Making Merry with Janome – Reversible Gift Tags

Things are starting to feel festive around here. Some holiday shopping has been done and we are just starting to pull out decorations to make our home more festive for the season.

tamara kate - gift tags stack


I haven’t been sewing since the wild rush of preparing for Quilt Market back in October and started to feel the itch to get back to it last week. A quick project is always a good way to begin and so I was thrilled to be asked to participate in Making Merry with Janome, a fun daily sewing project inspiration blog hop to help get all of you wonderful sewers in the mood to create a little holiday magic of your own.

Here are some fun reversible gift tags I whipped up for kids’ gifts. After gift-opening, they can be reused as personalized Christmas ornaments (oh, how they love personalized ornaments) for years to come.

tamara kate - gift tags 3

Should you wish to create some yourself, here is a quick guide:

What I used

– solid coloured fabric (I used Cotton Couture)
– co-ordinating patterned fabrics (I used scraps of Festive Forest)
– iron-on interfacing (something mid-weight will work well)
– cookie cutters for shapes
– scraps of quilt batting
– co-ordinating ribbon
– fabric pen; thread (the colour of which will contrast well with your solid fabric), scissors
– a sewing machine that has embroidered letter options or embroidery thread and needle to do it by hand

tamara kate - cookie cutters

What I did

Iron interfacing to one side of the solid fabric. This will make the embroidery much smoother and help avoid fabric puckering.

Embroider the desired name approx. 3″ from sides of fabric (I found it easier to work with a larger piece of fabric and then cut it down after embroidering to ensure the name would be centred). Below are a bit of the embroidery options I am lucky enough to have at my disposal on the Janome MC8200.

janome machine embroidery

Place the cookie cutter on the fabric, centre name and trace around the outside of the shape with a fabric pen. Cut a basic square or rectangle around the traced shape, with about an extra inch of fabric all around. Cut a piece of batting and of patterned fabric, all roughly the same size. Sandwich the batting between the 2 fabric layers with right sides of both fabrics facing out.

Cut a 10″ length of ribbon. Place the two ribbon ends inside the sandwich at the top of the shape, inserting the ends about a half inch. Pin or hold in place.

With a small straight stitch, sew all the way around the shape about 1/8″ inside the drawn line, anchoring the ribbon in the process.

Cut through the 3 layers all the way around on the drawn line, being careful to not cut the ribbon.

tamara kate - gift tag sewings

And that’s it!

tamara kate - gift tags row

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Sewing!

tamara kate - gift tags tins

Reversible Kid’s Apron Tutorial

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Blog, Festive Forest, Holidays, Tutorials | No Comments

festive forest aprons - tamara kate

This is one of those great little gift ideas for a child who loves helping in the kitchen as my two do. A simple apron that’s got a few somethings extra. Firstly, it’s reversible so you can play around with a few of your favourite co-ordinating fabrics. Second, it can have a bit of extra pizzaz along the bottom edge with some added trim, ribbon, pompom fringe, you name it! And third, it’s done up by a third contrasting fabric tie around the waist & neck and a fun button at the top edge. What more could you want? Oh… That it’s easy & quick? Yes, it’s that too!

festive forest apron - tamara kate

As these were Christmas gifts for my kids last year, I made them in FESTIVE FOREST fabrics. For Em’s I chose Winter Woods in Garland, Budding in Santa for the reverse side and Gem in Holly for the straps. For Max’s I used Sweater Weather in Ribbon, Gem in Evergreen on the reverse side and Freckled in Santa for the straps.

festive forest fox apron - tamara kate

Getting these two to agree to model for photos is becoming increasingly difficult, hence this post is decidedly later than I had planned. There was bribing involved (a trip to our favourite art supply store, so it wasn’t hard for me to agree) in accomplishing this shoot and much silliness (which I love) in the resulting shots. These are but a few (and yes, my son definitely needs a haircut):

festive forest aprons - tamara kate

festive forest aprons2 - tamara kate

festive forest aprons3 - tamara kate


What I Used:

– 2 co-ordinating pieces of fabric 17″ x 22″ each. These can be fat quarters, but if using directional fabric, keep in mind the pattern needs to run along the 22″ length.
– 1 piece of fabric 30″ x 9″ for the neck band & waist ties.
– co-ordinating thread.
– optional 18″ co-ordinating ribbon, fringe, trim, etc. You could even use a few pieces of ribbon, each 18″ long, as indicated below.
– A button, roughly 3/4″ diameter.

What I Did:

A little note about sizing: My kids are 7 and 9 years old and this is great for them. If making it for a much smaller child, you may want to shrink the measurements by a couple of inches, but don’t make it too much shorter as they grow so quickly.

reversible apron cutting & sewing

– Fold both large pieces of fabric in half so they are 8½” x 22″. Measure 13″ up from the bottom on the non-folded edge. Put a mark. Measure 4″ in from non-folded edge along the top. Put a mark. Join these 2 marks with a straight line and cut. Unfold your fabric.

