Making a Decorative Porthole

I am decorating the spare room into a pirate ship theme. I wanted a porthole but they were a little spendy online so I made my own version.

I took apart a clock and painted the frame by mixing black, gold, copper and silver paint to give it an old brass look.

Then I had my bf add a hinge.

I printed out a seascape but the paper wasn’t big enough to cover the inner circle of the clock so I painted the cardboard to blend in. You can notice if you really look for it.

I put the pieces back together and hung it on the wall.

Finished Porthole

It wasn’t my best work but it will do for now.

Gnomes Galore!

I’ve been busy making gnomes. One of my grandsons wants to go on the end-of-the-year trip to Washington D.C. and New York City. Because he has some medical challenges due to a rare disease called Prune Belly Syndrome, he will have to take an adult with him which means it is double the money to come up with of an already expensive trip. The school has no fundraising opportunities available so only wealthy students get to go which seems unfair to the other students but my grandson really wants to go so I decided to help out by making gnomes to sell.

He and my daughter help stuff them after I cut the fabric and sew them and then I glue them together.

Unfortunately, we don’t know how to market them so only a few have sold. I’m looking into a few last minute craft fairs though which might help.

I promise to put up a how to make them post once I am less busy.

Fabric Flowers

This isnt a how to post. I just wanted to show some flowers I made from my Ugly Fabric as part of my Ugly Stash series.

I started with this fabric.

Ugly Stash Fabric
I stuck it on the boho(ish) purse I made.

As a flower, the fabric looks a lot better. I glued a button in the center.

I also made an orange one from scraps I had left over from a Spongebob quilt I never finished and probably never will.

Just more ideas to use up your ugly stash.

Rag Tassels

This post is part of my Ugly Stash series. What to do with Ugly Fabric?

I had so much fun making these rag tassels from my Ugly Stash and from ribbons and beads that I didn’t want to stop but I had to because I didn’t know what to do with them once they were made. My grandson took one for his backpack and I put one on a purse but the rest are just hanging off of a hook.

Here is some of the fabric from my Ugly Stash that I used. As you can see, it looks a lot better as a rag tassel.

There isnt much to making these. Just cut small strips of fabric about a quarter inch to a half inch however long you want them.

Arrange them into this octopus pattern. Add beaded strings, ribbon, charms or anything you want to it.

I took a thread needle on the one below and stuck it up through the bottom in the middle to hold it all together. I stuck it back through, making sure to include the string if beads under the thread and just tied the thread off underneath.

I gathered it all together and wrapped it with a string or cut a piece of fabric and glued it around. I used a string to hang it.


This is one I made for my grandson.

Padded Phone Case with Pockets

I was tired of digging through my purse to grab my phone when I’m out and about so I made a phone case or pouch to hang off my purse.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos as I made it so I made a second one from my Sweety Pooh’s old jeans and some scrap fabric and took photos. Please excuse the mistakes as I had a huge headache while I made this.

Note: The first one I made was padded. This one is not because the denim is thick.

What you will need

UPDATE: I discovered that my phone is small so I added instructions for more sizes.

small 1 – 14″ x 5″ piece of fabric for the main body medium 14 1/2″ by 6″ large – add an inch to all sides of the medium size.

1 – 14″ x 5″ piece of batting medium 14 1/2″ by 6″

2 – 7 1/4″ x 5″ pieces for lining and back of sandwich (explained below) medium 7 1/2″ by 6″

1 – 12″ x 5″ piece for pocket medium 12 1/2″ x 6″

1 – 12″ x 5″ piece of light or medium weight infusible interface for pocket. medium 12 1/2″ x 6″

1 Button

1 – 1″ by 3″ piece of fabric for closure

1 – 2″ x 3″ piece of fabric to use as the tab for hanging. (I messed up and forgot this step)

Fabric and fusible interfacing

Iron the fusible interfacing onto the wrong side of the pocket.

Iron on interfacing

Double fold under each end and iron them then sew them.

Iron and sew each end

Center the pocket onto the 14″ x 5″ piece and sew down each side and down the middle.

Center and sew

Fold and iron the sides of the 2″ x 3″ piece lengthwise towards the center and fold it in half and press again. Sew down each side.

To make the padded case, make a sandwich. A sandwich is the body piece of fabric, the batting and the second piece of lining put together. put the lining on bottom (there are two pieces of lining. Use just one) then put the batting on top of that and the body piece on top with the right side facing up. Sew along the outer edges, making sure to catch all of the batting in the seams. This is where you can free-motion quilt if you want to but I have not mastered that skill yet on my new sewing machine so I skipped that step.

