These are my spring into summer flower coasters. I know, I know. Not another coaster tutorial. These are probably a dime a dozen on the internet, but how many of them are as cute as these? Most of them are practical and functional, but leave very little to be said about the impact they make on your décor. Why not have fancy smancy coasters that pull the double duty of a functioning coaster and a lovely accent for your table when not in use?
These are not difficult to make, yet they look like you dished out some bucks for them at Crate and Barrel. They are frilly and the fact that you use a zigzag stitch around the edges, gives them the appearance of petals as the curling effect lifts the edges to a soft ruffle.
To make these you will need:
(4) 5 X 5 square pieces of fabric (charms work well)
(4) 5 X 5 square pieces of felt
Some pins to pin your pieces together before cutting
A template for your flower design (It should fit your 5 X 5 piece of fabric)
A manila folder or other stiff paper to cut your template from
A downloaded and printed template you can trace onto the manila folder or you can choose to draw your own design
A marker for tracing
A washable fabric pencil
Your sewing machine
You will first need a template. I went online and downloaded one I liked, modified it and then printed it onto regular printer paper. If you are a good sketcher, you could draw your own original design. Then, I cut out the form and traced the outline onto a manila folder.
I then cut out the manila shape and traced that onto the fabric with the fabric pencil. To minimize how many times I had to cut, I layered the fabric and backing (felt) for two coasters and then traced. Once you are done tracing, pin the layers of fabric together before cutting. Be careful not to accidentally shift the fabric when pinning them. When you are done cutting, you should have two coaster tops and two coaster bottoms. Repeat these steps for the second set of coasters. I chose a basic daisy design for my first set of coasters and a rose design for the second set of coasters.
Now separate the pieces and match them to each other…flower fabric on top and felt backing on the bottom. You can pin these at maybe two points before you start to sew. I find that the felt does a great job of grabbing the fabric and I can actually machine sew it without having to pin it. You decide for yourself if your skill level will allow you to pull that off. On my daisy design, I sewed around the edge before I filled in the middle dot. I used a wide and full zigzag stitch. Keep as close as possible to the edge and still hit fabric with the needle.
Don’t worry if it looks like you are hitting air with the needle occasionally…most machines make up for this by just wrapping the thread tighter along the edge. If you like, you can practice on a scrap piece of fabric a few times before doing the actual coaster. This will help you get a feel for it and you will see that it looks good no matter what. If you get a little too off the edge and it looks thin, you can come back to it again. Draw a circle in the center of the flower with your washable fabric marker and fill that in with the zigzag as well.
To do the rose, I first stitched in the inner petal design. I drew those in with a washable fabric pencil and then followed the lines with a wide and full zigzag stitch. Again, you can choose to pin the fabric together before sewing or you can wing it and let the felt grip the fabric. Once I finished the petals, I stitched the outer edge the same way as the daisy flower. The zigzag stitch causes the edges of the petals to curl upwards giving the petals of your coasters a three dimensional look.
That’s it. You are now done…easy peasy right? You can take this simple idea and run with it making tulip coasters or maybe animal faces or whatever inspires you or whatever goes with your décor. These can be popped in the washer when they get soiled and make it back to the coffee table in time for the cocktail party.
My Girly Girl Utility Aprons – I made these utility aprons with fun fabric prints. Who says that a work apron have to be designed with dull, boring and plain, unprinted canvas? These are so easy to make, you actually have fun in the process. They are like bib aprons that just hang from your waistline. Choose complementing prints and solids, mix and match fabrics and divide the layered pockets into 2 or 3 slots. If you make yours with a medium to heavy weight fabric or with canvas, you won’t need to line them. If you use a thinner fabric, you will need to line it or use a fusible interfacing to give it the body it needs to hold its shape while holding contents.
Utility aprons have many uses. They’re not just for vendors anymore! They can be used in the garden to hold your small hand tools, seed packets, garden markers and gloves even. You can use them around the house when making minor repairs. You can choose to wear a “designed for men”; heavy, leather tool belt that weighs you down and chafes your waist or, you can choose to wear your own, homemade, comfortable yet functional, frolicked, utility apron. They’ll hold your standard screw drivers, scissors, pliers, screws and more. Utility belts come in handy when crafting too. Keep those scissors right on you so they don’t end up getting lost under your crafting supplies that tend to take over your work station. Keep your tape handy, ribbon, labels, pens, and more. You know how much time you lose looking for your tools under your craft projects. Working in the garage today? Keep your most basic tools on you. Don’t wear yourself out walking around the garage to get back the wire cutter, or to use the tape measure again. Keep them right in your utility apron.
Ladies make many repairs and actually make things in today’s day and age, so do it in style. I know that around my house, if I don’t replace the broken toilet paper holder or hang the pictures, or install a new door lock, or make a much needed new shelf and install it, well, it just won’t happen. The garage may look like the man’s garage, but I’m the one who uses it! Those tools wouldn’t see the light of day if it weren’t for me. So, whenever I need to fix something or feel the urge to make a new birdhouse, my handy utility apron made by me for me fits the bill as my assistant just right.
