Maker Mat Sew-a-long Prizes!

I think we’ll all agree that the real fun is in creating our mats, but… prizes are really fun, too, right?!I have had some awesome and generous prize donations to share with you and have also put together a few things myself  🙂

I have now posted about all the steps in the pattern and you can find links to all the previous posts at the end of this post if you’re just joining in. I’m going to wait another week before drawing winners for the prizes to give everyone (including myself!) some more time to work on their projects. You do not need to complete your mat to be eligible to win, you just need to post at least one progress photo on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat. If you do not use social media, you can email me your photos.

I will pick my three favorite completed mats to win a prize of their choosing, and then I will randomly draw the remaining prize winners from all the posts in the sew-a-long hashtag. How does that sound? Alright… onto the prizes!


First up, from Make Modern Magazine, I have five 6-month subscriptions! I love this mag, there’s always a great variety of projects and well-written, informative articles. Plus, it’s run by an awesome group of ladies!

Next, I have a three month subscription to Stash Builder Box! If you’re not familiar with Stash Builder Box, it’s a monthly subscription club where you receive fabrics, patterns, notions and other fun items and they donate a portion of the profits to help children in need. They also work to create quilts to send to different organizations. You can read more of their website. It’s a total win-win for everyone when you support them!

Last, but certainly not least, from our sponsors, I have a $25 gift certificate to Stash Fabrics! It’s no secret that Stash is my favorite fabric shop, they have such a a wide variety and they usually ship the same day. Can’t beat that! Beth and her team are also the sweetest. Friendly service means everything to me these days.


In addition to those awesome prize donations, I’m also giving away three bundles of all my patterns (shown above) and the little prize pack shown below with 12 fat quarters, rainbow wonder clips, colored pencils, graph pad, omnigrid ruler and more!


Now get back to work, because I have to as well! ; ) And keep posting your photos!

Have a fabulous weekend!
~ nicole



Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher

Maker Mat Sew-a-long: Optional Thread Catcher

You guys. This sew-a-long has just been so awesome! I keep saying it, but it’s true. As always, I am blown away by your creativity! The best thing about designing patterns, for me, is watching other people bring them to life, and this one just has so much personality to it.

I was thinking about this while working on mine yesterday. I chose two sets of fabrics for two mats, with no thought but what do I want to look at everyday, and then I laughed when I realized how similar the two pulls were. I realized that my mats 100% represented me, my style and my personality, and that the same was true for every one being made. Of course this holds true for many quilts and other sewing projects, but there are so many ways to customize and personalize this project, that I just feel every one gives so much insight into the person who made it.

I’m still working on mine, but will share some pics tomorrow! Below is the mat I made for the Paperie blog tour earlier this year. Aren’t those fabrics gorgeous?

DSC_0490 edi

Some of you are just joining in and some are already finished with their projects. Today is my last post about the steps of the pattern, but there is still plenty of time to sew! Tomorrow I will be sharing some additional prizes, but will be waiting until next Friday (September 23) to draw winners. I will choose my two favorite finished mats to win prizes, but will draw the remaining prize winners from all the photos in the hashtag, so even if you’re just beginning, you’re still eligible to win! You just have to post your progress photos with the hashtag #undercovermakermatSAL on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re joining in and don’t have any social media accounts, feel free to email me some pics (nicole at lillyella dot com)!



Onto today’s business. You’re either a thread catcher kind of person, or you’re a throw-it-on-the-floor-and-sweep-it-up-later kind of person! So, this step is optional. The thread catcher is designed to hang from a button on the far right pocket, but it will also stand on it’s own and can sit on your work table. If you choose to have it stand alone, you may want to shorten the height of it a bit to make it easier to use.

As with all the elements of this pattern, there are endless ways to customize the thread catcher. You can use a single fabric embellished with trim and selvedges or you can create any sort of patchwork design you like. Piece in a single accent strip, make the bottom half a contrasting fabric or use another paper pieced block. Here are a few examples:



IMG_2643 edit2





Outside of this project, the thread catcher alone is handy for a variety of other uses! I’m working on a set that will hang from hooks on the wall behind my sewing machine to hold tools and notions (I’ll share pics when I’m done!), or you could hang some in a bedroom or bathroom for jewelry, toiletries, hair accessories, etc! You can easily adjust the size by adding or subtracting equal amounts to all pieces.


