Handmade Valentine

For the past few years I’ve made DH’s Valentine’s card; sometimes stitched and sometimes mixed media. And I thought I’d share this year’s card, although “card” may not be quite the right word, as this is really a mini quilt or mug rug.


First Crush: XOXO in Vanilla Black by Sweetwater with the other components, including Kona Snow.

When I saw this First Crush XOXO print by Sweetwater, I bought a yard for my stash thinking it would make great zippered pouches. At the time I wasn’t thinking Valentine’s Day. But when I was looking around for something to inspire me, I knew it was perfect.



Hoop with pencilled text

Kona Snow in an embroidery hoop with the planned design intentionally faint, in pencil.

I wanted to do some hand embroidery and first thought I’d embellish the fabric, but the print is so busy already that I wasn’t sure the stitches would show. Instead, I opted to embroider on a quieter fabric (Kona Snow) and put the two together.

The embroidery would be a word — no slogans or imagery or established patterns. Just one word. The word I chose can be interpreted in a number of meaningful ways, and it doesn’t appear anywhere on the First Crush fabric. I am not typing the word here so you’ll just have to check the pictures. That’s because as soon as I typed it and put it in quotes, all I could think of was feminine hygiene products and that wasn’t one of the meanings I had in mind.

The background fabric is reverse appliquéd to frame the embroidery. If I’d have appliquéd the embroidery over the background fabric,  the seam allowances would have created a shadow around the perimeter of the heart.

Back of top wiht freezer paper

This is the back of the quilt top. Through the embroidered Kona Snow, you can see the freezer paper ironed onto the back of the First Crush fabric.

If you’ve been following this blog over time you may have noticed I tend to wring my hands a lot over the course of making something, and ultimately end up happy with the item. With this project I was happy with it every step of the way. Maybe that’s because it was quick to make and involved fewer decisions; I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it’s a pleasure to make something, be pleased with the result, and not feel I’ve compromised along the way.

Finished - angle


Mug Rugs, the Quickest Quilts

A friend at work was curious about the mug rug on my desk and I explained how it’s really just a mini placemat that fits a mug and muffin. It’s also a good place for a half-eaten apple when I need both hands to type. “Would you make one for me?” he asked. Well, I didn’t have to be asked twice. The only guideline was that the style should be “low key”.

At the time I had no mug rugs (MR) ready to go, not even a quilted orphan block. So I cut down my Mosaic Tile piece and quilted it. Funny how the two pictures show wonkiness in different places. Must be the camera angle 🙂

Front and back of the Mosaic Tile mug.

Front and back of the Mosaic Tile mug rug.

I was reluctant to deliver just one MR because I didn’t want my colleague to feel he had no choice but to accept it. I wanted to provide options. So I grabbed some fabric and sewed a bunch of half-square triangles. After trying a variety of layouts I decided on this:

Front and back of the Diamond mug rug.

Front and back of the Diamond mug rug.

My friend chose the Mosaic Tile design, figuring it wouldn’t show stains and dirt as much as the other. I guess this means I get to keep the Diamond MR, and so far I haven’t decided whether I’ll use it or just admire it. You see, I like the pattern so much I’m considering doing the same for a real quilt.