all the things I do in my hideaway

Archive for the ‘Quilts’ Category

Turning scraps into….purses

Several months ago, I wanted a new purse AND I wanted to make that purse.  I spent some time searching for patterns online, and finally found one that was close to what I wanted.  I modified the pattern, and created exactly what I wanted.  I have received many compliments on my purse, and requests for the pattern.  So, I have finally written the directions.    Here are pictures of my  purse, as well as directions for making one.  Good luck, happy sewing.  Hope this will work for you.


Finished purse, with button detail

Finished purse

Directions for purse





“Food for Thought” book cover

I spent most of the past two weeks in Salt Lake City.  Along with visiting family and friends, I stopped at Quilts, Etc.. a wonderful little shop on two corners of an intersection.  You read that right.  The northeast and southeast corners have wonderful little buildings just stuffed with fabric, patterns, and notions, designed to part any quilter from the money in their pocket (and on your credit card, if you aren’t careful).  What do quilters do, besides spend money?  They talk to the other quilters.  Everyone is a friend in a quilt shop.  So, when I found some fabric with books (not pictured on this blog, might be used for gifts in the future), I was asked what I could do with it.

Well, in addition to quilting (and working so I have money to buy fabric), I love to read.  Give me a book, and I am happy.  Hardback, paperback, and now, on my Kindle Fire, books are wonderful.  For travel, my Kindle is so much easier than carrying all the books I might want to read.  However, nothing beats a book in the hand, curled up on the couch/bed/, in the apple tree, on a blanket under the tree, on a bus; you get the idea.  Here is one thing to do with great fabric.  The food looked good, hence the title…

Paperback Book Cover (fits a standard paperback book.  Adjust as needed for other size books.)


Main fabric, cut 1 piece 8 in.x 17 in.

Lining, cut 1 piece 8 in. x 10 in.

Interfacing for both pieces

Ribbon for the book mark


Ready for sewing.  I like to leave a little bit of fabric not covered by the interfacing.  Your choice.  Hem the short ends of the main fabric.  I used a single fold over and a zigzag stitch.

Now to pin the pieces together so that when you turn everything right side out, everything is in the right place!  This is the only “hard” part of the project.


Fold in equal amounts on the hemmed edges, leaving 10 inches for the cover.  Note placement of the bookmark ribbon.  This is where you want to put it!  Trust me, I have had vast experience with a seam ripper!  Don’t determine length of ribbon yet.  You will need more than you might think.


Tuck the ribbon inside.  Remember, your seam ripper gets enough experience on other projects.  None needed here.


Pin everything in place.  Sew across the top and bottom, 3/8 inch seam.  Turn, press.


Put a book in the cover.  Place the bookmark in the front of the book, then decide how long to cut the marker.  Finish end of ribbon with Fray Check.

Find someplace to curl up and enjoy!

Creating special things…

The past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to “create” in several ways.

The first “creation” was a tote bag with a smaller “tape measure snap closure” bag, a kleenex holder, and a fold-up shopping bag from fun zebra print and black/white polka dots.  This will be packaged up this afternoon and mailed to Marsha, my daughter-in-law’s mother and a friend since the wedding.  I am excited – it turned out the way I hoped it would!  We saw one similar to this while on our cruise together in December.  Marsha loved the bag and I am so happy I was able to make one like it for her.


Next, I was able to create memories and fun with two of my grandsons during the Presidents’ Day school holiday.  Here are some of our memories and other special things:


Cinnamon roll waffles – the left-overs (that “disappeared” in the next couple of hours)

Directions:  Purchase ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  Separate package of 8 rolls into groups of two rolls each.  Unroll one roll and wrap around the other one, making a “giant” roll.  Smash (RDG’s description) between two pieces of wax paper.  Place in waffle iron.  Frost and eat!  Yummy!  (

Waffles in the picture were smashed individually, rather than making the “preferred for breakfast” waffles.  This was the way they wanted to make the “leftovers.”

IThey did have fruit and milk to go with this…a little bit of healthy with the waffles.)


Our “igneous rock” – melted crayons


ACG and the puzzle we put together – this is 500 pieces, and took us two visits to complete.  We also did three 100 piece Planet Earth puzzles.  We have other puzzles just waiting for our attention.  We love the challenge.


We played “science.”  This visit was dedicated to rocks and minerals.  The boys chose quartz crystals for their observations.  RDG especially liked using a flashlight to observe the transparency of his amethyst quartz crystal, while ADG loved using the copper scratch strip to test hardness.

We also made popcorn, using a stove-top popper with a handle that you turn to keep the popcorn from burning.  My children would remember this, and the grandsons loved it! 

My next creations will be using a technique I found on Pinterest that makes EASY mitered corners for baby blankets and other things…more to be posted in the next week or two about that, with pictures.  The boys want to make quilts for their beds, similar to the one they made for their parents for Christmas, so we have to schedule a trip to get supplies for them one of these days….

Exciting patterns…

Yesterday on my way home from school, I stopped at a local “dangerous to enter” (fabric) shop, and, yes, I did spend money.  All I bought was yarn for a shawl I want to crochet and a quilt magazine.  (Link to pattern:   I am excited because I found two patterns in the magaize I want to make.  Both use batiks, which I love to work with (and I need to diminish my stash).  One is a table runner that looks like a cathedral window, made without hand stitching or curved piecing, quilted while assembling.  My kind of pattern!  The other uses strips and rectangles in a planned pattern for a quilt (easily made whatever size I want).  This pattern is reminds me of the classic Yellow Brick Road as far as assembly methods.  I need to finish a tote bag first, then crochet hook and fabric, here I come!  I love to create!

Next week is mid-winter vacation at school, some of the family is coming to town to celebrate my husband’s retirement.  Then, I’ll go back to work…no retirement yet for me.

