Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How to Make Your Old and Ugly Potholders Nice and New Again


Once upon a time, my potholders were nice and new and durable. Fast forward many years and they are no longer new. In fact, they are nowhere near nice (to be honest, they are quite gross looking). But, they are still very durable! What is a frugal and practical woman to do? She can not discard something with a good shelf life and yet the feminine side does like to see pretty! This is where our "born again" potholders come in. A renewal is a good thing, isn't it?


This would also make a nice project if you simply want to change the color scheme of your kitchen (goodbye blue and white friend from 15 years ago) or if someone accidentally bleaches your "prized possession" potholders which were of such good quality (sigh).


What you will need are your existing potholders (I told you they were disheartening), some fabric scraps and the ability to sew a straight line. That is all! If you can sew a square sachet, you can do this project! In essence, you are simply fashioning little slipcovers for your old and pathetic looking ones. 


I used scraps of the thicker home decor fabrics that my mother-in-law gave me for our potholders. You can even consider refurbishing them with cast off linens like random napkins, tea towels, etc.


To refresh your supply:

1. Measure your old potholders and create a pattern. When making the pattern, give yourself an extra inch around to allow for a seam allowance. If your potholder has a different shape, trace it on paper and add the extra inch around when preparing the pattern.

2. Cut out your pattern. I did four pieces at once for a set of potholders to make it easier and quicker.

3. Sew your two pieces of fabric together around the whole perimeter but leave one half of one side open (this is where you will insert the old potholder inside). Make sure the right sides are facing each other, using an approx. 1/4" seam allowance when you sew.


4. Turn the potholder cover inside out and you will be left with a nice pocket to insert your old potholder.

5. Sew new matching tabs onto the corner of your old potholder (make sure to clip off the old tabs so they don't interfere). Ribbon can be used to make it easy or you can create a strip with the fabric of your choice.

6. Insert your old potholder into the slipcover (making sure that the new tab is now peaking out) and carefully pin close the remaining seam.


7. Hand sew the final seam closed. I am sure there are tricks to make the seam look invisible but I am a basic seamstress (if you can even call me that!) so I just placed a few even stitches in there to finish off the potholder.

8. To keep the original potholder in place inside the slipcover, I stitched an "x" in the middle (through all the layers). You may even want to do all four corners with an "x" to keep it in place during your routine washing.

9. You are finished! Now you have some nice and new potholders for pennies!



Why bother?

The average price for a new set of potholders is $14 and these are for a very basic looking, no-frills model. That is $7 per item plus tax! We have refurbished six so far which means a savings of at least $42 plus we have an attractive set to make homemaking more enjoyable! We intend on redoing four others which will give us a grand total of approx. $70 worth of savings. And this only took up one hour in an afternoon.


Also, I have found that to buy a potholder inexpensively at a dollar store (for example) can sometimes be quite dangerous! A friend of mine burnt her hand using a brand new one because the padding was sorely lacking. Frugality mustn't be compared to "cheap". There is a difference, especially when choosing important and functional kitchen tools. This is a thrifty project but by no means a compromising one!


"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
~ Thomas Moore



The beautiful thing about a homemaker is her constant creativity. One who realizes that her calling is important attempts to flourish in all departments. She sees a need and not only desires to fill it, but to bring beauty to her home at the same time. Pretty and practical, she makes a difference to the family budget with her resourcefulness and creates a cozy environment with her homemaking prowess. And to the striving Proverbs 31 woman, it is a very satisfying place to be!


"Before" and Happily Ever "After"...




108 comments:

  1. Jes, what a good idea and they look so very pretty as well. Good on you!

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    1. Thank you! They were very relaxing to make and really brighten up the kitchen! :)

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  2. Thank you for this great post!
    I don't know why I never came to think of this. It's really smart to reuse the existing padding.
    Have a blessed day!

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to visit! Glad you liked this project! :)

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  3. I like that you didn't just toss these out. We live in a society where old means get rid of it, and buy something new. It doesn't always need to work that way.

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    1. Hi Heidi, I lived with a great aunt who lived during the Great Depression. Her lifestyle taught me so much! Throwing away is a rare option!

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  4. JES - this a great idea! Thank you for sharing and for giving inspiration. - blessings!

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    1. Glad you like this! I was thrilled with the results. It feels like I have a new kitchen :)

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  5. Replies
    1. Nifty and thrifty! :) Two favorite words! Have a wonderful week Kathy and thank you for taking the time to comment.

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  6. Thank you! I have been disappointed recently while looking for much-needed new pot-holders because I have had trouble finding ones that seemed durable and adequate for the task.

