Small Pillow with Frame – Gift Idea – Tutorial

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Awhile back, I saw a cute item in a needlework shop – a small pillow that had a frame on top in which a piece of needlework could be inserted and then changed out if desired.  I thought it was something I could duplicate and I worked out the details for a 5×5 inch pillow that would accept a 4 inch piece of needlework (see picture above).
I plan to make some of these pillows as Christmas gift card  or check holders, using a favorite photo and tucking the gift card or check in back of it.  I’ll attach a tag:  Look behind the picture for a surprise.

Here is how I made the pillow:

Cut:

  • 1 piece of 5-½ x 5-½ inch muslin for the top of the pillow
  • 1 piece of 5-½ x 5-½ inch fabric for the back of the pillow
  • 4 pieces of 3 x 5-½ inch fabric for the frame
  • You will also need a small amount of stuffing

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Press the four pieces of frame fabric (3×5-½ inches) in half lengthwise.

Place the muslin on the table and arrange two of the frame pieces on top of the muslin, matching raw edges with folds toward center.

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Place the remaining two frame pieces top and bottom on the muslin, matching raw edges with folds toward center.  Pin and stitch 1/8 inch from the raw edges to secure the frame.

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Place the right side of the backing on top of the frame, matching raw edges.  On the bottom edge, place a pin 2-½ inches from each side and leave the center portion open for stuffing.  Stitch ¼ inch seams, beginning and ending at pins.  Remove pins, trim four corners and turn piece so that frame portion is on the front of the pillow.

Stuff the pillow and hand-stitch the opening gap.

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For insert, choose a needlework piece with a 3-½ x 3-½ inch design and leave a ¼ inch border around the edge to form a 4 x 4 inch block.  Zigzag stitch around the raw edges of the piece.  Insert into pillow frame.

You could also fussy-cut a pretty design from fabric 4 x 4 inches ….
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…or print a 3-½ x 3-½ photo on fabric (such as June Tailor’s Sew-In Colorfast Fabric Sheets) and leave a ¼ inch border around the edge to form a 4 x 4 inch square.
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This would make a cute gift with just one insert or, even better, stacking three inserts in the frame with a tag for the recipient to check under the first fabric for a surprise or two.

This pillow is very easy to make and uses up a little bit more of that scrap fabric that is in everyone’s sewing room.

Windmill Spice Cookies

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When I was growing up in the 1930s-40s, we didn’t have cookies very often.  My mother didn’t care to make them and we seldom had store-bought cookies.  Once in a great while, when there was a small amount of change left in the food budget, Mother would let us get a few large, brown, spicy windmill cookies that were sold in bulk from a big tin container in our corner grocery store.  I loved these cookies, particularly the bits of sliced almonds scattered here and there.

Sadly, the “windmill” cookies found now in plastic wrappers aren’t shaped like windmills, don’t have almonds and don’t taste nearly as good as I remember.  I found a recipe about 25 years ago that I thought was very reminiscent of the wonderful cookies of my childhood.

WINDMILL SPICE COOKIES

  • Servings: Depends on size of cutter and thickness of dough
  • Print

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream margarine and sugar, add egg and mix well.  Stir together the dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture.  Mix well.

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Roll out on floured board to desired thickness (I like the crisp ones about 1/4″ thick).  Cut with floured cookie cutter and place an inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.   Press sliced almonds into the cookies.

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Bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool. 

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I have a nice collection of Dutch items and one of my favorites is this piece my daughter made for me a few years ago.  I love the Delft scenes all around the border.

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Christmas Handiwork

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Thanks to two talented daughters, I have a lot of Christmas handiwork to enjoy.  Over the past couple of years the oldest daughter has made primitive Santas….

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…an embroidered picture and a handpainted apron….

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…a kitchen wreath with vintage cookie cutters and decorations.

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The youngest daughter made some craft decorations when she was a teenager …..

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…and later, an embroidered picture ….

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…and just this year, an afghan that looks like rows of Christmas tinsel and snowflakes.

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It’s so nice to look around the house and see all these beautiful things that the girls have spent so many hours making.

Halloween Around the House

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Thanks to the creative efforts of my two daughters, I have Halloween decorations all around the house – on walls, shelves, chairs – just about every surface.  The oldest daughter made the wreath and the three items that are on my piano – the scottie pumpkin is new this year.  Her blog at Salmagundi Express describes exactly how she carved and painted this pumpkin.  

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Some more of her work:

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The youngest daughter made the little Dracula and pumpkin man along with the door handle piece when she was a teenager.  She also made the cute candle holders.

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Her main handiwork now is crocheting the most gorgeous afghans and I have one for every occasion.  She also contributes a large number of these every year to the local Linus Project.

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I love to look around my house and see so many beautiful things that my daughters have made for me over the years.