Tag Archives: mug rug

Life is Good

Life is Good panel with half square triangles

A new year brings a sense of hope and the possibilities of new beginnings. “Have a great day” seems to be the current American greeting and slogan, replacing “have a good day”, and the earlier catchphrase “have a nice day”.  While “have a great day” is either wonderfully optimistic or glib, life has its ups and downs, and every day cannot be a great day.  Sorrow, loss, sickness, and death are also a part of life.

Still, life is good when we can find our own paths to happiness, and give help or encouragement to others who cross our path in everyday life or in cyberspace.  A heartfelt thank you to all who read my posts, and to those who have inspired me through your own writings, or have taken the time to write encouraging comments.

I received the very pretty and cheery “life is good” panel as a bonus surprise when I ordered some fabric from a seller on E-Bay.  To start off the year with a reminder to celebrate life, I made this panel into a little mini quilt/mug rug,  because life is definitely good when you’re relaxing with a drink and snack.

half square triangle strip from back

I made a border of  half square triangles using my 1 1/2 inch scrap squares, and white squares.  I used this method of putting 2 squares together, drawing a diagonal line, sewing two lines 1/4 inch from the drawn line, and then cutting apart on the diagonal line.  I machine quilted diagonally.  Although I usually use double fold binding, I tried a single layer method recommended for smaller items.  My corners aren’t mitered very well. I followed a tutorial that showed pinning on the entire binding before sewing which didn’t work for me.

Life is Good mug rug quilting detail

I love the strawberry fabric on the back.

Life is Good Mug Rug Strawberry Back

Mug Rug with Starbucks

I wish you a new year filled with lots of “life is good” moments. What is a “life is good” moment for you?


Apples Inspired by Kajsa

I have read and enjoyed the blog written by Kajsa Wikman of Finland , so when I saw her book “Scandinavian Stitches” in the library I checked it out.


It features cheerful little projects with with a whimsical appeal.  I love two of the motifs she uses in her books: leaves and apples.

Inspired by her “Sweet and Sour Apple Coasters”, I looked through my fabric for bits of red and green material.   Kajsa’s method of applique uses paper backed fusible web, and machine stitching an outline on the shape in a straight line with black thread.  I’ve done traditional applique with turned edges which is hand sewn with invisible, tiny stitches.  The end result is beautiful but it is slow going.  I’ve also seen applique machine stitched on the raw edges with a close zig-zag stitch.

I like handwork but I decided to try Kajsa’s method and use my machine to make a folk art look to my apples.

Paper backed fusible web is easy to use.  I used a brand called Heat N Bond Lite. First you press the fusible web with the paper side up on the wrong side of the fabric.  You draw your applique pieces backwards and cut them out on the lines since the edges won’t be turned under.  Then you peel off the paper, place them on your background fabric, and press to fuse.  You press down with a dry iron in one place for 6 seconds  similar to bonding an iron-on patch.

I wanted to make a mug rug and two coasters.  As most everybody knows, a mug rug is shaped like a rectangle and it large enough to hold a cup and a snack.  For the coasters I used the sew and turn right side out method as shown in the book; for the mug rug I preferred to use binding.


The apples look plain and uninteresting without any stitching.  I notice that fused applique looks flatter and less three dimensional than turned applique.


Looking better! I’ve only sewed straight lines before so it was hard for me to stitch the circle shapes, but the object was not to be perfect so I left my shaky lines.  The stems are machine sewn with a wide, close zig-zag.  I used the same fabric for both the strips in my mug rug and the apples in the coasters.  Then I gathered my backing fabric and my batting.  I used cotton batting for the coasters and Thermolam Plus, a polyester, for the mug rug.


After quilting the outlines, I wasn’t sure what additional quilting to make.  I was using a regular foot and not a quilting foot and I don’t think my vine lines with leaves came out too well, but decided to leave them.  I used bias tape for the binding because I didn’t have any black fabric on hand.


I inserted twill tape for hanging before stitching the sides of the coasters.  My apples are more rustic Americana apples than Scandinavian.


Thanks  to Kajsa for a fun project.  I think I will make her Tomte (elves with a long red cap) when it gets closer to Christmas.