Mason Jar Sewing Kit or Sewing Preserves

Are you looking for a last minute gift for a sewing or quilting friend?  You still have time to whip up a mason jar sewing kit or Sewing Preserves as I like to call it.

sewing preserves title

This is a perfect, portable sewing kit that anyone could use.  If you like hand applique or English paper piecing, this would be perfect for you.

applique copy

Do you hand-sew your bindings on the back of your quilt?  This could be your go-to jar!  There is room to put your favorite hand-sewing tools inside and it has a built-in pin cushion on top.

sewing preserves on top copy

I added a sweet little saying on the inside of the lid.  Something to make you smile every time you open it up!

sewing preserves lid copy

And that grosgrain ribbon with the bobbin attached?  Easy peasy and a great way to keep your thread handy while your stitching away.


There are many tutorials out there to make mason jar pincushions.  I used a combination of several to make my own Sewing Preserves Kit.  To get started, I relied on the Pincushion Jar Tutorial at Cutting Corners College, by Andy Knowlton of A Bright Corner.

pincushion mason jar

This is one of the more comprehensive and detailed tutorials that I found.  It’s a great place to start!

The other idea that I used came from Karen at Sew Many Ways.  She added a sweet phrase on the inside of her lid.

Canning Jar Lid

Canning Jar Pincushion at Sew Many Ways

On that same blog post, Karen has a few other great ideas to use mason jars with, such as memory jars and decorative candle lights (great for the holidays)!

If you truly want to be inspired, check out these great mason jar pincushion ideas on Pinterest.

Here are a few details about how I made mine.

I used 5″ charm squares for the pincushion (Fig Tree).  Just round off the corners and baste 1/4″ from the raw edge (I used my sewing machine).

charm square pincushions

I decided to go with a kitchen theme and so I added a gift label titled “Sewing Preserves”.  I used Microsoft Word and printed out a page of labels on cardstock.  Then I used a label punch and some stamping ink to the edges.  I adhered a button with Glue Dots and added a little flower stamp to the other corner.  Tie it on with some ribbon and you’re all set!

label supplies

For the pincushion lid, I used Polyfil to stuff it.  I used a large circle punch for the inside label and hand stamped each one with a saying.  You could also do this on the computer if you don’t have rubber stamps.  I used Gorilla Glue to adhere the circle to the inside of the lid.  I needed to “weight and set” the glue, so I inverted the lid onto the jar and then placed another jar on top of that.  I added weight by placing a heavy book (or two) on top of the empty jar.  It worked perfectly.

Lid Supplies collage

I wanted to add a thread holder to my sewing kit.  I like to use Masterpiece pre-wound bobbins for my applique so a narrow ribbon with a button closure was just right.  To do this, I added a 3/8″ wide piece of grosgrain ribbon to the underside of the lid; between the circle label and the lid.  This was an afterthought, so I didn’t take any pictures of the process.  Here is what the finished product looks like:

mason jar bobbin holder copy

I cut a 1/2″ wide slit near one edge of the ribbon and added Fray Check along the cut edges.  I sewed a small button near the attached edge of the ribbon.  Now I can switch bobbin colors whenever I need!

sewing preserves close

I love having everything in one place, ready to go when I’m ready to sew!  Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you’re enjoying this holiday weekend!


More Nordic Mini’s

I have more Nordic Mini’s to show you from followers and friends of mine.  It makes me so happy when I see other people’s interpretations of my tutorials.  If you want to know more about the Nordic Mini quilt and get instructions, you can find them here.

The first quilt that I saw finished was this one by Amanda at The Patchsmith.  I love the gingham and the hand quilting!

Nordic Mini Complete

Amanda was kind of enough to give me feedback (pattern corrections) along the way.  It’s never easy to get it right the first time, and I was so appreciative of her input.

Nordic rustic quilting

Rustic quilting by Amanda at The Patchsmith

Amanda is the queen of the mini, herself, and she has some wonderful mug rug patterns and tutorials on her blog.  It’s a must visit!


This next quilt was made by Susie at Susie’s Sunroom .  Her version is so pretty, and I love the addition of gray!  It rings of Scandinavian origins.

Nordic and White tree

She used simple quilting around the blocks and shapes which fits perfectly with this design!

Simple Quilting by Susie @ Susie's Sunroom

Simple Quilting by Susie @ Susie’s Sunroom

Susie was also helpful in “suggesting” a pattern correction for me (thank you).  She’s a busy gal herself, and I’m always amazed at all of the lovely sewing projects she has going on.  You can find a page of tutorials and patterns on her blog here.


