countdwon to halloween blocks Countdown To Halloween Blocks {DIY}

Halloween is such a fun time in our house. It’s the start of decorating season (you know, the constant swap out of decor for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas?), sports kick into high gear for now two of my kiddos, and the yearly costume challenge begins.

The costume challenge goes something like this “Mom, could you make me look like this?” while one or more of my children point to a ridiculously expensive (and, mind you, very ornate!) costume in a magazine, I instantly start thinking of the man hours and supplies I’ll need to pull it off, and I try my hardest NOT to just say “Go get my wallet…I’ll just buy it for you.”

Every year I try to make one from scratch.

(Just one. Two would be hard. Three would be insane. So it’s just one. The others get “half homemade”…sometimes even 75%…and that seems to work. And yes, it’s usually my daughter’s because I know she’ll wear it for dress up straight on through to summer!)

And every year they challenge me more. But I do love it. These are the costumes we both will remember forever! For example, she’ll remember running through the neighborhood trick-or-treating in a sequined mermaid queen costume, complete with cape, wand, and tiara. And I’ll remember staying up until midnight, sewing, seam ripping, swearing, and “re-sewing” what seems to be endless yards of tulle.

This is what memories are made of!

So now that I think about it, I guess these “Countdown to Halloween” blocks not only are exciting for my children as they run downstairs every morning to see how many more “Nights Til We BOO!” but they are also a daily reminder for me. A reminder that I should be spending a bit more time each morning, afternoon (and probably also evening!) at my sewing machine…creating memories!

Enjoy! And if you’re anything like me, you’ll also be making  set of these for pretty much every other holiday!

Nikki, In Stitches

PS…You may have noticed you haven’t heard from me in awhile, and there a lot of reasons why…some good and some not so good. For example, a good reason is because The Nikki, In Stitches Craft Academy has taken off like crazy and it keeps me very busy. A not so good reason is I’ve had quite a few health hiccups this year, and to be honest, I’ve still got some time before I’m back to 100%. But speaking of being back, it feels good. It feels really good. And I hope you’re just as happy to see me back, as I feel to be back. Thanks for sticking around.


  • Unfinished wooden blocks, specifically two cubes and one rectangular piece both cubes will fit on top of (NOTE: While you certainly can cut these yourself, now you can find them in your local craft store!)
  • Black paint and a paint brush
  • An assortment of Halloween decorative papers
  • Decoupage medium
  • Sand paper
  • Alcohol inks and felt applicator pads
  • Number and letter stickers (As many of you can guess, I cut mine with my Silhouette from adhesive vinyl, but you can certainly stickers in your craft store that could work!)


  1. Paint your blocks black and let them completely dry.
  2. Cut your papers to be 1/4″ smaller than all of the faces they will be applied to. For example, if your blocks are 3 1/2″ cubes, cut all of the papers for the cubes 3 1/4″ square!
  3. Use your decoupage medium of choice to apply your papers to the faces of all of your wooden blocks and again, let it completely dry!
  4. I wanted to “age” these because I thought it gave them more a “Halloween” feel so I sanded mine with sand paper, being sure to “rough up” the edges of the blocks themselves, AND the edges of all of the papers! This is totally optional!
  5. And again, because I wanted these to look old and spooky, I grabbed some alcohol inks and a scrap of white felt and rubbed a little bit on the papers! This one is optional, too!
  6. Apply your letter and number stickers!

There are two important notes to make sure your countdown blocks work correctly!

NOTE 1: THE BLOCKS ARE NOT THE SAME! If you want to be able to countdown like I did from 31 sleeps, apply your stickers this way:

Block 1: 0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Block 2: 0, 1, 2, 3, 7, 8

NOTE 2: You MUST pick a font where your 6 and 9 are interchangeable by just flipping your cube over!


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Five Years In The Making {A Hand Applique Love Affair}

For five years I carried this beauty with me, and while I love my daughter with all my heart, I’m actually referring to the quilt in the picture above.

I started this quilt when that precious five year old little girl was just four weeks old. Together, her and I took the last few stitches just a few days ago. It’s “her quilt” she says, which is fine by me. If one day my grandchildren wrap themselves in it the way she does, I will be a very happy woman.

And while I’m delighted that this beauty is finally complete (yes, it still needs to be quilted…I’ll send it out for that, and then bind it by hand) I find myself missing her already.

She was by my side through everything the last five years brought my way.

