Kaffee-Klatsch Quilt Chat

The online quilt group with the different name

Gift Ideas FAQ

Compiled by Dottie Allen

Last year, I made quilted C-mas stockings (from the T'berries book) and filled them with things that the reciever would like. For my quilting friends, I put in a couple fat quarters,a bag of buttons, a pack of needles, a thimble and some hand lotion. For my non quilting friends, they got little things they like and some bubble bath. Everyone liked them and they were really easy to make. It was a good chance to use up some scrap fabric and muslin.

On the Eat-L Food list, they're talking about "cake in a jar". Bake the cake just like it was a pan, and then after it comes out of the oven, put a lid on it. As it cools, let it will seal.

I'm planning to make some of those - you have to make them in wide mouth jars - and after they cool, I'm going to put something I've quilted under the ring and on top of the flat. Maybe even get a ruffle on it like you see.

The recipes include just about everything and anything. Banana bread, pumpkin bread.

The directions will tell you step by step how to do it. How they get out is - you use wide mouth jars and as the cakes cool, they pull away from the sides. Come out really easily then.

Brownie cakes in a jar

Serving Size : 1
Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Chocolate

AmountMeasure IngredientPreparation Method
2CANNING JARSwide mouth
1/2teaspoonBAKING SODA
1/4teaspoonGROUND CINNAMON(optional)
1/4cupWALNUTSfinely chopped

Here's one you can start out with, it makes 2 jars. Every recipe technique is the same, just different ingredients.
Sterilize, two 1-pint straight-sided wide-mouth canning jars (specifically made for canning jams and jellies) lids and rings by boiling for 10 minutes (keep the lids and rings in the hot water until ready to use); set aside.
In a small bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and cinnamon, if desired. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine butter or margarine, water and cocoa powder; heat and stir until butter or margarine is melted and mixture is well blended.
Remove from heat; stir in flour mixture.
Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla; beat by hand until smooth.
Stir in nuts.
Pour mixture into the prepared canning jars; place jars onto a cookie sheet.
Preheat oven to 325-degrees.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a pick inserted deep into each cake comes out clean.
Remove cakes from the oven, one at a time. Place a lid, then a ring onto the jars and screw down tightly. USE HEAVY-DUTY MITTS, the jars ARE HOT!!
Place jars onto your counter to cool.
You'll hear a "plinking" sound. If you miss the sound, wait until the cakes are cool and press on the lids, they shouldn't move at all, that means they've sealed.
Store cakes in a cool, dark place. They should last up to a year--I don't know, they've never lasted that long around here!

If you'd like to decorate them, place a wad of cotton in the center of each lid, then place a piece of decorative cloth, about 3-inches larger in circumference than the lid, (cut with pinking shears) on top of the cotton. Screw the ring back on (by this time the rings can be removed as the lids should be sealed).

Use your imagination when decorating--a hot glue gun works wonders (dried flowers, ribbon, etc). These make WONDERFUL Christmas gifts.

Fuse fabric to heavyweight paper. Trace around Christmas cookie cutters (onto the paper, of course). Use as gift tags -- punch a hole at the top for a string (or thin strip of fabric) for tying. A good way to use up scraps!

Seminole patchwork makes nice edgings for towels (hand, bath, or kitchen) or pillowcases.

How about fusing the fabric to a heat and bond type when giving to *crafty* people. They then would have ready made appliques.You can write on the bock of the paper for the name tag and then just peel it off afterwards to be used as the recipient sees fit.

Buy the least expensive plain mouse pad you can find and then "Heat & Bond" fabric to it. You can personalize the fabric...if the person you are giving the mouse pad has a hobby or preference for a color and so on. You just use a fabric that would relate to that hobby etc. You can use cheap, vinyl placemats for mouse pads.

I make bookmarks using a 3"X3" paper-pieced block. I stitch a piece of fabric that is about 3"X6" to the bottom of the block,, and then sew on a backing fabric. I use special fabrics - either the persons favorite colors,, or something else meaningful (like I used a prairie-grass print for a friend who is a plant ecologist). You can incorporate muslin into the design and then sign the muslin or write a little message to the person.

If you're really gung-ho,, you could make up a whole bunch and have them on hand to sign or "message" when you need them.

