Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Easy "Patchwork" Coasters

I shared the instructions for these over on my other blog, but thought I would post them again here because they make very nice gifts. Four of these coasters, made from holiday fabrics and tied in a stack with holiday ribbon, would make a lovely hostess gift when you visit family or friends during the Christmas season. It’s also fun to enclose some of these coasters in a gift bag along with your other kitcheny gifts such as homemade goodies or mixes. These are super simple to make and require no sewing skills other than being able to sew in a straight line and turn corners. Have fun with this idea!

(a great project for using up fabric scraps)

For each coaster you will need:

FABRICS: Five 5-inch squares of different coordinating fabrics
One 5-inch square of thin cotton batting OR flannel (be advised that thicker batting will not work)

DIRECTIONS: Choose the fabric you want to be the back of the coaster. Lay this square, right side up, on top of the batting square. Pin in place.

Fold the remaining four squares in half diagonally, wrong sides in. Press the resulting triangles so the folds are crisp and smooth.

Lay 2 of the triangles just formed on top of the fabric/batting layer. The folds of the triangles should meet at the center, and the raw edges should line up with the outer edges and corners of the squares beneath.

Do the same with the remaining 2 triangles, but slant their folded edges in the opposite direction -- like an X. Interlock the triangles like a pouch.

Pin along the outer edges of the entire stack -- 4 layers -- batting; square of fabric for back; set of 2 triangles; set of 2 triangles.

Stitch around all 4 sides in a 1/4-inch seam.

Trim seams if necessary and clip off each corner.

Turn coaster right side out and push out the corners so they are nice and square. Press coaster .

If you like, make the coasters in sets of 4, 6, or more, and tie them together with ribbon or jute for gifts. These make wonderful hostess gifts! It’s also fun to make these up in holiday fabrics for the different seasons.

I must hasten to note that this is not my original idea. A new acquaintance kindly shared this pattern with me a number of years ago, but I’m not sure who actually originated it. In any case, I’ve made a couple of refinements to the pattern as I received it. It’s probably still not as clear as it might be, but it takes so long for me to load photos that I probably won’t be trying to write a tutorial for it anytime soon. It’s a lot easier than it sounds -- you will just be straight stitching around the edges of a square and turning it right side out, but the result is impressively complicated looking and very pretty.

Hope others have as much fun with these coasters as I have!

Great idea for kitchen gifts

With Christmas less than 2 months away, it’s high time I got back to posting here! I hope I can share something every day that might help with your Christmas planning and gift ideas.

Today, I want to pass on something neat that I don’t recall seeing in catalogs before -- bakeable corrugated paper loaf pans. You can bake your quick breads, fruitcakes, etc. in these and then give them away in the same decorative pan you baked them in.

So far, I have seen these advertised in two catalogs -- Gooseberry Patch
and the King Arthur Baker’s Catalogue.

The Baker’s Catalogue offers other sizes and shapes of these pans as well -- even star-shaped ones! You might like to check these out for yourself and see if they would be helpful for your kitchen gifts this Christmas.