A Quilt for Elias

My brother has two little boys, and when the first one was born, I knitted a blanket for him. He was born in late March, so I had plenty of time to knit this blanket. I am not the best knitter, so it took quite a while to finish. My second nephew was born in late June...right in the middle of crafty season (the picture above was taken when he was 5 days old...he was awake and ready to meet me!) I was busy making soap, lotions, etc., so knitting a blanket was not possible. Just not enough time to get it done, so I decided to make a quilt. This is not really a tutorial, but more of an inspiration for you to try something new. If I can do it...anyone can!

I have never made a quilt before, but I was determined to make a nice keepsake for my little nephew. I scoured the internet, and found some basic instructions. Traditionally, quilts are made with different squares of fabric pieced together. But, for my first try, I decided to keep things simple. I purchased 4 yards of a colorful fabric and another 1/2 yard for the trim, I also purchased some crib size quilt batting.

First I cut and measured the fabric and batting, then pinned them together (right sides facing each other.) I sewed them together and turned the fabric right side out. I passed a light iron over the whole thing to smooth out any wrinkles.

After I had everything assembled, and sewed up all edges, I used a fabric pencil and marked off 12" sections. I then ran the whole thing under the sewing machine to "create" the quilting. I must admit, the lines were very wonky, but not that noticeable.

Using a bias tape maker, I made a 2" trim for all 4 edges of the blanket. I pinned the trim in place, and sewed three of them in place.

Before sewing on the last piece of trim, I decided to embroider his name on it....just to personalize it a bit more.

Here it is....the finished quilt. I was able to give him the blanket when he was two weeks old. I was so proud of my efforts! Maybe with the next quilt, I will get a bit more fancy, and try to piece different squares together.

Until next time....happy crafting!



Interwoven Globe at the Metropolitan Museum

Blue Resist Panel- cotton fabric painted and block printed resist most likely made in India for the American market

Blue Resist Panel- cotton fabric painted and block printed resist most likely made in India for the American market

There is a new exhibit at the Met that I had to see and was going to get there no matter what....which means Harper, my new baby, was most likely coming with me.  So last week I packed up the stroller, brought the carrier in case the stroller wouldn't be allowed and Harper and I headed to the number 4 train at Barclay's Center up to 86th St stop in Manhattan.  I wanted to blog about this exhibit because I know many of us are so busy and may not know what is current at the museums.  And with so much in NYC the options are endless.

Interwoven Globe are fabrics from wall hangings to clothing made in between the 14th and 18th centuries.  This is when exploration was at it's peak.  Most of the fabric was made in India or China for Europe or America markets.  Unlike today's global markets, these items were mainly made for and sold to the wealthy.  There were wall hangings, carpets, decorative textiles, bed covers and waistcoats.  Most of the thread used was silk or metal wrapped thread.

Palampore - from India made for the Sri Lankan market - cotton, paint resist and mordant, dyed 72" x 44"

Palampore - from India made for the Sri Lankan market - cotton, paint resist and mordant, dyed 72" x 44"

The above piece is called a palampore which was usually a bed cover drawn or painted then dyed.  What I found amazing is that this type of design you will see in Pottery Barn or Macys.  It is a very common design for sheets and duvet covers.  Things haven't changed much! However this piece would be purchased by only the wealthiest families.

double sided wall hanging from China made for the European market in the second half of the 18th century.  This is silk satin and embroidered with silk.

double sided wall hanging from China made for the European market in the second half of the 18th century.  This is silk satin and embroidered with silk.

The above double sided wall hanging was most likely used in a window so art can be seen from the outside and on the inside.  This also may have been a substitute for wall paper since it couldn't be produced fast enough for the European market.

By the second half of the 18th century India products were being largely influenced by the west.  This was reflected mostly by color and slightly by design.  Chintz became popular in the Netherlands being made in India or China.

A few more pieces that caught my eye.

Fustian with pheasants     and exotic flowers.

Fustian with pheasants and exotic flowers.

The art is a European interpretation of foreign motifs. Fustian is fabric that is cotton in the warp and linen in the weft.

This was copperplate printed which became popular in the second half of the 18th century

over 7 feet long - from India made for the Japanese market in the 18th century cotton and paint resist, then dyed.

If you are looking for a few hours of inspiration definitely try to make a trip to the museum.  And if you have a baby, strollers are allowed (not the double wide ones) and Harper seemed to enjoy looking at all the colors of the fabrics.

Have a great week!


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DIY metro card holder (vs.2)

In my last blog post, I made a metro card holder, but it wasn't the one I REALLY wanted to make. I actually wanted to make a type of billfold with two pockets. This is similar to the plastic case that I had been using since the early 90's (which understandably was on it's last leg.)

