Project of the Week: Birthday Fun

My husband and I make a big deal out of birthdays. We love to take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate those we love, and there is no better opportunity for celebration of a person than that person’s birthday. Arturo’s birthday is at the end of next week, and for several weeks now, I’ve planned to give him his birthday gifts tonight. He already got his biggest birthday present last night, when we attended an amazing cooking class, but in the spirit of maximum birthday enjoyment, he’s still got a few small gifts to open tonight as well.

While Arturo has many hobbies, he has three overriding passions:

  • First and foremost, classical music and all things cello
  • Second, gourmet cooking and good food
  • And finally, using and programming in open source environments

My primary gift for him, the cooking class, solely focused on #2, but my “secondary” gift for him this year combines the 2nd and 3rd of those passions, cooking and open source, into a single item: a pair of Linux-themed potholders. I can’t wait to see his reaction when he opens the gift tonight. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Linux is an open-source computer coding environment, and their mascot is the penguin, equivalent to the little wavy Windows symbol or the bitten Apple. Arturo has been a lover of all things Linux for over a decade now, and part of the reason he’s so excited about his new job, which he started this past Monday, is that he is finally working in an open source environment. (For more info about Linux, refer to Wikipedia. They explain it way better than I ever could.)

To give the potholders their Linux touch, I used a technique called raggedy reverse, which allowed me to reverse applique the text and penguin outline on the back of the potholders. (I first heard about the raggedy reverse technique in Kim Deneault’s book by the same name, which is one of many inspirational how-to books mentioned on my Reading List.)


The front of each potholder is a nice work-horse orange fabric that should hide kitchen stains pretty well.


What’s even better is that these potholders double as oven mitts.

I’ve always found oven mitts useful but a bit cumbersome – getting them on and off in a hurry is sometimes difficult, and oven mitts only really work if they are ALL the way on your hand. I have a potholder, however, that has an insulated back pocket into which I can quickly and easily slip my hand if I want a bit of protection, but which also functions perfectly well as a normal potholder when I don’t need to completely cover my hand. I use it all the time, to the point that it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools. That potholder served as a model for the design of Arturo’s new kitchen accessories, and I have a feeling that one of my next projects will be a pair of flowery purple potholders for myself.

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About JennJill Designs

JennJill Designs provides the handcrafted goods of Jennifer Jill Araya. Visit www.JennJillDesigns.com to learn more.
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2 Responses to Project of the Week: Birthday Fun

  1. OK. What am I missing? Why opening gifts a week early? (Those are cute, by the way.)

    • Monica, I’m glad you like the potholders. 🙂

      The “week early” part came because I wanted to give Arturo all his gifts at once: the cooking class, the potholders, etc. The class I’d originally picked out for us to attend was Friday evening, so I planned my workload to finish his projects by then. However, at the last minute, we had a conflict with Friday night, so we had to go to a Thursday night cooking class, even though his gifts weren’t going to be completed until Friday. But I’d been planning to give him his gifts on Friday for so long that I didn’t want to wait, so he got them early

      I figure it’ll just prolong the birthday fun. 🙂

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