DIY dishtowel hack

Free Sew Illustrated Project :: Coasters

 

Sewing Illustration Coasters from Sew Illustrated kristinesser.com

C&T Publishing has released one of the projects from Sew Illustrated for free on their blog today. So, if you’ve been on the fence about trying sewing illustration, hop on over to check it out!

DIY dishtowel hack

Free Tea Cozy Pattern and Tutorial

Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

I have a deep and abiding love for all things tea. From the ceremony of it, to the delicate tea cups and tea pots, to the beautiful utility of the tea cozy. I have several teapots, all different sizes and shapes, and they all need different size tea cozies to keep that cuppa warm while you chat with a friend.

So, instead of a tutorial on how to make a tea cozy for my teapot, I thought it would be more useful to give you some instructions on how to make a tea cozy to fit any teapot. And if you are anything like me, you’ll need more than one.

 Materials

Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

Note: The exact amount of fabric needed depends on the size of your teapot

  • ¼- ½ yard linen or neutral cotton fabric
  • 25-30 squares of various prints for patchwork, cut to 2 ½ ”  (a mini charm pack is perfect for this)
  • ¼- ½ yard cotton fabric for lining
  • ¼- ½ yard Insul-Bright (insulated batting) or cotton batting (such as Warm and Natural)
  • 1 ½ yards of cotton trim (optional)
  • Freezer paper or several sheets of printer paper

(Seam allowance is ¼”, unless otherwise noted.)

Instructions

 Measure Your Teapot
  1. Measure the width of your teapot around the widest point and jot down the measurement. Mine is 18.5″. 
  2. Measure the height of your teapot all the way around, top to bottom. Mine is 15.5″.Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com
  3. Take the width measurement, divide by 2 and add 1.5″. For mine this is: 18.5 ÷ 2 + 1.5= 10.7
  4. Take the height measurement and divide by 2 and add 1.25″. For mine this is: 15.5 ÷ 2+1.25= 9.
Make the Pattern
  1. Take a length of freezer paper and fold in half. You can also use plain printer paper taped together, but freezer paper has the advantage of sticking to the fabric when you iron it, eliminating the need for pinning the pattern to the fabric later on.
  2. Mark the height of your teapot on the freezer paper. Mine is 9″.
  3. Divide the width measurement by 2 and mark on the freezer paper. Mine is actually 5.375″, so I rounded to 5.5″
  4. Draw a curve from one point to the other. Cut out on the line and unfold. I like to write which teapot this is for and what the formula was, for future reference.Tea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.comTea cozy tutorial and pattern kristinesser.com

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DIY dishtowel hack

Lady of the Lake Quilt

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

Today I’m sewing along with the Fat Quarter Shop for the Lady of the Lake Blog Tour. As soon as I saw this sweet pattern, I knew I had to try my hand at this quilt block. Half square triangles are totally my jam, and this pattern gave me an excuse to use the eight-at-a-time method that is just so fast and fun!

I was also looking for the right project to use my little stash of Arbor Blossom fabric, and this seemed like a match made in heaven. This line is so charming with the little florals and saturated colors—I’m in love. I started without a plan, but before I knew it, I had four blocks completed and tried every possible arrangement of them until I settled on this straightforward layout for a new table topper.

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

The blocks come together quickly, and leave you with some extras that I would have used on a pieced back if I had done a full-size quilt. I think pieced backs give quilts so much more charm and character.

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

I quilted this simple mini with my new favorite quilting motif—the echo plume, or paisley design that I learned during my recent machine quilting blog hop.  This is a design that I really wanted to master–it’s amazing the progress you can make with daily practice!

Lady of the Lake table topper at kristinesser.com

I will enjoy this little table topper during the last few weeks of summer, and then tuck it away to bring out again in the spring. All-in-all this is a super fun block to make and I highly recommend you check out the full Lady of the Lake quilt pattern and kit with Bonnie and Camille’s new line!

Lady of the Lake Quilt pattern

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers’ versions of this fun quilt over at the Fat Quarter Shop blog, the Jolly Jabber.

DIY dishtowel hack

a little story about throw pillows

Can throw pillows change a room? Maybe.

I have never felt great about my decorating skills. Over time I think that I have created a home that is fairly cozy–but I have never decorated a room and thought, “Done!” It is always a piecemeal affair with grand plans for some future date when I will be more grown-up and confident in my decorating skills. Because of this, I always take advantage of the free interior designer service when we buy furniture. In the past, this has worked fairly well, but I never really completed whatever plans they set out–which usually involves buying $10,000 worth of furniture.

As I pieced together our family room over several years–one year replacing the sofa and a chair, another year another chair–I began realizing that this room was not coming together. We have a neutral sofa, and a dark brown leather chair. This was the first problem–I felt the sofa was too light and the chair was too dark. So we bought a “medium” chair to fill out the room and to help bridge the contrast gap. Well–that chair sort of read “gray” when the sofa was reading “tan”. Ahhh! This room was not coming together–even with the help of an Ethan Allan designer and a bunch of expensive furniture.

I can’t afford to start over–so I invited my friend Terri over for tea one day. She has a model-home perfect house and just has a knack for this type of stuff. I don’t know why I didn’t get her involved earlier. The first thing she noticed was that the throw pillows on the sofa were contributing to the problem–they highlighted the tan in the sofa instead of the gray than is actually in there.

netural sofa with colorful throw pillows
Though I love these pillows–this arrangement was just so–blah!

Next stop–Pottery Barn to look for throw pillows to solve my problem. (Full disclosure: this “next stop” actually happened about a year later.) This was actually a hilarious scene, as we found a neutral sofa in PB (not hard) and Terri started grabbing pillows from all over the store, trying them in different combinations. Several sales people approached us to help, but backed away once they realized that Terri seemed to know what she was doing. I fully expected that I would get some pillows that added some color to the sofa (isn’t that what throw pillows are for?!)–but ended up with more neutral pillows that actually bridge the gap between the tan and gray.

Pottery Barn throw pillows

Pottery Barn throw pillows

I was skeptical. I kept telling her, “There is no way  my husband is going to go for all these pillows! He hates throw pillows! The kids will just throw them on the floor! (Is that why they are called throw pillows?)

Pottery Barn throw pillows with neutral sofa

Terri assured me that these were feather pillows and made the sofa more comfortable (she was right! Our old pillows are as hard as rocks compared to these). Also, we realized that we have enough color going on in that room with the oriental carpet, brink fireplace, and paintings, that keeping the sofa a bit more neutral actually helped to calm things down a bit.

Pottery Barn throw pillows with neutral sofa
I really do think these pillows help the sofa and chair make friends.

My next neurotic fear was that now that we have five (!) pillows on this sofa that are all scrunchy, comfy–I was going to spend the rest of my life fluffing them. Because this is what it looks like when everyone leaves in the morning.

what happens to feather throw pillows

And I think it may be true about the constantly straightening (sigh). But they really are so comfortable and I now feel like I’m living in a PB catalog. And I was already folding all those quilts that everyone leaves on the floor each morning anyway–so what’s a few (5!) pillows.

I mentioned over on Facebook the other day that Terri also took down all my decor items in the family room and living room and put back half of them. And it all looks so much better now. Everyone should have a Terri.

Now that I have solved the Throw Pillow Problem, I guess I can move on to other life and death matters like why I can find a rug the right size for the living room. First world problems 🙂 Oh, and I found the perfect place for those pillows I love–in the living room aka my office. And Teddy loves them too.

netural sofa with colorful throw pillows