Stitching Times serves up stories, examples and tutorials about needlework related crafts, especially quilting and crochet. Almost all of the projects shown have been designed by Kay Stephenson

Monday, January 14, 2013

Post-Holiday Catch Up

It seems I've been so busy preparing for, celebrating, and dismantling the holidays that I've forgotten to blog about it. Lest you think I'm a total been slacker, here are a few of the things I've been up to since Thanksgiving.
Back in the spring of 2012 I mentioned that I was taking Amy Gibson’s Block of the Month class on Craftsy.  Well in due course I finished the quilt. Because I chose holiday colors (if not necessarily holiday themed fabric) it seemed essential that I get it finished and hung before our annual holiday party on December 15th. I made it with a few days to spare and even managed to get our tree up and decorated to show it off. In hindsight I wish I had used a bit less aqua in the background and more white, but all in all I liked it well enough.
Speaking of that party, I also always make ornaments for our guests to take home as party favors. In October I had the opportunity to meet Natalie Chanin, (please watch the video at this link). Natalie is the founder and head designer at Alabama Chanin, and I talked with her about her work. I was wowed by this phenomenally talented entrepreneur, designer and author. After looking at her current collection of handmade apparel, I knew I had found my inspiration for this year’s ornament. Like her apparel line these ornaments are all hand stitched and embellished with simple monochromatic designs. Most of the techniques can be found in her book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.  The ornament shown at left is just one example. I always ensure that each of my ornaments is bit different. Some of the ones for this year included embroidery, beads and a variety of embellishments.
I wish I had some good pictures of the party to share but the truth is that I cook for a week straight to get ready for the party and by the evening of I just want to relax, drink a few glasses of wine and talk with friends. Somehow I never remember to pick up the camera. I did have good pictures of the ornament I made last year. Remember these? I leveraged that one for the invitation this year.
One final holiday sewing project to consider for next year – or any time of year depending on your fabric – is holiday tissue box covers. We keep tissue boxes all over the house since I have allergies and I’m also prone to boohooing over everything from true tragedy to cute commercials on TV. In past years I've found cute holiday themed boxes to scatter about, but this year nada. My solution? I made some covers to go over a standard Kleenex Ultra Soft tissue box. This is a really simple project and you should be able to make one cover out of a fat quarter or regular ¼ yard cut left from another project. Just follow these instructions.

Find an empty tissue box and take it apart.
Cut out two pieces of fabric that are 5 x 5 inches for the top and four pieces that are 5 x 6 for the sides.
Fuse a piece of heavy weight interfacing to the back of all four side pieces and one of the top pieces.
On the reverse side of one top piece of fabric trace the opening from the cardboard box top.
Place your two top pieces with right sides together and stitch around the line you have made.
Trim away the material in the center of the oval opening leaving about a ¼ inch seam allowance.
Clip the curves on the oval and turn and press the fabric so that right sides are now out.
Stitch the side pieces – one to each side of the top – and press these seams away from the top of the cover.
Turn the cover inside out and stitch down the side seams making sure to back-stitch at the top and bottom of each seam. These are pressure points so you want to make sure the stitches won’t pull out.
Turn up the base of the cover toward the inside to make the cover approximately 5 ½ inches tall – measure with your tissue box to ensure it fully covers the cardboard. Stitch around the base to hold the fold in place.
That’s all there is to it, and now that you know how to do this with this particular box, you can see how easy it would be to do with any size box of tissue, just measure your box, make sure to add sufficient fabric to leave seam allowances and use the box top as a template.
Now about those toilet paper covers…

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