Happy Easter and a Coffee Cozy Pattern Review

There were Easter goodies found at our house this morning!

Found it!

The bunny plush kind of took over the whole basket.

The Easter loot!

But what’s that in the back there?

What's that?

An empty…cup?
A cup of ... ?

Ahhh, it’s a hot chocolate cup cozy!

A coffee cup cozy

The bunny had a bit of help from Mom this year. I saw a coffee cozy at Insanely Crafty (cool new blog I found just yesterday through Jennifer at Parrish Platz! I think Jessica is the lovely Corrinea’s daughter? Jennifer and Corrinea work at Patch Arts & Crafts in Stuttgart.). Anyway, I thought “I could make those for the girls for Easter” since the coffee bars around here on the Army posts are frequently out of cardboard sleeves! I didn’t have a cup on hand to use to make a pattern myself, so I went looking and found the Fabric Coffee Cozy Sleeve Tutorial at YouCanMakeThis.com.

I LOVE that site! Downloadable patterns for everything crafty! The tutorial was pretty good, though I’ll make a few changes if I make these again (and I’m sure I will because ITMan was feeling a bit left out because the Easter Bunny didn’t leave him one!). The pattern wasn’t exactly perfect; mine came out a bit small since the printer cut off the bottom of the pattern and I wasn’t sure how much longer to make it. The pattern could have been designed to be placed on the fold, and then it would have fit on a regular sheet of paper for printing.

Other than that, the method of sewing the bottom seam (and having to measure from the top seam first and mark the sewing line) was a bit fiddly, and could have been made easier by just designing the pattern to be exactly the right size in the beginning. I used Quilters Dream mid-loft poly batting between two layers of batik, instead of backing one layer of fabric with fleece, and it worked just fine.

The instructions called for a lot of gluing to hold things in place; I just used pins. The pocket instructions were good, but I added 1/8″ extra all the way around to the cut size of the pocket, so that I could just iron the edges under before sewing instead of gluing them. I wrote on the pocket after sewing it on with a Pigma pen and filled in the heart with Tsukineko Fabrico Markers and then heat set it. It’s probably better to decorate the pocket before sewing it on, of course, but I got a little ahead of myself!

I did make two of these, one for each girl, but GuitarGirl is a bit of a grump when it comes to things like this so her basket is still hidden, waiting for her to go find it. So no pic of that one yet. I did have fun pawing through fabrics to choose the perfect combo for each one that the girls would like! All in all, a successful project, and a nice little thing to put in an Easter basket for teens and tweens (and dads, too). Happy Easter to all of you!

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Taking a Breath

The manuscript for The Book is D.O.N.E. Done! I finished writing and drawing diagrams and editing photos today. I do still have to complete three of the quilts (they have been started, but my editor said that it would help them if I finished up the manuscript so that they could get that asap, and the quilts could come later). I also have to separate out the text and pictures and diagrams into separate files and such, so that it’s in the right format to submit, but I’m going to take a break for a few days, and finish that up right after Christmas. I can look at the text one more time with fresh eyes after I’ve been away from it for a few days and give it one more editing run through.

Whew! What this all means is that I really did know exactly how long it would take me to finish all of this. I told the editor around the first of November that I could have everything done by the end of December, and that’s exactly how it’s turned out. I had it figured that there wasn’t a lot of time for anything but working on the manuscript and the quilts; no lunches with ITMan or friends, no breaks for casual shopping, not a lot of reading for pleasure (and I miss my reading!), none of those extracurriculars.

Other than that, it means that now I can take a small breath, try to catch up a bit and make Christmas as close to normal as it can be at this point. ITMan and I are going out shopping tomorrow and Monday to see what last minute small things we can pull together for each other and the kids, and get the food shopping for Christmas done. I might work in some Christmas baking on Sunday and Monday as well, and then I do have to make Christmas Tree Bread dough on Tuesday and shape the loaves on Wednesday, because it’s just NOT Christmas without it.

Right now, I’m headed to bed early, to read the book that’s been on my bedside table since I bought it in Houston. It’s a new book about Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, and it’s been sitting there calling me since the end of October. I’m sure Shadow will join me there (he’s still doing well, and we’re all looking forward to Monday when he can have stitches removed and get rid of the collar), and Patches may even deign to share me and the bed with him for a bit. *sigh* It’s the little things.

Edit: And for any of you who have been reading since last year, I did (finally) update the Christmas Tree Bread recipe post with pictures of the bread, such as they are. Maybe I can remember to get even better pictures this year!

Quilty cases for the iTouch

iTouchAfter all that paper yesterday, I came home and had to have some HOF (hands on fabric) time. ITMan and I each received a slick new iPod Touch as a late Christmas present. We got them free because I took some programming classes in November and December. Great freebies! Not that we needed new iPods, but we do love our techie gizmos…

So now comes the inevitable search for just the right cases for the things. I’ve really never had cases for my other iPods, because I generally don’t take them out of the house. I connect them to players and speaker systems just to make it easier to have more music at my fingertips in whatever room I’m in without burning cd’s constantly. ITMan has a case for his iPod Video from DLO, but it’s really trash, since the case itself put scratches and permanent marks on the face of the iPod after long term use. Isn’t that what cases are supposed to prevent? Obviously, we won’t be buying cases from them again.

When I decided I had to have some sort of case for my newer iPod nano that I got last Christmas, I made a little quilted sleeve from fabric and thin batting. I just wanted something to protect it when I sling it into my purse on trips or something, and this way, there’s nothing inside the case to scratch the finish on the iPod. Perfect. So when ITMan and I were contemplating cases for the iTouch, he mentioned that some sort of a sleeve would be all that was really needed, so I whipped up two cases with that in mind:

iTouch Cases

Soft on the inside, cool looking on the outside. I was going to say “pretty,” but ITMan probably doesn’t do “pretty.” He did spend quite a bit of time picking out his own fabric for his case though, finally settling on the red silk dupioni. The purple silk dupioni was a close second, but in the end he liked the way the red silk shimmered. I chose a couple of coordinating cotton fat quarters for mine, and made the front from one fabric and the back (which also acts as the flap to enclose the iTouch with a bit of Velcro) out of the other.

I left the seam allowances on the outside and used the serger to finish, because I didn’t want the seams on the inside causing lumpy bulk. There’s nothing on the inside but batting, and I think it was Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 Black, or maybe it was Dream Cotton in black. Either way, it’s the perfect thickness and very soft and didn’t cause any problems with the machine when I quilted it to the top fabric with no backing.

Now I’m looking at mine and thinking how cool it would be to add some embellishments, like beads, embroidery, crystals, buttons, etc., etc.! Or I could make another and embroider and embellish before assembly. Hmmm, I could get totally sidetracked making these. It would be like making fabric postcards, but making something useful (I’ve never done the postcard thing. What do you do with them besides send them away to someone else, and then what do they do with them??) I’m not sure I have time to get involved in making more of these, but I might not be able to resist this temptation…

A quick project

Folded Mini Star OrnamentThese Folded Star Mini Ornaments were just too cute not to make. Takes about 10 minutes to make one, and you can use 2″ leftover strips from another project, should you have any around (and who doesn’t?). Perfect for tie-ons for gift packages as well. Visit Acorn Hill Quilts for the free instructions for these cute ornaments and there’s also a larger version made from fat quarters that makes the perfect last minute gift for quilters! What quilter doesn’t need more fabric? 😉