I was so glad to receive an email from one of my followers, Marge, with a picture attached of her completed Nordic Mini.  Another beautiful project!  It’s always fun to see the same pattern in different fabrics.  (My apologies for the small image.  I couldn’t get it any bigger without distorting it).

Marges Nordic Star

Nordic Mini quilt made by Marge Reikofski


I’m hoping to make another one of these mini quilts myself.  I’d like to try a row of trees instead of the hearts.  Of course I’ll share that row with you, too!  For now I’m quite happy with my original version.

Nordic Mini Quilt by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a lovely week!


Sew Thankful Sunday “ish”, December, 2014

{I am frequently visiting other blogs and I’m always amazed at the talent and passion that I see along the way.  Since I love sharing these new “finds” with you, I created Sew Thankful Sunday.  My way of giving back to the quilting community and sharing great content with you at the same time!}

Sew Thankful Button

My apologies for the late Sew Thankful post!  It’s December and a very busy time of year for all of us. I’m going to get right to the point this month with links to some very creative and generous bloggers.  Enjoy!

(Remember, you can click on any of the images in this post and it will open up a new tab to the associated link).

1.  Jennifer Mathis at Ellison Lane is having a Merry Mug Rug blog hop.  You’ll find lots of quick projects to inspire you here!

MERRY Mug Rugs


2.  If you’re making small projects like mug rugs or minis, you’ll want to read “How to Bind Small Things” by Amanda Jean of Crazy Mom Quilts.  Great information and visuals.

How to Bind Small Projects



3.  The Countdown to Christmas is on at Celebrate Creativity.  Lisa always has great recipes and projects, plus beautiful photography to go with them.

Countdown to Christmas



4.  I love these fun and simple patchwork trees by Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter.  She has a great tutorial so you can make your own forest of trees.




5.  If you love all things mini, then you’ll love these Mini Christmas Stockings by Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts.  Every tree should have at least one!

Mini Christmas-stockings-tutorial-423x550



6.  If you’re looking for some great ideas for handmade Christmas ornaments, then check out this blog hop at Tikkido.  Nikki has rounded up some great ideas, and she has her own tutorial to make a Quilted Christmas Ornament.

quilted--christmas-ornaments-tutorial (1 of 9)



7.  You can find Quick & Easy Gift Ideas at the Blog Hop hosted by Sew in Love {with Fabric}.  Benartex has teamed up with some talented bloggers to give your gift list some inspiration.

holiday 2014 hop logo



8.  There’s a new precut in town called the Jolly Bar which contain 5″ x 10″ rectangles exclusively from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Andy from A Bright Corner has made a free pattern called Jolly Pinwheels that uses one jolly bar and some background fabric.  Jolly good!

jolly bar 4_thumb


9.  Get ready for 2015 with the Moccasin Block of the Month from Gen X Quilters.  It looks like Anne Marie has put together some really exciting blocks full of great learning experiences!

Moccasin BOM


10.  Christmas and cookies go hand in hand, and you’ll love these Cookie Exchange ideas from Simply So Good.  Why wait for Christmas?

Cookie Exchange


11.   Whether it’s a gift or something to keep for yourself, you’ll love this free Travel Jewelry Case Pattern from Caroline at Sew Can She.

travel jewelry case


12.  If you want more Christmas ideas, you can re-visit last year’s 12 Tutorials for Christmas Giving where you’ll find lots of ideas for the holidays such as pillows, table toppers, wall hangings and gift tags to name a few.


I hope you’ve found some holiday inspiration here today.  There is SEW much to be thankful for!  Enjoy the rest of your week.



Wednesday WIP’s

Today I have some Wednesday WIP’s to show you.  But first, I want to mention that I was made aware of a few errors in my cutting instructions for Row 4 of the Nordic Mini QAL.  I’ve corrected them, so when you click on the link it will have the updated version.  Thanks to Amanda at The Patchsmith for catching these errors.  She has already finished her Nordic Mini and you can see her version here.  If anyone else has finished theirs, please send me a picture and I’ll post them on my blog.

I seem to be working on little projects that will eventually add up to something big (I hope). Hears a quick peek:

I finished the last block for the El’s Kitchen BOM at The Granary.  This is why I love applique so much – this block is so darn sweet!

els kitchen block 12 by Julie Cefalu

I’m going to be in San Diego over the next few days and I get to go to the Quilt In a Day shop in San Marcos.  I’ve signed up for an open sewing class there on Thursday so I can finish this baby.  Maybe I’ll meet Eleanor Burns while I’m there!