I was so excited to start her, even though finding the time at first was so hard…I had a newborn and a two year old I spent my days chasing after.

She’s been on vacation with me every summer, from the Jersey shore, to Disney World, even to the beaches of Mexico.

She rode with me on the train each time I (very) nervously made my to New York City to meet Martha Stewart. She also helped calm my nerves on a very long flight to Los Angeles to tape Craft Wars, and an even longer flight home having come in second place.

She sat by my grandmother’s side as I stitched and listened to my Annie tell stories I hope I’ll never forget.

She’s been there for me when I needed a distraction…a way to take my mind off my troubles.

She’s sat outside with me and enjoyed stitching in the afternoon sun. She’s wrapped around me and kept me warm as I stitched on cold winter nights.

She’s been to doctor’s appointments, soccer practice, and ballet lessons.

She’s taken long drives with me and helped keep me awake as I was my husband’s copilot.

She’s seen another beautiful baby welcomed into our family.

She’s moved from house to house to house with me…yes, she’s been around that long that she’s seen us move twice.

Every up and every down. Every high and every low.

And I know it’s crazy, but I miss her.

I’m already on the hunt for her replacement (I feel lost without a project to keep my hands busy) but she has set the bar high.

And while she’s relied on me to very slowly and carefully piece her together stitch by stitch, I’ve needed her much more over these last five years.

And I know it’s crazy, but I miss her already.

Nikki, In Stitches

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Somehow It Will All Get Done {Christmas, Crafts, and Cupcakes}

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with time spent with family and friends.

If you’re like me, the excitement that began quietly filling the days leading up to Thanksgiving is now screaming and shouting…Christmas is coming faster than I sometimes think I can manage.

At times like this crafting for myself falls to the bottom of my to-do list. Instead I find myself scrambling to make all the those gifts that seemed like they’d be a simple project months ago…and now are literally keeping me up at night as I work my way through them.

I know many, many of you can relate.

What’s funny is I’ve never actually not gotten everything done. I’ve never not given someone a present because it was still in pieces on my craft table. I’ve never not decorated my house. I’ve never shown up empty handed to a party because my cookies were still baking in the oven.

Somehow we find a way to get it all done.

So this year I’m trying really hard to constantly remind myself of that.

Somehow I will get it all done.

We will have a decorated house.

I will finish everyone’s gifts and have them wrapped by Christmas.

We will bake cookies and eat them warm from the oven…even if it’s not until Christmas Eve.

And more importantly, any little things that don’t get done really aren’t that important.

What’s important is right here in front of me. I can’t miss it. I can’t miss them…my children and husband, my family and friends, and the love and laughter they surround me with every day.

Somehow all of this kind of suddenly made sense a few days ago when I saw my Cupcake Wrapper Wreath reposted on The Happiest Home. It’s a project and tutorial I made for them two winters ago, and I started by saying this:

As a stay-at-home mom / work-at-home craft blogger, crafting with my kids is what I do. In fact my job description would probably read something like this: create projects with the help of two assistants (currently ages 3 and 5), photograph said projects (afterwards, crop out smiling assistants from the background), then post project how-to’s and tutorials, while somehow keeping those same two assistants out of trouble.

Oh, and love every minute of itbecause I do.

Two things to note here:

1. I know have THREE assistants, ages 7, 5, and 16 months.

2. I still love it. I just needed to be reminded of that. 

I needed to be reminded of how lucky I am that I fill my days at work beside my children.

I’m not sure how much better my job description could get.

And especially right now, when “my assistants” are so filled with the magic of Christmas, their eyes shining with joy, their hearts and minds open to all the excitement that is coming in these next few weeks, I needed a little reminder to slow down and enjoy this.

Somehow everything will get done.

My wish to you this holiday season is this little post serves as a reminder to you, too.

Slow down and enjoy the magic.

Somehow it will all get done.


Nikki, In Stitches

PS…I hear you. Finding time to squeeze in one more craft project right now seems impossible, but if you find yourself with a few extra minutes of quiet time (or time with your “assistants” for that matter!) take a peek here at the cupcake wrapper wreath tutorial. It’s “assistant friendly”!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It is (very) early Thanksgiving morning here, a few hours before the craziness of the day will kick in. We have snow on the ground here in the northeast, so aside from dinner prepping and kitchen cleaning, I’ll also be in charge of bundling up the kids for snowball fighting. And while that will add even more excitement to an already event filled afternoon, I wouldn’t have it any other way. My family is on their way here. And together, I plan on enjoying every moment of this very thanksgiving filled day.

