DIY Fall Gift Baskets

My mother-in-law recently asked for some help to create some spa-day gift baskets for a few captains that have been organizing a retreat for the past year. It was her way of saying “Thank You” for all their hard work.

She wanted some input after seeing my YouTube videos last year when I hauled a bunch of cool crafting items from my local Dollar Tree and used them to create lots of adorable fall decorations and later on, some great gift ideas for under $10, all from the Dollar Tree.


Even Jake enjoys them!

Also, I’ve most recently been gushing out my local Daiso store where you can get a lot of unique Japanese items for $3.00 or less. I’ve enjoyed a lot of their sheet masks for my face.

So together we hit up the Dollar Tree first and I just about died at all the beautiful fall decor and crafts! I love the deep colors and all the leaves and sparkle.

For my mother-in-law’s project, I was surprised to find that the Dollar Tree also carried shrink wrap gift bags. I’ve used this stuff before but not from here so I took a chance and we brought home a few to try.


We combined a mixture of bath and spa items from both stores including bath gel, lotion, rose sponges, bath salts, relaxation masks, hand sanitizers, and a sheet mask or two.

She already had these adorable baskets with little felt pumpkins and leaves. Very cute and fall feeling for a great base to our gift baskets.

We also picked up some packets of fabric leaves. They had everything from solid fall colors to gold or sparkling leaves, too. So many great little pieces to add some dimension to the baskets.

Filling the baskets was fun but the real challenge came when we had to use the shrink wrap. Now my previous experience is that shrink wrap can be finicky. Sometimes it works, sometimes it folds and creases, even rips.

But I was happily surprised by the outcome! Once I got the hang of it, I found each gift coming together quicker and smoother than the last. The trick seemed to be working from the bottom up. Heating the bottom, then around to the sides, and up made the process simple. We just used a plain hairdryer and then trimmed the tops after wrapping a beautiful bow to synch it shut.

 In the end we made 8 gift baskets and used up all the spa and bath items. We had a few packets of leaves left over so I took them home to make something with them.


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{VIDEO} Last Minute Gift Ideas for $10

Ever run out of time for gift shopping and wonder what can you do for those left on your list? Need a creative gift idea you can make on a budget?

I hit up my favorite store and got a few things to create some thoughtful gifts for those left on my list.

What’s better than using your creativity and craftiness to make a gift someone will appreciate?

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TGIFF Christmas Finishes!

We’re close to “C” day!  Yay!  It’s no secret that I love the Christmas season.  If I could, I’d leave my holiday decorations up all year.  Cleaning around three trees may be a challenge, but I’d enjoy every minute!

This year, I set out to make at least one runner for myself, and four mug rugs for gifts.  Last night, I finished my runner, and one of the mug rugs.  I’m really happy with the results!

Here is the runner, made with a 60 degree equilateral triangle and Christmas border fabric from the Holiday Magic fabric line by Lisa Audit.  This is only one way to arrange the triangles.  The options are endless!


The mug rug I finished last night, was made with Moda’s Joyeux Noel by French General.  I saw a mug rug on Etsy, and did my best to recreate it.  I loooove it!  I bought Insul-bright batting from Twisted Cedar Studios, and found it fabulous to work with.

I made another variation of this mug rug, and unfortunately, threw it in the wash with an article of clothing that bled onto the fabric, making it dingy.  I’m researching  color correcting methods in an effort to save this adorable project.  Here it is before the disastrous washing!

 Thanks for stopping by and checking us out!  Katie and I wish you the most wonderful, creative holiday season ever!

Check out our side bar for all the great sites we link up with weekly. Today this post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at Crazy Dutch Bird Quilts, A Quilter Passion, and over at Richard and Tanya Quilts.

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Bad Quilting, Bad!

This is a real post. A post without a finished product, perfectly pressed seams or beautiful situated fabrics to show off their color and lines.

There are no quilts rolled majestically to display the way the color combinations work so well together like a dance performed beautifully.

The lighting isn’t perfect and the background wasn’t picked for its contrasting colors to better display the subject.

This is a real post.