For those of you on Instagram, you may know that Lori Holt at Bee in my Bonnet is doing a fun Christmas QAL using her book, Quilty Fun.  I couldn’t resist the cuteness, so I’m on way to a little Christmas quilt.  Here are some of the blocks I’ve completed (pardon the cell phone pictures):

xmas house copy

xmas blocks copy

xmas wreaths by Julie Cefalu

Now you see why I couldn’t resist?  They are so cute and scrappy and easy!

That’s all for now friends.  I’ve got to get ready to teach a class and then I’m catching a flight to San Diego!


Nordic Mini QAL, Row 4 and Finishing

We’re on to Row 4 (the last row) of the Nordic Mini QAL and I have some finishing instructions for you, too.

Nordic Mini QAL @ The Crafty Quilter

You can find links for the other rows below:

This last row consists of three Nordic heart blocks.  In Nordic tradition (at least in Norway), the basket weave heart is called a ‘flettet julekurv’.  Flettet=woven, jule=Christmas,and kurv=basket. Traditionally they are made as a 3D version in paper or felt, often red and white, and hung on the Christmas tree. (Thanks to my friend from Norway, Edith, for that information).  So even though it might seem more appropriate for Valentine’s Day (in America) I think these hearts are the perfect symbol for this holiday project.  Plus you’ll be able to keep your mini quilt hanging through the month of February!

Nordic Hearts Quilt Blocks @ The Crafty Quilter

And once you’ve made your Nordic hearts, you can put all of the rows together.  Here is the Nordic Mini Quilt all finished:

Nordic Mini Quilt @ The Crafty Quilter

Each heart consists of a 9-patch and two appliqued half circles.  I know that the applique might be a deal-breaker for some of you.  It’s like when I see paper piecing, I run in the other direction!  I have a cool applique technique that you’ll like, and you should think of it as “just more sewing”.  The hardest part is that you will need to print out the Nordic Heart Templates (at full scale) which are patterns for the half-circles.

So let’s get to it!

Cutting Instructions:  (corrected 12/2/14)

  • Red:  (2) 1 1/4” x 9” rectangles, (1) 1 1/4” x 9” rectangle, (3) 2” x 3” rectangles
  • Red/white print:  (1) 1 1/4” x 9” rectangle, (2) 1 1/4” x 9” rectangles, (3) 2” x 3” rectangles
  • White:  (6) 2” x 3” rectangles, (3) 1 3/4” squares, (2) 2 1/4” x 4” rectangles
  • Fusible Interfacing:  (6) 2″ x 3″ rectangles

Assembly Instructions:

1.  Make (3) 9-patch units.

  • Stitch red and red/white print strips together as shown below.  Press towards red.

9-patch collage

  • Sub-cut into 1 1/4” segments. Join segments together to create a 9-patch unit.
  • It should measure 2 3/4” square.

2.  Make heart half-circles.  I’m using a turned edge method of applique for this tutorial.  You can use whatever method of applique you choose.  For more applique stitching information, you can visit my tutorial on raw edge applique and turned edge applique.

  • Print out the Nordic Heart Templates at full scale.  Check the 1″ box for accuracy.
  • Trace the small half-circle shape onto the smooth side of the 2″ x 3″ rectangles of fusible interfacing (I used a Frixion pen).  Make sure the raw edge of the interfacing is even with the solid bottom edge of the template.
  • Layer the interfacing onto each of the 2″ x 3″ rectangles of red and red/white print, fusible side to right side of fabric.
  • Stitch on the drawn line using a short stitch length of 1.5.
  • Trim 1/8″ away from stitching – I like to use pinking shears for this.

heart shape stitched and trim

  • Turn shape right side out and finger press shape so that it has a smooth curve.
  • Center on top of 2″ x 3″ white rectangles and press in place.  Make sure that bottom raw edges are aligned.

heart lobe turned and placed

Stitch along the turned edge of each half circle.  I used Monopoly, invisible monofilament thread by Superior and a blind hem stitch.  Alternatively, you could hand-stitch this or you could use a zig zag or blanket stitch with matching thread.

heart lobe applique stitch

Trim the appliqued rectangles to 1 3/4″ x 2 3/4″.  Make sure that you leave 1/4″ between the raw edges and the half-circle.

