Minted Photo Challenge Win

Sewing is my primary creative outlet, but I also love to experiment with photography, surface design, printmaking, and other art. I recently entered some of my art and photography in the art challenges at Minted. If you aren’t familiar with Minted, it’s a company that sells art prints, stationery items, and home goods by independent artists and designers. All art is voted on by customers and designers, and Minted sells the best ones. Artists then earn a percentage of the sales.

Last month, my photo titled “Curious Calf”, was chosen as one of the editor’s picks. I love the sunlight in this picture and I’m thrilled that it was voted among the winners!

Minted Photo Challenge Winners | Radiant Home Studio

I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the items I’ve seen from Minted. Their paper goods are truly the best I’ve seen. When I get start getting Christmas cards in the mail, I can always spot the Minted cards immediately because the cardstock is so nice. I also ordered a framed art print a couple of weeks ago and I can’t wait to get it up on the wall. They run sales and share coupons often, which they will let you know about in their newsletter if you sign up.

I currently have one photo art print for sale through Minted and several submissions in current challenges. I’ve created an collage featuring modern farmhouse prints, so that you can see how my photo would fit in a gallery wall.

If you are interested in my work at Minted, I would so appreciate it if you used my affiliate link to check out my photo and the other artwork!

Sara Curtis at Minted | Radiant Home Studio

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Patchwork Potholder Set

A couple of months ago, I made the Hot Mitt House potholder from Betz White’s new book called Present Perfect. I love the welcoming shape of the little house. It would make a lovely housewarming gift for a friend or a fun addition to your own kitchen. Plus, it is a creative way to use scraps of your favorite prints!

Patchwork House Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

In the book, Betz pairs the house potholder with a coordinating tea towel. With 6 messy kiddos, white tea towels don’t stay white very long in my house! My current potholders are faded and worn, so I took the opportunity to make a matching patchwork potholder in pretty colors to brighten up my kitchen.

I have a couple of handmade potholders from a few years ago. One of the things I noticed after using them is that the binding is somewhat melted in places. That is because the premade binding I used is part cotton and part polyester. The polyester doesn’t withstand high heat very well and can melt (just like when you use an overly hot iron). If you can find 100% cotton binding, you’ll want to use that. If not, you can make your own bias binding like I did. Though it’s a few minutes of extra work, making your own bias binding for your potholders will add more binding options and allow you to create a potholder that matches your unique style.

Patchwork Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

The Hot Mitt House potholder was really fun to make and the directions are easy to follow. I used linen for the base, and some bright colored scraps to add some color to my very white kitchen. Now I’m not sure I want to use it and get it all dirty!

To make the extra potholder, I just cut some slightly off rectangle strips of fabric and stitched them together improvisationally (spell-check says that’s not a word…). I’m the kind of person that cooks without recipes and never really makes the same thing twice. I think that’s why I love improvisational piecing. No recipe. You can’t really mess it up.

Patchwork Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

After I had a large enough patchwork piece, I cut out a 9″ square and rounded the corners. I cut out a matching back piece and layered 2 sheets of insulated interfacing. The potholders I made a few years ago only had one layer, but seemed like they could be a little bit more substantial. I did some straight line quilting across the square and then attached the binding. In the Hot Mitt House directions, Betz has a nice method for creating the loop which I used for the extra potholder as well.

Patchwork House Potholder | Radiant Home Studio

Have you made any projects from Present Perfect yet? 

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Basket from Handmade Style

I’ve been following Anna at Noodlehead for years. When I discovered she was working on a book, I knew it was something I would want to have in my sewing book library. Anna has a great style that mixes modern fabrics with handmade coziness. She uses clean simple lines, but always adds extra details that make her projects unique. After debating which project to make first, I decided on some practical gifts for friends that are getting married soon.

Basket from Handmade Style by Noodlehead | Radiant Home Studio

I’d love to make every single project in the book, but I started with this basket. It’s such a versatile design that I’m sure there are dozens of uses for this around the house. Plus, I love the leather handle detail!

This basket is a gift for a friend that is getting married in a few weeks. I always find it fun to choose fabric for my friends. This friend made it easy by registering for lots of clean, natural looking items with blue accents. I used a navy geometric home dec fabric, with linen and leather accents.

Basket from Handmade Style by Noodlehead | Radiant Home Studio

The basket construction is fairly simple, but be sure to check Noodlehead for the pattern errata. There’s a typo in the cutting measurements, so it’s important to find that before you get started. The trickiest part is trying to press and fuse interfacing to the bottom of the basket after it is formed. I used a rolled piece of fabric on the inside as a makeshift tailor’s ham so that I could press the bottom of the basket.

Basket from Handmade Style by Noodlehead | Radiant Home Studio

I managed to finish one more this week. This one is made from a thick upholstery linen. I think the lighter weight home decor fabric worked a little bit better for this project, but I still love the simplicity of the linen and leather for this one.

