July: Life’s A Charm – "X" Marks the Spot

Hi Everybody! For all of our US friends, we hope you had a wonderful 4th of July weekend.  This would be the reason why we’re a little late in getting our Life’s a Charm out, along with the fact that I’ve been sick the past few days and have been operating at a slower speed.  Did you do anything fun to celebrate?  We visited Gettysburg and I cooked a big meal for our family – marinated and grilled chicken; cole slaw; potato salad; and of course, homemade cherry pie!  It was so much fun to cook a big meal like that, I don’t get to do that nearly enough!

For this month’s Life’s a Charm we decided to make a quilt (imagine that! … our first for “Life’s a Charm”), something easy that could come together in a snap.  We’ve had 16 fat quarters of 30’s reproduction fabric sitting around in our stash for a long time and decided it was high time to do something with it.  So, I cut it up into 5″ charm squares and got 192 squares.  We ended up using most of these squares for this lap quilt.

For those of you making charm squares out of a fat quarter, it is very easy to do.  You will be able to get 3 rows vertically and 4 rows horizontally giving you 12 charm squares.

Here’s how it goes …

“X” Marks the Spot
Finished Size: 50″ x 50″
Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

– 4 color scraps of material for 162 – 5″ squares (this would be equivalent to 5 charm packs);
– 56″ x 56″ piece of batting;
– 56″ x 56″ piece of backing fabric;
– 220″ of binding;
– A 6 1/2″ x 24 1/2″ ruler (for cutting your 5″ squares out) – I prefer Creative Grids;
– A 2 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ ruler – again, Creative Grids; and
– A 6 1/2″ square ruler – of course, Creative Grids;
– Your favorite rotary cutter, cutting mat, sewing machine, iron and ironing board!

Step 1: 
Separate your color scraps and make two groups of two.  So, I put purple and blue together (group 1) and pink and green together (group 2).

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 2:
Chain piece your squares together, right sides facing, and sew a quarter inch seam allowance down one side of all your pieces.  Next, sew a quarter inch seam allowance on the opposite side.  Yes, that’s right, just trust me on this one 😉

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 3:
Using your 2 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ ruler, cut each square on the diagonal and iron the seam flat.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 4:
Pin your pieces back together, lining up your center point to create an hourglass block and sew together.  Your will need 49 blocks of your first group and 32 blocks of your second group.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 5:
Using your 6 1/2″ square ruler, proof your blocks to 6″ x 6″ squares.

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Cherry Valley Designs Hourglass Quilt

Step 6: 
Iron your seams flat.  Lay your quilt out starting with one color in the center and lay the alternate color around the center block.  Keep alternating colors (around the world) until you have a 9 block x 9 block quilt.  Sew your rows together.  Your quilt top is complete!

I can’t wait to get it on the longarm and get it quilted!  Check back next week for how we quilted this and bound this quilt! … There may even be a tutorial involved!

Until next time!

Life’s a Charm June: Fun Notebook Cover

This project is so incredibly easy …  it comes together in a snap, literally a few hours!  I think sometimes it’s nice to have a mindless project to just make you feel you accomplished something, at least this is true for me!

This month we simply sewed together 40 mini charms into an 8 by 5 rectangle to create a notebook cover.  How simple is that!  I can so see these for the beginning of school or baby shower gifts for moms-to-be to chronicle their months or just a fun way to scrapbook your family’s summer adventures!

You will simply need a Mead notebook, a mini charm pack, an iron, and your sewing machine – mine broke during this project 😦 so don’t look to closely at my stitching 😉

We cut out red, white and blue fabric from our own stash and then simply sew 8 blocks across horizontally and 5 blocks vertically.

Then fold under twice 1/8″, press down and stitch a straight line to hold your edge down.

Once this is complete, simply use your notebook as a template.  Iron down the top and bottom, then the sides.  Pin the sides down and using a zigzag stitch, stitch along the entire top and bottom at the edge of the cover.


Life’s A Charm: Lucky Shamrock Pillow

Hi Everybody and welcome to this month’s installment of our “Life’s a Charm” series!  This month’s project is a little quirky … we hope you like it!  It’s a little shamrock pillow to celebrate one of our favorite holiday’s, St. Patrick’s Day.  My mom and I are Irish girls at heart and love the little flair this pillow adds to our house for this holiday.

