Self-Binding Minky Blanket

quilt

As the weather turns cold and the leaves have completely changed, all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a cozy blanket. I have always been attached to blankets. Growing up, I was the child attached to a beloved baby blanket that was dragged through the mud and cried on wash days.

Today, I want to share with you an easy self-binding minky blanket to decorate with or make for a loved one.

Products recommended for this project:

  • Sewing Machine [any will do, I used Bernina Activa 140 because it is the one I have]
  • Thread to match fabric [Coats & Clark all-purpose thread works universally on all machines]
  • Straight pins
  • Fabric of your choice [Pictured is Forest Floor, Wild Posy by Bonnie Christine and white dimple minky]
  • Batting of your choice [80/20 from JoAnn’s Fabric is easy to work with and adds necessary weight]
  • Fabric Scissors, Gingers
  • OLFA cutting mat
  • OLFA rotary cutter [45 mm is the easiest to use]
  • Omnigrid Ruler
  • Hand needle

quilt-supplies

To begin, decide what size the blanket will be when it is finished. I decided I was going to make it a small baby quilt = 1 1/2 yards.

Once the size is decided, cut the top and bottom to the desired size using the cutting mat, rotary cutter and ruler. Remember it is important to measure twice and cut once!

After the fabric is cut, lay out the batting and place the fabrics right-sides together on top of it. Pin the fabrics close together to the batting. Once the blanket is pinned to the batting completely, use fabric scissors (Gingers) to cut the batting to size following the fabrics edge. Make sure to leave the pins in.

Now it is time to sew! Place the pressure foot in the middle of a side using a 5/8 inch seam all the way around the blanket. When returning to the side where you first began, leave a hole 6 inches to allow for the blanket to be turned right-side out. Back stitching should be completed at the beginning and the end of the process.

Note: the reason I suggest to complete this step in the middle is because it will be easier to hand sew and maintain a straight edge instead of dealing with a corner.

To make the corners appear normal when completely finished, create a mitered corner. Cut each corner at a 45-degree angle as close to the stitches without breaking the stitches. This allows the excess fabric to be removed and lay flat once the blanket/quilt is finished.

Turning right-side out by putting your hand in the hole and reaching for a corner and pulling it through the hole. Complete this step until the blanket shows the pretty fabric you selected.

Hand sew the hole created to turn the quilt right-side out. This requires the edges to be folded in and a simple loop stitch to close the gap. This stitching will show, so make sure it looks good.

needle

Sew again, 1.5 inches around the entire blanket creating a “border”. This step can be omitted, but I think it provides a nice finished look and long-term will allow it to be more durable.

finished

That’s it! So easy that anyone can do it. Use this technique for other blankets or quilts. My favorite thing to do with this pattern is to make baby blankets and give to those in need. While the blanket is fun to create, the time spent cuddling up on cold fall days or serving those in need is what will bring the most happiness.

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Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

As summer has faded into fall, I can’t help but think of all treats consisting of pumpkin. Every year, I make pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie; but a personal favorite has become the easiest pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. October is the month of Halloween, and it is only necessary to celebrate by making these cookies everyone will happily devour.

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The recipe is three ingredients. You heard me right, three.

Recipe:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can of pumpkin
  • 1 box Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 (12 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips (any will work-usually, I use milk chocolate)

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Line baking sheet with parchment paper or grease
-Mix pumpkin and cake mix together (unprepared, powder only) in a medium bowl until there are no lumps. Fold in the chocolate chips. (*Fold means hand mix gently)
-Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
-Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edges start to golden.
-Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes.

*It is important to note, doubling the recipe would be less wasteful because pumpkin usually comes in 30 oz. cans + this means there will be more to share!

This is a tried and true recipe. Previously, I had always tried to get the right consistency when it came to pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but had no success. No matter what recipe I tried or altered, they would either be too sticky, taste strictly like spice, or cook completely flat. This recipe has been a game changer. The cookies turn out perfect every time and your guests will think you spent all day in the kitchen-but in reality you have been enjoying the leaves changing, carving pumpkins, or planning out your Halloween costume.

These cookies don’t only taste good, but they smell good. The smell of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies cooking in the oven, is a smell I want to last all fall.

Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tried and true recipes. Gaining a love for baking from my grandmother, she always made sure there was something homemade at home; especially on Sundays. Often, she would experiment with different recipes and we soon found which ones were favorites because they were on constant repeat.

This is my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, which is quick and easy for when you are in a hurry to spread some goodness or simply enjoy a treat!