And I hope you enjoy your day today just the same way.

Surrounded by family and friends, excitement and anticipation, love and laughs…really the best way to spend any day.

I do have some “housekeeping” things to share with all of you. They are below.

Many of you have asked for some very basic help with your Silhouette cutting systems. I’ve decided to start a free series on my YouTube channel. The first video (4 Tips for Resizing Designs In Your Silhouette Software) is below. (Just a note: I more than likely will not post every one here, so feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss any. There is a link below.)

Many of you have also asked about the Silhouette Black Friday sale…that actually starts today. You will also find those sale details below. There is something there for everyone, so whether you’re looking for a machine or supplies, I think you’ll be happy!

Again, enjoy today and this kickoff to the holidays that are ahead.

And speaking of housekeeping…I’ve got work to do around here before everyone wakes up, filled with the excitement that I look forward to every year.


Nikki, In Stitches

Silhouette Black Friday Sale Details

There are FOUR different bundle options below, so as I said before, there is something for everyone. There is also a discount on supplies, so if you already have a machine, you can stock up for your upcoming craft projects! If anyone has questions about which bundle might fit their crafting needs best, which one makes the most sense for what they’d like to create with it, or what supplies to pick up, please don’t hesitate to send an email my way!

(NOTE: Each bundle that includes a CAMEO is a CAMEO 2…the newest model that was just released!)

1. Portrait Bundle

 Portrait machine & 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99 (MSRP: $299)

2. CAMEO Bundle #1 (Pssst! This is a good one for those of you just getting a machine!)

CAMEO machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust Cover, 4 Tools and $25 Download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99 (MSRP: $407)

3. CAMEO Bundle #2

CAMEO machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99 (MSRP: $470)

4. CAMEO & Portrait Bundle (One for you, one for a friend!)

CAMEO machine, Portrait machine and 2, $25 Download cards to the Silhouette Design Store for $299.99 (MSRP: $530)

Already a Silhouette user?

Use my code STITCHES for 40% off at (*excluding machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards) PLUS Free Shipping on orders over $25 for the lower 48 states

To get started shopping, click here!

Don’t forget to use my code STITCHES to get all of the discounts listed above.

The sale runs from November 27th through December 8th, but it is while supplies last, so if there’s something you really want, don’t wait too long!

Pssst! 50% off all designs at, too – no code needed!

Free Beginner Silhouette YouTube Series

I’m so excited about this new YouTube series because I think not only will it be very helpful to beginners, just starting their crafty adventures with their Silhouettes, but it will also be great for those of you that are just getting the confidence to start designing and creating cut files on your own! My first video, 4 Tips For Resizing Designs In Your Silhouette Software, is below, but as I said at the start of this post, I more than likely will not post every one here on the blog. Instead, if you don’t want to miss any, click here and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

(NOTE: If you’re viewing this in your email inbox and can’t see the video below, just click here to watch it right on the Nikki, In Stitches site!)

And one last time, Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Nikki In Stitches Craft Academy Birthday Party! The Craft Academy Birthday Bash Starts NOW!

Let’s get this party started!

The Craft Academy and “The Crafting With Your Silhouette” Program is turning one and the presents are for YOU!

I just posted FIVE of our favorite lessons that we covered this year in class.

They are FREE for you to enjoy for the next 48 hours!

You will also find THREE clips from our live interactive classes showing you how much fun we have when we craft together!

Click here to head over and get crafting!

If you love what you find at the birthday party as much as I think you will, I’d love for you to join us inside The Crafting With Your Silhouette program!

Please use the promo code BIRTHDAYBASH and get your first three months 50% off!

But wait! There’s more!

When you enroll, you also get:

  • All THIRTY-SEVEN (and counting!) lessons we’ve covered so far!
  • Replays of all of our live classes!
  • Instant access to our community forum!
  • EVERY free design we’ve used throughout the year, including the THIRTEEN freebies just released to current students as part of the birthday bash!

Want even more details on The Crafting With Your Silhouette program? Click here!

And enjoy your free lessons!

Happy Birthday!

Nikki, In Stitches

(Not a Silhouette owner? There are new classes coming to The Craft Academy SOON! If you have a crafty medium you’d like to learn more about, let me know! I can add it to the curriculum! Send me an email at!)

