Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick and Easy Coaster Tutorial

Quick and Easy Coaster Tutorial - by fern's frocks 
please feel free to make these to your heart's content, but please link to this page if you share the tutorial, or if you sell them...mention ferns frocks as your inspiration.  That would be pretty fantastic of you!  :-)

Materials needed:

  • fabric- enough for 8 squares, approximately 5 inches each. (this allows up to a half inch seam     allowance depending on your sewing preference. 
  • absorbent fabric for inside- I use birdseye diaper cloth from that I love.  It's thin, and absorbent.  Flannel would work as well! you need 4 squares, same size as your fabric squares
  • thread- coordinating or contrasting!  whatever you like!
  • sewing machine- although one could complete this sewing by hand if you really wanted to.
  • optional: serger-this honestly makes super quick work of things.  But, a zig-zag stitch or stitching 1/4" in the seam allowance will also do the trick.

Let's get started.  
1.  I suggest using a ruler and rotary cutter to cut your squares.  It's quick, easy, and accurate.    I must admit, I didn't when I made my coasters...but I had in mind that my serger would cut away my imperfect cuts(and it did!).  

2.  Once you have your squares, take two of your main fabric and put them right sides together.
(2) my "open end for turning right side out" edges were each serged to prevent fraying when turning.  feel free to do this as well!  but it's not necessary.
3.  Then, take one square of your absorbent fabric and place it on top of the wrong side of a square.  It doesn't matter which one.  Make sure you line up the edges.  If you'd like, and it makes you more comfortable, you can pin the squares before sewing.  I used my serger and did not use pins.

(3) please ignore my nail polish, it's been a long week...
4.  Start your stitching 1.5 inches from one of the corners and sew to the corner.  This side will be where you turn the coaster right side out.  It also makes it neater if you are using a serger to start there and sew out...
(4a) pins are marking where I started my stitching
(4b) note the pin is only marking the side not going through the serger at the moment

5.  Next sew or serge the next 3 sides completely.  

6.  When you get to the 4th side (flip coaster over if serging), start the stitching 1.5 inches from the corner and sew to the corner.  

(6) all sides stitched
7.  Next, if you did not use a serger, sew 1/4 inch from your first stitching (in the seam allowance) to reinforce your coaster.  

8.  You may clip the corners before turning if you'd like, and depending on how big your seam allowance is, I recommend it.

9.  Now you're ready to turn your coaster right side out.  Use a tool of some sort- back end(not sharp side!!) of a seam ripper, pencil, dowel, your finger, etc to push the corners if needed. 

10.  Fold the opening's seem allowance and iron entire coaster.  
(10b) showing coaster after ironing
 11.  Next you're ready for the final step!!  Top stitching!  Start on the opening side, about an inch from the corner and stitch all around your coaster! 

12.  I do a bit of back stitching when I start and finish to make it secure, then I tie my ends and clip.
(12b) again with the polish...


                                                             A Coaster!!!  

Repeat the process for the remaining squares!  When you're done you have a great hostess gift, instant perk up for your living or family room, or a great gift for teachers!  Really, I don't know too many people who wouldn't want fantastic coasters hand made by someone who cared for them!!

tying a ribbon around your set always adds a finished and professional look!

Thanks for reading my tutorial.   I hope you enjoyed it.  Please feel free to leave me comments!  Criticism, compliments, pointers, etc!  I'd love to hear it all!  

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Play! Mini Quilt Competition

Somewhere, during the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day(week) I read a comment that recommended this fun blog: SewHappyGeek.  I was intrigued and definitely liked what I saw.  PLUS, there was a little competition (please go check it out and vote for your favourite!!!) I could totally try!  I decided to fit with my theme of "jumping right in" I would join the party and make my FIRST EVER(!!!) quilt!

A mini quilt, of course. (13" x 13" or so) Just dipping my toes into the quilting world, I'm not ready to take the full plunge yet!  For my first go at it, I think I did a pretty decent job.  I'm very proud of my "Whooo's got an Ace?" mini quilt.  In fact, I've been seen carrying it around the house.  He's actually sitting next to me on the couch right now as I type this! 

