Archive for the ‘tutorial’ Category

Pinterest Inspiration

January 28, 2017

I spend way too much time looking at Pinterest suggestions or “inspiration for the week” that shows up in my mailbox. No way can I delete them without taking a peek. The boards I most often pin to are photographs, vintage lace, quilt ideas, and hearts.

When I decided to make Valentines/hearts again to put in my etsy shop I  looked at all the hearts I had pinned to my Pinterest heart board. I made copies of 20 of them for inspiration for making hearts. I used 14 of the ideas. There were no instructions, just pictures. It was so easy to go my own direction with someone else’s idea. My apologies for not recognizing the designer of the hearts I used for inspiration. Rarely can you find credit for things posted on Pinterest. However, I thank you for your creativity.

I had so much fun this last week making the Valentines. It was like I was an artist in residence in my own home studio. My studio was a wreck, but I was so happy and content. There weren’t enough hours in each day. Even the two days I spent at MD Anderson I still came home and worked into the wee hours on another design or two.

Cutting Table

My Cutting Table

I have made stuffed hanging hearts for so many years. I posted some on my blog with a tutorial on how to make them five years ago. If you are interested, check-out my blog post on February 12, 2012, Play Date #2.

Hearts

Hanging Hearts

I’ve also made collage Valentine cards for several years.

Assortment of Valentines

Collage Valentine Cards

The tutorial for those is Play Date #1. I’ve refined the process for making them over the last five years, but I think this post will get you going.

Looking at the heart pins from Pinterest and executing from the pictures was great fun. Below is a photo of each of the hearts I made on the left and the inspiration on the right. If you want to see more details of each of the hearts, go to my etsy shop.

My version is on the left. I had a painted canvas on which I attached my design.  The inspiration on the right.

I made a little wall quilt on the left from the inspiration on the right.

On the left I am back to making a hanging heart using the inspiration on the right.

The inspiration on the right of a hanging heart was different. Using a solid piece of fabric with just a little embellishment was a departure for me.

Using a cabinet card to make a greeting card was new to me. Following the inspiration on the far right, I made two cards using cards from my collection of original cabinet cards.

The inspiration on the right appeared to use wool felt for the foundation. I tried this and added a little stuffing to the fabric heart stitched on top. It was a different process for me.

My rendition of another wool felt flat heart from inspiration on the right.

So those are the 14 Valentines I made this week. If they have sold from my etsy shop, you can still view them under sold items. If you are a Pinterest pinner, I hope you will take the opportunity to use some of those pins for inspiration. I highly recommend it.

You inquire about my health.

There’s not much different to report about my journey with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). We now call it a roller coaster ride. We thought the 27 day stay in the hospital treatment was beginning to kick-in. However, one week we are up about my blood analysis count and the next we are down again. One week I need only a platelets transfusion and the next I need platelets and blood. We still go to MD Anderson twice each week. I still can’t travel too far between visits.

I had a second consultation with the stem cell transplant doctor at Methodist Hospital last week. He repeated all the statistics of someone my age trying a stem cell transplant and the possible year long recovery protocol. The fact that I wouldn’t be able to be around children under the age of 8 really makes me hesitate. We have a 19 month old grandson and another grandbaby due April 2. Being a grammy is at the top of my list of what makes me the happiest. I still believe God has a different plan for me than trying a stem cell transplant and I still have faith in my oncologist, Dr. Garcia-Manero.

Through all this I feel good. I can still go to church, to the office once a week, participate in the lives of our children and their families, and work in my studio. My husband is always with me for hospital visits and our three children are caring and supportive. I am happy.

May you be happy too, my dear friends. Love and Happy Valentine’s Day,  Judy

img_1566

Two of my Valentines. They make me happy.

Think Positive

July 12, 2015

When I started this blog a few years ago, I thought I would connect with other crafters. I had seven published books, a line of fabric, a garment pattern line and had taught quilting and fiber crafts extensively for 30 years. I was and still am involved in Quilts, Inc., but I no longer teach or write books. I missed my students and thought blogging would be a good way to connect.

