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

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

dia de los muertos

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My oldest son is an awesome musician and his high school puts on a Halloween show every year called Spooktacular. It has a different theme each year and this one was one of the best I’ve ever seen–Dia de los Meuertos, or Day of the Dead.

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The show ran for two days, so he had different make-up each day. I can’t take any credit for the make-up job, but it was awesome. I confess to not really knowing anything about the history of Dia de los Meuertos, but it’s kind of interesting, and I think I prefer it to Halloween, which is not my favorite holiday.IMG_7652

This boy of mine played guitar with the Jazz Band, double-bass with the orchestra and a trash can with the Trash Can Band (which may have been my favorite). He sure didn’t get his musical talent from me, but I am thrilled that he got it from somewhere, so that I can enjoy it.

 

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}

 

DIY dishtowel hack

father’s day

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Father’s Day was a nice, relaxing day over here. The day actually started out with soccer game for Boy #2, but that was bright and early and over with by 9am. There were cards and gifts and donuts. Then a picnic at the park with some frisbee and sadly two bee stings. We ended the day with some grilled steaks, asparagus, and baked potatoes. Chocolate chip cookie bars with vanilla ice cream topped it off. Who could ask for more?

DIY dishtowel hack

mother’s day

What a lovely day it was! In the morning I was greeted with these handmade cards.

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And this adorable mug.

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And a new, big girl camera! I immediately headed out into the backyard to play around.

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Then we headed out to a local botanical garden (the kids hate these places, which is why we only get to go to them when the parents get to choose). Everyone had a great time with the camera.

12 garden 612 garden12 garden 512 garden 412 garden 312 garden 2I’m so looking forward to getting to know my new camera and have a whole new hobby to get obsessed with! I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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twelve

This post is way overdue, but I could not forget the birthday post of Boy 1. The cake was duly recorded, but not the actual birthday. What can I say, it was one of those birthday celebrations that stretched over an entire weekend. Two birthday dinners, a birthday breakfast, a birthday lunch, a sleepover and go-cart racing. It was a weekend enjoyed by all.

To my boy: I cannot believe that you are 12- I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. I predicted then that you would be a musician (beautiful long fingers). I was right- you are a wonderful musician, so talented and passionate about music. I am proud to call you my son, you make me happy everyday and I am excited about the young man you are growing up to be.

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.