You can make one of these quilted cards for every person at your Thanksgiving table. You can write each of them a personal message (on the back), thanking them for something nice they've done for you. Or, you can make each person several blank cards, and they can send thank-yous to people in their lives.


Before we get into how to make 'em, here's another shot that shows the back. I also love this project because it's a great way to play with quilting without having to wrangle a whole quilt!


So, the basis of this card is Friendly Felt, which is a stiffened acrylic felt made from recycled fiber. I love it because it's lightweight and just rigid enough, and you can sew through it with ease. I routinely find this in the kids' section of my local Jo-Ann store, and you can also get it online (try a search on Etsy).

If you don't have access to Friendly Felt, you could also use lightweight chipboard, though the sewing may be tougher going.

Anyway. Cut a piece of Friendly Felt to the size you want your card to be. Here, I'm sizing mine to some envelopes I have in stash - 6 1/2" x 4 1/2". (The card will "grow" in thickness, so make sure it's 1/4" smaller on all sides than your envelope. Or, skip the envelope.)


Next, you'll want to play with some fabrics and decide on a patchwork configuration. I did a really simple combination of one print fabric and one linen fabric, but you could do all kinds of different things here.


You'll need to end up with a patchwork piece that's about 1" bigger on all sides than your Friendly Felt piece. While you're here, cut a piece of cotton quilt batting that's the same size as the Friendly Felt.


Next, stack everything up in this order: your patchwork, face down, on the bottom; the batting centered over it; and the Friendly Felt centered over the batting.


Incidentally, you can pin these layers together - just use long pins and pin shallowly so you don't warp the Friendly Felt. With the design I'm doing here, I like to pin things so I can keep that one seam in my patchwork parallel to the edges of the card.


So let's anchor these layers together. Head to your sewing machine and "stitch in the ditch" right along that seam line. (If your patchwork is more complex than mine, you'll probably want to sew along all your seam lines.)


Now, head over to the ironing board and press all four corners to the back, as shown here.


Then, carefully fold all four edges to the back and press them, too.

Pressing Friendly Felt, by the way, is interesting. I recommend that you always keep a layer of fabric between your hot iron and the Friendly Felt. The felt will actually get quite soft when you apply heat, so be careful not to warp it when it's in that state. It'll quickly cool and get rigid again.


With the edges pressed, go ahead and stitch close to all four edges to anchor them in place.


You know, if I were a better quilter, I might have made nice, square corners. But since I'm not, I made rounded corners part of my design and moved on with my wonky-quilter life.


Now, it's time to start quilting. I'll just mention quickly that there are approximately one bazillion ways you could quilt these cards - you could hand quilt, you can machine quilt, you could embroider them, Sashiko, Trapunto and so on. I decided to quilt a design on the linen that mimics the print of the fabric.

If you like, you can draw your quilting lines onto the card ahead of time with a water-soluble fabric marker. Preferably one that's not on its last legs like this one is.


From there, you can pop this back on your sewing machine and quilt away. I like to use two or three colors of thread. For these cards, in addition to the quilted design I did on the linen, I also quilted along parts of the design of the printed fabric.


Now, as I do this quilting, I don't start and end my seams by reversing my machine and back-stitching (like you might do in a garment-sewing project). I find that, with so many small seams in a tight space, all that back-stitching looks messy. So instead. I leave thread hanging from the start and end of each seam. Just keep moving the threads out of your way as you work.


Here's how I deal with all those hanging threads. First, any threads that are hanging from the inside of the card, I thread them one by one on a needle and pull them to the back side. There, I just trim them to about 2" long. I don't bother knotting them, because they'll be glued in a moment.


…And here's where I'm going to cause several accomplished quilters to spill their coffee. Wherever my quilting seams run off the edges of the card, I simply gather them, pull them to the back side, and tape them down with masking tape.

I know, right? Tacky! But the thing is, I spent well over an hour on one prototype, pulling all the edge-threads to the back and carefully knotting them. And the result looked exactly the same as this quicker-and-dirtier method did. So, there you go.

(Keep that masking tape at least 1/4" from the edge of the card, by the way.)


Now, cut a piece of card stock to match the size of your nearly-finished card. I made a simple one with my computer's word-processing program, printed it, and cut it out, rounding the corners to match the quilted card.

Then, apply a light coat of tacky glue to the back - and be careful here. Too much glue can cause the card stock to warp and wrinkle.

Apply the card stock to the back of the quilted card…


…And quickly place it under a stack of heavy books. (Preferably excellent books like these.)