Judy Murrah published books

“Jacket Jazz” series

Instead of reaching new friends through tutorials, I have connected more with family and friends whom I’ve made over the years in the quilting industry. I have written several “Play Date How-To” posts, but they are not the ones that get the most hits. My audience has been more interested in my every day life…our family and most recently my journey with bone marrow cancer.

Since I was a pre-teen, I have sporadically kept some sort of diary, journal, or thoughts for the day in various types of notebooks. Some I have since burned, others I read occasionally, but mostly they are just left behind somewhere on a shelf. I sometimes wonder if my children/grandchildren will run across them someday, or if they’ll just be hauled-off with the tons of other stuff my husband and I have collected over 49 years of marriage.

I guess my blog is somewhat like a journal or diary. I put it out there publicly not knowing if anyone will read it. I still like to tell my story even if there aren’t huge numbers of listeners.  I’m encouraged by the comments that are left behind on my blog or Facebook. It pleases me if I can make a difference in someone’s day by taking the time to visit.

It’s always good to hear back from a reader to learn a little about what is going on in her life. If what I have experienced can make me a better listener, then some of my day-to-day living makes sense. Being drawn to become a Stephen Minister eight years ago at First United Methodist Church in Missouri City has much to do with helping others by listening to their story. Recently the topic of our Stephen Minister supervision meeting was on Forgiving. We were instructed by our leader to bring books or articles we had read on Forgiveness to help facilitate the conversation. I recalled a book our friend and pastor, Reverend Dr. Michael Barry, had written and given to us over a year ago.

In looking for “The Forgiveness Project” written by Michael S. Barry, to my surprise it was with another book Mike had written in 2004. Mike had sent me the book, “A Reason for Hope” many years ago. I had read it and brought it to an earlier Stephen Ministry in-service supervision meeting. To date, I have not been assigned a care receiver who is battling cancer. My journey with cancer is new, but my experience is growing.

Books by Michael S. Barry

Books by Michael S. Barry

Finding Mike’s book at this time was a God-thing. I have no doubt. I took the little book to bed with me many nights and found much to read and ponder. Reading the fifth chapter, “Why Do You Want to Live?” was an “aha” moment. My prayer life is simple, but constant. However, I found difficulty in praying to God to let me live when others have died. Why was my life so much more important than all the others? Yes, of course, I want to live to see our grandchildren get older and pass milestones. I want to live so Tommy and I can do the traveling we have waited many years to do. It seemed selfish, but in Mike’s book, he gave me real purpose that I cling to and that is: I want to live to serve and glorify God. I can do that in my every day living with family, friends, and people I meet. I can stay positive and be supportive of them. I can listen and care. I can love as He loves us. It’s a big order, but it’s a reason to live.

Now let’s talk about being positive. Oh, my, I am challenged by that daily. I know being a positive person makes me and those around me feel better, but sometimes that’s a tough one. Tommy and I have been talking about and planning for our 50th wedding anniversary next year. We decided we would plan a cruise in Europe. Wait a minute. We have never been on a cruise. Maybe we should do something in the states to see if we even like cruising. So we researched and talked to many friends who have taken dozens of cruises. We settled on an 8-day New England Island Cruise on American Cruise Line. We were scheduled to set sail on July 4. Best laid plans of mice and men don’t always work out as planned. With my cancer treatment and transfusions often twice a week, I could not be gone that long. We knew this 6-weeks before we were to set sail, but we had missed the cancellation, money-back deadline. Even with a formal letter from my oncologist, to date the cruise line will not give us a refund or rain check.

Our Small Ship

Our Small Ship

But let’s think positive. With permission from my oncologist, PA and research nurse, I could be gone from MDA hospital visits for four days. I looked at Tommy and said, “Hey, let’s go back to Long Beach to see our one-month old grandson.” So we spent the 4th of July week-end with Troy, Michelle, and T.