Just a handful of you have finished the thread catcher so far, but here are some pics from the sew-a-long hashtag!



Remember to keep sharing your photos with the hashtags #undercovermakermatSAL and #undercovermakermat! Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some additional prizes up for grabs and I will also share more photos from everyone sewing along throughout next week!


Undercover Maker Mat Sew-a-long: All the details

PART TWO: September 6 – Kickoff, prizes and main body panel variations

PART THREE: September 8 – Accent Pocket Panels

PART FOUR: September 12 –Full Pocket Panel & Assembly

PART FIVE: September 15 – Optional Thread Catcher

Yarn Wrapped Wreaths

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

These wreaths are one of my favorite things to make! They are quick, easy and inexpensive, and can be customized in an endless numbers of ways to create a perfect gift for any age and any occasion.

This is technically a Christmas wreath for my mom (her tree is decorated in the same style with all nature themed ornaments and natural elements), but I love that it’s more of a winter wreath that can be displayed and enjoyed for longer.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The primary materials that I use are yarn and felt, but you can also use ribbon or fabric for wrapping or for the decorations. Get creative when it comes to the extras – check out the floral section of your craft store for little berries, twigs and greenery. Look in the wood aisle for things like the snowflakes shown above and the miniatures aisle is also great for finding little critters or themed extras. Also hunt outside for moss, pinecones, acorns, twigs and bark.

This is one of the simpler wreaths I have made. You can really go crazy with flowers and they look amazing, but I wanted the deer to take center stage on this one!

I typically use hard foam wreath shapes (found in the floral section of your craft store), but for this wreath I wanted something larger to balance the stag, so I used a straw wreath. I also found this is the floral section and it was wrapped in plastic, which I left on.

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

The first step is to simply start wrapping your yarn around the wreath. You can glue the end to begin or just wrap over it to secure. I typically smooth a good amount of glue over the area where my ends meet after I’m done wrapping. Since it’s on the back, it’s ok if you can tell where the glue is.

There are tons of excellent tutorials out there for making felt flowers. I’ve tried many different styles and typically stick with about four or five designs that I love most and are easy to make. The coiled roses are my favorite because they are really simple, don’t require any sewing, and look adorable.

Here are just a few links to get your started:

yarn wrapped wreath | lillyella stitchery

When it comes to attaching all my doodads, I use Elmer’s Glue and occasionally some E6000, but most craft and fabric glues will work fine for the bulk of materials used.

I like to use a piece of ribbon or lace for hanging, which I usually just tie on and make a bow. For this one, I cut some wide burlap that was covered with lace and sewed the bow together because it was too stiff to tie. I looped a clear plastic ring underneath for hanging.

Trust me when I say that once you start making these, you might not be able to stop!

yarn wrapped wreaths | lillyella stitchery

Here are some supplies I’ve gathered to make a couple retro-inspired Christmas wreaths for myself. These are the foam wreaths I usually use. Both of the ‘yarns’ I’m using to wrap them were found in the yarn section of JoAnns, but are not your typical yarn. I actually have no idea what the green one would be used for. I found it on an endcap in this bulk bag and it’s the strangest stuff, but I think it’s going to be adorable!

Some other embellishments to think about include ornaments, beads, buttons, millnery birds and flowers, feathers, assorted trims & ribbons for accents, wood letter shapes to personalize with an initial or word or a small garland of bunting.

I hope I’ve added another project to your list! And wish me luck on finishing mine before next Christmas…

May Flowers: Crafting a Cork Board Garden

I was pleased as a pretty spring peony when Roxana of Illuminated Perfume invited me to take part in her newest blogging collaborative, May Flowers. Every day this month, a different contributor has been sharing their personal perspective on the theme and today is my day! In true lillyella form, I decided a springy floral craft project would be a great addition to the contributions so today I’ll show you two ways to create pretty, functional cork board gardens.