This one takes a bit more time, but I like the results a lot better. I started with two pieces of denim about 6"x5" Again, I am still working on the huge pile of old jeans I have stashed in the corner of my bedroom.

I pinned the pieces together with the right sides together. Then I sewed around 3 sides, leaving one side open.

After turning the denim pouch right side out, I cut out a piece of stiff paper (like a file folder) and cut it to size, and tucked the paper inside the pouch. Then I sewed up the open side, and folded the pouch in half.

Then I cut out two pieces of fabric and sewed it to the inside of the pouch to create pockets. I like two pockets...metro card on one side and a bit of cash (or credit cards) can be placed in the other pocket.

For a bit more security (especially if I am storing cash) I added a bit of velcro on the sides. I cut out a small square, glued it in place, then gave it a quick stitch, just to make sure it stayed in place. This way, when I close the billfold...it stays closed!

That's it...quick and easy!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea  /  nordeasoaperie

DIY MetroCard Holder

On Sunday, New Yorkers got the bad news that metrocards were going up in price again. If my memory serves me, this is the 4th fare hike in 5 years. In addition to the higher fare, we now have to pay $1 if you buy a new card, instead of refilling an old one.

That means that taking care of your metrocard is more important than ever! Keeping the card safe from the elements (my huge pocketbook full of stuff) needs to be priority number one! I do have a little plastic sleeve, that has seen better days, so I decided to make something new to keep it dust and scratch-free. I am always looking for uses for the huge pile of old jeans stacked in my apartment, so a denim metrocard holder is what I decided to make.

  1. Measure the metro card, and cut out two pieces of denim slightly larger to account for seam allowance.
  2. Place the right sides together and pin them in place. Sew around the perimeter of three sides, leaving the top open.
  3. Trim the excess fabric around the seam, and turn the fabric inside out so that the right sides are on the outside.
  4. Cut a piece of stiff paper to size(like a file folder) and slip it inside of the top opening to give the holder a bit of structure. Once you slip in the stiff paper, go ahead and sew up the top of the metrocard holder.
  5. Cut a piece of decorative fabric slightly shorter (length) than the denim square. The width should be the same.
  6. Place the fabric on top of the denim square and sew around the three sides, leaving the top open so you can slip the metrocard in the pocket. That's it...quick and easy!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea / nordeasoaperie

Fabric Covered Buttons

As you can see, I've got a lot of buttons in my stash. Unfortunately, sometimes none of them will work for a particular crafty project I may be working on. Last September, I decided to finally replace a missing button on a jacket. I headed down to a button store in the garment district and ended up buying a button for $3. Yes, $3 for one button. I found the price to be ridiculous, but I had no choice. A few months later, I came across instructions online to create fabric covered buttons....so I will never pay $3 for a button again!

First, pull out your stash of fabric scraps. It doesn't take a lot of fabric, so there is probably something in the fabric stash that will be useful. I decided to use the greenish-colored fabric (seafoam) because I had no buttons that matched the fabric.

Measure the distance from the edge of the button to the middle of the button. You want the fabric to be able to reach the middle so you can completely cover the button.

I traced a circle on the fabric around the button, making sure that there was at least 1/2 inch extra all around.

Then, I cut the fabric. My measurements were pretty close, but it wasn't necessary to be exact.

Taking a needle and thread, I used a running stitch (I think that's what it's called) and stitched along the perimeter of the fabric circle.

After placing the button in the middle of the fabric circle, pull the thread taut so the fabric gathers around the button and covers it completely.

You can even trim a bit of the fabric around the outside of the stitches to reduce the amount of bulk behind the button. You don't want too much fabric because you want the button to lay as flat as possible when you use it.

Continue to stitch up the fabric until it is taut around the button. Knot off the thread, and you are done! A beautiful button for whatever project you are working on!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea nordeasoaperie

Quick & Easy DIY Fabric Coasters

Now that I have a new obsession in sewing, I am starting to find all sorts of fun projects to work on. I happen to have a weakness for coasters. I have them all over my apartment, and I always have some on my table at craft fairs (so that customers can put down their drinks and pick up my soap!) So, here is a quick and easy tutorial that anyone can do:

First, I cut out four squares of fabric for the top portion (an old pair of jeans!) and another four squares in a coordinating fabric (the same size) for the bottom portion.

Then I cut out four squares of batting slightly smaller for the padding.

Then I cut four strips of colorful ribbon that would fit across the front of the top square. I glue it on to keep it in place before sewing.

Using my trusty machine, I sew the colorful ribbon strip onto the front of each top square.

Then, I glue the batting onto the back of each bottom square.

