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Sometimes when I’m working on a project, I get the feeling it’s going to be a hit. I had no idea these paper punched Easter eggs would get the amazing response they did. This project has been shared around the internet more times than any other post I’ve written, and has gotten the most views in the shortest amount of time. I love this simple technique. Stay tuned this winter…I have a few ideas of how I’m going to “recycle” these into projects for the holidays!

Enjoy…again!

Nikki, In Stitches

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Paper Punched Easter Eggs

March 20th, 2011

Some of the best projects are also the most simple, and it doesn’t get much more “back to basics” than these paper punched Easter eggs.

Simple and classic, they take just a few minutes to make and will last for many springs to come!

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

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Materials:

5/8″ paper punch

Decorative paper

Styrofoam egg

Straight pins

Glue

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Directions:

Scroll through the pictures below.  Click to enlarge!


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It’s perfect that our “Nikki, In Stitches Top 10″ should start with a quilting post, since being at my sewing machine is really my favorite place to be (next to the beach, of course!).  I cringed when I first went back through this post because my pictures taking skills were certainly NOT very good two years ago.  I apologize…profusely!  But, if you are a beginning quilter, or someone considering jumping into the world of quilting, this is actually a really good place to start.  This is the first of nine simple quilt blocks.  Links to all the others are at the bottom of the post.  There are also links to my posts on assembling them into a quilt top, as well as how to back and bind your quilt.  It’s pretty much a “Quilting 101” class!

Enjoy….again!

Nikki, In Stitches

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Churn Dash – Your First Quilt Block

March 28th, 2009

Are you ready?  At this point, you’ve practiced cutting your fabric, and you’ve mastered the quarter inch seam.  The only thing left to do is just do it!  I tried to pick a block that was easy, yet also visually interesting.  Churn Dash is this block’s traditional name, but depending on your fabric choices, this block can certainly look modern.  I have included some tips along the way.  They appear in italics.  If you’re new to quilting, you should take the time to read them.  If you are an experienced quilter, you are probably to the point where the suggestions I provide  just come naturally.  This is my first attempt at teaching quilting via my blog, so if there are suggestions for improvements, feel free to speak up.  I plan to do at least eight more of these, and I’d like them to be as user friendly as possible.  As always, questions and comments are welcome!

Enjoy!

Nikki, In Stitches

White tonal:
Cut 4 rectangles 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
Brown Paisley:
Cut 4 rectangles 4 1/2″ x 2 1/2″
White Paisley:
Cut 2 large squares 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″
Cut 1 small square 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″
Green Houndstooth:
Cut 2 large squares 4 7/8″ x 4 7/8″
churn-dash-step-11. With right sides together, sew 1 white tonal rectangle and 1 brown paisley rectangle together to make Unit A. Press to the darker fabric. Make 4 Unit A’s.

A note on pressing: “Pressing” and “Ironing” are very different, especially to a quilter. Quilters press. They use an up and down motion, not the typical back and forth motion of ironing. After a piece has been sewn, set your seam by placing the piece dark side up on your ironing surface. Put the iron down on the seam, then bring the iron straight up. Next, lift the top layer up, and moving from right to left, run the iron along the seam with the body of the iron parallel to your sewing. Good pressing skills make quilting easier, so take the time to carefully press your pieces.

churn-dash-step-22. Draw a diagonal line on the back of each green houndstooth square from corner to corner. With right sides together, place 1 green houndstooth square on top of 1 white paisley square. Stitch 1/4″ on each side of the drawn line. Cut the square into two triangles by cutting on the drawn diagonal line. Press to the houndstooth fabric.

churn-dash-dog-ear

When triangle units are made, there are always “dog ears” that stick out from your seams after they are pressed. Cut these little triangles off before attaching another piece to prevent bulk in your seams.

churn-dash-step-3

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3. Sew a houndstooth triangle unit to each side of Unit A. Press towards the houndstooth triangle unit. Repeat this with the other two remaining houndstooth triangle units.

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4. Sew the remaining two Unit A’s to each side of the small paisley square. Press toward the paisley square.

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5. Sew Rows 1 and 2 together, pressing towards Row 2. Sew Row 3 on to the bottom, pressing towards Row 2 again.

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The importance of which direction you press your seams should now become apparent. If you have pressed your seams in the directions that were recommended above, they should abut to each other nicely as you sew your rows churn-dash-pressing-seamstogether. With practice, you will be able to judge which direction to press, but most patterns offer suggestions. When in doubt, press to the darker fabric to avoid any color showing through your finished quilt.

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For other posts from Nikki, In Stitches related to the Relay Quilt, please see the following:

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Cheap Trick

And For Your Second Block…A Card Trick

Third Times a Charm, or a Sawtooth Patchwork

Back to Blocks…4th: Gentleman’s Fancy?

Block Five: A Dove in the Window

Block Six: A Flower Pot…My Fave So Far

7th Block: Crow’s Foot…And You Can Actually See the Feet!

Block 8: Pinwheel and Squares…Don’t Be Afraid!