What You Need:

Glass Potpourri Bowl:

  1. Fill bowl with potpourri.
  2. Cover bowl with doily and secure over rim with floral wire.
  3. Tie multi-loop bow and secure to bowl.
  4. Decorate with silk flowers or greenery, if desired.

Studded Candle:

  1. Take studs and push into candle.
  2. If desired, decorate candle with strips of gold-leaf.


  1. Fill tube with potpourri.
  2. Tie ends with decorative cording.
  3. Glue charm to front for decoration.
  4. Decorate with silk flowers, if desired.

Cookie-Cutter Garland:

  1. Take dowel or screwdriver and carefully poke holes into the sides of cookie cutters.
  2. String cookie cutters onto twine, use color beads for decoration and as spacers between cookie-cutters.
  3. Tie ends of twine.
TIP:Keep these and other fabulous last minute gifts in a decorated basket. Keep the filled basket handy for those unexpected visitors during the holiday season.

Make plastic sack holders.

It's 20 inches long.......finished and it's 18 inches around.

It looks like a rectangle was cut 19 x 22" and it was seamed up along the long edges to make a tube. Each end was then hemmed to creat a casing for the draw string. The top one is cinched up tight and made into a loop/bow that you can use to hang it up -- the botton opening is left loose enough that you can stuff (and also remove) plastic sacks from the grocery store. I can imagine prints or even a pieced section through the middle would be darling. It is very useful. It would make a nicer gift if you gave it full of bags.

Just a hint here, the plastic sack containers can be easily made from a teas towel or dishcloth (whatever Americans call things for drying the dishes with. There are so many colours and designs to choose from. Fold over each end about 1", stitch along. This makes a thing to thread a drawstring through the top and elastic through the bottom. Sew up the long side, thread the things through each end and hey-presto, as bag to keep your bags in. I used to have one out of a tea towel but made one out of my kitchen curtain material and it looks great.

Quilted CD cases.

I'm going to paper foundation piece a block for the top, sew in a zipper all around, and add a cloth handle. I'm going to make it deep enough to hold about 8 CD's, and suggest that they keep it in their pickup.

Making fabric drawstring bags to wrap foodstuffs/gifts in--this would also work with the fruitcakes all you fruitcakes are making out there, and would involve fabric scraps too! Examples: teas, food, note cards.

Make wine bottle bags as gifts, then give wine (or champagne or: seasoned oils or vinegars).

Large floor pillow (for watching tv with.) Make each with a quilt pattern. Add borders to the quilt block to make the square large einough for a 18" x 18" pillow.

You can make a lot of things for men just by using masculine fabrics. For instance, book covers, padded hangers, eyeglass cases, etc. that aren't made with pink satin and lace trimming. You might want to try your hand at making ties from holiday prints. There are commercial patterns out there...How about sports items, like belt pouches and small velcro bags made from nylon?

Try making a light attached to an elastic head band? The light would be very tiny, but also, give off a nice "pool" of light & be very bright. It could be used when you need your hands free.

Has anyone mentioned, placemats and those "Victorian drawstring pouches that were originally meant for jewelry and eveyone I know using them for sewing supplies?

And how about cookies along with the cookie cutter,that can be used to make templates for ornaments and appliques.

Those two-pocket cloth or vinyl tv controller/tv guide holders that sling over the arm of an armchair. The commercially made ones are always too small and usually in boring shades of beige, black or brown. If some little drapery weights were added in the bottoms of the pouches on both sides, they'd hang better and stay in place.

I get the big bags of ceder chips for hamsters in the pet department. I make *sacks* out of voile or thin cheap fabric, stuff them with the cedar and throw them into the winter coat closet in my upstaris hall and in my basement closet. They smell great and you just have to take them outside and shake them up a little every now and then to get the aroma going again. Fill old panty hose, old pillow cases, etc. have fun.

I also use it to make sleeping beds cat (not for dogs, it's dangerous for them: if they pee on the cedar, it can be toxic). Flea's hate it and your animals smell great.

The guys all ordered Boxer-shorts again. I made some 2 years ago and tried to match their interest, jobs or hobbies in the fabric.

