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Showing posts from 2014

Handmade holiday presents 2014: shopping totes and more

Alisa's shopping tote
Here are the rest of my handmade holiday gifts for 2014.
I started out with the aprons featured in my Dec. 2 post "Handmade holiday presents 2014: Hot Cider apron panel" . For one of my favorite gifts, I used that same apron panel to make a shopping tote for Alisa using the Metro Shopping Bag pattern from Bags: the Modern Classics by Sue Kim (Stash Books, 2011) p. 81. I used a coordinating fabric from Wilmington Fabrics "Hot Cider" line, and for a touch that I really love, I added piping to the seams of the front and back panels. If you add piping to your project, don't forget to strip the cording out of the last one inch of both ends of the piping to make the top seams easier to stitch. The tote handles are made of webbed belting available at JoAnne Fabrics.
Tote in cotton twill by Project by Cotton, made in Japan
I also made this tote in a cotton twill with a multi-colored, stylized cat design by Project by Cotton, made in Japan. This to…

Handmade holiday presents 2014: Photo book of Zoar Ohio

Baumeler/Bimeler cabin built 1817, oldest building in Zoar, Ohio. Photo copyright Linda Theil
This handmade holiday present is a gift to you. If you like, you may download a free iBook version of my architectural photo study titled Zoar Ohio from my Blurb bookstore at

I love making personal books using the Blurb software and website to create unique publications that I can print on demand. Since Blurb announced their iBook option a few years ago, every book I publish can be digitally shared using Apple's iBook application. All my books can be downloaded as iBooks at no cost and viewed on any computer or mobile device equipped with the free iBook app.

This year, a chance conversation reminded me of a series of architectural photographs that I took in Zoar, Ohio in the spring of 2007. I had printed the photos and put them in an album, but thought it would be great to use those photos to create a coffee-table book for my son and daughter-in-law…

Handmade holiday presents 2014: Hot Cider apron panel

"Hot Cider" apron panel by Nancy Mink for Wilmington Fabrics
I bought the "Hot Cider" apron panel by Nancy Mink for Wilmington Fabrics at the American Quilter's Society expo in Grand Rapids this summer. I thought it was pretty so I bought a coordinating stripe and a "Hot Cider" panel in the same line. When I pulled all my Christmas panels and fabric out of my stash in preparation for making some handmade holiday gifts, I thought the apron would make a great Thanksgiving gift to send to my faraway friends Virginia and Janet and Cindy to use during their holiday preparations. I ordered more apron panels and some other coordinating fabrics from Hancocks of Paducah  and got busy when they arrived in mid-November. 

Instead of using the ties that came on the apron panel, I used a 28-inch length of cotton belting for the neck ties and cut 3-1/2 inch wide by 32 inch long strips from coordinating fabric for the waist ties. To line and make the apron reversable, …

Anita Solomon's tessellating tees quilt block design

My tessellating tees quilt, prepared for hand-sewing the flanged binding. Borders and binding from Henry Glass & Company's "Sunny Side Up" collection.
I have been a fan of Anita Grossman Soloman ever since making the "arrowhead" quilt from her Rotary Cutting Revolution (C&T, 2010) book in August 2011. (You can see the arrowhead quilt I made in my August 2011 post "Arrowhead quilt block from Solomon's Rotary Cutting Revolution".) When I saw that Soloman had a tessellating-tee block in the Mar/April 2014 edition of Quiltmaker Magazine, No. 156 this spring, I bought the magazine right away and got busy searching for fabrics.

I decided to use only fabrics from my stash. I needed about two yards of a solid for the background and about 1/3 yard each of six different prints. The majority of my prints came from patterns and colors from the "Sunny Side Up" collection by the Buggy Barn for Henry Glass & Co. that I bought a decade ago. I …

Pittsburghers inspire

Last weekend I returned to Dutilh United Methodist Church in Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, PA where I was privileged to attend the memorial of beloved friend Francis Sutter, an advocate for peace and social justice who passed away last month at the age of 101. She was the founder of the Pittsburgh North People for Peace and Justice, and a supporter of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's Peace and Social Justice Center.
Mrs. Sutter was honored and revered by many for her good works, and she was loved by everyone for her great and generous soul. She touched her friends with kindness, and like her Pittsburgh compatriot, Fred Rogers, made everyone she encountered happier for having known her.
Mrs. Sutter was memorialized July 1, 2014 by Mary Sheehan in The New People, Pittsburgh’s Peace and Justice Newspaper article, “In Memory of Francis Sutter”.
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On this trip to Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to spend time with fiber artist Louise Silk, my friend from long-ago when we w…

Carrot mug rug

This jaunty carrot, mug rug measures 4.5-inches wide by 9.5-inches long. Make a set of two little rugs with one 10-inch square of backing fabric, a 10-inch square of batting, fourteen 10 x 1.25 inch scraps of orange fabrics, and a half yard of green ribbon. I was inspired to make these rugs by a quilt-as-you-go, carrot-shaped, table runner from Better Homes and Gardens. Their free pattern is available at quilt-as-you-go Carrot Table Runner.

The directions for creating my little carrot mug rugs are below.

Materials for one set of two carrot mug rugs: One 10-inch square orange print fabric for backing Seven 1-1/4” strips of orange prints and solids 22 inches long (or fourteen orange scrap strips 1-1/4 inch wide by 10.5 inches long) * One yard (two 18-inch pieces) 1-inch or 1.5-inch wide, light green ribbon (chiffon or grosgrain) Costume jewelry pin, or small pin to attach ribbon to carrot 10-inch square iron-on batting Thread to coordinate with backing square Paper to make one carrot pattern
* Ei…

GAAQG meeting springs ahead

Lots of news, tips, and fun at the Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild (GAAQG) bi-monthly meeting today!

Members of the General Henry Dearborn Quilting Society sold tickets for two quilts that will be raffled at their quilt show, "Piece by Piece" to be held April 25 and 26, 2014 at the Dearborn Historical Museum. They were also selling these adorable cupcake pincushions made from the ribbing of old sweaters. I couldn't resist picking one up! I found several Internet sites that show the construction process. Both of these look good: "Felt Cupcake Pincushions" at Tipjunkie and "How to make a no sew cupcake pincushion" at the brilliant UK site Red Ted Art.

During announcements, we got a hand-saving tip from a guild member who loves O'Keeffe's Working Hands hand cream, as recommended by her pharmacist.

We also got a recommendation for the Missouri Star Quilt Co. for its great collection of pre-cut fabrics, enormous Moda selection, and outstanding tutorials…

Curious George finds the badger prince

Curious George Finds the Badger Prince of Tenacity by Linda Theil | Make Your Own Book

Here is the birthday present book I made for my grandson using the Blurb BookSmart software and their online publishing company at You can read the entire book from the preview or order a free eBook at

We ordered the 36-inch Gund brand Curious George from Chesterton Manor on Amazon and I took the photos with my iPhone. It was a lot of fun posing George for his adventure!