Monday, October 12, 2020

Home for Halloween fun: pretty smart apron hacks & pumpkin cookie recipe!


Home for Halloween Fun: Pretty Smart Apron Hacks & Pumpkin Cookie Recipe!

Home for Halloween Fun!
Reversible, darling apron that can be made into a quick Halloween costume or play clothing!
See a recording of this project on Facebook LIVE (October 8, 2020).  



Model: Mattie, Quiltsmart President & Founder, Creative Director, Bend, Oregon
Base Outfit: 
White t-shirt or blouse
Jeans or skirt

Attributes of Dorothy:
Blue and white checked dress.
Two white buttons on the dress at the waistline.
Red shoes.
Basket with Toto dog.

Sewing Variations:  
I cut the ties at 4" wide x 36".  A little wider so they are more of an accent.  Turn with a Fasturn #6.

Barmop cream towel takes the place of the reverse skirt.The Dorothy side has the same fabric as the bib top, which was made from kitchen cloth napkins.
Embellishments for Apron:
Reverse side is sheep print fabric.  I raised them for 8 years, and still are very fond of the sweet creatures.

White Buttons. 
Gathered skirt.  The "real" Dorothy had a smooth waistline, probably a bias cut, but gathered was easier for this rendition



Model: Kathleen, Quiltsmart Enthusiast, Kensosha, Wisconsin

Base Outfit: 
Black leggings & skirt or dress.
Black long sleeve top. 

Attributes of witch:
Black Hat
Black outfit

Colorful socks
Witch hat

Embellishments for Apron:
Purchased embroidered towel with Halloween motif. 


Model: Terri, Quiltsmart Customer Service, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 

Base Outfit: 
Black Leggings.
Black Long Sleeve top.

Sewing Variations:  

I stitched (4) 3.5" strips of gold and (5) 2.5" strips of black together to make the fabric for the bib front. 

Attributes of Bee:
Gold and black body 

Embellishments for Apron:
Striped fabric OR sew stripes together for front.
Model: Theresa, Quiltsmart Sewer, Redmond, Oregon  
Base Outfit:
Jeans & long sleeve t-shirt or flannel shirt. 

Sewing Variations:
None.  The reverse side can be seasonal or a motif - anything you like!

Attributes of Scarecrow:
Flannel Shirt
Torn Pants
Hay from neck, arms, feet.

Model: Coco, Quiltsmart Enthusiast, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Base Outfit: 
Shirt to match skin tone.
Shorts, leggings, or jeans - colors from the apron fabric or skin tone.

Sewing Variations:  

I used 7/8" twill tape for the ties - super quick & easy!

Tail:  Glittery fabric, full width folded in half and gathered.  We zigzagged across the gathers, then attached with a safety pin to the other side.  Easy to put on, and to take off!  You could make a longer tail to cover her feet, but we kind of liked the little feet showing.  Our mermaids have feet under their tails!

Reverse side was made into a Snow White apron - by simply using a yellow bar mop for the skirt, blue and a red sash on top.  I sewed the red sash to the blue top before making the bib.  I also put the mermaid fabric and the yellow barmop right sides together, stitched edges, turned, zigzagged the top, then put into the bib apron top as one piece. 

If you know the apron is for a child, make the bib the “shorter folks” length.... 7-8 yr old. Once made, the sides of the bib  can be tucked under if necessary. 
For a tiny tot, ..... you would need a smaller apron.  You could try forming the Market Bag into a costume, using the dress variation in those instructions.
Attributes of Snow White:
Blue top with red sash, large white collar.
Yellow skirt.
Black hair with red bow.
Birds light on her finger. 
Base Outfit: 
Blue puffed sleeve blouse or t-shirt.
Jeans, or yellow skirt, pants, or leggings.


Model: Sue, Quiltsmart Sewer and Consumer Sewing Consultant, Pennsylvania 

Base Outfit: 
Black Leggings & skirt.
Black Long Sleeve top. 
OR, dress and stockings.
Sewing Variations:  I cut the ties at 4" wide x 36".  A little wider so they are more of an accent.  Turn with a Fasturn #6.

Barmop red towel takes the place of the skirt.

Attributes of Minnie:
Shirt: Red fabric, white dots.  Skirt: Polka Dot  (I flipped that for this apron because I like the towel sewn right in to the apron.
Red polka dot bow.  I made a bow and tied it to a headband.
Yellow Shoes
White Gloves

Embellishments for Apron:
Purchased ruffle trim on the bib top to give a puffed sleeve effect. 
Eyelet around the pocket.
Chocolate print fabric is on the reverse side!



