So many friends have been asking me how I make my napkins, that I thought I would post a tutorial on how to do it. My friend Linda was cranking these out as last minute gifts, and I just had to do it too. The napkins are super easy. I apologize for the quality of my photos. It is dark and gloomy here where I live and I just can't get the proper lighting.
Here is what you need to make four napkins:
1 yard EACH of two contrasting fabrics--it is fun to pick novelty, food theme, & holiday fabrics for these.
For my example, I used an olive print fabric and a matching solid.
From EACH yard, cut two 21 1/2" squares and two 14 1/2" squares.
Staystitch one half inch along the edges of all the large squares. This will be your pressing line.
Fold and press on your stitching line.
Now you need to make a template for your mitering angle. Cut a four inch square out of stiff paper or cardboard. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles. Use one of the triangles as your template. Place the template on each of the four corners of the napkin and mark with chalk. This will be your stitching line to get a perfect mitered corner.
Then match up your chalk lines perfectly, pin and stitch on the chalk line.
Trim one quarter inch away from the stitching line, and crop the corner a bit so you get a nice sharp point when you turn it right side out.
Turn your napkin right side out and press, using Sizing. This will make the fabric all crisp and nice.
Carefully place your contrasting smaller square under the mitered edges, lining it up as evenly as you can. And this is CRITICAL: make sure the straight of grain of the fabric is going the same direction when you line up both pieces. Otherwise, when laundered, the napkin will shift and get all wonky.
Pin, and do two rows of topstitching all around the inside edges. I did one line right on the edge of the olive fabric where it meets the solid, and another line about one presser foot's width away.
You will end up with four napkins, two of which will be the reverse of the other two.
Now comes the fun part. Find some baskets or other container to arrange the napkins in, and fill it with items that go with your theme. Here are two ideas:
Now, if you have stuck with me this far, I will end with a photo that captures my life. Every minute that I am sewing, this is what I have on my knee:
"Are you done yet? Play with me, play with me, play with me..."
I'm not proud of this. This is a corner of my bedroom, that seems to be expanding by the hour. It is my Christmas gift corner, where I have been dropping my purchased gifts as I bring them in the house. I have a BIG family, and we all exchange gifts. A good proportion of those gifts are in the packages and bags you see above.
Yes, it is a very good thing that so much shopping has been accomplished. However, there remains one very large and time consuming task looming ahead of me this week. I need to gift wrap all this stuff. Oh my. I see hours and hours of gift wrapping in my future. Normal Christmas carols won't do for my inspiration music for this job. I think I need to crank up the Stones and get my wrapping groove on. "Now, I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be, you're gonna give your love to me...."
On Friday, I went to my favorite quilt shop, Prairiequeens, for a day of open sewing with my friends. I love that place. I always feel welcome, and I always enjoy the company of the great employees, owner, long arm quilters, teachers and general hangers-out. It is the kind of place that everyone should have in their lives--kind of a Cheers Bar sort of place, "where everyone knows your name". I am trying to work out a deal with my husband where he works at home every Friday and babysits Ozzie and I get to go out and sew at Prairiequeens.
When I was there on Friday, I had brought along my blended blue log cabin project to work on. I never even got it out of its box. My talented and extremely creative friend Linda was there industriously working on napkins. Tons of napkins. "What are you doing?", I asked. She told me that she was making sets of napkins for all her friends, that she would put in a basket or container of some kind, and there would be a theme going on with the fabric and the contents of the gift basket. I was all over her idea in a hot second, copying her shamelessly. Now I had an idea for my problem gift people!
The coffee mugs and coffee bean fabric will go into a basket with two matching coffee mugs, a pound of coffee. some biscotti, and maybe a Starbucks gift certificate. Go ahead, I don't care if you copy me! Isn't it a fun idea?? You could do the same thing with tea cup fabric---put in a tin of tea and a cute tea cup and saucer! How about chocolate truffle theme fabric, and you put in a pretty candy dish and a little box of truffles? I love it. Remember how obsessed I was with blended quilt last week? This week, I feel that way about napkins.
