Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

WIP Wednesday – Bindings on the Mini Spool and Doll Quilts

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 17th, 2014

I’m finally at my most favorite stage of quilting with these mini quilts… hand sewing the binding to the back of the quilt. But it took me much longer to get here than I had anticipated. There were times when I wondered if this was one project that was going to defeat me. My seam ripper saw a lot and I mean a lot of use when making the blocks and when quilting them.

The thread part of the spools went together easily but when it came time to make the spool tops and bottoms, I had no end of trouble. In fact, I ended up having to cut more strips and squares and completely remake quite a few and even then after sewing them onto the thread the final result was some very wonky blocks.

Luckily, I had cut and sewed two sets of the thread part as I had planned to make two of the mini spool quilts. So I put all the not quite but almost perfect blocks in one quilt and the not so perfect, wonky blocks in the second quilt.

Here they are hand-basted and ready to quilt.

doll quilt and mini spools quilt ready to quilt

I decided to quilt the spool quilts using stitch in the ditch, so I practiced on the doll quilt before doing the spool ones. But even with that practice when it came to quilting the mini spools, there were lines of quilting that had to be unpicked and redone, sometimes more than once. It felt at times, like those little guys just didn’t want to get finished.

But finally they are, bound and ready to do the hand sewing:

Three mini quilts with binding attached

I hope to have them completely finished to share with you by Friday. Wish me luck!!!



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Winner of the Little Letter Needle Book Giveaway

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 17th, 2014

I’m sitting here smiling as I write this.   Each time I have a giveaway, it reminds me just how much fun they are!

Earlier today, I put all the names in a jar and this evening Dave drew the winner.

Winner of needlebook giveaway

Congratulations Gemini Jen NZ!  I’ll be sending you an e-mail requesting your snail mail address so I can get this in the mail to you tomorrow.

For those who commented asking about tutorials for the Clam Shell Accessory Case, I did a search and there are actually a few tutorials out there.    Before the search, I had no idea that the clam shells are actually a very old idea and go by other names such as pinch purse or Victorian sewing box.  Smaller ones are sometimes called Thimble Pips.   They are also known as Kai No Kuchi.

The earliest versions were made using stiff, but flexible cardboard.  Below are a few links to check out if you want to make your own.

There’s even a tutorial for making a mouse one!

None of the above tutorials is exactly how I made mine.   The kit I purchased to make my first one was called the Clover Clam Shell Accessory Case in the large size.

And of course, me being me, I didn’t follow their directions to the letter.  The instructions in the Clover kit called for using a half-back stitch to sew the finished pieces together go form the clam shell.  Well, I know how to do a half-back stitch but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to use it to join two things together, so I used a blind stitch instead.

I’m saving plastic salad and fruit containers again and when I get enough saved to make another one, I’ll take pictures as I go along and post how I made it.   This time I think I’ll make a small one for my thimbles to keep them safe.

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Vintage Embroidery Monday – Giraffe and Morning Glory

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 15th, 2014

The second pattern for the sweet baby or child’s quilt I introduced last week is this happy little giraffe and morning glory.

Vintage Workbasket Embroidery of giraffe with morning glory from Pattern Page 81This pattern is available as a pdf to download here.

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Clam Shell Accessories Case Plus a Mini Letter Needle Book Giveaway

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 12th, 2014

This Giveaway is now closed.  Winner to be announced.


In Wednesday’s post I mentioned that I had some small projects to share once I had them completely finished.

Last year, I took part in the Santa Sack Swap for the first time. One of the gifts I made for my swap partner Judith was this little Clam Shell Accessory Case.

Photo of Clam Shell Accessory case made for swap partner

It turned out so cute that I wanted to make one for myself as well. Now, when I bought the kit, I mistakenly thought that you could reuse the plastic templates that were included. But those are used when you make the clam shell case as that’s what gives the case the stiffness and bendability to open and snap back closed.

Unfortunately they don’t sell the plastic templates separately. If you want to make another one, you have to buy another kit.

Thinking I might be able to figure out a way around that, I traced around each of the two different sized templates before I made the one pictured above.

At first I tried making that second one using a very stiff interfacing. That did not work out at all. For many months, it sat in one of my project bags waiting for me to decide to fix it or pitch it.