I like the idea of Quilter's Candy --small scraps in plastic bags-- and may make up a few of these for our bazaar in November. Using baby food jars would show them off well.

Cool Neck Scarves

A soil substitute that when it gets soaked swells to much larger size and retains the water for 12 hours. Put a teaspoon in a bowl with a 1/2 cup of water and let it soak up and see how much you need. It soaks up alot of water.

They're found at nurseries (plants, etc)and used to mix in the soil to hold water so that plants don't dry out so quickly. Anyway, I keep mine in the refrigerator in a big tumbler of water so when I need it, it's replenished and cold. When the moisture evaporates (over several days), it is totally dry and flat. The beads replenish in a couple hours, with more water. It's great for working in the yard. Wear around the neck or around the head, like a sweatband. You could use terry cloth with a zipper, and then velcro it around your neck, and it would keep you cool.

About the "soil stuff," it's called crosslinked polyacrylamide. Trade name is "Soil Moist." It comes either with or without fertilizer in it. "Without" is better for the neck things. In the pacific northwest you can get it at Home Depot or from floral wholesalers in 2 gallon buckets.

It takes about 1 1/2 teaspoons to fill about an 18" by 1 1/2" space. Wouldn't let any go down into your plumbing, as it will continue to absorb water and cause a pretty severe blockage.

It is also possible to use those same crystals and make a visor that has them inside of the headband! You use quilter's template plastic for the brim so that the water won't dissolve it when it is wet. It should also have velcro and a good way to adjust the size. The band is longer when the crystals are dry and shorter when it is hydrated.

In the ones I made, I used a darker fabric on the underneath side of the brim so that the dark color absorbs the glare from the sun. When it is wet, the band sort of plumps up and is a touch translucent.

Christmas Ornament

Cut 24 circles from the pictures on old christmas cards. Fold the sides inward to form a triangle shape (so you're looking down at the picture, and have three sides sticking up)

Glue or staple these together at the folded-up sides - put six together with the tops in the center for both the top and bottom of the circle, and the other 12 go into a strip (a band, really) in which the tops of the triangles alternately go up and down.

Kinda like this -


Anyway, this band becomes the center of your ball - use the sides of the triangle shapes to attach the top and bottom. You can decorate this, either with just a bit of spray-on glitter or get fancy.

Another nice idea is to punch holes in the cards (instead of using glue or staples) and crochet the pieces together.

Christmas Tree Ornament

Cut out pictures on the last year's Christmas cards, circular pictures work best, put two back to back and glue them. Then take a hole punch and punch holes evenly around the edge. Then crochet around the edge using thinner yarn. I usually crochet two double rows around before tieing it off. The oranaments give a tree an antique charm.

Paper Towel Roll Christmas Tree

 :        ()
 :       ()()
 :      ()()()
 :     ()()()()           BABY FOOD JAR CHRISTMAS TREE
 :    ()()()()()
 :       ()()

I did one like this when I was a kid, except I used paper towel rolls cut into inch-long segments. I attached a tiny ornament (half-inch or so in diameter) in each, then glued the rolls together in the same configuration as the baby-food jar tree. I think I painted it green and added some glitter, too.

Advent Calendar from baby food jars

Build a tree like this:
And you'll have a tree of 25 jars to fill with little trinkets and use as an advent calendar.

Candle centerpiece

Take tuna sized cans and fill them with colorful dried beans. Then put a candle in the middle and fill the can with white glue. It should take about 24 hours to set. Then tie a red ribbon around the base of the candle.

Cinnamon Ornaments:

No baking and simple for kids! Mix 3/4-1 cup applesauce with one 4.12-oz. bottle ground cinnamon to form a stiff dough. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter. Make hole for ribbon. Carefully put on rack to dry. Let air dry several days, turning occasionally. Makes 12 sweet smelling ornaments.

Cone Shaped Ornaments

Take a fan-shaped piece of paper, and fasten with tape down one side to make a cone (experament to get the fan the right shape) Then take a piece of ribbon/thread/strip of paper, and use to make a loop for hanging on the tree. The cone will take a couple of small sweeties, or bubble baths,or other small gifts.

Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup cinnamon
1 tbs cloves
1 tbs Nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce (Let drain in a strainer for several hours)
2 tbs white glue

Mix cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg add applesauce & glue.
Work mixture withhands until smooth and well mixed.
Divide into 4 portions roll out to 1/4 inch thickness cut with cookies cutters.
Use straw to make hole for hanging (if needed).
Put on wire rack to dry at room temp for several days.
Turn twice daily so they don't curl.
Use ribbon to hang if needed.

Cinnamon figurines

3 3/4 ounces of ground cinnamon
23 ounce jar applesauce

Pour cinnamon into bowl.
Add applesauce by the spoonful, stirring until a stiff dough forms.
Mix dough thoroughly by hand.

This recipe is for making little bear figurines, so you basiclaly roll the dough into balls for the body, head, etc and mush them together. The same recipe would probably work for other kinds of modelling or for rolling out and using cookie cutters

I use old towels as batting in potholders and quilted slippers. One layer of thick towelling or two of thin. It doesn't show - the pot-holders protect your hands really well - the slippers don't make your feet sweat - and it uses up my pitiful but too good to throw away towels.

Folded Star Pot Holder

Fold each square in half and then bring the ends up to the center like we use to do to make a paper airplane. press as you go. Each square will look like a triangle. It is very important you get a sharp point.

Now find the center of one of the circles by folding in half and then into forths. Spread out the circle and place 4 of the triangles A in the center of the circle with the points all touching and tack down the points with thread. using all 8 of triangles B lay each point on top of the lines in the 4 A triangles about 1/2 inch from the center where triangles A are tacked down. Tack these points down. Repeat the layer using the rest of triangles B on top of triangles A. You may want to tack down the corners to keep the whole mess from flopping around.

Now sandwich the circles and batting and baste around. Using triple fold binding tape the same color as the solid material sew it around the pot holder and sew a loop on the back edge.

Hope this is not too complicated!! Please use 100% cotton as polyester will burn on a hot pot! The solid and print triangles can be switched to make the first four points solided then layer a row of print.

Rice Bags

For The Rice Bag Deprived....it is a long fabric tube filled with uncooked rice. One FQ makes 2 ricebags....or 1rice bag and a case to put the rice bag in, so that you can wash the case. Because you can't wash the rice bag. You put the rice bag in the microwave for 2-3 minutes(depending on your tolerance to heat) and use it to soothe aching neck and shoulder muscles or to warm your toes in the cold winter bed. I have already heard talk about making a smaller version to wrap around your wrist.
I would think it would be useful to anyone who has OM "overmoused".

Paper Bag Angels

Materials Needed:


  1. Put cardboard inside bag as a base. Fill the bag 3/4 full with shredded newspaper. Close bag and tie with elastic band, leaving about 2-1/2 inches of bag at top to make the angel's collar. Fold top of bag outwards and downwards all around to shape the collar. Centre the doily on top of the collar and glue in place.
  2. Cut a square from the nylon stocking large enough to fit over the styrofoam ball. Pull the stocking tight, gather the excess and stitch through the gathers to secure. Cut off excess stocking. Glue this head to the centre of the doily, with gathers at the back of the head.
  3. Take a handful of Spanish moss and fit around face and back of head to form the hair. Glue into place. Fill in any bare spots with more Spanish moss.
  4. Twist an 18-inch length of narrower paper ribbon and form into a halo, knotting the ends together. Trim ends at an angle and glue halo to top of angel's head, with the knot at the back.
  5. Make angel wings by tying a bow from the wider paper ribbon. Flatten wings slightly, centre and glue to angel's back. Glue a band of narrower ribbon around the base of the bag, with the ends in the back.
  6. Glue flat beads to front of angel's face for eyes, or push round beads into the styrofoam and glue in place.
  7. Glue foil bow or bow tied from gold ribbon to the left side of the collar.
  8. Display your angel for everyone to admire.

These are from Penny:

Bedside Caddy

These are easy to make and work for both traditional (dead) beds and waterbeds . . . both DH and I have one and it is where I put my glasses when I turn out the light . There is also a pocket for a note pad and pen, a packet of tissue (with a cover that coordinates with the fabric from the caddy) and a paperback book cover with a ribbon book mark.