Here is another idea: Put these olive theme napkins in a basket with a jar of gourmet olives and one of those Italian long olive serving dishes?
Ooh, ooh, and my favorite (not showing a picture of it--it would spoil the surprise for someone): berry themed fabric for the napkins and one of those white ceramic berry draining dishes? Or how about this---lemon theme napkins in a basket full of beautiful lemons from the tree in my backyard?
Thanks Linda! You are brilliant!
I love my Challenge Quilt fabrics! I think I love all blended quilt fabrics, but I guess you all have figured that out by now. This is the center medallion of the quilt I am making. Please check out Cindy, Perry, and Lisa's blogs to see their posts on what they have gotten done so far. We are each making a quilt from one of the In the Beginning Blended Quilt books, and it should be pretty interesting to see what we each end up with. Since I adore every blended quilt I see, I can foretell that I will be making lots more of them in the future.
This week is insanely busy for me, as I am sure it is for all of you as well. Shopping to finish, packages to wrap, packages to mail, parties to go to----you all know the drill. For those of you who are also baking hundreds of dozens of cookies, well, I just don't know what to say except "God Bless You". Happy Monday everyone!
I am off to sew with some of my quilting friends in San Jose today, and expect to be wowed by the projects they are working on. I love seeing the work of others, as it often provides me with challenging ideas and introduces me to methods I could incorporate into my own quilts. The two quilts featured below I photographed at a recent Opening Sew class at Eddie's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale, CA.
This beautiful strippy quilt was made in the blended style I am so obsessed with lately. The maker used my favorite shades of green and cream and rose, and what I particularly would like you to notice is the way she embellished some individual squares. Also, see that she used a textured upholstery fabric for the green triangles? What great imagination and what a romantic and interesting quilt!
The quilt below is all redwork. Doesn't it make you want to go buy some red embroidery floss and get going on making one for yourself? Does anyone know of a good book on redwork?
My family went to San Franciso this weekend to attend the Dickens Christmas Fair. This event has been a San Francisco holiday tradition for 28 years! Some people go once and think it is sufficient, but not us. Nope, we go just about every year. It really is loads of fun. It is a theatrical re-creation of London during Victorian Christmastime. The venue is a place called The Cow Palace (where dog shows, rodeos, and tractor pulls are held), which is transformed for several weekends in December into quaint Victorian streets full of intriguing shops, and characters dressed up in authentic looking costumes, all completely in character, down to perfect English accents. There are four stages providing various types of entertainment--theatrical reproductions, illusionists, bawdy singing, Scottish dancing, and the Fezziwig Dance Pavillion.
Above you see some Chimney Sweeps. It is supposed to be good luck to kiss them, but I just couldn't do it.
Here is poor old Jacob Marley, dragging his chains through the streets of London. I swear there was a chill in the air when he passed by.
I met the Phantom of the Opera, who was a charming fellow, despite his disfigurement. He presented me with a silk rose bud after I took his picture.
These lovely women were mannequins in the shop widow of Dark Gardens, a shop for Creative Corsetry. It was startling when they moved slowly to change their position. You would not believe the men gathered in front of the window taking pictures! Inside, one could be properly fitted with an authentic corset. I was intrigued, but somehow the prow of a ship look just isn't me.
I passed Ebeneezer Scrooge on the street and greeted him warmly. He snarled "Bah Humbug" in response and walked by too quickly for me to snap his picture. I did spy him a bit later on in his nightshirt, having a conversation with Christmas Present. I sure hope he got straightened out. The guy was totally rude to me.
My family and I wandered around for hours, sipping hot cider and eating things like meat pies and fish and chips. Many people who attend the Dickens Faire dress up in costumes themselves. My son in law dressed in a black suit and hamburg hat (he claimed he was a Gentleman Pirate), my daughter as a street urchin (complete with newsboy cap), my son as an Irish Fisherman (tweed cap and fisherman smock), and I strove for a George Sand in her smoking jacket kind of look. Check out the cool Turkish hat I finished off my outfit with.