Then one day a couple of months ago, I had gotten out the plastic container of one of those pre-mixed salads (we like the Spring Salad Blend) to make myself a salad for lunch when I realized that the plastic lid was about the same thickness as the clam shell templates had been.  Over the next several weeks, I saved all the lids from our salad containers and when I had collected enough, Dave volunteered to cut out six new templates for me.

The seam ripper was put to use to disassemble the sad looking first attempt, the new plastic templates were inserted and here is the final result:

Fussy cut owl clam shell accessory caseI love it!!

It sits on my nightstand and it makes me smile every time I look at it!

Even when I pick it up and turn it over… the Sleepy Owl on bottom makes me smile too.

And that brings me to my second finish this week. Do you ever see something that is so sweet you want to make it immediately? Even if it’s something that you certainly don’t “need” another one of as you have one that was given to you and another that you made for yourself?

That’s what happened when I saw a pin for the Little Letter Needle Book. The pin itself led to a blog that is no longer available but after a bit of searching I found the pattern was still available here.

This is my version:

Front of Little Letter Needle Book

It finishes at about 3 3/4 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches high!

And this is the back with a teeny tiny button and thread closure:

Back of the Little Letter Needle Book

I used this cool sewing accessories themed fabric for the inside:

View of the inside of the Little Letter Needle Book
As I mentioned, I really don’t need another needle book.  I just wanted to experience the fun of making this one.  So I’ve decided to have a small giveaway here on my blog. If you’d like this needle book to come live with you, simply leave a comment on this post (one comment per person.) It’s open to anyone, anywhere. The giveaway will close at midnight (CDT) on Monday, September 15th and I will announce the winner on Tuesday.


Please note: The giveaway is for the needle book only, the clam shell accessory case is not included.


This post has been added to Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts

Sew Darn Crafty Linky Party over and Sew Many Ways

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WIP Wednesday – Mini Spools and Doll Quilt

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 10th, 2014

Ever since Camille Roskelley released her Spools quilt pattern, it’s been on my list of quilts to make for myself someday. And then when she came out with the adorable Mini Spools version, that went on the list too.   This past week, she had a 25% off sale on all her patterns so I decided it was a good time to buy the Mini Spools pattern in pdf.

Somewhere in our travels over the past few years, I purchased a Good Morning charm pack by Me and My Sisters and it has been traveling around with me from contract to contract waiting for the perfect project.  The Mini spools pattern calls for 14 charm squares for the spool centers/thread and I realized that I finally had the perfect project to use that charm pack in.

The pattern instructions say to mix and match the fabrics for the spool centers but I decided to group mine by color.  The pack had enough colors to make eight spools: green, purple, pink,  orange, yellow, blue, white and black.

But then I was stumped what to use to make that ninth spool.  I had more than enough charms but I would have had to duplicate a color.  I was trying to decide which color to make two spools of when those striped fabrics sparked an idea.

photo of the thread part of the spool block sewn together

I’m not sure if other people do this, but if I’ve run out of bobbins, I’ll take one that has thread on it and wind that thread onto an empty spool so as not to waste it.   I have a few spools with several different colors wound on them.  So that’s what that spool on the bottom left is meant to represent.

I still have the spool tops and bottoms to sew before the spools can be sewn together and the sashing and borders added.  I’m hoping to have at least the spools finished by the end of today.

My second WIP for this week resulted from having left over charms squares to use up combined with being woken up at 3:30 Tuesday morning by a searing hot flash accompanied by an anxiety attack (oh the joys of peri-menopause.)   I’ve found that the anxiety attacks are easier to talk myself through if I get up and make myself busy.

As I stood looking at those leftover charm squares from the Spool mini quilt, my first thought was to cut them in half to make a scrappy border for it.  But while I was pressing the seams on the first set of pairs and setting them aside on my cutting board, I realized that the way I’d laid them out, they were just the right size to make one very colorful, scrappy doll quilt.

Doll Quilt top made with leftover charm squares

I’ll quilt and bind this after I finish piecing the Spools mini quilt.

I’m also putting the final touches on some small projects but I’ll wait to share those until they’re finished.

Hope your week is going well!


This post has been added to the following link parties:

WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced

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Posted in Quilting, Sewing | 6 Comments »

Vintage Embroidery Monday – Bear and Hibiscus.