    Also, my last newspaper column featured your recipe for gluten-free muffins (modified a bit for me). My whole family really enjoyed the muffins. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, many thin potholders out there which make me nervous as we are constantly cooking and baking and burned fingertips are no fun! I look forward to peaking at your updated recipe. Glad you liked them ;)

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  7. Jes, these have to be the prettiest potholders I've ever seen! The fabric you used to re-dress them is absolutely stunning!

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    1. Ah, thank you! I like the term "redress" that you used. Very appropriate! :)

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  8. Your potholders are so pretty. I almost wish I had some to cover...
    Mine are ones I made out of wool fabric, years ago. They wear like steel, but I do wish I'd had a nice color to use instead of black. lol

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    1. Well, I guess that is a good thing! :)

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  9. They are all beautiful Jes. I especially love the toile print ones. Thanks for sharing and thanks for hosting these great blog parties.

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    1. Thank you Thel for joining us! The red toile is a favorite fabric of mine too! Glad you like them :)

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  10. What a great idea! I wish that I had thought of this many years ago. Not too late now though I guess.
    Have a great day!

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    1. Never too late to liven up the kitchen since we are there so much of the time. Thank you for sharing Vickie! :)

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  11. Oh, I love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should see some of my "potholders" or "hot hands" - as my hubby calls them. :)

    AND - the new look to your blog header. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!! When did this happen? It really looks so nice.

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    1. Well Bevy, you saw some of mine and it was a bit embarrassing! :) I am sure yours can't be worse! :)

      So glad you like the header. I was craving a bit of change and found it refreshing. I think I did it a few weeks back... Nice hearing from you... Have a lovely week!

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  12. What a good idea Jes! I hadn't thought of recovering potholders. Of course, Mine are the Walmart variety. ~smile~
    Have a terrific week!
    Laura

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    1. No matter! They will come out lovely. My potholders are all of the clearance variety! :)

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  13. Thank you, Jes! They looks very pretty!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Carolien! Nice hearing from you! :)

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  14. Hi Jes,
    These turned out so pretty! I too like to do projects like this! I guess I like the challenge of making something old look like new. I certainly have plenty of "gross" pot holders to cover. When I get some extra time, I am going to do just that! Great idea! Thanks also for stopping by my blog! I appreciate it!
    Linda
    mysewwhatblog

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    1. Oh my, with your sewing skills, I am sure you can create some lovely goodies for the kitchen! :)

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  15. What wonderful fabrics you've chosen, my dearest JES, your vintage taste and your style always win my old-fashioned heart !
    May the remainder of your week be blessed with Joy,
    thinking of you with love
    Dany

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    1. Thank you Dany for your sweet comment! Have a lovely week :)

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  16. Hello Jes, I loved this idea, thank you so much for sharing it! I always enjoy small sewing projects for the days where I need a little something to creat!
    I have been having some lack of interest in blogging, I needed this so glad I stopped in for this visit! I appreciate you!!
    Hugs, Roxy

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    1. Glad to hear from you! Sometimes we just need to walk away from the computer and LIVE :) I think a creative project would be great! :)

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  17. Such a creative idea! Thanks so much because now I can take my myriad of mismatched and very well-used hot pods and turn them into beautifully coordinated pieces. And another Thank you before I forget - for your lovely labels. My pantry is coming together slowly and your labels are playing a big part in that!

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    1. Excellent! That makes my day! Thank you for sharing :)

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  18. Great idea, JES! Thanks for it - I see some prettier hot lads in my future ;)

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    1. Sounds like fun! :) Thank you for visiting!

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  19. Beautiful!!!:) The same thing happened to me as your friend! Definitely not buying cheaper oven mitts again! This is much better!

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    1. Ouch!!! Sorry to hear that... but glad you have another option now! :)

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  20. Oh, how pretty! I LOVE this idea! What a blessing you are to all of us, JES. Have a beautiful day in Him!

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    1. Thank you for the sweet and encouraging comment Cheryl. Have a beautiful week too! :)

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  21. This is a fantastic idea and one I would never have thought of. I consider myself quite frugal, but I have been known to throw away potholders when they get too disgusting. Mine often have come to the point where even washing them does no good as far as refreshing them. Thanks so much for sharing this idea.

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    1. Yes, mine come to that point too! The wash does NOTHING! That is where these ones were at... I was ashamed to photograph them ;)

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  22. I love your lovely new potholders. Such a clever and pretty idea!

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    1. Hope it is helpful Kim! Thank you for taking the time to comment! :)

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  23. WOW, I never thought about doing this and it is a great idea. Thanks so much for telling us. Now I don't have to go out and buy new potholders all the time or make mine from stratch.