Troy, Michelle, and T

Troy, Michelle, and T

To my surprise, Michelle and Troy gave me T to hold after each nursing, diaper change, bath, playtime, etc. Often he slept in my arms, and other times we talked, snuggled and kissed. I felt a renewal and healing holding that sweet little guy. What precious children to let Grammy have so much time with their baby.

Grammy Loving T

Grammy Loving T

We came home on Monday and then back to MDAnderson on Tuesday. I should have started my third round of chemo over a week ago, but my blood count has been too low. Dr. Garcia-Manero wants to give my body a chance to recover more from the chemo treatments. Last week my counts were higher than the previous week. We are hoping they will be high enough this Tuesday without transfusions to start chemo again.

You’ve asked about side effects with the chemo. There are few. My body does not feel like my body as it tires easily, and my muscles are weak and sore. My hair thinned, but I did not lose it. While I’m taking chemo I don’t feel much like eating, but that’s the extent of it. If I get to start chemo on Tuesday, I will take it in tablet form from home. This is a good thing because our darling 18-year old granddaughter is coming on Wednesday to spend 8 days with us. Yes, isn’t that amazing that our first grandchild, who goes off to Texas A&M this fall, still likes to be with us in our home. We are so lucky.

Madison Murrah

Madison Murrah

So there is always a positive to each day. We just have to find it and hold onto it. My positive will be Madison Elizabeth Murrah, or as I called her from the beginning “Little MEM,” will be my playmate once again. Let the fun begin.

Blessings and fun to all of you dear friends. Enjoy the rest of your summer. Hugs, Judy

 

Play Date #14 Button Cuff Bracelet

March 24, 2015

Since I was a little girl I have loved buttons. I can remember hanging-out with my mom while she sewed in her bedroom in sunny California. I’d sit on her bed and go through her round tin button box time and time again. She had one large flat box and a smaller round taller box. I preferred the larger flat tin. It was black with small colorful designs on the top, as I recall. This was the beginning of my love for buttons.

I Love Buttons.

I Love Buttons.

Needless to say I have collected buttons since I was a young woman. I spend time sorting them, choosing the right one for a design, and gathering an assortment in a specific category for another project. I never stop buying buttons at Goodwill, flea markets, and antique shops. The price still has to be right. If you could see all the buttons I have, you would wonder why I need any more.

Button Jars

Button Jars

Button Boxes

Button Boxes

So when the founders of the Texas Quilt Museum asked me to make button cuff bracelets for the Museum gift shop, I was intrigued. They had each received such a bracelet from a quilt friend in Paris. I examined their bracelets and how they were made. I had to decide if I could part with some wonderful buttons, old and new, I had collected over the years.

Original Paris Bracelet

Original Paris Bracelet

It took many months before I decided to give it a try. The first one took me many more hours than was worth my time. I was happy with the results, but it was a tedious job.

My First Attempt

My First Attempt

The second bracelet went a little faster as I made some changes to streamline the foundation process. I also added batting to make the foundation sturdier for hand sewing.

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

Pastel Buttons on Second Attempt

The third bracelet took two nights of hand-sewing and watching the Season Two DVD of Downton Abbey. It had more buttons than either of the other two I had previously made. The original bracelet had a gold lame fabric for its base. I followed this same idea thinking it made it dressier. However, with the red buttons it was hard to hide the fabric peeking through.

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

So on my fourth attempt I chose fabric for the foundation the same color as the buttons I was going to use. Now that was much better. I’m very happy with the results and the amount of time I spent making the bracelet.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Bracelet

I feel comfortable enough about making these Button Cuff Bracelets that I can now share the instructions with you.

Materials Needed

  • Matching button color fabric for top, backing, and facing
  • Light weight batting such as Warm and Natural
  • Buttons small and large
  • Beads and trinkets
  • Strong thread such as carpet thread
  • 1″ piece of velcro

Instructions

1.  Make foundation template. Draw a rectangle 2 1/2″ X 7″. On one end mark in 5/8″ on both sides. From here draw a tab closure 1″ tall. This is the finished size for a 6″ wrist. Make template longer for a larger wrist.

