Thanks for dropping by to take a look at some of my thoughts and ideals. Hope you will let me know if this has been helpful, useful, inspiring or whatever, and remember to come back soon.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Whats happening around my house?

Well it has been a lovely day so far and looks to be a restful evening.  I'm thinking about some different things I could do for Christmas and gifts for friends and co-workers. 

Well you will  never believe that I started this post and got 2 sentences and then had to stop for some reason or another.  I really don't remember what it was now..........Yes I am that age! hahaha  At any rate I'm going to finish this post because what I wanted to talk about today is Christmas gifts.  Now I love homemade, but sadly not everyone does.  The reasons given for not liking homemade as given by people who I have asked are varied and I'm going to list a few.

Most often mentioned was they were not useful.  They were house decorations and they didn't even match their houses.  Another is they don't fit if they were a personal gift.  Another biggie that people seem to complain about is that they are Christmas related and so they can't even use the gift until the next year!  Another thing that people have said in the past is that they were cheap!  Well I know they don't make homemade or they would realize that many homemade gifts are actually more expensive than the person could have bought in the store if they wanted to get something that was made in China from Wally World or a similar place.  Me, I like homemade.  Me, I make homemade.  Usually I make homemade and I use those products that I am making for others in my own home so I know how they stand up to normal everyday wear and tear.

With everyone on television wanting to talk about going green and saving energy I have decided that one of the things that I will do this year is napkins.  Now I am doing Christmas napkins, but you can actually use these napkins at any time of the year so you can use any print or solid or stripe that you want for everyday use.  You can make special occassion napkins using particular seasonal prints etc.  Be aware you can go to Walmart and purchase cloth napkins rather inexpensively.  If you make them here are the supplies you will need for 6-8 napkins.  The reason I say 6-8 is you need to watch the width of the fabric.  If you can find fabric that is less than 45" at a cheaper price, then go for it!  There is significant waste in 45" wide fabric.  The particular pattern that I used is a half-circle that is 18" in diameter.  Now you can make your own pattern with paper and use a string and pencil to draw the arc.  If you are fortunate like I am and had purchases in the past a ruler to cut circles then you are way ahead of the game.

I purposely made this picture specifically so you could see where this particular ruler came from and it even has the telephone number and website in case you want to order this ruler.  I am very glad that I had it on hand.  As you can see it will cut circles up to 19" in diameter and as small as 6" in diameter.  So very great when you want to do a drunkards path quilt!  But that is for another post at a later date, if you want that be sure and let me know and I'll be happy to post.

Now I particularly wanted my napkins to be different colors on the back and the front so I purchased 1 yard of 2 different fabrics.  One is more of a Christmas fabric and the other is a winter print that is not particularly Christmas themed.

Of course the first part is getting everything ready.  Since I purchased 1 yard of fabric I cut the fabric into 2 18" x width of fabric pieces and then I used the ruler to cut the individual pieces.  2 pieces of fabric for each napkin.  A little hint with the cutting.  Since I did not want any more seams than necessary when I cut the pieces I placed the inner line on the fold of fabric and the cut edge on the seam allowance line and that worked perfectly.  Yes it looked a little strange to be cutting it in that way but it worked perfectly.

Now the next step is very simple, just put the right sides of the fabric together and sew them together leaving an opening on the straight edge of the fabric that is 3-4" in width so you can turn the fabric easily.  See that isn't hard at all, just straight sewing.  Next trim the excess fabric from the two corners where the straight line turns and begins the arc.  Just snip off an little triangle from both of these corners and turn the napkin so the right sides are out. 

Press your project making sure that the opening you have left on the straight edge is pressed with the seam allowance turned in.  This will benefit you so much when you start to do your trim around the edge! 

This is a picture of how the napkin will look, and the last step will be putting the finishing around the edges.  I used a very simple stitch on my sewing machine but a straight stitch is what I used on the first napkins I made and is great for everyday napkins.  Oh I do need to say that I used 100" cotton fabric on these napkins because of it's durability and washablity, but I have used linen on some and they also turned out lovely and are washable also.  They have more of the nice texture for the good everyday napkins, you know the ones for regular Sunday dinners or birthday parties if you don't want to be forever purchasing paper napkins.

My fuzzy picture of the tiny bells stitch that I used on my Christmas napkins.  I just looked at the stitches on my machine and that looked Christmas to me that that is what I went with.  You can use metalic thread for this to make it a very special napkin, or if you are adept at embrodery and have a machine you could just use some fabric and put an embrodery mofit on these napkins.  One of the great things about homemade is you can add whatever extras you want and have the ability or equipment to master.

For these particular napkins you can just fold them or you can fold them to form a tree pattern and they will look like this!
Sorry but I think this is adorable!  Here are some pictures of how this is folded.

Begin the fold by measuring over 10 " on the straight edge and that is where you will make your first fold!

Then it is just a matter of folding back and forth!

Try to keep the outside edge fairly even so you will have a good tree effect!  Now on to the last fold!
This will be a wonderful addition to your holiday table and a greener option for holidays and everyday living.

Now with fabric, even the cheap stuff, costing minimum 4.99 yard usually, and you have purchased 2 yards of fabric you can make between 6-8 napkins for $10.00 plus your time and effort.  Oh, sorry I didn't add in the cost of the thread and if you purchase special thread then that is an additional cost that can be anywhere from 1.99 to 12.99 for your project.  My ideal is to use what I already had purchased for other projects and use up some of that!  If you have fabric that has been left from other projects you could even make this from your stash.  These napkins will be paired with coasters that are made from the scraps and I will also have some potholders and trivets for gifts.

Since I have now retired from my full time job, or at least semi-retired since I will work a couple of days each week on some special projects, I plan to use what I have an give several homemade Christmas items this year.  What about you?  If you are making for Christmas I hope you have already started! 

Have a great day and happy quilting and sewing!

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