Book covers by themselves

These are great for folks that commute or travel . . . easy to make . . . ribbon book marks so that they don't have to turn down the corner of the page. These also make up nicely for bible covers, Book of Mormon, etc. with more than one ribbon for a book mark. These are also nice if you add a leftover quilt block on the front for a pocket . . .that way people who participate in a study of the book of their choice can have a pen and a highlighter available (and other people in their study group know without question that the recipient is loved!)

Rice (heating) bags

These are great for anyone . . . kids involved in sports love having their own (I keep one in the drawer at work). I use 100% cotton to contain the rice and then use a fingertowel folded in half and stitched down the side as a pocket to slip the rice bag into. Especially with children and men this keeps the rice bag cleaner longer (the rice bag *cannot* be laundered!!)


(I use ground spices as I do not like the slight chemical smell of commercial potpourri) bags for the automobile. Make these long and they can be put over the heater vent so that the heat goes through them and through the car . . . I have a small quilt block (3") that I made a pocket pillow closing for that hangs from my rear view mirror and spreads the scent from the sun coming through the window.

Coloring book caddies

These are similar to the book covers, but there is an extra pocket for crayons . . . these are wonderful gifts for little ones and you can pick up crayons and coloring books very reasonably priced at the warehouse stores to fill these.

Wheelchair Caddies

These are wonderful for anyone in a wheelchair or a walker . . .they are little tote bags that can either tie on to the rail or you can use velcro or snaps to fasten them on. My mother is in a wheelchair and she has two . . . one that she can reach to keep her handkerchief, hair brush and lipstick and one that my Dad (the primary care giver) has for other "necessities."

Chattelaines for stitching friends

These are fun to make out of men's old ties (as opposed to "old men's" ties!) . . . use the wide end of two different ties (that coordinate or not) and stitch together at the back of the neck . . . use the narrow end to add pockets to the ties for thimbles, scissors, etc.


This is a great use for left over 3" or 4" blocks . . . I use W&N as a batting and "pillow turn" them slip stitching the opening where I turned. These are especially nice for office gifts . . . and if you add a loop can also double as ornaments.

Hot pads

This is a great use for left over 8", 10" or 12" blocks . .. again use W&N for the batting and pillow turn them. These are really nice for anyone that works in an office and may heat their lunch in the microwave .

Phone book covers

Again, with a leftover quilt block on the front for a pocket for a pad of paper and a pen . . . when I look up a phone number I often need to write down the information, and this way everything is at hand!

Pierced Earring Caddy

Especially for someone that travels! Use a couple of leftover 4", 5" or 6" blocks. Sew them together along one side then back them (no batting necessary, although you might want to use a piece of flannel. Either bind it or pillow turn it. Inside stitch a piece of plastic canvas (yes what you find in the craft shops). To use this remove the backing from the earring, put the earring through a hole in the plastic and put the backing back on the earring . . . earrings are kept together and this easily slips into carry on luggage so that jewelry is with the individual and not in their checked luggage.

I make lots of broomstick skirts and have an easy way to ruffle, get some crochet thread or string, if you have a cording foot (the one with all the little holes) use it, otherwise just lay it under your foot. Using regular thread zig-zag over the string. Pull up the string and you are set. It wont break, you one need one and you can pull it from several places if you need to. My skirts have 8 yards of fabric so that's a lot of gathers, this is the best way I've found.

Foot Envelope

This is just the quilted two-foot size foot warmer, I like flannel inside, you can make the outer shell of pre-quilted fabric (quicker) or use quilt blocks leftover from other projects, put them together to form fabric, then cut. The shape is approximately a half-circle; slide the feet inside when in the rocker, and enjoy!

Chair cushions. Set of 4.
Pot holders.
Recipe card holders (the ones that hold the cards, a pen, and can double as a pot holder).

A few years ago, my SIL gave each a my children what were originally plain white pillow cases that had been painted with fabric paint. They had designs such as soccer, trains and clowns and each one had the child's name, also.

Am planning to make a "gizmo" to hold thread clippings, as well as pin cushion, ripper, bobbins, etc., at the side of the machine. It will be a combination of a commercial pattern for the little trash bag and a fabric-covered box which is weighted with a ceramic tile and stores flat when not in use.


