Making : upcycled placemats

A couple of years ago, I found this very worn and well loved quilt at a thrift store.  It was so pretty, I couldn’t leave it.  I carried it all around in the store, and wondered what I was going to do with it, and if I should buy it.  It was too ripped to try to fix it for a new quilt.  But I loved the pattern, the fabrics, the hand sewing…. someone spent a lot of time making it.


So I bought it.  I think my reasoning of doing things like that goes something like this: Someone spent so much time and love creating this, I can’t leave it like this.  I bet they’ll take it to the dump if it doesn’t sell, and how would I feel if one of my quilts ends up like this, in some thrift store, fifty years from now.  I would hope someone would get it and do something with it, and really hope it shows signs of love.  That’s what is all about.


So I brought it home with me.  I really had to.  You know? It’s been in my fabric shelf for many, many months.  A couple of dozens of months I’d say.  Yeah, I know.  That long.


I loved the fabric they/she used.  The colors, the designs, the quilt itself.  So much love went into making it.

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But there were lots of pieces that I couldn’t really fix.  Actually most of the quilt was very torn, ripped, with the fabric barely holding on.


So I thought and thought about it.  It took me few nights staring at it, and well, few years really, to actually get the courage to cut it up.  You know, for the same reasons I bought the quilt, someone did spend lots and lots of hours creating it.


I couldn’t just cut it.  But I did.


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I wanted to make placemats for our new table.



I was able to save six of these quilt blocks. I cut them up with the rotary cutter.  Most of them were 15 in x 14 or 13 in.  I added a strip of about 4 inches on each side, to make it rectangular to fit the place.  I used different calico fabrics I had, that matched a little bit the block I was using.  But each one has different fabrics.  They ended up being about 15 in x 20 in.


Then I added a layer of batting.  I also had enough batting for 5 of them.  And I used a fleece baby blanket we used many years ago with Siena I think, as a batting for one of the placemats.


Then I cut a fabric that I had purchased at a thrift store a while back, for the back piece.  That I had enough to make all six.  I stitched on the seam of the block and the strip of fabric I added so the “sandwich” didn’t move so much with the washing.


And finally, I added a binding.  I’ve made these from many different fabrics, mostly left over from quilts I’ve made.  One binding I had enough for four of them, and the other two have different fabric.  I think it add beauty and more color to the mix.


Except for the batting and the thread, the rest are all upcycled materials.  I love when I can do that.  Quilting started for this same reason.  Making a blanket with the cloth from clothes that were torn or worn out.  Make something new from something old.  I just wish I’d knew a little more about the history of the original quilt, like who made it and for who it was made for, and when and where it was created.

They were pretty quick to make.  I think I’m going to have to make some more placemats to use when these are washing!  I’m really enjoying seeing these placemats in our table these days.  They are so bright and cheerful.  And it makes me feel good that I’m helping the environment a little bit, and I’m making last this love, this lovely creation just a little longer, with new stories to be told.

:: right now::

It is the middle of winter, yes I want to remember that right now, I am:

:: trying to adapt to all the  changes in our daily rhythm.  Sometimes it’s hard for everyone.  We are slowly adjusting, I think.

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:: making more crock pot meals.

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:: enjoying Siena’s drawings.  After seeing the movie, Despicable Me, our house has turned into a little machine of drawings and coloring of these funny characters… so fun to have around!

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:: laughing so hard every time I see this video from that movie… OK… maybe a little inappropriate but with two kids at home, it’s really funny!

:: baking some.  I made this pumpkin bread this weekend, from Alexandra Cooks…. it is so good!


:: noticing winter but also that the days are getting longer.  Even on the rainy days, with clouds over us, darkening the sky, it is still light at 5 pm.  I don’t really mind it, I just love noticing the changes.

:: loving to be able to remind myself of our trip to the beach last week, with these nature treasures we brought with us.


:: excited we were able to see few of our friends show their beautiful and fun talents last week.

:: hearing everyone in our family that we want to go see another basketball game… it was a fun.

