Sunday, December 28, 2014


Merry Christmas!
No matter how early I begin preparing for Christmas, there never seems to be enough time.

But I managed to get my Christmas sewing finished and sent off!

And, luckily, everything arrived before the big day!

A couple of fun pouches!  One clamshells and one apple core!  The ornaments are fabulous Anthropologie  **sigh**
And a little embroidered pincushion!

Tomorrow I will share with you what Santa dropped on my doorstep!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fabulous Felt!

Now that the handmade gifts are taken care of, I have been having some relaxing fun with wool felt.  

I love working with felt. No need to worry about finishing seams or leaving raw edges...

And the color is amazing!  Saturated color!
By far, my favorite felt is 100% wool!!!  Not a blend of wool and rayon.  The blend is much cheaper, but not as lovely in appearance or quality.

So, here is a last minute idea as you wrap up those last few presents or put together a plate of goodies.
Add a homemade tag/ornament! Easy to do with wool felt!

I simply drew a heart template on freezer paper.  Pressed my heart to felt and cut around with pinking shears!

I added a tree trunk with brown felt and stitched in place...then using perle cotton or embroidery floss stitch some branches!

Cut another heart for the back of the tag, and stitch the two together (wrong sides facing) with floss or perle cotton.  I caught the tails of my loop with my stitching.  Leave an opening and stuff with poly-fill or scraps of batting. 

Simple and quick!

Not only does it jazz up a package, but it is a great keepsake that can be hung on the tree!

We are on the homestretch!  Are you all ready?

ho ho ho

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Christmas Quilt....

There is nothing more satisfying than stitching a quilt to be gifted for someone special.

This quilt is from the pattern {Trees!} by Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts

and intended for my lovely friend, Rachel.  You can find Rachel at Family Ever After 

Rachel and I met through a mutual friend, although I knew who she was, I just hadn't formally met her. I was fortunate to be part of a small group of friends who got together every now and then to quilt and chat.  For about 2 years now we all meet to work on quilts, blocks or individual projects.

Rachel will be leaving Ohio next summer and just the thought of it makes me so, so sad.  I know she will love having her family closer to her mom and dad, so I can't be too sad.  Family is a good thing!

As for the quilt....the color palette needed to be simple....I love red and white quilts.  Red and White for Christmas. I used a variety of red prints.  A Japanese dot, a gingham, apples, and a vintage large red and white check. Then I added a touch of grey...a text print called Dictionary by Tim Holtz.  The grey binding and splashes of the same text in the blocks, is a nod to our OSU Buckeyes. 

In the lower right hand border, I added a pieced heart...for Ohio!  Ohio is shaped like a heart and our state slogan is Ohio, the heart of it all!

Here and there, I fussy cut a heart for the top of the tree from a Maze and Vale panel.  A sweet little heart because Rachel and her family have touched my heart.


I added a great red check from the new collection by Molly Hatch...and the backing fabric is also a Molly Hatch fabric...

And, finally, I hand quilted this with a color I LOVE!  Valdani size 8 perle cotton in Orangey Red.  Stitched with love.

Of course, pieced using Aurifil cotton thread.  

This is a small quilt...great for a wall hanging, over a chair or on a table.  I can just imagine Rachel unpacking it every Christmas and remembering her group of friends in Ohio who will always love her dearly.

Love you, Rachel :)
One week to go! 
happy thursday!
xo mary   

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Getting Down to Business!

Once again, I have procrastinated on the REALLY important Christmas making...
This week...I am determined to make a dent in some of the plans that have been cooking in my head!

Here is a sneak peek...

not much of a peek is it?  
Let's just say, this Christmas is the year of the pom-pom and clamshells!

This amazing Molly Hatch fabric is just yummy! Or as Clare would say, LUSH!!!
 I used a bit of left over clamshell fabric to make another little gift...
of course, hand quilted with Valdani size 8 in black.... 

  It feels twice as special to make a gift with your own pieced fabric...


Tell me, are you finished with the gift making?  How long do you dare put it off?  I know some of you like living on the edge!!!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Kitschy Kitchen Stocking....

Last year my niece and her husband bought an old home in Southern Ohio...

She spent the bulk of a year working on updating the house and making it their own.  In a couple of weeks she is hosting an Open House and I can't wait!  I love old homes!  And I know she has made this home something special...hopefully I can remember to take pictures to share :)

When my niece saw that I was working on a little clamshell stocking project, she mentioned that it would be cute to have a clamshell stocking to hang in her kitchen with a few vintage utensils.  