Trimming heart rectangle

3.  Assemble the Nordic heart block.

  • Join the 9-patch unit, half-circle rectangles and 1 3/4″ square.
  • Nordic Heart
  • Pay attention to the color placement of the half-circles.  I alternated mine as shown below:
  • Small Nordic Hearts @ The Crafty Quilter
  • Press seams away from half-circles (and be careful of the iron temperature if you used nylon invisible thread).
  • The unit should measure 4″ square (unfinished).

Nordic Heart quilt block @ The Crafty Quilter

4.  Complete the row.

Join the Nordic hearts and the white 2 1/4″ x 4″ rectangles.  Pay attention to the color placement of the heart half-circles (if you want to alternate them as I did).  Your row should measure 14 1/2″ unfinished.

Small Nordic Hearts @ The Crafty Quilter

5.  Finish the Quilt.

Now all of the rows can be joined together!  The order of the rows is up to you.  I chose this setting for mine:

Nordic Mini Quilt by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I kept my quilting simple and stitched in the ditch for the main block components.

I chose a blue/white/red print for the backing (all of my fabric is from Solstice by Kate Spain for Moda).  I added a quick and easy label to finish it up:

Nordic Mini  Quilt Label @ The Crafty Quilter

I’m so happy with this little quilt and I really enjoyed making it.  Even though I’ve made it with the holidays in mind, it doesn’t scream Christmas unless you want it to.

Nordic Mini Quilt by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter

I’ve made the larger version of this heart at 9 1/2″ unfinished and then set it on-point with triangles. This gives you a 13″ unfinished block to go with the others from the previous rows.

Large Nordic Heart quilt block @ The Crafty Quilter

I like the way it stands up straight in this setting.  This is how the hearts compare in size:

Nordic Hearts small and large @ The Crafty Quilter

For the larger heart you’ll need to cut:

  • Red:  (2) 2″ x 9″ rectangles, (1) 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ rectangle
  • Red/white print:  (2) 2″ x 9″ rectangles, (1) 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ rectangle
  • White:  (2) 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ rectangles, (1) 3 1/2″ square, (2) 7 1/2″ squares cut in half diagonally (setting triangles)
  • Fusible Interfacing:  (2) 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″ rectangles

You will be following the same assembly instructions as the smaller hearts, except that the larger heart will have a 16-patch for the center that will measure 6 1/2″ square unfinished.  So, you will stitch 4 strips of fabric together and sub-cut them into 2″ segments.  Then sew these together to form the 16-patch.  The half-circle rectangles should be trimmed down to 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″.

The setting triangles are over-sized, so you will need to trim the entire square down to 13″ unfinished.  You may be cutting close to the diagonal setting seams, but that’s o.k. as long as the fabric color is the same (as mine is).  Just make sure that you leave 1/4″ seam allowance at the bottom point of the heart.

Nordic Heart quilt block @ The Crafty Quilter

If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve given you directions for 3 larger blocks that measure 13″ unfinished (I’ve left out the larger flying geese units).  I wanted to have 4 blocks to form a 2 square x 2 square setting.  For my fourth block, I used a beautiful piece of Norwegian embroidery called Hardanger.  It was handmade by a student of mine and she was kind enough to give it to me.  It is perfect for this project!  I set it on-point on top of a 4-patch of red squares and hand-stitched it into place.  Then I bordered it with white fabric to balance out the color.

Hardanger Embroidery on quilt block @ The Crafty Quilter

I love it and it means so much to me!  The lady that gave it to me, Hilde, is German and she’s in her late 70’s.  She is just now learning how to quilt and she has taken my beginning quilt class several times recently.  She told me that she did all of the stitches by hand (about 10 years ago) and that it is a traditional Norwegian-style of embroidery.  Did you know that my mother is 100% Norwegian?  I’m thrilled to have such a gift (and now I’m looking into learning to do Hardanger myself- eek!).  If you’re interested, a great Hardanger resource is Nordic Needle.

Maybe you could do something similar with an old doily or handkerchief.  Or create your own block for this arrangement. Here are all four of my large blocks together:

Large Nordic Quilt Block @ The Crafty Quilter

I’m considering adding sashing between the blocks and maybe a small border.  I’ll definitely show you pictures of it when I’m done.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quilt along.  I know many of you are busy and won’t get to it before the holidays.  It might be a perfect project to work on in January or February especially if you’re keeping with the red and white color scheme.  I’d love to see pictures, too!  Remember to use the hashtag #nordicminiqal if you’re posting on Instagram.

Nordic Mini Quilt @ The Crafty Quilter

Have a wonderful day!