Basket from Handmade Style by Noodlehead | Radiant Home Studio

I’d love to make some more to store my own sewing supplies! I’m excited about some of the smaller book projects as well, which I hope to try with my daughter and some of her friends that are learning to sew. Add them to my never-ending list of things I want to make…

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Add Kantha Stitched Straps {Tote Bag Upgrade}

This is part 2 of a two part tutorial. Check out part 1, where I show you how to make the kantha stitched pocket. In this post, I’ll show you how to add kantha stitched tote bag handles and how to apply grommets.

Here’s part 2 of the Indian inspired tote bag with a kantha stitched pocket and matching straps. I’ll show you how to make the straps and teach you how easy it is to apply grommets to your bag projects!

Kanth Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

I gave this background info in part 1 of the tutorial, but for those that are finding this project through outside links it’s worth repeating. I’ve been on a kantha stitching kick recently. It started small with the kantha needle book project. I decided to try a larger kantha inspired project by applying the technique to a tote bag upgrade. This fabric is batik cotton from the Alison Glass Handcrafted line.

If you aren’t familiar with kantha stitching, it’s basically a running stitch. In Japan it’s called sashiko, in India it is called kantha, and in English we call it a running stitch. There are small nuances, meanings, and histories that make each stitching technique unique, but for our purposes you’ll just need to make a simple running stitch. Kantha quilts are historically made with scraps, so patchwork style pockets and straps with bright colors really add to the exotic feel of the project.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Materials (includes materials needed for pocket and straps):

• canvas tote bag
• 4 fat quarters of quilting cotton or batiks in bright colors
• 3 skeins of embroidery floss & embroidery needle
• 8″ x 8″ square of mid-weight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 931F.)
• 4 grommets size 3/8″
• 1/4 yd. of fusible fleece (I used Pellon 987F.)
• 1 yd. fusible hem tape
• a hammer to apply the grommets

Preparation (for strap pieces only):

• cut 4 strap rectangles 4″ x 36″ from various colors of quilting cotton (to make patchwork straps like mine, cut shorter 4″ rectangles and sew them together to make a total length of 36″ – this works well if you are working with scraps or fat quarters)
• cut 2 rectangles (3″ x  35″) from fusible fleece
• cut 2 rectangles (3″ x [width of bag + 1″]) from quilting cotton for bag facing (my bag is 15″, so my pieces are 3″ x 16″)
• cut 4 squares (1 1/2″) of medium weight interfacing

Kantha Stitch Straps Tutorial:

1. Remove the tote bag straps by cutting them off or picking out the stitching.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

2. Place the bag facing rectangles right sides together and stitch together at the short ends to form a continuous loop. Press under 1/2″ along one raw edge.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

3. Place the bag facing loop right sides together with the bag, matching the top edge of the bag with the unfolded raw edge and matching side seams. Stitch around the top edge of the bag close to edge. Try to keep the seam allowance under 1/4″.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

4. Open and press the facing toward the inside of the bag. You will have about 1/4″ of facing fabric around the top of the bag that creates a nice border around the top edge of the bag. Apply interfacing squares to the wrong side of the bag facing. Place them next to the crease and across from the original strap placement.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

5. With the 1/2″ pressed edge folded under, use the fusible hem tape to hold the bag facing in place. I like to work with 6″ strips of hem tape. Longer pieces can shift out of place or get accidentally melted to the iron. Work slowly and in small sections to get a good strong bond.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

6. Now for the grommets! Grommet kits come with tools. All you need is a hammer. The tools are called the anvil (the short round piece) and the setter (the long piece). Each grommet has two parts, a stud (the taller piece) and the washer (the one with little teeth).

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

7. Mark the grommet holes with a water soluble pen. I placed mine directly below the original straps, about 1 1/2″ from the top of the bag. Cut out the holes using sharp scissors or a utility knife. I like to cut an “x” shape and then trim the excess out of the center. Start small and then try sliding the stud into the hole. You can always cut away a little bit more material as needed.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

8. You’ll need to move to a hard surface, like concrete for the next part. Slide the stud through one hole in the front of the bag. Place the washer on the back. Place the front side of the back with the stud down on the anvil. Place the setter through the hole on the washer side. Use a hammer to hit the setter firmly several times. Usually 8-10 taps works well for me. The setter will gently curl the end of the stud down and hole the washer in place. Apply all 4 grommets this way.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

9. If you have chosen to piece together your straps, stitch them together to form four 36″ strips. Apply fusible fleece to the wrong side of 2 of the strap pieces. Place one interfaced strap piece rights sides together with one non-interfaced strap piece. You’ll need to leave a 4″ opening on the center of one of the long sides. Stitch around the rectangle. When you get to the first corner, pivot and stitch a curve skipping the second corner. The curved section should be about 6″. When you get to the 3rd corner, pivot and curve again skipping the 4th corner. Repeat for the 2nd strap.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

10. Trim the excess fabric from the curves and corners. Turn the straps right side out and push out the corners with a pointed object. (I like to use a knitting needle.) Press, tucking under the edges at the opening.