The premise of the contest, Play Mini Quilt Competition, was to take a playing card and let it inspire you to make a quilt!  See the flickr group here for all the inspiration and completed cards:

When I read about the competition, I knew exactly which cards to get from my stash!  I have some fantastic vintage owl playing cards that belonged to my wonderful Grandma.  PERFECT!!!

She was a social woman, for the most part, and had bridge parties all the time for as long as I can remember!  I have many fond memories of helping her clean the house (okay, fond may be stretching it when referring to all the dusting I had to do...), setting up the card tables, putting out the cashews and other mixed nuts, and then getting out all the decks of cards from the hexagon side table in her gold living room.  My grandmother was one of my best friends.  Always encouraging, always believing in me, always loving!  I wanted to be her when I grew up!  She's been gone more than ten years now and so this quilting project really held special love and meaning for me.  Especially since it is coinciding with an unpleasant anniversary for my family.  Making something beautiful, creative, and fun from inspiration that was my grandmother's just really makes me feel wonderful.

So thank you Jenna, of SewHappyGeek, for having this competition!  I really needed it right now and I am just pleased beyond belief with myself and my results!

From those two cards above I drew a little sketch of what the pieces of my quilt would look like.

Then I started choosing fabrics!  I loved my choices, many of which are more than 10 years old!  Perfect for my vintage card!  The tail fabric, and ears, is from a dress I made myself during my 'dirty hippie' years more than ten years ago.  The breast of the owl is from fabric for a skirt that I never finished.  It's actually crocheted fabric in the shapes of peacock feathers.  The wings are a paisley print I also used 8 or 9 years ago to make a messenger style bag for myself.  Actually, the only 'new' fabric (as in less than 1 year old) on the entire quilt was the yellow used for the leaves, highlights in the eyes, and highlights to the one green owl sitting in the 'club'.  All the other fabrics range from 2-12 years old!  How fun!

I definitely enjoyed making this quilt.  I cut all my pieces and laid them out.  

Then carefully used a bit of liquid stitch to baste each piece.  Then, I got to work stitching everything.  I wanted to leave all my edges raw on the applique because a bit of fraying will look like feathers!  

I used a lot of decorative stitches on the owl side.  And free form stitching on the club side.  

I even made the eyes glow in the dark!!!  Hard to capture in a photograph, even in fireworks mode, but I tried!  

glowing eyes...if you can tilt your screen back and forth or up and down, or move around while looking, you might be able to see it better...(looking from above seems to work well on my screen)
Once I was satisfied with both sides, I quilted them together using straight stitching on my machine on the borders only.  I really decided I didn't want to go into my feature squares that much!  I just didn't want to ruin them.  Plus, I didn't have a good thread to blend in very well to the foundation pieces.  

I had fully intended on using this awesome 'lime' bias tape from 1974, but I realised it was single fold.  I tried to make it work by doubling up and just stitching it together, but I just couldn't do it.  So yellow with lime green stitching worked!

Again, I couldn't be more pleased with my results.  I bounded out of my sewing room (yes, bounded!) to show my husband my glorious accomplishment late last night.  He was impressed!  Knowing that I have never quilted before and that I finished it in 2 days!!!

I can't wait to do more!


Also, there's voting involved for part of this competition.  Voting begins Tuesday, May 29th at 5 AM EST and ends Friday, June 1st at 6 AM EST.

Please vote for your favourite here:  (I'd love it if it was mine!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

My First Giveaway---The Winner!!

Wow!  I'm so happy I had over 100 people like my coasters enough to enter my giveaway!  Thanks!  I enjoyed reading all the comments and really loved discovering new blogs.  I even found one that I decided to participate in a contest at: SewHappyGeek-Play!

On to the drawing!

After removing duplicate comments, multiple entries, or the ones folks removed, I was left with 119 comments. We decided the best route for my dear boy to be able to pick a number was to narrow the entries down.  I did that with the help of the random number generator.

We had 12 numbers that I wrote on little pieces of paper and put them in our TARDIS hat.