Being the World's Best Aunt....I went to work!

I began with a 3.5 inch clamshell template.  Because my template is 3.5 inches, I made a 3.5 inch grid on a piece of Kona Cotton.  Of course, I used a Frixion pen to mark my lines.

I love fussy cutting fun kitschy fabrics with my clamshell template!

Then I use a dab of Roxanne's Glue Baste-It to secure my clamshells to the foundation fabric...

Beginning at the top of the foundation fabric, the clamshells are simply added between the grid lines and every other row is staggered....

Notice I cut a little more than an 1/8 inch outside my drawn line for turning under.  And with the Frixion pen I don't need to worry about my drawn lines. The heat from an iron will make the marks disappear.  It's always a good idea to test first, though.

Next using my favorite, Richard Hemming Milliner needles and Aurifil 50 wt thread, I simply appliqued the top curvy part of the clamshell.  You do not need to turn under and applique the scooped out section or the point.  These areas will be covered by the curve of the row below it.  Brilliant!!!!

Once my clamshell fabric was complete, I backed it with a piece of cotton batting and  I quilted it using Valdani perle cotton in black.  Then, I simply placed my stocking template on top of the fabric and cut out a stocking shape.  Since this stocking is going to be hanging in a kitchen {and to save time} I only used clamshells on one side.  The other side is a solid piece of food themed fabric. 

 I added a lining in a black buffalo check flannel and a scalloped cuff!  Pom-poms and braided yarn for hanging!

And there you have it!  A kitschy kitchen stocking!

Have fun with all your holiday makes!
xo mary 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Handmade Christmas Decorations Blog Hop!

Some time ago I was invited to participate in Stitch/Craft Create's Christmas Decorations Blog Hop!
Well, since I love Christmas and Christmas makes, I quickly said, YES!!!

Loving all things Scandinavian, I grabbed a couple of ideas from the Handmade Scandinavian Christmas e-book...

This is an amazing book!  Full of everything you need to create a Scandi Christmas!  You will find: recipes, decorations, gardening ideas, paper crafts, sewing patterns, and knitting ideas.  The pictures are warm and inviting. Simply beautiful!

I used the patterns for the Fragrant Heart

 and Welcoming White Tree.  Armed with a bit of linen and some perle cotton, I set out to create ornaments...
that could be hung on the tree...or added to a wreath...or used as a tag on a gift....

The Welcoming Tree...

Perfect in linen with a touch of hand stitching...

 add a ribbon to hang it on your tree or add it to your wreath...

The Fragrant Heart...
 fill it with cloves, cinnamon or star fill your home with the smells of Christmas

 I added some stitching and a bit of perle cotton for hanging...

        You will find oodles of inspiration on Stitch, Craft, Create's home page  

on the Handmade Christmas page you can shop for kits and accessories 

And for delightful e-books such as the Scandinavian Christmas book, you can visit the e-book and download page   

The blog hop schedule is here...have fun looking back at a whole month of Christmas makes! Lots of inspiration!

there may also be a little contest going on ;)


Let the Merriment begin!
xo mary


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Weather Says Christmas!

Whew!  I simply cannot remember a November this cold and snowy!  Luckily, we have had mostly cold temps...I feel for the folks around Buffalo or in areas that are buried in snow!

But the cold and the snow certainly put me in a bit of a Christmas mood....

Last weekend I got together with a few friends to make Christmas stockings and do a little hand quilting and embroidery.  I began piecing together a clamshell project in cute kitschy fabrics.      

I appliqued these to a foundation fabric marked with a grid...I used Aurifil thread to applique.  It is amazing for applique!  and my very favorite Richard Hemming Milliner needles in size 11.  These needles are awesome!

Once my 'fabric' was complete, I went back and pick stitched with black Valdani thread!  I love the black stitching...
This will be my 'fabric' for the stocking.  I just haven't had the heart to cut it yet, but as soon as it is finished, I will share it here!  I just love those clamshells!

While I had the Christmas-making spirit, I put together a little zippy bag using the leftover pieces from my Sew Together bag!