I place the top and bottom squares (right sides facing each other) together and pin them in place before sewing them up. You want the right sides to face each other because you need to leave a 1.5" section open so you can turn the completed square inside out. If you look closely, you can see where I marked my opening in blue marker near the top of the square.

After you turn the square inside out, the right sides should be facing out, and you simply need to hand stitch the small opening to finish it up.

So there you have it....easy peasy fabric coasters! Great for a quick housewarming gift, or if you are heading to a friend's house for dinner...I always like to show up with a little gift of appreciation!

Until next time....happy crafting!

Nordea / nordeasoaperie

New fabric collection by Liberty of London

Lesleys A Tana Lawn fabric
Liberty of London is a design house based in London with a history dating back to 1875. They are a design house and also sell fabric in addition to products.  Their product is described as being cutting edge, savvy and avant-garde.  To the shopper they are probably most well known for their classic ditsy floral prints.  Pictured above is a print in Tana Lawn fabric which is a silky light weight cotton perfect for dresses, quilts and hair accessories. Liberty has branched out into many new categories; apparel, accessories,  stationery, lighting, home and more.

Peacock journal

 Two that are very exciting to me as a designer are their new line of quilting weight fabrics, the Bloomsbury collection and their collaboration with Nike.  

Nike featuring Liberty
The new Lifestyle Collection called Bloomsbury, consists of 11 prints in 5 colorways. These are retro, kitchsy, fun, and colorful! A perfect weight for dresses, totes,  aprons, quilts, table cloths, curtains and so much more.  The Bloomsbury collection is inspired by the historic district in London.  Rich in cultural history and home to the British Museum, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the University of London.  This is an eclectic mix inspired by the abundance of flowers and plants in the area.


If you are a designer or crafter definitely make a point of checking out these new fabrics. I think I will be making some aprons and dresses for my nieces with these bright, happy prints!

Happy Sewing!


Wish upon a Snowflake - Tutorial

As I was sorting through our holiday decorations, I stumbled upon some instructions for paper snowflakes and stars, which inspired me to cut up some snowflakes of my own -- out of fabric. You may know how to do this already, but here is a quick refresher:


  • a square fabric remnant, this example uses a 6 inch square
  • very sharp scissors


Base Shape

Iron the fabric square flat.
Create a triangle by folding the square on the diagonal from one corner to another.
Fold the triangle in half along the center. Iron.
Open up the triangle and take the right corner and fold it over to the lower left at about a 60 degree angle along the middle crease.
Repeat with the other side until you have a symmetrical shape. Iron.
Cut a straight line across the base of the shape to create a triangle.
This is the basic shape from which you start a snowflake

Cutting out the Snowflake

To make a 6-pointed star shaped snowflake do the following:
Cut out a triangle on the base of the snowflake. The deeper your triangle, the longer the points of the star will become.
On each side of the triangle cut out a shallow oval.
Snip off the tip of the triangle
Open up the snowflake and iron it.
That's it.

You can use this snowflake to decorate a card, include it as part of an applique project, or attach it to your window for the holidays with a cornstarch and water "glue." If you wish you can also adhere fusible web to the fabric square in the first step and create an iron-on applique. Obviously there are many ways to cutout different shapes from the base shape. You may want to use paper squares to experiment with different patterns first and then transfer your designs to a fabric square. 

Have fun!


Bring the Fun of the Fall Cavalcade Home

It’s Sunday and you’ve enjoyed a beautiful day in Beacon, New York snatching up handmade wares from the {NewNew}. The feeling was so good, you want it to last forever. What to do? Make yourself some decorative {NewNew} Fall Handmade Cavalcade trees to enjoy all year long. These would make great wall decorations and can easily be hung anywhere. The steps in this project can also be applied to lots of other shapes - such as pumpkins for Halloween or turkeys for Thanksgiving. Maybe even tiny ones to hang on the Christmas tree?

For this project you need:
Card Stock
Newsprint paper or even an old copy of the NY Times Double-sided tape
Fabric Glue
Scissors/ Rotary blade
Cutting Mat
Colorful Quilting Fabric
Felt to compliment the fabric
Ribbon (we used 1/4" grosgrain)
Cookies and Milk (optional)