And that's it! Once I had the process down, I was able to turn one of these babies out within 30 minutes. You could do it in less if you did simpler quilting.

If you make some of these, I'd love to see them in the CraftyPod Reader Projects Flickr Pool!


So, my iPhoto crashed this week, and in the process of completely reorganizing my bloated photo inventory, I found this little brooch. It's from something I worked on earlier this year, and forgot all about.

But it's actually kinda cute, isnt' it? It would look nice on a knit hat or scarf. Here's the simplest of tutorials for how to make it.

The Harder Part:

1. Make six Dorset buttons, using my tutorial from a while back. You'll need five smaller ones and one larger one.

The Super Easy Part:

2. Arrage the five smaller buttons in a circle, so they all touch at the edges.

3. Glue the larger button over the center of the smaller buttons. Let the glue set.

4. Cut a couple of felt leaves, if you like, and glue them on the back of the flower. Glue a circle of felt over the back as well, to cover up the center.

5. Glue on a pin back. And voila!


If you make one, I'd love it if you shared a photo in the CraftyPod Reader Projects Flickr Pool!

pc_pendant_fin2 pc_pendant_fin1

I get thousands of emails each week, begging me to offer more plastic canvas coverage on this blog.

(…Okay, well - perhaps that actually happens only in my mind. But still.)

I've been noodling with these needlepoint pendants lately, and liking both the process and finished product. They make up quickly, and use up odds and ends of embroidery floss. Plastic canvas makes a great base for these, because it adds a "heft" that helps the pieces drape well.

Also, it's plastic canvas.


But not just any old plastic canvas!

I used 10-count PC for this project, which is a different animal from the bigger 7-count stuff you usually see at your local craft store. (In the photo above, it's the stuff in the center. The "count" refers to the number of squares per inch, by the way.) 10-count has a finer finish, which takes very nicely to six-strand or pearl cotton embroidery floss.

If you can't find 10-count canvas locally, you can get it online. It's great stuff! (If you're curious, the canvas on the right is 14-count. I've made little gift boxes with it.)


…So, to begin your pendant, cut two same-size pieces of canvas. You can make them any size and shape you like. You may have a specific needlepoint design in mind - and in that case, you'd want to count the number of squares you'll need as you're cutting the canvas.

Or, you can take my patented lazy approach, and just cut a shape and figure out the needlepoint later.


Then, stitch both pieces. I like to stitch them differently, so my pendants are reversible, but you can also make them identical. I'm using a crewel needle here, because it fits nicely through the canvas holes, and a single strand of pearl cotton. If you're using six-strand floss, just use all six strands.

I'm using good old Continental stitch and just playing with colors, but remember - there are so many interesting needlepoint stitches in the world! These are tiny blank canvases - so have fun!

(Incidentally, if you want to sew buttons or sequins to your pendant, this is the time to do that, too.)


Now, we'll stitch the two pieces together. Place them so the right sides are facing out. Thread your needle with a double strand of floss - it provides better coverage at the edges than a single strand.

Pass the needle up through the top layer of canvas only, as shown.


Pull the needle through until you have about 1" of floss. Lay this between the two pieces of canvas, as shown. Then take your next stitch by passing the needle up through both layers of canvas together.


Repeat this stitch to cover the edges of the canvas. (It's called a whip stitch, by the way.) As you stitch, catch that tail of floss in your stitches, as shown here.


Stitch your way around the pendant. To fully cover each corner, take three stitches in the corner hole.


When you've stitched all the way around the pendant, it's time to finish off your floss. To do this, pass your needle carefully between the two layers of canvas, and back out the side, as shown here.


Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull the needle and floss through. Seriously, you'll need the pliers. Unless you possess super-human strength.


Clip the excess floss close to the edge of the pendant.


Get a nice, big jump ring, like a 7mm or 8mm. This is the proper way to open a jump ring - you twist it open a bit.


Carefully feed the jump ring through the canvas - pliers are helpful here, too.

If you want your pendant attached to a chain, you can also feed the chain link onto the jump ring now.


Then, close the jump ring. (Here's how, if you aren't familiar.)

…And you're done!


I'm thinking these have some interesting mixed-media possibilities, because you can add buttons and beads easily, or embroider on top of the needlepoint. You could even applique some fabric over the needlepoint. Heck, you could even try stamping or painting over it.

If you make one of these, I'd love to add a photo of it to the CraftyPod Flickr group! Just email me or comment here, won't you?


Hoo, boy, this little project came out of nowhere! But before I get to the tutorial, a little background...