The thing about this project is it really comes together quickly.  We chose this month to make our own mini charm pack (I promise next month we’ll use a regular sized charm pack for our project!).  To do this is super easy, simply pull out scraps of fabric you want to use and cut out 42 – 2 1/2″ squares.  We had a St. Patrick’s themed fat quarter pack we chose to use.  We used 6 fabrics and cut 7 squares out of each fabric.  You can add more variety if you would like, though.
You will also need a background piece (which is the light green, cuddles fabric to the left in the picture above) that is approximately 15″ by 20″ and a bag of stuffing.  We used Poly fill from JoAnn’s.
Arrange your mini charm squares into a rectangle 6 squares by 7 squares.  See picture below.
Next, sew your vertical rows together and press seams.  We pressed ours open.
Then sew your rows together so you have one big rectangle and again, press seams.
Using the design here you will want to cut out two pieces so you can make one complete shamrock. Trace a the shamrock pattern on the back side of your pieced top.  
You will want to pin your pillow top to your pillow backing right sides together and sew around on the line you have drawn, being sure to leave the base of the shamrock open (so you can stuff it!)
Cut a quarter inch seam around the outside of your pillow.
Flip inside out and stuff.  Finally whip stitch the base of the shamrock closed and enjoy!  Sandy certainly is 🙂

Life’s A Charm: Valentine’s Mug Rugs

Hello Everybody, I’m finally starting to feel back in the swing of things and it’s a good thing since it’s that time again for “Life’s A Charm,” our monthly series where we create a quick pattern using either a mini charm pack or charm pack.  Last month, we featured a table topper with nothing other than snowflakes, check it out here.  I’d also like to welcome visitors from the linky parties we’re participating in today:

February is all about love and what better way to share something with the one you love than over a hot cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa … you get the idea.  There is one way to make it better, by using matching mug rugs featuring a pieced heart in the corner!  This month’s “Life’s a Charm” is a pattern for two matching Valentine’s Mug Rugs.  This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve ever made and I love using my mug rug, it’s such a nice addition to my desk.
Valentines Mug Rugs
What You’ll Need:
  • (1) Mini Charm Pack (we used Odds and Ends by Cosmo Cricket)
  • (1) scrap of cream fabric (we used a 10″ x 10″ extra from a layer cake and had plenty left over)
  • (2) 8″ x 12″ pieces of batting
  • (2) 8″ x 12″ pieces of backing fabric
  • (2) 2 1/2″ x 50″ pieces of binding
  • A ruler with a 45 degree angle such as this one
Step 1: We’re going to start by assembling the pieced heart blocks. You will need to cut

  • A – 6 red mini charm pieces into (24) 1″ x 1″ squares; 
  • B – 2 red mini charm pieces into (4) 1″ x 2″ strips; 
  • C – 1 red mini charm piece into (2) 1″ x 2 1/2″ strips; and 
  • D – 1 red mini charm piece into (2) 1″ x 1 1/2″ strips.  

From your cream scrap fabric, cut

  • E – (12) 2 1/2″ x 1″ strips; 
  • F – (10) 1 1/2″ x 1″ strips; 
  • G – (4) 1″ x 1″ squares; and 
  • H – 2″ x 1″ strips.

Step 2: Next it will be helpful to lay your hearts out with all the pieces where they should be.  In the order listed below (from left to right), lay out your rows.  You can see from the picture below how I did mine.

  • Row 1: E -> E
  • Row 2: F -> A -> A -> A -> F -> A -> A -> A-> F 
  • Row 3: G -> B -> B -> G
  • Row 4: F -> A -> C -> A -> F
  • Row 5: H -> A -> D -> A -> H
  • Row 6: E -> A -> A -> E
  • Row 7: E -> E
Step 3: Rows 2, 4, 5, and 6 all have half square triangles to create “curved” edges of the heart.  This is when you will need a ruler with a 45 degree angle.  For Row 2, place the first F and A right sides together, and mark a 45 degree line on the red fabric’s back side from the upper right hand corner diagonally towards the bottom left hand corner (see Picture 1 below).  Next, using the center F piece mark the same as previously stated with the right side A piece.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam (see Picture 2 below).
Finishing Row 2, place the left side of the center F piece and mark a 45 degree angle from the upper left hand corner diagonally towards the bottom right hand corner (see Picture 3 below).  Repeat with final A and F pieces. Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam (see Picture 2 below).