PS…Want a peek at the five free lessons waiting for you?

Scroll down!

PPS…Can’t wait to get the party started?

Click here and get started crafting your five free lessons NOW!


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Nikki In Stitches Shutterfly - How To Paint And Age A Picture Frame With Chalk Based Paints and Dry Brushing How To Paint And Age A Picture Frame (Using Chalk Based Paints and Dry Brushing!)

I’m so excited to be sharing one of my favorite painting techniques with all of you today. We’ll be painting and aging a picture frame with chalk-based paints and chalky finish paints. I use this same “dry brush” method to paint almost everything. From picture frames to furniture, it couldn’t be more versatile. It also is so simple that it makes for a great beginner technique, but looks so great even painting pros will love using it.

Dry brushing can be done with really any paint, but I find it easiest to work with chalk-based paints or chalky finish paints. These paints have become so popular that they are now very easy to find and come in a variety of colors. If you can’t find the exact shade you’re looking for, with a quick search online, you can even find recipes for making your own.

Along with the complete step by step directions, I’m also sharing five tips for painting with chalk-based paints and chalky finish paints; this way you’ll quickly move from small scale picture frames to large scale pieces of furniture!


-Picture frame (I found mine in the unfinished wood section of my local craft store for under $4)

-Paint (I am not partial to any brand of chalk-based paint or chalky finish paint. This technique works with all of them!)

-Paintbrush (You can find them in stores like Michaels)

-Sand paper (Same store options)

-Wax (You can usually find this right with the chalky finish paints!)

-Paper towels

-White cloth


One of the nicest perks of using chalk-based paints and chalky finish paints is that *most of the time* there is no prep work needed. You can get right to the fun of painting! I’m using an unfinished frame in today’s tutorial, so I’m ready to paint! If your piece is already painted or chipping, you should hit it with some sand paper to smooth the surface out some.

Tip #1: Speaking of Sanding…There’s Never A Bad Time To Sand

When painting with a technique like this, where you layer colors of paint on top of each other, there really is no bad time to sand. A quick round of sanding can smooth away any brush strokes you may have. It can also give your piece a soft, smooth feeling, which I personally prefer! So throughout this tutorial, I mention times when you may want to sand your piece, but there really is no bad time to do it. Just be sure that after you sand, you wipe away any dust with a damp cloth. You don’t want that dust clumping as you layer on your next paint color!

As soon as your piece is ready to go, get started painting! Your first coat should be your base color. In this case, I chose a white to start with. Whenever possible, go with the grain of your wood. If you can’t see the grain, don’t worry! You can’t mess this part up! Run your finger along the wood both ways, the softer (less grainy) feeling is the direction you should paint towards. If you think your piece needs another layer of paint because the color or texture underneath is showing through too much for you, go right ahead and paint it again. Just be sure that the first layer dries completely first. And when you’re finished with this base coat completely, you may want to sand it. This is a good time to get rid of any brush strokes that may be visible. Again, just remember that you’ll want to wipe away the dust from the sanding process afterwards!

Tip #2: Buy A Better Brush

As I said at the start, chalk-based paints and chalky finish paints have become very easy to find and you don’t have to spend very much money on them. I always suggest taking that money you saved and buying yourself a really good paintbrush. You will find that your paint goes on so much smoother. You’ll use less paint. And a better brush will last you much longer…as long as you take care of it! Clean it as soon as you’re finished using it and let it hang to dry!

Tip #3: Paint From A Cup

Do not paint from the can! Pour a little bit of paint into a paper cup or onto a paper plate, and paint from there. Your paint can will stay much neater. Your paint inside will stay in much better condition. And most importantly, you will use much less paint! If there is an entire open can of paint in front of you, you just will naturally dip into it more often. If you have a limited amount of paint in front of you to use, you’ll find yourself making that paint last a lot longer!

Now we’re going to add some color. People sometimes get nervous here, but please don’t. Again, you can’t mess this up!

This is where the dry brushing comes in. In this tutorial, we’re only going to add on one accent color with this dry brushing technique. As you get better and more comfortable with painting, you can start to layer multiple colors together!