Sandwich pieces
Cow sandwich

Fold over the outside piece, right sides facing. Fold and place the tab in between the body piece and lining about a half inch from the top. Sew each side

That step has no picture.

Put lining pieces together and sew down each side and the bottom but leave an opening for turning.

Lining and main body pieces

Gold each side of the 1″ x 3″ piece towards the middle lengthwise and then fold in half and sew down the center.

Closure piece

Turn the lining right side out.

Make a loop with the button closure piece. I like to sew it onto the lining but you can sandwich it in between the lining and outside piece if you prefer. Just make sure to face it downward.

Pin on button closure.

Slip lining inside the outside piece and pin into place. Sew around the top. I found this to be difficult because of small size.

Turn the whole thing right side out through the opening at the bottom of the lining.

Sew lining closed.

Sew the lining closed and stuff it inside.

Topstitch around the top of the purse. This was also tedious because the opening is so small.

Sew on the button.

I like it except the missing hangy tabby thingy.

Boho Purse from Ugly Stash

I made a post about some super ugly fabric I was given and I gave some ideas for things to make with ugly fabric. I promised to follow up with anything I created with what I now refer to as my “ugly stash” so here I am, sharing the purse I made.

Textile squares

Included in that stash were squares of what I believe were samples from a textile store or upholstery store. They were vintage style from the Victorian era. I love this style but couldn’t think what I could do with a bunch of squares that felt like canvas until I saw Hobby Lobby had a fabric called Fiesta Boho and it was a combination of all my squares. I realized these would be perfect for a boho style purse.

Hobby Lobby’s Fiesta Boho

I plucked a floral fabric with apples on it from the Ugly Stash for the liner and incorporatedit into the design. When my Sugar Plum Lips (It’s an ongoing and ever changing barrage of awful pet names I give him) was helping me fold this fabric after I had washed it, I commented, “Imagine seeing this fabric at the fabric store and saying ‘I have to have that!'” But I have to say, I think it fit into the design quite nicely.

I could see this on my granny’s table.

I used a pattern from Simplicity. There are a lot of free patterns online but then I would have to print them out, cut them and tape them all together. The Simplicity pattern was not simple though. I only wanted the purse shape, not the other pieces or their really confusing instructions.

I just started cutting the squares and making a patchwork piece that was large enough to fit the pattern piece at a slant. I made two patchwork pieces, one for the front and one for the back.

Patchwork piece
Put at a slant

The photos do not give it justice. The pieces looked deep and rich together.

My daughter came over while I was making it and told me the purse was hideous. I told her that was kind of the point.

It didn’t end up as flashy as I wanted it to which was disappointing. It is indeed homely as heck.

It’s kinda homely

Well, sometimes, things just don’t work out as planned.

What to do with Ugly Fabric?

Below is a list of inventive ideas what to do with ugly fabric.

I recently received bags (big white garbage bags) of fabric from my ex mother-in-law which was so very nice of her and I don’t mean to complain but some of the fabric was flat out ugly. I tried to search for a nicer word but that is the apt word for it and I cannot sugar coat it. I know everyone has different tastes so they may not be ugly to everyone but they are not to my taste. Some of them were super cute but about half of the fabric was from a different era like as in the 1980s and 1990s. I had flashbacks of the bath poof bangs and shoulder pads. The fabric smelled like moth balls so I washed it all before I decided what I was going to do with it.

  1. Make Scrunchies – Fabric looks different when it is bunched up in a scrunchie.
  2. Make Boho scarves, bags, shirts and skirts – Have you seen how much some of the boho style fashions go for online? It is crazy. Some of these I want to try to make. I have a few friends who pay big bucks for some of this stuff.
  3. Make fabric flowers – You can do some fantastic things with fabric flowers from decorating bags and shirts to making pins and and jewelry.
  4. Decorate it with beads and sequin, rhinestones and glitter. You will have to use your imagination here.
  5. Make a braided or rag rug
  6. Use it for lining bags or using it on the inside of clothes.
  7. Cut in into smaller pieces – A big gaudy design will look different when it is cut into smaller pieces for quilting or into strips for string quilts.
  8. Pair it with a neutral or with black and white – You would be surprised how something can pop and take on a different look when paired with a neutral or black and white.
  9. Dye it or tie-dye it
  10. Make reusable breast pads for nursing or mentrual pads – I mean, why use pretty fabric for these?
  11. Make pretty cuffs and jewelry with it. .
  12. Sew stuffed toys like an octopus or monster with one eye. Kids love bright designs so they would be perfect for a stuffed toy. .

