Button Cards – Free Printable

button card 3
I like to find different types of sewing and quilting gifts.  Digging through some of my Grandma’s old sewing notions, I ran across some vintage button cards.  These cards were very cute and much more embellished than some of the button cards you find today.  They were the perfect inspiration to create these vintage looking button cards that you can download and print yourself for free.

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Here are some of my vintage button cards.

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These cards make the perfect backdrop to share some fun buttons with my friends and they made great party favors for my sewing gals. They are a little larger than a regular button card, so they can accomodate almost any size of button.

Materials Needed:

  • Heavy cardstock paper
  • Color printer
  • Scissors
  • Buttons
  • Needle and thread

Directions:

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Using this Free Printable, print out your cards onto heavy cardstock paper.

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Carefully cut out the cards.

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With the needle and a double thread, sew on a few buttons onto each card, moving from button to button.

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If you knot after each button, you can just snip one button off at a time when you use them.

button card 1

Maybe this project is just what you needed to create the perfect gift for a fellow crafter, quilter, or sewer.  Why not clean out a few of those button in that jar you have filled to the brim? Everyone needs buttons!

While I was working on these, I kept thinking of cute little button sayings. How many of these did you think of?

  • Cute as a button
  • Bright as a button
  • Button up
  • Right on the button

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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)

Directions:

cards

  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.
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  4. Fold the card in half the long way, right sides together.
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  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
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  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.

 

DIY Seed Packets – free tutorial

seed packets

Even though I am a quilter, I am also a lifelong gardener.  Both fill me with joy and help me to relax.  Now that it is September, the garden is winding down.   I find myself looking for seeds to save for next year, especially flower seeds.  I am gathering zinnia, marigold, four o’clocks and morning glory seeds right now.

seeds

It is time to organize all of the seed packets I have strewn all over the sunroom and find a way to save the seeds.  Here is how I store my seeds and a free tutorial on how make your own seed packets for seeds you might be saving.

Storing your seeds

seed container

I use an airtight container like a glass jar or plastic container with a lid to store my seeds.

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To keep out moisture, I add a few of those little packets of silica jel saved from pill containers to keep them dry.  Then I put my seeds inside a paper or cloth grocery bag to eliminate any light and I leave them in my sunroom over the winter.  It is not heated, so the seeds get freezing cold.  This simulates being in the cold ground, so when spring comes, the seeds know it is time to be planted.

Can you keep seeds for more than one year?

I say YES, you don’t have to have new seeds each year if you have some left over.  They are too expensive to just throw away!  Many seeds keep for at least two years and often many more years if you store them in a dry, cool place.  I tend to use my seeds for several years as long as they will still germinate.  Some seeds are notorious for not keeping over the season for me, like lettuce and spinach, but almost everything else works.

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Organizing your seeds

I like to organize mine by alphabetical order, but I am thinking I should switch it up and do it by the timing of when to plant them instead.  I also like to separate vegetables, flowers and herbs into their own groups.

Saving Seeds

I like to save a few seeds for the next year, some things go to seed and it is easy to gather them.  Some of my favorites that are easy to save are zinnia, morning glory, forget me not, and marigold seeds.  I will also save seeds from melons, cucumbers and anything that gets too big before I pick it!  Just remember that if you planted a hybrid seed, the seeds will not grow true.  I like to pick heirloom seeds that you can easily save and get the same plant.  I have some funky heirloom cherry tomato seeds right now that I can hardly wait to plant next year.

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Make your own seed envelopes

I let the seeds dry and then I make these cute envelopes and labels to store and keep them.  I have found the heavy weight scrapbook paper is perfect for this, but you could recycle junk mail or catalogs too.  Here is the FREE DIY Seed Envelope Pattern in two sizes and a FREE DIY Seed Labels Template  (The labels are in an MS Word file template using Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″).

Materials:

  • 12″ x 12″ Scrapbook Papers
  • Heavy Cardstock for template
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Return address labels sized 1″ x 2 5/8″ for printer

Directions:

  1. Print out the template and cut it out of heavy cardstock or cardboard to use to trace around.P1080669
  2. Position it on your scrap book paper and use a pencil on the wrong side to trace around it.P1080671
  3. You can fit 2 large and 2 small envelopes on a standard 12 x 12 scrapbook paper.P1080675
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  4. Cut out your envelopes.P1080679
  5. First fold the large side flap.P1080680
  6. Use a glue stick to glue the outside edge of the flap.P1080682
  7. Fold the small flap over and crease in place.P1080687
  8. Glue the bottom flap and fold it up into place.P1080690
  9. Let the envelope and glue dry for a bit.P1080693
  10. They are so easy, make a bunch of envelopes.P1080697
  11. Print out your labels and attach one to each  envelope.P1080699-001
  12. Mark the label with the type of seed and date and then fill them up with your saved seeds.  Fold the top flap down and secure with a sticky dot or  a little glue and organize them in your container.

Gift idea!  Make these for Mother’s day or for a garden party for favors.  These would make nice gifts to slip inside a birthday card too.

What seeds do you like to save?

Stitch a Paper Snowflake Garland (free downloadable)

snowflake garland - lori miller designs

Here in Michigan, we have been digging out of a pretty good snow storm today.  It has been very frosty here, but it was pretty, fluffy white 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.

Materials Required:

  • Paper to cut out snowflakes
  • Scissors For garland
  • Your sewing machine
  • Matching thread.

Paper Snowflake Refresher

Don’t worry, if you have not made these in a while, I am including a Free Downloadable Snowflake Template to get you started again and thinking frosty crystal design.

If you don’t have a great virtual spacial imagination, it can help to use the template to wrap your head around the paper snowflake dynamics until you get the hang of it again.

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  1. Using my template, cut out one of the hexagon shapes.P1050241
  2. Snowflakes are six sided — starting to remember now?  Fold the hexagon in half. (Keep your design on the outside so you can see it to cut later.)P1050243-001
  3. Fold it again in thirds.P1050244
  4. Fold it again in half so you can see the design to cut.P1050246
  5. Now, cut away the shaded part. If you are not exact, it does not really matter, every snowflake is unique!P1050252
  6. Once you have cut out the design, very carefully unfold your snowflake.P1050254
  7. Voila! A beautiful masterpiece.  Now cut out the rest of them and snip, snip, snip, until you have a pile of snowflakes. Once you’ve cut out the template snowflakes, you should be proficient enough to design your own.

Stitch the Snowflake Garland

  1. I used an all purpose white thread in my sewing machine and set the stitch length to about 3 mm.
  2. Grab your pile of snowflakes.P1050258
  3. Start sewing right through the middle of the paper snowflake, I took about 3 stitches in between each snowflake before I started the next one. Just keep stitching and adding snowflakes until you get the length you want.  That’s all there is to it.P1050259
  4. Drape a string across a window or wall.P1050263

  5. Or let them hang straight down in your front window by the door.

How will you decorate with your garland? Why not make several rows of garland to hang down your windows? Don’t forget about work! Send a strand with someone special to decorate their work cubicle or office.

What creative things are you making?