Re-Usable Shopping Bags – We’ve all seen them. Some of us have one or a few. The newly introduced, re-usable shopping bag invented to instill, and hopefully foster a new culture of re-using rather than throwing away the bags used to transport our purchased goods all the way home. The problem is that deeply ingrained into American culture is also the notion of super-sized shopping which renders these meagerly sized and constructed, re-usable bags, relatively worthless. They don’t hold much and they definitely don’t hold any weight either. If you do use reusable shopping bags, after about 3 or 4 uses, they start to fall apart at the seams. After a few frustrating attempts at going green with your shopping bags, you go back to your old ways of paper or plastic. Who wouldn’t? These things did a better job at reinforcing the throw-away-America attitude we have in this country by giving us a good dose of the “No good deed goes unpunished” lesson.
Enter the sturdy, roomy, lovely to look at and quilted re-usable shopping bag. It’s much larger than the typical re-usable bag and, it is the Superman of re-usable bags. This one won’t fall apart at the seams after just a few uses and you can even carry a gallon of milk safely and cushioned. If you are into crafts, this is one craft that’s super easy to make and is probably more functional than most of the other things you’ve made. They are easy to make too. You can make them out of left over scraps of fabric or you can go stylin’ and color coordinate your bags with designer fabrics and colors. They’re gonna last you a long time, so go stylin and make yourself some bags everyone will ogle. You can make them in different sizes too so that they can become multi-functional. Your deeper ones can serve double duty from the grocery store to the bookstore. A shallower bag can still work great at the grocers, but it can also be used as a quick go-to purse. A really big bag would be great for your breads so they’re not squished, but it can also be used to go to the beach with.
You’ll want to make these much like a typical quilt…your outer shell (the pretty fabric); your batting sandwiched in the middle (for cush) and your inner lining. Choose fabrics that wash well as these bags will be working very hard. When stitching you bags together, use a tight stitch and re-enforce your seams so they will hold up well against weight. Make your bags roomy by making them wider than the average bag. Do your quilting before you put the bags together. Elaborate quilting designs are nice, but straight lines done right will also give your bags a nice finished touch. Make sure you re-enforce the handles by stitching them on using the x in the box technique.
You’d be amazed at how much more use you’ll get out of these reusable shopping bags and they’ll help you stick to your green kick longer and hopefully permanently. Just remember to put them right back in the car after you bring in the groceries.
Pain-In-The-Neck Dog Bone – Everyone gets a pain in the neck now and then. Sometimes it’s due to sleeping in an unnatural position like sleeping while sitting up watching television. Other times, you just can’t help sleeping while sitting up because you don’t have a choice, like when you are traveling in a car or flying on an airplane. A pillow doesn’t do you any justice in these scenarios because pillows are too bulky to use comfortably…even the smaller travel pillows don’t fit the bill.
An effective alternative is the dog bone pillow. This small pillow is shaped sorta like a dog bone in that it is thinner in the middle and wider at the ends. The thinner middle accommodates your neck so that your neck has a little nook to nestle into. The wider ends act as a stabilizer to keep your head from wobbling back and forth. They sit on your shoulders and snuggle your neck and head on both sides. It’s the wobbling of your head that usually keeps you from slumbering away to the land of nod. Once you are able to stabilize your head so that it no longer wobbles about, you are able to relax and actually fall asleep comfortably and restfully.
Dog bone pillows are an easy, functional craft to make. Even the novice sewer can whip one up in half a morning – stuffing and all. You cut out three identical pieces of fabric, sew them all together on each adjoining side and stuff it till it keeps its form but has some give. You don’t want to overstuff it till it’s completely firm. If it’s too firm, it will lose its snuggling qualities and be more of another stiff, pain in the neck. When selecting fabric for your dog bone, make sure it’s soft and snuggle worthy. Try making one today and keep it in the car. When you need it, you’ll be glad you have it.
Quilt bedding can be very tedious to make when they are cotton quilts and patchwork quilts, but I made my granddaughter a cute little Tinker Bell quilt out of flannel fabric because it was much simpler to make. Most flannel quilts are made by just putting together two pieces of flannel and then quilting them because the flannel is thick enough to be quilted without batting. I chose to use batting and I’m glad I did. It did not make the quilt too lofty and now it is extra warm.
Tinker Bell Flannel Quilt – The fabric was already printed with Tinker Bell and her friends so I appliqued on a silhouette of Tinker Bell in the center of the quilt. I quilted it all over with a sparkle design like those released from Tinker Bells wand…basically, glorified and elongated asterisks. I also chose to embellish the edges with a fringed binding in white. This quilt is so snugly and soft. I am sure that she will love sleeping with it. This quilt is a twin sized quilt, so she can use it not only as a bed quilt, but also as a lap quilt, a travel quilt and even a picnic quilt at the park or the beach.
I also made a coordinating pillow case so her quilt bedding would have that “ensemble” look to it. There was no piecing involved with this quilt…nope, no patchwork quilts here. I took two pieces of fabric off the bolt and sewed them together sandwiching batting between them. She’s only 5 years old, so making an heirloom quilt with piecing and painstaking quilting doesn’t seem like a good investment of my time. Once she is older and a quilt that will grow with her is more feasible, I will make her a lovely, pieced heirloom quality quilt. Right now, Tinker Bell and Disney Princesses have her attention and these will be passed off in just a few more years. I’d hate to spend so much time making a quilt in these themes only to have them shoved deep into the recesses of the closet once she outgrows them, never to be used again.
Flannel quilts are a great alternative for young ones. They are relatively inexpensive to make even in their favorite licensed characters. They are easy to make and can be pulled off in just a few days, or one long day, they are functional, and kids love them. So try your hand at making one of these this week. The almost instant gratification high you’ll get may last long enough for you to get another project started and maybe even finished.