I am going to try to make some of these things and I will refer back to this post if and when I do or, if I find something else to do with the fabric besides burn it one of the above suggestions, I will refer back to this post. It will be challenging and fun.

Please feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.

Quilt As You Go (QAYG) is the Only Way to Go!

Maybe I should qualify that statement. QAYG is the best way to quilt for me.


You don’t have to break your back, putting a huge quilt together and trying to square it up and then quilt the top or send it out which is expensive.

You can work on small pieces and join them as you go.

The pieces are quilted as you make them.

You don’t have to struggle to bind the quilt.


The designs can be limited.

Why aren’t there many detailed tutorials on how to QAYG with self binding? I see tutorials on how to put strips between the squares but none that give you instructions on how to make the actual block with piecing sizes.

Years ago, I went to a QAYG class at a local fabric shop. The instructor showed us step by step how to make a QAYG quilt with diagonal strips. I lost the instructions and I cannot find the instructions anywhere online. I will make another one I am just going to make something else up for now. I call it Pink Explosion because I went a little overboard on the pink.

Let’s Start!

What you will need:

2 1/2 yards of the backing fabric

1/2 yard each of 4 different patterns

2 yards of batting (I used low loft 80/20)

Sewing machine


rotary cutter


This quilt used almost one full spool of thread with three full bobbins of thread.

To prewash or not to prewash fabric. It’s up to you. I don’t.


35 – 9 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ squares from backing fabric

35 – 7 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ squares from batting

35 – 7 1/2″ x 4″ pieces of another color or pattern

35 – 4″ x 4″ pieces of a light color or pattern (I used white with a barely there pattern)

18 – 4″ x 4″ pieces of another color or pattern

17 – 4″ x 4″ pieces of another color or pattern

cut out fabric and batting

I can never sew an exact 1/4″ seam so I always cut my pieces bigger than what other people cut them. I square it up after I sew it if any hangs off to the sides.

Start putting the blocks together

Sew the white or light colored 4″ x 4″ blocks to the other two patterned 4″ x 4″ blocks.

sew white pieces to the other patterned pieces

Iron them and press seam to the dark side. Does anyone else hear Darth Vader here?

Place the backing fabric right side down.

Place the batting in the center of the square of backing fabric

I purchased something called a “Batting Buddy” when I went to that class. It helps me center the batting in the square but you can just use a ruler to make sure it is centered. There should be one inch all the way around it.

Batting Buddy
Center Batting

Place 7 1/2″ x 4″ piece right side up on top of the batting on one edge. Let’s say the top.

Place first piece of fabric on top

Now, place the piece with the piece with the two 4″ x 4″ blocks that you sewed together right side down on top of the 7 1/2″ x 4″ piece. It is important to always place the light colored piece towards the bottom or else the design will be wonky. Center the seam. There will be an overhang but we will cut that off in a bit.

Place the sewn piece on top right side down

Start sewing the seam just a little into the batting. Don’t start at the edge because it will be too hard to square up the fabric in the next step. End your stitches a little before you get to the edge of the batting.

Start a little away from the batting

After you sew it, open it up and press it open. I don’t always do this but I should.

Turn the block over and pull back the backing. Make sure it is out of the way and use a ruler to cut off all the overhanging fabric from the edge of the batting on all four sides. Batting is notorious for being stretchy and difficult so be aware of that as you square it up.

Cut off extra fabric

Repeat for every block.

Arrange all the blocks into a design that looks nice, alternating the squares. There will be 7 blocks long and 5 blocks wide.

Sewing blocks together

Place two blocks together with the backing facing each other. Pin or use clips to hold it in place. and sew a seam an inch in which is along the top fabric edge and batting. I use painters tape on my sewing machine as a guide. I would have a crooked mess if I didn’t do this. Try not to run over the batting or top fabric but it is okay if you do. It is better to have a straight edge than a crooked edge.

Sew a row of blocks together. Do this for all the rows.

Sew blocks together

Press seam outwards on each block and then fold each one under. Iron it down and sew all the way down each side, staying close to the edge. Use a zipper floot or a foot that allows you to do this.

Fold seam under
Sew close to each edge

I numbered my rows to keep track of them and to keep the design in place.

Sew the rows together the same way and fold under the seams just like you did for each block.

Sew rows together

Er mi gosh, it’s starting to look like a quilt…a very pink quilt.

