Fresh Ingredients

There’s nothing better than fresh salsa, especially with ingredients from my own garden.

I could eat it by the spoonfuls, but it definitely tastes better with chips.

I think these vibrant salsa colors are great inspiration for a patchwork project, so I checked my stash of reds and greens and found more fabrics than I realized I had, especially in my Christmas pile. (don’t you just love these tone-on-tone polka dots on top?!)

Now I just need to figure out what to make. I have faith an idea will come to me.

Valentines Day Table Runner

I finished my Valentines Day table runner, which I pieced together and quilted last year, but I never finished sewing on the binding. Now I can count this as another finished project for the year!

It’s simply uneven strips pieced together, with a border around them. Our buffet table measures about 17 inches deep and this new runner is about 14 inches, so it fits nicely. I love this combination of colors – brown with red and pink.

I appliqued the hearts with my old sewing machine, which never cooperated when doing applique or zig-zag stitches. I ended up hand sewing over the spotty machine stitching because it skipped every couple stitches.

For the binding, I pieced together a combination of the leftover fabrics, which looks cool as you wind your way around this runner.

I’m so happy I stuck with this project, and finally finished it! It adds colorful cheer in our living room, especially this time of year when things look so drab outside. It’s actually the only Valentine’s Day decoration we have in the house, except for that bowl of red and pink MnMs.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, I have to give a shout out to thank my friend Vicki for sending me a surprise Valentine’s Day package!

She is famous for her whirligig pinwheels, so I feel honored to get a towel with a red-and-white-pinwheel-band through the middle.

I will be wearing this adorable heart brooch for the rest of the week!

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.