Here's how I maximize my office paper use: whenever I have paper I've had to print on one side, I fold it in half and use it as scratch paper. I write all my daily to-do lists on these things, and my phone call notes. And usually, there's an untidy pile of these folded sheets on my desk.

...So I thought: "I should come up with some kind of holder for these!"


I started looking around for something that would form the basis of this holder, and found a 9x12 cardboard mailer in my re-use pile. Perfect!


So first, I wanted to make a pocket, so I could slide the folded sheets into it. I measured the size and drew a cut line on the back of the mailer.


...Then I slid a cutting mat into the mailer, so I'd be able to cut only one layer of it. (You could also use a piece of thick cardboard.)


With that in place, I used a ruler to cut along the cut line with a utility knife. I used light pressure and passed over the cut several times, so I wouldn't damage any of the rest of the mailer.


From there, it was easy to cut down the center of the back of the mailer...


...And then cut away the excess parts of the back. Now I had a proper pocket, and the makings of a front cover!


I stacked all my folded sheets with the blank side facing out.


Then, I slid my stack of paper into the pocket as a gauge, and then drew two parallel lines, about 1/4" apart. These form the spine of this book cover.


I gave these lines a good scoring with a bone folder and ruler.


...And then folded on the score lines to form the front cover.


On the back, then, I traced along the edge, and then on the front, I cut along this traced line. That made the front cover match the back cover.

I really should have applied some hand lotion before shooting this tutorial.


All I had to do now was find something good to decorate my cover. Heh! Heh heh heh!


...So I just glued my awesome Mexican chromos to the front, back, and inside panels. You could also fuse some fabric to the cover. Or decoupage. Or rubber stamp. Or frankly, any one of a million other decorative techniques.

Now all my lists are tidy, and I can add and remove pages anytime I want. I can even grab the whole shebang and throw it into my bag if I need to take it with me.

Cool, huh?


This design showed up in my sketchbook a long time ago, but I resisted making it because I really don't need another pincushion. But I do have a pretty serious yo-yo habit, and finally broke down when I couldn't resist playing with my yo-yo maker any longer.

So, this project begins with 6 to 8 yo-yos. I used my beloved Clover Yo-Yo Maker in the 1 3/4" size. If you prefer to kick it old school, then use Heather Bailey's gorgeous tutorial for making them from scratch.


Warning! Math-y Bits!

So, let's figure out some sizing for your pincushion. I promise, being very math-challenged, I've tried to keep this part as painless as possible.

Lay your 6 to 8 yo-yos out side by side, and measure the length of this group, as seen here. You can see that my six 1 3/4" yo-yos measure 10 1/2".


Now all we have to do is take that 10 1/2" and find out what size circle it makes. You could use complicated mathematical formulas for this, but for pete's sake - this is why we have the internet! So go to the Circle Solver Calculator.

The 10 1/2" we measured earlier will be the circumference of our finished pin cushion. So put that number into the calculator and click the magic button. That'll give you the diameter of the finished pincushion - 3.34".

Now, take a deep breath and make some tea. We're nearly done math-ing.


To make my life easier, I popped into my page layout software and drew up a circle with a 3.34" diameter. (You could also draw one by hand.) Then, I added a 1/4" seam allowance all the way around that. (I'll be using this piece as a pattern to make the base pincushion in a moment.)

Next, you're going to need one big yo-yo for the top of your pincushion. In fact, you'll need a yo-yo that's also 3.34" in diameter. To get that, cut a circle of fabric that's twice that diameter, or 6.68".

I used Heather's tutorial to make this big yo-yo.


See? When finished, that 6.68" diameter circle makes a 3.34" yo-yo. And here ends the math-y bit!


So now, you just need to cut out the pieces for the base pincushion. Use that paper pattern we made earlier to cut two circles - one for the top, and one for the bottom. Then, cut a strip for the sides of the pincushion. It should be 1/2" taller than your yo-yos, to allow for seam allowance. And make it about an inch longer than the length we measured in Step 1.

(For my pincushion, the strip is 2 1/4" tall by 11 1/2" long.)


Okay, so let's sew this puppy together! Pin the side strip all the way around the edge of one circle, right sides together.


Sew all the way around the circle, using a 1/4" seam allowance. Then, clip into the seam allowance at intervals, like this. (This helps the curved seam keep a nice, round shape.)


Next, you can sew up that side seam. I added some extra length to the side strip, just to give us some leeway. So, just make the seam wherever the two ends of the fabric meet up against the circle. You want to end up with it looking like this.