Bind the quilt

Binding a QAYG quilt is so easy compared to other quilts where you have to put the binding on separately. Fold the edges inward and iron them.

Before you fold it a second time, miter each corner. Some people cut the endges to do this. I don’t because I’m too afraid of cutting it wrong and ruining the quilt. I miter the corners by folding one edge down into a triange and then folding it over. It’s hard to explain. The picture explains better.

Miter corners
Fold other side over

Fold over the open side. Fold all the sides under.

Pin corner

Pin the corners to keep them from coming undone and sew all the way around. I used a zigzag stitch but you can do a straight stitch if you think it looks better.

Finished quilt

Not the best background to put the quilt on but I think you can see the edges of the actual quilt.

All I have to do is put the label on the back. I have decided to start adding a label to tell the recipient who made it.

Quilted Carseat Canopy

I wanted to make my niece a quilted carseat canopy but I couldn’t find a quilted pattern. They looked fairly simple so I took all the information from several patterns and just adapted them to be quilted.

What you will need:

Sewing machine


Something to make rounded curves like a big bowl or french curve ruler

Fabric marker or chalk

2 yards of contrasting fabric (I used three fabrics because of the extra design but usually two would suffice)

1/4 yard or less of one of the above colors of fabric for straps

1 yard of batting

Buttons, snaps or velcro


I picked my fabrics. My niece and her husband are Native American and like that style so I chose fabric in that design. I was going to use the striped design on the inside but when I spread it out, it made me dizzy and I couldn’t do that to a baby so I decided not to use it.

Step 1 (Cutting out fabric)

Cut two pieces of fabric in contrasting colors 42” long x 36” wide. If you are using a patterned fabric, make sure the design is oriented the correct way.

Cut your batting to 42″ long x 36″ wide

My first mistake – I like to tear my fabric instead of cutting it because I’m lazy it usually tears evenly but for some reason it tore crookedly for the top piece and I had to cut two inches off to make it straight. I added the striped pieces to the sides because I messed up am a problem solver. That is why you see the striped piece on mine.

Fold in half lengthwise and iron. This is so you will know where the center is.

Step 2 (Rounding the corners)

Place the bottom fabric right side up. Place the top piece on top of that right side down. Place the batting on top of that. Make sure it is all even. (I have the batting sticking out for the picture to show that it is underneath. Mine is upsdie down) Ignore the fact that I didn’t cut off the selvages.

Fold all of it in half lengthwise.

Measure 3″ up from the bottom corner and place your large bowl there. Draw the edge with chalk or a fabric marker.

kind of a messy draw

Do the same with the top except measure 5″ up. I didn’t have a bowl big enough so I had to use the lid from my huge tamale pot.

Mmm tamales!

Cut along the curve and pin.

Step 3 (Making the front opening)

Unfold and measure 18″ up from the bottom center and mark. The center should be easy to find from when you ironed it.

Draw an 18″ line

Do not cut it yet.

Pin all around the edges and leave a gap at the top that is large enough to turn after it is sewn.

Start sewing around the edges, starting at the top at one edge of where your opening is. Stop a 1/4″ before the center line and turn. Sew up along where you marked the center line, keeping a 1/4″ away. At the top of the mark, turn and sew down the other side of the line, keeping a 1/4″ away. At the bottom, turn and continue sewing around. Make sure to keep an opening for turning.

Cut the drawn line, being careful at the top not to cut through the seam.

Turn it right side out and push all the edges out. Pin the top closed.

Top stitch all around the edges. This will close the top opening and make it look nice.

After it is topstitched around

Step 4 (quilting)

This is optional.

Originally, I planned on free motion quilting over it. I have never tried free motion quilting before but just bought a new Babylock Jazz II and thought I would try it. Silly me, I didn’t realize it takes months of practice to get it right. I practiced a little but it’s going to take a bit for me to conquer it so I had to think of something else.

I cut out a large chevron pattern stencil with my Cricut and used it to draw it onto the top of the carseat canopy. I then sewed over it using a zigzag stitch. I chose the chevron because of the design but you can just do straight lines across which will hold the batting in place better.

Kinda looks like Charlie Brown
Draw the design on the fabric

I totally forgot to take a photo afterwards but you can see it in the next steps.

Step 5 (Making the straps)

You can use wide ribbon but I used black fabric. You can use the contrasting fabrics you used on the canopy too.

Cut four 10 1/2″ x 3″ pieces.

Face the right sides together for each strap and sew all the way around them, leaving a gap on the side or one end to turn.

Turn them right side out and topstitch around which will close the opening.

