Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Because you have so much time on your hands this month....

A week or so ago, Cotton Spice.com featured on their blog page a project I created using UFOs and scraps to whip up some fancy little ornaments. I think I was supposed to have the project directions featured on my blog the same day, but better late than never! So if you are just sitting around not sure how to occupy yourself this holiday season, here's a suggestion.

Everyone has leftover blocks and plenty of scraps sitting around their sewing room. Why not grab a few and in just a few minutes turn them into tree ornaments or custom gift tags?


· Several UFO blocks, cut no larger than 5 ½” square
· Scraps for appliqué shapes
· 6” square batting and backing, one per ornament
· Beads, sequins, buttons, jewels
· Thin ribbon for hanging
· Allene’s Jewel It other adhesive

1. Locate some UFO blocks. This is sometimes easier said than done, but once you find one you will likely find more than you ever thought you had, and you might end up in the market for a taller tree to fit all the ornaments you can make.

2. Cut blocks down to squares or rectangles no smaller than 3 1/2” on a side and no larger than 5 ½” on a side.
3. Decide on orientation – do you want your ornament to hang on point or straight?

4. Decide on design. I like to stick to fairly simple and traditional Christmas shapes. Anything you can draw or cut out freehand will work. Simple triangles make great Christmas trees, a few basic petal shapes turn into a poinsettia in no time, some circles, a square, and a rectangle make a snowman with a jaunty hat. Just remember to keep your design small enough to fit within about ½” of the edge of the block.

5. Iron fusible web onto the wrong side of whatever scrap fabrics you are going to use to make your design. Either draw your design on the fusible, or cut the design freehand. Remember, either way your finished design will be the opposite of what you are cutting from the paper side.

6.Fuse the design to the block, following your fusible manufacturer’s instructions.

7. Machine appliqué around appliqué shapes. This is most easily accomplished by using zig zag or feather stitching or any other simple decorative stitch you might have on your machine.

8. Sandwich block, batting, and backing for quilting. I like to use my 505 spray baste to put them all together.

9. Free motion or echo quilt around your appliques; these blocks are little and don’t really need all that much quilting, and are a great project to use to practice your machine quilting.

10. Trim off excess batting and backing.

11. Prepare binding; cut a strip of fabric 1 ¾” wide by approximately 19 inches long. Press in half along the long side to create a double thickness binding.

12. Using a scant ¼” seam and beginning in the middle of one side, attach binding to the front of the ornament. Flip binding to back and handsew shut.

13. Embellish your appliqué shapes with beads, buttons, jewels, sequins, and any other small shiny items you may have in your stash. I like to use Allene’s Jewel It to attach them as it adheres quickly and dries invisibly. For small beads, the easiest way to get the glue on without overgluing is to thread the bead on a pin and gently dip the pin in some glue, then press it on the ornament and slide the pin away.

(As a side note, aren't my cuticles fantastic?)

14. Cut a piece of ribbon about 9” long. Glue or sew to the back of the ornament, overlapping ends slightly.

Another side note - a little excess glue globs never hurt anyone. Remember, Perfection is Overrated.

And because I love reminding people of what I do, I'll even include the marketing blurb at no extra cost!

EvaPaige Quilt Designs, created by designer Beth Helfter, strives to give quilters freedom to make beautiful things without focusing on perfection. From her quick and forgiving patterns to her trunk show entitled “Perfection is Overrated”, Beth works hard to give quilters license to focus on “fun over fuss” in their quiltmaking.

Beth loves to see her designs completed and the creative licenses taken by quiltmakers when using her patterns, and welcomes photos and comments anytime at
evapaigequilts@charter.net. She is a founding member of New England Quilt Designer’s Cooperative; their group blog, to which she is a frequent contributor, can be found at http://nequiltdesigners.blogspot.com/. To find out more about EvaPaige Quilt Designs patterns and her workshops and trunk show, visit http://www.evapaigequiltdesigns.com/.

If I don't get back here before the holidays are over, have a peaceful, joyous, and blessed holiday!

Beth Helfter
EvaPaige Quilt Designs