Make Template

Make Template

2. Using template, cut a top and backing 1/4″ larger than template. Cut a lining same size of template without the tab. Cut batting same size as template.

Cut Matching Fabric

Cut Matching Fabric

3. Pin top fabric to facing fabric right sides together. Pin batting to one of these wrong sides. Stitch close to batting. Leave an opening for turning. Clip off corners. Clip to stitching where straight edge meets the tab.

Stitch Three Layers Together

Stitch Three Layers Together

4. Turn right side out making sure all edges are out and flat. Turn opening to inside and stitch. Cut Velcro round at one end. Pin one half to wrong side of the tab. The straight edge will extend into the foundation. Stitch.

Velcro to Tab

Velcro to Tab

5. Match the other half of the Velcro to the right side of the foundation. Straight edges of foundation should just meet. There is no overlap. Cut off excess on straight edge of Velcro.  Stitch with machine.

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

Add Velcro to Front of Foundation

6. You are ready to stitch your buttons to the foundation. Depending on size of your buttons, you will need 30-40 buttons. Get them together with a few beads and trinkets in a flat box big enough that you can spread out your collection.

Collection of Black Buttons

Collection of Black Buttons

7. Thread your sturdy hand-sewing needle with double strand strong thread. Knot. Starting in center bring the needle from back side to front. The side without the Velcro on the tab is the front side. Start with largest buttons in the center. It’s OK for knots and threads to show on the wrong side. It will be covered with facing fabric when you are finished. Stitch through each button three times. Back tack before moving to the next button. Feature your most impressive buttons in the very center. Sew through buttons that have holes on top through each hole once. Then sew again with beads or smaller button to cover button holes. Add smaller buttons on both sides tucking them under the larger buttons you stitched down the middle.

Cover Foundation with Buttons

Cover Foundation with Buttons

8. When you are satisfied with the look, turn bracelet to wrong side. Turn under raw edges of facing fabric and pin to cover all the button stitching. Hand-stitch to edge of cuff using matching thread.

Facing Stitched to Back

Facing Stitched to Back

9. Cuff bracelet is complete and ready for you to wear. The closure will not show so you can choose to wear the bracelet turned the direction which is your favorite. Or, you can alternate the sides with each wearing.

Black Button Bracelet

Black Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

Red Button Cuff Bracelet

I have an order from the Texas Quilt Museum for more button cuff bracelets. My next one is going to be made with mostly gold buttons. I’ve collected them and can hardly wait to get started.

Gold Buttons

Gold Buttons for Next Cuff Bracelet

Tomorrow I leave for Chicago for the Spring International Quilt Festival. I would love to start stitching on this fifth bracelet, but I need to bid you good-bye and pack. I’ll be teaching in Open Studios and Make It U on the show floor and have a few more things to gather and prepare for that. So it’s time to put this away and get my head focused on a really great show. I hope to see you there. Bye-bye.

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Chicago Quilt Festival or Bust

Play Date #13 Triangle Pin Cushion

March 13, 2015

This silk pin cushion has been on a library shelf in our Quilts, Inc. office for many years. I did not pay much attention to it until I attended a Quilt Camp led by Heather Thomas in La Grange, Texas. I sat next to a woman who had a version of this same octopus-like pin cushion. However, hers was made with eight smaller cotton fabric triangles rather than six like the one pictured here.

Vintage Pin Cushion

Vintage Pin Cushion

So, like we all do when we admire something, I asked if I could take a picture of her pin cushion and make a few measurements. She was gracious and told me how she made it.

Original Pin Cushion

Original Pin Cushion

I scribbled down a few notes about the pin cushion.  They’ve been tacked to my design wall for over a year now.

Instructions

Instructions

When I was asked to do a short, small project for Open Studios at the 2015 Chicago Quilt Festival in March, I thought about the Triangle Pin Cushion.

My First One

My First One

As I made this first one I realized students wouldn’t be able to make it in an hour, even with the triangles stitched for them. I knew they would need to go home with pictures and good instructions. I thought you might like the same things, so here we go.