Now, pin the second circle to the top edge of the pincushion.

(Dang, guys - I promise to apply some hand lotion before I shoot my next tutorial.)


Sew along the edge of this circle, also with a 1/4" seam allowance. Leave about a 2" gap in the seam. Go ahead and clip into the seam allowance as you did before.


Turn the pincushion right side out and stuff it medium-firmly with some fiberfill. Then hand-sew that opening closed. (It's looking rather cheerful at this point, don't you think?)


Time to add the yo-yos! Take the big one and place it on top of the pincushion. I like to tack it in place by sticking some pins into it, like this. Just be careful as you're hand-sewing that you don't squeeze the pincushion too tightly, or - ouch!


Sew the yo-yo to the pincushion with a tiny whip stitch. I like to use that seam around the edge as my sewing guide.

When you're done sewing, remove all those pins.


With that done, it's time to join your small yo-yos together in a strip. Place two yo-yos back to back, matching up all the edges. Then, thread a needle with single thread and tie a knot in the end. Pass that needle through the top yo-yo only, as shown here.

(Incidentally, that will hide the knot beneath the yo-yo. Tricky, eh?)


Whip stitch the two yo-yos together, using only about 6 to 8 stitches. Knot the thread at the back.

Repeat this process to join the rest of the yo-yos until they form one long strip.


Wrap this strip around the side of the pincushion, and tack it in place with pins. (Same warning as before - don't be squeezing!)


Whip stitch the top and bottom of each yo-yo to the pincushion - again, you can use those seams as a sewing guide.

When I've finished stitching one yo-yo down, I just pass the needle through the pincushion and bring it out where I need to start stitching the next yo-yo.


Lastly, stitch the two end yo-yos together at the side. Remove all those pins.

(Man! My hand-sewing starts to look pretty wonky in the macro lens. I assure you, at actual size, it's much less embarrassing.)


Now, we'll sew a nice, big button to the top of the pincushion. This helps squish it a bit flatter and give it a cuter shape.

Thread a needle with doubled thread, and tie a nice, big knot in the end. Pass the needle through the pincushion from bottom to top, squishing it a little to help the needle reach through.


Next, thread a button onto the needle. Pass the needle back down through the button, as shown. Make several stitches through the pincushion and button like this, pulling them fairly tight, so the shape of the pincushion gets compressed a bit.


Lastly, tie a nice, secure knot in the thread at the bottom of the pin cushion.


If you make one of these, will you please, please upload a picture to the CraftyPod Flickr Group? I'd love to see it!

I loves me some of those old-school composition books. Last August, our local Fred Meyer had them on sale for 25 cents apiece for back-to-school, and K and I laid in a stock to get us well into our old age.

I've been noodling with ways to make them look prettier. There are tons of tutorials on the web for mixed-media treatments, or removable patchwork covers. But I wanted something a little more simple and durable - after all, my notebooks take abuse.

I don't know why it took me so long to arrive at this dead-simple idea, but here you go.

So first, you'll need a piece of fabric that's roughly 1" larger on all sides than your opened-flat composition book.

This project works best with a woven cotton that's a little on the thicker side and tightly woven. Quilting cottons are ideal. Do take a moment and see whether the black-and-white composition book cover will show through the fabric - this can happen with light colors especially.

Next, get a sheet of fusible web that's slightly smaller on all sides than the fabric. You'll notice that I haven't gone to too much trouble to cut anything perfectly straight. This tutorial was shot on a Sunday morning. There's no need to get too exacting about anything on a Sunday morning.

Place the fabric on an ironing board wrong side up. Place the fusible web over the fabric, with the web side facing down.

Your iron should be on high heat with no steam (No steam is really important here.) Pass the hot iron over the paper backing of the fusible web. Keep the iron moving, and make sure you iron over all of the paper - especially out to the edges.

When you're done ironing, let the fabric and paper cool for a moment.

Gently peel away the paper. See the shiny glue fused to the back of the fabric?

You should end up with a nice, even coat of glue fused to the back of your fabric. If you end up with bare spots, try placing the backing over the fabric again in the same position, and iron over the bare spots again to transfer the glue from the paper to the fabric.

Now, place the fabric on your ironing board with the glue side facing up. Place your composition book over the fabric, like this. Then, close the book, folding the fabric over it.

Take a moment to adjust the placement of the fabric as needed. This is why we made the fabric bigger than the book - so we'd have some leeway for adjustments.