What you’ll need:
Roll of cork board
Scissors or an Xacto Knife
Templates (found at the end of this post)

I purchased my roll of cork from Staples for about $15 but you can look at any local office supply or craft store. You can also use squares of cork which you can find at many places, but you may be limited with the size of your pieces.
The templates I used for these projects can be found at the end of this post for download in JPG format.
Begin by printing the template and cutting out the pieces. Lay them face down (gray side down) onto your cork and trace around the edges with a pen or dark pencil. Cut out the cork pieces using sharp scissors and/or an Xacto knife.
Choose a piece of fabric you would like for the background and iron a piece large enough to fit your cork flower. The cork pieces you cut may be a little curly from being rolled. Ideally, unroll your cork and lay it flat for a couple days before using it, or you can iron your cork on a medium heat covered with a towel or piece of fabric.

Apply a clear craft glue to the back of each cork piece and use a brush or foam sponge to spread the glue evenly and then apply the pieces to the fabric. Be sure the fabric is smooth and taut as you go. (You can also use scrapbook paper in place of the fabric if you’d like!)
Once you have all the pieces glued in place, let it dry and then trim the fabric closely around the edges of the cork, following the shape of the piece in between pieces of cork. If you have some on hand or would like to, you can apply fray block or similar product to the edges of the fabric.
Next you will create a backer piece. Lay your cork flower face side down onto your roll of cork. Trace around the outside edge and then cut the piece about 1/8″ smaller than your trace lines. Apply a good coat of glue to the backer piece and position the top piece centered in place.
Place it under a stack of phone books or heavy box to dry and flatten out. To hang it on the wall, you can use strong glue to attach small brackets, hooks or wire from a picture hanging kit or you can use double sided adhesive squares made for home decor use. You can also use a small headed nail and press the cork board into it. The piece is very light and as long as you don’t tack anything very heavy to it, any of those options will hold just fine.
At the end of this post you will find the printable JPG templates for the smaller lily flower which measures 9.5″ x 8″ and the large rose which measures 14″ x 10″. The smaller flower will print on one sheet of letter size paper but the rose is broken up onto 3 pages. I also provided files for a larger lily flower which is not shown here, as well as a smaller rose that is shown in the project below. The files can be sized to your preferred dimensions when printed or on a copy machine as well.

Now if you like things a little more structured, here’s another take on this project. You’ll need a picture frame (the one I used is 8×10 size), some fabric and the cork.

Open up the frame and use the glass as a template to cut a piece of cork to the same size. You will not be using the glass in the finished piece.

Once the cork is cut, make sure it fits inside the frame. Next choose your fabric. You can decide on placement by using the empty frame as a guide if needed.
Apply a good, even coat of craft glue to your cork board rectangle and press the fabric smoothly over it.
Once dry, trim the fabric right to the edges of the cork and make sure it fits in your frame. If it’s tight, you can trim the edges a bit. Close the frame up using the provided backer.
Print and cut out the small rose template (found at the end of this post) then trace the pieces onto the cork and cut them out as shown in the project above.
Glue them into place onto the front of the fabric and let dry completely before hanging. Voila!

Even though you have two layers of cork on both of these projects, it’s still a bit thinner than your standard bulletin board, so you’ll need to use shorter push pins and tacks or cut down some longer ones with wire cutters.
Now you can take this idea and run with it! Try fruit or vegetable shapes to hold recipes in your kitchen or use your kids’ favorite shapes to create a piece for their room. As always, the possibilities are endless. I hope you have fun with this one!
Click on the name to download a JPG file
These templates are provided for your own personal use, please do not use them for commercial purposes or share them without my permission. Thank you!

Crafting: Book Vases

Do you fancy yourself a Bibliophile? Or maybe you just love the look, feel and smell of old books. Either way, this one’s for you! Today I’ll show you how to make a ‘vase’ out of a hardcover book. It’s the perfect piece to decorate your favorite reading nook or a book shelf and is easy to make requiring just a few tools and no special skills.