Model: Lavelle, Quiltsmart Social Media Manager,  Bend, Oregon 

Base Outfit:  
Western Shirt 

Attributes of Cowgirl:
Shirt:Western style.
Cowgirl hat.
Western boots.

Sewing Variations:
I used 7/8th" twill tape for the apron ties - quick & easy!
Barmop blue towel takes the place of the skirt.
Fringe was added on the apron and skirt (towel).
Embroidery added at the top of the apron.
I made a fake placket  in the front before I made the bib.  After bib was done, I added snaps to the placket.

Pockets could be added from old jeans!

I hope you enjoyed our Apron Hacks!
Below is a hack on my mom's Pumpkin Cookie Recipe.  I made it a bit simpler!
Take Care & Be Safe,

 My mom made these cookies every fall, and they are now a tradition with my kids.  I tweaked the recipe just a bit to make it easier. It still looks a bit more complicated than it should for my easy cookbook - but, like a good off-the-beaten-path quilt shop, it is worth the time!  It just isn’t fall if there aren’t Pumpkin Cookies.  Skip the lettuce - just serve these for dinner!  After all, pumpkin is a vegetable!  The trick to making them quickly and at the last minute is to make the dough ahead and keep it in the refrigerator.  Easy “dinner”!  :)
Makes about 4 - 5 dozen.

1  cup butter
1  15 ounce (medium) can pumpkin
2 teaspoons EACH of baking soda, cinnamon, vanilla
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour

1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins

Mix the first group of ingredients with mixer, then add nuts and raisins with spoon.  Drop by heaping teaspoonful on ungreased cookie sheet (don’t forget the parchment paper!).  Bake at 350° for about 12 minutes.

Let-us suggest:
Walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries, or white chocolate chips.
Some “Pumpkin Cookie” lovers like to frost the cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting.  That can be purchased by the “can” and kept in your pantry until ready to use.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Sewing & Quilting Marathon with myself!

That's what I am doing today.  The projects are piling up... so, one at a time, here we go!  My goal is to get the piled-high-on-the-bed empty and the projects finished.  I'm not working on research today, I’m working on patterns we already, that is easy on the brain!   Well, it's good to have goals, right?

It is a large pile.  Though it does not look organized, it is, so even that feels good. But I’ll admit, today I'd like to have a clone. Maybe I can buy one on Amazon. 


Apple Core Pack  


Fusing last row of cores! 

NOON: Zig-zag & Quilt.  I could do it at the same time, but I want to have the ability to be freer with the quilting than have to go around the edge of each apple core. I am a quilter wanna-be....not very good at that right now!

Top is zigzagged!  

Put aside to make a Minnie Mouse apron.

Walk "the Butte"....we need exercise too!

3:30pm  Finished 2 pillows. 

Made aprons- will put pics in a future blog- look for one about costumes!  Tooooo fun! 

Now I need to clean off the bed- or sleep on the couch! 

When I get the quilt quilted, I’ll post a photo!  

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Rudolph - Quick Pillow Project

I just LOVE Rudolph!  Don't we all want to be the hero?  It seems too early for Christmas, but you have to think ahead when designing & sewing.  I made this today with our Raw Edge Letters.  I used prequilted fabric (I asked my longarmer to prequilt a bunch of 16" squares for a quilt, and I had some leftover.) - a 16” square folded in half- so EASY & QUICK!  Fuse the interfacing and cut out letters.  Glue to fabric (I like Sewline), Zig-zag around edges.  

 I’m contemplating putting some sparkly on his “nOse”.

TIP: Use stuffing from an unused  pillow form and make your own pillow form to fit an odd size pillow. Make the pillow form 1/2” smaller than the pillow measures. 

Other  backgrounds and letter fabric auditioned:
BarMop Towels also make great backgrounds for pillows!

The winner!

Let your inner spirit shine!
Take Care,

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Apple Core Straight Set

Personal note regarding the Oregon fires...

Quiltsmart is located in Bend, Oregon.

