Holiday Yo-Yo Ornament (free tutorial)

yo yo ornament by Lori Miller Designs

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.

Materials needed:

  • 1 giant yo-yo (6 inch circle)
  • 1 large yo-yo (4 1/2 inch circle)
  • 1 button
  • 12 inches of ribbon
  • Thread
  • Needed
  • (hot glue optional)

P1050138 001

  1. First make your yo-yos.  Take the 6 inch circle of holiday fabric.P1050139 001
  2. Carefully fold over the raw edge (wrong sides together) about 1/4″ and baste all around.  You can use pretty large basting stitches – yo-yos are pretty forgiving.P1050140 001P1050142 001
  3. Once you have basted the whole circle, pull the thread to gather the yo-yo tight.P1050143 001
  4. Tie a sturdy knot and bury the end of the thread in one of the folds of the yo-yo.
  5. Make the 4 1/2″ smaller yo-yo in the same way.P1050146 001
  6. Assemble the ornament together.  Loop the ribbon to form a hanger and tack it in place with thread at the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050147 001
  7. Layer the large yo-yo on top of the giant yo-yo and tack or sew it to the center of the giant yo-yo.P1050148 002
  8. Finish the ornament by sewing a button to the center of the large yo-yo.

Tip:  You could have ready made yo-yo’s and just hot glue the ribbon, yo-yos and button together to make them up in a jiffy.  

CAUTION:  Hot glue is HOT!  Protect your fingers and have an adult help and supervise children.



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.

Materials Needed:

  • Fronts of old christmas cards (thin ones work the best)
  • Yarn or Thread Tassel (optional)



  1. Grab your assortment of pretty christmas cards. (Any cards will really do)P1090143
  2. Measure and cut the card down to 4 x 7 inches.P1090145-001
  3. Try to capture the bulk of the picture or design.
  4. Fold the card in half the long way, right sides together.
  5. Now, fold the card in half again.  I like to fold each side separately so it is a crisper fold before putting it together to fold in half.P1090156-001
  6. Measure 1/4 inch down the single fold side of the bookmark.  mark this so that you do not cut past it later.P1090157-001
  7. Now, on the double folded edge, measure up 1/2 inch from the bottom and mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.P1090158
  8. On the other side on your 1/2 inch line, measure up from the bottom of the card 1 1/2 inches. Mark at 1/2 inch intervals until you have 11 marks.bookmark
  9. These marks should be offset at an angle.  It will look something like this above.P1090163
  10. You will now cut the angles every half inch being careful to stop 1/4 inch from the edge.  Make sure you are cutting from the double folded edge.  You will make 11 cuts.P1090166
  11. Now open the card back up carefully.P1090167
  12. Fold it in half again with the right sides facing out.  Make sure that the angle cuts from a V shape as you look at them.P1090172
  13. Begin folding up every other V shape starting from the bottom.  As you fold them up, tuck them under the next  V shape.  Move up the bookmark folding and tucking.  Tuck the last V shape under the top V.  They should hold in place.P1090178
  14. You can leave the bookmark as is or punch a hole in the top and string a yarn tassel through it.P1090140-001

A beautiful bookmark from a card you might have thrown away!

Hint:  If you have a smaller card, just make fewer cuts.  You will just need an ODD number of cuts for the folds to work.


Grandma Town BOM #11 – Apron Quilt Block

Can you believe it?  This is the last block for the Grandma Town Row by Row.  It is the green gingham apron my Grandmother wore.  She always cooked wearing an apron and I have a lovely green calico apron that I made her for a gift that was given back to me as a keepsake.  It is a cherished item.  This large apron block finishes at 12″ x 12″.  You will only need one apron block for this quilt and it is centered between the pies and canning jars.

grandma town Apron


Grandma Mabel’s favorite color was green.  I always thought that was strange as most girls said they loved pink.  I actually am more in tune with Grandma now and love the freshness of a bright apple green color.   I can still see Grandma rolling out some pies or working on Sunday dinner wearing her faithful aprons to keep her dress clean.  I have a collection of vintage aprons and they make me think of my special Grandma.