Quilting weather…

The back yard, with icicles hanging from the eaves.


Our recycle bin, topped with snow. The bottom, thicker layer of snow, then a 3/4 inch layer of clear ice, topped with the still falling snow...


“Snow days”…something I thought only happened to my cousins on a farm in southern Alberta.  I grew up in the Salt Lake valley, and the best I could hope for in snowy weather was to be the last bus to arrive at school.  At that, second period in high school was the latest I ever arrived.  Then, I married, and we moved to the Pacific Northwest, where we have lived and raised our family.  I soon learned about “snow days.”  Through the years, certain traditions became a part of these special, “surprise” holidays.  Hot spiced cider or apple juice was a necessity after playing in the snow, and pictures in the snow, with a sign giving the date, memorialized the occasion.  Our family photo album contains many such pictures.

The seven children have grown up and moved to their own homes, but the snow days continue.  I am the teacher now, and I’m sure my students haven’t thought much about science, other than the weather, for the past two days.  Why?  Because these have been those special holidays – snow days!  Tomorrow will be another snow day, and hopefully, the ice storm that has paralyzed the Puget Sound will end, and the snow/ice/snow will melt away…to be a cold memory.

What have I been doing?  Quilting…sorting through fabrics, pondering ideas, reading quilt magazines, a birthday gift project, some mending, a quilted tote bag project, looking at fabrics again…a special, surprise holiday.  Oh yes, and, just for a few hours, I did think about science…

Continuing the tradition…

Christmas, 1936, brought an exciting Christmas present for my Grandma Ohlin.  Grandpa bought her an electric sewing machine!  Until then, she had used a treadle machine to create clothes for her family.  She was a seamstress, not by profession, but by necessity.  She made clothes for her family, for church bazaars, and for grandchildren, using whatever materials she had available.  She used scraps to make quilts to keep the family warm.  Mom remembers that Christmas, when she was 10 years old.  The gifts that year were all wrapped in red cellophane.  It was the Depression, and you used what you had.  Grandpa hid the machine at Aunt Fern and Uncle Walt’s house, to be delivered at the appropriate time.

When I was 4 1/2 years old, my family was preparing to move from Salt Lake City to Denver.  Grandma was tieing a flannel quilt for my brother, a grey background with red yarn ties.  I asked to help, and Grandpa said, “Sylvia, you are too young.”  Grandma had other ideas when she responded, “No she isn’t, Carl.”  Grandpa was sent to get the red crochet cotton and soon I had a needle in hand.  I’m sure the ties I added weren’t great, but Grandma left them there.  I’m sure she didn’t realize that would be the only quilt we would make together.  She died seven months later after a short illness, but the memory of that day didn’t die with her.   It is a treasured memory of a Grandma gone too soon.

The sewing machine became Mom’s machine after Grandma’s death, and with it, Mom clothed her seven children.  Mom didn’t follow Grandma’s quilt making tradition, although Aunt Fern did.  I was in college when Aunt Fern taught Mom to hand quilt, and I learned, too.  My stitches weren’t great or quickly set, but I knew the basics.  The sewing machine became mine when I was a freshman in college, since Mom had gotten a machine that would zigzag.

I had four children before I got a “modern” machine that did more than straight stitch, but Grandma’s machine was the one my older daughters sewed on first.  Eventually, I stopped using it, and it was a piece of furniture for many years.  Last summer, I had it repaired, ready for piecing quilt projects.  Many years after my “quilting day with Grandma,” I started doing some “quilt” projects.  I learned on my own, reading books and magazines, and sometimes, just “doing my own thing.”   Aunt Fern shared quilt ideas and skills with me, too.  Still, that memory of Grandma was with me each time I worked on a project.

As Christmas approached, I wanted to “make a memory” with my grandsons.  We have been blessed with three grandsons.  Matthew, 3 yrs. old, lives in another state and isn’t quite old enough for this kind of project. Aidan and Ryan, ages eight and five, live close and  are just the right age for keeping secrets and having fun.  We decided to make a quilt for their parents as a Christmas surprise.

The boys chose batiks from my collection during one weekend visit.  I cut 8 inch squares and sewed them together on Grandma’s machine.  Then the boys came over again to help tie the quilt.  We used flannel on the back and a puffy bat to make it into a “snuggle blanket.”

We had a system as we tied.  I put the needle down through the quilt “sandwich”, and Ryan would crawl under and pull the yarn through.  Then the needle came up, and again, Ryan pulled the yarn through.  Aidan came behind, cutting the yarn and tieing square knots.  They took out the pins and wrapped up in the blanket, finished or not!

I bound the quilt with the strips left from the fat quarters, and then we wrapped it up in a big box.  It was still a secret!  What fun to see them give that big box to their parents.   The boys want to make more quilts, this time for themselves.  We will, and the tradition will continue…

The quilt, not quite finished, but on the way.

Snuggling under the quilt...who needs a binding?

I’m sure Grandma, and Grandpa, smiled as they watched…and it all started with a Christmas present, 75 years ago.

Snuggling under Mom and Dad's Christmas present.

Reflecting on the weekend…

What a wonderful weekend just ended.  I loved sitting in my home, watching and listening to the Prophet and the general authorities teach the Gospel.  I was so excited about the announcement of the new Provo Temple, preserving the Tabernacle.  It was such a beautiful building, and to know it will continue to be a center of gospel teaching is wonderful.  I watched one session in ASL, which gives me an opportunity to practice receptive skills.  How great the technology that allows streaming video with the interpreter now.  It would be impossible to say any one talk was my “favorite”, as all were wonderful.

Tonight, I finished the quilting on my batik quilt, hope to sew the binding on tomorrow night.  Will post pictures soon.  It is beautiful!