Sunday, December 28, 2014


Ethan and Alanna opening their special pillowcases from Tia.


Have you recovered?


Our Christmas was wonderful.  On Christmas Eve we had everyone over for a dinner of soups, breads and dessert.  Easy stuff since the day is busy with food prepping, wrapping and cleaning.

Cindy made menudo, I made split pea and chicken noodle.  We had corn bread and ciabattini with lots of cookie desserts. 

I made the rum balls, ginger cookies and cranberry pie.  The rest I bought - no reason to go crazy!  If I were home I would have hit the deli (DZ Akins), but here I am good with Trader Joes.  We then headed out for church that night.  

Christmas day was spent at Cindy's with everyone.  Lots of goodies and gifts, ending with a great dinner and relaxing.

Then came December 26th.  All of it gets put away, cleaned and we return back to normal.  We will continue to snack on leftovers, lay around and watch movies, and generally do nothing, but I have to get that put behind me and cleaned up to relax.  Now it is time to plan New Years!


But now to tell you about my last minute Christmas project:




I got a crazy idea on December 10th: wouldn't it be great to make the kids a pillowcase for each month (like a banner of the month) with holiday themes and then one bonus for their birthday?  Great idea - but there are only 14 days left and I am working five of them.  Oh come on, how hard could it be?   So off to my stash I went pulling fabrics to create a boy set and a girl set.  Note: These are ideas that should be hatched during, I don't know, July?  Really.  Michael and Chich were giving me the "have you lost your mind" look, but I ignored them. 

After cutting out 12, it was time to take a break.  I could start on these and continue later.  Later like when, next summer?  I was still determined.  I started sewing and made four.  Okay, this isn't so bad.  

On December 19th, I still only had four.  Time to get going!  I made quite a few.  But on December 23rd - D-day for gifts - I had 8 left.  For six hours I plowed through with the help of streaming video.  Done!  Let me say it again, DONE!  

I was able to make them completely on the machine, and while my method is probably not the "proper way," I wanted to share the process.  Seriously, it took me 45 minutes to make one, which isn't bad if you are making ONE.  You could make one and put a book inside (use it as wrapping paper) for a birthday gift, which would be a much better idea.

Over 50 kits are available on the website ( so you can get started early with holiday themed pillowcases and not wait until the last possible moment (you can thank me for helping you get started early).  They are priced at $9.99 each and include the pattern.  But, the directions shown below are step by step - much easier to follow!

Making the pillowcases:

You will need three fabrics: one for the body of the pillowcase, one for the flange, and one for the header.
Multi-color print is the main fabric, cream is the flange and blue is the header.
Main fabric : 27" x 40"                    Flange: 3" x 40"                   Header: 9" x 40"

For the seams, I prefer a french seam.  If you have a serger, you could just serge the edges all in one step.  Or, you could do a straight seam and zigzag the seams closed.  It is necessary to finish them off to keep them from raveling.

Using the main fabric, fold with wrong sides together, piece now measures 27" x 20".  Sew a scant 1/4" along two of the raw edges as shown.  The open end is the opening of the pillowcase.

 Trim off the corner to reduce the bulk.

Turn the pillow case inside out (right sides are now touching).  Press.  Along the two seamed sides, stitch a 3/8" seam.  This encloses the previous seam and keeps all those raw edges sealed.  
Now for the "not normal" part.   I lay the open end of the main fabric on my ironing board.  I then take the flange fabric (folded in half) and line up the folds (shown on the right side of the pillowcase).

Using my iron, I fold back the flange fabric at the seam on the pillow case.  This crease will be my sewing guide.  Could I just measure the main piece and then measure the flange?  Yes, but to me this saves a step.  

I turn the flange right sides together and sew the ends together along the ironed crease.  Now my flange is the same circumference as my main section.  

Repeat the process for the header.  

Sew along the ironed crease again.  

Take the flange section and press the seam open.  

Fold the flange lengthwise and press matching the raw edges.  

The flange will now be a big loop as shown.  

Press the seam open on the header.  

Along one of the edges, press 3/8" of the fabric over around the entire circumference of the loop.  This will help later when completing the pillowcase.  

Time to put it together!  Pin the flange to the right side of the main section of the pillow case as shown.  The raw edges will match.   I line up the fold to the main pillowcase section seam, and the seam on the flange to the fold on the pillowcase.  This keeps me from having the seams together and reduces the bulk. 

Add the header, pinning it over the flange.  The flange is now trapped inside the header and the main section.  All the raw edges are still meeting at the top.  Ease fullness as needed.

The folded edge should be visible inside (see the diagram)

Stitch a 1/2" seam around the pillowcase. 

Press.  But not just any kind of press - this is the key to not having your seams show.  Press all of the pieces to the opening.  This includes the flange (it will want to go the opposite direction).  

This diagram shows the seams.  All layers and seams are pressed to the header (opening).  

Bring the header around to the seamed edge.  Since it is pointing upward, you can bring the ironed edged over and enclose it.  Pin in place.  I bring the folded piece down over the seam about 1/4" so that I do not catch any of the flange in my seam.  The blue header is sewn only to the main fabric.  

Here is the header pinned in place

I like to flip it over and make sure I have not caught the flange in my pinning (saving me ripping many times). 

After sewing, press.  This time, press the flange back over the seam (covering it) and away from the opening.  This helps distribute some of the bulk and allows more of the header to show.

 Seriously, after you make the first one, they go quickly.  You will have a nicely finished pillowcase that will be enjoyed for many years!
Alanna (top row) and Ethan (bottom row) - January - December and a birthday one for fun.
It really is worth it.  This is the moment we all love, when they receive the special gift!   

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming...

Christmas projects finished yet?  I know this is where you all cringe.  Just to make you a little more uncomfortable, there are only 15 days until the big day!

Last weekend I decided to undertake a project for a gift.  Nothing like waiting until we are in full Christmas swing to come up with an idea.  But I will cut myself some slack, I have been VERY distracted.  But now with my degree finished, my mind is back to the wide world of quilting, cooking, cleaning and family.  And all of Tia's children said, "Amen!"

I won't be posting my Christmas idea here - all of my family reads this and it will ruin my fun.  But, I will post after the big day.  It is killing me not to share!  But you all are too busy burning the midnight oil working away on your projects anyway (or you should be, right?).

This year we are scaling back.  Not as many social obligations, not as many gifts, not as much "to do."  I am looking forward to my older son coming home for a week, not going to work myself for two weeks, and time with the kids (both big and small).  I plan on watching all my favorite movies, making my favorite dishes, and mostly just appreciating the most important gift - Jesus.

But for now, I am figuring the number of hours I need to sew, divided by the days left...

And now I must get back to it!