We will sew the on after we sew our snaps or buttons on them. It makes it so much easier to do this before sewing the straps onto the canopy.

Step 6 (Sewing on the buttons)

I went with buttons because I don’t have snap pliers.

This should have been super easy. Making buttonholes has never been a problem for me but something is not working right with the buttonhole foot on my new machine. I am going to call the company where I bought it but it was a weekend when I was trying to use it. It seemed like there wasn’t enough space and it would get stuck instead of moving back and forth evenly. I practiced and was only able to complete one buttonhole. I watched videos but those all seemed to have more room underneath the foot than mine does. I was so disappointed but decided to use loops instead.

Choose your buttons. I decided to go with 5 big buttons. One for each strap and three down the front of the canopy.  I just bought small ponytail holders for the loops.

And wouldn’t you know, out of all these buttons, there were not five alike. There weren’t even three alike. There were pairs though.

Finding matching buttons

Place the straps

Sew a button on one end of the strap. On the opposite end and the opposite side, sew the loop on. If you sew a buttonhole it doesn’t matter.

Measure 1 1/2 inches from the top of the front opening. This is where the end of the strap will be placed. Place them 5″ to 6″ apart. Make sure the button side is at the bottom and facing down. Measure 2″ up on the strap and mark two lines where you will sew. Pin the straps onto the canopy and sew.

Pin on the straps

Place your buttons evenly down the front and hand sew them into place.

Sew the loops into place on the opposite side underneath.

YAY! We’re done!

Sew on buttons

Funny story – I don’t have an infant carseat carrier but I wanted to take a picture of how it would look on the carrier so we went to Walmart and used one of the ones on display to take the photos. They all had huge tags and were bolted to the shelf but it worked out okay. Nobody even looked at us funny when we were doing it.

Finished Quilted Carseat Canopy

I’m super pleased with how it turned out.

Organizing Fabric

Just thinking about organizing my fabric was daunting. I have fabric everywhere in my craft room. I have tried organizing it before but with limited space, I had few choices so it all ended up in big plastic totes and two dressers. Every time I need something, I have to dig into the totes and everything ends up a chaotic mess. I had to find a better solution.

Years ago, I had a beautiful craft room with shelves and shelves where all my fabric was neatly organized but I moved and had to downsize. I decided to give away 35 boxes of fabric. It was painful but it went to a friend whose husband worked at a school for Native American kids and she taught a lot of them how to sew regalias for pow-wows.

My craft room, or rather my craft storage room, is a small bedroom upstairs. My crafting table and sewing machine are downstairs in the kitchen so I keep fabric in cubbies on the shelves of the table. Cubbies are smaller than plastic tubs but the fabric still gets messed up because I have to dig to find what I want. I needed something that was shallow so I could see it at a glance.

About a year ago, my sweetie bought me a bunch of clear, shallow plastic bins with lids because I had complained how heavy the big tubs were. He just went out and bought them one day. He’s amazing like that. They sat in the craft room until I started using them to carry fabric downstairs for projects. I still hadn’t organized anything though so they were a mess too.

I formed a plan. I mostly have cotton fabric but I do have some flannel and other types. I decided to start with the cotton and flannel for now.

I broke it down by size and color. There would be three sizes.

A yard and over

Under a yard

Small but big enough to use for my bookshelf quilts.

Everything else would be thrown in a scrap bin and probably forgotten because who knows when I will ever really make that scrap quilt I promise myself I’ll make one day.

These bins are light enough to carry up and down the stairs.

I thought the cardboard squares that fat quarters are wrapped around were 5 inches by 5 inches so I started cutting cardboard from the recycling bin and then I went and bought posterboard because who has that much light cardboard? Found a use for those ads that usually get tossed. I think that the fat quarter squares are actually 5 1/2 inches by 5 1/2 inches though but oh well.

I cut 120 squares and started folding fabric around them but that was not enough. I doubled that and then cut more. I have a lot more fabric than I thought I had.

Chop! Chop! Chop!

I did my best trying to fold the bigger pieces. I didn’t cut cardboard for them. I did okay but not all of them ended up the same width. They look okayish but way better than they were. I ended up with three bins of the big stuff and I know I have more but I need more of the bins. I have one and a half of the smaller ones so far.

5″ x 5″ squares

The smallest ones were folded around 3″ x 5″ posterboard and were a pain in the neck.

Not perfect but better

The above photo has flannel on the side.

It is so nice to see my fabric organized. I’m sure it will make sewing a lot easier. It was a chore to dig through it all. The colors look so nice up against each other.

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