I make a strip of fabric twice the length of the circumference of the basket edge. The width depends on the finished width I want the ruffle. I double the fabric over and sew it up into a long tube then turn it right side out and press it with the seam in the center. I then sew a double row of stitching at the center to create a casing (the distance between the rows depends on the width of the elastic). Then I thread the elastic through the casing and seam up the ends catching all layers and the butt ends of the elastic and then finish the seam edge. I have also finished them like a nice hair "scrunchy" with all seams enclosed -- but they take longer to make. I just put the seam at the back of the basket.

Sometimes I will but a bow at the center front or attach a wood ornament or some other little cutie type thing..............I have also used a lace with beading (spaced holes) and run a pretty ribbon through it rather than elastic.

I have also made them with the elastic at the top and only a single ruffle hanging down too.

When you make fleece or quilted slippers, dot the bottoms with fabric paint so they wont slip. It is even a good idea to do this with small childrens socks(bought) as they always seem to manage to take their shoes off to run around the house.

I've made pillowcases for my kids from fabric that matches their quilts and special fabric (like dinosaur fabric). I've also make pillowcases from 60" wide broadcloth for my teenagers. I cut a width of fabric for the case and instead of cutting the extra 6" to 8" of fabric off. I fold it over and make a flap that holds the pillow in the case. These are great pillowcases! I make them in colors that coordinate with their rooms.

Sewing bag

Start with a quilted placemat (preferably oval or a rectangle without corners for interest.) The ready-made placemat eliminates the need to finish edges, quilt the fabric, etc.

You also need a large, matching or co-ordinating zipper (about 26"); 1" Wide, matching or coordinating grosgrain ribbon (2 to 2-1/2 yds); zip freezer bags (quart and gallon size, preferably the ones with zipper pull-things [Hefty brand, no affil.])

Optional: one ready-made matching/coordinating napkin and scrap of batting.

Also optional (and mostly useful if your placemat is a solid color) a few small quilt blocks to decorate the outside. These can be used as a pocket if you wish. This is easier to do than to describe, so I'll take a deep breath and give it my best shot!

Fold your placemat in half, marking the center of each long side with pins. Unfold.

If you're using a napkin (if not, skip to next section, but if it's to be used for sewing, I highly recommend the following) fold and cut it into thirds. The two outside thirds (each with a finished long edge) can be made into big pockets for the inside or outside of your bag. Sew these to your placemats. Be sure to place them so that the long finished edges face toward the short ends of the placemat, so that when the bag is finished, they will open from the top. These pieces are longer than the placemat is wide, so you'll have to make a big pleat in the middle. (Don't worry about finishing the unfinished edges if they're going on the inside- they wont be seen.) That pleat can become an extra pocket!

The pockets are big enough to hold applique or hand-pieced blocks in progress or glasses, etc. With the inner third, sew it into a tube, turn inside out, stuff with rolled up batting (any kind will do; I used old poly stuffing) and set aside (this will be a pin cushion, and should be as long as the placemat is wide.)

If you are using quilt blocks for decoration or as outside pockets, place and stich them, making sure they face toward the nearest short side of the placemat, so they'll face up when you're done. If you're making pockets, line them with coordinating fabric first.

Cut two pieces of grosgrain a bit longer than your zipper. Sew them to each side of the zipper, near the outside edge of the zipper tape, using a small zig-zag stitch. (Just lay it on the top of the zipper tape; you're not sewing a regular seam here.) Set aside. Cut two more pieces of grosgrain, 12"-15" long. Pin the ends of these to the "inside" side of the placemat to form the handles at both ends. They should be 1 or 2 inches in from the long edges, and should overlap the placemat by about 1/2". Are you still with me?

Now we attach the zipper. Remember the pins you placed in the center of the long edges of the placemat? Starting at one, sew the wrong side of the zipper-grosgrain ribbon to the inside edge of the placemat, ending at the other pin. Carefully pin in place before stitching, and place the grosgrain edge just inside the placemat edge, catching the ends of the "handles" at the same time. Now sew the other-side-of-the-zipper/grosgrain to the other side of the placemat, pin to pin.

The hardest part is done. Go eat some chocolate; you deserve it.