The day was extremely entertaining, and we all came home totally full of the spirit of Christmas. I highly recommend it!
We got the tree up! My son in law was permitted to cut a tree down from the winery property where he works, and he ambitiously over-estimated the height of the ceiling in our living room.... This tree comes right up to the top of it---after about three feet was cut off! It looks as if it is growing up right straight through the roof. You want to go outside to have a look at the roof to see if it is coming right up through the top of the house. Seriously, we should go out there and put a tree topper up or something. Our traditional tree topper didn't work out this year. She is a sad old floozy of an angel with red hair and a couple of candles in each hand that burnt out in !993. I lover her to death and the entire family laughs at me every year for continuing to want her placed on top of the tree. No room for her this year, so I guess she is taking a break. Sad.
How funny is that? Here is a blurry picture of Sara, taking a break while putting the decorations on. We had boxes and tissue and bubble wrap everywhere, and my husband insisted on fluttering around smoothing the tissue and precision folding the bubble wrap. Some of us decorate and some of us tidy. What can I say?
It's a hard job, but someone has to do it. Here are my husband, son in law and Ozzie, taking a bit of a nap while we girls do the decorating.
The little guy below kinda sums up how I feel about it all---"Here we go again! Wheee!"
My package of fabric arrived from Vintage and Vogue. I ripped open the box and spread it all out right on top of my cutting table. This is the Real Deal. The fabric for the blended quilt I am REALLY making for the Challenge! The fabric (Marleigh by Benartex) is more gorgeous than my wildest imagination. It may be too beautiful to cut up for the Blended Quilt Challenge I am doing with Cindy, Lisa, and Perry. (Dear Readers--go check out the other gals' blogs and see their projects. They are a week ahead of me, since I didn't have my act together on our start date.)
I will let these photos of the fabrics speak for themselves. Can you even believe that toile?
How in the world will I force myself to cut into this stash? I believe I may have to redecorate my entire house around this fabric collection. The greens, the dark reds, caramel tans, rich browns...What can I say? I am in love. Please girls? Can I just have a couple of days to fondle this stuff before I start the project?
I am still waiting for the fabric to arrive for the blended quilt project I am working on with my blogging friends Perry, Cindy, and Lisa. I ordered it Sunday and it is Friday already and it still has not arrived. Since I am completely obsessed with making a blended quilt NOW, fabric or no fabric, I have been practicing. I dragged out a bin of fabric I had labeled "Blended Quilt Fabric" and have the contents spread out all over the floor in my sewing room.
You may recall that I was pretty much incapable of making a decision as to which blended quilt I wanted to make for the challenge. I had to do *something*, so I started working on two different trial projects while I wait for the fabric for my final decision quilt. So, I share with you two blended quilt projects that are my Not For the Challenge quilts.
The first is the blue log cabin---I finished 16 blocks out of the 36 needed for the quilt top, when I attended my UFO quilting group this Wednesday. The method for making these log cabin blocks is not my favorite one. The instructions have you just sewing uncut strips along each side of the block. I prefer to have all the little "logs" pre-cut to the exact measurement of the sides for better accuracy. While the method the book calls for is not as perfect, the blocks do seem to be coming out pretty square. Aren't those blues pretty?
The second Not For the Challenge project is out of the Blended Quilts II book, a pattern called Burgundy Star. I started playing with fabrics yesterday, and could not stop. I made blocks all day long, like I was possessed or something. I LOVE these blocks. The block is a simple Variable Star, and a total of three different fabrics are used in each block. You can make the blocks extremely blended, or throw in a bit of contrast so that the star aspect shows up better. The four really different looking blocks below are all the same pattern. I made sixteen of these blocks yesterday. For a quilt I am not making..... Right. You know I am kidding.
I sure hope the fabric for my Real Blended Quilt Challenge Quilt arrives soon. I just don't know what to do with myself while I wait for it.