Handmade Christmas : Tube Pillowcases for the Grandchildren

If you’ve never made one of these before, believe it or not, this is a pillowcase ! :) 

pillowcase tube

While the grands will each have a few other little gifts from me, I thought that a pillowcase would be a fun addition. If you have to make five of them, you just don’t run out and buy fabric that strikes your fancy. You wait until Black Friday fabric sales or end-of-season clearance sales online and then pick from there :)

Two boy pillowcases :

Boys finished pillowcases

Some girl ones pressed and ready to sew:

girls pillowcase stuff on the bed

Basically you cut 3 pieces :

  • Body : 27 x 45 ( 3/4 yard )
  • Cuff: 9 x 45  ( 1/4 yard )
  • Trim : 2 x 45

Press the Cuff and Trim in Half.

  • Lay the Cuff down first…opened back up, right side up.
  • Lay the Body, right side up, on top of that.
  • Lay the Trim on top of those two. ( this stays folded in half )

Now you roll the Body up… until you get it a bit over the Cuff on the bottom.

rolling up the Body of the Pillowcase

Next, take the cuff and bring it up and over and pin it to the top…if you look at the picture above, I had the three pinned together at the top there, already. Then I brought that bottom of the cuff up and re-pinned.

cuff brought up and pinning

Once that is done, sew 1/4 inch from the top, and now there is a finished tube….reach in and start to pull out, and tada! Out comes a pillowcase top.

pillow case top out of the tube

What remains is to fold that in half, sew up the sides and bottom…careful to match that trim area…and the girl’s ones are done as well as the boys. ( I did those seams in a zig zag stitch, then trimmed with pinking shears to minimalize fraying. )

girls pillowcases finished up

I do not know who originally invented this ingenious method, nor how long it has been around. I know that there are several tutorials in video on the web …I used this one  from Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I will say this : these are very long and generous pillowcases. I don’t think that the nine inches for the cuff could be shorter but the 45 inches could be shortened a bit if needed. That’s just my opinion after making these. And what do I know, lol :)  Many of you may have made these tube pillowcases already…in regards to my first time I have to say that it was fun and as long as I can pick up my fabrics on sale I think that I’d like to continue the tradition…either by making them each one at Christmas or perhaps as future birthday gifts.

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Sharing at : French Country Cottage

Italian Stuffing with Sausage and Parmesan: Delicious!

I mentioned in a prior post that my son was home from St. Louis for the week of Thanksgiving. I’d heard about a stuffing recipe that he’d made before, and now he was going to make it for our Thanksgiving dinner.

He was very particular about following the exact recipe and purchasing good bakery Italian bread, which he then sliced into thick slices and set out in a large bowl to dry.  He also used fresh Parmesan…I know this because he needed to borrow my grater.  He was tripling this recipe for our gathering, and in the end, while he prepared it in his brother’s kitchen, three large pans were brought down to bake in my oven, since there was already so much food in his brother’s.

My house began to smell like stuffing-heaven as it baked. And when it was done, there was no way that I was going to wait until dinner time for a taste. I had a small taste and then what the heck..I had a bowl. It was delicious!

We baked this at 300 degrees for one hour ( bear in mind there were three large pans ) with tin foil covering the pans. Then I took the foil off for 20 minutes so it would crisp up a wee bit. Took a few quick pictures then recovered with foil and turned the oven off and just let it stay warm until it was time to take it to my son’s house a few blocks away.

Sausage stuffing

While I won’t replace my standard celery / onion / cornbread stuffing with this, this is a nice alternative, since it is almost a meal in itself. It really is. I was making some sweet potatoes the other day and thought that this stuffing, sweet potatoes or another favorite vegetable, and a salad would make a complete and hearty meal.

He sent the recipe to me in pdf format and could not remember where he’d found it initially. I Googled it so that I could give credit where credit was due and it came from Rick Rodgers blog HERE

* Note : We DID use home made broth…I’d made it the day before from the turkey neckbone, giblets etc. and some celery and onions.

Italian Stuffing with Sausage and Parmesan

Yield: about 10 cups


When I asked my Italian-American neighbors how they make their stuffing, they all shared what was essentially the same recipe. There’s nothing subtle about this stuffing–Italian sausage, red bell pepper, Parmesan cheese, and lots of herbs give a zesty Mediterranean flavor. Some cooks add 1 cup toasted pine nuts or 1 cup coarsely chopped black Mediterranean olives to pump up the flavor even more. If you are making the Herb-Brined Turkey, bake this on the side instead of inside the bird.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium celery ribs with leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
  • 12 ounces day-old crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7 cups)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups Homemade Turkey Stock, or use canned reduced-sodium chicken broth, as needed


1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, red pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the sausage with a spoon, until the sausage loses its pink color, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, oregano, salt, and crushed red pepper. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Add the bread and cheese and mix well. Stir in the butter and wine, and enough of the stock to moisten the dressing, about 1 cup.
 3. Place in a buttered baking dish, drizzle with an additional 1/2 cup broth, cover, and bake as a side dish.

Slice of Life : Fried Oreos & Other Randoms

ornaments on tree

It was a quiet Sunday at home for the most part.

