February 11, 2016

TGIFF and Denim Days - Heart Cushion Cover

Welcome back to TGIFF! I hope you have some fun finishes to link up this week!

This is week 2 of Denim Days, where I am sharing ideas for how to use the (kind of) free fabric you may have stashed in a closet. I'm talking, of course, about old jeans! Every Friday in February I'll be sharing a project or two using recycled denim. To see last week's projects, click here.

This week I have a tutorial for a cute and quick cushion cover.

Let's get started!

Gather Your Supplies

* Old jeans in a variety of colours (my jeans were already torn into strips when I took this picture).
* 1 fat quarter of a bright print for the heart and the cushion backing
* a piece of fabric for the foundation. This will not be seen, so it doesn't matter if it matches or not.
* a heart template. I used the highly technical method of folding a piece of paper in half and drawing half a heart. My template measures about 6 1/4" at its widest part
* a washable glue stick
* pins
* rotary cutter, mat and ruler
* thread, both for piecing and for stitching around the heart applique
* a 12" cushion insert

Make the Cushion Cover Front

To deconstruct the jeans, make a cut on either side of each of the leg seams.
Rip all the way up the leg, then cut across the top. As you can see, this is a great way to use jeans that have holes in the knees!

To make the strips, simply measure across the bottom as wide as you want the strip to be and make a cut, then rip again. Make a bunch of strips in a variety of widths (I used 12 strips for one cushion and 11 for the other). Press the strips and trim off the loose threads.


2 rectangles 12 1/2" x 9" from the print. One of my fat quarters was not quite the standard 18" width so I cut one of the rectangles at 8". There's a little less overlap at the back of the cushion, but it looks fine.

1 square 12 1/2" x 12 1/2" from the foundation fabric.
Lay the foundation square on your work surface. Take one long strip of denim and lay it diagonally across the middle of the square, right side up.  Make sure it extends past the corners. Pin along one edge.
Lay another long strip on top, right sides together, and align the edge away from the pins. Stitch, using a 1/4" seam, and making sure your stitches extend past the foundation square.
Press the strip open.
Continue adding strips until the entire foundation square is covered. To make this part even faster, I added a strip to each side before going to press the strips open. Be sure to use wide strips in the corners so you won't have to deal with any extra bulk in the corners from seam allowances when you're finishing the cushion.

When the whole foundation square is covered, lay the piece right side down on your cutting mat.
Using a long ruler, trim the excess denim even with the foundation.
Trace around the heart template on the print, then cut it out. 
Use the glue stick to make a line of glue along the edge of the wrong side of the heart. Be careful not to stretch the bias edges of the fabric.
Position the heart near the bottom right of the cushion front. Press with a hot, dry iron to set the glue.
Using thread to either match or contrast with the fabric, stitch around the heart. I used a zig zag stitch, but you could also use just a straight stitch or a blanket stitch.

Finish the Cushion

On one long side of each of the print 12 1/2" x 9" rectangles, fold 1/4" towards the wrong side and press. Then fold over 1/4" again and press. Stitch close to the folded edge.
Lay the cushion front on your work surface, right side up. Position one of the print rectangles on top, right sides together and matching up the raw edges.
Position the other print rectangle on top, again right sides together with the cushion cover and matching up the raw edges. The finished edges of the rectangles will overlap across the middle of the cushion front. Pin in place.
Stitch all the way around with a 1/4" seam. Clip the corners and turn the cushion cover right side out through the opening in the back. Give it a good press, put in a 12" cushion insert and you're done!
I think these would look cute with other applique designs too, like a flower or a letter for a monogram.

Now it's your turn! What have you finished this week? Remember to visit a few of the other links and celebrate what others have finished too.

February 09, 2016

Wishlisted Class Sale

Just popping in to let you know that Craftsy is celebrating their 1000th class by offering their most wishlisted classes for 50% off until Thursday.

There are 201 classes included in the sale, including classes by Jacquie Gering, Christina Cameli, Angela Walters, Jenny Doan and Leah Day. And that's just the quilting classes. There are also classes in sewing, drawing, photography, cooking, woodworking, cake decorating, painting, knitting...Is it any wonder they have 1000 classes available?

The Sewing with Knits class is also included, if any of you want to join in with me for my 2016 Challenge. I've watched the first few lessons and I'm really enjoying it. I was watching it this morning, actually, while trimming a big pile of HSTs. Now it's just a matter of laying my hands on some fabric and actually trying it!

I've said before that I'm a huge fan of Craftsy's classes, which is why I have no problem promoting them. I have 12 classes on my own wishlist, and I'm sure I could add a bunch more considering all the new classes they've offered since I last updated my list.

What's on your wishlist?

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link, then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission on the sale. This does not affect the price you pay.

February 08, 2016


Devotion for the Week...

Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict writes a series of posts she calls What's on the Bookshelf Wednesdays, in which she shares a book from (you guessed it) her bookshelf. Some are new books, some are older and almost all of them are sewing related. A couple of weeks ago, though, she shared a book by Kristen Welch called Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. I had never heard of Kristen, but Sarah's review was quite thought-provoking, so I clicked over to Kristen's blog, We are THAT Family, to learn more. I highly recommend the blog, and spent a good bit of time there, poking around and reading posts.

I don't have the book (it's definitely on my wishlist), but in reading Kristen's blog and the posts of other bloggers who reviewed her book, it became obvious that Kristen's theory is that kids today feel entitled because we, the parents, feel entitled too. That gave me a lot to think about over the past week and a bit.

