DIY dishtowel hack

Advent Calendar for Moms

Advent Calendar for Moms--such a fun idea!

I came across this fabulous idea online the other day. An advent calendar for introverted moms. Now, I’m not truly an introvert (though I seem to be inching that direction more and more each year), but this is really a self-care advent calendar.

Advent Calendar for Moms--such a fun idea!

I find this time of year so overwhelming. So having a little built-in downtime seems just about right. Here are a few examples of activities that you might pull from this:

  • Make your favorite holiday drink and sit down and drink it without multi-tasking
  • Light a candle, put on your favorite Christmas music, and sit down to draw or journal for a few minutes
  • Free choice: Do whatever you want!

Advent Calendar for Moms--such a fun idea!

I don’t want to give too much of it away, but you get the idea. You can download it here. Cut them out and put them in something festive. And most importantly, take 15 minutes each day to pull one out and slow down a bit. And if you miss a day? No worries! There’s always tomorrow.

Advent Calendar for Moms--such a fun idea!

 

DIY dishtowel hack

free quilted table runner tutorial at moda bakeshop

christmas table runner

Would you like to feel like you’ve got a jump on Christmas this year? Christmas fabric is just starting to come out and I whipped up a scrappy table runner over at the Moda Bakeshop using a jelly roll from Sweetwater’s upcoming line Hometown Christmas.

Super fast and easy and a jelly roll is enough to make a few of them (one for you and a couple to give away–see, it even gives you a head start on gifts!).

(Hint: It’s also perfect for any leftover jelly roll strips you have for an any-time-of-year addition to your table.)

sunday supper by sweetwater

DIY dishtowel hack

scrappy table runner tutorial

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Scrappy Christmas Table Runner

Size: 12” x 42”

Block size: 6″

Materials

  • 1 ½” strips assorted prints (I used a honeybun of Holly’s Tree Farm from Moda)
  • Background fabric, neutral (I used Kona Snow), cut into 6 7/8″ strips
  • Cotton quilt batting, such as Warm and White
  • 3/4 yd. backing fabric
  • 120″ of 2 1/4″ strips for binding
  • Triangle in a square Bloc Loc ruler, 6″ (optional, but helpful)

Here is an alternate method of making Triangle in a Square blocks, though not at 6″.

Note: All seams are 1/4″

Block Assembly

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  1. Sew together 7 strips and press the seam allowances all the same direction. Using the triangle template, cut out the first triangle. Continue using the template to cut 14 triangles. Here is a video that shows how to use the Bloc Loc ruler.

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2. Using the second template, cut the background fabric as shown. You should have 14 sets of 2.

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3. Lay out the triangle and background pieces as shown.

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4. Position the background fabric on the left side of the triangle as shown and stitch. Press open.

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5. Position the remaining background fabric on the right side of the triangle as shown and stitch. Press open.

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6. Repeat for remaining 13 blocks. You can get some good chaining piecing going by doing Step 4 on all the blocks, pressing, and then Step 5 on all the blocks.trim-2-1024x654

7. Using the Bloc Loc ruler, trim to perfection! The assembly part of this project will go so much smoother when the blocks are are perfectly uniform.

Table Runner Assembly

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8. Layout blocks as shown and sew them together. Instead of sewing them in rows, I do them as 4-patches and then sew the 4-patches together. I find that I get more accurate nesting seams than if I try to stitch full rows together.

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9. Baste and quilt as desired. I did some straight line quilting with a walking foot in the background areas only, using Aurifil 2311.  Bind.

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This pattern has so many possible variations! You can use a single print for each triangle, instead of going scrappy. Or you can make the triangle space a neutral fabric and use the prints for the side pieces, for a totally different look. I’m looking forward to playing around with this a bit more and hopefully ending up with a stack of new table runners! And then I will move on to full-size quilts!

Let me know if you make a Scrappy Table Runner! I’d love to see it! Please tag me on Instagram: @kristin_esser.

DIY dishtowel hack

::finding joy {2}

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Tea with a dear friend to just catch up on life. Candles burning, Christmas music playing, tree lights blazing. A chance to bring out and enjoy the Christmas tea set. Bliss.

DIY dishtowel hack

::finding joy

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The holidays can be so overwhelming–so much to pack into already full days and nights. So, I am going to look for little things this month that make me happy. I want to let the busyness go and enjoy Chrismastime. The month leading up to Christmas is really the best part, in my opinion.

I’ve been so inspired by being part of the sewing/quilting community on Instagram. I have enjoyed looking at all the wonderful creativity is out there. I am usually a pattern follower, but I see people whipping up simple, little designs on their own, so I decided to play around a bit in the sewing room the other night.

I was inspired by a mug rug I saw posted, but beyond the applique Christmas tree, the rest of this (very) simple design is mine. I did a bit of hand stitching, and tried out the wavy line stitch on my sewing machine for the quilting. It was fun and quick and I think I might make a few more variations on it. And maybe some Christmas tree coasters. Who knows–no pressure.

Where are you finding joy?

DIY dishtowel hack

november

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Here it is a week into November and I still haven’t processed that it’s fall. That’s probably in part due to the fact that it is 85 degrees outside. The biggest clue I have to the fact that we are headed straight for Christmas is that it actually cools down at night. Which is such a relief.