– Cut 30″ x 9″ strip of fabric as follows:
– 2 pieces 30″ x 2½”
– 1 piece 21″ x 2½”

– Fold each of these fabrics in half, right sides together, to form long narrow band. Press. Stitch with ¼” seam along the long unfolded edge & one short edge on all three pieces. Turn right side out. Press.

– If adding ribbon, pin ribbon about 2″ from the bottom edge of whichever fabric you choose (you could add to both if desired), straight across fabric. Topstitch in place along top & bottom edges of ribbon. If adding multiple pieces to one side, stagger them from ½” to 1″ apart, as desired, going up the front.

– If adding pompom fringe, you will insert it in this next step:

– Place 1 main piece of fabric on flat surface, right side facing up. Lay 2 longer sewn bands ½” below the bottom edge of the cut angle with raw short edge of bands protruding from main fabric side edges by ½”. Lay shorter sewn band ½” in from the top right edge of the cut angle with raw short edge of band protruding from main fabric top edge by ½”. If using pompom fringe at bottom edge, lay it so that pompoms are toward the top of the apron with edge of fringe’s solid band placed 3/8″ from bottom of apron. Carefully place other piece of fabric right side down on top of this and pin all the way around, pinning heavily along pompom edge. If not using fringe, simply place fabric on top & pin all the way around.

– Sew with a ½” seam all the way around, leaving about a 5″ gap along one side. Turn right side out. Press. Topstitch all around main apron, 1/8″ from edge.

– Make a button hole ½” from top edge, ½” from angled edge on left side. Sew button to neck band (doesn’t matter which side) about 16″ from apron top edge. This strap can be twisted a half-turn for fastening, depending on which side of the apron the wearer chooses to have showing at any given time.

All done!

festive forest aprons4 - tamara kate

A Merry Pillow Cover by Brooke Sellmann

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in Blog, Festive Forest, Holidays, Tutorials | One Comment

Feast your eyes on this charming pillow:

brooke sellmann merry pillow

It was created by the talented Brooke Sellmann of Silly Mama Quilts with FESTIVE FOREST fabric.

Don’t you just love those evergreens? They are so effective in the different green fabrics from the collection, looking like they are all decorated for the holidays. And the band of red Budding fabric across the top and bottom frame it perfectly.

You can see a tutorial on this project, including the fun back, on Brooke’s blog.

Thanks for another great project Brooke!

A Fun Festive Forest Table Runner

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Blog, Festive Forest, Holidays | One Comment

I’ll start this off by warning you, I’m pretty excited about this new happy fabric collection of mine, so it’s going to be a bit like Winter holidays in April here for a bit. Hope you enjoy!

First up on the list of inspiring projects made with Festive Forest:

A cheery table runner by Brooke Sellmann of Silly Mama Quilts. Brooke is a talented sewer and quilter who whips up fun, happy pieces.

festive forest runner

I love the way she has positioned the Winter Woods fabric along the long edges, facing out on both sides, so it can be admired from both sides of the table. So smart! That jagged line of stronger prints down the middle keeps everything centred & balanced. And take a closer look… her quilting (which is always impressively neat) is done with variegated thread that plays on the christmas colors.

festive forest runner dtail

Head on over to Brooke’s blog for a closer look and a tutorial, should you wish to make one yourself.

Thanks for your fun contribution, Brooke! Great way to start this off!

Festive Forest

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in Blog, Festive Forest, Holidays | 12 Comments

Things have been pretty sparse around this blog lately. My apologies, but I’ve been working away furiously for the past few months on a number of projects, none of which I’ve been able to share yet. Finally, however, there is a fun something that is finding its way out onto the market.

It seems to be a good time to introduce you to a new fabric collection of mine that will start to be available in stores over the next week or so. This is FESTIVE FOREST, my first holiday fabric collection with Michael Miller Fabrics. I know… you probably don’t want to think about Christmas right now, but think how in advance you will be for later this year if you start planning now!

festive forest swatches

Festive Forest is a winter wonderland collection… Because all little creatures should feel festive & cozy as the air turns chilly and the flakes start falling. A place where sweater-clad foxes enjoy a light snowfall…

DC6602_Sweater Weather_Hollyberry

… where winter birds find a soft spot to make and decorate their nests in a buck’s antlers…

DC6603 Festive Nest - Snow

… and where deer wear striped scarves while wandering the woods.

DC6601 Winter Woods _Garland

Over the next few weeks, a couple talented sewers and I will share some projects that this line inspired, from quilts to apparel to accessories in hopes that they inspire a little something festive for you to create.