Make sure the fabric is smoothly spread over the cover of the book. Then, iron the fabric to bond it to the cover. Again, keep the iron moving and make sure you iron along all the edges of the cover.

Flip the book over and re-smooth the fabric. Iron the fabric to the back cover.

Lastly, run the iron along the spine a few times. Then let everything cool for a moment.

Next, trim the fabric along the edges of the book cover. I like to use my rotary cutter for this, but you can also cut along the edges with some scissors.

(Don't you love all these conversion tables and things on the inside covers of composition books?)

I prefer to use scissors to trim the fabric along the rounded corners.

As a last step, iron along all the edges and corners of the cover one more time, to make sure that fabric is good and fused there.

...And it's done! Don't you love this 70's fabric? I'm only going to use this notebook to write about my dates with Keith Partridge.

Of course, since you're playing with fusible web, you could also fuse a solid fabric to the cover and then fuse some cut-outs from other fabrics over that. There are a million and one possibilities.

OOh -and since we're here, I'll show you another idea that didn't pan out so well. I thought it would be cool to cover a notebook with duct tape. Since I spend a lot of time at marshy bus stops, it seemed like a nice waterproof option. But, I overlapped the strips of tape, and I don't love the look of that after all.

(I cut those flower shapes out of more duct tape with an Xacto knife. As you might imagine, it ended up being decidedly not fun.)

Anyway. Happy New Week, everyone!

I kid you not: I first made this project, from start to finish, in a dream. (Which was pretty great - I mean, it's so hard to find crafting-time during my waking hours. Wish I could manage to craft in my sleep more often.)

Anyway. I like these simple notepads - they're a fun way to re-purpose cardboard into something useful.

In my dream, I used a Kleenex box, so I'll start with one here, too. But you can really use any chipboard box with interesting graphics.

So, cut your box apart into panels. You an really make these notepads in any shape and size your particular box will accommodate. Since this Kleenex box has that big plastic window in the top, I'm opting to use the side here, which will yield a long, narrow notepad.

Turn the chipboard over to the back. Get a ruler and a pencil, and draw two parallel lines, about 3/8" apart, in the center.

...Then, score these lines with a bone folder. (Jolly useful, those bone-folders.)

Fold the chipboard along those score lines, and now you have a cover for your notepad. So far, so good!

Now, you'll need to cut some paper for inside pages. You can use fresh sheets, or sheets from your recycle bin, or magazine pages, or any other interesting paper you like. You'll need to cut a series of long strips, measuring about 1/8" smaller on all sides than your cover piece.

So, by way of example, my cover piece measures 3" wide and 8 1/2" long. I cut my paper strips about 2 3/4" wide and 8 1/4" long. But if you hate measuring, don't! Just make the paper a little smaller than the chipboard, and all will be well.

Separate the paper into equal bundles. I cut up five sheets of paper here, so I have three bundles of five pieces each. (But you can totally vary this to suit your fancy.)

Fold each bundle in half crosswise. Unfold it, and staple it once along that fold line.

Ooh! A Lazy Bookbinder's Trick: place the staple in a different spot on each bundle. That way, you can pack the bundles together more tightly when you bind them into the cover.

(This might be a good time to add: you could also make these notepads with fancier stitched bookbinding methods, like this or this.)

Now, take your cover, and apply some strong, flexible glue, like E6000 or Amazing Goop, inside the spine.

Press those paper bundles together, and set them into the glue.

Fold the cover closed, making sure all those bundles are pressed firmly into that spine-glue. Then, place a weight on the pad and leave it to dry for several hours or overnight.

(Yup, Amy, that is what you think it is.) :-)

When the binding is dry, then you'll need a little strip of chipboard. Mine measures about 3/4" x 3" Score this piece twice in the center, like you did the cover. The scores should be about 3/8" apart, same as your cover.

You'll also need a nice big button - 1" or larger.

Glue one side of the strip to the back of the cover - Tacky Glue is fine for this.

Then, stick some velcro to the strip and the cover, as shown here. I'm using those self-adhesive velcro dots, and I trimmed them down a little to fit. You can also use regular velcro, and glue it down.

Lastly, glue your button in place on top of that closure strip. Let everything dry completely before you try opening the cover.

These are easy to make, and addictive! There are a million creative possibilities here - you can use old album covers, or food boxes, or toy packaging, and on and on. The world is filled with interesting cardboard, my friends.

...I should say, too, that in my dream, I was able to open and close this notepad with my mind. Sadly, I have not been able to figure out how to make this part of the project work.