Tip #4: I Mean A Really Dry Brush

I can’t stress this enough. When I say a “dry brush” I mean a really dry brush! Remember, you can always add more paint on. It’s not so easy to take it off! Dip your brush into your paint, and then work almost all of that paint off onto a paper towel. You want very, very little paint on your brush! Then very lightly sweep your brush over your piece, again going with the grain whenever possible. Repeat this process until you have layered on enough paint to achieve your desired look. I, personally, like a lot of my base color to show through, but you may want a more concentrated look, and that is totally fine! Just remember, really work most of the paint off of your brush onto a paper towel. Then layer the color onto your piece slowly!

If by chance you put too much paint on your piece, walk away! Let it completely dry, and then sand some of the paint off. Be sure you wipe away any leftover dust, and then start fresh.

When you have achieved your desired look, let your piece completely dry. This shouldn’t take that long because the dry brushing doesn’t put very much paint on your work surface. This would be another good time to hit your piece with sandpaper. If you have a finer grit this would be the time to use it. (NOTE: The lower the number on your sandpaper, the rougher it is on your work surface! Use those really low numbers to sand away chipped paint and brush strokes. Use the high numbers to really smooth and/or polish your almost finished piece!) You’ll get a very soft smooth feel to the surface of your work!

Tip #5: Don’t Skip The Wax

At this point, you’ll be so excited to have successfully painted your piece, that you’ve probably already picked out a spot for it in your house. But please take the time to put on a quick coat of wax. It’s simple to put on. Just grab a white cloth and rub it on your piece. Again, just as with your paint, remember a little goes a long way! Don’t use too much or your piece will feel “sticky.” You’ll immediately see why this is so important. Yes, it will protect the surface of your piece from scratches or stains. But it also instantly brings out the grain of your wood, and the colors of your paint will “pop” off of each other. It is absolutely worth the extra step before you put your finished piece out for everyone to admire!

And that’s really how simple painting and aging frames and furniture with chalky finish paints and chalk-based paints can be! I encourage you to experiment with different colors, mixing them together and layering them on your piece. The possibilities are endless! Make sure to add in the perfect picture afterwards. If you don’t already have one handy, you can order various prints with photo sites like Shutterfly.


Nikki, In Stitches

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The Nikki In Stitches Craft Academy Birthday Party! The Nikki, In Stitches Craft Academy Is Turning One!

The Craft Academy is turning one!

I can’t believe I just typed that!

To say this has been the most exciting year of my career would be a complete understatement.

But what makes The Craft Academy so special is all of you.

I started The Craft Academy as a place to teach specific craft techniques. A place that would allow more detailed instruction that what can happen here on this blog.

And not only have I been able to teach hundreds of crafters there, and inspire them to branch out, try new mediums, and experiments with different techniques…

But it has also grown into a community that continually warms my heart.

We craft live together once a month, but we are constantly in contact with each other through the class forums.

We share projects. We motivate each other. We inspire each other.

Throughout this year, all of you  have inspired me to reach outside my comfort zone, as well, and for that I am so very grateful.

And what better way to say thank you than a party, right?

All of the details can be found on The Craft Academy site here.

There will be:

  • Free glimpses into our favorite lessons from our first year!
  • Clips of our live interactive classes where you see our lessons put together into projects!
  • Free designs for current students!
  • ONE YEAR scholarships to give away!

And because I am THE WORST at keeping secrets, here’s a peek at some of the lessons we’ll be sharing!




I’d love to see you there for the party! Remember, all of the details can be found here.

And thank you so much for such a fabulous year!

Nikki, In Stitches

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Halloween moon over my mantel from Nikki In Stitches - Silhouette CAMEO large scale wall decal Halloween Moon Over My Mantel Decal

Many of you know that we just moved into our new home a few months ago and this space above my mantel has been empty since the very first day. Yes, I have plans to one day put a large mirror here, but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect one. So, with Halloween approaching, I thought it would be fun to fill the space with a spooky decal!

Just a few quick notes here before we get to the crafty fun!

1. Yes, I cut it with my Silhouette CAMEO. You could use a Portrait, you’ll just cut a few more pieces!

2. Speaking of pieces, there were almost 60! But (and this is important!) I try to always cut WITH a mat! Cutting without a mat NEVER goes well for me and I end up wasting more vinyl than I’d be saving. If, however, you do cut without a mat successfully, it will still be 60 pieces, but a lot less runs through your machine!

3. I did draw one vertical line down the center of my wall. From there I just VERY carefully lined everything up. I decided against using registration marks for this one, even though I know I usually tell you to always use them! I just knew I was already eating through a ton of vinyl!

