Fabrics & Supplies

A Splash of Color That Sets My Head Reeling!

I am a sucker for color. Although my favorite or "comfort color" changes like a kaleidoscope, I always surround myself with color... no beiges or whites for me! Since last winter, I've embraced a brighter colorway than usual. I have been accenting my spring green and golden walls with reds and oranges. It really has stirred up my creative juices. It's hard to be passive when your house is alert and energetic. So, it wasn't surprising to Michelle, when she came over the other day, and saw 1 new placemat and 2 new napkins, and ask, "What are you doing with those?" and I replied, "I have no clue, but aren't the colors spectacular?"

Of course, she agreed. And after just a few sips of coffee, and about 2 minutes of discussion, we had come up with a whole list of things I could do with the placemat and napkins. As a matter of fact, I went back to Pier One the next day, and bought several more of each. We are extremely busy right now, with the holidays coming up and working on our shop, so my one stipulation was that any project I made had to be fast and easy :) I will be sharing a few of the projects with you over the next couple of weeks, but for now, I just want to share the explosion of color. Inspiring, right?  

Pixie's Rainbow Coiled Rag Bowl

EDIT: Stop by HERE to see another Rag Bowl I was working on.

I've already mentioned that Pixie has a birthday coming up and all the gifts I'm making for her have a rainbow theme. When thinking about all the little things I'll be crafting, I thought (dangerous past time, I know :) that I needed something to put them in. Back in the 80s I was really into using the upholstery cording to make all sorts of things. I haven't used it in years, so I decided, what fun! So, here are the directions for Pixie's Rainbow Coiled Rag Bowl. I'll be sharing my "stuffings" as I get them done!

new or used light to medium weight cotton
(I bought 1 yard each of 6 rainbow colors and have tons left for other projects)
1/2" upholstery cording
(I bought 10 yards and used 9. Yardage depends on the size of the bowl you cover)
embroidery floss (2 strands) or quilting thread (needs to be heavy duty)
sturdy needle

BEFORE YOU BEGIN… IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT TACKING: As you start assembling your bowl, you will be asked to tack the cording together to form the bowl. When tacking, you must go through 2 pieces of cording; the piece already part of the bowl, and the new piece you are adding. The method I used was to go through the center of a new piece, and bring the needle out halfway through the cord below.

I would then push the needle back into the cord, close to where the thread came out, and angle my needle so it comes up through the center of the strip of the new cord that has not been tacked down yet. (Sounds much more complicated than it is. Check out the photo!)
Pull the thread tight enough so it holds the coils together but not so tight that it begins to dimple the cord. I then put a very small tack stitch where the thread came out to stop the threads from loosening up.
When tacking your bowl together, you want to keep the outside of the bowl stitch free. So as you form your bowl, think about how the next piece of coiling will be added to the bowl, and make your tack stitches so they will be hidden by the next row of cording. On my final row you will be able to see your tacks, but if you use matching thread, and evenly space your tacks, it will not detract from the finished bowl.

Pick a bowl you want to use as a form. My bowl was 4" at the base, 8" across the top, and 5" high. Turn the bowl over so the bottom is up.

Rip your fabric in 1" strips. Again, how many strips you need depends on the size of your bowl. I needed 4 strips, 1 yard long of my purple, blue, green and 3 strips of yellow, orange and red. I suggest you rip as you go, so you only rip as many strips as you will actually use. You will also need a 2" square of the first color you use.

Begin by wrapping the end of the cording with the 2" square of fabric. I wrapped my matching embroidery floss around the outside of the fabric to hold in place before I tacked it to the cording.

Take your first color and place the end of the strip near the tip of the covered end of the cording. Pin in place. Begin wrapping the cording with a strip by wrapping on an angle, always overlapping the previous piece by 1/2". Continue wrapping the cord firmly, slightly condensing the cording as you go. Stop when you are about 3" from the end. Pin the strip to the cording so it does not untwist.

To start forming the bowl, begin coiling the covered cording, tacking as you go. (See note above about tacking.)