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

11. Using 3 strands of floss, begin stitching along the length of the straps using a running stitch. I like to bury my knots in the seams. Switch rows between the layers. You can also stitch quickly by using a long needle and loading it with several stitches before pulling it through. Continue embroidering with a running stitch until you have covered the entire strap. Repeat for the other strap. ( I forgot to take a picture while stitching, but it’s the same process as this pocket…)

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

A note about the stitching…don’t worry about getting the spacing perfect. The beauty of the kantha stitching is in the imperfections. The finished stitching looks beautiful even when the lines are crooked and uneven because it is obvious that someone (you!) put your time into hand making every stitch!

12. Place the ends of the straps through the grommets from the inside of the bag. Tie a small knot to hold the strap in place. That’s it!

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Make a Kantha Stitched Tote Bag - Add Straps with Grommets {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

If you enjoyed this tutorial, you can find the other Tote Bag Upgrade posts here.

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Add a Kantha Stitch Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade}

This is part 1 of a two part tutorial. In part 1, I’ll show you how to make the kantha stitched pocket. In part 2, I’ll show you how to add kantha stitched tote bag handles and how to apply grommets.

With our move last month, I totally skipped the regular Tote Bag Upgrade post. I hope this one is worth the wait! It’s an Indian inspired tote bag with a patchwork kantha stitched pocket. I also added matching straps and attached them with grommets.

Kanth Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

I’ve always enjoyed embroidery, but I’ve been on a kantha stitching kick recently. I started small with the kantha needle book project. I’ve had lots of positive feedback about that tutorial, so I decided to upgrade a plain tote bag with some Indian inspired patchwork and kantha stitching.

If you aren’t familiar with kantha stitching, it’s basically a running stitch. In Japan it’s called sashiko, in India it is called kantha, and in English we call it a running stitch. There are small nuances, meanings, and histories that make each stitching technique unique, but for our purposes you’ll just need to make a simple running stitch. Kantha quilts are historically made with scraps, so patchwork style pockets and straps with bright colors really add to the exotic feel of the project.

 

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Materials (includes materials needed for pocket and straps):

• canvas tote bag
• 4 fat quarters of quilting cotton or batiks in bright colors
• 3 skeins of embroidery floss & embroidery needle
• 8″ x 8″ square of mid-weight fusible interfacing (I used Pellon 931F.)
• 4 grommets size 3/8″
• 1/4 yd. of fusible fleece (I used Pellon 987F.)
• 1 yd. fusible hem tape

Preparation (for pocket pieces only):

• cut 4 rectangles (9″ x 3″) from various colors of quilting cotton for pocket
• cut 1 square (8″ x 8″) from quilting cotton for pocket lining

Kantha Stitch Pocket Tutorial:

1. Lay out the four pocket rectangles in the order you want them. Starting at the top, place the upper rectangle right sides together with the one below it and stitch together using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Continue until you have sewn the 4 strips together and then press the seams open. This is the pocket front.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

2. Fuse the square of mid-weight interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket front.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

3. Place the pocket front right sides together with the pocket lining. Starting in the center of one of the straight sides (not on a corner), stitch around all 4 sides. Pivot at each corner and leave a 2″ opening on one of the straight sides. Trim the corners.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

4. Turn the pocket right side out. Push out the corners with a knitting needle or similar object. Press it flat.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

5. Thread your needle with 3 strands of embroidery floss. Begin stitching the pocket using a running stitch. I like to bury my knot in the seam. Switch rows between the layers. You can also stitch quickly by using a long needle and loading it with several stitches before pulling it through. Continue embroidering with a running stitch until you have covered the entire pocket.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

 

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

A note about the stitching…don’t worry about getting the spacing perfect. I think the beauty of the kantha stitching is in the imperfections. It looks beautiful even when the stitches are crooked and uneven because it is obvious that someone (you!) put your time into hand making every stitch!

6. Place the pocket on the bag, toward the bottom center. Pin it in place. Stitch the pocket to the bag by edgestitching along the sides and bottom of the pocket. Don’t stitch through both layers of the bag! (Ask me how I know…I stitched the pocket on 3 times!) You can secure the top edges by using a narrow zigzag stitch or by backstitching.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

That’s it for the pocket! I’ll post part 2, the straps and grommets, next week.

Kantha Stitched Pocket {Tote Bag Upgrade} | Radiant Home Studio

For the strap & grommet tutorial, click here for part 2!

This post is part of the link-up at: Sew Can She , Tatertots & Jello

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