Please keep the residents of Oregon, California, and Washington, in your thoughts & prayers!  So many have lost their homes from the fires.  In Oregon, many people from the valley on the west side of the Cascade Mountain Range have evacuated to Bend. We are under a cloud of smoke and have been asked not to go out, but the threat of fire here is not high at this point. All around us there are fires the firefighters are desperately trying to contain.  There is rain expected Tuesday, and if that happens it will help.  Thousands have lost their homes.  Several small towns have been completely destroyed.  It is so sad.  I know we will help all of the evacuees, but it will be a long road for them. 

NOTE:  FOR AUTOMATIC UPDATE NOTIFICATION via email:  Subscribe to our email updates - you will find this at the top right of this page.  You can unsubscribe at any time.   When you do this you will get an email when there is a new blog!  

I will update this post with pics of the 2 Apple Core quilts I am working on as I complete them.  We will also show them on Facebook Live.

Enjoy this Apple Core Variation,
Take Care & Be Safe,

APPLE CORE STRAIGHT SET - This blog goes ALONG WITH the Quiltsmart Apple Core Instructions - it is intended to compliment the instructions, not replace them.

When the Apple Cores are set on a straight background, they appear diagonal. We showed this variation on Facebook LIVE on September 10, 2020. I encourage you to watch:  Apple Core Facebook LIVE







When Apples Cores are set on a straight background, they appear on-point (diagonal) - photo above. When they are set on an on-point background, they appear straight - photo to the left.

This blog is about the Straight Set Background (above).  When you order the Apple Core Pack, OR Apple Core Instructions Only, you will get the standard information on the On-point Layout.  It is a little confusing because the On-point Layout finishes with Straight apple cores, as pictured to the left.  Either the Pack or the Instructions PLUS this blog will help you with both layouts.  You can buy the interfacing by Apple Core Panel, or get it in the pack (best value).  It may depend on what size you wish to make.

IMPORTANT NOTE: 2 numbers are listed for each Apple Core total. The first one is if you want Apple Cores at just the center of the quilt (represented by the small circles at the intersections), the 2nd is if you want the Apple Cores to go to the edge of the quilt (represented by the small squares at the intersections) to be trimmed even with the edge of the quilt after zigzagging.

Use the standard instructions for all but what is listed here. There is a "Bonus Runner" layout at the end of the blog.

Wallhanging/Tablemat: 18" x 18"
Apple Cores: (4  OR 16) 5" x 7" rectangles
Quiltsmart Apple Core Interfacing: 1 OR 2 panels
Background: (9) 6.5" squares stitched into a 3 x 3 grid.


Small/Baby: 36" x 42"

Apple Cores: (42 OR 56) 5" x 7" rectangles.
Quiltsmart Apple Core Interfacing: 3 OR 4 panels
Background: (42) 6.5" squares stitched into a 6 x 7 grid.  


Lap/Twin: 48" x 60"

Apple Cores: (63 OR 99 ) 5" x 7" rectangles.
Quiltsmart Apple Core Interfacing: 5 OR 7 panels
Background: (80) 6.5" squares stitched into an 8 x 10 grid. 

BONUS:  Runner 18" x 42"
This is a "bonus" because I am making it for myself, so I thought I would share the math!   I will be showing this on an upcoming (not sure which one yet) Facebook LIVE - it is going to be the "quick & easy version"!
Apple Cores: (12 OR 32) 5" x 7" rectangles 
Quiltsmart Apple Core Interfacing: 1 OR 3 panels
Background: (21) 6.5" squares stitched into a 3 x 7 grid. 


Monday, August 3, 2020

National Watermelon Day! YUMMY Watermelon Rings Block! Afraid of Double Wedding Ring? Try This!

Mattie's LIVEblog!

August 3rd was National Watermelon, let's celebrate that!

Gather your pretty pinks, greens, and reds!
I will show you a kick up from our original 2003 pattern.

MATERIALS:  (Instructions Below)
1 panel Double-Wedding-Ring-Interfacing-by-the-Panel
 Double Wedding Ring Pieced Arcs Template
   You can opt to make crazy pieced fabric into a 3" by 10" rectangle...or, just something that fits the arc.  Or, use all solid fabrics.
Optional: Double-Wedding-Ring---Instructions-Only
Helpful Tool:  Fasturn-6-Tube-Turning-Tool
Pinks, Reds, Greens - or other colors!  You can make Pumpkin Pie, too!