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 8th, 2014

Over the next six weeks I’ll be sharing with you the most adorable patterns to make blocks for a baby or small child’s quilt.  For a baby quilt, embroider them on 10″ squares.  For a larger quilt, embroider them on 13″ squares.  (The blocks will be squared up to 9 1/2″ and 12 1/2″ respectively after stitching is complete.)

Each pattern has an animal paired with a flower.  I’ll start with this sweet little bear and hibiscus.

Vintage Workbasket Embroidery Pattern for Bear and Hibiscus from page 81This pattern is available as a pdf to download here.


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Quick and Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 4th, 2014

One of my favorite summer and fall activities has always been canning and preserving. All my canning equipment and jars, etc are still packed away in storage but this easy recipe for refrigerator pickles allowed me to enjoy a bit of preserving even without all that.

The recipe below is the one my mother used to make when we were kids. When I made them in a couple of weeks ago, I made a few small changes.

First, I more or less halved the recipe with the exception of the cucumbers. I probably ended up with about 4 to 4.5 cups of sliced cucumbers because when I was slicing and measuring them, after 3.5 cups I still had ½ a cucumber left, so I just continued slicing to use it up.

Second her recipe says to put the pickles in an ice cream pail with a lid but I put mine in a ½ gallon glass jar.

And third, I ended up making a second half batch of brine (so a full batch in total) because when I added it to the veggies in the jar it only came about ¼ the way up. Even though the recipe does say the veggies will shrink, I didn’t think they’d shrink that much!

Note: The reason I needed more brine is likely because I had more than the 3.5 cups of sliced cucumbers and the peppers and onions I used were quite large. So as you can see, this recipe is very forgiving. As long as you make the brine as directed, the pickles will taste the way they should.

Mom’s Refrigerator Pickles (1/2 recipe will fit in a ½ gallon jar)

7 c thinly sliced pickling cucumbers
1 ½ tbsp salt

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, sprinkle salt over them and then add enough water to cover them. Let stand for 2 hrs.

Cucumbers slices covered with salt water

Drain well. Then add:

1 green pepper thinly sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 red pepper thinly sliced and cut into 1 inch pieces

1 onion thinly sliced

Add peppers and onions to the drained cucumbers.

Stir to distribute everything and then scoop them into jar(s.)

For the brine:

2 c sugar

1 c vinegar

1 tsp celery seed

Combine the sugar, vinegar and celery see in a medium sized sauce pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not allow to boil. Once sugar is dissolved pour over the veggie mixture.

Give this several stirs to make sure that the brine has gotten to all the veggies.

Photo of refrigerator pickles in a jar

You’ll notice in the photo that the veggies are above the level of the brine. They will shrink so that the juice covers them.

Put the jar in the fridge and allow 2 to 3 days for the pickles develop their flavor.

See… they do shrink!!

Finished pickles ready to eat


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Vintage Embroidery Monday – A Variety of Large Flowers

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on September 1st, 2014

Vintage Embroidery Monday patterns are scheduled ahead, but for some reason today’s post seems to have disappeared and therefore didn’t post.   So a little late in the day, for your stitching pleasure I have a variety of large flowers to share.

Larger flowers from Workbasket Pattern Page  79

The flower on the left in the first row is a water lily.  The flower in the middle is a rose.    The name of the flowers on the bottom right left escapes me at the moment.   The flowers on the bottom right are lilacs.   But I have not idea what the flower at the top on the right is, other than it looks like some kind of tropical flower.

This pattern is available as a pdf to download here.


Edited to add:  In the comments, Gretchen mentioned that the flowers on bottom left (I have a tendency to get left and right mixed up) are dogwoods.   Thank you, Gretchen!


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How to Make Two Drawstring Bags from Two FQs

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on August 28th, 2014

Back in July, I posted about sewing drawstring bags that I filled with toiletries to donate to the local women’s shelter.  As I was sewing them, I took lots and lots of photos so that I could share a tutorial for how I made them.  Last Saturday, I finally sat down and went through over 200 photos I had taken, picked out the best, resized them and wrote this tutorial.

To make two fully lined drawstring bags you will need:

2 coordinating fat quarters

Fabric for lining and strings (I used Kona cotton)

Matching thread if you wish. (I was making 10 bags so I just used white thread for all of them.)

To make the pattern for the bottom of the bag:

Fold over 4 ¼” of an 8 ½ X 11” piece of paper.