Are you sewing along?  If you are, post it on Instagram and tag me @lorimillerdesigns and #GrandmaTownBOM so I can see what lovely things you are stitching up.  A comprehensive pattern and directions for the Apron block along with the whole BOM is currently in development.

grandma Town Quilt A

Grandma Town Block of the Month

If you are new to the Grandma Town BOM, this row by row quilt was a labor of love to celebrate my Iowa roots.  I spent my childhood visiting my Grandparents on their farm just west of Des Moines in Earlham, Iowa.  It is especially a tribute to my dear Grandma.

When my sisters, brother and I were little and my parents would drive us to my grandparents farm, my brother would yell, “We are going to Grandma Town!”.  It was a loving tribute that stuck.  This little quilt is full of those reminders of the farm and of Grandma, who loved to garden and loved to cook.  Each block is a sweet memory of my youth growing up on that country farm.

I hope you will find some shared love for your family, a cherished farm  or your own grandma in my quilt.  You can make all of these sweet blocks or pick and choose the blocks you like the most to make something special for yourself or a dear loved one.


Released Blocks – 2015

FEB  Block 1 – Forget Me Not Flower

MAR  Block 2 – Sewing Machine

APR Block 3 – Nine Patch and Color Block Rows

MAY Block 4 – Ear of Corn

JUN Block 5 – Sweet Hearts

JUL  Block 6 – Canning Jar

AUG Block 7 – Barnyard Double Block

SEP Block 8 – Pie Quilt Block

OCT Block 9 – Home Sweet Home Double Block

NOV Block 10 – Chicken and Egg Block

Easy Holiday Fleece Pillows (free tutorial)

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 at JoAnns Fabrics 3 years ago, if not, find yourself a couple of remnants and get sewing.  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.

Fleece Dog Bone Neck Pillow (For the BIG Kids)

I really wish I had thought up this pattern. My girlfriend Wanda said it was the best little neck pillow ever, great for napping on an airplane, in the car or just drifting off in the lazy chair. I found this pattern at  It is a free pdf pattern.

You just cut out the pattern and tape it together. Then cut out three of these shapes.

You are going to stitch around 1/2 of two shapes.

Then add the third piece and sew all around leaving only a small opening for turning.

Turn it right side out and stuff it with some polyester stuffing. Then just whip stitch the opening closed.  All done!
Sew4home has the full pattern with instructions. You can whip one up in about 30 minutes. It will use up about 1/2 a yard of 45″ wide  fleece.

Fleece Friendly  Holiday Tree Pillow (For the LITTLE Kids)

This pattern is from me.  I thought it would be a cute accent for the chair or a great little gift for the little ones to get as an early gift before the holiday.

Here is my Free Tree Pattern for the cute little tree pillow.

Finished Size: 10″ x 12″

Materials Needed:

  • 1/3 yard of green fleece
  • Assorted scraps of fleece for the ornaments, eyes, note and mouth.
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Embroidery floss for the mouth
  • Coordinating threads


Note: Use a 1/4 ” seam allowance.

  1. Print out the pattern and use it to cut out two pieces of  green fleece placing the center of the tree on the fold.
  2. Embellish the front of the tree.  I cut out little circles for eyes, mouth and ornaments.
  3. Then I pinned them where I wanted them and then used a narrow zig zag stitch in matching thread to sew them all on. It goes pretty fast once you get started, the longest part is changing the thread color. I just used little circles for ornaments, but you can get fancy, add shapes, add rick rack, decorate your tree how you like it!
  4. Embroider the mouth with a large stem or running stitch.
  5. With wrong sides together, stitch ¼ inch from the edge of the fleece leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing.
  6. Clip the points and turn right side out.
  7. Stuff the tree with polyester stuffing and whip stitch the opening at the bottom closed.

Now you have a cute, washable, and huggable holiday tree!  Enjoy!