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Here is the recipe:

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Personally, I omit the chopped walnuts + add 1 pkg. of chocolate chips. This is a personal preference, but it makes them oh, so delightful.

Tips & Tricks on achieving the perfect cookie:

  • Follow the recipe in order (it ensures the perfect cookie)
  • Beating the first column, and then hand mixing the second column of ingredients makes a difference.
  • Use a table spoon (heaping) to measure out the cookies, this maximizes the amount of cookies produced and creates uniform goodness.
  • Cook for 6.5 minutes; this is key. The consistency of the cookies become crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

I hope you share these with someone you love, or treat yourself. Happy baking + sharing something handmade.

Hoards of Fabric

What is a fabric stash?

A fabric stash is a collection of fabric whether it be yards or scraps from previous projects or from a fabric sale. Simply, it was purchased with the intent to be used in the future but it never gets used or is neglected until the perfect opportunity comes along for it to be added to a quilt to make it better or becomes a stable fabric.

So why have a fabric stash?

Saves Time

A fabric stash, believe it or not, saves time because you already know what you have and potentially what it could be used for. It is in the convenience of your own home and can be readily accessible when spontaneous creative spells happen.

Money

Usually, adding to a fabric stash or starting one begins when fabric is cheap (less than $1.00 a yard). It also saves money over time because a stash is added to incrementally.

Versatility

Although all stash fabric may not go together, color and texture, doesn’t mean it can’t be used for odd and end projects. There are endless possibilities of what can be achieved from a left over scrap of fabric. By having stable fabrics (solids, small prints, polka dots, and stripes) on hand in every color it is easy to know what you already have on hand.

Become a Collector

By not using the fabric immediately, it can be added to as finances permit. Also, there is a specific feeling associated to adding to the fabric stash that can’t be described. Commonly, most quilters will not express the magnitude of their stash, because it has become more of a hobby than an event. Unite with the community of seamstresses and become a collector.

Go-to Projects

Having a fabric stash allows the consistency of always having something to work on. Time may be difficult to dedicate, but it could become a-work-on-it-as-you-can project. Wanting to make a quilt today, you could easily pull enough stable fabrics out of the stash to make it work with adding little to no new fabric.

Finding seamstresses to share the hoard with

This is mainly based on the community you live in, but it could happen with anyone who has a stash. It is a physical transaction with a stranger, neighbor, or friend where trading of fabric takes place. Everyone collects something different, allowing for unique fabric choices to appear and be exchanged.

My Reality

Honestly, I have my own fabric stash. It is not large in size, but there are potential projects to be born. It is not stored on shelves, rather in a tote in my room. I purchase limited availability fabric, future quilt pieces, and staple color combinations. Personally, I do not store anything smaller than a yard because I have a limited amount of space. With this information I would suggest investing in:

  • Fabric you are in LOVE with
  • Enough yardage to make something useful
  • Buying stable fabric (solids, small prints, polka dots, and stripes)

Top 5 Floral Inspirations

I fell in love with flowers all over again when I was supporting my college roommate and friend in a county pageant. Her family and friends had purchased various flower bouquets to express their support and love. After the pageant, the flowers were neglected on the kitchen counter and I found myself cutting the bouquets apart, trimming the ends of the stems to create height variations, and finishing the original arrangement off with a perfectly tied bow. Surprised, she grinned ear-to-ear. I knew right there and then, by her reaction and gratitude, I had found something I was passionate about.

I gain my inspiration from the following companies:

  1. Farmgirl Flowers (@farmgirlflowers): Farmgirl flowers are fresh, modern, and 100% American grown. They are true craftsmen as they create a wide selection of arrangements demonstrating sophistication and artful design. Uniquely providing burlap bouquets nation-wide.
  2. Freckle Farm (@frecklefarm): Emphasizing on plants in general, Freckle Farm, has a true art and understanding of farming. Nurturing flowers through connecting to mother nature and the beauty that lies around—if only one will recognize it.
  3. Floret Flower (@floretflower): A farm-florist who all started in remembrance of her grammy, Floret provides not only floral arrangements to their customers but specialized Floret Seeds.
  4. Local Roots Flower Farm (@localrootsflowerfarm): Native to my hometown, this little flower shop operates on ¼ acre micro farm providing specialty arrangements for big events.
  5. Salt & Flora (@saltandflora): Independently owned and operated, Salt & Floral is a floral diary providing modern, authentic, colorful arrangements.

Being inspirations for very different reasons whether it be their values, design, or business plan—I find joy as I read about their journey and how they came to love flowers.

*All companies can be found on Instagram at the corresponding tags.