Accessories and Ornaments, Art, Home Dec

Paint and Bead Your Own Decorative Pillow ! Back By Demand Jan. 14, 2014

I’ve been busy preparing for what is shaping up to be an exciting Fall schedule of teaching.  One of the new workshops planned is to make your own decorative pillow.  You will paint your own fabric and embellish it with beads.  The class is on the schedule at Baron’s Sewing Center in Woodland Hills for September 24th and October 8th, 2013.

Here is the one that I finished the other day.


I started with a piece of white PFD Kona cotton and painted the background with an acrylic wash of color.  Next I painted the flowers and layered the piece with batting and lining.  Then the REAL fun began as I used thread painting to add depth and texture to the design.  Here’s where you can really let yourself experiment with color and various thread weights.  I particularly liked the look of some variegated 30 wt. thread. 

When I declared the thread painting “done” I got out my beads and went to town!  Because this will be used for “show and tell” in class I wanted to be sure to incorporate several basic beading stitches.  I used moss stitch, scatter stitch, seed stitch, bugle pathways, back stitch and stacked stitch.  

My goal was to achieve a vibrant mix of color, texture and bling.  Did I achieve it??

Home Dec, Tutorials

Cloth Table Napkins – Tutorial

These fabric table napkins are becoming very popular and make a great gift. Here’s a quick tutorial for them.

Cut your fabric the finished size of the napkin plus 1/2 inch. I think that I cut 16 1/2 inch squares for these – 2 squares for each napkin.

Note: You can easily get 4 single thickness or 2 double thickness napkins from a yard of fabric if it’s at least 36 in. wide. Most quilting weight cottons are between 40 and 42 in. wide.

I like to use 100% cotton rather than a poly blend for these; feels good and better absorption.
Consider the weight of the fabric when deciding whether to use single or double weight. Also consider whether you want double faced or single faced napkins.

For Double Thickness Napkins:

Pair 2 squares together RIGHT sides facing and sew around the edges with a 1/4 inch seam. Leave a 2 to 3 inch gap for turning. Turn to the right side – poke out the corners (a chop stick works nicely) and hand stitch the remaining opening.


At this point you have the option of top stitching around the perimeter – and doing a couple of straight stitch lines across the napkin to better hold the front and back together.

I bundled them together using a leftover scrap of the fabric.

Single Thickness Napkins:

Method 2 – if you have a fabric with enough ‘body’. (look in the home decorating section)

Cut 1 16 to 18 inch square for each napkin.

(I actually used regular cotton for the Thanksgiving napkins. They are pretty but a little flimsy feeling.)

Use a serger to do a rolled hem around all edges.

Accessories and Ornaments

Holiday Projects – Green Sewing

Our kids in Minneapolis use only cloth napkins and I sewed a set of 6 colorful patchwork napkins for them. I lined them and used a pillowcase finish.  I didn’t think the fabric had enough body to just give them a rolled hem.

Aren’t they pretty?

I love the look of beautifully wrapped gifts but it always gives me a twinge when I see those gorgeous wrappings ripped off and thrown in the garbage.  So I decided to make some reusable gift bags.  I made a few little triangular shaped pouches and several larger drawstring bags.  I expect that the bags will be put to good use – even if it’s just to pass along with a gift to someone else.  I did some with holiday themed fabric and some that weren’t.  Then they can be used year round.

I saw the pattern for this online a few months back and haven’t been able to find it again. If I do I’ll be sure to give proper attribution.
I hope that my little great niece will like this bag as much as the gift inside

I have no particular pattern for these – pretty much custom made them to size considering the gift that was to go inside.

Family, Life

Good Intentions

My good intentions (last post in April 2009) went awry last year as life (and death) intervened. Upon reflection I realize that it wasn’t just the time spent travelling – it was more the accompanying state of mind that dampened any energy or enthusiasm I had to create art or talk about it here.
Not that things have returned to “normal” – or appear to any time soon. but I’m not waiting for that to happen. Too many ideas and too much to do! Fun stuff.

At the moment I’m in Minnesota helping out while my daughter in law recovers from knee surgery. When I was packing I wanted to make sure that I packed some work to do in my down time. And, as you all know, you feel like doing different kinds of quilting, art or needlework according to the mood you’re in.
Here’s what I packed (for a 2 wks plus 1 day stay)
knitting – a scarf in progress (easy for the plane)
fingerless gloves (in progress on the needles)
yarn to start a sweater for my oldest granddaughter
assorted fabric to cut out for a lap quilt
an art quilt in progress and needing the hand embroidery to be done
a little kit containing beading tools and beads (to make earrings for youngest granddaughter who just got her ears pierced)

My husband just shook his head when he saw it all go into the suitcase but I know you all understand. Today I actually cut out the fabric for the lap quilt. The scarf grew a little while flying out here; granddaughter’s sweater is on the needles; younger granddaughter has 2 new pairs of earrings. The art quilt has a little of the stitching done – the fingerless gloves haven’t budged.

Well, it’s almost time to take my granddaughter to circus school. The knitting goes with me.

Thanks for letting me ramble on here. Next post will include pics of some new work.