We’ve had no major weather events…it has just been quite cold and very grey & gloomy for quite awhile now. Enough rain and / or freezing drizzle to make it moist and muddy out there.

I was concentrating on this…..sewing some binding on a quilt…

working on binding

And in between that doing some cleaning, laundry and cooking. I was at the kitchen sink when suddenly there were flocks of birds everywhere!  There were at least two or three huge flocks swooping by, landing in trees, then flying off again, and returning. I went for the camera ( this was far more interesting than the dishes in the sink! :)

I snapped many pictures as quickly as I could, but without a wide-angle lens or specialty lens of some sort, I was not able to capture that the entire sky was filled with birds swooping and landing and flying off again while another flock was coming in for the same.  Out of 20 or so photos this is the best that I could do…I think that they were starlings.

starlings flocks collage

At some point during the day I took a walk down to my son’s house to visit the ‘tribe’.  Knock on the door and screams of “OMA IS HERE! ” and the hugs and onslaught and noise envelopes me. Five kids all welcoming…

My son is upstairs doing something…the DIL is in the kitchen. She has a frying pan out and two packs of Oreos nearby. What in the world is she doing? She is going to FRY OREOS! I am fascinated. She dips them in pancake batter and then frys them in a skillet.  In my book this was something just reserved for county fair food booths. Of all times not to have your camera handy!

Meanwhile, last but not least, I was very happy to find Jan Karon’s newest book “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good” in the library.  I have been quite happy to  go back to Mitford with Father Tim and Cynthia.


They lay on the study sofa under a couple of blankets, her feet to the south, his to the north, the fire on the hearth turning to embers.”

You might also enjoy : Tuesday Muse: Kids & Dogs or Goldfinches or Broccoli Cheese Soup in July & Storms & Sky

Sharing at : Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life

Handmade Christmas : Lap Quilt Finished

This week I did some slow ( and fast ) stitching on a cute little snack mat for Santa, and a candle mat ( Here and Here )  They both traveled to my middle son’s house where the tribe of kids are.

I also worked on a lap quilt /comforter for my mom and posted about how so many of the materials that I needed all worked out Here.

The lap quilt is finished up. I just threw it over the couch for a picture that day….too cold and windy to traipse out to the laundry line! :)

lap quilt finished

A large panel, with a border, hand-tied with yarn, and my grandson’s handprint quilted in to a corner. Binding machine-stitched to the front, hand-stitched to the back. My mom has always liked prim & country so I hope that she’ll like it.

For Slow Stitching Sunday, I’ll be back to working on hand-sewing binding on the eagle quilt for my son and DIL. I managed to avoid that for almost a week and since Christmas is getting closer I need to get back to it! That’s actually my biggest handmade Christmas project …time to focus on a finish! :)

Merry Christmas Making :)

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Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts/Frugal By Choice /Cozy Little House/Savvy Southern Style/French Country Cottage

December’s Personal Photo Challenge

Donna’s  December Personal Photo Challenge is Christmas Scenes. We are to post 1-3 photos. I already did a post a few days ago showing some decorations so I went back to older photos to choose my three.

For my theme I chose Kitchen Activities. Aren’t we all involved in those quite a bit during this season? :) These are from last year. I’ve been focusing on making and finishing some gifts…baking should be starting soon.

Baking-Cookies last year PP CHALLENGE POST

Sometimes we are on our own and sometimes we have a helper.

Brent Baking Gingerbread Men Collage 1

love to cook ornament

If you have some Christmas scenes to share, join in with Donna and the rest of us ! :) Donna indicates that “The linkup tool will be available the day before the challenge date (December 12) and a couple days thereafter.”

You might also enjoy : April Photo Diary

Sharing at Cozy Little House

Handmade Christmas : Cute little Snack Mat for Santa ( & Kids )

Sometimes I’ll thumb through the decor or quilting magazines at the grocery store over in the magazine section. I was thumbing through one called “Make it Yourself” by Better Homes & Gardens the other day, and a few of the projects looked familiar. I’d not been over to her blog for quite awhile, but sure enough, they were showing some of Amy’s projects from Nana Company.

While I did not buy the magazine nor make it according to the instructions that I read while in the store ( no fusible web or lace, etc. here, so I hand appliqued and embroidered differently ) I did make a little rendition of it for the kids to hang, and then put out for Santa.

The DIL really liked it…:) I must say it was pretty cute.

Finished it up about 10 minutes before she was due to pick up the grand-little that is here after school but I grabbed a few photos: ( and the bells, which impressed the grandson the most, were stolen right off of an existing Christmas ornament of mine :)

snack mat for santa collage

Are you doing anything handmade for Christmas? Merry Christmas Making! :)

I have it easy now…I remember the days when I’d spend a fortune of time and money in the kitchen making fudge, cookies and zucchini breads, etc. for teacher gifts and coaches gifts when my sons were young :)

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Sharing at : French Country Cottage/Frugal by Choice/Cozy Little House / A Stroll Thru Life/Freemotion by the River/Savvy Southern Style/ Sew Fresh Quilts / French Country Cottage


Handmade for Christmas gifts: working on my mom’s

Awhile ago, I purchased a panel on clearance. I wasn’t sure if I’d use it as a whole panel or cut it up but in the end I decided to use it as a lap quilt or comforter for my mom.