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    1. So glad you like this and that it could be a help to you Betty! Not to mention, the new ones they sell aren't that attractive. This way you can mix and match to your heart's delight! :)

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  24. Jes...this is such a great idea! I love it! I think I can even sew this since its only a straight line. Yay!

    You have inspired me once again! ☺

    Have a lovely week!
    Hugs, Amy

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    1. Don't be distressed Amy, straight line sewing is all I can do also! :)

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  25. I do have some very old potholders that could use some updating, they just don't make things like they use to

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    1. No they don't... the quality is really lacking!

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  26. A great idea, Jes, and you've chosen the prettiest fabrics for the makeover.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. Thank you Amalia. Working with the pretty fabric did make this project a joy! :)

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  27. These are so sweet! Makes good use of old potholders and they are cuter than anything you can buy! Thanks for sharing. x Karen

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    1. I think so too! Thank you for visiting here today Karen :)

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  28. Hello Jes! This is a really cute idea! I love the gorgeous fabrics you chose! Your potholders turned out so lovely! You have a beautiful blog, I'm your newest follower ^_^ Visiting from Roses of Inspiration.
    Enjoy the rest of your week!
    Hugs and love from Portugal,
    Ana Love Craft
    www.lovecraft2012.blogspot.com


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    1. Thank you Ana! We are glad to have you here! Have a lovely week!

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  29. Great idea, they look so much better :)

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    1. Thank you! Have a lovely week! :)

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  30. I used quite a few 100% cotton scraps to make potholders for Christmas for people. It is very important to get the right filling for them so that no one gets burned. I used a product called Insul-Brite that is supposed to protect from burning. I need to make myself some so that I can be sure its worked! For around $5 I got enough to make quite a few, probably 9+ so they were a little over 50 cents each. I just did the square like you did, with 2 layers of fabric, right sides together, and one layer of the filling. Then, I turned them around, tucked the opening in and sewed with my machine all the way around. Then, I sewed an "X" across the potholder and it was done. I did not put a hang tag on them. They turned out not very thick, but easy to hold in my hand. Because they were scraps, the patterns varied, but I tried to give each person something I thought they would like, along with home-canned zucchini relish.

    In the past, I have used 100% cotton batting inside. If you use any filling with polyester, it just lets the heat right through--ouch.

    I absolutely love your fabric choices.

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    1. Thank you Becky for sharing! These are good tips. The beauty of this project is that they use the existing potholders so I didn't have to worry about using the right filler that would protect from burning. In fact, by doing this, we add another layer of protection. So glad you came by to visit and comment. Have a lovely week!

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  31. I am a living witness to this thrifty upcycling of too-good-to-trash pot holders. In fact, when you update your old pot holders this way, a few snips with a seam ripper (or unpicker as some cultures call it) and their "new" dresses come off so you can update them once more! Look at THAT savings! Instead of ribbon or fabric loops, I make thread chains instead because more thread chain loops can fit on the inside-cabinet-door hook than fabric or ribbon loops. Makes for a great embroidery teaching session to embroider a monogram, etc. before sewing them up, too.

    What a pretty smile you have on your face every time you see your newly dressed pot holders! So sweet!

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to share and comment so kindly Kelley! :)

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  32. Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie! Have a wonderful week! :)

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  33. OMGosh I LOVE this. Just the other day with a sigh I noticed I got a little too close to the oven's heat element when pulling out a dish. This project will start immediately - thanks for the inspiration (and the instructions)

    ~Taylor-Made Homestead~
    Texas

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    1. Glad your story will now have a happy ending!! :)

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  34. Love this idea! Can't wait to clean up my kitchen with some "new" potholders!

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    1. Glad this can help. It is a fun project to be able to pick out your own fabrics! :)

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  35. JES, as usual, a stroke of genius from you! What a clever way of getting 'just the right print' for something as utilitarian as the humble potholder. I LOVE it! I'm having a year of homespun as you know, but also a year of 'if a thing is functional, it must also be beautiful', so this is a timely post for me. Lots of love, Mimi xxx

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    1. I agree with that mantra! Practical but pretty is the way for me too :)

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  36. Fantastic Jes! I don't use potholders as it's been hard to find durable ones so I just use tea towels, but I am going to scour the second-hand charity shops for old ones I can give a makeover. Thanks for the idea! x

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    1. I am sure you will make some lovely potholders as you are so very creative!!! :)

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  37. Dear Jes,
    I have some traumatised looking pot holders to do this to! But also I am thinking of op shop pot holders and cheap store ones... even our supermarket has quite sturdy ones at an ok price but they are always in hideous fabrics! So now I am thinking to make them over for gifts! I really love it. Great idea that I will be using. In winter I sew a lot as it is no good in the garden or outside so I tend to do a lot more crochet and sewing. This will be on my list of plans. Thank you! Love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Yes, even garage sales you find outdated ones that can be refashioned into lovely gifts. I have some plans for a friend too. So much fun creating at home isn't it?! I am sure you will come up with some beautiful goodies with your wonderful fabric stash!