What you’ll need:

Hardcover book
Craft knife (or a scroll or band saw)

The book I used I found at a thrift store for $1.00. I especially loved the green coloring on the top edge. If you feel bad destroying good books, look for ones with missing or torn pages.
Cut a piece of cardboard to the size of the book and draw your vase shape. I’ve created a JPG of the shape I drew and you can download it here. It can be sized up or down to fit the height of your book. If you draw your own, keep in mind it will be twice as wide when it’s finished, so you’ll want to make the shape much thinner than you would think for it to look proportional when cut.

Cut your template shape out of the cardboard and place it onto the first page of the book, snug against the binding. You can trace it with a pencil if you’d like to have a guidline if your template moves, but it’s easiest to cut along the template. I taped mine in place at the top and bottom to hold it secure.
With a sharp knife, cut along the template, gradually slicing through all pages of the book.
Alternatively, if you have a scroll saw or band saw, you can do it in a fraction of the time! Just trace your template and go. (I recommend removing the cover before cutting the pages with a saw.) I cut half of my vase by hand and finished with a band saw, to try both techniques.

When cutting by hand, I found it easiest to move the template further into the book as I continued cutting, every 1/4″ of pages or so.
Once complete, cut off the covers, leaving the spine binding in tact. Open the book and fold it backward, gluing together the first and last pages with craft glue or a glue gun. Hold for a few seconds until secure.
I used a thin pencil top and bottom to keep the shape of the center hole while gluing.

Spread out the pages and you’re done! Since you do end up with a small opening along the spine, you can use this as a ‘vase’ for a silk flower stem or some dried pieces like I show in my opening photo. You can also create a small cluster in different sizes and shapes for a unique arrangement.
The possibilities for this project are only limited by your imagination so get creative and have fun — happy crafting!

Crafting: A Ribbon Poinsettia Wreath

Today I have a fun holiday craft project that lends itself to so many applications, making ribbon poinsettias. I’ll be showing you how to make a wreath out of them but you can also make single blooms or a small cluster to sew on a hat, wear as a brooch or to decorate your holiday gift packages.

What you’ll need:
A styrofoam wreath form (I used an 8″ for the finished wreath shown)
Satin or velvet ribbon, 1.5″ width, various colors
Straight pins
Artificial flower stamen (or beads)
Thin craft or floral wire

When choosing a color scheme, you can go traditional Christmas with red, gold and pine green or try something different like yellow, goldenrod and seafoam green.

Start by wrapping your wreath form with ribbon. Secure the ribbon end with straight pins and wrap tightly around until completely covered. Secure end with pins. I used ivory ribbon but in hindsight, I think green would have looked nice as well.

To make the flowers, cut the ribbon end into a point. You can experiment with different angles of the point for slightly different sizes and shapes. Fold the ribbon over on itself and cut the other end to match the point. Also cut different length pieces for a variety of bloom sizes. I used ribbon pieces measuring 3″ – 4″ from point to point. You will need 3 cut pieces for each flower.
Note: Handle the ribbon with care as the edges will start to fray the more you work with it. You can also seal the edges with a fray block or similar product.

Fold each piece of ribbon in half, with the top on the inside, then fold each flap down in half. Hold with a straight pin and repeat with the other two pieces of ribbon. Place them on the same pin.
Holding all 3 ‘petals’ together, wrap tightly around the center with wire and remove the pin. Then wrap around once in between each petal, this helps to spread them out a bit. Secure the wire at the back and trim loose ends. You can then shape the flower.
To make the leaves, cut a length of ribbon about 4.5″ long. With the back facing up, fold on an angle at the center. Next fold the left tail shown above back behind the first fold. Pinch together at the bottom and secure with a piece of wire.
Note: I used a wired ribbon for the leaves because it was all I could find in the green I liked. It worked with no problems but you’ll need ribbon without wire for the flowers.

