DIY Holiday Gift Ideas

2016 holiday by Lori Miller Designs

I enjoy making handmade gifts for the holidays to give to family and friends.  Some years they are elaborate and some years, well, they are quick and easy.  It depends on how busy I have gotten with projects to finish.  I have put together a round up of my free tutorials to make diy holiday gifts. They range from super easy to confident beginner, from quick to more involved.  I even share a few of my for sale holiday patterns at the end if they should perk your interest.  I hope you will be inspired to try some homemade gifts this year.  Just CLICK on the picture for all the details.

Holiday Yo Yo Ornament

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Create fun holiday yo-yo ornaments for a homemade gift for a teacher, music instructor or bus driver.  A nice sewing craft for older children to learn some basic sewing skills, even how to sew a button.  You can make it even faster with some hot glue at the finish.  Plan an afternoon to put these together for holiday gifts or your own homemade decorations.

Tissue Holder

Mini tissue cover Lori Miller Designs 1

Here is a cute quick gift you can stitch up in multiples for holiday party favors, stocking stuffers or just a little something for someone special.  I used holiday and Christmas fabric but you could tailor them for boys or girls with masculine prints, sporty fabric or another cute novelty print.  There is really very little sewing so it is perfect for a beginning stitcher.  It doesn’t take much fabric either, so use up some of your scraps or stash.

Easy Holiday Fleece Pillows

Here are a couple of ideas for some last minute holiday gifts to stitch.  You probably have a stash of fleece somewhere in your sewing room from a sale 3 years ago, if not, find yourself a couple of remnants and get sewing.  Cotton works fine too.  These are some clever and creative pillows for big and little kids to enjoy. They stitch up in a snap so they are quick and easy for a beginner to make.

Upcycled Christmas Card Bookmarks

upcycled bookmarks by lori Miller Designs

I received one of these upcycled Christmas card bookmarks as a little gift and it is just too clever not to share.  This bookmark is an ingeniously folded old christmas card.  I took it apart to figure out the pattern and I am gladly spilling its simple but intricate secrets.  Make a bunch for stocking stuffers, for an afternoon craft with the kids or to mail to friends far away for the holiday.

Holiday Table Runner

Here is a free tutorial for a project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  This Holiday Table Runner uses one of the built in blocks colored with traditional Christmas colors to create a lovely item for your home decor.  Just make three simple blocks to quilt up a beautiful center piece for your table.

Paper Snowflake Garland

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Here in Michigan, we manage to get our own share of snow.  I would much rather deal with these paper snowflakes from inside my warm and toasty house instead.  And the plan is to sew them together into pretty garland, so you get a little sewing and fun mixed together.  When did you last make a paper snowflake?

This would be a great afternoon activity with the kids to cut out snowflakes and drink some hot chocolate. You can even use up all that junk mail or scrap paper to make them. I love traditional white flakes, but you could mix them up with any color to make a very cool statement.

Patterns for Sale

Here are a couple of holiday patterns I have for sale in my shop.  I hope you like them too.

Gingerbread House Pincushion, Ornament and More

LMDesigns trio of gingerbread

This is my original pattern for a Gingerbread House Pincushion.  I have even added bonus instructions to make it into a soft tree ornament or a Gift Card Holder to hang on your Christmas tree.  This adorable holiday gift idea might look familiar.  It was featured in Quilting Arts Holiday Magazine in 2014.  It holds a special place in my heart because this was the very first original pattern that I had published in a Magazine.

Poinsettia Pop Throw Quilt

It is called Poinsettia Pop and it is a generous lap size to snuggle under when the weather turns cold.  The bright and cheery poinsettia blocks dance across the quilt bringing cheer to whoever receives it. This quilt is made using large 15 inch finished blocks that stitch up quickly.  You only need to piece seven Poinsettia blocks so you can whip it up in time for last minute gifts. I even included some speedy techniques to save you some time.  The bright hot pink fabrics, text print background, and alternate grid pattern give this block a very modern look.

Mini Mitten Coasters

Mini Mitten Coasters by lori Miller Designs

I am pleased to share my latest published work, mini mitten coasters!  They are super cute, easy to stitch up and you can use some cute coordinating holiday prints or make them super scrappy with some leftover holiday fabric.

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They are featured on page 34 of Modern Patchwork Gifts 2016.  This is the third year I have been published in the holiday issue and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

I hope you found an idea you could use for some holiday gifts or just to make for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Tutorial – Holiday Table Runner

Here is another free tutorial for a project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  This Holiday Table Runner uses one of the built in blocks colored with traditional Christmas colors to create a lovely item for your home decor.