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I am trying to get ahead of the holidays this year and start doing things that will help me to enjoy them, instead of feeling stressed. Two things that worked out well for me last year is to complete the family calendar, that I make for my dad and siblings, before Thanksgiving. I pulled this off last year and what a difference it made! Also, to take our Christmas card picture early in November and get those cards ordered! I actually love sitting down with a cup of tea and a Christmas movie in December to address them. It’s just getting them printed that stresses me out.

So, November to do list:

1. Complete Dad’s Calendar

2. Take Christmas card picture and order cards

Other than that I want to make sure that I get in exercise, crafting, baking and spending time with friends and family. Because, really that’s what it’s all about.

{adorable embroidery pattern by the talented Minki Kim}

 

tea cosy

tea cozy


Not a lot of sewing is happening here. Still trying to get into the swing of the new year. Back in November I started working part-time, from home. It’s not a lot of hours, just 10-15 per week, but just enough for me to feel the squeeze. I’m having fun with it and I like that having fewer hours to get things done around the house forces me to be more efficient. I need to be up, exercised, dressed, have the house tidied and the kids off to school all by 9 am. Then I have a few hours dedicated to work, a little time to keep up on running the household, and by 2 o’clock I’m picking up the youngest one and back to full-time mothering for the rest of the day. I’d like to get to the point where I can load the working hours onto three days a week so that I have two full days to devote to domestic pursuits. I am missing my mornings in the kitchen, loading us up with good things to eat in the fridge. I’m sure I will get the routine worked out soon.

I did devote one evening to sewing up a tea cozy for my new teapot that I got for Christmas. I used this tutorial, but I modified it slightly and wish I hadn’t. When you measure over the top of the teapot, she has you divide that number in half and add 3 inches, when you make your pattern. Well, that just looked gigantic to me and I cut an inch off the bottom of the pattern. Well, guess what, the whole thing is just a little bit too short- I should have left it alone. It is a quick and easy pattern and it came out cute. I used Insul-Brite for the insulation and it works pretty well.

The kids treated me to some wonderful green tea for Christmas from Tevana. It is called Jasmine Dragon Pearls and is so delicious. I love drinking tea (especially green tea) and am making the transition away from tea bags to loose leaf tea. It fit my definition of a perfect gift, since I love and wanted it, but would not have bought it for myself.

Now I drink pots of it while working away the morning hours. Thanks to my kids who know me so well.

fam

welcome 2012

Happy New Year! I know I have been away for a long time, but you know, it was just that time of year. I am glad to be back and reflect on 2011 and dream about 2012.

We had a lovely Christmas, starting with a very nice trip to Carpinteria to visit the tidepools and have lunch at Crushcakes on Christmas Eve. I completely stole the idea from Mary Beth at Salt and Chocolate. She even told me how to get to the tidepools, since we have tried and failed a few years ago. My kids have a history of not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve, so we try to do something to really tire them out. A long drive and a couple of hours exploring the beach was perfect.

Since then, we have been hanging around the house, reading books, going bowling and having a very relaxing time.

I found a little time for sewing, which always makes me happy. I got a wonderful book, Zakka Style, for Christmas and couldn’t resist digging right in.

I replaced a much-loved and worn pair of walking shoes. Fresh for the new year.

I love January and new beginnings. I don’t hate resolutions, I love them. I love a chance to start over and do better.  This year I would like to not only lose weight, but to finally end this battle with my weight. I have found a lot of great information and support over at Reasonable Diet. She has a wonderful podcast as well. I also want to grow in my faith this year. There are lots of microsteps to each of these goals, but if I can look back at 2012 and feel I have accomplished these things, I know I would be happy.

Speaking of happy, I am going to work my way through the Happiness Project this year. Have you read it? I highly recommend it. I may chronicle my way through the book here. Anyone want to join me?

christmas

finding joy ::2

Taking joy in pulling out all the Christmas decorations and piling them on the dining room table. Then trying to remember where I put them all last year when I felt that I had finally stumbled upon the perfect place for everything. I love decorating the house for Christmas. But, you know, I think I enjoy putting all away in January just as much- the fresh uncluttered feeling you get when you put it all away. But for now, I am loving the all the special things that are reserved for just this time of year.

I also find joy in the kids helping to “deck the halls”. The smiles and looks on their faces when they pull out all the ornaments with their names on them. One for each year of their lives. The way they remember where we put certain treasured items, in what order we hang the stockings (I didn’t even know there was on order!). All the little traditions that we have made knowingly or unknowingly each year that make this time of year special for our family.

tea

finding joy ::1

I’m finding it difficult in this busy season to take the time to post in this space. But I realize that I’ve missed it. I’ve missed the noticing and photographing what we do here everyday. It occurred to me that I am making too hard on myself. So, taking the lead from Denise and Maria, I’ve decided to just simply find the joy in everyday- especially in this season where there is so much to delight in and be thankful for. So, as often as I can, I am going to post little tidbits of my day that have brought joy to this very busy mom.

Today, green tea in my Christmas china. A dear friend gave me this set when we were in college and I love taking it out each year and using it daily. Joy.