DIY

Cloth Napkins with Mitered Corners

If you've been following me on Instagram (suzanne_zingg) then you know I'm into doing tablescapes and table top decor. I love pretty dishes with coordinating table linen but because I sometimes have trouble finding just the perfect cloth napkins, I decided to try making them. My nicer commercially made cloth napkins have mitered corners so I knew those were the ones I wanted to make. 

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I'm going to attempt to share the directions for making these with you here. Writing directions is not my favorite thing to do so if you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Purchasing your fabric:

My napkins finished at 20" square. You can make any size but I personally like a larger napkin. You will want to determine the finished size before you purchase your fabric. I got four 20" square napkins from a yard and a third of fabric.

A note about the fabric:

I look for cotton, linen or a cotton blend when selecting fabric. Remember that these need to be absorbent if you actually plan to use them as napkins and don't use them strictly as decoration. Although I did not prewash my fabric here, you may want too. It's that old prewash debate. You, just do you.😂 K?

Cutting your fabric:

Cut each fabric square 3" larger than your desired finished size (you will have a 1 1/2" hem around all four sides). Regardless of your desired finished size, you will add 3" for the hem.

I am illustrating these directions with paper as well as cloth in hopes that you can see what I'm trying to show a bit better. 

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Take your square of fabric to the ironing board and press a 1/2" fold around all four sides. I do not mark this fold but do use a seam gauge to check the size of my fold.

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Now fold and press it again on all four sides, this time turning it a full 1". 

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At this point you will not see any raw edges but there will be bulky ugly corners. We're going to fix that now.

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*that should read, "Draw line from each MARK*

Unfold that last 1" fold and measuring up from the point and make a mark 2" from the point - one to the left of the point and one to the right. Then draw a line connecting the two marks as shown.

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Please ignore my need for a manicure.😃

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With right sides together, fold fabric as shown, lining up the marked line and pin. Sew on the drawn line.

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Trim the point off 1/4" beyond the stitched line.

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Repeat on all four corners.

Turn right side out using a point turner or chopstick to gently poke out the points.

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Press well then simply stitch the folded edge down all the way around close to the inner fold as shown.

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That's it, a finished napkin with beautifully mitered corners and no unsightly bulky unfinished corners.

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Here are some helpful hints, not necessary but more advanced sewists might find them helpful:

1. I use a Microtex sharp needle in my machine for a prettier straight stitch. Select needle size according to weight of fabric.

2. Use a straight stitch plate and a top stitch foot for best results.

3. Match thread (in bobbin and on top) to fabric as closely as possible.

4. Give your napkins a light spray starch for a professional finish.

The above hints are just that, things that work best for me but are not at all necessary. If you don't have those things please don't let them keep you from trying these napkins. 

Happy Sewing!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Woodlands Camping Party

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Several friends and I got together recently to do a dollar store challenge. The assignment was to come up with a DIY project or decor look using primarily items found at a dollar store, the Target Dollar Spot or Goodwill.

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The inspiration for my Woodlands Camping Party started at Target in the Dollar Spot with this adorable backpack and canteen. I picked up the tin mugs while I was there on the chance that I could do something with them. Later that same week I found these fabulous tin plates from Goodwill for a dollar each. My idea was born.  I simply layered them with placemats and tree slice chargers that I already had. I clipped some greens from my yard and finished the look with some of my Christmas pine trees and moss for a center piece.

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My napkins are Dollar Tree dish cloths 2/$1 tied with Dollar Tree rope for napkin rings.

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The campfire is just three 6" squares of orange and yellow tissue paper. I layered them, then scrunched and gathered them around a small battery votive (all from Dollar Tree). Then I nestled the wrapped candle in a bed of rocks from my yard and added some twigs. It even flickers!

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I'm excited to make a life size campfire with a large battery candle and big sheets of tissue. Wouldn't that be cute at Christmas surrounded by flocked trees and buffalo plaid?

Of course I served S'mores.

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I hope this post has inspired you. Parties don't have to be expensive to be fun and sometimes a party for no reason other than celebrating the everyday is the best reason of all.

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #14 - Paper Doily Banners

I guess you could say that these colorful paper doilies have kind of become my signature look over the years. 

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They all started about eight years ago when I whipped up about 400 of them to hang in my store. We got so many complements on them and loved them so much that they became a permanent fixture at Strawberry Patches.

How happy are these?

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I love how you can coordinate your colors and themes to your room or party by the scrapbook paper or fabric you select.

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Here's how I made them:

Start with a large paper doily (or 400🤣) and separate into individual sheets. You can purchase paper doilies at craft stores, party stores or on Amazon.

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You will want to use a large doily because you will be folding it either in half or as in the case of the top photo, over by a third.

You will also need an assortment of fabrics, scrapbook paper or wrapping paper large enough to cover the solid center portion of the doily.