4. Even though I drew that line, my design was still off-center. (Around piece #3 I remember that center line was the center of the large piece of the moon…NOT the center of the actual design!) I added a few bats to the right to balance things out…no one except for me (and now all of you!) will ever know!

So, now for the software details!

The moon and crows is a design from the Silhouette store. You can find it here.

The bats I added at the end are also from the Silhouette store. (The set comes with four designs…I just used one!) You can find them here.

Once I opened the design in my Silhouette software I did have to edit one piece. This is meant to be layered, so the “crescent” part of the moon wasn’t actually included. With a bit of point editing, I got it! Then I just resized the entire thing so that it fit on a 48″ square workspace. (PS…I also always merge an image of the finished design into the cut file for reference!)

After that I created a whole lotta’ 11.5″ squares and used them to create a grid over my moon. (NOTE: I actually did this to all the pieces, but just showing it once should give you the idea!)

Then I very simply just used my knife tool to slice right on those grid marks! When you’re done, delete away those 11.5″ squares. These are the exact “puzzle” piece you’ll put together on your wall! (Now do you see why I used 11.5″ squares rather than 12″? This way I have a little bit of wiggle room when using my knife tool and know that my pieces will definitely fit on my mat!)

I repeated this process for all of my pieces. This design was pretty easy to work with…there are only five colors…so it wasn’t too hard!

(You can see that sometimes the pieces were smaller than 11.5″ square. Especially with the branches, I just tried to find easy places to split them!)

Then I weeded all of them…in front of the TV with a glass of wine!

I also numbered them so that the next day when I went to put them up, I had a good idea of what order to move in.

And then the fun! You can see in the video below how I put up *almost* every piece. (*My video camera was NOT on its best behavior yesterday!) 

And you’ll also see that yes, there were a few pieces that went up, and then came back down! Everyone makes mistakes! But all in all, it was so fun, A LOT easier than I thought it would be, and this is absolutely my new favorite Halloween decoration in my house!

And PS…I know many of you are thinking what happens after Halloween?!?!?! And this year, unfortunately, this is coming down. This one IS NOT reusable. I do, however, have a few ideas for I’m going to make my Christmas decal last for years to come! Stay tuned!


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3 Tips for Cutting Fabric With Your Silhouette Cutting System - Nikki In Stitches 3 Tips For Cutting Fabric With Your Silhouette Cutting System

It seems like vinyl and paper really steal the show when it comes to what Silhouette cutting systems can do. So much so that one of the most popular questions people ask me is “Can I really cut fabric with this machine?” The answer is a resounding “YES!!!” and I have a few tricks to help make cutting fabric really quite simple.

Below you’ll find my three best tips for cutting fabric with your Silhouette cutting system, as well as a promo code for a Silhouette Portrait cutting system bundled with all the goodies required to cut fabric…pretty much everything you would need to cut all the pieces for your next applique quilt. Yup! Cutting applique shapes has never been easier…take a peek!


1. Keep a separate blade!

Yes, you’ve probably seen this before. But yes, I’m going to say it again. It is REALLY important to keep a separate blade just for fabric. Think about scissors around your house. You probably have one pair in your kitchen. You may have one pair set aside for working in your garden. You certainly have multiple pairs in your craft room! And why? Because different scissors serve different purposes. And by keeping them separate, THEY ALL tend to last longer! The same exact thing goes for your Silhouette blades. Keep one for paper. Keep one for fabric. BOTH will last longer!

2. DO NOT use a brand new mat!

As many of know, a brand new mat is VERY sticky. Sometimes it is too sticky depending on what material you are cutting, and fabric would be one of those materials. If you’re fabric sticks too much to your mat it could stretch and/or the edges could fray. Many of you have heard me talk about keeping different mats in different “stages of stickiness” for this exact reason. If I’m going to cut fabric, I pull out a slightly older mat that is less sticky. Save that super sticky mat for a more appropriate material!

3. Keep a small (and I mean VERY small!) pair of scissors close by!

You’ll notice after your machine has cut your fabric that there may be a few threads still connecting your pieces to your fabric. Keep a teeny, tiny pair of scissors close by so that you can just quickly give them a little clip before you pull your piece all the way off of your mat. Clip them one by one as you go. Again, this will lower your chances of stretching your fabric and your pieces will be less likely to fray!

See? Three VERY simple tricks can make a huge difference when cutting fabric with your Silhouette cutting system! If you have any questions about cutting fabric with your cutting system, you know where to find me!