I added cute little felt balls on the zipper pull...thanks Janelle :)

This is the perfect size to hold small scissors, a bit of thread and needles, or chapstick, tissues...even a cute little tin with some change!  thanks Clare :)

It feels good to get a little of Christmas sorted out!  I love Christmas sewing....I only wish it wasn't such a hectic time. More time for sewing :)

Stay warm!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Liberty and Linen Advent Calendar!

Did you have an Advent Calendar when you were little?  We had one every year, but it was one of the cardboard calendars with the little windows that opened.  Each window had a surprise picture waiting to be exposed.  I always thought it was so much fun, but usually all of the windows were opened by the end of the first week!
Years later, I realized some kids had calendars with little pockets for real surprises!  Imagine!  Not a little picture of what you could possible have, but an actual surprise! Hmmmmm....

So, now that my kids are way beyond the Advent Calendar age...hehe...I decided to make a calendar for my niece to hang in her home. The pockets are just the right size for little softies, a bit of candy, or a candy cane, a matchbox car or my pretty pony!

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the sneak peeks...I also had a few requests for a tutorial...
so here you go!


Background fabric...22" wide X 39" long (I used Essex linen in Flax)
Pockets and Pocket linings....25 pockets and 25 pocket linings 4" wide X 5" long (I used Essex for the pockets and Liberty for the linings)
Numbers from number printed fabric, or number stamps, or fabric to make your own numbers and a fusible webbing...more on this later
Thin Batting
Backing fabric
Embroidery floss or Perle cotton for stitching...I use size 8 Valdani Perle Cotton
A disappearing marker such as Frixion pen 

Begin by cutting 10 inches off one end of your background fabric, leaving a 22" wide X 29" long section and a piece measuring 22" wide X 10" long.  Set these aside.

Making the pockets

Cut 25 exteriors for the pockets 4" wide X 5" long and 25 pocket linings, also 4" wide X 5" long.

Place the lining and exterior together with right sides facing and using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch both long sides and the top short side....leave the bottom short side open

Turn the pocket right side out.  Push out the sides and the corners and press well. A chop stick works well for getting into small corners.

With the pocket exterior facing up, fold down the top end about a half inch, exposing the lining fabric and press again.


Stitch across the lining edge by machine or with floss/perle cotton....

For each pocket you will need a number so the kiddos can count down the days!
I used a fabric with numbers that I could cut apart, other options would be to make your own numbers with fabric and fusible webbing.  If you have a Silouhette or similar cutter, this would be perfect for making numbers.  Also, there are many sites to download fonts. So you can easily print out numbers and even change the size in your printer. Another option would be to embroider your own numbers (you may want to embroider before you add the lining fabric).  Or you could stamp numbers using stamps and ink.  How about making your own stamp!  Get the kids involved and have them help make potato stamps!  So many possibilities!

Stitch the number to the center of each pocket exterior and then go back over the machine stitching with floss or perle cotton.  Be sure to leave at least a 1/4 inch from the bottom open edge free.  This area will become a seam allowance for your pocket.

**note: if you don't like raw edges you can either turn under the edge or use fusible webbing** 

  After you have the numbers on the pockets, turn the pocket over so the lining side is facing up.  Using a disappearing marking tool or a Frixion pen, mark line 1/4 inch from the open raw edge.

Placing the pockets

Take your background piece of fabric measuring 22" wide X 29" long.
Measure 3" down from the top edge and, using a disappearing marking tool or a Frixion pen, draw a horizontal line from one side to the other. This is your top margin.  From this line measure down 4" and draw another line from side to side.  And continue dropping down 4" and drawing a line from side to side until you have drawn 6 lines.  These lines are for placing the pockets.  So you should now have 7 lines total from side to side. Whew!

Skipping the first line, go to the second line (4" down from the 1st line). Starting at the left hand side and on the second line, place a little mark on the line about 1.75" in from the left hand edge.  Now place your ruler edge at that mark and make marks on the line at 5", 10", 15".....

here you can see a small mark 1.75" from the left edge...

  placing your ruler at the first mark on the line...make a mark at 5", 10", and 15"...these are guide marks for placing the pockets.

Repeat this process for the rest of the lines (lines 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)

Remember the very first line at the top is just to mark the bottom of the top margin or the header.

Sewing the Pockets onto the Banner 

   Take pocket #1 and flip over so the lining is facing up and upside down. The raw open edge should be at the top and lines this....the left edge of your pocket will line up with the small register marks you made on the line.

Pin in place and stitch on the drawn line.  Back stitch at the beginning of the pocket edge and at the end.