Materials Needed

  • 8 different fabrics. They should coordinate, but have contrast.
  • 1 yard of silk ribbon 1/4″ – 1/2″ wide
  • 1″ button
  • stuffing

Instructions

  1. Cut a 4 1/2″ square from each of the eight fabrics.
    Eight Fabric Squares

    Eight Fabric Squares

    2. Fold each square right sides together on the diagonal. Stitch two short sides together leaving a 2″ opening in the middle of one short side. Clip off three points.

    Sew Triangle

    Sew Triangle

    3. Turn right side out making sure points are pulled out.  Use a chop stick or dowel to push stuffing firmly into points. Then stuff the remaining triangle lightly. Stitch opening closed. You’ll have 8 little triangle cushions.

    Stuffed Triangles

    Stuffed Triangles

    4. Arrange in contrasting order. Thread hand needle with double strand thread. Knot. Hold 2 triangles together with long, unseamed side facing out.

    Long Unseamed Side

    Long Unseamed Side

    Hand-stitched side should be facing in. When triangles are together, you will not see hand-stitched side.

    Hand-stitched side

    Hand-stitched Side

    5. Stitch 8 stuffed triangles together at top. Go through each triangle a couple of times. Turn over and stitch triangles together on bottom.

    Stitch Together Bottom

    Stitch Together Bottom

    6. Thread needle with double strand thread. Knot. Loop one yard ribbon back and forth in approximately 2″ loops. Tack each time to hold. I use my fingers to loop the ribbon.

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    Loop & Tack Ribbon

    7. Stitch to the top of Triangle Pin Cushion. Add button on top of ribbon.

    Finished Pin Cushion

    Finished Pin Cushion

    8. Have fun stitching.  Get some friends together and stitch, chat, and eat. How much fun is that! Thanks for stopping by. Until next time I wish you fun, friends, love and stitches, Judy

    Make Your Life Fun!

    Make Your Life Fun!

     

 

 

Play Date #11 The Stockings Were Hung

October 6, 2014

by the chimney with care in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there.

Family Stockings

Family Stockings

“Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.” is a quote I grew-up with in the 50’s. Being the fourth born of five children, I knew what hand-me-downs, cleaning your plate, share with your brother, etc. meant. Therefore, it’s easy to realize the origin of my game of using every little scrap of fabric, taking what someone else has discarded, and making it into something desirable. For Play Date #11, come along with me to make a one-of-a-kind Christmas stocking.

To create a stocking foundation on which to embellish, you can do one of three things:

  • Cut a stocking from an old damaged quilt. You may need to piece sections together to get a piece large enough for your stocking size.
  • Use a quilt top and add batting to the wrong side of the top before embellishing it.
  • Piece fabric scraps onto batting that has been cut into a stocking shape.

The stocking I’m showing you here was made from pieces of a vintage quilt. The ten stockings pictured below were made from the same quilt.

Multiple Stockings from Same Quilt

Stockings from One Quilt

Santa won’t be able to resist filling these vintage-looking stockings. They are fun to make in different sizes and shapes and easier than they look. A unique construction method makes them a cinch to line, sew and turn.

Finished Stocking Measures 7" Across top and 17" tall.

Finished Stocking Measures 7″ across top and 17″ tall.

Materials

  • Backing and lining for stocking, 1/2 yard for a stocking approximately 8″ X 18″, much less for small or tiny stockings
  • Assorted small pieces of trim, lace and ribbon
  • Jingle bells and other Christmas trinkets
  • Photo transfer and quote transferred to fabric
  • Vintage quilt or quilt pieces
  • Stocking pattern of choice

Instructions for Stocking front

  1. Piece together vintage quilt scraps or use a piece from a damaged quilt. My sister gave me these scraps she had left-over from one of her projects.
    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    Scraps from a Vintage Quilt

    I pieced them together and ironed the piece flat.

