holiday spirit

I’m working hard on Christmas gifts. I’m trying to avoid the last minute purchasing spree because all the crafts I had planned never got made. So, so far, I’ve completed two quilt tops, one back and binding – ready to be sandwiched, one waiting to be ironed.

I’ve also finished cloth napkins for everyone. These are about 8″ x 10″ – one fat quarter makes two. I’ve got enough here for six different families :) This is one part of my “green” Christmas, where everyone gets a reusable grocery bag and cloth napkins. And maybe something else – but I haven’t decided what yet. Any ideas? Here are my napkins:

cloth napkins

Thanks to Unspeakable Visions for providing this fun naughty and nice list for planning gifts. I love it! Also, thanks to the Handmade Holiday 2008 group on flickr for keeping me honest and inspired. I do still plan to give a few Oxfam gifts this year though – if you haven’t been on Oxfam America Unwrapped, you should check it out. Lots of great gift ideas – especially for people who have everything!

Just a note about those cloth napkins. I instituted them at my own house about six months ago, and I thought they might be a pain, but actually, they’re awesome. First of all, I love to use them – they get softer and softer with each wash because they’re made of good quilting cotton. Second, they make me feel fancy, even when I’m eating ramen. Third, we have been using the same roll of paper towels for about 4 months now – and it’s still over half full! When they’re dirty, I set them on the washing machine, and they just get thrown in with whatever load I’m doing. If they get too stained with spaghetti sauce or whatever, I’ll just make some new ones, but so far, they are perfect. I highly recommend them for everyone! Reduce – Reuse – Recycle!

can we build it?

In addition to watching Bob the Builder on a seemingly endless loop (for no more than an hour a day), I’ve been getting some sewing done. I finished my Bow Tuck’s bag, thanks to the patient instruction from Marcy and excellent pressing by Lynn. Here’s a photo.

bow tuck's tote

Then, for inside, I made this fun little wallet.


wallet open

This cool wallet is from this pattern on I’ve sent it to my sister already – so she should get it in plenty of time for Mother’s Day. I also finally sent her the rice and lavender heating pad I made her for Christmas :)

heating pad

After I finished up the wallet – which came together in less than an hour(!), I made us some napkins for the house. I’ve been meaning to do this, but I always find something else to work on. But since we use paper towels for napkins around here, I figured I better get a move on. I had random Surf and Sand by Marcus Brothers fat quarters with no project in mind, so following Amy Karol’s pattern in Bend the Rules Sewing, I cut them into 14×10.5 rectangles – each fq makes 2. I used a little starch when folding and ironing the first folds on each side. This made the ironing and folding the second fold really fast and easy.

cloth napkins

In other crafting news, I’ve been working on my hand-quilted challenge quilt. I used a blue water-soluble marking pen to make some quilting lines, and even though it initially disappeared with water, the marks came back after it dried. Does anyone have experience with this? The brand is Mark-B-Gone. And all the marks are not coming back – only some. I can’t figure it out.