Select eight freezer bags (I used 6 quart and 2 gallon sized, but it doesn't matter as long as the smaller ones are on top as you...
Stack them: Open up your placemat with the inside up, as near as possible to your sewing machine. Lay the bags on it so that the zipper sides face toward the short ends of the placemat, and alternate every other one to face opposite ways (left, right, left, right.) The closed ends (bottoms) of the plastic bags will overlap each other at the center of the placemat. They will be covered (and at the same time sewn to the placemat) by either
1) a piece of grosgrain ribbon, or
2) the pincushion you made from the napkin. Be careful here - the bags are very slippery.

For #1, simply lay the ribbon down the center of the placemat, over the bag bottoms, and stitch along each long edge.
For #2, lay the "pincushion" seam side down, turn in the edges at the ends, and sew across it near the ends and in the middle.

Congratulations! You're done! Expect this to take 1 to 2 hours, depending on how fast a sewer you are, how many chocolate breaks you took, and your ability to decipher my attempt at explaining this process.

I have made "Table Quilts" (that's what I call them anyway!) and they are beautiful!

I use simple 9-patches that can be assembled using strip piecing techniques and I serge them!

The final border is doubled over so that the folded edge is the finished edge! The are quick and easy and since there isn't the added expense and time of using batting, backing, and quilting -- you won't hesitate to USE it!!! I had one once that I really liked and thought I might someday "quilt" it, so I was very careful -- and the one time I did eat on it, I put a clear piece of table cloth vinyl over it to protect it! I've been thinking of making one for each holiday -- a black and orange one for Halloween, red/green for Christmas etc...... I even thought one with appliqued hearts would be pretty for Valentine's Day -- Just various sizes, shapes, shades of red and pink scattered on a white cloth then bind in the dominant color.

These ideas are from Vy's Sewing Site

She encourages everyone to visit her site and feel free to contribute your own ideas!

Cheryl P:
[Cheryl modified an idea featured in Highlights Magazine for this project]
Here's the basic directions on making "Rudolph" applique items from young children's hand & feet tracings......To apply the designs, you can choose to fuse only , or fuse and stitch by machine or hand around the edges (satin stitch or buttonhole).
Be sure to use the appropriate "Heat-n-Bond" product (sewable vs. no-sew fusing). Trace the outline of your child's shoe onto Heat-n-Bond, paper side. Fuse to brown fabric for reindeer's face. Now trace both of the child's outspread hands onto Heat-n-Bond, paper side. Fuse these to antler fabric of your choice (even busy holiday prints work well here). Cut out one face and both antlers per "Rudolph", peel off paper backing, and fuse/sew to pre-cut light background fabric (can be muslin). This background fabric can be rectangular for wallhangings, or cut to suit your particular project.
Make a wide border of a matching or co-ordinating cheery Christmas print to finish the wallhanging (top). Get playful with your embellishments......tiny jingle bells for the eyes, bright red pom-poms, lame', yo-yo's or buttons for the nose, etc. String a strand of those miniature (non-working) Christmas lights among the reindeer's rack of antlers, or hang miniscule ornaments from them.

I make dolls out of soft fleece, the soft sculptured kind works the best for me. I make doll clothes from 42" dolls to fashion dolls. They all need clothes to wear! I have a lot of girls that I make gifts for, from friends to relatives. I also make vests for presents because you don't worry about the fit and their in fashion now. Vests go with anything and, Grandmothers love having their grandchilds hand prints and foot prints with fabric paint on them.

Helen L: I made placemats and matcing napkins for gifts this year. I used some of those print sqaure panels and the co-ordinating fabric. Then using those fabrics, I make tote bags to put the napkins and placemats in, instead of wrapping them. This way the person gets a "extra" gift in a tote bag.

John M: I enjoy making lingery for my wife who appreciates the better quality and the personal touch.

Joni A: I've had too many discouraging instances where vests, jackets or other items haven't fit the recipient or maybe just wasn't something that person liked. Now I just sew doll clothes for nieces, since I know they'll be appreciated!

Judy M: For a baby gift buy one yard of flannel, cut it to a one yard square and hem the sides. This makes a great reuseable gift wrap. Use daiper pins to hold the wrap together.

Kim L: Currently embroidering on towels and throws for wedding presents.