Entitled means "believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment." Very few, if any, of us would say we feel we deserve special treatment. In fact, my immediate reaction was to think "Not me!" However, Kristen sets entitlement opposite gratitude, so that every moment we complain about the things we don't have, or the job we have to do even though we hate it, and every time we get annoyed at someone for inconveniencing us, those moments are all symptoms of our feelings of entitlement. They're a sign that we feel, however subtly, that we should have everything we want and we should only have to do the things we want to do. I don't know about you, but I have to admit I've had those feelings at times, rather more often than I care to admit even.

Unfortunately, these thoughts go directly against how God wants us to think. The Bible tells us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3,4). That sounds like pretty much the opposite of feeling entitled, doesn't it? 

It also sounds hard. Since reading Sarah's review of the book and then reading some of Kristen's blog, I've been noticing just how often those kinds of entitled thoughts cross my mind. It's not pretty.  We are naturally selfish creatures, and those natural tendencies do not just go away when we become Christian. If only it were that easy! 

Humility means "a modest or low view of one's own importance," which sounds much more like what God wants for me. Not that He doesn't think that I'm important, (see just how worthy He thinks we are), but He doesn't want us to have an inflated opinion of ourselves.

In humility, we value others about ourselves, which is much easier to do if we aren't stuck in a pattern of thinking too much of ourselves. With that humility, it's also easier to be concerned about the interests of others rather than always thinking about ourselves.

Thankfully, we don't have to make this change in attitude alone. In Romans 8:5, Paul wrote, "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." If we are willing to listen, the Holy Spirit will remind us when our attitudes are not humble, and when a feeling of entitlement is rearing its ugly head.
If our minds are set on what the Spirit desires, then when He prompts us to make changes in our attitudes, we will be willing to listen and, most importantly, to respond. Then we will trade feelings of entitlement for feelings of gratitude and a spirit of service to others.

February 04, 2016

TGIFF - Introducing Denim Days!

It's time for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday! If this is your first time here at Devoted Quilter, welcome! I can't wait to see what you've finished this week :)

I'm a bit of a packrat, and I've had a closet full of old jeans for years. I didn't know what I was going to use them for, but I certainly wasn't about to throw them out - all that denim is like free fabric, after all! To be honest, part of why I wasn't using the jeans was the simple fact that I didn't want to deconstruct them into usable pieces. I made a denim quilt for my brother back in 2000 and taking all those jeans apart was a real pain in the behind hand. Cutting denim with scissors is hard work!

Then, sometime before Christmas, Natalia Bonner of Piece N Quilt, posted a picture on Instagram of a denim quilt she made years ago, and she said the denim for it was all torn. I checked out the tutorial on her blog and was excited to see that she deconstructed all the jeans for her quilt by tearing them, just like fabric stores used to tear the fabric you bought. I got out a pair of my old jeans and gave it a try and it worked! Not only that, but ripping denim is strangely therapeutic :)

I was in between projects in early January and waiting for fabric to come in the mail, so I started playing with some of that denim I've been hoarding. The result is a whole series of projects, which I'll be sharing every Friday in February. I'm calling it Denim Days.

Each Friday this month I'll share a project or two. Some will be my own designs and I'll include tutorials, while others will be projects I've made using someone else's tutorial. All of them will help you use up any old jeans you have lying around. If you don't have old jeans lying around, thrift stores are a great source, or ask friends (especially friends who have kids) to donate their old jeans to a good cause -your awesome sewing projects!

Without further ado, here are my projects for today. The first one is a reversible headband I made using this tutorial by Vanessa of Crafty Gemini Creates.

Vanessa uses quilting cotton for both sides of her headband, but I was already in "What else can I make out of denim?" mode when I decided to make mine, so I decided to try using denim for one side. The tutorial recommends Shape Flex, which I didn't have, but I did have some fusible interfacing lying around, so I used that on the quilting cotton. I didn't bother to use any on the denim side because I figured it would be stiff enough without it, and I was right. It's perfect! Using the denim did make it a little harder to turn the headband right side out, but it was still doable. The whole project only took about 20 minutes, including making the template, and now when my hair is getting on my nerves, I can get it out of my face. Yippee! As a bonus, denim goes with pretty much everything.

When I was making the Travel Tic Tac Toe Games that I gave as Christmas gifts, I was already thinking that it would be fun to make a couple using denim for the 9 patch block for the game board, so these were the first things I made after tearing apart some of those old jeans. I really love how they turned out!
Instead of stitching in the ditch around the 9 patch block, I used red thread and a tight zig zag stitch to really emphasize the divisions between the squares. Other than that, I followed the instructions in my tutorial completely.

I hope you'll come back every Friday this month to see what else I'll be sharing for Denim Days! I'm really excited about the projects :) Also, my Just the Basics mystery quilt-a-long will begin in March, so be sure to follow me if you're interested in that! You can find the links for following by Bloglovin, email, Feedly and Instagram in my sidebar.

Now it's your turn! Link up to show off your finishes, then go visit a few of the other links and don't forget to leave comments. It's only a party if we interact with each other, right?

February 02, 2016

Compassion Bloggers in Ecuador

Are you familiar with Compassion International? They are a child-sponsorship organization whose motto states they are "releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name."

Right now there is a team of Compassion bloggers in Ecuador, meeting sponsored children and seeing firsthand the amazing work being done in their lives.  They're blogging about their experiences each day and you can read those posts here, or just click on the image. Some of the stories are really beautiful, this one especially!

While you're reading, would you consider sponsoring a child? For only $38 a month, you can help a child move beyond their poverty and reach for dreams that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
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