In addition you will need a glue stick, scissors, and twine. I had the cute tassel trim from Hobby Lobby and glued one on the point of each doily but this is completely optional.

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Using the solid center portion of one doily as a pattern, cut the shape from your paper or fabric. You will want to cover that solid area of the doily (see below).

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Using a glue stick, attach the paper or fabric to the doily, fold and wrap over the twine. Add a bit of glue to secure. That's it! You can space them as close together as you like and if you fold them in half they are double sided - looking the same on the front and back. I love the festive look they add to a space.

Let me know if you try these, I'd love to see photos!

Encourage one another,

Suzanne

 


Tutorial Tuesday #13 - Ornament Wreaths


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Today I wanted to share with you some ideas for making wreaths using glass ornaments. This is such a fun project and a great way to use ornaments found on clearance, at thrift stores and at yard and rummage sales. I tend to collect ornaments as I find them throughout the year then add just a few key ornaments that completes the story I'm trying to tell.

Supplies: You'll need lots of round glass ornaments in various sizes. It's best to keep with just a few colors then add a couple of interesting ornaments to help with your theme. You'll need a glue gun with lots of glue sticks, a Styrofoam ring in any size and some wire or ribbon to make a hanger for the back. Remember that your wreath will end up bigger than the Styrofoam because of the ornaments that extend beyond the edges of the wreath.

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To Get Started: Lay out your ornaments to get an idea of placement and colors. I start by gluing ornaments around the outside of the Styrofoam ring and some smaller ones toward the inside. Once I have a general idea of placement I remove the metal caps from the tops of the ornaments and apply hot glue to the part of the glass ornament where the metal cap was removed. While the glue is hot, carefully press it into the Styrofoam, holding it for a few seconds until it begins to cool and set. The heat from the glue should melt a hole into the ring. You may need to poke a small hole into the Styrofoam first if your Styrofoam isn't melting. This will vary depending on the type of ring you are using. Continue layering ornaments, filling in gaps and placing key ornaments around the top of the wreath. You will notice on my wreaths that the part of the ornament where I removed the metal cap doesn't show. Only the decorative novelty ornaments have their caps left on and those are mostly placed on the tops of the wreaths. 

Where to Shop for Novelty Ornaments: I've found that Micheal's has the best selection of novelty ornaments and you can pick them up just before and after Christmas for 50%-70% off or at a discount anytime with their coupon. World Market and Hobby Lobby are also good places to look as well as Home Goods during certain holidays. Hobby Lobby has Christmas out about seven or eight months out of the year and they also have a good selection of plain ornaments in bulk by color. 

On the Valentine wreath below I knew I wanted reds, pinks and whites with just a touch of black. The red, pink and white ornaments were purchased after Christmas on clearance and the blacks were on super sale after Halloween. I just added a couple of inexpensive Hobby Lobby heart ornaments and the champagne and cake ornaments from Michael's added a romantic feel.

This wreath started with a glittery heart shaped wreath purchased at Hobby Lobby instead of a circle. You can see a bit of the red heart showing in the photo below.

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I was going for a French patisserie look with this next one. I was lucky to find a croissant, Eiffel Tower, macaroon and other bakery related ornaments on clearance at Michael's just before Christmas.

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On each of your wreaths you'll want to keep the colors somewhat related. On this one I knew I wanted soft muted tones in blush and soft whites and creams. I felt fortunate to find french themed ornaments in the colors I wanted. Because the Eiffel Tower and large cake had a bit of gold on them I worked some gold throughout the entire wreath. You just need to be a bit flexible with the final color scheme since your selection of novelty ornaments will probably be limited.  Although the large cake ornament was probably intended as a wedding cake I felt like it worked here. The same for the smaller birthday cake. You may need to think slightly outside the box when selecting ornaments. 

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I thought it would be fun to insert some floral moss for an added touch of spring in this Easter wreath.

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Again the ornaments were all purchased at a discount except for the three bunnies and carrot. By selecting pastel colors these Christmas ornaments suddenly took on a very springy look.

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Notice I pulled colors from the bunny into the round ornaments that I selected. The carrot was kind of an odd ball but I thought the bunny needed a carrot. 😉

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I ended up wiring a green wispy wreath behind this wreath for an even bigger, bolder look.

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This Halloween wreath is slightly smaller than the wreaths above. I already had many of the tiny ornaments for this one and I wrapped the Styrofoam wreath with a vintage tinsel garland before gluing on the ornaments. You can see the garland peaking out through the spaces between the ornaments and I like the texture and sparkle that it adds. You could do this same wrapping technique for any of these wreaths.

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Well, as you can see, you can make these wreaths for any holiday or occasion. I think they would be fun in school or team colors, for the front door for a bridal or baby shower, for the Fourth of July and of course for Christmas or New Years. The only limitation is your imagination and your luck in finding the perfect ornaments. 

Happy hunting! 

Encourage one another,

Suzanne