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Thursday, December 1, 2011

December countown - festival of small projects!

Oh my, it is December! Now the holidays are REALLY around the corner!
I don't know about you, but at this time of the year my plans and dreams about making gifts and small holiday projects are always way too ambitious and of course they don't all realize...So many ideas swirling in my head.Why can't I get inspired to create holiday projects and small gifts in...let's say JULY?? :) Oh well, maybe some day...
HOWEVER - this year I had ONE great idea that might work!
I realized that nothing pushes me more and inspires me to stay on track then the company, inspiration and support of my fellow quilters! ALL of them - my closest quilting friends, members of my Guild and local quilting community and yes - all of you, who might be reading this blog! I am so very thankful and feel blessed and here is something little to give back:

I will post a new small project idea and tutorial EVERY DAY during the holiday countdown! 

I am new to all this so bear with me and pardon my beginner's mistakes and of course I hope you will give me as much feedback and comments as you can! I hope you will enjoy, maybe learn something and most importantly - be inspired to create! Lets get started with Day 1:

EASY CHRISTMAS TREE CARD HOLDER


This is really easy project, adaptable to different sizes. I was inspired by the 3-D Flying Geese technique that I initially learned from Ricky Tims' on-line tutorial - I love this technique because it is easy and gives so many creative possibilities! THANKS RICKY! Basically, you will make 3 (or more) big, 3-D Flying Geese blocks and in their "pockets" you can display your holiday cards - easy and fun! Here is fabric and cutting you will need for the card holder shown above (finished size 20"x32"):


1. Tree fabric - 1/4 yard - you need THREE rectangles measuring 12 1/2" x 6 1/2"
2. Background fabric - 1/3 yard - you will need to cut:  SIX  6 1/2" squares
                                                                                       FOUR  3 1/2" x 5" rectangles
                                                                                       EIGHT  1 1/2" squares
3. Gold fabric (star and narrow border) - 1/4 yard 
                                                   - you need to cut: THREE 1 1/2" strips (along the whole width of fabric)
                                                                               ONE 1 1/2" square
                                                                               EIGHT  1" squares
4. Tree trunk fabric - ONE 3 1/2" square
5. Border fabric - 1/3 yard - you will need to cut: THREE 3 1/2" strips (along the whole width of fabric)

Here are my fabric selections for this one:

MAKE THE 3-D FLYING GEESE (Tree):


1. Take the "tree" fabric rectangles (green) and fold them in half - WRONG sides together (lightly crease the fold, but don't press the permanent crease with an iron) - Photo A.
2. Make the "sandwich":
-place one square (6 1/2") of background fabric RIGHT side up. Place the folded rectangle on top - raw edges aligning and fold on the top  (Photo B) NOTE: it is very important to keep the fold on the top!.
- Place second background square on top of that, WRONG side up (Photo C, left). NOTE: when you make the "sandwich", fold of the tree fabric (green) will bee about 1/4" bellow the top edge of the squares - and that is how it should be! (Photo C, right)
- Make three of these and take them to your sewing machine. Stitch ONE 1/4" SEAM, keeping the fold on the top (Photo D).

That is all the sewing needed for the 3-D Flying Geese!


Take your "sandwiches" to the ironing board, press the seam to set it and then open up one square and press the seam to the side:

 The fold is on the top and notice that it is ~ 1/4" away from the top edge!







 


 Now to make the Geese fly! :)

1. Take only the top layer of the folded (green) square in the bottom left corner and lift it (Photo 1)

2. Continue opening it by pulling gently towards the bottom right corner (Photo 2)


3. Lay it down so that you form the triangle, and raw edges of the folded square are now aligning with the bottom raw edge of the background (Photo 3) - TA-DAH!! You have your 3-D Flying Geese!!

NOTE: The tip of the Flying Geese is 1/4" away from the top edge (red arrow) - that is a good thing! :) Bottom edges of the Geese are loose at this point - they will get secured by stitching blocks together, but to make sure they don't move during the stitching, you can either pin them in place or stitch them in place (blue arrow). If you do want to stitch them in place, make sure that stitching is LESS than 1/4" away from the edge (so it is not visible in the finished product.
Make THREE of these blocks.  Join three Flying Geese together to make the TREE:

Now to add the tree trunk and a star on the top!