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

    Scraps Pieced and Ironed

  2. Cut stocking pattern from quilt piece.
    Cut Stocking

    Cut Stocking

    There are stocking  patterns to be found on the internet. Or, you may have one in your pattern collection. You could use my pattern pictured here. It is possible to use a copy machine to enlarge or reduce the size of your pattern to get an assortment of sizes.

    Stocking Patterns

    Stocking Patterns in Various Sizes

  3. Embellish seam lines with lace, ribbons, and trims. Sew trims in place by machine whenever possible. Some will require stitching along both edges and others through the center only. If there is a row of visible stitching in the trim design, try to stitch on top of it with matching thread for the most invisible application.

    Embellish Stocking

    Embellish Stocking

  4. Embellish the stocking to your heart’s content.

    More Embellishing

    More Embellishing

Magic Lining

  1. Cut 2 pieces of lining fabric, right sides together, the same shape as the pieced stocking, but 1″ longer at the opening edge. Choose this fabric carefully as it will show at the top edge on the outside of the finished stocking.
  2. Place the finished stocking front face down on top of the backing fabric (the back side of the stocking) and cut the backing piece.

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

    Cut 2 Lining and 1 Backing Fabric

  3. Layer the 4 pieces in the following order and pin together:
  • Patchwork stocking, right side up.
  • Backing, face down on right side of stocking
  • Two lining pieces right sides together on top of backing.

4. The two lining pieces will extend above the stocking. Stitch 3/8″ from the raw edges through all layers, leaving the top edge unstitched.

Layers together

Stitch 4 Layers Together

Clip the curves to the stitches being careful not to cut the stitches.

5. Turn the backing piece over the stocking so the backing is on the outside and lining is inside. Use a long, blunt tipped tool to push out the edges for a smooth, rounded finish.

6. Turn the lining down over the top edge of the stocking and turn under at the raw edge. Tuck decorative piping, lace or ribbon under the turned edge, if desired.

Turn Lining to Front

Lining over top

Edge stitch along the fold through all layers using a decorative stitch, if desired. A free-arm sewing machine makes easy work of this on the larger stocking. The smaller stocking you will need to stitch by hand. Press carefully.

7. Attach 4″ to 6″ long piece of trim or ribbon to the top corner edge for hanging. Hot glue or stitch any additional embellishments to the stocking front until you are pleased. Isn’t it darling?

These stockings are so much fun to make! Once you’ve made some for yourself, you’ll want to make them for everyone on your gift list this year. The tiny ones are precious on packages and the medium size ones make great hostess gifts. I’ve used them as place cards for dinner parties with the guests’ names peeking out of the stocking. Your guests will be so delighted when you tell them to take their stockings home.

Tiny Stocking

Tiny Stocking

2" Across Top and 5" Tall

2″ Across Top and 5″ Tall

Tiny

Great on a Gift Package

 

Check-out my etsy site for more ideas. Go to judymurrahdesigns.etsy.com.

Merry Christmas everyone from the Christmas Angel. Love, Judy

 

Play Date #10 Strip Pieced Christmas Star

July 25, 2014

 

I love everything that’s old: old friends, old times, old manners, old homes, old linens, and old traditions such as family and Christmas. As soon as school starts in the fall, I start thinking about finally having all our family together under one roof to celebrate a couple of days of Christmas.

Since the first year we were  married, I have made decorations for our home. It’s hard not to get them all out, but over the years I’ve been able to part with some of the more ragged things. However, each year Tommy and I put our very first tree top Angel in the tree somewhere. Even though she is too tattered and small for the top of the tree now, she still celebrates Christmas with us every year in the month of December.

Merry Christmas in July from Our House to Yours

Merry Christmas in July from Our Home to Yours

When it gets close to Christmas and we are in the Christmas spirit, it’s too late to start making holiday decorations. I like to start those projects in July. I call it Christmas in July. It’s so much more exciting to sew and to create when the stress of shopping, entertaining, and cooking is not nagging at our conscience.

So I decided to show you what I’m making right now for my etsy shop. Following are the directions if you also want to celebrate Christmas in July and sew along.

Strip Pieced Star

Strip Pieced Star

Strip Pieced Christmas Star

The supplies you need are simple, and you probably have them in your sewing room.