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EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.

Holiday Table Runner

Finished size is 12 1/2″ x 36 1/2″.

Materials

  • 3/8 yd white cotton
  • 1/8 yd green cotton
  • 5/8 yd red cotton for blocks and binding
  • 1/4 yd burgundy cotton
  • 1/2 yard for backing
  • 1/4 yard batting

Directions

Cut Fabric:

White cotton

  •  24 — 2  7/8 ” squares
  • 3 — 7  1/2 ” squares

Green cotton

  • 12 — 2  7/8 ″ squares

Red cotton

  • 15 — 2  7/8 ″ squares
  • 3 — 2 1/2″ x Width of Fabric strips

Burgundy cotton

  • 3 — 7 1/2 ”  squares

Background fabric

  • 1 — 14 1/2 x 38 1/2″ strip

Create the half square triangles

  • This method will create 8 half square triangles at once.
  • On the wrong side of the white 7 1/2″ square, mark the sewing and cutting lines.  Mark from corner to corner and mark half and half as shown.
  • Stitch 1/4″ away from the diagonal line, on each side of the diagonal line.  You can see the stitching in the X shape in the diagram above.
  • Cut the half square triangles apart on the marked lines.
  • Press the seams open and then square up the half square triangle blocks to measure 2 7/8″ square.

 Sew the block:

Hint:  Because you need to match seams, be sure to keep an accurate 1/4″ seam allowance and make sure blocks are square as you sew them to keep things in alignment.

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  1. Using the diagram above as a guide, arrange the pieces for your quilt block.
  2. Sew the pieces together in rows, then sew the rows together, aligning seams.
  3. Make three quilt blocks.
  4. Sew the three blocks together in a row, aligning seams to finish piecing the top of the holiday table runner.
  5. Make a quilt sandwich with the backing face down, then the batting, then your quilt top face up.
  6. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  7. Quilt as desired.
  8. Sew the 2 1/2″ binding strips together and add to the quilt.

Variation Suggestions

  • Try some custom quilting like I did on this table runner, the smaller size makes it easy to explore free motion quilting.
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  • Try using holiday prints or even modern colors or even a blue color scheme to really change the look but still use the same block.

This Holiday Table Runner would look great on your table or make several to give as gifts this season.  Why not look through the provided blocks in EQ Mini and find a favorite that you can turn into a table runner?  There are so many possibilities.  I would love to see pictures of your Holiday table runners.  Just tag me on instagram @lormillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them here: EQ Mini Friday Fun Holiday Table Runner.

For more projects and tips and techniques on using EQ Mini, visit my Electric Quilt blog series EQ Mini Friday Fun.

For more information on EQ Mini software, go to EQ Mini.

Tutorial – Charming Baby Quilt

This tutorial introduces my first project designed with EQ Mini Software by The Electric Quilt Company.  Made with pre-cut charm squares, this first easy beginner project is the Charming Baby Quilt.  I am pleased to be blogging for Electric Quilt hosting EQ Mini Friday Fun and sharing how to design in EQ Mini.  In addition, on my blog here, I will be sharing tutorials to take the design from idea to finished stitched project.

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EQ Mini is the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.  I had the good fortune to beta test EQ Mini and I was very impressed with the easy flow and friendly beginner aspects of the software.

eq mini baby quilt select horiz medallion

I love the colored step by step tabs that let you easily work to create and edit a design.  And even though it is a Mini version of the Electric Quilt 7 software, it is still robust enough to offer a ton of design possibilities. It contains a block library of 300 pieced and appliqué blocks that can be set in 4 layout styles, there are 8 different border styles and a fabric library of over 3500 scanned fabrics to use to make your designs exactly how you want them.  Thats my EQ Mini spiel!  Let’s move on to the tutorial!

Charming baby quilt

Charming Baby Quilt

Finished size is 40 1/2″ x 40 1/2″.