I had enough brown fabric for a border and didn’t need any backing…I am still going through some white fabric that was discounted when my local JoAnn Fabrics was moving to a new location.

At first I thought that I’d try machine quilting it but I knew that I had blue yarn somewhere that I used on the Snowball quilt.  ( I’d hand quilted that, but used yarn ties around the border for some additional color and texture. )  When I found the yarn, it was the perfect shade for this panel. My mom’s always had either Colonial, or country / prim decor, so I thought that she’d like this as a Christmas gift.

I got it sandwiched with backing & batting and started tying it over the weekend.

tying with yarn

As to binding, because I had made a rag rug last year, I still had some sheets from the Mission Store and one of them was blue, and it matched. I had not planned any of this when I ordered the panel…it was just working out as I went along! :)

At this point I have the binding machine stitched to the front and will hand-sew it to the back.

The other thing that I did was leave an area free of yarn, and traced my grandson’s hand there the other day. I will hand quilt that in a blue thread.

Handmade for Christmas gifts are fun, aren’t they? :) They might not be perfect but they have love and time put into them. There’s been many a Christmas that I spent a small fortune on my mom but invested little time. This year it’s the opposite :) I hope to have this finished up by the weekend.

Merry Christmas Making :)

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sharing at Freshly Pieced

Melody & a Mug Mat ( as per Diane! :)

I hadn’t planned on fooling around with Melody’s decorative stitches for awhile, but when I posted about winning her, several readers commented that I would enjoy that.

I think that a lot of these stitches are geared towards people who sew clothing, but I did decide to play around with them for a few hours. Diane, over at Lavender Dreams, suggested making  a mug mat or something when I did.  Good idea!

I thought  to make a nice candle mat for the DIL at home or snack mat for her at work.

Some decorative stitching samples in each square, sandwiched into a mini quilt with machine stitching around the end, and minimal hand quilting in the middle. Fabric backing brought to the front and hand-stitched down, and if we count the time from reading about decorative stitching to practicing, and then making this from start to finish….this little thing took a long time, lol….

I thought that the Christmas bear that one of the grandchildren ‘lost’ and I found under the couch cushion would like to pose with the mat before it went on its way to another house. The gingerbread girl got jealous and wanted in the shot and then Kanga the cat came along too…

mug mat with kanga

Merry Christmas Making to us All :)

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Sharing at : Lavender Cottage Gardening

Hopple Popple

I don’t make this very often but I should! :)

If you’ve never made this, it is very simple. And wonderful, and hearty. The key is to plan ahead…if you  want this hearty breakfast or brunch on the weekend, during the week when you bake or boil potatoes…just make a few extra to put aside for this.

Saute onions and peppers in just a wee bit of olive oil.

In a baking dish : Arrange cooked sausage ( or pepperoni, ham, salami, bacon…your choice. I prefer the sausage ) your peppers and onions,  and cut-up already cooked potatoes. Next, you’ll scramble some eggs with milk…they will depend on how many you are cooking for and the size of your pan, and add some cheese to this and bake.

hopple popple collage

Make more than one days worth if you are so inclined, as it is just as good warmed up on another day as it is coming out of the oven on the first day.

hopple popple on plate

It’s stick to your ribs..gets you through the morning food! :)

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Sharing at : Cozy Little House / French Country Cottage

Melody the baby lock Sewing Machine arrived

The sewing machine that I’d won in the random drawing over at The Blogger’s Quilt Festival at Amy’s Creative Side. arrived via Fedex on Wednesday afternoon.

I was home at the time and the very considerate Fedex Home Delivery driver offered to bring it into the house for me since it was heavy.

I’ll say! They give you everything but the kitchen sink! :)

The baby lock Melody sewing machine itself is heavy and then there’s a cover to go over it, an extension table, lots of accessories…more feet, for instance, than all of my grandkids have between them.

melody collage

AND Melody speaks Greek:

Melody Speaks Greek

After reading the manual I understand:

Melody Start Stop

I will tell you that once I sorted out winding the bobbin and threading it and stitched a little, I could not believe how quiet it was.

Meanwhile back to Amy, the  Blogger’s Quilt Festival hostess : her quilt is gracing the front cover of American Patchwork and Quilting this month; see her post HERE.

As to stitching that won’t break needles but only bend them a bit, I have several projects to choose from for Slow Sunday Stitching: more hand-quilting, or piecing another hexie, or working on hand sewing the binding on the eagle quilt sampler. I had put that top away for a spell but started on the binding after Thanksgiving here and there. I just have to finish it before Christmas.

slow stitching early dec collage

I’m also in the middle of making something for my mom…started it this morning / no pictures yet though :)

You might also like: Hand Quilting Late August  or  Slice of Life & Tomatoes  or Holly Jolly Vintage Christmas Post #3

Sharing at : Kathy’s Quilts / Sew Many Ways / Savvy Southern Style