Laura : I suppose the perfect homemade gift would be tailored to that person. Say, a woman might enjoy some delicate lingerie, and a man might like some home decorating accents that aren't too girly.

Linda: Simple vest or tee shirt pattern, with doilies, or lacy appliques glued on with washable fabric glue....always gets ooohs(!) out of women. You can even use bought shirts and vests, using decorative stitches as embellishments. I'm about to tackle a box of men's ties someone gave me. Should make interesting patchwork and insets.

Lisa D:

Sherri H:
I put appliques on sweatshirts and then use fabric paints to outline and add embelichments. They were a big hit with family members. I was able to pick the sweatshirts up for $6.00 each and the applique kits are only a couple dollars and usually contain two or three different appliques.

Valerie M:
Start with a small (6 inch) stocking. I fussy cut a bear and crazy quilted pieces around it onto a piece of muslin then I stuffed the bear part and put a plain green back on it, pre-made 1 inch ruffle on top with ribbon for hanging. I plan to make a bunch to use for small gifts to acquaintencnces and fill them with candy, cookies, or another hand made decoration. Just thought that it would be a good idea to make them wine bottle size.

Vickie M:
Some of my favorite gifts have been the quilts my Mother-in-law has made for me.

Vy M:
For my nieces, I'm making dress-up trunks. My DH will cover some cardboard boxes with the kind of Contact paper that has a wood grain print. I'll line the inside with some nice satin. To fill up the trunk, I'm making simple gathered skirts, capes, shawls, and wraps. Consider making these out of tulle, doesuede knits, fleece, fake furs, or any of the beautiful special occassion fabrics you may have admired (or actually bought) but have no use for. It doesn't take a lot of fabric or time. To complete the trunk, look for trinkets in the toy department--"jewels", shoes, hats, etc. -Make fleece throws. These are super simple. All you have to do is blanket stitch around 2 yards of fleece. I've seen these sold for ludicrous prices. If you want to make it extra fancy, you can add webbing to make the throw portable. Just roll it up and then figure out how to sew the webbing handles on--kind of hard to explain, but if you try it, I think you'll see what I mean.

Whitney M:
I have often found that children (and a lot of adults) love big overstuffed animals, dolls, and bean bags. They are extremely easy to make and with an imaginative mind, there is no end to the possibilities. They also make great gag gifts.

Here are some addresses for the 'virtual' gifts? These are really fun!!!



We like to make personalized stationary. You can buy some nice paper stock and matching envelopes, pick up some model paint and a disposable "foil" turkey pan, and toothpicks or, better yet, a hair pick - metal kind. Pour water (room temperature) into the pan, get your paper ready (plus lots of area to lay it out to dry), add a couple of drops of paint, stir with hair pick and then dip the top or side edge of the paper across the point. Add two colors and you get a fantastic AND cheap marbeling. Note also that white paint on white paper is NOT a wasted effort if mixed with another paint.

The recommendations are to change the water per color, but I never do and I love the way the residue of other paints blend in. Truly beautiful and VERY easy and cheap, plus keeps the kids busy over Xmas vacation. --ElizaBeth

Just a hint here, the plastic sack containers can be easily made from a teas towel or dishcloth (whatever Americans call things for drying the dishes with. There are so many colours and designs to choose from.
Fold over each end about 1", stitch along. This makes a thing to thread a drawstring through the top and elastic through the bottom. Sew up the long side, thread the things through each end and hey-presto, as bag to keep your bags in. I used to have one out of a tea towel but made one out of my kitchen curtain material and it looks great. -- Helen.

Try melting crayons into the wax for color. -- Sue

I was watching tv while on vacation and they kept showing a Glade commercial where one woman sprays aerosol and the other one uses the powder dispenser (you can see I really paid attention. I can't remember the name of the product)Anyway, I noticed they changed the shape of the dispenser, but it's still mighty ugly. I got to thinking, since it is basically just a circle I could make a quilted cover for it with a hole in the top for the powder. I was thinking along the lines of animals or fruit but you could go in just about any direction and then it would be fun to leave your air freshener out and watch visiters reactions when you mash down on your quilted knick-knack and powder sprays into the room. -- Melissa J.

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