A post of mistakes. Of unfinished business. Of a good idea gone bad.

I had the great idea to create little mug rugs as a last day of school gift to Jake’s teachers.

I even blogged about my idea.

But not every idea is meant to be completed.

What started out as a fun project for Jake turned into a nightmare.

First, they turned out too small.

But I thought to myself, hey! These will be mini mug rugs, kinda like a double coaster. How cute!


Instead that made my life hell. I quilted it together and I could see that I was going to have a problem.

And since I wasn’t thinking this through all the way, I just cut my binding at the standard 2 1/2 inch width. Sigh…

Yeah that didn’t work. Why I didn’t cut it smaller, more like 2 inches, I will never know. But the binding was just too big for something so small.

All that extra material for such a small project made it buckle and ripple and just look awful.

So, I’ve decided to set it aside and get his teachers flowers for tomorrow.

And chalk this up as experience.


Side Stitches: Teachers’ Mug Rug Gifts

I love charm packs!

I could buy nothing but charm packs and be completely happy. They come coordinated, organized and pre-cut. What’s not to like?

The other day I got the grand idea to make my son’s teachers and staff at school an end of year gift: Mug Rugs! They went over so well at Mother’s Day that I figured it was a simple and quick gift I could make that would be perfect for saying thank you for a great year.

I went to my stash to see what I had and felt that nothing really fit that summer-y, end of the school year, I’m-a-teacher feeling. So I went online and starting tinkering.

In my search I found two adorable and beautiful packs: Moda Lollipop and Moda Grand Finale. When we opened them up, I almost fell over at the cute of Lollipop and loved the richness of Grand Finale. Jake was thrilled too and together we pulled the packs apart to see what we had to work with.

Moda Lollipop Charm Pack

Lollipop is a sweet set with bright colors, fanciful patterns and lots of cheerfulness and fun combinations. I liked this one best.

Moda Grand Finale Charm Pack

Jake, on the other hand, loved working with Grand Finale, which was a shock to me. I was expecting the playful colors of Lollipop to draw him in but no, he worked solely with Grand Finale and I let him. These were for his teachers, anyway.

Two of Jake's color combos....not a bad start

As apart of the project, I let Jake pick the color combos. I had him pick three colors, telling him to keep it simple with two patterns and one solid. Took him a bit at first to get the hang of picking a solid that was found in one of the patterned swatches. His first picks were not too bad.

Getting better at it....

Then he started getting the hang of it. While I was apart of the process, Jake did most of the color choosing. As you can tell, he worked in the Grand Finale pack primarily and every once in a while I’d get my hand in and stick a swatch of Lollipop in there.

Hey, I think he's got it!

His last set was my favorite (and probably because he used all Lollipop colors). I was so impressed with his choices that by the end, I felt there was no reason to tweak anything he put together.

My plan for now? To cut one pattern and one solid square into four squares and sew them together, alternating like a pinwheel. Then I’ll use the last pattern swatch and use it in it’s entirety. No cutting that one.

This it the rough drawing of what the mug rugs will be. A solid on one side and a small pattern cut from two swatch on the other side. Simple. Minimal cutting and sewing. Yet classy and a nice gift to give.

Weekend Update: Blah to the Blah!

This weekend was, well, a nothing weekend. We did…well…nothing.

Ok not really nothing but it was a pretty mild weekend, which to be honest, was nice. We’re usually so GO GO GO that it was a peaceful break in the routine to take it slow and be spontaneous.

On Saturday, we were looking forward to the little man’s first swim lesson only to be disappointed with an “accident” that closed the pool. Because of the closure the lesson was canceled and we were told to reschedule the set of lessons for another month.

Excuse me!? I was bummed because our summer is pretty tightly scheduled and picking another month to do his lessons would put him out till August. He won’t be around the end of June or the beginning of July due to a visit up north. Sigh… I wish they had a back up plan for incidences like this.

Now we’re looking into other swim lesson options.