Quilted version coming soon!
Cutting for this exact runner:
Watermelon Fabric: (5) 6" squares for the watermelon, (5) 8" background squares for watermelons.  Alternate Block Fabric:  (4) 8" gray blocks & (4) 8" white blocks - or get (8) 8" blocks of one color!
Border Strips: (2-4) 2.5" x Width of Fabric - I used 2 gray and 2 white.
TIP: If using fabric with one-way designs, like the words in this runner, be careful with cutting.  They are often not printed even, and you might need to cut along the words, not perpendicular to the selvage. 
Grab a Watermelon, if you'd like, as you'll start craving it!

We just started this LiveBlog, so we haven't had time to post materials needed ahead of time.  I'll try my best to do that in the future!  Or, we might be able to have a kit with everything for a month....  let us know what you would like!

Keep coming back to see my progress, I will be sewing in real time.  I also write the blog and photograph in real time, so it will take me longer than it would to make the project.

You can ask questions and comment in the Comments below section.


10:31am Pacific Daylight Time

Cut arcs apart, leaving as much margin as the interfacing allows.  Do NOT cut on the dashed lines - that comes later - as it will make the sewing more difficult.

 Cut wedges from 2.5" strips with the Double Wedding Ring Pieced Arcs Template

TIP:  You can make wedges out of 2.5" squares, as well as a strip.  Just center the template over the square and cut off the two outer scraps (I throw them in a pillowcase to make dog beds.)

...FOR SINGLE FABRIC ARCS, cut a 3" x 10" rectangle for each watermelon block.  I'm going to be using 3 pieced, and 2 solid fabric arcs (to start with...might switch it up later).

On the 10" rectangle, make sure the dots touch the edges of the fabric, ...


...that the bottom dashed trim line is ON the fabric.

Secure the arcs to the fabric.  The top arc is shown using an iron: CAUTION>>> READ THIS- ONLY iron on the part that is OUTSIDE of the shape.  You are using the fusible that will be trimmed to secure the shape to the fabric.  So, just a little fusing around the edge.

OR pin.
Stitch 6 wedges Right Sides together. You can assembly-line them as shown here, or stitch them one at a time....whatever works for you. I'm doing scrappy.
Keep looking back on the blog, because sometimes I add a clarification photo (I just did.)

Place your arcs like a smile - because it is nice - because when you do a big quilt, if it is planned, that tip will come in handy.

PRESSING SEAMS - 2 choices.  You might want to try each in this small project and see what you like before you make a full size Double Wedding Ring.
1) Press the seams to one side - Easier to press.  A bit more stable in terms of wear.
2) Press the seams open - Easier to sew & zigzag, but more time-consuming. Not as stable for long time wear of the quilt. 

Center Line at Seam, Dots at Raw Edges.
Position the interfacing arc on the fabric arc (6 wedges).  Follow the tips here:
On this arc, I pressed OUTSIDE the lines so that it would secure....instead of using pins.
Note the 3 spots highlighted in PINK - how could you not, right?  The end dotted line and 2 dots of the interfacing should rest on the raw edge of the fabric, or angle into the fabric (that is ok!  A LOT of mine do that, not this one, but a lot do.)
The center line should be placed at the center seam.

I just started (2 pics ago) using the Draw feature on is very cool!

Stitch on the solid lines that are so artistically pointed out by that lovely pink arrow.

BACKSTITCH!  It will keep the seams at the ends of the arcs from "popping" open when you turn them.

I'm sewing all my arcs now.....  IDEA - pink or red fabric with polka dots....  AWH, it would be so adorable for the watermelon part!

TIP:  I really like using my rotating mat for cutting the wedges.  I missed it today, cause I put it under the TV to have a rotating TV....I can see that from 3 rooms now.  It's nice to have on while sewing too....and, a great way pass the time when you trim and turn arcs (next).  I don't have it one while I do this though - that would be way too much for me.  Bennie throwing the ball at my feet is enough distraction.

12:39  Smiling Arcs are Done.  Trim on dashed lines, Turn with a Fasturn #6.  I don't recommend using a tends to stretch the interfacing and can rip it in this design.  I do like that for other projects.  Fasturn-6-Tube-Turning-Tool
You can trim with scissors or a rotary cutter (if you have a steady hand and patience).  I just started trimming that way, but it took me a while to get the courage up!
 YOU DON'T NEED THE "WINGS" for this project so you can cut off on the dotted lines...
I call those "Double Wedding Wings".

Turn the arcs. The Fasturn #6 is a great tool!  I've found nothing better than that to turn our arcs....

The little squiggly poke on the end of the wire gets hooked through the fabric, then pulled through the brass tube.  LOVE it!