Rosebud: The 9th and FINAL Block!

The End is in Sight!

A Quilt Sambo

Bound and Determined

Tagged and Ready for the Relay

Relay Results

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Super simple and super fast, this “cozy” could be the cutest way EVER to dress up an Easter basket!  But let’s be honest, it’s the applique that makes it fantastic.  Scroll down for the quick (and I mean under 5 minutes quick!) how-to…right after you read more about those cute little bunnies!

So these adorable little bunnies showed up at my door from another one of my sweet Dreamer friends, Heather, owner, designer, chief lady in charge at The Sewing Loft.  And as you can see by the bunny, Heather has some pretty impressive skills at the sewing machine.  Remember, I’m a self taught sewer (mostly through the method of “lots of trial and even more error”), so talking “shop” with Heather is one of my favorite things to do.  And, considering she is actually educated about design, clothing, pattern writing, etc., I usually hang up the phone wishing I could go back to college with a completely different major than math and education!

Here are the details on Heather…and trust me, you’ll want to check out all of these links!

These little bunnies are just the tip of the iceberg! Heather literally has hundreds (if not thousands) of designs, most of which are completely customizable.  To see her huge variety of what’s available, visit her Facebook page and click through the pictures.

But, Heather’s true sewing skills shine in her collection of children’s accessories and toys, which are designed and created around the 3 R’s: Reclaim, Recycle, and Reuse.

Take a look…

Amazing, right?

For more information on Heather and The Sewing Loft, please visit her website: The Sewing Loft, or again, stop by her Facebook fan page: The Sewing Loft’s Facebook Fan Page.

And now for the Easter basket “cozy” how-to!

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

Materials:

Easter Basket

1/2 yard of fabric

3 yards of 2 1/4″ ribbon

Sewing machine and sewing supplies

Pinking shears

Applique (optional) and iron

Directions:

1.  Cut two lengths of fabric the same size.  Measure the diameter of your basket and subtract one inch.  This will be your length.  (e.g. My basket was 37″ around, so I cut my fabric 36″ long.)  Your width will depend on the height of your basket and/or if you ironing on an applique.  The bunny pictured here is 5 x 7, so my cozy had to be at least 6 inches wide.

2.  Cut your ribbon into 4 equal pieces.

3.  Layout your pieces as pictured, with your fabric wrong sides together and your ribbon placed between the layers.  Pin in place.  Stitch all the way, one lap around the track!

4.  Pink the edges if you’d like. (Just a note: I only pinked the long edges.  The short ones aren’t visible behind that nice, pretty bow!)

5.  Here’s where you would iron on your applique, following Heather’s super simple to follow instructions, but your cozy would look super cute just by itself, too!

6.  Wrap around your basket, tying the cozy in place.  Trim your ribbon.

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Some of the best projects are also the most simple, and it doesn’t get much more “back to basics” than these paper punched Easter eggs.

Simple and classic, they take just a few minutes to make and will last for many springs to come!

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

_

Materials:

5/8″ paper punch

Decorative paper

Styrofoam egg

Straight pins

Glue

_

Directions:

Scroll through the pictures below.  Click to enlarge!


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So my picture wall is finally complete, and I’m happy with it.  Some things I love, some things I don’t, but it was a learning experience.

Here’s a list of things I learned along the way:

1.  Live with your layout…for awhile.

You may remember the awful picture of paper bags on my walls that I posted last week.  It seems silly, but it’s my #1 “must-do” piece of advice.  I lived with the paper cut-outs of my picture frames for almost a week, and continuously tweaked them until I got them just how I liked them.  I would literally walk by and just move one up an inch, and then twenty minutes later move the same one again down an inch, but I thought of them as a giant puzzle.  I knew eventually I would get the pieces just right.

2.  Don’t be afraid to mix frame sizes, shapes, and styles.

I say this for two reasons.  The first being I like the look of it.  But second, by mixing the frames together, this picture wall can easily grow with your family.  If all of the frames are the same, in a few months when you’d like to add more pictures, you may have trouble finding those frames again.  If you already have an eclectic mix, a different frame can easily fit in.

3.  Consider the architecture surrounding your wall.

This picture wall is along a staircase, and I liked the look of the pictures moving up along the steps.  I don’t think putting them in a straight line, or a box formation would have worked given the stairs.  Plus, this “mosaic” formation will again make expanding the picture wall and adding more frames much easier.

*A Little Something Extra*

You may also notice these pictures are not in traditional mats.  Most of these frames were grabbed out of my mother’s trash can, so I had to get creative with how I was going to show off the pictures.  You can find a full how-to on how to mount the pictures to both the fabric “mat” and cork tile in my latest piece in the Berlin PatchHow To Turn A Simple Frame Into A Showcase For Family Photos.

Enjoy,

Nikki, In Stitches

 

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And if anyone has suggestions for placement, please chime in! I’m really not in love with this!

Have a great weekend everyone!

I’ll share this finished project next week!

Nikki, In Stitches

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