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3 

Step 4: For rows 4, 5, and 6, the left hand side of the heart’s angles will all be the same and the right hand side of the heart’s angles will all be the same.  For the left hand side place red fabric right side together with cream fabric and draw a 45 degree angle from the upper left hand corner diagonally to the lower right hand corner on the back side of the red fabric.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there is 1/4″ seam.

For the right hand side place red fabric right side together with cream fabric and draw a 45 degree angle from the upper right hand side to the lower left hand side on the back side of the red fabric.  Sew both pieces and press towards red fabric.  Cut off excess fabric on back side so there a 1/4″ seam.  Once complete lay out your rows with angled pieces in place.

Step 5: Sew your rows together and your pieced hearts are complete. Next lay out the rest of your mug rug pieces and arrange as desired.  Row 1 will consist of 5 mini charm pack pieces; rows 2 and 3 will consist of 3 pieces across, finished with the pieced heart block.

Step 6: Sew all pieces across for rows 1, 2 and 3.

Step 7: Finish by sewing pieced rows 2 to 3, then sew to the pieced heart block.  You will need to proof this piece to 4″ wide!  Finally sew row 1 to rows 2 and 3.  Quilt and bind as desired, your mug rugs are complete!

Hope you enjoy making and using these, thanks for stopping by!

Life’s a Charm: Snowflakes Wonder

Woohoo!  We are really excited about this new series … we want everyone to love quilting as much as we do!  So, what’s this all about you ask?  Well, a quick synopsis (if you want more detail, click here): each month we will be featuring a new, free pattern using either a charm pack or mini charm pack. Why charm packs you ask? Because they’re pre-cut – making life so much easier – and they take the guessing work out of color combinations and figuring out what fabric to use.  BUT(!) if you want to make your own charm pack/mini charm pack you can do that, too!

For this month, we are making a quick table topper inspired by this month’s weather … SNOW!  I was so excited when the weekend before Christmas we got our first snow and it hasn’t left!  I think this is a record for Ohio.  For the charm pack I picked out the soft colors of Bunny Hill’s Windsor Lane by Moda.

Definitely feel free to leave us a comment if you have any questions!  We’d love to help and will get back as soon as possible.

Without further ado, we present …

Life’s a Charm: Snowflake Wonder


Materials Needed:

  • (1) Mini Charm Pack of Your Choice
  • (4) 8.5″ by 8.5″ pieces of Blue Fabric
  • Scraps of White and Tan fabric or wool (we chose to use wool)
  • You will also need fusible material or appliqué glue and a complementary thread
  • 24″ by 24″ piece of batting
  • 24″ by 24″ piece of fabric for backing
  • 1/4 yard of fabric for binding
Step 1: Lay out your mini charm pack fabric on a table in a “+” sign with your 8.5″ squares in the corners.  The center should consist of 4 charm pack pieces, and each side coming out should be 2 by 4. See diagram and picture below.

Step 2: Begin sewing your pieces together in pairs using chain piecing.  

**Tip 1** Chain piecing!  Chain piecing!  Where do I begin?  I chain piecing!  Can you tell?  Well, chain piecing is one of the very first techniques I learned when I began quilting.  I was taking a class that involved repeating the same sewing of a lot of blocks.  As I meticulously lined up my pieces, sewed, cut and began the process again and again … the teacher said, “Megan, why aren’t you chain piecing?”  Chain piecing means you simply “chain” together pieces you are sewing.  This works best when you are working with the same pieces that you have to several of.  See pictures below.


**Tip 2** Another chain piecing tip I just recently learned is in order to keep track of your first pieces, put a pin in the first one.  This way when you have that continuous chain, you’ll know which direction you should be going.

Step 3: Once this is done, begin working on your corner appliqué blocks.  You can find the pattern for the appliqué pieces here. If you use wool, you will want to use freezer paper to trace your shapes on and then iron the shiny side down.  Cut out shapes and center on block with appliqué glue.  If you use fabric, you can follow my appliqué tutorial here.  Finish by stitching around the edges – you can use your machine or stitch by hand.

Step 4: You will now want to sew all of your pieces together so your top is complete.  See picture below.

Step 5: Cut 3 strips at 2.5″ wide and sew together in one continuous line.  You will use these for your binding.  Your quilt is ready to be quilted and bound.

**Tip 3** If you quilt your table topper at home (not long arm), then we’d suggest using Machingers (they’re in our Amazon store).  They help you move the fabric around so much easier!  AND don’t forget to use safety pins to secure your three layers together!