To add the stamen, cut the tops off the artificial stamen and secure with clear craft glue. You can also glue or wire beads on as well.
Secure the flowers and leaves to the wreath using straight pins. I think it actually looked quite lovely with just 3 flowers and a leaf on the ivory wreath, so you can play around with different designs. You could also wrap a piece of thin red ribbon around the exposed ivory wreath for a cute candy cane effect.
You can hang the wreath from the wall on a nail or hook, or you can loop a ribbon around the wreath to hang it from on the wall or a doorknob. Aside from a lovely decoration, I think this would make a very special gift.
I’m making a larger 12″ wreath in yellow and goldenrod for myself so I’ll be sure to share some photos when it is complete. I’d love to hear what you think about this project and how it goes if you try your hand at making these little ribbon poinsettias. Happy crafting!

May Day Flower Cones

Happy May Day, everyone! May Day (May 1st) is celebrated in many places around the world. The traditions and stories surrounding May Day vary from place to place but there is one thing that is similar in most celebrations – the use of flowers! One of the most popularly known May Day traditions is to hang spring flowers and/or other small gifts on a neighbor’s doorknob. One fun and easy way to do this is by using homemade paper cones. Here I show you how to make a small one but you can easily adjust the size by starting with a larger piece of paper.
What you’ll need:
7″ square of paper (or larger if desired, 8″ – 10″ work well)
30″ length of ribbon (longer for bigger cone)
decorative edged scissors
hole punch
craft glue or glue stick
flowers – fresh, silk, even paper
Use the decorative scissors to cut a scalloped edge (or other design of your choice) along two sides of the paper. These will be the top.
Lay the square flat, face side down, in a diamond shape and apply a dab of glue to the left point. Begin rolling the cone using a pencil to shape the bottom point and hold the glue corner in place until secure.
Next you will punch the holes for the ribbon. Punch three in the front, one on either side and two in the back (see photos for reference). Begin threading the ribbon from the back, putting one end in each back hole, leaving a length to use as the hanging loop.
From the inside, thread the ribbon back out through the next holes, back inside through the outer front holes and finally both ends to the front through the middle hole. Tie a bow and you are done! This size cone will hold a small sprig or a handful of daises or tulips but you can start with a larger square of paper to hang a more impressive bouquet. About 10″ is the largest piece of paper you would want to use.
Now all you have to do is fill it and find a doorknob to hang it on! Wouldn’t it be a lovely surprise to come home to or wake up to tomorrow morning? And don’t worry if you are a day or two late, this May Day tradition can be celebrated through the weekend.
Find more fun and easy craft projects here.

Crafting: Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Flowers

Welcome to the first in a new, highly-requested, How-To series! I’m still trying to think of some snappy little title, so that may change one day. Every other Tuesday I’ll be bringing you a new project and will cover a broad range of crafts and levels of difficulty. 
This week we’re making simple tissue paper pom-pom flowers. I’m highly addicted to making paper flowers of all kinds and will share a variety of others with you in the future but I thought this quick and easy project was a great starter!
What you’ll need for one 5″ flower:
4 pieces of tissue paper, 10″ x 5″
18″ piece of thin wire, floral or any other type
Stack the four sheets of tissue on top of each other. Make 3/8″ accordion folds, creasing after each fold. I find it easiest to make one fold, flip it over, make the other, and repeat, so you are always folding up away from you and it’s easy to see.
Fold the 18″ piece of wire in half and slip over the center of the folded tissue. Twist the bottom closed. Using sharp scissors, trim the ends of the paper into rounded or pointy shapes. I chose rounded for this one.
Separate the four tissues layers, one at a time until the flower begins to take shape. Depending on what you will use them for, you can keep the bottom flat or you can puff them into a ball for hanging.
You can use these little flowers just about anywhere! I love using them as napkin rings for a summer picnic or when we have guests over. You can use them to decorate a basket or the back of a chair, make a bouquet for a vase or they are beautiful as a bow on a gift.
Try layering different colors of tissue for a beautiful effect or embellishing the centers with buttons or beads. You can also easily make other sizes by starting with different sized tissue. In the future I will show you how to make really big ones to hang from the ceiling. I hope you have fun making these pretty little flowers. I’d love to hear about what uses you find for them!
I’ll have a PDF instruction sheet that you can download or print 
available later today.