I’m trying to be better about recycling things around the house. Since the majority of my work is with fabric, it’s easy. I just use what fabrics I have on hand. However, it’s not always that simple for other things. So when I used a soup can the other day, I got the idea for this perler bead soup can pencil cup and I just had to make it.
Not only is this project a great way to keep a can out of the trash, it uses up some of the thousands of perler beads that I have from the days when my daughter played with them. It’s been a long time since she used them, and I never got around to throwing them out, so I’m trying to use them in some of my craft projects.
Each pencil cup is completely unique,
and they make terrific gifts. I could easily see one of them sitting
on my desk. Kids can help make them by doing the artwork and,
depending on their age, some of the gluing.
Have you ever lost your sew-jo? Let’s face it, we all get into a sewing slump from time to time. I know I do. To help me snap out of it, I try to find projects that are a little different. I join quilt challenges or sew some small projects. But my favorite way to make quilting interesting again is to make a paper bag quilt. Yes, I know it sounds a little weird, but you read that right. At this point you are probably getting curious, so here is how to make a paper bag quilt.
Essentially, this method turns scrap quilt making into a fun game. It’s easy and, depending on the pattern and quilt size you choose, you can put together a quilt top in a day or so. You don’t need to worry about what fabrics go well together, or where blocks should be placed. The only rules to follow are your own.
A paper bag quilt is just like making a
standard pattern, except that you change how you choose the fabric
pieces. Every block is a surprise and you never know how it is going
to turn out.
To make a paper bag quilt you need to
make a few decisions before you begin.
Choose a Pattern – A simple
pattern is best for this method.
Decide How Many Bags You Need –
This will depend on the pattern you choose.
Choose Fabrics – Once you have
chosen a pattern and calculated fabric requirements, make sure you
have all the fabric you need.
How to Make a Paper Bag Quilt
First, press and cut all of the fabric
pieces in the sizes needed.
Next, depending on the pattern you choose, you may need to divide your fabrics into separate bags. For example, if you are using light and dark values, you would need two bags, one with light ones and one with dark ones. If you are making a charm quilt, you only need one bag.
Here are some examples.
For this quilt, I needed bags for every color, and each piece was cut so that when I pulled it out it could be cut in half and used twice in the block. Each block was a different color.
The blue fabric in the broken dishes scrap quilt above was the main fabric, and the fabrics in the paper bag were squares large enough to make the block. I only needed one bag for this project.
When my daughter was young, she helped me with the nine patch quilt above. All of the jewel tone fabric squares were put into a bag and she pulled them out for me. I only needed one paper bag for this quilt.
You can use the paper bag quilt method with many patterns. This scrappy autumn log cabin was made using it. I needed 16 bags, 8 for the various beige strip sizes and 8 for the various brown strip sizes.
Only one bag was needed to make this patriotic quilt.
The Fun Part
Once the bag(s) are ready, it is time
to assemble the blocks.
Without looking, pull the fabric piece(s) you need out of the bag and sew them together like you normally would. The only difference is that you don’t see what you are getting until you have taken it out of the bag. There is no making sure that the fabrics look good together. You use what you get. It’s the ultimate scrap quilt.
Once you have sewn all of the blocks
together, they need to be assembled into the top.
Put all of the blocks into a paper bag (or larger container that you can’t see through) and pull out what you need to start assembling your block. Again, the only difference between a standard quilt top assembly process and this method, is that you don’t peek when you pull the blocks out of the bag.
Finally, choose your batting and
backing, and finish the quilt however you like.
It’s a completely random and liberating
way of quilting. I normally take a lot of time choosing just the
right fabrics for my quilts, so making a quilt like this is a bit of
a relaxing challenge. But it sure is fun. I get excited with every
piece of fabric I pull out, seeing which one I get. I may not always
like the piece I pull, but I don’t change it, and the block ends up
looking just fine.
Wow! The color prompt for the May entry for the Patterns by Jen 2019 monthly color challenge was lime green, and boy was it a fun one. This is not a color I normally use, so I had to go out and hit the fabric stores. I can’t complain though, we quilters love finding an excuse to go fabric shopping.
I hit the jackpot with both of these batiks, the lighter one really pops and the darker green has accents with the lighter color in it. Both of the choices fit really well with my decision to go with batiks for this fun challenge. They also give a little bit of an update to the traditional broken dishes block pattern.
The flower prompt for May was the Spider Mum and, even though it’s a bit of a stretch, I think that the paisley print in the darker fabric mimics the flower.
Every month I find myself getting more and more excited about seeing what the next block is going to be. I’m really enjoying this challenge and am already playing with block layout ideas in my head. That way, when the end of the year rolls around, I am ready to assemble my quilt.
This is the fifth block of the challenge, and they have been easy to assemble with the instructions provided. It’s not too late to join in if you are interested. Head over to Patterns by Jen to check out all of the details.
The month of May was the second use of green in the challenge, but the lime added a vibrant twist and a whole new look to the block. Here are all of the blocks so far. All I can say is bring on June and the orange color!
When the month of May rolls around, I start thinking about getting out all of my red, white, and blue décor. I see the colors in stores, and all of the projects I make seem to include them. This year I decided to make a small wreath for someone who is unable make her own, so I went to a nearby store that sells everything for a dollar and found just what I needed. It only cost me about $4 to make this DIY dollar store patriotic wreath, and she loves it.
Whether you need an inexpensive hostess gift for a party, or just want to refresh your summer holiday decorations, this project is just what you are looking for. An added bonus is that the store sells the same types of items for various holidays, so this wreath can be made for just about any occasion.
Anyone who sews knows that they will eventually end up with an empty spool that gets tossed in the trash. Why not recycle them into some unique items instead? Here are 11 awesome wooden spool craft projects choose from.
Where to find spools
Today, spools are made out of plastic, but vintage wooden ones can still be found in flea markets or antique shops. Some of them still have their original labels or graphics on them, which adds another interesting design element. If you can’t find vintage spools, new ones are easily available.