Flip the pocket up so you can see the number and finger press.  If you have marked with a tool that disappears with heat or is set with heat, make sure you simply finger press...don't put the iron to it!

Stitch both sides of the pocket, leaving the top of the pocket open!!!

the dashed marked line shows the stitching area.

Repeat this for 24 pockets.  You will have 4 pockets per line...don't add #25 yet.

Making the point for the Banner

Once you have all 24 pockets on the body of the banner, you are ready to make the pointy bottom section which will hold #25.

Take the other piece of background fabric that measures 22" wide X 10" long.

Fold in half so it measures 11" wide X 10" long. Place the folded fabric on your cutting mat so the fold is at the top.  Line up your acrylic ruler from the top right hand side to the lower left hand hand side.  Notice that when you cut from corner to corner, you will be able to open this up creating a large triangle.   

Cut from upper right hand corner to the lower left hand corner...

 Adding the last pocket

The last pocket will be placed on the triangle. Make sure to leave at least 1/4" clear around all edges for seam allowance.

I placed mine low enough to add a little easy embroidery to the triangle...

Draw a line for the pocket placement and stitch in place like the other 24 pockets. 

I used my marking tool to mark a simple Swedish looking tree with a star on top.  And using a backstitch, added a little simple embroidery.

Stitch the long edge of the triangle to the body of the Advent Calendar.  You may want to trim the edge of the body of the calendar before stitching if you prefer less space between the last row and the beginning of the triangle.

Adding the Pick Stitching   

Because I didn't want to add a binding to my calendar, I pin basted a piece of batting to the wrong side of the calendar and did most of my pick stitching (hand quilting, big stitch) on the front only...not through three layers.  I stitched on the line marking the header, stitched each pocket line and between the pockets from top to bottom.

The black line outlining the entire calendar was done last...after I had added the backing...through all three layers.

 You may want to embroider Merry Christmas or another Christmas motif in the header area....just a thought.

Because I used a Frixion pen...I pressed my calendar to make the marks disappear.  It's always a good idea to test the Frixion pen with your fabric before you begin any project.    

Putting the Backing Together with the Front

I chose not to do a binding all around the calendar so I could leave an opening and turn right side out.  

To add the backing, I first trimmed any batting even with my calendar front. I stitched a small zig-zag stitch around the entire calendar front to hold the batting and calendar together.  Then I pinned my calendar, right sides facing, with my backing fabric.  My backing fabric was not cut to the size of the calendar.  It was a large piece of fabric extending beyond the edges of the calendar.  Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch the calendar and backing together...BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OPENING FOR TURNING AT THE TOP OF THE CALENDAR.  
I stitched with the calendar/batting facing me so I could follow the edge of the calendar. Make sure you use a 1/4" seam allowance and you may want to use a walking foot.  

Trim the backing even with the calendar and turn right side out.  Push out all points and corners.  Stitch the opening closed by hand.

After all three layers were together, I went back and outlined the entire calendar with black Valdani perle cotton.

Are you still with me???

Adding the Tabs

The last detail is to add tabs for hanging.

Cut tabs 7.5" wide X 9" long.
Stitch in half along the length so you end up with a tube 3.5" X 9".  Press the seam open.  Turn the tube right side out and place the seam in the center of the back of the well.  Turn under both short ends 1/2 inch and press again.

I added stitching all around the edge.  

Pin the tabs to the top and machine stitch in place.  

Just for fun, I added 3 large X's to each tab!


**a couple of thoughts**
I hope you enjoy this tutorial, but please refer back to me and  this post if you make a calendar and post it online.

Valdani Perle Cotton size 8
Fons and Porter Utility Needles for pick stitching...I have tried many but these are by far the best.  They are designed to be used with size 8 perle cotton
Nimble Thimble...I have small fingers and this is the only thimble for me!
Aurifil thread for piecing

About the fabrics....I am in the process of opening a web shop! Yay!  My sister and I are working with a web designer to develop a web site...we are getting much closer to a launch date...but everything takes time. We are building inventory, and have some fabulous fabrics to offer.  Lots of Japanese fabrics (like the number fabric), Liberty of London, fabrics from Sweden, and Australia, kits from the U.K.!!!  It's all so exciting!  I will be sure to keep you updated, but you will be able to find us at
IG: sunnydaysupply
Pinterest: Sunny Day Supply

Have a great weekend!
xo mary