:: smiling at this photo I found online.


:: thankful for our friend who “helped us” (well, she did it by herself while I was watching her and talking… if you call that ‘help’) with our switches in the kitchen.  We just need to fill in the holes around the plates to make it look completely finished.  I can’t believe we are this close to done!  Thank you to Dolores and Paul for making this 11-year project come to a closer finish.

:: excited I got to the sewing machine this weekend (more on that tomorrow.)


:: excited Mark and I got an unexpected time to ourselves last weekend.  Haven’t had that in few months… mmm… maybe a year? wow… need to do more of that dating thing with him…) The kids were playing at our friends’ and Mark and I had to go to Powell’s.  Usually it’s a fun family trip but we just haven’t planned it.  We had a book to pick up for our Native American’s unit and we’ve had two boxes of books to sell from our cleaning the past few months.  We did that with fast going lines, that we even had time to sit down, have a cup of tea and talk a little.  It was fun and very refreshing.  Thanks to our friends!

:: sometimes tired of so much cleaning and washing and folding it needs to be done.

:: thankful that I have a washer and a dryer to make these tasks easier.  Oh yes.  Thank you!



:: excited still to see all that light and the white-ness in the kitchen…. I am so glad I painted it last summer.  It still makes me very happy and smile every time I walk by.  And of course…. that backsplash… so nice.  Oh so very nice.  (OK I’ll stop talking about it now.)

Hope your day is good and that your week is going well so far.  Happy Tuesday!

Can I take a photo?


Maybe, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, and probably if you know me, these are  words I say often.  “Can I take a photo, please?”


And yes, my family knows that very well.  And they usually are very great about it.


They just go with it, let me take the photo, they know then they can go on with their lives.  But they also know and remember that we all like seeing the pictures together in our photo albums, later on.


Other times I think they just wonder…. if I will ever not ask them to look at me or pose or not move so I can do one more click.  But I pretty much always have my camera in my hand and they go along with me.  They are great.


Sometimes they wonder which way is my camera pointing, anyways!


Thank goodness for digital cameras now a days, right?


But they usually are just awesome!

DSC_0073-smallAnd even though I don’t like to have pictures taken of me… I give in sometimes, because it’s always fun to see the photos later.  Photo taken by Mark.

:: this moment ::

A beautiful and fun Friday ritual. Inspired by SouleMama.

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. – Amanda Soule


If you’d like to leave a comment and a link to your moment, we would love to see it. Have a beautiful day.  Thank you for coming to see us!

Agate Festival


And so it happened that there was the Second Agate Festival this past weekend.  We went to see it f course.

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These are Iris Agate.  They are thin cuts shown up against light….. just beautiful.

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It’s always fun to see what we can see.  And out the doors we went to search for our own!

And related to our trip to the beach, on the Willamette Week, a funny article: It’s not a Portland winter until you’ve … I guess it’s true!

Going to the beach

This past weekend we spent time at the beach.  And Lucas and Siena decided they wanted to clean the car before the trip.  (Thank you!)


We drove from an unusual sunny Portland, until we hit the valley, just about an hour away south, and we found fog.  Everything turned gray and dark, and very cold.  We drove through Corvallis and everything was covered in this fog.  As we get away from the town, about half an hour driving west, towards the coast, all of a sudden, over a hill we met the sun.  And oh my… what a sight it was.


We had noticed when we drove into the fog you could see the sun through the clouds, as a perfectly round circle, like a light fixture almost.  The same happened as we got out of the dense cloud, but we were greeted with a bright sun.  Pink, orange, red-ish light, all over the horizon, with the sun peaking through clouds, a sight I’ve never seen before.


We were amazed and I can’t really find words to describe it, and have no pictures to show, just memories.  A warm, red, winter-like sunset in a way I had never seen before.  Just perfect.  Naturally perfect.

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Our first day there we woke up to clouds and a cold day.  But not cold enough to stop us from being at the beach, playing.

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A great weekend and fun ‘winter break.’