Materials

  • 1 package of coordinating 5″ charm squares (you will need 32)
  • 1  yd for center of quilt
  • 1/2 yard for small border and binding
  • 1 1/4 yard for backing
  • 1 1/4 yard batting

Directions

Cut Fabric:

Center Square

  •  1 — 31 1/2 ″ x 31 1/2 ″ square

Inner Border

  • 2 — 1″ x 31  1/2″ strips
  • 2 — 1″ x 33  1/2″ strips

Outer Border

  • 32 – 5″ Charm squares

 Sew:

  1. Sew the 31 1/2″ inner border strips to opposite sides of the center 31 1/2″ square. Press seams.
  2. Sew the 33 1/2″ inner border strips to the top and bottom of the center square. Press seams.
  3. Take your charm squares and arrange them around the quilt until you get an arrangement you like.
  4. Sew together seven squares for each side.  Attach the sewn strips of seven squares to each side of the quilt center unit. Press seams.
  5. Sew together the remaining nine squares for the top and bottom of the quilt.  Attach the sewn strips of 9 squares to the top and bottom of the quilt center unit.  Press seams.
  6. Your quilt top is pieced.  Yay!
  7. Prepare the quilt backing.  You may need to piece part of the fabric on one side so that it is larger than your quilt top if needed.
  8. Make a quilt sandwich with the backing face down, then the batting, then your quilt top face up.
  9. Pin baste the quilt layers together.
  10. Quilt as desired.
    marking quilt
  11. Here is my super secret method I used to mark this quilt.  The smaller shapes were just smaller lids I found in the kitchen.
  12.  I tried quilting some large clamshells and stitched them with my walking foot.  I like the rainbow look and it echos some of the designs in the charm squares.
  13. Finally, add the binding.  I used 2 1/2″ strips to make my binding.  Here is the finished quilt in my sunroom, the lighter colors are dappled sunlight coming in the room.

Variation Suggestions

  • Mix it up and try a cute nursery print for the center and solid pre-cut 5″ squares for the outside.
  • Use that blank space in the center to personalize the quilt with baby’s name in embroidery or with applique letters.

This is a quick and easy baby quilt that you could easily put together in a diligent weekend.  I really liked the idea of using a pack of charm squares that I already had in my stash.  I would love to see pictures of your charming baby quilt.  Just tag me on instagram @lormillerdesigns.

Looking for the EQ Mini Design Instructions?  You can find them here: EQ Mini Friday Fun: Charming Baby Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

New Gig: EQ Mini Friday Fun with Lori

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I am so honored to be the host of EQ Mini Friday Fun with Lori. This is a blog series devoted to sharing, teaching, and providing information the new scaled down, simpler version of EQ7 quilt design software.  This program was created for quilters who are just getting started using software for quilt design.  EQ Mini will help you create, edit, share, and print patterns and yardage for your quilt designs.  EQ Mini was created by The Electric Quilt Company.  You can find my Friday Fun on the DoYouEQ.com blog.

eq-mini-start-new-quilt-tab

I was introduced to EQ Mini when I volunteered to beta test the software before it was released.  I was so impressed with the easy flow and friendly beginner aspects of the software.  I love the colored step by step tabs that let you easily work to create and edit a design.  And even though it is a Mini version of the Electric Quilt 7 software, it is still robust enough to offer a ton of design possibilities. It contains a block library of 300 pieced and appliqué blocks that can be set in 4 layout styles, there are 8 different border styles and a fabric library of over 3500 scanned fabrics to use to make your designs exactly how you want them.  There are a slew of add on blocks you can purchase as well as fabric stash libraries to add even more options for your software.

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Each month I will share tips and techniques, tutorials, design project skill builders, and maybe even a little show and tell of what I am working on in my studio.  Head on over to doyoueq.com for My helpful EQ Mini designs posts, then come back here.  I will share take those designs and share tutorials to help you transform the design into beautiful stitched projects.

New Pattern: Calico Table Runner and More

This festive fall table runner features a harvest of Calico Corn.  I supersized my ear of corn quilt block from my Grandma Town block of the month quilt and added the colors of fall.  Make it scrappy or planned, but this lovely table runner will look wonderful on your fall table or even as the star attraction of the Thanksgiving table. I am having a sale on this For Sale pattern through the end of October 31st, 2016.


I have also included instructions for a large hot pad which is large enough for a casserole dish or cake pan.

The two small hot pads use the 6” version of the calico corn block.  Both hot pads would make lovely mini quilts as well.  A nice idea for a hostess or holiday gift.

Finished Sizes are Table Runner – 36 ½” x 12 ½”; Large Hot Pad  – 12” x 16”; and Small Hot Pad 8” x 8”.

I started with my ear of corn from my Grandma Town Block of the Month from 2015.  I started playing around with my design in EQ7, the quilt design software.  I ended up ditching the bottom part of the ear of corn.  It added complexity to the block, was hard to get the alignment just right, and without it I had a square block.  And in the design, you do not even miss it.