Finger press the arcs.  Push the seams out if you need to by reinserting the brass tube into the turned arc, and pressing the seams with your fingers.


A lot to note in this pic.
1) Grab your stash or fat quarter stack, and see what you like with your arcs.  You might have already done that.
2) See in the very upper right corner - those are the fabrics I'll use for a similar runner but I'll call it Pumpkin Rings instead.  Or some other name that hits me at midnight. 

3) The dark green was hidden under all the pinks...imagine that with how organized I am!
There is an option you can use that I might try in a while - It is making the outside rind as a second layer of darker green.  You would just sew one side of the arc, and tuck it under the inside arc.  I'll try it and show it soon....  For now, on to our blocks.

This will go a bit faster if we all had a SEW Chef!

Lay your 6" squares on a cutting mat and count off 4" at the top and right side.  Place the ruler along that diagonal and cut.

Match your backgrounds and watermelon rings up.  The top right block shows how it looks prior to adding the ring.  When you press the ring, make sure all the block is covered.

This is only one layout.  The one I am going to do is a runner, long and narrow.

I might switch some of my backgrounds....

This is the layout I had in my  Note, I don't work with on-point designs very often, and if I do, I use squares, not triangles.  You might have another way to do this....go for it!  The magic here is in the watermelon rings, not the layout.  Laying out a pattern before you sew it is always good. 
Fuse the arc, covering the watermelon fabric edges.  Use an applique pressing sheet, ESPECIALLY if your iron is a bit scorchy.
That is not a word, apparently.  I like it though.

If you want the second layered arc, here is where you would add it. 

The back arc is fine with a 2.5" strip, and might be fine a bit smaller.  I found this green I liked as it was up the blacks in the background nicely. You won't need the part where the lovely arrows are pointing.

Sew on the solid line at the bottom of the "smile" - The "X" is the line to NOT sew.  The bottom of the smile line is the longer line. 
Tuck the darker green under the other ring, and fuse.  You will zigzag them at the same time - that's next!

Zigzag all interfaced edges.  I use one of the following:
  • Invisible thread
  • Invisafil (tm) by Wonderfil
  • Decorative thread and decorative stitch
2.0/2.0mm stitch if you are learning.  Otherwise, you can go a little narrower, and longer.  My fav stitch is a 1.5mm width, 2.5mm length.

I'm liking it!  All zigzaging is done.
You can put those squares together however you like, but I'll be back in a bit to show you how I finished them up.  Words and watermelons might not seem like they go together - but I like them both, so I am good with this!

You can cut away the back if you's good fabric to put in your next quilt.  Be careful not to cut the under fabric, and for stability in your quilt, leave about a 1/2" seam.

"Oops, not where I should sit?"

Sew the squares into rows. Press seams away from the watermelon blocks.

 Sew the rows together. 

 If you pressed the seams "like they want to go" other words, away from the watermelon block, then you will have what I call a "twist" seam.  That is ok, just let it twist, and press over the twist.
 Leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, trim off triangles.  These are now on the bias, so take care not to stretch.

Since the edges are on the bias, lay the runner flat and pin the border strip under the runner. RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER.
Extend the border strip about 1/2" beyond the runner end, and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance, from point to point (see pink arrow - you will see the stitching).  TIP:  stitch a threads-width or so away from the point (this will give a little space for pressing the border flat without being so bulky.
Do NOT STRETCH the bias edges of the triangles....  Pin well and flat before you sew.

Press border seams toward the outside.

Cut off the side borders even with the end blocks.  You could stop here and quilt, bind, and enjoy.... OR,

Stitch remaining strips to the end blocks, right sides together, 1/4" seam allowance.  I wrapped the white all around, and the gray around the other end...just to be different.... but you can do whatever you want - Send us pics!  We love seeing what you do!

I'll post another pic after I quilt it...maybe this coming weekend.

11:49pm....  It did not take all day to sew this!  I was also designing it, photographing, writing, and had a zoom call with my son, and another with my siblings.

This is the Quiltsmart sample from 2003.  If you do this layout, you might want to sew a "balancing border".  The background blocks on this quilt were 8", the same that we are using.

Balancing border:   (2) 1.5" strips - sew to left and top.

Let us know if you have questions, feel free to comment!
Thank you so much for "watching" our LiveBlog!

Take Care & Be Safe!

Please also check out our first LiveBlogs - this is our 3rd.  We would love if you would share, comment and ask questions.  We are here to help.