Also on Saturday I was involved in a two hour Zumbathon! If you like to dance and workout, Zumba is a great option. I love it and even after two hours worth of dancing till I was dead tired and had burned over 1700 calories, I’m still in love with it. Can’t wait till my next class!

Then Sunday was completely open and we filled it with not a whole lot of exciting stuff.

Fun, no?

So my update isn’t all that big of a deal this week but I will say I have the itch to sew tonight so I’m planning on a nice night home with the kidlet to do some gardening and some mug rug making. The end of the school year is but 2 weeks away and as a gift to his teachers I’m planning on making some simple mug rugs. Jake has two teachers plus a host of other helpers around campus so I’m thinking simple yet cute mug rugs would be great gifts.

Mother’s Day Java Mug Rugs!

My brain works in mysterious ways.

I tend to get great gift ideas. Like blow your socks off great ideas.

But I get these ideas late without much time to execute these great gift.

This year is no different. I had this fabulous idea to make mug rugs for the mothers in my life.

Of course this would require fabric, planning, cutting, sewing and time. And I had a week…

Sigh…The shipping alone on the fabric took three days so in the end I had four days to make four mug rugs.

But I did it! I stuck with my plan and made four adorable little gifts that each mother raved about! It felt so good to set out a goal, accomplish it and then see the results bring smiles to the faces of the receivers.

Mother's Day Gifts

I made one for The Guys mother, which I posted about earlier. That one I called The Espresso Mug Rug. It came out a square 8×8 and I was impressed with my first go-round.

Espresso Mug Rug

Cute no?

Mitered Corner of Espresso

I struggled a bit with the binding because I felt a full 2 1/2 strip folded down and sewn would be too bulky for such a small project. Well I didn’t take into consideration that my seam allowance would be the same if I didn’t adjust it. And of course, I didn’t so I had to do some trimming to get the binding to fold over properly.


The Cafe Windows Mug Rug

This one I lovingly called The Cafe Windows Mug Rug. I had a fat quarter with these adorable red/black/white squares that looks like little advertisements for different types of coffee drinks you’d buy in a cafe. I got the bright idea that I’d cut four of them out and frame them like little windows.

Cafe Windows

The left side

Not bad overall but I made a few mistakes planning it out. First, I didn’t add a top or bottom border because I wanted it to be more rectangular than square. Because I didn’t give myself an allowance around the squares, I ended up binding over the quilting. You can’t really tell unless you are a quilter and looking at it really closely.

Cup O Joe Mug Rug

This one is the Cuo O Joe Mug Rug. Now this one I both love and hate. I love the quilting on it. I decided to quilt just that inner rectangle. And to do that, I pulled the last stitch in between the layer and anchored it down with a seam across the top and bottom.

But the binding on this one, my oh my, what a pain in the ass. I can’t tell you exactly what I did wrong. All I know is that it’s a mess. I can see it because I know, I was there, but this could have been so much prettier had I taken more time to work out the binding.


Messy messy

I may attempt this one over again and see if I can make it neater.

Beans Mug Rug

Coffee Beans Mug Rug

This last one is my favorite of the bunch because it’s different. Again, the binding is atrocious (Look away all you excellent quilters…LOOK AWAY!!!) but the colors, the quilting and the design are just adorable.

Coffee Beans

So cute!

Yes…I have no words. This one is self explanatory.

In the end I could make a mug rug from start to finish in about 3 hours. At least the length of a full movie with a little added time before and after for prep and clean up.

Mother’s Day… a day to celebrate the women in your life. I happen to be blessed with a fabulous mom and two wonderful grandmothers. All of them have been such big impacts on my life that I was more than happy to make these little rugs. With all the sweat and tears that went into them, I knew it was nothing close to what they’ve gone through for me.

And to add to the happiness of the holiday, I got to spend some of it with a new woman in my life. Someone who knew me as a child and as a friend to her son. Now, we’re both adults and both mothers with a lot in common.

To these women and all the other women in the world in the role as mother (whether by giving birth, adopting or because it’s just your nature to nurture) Happy Mother’s Day everyday. Without all of you, we’d be savage little buggers living a Lord of the Flies kind of life.

We love you!