Create Your Pattern We made three sizes trees that were 28 inches, 22 inches and 16 inches tall. You can make whatever size suits your needs just keep in mind the final project will be hanging off a ribbon and will add a few inches in length. To make a pattern for the base tree start with the card stock. Take your ruler and measure out the length of your tree and mark the line with a pencil. This is the center axis of your tree. On either the left or right side of this line, draw a 1/2 tree. Cut this shape out. Now trace this shape on another piece of card stock. Flip the 1/2 tree pattern over, align the center axis with the shape you have traced, and trace the other half of the tree. This makes sure that your shape is symmetrical left and right. Once your symmetrical whole tree shape has been cut out, set it aside as this is the base.
Now roll out a section of newsprint paper. Trace your 1/2 tree shape onto the newsprint. Then inside that shape, draw a 1/2 arc that starts and ends along the center axis. It is helpful to do this within a tracing of your base tree so that you don't have to guess size and proportion. Now fold the newsprint along the center axis and cut out your center shape along the line you drew.
One pattern left, the felt trunk pattern. On newsprint again, take your 1/2 tree cardstock and trace just the bottom truck. Flip it over along the center axis to trace the other 1/2 of the trunk. Using a ruler, extend these lines up so that the length is about half of the total height of your tree. Extend branches from this trunk. Cut out your trunk shape and now all the patterns are complete! Take a moment for a pattern happy dance.
Fabric Time! Take the whole tree cardstock base that you cut out and apply double sided tape all along the edges. Stick this to the backside of one of your printed quilting fabrics. Using the edge of the cardstock as a guide, cut out the fabric so that it is the same size as your base.

Select a second printed quilting fabric, pin the paper pattern to it, and cut the shape out. Repeat this step to create your felty awesome tree trunk. Make sure your fabric is ironed and wrinkle free before you cut. Wrinkles ruin trees (or maybe you would call it character.) With your fabric glue (we prefer Beacon Magna-Tac 809 permanent adhesive), glue down the printed center of the tree to your printed base. Try to make sure you get the top points aligned and centered. Then glue your felt tree trunk on top.
Let it all dry for about 30 minutes while you admire your work and enjoy yummy cookies and milk. (Optional but recommended)

Alexandra and Virginia enjoy a not to vintage 2% and amazing chocolate chip cookie.
Finishing Touches Once your magical Fall Cavalcade tree is dry, carefully use your awl to poke a hole through and through about 3 inches from the top of your tree. From the good side of the tree, center your length ribbon on the whole and push it through. We used dull tweezers to push through as much as possible, and then pulled from the underside with a needle. You now have a loop coming out the back and two loose ends coming through the front. Tie these loose ends into a pretty bow.

Conceived by Jody and Alexandra Ferguson

With lots of help from Lauren, Virginia and Kelly

Reported by Kelly

Tutorial: Using Beaded Jacobean Couching to Fill Embroidered Shapes

This embroidery technique is a variation on a stitch called "Jacobean Couching" that uses beads to give your project some added elegance. This project is not difficult, though it is helpful to have some knowledge of basic embroidery. Here are the materials you will need:

1. Embroidery Floss.
2. Seed Beads.
3. Regular sewing thread in a color that matches your beads.
4. A heat-transfer pencil.
5. An air-soluble pen (a pen that makes a mark which will disappear in a day or so).
6. A transparent gridded ruler.
PLUS, tracing paper, scissors, a home iron, fabric to embroider your design onto, and an embroidery hoop. For this project I used a 6" hoop.

STEP 1: Trace your design onto tracing paper using the heat transfer pencil. I chose an eight pointed star - you can choose pretty much any image you like, as this technique works well for filling any simple shape.

STEP 2: Iron the design onto your fabric. Use the hottest setting that will work for your chosen fabric, turn the steam setting to "off," and do not let your design shift while ironing. My design was transfered after about ten seconds of ironing.

STEP 3: Outline your design using any stitch you like. I chose to use the Stem Stitch, which is illustrated below. For this project, I did my stitching with three strands of embroidery floss. A handy set of illustrations for various outline stitches can be found here.

STEP 4: You are going to run a series of parallel threads over the entirety of your design. I chose a distance of 3/8". Using your transparent gridded ruler, make small dots right next to your outline, indicating where your parallel stitches should be placed. The ink should disappear in a day or so, but it's still best to keep your marks as small as possible.

STEP 5: Using the marks you've made, create a series of long parallel stitches that fill up your entire shape.

STEP 6: Decide whether you would like to end up with a shape filled with squares or diamonds. If you want squares, you should make your second set of parallel stitches at a 90 degree angle to the first set. I decided I wanted diamonds, so I chose a random angle, and simply made all my stitches parallel to the first line that I made at random.

STEP 7: Once you have filled your entire shape with a grid of long stitches, you can start adding the beads. Thread your needle with a double strand of regular sewing thread, then bring your needle up through the fabric right next to the place where two threads cross.

Thread a bead onto your string, and bring your needle back down through the fabric on the opposite side of the crossed threads.

To make sure your beads are securely stitched onto the fabric, bring your needle back up, and make a second stitch through each bead before moving on to anchor the next intersection of threads. Keep going until you've tacked down all your threads.

STEP 8: Admire the beauty!