To add a new color, you can either sew the pieces together by simply overlapping and stitching, or you can tuck the new color under the old color by 2” – 3” and continue wrapping as if they were 1 continuous piece. The tacking and wrapping you do will hold them together, and since this is a rag bowl, some unfinished ends showing are acceptable HOWEVER, make sure any of the unfinished ends are in the inside of the bowl, not the outside, and you can trim back some of unfinished ends on the inside to “neaten up” the bowl when you are done.

To begin with, you can work on a flat surface. Periodically place your piece on the bowl bottom. When your coil is as big as the base of the bowl, continue wrapping the cord with the strips as you have been, but now, as you coil the wrapped cording, use the bowl as a form. Wrap the cord around the bowl, pinning the cording to the previous coils, on the angles the bowl is creating. Continue tacking in place as you build up your bowl.

When your bowl is as tall as you want, cut the cording. Then, taper the last 4” of the cording before wrapping it. Wrap in the same manner. The cording will diminish in height, but you should keep the width the same. Pin in place, and tack as before. You may want to put a couple of extra tacks in at the very end.

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Fabric Christmas Cards Directions

Christmas Fabric (a pattern that cuts down to 4" x 5" nicely)
Pretty Card Stock (available at office supply stores)
Matching Envelopes (size 4.5" x 5.75")
Inside Greeting Layout (make your own or download ours)
Paper Cutter or Scissors
Pinking Sheers
Glue Stick

Get pretty colored card stock and matching envelopes. We got ours at Staples but any office supply store should have some. You will get two cards per sheet of paper.

Print your inside greeting on the card stock. Click here for our PDF or type up your own. You want the greeting to be centered on the right half of the card stock, with two greetings stacked. See the PDF for layout example.

Cut the card stock in half so that you have two sheets 8.5" wide by 5.5" tall.

Fold the card in half so that the greeting is on the inside.

Cut out your fabric with pinking sheers so that the image is approximately 4" x 5". You can use any fabric or get our Christmas Tree Block from Spoonflower (be sure to check their lead times to see if you can get it in time for Christmas).

Use a glue stick to adhere the fabric to the front of the card. Be sure it is centered.

Sign your cards.

Fabric Christmas Cards

I've been working on my Christmas cards this past week. I still have a handful to make but these are fun and easy and I'm hoping to be done this evening. These are the cards we will be giving to our friends and teachers. For this project I converted my mother's Christmas tree applique block into a fabric print that I ordered from Spoonflower. I plan to make some gift bags with the fabric as well. I sized the tree to fit perfectly on a quarter sheet of paper... but you can use any fun holiday fabric for this project. Check out the directions here or in our Free Patterns section.

Gnome Fabric

This past spring my SIL sent me a suprise gift... a gift card at Spoonflower. So cool! If you are unfamiliar with Spoonflower it is a site where you can upload your own designs and have your very own... totally original... fabric printed. Ahhh... the possibilities here are endless. This just so happened to coincide with our website revamping that I was doing. The two designs of course ended up melding and I am now the proud owner of several yards of totally cool Wee Folk Art Gnomey styled fabric.

After seeing my new stash, I'm sure you're going to want some gnome fabric of your own ;) and guess what... Spoonflower now lets us offer our original designs to others. So you too can own some super sweet Wee Folk Art Gnomey Fabric. Just check out the Wee Folk Art profile at Spoonflower.

Large Tumbling Gnome Fabric (gnomes are about 5 inches tall on an off white background)

Gnome Stripe Fabric (gnomes are about 3 inches tall on the green mushroom print background)

Green Mushroom Background Fabric

The fabric has been sitting here for awhile, begging to be turned into skirts for the girls. I finally couldn't say no any longer. They are the perfect fall colors. Here is Fairy's new skirt (BTW - the tights and poncho are from Children's Place). Her new braided barrettes matched beautifully too. Pixie's skirt is yet to come. AND I have something in the works FOR ME! Stay tuned.

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