He then had fun drawing a number out of the hat.  I had him draw two numbers, just in case the fist one was a no reply comment with no email.  So, he ran to put on his jammies while I checked the comments.

UGH!  BOTH were no replies with no emails!  SO we had to pick a 3rd number!
he's pretty tired, so it's pretty blurry...

Number... 25!

the owl lamp was my grandma's, it rocks!
Congratulations Jill, thatmoxiegirl of MadeWithMoxie!  You're the winner of some fantastic owl coasters!  I hope you like them!  I'll be emailing you shortly!

Remember, I will be posting my little tutorial on making these fantastic coasters soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jumping right in!

Today I'm dealing with many emotions.  

I'm excited because I've gotten many entries into my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway!  

I'm proud because my 7 year old did a fantastic job playing a dulcimer and his recorder at his school's Music Night!

I'm happy because my cousin's baby girl is about to turn one! 

And I'm facing extreme sadness as the first anniversary of a great tragedy to my family is approaching.  

It's a strange and odd thing to feel so many emotions at once.  So in order to deal with them all properly, I've decided to be productive and creative!


Many people have really liked the coasters that I'm happily giving away to a stranger at the end of the week.  Since they are pretty simple to make, I thought I'd make a Quick and Easy Coaster Tutorial for you.  

I'll be posting the tutorial after the giveaway has ended (May 25th, 8PM EST) and the winner announced (that announcement will probably come Friday night, as my son is extremely excited to the random number picker!!) so stay tuned!

I'm not sure how many folks will be sticking around the blog after the giveaway, but that's okay.  I'm new to this end of blogging and I'm happy to be here!   This is a perfect way to get my toes wet...

                                                                           jumping right in!

Monday, May 21, 2012

My First Giveaway!
*Giveaway is now closed! Thanks for entering!  Over 100 entries!  So exciting!*  Winner has been chosen: read about it here!

Well, I debated and finally the urge to give something to some random stranger won over!  I don't have many readers here, I don't blog very often, but I do love to create and share!  So after a morning filled with looking at tons of fantastic blogs (all of which are far fancier and do much more than my little blog) and entering tons of giveaways, I decided to host my own!

I love owls...I really really do.  I have a corner of my living room dedicated to Doctor Who, Bublitchki Fest (more on that another day), and Owls!!

Bublitchki Fest (a family festival celebrating our heritage)

I really love owls, and have discovered a new found love for birds in general.  So when we take our son hiking, my husband and I like to look for birds that we haven't seen before as well as any bird, really.  This past weekend we saw Red-Winged Black-Birds, American Goldfinches, a Blue Heron, and a Barn Swallow!  Neither of us had seen the Barn Swallow before and it was beautiful.  Full of iridescent blue feathers...
American Goldfinches, there are 3 in this photo

a hunting Blue Heron
the barn swallow is hard to see, but he's on top of the left side post

Anyhow, on to the giveaway!

I'm giving someone a set of four fantastic fabric coasters!  They are reinforced with an absorbent yet thin birdseye diaper cloth to soak up any condensation your cold beverage may be experiencing this summer.  The outer layers are a cute 100% cotton owl print!  I love these and am planning on making more for myself as they will fit perfectly in my living room.

To enter, just leave me a comment doing any of the following that you choose:
a.) tell me your favourite bird
b.) tell me your favourite plant or flower
c.) tell me your favourite blog

You can feel free to answer all of the choices, but please, do it in one comment.  Only one comment per person.  At the close of the May Giveaway Day (week), I will use a random number picker---my seven year old son---to choose a winner out of all the entries.  I will ship anywhere so everyone can enter.  Please make sure you leave your email address in this format: someone(at)gmail(dot)com if you are a no-reply poster so I can contact you if you win!  If you forget it in your first comment, please leave another one with your email address.  It'll still count as one entry!  I'll announce the winner next week on a new post and I'll email the winner that day!  Good luck!

Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blog world.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL IN YOUR COMMENT!!!  I've gotten many no-reply comments with no email addresses!  You can't win if I can't contact you!  Thanks!

UPDATE: The winner has been chosen!  Announced here: