekend agenda of ideas for us, from chores to fun.

Some weekends we stick to the agenda and other weekends we just wing it. Sometimes our weekend free time depends on the weather. We woke up to snow and cold on Saturday, but Sunday was a beautiful take-a-nap-outside kind of day.

This particular weekend, I wanted to get a few specific sewing projects done. These semi-secret minis are for a special giveaway coming up. Stay tuned for more on that!

I’m happy and relieved I sewed the bindings onto my three recently finished quilts. I just need to hand stitch them as I get free time (or the next time we rent a movie). If it hadn’t been for my to-do list, I probably would have put off this task because it kinda felt like a chore.

I finished that pillow cover I pieced together last month. I am trying to use up the scraps in my scrap basket full of the lovely Sis Boom fabric left overs.

I love string-pieced blocks, but I wish they used up more scraps. I can’t seem to make a dent in that pile! These pillow covers are a fun way to turn a mini quilt project into something so useful as a pillow. Plus, they are a great small project to practice my free motion quilting skills.

Of course, I had to add the pom-pom fringe because it makes people smile when they see that extra detail. Now I’m happy to report it’s listed in my shop.

My weekend list is completely checked off, and I’m ready for a fresh week of spring and new projects.

Picnic Pillows

Remember when I was telling you about the picnic we had over Labor Day weekend? After we hiked and enjoyed a picnic lunch, we lounged on this quilt:

I LOVE that quilt, but we hardly ever use it. I originally intended for it to be a tablecloth, but it’s just too big and heavy for that, maybe because of the flannel backing. Instead, it serves as a great quilt for picnics or napping in the backyard on a sunny afternoon.

But laying on the ground isn’t always that comfy, unless you are dead-tired from a hike. So I decided this quilt needed some companion pillows to go along on picnics.

Here’s the results of that decision. I added handles to each side, making them easy to carry when you’re off to a picnic. Thus, I decided to call them “Picnic Pillows.”

These are very easy to make, even for beginners.  Here are the materials you would need:

Pillow form – I used a size 12 x 16

Scrap fabrics cut into 1-1/2, 2 and 2-1/2 inch strips

Two pieces of backing fabric, cut into 13 x 14 inch pieces

One piece of batting, measuring 13 x 17 inches

Twill tape

Thread , scissors and iron

After cutting the strips, put them into a paper bag and draw pieces randomly (I got that idea from Amy Butler’s Mid Mod quilt pattern). Sew together the strips along the long edges until you have one large piece at least 17 inches wide.

Press the seams toward the darker fabric.

Layer this pieced front piece over batting, and machine quilt as desired. I quilted lines 1/2 inch apart going perpendicular to the strip sets.

Square up this front piece so it measures 13 x 17 inches. Set aside.

With each of the backing pieces, fold over one shorter side 1/2 inche toward the wrong side and press. Fold over 1/2 inch again and press. Top stitch the last folded edge and then again for the inner folded edge (should be about 1/2 inch in).

Layer the two backing pieces over each other, wrong sides down, so they become one piece measuring 17 inches wide. The pieces should overlap. Sew a 1/4 inch seam on each side to attach the two backing pieces together just along the sides where they overlap. No need to go all the way around yet.

Layer these backing pieces over the quilted front piece, right sides together. Center the twill tape handles on the shorter sides of the pillow, raw edges together with the pillow fabric, with the handle tucked inside the pillow. Sew all the way around, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Clip the corners.

Turn right side out and press.

Insert pillow, lay down your head, and rest! I love the idea of having handy handles on these picnic pillows when you are already carrying a blanket or quilt to lay on, your lunch cooler, and beverages.

More Pillows

Okay, so a girl can never have enough bags. But she can never have enough pillows either, right?!

I haven’t been very motivated the past couple weeks to do much sewing (gasp!), probably because of our gardening projects, a conference in Chicago for work, and an upcoming vacation to the beach that is many years overdue. So I had a free day to work on some crafty projects, and this is what I came up with.

This pillow looks similar to the pillow I made last month out of the pink icing and azalea dot fabric from the Chocolate Lollipop collection designed by Anna Maria Horner, but this a better pillow form at 16 inches, I used the char brown icing and chartreuse sprinkle fabrics, and I added a ruffle edge, although the ruffle is not gathered. (I had some trouble figuring out how to attach the gathered ruffle to the fabric front, so I ungathered the ruffle and attached it. I have since figured out what I was doing wrong.)

I had another nice pillow form, so I made this one too:

Again, I used a different colorway of the Chocolate Lollipop fabrics in the banana icing and holly cool flower fabrics, and I added a ball fringe to the seams. I so very happy with how the fringe turned out. I was going to be lazy and just made a plain old vanilla (chocolate) pillow cover, but my husband insisted I challenge myself with more difficult sewing projects.

Thanks for the encouragement, Dave. I love the results!

Pillow Project

I love love love the chocolate lollipop fabrics by Anna Maria Horner! Since I can’t get enough of these fabrics, I have been stockpiling them before the stores and online shops run out, and before Anna Maria’s next line of fabrics – Drawing Room – comes out (any day now). I have big plans for that line of fabric too! While trying to find space on my sewing chair… (silly cat!)

silly cat!

… I made this cute pillow for my sewing room. I used the pink icing fabric for the front side of a 16″ pillow form.

front of pillow

Here is the back of the pillow, using the azalea dotta polk fabric, which shows the envelope opening I made so I can change the cover as the mood strikes me. I sewed two tabs of Fabric Fusion evenly spaced on the under side of the edges to keep the back closed and neat.

back of pillow

Here is a close-up shot of the rick-rack trim I added around edge of the pillow, which I think turned out sooo cute! I had some extra wide hot pink rick-rack in my stash, and this seemed like the perfect way to use it. I struggled to sew it around the corners but after pinning, sewing, and turning, it turned out quite nice, if I do say so.

close-up of the rick-rack

With the fabric scraps, I made these coasters, which are so bright and cheerful to me. (I used the pattern from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules-Sewing book.)


Can you tell I’m having a blast with these fabrics?! I have two more completed projects to photograph for another post, and three more projects in progress on my sewing table.