You will need fabric scraps, a cotton batting scrap, approximately 16″ square of backing fabric, scraps of trims and laces, 2/3 yard of ribbon for back tie and tab, a five-pointed star pattern, 4″ square fusible web, buttons, trinkets, and stuffing.

Gather scraps of fabric that compliment each other. I’ve made the stars in fabrics that lend themselves to subtle colors and also the traditional Christmas red and green.

Coordinating Fabric Scraps

Coordinating Fabric Scraps

Bits  of lace and trims in small pieces and quantity are all you need for embellishment.

Lace and Trims Assortment

Lace and Trims Assortment

The directions are simple to follow. If you have done any strip piecing, a Log Cabin block or crazy quilt piecing you will catch-on quickly. If you haven’t, but know how to sew on a machine, you will also do fine. Just follow my directions and study the pictures.

You can use any size star that suits you. My choice for a tree topper or a decorative pillow is 15″ across from point to point. This includes 1/4″ seam allowance. Trace star pattern on cotton batting and cut out.

Star Pattern Traced on Batting

Star Pattern Traced on Batting

Make a pattern for the center of the star starting with a 4 1/2″ square of paper. Cut the square slightly, so you have five sides rather than four. Using this pattern, cut a center from a photo transfer, embroidery fabric, cross-stitch piece, chenille, lace, decorative fabric or something to your liking. Iron fusible web to the back of your center fabric. Place it in the center of the batting star with each side facing one of the star points.  Using a pressing cloth, iron it to the center of your star batting. You will stitch strips of scraps out from this center piece in rounds the same way you would piece a Log Cabin block. The batting is your foundation. You will stitch through it, the previous fabric, and a new strip to create rows leading out to the star points. Use a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Begin by positioning a fabric scrap right sides together on one side of the center piece. Stitch through both fabrics and the foundation. Turn the strip right side up. Trim it even with the width of the side to which it was stitched. Finger press and pin. This is called “Stitch and Flip.” Rotate the star and repeat the process on the next straight side of center extending the strip to cover the side of the previous strip. Stitch and Flip. Continue around the center, going the same direction, until each side has a strip of fabric covering the raw edge. Trim strips even with the foundation, if they extend, cutting from the wrong side.  You may add pieces of lace or trim to the finished seams as shown.

First Row of Strip Piecing

First Row of Strip Piecing

Continue the rotation making a second row of stitch and flip strips and then a third row. Follow the same process as instructed above.

Rotation of Stitch and Flip

Rotation of Stitch and Flip

As you go around, you will eventually be stitching each of the five points until the foundation is covered. When star is covered, stitch 1/4″ from edge. Trim even with star foundation. Remove pins. You may embellish further with yo-yos, trinkets, appliques, and more trims.

Strip Piece Points

Strip Piece Points

Place completed Strip Pieced star right sides together with lining fabric. Pin and cut out lining same size as foundation. Determine what is the top of the star, and make a 5″ slit across in the lining fabric two-thirds from the bottom of the star. This will be where you turn the star right side out, stuff it, and stitch tying ribbons. Stitch 1/4″ from raw edge on all sides. Clip off star points above stitching. Clip into point intersections to the stitching.

Cut Slit in Lining

Cut Slit in Lining

Turn right side out and make sure points are out and smooth. I use a chop stick to push the points out and get stuffing firmly into the points. Stuff star full. Cut ribbon in half so you have two pieces. Insert one end of each ribbon into the lining opening. Turn under seam allowance of the slit and pin opening closed with ribbon end pinned inside. Stitch opening by hand with small stitches and double thread. Add a loop of ribbon to the top of the star for hanging on the top tree branch.

Ribbon Hanging

Ribbon Hanging

 

Once you make one of these stars, you will want to make more. Here’s a sample in red and green. You can see more in my etsy shop.

Red and Green Star

Red and Green Star

MERRY CHRISTMAS IN JULY FROM OUR HOME TO YOURS.

 

 

 

 

 


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