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Here is my updated ear of corn in fall colors with my multicolored calico corn.  It was easy to play around with the different parts of the design in the software.  I decided I wanted a much larger 12″ block to make a table runner, so I resized the block.

calico-corn-hot-pad-lg

Here is the larger 12″ block with the extra borders for the large hot pad.  It was so easy to add a pieced component to the corn itself with the EQ7 software.

To make piecing the ear of corn easier, I used scrappy fall 1 1/2″ strips in groups of four and sewed them together.

Then I cut them again into 1 1/2″ strips and mixed and matched randomly.

I made 16 patch units to assemble the large ears of corn.  You need 3 – 16 patch units for each one.

I used three large ear of corn for the table runner and quilted hash lines through the corn and a free motion echo on the husk.

I quilted little loops all through the background so it looks like small stippling.  It makes the calico corn the star!

For the small hot pads, I just kept the hash lines through the whole thing.  I did add a layer of Insul Bright heat resistant fabric, so the extra quilting made it lay nice and flat.

The large hot pad is perfect for a casserole dish or cake pan size item.

Wouldn’t this hotpad make a great mini quilt to hang on your door for Thanksgiving too?

You can find my Calico Corn Table Runner and More pattern  FOR SALE by following either link for My Patterns or My Shop!

Thanks for letting me share!  Tag me on Instagram at lorimillerdesigns, I would love to see your version!

 

 

New Pattern: Gingerbread House Pincushion and More

lori miller designs gingerbread house pincushion

I am pleased to share that my original pattern for My Gingerbread House Pincushion is now available for sale.  I have even added bonus instructions to make it into a soft tree ornament or a Gift Card Holder to hang on your Christmas tree.  This adorable holiday gift idea might look familiar.

SONY DSC

It was featured in Quilting Arts Holiday Magazine in 2014.  It holds a special place in my heart because this was the very first original pattern that I had published in a Magazine.

SONY DSC

I was inspired to grab my holiday scraps to come up with a gift idea for my small sewing group.  Each year, we like to exchange home made gifts for Christmas.  We are all quilters and since I am totally addicted to pincushions, the idea took shape to make a Gingerbread House.

Lori Miller Designs supplies

I thought the jumbo white rick rack was a stroke of genius to mimic the snowy icing.
 It made an adorable pincushion and I use some very easy techniques to piece it all together that make it a jiffy to stitch up in an afternoon.  You can make multiples at once very easily.  Finished size is 5 ” square.

One of the bonuses I added to the pattern is to create a soft ornament for your tree.  You just add a ribbon hanger and only lightly stuff the little Gingerbread House.

The second bonus instructions included is to add a little pocket on the back of the Gingerbread House to make it into a Gift Card Holder.  You can tuck in a couple of gift cards, a note from Santa or even a candy cane for fun.

You can find my Gingerbread house Pincushion and more pattern  FOR SALE by following either link for My Patterns or My Shop!

Thanks for letting me share!  Tag me on Instagram at lorimillerdesigns, I would love to see your version!

Jennifer’s Messenger Bag

My girlfriend, Jennifer, wanted me to make her a messenger bag.  She is a knitter and spinner extraordinaire and wanted something to take to a spinning conference and classes.
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I had made her this cute Sew Together Bag, a Peekaboo Pencil Case by Pickle Pie Designs, and a name tag last year and she wanted something to match.
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It has the cutest pattern of sheep knitting in red, black and white.  Can you spot something weird with that white sheep in the upper left corner?

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I could not really find a pattern I liked, so I combined a bunch of patterns and ideas and created this prototype. I just used some fabric I had on hand.  I did quilt the fabrics.
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I used duck cloth or canvas for the sides and bottom to give it a bit more structure.  When I showed it to Jennifer,  she offered a few suggested updates including a pocket for her tablet, some strips inside the sides so she could tuck in some knitting needles and more pockets.  All the more friendly for a knitter to use.

I decided that the front flap was going to be quilt as you go with snippets of the fabrics including the cute little knitting sheep in red, white and black.

Here are the step by steps of my quilt as you go Messenger flap so you can see how I do it.

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Here is the back of the bag.  That is a really large pocket that has Headliner fabric in it to cushion her ipad.  It closes with a velcro strip.

I lined the inside and added this little pocket with a cute little sheep on it.

Jennifer also wanted a little zip bag to tuck some money, chapstick and a few necessities in.  I sized down another pouch I had found to make this wristlet.

Here is a little better view of the inside of the bag.

I added a wide adjustable strap.  She really liked it and has used it several times.  I love the zip that the striped binding gives to the front flap.  The solid sides add a calming factor to the busy sheep print, but it is still just too cute.  I think the QAYG flap really makes it look special.