a pretty cool life.: March 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

New baby gifts

Our friends had their baby last week.  I put together my favorite new baby gifts to celebrate the arrival of their little boy.

An initial onesie, hand knit hat and baby book.

Welcome to the world baby Patrick!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring napkins

I'm going to be hosting a little luncheon, and rather than turn to the grocery or party store for typical paper napkins, I decided to make some myself.  It really couldn't have been simpler.

I sorted through my stash of favorite fabrics and vintage linens.  I chose spring-y dots, flowers and ginghams and then cut 15.5" x 15.5" squares.  I hemmed all four sides, and was done!  So easy.  Ten napkins in about an hour?  Awesome.

I like how none of them match and will look just perfect with my thrifted, mismatched china.  I think a table runner or tablecloth may be in the works next.

And of course I have to say happy birthday to this guy.

Without him, I wouldn't be leading such a pretty cool life.  Happy birthday, Puppy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The red hats

What I learned this week: when you have two toddlers on a playground for the first time in months, there is a zero percent chance that they won't run in opposite directions the minute they are unbuckled from their stroller. 

The solution?  Knit two totally obnoxious hats, a la Ronald McDonald's hair.  Picking them out of a crowd is suddenly no longer a problem. 

And if you think it's a little late in the season to be knitting hats, this is what I'm up against: 68 degrees yesterday, 30 degrees and snow today.  Weather here in Chicago sure is grand.

Something else I learned this week:  I'm going to be featured on Sew it to Me tomorrow.  I feel so cool.

SITM Spotlight button

Happy weekend everyone!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pat's!

We might not celebrate St. Patrick's Day in our house beyond wearing a little green and drinking a few Shamrock Shakes, but I'll never pass up an opportunity to douse marshmallows in sprinkles and chocolate. 

We're headed to a birthday party later today, and I sure hope these are a hit!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Vintage pom pom pillow

There's something about the weather starting to turn warm that makes me want to nest.  Last week it was the curtains, today I took a vintage pillowcase and turned it into throw pillows.  1 pretty pillowcase = 2 prettier throw pillows.

Don't pom poms just make you so happy?

Me too.

No one ever officially taught me how to sew fringe on a pillow, but this is what I do:

Set my needle position all the way left.  (Silly that to set it to the left, I move the lever right, but whatever.)

And then I sew the pom poms (facing in, towards the center) to the right side of my fabric. 

Then I go ahead and make my pillow as usual.

Happy pom pom-ing!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Re-run of my guest post: Quilted coasters

In case you missed it, here's the tutorial I posted at Tatertots & Jello last week. 

I recently made very similar quilted pot holders, which made me think about something quilted in miniature.  Coasters!

These are something you can whip up in less than an hour, make a thoughtful (but super easy!) gift, and only require the most basic of sewing skills (Straight lines only, I promise!).
To make a set of 6 coasters, you'll need 12 squares of fabric, 4.5 inches each.  Keep in mind that 6 of your fabric squares will be the tops of the coasters and the other 6 will be the bottoms.  I chose bold prints for the tops and a charcoal gray for the bottoms.  Make them match, don't match, pick only one fabric, pick lots of pattern--whatever's your style, go for it!

You'll also need 6 squares of 4.5 inch batting.  Pick something super thin.  I used a fusible batting, which I love for small craft projects. 
Iron the batting to the wrong side of the back fabric.  If you don't use fusible batting, skip this step.
Pin, right sides together, the top fabric to the bottoms with batting.  If you didn't use fusible batting pin your layers like this:  right sides of top and bottom fabric together, with batting on top. 


Sew around each side, leaving a pretty wide gap for turning.  Make sure to back stitch.

After sewing the squares, clip each corner, being careful not to snip the line of stitches.

Turn the squares right side out. 

Poke out the corners.  I use a knitting needle, but chopsticks work great, too.  Don't use a pen or pencil or anything sharp because you'll poke right through the corner of the coaster.

Iron the squares.  Be sure to press in the opening.

After everything's ironed, topstitch along the edges of the coaster.  (Again, be sure the opening is stitched shut.)  No need to backstitch, just continue sewing over a few of your first stitches.

You could stop after topstitching along the edges, but to get the quilted look, line up your presser foot with your first line of stitching, and sew around, forming another square.

Continue doing this towards the center. 
Be careful when you come to the corners, so as to not ruin the graduated squares of stitching.  Go slowly when you are approaching the corner, and with your needle in the down position, turn the coaster.  After a few lines of stitching, your estimating skills will be good enough to gauge when it's time to stop stitching and turn. 

After you've finished stitching, trim your loose threads and you're done. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice cup of tea resting atop one of your new coasters!



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