And now for the sale details!

The Silhouette Portrait Bundle includes:

  • Silhouette Portrait machine
  • Sewable Fabric Interfacing
  • Clean cut Fabric Interfacing
  • Fabric Blade
    Sale Price: $149.99
    That’s over $100 in savings!

Ready to start shopping?

Head over to the Silhouette site and get going!

And be sure to use promo code STITCHES to get your discount!

This offer is only good from 9/15/14 to 9/30/14!

And PS…for my paper lovers! I’ve got a little goodie for you, too!

40% off all Adhesive Cardstock!

This sale runs from 9/15/14 to 9/22/14.

The same promo code can be applied: STITCHES.

Just click here to pick some up!


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Outdoor Sofa and Drop Cloth Pillow from Nikki In Stitches and Ana White DIY Outdoor Sofa and Drop Cloth Pillow Case Tutorial

Yes, the dog days of summer are sadly coming to an end, but if you’re anything like me, those summer nights are just getting started. My family and I will enjoy dinners outside and nights spent by the (outdoor) fire for as long as we can, so making our new (and much larger!) outdoor living space as comfortable as possible was high on the priority list of projects after the move.

And in all honestly, any project that involves power tools (I actually ask for new tools every year for Christmas. Preferably pink power tools, but I’ll take whatever Santa brings me!) and my husband joining in the fun (his love for DIY is not nearly as strong as mine!) gets quickly moved to the very top of the list!

I can’t take credit for this entire project. I spotted the sofa base on here, and instantly fell in love.

Her designs are very on trend and her instructions are usually very easy to follow. In fact, I already have a few more of her projects in mind for other spots around the house, so you’ll be seeing more of them very soon! This project, in particular, is such a great one for those of you just stepping into the world of power tools. Which, by the way, I promise will change your life! (HaHa! Can you tell I love cutting things up and putting the pieces back together? Whether it be fabric or 2×4’s!) My husband and I put two of these together in just a few hours, and that includes taking breaks to feed three children, keep them entertained, and put the baby down for a nap!

The foundation pillows Ana used were a bit out of my price range, so I did find a substitute. They were surprisingly comfortable for being so much less expensive, but they certainly didn’t have the same look. So, I added a few handmade (and painted!) throw pillows, and instantly fell back in love with our outdoor sofas.

The how-to for the pillows is below. All six are made from one piece of drop cloth I purchased at my local home improvement store in the paint section. The cost of that piece of drop cloth? I think $17! Combine that with some craft paint and masking tape I had in my stash, and catching a sale at my craft store on the pillow inserts (they were 40% off!) and I call that a great deal!


Nikki, In Stitches


  • Drop cloth
  • Pillow Inserts
  • Sewing machine and basic sewing supplies
  • Ruler and marker
  • Scissors
  • Paint and paint brushes
  • Masking tape (Or a stencil if you’d like to create a pillow similar to the flower design I used!)

1.Determine what size piece of fabric you will need to cut to cover your pillow insert and draw that on your drop cloth. My insert was 16″ square, so I needed my fabric 17.5″ square. That gave me some pretty snug pillow cases, but that’s what I was looking for! You can adjust the size a bit if you’d like. You’ll need two pieces of fabric (one for the front of your pillow and one for the back!) so draw a 17.5″ square on two pieces of drop cloth.

NOTE: You’ll want your stencil or design to extend all the way to the edge of your fabric, so cut your pieces a bit bigger than your desired size. We’ll trim them down later in the project.

2. Cover your 17.5″ square with masking tape.

A few tips here!

  • Rip your pieces of tape longer than 17.5″ so that they extend out of the square on each side.
  • Do not leave any space between the rows of tape.
  • Do not overlap the tape at all.

3. Remove every other piece of tape.

4. Paint your blank spaces and let your fabric dry.

5. Remove the remaining pieces of tape!

6. Now trim down your fabric to exactly 17.5″ square (or whatever your desired size is!) by cutting on your drawn lines.

7. With right sides together, sew *almost* all the way around your pillow. Leave a gap on one side that is about 10″ – 12″ wide. (You can see in my picture, I use the blue pins to help me remember when to stop sewing!)

8. Clip your corners. (This will remove some of the bulk from your pillow case!)

9. Turn your pillow case right side out and press. NOTE: Be sure to fold in any raw edges along the open gap, too! 

10. Insert your pillow form and hand sew the gap in the case closed!


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