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  38. I Pinned your post to my board "how to do anything cheaply" and of course became your newest follower, number 605. Just loved the economy of re-covering potholders. Will be reading your old posts to look for more great ideas. r/sharon

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    1. Thank you for the pin! And thank you for joining us! :)

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  39. I think you took a picture of my potholders! Very clever! Visiting from a Tray of Bliss.

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    1. It seems we all have some like this hiding away! Thank you for stopping by Phyl! :)

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  40. What a transformation Jes. It does go to show that the ability to sew a straight line can breath new life in the most tired of items. These look fabulous and will clearly be good for a number of years to come. #FiveStarFrou-Frou
    Angela x
    Only Crumbs Remain

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    1. Yes, I hope so! Thank you for visiting Angela! :)

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  41. What an awesome idea! My potholders indeed need some a new covering, and I loved the thicker, more beautiful and durable fabric you chose to cover them with too! Next time I am at Hobby Lobby, I will be looking for some fabric to do just this with my potholders! Appreciate this wonderful tutorial JES, you are awesome!

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    1. Oh yes, you will find some gorgeous fabrics there! Thank you for taking the time to visit! :)

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  42. Loved this post.. Your colours are gorgeous and I feel inspired to redo mine very soon.. Thanks JES..xo

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  43. I never thought of recovering my potholders. So "obvious" yet I missed it. Brillant & simple. Thanks. Gail

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    1. Thank you Gail! :) Like they say, "necessity is the mother of invention". Mine were really gross and I couldn't justify a $70 purchase on potholders right now.... Have a lovely weekend!

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  44. Jes,
    What a great idea!! The fabric is just stunning!!

    Thanks so much for sharing and for stopping by!!

    Hugs,
    Deb

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  45. Hi Jes..
    These are beautiful! What a great idea.. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talents!

    Blessings,
    Tamara <3

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    1. Thank you Tamara for taking the time to visit and leave such a kind comment :)

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  46. Sweet friend, you are ever so clever! I would have never thought to do someting like this and now I'm going to dig through my drawer of potholders to see if I have any that need some love and care :)

    Thank you for sharing this with Roses of Inspiration. Please know that this post will be featured on Tuesday at this week's party.

    Hugs and blessings to you!

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  47. Hi JES,

    Your new pot holders are so pretty, and practical, which makes them perfect! You are very resourceful, indeed, and just as you say, there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap.

    Thanks for all your tips and have a wonderful week ahead.

    Hugs,
    Poppy
    P.S. Thanks for visiting me; I'm not online during the week, due to my new, full-time job, hence, no time for 'partying'. Hopefully, will be able to adapt soon, and make more time for posting and blogging.

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    1. Ah, thank you for taking the time to visit amidst your new busy schedule. Hoping that these changes in your life will bring His blessings.

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  48. JES...What a wonderful way to restore and reuse! The best part is being able to pick the fabric you desire. I love this idea! Thank you for sharing your creative mind and hands at WJIM's Monday's Musings. I love having you come by.

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    1. Thank you for hosting such a lovely link up! :)

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  49. What a great idea, thanks for sharing this never thought of it. New follower, please join me. Have a great Thursday with love Janice

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  50. How beautiful! I have some awesome pot holders that are just crying out for this makeover! Thanks for sharing on From the Farm..it's another favorite that we will feature this week. Hope to see you again soon!

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  51. I've had some very cute decorative pot holders which also were lacking enough padding to where I almost burnt my hands using them. I'm afraid most of mine aren't good enough quality to recover because they are so thin, torn, etc. I am going to have to choose better quality in the future.

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    1. Yes, I noticed the potholders are getting skimpier and skimpier these days!

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  52. What a great idea, and the new fabrics are just too pretty! Enjoy your baking :)

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  53. 3-4 layers of terry cloth from a failing bath towel is an excellent and frugal stuffing! Insulbrite is good, but you will get burned if you use less than 2 layers. Just found your blog! I can't stop reading! It's fantastic!!

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    1. Great idea! Thank you for the details! And glad to have you here! :)

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  54. Great idea! Not only does it save money, but you can choose the fabric pieces you like. I hardly ever find potholders I like in terms of looks.

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    1. Exactly Carol! Thank you for sharing here today! :)

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  55. I am going to take my favorite finger tip pot holders upstairs and do something like this right away. Gotta figure out how to keep the finger tip pockets, though :)

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