1. fold over about 4.25 inches

Make a pencil mark at 4” from the fold.

2. Make a pencil mark at 4 inches

Make another pencil mark at 7 ½” along the folded edge of the paper.

3. Turn paper and mark at 7.5 inches on folded edge

Using something round as a template (I used a small plate), draw a quarter circle from that bottom line.

draw a curve using a small plate

Now extend that line up to the pencil mark at the top of the paper.

5. Draw line to mark at top of paper

Once, I’d finished doing that I adjusted the curve until I liked the way it looked.

redraw the curve for bottom of the bag

Cutting instructions:

Fold each fat quarter in half so it is 9”x22”.  Trim off the selvedge and square up.

Trim off the selvedges

Measure and cut a 10″ strip.

Measure and cut a 10" strip

Next measure and cut 8” so that you have two 8”x10” pieces of fabric.

Measure and cut at 8 inches to get two 8x10 inch pieces

Pin the pattern piece you created to the rest of the folded fat quarter.  Cut out.

Pin pattern piece to the uncut piece of fat quarter

Repeat the above steps with second fat quarter in a coordinating fabric.

Using the pattern piece, cut 4 lining pieces.

You will now have the pieces you need to sew two drawstring bags, one the reverse of the other.

Photo of all the pieces cut out for two drawstring bags

To make the drawstring bags:

Pin one 8”x10” piece to the coordinating bottom piece.

Pin 8X10 strip to bottom of bag

Next, take them all to the sewing machine and chain piece the pinned pieces using a ¼” seam allowance.

Photo of chain piecing bag sections together

Remember those 10 bags I talked about making… here’s a photo of them being chain pieced.

Photo of ten bags being chain pieced.

Next, pin a lining piece to each of these and chain piece using a ¼” seam allowance.

Press the seam allowances in the same direction as pictured below.

Photo of bag pieces with seams pressed in the same direction

Pin together matching seams.

Pin bags sections together and sew

Using pins… mark openings for the casing at 1 1/2″ and again at 2 1/2″ from the seam line.  (I use pins with different colored heads so that I don’t miss them when I’m sewing.)

Using two pins… mark opening in the lining for turning.

Opening in the lining is indicated by double pins.

Pieces pinned and ready to sew

Sew all the way around, stopping and starting at the places marked by the pins, removing pins as you go. Back tack each time you stop and start.

Turn right side out and sew the opening in the lining closed.

Sew the opening in the lining closed

Push the lining down into the bag. The seams that you pressed in the same direction should now nest beside each other (one seam pointing towards the top of the bag and one pointing towards the bottom.)

Pin in place and topstitch 1/8” from seam.

Topstitch close to seam

Press well.

To form the casing for the string:

Sew 2.5” from top of bag.

Sew 2.5 inches from top of bag

If you look closely at the photo, you can see that I used a thick elastic band to make a seam guide at 2.5” from the needle.

Sew a second seam 3.5” from top of bag.  (I moved the elastic over 1”.)

Stitch a second seam 3.5 inches from the top of bag

Photo of finished bags:

Photo of completed drawstring bags without drawstrings

To make the strings:

Cut two strips WOF (width of fabric) from Kona cotton (or fabric of your choice.)

Cut two 2 inch strips WOF

Press in half lengthwise.

Press strip in half lengthwise

Open up and press each side towards the center crease.

Press edges toward the middle crease

Fold in half and press well.

Press folded strip well

Sew close to the double folded edges.

Stitch close to the double folded edge

Next cut each string in half.

Thread the string through the casing starting at one side, all the way around and out the same side.

Next thread the second string through the casing starting on the opposite side, all the way around and out that side.

Knot the ends of the strings together.

Now you have two drawstring bags ready to gift or store treasures in.

Two completed drawstring bags ready for gifting.

Or if you’re sewing for charity like I was… ten drawstring bags which you can see in this post.


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Vintage Embroidery Monday – School House

Posted by Super Mom No Cape on August 25th, 2014

This little school house reminds me of the one from Little House on the Prairie.  Come to think of it, the little girl from last week looked a little bit like Laura Ingalls.  And since Laura didn’t have a little brother, we can maybe imagine the little boy from the week before that as Almonzo.  (as depicted in the Little House TV series.)

Vintage Workbasket Embroidery Pattern of a School house from Pattern Page 80This pattern is available as a pdf to download here.

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