For the tree trunk, join TWO 3 1/2" x5" background rectangles and the 3 1/2" square of tree trunk fabric in a row as shown on the picture (this should now measure 3 1/2" x 12 1/2")

To make the little golden star on the top:

This star block IS small (3" finished), but it is really not that difficult to make - trust me! Alternatively, you can skip it - place just a plain 3 1/2" square of background instead and then applique or embellish your own tree top! :)
Here is what you need to do for the star:
1. On the WRONG side of all 8 gold squares (1") draw a diagonal line from corner to corner (Photo S1, left)

2. Position 1" gold square on the 1 1/2" background square, RIGHT sides together and with line oriented as shown on Photo S1, right.
3. Stitch on the drawn line. (Photo S2).
4. Flip up the corner triangle and press to get the unit as shown on Photo S3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with three more background and gold squares (total of 4 units).
5. Take another gold square and position it on one of the units you just made, as shown on Photo S4 (note the orientation of the drawn line!)
6. Stitch on the drawn line (Photo S5), flip up the triangle and press. Repeat this with the remaining 3 units.
7. Once you have all 4 units done, place them with remaining 4 background squares (1 1/2") and one gold square (1 1/2") as shown on the Photo S6 - this is your star!! Since this is a basic 9-patch now, join all 9 units as you would any 9-patch! (TIP: when joining 3 squares in a row, press seams towards the plain square: towards the corner background squares in top and bottom row and towards the golden square in the middle row - this way you will have nice, nested seam allowances when you are joining rows together!).
8. To complete your tree top - join the star block you just made with two remaining 3 1/2" x 5" rectangles of background fabric (Photo S7).
9. To finish the tree: join the Star row on the top and the tree trunk row on the bottom of your tree and - voila! - a cardholder Christmas Tree!!
 At this point you can decide on what borders (if any) you want! I auditioned first only one border fabric but decided I like the "zing" of the narrow gold border - so I have two borders!
Of course - borders can be totally different too, so let your own creativity shine!

I stitched one narrow strip of gold to one wide strip of border fabric - made THREE strips sets like that - see above in the cutting chart, I wrote to cut THREE of each! No, not a mistake - you can take one of those strip sets and cut it in half to get TWO short (~20" or a bit more) ones for your top and bottom border! The remaining two (long) ones are for the left and right border. I choose to miter my corners (not showing here how I did that, but if you want a quick tutorial on mitering corners, just leave me a comment and I will post that too!) and - TA-DAH!!!
HERE IS COMPLETED HOLIDAY CARD HOLDER!
OPTIONS, VARIATIONS?- OF COURSE!! You can add more 3-D Flying Geese blocks to make your tree bigger! You can make it in icy blue, silver and white fabric, you can embellish, decorate your tree some more with little ornaments (yo-yos? ), you can.....well, YOU tell me! I am sure there are many more ideas out there and I would LOVE to hear them!
I hope you enjoyed this easy project, thanks for reading! Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 2!
Marija

6 comments:

  1. I love this idea - a project of the day- what if we have a quilt n show? Let's invite all Creekside quilters to give any of your projects a whirl and we will do a quilt n share on this forum - What do you think??? Can't wait to see tomorrow's project
    Sandy Pirdy
    Creekside Fabrics

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  2. This is wonderful. I love this tree and may even make it for my gifts next year (almost done for this year).

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  3. I really need one of these!! Now I just need the time to make one?

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  4. I finished my Card Holder!! You can see it at my blog. I added some additional Flying Geese to make it wider to fit the door and hold more cards. http://iquiltscarletandgray.blogspot.com/2011/12/merry-christimas.html

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  5. I finished my card holder!! You can see it at my blog. I added a few more Flying Geese to make it wider so it could fit more cards.

    http://iquiltscarletandgray.blogspot.com/2011/12/merry-christimas.html

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  6. This would be a great place to display all of those adorable cross-stitch ornaments.

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