Valentine Quilts

Posted by on Jan 20, 2015 in Blog, Holidays, Quilts, Tutorials | 4 Comments

Have you heard? Michael Miller Fabrics has a new valentine fabric collection, Sweetheart. I love a good heart fabric, so I was inspired to get creative when I saw the collection, along with a few other prints like their charming Cherry Dot. I decided that a couple Valentine themed quilts were in order.

valentines quilts

First, there’s “Lots of Love“, which I am quite enamoured with for its graphic simplicity. Once I figured out how to connect all the hearts together (lots of staring at them, shifting them around and trying to get my head around the geometry of it all) I came up with something that is quite easy to make using a 60° triangle ruler.

Lots of Love quilt

I quilted it with a walking foot, framing each heart, then randomly selected a few hearts to echo this frame a number of times.

Lots of Love quilt detail

In this next image you can catch a tiny glimpse of the backing fabric, Crossing Paths in Red, one of my own fabrics with Michael Miller.

Lots of Love quilt folded

Then I made “Cupid’s Arrow“, adding some low volume black & white prints for the ground. This one is a bit more involved, but pretty simple to create as well, with half-square triangles for the heart and some strip piecing that’s then cut on an angle for the arrow tails.

cupid's arrow quilt

I also threw some Cotton Couture solids into this one and used this fun script print on the back. It is quilted with simple straight horizontal & vertical lines.

cupid's arrow quilt folded2

I love that when it’s folded and displayed on a ladder it can be hung horizontally or vertically.

cupid's arrow quilt folded4

cupid's arrow quilt folded3

Free tutorials for both these quilts can be found on the Michael Miller website here and here. Sending love your way!

DIY Advent Calendar

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, Holidays, Spoonflower | 2 Comments

This is an oldie, but a goodie.

advent calendar

Festive Forest Tree Decorating

This was my winning entry 3 years ago in a Spoonflower contest for advent calendars and it continues to be popular. As the air starts to get a bit chillier, sales on this and my DIY ornaments and angels fabric or wrapping paper start to pick up for the season, and this year is no exception.

advent calendar pockets

Lots of cute forest creatures come out of the pockets, one by one, to adorn a festive birch tree for the holidays. It has become part of the holiday tradition in our home, with my kids taking turns hanging them before breakfasts for the month of December. If you would like to build one into your own family’s traditions, you can order it here (I strongly suggest ordering it on the linen-cotton canvas… it has a beautiful hand and structure that is perfect for the project)>

advent calendar details

Writing this inspired me to create a new one. One that coordinates with a certain Christmas-something that just may be making its debut at Quilt Market this weekend…


The Festive Forest Advent Calendar can be found here.

They are both printed on a yard of fabric with ornaments & instructions printed alongside & a special extra something on the side.

A Little Quilted Love

Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Blog, Flight Patterns, Holidays | 6 Comments

flight patterns pillow crop

Sending love & thoughts of Spring (it’s right around the corner, dear friends … I know it is) to you all.

Keeping the Hands Busy

Posted by on Jan 10, 2014 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Hand Stitching, Holidays | No Comments

Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a festive and relaxing holiday time.

A sampling of a few projects that have been keeping these hands busy:

patchwork long pillow
A looooong body pillow to put against the chilly exterior wall along my girlie’s loft bed.

decorated stockings2
Updated stockings that were “too plain, Mummy”.

fabric & sequins

felt & sequins

My kids love The Nutcracker. They have been to the production put on by Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and their little heads are full of dancing magical images. My talented Greg made them each a figurine for the Christmas tree this season out of modelling clay. I was up late painting them to have them wrapped under the tree Christmas morning.

greg costa clara nutcracker model

greg costa drosselmeyer nutcracker model
… and Uncle Drosselmeyer

And I have been doing more. More sewing that I will post on in the coming weeks, working on a new fabric collection that I am crossing my fingers and toes will be produced, baking, baking, baking & not cooking much (Christmas dinner was non-traditional and actually really fun and relaxed … sushi … and to my surprise, it was actually just as festive as turkey), sledding with the kids, and generally trying to keep warm.

I wish you all a year of creativity, trying new things, and not taking matters too seriously!

Happy Easter!

Posted by on Mar 31, 2013 in Blog, Family, Holidays | No Comments

Last year’s decorated eggs. This year there was a bit too much going on over the past week, what with Passover and birthday parties, to get my act together.

These were a multi-stepped project that the kids enjoyed helping with. First we hard boiled the eggs. Then, while they were still quite warm, we drew on them with crayons. The heat of the egg makes the crayons melt and adhere to the shell. Then we put them in dye baths. The dye is resisted by the wax, so you can get great contrasting colour play happening. And, for the final step (some of the less persistent kids flake out a bit by the time you get here), we randomly brushed on gold leaf sizing, waited for it to become a bit tacky, and applied gold & silver leaf. Oh … and from the tool box of a 6yr old, I do believe there was a bit of star-shaped glitter glue happening as well.

I hope the Easter Bunny shared a bit of sweetness with you all today.